As the days go by and Yucca remains missing from the Herd, the emails asking of his whereabouts become fewer, and my hope of getting back that $5 he owes me dwindles. When the chance of ever seeing Yucca again seemed its bleakest, and I actually rationalized that it might be worth losing the $5 instead of having to strain to converse with the Cuban Churro Chef once again, I received an anonymous email from Zak about a Yucca sighting. I know that I can't say it's an anonymous letter from Zak, since I just named who sent me the email, but let's just say I received an anonymous email from Zak.
Anonymous Zak writes:
Since the Rose Bowl, Yucca has been conspicuously absent. Then, last week, I had a fleeting encounter with an individual (photo right: Yucca as werewolf?) in front of the Galen Center just off the SC campus. Although this person slightly resembled Yucca, he in fact looked more like a demented hillbilly relative of Yucca; or perhaps a werewolf Yucca. I was just able to get this picture before he jumped on a bus heading up Figueroa toward Echo Park.
Thought this might help you in your on-going search for Yucca. Good luck! Zak
At first I thought Zak was kidding, though as I opened and reopened Zak’s email and eyeballed the picture of Yucca. I noticed that the photo was taken during the day, so of course that would exclude the werewolfization of Yucca. But the more I googled werewolves, the more concerned I became. Not so much concern for Yucca, but because he is drawn to USC fans, Herders especially, and who wants to go to the Spring Huddle and be attacked and/or bitten by a rabid, werewolfian Yucca creature? It would put a downer on the day. More so than Mark Sanchez's lackluster performance at the 2006 Huddle.
As I found on Wikipedia: “A werewolf (also lycanthrope or wolfman) in folklore and mythology is a person who shapeshifts into a wolf or wolflike creature, either purposely, by using magic, or after being placed under a curse. The concept of transformation with the full moon was rarely associated with the werewolf until the idea was picked up by modern fiction writers. Most modern fiction agrees that a werewolf can be killed if shot by a silver bullet, although this was not a feature of folk legends.”
So, fiction writers have created the stereotype that werewolves or lycanthropes only transform with the full moon. If that is false, Yucca could actually be a lycanthrope. The stubby, prickly grayish beard that makes him look like a possum on a grey goose bender, could in fact be one of the early stages of his metamorphosis. That could also explain the wet dog smell that Yucca usually carries on his person.
Furthermore, Wikipedia enlightened me by detailing how a werewolf became a werewolf, “Historical legends describe a wide variety of methods for becoming a werewolf. One of the simplest was the removal of clothing and putting on a belt made of wolf skin, probably a substitute for the assumption of an entire animal skin which also is frequently described. (photo left: A Cuban werewolf promoting Revolution) In other cases the body is rubbed with a magic salve. To drink water out of the footprint of the animal in question or to drink from certain enchanted streams were also considered effectual modes of accomplishing metamorphosis. Olaus Magnus says that the Livonian werewolves were initiated by draining a cup of specially prepared beer and repeating a set formula. Another (and the most common modern belief) is to be directly bitten by a werewolf, where the saliva enters the blood stream.”
A couple points stood out in that passage, particularly that Yucca could become a werewolf by draining a cup of specially prepared beer and then removing his clothes. If you’re a Herdmember, you’ve seen Yucca with beer in hand in some form of undress. Not that Yucca is alone in the Herd in the set routine of drinking and undressing, but no one else in the Herd has been photographed looking like a werewolf. True, that might be circumstantial evidence, but OJ Simpson was convicted by circumstantial evidence. Well, maybe that’s a bad example, but the point is that its not inconceivable that Yucca did drink a specially prepared beer and then had magic salve rubbed all over his body in a postgame celebratory ritual. Who hasn't had that done to them at one of Grover's postgame tailgates?
In summary, we have certain facts that we know to be true. Yucca was seen at the pregame Rosebowl festivities. Yucca makes a good Churro. Yucca is Cuban, which could imply he is naturally hairy though Ricky Ricardo never appeared to look like a werewolf at least in the public eye whereas Yucca has as per Zak’s evidence. The Rose Bowl is in the Pasadena hills, hills could be full of wild life, wildlife could attract wolves, shapeshifters, wolf-like creatures. It all makes too much sense; the full moon over the Rose Bowl. A USC victory over a highly overrated Michigan team. J.D. Booty’s coming out party. Yucca’s disappearance. The massacre of Harry McCleary’s sheep in Altadena on January 10th. Yucca’s continued absence. Zak’s photo of a morphed Yucca; hairy, bad teeth, bloodshot eyes, outdated USC hooded sweatshirt.