Anthony Michael Hall is visited by the ghost of one of his movie characters.
| "The Ghost of Peter Cronin"
Anthony Michael Hall had been acting since he was seven years old, starting out in commercials. It wasn't until 1984 that he became known as the comedic teenager starring in the movies Sixteen Candles and then The Breakfast Club. But, as the years passed, he wanted to break out of being known as a quirky teenager. In the 1990's, Anthony managed to break the surface in the movie Edward Scissorhands, but it wasn't enough.
He wanted more.
So in 1996, in an effort to branch out, he was offered the chance to star in a low budget television movie about a convicted murderer, being transported from one prison to another, who hijacks a commercial airliner with the help of his girlfriend and an ex member of the Irish Republican Army. Anthony hoped that the role would prove to get the attention of other producers and directors who wanted him for their serious bits and pieces of work. Although he would achieve this goal, Anthony had no idea that the character he created would be stuck in his mind for a long time.
One night in 2001, it was just after the September 11th attacks in New York, Washington and Southwestern Pennsylvania. Anthony had been approached to star in a television series called The Dead Zone for the USA Network and was very much excited about the chance he had been hoping for. However, on this particular night, Anthony walked up to the apartment he kept just outside of Los Angeles and was getting over a bad day, which was about to get worse.
"Dammit!" Anthony grunted as his keys fell out of his pocket and onto the stairs. "Why do these things always happen...?"
But before he could say another word, he heard a gasp and became scared. Anthony was known for several people in his neighborhood to come out and play pranks on him. So, it wasn't out of the ordinary for him to be subjected to this sort of manner. Then, he looked at the doorknob which showed the head of a man with curly blonde hair and his eyes were closed. Anthony looked closely at the head and upon further inspection, realized who it truly was.
"Peter Cronin?" he whispered as the head opened its eyes and give him a hard stare.
"HALL!!!" screamed the head, causing Anthony to nearly fall back and split his head open. Fortunately, he grabbed onto the railing and saved himself from falling backwards. Anthony was scared out of his wits, but when he looked at the doorknob, the head was gone leaving only the doorknob behind.
"It can't be," he muttered, picking his keys up. "It's all a fantasy. Damn characters getting into my head."
Finally opening the door, Anthony made it into his apartment although the incident at the door had made him wary. Before he turned himself in for the night, he searched all the rooms of his apartment.
"Is anyone here?" he called out. "Hello? Can anyone hear me? I have a gun and I am not afraid to use it!"
Of course, Anthony wasn't carrying a gun, but he wanted whoever it was that he was not going to tolerate any intruders or unwanted houseguests of anytime. When it was all clear, Anthony headed upstairs and showered before climbing into bed and watching the 11:00pm news. Still, he remained on guard for any sign of the intruder in question. In fact, Anthony couldn't sleep for he was scared and he was about to become even more scared.
"What the hell is going on?" cried Anthony when the power in his apartment gone out mysteriously. "I can't believe that the electric company is doing this to me! I paid my electric bill."
Still, Anthony reached into his side table and grabbed a flashlight, turning on and going under the bed to grab his gun that he kept for emergencies. No sooner did Anthony reach for his gun did the sounds of footsteps come into the eerie silence of the night.
"Who's there?" he cried, pointing his gun at the bedroom door.
The footfalls continued to fall closer and closer while another sound was being heard in addition: the sounds of chains, chains that were being dragged. Then suddenly, the bedroom door flung wide open.
"I don't know who you are," said Anthony in a scared tone, the gun shaking in his hand. "But, if you are a ghost, then show yourself now!"
Just then, Anthony began to see the ghost of a man in his likeliness walking into the bedroom, walking in a very stiff position. The ghost had the same curly blonde hair as the figure in the doorknob, but he was dressed in a light blue striped long sleeved dress shirt with a white t-shirt underneath and long khaki pants. A pair of two holes were in his chest, supposedly bullet wounds sustained in a shooting of some kind. Chains were wrapped around his wrists, ankles and his neck.
"What do you want with me?" Anthony asked and the ghost reached to pull off the tourniquet holding his mouth together. The ghost briefly struggled to get his mouth together, but ultimately succeeded. Then, he smiled evilly at Anthony.
"Oh, much," laughed the ghost, who then reached into his pocket and pulled out a small gun similar to Anthony's. "Do you remember me, Anthony? Because I sure remember you. Hell, we even look the same."
It was clear to Anthony that the ghost was taunting him, almost making fun of him. Then, almost like someone who was bipolar, the ghost began insulted.
"COME ON!" screamed the ghost and it became clear who the ghost was. "DO YOU KNOW HOW TO ADDRESS A GUEST WHEN YOU SEE ONE?"
"Who are you?" asked Anthony, who was too scared to respond right away.
"Why, you don't remember me?" said the ghost, taking to the air and floating. "My name is Peter Cronin, and I'll be your ghost host this evening."
Anthony couldn't believe what he was seeing. This was a man who was entirely fictional, just a character that Anthony portrayed to make a paycheck in a television movie that was not going to be the greatest movie ever made.
"Well, can you sit down?" asked Anthony.
"Are you telling me what to do, Anthony?" remarked the ghost, continuing to wave around the gun like a toy. "I am a part of you and I can do whatever I want!"
"Then sit down," cried Anthony. "And tell me what you want with me!"
Reluctantly doing as he was told, the ghost sat down in a chair next to the television, but not before throwing the anchors holding his chains together onto Anthony's bed.
"You don't believe in me?" asked the ghost, staring at Anthony with evil intent.
"I don't," answered Anthony defiantly. "Especially after what happened a few days. 3,000 innocent people savagely murdered. You may not care about what happened, but I do! The two planes that hit the World Trade Center took off from my hometown of Boston, you know!"
"Then why do you doubt your senses?" the ghost asked again. "If you had, you wouldn't have given me life."
"Because the smallest things in life can affect them," answered Anthony, about to pull the trigger and fire at the ghost as he began to quote Charles Dickens while his voice raised from soft to loud. "A slight disorder of the stomach can make them cheat. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blob of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. Yes, there's more about gravy than of grave about you, whoever you are!"
Anthony fired the gun at the ghost, but the ghost fired back and the two bullets collided. The ghost then roared loudly and Anthony attempted to crawl off of the bed, only to be intercepted by the ghost.
"Mercy," whispered Anthony as the ghost seethed with fury. "Dreadful apparition. Why do you trouble me?"
"Because being a hijacker qualifies, you idiot!" shouted the ghost. "And if you do that stunt again, I will put a bullet in your head! You may think I can't harm you, but I can! As I once said, we all go along for the ride, Anthony."
Anthony trembled with fear as the ghost sat back down in the chair. It was clear to Anthony that the ghost of Peter Cronin was here to deliver a message and was not going to rest until he did deliver that message.
"What are you talking about?" asked Anthony.
"Do you think that if you never gave me life, Anthony," said the ghost. "Then, you wouldn't be haunted by those men who did what I tried to do?"
"They had sick reasons," retorted Anthony. "You just wanted to escape the authorities and bring 200 people along as trophies, that's all you wanted and that was how I was told to portray you. Well, I will say this, you are just a character and a figment of my imagination!"
"But wasn't it because of me that you reunited with that hot friend of yours?" remarked the ghost, floating over to pick up a picture of Anthony with his good friend, Ally Sheedy. "That girl from the 80's?"
"Put that down!" demanded Anthony. "You cannot touch that picture!"
Rolling his eyes, the ghost did as he was told, even though he had the freedom to do whatever he wanted. Even though he was just a character, he felt like he was real.
"So protective, I see," sneered the ghost. "I'm surprised that you two aren't even married. Well, Shayna and I were going to be married once I made my escape. But, that didn't happen. She's in prison and I'm in here, everything that we planned to do, well, that's all gone."
"Don't come here expecting me to believe that," retorted Anthony. "All you ever cared about was killing others to get what you want. Hell, you even tried to separate a little girl from her parents, Cronin. You refused to allow for rescue to help, you refused to allow a sick passenger to get medical, you...."
"SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP, ALL RIGHT?" screamed the ghost. "I PLAY BY MY OWN RULES, OKAY? I HAD THE RIGHT TO DO ANYTHING I WANT! EVEN IF I AM NOT A REAL PERSON, I CAN STILL CONTROL YOU TO DO MY BIDDING! I, PETER CRONIN, AM A PART OF YOU!"
But Anthony remained steadfast, nothing that the ghost would do or say was going to change his mind.
"Well, listen to this," said Anthony, completely unfazed by his character's outburst. "You made a grave mistake by doing what you did, taking 250 people hostage because you wanted to live life as a free man. Take a moment to think about what these monsters did to our country. They didn't have your ambitions of freedom. They wanted to kill innocent people! But, we may have been pushed to the ground, but I swear to God that we will rise again and there is nothing that evil people like you can do to stop it!"
The ghost was certain that he was not going to do anything to change Anthony's mind. Peter Cronin was dead and Peter Cronin was fictional; Anthony Michael Hall was alive and Anthony Michael Hall was real. Giving up, the ghost rolled his eyes and floated away towards the bedroom door.
"Then there is no use talking to you anymore," sighed the ghost, feeling defeated as he flew away. "Look to see me no more."
Soon, the ghost was gone and the electricity returned to Anthony's apartment. He was and will continue to be holding an important life lesson that we all must have: that we never succumb to fear, evil and their temptations...