His leg just wouldn’t stick.
This werewolf — my werewolf — used to be so lively: fur-tight flannel shirt, hipster jeans. He had it all, the crème de la crème in dollar store Halloween decor.
But now, it seemed, full moon was fading on my favorite paper friend.
"Hang in there, buddy," I told him, curling a strip a blue painter's tape in a loop, pressing it to the back of his leg then re-sticking the limb onto his hips. "Stay with me. You're gonna make it."
He snarled at me like old pals do and, whole again, we both went back to our busy lives: me, working and cooking and wondering if they still make Hi-C Ecto Cooler (and if so, why it’s absent from my pantry), and him, hanging there, trying his best to scare off monsters, unaware that he’s one himself.
The first time I saw him, over a decade ago, we locked eyes from across the discount shop. I was in the Spam department. He was in Halloween-Shaped Junk You’ll Wanna Keep Forever. And our connection was undeniable. I had a roommate then, and we displayed him prominently in our rental — a sign to outsiders that even though we were house people now, we were still young and kitschy and fun. Then when I bought a place of my own, my werewolf traveled with me, just like he did when I got married, and then again when my wife, stepdaughter and I moved into our second home. That's where he hangs now, right in the living room, tethering me to a former version of myself, to a past I barely recognize.
"The zombie's leg fell off again," my wife, Rebecca, said, shuffling into the kitchen.
I stopped chopping onions and set the knife down hard. "Um, you mean the werewolf?!" I said, stunned at her utter lack of empathy (or basic monster knowledge).
She opened the fridge. "Yeah, whatever.”
I marched right in to see him, this time with masking tape, and again I looped it, pressed it, held it until the leg stuck to his hips. Then the next day, a denim-clad Lycan limb slid into the dining room, stuck under the wheels of our robo-vacuum.
"Look how they massacred my boy," I cried, cradling the leg in my arms and looking to my werewolf for answers. He snarled at me the way family does when they know they can't help you anymore and it's time for them to go.
Every moment Rebecca and I have shared during every October since I've known her, my werewolf has closely monitored, a sharp-toothed Big Brother watching over us, casting judgement on our conversations.
Should we buy, sell, settle, grow, fight or forgive? I'd defer to my werewolf and, usually, he'd communicate with his yellow eyes a sentiment along the lines of, "Only if it doesn't interfere with our thing." And I liked the security in that, the idea that you can stay close to youth by simply staying away from change.
After the third time fixing his leg, though — this time with duct tape — only to find him amputated again the next morning, I knew "our thing" had run its course.
"Au revoir," Rebecca said, as I folded my werewolf up and laid him to rest in our trashcan. No goodbyes or goodnights exchanged. Just a monster transformed again by moonlight, this time into garbage. Silver ripped through the night sky just then above our family home. Just like it used to when I was young. Just like it always has.
Mike Cavaliere is the author of The Humorist: Adventures in Adulting & Horror Movies, available on Amazon.