Driving into work I hit a werewolf. Not that I knew it at the time. It’d been big, fuzzy, and came out of nowhere. I slammed on the breaks and pulled to the side of the road. I sat for a moment shaking. To my relief, when I stepped out, my headlights didn’t show a body. My ’82 Celica’s crumpled fender told me I’d hit something, but I didn’t see blood. Guilt clawed my stomach as I got back in the car and continued on. In my defense, it happened at 3:30 a.m. on a blind curve on a rural highway 25 miles away from the job I reminded myself that I needed.
I got to work late. My boss, The Tyrant, glared and pointed at the tables I had waiting. Not that they’d been waiting long since the truck stop diner had only been open for a hot minute. I strapped on my apron and went to my daily grind.
I got the local gossip as I poured coffee and severed pancakes. A well-respected community leader had passed from a heart attack and a rancher in the area reported a couple of weird livestock deaths attributed to mountain lions. People talked about hunting season, some against and some for. At some point in the day, a man sat in my section, tall–six feet plus, longish brown hair that’d never seen a comb, hollow eyes. He grunted when I took his order and then spent the rest of his time there staring at me. Creepy.
After working my double shift, my sucky day got more so when I found my car had a flat tire. With the bent fender, changing the tire proved difficult. One of the truck stop mechanics offered to help.
“Did you hit a cow?”
I shook my head and for some reason remembered the creepy guy staring at me earlier.
Home at last, I found an enormous husky lying in the moonlight on my doormat. It stood up when I got out of the car and growled at me. I froze in my tracks and estimated how fast I could get back into my car. I took a step back but stopped as the dog hunched its back and then collapsed inward with a whine. It looked like a rolled ball of bloody goo with fur. It condensed to the size of a basketball and then expanded and formed into a naked man on his knees. He stood up, putting his hands on his hips. After a moment of stunned processing, I recognized him.
“You were at the diner.”
He nodded, frowning.
“What do you want?”
“How ’bout an apology, lady. You hit me with your car.” He pointed at the offending fender.
“You shouldn’t run out into the road,” I answered without thinking. He growled again and advanced toward me.
“You didn’t even stop.”
I stood my ground. “I did.”
“Yeah, to look at your car. Then you drove off. I could have been hurt.”
“I was late.”
“Yeah, right. To your crappy job.” He’d reached me by that point.
“At least I have a job,” I said, ignoring the fact that he towered over me.
He scowled. “I have a job.”
“Really? Doing what?”
He stepped back. “I’m an investment banker.”
A bark of laughter left me before I could control it. “And you what? Chase cars on the weekend?”
He sneered at that.
“I’ll have you know that this condition only impacts me during the three days of the full moon.”
“So you take vacation for those three days?” I asked, wondering how he dealt with a monthly disruption.
“Yeah. My boss is very understanding.”
“Lucky you. My boss wouldn’t give me a day off if I were dying.”
We stared at each other for a moment, and it struck me that I just had a conversation with a real lycanthrope investment banker who I’d hit with my car. I laughed.
He smiled. “What’s so funny?” His smile changed his whole persona.
“Nothing. Do you have any clothes?”
He shook his head, looking away and covering himself.
I led the way into my trailer knowing that my life could no longer be described as mundane.