Ok, time to stop fucking around. It's time to pull out The Antler. Its magic is powerful, unreliable, and completely fucked up, but the Sharks leave me no other choice.
Sometime in the early-aughts, I went with some friends to the AT&T Pro Am golf tournament in Pebble Beach. We were following Bill Murray's group with the hope of seeing Antics. It was a very cold day, with snow on the hills around Monterey. We were walking through the pine and cypress forest to go to the next hole, and I found The Antler.
I picked it up, and said, "hey check this out." My friend Flo came to the tournament with the idea that he'd get some signatures. He brought a Skoal can and thought he had a pretty good chance of getting Alice Cooper to sign it (he did). I told him that I thought it would be funny if Bill Murray signed an antler. Flo had a black Sharpie. His eyes lit up. He had a mission. He would get Bill Murray to sign this antler.
He put himself in position, alongside the roped off pathways for the golfers and celebrities to walk between holes. The Sharpie was uncapped, The Antler poised. Bill Murray approached, Flo held out The Antler and pen. "Sign my horn," he said. Bill Murray stopped, looked at Flo, and said, "No. That's bad luck." Then he walked away.
We were devastated. At the next hole, Flo, feeling spurned, began waving The Antler at Bill Murray while he was teeing off. He pointed it at him, menacing him like an evil eye talisman. Bill Murray saw him, looked down, and hit his tee shot into a tree. We laughed, like fools, not knowing what sort of power we were unleashing. "It works! Hahaha." We walked down the side of the fairway for the next shot.
A juvenile buck emerged from the woods, frightened by the crowds of people suddenly invading his territory. It ran across the fairway, panicked, and seeing no way out. It charged into the crowd of spectators, head down, and the first nubs of emerging antlers pointed out. The buck ran over a 60 year old woman, and people began screaming. Everyone stopped, then jogged over to see if she was ok. Her hands were bleeding, as she put them out instinctively to defend herself, as the juvenile buck's horns came at her. She was ultimately not seriously hurt apart from some scrapes and the hand wounds, but was carted off by the tournament staff. The buck had disappeared into the trees.
We all looked at her, then looked at The Antler. Clearly, its power was beyond our abilities. Bill Murray was correct, it was bad luck. But, we thought, perhaps The Antler felt disrespected by Bill Murray's snub. He had cursed it with his indifference, and he had the power to bring it back. Flo's mission, then was to get Bill Murray to sign it.
Whenever he could he presented it to Bill Murray, saying, "Remove the curse, sign The Antler." Bill Murray refused. Bill Murray's golf game fell apart. On the 18th hole, he finally relented. "This thing has been following me around all day." We celebrated. Flo's persistence paid off. But we were also wary.
The Antler has proved mercurial. Clearly we had to respect its power. Flo, a die-hard Red Sox fan, requested its use against the Yankees in the ALCS in 2004 when it seemed all hope was lost. I pointed it east. The Red Sox prevailed.
Other requests failed, however.
I have avoided turning to The Antler. Until now. I do not know if it will favor me. The porous nature of animal horn has caused Bill Murray's signature to fade. Does that mean it will lash out at another innocent? I do not know. But now, it is needed. The Antler is pointed toward Pittsburgh. The Sharks fate is in its hands now.
Sharks @ Penguins
5:00 PM Pacific
Prediction: The Antler decides, we obey.