(This is a work of fanfiction. The Haunted Mansion is owned by Disney.)

Team Spirit

Ghosts don't get 'written up ' when they've been up to mischief...this is because the Ghost Host deems it counterproductive to overall moral, and also because the mansion residents don't pay one iota of attention to that sort of thing. Instead, at the end of the workday, the spirits have a very short pep rally, wherein Ghost Host tells them what an outstanding job they're doing, and oh, there's just one more little thing.

Carmen, the Opera Singer, chuckled under her breath, and winked at Gus, who smiled coquettishly, and affected a bit of a blush in response.

"Hope this isn't gonna take long," Ezra said, shifting in his seat. "I got a hot tip on a race tonight, and I'm gonna make me some moola. " "Quit laughing," he said, jabbing at Phineas, who was staring straight ahead, and trying to look respectable.

"You've been dethroned," Phineas said to no one in particular.

"Sez you," said Ezra, fanning himself with his racing form.

Ghost Host had fortified himself, and had slathered on a great, silly grin that could have given Renfield a run for his money. A bit of a knowing chuckle popped up here and there amid the crowd, which he mistook for something akin to team spirit, He neatened his rope, and cleared his throat.

"Sum uns in for it now," laughed the Executioner quietly, sending Carmen and Gus into giggling fits.

Hosty made another cautionary throat clearing, and the assembly sat up a bit straighter, putting on their best innocent faces.

"No one outdoes me," Ezra said under his breath.

"When you pull a prank, you end up cracking yourself up," said Phineas. "Admit you've been bettered."

Ezra adopted an even bigger grin for the Ghost Hosts benefit. "Never," he grumbled from between his teeth.

"Well, this is nice, isn't it?" Hosty said, rubbing his hands together.

Everyone sat wide eyed, nodding their heads that yes, this was very nice indeed.

"Before I begin," said Ghost Host, "I would like to acknowledge a very nice note from our suggestion box." He put on

his reading glasses, and waved the note around a bit, as a sconce gargoyle sat up eagerly. "Erm..very imaginative,"

he said, glancing at the note with a somewhat pained expression, "but unfortunately, I have yet to master the fine

art of bungee jumping ; so we won't be having any of that in the Stretching Room for the foreseeable future."

The gargoyle , thoroughly taken aback, snorted loudly , and slumped back against its seat, folding its arms tightly ,

and looking away in disgust. So much for thinking outside the box.

Ghost Host slipped his glasses back into his pocket, then looked a bit distracted. "Hah...," he said, breathing out, and

lowering his head in thought.

Several moments passed, and when nothing came of it , everyone leaned forward a bit.

"WELL!" said Hosty, snapping his head up suddenly.

Chairs rattled, and Mr. Hatbox had to be helped back up onto his seat.

"I suppose that all I wanted to say, was that you've all done very well, as of late, and that the key word for our success, as always, is... is..."

"Ah boo, boo ,boo. Ah, boo, boo, boo.." sounded from the back.

Everyone looked to Sally, who was making nonsense baby talk to her alligator. They smiled sweetly, and sat up straight.

Hosty lowered his head, and scratched his chin for a long moment.

"CONSISTENCY!" he fairly shouted, snapping his head up.

"My stars and garters!" Mr. Hatbox grumbled, "I can do it myself!," he growled, as Pickwick tried to help him back up onto his seat.

Ghost Host started to speak, then stared at Constance, who was pretending to be searching the ceiling, in an effort to keep from laughing. This, of course made all the other ghosts start to eye the ceiling just for the fun of it. Constance wasn't generally known for being mirthful, but when someone threw a monkey wrench of anarchy into Ghost Hosts attempt at order, she couldn't help but be amused.

The group busily surveyed the ceiling for a few moments, then the Ghost Host cleared his throat. "Well, whatever it was, it's gone now." Now where was I?" he said, smoothing his hand over his face.

"You said it had gone," Hatbox grumbled.

"What?" asked Hosty.

"The thing!" said Hatbox, stamping his cane. "Do keep up!"

Hosty covered his face, and lowered his head.

"Oh, no... we're not doing THAT again !" growled the little old ghost. He disappeared from his seat, then reappeared, laying flat on his back on a nearby sofa, holding his hatbox on his stomach . "All right, do your worst," he said.

Hosty folded his arms, puckered his mouth , and reevaluated his vocational choice for the 999th time. "Our number one priority, is a quality haunting experience for our guests. And how do we achieve that?" he asked.

"You're one man down on the totem pole," Phineas whispered to Ezra.

"APPLESAUCE!" yelled Ezra, jumping up.

Silence...lots, and lots of silence.

"I like a bit of applesauce..." said Hatbox thoughtfully.

The assemblage then took a few moments to debate the relative merits of chunky versus smooth, while the Ghost Host made decorative macrame knots in his rope.

"AS I WAS SAYING..." Hosty finally piped.

"Oh, that's pretty," Sally said, pointing to the new plant hanger around his neck.

"Thank you. As I was saying," Hosty said, seating himself backwards on a chair, and stretching out his long legs to either side.

"Oh, I love that movie," said Carmen, eyeing him.

Hosty cupped his forehead, then ran his hand over the top of his hair. "What we need is adherence to the established script. If we would have a little more consistency..." At this point, he swiveled dramatically to face Gus, "...and a lot less Willie Nelson impersonations at the end of the tour, that'd be great ."

"You know, there actually is something on the ceiling," said Hatbox from the sofa.

Everyone was now scanning the ceiling, except Ghost Host, who had pulled his jacket over his head, and was mumbling something about happy thoughts.

"Oh, never mind," said Hatbox, "it's just a giant spider.

*Confession: When I'm in the Stretching Room, I follow along with Ghost Hosts dialog , but I mouth it silently, because I am a polite little mortal, and I don't want to be accused of stepping on anyone's lines. I do however, make a quiet little "Mwahaha!" when he laughs ... because that part is just too irresistible.