Perfect Family Tales And Other Trivia

The art of the short-story writer is that of the cartoonist. It is the magical craft of creating entire worlds with a few simple strokes of a pen. Tales told by an idiot? Maybe! But my tales are also a mix of reality and fantasy; truth and lies; some based on my own family; others, not. Readers must guess which characters are real; who are inventions - and who are an amalgam of both. Please draw the boundaries for yourself.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

‘Crying Wolf’



Wolf had arrived late and barely gestured in greeting.


“M’friends call me ‘Wolfie’. Who are you?”, he barked at the woman on the other side of the bullet-proof screen.

“Good morning, Herr Wolf. I’m Fräulein Roti Haube, your  court-appointed defence lawyer. In future, please try to arrive on time for our meetings as the authorities here at Stammheim Prison allow us only one half-hour a month”.

“O.K.”, said Wolf, tucking his tail between his legs as he sat down between his guards. “These men had forgotten they’d left me caged. So there was a last-minute fuss, fitting my chains and basket muzzle. But it’s all for show; a bit of theatre to impress you. Anyway,  I hope you’ve made more progress than my last lawyer”.

“I’ll be honest”, said Haube, riffling through the thick file balanced on her knee. “I’ve spent hours examining your case and it’s clear that until there’s an overall marked rise in your tribe’s population, you’re destined to live a long life in jail”.

“But I don’t understand. I’ve said if I can’t be free, I want to die”.

“Wolfie, I’m afraid that’s impossible under present legislation. Your family is in a peculiar position where you have us humans as both your only real enemy and your one true friend. According to the 1979 Berne Convention you can’t be executed because your clan’s not big enough to force us to curtail your activities”.

“’Activities’? Yeah! Those were the days,” mourned Wolf. “I still remember my final big raid with Silber Klaue when we were so desperate to feed our wives and kids after the long,  hard winter that we savaged twenty-seven sheep at a single farm.  Klaue managed to escape into the forest but I was captured because I’d gone lame. Funny though,  when I got here, even the  governor treated me with awe.

“‘Wolfie’, he said, patting the lid of my cage, ‘you and – er  – Klaue created the sort of blood-bath that would do the Mafia proud. You deserve a prize. I’ll start by keeping you in my office!’

“But I hate it there. I’m treated like a pet poodle. What’s more, I loathe hearing the staff use words like ‘cull’ instead of ‘execute’ or ‘shoot’. How would it look if we wolves said ‘let’s dine’? Klaue and I are strictly raw meat and water guys and on good days we each tore through ten kilos of a juicy boar or tender deer in a sitting”.

“So you feel you’ve been rendered – umm - impotent?”

“That’s not the half of it. Things here are now so bad I want to apply to the European Court of Lupine Rights to be allowed to die with dignity. I’ve become a laughing stock. Pure and simple”.

“But I don’t know why. You’ve got  the governor’s protection, so you’re well looked after and could live until you’re twenty – twice as long as in the wild”.

“That’s my worst nightmare!”, said Wolf. “The real problem? I’ll tell you: the governor’s taken on a trendy new doctor in the hospital wing who’s trying me on aversion therapy”.

“What on earth … ?”

“First, he clipped my claws and filed my fangs almost to the gum …”


”The worst bit’s so embarrassing,” said Wolf, his rasp dropping to the faintest whimper, “I’m going to put my muzzle to the speak-hole so I can whisper. Please lean forward”.

“Go on,”, said Haube, straining to hear him.

“I’m being made to eat vegan dinners. Every day,” said Wolf, his voice becoming fainter by the word, “I’m led kicking and howling into the canteen and force-fed grass and herbs while a comedian named ‘Sean Lamb’ looks on chuckling hard enough to shed  his fleece”.

“What’s he in here for?”

“Tale-bearing and lying,” mouthed Wolf, pausing while a guard dabbed his eyes. “He’d been pulled in for crying ‘wolf’. But the game’s up, Roti. Look who’s crying now!” 


"If you look and find sorrow,Wolf.Tears
- it is because I sorrow.
If you look and find anger,
- it is because I am angry.
If you look an find confusion,
- it is because I am confused.
If you look and find wisdom,
- it is because I am wise.
If you look and find yourself,
- it is because we are not so different.
If you look and find your soul,
- then carry me home inside of you..."

(With thanks to ‘Lady Anubis’ - Deviant Art)


Natalie Wood

(Copyright, Natalie Irene Wood – 17 August 2013)



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