"Ghosts that make the house spin, eh?" Jamie asked Raynelle and Benjamina when they told her about their job earlier that day.
"The top part anyway," Raynelle said.
Benjamina scratched her head and told them, "Maybe I'm just crazy but I think our dads are right about seeing a pattern in some of the ghosts we've been catching lately. At several of the places where we've worked, those ghosts all made their entrance in a cyclone of some sort, all different types of ghosts, but all with accompanying tornadoes."
"I noticed that too, but what's it mean?" Raynelle asked.
"That, I'm not sure about yet," Benjamina replied, "But I'm wondering if there could be any possible connection."
Jamie looked out the window and said, "I guess you'll get your chance to ask the others, they're back."
"Good," Benjamina said, "It's about time we conferred with the rational people in this house."
She had a sudden urge to retract that statement when their fathers and the two other girls walked in the house completely soaking wet.
"What happened to you?" Raynelle asked.
"Ask your uncle," Egon said only as he pointed at Peter.
"What?" Peter shrugged his shoulders, "It was fun."
"What happened?" Benjamina asked.
"We were chasing ghosts at a water park," Pauline answered, "And Dad thought it would be funny to get us all up on one of the tallest waterslides and knock us down it."
"Well it was funny," Peter insisted, and then sped up his pace to get away from the others before they had a chance to try and kill him.
Pauline wrung out the top of her coveralls and added, "On a side note though, the guy threw in some free passes for when the place opens up."
"Dad," Raynelle spoke up, "We wanted to talk to you about something."
"What's that?" Ray asked.
"Never mind," Benjamina said, "It'll wait."
Once the others went off to change into some dry clothes, Raynelle turned towards Benjamina and asked her, "What's up?"
She shook her head and told Raynelle, "I just think it'd be better if we waited a while and see if we get anymore calls today, I think if we all put our heads together on this one it's going to be a few hours to come to a solution, and we don't have that time right now."
"You can say that again," Jamie said as she hung up the phone and picked up some notes, "The phone's been ringing off the hook."
"More jobs?" Raynelle asked.
"Actually no," Jamie told them and handed them the messages, "Apparently some of the local guys saw you in the TV ads and are interested."
"In what?" Raynelle asked.
Benjamina snorted and said, "Raynelle, if you have to ask, it doesn't matter anymore."
"Say what?" Pauline asked, "Guys calling about us?"
"Well almost," Jamie told her, "Nobody asked about Jewell."
"That was smart of them," Jewell sounded pleased as she folded her arms tight against her chest.
"You can say that again," Pauline said, "It's never a good idea to get fresh with somebody who can bench press you."
"I guess some things never change," Raynelle said as she pocketed her messages, "I seem to recall hearing when our dads were single that the women were all over them too."
"Makes sense, they drank heavier back then," Pauline commented as she tore her messages to confetti and tossed them again.
"You didn't even read those," Raynelle said.
"That's right," Pauline replied, "If I wanted some fraternity jughead to kill the nights with tossing back beers…"
"Let me guess," Raynelle told her, "You would've stayed at college."
"No," Pauline answered, "Why should I when I've got you three bohos to do it with?"
"Oh!" the others replied as they ganged up on her and took turns kicking her and tackling her.
"What do you think, Jewell?" Pauline asked later when the two of them were alone in the garage as they went over the cars for any obvious damage.
"About what?" she replied as she finished lugging the equipment out of the backseat and kicked the door shut.
"I've just been thinking about that last house we worked at," Pauline said, "There, and the hotel, and the movie theater, every time the ghosts appeared, first it got cold, and then there was a tornado of some kind, what could that mean?"
"Maybe we don't want to know," Jewell suggested, "Because it could mean delving into the minds of the ghosts."
"I don't know," Pauline told her, "There's just something about it that seems off. It's like in their own paranormal way they've found a way to manipulate the elements, the weather, granted it's all in a controlled environment in the legion of the dead, but still…"
"Well, what's on your mind about it?" Jewell asked as she examined the car's taillights for cracks.
Pauline sat on her motorcycle and said, "I don't know, if I'd paid more attention to meteorology in school maybe I could come up with something." She reached into her pocket and pulled out a cigarette and lighter, "Let's see," she said as she bit down on the cigarette and let it, "Maybe the common factor is all these ghosts originally come from the same place…"
"Maybe they all died in a tornado," Jewell suggested.
"Or several," Pauline thought as she got up from her bike and laid on the hood of the Ecto-2, "The ones that we can actually make out as having once been people, all seem to come from different points in history. However, we're not very big on tornadoes here, so maybe they're coming in from somewhere else, but where, and why?"
"Maybe it's not a tornado, maybe they all died in a hurricane," Jewell said, "That would explain it, wouldn't it? Those winds could blow in anything and anybody from anywhere to anywhere, especially if you're dead."
Pauline took a few seconds to register what Jewell had just said and she sat up and told her, "You had no business being in the SEALs, you should've written puzzles for the newspaper, nobody would ever be able to crack that mind of yours."
The phone in the garage rang, Jewell went over to answer it and after a couple words, she held the receiver against her to muffle the mouthpiece and said, "It's for you."
"I'm not taking any calls from any bimbo dumb enough to be interested in me," Pauline told her.
"It's your brother," Jewell told her and held the receiver out.
Pauline blinked, "Oscar?" She went and took the phone from Jewell and said into it, "Hello?"
Jewell went back to the cars and watched Pauline's end of the conversation as she asked, "Hey, what's up? Where are you? Oh…oh you did?" She rolled her eyes and said, "Oh you saw that…yeah…well it's a long story…I see…are you going to be coming home soon?" The hopeful look on her face died almost as quickly as she said that, "Oh…yeah, I understand…uh huh…well she's not here right now…him? He's out at the moment too…yeah, I'll tell them you called, okay…bye."
"What'd he say?" Jewell asked.
"He…saw our ads on TV," Pauline said as she joined her by the cars.
"And?" Jewell asked when Pauline didn't continue.
Pauline looked up from the hood and said, "And…he said he's proud of me to be working in the family business."
"Pauline," Jewell told her, "Your brother's always been proud of you."
"Yeah I know," Pauline nodded, unconvincingly, "Would be nice though if he'd ever been here to tell me in person. Seems as long as I can remember he's either been gone, or just distant…and now he's been gone for I don't know how long, Mom's gone on a vacation away from us, I'm only here because I got fired from the cab company, let's face it, ours is a very distant family."
"Not distant," Jewell replied, "Long distance."
"Yeah well…you notice how my dad is the only normal one in this family?"
Jewell shrugged her shoulders and asked, "What do you mean?"
"Okay, I've been thinking about this lately," Pauline explained, "Mom gets possessed by Zuul, Oscar gets picked by Vigo to be his bodily replacement to take over the world, and me, anytime I get slimed by these creepy crawlies I go postal and try to kill somebody, nothing has ever happened to my dad."
Jewell just shrugged again and said, "Well they can't all be gems, of course that's to be expected in this business."
Pauline threw her head back laughing.
The rest of that day and the next one proved to be uneventful. Nobody had called in to report any ghosts and everybody was enjoying having a day off; all except Pauline who once again found herself taking care of the housework despite there being 7 other people in the house. She grumbled under her breath as she swept off the front porch which seemed to have been collecting dust and dirt since the house was originally built. After she sideswiped everything out of one end of the carpeted porch, she turned and drew back when she almost collided with a man standing on the steps.
"What do you want?" she asked.
"Does Dr. Venkman live here?" he asked.
Pauline gave the guy a quick onceover; he seemed to be somewhere in his late 20s or early 30s, he had short brownish red hair, and was dressed in a blue suit that gave him quite a resemblance to a lawyer. Pauline hated lawyers, she always insisted it was in her blood after all the crap her father and the others had to put up with after saving New York City back in the 80s, some gratitude.
"What do you want him for?" she asked, refusing to answer his question until she knew what his business was.
"I need to speak with him," the man insisted, "My name is Walter Peck Jr."
Pauline blew out a sharp exhale like she was blowing smoke to go with it. That name rang a bell, but from where? She turned and hollered through the screen door, "Daddy, there's some Pecker person here to see you." As she turned back to him, she could see him rolling his eyes at her comment. A minute later Peter came to the door, opened it slowly and said, "Y-e-e-e-s?"
"Dr. Venkman," the young man said.
"That's my name, yes," Peter answered.
"I'm Walter Peck Jr."
"I'm sorry to hear that," Peter told him.
"Can I please speak to you…inside?" he asked.
"Alright," Peter said reluctantly, "But we ain't staying long."
The three of them went into the house and into the living room and Peter asked, "So what brings you here?"
"Actually, it's my father," Walter said.
"Oh great, old Dickless," Pauline said as she picked up the beer she'd been drinking earlier and took a swig of it, "What's the S-O-B want?"
"Actually, my father died recently," Walter explained.
Pauline did a spit take and looked at her father and said, "Oh boy."
"You see, Dr. Venkman," Peck said, "Towards the end of his life, my father felt very remorseful for the trouble he caused you."
"Well it wasn't so much us as the trouble he caused an entire city," Peter responded, "However in time we've come to overlook that little fact. But what exactly does that have to do with us now?"
"You see," Walter said as he nervously tried to continue, "My father decided to will most of his estate to you and your…" he cleared his throat, "Your company, I'm hoping you will accept it on my behalf."
Peter and Pauline glanced at each other and then back to the man who reached into the inside of his jacket and took out a folded piece of paper and handed it over to Peter. He unfolded it and found it was a check, and he whistled at the amount. Pauline elbowed her father and murmured under her breath, "Maybe last Christmas three more ghosts paid him a visit."
"This is a very generous offer, but I don't know that we can accept," Peter told Walter.
"I'm afraid I don't understand," he replied.
"Well, call it what you will but I just don't feel right taking money from a dead man," Peter said.
"Since when?" Pauline murmured.
Peter seemed to ignore her but very subtly brought his foot back and kicked her to be quiet. She kept her mouth shut until Peter saw Walter out and when he came back she got up from the couch and said, "What'd you do that for? We could've used that money."
"I know," Peter told her, "But I'm not sure this wasn't a test, and I wanted to screw with his mind."
"Peck's dead, imagine if we wind up having to bust him one of these days," Pauline said.
"I like his son," Peter admitted, "I wonder how somebody so rude could wind up with a kid that nice."
"What do you like about him?" Pauline asked.
"Well for one thing he knows how to say please, unlike his father," Peter told her, "Another thing, also unlike his father, he had sense enough to address me as Doctor Venkman, instead of Mr. Venkman, etiquette and proper respect where respect is due still count for a lot where I'm concerned."
"You are unbelievable," Pauline said, "You pass up an opportunity to collect on ten million dollars just to screw with a guy."
"And I suppose you had plans for that money, right?"
"Sort of," Pauline told him, "You remember Uncle Ray's plans to make Ghostbusters a country widespread industry? Well that kind of money could've been a good start in that direction, we could branch out anyway."
"Don't worry about that," Peter said, "The time will come."
Everything comes in cycles, what was once old becomes new again in another generation. And one of the new attractions that were making a comeback in the more suburban parts of New York was the drive in theater; every night over the summer the lot filled up with cars full of people anxious to get that experience that their parents had known and see whether it was as great as they remembered, or if it had just been a load of hot air. Some people apparently thought it was worth the trip out because several of them came back for more on following nights. On this particular night everybody was cramped in watching an old gory monster movie, when all of a sudden the viewers noticed something on the screen that didn't belong in the movie.
First it just looked like some wise guy near the back of the theater was standing up and casting his shadow on the screen, going through a series of ridiculous movements and gestures. Then the screen started smoking and large holes burnt into it as the whole thing melted and out shot a full bodied apparition who cackled madly as he terrorized the moviegoers by jumping onto the hoods and roofs of their cars, stomping and pounding on the vehicles as he passed them one by one and ran from one to the next. He cleared a row of 10 cars and jumped over the edge, completely overshooting the motorcycle parked beside the last car, and then as he 'hit' the ground, Pauline nonchalantly moved her foot from the brake pedal and stomped on the control triggering the trap which opened up right underneath the ghost and sucked him in.
"I hate when they interrupt the movie," she said as she tossed down her magazine and got up.
Raynelle and Benjamina came running up and they asked, "You got it?"
Pauline picked up the smoking trap and said, "He's in there."
"Great!" Raynelle exclaimed.
"Hey, how did you know that would work?" Benjamina asked her.
Pauline shrugged and said only, "What can I say? I learn from the best." She turned to Raynelle and asked her, "Now are you sure that's the only one?"
"I'm telling you, nothing else was picked up on the PKE meter, it has to be," Raynelle answered.
"Well that's good," Pauline said, "Now as soon as the owner gets a new screen, he'll be back in business."
"Looks like we'll be going somewhere else to continue our date," Raynelle said. They'd originally gone to the movie for a night on the town with a couple of the guys who called the house asking about them. When they found out that the theater was having problems and it sounded like something right up their alley, business had gotten mixed with pleasure and Pauline had been brought in to assist, but since it didn't sound like a particularly large problem they hadn't bothered calling in the others for backup. Apparently it was a good thing because they hadn't needed it.
"Yeah, you do that," Pauline said as she got back on her bike and kicked the stand up.
"Where're you going?"
"Home, better get joy boy on ice as soon as possible," Pauline told them, "I'll see you guys later."
They waved her off as she left, and once she was gone, they turned to each other and Benjamina asked, "What do you think's with her?"
Raynelle shrugged and said simply, "She always was a weird one."
Benjamina snorted and said, "Now there's calling the vase Ming."