Category Archives: Disco Werewolf

Disco Werewolf – Chapter 30

DISCO_WEREWOLF_1

Inside her dressing room, Boo Boo Larue sat in front of a mirror, putting her face on.  She looked amazing even without makeup but with it, she dazzled.  She did her best to focus, but Boogiedown Barry, who was sitting on an old leather couch, was distracting her with his constant, non-stop prattling about his latest obsession – one Mr. Disco Werewolf.

“Did you see the way he moved last night?”

“It was quite special.”

“Special?” Barry asked.  “That guy was solid.  Totally solid.  Solid as a rock.  He was all up in a stone-cold groove, getting his freak on like freaks were about to go out of style.  I’m telling you Boo Boo baby, this cat is all kinds of happening.  He’s the got it all.  He’s got the razzle.  He’s got the dazzle and dare I say it?”

“Panache?” Boo Boo asked.

Barry pointed at the songstress as she applied some eyeliner.  “Panache!  That’s it, baby.  The guy’s got panache.  Some dancers have got panache.  Some don’t.  Some try to make up for a lack of panache but there’s no way to fix your panache if it’s broken.  You just have to have a natural level of panache and this cat’s got it in spades, baby.”

“I’m ust happy to see you happy, dear.”

Barry stood up and moved behind the luscious lady.  He knelt down and looked at her reflection in the mirror.  Boo Boo would have looked at Barry’s reflection, but he didn’t cast one.

“This is it,” Barry said.

“You think so?” Boo Boo asked.

“I know so,” Barry answered.  “Why?  You don’t?”

Boo Boo applied some red lipstick, then pressed her lips together.  “I don’t know.  He’s quite extraordinary, I’ll give you that but…”

“Past dancing sensations have failed me before,” Barry said.  “I know.”

“I just don’t want to see you get your hopes up only for them to be dashed again, darling,” Boo Boo said.

“Did you see him?” Barry asked.  “I mean, I know you saw him, baby, but did you truly study him?  I did.  The dog matched my feet move for move and no one’s ever been able to do that before.  Plus he can do tricks that no human can do and I know baby, I’m not going to count my chickens before they’re hatched but…”

Boo Boo sighed.  “…you want him.”

“I’ve gotta have him, baby,” Barry said.  “Not just for me but…for us.”

An interruption.  One of the Starlight Crew’s lowly roadies stepped in, holding a champagne glass filled with pink candies.  “Good evening Miss Larue.  I hope I’m not interrupting anything.”

“You are,” Boo Boo said as she concentrated on her face in the mirror.  “But go on.  Out with it, peasant.

Barry stood and stepped back.  The roadie set the glass down on Boo Boo’s table.  “Here you are, Miss Larue.  A champagne glass filled with exactly 98 pink chocolate candies.  Just as you asked.

“Thank you, Jeffrey, you are an angle but…oh my.”

“What?” Jeffrey asked.  “Is something wrong?”

Boo Boo pointed to the top of the glass, where one errant yellow candy sat on top a sea of pink.

“Oh no,” Jeffrey said as he picked up the glass.  “Miss Larue, I’m so terribly sorry.”

Boo Boo shook her head.  “A road crew’s job is to take care of all the little details so that the performers can concentrate on their performance, Jeffrey.”

“You’re absolutely right, ma’am,” Jeffrey said.

Barry interrupted.  “Honestly, kid, if it had been me and the hottest babe on the disco scene had asked me to bring her a champagne glass filled with 98 pink candies, I would have gone through that glass with a fine tooth comb, making damn well sure there weren’t any yellow candies, or blue candies or green or red or purple or…”

“You’re absolutely right, sir,” Jeffrey said.  “Here, I’ll just…”  Jeffrey used his thumb and pointer finger to pluck the one yellow candy out of the glass.  “There we go.  Problem solved.”

Barry and Boo Boo each made a face as though they were staring at a most horrid abomination.

“Ugh!” Boo Boo said.

“You’re disgusting,” Barry added.  “Do you have any idea who this woman is, kid?  This is Music Beat’s Singer of the Year, three years running.  She’s put out two albums and they both went platinum.  Where do you get off, putting your…”

Boo Boo cut Barry off.  She swiveled around in her chair and looked up at the roadie.  “Jeffrey, darling, you must replace the entire glass immediately.”

“But…um,” Jeffrey said.  “It’s fine now.  See?  All fixed.”

“It’s not fixed, Jeffrey!”  Boo Boo snapped.  “I don’t have any idea where your putrid fingers have been, what orifices you’ve scratched them with, how long they have spent in recent hours extended into your nasal passages or betwixt your buttocks and for all I know, your hands could be crawling with untold amounts of germs.”

Barry grabbed the roady by the shirt collar.  “She gets sick and she’s out for a week, schmucko.  She has to cancel appearances.  She has to give back her dough and her fans get disappointed.  All because of your incompetence.”

Sweat beads formed on Jeffrey’s brow.  “I’m sorry, sir.”

“You should be,” Barry said as he released the twerp.

Boo Boo took a different tact.  Her tone became gentle and loving.  “Jeffrey, darling, this isn’t that difficult a task.  Just run along and fix it.”

“You mean…”

“Must I spell it out for you?” Boo Boo asked.  “Ugh!  I am surrounded by imbeciles, just disgusting, babbling shaved baboons, the lot of you!  Fine, I’ll do it myself!”

“See that, punk?”  Barry said.  “You’ve upset her.”

“No,” Jeffrey said.  “I’m sorry, Miss Larue.  How can I make this better?”

“Go out,” Boo Boo said.  “Buy another bag of candies.  Separate out 98 pink ones and this time, Jeffrey darling, make absolutely sure that there are exactly 98 pink candies inside a different champagne glass.  Ninety-eight pink, no more, no less.”

“And God help you if there’s one of any other color,” Barry said.

Jeffrey’s eyes welled up as though he were about to cry.

“Oh, poop,” Boo Boo said, sweetly.  “What is it?”

“I’m sorry,” Jeffrey said as he fought back the tears.  “I don’t want to say no to you but it’s just that the teamster boss told me to be back in five minutes to help him set up the lights and…”

Barry pointed to Boo Boo.  “She’s your boss, numbskull.  When it comes to bosses, they don’t get any higher.”

Jeffrey was openly crying now.  “I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry.”

Boo Boo glared at Barry.  “That was too much, brute.”

Barry threw up his hands and sat down on the couch.  “Hey, you’re the belle of the ball and it’s your call, doll.”

The singer stood up, wrapped her arms around Jeffrey and pulled him in close.  She ran her dainty hand up and down the back of his head.  The smell of her perfume calmed him.

“Shh,” Boo Boo said.  “Hush now, child.”

“OK,” Jeffrey said.

“Sheesh,” Barry said.  “They don’t make men like they used to.”

“Hush now, Barry,” Boo Boo said before turning her attention back to Jeffrey.  “Tell me, what is it that bothers you so?”

“It’s just…”  Boo Boo released Jeffrey.  The roadie sniffed and wiped his eyes.  “…you know.  My old man told me I was an idiot for moving to New York and trying to make a go of it in music and every time I screw up I hear him telling me how stupid I am.  Maybe he was right.  Maybe I should have just become a landscaper like my brother, Doug.”

“Oh my,” Boo Boo said.  “That sounds like a dreadful job, darling.  Why, it sounds to me as though your brother, Douglas, has not one sliver of imagination in his entire body.  You, however, have it in droves, I can tell.  I think your decision to work in music was inspired.”

“You think so?” Jeffrey asked.

Boo Boo reached out and rested her palm on the back of Jeffrey’s head.  “I know so, love.  In fact, the next time you see your father, you’ll be able to tell him that Boo Boo Larue gave you a personal, live performance right in her dressing room.”

Jeffrey’s eyes grew wide.  “I will?”

Boo Boo took a deep breath, exhaled, then locked eyes with the roady and sang:

Lover!  I never thought I’d love again.

              ‘Till I met you, my friend.

              You’re the best lover that I ever knew.

              Woo, ah-ooo.

              Jeffrey became lost in Boo Boo’s eyes.  He descended in a deep, all-consuming trance, as if he and Boo Boo were the only two people left in the world and nothing around him mattered.

And when, the cold winds blow in from the sea,

              I know just where you’ll be,

              Standing right next to me.

             

              The roady’s eyes changed.  His pupils disappeared and his eyes went completely white and blank, devoid of any color.

“I’ll do anything for you, Boo Boo,” Jeffrey said in a dazed monotone.  “Please, tell me what to do.”

“Right then,” Boo Boo said.  “Be a lamb and repent for your mistake by killing yourself, will you, Jeffrey dear?”

Like a brainless zombie, Jeffrey marched over to the table and picked up the champagne glass.  “Of course, Boo Boo.  Anything for you.”

Jeffrey smashed the glass down on the table, sending broken shards and pieces of candy flying everywhere.  He then took the jagged end of the glass and without so much as uttering the slightest cry or showing even a bit of pain, rammed it deep into his neck, sending a spray of crimson blood throughout the room.

The roady’s lifeless corpse fell to the floor with a thump.

Barry winced as he looked at the red blood and red pieces of glass and candy that had been scattered all over his once clean shirt.  “Boo Boo baby.”

“Yes, love?” Boo Boo asked, her once white dress now splattered with red drops.

“Just for future reference,” Barry said.  “You’ve got to be detailed with these mooks.  Tell them to kill themselves outside, or at least on top of an old tarp or something.”

“Quite right,” Boo Boo said as she looked at her ruined dress.  “Oh, all this red will never come out of white.  Looks like this outfit’s a goner.”

Another plucky young roadie entered the room.  “Miss Larue, I’m sorry to disturb you, but you’re wanted on set for a sound check and…OH MY GOD!”

The new roadie leaned over the dead body.  “Jeffrey!  Are you ok?  It’s me, Sam!  Speak to me!”

“He’s gone, Sam.”

“No!” Sam said.  “What happened?  Did anyone see who did it?”

Boo Boo laid her hand on Sam.  “Everything’s fine, Sam.  Just relax.”

“Fine?”  Sam asked.  “We’ve got to call the cops.  The killer’s getting away!”

Boo Boo grew impatient.  She grabbed Sam around the back of the head and locked eyes with him but this time, simply sung complete gibberish to the tune of Another Lover:

La la la, hmm hmm hmm.

              Doo dee doo dee doo my friend.

              Something something, something else.

              Sam’s eyes went blank.  Boo Boo kept singing:

 

Lover, blah blah blah blah, so on and so forth.

              Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera,

              La la la, la la, la la.

 

              The new roady was in a trance.  “I’ll do anything for you, Boo Boo.  Please, tell me what to do.”

“Clean this room up,” Boo Boo said.

“Be specific,” Barry noted.

“In its entirety,” Boo Boo said.  “Clean every inch, from top to bottom, and do not leave a single scrap of evidence of Jeffrey’s most untimely demise behind.”

“I’ll get right on that, Boo Boo,” Sam said as he dropped to his knees and began picking bloody candies out of the carpet.

“And?”  Barry said.

“And don’t leave this room until it is back to normal,” Boo Boo said.

“It will be done, Boo Boo,” Sam said.

“Dispose of the body,” Boo Boo said.  “Throw it in the river.”

“Yes, Boo Boo,” Sam said.  “I will.”

“And?” Barry said.

“What ‘and?’” Boo Boo asked.

“Loose ends,” Barry said.

“Oh, right,” Boo Boo said.  “And then return to your apartment, write a note indicating that you and Jeffrey had been gay lovers for several months but when you learned he had eyes for another, you couldn’t take it and in a wild rage you killed him.  In a panic, you dumped the body but now you are so riddled with remorse that you must end your own life.  Sign the note and then, oh, I don’t know, hang yourself I suppose.”

“It will be done, Boo Boo,” Sam said.

Boo Boo took a seat on the couch next to Barry.  He wrapped his arm around her.  She cuddled up to his chest.  They spoke openly about their evil ambitions, uncaring of the dutiful slave in the room, regarding him as one might a brainless pet.

“Now then,” Boo Boo said.  “Where were we before we were so rudely interrupted?”

“The werewolf,” Barry said.  “We need him.”

“You mean you need him,” Boo Boo said.  “Once you have your queen you’ll have no more use for me.”

Barry kissed the top of Boo Boo’s head.  “Who are you kidding?  I’ll always have another use for you, baby.”

Boo Boo looked at her lover, aghast at his poor choice of words.

“You know what I mean,” Barry said.

“Something tells me that Lillith isn’t the type of girl that enjoys a good menage a trois,” Boo Boo said.

“Lilith isn’t exactly in a position to argue,” Barry said.  “It’s going to be my way or the highway, this time.  Me.  I’m the one running the show and if dear old Dad doesn’t like it, he and the floozy he sent to keep tabs on me can hit the bricks.”

“But there will be certain expectations,” Boo Boo said.

Barry rested his hand under Boo Boo’s chin, lifting her head up so he could look into her eyes.  “Aurelia.  Baby.  Come on.  I’d no sooner marry that fire breathing bitch than I would a cold, dead fish, capiche?  It’s you and me against the world, baby, forever and ever.”

“Mmm,” Boo Boo said as she laid her head back down on Barry’s chest.  “Dearest, here’s a thought.  Why don’t we just let things be as they are?”

“What?” Barry asked.  “And give up ruling the world?”

“Is the ruling the world all that it’s cracked up to be?” Boo Boo asked.  “Countless men throughout the ages have tried their best to run it or at least parts of it throughout the ages and as far as I can see, no one has been able to do anything good with any of it.  It’s a thankless job.”

“It’s mine by right,” Barry said as he reached down to his chest.  He flipped over his medallion to reveal the serpent that had been etched into it.

“We already have lovely jobs,” Boo Boo said.  “I sing and make merry for lonely fools who like to pretend I love them.  It’s so much easier to be a siren in this age, darling.  You don’t have to lie in wait on the rocks all day, waiting for grimy old sailors to come your way.  In fact, the people pay to come see you.  And you, well, you do whatever you do.  Enjoy your memories of your disco dancing glory before Disco Werewolf swept in and stole it all out from underneath you.”

“Aurellia…”

“Boo Boo, darling.  I much prefer it.”

“Fine,” Barry said.  “You know I can’t let this go.  I’ve been working on it for a thousand years.”

Boo Boo sighed.  “I know.  It’s just sometimes dreams can pan out to be failures for so long that one is left to wonder whether a new dream is in order.  One that allows for the status quo to continue so I can sing in London, Paris and Milan.  I won’t be able to sing if you burn down London, Paris and Milan, darling.”

“You’ll still sing, babe,” Barry said. “Just not in joints as classy, but you’ll still sing.”

“Pish, posh,” Boo Boo said as she pressed out her lips, offering a kiss.  “You have a one track mind.”

Barry accepted the kiss.  “And you love it.”

“I suppose,” Boo Boo said.  “Still, I don’t know how I’m going to procure the services of your werewolf.  My powers only work on those in human form.”

“I guess you’ll just have to fall back on being a breathtakingly gorgeous celebrity to seal the deal,” Barry said.  “Poor you.”

“It will have to be sealed slowly,” Boo Boo said.  “Supernaturals are aware of the evil that lurks all around them.  He’ll be more skeptical than the average mark.”

“I know you’ve got it covered,” Barry said.

Boo Boo sat up.  “Let me see you.”

“What?” Barry said.  “You’re seeing me.”

Boo Boo ran her hand up and down Barry’s arm.  “It’s been so long since I’ve seen the real you.”

“In front of the dingus?” Barry said as he pointed to Sam, who was still picking bloody bits off the floor.

“His brain is mush,” Boo Boo said.  “He doesn’t have any idea what’s going on.”

Barry sighed.  “Very well.”

The second most popular dancer in the club snapped his fingers.  Soon, a fire that started at his feet was lit.  The flames danced and flickered and grew and grew until they consumed his body, which grew taller and took the form of a fierce, loathsome looking demon, complete with long horns and sharp teeth.  Somehow, despite all laws of physics, the flames didn’t burn the couch or anything around him.

“Here’s looking at you, Boo Boo,” the demon said in a deep, grumbly voice.

Boo Boo laughed giddily and clapped her hands.  “Disco Baal!  Disco Baal!  Disco Baal!”

Baal rolled his red eyes.  “Ugh.  I hate that joke.”

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Disco Werewolf – Chapter 29

DISCO_WEREWOLF_1

Night had fallen over the exterior of Sweet Johnny’s Electrostatic Groove Lounge and as usual, Ecstasy was in rare form.  She had broken out her bullhorn, and was giving the lengthy line of disco wannabes the business.  No feelings were spared.

“You!  Did you even look at yourself in the mirror before you left the house tonight or were you afraid you might crack it?  I don’t blame you, honey.  Mirrors don’t grow on trees.  Why don’t you just go home and pray to Jesus for a new face?”

Ecstasy looked up at Bruno.  “I know this sounds harsh but they’re so lucky to get quality life advice like this for free.  No one advised me when I was getting started.  I would have killed for a few choice words of wisdom.”

The doorwoman took to the bullhorn once more and spotted out her next waiting victim.  “You!  Yes, you!  That outfit is a travesty!  It’s like you rolled around in Liberace’s closet and walked out wearing whatever stuck to you!  Capes are flamboyant musicians and superheroes only, darling, and you are neither so go on now.  Fly on out of here.”

At the back of the line, a pair of men wearing fedoras and long trench coats stood and waited.  Their names were Packard and Block and they were getting impatient.  They pushed their way towards the front.  “Excuse me.  Pardon me.”

Naturally, the line of disco enthusiasts who had been waiting for hours were not pleased.  Angry shouts, threats of physical violence and all manner of verbal abuse were hurled at the duo.

Meanwhile, Ecstasy unleashed her fury on the latest victim to reach the front of the line.  “Let me get this straight.  You want me to let you go inside so you can work the dance floor?”

“Yes, ma’am,” said a dopey loser with a pencil thin mustache.  He was wearing a very unstylish barracuda jacket.

“Honey,” Ecstasy said as she waved her hand over the man’s body.  “Before I can do that, you have got to give me something to work with and before that can happen, you need to work on yourself.  Heavens to Betsy, sweetheart, I don’t know what kind of crazy pills you took to give you the courage to walk up to the door of Sweet Johnny’s Electrostatic Groove Lounge in clothes you bought right off the rack, but give me a few because I would totally love to be tripping balls instead of tripping over mine.  OK, take a hike, doll, and remember one word: designer.”

The two mystery men pushed their way to the front of the line, but not before accepting heaps of profanity laced tirades from those who had been waiting for so long.

“Well, well, well,” Ecstasy said.  “Aren’t you a couple of J. Edgar Losers?  Darlings, I don’t know who told you that the cloak and dagger look is in this season but whoever it was, lied, OK?”

Ecstasy pointed in the direction of the back of the line.  “Trench coats are for G-Men and perverts looking to flash little old ladies in the park but either way, the line to get in this posh establishment starts back there, so know your place and wait your turn, dummies.”

Packard and Block flashed their FBI credentials.  “We aren’t perverts,” Packard said.

The drag queen’s mouth was agape as she stared at the badges.  “So, you say.  Agents, what’s this all about?  Because if this is about spurious allegations vis a vis the presence, or more truthfully, lack of a presence of dangerous and illegally prohibited narcotics in this club, why, I assure you there has never been two sets of watchful eyes more diligent than those belonging to yours truly and my big, bad, Bruno, here.”

“Errm,” Bruno said.

The agents looked at each other, then the door woman.  “Can’t a couple of Feds just have a night out on the town?”

“Hmm,” Ecstasy said as she looked the G-Men over.  “I suppose there’s no harm in it, if that’s all they’re doing.”

Block pulled two Ulysses S. Grant portraits out of his wallet and handed them over to the doorwoman.  “We’d appreciate discretion.”

Ecstasy took the bills and as she was known to do, folded one and tucked it into her bra, then handed the over to Bruno.  “Discretion is my middle name.”

“No one needs to know we were ever here,” Packard said.

The doorwoman engaged in a tense staring contest with Packard until Block finally relented and handed over another pair of crisp bills.

“Who are you?” Ecstasy said as she lifted-up the velvet rope.  “I’ve never seen you before.  Go on, get your keisters inside before I forget your oh so forgettable faces. “

Once the agents were inside, Ecstasy leaned up on her tippy toes and whispered into Bruno’s ear.  “Man, I am going to have to take a break and go flush some shit.”

Ecstasy resumed her persona as the next soon-to-be-rejected line waiter approached.  “Oh, Marty,” the drag queen said to a chubby man.  “I know you’re trying your best but your ass looks like ten gallons of cottage cheese got stuffed into a five-gallon bag.  Either lose weight or let out your slacks but God, you’ve got to do one or the other.”

“Ahhwooo!”

Disco Werewolf’s signature howl cut through the night air, drawing mass elation from the crowd.

“Disco Werewolf!”  the people chanted over and over again.  “Disco Werewolf!  Disco Werewolf!  Disco Werewolf!”

Bruno shined a spotlight on good old DW.  Everyone’s favorite canine howled once more, then jumped off the side of the building that was across the street.  He landed on his feet.  He cocked his hip to the left, shot his pointer finger out to the right and accepted the crowd’s applause.

“Disco Werewolf!”  one woman cried out.  “When I’m with my boyfriend, I think about you!”

A male voice was next.  “Aw, come on, Becky, I’m right here!”

Another female voice.  “Marry me, Disco Werewolf!  Marry me and I’ll be yours forever!”

Disco Werewolf waved at the crowd.  He took a tour down the line, slapped some high fives, doled out some autographs. He even signed a breast or two.  He then made his way to the door woman.

Ecstasy smiled.  She was, well, in ecstasy as she gazed up at the club’s favorite dancer.  “Disco Werewolf, darling!  So lovely to see you again, though we must stop meeting like this, people will start to talk.”

The door woman tickled her fingers across DW’s paw.  “Why don’t we meet in my boudoir instead, sweetcheeks?  I’d be happy to…”  She leaned up and whispered the next part into Disco Werewolf’s ear, or at least, as close as she was able to get to it.  “…throw a dog a bone.”

Disco Werewolf was instantly grossed out, but not wanting to offend the gatekeeper, cocked back his head and howled.  “Ahhhwooo!”

“Oh, ahhwoo, yourself, you big gorgeous animal, you!” Ecstasy said as she slapped DW’s butt through his white pants.  “Go on, get in there before I eat you up!”

The party hound pointed out the hotties in line who had caught his eyes.  Once again, it was a diverse assortment.  Black, white, Asian, all the colors of the rainbow.  Wendy was there, this time in a purple dress, and she called out for him.  “Disco Werewolf!  Remember me?”

Disco Werewolf thought about it and decided to err on the side of not hurting Wendy’s feelings.  He pointed to her too.

“Go on, ladies,” Ecstasy said as she lifted up the velvet rope.  “The top dog sees something special in all of you, though God help me, I am positively stumped as to what that might be.”

The babes ran into the club.  Wendy stopped and grabbed DW, embracing him in a hug.  When she was done, she looked up at the dance icon.  “Thanks Disco Werewolf.”

“Woof,” Disco Werewolf replied.

Disco Werewolf – Chapter 28

DISCO_WEREWOLF_1

Ernie Pomeroy sat behind his desk in a tight, cramped corner office just outside the hustle and bustle of the newsroom of the New York Courant.  The city desk editor had given up on keeping up appearances long ago.  His hair was done up in a bad combover.  His shirt bore the brunt of a number of lunch stains and there were some prominent crumbs in his mustache.

Although Claudette was grossed out by all of this, her focus was on selling her photo, which Ernie was studying as if it were a snip straight out of the Zapruder film.  “There he is.  Disco Werewolf in the flesh.”

Ernie studied the shot with a magnifying glass.  “It’s not really the flesh though, is it?  What’s this guy wearing?  Felt?  I hope this isn’t real fur.  That’s cruel.”

“Mr. Pomeroy,” Claudette said.  “I assure you.  Disco Werewolf is real.”

“A real fraud,” Pomeroy said.  “Which is an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one.”

Claudette sat down in the visitor’s chair across from Ernie’s desk.  “Sir, I’ve seen things…”

Ernie set the photo down on his desk and sat back.  “Yes, Miss Jenkins.  I know.  You’ve told me.  You’ve quote unquote ‘seen things.’  Trolls who live under bridges and ask riddles.  Ogres who live in sewers and are obsessed with their odors.  Goblins who live in our heating ducts.  Vampires and werewolves, witches and warlocks who walk among us, holding themselves out as human.”

Claudette offered no response.

“There are all kinds of writers, Miss Jenkins,” Ernie said.  “If fiction’s your bag, I suggest you write a novel and query it throughout the publishing industry.  Cross your fingers and hope to get an agent.  But here at The Courant, we deal in facts, not fiction.  Truth, not make-believe.”

“This isn’t make-believe,” Claudette said.

“The first rule of journalism is if you can’t back it up, then you can’t print it,” Ernie said as he held up the photo.  “Prove to me this is a real werewolf.”

Claudette thought about the question.  She considered a number of possible responses, realized that Ernie would have most likely rejected each one, so ultimately, she just sat there and awaited the incoming lecture.

“Well,” Ernie said.  “Can you?”

“If you can’t see it with your own eyes…”

“Miss Jenkins,” Ernie said.  “I’ve been a newsman for a long time.  A long time.  Longer than you’ve been alive.  I check, double-check, and triple-check everything before I believe it, and quadruple check everything before I even dare to print it.  When my own mother tells me she loves me, I ask dear old dad if she’s full of it or on the level.  What proof can you offer me to make me, and more importantly, this paper’s readers believe that this is legit?”

“I saw him,” Claudette said.  “Up close.  He walks.  He talks.  He breathes.  He howls.”

“Yes,” Ernie said.  “And whoever this Disco Werewolf really is, there’s no doubt he’s a master of special effects.  Have you seen the pictures these days?  Some amazing things they’re doing that’ll take your breath away.  For all I know, this could be some kind of performance art designed to sell the next big Hollywood horror film.”

Claudette shook her head.  She knew it was no use to try to plead her case further.

“Look, kid,” Ernie said.  “You’ve got moxie.  You want this.  You’re hungry.  I know what that’s like.  Feels like it was ages ago but I remember when I was trying to break into this business and couldn’t get my foot in the door.  You’ve got heart but you’re young.  Green around the gills.  Go to college.  Have a blast.  Pound on some bongos with some hippies and smoke some reefer sticks and do whatever the hell college kids do these days.  Write for the student paper.  Build a clip file.  Get some honest to god news training and you’ll find out just how hard this job really is.  Just remember that no one starts out in the penthouse of this game.  Everyone’s got to start up the basement steps and climb their way up to the top, step by step.  It isn’t for everyone and if you get a taste of this world and don’t like it, there’s always other things you can do.  And if you do like it, my door’s open to talk job opportunities.”

The young woman closed her eyes, took a deep breath, then opened them.  “Sir, this is too important to wait.  I’m covering stories, right here, right now the likes of which the world has never seen before.”

Ernie smirked.  He reached into his desk drawer and pulled out a stack of old papers.  “Oh, the world’s seen them before, alright.”

The city desk editor held up a paper titled International Conspiracy Tattler!  Underneath the headline was the publications tagline: We Speak Truth to Power.  On the front page, there was a picture of Elvis, but with a pair of sharp fangs popping out of his mouth.

Ernie read the headline out loud.  “Elvis Lives!  How the King of Rock and Roll Faked His Death on the Toilet and Ran to Barbados.”

“At age 42, Elvis Presley, better known to the supernatural underworld as Gorak the Unholy, knew the jig was up.  It would only be a matter of time before he would be exposed as the vampire that he was and the idea of seeing all his fans burn his albums and demand that he be staked through the heart was too much for him to bear.  Sure, he had taken to stuffing his clothes with cotton to give the appearance of weight gain, while make-up artists toiled day and night to add wrinkles and other signs of age.  However, despite his best efforts to hide his terrible secret, he knew it wouldn’t be long before Graceland would be surrounded by hordes of angry people brandishing torches and pitchforks, just as how his time spent at so many castles in the past had ended.  According to our sources, Presley paid off authorities to aid him in faking his own death so that he could run to the Caribbean and begin a new life as a fishing boat captain.”

Ernie snickered.  “Tripe.”  He picked up another paper and held it up.  On the left hand of the front page, there was a picture of noted actor turned politician Ronald Reagan.  On the right side, there was a picture of a werewolf sporting Reagan’s signature black pompadour style hair-cut.  The headline read: “Ronald Reagan: Werewolf!”

“Get a load of this garbage,” Ernie said just before he read the tabloid’s prose.  “We all thought that the California governor’s meteoric rise through the ranks of the Republican party was due to his own brand of down to earth, folksy wisdom with a pinch of Hollywood star power.  However, after a thorough investigation, we have determined that the Gipper slashed his way to the top from behind the scenes, thanks to some help from his trusty wolf claws.  That’s right, folks.  If there’s one thing Governor Reagan hates, its unwashed hippies.  If there’s two things he hates, it’s unwashed hippies and a silver bullet.”

Ernie picked up another edition of The Tattler.  It featured a photo of a beautiful woman wearing an elegant gown.  In the next photo, the same woman’s face had been replaced with that of an other worldly being.  It had three bug eyes and sharp teeth.

“This one’s my favorite,” he said before as he pointed to the title.  “Extraterrsexuals!  How Our Planet Has Been Secretly Invaded By Hungry Hookers From Outer Space!”

Ernie read away.  “New York’s discerning gentlemen will have to be a little more discerning.  As it turns out, Meelothorps form Krobash 12 have infiltrated our world, currently posing as ladies of the evening.  They may say that they’re hungry for a man’s cash and company, but what they’re really looking to devour is something else entirely.”

The city desk editor grabbed the tabloids and shoved them back in his desk drawer.  “Ah, I get a kick out of those.  They sell them at a newsstand I walk by everyday on the way to work and everyday I say I’m not going to waste my money on this garbage but I can’t help it.  They’re hysterical.”

Claudette did not appear amused.

“There are all kinds of writers, Miss Jenkins,” Ernie said.  “If you want to write tabloid schlock, more power to you.  There’s a market for it and it takes a certain kind of talent, I’ll admit.  But if you aspire to work at this paper, you’re going to have to bring the goods.”

Claudette nodded.  She had no further interest in arguing.  She grabbed her back-pack and was about to head for the door when Ernie stopped her with an offer.  “Twenty bucks”

“Twenty bucks?”  Claudette asked.  “That’s actual proof of…”

“…a moron who likes to bounce around in a Halloween costume.  And that’s what the caption will read.  Something like, ‘Costumed Buffoon Wins Over Crowd at Discotheque.’”

“And a byline?”  Claudette asked.

Ernie scoffed.  “Please.  If I give a byline to a tyke barely out of romper room, my seasoned reporters will burn me at the stake.”

Claudette stood there, wondering to herself if she had chosen the right profession.

“Take it or leave it,” Ernie said as he looked at his watch.  “One of my people called in sick so I’ve got a hole to fill on page D-23.  This will work if we get it out in, oh, about five minutes.”

“Fine,” Ernie said.

Ernie scribbled onto something down onto a slip of paper, then handed it to Claudette.  “Take this to the receptionist out front.  She’ll cut you a check.”

Claudette took the paper and headed for the door.  Ernie stopped her again.  “Miss Jenkins, a thank you would be nice.  Not many high school students get their work published in a national newspaper and frankly, I should throw this photo in the trash.  I don’t know what’s going on with this spot of light but the boys will have their work cut out for them to crop that out of the photo.  Do check your flash next time.”

“I will,” Claudette said.  “And thank you.”

Disco Werewolf – Chapter 27

DISCO_WEREWOLF_1

The twins sat outside the school on a bench, waiting for their bus to arrive.  Or rather, Whitney’s bus.  Mitch wouldn’t be taking it.  At any rate, Whitney was aghast upon hearing the tale of the locker room antics that had gone awry.

“Half-power?” Whitney asked.  “You’re telling me his body crushed a locker and you only threw him at half-power.”

“I don’t know the exact ratio of the power I used,” Mitch said.  “It’s all a blur.  I didn’t think I was using that much.”

“You don’t know your own strength,” Whitney said.  “Neither of us do.  We’re like spoiled house puppies.  We’ve never used our powers in the wild so we have no idea what we’re capable of.”

“I didn’t know I was capable of that,” Mitch said.

Whitney sighed.  “I hate to say it, but maybe Mom and Dad are right.  Maybe our powers should be repressed.”

“Maybe he just got what was coming to him,” Mitch said.

“You say that now,” Whitney said.  “But had he died…”

“But he didn’t.”

“But he could have.”

Kids milled about, gabbing away to each other.

“He’s fine,” Mitch said.  “He had it coming to him.”

“But now he knows who you are,” Whitney said.

“So?” Mitch asked.

“He’ll talk.”

“And who will listen?”  Mitch asked.  “You think anyone’s going to believe that I’m secretly a werewolf who he thinks porked his girlfriend?”

“No,” Whitney said.  “But I don’t think he’ll take this lying down either.  You have to be more careful, little brother.  Don’t let your emotions get to you and…”

Whitney’s blatherings became background noise in Mitch’s ears as he noticed Claudette walk across the parking lot toward her car, which, being a late 1960s Dodge Charger, sleek and black, was way cooler than any of the other jalopies the older kids were driving.

Sister waved her hand in front of brother’s face.  “Hello?  Earth to Mitch.  Come in, Mitch.”  She followed his eyes to their inevitable conclusion.  “Ahh.  The irony is thick.”

“Huh?” Mitch said as he practically burned a hole in Claudette’s derriere with his peepers.

“Disco Werewolf beds the most bodacious beauties from the five boroughs,” Whitney said.  “Mitch Lumpkiss can’t screw up enough courage to ask the girl next door to get a chocolate malt.”

“What?” Mitch asked.  “I can.  I could…if I wanted to.”

“Oh, you want to.”

“I have bigger things on my plate.”

“Disco Werewolf only feels lust for his groupies,” Whitney said.  “But your feelings for Claudette are the stuff that love is made of.”

Mitch laughed.  “They are…not.  OK, maybe.”

“Maybe you should ask her out before we graduate and all go our separate ways,” Mitch said.

Mitch stared as Claudette got into her car.  Soon, he broke himself out of the trance.  He stood up, pulled a wad of cash out of his pocket, peeled a few bills off of it and handed them to her sister.  “Here’s a down payment on your hush money.  Start hushing.”

“Why don’t you use some of that cabbage to get us a car, doofus?”  Whitney asked.  “You could cut your Derrick interactions by half.”

“Yeah,” Mitch said.  “Like Mom and Dad wouldn’t have questions.”

“It doesn’t have to be a brand-new Corvette,” Whitney said.  “Just something a bowling alley cashier could afford.”

Mitch pressed a finger up to his lips.  “Remember sis.  Hush money.  ‘Hush’ is the operative word.”

The nerd looked at the curb, where a yellow taxi had just arrived.  The words “Seacaucus Cab Company” were stamped on the side.

“My chariot awaits,” Mitch said.

Whitney stood and put a hand on her brother’s shoulder.  “Little bro, as your older…”

“By five minutes,” Mitch said.

“…and wiser sister, I feel the need to give you some advice.”

“Don’t abuse my power,” Mitch said.  “I know.”

“That,” Whitney said.  “And any venereal diseases that Disco Werewolf catches will be transferrable to you as a human.”

The twins exchanged blank stares.

“Food for thought,” Whitney said.

“Enjoy the bus,” Mitch replied as he walked to his cab.  He hopped into the back.

“Where to, Mac?”

“Manhattan.”

“Manhattan?”  the cabbie asked.  “Why don’t you just ask me to drive you to Mars?”

Mitch shook his head and mumbled under his breath.  “You’re all cut from the same cloth…here!”

The cabbie took a look at the trio of crisp hundreds in his hand.  “That’ll work.”

Disco Werewolf – Chapter 25

DISCO_WEREWOLF_1

One perk of taking Mrs. Weber’s photography class was access to the school’s darkroom.  Claudette spent her free period allowing the photos she had snapped of Boogiedown Barry hugging Disco Werewolf to develop in a tub full of chemicals.  She then carefully retrieved them and hanged them on a line to dry.

When she finally got a good look at the images, she was shocked by what she had seen.  Three photos, each one of the werewolf in question but Boogiedown Barry was not in any of them.  Instead, there was just a glint of light where he would have been.

“What the…”

The aspiring journalist’s mind raced.  Dust on the lens?  Refracted light from the disco ball?  The possibilities were endless, though she took it as a screwup on her part.  Gently, she placed the dried photos into a large manilla envelope and packed them into her backpack.

Disco Werewolf – Chapter 24.2

DISCO_WEREWOLF_1

Snap!  Snap!  Snap, snap, snappitty, snap, snap, snap!  As a freshly showered Mitch entered the locker room, the wet towels struck Mitch’s flat, pimply hide.  The strikes hurt, and the commentary wasn’t much better.

“Bitch Bumkiss!” Derrick shouted.  “Bitch Bumkiss!  I see your butt, bitch bumkiss!”

Mitch ignored the bully and worked on his combination lock.

“Hey, Bitch Bumkiss!  You have a tiny weiner!”

The lock opened.

“You’re gay, Bitch Bumkiss!” Derrick said.  “You hear me?  I’m talking to you.”

Mitch continued to ignore it.

“I said, you’re gay, Bitch Bumkiss!”

Mitch had a desire to turn around and point out the irony in that for a guy who was calling someone else gay, he sure was preoccupied with someone else’s butt and wiener, but he knew that would fly right over Derrick’s hand and just prolong the bullying session.

Thweeet!  Coach Mercer blew his whistler.  “Barnes!  Stop checking out Lumpkiss’ weiner and get a move-on!  School’s over for crying out loud and the team’s already on the way to the field.  You’ll be late for practice!”

The coach walked away.  Derrick hurried up, putting on his pants, then his sock.  “Thanks for making me late, Lumpkiss!  Such an idiot.”

Mitch stood there, taking the abuse.

“Moron,” Derrick said as he put on his shoes.  “God, you suck Lumpkiss.”

Mitch pulled out his backpack and sit it on the bench.

“I don’t know you even get up in the morning,” Derrick said as he pulled on his shirt.

Mitch mumbled his next words to himself, under his breath so the bully couldn’t hear.  “Me neither.”

“Look at yourself,” Derrick said.  “You’re so ugly, like a cow shit that got shit on a dog shit that got shit on a cat shit.”

Mitch wanted to cry, but held it in.

“Seriously, Lumpkiss,” Derrick said.  “It’ll never get any better for you.  I know everybody thinks you’re smart but that doesn’t matter for jack in the world.  No one’s ever going to give you a job because no one will want to go to work and see a mutant everyday and if you think you’re ever going to get laid, you’re dreaming.”

Mitch didn’t respond.  Derrick walked over and punched Mitch in the arm.  It hurt.  Badly.  Much worse than when Whitney had done it earlier.

“I’m talking to you, loser.”

Mitch assumed this would be the part where he would say something like, “OK,” some half-hearted comment that would allow Derrick to think he agreed with his vitriol but that didn’t come.  Something else came out entirely, and it was entirely different than anything Mitch had ever said to the bully before.

“Hey Derrick,” Mitch said.  “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry about the way your dad treats you.”

Derrick turned red faced with anger.  He grabbed Mitch, who was half his size, and spun him around.  “What did you say?!”

“It’s not your fault, you know,” Mitch said.  “Your father’s just probably unhappy with the way his life turned out…”

“Shut up!”

“I assume he’s just deathly afraid that you’ll do better than he did and the very idea of that is too much for him to take,” Mitch said.  “So he puts you down to make himself feel better.”

“I said shut up!”

“You ever want to talk about it or…UGH!”

Derrick’s fist connected with Mitch’s stomach.  The dweeb hit the floor, hard.

“You don’t know anything, nerd!”  Derrick cried.  “Just shut your mouth!”

Mitch grabbed his stomach and seethed with pain.  He closed his eyes.

“I’m better than you, Bitch Bumkiss!”  Derrick said.  “You’ll never amount to anything, you hear me?  You’re nothing!”

Mitch’s face turned red.  The bully hocked a loogie and the prostrate geek felt a big, sloppy glob of spit hit his cheek.  He opened his eyes.  They were yellow.

“Idiot,” Derrick said as he went back to his locker.  “I can’t believe you just made me do that, Bitch Bumkiss.  That was all your fault for pissing me off.”

Mitch’s breathing grew louder.

Derrick’s bag was inside his locker.  He rummaged through it for a moment, chastising his victim as he did so.  “I’m going places, Bumkiss.  Places better than you’ll ever see, dummy.  You’ll be lucky if you get to inherit your loser old man’s shit truck.  You’ll pump my shit out of the ground one day, Bumkiss, and I’m going to laugh and laugh and laugh…”

The bully let go of his bag.  He felt a presence behind him.  It was a big one.  And it had something to say.  Grrrrr.

              Derrick turned around to find himself staring up at the face of an angry, brooding werewolf.  The beast was furious, breathing deeply as warm saliva dripped from his mouth.  As he growled, his razor-sharp teeth showed.

For the first time in his life, Derrick was scared by one of his victims.  “What the…but how…huh?”

The werewolf grabbed Derrick’s chest, whipped him through the air like a rag doll and slammed him into his own locker, crushing the metal on impact.  The beast was about to do it again when he noticed the bully was on the floor and wasn’t moving.

Seconds later, Mitch was back. The boy hovered over his longtime oppressed, lightly slapping his bloody face.  “Oh, God!  Oh, God!  Oh, my God!  Derrick!”

Mitch grabbed the bully’s wrist and felt around for a pulse.  He was so nervous he wasn’t able to find it.  He knelt down and put his head on the bully’s chest.  He could hear a heart-beat.  He was relieved by a sign of hope.

“Oh, God, Derrick!” Mitch said as tears streamed down his face.  “I’m sorry!  I’m so sorry!  Please, wake up!”

“Ugh,” Derrick said as he opened his eyes.  He pushed Mitch away.  “Eww!  Get off me, homo!”

Mitch smiled.  He had never been so happy to have his sexuality questioned by his oppressor before.  “You’re ok.”

Derrick’s head was foggy, but he remembered what had just happened.  “You!  Stay back!”

Mitch held his hands up.  “It’s ok, man.  I’m sorry.  Things just got a little out of…”

“What are you?” Derrick said just before his eyes lit up.  “You’re that wolf!”

“What?” Mitch asked. “No.”

“You’re that Disco Werewolf!” Derrick said.

Derrick stood up and towered over Mitch. “You banged my girlfriend and made her dump me!”

 

“What?” Mitch asked.  “Come on, Derrick.  Listen to yourself. That’s crazy talk, man.  I think you’re just a little confused after you tripped and fell and I saved you, man.  I totally saved you.  I’m a hero.”

Derrick pulled back his fist, getting ready to throw a punch.  “You’re dead!”

Thweeeeet!  Coach Mercer to the rescue.  “Unhand the nerd, Barnes!”

The coach caught a look at the smashed locker.  “What in Sam Hill…”

“Huh?” Derrick asked as he put his arm down.  “No, Coach, he did it.”

“Who?”  Mercer asked.

Derrick pointed at the little, shivering naked guy next to him.

“Lumpkiss?” Coach Mercer said.  “Give me a break.”

“I swear!”  Derrick said.  “He’s a monster!”

“Stop trying to bullshit a bullshitter, son,” Coach Mercer said.  “Because I can bullshit with the best of him and I know bullshit when I see it.”

Derrick ran over to Mercer.  “Coach!  He’s a monster!

“Knock it off,” Mercer said.  “I know you too well, Barnes.  You must have been in here, horsing around and you banged up your locker.  Shit happens.  Just be a man and take responsibility for it.  Come on.”

The coach grabbed the bully by the ear and yanked him towards a hallway.  “We’re going to have a long chat with the principal about this and don’t think for one minute you’re going to get out of paying for the damage you did.”

“Coach!” Barnes cried.  “You gotta believe me!  He’s a monster, I tell you!  A monster!  A crazed, psychopathic animal!”

“Save it,” Mercer said.  “That kid is barely a buck fifty soaking wet.”

“He’s a creature of the night!” Derrick shouted.  “He turned into a dog monster and porked my girlfriend!”

“You goddamn kids and your goddamn reefer sticks!” Coach Mercer shouted as the exit door swung shut.  “Not another word!”

Mitch was alone now, and feeling more than a little satisfied.  He smirked as he got dressed, but then stood there silently, staring off into space as the words his father had repeated to him in countless lectures before reverberated though his mind:

A werewolf’s powers are intoxicating.  You think you’ll be able to control them but once you let them out of the bag, there’s no stopping them.  Best to never let them loose at all.

 

Disco Werewolf – Chapter 24

DISCO_WEREWOLF_1

Coach Mercer was, as most gym teachers are, a hardass.  He wore a bright red baseball cap, a white polo shirt and black shorts.  A whistle dangled around his neck on a string, which he would blow on regularly and quite liberally.  He carried around a clipboard, though he never wrote anything down on the attached papers.

He spoke with all the alacrity of a Marine Corps drill instructor. “Dodgeball,” the coach said, “Is not just the art of dodging a ball.  Although it is easy to see why one would think that dodge ball is just about dodging a ball, seeing as how the main goal is for one to dodge a ball that is being thrown in his general direction.  However, make no mistake about it, ladies.  Dodgeball is about more than dodging a ball.  It is about teamwork.  It is about responsibility and most importantly, it is about learning how to become a man.  The ball is always coming for your face, maggots.  24/7, seven days a week, and twice on Sunday, the ball is lying in wait, ready to pound you right in the kisser and believe me, it’ll do it when you least expect it.  Oh sure, you can sit on the sidelines and never get hit in the face with a ball, but that’s nothing to be proud of because you will have never played the game of life either.  And you can cry like a baby when you get hit in the face by the ball, but that isn’t going to stop you from getting face pelted again and again.  If you show weakness, then the ball will seek you out and pound your face forever.  Understand me, you pitiful, sorry excuses for students of physical education, the only way you’ll get through life with some semblance of dignity is to always be on the lookout for that ball.  Be ready to dodge it at a moment’s notice and if it does hit you, well, there’s no shame in that.  It hits everyone eventually but the only time the shame comes is when you act like a little sissy about it instead of being a man, picking yourself up and walking yourself over to the wall where you’ll wait patiently until it’s your turn to catch the ball and come back to the game of life, where it will be your turn to throw the ball at someone else’s face.  Have I made myself clear?”

The boys nodded.  Teams were picked and naturally, scrawny Mitch was picked last.  Out of a desire to get it over with, he walked to the center of the court, outstretched his arms like everyone’s favorite martyr and pow, he was belted in his upper torso and lower extremities with some twenty odd dodgeballs, which, in the abstract didn’t make sense, since the game was supposed to be played with only one.  There were just that many kids who wanted to get a shot in at Mitch’s dodgeball throwable face.

As the game went on, the nerd walked over to the coach.  “Permission to sit on the sidelines of life, sir?”

Coach Mercer looked down at the geek as if he were staring at a ripe dog poop he had just scaped off his shoe.  “Permission granted.  Might as well get used to it now, Lumpkiss.”

Mitch walked the walk of shame to the top of the indoor bleachers, the place where unathletic kids went when they had put in the minimal amount of physical effort required to pass PE but didn’t have anywhere else to go for the rest of the period.  There was a kid on crutches, a kid with a congenital spine defect, a girl who was seven months pregnant and boy did it show and as it just so happened, Whitney.

“I thought volleyball was your game,” Mitch said as he sat down next to his sister.  Down the court, the girls’ PE class had set up a volleyball net under the watchful eye of the girls’ PE teacher, Coach Dieterman who was, quite literally, more macho than Coach Mercer could have ever hoped to have been, and that was saying something.

“I hold my own,” Whitney said.  “But I don’t want to be anywhere near Stacy Hubert right now.”

“A cat fight?” Mitch asked.

“I’m pretty sure she’s the one who keeps writing that I’m a slut on the bathroom wall,” Whitney said.  “Though she says she isn’t.”

“What makes you think otherwise?”

“Process of elimination,” Whitney said.  “She’s dating Shermy Melmer.  Shermy Melmer and I were once a thing…”

“For five minutes,” Mitch said.  “She’d hold that against you?  When it happened before they got together?”

“The teenage mind is a place that makes no sense, little brother,” Whitney said.

“We’re the same age,” Mitch noted.

“You’re the one who held onto the walls of Mom’s uterus for five extra minutes, desperate to delay your entry into the big scary world for as long as you could,” Whitney said.

“I wasn’t scared,” Mitch said.  “It was just nice in there.  She had indoor plumbing and free cable.”

That was the type of nonsensical joke that only the Lumpkiss twins could appreciate.

Mitch and Whitney sat quietly for a while, watching the devastation unfold as Derrick pounded one kid in the head after another with his dodgeball of fury, screaming out joyous battle cries as he did so.

“How was your meeting with Mr. Nowicki?” Whitney asked.

“The usual,” Mitch said.  “Just another supernatural adult who believes I should go through life as a loser just to placate an ancient piece of paper that no one is in charge of enforcing anymore.”

“You’re not a loser, Mitch,” Whitney said.

Mitch glared at his sister.  She relented.  “OK, at least not in the academic sense…or at least you weren’t until you caught the disco bug.”

One kid dared to throw a dodgeball Derrick’s way.  It was instantly caught and thrown back with the brute force necessary to launch the kid to the ground.

“That’s gotta hurt,” Mitch said.  “Anyway, if God wanted me to not live my life in werewolf form, then he should have given me something to work with in my human form.  He didn’t so, that’s on him.”

“It’s going around that you lost your scholarship,” Whitney said.  “Is that true?”

Mitch nodded.

“Mitch!” Whitney said.  “Mom and Dad are going to be pissed.”

“Oh well,” Mitch said.

“What are you going to do with your life?” Whitney asked.  “You can’t be Disco Werewolf forever.”

“Why not?” Mitch asked.

“All that drinking and partying and senseless fornication with women you hardly know and OK, as I say it I realize I’m making your case for you, but it will eventually take a toll on your health.”

“It’ll take a toll on my human health,” Mitch said.  “My werewolf form handles it all just fine.”

“Yeah, well,” Whitney said.  “We all have to be human once in a while.”

“Why?” Mitch asked.  “So, I can come back to a dump like this and be ridiculed by a bully who…”

At that precise moment, Derrick noticed Mitch sitting up in the stands.  He pelted a volleyball right in the dweeb’s direction.  Luckily, Mitch and Whitney were able to duck out of the way just in time.

Thhhhweeeeet!  Coach Mercer blew his whistle.  “Barnes!  Stop throwing dodgeballs at the nerds on the sidelines!”

Mitch finished his thought.  “…by a bully who shits on me just to make himself feel better about how his drunk, abusive father shits on him.”

“It’s a vicious cycle of shit,” Whitney said.

“Yeah, well, I never did anything to him,” Mitch said.

Mitch and Whitney watched as Derrick took a water bubbler break.  After the bully quenched his thirst, Wendy walked up to him.  The couple talked for a minute and then Derrick made a face as though he were about to cry.

“OK maybe Disco Werewolf did,” Mitch said.

Whitney appeared shocked.  “What in the…did they just…are you telling me…”

Big sister performed some mental gymnastics in her head.  Upon reaching a conclusion, she punched Mitch in the arm.

“Ow!” Mitch said as he rubbed the spot that would inevitably become bruised.

“Mitch,” Whitney said.  “Tell me that Disco Werewolf did not pork Wendy Johnson.”

Mitch shrugged his shoulders.

“Mitch!”

“What?” Mitch asked.  “Would it have been so bad if he did?  Obviously, the poor girl is not satisfied.”

“It’s one thing to sew your oats and another to use your werewolf powers to extract revenge on your enemy,” Whitney said. “And it’s yet another thing to use one of our classmates to do it, even if she is a stuck-up little Miss Perfect.”

“Derrick is not my enemy,” Mitch said.  “He’s just an asshole who’s too stupid to figure out the psychological ramifications behind his use of me as a punching bag to stand in for his old man.  Maybe if Derrick would just sock his father back for once, or if society would allow me to wolf out and sock Derrick for once, the vicious cycle of shit could end. ”

Whitney sat there, looking disgusted by her brother.

“OK, fine,” Mitch said.  “Disco Werewolf didn’t pork her.”

“Thank God,” Whitney said.

“But she’s totally head over heels for Disco Werewolf,” Mitch said.  “She’s warm for his furry form.”

“And you know this how?”

Mitch smirked.  “Because Disco Werewolf may have let her through the rope line because he wanted the joy of seeing Derrick left to go home alone.”

Whitney chuckled.  “OK, I suppose that’s just karma.”

Derrick returned to court with a vengeance, taking his frustrations on every kid who was unlucky enough to get in his way.  Pow, pow, pow – oh, how the dodgeballs flew.

The twins were too lost in their own problems to focus on the gym court chaos.

“Mitch,” Whitney said.  “Please tell me you have a plan.”

“Stop being a spazatron, Whit.  How many times do I have to tell you it’s all under control?”

Whitney punched her brother in the arm again.  Coach Mercer happened to see that and blew on his whistle.  “Young lady, please stop beating up your pathetic weakling of a brother!”

The kids, who weren’t currently getting wailed on by Derrick’s dodgeballs, laughed and pointed.  Derrick took a brief break from the action to shout, “Ha! Bitch Bumkiss gets beaten up by girls!”

“Thanks,” Mitch said.  “That’ll help.”

“I’m sorry,” Whitney said, and the sentiment seemed genuine.  “But you don’t have it under control.  Your teachers are talking about you.  Mom and Dad are talking about you.  This will blow up in your face and when it does…”

“I’ll be in California,” Mitch said.

“But you lost your scholarship,” Whitney said.

“But I’ll still be in California,” Mitch said.  “OK, fine.  I didn’t want to jinx it by saying anything but if it makes you feel better, I have a plan.  One way or the other, I’m going to be three-thousands miles away from this jerkwater burg and Disco Werewolf is going to get me there.”

“And that plan is?”

Mitch looked around, realized in his human form, he was too unpopular to be noticed and therefore it was silly to think that anyone was paying attention to what he was saying.  “It’ll be easier if I just show you.  Tomorrow morning.  Before school.”

Whitney pondered her brother’s words before she spoke again.  “What about my plan?”

The dweeb’s heart sunk.  It dawned on him that while he was so busy working on his scheme, he hadn’t thought to ask what his sister planned to do after graduation.

“I don’t know,” Mitch said.  “You tell me.”

“Mom wants me to go to college,” Whitney said.  “Dad wants me to find a man.”

At least Mitch was able to be the first family member to ask the question no one else had asked her.  “And what do you want?”

Whitney looked around until she too came to the stark realization that she wasn’t cool enough to be watched either.  “I’m going to move to the city and make a go of it with my band.”

“What?” Mitch asked.  “Sex Barf?”

Sexual Vomit,” Whitney said.

“I don’t know anything about punk rock,” Mitch said.

“No, you don’t,” Whitney said.  “No one else in our family does either but that they stop them from shitting on my dream so go ahead, you can too.”

“I’m not shitting on it,” Mitch said.  “It’s just, you know…”

“What?” Whitney asked.

Mitch squirmed in his seat.  He felt uncomfortable and didn’t want to offend his sister and yet, they’d always been straight with one another, even when that meant saying something the other didn’t want to hear.  “One loud, obnoxious, barely coherent, song with obscene lyrics about how Shermy Melmer probably knew he was going to dump you but asked to feel your boobs over your shirt anyway does not make a career.”

“Shermy Melmer?” Whitney said.  “That song isn’t about Shermy Melmer, it’s about, uh…you know…”

Mitch stared at his sibling.  She relented.  “OK, fine.  It’s about Shermy Melmer.  But it’s also about how sex…”

Mitch interrupted.  “Boob touching doesn’t count.”

“It counts,” Whitney said.  “Emotions were involved, Mitch.  And by the way, if you think all those groupies you’re screwing are just mindless sex machines who don’t have feeling for Disco Werewolf…”

“They don’t,” Mitch said.  “They all know Disco Werewolf is a panty dropping party hound who needs to run wild and free.”

“That’s gross,” Whitney said.  “I always thought we should share everything but maybe keep stuff like that to yourself, buddy.  And I’m telling you.  Every bimbo you bedded woke up the next day thinking that one day she’ll be Mrs. Disco Werewolf.”

“Ha!” Mitch said.  “As if.”

“They thought you were giving them love but instead you gave them sex, which is about as worthless as vomit,” Whitney said.  “Hence, you gave them sexual vomit.  Get it?”

“If you have to explain it, it isn’t clever.”

“Whatever,” Whitney said. “It’s just another way this will backfire on you.”

“Don’t worry about me,” Mitch said.  “I worry about you if Sexual Vomit is your plan but I hope it works out.”

“It will,” Whitney said.  “Because you’ll be paying me.”

“Excuse me?” Mitch said.

“I deserve a cut,” Whitney said.  “This began as me helping a brother in need but now you’ve plunged me down the rabbit hole and once King Mom and Queen Dad find out I ran interference for you, it’s going to be off with my head.”

“Hmm,” Mitch said.  “I guess I never thought about that.”

“Typical,” Whitney said.  “I need to start saving.  Stevie, Pete and I are going to pull our resources and get a place.  A nice one.  Big so we can spread out and practice, maybe install some soundproofing over the walls.”

“Ha.  The neighbors will appreciate that.”

“Shut up.”

The twins went quiet.  Whitney piped up.  “Or I can just tell Mom and Dad tonight.”

“You wouldn’t.”

“Maybe I should,” Whitney said.  “Get ahead of the shit before it hits the fan.”

“I know you,” Mitch said.  “You’re not a narc.”

“Mommy, Daddy,” Whitney said, faking a naïve little girl’s voice. “I only lied for Mitch because I thought he was just going out dancing but as soon as I found out he wolfing out, I came to you straight away.  I’m not in any trouble, am I?”

              “Crap,” Mitch said.  “They would buy that.”

“They totally would buy that,” Whitney said.  “This is the point of no return for me.  I can get out now relatively unscathed or stick with you on the road to ruin.  Which will it be?”

Mitch sighed.  “Fine.  You get a cut.”

“I thought so,” Whitney said.  “Thirty-percent.”

“What?” Mitch asked.  “No. Ten.”

“Are you kidding me?” Whitney asked.  “Thirty is more than fair.  I should get fifty.”

“Fifty!” Mitch said.  “I’m the one wolfing out.”

“And I’m the one delaying the inevitable feeling of disgust our parents will feel in us when they realize they can’t trust us anymore,” Whitney said.

“It was my idea,” Mitch said.

“And it’s a dumb idea,” Whitney said.

“I’m a star.”

“Please.  You’re a freakshow.”

“I’m a celebrity.”

“You’re the elephant in the circus, balancing on the rolling ball, about to call off and collapse at any moment. Everyone knows they should look away, but they watch anyway.”

“Ugh,” Mitch said.  “Fine.  Thirty percent.”

Whitney held out her hand.  Mitch looked at it, unsure of what to do at first, but then he figured it out.  He shook it.

“Deal,” Mitch said.  “Feel better?”

“Honestly,” Whitney said.  “Somehow I feel dirtier than before.”

Disco Werewolf – Chapter 23

DISCO_WEREWOLF_1

The name plate on the desk read, “Bob Nowicki – Guidance Counselor.”  Behind the desk sat a plump man with a pleasant face, one that could never be definitively called handsome or ugly, but somewhere in between.  The worst, cheapest rug to ever work its way off the assembly line covered his bald head as if it were a diseased woodland creature that chose that very spot to keel over and die and then, the owner of said head decided to just leave it there.

He wore a lime green leisure suit with a pink polo shirt underneath.  He smiled at Mitch as he reached into a bowl on his desk, unwrapped a candy, and popped it into his mouth.

“Hmm?” Mr. Nowicki asked as he nudged the bowl toward Mitch, offering up the sweets inside.

Mitch shook his head no.

“Mmm,” Mr. Nowicki replied as he pulled the candy bowl back.

Outside the office sat Evelyn, an older woman with a tall, bouffant hairdo.  She was Mr. Nowicki’s personal secretary, and she busily clacked away on the keys to a typewriter.  Every so often, the contraption would emit a ding sound.

“So, how goes the battle, sport?” Mr. Nowicki asked, rather loudly, almost as if he were putting on airs for his secretary.

“Oh, not so great, sir,” Mitch replied, just as loudly and half-heartedly.  “I’ve been really lousing things up big time.  When will I ever learn?”

Mr. Nowicki’s eyes traveled to the door, checking on Evelyn, then to the clock, checking on the time.  11:59 p.m.

“Well, you’d better start lifting yourself up by your boot straps and uh, screw your head on tight and swab your poop deck but good, son, because no one likes a loser, that’s for sure,” Mr. Nowicki said.

Mitch took a peak out the door.  Evelyn pulled a piece of paper out of the typewriter, then placed a plastic cover over the keyboard.  “I’ll do that sir.”

“Excellent,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “Because the reefer sticks will ruin your life.”

“I know,” Mitch said.  “Mr. Klugman was lecturing me on the need to abstain from reefer sticks just this morning.”

“Good,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “The danger of reefer sticks just can’t be stressed on enough.”

Evelyn poked her head into the office, her coat in hand.  “Knock, knock.”

“Hi Evelyn,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “Everything ok?  I was uh, just giving the boy here the business, making sure he gets off the reefer sticks.”

“I’m fine, Mr. N,” Evelyn said.  “I think I’ll take my lunch now.”

“Good idea,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “See you later.”

“Can I get you anything?”

“Oh, no, I’m fine, thank you,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “The old ball and chain’s told me I’ve got to drop a few.”

Evelyn told her boss she’d be back soon, stepped out, but then popped her head back through the door to remind Mitch to stay off the reefer sticks, as if he hadn’t been issued enough reminders by the staff of Seacaucus High School anyway.  Once the coast was clear, Mr. Nowicki pointed at the door, causing it to shut and lock itself.  He then pointed at the window, which caused the blinds to fall down.

“Alright you little turd,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “Stop crapping on my leg and telling me it’s chocolate sauce.  You’re doing supernatural shit, aren’t you?”

“Maybe,” Mitch said.  “Maybe not.  What’s it to you, old man?”

“Boy oh boy,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “If I had a nickel every time I saw a supernatural kid who thinks he’s the very first supernatural in history to ever think about gaming the system, I’d be a rich man.”

“Well,” Mitch said.  “I’m not admitting to anything, but I don’t see any other supernaturals gaming the system, so…”

“They do, ok?” Mr. Nowicki said.  “Supernatural crime syndicates.  Underground gangs.  You don’t want any part of it.”

“I’m not a supernatural gangster, Mr. N.”

“Well, what the hell are you up to?” Mr. Nowicki said.  “Because when a smart supernatural kid’s grades take a nosedive toward the end of senior year, it can be only one thing.”

“Oh, here we go,” Mitch said.

“You’re breaking the Treaty of Stuttgart,” Mr. Nowicki said.

“So what if I am?” Mitch asked.  “You just did.”

“What with the door and the window?” Mr. Nowicki asked.  “That was just to save my back.  My doctor says I need surgery to correct it but I’m trying to postpone it as long as I can.  The wife’s been harping me on it to beat the band though but anyway.  We’re here to talk about your problems, not mine.”

“I don’t have any problems,” Mitch said.

“Oh yeah,” Mr. Nowicki said. “Everything’s just hunky dory with you, isn’t it kid?  Life’s just one big sugar plum car with candy cane wheels.”

“Something like that,” Mitch said.

“Look son,” Mr. Nowicki said. “No supernatural, and I mean no supernatural, can be in full, one-hundred percent, total compliance with the Treaty of Stuttgart all the time.”

Mitch appeared surprised to hear an adult say this.  “Thank you.  Finally, someone over thirty who makes some sense.”

“You want to get together with some of your little werewolf buddies, drive out to the country, and go on a little midnight run, blow off some steam?” Mr. Nowicki asked.  “Be my guest.  Go on.  Get nuts.  Get wild.  Get crazy.  Howl at the moon.  Bite the heads off some chickens. Peek in a farmer’s window while he’s sleeping and freak him out so bad that he runs to the tabloids to tell his story, like anyone would believe it anyway.  What you don’t do is, well, whatever the hell it is you’re doing right now.”

“What am I doing now?” Mitch asked.

“I don’t know,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “You tell me.”

“Maybe I’m not doing anything bad,” Mitch said.  “Maybe, for once in my stinking life, I’m doing something for me.”

“I don’t know what that could possibly be, Mitch,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “All I know is you’re ruining your life, so whatever it is can’t possibly be worth it.”

“I’m not running my life.”

Mr. Nowicki popped on a pair of reading glasses and opened up a manilla file.  “You are so.  Son, Cal Tech was so impressed with your grades that they offered you a full, four-year scholarship.  Go out to California, enjoy the sun and the surf and the pretty girls, all expenses paid.”

“I don’t care,” Mitch said.

The guidance counselor flashed the teenager an incredulous look.  “You…don’t care?  We’re talking about a free ride here and you pissed it away.  Your grades were so good in the first semester of this year that you’ll be able to just barely pass with the minimal effort you’re putting in now but Mitch, I don’t think you realize that when Cal Tech gave you that scholarship, it was contingent on you finishing your time here at Seacaucus as the academic all-star you were always meant to be.  They’re going to yank your funding.  Do you understand?”

“I do,” Mitch said.  “And I don’t care.”

Mr. Nowicki sputtered.  “But…what the…ok, level with me.  What is this about? A girl?”

Technically, it was about several, but Mitch answered,“No.”

“You seem too lucid to be on drugs.”

“No.”

“Booze?”

It was involved, but Mitch said, “No.”

“You’ve got it in your head that you’re better than all the humans because you’re a werewolf so you’re out there, running around, doing something all werewolfy, am I right?”

Mitch looked away.  “I..uh…don’t…”

“That’s it,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “Kid, let me tell you a little story about Monica Madsen.”

The teenager threw his head back as though he were about to be put through sheer agony.

“No,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “I swear this story is on point.  Monica was a student here in the early part of this decade.  Excellent grades.  Top notch athlete.  Had a full ride waiting for her at any Ivy League school of her choosing.  Come to think it, she was smarter than you, Mitch.”

“Thanks.”

“Then, last semester, she starts cutting class.  Flunking everything.  I bring her right into this very office, sat her down and got her to spill the beans.  Turns out that she was pulling all-nighters, working on an incantation in her basement that would have allowed her to assume the identity of President Nixon.”

Mitch was intrigued.  “What the?”

“Yes,” Mr. Nowicki said. “She was obsessed.  Going on and on about how she was going to take control of the White House and threaten to launch a nuclear strike against Russia if the UN didn’t pay her a hefty ransom.  Long story, short.  We had a heart to heart over some candy, I got her to realize this was a dumb idea and she buckled down, finished the semester and now she’s a number one selling brand representative for Jenny Fairfield Cosmetics.”

“Whoa, sir,” Mitch said sarcastically.  “That’s amazing.  She could have been the leader of the free world and rich but now she sells lipstick instead.  You should be like, the guidance counselor of the year.”

“Very funny,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “She’s also happy married to a nice warlock and they have three adorable children.  They send me a Christmas card every year.  The point, son, is that just because you can do evil shit doesn’t mean you should do evil shit.”

“I’m not doing any evil shit,” Mitch said.  “Monica Whatsherface should be in jail if you ask me.  Not all use of supernatural powers are evil you know.”

“It’s a slippery slope,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “Power can be very intoxicating.  Once you start, it’s very difficult to stop.”

“It would be evil for a witch to impersonate the president,” Mitch said.  “No argument there.  But would it be that bad for a warlock to help himself out?”

“Oh, here we go,” Mr. Nowicki said.

“Maybe you could alakazam those extra pounds right off or abracadabra that rug into real hair,” Mitch said.

Mr. Nowicki reached up and adjusted his head carpet.  “Sure son, if you want to take your frustrations out on me, I can take it.”

“Maybe you could hocus pocus yourself a raise or presto change-o yourself a hotter wife,” Mitch said.

The guidance counselor clutched the photo of a chubby woman that was sitting on his desk.  “OK, now you leave Mrs. Nowicki out of this, young man!”

Mitch unzipped his backpack, fished around inside, and pulled out a copy of a magazine.  He laid it down on the desk.  The title read, “Ly-Can! A Magazine Dedicated to Being the Best Werewolf You Can Be.”  Mr. Nowicki picked it up and flipped through the articles, which included:

The Ultimate Vacation Thrill Ride: Climbing Mt. Everest in Under an Hour

Getting Buff by Lifting Cars

Running Cross-Country: Literally

“I don’t like supernatural supremacy rags like this,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “Every supernatural species has one.  Witcherrific, Ogreat, Troll Trolley, Vamp Bite Beats.  They’re all the same.  All about how supernaturals are so much better than humans.”

“Aren’t we?” Mitch asked.

“I don’t like that kind of talk,” Mr. Nowicki said.

“You see that article called Wolf Out More and Live Longer?” Mr. Nowicki asked.

“Yes.  What about it?”

“Mr. N,” Mitch said.  “My old man is pushing fifty.  He’s fat and bloated. He’s on blood pressure medication.  He gets winded when he walks to the fridge.  He’s already bought a ticket on the heart attack train it’s just a matter of time before his ticker punches it.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “I hope he’ll be OK but declining health is a part of life.”

“Does it have to be?” Mitch asked.  “Ly-Can did a study that says that while in werewolf form, werewolves have bodies that put Greek gods to shame.  All muscle.  No fat.  Perfect blood circulation.  Low cholesterol.  No joint pain. No hearing or vision loss.  Hell, you can shoot anything but a silver bullet at a werewolf and the wound will heal right up.  They don’t get tired.  They don’t need to sleep.”

“I know enough werewolves to know that they get exhausted and drained when they turn back into humans after a night of werewolfing,” Mr. Nowicki said.

“But who’s to say that they ever have to turn back into humans?” Mitch asked.  “My kind might be able to live indefinitely as werewolves.”

“Who the hell would want to walk around forever as werewolf?” Mr. Nowicki asked.

“That!” Mitch said.  “Right there!  Speciesism.”

“Pbbht,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “Supernaturals can’t be speciesist against another supernaturals.”

“The hell they can’t,” Mitch said.  “You just implied that werewolves are big and dumb and ugly and it would be better for them to die early as humans than live forever as werewolves.”

“I…uh…umm….ok, I suppose I did.”

Mr. Nowicki handed the magazine back to Mitch.  The teen stowed it in his bag.

“We all have our biases I suppose,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “I’d love for your dad and everyone in his predicament to live forever but I don’t know what kind of life that would be if everyone runs away because they’re scared of you.  It’s not like a werewolf could go out shopping or have a nice night on the town without, oh, I don’t know, the National Guard showing up to shoot tanks at him.”

“And who’s fault is that?”  Mitch asked.

“Archimedes,” Mr. Nowicki said.

“And is that fair that because one werewolf screwed up a thousand years ago, we all have to pay now?” Mitch said.  “Because one werewolf slashed his way through Europe, my dad has to have his heart seize up so bad that he keels over at the breakfast table one day?  That you can’t conjure yourself up some hair or a prettier wife or…”

“I like Mrs. Nowicki just the way she is.”

“OK,” Mitch said.  “Bad example.

“Why don’t we take all the guns away from humans?” Mitch asked.

“What’s that now?”

“Guns,” Mitch said.  “Humans use them to rob liquor stores and murder each other.  They fight wars with them and terrorist hi-jack airplanes with them and sad people kill themselves with them.  Why don’t we just take all the guns away from them?”

“I don’t know,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “Because not every human uses guns for ill I suppose.  Some just use them for hunting or for keeping their home safe.”

Mitch pointed at the guidance counselor and smiled.

“You’re nothing new Mitch,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “Yeah, I see what you’re saying. Not every werewolf is going to start a second human vs. supernatural war just because they like to run around in wolf form.  A witch can do some self-improvement without taking over the presidency.  And I’ll be the first to say to you, albeit behind a closed door, that it’s a tragedy that ogres aren’t able to walk down the street just because a few of them, on occasion, have been known to pound humans flat with their clubs.  But supernaturals opting out of using their powers to hide from humanity is the best kept secret the world has ever known and if you keep heading down the path you’re headed there’s three ways it will end up.”

“Those are?” Mitch asked.

“Tabloid fodder,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “A punchline that no real newspaper was willing to believe.”

“That I can handle,” Mitch said.

“Dead,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “Because a human didn’t understand you and was too scared of you to let you live.”

“Seems like the best way to stop that from happening would be for supernaturals to make themselves known en masse, but I’ve given up on adult supernaturals ever understanding that,” Mitch said.

“We did make ourselves known en masse once and supernaturals and humans went close to extinction, but I’ve given up on child supernturals ever understanding that,” Mr. Nowicki said. “The third and I’d argue worse way is dissected on a government operating table because, I hate to break it to you kid, but high-ranking humans know all about us and when one of us sticks their neck out, it will inevitably get chopped off.”

Mitch and Mr. Nowicki stared at each other blankly.

“I already knew about that,” Mitch said.  “Ly-Can has printed some stern editorials against that sort of thing.”

“Sternly written editiorials are all well and good, son,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “But at the end of the day, though I would like very much to to conjure myself up some hair, it just isn’t worth it to me to have a CIA probe shoved up my ass.”

More blank stares.

“I’m not saying it’s right that a CIA probe would get shoved up my ass just because I conjured myself up some hair,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “Just as I’m not saying that it’s fair that humans would run for their lives if your father were to ever go grocery shopping in werewolf form but, such is the world we live in, kid.  You can’t fight city hall and you can’t fight the Treaty of Stuttgart.”

The blank stares continued.

“I tried,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “That’s all I can do.  Go on.  Go do whatever you’re going to do.  You’re going to do it anyway. Find out I was right the hard way.”

“If it’s any consolation,” Mitch said.  “I’ve always enjoyed our talks, Mr. N. You and the Frankenstein lunch lady are the only two staff members that supernatural kids feel like they can talk to around here.”

Mr. Nowicki shook his head.  “That poor woman. She tries so hard to hide those bolts in her neck.”

Disco Werewolf – Chapter 22

DISCO_WEREWOLF_1

Mr. Nowicki was a slight man with gray hair.  He wore a tweed jacket with leather patches sewn into the elbows.  He lectured his English class as he drew a diagram on his chalkboard that was inspired by the book the class had been reading, Dante’s Inferno.

              “And so,” Mr. Nowicki said.  “As Dante himself informs us, there is not one, not two, not three by nine circles of hell.  Each level is reserved for a different type of sinner, and the more sinful you are, the worse the sinner is punished.”

The teacher turned around and faced the class.  “Just like real life, huh?”

The teens replied with polite chuckles.  Mr. Klugman stepped away from the board and paced the room, having taught the material so long that he knew it by heart.  “First you have limbo.  That’s for virtuous pagans.  You were a good person but you didn’t declare your love for God so you’re going to have to stand in the corner of the spiritual waiting room for awhile and think about what you’ve done.”

The teacher continued.  “Second, lust.  Oh, if you chase after the pleasures of the flesh, then the second level is where you’ll go to do a little time.”

Whitney, who was fully aware that as Disco Werewolf, her brother had become an unbridled pervert and serial adulterer, looked up and to the left, where her twin was sitting.  In all actuality, he was sleeping.  His sunglasses were on but like Grandpa, his head was back and his mouth was open.

“Level three is for gluttons.  Now, come on, people is that fair.  Going to hell just because you like a little extra hot fudge on your sundae?  Ahh, but then you’ve got level four, where the cheapskates go.  You got a lot of money but you aren’t sharing the wealth, well, that’s worse than being the guy who eats too many cookies.”

Mr. Klugman walked down one row and up another.  “You’ve got the wrathful and the heretics.  They go to levels six and seven.  So, revenge is right there in the middle and heretics are treated much worse than pagans who at least tried to live good lives and didn’t openly badmouth God.”

The teacher spotted a boy pass a note to a girl.  He grabbed it, read it, and summarized it.  “Jennifer, Kevin would like to know if you’d like to go to the movies with him this weekend.  I don’t know if he’s paying or not and I don’t know if you should go or not but please sort this out between yourselves after class and Kevin?”

Kevin, who was so embarrassed he wish he could just slink away, replied.  “Yeah?”

“Next time, be a man son,” Mr. Klugman said.  “Open your mouth and make words come out.  Frankly, I take this as a poor reflection of myself if I didn’t teach you the basics of how to communicate this year.”

“OK,” Kevin said.

“Ironically,” Mr. Klugman said.  “There isn’t a place in Dante’s version of hell for the cowardly but there should be.”

The teacher moved on.  He smacked a ball cap off of a student’s head.  He then ripped a sheet of notebook paper out of the next student’s notebook, balanced it on top of his palm and held it front of that student’s mouth.

“No gum in class,” Mr. Klugman said.

The kid looked at Mr. Klugman, then at the paper.  He enjoyed three last chews, then spit it out, allowing it to make a big, wet plot on the paper.  The teacher balled the mess up instantly.

“Sakes alive,” Klugman said.  “You can all vote now.  You can all participate in the future of this country.  God help us all.”

The teacher kept moving between the rows.  “The violent end up in the seventh circle of hell but surprisingly, there’s still two more levels after that.  I mean, once you’ve punished all the violent people in the world, you’d think that would be it, right?  That’s it.  All done. Finished. But no, there’s still two levels left.  What are they?”

Mr. Klugman looked around for a volunteer.  Seeing none, he picked on a kid wearing a football jersey.  “Ben!”

Ben had nothing.

“Useless!” Mr. Klugman said.  He pointed at a girl with a ponytail.  “Kate!”

Kate stammered.  “Um…uh…uh.”

“Pathetic!” Mr. Klugman said.

The teacher looked about, then spotted a snoozing Mitch.  “Ahh, Mr. Lumpkiss finally makes time in his busy schedule to attend class.  Mr. Lumpkiss?”

Mr. Klugman raised his voice.  “Mr. Lumpkiss!  I’m talking to you!”

When the teacher drew closer, he realized the boy was fast asleep.  “Oh, for the love of…”

Whitney didn’t know how to feel as she watched this spectacle.  Part of her wanted to laugh that her brother had been caught looking like an idiot.  Part of her wanted to cry that her brother struggling to keep it together.

Mr. Klugman snapped his fingers in front of Mitch’s face.  The boy stirred.  “Mr. Lumpkiss!”

Mitch snapped his head to attention.  “Huh?  What?”

“Take those ridiculous things off your eyes this instant,” Mr. Klugman said.

It was obvious that Mitch was just starting to grasp reality, having just been jolted out of a state of deep REM sleep.  “Huh?  Oh, sorry.”

Mitch flipped his clip-on sunglasses up, revealing his eyes through his prescription lenses.  “Sorry, sir.”

“Off of your face entirely.”

“Oh,” Mitch said as he pulled the sunglass attachment off of his glasses.  “Right.”

“You got a D on your last exam, Lumpkiss,” Mr. Klugman said.  “If I were you, I’d be paying extra close attention.”

“Yes, sir,” Mitch said.

“Crap on a hot tin roof,” Mr. Klugman said.  “This happens every year.  Like clockwork, one of the handful of students I have who are actually going somewhere and make this job worth doing get a bad case of senioritis and destroy their entire academic career just because they get a little antsy in the pantsy.”

“Sorry, sir,” Mitch said.

Mr. Klugman leaned in, putting his face just an inch away from Mitch’s.  “Tell me straight, boy.  Are you on the marijuana?”

“Huh?” Mitch said.  “No.”

Klugman held his thumb and pointer fingers together, pretending to suck on a joint.  “A little taste of the old reefer stick, eh son?”

Mitch shook his head.  “No.”

Whitney decided that she would find this funny, but only in her mind.  She didn’t need to laugh and risk incurring Mr. Klugman’s wrath.  One Lumpkiss taking it was enough for today and besides, she didn’t want her English teacher to end up in the fifth level of hell.

“Come on,” Mr. Klugman said.  “Out with it.  You’ve been sparking up grass, haven’t you?”

“No.”

“Mary Jane?”

“No.

“Weed?”

“No.”

“Ganja?”

“No.”

“Hashish?”

“No?”

“Tell me, you’re not on the hard stuff, kid.”

“I’m not.”

“Coke?”

“Only the soda kind, sir.”

“Oh, a wiseguy, eh?”

“No, sir.”

“Horse?”

“What?”

“Heroin, boy!  Are you chasing that dragon?”

“No.”

“Uppers?”

“No.”

“Downers?”

“No.”

“In-betweeners?”

“Is…uh…that even a thing sir?”

“What are you asking me for?  I’m not a drug addict.”

Mr. Klugman shook his head.  “You disgust me, Mr. Lumpkiss.  I’ve never seen a brighter student fall so far, so fast but if you won’t pick yourself up and get off the dope, then so be it.  Another youth lost to our nation’s great struggle with pill poppery.”

Mitch knew it wasn’t worth it to argue.  He wondered if, technically, Mr. Klugman might have been right.  Did alcohol count as a drug?  Oh well, he figured he could quit anytime, anyway.

“Do try to be more like your sister, Mr. Lumpkiss,” Mr. Klugman said.  “At least she received a respectable, journeyman’s B minus on the last exam.”

Whitney scrunched down in her seat, not wanting to gain a reputation as a teacher’s pet.  After all, that would be disastrous for her night job as the front woman for Sexual Vomit.  Plus, what if her non-existent fans were to find out that she opted to wear a purple sweater rather than violate the school’s dress code by wearing her band shirt?

“The eighth circle is for fraudsters and the ninth circle is for traitors, Mr. Lumpkiss,” Mr. Klugman said.  “Fraud, as in the lies you’re telling yourself so that you can ignore your conscience whenever it urges you to resume your once studious ways and treachery, such as when you betray yourself by not pushing yourself to the highest level of academic success of which I know you are more than capable.”

Mitch nodded.

“The deepest, darkest depths of hell await you if you don’t turn your ship around and sail it to safer harbors, Mr. Lumpkiss,” Mr. Klugman said.  “I’m not a religious man and in this class, we’ve studied Dante’s Inferno from a purely academic perspective but nevertheless, whether you believe in a higher power or if you believe we are no more than the sum of our time in this world, know this, young man – you’re on your way to your own personal hell, right here, right now, within your very lifetime.”

“I’m sorry, sir.”

The teacher walked back to his desk.  “You should be.  You make me sick. Now then, where did we leave off with our good friend, Mr. Shakespeare.  I believe it was the Ides of March and Caesar had a bone to pick with Brutus, didn’t he?  Mr. Frasier, if you’d be so kind as to turn to page 495 of your textbook and read out loud to the class the part where it says…”

The intercom beeped.  “Mitchell Lumpkiss to the guidance office, please.  Repeat – Mitchell Lumpkiss to the guidance office please.”

Mitch looked to his teacher for permission.  “Go on,” Mr. Klugman said.  “Get out of my sight.”

The nerd stood up, collecting his things, shoved them into his backpack and walked out the door.

“And let that be a lesson to the rest of you,” Mr. Klugman said.  “Stay off the reefer sticks.  Alright, Mr. Frasier, go ahead.”

Disco Werewolf – Chapter 21

DISCO_WEREWOLF_1

“Hey Bumkiss!  Did you know that’s your new name?  Bitch Bumkiss!  Bah, ha ha!”

Thump, thump, thump.  The twins rocked about as the sticky green bus seat they’d been stuffed into was kicked repeatedly from the back by one Derrick Barnes.

“Bumkiss! Bumkiss! Your name is Bumkiss!”

Mitch rested his head against the window glass, watching the sights of Seacaucus pass him by through a pair of cheap sunglasses.

“Bummy, bummy, Bumkiss!  Bummy, bummy, Bumkiss!”

Thump, thump, thump.

The twins spoke in low, hushed tones.  Between the chattering children and the rumbling of the engine that hadn’t been tuned up in years, no one else was able to hear them.

“I could rip his arms off right here, right now, and beat him to death with them,” Mitch said.

“You could,” Whitney replied.  “And I’d love to see it.  And I have a whole list of people I’d like to do that to myself but as our parents and neighbor so dutifully lectured me last night, that would be a direct violation of the Treaty of Stuttgart.”

It wasn’t visible behind the shades, but Mitch definitely rolled his eyes again.  “Oh, God.  Not the Treaty of Stuttgart again.”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Dad didn’t break out the pop up book again did he?”

“And how.”

Mitch chuckled.

“Sure, yuck it up,” Whitney said.  “I’m the one who had to sit through it.”

“I’ve sat through my fair share,” Mitch said.

Derrick may not have made the cut at Sweet Johnny’s Electrostatic Groove Lounge the night before, but by Seacaucus High standards, the kid was a stud.  Letterman jacket.  Muscles.  Entitled attitude.  The works.  His head popped up over the top of the twins’ seat.  “Hey Bitch Bumiss.  Why is your name Bitch Bumkiss?”

Mitch refused to answer, so Derrick grabbed the nerd’s arm and shook him.

“Huh?”  Derrick asked.  “Why is your name Bitch Bumkiss?  That’s a stupid name.”

Mitch remained silent.

“You deaf, Bitch Bumkiss?

No response.

“Someone stick a dick in your ear?”

Still, no response.

Derrick grabbed Mitch’s arm and used the attached hand to slap Mitch in the face, repeatedly.  “Stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself!  Hey, come on, Bitch Bumkiss!  Stop hitting yourself!”

Teenage faces popped up over their seats to check out the source of the commotion and laugh.

“Hey, everybody!” Derrick shouted.  “Look!  Bitch Bumkiss is hitting himself!”

As Whitney watched her brother take the abuse without offering any hint of resistance, she pictured herself wolfing out, ripping off Derrick’s head, and punting it out the back window of the bus.  She kept her cool though.  Given the amount of bullying that goes on in the public school system, combined with the number of closeted werewolf children that attended it over the years, it’s a miracle that more heads weren’t ripped off and punted more often.

The teens began to chant.  “Bumkiss!  Bumkiss! Bumkiss!”

Mitch knew the drill.  He was a twelve-year veteran of this crap.  If he said anything to defend himself, it would be treated as if it were the dumbest thing anyone had ever said, the repeated back to him over and over again in a snotty tone for days, if not weeks.  However, if he remained silent, the abuse would just continue.  So, he figured he had to say at least a little something.

“Bumkiss!” Derrick shouted.

No response.

Derrick hauled back and socked Mitch, right in the arm.  The pain was intense.  Mitch gritted his teeth and sucked it up.  Whitney looked away.

“Hey! Bumkiss!  I’m talking to you!”

Mitch sighed the sigh of a defeated man.  “Yes?”

“That’s better,” Derrick said.  “Why is your name Bumkiss, Bumkiss?”

Another sigh.  “I don’t know.”

Derrick laughed.  “You don’t know?  You don’t even know your own name?  Why not?”

One more sigh.  He said the next words flat, devoid of any emotion, just something he had to do, like pulling off a band-aid.  “Because I’m stupid.”

Derrick looked around to all the other teens on the bus.  “Bah, ha ha! Bitch Bumkiss just said he’s stupid!”

That concluded this bullying session.  Derrick said back.

Mitch looked at his sister, and whispered.  “Treaty of Stuttgart.”

“Treaty of Stuttgart,” she whispered back.

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