THE RACE UP DEAD MAN'S CURVE
Filed by Mike Devicente, GBWC Reservist
GBI Case File No. GBWC-2010-24/403
Ghostbusters Omnibus Timeline Year Twenty Eight
At the warehouse Jason, Jeremy, Kyle, Jeff, and Mick surrounded a round table covered in poker chips and bags of snacks. Several hands of your basic draw poker had been passed around over a couple of hours, and everyone had a meager pot except for Jeff and Mick, who were now anteing up with every last cent of their winnings in one giant, winner-take all pot to end the game. In response to the bold move, everyone else folded, and they were now intensely watching the outcome.
As Jeff fiddled with his hand, he raised his chin at Mick and said. "Hey Mick, how about we make this a bit more interesting?"
"I’m listening." Mick said dully, trying not to change his hardened facial expression.
"Whoever loses this round…has to partner with Mike Devicente when he comes back into town tomorrow?"
Mick momentarily lost his poker face when he curled his tongue under his lip. "What's the matter Nash? You intimidated by the idea of having to train the rookie?"
"I don’t get it," Kyle said from the sidelines. "I’ve seen the guy around, and he seems pretty harmless."
Jeremy opened up a can of soda and put his feet up against the table. "That’s because you’ve never been his partner. He's...he's a smart enough guy, but he can be a real prick when he wants to be."
"Not to mention that he has NOT YET FAILED to get posessed, transmogrified, or whatever, every single time he's been on the job. Hell, all Jason did was take him to the gym and he managed to get himself transformed that way..." Mick added.
"Hey, the guy was thirsty. The redcap gave him a drink. Who hasn't been there?" Jason said between a mouthful of Doritos.
Kyle shook his head. "Yeah, you guys are overreacting, just because he’s a little overweight…"
"…He can be a bit self centered." Jason shrugged.
"And he’s such a moron." Mick said flatly, as he sparked a cigarette. "I'm surprised he's not off the team after that whole thing with Grace Adler. He's a total liability...It's Fritz's call, though. I'm not gonna get into it. Or be his partner again if I can help it..."
Jeff gave a smug grin. "Well, okay Mick…if you think you’re gonna lose, we don’t have to do it."
Mick gave a sneer. "You’re on." Mick gathered up his cards and with a triumphant "HAH!" tossed them hard on the table. "Straight flush!"
"Royal Flush…" Jeff said matter-of-factly.
"Dammit to hell!" Mick threw his cards down and covered his face with the hand where the still-lit cigarette burned at the tip. Jeff raked in his winnings, "Come to papa, baby."
Jeremy gave a snicker. "Well, Mick. I hope you learned a valuable lesson about gambling."
"Whatever." Mick stood up and walked away from the table. "You know, the truth about it is, given that I seem to be the one doing all the mentoring, Mike is taking after me the most. I seriously think I’m starting to rub off on him…"
Mike walked in the next day with a backpack over his shoulder, and a pretty young girl with blonde hair and blue eyes covered with thin square glasses. She wore a white tank, blue jeans, and a look of amazement as she got an eyeful of the warehouse. "Hey guys, I’d like you all to meet Kristin."
"Hello." Kristin gave a soft wave as she was met by the stern and glazed expressions of everyone in the room, including Rose and Chelsea, who simply came by to pick up the book of check stubs for her bookkeeping.
"Kristin and I met on an online forum," Mike continued. "She was really fascinated when I told her I was a Ghostbuster, so I decided to bring her by to have a look at the warehouse."
Jeremy gave a snicker between bites of the sandwich he was eating. He leaned in towards Mick, who was sitting next to him and murmured. "I guess you were right, Mick He totally takes after you…"
Mick snorted and pulled himself off the couch. "I suppose you left out the fact that you're a reserve Ghostbuster. Reserve. Second string. Anyway, you can’t bring her in here, Mike. She’s a civilian, and she’s gonna get in the way."
"Well…gee Mick, as you can see, she barely takes up any space at all." Mike retorted.
"Seems that way." Rose added with a twinge of jealousy in her voice. Kristin gave a short, nervous laugh, sensing everyone's eyes on her.
Mick exhaled in exasperation, he expected this sort of thing from Mike so he endeavored to let it slide. "How do you know she’s not an investigative journalist or a government watchdog here to spy on us?"
"She told me she ran a crafts shop…" Mike gave a shrug.
"Listen, if this actually is a problem, I could go." Kristen said, trying to maintain the calmness in the room.
"Just stay here, Doll Parts, I’ll handle this." Mike said, keeping her in place by her wrist. He let go of her hand, thrust a finger at Mick and shouted. "Listen, if this actually is a problem, she could go!"
Mick and everyone listening in the room slapped their forehead, except for Jason who was watching all this with a grin on his face and a handful of microwave popcorn.
Chelsea walked over between the three of them. "Don’t worry about it, Mick. It’s fine if she has just a little look around. Just make sure that she leaves if there’s a call or some other emergency, okay?"
Mick raised his brow, gave a sideways grin at Chelsea and breathed. "Okay."
Mick sat on the couch and played with a slinky while Mike showed Kristin up and down the warehouse. He gave a heavy sigh. Jason walked in from the kitchen and leaned his shoulders over the couch. "What’s eating you?"
"I could really go for a nice meaty poltergeist right about now, so I can tell Mike’s little belle to ring-a-ding-ding outta here."
Jason chuckled. "Oh this is too good: you’re actually jealous."
Mick rolled his eyes. "I am not."
"Yeah you are. You thought you had the nimrod wrapped around your little finger, but then this girl showed up and proved you wrong."
Mick’s head bent up from the couch towards Jeremy. "Sooo, I’m not jealous of Mike, but I’m jealous of Kristin for having Mike’s attention, is that what you’re grabbing at, Freud?"
"Yeah, pretty much." Jason gave a shrug.
"Stupidest thing I ever heard." Mick pushed himself up off the couch. "Why don't you try psychoanalyzing Mike for a change? That guy could really use it."
Just as Mick was getting ready to leave Rose passed by and handed Mick a piece of paper. "Overnight disturbance at a local residence, you’re going in to investigate."
"Hallelujah!" Mick sprung up and crossed the Warehouse. Mike was standing in between Kristin and Rachel. In the time Kristin had been here, they’d already bypassed Kristin’s amazement at seeing a real ghost and were now just having plain girl talk. Mike stood to the right of them, sideways listening while he sipped a cup of coffee.
Mick approached the group. "Okay, Mike, we've got a call.....Iiiiit's been great meeting you Kristin. We'll call you a cab."
"Hold it Mick. I heard what Rose said: It's not an emergency call, it's just an investigation."
"Soooo..." Mike leaned in towards Kristen. "How'd you like to go on the job with us?"
Kristin's eyes rolled back and fourth as she thought. "Well, that would be nice, but-"
"No way, Mike. I'm not going to get in hot water with anyone who's last name is Baugh just because you are trying to impress your girlfriend." Mick objected. "What if we actually do run into something? It's too dangerous."
"You know, he's not actually my boyfriend..." Kristen interjected.
Rachel shook her head and said. "Try not to get in the middle of it. Domestic argument, you know..."
"We're not going to run into anything at 4PM on a weekday. This has got false alarm written all over it. Come on, Kristin, I'll show you where we keep the proton packs."
"So, down the street and around the corner there is the Hard Rock, and a couple blocks down and to the left of that is Pierce Brosnon's house..." Mike gave a play-by-play off all the buildings they passed as he sat in the front seat next to a grouchy Mick behind the wheel. Kristin and Rachel sat in the back seat peeking out the window where Mike was pointing.
"That's not Pierce Bronson...that's Bronson Pinchot. That is Balki's house that's next to the Hard Rock..." Mick sneered.
Mike shifted back into his seat and crossed his arms."Geez, what's your problem?"
"Oh, just that you're turning my job into freakin' Star Tours...."
"Look, there's our place, that ice cream parlor at the corner of 33..." Mike turned his head around until he was looking into the backseat. "Hey Rachel, do you want us to bring you something back."
Rachel considered it for a moment. "Nah, I'm not in the mood for ice cream, maybe if they have, like, a soda...."
"Sure thing Rach." Mike twisted back and opened up his wallet. "Hey, Mick, do you have change for a hundred?"
Mick simply opened up the car door and walked out.
While Mike and Kristen stood in front of the counter and ordered ice cream, Mick began to question the shop owner, a little old lady dressed in a double-breasted coat and a pillbox hat. She could have passed for the queen of England if it weren't for her southern Californian accent.
"...Every single day the most horrible high-pitched moaning comes from the large house up the street. It sounds like someone's dying up there, and the noise is worrying all my customers..."
"Well, gosh, lady, you sure it's a ghost, you sure it's not just a serial killer?" Mick asked as he scribbled In a notebook.
An even more concerned look crossed the old lady's face. Mick shook his head and told her. "That's just a joke, that's just a....bad, bad joke. Okay, listen. Since the noises aren't coming from your place, all we can do is go up to that mansion and ring the doorbell. You're not going to be charged unless we find something, okay?" Mick finished up his notes for the report and walked towards Mike. Mike had poked two eyes and a mouth into his ice cream cone and was now puppeting it while using a high pitched-voice towards Kristin.
"Always remember, in Ghostbusting you always gotta keep a cool head." The puppet trilled, eliciting some laughter from Kristin.
"Didn't your mom ever teach you not to play with your food?" She chuckled.
"She did, but she also taught me how to do this..." Mike paused when he felt a chill up his spine. He reached for his holstered PKE meter, but then he turned and noticed Mick over his shoulder giving him a hard stare. "Yeah, uh, so it's back to work for me...Let's head back to the cruiser..."
The cruiser slowed to a stop halfway up a steep hill. Mick pulled the handbrake and everyone slid out the car doors. Mike unholstered his PKE meter and turned it on, scanning the general area. "There's a faint signal, and it's pretty wide, between the front porch and the windows to the right side, and receding back a few dozen feet..."
"I guess the old lady was right, there could be something here..." Mick walked up to the door and knocked. He was half expecting to hear the moaning noise that the lady at the ice cream shop mentioned. Instead it was dead silent. "Nobody's home."
"Well, I guess that means we gotta go." Mike gave a shrug and checked his watch. "Hey we could probably even get back to the warehouse in time for Cosby."
"I'm pretty sure that's a rerun, Mike." Mick peered into a window. Then reached down and pulled up the window from the bottom. "It's open, let's go."
"What you mean go breaking and entering?" Mike raised an eyebrow. "Nuh-uh. I'm as curious as you are, but I want to keep 'illegal activity' off my work record."
"Fine, Mike. You stay out here with the women, and I'll crack this one myself." Mick slid into the window. Mike looked back and fourth between the window, Rachel, and Kristin, and dryly stammered "Uhhh....I'll be right back." He walked over and squeezed through the window as well.
Rachel looked over at Kristen and said "Um, I should go with them and see if they stay out of trouble, and phased through the door. Kristen waited for a moment, and, after feeling anxious outside all her own, slid through the open window.
Once everyone was inside they huddled together looking like the wayward cast of Scooby-Doo. Nobody seemed to say a word about not appropriately being there, because as far as fate was concerned, nobody should be there. Mike led the pack holding his PKE meter watching it grow slightly in response to a nearby room. "That way."
They went through a door which led to a large wide room. It looked like a study, but there were no tables or chairs. Instead the room was filled with what seemed to be random paraphanalia: car parts, barber poles, ships in bottles, and a miniature replica of the Bob's Big Boy statue.
"Wow..." Mike awed at the collection.
"What a ton of junk." Kristin shook her head distastefully.
"You don't understand. This...Well, you see that barnacle covered oar on the wall? That was taken from the ghost ship of Pappy Sargassi from the haunting of the Sedgewick hotel in 1991. Next to it are a set of candelabras from the same event...and, and...that big boy statue, actually once came to life under the thrall of Magonacle The Demon Lich of Denver..."
"And the barber pole over there hails from a convergence of werewolves on a small town north of Alberta." Mick added.
"These are all ghost artifacts...Probably collected from various supernatural events."
"Someone actually likes to collect things from ghost sightings?" Kristen said a bit of nervousness rising in her voice.
"Don't knock it, girlfriend, there are a lot of Ghostbusters that are into that." Mick replied. "This doesn't really look like cult activity. The artifacts would have to converge on a singular theme, and everything here is just too random to be the calling cards of a single spiritual entity."
"You know, I once heard of a private collector. He went by the name of Dale Wriggly...Can't tell if this is his collection or not." Mike raised his PKE meter and wandered the room as he scanned. "I'm not getting anything higher than a .08...there's a large concentration of stuff that's been interacted with by ghosts, so all these items are hot, but there's not enough to prove an actual ectopresence..."
Mike gave a moment's pause to look up from his PKE meter. Resting on top of a cabinet was an elaborate glass jar, looking something like an urn with a removable top. Inside was a bubbling clear liquid surrounding a white glob that viscously bobbed around in place, as though it were a lava lamp. "Is...is that...?"
Mike took a step back, walking backwards into a bubblegum machine. The bubblegum machine tipped over and fell, the glass bowl shattered, kicking up a ton of dust in the room making everyone cough violently. The coughing came to a sudden halt when they heard footsteps in the floor above them.
Mick looked up at the ceiling. "Oh boy, it looks like someone was here after all..."
"What do we do?!" Kristin squeaked nervously.
"We run!" Mick replied, and as just as quickly as everyone entered, everyone left out the window and down the hill towards the ecto cruiser. Everyone gasped for air with Mike doubled over the front of the car wheezing hard over the effort it took him to run that distance.
"Well...so...much...for solving the mystery...huh...Mick...?" Mike said, trying to crack a joke between breaths.
Mick righted himself, sending Mike an angry glare. "Well we would have gotten it figured out if you didn't stick your back bumper into that gumball machine. I really whoever was up there didn't notice our uniforms, or we're screwed..."
Mike slowly pulled himself upright and turned to Mick. "Are you insinuating something?"
Mick grimmaced, his frustration finally coming to a head. "No, I'm not insinuating. I'm saying that if I didn't get saddled with you, I woulda fixed that ice cream ladies' problem instead of ending up vandalizing someone's piece of ghost flair."
"Yeah, well it was YOUR idea to go in there in the first place! You couldn't leave it alone, could you!? Just wanted to swing in and play hero!"
"Well I woulda really been a hero I didn't have a FAT, CLUMSY, SELFISH, MORON like YOU as my partner!"
"GUYS! That's ENOUGH!" Rachel shouted, her voice carrying with it a supernatural echo that easily overshadowed the shouting of the two of them. She cleared her throat and began to speak more calmly. "Look we all went in there...what's done is done...let's just get back home...."
The drive back to the warehouse was a long and quiet one. Nobody said a word to anyone the whole way back. Once the car was parked Mick slammed the door and immediately took off upstairs. Rachel followed him floating up into the ceiling to the second floor, leaving Mike along with Kristin.
"I'm...I'm sorry you had to see that Kristin..."Mike said meekly.
Kristen sighed. "No, Mike, I'm sorry. I'm sorry I was around to let you make me an accessory to a freakin' crime. Do me a favor, and lose my number, okay?"
Mike sighed. "Okay."
Kristen left the warehouse slamming the service door as she went. Mike sat in place, hanging his head in shame for a few minutes before walking over to lay out across the couch and turn on the TV.
The next morning Mike opened his eyes directly into the glow of the turned on television set. He grimaced and rolled into a seated position, lifting his glasses and rubbing his eyes. "I must have fallen asleep." he murmured and raised up the remote to turn off the television. As he smoothed out his hair, Rose walked up to him and told him in a slightly churlish manner that Fritz wanted to see him in his lab.
Still groggy, Mike dragged his feet to Fritz's lab. His sleepy eyes soon shot wide open when she saw Mick, Rachel, and to his surprise Kristin all standing there.
"Great that you can finally join us." Mick said sarcastically. Mike simply shot him a mean look. Before any angry words could be exchanged, though, Fritz came up from behind a desk.
"Wait, wait I know what this one is about," Mike said. "I just want to get right on the record as saying it's all Mick's fault."
"That's not what this is about." Fritz interjected. "I want you all to look at this security camera footage given to us from the laundromat down the street."
Fritz loaded a tape into a VCR. The screen flickered on showing a black and white picture date marked at 2 AM this morning. Mike was shouting at Mick in front of a running dryer. He was wearing an argyle sweater vest with a dress shirt underneath, pressed slacks, penny-loafers and a pair of jet black glasses which were duct tapped in the middle. Mick was dressed in a leather jacket, blue jeans and black bots with pointed tips. He had his hair curled into a pompadour with long sideburns and he was chewing on a toothpick.
"You stay away from Mary, Hoss! She's my girl!" Mike spat at Mick, sticking a finger into his chest.
"Not on your life, Lenny!" Mick replied, taking Mike's finger in his closed fist and squeezing it. "Jus' cause you write her all those letter don't mean you own her, nerd. She wants a real man, like me."
Mike yanked his hand back, rubbing his sore finger from where Mick twisted it. Into the middle of the scene walked Kristen and Rachel. Kristen was dressed in an angora sweater, jeans, and clogs and her hair was in a ponytail. Rachel wore pigtails and a poodle skirt along with bobby socks and wingtips.
"Cool your jets you two, I never said I wanted to go steady with either o' you! Tell 'em Trixie" Kristen intoned.
"Yeah, uh....yeah Mary..." Rachel replied.
Mick scooped up Mike's lapels in both his arms. "You better steer clear of Mary, nerd, or next time I'm rearragin' your face." He shoved Mike to the croumd, then the security camera faded into snow.
Mike blinked at the picture, then at the assembled group. "I...we...we never did that...I never wore those clothes what...."
"Technically you're right, Mike. None of you actually did any of that, at least not out of free will." Fritz replied, clicking on a PKE meter and turning it on the group. As soon as it was turned on, the antenna shot straight up into the air. "You've all been possessed."