“It’s something I heard on Good Morning America,” Jessica told her friend, Molli. “They were doing a feature on all of those baldness cures, the ones that you rub on to help grow hair? The woman doing the report said to toss a towel over your pillow case?”
“Yes?” Molli motioned with her hand for Jess to get on with it and come to the point.
“The pillow case? The lotion would get on it?”
Jessica giggled at the thought. “If you rub against the pillow case, it gets on your face, the lotion, and hair grows on your face.”
“Alright. And then what?”
“Seriously, Molli? It just opened up so many possibilities. I thought, ‘what would happen if I rubbed some on someone’s pillow case and they didn’t know?’ See where I’m going?”
Molli nodded. “I get it.” She waited for Jessica to turn away then rubbed her face to check that no unwanted hair was growing on it. Satisfied that she was not the target, she continued. “So what did you do?”
“Chad. You know how he’s always teasing me and everyone else, trying to prank them, so I decided to prank him.”
“Really? Is it working?”
More giggles from Jess. “Oh, it’s working. Each morning he stands in front of the mirror and checks his face, turning this way and that to see if there’s more hair. And every morning, there it is. I leave the room and pretend to go downstairs, but I watch him around the door. He’s plucked and rubbed and tried to wash it away, but still, every day more hair.”
Now Molli was getting it. She joined in the laughter. “How long will you keep it up?”
“Who knows? I don’t think it’s played out yet. I’ll just keep rubbing it on his pillow each night and tell him when he can’t stand it any longer.”
“Doctor, I’m really concerned.” Chad spoke to the therapist without making eye contact, one cheek against his shoulder while the other was covered by an outstretched hand. “I’m changing.”
“We all change,” the therapist remarked. “It’s a fact of life. How we meet change is the key.”
“I’m having problems with the changes in my life. I want to go back to the way it was.”
“Now, Chad, you know that’s not healthy. Whatever the changes, the key is to accept them, embrace them, let them shape who you are, the new you.”
“Embrace them. Are you sure?”
“You won’t tell me what changes you’re facing but that’s the formula for just about any that I’ve encountered. Don’t fight it, flow with it.”
“If you insist.”
“Jessica, I have something I need to tell you.”
“I have a problem. Well, at first I saw it as a problem, but now… Jessica, I’m changing.”
“Really?” Jess fought to hold back her laughter. For three months she had gone through the same nightly routine, spending more money than she liked to admit on the hair-restoration lotion, rubbing it on Chad’s pillow, watching his anxiety mount. Now it was close, so close to the time when she could come clean and admit that she had hit him with the Best. Prank. Ever.
“It’s been subtle, but steady and I’ve fought it for so long, but I really need to admit to it.”
“Tell me, dear. Perhaps I can help you?”
“There’s nothing that you can do, Jess, nothing at all.”
“At least tell me about it?”
“Of course.” Chad smiled at her, barely a shadow in the twilight as they waited on the terrace for moon rise. “It started a few months ago. Remember when the neighbor’s dog bit me when we arrived home late at night?”
“How could I forget?”
“That was the start of it. The night that it began.”
“Of course, dear. I cleaned your arm and helped you bandage it and it healed well.”
“Yes,” he agreed, “the wound healed but there was more to it than that.”
“The dog wasn’t just a dog. If you remember correctly, it was a full moon.”
“Was it?” Jessica frowned, wondering exactly what that had to do with anything.
“It was and the so-called dog on a full moon? Seriously, Jessica, put the pieces together.”
“What the hell is an issue with a dog on a full moon?” Jess had been looking forward to springing the surprise on him, the zinger that she had been responsible for his uncontrolled hair growth, but now? What was this all about?
“The dog wasn’t a dog, Jessica.” Chad stared at her in exasperation. “Pay attention to what I’ve been trying to tell you.”
“It certainly looked like a dog to me.”
“Well it wasn’t. It was a werewolf.”
“A werewolf? A werewolf?” She shook her head at his logic. “I don’t know how you came to that conclusion. It was a dog.”
“It was a werewolf and I have proof,” he insisted.
“Alright and just what proof is that?”
“Look here,” he said, finally pulling aside the cowl neck of his sweater to reveal the hair on his cheeks and neck. “See?”
Jessica found herself barely able to contain her laughter. “And you think that proves that the dog was a werewolf?”
“It only confirms my opinion,” he said. “And unfortunately, through your obtuseness, we’ve spent too long discussing this and now it’s too late.”
She had been about to confess her part in this development but this remark caught her off guard. “Too late for what?” she asked.
“The moon is rising,” he told her. “The full moon, and I’m afraid that my instincts are taking over.” He reached for her and pulled her to him, his teeth tearing at the flesh of her neck.
She tried to cry out. “Chad, it’s my fault…” but her blood gushed out, drowning the words that would have confessed her prank.
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