Pacifica wasn't really sure how to go about this. On the one hand, the man could be replaced. He was just a servant, after all, one of her chauffeur drivers. On the other, he was one of the good ones. Never questioned her orders. Never hesitated. He would even cover for her when she wanted to go to a party in town so that her parents wouldn't find out. He didn't even have to be bribed. But… it would be almost easier to just get a new chauffeur and bribe him. Might be cheaper, given the Pines' rates. They helped everybody else for free, but with Pacifica needing increased help from the family, the old charlatan of the group decided to get smart. Call it an exclusive deal, but the reverse. Ugh! Typical. Yet, she found herself trudging up to the old shack anyways. She had walked all the way from her house, no limo in sight. Why? Well, that was why she was here.
Pacifica rapped her knuckles on the wooden door three times, then growled in frustration as it promptly gave her a splinter. She heard a voice through the door.
"Kids! Can you answer that? I'm too old and weak to care!"
A few seconds later, she heard footsteps travel down a creaky staircase and approach the door. It opened, and the face of a thirteen-year-old Dipper Pines appeared. She gave a soft smile. He then turned his head and shouted into the house.
"Grunkle Stan! It's the tax collector! Run!"
A surprised "What?!" was heard from within the threshold, followed by a series of crashes and the sound of glass breaking, some stones rubbing against each other (possibly from a secret trap door, knowing Stan), and a window breaking, followed by "You'll never catch me alive, you fancy-suited pack rats!" as the old man's voice faded into the woods.
"Thanks," Pacifica said, relieved. It's not that she despised the old man, but they just never got along.
"No problem," Dipper said, turning back to her. "What can I do ya for? Got another ghost that needs to be exorcised?"
Pacifica winced. "Yes?" she said.
Dipper's eyes widened. "You know that I was joking, right?"
She sighed. "Yes, I know, and I know that this seems to be a regularly occurring thing, but this time it's not about me." Dipper narrowed his eyes, inquisitively. "It's about my chauffeur, Jorge."
"Your limo driver?"
"Yeah. He hasn't come into work for over a week. He left suddenly, saying something about 'the dog.' No idea what he's talking about, but he keeps saying that things are moving in his house. I told him about how you once got rid of a ghost in the mansion, and he agreed to meet with you."
"Hmmm," Dipper said, suddenly holding a notepad and furiously writing with a pen. "Sounds like a basic poltergeist, only a level one. Not really something that would get many people so shooken up. Did he mention when all this started?"
"He did not."
"Did he say anything else? Maybe about a cause or something? Did he ever have a pet?"
"No on the first two. I'm not sure about that last one."
"Well, if he did and it passed away, it could be some residual energy from the dog's spirit causing stuff to shift. That's a completely harmless haunting. It could be a Hell Hound, but then there would be more than one witness."
Pacifica blinked. She was normally super quick in her academics, but this was a whole different level. "You lost me."
Dipper chuckled. "Just talking through my process. You said that he was willing to meet?"
She nodded. "He's at Greasy's now. Are you able to sneak out now?"
"Well, Stan will be hiding in the woods for the next, eh, twelve to fourteen hours, Mabel's at a sleepover at Grenda's, and Soos is in the middle of the tour. He has a new attraction, the 'Befuddle Puddle.'" Dipper brought his hands up and widened them as he said that as if he was displaying an invisible sign for the attraction.
Pacifica giggled, ever bewildered by this wild family.
"So yeah, I'm free for the rest of the day. Shall we?"
Pacifica nodded and lead the way, followed closely by Dipper. It was only a mile's walk from the shack to the edge of town, and then another half mile to the diner. God this town was small.
The duo approached the odd train-tracked eatery and entered. The usual smell of flapjacks on the griddle and coffee in the pot filled their nostrils, making Dipper's stomach rumble. He'd already eaten this morning, but it was an involuntary reaction whenever you entered Greasy's
Pacifica led him to a table where a hispanic man sat. He was wearing some sort of fancy uniform, but it was disheveled and stained at the pits. His dark hair was flat with sweat and parted messily to one side. He had a thin mustache that quivered with his upper lip. His hands shook violently as he lifted a mug of coffee to his lips. When Pacifica reached the table, the man startled. This guy was obviously experiencing something if it left him like this, but in this state, it would be hard to get some specific information from him.
"Hello, Jorge," Pacifica said, somewhat coldly to Dipper's surprise. "This is the investigator I was talking about.
The man eyed Dipper, looking up and down his body. "Lady Pacifica," he said, his voice accented. "I don't mean to question you, but this investigator is only a boy."
"Yes, yes he is," she replied blatantly, absent-mindedly picking at her manicure.
Dipper held out a hand. "Dipper Pines. I'm told that you have a ghost problem."
The man tentatively shook Dipper's hand, his grip weak. "Jorge Gonzales."
Dipper moved to sit in the booth across from Jorge. Pacifica sat next to him. Lazy Suzan walked up to the table.
"Mornin' hon," She said to the teen. "Do you want your usual this morning?"
Dipper tried hard to refuse. The food really did smell good. "Uh, not today, Lazy Suzan. Just a glass of water for me."
"Well, okay. If ya change your mind just give me a holler!" The waitress smiled and walked off.
Dipper turned his attention to his interviewee. "So, Pacifica said that you were saying something about a dog."
Jorge took a sharp breath. "Yes."
"My early theory is that this could just be a residual haunting of a long lost pet. Does that sound possible?"
Jorge shook his head. "No. I don't think you understand."
Susan dropped off Dipper's water glass. He took the glass, took a sip, and then placed it on the table right in front of him. "Why don't you go ahead and tell me, then."
"Well," Jorge started. "It began back when I lived in Mexico City. I had fallen very ill. I fell into a coma and was taken to the hospital."
"What were you treated for?" Dipper asked.
"It was a stroke. I was in and out for weeks. However, during that time, I had the strangest dream. It didn't make much sense, but I remember clearly a little girl, age of maybe six, in a white dress, dancing around in a circle. In her arms was some sort of brown dog stuffed animal toy."
Dipper was writing notes in his notepad again. "Interesting," he said. "Please, continue."
Jorge swallowed. "When I woke up, I noticed that, next to my bed, was a plush dog. The same that I saw in my dream."
Dipper heard Pacifica take a quick, shocked breath. He had to admit, it did seem very eerie, but it was totally possible that he saw the stuffed animal, even if his coma lifted for just a moment, and the picture of it permeated in his dreams.
"My wife said that the toy came from a little girl, another patient in the hospital. She told her that it would help me get better. It was a sweet gesture, so I decided to take it home with me when I was released. That's when the… strange things started happening."
Jorge's voice started to shake violently. "It started out slowly at first, but it has been getting worse. It was just the little things. A cup falls off the counter. Something isn't where I thought I left it. At first, I didn't pay attention that much, but it's gotten to the point now where I'm afraid to step in my house. And when we moved from Mexico City to here for work, it followed us. Now, whenever I wake up in the morning, no matter where it is in the house the night before, the stuffed dog is always on my nightstand, staring straight at me."
Dipper finished his notes and clicked his pen closed. "Sounds to me like you have a spirit attached to that toy," he said, looking back up. "Do you still have the dog?"
"Yes. And I've tried to get rid of it, but it will show back up in random places in the house."
Dipper gave some thought to this. "So here is what I think: this little girl obviously passed away in the hospital that you were staying in. She most likely attached herself to both the dog, presumably one of her toys, and you. You woke up from the coma after you had that dream, right?"
"Then, somehow, the spirit is the reason you woke up, possibly as a vessel to allow them to continue to, quote-unquote, 'live' in this world. You are her anchor to the living."
Jorge gulped. "So, what does that mean? What do we do now?"
Dipper clapped his hands together. "Well, it should be pretty simple. We just have to make contact, and tell the ghost to go away."
Pacifica turned to him, almost hitting him in the face with her hair, and gave her a bewildered look. "Are you serious? Just ask nicely for the ghost to go away?"
"Well, yeah. Ghosts, in their most basic forms, are energy from the soul. Either energy that, once the soul has gone away, still lingers and follows a basic routine that the soul did in life or a piece of that soul that is intelligent and feeds off of other forms of energy, whether that be an emotion or, in some cases, act as a parasite and feed off a host." Dipper turned the conversation back to Jorge. "I believe that this spirit is intelligent, and is doing the former. It is attached to you and is being sustained by the fear it gives you. This spirit was just a little girl and is probably confused and scared. We just need to tell her that it's okay to move on, and in the process, block off your emotional energy from her so that she can sustain herself from it anymore." Dipper took a bulbous glass bottle from his vest pocket. "Then, she'll move on into whatever is after this life, and you'll be back to the normality of yours." He then began to empty his glass of water into the bottle.
Jorge looked unsure. "And do you think that will work?"
"If everything you told me is true, then I have a ninety-five percent certainty that it will." He then put a cork in the bottle, holding it up for the other two to see. "And if not, I can get this water blessed by a priest, and it should help us with any… uncertainties."
Jorge stood up suddenly, furiously grabbed for and shook Dipper's hand with both of his own. "Oh, thank you, Mister Dipper! You have no idea what a relief it is to hear those words! I cannot wait to be rid of this ghoul. You have given me hope!" And with that Jorge ran out of the diner, hooting and hollering with excitement.
Pacifica moved to the booth across from Dipper, motioned for Lazy Susan, and ordered two plates of Pancakes, bacon, and eggs. Thank god! Dipper was starting to lose his mind from the smells of the diner. When Susan left, Pacifica turned her head and eyed Dipper.
"Do you really think that it will work?"
"Like I said, ninety-five percent."
She gave a humph and leaned back into her seat, crossing her arms.
"So why are you doing this?" Dipper inquired, fiddling with the sugar packets in the basket at the end of the table.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, he's one of your servants, isn't he? I always thought you thought of them as, like, only oxen or drones or something. It's nice to see you treating them as people."
Pacifica scoffed. "Look, the only reason why I want to solve this is because his spiritual personal problem is interfering with my mall time, and I have no one else to drive me."
"Uh-huh," Dipper said incredulously and smirked.
"Shut up, peasant! I shouldn't even be eating breakfast with you. You'll get your poor-people germs on me!"
Dipper threw a sugar packet into her face. "Whatever, Northwest. I'll work on a plan for busting with this ghost while you work on your personal dilemmas."
She scoffed. "You're insufferable."
"You're the worst."