Jan 1986

The wolf was on his way to work, minding his own business. After all a wolf has his own life to live. it’s not that the wolf didn’t care about other people – it was just that he was getting back on his own two feet after a harrowing winter. Now somewhere along the way to work the wolf knew he must cross the path that led to the old grandma’s house. The wolf had never seen the old grandma – but from what he’d heard, she was a nice old lady who lived in a little cottage up in the woods someplace.

But the path held no importance to the wolf and it hardly ever had any traffic on it anyway. Besides on his big trail bike it was more fun to be off the path than on it. So he buttoned up his big black leather jacket and slipped on his big black gloves and for the heck of it left his helmet tied to the back rack. It was such a fine day that it would be fun to feel the air and the sunshine that filtered through the trees.

Well as history goes he had to run into Little Red Riding Hood. Now the wolf wasn’t looking for her, nor did he mean to scare her. But as fate would have it he broke into the clearing and onto the path with a huge roar about five feet in front of Little Red Riding Hood. It scared the living daylights out of her. But it also impressed her all the way down to her little red boots. After all, one doesn’t become a wolf unless one has to a large degree the ability to look rather dashing. Anyway, with his large jet black eyes and long black hair flowing behind him, he cut a pretty impressive picture on his bike.

Now considering the speed he was going at and the noise his bike was making, it was a wonder he even heard Little Red Riding Hood at all. As it was, he was almost onto the other side of the path before he heard her cry of shock.

Now the wolf was no unmannerly beast. In fact he was a real gentleman, and though he had his moments of wildness, this wasn’t one of them. So he reigned in all the many horses beneath him and did a little wheelie to turn around. He then dismounted. After all one doesn’t introduce oneself to a lady sitting down, does one?

Little Red Riding Hood wasn’t too sure about the wolf in her path. After all he was at least a foot taller and wider than she was, but then again he looked like he was about to apologize. In fact, Little Red Riding Hood had to admit to herself that he also looked very cuddly. Despite the fact that he was at the same time very scary looking. But then again he did have big eyes – and a big smile. Her little heart started beating faster and faster and to tell the truth she was kinda excited about the whole situation.

The wolf stood casually beside his bike. Little Red Riding Hood had blonde curly hair under her bright red hood and she was cute; but then one doesn’t become a wolf without running into a lot of beautiful women a lot of the time.

The actual meeting wasn’t anything spectacular. The wolf introduced himself, apologized, asked Little Red Riding Hood where she was going, mentioned a few good things about the weather and roared off on his bike. He did have to get to work after all.

Little Red Riding Hood stood in the middle of the path for a long time after and dreamed about what big eyes he’d had. She was definitely impressed. He’d even had big hands that had totally enveloped hers when he’d taken her hand to say hello. She was so caught up in her little daydream that the woodcutter’s son almost ran her down in his little cart.

Now the wood cutter’s son – he was of a different caliber. He liked to call himself a wolf but the wolf would have thrown up if he’d been associated with the woodcutter’s son. Not that all woodcutter’s sons are bad, but this woodcutter’s son was no gentleman. But he did have a technique with women and Little Red Riding Hood was cute, so he gave her a ride to her grandma’s house. He also warned her about running into wolves. He also asked her what she was doing later that night.

Well as time went on, the woodcutter’s son realized that Little Red Riding Hood wasn’t interested in him but in the wolf. And as time went on the woodcutter’s son started disliking the wolf even more. And as more time went on Little Red Riding Hood managed to be at her Grandma’s house for something or the other, everyday. And everyday she’d wait for the wolf to charge across the path in the woods. And everyday, being a gentleman the wolf would stop and talk about how great the weather was; because one doesn’t ignore nice young ladies who look so helpless. Especially if they look up at you with big wondering eyes.

And as time passed their conversations turned from the weather to politics to religion to feelings. And one awful day the fiercely independent wolf felt scared. Because suddenly he realized that he looked forward to seeing the little girl with her big blue eyes and her pretty blonde curls peeping out from under her bright red hood.

Well, Little Red Riding Hood had by now reached the point of absolute infatuation for the wolf and subsequently the woodcutter’s son had reached the point of absolute hatred for the wolf. On the other hand the wolf by now had reached the point where he knew all about Little Red Riding Hood and how she’d had a rough life and was recovering from a broken heart. And he felt a lot of compassion for her. Because you see, the wolf besides having big hands, big eyes, a big bike and a big smile, also had a big heart.

Now as we’ve said before, the wolf was just getting over a harrowing winter and he was a bit vulnerable. And so one fine day he woke up and found out that he was falling in love. Which is dangerous because wolves aren’t supposed to fall in love.

By now word of all this had gotten to the old grandma, and being as grandma’s usually are she absolutely went into skits of frenzy. A wolf?! Impossible! The wolf was right out! It would just not do. No wolf! You just could not have a wolf in the Hood family. Preposterous! She sat Little Red Riding Hood right down and gave her such a talking to, that Little Red Riding Hood’s little toes all the way down in her little red shoes started to ring. Needless to say Little Red Riding Hood was unmoved. Ladies are like that. And so she continued to see the wolf.

But now all of a sudden things started to change. The wolf was getting too serious about the whole thing. And little by little, Little Red Riding Hood began to get bored. Especially since the thrill of the chase was gone. This was of course both obvious and distressing to the wolf. But being a true gentleman he offered to disappear. But that wouldn’t do because Little Red Riding Hood liked being seen with the Big Bad Wolf. But the wolf insisted that if there was no future there really couldn’t be a present either and he stopped being around all the time.

The woodcutter’s son needless to say was wildly happy about this turn of events and tried to get in the picture again. The wolf hearing about this advised Little Red Riding Hood against the woodcutter’s son. This didn’t help the woodcutter’s son feel any friendlier to the wolf. Nor did it solve the wolf’s problems. He still liked the little girl that he’d almost run over so many moons ago. But she didn’t want him and yet she wouldn’t let go of him. So he decided to have a “talk it out” once and for all, with her.

Then that weekend Grandma decided to go shopping as grandma’s often do and Little Red Riding Hood saw a chance of a lifetime. So she packed a beautiful picnic basket full of goodies and arranged to meet the wolf at the cottage.

Well, it could’ve been extremely romantic if two very bad things hadn’t happened. First, the woodcutter’s son got wind of the meeting and second Grandma came back because she’d forgotten her purse.

The woodcutter’s son thought he’d pay the wolf back and give him a scare of his life, and maybe a bump on his head with the back of an axe. And as for Grandma – well she just wanted her purse.

As it happened the wolf got to the cottage right after Little Red Riding Hood got there. And he was in the middle of explaining how it was all over and he was leaving forever when Grandma walked in. Now as we’ve said before, Grandma never did like the wolf. And when she saw the wolf there, breaking himself out of Little Red Riding Hood’s embrace, she saw red. And it wasn’t a hood she was looking at. In no uncertain terms she informed the wolf to leave the premises.

The wolf being a true gentleman, as we’ve mentioned before, apologized profusely and started to leave the cottage.

Now we must understand what was going through Little Red Riding Hood’s mind. It’s one thing not to want someone forever, but it’s a totally different thing when he says, well if it’s not forever it’s definitely not going to be now. In short she felt rejected. For after all, you always want what you can’t have.

But while she was feeling this way, the wolf was on his way out the door with Grandma right behind him.

And while the wolf was on his way out the door with Grandma right behind him, the woodcutter’s son was creeping up to the cottage with the back of his axe ready to swing.

So when the wolf opened the cottage door, the woodcutter’s son took a good look, made sure it was the wolf and swung the back of his axe. The wolf opened the door and took a good look too. Then when he realized what was going on he hit the dust. He then kicked Grandma’s legs out from under her because as we’ve said – the wolf was a true gentleman and he hated to have a dead grandma on his hands. Well grandmas don’t fall softly and she managed to knock herself silly on the door step and thusly received a small gash. She then proceeded to bleed all over the wolf and the axe, which clattered resoundingly against the door and landed on the wolf’s legs.

All in all it was quite chaotic which explains why the woodcutter’s son took one look at the situation and almost passed out. He was sure he’d killed old Grandma. Upon which event he screamed bloody murder and got the heck out of there.

Little Red Riding Hood took one look at Grandma on the floor. Then at the blood all over the place and then at the axe all covered in blood. When her mind finally managed to grasp everything she started screaming her little lungs off in fright too.

The wolf on the other hand calmly stood up, picked up the axe, muttered something about getting blood all over the place and someone having to clean up the bloody mess and tried to find Grandma’s pulse.

Meanwhile, the woodcutter happened to be in the vicinity. This of course was very unfortunate. All year round the cottage and the woods around it lay deserted. And on the very day when one wouldn’t want anybody to be around – everybody and his monkey seemed to have business in the area.

Well, the woodcutter heard his son crash like a freight train through the woods screaming like a banshee. So knowing his own son, the woodcutter headed in the opposite direction. Besides, that was the direction from which he could hear Little Red Riding Hood going full blast like an air raid siren.

Now you must remember that the woodcutter was a pretty decent man but then not much excitement took place in the woods all the time. So by the time he reached the cottage, the woodcutter was all worked up to defend the entire nation from communist aliens from Kolob.

The wolf looked up and smiled at the woodcutter. The woodcutter took one look at the wolf, the blood, old Grandma, more blood, the bloody axe in the wolf Is hands, even more blood and finally at Little Red Riding Hood screaming her little lungs out. I think the smile did it. The woodcutter, reminiscent of some old John Wayne rerun showing somewhere this very moment, in one movement lifted his rifle to his shoulder and blew away the wolf.

The wolf of course was smiling because he’d just found out that Grandma wasn’t really dead, just out cold.

He never stood a chance – and as he sank to the ground he just stared sadly at Little Red Riding Hood with those great big black eyes.

The funny thing is that the instant the gun went off, Little Red Riding Hood stopped screaming. In fact everything went silent for a long slow moment.

And then Little Red Riding Hood took one long look at the wolf and; then turned her attention to Grandma who had started to move. It seemed Grandma’s little nap on the floor had revived her and she was starting to feel uncomfortable on the cold hard doorstep.

* * * * *

The rest of course is history. The wolf was unceremoniously buried and the case was closed. Grandma was sure the wolf had attacked her, the woodcutter agreed and Little Red Riding Hood didn’t seem to want to talk about it. All she ever mentioned was about what big eyes he’d had.

The only other person who might have had an idea of what had happened was the woodcutter’s son, and he certainly wasn’t planning on talking.

Well, Little Red Riding Hood soon forgot the whole incident, crushes are like that and she disappeared into history.

The woodcutter went through life believing he’d finally achieved something great in his life; especially when the township gave him a medal for bravery.

The woodcutter’s son – well, who really cares what happened to the woodcutter’s son – I certainly don’t.

* * * * *

So there you have it, now the truth is known.

Copyright Neil Mammen 1986