After midnight a few nights ago, I was finally drifting off to sleep when I heard a polite but insistent pawing at my front door. I bolted upright - had I left my dog outside? I hadn't. Tips was right there on the floor, looking at me, as confused as I was.
The pawing continued. I made sure the security latch was engaged and opened the door a crack.
A canine about the size of a German shepherd sat politely on my front porch. I've got a soft spot for dogs on the loose, but this guy wasn't lost. He stared at me with determined purpose.
"Good evening, sir," he said, in a voice reminiscent of Vincent Price. "I am Wolf G. Hispanicus, Esq., and I've been hoping to have a word."
Darnit! I thought. I'd been dodging his calls at work for weeks. How did he find out where I live?
"Sir?" said the wolf. "May I come in?"
Now, strange as this may seem - since I literally had a wolf at my door - I entertained the idea. It's the hospitable thing to do. It was a warm night, and the wolf was probably thirsty, and he came all this way to talk to me ... but behind me Tips growled a warning, and I snapped out of it.
"It's late," I said.
"This is hardly a civilized way to conduct a conversation."
"Do you let strangers into your ... uh, den ... at night?" I asked.
"Your point is taken, sir. So, to business. You've got to stop printing stories about us in your publication."
What I told him to do with that request cannot be printed in a general circulation newspaper.
"Oh. A purist. I see," he said, dismissively. "Well, let's get down to brass tacks, as your species says. We're back in the wild. We're reproducing. Your kind can't hunt us as you once did, so indiscriminate and wasteful. There's plenty of room out there for us to live and let live. Whether your 're-introduction' plan is approved or not, we shall roam. You printing the fears and loathings of your politicians only spreads senseless fear."
"You showing up here in dead of night isn't helping your case."
"Marvelous how that happened, wouldn't you say? Even in the midst of your city, there are washes, alleys, vacant lots, empty houses - why, I've been around for a week. I spotted you and your canine companion at the dog park. How else would I know where you live?"
Darnit! I thought again. "But," I said, "you're still not helping your case. Wolves infiltrating our daily lives is exactly what people fear."
"We detest your urban environments. They stink. Only in desperation do we come to places like this."
Once again, my reply was unprintable.
"For a man of letters you have a most crude vocabulary," the wolf said. "All we ask is a chance to thrive in our ancestral homeland once again. It won't be perfect. We are wild animals. Some of us may desire the occasional cheeseburger from time to time, and I cannot guarantee complete human safety. But there will always be more of your kind than there are of us, so humanity ultimately has nothing to fear, don't you agree?"
Maybe it was the late hour, or maybe it was the jarring realization that I wasn't necessarily the pinnacle of the food chain, but my brain went foggy, and all I could come up with was: "Cheeseburger? Where do you get the cheese?"
"It was a figure of speech, you cretin," said the wolf, and behind me, Tips chortled. I swear he did. I looked at my faithful dog, who appeared to be covering his laughing mouth with his paws.
When I turned back to the door, the wolf was gone.