Chapter 36:     Prodigal Son

Transcribed from dictation, ADAM speaking--

Hi Mom and Dad and Melly and everybody, this is Adam.  Well, I'm 
finally here but you're not.  Although maybe that's just as well, 
considering the situation, since I'm not supposed to associate 
with "humans" until after the next full moon. 

You remember: that promise I made to stay among the Nokhontli for 
half a year.  Only a few days left now, but I still have to keep 
the whole promise.  Especially because now it's become political.  
Oh yes, even among sasquatches.

I listened to the message you'd left for me, so I know that you've 
both gone to the Olympic Peninsula for the weekend. I'm not going 
to call Art's cell phone yet because I can't have you come rushing 
back here to meet me just now--it'd be evening by the time you got 
here all the way from there anyway and I'd only have to leave right 
away.  Sorry.

Besides, there's...uh...something going on that I just can't have 
other people getting involved in.  

So I'm recording this message since I really want to tell you what's 
been going on. Also to say sorry that I'm only passing through--
truth is, I resisted coming here at all, but was FORCED to against 
my will by an "Adversary" who wants me to break my promise.  

So I was going to pass on by in the night, but being so close I just 
HAD to take a PEEK--and when I saw that no one was home decided it 
would be all right to come on in.  Lucky for me the secret key was 
still in the same old hiding place.

But what a weird feeling to step into the old house--and my old 
life in this world--electric lights, television, stereo, computers, 
refrigerator, hot water, wow!  I'd almost forgotten such things 
existed.  I've been living BEYOND primitive, where no artifacts or 
skesk-technology is allowed at all.

And the family pictures on the wall--Jeez!  Major memory Slam 
Dunk!  Suddenly I'm Adam again, instead of a Nokhon named Dadamet.
Suddenly I'm thinking in English instead of Nokhontli. 

Jeez, I miss you all and really wish I could just stay here now 
that I'm back and wait for you to show up...but I can't.  

I'll try to explain, but there's so much to tell!  And I don't know 
how much time I have to tell it--you guys are gone for the weekend, 
but what day is today?  Saturday or Sunday?  If it's Sunday and you 
suddenly do show up I may have to just split out the back door. That 
wouldn't be nice. 

There's a date on that newspaper lying there... damn, if I could 
only read.  Well, still can't.    

First of all I'd better mention that I'm all right, alive and even
healthier than last time I called you on the phone.  Although I'm 
sure you've all been worried about me all over again since then.  
Sorry that I couldn't come home sooner, but... well, just couldn't.

Okay, that's enough "sorries" for now.  Actually, it's great to be
home, even if only passing through and that you're not here gives
me a great chance to record my story.  And hey, my good old voice 
recorder just happens to be right here. It was meant to be.

But like you always say, Art: none of this just happens. You'll 
never believe how right you were.

But first: I'm starving--and that refrigerator is calling me. I'll
continue after I take a little break here...

Kha ra, Elaine, that chocolate cake was delicious! And so was the home-made bread--oops, ate it all. And Art, I must compliment you once again on your Chile Con Carne Especial. Ah, there's just nothing like leftover home cooking. Mainly though, there's nothing like FOOD! One complaint I do have with the sasquatch way of life--among several--is their diet. It's all dandelions and nettles, thistles, roots and mushrooms. No meat of any sort, which I've sort of gotten used to here in this NokhSo world...although I hope that Chile doesn't give me diarrhea, it was pretty...uhf!...spicy. Oh wait, I'm going to go sit on a real toilet. But I'll be back.
Wow! Just saw my reflection in a real mirror for the first time in a while and scared myself--I thought it was the Abominable Snowman! Couldn't even recognize myself, my hair and beard are grown so long and bushy and wild and I'm shocked at how TRIM I look now; the baby fat is gone, baby. I tried the scale in the bathroom, figuring I'd lost a lot of weight since I'm so trim now, but no--I weigh 527 pounds and I'm skinny! Well, skinny for me, guess it's all muscle now. Speaking of which, I'll probably eat everything you've got in the house, but I know you won't mind. You can just be thankful I'm not staying! By the way, I found out that it's Friday night the 10th of May by checking out the news on TV, so now I know that you won't be back for a couple of days. That gives me some time to tell this story. But I gotta tell you that media coverage of the wonders of human civilization is no great thing to come home to: I've been gone for almost six months and it's still all the same old bad news--"Peace Talks" in Israel sabotaged by terrorists, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan at each other's throats again, China threatening to use Nuclear Weapons if Taiwan doesn't kiss their ass, Jeez! Where I've been, they've got nothing--no technology, no media... but no war or crime either. So who's the more civilized? Well, I guess you want to hear about WHERE I have been, what I've experienced, the truth about sasquatches, etc. So... No, wait. I can tell that I'm not quite ready to organize my thoughts yet. I'm going to have to get some sleep first. It's been several long hard haunted nights with no sleep and I'm exhausted. The spirit is willing but the flesh is all tuckered out...and actually, so is the spirit. Plus, I think all that food has bottomed out in my belly. So I'm going to have to crash for awhile. I can better settle in and tell it when I'm fresh. Later.
Well, I was going to crash but--hey!-- there was a brand new 12- string guitar lying on my bed which I couldn't get past without trying to play for a while. Not that I can play very well right now, I'm SOOOO out of practice. I recognize it, of course, even though I've never seen it before: the guitar we commissioned Herr Fischel in Bellingham to build for me. Well, he did a fantastic job, it's beautiful! But it's so different from any guitar I've ever played before and I'm way too tired to invest the time it'll take to get comfortable with it just yet, but I assume that it'll be a good instrument. It's oversized just right to fit my hands and body. Probably has a wonderful tone to it...if I could just play without all the frets buzzing. Better clip my nails. But for now, it's gotta be sleep I practice. Zzzz...
Ra'kha, ayara-ahatli e'ha sba mea Nokhontli... uh, no, excuse me, wasn't thinking, wrong language. Still groggy, guess I'm not used to eating and sleeping in such luxury. And luxury it was, believe me! I was totally worn out, but now I feel great. Took a shower, shed the infamous squatch-stink and brushed my teeth with peppermint toothpaste, smack smack! And it was like heaven to sleep in my own bed for the first time in so long. Especially since...well, I could smell that Melly's recently been sleeping there too. Made me feel...nah, I'm not going to get into that right now. I was so tired anyway that I didn't feel much of anything for long, just zonked out. All right, you already know that I've been with the Nokhontli, uh...the sasquatches...Jeez, I've spoken almost no English since the half year I've been gone. As you can tell, I've been out of touch with any of civilization's usual points of reference, except maybe for weather. But anyway, if I--uh...WHEN I--get through this special "Ordeal of Adversity" I should be able to come home for a while. And I'm really ready for that, believe me. I know that today is the 11th of May, but just when was I shot, November something? I wasn't paying any special attention to the date at the time, although I'm sure it wasn't Thanksgiving yet... well, it was winter when I left, now it's almost summer. Time is so relative-- seems years ago that I was shot and only days since we talked on the phone. I was glad to hear you tell me that Peter Sinsley was still alive, by the way. Not that he deserves to be, but I sure didn't want to be a murderer because of HIM! I didn't TRY to kill him, but just had to stop him from shooting Melly--and me again, of course--so it went pretty fast. It was all over before I even knew what was happening. I assume Melly's told you whatever she knows about that night. Like to hear that myself sometime. Suppose I'd better begin all the way back then to tell you what's happened to me ever since, but it seems so long ago. Like in some other lifetime, on some other planet. Hard to remember all the details, the whole mess got pretty confusing, getting shot and all... If Melly's told her end of the story, you probably know more than I do about what happened--how Peter Sinsley set me up for a trap at Big George's party, how he'd called me on my cell phone and led me out to the little guest house in back, with the whole damned party following me. Looking back on it, I guess they were supposed to be his witnesses, to confirm that I'd attacked him or whatever. At least, he sure was trying to provoke me into attacking him. Because when I looked into the window and saw them there...Peter with Melly...doing...well, you know...never mind the small details. It's just that Peter was making a real show out of it, probably for me to see. I went up close to the window to make sure that Melly wasn't...uh, being raped or something...but it didn't seem that way. She...I was...never mind, she's probably already told you and I've got a long story to tell. I got close enough so that the light from the window must have lighted me up too, so they could easily see me from inside. Peter pointed at me and told Melly to look--seemed like he'd just been waiting for me to show up. She saw me, was obviously surprised-- and either embarrassed or AFRAID of me, I couldn't tell which. So I backed off and went to leave. Didn't want to freak her out... actually, I didn't want to see any more either. But then Peter started hitting her, hurting her and she screamed. So I HAD to go back. The cabin door was locked, so I smashed through it. Peter was already waiting with a big pistol in his hand and he shot me. Right in the middle of my chest, HIT so hard I almost didn't feel it, just went numb all over, vision grayed out. Mostly I felt surprised. I don't think I flew backwards or anything like in the movies, more like just collapsed to my knees, then went flat on my back. Well, I figured I was already dead, right there and then. Couldn't breathe at all, spots before my eyes-- but I got up anyway, in some kind of wild adrenaline panic. Everything got real fuzzy real fast and even more confusing after that. All those hundreds of people at the party were screaming, but above them all I could still hear Melly shouting at Peter. There was this moment of extra bright clarity when I saw everything happening in slow motion and bright colors: Peter trying to shoot me again, his pistol coming slowly up into position straight at my face, Melly trying to stop him, him hurting her. I really just wanted to run away and die somewhere, I was hurt and scared, but more afraid that Peter was going to shoot Melly too. I had to save her before I died myself, so I managed to lean through the doorway halfway into the room and hit him, just barely tapping him at the end of my reach. But I gave it everything I had and connected just enough to send him flying backwards and smashing almost through the wall. I knew he was out of the fight, maybe even dead, but then so was I, so I really didn't care. I fell back on the ground outside to lay down, since I just could go ahead and die then. But found myself getting up and running instead, without even knowing why. Until I heard shots and felt the sting of a bullet scratch my arm, and finally understood why I was running. Like I said, it was very confusing: I was scared, it was dark, all those party people were running every which way, shouting, screaming, they were afraid of me, I was afraid of them. Then I noticed Big George's face over a pistol and others with guns and they were all shooting at me too. I was hit in the leg, just a little bullet but it hurt anyway, another bullet ripped through my hair. I ran from that place, through the dark, heard sirens coming, neighbors calling, houselights coming on, dogs barking, commotion everywhere. I staggered, ran, whatever, to get across the highway to my own car, which I'd parked just inside town. But someone else was shooting at me there too. Then there were blinking lights of cop cars. At first I was glad to see them. I stopped and put my hands up--just in case they had misunderstood the situation. And right away this guy runs up with a big rifle, kneels and takes careful aim. He didn't seem confused at all, he just started shooting, no questions asked and the cops weren't even trying to stop him. I dodged just as he fired and the bullet went right past my ear, I mean really close! Well, after that I ran as fast as I could go, forgot I was even wounded. On up and over the cop cars, out of town, across Highway 2, over Woods Creek and into the woods, straight on up into the Cascade Foothills. No roads, no trails, just ran through the wildest bush and brush and forest I could find, so nobody could keep up with me. And they didn't, I got away. I ran all night. Well, I was crawling by dawn, but I had left civilization well behind me. But by then I was so weak that I couldn't go on any more. I lay down in a forest where nobody could find me and tried to sleep or at least pass out. I expected to die there. I was a mess: there was a bullet hole all the way through my chest, in the front and out the back, which was pretty weird, I could sort of see my heart beating! I was smeared with dried blood, but had at least stopped bleeding. Even the blood I'd been coughing up had stopped. I assumed that was because I had almost none left. I could tell that I was already healing, but figured it was too late; I'd been wounded too badly, lost too much blood. And holy shit, it hurt so bad I WANTED to die. But since I didn't die right away, I wondered if I might survive if I got medical attention. It was first then I even thought about calling for help on my cell phone. Seemed like a good time to cry for Mommy and Daddy! Actually, I had thought of the phone earlier, but believing that I was beyond help anyway, I really didn't want Elaine to see me like this, or for either of you to have to watch me die. I'd also been in panic most of the time anyway, not thinking straight. Of course, I finally figured out that it had to be better for you to KNOW I was dead rather than be left wondering, without maybe ever finding out for sure one way or another. Which is just what you've been going through anyway--so I'm really sorry about that, poor Mom and Dad. And Melly too, I know. At first I couldn't even find the phone, it should have been in my shirt pocket, so I went into panic thinking, "O NO! I've dropped it somewhere, in all my falling and stumbling!" But there it was, safe and sound in a pocket in my pants. It wasn't smashed, hadn't been shot, it was perfect. I was saved! You know, I clearly remember lying there, hurting and bleeding and all, admiring that compact little plastic unit of amazing modern technology in my hand: my wonderful compact cell phone, which was now going to put at my disposal the life-saving power of mankind's vast telecommunications network. Civilization was so wonderful! But then I noticed two things that were not so wonderful: that my battery indicator was low; and that there were no signal stripes at all--I was too far away from any telephone signal relay towers to get a connection. Couldn't use the phone. I tried to call anyway, hoping that the wind would carry some stray radio waves closer or something, but nothing. Civilization was gone!! Guess I got delirious. The sun went down and I became afraid of the dark. I knew I was dying, so asked myself what I had to be afraid of, since nothing could hurt me more than I already was. Also got kind of crazy, was convinced that there were evil spirits all around me, that even the trees were after me. I was afraid of them taking my soul--no, my SPIRIT--this was not a White Man's fear. Kept shivering and trying to keep my teeth from chattering, although I was never really cold. I wanted to panic and run, but couldn't even crawl, just lie there in excruciating pain, wondering how much longer this had to go on before it could just be over with. I tried again with my cell phone, even though there still was no indication of any transmission signal, desperately sending again and again until my battery finally was completely dead and that was that. So much for the wonders of technology. I let myself cry like a little baby. Then the moon came up. I registered that it would be a full moon in a few more nights, which seemed significant to me at the time, although I didn't know why. The bright moonlight was welcome since I was afraid of the dark, but it also distorted everything so that I seemed to be in another world, or back in some prehistoric time. You know that same old Full Moon Dream I've had for years? That dream about those misty squatches calling to me in their language. Over and over they'd call out the same word, which I could never quite identify. I was sure it was some kind of magic word--like "Shazam" or something--and once I said it THEY would come and welcome me. But I never could say that word because I didn't know how to pronounce it. I mention the dream because it seemed more REAL than ever before. And because it came true, of course. At one point in the night I woke up and howled at the moon. I didn't even know why, I'd never done that before. Howled for maybe an hour, sort of like a coyote, until my voice gave out, then I passed out again.
When I awoke later the moon had dropped behind the mountains, so it was very dark. I was aware of physical THINGS moving out in the trees, rather than evil spirits. BIG things. But was I imagining them or were they real? Could that be a bear? Or a hunter? Or the police, coming here to shoot me some more? I was afraid of calling any attention to myself, or calling for help, but began to howl again anyway. Couldn't help it, seemed to be a spontaneous reflex or something. I had almost no voice left, just a weak rasp, but I howled anyway. I stopped howling when I smelled a pungent, rancid, awful stink. I knew what that had to be, how could I not? Then a word was spoken, out in the dark woods. Just one word, like a question: "Dadameh?" And then--click--I finally remembered the word in my dream: same word. I had to wonder if I was still dreaming. Lying on my belly, I tried to lift my head to look around, but couldn't move at all. It was also very dark, the moon gone and my night vision wasn't up to snuff just then, so I couldn't see who or what was standing there, but of course I knew they were sasquatches. What else would stink like that? I felt both happy and afraid at once--they could be cannibals for all I knew. Finally, I managed to croak out, "Da..da...meh!" That was what they had been waiting for--they seemed nervous about approaching me, I could hear at least two voices whispering to one another. Then someone kneeled beside me and took my shoulder, rolled me over. I was felt a big hand gently touching the bloody hole in my chest and I panicked--Jeez, what if they WERE cannibals? --but I couldn't do anything about it. I felt big soft breasts press against me so I knew at least one of them was a female. Turned out they both were. They tried to talk to me. The words sounded vaguely familiar, but I had no idea what they meant. Jeez, I was too far gone to even understand English by then, passing in and out of consciousness. I barely heard them discussing something that sounded like a problem for them, then was half-aware that they were tearing my bloody clothes off me. I dozed into a little dream that they were nurses cleaning me up in a hospital. But they couldn't rip my belt off, not that the leather was too tough, more that they were afraid of touching it--or disgusted by it--they were upset about it anyway. But it seemed important to get it off, so I managed to undo it for them. Once I was stripped of every item of civilization they picked me up, my 527 pounds evidently no big thing, balancing me on their shoulders between them and started to carry me into the woods. I mumbled something about, "Hey, my phone..." One of them said, "Trok!" Somehow I knew what that meant: silence, or shut up. I vaguely remembered my mother--my Mamama--saying it to me when I was a baby. Then I passed all the way out once again and they carried me away to Squatchland. At last, I had found, or been found by the Bigfoot Folk. I was just in no shape to enjoy it.

Chapter 37

Adam out of Eden