This is the first chapter to a novel I started writing, a while back.
It had come to our attention that there was a werewolf living in the woods behind the high school.
We decided to investigate. First of all, we had to determine if this wretched creature was, in fact, a werewolf. Actually, maybe it’s better if I back up and give you the whole story.
I’m 29 years old and I work in the adjustments department at Aetna. Until recently, I was dirt poor and living back with parents. This was because my (ex-) wife had left and taken all my belongings with her in a truck. She placed a curse on me and a restraining order on my attorney, because he was calling her up all the time. I wish I had known about that last part while it was happening. Anyway, Dad helped me get the job at Aetna and my friend, Lou, helped me get rid of the curse. My parents seem really happy about my having a steady income for the first time in my life. They let me take them out to dinner on weekdays. It’s really nice. Enough about me.
Lou is about 45 years old. In fact, he’s been about 45 for about 2 years, now. I have learned not to ask questions because Lou is very obviously sensitive about his age. And weight. He works at the big Barnes & Noble on Route 1. His nametag reads “Lou – Matters Of The Occult.” All of us used to meet at Barnes & Noble until it became obvious that we were distracting Lou and preventing him from helping ‘real’ customers. Fife. He was a big deal track & field star in high school. Then, he dropped a shitload of E during his freshman year at Bard and quit studying. He followed bands around the country – Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney, Pavement, Will Oldham, Six Finger Satellite, Arab On Radar, The Get Up Kids, Yo La Tengo and a Pink Floyd Tribute Band from Argentina who had their own light show and inflatable pig. Fife, with his weird notebooks and homemade recordings, eventually spooked all of ‘em. Now, he works at the vegetarian place.
Finally, there’s Big Dominic. Back in the late 60’s, Big Dominic hung around with The Diggers and The Up Against The Wall Motherfuckers and The Process Church. He met L Ron Hubbard. He saw The Fugs a few times. He pledged the Hell’s Angels, but they dumped a big tub of human shit and piss on him and he got Hepatitis and had to quit. In 1983, he hooked up with the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh crew in Oregon, working on cars. Big Dominic has glaucoma and should be completely blind within the next few years. He wears those big Roy Orbison sunglasses and makes jokes about them, singing “Blue Bayou” and stuff. He and Fife met when they both scored DMT off the same guy at a Halloween party and started talking about Crowley. All of us meet on Sundays to discuss esoteric matters – conspiracy, cryptozoology, Scientology (although you kind of have to be quiet with that one, sometimes,) ghosts, Masons, reincarnation, etc.
Everybody hangs around at a coffee shop called The Oil Change, which is a renovated auto place. The new owners decided not to change the signage, which is this cool, retro-70s thing with orange and yellow lettering. Looks like the old Burger King logo from the ‘hold the pickles/hold the lettuce’ days. The joint has an actual turntable behind the counter and they spin a lot of old metal and heavy psych; Sir Lord Baltimore, Obsessed, Pentagram, Sabbath, obviously, BOC, Captain Beyond, Steppenwolf. Sometimes, for kicks, they play The Plan, which is The Osmonds’ concept record. It actually kind of rocks. ‘Crazy Horses,’ by The Osmonds, is a great song. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
The people who work there are really nice. They open the garage door in the summertime and make these cool Mexican pastries and brew special coffees from Africa.
A few months back. Lou and Fife and Big Dominic and I were at the Oil Change, trying to recalibrate the Ouija Board. Fife and Big Dominic, it seems, had gotten high and fooled around with The Board while watching an episode of The Shield. I guess, both of them, as well as The Board, became over stimulated by all the action and gunplay. The board wouldn’t do anything, which was a pain in the ass because we had trivia night coming up. We called the folks at Parker Brothers and sent them some emails asking about fixing Ouija Boards. Lou tried to get some info online, but there wasn’t a whole lot. So, we just put it back in the box for few days and then started asking it really easy questions. I wish Fife and Big Dom would try to be a little more responsible with the thing. You don’t run The Board while high and watching TV any more than you try to spot-weld while driving drunk. Shit.
Anyway, Gina, Fife’s semi-girlfriend, saw us and came by and started talking about poltergeists and mystery drafts in her place. Cold spots and stuff. We asked her if we could go check it out. She said no. She was pretty clear about it, too. So, that was that. A few days later, Fife called everybody and said that Gina had changed her mind and decided that it would be a good idea if we did come by to take a look. Seems some weird shit had gone down and Fife kind of took advantage of that and finagled us an invite.
When we stopped by, Gina was not actually there. I don’t think she really dug us all that much to begin with.
Anyway, Big Dominic starts going off on how he can sense “dissatisfaction” and “blockage” and “unfinished business” in the apartment. Fife figured that was because Gina had yelled at him in the living room earlier in the day. Big Dominic, however, insisted that there was a restless spirit about. To be honest, the place looked pretty fucking creepy, what with the purple walls and Gina’s Dia De Los Muertos stuff everywhere. Whether that was the intended effect or not, I didn’t know.
That’s something that always interests me. People will go to great lengths to make their houses all creepy and atmospheric, putting aluminum foil over the windows and hanging posters of Anton LaVey everywhere and keeping an iguana or some shit like that in a tank on the bureau. Only then will they insist their place is haunted. Of course, it’s fucking haunted. You demanded it be haunted. Look at the place. You haunted it. If you want to dispel a ghost, paint the walls sapphron and throw a couple of nice pillows on the couch. That’s the first thing I said to Gina when I saw her. Fife told me later on that she was pissed.
When Lou went to work at Barnes & Noble, he picked up some books on exorcism. Turns they were really scary and interesting, but not very helpful in a practical sense because none of us are Catholic Priests. We called the progressive church downtown, the one that all the gays go to, and left a message. Nobody called back.
One thing we could definitely agree on was that something was fucked up at Gina’s place. The curtains would rustle for no reason. Cabinet doors that were closed would suddenly open. Most convincingly, Gina said there were human screams and pounding emanating from under the floorboards. Not all the time, mind you. Not even all that often. Still, that’s something you don’t forget.
While Gina was at work (she’s a child psychologist,) Fife yanked up part of the floor to see what was going on. It was just regular wiring and pipes and stuff. Nothing unusual. He put the floorboards back and, later on, bought a small rug to cover that part. Looked nice, I thought.
The way we figured it, some lost little girl or virgin bride had been brutally murdered at that exact spot, years earlier, and her restless spirit was now refusing to leave the place. That was the quickest thing we could arrive at. Big Dominic’s brother works at the Town Hall. We asked for some records concerning the previous owners, but, again, no response. Big Dominic often talks about urban legends specific to our city and mentions gruesome and grisly murders pretty often.
It’s tough to tell with Dom whether he’s fully ‘there’ when you’re talking with him or whether it’s just the acid rebroadcasting from 1971. One thing about Dominic – considering he’s mostly blind, he has a tendency to fall asleep sitting up. The incredible amount of weed he smokes does little to alleviate this habit. He just kind of drifts off without anybody knowing it and starts mumbling the weirdest fucking shit. Sometimes, he accidentally gets startled awake and he’s all disoriented for a while. One time, he cried. Shit, I love Dominic. I really do. I know he misses driving and riding his bike. In the summer, we take him out in the convertible and he seems to really love having the wind blow through his hair.
Anyway, Lou came back with a book on how to dispel ghosts in a non-denominational fashion and that looked great. We got some salt and some essays on Haitian culture and, pretty soon, we were good to go. We waited until Gina was gone for the day and we sprinkled some sel around the place and said some stuff in French and that was it. The room didn’t change at all. The curtains didn’t flutter and the candles didn’t flicker. There was no sense of any great transformation. The only thing was that Big Dominic exhaled deeply and seemed relieved. That’s just as good a barometer as any.
A few days later, Fife announced that Gina wanted to invite us over. She was really happy about what we had done and wanted to cook us dinner. I figured this was a good occasion to be nice to Gina, so I bought a bottle of wine for about 60 bucks that had Dia De Los Muertos illustrations on the label. She laughed when she saw it.
We all ate a big quiche made with salmon and capers and it was really delicious.
Big Dominic busted out his Dinner Weed and everybody got mellow. It was a great night.
Well, I guess Gina told everybody about our little adventure. Pretty soon, a private library called us up about some figures that could be seen wafting between bookcases. Things picked up from there. Now, I guess, I have a second career.
Wanna hear the werewolf story?