A werewolf and his wife sat on a couch. He took up two-and-half-of the three seat cushions, and his ass was hanging off the arm rest of one side of the sofa; she was pinned up against the other one with his cow-sized head on her lap. With her right hand, she snagged potato chips out of a bowl on the short table–one for her, one for the werewolf–and with her left, she idly scratched at his flank and ran her palm up and down the bony spine that ran in between two canyons of thick muscle. She also wiped potato chip grease on his head occasionally. The teevee was tuned into KSOS and the Late Movie was playing.

Harry and Capolina Gardner were having a quiet night in.

This was the third month of Harry’s transformations, and the couple had settled into a rhythm. Capolina marked the days of the full moon on the calendar hanging on the fridge by drawing fanged mouths around the dates; Harry didn’t think that was funny. She had also bought him a bone, which he also did not think was funny except for when he was a werewolf, at which time he enjoyed gnawing on it. The last night of the waxing gibbous moon, they would walk to Dario’s butcher shop on the Main Drag and buy a couple pounds of chuck and four or five whole chickens. Harry had told her several times that he was sure he could eat it all raw, but Capolina was a nurse at St. Agatha’s and had seen too many food poisoning cases to let her husband eat uncooked chicken, even if he was a 600 pound hellhound, so she roasted the birds with a lemon-pepper glaze she made herself. The chuck she cracked some eggs into and made meatloaf. Harry would turn, and then he’d snooze for a bit, and then they’d eat–he was tall enough to stand at the kitchen table; she would sit–and then they’d flip on the teevee and sit wrapped up in one another on the brown corduroy couch that was a hand-me-down from her mother. Same as most other nights, but furrier.

Capolina had watched once. The transformation. Just once. She worked in the Emergency Room at St. Agatha’s, and she had seen trauma. Stabbings, shootings. A man who had tried to fight a helicopter’s tail rotor. She had been on duty once when a guy came in with eyeballs made of moss; they had not, that morning, been made of moss; he was taking it poorly and loudly. Capolina had patched up the victims of the Night of the Swan Knives. (Someone taped machetes to the wings of the swans who live in Lake Bell in the Verdance. It’s a long story.) Burn victims, too. But the transformation was different. It was to normal trauma what guacamole was to the moon landing: not comparable whatsoever. She was crying by the end, and he laid there panting and whimpering. He had told her she didn’t want to watch. After that, Capolina went in the bedroom and turned up the clock radio on her the nightstand on her side of the bed. Harry would strip out of his clothes and sit naked on the couch with his hands clasped in his lap. She would kiss him and go in the bedroom and turn up the radio. She turned it up loud; the sound of breaking bone carries.

When she would fall asleep, Harry would slide off the couch and nose her legs up onto the cushions, sniff her a few times, lay down on the floor beside her.

“We’ve never had sex when I was a werewolf.”

“No.”

“Is that out of the question?”

“Entirely.”

Harry liked to walk Capolina to the hospital in the mornings. They held hands as they strolled down Bailey Street.

“It’s me on the inside.”

“Yeah, baby, but you’re a giant evil dog on the outside. With, you know, a lipstick thing.”

“It’s not a lipstick thing.”

“It’s not a human dick, baby.”

“I’m a human.”

“Like, 85% of the time. And when you are? I love your dick.”

Capolina pulled Harry in towards her and he stumbled on the sidewalk a bit; she kissed his neck and bit it lightly.

“But not when you’re a werewolf.”

“I was trying to spice things up.”

“You’re already very spicy, baby.”

They walked in silence for a half-block. Bumping shoulders and Capolina rubbed Harry’s thumb with hers.

“It’s just that…you know…even when I’m that thing…I still love you.”

She stopped short, yanking him back into her green-scrubbed arms. Kissed him right on his mouth.

“I know, baby.”

“How do you know?”

“You haven’t eaten me.”

Their neighbor, Mrs. Teitelbaum, passed on the sidewalk.

“Hello, Mrs. Teitelbaum.”

“Ma’am.”

Mrs. Teitelbaum held her enormous pocketbook closer to her chest and said,

“Weirdos.”

Harry and Capolina laughed and kissed again.

“Weirdos. You heard her,” she said.

“Weirdwolf.”

“Right? If Mrs. Teitelbaum only knew.”

They started towards the hospital, and then Harry froze in place like he’d been hit by lightning that freezes people in place instead of setting them on fire.

“Holy shit.”

“Baby?”

“She just walked by a werewolf and she had no idea,” he said with wide eyes. Harry grabbed Capolina by her shoulders and held her fast. He looked up and down the empty street. “How many werewolfs have we walked by and not known?”

“I don’t think any,” she said flatly.

“Can’t be. There’s me. The fucker that bit me. That’s two; that’s two we know of. There must be more.”

“Where are they? Nobody who’s been attacked like you were has come into the hospital.”

“They’re there. They’re here.” Harry sniffed the air. “I can smell them.”

“You don’t actually have werewolf powers when you’re a person.”

“You don’t know that.”

Capolina put her hands on Harry’s eyes and said,

“Who’s walking towards us?”

Harry took in great gulps of air with his nostrils.

“Trick question. No one’s on the street.”

She took her hands off his eyes, and Mr. Teitelbaum walked by them.

“Hello, Mr. Teitelbaum.”

“Sir.”

“Have you seen my wife?”

They both pointed in the direction she had gone.

“She left me at home to die, but fuck her.”

“That’s a good attitude, Mr. Teitelbaum,” Capolina said.

“I’m saving my farts for when I catch up to her.”

“Excellent plan, Mr. Teitelbaum.”

“Marriage is a constant negotiation.”

After he shuffled off, Capolina kissed Harry again, right on the mouth, and said,

“That’s gonna be us one day.”

And he kissed her back, and now they were on their secondhand corduroy couch in their one-bedroom cottage on Bailey Street with the teevee on and his great hairy head in her lap watching the Late Movie on KSOS.

“It’s about breathing, boogers. This is…this is what’s not understood. The diaphragm retracts, and the intercostal muscles flex. This spreads out the lungs, which increases the interior space, which lowers the air pressure, which draws air into them. It’s a basic…it’s scientific. The air gets warmed by the nostrils and slides down the larynx and plonks itself down into the lungs.”

Draculette laid on her purple Edwardian couch and stared off beyond the camera.

“And that’s what…it’s, uh, it’s all about. Breathing is the hokey-pokey. That’s what it’s all…AAAAHahaha.”

She stared a bit more. Her wig was listing ten degrees to starboard and one of her spidery eyelashes was attempting to crawl off her face.

Tiresias Richardson sat inside a movie theater and thought about facades. She had looked up the word in the thick blue dictionary she kept in her kitchen. She did everything but eat there–meals are to be taken in bed, of course–and the dictionary sat next to her pads and scattered pencils and back copies of Spotlight, which was the show biz newspaper. When she woke up in the afternoon, Tiresias would drink coffee and open up the French doors that led to the Juliet balcony overlooking Nurmi Street. The balcony’s floor was made of curved rebar spaced too widely to stand on.

The Tahitian had a facade that was blank until a teenager climbed a ladder and misspelled movie titles on it, and in the auditorium was a facade purchased specifically for its blankness, a silvery and unnatural nothingness that stretched across the room’s east wall for a hundred feet and rose six stories. A facade was a place to lie, she thought, and then quickly amended her thought: a place where lies were guaranteed. Anything you projected onto a facade became a lie, even if you were telling the truth.

This struck Tiresias as a very important thought, and so she turned to Big-Dicked Sheila in the seat next to her and said,

“All faces are lies.”

Sheila was leaned over the railing of The Tahitian’s balcony watching the crowd fill itself out. She saw friends, and people she was avoiding, and friends she was avoiding. Several motherfuckers she had been looking for. Money owed and lent. Good fucks and bad, and thieves and angels and suspected werewolfs. Bald spots. Suspiciously long handshake, chilly hugs. She saw envelopes of whatnot being stuck in pockets. General milling about.

“Sheel,” Tiresias said, and scratched at her shoulder.

Sheila looked at her as though she’d never seen her before.

“Uh-huh?”

“All faces are lies.”

“Okay.”

“Tell Precarious.”

“Okay.”

Precarious Lee was sitting on the other side of Sheila, also leaning over the railing and taking in the sights. You could fill the auditorium in 20 minutes, empty it in five. The fire exits: there, there, there, that one was just painted onto the wall, there, there. Room needed 10,000 watts to shake it, give or take a few hundred, but The Tahitian’s sound system ran at 26,400 watts, which meant you could set the volume at around 2 for comedies or 3 for action flicks. There was friendly music playing. Precarious could see the speakers blob out and retract like the music’s beat was a bully. The walls danced in time, too.

“Precarious?”

“Yup?”

Sheila blanked, turned back to Tiresias.

“Something about faces?”

“Uh-huh.”

“What was it?”

“The thing I said?’

“Yeah.”

“What did I say?”

“That’s what I’m asking.”

Tiresias thought very, very hard for maybe 30 seconds and said,

“Can I have some soda?”

Sheila glared at her.

“I asked you if you wanted one. They’re free.”

“Soda isn’t free. You can’t get free soda. That’s, like, the basis of capitalism.”

“Capitalism beaches itself on the shores of love.”

Sheila was dating The Tahitian’s owner, Augusta O. Incandescente-Ponui, whom everyone called Gussy, and thus was the recipient of both free beverages and complimentary snacks. Sheila tried not to take advantage of this perk, but Gussy had told her what the unit cost and markup was and she didn’t feel all that bad. She had a large tub of popcorn with extra butter topping-flavored butter topping, and a superb-sized Diet Coke. (Gussy sold super-sized drinks until McDonald’s threatened to sue, so she Sharpie’d in a “b” on the end of “super” and went about her business.) There were also three boxes of peanut M&M’s in her purse.

Precarious also got free snacks at the theater, a popcorn and an orange soda, but he had never slept with Gussy. He had donated the sound system in exchange for free admission and the aforementioned snacks To Gussy’s credit, even when the sound system turned out to be both sentient and a pain-in-the-ass, she still held up her side of the deal.

“Sooooooooda,” Tiresias moaned.

“Here ya go,” Sheila said, and put the cup in her crotch and stroked it up and down. “I got yer soda right here, bitch.”

“You’re still more charming than my last six dates. AAAAHahaha!”

The balcony was full of recidivism. Twelve gently sloping rows with the projectionist’s booth in the middle like a ship’s wheelhouse. The booth was empty tonight. A dice game in the corner, and at least two women practicing their bullwhip acts. Someone had brought a charcoal grill, kielbasa, tongs. The balcony was insurrectionary at the best of times, restive the rest of the time; like a border collie, it was destructive when bored. It was not bored tonight. Several rolls of toilet paper went arcing out and down towards the orchestra section, and not all of them were on fire.

The curtain was drawn, and there were more than a dozen folding chairs on the stage. Gussy could not get a straight answer on how many people were to be giving the presentation and answering questions, so she erred on the side of plenty and placed all the chairs she owned on the painted-black planks of the stage, along with a microphone on a stand. There were also two microphones at the end of each aisle so Little Aleppians could speak. Each was guarded by a cop.

No one was happy with the cops. No one was ever happy with the cops, but it was generally a more diffuse irritation, a buzzy and inchoate “fuck those fuckers” kind of unhappy; now, the feeling was specific and pointed and on its way to becoming spiked. No one was happy with the Town Fathers, which was also normal, but threats had worked their way in now and locals threw not eggs but rocks. No one was happy with the fire department. That was a new one.

Little Aleppo was scared.

The Mayor took the stage and a lusty cheer went up.

“Good evening, Little Aleppo. I’m Cakey Frankel.”

“HELLO, CAKEY!” the crowd roared back.

Cakey Frankel had not run for office. She was the anchor of KSOS’ five o’clock news show, and beloved in the neighborhood for her utter incomprehension of what she was reading. Also, for her hair. It did not move, but still seemed free; it was blonder than blonde; it was authoritative hair that brooked no dissent. Cakey’s hair increased her head’s volume by a factor of two. Her teeth looked like professional clouds.

“What a turnout!”

The Harper Foole was Harper College’s humor magazine. Some years, they published an issue; other years, they fucked around and bothered people. This year belonged to the latter category. Performance humor, they called it. The comedy of direct action. Running a comedy candidate had its charms, sure; there were some laughs to be had. An animal, a drunk, the goofy fuck who said goofy shit. Ha ha ha. But running a candidate against said candidate’s will? That was funny. It wasn’t 24 hours after they put up the first campaign posters touting Cakey that she announced on the air that she wasn’t running.

(Cakey was reading from a statement written for her. She didn’t precisely understand why she couldn’t run for Mayor.

“You’re a journalist, kinda,” Paul Loomis, Jr., the owner of KSOS told her.

Cakey had wide eyes and she nodded her head and said,

“Uh-huh. And?”

“And you can’t run for office and be a journalist at the same time.”

“Uh-huh. And?”

The conversation went on like that for some time.)

The neighborhood caught on to the joke quickly, and hundreds of people would show up for her campaign speeches. The Foole‘s staff played her loyal pols, and would stall the crowd with stories about how Cakey was held up in traffic or kidnapped by barbarians. She was on her way. At one supposed speech, a Foole writer named Baffin Moore regaled the crowd with a tale about Cakey volunteering in Namibia. She was, according to Baffin, teaching tap dance to the Bushmen. The problem was that there just weren’t any hardwood floors. Someone taped the routine; it was widely bootlegged and played at parties for years afterwards.

Which put Cakey Frankel in a bind. First, she would report on her Mayoral campaign, and then she would claim no knowledge of it and repudiate the whole campaign. It was a good joke, it was a quicksand joke: the more Cakey resisted, the tighter it held. In the weeks before Election Day, Paul Loomis, Jr., was reduced to appearing on-air himself, begging the neighborhood not to vote for Cakey.

Of course, it was a landslide.

Which left Paul Loomis, Jr., with a tough decision. One one hand, journalism had rules. A reporter surely could not be a member of the government she reported on. It was absurd on its face. How could a news organization retain even the slightest bit of credibility under those circumstances? The Fourth Estate could not be the First.

On the other hand, the ratings were better than they had been in years.

So, Cakey was the Mayor.

Three of the five Town Fathers were sitting behind her. (Sandy Hereford was under house arrest again, and Anetta Housell refused to attend the meeting on principle.) Flower Childs was in her dress blues, and so was Hank Paraffin; they had not made eye contact since arriving separately at the theater, and were now engaged in a subtle, but vicious, posture fight. They were both wearing hats with patent-leather brims. Cakey was wearing a dress with red and purple swoops and black high heels; the KSOS intern holding up the cue cards a couple feet in front of the front row was in jeans and a tee-shirt. She stared down into the orchestra and read,

“Little Aleppo, we gather here tonight in this grand theater for an important purpose. We are here to discuss the recent revelations that anyone asking questions of a sexual nature will be asked to leave. Wait, that didn’t make sense. Marky?”

The interns name was Mark, but Cakey called everyone by their diminutive.

“I think you mixed up the cards.”

He turned the large sheets of oaktag towards himself so he could read them, and dropped the whole pile onto the floor. Several cue cards were stolen.

Cakey was not much of an improviser, so she said to the crowd.

“Good evening, Little Aleppo. I’m Cakey Frankel.”

“HELLO, CAKEY!”

Hank Paraffin stood up and crossed to her and took the mike.

“Mayor Frankel, everyone.”

The crowd cheered; Cakey waved, smiled, sat down, smiled some more.

Hank Paraffin was the handsomest Police Chief had ever had, which was not tough, but even without grading on that particular curve, he was a big bohunk of a guy. His mustache was charming. His chin pulled out chairs for ladies, and pulled quarters from children’s ears. Medals and badges and pins all over both breasts of his jacket. Hair combed straight back as if frightened by his face’s symmetry.

He smiled his open-mouthed smile and said,

“Okay, let’s talk about why we’re here. Recently, evidence has come to light that there may–and I repeat, may–be an arsonist in the neighborhood. Gotta remind you: just because some kook is leaving notes at the Fire Station, doesn’t mean he’s the one setting the fires. We have not completed out investigation yet, having been hampered by the Fire Department’s lack of cooperation.”

Flower Childs pursed her lips. Oh, it was gonna be one of those neighborhood meetings.

“Rest assured that the LAPD (No, Not That One) are on the job. Every single police officer under my command is on this case.”

A voice from the balcony called out,

“What about Stan?”

“Well, yeah, not Stan. He’s on vacation,” Chief Paraffin said.

“Where’d he go?” a different voice cried out.

“A cruise, I think? I think a cruise.”

“They screw you on the drinks,” a third denizen of the balcony yelled. “Drinks aren’t included in the price!”

“We’re getting off-topic. The point of this meeting is to update you with what we know, and answer any questions you may have.”

There was a tall man named Harbor Fint at one of the microphones at the end of the aisles. The chief pointed at him and said,

“You, sir. You have a question?”

“Yes, you said you were going to update us on what you know.”

“Right.”

“What do you know?”

“There may or may not be an arsonist in town, and the recent spate of fires may or may not be attributed to him or her.”

“Didn’t we already know that?”

“Not officially. Now it’s official: something may or may not be happening and there’s an investigation underway.”

“Do you have any suspects?”

“I’m not going to comment on an ongoing investigation. Yes, ma’am?”

He pointed at the microphone in the other aisle. A tiny Asian woman stood there. She said,

“Have you seen Rudy?”

“I don’t know who that is, ma’am.”

“He’s got a beard.”

An enormous black man in a bright-yellow suit stormed down the aisle, more gracefully than you’d think; he took the small woman by the shoulders and walked her back to their seats.

“Mrs. Fong, you don’t need to be asking anything,” the Reverend Arcade Jones said.

“Rudy, you shaved your beard.”

“Just come sit down.”

A sallow man was at the other mic.

“Point of order.”

He was hunched over and his head thrust forward like a rhino. Big gray sideburns. Nostril hair the same shade.

“Point of order, sir.”

“We’re not exactly following Robert’s Rules here, sir,” Chief Paraffin said.

“Why have these HEINOUS crimes against already OPPRESSED communities within this neighborhood not been classified as HATE CRIMES, sir?”

Laurel Dorsey held a picture of Manfred Pierce above his head like a challenge. Flower Childs controlled her face, but the eyes inside her brain were rolling. Manfred hated you, you little asshole. You and your fucking books. All the Wayside was to you was material, she thought, and she spit on the ground (also inside her brain). She did think that Manfred would appreciate the picture Laurel had chosen, though. He looked great.

“Sir–”

“Don’t call me sir!”

“Buddy–”

“How dare you!?”

“–we can’t classify anything as a hate crime until we know the intent of the person that committed the crime.”

“I can tell you the intent. GENOCIDE.”

The crowd groaned.

“Sir, lets not bring genocide into this quite yet.”

Laurel Dorsey reeled back on his heels to gather strength and rocketed forward, spittle flecking and flying.

“It is HERE, Chief! Look at the targets. Jews. Intellectuals, or what passes for them at Harper College nowadays. Homosexuals. You cannot DENY this, Chief,” he said, and now he turned around to face the packed house in The Tahitian.

“We have NAZI ARSONISTS in the neighborhood, ladies and gentlemen.”

Smoking wasn’t allowed in the balcony, but neither was stabbing people, and that happened often. Tiresias Richardson watched the cherry of her bummed Camel blacken and flake. It was oxygen, she thought. Not water. People said water was the universal solvent, but it was really oxygen. Everything that breathed it, died. She held the Camel under her nose and snorted air onto it. Watched it flame up and back down, up and back down, eat itself while throwing off waste. Smoke was a cigarette’s piss and shit, she thought. This was an important thought, she further thought.

“Sheila.”

“Yeah?”

“Smoke is cigarette shit.”

Sheila was watching the crowd below her, both arms hanging over the railing of the balcony. She could see the wind blow through it, a rustling that went from row to row, only visible from above; the neighborhood was one organism responding to invisible stimuli. There was anger over here that flowed downwards towards the stage, and then over there was a joke that spread through the crowd like a blooming daffodil. They didn’t know it, Sheila thought, that they were part of a whole. They’d argue the point that they were points on a grid. She could see Little Aleppo’s nervous system in their necks, and in how they cracked their knuckles.

“What?”

“Waste.”

“Right.”

“Cigarette. Shit.”

Sheila reached into her purse, which was more like a satchel, and came up with a box of peanut M&M’s. Ripped it open.

“Candy?”

Tiresias put the Camel out on the floor of the balcony and cupped her hands together. Sheila poured and Tiresias jammed it all in her mouth at once. She sat back in her seat to be alone with her chewing.

Precarious Lee was watching the stage. The people on it, and their eyes. There was no end to what you could learn about people by watching them. Fire Chief was drilling holes in the back of the Police Chief’s head. Two of the Town Fathers were having an affair, he was pretty sure. Cakey was excited about the turnout. Cop’s only pretending, he thought. Asking people what they thought. He didn’t give a shit. Bad actor, Precarious thought. Handsome enough to be a movie star, but no actor. No one’s as honest as someone onstage against their will.

SHAKKA SHAKKA SHAKKA Sheila shook the box of M&M’s in his face.

“Nah. Thanks.”

“You’re turning down peanut M&M’s?”

“Appears so.”

“I don’t know you sometimes.”

Sheila tilted her head back, opened her mouth, poured the candy in, chewed.

“Precarious,” she said, tapping him on his shoulder. He turned to her, and she opened her mouth as wide as she could to show him the half-chewed chocolate and whatever-the-hell-the-shell-is-made-of.

“Nice. Okay, gimme.” He held out his calloused palm. She shook some M&M’s into it. Precarious smirked and looked Sheila in the eye, and then they leaned forward and over the railing. SHWEEEE went the candy onto unsuspecting heads below. They jerked back from the railing and collapsed into their seats laughing as cries of “WHAT THE FUCK?” came from the orchestra section beneath them. Precarious always did get silly when he ate too many mushrooms.

“Does the blood go to the lungs? It gets air in it. The blood. That’s why it’s red. The air creates the redness. Without oxygen, blood is blue. Blue blood, right? The purest. The bestest of all. But rub a little oxygen on it? Bam: red. Common and red. Oxygen gets all over us, boogers.”

Draculette was on her side, propped up on her left elbow; she couldn’t figure out where to place her legs and kept adjusting them. Her tall black wig had fallen forward and was covering one of her eyes. Her right nipple was halfway out of her dress. The burly cameraman, whom Draculette had made part of her act and called Bruiser, had been waving and pointing at it for at least a minute. Sheila would have helped, but the coffee pot in the corner of the small studio needed to be stared at.

“And…you…breathe in and out. You breathe in and out without ever noticing it, but that’s the most important thing. We overlook it because it’s so important. One day, we’ll stop breathing and we don’t want to think about that, so we don’t think about breathing at all.”

One of her shoes was off.

“What’s that thing? About survival? Three weeks without food, three days without water, three minutes without air. It’s the breathing we ought to think about. It’s the breathing that means the most.”

The studio was quiet and the red light remained on.

“What’s the name of the movie, Bruiser?”

“Your nipple,” he said.

Your Nipple? What the hell kind of a name is that for a horror movie? Are we showing porn now? If we are, I want a raise. AAAAHahaha!”

Bruiser pointed again. Draculette looked down, into the camera, down, into the camera.

“Yes, Bruiser. I see you’ve met the newest resident of Draculette’s Dungeon: Ethel the Haunted Nipple.”

She squeezed her breast like it was a ventriloquist’s dummy, and in a high-pitched voice said,

“Hello. I am Ethel. OOOOOOgieboogie.”

Precarious Lee was in Tiresias’ dressing room watching the feed on a monitor, and he was laughing so hard that snot was shooting out his nose.

Viewers at home could not see Sheila, but her voice carried and they heard her say,

“Tirry, put your tit away.”

To which Draculette responded, via Ethel the Haunted Nipple,

“OOOOOOgieboogie.”

“She seems a bit off tonight.”

“Mraaarf.”

Capolina Gardner scratched at Harry’s jaw. His black fur was very short and bristly there, and he slopped his bubblegum-pink tongue out to lick her hand. She held up a potato chip; he took it gently from her fingers, and then snapped it back. She laughed. He rubbed his head against her belly.

The Late Movie ran three hours, but Harry and Capolina never stayed up for all of it. Just the first little bit. They liked Draculette–Capolina always feigned jealousy–and it was the only channel that came in at night, anyway. Tonight’s feature was The Palm Trees Of Edelweis, which was an even worse name for a horror movie than Your Nipple. In accordance with longstanding Late Movie tradition, the title of the film had nothing at all to do with its contents.

The plot was simple. Young couple is lured into a trap, killed. The boy makes a deal with the devil. Avenge your murder, and I’ll return your beloved to life. The boy becomes a demon. He slaughters everyone involved. Their families. Their friends. The boy returns to the devil to claim his wife. The devil reveals that she is already back among the living. The devil always keeps his word. He had resurrected her to witness her husband’s cruelty. She saw what the boy had become, and realized that this madness was in her name and so she took a knife and slit her own throat. The boy worked for the devil after that.

It was a better film than it had a right to be, a confusing blip on KSOS’ otherwise-unblemished streak of shit. Usually, Draculette was the best part of the movie, but tonight the movie was the best part of the movie. Also, Draculette had fallen off her couch onto the floor and a small woman with short, sky-blue hair was trying to help her up.

“I don’t think this is scripted.”

“Bruf.”

Capolina ran her fingers along Harry’s triangular ears.

At night, the breeze blows in from the west. From the ocean into the harbor and across the flat valley and then shooting up the Segovian Hills to gather in the sky until it bursts forth as rain every 18 days. This is why Harry did not smell the man crouching down in a bush across the street to the east. He had binoculars and peered at the small cottage on Bailey Street. The curtains in front were drawn, but the windows were open and so the curtains swayed. Every so often, they would swing back enough to reveal the room which was lit up in teevee blue and there they were: a werewolf and his wife sitting on a couch in Little Aleppo, which is a neighborhood in America.