The Curse of the Goat

Summary:
July 24, 2014: A sky-clad sorceress! A bewitched baseball mascot! An unearthly stench!

Queens (Citi Field)

(Citi Field is a stadium located in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in Queens. Completed in 2009, it is the home baseball park of Major League Baseball's New York Mets.)

The borough to the east, Queens is made up of many different flavors and feels. It's the largest of all the sections of New York in terms of area, and the second most populous. In addition to business and industry, Queens also has many residential communities with those who work in the area and others who commute over one of the bridges and onto the island.

Because it has more space than Manhattan, Queens is home to several of New York's sports teams and houses cultural institutions such as the New York Hall of Science and the Kupferberg Center for the Arts.


Characters

NPCs

  • "Paws" (the Detroit Tigers mascot)
  • A witch
  • A smelly goat
  • Jerrica Fawkes, ESPX News

Mood Music:


The New York Mets! Cheaper than the Yankees, and twice the heartbreak. The game isn't over yet, but the score is such that all that's left for a fan is the crying. Sam Wilson isn't really a fan, but he was going a little stir crazy, and needed an excuse to get out and moving. That said, the depressive mood as the game turned against the home team has been eating at him, and he's decided to cut his losses and bail. Maybe he can find something to do on the way home — otherwise, what's the point of living in New York, right? He makes his way past the turnstiles onto the sidewalk, tugs his jacket a little closer on his shoulders, and glances both ways before heading in a generally westerly direction.

"And that's why they call 'em the Damn Yankees," Teddy says, baseball cap pulled firmly down on blond locks. Hat hair probability 100%.

"It's not even like they were playing this game, and yet, the Mets manage to lose and the Yankees move up in the ranks automatically."

Sports nerd. He finishes the truly nasty hot-dog that the guy sold him in the stands, and looks around for a garbage can.

Billy Kaplan chose a hot pretzel as it seemed the least offensive at the time. With enough mustard, it's been palatable. "But…that sort of has nothing to do with the musical. I mean, I know that it really wouldn't, but…I mean, were they a crappy team at one point?"

Sports really aren't Billy's thing, which is probably one of the reasons why they're not staying for the whole game. "And why have two teams in the same city anyhow? Doesn't that sort of defeat the purpose? It's not like it's a huge area here…it would make sense if the other team represented Upstate or something."

Sam heads for the same trash can as the other two deserters. He knew better than to buy a frank at a ballpark, but had a moment of weakness and briefly thought that a beer would make the armchair coach sitting three rows behind him in the stands more bearable. His patience with the yelling ran out before the watery domestic, so he's just now ditching the oversized cup.

He overhears Billy's question and smirks. "It's all about population. You sell more tickets in NYC than you could anywhere upstate," he cuts in. "But really, it's all at the whims of the owners. They could run off with either of our teams any time they wanted."

"Yeah, that's what I was thinking," Teddy says. "New York is pretty big, so it can afford two teams. But I confess, I don't know the history of it. Now I'm gonna have to look it up. But the musical, that's from when the Yankees were winning nearly every game they played. The guy who sells his soul, ends up being the hitter for the Washington Senators."

And at that point, something strange appears to be going on; the Mets are playing the Detroit Tigers. Their mascot, "Paws" the tiger, was not there. A greyhound-sized bus with the Tigers logo is in the parking lot, and a roaring noise is coming from it. But Paws is just a guy in a suit, right?

Billy Kaplan looks over at the other who has joined the conversation, "Do you really think the fans would allow that though? I mean…both teams seem to be staples in the city. There might be some sort of riot if they did." He punctuates the comment with an ingenuous smile before turning to Teddy, "Honestly, I haven't seen the moving in ages. I just remember Gwen Verdon dancing and 'You gotta have heart'." At the roar, he glances over at the bus and lifts an eyebrow, "That's quite an effect. Cute…"

"I don't have to guess; we used to have three teams," Sam explains to Billy. "The Dodgers used to be the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Giants used to be the New York Giants. You think Jackie Robinson wasn't an institution? Owners got whims, the teams moved, and the Mets were created to pick up the slack. You're welcome, California." He gives a derisive snort, but then the roaring noise draws his attention. He only glances at the bus for a moment, then becomes suddenly interested in the skies and various trash cans dotted around the parking lot. "Uh-oh," he says, apparently alarmed more by what he sees there than the roaring bus. "That's, uh… that's not a sound effect. At least, according to the pigeons."

"And why I don't know that, well, never played baseball," Teddy confesses, "so I never bothered… Wait, dude, did you just talk to the pigeons?"

The bus shakes and the side of it tears open, right through the logo, a big striped claw shredding metal as easily as paper. The roaring seems to be coming from a fifteen-foot-tall bipedal tiger, and if only anyone here could speak the language, it'd be clear he's saying 'I gotta go on, the team needs me' … but then it's interrupted by a high, lilting, slightly mad woman's laughter, that goes on much longer than should be possible. Really, stop to breathe!

"So, is it a ratio of teams per million of people or something?" Billy grins at Sam before blinking when he mentions the pigeons. "Uhm. You can talk to them? Aren't they pretty much just flying rats? Do they have more on their minds than just 'food food food'?"

The line of questioning gets interrupted by the giant paw ripping through the bus. Oh, that can't be good. Dark eyes widen and he glances at Teddy once before a hand reaches out and he starts chanting, "TigerbacktoManTigerbacktoManTigerbacktoManTigerbacktoManTigerbacktoManTigerbacktoManTigerbacktoManTigerbacktoMan".

"What, you guys don't?" Sam replies casually to Teddy and Billy's disbelieving questions. He turns back to the trash can, grabs one of the wide bars that make up the metal cage the bin is held in, and props one foot against the rim. With a careful application of leverage — and a moment of sweaty, grunting effort — he yanks the bar free. He hefts it for a moment, gauging its weight and balance. "Although, with that attitude, it's no wonder they give you the cold shoulder," he says to Billy. The chanting gets a sidelong glance, then Sam writes it off as panic and brushes past both of the boys. "Breathe, kid. Both of you stay behind me. Blond guy? Call the cops." He advances cautiously toward the tiger, down in a combat-ready crouch.

"Not so fast!" shrieks that voice, no longer laughter but now an ear-piercing shrill. "The curse of the goat must be broken, and the cure is to spread it to all the other teams! Every mascot must be made real! The Cubs must once again win the pennant!"

The source of the voice pops into view - a very shaggy, horse-sized goat, wearing a barbed-wire bridle, being ridden by a woman who really should NOT be sky-clad. At least she's painted blue. And red. She's carrying a baseball bat, and she points it at Billy, and Teddy lunges in between, turning green and growing to approximately Hulk-sized. He still has his hot-dog wrapper, so he compresses it into a ball and throws it, and … she manages to bat it away.

The tiger-man growls at Sam, but then he starts to shrink. A little. The curse of the goat is resistant.

The reminder to breathe is a good one and Billy looks to the older man and gives a nod in acknowledgement. The breathing also helps him to gather his thoughts and focus on the spell. It is, however, broken briefly when the 'enemy' comes into sight.

His chanting stops and he blinks…"What the hell?" He looks at the now-larger Teddy before he takes a centering breath and returns to the chanting.

"Or do that," Sam says as Teddy — giant green Teddy — lunges back into his field of view. "Hulking out is useful, t—" The goatrider bats away the hot dog wrapper, interrupting Sam's train of thought. "Okay. D minus for choice of rage projectiles. See me after class." It's pretty clear who the real source of their problems is, so the pararescuer shifts his focus from the mascot to the… whatever THAT is. "You go straight in, I'll flank," he hisses, loping around to the side and hoping that his green friend understands the rudimentary plan he's offering.

But it kept her from zapping Billy, right? Head back in the game, Hulkling! Teddy nods to Sam, and grows a pair of green dragon wings, leaping up to GET IN HER FACE… How is this goat flying anyway? Oh god, the smell, it must be standing on its own stink. "FIND A BETTER WAY!" he yells, flailing his arms and trying to control his flight. Seriously, why hasn't he practiced hovering yet?

Paws the Tiger-Man is slowly shrinking back … no, he's stuck at six four. And the fur isn't going anywhere, though his face is getting less animal. So Billy's chant is having SOME effect.

Back at the field, a bored news crew has noticed that Something Is Happening In the Parking Lot. SO MUCH more interesting than this game. The Mets are being skunked. One or two interns are sent to find out what's going on.

Augh! Why won't the tiger change back? A scowl is given to the Goat-lady…or goat AND lady…before Billy changes the spell mid-chant, "GotosleepGotosleepGotosleepGotosleepGotosleep". Maybe, since he's not trying to undo the initial spell. it'll work better? Then he can try and help a little more.

Not for the first time, Sam curses the fact that he got a watch when he left the experimental weapons program, rather than one of the jetsuits he helped test. "What I would give for a pair of wings right now," he grouses as he leaps up and starts to scale the tallest parked vehicle nearby — the wrecked bus. Fortunately, the engine vent on the back panel provides a useful set of handholds, and before long, he's behind the jilted Cubs fan, watching for her to dip far enough for him to leap up and unhorse her. Ungoat her. Whatever. "C'mon, kid… just knock her down a few feet…" he mutters to himself.

"But I gotta go cheerrrrr…" Paws the Tiger-Man says, before he decides to curl up on top of a car. Warm. ZZZZ.

The witch dodges down, avoiding the looming dragon-winged Hulk wannabe — "What the #$**! Mascot are YOU supposed to be?" she demands, coming into range of Sam's tackle. The goat seems to be unimpressed, or more to the point, it's got a bridle made of barbed wire in its mouth, so a mere scowl doesn't seem to faze it.

Hulkling ends up having to turn around, and is flapping like a wounded bat to achieve the turn. He is … not as graceful as a Night Fury yet. More like a Gronckle.

The interns are running back to the news team, incoherently yelling.

Once the tiger-man is asleep, Billy allows himself a brief sigh of relief before he's back at attention. The yells cause him to glance over and there's a quick flick of his wrist and a spoken, "Change…" before he's suddenly no longer dressed in modern clothes. Instead, he's dressed in a lightly armored black bodysuit, complete with a circlet and wimple. About his shoulders is a tattered red cloak that begins to billow as he rises, effortlessly, into the air.

Might as well give the news crew a show!

Since Hulkling and the new guy have the crazy woman and the tiger is now asleep, he looks to the goat. Poor goat…bridled with barbed wire. Time to remedy that. "FreethegoatFreethegoatFreethegoatFreethegoatFreethegoatFreethegoatFreethegoat.

His improvised bar weapon stuffed down the side of his pants, Sam grins, takes two running steps, and flings himself off the bus roof. Fortunately, heights don't faze him. He ends up hitting the witchy woman in a flying tackle, flinging his arms around her and, with luck, knocking her off the goat. 'Luck' in this case meaning they're both plummeting toward the ground, but as they say: situation normal, all f***ed up. "Lady! You need! To give up! On the Cubs!" he yells as he wrestles with her.

The Cubs Witch is not happy when Sam tackles her off of the back of her (incredibly stinky) goat — seriously, it's like concentrated essence of Goat +5, don't get it on your … too late, you touched the witch, Sam, you now have red and blue greasepaint on you that smells like goat. The witch shrieks and flails around with her baseball bat, as the barbed wire dissolves into thorn and then into dust in her hands.

"NEVER! The Cubs will RISE AGAIN!!" she yells, and with a slither of grease-paint, she manages to point the bat at the ground. A hole appears, and she kicks free of Sam's grip, vanishing into the hole and pulling it behind her.

"Baa-aaa-aaahaha— *" the goat says, then suddenly vanishes, as though a hundred gallons of febreze had been poured into the space it occupied.

Teddy is still flying towards the pair, and manages to get there in time to grab Sam, keeping him from face-planting on the concrete.

"Woo hoo?" he says.

The news crew begins to assemble, too late for the action. Paws the Tiger-Man is still part tiger.

Billy Kaplan started to stretch out another hand to try and catch Sam, but Teddy got to him first. With the goat gone, he turns back to the Tiger-Man. "He's kind of cute like that…all fluffy," as if he's tempted to leave him like that. "Oh well. No more Furry for you, Mr. Tiger-man…" and he begins the 'Tigerbacktoman' chant once more. Maybe it'll work better with the witch gone.

Sam curses as the witch wriggles away from him and vanishes. He's tucking himself into a ball and preparing to make the best of an extreme amount of pain when Hulkling catches him. After a moment for the relief to set it, he leans over the shapeshifter's shoulder, points at the spot where the woman disappeared, and yells after her, "I was the best thing that ever happened to you!" He flops back into Teddy's arms and sniffs at his jacket with a disgusted face. "Unfortunately, can't say the reverse. Christ almighty."

The curse of the goat is powerful, and the spell of the witch subtle. The Tigers baseball hat falls off Paws' head, and he's suddenly human again, and rather naked, since the rest of his outfit was shredded when he transformed. He's also still asleep. He clutches the hat to his chest and mutters, "no, Ma, I'll go to the game later, just one more hour OK?"

Teddy lands, making what would be a terrible landing mostly work by dint of brute strength, and pulls the dragon wings back into his body. He lets Sam stand on his own as he walks over to stand under the floating magic-wielder.

"Nice costume," he observes, as the cameraman and a reporter approach in a golf cart, whipping along from the gate at a blistering 5 miles an hour.

Billy Kaplan floats back down to land easily — he's practiced this a bit and it's come rather naturally, oddly enough. "Thanks. Uh. Ok, that totally wasn't me somehow calling that cray-cray." Others can say what they want about Chaos magic, but he had -nothing- to do with that. Grinning at Teddy, he then offers a hand to Sam, "You ok? That was some amazing tackling you did there…I mean…not being able to fly. That took guts! And it was incredibly stupid, but gutsy!"

"Pull up your legs! Go lateral! Hit the brakes and go lat—" Teddy's bone-rattling landing elicits a quiet sigh from Sam, but the experienced skydiver simply sighs and hops down to the ground. "Never mind. You should work on that." He glances over at Billy as Teddy comments on his costume, and gives the young sorceror a grin. "Thanks. Gutsy but stupid is a personal specialty. Plus, sometimes I forget I can't fly." His genial expression acquires a tinge of confusion as he adds, "And, uh… when did you find time to change?" He glances down at the mascot, double-takes, then looks at the others with eyebrows raises. "We should probably get this guy some pants before the evening news gets here."

"Yeah, I need practice landing," Teddy admits. He reaches into a pocket and pulls out a … tee shirt? Which he uses to wipe off as much of that red and blue paint he picked up off Sam as he can. He tosses the shirt to Sam and looks at Billy with a grin.

"I wouldn't expect you to have much to do with a painted naked woman on a goat with a Cubbies fixation," he says, reaching into that same pocket and pulling out a pair of dark red sweatpants… exactly like the ones he was wearing before he hulked out. Except he's wearing some kind of armor now. So he tosses the pants to the tiger guy and says, "Wake up, you're naked in public."

The guy opens his eyes and makes an 'eep!' noise and pulls the pants on. Warm. Why are they warm? Never mind, they're coverage.

"Were you a bird once?" Because that's the only thing that seems to make sense in Billy's mind. The guy talks to pigeons and seems to think he can fly. Really, it's all logical. The question about changing causes him to grin widely before answering, with a wiggle of his fingers, "Magic." The mention of needing pants causes him to look back over at the now-naked mascot, "Oh. Yeah." He begins a 'BeDressed' chant, but there's just a note of reluctance in there.

It's a good thing Teddy had the sweatpants.

Sam catches the shirt easily, shrugs, and towels off his chest and arms before handing the shirt back to Teddy gingerly. "I'd say wash that, but I dunno — this smell is kinda calling the incinerator's name. Too bad. I liked these pants." Billy's question elicits a laugh. "Close enough. Para-rescue, and some other stuff." He smiles, not quite sure whether to buy the 'magic' line, but decides not to push it when the guy's buddy is a transforming green winged… person. "You might take up skydiving," he suggests to Teddy. "They'll teach you landing techniques that can apply to wings, too. Came in handy when I was a bird, anyway." He grins over at Billy, teasing him.

"Thanks, man, I'll do that!" Teddy says enthusiastically. Hey, another sport to learn! He does the little-finger-wave thing when the News Crew approaches.

"Jerrica Fawkes, ESPX News," one of them says, sticking a microphone in their direction. The camera guy pans across the side of the bus, then at Sam and the two novice heroes, stopping on the formerly-naked guy holding the slightly out-sized Tigers cap.

"Could you tell us what happened here?" she asks. The mascot puts the hat back on his head and instantly reverts into a seven-foot-tall tiger-man, but fortunately, not out of control.

"I'm Paws, the Tigers Mascot," he says, apparently not noticing that he's been transformed again.
"I was attacked by a crazy Cubs fan riding a goat, and these guys came along and got rid of her!"

A news crew! Awesome! Not that he wants to be interrogated by them, but exposure is good! As they move towards the mascot and the guy puts the hat on his head and transforms, he figures he should probably step in. "Uh…" he goes to point out delicately, "I think your hat's been hexed. I'd take it off…unless you want to be a Furry. Not like there's anything wrong with that."

"'Crazy Cubs fan' is redundant, man," Sam points out. He's tall enough that he can pretty easily reach over to snatch the cap off of the extremely lifelike mascot's head. "And I think keeping the stench witch's cursed hat is definitely a bad idea, furry or not." He glances at the reporter and tells her, "We saw some people busting up the parking lot and decided to get involved. I'm ex-military, these guys are superheroes, I guess — seemed like the right thing to do."

The hat comes off and the mascot's back to human.

"Hey, that's Tigers property," he complains, grabbing for it. "Give it back! Besides, it fits better than the old costume," and continues his explanations to the news guys, as the interview continues.

Meanwhile, in the Mets locker room, the mascot's locker is open, and there is a stench of goat. The mascot's hat hangs on its hook, sparkling slightly, as a witchy cackle echoes through the empty room.

Mr. Met is in for a surprise.


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