The wolf who opened an onsen

Once upon a time a wolf scrolling through the bowels of the internet noticed that a lot of folks were washing themselves with chickpea flour, coffee grounds, honey, coconut milk, coconut butter, cucumber, avocado, and other such comestibles as might tantalise the tongue.

Slobbering with delight, she decided upon a new business venture. She’d open an onsen.

It didn’t take long for the three little pigs to drop by. They discovered it in a pamphlet while having a pint in the local pub.

“But it’s by that Big Bad Wolf who blew down our houses,” said Bill.

“We barely made it out alive,” said Steve.

“Oh, come on. It’s a registered business,” said Bealzepheus. “She wouldn’t dare murder us in there.”

Bill and Steve contemplated for a moment and decided that it was a most reasonable conclusion.

The next day, the three little pigs wended their way through the woods to the onsen. They picked mushrooms along the way, made floral wreaths for their heads, and skipped along squealing and bawling what sounded like song to their ears, but which frightened a couple of squirrels and pissed off a family of snails, who couldn’t get away fast enough.

At the onsen, Beatrice the wolf welcomed them with the toothiest and most charming grin she could manage. “I’m so sorry about our last encounter,” she said. “It was all a misunderstanding. I just wanted to be friends.”

“Oh, really?” said Steve. “Well, we really are daft, aren’t we? All is well!”

Beatrice recommended the full package, which was slightly on the expensive side even with a 20% discount. But, as Bill pointed out, they hardly ever got the day off and it was a special treat. The two other pigs nodded and grunted in amiable concordance.

“The first treatment is exfoliation. We use only the finest ingredients to treat your skin,” said Beatrice.

“Ingredients?” Bob raised a brow.

“That’s just part of the parlance, you know. We have to be professional with the vocabulary.” She smiled with as much innocence as she could.

“Wow, you’re treating this business seriously,” said Steve.

“Yes. It is business after all,” said Beatrice. “Everything is kosher.”

“If you say so,” said Bealzepheus, in a most agreeable manner.

Beatrice and her assistants scrubbed the pigs from top to bottom with coffee grounds. The grains stripped away dead skin and, once hosed off with mineral water from the spring, left them feeling fresh as dewdrops on daisies in the bracing air of dawn.

“This feels amazing,” said Bob.

“You can do anything to me at this point. My skin feels baby smooth,” said Steve.

“Good, good. That’s how we want you,” said Beatrice. “The second treatment is marin- I mean, massage.” The three little pigs laid down comfortably on a mattress and Beatrice and her assistants sprinkled olive oil all over them from the tip of their heads to the toes of their trotters.

“I’ve never had massage with olive oil before,” said Bob.

“Ah, this is a special recipe. We use only 100% all-natural ingredients. No artificially produced chemicals. Only the healthiest option for our distinguished clientele,” cooed Beatrice.

“Ooh, clientele. I like the sound of that,” Bealzepheus said with a smile. The other two nodded and agreed, they did too.

“Next, we give your skin a natural fragrance with only the freshest herbs from our very own garden. It’s farm to table goodness.”

“Table?” asked Bealzepheus.

“Did I say table? Ah, just a figure of speech, you know.”

“I was never good with language in school,” said Bob sadly.

The wolves rubbed rosemary, thyme, basil, dill, ground white pepper, and a dash of hot green chilli all over the pigs. They licked their lips as they worked, and firmly massaged the herbs and spices into the skins.

“This feels really good,” said Steve.

“I can feel the bite of the green chilli,” said Bealzepheus.

“Excellent, excellent,” replied Beatrice. “We’re glad you like it. Now, we’ll let you rest for a few minutes. Just lie here, relax, and let the goodness of those herbs soak in.”

After a spell of the most relaxing naptime, they proceed to the next treatment. The onsen itself.

“It’s a special onsen,” said Beatrice. “It uses all-natural ingredients to give your body all the nutrients it needs.”

“You think of everything!” remarked Steve in appreciation. “Aren’t you glad we came?”

“Indeed,” said Bealzepheus. “Such professionals.”

“Me too,” said Bob.

They got into the tub and thoroughly enjoyed the steaming warmth. “Well, then. We’ll leave you to it,” said Beatrice as the wolves left the room.

“They are nice, aren’t they?” said Bob, as a couple of diced red onion pieces bubbled up. “I can’t believe we thought Beatrice wanted to eat us before.”

“She said she just wanted to be friends,” said Steve, as a handful of peas and cubed potatoes swirled around him.

“Yes, we were so silly running away,” said Bealzepheus, as diced carrots and slices of zucchini floated by.

They sighed in contentment and relaxed as they felt the muscle tension of a hard work week go away.

They thought about the coffee grounds. How clever it was to use that to clean the skin, and with mineral water too. They thought about the massage. It was so deliciously aromatic they could eat themselves! They thought about the industry’s odd lexicon, such as words like “recipe” and “ingredients”. They thought at the thought of how deliciously aromatic…

“Say,” said Bob, looking down at the carrots, zucchinis, potatoes, onions, and peas bubbling and swirling around them. “Do you think...”

“Holy shit,” cried Steve, realisation spreading across his red cheeks. “We have to get the fuck out of here.”

“Guys, guys. It’s fine. We paid for this, remember? They won’t eat their customers,” said Bealzepheus.

“Right, right…” Bob considered the point. “You must be right.”

So, the three little pigs leaned back, relaxed again, and let the hot soup do its work.

The next day, the police showed up to investigate the disappearance of two little pigs and found only their bones in a neat pile. There was no trace of an onsen business at the spring.

Steve inherited his brothers’ assets and properties and lived sordidly well, for a time.


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