“Jesus Christ, it’s hot,” I bitched to everyone in the room. The whole day had been sweltering. And now the night was too. It was odd for Culver City, a part of Los Angeles where the weather is tempered by the Pacific Ocean.
“Be quiet and have a beer,” my wife Elizabeth said, handing me one as she came from the refrigerator. She took a pull from hers then plopped onto a velour sofa that had started life chartreuse green, but over time darkened from oil stains and grinder debris.
The sofa sat in the lounge area of Caleb Owen’s shop, a two-story building dedicated to building motorcycles. The front half housed tools and bike lifts and was only one level, leaving twenty feet of open space for a hoist the previous owner used to pull car engines. The back half was separated into an upstairs loft used as a bedroom, and a downstairs lounge where we sat around a coffee table made from the window of a DC-10 airplane. Motorcycles in various stages of repair sat throughout the shop, some finding their way into the lounge to act as chairs. My son Gage ran among them chirping with excitement at the freedom to touch the bikes.
“Did I ever tell you about my dad and the wolfman?” Caleb asked Elizabeth.
“No, but now I need to hear it,” she said sitting forward and putting her beer on the table.
From a young age I loved horror movies, especially the campy old black-and-white ones from Hollywood’s Golden Age. The allure of a story with the wolfman was too strong and so I blurted, “me too,” with boyish excitement.
Caleb’s wife and her brother nodded in silent agreement. They had surely heard the story countless times, but allowed another telling for guests.
“Alright,” Caleb said looking from person to person. “It all started on a typical day. My dad had just gotten home from work and did what he always did right after walking in the house – he stripped off his clothes.”