Trick or Treat!

ONCE UPON A TIME there was a big, bad wolf. She didn’t get the recognition in the MML that the alpha males on her team got, but she was widely respected. She was known as the “First Lady” of the Hopeless Necromantics (or the Romantics, as they were also called by their fans).

The term First Lady implied that her male counterpart was the President, or otherwise the team leader. And her past male counterparts had been important, although not exactly the team leaders…more like the enforcers. Their coach used to call them the backbone of the team.

But Coach Jest called her the heart and soul of the team. Her passion for the sport, determination to win, loyalty to her teammates, unnatural speed, and overall fierceness was instrumental to this team’s success. In 4 seasons, the team had never missed the postseason, qualifying for 2 Bowl Games and making the Playoffs twice.

Meanwhile, a ghoul was the head. Chasing Papi had held the league rushing record for 3 seasons before it was recently broken by 2 yards. He was also their voice of reason (see “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”). He was their team captain; their field general. Off the field, Coach Serious Jest would consult with him on game plans and roster moves; he valued his opinion that much.

But Papi had been critically injured in their last Playoff match against the eventual Season 9 champions, the Midnight Howlers, and he had decided to end his career as an MML icon. Coach Jest had offered him an assistant coaching position, but Papi turned it down to go boating around the world with some of his many female friends.

So here she was, The Princess Bride, sitting in Coach Jest’s office, being asked what she thought about the Romantics’ transfer options for the upcoming S10. It made sense. She was one of the few original members left, and she had earned her place on the team arguably more than anyone else left; but it still felt surreal.

The Romantics’ first transfer option was Can’t Get Loose, an agile ghoul from ReznorRulesYou’s Everything Went Black. The addition of another agile ghoul was tempting. He didn’t possess Papi’s skill set, but his natural talent could potentially get him there one day, with a lot of hard work. The remaining Romantics ghoul, Knocked Up, had proven nothing yet, other than the ability to stay alive and healthy (although that is significant for a ghoul). As great a sportsman as Rez had been to offer up the contract, Jest was a little concerned about CGL’s heart being in it when the Romantics played Rez’s Pro team, Stop Rolling Ones!!!, in the upcoming season.

Their second option was a zombie named Criminal, from Fnords’s Crunch ‘N Love. Skilled in both the arts of blocking and guarding, Criminal could make a huge difference in the trenches.

Finally, there was ghoul named Velcro Candy, from Whiskey_Tornado’s Feeding Frankenstein. This ghoul was just as agile as CGL. He had even shown a little more promise on the Farm. But he was also a little…special. Outside of Blood Bowl, he had built quite a cult following as a rock star. His concerts were spectacular, featuring the brightest lights, the loudest instruments, the tightest leather, and the most spectacular displays, including that one time when he bit a cameraman’s head off on stage and drank the blood from the body. Again, great potential, but Coach Jest was concerned that his rock god persona would spill over onto the Blood Bowl pitch. I mean, the ghoul wore heavy makeup and a wig under his helmet!

Without hesitation, The Bride said, “Let’s trick or treat. Give us some Candy. The talent is there. If the ego starts to become a problem, I’ll cut it down to size. Plus, I like that he comes from one of Coach Whiskey’s teams. He’ll be extra motivated to stick it to those dirty SROs.”

“Good call, Captain,” replied the coach. “I was thinking the same thing.”

“Captain?” she repeated. Again, she had suspected, but the honor was still so great it was hard to believe.

“You earned it,” said Coach Jest, matter-of-factly. “This team has been through a lot this past season. Merodach was killed, Pretty Woman and Chasing Papi suffered career-ending injuries…it was tough, and yet you really stepped up and led this team. It’s no secret our success has been largely due to you. You deserve it.” And with that, he stood up and extended his hand.

As she stood up to grip it, he grabbed her forearm, and slipped the Captain’s armband over her wrist. She was often surprised by how agile this human was. He smiled at her with respect as she allowed him to slip it up to her bicep and slap it in place.

She didn’t know what this season would hold for this team. Some of the preseason analysts were predicting a rebuilding season. But she knew that she would leave everything out on that pitch…and she would make sure that all of her teammates would, too.

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