Evelyn N. Alfred

Not all Wolves

What they never tell you about Lil Red Riding Hood is that the wolves were everywhere.

They were at school. They were at work. They were at church. They were at the grocery store, the post office, the library, the mall, and her favorite bakery. They were on the bus, on the train, and they were in the car driving next to her. They were teachers, cashiers, dentists, mechanics, journalists, waiters, police officers, and unemployed. Some of them lived in her neighborhood. Some of them jogged down her block. Some of them walked their dog and let it’s piss burn her grass.

She didn’t have to see them inside her home, unless she turned on the TV, or her X-Box, or her laptop, or her iPhone.

So after that incident with the wolf at Grandma’s house, Lil Red was anxious around all of them. And the wolves at her school said, “Oh, he made a mistake.” And the wolves where she worked said, “He didn’t intend to hurt anyone.” And the wolves at her church said, “But remember that time your Grandma stole my apple pie recipe?” And the wolves all said, “The wolf was afraid of your Grandma, the wolf was standing his ground, the wolf was mentally ill, the wolf was young, the wolf was doing his job, the wolf…”

And when she threw that basket out of fear and frustration – it broke a window. All the wolves saw was the hood. A big bad wolf would get her too. And that wolf would be forgiven.

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Evelyn N. Alfred is a public librarian who is a reader first and a writer third.