Originally published online January 18, 2016
I did not intend to write a follow-up to “First Impressions,” but I felt compelled to do so after receiving feedback along the lines of ‘WHAT THE HECK?’ Leaving my readers hanging was kind of a crummy thing to do to them, to say nothing of poor Sue!
Sue gasped at the sound of the door locking; she was petrified with fear. The teenaged deer jumped when Alex placed his left handpaw on her shoulder. The wolf put his chin upon her right shoulder and growled: “Doesn’t she just look good enough to eat?”`
“Mmm-hmm!” His mother nodded in agreement. “She’s got a little meat on her bones, too! We won’t even have to fatten her up like we did with your last girlfriend!”
Sue brushed a tear from her eye then placed her hands to her mouth. “You can’t be serious!” She cried.
Henry, the father of the pack, chimed in: “Oh, but we are, missy, we are!” Raising his voice, he asked, “I’m going to grab a bottle of wine from the cellar, Doris. Red or white?”
“I think a red would be best, dear.” Doris, the mother wolf, replied.
“Will do, honey!” Henry answered. “I’ll get the cleaning table ready while I’m downstairs. All that blood, you know.” He leered before exiting down the cellar door.
“No worries, Henry. There’s some stuffing baking in the oven; it should be ready about the time that she is.” Doris smiled.
“Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.” Sue gasped. She turned to face Alex, sniffling and rubbing her eyes. “Alex, I just want you to know, *sniff* even though you and your family are about to eat me, *sniff* I-I” She paused and leaned back, her nose twitching. “Ah-choo!” She sneezed.
“Gesundheit! You were saying?” Alex said.
Sue rubbed her eyes again. The whites of the deer’s eyes were red; so much that Alex winced at the sight. “I just wanted to tell you, being together these last few weeks have been the…the…” She then paused, looked Alex straight in the eyes, and said: “Oh my gosh. You’re lying. This is all a joke.”
Alex’s somber expression turned into a crooked grin. He stifled a laugh, but a snicker managed to escape. “Nope! We’re dead serious, sweetie! Mmm-mmm-mmm! Sue-chops for dinner tonight!” He grasped one of her hands, raised it to his mouth and pretended to nibble on the back of her hand while saying: “nom-nom-nom-nom-nom!”
Sue was unamused. “OH MY GOSH, ALEX! YOU ARE TERRIBLE!” She cried, pulling her hand from Alex’s grip then hitting him on the chest with her other hand. “I knew you were a joker, but this is something else! And you got your whole family to join in on it. Ah-choo!”
“Bless you, dear.” Doris smiled. “Actually, we were all ‘in on it’ from the beginning. We’re jokers in this family, you see, so if you’re going to be a part of it, you going to have to have a sense of humor.” She explained.
“Oh.” Sue said, rubbing her eyes again. “Oh! Did I pass the test?”
“Well, you’re still here, so I’d say yes.” Alex smiled. He placed a handpaw to his cheek, reminiscing: “The last time I bought a girl home and we pulled this stunt, she smacked me something good and stormed out.”
Sue smiled, nodded her head, and playfully poked Alex on the nose with a finger. “And that’s how I figured out this was all a joke. Your ex-girlfriend is in my gym class and I saw her this morning, so I knew you were lying about eating her.”
“Ah.” Alex shrugged. “Well, the jig was going to be up sooner or later. You gotta admit, though, we had you going for a while.”
Sue nervously laughed and wiped her eyes again. “Oh my gosh, I was totally afraid you all were like those ‘live and let die’ freaks down in Texas who actually, well, you know.” She bobbed her head, not wanting to finish the sentence.
Doris crinkled her nose and shook her head at the unpleasant thought of eating another creature. “Oh no! Definitely not! Most of the folks in our families are actually farmers.” She explained before raising her handpaws to her cheeks in surprise. “Goodness! My stuffing!” The mother exclaimed before scurrying away to the kitchen.
Alex put an arm around Sue and gave her a peck on the cheek. “Well, I’m glad you hung around, Sue. I think you’ll like my folks.”
Sue began to speak but was interrupted by another sneeze: “I like them so fa-ah-AH-CHOO!” The deer sniffled and wiped her eyes.
“Are you okay?” Alex asked. He reached for a box of tissues that sat on the coffee table and offered one to Sue.
“Thanks.” Sue pulled a tissue and used it to wipe her eyes. “I’m not okay. My allergies are seriously bothering me right now.”
Just then, a triumphant Doris walked into the living room. In one handpaw she held a large spoon which itself held a steaming serving of stuffing. “I got to my oyster walnut stuffing just in time!” She skipped towards Sue and Alex, smiling. “Have a taste!” She beamed.
Sue recoiled in horror. “NUTS!” She cried. “I’M ALLERGIC TO TREE NUTS! AH-AH-AHCHOO! AHCHOO!” She began to sneeze repeatedly, much to the dismay of the wolves.
“Oh.” Doris said. She stopped and began to step away from the couple.
Sue reached for the door in desperation. “I’m so sorry, Alex, but I need you to take me home.” She sniffled.
Alex’s shoulders slumped and his ears drooped at the request. “Okay. I’m going to take Sue home, Mom. Be back in a few.” He advised his mother.
“Oh, I am so sorry, dearie. It was a pleasure meeting you!” She chirped as Sue and Alex walked out of the door. Just then, Henry emerged from the cellar door, bottle of wine in hand.
“Where’d the kids go, honey?” He asked. “Did we scare this one off, too?”
“No, but she had to go, Henry.” Doris sighed. “I swear, that son of ours just has the worst luck!”
In Alex’s car, a very relieved Sue apologized: “I’m sorry, Alex. Your folks are nice, but…”
“I’m sorry, too, Sue. I don’t think you and me, us, are going to work out.”
“Why not? Can’t your mother just make something without nuts in it next time?” Sue asked.
“Not really. Just about everything we eat has nuts in it. We’re civilized, but we’re still carnivores.” He sighed. “Gotta get that protein, you know. Like Mom said, we’re a family of jokers, but we’re also mostly farmers.”