Bonus – Interview with an Allergic Shifter

This interview with Vanessa of Past My Defenses was originally published on Joyfully Reviewed:

Interview with an Allergic Shifter

I meet her at the trailhead where she is standing with her arms crossed and her eyebrows raised. Her stance always says, “Oh yeah?” and “Dare me!” and various profanities, but I usually ignore that. There’s some power to being the writer after all.

Vanessa pulls out her phone and looks at the time.

Honestly, it’s been a long week and, normally, I’ll put up with her crap because she’s funny, but not today. “Shut up. I’m on time.”

Her eyes narrow. “What pissed in your Mountain Dew?”

See, she’s funny, so I smile and say, “Whatever it was, it didn’t change the color.” Gesturing back at my car with its powdery coating of yellow, I admit, “It’s the damn pollen. My eyes are watering so much the woman at the gas station tried to hug me thinking I was sad.”

She frowns. “Did she manage it?”

I don’t do hugs. “No. I sneezed just in time and she backed off.”

“At least the Scotch Broom and the rhododendrons are done blooming.”

Almost all of our conversations begin with commiserating over what is blooming and what the pollen count is. “July isn’t as bad for me…well, other than the smoke from the fireworks and morons burning weeds.” I hold up a tupperware container.

She grins. “I was hoping that was for me.” I don’t need to tell her what it is. She’s been smelling it since I pulled up and she knows it’s basically hypoallergenic. “The nice thing about having a human for a mate is that, with his pathetic sense of smell, I could eat that in his Jeep and get away with it. I wouldn’t have to share.”

I stare at her.

“Fine. I’ll share. But he doesn’t deserve it.”


She scowls up the nearby trail into the forest. “Some idiot just fired a shot up there—hunting in this area…” She shakes her head. “Dane and Travis are after them. I told Dane that Travis could handle it—especially since he’d catch up with them on four feet long before Dane could on two, but he figured Travis might not look as intimidating naked.”

I wait. None of this seems enough to touch off one of their frequent arguments.

She shrugs. “And that’s when I told him he’d never seen Travis naked. There’s a lot beyond the badge worth respecting. I tried to play it off that I was referring to when he’s shifted, but Dane doesn’t have much of a sense of humor when it comes to me talking about men I’ve seen naked.”

I roll my eyes. “I wonder why.”

She shrugs. “Humans have issues with their bodies.”

“I don’t. To prove it, I’ll take off all my clothes when you hear Dane is on his way back.”

Vanessa fights a smile. “I dare you.”

“Yeah, there’s no way. So, he yelled at you, huh?”

“No, he just wouldn’t let me call off this interview to go with him. I was hoping when you arrived and found a note tucked inside my underwear, you’d get the point and leave.”

“Eww. Why would you put it inside your underwear?” Even if she wasn’t wearing it at the time…gross….

She grins.

“Fine. Let’s do this.” I pull out the interview questions. “Uhh. Favorite food?”

“You mean in what I can have or what I can’t have unless I’m stoned on allergy meds?”

Questionnaires always seem to mock the weak antelopes in the allergy herd. I shrug.

“Okay, I like bananas foster with a Benadryl chaser.”

We both sigh. Bananas. I miss them.

I look at the next question and tilt my head.


“Favorite flower?”

“Who writes this crap?”

I laugh. “I’m sure people have said that about what I write too.”

“Ha ha.” Her narrowed eyes suggest this isn’t as amusing among the characters I create. “Tulips. I’m not allergic to tulips.”

“Favorite male actor?”



“If Dane reads this, we’ll get in an argument and then…actually, never mind, it’ll give us something to argue about. Hugh Jackman. Even if Wolverine blew, he looks great with claws on.”

“Boxers or briefs?”

“I’m wearing Dane’s boxers. Or do you mean on Dane? Or on Wolverine?”

I blink at her and sniff. “I think my allergy meds just kicked in. Or did that make sense?”

“You should make up answers for the rest of it.” She looks over my shoulder. “Especially since we’re about to get a bunch of rowdy kids right out of high school. Damn idiots.”

“Not so rah rah about graduating seniors?” A bit of an odd reaction.

“They’re singing loud…and off-key and swerving. They’re smashed. You should get back into your car and call it in, and I’ll see what a bunch of underage drinkers think of a rabid wolf.”


“Don’t worry. We do this all the time. I’ll snag their keys and toss them in the bushes right off the bat. It’s a great learning experience.”

“Really?” I can hear the squeal of tires behind me as they approach.

“Yup. They learn that the wildlife can be too wild.” She wrinkles up her nose. “Actually, you got an inhaler with you?”

I hand over my asthma inhaler, and she takes a drag on it. Seriously, if she wasn’t imaginary, that’d be disgusting.

She tosses it back to me. “Okay, writer-girl, get in your car and try not to scream when I snarl.”

I walk toward my car.

“Oh and don’t mention a wolf to whoever you get on the phone…we don’t want people actually believing these crazies.”

“Yeah, because who’d believe wolves live around Glacier Peak. That’s just nuts.”

“Exactly. Sounds like fiction.” I hear the rustle of gravel and turn back to see a gray wolf with brown eyes…and a wide smirk.

Copyright © 2014 by Wendy Sparrow