As the month progressed, ghost sightings became steadily less frequent, therefore work became less frequent. This was good news for Janine and Egon, as they got more time to spend together, but it meant income went down.
Soon, something would have to be cut.
One day, a row broke out between the guys as they were having lunch. The argument started by Peter suggested should go, and Ray was dumbfounded when Egon agreed.
“Slimer?!” Ray was appalled.
“I’m sorry, Ray,” Egon said, gently, “but Slimer’s expensive. He eats too much. We can’t afford to keep him. If he leaves, we save at least a hundred dollars a week on food,”
Peter nodded. “Well he’s already going, isn’t he, when he passes on?” he said, in a reasonable tone, biting into a sausage sandwich, “What difference does it make?”
“The difference is that he’s not got a choice!”
Peter slammed down his sandwich, squirting ketchup on himself, “And neither – Oh damn! – neither do we,”
Egon handed him a napkin. Ray looked at Egon, desperate for support, but Spengler was on Peter’s side.
“He’s right, Ray, there’s no way we can afford to lose the ghost equipment now,”
Ray fumed, silently, for a bit, then stormed to the door ... and stopped dead.
Slimer stood in the doorway, baring his exit. One green hand was balled into a fist, the other was hiding something in it.
“Slimer!” Ray cried, delighted, “You’re still here! The Reaper hasn’t taken you yet!”
Then he saw the look on Slimer’s face and backed off. Peter and Egon saw it too and leapt to their feet. Slimer was mad and they were in no doubt why.
Ray stepped backwards until he met the other two back at the table.
“Slimer,” Peter said, voice quavering, “didn’t you know it’s rude to eavesdrop on private conversations about you?”
But Slimer was in no mood for jokes. His yellow eyes glowed like hot coals as he slowly advanced on the Ghostbusters. The lights in the room flickered, the fridge door burst open and slammed again, and the sandwich in Peter’s hand exploded, flecking them all with ketchup.
Peter had half a mind to reach for his proton wand. Slimer looked ready to blow.
But Egon was staring, tensely, at Slimer’s hand. What was he hiding in it?
“Hey, buddy, we can explain,” Ray began, but Slimer growled at him, “or we can shut up,” Ray said, quickly.
Slimer’s eyes stopped glowing, and the lights stopped flickering, but the guys watched him nervously. Egon was particularly scared, for Slimer kept on glaring at him.
Then, to explain why, the ghost opened his hand and showed Egon what was in it.
“Slimer, listen,” Egon said, raising his hands, “it’s not my fault this is happening,”
Slimer darted at him. For one horrible second, Egon thought he was attacking him, but Slimer flashed past, out the open window.
He turned on the spot to face Egon, and held the essence out, to one side, at arm’s length, threatening to drop it. Down below was a main road, where it would be crushed under traffic.
Egon rushed over.
“Slimer, don’t!” he yelled, leaning out the window. He stretched out a hand, but Slimer was well out of reach.
“He’s bluffing,” Ray muttered, trying to convince himself.
“What’s he got?” Peter asked, confused.
Egon still hadn’t told Peter about Gabriel, and was half-hanging out the window.
“Slimer, if you want me to help you, you have got to give that back!”
Slimer narrowed his eyes and lifted two of his four fingers. He was now holding the dish between finger and thumb.
“Slimer, please! I can’t beat The Devil by myself!”
Slimer’s expression slowly changed.
“You win. You can stay,” Egon told him.
Slimer looked at Ray and Peter, wanting their agreement.
“Come on home, boy,” Ray said, gesturing. Peter rolled his eyes but nodded.
Slimer smiled and began drifting towards them. Suddenly, he flinched and gave a distinct yelp of pain, clutching his chest.
“What is it?” Egon cried.
Slimer gave Egon one scared look, and without warning, the ghost vanished.
Gabriel’s essence fell through the air as if in slow motion. It hit the ground and bounced out of sight towards the gutter ... and the drain. Egon shut his eyes, unable to watch it be lost forever.
Egon drew back into the building and shut the window. He leant on the sill with both hands and bowed his head.
“What was all that about beating The Devil by yourself?” Peter asked behind his back, “What do you two know that you’re not telling me? What was that Slimer had?”
Ray was looking shifty, but Egon made his decision.
“The demons are coming,” he explained. He moved from the window, up to Venkman, and looked him in the eye.
“The arch angel Gabriel told me so,” he said.
Ray carefully watched Peter’s expression, but Peter said nothing.
“The Devil himself is preparing to unleash his minions to wreck havoc,” Egon went on, “We’re his primary targets ...”
His voice trailed away as he suddenly worked something out.
“I promise you I will torture whomever you choose to forewarn,” “Is that your price?” “Sure, why not?”
Egon’s knees gave way and luckily, for him, he landed in a chair.
“Whoa! Are you alright, Egon?”
Egon was far from alright, for he had just worked out how The Devil was going to torture him.
“He’s going to kidnap Janine!” he croaked. “The Devil’s going to kidnap Janine!”
“Janine?” Peter said, confused, “Why Janine? You just said we were gonna be Satan’s dart board,”
Egon stood up very quickly.
“You’d better watch your mouth, Venkman, ‘cause that’s my girlfriend’s fate you’re joking about,”