The Jersey Devil cocked it's head to one side, regarding him with goat-like, slit-pupilled eyes.
Marshall held up his hand, fingers outstretched, and began to count them off.
"Item: I lived here for twelve years before moving to Eerie, and you never showed up once in that whole time. Item: according to the legend, you're supposed to haunt the pine barrens, not lurk in the alley behind an IHOP. And, item, nothing I ever read or watched or heard about the Jersey Devil mentioned you wearing a Philadelphia Eagles sweater
The Jersey Devil shrugged. Marshall sighed.
"Look," he said reasonably. "I know you've got your role to play, or whatever, part of the great American folklore, blahblahblah, but you can't wear that. It's embarrassing. It's disrespectful, even! No monster jumps around on rooftops in a football jersey."
The Jersey Devil's eyes glowed red and it stamped it's cloven feet. It's mouth opened, showing long yellow-brown teeth in greyish gums, and in a voice like the last green places in the world drying up and crumbling to dust, it spoke:
Marshall, who had been staring at the Eagles sweater and slowly shaking his head in disgusted incredulity, looked up and blinked. Seeing his blank expression, the Jersey Devil flexed it's bat-like wings and stood a little taller as it elaborated.
"Leaping. Is for. Jacks." It paused, look a long drink from a reusable novelty take-out cup clasped awkwardly in it's three-fingered hand, then went on in a voice that was still hoarse, but now carried a discernable New Jersey accent. "Devils fly. Jacks leap. You think we all look the same or something?"
Bound and gagged and lying at the Jersey Devil's feet, Syndi still managed to look a little embarrassed on her baby brother's behalf.
"I don't know," said Marshall, a little defensively. "How should I know? I never saw a Jersey Devil before. I've never seen a Spring-heeled Jack either. You're all just flappy, jumpy, lady-grabbing monsters anyway."
Syndi groaned through the duct tape covering her mouth, and rolled herself into a sitting position.
The Jersey Devil rolled it's eyes. "Of course. All the cryptids, we're all the same, all Jersey Devils have to support the Giants, and we all run around grabbing up all the human girls because a female who can't fly is such a great choice for raising your nestlings."
"You have my sister tied up next to you," pointed out Marshall.
"That's not the point. Anyone could have put that there. I'm always finding weird human junk in alleys."
"But I just saw you do it, like five minutes ago. I was right here. You had to knock me down just so you snatch her."
Prone on the filthy alley floor, Syndi's gaze flicked from the Devil to Mars. She raised an eyebrow, and Mars looked away.
"Well, maybe that happened," the Jersey Devil conceded.
"It did happen!" shouted Marshall, feeling his carefully-cultivated-specifically-for-hi
The Jersey Devil tilted it's scaled muzzle to the sky and sniffed dismissively. Mars stamped his foot.
"Don't do that! You're not English, only English villains in old movies get to do the dismissive air-sniff. You're just copying what you've seen on Dowton Abbey!"
Syndi nodded vehemently. The tape had come loose at one corner of her mouth and she rubbed it against her shoulder to peel it away, wincing as she did so.
"I do what I want," said the Jersey Devil. "Who's going to tell me differently? For all you know, I predate Dowton Abbey. For all you know, the people those English villains were based on were copying me."
If Marshall hadn't recently been sent tumbling onto a dank, garbage-strewn alley floor after a creature from his American Folklore class sucker-punched him, he might have face-palmed. As things stood, he had to content himself with wiping his blackened, sticky (don't think about it, don't think about it, there will be hot water in the restaurant bathrooms, just get Syndi back and you can scrub 'til they're raw) palms on the front of his Giants sweatshirt, and glaring.
"What you just said was so dumb, it made my stomach hurt."
Syndi's eyes widened and she shook her head in alarm.
"Whatevs," said the Jersey Devil, and threw the horns sign. It looked stupid with only three fingers, especially since the Jersey Devil, being part goat, actually already had horns. "Still got your sister, don't I? Who's the dummy now, loser?"
"Definatley still you," said Syndi, jabbing the metal prongs of a handbag-sized Taser into the Jersey Devil's hamstring. "Who uses nylon rope on a rainy day in a pot-holed alley and throws their captive into a puddle? An incompetent jerk, is who."
The Teller siblings watched as the Jersey Devil twitched and writhed amid discarded hot dog wrappers and promotional flyers for nightclubs that had long gone out of business. After a while, he stopped flailing and simply lay, quivering, on the stained concrete.
"I feel like kicking him," said Syndi.
"Tase him again," suggested Marshall.
"Don't Tase me, bro!" shouted the Jersey Devil.
"You be quiet," said Syndi. "Or I'll stomp you some place no monster who walks around without pants wants to be stomped."
Mars picked up the Jersey Devil's discarded soft drink, thinking it would be a good addition to the Evidence Locker, since he really, really didn't want an Eagles sweater in the house.
"I didn't know the Jersey Devil drank Cornade," he said, holding it up.
Syndi glanced at the logo on the side of the cup.
"I didn't know Jersey had a World o' Stuff," she said. "Good for Mister Radford, I guess." She looked at the felled Jersey Devil and shook her head wearily. "I cannot wait to get back home," she said. "I always hated Jersey. So much weird crap happens in this town."