"Mr. Liberace," Carrico shouts into the silence, "we ask that if you're here you allow us to photograph you."
Out of nowhere a hollow voice bellows: "Pork...the other white meat!" Carrico and I snap to attention. "Is that you?" he asks. Just as we're about to conclude that Liberace is now spokesman-in-eternity for the Pork Board, John Hosier, Carluccio's manager, points to our feet. We look down and realize we've set off a goddamn Billy Bass talking fish.
A tad embarrassed, our party heads into the women's restroom—a hotbed of inter-dimensional action in the past, but a flop tonight. From the men's crapper we hear Carrico yelp giddily: "I've got something!" We walk in to find him pointing at a pink urinal cake. His meter is doing jumping jacks. "He's here," he says. Flashbulbs pop as Stanley leads us past the life-threatening wine rack and into the kitchen, where blenders and freezers and lights have been known to operate with minds of their own.
Our walk-through completed, we huddle around a table spread with spent Polaroids, searching frantically for orbs. Nothing. Without an orb, these investigators won't declare that a ghost was in the house. The lyrics from Liberace's hit "I'll Be Seeing You," etched into the surrounding mirrors, seem to mock us.
Luna grows philosophical. "It's about finding the truth and helping people," he says. "It doesn't always work, but I like the word vindicate. That's what we're really trying to do. I don't think it's right that people think you're crazy if you say you've seen a ghost."
At this point, freezing in the predawn desert air, I'm ready to chalk both Carrico and Luna up as just that: crazy. As shit-house rats. Then a smile creeps across Carrico's face. He motions me over and hands me his digital camera. On the screen is a picture of Stanley taken in the kitchen. Covering the right side of her face is large shark fin of light that looks to be boring into her skull. There's no explanation for it except for, you know, Liberace's ghost having it out for her. Everyone gasps.
"We did experience a ghost here tonight," Carrico says. He sounds... vindicated.
As I watch his DOC WHO vanity plate recede into the lights of the Strip, I can't argue with him. I do believe in spooks. I do, I do, I do...