My bedroom clock says 5:10. Is it morning and I will fall back asleep? Or afternoon and I'm up from a nap? The hour of the wolf or of the Angelus? Can't tell. The light outside the window is the same: it's summer. I slowly realize it's not one of those afternoon siesta awakenings when I don't know what time frame I'm in, sometimes not even where. It's early morning. And the hour of the wolf has passed, the darkest hour before the dawn: it's already light outside.

No lycanthrope in sight. I can go back to sleep safely and later get up and stalk a cup of coffee. For I'm not a Cuban wolfman. There was already a Puerto Rican one, Benicio del Toro, though neither island has wolves -- Puerto Rico did birth the Chupacabras, though.

No vampire, I suck neither humans nor goats, though I eat the latter with great relish and love blood sausage, which might make me a Chupapuercos. Of the classic Gothic movie monsters -- Frankestein, Dracula, the Mummy, Mr. Hyde, the Werewolf -- I'm down with the lupine. He is the one who most manifests the animal in humans, suffering from an overdetermination of carnivorousness.

He's hairy and that gives him a certain virile panache. And he's ugly and violent, manly traits. One could read sexuality in the mechanism of his desire, but, in fact, he's just hungry -- Dracula is thirsty and his quest is more like that of an alcoholic on an eternal lost weekend. I identify with the healthy (for a wolf) appetites of el hombre-lobo.

Years ago in New York, I'd go running around the Central Park reservoir. I found it so boring that I'd spice up the workout by picking out an attractive young female runner and fantasize that I was chasing her. I was a werewolf after his victim. Perhaps a cheetah after a gazelle. A rapist or serial murderer? My fantasy never went that far. And neither did I.

The object of my chase was faster. Everyone on the reservoir track was. She was my mechanical rabbit and I was an out of shape grayhound. But I ran after her until she outran me by such a distance that I had to pick someone else for the chase.

Oh, I was a bad man, all right. A veritable Jack the Ripper in running shoes, lightweight shorts and a clumsy stride. A Cuban Werewolf in New York stalking in broad daylight. Quake with fear, sweet maidens of great athleticism and likely kickboxing skills.

I no longer run. I go for walks. And when I see a woman of a certain age, still strong after all these years, I think, I chased you around the reservoir once. I didn't catch you. I never will.