Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Wolf Who Was Afraid of the Dark

The wolf who was afraid of the dark was named Gary, and he wasn't like the other wolves. Oh, he ran with the pack and shared in the kills and did wolfish things in the meadow. But when night fell and the other wolves went off to howl their anguish to a shrouded moon, Gary would curl up with a battery-powered nightlite and tremble and weep until dawn.

Gary was actually an accountant from Cleveland who one day decided he didn't want to be an accountant any more.

"Well, what are you going to do if not accounting?" His wife wanted to know.

"I haven't decided yet." Gary replied. "I'm still reviewing my options."

"And what exactly might those options be?"

"Well, your brother said he could probably get me a job in the loan department at his dealership."

"Mm-hmm." She knew her brother disliked Gary--thought him weak and indecisive.

"Or there's always sales." Gary continued. "I like people and I understand the fundamental elements of commerce."

"Oh, of course." She said, rolling her eyes.

"I've always wanted to own and operate my own restaurant. Perhaps it's time to give that a try. I think I'd do quite well at that."

Gary coughed and looked away, mumbling into his fist as he did.
"Or I may become a wolf."

"Excuse me, I didn't quite hear that last one, did you say a wolf?"

"Yes, that's one of the options I'm reviewing. I could head north until I find a pack that accepts me and then run with them and bring down game like elk and deer and drink from mountain streams."

His wife wanted to laugh but something in Gary's eyes froze the laughter in her chest.

"At some point I'd probably take a mate. Wolves mate for life you know--unlike a certain wife I happen to know."

She lowered her eyes guiltily.

"Oh, I doubt we'd conceive." Gary continued, sounding more and more like a man who'd made up his mind. "But miracles do happen. And if by some spectacular grace, my mate does bear me a little Wolf/Boy child, then I'm going to name him Gravenfury Wolfheart, Lord of the Forest. And when my mate, his mother, passes away, then Gravenfury Wolfheart and I will roam the earth together--belonging nowhere, belonging everywhere."

"Sounds like you've decided then." His wife said softly, numbly.

"I have." Gary replied and turned for the door.

"Just one thing though." She looked up at him, tears streaming down her face. "Aren't you afraid of the dark?"

Gary gave her a little smile--a smile of memories, good and bad.

"It’s accountants that are afraid of the dark my dear, not wolves. I'm sure in time it will pass."

And then he was gone.


Years later she thought she caught a glimpse of Gary, out the window of her commuter train. He was older, deeply tanned and walked like an athlete, not an old man. At his side trotted what appeared to be a border collie. It had blue eyes. It was wearing a wristwatch.

She cried out softly. "Gary? Gravenfury Wolfheart?" She whirled in her seat, trying to keep them in view. Nothing. Just the blur of passing trees and signs. She sobbed bitterly to herself the rest of the ride. The man on the seat next to her read his newspaper the whole way and pretended not to notice.


At 10:51 PM, Blogger Ari said...

Off through the new day's mist, Gary runs...

Off through the new day's mist, Graven(fury) comes...

They hunt, therefore they am
Harvest the land
Taking of the fallen lamb

That is one of the badassest metal songs EVER, changed lyrics or no.

At 10:54 PM, Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Oh, that IS hard. She will forever wonder whether she could, should have given him the puppy he wanted, perhaps even needed, to prove to himself that life, not ink flowed through his bits and bobs.

It wouldn't be the first time an accountant has heard the call of the wild either. We've lost several, through the years, through Winnebago trips to Yellowstone gone awry. But young wolves there are now sought out for their double-entry book-keeping skills so it's not all bad. Before, all that was available to them was National Geographic modelling and a bit of of howling for the tourists.

A propos of nothing, I'm on VomitWatch as one of the Problem Children has a rotavirus. It looks like being a long night. I may be back.

At 8:45 AM, Blogger Mouldy said...

Gary's wife didn't mate for life.

Is that what drove him to become a wolf?

At 9:48 AM, Blogger slarrow said...

Ha. I understand. You're just softening up those female readers of yours on the topic of bestiality and near-bestiality. We all know you yourself were raised by wolves and are dead sexy to boot. You're just trying to break down those final taboos in order for some glorious passion.

Sneaky. And probably unnecessary; I imagine you had most of your female readers at "quickdraw."

At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Strange Forces said...

Excellent, as always.

At 1:53 PM, Blogger jali said...

Great post (again!).

At 2:58 PM, Blogger Helga von porno said...

I love this story. I predicted a storm brewing and since then its been brilliant, you must have the wind in your sails. Is Slarrow telling the truth? You were actually bought up by wolves? I need to cool off.

At 2:06 AM, Blogger 12 Crumble Ave said...

A most excellent tale well told as usual Latigo.

My only advice to you and your readers would be to not try the same thing with ladybirds. Not only is red and black body paint darned hard to find but nobody tells you about the migration either.

Oh and the breeding part is quite, uh, challenging...

- Mr Winston

At 8:21 AM, Blogger Ghost Dog said...

I bet he's a real hit with the 'Dawg Pound' at Browns games.

Or, he realized that Cleveland sucks, and that's the real reason he left .

At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Nicolas Papaconstantinou said...

Jesus, Latigo, that's like the second loin-stirring indictment/tragic embodiment of the modern relationship you've posted in as many weeks...

They fill my heart with goo.

Have you fallen in love? I always find that the hardened cynic inside me becomes perplexed by it, when it starts to happen to me, and he starts to spill out bittersweet love-bile in my writing to try and talk me round.

Little fucker.

I can't think of any other reason for heartfelt stories of escape to a new life of rampant bestiality than that Latigo might be in love...

(oh, by the way, I liked it!)

At 2:12 AM, Blogger Peter said...

Now the thing I need to know Latigo, is where would Gravenfury Wolfheart have got the wrist watch? was it Gary's departing gift when he left the accounting firm? where does a young wolf wear a wrist watch? can a young wolf actually tell the time as shown on a wrist watch? is Gary still afraid of the dark? were you truly raised by wolves?

At 6:50 PM, Blogger Amandarama said...

I think I may have dated Gary at some point. Was he, at any time, a furry?

Oh, and the Word Verification spells "Mr Dibbi". Surely it's a sign. I'm not sure of what.

At 11:07 PM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Shape shift Ari! So seek the wolf in thyself!
(That is the beautiful reference by which all beautiful references shall be judged.)

I agree with all of that Sam, you problem child bride you, except for the bit about the rotavirus--Latigo Flint doesn't believe in rotaviruses. Demonic possession, yes. Rotaviruses, no.

Well Mouldy, it certainly didn't help. But in the end I'd have to say no. I think the very purity the being of a wolf must be is what finally drove Gary to become a wolf.

How did you get to be so wise Slarrow? A deal with Beelzebub no doubt. You've hit it spot on--I am dead sexy. And wolves did raise me. Well remembered Sir, well remembered.

I play at being mysterious, Strange Forces, and sometimes quite well I suppose. But you--with your unclickable, unknowable nature of being--you take it to the hallowed ground. The beautiful ground. The savage ground. And I applaud you for it, I do.

Thank you very much Jali. I have some things that are very, very wrong with me, but they certainly make for interesting conversation.

I've been battered by a twenty-year-storm Helga Von Porno, and am on the savage edge of sanity's slide. Of course he's telling the truth. Of course I was raised by wolves. There can be no other explanation.

Thank you Mr. Winston. This is very good advice. We are unwell, of course, and nobody tells us about migrations... nobody!

I don't know about all that Ghost Dog, but I do know that the desert's quiet and Cleveland's cold. That's all I know though--apparently that's where the story ends, or so we're told.

I'm very glad you liked it Nicolas Papaconstantinou. But the wretched truth is I've been in love this entire time. And I can't have her. And it's ruining me. And I'm going to die alone. And there's nothing I can do about it.

I adore you Peter and always have, so I'm going to patiently answer every question:
His father, Gary, gave it to him.
No, Gary bought the watch from a one-eyed street vendor who looked a bit like Billy Joel.
On their right leg, just above the paw.
Only if it's digital.
No, accountants are afraid of the dark, not wolves. Gary's not an accountant any more.

You know what I think Amandarama? I think it's a sign that you should hold me and call me Mr. Dibbi and brush the matted hair from my eyes, murmuring that everything is going to be okay. Mr. Scoop can come along with you if he promises not to interrupt.

At 6:27 AM, Anonymous Nicolas Papaconstantinou said...

"And it's ruining me. And I'm going to die alone. And there's nothing I can do about it."

Aww, man, I was going to die alone, too. That's a bum deal.

You could do what I did... Now there are loads of people with me, under the garden where the dog can't find them, and they are with me always. When I go, they go with me.

It really is the only way to deal with fractured or frustrated love, you know. I don't think it counts as a crime if no-one every finds out.


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