14 North Moore Street
The jumpsuit was in the wash, and the last of the pinkish yuk had come out of Ray's hair under the onslaught of the strongest concentration of Dr. Bronner's available. Slimer had been fed on copious quantities of big-box store brand chocolate cereal and spiced sugared watermelon seeds. Veggie Heaven was delivering the evening's order of Egon-approved Chinese food sometime in the next twenty minutes. Life, overall, was good.
Then came the rap at the door. "I'll get it," called Venkman from downstairs. Ray just sighed; once, just once, it would be nice to have an evening undisturbed by-
"Guys?" called Venkman up one of the poles. "We've got lawyer sign!"
Oh, crap. They'd been promised that the legal end of the matters in Poughkeepsie would be settled by the federal government. This couldn't be good.
The lawyer, when Ray and Egon and Winston arrived, was one of those people who looks as if they were constructed from a single too-flawless piece. From his slick black hair to his impeccably tailored suit to shoes that could not possibly have walked on the streets of Manhattan and escaped that unscathed, he was exactly the kind of person that Ray knew instinctively must not be allowed to speak to Venkman. Egon must have noticed the quality too, because as Ray stepped forward on Venkman's right, Egon did the same on Venkman's left. "Is there a problem, sir?" Egon asked.
"No, Dr. Spengler, no problem at all," said the man with a smile too symmetrical to be human, in a voice oddly familiar but not quite identifiable. "I represent the legal firm of Wolfram and Hart-"
"Oh, no," said Ray suddenly. "Oh, hell no. I remember you guys-"
"And we remember you, Dr. Stantz," said the man, unperturbed. "Rest assured I am not empowered to practice law in your continuum. We have no branches anywhere on this Earth or its close affiliates. No, I've been contacted by certain... powers, shall we say... to ensure that the document they wish to bestow upon you is completely air-tight according to local law and tradition."
He reached into his briefcase (which was made of a leather so black it gave back only enough light to inform the eye that it was there in the first place) and withdrew a folder resembling a diploma case.
Venkman started to reach for it; Ray and Egon moved to cut him off. Ultimately Winston accepted the article instead and flipped it open. His brows drew together sharply, and he looked up. "Be it known, for value received, the undersigned entities, including but not limited to Haborym, Earl of Theft and Destruction; Geryon, Personification of Fraud; Shax, Great Marquis who- waaaait a minute-" Winston flipped through several of the pages. "This is all just names and titles!"
"Not entirely, Mr. Zeddemore. Please have a look at the last page."
"-permanently and without dispute, for the remainder of existence of the space-time continuum, all right, title, and interest in and to the following: one (1) soul-"
Venkman, who had been reading over Winston's shoulder, blurted out, "This is the contract for Walter Peck's soul??"
"Not a contract so much as a transfer of any claim thereon, Dr. Venkman. A contract would imply that something was being traded in exchange for said soul. So far as Pandemonium is concerned, the value received is more than fulfilled by the act of taking that burden off our hands."
"So what you're saying-" Ray glanced over his shoulder at the fishbowl on Janine's desk.
"That's correct, Dr. Stantz. Whatever might happen to him otherwise, Hell does not want Walter Peck."
Winston broke the silence with, "So what do we do with him?"
"Change his water every few days?"
"Besides that, Peter."
"I'm sure you gentlemen will think of something," said the attorney smoothly. "While I can't say anything for our counterparts on the other side of the ideological fence, I doubt they'll be claiming him any time soon, given his predilections and prior behavior. Just don't breed him, and we should be all right."
Four simultaneous expressions of 'ew' struck the Ghostbusters; the attorney smiled. "I do wish you gentlemen luck. It's been an interesting experience, in all honesty- and I can't say that I want to go through it again. I've had more than enough humiliation for one age of the world; the possibility of getting this transfer wrong-"
Humiliation? Ray thought- and then leaned forward to peer at the attorney. "Yes?" said the attorney, lifting one eyebrow. "Was there something?"
"Morgannon?" Ray asked, astonished. "Is that you?"
The attorney merely smiled, holding up one finger to his lips in a 'sh' gesture; then he looked to the others. "Do take care, gentlemen. There are far, far bigger things afoot in this world than you have ever dreamed, and they mean neither you nor us well."
And with that he was gone, leaving only a faintly lingering odor of brimstone behind.