2019-04-01 - Heroes and Demons Go to White Castle


A lot of people get a hankering for those delicious little sliders.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Apr 1 00:00:00 2019
Location: White Castle, Brooklyn, New York

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Theme Song



If you head into Brooklyn from the west, make your way around Prospect Park, and follow Empire Blvd. to Lefferts Ave., you will find the only White Castle in Brooklyn. It is notable for many things, but one of the more interesting aspects is that it is one of the few places where Spider-Man can show his masked face without anyone reporting to the cops.

A month ago, the daughter of the family that owned it, the Reppertons, was accosted by an angry customer that pulled a knife. He had the bad luck to do it while Spidey was in the neighborhood and the poor judgment to try and use it on the Webhead. After he was plastered to the wall, the Reppertons said that Spidey can have a meal on the house, any time of day or night. And any customer who ratted him to the cops was banned from the restaurant for life.

So, on a Monday night when funds are tight, the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man is waiting in line like everyone else. He doesn't cut in line, because that is wrong, but the cooks are already making the same meal he always orders: 12 cheeseburgers, fries, large iced tea. Because caffeine makes him jittery as the dickens.

Hellboy has a table to himself. He'd like a booth, for the privacy, but they're pretty itty bitty, just like the burgers in this place, so he's got to sit on one of those silly stools at a little round table just so he's got the leg room he needs. He has a literal case of sliders in front of him, pried open to let the steam spill out and tossing one casually back into his fanged mouth.

Generally speaking, a seven-foot tall red-skinned demon in a trenchcoat is going to attract attention. Even in Brooklyn. A little kid walks up to the table.

"Gee, are you an alien?"

"You bet I am, kid. Call me the Martian Manhunter. You want an autograph?"

There's a bit of a commotion outside, and there's suddenly an equine head peeking into one of the front windows. After a few moments, a young woman enters dressed in, well, armor is probably the best word for it, complete with a sword sheathed at her hip. She takes off her helmet to reveal black hair elaborately braided, and goes to the counter. "Hi, can I get a box…" She pauses, then looks at the horse staring at her through the window, then sighs, "Two boxes of cheeseburgers, please? And, oh! A chocolate shake!" She grins, "Haven't had one of those in years."

Spider-Man is, in his moment of quiet, tired focus, ambushed!

Fortunately it's an ambush of the friendly kind, rather than real danger. And it comes in the form of a hug that wraps around Spider-Man's shoulders and upper arms and hauls him off his feet, so Kori Anderson can sway him back and forth with an enthusiastic embrace from behind with her cheekbone on his temple. "Hello, friend-o!" she cries. Loudly. Kori can't speak quietly. "I thought that was you! I saw the outfit of the Spider-Man, and then I recognized your buttocks of the tightness, and I knew for *sure* it was you!"

The towering redhead holding Spider-Man off the ground definitely doesn't look like a local. Black calf-length tights, flat soled sneakers, and a loose, lightweight grey hoodie that absolutely fails to conceal a physique best described as 'improbable'. Her hair's pulled into a loose, tumbling braid from under a black ballcap, and mirrored aviators conceal her face.

"It is me! Kori! From school!" she tells Spider-Man, setting him down and dramatically removing her aviators. She beams at Spider-Man with a brimming sort of enthusiasm.

Also, she weirdly seems like the only person not scoping the Valkyrie or the demon in the corner.

It's about then that a rather pretty 20-something brunette walks in, a trenchcoat worn open over a black pullover sweater and a pair of faded jeans, with wedge-heeled black suede ankle boots on her feet, their 3-inch rise bringing her to about 5'10" overall. Including the shoes, she'd often be one of the taller women in a crowd. She'd also have one of the more outstanding figures in most gatherings. But on both counts, most crowds don't include Kori.

Sarah Black looks around curiously, a bemused grin forming on her lips. She's resisting the urge to shift into The Sight, a bit worried that the metaphysical glare might be blinding, just starting from the horse she saw outside. She takes her place at the back of the line, and observes while she waits. Her gaze does keep straying over to the large, red-skinned chap, though.

And the Spider-Sense is going off. Why would…
And then he remembers she said "from school," and realized she was about to ruin his entire life. INNOCENTLY, even.
He whips around in the hug so he is masked-face-to-face with Kori, and he whispers, quickly, "I have a *mask* for a *reason,* Kori!"

He looks around, then sees the winged horse… a woman in armor… and a large red-skinned demon. *Well, at least I'm no longer the weirdest one here…* he notes with rueful amusement.
"How are you doing, Kori? School treating you okay?"

Should he be concerned about the horse? Probably. But he's not on duty at the moment and it doesn't appear to be spitting fire or eating anyone, so Hellboy's just going to pretend he didn't see it.

Or the va-va-voom redhead with the tangerine peel.

Or Spider-Man.

Christ on a cracker, New York these days was buggy as a beehive. And then there's that girl staring at him, giving him the long look, and he points a thick red finger at her. "I ain't buyin' your cookies. I still got a fat ass from last year."

The armored girl does, at least, carry proper currency, giving enough for the burgers in question as she then leans against the counter, waiting for the order. And her eyes focus on Hellboy in particular, glancing between him and Starfire, "Er, neither of you are from Muspelheim, right?" She looks more than a little confused, now that she actually takes the time to register who else is here.

Buddy, the cashier looks at the winged horse. "Uh, can we allow those through the drive-through?"
His father sighs. "We're on the lucky side of the Brooklyn Blitz, Bud. You take it as it comes, son."

Chuckling, the pretty brunette breaks from the line and starts walking toward Hellboy's table. "And I'm a bit old for the Girl Guides," she replies to him, a playful smile now on her lips. Her voice is pleasant and carries a very obvious British accent, and sounds like that of an educated person, but not at all putting on posh airs. "You don't know me, but I believe I may know who you are. If I'm right, my brother spoke highly of you. Does the name Simon Black ring any bells?"

Hellboy sucks a bit of burger grease from his fingers, wiping his hands afterward with a napkin. He gives the girl a bit of a sideways look, cocking his head, the broken horns along his brow adding a bit of intensity to his silhouette.

"Yeah, I remember yer brother. Good kid," he says, a little somberly. "You want some cheesy fries? I got plenty o' cheesy fries. Ain't much comfort, I know, but sometimes it's all we got."

The armored woman picks up the burgers, much to the delight of the horse lurking at the window. Taking the boxes out with her, she passes a curious glance to Hellboy again before leaving, making sure to keep the burger boxes balanced with the shake on top as she goes.

"Sometimes it is," the brunette replies, as she seats herself on the other stool at Hellboy's table, her expression turning a bit wistful for a moment. "Sarah Black," she offers, extending her hand politely. "New addition to 'the firm.' A pleasure to meet you." She glances at the offered fries for a moment, then adds, "I did come out tonight to see a bit more of the neighborhood, and absorb a bit of its culture. Those would seem to qualify. Thank you."

Spidey is lowered as Kori becomes fascinated with the menu. He arrives at the counter to find his meal ready. He is about to say something but just gives Buddy a $5 and tells him to "call it a tip."

He steps away from the counter, then looks for a place to sit. For some strange reason, the only available tables are in Hellboy's vicinity.

Of course he knows who Hellboy is. He's as much a fixture as Dead Girl. However, he approaches the table quietly. It's a mix of "I can only deal with so many demons this week" and "I shouldn't (ha-ha) bug the guy while he's eating" that keeps him from making eye contact with the big guy. That and the fact he's talking to someone, and he's not going to be That Guy.

He settles into his seat, and prepares to chow down.

Hellboy shakes the offered hand with his oversized red paw, the Hand of Doom surprisingly gentle as he makes sure not to squeeze. "The Firm, huh? Makes us sound like a buncha lawyers. I'm sure we got a few somewhere, we probably get sued now and again. Collateral damage an' all that," he says.

"You got me. I am the picture of culture an' class," he says, then gives a bit of a burp. "You out in the field or you sittin' at a desk? Not that there's anything wrong with that. Not everybody has a big hard head like me."

"Field agent. Continuing where Simon left off, I suppose one could call it," Sarah answers. "Keeping on with the 'family business,' so to speak. I've been here for just going on a fortnight, now. I was hoping to meet you sooner or later." She pauses to pop a cheesy fry into her mouth, and slowly chew it. She smiles a bit, then comments, "Cheese on chips. That's rather brilliant."

Spidey is on his third slider when it happens.

A kid is gazing at Spider-Man from another table close by. Spider-Man looks over to him, and smiles encouragingly (he folded the mask up to nose-level to eat). "Hey, there."
The kid looks to him, then picks up his cup, pops off the lid, and shoves the cup in Spidey's direction. Spidey is a little stunned at the kid's actions, but finds himself splashed by the cold soda. He swallows the slider in his mouth as the kid turns to his mom and says, "I need a refill. He made me spill mine."
The mother takes the cup, gives Spidey a dirty look, then walks the kid over to the serve-yourself soda dispenser.

*My adoring public,* he thinks with a sigh.

Hellboy grins, "It is, ain't it? Americans put cheese on most everythin'. One of the best things 'bout this country," he says. "I tend to kinda come and go around the office. I ain't much popular with the suit and tie crowd. They don't always like to be reminded that not everyone who works for 'em is exactly human."

He sees what's going on and pushes up from his seat, "'Scuse me a second, babe," he says, sauntering over until the massive seven-foot demon casts a shadow over the little boy. "Now, kiddo, I gotta tell ya, I know Captain America personal like and he'd tell you that ain't no way to treat anybody, much less a good egg like Spider-Man. I know he gets a lotta guff in the papers, but I didn't figure you fer a regular front page reader. Which means you probably got it from your Ma. And let me be the first to tell ya, kid, one of the hardest lessons everybody's gotta learn: sometimes Ma's full of shit."

"Hello!" Kori's abruptly *there*, at the soda dispenser. It's a little unnerving to realize how fast she's moving, mostly becausefor the sharp eyed among you, true believersshe doesn't actually move her feet sometimes. One second she's staring at the menu, rubbing her earlobe in thought, and then she's beaming that smile at the child's mother. And a hand is resting on the mouth of the soda cup.

"Perhaps you did not see what happened," Kori tells the mother, cheerfully. "He did not 'spill' his drink, which implies an accident. He threw his beverage at my friend P—the Spider-Man," she explains.

"I do not believe he did so as part of a ritual of gratitude or renewal, or as consecration in your religious obligations. I believe your rude little bumgorf was attempting to be cruel. Providing more delicious beverage for him is reinforcing his actions."

She curls her fingers on the cup's mouth, crushing it, and her smile widens. It's perhaps not a nice smile. "Where I am from, parents who do not rule their children share consequences for their actions. Ritual combat is often preferred. As Spider-Man is my friend, I would happily champion him here!" she says, with a beaming enthusiasm. Are her eyes glowing a little? They're maybe definitely glowing a little. "And then I can display your family's bleached skulls in front of the Castle of White as a warning against other foul behaviour!" she exclaims, and giggles as if she'd just cheered a trip to Disneyland. "Would that not be 'the terrifying?'"

Sarah watches, at first curiously, as the Big Red Man gets up. And then she observes, and listens, as he confronts the kid. She'd missed the soda-tossing — it happened behind her, and she'd been focused enough on making her new co-worker's acquaintance that she'd been only vaguely aware of the altercation. But she doesn't need the details to follow what's happening now. Her eyes go wide, as she stifles her first impulse, which is to laugh at the boy being called out on whatever exactly it was he did — by Hellboy, no less. But that impulse gives way quickly to something like astonishment, bordering on awe. Yes, there were /reasons/ her brother had liked this man, and she just witnessed one of them within minutes of meeting him.

And then, suddenly, there's Very Tall Orange Woman, taking it to an entirely new, and very disturbing, level. Rising to her feet, Sarah opts to let the (very much) more senior agent lead the way, here. But she's readying herself to back him up, if Miss Tangerine actually does start something.

The woman STARES at Kori as she crushes the paper cup, and hoo boy her eyes are glowing. She looks to her right, but that's no help—she's now looking at the chest of Hellboy.
She looks over her shoulder at Buddy the cashier and demands shrilly, "They are BULLYING me! Throw them out or I will call CORPORATE!"
Buddy smirks. "We're family-owned, and we have your little crotch-monster on video giving the guy who saved my little sister a soda shower. My mother's the manager, and my dad's the owner."
The father steps forward. "And I think you and your little brat oughtta shag your butts outta here before we disconnect the cameras and let 'em do what they SHOULD do."

The woman looks from the unhelpful proprietors, to the ticked-off demon, to the savagely-smiling redheaded Amazon, then scoffs and drags her kid out, the kid braying, "Why can't I do it AGAIN…?"

Spidey, on the other hand, is applying paper towels to his soaked suit, trying to blot off the soda. It was going to be sticky as heck…of COURSE it wasn't diet. He looks to Kori and then to Hellboy, startled the big guy said what he did. Hellboy was this force for good, appearance be damned (ha-ha again), but he didn't think he'd challenge someone over a rank amateur like himself.

Hellboy shakes his head, "Kids these days," he mutters. "If that lady has any sense, that kid's ass'll be as red as mine before they get back home," he says.

He gives Kori a raised eyebrow, "I ain't sure exactly who are what you are, girlie, but I definitely like your style. C'mon, Spidey, get yourself toweled off and finish yer food. Won't nobody else be tryin' to pick on ya, fella. Not while Hellboy's around."

The situation defused — though she's still a bit wary of Tall and Orange, uncertain of how much of what she just said to the mother and child was just words meant to frighten, and how much was dangerous lunacy — Sarah turns her attention at least partly to the others. Seeing Spider-Man futilely trying to sop the spilled soda from his uniform, though, she gestures to him and says, "Allow me." And then with a much more elaborate quick one-handed gesture and a few words of seeming gibberish… the suit is dry, and clean as if it were freshly laundered (minus the scent of whatever detergent Aunt May buys).

Kori turns that beaming smile on Hellboy at his praise. "Oh, you are too kind, tall red man!" she tells him. "I get all of my style from the Pinterests and the Googles," she exclaims, and holds out her sweater hem for a twirl. "Is it not the fabulously cute?" All trace of antipathy, if any, are gone.

She bundles up a bunch of napkins to take over to Peter and starts trying to blot at his uniform, unaware of the spell Sarah's working. "These towels do not seem very effective," she frowns, trying to rub Spider-Man's torso down with double fistfuls of the cheap brown towels. "They are not doing any of the absorbing! Does that not defeat the purpose of the towels of the hand?" she demands, crossly.

Spidey looks at Kori. "Uhm…I think I got…wait." He paused. "Uhm…the suit is dry." He looked to Sarah and Hellboy. "Uhm…not that I'm not thankful, but HOW is it dry? And clean? And not smelling like I've worn it every day for the past week? 'Cause…I kinda did…"

The word MAGIC comes up in his mind. He remembered how Zatanna had made stuff happen, but this was different.

"I think I'm okay, Kori… but I appreciate the effort." He smiles the same smile Peter gave her after she showed comprehension of the communication lesson he provided. It's definitely a different look for him.

Hellboy smirks at Sarah, "Well, I see how you got yer job out as a field agent, kid. You got the tricks. I never quite got the hang o' that sorta thing. Dad said it was cause o' what I am. I think it's just that I never could get all that fiddly hand stuff down," he says, holding up his oversized right hand. "It's a bitch for textin', too. Friggin' iPhones."

To Kori, he says, "Googles, Pinterests, whatever, I'm pretty sure you probably make goons blow smoke out of their ears wearing a friggin' Hazmat suit. You better stop towelin' down Spidey, by the way. That suit o' his is too tight to take too much heavy pettin'."

"Just a simple spell. One Mum taught me when I was younger than that brat who just left," Sarah explains to the costumed youth, while also giving Hellboy a nod. Back to Spider-Man, she continues, "And you two obviously know each other, so I am going to hazard a leap that…" And she is addressing Kori at this point, "…you only meant to frighten them, and did not intend to actually follow through on what you so… vividly described?"

"Oh, I intended to!" Kori assures Sarah with that same beaming smile. "I do not make threats that I do not wish to follow through on. A public execution would go a long way towards ensuring a just and harmonious community outlook."

She looks around at the others, smile faltering a bit. "I, uh… do you… not… have those here?" She ducks her head and shrinks into her shoulders a bit, index fingers tapping against one another uncertainly. "It would… do a lot to keep children from, uh… throwing things."

Spider-Man looks to Kori. His smile softens slightly. "Sorry, Kori. Another way things are different here. As much as people joke about it, it's not against the law to be an idiot…to hate someone for no reason…or to have an unreasonable sense of entitlement. We do not line rude people up and execute them."

And based on what Peter told Kori, she might realize he believed that if that was done, he'd be among the first to be lined up against that wall.

"Besides, Kori…nobody would learn anything if we did things that way. I can't force people to like me…and I don't want that, anyway. Soda washes off. Dirt washes off. People talk all the time." The sad smile firms. "I know who I am, Kori."

Hellboy shakes his head, "Don't worry too much, Sarah. If musin' about takin' people out aloud was enough to get you arrested, I'd have been in the clink a long time ago. I'm sure the lady ain't about to go killin' willy nilly. That is frowned upon around here, by the way, doll, I dunno if you picked that up, but just nod and smile and look all innocent-like, I'm tryin' to talk you outta some trouble, huh?," he says.

He points a finger at Spider-Man, "That's a good attitude, kid, but don't let it take you too far. Ain't no reason to be a doormat for anybody, not even if they're still little nose-wipers like that little shit."

To Kori, Sarah observes, "You are obviously…rather not from around here. The customs where you are from may be different, but as both your friend and mine have said, we most certainly do not do such things here." She pauses, taking a breath as she considers whether she really wants to ask this next question or not. But she does: "If I may ask, where are you from, miss…Kori, he called you?"

Kori's about to respond to Peter when Hellboy offers her that sage advice, and she considers it very thoughtfully. She looks to Peter—as she so often does, for guidance or acknowledgment. Because Peter's never given her a bum steer.

Then Sarah's asking her a question and Kori takes a few seconds to think through the question, and then she just… plasters a beaming smile on her face and nods enthusiastically at Sarah while trying to look as innocent as possible.

Hellboy grins and pats Sarah on the shoulder, "I think she's a good egg, wherever she's from. I got a good instinct about that sorta thing," he says.

"Speakin' o' eggs, I got a big speckled one next to the tracks on the Broad Street subway that, accordin' to some of the nerds back at the office, is gonna hatch out a big, greasy thundertoad big enough to eat a Nissan an' I gotta be there on time to punch it in the face when it hatches."

Spider-Man waits for Kori to speak, but she only smiles.

"Kori's from overseas. She's a recent emigrant, but there's some cultural stuff she's sorting out. I happen to know someone who's trying to help her out with that, but…well, America's very different. The rest…well, that's really her own business, and I figure you'll say when you're ready, Kori."

He can't blow her cover, but maybe he can keep them from getting TOO curious.

He looks back to Hellboy. "You're REALLY not going to like Spider-Fail.com, then…sir. I guess you could call the website highlights from my 'blooper reel.'"

Kori continues to nod and smile in support of Peter's words while trying to project an attitude of wholesome innocence.

"'Overseas.' I see," Sarah replies, with a slight nod. One might even suspect that she's not quite entirely buying that explanation. Perhaps. "Well, welcome, then. Enjoy your stay. And do follow your friend's here's lead when it comes to whether or not anyone should be maimed, or worse. Good evening."

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