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[personal profile] gone_byebye
"I don't get it," Janine was saying as Ray came down the stairs. "This is like the fourth or fifth month in a row I've been getting all of these data charges on my bill. Am I hitting the internet button by mistake when I put it down on the desk or something?"

"It wasn't me," said Ecto. "I use the Firehouse's internet connection. Hi, Dad."

"Hi, kiddo. Morning, Janine," Ray said.

"Morning, Dr. Stantz. You're up early," Janine answered. "Hey, Ecto, you think you could maybe figure out what my phone's doing?"

"I can monitor it from now on, but I can't really go back through the records," the car said apologetically. "I don't have access to that kind of data."

"That's okay, just keep an eye on it for me." Janine set the iPhone down on her desk and pushed it towards the car. "Thanks."

"You're welcome. What's up, Dad? You're usually kind of a zombie first thing in the morning."

Ray shook his head. "I'm trying something to get ready for October this year," he said. "What with paranormal activity ramp-up starting earlier every year and all I thought I'd better get ready ahead of time."

"Ha," came a squeaky-voiced, sour laugh from the direction of Janine's desk.

"Quiet, you," Janine ordered Peck. The fish flickered one pectoral fin through its castle window in the closest approximation of a rude gesture a Siamese fighting fish can make, then ducked out of sight. "What kind of getting ready?"

"Caffeine detox," Ray said. "I haven't had coffee, cola, chocolate or Third Rail in a little over a week."

Janine stared, wide-eyed. Ecto let out a startled honk. Even the fish poked his head out of the castle for a moment. "Jeez, Dr. Stantz," Janine finally said, "you're committing suicide?"

"No! No, no," Ray hastily assured her. "I'm just going off the stuff for a while-"

"You did talk to a doctor about this, right?" Ecto said. "I know how much you drink, Dad."

"It's going to take a lot more than caffeine deprivation to kill me, Ecto," Ray said. "Trust me, I-"

"Believe me when I say I mean no worry or concern by this," said Peck, "but given your workload and your less-than-healthy means of coping with it, you must be out of your mind."

"Look, every October since Gozer first showed up's been a nonstop knockabout round of pure insanity from start to finish," Ray said. "Last year's incident went completely over the top, what with the arrival of both Great Cthulhu and Gozer's second Destructor incarnation. We haven't had any reported activity beyond the usual from either R'lyeh or the North Magnetic Pole this year, but that doesn't mean there isn't something waiting in the works, and I for one would like to be in a mental state where any decisions I may have to make regarding whatever's coming will be the product of a reasonably well-ordered mind not completely overclocked on caffeine and adrenaline beyond the chemical tolerances of the normal human brain."

"Nice lung capacity, Ray," came Peter's voice from the direction of the stairs. "That was what, seventy-five words before you remembered to stop and take a breath?"

"Some of us are better at conveying our thoughts all at once than others, Peter."

"Yeah, whatever. I'll go put on some decaf for you."

"Good luck," Janine said, "but I kinda have to agree with Peck on this one."

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Raymond Stantz

February 2014

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