Monthly Archives: March 2019

Disco Werewolf – Chapter 15

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Whitney approached the Jenkins household, her heart in her throat out of fear that the numerous fibs she had given to her parents about brother’s whereabouts would somehow be exposed.

Calvin looked up from his whittling.  He wore a newsboy cap, a pair of black pants and a red shirt that he’d left unbuttoned, revealing a white t-shirt underneath.  He put down his piece of wood, folded his pocket knife and smiled at the girl.  “Good evening.”

“Hi,” Whitney said.

Anita had been attempting needlepoint, though in actuality, she was just using the needles to stir the pile of yarn in her lap like a pile of spaghetti.  “Calvin?” the old woman asked.  “Who’s that now?”

“It’s the Lumpkiss girl, baby,” Calvin said.

The old gal put her hand up to her ear.  “Who?”

“The Lumpkiss girl,” Calvin said.

“The tilt-a-whirl,” Anita said.  “Oh, I rode that plenty of times back in the day but I wouldn’t dare get on that contraption today.  It would break every bone in my body.”

“No baby,” Calvin said.  “Not the tilt-a-whirl…why would a tirt-a-whirl even be here?”

“I don’t know,” Anita said.  “You said it.”

“I didn’t…”  Calvin had danced this waltz many times before, and knew it wasn’t worth it to argue.  “Not the tirt-a-whirl.  The Lumpkiss girl.”

“Who?”

Calvin raised his voice, but kept his tone kind.  “The neighbor kid!  From across the street!”

Anita smiled.  “Oh, the Lumpkisses!  Why didn’t you say so?”

Calvin shook his head and chuckled.  “You’re right, baby.  I should have said so.”

“Which one is it?” Anita asked.

“Wanda,” Calvin said.

“Whitney.”

“Sorry,” Calvin said.

“Eh,” Whitney said as she handed Calvin the container full of cobbler.  “Close enough.  My mother made too much and wanted you to have this.”

Calvin looked it over and smiled.  “Well, I don’t know how your mother knew there were a couple of sweet tooths over here but please tell her we said thank you.”

“OK,” Whitney said.

“What’s going on now?” Anita asked.

The young man cleared his throat.  “Mrs. Lumpkiss sent her daughter over with some cobbler for us, baby.  I was just saying thank you.”

“Gobbler?”  Anita asked.  “Is it Thanksgiving already?”

“No baby,” Calvin said.  “Cobbler.  It’s like a cherry pie.”

Anita frowned.  “Who died?”

Calvin laughed.

“You shouldn’t be laughing if someone died, Calvin,” Anita said.

“No one died, baby,” Calvin said.

“Oh, thank goodness,” Anita said.  “I do not have time to go to a funeral.”

Calvin turned to Whitney.  “Thanks again.”

“No problem,” Whitney said.

The girl looked back across the street to her house.  Her parents were inside.  The lights were on.  She couldn’t see her any of her relatives peaking out through the windows.  She turned and looked to Phil’s house.  The lights were out.  The depressed, critically underutilized vampire was no doubt ensconced in his coffin.

“Something else?”  Calvin asked.

Whitney thought about it.  Maybe she ought to get herself invited in.  Use the bathroom or something, just on the off chance that someone was watching and would report to her father if she hadn’t gone inside.  After a few seconds lost in thought, she decided against it.  The likelihood that someone was watching was low and if they were, she’d come up with another fib anyway.

“You OK?” Calvin asked.

“Huh?” Whitney asked as she turned around.  “Oh, yeah.  Sorry.  Just spaced out there for a second.  Goodnight.”

“Goodnight,” Calvin said.

“Mmm hmm,” Anita said as she rocked back and forth.  “You have a nice night now.”

Anita and Calvin waited until Whitney crossed the street and entered her house before they spoke again.

“Strange family, those Lumpkisses,” Anita said.

“True enough,” Calvin said.  “Boy sneaking out at all hours of the night going God knows where.”

Anita worked her needles.  “Girl in the garage, screaming into a microphone about sex throw up and hobo peckers.”

“You heard that?” Calvin asked.

“Everyone heard that, baby,” Anita said.  “Astronauts flying around in space heard that.”

Calvin held the container up.  “What are we supposed to do with this?  You’re a diabetic and I don’t even like cherries.”

“Take it to work,” Anita said.  “Leave it out on the counter in the break room.”

“I can’t do that,” Calvin said.

“Why not?”

“Because this is good Tupperware and if I leave it out, Mrs. Lumpkiss will never get it back.”

“Oh,” Anita said.  “That’s right.  I don’t know.  Give it to the dog, then, but whatever you do, make sure the next time you see Mrs. Lumpkiss you smile and tell her she makes one hell of a cherry pie.”

“Cobbler,” Calvin said.

“I don’t know what that is.”

“It’s like a pie but you just put the crunchy stuff on the filling and forget the crust,” Calvin said.

“Oh my word,” Anita said.  “If that isn’t the laziest thing I’ve ever heard.”

Calvin laughed.

“Stuff like that is why this country’s going to hell in a handbasket.”

“True enough, baby,” Calvin said.  “True enough.”

Calvin rose and grabbed the old lady’s boney hand.  “Come on, foxy mama.  It’s late.”

“Alright now,” Anita said as she mustered up the strength she would need to stand up.  “Don’t rush me now.  I’m coming.”

Calvin grabbed the old woman’s cane and handed it to her.  He then grabbed her hand and counted down.  “One…two…”

On three, Calvin helped his love to her feet.

“Lord have mercy,” Anita said as she hobbled into the house.  “That’s getting harder and harder.”

Calvin followed behind.

“I am bushed,” Anita said.  “I’m going straight to bed.”

“That’s a good idea,” Calvin said.  “I think I’ll join you.”

“Oh, no, Calvin,” Anita said.  “If you think for one minute you’re getting lucky tonight.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it, baby.”

“Good, because the last thing I need is for you to throw out my hip again.”

“Your hip is safe.”

“It better be,” Anita said.  “Because last time the doctor wanted to know what happened and I wasn’t about to tell him.”

Disco Werewolf – Chapter 14

DISCO_WEREWOLF_1

A moth fluttered around an outside light as Larry and Lorraine snuggled on their porch swing, finally taking a rare moment to be alone.

“Did we screw up our kids?”  Larry asked.

“What?”  Lorraine asked.  “No.”

“One’s a punk rocker who might be a closet Lycan supremacist and the other’s an overachiever who is going to work himself to the brink until he has a heart attack at forty,” Larry said.

“Those are…”  Lorraine struggled for the right word.  “…over-generalizations.”

“I don’t know,” Larry said.  “You work hard.  Do the right thing but poof, before you know it, time is gone and your kids are about to go out there in the world and you just know they’re going to fall flat on their faces.  And all we can do is…”

“…let it happen,” Lorraine said.  “Falling flat on your face is just part of growing up.  It’s how we learn.”

The couple sat silently for a moment, before Larry blurted it out.  “You still glad you married me?”

Lorraine shook her head.  “What a silly question.”

“I’m just saying,” Phil said.  “You had options.  Bob Robinson.”

“Gay.”

“Really?”

“Oh, everyone in our class knew that, Phil,” Lorraine said.

“But he was over your house all the time.”

“Because he was raiding my closet,” Lorraine said.  “Jerk never gave back half the things he borrowed.”

“Carl Campbell,” Phil said.

“Drunk.”

Phil drew another name out of his mind.  “Mike Robinson.”

“Dead.”

Larry was shocked.  “What?  When?”

“Three years after graduation,” Lorraine said.  “You know how he was.  An adrenaline junkie.  Loved to shut his lights off and play chicken with other cars.  It caught up to him.”

“Dexter Wainwright,” Larry said.  “Now that guy was something.  And good looking.  Captain of the football team.  Had his own car.  His parents were loaded.”

“Jesus, Larry,” Lorraine said.  “If you loved him so much, why didn’t you marry him?”

“I’m just saying,” Larry said.  “He was sweet on you…and he could have given you a better life than a shit hauler could have provided.”

“Didn’t you hear the vampire Phil?” Lorraine asked.  “You prevent the plague.”

Larry laughed.  “I do, don’t I?”

“You do,” Lorraine said.  “And you’re nicer to be around.  I went on three dates with Dexter Wainwright and the only thing we ever talked about was Dexter Wainwright.”

“Well,” Larry said.  “Out of all the closeted werewolves in Seacaucus High, Class of 1950, I’m glad you picked me.”

Lorraine kissed her husband on the cheek, then patted his arm.  “Me too.”

Mr. and Mrs. Lumpkiss sat for a while.  Eventually, they noticed they weren’t the only ones outside.  Across the street, an elderly woman sat on her porch.  Her hair was as white as snow and though it wasn’t particularly cold out, she was wrapped up in a shawl.  Her eyes were squinted, as though she could barely see.  Next to her sat a buff, younger man.  He whittled a piece of wood, whistling all the while.  Once in a  while, he would drop what he was doing to tend to the old lady’s needs.  He’d rub her feet or bring her a glass of water, then inevitably return to his whittling.  At one point, he stopped long enough to engage the old lady in a long, passionate kiss.

The Lumpkisses appeared dumbfounded.

“OK,” Larry said.  “I’m just going to say it.”

“If you must,” Lorraine said.

“Those two are weird, right?” Larry asked.

“I don’t know,” Lorraine said.  “Maybe?  To each their own, I guess.  If they’re happy, then they’re happy.”

“How could that young buck possibly be happy with that old fossil?” Larry asked.

“Wait a minute, buster,” Lorraine said.  “Pretty young women marry decrepit old men who can barely keep their heads up all the time and no one ever bats an eye and no one ever says they’re weird.”

“Oh, they’re weird alright,” Larry said.  “But that, I get.  They’re doing it for the money.  Those old men shell out the cash and the young women live it up.  Maybe they’re even doing it as an investment.  Put their time in and maybe the old fart will kick the bucket, leave them all their dough.”

“I don’t think Anita Jenkins has a lot of dough,” Lorraine said.

“That’s my point,” Larry said.  “And those two aren’t even married.  They’re living in sin, so Calvin’s doing all this work taking care of her old, wrinkly hide and he may not even get her house when she keels over.”

“I don’t know, Larry,” Lorraine said.  “Sometimes love doesn’t make sense.”

“You really think those two are in love?”  Larry asked.

“Beats me,” Lorraine said.  “Why don’t you go over and ask them?”

“No way,” Larry said.

“Maybe we should invite them over for dinner sometime,” Lorraine said.  “We’ve lived next door to them for fifteen years and we’ve barely said boo to them.”

“Supernaturals can’t be fraternizing with the humans, Lorraine.”

“We don’t have to reveal anything to them,” Lorraine said.  “You’d have to keep an eye on that temper, though.  One wolf fit in front of them and we’d have to move.”

“I don’t want to move,” Larry said.  “I like it here.”

Larry stared at the odd couple who, at the moment, were holding hands.  Calvin had put down his whittling and was lost in the old woman’s beady eyes.

“I’ve got to know more,” Larry said.

“Then ask Mitch next time you see him,” Lorraine said.

“I barely ever see him,” Larry said.  “And I don’t know if I like the idea of Mitch hanging out with…well…whatever the hell is going on over there.”

“He’s just playing video games with Miss Jenkins’ niece,” Lorraine said.

“Where’s Claudette’s mother?”  Larry asked.  “Huh?  And where’s the father?  Probably a couple of druggies who overdosed in a junkie house somewhere.  Ever think of that?”

“Maybe,” Lorraine said.  “Or maybe they were two nice people who died of natural causes.  Or maybe she died in a car accident and he died in Vietnam.  Just because they’re black, you went and assumed the worst possible scenario, Larry.”

Larry turned red faced.  “I did not!”

“You did,” Lorraine said as she patted Larry’s back, calming him down.  His face resumed normal.

“Alright,” Larry said.  “I did.”

“You’ve got to work on that,” Lorraine said.

“I know.”

Larry sat and sulked for a minute, then stood up.  He walked into the house.  “Come on.  I’ve got an idea.”

Curious, Lorraine followed Larry into the kitchen, where he packed the remaining cherry cobbler into one of his wife’s Tupperware containers, then called for his daughter.  “Whitney!”

The kid entered the kitchen.  “Yeah?”

“Got a spy mission for you,” Larry said.

Whitney smirked.  “What?”

“Take this,” Larry said as he handed over the cobbler.  “Tell Miss Jenkins your mother made too much and she wanted her and Mr. Hill to have it.  Then ask if you can play a couple of games on that new fangled video-game-a-ma-jig with Mitch and Claudette.  Don’t snoop around but pay attention, observe, and report back here in twenty minutes.”

Whitney was flummoxed.  “That’s…but…they aren’t…I mean, they are but…I…I don’t know, Dad.  I don’t want to cramp Mitch’s style.”

“Cramp it,” Larry said as he pointed to the door.  “We’re Lumpkisses.  That’s what we do.”

“Ugh,” Whitney said as she stomped out the door in a huff.  “Fine!”

Lorraine shook her head at her husband.  “Suddenly, Dexter Wainwright is looking better and better.”

Larry smiled.  “But I doubt Dexter Wainwright is half as skilled in the art of amore.”

Lorraine wrapped her arms around Larry’s neck.  “Ooo, I love it when you speak Italian.”

“Molto bene, mon cheri,” Larry said.

“Now you’re mixing languages,” Lorraine said.

“Sorry babe,” Larry said as he picked up his wife and hurled her delicate frame over his shoulder.  “You know me, I’m just a big dumb wolfman.”

Lorraine laughed and playfully slapped her husband’s back.  “Put me down, you big goof!”

He did so and together, the couple ran upstairs, headed for their bedroom.  They shut the door behind them.

“Ahhwoo!” Larry said.

“Oh, no!” Lorraine replied.  “A big, bad, wolfman!  What are you going to do me?”

“I don’t know,” Larry said.  “You look like a mummy to me, so I think I shall have to unravel you!”

Disco Werewolf – Chapter 12

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The cowboy stepped down from his horse, shot seven desperadoes dead with his six-shooter, then grabbed a beautiful, wide-eyed prairie woman in an ankle length dress and kissed her, passionately.

All this, of course, happened on the television, which had been wheeled back into the living room.  The Lumpkisses sat in the dark, enjoying their cherry cobbler while watching an old, black and white movie.  Phil on the couch, Indian style, between Larry and Lorraine, while Pop snoozed in a recliner.  Whitney took to the floor, as kids often do when there isn’t another seat available.

“This is the best part,” Phil said.

At this point, it should be noted that the cowboy bore a striking resemblance to one Phil Fitzpatrick.

“Will you ever get back round these parts again, Marshall?”  the prairie woman asked.

Phil’s eyes were lost in the television’s flickering glow as he mouthed the response.  “Don’t worry, little lady, there will always be another….”

The on-screen cowboy gazed into the prairie woman’s eyes.  “Don’t worry, little lady.  There will always be another train to Kalamazoo.”

Rousing orchestra music played.  An announcer spoke over the credits.  “Thank you for watching, the 1938 classic, ‘The Train to Kalamazoo’ starring Jack Brandywine and Lorna Hutton.  Next up on our Jack Brandywine retrospective is the 1942 monster flick, The Werewolf Unravels the Mummy.  A fun fact, Brandywine was originally offered the role of the Mummy, but his agent, Artie Bradshaw, refused to allow his client to take a role where his face would be covered.”

Larry didn’t skip a beat.  “Would’ve been an improvement.”

“Hush, Lumpkiss,” Phil said.

“I thought vampires couldn’t be photographed,” Whitney said.

“In still photos, no,” Phil said. “You can’t snap a pic of a vampire or a demon and expect it to come out.  Movies are a different story, however, and don’t ask me to explain it.  I’ve yet to figure it out.  All I know is I always made sure to call in sick whenever it was publicity head shot day.”

Phil watched the credits roll.  “God, I miss being Jack Brandywine. Out of all my past lives, his was my favorite.”

“Did you get to know Lorna Hutton?”  Whitney asked.

“Get to know her?” Phil said.  “I married her.”

“Get out!” Whitney said.

“I’ll get in,” Phil said.  “Oh, the Golden Age of Hollywood.  The bright lights.  The big city.  Fame.  Fortune.  Shopping on Rodeo Drive.  Dining at the Brown Derby.  Well, pretending to eat and then spitting my chewed-up food into my napkin at the Brown Derby, anyway.  What those waiters must have thought of me when they unraveled that mess.  I won an award for The Train to Kalamazoo you know.”

“We know,” Lorraine said.

“You’ve told us six times,” Larry said.

“The best part is I did it all on my own,” Phil said.

Larry choked on his cobbler.  “You did not do it all on your own, Phil.”

“I did so,” Phil said.  “I took a bus out to California.  I didn’t know a single soul there.  I knocked on doors.  I went to auditions.  I was discovered and the rest, as they say, is history.”

“You were alive for three thousand years,” Phil said.  “Being a Roman senator and a poet and an orator and all that mumbo jumbo.  You had way more time to practice your public speaking skills than the average human and that’s why you made it.”

“Or maybe I would have made it anyway because I’m so naturally gifted,” Phil said.  “We may never know.”

“We know,” Larry said.  “You violated the Treaty of Stuttgart by becoming an actor.  You know it.”

“Oh, Stuttgart, Schmuttgart,” Phil said.  “A fella’s got to learn a living, doesn’t he?  I’m the best insurance claims adjustor in my entire division at work because I’ve had thousands of years to learn how to add up figures but I don’t hear you flapping your gums about how I shouldn’t be an insurance claims adjuster.”

“There are gray areas to the Treaty, I suppose,” Larry said.  “Still, you unjustly enriched yourself when you were Jack Brandywine.  Plus, Errol Flynn was way better.”

“Please,” Phil said.  “Errol Flynn can kiss my pale undead ass.”

“Mr. Fitzpatrick,” Whitney said.  “If you don’t like being an insurance claims adjuster in Seacaucus, why don’t you just move back to Hollywood and become an actor again?”

“I tried,” Phil said.  “I landed an agent, got a few auditions, got some buzz, and then Lorna slapped me with an injunction.”

“Your own wife sued you?”  Whitney asked.

“Technically, she’s not my wife anymore,” Phil said.  “She was married to Jack Brandywine and he was presumed dead after his yacht was blown to kingdom come on the way to Catalina Island thanks to a poorly installed propane tank.”

“But,” Whitney said.  “Couldn’t you have just told her you were leaving?”

“Couldn’t,” Phil said.  “Treaty of…”

“…Stuttgart,” Whitney said.  “I got it.”

“Supernaturals aren’t even supposed to reveal themselves to their human loves,” Phil said.  “In this case, the Treaty made my life better.  It’s so much easier to just fake your own death than it is to look someone who devoted their life to you in the eye and tell them you can’t be with them anymore.  Given their druthers, I think most people would rather fake their own deaths in a tragic yacht explosion than say goodbye to a love.”

“People are weird,” Whitney said.

“They sure are,” Phil replied.  “Anyway, when the old gal heard there was a young, up and comer in town who looked just like her dearly departed husband, she wasn’t having any of it.  She owned his estate and Jack’s likeness was a tangible piece of intellectual property so I was left without a leg to stand on.  Maybe after she croaks I can give it another try, though I imagine my miserable, spoiled rotten children will put the kibosh on it.”

“What?” Larry asked.

“I thought vampires couldn’t have children,” Lorraine said.

“We can adopt,” Larry said.  “And Lorna was fine with that because she didn’t want to ruin her figure but man, take a couple of urchins out of the orphanage, give them a taste of the sweet life and they’ll hang onto it like there’s no tomorrow.  Not a single brain cell between the two of them, but boy can they ever hold onto a buck.  I can only hope that my grandchildren will be the kind of losers who would be willing to sign over inter-generational intellectual property rights in exchange for some beaded bracelets.”

The Lumpkiss family went quiet.

“That’s how the Dutch got Manhattan,” Phil said.  “I should know because…”

“You were there,” Lorraine said.  “We know.”

Phil looked at the clock and yawned.  “Oh, I’m going to be a bear at work tomorrow.  Up so late and I have to get up early to wash this mess off my face.”

“Why do you wear even wear all that beauty crap?”  Larry asked.  “You don’t age.”

“I have to keep up appearances, don’t I?”  Phil said.  “Twenty years from now, when everyone starts asking why I don’t look like a shriveled up old prune like all of the rest of the people I’ve come to know and love in Seacaucus, I’ll be able to say it’s due to my allegiance to a grueling beauty regimen, and people will believe it because I make sure to go outside with my beauty mask on, once in a while.”

“It’s an improvement,” Larry said.

“Oh, what do you know, Lumpkiss?”  Phil said as the next movie began.  Jack Brandywine lumbered onto the screen with clumps of hair glued to his face.  Phil gave an impromptu performance, right there on the couch. “Where is that mummy?! I shall…”

Werewolf Jack said it on screen.  “Where is that mummy?!  I shall unravel him!”

“Ha!” Phil said as he looked to Whitney.  “I’m a better werewolf than your father.”

Larry shook his head in disgust.  “Alright, Phil, I think it’s time for you to go.”

“Wait,” Phil said.  “Lumpkiss, why don’t you grab that fun little pop-up book of yours?”

The History of the Treaty of Stuttgart: Children’s Pop-Up Edition?”

              “That’s the one,” Phil said.

“No!”  Whitney said.  “I hate that!  It’s so boring!”

Pop snored.

“I think your father’s right, Little Lumpkiss,” Phil said.  “Young supernaturals need the history of their ancestors drilled into them if there’s any hope that they won’t repeat it.  Plus, I have such a hard time sleeping ever since Gladys left.  I really thought she’d be the one but serves me right for promising to be with someone forever when both of us are actually able to be around forever.  I’ll never date another vampire for as long as I don’t live.  Humans only for me from here on.”

“Can you all make up your minds?” Whitney said.  “I thought you said we should all stick to our own kind.”

“Do as I say, not as I do, kid,” Phil said.  “Go fetch your book, Larry.”

Larry loved lecturing his children with the help of the well dog-eared pages of his copy of The History of the Treaty of Stuttgart: Children’s Pop-Up Edition.  He moved with a swiftness that was atypical of a man of his girth, retrieved the book from his den, and re-emerged into the living room, holding up the book in triumph.  He switched on the lights, which caused Pop to stir.

The old man sat up.  “Huh?”  He looked around, realized he was still alive, said, “Meh,” then fell back asleep.

Larry returned to his spot on the couch and laid the book flat on the coffee table.

“I love this book,” Larry said.

“We know,” Lorraine said.

Whitney moved closer and begrudgingly looked on from the floor while the remaining adults who were awake watched.  Larry opened the book.  “The History of the Treaty of the Stuttgart: Children’s Edition,” Larry read. “Supernatural Publishing Company, Limited.  Copyright 1959.  All rights reserved.”

“Wait,” Whitney said.  “Supernaturals can’t reveal their true selves to humans but they can have their own publishing company?”

“There’s all kinds of businesses that cater to supernaturals that hide in plain sight,” Larry said.

“But they published a book about something humans aren’t supposed to know about,” Whitney said.

“That’s easy enough,” Larry said.  “If a human ever sees a book like this lying around, they’ll automatically assume it’s fiction.”

Phil offered an observation.  “Dracula is actually a biography.  Bram Stoker wasn’t even trying to write fiction.  He was a vampire himself, but you didn’t hear that from me.”

Larry turned a page.  A scene popped up, featuring humans smiling amidst werewolves, vampires, demons, trolls, ogres, and goblins, all of whom were also smiling.  The man of the house read: “Today, it is assumed that all supernatural beings come straight from hell, but nothing could be further from the truth.  Up until 980 years ago, humans and supernaturals lived together in relative peace and harmony, finding compromise on important civic matters and engaging in fair, honest trade.”

              Whitney feigned a yawn.  “Boring.”

“Silence, hippy,” Larry said as he turned the page.  A demon popped up.  He was tall, with red horns and hooves for feet.  His teeth were sharp, his eyes were read and his entire body was consumed by flickering flames.  “But then came Baal, the schemer.  He was the only son of the Dark Lord and as such, was the Prince of Hell, but his father, paranoid as he was, feared that one day his son would one day rise up and take his throne, banished his offspring to live out the remainder of his immortal life on earth – a place he didn’t find to be very enjoyable at all.”

              “Who’s the Dark Lord?” Whitney asked.  “Is that Sa…”

Lorraine pressed a finger to her lips.  “Shh!”

“We try not to use his name too much,” Larry said.

“Invoke the name of the Dark Lord too many times and he might just show up,” Phil noted.

Larry turned the page.  He pulled on paper tab that made the demon Baal disappear into the book and pushed up on another tab that made a troll appear.  “Baal was, among other things, a shapeshifter, capable of taking the form of whoever he so desired.  Of all his magical abilities, this was the one he loved the most, for it allowed him to become a trickster.

              Next page.  The troll whispered into the ear of a large, cross-eyed ogre.  In the background, there were werewolves, vampires, demons, and goblins, all whispering into each other’s ears.

Out of sheer boredom,” Larry read.  “Baal wandered the countryside, taking the forms of the most beloved and trusted creatures in all of supernaturaldom.  He whispered lies into the ears of the supernaturals, telling them that humans were not their friends at all but in fact, humans despised supernaturals, plotted against them, and lived to keep supernaturals from ever having happiness of their own.  All of their problems, Baal said, were entirely the cause of man, and wouldn’t it be great if man were gone?”

Another page.  Now, Baal was in the form of a human.  “Baal used this same strategy on the humans, taking the form of the most beloved and trusted people in all of humanity.  He whispered lies into the ears of the humans, telling that that supernaturals were not their friends at all but in fact, supernaturals despised humans, plotted against them, and lived to keep supernaturals from ever having happiness off their own.  All of their problems, Baal said, were entirely the cause of supernaturals, and wouldn’t it be great if supernaturals were gone?”

A new page.  This time, there was a human and a troll.  Larry worked a couple of paper pull tabs that made the human and troll club each other.  “Ah, that’s good fun.  What to work the clubs, Whit?”

Whitney replied with half a smile.  “No thanks.”

“Suit yourself,” Larry said before he read on.  “Soon enough, the seeds of turmoil that Baal had planted bore fruit, as humans and supernaturals were at each other’s throats, blaming one another for their own personal miseries, no one ever taking stock of what they themselves could do to improve their lots in life, or better yet, how they could all help each other.”

              Larry paused.  “Huh.  Sounds like they’d all vote for Jimmy Carter.”

“Don’t interject politics into your little pop-up book, dear,” Lorraine said.

“Right,” Larry said.  “Moving on.”  Larry kept reading.  “Chaos and calamity ensued for many centuries.  Supernaturals attacked humans.  Humans attacked supernaturals.  Atrocities were committed against and by both sides and as both sides grew to truly hate each other, both insisted that the other had started the entire debacle in the first place.”

Page turn.  Three armored clad nights popped up.  They had long hair and carried shields emblazoned with Christian crosses.  “One human, Sir Godfrey of Stratford-upon-Avon-and-just-to-the-left-of-Trotterdam, publicly declared all supernaturals to be a menace, and that if one more supernatural were to ever so much as touch a hair on the head of a human ever again, he’d call upon his loyal bannermen, Sir Reginald of Sheffield-upon-Stively-but-not-the-Stively-you’re-thinking-of-you-know-the-one-near-Southhampton-but-rather-the-lesser-known-Stively-to-the-left-of-Durham and Sir Alistair of Coventry-upon-Newport-take-a-left-I-said-left-at-Colchester-but-if-you-pass-Leeds-you’ve-gone-too-far, to raise an Army of the strongest human warriors in all of Europe who would rid the world of what they perceived to be the supernatural menace once and for all.”

              “British towns have long names,” Whitney said.

“Never live in Britain, Little Lumpkiss,” Phil said.  “You’ll spend half your life addressing postcards. I get writer’s cramp just thinking of the time I spent there.”

Larry worked the tabs, making the knights’ swords to move up and down, then turned the page.  There appeared a werewolf wearing a medieval tunic, standing behind a bar.  Larry worked a tab that made the wolf’s paw raise a glass of ale up and down.

“Ha!” Larry said.  “I always get a kick out of this thing.”

“It shows, Lumpkiss,” Phil said.

“In the French town of Avignon, Archimedes was considered to be the wisest among all the local supernaturals.  In his youth, he had fought alongside humans in many wars, and had saved many of their lives on the field of battle.  But when he got older, he hanged up his sword and became the proprietor of Ye Olde Barkhouse, a tavern where humans and supernaturals had once gathered but alas, only supernaturals came after Baal’s malicious whisper campaign took root.”

              Page turn.  Archimedes stood behind the bar, listening to an Ogre speak.  Larry yanked a tab that made the Ogre’s mouth pop open and shut.  “As times grew desperate, more and more supernaturals came to the tavern to seek Archimedes’ advice, and to tell their tales of woe.  One such fellow was Masduplefax the One Who Smelled Like Mold Infested Horse Manure…”

              Whitney required more information.  “His name was what?”

“Ogreology,” Phil said.  “The ancient religion of the ogres required their kind to not only take pride in their smells, but to include the substance they smelled like in their formal names.  Most ogres today are reform ogreologists who have dropped the custom completely, though orthodox ogreologists continue to stick with it.”

“Ah,” Whitney said.

Larry read on.  “’Twice this month the humans have raided my farm, burnt my crops to ash, stolen my horses, decapitated my chickens and had their way with my many ogre wives.  I admit, I am partially to blame, as I absent mindedly left my step ladder unsecured, and this allowed the human males to access the private areas of my many ogre wives but still, do we want to live in a world where you can’t leave your step ladder out for fear that the private areas of your numerous ogre wives might be violated?”

              Lorraine perked up.  “Are we sure this is a children’s book?”

“Says so in the title,” Larry said.

“We can’t sugarcoat history, Lady Lumpkiss,” Phil said.  “Even for children. Carry on, Lawrence.”

“Carrying on,” Larry said.  Page turn.  Now Larry was able to work the mouth of Archimedes.  “As the night wore on, more supernaturals told Archimedes their tales of woe and mistreatment at the hands of the humans.  But Archimedes remained firm in his resolve that peace between humans and supernaturals was possible.  ‘Good creatures,’ Archimedes said. ‘I know times are hard and many humans have lost their way.  I would be remiss if I did not say that many supernaturals have also caused pain and suffering to the humans.  However, there are many good and decent humans who would never harm a supernatural.  Should all humans be judged by the character of the worst among them?  Would you want to be judged by the worst among us?’”

              A new page.  Larry worked the mouths of a vampire, a goblin and a troll, one right after the other.  “’You’re right, Archimedes!  I like the cut of your jib!’ said a vampire.  ‘I was ready to stab all the humans in my path in the eye with a rusty fork but now I’ve changed my mind, thanks to your inspirational words, Archimedes!  I’m a better goblin for having met you!’ said the goblin.  ‘You’re right, Archimedes,’ said the troll.  ‘My brother-in-law is a real jerk and I wouldn’t want people thinking badly of me just because he is a thief of ladies’ undergarments.’”

“It does not say that,” Lorraine protested, only for Larry to show her the part where the book indeed said just that.

“Huh,” Lorraine said.  “I guess I never paid much attention to our past family readings.  I never noticed some of the underlying creepy stuff. Couldn’t the troll have called his brother-in-law a jerk and left it at that?”

“History is messy,” Phil said.  “Whitewash it at your own peril.”

Next page.  A family of werewolves, including a mother werewolf in her bonnet and six cubs, slept in one great big long bed.

“Aww,” Whitney said.

As Archimedes tended bar,” Larry read, “His wife, Genevieve, and his six cubs, Jacques, Gustav, Marcel, Dominique, Nadine and Cecilia slept snugly in their warm bed, oblivious to all the dangers of the world that lurked in the night.”

Page turn.  Mother and cubs were still in bed, but now there was an angry looking, brooding man holding an axe high up over his head.

“Ack!” Whitney screeched.

“What?” Larry asked.  “You’ve seen this before.”

“I know,” Whitney said.  “And it gets me every time.”

“Alas,” Larry read.  “Baal didn’t appreciate Archimedes’ attempts to bring humans and supernaturals together.  So, he took the form of Sebastian Fontaine, father of Francois Fontaine, a local shepherd.  As Sebastian, Baal told Francois that while he was out in the field, putting in long hours under the hot sun telling his sheep where to go, his wife was being vigorously rogered in all of her available orifices by Archimedes, and in doing so, had made a joke of the family name, for now, whenever a human walked into his house only to see his wife being rogered by a werewolf, he was said to have been Fontained.”

Lorrained had a question.  “Shouldn’t it be Archimedied, since Archimedes was the one who was falsely accused of rogering?”

“You’d think so,” Larry said.

“There’s no rhyme or reason to how these expressions get started,” Phil said.

“I’m surprised there isn’t a page showing the rogering,” Lorraine said.

Larry leaned over Phil and turned the book back a page.  He showed this page to his wife.  It featured a werewolf giving it to a human female wearing a nightgown.  Larry worked a tab to make the werewolf’s pelvis thrust.

Lorraine’s eyes lit up.  “That’s in there?!  And you’ve been reading this book to our children all these years?!”

“I always leave this page out,” Larry said.

“Censorship!” Whitney cried.

“Why is that even in there?”  Lorraine asked.

“It’s an old legend that was passed down from supernatural adults to supernatural children throughout the ages,” Phil said.  “Kids, be they human or supernatural, were adults by age fifteen back in the day because few mortal creatures ever lived past thirty in ancient times. None of this sewing your oats and finding yourself until you’re thirty hullabaloo that they have today.”

“Rip that page out, please,” Lorraine said.

“And deface a classic?” Larry asked.

“I wanna see!” Whitney said.

“Over my dead body,” Larry answered.  “Moving on.”

Larry read on.  “’Since Archimedes has destroyed our name, Baal in the form of Sebastian told his son, ‘You must destroy Archimedes’ family.’  Francois was a good son who always trusted his father and obeyed his ever command, so, destroy them he did, as Francois kicked open the door to Archimedes’ house and chopped up Genevieve and the kids into a thousand pieces.”

              Larry worked the tab that made Phillipe’s axe move up and down.  “See that, Whit?  Look, Francois is chopping the werewolf family into a thousand pieces.”

Whitney closed her eyes.  “Turn the page! Quick!”

“Wait,” Lorraine said.  “The sex part you’ll censor but the gruesome axe murder you’ll leave in?”

“Yeah,” Larry said.  “I don’t know.  I’m not a professional storyteller, babe.  I’m doing my best here.”

Phil shook his head.  “It’s an American thing.  Too repressed about sex.  Too open about violence.”

“Moving on,” Larry said as he turned the page.  Here, Archimedes wept as he looked at the heads of his wife and children, which had been placed on pikes in front of his house.

“No!” Whitney said as she looked away. “I hate this part!” Larry worked a tab that made tears drawn on paper pop out of Archimedes’ eyes.

“Archimedes wept as he looked upon the severed heads of his wife and children,” Larry read. “As he fell to his knees, he vowed revenge on all of humanity for the crime that had been committed by one man.”

Page turn.  Archimedes was shown using his sharp claws to slice Francois in half.  Larry worked a tab that made the wolf claws swipe away.  “Archimedes made short work of Francois, but he was not satisfied.  He sliced his way across France, slicing peasants and noblemen, soldiers and clergy, rich and poor alike.”

              “Revenge never pays,” Lorraine said.

“I’ll say,” Phil said.  “I don’t want to say out loud that I once lived a life that inspired The Count of Monte Cristo, but let’s just say the Victor Hugo estate owes me some royalties.”

A new page.  Baal in fiery demon form spoke to Archimedes.  Larry worked a tab to make Baal’s mouth move up and down.  “One day, Baal caught up to Archimedes and told him he should travel to England and slice up the family of Sir Godfrey, for it was he who had sewn so much dissent amongst humanity against the human population.”

              Next page.  Larry worked a tab that made Archimedes climb up the side of a castle.  “Archimedes did just that.  He sailed to England, scaled the side of Sir Godfrey’s home, and sliced Sir Godfrey’s wife and children to ribbons.”

              “They don’t show it, do they?” Lorraine asked.

“No,” Larry said.  “Somebody, somewhere decided that one family execution scene is enough for this book.  Hun, you’ve never paid attention when I’ve read this before, have you?”

“You usually only drag it out on Christmas,” Lorraine said.  “And I always try my best to stay three sheets to the wind till New Year’s.”

Phil gave Lorraine a high-five.  “That’s the only way to spend the holidays.”

Larry turned the page.  Sir Godfrey’s face was enraged as he gave a speech to a crowd of humans holding torches and brandishing pitchforks, which were brandished higher as Larry worked the corresponding tab.  “Sir Godfrey toured Europe, telling humans that the world just was not big enough for humans and supernaturals to coexist peacefully. He urged them to join an army of humans that would wipe out supernaturals once and for all.”

Next page.  Archimedes wept behind the bar of Ye Olde Barkhouse as Baal looked on in demon form.  Larry worked the tab that made Archimedes cry.  “When Archimedes came to his senses, he lamented what he had done.  He wanted revenge for his family, but never wanted to destroy the world in an all consuming conflagration that pitted supernaturaldom against humanity.  He decided that he had no choice but to return to Sir Godfrey and offer his head, but not before begging the knight to spare the rest of the non-humans.”

Page turn.  Larry worked a tab that made Baal place a collar around Archimedes’ neck.  “’These are the words of a coward, noble Archimedes!’ Baal said.  ‘There’s no turning back, now.  You did right by striking the first blow against Sir Godfrey and now you must raise an army of supernaturals to meet Sir Godfrey’s humans in battle.  Accept this collar and it will give the gift of immortality.  With it, you will know no fear in the heat of battle.  Your rage will not be contained and you will back down against no one.  Once you are victorious, you may return to your old life, and live for eternity.  As the years pass, your memories of your deceased loved ones will fade, and you will be able to love again.  And so, Archimedes accepted the collar.”

Next page.  It was a map of Europe.  One circle featured the face of Sir Godfrey in England.  Another circle featured the face of Archimedes.  Larry worked a tab that moved Sir Godrey’s face to France, and another tab that moved Archimedes’ face to what would be modern-day Italy.  “Sir Godfrey called upon all willing human soldiers to meet him, Sir Reginald and Sir Alistair to meet him on the coast of France, from which he hoped to march inland and cut Archimedes off at the pass.”

Lorraine interrupted the story.  “What’s that even mean?  Why do they always say ‘cut them off at the pass?’ Where’s the pass?”

“Just another odd expression,” Phil said. Like, ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat.’”

“Is there?” Lorraine asked.

“Two hundred and forty-seven,” Phil said.  “Well, two hundred and forty-eight if you want to split hairs.”

              “But Sir Godfrey was too late, for Archimedes had already called upon all willing supernatural soldiers to meet him along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.”

Larry remained on the same page and kept reading.  He used the tabs to move Sir Godfrey’s face West and Archimedes’ face North.  Both circles ended up in Germany.

“I’ll probably ask this question over and over until the day I die,” Lorraine said.  “But just so we’re clear, this book is, without a doubt, a story that is supposed to be read by supernatural parents to their children?”

“Yes,” Larry said.

“Nothing spells family togetherness like studying an ancient battle map,” Phil noted.

“The Army of Humanity moved east,” Larry read.  “While the Army of Supernaturaldom moved North.  Eventually, the warring factions met in Stuttgart.”

Larry turned the page.  It was just another scene with a human and a troll clubbing each other over the head.  Larry worked the tabs, making the clubs move up and down.

“It was a blood bath,” Larry read.  “Humans and supernaturals fought for thirty days straight.  Eyes were gouged out, heads were chopped off, bodies were torn limb from limb, warriors were set on fire.  Captives were buried up to their necks in dirt, their heads slathered with honey so that they might be feasted upon alive by ants while birds of prey plucked their eyes from their sockets.”

“It’s the feel-good story of the year,” Lorraine said.

“Now in technicolor,” Phil added.

“Okay, peanut gallery,” Larry said before reading on.  “Swords, axes and maces were swung while daggers were plunged.  Catapults were used to hurl heavy boulders through the air, after which they would land and crush hundreds of soldiers at a time.  Werewolves ripped the arms off of their opponents only to be disemboweled with silver pitchforks.”

“Gotta watch out for that silver,” Phil said.

Trolls burned bridges they were once sworn to protect, cutting villages off from supply lines, leading to the mass starvation of millions of humans and supernaturals alike.  Humans retaliated by lopping off the heads of the trolls, then putting them into baskets and delivering them to their troll mothers.  Vampires bit the necks of humans, only to discover that the humans had been crafty enough to eat garlic minutes early.  The vampires then died gruesome deaths while the humans committed suicide before they could become vampires.”

Phil raised his hand.  “Point of order.  I’ll have you all know that it’s been ages since I’ve bitten anyone, but back when I did, I always made sure there were no Italian eateries in the vicinity.  It’s just common sense, really.”

“Goblins kidnapped humans and boiled them in hot oil.  Humans seized the oil vats and poured it all over the goblins.  Ogres pounded humans flat with their clubs.  Humans wrapped ropes around the feet of the ogres until they fell eyeball first into opportunely placed spikes.  Oh, how there was blood, guts, and gore galore, as the battlefield became strewn with little pieces of brain, spleen, liver, kidneys, lungs, and medulla oblongata.  Widows would report to the sidelines daily to weep for their fallen husbands only to catch errant arrows in the esophagus.  Deserters who couldn’t take the fighting anymore were chopped up and fed to wild boars, while front line officers would construct rudimentary gallows so that those who failed to obey orders could be hanged.  Warhammers were used to crush the skulls of…”

“Hun,” Lorraine asked.  ‘How long does the battle scene go on for?”

“At least ten more pages,” Larry said.

“Skip it,” Lorraine said.

“But it’s the best part!” Larry protested.

“We get the gist,” Lorraine said.

“Fine,” Larry said in a huff.

“Funny how the same book that features a scene where a human woman gets rogered by a werewolf just reuses the same old scene where a human and a troll club each other to depict a month-long battle in which so many depraved acts of brutality occurred.”

“Yeah,” Larry said.  “Not gonna lie but I’ve always felt that Supernatural Publishing Service, Limited is a fly by night operation.”

“I have half a mind to write their CEO a sternly worded letter,” Phil said.

Larry turned to the next page.  It showed Baal speaking to the Dark Lord himself, who took the appearance of another tall demon who was on fire.  “As Baal himself stood upon the sidelines, savoring the carnage that he had wrought, he was, much to his surprise, joined by the Dark Lord himself.  ‘My son,’ the Dark Lord said, ‘After seeing how you have brought this world to its knees with your underhanded tricks, the place where my heart would be if I had one swells with pride.  You are a chip off the old block and I was wrong to ever doubt you. The whole buildup of tensions for centuries, followed by setting the whole thing off by duping that chump Archimedes into killing Sir Godfrey’s family was spectacular. I am now convinced you require a kingdom of your very own to rule.  Hell, of course, is taken by yours truly, so don’t even think about stabbing your old man in the back.  However, take this golden medallion, which features a likeness of how me, during the time in which I appeared to Adam and Eve as a serpent and pissed God off by sending humanity down the wrong path early.  Once the humans and supernaturals destroy each other, you must praise my name using these exact words.  Take this parchment upon which they are printed and commit them to memory.  Once you do so, a portal to hell will open.  The most rotten souls in my charge, truly history’s most disgusting assholes, will exit my domain and return to earth, where they will return to their fetid corpses and become your loyal Army of the Damned Undead.”

“I want this book out of my house,” Lorraine said.

“And become one of those atheist supernatural families that don’t believe in anything?” Larry said.  “No way.  Not on my watch.”

Larry read on.  “’Dad,’ said Baal. ‘Your support makes me so happy.  I hope you know I never planned on betraying you.  All I have ever wanted was a nice father-son relationship where we play catch and share our most intimate secrets.  I hope we can have that once this is all over.’”

“I always wanted that with my father,” Phil said.  “Never got it though.  Oh, if I could cry right now, I would.”

More reading from Larry.  “’Look, you little shit,’ the Dark Lord said. ‘That’s all well and good, but once the portal to hell is opened, I have no doubt that blind ambition will take hold of you, and you’ll try to gather up your merry little band of supernaturals and march into hell and shove a trident right up your old man’s turd hatch.  So, there’s a catch.”

“I don’t like the foul language one bit,” Lorraine said.  “Couldn’t they have cleaned it up a bit, especially seeing how, and I can’t repeat this enough, this book is intended for children?”

“It’s the Dark Lord, Lorraine,” Phil said.  “You can’t expect him to speak like Miss Manners.”

“Cover your ears, Whitney,” Lorraine said.

“Mom!” Whitney said.  “I’m eighteen.”

“She’s eighteen, Lorraine,” Phil said.  “She’s fine.  I marched into the Coliseum wearing nothing but a loincloth with a spear in my hand when I was eighteen and I turned out fine.”

“But did you really?” Lorraine asked.

“Eventually,” Phil said.  “After many years of psychotherapy…after Freud invented psychotherapy…and after I was able to find a psychotherapist who was willing to treat supernaturals on the downlow.”

Phil looked at Whitney.  “Just send your father your therapy bills, Little Lumpkiss.”

“I’ll be retired to Florida by then,” Larry said.  “Moving on.”

Larry flipped the page.  The two male demons were joined by a female demon.  Like her counterparts, she also had horns and was on fire, but unlike them, she had boobs. “’The catch,’ the Dark Lord said, ‘is that you must marry Lilith, my most trusted demon and also, the only female demon I ever made because, let’s face it, women are evil enough already.  Women have always been the weak link, ever since I got Eve to bite that apple, but fear not, for Lilith is strong.  You will love her instantly and she will be your wife.  She will guide you with her sage wisdom.  Heed her advice well, but do not betray me, for if you do, she will fuck your shit up.  I’m not lying, son, she will fuck your shit right the fuck up.  And don’t even think about trying to open the portal by yourself, because if you do, she will cut off your dong and feed it to you until you suffocate and die. You will both have to lay your hands on the medallion to open the portal, so you won’t be able to cut Lilith out.”

Lorraine cradled her head into her hands.  “Someone needs to gather all the copies of this book and set them on fire.  And to think, somewhere out there is a nice family gathered around their coffee table reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.”

“Now that’s a book you need to burn, Lorraine,” Phil said.

“Why?”  Lorraine asked.

Phil whispered into Lorraine’s ear.  “Oh,” Lorraine said.  “Right.”

Larry turned the page.  He worked a tab that caused a falcon to fly toward Sir Godfrey. “Though it wasn’t made public knowledge until after the war so as to not stir up dissension among the ranks, Sir Reginald was a very powerful warlock.  Gifted at birth with the ability to control the dark forces that ebb and flow throughout space and time, he was actually a supernatural, though he held himself out as a human and swore allegiance to all of humanity.  As a falcon, he had been surveying the battle overhead in the sky, and had witnessed the meeting between Baal, the Dark Lord, and Lilith all along.  He informed Sir Godfrey of how, through trickery and deceit, he had manipulated both sides for centuries, turning former friends into foes, and that Archimedes had been purposefully led astray.  Sir Godfrey looked across the battlefield, felt remorse at all the lives lost, and dispatched Sir Reginald to Archimedes to sue for peace.”

A new page.   Sir Godfrey and Archimedes sat across from each other at a table.  Larry moved a tab that caused Sir Godfrey’s and Archimedes’ hands to scribble across a lengthy document.  “The foes reached an accord.  They accepted the grim conclusion that they had been deceived into nearly destroying the entire world.  Still, countless heinous deeds had been committed, and both sides agreed that they would never be able to trust the other ever again.  Sir Godfrey agreed that he would lead no further campaigns against supernaturals and that he would call upon all humans to leave supernaturals alone and to live in peace.  In exchange, Archimedes agreed upon behalf of all supernaturals that they would never again use their powers for any purpose.  Werewolves and vampires would be allowed to live as and among humans, provided that they only appear in public as humans, and that they did not use their powers in any way.  Trolls, ogres, goblins, and others without human form would be required to live in the shadows, relegated to caves, abandoned ruins, graveyards, and other places where humans dared not tread.  Demons, of which there were few on earth for they were of hell, would be given no quarter, and were to be captured or killed on sight.  This document came to be known as the Treaty of Stuttgart, and has dictated the actions of supernatural beings ever since.”

“So, because a werewolf signed a piece of paper a thousand years ago, we have to live as humans with bad eyesight and high cholesterol and acne and limited strength and mobility and not as awesome, super strong wolves?” Whitney asked. “That doesn’t seem fair.”

Larry took off his glasses, used the end of his shirt to rub off a smudge, then returned them to his face.  “Them’s the breaks.”

Another page.  It showed Archimedes in bed.  Larry worked a tab that caused Baal’s face to appear in Archimedes’ window.

“After the war, Archimedes returned to his home and tried to no avail to resume his former life.  Alas, he was saddened without his family, and his mind was so haunted by the horrors he had seen and done that sleep eluded him.  To make matters worse, one night, Baal, who went on the run with Lillith after the Treaty was signed, appeared in Archimedes’ window.  Archimedes told the demon to begone, for he would have no more of his trickery.  Baal smiled and told the werewolf that their time together was not over.  The collar he had placed around Archimedes’ neck would give the werewolf eternal life as promised, but it would also force him to be the demon’s slave until the end of time.  From this day forward, Baal explained, any failure of Archimedes to obey the demon’s command would result in debilitating pain for the werewolf.  Moreover, to ensure that Archimedes would never revert to his human form and slip away into the world of man, Baal commanded him to remain in his werewolf form forever.”

Larry turned the page and moved a tab that made Archimedes fall to the floor.  “Archimedes assumed the demon was bluffing and demanded he leave at once.  As soon as he did so, he felt a nauseating pain that coursed its way throughout his body, sending him to the floor in a heap.  The werewolf’s body and mind had been broken, and he never again challenged the demon’s control over him.  He left his home and went with Baal peacefully.

Next page.  Larry worked a tab that caused Sir Godfrey to throw a silver net over Baal and Lilith.”  “Years passed and Sir Godfrey and his remaining soldiers hunted Baal and Lillith to the ends of the earth, trapping them in nets of silver that bound their demonic powers.  The knight had been saddened to hear that Archimedes had become the Baal’s unwilling servant, but was surprised to find him nowhere around when the demons were captured.  He hoped that somehow, Archimedes had found a way to break free but never found out for sure, as the werewolf was never seen again.  Baal and Lilith were taken to a faraway land where they were imprisoned in the center of the earth where they would never be able to make mischief again.”

“He didn’t kill them?” Whitney asked.

“Killing a demon is a whole process,” Phil said.  “A lot of work.  A real grind.”

Larry turned the page and moved a tab that caused Sir Godfrey to hold up the golden medallion.  “Sir Godfrey attempted to destroy the medallion so that it would never be used to open a portal to hell.  Unfortunately, its magic was so powerful that it was unbreakable. Sir Godfrey remarried, started a new family, and lived in peace for many years.  When he reached a ripe old age, he called his son to his deathbed and gave him the medallion, bidding him to ensure that the bauble would remain in his family’s hands until the end of time and out of the hands of those who would use it for ill.”

“Hey, it’s the last page,” Larry said as he held up a scene of a crowded city bus.

“Thank God,” Lorraine said.”

  “Nearly a thousand years have passed since the signing of the Treaty of Stuttgart, but its importance can’t be understated today,” Larry read. “For close to a millennium, it has kept humans and supernaturals from going to war again.  Those supernaturals who can blend in amongst the humans do so quietly.  Those who can’t, keep to the dark.  It has been so long since humans have had any meaningful interactions with supernaturals that the prevailing belief amongst humans is that supernaturals don’t exist, that they are the stuff of fairy tales and make believe, designed to scare human children and provide fodder for horror novels and films.  As a supernatural, you know better, but hopefully, you know you must do your part to keep the Treaty of Stuttgart alive, for if it fails, so to will the chances of supernaturaldom’s survival.  The End.”

Larry shut the book.  He, Phil, and Lorraine stared at Whitney, waiting for her next words.  She offered none.

“Well?”  Larry asked.

Whitney still said nothing.

“Perhaps The History of The Treaty of Stuttgart: Children’s Edition isn’t the best story to read before bed,” Phil said.

“I’ll say,” Lorraine said.  “If that was the children’s edition I’d hate to read the adult edition.”

“Ironically,” Phil said. “The illustrations are less graphic.”

“Sweetheart,” Larry said to Whitney.  “Now do you see why a young supernatural like you can’t go throwing her werewolf powers around?”

Whitney looked at the adult faces.  She knew all three wanted her to say yes.  Pop, of course, didn’t care.  He was too busy in dreamland.

“I’m sorry,” Whitney said.  “But no.”

Disco Werewolf – Chapter 13

DISCO_WEREWOLF_1

“Little Lumpkiss,” Phil said.  “What exactly did you not understand?”

“Should I read it again?” Larry asked.

“No!” cried Phil and Lorraine in unison.

Pop shifted in his seat, scratched his behind, and snored.

“Sweetheart,” Larry said.  “Don’t you see?  Archimedes used his werewolf powers for ill and it caught up with him.  It ruined his life and the lives of so many others.”

“I bet this didn’t even happen,” Whitney said.  “It’s just a load of crap that supernatural parents spew at their kids to make them behave and act human.”

Larry gasped.  “Blasphemy!”

“It’s real,” Phil said.  “I should know because I was…”

“There?”  Lorraine asked.

“You’ve sat through me reading this book on how many times and never volunteered that information?”  Larry asked.

“I don’t know,” Phil said.  “The Little Lumpkisses never questioned it before.  They usually either listened intently or fell asleep.  I suppose they’re getting older.”

“What was it like?” Whitney asked.

“Even worse than the book describes,” Phil said.  “I was never one to miss a good war but I wish I had missed that one.  The sight of all that spent flesh, the smell of the hot sun beating down on ogre guts and the worst of it is I had to buy a whole new wardrobe after.”

“That was the worst of it?”  Lorraine asked.

“You know I’m nothing if not a fashionista,” Phil answered.

“Fine,” Whitney said.  “It happened.  But if you ask me, supernaturals got the short end of the stick.”

“What makes you say that?” Larry asked.

“Humans were just as responsible for that war,” Whitney said.

Larry and Lorraine looked at Phil.  “Eh,” the vampire said.  “She isn’t wrong.  Both sides worked themselves into a speciesist frenzy had one or the other come to its senses, all those lives could have been saved.”

“OK,” Larry said.  “But by giving up their powers, supernaturals have been able to stop another war like that from ever happening again.”

Whitney took on a school marmish tone.  “They stopped another war from breaking out between humans and supernaturals, but they didn’t stop war.  How many wars have the humans started since then?  And how many supernaturals posing as humans died in those?”

Phil looked at Larry.  “She’s got you there.”

“She does not,” Larry said.  “Young lady…”

“No,” Whitney said.  “I’m supposed to feel bad because I was born a werewolf, as if I had a say in the matter, just because some dumb werewolf a thousand years ago did some stupid things that caused a war, but Hitler killed how many humans and no ever thinks that maybe humans need to take a step back?”

Larry looked at Phil.  “Was Hitler a human?”

“In the physiological sense,” Larry replied.

“Martin Luther King said to judge a man not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character,” Whitney said.  “Had he known about supernaturals, he probably would have added a line about how you shouldn’t judge us based on our powers but what we do with them.  Just because one werewolf did bad, doesn’t mean all werewolves do bad.”

Larry stammered and stumbled for a response.  “That’s just…uh…maybe…ok…but…alright, sit back, sweetheart, I’m going to read it again.”

“No!” Phil and Lorraine said.

“Little Lumpkiss,” Phil said.  “In your dear old dad’s defense, you were, earlier this evening, talking about ripping about bank vaults and glamouring music company executives.”

“Hypothetically,” Whitney said.

“It’s all fun and hypothetical until some poor, defenseless human gets eviscerated,” Phil said.  “And trust me, it’ll be fun in the moment but after you’ve had time to think about it, you won’t be proud of what you’ve done.  I wasn’t always the happy go lucky insurance claims adjuster of the year, sixteen years in a row that you see before you.”

“We know,” Larry said.

“Boy, do we know,” Lorraine added.

“See?”  Whitney said.  “You changed for the better.  Supernaturals are capable of positive change.”

“I only changed after a thousand years of self-reflection,” Phil said.  “After allowing my powers to lie dormant for so long, I realized what it was like to be an ordinary dope who has to schlep through life just like anyone else.  Suddenly, all those victims I bit and drained of blood weren’t just random snacks.  They were people.  People who had hopes and dreams and ended up selling them out to take some crappy job similar to insurance claims adjusting.  All those people I glamoured out of their money were ruined and now that I know what it’s like to make a buck the honest way, I sympathize.  My modest home next door is a hovel compared to the palaces I’ve lived in, but I appreciate it more because I earned it honestly and the thought of losing it makes me weep because the idea of having to start all over from scratch frightens me, even though I have to do it every forty to fifty years or so, whenever everyone around me starts asking too many questions.  And the woman I glamoured into sleeping with me?  Well, fun as that was, I realize now I was using those women as objects.  Once I cut out the hypnotism cold turkey, I was able to actually start talking to women.  I found out what makes them tick.  I learned to put myself out there, to be vulnerable.  I learned what it was actually like to love.  I’ll take one Lorna Hutton over a thousand glamoured women any day of the week.”

Larry pointed to Phil, then looked at Whitney.  “See that, Whit?  Fitzpatrick is a cautionary tale.  Live a good life.  Do unto others as they would do unto you.  Don’t end up like this bum.”

Lorraine clutched her pearls.  “Larry!”

“OK,” Larry said.  “Maybe ‘bum’ is a bit much.  Sorry, Phil.”

“It’s not the worst thing I’ve been called,” Phil said.

“Is he a bum though?” Whitney asked.

Phil sighed.  “Like all those alcoholics in those meetings, child, I’m trying to sort out what I have the power to change for the better, and what I can’t.  That which I can change for the good I will try to do so.  That which I can’t, I must learn to let go and believe me, when I go to sleep, I am reminded of the many lives I ruined and how it’s too late for me to fix them.”

“But think of all the lives you could save now!” Whitney said.

“Come again?” Phil said.

“Mr. Fitzpatrick,” Whitney said.  “Earlier tonight, you said that the plague almost wiped out Europe, all because bad leaders were too busy screwing the world up and that made it so that all the smart people didn’t have enough time to think about how to build a toilet.”

“I suppose I did,” Phil said.

“I got what you meant,” Whitney said.  “Things aren’t the best they could be, but they’ve gotten a lot better in the past century.  The better place the world is, the more time people have to devote to fixing the world’s problems.”

“An accurate statement,” Phil said.

“So,” Whitney said.  “What if supernaturals were allowed to use their powers for good?”

“What’s that now?” Phil asked.

“Mr. Fitzpatrick,” Whitney said.  “What if the cure for cancer is so complex that it could never be figured out by a human mind.  What if, and follow me on this, it required the mind of a three thousand year old vampire, a being who has had the time to train in multiple professions, obtain tons of advanced degrees, has been a doctor in past lives and, oh, I don’t know, can coordinate the efforts of research teams all around the world because he speaks every language?”

Phil appeared lost in thought.  “Huh.  Out of the mouths of babes.”

Larry snickered.  “Fitzpatrick curing cancer.  That’ll be the day.”

“Maybe he couldn’t cure cancer,” Lorraine said.  “But maybe his skills aren’t being put to their best use as an insurance agent.”

“Claims adjuster,” Phil said.

“Whatever,” Lorraine said.

“Dad,” Whitney said as she looked at the TV.  The movie was over and a special report about the Iranian hostage crisis was on, though the volume was still low.  “What if a werewolf could sneak into a place like that, shred all the bad guys and lead the hostages to safety?”

“I don’t think one werewolf could take on every Iranian revolutionary, dear,” Larry said.

“Fine,” Whitney said.  “A pack of them then.  One werewolf on the battlefield is equal to what, twenty human soldiers?  How many lives could be saved if werewolf soldiers could be allowed to fight as werewolves?”

“Not gonna lie,” Larry said.  “Korea would have been a lot easier.”

Larry looked at Phil, then back at his daughter.  “We should know because we were both there.”

“Would construction projects take less time if ogres were allowed to work on them?” Whitney asked.  “How many steel beams could they carry?”

“A lot,” Phil said.

“And goblins and trolls,” Whitney said.  “They uh…uh…”

“They don’t have much in the way of innate skill but I’m sure they could be put to use somewhere,” Phil said.  “Though you’d have to get goblins to stop staring at people with their bug eyes and trolls to stop demanding that everyone solve their riddles three.”

“I bet we haven’t even scratched the surface of what witches and warlocks could do. Think about everything that the world is missing out on, just because supernaturals are being held back from reaching their full potential,” Whitney said.  “Just as past periods of strife kept humans from reaching theirs.”

“I’m convinced,” Phil said.

“You are?” Larry asked.

“That Lorraine had an affair because this girl is too smart to be your daughter, Lawrence?”  Phil said.  “Yes.”

“You know, Phil.  You think you’re funny but…”

“I jest,” Phil said.  “I’m convinced that one fine day, at some point in the distant future, supernaturals will have sufficiently atoned for the sins of their ancestors and that by learning to get by without their powers for so long, they will be able to be trusted with the awesome power that comes with them.  When that day comes, it would be foolish to stand in the way of the help that supernaturals could provide.”

“Thank you,” Whitney said.

“But that day isn’t here yet,” Phil said.

“It isn’t?” Whitney asked.

“No,” Phil said.  “Little Lumpkiss, the time period we are living in, right now, is the first time that doesn’t completely suck.  It could be better.  Much better.  But I’m seeing something that has never happened before and that’s people, in large numbers, standing up and calling for equal rights for others.  Humans standing up for others who are not like them.  Humans stepping out of their comfort zone and demanding the government protect people of different races, religions, creeds and genders.  We’re just at the beginning but so far, it’s a beautiful thing.  Add supernaturals to the mix and all the progress the humans have made might be lost and don’t forget that this progress helps supernaturals who live as humans.”

“What about supernaturals who can’t pass for humans?”  Whitney asked.  “How much longer can we expect them to live in the dark?”

“I don’t know,” Larry said.  “These are questions that are even beyond my seemingly limitless powers of comprehension.”

The vampire stood, stretched and yawned.  “Well, if you’ll excuse me Lumpkisses, that’s enough education for one evening.  I must try to get a few hours of shut eye before I wake up, toss on three overcoats and a ski mask just to walk outside during the daylight hours and go to my desk, where one elderly Mrs. Gertrude Sinclair will no doubt call me for the fourth day in a row and chew my ear off about how the accident she was in was the other guy’s fault and if I think she’s going to pay a deductible after all of the on time payments she’s made since 1952, I can go straight to hell.  Good evening, my favorite family.  Thank you, Lorraine, for the blood, and Lawrence, for the amusement.”

“You’re welcome, Phil,” Lorraine said.

“I’d say come back anytime,” Larry said.  “But I probably wouldn’t mean it.”

Phil grabbed the place where his heart had turned cold and black and pretended as though an arrow had just shot it.  “Zing!”

The vampire patted Whitney on the head.  “Buck up, Little Lumpkiss.  Your day will come.”

The house guest stepped into the kitchen and was about to leave when Larry called out to him.  “Hey Phil!”

“Yes?”  Phil said.

“Be useful for once in your life.  Dish out a couple scoops of cobbler and give it to those two dimbulbs in the garage, will you?” Larry asked.

“Sure thing, Lumpkiss.”

Tagged

Disco Werewolf – Chapter 11

DISCO_WEREWOLF_1

Phil tromped into the kitchen and sat down to the right of Whitney, far out of Grandpa’s viewing range.

“Oh, curse my dreadful manners,” Phil said.  “I’ve interrupted your dinner.  What are you all having?”

“Lorraine’s famous cheesy tuna noodle casserole,” Larry said.

“Tuna noodle casserole,” Phil said.  “That sounds positively scrumptious…or at least it I think it does.  I don’t know what’s good and what’s not any more.  All I know is I keep seeing all these commercials for the most decadent foods.  Cheeseburgers stacked with bacon, doused with barbecue sauce and cardboard containers filled with fries that you can douse with ketchup.  None of this was around when I was eating and thank goodness.  I dare say I’d be as big as a house if it had been.  How you all keep your trim figures is beyond me, Larry excluded of course.”

Larry checked his watch.  “It took you a whole minute to make a fat joke.  You’re slipping, Phil.”

The guest turned to the lady of the house.  “Lorraine, I had the worst day today.  I was stuck at my desk so long working on the Barrett account that I didn’t have a single free minute to whisk myself away to the butcher shop.  I don’t suppose you’d have a little something lying around your refrigerator for me, would you?”

Lorraine smiled.  “As it just so happens, I do.”

“Splendid!” Phil said.  “Lorraine, you are a gem.  What Larry did to deserve you, I’ll never know.”

“I don’t know what I did to deserve you either, Phil,” Larry said.

Phil chuckled.  “Oh Larry, you haven’t lost your bourgeoisie humor.”

Lorraine went to the fridge, opened the door, and looked around inside.  “Where did I put it?”

Phil looked at Pop, who was too busy watching the bikini babes to look back.  “Good evening, Elder Lumpkiss!  How are you this fine night?”

“Meh.”

Larry pointed to the TV.  “He’s preoccupied.”

Phil scoped out the babes.  “Yes, I see.”  He turned to Whitney.  “And good evening to you, Little Lumpkiss.”

“Hi Mr. Fitzpatrick,” Whitney said.

“Still trying to make a go of it in the punk rock scene?” Phil asked.

“Yeah,” Whitney replied.  “I’m sorry if we woke you.”

“Oh, it’s quite alright,” Phil said.  “And I do apologize to you all for the fuss I made, it’s just that, you know…when I can still hear it while I’m inside the coffin then it’s too much.”

“I never would have called the authorities, I’ll have you all know,” Phil said.  “I simply adore you all too much to do that.”

“We’ll keep it down next time,” Whitney said.

“There’s not going to be a next time,” Larry said.  “The garage concert hall is closed.”

“We’re between practice locations at the moment,” Whitney said.

Lorraine sat down and handed Phil a plastic container filled with a red liquid.

“From our pot roast last week,” Lorraine said.  “I figured you’d drop by sooner or later, so I saved it.”

“Such a peach,” Phil said.

“It’s old,” Lorraine said.  “I hope that’s alright.”

“It’s more than alright,” Phil said.  “Like me, it just gets better with age.”

The guest opened his mouth wide.  His eyes looked menacing as a set of fangs popped out of his mouth.  He popped them into the lid of the container, proceeded to suck, then stopped when he noticed everyone was staring at him as though he had committed a social faux pas.

Clack!  The fangs retracted into his mouth.  “What?  I couldn’t have farted.”

“Phil!”  Lorraine said.  “My Tupperware!”

“What about it?”  Phil asked.

“You ruined it!”

“I thought it was disposable.”

“No,” Lorraine said.  “You can wash it and use it again and again.”

“Huh,” Phil said.  “Three-thousand years and I’m still learning something new every day.”

Phil closed his eyes.  “I’m making a mental note, Lorraine.  In my mind, I’m telling myself to not forget to purchase that delicious dish next door a new Tupperware set.  Yes, it’s etched into the deepest recesses of my memory and so, it shall be done.”

Lorraine snickered.  She stood, fetched a glass, and carefully poured out the cow’s blood, then popped a straw into the glass.

Phil looked at the straw with disappointment.  “Kind of takes all the fun out of sucking but oh well, when in Rome, as they say.”

The guest slurped up a dose of blood, then let out a satisfied, “Ahh!”  He then turned to Whitney.  “So, Little Lumpkiss, have you booked any gigs?”

“Not yet, no,” Whitney said.  “Unless you count the school talent show.”

“I do,” Phil said.

“We’re trying to discourage her, Phil,” Larry said.

“But why?” Phil asked.  “If one has a dream, then one must grab it with both hands and never let it go…especially if you’re mortal.  Mortal lives are so short, you know.”

“You want to keep waking up at the crack of dusk?” Larry asked.

“Not especially,” Phil said before turning back to Whitney. “Perhaps you could practice at the domicile of one of those philistines I saw tidying up the garage.  I assume those are your bandmates?”

“We’re trying to discourage her from getting to close to humans, Phil,” Larry said.

Phil ignored the man of the house.  “Your father has more rules than the Magna Carta, though he may have a point here.  Tell me one of those two imbeciles aren’t a potential love interest, Little Lumpkiss.  I’m not one to tell another they can do better if they can’t but in your case, you surely can.”

“We’re just bandmates,” Whitney said.

“Good,” Phil said.  “You’re much too young to be tied down anyway.”

“Dad says I can’t date humans anyway.”

“Jeeze Whit,” Larry said.  “Just air all out our dirty laundry for everyone to see, why don’t you?”

“Hmm,” Phil said as he sipped the blood, his cheeks sucking inward as he did so.  “Your father and I agree on very little but I must say he and I see eye to eye on this one.”

“Really?”  Whitney asked.

“Surprised?”  Phil asked.

“Yeah,” Whitney said.  “You’re so well-traveled, Mr. Fitzpatrick.  So educated, so…”

“Old,” Phil said.  “Yes, I’ve seen just about everything but I speak from experience when I say that species should stick to their own species.”

“Thank you!” Larry said.

“Some of it’s just common sense,” Phil said.  “For example, you never want to get involved with an ogre, Little Lumpkiss.  A baby ogre will tear it’s way out of a non-ogre’s womb like a vulture devours the corpse of a lonesome, long forgotten corpse left to dry out underneath the hot Sahara sun.  I’ve seen both happen and they aren’t pretty sights, believe me.”

“I don’t think I’ll be dating an ogre,” Whitney said.

“Ah,” Phil said.  “But the humans pique your interest, do they?  It’s natural.  Vampires and werewolves have so much in common with humans that it’s easy to forget we aren’t human.  I, myself, have been with many humans.  It’s fun at first to get to know someone knew, to rekindle the flames of passion that you had assumed had grown weak and dull inside you years before.  But inevitably, they get old, and wrinkly and not very good looking at all.  Oh, you try to move past it but eventually, they start asking questions about why you’re not aging, so you have to fake your own death, preferably in some kind of tragic explosion, the more dramatic the better, and start a new life somewhere else.”

“Werewolves age,” Larry said.

“That you do,” Phil said.  “You, more so than others, my dear boy.”

Phil turned to Lorraine.  “Do get him on a diet, dear girl, I worry about him so.”

“I’m right here,” Larry said.

Phil sipped his blood.  “Yes, you are.  Say, where’s the other young one?  Boy Lumpkus.”

“Playing video games across the street with the Jenkins girl,” Larry said.

“My,” Phil said.  “Your wee ones seem to have developed a case of human fever.”

“We’re hoping it’s a phase,” Lorraine said.

“It’ll pass,” Larry added.

“I’d tell you to stick to other werewolves, Little Lumpkiss,” Phil said to Whitney.  “But then again, I’ve never been romantically involved with a werewolf so whether or not they make good paramours, I have no idea.  I’ve never been interested because the idea of trying to sleep next to a being that could rip off my arms and beat me with them gives me the heebie jeebies.”

Lorraine chimed in.  “That’s what I said!”

“I always knew you were the smartest Lumpkiss,” Phil said.

“Mr. Fitzpatrick,” Whitney said.  “I have a question.”

“Proceed to ask it,” Phil said.  “Though I offer no guarantees that I am in possession of an adequate answer.”

“I’m not saying you should,” Whitney said.  “But in theory, could you like, you know, go out to Hollywood and glamour a music company executive into giving me a seven-figure record deal?”

Lorraine gasped.  “Whitney!”

Larry pounded his fist down on the table.  “The Treaty of Stuttgart!”

“Now, now, Lumpkisses,” Phil said.  “Nothing wrong with a child having an inquisitive mind.  If they don’t ask questions, they’ll never learn.”

“She knows,” Larry said.  “I’ve told her about the Treaty of Stuttgart a million times.”

“Yes, Larry,” Phil said.  “Heaven knows if there’s one thing I do enjoy, it’s one of your fascinating lectures regarding the Treaty of Stuttgart.”

“It’s nothing to joke about,” Larry said.

“Everything is something to joke about, dear boy,” Phil said.  “Whether or not the joke lands is another matter entirely.”

Phil addressed Whitney’s question.  “In theory, yes.  I could do that, very much so.  But alas, if I’m not willing to put all of supernatural kind in jeopardy by using my glamour powers to hypnotize a billionaire into transferring all his funds to me or to make Racquel Welch my plaything, then I’m surely not going to use it to help you with your little band, what was it called again?  Sex Puke?”

“Sexual Vomit,” Whitney said.

“How quaint,” Phil said.

“See?” Larry said.  “Even Fitzpatrick has sense enough to know better than to use his powers and risk the humans finding out about him.”

“He could fight them off,” Whitney said.

Phil laughed.  “Oh, child, I admire your enthusiasm.  A few dozen here and there, yes but all of humanity?  Unlikely.”

“I really don’t like where this conversation is going,” Larry said.

“You’re so human-whipped, Dad,” Whitney said.

Larry frowned.  Lorraine looked mad.  “Whitney!”

“Well!”  Whitney said.  “We’re better than they are, aren’t we?  We’re faster and stronger than they could ever dream of being, aren’t we?  We could go out, right now, walk into a bank, bite all the guards in half, rip the door right off the safe and help ourselves to all the cash and everyone would be powerless to stop us and yet, here we are, living in this crap hole…”

Larry turned red-faced.  “This is a perfectly fine house!  It’s more than I ever had when I was growing up, I’ll tell you that.”

“You could live in a palace!”  Whitney said.

“The Treaty of Stuttgart!”  Phil said.

“Bah!”  Whitney said.  “I wish I could wipe my ass with the Treaty of Stuttgart!”

“Young lady, you don’t know a thing about the world and if you keep…”

Whitney interrupted her old man with the coup de grace.  “You pump shit out of the ground for a living when you could easily be living like a king.”

Larry’s eyes turned yellow.  Lorraine ran her hand up and down her husband’s back until he took a deep breath and calmed down.  “Not in front of the neighbor, dear.”

Larry’s face and eyes returned to normal colors.  “You’re right.”

Phil looked to his hosts.  “If I may set her straight?”

“By all means,” Larry said.

“Little Lumpkiss,” Phil said.  “I’m much older than the Treaty of Stuttgart and I must say that life, prior to that insipid document, was a dream…”

“Damn it, Phil!” Larry said.

“You didn’t let me finish,” Phil said.  “It was a dream…for me.  Other people, not so much?  You talk of glamour?  Oh, I glamoured the best and the brightest.  Women worshipped at me feet and whatever riches I laid my eyes upon were mine for the taking.  Vast swaths of land belonged to me and kings and queens alike feared me.”

“I think you’re making it worse, Phil,” Lorraine said.

“And I admit, life has been infinitely worse since supernaturals were forced to hide their powers away and live the lives of ordinary suckers,” Phil said.  “The current life I’m experiencing is particularly grueling.  Every generation, when all my contemporaries get old while I remain youthful in appearance, I pick up and move to a new location and start a new life.  I’ve been a Greek soldier, a Roman senator, an Egyptian pharaoh, a pirate, a poet, a merchant, a monk, an inventor, a painter, a sculptor, a scientist, a doctor, a lawyer, a taxidermist, a, well, I could go on all night with my list of former professions.  I’ve earned well over a hundred degrees, I can speak fluently in over nine hundred existent languages, as well as in seventy-six languages that are long extinct.  I’ve fought in seven hundred and fifty wars and I’m not ashamed to say that more often than not, I chose the right side.  I can perform complex mathematical equations that would boggle the best minds at NASA, write a Sonnet that would make Shakespeare weep and I know that because he told me my sonnets made him weep and I can solve that little puzzle cube toy with the different colored sides in a snap.”

Whitney’s eyes grew wide with admiration.  “See?”

“This really isn’t helping,” Lorraine said.

“We need to nip this in the bud,” Larry said.

“Be patient, Lumpkisses,” Phil said.  “I’m going somewhere with this.”

“Get there, fast,” Larry said.

“I’ve done and can do so much,” Phil said.  “And yet, the Treaty of Stuttgart prevents me from putting any of that down on a resume and even if I did, no one would believe me anyway.  Humans are unable to believe anything they can’t demonstratively proof, even though mysterious miracles exist all around them.  At any rate, despite all my former glories, the best job I’m able to get in this life is that of an…”

Phil shuddered as he said the words aloud.  “…insurance claims adjustor.  Yeesh.”

“Sounds like you should have saved some of that gold when you sacked Carthage,” Larry said.

“A lot of us should have saved our Carthage gold, Larry.”  Phil said.  “Those were different times, OK?  The wine was flowing, the wenches were belly dancing and oh, don’t get me started.”

“You see?”  Whitney said.  “Mr. Fitzpatrick’s life has been ruined by the Treaty of Stuttgart.  You should bite and hypnotize your way back to the top, Mr. F.”

Larry and Lorraine slapped their foreheads in unison.

“I would,” Phil said.  “But it would seem your father is correct, Little Lumpkiss.”

“He is?” Whitney asked.

“About most other things?” Phil asked.  “No.  About this?  Yes.  You see, you haven’t been around for three thousand years.  I have.  And while the first two thousand were a ball for me, there were utter garbage for most people.  I was too busy being way into myself and fulfilling all my wants and needs and desires that I never paid the slightest bit of attention to the suffering of others, even though it was happening all around me.  Death, destruction, mayhem, chaos.  War, plagues, famine, disease, hunger, starvation.  People tortured and killed, stretched out on the rack, burned alive or thrown to the lions over trivial matters.  Slavery.  Murder.  Rape.  Oh, don’t get me started about the rape.”

“Please don’t get started about the rape,” Lorraine said.

“Never partaken in by yours truly, unless you count the glamour but that’s a can of worms I don’t feel like opening at the moment,” Phil said.

“Keep it closed,” Larry said.

“Closed, it is,” Phil said.  “Anyway, Little Lumpkiss, at first, I was like you.  I despised the Treaty of Stuttgart.  I felt it was hobbling me, forcing me to hold myself back, to limp unnecessarily with one hand tied behind my back as lesser nitwits ran circles around me.”

“I give up,” Larry said.

“But then the past thousand years came,” Larry said.  “And as the humans were allowed to take more and more responsibility for themselves without supernatural demagogues running everything from behind the shadows, things actually began to improve.  New medicines and technologies were invented that improved the quality of life a thousand-fold.  The world became a smaller place, thanks to automobiles and air travel.  More and more, humans began turning to diplomacy.  Leaders of nations meet and discuss their problems rather than just calling upon armies of scantily clad muscle men to hurl swords and maces at one another.  And I dare say that even race relations between the different colors of humans have improved exponentially.  They aren’t the best, but they are much better.”

“Think they’ll ever be perfect?” Whitney asked.

“I’d say check back with me in forty years, but I’ll probably be an accounts receivable clerk in Boise, Idaho by then.”

“The Treaty really hurt immortals like you,” Whitney said.

“Yes and no,” Phil said.  “Yes, because I’d much rather be lounging by the pool of a mansion I glamoured a fool out of.  No, because, and you can call this hokey if you like, but I’ve actually quite enjoyed seeing the world become so civilized.”

“Really?”  Whitney asked.

“Yes,” Phil said.  “I never thought the world would ever get this good, what with motion picture boxes that show women on the beach in bikinis and planes that can be used to transport you and whatever you want anywhere you want to go.  Do you know that the Carthaginian general, Hannibal, had his soldiers transport his war elephants across narrow ledges along the sides of mountains by shoving long, wooden planks up the elephants’ mouths and backsides, then having the soldiers walk ever so slowly whilst performing such a dangerous balancing act?”

“That doesn’t sound fun,” Whitney said.

“Especially not for the elephants,” Phil said.  “I should know.  I saw it.  It wasn’t pretty.  And a lot of things in the past weren’t pretty.  And I didn’t like seeing them.  But now?  I live the life of a chump, but I’ll gladly take it because I rarely ever see anything terrible in the course of my daily comings and goings.  I’d rather be an insurance claims adjuster and sit in a quiet office, then come home and watch trite, formulaic television programs, than live like a king a thousand years ago and see wagons full of the dead being pushed down the street.”

Larry and Lorraine traded pleased glances.

“Bottomline,” Phil said.  “Don’t mock your father for pumping shit out of the ground, child. People used to shit in the street, so much so that the ensuing diseases nearly wiped out Europe.  Puss blistered corpses lined the street while mothers clutched their dead babies to their bosoms and wept with no hope of consolation.  All because power mongers clashed, wreaking so much havoc that brilliant minds were so addled with woe that they were kept from dreaming up the toilet.  If I must live with less so that others may have more, I’m fine with it.”

“Okay,” Larry said as he stood up.  “I’ve heard enough about shit for one evening.  Who wants cobbler?”

Good morning, 3.5 readers

Hey 3.5 readers.  Just checking in.  I haven’t been writing posts much lately as I’ve been having a good time writing Disco Werewolf.

It’s funny how finding a groove in a writing project can renew your sense of purpose.

I don’t know what it is but sometimes I will struggle through a number of projects and then all of a sudden, I’ll get into one where it really starts to flow.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love my other irons in the fire and I know I’ll eventually hit some speed bumps with this one that I’ll have to figure out how to jump over but still…I don’t know, when it’s working, it’s working.

Hope you are all doing well, 3.5 readers.

Disco Werewolf – Chapter 9

DISCO_WEREWOLF_1

Out in the garage, Whitney wailed away on the microphone.  She was a skinny girl with short, spikey black hair.  Like a stereotypical goth girl, she had smeared black around her eyes and painted her face a ghostly white.  She wore a spiked collar around her neck, tight leather pants and a black t-shirt emblazoned with white letters that read, “Sexual Vomit.”

“Pain!  Pain, pain!  Pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain!  Your love is not a sprain!  It pelts my face like acid rain! Of this, I will complain!  It’s an aching canker sore that mars the inner lining of my rectum and makes me gag until I spew out rancid fecal matter from my nasal passages!”

To Whitney’s right, Peter was on guitar.  He was a spindly lad with a green mohawk.  He wore a denim vest with no shirt underneath and dirty jeans with rips in the knees.  He banged his head around furiously as he shredded his axe.

To Whitney’s left was Stevie on drums.  He was shirtless and only wore a pair of shorts.  His head was hidden away behind a leather gimp mask.  He was lost in the moment, pounding away on those drums.

Whitney made a fist, then stuck up her pinky and pointer fingers, thus making a set of devil horns.  She stuck her tongue between said digits, flapped it up and down and shouted more nonsense.  “BAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!  VOMIT!  VOMIT, VOMIT, VOMIT!  SEXUAL VOMIT!!!  YEAAAAAAHHHHH!!!”

Peter riffed away on his guitar, then grabbed it by the end and used it to trash the Lumpkiss family garage.  Nothing was safe.  From bottles and cans to bags and boxes, everything was hurled everywhere.

Stevie joined in on the mayhem, kicking his drum set over.  The noise it made as it fell to the ground was unbearable.

Not to be undone, Whitney kicked over the mic stand, then leaned her head back.  As she stared up at the ceiling, she held the microphone to her mouth and cried, “Thank you Seacaucus!  We are Sexual Vomit and we’re here all week!”

Even though he wasn’t British, Peter faked an accent anyway as he leaned into Whitney’s microphone.  “And don’t forget to tip the waitresses, ya’ bloody cheapskates!”

Peter clapped.  He grabbed the end of a zipper located on one side of his mask’s mouth hole, dragged it to the other side, and spoke.  “Encore!  Woo!”  He then zipped his mask shut.

“Yeah!”  Whitney said.  “Encore coming right up!  We love you, New Jersey!  Vomit, vomit, vomit, vomit, YEAH!!!!!”

Ever so slowly, the garage door rolled up.  Peter watched in horror as he saw the man of the house’s sensible black shoes, followed by his legs, then his torso, and finally, his face, which was the epitome of seething rage.

Larry was in human form again, and he had changed into a new plaid shirt and a new pair of jeans.  In his hand, he held a spray nozzle attached to a garden hose.

Whitney was oblivious.  “Vomit in my mouth and I’ll vomit in yours!  Vomit all over till it oozes out your pores!”

“Whitney,” Peter said.

“Vomit up your lungs and vomit out your eyes!  Your love is the only thing I ever will despise!”

              “OK, Whitney,” Peter said.  “Cut it.”

“Vomit around the world in eighty days on a comet propelled by your own snot!”

              Stevie was the next teenager to notice the unhappy homeowner.  He unzipped his mask.  “Whitney!  Cool it!  It’s your dad!”

“Vomit in a pail and pull it over your head, your love is the only thing that I want dead and…ACK!”

              Dad pulled the handle.  Daughter was hit with a water jet.  She sputtered and coughed, her bad makeup job running down the sides of her face.  She put her hands up in a vain effort to protect himself from the blast, but it was of no use.  “Dad!  What the hell, man?!”

Peter attempted a more contrite approach.  “Sorry, Mr. Lumpkiss.  I hope we didn’t disturb you.  I think I had the amp a little too high so I apologize for…blech!”

Too late.  Mr. Lumpkiss wasn’t having any of it.  He sprayed the guitarist until his previously starched mohawk flopped down to either of the shaved sides of his head.

“Good call, sir,” Peter said as he spit up water.  “My bad.”

Stevie unzipped his gimp mask.  “Mr. Lumpkiss, I think it was the great Mahatma Gandhi who once said, ‘The weak can never forgive, for forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.’  You are by far the strongest man I know, sir, so…”

The drummer zipped his mouth hole shut just in time to avoid sucking up a water blast.  Larry sprayed and sprayed, but the water just bounced off the kid’s leather mask.

“Is this even affecting you?”  Larry asked.

Stevie unzipped his mouth hole.  “No sir.”  He zipped the mouth hole shut.

 

“Eh,” Larry said as he let go off the spray nozzle handle.  “Screw it, then.  I’m not going to run up my water bill any higher.”

Whitney looked like a rodent that drowned and was left to ferment in a storm drain.  “Dad!  We’re trying to practice.”

“Practice makes perfect, sweetheart,” Larry said.  “And whatever the heck that was, it was the furthest thing I’ve ever heard from perfect in my entire life.  I have half a mind to ship you off to a convent, young lady.”

Fitzpatrick’s heckling cut the tension.  “Do it, Lumpkiss, and I’ll finally respect you!”

Larry turned toward Fitzpatrick’s house.  “Sit on your thumb and rotate, Phil!”

The man of the house turned back to the makeshift punk band.  “You kids can’t do this here anymore. You’re cheesing off the neighbors and Mrs. Lumpkiss can’t even hear ourselves think.”

Whitney stomped her foot.  “But Dad!  We have to get ready for the talent show next month!”

“Talent,” Larry said.  “Operative word.  What kind of noise do you call that anyway?”

Peter gulped, then mustered enough courage to speak.  “It’s punk, sir.”

“What?” Larry asked.

“Punk,” Peter repeated.

Stevie unzipped his mouth hole.  “It’s an open rebellion against traditional rock and roll, which has gotten way too commercial.”  Stevie zipped his hole shut.

“It has?” Larry asked.

Stevie unzipped his mouth hole.  “It sure has.  It’s all full of subliminal messages, trying to sell kids on a certain unattainable lifestyle, really just a way for the man to try to trick the youth into becoming overachievers whereas we, in protest, remind everyone about how dark and depressing life really is.”

Stevie rezipped his hole shut.

“I get a reminder about how dark and depressing the world is every quarter,” Larry said.  “It’s called my property tax bill.”

Stevie unzipped his mouth hole.  “Good one sir,” he said, and then zipped the hole shut.

Larry squinted at the drummer.  “Stevie Flenderson, as I live and breathe, is that you under there?”

Stevie unzipped his mouth hole, answered, “Yes sir,” then zipped his hole shut.

“Yikes,” Larry said.  “I know your father, kid.  I drink beers with him at the VFW every third Thursday of the month and he would definitely not approve of this.”

Stevie unzipped his hole, said, “Please don’t tell him, sir,” then zipped his hole shut.

“Stop showing up at my house with that thing on your head and I might forget,” Larry said.

Stevie unzipped his mouth hole, said, “Fair enough,” then zipped his mouth hole shut.

“Son,” Larry said.  “Why on God’s green earth would you ever put on a get up like that?”

Stevie unzipped his mouth hole, said, “To get girls,” then zipped his mouth hole shut.

“To get girls,” Larry said.  “And has it worked?”

Stevie unzipped his mouth hole, replied, “Not as such, no,” then zipped his mouth hole shut.

“You know, son,” Larry said.  “When I was your age, if a fella wanted to impress girls, he tried out for the football team.  You ever think about doing that?”

Stevie unzipped his mouth hole, but Larry cut him off.  “Take that off.”

The drummer complied.  He removed the mask to reveal a freckled face and bushy red hair.  “I’d try out, but high school’s almost over for us.”

“Yeah,” Larry said as he looked around at his trashed garage.  “And this is all you have to show for it.  What a shame.”

Fitzpatrick resumed his heckling.  “You tell ‘em, Lumpkiss!”

Larry went for the proverbial jugular.  “No one blamed your wife when she left you, Phil!”

Fitzpatrick went quiet for a few seconds, then shouted, “Ouch!”

“Sorry!” Larry hollered back.  “I immediately regretted it after I said it!”

“It’s fine!” Fitzpatrick yelled.  “We’re only human!”

Larry focused on his daughter.  “Go wash up.  Your mother made a lovely dinner and it’s rude to let it get cold.”

Whitney responded in sheer exasperation.  “Ugh!  You’re stifling my freedom of artistic expression!”

“Do I need to turn this hose on again?”  Larry asked.

Whitney sulked, and tromped into the house.  “No.  Bye guys.”

The singer slammed the door behind her.  Once the men were alone, Larry looked down his nose and over his glasses at the boys.

“Either of you two dipshits touch my daughter?”

Both lads shook their heads to the right and left, vigorously.  “No, sir,” they both replied.

“Good,” Larry said as he set the hose down in his yard.  He walked into the garage.  “I won’t cut off your dinguses then, but I want this place cleaned up before I go to bed, you hear?”

Both boys nodded.  “Yes, sir.”

“Glad we have an understanding,” Larry said as he walked toward the door that led to the kitchen.  “Just know that I mean it.  I’m going to come out here before the night’s over, and if it isn’t exactly the way it was before you wrecked it, it’ll be your asses on a platter.”

“Yes, sir,” the dejected boys responded.

“Punk rock,” Larry said.  “What’s the world coming to?”

Larry walked into the house and shut the door behind him.  Seconds later, he opened the door and poked his head out into the garage.  “If there’s any left over, I might bring some of Mrs. Lumpkiss’ cherry cobbler out here…if I feel like it.”

“Thank you, sir,” the boys said.

Tagged

Disco Werewolf – Chapter 8

DISCO_WEREWOLF_1

Seacaucus, New Jersey

              The modest home located at 52 Periwinkle Drive looked like any other.  It was white with black shutters, had a finely manicured green lawn and a sturdy oak tree that abutted a white picket fence.  A beat-up pick-up truck sat in the driveway next to a wood paneled station wagon.

To their neighbors, the family that dwelled within appeared typical.  In fact, as Disco Werewolf partied hearty across the Hudson River, Larry and Lorraine Lumpkiss prepared for a quiet evening at home.

Larry, the man of the house, wore a plaid shirt and a pair of jeans.  His body was beginning to suffer the ravages of middle age, namely a hairline that was receding and a waistline that was expanding.  Even so, he was sturdy and carried his bulk well.  He squinted through a pair of glasses as he read the evening edition of The New York Courant, to which he was a dedicated, long time subscriber.

“Will you get a load of this?” Larry asked.  “Environmental Activists Protest in Wake of Three Mile Island Nuclear Planet Meltdown.”

              Larry looked up from the paper.  “Bah!  Lousy good for nothings.  Get a job, hippies!”

Lorraine, Larry’s devoted housewife, tended to an assortment of pots and pans on the stove.  Her hair was brown with streaks of gray and she wore a yellow apron over a pink dress.

“What’s that, dear?” the lady of the house asked as she pounded a pot full of potatoes with a masher.

“Oh, nothing,” Larry said.  “Just a bunch of degenerate no-goodniks getting in the way again.”

Larry looked to his left, where an old man was sitting.  The codger had a worn, shriveled body, with just a few tufts of hair left on his head.  Most of his teeth were missing.  His glasses were the size of cola bottles and he wore a cardigan that had been buttoned haphazardly.

“If you ask me, all these big mouths shouldn’t have a say in anything until they get a job and pay taxes just like the rest of us, don’t you think so, Pop?”

The old man shrugged his shoulders.  “Meh.”

“You worked.  I worked.  Yet all these kids think they just know it all, don’t they?”

Pop shook his head.  “Meh.”

 

Larry patted Pop on the back.  “Good talk, Pop.”

“Meh.”

Lorraine opened up the oven and took a peak inside.  A cheese covered tuna noodle casserole was baking up to a golden brown.  “Looks like a few more minutes.”

“Hot dog,” Larry said.  “I am starving.  Where the hell is Whitney? She should be helping you.”

“Oh, you know,” Lorraine said.  “Out in the garage with her little friends as usual.”

Larry pounded the table.  “Hippies!  In my own house.  It’s an infestation, I tell you.”

“I don’t think they’re hippies, Larry,” Lorraine said.

“Well, they’re some kind of strange, I’ll tell you that.”

“No arguments there.”

Pop choked and gasped.  Larry turned around just in time to catch his father choking on a plastic disk.

“Jesus H. Crow, Pop!” Larry said as he yanked the circle out of his father’s piehole.  “That’s not food!  That’s a coaster!”

Larry returned the coaster to a stack in the center of the table, then stood up and rummaged through a cabinet.  He retrieved a cookie and handed it to the old man.  “Here.  Have at that.”

“Oh, Larry,” Lorraine said.  “You’ll spoil his dinner.”

“Sorry, hun,” Larry said.  “Just one, Pop.”

“Meh,” Pop said as he used one of his few remaining teeth to gnaw on the treat.

Ring!

“Now who could that be?” Lorraine asked as she looked up from one of her pots.

Larry walked over to a rotary phone attached to the wall.  It was bright yellow, with a circular dialing disk in the middle, and a long, curly cord that dangled down to the floor.  “I got it.  Hello?”

The man of the house listened patiently for a minute.  “Huh?  What’s that now?  A timeshare in Fabulous Downtown Bayonne?  No, that does not sound like a good deal.  No, not at all.  What?  No, I don’t care if you’ve got one in Flagstaff, Arizona.  Yeah, but…uh huh…well, ma’am I’m not much interested in spending any time in Butte, Montana either.  Why?  How about because I’m not made of money, OK?  Yeah…hey…no…right…no…listen, lady, I don’t know how you got my number but you must have confused me with the King of Siam if you think I can afford all that so I’ll thank you to lose my number, OK?  Goodbye.”

Larry returned to his seat at the table.  “I told her to lose my number.”

“You were tough but fair, dear,” Lorraine replied.

“I know,” Larry said.  “That oughtta settle her hash.  Women selling timeshares over the phone.  Jeeze Louise, next thing you know they’ll have a woman president and blammo!  She gets her monthly visit from Aunt Flo, hits the button, nukes Russia and it’s World War III.”

Lorraine feigned laughter.  “You’re such a card, dear.”

“I know.”

Larry picked up his paper and began to read again.  “Oil prices are through the roof.  No surprise there.  Why don’t you just bend over and let the Ayatollah get up there hard and deep, Jimmy?”

“Oh,” Lorraine said.  “Speaking of that, did you remember to fill up my car?”

Hubby slapped his forehead.  He set the paper down and turned to his wife.  “I did not.”

“Larry!  I’m going to be in the gas line all morning tomorrow then!”

“Nope,” Larry said.  “You’re good.  You know I always keep an extra can in the garage for emergencies.”

“Well,” Lorraine said as she stirred a pot full of gravy.  “I guess it’ll have to do.”

Larry stood up, walked over to the stove, wrapped his arms around his better half’s waist and smooched her on the cheek.  “The day will never come when Lawrence T. Lumpkiss fails his little lady, be it in life or in the boudoir.”

“Oh, Larry,” Lorraine said with a smile.  “You’re incorrigible!”

Larry planted a plethora of kisses on Lorraine’s neck.  “Aren’t I though?”

Ring!

“For Pete’s sake!”  Larry said as he walked over to the phone.   He picked it up.  “Hello?  Yes.  Yes, this is Mr. Lumpkiss.  What’s that now?  Encyclopedias?  How many?  A whole set?  Why in the…well, no I don’t want my kids to grow up stupid but, hey just a second pal, what are you implying?  Well, no they aren’t rocket scientists by any stretch of the imagination but they aren’t drooling dullards either.  They get by just fine, not that it’s any of your business.  Yeah…right but…look, the thing is, they’re all grown up and hopefully almost out the door so really, this would just be a waste of money and…uh huh… for me?  Oh fella, I know it all, anyway.  Goodbye.”

Larry hanged up the phone and returned to his seat at the table.  “I tell you, whoever made it so these telephone salespeople can just call you out of the blue all night long should be tarred and feathered.”

“That seems a bit harsh,” Lorraine said.

“Maybe,” Larry replied.  “Maybe I should just look up their numbers and call them at home.  Try to sell them timeshares and encyclopedias while they’re sitting down for dinner.  Now that would burn their biscuits.”

“I’m sure it would dear.”

“Gack!”

Larry looked at his old man, who was chewing on a coaster again.  “Damn it, Pop!”  Son took the coaster out of father’s mouth, seized the entire stack, stood up, and rested them on a counter.  “That’s it!  No more coasters for you!”

An ear poppingly loud guitar riff poured out from the attached garage and into the kitchen.  Mom and Dad grabbed their ears.  Pop paid it no mind as he was deaf as a post.

“Are you kidding me?!” Larry asked.

“I thought you told her not to rehearse in the garage anymore!” Lorraine cried.

“I did!”  Larry hollered.  “Looks like it didn’t take!”

Thump, thump, thump, thump, crash, crash, crash!  The sound of drums and cymbals being pounded reverberated throughout the entire house.

“Drug music!”  Larry screamed.  “I can’t believe it!  Drug music in my house!”

Out in the garage, Whitney Lumpkiss took to the microphone.  There was a bit of screechy reverb before the teenager began to sing, or more accurately, shout out random obscene words and phrases that somehow passed as punk rock lyrics.

Sexual vomit!  Sexual spit!  Puke on my soul and rearrange it!  I thought we were one.  I thought this was it!  But then it turned out to be…to be…to be….SEXUAL VOMIT!  YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

              Dogs barked all across the neighborhood.  Mr. Fitzpatrick, the Lumpkisses’ neighbor to the left, pitched a fit.  “Hey Lumpkiss!  Knock that racket off, will ya’?!”

Larry opened up a window and shouted out into the evening air.  “I got it, Phil!  Don’t you worry!”

“Well, don’t just sit there with your dick in your hand blabbing about it!” Mr. Fitzpatrick yelled.  “Do something about it!  I pay my taxes, Goddamn it!”

“I pay mine too, Phil!”

“I don’t care, Lumpkiss, just do something already!”

“I bet I pay more than you, Phil!”

Lorraine tapped her husband on the shoulder.  “Hun, now isn’t the time to get into a pissing match with Mr. Fitzpatrick.”

Larry nodded.  He looked to the table.  Pop was fast asleep, his head back, mouth open so wide that it could catch flies.

“Amazing,” Larry said.  “I wish I could sleep like that.”

The drums and guitar got louder.  The lyrics got more disgusting.  “I thought your sweet nothings were like the fragrance of a freshly cut rose!  But instead, they were just a pile of wet farts emanating from the diseased, cacophonous never regions of Satan’s asshole all along!!!”

              Mom and Dad’s jaws dropped in unison.

“Did she just say…”

“She did.”

Larry shook his head.  “Well, that tears it.  I’m going to give her a piece of my mind.”

“Don’t be too hard on her, dear.”

“Hard on her?” Larry asked.  “Are you kidding me?  A young lady talking like that?  She’s on her way to selling her goods for pennies on the dollar in a Tijuana boom boom room with a mouth like that, Lorraine.”

Lorraine nodded.  “I know, but, you know.  She’s just trying to be creative.”

“Creative, my rear end,” Larry said.  “We’ve got to nip this in the bud, Lorraine.  We’ve got to nip it and nip it good before it snowballs out of control.”

Fitzpatrick piped up again.  “I’m gonna call the cops, Lumpkiss!”

Larry stuck his head out the window.  “No need to call the cops, Phil!  I told you I’ll handle it and handle it I will!  Your peace and quiet is coming!”

“Yeah!” Fitpatrick shouted.  “So’s Christmas!”

The man of the house started banged on the door that led to the attached garage.  “Whitney!  Keep it down in there!  You hear me?!”

The music died down.  Larry wiped the sweat from his brow.  “Whew.  Good.  That’s enough of that.”

And the music started back up.  More drums.  More guitar.  More crude lyrics:

You chewed up my heart, and swallowed it into your stomach!  But all I ever got from it was….SEXUAL VOMIT!!! YEAAAAHHHHHHH!!!  SEXUAL VOMIT!  BARF, BARF, BARF, BARF, BARF, HURL, HURL, HURL, HURL, PUKE!!!”

              Larry banged on the door to the garage.  “Whitney Hildegard Lumpkiss!  This is your father!”

Lorraine rolled her eyes.  “She knows, dear.”

“Whitney!”  Larry shouted.  “I’m warning you!  Knock it off right now because if I have to come in there, you are not going to like it!  Not one bit!”

The music stopped.

“Finally,” Larry said.

Pop snoozed away.  Lorraine breathed a sigh of relief.  She set the table.

Fitzpatrick provided more commentary.  “Thank God!  You finally grew a pair, Lumpkiss!”

Larry shoved his head out the window.  “Bigger than yours, Phil!  Guaranteed!”

“Ahh!” Fitzpatrick yelled.  “Go soak your head!”

“You first!” Larry replied.

Larry pulled his head into the kitchen.  He grabbed a stack of plates and helped his wife arrange the table.  “Sexual Vomit.  What will these kids come up with next?”

“I don’t know,” Lorraine said.

“How does something like that even pop into her head?” Larry inquired.

“I have no idea,” Lorraine replied.

Larry set a plate down in front of his slumbering father.  “We ought to wash her mouth out with soap.  That’s what we ought to do.”

“Parents don’t do that to kids anymore, Larry,” Lorraine said.  “It’s not good for them.”

“Why not?” Larry asked.  “My mother did it to me all the time and I never even said anything close to that little ditty our little girl was just singing.”

“She’s not so little anymore.”

“I suppose not.”

The music started up again.  “Blood, blood, blood, blood, piss, piss, piss!  Your sexual vomit is what I will not miss!  Ejaculate spewing forth from the rotten, stinking phallus of a dead hobo’s carcass is all our love ever was and ever will be!”

Larry glared at his wife.  She nodded.  “Go ahead.”

“Thank you,” Larry said.

The phone rang.  Larry picked it up.  “Lumpkiss residence….oh, blow it out your ass, Phil.”

Larry slammed the phone down on the hook.  The phone rang again.  Between the ringing phone and his daughter’s profane tired set to a noise that was somehow meant to be perceived as music, the man of the house lost it.  His face turned red.  His eyes turned yellow.

“Larry, no!” cried Lorraine.

“I can’t take it anymore!”  Larry shouted.  His chest expanded, putting pressure on the buttons of his shirt.

“Just take a deep breath, dear,” Lorraine said.

Whitney belted away.  “A sensation of urination all over a slumbering heroin junkie’s hibernation is the extent of my consternation for your endless resuscitation so we must cease this mental masturbation!  We are so through and you’re the one who quit it!  So, stick your tongue down your throat and enjoy your sexual vomit!  SEXUAL VOMIT!!! YEAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!”

              Larry’s buttons popped in every direction, clattering their way around the kitchen as they bounced off the walls.  His glasses fell to the floor.  His shirt and jeans ripped into rags as he grew and grew and grew until finally, he had become his alter ego – that of a big, brooding werewolf.”

“Grrrrrrrrrr.”

Lorraine reached over her sleepy father-in-law, grabbed the newspaper off the table, rolled it up and wacked her wolfed out husband with it, right in the snout.  “Bad boy!”

Werewolf Larry welped.  His wife lectured him, stopping to deliver intermittent newspaper beatings along the way.  “Bad boy!  Bad…bad…bad!  That’s…the third…set of clothes…you ruined…this week!”

The wolf of the house lowered his head in shame and whimpered.  Lorraine kissed him on his cold nose.  “Oh, I can’t stay mad at you.  Go on!  Go into the bathroom and calm down.”

Hubby nodded and trudged into the living room.  His wife called after him.  “And whatever you do, don’t sit on the sofa, Larry!  I just vacuumed it!”

Larry woofed in response.

Lorraine put on her oven mitts, retrieved the casserole from the oven, then set the hot dish on the table.

The music continued.  “Wandering eye sockets of the destroyer of worlds longing to be ravished by the incoming tide of a fleeting inflection of an erection that belongs to neither me nor you but rather to a nation ruled by neither king nor queen and no amount of sexual vomit will replenish our love’s once lusty sheen!  Sexual vomit!  Yeah!  SEXUAL VOMIT!  YEAAAAAHHHHHHH!”

“Oh Whitney,” Lorraine mumbled to herself.  “You’re in for it now.”

Tagged

Disco Werewolf – Chapter 7

DISCO_WEREWOLF_1

As Sweet Johnny Sugarshine’s Disco Power Hour waned towards a conclusion, the Emcee of Funk himself took to the floor, microphone in hand.  He was in his favorite place now – directly in front of a camera.

“Hello again, my babies.  I hope you enjoyed those commercial messages and Mom, don’t forget to get on down to the grocery store and buy yourself a big old box of Shine-O brand dishwasher powder.  It leaves your dishes so clean that…well, you could eat dinner off of them.  And we all know how much dear old Daddio loves a clean dish.  Ladies, you’ll get your old man’s smooch of approval as long as you wash your greasy plates with Shine-O.”

Sweet Johnny looked into another camera.  All the revelers were standing on the sidelines, listening to the Duke’s every word.  “Now my babies, has your old pal, Sweet Johnny Sugarshine, ever got some news for you.  As you know, this program already beats out all the other programs on local cable access.  Just like the Feisty Chef food processor, another one of our proud sponsors, it slices and dices Count Freddy’s Super Spooky Friday Night Creature Double Feature, and it juliennes Civic Discourse with Edna Delvecchio.  We’ve always been the top show to watch for disco fans in New York City and the surrounding communities.  But now, I’m proud to say that viewers have been tuning in with such great gusto that we’ve been picked up by a national network.  That’s right babies.  Starting next month, you’ll be able to switch on your boob tube and watch Sweet Johnny Sugarshine’s Disco Power Hour from sea to shining sea.  You can watch it in Boston while you’re spooning up some clam chowder all the way to California, where you can watch it after a nice day spent frolicking in the surf.  Get comfortable America, and get funky, because the Duke of Disco is comin’ at ya.’”

Thunderous applause.  Sweet Johnny waved at Disco Werewolf, bidding the dog man to join the Duke on camera.

“By the way, babies, I just want to thank Disco Werewolf, because without this fella, my show would have never gotten this far.  DW, take a bow, baby.”

Disco Werewolf did what he did best.  “Ahhhwooo!”

The crowd loved it.

“Aww, you’re a sex machine on white wall tires, Disco Werewolf and the worst part is you know it baby,” Sweet Johnny said.  “I know you had your choice of discotheques and I am honored that you chose mine to call your own.  And to all you at home, I know you turn your dial to this channel to see Sweet Johnny, but I also know you stick around to watch this big palooka shake his groove thing.”

More applause.

“Now, we’ve seen some great dance offs tonight in our never-ending series of disco competitions.  We oooed as Misty Folderol trounced Debbie Dakota and we ahhed as Hustle Charlie Russel gave it his all against Big Red Stedman.  But now, ladies and gents, I have a question.”

A hushed silence came over the crowd.

“That’s right,” Sweet Johnny said.  “The King of the Swing, the Sultan of Soul, the Emcee of Funk and the Duke of Disco, yours truly, Sweet Johnny Sugarshine, has a question.  Is anyone in here man enough, or dare I even say, woman enough, to take on the one, the only, the criminally stylish and mesmerizingly alluring Disco Werewolf on the dance floor?”

No one raised a hand.

“Come on,” Sweet Johnny said.  “Don’t leave a brother hanging.  Surely, someone, somewhere, has the guts to go toe to toe with this bad ass mofo?”

No takers.

“Huh,” Sweet Johnny said.  “Isn’t it ironic then, that the coolest cat in all of Manhattan just so happens to be a dog?”

Disco Werewolf enjoyed that line, so much so that he howled again.  “Ahhwooo!”

“You know what, babies?” Sweet Johnny asked.  “As it turns out, I know someone.”

Sweet Johnny paced the floor, looking to different cameras as he spoke.  “Yes, I know someone who has been down in the dumps lately.  Face down in the muck of his own personal, existential crisis, trying to figure out who he is in a world he feels just won’t let him be his own damn self anymore.”

The crowd began to murmur.

“I know a man who loved to dance and his fancy footwork once gave him purpose,” Sweet Johnny said.  “I know a man who once ate, slept and breathed disco but now, he looks at it as though it were his long lost, estranged child.  He loves it, but he isn’t sure what to say to it anymore.”

Sweet Johnny looked at the bar.  “Boogiedown Barry, I’m talking about you, baby.”

Barry looked up from his sixth drink of the evening.  “Huh?”

“Come on, Barry,” Sweet Johnny said.  “Get on over here.”

A spotlight hit Barry in the face.  “What?  Nah.”

“Boogiedown Barry needs your encouragement, gang,” Sweet Johnny said.  He started a chant.  “Boogiedown.  Boogiedown.  Boogiedown.”

The crowd followed the host.  “Boogiedown.  Boogiedown.  Boogiedown.”

Barry guzzled the drink and pounded the glass on the bar.  “Ahh, what the hell?”

“You will fail,” Ferdinand said.  “You are no match for Disco Werewolf, Boogiedown Fairy.”

“Suck my short hairs,” Barry said as he strutted to the dance floor.

There they were.  Three of the biggest names in disco, right on camera.  Sweet Johnny Sugarshine smiled at the camera.  “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and children of all ages, put your hands together and sit yourself on the edge of your seat, because tonight, you’re in for a real treat.  Coming at you from Sweet Johnny Sugarshine’s Electrostatic Groove Lounge and available for your viewing pleasure on televisions located throughout the greater city area, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut, it’s the long-awaited showdown we’ve all been waiting for.

Sweet Johnny pointed at Barry.  “In this corner, we have the club’s former disco dance champion.  He reigned supreme for nearly a decade until he was done in by our favorite furball, give it up for Boogiedown Barry.”

This time, the crowd did not comply.  Various and sundry unkind words were shouted, the least cruel of which included, “Boooo!” and “You suck!” and “Kill yourself, Barry!”

Barry enjoyed his new role as a heel.  He raised his fist and made a thumbs down gesture at the crowd, then pointed at Disco Werewolf.  “You’re going down, you glorified poodle!”

Sweet Johnny pointed at Disco Werewolf.  “Does this cat even need an introduction?”

Nope.  “Wooo!” the crowded shouted.  “Disco Werewolf!  We love you!”

The host pointed to the stage.  “Babies, I’m pleased to announce that Miss Boo Boo Larue was so inspired when she heard about the antics of our resident dance hound a few months ago, wrote a new song that’s guaranteed to be all over your radio soon, but lucky you, you get to hear it her first.  Here’s Boo Boo Larue and the Starlight Crew, performing for the first time ever, Disco Werewolf.”

              The house lights dimmed.  The disco ball twinkled.  The squares on the floor lit up and blinked away through different colors.  A drum beat was pounded.  The hi-hat guitar was strummed.  The keyboard’s ivories were tickled.

Barry pointed at Disco Werewolf.  The fuzzy one folded his arms and watched as Barry swayed his hips to the groove.  Next, Barry stepped forward, then back.  Forward, then back.  He clapped his hands, then forward, then back.  Soon enough, he was slipping to one side, then the other.  He repeated this pattern as Boo Boo took to the mic:

Midnight is coming!

              And so is the moon!

              When it gets full,

              My heart’s going to swoon.

              Yeah, he’s a frisky ladies’ man,

              Out to get all the girls he can.

              When oh when will it be,

              When he takes a bite out of me?

 

              Barry dropped to the floor, catching himself on his hands, which were now behind his back.  He kicked his left foot, then his right.  Left, then right.  He let go of the floor, then spinned around and around on his backside, before coming to a full stop in a lounge pose, with his fist balled up under his chin as though he were lost in thought.

Boo Boo carried on with her refrain:

Disco Werewolf!  Whoa, uh oh oh!  Disco Werewolf!  Werewolf!

The backup chorus singers howled in unison:

Ahhhwooo!

              Now it was Disco Werewolf’s turn.  He performed all the moves Barry had done, then added a few more.  First, he rolled his paws around and around, then folded them, and squatted up and down on his legs, jumping about like a frog.  Next, he pointed to the crowd and thrusted his pelvis from one side to the next.  He wrapped it all up with a belly flop in which he fell to the floor and squirm about like a fish out of water.

Boo Boo kept singing:

I searched every graveyard!

              All the spooky mansions too.

              On the hunt for Disco Werewolf.

              It’s what a girl’s gotta do.

              Disco Werewolf baby,

              Won’t you ever see?

              I’m the one for you,

              ‘Cuz there ain’t no fleas on me!”

             

Boogiedown Barry had now seen Disco Werewolf’s moves up close and personal.  It dawned on the ex-champ that he wasn’t dealing with just some lowly, rank amateur with a cool gimmick.  No.  DW was the real thing, and Barry would have to bring his best and then some.

 

Barry performed all previous movies, then wowed the crowed when he back flipped onto the floor, landed on his hands, and walked around on his palms for a bit before flipping over to his feet.  He then licked his finger and made a “Psshhhht” sound as he touched his own ass.  He twirled like a top for ten spins, then stopped on a dime.  He did one more back flip and this time, he landed on one and only one hand, supporting his entire body weight with it for twenty seconds before returning to his feet.

 

Though the crowd preferred Disco Werewolf to Barry, they didn’t hold out on credit where it was due.  They gave Barry an assortment of “aoohs” and “ahhs.”  His ego adored it.

 

Boo Boo sang her refrain:

 

Disco Werewolf!  Whoa, uh oh oh! Disco Werewolf!  Werewolf!

 

              And the chorus girls howled:

 

Ahhwooo!

 

              Disco Werewolf hocked a loogie into his paws and greased them up.  He then performed all previous moves, plus a mid-air kung-fu style kick.  Some cartwheels, followed by some one-legged hops, a slide to the left, a slide to the right.  He finished his turn off by jumping into the air only to land on his head with so much force that it would break the neck of a normal man.  It didn’t phase Disco Werewolf though, for he spun around and around on his cranium much to the crowd’s delight.

 

Barry appeared displeased by that move.  He stuck a finger into his shirt collar and let it out, as though he were releasing trapped hot air.

 

Boo Boo carried on:

 

Wrap me up in your furry paws!

              And kiss me with your stinky breath!

              When Disco Werewolf sniffs on my drawers,

              I’ll never, ever fear death!

              Disco Werewolf, I’ve been waiting my entire life,

              For a love as sweet as you!

              Come on over and end my strife.

              What’s a girl who loves a Disco Werewolf to do?

 

Disco watched patiently, waiting to see if Barry would cop out.  Surely, a mere mortal would not be able to recreate such a vicious head spin.

 

Barry looked nervous.  He wiped beads of sweet from his brow, then performed all previous moves.  When it was time for the head spin, he nailed it…flawlessly.  He landed the entire weight of his body on his skull, then spun around and around.

 

The crowd erupted in a fit of applause, the levels of which had usually been reserved for Disco Werewolf.  Barry hammed it up by strutting around the floor like a peacock, high fiving several fans on the sidelines.  He then shook his hip to the left, and pointed to the right.  Then he shook his hip to the right and pointed to the left.  He did this for awhile before he landed on the floor in a perfect split, then with just as much as, leapt right back up to his feet with his arms stretched out as if to say, Ta da!

 

              Boo Boo let out her refrain:

 

Disco Werewolf!  Whoa, uh oh oh!  Disco Werewolf!  Werewolf!

 

              And the chorus girls backed Boo Boo up once more:

 

Ahhwoo!

 

              This was it.  No backing out now.  The song was heading towards the big finish and it was up to Disco to bring it home.  He walked out to the dance floor.  He slid one hip to the left, then pointed a finger at Barry.  He slid one hip to the right, then pointed a finger at the crowd.  He slid his hips to the left, then the right, then pointed up to the disco ball.  The crowd went berserk.

 

Disco Werewolf performed all previous moves.  Next, he plunged down to his knees, and like a spring, ejected himself high above the floor, so high that he was able to slurp the disco ball with his pink tongue.  He landed on his feet, then backflipped backwards three times.  He backflipped forwards another three times and then finally, he performed a running jump into a slide then took him from one side of the floor to the other.  When he reached the end, he let out his signature howl.  “Ahhhwoo!”

 

The crowd joined.  “Ahhwoo!”

 

Boo Boo finished the song:

 

Disco Werewolf, you may be the mutt,

              But you’ve got me panting.

              Thinking about your furry butt,

              Has got me ranting!

              You’re a sexy, furry creature that I need in my bed!

              Kiss me once, kiss me twice, and love me so true.

              Hold me tight and protect me from the undead!

              Oh, Disco Werewolf baby, don’t you know I love you?

 

              Disco Werewolf!  Whoa, uh oh oh, Disco Werewolf!  Werewolf!

 

              One last howl from the chorus:

 

Ahhwhoo!

 

              Applause.  The dancers took to opposite sides of the floor while Sweet Johnny stepped out and addressed the camera.  “Wow!  How was that, babies?  Was that not just ten tons of TNT with a lit fuse set to go kapowie?!”

 

“Woooo!”  went the crowd.

 

“OK,” Sweet Johnny said.  “We only have a few minutes left, so I’m going to let the crowd make the call.  Ladies and gentlemen, if you think that Boogiedown Barry won this contest, make some noise.”

 

Barry put his hand up to his ear, taking in all the claps and cheers.  There were even a few random shout outs.  “Barry!  You’re back!”  and “You don’t suck as much as you used to, Barry!  Yeah!”

 

When the applause died down, Sweet Johnny spoke into his mic.  “Hmm.  I think you’re back in the people’s good graces, Barry.”

 

“It’s a good place to be, Johnny,” Barry said.

 

“That it is,” Sweet Johnny said.  “That it surely is.  And now, judges, if you think Disco Werewolf won, show him some love, will you?”

 

The fans lost their minds.  They clapped till their hands turned red.  They cheered at the top of the lungs.  One woman shouted out a demand that Disco Werewolf perform a very unsavory act in a very private part of her body.  The comment was so lewd that Sweet Johnny knew he’d have to get a technician to cut it out of the show’s late night rebroadcast.

 

“I’m sorry Boogiedown Barry,” Sweet Johnny said.  “You were good but…”

 

The Duke of Disco grabbed Disco Werewolf’s paw and raised it. “…this wolf was better.  Disco Werewolf, ladies and gentlemen, the reigning disco champion!”

As the crowd cheered, Sweet Johnny looked at Boogiedown Barry with a sense of great wonder and puzzlement.  The Duke of Disco expected Barry to frown but instead, he was being an incredible sport.  Barry joined the crowd in giving DW a hand and then, a miracle happened.

 

Yes, Boogiedown Barry, who, for months, had been professing his intense hatred of all things Disco Werewolf to anyone who would listen, wrapped the champ up in his arms and gave him a warm embrace, even going so far as to bury his head on DW’s chest.

 

“You’re the best, Disco Werewolf,” Barry said.  “Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.”

 

Disco Werewolf looked to Sweet Johnny.  Man and beast traded shocked glances.  Disco Werewolf shrugged his shoulders, patted Barry’s perm, then cocked his head back into the air for one more howl.  “Ahhwoo!”

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Disco Werewolf – Chapter 6

DISCO_WEREWOLF_1

“Disco Werewolf is a flash in the pan,” Boogiedown Barry said while sipping his fifth drink of the evening.  “All these young up and comers to the disco scene.  They’re all razzle and no dazzle, all trash and no sash, you know what I mean?  They’re all about the kooky get ups first and the actual art of dancing comes in at a distant second, if that.  You getting all this down?”

“Dancing…comes…in…second,” Claudette mumbled to herself as she jotted her interviewee’s words down in her notebook.  “I got it, but you have to admit, Disco Werewolf can dance.”

Barry looked out at the dancefloor, where the furry funkmaster was matching the beat, note for note, with his big fuzzy feet.  All kinds of sexy ladies pushed each other out of the way for a chance to shake their booties in the wolfman of the hour’s general vicinity.

“Bah,” Barry said.  “I admit nothing.”

“Do you know who he is?”  Claudette asked.

Barry raised an eyebrow.  “Do I know who he is?”

“Yes,” Claudette said.

“Sure, I do,” Barry said.

Claudette looked at Barry with anticipation, pen at the ready.

“He’s the rat bastard who’s ruining my life,” Barry said.  “Look at him.  Hogging up the floor while the rest of us can’t get a foot in edgewise.”

The aspiring journalist frowned upon realizing that Barry didn’t know the secret to the question she was trying so desperately to answer.

Barry sipped, then belched, then sipped again.  “What did you say your name again was, little filly?”

“Claudette.”

“Claudette Who?” Barry asked as he ogled the gyrating rump stuffed inside a short orange skirt just a few feet away.

“Jenkins.”

Barry immediately snapped to attention, no longer interested in the aforementioned heiney.  He looked the kid over.  “Jenkins, huh?”

“Yes.”

“Who are you with?” Barry asked.

“Freelance is what I should say to be honest,” Claudette replied.  “With any luck, for the New York Courant.”

“Huh.  You look a might underripe to be a reporter if you ask me.  Then again, no one asks old Boogiedown Barry anything anymore.  Oh, they used to.  How they used to hang on my every word until that fat pile of…hey, don’t write this part.  This part is off the record.”

“You hate Disco Werewolf,” Claudette said.  “I got it.”

“I do,” Barry said as he watched the monster get freaky.  “Then again, I’m starting to think I shouldn’t.  I mean, does the lion hate the lamb?  Does the hound hate the fox?  Does the  axe murderer in all those cheesy, bargain basement slasher flicks hate the horny teenagers he’s always chasing around?  You see where I’m going with this?”

“Not at all,” Claudette replied.

“I know I’m good,” Barry said.  “I know he stinks.  I don’t have to prove nothing to nobody, you hear?”

“I hear,” Claudette said.

Barry swished the booze around in his mouth like it was mouthwash, then swallowed.  “Now that, you can print.”

Thump.  Thump.  Thump.  A pair of heavy feet cut through the crowd, trudging their way to the bar.  Soon enough, Barry and Claudette found themselves in the company of a big ass werewolf, as well as his hangers on.

“You’re the best, DW!”  one man shouted.  “You’re far out!”

“Groovy, baby!” came another male voice.  “Positively groovy!”

“Disco Werewolf, are you seeing anyone?” asked a female voice.

Barry was standing right beside Disco Werewolf now, but refused to acknowledge him.  Disco Werewolf looked at the fella who used to be the club’s number one dancer and growled.  “Grrr.”

              “Huh?” Barry asked as he chewed on a toothpick and looked around the bar, anywhere but in the werewolf’s direction.  “Somebody say something?  I don’t know, because I don’t talk to nobodies.”

Disco Werewolf let the rude comment slide off and raised a finger.  Ferdinand the bartender practically tripped over himself as he rushed over with an aluminum shaker in hand.

“I got your usual right here, DW, baby,” Ferdinand said as he opened the shaker and poured the contents into a glass.  He popped a toothpick into an olive, inserted it into the drink and handed it over.

The werewolf sipped.

“How is it, sir?” Ferdinand asked.  “Not too dry, I hope?  You know what, Disco Werewolf, you just say the word and I’ll throw it out and make you another.”

Disco Werewolf guzzled the concoction down in a single gulp.  Ferdinand waited in suspense for the verdict.  The monster kicked his head back and howled in delight.  “Ahhhh-wooo!”

Ferdinand smiled while the Looky Lous cheered.  “Don’t you worry, Mr. Werewolf.  I’ll keep those coming all night long.  Free of charge.  Totally gratis, on the house.  Mr. Sugarshine told me straight up, his mouth to my ears, that I shouldn’t even dream of taking your money.”

Disco Werewolf nodded and patted the barkeep on the shoulder.

“Oh wowie, zowie!” Ferdinand said.  “I’ll never wash this shoulder ever again!”

“Like you’ve ever taken a bath in your entire life, spazoid,” Barry said.

“Pipe down, has been!” Ferdinand replied.  “And you’d better make good on your tab, Barry!  It’s already $108.57 and counting!  Mr. Sugarshine can’t be expected to subsidize deadbeat rummies forever!”

“Bah,” Barry said.  “Mr. Sugarshine can subsidize both cheeks of my ass.”

Disco Werewolf was about to walk away when he felt a tug on his paw.  He looked down to see Claudette.  He locked eyes with her and for a brief moment, looked as though he were in a daze.

“Disco Werewolf?” Claudette said as she held up her notepad and pen.  “Claudette Jenkins, hopefully for the New York Courant.  Do you have a minute?”

They say that canines can’t smile because they have no lips, but on some level, the club’s resident dance hound looked happy.  He patted the girl on the head, tussling her hair.  Then, he took the pad and pen, scribbled something down, and handed it all back to Claudette before returning to the action.

Ferdinand leaned over the bar.  “Hokie smokies!   What’d he write?”

Claudette looked at the pad, then showed it to Ferdinand:

To Claudette:

              Stay in school.

              XOXO

              Disco Werewolf

              “Wow,” Ferdinand said.  “If I were you, I’d have that framed.”

Barry felt the need to interrupt.  “Pbbht!  If I were you, I’d have my head examined.”

“Stick a sock in it, lush!” Ferdinand said.  “No one asked you!”

“Bah, your mother wears combat boots,” Barry replied.

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