HIS OWN PRIVATE CHICKEN
Filed by Mike Devicente, GBWC Reservist
GBI Case File No. GBWC-2009-27/402
The demon Morganan shuffled up between the wooden fence posts, looking down at the nearly overstuffed yard full of chickens and giving a regrettable sigh. After making the decision to give that foolish mortal Cubby his heart's desire, the banishment of all chickens from the world, his life had been a living hell, both figuratively and literally. He was sure he was rid of the wretched mortal beasties when the Ghostbusters prevented all the mortal chickens from glutting up the netherworld, but then his 'boss' decided to punish him by making him the manager of all the souls of the dead chickens that were already there.
There were TRILLIONS of them. If he didn't know better Morganan coulda swore the man upstairs made chicken more delicious the moment he was punished. It seemed every few minutes a new one would drop from the sky and join the millions of it's other chubby friends in staring blankly at him and waiting for feed.
Morganan sighed. There was no delaying the inevitable, especially around here. He slid over the fencepost, dipped his hand in his satchel and began to scatter corn bits across the eternal field.
"Heeeeere, chick, chick, chick...."
"All-right pegajoso...Reach for the sky." Mike Devicente said as he aimed his neutrona wand. The stream connected and the spectre, resembling something like a pair of novelty chattering teeth with arms and a long tongue wailed in the sudden realization that it could no longer move. Mike dropped a hand from his proton gun long enough to de-holster the trap at his side and sling it under the beastie, popping it open and allowing it to writhe wildly in the air for a few seconds before getting sucked into the trap. As he bent over to pull the smoking, steaming, trap from the ground his back-up finally arrived.
"Did you get it?" Jeremy asked as he stopped a few feet from where Mike was standing, still holding his neutrona wand at the ready.
"Yep, the threat has been neutralized," Mike said as he wiped a bit of ectoplasm off his brow. "It's the least I could do after having that thing ooze on me." Mike looked left and right and say "Okay, citizens, you can all go back to what you were doing before." Mike gave a wave to the civilians surrounding him, all dressed in tuxedos and holding classical instruments. As he triumphantly walked off the stage, the audience treated him to a minute-long standing ovation.
As the Ecto Cruiser drove down the street, Mike leaned back in the passenger seat with his legs crossed on the dashboard. "Ah, nothing like a successful bust to lift the spirits."
"Lifting spirits is what we do best, Mike." Jeremy affirmed. "By the way, since you took point on this one you deserve a reward. Why don't you choose where we get lunch?"
"How about we eat at 'Clucker's?'"
The whole ecto cruiser skidded to a halt at the suggestion. Thankfully, they were driving along the side of the road.
"Again?" Jeremy had a sickened look on his face. "That's the third time this week!"
"You know how it is when you have a craving, Jer." Mike shrugged passively.
"No, but I know what it's like when YOU do." Jeremy sneered. Sadly, there was little he could do to try to change Mike's mind when it came to food. Wherever he went, his stomach lead, both literally and figuratively. "...I, uh...thought you were on a diet."
"You always think I'm on a diet, and you're only right half the time. Besides, I thought chicken was good for you."
"Chicken is good for you, fried chicken isn't. Especially the stuff from Cluckers, where even the bucket has a grease stain."
Mike cleared his throat. "I believe...that you said...I got to pick."
Jeremy muttered and re-started the car.
"Here Chick, Chick, Chick, Chick..." Morganan muttered as he continued to spread the feed across the yard. At the brisk rate he was going he'd be finished with feeding time in 3 days as opposed to the usual week. From the sky dropped another pair of chickens slowly wafting down and touching their taloned feet on whatever soil there was left to scratch on inside the pen. Suddenly, Morganan noticed a pair of chickens in the distance, fading from sight like a ghost for a moment before vanishing completely. "That's curious," he said to himself, bringing clawed fingers to stroke his thin goatee. "I've never seen a chicken capable of leaving this plane before." Morganan gave a shrug. "Ah well, that's two less feather-heads to worry about in this dimension..." He went back to his work.
Jeremy and Mike stepped out onto the street. Mike was seemingly pacified by his own personal bucket of chicken of which he was already in the middle of devouring a drumstick. Jeremy held a small cup of coleslaw. Jeremy was all ready to get back to the cruiser and drive to the warehouse when Mike elbowed him on the shoulder.
"Hey, check it out!" Mike pointed to a sign hanging over the bookstore across the street. Mike spared Jeremy the effort of reading said sign by saying it out loud. "Meet Grace Adler, signing her new book 'I Am a Better American Than You' today at noon! It's noon now, let's take a look!"
Jeremy groaned. "Come on, Mike. I'm kinda tired, and your jumpsuit is still all slimy..."
Mike interrupted by saying "And I'm still on my lunch break." He rapidly crossed the street, dodging a couple cars as he went across. Jeremy sighed and followed after him.
As soon as Jeremy caught up to Mike, who was already waiting in line, he asked. "So, who's this 'Grace Adler' lady anyway?"
"C'mon Jer, don't you watch the news?"
"No, I read it on the internet."
Mike sighed. "Okay, she's a former L.A. prosecutor who now has her own show which runs on prime time cable TV. She specializes in providing hard-hitting legal coverage, and strong feminine viewpoints on the scum plaguing our corporately owned pinko, left-wing, communist nation."
Jeremy's facial expression turned in a way that was somehow more sour than it was at the idea of eating lunch at Cluckers. He was silent for a moment, but as the line pressed on he continued to question. "You know, it's kinda odd that someone who practices law would now want to host a TV show and write books."
"Well, the thing is, in 2006, she was tragically disbarred, accused of 'Obstruction of Justice' or some darn thing. She maintains it was a left wing plot to keep her from properly accusing California's weak stance on immigration. It was all in her last book. 'I'm a Law Abiding Citizen, and You're Not.'"
"Oh." Jeremy scratched his forehead as they continued down the line, saying a little prayer to himself that perhaps all Mike would do in this situation was get a book signed and go home. As he looked up again, they were at the front of the line and Jeremy laid eyes on Mikes' assumed goddess of justice. She was a bony woman with a thin face, permed blonde-ish dyed hair, red pointed lips and an expression on her face that said 'Go ahead and try to disagree with me.'
Mike was undeterred. "Ah, today is my lucky day. Here, hold this." Mike thrust the chicken bucket into Jeremy's hands, and used the grease on his fingertips to slick his hair back. He walked up to Grace Adler, who greeted him with an immediate look of disdain. Mike's hand shot out to grasp the one she was holding a pen in and shake it vigorously.
"Oh it's great to finally meet you Ms. Adler. I'm such an enormous fan!" Mike beamed. Grace Adler responded by jerking her hand away, looking disgustedly at the grease that now covered her hand and pen, stood up and demanded "Ghostbusters?! Who let these clowns in here? Doesn't this bookstore have any security guards?"
Mike was stunned, so Jeremy stood in for the voice of reason. "Do you have a problem with Ghosbusters International?"
"I sure do." Grace stood up, revealing to Jeremy that she was at least a foot taller than the two of them, and began to walk forward while staring Jeremy down. "You are all a pack of con-artists who trick the public in believing in spectres, fooling local law enforcements, state governments and even the fools perched in the white house into providing you with funding. Well, you can fool all those people, but you can't fool me. It's all in chapter 11 of my latest book. That'll be $27.96, please."
"All I got is a 50." Mike said as he blankly held up a bank note and a copy of her book, covered in chicken grease and a bit of ectoplasm seeping off the sleeve of his jumpsuit." Unable to resist, a reporter who was covering an event snapped a photo of him in that precise pose. Jeremy huffed and swatted the book out of Mike's hand. "You're not buying that trash! C'mon, let's go back to the warehouse!"
As Mike was yanked back, he dropped the copy of Grace's book at her feet. She looked down at the ectoplasm-stained biography, and wore a grin scarier than any of Jeremy's looks of worry.
Back at the warehouse, Mike sat in front of the TV, his arms permanently crossed, and a look of stern anguish on his face. The bucket of fried chicken that was his victory lunch had been picked to the bones but he was in no way happy. Equally unhappy was Mick who, upon hearing the whole story from Jeremy was all to happy to cross to the couch and give Mike an earful.
"So, today was your lucky day, huh kid?" Mick lectured. "It was your lucky day to make the franchise look bad."
"Yeah. Well. Shut up." Mike huffed. "None of you guys could possibly be more embarrassed about this than me. It's MY TV personality that I had pegged all wrong, and it's MY photo that paparazzi ran away with..."
Mick shook his head. "Get it through your head, Devicente, that we're supposed to be a team here! You go out in that uniform, you're representing all of us, and nobody wants to see the whole team covered in chicken grease and ectoplasm! In fact," Mick gave a pause and looked Mike up and down. "You're still in that ecto-drenched suit aren't you?"
Mike shrugged. "Well, yeah. I only got back here a moment ago."
Mick hoisted Mike up by the lapels and yanked him into a sprint a few steps away from the couch. "Go get in your civvies and put that thing in the haz-mat wash next to the ECU, you've screwed up enough on procedure today!"
"Awwright! Awwright! Gawd, you'd think I just made a deal with the devil or something!" Mike moved towards the ECU when he heard a phone ring. Right now Rose wasn't at her desk, so he shrugged and picked it up. "Ghostbusters. Whatever you see in the paper today is a lie...Hm? Yes, this is Mike Devicente. Yeah? Uh-huh? Really? Well, I don't know, I should really clear it with the-, What? How much? Okay, I'm in, yeah Saturday is good. Thanks! Bye!" Mike hung up the phone and turned to Mick. "You won't believe this, Mick! Grace Adler is going to do an episode about the Ghostbusters, and they want ME to be in the studio to do the counterpoint!"
Mick put his hand on his forehead and breathed a very heavy sigh. "Mike...you can't possibly be this stupid...You KNOW the reason they asked you is because they think you're going to embarrass yourself again and make Grace Adler look good at our expense."
"I know that Mick, but I got a plan. We've got 3 days between now and the day of the interview. In that time I'm going to do a lot of homework and I'm going to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that we're legitimate. I've already seen lots of Grace's show and I know all her tactics, so finding away around her defenses will be a snap."
Mick gave a pause to consider this. It was true, at least, that Mike was great at paranormal research, plus he knew more about this woman than possibly any right-minded person would. "I think you might be on to something."
"Of course I am." Mike boasted. "Now, I'm gonna go get into my civvies."
At night Mike stood in his pajamas and looking into the bathroom mirror. "So in conclusion, the sheer amount of eyewitnesses and camera footage of this event clearly proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Ghostbusters are a legitimate and necessary public service organization...." Mike gave a self-affirming nod and then swung the mirror open to take his razor blade out of the inner cabinet. He closed the mirror, and then he had a start. In the reflection he saw what looked like a chicken, only it was a translucent blue color with bright wide eyes that seemed to glow.
Mike looked over his shoulder at the spot where the chicken would have stood in reality.
There was nothing there.
He looked back to the mirror.
There was nothing there.
Mike snorted and shook his head. He sprayed some shaving cream onto his hand and smeared it on his face. Then he took a stroke of bristle off his cheek and dumped the used shaving cream into the sink.
There in the sink was the same ghost chicken.
Mike gave a gasp, jerking back, the razor in his hand nicking the side of his cheek. He looked from the blood on the razor to the sink.
There was nothing there.
Mike gave a laugh. He returned to the sink and finished shaving. A moment later he went to his bunk in his quarters and slid between his sheets. He closed his eyes. He rustled against his mattress. He lazily opened his eyes.
On his chest, there was the chicken. It stared closely at Mike for a moment, and then quirked it's head and said "Buh-Caw?"
Mike shuddered. Slowly he pulled himself up out o his bed, the chicken stepping back onto its talons to rest on his lap. Slowly Mike reached over with his right hand to the proton pack at his bedside. He quietly raised the neutrona wand in his arms to the chicken who just looked complacently at it. Then he fired. The bed between his legs took most of the impact of the beam, the mattress' edge bursting into flames.
The lights went on. Jeremy stood by the switch and shouted "Mike! What the hell are you doing!?"
"I saw a chicken!" Mike said defensively. "It was all white like a ghost! It followed me from the bathroom!"
Jeremy shook his head. "Mike...you still got your PKE meter at your bedside?"
"Switch it on."
Mike pulled his personal PKE meter out of the nightstand drawer and clicked it on. He ran the device up and down around his bed. There was absolutely no signal.
"Mike," Jeremy continued in a passive, patient, voice "You know we have PKE trigger alarms in every room, in case of any intruders, don't you?"
Mike nodded again.
"You were probably just having a dream. You've been in a stressful situation today. You've also eaten a LOT of fried chicken." Jeremy turned his head towards the bucket of chicken bones on top of Mike's nightstand. It was actually his second bucket having gone out to get dinner as a reward for his coming up with such a brilliant idea.
"You're probably right...." Mike submitted. He winced as Jeremy put out the fire on his bed with a chemical extinguisher that was hanging on the wall.
"Get some sleep, Mike." Jeremy advised and turned off the lights again.
"Yeah, sleep." Mike said and laid back down in his now burnt and soaked bed and closed his eyes. As soon as the lights were off, he ran a hand against his cheek. He felt that cut he gave himself in the bathroom. A cut? But...he saw the chicken when he cut his cheek. That woulda been part of his dream if Jeremy were right. Mike opened his eyes again.
There was the chicken.
Mike gave a muted whine as he slowly pulled the blanket sheets over the top of his head.