Lee stood up during the first commercial after halftime.
“Hey, where you going?” asked Stern. “Bathroom’s that way.”
“I know where the bathroom is, fool,” said Lee. “This is my house. I’m going to get the shrimp croquettes. Wait till you taste these motherfuckers. They’re tight.”
“None of that shit for me,” said Barry. “I don’t touch shrimp and shit like that.”
Lee shook his head as he walked into the kitchen.
“Man,” said Stern. “How come you never try nothing? How the fuck you know if you like it if you don’t try it?”
“It’s not like that,” said Barry. “I just can’t eat shrimp and crab and all that. I got allergies.”
“What are you talking about, allergies?” said Stern. “I never heard about that.”
“Well, I got allergies,” said Barry. “Why I got to talk about it?”
“Like, real allergies? Or just some food intolerance bullshit?”
“How the fuck should I know! I never been to the doctor or nothing. I just know when I eat shrimp and shit it aint pretty.”
“Well, is it a histamine reaction, or not? Shit be serious.”
Barry laughed. “Look at this motherfucker talking about histaneen reactions and shit. How the fuck should I know?”
“Well what happens when you eat it?” asked Stern. “You get itchy? You break out in hives?”
Barry shifted in his chair. “I don’t like to talk about it. That’s how come you don’t know about it. Just trust me. It aint pretty.”
“What you fools talking about?” said Lee as he walked in, carrying a tray of golden brown croquettes and several ramekins full of green sauce.
“Motherfucker says he has allergies,” said Stern.
“Right,” said Lee. “This is just another excuse not to try something because you’re a pussy. You wouldn’t touch the dip, either.”
“It’s fucking allergies!” Barry protested again. Then he grabbed a crostini, plunged it into the dip in front of him, and shoved it into his mouth.
“What’s he supposed to be allergic to, anyway?” asked Lee.
“He says seafood and crustaceans,” said Stern. “Shrimp and crab and that shit.”
“Yeah?” Lee’s eyebrow raised. “If that’s true, he probably shouldn’t try the dip. It has crab in it.”
Barry’s eyes widened, and he spit the food out of his mouth and right into the bowl of dip.
“Dude!” Lee cried. “I slaved over that shit!?
“It’s got crab in it?” Barry asked, scraping at his tongue with a napkin.
“Oh fuck. Why didn’t you say nothing?”
“I didn’t think…”
Barry lurched forward.
“Holy shit,” said Stern. “Motherfucker wasn’t lying.”
Lee and Stern backed away on the couch and watched as Barry began to spasm. There was a sickening crack, as the bones in his face snapped and shifted under his skin. The muscles on his exposed arms seemed to quiver, then new muscle tissue burst through the flesh and wrapped around his arms. Barry stood up and screamed out in pain. His nose stretched out. Blood sprayed from his fingertips and claws burst forth. Hair erupted from all over his body, like grass on a time-lapsed chia pet. Barry threw his arms out, then snapped his head back and howled.
“Shit!” said Lee.
Stern stood up, and walked towards his friend. “Motherfucker,” he said. “That shit aint no allergies. That’s fucking lycanthropy.”
“What?” growled Barry.
“Lycanthropy,” said Stern. “Werewolfism.”
Lee laughed. “Holy shit. You’re right.”
“You weren’t lying when you said you never been to the doctor about it,” said Stern. “What the fuck made you think it was an allergy?”
“I don’t know,” said Barry. “It only happens with food. Allergies be doing that, right?”
Stern shook his head. “Lycanthropy induced by crustacean intolerance,” said Stern. “My cousin had this same shit, only with shellfish. Given that your nose all bumpy, you probably a kyphorrhinos. That means you got the West Coast strain.”
“Fuck,” said Barry. “Sounds serious.”
“Nah,” said Stern. “It aint nothing.” He turned to Lee. “You still got that wormwood extract your old lady left here?”
“Yeah,” said Lee. “I’ve got it.”
“Should calm this shit right down,” said Stern.
“Fucking A,” said Barry. “Usually I just have to wait it out.”
“I’ll go get it,” said Lee. He stood up.
“Shh, shh!” said Stern. “Game’s back on.”
Lee dropped back into his seat. “You’re just going to have to wait.” He shook his head. “Food allergy.”
“Fine,” said Barry. “Whatever.”
“Another thing, motherfucker,” said Lee.
Barry looked at him quizzically.
“You’re paying for that damn couch.”