So one night I’m sleeping on this guy’s couch. He wasn’t a friend. Just someone who would buy from me now and then. He had a fairly nice place. White leather sofa. Shag carpet. Like somebody who thinks he has some style or something. Anyway he asks me to come over with some product and I say sure, as long as he has a place I can crash for the night. He hems and haws a bit. “I have a wife,” he says. “It would scare my kids,” he says. But I know the guy doesn’t have any fucking kids. A toy truck would look just about at home on that shag carpet as it would on the surface of the moon. I call him on his bullshit and he says I can stay. He needs it that bad, the fuck.
So I wake up that night on that white leather sofa and he’s standing right over me. I think I have that thing that like Vietnam vets have, where they wake up in the middle of the night like a fucking pistol shot. Anyway he’s standing right over me and I spring up and have him pinned before he can even let go of his boner. Sometimes these customers get so hopped up over night they just gotta fuck something. Half the time they get some ideas about the skinny young entrepreneur sleeping on their couch and they come out with a hard on or wet clam or whatever and stand over me while I sleep. That’s the thing, they always have to stand like three feet away like creeps and watch while I sleep, like me laying there snoring is like better than a porno or something. And that’s where I always wake up because fuck, who wouldn’t?
Anyway I knock the guy down and he starts acting like I’m the one acting fucked up, him squirming there on the ground in his tighty-whiteys and cowboy boots — shit, I forgot about the cowboy boots — heels clicking on the ground like some kind of pervert morse code. His face is bulging red like a baby and the wisps of hair he has left just like float around his face, spit flying.
Usually a junkie will calm down once you kind of show him what an fuckhead he is. Like they usually realize they’re lying there in their underwear, pinned to their own floor by a sixteen-year-old drug dealer and kind of come down a bit, realizing that. But this guy, he just gets mad. The veins bulge in his neck like you see in the movies, every tendon taught like wire. He sort of bites at me, quick little nips like a chained Rottweiler. I feel his squirming getting worse and then my knee slips off his chest and I’m crawling away from him on the floor.
I look back and his eyes are all, like, milky. Like he isn’t even looking at me. He comes skittering across the floor sideways like a crab and I crawl-jumped over the back of the couch. This guy must have taken the thing in a single leap, because just as I hit the tile on the other side he lands on my back and knocks me flat. The tips of his fingers dig into my shoulders as he pulls me down, and I feel his teeth on the back of my neck.
You know those little shivers you get sometimes when you take a piss? Yeah, well I feel something like one of those right as his teeth sink into the scruff of my neck. It’s like an electric pulse down my spine and my mind goes blank, except for sparking blue lightning bolts like veins on either side of my vision. Rage, like I’ve never felt, spreads from the bite and seems to swell every vein in my body. I feel heavy and powerful, like I could lift this guy right off me and throw him across the room. And before I even think it, that’s what I do. I just kind of stand up and toss him and his head breaks through the sliding door and out onto his patio that faces the water (this guy was loaded) and then collides (his head) with the metal bannister on the other side. I just stand there and watch it happen like it was on TV or something, only like dimly aware that I’m even there.
But it doesn’t feel like my body. The room looks different, like skewed, and I realize I’m looking at it from two feet higher up. I look down and see oil-black fur sticking out of the arm holes of my t-shirt. I hold out my hands and realize those are my arms, and my hands have stretched into oily black, fur-covered claws. I start to inspect the rest of my body, but the guy is starting to move so I crunch across the glass and grab the scruff of his neck, like right where he bit me. I hold him up in front of me like he’s a baby rabbit, just kind of peering at his face. The head wound had bloodied his balding scalp, but his eyes still have that milky blind look, even as his frantic arms grab at my face. I hold him away from me like a bag of dog shit and carry him back into the condo, not really sure what to do. I know the crashing glass would probably get the attention of someone, so I would need to get out of there quick.
I glance at the frothing, mostly naked guy thrashing to get free, and I knew couldn’t kill him. I mean, he was a pervert, but he was fucked up and everything. And who isn’t kind of a pervert sometimes? Anyway, I carry him across his living room to the bathroom and kind of drop him in the tub, then get out of there just in time to close the door behind me. I hold the knob, but at this point he’s gone into some sub-human state, and he just scratches and grunts at the other side of the door, not even trying for the door knob. I pull my arm away and somehow the knob comes with it, like I’m pulling a knife out of a melted stick of butter.
I think Liam must have done something to the shit I gave this guy. Spiked the batch with Drano, or something fucked up like that. Dog-boy must have dosed me while I was asleep on his couch too, because I thought I had turned into some kind of giant dog or something. I look in the giant mirror that guy had on the opposite wall of the living room, and all I see is some grimy wolf on its hind legs, sporting tatters of what used to be my jeans and Goodwill Tommy Bahama t-shirt.
At that point I pretty much decide to get the fuck out of there. I pull my backpack from under the couch and run through the door. And I mean through the door, like I didn’t even stop to open it first. Splinters scatter around me as I run down the hall, feeling like I’m going warp speed or something. By that point this guy’s howling in his bathroom so I know I need to be somewhere else and quick. I take the stairs four at a time, somehow, and burst out another set of doors into the night.
Orange sodium lights buzz above me and tiny white flies circle the bulbs. A briny breeze licks at my fur and I catch a heavy burst of Jasmine, each smell lighting up my senses like Laser Floyd. It’s like my nose is really open for the first time, and every smell is deep and broad enough to fall into.
A scream of sirens cuts into my senses, and I streak off in the opposite direction, moving too fast to even see what I’m passing. I remember blurs of dark, hillside streets, then more sodium lights. Some confused shouts. Sirens again, then nothing. Panting, I can feel my tongue hanging from my mouth. Whatever Liam did to this shit, he really fucked up, I think.
I needed to be inside of something, all of a sudden, so I think I climbed into a dumpster and the next morning there I was, head resting on a rotten cantaloupe as a sliver of light beamed from the gap in the lids above. I heaved myself off the cantaloupe and pushed one of the lids open. Sunlight streamed down over the tatters of my t-shirt. My jeans were nowhere to be found, so I was just standing there in a dumpster with my dick hanging out. Some lady passed by the alley and gave me a look like I was the creep or something. Like I was the one standing over some kid on his couch with his dick inflating his jockeys. I rifled around in the trash and found a decently unsoiled bag and kind of tore two holes in it like a giant plastic diaper and wore that to walk to a pay phone, which was not close. I somehow begged for enough change to call my friend to come pick me up and when he saw me he just about choked laughing so hard.
Anyway, that was the first time I changed, thought I didn’t know what it was. I thought I had just been tripping balls until it happened again, and that time was REALLY fucked up.
Photo by Lili Vieira de Carvalho