GBI Case File GBNY-2003-21/264
""Hi, this is Larry King. The phone-in topic today: ghosts and ghostbusting. The controversy builds, more sightings are reported. Some maintain these professional paranormal eliminators in New York are the cause of it all."
"Hey, spazz-boy--I want one of the Twinkies you got hidden in your backpack" the oversized kid said, shoving the smaller boy.
"I told you, you malformed anthropoid, I don't have any Twinkies!!!" the pudgy twelve year-old retorted, anger growing in his voice. "Why don't you just leave me alone--I didn't do anything to you!!!"
"Hey, we got a quota of beat-downs today and I'm way behind--and you're a fat-ass nerd, so looks like you're elected" With that, he literally kicked the smaller boy's rear end with his oversized foot. "Plus you're a damn Yankee..."
"Technically, Yankees are from the New England area...I'm from Indiana..."
"You back talkin' me? That earns extra beating...Indiana's close enough anyway..."
"Kick the jerk again, Toby!!!" one of the bully's hanger-ons shouted, laughing and downing potato chips. "Make him cry."
"Wanna cry, Lardass?"
"Go. To. Hell." the pudgy boy responded, snarling.
"I think you're thinking of the wrong one of us, peckerwood..." Toby smirked, rolling up the sleeve of his Camp Sherwood T-Shirt. The five malcontents behind him were chanting "To-By!!! To-By!!! To-By!!!"
"I dunno..." another voice broke in. The voice was heavy with a New York area accent, and it belonged to a wiry boy who was walking nonchalantly toward the throng. "I'm not sure I like the odds--only six to one. I think maybe two of you should hold him down while the rest run for help."
"Yankee comedian, huh?" Toby snarled. "I hate comedians and I hate Yankees..."
"I applaud what you are trying to do, but this doesn't concern you..." the chubby boy tried to tell his would-be benefactor.
"It does now." thte newcomer pointed out. "I ain't gonna let a bunch of punks like this push anyone around--not in my nature." He balled his fists and looked the lead hood, Toby, straight in the eye. "I come from the bad side of Newark, chump--you better be ready."
The boy from Newark smirked back.
The chubby kid fron Indiana could just wonder to himself, incredulously...Either these guys are on drugs or need to be...
"Well?" Dr. Fritz V. Baugh asked him, a touch of impatience in his voice.
"You don't understand...like I said, I grew up worshipping these guys...and to actually be standing here, at Ghostbusters Central...the famous Hook and Ladder No. 8 firehouse that is the stuff of legend..."
Fritz grumbled and reached over to open the door himself.
They walked into the garage. Joey gasped as he saw the world famous ECTO-1, sitting there ready for its next job. It was similar to their own vehicle, the ECTO-1N, but it's reputation was in the next galaxy--Joey at times could scarcely believe it was only the second ECTO-1, what with all of the abuse it had reportedly suffered over the years...
That was Joey's last thought before something knocked him over. Something wet, green, and very very slimy...
"No Slimer!!! Bad Slimer!!!" a loud female voice with a thick Brooklyn accent shouted from the reception desk. "How many times we told you not to attack the customers?"
The green ghost picked itself up off Joey, but kept looking at him with adoration. Class Five Full Roaming Vapor Fritz's brain quickly assessed.
"Slimer can be a bit over friendly..." the woman at the reception desk chuckled. She looked to be in her forties, with short red hair, and was dressed in a blue ensemble consisting of a vest and tie over a long-sleeve blouse with matching skirt. The placard at her desk read "JANINE SPENGLER" "Can I help you guys?"
"I'm Dr. Fritz Baugh and this is Dr. Joey Williams...we have an appointment with Dr. Stantz..."
"What he said..." Joey sputtered, wiping slime off his shirt.
"Oh, yeah...you're the West Coast guys...hand on a sec, I'll get Ray..." she turned and shouted up one of the fire poles. "RAY!!! YOUR COMPANY'S HERE!!!"
Joey pantomimed patting his ears to see if they still worked.
"Thanks, Janine...be down in a sec!!!" a muffled tenor came back.
A few seconds later, Dr. Raymond Francis Stantz, another of the legendary trioka of founding Ghostbusters, slid down the fire pole. At this point nearing his 44th birthday, he still had a youthful appearance (he was, after all, the youngest of the original Ghostbusters)--unlike Venkman, the auburn color in his hair was still natural. He still had wide eyes with a slightly innocent look (which was deceptive), but now sported a thick beard and mustache that served him well at Christmas time (he adored playing Santa Claus)
"Ray Stantz...glad to finally meet you guys!" he said exuberantly, shaking their hands. "Peter's told me so much about you...you've done some great work."
"Th...thanks, Doctor Stantz...that means a lot coming from you..." Joey stuttered, uncharacteristically flustered.
Fritz rolled his eyes and thought to himself Oh well...only two left to go...as soon as he meets Professor Spengler and Mister Zeddemore, maybe this will get out of his system...
Fritz then noticed a look of amusement cross Janine's face. "Egon gets that same look whenever Doctor Venkman embarrasses him..."
Ray turned to his other guest. "And you're Fritz Baugh--wow! I read that paper you wrote on temporal integrity theory back in '97--great stuff...I think Egon wrote a few notes about it somewhere--maybe I'll see if I could dig those up."
"That was my doctoral thesis..." Fritz admitted, just a little knocked for a loop now himself. "It seemed to draw a lot of comments about 'I think somebody thinks he's Doc Brown' from the board..."
"Well, Doc Fritz, anybody who can come up with theories that cool is okay in my book. So, anyway, how is the equipment doing?"
"No complaints. I thought Doctor Venkman was emailing you the telemetry logs..."
Ray rolled his eyes. "Peter doesn't always do what he's supposed to. He spends more time downloading porn from the internet than working...worst of all, he emails it to people and blames it on me..."
Fritz and Joey looked at each other. "That explains a lot." Fritz said with typical understatement.
Ray chuckled. "Of course, I think he blames it on me so that if his wife finds out..."
"Don't worry about that for a while, Ray." Janine broke in with a smirk. "I hacked his harddrive and deleted all the crap. Downloaded the entire Barney the Dinosaur video library in it's place. I had enough of my four year old son asking about 'porm' mags..."
Ray leaned in and whispered conspiratorially. "Take it from me--that's one lady you don't want to mess with".
With that, the phone started to ring. Janine grabbed the phone with practiced motion. "Ghostbusters New York." She listened for a few seconds, then began to type at her keyboard. "Sir, we do have New Jersey based offices...should I..."
Ray broke in, an excited gleam in his eye. "Where is it, Janine?"
"Newark" she answered.
Fritz stiffened visibly.
"We'll take it!" Ray cried not even having noticed Fritz.
"Okay, Sir...I just need the address...hm...uh-huh...we should have someone out there in about an hour at most." With that she hung up. "Ray, you gotta be kidding. You're the only one here until Eduardo and Kylie get back from the zoo..."
"What are you talking about, Janine?" Ray winked at her. "I see two able-bodied Ghostbusters standing right here..." Janine rolled her eyes as she finalized the work order and it started to print.
Joey felt faint...I'm going on a bust...with Ray Stantz?!?!
A strange smirk came to the corners of Fritz's mouth...Newark...it's been a few years...
Fritz studied his meter, a little exasperated. "Our own vehicle is effectively identical..."
"Yeah, but our vehicle isn't the famous ECTO-1, the one the Ghostbusters drove to their fights with Vigo, Boogaloo, or Al Capone in!!!"
Ray smirked as he drove, a cigarrette stub stuck in his mouth. "So where we heading, anyway, Doc?"
"Blackstrom Industries Newark." Fritz responded. "According to the call, the Newark office's president, Jackson Blackstrom, is being haunted..."
A little while later, the ECTO-1 pulled up to the Blackstrom building, and the three Ghostbusters got out. All were wearing tan flight suits with their last names sewn to the left chest patches, and the familiar Ghostbuster logo on the right shoulders. Ray's was of course the legendary original red circle and slash, while Joey and Fritz's were the neon orange of the Ghostbusters West Coast. The only other difference was the brown trim on Ray's collar and cuffs.
All three donned proton packs. Ray added a set of ecto-goggles, a pair of black work gloves, and an extra trap on his belt. Fritz was studying the PKE meter.
"I'm detecting a slight fluctuation...but nothing definite. I would surmise something is probably here, but dormant at the moment."
"Let's find out!!!" Ray said excitedly. Somehow that worried Joey.
"Uncle JP lives in Texas and the worldwide headquarters is in LA, Canton. There's no way anything that happens here will ever reach him--and even if it does, so what?" Blackstrom smiled smugly. His uncle, Blackstom's chairman, JP Blackstrom, thought the world of him. He could do no wrong.
At his bidding, Canton fetched the three Ghostbusters. The older one, with the auburn beard was the one who actually talked to him. The one with the curlier hair and mellow posture checked out the expensively outfitted office as the third one studied a small electronic device that beeped occassionally.
"It started a few days ago...I was working late and suddenly, this unholy moaning started..."
"You weren't working late with the secretary, were you?" Joey broke in. Ray elbowed him.
Blackstrom fiddled with his collar. How could they know about that? "Not...not that night. I was alone." Which was actually true.
"Did you see anything?" Ray asked Blackstrom.
"Well, yes...last time..last night...there was a form, like I told your receptionist...but blurry...like it was made of smoke or something, but it was glowing blue smoke..."
"Did it say anything besides incoherent moaning?" Fritz asked.
"Yes..." Blackstrom admitted. "It kept saying something about 'Justice'..."
"Any idea what that could mean?" Joey asked.
"It could be a disgruntled customer..." Ray speculated. "Maybe you sold him a bad toaster..."
Blackstrom stared. "I don't care where it came from or why! I just need you to get rid of it!!! I'll pay you twice...no, three times the standard fee you charge!!!"
Joey ruefully thought how well $15,000 would go toward paying the GBWC's bills...Maybe Doctor Stantz will give us a cut for helping him...
"We'll take care of it, Mister Blackstrom, don't worry! " Ray said, that excited edge coming back into his voice. "Fritz?"
"Still no defined, active PK field, Dr. Stantz..."
"I told you guys to call me Ray...and we'll just have to wait until he comes to us, I guess..."
"Indeed. Mister Blackstrom, go about your normal duties. We will be in the next room monitoring you with our intruments--I promise you, the nanosecond this entity appears, we will know it."
Fritz was studying the meter--it was going haywire. "Valence 5...this might not be good..."
The three Ghostbusters burst into Blackstrom's office, the now quite terrified businessman being hoisted off the ground by a tendril of glowing blue smoke. "Justice demands retribution for what you've done, Blackstrom..." the eerie voice called out, all the stranger for having a thick accent that marked it as native to the area. "There is blood on your money, and that blood and that money was mine!!!"
"HELP ME!!!" Blackstrom shouted.
Joey and Ray fired, hitting the cloud of smoke head on...it dropped Blackstrom and shouted out several obscenities, falling to the floor, coalescing into a more solid, humanoid shape. Fritz was glued to his meter, studying the shifting readings caused by the attack on the entity.
"As a board member of Ghostbusters International, I am informing you that we have been contracted to remove you from this place. Leave peacefully, or we will be forced to contain you with extreme prejudice..." Ray orated.
The ghost got up, his features clear now. A handsome, if somewhat wiry young man of about eighteen, dressed in a t-shirt and jeans. He looked at Ray and Joey with a look mixing anger and pleading. "Yeah...sure...easy for you to say when you got guns..." the voice sneered. "Couldn't take me in a fair fight--I bet even if I let the two of you hold me down while the third guy ran for help..."
Fritz dropped his meter.
"I think maybe two of you should hold him down while the rest run for help"
He looked for the first time at the entity they faced. Dear God...it can't be...
With that, he scooped up the meter, and ran in between Ray, Joey, and the entity
"Cease Fire!!!" he yelled, and turned to stare the entity in the eye.
Joey and Ray shrunk back, confused.
The entity drew back as well...and something seemed to cross it's features. "Holy crap..." it said, and suddenly dissipated.
"It's...it's gone!" Blackstrom noted, stating the obvious.
"The proton streams were causing a critical mass and might have led to an inversion of the neutron flow, which would've been...bad." Fritz explained.
Ray reholstered his thrower. "Glad you caught that, Fritz. Mister Blackstrom ,we need to go back to HQ to get some special equipment...but it seems to be gone for the moment anyway."
"Um...of...of course..." Blackstrom responded, starting to crawl out from under his desk.
"If it remanifests, call our headquarters immediately." Fritz said sternly. Joey wasn't completely sure, but he thought that there was some new suspicion in Fritz's eyes as he looked at the businessman...
A few moments later, the three were back at the ECTO-1. "Fritz, I've been studying up on paranormal physics a tiny bit, but you lost me back there. In layman's terms, what happened that we couldn't bust the guy?"
"It was all gobbledegook, Joey..." Ray answered for him. "Something to sound good for Mister Blackstrom, I assume. Fritz--what really happened."
Fritz looked up at them for ten long seconds before answering, simply and bluntly: "I recognized the ghost."
Fritz walked over to the bar and sat down, Joey not far behind--he looked a little nervous. I know...I know...after fighting the Ravisher, packs of zombies, and the hecklers at the Groundling, this place shouldn't bother me...but it does...
The beefy man at the bar turned around to look at them. ""Okay, special of the day is the Onion Triple Cross, and..." his eyes went wide. "Doc!?!? Holy Crapola...is that really you?!"
Joey's own eyes went wide as Fritz smirked. "I see you're laying off the booze tonight, Harvey. When you were drunk I could be Anthony Micheal Hall for all you knew..."
The large man laughed. "It's the hair, Doc..."
Joey was having concept failure. Here was Dr. Fritz V. Baugh, accomplished physicist, having a conversation with a disheveled man who looked like Mel from Alice...and they were talking like old friends.
"So what can I get ya? You know, we still make your Mom's beef and noodle recipe you gave us...not quite as big a draw as the burgers, but still does good for us..."
"Just a cola right now, Harvey. Have you seen Leon?"
"Eh...no...hasn't been by in a few weeks..."
"I left a message on Mrs. Hogan's answering machine--I'm hoping he'll get it. It's something important..."
Joey took a step back...and accidentally stepped on the boot of one of the tough guys in biker leathers.
"Hey, Pencildick, watch where you're goin'..."
"Now that's a really personal observation--you been talking to my old girlfriends again?" Joey couldn't believe he just said that.
"Wha? You some kinda comedian?"
"Well, actually, to be totally honest I did perform at a club in LA for a while..."
"Yeah, well, it just so happens I have a lousy sense of humor." The tough guy got up, and cracked his knuckles. The other bikers at the table got up too.
"Oh shit..." Harvey breathed. "Ox, listen, I don't need no trouble here..."
"Keep outa this, Harvey." Ox snarled.
Joey looked around quickly...Where the hell is Fritz?
"I dunno..." a voice broke in, thick with a local accent. "Are you sure four against one is enough? Maybe two of you should hold him down while the other two run for help..."
They turned to see a young man in his early twenties, wearing a black leather jacket, sporting a goatee. He took a drag on his cigarette, then nonchalantly tossed the butt aside.
"What is this, Comedy Central tryout night? Butt outa this, Hogan..."
"Can't do that, Ox--not in my nature."
"Yeah, well, I warned you before--mess with me all by yourself, and you're goin'..."
Ox didn't get to finish the thought. There was an electrical crackle and a loud yelp, and he fell to the ground.
"Who said he was by himself, you chicken brained biological disaster?" a smooth voice broke in. Standing near the now semiconscious Ox was Fritz, brandishing a crackling taser gun.
The thugs suddenly backed off.
Ox shook his dazed head..."oh crap...nobody told me Vic wuz back in town..."
"We...we can take'em, Ox...it's just Hogan and that skinny nerd..."
Ox slapped his minion. "I ain't messin' with that guy--he's dangerous. Why do you think we did all our troublemakin' at the Hello Kitty down the street???" Ox turned back to Fritz, the completely confused Joey, and the newcomer. "I ain't messin' with that nutjob...and you ain't either!!! We are leavin'!!!" With that, Ox grabbed one of his goons and physically drug him out of the diner. The other punks followed close behind.
"What the hell just happened here?" Joey asked.
"I've tangled with Ox in the past. He should leave this place alone for a while." Fritz responded simply.
"Well well well..." the newcomer said. "If it isn't the Doc...the famous Doctor Fritz V. Baugh...anything to say for yourself?"
"You're looking good, Leon. Though your mother says you should call more."
"Yeah, I know..." the tough younger man's face cracked into a smile, and he grabbed Fritz and hugged him like the old friend he was.
"So what brings you back to this neck of the woods, Doc? Your last letter said you were out in LA catching ghosts..."
"That's part of why I'm here. Look, get a drink and I'll tell you the whole story. Leon, this is my friend and fellow West Coast Ghostbuster, Dr. Joey Williams. Joey, Leon Hogan."
"Pleasure." Hogan grunted, shaking Joey's hand.
"Y'know, I think Fritz mentioned a Leon a time or two...nice to finally meet you. But I gotta admit, you're nothing like what I expected..."
"Doc Fritz is full of surprises, isn't he?" Leon smirked.
"So you recognized the ghost? So what..." Leon puffed another drag off his cigarette. "What does this have to do with me?"
Fritz was quiet for a full fifteen seconds.
"The ghost was Nick."
The cigarette fell out of Leon's mouth.
"Nick?! Y...you're shitting me!!!"
"I wish. Do you honestly think I would lie about something like that?"
"No...no...Jesus...of course not...Nick...my God, my Mom..."
"She doesn't need to know."
"Damn straight...Fritz...what did Nick want? Why was he attacking Blackstrom? I mean, the guy is just a dime a dozen too-rich corporate pigf***er...why would Nick want him?"
"I don't know. That's why I came to you--maybe you know something. Tell me, did Nick know Blackstrom while he was alive?"
"Nah...if he was hangin' around some moneybags like that, we'd know it..."
Joey coughed loudly. "I hate to interrupt, but I'm still in the dark on one point. One big, important point. Who the hell is Nick?" He glared and Fritz. "And why didn't you tell me any of this sooner?"
Fritz's eyes narrowed. "Leon, do you want me to tell him?"
Leon poured another glass of JD. "Go for it..."
"Nicholas Hogan was Leon's older brother. He was shot and killed by a robber fifteen years ago. The murder was never solved."
"And how do you come into this?" Joey asked, seeing his friend in more than one new light.
"Five years before that, I met Nick Hogan at summer camp--I was being accosted by a throng of malformed anthropoids and he came to my defense. There were more of them, they were larger than us, and...well, we endured a rather nasty beating--but the mutants left us alone after that. I think Nick knocking out Toby's front teeth had an effect."
Leon chuckled despite himself.
"When Nick came back from camp, he started writin' letters back and forth to Fritz in Indianapolis." Leon said. "He always told me 'that guy's gonna be important some day' and let me read some of the letters. So when Nick..." Leon's voice trailed off.
"I was seventeen when the news reached me that Nick had been shot." Fritz continued for him "I cashed in the money I was saving to buy my own car to come to Newark for the funeral. It was only then I met Leon, all of eight years old--a year younger than even my youngest brothers..."
"Oh man..." Joey said quietly. "I'm sorry..."
Leon nodded and took a swig of his drink. "It's been fifteen years...I can almost go through a day without getting pissed off about it..."
Fritz cleared his throat and continued. "When I got kicked out of the University a few years ago, I applied at Newark Community College. I didn't get hired, but since I was out of money I couldn't go home--Mrs. Hogan let me board with them for a while, and I got a job here at the White Diamond, actually. Until about two years ago, when I finally was able to move back home..."
"Where you got a job at K-Mart, met Chelsea, won the tickets to Dance of the Skeletons, and the rest, as they say, is history!" Joey finished brightly.
"Who's Chelsea?" Leon asked, an eyebrow shooting up.
Fritz made an exasperated noise, and coughed. "I'll tell you later."
Leon nudged Joey, adopting a playful smirk. Joey just nodded.
"You sure about this, Fritz?" Leon asked him.
"You'll do fine." Fritz answered. "If you need to fire the neutrona wand, it's not that much more difficult than firing a paintball gun. But our hope is that with you, we won't need to fire at all..."
Joey cast a nervous eye at Leon, then at Ray Stantz. Ray had seemed okay with the idea once Fritz explained why he wanted Leon along.
The mobile phone rang. Ray answered it "Ghostbusters Mobile...Hey, Janine, what's up? Yeah...hold on..." Ray handed the phone to Fritz.
"What did you find, Mrs. Spengler? Hm...uh-huh..." He was totally quiet a few more minutes. "Indeed...I appreciate your efforts, Ma'am. Do you need to talk to Doctor Stantz?" A few more seconds. "Good bye."
"Anything?" Leon asked, already suspecting the answer.
"Not a whole lot...except that J.P. Blackstrom and his brother Trevor, Jackson's father, weren't really very close until after the death of J.P.s first wife in 1990. Before that, Trevor Blackstrom and his family did not share the family fortune--they were living here in Newark."
"I can't believe that Nick somehow knew this guy...and didn't tell me." Leon grumbled.
"Maybe he didn't" Fritz said simply.
"What do you mean?" Joey asked
"I have another theory or two...but they're quite serious. I'm not saying any more until I hear from Nick first..."
"Was there any incident?" Ray asked him.
"No..." Blackstrom answered. "But what if there had been?"
"It couldn't be avoided Mister Blackstrom." Joey broke in. "We had to recalibrate the equipment, and we got us some back-up." He said, indicating Leon with his thumb.
Leon was grumbling under the weight of the proton pack. "How the hell do you wear these things every day?"
Fritz smirked, recalling the first time he'd worn one during the battle with the Ravisher. He'd gone back to GBCentral West sore and exhausted from the exertion--and he'd never even pulled the thrower that time, monitoring the battle with his PKE meter. "You get used to it..." I still need to complete the investigation on the Ravisher...just because he's been keeping it quiet for the last four months doesn't mean he always will...
Blackstrom led them back into his office.
"So...what's the plan this time? Just wait until it shows up again?" Blackstrom asked.
"We have a better idea, we hope..." Joey told him.
Fritz looked at his meter for a few seconds, then put it away. "Nick Hogan!!!" he shouted into the empty air. "I know you're here!!! You may not remember me--my name is Fritz Baugh, and we went to camp together back in '83...but even if you don't, you'll definitely remember Leon!!! Do you hear me, Nick? Leon is here..."
"Leon?" an ephemeral voice spoke.
Blackstrom hid behind Ray as the mist swirled again...and the spectral shape appeared, same as before.
"Holy shit..." Leon inhaled. "It is you...Nick..."
The ghost looked at Leon. "Crap in a hat, Little Brother...you got mixed up in this too? Great to see you..." Seeing them together, Joey could see the resemblance between Nick and Leon quite clearly.
"What?" Blackstrom said. "You know this...monster?"
" 'Monster' is a pretty funny description, comin' from you..." Nick snarled.
"We've been contracted by this man to stop your hauntings of him, Nick..." Fritz told the ghost. "We would prefer to do this peacefully..."
" 'Peacefully'?" Blackstrom said, angrily. "He's standing right there!!! Just shoot him with your lasers and be done with it!!!"
"Mister Blackstrom, shut your damn mouth." Fritz snapped at him.
"We're professionals. Let us do our job." Joey added.
Ray just stood quietly. He'd step in if he needed to, but prefered to let the "Rookies" work it out themselves as best they could. And so far they were doing just fine.
"Why are you doing this, Nick? We need to know..."
"First, of course I know who you are, Fritz...somethin' about takin' a beating together makes it impossible to forget..." he smirked. "I knew you were gonna do something important some day, and it's off to a great start. Who'da thunk when we were watchin' those Ghostbuster guys on TV you'd be one some day?"
"You gonna tell'em, Blackstrom?"
Blackstrom looked at the ghost with growing indignation. "Tell them what?"
"It was only fifteen years ago, or have you killed so often that it blurrs together?" Nick's eyes literally flashed as he said that.
"Kills!? What the hell are you trying to insinuate??? I...I don't know what you're talking about."
But Joey Williams, trained in the arts of psychology as part of his parapsychological training, could see that Nick had hit a target. Blackstrom had become noticeably stiffer in mid-sentence...Horrified relalization?
"Why are we having this discussion, anyway??? You're Ghostbusters and I'm paying you--shoot him right now or I won't pay you!!!" Blackstrom shouted at Ray
Joey stepped up to Blackstrom. "Make that threat again, and we'll just pack up and leave you here with him. Frankly, you're beginning to make me wonder if you have something to hide...like the reason he's here haunting your ass?"
"He does." Nick said simply. "He killed me."
Leon spat out his cigarrette. "What?!"
Blackstrom blanched, and turned to run. Ray Stantz was in his way.
Leon grabbed Blackstrom. "Is this true, you son of a bitch?"
"It was an accident!!!" Blackstrom started to whine. "We were only pulling some burglaries to get some money...Dad and Uncle JP weren't talking and I needed the money to buy cocaine with!!! I didn't mean to shoot anybody, but he just had to be the hero!!! A man in my position can't go to prison!!!"
Leon shouted "THAT WAS MY BROTHER YOU SHOT, YOU BASTARD!!!"
Blackstrom looked ready to faint. A wet spot had appeared at the crotch of his pants.
Leon physically threw Blackstrom against his own desk. He hit it hard then slumped to the floor. Leon pounced on him again, and punched him in the face, hard. He drew back to hit him again.
"I ought to kill you, you son of a bitch..."
Joey and Ray shifted uncomfortably, and both looked ready to move to stop that from happening. Fritz just stood there like a piece of stone.
Blackstrom whimpered, and closed his eyes for the inevitable.
Leon dropped him, none too gently.
"But if I killed your ass, I'd be no better than you... And I can't smear my brother's memory by doin' that. No matter how much you deserve it."
Ray visibly exhaled.
"Nice goin' Little Brother..." Nick nodded.
"But...I thought you wanted vengeance..." Joey asked the ghost.
"No. I want justice...I never been an 'eye for an eye' type, but he needs to pay for what he's done. To me, and all the other people he's cheated over the years."
Blackstrom started to pull himself up. "Y...you can't do a thing to me!!! You can go to the courts and tell them everything and it'll be your word against mine--I'm rich and you're just a bunch of glorified janitors! Now catch this menace and I'll forget all about this--even pay you half over again what I said before!!!"
"So much for justice..." Joey sighed.
"Justice will be served just fine." Fritz said. He pulled up his cel phone. "Playback, please..."
"Will do." they heard a female Brooklyn voice respond.
A few seconds later, the words came back as clearly as they were spoken. "It was an accident!!! We were only pulling some burglaries to get some money...Dad and Uncle JP weren't talking and I needed the money to buy cocaine with!!! I didn't mean to shoot anybody, but he just had to be the hero!!! A man in my position can't go to prison!!!"
"That...that's not admissible..." Blackstrom stuttered.
"No, Mister Blackstrom, it isn't." Fritz replied. "But here's what's going to happen. You're going to go down to the police station and confess to the murder. You're going to stand trial and be sentenced for it. Because if you don't, this tape will be anonymously mailed to every police precinct, newspaper, and television station in the Tri-State area."
"It can't convict you on it's own--but it will get the police and the media taking a long, hard look at what you're doing. They will talk about you and they will dig. And I suspect that they will find something that will put you away for a very long time, even if it isn't that."
Blackstrom slumped back to the floor, his expression screaming defeat.
"Justice" Nick Hogan nodded.
Joey spared one last look at his new friends, and joined him.
"This is what I needed, Fritz...he's gonna pay now, I can sense it..." Nick said. "You were a good friend, dude, and I'm glad you're watchin' over Leon for me..."
"I try, Nick. You were a good friend too, and I miss you."
"We'll see each other again some day, but it won't be until you cross over to the Other Side too...just make sure that's a long time from now..."
Fritz exchanged a high five with the ghost, and went over to join Joey and Ray, leaving the brothers alone together.
"He's a hell of a guy..." Leon admitted
"Sure is. I'm glad you two are friends--he's gonna need all the help he can get in a few years...he's slated to have like four kids, all daughters..."
The brothers laughed.
"I...I wish I had time to say everything I could, Leon...but keep an eye on Mom. And stay away from the bottle--that's your Achilles Heel..."
"Nick, I miss you so much..."
"I miss you too, Leon...but remember: I love you. And I'm proud of you."
"I love you too, Nick."
Nick wrapped his spectral arms around Leon, and the two shared a brief embrace before Nick Hogan's spirit dissipated from our plane of existance.
"Everything Okay at HQ?" Joey asked him.
"Yeah. Ron helped them on the last few jobs--one of them sounded particullarly unpleasant--a silicon spirit had posessed Brittny Spears..."
Joey scrunched his face. "Ooops, it did it again...'
"So I guess we are officially ready to head home." Fritz summarized.
"You talked to Leon since the other day?" Joey asked.
Fritz raised an eyebrow. "He called me this morning. Which is unusual--but he called to say he'd gone and had dinner with his mother yesterday, and she was happy about it."
"Your friend Leon is a troubled young man, isn't he?"
"Yes. He's had to endure a lot of setbacks--the murder of his brother isn't the only one."
"True. But deep down, I think he's a good guy, Fritz--and I get this weird feeling I haven't seen the last of him..."