Chapter 3:     Out of Eden Into Babylon

As the morning grew lighter we could better see our new friend, 
little Adam. 

"It's cute," Elaine said, "for something that smells so bad!" 

And he was cute: soft and furry as a kitten, with a rather pretty 
little boy face, which was entirely hairless and looked basically 
human although fur-like hair grew everywhere else on his body.  His 
big sad eyes were an astounding emerald-green color, unlike his 
mother's, but shared the same slightly asiatic almond shape.  His nose 
almost delicate, in contrast to a neck as solid and muscular as a weight-
lifter's instead of a child's.  

In fact, he was muscular all over.  Cute though he was, we could see 
that he was quite strong for his size, which was just under 3 feet tall, 
like a very muscular 6-8 year old human child.  We were very careful 
with him since we weren't certain whether we should handle him as a 
human child or a bear cub, although he did not have especially pointed 
teeth, nor sharp claws, only human-looking fingernails.

But he allowed us to touch him, ruffle his fur.  Elaine deftly checked 
and determined that he was male.  We remained sitting to seem less 
threatening, since he could run before we could stand up. 

"Look, he knows we're talking about him."

"Better not talk about the smell, then," I gasped, breathing through 
my mouth.

"Pretty bad, all right.  Hope we can do something about that." Elaine 
coughed, but kept smiling bravely at the child.

"Smells like shit and piss, Eskimos wash their hair in urine, maybe 
sasquatches do that too," I suggested, "If so, we should be able 
to wash it off."

"Why would Eskimos do that?" Elaine asked with a slightly disgusted 
sneer.  I could only shrug uncomprehendingly, but realized that maybe 
I should find out some day. 

"How old would you guess him to be?" I asked.

"Can't tell--he's definitely young for his size.  He acts like a toddler, 
maybe two years old."

"That's when kids start talking.  I wonder if he can yet?"

"If sasquatches CAN talk," Elaine mentioned.

"His mother did, or at least it sounded like words to me.  She also 
called him  d'adam--  And did you hear him when he called out?  Didn't 
it sound like 'mama' to you?"

"Ma ma ma," the baby sasquatch chanted.

"There!  Now is that a human word or an animal's bleat?" I asked.

"Do you think it means what it sounds like it means?"

"Could be.  Ma is one of those universal consonant-vowel 
phonemes that babies can easily make, the same word in a lot of 
human languages," I elucidated in my best schoolteacher fashion.

"Anyway, he's got vocal chords and a mouth that can, or could, form 
words," Elaine deduced, "if he could learn them."

"Ma ma ma," he said again, insistently, almost crying.  The baby voice 
was very deep for one so young, deep as a man's but raspy, wheezy, 
incongruous with the childish face.

Elaine looked sad for him.  "Oh dear, he wants his mommy, poor thing."  
She instinctively reached to touch him-- and he suddenly moved in to sit 
on her lap, having evidently decided that Elaine was his "mamama" now.

"Oh my!" Elaine reacted, startled to have this rather large and heavy 
baby suddenly sitting on her lap, pressing in to her.  We still had no 
idea if it was a dangerous wild beast or not.  But she controlled her 
urge to flinch.

So did I: it was a tense moment, balancing between concern for Elaine's 
safety and not wanting to scare him away.  I watched his face closely 
for any aggressive expressions, but he just looked like a sad and 
lonely little baby boy.  He seemed docile enough. 

He avoided my eyes, I think I was looking at him so intently that it 
scared him.  But he kept staring into Elaine's eyes--I really do think 
he saw his mother's eyes there, because he seems to have accepted 
Elaine as his mother from that moment on.

Clouds were sliding overhead, the wind becoming brisker. The morning sun disappeared. "I'm cold," Elaine complained, "We can't stay here forever anyway. Let's go back to the house." The little sasquatch was still sitting on Elaine's lap, clinging close to her, making it difficult for her to get up. "Come on, baby, let me up," she said, trying to pry him loose. But it struggled to maintain a grip, crying "ma ma maa" again. I carefully tried to help Elaine, moving slowly and carefully, not yet certain that we did not perhaps have a dangerous animal cub on our hands. The child did not flinch away from me, nor act aggressively, only watching me with wide innocent eyes. I took his hands in my own and gently pried him away from Elaine. He did not resist and Elaine was able to stand up while I held his hand. She packed up the bags we had brought and we started to leave the meadow. "Come on. little guy," Elaine said, taking his other hand and trying to lead him along with us, "d'adam, d'adam!" But then he did resist, jerking back and pulling us both off balance with his compact strength and refused to take a step. "Ma ma maa," he cried once again. It was clear what he meant: he had to wait here for his mother. After attempting to insist by word and deed that he come along, all to no effect, we gave him the old "Well I'm going now, if you want to come along fine, if not, goodbye" routine. That worked just fine. We led him down the hill that way. We would walk out of sight and he would cry his "mamamaa" and a few moments later catch up with us. As we got closer to the house, however, he seemed to be smelling things that made him more nervous and scared. He didn't want us to go toward the smell and tried to stop us. It took nearly an hour to get to the house. And then when he saw it we almost lost him, he went back into the woods. He finally came back to us, but we couldn't get him to go inside the house with us. He was afraid of it. "I know," Elaine said, "food!" She left me with the baby and disappeared into the front door. The child cried his only word again and again until she came out. Since we were there only on weekends there was little food in the house. We had no refrigerator because there was no electricity yet. But Elaine came out with a fresh package of Oreo cookies, chocolate with white filling. She gave one to the baby sasquatch. He took the first cookie, smelled it, looked at it with wide wondering eyes, then looked back at Elaine. She gave me one and took one herself. She and I bit into ours in perfect unison. The cookies crunched and were gobbled. We both rubbed our tummies, licked our lips and said, "Mmmmm." He looked at us, then at his cookie, finally put it into his mouth. There was a crunch--and then you could see that the kid had achieved Enlightenment: his first taste of chocolate. Elaine and I looked at each other, both gave the thumbs up sign. "We've got him now," we agreed.
And we had. Little Adam wanted another cookie and Elaine gave it to him, backing into the house. Like a donkey after the carrot that little beast followed her into the first house he had ever entered (we assumed), his fear of it forgotten. It was dark inside. The trees were quite thick around the house and there was not much window area since it had been built so long ago. I had been in the process of putting in some larger windows, but those holes were boarded up with plywood and others were covered with plastic. We left the door open, for not to alarm the little guy, but also for as much fresh air as possible. The house filled up with his stink, by now our throats were burning with it. "Do we really want him in here?" I had to ask, "the smell is pretty hard to take in enclosed quarters." "I agree, but let's show him that there's nothing to be afraid of first." We led him towards the kitchen. Once inside he stopped several times, sniffing the air for danger or information, then moved around the room with timid bravery, looking at things. In the kitchen there were undoubtedly smells that interested him, but he was intimidated by the darkness of the room and the restrictions of wooden walls. He was shivering, with fear or excitement. But in a few moments he approached Elaine and assumed a comfortable squat. "I'll bet you're hungry for some real food," Elaine said to him as if he understood, "I wonder what you eat." She rummaged through our meager supplies and found a bag of oatmeal. "I'll bet you'd eat this." We had a camp stove with bottled gas, Elaine filled a pot with water. "You're not going to cook it, are you?" I asked, "I doubt that he's ever had cooked food in his life." "You're probably right." She poured some into her hand and offered that to him. He sniffed at it, then held her hand and licked the oatmeal from it, every last flake. "Well, he likes it," Elaine said, "I'm going to cook some anyway, for us at least--I'm starving!" "I'll light a fire. Hope he doesn't freak out about that." It was colder inside than out so a fire would be welcome. We had an old cast iron wood stove in the kitchen with a stack of firewood beside it. I put in some newspapers, kindling, larger pieces, then took one of the wooden matches from the box and lit it. Elaine had been mixing up some powdered milk for our breakfast and the little sasquatch was watching her intently, but with the scratch of the match and the smell of sulfur he spun around to look at me, eyes wide in surprise. Or terror? I couldn't tell which, but he froze in place, watching the little match flame. Then I slowly lit the paper, it caught fire. He looked even more amazed, sniffed the air and said something like "shaa haa!" several times. "Another word!" Elaine said excitedly, "He IS speaking a language! He's intelligent!" "Yeah," I agreed, "but then anthropologists studying gorillas have found them to have vocabularies of several dozen words and chimpanzees can have over fifty, so don't expect too much." "Forget EXPECT," Elaine said, "we don't know ANYTHING about this creature. He could be as intelligent as we are--or even more, look at the shape of his head. There's room for a big brain there." He was watching the fire grow, as if hypnotized, more interested in that than food now. He started to reach for it. I said "No" and held his hand back, but he was fascinated and tried again in a few seconds. I put the lid on the stove to keep him away from it. He was very surprised when the fire just seemed to disappear. "He's not afraid of fire," I noted. "I wonder if he's ever seen it before?" "He seems to have a word for it," I said, but of course I didn't know. We ate outside on the porch, where the smell was less contained. In a few minutes little Adam was presented his first bowl of warm oatmeal with milk and raisins and brown sugar. He liked it. Elaine tried to feed him with a spoon, first cooling it by blowing on it, but he got so excited that he almost bit the spoon in half. So she gave him the bowl and he scooped it empty with his fingers, smearing his face, his fur and our porch with steaming mush and milk. Then he looked at us with satisfaction and burped, then made a funny wheezy laughing sound. We had to laugh too. Aren't kids cute?
"We've got to do something about the smell. I can't take it anymore," I said. "His mother washed him in the creek, maybe we can too." "Yeah, but we'll use soap." "I was considering industrial lye," I admitted. What we had was liquid dish washing detergent. It would have to do. We took a plastic bucket and a scrub brush and led him over to the creek beside the house. He didn't understand what we wanted until Elaine took off her shoes and stood in the creek herself, as his mother had done and called "d'adam" to him. Then he followed. "Oh god, is this water COLD!" she complained. "Your nose will love you for this," I assured her, as I scooped up a bucketful of water. But when I tried to pour it on the little beast he jumped out of the creek. It ended up that to get him to accept getting wet, both Elaine and I had to stand naked in the creek and splash ourselves first. Then suds ourselves with soap--if we did it, then he'd do it. But he didn't seem to feel the cold, while we were shivering, teeth chattering, turning blue. We soaped up and rinsed him off on land, since we didn't want to pollute the creek either with soap or sasquatch stink--there were people farther downstream. And when we were done, after soaping him down, scrubbing and rinsing twice, we were all squeaky clean. And the smell was gone! It had been hell, but oh, was worth it.
Being a Wednesday, I was supposed to have been on call for the Bellevue School District, but it was already too late to ring in and say I wasn't available. I could only hope nobody needed a substitute teacher that day. This was a few years before everyone had cell phones, but even if we had one there was no network signal so far out of town way back then. Elaine was supposed to work the evening shift at Boeings, but she decided to call in and declare a "family emergency" that evening. She was going to drive into Monroe to call Boeings and buy some groceries, while I babysat our new kid. But little Adam started to cry "Mamamaaa!" when she got into the car. Then really went into panic when she started the motor. "Wait!" I said to her, "He's afraid the car's going to grind you up, or something. I'm not sure what he's going to do." "Maybe we all should go to town." Elaine said. "Make his cultural shock complete?" "Get it over with, anyway." "Might be a little too early for that," I figured, "but let's get him used to the car at least." Elaine got out of the car, motor still running, came to Adam and took his hand. He calmed down immediately. Then I got into the car, waved to them anddrove up to where the driveway passed into the woods. Elaine said that he seemed to take my disappearance pretty well, but that he was also became very excited when I came driving back to the house a few seconds later. I turned off the motor, got out of the car, put my hand on it and said, "This is a car. Car!" I repeated that tour a couple of times, returning intact every time and he seemed to get the idea: the car was our friend. But when I opened the door for him to get in, he backed away, not able to trust that metal monster quite yet. It ended up being me who had to drive to town to call in for Elaine, he was still not about to risk losing another Mamamaa. I made a quick trip of it, not wanting to leave Elaine alone with the baby sasquatch too long. But I did take time to buy some more cookies. We spent the whole day at the place, as we usually did on weekends, working on the house. At first we were too excited about our new guest to do anything but play with him, but eventually I found myself putting in windows because it was cold. The little sasquatch watched me work and I made a show of it, talking to him, showing him the glass panel, knocking on it and letting it ring for him. He was fascinated. "Just how intelligent do you suppose he IS?" Elaine asked, watching his behavior. "Like you said, we don't know anything about him, but he sure does seem pretty bright." It rained outside and the wind blew, but I put in the last window, downstairs at least, so that the wood stove could warm up the kitchen. We had two butane lanterns for light. It suddenly became very cozy. The child pressed his nose to the glass and watched the rain come down from inside a warm shelter for surely the first time in his life. Elaine served up some hot chocolate, holding the cup for the little sasquatch to drink from, for he had no experience with cups or warm drinks and we didn't want to repeat the mush episode. But cozy as it was, our free day was running out. It was night before we addressed the next problem. "What are we going to do with him? We have to go back to Seattle tonight." "We can't take him to Seattle," I said, "as if we could even get him into the car. And then what? To our apartment? Leave him alone there while we go to work?" "If one of us stays with him..." she mumbled. "Think about our apartment: all those windows. How could we contain him? What could stop him from crashing out a window pane, accidentally or deliberately? He could fall, escape, get lost in the city, be seen and hunted. Not a workable idea." "What else can we do? We can't just leave him here alone in the woods, he's only a baby." "A sasquatch baby," I reminded her, "a woods thing." "Who's just lost his mother," she reminded me. The child was hypnotized by the flame of the butane lantern as we discussed its fate. "Look, you have to work in the morning," Elaine said, "but I'm not on until tomorrow afternoon. You could go and I'll stay..." "No," I said, "I'm not leaving you alone with him until we know more about him." "You don't think he's dangerous?" "No, not really. But he's as strong as you are, if he should panic..." "But he LOVES me," she insisted, "I'm his new mamamaa." Little baby Adam looked at Elaine and repeated that word softly. He looked sleepy. "There's another reason I don't want to leave you alone with him. But I've been trying not to mention it." "Well, you were doing a great job of not mentioning it, whatever it was, up to what is it?" "Never mind, it's just a crazy idea." I tried to get out of saying it, but of course it was too late. "Well," I went ahead and mentioned, "now that we know that sasquatches DO indeed exist...uh...what if they come looking for their kid?" Elaine sat in silence for a moment, in an isolated log cabin on a rainy night far out in the woods and nodded to herself. "You were right about not mentioning it: I certainly didn't need to hear that."
Chapter 4