Michael lies asleep in bed, dreaming grandiose dreams. In them he is surrounded by a legion, nay, a field of amorous cheerleaders. They prance and cavort in an undulating sea of pom-poms and jiggly bits which washes its rhythmic tide over him. Michael is sure, with the absolute certainty of dreams, that they all want him. It is only fear and respect for his rugged strength and his carelessness with women that holds them at bay. If he were to weaken for just a moment, they would swarm him into nothingness. As it is, he can choose just one. And she will be grateful.
He selects a young one. A brunette. She has an even white smile and green eyes. She's probably filthy on the inside, he thinks. He leans in, ravenous, and…then…the…dream…flutters.
Michael is confused and frustrated. He's also back in his dorm room in a tangle of sweaty sheets surrounded by the charcoal nudes that he keeps on the wall. There's a bottle a quarter full of old Gibbson's Finest Moonshine on the night stand, and someone small but remarkably persistent is knocking for admission to the back of his heat. Michael sighs and flops back against the covers. He's got a blueprint due tomorrow, but he doesn't care much about that. Just about getting some sleep and sobering up so he can do it in the morning. Maybe. Or maybe he'll just ask for an extension. Either way…
The train of thought derails, running off a bridge in a magnificent fireball, as the hair on his back stands on end. It isn't from the quiet, anticipatory electricity of magic in the air. No, it's from something much older. Much more primal. There's a wolf in the room.
The senses in his brain that aren't dulled by drink and sleep are gibbering and hooting. If they had any of their own waste at hand, they would undoubtedly be flinging it. His conscious thoughts, the ones that have evolved over the centuries, are foggy and confused. There's a what in the room? But the subconscious bedrock underneath them is already beginning to tremble. "Who…who's there?"
A patch of shadow by the bed that has previously been very still suddenly lengthens and detaches from the dresser. It grins up at him with all its teeth and says "Why don't you make yourself comfortable, Michael. We've got a few things to talk about. That is, after all, why I'm here. I just had a chat with a friend, who had a chat with a friend, who suggested that I should talk to you. I hope that's okay." It isn't a question.
Michael trembles. "P-professor?"
"Oh, you hardly need to call me that, Michael. I'd hate to think that we have some sort of formal relationship."
"It is you!" Michael scrabbles up the covers, grabs the bottle of Gibbson's off of the nightstand and breaks it against the back of the bed with a climactic tinkle of glass. "Get the hell away from me, you sick freak! Where do you get off, going into students' rooms when we're asleep?"
Michael could almost swear that he heard the wolf sigh. "You really think a bit of glass is going to hold me at bay? If I'd wanted to, my teeth would've passed your throat long ago, before you woke up. I'd be rooting though your innards right now." The tone of voice in which he delivers the line is cheerful. Almost bouncing. "But I want to prove that I'm just as civilized as you are. Turn on the light, please."
Michael fumbles for a striker in the dark, comes up with one at last, and flicks it over the bedside table. A candle blooms to life in the dark, playing shadows over the wolf that crouches at the edge of his bed. A long, tapered tube runs the length of his back. "I believe that, according to monkey customs, this means that I have a bigger penis than you do," says the wolf.
"Ohgoddontkillme," gibbers the boy.
"Right, then. I expect this nonsense with the concrete and the rabbits to stop right away. And I expect an apology, five hundred words, chalked on my board and signed by…hmm…Wednesday sounds nice, doesn't it?" The wolf starts for the door, stopping at the threshold. "Oh, and I think it goes without saying, but you look like you have to hear most lectures twice, so I'll do it anyways. Try anything like this again. On me. On my friends. On that brunette girl in Be—I mean, Ms. Sommerset's class—and I won't wake you up until after I've started on the intestines. Clear?" Michael can only nod. "Lovely, now, if you'll excuse me," the wolf rears up onto his hind feet, an awkward gesture with the gun, and slowly rotates the knob on the door with his paws. "Bet'cha didn't think I could do doors, did'ja?" And with that, he is gone.
When Michael wakes up again—this time for real— he rushes off to tell Chaz that they need to think of a new target for the bag of fertilizer that they'd been planning to use.
The NWU Inquisitor: All the News That We Deem Fit for Print
Anthropology teacher placed on temporary academic suspension for implication in firearm scandal. Students confident that he will return cleared of charges.
Edward Rasta, PHD, claimed earlier today that the weapon he turned over to lawmen was merely a prop for his 'history of technology' class, starting this semester. According to doctor Rasta: "I was only trying to imply that technology continues to evolve, even in this day and age, and that we should not be concentrating our efforts solely on the reclamation of lost tech. Whatever use we might have for it, it was built with an outmoded idea of civilization in mind. A homogenous, assembly-line culture that simply does not reconcile with today's people. I want to teach my students to adapt. To evolve. To question long-held ideas, and to re-envision the past as a time just like today. Not the pinnacle of some mythical golden age of comfort and boredom." Doctor Rasta had more to say, of course, but he sounded a little bit winded after that speech, so we tried to change the subject.
"How would you say you were adapting to good ol' NWU, professor Rasta?" I asked him.
"It's only been a semester, but this is a pretty nice place. Understanding students. Great faculty. I could really settle in here, if it weren't for some upcoming fieldwork that I have to take care of."
Professor Rasta will be doing a bit of archaeology with his grad students at the end of next semester, and I am sure that he will come back to the campus full of exciting stories about the ruins of old Wheaton. Until then, it is the sincere hope of all the staff at the Inquisitor that Rasta's suspension ends soon so that the 'wolfessor' can get back to doing what he does best: bringing enlightenment into the hearts, minds, and sometimes homes of the students here at NWU.
-Chaz Bleakwick, communications and applied elementalism major
For a full transcript of the interview that took place between Professor Rasta and I, please ask professor Rasta himself as the only copy of the transcript was mysteriously lost prior to the publication of this piece.