Two Werewolves, A Six-Pak, & Elvis

by Jeff Gilbert

 

Prologue

"The moon, when its full, makes people change, makes 'em do things no folk would rightfully do, even if they had a lick of sense. When you look up into the sky, black as Hell itself, tell me you don't feel that moon shinin' right through your soul. It's the Devil's searchlight; it'll find you, you can bet on it. You may be able to hide things you don't want no one to know about, but you can't hide from the moon. It knows that dark side, that human side. It knows who you really are. The moon, when it's full, makes people change. And God help you when it does."
--An old proverb I just made up

"Some nights the wolves are silent and the moon howls."
--Bathroom graffiti in the Blue Moon Tavern

"Listen...the children of the night...what music they make."
--A heroin addict with nifty dental work

* * *

Of course, the moon was full...

"Elvis is King, man!"

Two werewolves - one grey with dirty streaks of white, the other, a thick furry brown - reclined on fallen pine in a clearing deep inside the cavernous foothills behind the old Miller farm. They were drinking night-warm beer from cans and listening to an oldies station barely coming through on a portable AM radio. Elvis was singing, his silky tenor crackling like an old drive-in movie speaker. The wind had picked up, making the tree branches sway rhythmically as if in time to the swooning ballad. The moon lit the clearing like a 7-Eleven parking lot.

"Gimme a friggin' break," griped the grey werewolf. "Elvis ain't shit. That fat fuck couldn't touch Chuck Berry. Chuck Berry invented rock and roll."

The brown werewolf, a devout Elvis fanatic, took exception to this remark and turned his attention from the radio, pointed ears flattening against his head, indicating he was less than pleased with the King of Rock and Roll being referred to as a fat fuck.

"What the hell are you talking about? There is no way Chuck Berry even comes close to Elvis. I can't believe you say shit like that." The brown werewolf leapt to his hind haunches and struck a practiced Las Vegas Elvis pose. He began singing and dancing around the grey werewolf.

"Ain't nothin' but a hound dog..."

The grey werewolf hated being called a hound dog. Hound dogs had fleas. He didn't. A few wood ticks, maybe. But no goddamn fleas.

"Knock that shit off," he growled.

"What's your problem, man? I thought you dug Elvis."

"Elvis can kiss my hairy butt - Chuck Berry would have been the real King of Rock and Roll if he were white."

"What? You've got to be kidding!" The brown werewolf laughed like the MGM lion. The full-throated yowl could easily have been mistaken for a pre-attack snarl. "That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard you say."

"At least Chuck Berry could play his freakin' guitar. Elvis just pretended to play, shakin' his sorry ass all around; shit, I bet he never even learned how to play the damned thing. Chuck could write songs, too, man. Name one stinkin' song Elvis Goddamned Presley wrote."

"Oh, brother," moaned the brown werewolf, shaking his head and taking another greedy swig of beer. "You just don't know what you're talkin' about." He crooned out the rest of the song, a duet with Elvis in an impressive baritone. Perfect pitch was unusual among brown werewolves.

"That was The King, I said the King of Rock and Roll wrapping up another set of the best oldies, right here on KWLF 1590!" The brown werewolf mimicked the late night DJ (No, it wasn't Wolfman Jack. That'd be too obvious.) as the song ended. All at once the night's silence was cracked by the sparking piano chords of Jerry Lee Lewis. "All right! The Killer!" he snorted loudly as "Great Balls 'A Fire" came blaring out of the rattling speakers.

The grey werewolf guzzled the beer he was holding in one vicious gulp, belched loudly, and tossed the can in the bushes. "Little Richard can play the pants off Jerry Lee," baited the grey werewolf.

"I don't believe this," the brown werewolf said, clapping his head and rolling his yellow eyes. "Would you give it a rest already? Geez."

The grey werewolf continued. "See, Jerry Lee's got that honky tonk shit down pretty good for a white boy, but Little Richard's got soul!" Now it was his turn to dance. The grey werewolf jumped up and started pounding the keys on an imaginary piano, shouting at the top of his lungs. "Lucille..."

The brown werewolf joined in and started singing over the top of the grey werewolf's howling. "Goodness, gracious, great balls a ' fire..."

The two werewolves were making a helluva lot of noise. And they hadn't even killed anyone yet.

* * *

"Those goddamned throw rugs are at it again," grumbled Sheriff Harding as he stepped out on his covered porch, his evening calm ravaged by the clamor wafting through the forest. The worn planks sagged painfully under Harding's considerable girth as he listened to the din. (Fortunately, one of the perks of being Sheriff meant foot chases through backyards and alleys were left up to subordinates.) It was well past dusk and he didn't need any caterwauling werewolves keeping him up all night. Bad enough they had the whole town on edge, baying and howling until two, sometimes three in the morning. But The Untouchables was on HBO tonight and, by God, he was going to watch Capone undisturbed if it killed him. Or them.

Suddenly in the mood for a little hunting, Harding called the precinct to send over a car. He hung up the phone, strapped on an oiled .38, confirmed the loaded clip in his rifle mounted next to a Charles Bronson Death Wish movie poster he picked up for two bucks at a swap meet, and stepped out into the misting night.

"Figures," he mumbled, looking up. "Full fucking moon."

* * *

The grey werewolf reached into the carton for another beer, but there were none.

"Sonofabitch," he snapped, kicking the empty box into the woods. "We're out of beer! I thought you said we had plenty!"

"We did, except you've been sitting there suckin' 'em down like a freakin' vampire. Tell you what, though," he smiled, "you fly, I'll buy!"

"Oh, right, smart guy; you're gonna have to come along, too. You're gonna need more batteries and I don't wanna listen to you bitch and moan when you can't get King Elvis on the radio. Let's go."

The two werewolves began their descent from the black foothills, taking a shortcut through the Miller farm. They passed by five shit-greased pigs, screeching and snorting, huddling against the shadowed corner of their fouled pen, trying their terrified best to keep out of werewolf reach.

"Hey, good lookin'...we'll be back to pick you up later!" the brown werewolf chortled, eyeing the largest porker.

"Hey, isn't that Elvis?" the grey werewolf cracked.

"Fuck you."

The horses shifted restlessly in their stalls and a neighborhood dog began barking wildly, having caught their scent in the chilly October air. "Friggin' flea bag - let's hurry it up before the whole goddamned kennel is on our ass."

"Ain't nuthin' but a hound dog..." sang the brown werewolf cheerfully.

* * *

They came out of the woods, just ahead of the off ramp of I 5. An exiting Pontiac nearly clipped the brown werewolf.

"You dickwad!" He howled sharply, sounding like a dog that had been swatted off the couch with a rolled up newspaper. "How do people like that get a driver's license? Maniac! I oughta bite you a new asshole!"

"Cool it," said the grey werewolf. "There's a 7-Eleven. Let's go."

With the gift of grace and speed befitting two lycanthropes in their prime, they were across the road in seconds, closing in on the store entrance. A portly minimum-wager with wide black sideburns and duck-tail hair held in place with 40weight was standing behind the counter, picking his nose and restocking Camel Filters when the thirsty beasts kicked open the glass doors bannered with Budweiser Case $8.99!

"Take care of the schmuck; I'll get the beer," barked the grey werewolf.

The brown werewolf vaulted over the counter and sunk his yellowed teeth deep into the startled clerk's throat, tapping a vermilion geyser that spattered the cigarette rack, Beef Jerky, twelve cartons of unpacked Winstons, the Slurpee machine - and just about everywhere a severed main artery could spray.

"Fuck...a bleeder!" marveled the brown werewolf, smacking his chops. "Tasty!"

With fatted neck gristle stuck between his ruby-stained fangs, the brown werewolf leaped back across the counter and stalked the aisles for AA Energizers - the one with the pink bunny on the package - and dental floss. He padded to the front of the store and, with his teeth, ripped open a carton of Kotex he snagged on Aisle 3, tossing a few tampons into the black red pool Mr. 7-Eleven's mangled head was floating in.

"For those heavy flow kills..."

The grey werewolf, hairy arms loaded with four cases of Bud Lite and a large bag of pork rinds, came around the corner and was greeted by a glassy puddle of brain goo and blood. "Oh, that's just wonderful," he sneered. "You're all covered in that shit; now you're gonna stink like a slaughterhouse."

The brown werewolf stood with chunks of human hair matted to his own, glaring at the grey werewolf. "What the fuck is that?" he asked, pointing at the blue and silver-cartons the grey werewolf was holding.

"It's beer, asshole. Whaddaya think it is?"

"I can't believe you. We hike all the way into this hick town for some brew, and you grab Lite beer! Fuckin' unbelievable."

"Hey, Bud Lite's a damn good beer. And I don't get as full drinking it."

"Don't gimme that crap. I want real beer. Lose the piss water and get some Rainier!"

"They don't have any Rainier in this dump. How 'bout I get you a Coors Silver Bullet?"

"Ha, ha, asswipe. I suppose you think that's hilarious?"

* * *

They were arguing again. Loudly. Their heated "taste great/less filling" debate was momentarily interrupted by a late-night customer who had pulled up to the twenty-four hour convenience store for a carton of milk and cereal. The man walked through the door, rubbing his drowsy eyes against the bright store lighting.

"Excuse me...could you tell me where you keep the Lucky

Charms?"

The two werewolves stopped and turned to the customer.

"Aisle 2," said the brown werewolf.

"Thanks," yawned the customer.

* * *

A call on the police radio brought Sheriff Harding and Deputy Nightstick (that's what Harding called the new night patrol officer), to the disturbance in minutes. Nightstick swung the squad car towards the store entrance and hit the lights.

"Oh, great. Just fuckin' great," groaned the grey werewolf. "You're bitching about my choice of beer, and the cops show up."

"Me? Hey pal, it was your idea to come here in the first place!" the brown werewolf snapped.

Harding and Nightstick had their weapons drawn as they rushed through the door.

"This is not good," said the brown werewolf, stepping back slowly.

"I've been waitin' to do this for a long time," Harding smiled, cocking his rifle and taking aim at the grey werewolf's head. "Kiss your long-haired ass good-bye, you freakin' sonofabitch!"

The grey werewolf growled, his narrowing eyes turning the color of a full vein. He threw the beer on the floor and charged like a pit bull after a paperboy, crashing into a Lay's Potato Chip display - the only thing standing between the Sheriff and a firsthand introduction to a fully pissed lycanthrope.

Harding fired and missed, the shot taking out a fluorescent full moon lighting fixture over a rack of Halloween candy. Two strides away from a midnight snack, the grey werewolf suddenly slipped on an oil slick of blood and brain and momentarily lost his balance. Twenty years as a law enforcer reminded Harding that sometimes you don't get a second shot. And sometimes you do. He quickly cocked the rifle and pulled the trigger again. A white detonation went off inside the grey werewolf's head, throwing the stunned creature into the beer cooler, splattering the glass doors with wolf hair and pieces of snout and teeth. Half his skull was sheared off by the force of the blast.

Frozen like a deer in headlights, the brown werewolf shrugged sheepishly and yipped. He was tagged by Nightstick who dropped the smelly creature like a ten point buck with an clean shot to the right temple.

The store reeked of foaming beer and McNugget-sized bits of particulate matter. And dead werewolf.

Both police officers surveyed the damage like proud army generals. "Mighty fine shootin' there, Nightstick."

"Thanks, Sheriff. Didn't do too bad yourself." Nightstick scraped still-oozing wolf brains off his shoes with a box of Cheezits.

"Yep, even the Rifleman couldn't have bagged that flea hotel the way I did."

"The Rifleman?" asked Nightstick.

Harding gave Nightstick one of those Sheriff looks. "Well, that may have been a little before your time, son, but the Rifleman could blow the eyebrows off a moose turd in mid stride."

"Yeah, well maybe, I suppose. 'Cept Dirty Harry coulda bagged that woolly sucker with way more style."

"What the hell you talkin' about, dipstick? You tellin' me Dirty Harry is a better shot than the Rifleman?"

"That's right," said Nightstick. "I seen Magnum Force six times! I know what I'm talkin' about."

"You ain't telling me shit, son. I'll show you some real shootin'."

Harding had Nightstick place a box of Cheezits (the one he used to scrape werewolf goop off his shoes with) on his head and ordered him to stand at the end of Aisle 3, next to the Pennzoil and Leggs.

"Now, whatever you do, don't move," he warned, sizing up his stationary target. Nightstick stood stock still, balancing the snacks with concentrated effort. Harding squinted to focus. He quickly dropped to one knee and fired his pistol straight into the face of Deputy Nightstick, sending Cheezits and bloody flesh in a colorful burst all over the Otis Spunkmeyer cookie rack.

Sheriff Harding got up, slowly, and looked at what used to be Nightstick's face on Aisle 4. And 5. Harding rubbed his chin and sighed. "Maybe it was the Virginian." *

(Story copyright © 1994 by Hairball Press.)

[Editor's Note: "Two Werewolves" is the title story from Jeff Gilbert's book of the same name, published by Hairball Press in Seattle. The story is also currently being adapted into comic book form by Harris Publications of New York, and is due for release in 1995. The book is available for $10 from Jeff Gilbert, 2318 2nd Ave., Suite 591, Seattle, WA 98121.]


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