Saturday, October 29, 2016

Sheila: A Morality Tale

 I share this tale with some trepidation as it was originally intended for a very small group of people who would understand the milieu of the tale. Allow me to elucidate.

Written many years ago, Sheila: A Morality Tale takes place in a parallel universe where sentience developed among humans and various species of animals. Much like Zootopia they live together basically in harmony and all the tales I wrote about this universe center around a watering hole called The Unicorn & Gryphon Pub, probably the only bar in the world that sports busts of St. Francis and St. Patrick above the door.

So if you can handle Sheila being an anthropomorphic goat, please enjoy this little tale of hamfisted morality that is quite suitable for this Halloween season.

Sheila: A Morality Tale
A Tale From The Universe The Next Door Over
by Alan Loewen
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
--Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Sheila hit the play button on the CD and smiled as the guitars ground out the familiar intro. She smiled at her reflection in the mirror, humming along with the ZZ Top tune that she adopted as her personal theme song.

Her hands smoothed her black, velvet dress along her perfect hourglass figure, the high hem showing legs that would have made Venus kill.

She's got legs, she knows how to use them. She never begs, she knows how to choose them.

A caprine face looked back at her from the mirror framed by a long, lush mane of glistening brown hair. Her archetype and face corresponded with a Toggenburg goat, but her figure would be recognized in any dimension as female. And as far as Sheila was concerned, her figure was prime regardless of her original derivation.

She's my baby, she's my baby, yeah, it's alright. She's got hair down to her fanny.

The phone rang and she let it go unanswered as she continued to primp in the mirror.

She's got a dime all of the time, stays out at night movin' through time.

On the fourth ring, her answering machine picked up. “Sheila? It’s Jackson. Why don’t you return my calls? Can we talk?”

Sheila smirked and let the poor slob talk himself out. Jackson had proposed two nights ago and that always signaled the end of the game and time to move on to another playing field. She paused before the mirror in thought. She had never tried dating a canine before. Maybe she could hang another different type of heart from her hemline.

She checked herself out in the mirror one more time and smiled at perfection.

Oh, I want her, said, I got to have her, the girl is alright, she's alright.

Her archetype may have been that of a vegetarian, but all her victims knew Sheila as something else. Sheila was a real man killer.


The Unicorn and Gryphon Pub sat on a lonely street and Sheila had hunted there before. She didn’t like to go to places where she might bump into old boyfriends with a grudge, but it had been over a year since she had hung out at the U&G. Surely, old boyfriends had moved on by now.

She walked into the brightly lit establishment secretly pleased by all the heads that turned and looked at her. Take a good look, boys, she thought to herself. It don’t come cheap.

Sheila mentally took note of the male population. Yes, this would be a good hunting ground.

She walked over to the bar and got her first disappointment of the evening. Sheila had forgot about the bartender and evidently he hadn’t forgotten about her.

His archetype was human; not that common, but not that rare. He walked over to her while she took a seat at the bar.

“Hey, Sheila,” he said as he set up a glass. “It’s been awhile. Brandy Alexander, right?”

“You’ve got a good memory ...” she paused forgetting the name.

“Friends call me the Horse. Inside joke.”

“Well, barkeep, you’ve got a good memory.”

The bartender smiled at the obvious affront. “Yes, I do. I also remember you dated Franklin for awhile.”

Sheila paused in an exaggerated pose of thought. “Franklin? Franklin? I don't seem to remember him. There are just so many men.”

Heavy poured brandy and coffee liqueur into a shaker followed by two scoops of rich vanilla ice cream. “He probably doesn’t remember you either. We hosted his wedding reception just two weeks ago. He married a beautiful girl.”

“That’s nice,” Sheila said absently, “but all the men here aren’t married.”

Heavy shook the tumbler, gave it an artistic twirl in the air and with a deft move, unscrewed the lid and poured the creamy contents into her glass.

“One Brandy Alexander, ma’am.”

Sheila sipped the concoction with a smile. “I will say this, barkeep. Nobody in town makes a better Brandy Alexander.” She looked up at him, a warm smile on her face. “Why don’t I just come over to your place tonight and you can teach me how to make these?”

The barkeep smiled in return. “I don't think my wife and three kids would appreciate that.”

“Well, you could come over ..”

The bartender stopped her with a wave of his hand. “I’m happily married. End of story.”

“That‘s not true for every married man.”

The barkeep chewed his lower lip in frustration. “You know, a bartender today is the same as a professional counselor. Let me give you some free advice.” He ignored Sheila’s exaggerated sigh of boredom. “You see that bust over the door? That’s Saint Francis of Assisi. Know anything about him?”

Sheila looked up at the marble bust above the door. Next to it sat a similar bust of Saint Patrick. “Do you take up an offering with the sermon?” she asked.

“Sheila, all I’m saying is that you can’t be a happy person and you ought to ask yourself what those men had that made them happy in their circumstances. There are men and women here of all different species that would like to be your friend. Just a friend.”

Sheila laughed in contempt. “I don’t want friends. I don’t need friends. Every female here is only competition. Every male here is simply prey.”

The Horse’s response was interrupted by a tiger dressed as a chauffeur. “Forgive me, madam,” he said to Sheila with a small bow. “My employer wishes to speak with you.” He handed her a note written on cream-colored bond.

Sheila opened the note and read the elegant script. A smile came to her face.

She turned to the tiger. “Please tell your employer that I will be delighted to make his acquaintance.” The tiger nodded mechanically and walked away toward the front door of the pub.

“It seems,” she told the bartender, “that a wealthy man is waiting for me outside in his limo wanting to meet me.”

The barkeep looked worried. “Sheila, maybe ...”

Sheila put up her hand. “I’ve already listened to your sermon and I don‘t need another. Anyway, I know what you’re going to say about danger and that I‘m a defenseless little girl.” She threw a bill on the bar to pay for the drink. “Anyway, do you really think a serial killer is going to ride around town in a limousine and have his chauffeur deliver his love letters?” She smiled at the bartender’s increasing frown. “It’s show time,” she said.

Sheila put her hair in place with a toss and walked toward the front door. Old men in limos meant old money and Sheila liked money. She especially liked old males with old money because old males normally didn’t live long.

Sheila caught her reflection in the glass of the front door as she opened it. Her caprine face looked back at her, perfect in balance and beauty. Oh, Sheila, she thought. You’ve entered the big time and tonight you’ll collect a heart that will top all your other trophies.

The white stretch limo sat alongside the far curb. The tiger stood beside the back door, holding it for her.

Though dark inside the vehicle, Sheila could dimly see two extended leather seats facing each other.

“Welcome, my dear,” said a rich, cultured voice near the front of the limo. “I’m honored you would meet with so old a man. Please join me.”

Sheila saw only a dim silhouette, but the cultured voice and the atmosphere of money put all fears to rest.

Gracefully, she entered the car and sat facing the figure. The tiger gently shut the door with a faint click. “I’m glad to meet a man of such obvious taste and culture,” she said. “Could we have a little light so we can see each other better?”

“Of course. Forgive me,” the figure responded. “Men of my status have an inadvertent tendency to be rude sometimes.”

Sheila heard the car’s engine turn over and felt it begin to pull away from the curb.

In front of her the silhouette leaned over and flicked a switch and a dim white light illuminated the car’s interior.

Sheila screamed once and dove for the door, but there were no interior handles.

“Yes, I can imagine it’s a shock to see me,” the cultured voice said. “We chupacabras are so rare that very few people even remember us. I‘m even honored that you recognize what I am.”

Crying in terror, Sheila backed away from the reptilian figure, its eyes reflecting back the dim light like green fire.

“I even wonder,” it continued, “if I may actually be the only chupacabra left, but it’s okay. There are so many many pretty, little goats to keep me occupied.”

Sheila spun around in her seat, screaming. Panicked, she ineffectively beat at the rear window.

“I don't think we need the interior light anymore, do you?” the cultured voice asked. With a click, the interior of the vehicle’s cabin was plunged into darkness.

Wailing, Sheila watched the lights of the Unicorn and Gryphon Pub recede into the night.

“So pretty,” the voice said behind her. Strong, taloned claws wrapped themselves around her slender waist and inexorably pulled her back.

“So pretty,” the voice whispered in her ear as Sheila struggled helplessly. Another clawed paw wrapped itself around her neck while another gripped a thigh.

“So pretty,” it repeated as four muscular arms held her in a powerful embrace.

“I could just eat you up.”

1 comment:

  1. I loved this story the first time I read it and I still love it.Poor Sheila.