Once upon a time, there was a spirit, sort of a ghost, but it wasn't like with a lowered opaque value such that you could see the background-color behind it, it looked like any other entity one might encounter. It was normal. Not in the sense that being a sort-of-spirit-ghost was normal, cuz that does seem a little rare, though in a good way, like when you discover what you think is leftover orange chicken in your fridge but is in fact fresh orange chicken that was only accidentally put into the fridge 5 seconds before. And it has your name on it. And it's spelled correctly, not like when the well-meaning but marker-challenged barista next to the chinese restaurant transposes all of the vowels in your name so that people in the rest of the coffee shop are thinking, "Huh, there's a person named Steve? Weird."

The ghost always wanted to be a barista. But ghosts are particularly marker-challenged, and it's hard finding a job at a coffee shop that doesn't seem so damned focused on labelling everything you're going to buy from them. I mean, that's enough frosting on my scone, I don't care if my name is on it, I'm just going to eat it. Like in 2 seconds! I'm not ordering a birthday cake for myself! Right?! .... Sorry, yelling at baristas is mean and frankly uncalled for in this modern world of craziness.

So the ghost travelled back in time to 1972 and bought a first edition What Color is Your Parachute? to help figure out what it wanted to be when it grew up. After the first few pages, the ghost realized it wanted to be an editor, handed the book off to a passing pedestrian, and do what all editors do: bought a label maker.

Label makers are pretty damn cool. When you think about it, it's basically a pocket typewriter. But what it outputs is glossier and adhesivier. You can stick it to whatever. Take that typewriters! And man, you think someone with a hammer sees everything as a nail, that's got nothing on someone with a mama forking label maker! Because unlike that whole hammer/nail ... umm ... what is that called? proverb? curse? ... hold on, lemme google this .. woah!!!! according to wikipedia, it's a LAW. Not the word I was going for. But anyway. Unlike that LAW, where everything actually being a nail is actually ridiculous, in real life, everything does need labeling.

So, that ghost, it like totally started labeling things. Like a honey badger. Which was probably a bad thing to start with, cuz honey badgers do NOT like to be touched. But that did not deter our ghost. Soon it found more understanding objects, like the shelves in your pantry, the flowers in your garden, pens, leftovers (old and accidentally fresh), geometric shapes, countries, sides of the street, astronomical entities, form inputs, etc.

One day, it was out of orange chicken, and had to pass by the coffee shop, and decided to go in for one. Significantly, it had the label maker. And when the ghost came back to its senses after what many described as a whirlwind labelling done by what seemed like a regularly opaque entity, it had labeled every coffee cup in the place. And every one was named Steve.

And that wasn't right.

It was ... unjust.

The ghost dropped the label maker to the ground like it was made of embarrassment. Dozens of eyes staring in absolute silence.

How had the book known? The ghost had been running away from its dreams to be a barista, but the book knew. Right? It had to know. It had screamed out the need to be marked up, edited, labeled, censored, right? Or was that just something inherent in myself? Had I projected onto that book my own desire to bring what I considered order to what I considered to be a chaotic universe? Or maybe the book *did* know, but it also knew the only way I could see it for myself was to be standing here in the middle of this coffee shop that smelled vaguely like orange chicken with half-dozens of not-Steves staring at me.

The reverberations from the clattering of the label maker on the floor seemed to last forever.

The ghost drifted towards the front door, and vanished.