7 YEARS LATER
Albert and Thomas Spengler were Egon and Janine's identical twins. They were perfect replicas of their father, and were as warm-hearted as they were bright.
During their splitting process as an egg, they had come so close to not dividing, they had almost been semi-conjoined. Egon hadn't been able to resist scanning them one day with the P.K.E metre and made a fascinating discovery.
"They're joined at the soul," he told Janine, showing her the scan.
That got them wondering if all identical twins shared this trait, or if this was unique. Of course, Egon being Egon set up an ad for identical twins willing to test this theory.
Over the course of a month, he scanned fifteen sets of twins and none were joined the way his babies were.
Egon wasn't sure if he was deeply proud or concerned about this.
What did it mean?
Janine told him not to worry, and bought him a sugar-free chocolate bar.
The whole family had gone sugar-free sweets as Janine didn't want the boys getting their father's sweet tooth. She had asked Egon if he was happy about this and Egon agreed it would do them all good. He found he could concentrate better on work ("Oh Lord!" Janine had groaned at the time).
Both Albert and Thomas shared their father's love of science, and Thomas had inherited his mother's love of books. He was always seen absorbed in something by Einstein or Hawking.
Egon had bought them a copy of Tobin's Spirit Guide, as he was keen for his children to know about ghosts. He believed it would help them fear them less. Albert and Thomas quickly learned the book by heart, and when they weren't playing with chemistry sets, they were playing outside on bikes, or with water pistols.
One night, when the lights were turned down low so that the glow-in-the-dark stars showed to full effect, Egon read them a bed-time story. The door was ajar, letting the yellow hall light spill onto the carpet.
When Egon closed the book, Thomas said suddenly, "Dad, I want to be a Ghostbuster,"
"Me too," Albert chimed in, "It's the coollest job ever!"
Egon's eyes sparkled, "When you're old enough, you just might be. If you still want to be by then,"
"Yeah!" they said, enthusiastically, "I'm going to be just like you,"
Egon gave them big hugs and kissed him goodnight. They exchanged 'I love you's' and he crept out.
Janine saw the look on Egon's face as he leaned against the bedroom doorframe.
"What?" she asked.
"Our sons want to be Ghostbusters," Egon glowed.
"Oh my god!" Janine half-laughed, not unproudly. "That's really sweet. Well, it's up to them when the time comes, but when they find out the reality of it ... "
"Absolutely. Even so ... " Egon said, hanging up his dressing-gown, "I could have burst with pride,"
He got into bed beside her, took off his glasses, and gave Janine a soppy look.
"What now?" she said, rolling her eyes.
"I want another one," he drawled.
"We're not having more children," Janine grinned, "But I do have a surprise for you,"
She handed him a pair tickets.
"Holiday in London!" she beamed. "We're going to the Science Museum!"
Egon, Janine, Albert, and Thomas were going on holiday. Egon drove the family car, a yellow-orange old Volkswagen Beetle through the busy roads of London. Red double-decker buses and black taxis passed them on either side, and people bustled about on the pavements.
They were on their way to the science museum, and it was hard to tell whether father or sons were more excited.
Albert and Thomas wore child-sized lab coats over their jumpers.
Egon grinned and glanced over his shoulder, "All together now kids -" he said, taking a deep breath, the cue for the family song.
The three of them started singing 'The Elements' by Tim Lehrer:-
"There's antimony, arsenic, aluminium, selenium,
and hydrogen and oxygen and nitrogen and rhenium,
and nickel, neodymium, neptunium, germanium,
and iron, americium, ruthenium, uranium,
Europium, zirconium, lutetium, vanadium,
and lanthanum and osmium and astatine and radium
and gold and protactinium, and indium and gallium ...
and iodine and thorium and thulium and thallium ..."
Janine put her face in her hand and groaned.
"Not this one again! Can you kids please sing something mummy likes instead?"
The boys whined. "But mummy only likes songs about neurotransmitter receptors releasing phenylethelamine and oxytocin," Thomas grumbled.
Most parents would have been stumped by this wordy response, but years of living with this company had made Janine familiar with science jargon.
"I'm allowed to like love songs, Thomas," she replied, calmly.
"But they all make me nauseous!" Thomas said.
"You should look where you're going. It's probably motion sickness," Albert said, knowledgably, gazing out his window and scanning their passings with their father's P.K.E meter, "Adapt to the conditions, Thomas, the symptoms will dissipate,"
Janine glanced over her shoulder.
"Hey! I told you not to play with that! Daddy's P.K.E meter's not a toy,"
"I'm not playing, I'm experimenting," Albert responded, automatically.
"Egon!" Janine said, turning to him for support, and noticed his expression.
"You let them have that, didn't you?" she muttered.
"Um ..." Egon hummed, guiltily, "I thought it would be educational,"
"Not on holiday, Eeg," Janine said, firmly, "Come on,"
To her son, she said, "Put it away please, Albert,"
Albert wilted everso slightly, but did as she asked.
"Good boy. Hey! I tell you what," she added, addressing both boys, "How about we all get cookies when we arrive?"
The boys cheered.
The museum was fantastic. There was a model of the moon landing, steam trains, old motor cars, and a flight simulator. Albert and Thomas were wide-eyed as toddlers at Christmas. Janine half-listened as the boys and her husband conversed in science jargon. She idly stirred her tea, letting out the smallest of sighs.
Egon glanced her way.
"Are you alright?"
"Oh, I'm fine," she said in an overly bright way.
Egon rubbed his chin, sensing she was feeling left out.
He noticed something across the room and smiled.
"I have an idea," he said, and pointed towards what he had seen. It was an iMAX screening that read :-
" Explore a world invisible to the naked eye. "
"I don't know," Janine said, sceptically.
"Trust me, you'll like this one," Egon insisted. He and the boys shepharded Janine into the theatre.
By the end, even Janine found herself smiling.
"Ok, ok, I admit it. I understand why you like it so much. That was beautiful!" she told the other three. "I liked the rainbows, the time lapse of the owl, and the heat vision moment - Not so much the close-ups of the bugs (That was gross!), but, alright, I understand the appeal,"
The kids cheered, and after Egon coaxed them, they ran off to entertain themselves for a bit, taking their map with them.
"Stay on this floor, kids!" Egon called after them.