“The Werewolf Tavern” by Mary Beth Asaro

Dianne hypnotically stared at the small containers of bees wax and the hot pink plastic bottles of hair remover lotions while two middle aged men stood beside her in the Wal-Mart. "I hate messin' with this stuff. Why did I ever bother with it in the first place?" Dianne thought.

"So, I heard you went to France for a month," the man in the dark brown jacket mentioned.

"Yeah... yeah. I did some sight seeing. Went to a couple of bars. Saw some women..."

"Women! Well, you had an exciting vacation! So, how was the French women?"

"Hairy," the frost brown bearded man in flannel proclaimed. "Very hairy. God forbid you wouldn't want to see 'em. Ugly as hell!"

"I bet they smell raunchy too with that bush hangin' out their arms," the shaven man in the jacket added.

"Beyond word... God, I hate hairy women! They ain't natural!" The bearded man proclaimed.

Oh, that's why. Dianne grabbed the pink bottle of hair remover lotion from the upper shelf and quickly walked towards the nearest 10 items or less check out. She patiently watched a caramel woman place her items on a belt while the ebony cashier scanned them. She focused on every inch of the two women. Smooth faces, necks, arms, and legs; hairless. Dianne glanced down at her peachy cream hairy arms and scratched her shaved, stubble cheek. If only I were beautiful.

"Momma, people say I'm ugly because of my hair."

Seven year old Dianne sat on the toilet seat naked with her eyes closed tight as her mother smoothed steaming golden bees wax on her breasts with a wooden popsicle stick.

"Dianne, what do I keep tellin' ya?" Her mother placed the stick in the bees wax and waited for the wax to dry.

"I'm beautiful," Dianne replied through clenched teeth.

Her mother poked at the dry wax then yanked it off a breast.

The woman paid for the items and went on her way. Her time had come.

"Hi. How are you?" The cashier asked mechanically while scanning the lotion.

Dianne took one last glance at the cashiers face and neck.

A mental wreck. "Fine," she bit her bottom pale pink lip.

"$2.04," the casher replied.

Dianne dug in her black velvet purse for a five. She retrieved it and handed it to the casher.

"$2.96 is your change. Have a nice day," the casher handed Dianne her change. I doubt I ever will, Dianne thought. She placed the money in her purse, collected her plastic bag, and walked out of the store.

The orange South Carolina sun gave one last glare at the graveled parking lot before it slowly sank into the forbidden horizon. A few small grayish white birds chirped and warbled on the cold metallic, black pole of the night lamp near Dianne's black '92 Cougar. She thrusted the bag and purse on top of her blue luggage bags in the mild grey passenger's seat and hopped in the car.

Dianne drove with the window down hearing only the wind scattering her spiral rustic brown hair and the small chatter of people walking on the paved side walk until the roads where unfamiliar. Several cars passed by her at long intervals as she adjusted her review mirror and glanced at the familiar home of small run down businesses near house parks.

Dianne walked into a crowded cafeteria of the junior high. She dodged careless clicks trying to make it to a lunch line. Finally, she spotted a clear path to the line and took it paying no attention to the chaotic people outside the path until an olive skin girl backed into her and spun around. She stared at Dianne as a high pitched laughter escaped her Champaign lips.

"Hey, girl! Are you a dude or a she man?" A dirty blonde boy asked standing beside the olive girl.

Dianne felt a million eyes watching her. She quickly made a U turn out of the cafeteria while many colorful faces flashed before her eyes.

"Goodbye," she murmured. Then she turned her attention to the freshly paved road in front of her. I'm tired of the mental, physical, daily pain. The memories... I want... "No more," she mouthed as a single tear flowed down her cheek. She wiped away the stream with the back of her hand and glanced at the sun slowly moving down west. A mile down the road, she spotted a small Exxon station and pulled in. The tarnished bell toiled as she pushed her way through the glass door. A flabby white haired man with a toothpick slowly twisting from the side of his mouth eyed her from the counter.

"'Scuse me, you wouldn't happen to know the nearest motel around here, would ya?"

"It depends on where ya goin'," the old man replied.

"Any where but where I came from," Dianne smiled. Her eyes watered.

The man chewed on his toothpick. He didn't take his eyes off her for a second.

"Up about ten miles or so is an old tavern. It no motel. It a bar with rooms for people like you. Just keep goin' straight up yonder," the man pointed up the road, "'till ya come 'cross it. It'll say Club Colony in big letters. Ya know it when ya see it."

For people like me. I don't think there are people like me. "Thank you," Dianne whispered and went on her way as the man watched her leave.

Dianne sat in her high school desk waiting for the bell to ring. She stared at her classmate, Meca, from across the room. Little curly, soft, black hairs covered her bronze cheeks.

"Why won't you do something about that?" A ash brown girl sitting beside her asked.

"I tell you like I told my parents. I won't shave it 'cause it will only grow darker. If a man really wants me, then he will just have to put up with it. Besides, I'm only hairy on my face. And ya can't see it unless you're right up close to me." Meca glanced at Dianne and shook her head. "Dianne... with her white skin and dark hairs all over... I feel sorry for her. Her's just pops out at ya from a mile away."

The sky began to turn shades of shadows until it was pitch black. The white dotted stars peeped out and the green trees swayed with the wind while Dianne spotted an old wooden tavern with a faded red neon sign of CLUB COLONY painted above the door. She turned in, parked her car closer to the road on thick crab grass, grabbed her bags, locked the car, and proceeded towards the tavern. An owl hooted, hidden within the thick dark trees behind the tavern as crickets played violin music with their legs while Dianne walked in.

The dim rustic moonlit atmosphere crawled with people brushing against her as she made her way to a wooden round table. She sat there for a moment taking in the new scenery and the inhabitants. In front of her sat a fiery haired woman in a silky smooth red dress with her legs crossed showing her black needle hairs as if flaunting them to on lookers while chatting with a baby face tan man. Dianne's mouth opened wide in amazement until a loud, ringing voice caught her attention.

"Would you like a menu, hun?" A blondish grey haired waitress asked. Her face was filled with soft, light yellow chin and cheek hairs.

"I'm here for a room."

"It's forty bucks a night.

Dianne nodded. The hirsute waitress motioned her with an index finger to follow her to the counter where she grabbed a key from a wall of hooks.

"Room twelve," the waitress motioned her head towards the wooden spiral staircase. Dianne followed the gesture and glanced at it for a moment. The man was right. It's no motel.

"That's forty bucks for tonight."

Dianne grabbed two twenties from her purse and paid for the room. Then she proceeded up the stairs away from the unusual. It was dark and silent on the second floor with chatter and music booming behind her and a hallway full of unopened doors in front of her. She walked cautiously through the hall until she came to room twelve. Dianne plunged the little key in the hole, twisted it, and opened the creaky door. She felt the cold, smooth wall for the light switch, stumbled upon it, and witnessed the plainness of the room as it lit up. Just a regular bed, nightstand, and bathroom were provided. Dianne closed the door, sat the key on the night stand, dropped her bags on the mahogany floor, and plopped her body on the bed. She stared up at the boarded ceiling as if she was in a trance. "Where do I go from here?" Dianne thought.

Dianne sat with the men of the family in the living room watching deer hunters stalking their prey.

"Honey, you should shave that," her father pointed to her arm. "Did you start shaving your arms?"

"No, I have never shaved my arms. I don't see anything wrong with it."

"You need to shave that," he pointed out. "It's disgusting! I can't believe you've been goin' out like that! A eighteen year old don't even know how to shave!"

Dianne stared down at his ash hairs on his arms which extended to his hands and knuckles.

"I got it from you," she protested.

"I'm a man! I'm suppose to be hairy! Women are not suppose to be hairy!"

Dianne glanced at her uncle in the cocoa recliner and her cousin in the wooden rocking chair staring at her. Then she looked back at her bearded father.

"If a man really loves me, he will just have to put up with it."

"I luvs ya and I'm not puttin' up with it!" Her father retorted.

Dianne took one last look at her uncle and cousin before she jumped up from the couch and went into her Aunt's kitchen. She grabbed her green jacket from the chair, covered herself, and went out the back door.

I will never be beautifully normal. Dianne sat up and stared out the window at the grayish white full moon. The sight of the outside was peaceful, soothing, and comforting to her. She sat there for a moment taking it all in before she made an exit out the room. Dianne carefully walked down the stairs and sat at a nearby wooden round table. A drunken charcoal woman sat at a table next to Dianne with her hirsute friends chug-a-lugging on Bloody Marys.

"Supermodels... like vampires they are. Looks enticing to some people 'till ya get a whiff of their armpits! Years of sank! Ya know I may be hirsute, but at least I only use deodorant once a day to smell good! Those so called beauty queens have to use deodorant two to three times a day! Curse of bein' hairless."

"We don't fit in society, Sharen," an olive woman stated before sipping her drink.

"Poodles... all of 'em! Artificial man made poodles! Like just the other day in Bi Lo an old woman took me a side and told me how ashamed I should be for going out in public like this!" A yellow tented woman stammered. "I said, lady... go fuck yourself 'cause you need it!"

The charcoal women raised her glass in triumph. "I am werewolf woman! Ya'll watch out! I may infect ya... pass on my hairiness!"

The women cackled. "I wish I had inner strength like them," Dianne thought.

"Do you need a menu, hon?" The waitress asked Dianne.

"Yes, please."

The hirsute waitress laid a menu on the table while Dianne took in the little yellow spike hairs on her arms before she turned and walked away. She began to look at the menu until a light brown sugared man walked up to her. His dark hair was partially spiked with a hint of Irish red tent. He looked down at her and smiled.

"Hi, do you mind?" He pointed towards the empty wooden chair in front of her. She glanced at it as if she'd never saw it before.

"No, go right ahead," she shook her head.


He sat down in front of her.

"You're new here," he replied.

"Yeah... yeah. I am. Just traveling... exploring to settle." I thought he was goin' to borrow the chair to sit someplace else.

She glanced at his dark sprawling chest hairs that peeped out of his red v-neck shirt and his ash arm hairs which extended to his hands and knuckles. Then she glanced at her own wolf like arms.

"What's your name?"

She looked up at his smooth, shaven face in response to his question. There was a sparkle in his light brown eyes.


Dianne... that's a beautiful name. I'm David."

The waitress came back with a pad and pen in hand.

"Are you ready, sweetie, or do you need a little more time?"

Please, make him go away. Dianne stared at the menu.

"Coke and a cheeseburger."

She looked up at the woman as she jotted the items down.

"And what will you have, pretty boy?"

David glanced at Dianne and back at the waitress. The waitress arched a light blond eyebrow.

"Nothing for me."

The waitress took the menu and scurried away.

"So, where're you from?" asked David.

Enough with the question already. You just want me for the sex. "Why are you interested?" Dianne shuffled in her chair.

"Oh, come on! A beautiful lady sittin' right in front of me and that's all you can come up with?"

Nice one. But I'm not stupid, pal. "So I'm beautiful, am I?"

"You're saying you're not?"

Dianne paused at this question and began to chew on her bottom faded pink lip.

"People don't like werewolves for ladies," Dianne stared at the cracks in the table.

David leaned back in his chair soaking the answer up as the waitress sat a glass of coke on the table.

"Is everything okay over here?" The waitress gave a tired smile.

"Just fine," David replied.

"The cheeseburger needs a few more minutes."

Good. Go away and take him with you! Dianne nodded her head and the waitress disappeared into a crowd of hairy women dancing with men to the pure, soothing sounds of "Dolphin's Cry."

"You could get rid of it, ya know," David broke the silence.

Easy for you to say. "I can't. Nothing works... not on me."

"Have you ever thought that may be nothing is wrong with you?"

"What do you mean?" She stared at him wide eyed.

"Hair grows on the body whether some people define it as bad taste or not." He slid his chair a little closer to Dianne. "And some men even find it naturally sexy... erotic." His eyebrows jumped in a fast motion several times.

Dianne made her chair hop back at this reaction. "You only like the sex."

"Don't all men?" David smirked.

He's getting' horny. What do I do? "So what are you tryin' to say?"

He slid his chair closer to her. She slid her's back.

"Some men are attracted to hair just like some are attracted to smooth skin."

"And that's suppose to make me feel better?" Dianne arched an ash brown eyebrow.

He leaned into her. "Don't you dare," Dianne thought. She slid the chair back until it bumped into another chair. He kissed her with his eyes wide open staring into her walnut eyes. Then he leaned back and smiled at her. A tear flowed down her cheek. Something inside her burst into a million pieces. He touched her cheek.

"What's wrong?"

Wouldn't you like to know! She jumped up and ran out the door. The waitress stood there with a plate of cheeseburger sitting in the palm of her hand staring at him.

"So who's paying $4.96 for this?"

He took a five dollar bill from his wallet and laid it on the table.

"That's better," the waitress laid the plate on the table, took the money, and walked back to the bar.

Dianne crouched down in the crab grass with stickers poking her through her faded blue jeans. She wept while the lonesome cry of a whippoorwill echoed in the cool night air. Dianne looked up at the pure white full moon with a wet face and closed her eyes. She felt the light breeze blow gently against her back and heard the sound of relaxing classical music played from crickets' legs. What happened to me? Why do I keep hating myself? She heard the song of the frog's croak and hugged herself. I should start new memories. She looked at the white dotted stars for answers.

"I want to belong," Dianne mumbled.

She looked back at the tavern and then at the grass. I already belong. She stood up and pulled the stickers from her blue jeans. Then Dianne walked back into the tavern. "May be I should buy myself a short skirt or some short shorts? I've always wanted to wear them," Dianne thought as she made her way through the crowd and back to her table with a plate of food waiting for her.