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by Wanderer
Wanderer -- all rights reserved

As I sit and look out the window into the darkness, I can't help but think of the past. Mother, Laura, Grandmother, Daddy ... especially Mother. For a moment, I try thinking about and humming her old lullaby.

/Where, O where, Is my little one? Little one. Where, O where, Can my little one be? Across the high mountains, Across the blue sea. Where, O where, Can my little one be./

But once I finish, I just return to humming the same song I've been humming since I came in ... nobody's likely to recognize it, at least. Not unless they used to listen to Christian Rock. In a way, the words seem right ... but final. Static.


As I look at the reflection of the nearly-empty bar in the window glass, I sigh. The other Lupine Boys all had someplace to be tonight. For once, I get to be a lone wolf.

I smile briefly as I catch the pun. Then, my muzzle relaxing back into what's probably something like a frown, I lap up the rest of my drink. Non-alcoholic egg nog tonight. My one vice for the holidays, and always the last drink of the night. Otherwise, I might have more than one. And I don't think I really need to sleep in Donnie's restroom. Large amounts of eggnog do not agree with me.

I sigh again as the lyrics to this brain-lodged song hit me. Softly, I sing them to my reflection.

"A little boy lies in his bed/ Wonderin' where Daddy's gone, /An' did he do somethin' wrong? ... "

I shiver gently as the emotions I've been keeping bottled up all night come out.

" ... He hides all his fears in his head/ Tries so hard to be strong, /But he feels so all alone. ... "

I trace the outline of my face in the windowpane, feeling the chill wind vibrating the glass as it passes.

" ... But Heaven is watching/ And sharing each tear/ And I know the Father is near, He's saying ... "

I clear my throat as it threatens to close, blinking slowly and sleepily as I stare at the darkness.

"You can belong to me/ I'll cherish you/ Treasure you/ Love you completely. .. "

I watch as a car speeds past, going somewhere else ... anywhere else.

" ... Someday you'll fin'ly see/ How precious you are in my eyes ... "

It has a purpose. A purpose in going somewhere.

" ... You've never been out of my sight ... "

Everyone has a purpose. Everyone.

" ... I'll love you/ For all of your life ... "

Except me, apparently.

" ... You can belong to me."

Before SCABS, before the fur, the high-angle feet, the whole deal ... before all of that, I'd had a purpose at holiday time. Help Mother cook, work, donate blood or platelets ... always something, always something to do that needed to be done.

But not now.

Not many familiar faces around just now. Most of the regulars have somewhere to go, some kind of family to be with. Spots has Zoomin' Bein's, with Stan and ... and the guy whose name I can never remember. Donnie has his daughter now, and Posti ... well, I don't know where Posti goes, but he goes somewhere. Even most of the Lupine Boys have someplace to be, someone waiting for them. That's why I have the table all to myself tonight.

Whoopee. Someone make sure I'm not having a heart attack from the excitement.

Another job interview down the tubes, this one at a software store. No blood donations from chronic disease sufferers. And my only family is off with her husband and her coven ... unless you count the one that stopped talking to me before the virus ever got me. Oh, even Lady Death is out tonight ... apparently she works telemarketing tonight (and most nights, blast it).

Oh, Lord, I'm not complaining or anything, but can't I have the exciting parts of my life spread out a bit, instead of getting this all-or-nothing business? At least then I have something to do ...

No. No, that wouldn't be fair to anyone else, would it.

Closing my eyes and raising my head to point my cold black nose to the sky, I pray.

/Lord, thank you for this world, that I may live in it, for the friends I know and love, for my Lady and her winning ways ... and loving heart. Thank you for life, and love, and all the wonderful mysteries you put in the universe. And, yes, thanks for SCABS. It may not be easy ... but there are people who have it worse./


I feel a bit lighter after I finish my prayer, just imagining all my dearly departeds watching over me. Nana, Papaw, Grandfather and all the rest, watching out for me.

"Hay, Wanderer", Jack calls out from his piano bench, "You up to splitting a turkey sandwich?"

I blink, then grin with my lips closed. "Now, Jack, you really don't need to ... "

"Oh, come on", he says, "I could use the company."

I sigh and acquiesce. "All right, but we split the tab. Agreed?"

"Oh, all right. You take all the fun out of buying dinner. After this round?"

I flip through a pantomimed book and say, in my best upper-crust English, "I do believe I'm available, Mister DeMule. Shall I pencil you in?"

"You call me Mister again and I'm getting you a leash for Christmas. It's Jack. And, yeah, that's great."


Sometimes, my life works out pretty well.

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