Any of yous out there remember Warren Zevon. I have it somewhere at the back of my mind, along with the skeleton that never made it into the closet, that two of his songs defined my childhood.
I’m not that old if you’re wondering, but my parents are. Or to be more precise, my mother loved, perhaps a little too much, The Beatles and Cliff Richard. My father didn’t love anyone, but he played three songs over and over again: Bad Moon Rising (CCR, not Mr Zevon), Werewolves of London and Lawyers, Guns and Money.
To the ears of an impressionable child it was all incomprehensible, except that certain motifs got stuck in my imagination. Werewolves for one, and vague associations between them and long haired dogs. I would classify people as werewolves, potential werewolves, and food. Myself and my friends were all food. The bully in the year above, he was food too, if only for romantic reasons. The scary old lady at the end of the road, now she was a werewolf. The proof was in the fact that she kept a grey dog with a limp and mange, and the fact that she was never in the house at night. And every full moon people went missing. Not anyone I knew but people definitely went missing.
And then her dog died and her skin went yellow like jaundice. She used to go sit on the bench by the shops where the bus stop used to be. For hours she just sat there and we weren’t scared of her anymore. To us she was no longer a werewolf but a smelly old bag lady without any family who was waiting to die. I didn’t know what a bag lady was and it shames me now that I laughed at her.
I think of her whenever I see an old woman sat on a bench on her own. Maybe the world would be a better place if they really were all werewolves.