(with Roy Fish)
It was his sixth honeymoon, her first.
The night was clear and cold, the moon full, and he was eager.
The couple checked into a little motel just off I-20. He unlocked the door and looked at her. She was radiant. He hadn't lost his touch. He still knew how to pick them, how to get them. He could hardly wait.
The bit about carrying her over the threshold was a little silly, but always effective. Impressed them. Made them giggle. To do this right, humor was necessary. Laughter removed inhibition—and suspicion—more than any other emotion.
She was still giggling when he put her down, and another hard look at her assured him that she was undoubtedly the loveliest of his six brides. A beautiful blonde with brown, liquid eyes like a faithful pup. And she was stacked like a magazine foldout. Everywhere you looked she offered delightful diversions to the hands. And she was compassionate. Worked with The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Somehow that was very important to him, knowing that she was compassionate. It made what was to come all the better.
Of all his brides, she had been the easiest to woo. She had had that husband-shopping look in her eyes, a look he knew well. He also knew exactly what to say and when to say it. Three weeks after they met she fell for him hook, line and sinker and accepted his proposal. Piece of cake. Tonight she became Mrs. O'Sullivan.
O'Sullivan. Nice name. He hated to give it up. It had been his favorite of all his aliases. The last two had been so, so plain. Smith and Jones. Grief!
Angela leaned forward and kissed him. Her lips burned with passion. God, he couldn't wait to get on with it.
When they finished kissing, he held her at arms length and smiled, drank in her beauty once more. For a moment he wished her complexion were not so milky. Maybe that was one flaw with her. The others had been darker skinned and the bruises hadn't shown. With her they might, and he always liked them to look like an unmarred work of art when he was finished.
For a moment he contemplated another technique, but finally decided to stick to the old tried and true thumbs behind the windpipe. It was the only method he had had success with, and now with his most beautiful specimen, there was no need to risk all by deviation. As for the bruises, he'd just have to hope for the best. Or perhaps he could tie an attractive ribbon around her throat, sort of a gift-wrapped body for the police. Yes, that definitely had possibilities. In fact, that was a perfect idea. When it was all over he'd go out for some ribbon, fix her up before leaving to call the cops.
"Why don't you get ready for bed, darling," Angela said, breaking his train of thought. "I'll change into something more comfortable."
He smiled at her. Passion stretched his veins. Soon she would be his, and during that moment when they were riding the crest of the wave, just when she thought ecstasy was hers, he'd fasten his thumbs behind her windpipe and watch the fear swell into her eyes as she realized she was on the descending end of a totally different sort of orgasm.
Oh yeah, it was his night to howl.
Angela blew him a kiss and hip-swung seductively toward the bathroom. The light went on, the door closed. He took off his clothes and slipped into bed, waited.
Beneath the sheet his hands opened and closed. A thick slab of moonlight edged through the sheer curtains. That was good. He'd be able to see her face. That was one reason he waited for a full moon. The papers had caught on to it, and referred to him as THE FULL MOON STRANGLER or THE HONEYMOON STRANGLER. He preferred the latter title, it was more romantic. Besides, he wasn't responsible for those sloppy ripper jobs that took place on the full moon, the ones that were sometimes blamed on him. He'd have to write the police about that and set them straight. Seemed to him a drastically different M.O. like that would make them realize that the killers were not one and the same, in spite of the coincidence of the full moon. Why, they had even tried to blame him for some silly killings over in Dallas that had turned out to be nothing more than husband and wife squabbles.
The bathroom door opened and Angela stood framed in the light. She was magnificent. No, that description was too cheap. There were no words to describe her.
The light shone through her gown and outlined her body—110 pounds of sexual dynamite! With the light hitting her hair that way, it made it look like a golden mane, and even from where he lay he could see her eyes sparkling with passion.
"Well," he said, "I see you've changed into something more comfortable."
She smiled and walked to the bedside. Moonlight washed in over her. Suddenly she grunted. Her face began to twist and her mouth opened impossibly wide. Her nose and lips stretched out and thickened into a snout. Ropy saliva dripped from between her sharp, bared teeth. There was a sound like snapping sticks as her body writhed, grew. The negligee burst into flimsy strands that dangled from a thick, gnarled, hairy body—the body of a huge, blonde, upright wolf!
Her voice became a hoarse parody of human speech. "Now, darling, I've changed into something more comfortable."
As she bent toward him, and the cry he wanted to make hung in his throat, he realized to his horrible dissatisfaction, that it was not, in fact, his night to howl.
"The Honeymoon" was originally published in 1997 in The Good, the Bad, and the Indifferent, a collection of Lansdale's short stories published in a limited-edition hardcover by Subterranean Press. "The Honeymoon" © 1997 Joe R. Lansdale and Roy Fish.
Here's hoping your corn's knee high, and you'll be back to see us on Thursday, July 29, for another hot one off Champion Joe's Mojo grill!