"Flinging an octopus is no more acceptable than hurling kittens or puppies," Jeremy read.
"Puppies?" Natalie appeared in the doorway to Casey's office. One hand held a coffee mug; the fingers of the other were massaging a stress-ball with a rapid flutter. "Who's throwing puppies?"
"No-one, Nat," Jeremy reassured her. "It's a PETA press release. Apparently they're campaigning to stop fans from throwing octopus-es - octopi? – on to the ice in Detroit."
She blinked. "Huh. And this has come up now, why?"
Casey looked up from his copy of the night's script. "Come on, Natalie. I know you’re not a hockey fan, but do the words Stanley Cup finals mean anything? Game six, tonight, in Detroit?"
"Hockeytown, USA," Dan chimed in.
"And right on cue, Dan Rydell with the useless interjection." She threw the stress-ball at Dan's head - it bounced off his defensive hand and whacked Jeremy's shoulder. "So is anyone going to answer my question: what's with the octopus?"
"It's supposed to be good luck. For the Red Wings, not the octopus. Or octopi," Jeremy said.
"I'd go with cephalopods," Dan said with the air of a man who's given the matter entirely too much thought. "No issues with the proper plural of that."
"Check." Casey made a note on the script. "What do they do with all those iced cephalopods, anyways?"
"I guess they serve a lot of calamari in the club lounge," Dan offered.
The press release drifted to the floor. Jeremy had moved on to riffle simultaneously through three goalie-pad-thick volumes of hockey trivia, scattering a trail of Post-It notes. "Guess the weight of the largest octopus ever thrown on the ice."
"Fifty pounds," Dana's voice floated behind her as she passed the office at her usual venti-frappacino-fueled speed.
"Wait, wait, Dana – come back a second," Casey called. "So what did they do with it?"
She reappeared in the doorway, bookended with Natalie. "Do with what?"
"The octopus. Cephalopod," Jeremy added off a look from Dan. "Whatever. The thing with eight legs."
"Drove it around on the hood of the Zamboni between periods."
"No way," Jeremy scoffed.
"Way, Garth. I was there for that game – conference finals in ninety-six. But they lost to Colorado, so it was bad luck for everybody, not just the octopus." She shifted her weight impatiently. "Now, unless you want my aunt's secret recipe for calamari sauce, I have things to take care of so that we can actually cover more important matters on the show tonight."
"Go, go," Casey waved her off. "We'll handle the octopus."
"Who on God's green earth came up with the idea of throwing an octopus on the ice in the first place?" Natalie asked. "I mean, you picture guys on skates slamming each other into the boards, seafood doesn't exactly leap to mind."
"Pete and Jerry Cusimano, fish shop owners," Jeremy read from The Compendium of Hockey Lore. "They claimed it was a symbol for eight wins, because in those days, eight straight victories were enough to win the cup. Personally, I suspect they were looking for a way to boost their octopus sales."
"You could be right," Dan said. He'd picked up the discarded fax. "According to PETA, more than one hundred oc- cephalopods are 'mercilessly slaughtered' for every home game of the playoffs."
"Octopi today. Wimps," Casey snorted. "They never had to play Gordie Howe. Go into the corners with him, then we're talking merciless slaughter."