Carmen was starting to regret the bloomers. They were her oldest, comfiest pair: black on black lace and circus- tent big from when In the Starlight was still in business and that was all she could afford. As a rule they made her feel like a Lolita no matter what she was wearing over them, and they protected her from perverts if there was an insinuating gust of wind, but they tended to ride up her legs when she walked long distances, and she’d been walking for almost an hour. Her Mom had offered her a ride to Nana’s house, but Carmen had thought a walk in the woods would be elegant, like she was in her own fairytale. Even if she was just bringing groceries to her Nana, who smelled a little like a litterbox.
She was starting to regret that decision too. The woods were oppressive and cloistered, but somehow the thick canopy of leaves didn’t seem to block out the sun. Carmen was getting hot under her petticoat, pink wig and thick red and pink Baby the Stars Shine Bright dress. She’d added a bright red caplet that she’d sewn herself because she thought it made her look like a Victorian flower girl or something, but between that and the bloomers she was starting to sweat. Lolita sure looked elegant, but it rarely really was.
Carmen climbed the stairs to Nana’s house, surreptitiously adjusted her bloomers and then knocked.
“It‘s me!” she called. “I brought groceries.”
The door opened to reveal her Nana, a somewhat matronly old woman who wore Christmas cardigans all year round.
“I’ve got company. You can just leave the groceries on the porch.” She turned to face someone inside the house and said, “It’s the boy from Safeway.”
“No, Nana. It’s me, Carmen. How could you mistake me for Oscar? I’m wearing a pink wig.”
“Of course, Dear.”
“Can I come in? This bag is heavy.”
“Oh my,” said the little old woman, squinting slightly. “What big eyes your have!”
“I know, right? I just got circle contact lenses. I could star in my own anime, my eyes are so big.”
“And what big… hair you have?”
Carmen patted her curls. “Thanks for noticing, Nana. New wig too.”
“What big ears you have!”
“Now that’s just mean.”
Nana walked absently back into the house, leaving the door ajar. Carmen pushed it the rest of the way open with her hip, and set the brown paper bags down next to the umbrella stand.
“I’ll just get some tea, shall I?” said Nana.
“Thank you,” said someone with a guttural voice.
Carmen had been expecting one of her Nana’s poker ladies, but unless one of them had taken up chain smoking, her grandmother had a male visitor. She straightened up and turned around.
For a minute she thought it was her old collie, Mr. Blonde, who her parents had put down years ago. But then she saw that his muzzle was gray rather than brown and his pointed ears were covered with short stiff hairs.
A wolf was sitting in Nana’s repro Louis XV armchair. He was sitting, like a human, with his hind legs crossed almost daintily in front of him. He was wearing a black suit with a white silk cravat and a top hat. Carmen had the uncharitable and hypocritical thought that his clothes were completely dated.
“You‘re a wolf,” she said accusingly.
“What can I say? The old lady has bad eyesight. Maybe she should get some of those circle lens things.”
“Why haven’t you eaten her?”
“There’s a reason veal is so expensive, Kid.”
The wolf lunged at her, but all he got was a mouthful of petticoat. Spitting tulle, he tried again. She aimed a kick at his head and got him upside the nose with the toe of her Rocking Horse Shoes.
“And Mom said they were impractical,” she panted as she made a break for the door.
The wolf snarled and made a final try. He snapped at her. She expected to feel teeth tearing through her skin, and more importantly, her favorite dress, but she kept running. She made it to the door and wrenched it open. As she ran down the porch steps, she chanced a look over her shoulder.
The wolf had gotten her wig, and was trying to free himself from the tangle of pink ringlets.
She ran down the steps and into the woods. She didn’t feel too guilty about leaving her Nana to the wolves. After all, there was a reason veal was so expensive.
A/N: The story was based loosely on this picture.