MISTER STAY PUFT'S CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE<!<!52103W>
Dumps are places of discarded dreams. Childhood toys thrown out. Plastic packaging that sat in a store for a few months; in the possession of the buyer of the item within for a few hours; and now doomed to sit, useless, in a garbage dump for the next one hundred thousand years.
In the skyline, red and green lights blinked on and off.
The sound of "Deck the Halls" wafted, ever so quietly, through the air.
Here, in this landfill of forgotten dreams, a peculiar stack of dumpsters stood. Emblazoned with the logo of the New York Sanitation Department, wrapped in caution tape and a single sign saying "Do Not Open" that, at just this moment, was whipped off by the chill wind.
The dumpsters began to shake.
From one now not-so-sealed dumpster, a viscous, marshmallow fluid began to ooze out.
Another dumpster exploded, covering ten more dumpsters in the same substance.
The shaking intensified. More dumpsters began to explode.
An angry roar filled the air.
The depot of discarded dreams was becoming a place of aborning nightmares.
Dr. Peter Venkman had just strode into the room, a beer in his hand. "Well, I think that settles that debate."
" 'Debate'?" Dana asked.
"I originally had these made for photo ops, and for when we finally get invited to be on David Letterman." Venkman picked up the flight suit. It was, of course, his brown and greenish-blue Ghostbuster uniform. "Better on camera--more colorful; four guys in the same grayish outfit is so damn boring for a TV audience to look at. And then we ended up having to use them after that whole...well, you know. We talked about whether to order more of these or go back to the old ones, and never really settled it." He winked at her. "But if you prefer this one, my vote's to stick with the colors."
A quick snuggle session later, Dana got back out of the bed, and started to get dressed. "Is it too early to start saying 'Merry Christmas'?"
Venkman's face curdled like sour milk.
"What?" Dana asked. "I thought you said you were raised Catholic."
"Sorta" Venkman said after a pause.
"Does this mean you're one of those 'Happy Holidays' types, then?"
Venkman grabbed the beer, and took another big swig of it. "I don't really celebrate Christmas."
Dana fumbled and almost dropped her hairbrush.
"I'd really rather not get into it." Venkman said, looking away.
" 'Rather not get into it'?" Dana repeated. "I mean, I just...sorry, Peter, I thought I was done being shocked by you, but this is a big one." She sighed. "This had better not just to be getting out of seeing my family tomorrow."
"It isn't!" Venkman said. "But I really don't think your mother likes me."
"Mom's just surprised, that's all." Dana rolled her eyes. "She expects me to stick with dating fellow musicians, not semi-celebrities."
"Ouch" Venkman said. " 'Semi' Celebrity"
"You're Micheal Jackson in my universe, Peter." Dana chuckled. "I still wish you'd reconsider. Davey and Doug have both been wanting to meet you."
"I just really think it'd be better if I didn't." Venkman shook his head, then lay back down. "The last thing Peter Venkman wants to be is a party pooper, and I'd poop up a Christmas Party pretty hard."
Dana shook her head. "Okay. This year, you're fine. But we're going to have to talk about this eventually. That's what people in relationships do. I mean, they'd be your family too if we ever get married."
A loud snore was all the response she got.
"Fine. Be that way." she grumbled, as she closed the door.
Slimer, the Ghostbusters' new resident pet--despite being a Class Five Full Roaming Vapor himself--floated into the garage, babbling amiably.
Janine pulled out a Santa hat. "Here...I brought you this!"
Slimer grabbed the hat, and sniffed it. He opened his mouth...
Janine snatched it from him. "You don't eat it, you stupid ghost!" she said, but not without humor in her voice. "It's a hat--you wear it on your head, like this!" She plopped it on his head. "Now see, the red hat with your green body? That's perfect!"
Slimer babbled joyfully for a few seconds, looking at himself in the ECTO's closed window. He smiled broadly.
Then he plucked the hat off his head and ate it, belching loudly a few seconds later.
Janine shrugged, and then went back toward her desk.
"Can't believe we don't have any decorations in this dump..." she said out loud.
"Peter doesn't celebrate Christmas." Winston Zeddemore shrugged. "They haven't told me why not either."
"It's a personal matter." the voice of Dr. Egon Spengler broke into the conversation. "Until he wishes to discuss it, Raymond and I won't."
Egon came down the stairs, fiddling with his PKE Meter. Winston shrugged, and went back to changing the oil on the ECTO-1. I'll try not to laugh too hard when they have another one of their scenes...
Egon stopped. "What...are you wearing, Janine?"
Janine managed to not let out a whoop of triumph. "You actually noticed?"
"I'd have to have forgotten my glasses not to."
Janine stood up, and posed in the costume. It was basically a green Christmas elf outfit, with a low neckline lined in white. The skirt was short, and showed off her legs sheathed in red tights. A Santa hat completed the ensemble. "I figured, shit, it's Christmas Eve. Have some fun with it, even with a certified Grinch living here."
Egon raised an eyebrow. "Forgive this if it's a rude question, but I thought you told me you were Jewish?"
She chuckled. "Well, yeah. But the family's been Reform for generations. And while we don't go for the whole three wise men and virgin birth Messiah stuff, 'Jingle Bells' and lighting the tree are all right."
Egon nodded. "I suppose that makes sense. Historians agree Jesus of Nazareth was probably actually born in the spring or summer, and early Church authorities chose a December 25th celebration to co-opt the Roman Saturnalia, and the lore of the Mithras cults." He paused, realizing she was now looking past him. "What is it?"
She pointed above him. "Mistletoe."
Before he could stop her, she grabbed him and gave him a long kiss. His glasses started to fog up.
When she let him go, he had to take a moment to remember to breathe. He wasn't sure whether he wanted to be annoyed...or whether that was anything but annoying...
"Gotta be careful, Egon. An Irish girl tried that gag on my Grandpa Brandenburg once...which is how she ended up being Grandma Brandenburg."
Egon adjusted his collar uncomfortably. "That...would seem to bolster your affection for Christmas."
"Also explains the bright red hair, too." she winked at him, then went back to her desk. Quit while I'm ahead...he's not scampering up the stairs in terror yet...
Egon seemed to finally have his breathing under control. "Um, yes, anyway, whenever Ray gets back tell him I'm in the lab."
"Will do." she replied, trying to keep a professional veneer. Adonai...that was awesome and he wasn't even trying... With that, he went back up the staircase.
He paused partway up, took one glance back at her like he was about to say something, then continued to the second floor.
I ain't sayin' a thing. Winston thought to himself. He'd pretty much decided not to interfere in whatever was trying to happen between the physicist and the receptionist, but knew that it was their own business. He certainly wasn't going to take Venkman's approach of teasing and innuendo. I think with these two, he's probably doing more harm than good...
He'd just about finished when Janine told him she was taking a quick "powder" break, and he heard the door to the firehouse open.
"Our secretary will be back in a minute." Winston said.
"I can wait." a female voice said. The accent piqued his curiosity, and he looked up from the ECTO-1's engine. The new arrival was a woman of African ancestry in a green outfit that...well, Winston had to admit to himself, she wore it pretty well.
"Busy during the holidays?" she asked him.
"A little bit." he admitted. "Nothing compared to summer, though."
"It did make the news." she chuckled. "Even New Yorkers are going to notice a giant marshmallow man parading around Central Park."
"Oh yeah. That." Winston deadpanned. "So are you here because of a ghost?" Winston winced inwardly. Man, that had to sound stupid. "Why are you here at Krazy's? Is it because you want fast food?"
She made a delightful little chuckle. "Nope. Just some personal stuff."
Great. She's one of Peter's ex-girlfriends here to file a paternity suit, I bet...
"Kaila?" Janine's voice broke into the scene.
"Well, there you are!" The two women shared a quick, friendly hug. "I see this new job's agreeing with you. Damn, girl, what's with the outfit? All the guys here hot?"
Winston chuckled, but didn't say anything else.
Janine rolled her eyes. "Just the one upstairs in the lab. What brings you here?"
"Brought you a Christmas present." she pulled out a bag wrapped in red and green paper.
"Oh, er...that's Winston Zeddemore. He's one of the Ghostbusters." Janine gestured as she opened the package. "Winston, this is Kaila MacMillan. She works at the museum I was at right before I got hired here."
"Museum curator, huh?" Winston said, shaking her hand.
"Cleaning dinosaur bones may not be as exciting as blasting ghosts." Kaila smiled. "But it pays the bills."
"Well, on my first case, we blasted ghosts possessing dinosaur bones." Winston said brightly. "So maybe we have more in common than we think."
"I know about the museum job." Kaila laughed. "I was one of the ones who had to clean up the mess afterwards."
"oops." Winston shrugged.
Janine's laugh reminded them she was still in the room. She was holding a plastic brontosaurus who's head was somewhat...misshapen.
"What happened to that thing?" Winston asked.
"It had to be removed from one of the manager's noses." Kaila explained. "I managed to save it. Thought it might be a fun little memento for you."
"You're darn right." Janine nodded. "If Dr. Venkman gets all grabass again, I can show this to him and explain the backstory. He hasn't been as bad since he's been dating Dana, but still..."
"I especially thought about that because they finally fired Williams last week." Kaila said, a bit smug about it.
"They did?" Janine replied. "What finally brought that about?"
"He played his little 'You could go far in this museum if you just show a little affection' spiels on a new girl, and the new girl turned out to be the daughter of one of the board of directors."
The two women shared a big laugh, and high-fived each other. Winston shrugged and went back to the ECTO-1.
After a little bit more chit-chat (Kaila asked how Janine's sister Doris and nephew Victor were doing; Janine got filled in on Kaila's family's goings-on) he heard them say their goodbyes.
Kaila stopped by Winston as she headed to the door. "Kinda stinks they make you work on Christmas Eve, though."
"I get double time for it." Winston shrugged. "And it's been quiet so far."
"They make you work New Years Eve, too? Or did the wife put her foot down about that?"
"Not married." Winston said, looking up. "No wonder you and Janine get along so well--you don't waste any time, do you?"
"Just my way of finding out how free you'll be." Kaila retorted. "Totally up to you what happens next."
"I'd say, that unlike some of my colleagues, I know a good thing when I hear it. So rather than babble about my fungus collection, I'm going to say that New Years Eve sounds like a great idea."
She winked at him, and handed him a slip of paper. "That's my number, Mr. Zeddemore. Call me Monday."
"Will do, Miss Monday." Winston replied, winking back.
Janine sat at her desk, feeling more than a little bit of jealousy creeping over her. Adonai, first Venkman and Barrett, now Kaila and Winston...I swear, if Ray comes back with a girlfriend, I may break something.
"Are you all right, Ray?" He was broken from his recollections by his Aunt Lois. Lois wasn't his only living relative--but she was only one of the few that would actually speak to him.
"Yeah, I'm okay..." Ray replied, nodding. "I mean, I guess as good as I can be."
"You seemed so much happier the last time you were here." Lois said. She was a large, fleshy woman with dark hair; her chubby face and large eyes gave her some family resemblance to her nephew. "I never thought I saw you so happy as when you and your Ghostbuster friends started to get successful."
Ray chuckled. "Yeah, but...it's Christmas. I mean, I don't hate Christmas like Peter does--and frankly, I think I'd have more reason to than he ever would--but..." He shook his head. "Have you heard from Carl or Jean?"
Lois sighed as comprehension dawned. "They still haven't tried to call you yet?"
"No." Ray shook his head. "And it's not like they can pretend they don't know what's been going on with me. I've been kind of high profile the last few months--I was on the cover of Time magazine, for goodness sake! I know things didn't go very well three years ago, but..."
Lois nodded. "Jean did call me last night. It wasn't a very long conversation...she did say she was all right, and she finally said she was sorry for worrying me so much, but when I asked if she'd tried to call you she said she had to go to wrap some of little Amanda's presents." Lois shook her head. "She can't stop me from showing you the pictures, though."
Lois went to a drawer, and took out her scrap book. She flipped to the newest pages. There were a couple of Polaroids of a baby girl; Ray didn't see much of Jean in the child's face, but the auburn tint of her hair was very much like Jean's--or his own.
"Believe it or not, I had a much nicer conversation with Reinhold."
"Reinhold? Amanda's father?"
Lois nodded. "I think he's almost as confused as anyone by what Jean's become. He's actually a fairly nice young man. I mean, when Jean told me her husband was a classics scholar and part-time beet farmer, I was expecting some kind of flake."
There was a lot that Ray suspected Lois didn't want to talk about yet--about the fact that after divorcing Reinhold Jean had moved to California, joined a commune, and become an open bisexual. So he turned to different, though equally painful territory. "And Carl?"
"Danielle called about a month ago--they had another baby." Lois said brightly. "They named him Daniel, after his mother, I think."
Ray nodded slightly ruefully. "Well, Carl was sort of named after our mother, so why not?"
Lois hugged him. "I know how you feel, Ray. It's not just you. It must be some sort of Stantz family curse--David and I stayed close, but Gaylord lives here in New York, and the last time we saw each other was David's funeral." There were tears in her eyes, now. "I don't understand it either."
After a few minutes, Ray finally spoke again. "I swear, if I ever get married, I'm only having one kid. Maybe we can break that curse."
Lois managed to laugh. "I'm holding you too that, Ray."
The younger policeman shrugged. "Knew that comin' into it, Briscoe."
"Oh yeah, I forgot. Your Old Man's in the force too. Yeah." Briscoe finished his doughnut. "Any of the Boston creams left?"
"Yeah, I don't think I saw my Papa on Christmas Eve until I was about ten." Carl said. "All out. Want a glazed?"
Just about then, they heard screaming. And then not so much heard as felt something loud, thudding in a slow rhythm.
"What the hell?" Briscoe said, getting out of the squad car.
"Should I..." Carl started to say.
"Rivera, call the station for backup. I think we're gonna be earning that holiday overtime on this one."
"Just don't." Egon said sternly, not even looking up from the gadget he was adjusting on the ECTO-1 roof rack.
"Didn't you explain to her..."
"No, actually, because you asked us not to."
"Because her parents were home every Christmas and she grew up enjoying it."
Venkman seethed. "It's only because of you I'm not going to fire her for this."
A few seconds later Ray entered the garage. "Hey! Aunt Lois sent some cookies for your guys!" He gave Venkman a look. "Even some undecorated ones for the Grinch."
Slimer's head materialized from the upper floor the second the word "cookies" was said. He looked around, eyes widening as he noticed the package Ray was holding.
"Raymond, I say this from the bottom of my heart, fuck you and the horse that got you into college."
Ray set down the cookies, then turned to Venkman. His face was uncommonly angry. "You're even more sour than I expected. You and Dana have another fight?"
Venkman looked ready to hit him. Ray looked ready to hit him back if he did. If either of them noticed the phone ringing, they gave no indication.
Winston started moving to get between them and, if necessary, break them up. "Hey, guys, no need for this..."
Venkman's face curdled. "Why? Because it's Christmas?" he said, accenting the last word like a five year old talking about broccoli.
Nobody had noticed Slimer grab the Christmas cookies and eat them, plate and all.
"HEY!!!" Janine yelled from the reception desk.
"Aw, c'mon..." Ray moaned. "Can't the ghosts at least take the holiday off?"
Janine shrugged "It's the Mayor's office. They had some cops near the Holland Tunnel say the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is walking up the Hudson River toward Manhattan."
"Somebody had too much eggnog." Venkman retorted. "I could swear you said somebody said the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is back."
"Gozer?" Winston said. "But that's impossible..." he looked at Egon. Janine, Ray, and Venkman did likewise. "Right?"
Egon mused for a few seconds, hand on his chin. "Yes and no."
"Lenny is really not happy about this." Venkman told them. "And I don't blame him--I thought we took care of this one? I mean, we blew Gozer to bits. Great big flaming chunks. I was there."
"We all were." Ray said.
"So then how is Gozer back and stomping up the West Side?"
"Peter, what happened last week?" Egon asked.
Venkman didn't miss a beat. "I made the cover of People because of all those rumors about me and Meryl Streep? Totally not true, of course."
Egon sighed. "Besides that."
Ray snapped his fingers. "The Anti-Ghostbusters!"
"The what?" Winston asked from the driver seat.
"The ghost duplicates, the ones from our old uniforms." Ray explained. "That's my own little name for them. Anyway...remember how they formed?"
"I thought we all agreed it was nobody's fault!" Venkman whined.
"I mean that they were saturated with Gozer's ectoplasm--from when the Destructor blew up!" Ray said.
"Now, Peter, think for a moment, if it isn't too large a strain for you." Egon continued. "That marshmallow ectoplasm, in conjunction with a leak in the new Containment Unit, brought the old grey uniforms...which were there because of 'nobody's fault'...to pseudo-life. But there were literally tons of the material deposited all over Central Park West."
Venkman gulped. He wasn't sure he liked where this was going. "Yeah, but the Department of Sanitation cleaned all that shit up, right?"
"Yes, Peter, they did." Egon nodded. "And I requested that they store the dumpsters separated into as many different locations as possible, until our Containment Unit was rebuilt, and we could take the ectoplasm back and deposit it."
Winston sighed. "I'm gonna guess it didn't happen that way."
Egon shook his head. "When I contacted the Department of Sanitation about it, they didn't know what I was talking about. They promised, however, to look into the matter and get back to me." Egon waited a beat. "After New Years."
"Our ever efficient municipal government." Venkman said brightly, sinking into his seat. "So Gozer really is back?"
Egon adjusted his glasses. "I don't think so. Gozer's intelligence was drawn back into the gate, just as we planned. It takes a series of specific supernatural triggers to re-summon it, and there's been no indication of that occurring. But the pieces of Gozer's ectoplasmic 'body'--the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man--were probably stored together. By absorbing ambient PKE from the environment--especially after the energy surge that happens during the Winter Solstice--the ectoplasm was able to reanimate, and recongeal into it's last form."
"Mister Stay Puft gets up and walks away from the dump." Ray nodded. "It's like Gozer's zombie body." Ray sounded disturbingly excited about this, Venkman thought.
"And just like the Anti-Ghostbusters mimicked our personality elements, Stay Puft might be lacking Gozer's controlling essence, but the residue of Gozer's last intention lingered, and is guiding it." Egon continued
"Which is why you told me to head for Central Park West, right?" Winston asked.
"Well, that's it, then." Venkman rolled his eyes. "The Farbsilver Corporation is already threatening to sue us for the damages to the building from last time--we better stop this monkey before he wrecks a few more floors of it!"
The viewer's eyes narrowed. I know that idiot...wasn't he there when the Ghostbusters blew up their headquarters? This is probably all part of their hoax too...
Walter J. Peck had seen better days. His red hair was messy and greasy, and his stubble was well on its way to a full beard. The EPA had quietly put him on "indefinite suspension" after that fall's mess; Peck had no doubt Mayor Clotch's influence saw to that. See if I vote for you again in '85, Asshole...
He'd had one job offer--a letter still sat unopened on his desk bearing the return address of the Bureau of Unidentified Flying Organisms, but he knew they were an underfunded fringe operation filled with kooks. It'd be scarcely better than working for the Ghostbusters themselves.
There was a knock at the door.
When he opened it, the delivery girl gave him fruit basket. He already knew who it was from, but he looked at the card anyway.
Peck roared and nearly threw the basket into the garbage, just as he had the one he'd received right after his "indefinite suspension". Don't be so hasty, Walter, there's not much food around here...
Then the building shook.
A second later it shook again.
"It can't be..." he said aloud, realizing that the rhythm and the scale of the noise he was now hearing was very familiar.
He looked out the window, and saw the Ghostbusters' clown car speeding down the street. They've got to be going at least twenty over the speed limit, too...
And then the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man came into view, merrily stomping down the street, just as he had weeks before.
"I can't believe they're putting this scam again already..." Peck muttered. "The Marshmallow Man, really? Don't they have the originality to come up with a different setting on their hoax machines?"
Peck ducked for cover as the Marshmallow Man stomped right by his building, causing it to shake so violently Peck feared it was about to collapse.
When it had subsided for a few moments, he peeked out. The Bureau of Unidentified Flying Organisms is looking better all the time... A mean smile crossed his lips. It may be a pit of kooks, but that might be even better. Maybe it's something a smart guy like me can use to shut down the real kooks once and for all...
In record time, the four Ghostbusters threw open the 1959 Cadillac Miller Meteor's rear door and scrambled into their proton packs.
"And here we are with the Marshmallow Man again." Venkman quipped. "I hate the winter rerun season."
"Full stream!" Egon barked.
"I just had a thought..." Winston started to say.
"FIRE!!!" Ray shouted.
The lumbering, ever cheerful figure of Brobdingnagian destruction was washed in alpha particles, and he roared in displeasure.
"And once again I forgot my chocolate bars and graham crackers!" Venkman yelled.
"I think we're slowing him down..." Ray shouted.
"He's not as powerful as he was as Gozer." Egon noted.
"...Anyway, like I was saying, we got him, but what are we gonna do with him?!" Winston finished his earlier thought.
"Oh. Shit." Egon said, eyes widening in horrified realization.
"He...he won't fit in a trap!!!" Ray cried, sounding close to panic.
"Switch off and get the fuck out of the way!!!" Venkman yelled.
The four Ghostbusters scattered at maximum speed.
Stay Puft looked around, and, perhaps not being sure which of the annoying little men with the burny sticks to squash, shrugged and continued on his path to the Shandor Building.
The four Ghostbusters regrouped at the parked ECTO-1. "He's ignoring us now!" Ray shouted.
"You make it sound like a bad thing." Venkman quipped.
Egon pulled off his red-rimmed eyeglasses and wiped his sweaty face. "I can't believe it didn't even occur to me we didn't have anything to trap him in."
"We're all still kinda making this up as we go along, Homeboy." Winston shook his head, a small smile on his face nevertheless.
"What kind of power we need?" Ray asked.
Egon pulled out his PKE Meter.
"It still looks weird to see you with that new meter." Venkman joked. "You had those ones you made out of Dr. Thompson's old shoe polishers for so long..."
In less serious circumstances, Egon might have gone on at length about the reasons behind the Model 2.0's casing, but this was not one of those less serious circumstances. "Power 8, Ectopresence 18...It would take a trap with somewhere along the lines of a dozen times the containment capacity of the ones we have to capture the Destructor."
Winston rolled his eyes. "How many we got in the car?"
Egon, Ray, and Venkman all looked at each other, confused. "Four on our proton packs, eleven more in the ECTO-1--fifteen." Ray answered. "We had sixteen, but I...er...left one on the roof of the Shandor Building during the Gozer battle and..."
"I don't see where that gets us." Egon shook his head. "We need the containment capacity of a dozen traps, not..." he trailed off.
"Which we have." Winston pointed out. "Instead of thinking about how to create a way to create a trap a dozen times more powerful, we just use a dozen traps."
Venkman's Cheshire grin appeared. "Remind me to give you a raise, Zeddemore."
Ray chuckled excitedly. "Like you said, still making it up as we go along!"
"Now that we have an idea..." Egon asked. "How do we implement it?"
An ear-splitting noise filled the sky.
Sleigh bells ring, are you list'ning?
In the air, snow is glist'ning
And lots of flashing lights to draw his attention
"I didn't have time to dig out Thriller, Peter!" Ray shouted back.
A beautiful sight
We're happy tonight
Walkin' in a winter wonderland
A different kind of groan came out of the Destructor's mouth. Something almost...approving.
The lights and music...they were so...
In the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he's Parson Brown
Venkman snarled inside.
He'll say "Are you married?", we'll say "No, Man
But you can do the job while you're in town!"
It's like it was taunting him about his earlier argument with Dana.
"Okay. This year, you're fine. But we're going to have to talk about this eventually. That's what people in relationships do. I mean, they'd be your family too if we ever get married." Her voice repeated.
Okay okay fine...we'll talk about this. he told himself Sometime before next Christmas, I promise...
"NOW!!!" he heard Egon shout.
Winston Zeddemore ran into position, away from the others, and lined up a shot.
His proton beam caught the candy horror at something approximating it's knee. Stay Puft tottered, his balance disrupted.
Winston's beam joined the others in holding the Destructor fast.
"It hits the ground it's gonna hurt..." Venkman pointed out. "And I mean all of us, something that big smacking into the street."
"Which is why we trap it before he hits!" Ray countered. With that, he dived onto the four foot pedals arranged on the ground in front of him.
Several dozen feet away, Egon more sat on four more foot pedals.
Winston ran to four more arranged in a line, going into a combat crouch and triggering them with his side.
Venkman just shrugged, and hopped onto the three in front of him.
Later on, we'll conspire
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid
The plans that we made
Walkin' in a winter wonderland!
The music and the lights had come from the ECTO-1, which had been parked on Stay-Puft's path to the Shandor Building.
On the street below him, where he writhed in the four proton beams, fifteen ghost traps opened wide, cones of white light reaching toward the sky.
And ripping into the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
As the Ghostbusters watched, the giant white form began to distort and pull apart. The Destructor made a garbled scream of pain and outrage as he was ripped apart, flying into over a dozen different directions, straight into the glowing maws of the ghost traps.
The proton beams switched off. The music track ended.
For a few seconds, the silence of the night was broken only by the rhythmic beeping from the fifteen ghost traps.
Ray and Egon hesitantly approached the array of trap.
"Looks...looks like it worked." Ray finally said.
The four Ghostbusters high fived each other. Even Venkman managed a grin.
It disappeared when the tape player started to belt out "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas". "Could we turn that thing off, please?"
"Grinch." Ray muttered, as he walked over to the car and shut down the speakers.
"That might be awesome to see." Ray nodded.
"What next, you guys let it out every once in a while for walkies?" Winston chuckled.
"Don't be absurd, Winston." Egon replied, adjusting his glasses.
"Heh." Janine grinned, poking Egon's arm. "Looks like you got a Christmas present you like after all--discovery in the name of science."
"Well..." he said. "It certainly is of benefit. That is not to say I don't appreciate the tie. How did you know that pea soup green is my favorite color?"
She shrugged, and looked away enigmatically. "Just a lucky guess."
Ray and Winston looked at each other, rolling their eyes.
He looked around. It wasn't like where he was before; it was far more ethereal. He...liked this better.
He realized that he sensed something...
Four green men, who looked a lot like the guys who shot him with the burny sticks, were looking at him.
"The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man? How is that possible?" the one with the weaselly face asked.
"It's a ghost." the slightly portly one said. "The impostors trapped it."
"Yeah. So who cares?" the muscular one said. "You found a way out of this thing yet, Egon?"
The tallest, skinniest one looked annoyed. "Not yet."
"But you designed the technology!" the weaselly one whined.
"Yes, but not this upgraded Containment Unit!" the skinny one retorted, even more annoyed. "This impostor clearly has combined some semblance of my genius with it's own twisted sense of innovation to make it more secure than I realized. But give me time. I will find a way out of here. And then they'll all pay..."
Stay Puft realized that one word kept floating into his mind as he saw the four green men.
"Oh Shit!!!" the four Anti-Ghostbusters said in unison, as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man reached for them.
In a matter of seconds, they were gone, popped into the Destructor's gaping maw. Stay Puft belched loudly.
"EXCUSE ME..." he boomed.
His mother crying.
His father flashing his Cheshire grin and lamely trying to play it off as no big deal.
"Next year, Maggie, Peter, I promise."
A lifetime of broken promises.
Christmas fucking sucks!!! I hate it!
"This is getting unbearable to watch." the red haired, bearded man said, shaking his head. "It's next year he gets set right, correct?"
One of the other two entities, shrouded in a hooded robe that left his face completely in shadow, didn't speak but visibly nodded.
The last of the three, a blonde woman, made an exasperated noise. "It's about time. Even knowing it all works out in the end, it's aggravating to see so much time wasted on bitterness. So who's our case this year?"
The bearded entity pulled a scroll out of his robe and unfurled it. "Unpleasant fellow who bought his father out from his own company. Woodrow Wainwright Fraser the Third." He rerolled the scroll and tucked it away. "Should be an easy one."
With the melody of "Deck the Halls" wafting the breeze once more, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future took flight to perform their sacred task.
Lois Stantz, Carl Stantz, and Jean Stantz created by Richard Mueller. Lois appeared in "The Spirit of Aunt Lois" (RGB 76005, #241), while Carl and Jean were in the GB1 novelization. Gaylord Stantz is mentioned in "The Joke's On Ray" (RGB 175003, #401). The names of Ray's former brother-in-law and niece are fan creations by Fritz Baugh.
Kaila MacMillan created by Brian Reilly, based off a character seen (but never named) in The Real Ghostbusters#23 by James Van Hise and Neil Grahame.
Most mentioned members of Janine's family appeared in "Janine's Day Off" (RGB-76044;#201). Aunt Bela mentioned in "Roller Ghoster" (RGB-76053,#208): Victor's name established by "Victor the Happy Ghost"(RGB-76062,#224) . Michelle and Aaron Jacobs created by James Van Hise and Neil Grahame. Other names and development by Fritz Baugh.
Walter Peck's appearance includes a bit of foreshadowing to "Big Trouble With Little Slimer" (RGB 140005, #311). Keymaster Cologne is a reference to 88MPH's Ghostbusters: Legion miniseries.
I suppose, being a Christmas story, it's inevitable that the end foreshadow both "X-Mas Marks the Spot" written by J. Micheal Straczynski (RGB 75013,#113) and the IDW comic "Past, Present, and Future" written by Rob Williams (which is not necessarily full GBOT canon).
Dana Barrett's brothers are mentioned in passing in the GB1 novelization by Richard Mueller. Development of Dana's family was by EGB Fan.