A Short Story on the Website of
Dr. Steven Breslin, the marriage counselor of last resort, opened his office door and welcomed the couple to take a seat. Once they were comfortable, he went to his own seat behind his large mahogany desk. Clasping his hands together on his desk, he took in his initial observations of the couple.
They were middle-aged and at least reasonably well-to-do. He knew the latter only because few clients could afford his fees. They seemed to be, on the surface at least, a loving couple. Even sitting on the couch, they held each other’s hands. The certainly didn't seem to be the type of clients he usually saw.
Whatever their problem was, he would keep this first appointment brief. His wife, Clarissa, would be waiting for him at the restaurant. It was their anniversary.
“So,” he said, unfolding his hands and picking up a pen. “How can I help you, Mr. & Mrs. Wolfenstein?”
The husband, whose name was Jacob according to his notes, was the first to speak up. “Things just haven’t been the same for us the last couple of months.”
“Is it your romantic life?” Steven asked, doodling on a piece of paper instead of making notes. Clients always somehow felt cheated if they didn’t see you making notes and nodding your head understandingly.
“Are you kidding?” exclaimed Mrs. Wolfenstein with enthusiasm. “Even at his age he’s an absolute animal.”
“So, what is the problem?”
“Well, you see doctor, my husband and I are werewolves.”
“What?” asked Steven, startled.
“Werewolves,” replied Jacob. “You know—hairy face, hairy chest, occasionally ill-tempered. That sort of thing.”
Oh my, Steven thought to himself, there is no way I’m going to be able to make dinner tonight. I’ve got to call Elaine and let her know that I’m canceling. There is no way I can do a short session with these two. This couple sounds crazy enough to pay off the Porsche.
“And how long have you been--?” He found it even difficult to ask.
“Werewolves?” chipped in a helpful Mrs. Wolfenstein. “Hmm, let me think.” Turning to her husband, “Darling, when was it that you bit me?”
“Surely you remember! It was the night we heard Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D Minor.” Jacob turned to the doctor. “It was such a shame when he died. He was such a talented young man.”
“No, Darling,” interjected Mrs. Wolfenstein, “that was your first wife. You know, Elizabeth, the one who couldn’t outrun the mob quite as fast as you?”
“Oy vey! You are so right! That was what—a hundred and fifty or sixty years before we met?”
“That’s right.” Turning to Dr. Breslin, she remarked, “You really couldn’t blame them. Who knew a group of villagers could run that fast?” Looking at Jacob once again, “You and I met about sixty years ago. You remember, I was just leaving Elaine’s place after our Friday night Canasta game. I was about to board the bus when you attacked me.”
“Forgive me, Dearest, after three or four hundred years the mind begins to drift a bit. Don’t you agree, doctor?”
“Huh? Er, yes. Age and time will do that to you.” Steven wondered if he had the hospital’s number on emergency dial.
“He just drug me off into the bushes and my life hasn’t been the same since.” She smiled lovingly at her husband.
“I always was a sucker for blondes.”
Mrs. Wolfenstein was miffed. “And apparently you still are!”
“What?” asked Jacob, obviously confused.
“Don’t think I don’t know about you and that shiksa you’ve been playing footsie with!”
“The cute little thing at the hair salon. Don’t think I haven’t seen the way you two laugh and make eyes at each other.” Mrs. Wolfenstein sniffled.
“Amber? Miriam, I make her laugh and she gives me free haircuts! You know how I get a little shaggy after full moon.”
“You mean there’s nothing going on?” Mrs. Wolfenstein asked hopefully.
“Absolutely not! I could never love another after I found out how sweet you are. Maybe that’s why you were planning on killing me—jealousy.”
Now it was Mrs. Wolfenstein’s turn to be shocked. “Kill you? I would never do such a thing!”
“No? Then why did I find the library book with directions on killing werewolves and vampires? Casual reading?” He turned away from her, it being his turn to sulk.
“I was trying to find a way to get rid of Mr. Drake from two blocks over. He’s always coming over to borrow a cup of blood.”
“Drake? That pointed-teethed putz?” Now she was back in his good graces. “I’ve never trusted him.”
“See,” said Dr. Breslin, “what you needed was communication. It should be natural for a couple that – uhm – has been together as have the two of you.”
“We’re sorry, Doctor. We’ve just been having a hard time lately.”
“And why is that?”
“Do you have any idea how tough it is to be a werewolf these days?” complained Jacob.
“The people that do know you are a werewolf,” interjected Mrs. Wolfenstein, continuing with a note of disdain, “especially the young ones, think it’s ‘cool’ or ‘rad’ or whatever the kids say today.”
“It used to be so much more fun when they ran away from you, frightened.” A smile from memories of better days settled on Jacob’s mouth.
“Do you have any idea how hard it is for us to find a kosher meal?”
Is it my imagination or is his hair growing, Dr. Breslin asked himself.
“And when they ran it was a great way to burn calories.” Mrs. Wolfenstein patted her tummy. “Werewolf or not, a girl’s got to watch her figure.”
“Have you thought about growling more or finding some other way to be more menacing?” Why am I actually giving them advice?
“They just laugh and ask me where the movie is shooting and can they be extras. What I wouldn’t give for a good old-fashioned scream and chase.” Mr. Wolfenstein sounded quite depressed about the matter.
“What about working on developing interests other than being werewolves? And remember that it is just as important to find hobbies separate from each other as it is to find activities or interests that the two of you have in common.”
“What interests?” asked Mrs. Wolfenstein, perplexed. “It’s not like we can take long walks together in the moonlight.”
“What about travel?” offered Dr. Breslin.
“I’ve already seen much of the world,” groused Mr. Wolfenstein. “I have lurked in many of the finest castles of Europe during my lifetime.”
“What about her lifetime, Mr. Wolfenstein?”
“Heh? What’s that?”
Dr. Breslin leaned forward and stared at the couple more intently. “What about showing her what is left of the world you saw and knew before you met her?”
“Oh,” exclaimed Mrs. Wolfenstein, “that sounds like a wonderful idea! Don’t you think so, Jacob?”
“It would be nice to see some of my old haunts.”
“And,” the good Doctor continued, feeling that he was really starting to hit his stride, “you can arrange your travel plans around those times when your – uhm –condition might attract attention.”
The couple began an animated conversation, so eager to make suggestions that they were soon speaking over one another. Dr. Breslin looked down at the cut crystal face of his Rolex and noted with relief that he was actually going to end the session on time. It took him five minutes to get their attention and focus it on him.
“Ok,” he said lightly, “I think that we have made quite a bit of progress today. Let’s see if we can’t do even better next week. I would like to have each of you think about two hobbies which does not include the other. I would also like for you to think about at least three cities you want to visit together.”
All three of the room’s occupants stood to their feet. Dr. Breslin ushered them out the door as quickly but also as politely as possible. With the suite of offices finally empty, he breathed a sigh of relief.
He entered a page of notes into the computer and then shut it down. Grabbing his suit jacket from a coat hook, he turned off the light in his office and locked the door.
He walked straight to his car, pausing for a moment to lightly stroke its satin-smooth skin. He took a handkerchief from his jacket pocket and carefully wiped away a trace amount of mud on the driver’s side door. He never heard anyone walking up to him.
“Hello again, Dr. Breslin,” said a feminine voice from behind him. Panicked, he turned around so quickly that he fell backwards, sitting heavily on the hood of the car.
“Uh, hello.” Why are they still here? “If there's a problem, we'll have to take it up at your session next week. I’m afraid that I’m late for a dinner date with my wife.” He leaned down and searched for the keys that had fallen from his hands.
“Oh, dear.” Mrs. Wolfenstein sounded genuinely apologetic. “We do hate to be a bother.”
“That’s no problem at all.” Dr. Breslin pressed a sequence of buttons that unlocked the door and started the engine.
“We just wanted to return you kindness and offer you a piece of advice.” There was a smile on Mr. Wolfenstein’s face that Dr. Breslin could not decipher.
“Oh, and what might that be?” He opened the driver’s door and leaned into the car to lay his briefcase on the passenger seat. His mind was on the disapproving stare that Clarissa would give him if he were late for their reservation.
“It’s never good to schedule your appointments on nights when there is a full moon. You never know what kind of crazies come out.”
Ten minutes later, a bloody claw pressed a button and the night was still and quiet once again.
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