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The Gentleman

February 2005

I have worked at a private club for a little over a year now. I have had experiences with ghosts before, and I think I am sensitive to the phenomena.
I didn't start closing at the club until I had worked there for about two months. Most nights there are people there until closing time, but some nights are slower than others. On the slow nights, there is always busy work to do until I am able to lock the doors and go home for the night. Usually, I set myself up at a table close to the back so I can relax and roll silverware, fold napkins, or just have a quick cigarette.

The first few times I closed, all was quiet and normal. After a while, though, I noticed that sometimes strange things would happen. The table where I sat was in full view of the bar area. At the end of the bar, there is a counter and a doorway where the members who play pool and cards could come to order drinks. I always keep a close eye on the window so that I can see when someone needs something. Sometimes, I will see a shadow pass in front of the window. At first, I thought it was someone coming up for a drink. After I would start to stand up, I would realize I was still alone. I just chalked it up to an overactive imagination, at first (my mother always told me I had one of those). But after a while, I started to wonder. Then, I started to hear the door open in the back hallway. Mind you, this was after I had locked all the doors and closed for the evening. There are two doors in the back hallway, an outside and an inside door. The sound of the pressure change in the hallway is very distinctive. This, too, I chalked up to my imagination. I just went on about my business.

That all changed one evening when I was closing up after having a pool tournament in the back room. My husband had come to pick me up from work because one of our cars was in the shop. I was balancing the drawers, and we both heard the sound of pool balls clacking together in the back room. Thinking someone was still in the building, he went back to check. There was no one there. I counted the rest of the money in quite a hurry, and we left. It was after that I decided to ask the other closing bartender if she had heard anything.

I went in the next day, afraid that Karen (not her real name) would think I was crazy. Instead, she just laughed at me! She was wondering how long it would take me to ask about "our gentleman," as she put it. She said that a couple of the members had actually seen him. She, herself, had also heard him, and nearly seen him. The first time was when there had been a set of double doors in place where the archway now is to enter the rest rooms. She said that when she first started closing, those doors would swing open and scare her half to death. She had also seen shadows in the window of the bar. She told me to ask John (also not his real name), one of the few people who had ever seen our gentleman in person.

Apparently, John has seen him twice. The first time he saw him, John was sitting at the bar, talking with a friend. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a man walk up to the bar and sit down beside him. When he turned to greet the man, however, there was no one there. He said he nearly ended up in his friend's lap! The second time he saw the gentleman, he was playing a game of pool with another friend. As he was leaning over the table to shoot, he felt someone watching him. When he turned to see who it was, he found himself face to face with a man in his late fifties or early sixties, wearing a sweater vest, a polo shirt, and a pair of khaki pants, leaning against a beam. As he watched, the man disappeared before his eyes. When he turned back around to ask his friend if he'd seen the man, his friend was white as a sheet. That was all the answer he needed!

Another one of my friends has also seen him. After close one evening, my friend James (not his real name) was waiting to walk me out (my husband had gone to war in Iraq). As he sat there, waiting for me to finish cleaning up, he kept looking into the hallway to the bathrooms. I was trying to hold a conversation with him, and was getting annoyed. When I asked him what he was doing, he told me that he didn't think the building was empty. I looked where he was looking, and I also saw what he did. In that hallway, there is a medal case that is always lit. By the archway, there are pictures of past members of importance. In the glass of the pictures, he kept seeing a shadow. I laughed at him, and told him about our gentleman. I think that part of him thought I was crazy, but part of him was scared. Needless to say, he doesn't like to hang around much after close anymore.

Even though at first I felt scared by our gentleman, now I feel as if he is friendly. I actually get worried about him if I don't hear him for a while. But just when I think he may have moved on, I hear a door open, or pool balls in the back room. I am glad he still watches over me!

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