The Marriage Game

The Marriage Game

The Marriage Game

Short Story by Susan J. Kroupa



A warm and charming story from an odd point of view, for the ghosts' ability to interfere with the flesh and bone is limited, and they are not omniscient. . .

Lois Tilton, Internet Review of Science Fiction, September 2006


Sex and chocolate.

That’s what Eva and her friend miss the most since “passing to the other side,” a phrase that makes them feel more like gas than ghosts. They amuse themselves by playing The Game, competing to influence the behavior of Flesh and Bloods whom they call F ’n Bs. So when a beleaguered couple has a fight in a candy store in a little town along the Oregon Coast, the husband and wife have no idea that their responses are being influenced by two “old lady ghosts” competing for points. Like the sneaker waves that prove deadly to those caught unaware on the beach, marriage has its own treacherous turns and surprises, but sometimes a couple, with a little unseen help, can find their way to safety.


Before she let her writing go to the dogs, Susan J. Kroupa won awards for her fiction from such places as the Utah Arts Council Contest, Writers of the Future and the Deep South Writing Competition. Her stories have appeared in Realms of Fantasy and in a variety of anthologies, including Bruce Coville’s Shapeshifters. Now, she is perhaps best known for her Doodlebugged Mysteries, a gentle cozy series featuring the irrepressible but obedience-impaired sniffer-dog, Doodle.

In addition to working as a librarian, and as a music reviewer and columnist for the Herald-Times in Bloomington, IN, she has lived and worked on both the Hopi and Navajo reservations. Her non-fiction publications include features about environmental issues and Hopi Indian culture for The Arizona Republic, High Country News, American Forests, and the Bristol Herald-Courier.

She now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Southwestern Virginia with her husband and a trouble-prone labradoodle whose superpower is bringing home dead possums. You can learn more about her on her webpage or by subscribing to her newsletter (where you can sometimes get free stories and other cool stuff) at