The Lone Wolf

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    It was always them, and me.
    Three of them. One of me.

    In hindsight, I was always going to be cast as the bad guy, being the lone wolf.

    This is a story that has waited a long time to be told, and I have sat by patiently for years, watching those three pigs soak up all of the glory. Seeing Pip become such a successful property developer was the icing on the cake- now is the time to speak up.

    The story begins on a gloriously sunny September morning, many years ago. The birds were singing, the trees were swaying in the gentle breeze, and there was not a single cloud in the sky.

    Mummy Wolf kissed me goodbye, and I made my way excitedly through the school gates for the very first time. Walking into the playground, something round caught beneath my feet, and all of a sudden the ground disappeared from beneath me, and the air whooshed past my furry ears, until I fell, flat on my nose. Then came the very loud sound of laughter- in stereo? No- in fact, it was surround-sound. Gazing down at me was one pig…no two pigs…no three pigs, all grunting with laughter.

    Had I injured my head? Was I seeing treble? Three identical pigs, with identical laughs all pointing at me, the Lone Wolf.

    Out rolled a marble from under my foot. One of the pigs (who happened to be called Piers) scooped it up saying “That’s mine, thanks!”

    So, this was how it began. The pattern continued throughout our school life. There were the three pigs; Piers, and his younger brothers, Perry and Pip and then there was me, Walter. It wasn’t all doom and gloom. Sometimes we would get along. Usually when the piglets fell out with each other, one or two of them would come and befriend me for a few hours or days, until the conflict between them had resolved- at which point, they would reunite, as thick as thieves.

    Nonetheless, every milestone from my schooling life was somehow marred by the memory of those little pigs. To be honest, I was not always the innocent party- I used to fight back, to defend my name. It rarely did any good, and the pigs nearly always outwitted me. Three brains being better than one.

    One year, I was cast as a prince in the school play. The excitement was overwhelming. Finally a bit of recognition! The set was constructed in a somewhat flimsy manner; a special castle turret had been built in the centre of the stage, using thin sheets of wood, cardboard and straw. The team in charge of this enterprise had been no other than the three little pigs. I distinctly remember the spiteful familiar laughter coming from the side of the stage, as I walked out in front of the audience- the little squeals of laughter, which had followed Perry’s voice; “Break a leg Walter, or hopefully something else”

    The main hall was packed out that night, it was standing room only. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, local town folk- even the mayor and mayoress- they were all there, eagerly anticipating a great show.

    Everything ran smoothly for the first half. And then, after the break, everyone took to their seats. The next scenes involved a quick costume change for the prince- so I had to hide inside the turret, change my trousers and then emerge from the front entrance, hopefully to applause from the audience. Simple enough- the manoeuvre had been rehearsed several times to make sure that the costume change ran as quickly and smoothly as possible.

    However, on the night, as my trousers hit the floor, there came a sudden whirring noise, something was powering up…it was the sound of the electric fan, which was located in the wing. It wasn’t meant to be turned on yet!!The fan was in fact required for a later scene when we needed to evoke wintery weather. What was going on? Weren’t those pigs meant to be in charge of props?

    All of a sudden, the walls of the turret began to shake, swaying all around me. I watched, in slow motion, as the rocking walls fell outwards. Suddenly, there was me, stood helplessly, trousers around my ankles, whilst the whole of the audience gazed on in disbelief, and then burst out laughing.

    Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of a little trotter, hovering over the switch of the fan, and immediately afterwards, a few muffled oinks could clearly be heard, just off stage.

    Sadly, worse was yet to come- Peregrine Pig (who happened to be the uncle of the three little pigs and also a local journalist,) was sitting in the audience. He was looking on with glee- what a great story this would make. And, in fact, that very week, it became front page news, so that the whole town knew about the Prince who lost his trousers. Thankfully there was no photograph to accompany the text- but I am pretty certain that the mishap was etched on the minds of all of those present (especially my own)

    It became apparent, from their social media feeds (which I happen to check now and again, you know, just to keep up with their news), that the three pigs were planning to leave home. Their parents were selling the Pigsty, and moving abroad, forcing the three pigs into an independent life. Before you make a call to the welfare officer, it should be noted that whilst the term ‘little’ could be applied to the pigs’ stature, it certainly did not apply to their age- by this point, the pigs (and I) are 35 years old.

    Their parents (so I heard on the grapevine) had left each pig with an equal sum of money, to help them on their way. The money was to be used towards building a house, so that each pig could have a roof over his head.

    Piers (always rather fond of the party lifestyle) reasoned that he would spend as little as possible on his house, so that he could use the money for far more important things such as romancing young sows, and hitting the troughs hard on a Friday night. He chose to build his house from straw.

    Perry, inspired by his brother’s frugal ways, decided to also save money on the cost of the building. After all, he would then have more money for gambling and fine dining (his two most favourite pastimes). He chose to build his house from sticks.

    Pip, by far the most sensible of the siblings, chose to build his house using bricks.

    And so the construction began. They had chosen to build the houses on the same plot of land, so that they could all live beside each other. It was easy therefore, for me to take a walk past now and again, on my way to and from work, to check in on their progress.

    Seeing Piers wedging the bundles of straw together (usually whilst tired from partying the night before), I couldn’t help but call out “It will never work, my friend. A gust of wind and it will all be gone”
    Piers would always reply the same way “Not by the hairs on my chinny chin chin!”

    Perry took a different approach, and seemed to at least be following some kind of a plan. As he tied the sticks together, I couldn’t help but tease him “Remember the turret, Perry! Look how that all ended up!” His reply would come, always the same “Yes Walter- still going on about that turret? get over it already”

    Pip, on the other hand, followed a meticulous plan. He put in foundations. He made measurements. He mixed cement. He built his walls straight and strong. I would walk past Pip’s house and say nothing. Mostly because Pip was usually too busy to notice (and he was wearing ear defenders). I genuinely felt some admiration for Pip at this point.

    I would go home in the evening, and say to my wife, Willa “You should see what those Pigs are up to now! It will never last! At least two of those homes will be on the ground as soon as …”

    Willa would gently take my arm: “Walter, honey, you have to let go of this- let those pigs get on with their lives, you get on with yours”. Whilst I knew she had a point, something compelled me to keep checking in.

    Progress was slow for the Pigs. Especially on Piers and Perry’s homes. Days would elapse, with nobody on site. Pip’s home, however, grew slowly but steadily.

    One day, walking past, Pip could be overheard talking on the phone (loudly, as he always did). He didn’t see me standing behind him, as he looked up to admire his home, whilst booming down the receiver. “Yeah, that’s right, the dumb wolf, he won’t know what’s hit him when he sees this beauty. He never amounted to anything did he! Living in that tiny poky house, working all those hours for nothing. Yeah, true, I am amazing! I know that- and now everyone else will see it too! Catch you later!”

    I had no idea who he was talking to- but his words hurt. A lot. They cut deeper than I thought that they would. I hung my head and shoulders and trudged back home.

    That night was a sleepless night. A lot was running through my mind. All of the pain from the past came flooding back. The way that those Pigs have hurt me over the years, their mocking, their oinking, their superiority. Why me? Why did they pick on me? And what could I do about it anyway?

    I will show them, I vowed. Show them that they are not so clever as they might think. It was just a case of waiting for the right moment to get my revenge.
    And that moment soon came around. The grand unveiling of the pigs’ houses. This is the part where you may be thinking “Oh yes, I know this story!”. But do you really know this story?

    The first house to be showcased was that of Piers. In the crowd (oh, wait, you didn’t know about the crowd?) there stood a number of Piers’ sow friends, along with some of his party crowd. Mixed in were a few important folk from the town (the mayor, mayoress), more than a few local residents, and anyone else visiting town that day.

    You see, the pigs had advertised the grand opening of their houses publicly. So confident were they that these houses would be admired by everyone around, that the invite had been extended to all and sundry.

    First, all eyes were on Piers and his incredible straw house. He intended to make a grand entrance through the front door, emerging to applause from the waiting audience. However, what he did not bargain for was the lone wolf knock knock knocking on the front door. Little did Piers know that I had resolved to give him a piece of my mind- to let him know about the life-long hurt he caused me, to give him back some of my emotional pain. To set him off balance before he took centre stage.

    “Piers? Let me come in”

    “Not by the hairs on my chinny chin chin”

    Rather taken aback, and unsure of what to do next, I said

    “Go on, let me in? For old times’ sake?”

    “Go Away! I am busy!”

    He left me with no choice. So I took an extraordinarily deep breath. Superwolverine in fact! My lungs bulged with air, almost as if they would burst in a second. Aiming toward the front of the house, I forced the air out at great speed.

    The straw house didn’t even shake. It did not even wobble. It just, well, blew away!

    Piers was left standing in the midst of the scattered straw. There was a collective gasp from the audience- how could this be? Surely this was going to be the amazing straw house, revealed for all to see. And now, it looked like nothing more than an abandoned pigsty.

    Piers so-called friends walked away, shaking their heads and tutting. He had told them that he was the next-big-thing, his work would be world famous- and now he was nothing more than a fraud. Well, if that wolf hadn’t coughed, surely the first gust of wind that came along would have seen that pitiful house destroyed anyway.

    All eyes turned to Perry’s stick mansion.

    By now, the adrenaline was surging. I decided however, to begin again with the rational approach. I just wanted, needed an answer- why did those pigs torment me? What did they want from me?

    So, clearing my throat, I took a few steps toward the front door.

    “Perry? Let me come in”

    “What? No! Not by the hairs on my chinny chin chin”

    “Ok, well Perry, you have left me with no choice”

    I think you may be able to guess what happened next- and the stick house was soon reduced to a pile of sticks, surrounding a very humiliated pig, and overseen by, at this point, a very disgruntled audience.

    Now, contrary to popular belief, I did not, at this point, eat Piers and Perry (or indeed any of the other animals present). This little embellishment to the story was provided by none other than Peregrine. So appalled was he that I had destroyed his Nephews’ incredible achievements, that he vowed to discredit my name forever, and that this story would be told for generations, in order to show the dangers of the lone wolf. The truth of the matter is that I have been a vegan for the past decade (in fact, you may wish to check out my social media channel, The Vegan Wolf).

    Now, just one house remained- that of Pip. By this point, Piers and Perry had joined their brother inside the house. They seemed to be prepared for my knock at the door- perhaps this time they would let me in, perhaps we could all sit down and talk it through, just like my therapist would have suggested.

    “Come on guys, let me come in?”

    “Not by the hairs on our chinny chin chins”

    “Please?”

    “No!”

    So now you think you know what happened next? Well whatever you think, it’s all wrong. I didn’t try to blow the house down- it was built from bricks, for goodness sake, do you take me for a fool?

    I simply tried the back door instead.

    “Piers, Perry, Pip, come on now, don’t be unreasonable”

    By now, the audience has become restless, confused, puzzled. The pigs were not moving from their stance.

    So, I decided, in a moment of madness, to climb up the roof and slide down the chimney, much to the joy of the audience (they had come to watch something, they did not particularly care either way at this point, what that something was. I guess you could say that people just love a show)

    The climb up was steep. My claws were blunted, my skin was grazed- but once inside, then, maybe they would sit down and let me talk, give me some answers, put my mind at rest….

    The chimney looked long, dark, hollow, eerie almost. Well it was now or never- so I jumped…the air whooshing past my furry ears, until…

    “OWWWEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!”

    I had landed, bottom first, in a cauldron of warm (not boiling, it hadn’t had time to boil yet) water. The pigs had meanwhile escaped through the front door, making their grand entrance, and much to the delight of the audience, the house was still standing.

    All three pigs took a bow. The crowd were ecstatic- “what an incredible show! Marvellous. Bravo!”

    And finally, I emerged, making my own not-so-grand entrance, through the front door and toward the waiting audience. By this point I was a filthy, bleeding, soaking wet, dirty looking Lone Wolf.

    “BOOOOO!! HISSSS!!!”

    And there it became, forever after, etched in the history books. The story of the hideous wolf, who tormented the three little pigs.

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