Turns Out Lycanthropy Really is a Curse After All

When we discovered the spell that let people turn into animals, of course everyone had to try it.

We all missed the obvious problem, though — you can’t fit a human intelligence into an animal brain. There just aren’t enough neurons or lobes or whatever. Trying to squeeze something so big into something so small, parts are going to get lost.

Let’s just say the term “bird-brained” took on a whole new meaning after that congregation in Hoboken decided to spend a few days as doves.

Actually, for a lot of people it wasn’t that much of a problem. Sure, the people who turned themselves into dogs came back with the mental acuity of five year olds, but they were also incredibly happy and loyal to their families and friends.

Some animals didn’t even seem to cause a problem. Chimpanzees, obviously, but people could also transform into crows or other more intelligent birds without much problem besides losing a few IQ points. The few who tried out elephants were perfectly fine. Some people who turned into dolphins actually seemed to get smarter.

It wasn’t all sweetness and light, of course. Afterwards, more than a quarter of the world’s population was below the level of mental retardation. Even those who weren’t, sometimes came back bad. There are more than a few who turned into leopards or tigers and came back as stalking serial killers. Most who became gorillas came back with anger management problems.

And then there’s the guy who turned into an ant. Everyone was expecting him to come back basically brain dead, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. What happened instead was horrifying.

House of Cards

OK, so, there were these three guys, see? Two twins and their younger brother.

So, the twins. Identical twins, and I mean completely identical. Only way to tell ‘em apart was to get way up close, ’cause you see, each of ‘em had only one good eye. The other one was glass. Funny thing was, one was missing his right eye and the other his left. A little too coincidental if you ask me, but anyway say you manage to get close enough to their faces, you could know who was who.

‘Course, they never let anyone get that close to ‘em. And anyone who did ain’t fit to talk about it.

Creepy bastards, too. You know how some twins got that “sixth sense” about each other, can tell what the other’s thinking or doing at the time, right? These guys had it like no other. Sometimes it seemed like they were the same guy just in two different bodies, y’know? One of ‘em would be off doing something and the other would know everything before he even heard about it. Nobody knew their real names. They both went by “Jack.” To confuse people, I guess, but it’s not like it mattered since you couldn’t tell ‘em apart anyway. And of course people called ‘em the One-Eyed Jacks.

You see where this is going, eh? Yeah. If they’re the One-Eyed Jacks, that made their brother the Suicide King.

Alright, you gotta understand, this guy, even though he was the younger brother, he was big. The Jacks were scrawny types, they were the schemers and talkers of the operation. The King was the muscle. And he was an animal. He fought like he wasn’t afraid of dying, and I guess he wasn’t ’cause a lot of the time the fights would end with him shooting himself in the head.

Yeah. “A lot of the time.” He did this more than once. What, you think people called him the Suicide King ’cause it was cute? Yeah, after he shoots himself in the head he just lies there ’til things settle down and then he just gets up and walks out at his leisure. I don’t even wanna know how he discovered that particular talent.

Nah, it’s all true. How the hell could I make this shit up? Remember that rash of robberies all across the country few years back, three-man teams, two of ‘em always got away but the third always ended up taking his own life? Sure, they said it was “copycat crimes” but who the hell would want to copy that?

You’re laughing. You don’t believe me. Well, maybe so. Hell, I never met these guys myself, could be all a ghost story far as I know. But let me tell you, I don’t hang around with no twins no more.

The Case of the Totally Unnecessary and Gratuitous “Dick” Puns

I’m a dick. A private dick. The best damn dick in this whole town, if I do say so myself. I’m the one who put Vito Romana behind bars. Didn’t make many friends by doing that, neither. But a man’s gotta do what he’s good at. And I’m so good, people even call me Dick, though that’s probably because my name’s Richard. It might also be because when I’m on the case I can be a real…well…you get the picture. I tell ya what, the jokers never stop laughing.

One Thursday morning this dame walked into my office with legs that went all the way up and a dress that didn’t quite go all the way down. I could tell right away she was trouble. Dames like that always are.

“I’m looking for a dick,” she said, the words floating on her sweet breath like the bloated, week-old bodies of mob victims bobbing to the surface of the river.

“I can see that,” I said. I glanced out the window. The rain-slicked street outside was bustling, as usual. Not even rain can stop a city. It just keeps on going, like a train bearing down on the broad strapped to the tracks.

“Is that some kind of joke?” she asked, raising an eyebrow — an eyebrow as perfectly sculpted as the Venus de Milo. It was the kind of eyebrow you only see in the movies, and not even then.

“Well sweetheart,” I said, lighting a cigarette, “maybe I’m jumping the gun, but since my door says ‘Private Detective’ and you came in, I guessed you ain’t lookin’ for a massage therapist. Simple detective work.” I smiled and exhaled a lungful of smoke, the taste of ashes in my mouth.

“Enough dicking around,” she said (I grimaced), “My husband’s been murdered.”

That got my attention — but I was cautious. Half the time some dame came in with a murdered husband, she was the one who did it and was just trying to divert attention. And she wouldn’t think twice about offing you, too, if you got too close to the truth.

“Sounds serious,” I agreed, “How’d it happen?”

“Poison,” she said, one perfect tear — too perfect if you ask me — dripping and falling to the floor impossibly slowly, only to shatter like a window shatters when it’s blasted with a tommy gun.

“Go on,” I told her.

She took a deep breath. Deep like the ocean, seemed to me. Deeper than a woman’s heart, for sure. “It had to be poison,” she said, “One minute he was eating his favorite dessert, spotted dick…”

It was gonna be one of those days.