Nikki: Mom, what's a hitman? Jet: Why do you ask? Nikki: They said in the news that the dead guy was a hitman. Jet: He was? It's no wonder then... Nikki: What? Jet: Oh, nevermind. A hitman is somebody who kills people for money. Nikki: Like a soldier? Jet: No, not like a soldier. A hitman is a really bad guy, a criminal, and belongs in prison. Soldiers are not criminals as long as they follow the laws and rules, even though they do kill people in war. Nikki: Did dad kill people? Jet: Probably. He didn't talk much about that part. Harvey knows more about it. You can ask him, but don't pester him, if he doesn't want to talk about it. - Nikki, your dad was a good man. He went to war, because he thought it would make things better for everybody in the end.
Nikki: Why would somebody want to be a hitman? Jet: For the money, I think. There are people who don't care how they get the money as long as there's lots of it. Nikki: But you get put to prison, and then you never get out. Jet: Yes, that is how normal people think, but some people just think they won't get caught. For most of them, it ends badly in one way or another. Nikki: If that guy killed people for money, then who killed him? Jet: That's for the police to figure out, but people like that know a lot of bad people, and when you know bad people, bad things usually happen. Nikki: It's a good thing we don't know any bad people. Jet: Yes. Yes, it is.
Schizo: I've been thinking... Can you do that medium stuff? You know, talk with the dead? Spectra: Depends on the dead. I can't get to the ones who have moved on to upstairs. The ones downstairs are more accessible, but only occasionally, when conditions are just right. Why are you asking? Schizo: I was just thinking that you could probably sell your services to the police. Help them solve cases by asking the victim who killed them. Spectra: Does this have something to do with the dead hitman? Schizo: Yeah, I've been thinking about that one. He's definitely downstairs, so could you try? Spectra: Why not? The next time the conditions are right. It's actually quite fun, if you ignore the "why me" moaning. Did they really think all that repentance stuff works, if you only go through the motions once in a while?
Spectra: Is there something specific you want to ask him or just the usual "who, when, why" stuff? Schizo: That's for the police. You can ask it, if you like, but what I want to know is whether he's enjoying the afterlife. Spectra: What kind of a question is that? He's downstairs. Doesn't that answer the question? Schizo: He always said he and old Nick are best buddies. I'd just like to know how it worked out for him. Spectra: You're a weirdo, did you know that?
Pepper: Your mom really told you that? Nikki: Of course. Why wouldn't she? Pepper: My mom always says I don't need to know when I ask stuff like that. Caroline: Is this another feline vs. canine issue? You seem to have a lot of those. Pepper: What did your mom say? Did you ask? Caroline: Ellen? She's more on the "don't need to know" side. She did say that a hitman is a sort of a serial killer, but she left out all the details. Nikki: If you want details, I know who we can ask. Uncle Schizo. Caroline: You think he would tell? Nikki: Of course.
Caroline: Nikki, you haven't told us yet. The skull... who took it? Nikki: I promised I wouldn't tell. Caroline: You promised you wouldn't tell the police. You can tell us. Nikki: I don't think so. I said I wouldn't tell anybody. Besides, what does it matter who it was? The police have got it now, and they know it was a murder. Caroline: And they haven't found the murderer. Pepper: Can we stop talking about dead guys and murderers? Caroline: Don't you think it's fascinating? A real murder mystery. Pepper: It's not. Somebody got killed and somebody else ruined the rest of his life for doing it. Caroline: You don't know that. If he never gets caught, he can live like it never happened. Pepper: I don't believe that.
Pepper: Uncle Jimmy hit somebody with his car and didn't get caught, and he was so scared of the police that he didn't leave his house for weeks. Then the police found out it was him, and he was happy about it. Caroline: That doesn't make sense. Nikki: I think it does. It's a bit like keeping secrets from your mom. You know she's going to find out eventually. Caroline: So what happened to uncle Jimmy? Pepper: He went to prison for a little while. It was really an accident, and dad says you normally get probation and fines, but uncle Jimmy ran away, so it was worse. Nikki: What's probation? Caroline: It's getting away scot-free. Pepper: No, it isn't. It means you don't have to go to prison, if you promise to be nice, and they keep checking that you keep your promise, and if you don't, then you need to go to prison.
Later: Schizo: So, you wanted to ask something. What is it? Caroline: About the dead hitman. Schizo: Ah, Warren. I'm sure you have read the papers, it's all over front pages. What do you want to know that is not there? Caroline: What does a hitman actually do? I mean, Nikki's mom told her that it means you kill people for money, but how does it work? Schizo: I hope you're not asking for career advice.
Schizo: Okay, I'll explain as much as I think I can tell you. Most hitmen work for some sort of a gang, and they're the ones who take care of people who are thinking of going to the police or cross the gang boss in some way or manage to bungle a job, like losing the dope they're supposed to sell or losing the money after selling the dope. Pepper: What's dope? Caroline: Drugs. Not the kind you get from a pharmacist, but heroin and meth and stuff. Pepper: What's meth? Schizo: We're getting derailed here. Let's just say that meth is bad stuff that messes up your life, and you must leave it alone, if anyone ever asks you to try it. - Where was I? Oh yes, a hitman takes out of the picture anyone the boss tells him to take out of the picture, and he gets paid a lot of money for that. The methods vary, but the main thing is that you murder the person and don't get caught. Fortunately, they're usually no geniuses, so they do get caught sooner or later. Nikki: And then they go to prison for the rest of their life and never get out. Schizo: Except feet first. Pepper: Why feet first? Schizo: Oh dear. What I mean is that they only get out when they die and get buried. Pepper: Oh. Mom has never told me about any of this stuff. Schizo: Maybe you better not talk about this stuff with her then. Pepper: Okay. Caroline: And if you slip up, you can always say you read it in the internet. That works for everything.
After Nikki and her friends have left: Spectra: That was interesting. Schizo: What?! Oh... Could you... not do that? Spectra: Do what? Materialize? It's much easier to talk with you when you can see me, you know. Schizo: I know, but you could do it out of sight. It's spooky, and I don't get spooked easily. Were you here all the time? Spectra: Sure. I was curious to see your young friends. You were better than I thought. Schizo: What do you mean? Spectra: I thought you were going to tell them the truth, but instead, you told them the part that makes them think hitmen only exist in the kind of world they've got nothing to do with. Schizo: They've got quite enough time later to learn about people, who want their spouses removed for insurance money, and other similar family affairs. Spectra: Yes, family affairs, that's what it so often is. Lovers, jealous ex-partners, custody cases, inheritance, insurance... People can get so greedy and selfish.
Schizo: Was this the first time? Spectra: First time? Schizo: First time you've been following me. I hope you're not stalking me. Spectra: Hahaha! Don't worry, I haven't done it before, and I won't do it again. I just wanted to see them. Schizo: Good, because it could get embarrassing. Spectra: Believe me, I have no interest in finding out what you do in private. I have a fairly good idea already, and it's not something I'd like to see. Schizo: And how would you have a "fairly good idea," if you haven't done it before? Spectra: I didn't say I haven't been stalking anybody. I've done it often enough to know how single guys spend their time at home. Basically, it varies from boring to really gross, which is why I don't do it anymore.
Spectra: I mean, I don't do it with normal people, just those who deserve it. Schizo: Deserve? Spectra: There are a few real stalkers I have encouraged to change their behavior. Schizo: What sort of encouragement are we talking about? Spectra: There are very few people who cannot be set straight with some good old-fashioned haunting. Like there was this one guy who was continuously violating the restraining order. He's now totally convinced that his ex-wife's house is inhabited by an extremely violent poltergeist, and he won't go anywhere near the house anymore. Schizo: Why are you doing it? Spectra: For fun. And of course there's the fact that I can't stand guys who think they own other people. Schizo: You're thinking of your... Spectra: Don't say that word. I never agreed to the proposal.