Suggested Audio Candy
 Elmer Bernstein “An American Werewolf in London”
 Sting “Englishman in New York”
That wretched fishing trip aboard the ill-fated Orca really took it out of me. What started out as a relaxing jaunt on the open waves ended up a nightmare after the biggest fish in the swim paid us a visit. It was some paddle back on that floating piece of makeshift driftwood and cramps set in long before we reached the coastline. However, with Silent Shadow treading water alongside me, I managed to keep my water wings inflated and dry land finally embraced our aching bones. Shadow was far less than amused by the whole debacle as he had stated beforehand his distinct dislike for sharks. I knew I would have to make it up to him somehow and there seemed only one appealing option.
An all expenses paid return trip to The Big Apple; one of my all-time favorite destinations and a most magnificent city. How could he turn his nose up to such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? He could try but I would turn it back down again. Alan had checked his availability and could fly us there on the double but would have to land slightly shy of New York due to prior commitments. This posed no real quandary and instead provided the exclusive chance for some backpacking as we took the final steps of our passage. It would be an adventure and, more critically, one we could undertake on solid ground. He almost gnawed my fingers off when I suggested it and we packed our belongings where we stood. Walking boots? Check. Swiss army knife? Check. Baby wipes and hand lotion? Check. All set.
The first rule of rambling is to travel light so Shadow stumped on just two cans of cheap industrial-strength lager to save on being over-encumbered. I considered leaving Bonus Brain and Balls behind as they appeared surplus to requirements but, considering they had sat the previous leg of my adventure out, it seemed only fair to extend them a cursory invite. Balls in particular was psyched about the prospect; having watched all six seasons of Sex and the City, he relished the idea of finding some aging cougars to bang senseless. I also insisted he watch Porky’s, if only to see Kim Cattrall’s mesmerizing turn as Lassie. He was totally on-board and, by her final howl, ready to shatter his duck. Brain, on the other hand, was every bit as pessimistic as I had come to expect and blathered on about it being a doomed expedition. Clearly he stilled bore a grudge and nothing I could say or do was likely to make a blind bit of difference so I just let him rattle on.
It had been a long tiring journey and we still had a good few hours of hiking ahead of us if we planned to reach the promised land before sunrise. All that walking sure does make a man thirsty, another hour of this and my mouth would likely resemble an anal enclosure, so we decided to kick back for a while and take the weight off our weary feet. The Slaughtered Lamb didn’t sound like the most inviting of taverns but there were precious few alternatives so we pitched our tents and strolled on in. “Dude. American chicks love the English accent. We could be in for a sound slamming here.” Shadow’s words hung in the air as the entire establishment fell deathly silent on our arrival. Beady eyes all around, not a single welcoming peeper, just loathing and contempt. I turned to my associate and only one thought sprang to mind. “I told you we should have stopped at The Battered Hake.”
While we were there, we may as well order ourselves a tipple or two. Shadow stepped up to the bar “My good man. Would you be so kind as to inform us of what beer you have on tap?” he asked. “We’ve got Budweiser, San Miguel, Kronenburg and cheap industrial strength lager” was the landlord’s response. Instantly Shadow perked up and dropped his rucksack by the side of his bar stool as he ordered two pitchers of his usual. How his liver hasn’t rotted away I will never know. Stopping here was a slight deviation from our original travel plan so I thought maybe the locals would be able to shed some light on our current coordinates. “Anyone know how far to New York City?” I inquired.
“Yeah if you keep going straight you’ll be there in about three hours or so but there is one crucial factor you must take into consideration” That sounded a little ominous but not as much as the following statement “Stay off the moors and beware the full moon.” What a load of superstitious claptrap. Clearly we could shave a good few minutes from our journey time if we did exactly the opposite. Not wishing to speak out of turn, I thanked the patron for his Intel and instantly disregarded it. We finished our pints although Shadow took it to extremes and I practically needed a palette knife to scrape his licker away from the bottom of the glass. “Hold on dude, just a couple more slurps.” If he put as much elbow grease into cunnilingus as he did clearing froth them I’m assured he would have a face hugger for every day of the week. Finally he finished going down on his refreshment and we gathered our belongings to skedaddle before the locals ate us.
“Dude. Do you think we should be worried?” Shadow was evidently a little on edge after our stern warning. “Nah. I’d be more concerned about that sheep shit on your backpack.” We disregarded their rant and strayed from the trodden path, much to Bonus Brain’s bemusement. “I’m gonna start calling you Bronson” he piped up. “Why would that be?” I inquired. “Because you’ve got a fucking death wish. Why else would you blatantly disregard their sound advice?” Suddenly, there was an almighty howl and both of us stopped dead in our tracks. “Dude. Please tell me that was your tummy” said Shadow who had turned as white as asylum linen. “I could tell you that if it made you feel better but I’d be spinning you an almighty yarn.”
He offered me a look of sheer consternation and, with that, was knocked length ways by something big and hairy. It carried him a full thirty yards before chowing down on his throat and midriff, much to my utter horror. I also sustained damage but fought through the pain to make my way back and save him. Alas, it was too little, too late. By the time I reached him, he had been torn into slender ribbons and no sewing kit in the world could put this Humpty back together again. I took one look at his twitching cadaver, still grasping his last can of cheap industrial-strength lager, and instantly knew it was curtains for my compadre. I gagged like Ron Jeremy’s wife mid-fellatio and was then knocked headlong by whatever had just eviscerated my buddy. If it hadn’t been for the gunshots that rung out at that moment then I’m sure I too would have been dog meat. I passed out soon afterwards.
I’ve just woke up in a hospital bed and the nurse has just informed me that I’ve been out for three whole weeks. I don’t remember a single thing since the incident other than a couple of particularly lurid nightmares but my worst fears over Shadow’s well-being have been confirmed. On the plus side, I’m fairly assured the nurse has a crush on me as she has cleaned my bed pan four times in the past hour and I’m fairly sure she slipped a finger in on the last occasion. I’m sure Shadow wouldn’t begrudge me a little happiness, after all, it’s the only thing I’ve got going for me right now. Bonus Balls seems in high spirits, he’s always had a thing for women in uniform and is ready to pop his cherry after weeks of staring at whitewashed walls.
Okay, there is no longer any doubt. I could tell by her bedside manner that she had a thing for me but she has just offered for me to crash at her apartment when I’m released tomorrow. It’s on, there’s one part of my body right now which has been afflicted with a ‘happy ache’ and it is soon to be re-homed. I have had other visitors but the police and a representative from the British Embassy hardly constitutes as a laugh-a-minute and they were asking questions that I simply had no answers for. Time to leave this clinical hell hole and dish out an injection of my own. Just to take the edge off my buzz, I have just received visitation from Shadow, who was looking somewhat the worse for wear. He was surprisingly chipper given that his face was hanging off. The news he brought with him however was far less positive.
“You’ve got a curse dude, a real doozy, the curse of the werewolf. There is a solution and it’s the only one on the table I’m afraid but it does involve killing yourself to break the hoodoo. Sorry.” That’s a bit like hearing that doctors can stop the bleeding in your leg but only through amputation. “What if I don’t?” was my logical next poser. “You’ve seen Teen Wolf right?” he asked. “Yes, you know I have. Give me a keg of beer!” We both found this highly amusing but Shadow’s laughter was tempered with the fact that his tongue kept sliding through his cheek cavity. “Yeah. It’s nothing like Teen Wolf” he said with a more somber tone. I knew exactly what he was driving at as he had forced me sit through the video for Thriller with him a million times back in England. If I didn’t do as he asked then chances were I would turn into Michael Jackson. I told him I’d take his warning into consideration and then he simply vanished. I’ll think on it some more but not before I get that flannel wash.
Everything has just plummeted to a new sub-level of cool. That nurse came good on her offer and took me back to her pad as promised. That part was hunky dory. I was just preparing to slide one past her and her beeper went. Turned out they were short-staffed and needed her to cover for a few hours. I tried to lay the guilt trip on her by reminding her that my dressing wouldn’t change itself but, considering she’d offered to square up my medical bill, I didn’t have a leg to stand on. What I wasn’t prepared for was the eventuality that moments after she left I would have four legs to stand on. Turned out that Shadow wasn’t blowing smoke in my ass after all. The pain was excruciating, unlike anything I’d ever felt. My whole body underwent the most bizarre metamorphosis but there was no butterfly waiting for me at release from my cocoon, just more body hair than I’m comfortable with and far too much on the face.
Before I could grab the Epilady I was overcome with hunger and a desire to annihilate. Basketball has never really interested me greatly so this Wolf was going to have to get his kicks somewhere else. I took to the streets and headed for the nearest subway where I found my first meal ticket. That didn’t sate my appetite, merely whetted it, so I continued to prowl. Next up was a group of vagrants who I set upon in devastating fashion. The real me would never punish those already down on their luck and there was clearly something more animalistic at play. I remember not feeling particularly good about myself but it was as though my control had dissipated temporarily. Howling at the full moon was never part of my to-do-list.
So here I am now, stark bollock naked, possibly suffering from hypothermia and incarcerated in the wolves enclosure at Central Park Zoo surrounded by enough greys to give Liam Neeson the runs. What’s even more mortifying is that the whole free world is in attendance and gawking at me through the bars. The last thing I need is some eight-year old girl trying to ram a peanut down my trunk so I grab her balloon and scarper. That should get me back with my dignity partially intact or, at least, it is what one would believe. Unfortunately I catch it on the turnstiles and it pops in front of a bustling New York street. My this is awkward, hold on folks while I slap him around a few times and wake him from his slumber. It’s a cold morning you understand?
I must get to a phone and call Alan but, as I’m not wearing a stitch of clothing, a nickel can be hard to come by and I can’t expect him to reverse charges after everything else he has done for me. I must return to the nurse’s place and use her landline before I get picked up for indecent exposure and thrown in a different kind of cell. It’s three blocks from here so I’d better get my freak on. I’ll grab Bonus Balls and Brain while I’m there, some clothing clearly, and wait for my chopper. I love New York, really do, and would have loved to do the Empire State again while in the vicinity but I’m beginning to question whether me and vacationing are really cut out for one another. Maybe I should just fester in a squalid pit, somewhere even I can’t get into strife? A mining expedition perhaps? Take it underground for a change. Anyhoots that petulant scamp is back and she’s staring into my bum crack as we speak so ta-ta for now.
I feel bad for that nurse, really do. She was so accommodating and tended to my every whim whilst in her care. She arrived back from work a minute after me and was most pleased to find this hunk of funk butt naked and seemingly ready for the Bronco. Bonus Balls was egging me on and I was fully aware that he had his own designs but Alan was ten minutes away and I couldn’t keep him waiting. “Won’t you at least stay for a coffee?” was her final plea to get me to stay. I replied glumly “I don’t drink coffee, I drink tea my dear” and left with any self-respect precariously dangling. The look on her face tore at my heart-strings but, on the plus side, at least Bonus Balls may get that seventh season of Sex and the City he’s been hanging out for.
There’s Alan now and, even more exhilarating, is the reemergence of Silent Shadow who is by my side at evac. “I know a good surgeon Shadow. I’m sure, with a little masking tape and some crazy glue we can have you ship-shape in no time.” I know all of Shadow’s looks and this definitely isn’t one of approval. “Thought you’d forget old Shadow did you? After all we’ve been through you were actually going to leave me marooned in an alien environment weren’t you.” I pass him the last can of cheap industrial strength lager just to soften the blow. His eyes light up for a moment and he swills it down but the whole lot pours straight through his cheek. With that he turns back to me and delivers his next line in total deadpan “I’m DEFINITELY getting dibs on the window seat.”
Truly, Clearly, Really, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2014