My Sad Werewolf

Mark Galarrita

There’s a sad werewolf on my balcony. He broke up with his werewolf boyfriend—Gregov, an awkwardly lanky wolf who’s a bit of a flirt. This crying Lycan said he’s a vegetarian, but he’s munching on bacon out of the bag. I don’t know where he got it. I went to Aldi yesterday and bought the following: whole-grain cereal, three small olives, a box of low-sodium party crackers, and smoked Gouda slices. It’s important for me to have festive foods available on the off-chance I’ll have guests. (I never have guests.) The olives are for me. I chew on one, savoring each bit of flavor, wondering why there is a crying werewolf on my balcony. And why did he choose my balcony, of all the balconies in my neighborhood, to lament? My nosy neighbor Francois is eavesdropping from the safety of his patio. He always threatens to call the cops on me for “suspicious behavior,” but he never does. My neighbor doesn’t like my face because I try my best to smile at passing strangers and newborns. Acquaintances might regard me as a chipper fellow, but it’s more that I’m not a fan of unhappy folk; I try to impart happiness where I can. Ice cream makes people happy, I should take this creature out for ice cream. Are frozen treats something werewolves enjoy, and, if so, do they have opinions on Rocky Road or Neapolitan? If I started talking about the history of dairy desserts, would he think I was the type of fool who drones on at cocktail parties to occupy gaps of silence? All I ever want is to fill my life with meaningful conversations, but I could do better. When faced with an upset child or an angry neighbor, I’m flummoxed. I can’t even invite Francois over for a sodium-conscious cracker and cheese party, let alone calm a lycanthrope in bereavement! Do werewolves dream of their human selves—is that why they shed so many tears? The shapeshifter is on his second pack of raw pork, and Francois is outside—on my lawn—with cellphone in hand. I’ve never seen him interact with another human beside the mail carrier. She hates Francois. My neighbor sees me—and I see him seeing me—but he doesn’t say hello. That happens sometimes, like when I walk into the city and I see folks I went to middle school with suddenly dressed in grown-up suits; I wave, but they don’t wave back. And I wonder if that’s the reason there’s a werewolf eating stolen bacon on my balcony.

 

Mark Galarrita is a Filipino American writer and a graduate of the 2017 Clarion West Writers Workshop. His writing can be found in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Electric Literature, Bull, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter (@markgalarrita) or on his website.