He sat by the water. He didn’t feel really great, but he was very happy about his outfit. The black vinyl worked well with the suit. It was cool now at night. It was calm. The movement of the water was perfect. The moon was out and not shy. The clouds shimmered in the sky. He loved when this happened. Most of his life was filled with covering a darkness in loud clubs. The only light offered dancing off disco balls. The lasers were cool. And he lived for the fog. It washed over him. His shame was overpowering. It was at that moment interrupting his usual conflicted cycle that the wolf approached him. The wolf was dressed well as usual.
“Tonight I made you a gin and tonic.”
The words slowly dribbled out simply, “I haven’t had one in a while.”
“I know you favor Jameson on the rocks. But tonight, I want you to feel something else.” The wolf still stayed at a slight distance. He saw in the moonlight that the wolf had especially slicked his hair. It was somewhat breath taking, perhaps chilling.
He spoke after a minute as the wolf elegantly handed the drink towards him. “Thank you.”
After another minute, “Thank you for meeting me again. They said there was no hope for me.”
The wolf smirks, “They? Don’t you mean you?”
“Well, I’m just fucked, right?”
He starts to grin to himself. The wolf knows. He can’t persuade the wolf to lean to his game. Yet he tries again, this time with slightly more confidence.
“Why do you put up with me?”
The wolf says, “You invited me.” The wolf retrieves a crumpled bible from his dinner jacket.
“Do you remember this?”
He looks at it and he begins to crumble inside. It is the bible that his father gave him.
“Don’t run away. You know how you feel about it. It was a book of instructions, yes? A book that you were told to memorize. An experience that troubled you. And it has stunted you.”
He looks in earnest. “My drink is nearly dry.”
The wolf leans to the left, the moonlight devastatingly beautiful caressing his perfectly slicked hair. He sits back up with a new drink in his hand.
“This time the whiskey, my good friend.” He takes the drink and looks back at the water.
The wolf speaks sincerely, “It is time now. Your time.”
“Of course. Did you think that someone else was going to do it all for you?”
He stammered, “I am so thankful for your visits!”
“I am a wolf. I am dressed to kill. And with the right amount of time, I will kill what is draining your heart every day. But you need to follow my instructions, and you most certainly can’t stray from your cause. If you want to be great, you must be great. Your goal is not to get by, but to thrive. Stop looking down.”
He is looking at his dress shoes. They are perfectly worn. They look amazing with the black dress pants. Better than usual. He is so glad that he thought to mix it up with a vinyl top.
The wolf stands. “I can’t always be here! You must be able to do this yourself!!”
He falls inside. “I need you.”
“not anymore. It is time. You know what you must do. You can be as purposeful as your sense of fashion.”
He stands and looks to his left. The wolf is gone. The only hairs on his body, on his forearms, stand suddenly. The wind moves through the trees. He plants his feet. The ground trembles. His back itches. It burns. He feels weak. His eyes bounce around in his eye sockets. His ears wiggle. His teeth chatter. The ground around him moans. His suit jacket feels tight. His vinyl top is stretching. It is thrilling and painful all at once. The two powerful stems rip out of his back. The water in front of him gets smaller. He is moving further and further away. He sees himself as a boy playing piano. He is on a drumset. He is being made fun of. He is been celebrated. He is killing his demons one at a time. They cry out, “you must cherish us! We keep you warm!” The piano notes echo with the most beautiful reverb. The music plays as he fades.
His alarm goes off. He is in Manhattan. It is hot. It is another day. His eyes feel heavy. He puts on his running clothes. Cut off grey tights with black vinyl shorts. He does his stretches. He begins to run.
“Sometimes I need to be alone. I need to visit the wolf. I need to process. I don’t want to need.”