REDCAP GIVES YOU WINGS
PART ONE

Filed by Mike Devicente, GBWC Reservist
GBI Case File No. GBWC-2009-27/324

September 2009
Timeline Year Twenty-Seven
The Ecto cruiser slowly chugged its way into its parking pace within the warehouse. The passengers departed, all tired and haggard looking, and hung their proton packs against the wall.

“I don’t know about you guys, but I need some serious carbs.” Mike Devicente said as he unzipped his jumpsuit and hung it neatly before making a beeline to the kitchen.

“Whatever.” Mick gave a sneer and slumped past the front desk, where Rose was going over some of the client’s receipts.

“Training not going well?” Rose asked, perhaps teasing at the obvious.

“Awful.” Mick gave a full body sigh. “This kid can’t even run. Once we had to stop and drag his fat ass up by the shoulders to the 13th floor.”

“I know, and have you seen him eat? We may as well hire Slimer as a paranormal researcher.” Rose looked over her shoulder, where she was certain she heard a box of cocoa crunchies give off a crumpled death rattle. “You know, maybe it’d help if you put him on a diet and exercise program. If you told him it was part of his training he’d probably do it. Fritz got him out of the lab by telling him it was company policy for rookies only to spend 30 minutes a day there…”

Mick gave a sideways smirk. “Well, whatever you wanna do it’s not my problem now. I’m gonna grab a shower and one of those cherry-flavored Sam Adams Fritz keeps in the fridge. Give the kid over to Jason for a bit. He’d love the power trip.”
Jason loomed over Mike as the rookie Ghostbuster played with the last remnants of the Cocoa Crunchie cereal pieces, moving them around into a neat little hill peaking at the center of the bowl.

“Why don’t you just devour that like you devour everything else?” Jason criticized as he crossed his arms.

Mike pointed up his chin and said “This is the last bit of cereal in the house. I’ve got to make sure that this bowl is absolutely perfect.” He smoothed out the sides of the cereal mountain, and carefully poured the milk in through a small gap in the corner of the bowl. “Excellent.” He took a gleeful spoonful.

“Well, Mike. The word is you’re having a hard time keeping up on missions, so you and I are going to hit the gym.” Jason put a hand on Mike’s shoulder. “Get on some loose non-constricting clothes.”

“Don’t got none.” Mike said between bites of cereal.

“Really?” Jason scratched his head. “No t-shirts? Loose jeans? No sweat pants?”

“I got a pair of corduroys that are kinda sweaty.” Mike crunched.

Jason shook his head. “Okay, well, I’m going to have to loan you some of mine then.”
“Geez, are these things made of cotton or spandex?” Mike complained as they walked their way into the nearby gymnasium, tugging at the waistline to the pair of sweat pants Jason let him borrow.

Jason shook his head. “What part of ‘overweight’ don’t you understand?” Jason led Mike to a bench press and had him lay across. “I think you’re just the right body type for some weight training, as soon as we lose that belly fat, you’ll be Ghostbustin’ material in no time. Now let’s see three sets of 10.”

Mike raised the barbell and lowered it over his chest. “One…two…three…” Some silence. “Spot….spot…”

“Seriously? You can only do three? C’mon, my grandma can do at least ten.”

“Your grandma should probably be helping me.” Mike rested the barbell over his belly and put his arms behind his head.

“Doesn’t….that hurt?” Jason asked, pointing at the barbell.

“No…” Mike gave a shrug, keeping the barbell balanced over his stomach.

Jason cringed “I’m officially intimidated: I’ve got to try and reduce the belly of steel.”

“You got anything to drink?” Mike asked with a flutter of his eyes, hoping it was already time to take a break.

“If I get you a fruit smoothie, will you promise to start taking this more seriously?” Jason said with a stern tone of voice.

“Oh, I promise coach, I promise.” Mike pleaded.

With a grunt, Jason lifted the barbell off Mike’s stomach and began to move towards the juice bar, shaking his head. Mike sat up and stretched. He tilted his neck on one side. That’s when he saw him. He was a little white-haired jiminy man only about three feet tall. He wore a red suit with a red fedora. “Awful dressed up for a day at the gym, aren’t you?” Mike quipped.

“Oh, they make us wear this,” the man replied in a lilting voice. He reached into his suit pocket and pulled out a short, thin can, the same red color as his suit. “It’s to promote the latest energy drink on the market: Redcap. Here’s a sample.” He thrust the can into Mike’s hands and examined it closer.

“Wow, there’s more caffeine in this than the morning staff at a news station…”

“Precisely my boy. Imagine carrying around a product that makes you appear health conscious, but actually has the same sugar content as 6 sodas….”

Mike gave a grin. “That’s for me.” He flicked the tab of the can open and downed half the contents down his throat. He belched. “Not bad.”

The man unfolded a flyer and handed it to Mike. “Here’s a list of distributors. I’ve got to go spread the malnutritious word.” He chortled as he skipped off.

Mike scratched his head, thinking the jiminy man was rather strange. He shrugged and continued to down his new energy drink prize.
A Few Weeks Later.
“So, how’s the kid’s new exercise regiment coming?” Rose asked Jason, while picking at a donut between her fingernails.

“Fantastic, Rose. He’s got all this new energy. I’ve got no idea where it came from. He’s gone up to benching 3 sets with 200 lbs in only a couple weeks.”

Rose looked over his shoulder at Mike, who was flopping left and right trying to squeeze his arms out of the straps of his proton pack, and clicked her tongue. “He doesn’t look any better, though. In fact, I think he’s actually gained weight.”

“Ah, you just don’t understand the weightlifting process.”

Mike panted after he managed to wrestle his way out of his proton pack. He approached the desk and took a donut from Rose’s box. Jason caught him on the wrist.

“Hold on there, Mike. You’re not hungry for donut. You’re hungry for lean pocket.” Jason brandished the low fat microwave pastry in question before Mike. He sneered and replied. “I’m hungry for donut.” He stuffed the donut into his mouth, then, after a pause, snatched the lean pocket and swallowed it as well.

“That thing was still frozen you know.” Jason said amidst counting his fingers to see if they were all still there.

“Well, maybe your hand warmed it a little bit.” Mike dug a can of Redcap from his pocket and downed it all in a single gulp before tossing the can over his shoulder, letting it roll at Jason’s feet. “I’m feeling great today. How about a trip to the gym?”

Jason gave a yawn. “Gosh Mike, I’m feeling kinda bushed today. I was hoping I’d get to catch up on some sleep.”

“Suit yourself.” Mike unzipped his jumpsuit. Underneath it was a bright red track suit he had bought for himself a couple weeks before. Despite how loose fitting it was, it could not contain the belly blob stretching the spandex waistband in the front to breaking. Mike didn’t stand still long enough for any criticisms, though, bolting off the instant his uniform hit the ground. Jason bent down and picked up the empty can.

“What’s that?” Rose asked, standing up from her desk.

“Aw, some new fangled energy drink. Mike’s been drinking ‘em like a fish.”

Rose began to read the contents of this can. “Shoot, no wonder he’s getting fatter. There’s a ton of caffeine and sugar in this thing.” A hand pulled the can from Rose’s grip. The hand belonged to Fritz. He scanned the can with a PKE meter which turned red-hot the instant it neared the energy drink.

“That’s not all that’s in this thing….”
Jason and Rose watched as Fritz hooked the can to diodes and put it into a wooden case with a glass window, moving away to fine tune dials on a transmitter box. “Even without its liquid contents, this can is radiating with PKE. Jason, where does Mike get his supply of these?”

Jason gave a shrug. “You know he says he gets them from the store across the street, but I’ve never seen them.”

Fritz pulled a dusty book from a nearby shelf and began to flip through the pages. “I know I’ve seen the term ‘Redcap’ before…”

Jason shook his head. “This is unbelievable…All I wanted to do was get the guy a little exercise…Hey, Rose. Did you notice Mike behaving at all strangely?”

“‘At all strangely’ is the only way that guy ever acts.” Rose popped a wad of gum in her mouth.

“I think I found it: Redcap.” Fritz read over the entry. “In early English folklore it was a dwarvish beast with an insatiable appetite known for cannibalizing enemies and dying their hats red with their blood. Some of them used wizardry to bound their souls to the ethereal plane upon death and thrive by converting gluttonous human souls using tainted food only its consumer can see.”

“So Mike is turning into one of these Redcaps?” Jason scratched his head.

“If he isn’t one already,” Fritz replied. “There’s nothing in the book about how to deal with the non-living ones, or how to reverse the process.”

Jason returned to the lab from the lockers, with a pair of proton packs. “Well, anyway, we’ve got to find Mike and keep him from, ugh, cannibalizing anyone, until we do figure out a cure. You in?”

Fritz gave a shrug and shouldered the other proton pack. “I’m in.”
The ecto cruiser came to a halt at the corner store across the street from the gym, where people were fleeing. “Ghostbusters, one side please.” Jason declared as he ran the opposite direction of the fleeing mass into the shop. Inside of the shop was a creature that looked vaguely like a morbidly obese human being in a red jumpsuit, holding piles of chocolate bars. It turned, showing stubby pointed teeth and fat pink gums, while its red eyes glared between a pair of stretched out wire rim glasses. Clearly Mike was now fully transformed into a Redcap. In one fluid motion the chocolate bars, wrapper and all, were stuffed down his mouth and he turned, the ground thunderously rumbling as he stamped slowly towards Jason.

As bad as the timing was, Jason suddenly came to the realization that he couldn’t shoot his former associate with the proton pack without hurting him. He slowly backed away, stammering. “Now, Mike. Let’s not do anything crazy. This is Jason we’re talking about. You know, Jason. Your friend? Your…trainer?”

Mike roared and made a lunge for Jason, who darted out of the store as fast as his legs could carry him. Fritz pulled himself out of the Ecto cruiser. “So, what is the strategy, Jason?”

“It’s called running for your life Fritz! I don’t got time for a lesson!” Jason said rapidly as he dodged cars to get across the street. Fritz looked up at the Redcap version of Mike just as the beast ripped off the sliding door and took a couple of bites out of the frame before tossing it aside.

“I think I could train on the job…” Fritz followed Jason as they dashed into the gym across the street. Mike galumphed after them, stopping to consume anything on his way from potted plants to hand weights. “It’s amazing,” Fritz said. “He’s able to consume even inorganic matter.”

“Stop being fascinated and help me with this!” Jason hobbled forward holding a 200 lb. barbell in his arms. Fritz picked it up by the other end and the two swung the heavy weight back and fourth to build up momentum as Mike closed in on them.

“Now!” Jason and Fritz let fly with the weight, allowing it to fly into the air before it fell with a heavy thud over Mike’s torso. Mike fell back, pinned to the ground by the heavy weight, his fat limbs flailing wildly as they tried to get their massive master upright.

Jason wiped the sweat off his brow. “Now that’s what I call a workout.”

“I hope he wasn’t seriously injured.” Fritz said idly.

“Oh, believe me. He’s just fine.”

“You two look like you could use a drink.” A voice from directly behind Fritz and Jason said. As they turned around they saw the jiminy man in the red suit, with a can of redcap in his hand.

“So you’re the one behind this.” Jason drew his neutrona wand. “You just made your first mistake.” Jason fired, but the redcap raised his hand, blocking the beam without even a flinch.

“I’m afraid that isn’t going to work,” he chortled. “My presence on the ethereal plane is tied to this gentleman. As long as he exists in this form, nothing will be able to harm me.

“So, then there is a way to reverse the process.” Fritz submitted.

“Well, if he were to will himself free of my influence, but such a thing has never happened. I never yet met a glutton strong enough to change their ways. Now, if I’m not mistaken, I believe the two of you were running for your lives…” The redcap walked over to Mike, giving the barbell on his stomach a light push. The barbell rolled off Mike’s belly and towards his mouth, where he snapped it in two with his teeth and stood back up again.

“I think we’re gonna need backup.” Jason nervously suggested.
To Be Continued
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