THE MONSTER THAT IS A COOKIE

By Fritz Baugh

GBI Case File GBNY-1984-2/456
New York City
1984. Ghostbusters Omnibus Timeline Year Two
(Some time after "Mr. Sandman Dream Me A Dream" and Ghostbusters: Legion)
The eyes of Dr. Raymond Francis Stantz darted left and right nervously as he entered the basement of Ghostbusters Central. He was relieved--if only just a small amount--to see that his only company was the humming Ecto Containment Unit, green lights occasionally blinking on its round red surface.

Coast is clear... he mused to himself, carefully examining the box he'd snuck down with him.

He reached to open the box...

The door into the basement opened. Winston Zeddemore appeared.

Ray quickly shuffled the box behind him.

"Hey, Ray, you seen the air compressor? ECTO-1's tires are a bit low. I know you did it last week..."

Ray's chubby face twisted with contemplation. "Crap, I...oh, yeah. Egon grabbed it yesterday. Said he needed it for his quantum diffusion experiment."

Winston blinked. "How does an air compressor factor into quantum diffusion?"

Ray shrugged.

"Just what is 'quantum diffusion' anyway?"

"Um..."

"Yeah, I thought so. Another one of those things he made up because he probably borrowed it to fix that flat tire on a certain yellow VW but didn't want to admit it to us."

Ray chuckled. "Probably."

Winston rolled his eyes. "I swear there are days I want to smack some sense into that man so hard...anyway, I'll go check in the lab. Thanks, Ray."

"No problem!" Ray said brightly as Winston turned and left. Ray exhaled.

Ray had just sat at the desk next to the Containment Unit when the door opened again. Ray shuffled the box behind a couple of ghost trap frames.

For half a second, Ray thought a zombie had appeared. But then he realized it was just Peter Venkman with only about two hours sleep in him.

Venkman didn't seem to even register Ray's presence as he woozily went to the washer, threw in some clothes, stopped to pick up the boxers with rocket ships on it that fell out when he threw the rest of the clothes in, loaded the washer, activated it, and turned and left. Ray was pretty sure he heard Venkman snore.

When he said he could do laundry in his sleep, he wasn't joking. Ray remarked to himself.

Ray waited a few seconds, then gently pulled the box back out.

Just as he was about to open it, a familiar green, potato-shaped ghost appeared.

Ray gulped. "Something wrong, Slimer?"

Slimer babbled confusedly, then sniffed the air.

Slimer drifted closer to Ray. His babbles became a bit pleading.

"I don't have anything, Slimer. Just this steamed broccoli."

Slimer looked at the box. It did, indeed, carry the words to the one food Slimer hated and feared. Slimer shrieked and zipped out of the basement, leaving a splotch of slime on the roof.

Finally... Ray exhaled, opening the box. He hated decieving Slimer, but this was a special circumstance. Inside the box were a dozen chocolate chip cookies. I really should stop eating these. Look at all the weight I've put on since I've stopped smoking...but damn, are Aunt Lois's cookies good...

Just as he was about to take his first bite, the fire alarm rang, and he could hear shouting in a distinct Brooklyn accent.

F***... Ray groused to himself.

Ray was the last one to make it into the garage. Janine Melnitz was blowing a bubble as he scampered to the desk. Winston, Venkman, and the fourth Ghostbuster--Dr. Egon Spengler--were already waiting.

"Sorry I'm late..." Ray shrugged.

"You're never the last one here." Winston chuckled. "It's always Peter."

"I...er...got caught up in what I was doing." Ray explained.

"I would say whether Peter is here or not is open for debate." Egon said, adjusting his glasses. "At least in some senses of the word."

Ray had to admit, Venkman still looked zombified. He was half tempted to ask Egon to turn on his PKE Meter to be sure.

Spengler had other ideas. "Janine? Are you planning to finish that glass of water?"

Janine looked a little flustered, as she often did when ever Egon actually addressed her directly. "Huh? No...I was gonna use that to water the tulips I brought, but then Slimer ate them..."

Egon nodded. He made just the barest approving smirk, which caused her to fluster all over again.

Egon then took the water and threw it into the face of the barely conscious Venkman.

"Gah! What! I wasn't sleeping, Uncle Alf! Honest!" He looked around. "Huh?"

"We got a job, Peter." Winston told him.

"In the middle of the night?"

"It's ten fifteen and thirty-eight seconds antemeridian, Eastern Standard Time." Egon pointed out. "The sidereal time is..."

Venkman waved his hand to make him quit. "Like I said, the middle of the night."

"So where's the call, Janine?" Ray said after clearing his throat.

She picked up the invoice and tore off one of the carbon copies. "Stuff flying around at the MacDuff Cookie Company."

Egon's eyes widened. "A cookie factory? Fascinating..."

"Aw, man, as long as this isn't as bad as that Conrad's factory a few months back..." Winston grumbled.

"Those guys make good cookies." Venkman said. "Almost as good as those ones Aunt Lois makes."

Ray shuddered nervously. Did he realize, even though he was zombified?. "Great. There goes my diet."

At this point, Slimer appeared, grabbing Venkman enthusiastically, babbling the word "Cookie?!" over and over again.

Venkman yelped and said several words that would have never made it onto Saturday Morning Television. "No! You're not going! You'd eat up every bit of profit we might make on this job."

Slimer started crying pathetically as Venkman shrugged him off. All this talk about cookies...he could even swear he smelled cookies...but it was down in the basement, and he didn't want the steamed broccoli to get him...

"I got time to start my laundry before we go?" Venkman asked.

One Hour Later
The ECTO-1 pulled to a stop.

"Man, this really is the Conrad's job all over again." Winston sighed.

There were screams as factory workers streamed out. Blobs of cookie dough were flying out the open and broken windows.

"Could be worse." Venkman said. "It could be something really unoriginal, like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man on the rampage again."

"Get real, Peter." Ray rolled his eyes. "Stay Puft is in the Containment Unit. We'll never have to worry about him ever again."

The four Ghostbusters pulled on their proton packs. They made quite a sight in their flight suits, with identical cuts but individualized color schemes. There were a few other differences--Venkman refused to tuck his pant legs in; Ray sported a set of ecto-goggles; Egon had his ever-present PKE Meter clipped to his belt--but in the span of about a year, they'd become a formidable ghost fighting force.

They just had to dodge the flying cookie dough.

"You're eating too much of this stuff lately, Ray." Venkman quipped. "You're putting on weight and everything."

"It's a known fact that chocolate chip cookies are extremely unhealthy." Egon agreed.

"Says the guy who has a Twinkie with every meal." Venkman retorted.

"Peter, you're exaggerating." Egon said. "I had a cupcake with breakfast instead."

"I stand corrected."

This stuff isn't quite as good as Aunt Lois's... Ray said to himself. But man, is this gonna be a test.

The four Ghostbusters ran onto the factory floor.

"I quit." Venkman quipped.

Standing in the middle of the floor was a giant, blobby-limbed monster. It was easily fifteen feet tall, and throwing around the industrial equipment like it was styrofoam.

It was made completely out of cookie dough.

"Wow." Ray said, face breaking into a satisfied grin. "It's a Cookie Mon..."

"Don't!" Venkman barked.

"You just mad I got there first!?" Ray said, clearly a bit hurt by the harshness of Venkman's interruption.

"No, no..." Venkman shook his head. "Just keeping us from getting sued for trademark infringement. I had enough of listening to lawyers drone on about 'intellectual properties' when we sold the movie rights and Columbia found out about those Kong and Spencer losers."

Ray rolled his eyes. "Okay, fine. It's a Monster That Is A Cookie. That okay Mister Fielding?"

"Works for me." Venkman nodded.

"Now that we're done discussing the legal issues, can we just blast it now?" Winston rolled his eyes.

Egon shook his head. "It won't do much good. It appears to be a sort of tectonic entity, forming its body out of the raw material around it--in this case, the raw cookie dough. Shooting it would be about as effective as shooting cookie dough. Though...now that I think about it...that could be an interesting method of cooking it. But perhaps I should start with popcorn first..."

About then, the Monster That Is A Cookie noticed they were there. With a gruff roar, it grabbed a table and hurled it at them.

Fortunately, though it was strong, it was slow. The four Ghostbusters scattered, the flung object missing them handily.

Winston opened fire. "I don't see much choice--we gotta do something."

Venkman shrugged, and joined in. "Right about now I almost wish Slimer did come along. He could just eat the damn thing."

Ray, who was right next to him and also firing, took the opportunity to mock Venkman's earlier comments " 'You'd eat up every bit of profit we might make on this job.' "

"Better than being dead!" Venkman retorted.

The proton beams washed over the Monster That Was A Cookie. The air filled up with a distinct smell: the delicious aroma of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

"Aw man, it's worse than I thought..." Ray said, his mouth literally watering. "My stomach is growling!"

"Even worse, Egon was right--I don't think it's doing anything to stop it!" Winston added.

The Monster growled and bellowed. It lurched forward.

The Ghostbusters scattered--Ray and Venkman going one way, Egon and Winston the other.

"WHY THE F*** IS IT FOLLOWING US?!" Venkman shouted as the Monster plodded after them.

"We must look tastier." Ray quipped.

"I keep telling you to let me do the jokes!" Venkman retorted. "Yours just aren't funny! Like right now! If this thing eats us I'm never talking to you again!!!"

"Egon, you all right?" Winston asked.

Egon's voice, muffled by the barrel he'd stumbled into, expressed an affirmative.

Winston managed to drag him out; he looked no worse for the wear, other than being covered in powdered sugar.

"I hope you didn't eat too much of that, Egon." Winston chuckled. "We don't need you going into sugar shock on us."

Egon coughed a cloud of white powder. "Highly unlikely. Pure sugar has not been one of my favored methods of obtaining glucose anyway."

Winston rolled his eyes. "Remember that next time we get powdered doughnuts. We need to find a phone."

"What for?" Egon asked, wiping off his eyeglasses.

"This is a sentence I don't like saying, and I'll deny it if you tell anyone, but 'Peter was right'." Winston shivered. "An out of control Cookie Mon...Monster That Is A Cookie requires extreme measures. Like a big green undead stomach with a bottomless pit of an appetite."

Egon mused as they furtively looked for a phone. "I'm hoping that the new technology of cellular phones pans out. I could envision a portable wireless phone unit the size of a pack of cigarettes within the next twenty years."

"Anyone else I'd say you're on something." Winston shook his head. "But you're the guy who designed a backpack size nuclear accelerator, so what do I know? But man, do I have trouble picturing it in my head as anything other than a Star Patrol rerun..."

"There!" Egon pointed, spotting a house phone. Winston grabbed it, and a slight grin came to his face.

"It's working."

"I thought you said you wanted to get Slimer here." Egon asked.

"Take too long for us to drive there and back, and Ray and Peter may need us." Winston answered. "Fortunately, I know that someone at HQ owns a little yellow Volkswagon with freshly aired tires."

"Um..." Egon looked slightly sheepish.

Winston rolled his eyes. "Don't worry, I'll do the talking. I just need you to authorize some mileage and overtime for it..."

Ghostbusters Central
Janine flipped through the pages of the latest Couture magazine. " 'Dig The Big Craniums? Five Ways To Turn On A Scientest'?" she read aloud. "About time they put in an article I could actually use..." She flipped a few more pages. "Hm...Scorpio...'It will seem like some angry creator is out to keep you from recieving your due. Forces beyond your control will make your life miserable and lead you into bad decisions. But stick to what you know is what you really deserve, and it will be yours in time.' " She sighed. "I really oughtta stop reading this junk..."

Slimer appeared and blabbed something.

" 'Read your horoscope'?" Janine said. "You don't even know what your sign is! I don't even know if ghosts have zodiac signs..."

The phone started to ring. "Ghostbusters. How can I help you?"

"You sound like you're in a good mood."

"Winston?"

"Janine, we need a big favor. Your car still works, right?"

She blinked. "What?"

"Egon and I need your help with something."

She sighed. You play dirty pool, Zeddemore "Whadya need?"

She listened to him for a few seconds, eyes growing wide. She shot Slimer a glare that unnerved him.

"Ovetime, mileage, and the cost of getting the seats cleaned..." she growled.

"It heard about those Oreos you ate last week, Ray! That's why it's pissed!"

"But Oreos are from a different company!"

"That's why it's pissed! It thinks you like them better!"

"Dammit, Peter, I'm about to just trip you and let it have you!"

"You're just mad because I can run faster than you! And it's because of all those cookies you keep eating!"

Ray was trying to think of something to retort back, and only coming up with I don't have to outrun angry boyfriends as often as you do (and deciding it wasn't really a good idea, what with Venkman's recent bad break-up) when he noticed something...

"This way!" Ray shouted, turning a corner. Fortunately, the corner led quickly to another corner--he and Venkman hid behind that, and the Monster That Is A Cookie lurched forward after the first turn.

Venkman and Ray panted for a few seconds.

"Well, okay, now what?" Venkman said quietly, to hopefully not draw the Monster's attention.

"I saw someone up on the second floor, where you can see it from the factory." Ray told him.

"Kinda suspicious that he'd be lurking around when everyone else ran, huh?" Venkman nodded.

"Exactly..." Ray agreed. "He's gotta know something everyone else doesn't."

"So we better see if we can find out quick--before..."

"ROOOOOOAR!!!"

"I just had to open my big mouth."

"Run away again!" Ray cried.

The yellow Volkswagen skidded to a stop outside the MacDuff Cookie factory, right beside the throngs of evacuated employees standing behind the ECTO-1.

She tugged at the freshly made Ghostbusters flight suit she'd commissioned. The recent incident with the Sandman--where Janine dreaming of being a Ghostbuster was key to saving the Ghostbusters and the whole world from five hundred years of naptime--had inspired it. She decided not to go with the "dream suit" (white with red collar and cuffs) because, well, white's so damn hard to keep clean. She decided to go with a brownish-orange and pale blue for the collar and cuffs.

"Aw, man, is it this bad?" one of the factory workers said as Janine got out of her car. "The Ghostbusters had to call for backup?"

"You don't know the half of it, Lady..." Janine sighed, moving to the passenger side, where Slimer had been buckled into a car seat (one formerly belonging to Janine's sister Doris, for use with Doris's son Victor). Slimer babbled excitedly. "Cookie?"

There were several loud crashes, and then loud screaming (Sounds like Ray and Dr. Venkman. Janine thought to herself. Hope it doesn't hurt Ray too badly...)

"I think you wanna go that way..." Janine pointed, unstrapping Slimer from the seat. Slimer floated up, drool starting to come out of his gaping maw.

Egon and Winston appeared at the door into the factory. "You're here!" Egon called.

"Hey, you call, I come. I thought you'd figured that out by now." Janine quipped. Oh Adonai, I just said that? Thank goodness Dee or Venkman aren't here...

"Um..." Egon flustered. "I, um, meant Slimer."

Winston elbowed him. "Flirt later--Ray and Pete may be getting turned into bite-sized morsels. We gotta go!"

"Slimer!" Egon called, pulling a Munch bar out of his pocket. "This way!" He tossed it into the open doorway.

Slimer hurled himself inside after the candy.

"Thank you." Egon said, simply, giving her a quick glance before he and Winston ran back into the factory after Slimer.

She quickly turned back to her car, hoping no one saw the deep blush she'd developed. There was a proton pack there, just in case...but she didn't feel ready to use it. Not yet. But soon...

"Dammit, Uncle, now look what you've done! I had this under control! I..."

"Hey. Folks." Venkman interrupted. "You notice there was a little bit of problem down on your factory floor? Or is the Musak system up here just. That. Loud?"

There was a younger man and an older man; the older one wearing a suit, the younger a baker smock similar to the factory workers. He was covered in flour, and strangely enough, was wearing a headband with a couple of lit candles attached to it.

"Ghostbusters!" the older man shouted. "About damn time ye got here!"

Ray flinched, just a little--the older man had a thick Scottish accent, which reminded him more than a little of his late mother. Carolyn MacMillan Stantz had mostly lost her native accent by the time Ray was born, but it had a tendency to come out when she was angry (usually at Ray's brother Carl). "Are you Mister MacDuff? Sir, I would recommend leaving the premises forthwith, as there is a powerful tectonic entity, probably either a Class Two or Class Five, manifesting a Psychokinetic Power rating of at least four. I suggest..."

"Suggest nothing!" the younger man shouted. "Look, it's all a misunderstanding--you jokers can just vacate the premises! I have this under control!"

Venkman and Ray looked at each other. There was another round of Monster growls.

"I'd hate to see what you'd call not being 'Under control'." Venkman quipped.

The older man spoke up "Look, I'm Silas MacDuff, I own this place, and I called you--ignore my idiot nephew--this is all his fault!"

"What?" Ray blinked.

The nephew rolled his eyes, exhaled, and tried to look a little less angry. "Look, you guys are businessmen, right? You know what it's like to deal with employees and all their problems, right?"

"You wouldn't believe..." Venkman started to agree.

"Peter..." Ray growled at him.

"So I figured, what if I could replace all the employees? Not have to deal with them whining about their breaks and their lunches? Not have to deal with the unions and the pension funds and actually have to pay them and all the crap that gets in the way of me making more money? You understand, right?"

Venkman nodded. "Oh wow...I think I..."

"You finish that sentence and I'll slug you, Peter, I swear to God."

"I came up two great answers: the first is to spend piles of money buying off politicians. But since that sounded like it'd probably take a decade or two to really work, I went with plan B: I found this ritual that let me summon up some spectral help."

Ray facepalmed.

"Ye see what I have to deal with?" MacDuff shouted. "I did my sister a favor and let her idiot son work here, and this is how he repays me? Dammit, Donald, I'm going to be spending a lot more money fixing this mess than any overtime or vacation pay would have cost for the next year!"

"You're just being shortsighted!" Donald shouted back. "Think how much extra money you'd have if you did it my way! I swear, I listen to the 'Smarter than the smarties' and 'Tougher than the toughies' and 'I made it square' crap one more time, I'll puke all over the floor!"

MacDuff punched Donald in the stomach. The younger man doubled over, and vomited on the floor.

"Well, you got the 'puke all over the floor' part right." Venkman said brightly.

"He just started hanging out with a bad crowd in college, I think." MacDuff rolled his eyes. "Kept raving about this stupid book about Greek gods shrugging or something...made it sound like being a selfish asshole is a good thing."

Venkman looked a bit sheepish, and coughed.

"Atlas Shrugged!" Donald groaned. "And it's a great book! It changed my life!"

"Y'see what I mean?" MacDuff rolled his eyes.

"I wouldn't know, Sir. I read Lord of the Rings instead." Ray said.

"Now what the bloody hell are you going to do about the monster my sister's hellish drop has conjured up?"

Ray shrugged. "That's a real good question, Mister MacDuff."

They heard the loud, Marine-tempered shout of Winston Zeddemore: "HEY! CHOCOLATE CHIP BREATH!!!"

"Of course, could be our idea man's already been working on it..." Venkman suggested.

Moments Ago...
"Quit trying to stop and eat each cookie blob, Slimer!" Winston shouted angrily.

Slimer looked hurt.

"It's okay, Man--we got the mother load coming right up!" Winston said in a more reassuring voice.

"This way!" Egon pointed.

The two Ghostbusters and one ghost ran to the main factory floor, where the Monster That Is A Cookie had gone back to destroying stuff.

I sure hope this means Ray and Peter got away, and not... Egon started to think, before pushing the thought out of his head.

"There!" Winston said, gesturing to the Monster. "HEY! CHOCOLATE CHIP BREATH!!!"

The Monster turned and looked at them.

Slimer's eyes went wider than dinner plates. His jaw almost literally fell to the floor, slimy drool starting to pour out of it.

The Monster howled and started to move toward them.

"Bon appetite, Slimer." Winston said.

Slimer, perhaps imitating something he'd seen from Winston, clasped his hands in prayer, looked to the sky, and muttered his thanks. He then yowled in ecstacy, and soared toward the Monster.

The Monster suddenly had second thoughts.

Ray, Venkman, and MacDuff appeared on the railing. "Egon! Winston!" Ray called.

"You are copacetic, I see." Egon noted.

"Not me, Spengs, I had my fiber this morning." Venkman quipped, looking to the battle between Slimer and the Monster. "Oh. My. God."

"That's...quite a sight, isn't it?" Winston said.

"I think I'm going to have nightmares for weeks after this." Venkman shook his head.

The Monster howled again, but this time it was a plaintive shriek as it was quickly devoured.

"Get ready!" Egon barked. "The entity should be fleeing the product mass..."

A misty vapor, roughly in the same form as the now devoured Monster, congealed and staggered.

"...Now!!!"

Four proton beams slammed into it. A few seconds later, Winston threw a ghost trap, and the floor of the cookie factory was quiet for a moment, before the silence was broken by a massive, rafter-shaking belch.

Slimer lay on the floor, cookie dough smeared all over him, bloated to three times his regular size. A crooked grin adorned his face.

"There, Donald--ye see?" MacDuff turned around to berate his nephew again. "You always wanted to take the quick way--I worked myself up from nothing to have what I have now, and one thing I learned is that treating people well pays off in the long run."

"Am I fired?" Donald asked.

"Hell no." MacDuff scoffed. "You're going to be gainfully employed here until this disaster is completely paid for out of the garnishment of your wages. Which will take some time, as you have been demoted to assistant toilet scrubber--but work hard, play by the rules, and you'll rise through the ranks to full toilet scrubber and work off the bill that much faster!"

Donald grumbled and looked at the floor as his uncle handed him a dirty toilet brush.

Time's like this I'm glad my Scottish uncle lives in Scotland Ray grinned to himself.

"Well, we better go collect Slimer and get going." Winston said.

Venkman had just finished handing MacDuff their bill. "We'll take half off if we can just leave him here..." Venkman said brightly.

"No thanks. He saved muh bacon today, but I'd go bankrupt in a week."

"(sigh)...Had to try." Venkman shrugged, as the other three Ghostbusters gave him dirty looks."

Ghostbusters Central. Two Hours Later
Ray waved at Venkman as he left with his laundry basket. "Naw, Peter, just gotta finish the weekly check on the neutron flow calibrations. It's what I was working on before the call!"

Ray waited a few minutes, and sighed, finally reaching to where he had hidden Aunt Lois's cookies.

He had just taken his first bite when Slimer floated into the basement.

"Aw, crap..." Ray groaned.

Slimer looked at him for a few second, made a dismissive gesture, belched loudly, and floated back off.

Ray chuckled. "How sweet it is." he said, finishing the cookie.

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