Saturday, January 20, 2007

A short story

They got together, and not without a sense of irony, on the first full moon of a month, unless it was a Thursday. Then they just waited until Friday cause Charles couldn't get out of picking up his kids from their fencing classes. Of course, everyone joked about the fencing lessons when Charles wasn't around, but the group did so in a mostly loving fashion. Every full moon, a dinner out. The wives and husbands understood, as the married ones knew the need to confess their "illness." At this point it was nothing a few pills a month couldn't suppress, but the bachelors could be cagey with dates and one night stands. It was determined a genetic anomaly and medicines were developed all of ten years ago, but there was always a likelihood (something Sebastian was all too aware of) that an unknown pregnancy could leave more than a couple of people dead. The earliest signs of the illness come when puberty kicks in, but a first outbreak can be deadly. There were a couple ways of spreading the "disease" (again, no one likes to call it a disease, it's like calling a pencil a piece of art... yes, it's applicable, but only under the loosest of definitions). but A#1 easiest way was through offspring (urine proved to be the second most powerful way of transmission. Some of the affected have mistakenly been labeled pee shy as a result)

Their meetings were about a fourth class reunion, a fourth support group, a fourth lodge meeting, and a fourth an act of policing. Records were kept, of course, who hadn't been around for more than two meetings. Sebastian was appointed to be the obituary follower, to both check for those who permanently left their group, and also for anything suspicious. He was in his sixties but still spry, which was normal. If someone missed their third meeting Sebastian would alert Ted and Nancy, who would first make a phone call, and if nothing came of that, they knew what they had to do. Of course, everyone joked at the meetings (usually after their standard steak tartar and extra rare fillet dinners) about how they kinda wanted to get off the pills. Some members because they had no idea how it'd go, and others wanting to taste it again. And of course, there were the side effects to their medication. Impotence and dryness were known to be a problem, dizziness, and for those who were on it for ten years straight, kidney stones. Most of the jokes by the old timers revolved around their piss. But the punchline was always Ted and Nancy.

The biggest problem with going off the meds, besides turning into a werewolf, was that the meds were mood altering. Off the pills for two weeks, and kids were known to turn erratic, quiet people got louder, loud people got quieter, but most became moody, and even more strongly reject the desire for their medication. Even those who ran out of pills and had to wait a couple hours for their refills could shortly thereafter start down the path, which generally took about three moon cycles for the meds to fully flush out. Like a junkie, getting off and on was always the hardest part. That's what Ted and Nancy were for, nicknamed Sugar and Spice. He had the tranquilizer, she had the shotgun. If you didn't go down with one, you'd go down with the other. They were jokingly referred to as state licenced killers, but ultimately they only had to use their James Bondian powers once in their interim. It was the first years that were bloody, and the ones that established the need for a two person system. If a "cannibal" (as they were also called) went off their meds it was always the worst. Two put shotguns in their own mouths, but - again - that was considered the Wild West period.

The problem was that everyone went off their meds at one point or another. There was talk of having an Alaskan workshop, but the money hasn't come together yet, and it would require at least a three to six month absence from one's work or life. It was what Charles and Sebastian were discussing after their latest, and enjoying a smoke outside as the group dispersed yet again. Much like his lycanthopy, Charles didn't let too many people in on his smoking habit. But the meetings allowed him a chance to flaunt the secrets he kept from his boss, whose father had been mauled to death, and was a violently religious health nut, perhaps in response to his father's passing.

"I think we should do it as a retirement village."
"Of course you would, you're near retirement."
"You know me, I'm responsible."
"No, I know. But we all get it, we all get it all the time."
"Tell me about it. I found myself doodling the woods the other day. Just doodling."
"Did you add dead chickens?"
"No." Sebastian laughed "Dead rabbits."

One of the newest members handed out copies of their group photo, which had him giving thumbs up in front of their plate of meat surrounded by his new tribe.

"Thanks. Anyway, I keep thinking about driving to Northern California..."
"Or Southern Oregon?"
"Yeah, and just hanging out until it happens."
"Then, what, you think about Sugar and Spice?"
"Nah, I figure someone else would just shoot me. It's been so long though, I don't know what to expect."
"I remember the wind."
"When you run really fast?"
"Yeah. Being on all fours, the thrill of the hunt."
"I tried bow hunting, it's not the same. And I don't have the teeth for ripping an animal apart this way."
"Also, I have no idea what I'd look like now."
"I had a real fluffy white coat last time."
"You must have looked like an evil husky dog,"
"Yeah, but I got a lot of ass."
"But you're married now, kids, all that."
"I guess straight people buy a fancy car when they feel this way."
"Yeah. Different strokes, and all that."
"Yeah, I know, you got kids to look after."
"Yeah. See you next month."