Chapter III: And The Kitchen Sink Too!
Everything was fine until the elevator jerked to a halt just as they were about to stop at the Lobby level. Ray glared up at the ceiling.
“All right Slimer, you’ve had your fun! The elevator is off limits!” He reached up and punched the talk button on the walkie-talkie that was clipped to his left shoulder strap.
“Egon, I think we may be stuck in the elevator. We need some help.”
“THINK we’re stuck?” replied Venkman in exasperation, “Well let’s see.”
He bent forward and began pushing random buttons on the elevator control panel.
“Think we’re stuck, think we’re stuck, think we’re stuck, think we’re stuck. Ray, you guys good with officially stuck in the elevator? Show of hands?”
“Does this kinda thing happen to you guys often?” asked Marty.
“Not always,” replied Ray. There was a sudden clank of metal on metal. Something was fiddling with the doors. Ray raised his proton gun warily.
“Get ready,” he said. The doors began to crack open.
“Kill it Ray!” snarled Venkman, eager for justice to be meted out on Slimer. The doors flew apart and Egon poked his head inside.
“Need a hand?” he asked with a trace of a grin. Venkman turned baleful eyes on Ray, as if somehow this was all his fault.
“You always fail me, don’t you Ray.”
Now reunited, the three Ghostbusters and Marty the Rookie jogged back down the corridor leading to the lobby. Sure enough, Slimer was there, flying circles near the ceiling.
“All right little buddy, time for you to get yours,” growled Venkman as he aimed his proton gun. Perhaps Slimer heard for at that moment he turned and zoomed and the arches to the right of where the Ghostbusters were. They were about to follow him when two more ghosts zoomed into the room, their cackling sounding forth with an odd echo.
“Two more!” cried Ray as he fired a proton stream at one of the ghosts. Egon must have already blasted this one some because Ray managed to entangle it in a capture stream almost immediately.
“Forget the little Onionhead for now, this one’s fighting capture real hard!” he grunted as he attempted to wrangle the ghost.
“He’s a New York bellhop Ray. Just tip him!” quipped Peter as he turned his Proton stream on the struggling ghost. Marty stared on in fascination at these particular ghosts. It was indeed, or rather, had been a bellhop, the distinctive red coat and cap with brass accoutrements instantly recognizable. It’s “face” was covered in scarred greenish skin and wide, bloodshot spectral eyes danced madly as the ghost wailed in its proton beam cage.
“Man, this is heavy,” he breathed. He supposed he should have been slightly more wierded out by what was happening to him but after nearly erasing himself from existence, partly creating an alternate “Hell” Valley, participating in a real, no-holds-barred Western showdown, running from Prohibition-era gangsters, and the Crisis of Multiple Martys (plus a healthy dose of horror movies watched at his friends’ houses) there wasn’t much that could really freak Marty McFly out anymore.
“Marty, watch it!” cried Ray but it was too late. A wooden lamp stand crashed into Marty with enough force to knock him to the floor. The lamp stand flared with a red outline and then another of the Bellhop ghosts popped out of it, cackling madly. Coughing from having the wind knocked out of him, Marty stared up at the Ghost first in bewilderment, then in mounting anger. That thing had hit him on purpose! And it thought that was funny! Marty didn’t get mad like he used to, not after what had happened with Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen in 1885, but this was one step too far.
“You little son of a bitch,” he snarled grabbed hold of his proton gun and blasted a stream at the ghost. The spectral bellhop wailed and tried to dodge away, but another blast caught him from the side. Marty glanced over and saw that it was Egon. Together, they wrangled the ghost up in a web of proton energy.
“Hold him for me a moment,” said Egon as he shut his thrower off and unlimbered a ghost trap from his belt. The ghost immediately tried to escape but Marty, remembering what Ray had told him, yanked his thrower down hard. The effect was somewhat whip-like, with the ghost slamming hard into the floor, taking the fight out of it for a moment. Egon tossed out the trap and then threw a capture stream on the ghost again. From there it was actually pretty easy to guide the ghost over the trap, activate it and bag themselves a ghost. Marty grinned down at the now smoking trap.
Doc, time travel is cool and all but I think these guys have got one up on you with nuclear death rays!
Ray and Peter, who’d already caught their bellhop, walked over to where Marty and Egon were.
“I think you’re getting the hang of this cadet!” Ray said happily. Marty was about to reply when there was a crash from the adjacent Grand Hall. The four Ghostbusters ran into the hallway to see that two more bellhop ghosts had now joined Slimer and they were chasing the last of screaming patrons and staff from the Hall. The Ghostbusters let rip with their proton streams but the ghosts managed to dodge this time and split up. The bellhops zoomed down the Hall towards the Grand Staircase whilst Slimer pelted off down a side corridor.
“Can we call Winston and tell him that his night off is officially over?” asked Peter a little plaintively.
“Peter, you take Marty and go after Slimer, Ray and I will go after the other two that floated upstairs and be careful! I’ve been detecting significant bulges in the PKE fields here that indicate that this is not a normal clean-up job.” Said Egon as he began to head for the staircase with Ray. Peter watched them go for a moment and then grumbled, “He’s gets so cranky when he hasn’t had his nap. C’mon junior.”
They jogged down the corridor they had seen Slimer go down when Venkman began sniffing. Marty noticed it too and for once it was something that he actually wanted to smell, not the vaguely mucus-like scent of ectoplasm.
“Hey now… is that honey-glazed ham? And… prime rib?” said Venkman almost dreamily as they rounded a corner and came face to face with a set of doors and the hotel manager they had met earlier. There was an ornate sign posted on a tri-stand next to the doors, something about the Alhambra Ballroom and a Bar-Mitzvah.
“Ah yes, the Alhambra Ballroom. The little turd wouldn’t be able to resist.” Venkman remarked smugly. The hotel manager, hearing Venkman’s voice flinched a bit and spun around to face them. When he saw who it was, his eyes widened.
“No! absolutely not! The Rodriguez Bar-Mitzvah is set to start in half an hour. The guests will be arriving in fifteen minutes! And you’ve done quite enough already! I’m sure that… thing… will just go away on its own.”
“I’ll bet that beef brisket is the special? The Spud won’t be able to resist that,” said Peter, looking over the manager’s shoulder as a particularly loud crash emanated from the ballroom.
“I’m… I’m willing to risk it,” the manager stammered as another crash sounded forth.
“Sir I’m sure we could, you know, just get in there and get out pretty easy,” offered Marty.
“You don’t know the Spud, Junior,” Venkman muttered under his breath.
“You’re not going in there!” the manager stated with as much authority as he could muster, crossing his arms over his chest and trying (and failing) to look imperious.
“Well that’s all we needed to hear,” said Venkman, shrugging his shoulders and beginning to walk away, “Okay, coffee break everybody, fifteen minutes. Service has been declined beyond this particular point.”
As Marty and Peter casually strolled away from the Ballroom, Marty glanced back as yet another crash came from within its depths.
“So… what do we do Doc V?” asked Marty. Venkman made a noise of general discontent.
“The Alhambra’s off-limits? The shnutz you say. Nobody slimes Pete Venkman twice and gets away with it. Follow me Junior.”
Venkman led him back through the Grand Hall of the lobby until they came to another side corridor. After poking around for a minute or two Venkman said, “Aha!” and pointed to a door with a nameplate that read ‘Kitchen.’
“We’re going to cut through the kitchen? But didn’t that guy tell us not to go into the Ballroom?” said Marty. It wasn’t that he was uncomfortable with subterfuge, he’d had plenty of practice with that back in 1955, 1885 and 1931 but this was a whole new ball game he was still learning the rules to… and was hopefully playing well.
“Relax kid. See if we don’t catch the little green buddy like that yuppie suit wants, it’s gonna eat every piece of food in the whole place and then he’ll probably try and sue us for not doing our jobs. Besides you seem to have a handle on your thrower now. C’mon let’s go.”
The door was unlocked, probably in the rush to evacuate the lower floors.
“Hellooooo, Chef?” called Venkman as they stepped cautiously inside.
“Champion. All right kid, you lead for a while.”
The kitchen looked much like what Marty imagined the big kitchens in places like this always looked. Big stainless steel counters and ranges and vent hoods, racks of dishes, pots, pans and utensils as far as the eye could see. Except most of these items, well almost everything that wasn’t bolted to the wall or the floor was floating.
“Whoa!” was Marty’s succinct opinion.
They were just about to walk through a set of double doors when all the floating objects in the room crashed to the floor as one, startling the bejeebus out of Peter and Marty.
“Gah!!! You’d think I’d be used to that by now!” cried Peter.
“Does this Slimer, uh, guy usually do stuff like this?” said Marty, starting to get just a little annoyed with having to ask this question.
“Nope, this is something new, probably the work of whatever else Egon and Ray are investigating. Keep sharp.”
As they walked through the double doors, Marty’s attention was drawn to a countertop that was placed under an open section of the wall to another sub-section of the kitchen. The countertop itself was covered in slime but this slime was black and had a very tar-like appearance to it.
“Okay don’t touch that slime! It’s slimey and… very dangerous. Seriously kid, it will really ruin your day,” said Peter. Marty, who’d just been about to touch the stuff out of morbid curiosity, jerked his hand back, which was just as well as the ghost of a grossly obese man in a heavy rain jacket and wielding a fishing rod exploded up from behind the wall, roaring at the two Ghostbusters. Before Peter or Marty could get a shot off at the ghost, it zoomed off and through a wall.
“Yep, definitely something new,” commented Peter, “But he’ll have to wait a bit, the ballroom’s through here.”
Following Peter, the two went through another set of doors into a tiled corridor that led to an entranceway into the Alhambra Ballroom. Marty for his part was pretty impressed. On the meager money he had after finishing college and still trying to find a job, there was no way he could ever have afforded to bring Jennifer here, even just for dinner. The Ballroom itself had been built an even more expansive level of early twentieth century auteur than the other parts of the hotel that Marty had already been in, all capped off by a truly magnificent crystal chandelier. The place settings at the table nearest them probably would’ve even given Marty’s author father a run for his money. There were easily a dozen tables set up across the expanse of the room, bracketed on one side by what had to be an obscenely expansive Grand Piano and on the other by a buffet table. It was this buffet table that Slimer was assaulting; currently he was in the process of devouring a five-tier cake.
“Would it kill him to mix in a salad once in a while? All right kid, remember the drill, blast him ‘till he’s tired and then we’ll put him back in his home.”
“Yeah, I got it Doc V.”
Trapping Slimer actually turned out to not be as complicated as Marty feared it was going to be. Now that he was used to the kickback from the proton stream, his aim served well in getting Slimer worn down enough that he and Peter were able to wrangle him into a trap. Looking around the ballroom, Peter whistled in admiration. Although there were long scorch marks across the wall where proton streams had hit it, most of the damage in the ballroom had been done by Slimer. It didn’t really matter to the hotel manager who rushed in at that moment and gasped in horror.
“The Alhambra Ballroom! The Bar Mitzvah! What have you done?!”
Venkman took it all in stride.
“What seems to be the problem? Thanks to me and my exclusively assigned recruit here, the festivities can now proceed in an entirely ghost-free environment. So… your welcome… eh? Oh and to the Rodriguez: L’Chaim, from the Ghostbusters.”
With that, Venkman sauntered out of the ballroom, Marty right behind him.