REDCAP GIVES YOU WINGS
Filed by Mike Devicente, GBWC Reservist
GBI Case File No. GBWC-2009-27/324
Mick Neilson was off duty. He had fully intended to finish up his laundry and maybe go to take his stepson to see a movie. That’s when he got the call. Ages ago he set his cell phone to play that ol’ familiar jingle whenever a particular member of that group needed to contact him in an emergency.
God How he hated Ray Parker Jr. right about now…
“Hello? Look can’t you get Jeff to do it? John’s gonna kill me if I cancel on him again.”
“Yeah, yeah I’m on my way…What?” Mick held his phone away from his ear with an incredulous look on his face. “I think the signal skipped or something. What did you want me to bring?”
Mick pulled the car up to the street corner in front of the gym and popped his trunk with a switch by the seat. He always had a spare pack in his trunk for just such an occasion, though he was still dressed in his street clothes. He couldn’t help but stop and look up and around at all the damage, which had to be caused by whatever ghoul they were after, since there were not any burn marks on the walls. Finally, he met a familiar face, Fritz, who had just freshly pulled himself out from under a toppled weight bench and was dusting himself off.
“Thank god you’re here, Mick!” Fritz said as he jogged over to his fellow Ghostbuster, “Mike just got fatter!”
Mick scoffed. “You call that an emergency?”
There was a sudden crash, followed by Jason dashing out of an adjacent room. Right on his heels was Mike Devicente, fully transformed into a morbidly obese redcap after having consumed gallons of PKE infused energy drink. He paused to bend down and pick up the weight bench Fritz liberated himself from, bend it into a spherical shape and take a bite of it like an apple.
“Okay,” Jason assessed. “Leading him into the swimming pool didn’t work. I don’t think he can swim, but dammit if he isn’t extremely buoyant.”
“Woah, to quote Keanu Reeves,” Mick swung his head in the direction of Jason. “I didn’t think you’d actually be able to get him in shape, but damn.”
“Aw, call off your dogs, Mick.” Jason said; backing up as Mike again began to slowly loom towards them. “Did you bring that thing I asked?”
“Yeah, but I still don’t know why.” Mick reached for the space between his back and the proton pack and pulled from it the one thing Jason thought would put a stop to Mike’s blind rampage.
“What’s that?” Fritz asked.
“A box of Cocoa Crunchies.” Mick said affecting a bob in his head and a small British accent. “Here, chew on this!” He flung the box towards Mike who caught it, and, to everyone’s surprise, stopped dead in his tracks. He found it suddenly important to ignore the teammates he was seconds from cannibalizing and wandered peacefully out of the door frame onto the street.
“Let’s follow.” Jason said, and the trio began to walk out of the gym.
“How did you know that was going to work?” Fritz asked.
Jason chortled. “Well ironically, I got the idea from Mike: you remember how he threw the teddy bear at the poltergeist that was possessed by the Wyvern…I’ve spent so much time with Mike I know all the quirks we can use to keep him under control.”
With that, Jason gave a sudden stop. “So, there he is.” He pointed at Mike sitting on the street corner in front of the corner store he’d destroyed before pouring milk into a bowl and meticulously moving the little cereal pieces with his sausage-like fingers.
“Of course!” Fritz exclaimed. “It’s just like Spengler’s first law of spectral transmutation: after the victim is transformed it still contains many of the personal desires of its original form.”
“He likes it, hey Mikey!” Mick attempted to walk up to the now docile Mike. But he gave a vicious roar and then did a 90 degree turn on his keister, facing away from the group while he still prodded away at his cereal bowl. “C’mon Jace, we’d better dream up a way to get him back to HQ.”
“It’s a good thing this kid’s got so many vices…” Jason added.
It took a slow drive in the Ecto cruiser holding a bucket of fried chicken out the side window to get Mike back to HQ. Slowly, Jason walked backwards into the warehouse with the bucket still in his hands. “Easy now big fella..” He coaxed the redcap, who wandered inside entranced, occasionally swiping his fingers at the chicken bucket.
Finally Jason coaxed Mike into sitting on the couch in front of the TV, gave him the chicken bucket, and turned the TV on to the all re-run network. When the “Sanford and Son” theme clicked on, Mike gave an almost girlish giggle.
“Oh, good lord,” Rose said as she rounded her desk to walk up behind the couch. “That’s gotta be the worst thing I’ve ever seen happen to one of you guys.”
“We’re gonna have to get used to it.” Fritz said as he scanned Mike over with his PKE meter. “According to the entity to transform him, the only way to reverse this is to convince Mike to give up on a few thousand gluttonous activities he possesses.”
Rose felt utter horror creep up her veins at the thought of this butterball permanently affixed to their couch. “Ohhhh no. No way…I’ve already got enough food and repair bills to pay when this little piggy is still a human being. There’s no way he’s sticking around to eat us out of house and home like this.”
“We need to see if his words hold water first.” Fritz replied. “I think we should try a mood slime bath in my lab first.”
“In the meantime, Mike’s gonna be perfectly harmless right here in front of ol’ Redd Foxx.” Mike contradicted the claim almost instantly by taking a big bite out of the cardboard the chicken bucket was made of.
“Whatever.” Rose scoffed. “I’m taking an early lunch.”
“Understandable.” Mick replied.
The slime throwers clicked off and a now oozing redcap Mike Devicente gathered some of the pink substance and licked it off his index finger.”
Mick gave a sigh as he lowered his slime thrower. “Well, he ate some….and he’s happy about it. Partial success?”
Jason gave a bigger sigh. “This is all my fault. If I hadn’t tried to make him into something more, he wouldn’t be so much less.”
“Oh, don’t blame yourself.” An ominous but familiar voice spoke. “It was his choice to drink the Redcap, after all.”
The three Ghostbusters looked down and narrowed their eyes. Standing at the entrance to Fritz’s lab was the jiminy man, mockingly holding his red fedora in his hands in phony remorse for the transformed Mike. Instantaneously, the slime blowers were pointed directly at him.
“Good time for another experiment, eh Fritz?” Jason said threateningly.
“I concur.” Fritz added.
“Your magic will do no good. Seriously, I used the leavings of specters to transform your friend, so it won’t be in any way close to transforming him back.” The jiminy man walked up to Mike and patted him on the leg, causing some slime to splatter off his body. “I also know your tactic: keep him tame until you can convince him to change his ways. I imagine it will end with him devouring all his loved ones and wandering away. Gruesome, yes, but really fun to watch.” He grinned.
Mick fumed. “You primary colored little bastard! I’m gonna ring your immortal neck!” Mick bent forward to attack The jiminy man, who touched him with a finger on his open palm. Suddenly Mick felt numb all over and collapsed. “Humans catch on so slowly.” He again lamented.
“Well great, now we have two dangerous supernatural entities as house guests. I can’t imagine how this could possibly get worse.” Just then the lab phone rang and Fritz reached over to put it on speaker. “Hello?”
“Dr. Fritz Baugh. This is William Ramey from Internal Affairs. Your secretary informed us that you’re holding an uncontained paranormal entity in your headquarters.”
Fritz immediately began to sweat. “Well, he’s more than a paranormal entity, you see he used to be a member of the staff…”
“I have no record of this Mike Devicente ever working for Ghostbusters West Coast.”
“Well, I uh, maybe the application forms are still on their way…” Fritz looked up from the phone and shouted up stairs. “Rose, please fax Mr. Ramey Mike’s application!”
“Not on your life!” Rose shouted back downstairs.
Fritz returned to the phone. “Listen, even if he’s not officially an employee at the moment, he’s still a human being, you can’t possibly be suggesting-“
“I’m afraid so, Dr. Baugh. I’ll be sending agents over to contain him and take him to The Island. Expect us in the next 3 to 5 business days.”
Fritz gave an audible balk. The Island was one of Internal Affairs’ best kept secrets, but an agency in GBI always learned about it one way or another. It was a deserted inlet off the coast of the French Riviera where Internal Affairs would dump harmless paranormal entities where they would be out of harm’s way. Fritz pulled himself together, though he spoke in a wavering voice. “We understand. We will see you then.” The phone clicked off and Fritz hung his head in shame.
“She called Internal Affairs…” Mick groaned, then twisted his head up and shouted up the steps. “Rose! Remind us to fire you later!”
“I’ll make a memo!” Rose shouted back downstairs.
“This is no big deal, right?” Jason shrugged. “All we gotta do is convince Mike to go back to his old form before they get here, right?”
Mike raised a flabby arm and began to lick the mood slime off, pausing to give a loud belch.
“Yeah, good luck with that, Jace.” Mick waved and went up the stairs.
3 Days Later
While Mike sat on the couch with an enormous bowl of popcorn, Jason hovered over his shoulder, hoping to get across to him. “Listen very carefully, old buddy. If you don’t decide to change your ways they’re gonna put you in the paddy wagon and haul you off to get a really serious sunburn. So, to avoid munching on nothing but mouthfuls of sand and hermit crabs, you’ve got to come back to us.”
The Jiminy man said from the other end of the couch, also nibbling on popcorn. “I think that ‘A Different World’ really took off after they got rid of that character that was also on the Cosby Show. Uh…what was her name?”
“Denissssse…” Mike groaned, and took another mouthful of popcorn. Jason’s head drooped. “You know, this is hard enough without you egging him on.”
The jiminy man gave a scoff. “If it makes you feel better, I don’t think they can actually get him all the way to your island. I think he’ll probably eat the van door, devour the drivers and go on a killing spree.”
“You’re such an optimist.” Jason groaned.
“Of course I am.” The jiminy man boasted. “You simple mortals can’t come up with a single way to beat me, and for good reason: my magic is born of the very sin, temptation, and decadence that mankind promulgates. You selfish human beings do nothing but want, and it is that want that consumes you. I was just lucky enough to find the most self-centered mortal of them all. Not a single thought towards the selflessness of others, this one. A veritable king Midas of fried chicken and old television, he is.”
Fritz came up from his lab wiping his hands with a dishcloth. “I just got the call. Internal Affairs will be here within thirty minutes.”
Jason gave a sigh, and put a hand on Mike’s head. “Poor Mike. All he really wanted was to be a Ghostbuster.” Jason jolted his head up. “Wait! That’s it!” His hand went over to mash the alarm bell next to Rose’s desk. Then he went back to Mike’s side and exclaimed. “What’re you waiting around for, Mike! We Got a call!”
Miraculously, Mike jumped up from the couch and dashed over to the lockers. He grabbed a proton pack and tried to sling it over his shoulder, but he had gained so much weight, he could barely even fit the strap over his elbow. Mike began to cry tears of shame and hung his head while swinging the pack band and fourth in his hand.
Jason walked up to him and put a hand on his shoulder. “Looks like you’re way too out of shape for ghost hunting this time, huh?”
Mike nodded his head.
“Well, then you know what to do right?”
Mike’s head shot up with determination. He began to advance on the couch, where the Jiminy man began to slink backwards in his seat. “Hold on, Mike! Uh, Let’s talk about this…uh, uh, how about some more popcorn? I think The Jeffersons are coming on next, uh…!”
Mike scooped up the tiny man in his arms and shoved him instantly down his throat with Jason recoiling in disgust. Mike then bent forward and vomited a pile of green ooze on the floor which took the form of The jiminy man, but as a ghost.
The Jiminy man gave a shrug. “Well, this stinks.” He gave a yelp as Jason’s proton pack clicked on, and one zap and trap later, the Jiminy man was dealt with.
The doorbell rang, and Fritz nervously went over to slide the warehouse door open. “Um, hello?” Two stone-faced men in black suits greeted him by holding a badge upward. “Internal Affairs. We’re here to pick up the uncontained.”
“Sure, right this way.” Fritz said dejectedly, and led them into the couch. To his surprise, Mike was laying across the couch, looking normal if not like television talk-show overweight. He held up his belly while Jason put an ice pack over his head. “Oh man. I have got the most serious stomach ache. I need like a pepto the size of my head.”
The two internal affairs agents looked as stunned as their emotionless gaunt would allow. “This man isn’t a supernatural being, he’s just incredibly fat.”
“Yeah.” Fritz stymied. “That’s what I was trying tell you all over the phone.”
The two agents shook their heads. “We’ll be sending you a report that this was a false alarm. Oh, and if you genuinely want this individual to be on your team. He’s gotta genuinely lose some weight. I mean, damn.”
Mike lay across an emptied out table in Fritz’s lab while Fritz attached diodes to his face and strapped a blood pressure collar to his wrist. “Oh come on,” he protested. “Is all this stuff really necessary?”
“You don’t think transmogrified people just turn right back to normal, waistline and all do you?” Mick snickered.
“We need to keep your blood pressure and heart rate measured to make sure you won’t go into cardiac arrest,” Fritz explained. “We also need to be regularly giving you small doses of a saline/PKE solution I’ve developed, until we can determine you have no more indigestible solids in your system.”
“Oh, that’s fine, that’s fine.” Mike shrugged. “But, eh…”
“But what?” Mick gave a labored groan.
“Can’t we stop a bit for some lunch?”
“Sure we can, Mike. Here.” Jason walked up and handed Mike a shiny red apple. With a flourish, Mike wedged it firmly into his mouth and put his head back against the desk.