Thursday, May 12, 2005


He spoke of this girl he knew. She had lived in one city then moved to another and then to another. Finally she found herself in a strange place where she had no friends. At night she would go to bars with people she knew from work. They drank all night and that kept her from feeling lonely. When things became too much for her to handle, she took her pills. She was promoted at her job. That gave her satisfaction. She was very career-oriented.

One night as she walked back to her apartment, she saw a pack of wolves chasing a small boy. She followed them. They cornered the boy and he was scared. He cried. They snapped their teeth at him, but the girl realized that they were just playing. The girl said, "Stop that!" and the wolves stopped snarling and turned to face her. They came over and walked around her legs. She stuck her hand out and they smelled it.

The girl started hanging out with the wolves every night. Her old work friends, the ones that helped her get acquainted with the city, were sad that she didn't go to the bars with them anymore. But the truth was that the girl understood the wolves better than people. She liked stalking the neighborhoods late at night with them, rooting through trash, sleeping together in a pile. When her work friends asked her what she did at night, she told them they wouldn't understand. They were just people. She didn't have time for people anymore.

The wolfpack started coming to work with the girl. She didn't think anyone would notice, but people were intrigued, and a photographer took some pictures. He submitted them to a magazine and the girl became famous for living with the wolves. But she didn't want to be thought of as a savage so she made an excuse for why she hung out with the wolves. She said that she found them in the city and they were helpless and she cared for them but they were too unruly to live around people. She recommended they take the wolves away to a zoo or something. The girl had a habit of using things up and then throwing them away. She had always gotten away with it.

Everyone thought she was such a charitable girl for raising the wolves by herself. Her friends at work knew she was lying. They felt sorry for her that she couldn't just admit that she loved living like a wolf. When the animal control men closed the back of the van, the wolves looked out through the window. They didn't know where they were going. They didn't realize they had been deceived. But when they arrived, two days later, in the middle of the park, they had already forgotten about the girl.

The girl thought about the wolves every night. She wondered if they were mad at her for what she had done. She wondered what her work friends thought of her for lying.

The wolves danced at night in the park under the stars. They played around and nipped at each other's ears. At night, to keep warm, they slept in piles.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps it is the mood I'm in but I found this little essay to be very sweet. You almost got a tear, dammit.

Lou Dobbs said...

I'll bet the wolves are metaphors, aren't they?

Mathis said...

Actually, they're wolves.

Trevor Jackson said...

No, I'm with Lou (god forgive me for saying THAT). That park with the piles of wolves is the internet, isn't it? And that girl is one of those New York bloggers, right? They take lots of pills. Those wolf-users and -abandoners.

Very cleverly veiled.

Mathis said...

Trevor: Who are you? How can you see inside my brain cells?

I feel uncomfortable. Have you been reading my mail?

Mathis said...

Actually, in all seriousness, I'm flattered by both of your interest in the story.

To be completely honest with you, the story is actually a metaphor for Russia's struggle with communism. The wolves are Bolsheviks and the woman is Gorbachev.

Trevor Jackson said...

Totally my next guess.