Dreamed 1983/11/11 by Chris Wayan
I'll need to tell you about Grace and what she said, before you can possibly see why I'm so glad we ate the guy.
It's mild out, but I'm biking so fast I'm getting goose bumps from the wind chill. If I don't hurry I'll never get in. Rear Window's been out of print for years.
The line's a block long; I'm the last one in. It's a circus in the lobby. The University film crowd, in backless gowns and snoot suits. I see myself in the wall mirrors--a skeletal hairy thing in wrinkled jeans. A lone wolf. They form a little hollow around me, in case I'm catching. The lights blink and we troop into the velvet womb, pink elegants on parade.
The trailer is for "Heat and Dust." The narrator gushes about "all the color and richness of India" but all they show is a lot of tired extras slogging through, well, heat and dust. Forget that one! A costume show.
What a contrast with "Rear Window"! Hitchcock's tenement courtyard is livelier than all of Hollywood's India. The couple with the dog in the flying basket. The newlyweds, the pianist, the fat lady sculpting. The dancer with ten suitors. The invalid wife and...
Jimmy Stewart, adventurer, fidgeting under the thumb of his ghoulish old nurse, chained to the rear window by a broken leg. A wild animal in a cage. No way out but through his eyes.
And Grace Kelly, a black and white show cat. How absurd they'd get engaged! Him in spats at the ball, her in a jeep in the Hindu Kush? Like cactus marrying cream! But is she the fashion doll she seems? She's not oblivious to society's jungle heart. Grace respects that seemingly promiscuous dancer across the way: "Irresponsible? She's doing the hardest job a woman has--juggling wolves!"
Oh, Grace acts shocked when Jimmy insists that the man across the way hacked up his wife, but she slips into the spy game with disturbing ease and glee, even more enthusiastic than the Nurse. They scare the guy with blackmail notes, burgle his room, steal his wedding ring, dig for corpses. They talk of murder and get hot and paw, kiss, clinch. Turned on by dirty talk--of blood. Ferally they glare across the courtyard, tracking their prey, squabbling over the lenses. Devouring with their eyes! Man-eaters.
And we watch them watch! My nerves, too, hum a faint resonation to their lust. They've turned ME into a peeper! A predator. It's a sick joke, but funny (Hitchcock in six words!): voyeurs who harass a man for an imagined crime, til they drive him to crime in self-defense.
I'm shocked to learn the murder was real, and that they, not the detectives or their decent neighbors, turn out to have been right.
I ride home slowly through the blackness, shivering in my thin coat. I go to bed feeling dirty. Ashamed of my own voyeurism, and aware more than ever how much of my art and relationships echo REAR WINDOW: I spy on others' lives because I feel caged by environmental illness. Those who can't do, watch.
Well! I got my wish. Grace and I are in the foothills of the Himalaya. We'll see how she adapts. Of course, children are adaptable. We look down on green barley terraces meandering like topo lines on the valley slopes, salted with little whitewashed houses. Brushy ridges with scattered trees above, where we live in the sun and storms. We're about twelve, I think; we have always been here. Brother and sister, perhaps--no one knows. Our nurse tells us we were foundlings, taken in so young we don't remember. She never lies to us--or spares the truth. Nurse is a tough old bitch.
She has to be. She's the leader of the pack.
We're wolf children.
Of course, being an animal's not what it used to be. Our nurse tells us stories her grandfather Akela told her about the days of Mowgli. Time was, even the boldest Wolf wouldn't look a Human in the eye. We believed in a natural order--with Men at the top. But the old colonial ways are gone. Modernization! We're out to beat the Humans at their own game now. "Intelligence, language, mutual aid, enculturation, that's how they did it!" says the Nurse on Selection Eve. "But they've gotten lazy. They breed for docility and let the stupid rule." Speeches like that are how an undersized bitch got to be leader--she could never fight her way up under the old code, but she has brains, and that's what matters to us. A new creature's breeding, up in these hills.
Nurse's policy is to raise lost Human pups, though enculturated Humans are still a Wolf's blood enemy. Still our pack does make some distinctions. Farmers are usually unarmed but not to be trusted; their tradition says we're man-eaters, and they hate us. Hippies are a friendly type increasing in number--"the people who sing", we call them. Worst are the Wolf Hunters: numerous and nasty, since there's a bounty on our heads. We DO eat one breed of human animal--Wolf Hunters! We're quite diligent about it, but they never seem to get the message. Well, an especially hostile villager may disappear now and then, but that's rare, and mostly the Kiyee Pack, not us; villagers are TOUGH, we avoid killing them. "Hippies don't sing to the Moon enough, and badly when they do." says Nurse. "But it's the thought that counts." One does not eat kin.
We gather at the high window-rock at the rear of our territory, where the humans begin. From the shadow of the ochre boulders, I stare down on the Human villages through the chill dawn mists. Our scouts heard hunters. Up here at Rear Window our view of their ascending file is perfect, yet we're hidden in the shadow of the arch. The leader picks groups to decoy and circle behind the hunters. She points out the three most isolated stragglers. Grace and I follow Nurse as the pack splits.
We stalk a middle-aged male. Maniac, he's armed with a bloody hacksaw! Rusty glimpses through the feathery brush. Nurse jumps him from behind. As he goes down, Limpleg crushes his voice box so he can't cry out, and we pile on. We drag him into a thorn thicket and sit in a judgment ring. Doesn't take long--with hunters. Nurse looks him in the eye and rips his belly open. One by one, we tear off a strip, as he screams. It's not for food: hunters taste bad, from smoke and fear and general wickedness, living high off their blood money. We eat them for revenge.
Bitter blood on my chin. Nicotine stink. Grace rips off a long stringy piece of his fat skin as he writhes. Fastidious as always, she holds it in her forepaws and squats by the man's head. His eyes focus in hope as he dully recognizes a beautiful naked girl before him. A dying fantasy? No! She's real; the villagers have come to save him! She gnaws and watches his face as it lights, then gapes, then screws up with horror. His eyes are as hollow as his abdomen now is. And still he doesn't die. She spits him into the dust. Bitter, as always.
The other two squads herd their victims into the glade, and report the other hunters are trekking southwest, following our decoys. No casualties. A triple victory!
Elated, Grace and I roll around, snapping yipping and pawing at each other. We start licking each other's faces and humping roughly, amusing the others, who of course mate when the Moon sings to them, and find our impulsive fucking perpetually hilarious. "Crazy youngsters nowadays!"
The Leader judges the two fresh Hunters, and the team-chiefs slash them open. Steam boils up into the dawn air from their bleeding insides. Our nurse looks at us squirming happily on the ground and has a whimsical idea. Let's.... curl up and lie on these nice warm slimy guts. Mmm... warm... wiggly. She begins squirming and rocking. Impulsively I pull out of Grace and hunch on the other hunter's guts. Grace follows me, and soon we're both coming on the steamy slippery mess, making little happy yips as he jerks in agony. The other members of the wolf pack join us, until there's an orgy on the twitching dying men, as we all slip in their fat and climb on each other and rub our swollen organs against their hot luscious innards and come and come and come. It's one hell of a party. The next few weeks are rough. The hunters won't find their three friends, of course--we know to bury the pieces--but Human raids from the north, east, and west become a daily problem. We retreat south, through rocky jungle hills into little-known territory, warm and low, with many villages in the ravines and plains.
One day, some of us are talking about the orgy. "Unprecedented." says Limpleg. "Unnerving to think we don't need the Moon... but it sure was fun!" I get turned on again just thinking about it. I grab my sister and pull her down and we start fucking--and again, THE OTHERS JOIN US. The idea alone is enough. Our tribe's learned the power of the image! Don't have to wait til we're in heat. The others laugh "This is impossible", "What are things coming to?" "Who cares?" "It feels good, keep going!" Then the lookout's bay comes through the trees and we all scramble up grubby and dripping. A horrible shock raises my hackles as I glimpse an endless front of hunters creeping toward us from the north, booming on little fat tin logs strung round their smelly necks.
We scout east and west and are appalled to find that over the hills in both directions are houses and streets under the trees! Slowly we realize we've been elaborately tricked. They bulldozed all the houses on the outer edge of a vast city park, planted it, and created a tongue of wilderness wiggling deep into the City of Man. We've been slowly driven into a preserve! Ahead the valley rises to its end. From the pass... I can't even see the end of the streets and towers. They have us. We're going to die here, penned.
The line nears, foreleg to foreleg. A woman in a blue sari comes up through them, nears us. She makes apologetic gestures, speaks mildly in human talk.
We don't know what to do.
"Nothing to lose--we're dead anyway." decides our nurse. "Jimmy and Grace, you come with me--you look Human and that may help." We inch forward. The woman gestures to us. Nurse okays it with her eyes and we let the Human touch us. Suddenly she grabs us both by the ear and jerks us forward, yelling something in a frightened, urgent voice. The other humans roar like tractors and rush forward with clubs. They ignore us as they chase the wolves through the park toward the other hunters' line. I know suddenly from the hate-filled screams that they'll murder them. Or lock them in human caves somewhere, which means the same thing, in the end. Grace and I look at each other, sick. We didn't fight for our pack. Instinctively I chose to lie still in the trap, chose to live. I know we two couldn't save them. I'm still ashamed. They raised me. Human people threw me away.
The woman leads us away into the city... we're draped in bright cloth such as humans wear. It's pretty. She teaches us their tongue, introduces us to people; they do not treat us cruelly. They seem to think we need a lot of care. But beyond the fascination of the light switches and faucets and colors and radios and faces that look like our own, I begin to sense... a monotony. Nurse was right! The wolves were growing, evolving--and these--these creatures are static!
And we'll learn to be like them.
I do like the rock and roll I hear on the radio in my "room". (Humans are polytheistic about the Earth, calling only certain caves "rooms", and each honoring one small "room", unlike us, who live in endless Room. They make us stay in different "rooms" alone at night so we have to wait till the humans are asleep and sneak into one "room" and curl up in the corner on the blankets.) One day I get very excited and run to Grace's room. I yell "Grace! There are other wolves here! I heard them!"
I twist the little bone flowers on her radio till the markings match and the music comes out here too. She gapes and sits on the bed as she hears about the human girl who loves the Leader of the Pack with the amazing growl, voom voom VOOOOOOOOOOM! Then we pale as they quarrel and he leaves camp upset, not alert to danger, and CRASH BANG the guns explode; the Humans got him, as they got our family.
I really hate the humans, and as I console myself by recalling the day of our big victory, I fade out and cross back to the waking world.
I wake up singing a jingle that annoys me. Not the original Leader of the Pack, but a parody I heard on TV last week. A hamburger ad. High school girls crooning in fifties cars as they get all hot and wet over their undisputed champion love:
while practically mushing their faces into the dripping hunk of meat.
Then I remember us wolves squirming all over our Big Mac, and I think "That's a sick joke, dreamer!" but I'm laughing, and I sing it again, "McDonald's GREAT BIG MAC!" and I find I like thinking of that bastard guy as a big hamburger. Of course he was a killer, but I still feel guilty. His body torn open, those thin screams, and we were so happy.
Yet he didn't die in vain. The Wolves' new sport, over his dying body, broke their age-old cycle of estrus, the last area where instinct ruled. They replaced heat with lust.
I may feel a bit embarrassed by the circumstances, but then, evolution is messy. They broke through to freedom, and that's what counts. Now their minds rule. If they can survive Human persecution, they can shape themselves.
Suddenly I make the connection with the "wolves" of "Rear Window." Just as the dancer's wolves want into her pants, wolfish Jimmy and Grace want into their neighbor's head. They study and trail. Wolves don't go after just anyone; their prey always flags itself. Wolves circle, study, test, harass, move in...
And in the end they're right and their neighbors are wrong. The wolf nurse and her wolf children are INVOLVED, both with their own lusts and with their neighbors, who decently turned their eyes, and now are sheepishly... sari.
Wolves go beyond decency. And evolution favors this, though the neighbors don't.
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