She lived with her mother and sisters near some popular hiking trails in a thick forest, in a pueblo-style cottage that cost thrice what it would have been worth anyplace else, because, you know, it's Santa Fe and they had a good view.
Life was wonderful, and Little Red Riding Hood was happy, except for being stuck with the insensitive first name of Little.
In fairness, she had sisters named Wart Face and Grunt Breath, so by comparison, Little wasn't so awful.
Like most children, the only thing Little knew for sure was that wolves were her mortal enemy. Raised on a steady diet of propaganda like "The Three Little Pigs," "Peter and the Wolf" and "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," she believed wolves ate children all day long.
Little had a grandmother who lived at the other end of the trail and who was kind of demanding.
"Little," her mother said one day, "Granny isn't feeling well. She would like some seven-layer dip from Albertsons, a fried oyster sandwich from Shake Foundation and a huge pitcher of margaritas from the Shed."
"What's that got to do with me?" Little asked.
"I'm going to drive into town and pick up those things, and then you can carry them along the trail to her cottage," Mother answered.
Little was puzzled. "Can't you just drive them over to Granny's your own self?"
"Yes, but that wouldn't advance the plot of this story, would it? Oh, and is that red cape really what you're wearing today?"
I should mention that the mother was rather passive-aggressive.
Two hours later, Little was skipping along the trail to Granny's cottage, carrying her food and beverage basket. Suddenly, a large wolf stepped into her path.
"Oh! Mr. Wolf! You're going to eat me!" she cried.
"On the contrary," the wolf replied. "Wolf attacks on humans are extremely rare, and I'll do no such thing."
Little was skeptical. "What do you want, then?"
"Well, that food smells very good, and I'm expecting the US Fish & Wildlife people to release ten new wolves in New Mexico soon. It would be nice to welcome them with nourishment."
Suddenly, Little felt sad. "I'm so sorry to tell you this, but there was a New Mexico Game Commission hearing recently in Santa Fe, and it doesn't look good. The state is trying very hard to keep those new wolves from being released, in spite of the crucial role they play in our biodiversity system."
"But surely there are intelligent, well-informed people making this decision," said the wolf.
Little looked embarrassed. "I went to the hearing. Some of the officials arguing against the release plan kept saying 'wolfs' and 'woofs' instead of 'wolves,' so you do the math about their intelligence…
"Plus, from the comments the commissioners made, I think they are going to side with a few ranchers and hunters, rather than supporters of wildlife," she added.
Hearing that, the wolf looked so dejected that Little gave him the seven-layer dip and the oyster sandwich to share with his family.
She felt it was the very least she could do in a state where, when it comes to animals, we often do far less than the very least we can do.
Little promised she would attend the commission's meeting next Tuesday, in Albuquerque, to see if by some miracle they might, just once, listen to the people.
Oh, and about Granny: She had to make do with the pitcher of margaritas and an old carton of Chunky Monkey she found in the back of her freezer. As dinners go, she could have done a lot worse.
Santa Fe Reporter