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The Poodles who Barked Wolf
A noodle-headed mother had three sons who were good and true and more than enough to satisfy anyone.
The village women teased her, “It’s a shame you don’t have a daughter, a skilled daughter could help with the housework.”
“You don’t have a daughter, a strong daughter could help care for the boys.”
“You don’t have a daughter - a sweet daughter. Everyone knows, a boy is a son until he takes a wife but a daughter’s a daughter the rest of her life!”
The noodle-head chanted to the full moon on February 29:
“I need a sweet daughter to share my long life,
I need a strong daughter to share toil and strife,
I need a skilled daughter to share my sharp knife.
I’ll give you my sons. You know I have three.
Turn them into werewolves, I won’t disagree!”
A blue moon is two full moons in the same calendar month and is a rare occurrence. She chanted in a leap year. Two full moons in February is a pink moon. Once in a pink moon means something happens strangely. Instead of being turned into werewolves, they were turned into were-creatures.
She found the newborn in a cradle. The baby had golden locks and was named Gilda. The magical child nursed for hours and grew stronger than her mother.
Gilda slapped her mother’s breasts, “More milk, Mommy-cow.”
Gilda grew as tall as a ten-year-old with the strength of a Sumo wrestler.
Gilda twisted her mother’s head until it faced backwards, “I’m tired of your pathetic mother-face!”
Gilda wrapped her mother in the bed sheets like a mummy and stuffed her in the clothes hamper, “You shouldn’t procrastinate on laundry, you lazy-lump of mommy-mucous. Rot in your mildew rags.”
The mother’s wish had been fulfilled. Her daughter was sweet, strong and skilled. Gilda searched for food because she had thirty-two iron teeth. She found a pile of apricot fluff slurping porridge from a bowl.
She snatched him, “Who and what are you?”
“I’m your oldest brother, don’t you pout,
Be careful with the way you touch my snout,
I’m a teacup were-poodle, short and stout,
Girl-handle me and I’ll take you out!”
Gilda tossed him out the window. She ate every scrap of food in the kitchen including the cookie crumbs under the refrigerator and stale chips behind the stove. She ate the grease at the bottom of the broiler and unground bits of wet noodles in the garbage disposal.
Gilda, who had grown larger, entered the sitting room. She found three chairs: a big hard chair, a medium soft chair and a little tiny chair with a gray pile of fluff curled up.
She grabbed him, “Who and what are you?”
“I’m your middle brother, mind what you say,
Come along sister, be my protégé.
I’m a miniature were-poodle, short not stout,
Join with me without delay and put this house in disarray!”
Gilda sat on the little chair and broke it. She crawled to eat popcorn swept under the cabinet. She found a melted candy bar and an old turkey bone. After eating scraps found in the middle chair and the biggest chair, she drank the warm soda in the cans in the recycle bin.
A more abundant Gilda climbed the stairs. She turned sideways to squeeze through the double doors. A large white creature sprawled on one of the three beds.
“Who and what are you?”
“I’m your youngest brother as you already know.
I’m a standard were-poodle and it’s time you go!”
The third were-poodle lunged at Gilda, fastened its fangs on her neck and drained her blood. When the poodle finished, he ran downstairs to rescue his brothers. He found the miniature were-poodle cringing in the corner. He escaped when Gilda broke the chair. The teacup were-poodle was digging in the pumpkin vines. The three climbed the stairs to the master bedroom. Knocking over the laundry hamper, the standard were-poodle rescued the mother wrapped in the sheet.
Using teeth and claws, the were-poodles freed their mother, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Gilda is picking on us!”
The noodle-head twisted her face to see straight. Even a noodle-head can get her head together. She kissed the poodles transforming them into human boys.
The mother hugged her sons singing, “My boys, I love you, it’s true. Forgive my mistake making werewolves of you!”
The boys jumped on the bed tossing pillows, “We weren’t werewolves, we were were-poodles and it was Gilda’s fault!”
The mother remembered her daughter and found Gilda flat as a California king bed sheet. She rolled her up and took her outside. She scrubbed her in a washtub and hung her on the clothesline with forty-seven clothespins in a rainbow pattern.
Gilda had not found the food in the garage refrigerator so the mother made lunch for her sons. She grilled cheese sandwiches and quesadillas. She cut up carrot sticks and sliced apples to serve with ranch dressing and peanut butter. The youngest boy dipped his carrot in the peanut butter.
The middle boy said, “Ugh.”
When the youngest ate his apple with ranch dressing, the oldest boy said, “Gross.”
The mother returned to the clothesline where Gilda had shrunk to the size of a cloth diaper. After opening the single blue clothespin from which she hung, the mother carried her inside to her brothers.
Each boy kissed the flattened pancake, “I love you anyway, Gilda.”
“You’re still my sister.”
“I knew you were kidding.”
The noodle-headed mother kissed Gilda who became a baby. Did they live happily ever after?
Raymond Coulombe, Michael Gallant, Timothy O. Goyette
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