Here's a story I wrote for class on Tuesday. It's sort of a companion piece to "Like Fifty Times," a story I wrote a while ago, and by "companion piece" I mean, casually ripping myself off because I'm lazy. It's called "Friday Night For An Aging Campus Werewolf." Enjoy.
After my swim class I go to the Memorial Union Dining Hall and get dinner. People like to bag on the fish sticks they serve there on Fridays, but in my six years here I’ve gotten sorta fond of them. I say “hi” to Luz at the register and Phillip and Jaime in the kitchen. I get twice as much as I would usually get and I eat all of it. Gotta be ready. Tonight is game time.
I see Chris from my Stat class as I’m walking across the quad.
“Hey dude!” I say.
“Hey…Mark,” Chris says. It doesn’t look like he’s going to stop walking, but I stop, so he does do.
“Party on Franklin Street tonight, man! You goin’?”
“I dunno,” Chris says. “Yea, maybe.”
“Awesome,” I say. “Full moon tonight, man!”
“Oh, really? Okay.”
“You know what that means!”
“Right. Well, I’m late for class…”
Class at seven thirty on Friday night? Man, Chris has got to get his schedule changed. I don’t say anything, though. When you’ve been here as long as I have, you learn a thing or two, but some stuff, like when to have classes and when not to, you just have to learn on your own. Anyway, I let Chris go, because the sun is setting and it’s almost game time.
I used to be real embarrassed about it. Like, Freshman year, I had this roommate, right in the room because it’s Freshman year and there’s no WAY you’re getting a single, and he thought it was pretty weird I’d kick him out like once a month for a whole evening when he knew I didn’t have a girlfriend. Then again, he used to lock himself in the bathroom like four times a day to masturbate, so he didn’t have anything to feel superior about either. Anyway, he’s graduated now, along with everybody else my age.
Then one night Freshman year I got into this frat party, you had to bring two girls but it was Freshman year when everybody still hangs out together so that was no problem, and I saw this big fat guy. He had a backwards neon visor with highlighters tucked in the hatband, and he had his shirt off, and he’d let people write all over his beer belly. “TOMMY THE HIGHLIGHTER GUY!” Everybody knew him. There were these blacklights at the party so you could see everything people had written. He didn’t give a shit. He took his fat and turned it into a positive. So that’s what I decided to do with my thing.
I still wouldn’t do it in front of anybody, though. Transform, I mean. It’s as big a deal as it was Freshman year. I’ve had my own room, the same room in the same house on Oak Street, for four years now: Junior year, Senior year, second Senior year, and this year, which I’ve decided to call my Victory Lap. I’m even thinking of making up t-shirts for it.
Speaking of t-shirts, when I get back to my room, the first thing I do is take mine off. My pants, too, underwear, everything. At first you think having ripped-up clothes on is cool and more, like, authentic, but then you realize, Holy shit, I tore up all my back-to-school clothes, and if I have to take the train back to Connecticut and get Mom to take me to TJ Maxx again… Basically, like I said, you learn a thing or two.
I put on my transformation soundtrack (“Legend: The Best Of Bob Marley”) and raise the blinds to let the moon in. If you’ve ever seen a werewolf movie, I probably don’t have to describe what happens next. If it gets really bad and painful, I turn up Bob Marley to cover the noise. But it hurts less and less every time.
Then I look in the mirror. Shit, I look fucking sick. I don’t like how I look normally, but when I’m transformed, I look fucking awesome, and I don’t mean to be conceited. Yellow eyes, big pointy ears, big fuck-off fangs: if I didn’t talk more or less like I do when I’m normal, you’d have no idea it was me. I am starting to get kind of a gut, though. Even transformed it shows. I thought this swim class would take care of it but we’re still doing real basic stuff like breathing and plus it’s only one hour a week.
Then I go to my drawer labeled “WOLF CLOTHES,” which is all stuff a size or two bigger than I wear normally. Most of it is t-shirts from parties from my first four years. Greek Week ’02. Tip-A-Canoe ’04. A lot of them are signed in permanent marker, a thing I sort of stole from Tommy The Highlighter Guy. “TAKE IT EASY, WOLFMAN!” “U MAKE ME ‘HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF!’ LOL!” Great memories. Most of the people that signed these shirts have graduated. But it doesn’t make me too sad. It’s not like they’re dead or anything.
By the time I get dressed, “Legend” is on track eight, “One Love,” like it usually is around this time. It’s almost eight o’clock. The party won’t get started ‘till like nine, so I take out a joint from the Altoid box in the top drawer of my dresser. It’s like impossible to roll a joint with big claws like I have, but handling a lighter is pretty easy. It isn’t like you see in the movies, where you don’t remember anything and you can’t control yourself. Doing wolf stuff seems like a good idea, but not irresistible or anything. Weed usually smoothes it right out.
I’d play PS2 to kill time but it’s like crazy hard to play Madden for the same reason rolling a joint is hard. Instead I just space out to Marley, save my energy for game time. Tonight is going to be a good one, I can tell.
Game time: I walk to the party house. I have pretty good hearing when I’m transformed, and from two blocks away I can tell exactly what song is playing. Kind of a fast one, kind of a loud one. I wait a couple houses down for it to be over. Then a Sublime song kicks in: slower and softer and perfect for my entrance. I run up the lawn, leap onto the porch, and burst in the front door, and my roar is fucking wicked, I’m in really good form tonight: “RRRROOOAAAAR!”
Four girls I’ve seen around but don’t really know are standing in the front hallway. They all turn to me. One girl says “Oh, hey.” Usually people, especially girls, will play along and give me a really good scream, like they’re scared. Maybe these girls are in the Theater program and they’re saving their voices for a play or something. One of the girls says, “Nice costume, again.” I decide to forget the front hallway and try my entrance again in the living room.
Barely anybody even turns around, and it’s not like there’s nobody here, either. This is one of the biggest houses on campus and the living room is almost completely full. The music’s pretty loud because there’s an actual DJ here with an amp and everything, so maybe they didn’t hear me. They still have the Tiki christmas lights strung up from the jungle party they had a couple weeks ago: I didn’t go to that one, because it was an off week. No full moon means no party for me. It’s not that I don’t enjoy parties, it’s just that I don’t want to ruin it for other people by letting them see me at a party all normal. It’d probably be like seeing a Disneyland character with his cartoon head off. It’d probably be pretty traumatic.
I’ve been at the party for sixty seconds and I still don’t have a beer in my hand. If this were Freshman through Senior year, somebody would have DEFINITELY brought me a beer by now, and probably tried to get me to do a shot with them, too. I guess the parties have gotten lamer. Maybe kids just don’t know how to party anymore. Some things you just have to do yourself, I guess. I duck into the kitchen and get in line for one of the kegs.
The kitchen is pretty packed too. People are chanting: “GO SHOT-MAN! GO SHOT-MAN!” A kid from this house, Ian, has an arm-length glove on that he’s attached four shot-glasses too. Three girls and a guy are bent over about to take a shot of something clear from Ian’s arm. He leads everyone in a countdown: “THREE…TWO…ONE…” He tips his arm and they all drink. Everybody cheers. I don’t think it’s that cool. I don’t see what’s so great about hot-gluing shot-glasses to your mom’s old winter glove.
When I finally get up to the front of the line, I see Chris from my Stat class is working the tap.
“Hey man!” I say while he pours my beer, “You made it out for my big night! Nice of you to ditch class for me!”
“What?” he says.
“YOUR CLASS,” I say.
“Oh,” he says. “Right! Yea, um, it got cancelled.”
“Nice!” I say. He finishes pouring and hands me the cup. I get him to pour another one by saying it’s “for a friend.” He hands the second one to me, and I chug it straight off. “Friend…I’m man’s best friend, right?” That’s one of my classic moves.
“A wolf is…a dog is man’s best friend, right? Ha!”
“Oh! Well, I’ll see you, man.” He abandons the tap and walks off.
Now people are cheering for Shot-Man again. This time he’s set up flaming shots. “THREE…TWO…ONE…” Four people drink the flaming shots. Camera-phones flash. Everybody cheers again. Ian raises his shot-arm like he’s king shit. I see my moment and step up.
“Hey SHOT-MAN,” I yell. “Meet WOLF-MAN! RAAAAR!” I go after his shot-arm like I’m gonna bite it, just playing around, but he pushes me back, hard.
“Dude!” he says. “Not cool, man. Not fucking cool.”
“Boo,” says a kid in a Hawaiian shirt.
“Wasn’t he on that list of things on campus that are OVER?” one of the girls that took the flaming shot says to her friend. It’s true, I was on that list, but nobody reads the school newspaper anyway, the school newspaper fucking sucks. It used to be cool, back like Sophomore year where they ran a half-page article on me. In the article, they asked where I got the wolf suit and I played it off like “What suit?” I didn’t have to lie because it’s not like anyone would believe me. Anyway, fuck the school newspaper and fuck the kitchen. I go back into the living room. Kitchens have bad energy. The living room is always where I make my scene.
First I ask the DJ if he has “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon. He says he’s never heard of it, which I can’t really even believe, because it’s a fucking awesome song that they play at practically every hockey game and also because it’s basically my theme song, and anybody who goes to this school knows that. But maybe he’s a townie or maybe he’s a Freshman. Either way, I don’t recognize him. These younger kids are really ignorant about music, I guess.
Fuck the song. I HOWL and hop on the couch. I say, “Does anybody have a LAMB I could SLAUGHTER?”
Some people look over, but nobody really responds. I say, “I said, DOES ANYBODY HAVE A LAMB I COULD SLAUGHTER?” Back, like, Sophomore or Junior year, if there was a party people knew I was going to be at, they’d steal a lamb or a goat from the Agriculture Center and bring it to the party. I only actually slaughtered it once, which some of the guys thought was cool but girls got pretty grossed out by it, so from then on, I’d just chase it around and everybody would laugh. It was a big hit.
“No!” says a girl who got up from the couch when I jumped on it. “Nobody has a lamb!”
“I got something you could slaughter!” a big fratty-looking dude with a pookah shell necklace says. A bunch of people laugh. His buddy gives him a hi-five.
I say, “LET’S GO DOWN TO THE AGRICULTURE CENTER AND GET A LAMB I CAN SLAUGHTER! Wouldn’t that be cool?”
“They closed the Agriculture Center like two years ago,” says one of the maybe-Theater girls I saw in the front hallway. “It’s a computer lab now.”
I know it’s a fucking…I know it’s a fucking computer lab now, I know they closed it down, but I just wanted to, I dunno, I thought maybe somebody, that that would give somebody an idea, like, maybe there’s a cat in here I could chase around, that would be funny, or, I dunno, something I could slaughter, or just pretend. I get an idea and jump off the couch. I run into the kitchen where Ian is taking a break from being Shot-Man to flirt with three girls from Phi Delt. I nudge one of the girls out of the way and open the fridge.
“Looking for something, man?” says Ian. I ignore him. I’ve been at this school longer than him and I’m a fucking lycanthrope and I know what I’m doing.
Back in the living room, nobody seems impressed when I gnash my teeth into a whole package of store-brand bologna. People actually seem kind of upset, because I got meat-juice on them. Sophomore year, they’d save the clothes that the real life campus Wolf Man spilled meat-juice on. I guess nobody knows how to have a good time anymore.
“Boo,” says the same kid who said “boo” before. Yea, good luck with that, kid. Good luck with getting saying “boo” to be your thing. I really doubt you’ll ever have five or six t-shirts that people have signed with stuff like, “KEEP IT REAL, BOO-MAN!” I really doubt that the campus newspaper will ever do a half-page article on a kid who says “boo.” The newspaper sucks but they’ll never suck that much.
Fuck this party. They want Shot-Man? I’ll show ‘em fucking Shot-Man.
Back in the kitchen, I snag a plastic bottle of Vodka and post up in a corner by the spice rack. I don’t recognize anybody in this kitchen. I don’t recognize anybody anymore.
The next morning, I wake up on a floor, human, in clothes two sizes too big for me. My head hurts like a bitch. I’ve been in this house before so I recognize it as the upstairs hallway. I don’t know the kid standing over me. He’s wearing a Welcome Week 2005 t-shirt. Some Sophomore with a really poor goatee.
“Hey man,” he says. “You got up to some shit last night.”
“Oh yea?” I say. “What crazy stuff did I do this time?” This is my favorite part, sometimes. I think a night sucked, then I wake up and somebody tells me I did something amazing while I was blacked out, another Wolf-Man classic.
“You grabbed Katie Peters’ boob and when she slapped your hand away, you started throwing up everywhere.”
“Who’s Katie Peters?”
“This girl,” he says, helping me to my feet. “You better find her and apologize. You probably wanna find Raj too, and apologize. He cleaned up most of your puke.”
“Is he here?”
“Nah, he’s at work. Where’d you stash your suit?”
“No suit,” I say. “I’m a werewolf.” I’m standing now and the daylight hurts my eyes.
“Right, whatever,” he says. “Anyway, Raj’ll be back around five, if you wanna-“
“No, I’m serious, dude, I’m serious, what’s your name?”
“Andy,” the Sophomore says.
I tell Andy that next time there’s a full moon, he can come over and see, him and everyone, they can come over and see me transform. I’ll wear boxers so I won’t have to be completely naked, but seriously, as many people as can fit in my room, he should bring a video camera if he has one, when’s the next full moon…Third week of November, I think, the whole house should come see⎯
“Third week of November?” Andy says. “I uhm. I think the house is going up to Ithaca for a charity event. That weekend. So.”
“Well, the month after that, then,” I say.
“That’ll be Christmas break.”
“Oh,” I say. “Right.”
“Alright, so,” Andy says. “Could you like…move, I need to get into the bathroom.”
“Sure,” I say.
The daylight is brutal. They used to have brunch on Saturday mornings in the MU but they haven’t had it in like two years, so I just go home. When I get back to my room, I go online and start looking around. Did you know that for some grad schools, you don’t even need that good of grades? If you go for the right thing, I mean. I mean, I can’t be a doctor or a lawyer, but some of the computer science things. And some of them are four-year programs. Four years in a town where this is all totally new.
New links, new links, red links, blue links:
FlickrPunch: A new project from UCBT's Original King Of Photo-Caption Comedy, Chris Kula. Fuckin' hilarious and updated daily.
Elm Rock City: My friend Mina is a hot girl who goes to Yale. Now she has a blog where she writes about rap feuds as they relate to Deconstructionist intellectuals, among other things. She posits that the phenomenon of "gold-diggin' hos" will never cross over to academia, which I firmly disagree with. Exhibit A, my hit single "I Wear My Mortorboard Broke Off," which has been called "a 'Chain Hang Low' for the corduroy-jacket-with-leather-patches set." Also, mad chickenheads have been blowin' up the cell piece since my doctoral thesis dropped and I was on the cover of "Crip Crit."
Go! Now! Read!
The current vogue of producing Shakespeare has, from my vantage as a theatrical professional, become ridiculous: “Romeo and Juliet” set in an insane asylum. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in a high school. “Julius Caeasar” at the DMV. “Take the Bard’s work and set it in an unlikely location” seems to be the major operating prinicipal for classical directors these days. I find these productions disgusting, but not because they are blasphemous. Frankly, I think they do not go far enough. That is why my theater company, The Truth’s Mirror Players, will be staging a production of “The Tempest” on the moon.
The most casual theater-goer will say, “Oh tosh, Piotr, The Royal Shakespeare Company did their moon-bound ‘The Tempest’ just three years ago! And The Classical Stage Company went so far as to stage a reading of it in Buzz Aldrin’s house! Your idea has already been done and done again!” But this casual theater-goer underestimates me. I mean to put my "'Tempest" not on a stage adorned with papier-mache craters, but on the actual moon. And where my will goes, a way always follows, a fact which can be attested to by those who witnessed my underwater “Troilus & Cressida” at the Nyack YMCA, or my “Love’s Labours Lost” performed by a cast of stuntmen while they were on fire.
Last spring, while at a scenic constructivism workshop in Moscow taught by a man who studied with Meyerhold, I was lucky enough to come in contact with a disgraced Russian missile scientist who clued me in to the location of a decommissioned five-stage Soviet rocket. I am at a loss for a way to get my acquisition back to the U.S., so once the rehearsal process is complete, the cast and I will get on a flight to Moscow, and thence by train to the rural facility where the rocket is stored. We will achieve cooperation from the facility’s employees using the very real firearms from our production of “Henry V,” and, assuming a number of factors are in alignment, launch ourselves to the “inconstant moon.”
In keeping with the play’s ship run aground, we will not land on the moon, we will crash. The actors will stumble from the wreckage and take the sun rising over the Sea of Tranquility for their “lights up.” They will perform for as long as the moon-suits from our production of “The Right Stuff: The Musical” maintain structural integrity, and as long as there is air in their decommissioned Soviet oxygen tanks. The show may run for one performance or for thirty, but definitely until we run out of water. All the performers have signed waivers and, having spent their professional lives searching for the real, raw, brutal stuff of theater, are actually quite excited. No wooden-sword play-fighting production can hope to live up to the exhiliration of speaking the Bard of Avon’s verse while rapidly asphyxiating in a merciless vacuum, in which there is no sound anyway.
“But Piotr,” you say, “you have made one grave miscalculation! You have one rocket for the cast, where is the rocket for the audience?” I say, they are already in their seats: in the backyards and on the street corners of this planet, gazing up at my proposed venue. “They will not be able to see!” you say: “To even the scientist in his observatory, your actors will barely be specks on Moon’s face!” This is precisely my intent. For indeed the modern viewer is as far away from the original intent of Elizabethan drama as the Earth is from the moon. (Truth’s Mirror season ticket holders will be provided a fourteen-dollar telescope and a general indication of where to point it.)
It will be my greatest triumph, and, barring any intervention by NASA or benevolent, as-yet-undiscovered moon-people, my last. But if by naked good fortune I do make it back to Earth, I plan to proceed forthwith with my as-yet-unrealized production of Marlowe’s “Doctor Faustus” set in the left kidney of a Best Buy clerk.
If you're up in the morning tooling around in your satellite radio-equipped dune buggy, Dominic and I are going to be on Sirius Channel 108 tomorrow (Tuesday the 12th) as guests of The Covino And Rich Show, 0promoting DERRICK. Since said show is broadcast on the channel called Maxim Radio, Dominic will be sharing his top ten secrets for cheating on your girlfriend with her sister, and I will be showing off my magnificent fake breasts.
Yes, they even come through on the radio.
In the wake of Pluto’s recent de-planetting, my mind drifts to another Pluto, who has received just as much of a raw deal as his celestial counterpart. I’m speaking, of course, about Pluto, Mickey Mouse’s dog. It’s been the subject of many late-night stoner conversations: Pluto and another character in the Disney universe, Goofy, are both dogs, yet Goofy can walk and talk with the rest of Toontown while Pluto, well, Pluto is just a goddamn dog. Goofy is gifted with upright motion and speech, the things that seperate us from the beasts, or in this case, the things that seperate most of the beasts from one very unlucky beast. Pluto simply wasn’t there on the day Walt Disney handed out brains.
You could read Pluto’s situation as an elitist allegory, a letter from the Magic Kingdom that says, “No matter how many genes we share, some of us will be mighty, and some of us will wear leashes.” But I’ve chosen not to see it that way. I prefer to think that Goofy sold out. He traded his essential dog-ness for the ability to walk and talk like Mickey and Donald. In the bargain, he got slapped with the name “Goofy.” He only walks to trip and fall over. He only speaks to say “Gawrsh!” He went from a walking dog on four legs to a walking joke on two.
Pluto, on the other hand, opted to be a first-rate dog instead of a lame parody of a human. He’s named PLUTO, for the Roman God of the Underworld, not GOOFY, a synonym for “retarded.” He slobbers over bones, he likes to fetch, and he makes no apologies for either. Most importantly, he does NOT accept his slave name. Pluto the planet could learn a thing or two from Pluto the Dog: better to be a spec of space dust on your own terms than a planet on someone else’s.
Saw Ghostface Killah last night (or the tail end of his set, anyway) at the NYU mystery concert. I didn't have a ticket and I got out of class late, but Donald txt-messaged me that it wasn't sold out and I should try to get in, and I did. A steady stream of Dudes With My Haircut and their Girlfriends With My Haircut were coming out of the theater as I was on my way in: Animal Collective was the opener and apparently People With My Haircut prefer ambient-psych-noise-whatever to...you know...things that are fun.
Ghostface prompted us to throw our cellphones in the air for ODB and did a string of Wu Tang hits. Ghostface did "Run," the song I credit with teaching me how to behave when I'm caught selling drugs in a school zone. Ghostface prompted "all the ladies" to get on the stage. "Where NYU at?" he asked. Apparently where NYU is at is a place where bony, enthusiastic white girls bop around like they're at a B-52's concert while dudes in Ghostface's posse rub up against them. I like the idea that these girls' dads paid forty grand so their daughters could get onstage and have rappers talk about "putting one in their doo-doo maker."
It was fuckin' great. He didn't do "Holla" or "R.A.G.U." but I still have very little room for complaint.
Tonight: seeing Boris Yeltsin in BKLYN. Hooray!
Gregor had a rooftop BBQ for Labor Day. Jess and I are demonstrating P. Diddy's "Peace Sign For People Who Are Too Lazy To Extend Both Fingers."
I have titled it, "DC, Confused, With Sandwich And Beer." When I die I hope this picture will stand as a testament to how I lived my life: confused, with a sandwich and a beer.
That's somebody else's arm: it only appears as though I'm slowdancing with Lou. But a girl can dream, can't she?
DC, Rachel and Sarah are DOUCHEBAGS in: THE DOUCHEBAGS.
Meggie took this at last week's OUTTAKES. I do this bit where I call people onstage to draw their caricatures. After the show, people theorized that this shirt was meant to reference this girl's love for me. I prefer to think she is just really into cherry blossoms and democracy.
Some fellas just ain't got no luck at all:
My iPod headphone jack up and broke the other day. It only plays the left channel now. And everybody knows that, since the inception of stereo recording, record producers have referred to the left channel as "the bullshit n' nonsense channel." All the good shit happens in the right ear. And I'm missing all of it now.
This is my fourth broken iPod. I guess I should start taking better care of my things, but then again, one more broken piece of consumer electronics is no reason to break a sensational twenty-one year streak of buffoonery and neglect.
Some guys have all the luck:
I had two great shows this week and two in the past two weeks. The HKATZNYU orientation show was killer, Outtakes at UCB last night was a total gas. A lotta times when there's a show I don't want to do I check myself by imagining telling twelve-year-old me I get to do comedy shows in New York City but I don't wanna do this particular one because I'm too lazy or or too snobby or undeservedly jaded or whatever. And he goes, "You're full of shit." And he's right. But the past couple weeks, I haven't had to talk to him much, except to tell him how good things are going.