Lycanthropy Is a Many Splendored Thing (1987)

Mervin was a wimp and he knew it. Wearing horn-rimmed glasses and clothes twenty years out of style, Mervin slid quietly down the razorblade of life, never once reciprocating any ill that he was forced to bear.

Not that he didn’t want to. He just couldn’t. He was a wimp that is, until he met the werewolf.

He had just lost Rachel to Bill Henderson, a refugee from Neanderthal stock. Rachel was beautiful and Mervin had realized that she was too much for him, though he wished he was wrong. For once, he was right, however. Three months, thought Mervin. Three months of effort lost in a minute.

He supposed he could have made a scene and fought for her, but that would have gained nothing (except a huge hospital bill). Instead, he had just watched Bill and Rachel as they left laughing, arm in arm.

To calm the rage he felt in his stomach (not to mention what he felt for Rachel a bit below that), he had left the neighborhood bar and started to walk. Miles passed along with time and Mervin continued on. It wasn’t until he was way out in the country did Mervin halt his train of thought long enough to deduce he was lost. Mervin stumbled up and down for quite awhile before finding the map by the side of the road and bathed in the moonlight, he traced his path with his finger. Thank goodness for the full moon, he thought –

Seconds later, he heard the howl and immediately regretted it.

Mervin ran as fast as his genuine artificial leather penny loafers would carry him. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that he was being chased by a werewolf. Mervin was well read, and knew all about werewolves and what they would do if he was caught by one. He looked down and saw his shadow stretching away from him. Another shadow, much different in form than his own, was following. Closer and closer they came. Mervin screamed in terror as they became one.

From behind, the werewolf pounced on his flailing victim and proceeded to bite him near the throat. Mervin fainted.

He came to a few minutes later and was very surprised to find himself nearly whole (not to mention alive). The werewolf stood nearby trying to spit the bad taste out of his mouth. With a disconsolate howl, the being trotted off leaving Mervin to contemplate his fate. He had been bitten by the werewolf; now he was a lycanthrope, a shape changer, destined to become a ravenous killer every time the moon was full.

Mervin smiled. Wouldn’t Bill be surprised when he found out the news.

The next twenty-eight days practically flew by and Mervin spent the time reading up on the subject of his affliction. Contrary to popular belief, he discovered that a person does not always turn into a wolf; it depended on what kind of animal was inside the tormented soul. Mervin wondered whether a wolf would rip Bill’s throat out, or would some other beast end his existence in a similar fashion. He couldn’t wait to find out.

On the afternoon of the twenty-ninth day, Mervin wrote out his challenge. Basically it stated that the winner would have Rachel. Mervin had worded it carefully so that none of its vulgarities were more than four letters long. As he mailed it off, he desperately hoped that Bill could read.

Bill could and was waiting for him that night at the neighborhood bar.

Mervin walked in a few minutes before moonrise. Bill was very cordial and asked Mervin if he would like to meet his fists.

“Not in here,” declined Mervin before they could be properly introduced. “Meet me in the alley in a few minutes,” then added with a smile, “I just have to change.” Bill waited a few minutes then lifted his massive, slightly-intoxicated, six and a half foot frame from the bar stool and strode out into the narrow gap in-between the bar and another building. The alleyway was bathed in the light of the full moon and Bill could plainly see a few garbage cans, but no Mervin. Thinking that Mervin meant to ambush him, he folded his huge arms and waited.

– And waited and waited. Bill became more and more angry. At last he gave up.

“lf I ever catch that guy…” The thought faded as Bill’s brain cell turned itself to the problem of getting rid of the determined hamster which had attached itself to his boot.


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