How Long Have You Been A Werewolf?
Two young men sit at a seaside bar. The older of the two men nurses a glass of unidentifiable liquid while tapping out a nervous rhythm with his right foot. With arms crossed, the younger stares past the other man towards the sea.
“So both, huh?” the older says.
“Yeah, both,” the younger man agrees.
“I never knew.”
“It’s not like I told anyone.”
An attractive young waitress visits their table, asking the men if they would like to order another round of drinks. The younger declines while the older orders a double. “A double double,” the older corrects before she leaves. After she shuffles away, they sit in silence for another moment.
“How long have you been hiding this from us?”
“I don’t know. A while.” The younger man sighs. “A long while. It’s not like I hid it. It’s somethin’ I shouldn’t have to broadcast.”
“I guess. But seriously, both?”
“Both. Didn’t I just say that?”
“I know. You did. It’s just-”
“Both, yes. You can try and say the words you know,” the younger man says, giving the other a challenging look.
The older glares, wiping his sweaty palms over his dress pants.
“I know okay. I get it. You don’t have to shove it down my throat,” he says, his face turning an old shade of red.
“Right, right. Because my being who I am puts you in an awkward situation. Sorry, I didn’t realize. Sorry about that, dick,” the younger man mutters the curse under his breath to both the older man and the sea.
“I heard that,” the older man hisses. At least he was attempting to keep his voice low in the quiet bar. Not everything in the world had to be a spectacle.
The younger shakes his head. The other four patrons couldn’t possibly hear them over the crash of the ocean waves.
The older man asks, “So, how long have you been, you know…”
“Both human and wolf? The word you’re looking for is werewolf.”
“Keep your voice down,” the older man says, glancing back at their waitress. The petite blonde was waiting on another table, a young couple arguing over a shared appetizer. They don’t look up from their menus.
The old man turns back and says, “Well, how long then?”
“I don’t know. My entire life, I think.”
“Yeah, I do. What the hell, man? I thought you said you were cool with this.”
“I am! I am. I just have to get used to it.”
“You have to get used to it? It’s not like it changes anythin’. I’m still the same person.”
“I know. But, you know, isn’t there a chance you’ll jump me? When there’s a full moon or something.”
“Myth,” the younger man snorts. “The full moon is just superstitious bullshit.”
The waitress returns with their drinks. Both men thank her. The older man downs a quick gulp. He had hoped this conversation would be shorter. The young man squints and crosses one ankle over the other, ignoring his own glass.
“Well, don’t I look tastier now? Don’t you get any weird urges?” the older man asks when the waitress has gone again.
“No. Didn’t you look at any of the pamphlets I sent you?”
“Not yet. Soon. I’m getting to them. I thought the Internet would be more helpful, you know, in case the pamphlets weren’t up to date or something.”
The younger man rolls his eyes to the heavens.
“Oh, god. You went online? Seriously? Oh, man. It was all porn, wasn’t it?”
“…not all of it.”
“Jesus, man. I warned you. No wonder you’re being so weird about this.”
“I’m not being weird. You’re the one who’s weird.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing. I didn’t mean it like that.”
The younger man watches as the couple begins eating their appetizer. The steak tartare is pink and raw where they pile it onto their lightly browned crostini. The younger man wrinkles his nose. Disgusting.
The older man asks, “So, how’d you know?”
“I just felt it. It’s a part of me.”
“And your parents…are either of them…”
“No, it doesn’t work like that.”
“Right, of course.”
“It’s not hereditary or like a learned trait or something. You just are or you aren’t.”
“So you didn’t choose it?”
“Seriously? Did I choose it?”
“What? It’s a valid question. I don’t know anything about this shit, man.”
“Fine. It’s not a choice. Any other questions?”
“Does this mean you can’t have kids now?”
“Dear lord. Yes, I can have kids. Maybe. I don’t know. I’m not sure if I even want kids.”
“Right. Because of your new found…tendencies.”
“Fuck, man. Really? Tendencies?”
“Yeah. And I don’t want kids because I hate kids. You know that. I’ve hated kids since I was a kid.”
“I know. I remember.”
The waitress returns, asking if they want the check. The older man passes off his credit card without looking up from his empty glass. She eyes them as she slides his card through the portable reader. The younger man smiles at her ruefully. She passes back the card, giving him a small smile.
They sit silently. The older man taps his left foot, then his right.
“Look,” the younger man says, glancing at his phone. “I gotta go.”
He stands and the older man follows suit. They walk to the parking lot. The younger man pulls a red key chain from his pocket, waiting. There’s more to be said, he knows, just as the older man knows.
The older man disappoints him.
“Bye,” he says.
The older man clicks his thumb against the automatic remote of his car. The doors unlock loudly. The younger man watches as he slides into the front seat, as he waves, as he pulls away.
“Bye, I guess.”
The younger man frowns.