Right now, I’m eating hot dogs –I want to say thousands of them, but it’s fewer than that –just whole packs of them briefly thrown in the microwave. I am eating them with mayonnaise and barbecue sauce: my hands are slippery red and white with them. I was sitting at the kitchen table, but now I’m on the floor, just eating, stuffing my mouth full, three or four at a time and the mayo –and there are other condiments –is making me a little sick, but somehow I feel that I will feel worse if I stop, like when I had been continuously driving a long time, eighteen hours, you feel sicker if you stop. This has –nothing –to do with being –a Wolf-man. This is just something that I am doing.
It’s late at night. I’m not sure there is a full moon or no –I’m not good at that sort of thing. I am getting ready. I am putting on my running suit. Actually, I am looking for it. I keep everything on hangers in my closet, so reaching back there is like pressing through a thick forest of baby clothes and old snowsuits. I never seem to throw anything away. Anyway, I push into my closet and it pushes back, rolling back on me like a dusty wave. I sneeze a lot, but eventually I force my way back, further into the past, past the pants I can’t wear anymore with the pleats, and I find it, my running suit. It’s baby blue with rainbow stripes on the arms and legs. My face is hot and wet from the struggle with the closet and the sneezing. I am flushed. I strip naked and pull my running suit on. The tight polyester slips around me and I zip up. I am hot, sweaty and a little erect, to feel my nude self clung tight in this running suit. I keep sneezing. My nose runs. I am the Wolf-man.
I pour myself a little drink while waiting for the running suit to complete the wash cycle. I know it will dry quickly outside in the night air. I do not need to drink to become the Wolf-man. I just have a little time on my hands, is all. I turn on the television. Maybe a nature show will be on. Or pornography. I pour myself another drink. I use the expression “pour myself” but I couldn’t find any clean glasses, so there’s no actual pouring involved. There’s nothing really on. I flip from channel to channel. With a light footed trot I am on the prowl, my attention is quick, vulpine. I run quickly through a familiar episode of “Miami Vice” I have already seen. My way is sure and deft. I think about stripping naked and working out, but I remember I still can’t find the spring thingy that goes on the end that keeps the weight on and how last time the weight slipped off and broke something collectable. Through these hundred channels I have gone and seen and been not seen, like the hundred places of the forest floor, silent and swift and discriminating. To the blue of the blocked channels, I howl.
I am ready. I pull my suit out of the washer. It feels like a fresh wet skin. I feel my muscles move and slide and beneath this new skin. I howl. I exult. I also feel a little uncomfortable dampness, especially in the pants. I think about taking it off and putting it in the dryer, but I do not want to lose the moment, waiting for the dryer. I wrap myself in a towel and pour myself a drink. I can feel myself gathering, collecting, steaming in this damp running suit. The thunderhead. The power. The root of my sex. The tightness of my buttocks. Within my new skin, I stroke myself gently. Masterfully. Majestically. I keep sneezing. I get another towel. I pour myself a warming drink. It is midnight. Charlie Rose comes on. I usually don’t watch the whole thing, but I’ve been kind of following this story, but first he’s talking to Sean Penn again.
-So if you can get those documents to us, explaining your payment history, I think that would go a long way in terms of getting your refinance going.
-So I just write my Household Finance
-Well, you should probably call them
-I call them and ask for my payment history for February of last year.
-Going back to February, yes.
-Can I have them fax it to me? Would that be quicker?
-They probably will need to mail it to you.
-Could you? Could um, ...Could you ask them and have them fax it to you? Because it’d be quicker.
-No they probably need to release those records to you, and we can’t ask them. But you could fax it to us once you’ve got it.
-I see. So I call my bank and have them send it to me. Then I fax it to your number.
-That’s right. Then we’ll be able to get your loan request underway.
-With cash out. Oh, that’d be great. You’ve been very helpful.
-Thank you. I am the Wolf-man.
-Thank you, Mr. Wolfman.
-No, no. I am a Wolf-man.
-A man who changes into a wolf. Okay, be sure to get those documents into us and I’ll take them right into the president and we’ll get you approved.
-Oh, okay, thank you.
My secret is out.
-You mean like in the movies?
-It’s not like in the movies. I was never bitten. I think I was born a Wolf-man.
-Okay, well is this related to the whole not bathing thing? Because that, again, is what I called you in here to talk about. Because it’s makes for a poor work environment and that’s what we’re here to do and I shouldn’t need to tell you this -you know, showering, brushing your teeth -you do brush your teeth, don’t you?
-Yeah, I brush. I take baths. Bathroom’s been busy lately. Housemates. There’s no hot water and I don’t want to be late.
-Well, you know, what can I say, I’m sure it’s not good for the other people on the bus, either. I appreciate that you get here on time, but, it's part of your job, not only to get here on time, but on time ready for work, for the professional work environment...
-I can bathe more.
-Good, great, I’d really appreciate it, your co-workers would -look, it’s awkward having to tell you all this, I mean I just want to keep this place professional and it’s bad that people are having to come to me.
I hope your feelings aren’t hurt. I mean, I’m not your Mom or anything or some hygiene, you know, Nazi, you know “Mr. Clean” or whatever. It’s not my place to tell people how to live their private lives, that’s right outside this office. I mean, we’ve all gone camping right? And natural smells, whatever. But are we camping now? You know what I mean? A little soap and water never hurt, even when you’re camping. I wouldn’t care if you were sitting next to me -well, I would care, that’s the point -but if I didn’t manage this office I wouldn’t care. Live and let live. I mean you can do your own thing, whatever. You’re a Wolf-man. Is that like a religion? Like uh, what’s that thing called in like the Indiana Jones movie, um -like a Sikh or something... “Kali-Maaaah”, you know? God, what is that called?
-So they -uh, that Asian family in Florida is going to try and get us their payment history.
-Okay, whatever, just keep them interested. Hey, you know what’s great? Body wash. It’s like shampoo for the body. Or like Irish Spring. Oh that was before you’re time. Oh no, it wasn’t, you’re like way older than I am. Yeah well, like Irish Spring, scrubbing bubbles whatever. Okay?
-I like helping people.
I know you do.
-I also like figuring things out. Like I figured out how to copy a DVD. It’s not easy, because you can’t just copy it. They don’t tell you how. But I figured it out. Just as long as it’s not longer than ninety minutes.
Well, you are very smart.
-I’m also very physical. I like to work out. I don’t as much as I should, but when I put in the time it makes me feel really good, I mean good about myself.
Do you go to a gym?
-No, just ...around the house. I have some weights that a friend’s brother gave me. He works at the Renaissance fair. He’s got swords and weapons for hand to hand combat from all periods.
So your conversation, sounds like it went really well
-Yeah, the president said I was doing a really great, really superior job -because I like to help people. And that I was a great asset to the company because I always come in on time. We talked about religion. He’s a religious man, an educated man. He asked if we could go camping sometime, just me and him. Like a man thing. And work out. He said that I could be president, too. But I have to take more showers.
-You know, be more professional. For the big boys.
How’s the not drinking coming along?
-I don’t drink.
Well, okay, it’s not just the not drinking. You’ve also got to go to the meetings. If you’re not drinking, that is. If you want to drink, that’s another story.
-But it’s better if I don’t.
Well, on the whole, I think you should be very proud of yourself. You’re doing good. You’re working. You’re taking care of yourself. Just think, if you keep this up you could start to realize some of those dreams you’ve always been talking about.
-Like making that balloon project.
Well, that’s partly an engineering problem and perhaps a legal thing, but, you know, going back to school, meeting more people -if you did half or even one of the things you talk about, it would be quite an achievement. You’re a special person. You’ve got dreams and visions for yourself. You should work toward realistically realizing them, just one of them. You would find it very satisfying.
-I’m glad you said that. Because there’s something I’ve always been meaning to ask you.
Would you like to go out with me for a drink and -uh, have a drink sometime?
Well, that’s very nice of you. And I appreciate you’re being honest about your drinking. I’m here to help you. This is our time, together, to -talk about you. I think you’re really a likable person. But they don’t really let us do that and I don’t think it’s really a good idea for many reasons, because our relationship is a professional one. And you need to meet people. People in your world, in your life. I think you need to meet women. I think you’re ready. Not necessarily dating, just getting used to talking to them, as you have to me. Remember, women are people, too, just like me. You can talk to them -you wouldn’t tell them all the same things, but they love a good listener and I think you could be that, if you tried. And I think at heart, you’re a decent sort. You’re sweet even. Sexy. I’m sorry I can’t be that person for you. I really am. I’m married to my ship. Not that I’m not tempted. No, I would give it all up, just to be with you, I really would. I would love to spend one long and lonely sweaty night with you, rutting on all fours. Totally wasted. In the Wolf-cave. I know you are a Wolf-man. I’ve always known it. You move like a hunter. Your eyes are quick. I could smell it in your breath and on the couch after you’ve gone. I would lie on that couch and hike my skirts up. And I would keep doing it until I thought I was going crazy. That’s why I can’t be with you and it’s your choice, okay, whether or not you want to modify your behavior, but I think, and I know you think, that drinking has bad consequences for you. Okay? Well, let’s think on that until next time. I’ll look forward to hearing what you’ve decided. Okay? Wolf-man.
Yes, yes. I am the Wolf-man.
NUMBER 46, WEEK 34, WORD COUNT TO DATE: 39,136
NEXT BY 15 FEBRUARY 2006