They say that when the October moon is full, and the swamps and meadows are covered with an eerie mist, I will put down my beer and go walking through the streets.
According to legend, my hair will stick out wildly, from lying on the couch all day. I will walk with an awkward stagger, my arms held forward. No one knows why I walk this way. Some say it is to be ready in case I trip. Others say it is to make sure I don’t go face-first through a spider web.
When I am abroad on the land, many of the frightened townspeople report hearing a ghastly, bloodcurdling howl. This is the part of the legend that hurts my feelings the most, because I think they’re talking about my singing.
Some stories claim that if you confront me during my midnight walks and chant, “Jack Handey, Jack Handey, give me some candy,” I will give you some candy. Man, forget it. I need that candy.
I am said to prey upon young lovers, and that if I look into a bedroom window and see them having sex I will stand there and watch with my red, flaming eyes. But I am not looking for young lovers; I am usually looking for something else, like, I don’t know, my lost treasure or something. If I happen to see two people having sex, I will stay and look, for I am curious about your human ways.
They say I can turn into a bat. I can, but not very well. What I am probably best at is wandering into a party and transforming myself into someone who looks like he might have been invited. And woe to him who fingers me as an impostor, for he will be greeted by a hideous hissing sound coming from the tires of his car.
It is whispered that I can suck the blood out of you. Others say I can start to tell a joke, but then get really confused and not remember where the joke goes, and start over again and again until it drives you mad. But it’s not my fault. You see, I am the offspring of an unholy union between a man and what people in these parts call a “wo-man.”
Some of the townspeople believe in me, and some don’t. And even some of those who believe are reluctant to loan me money.
A few say I exist but that I’m actually dead. As evidence they point to the old gravestone in the cemetery with my name carved on it. But I have apologized for doing that and agreed to do community service.
The truth is, I live in a weird netherworld, somewhere between the dead and those guys who are out riding their bikes, doing stuff like that.
People are always asking me if there’s anything they can carry or wear or hold up in front of me that will frighten or repel me. I’ll be honest with you: just about anything you suddenly hold up is going to frighten me. About the only thing I can think of that might not is an ice-cream cone, so long as the ice cream isn’t in a scary shape.
How did I come to this curse? I’ll tell you. I was bitten, bitten by a wolf. And not an ordinary wolf, but something called a “schnauzer.” A schnauzer owned by my so-called friend Don. Ever since then I am compelled to wander the night, like a schnauzer. Legend says my midnight haunts will never end until I am united with my true love. The sad thing is, I don’t even know her name. It’s that French girl from the movie Swimming Pool. But unless I can figure out the area code for France, my love is probably doomed.
Maybe magically the curse will be lifted. And I’ll get up bright and early and point to myself in the mirror and say, “You’re going to do great things today.” No, wait, that’s a different curse.
And so I stalk. Usually Friday and Saturday nights are the main times I go stalking, and also, like I said, the moon should be full and mist covering things. But, to be honest, it could pretty much be any night of the week.