Ghost Stories With Hidden Agendas
The views expressed in the following hidden agendas are not necessarily the views of McSweeney’s, its editors, or Casper the Friendly Ghost.
Curse of the Werewolf.
A hunter shot a deer and was tracking the wounded animal through the forest. The trail of spattered blood showed his quarry was stumbling deeper and deeper into the dark woods. As the trees above grew closer together, cutting off all daylight, the hunter became nervous. The townsfolk told stories of men disappearing and spoke of strange creatures glimpsed scuttling through the underbrush.
The hunter pressed on. He had always had a problem maintaining a healthy weight. He tried fad diets and cellophane wraps, but nothing worked. He was finally ready to reach his ideal weight by making a positive change in his eating habits. He had heard the villagers whispering about something called the Atkins Nutritional Approach and wanted to give it a try.
The hunter came to a clearing in the woods. There lay his deer. But it was not alone. Feasting on its prone body was an enormous white wolf! With frightening speed, the wolf whirled around, its bloody muzzle split into a horrific snarl. It leapt upon the hunter, tearing the flesh of his forearm. The hunter wrenched his rifle free and fired a shot. The injured beast howled in pain and ran off into the forest gloom.
At once the hunter’s arm began to swell. He rushed to a local gypsy woman who practiced folk medicine. As he told her what happened, she let out a cry.
“Aieee! ’Twas a werewolf that bit your arm! Now, you too will become a werewolf!” she wailed.
“What—what do I do?!” stammered the frightened hunter.
“Every full moon you will run through the night eating a diet of sharply restricted carbohydrates and liberal servings of red meat until your body enters a stage known as ketosis! In time, with commitment and discipline, you will lose the weight you want!” She let out another gasp. “Aieee! ’Tis a full moon tonight! Run home as fast as you can and barricade yourself inside! Go!”
The hunter raced home, shut himself in the upstairs bedroom and sat anxiously awaiting the moonrise. Suddenly, his wife burst into the room with a freshly baked pie. “Honey, I made your favorite dessert!” The man looked at the sugary, flaky, crumbling pie steaming between his wife’s floury hands and his stomach turned. “Sweetheart? Are you all right?” his wife asked. The man let out a horrible bestial cry, which sounded like “Nooooooooo carrrrrrrrrrrrbssssss—iiiiiiinduuuuuction phaaaase!” He crashed through the window and into the night.
Over the course of the next two weeks, the werewolf ate only people. While technically not Atkins Approved, this diet rich in proteins yet lacking in sugars and carbohydrates caused his body to burn fat for fuel. In no time at all the werewolf began to notice a difference in his appearance, and his self-confidence soared!
The werewolf continued to shed pounds as he entered the next phase, Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL for short). He again ate mostly human flesh and slowly reintroduced carbs into his diet with small servings of lo-carb vegetables obtained from the stomachs of his victims. Other diets had left him feeling tired and logy, but on Atkins, the werewolf found he had much more energy to do the things he wanted to do!
The third stage, Pre-Maintenance, was perhaps the most difficult for the werewolf. His weight loss slowed down as he tried to adjust into eating habits that would keep him trim the rest of his supernatural life. Finally, after months of carefully regulating his diet with salads, fresh cheeses, berries, nuts, and children, he reached his goal weight. He felt terrific! The werewolf could finally fit into those swimming trunks he hadn’t been able to wear for years!
At last, the werewolf was ready to begin the final stage of Atkins, Lifetime Maintenance. He was slim and healthy—now he had to find the will to stay that way. It wasn’t easy. More than a few times the werewolf came just this close to ordering a pizza. But, determined to protect his weight loss, the werewolf shut his eyes and recalled all the admiring looks he was getting from the other forest animals, and the craving passed.
One night, the werewolf was particularly hungry but couldn’t find a single human to devour. He prowled alleyways and lurked in bushes to no avail. The streets were completely empty. All of a sudden the silence was broken by the sound of cheerful whistling. A man staggered past, making his drunken way home from a tavern. With a bloodcurdling howl, the werewolf gave chase. The man sprinted to the middle of the deserted town square, the werewolf right at his heels. Abruptly the area was saturated with light. The townspeople had set a trap! Angry voices rang out and the blinded werewolf lurched back in confusion.
“There he is! There’s the werewolf!” yelled a villager.
“My God, he’s really fit!” shouted another.
“No wonder! He cut carbs almost completely out of his diet and is a lypolysis (fat-burning) machine!”
“Don’t let him get away! My goodness, he’s trim!” screamed a man brandishing a torch.
“He’s at least 30 pounds lighter! What’s his secret? Shoot him! Shoot him!”
The werewolf bolted for the safety of the darkened streets, but was not fast enough. The town mayor raised his rifle and fired. A silver bullet pierced the werewolf’s heart. The monster let out a strangely human cry of agony, then crumpled to the ground. There, bathed in the flashlight’s cold beam lay not the savage werewolf but the naked human body of the hunter.
He looked fantastic.
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