Everything Under The Sun... And Then Some!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mandala 1

Secret of The
A Ghostbusters/Back to the Future

Part I: Of Martys, Ghosts & Bar-Mitzvahs

Chapter 1: You’re Hired!

Monday, November 25, 1991
7:00 PM EDT
New York City, New York

            Marty McFly stared up at the old firehouse, taking note of the giant plastic sign and the banner that hung over the huge double doors, originally designed to let a fully loaded fire engine out. But there were no firefighters here anymore. The sign featured the stylized image of a ghost, the classic bed sheet variety, trapped behind a NO logo, like no cigarettes, but no ghosts instead. The banner read, in block letters, GHOSTBUSTERS.
Marty reflected ruefully on the chain of events that had lead him here. A couple of weeks ago he’d begun to have nightmares after he had moved into his new apartment. It was always the same nightmare every time. He’d find himself alone in some place, such as a nightclub in the last dream. A beautiful, exotic woman would appear before him and shortly they would begin making out only to then be discovered by Marty’s fiancée, Jennifer Parker. Jennifer would then turn into some kind of monstrous creature and that would usually be when Marty would wake up screaming his head off. The nature of the nightmares had derailed an otherwise perfect engagement. Marty and Jennifer had been set to have a big Thanksgiving wedding with their families and friends in Los Angeles but the anxiety of the dreams and the pressures of work and preparation for the wedding drove Marty almost to the breaking point. He had become halfway convinced that the dreams meant that he and Jennifer were going to break up or that he really would end up cheating on her. Things had gotten to the point that Jennifer had then called on Marty’s old friend and mentor, Dr. Emmet L. Brown. Doc Brown had assured them both that they were together and happy, the last time he’d checked on them in the future. That hadn’t been quite enough for the stressed out musician so Jennifer and Doc’s wife Clara finally convinced Doc to take the couple into the future for a very quick check on the state of their marriage. Marty, Doc, Clara and Jennifer had hopped into Doc’s steam locomotive time machine and headed off to the future. But something had gone horribly wrong. Instead of arriving in Hill Valley California, 2015, they ended up several months ahead in 1991 and three thousand miles away in New York! Whatever had happened to disrupt their transition had shorted out and destroyed several of the train’s vital systems. Only quick action on Doc’s part and the Emergency Landing System saved them from becoming a smear on the Manhattan cityscape. Thus trapped, they were presented with two problems. The damaged time machine required massive repairs and equipment they didn’t have money for and Doc was very worried about what he called a space/time anomaly that was supposedly responsible for their crash-landing.
In order to try and solve both problems, Doc and Clara were watching over the train and trying to effect what repairs they could while Doc tried to figure out the cause and source of the anomaly while Marty and Jennifer were sent out to try and earn some money to pay for equipment necessary to repair the machine.
And now here he was, about to become a Ghostbuster. Nobody had been more surprised than him, after answering the ad in the paper and then actually being called up by THE Ghostbusters. Marty remembered when the Ghostbusters had first showed up, a little over a year before that long weekend he and Doc had spent time travelling in1985. The stories had been a fantastic and Marty had of course gone to his mentor to ask about them. Doc had been fairly amused.
 Speaking of the Ghostbusters, they were probably waiting for him. He took a deep breath and grasped the handle of the man-sized door that had been built into the bigger doors, opened it and stepped inside.
“Well, here goes nothing,” he muttered to himself as he stepped into the fire hall. The first thing that caught his eye was the Ghostbusters’ famous car, the Ecto-1. It was once a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor combination ambulance and hearse, but the Ghostbusters had gotten a hold of it back in ’84 and transformed it into their personal ghostbusting vehicle. Now it sat there in front of the doors, silent, the pulsing emergency lights still.
He took a moment to look around the massive main floor of the building. The ceiling was about two stories of the ground, meant to hold a one of those old 1940’s era fire engines. The place smelled of oil, grease, metal and some other strange odors that Marty really didn’t want to guess at the origin of. It also looked like the definition of a disaster area, with odd piles of equipment, tools, desks, tables, chairs and other odds and ends piled hither and thither.
            The brr-inngg of a telephone snapped him out of his reverie. He walked past the Ecto to the back of the hall. There was a desk set up there and a fairly pretty, red-haired woman sitting there, wearing a headset.
“Hello, Ghostbustas! Is your haunting an apparition, poltergeist, banshee, wraith, phantasm, demon, specter, troll, goblin or… no, we do not summon dead family members so that you can ask them the combination to the safe. Yeah well, same to you pal!”
The woman reached over and slapped a button on the phone. At that, she looked up and finally noticed Marty. The plaque on her desk identified her as Janine Melnitz.
“Hi there Ms. Melnitz. My name is…”
“Oh yeah, you’re McFly. They’re waiting for ya upstairs.”
“Uh, okay.”
Just then there was a tremendous explosion from upstairs. Little bits of plaster and dust floated down from the ceiling.
“Oh don’t mind that. They do that at least once a week and they haven’t killed anyone yet.”
Marty turned to head towards the staircase that ran along the East wall (east if you’re looking at the doors from the inside that is) and stopped in his tracks.
“Holy crap! What is that?”
“Yeah. That’s Slimer,” said Janine.
The ghost in question, a disgusting, translucent, green blob, with yellow, crooked teeth and beady orange eyes stared back at him from inside the containment cell he was imprisoned in. It had what seemed to be a glass front to it that allowed people to see what Slimer was doing. There must have been some kind of technology keeping him trapped in there otherwise Marty was sure Slimer would have just escaped. Currently the blob was holding what looked like an oversize playing card in one pudgy hand and doing some sort of psychic imitation. It turned the card over and smiled that crooked smile which quickly turned to a grimace as it threw the card down angrily. Whatever it had expected to see obviously wasn’t what it wanted. Marty could just make out that the other side of the card had three wavy lines on it.
“You might want to head upstairs,” broke in Janine in her thick Brooklyn accent, “They’re expecting you.”
“Thanks,” he said, still slightly fascinated by the creature and began to make his way up the old staircase. After all, one just didn’t bump into a ghost everyday.

On the second floor of the building, Marty found the Ghostbusters. The second floor was a combination living room, dining room, kitchen, laboratory, rec room and workshop. Consequently it was as cluttered with all manner of odds and ends, from arcade games to pool tables to the kitchen to rows of shelves filled with all kinds of strange electronic gadgetry, like downstairs. Thank heaven that the living quarters were a separate part of the floor. The Ghostbusters themselves, the famous Original Three, were standing over in the corner that seemed to be the laboratory/workshop part of the second floor. They were wearing their tan GB jumpsuits but Dr. Ray Stantz, the slightly heavier one of the three, was the only one wearing a proton pack.
“Good job Egon, I think you took out most of Bayonne with that one. Would you like to try for the Bronx next time?” remarked Dr. Peter Venkman. Whatever comment Dr. Egon Spengler might have had was cut short when Ray spotted their new recruit.
“Hey, it’s the new cadet! Welcome aboard!”
“This might be a little dangerous,” commented Egon, fiddling with the pack and not seeming to pay much attention to what was going on around him.
“Great,” commented Ray, “Danger is our life.”
“We’ll start at 50% capacity this time. That should keep any burning or tissue damage to a minimum,” said Egon, finishing his adjustments.
“Hey Egon, if you’re going to burn any tissue, do it to the new kid. You can’t kill Ray, our mortgage is in his name.” replied Peter, drawing something of a nervous look from Marty. What am I getting myself into?
“I guess he’s right,” said Ray with a grin as he stepped forward and shook the Marty’s hand, “what’s your name kid?”
“It’s Marty, Marty McFly.”
“Now you’ve gone and jinxed it Ray! You remember what happened to the last guy?” said Venkman. Well that didn’t sound good to Marty.
“Do I want to know what happened to the last guy?” Marty asked with just a touch of nervousness.
“No,” all three said at once. There was a very pregnant pause.
“Well, let’s get him suited up and ready to go!” said Ray.
“Here put this on,” said Egon, handing Marty a neatly folded jumpsuit.

A few minutes later, he was suited up and hauling on a proton pack.
“He’s tuned up and ready to go,” proclaimed Stantz as he helped the Marty finish adjusting his straps.
“Holy crap this thing weighs a ton!” Marty groaned as he adjusted the straps of the pack.
“On the upshot though, it’ll keep you in shape better than a lifetime membership at the gym,” grinned Venkman.
 “Now,” said Egon, “We’ve perfected an extensive training regimen that will teach you all of your equipment’s basic functions.”
“It takes a while to achieve Master Throw Skill,” said Ray patting Marty on the arm, “But it’s definitely worth it.”
Just then a wave of blue-white light and noise swept through the room like a hurricane. Marty yelped and quickly glanced around him expecting the room to be in shambles, but everything was mostly fine. What a way to begin a guy’s career!
“What the hell just happened?” blurted out Marty.
“Was that us?” asked Egon.
“Ray?” asked Venkman with look on his face somewhere between annoyed and befuddled.
“Must have been some kind of psi energy pulse! A collected and centralized necromantic convulsion, level seven or more!” said Ray excitedly.
“Agreed. We need PK and EMF measurements now,” said Egon, pulling out his ever-trusty PKE meter and beginning to scan the room.

Marty’s assumption that the firehouse had been left relatively unscathed by the blast of necromantic energy wasn’t entirely true. Slimer had been highly agitated by the wave and now bounced around his containment cell. One violent bounce cracked the front of his cell. Slimer might have existed just to eat (if existing is the right word for it) but he knew a potential escape opportunity when he saw one.
Up on the second floor Janine, startled as all get out by the psi wave had come up to question her bosses.
“Not to sound too ignorant or anything but is a level seven… whatever, bad or VERY bad?”
“On a scale of one to ten…” began Egon.
“Let me guess: it’s a seven?” finished Peter sarcastically.
“Let’s just say that we’re about to get real busy,” Ray said. At that moment there was a crash of breaking glass from below. They all rushed to the fire pole well and stared down into the garage/offices. There was a ghostly cackle and Marty caught a glance of green.
“And that is not the fun kind of getting busy, is it Ray?” said Peter with a grin.
 “Hurry, we have to get him back if at all possible,” said Egon as he slid down the pole.
Venkman rolled his eyes. “No wait, come back,” he drawled and then wandered over to the arcade games.
“He doesn’t seem to be too excited to get that ghost thing back,” Marty commented to Janine.
“He and Slimer have old history sweetie,” Janine said over her shoulder as she headed for the staircase. She wasn’t as fond of the fire pole as the guys were.
“Hey Marty! Get down here, you’re missing a great opportunity!” came Ray’s voice from the fire hall.
“Yee-haw!” shouted Marty as he slid down the pole.

He joined Ray and Egon in the basement, where some of the Ghostbusters’ more sensitive equipment was housed, including the mysterious Ectoplasmic Containment Unit. Slimer was hovering directly in front of the exposed portion of the unit.
“There it is!” said Ray.
“It seems oddly drawn to the containment unit,” Egon said, scanning the ghost with his PKE meter.
“He’s been fascinated by it ever since you installed the new viewer unit,” said Ray as they watched the ghost gaze mesmerized at the viewing device mounted to the front of the ECU.
“All right Mr. McFly, you’re up!” said Ray, gesturing for the Marty to step forward.
“Me? Are you sure?” he asked a little hesitantly.
“I’ll talk you through it, you’ll be fine,” replied Ray with a reassuring smile, “wake him up a bit with your proton gun.”
Slowly, Marty unlimbered his proton thrower from its bracket mounted to the right side of his Proton Pack. Flipping the activation switch that Egon had pointed out to him earlier, the device emitted a deep, sub-sonic click and then a mounting whine as its internal cyclotron powered up. Marty took careful aim and fired. A squiggly beam of red-orange energy, wreathed in blue lightning leapt out from the barrel of the gun. Now, Marty was normally an excellent shot, his skills having been honed by hours in the arcade, but the kickback was more than he anticipated and his shot grazed Slimer and struck the ECU. Marty jerked the thrower down, scorching some concrete and shutting it off frantically.
“Not the Containment Unit!” cried Ray, “That’s some highly sensitive equipment you’re disintegrating there Marty!”
“Looks like Slimer went for the sub-basement!” yelled Egon as he rushed towards the ECU, which was now emitting large sparks and gray smoke. A red light flashed above it as an alarm bell rang out. Just as Egon reached the unit, another ghost popped out and flew towards the sub-basement door.
“Damn, there’s another one!” said Ray, jumping aside so as to not be slimed by the ghost as it swooped past. He threw a look at Marty and seemed to be about to start lecturing him. Marty scratched the back of his head self-consciously. This was not how he wanted to make his first impression!
“That one was my fault!” said Egon as he began to work on the damaged ECU, “I was fine-tuning the interspatial gasket this afternoon. I’ll handle the Containment Unit, you two go get our escapees!”
“C’mon cadet,” said Ray, gesturing for Marty to follow him through the door. Marty sheepishly followed him down some narrow stone stairs wide enough to allow only one person at a time. Ray looked over his shoulder and gave Marty a reassuring smile.
“Don’t sweat the Containment Unit. It’s easy to get excited first time out with the proton stream. Egon will have it fixed in no time.” Ray threw open a door, reached in and flicked a light switch. Only a couple of dim overhead lamps turned on, casting pale light into the gloomy sub-basement.

Upstairs, Peter approached Janine at her desk.
“Please tell me the kid isn’t blowing up our Containment Unit. You know everything we had to go through with what happened to the last guy.”
“Doctah Venkman, if you don’t want Mr. McFly to blow stuff up, maybe you oughta be done there helpin’ them hmm?” she replied only slightly condescendingly.
“No thanks, I’d rather have the ECU blow up in my face than deal with the little onionhead again. I’ll be in my office.”

In the subbasement, Ray and Marty had cornered Slimer, who was flying in aimless circles overhead.
“Okay, this is our standard procedure for taking down ghosts. Given the right conditions, Slimer’s harmless… mostly. Can’t be so sure about the other one though. Stay alert.” Marty nodded and raised his Proton gun towards the green blob.
“This is how it works. We call it Zap ‘Em, Cap ‘Em and Trap ‘Em. First you have to use your proton stream to weaken the entity to the point where it can be captured. Go ahead, give him a blast!”
“How do I know when he’s had enough?” asked Marty.
“You’ll see,” replied Ray with a grin.
Marty frowned as he took aim again.
“Round two you little snotball,” he muttered darkly and fired. This time his blast hit Slimer dead center. Boiling ectoplasm sloughed off the ghost as it wailed and dove to the side. Ray ducked to the side as well and opened up with his stream as well, striking Slimer with two proton onslaughts.
“Yeah! How do you like that creep!?” yelled Marty. For the next few minutes, they chased Slimer around the sub-basement until he splorched his way through a wall.
“Darn it we lost Slimer!” snarled Ray.
Suddenly there was a whoosh, and the second ghost flew out of a crate, cackling. It was a grayish ghost of what appeared to be an enormously fat man.
“Let’s get him,” cried Marty as he turned his proton stream on the ghost. It howled as the stream played over it. He and Ray blasted it a few more times, steadily weakening it. They were careful this time not to let it escape through a wall.
“You’re doing real well cade—Yow!” Ray cried, shutting off his proton stream. Marty didn’t have time to ask Ray why he had done that. The ghost lurched drunkenly into a stack of old boards and floated there, looking dazed.
“Now’s your chance! Throw a capture stream on him. The switch is right below the activation switch.”
 Flipping said switch, Marty fired up his proton stream and encased the ghost in a web of proton energy. Ray threw a box-like device down onto the ground near the ghost.
“Okay, bring him over to the trap. Some ghosts still have a little fight left in them but if Fatso gives you any trouble, a few hard yanks or smashing him into something usually helps!”
Marty guided the ghost over to the trap, not having to do any yanking. This ghost was out for the count.
“Don’t look directly into the trap!” Ray ordered as he stomped the foot pedal that was attached to the ghost trap. The yellow and black striped doors on the top of the trap snapped open and a cone of brilliant light flared out. The ghost began to be sucked down into it, wailing piteously.
“Cut your stream Marty!” said Ray. Marty did so and the ghost was pulled down into the trap, the doors slamming shut behind him. All was suddenly quiet, except for the beeping the trap made.
“Nice job Marty! Oh and always remember to retrieve your traps.”

Now that the action was over Marty realized how much his heart was pounding. His hands trembled from excitement and he blinked some sweat out of his eyes.
“That was awesome!” he exulted.
“It’s some kinda rush, isn’t it?” agreed Ray. There was a hiss of static over the radio walkie-talkie that was clipped to the left shoulder strap of his proton pack.
“Ray,” came Egon’s voice, “Have you caught them yet?”
“We’re batting .500, Slimer escaped. Our cadet bagged his first one though, a really nasty customer,” replied Ray, shooting Marty a small smile. Marty beamed like it was Christmas all over again.
This might not be such a bad job after all!
“Oh and about earlier, you have to be VERY careful about crossing the streams. In a word, don’t do it.” Added Ray.
“Seriously,” said Egon over the radio.
“Stings like the Dickens,” said Ray.

After the recently filled ghost trap had been emptied in the restored ECU, the Ghostbusters (accompanied by a very reluctant Peter Venkman) decided to head out and see if they could find Slimer.
“Here Marty, you should read over this manual on the new equipment I’ve installed in your pack while we drive.” Said Egon, handing Marty a ridiculously thick sheaf of papers.
“Hey, how come this mump gets all the new stuff?” asked Venkman irritably. Obviously he was never going to be sold on the idea of going after Slimer and was taking it out on the Marty, who was now trying to look invisible.
“He’s our new ‘Experimental Equipment Technician,’” replied Egon.
“He gets a cool title too?!” said Venkman disapprovingly. Marty continued to try and melt into the background.
“It means he gets to haul around a bunch of dangerous, unstable, untested equipment that could potentially blow us into New Jersey,” said Ray, grinning at Venkman. Marty wanted to be surprised, but after seeing some of things that Doc had built, he wasn’t as much.
“Oh, so he gets to lug around a bunch of untested hardware that could potentially blow us into New Jersey? Keep the title kid; it’ll work hard for you.”
“Well then, where do you think we should go to find Slimer?” asked Egon.
“The Sedgewick Hotel,” replied Ray, “It’s the first place the little spud will go.”
“Of course, back to its initial manifestation point.” Said Egon, nodding his head. They opened the doors to the Ecto-1B and began to climb inside, Ray in the back seat, Egon in the middle and Peter sidled around to the driver’s side.
“Plus they have a buffet there,” commented Ray.
“A GREAT buffet,” replied Venkman, “Janine, when Winston gets back from the opera, extend an invitation to join us at our table at the Sedgewick.”
Turning to spear Marty with a look he said, “Hey scooter, you’re up! Training is on-the-job tonight. Try not to destroy too many Manhattan landmarks will ya? That’s our job.”
The Ecto’s engine roared, its lights pulsed, its siren blared. As the fire hall doors opened, the Ecto shot out, skidded to the left and zoomed off into the night, with Marty grinning the whole way.
Jen is never going to believe this!

No comments:

Post a Comment