LEARNING A TRADE

Filed by Mick Nielson, GBWC
GBI Case File No. GBWC-2008-27/318

March 2009
Ghostbusters Omnibus Timeline Year Twenty-Six
" Are we there yet?"

Mick looked over at John with daggers in his eyes. "Look, we BOTH know that you are old enough to not pull that crap."

John shrugged, looking out the window. "Sorry, its just that you drive like a woman, and if all the Ghostbusters drove this way, the ghosts would eat everyone before they even got there."

Mick gripped the wheel tighter, trying to resist the urge to stomp on the gas pedal and give the kid a reason to see a therapist; But he didn't. "John, if you're so bored, why did you beg me to let you come with?"

"Because I'm tired of pretending to go along with you and your friends about this stuff..." John said, shrugging again.

"Oh, still playing the blind kid?"

"Hey, I'm not saying you all don't have a good con going on, OBVIOUSLY its working, people have been buying into it all over the country for decades... I just wanna know how the magicians do their tricks."

"John, you've seen Vampires. Not to mention we have a ghost LIVING in our headquarters."

"You all are techno-geeks, that could be a hologram projection. Its all special effects."

"Well then I'm GLAD you're here"

"Why? So I can follow in your footsteps one day?" He asked, laughing.

"No, I'm hoping you'll get the crap scared out of you." He said, suddenly screeching around a corner and hitting the brakes, rocking the Ecto-Cruiser to a stop in front of their destination.
A few moments later, Mick shouldered his proton pack and snapped his belt strap together. John leaned against the car, looking down at the equipment. "So which one do I get to use?" He asked, eyeing the Rail Gun.

"Hmmm... Good question..." Mick said, then plucked the Ecto-Goggles out of the trunk, handing them to John. "There ya go." He said, closing the trunk and heading inside. John looked at them and rolled his eyes, following.

Mick entered and was greeted by the bakery's owner, who frantically explained the situation, tugging at Mick's jumpsuit sleeve and pointed to the back room. Mick, having been in the business for quite a few years, had almost learned to SPEAK panicked woman, so he just waited until she was finished, then placed a hand on her shoulder. "Ma'am, there's nothing to worry about, you and your employees just wait out on the sidewalk, I'll take care of the problem." He said.

John chuckled as he followed Mick through the Bakery. "That's a good tactic..."

"What is?" Mick asked, calibrating the PKE meter.

"Getting the suckers outside. This gives you plenty of free time to stage the scene."

"Where do you come up with this stuff, kid?" Mick asked, beginning to scan a pool of ectoplasm collecting on one of the bags of flour near the door.

"I was reading up on con men on the Internet."

"Oh yes. The ever-reliable Internet..." He responded, shaking his head as the PKE beeped a few times, giving him a readout of he spirit's type.
John began playing around with the Ecto-Goggles, holding them to his eyes like binoculars and looking around the store. Inside the lenses, John was given information about air temperature, wind direction and other things he had no idea what they meant. Pke? Spectral counters?

Then, he turned towards the door where Mick had entered and was face-to-face with a dripping, disgusting looking blob stuck to the wall, staring at him. John laughed. "Wow, this is some pretty impressive stuff..." He said, approaching it.
Mick had finished scanning the back room of the Bakery, but only found ectoplasm and a lot of destroyed property... As he entered the dining area again though, he froze. "John... Back away now." He said.

John ignored his guardian. "Hey, Uncle Mick... How do you guys make the ghosts interact with the background in these things?" He asked, reaching out to touch the now growling blob. It began shifting its shape, forming a solid jaw, which had rows of rotten looking jagged teeth inside. John flinched. "Hey, that's pretty good... Are one of your team mates cartoon animators?"

Mick dove forward and tackled John to the floor just as the ghost's jaw shot out from its body and snapped at the spot where John's hand had been a moment prior. Mick swatted him on the head and quickly struggled to his feet under the weight of the proton pack strapped to him. He dragged John down one of the aisles away from the Ghost, pulling his thrower out and powering it up.
John dropped the Ecto-Goggles when Mick had tackled him, and was now looking at the creature he'd come so close to touching... But he was seeing it WITHOUT the goggles. "Holy shit!" He said as Mick pulled his gun out. Mick looked over at him, pointing.

"Hey! Language!" He shouted.

Then the Ghost charged.

It sprang off the wall like a bouncy ball and sailed through the air at Mick's head, but the Ghostbuster was able to duck in time and turned just as it splattered against the opposite wall, leaving a big, wet stain in its place as it dripped down to the floor. The Ghost spotted John again and slithered across the tile towards him, the jaws reappearing. John was frozen in fear.
Mick saw it going for John, but couldn't fire, as the kid was between Mick and the Ghost. He grabbed John's foot and yanked him away just as the jaw launched forward again and snapped at John's face. Mick kept going, scuffling backwards as the blob chased John, who was now screaming.

"I'm gonna let go, then you slide between my legs, understand!?" Mick shouted, hoping his charge heard him.

After he'd gotten a bit of distance between them and the blob, he let go and John pushed backwards with his hands, sliding between Mick's boots and crouching behind him. Mick didn't waste anymore time, he let loose with his proton stream right at the floor and it struck the ghost's jaw, which was shooting out again.

The ghost screeched and its jaw slipped from the ectoplasmic tendril that launched it each time, chattering around on the floor. As the Ghost flew up into the air, writhing inside the capture beam, its jaw jumped around at Mick's feet and suddenly latched onto his leg, biting him through his jumpsuit. "Agh!" Mick shouted, shaking his leg as he struggled to control the fighting spectre.
John frantically looked around for something to hit it with, his eyes resting on a rolling pin laying on the floor. He grabbed it and reared it back like a baseball player, swinging with all his might... and hitting Mick in the back of the knee. Mick fell to a crouch, clutching his leg as the Ghost was freed, zooming through the ceiling. John cringed and hid the rolling pin behind his back.

"John... How about you stop helping, and just watch? Kay?" Mick asked him, then rubbed his knee, getting to his feet and yanking the chattering teeth off him. He dropped them to the ground and stomped, shattering the murderous dentures.
Mick was beginning to regret bringing the boy along... He knew he could handle the Ghost, the jaw-popping thing had caught him by surprise, but he had it under control now. He quickly headed up the stairs, pulling the PKE meter out once again and following its signature to the spot where it had emerged from the floor. From there, it was easy to track down, because of the slime trail on the ground.

Mick put away the meter, gripping his thrower in both hands and following it into the office, where the trail suddenly ended. Mick looked around, but couldn't find any trace of the creature, aside from the slime trail it left behind when it entered the room.

Then, just as he was leaving, he heard a "plop, plop-plop" sound behind him and spun back around just in time to see the blob fly through the air and splatter against his chest. He recoiled, but the thing was attached to him now. It began spraying him in the face and Mick was blinded. Maybe this was the reason the bosses had made that ‘Never bust alone' rule...
John rushed into the room and saw Mick fighting with the creature. Once again, John looked around for something to help with, spotting a bag of flour. He shrugged, grabbed the flour and ran at Mick, flinging the contents onto Mick's chest. For a moment, Mick just stopped, dumbfounded by the boy's action, then the ghost began coughing, slopping off of Mick's jumpsuit, trying to morph away, but the flour seemed to be turning its consistency to that of a more sticky substance.
"Huh..." Mick said, watching. "Ya know, in all the years of Ghostbusting, I don't think anyone has ever tried that..." He said, then kicked the trap into the center of the room. Mick blasted the ghost, "yanked" it up into the air and set off the trap, sucking it inside the trap, which beeped twice cheerily.
As Mick handed the check to the owner outside the Bakery, John watched him and tried coming up some method of explaining away what he'd just seen... But nothing was coming to mind. Had he just witnessed a REAL Ghost-bust? Mick came over, attempting to dust the flour off, but only succeeding in smearing the gloppy slime into it more, so he gave up.

"You're doing my laundry ya know..." He said, motioning for John to get into the car, which he did, not even arguing about the laundry.

As the car pulled away from the Bakery, John finally nodded. "Okay, I can't figure out how you did it." He said.

Mick laughed. "Ya know kid, sometimes I wonder that myself."

"So... Its all real?"

Mick nodded. "Like we've all been telling you this whole time."

John sat in silence for a few minutes as the cruiser made its way through the afternoon traffic of L.A., considered all the information he'd just taken in, re-thinking all the events of the last few months of his life spent with Mick and the WC Ghostbusters... And came to a decision.

"How do I get my own Jumpsuit?"

Mick just looked at him, surprise plastered on his face as thick as the flour-slime plastered on his jumpsuit.

THE BEGINNING
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