I absolutely love my weekly piece of real estate here in the Arts & Living section. But what happens when a seemingly mild-mannered humor columnist gets the chance to transcend? What would happen if yours truly had an exclusive story about a terrifying menace that threatens our very way of life?
Ladies and gentlemen, alert that Pulitzer dude, 'cause I'm about to leap into the big leagues with a headline that will rock your socks off and re-arrange the world as you know it. Hang on tight, I'm about to get all Geraldo up in this piece. Like the Terminator once said: Come with me if you want to live.
THERE ARE WEREWOLVES IN CARBON CLIFF.
Wrap your brain stem around THEM apples for a hot minute.
Our story begins a couple weeks ago. As you may know, I'm a big fan of fundraiser trivia nights, so when I heard about one being presented by the Rock Island County Historical Society, we were in. My team walked through the door with our usual confident swagger... until we realized that the event was 100 questions about Rock Island County history. A quick look around the room verified a considerable number of grey-haired competitors who had likely lived a lot more of Rock Island County history than any of us. By the end of the first round, our strategy changed from "winning and high-fiving one another" to "averaging better than 50% and not getting laughed at."
We didn't win that night, but we DID have a lot of fun -- until out of nowhere, when this question was asked under the category of "Local Lore":
"What Rock Island County town is known to be inhabited by werewolves?"
Ex-squeeze me? Werewolves? Mythical lycanthropes, right here in river city? Denizens of the full moon only stoppable by silver bullets? Apparantly so, and the correct answer turned out to be Carbon Cliff.
Now, reflect if you will upon that question for a moment. "What Rock Island County town IS KNOWN TO BE inhabited by werewolves?" NOT "What area town was once rumored to have been inhabited by the preposterous notion of..." No, she definitely said "IS KNOWN TO BE" inhabited. As in: they're there right now, and we KNOW it. Somewhere, there is proof. And it's happening in the here and now. Creatures of the night walk among you, Carbon Cliffians.
This, I realized, was the sort of breaking news that demanded immediate and professional coverage. So as soon as I finished playing trivia, stopped for a bite to eat, went home, got some sleep, went to work, came home, DJ'ed at a couple bars, hung out with friends, watched a NASCAR race, slept a few more nights, sat down to write this week's column, realized I was completely out of ideas, then recalled the werewolf story, I knew it was time for action.
The good news is that I'm somewhat of an expert on werewolves. I say this because my ex-girlfriend dragged me to every one of those "Twilight" movies. From careful analysis of the films, here is what I've painstakingly learned about the contemporary werewolf:
(a) They possess incredible agility, travel in packs, and are ferocious hunters with lightning-fast speed.
(b) They are also super hunky, have lousy taste in women, and apparantly don't own any shirts.
My work was cut out for me. My first stop was a visit back to the Rock Island County Historical Society to find the original source of this information. Now, the staff at the RICHS are all incredibly nice, incredibly helpful volunteers, and watching these poor folk scour the archives for proof of the existence of werewolves is a memory I will take with me for the rest of days. One polite volunteer even turned to me at one point and said, "You DO know that werewolves are fictional, right? They don't REALLY exist." Or that's just what she'd like me to believe. The end result? They found NO source evidence as to the origin of the Carbon Cliff werewolf lore. Or that's just what they'd like me to believe.
Occam's Razor tells us that, when faced with multiple possible explanations, the simplest is usually correct. Well, the way I see it, there are two potential scenarios here:
(1) The werewolf thing is a load of hooey once postulated by simpler people who lived in simpler times, or
(2) With nothing more than my keen journalistic instincts, I have stumbled upon an evil and long-standing conspiracy wherein generations upon generations of a secret society have infiltrated the Rock Island County Historical Society in a never-ending struggle against media, investigation, and society in order to, at any cost, hide the precious secret that the seemingly innocent village of Carbon Cliff is, in fact, a breeding ground for half-human, half-wolf hellspawn atrocities that prowl our moonlit nights with malice and malevolence.
I think the correct answer is clear: RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! WEREWOLVES WALK AMONG US!
The "volunteers" at the historical society that day spurned my attempts at discovering the truth, but they eventually told me to return the next day and ask for a volunteer named Lois, the person who created the questions for the trivia night. Poor Lois -- to think what the werewolves will do with her when they discover she slipped and revealed the truth of their hidden existence.
Still, I returned the next day and met up with Lois, who turned out to be a wonderfully nice woman who definitely does NOT deserve to be eaten by werewolves. And when I asked her about the source of that trivia question, I finally had the answer I needed:
"I don't really recall," she said. "That's just a strange little trivia nugget I picked up along the way. I must've read it somewhere once, and I'll try my best to remember where."
There you have it, Quad Cities. WEREWOLVES ARE IN CARBON CLIFF, and we know this to be true because a nice lady named Lois might have read it somewhere once. WHAT MORE PROOF DO YOU NEED?!?! Where do we go from here? How do we handle this menace? These are questions I'm still unequipped to answer.
All I can tell you is, if you find yourself with strange bite marks and feel a change coming on at the next full moon, do NOT -- I repeat, do NOT -- make a move on the chick with the vampire boyfriend. She WILL turn you down, and that's a were-bummer.