The Plan

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

There were times when Peter Venkman wondered when his life had gone so wildly out of control.

He'd had a Plan. A very definite Plan. The Plan had not included running around with fifty pound nuclear accelerator on his back and getting doused with ectoplasm every couple of days. Well, hell. Who planned on ectoplasm? It was like a disgusting marriage between snot and styling gel. No one in their right mind planned on getting covered in that crap.

No, The Plan had been much more mundane. The Plan had included college and his doctorate, yes. But after that it had gone more along the lines of private practice, lots of money, and a trophy wife. Peter had always thought it was a shame that the concept of the trophy wife had gone out of style. He'd get a beautiful woman to show off and she'd get a sweet set up to enjoy with minimal effort. As long as they both knew the score, what was the problem?

Most people, he knew, would figure that things had first diverged from The Plan in the New York Public Library, after encountering the ghost in the basement. But Peter knew it started long before that.

Friends hadn't been a part of The Plan.

Acquaintances, yes. Peter was good at glad handing and he'd known since his undergrad that a successful private practiced depended on having lots of wealthy clients. The more people he knew in the right places, the more referrals he was likely to get. He'd been keeping an eye out for his client base since the first year of his undergrad.

But friends? You couldn't plan on liking someone. More than that, you couldn't plan on them liking you. (Hence the trophy wife.) Peter had planned on being a lone wolf instead. Independent. No hooks in his ass or bumps in his road. When you were on your own you always knew where you stood.

Then he met Egon Spengler.

Peter had to cut himself a little slack when it came to Egon. The man was so improbable, from his name right down to the fact that he not only understood Peter, he actually liked him, that anyone could be forgiven for letting him sneak up on them. And he really had snuck up on Peter. One minute he was the geek in the next office and the next he was Peter's first real friend.

So The Plan had been revised. Really, it hadn't been that much of an adjustment. Egon sort of fit into the empty grooves between the trophy wife and the private practice. In one of their occasional arguments, Peter had compared Egon to the mildew that contaminated the grout between shower tiles. Actually, that had been the end of the conversation. Egon had been oddly pleased at being compared to a variety of fungi.

Anyway, aside from the fact that Egon disapproved of the trophy wife part of The Plan, it still all fit together pretty well. Of course, once he'd fit Egon into The Plan, it wasn't all that hard for Ray to work his way in there. And once Ray had worked his way into The Plan, he and Egon seemed to take up some sort of conspiracy against The Plan, because the next thing Peter knew he was part of a three man research group on parapsychology, of all things, instead of a private practice, and the only women he was seeing regularly were his test subjects.

He tried to resurrect The Plan after they'd gotten kicked out of the University. He was pretty sure he could still manage the trophy wife, and busting ghosts was a unique service, right? If there was no competition, they could charge an arm and a leg for it, right? That would take care of the money part, right?

Right. Except every time the End of the World rolled around, it really drained the company coffers taking care of it.

After the third or fourth time that happened, Peter had thrown his hands up and given up on The Plan altogether, trophy wife included. And you know, funny enough, when he stopped looking for the requisite trophy wife, there was Egon, waiting patiently for Peter to realize he could have so much more than he'd planned on.

Suddenly Egon's particular prejudice against The Plan made a whole lot more sense.

The guys had been telling him for ages that his plans left a lot to be desired. Tonight, curled around Egon, sweat cooling on his skin, Peter admitted privately that they'd been right at least once.

To hell with The Plan.