Title: Spirit's Rumble!
Summary: In the Scranton branch, strange things are happening... Is it Jim's fault? Michael's? Or really a restless ghost? Mulder and Scully investigate!
for my sister
Moonlight filtered thinly through the blinds drawn down over the large office window. Nothing stirred in the room – it was three-thirty in the morning and nobody prowled through the empty rooms. The last routine check had been made by the security guard three hours before. Silence reigned as one by one, the pencils inside the containers and the boxes in the store room flew out and scattered along the floor – spelling out a word again and again in zig-zag...
"Mulder, it's me." Scully squinted up at the inconspicuous grey block before her. Rising grey and grim out of the winter snow surrounding it, the office building looked unsuspicious and rather boring.
Nothing exuded from it - no pain, or weird aura. There were no aliens peeking around the corner, nor was there any kind of UFO hovering overhead. In fact, looking around her, Scully couldn't help but think that this must be - once again - one big mistake.
"Hey, Scully..." Mulder's voice whispered over the phone. "Arrived yet?"
"Where ARE you, Mulder?" Scully huffed, turning around as if expecting her partner to appear from some surprising place in the parking lot.
"In the bathroom."
"The WHAT?" The red-heard FBI tried and failed to keep her voice down.
"Listen, Scully. We've got no time for this. Have you read the files I sent you?"
"Yes - but, Mulder, I don't -"
"I installed myself as a temp here, the better to work undercover."
Scully rolled her eyes and sagged against the door of her car.
"Mulder. This is crazy! I am aware that there have been documented cases of poltergeists before - historically speaking, the hunting of poltergeists is a tradition not only in America but across Europe and even the rest of the globe. However, scientists have posited that such instances may be traced to static electricity, ultrasound or even electromagnetic fields - forget all the times in which poltergeist activity has been revealed as nothing more than fraudulent poseurs. Don't you think this is - rather - over the top for what is more than likely another office prank?"
"Scully, when have I ever been wrong?"
"Don't make me answer that one now."
"Listen. Never mind. I will go in there and play the bad cop, you get together all the proof you think you have - so that our asses won't be on the line yet again."
"The file is -"
"Not enough, Mulder. Now, get to work, and don't make me haul your ass back home."
With that, Scully snapped her cellphone shut and sighed. Mulder would be the death of her. He would.
Michael Scott: Now... people often say that religion shouldn't be talked about in the office. But... (looks down) I think... that is really quite narrow-minded of them. Really... narrow-minded... (stares earnestly into the camera) I mean... Isn't it all hokey-pokey anyways? Who cares about whether it's Merry Xmas or Merry Christmas - as long as they are giving you something better than an oven mitt? Still... (shrugs) people get caught up in all of this... this... (waves hands) discussion... and well... let 'em. Here. There... Everywhere... In the office... Out... Heck, even I make sure that no black cat crosses my path... or whatever... Knock on wood... Heh...
It was yet another boring day in the office. Jim Halpert, Sales Representative of the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch, poked out his bottom lip and tapped it thoughtfully with his pencil's eraser. Ignoring Pam's mock sympathetic glances, he tried to focus on his work - and yet again, failed. Part of him wanted to get up and tell Pam a funny joke at Dwight's expense - but Angela was more grumpy than usual and had given him a particularly loathsome look which made him feel rather uneasy.
"Keep that up, and you're gonna die from poisoning," Dwight's know-it-all voice broke into Jim's wandering thoughts.
"Pardon?" Jim blinked at Dwight, taking some small delight from his work partner's annoyance. "Sorry... you said something?"
"Damn right I did."
Jim blinked at Dwight.
Dwight fumed, then snatched the pencil away from Jim's lax fingers.
"You. Are. Wasting company property. By CHEWING. and... otherwise ruining valuable resources -"
Jim stared at the half bitten pencil eraser and the teeth marks along the bright yellow-brown wood.
Damn... I'm bored...
He groaned inwardly and sighed. Then froze minutely with a brain wave.
"It's nutritional," he said quietly, effectively silencing Dwight's rant. "My doctor gave me strict orders. He said it was some sort of..." He paused to think for a bit. "Magnesium graphite kind of deficiency."
"You're not serious," Dwight deadpanned, leaning forward to look at Jim closer.
"Magnesium graphite something or the other... I've had this complication since I was about..." Jim picked a random number. "About... six years old... yeah..."
"Wow... and do people get this a lot?"
"Hmm... I don't think so," Jim said. "So... if you don't mind..." He took back the pencil and nibbled on the wood. "I need to get back to my... medication..."
Pam was hiding behind her monitor - all you could see was her hair tie bobbing up and down as she cracked up in silent laughter.
Jim's day already felt better.
Pam: Jim is more bored than usual today... (guilty grin) Um. Sometimes he's really really bored, so... pulling Dwight's leg is the only thing to keep him awake. It makes me laugh too... (smiles fondly)
Dwight: The poor man. I mean... (shakes head) Not that I am sorry for him. He deserves every genetic defect in the world... I wouldn't be surprised that it has affected his mental capabilities... Ha... well... The Schrute geneology would NEVER have anything genetically corrupt like that... (stabs finger at camera) Magnesium graphite deficiencies... heh...
Pam looked up. A nice red-headed lady was at the counter.
"How can I help you?" asked the brown-haired secretary, laying down some papers she had been sorting.
"I'd like to talk to a..." Here the red-headed woman flipped through some files. "Michael Scott - manager for this branch."
"May I ask your name?"
"Dana Scully. I'm with the FBI."
Dwight: FBI... I bet that in this office... there's some sort of terrorist... (turns to stare out the window into the rest of the office) Do the Taliban recruit gay Mexicans I wonder? Or maybe Jim has done something... naughty...
Creed: I've got nothing to hide. Really, nothing to hide. Let the FBI look all they want. They won't find nuthin' on me. (sits back with crooked grin)
"Michael Scott," Agent Scully sat down and rifled through some papers for her notes. "Thank you for making time for me today."
"No problemo, no problemo," the manager grinned quickly as he leaned forward. "Glad to help the F.B.I!!"
Scully's lips twisted as the regional manager struck a mock heroic pose. The suave man leaned back in his great leather chair, laughing heartily.
"Yes, well. All I need is to talk to your employees and yourself about certain activities which have been surfacing at this branch."
Michael: Here at Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch, I run a tight ship. Really tight. (nods) In fact... we're all tight here. Especially... Meredith... (chuckles)
"Was that corporate?" asked the newest temp called Fox.
Angela smiled tightly up at the brown-haired man.
"FBI, I heard. But that's not surprising, considering what goes on here..."
"Oh, I don't know..." Oscar shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "I'm sure it is all one big mistake which will sort itself out."
"Maybe Michael's been tax evading... or Pam was put on the Most Wanted list," the large, food-loving accountant chuckled himself.
Oscar looked pained. Fox blinked at the animosity on Angela's face as she sanitized her hands with her favorite hand lotion - rubbing alcohol.
"Well, it's not because of you," she said sharply as she returned to her work. "It's not like the FBI would be out for a gay Mexican."
"Yes, activities. Activities which can be best described as paranormal..."
"Wait, wait," Michael snorted. "Paranormal as in ... 'ooooOOooo'" He mimicked the Twilight Zone theme rather badly - but then stopped at the sight of Scully's disapproving face. "Sorry. I just... Um... Yeah... What do you want to know?"
"We have on record that there have been issues with furniture and other office supplies being tossed about... Is this correct?"
Michael Scott steepled his fingers and tried to look thoughtful and interested.
"Um... Well... There have been a few times when the furniture was found moved or switched... But... I mean... that can happen anywhere, right? I mean, high office jinks and all that..."
Jim: Would I move around furniture and pretend there's a poltergeist at work? I dunno... (looks around and grins guiltily) I don't know if it's safe to say right now...
"So how do you like it so far in the Scranton branch?" asked Kelly. "I think it's a great place, don't you?"
She hugged her cup of coffee closer and smiled up at the new temp. In her opinion, he was just as cute as Ryan. If not more. While Ryan had beautiful deep set eyes and a slight appealing frame, this newbie was downright gorgeous. With obvious admiration, Kelly's dark eyes drifted down from the adorably scruffy hair, past a strong forehead, nice nose seperating melting brown eyes - down to strong lips and a firm chin.
Yes. Really perfect. His height and lean, light-weight frame were perfect.
Perfect, perfect perfect!!
"Um... yeah... It's great... You have been here long?"
"Oh yes!" smiled the young woman with a shrug. "I've been here for a while. Too long I guess. But it pays, right? Even if people here have a huge lack of taste. Like... Dwight. I mean, don't get me wrong - I think Jim and Ryan and Pam and all of them are just too cute - but sometimes, you know, you just have to take a break from people and get out, ya know? I used to be with Ryan. But... he just... well... I don't know - I just think he wasn't ready for something real... But at least he has taste, like, he knows how to party, how to dress, how to be professional... instead of the other losers around here, like, say, Dwight. Who, I'm sure you know is a first class moron and, like, is -"
"Do you wanna rescue him?" asked Meredith, cocking her head toward the employee kitchen where Kelly was boring Fox stiff with her bright chatter.
"Who?" Creed blinked, turning around.
"The new temp Fox."
Creed craned his neck.
"We got someone new?"
Ryan: Should I feel jealous? I don't know... (looks thoughtful) But really... This is... the best thing... really the best thing... to happen... (shrugs) I pity him though... (looks thoughtful) again Should I warn him?...
"So there have been instances where furniture has been moved or supplies have ended up in weird places. In the file, there were several mentioned cases - let's see..." Agent Scully flipped some pages over and looked through a list. "Pencils missing. And then turning up all over the floor in zig zag patterns. And also words spelling out "DEATH". Desks and/or chairs switching around. Bristol boards turned upside down, facing the wall or on the floor. Notes intermixed between the stations. Food smeared all over the kitchen floor. Your walls had ketchup on them spelling "DEATH" again. Another instance of "DEATH" showing up as the screensaver on all of the computers. And -"
The FBI agent looked up and adjusted her glasses as she noted that the regional manager seemed more engrossed with realigning his tacky gold statue. Her sharp cough brought the man back to attention.
"I'm sure that it all sounds bizarre..." Michael Scott laughed and leaned back. "But, you know... 'loosen up' is the motto here at Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch. So... I'm sure this is all just..."
Scully tilted her head as the desk rattled a little. Her eyebrows knotted together as Scott's knuckles whitened on his edge.
"Well, if it is okay with you," Scully rose politely, closing the conversation neatly. "I'll just ask your staff some questions and let you get back to your work."
"Hey, hey!" Michael Scott came around the desk and escorted her out his office. "We're always ready to help - hahaha... That's what she said!"
The FBI agent's eyebrow rose a microscopic inch.
Ryan: Great. Just great. (runs hand over his face) Now... this branch looks... really in control... of a moron...
Kevin: The redhead is kinda hot... I don't mind if she interrogated me alone... especially if handcuffs were involved... (chuckles)
"Okay everyone!" Michael Scott said in a very loud voice. He dropped his arms and rubbed them together.
Everyone turned to him, with long-suffering looks. Angela absent-mindedly reapplied sanitizer to her hands. Kevin popped open a potato chip bag. Phyllis put down her knitting - but Stanley merely finished another entry for his puzzle. Jim put on his best "I'm listening and am trying not to laugh look". Dwight's eyes, if they were lasers, would have iced the FBI agent on the spot. Both Ryan and Fox who were huddled by the photocopier looked on with bland interest.
"This nice lady is -"
"Dana Scully, with the FBI."
"Is Dana SCULLY with the FBI. She's here to investigate the, uh, strange occurrences in this office -"
Dunder Mifflin Scranton Branch held its breath.
"I belieeevvveeee... that it is in relation to all that, you know, all that poltergeist silliness happening lately. 'Kay? So... she may have questions she needs answering and stuff and um, yeah... Just give her a hand and try to refrain from making any nasty comments about superstitious people or faith or spirituality or anything, okay? This workplace is the place where we all should gather in unity to work -"
Angela sniffed, Dwight nodded enthralled.
"So, I'll ask you all to treat Miss Scully -"
"Agent Scully," Scully interjected.
"Yeah - whatever -" Michael flapped at careless hand. "With respect and try to help her, okay? All right people! Let's do it!"
"Aren't you just... a little nervous?" asked Phyllis, as she stuffed moved her knitting to the side of her workstation.
Stanley didn't lift his eyes from his crossword. Just grunted.
Angela: I don't think I'm being proud when I say that I am not an ignorant, superstitious person. Or narrow-minded... either. I just think people should - I don't know... grow up? It's really quite... obvious... who is... responsible for all this...
"So it's not you?" Pam asked in a whisper, as Jim bent over the secretary's counter and poked at her candy.
"No. I mean - you think I could do all that stuff?"
"Well... I just thought..."
"No. Yeah... no... I'd..." Jim glared at the candy, unable to meet her eyes.
"Sorry... I shouldn't have -"
"No. No. It's not your fault -"
An awkward silence.
"I know I have a reputation for messing around with Dwight's head. But I wouldn't take Phyllis' knitting and unravel it."
"No, of course not," Pam agreed hurriedly.
Another awkward silence.
"The question I have to ask is..." Jim paused for effect. "What Kevin has been up to lately. Doesn't he look..."
Pam and Jim turned and looked at the largest and slowest moving accountant in the branch. His eyelids drooping shut, hand still in his potato chip bag, Kevin looked quite out of it. The brown-haired secretary snorted and giggled. Pam smiled up at Jim whose brown eyes were dancing with charming glee. Their gazes held and then Jim looked down, his chest suddenly rather tight. Pam glanced at her computer monitor uncertainly.
When she looked back up, Jim was gone. Biting her lip, she tried and failed to focus on Michael Scott's appointment lists.
"Mulder, it's me."
"Where are you?"
"I'm in the woman's washroom. And I am going to kill you when this is over."
"Help yourself," grumbled Fox as he perused the vending machine for anything with nuts. "I'm dying here..."
"It was your idea."
"Mulder... I've talked to the regional manager. He seems to think it's just another joke."
"Scully... Have you seen these people?" Mulder rubbed his forehead, decided on a chocolate bar with distaste and slotted his money in. "Just looking at these people... Do you honestly think it is something actually like a large scale prank? Half of them look bored, and the other half look incompetent. Just talk to them. You'll see."
"Fine. Fine..." Scully slumped against the toilet door. "But you owe me. Big time."
Scully emerged from the bathroom and looked around the room with a deep sigh. A sad-eyed man with fair, thin hair emerged from the kitchen and made his way over to her.
"Can I help you with anything?" he asked quietly.
"Well," Scully scanned the large open room. "I need to have privacy for my interviews. Is there some sort of an extra room or -"
"We have a conference room. Right over there. Here, I'll show you."
The man lead the FBI agent over to a largish room (relatively speaking), with a round table and tons of padded chairs around it. Like the rest of the building, it had neutral wallpaper, the same boring blinds and depressing carpeting.
But it will do the job. Privacy is a must for this...
"Thank you..." Scully cocked her head in silent enquiry.
"Toby Flenderson. Human Resources." He shook her hand.
"Do you mind starting first?"
"Great," she said, shutting the door behind her quietly. "Let's get to it, then."
Toby: The last thing corporate wants is something like poltergeist rumours. It lacks... taste... I think... But... considering this is the Scranton branch... Considering... past history... and Michael... (shrugs) I am not suprised.
"So, Mr. Flenderson... do you remember the first time you noticed anything strange?"
"Well... define strange..." The man shrugged. "Lots of... things... happen here..."
Toby: Should I have said that?
"What kind of things?" Scully looked quizzically through her glasses at the man.
"Well... at first, it started really simple. Desks, chairs, supplies being switched around. But then... it got a little worse. Unnerving..."
"Yes... especially the 'death' word... correct?"
"That too... but..." Here, the Human Resources Representative leaned forward and folded his hands. "You must understand that we have our own local poltergeist in the form of Jim Halpert. I have a boxful of complaints from Dwight Schrute about Jim's little pranks. Most of us around here think... it's just another Jim scheme. So we've said nothing..."
"So you just think it's another coworker pulling pranks."
"Well..." Toby hesitated. "In some ways, yes. But..." He shrugged. "I don't know... some of the things, Jim wouldn't do..."
"Question." Dwight Schrute leaned forward to glare into Jim's glazed over eyes. "In what year was the Interstate Commerce Act created and why?"
Jim just stared at his annoying coworker. He bit on a pencil.
Ryan, talking about fax procedures with the new temp Fox, strolled past Creed and Meredith. Meredith was massaging her temple. Creed was popping something green into his mouth and crunching loudly.
"Nervous yet, young man?" Creed asked around a mouthful of peas.
"Not unless you're a terrorist or drug-trafficking..." Fox chuckled.
"Or excessively drinking," Creed chuckled.
Meredith sat up straighter and glared.
"Like Marilyn here..."
"Meredith," hissed the hungover Supplier Relations Representative.
Fox laughed nervously.
"I don't think FBI would show up for something like that... I mean... then... I think we'd all have been in the slammer by now..."
"Talk about it..." Ryan thought, remembering uneasily the drug party he had attended on the weekend.
"We may have a stool pigeon in this place," Creed shrugged. "Not that that would bother me..."
Everyone, including Angela, turned and looked at the old man as if he had grown two heads.
Fox: Life in the office is kinda like one of those acid trips I had back in the day when I was in Oxford and there was this crowd who offered me something... I'm still not quite sure what it was... Scully would know...
Toby left the office and drifted back to his small office and a small stack of complaints to sort through. He suspected that half of them were from Dwight...
Dwight: I hope she picks me first. Because... boy... Have I got alot to tell her...
Scully looked down at the list of names Toby had given her. Raising her eyebrows, she called on Dwight Schrute. A tall man with light hair, geeky glasses and sharp features rose up and followed her in stiffly. Following him in, she couldn't help but notice how uptight he was.
Great. Just. Great...
"Okay, Dwight... Schrute..."
"Okay, Dwight. So I'm here to discuss the strange occurrences in this office. Poltergeist activity, it is believed... Have you seen any poltergeist activity yourself?"
"No, ma'am. But -"
"Have any of your belongings been affected by the poltergeist?"
"Yes, ma'am – however -"
"Do you remember when it started?"
"Of course. I have been recording all instances of the poltergeist myself."
"You must understand... Agent..."
"Agent Scully. We have in this office a real poltergeist – at first... I thought it was Jim. Jim Halpert who is responsible for much company property damage – not to mention my property damage. I have been complaining for quite some time now, but Head Office just doesn't seem to understand how destructive Halpert is. Believe me when I say that his dismissal is the stuff dreams are made of. However -"
"So you lay all of this poltergeist activity at the door of Jim Halpert?"
"Yes. No. No. I confronted him about it. Right after the first occurrence. And he said it was the work of a poltergeist. Not him. So I began to document it – to prove him false. And... ma'am. There is a poltergeist here. Definitely. Which is why I filed a report into the local Sheriff's office, the CIA and the FBI."
Scully sighed as she scrawled down some notes on her pad.
"Ma'am. A question..."
"You are from the FBI?"
"As you can see," she nodded towards her badge which lay in plain sight on the table.
"So then, the FBI do have unsolved case files – which deal with aliens and... paranormal activity?"
Dwight Schrute's voice gained a tinge of awe. A look passed over his eyes and Scully winced as she recognized it as the same fervour which often showed up on the face of her more alien-crazed partner. On Mulder, the passion for truth lit his face up and, she had to admit, more than warmed her heart...
But this guy... Is even crazier than Mulder...
"To a certain extent," Scully said carefully. "But this is a matter with much confidentiality required. I would appreciate it if you -"
"Of course, silence is key. The Schrute family has always prescribed to the safety of America and it's continued prosperity. If you need any help on this matter, I will be more than happy to help."
Scully rose, shook Dwight's hand and escorted him out.
None too soon...
Dwight: I like to think that I made an impression. The FBI will NOT forget the Schrute family's dedication to justice.
"So, Phyllis, I understand the poltergeist targeted you as well.."
"Y-yes..." The older woman answered softly, pushing her glasses back. "But... I'm sure it wasn't Jim. Jim's not like that."
"Why would you think of Jim first?" asked Scully.
"Well... That is... I'm sure... Well, you know... Jim has a reputation... and... and sometimes, Dwight – well, it's funny. We all know... but this is different. It happened to Jim too."
"I see. So this started a few months back, right?"
"Yes. And it's gotten worse. But we just think it will climax and then whoever is doing it, will get bored and stop..."
"Hmmm... Do you know of anyone who would do these things because they are angry??"
"N-no... If it was smaller things... I'd think... Angela... but... it's big things... so... no..."
"If it was any of us," Stanley said slowly, with a sigh, he shifted his crossword puzzle book. "The only people who would get targeted would be Michael and Dwight. That is the plain truth. Everyone likes everyone else around here..."
"But Michael and Dwight would be the main targets if it was one of you people?"
"Yes. I guess."
"What about Jim?"
Stanley shook his head.
"That one's just plain bored. But I don' think he'd just up and unravel Phyllis' knittin'. She's dull like a – a cow... maybe – but not one people would pick on. More like ignore..."
"You gotta unnerstand that... this here office is crazy and borin' and a waste of time... but no one here has the energy to pull somethin' like that. Only Jim. And Jim... like I said. Dwight is fair game... Phyllis ain't."
Jim: Why do I get the feeling that everyone is talking about me? (grimaces) Dwight has been... glaring like a Sith Lord or something... at me. All day. Can't get much worse, can it?
"What's up?" Jim asked.
Dwight bit into an apple and sneered at his fellow Sales Representative.
"You are SO in deep shit."
"I can't wait for them to lead you out of here in handcuffs."
"And if they don't have anyway... I've got a spare pair... Right here."
Jim stared as Dwight brandished some handcuffs.
Pam: It's no surprise that Jim has a bad rep... but... I think Dwight's insinuations are kinda... getting on everyone's nerves...
Creed: Told you there was a stool pigeon around here...
"I thought your Deputy Sheriff days were over," Phyllis asked softly.
"Got them at a special retailer. And only I have the key."
"Seriously?" Jim chuckled and raised his voice. "I didn't figure you for that type."
"Type?" Dwight's eyes narrowed.
"The whole kinky handcuffs in bed..."
"Absolutely not..." Dwight's pale face flushed. Guiltily.
Angela tried to look shocked.
Jim: (laughs) His fa-fa-faccceee...
Pam: (screws face up) That is... ew... bad image! Bad image!!
Michael emerged from his office and looked around. Dwight's glare was now focused on his computer as he talked into the phone. Jim had disappeared into the men's washroom. Phyllis had picked up her knitting, now certain that she wasn't going to be arrested for making her fiancee's gift during work hours.
"So how's it going?" Michael asked Pam who put down the phone.
"Dark nasty interrogations going smoothly?"
"Um... yep. As smoothly as dark nasty interrogations go..." Pam smiled a pained smile at Michael's waggling eyebrow.
"I hope not too nasty..." He laughed. "I wouldn't want to miss out."
"Neither would I," Kevin dead-panned as he gave a memo to Pam.
"Well... Kevin..." The manager laughed awkwardly, looking around at the room as they stared at Pam with pity. "I don't think... anyone here... wants to think about you doing the nasty..."
Kevin stared at Michael, his face unreadable and then stalked off.
"I don't think that was... nice... Michael..." Pam ventured.
"But it's true..."
"It's also true that we don't want to think about you doing the nasty either... but we don't say that either."
"At least, not out loud," Meredith said a little too loudly.
"Well..." coughed Michael. "Has everyone had a talk with the FBI lady yet?"
"No," Pam said, nodding at the closed conference door room. "She's got a bunch to go.
"So, Kelly, keeping this short, you think it could be anyone except Ryan?"
"Well, yeah, like... he's uber straight-laced and totally takes his job seriously."
"Hm. I see... so why would you think... say Phyllis would do something like this?"
"Uhhh... Well... Maybe not Phyllis. Or any of the girls..."
"I see... how about Jim?"
"Oh Jim? Jim's a sweetheart! He'd never do anything like that to Phyllis or anyone else... except... well... maybe that lame brain Dwight... Mister-High-and-Mighty and a big pain in the ass... He really deserves it... kinda... and it's funny to watch... really... it is..." Kelly looked guilty when she admitted it.
Michael: At the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch, we consider ourselves family... and that feeling stays through the good – and bad – mostly good... haha... times... (nods) And when I am watching the FBI agent interrogate my staff... I don't know...
Michael paced back and forth in front of the conference room, peering through the window blinds to watch Scully talk to Kelly who was now crying. He paused as Scully wrote something down in the notepad.
"She's cracking up..." Dwight said with a guffaw. "She's the culprit... Who would have thought?"
"Dwight," Michael said heavily. "That's... that's... that's not even funny..."
Jim: Yeah... who would have thought... Kelly... the girl who knows what Angelina Jolie is gonna wear tomorrow is also Poltergeist Woman of the Century... Really... (tries not to laugh) ... funny...
Michael: When I'm watching my staff break into tears... I feel... like crying too... (gulps dramatically) I mean... it's this whole mother bear syndrome thing... where I want to protect my cub and say 'Stop! You can't take away my children!' (pounds desk and then stops to think)... or chillen if you go by Stanley...
"And then he said to me, 'I'm going away for the weekend to some family thing'. And I was like so pissed because he came to my family thing and enjoyed himself. Why is he so afraid about me meeting his family? I wouldn't judge or anything. Like, I am totally into meeting his mom – unless she's like a monster in law or whatever... but still... it'd be so cool and awesome. But he said 'No'. And then I thought maybe it's because I'm Indian... I mean... most people are cool with it – but still some times..."
Scully's eyes were glazing over.
How did we get on this topic again?
"Mr. Scott," Scully rose, keeping relief out of her voice and off her face. "Did something happen?"
"Happen?" Michael tipped his head. "Happen?" He looked around the room. "Nooo... but... You know... I really think it's too bad that a nice looking woman like yourself has to terrorize someone like Kelly... I mean... I know the FBI have a bad rep or whatever you guys wanna call it... but I mean... have a heart, ya know?"
"Mr. Scott," Scully said, taking her glasses off to glare at the manager. "I am in no way terrorizing Miss Kapoor. Miss Kapoor, you may go now."
"Kelly is okay?" Michael asked as Kelly disappeared into the women's washroom.
"I am sure she will be fine. Now, I need to talk to Meredith... Palmer..."
Meredith got up ungracefully and followed Scully into the interrogation room.
"Perhaps I could help with your -"
"I will be fine," Scully said finally and shut the door.
"She let Kelly go..." Kevin's noted in his customary drawl.
"So it wasn't Kelly," Oscar said looking up from some checks. "I thought not..."
"Well..." Angela replied rather tartly. "That would be expecting too much, wouldn't it?"
Meredith: (totally deadpan) She just asked me alot of bizarre questions. My name. My job here. What happened to my desk... And other stuff... like... that... As if I care about what Jim is up to... Everyone here has different coping mechanisms... I need a drink... so bad... Put me out of my misery...
"So... Kevin. You are an accountant here. And... you think poltergeists exist and are at work here?"
"Do you think it could be anybody else?"
"Well... Jim is always pulling pranks on Dwight. But Dwight's probably told you that already."
Kevin stared at Scully - which made her feel creepy.
"I see. Anyone else?"
Scully made a note.
"'cause she's a bitch."
"D'you think it could be an old employee who used to work here?" asked Fox.
Toby and Ryan looked at Fox thoughtfully. Fox poked at a yogurt container he had packed for himself earlier that day.
Peach... yummy... or not...
"Well... I've not been working in this hell hole a long enough time to say that..." Ryan shrugged, as he stirred his coffee. "But... there was that one guy who worked here... who was let go..."
"Devon, you mean..." Toby sipped his coffee and grimaced at the heat. "Well... maybe... but how would he get in?"
"Maybe he copied a key and is paying Michael back for firing him?" Fox suggested.
Ryan didn't seem to care, Fox mused as he watched the youngest employee amble back to his desk. But then... nobody seems to... maybe the poltergeist is something they look forward to...
"Things like this happen all the time," Toby explained.
"Talk about it," Kevin sighed, coming in to get a diet coke and some more chips. "Remember the gift that Todd Packer left Michael a year or so ago?"
"Gift?" Fox asked – but his question was ignored.
Todd Packer's 'gift' to Michael a year ago was old news. The FBI Agent was not.
"She let you go?"
"What did she ask you?" Toby sipped his coffee again.
"... stuff..." Kevin said after a moment. "But... I don't care... she's hot... I could sit with her all day..."
Fox chuckled, storing it away for future Scully-baiting.
"D'you think the warehouse dudes should talk to the FBI agent, Toby?" asked Michael, poking his head into the kitchen.
"I don't know, Michael," replied the Human Resource representative. "She'll tell you, I'm sure. Who's she in with now?"
"Pam," Michael dropped his voice. "I hope Pam will be okay."
All the guys looked worried.
Pam: I don't know why. But the guys here... worry about me... in their own little way... (wrinkles her nose) Like my mom. I don't know... I'm... the receptionist, I'm independent... I think I can take care of myself... thank you... I'm a big girl.
"So, Pam," Scully said looking up at the quiet receptionist with a smile. "What do you think about this poltergeist activity?"
"Well... it's a little freaky... but I thought it was just a joke..."
"Hm... people have mentioned Jim Halpert. Do you know him well?"
"Um. Yeah... but Jim wouldn't do nasty things like that."
"Dwight Schrute seems to think so."
"Dwight is an ass," Pam said, trying not to explode. "Jim likes to joke around... but this is different. The ketchup spelling death and... the pencil incident... that's... that's... not Jim..."
"What was the gift that Todd Packer gave Michael a year ago?" asked Fox.
Jim looked up at the new temp who was hovering over him. He leaned back and laughed.
"Not funny, Jim," Dwight said nastily.
"It was kinda gross," admitted Jim, hastily. "Basically... um... shit... happened..."
"Yeah... men's humor... but... not my line of work," Jim winked.
Jim: I don't do shit... Not my kind of thing... Too messy... (looks to the side) I think...
"So if it isn't Jim," Scully said thoughtfully. "Who do you think it would be?"
"Well... it's nasty – like Angela – but thoughtless like Michael..." Pam inspected her nails thoughtfully.
"Perhaps... if it is left alone... it will just stop..."
"We shall see about that," Scully smiled aloofly. "There have been historical instances of poltergeist activities that involve moving furniture and breaking items... more often than not, it has been attributed to spirits or unhappy ghosts who have not moved on -"
Pam stared entranced at Scully.
"But also, poltergeist activity turns out to be nothing more than malicious hatred on the part of someone who feels wronged by the victim. Do you think there is anyone like that here?"
Pam: I think we are all victims here... (stares at the camera)
Angela: Working here – with the people I do... makes me a victim already without the poltergeist... all this... (waves hand) is just icing on the cake...
Pam: The list could go on and on... but... um... Maybe the FBI is right and it's something else we just can't explain... that'd... be okay... and... kinda cool... (gives a small smile)
"Mulder. It's me."
"Where are you?"
"In my car, having lunch."
"Where are you?"
"In the lobby."
"I talked to Jan Levinson-Gould who is Vice-President of Regional Sales for Dunder Mifflin. I asked her about the poltergeist activities and she didn't even know it was going on."
"Seriously?" Mulder turned to watch the elevators. "Why not?"
"I don't know... but from what I hear, Michael Scott and this branch are somewhat of a joke in this company..."
"Like our division?"
"Somewhat." Scully smiled at Mulder's light chuckle. "And you can see why."
"The workers here are definitely not the suspect. Unless Kelly does turn out to have more abilities than I credit her for. So far, fashion, society, gossip and dating are her numero uno interests..."
Scully leaned back and sighed.
"I also talked to Daryll."
"Ahhh... And he says?"
"Things have been messed up down there as well. But he knows his boys, he says. And states that none of them would be so stupid as to toss paper around like that."
"Our large suspect list is really narrowing down, then," Mulder inspected his sandwich box."This is getting more interesting..."
"Sure, Mulder. Really interesting..."
"Well... I gotta go..." Mulder looked at his watch. "I wanna catch the others on their lunch break and pump them for information. You remember to interrogate me as well later on."
"Sure. Will do."
"Where is she now?" asked Oscar.
"Went out to her car... no doubt, she's already got her suspect..." Dwight glared rather obviously at Jim.
"Well, can't be Jim, since she's not questioned him yet," Pam replied archly before leaving the kitchen.
"Oh dear..." Phyllis got up hurriedly and went back to her desk to do some more work.
"So, Creed Bratton... what do you do here exactly?"
Creed Bratton, Quality Assurance Officer (if only he knew it), just stared at the red-head.
"I work here," he replied simply. "I do not perpetuate any of those silly jokes that Jim cooks up. And no, I'm not sure if it's a poltergeist or not..."
"Jim has sometimes come around and got us to join in on a prank before..."
"Such as paying us five dollars to call that geeky freak Dwayne. I don't know why though... I thought his name was Dwayne to begin with... apparently not..."
A pause. Scully stared at her notepad.
"So, Jim has a huge history in pranks."
"Yes. The guy sitting next to the lame-brains."
"But nothing like what has been happening lately..."
Creed shook his head.
"I guess not. I don't care... As long as I have a building to enter and a paycheck every other Friday... I'm good..."
Creed: Perhaps I should show that I care a bit more... (crooked smile) But... really... there's not much to say... if I start getting messages through the static of my TV, I'll let her know...
Oscar: Being the only Mexican. The only... um... well... gay male here – or really – being the only homosexual here... you kinda get put in the spotlight alot. And I'm not... really... a performing kinda guy. I just wanna have a quiet life, quiet home, a nice boyfriend... and, well... an ordinary workplace would be nice. Something with no Michael Scott or poltergeist... whoever it is... or whatever... it is...
"She's talking to Ryan now..." Michael said, walking past the conference windows for the umpteenth time. "I hope he's okay."
"I'm sure he's fine," Jim said cheerily.
Fox, the new temp, shrugged.
"I'm sure it'll prove to be just one big mistake..."
"Yeah, like all of the other things that happened," glared Dwight. "Don't take this serious, temp guy! Powers of darkness you can only attempt to imagine are at work here. This isn't something that we can take lightly. Not something that the Scranton branch should take lying down. No sirree!"
Fox's lips twitched.
"Powers of darkness..." Jim murmured. "Maybe something is haunting you, Dwight."
Dwight just glared at Jim.
"You think a black belt is useful against powers of darkness, Dwight?" asked Jim cautiously. "Oh wait..." His voice was sickly patronizing. "... you only have a purple belt..."
"So, you don't have much to say then," Scully gave Ryan a look.
"Well... it can't be much different from the others. We all are pretty... um... tight here... I mean... the space and all – it's not that big... and things get figured out pretty quickly. I'm just new here. Just signed on permanently... and... um... it's pretty flaky at times... but... uh... I mean, it was all a joke, right?"
"Well, Jim... he's normally pulling the pranks around here. We all laugh..."
"But it's not like it's normal for Jim to smear ketchup on the walls."
"No, I guess not."
"So could it be anyone else?"
Ryan thought hard, fiddling with the end of his tie. And then shook his head.
"No... No... I can't... and that's why... it's a little..."
He shifted a bit in his seat.
"A little creepy..."
Ryan: I'm not superstitious. As a rule... Um... Not that... I've got anything against people who are... but... I just... think this is a little weird. And I'm not sure what to think. Or feel about this. I guess I just want things to go back to normal. (frowns) Well... as normal as they can get at Scranton... (stares into camera hopelessly)
Angela: I'm not afraid to say things that should be said. Maybe other people can turn a blind eye because they like him – but Jim Halpert has to be stopped... I had to take my favorite posters home – because one of my favorite kitty posters got shredded two months back...
Oscar: Yeah... That's right... Angela had to take her posters home because the poltergeist shredded one... (sighs and looks at the ceiling) One of the kitty posters... Why not the baby one I hate?... (looks guiltily into the camera) I shouldn't say that... really...
"So you think it's Jim? Why?"
"Well," Angela straightened her skirt for the fifth time. "This office needs an overhaul. New management. New people should be brought in here to work alongside of us – to do... the job right!"
"And you think there are people who aren't taking their job seriously?" asked Scully, feeling another headache coming on.
"Absolutely," Angela shook her head. "They say it's a poltergeist... Impossible. Poltergeist don't exist. I heard that most poltergeist turned out to be just someone pulling a prank for coverage... or it's some sort of scientifically explained accident in nature. There's no way what is happening in this branch is because of some spirit or ghost or whatever. It's Jim."
"Have you seen him do anything?"
"No. But I'm sure he's behind it. He is – always – behind it..."
"I see... So you don't think it's poltergeists at all."
"I'm sure it will turn out to be just another costly prank at our expense – thanks to Jim."
Scully pursed her lips and nodded slowly.
"And if it isn't Jim... I don't know who else it could be. Nobody else here has that kind of..." Angela sighed and shrugged. "Dwight understands the importance of professionalism in the workplace... and the others just don't have the imagination for it."
Jim: I'm a little nervous... Pam told me that the FBI Agent Scully asked her questions with me in them... (scratches head) Not that I'm worried... I guess... I should be honored that my fame is spreading... but... it's... the FBI...
"I guess, I just see Jim doing it. If it was anything else... like... demons or something like that... I'd... consider getting an exorcist in," Angela replied firmly. "But that's all I can say about it. Now, if you excuse me, I have to get back to work."
"Thanks for your help, Miss Martin."
Angela: I'm not the type to tote around large crosses and big Bibles. But I do have principles. In this situation... If Jim is the one... I'll hand him over to the proper authorities without flinching. It's my duty as an honest worker at the Scranton branch... and if it does turn out to be something else entirely... I'll give my reverend a call and get some of my church members to pray over the building... (pauses)... after work hours...
"Hey hey hey! Jan Levinson! Yet another hot babe making my day better!"
"It's still me, Michael," Pam dead-panned. "I'm transferring you now."
"Hello Jan. How can I help you?"
"Hello Michael," Jan Levinson-Gould's voice came sharply across the telephone into Michael's room. "Having a good day?"
Michael looked around and watched Jim get up and go for his turn in the conference room. He glanced at the clock and noticed it was still not time to go home...
"Ummm... yeah... yeah... everything is under control here."
"Mind telling me why the FBI contacted me today about the Scranton branch?"
"Oh that? That? Well..."
"Jim Halpert," Scully smiled as the young man seated closest to the conference door rose up and followed her inside.
Looking at the prime suspect for the poltergeist activity, part of Scully couldn't help but smile. Perhaps it was the open honest expression on the young man's face. It reminded her of her brother – just before he was caught sneaking cookies from their mother's jar. His brown hair, brown eyes and easy smile gave off an aura of approachability without being stupid or ignorant.
In short, she thought, a good salesman.
"So, Mister Halpert, your job here is..."
"Yes... Hm... Enjoy it?"
"It's okay?" Jim shrugged. "It pays the bills."
"But probably rather boring."
"Look..." Jim leaned forward, his boyish face just a little shamefaced. "I know that you've heard about all the stuff I did."
"You've been busy, apparently -" Scully gave a quick smile.
Jim relaxed a little, laughed and leaned back, while darting a glance towards the door.
"I don't like to speak badly about my coworkers. I get along with all of them – for the most part. But... Dwight..."
"Is a little intense?" Scully suggested.
"Well... yes... and I try to lighten him up a bit... And... he just doesn't appreciate it."
"I heard your pranks are harmless and your – how shall we say it? - your modus operandi is Dwight-focused."
"So you are saying you have nothing to do with the pencils, the ketchup, the broken windows, the unraveled knitting, the slashed posters, the destruction in the kitchen and elsewhere."
"Yeah... I'd... never never do something like that. Work here is hard enough without all of that happening to us all."
"I'd never do anything to Pam or the girls. And doing that to Phyllis is just... mean... ya know?"
"So who do you think did it?"
Jim scratched his head and stared at Scully blankly.
"That's it... I don't know..."
"Michael – Michael... You are telling me that some FBI are investigating some type of paranormal poltergeist activity? Seriously?"
"Yes, yes, Jan... but... It's nothing to worry about..." Michael grinned. "Really... just a formality. I just think people have been a bit more accident prone than normal lately -"
"Accident prone? You call moved desks and tattered posters accident prone?"
"Michael – I want you in control of your branch or else, so help me God, I will be down there riding your ass."
"I might like that, Jan. Just might take you up on that offer -"
Jan hung up.
"So everything was sorted out, Miss FBI?"
"Agent Scully. And no. I will be back later on tonight, if possible."
"You want to stay here? Oh we can do better – for sure... Scranton has a fine hotel," Michael grinned. "I could drive you there -"
"No thank you. I'm fine. I know where it is," Scully gave the man a pained smile.
"I could stay and help you with the stakeout," Dwight volunteered eagerly. "I was the Deputy Sheriff and know martial arts -"
"Purple belt," Jim supplied helpfully.
"And I have great equipment -"
"No, that's alright. I've done this many times before," Scully gave both men another tight smile, which lingered over the rest of the group. "I'll pick up some keys downstairs. After the investigation, I'll look up some town files, run some checks over the information and hopefully we'll clear up this mystery in a few days."
With that, she picked up her coat from the hanger and left everyone feeling even more uneasy than ever.
Scully: Mulder and I have worked through many cases... Many cases where we went up against the strangest things ever. Things that I am not sure I actually saw. Fire manipulators... Killer flatworms... African summonings... Vampires... Cockroaches... Homicidal twins... Artifical intelligence... Demon fathers... Nothing proven. Nothing certain... And here we have a poltergeist in the midst of a dead beat paper office... Who... I am coming to think... have become so beaten down by the monotony... that the idea of the poltergeist, in some way brings excitement... I think...
"Okay guys!" Michael waved as everyone else pulled their coats on. "See you tomorrow! Friday! Last day of the week – yah! Maybe we'll get lucky and the poltergeist will think twice before doing anything. Otherwise... I think we might have to set up an ouija board and talk to some spirits..." He twirled his fingers.
"Well... tell me when you want to talk to the poltergeist – I'll have to refuse," Angela snapped.
"What? Got the willies?"
Toby came up behind Angela and sighed as the woman's frown deepened.
"Michael. Not everyone here believe poltergeists exist."
"Spirits, spiritism, new age..." The Christian woman shook her head. "It's not funny. We should be praying about this."
"Hey! If our local holy-roller wants to have a piece of the poltergeist – be my guest," Michael said placatingly. "Just keep the speaking with tongues down to the minimum."
"Or leave it to Marilyn," Creed muttered.
Meredith shot Creed a poisonous glance.
"Speaking with tongues?" Kelly asked confused. "Don't we all do that?"
"Um... I don't... think... so..." Ryan tried to detach his arm from Kelly's hands.
Angela stomped away, followed by Dwight. Michael shrugged.
"I guess someone can't take a joke."
"That's because... it's not a joke..." Toby repeated slowly to Michael in vain hope the manager would grow a pair and shut up.
"Preach it, brother," Stanley said sardonically as he waddled out.
It was silent in the brown paneled elevator as Dwight and Angela rode down to the bottom floor.
"I think your suggestion has merits, Angela. You are brave to stand up like that."
"Thank you, Dwight," Angela didn't look at her secret boyfriend, but she smiled softly to herself.
"I like ouija boards..." Kevin said slowly. "There was this girl I knew in high school who would give guys their fortunes behind the bleachers... Am I gonna go to hell for this?"
"I don't think so," Oscar said, slipping past his coworker. "See you tomorrow."
"Dude," Michael laughed, following Oscar. "The only people going to heaven are those Fenian – whatchamacallim – mackerel-snappers who follow the Pope..."
"Okay, let's get going," Toby left and everyone trooped after him obediently. None of them looked Michael in the eye.
"What? What?" Michael ran after them.
Looking around one last time, Pam made sure everything was in place before leaving the office. Two more days until the weekend. Just two more days.
"Mulder," Scully said, as she pottered around their shared bathroom in the hotel they managed to find in Scranton. "I don't think I can stand going back there."
"Why not Scully? The cheery atmosphere. The happy hum of computers... The -"
"Mulder. Shut up."
Mulder eyed Scully as she finished brushing her teeth and gargled. Sitting up, he looked around the small room – the thin curtains, the one piece of furniture which sat oddly in the corner. The rest of the room was taken up with bed and a TV. Scully finally plopped down in the chair next to the bed, in her favorite bathrobe and a white towel around her head. Fox Mulder didn't try to wipe the grin on his face at the sight of a Scully few people ever saw.
Why do women put clay on their faces like that? He wondered idly. Maybe it's some Mother Earth kind of mentality... I just didn't think that would fit Scully's profile.
He laughed then, at himself, realizing that he had already profiled his own partner.
But then, he eyed Scully's bare knee peeking out between her bathrobe. Who wouldn't?
"You've looked at the interview answers." She said picking up the neat file folder, now much thicker.
"Yeah... they didn't know we were coming – but they seemed..." Mulder drummed his fingers on the bed. "They just support each other. Everyone of them said the same thing. 'If it's not Jim - it's someone else.' Strange."
"The only thing that is strange is the fact that Michael Scott still has employ with the Scranton Branch, Mulder. You dragged me all the way out to some Godforsaken town and made me interview the morons of the century – all because of some supposed poltergeist activities which are most likely the result of someone pranking the office. And then, you still have the temerity to suggest that it's something actually paranormal!"
"Now, Scully... while you were running checks on the employees – past and present... I was doing a bit of City Hall research. As my previous data suggested, paranormal activity is often high in these parts and there have been instances of -"
Mulder tilted his head as he saw the oh so familiar 'Don't feed me bullshit, Mulder' look on Scully's face.
Mulder: This is my favorite part grins (cheekily) Really... my favorite part...
Scully: (gives the camera a long suffering look)
"I just think this is worthwhile checking out. I mean – this could be the breakthrough all those 80s cases that were never solved! Tina Resch. Enfield. Thornton Road... This is a worldwide phenomena that still puzzles scientists today! Don't you think that this is the perfect opportunity for us to have a chance at answering this?"
"If it turns out to be a poltergeist... what are you gonna say? 'Your Honor... here are pictures of the perpetrator' – and show the judge some random pictures of empty air? If it's something like Jim Halpert... then I will kill you..."
"Still... it's worth checking out deeper. And it's worth me going back in again tomorrow."
"It's your pain, Mulder."
"My gain, Scully," he grinned.
"Sadist," she teased back, rising up to disappear into her apartment. "I'll see you bright and early, temp guy."
Scully parked her rental car in the lot and watched the darkened windows of the now too familiar office building. Every two or three hours, the security guard walked through the main parts of the building to ensure that nobody had crept in during the night. The FBI agent watched as the flashlight threw light randomly across the windows as the tall security guard moved methodically through each floor. There was no sign of entry – and none of the employees cars visited the office building at night. Sighing, Scully turned on the radio and listened to gentle music until her eyes threatened to droop closed.
Why Mulder thinks this night is any different from any other night... is... well...
Sighing, she tried to find a more comfortable spot in the front seat of the sedan. Although she pointed out that the stakeout was a long-shot, Mulder got his way.
So here she was, staking out an office building for any signs of a would be prankster – even though she was sure that everyone knew she would be at the building now. Defeatist attitude did not make the sitting any easier. After trying to rouse herself for fifth time, the agent peeled out of the parking lot for a quick bathroom and coffee break. Once back, now fortified with some hot coffee, several donuts and an empty bladder, Scully turned on her small flashlight and looked over the papers in the file.
Nothing extraordinary leapt out at her as she flipped past her own notes to Mulder's comments and profiles. Outside her car, a gentle breeze stirred the empty tree branches. Scully huffed as the chill once again began to set in.
Damn you, Mulder...
But another part of her couldn't help but smle at the passion in his eyes. It was something she liked to think about – and it was what she missed this evening. Most of the time, he would be the one dragging her out for some ridiculous reason. He'd be in the driver's seat spitting sesame seeds out the window and talking in his lazy, light voice about different thoughts he had on life, extraterrestrial life and her lack of life.
She snorted to herself at the thought – and then smiled fondly as she realized that she missed HIM.
Maybe not so strange...
Never did a night feel longer. Scully watched the sky lighten – until seven o'clock. Driving past the first employee for the building, one of the warehouse men, Scully wondered if the poltergeist struck or not. Too bad she didn't bet on it...
Right now, she need a couple hours of sleep.
Pam: Work here is still... same old... same old. But... coming into work - (smiles) ... that's gotten interesting. We've got a running bet on when the poltergeist will strike next. And... I've been pretty lucky so far... but, you just don't know. And that's half the fun... (gives a quick smile) ... pretty pathetic, isn't it?
Michael nearly barreled into Meredith when he strode through the door. Luckily, Meredith had forgotten her regular morning headache – as she stood in shock looking over what had been their workspace. Pam, Jim, Angela and Dwight were standing around trying to pick up things – and not knowing where to start.
"Heyyyy..." Michael stood around and grinned – and caught sight of Ryan and Fox coming in behind him. "Temp guy! I think you owe me!"
"Not now," Toby muttered, struggling past an overturned file cabinet that had been wedged in Michael's door. "We gotta get through this..."
"Ummm... no..." Ryan frowning.
"No, moron," Michael rolled his eyes. "You're the Fire Guy... I'm talking about Fox here."
"Sure... we'll settle that later, okay?" Fox sighed as he looked around. "I think we need to focus on this."
"Fact." Dwight stared at Jim. "Your space is the least messed, so therefore you are the culprit."
"That's not a fact, Dwight," Pam said stoutly, picking up papers that covered her secretary counter. "That's... an accusation."
"Or a false deduction," Toby agreed mildly. "I don't think Jim did this – considering that the FBI agent said she was going to be watching out for trespassers. So... why don't we just focus on this mess."
"People just need to take their head out of the sand and start facing reality," Angela snapped as she realigned her table against the wall.
"Like the fact you're a bitch?" mumbled Phyllis.
Stanley: And here I thought it would be a great day... some people get all the luck... (pauses) Maybe... it's time for me to retire...
Creed: I don't mind cleaning my space up. At least I know I did something for my pay this year... There is nothing better in the world than feeling productive.
Michael sighed as he looked at his overturned desk, cracked computer monitor, the chairs and papers. Picking up his mug emblazoned with "World's Best Boss", he shook his head. Somebody obviously didn't think he was the world's best boss. Why else were they tearing up his room?
He thought about Jim and shook his head. Impossible.
"Where are you?"
"Finishing up reading the past and present employers list of the Scranton branch. You?"
"Taking a rest from fixing up the remains of my work station."
"Taking a rest from fixing up the remains of my work station ."
"I heard that. What do you mean?"
"Well... it seems like the poltergeist struck again."
"It's impossible, Mulder."
"But the place has been torn up. Only the Scranton branch floor."
"Mulder. This isn't normal..."
"Can I say it?"
"Are you gonna come around, Scully?"
"In half an hour."
"I think... Angela's second idea has some merit," Dwight said to Jim.
"What was her idea?" asked Jim, as he looked at the large stack of papers he had to reorganize – AGAIN.
"Seriously?" Jim blinked, and then gave Pam a 'Uh-oh' expression. "So you think it's a poltergeist now as well."
"I always thought it was a poltergeist," Dwight responded seriously, keeping an eye on Jim's deadpan expression.
Over the years, Dwight had begun to develop a rudimentary ability to discern sarcasm and leg-pulling. But Jim was still master.
Dwight might have a purple belt in martial arts, Pam thought, watching Dwight's shrewish face light up with pride. But Jim is a black belt in tall tale telling.
"Really? I didn't think you'd go for that kind of stuff."
"Well, Jim. Fact. Nobody would be able to do this overnight without alerting the security guard. Fact. Poltergeist activity does happen around the world to this day. Fact. The FBI are taking it seriously so it must really be a poltergeist."
"I guess," Jim shrugged. "I just didn't think you were a believer."
"Well," Dwight smirked. "I was the one to file a report into the FBI. After you told me that one time..."
Jim looked enthralled.
Michael: I hear... that there are rumors about needing an exorcist for this situation... I don't know... if that is really a good idea... plus there's the whole vomit thing that isn't so cool... (holds up a garish box) ... but I did bring my old college ouija board! Cheaper and funnier!
"Did you hear Dwight?" Jim leaned over the counter and gave Pam one of his specialty prankster smiles. "He was the one who filed the report with the FBI!"
"I know!" giggled Pam. "Because you told him it was a poltergeist – and he fell for it!"
"Well..." Jim looked around the room which was just starting to look like normal. "I don't know what to think now...
Pam's eyes followed his gaze – Michael was rearranging all of his desk's odds and ends. The statuette was now in place.
"Alright guys!" Michael's happy morning voice boomed over the group of disillusioned workers now crammed into the conference room. "I have decided to take matters in my own hands. And I know that everyone is excited about this – because who doesn't think that communion with spirits isn't cool?"
Toby buried his head in his hands.
"So who wants to try? Michael looked around the room as he set out the ouija board and the planchette.
"This is ridiculous," Angela rose.
"AH! A volunteer! And a perfect one, too." Michael smiled. "You're religious and probably are in tune with all that hokey pokey stuff."
"Michael..." Toby tried to intervene and failed.
Angela found herself steered into the seat beside one side of the board.
"Who wants to be other volunteer?" Michael looked around at the hands.
Kevin's hand was up first. Meredith and Phyllis also were volunteering. Looking around, Michael chose Pam.
"The only thing better than me being in the spotlight," Michael announced as Pam took a seat. "Is having two very hot occultist ladies here, isn't that right?"
Michael: I chose Angela because she's very... spiritual... and God's gotta be listening to her first... right? (folds hands) And I chose Pam... because... she's... well... she's so innocent and pure... no boyfriend for so long... it's like... being a nun, really. (leans forward) Which is hot... and totally... acceptable of course...
Kevin: At least seeing Angela and Pam together is hot... (laughs quietly) I'll have no problem staying awake...
Creed: Back in the Sixties, things like this were quite popular... I wasn't so lucky with them... Probably because I was more interested in the bright young thing across the table (laughs) ... I don't think any amount of fortune telling could predict Scranton though...
"Oh great spirits... Please come from the ether and reveal to us the name of the ghost who haunts this place and desires rest..." Michael intoned.
Everyone watched, eyes glazed, as Michael hovered over the two women who sat there, fingers on the planchette. From somewhere, Michael had found some vestments and some fake incense (now burning on the table as well).
"I don't think that's how it goes," Phyllis whispered.
"Shhhhh..." Michael hissed.
Angela: I heard from Kelly, who had heard from Ryan, who had heard from Jim, who had heard from Dwight – who had been told by Michael – that because of that whole queer thing or whatever, Oscar got... three months in Europe... paid... I think... in all fairness... this – this... whole thing... I should get compensation as well... two months. In Europe.
"Ryan, do you mind asking the questions?" Michael set the questions in front of the Fire Guy.
With a sigh, Ryan raised the sheet and started to read it off in an a monotonous voice.
"Oh great spirit, pray tell us – my name..." He petered off as the planchette moved from the R to the Y to the A and then rested on the N.
"Are you pushing it?" Angela asked, her mouth even more tighter than ever.
"No..." hissed Pam.
"Concentrate! Concentrate!" Michael commanded the two women.
Phyllis: There is something about fake, dollar store incense that I hate... that I will continue to hate... and I don't know if anything will happen either... everyone in the room is too tense... I don't think... it's funny anymore... really...
Toby: I can just see Angela after this... (sighs) How am I going to explain this to Jan?
After asking the spirit's 'name', Michael asked a few more questions that were obviously not pertinent to the whole thing. Who would win the next baseball series. Where Jan Levinson-Gould was at present. Kelly wanted to know which celebrity would get pregnant next – but Pam's glare (combined with Angela and Stanley) shut her up.
"Lastly, we wish to know who it is who still haunts this place?" Ryan set the paper down and sighed.
The planchette moved, stopped, moved again.
"What the hell..." Fox leaned forward. "Red sandstone white?"
"That's not even a person..." Meredith looked disappointed.
"Well..." Michael moved in. "We can -"
But already Angela was pulling away, out of her chair and out the door, obviously upset. Pam stared down at the unmoving planchette and felt sick.
"So what do you think 'red sandstone white' means?" Jim asked Pam softly, an hour later.
"I don't want to talk about it," Pam said, her focus determinedly stayed on her monitor.
Jim nodded and found his seat again.
"Question." Dwight's eyes pinned Fox down. "What year and in what place was the precursor for the ouija board most likely created?"
"Well... depends on what you believe," Fox replied easily. "Most people think that it was in China, around... twelve hundred B.C. It was called 'fuji' back then – but the ancestor of the current board most likely originated at that time. Others claim it was Pythagoras who began it in Greece in five forty B.C. But in reality, the first historically provable date of the use of a ouija board is in the mid-nineteen hundreds by the Modern Spiritualists in the United States."
Jim felt much better when Dwight shut his mouth with a snap and ignored Fox who stood there and gave Jim a high-five.
Ryan: That showed him... I hope the new guy stays on... Few people can out-geek Dwight...
The FBI agent showed up fifteen minutes later. She had to stay and wait for Toby and Michael to finish a private talk. Noticing the two men in obvious heated debate, Scully turned instead to Pam and smiled.
"So I heard there was another incident this morning," Scully noted.
Pam looked troubled.
"Oh I don't know if ouija boards can be considered incidental – could they? I think Toby is giving Michael a talk about it... so it should be okay."
"Sorry..." Scully blinked. "Ouija board?"
"It was nothing..." Pam demurred.
"You should have seen it, Agent... Scully, right?" Mulder smiled and stuck his hand out.
Scully shook it and smiled.
"Well... we had an interesting day with an ouija board... and..."
"The poltergeist struck again," Phyllis added softly as she handed in a sheet to Pam.
"So I heard," the FBI agent responded smoothly. "And I was here the whole night in the parking lot. No employee entered the building and turned on the lights while I was there."
Muted whispers ran around the room. Phyllis' hands were shaking as she sat down. No knitting would be accomplished today.
"The... board... said..." Pam looked nervous. "Somebody was doing it. Someone called 'red sandstone white'."
"Interesting," Scully noted the name. "We'll look into it."
"Michael, I can't repeat this again," Toby said softly, bringing the heated discussion to a close. "If you had done this at your house and invited people, that would have been fine."
"You are just being narrow-minded and not accepting other people's beliefs -"
"No, Michael – but we have to admit that forcing Angela to perform in something she doesn't want to do was wrong – I'll have to talk to head office about this... After Oscar... they won't be happy..."
"Now, now, Toby," Michael shook his head at the Human Resource Representative, as if the man had just kicked a puppy. "That isn't a fair way to play! I mean – you've gotta let people kick back and share their beliefs... I'm sure no one in the office today came away with nothing!"
"A name came up... a certain worker called... Devon..." Scully opened her file.
"Devon, yes. He was fired from here..." Pam said softly. "A while back. Maybe a year ago or so... it was... messy..."
"... and Michael got paid for doing it too," intoned Kevin lethargically, stealing a candy from Pam's tray. "But... that's head office for you..."
Pam gave Scully a shrug.
Michael: In the Scranton Branch, we want to create diversity – and we want to educate... so that people who come here to work don't just give other ideas, beliefs, superstition – the run of the mill hokey pokey a cold shoulder. No. We want to foster an atmosphere... of appreciation... for Kelly's many armed sexy goddesses and... and... Angela's prayer groups or whatever... and even for whatever voodoo spirit Stanley probably chants over once he's at home... it's all welcome here – we're all on the same road to enlightenment or whatever...
Scully: I've talked to Michael Scott again. Unfortunately. And to the others – for their alibi. Most of them have no alibi – they either went home and slept, or went out and partied and then slept, or went to a restaurant and slept, or dated their boyfriend and slept... (looks down at files and then looks up) They are normal people... and I think that Fox... has something up his sleeve...
Thursday came to a close, slowly. The FBI agent came in and out with various files, asking people numerous questions before disappearing again. One by one, they shuffled out – Michael leaving first, ignoring the paperwork that Pam had set out for him. Stuffing the papers into his desk, he pulled his coat on and rode down the elevator.
He wondered what the hot redhead was doing that evening...
That night, Michael Scott's phone rang. Putting down his Maxim (and his favorite spread), the regional manager for the Scranton branch picked up the receiver.
"What? You want me to come over now? Seriously? Oh man!"
Sighing he got up.
"Well... if that's the case then... sure... okay... I'll pick you up there..."
"Are you sure you can do this Mulder?" Scully asked quietly, watching snowflakes fall outside, decorating their window shield. "You'll be dead on your feet tomorrow."
"I'll be fine," Mulder smiled, working the sesame seed bag open. "I've got a hunch... and I'm gonna play it."
"And let me guess," Scully smiled. "You aren't gonna tell me."
"Mulder... What can I bribe you with?"
Mulder's smile faded as he looked into Scully's eyes. There was something arousing about the glimmer in their depths; and he found it hard to tear away his eyes from them. The shadows in the car were dark and mysterious, but the distant light from the sidewalk's lamp post illuminated enough of the car's interior to pick out the color of her lips and pale skin.
His hand rose up – seemingly out of its own volition – his fingers gently grazed along her cheekbone and then down to her chin, lifting it up slightly as he leaned over. Her breath was quick and excited – his blood was pounding so loud in his ears, it was a wonder to him that the security guard didn't come over to ask what the racket was.
Mulder's lips lowered, gently seeking out Scully's welcoming mouth. They drew together, firm and soft meeting – his tongue ran along her soft lips, and with a delicate shudder, Scully began to match his kiss with a passion of her own. The car filled with the gentle sound of their open-mouthed kisses – his hand ran back to cradle her head as he pressed down, his tongue sweeping past her teeth to taste her sweetness.
Both FBI jerked apart, panting, gazing blindly through their window shield. Faces red, they were unable to meet each others eyes – instead, they focused on the familiar sight of Michael Scott who was hurrying from his car into the building, waving at the security guards.
"What the hell..." Mulder swept his car door open and gazed across to the building. "That's..."
"Nobody else came..." Scully pointed at the thin carpet of snow which now spread like an untainted field before them. "No tracks."
"So it's just him... Let's go..."
"Helllooo..." Michael poked his head into the darkened room of the Scranton Branch.
It was odd to see it so silent and still. Pam wasn't sitting at the front desk and as he looked around in the dark, he whistled.
Without Dwight and Jim, this place felt like a tomb.
The FBI waited for the elevator impatiently. Something was up – but what...
Scully wondered what Mulder was doing.
The light from the lobby helped Michael find his office door. After opening it, he ventured in and tried to find the light switch. He cursed as he banged his shins against the chair. Normally Pam took care of this for him...
Where is the damn light switch?
Behind the regional manager, a knife extracted from the kitchen rose and stabbed down just as Michael Scott turned to pick up his fallen statuette.
"This is the FBI!" yelled Scully bursting into the main room of the Scranton branch. "We are armed! Get down on the floor and lower your weapons!"
Mulder found the main switch and turned it on.
"Nobody's here, Mulder..." Scully sounded puzzled as she took a turn around the room.
"That's because it happened in here..." Mulder said slowly, in shock, as he turned on the light switch inside Michael Scott's room.
Scully ran to the prone man, while Mulder dialed emergency. While Mulder got medical help to come, Scully staunched the blood flow that was seeping from Michael Scott's arms. Slash marks had torn his jacket to ribbons – but, a part of her was thankful. If he hadn't been wearing his jacket, the wounds would have been much deeper.
Already, she had taken her handkerchief and had tied it tightly around his upper arm in a tourniquet. Mulder offered her his handkerchief for the other arm. Pulling back the man's eyelids, she was glad to find that he seemed to be more or less out of it. Checking his pulse, she nodded.
Thready – but for the most part stable... He will survive.
As the medical unit burst from the elevator, Scully made sure his head was pillowed. Mulder was on the other side of the room, taking photographs of a bloody knife.
"The police will be on their way shortly," he nodded at Scully. "Let's make sure he's close on hand to answer questions."
Scully looked down at the pale face of Michael Scott. The man's eyelids fluttered as he slowly came to. Two paramedics were already shouting for a stretcher into their comms. Another one was checking his heartbeat and nodding. Mulder took the paramedic aside and found out where the hospital was.
"He's coming around, Ma'am," the second paramedic said. "Some sedatives..."
Watching the competent paramedics take the victim away, Scully sighed.
It's going to be a long night...
Pam: (very red-eyed, dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief) I feel so awful... It's my fault...
Angela: It is perhaps not charitable for me to think he deserves this... (sniffs) After all, violence doesn't solve anything. But... (tips head) We were told that there was no perpetrator... that the poltergeist was the cause of it... I don't know what to think... but I'm going to get my reverend to pray over the office and... perhaps a prayer for Michael's soul. I warned him... the whole occult session... was dangerous... I hope this teaches him a lesson... I'm sure he'll never forget it...
Jim: We're all shocked but... not really... I mean... I think the only person who was really upset was Pam. She's a great girl that way... but... (smiles and gives the camera two thumbs up) I was able to hold Pam for ten minutes today. Able to comfort her... Thanks... Michael... best thing you did all year!
"Mulder... wait a second. Just... wait..." Scully pulled on Mulder's arm, bringing her partner to a standstill in the hospital hallway. "You know something and you're not telling me. You went in there and asked him what he saw. And he says he saw nothing – just the knife. AND he says that he was going there to meet -"
"Did you read the employee data?"
"And you noticed the ones who left the employ of Dunder Mifflin Scranton Branch?"
"Yes... but what does this have to do with our poltergeist activity when -" Scully stopped as she realized the link. "Michael said that he was there to meet Devon White..."
"Well... Who had been fired..."
"Yes, I was told that yesterday. The office workers said it was really messy..."
"And did they tell you that Michael Scott got a bonus for it?"
"Yes, but, Mulder... what does this have to do with anything?"
"Devon White is dead."
Mulder started to walk again – Scully ran to catch up and pass him and then turned to face her partner.
"Wait, Mulder. You are telling me that the poltergeist of that building – the prankster which has been making the lives of those office workers hellish with stupid pranks is really the dead ghost of an angry ex-employee who had been fired around a year ago?"
"And the proof is..."
"You heard it. Michael Scott does not know Devon committed suicide a month ago – and yet – he received a call from Devon telling him to go to that building."
"Mulder. This is crazy!"
"And we don't have a taped conversation as proof."
"But the doctors have signed a statement saying that the wound type proves it was not self inflicted. And Michael Scott signed a statement that Devon called him last night. Plus, you yourself can say that you and I were there for two nights consecutively and that no one entered the building – or left it – except Michael Scott."
Scully sighed, wanting to bang her head against the wall.
Well, she thought as she followed her partner out the building. At least this episode had more of a conclusion than their normal cases.So odd... that here in backwater Scranton, in an even hokier office we'd find something eerily truthful...
Kevin: They say that now the poltergeist has gotten the revenge it needed, it's going now... (looks crushed) ... a shame... I wanted more ouija sessions with Pam and Angela...
Oscar: The baby poster is back... (sighs) ... I'm gonna miss the prankster – whoever he was...
Dwight: What happened last night was a tragedy... but it's an epic story too. Michael is the hero of this saga... fighting against the powers of darkness... It can't get much better than that... If he ever writes a book on it... I'll be first in line for an autograph...
Phyllis: It's cost us some money – to send him get well cards, flowers... gifts... I didn't get him anything knitted (hesitates) But... as long as he's happy, it's worth it...
Pam smiled as Jim leaned over and flashed her a grin. When they had entered the building, there was no destruction. No poltergeist activity evident. It had been two days since the FBI left with statements signed by all – and Michael was coming in today for an hour or so.
"What's up?" asked Pam.
"Nothing... just... do you have some vitamin pills or something?"
"Sure... here... some calcium and stuff... What's it for?"
"My magnesium graphite deficiency has been really bad lately – so my doctor had to give me extra medication."
"Wow... that's too bad," the secretary pulled a mock-sad face. "Kinda explains the paleness..."
"Yeah... I know... I hope it passes over quickly..."
One of her fingers swiped across the bottom of his chin and wiped off a bit of Cover Girl Ivory No. 2 on a tissue. Jim and Pam held each others eyes, smiled softly and parted. Jim double-checked his new pale face surreptitiously and touched his chin, remembering the lingering feel of Pam's fingers.
Dwight: Lot's of good things happened from this... I feel good. I feel... like this office has got a new lease on life. Everyone's pumped now. Michael's gotten a much needed rest... the poltergeist is laid to rest... annddd... it seems like Angela and I have gotten a free week of paid vacation in Hawaii... (leers and winks at the camera)
Angela: (smiles demurely)
"Pam, Pam, Paaammmeeellllaaa!!"
It was Michael - finally arriving around one o'clock, smiling and hearty despite the fact that both of his arms were heavily bandaged. He was rather moved by the get well cake prepared by Phyllis and Angela. It was cut and shared in the conference room – but not without a lot of embarrassing questions and answers. Jim and Creed had to elbow Dwight - who was trying to peel of Michael's jacket in order to look at the bandages. Kelly cried a storm and ended up clinging even more to the ever patient Ryan. After Michael quieted everyone down, Michael gazed at his employees fondly.
"This," he raised his arms to show the bandages close to his wrists. "is a mark, I want us all to remember. As I lay in the hospital, in a near death trance..."
" - Not likely," Stanley mumbled as he filled in another box in his puzzle.
"... I realized the truth that life is short. Too short for us to quarrel over jobs and religion and sex and things like that. We have to put all this behind us... the scars and the memories too... the poltergeist... I don't know what all that was about – but I hope this all reminds us that we need to cherish every moment we have together..."
Kelly was sniffling into her handkerchief.
"... I'm not sure how I ended up with all of these cuts... but... I think it really brought me closer to the truth of life... it was like I was in one of those trances... and maybe Angela would understand the meaning of this vision –"
"Oh please," Angela sighed.
"... but we were all together, for the rest of our lives, happily working together – black and white, even losers like Toby were there -"
Toby looks crushed. Dwight is nodding.
"... and we were all happy... and I just wanted to share that dream with you. I don't want to make any comments about what Angela, Stanley or Kelly choose to believe in. But if you think you are one of those bitter athiests then at least have faith in this group..."
It was another day at Scranton.
"Be true to your heart," Jim quipped to Pam.
"Yeah..." Pam blushed and smiled at Jim.
Jim: One day... it will come together... I feel it... I don't need to ask the ouija board something like that...
Pam: Jim... said something like that... oh gosh... I don't know... (smiles) ... it felt like he had opened a window to a world I never thought of...
"I wonder if Scranton is missing their newest, most favorite Temp Guy," Scully wondered aloud as both of the FBI agents finally found themselves back at Headquarters in Mulder's basement department.
"I wonder if they are missing their poltergeist," Mulder murmured, leafing through the photos.
"Did you ever figure out what that whole ouija board thing was about... You mention it in the report..."
"I don't know... but... Devon is a shire in England... known for its red sandstone..."
Scully had no retort.
"Well... I discovered a few important things..." Mulder smiled.
"What's that?" asked Scully.
"I'm not cut out for office life... and..." Mulder grinned slowly up at Scully, who suddenly blushed. "I think we need to do night stakeouts more often."
Scully's Report: In this wide world, filled with many experiences – both explainable and unexplainable – the origin of poltergeist activity remains, to this day, a space of contestation. Is it merely a fluctuation of ultrasound? Or rumbling ghosts? Or is it a combination of both – something created out of the zero point field beyond the ken of man? Either way, the activities in the Scranton branch have ceased – whether the spirit was appeased by the blood of the man who benefited from his downfall remains to be seen. But what is certain is that within this sphere of life, there is enough promise of experiences for everyone.
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