Chapter 38:     Language

Transcribed from dictation, ADAM speaking--

Ate some apples.  I can't tell you how good it is to eat fruit and
vegetables.  I could live forever without meat, pretty much have,
but not fruit and vegetables.  I tried a swig of that cola in the 
refrigerator and it almost burned my mouth--I can't believe I used
to crave that stuff.  My chemistry has probably changed a lot--you
are what you eat--and I've been on a REALLY organic diet.

Afterwards, I went for a walk around the old homestead, looked in 
on the horses out in the pasture.  Smokealong almost freaked out 
when I first arrived last night, couldn't get near him then--which 
I can understand, since I smelled like a wild squatch at the time.  
This time I'd taken a shower, he recognized me and I could pet him.

I also looked up another noble steed: my good ol' Squatchmobil.  
Checked the oil, started it up, seems to have survived the winter 
just fine.  I assume that's because Art's been taking care of it, 
probably running the motor every now and then to keep the battery 
charged and I know it needed anti-freeze last time I used it.  I 
was going to buy some but...oh, yeah, I got shot instead.

Last I saw my car it was parked on the edge of town out near Big 
George's place six months ago.  You guys must have picked it up and 
brought it home for me.  Thanks folks.

I was tempted to take it out for a drive, revel in all that skesk-
horsepower.  Nokhso magic, speed and power.  But I knew it was a bad 
idea.  That car's too well known around here, I'd be spotted right 
away, especially in daylight.  

Besides, it had been so long since I'd driven any kind of machine 
that I felt unready.  Or maybe I was feeling like a guilty Nokhon 
just for sitting in that huge chunk of forbidden evil skesk.
You know: BAD squatch!

Well, naturally I'm uneasy: I've got to sneak around this place in 
broad daylight in case some neighbor drops in.  Spooks me out.  I 
don't want to be seen yet, with all the fuss that would generate.  
And actually, I still don't trust the Monroe Police yet either, 
since they shot at me last time. I'd rather make my actual return 
to society as public as possible, so that there are no "regrettable 
misunderstandings" with them. 

Still, none of that is as spooky as the Syssk...oh hmmm,
wasn't going to mention that.  Then again, there's no way I can 
tell the whole story without coming to it sooner or later. But it's 
way too early, so later it is.

Cops after me in the day and a Nokhon demon after me at night. 
Sounds like I'm the hero of an adventure story, doesn't it? --all 
odds against him; will he make it?  Dramatic stuff, huh?

I'm also kind of spooked that you folks may pull into the driveway 
any minute, because I'd just have to split fast--and I know if I 
saw you I'd really be tempted to stay.  But since that could well 
compromise me with the Nokhontli authorities, I'd better just 
avoid you all until after the next Full Moon.  

So I hope you don't show up before I finish recording my story, 
because I want to tell as much as I can before I have to go.

Before settling down to record again I took some time to play my guitar, which was more frustrating than fun since I'm completely out of practice. But there's a certain song I really need to work on before I go to that Kha-rat. My magic song. Yes, really. You know how I've always thought music was like magic? Something from nowhere that doesn't actually exist except when it's performed. Well, I had NO IDEA just how magic it can be! This may sound absurd, but the most magical song for me is... no, wait, I don't want to tell which song yet, it'll spoil this story I'm having so much fun telling. Forget I said anything.
Okay, back to Squatchland. I'd been with those three Nokhontli for about three weeks, almost a month. I was probably healed enough to limp slowly back to civilization. Between the boredom and the frustration and the hunger I was ready to give up trying to be a Nokhon and just take my chances with the law back home. The only thing stopping me was that I thought I should at least be healed enough to RUN if anyone started shooting at me, which I really wasn't yet. The snow was still deep; it hadn't rained since the blizzard, so it was still hard to find food. I got pretty nostalgic for that big old fireplace here at home and my nice warm room. Oh and the refrigerator--which may have been just as cold as I was just then, but would also be full of food. About noon one day a male squatch came trudging through the deep snow up the hill to Dannat's camp. I started to go to the back of the cave, assuming that I was to avoid contact with others as always, even if I had no idea as to why, but this time Dannat signaled me to stay. It was soon clear that this man had come to meet me. He had reddish colored hair and a happy face and I could see that he was a Sha-haka because he wore the distinctive shoulder-pouch for his magical goodies. No one else may, as Malla had rudely demonstrated to me a while before. This shaman was not as big as Dannat, nor as old, but seemed to have as much authority. They behaved quite respectfully to one another, bobbing heads, pressing the palms of each other's hands, although nothing as demonstrative as bowing or kneeling. After they'd greeted, they both turned to look at me. Dannat said something to introduce or explain me and the new man faced me squarely to study me. After a second or two he did what no other squatch had done yet: he smiled at me and said, "Kha, Dadameh." I was surprised, flustered, no squatch had ever greeted me in a friendly way. I nodded, responded, "Kha..." but did not know his name. "E' Dagrolyt," he said, "wo." I'm Dagrolyt, come, he'd said, so I followed him off to one side. Dannat turned and left us alone. Up close, I noticed that he was a bit shorter than me, just a couple of inches, but I'm sure he outweighed me anyway because he was so muscular. He was older than me, but it was impossible to guess by how much, since his face looked so young and the only wrinkles he had were smile-lines. He also looked young because he had no beard or facial hair. I was amused to see freckles which made him look like a huge leprechaun because his hair was the copper color of an Irishman's. He squatted down beside me and began talking, so I squatted too. He spoke slowly and precisely, so that I could isolate words. Simple stuff, with lots of pauses and smiles and eye contact. He touched me, little pushes, to emphasize something he'd said. This was the first time anyone had really tried to communicate with me since I'd arrived, finally allowing me an opportunity to pick up the language. I didn't understand much at first, but when he paused to allow me to respond in some way, I repeated back every word he had said to me. You know how I can repeat vocalizations even if I don't understand what they mean. But he was impressed, cocked his head back in surprise and then laughed in a friendly way, which was also the first time I'd ever heard a squatch do that. Then he continued talking to me, still slow and easy. We did that for a couple of hours and then he evidently had somewhere else to go, so he said, "Ta'ash!" and pressed his palm against mine--after showing me how to do it properly. Then he smiled like a friend and went on his way. Anyway, that was Dagrolyt, Sha-haka yr Dwayarat, sorcerer and teacher. I liked the guy right away and in fact, we've become best of friends. He's the one who taught me everything I know squatch- wise, my guru. Okay, he's also the guy who got me into the mess I'm in now. But I'm even grateful for that because--well, I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let's get back on track... In that time he had talked with me I had been exposed to hundreds of Nokhontli words, phrases I could repeat and practice. All I needed after that was to know the meaning of those words. Running syllables around my mouth for several days, I discovered that I actually had a vague feeling for many of the words, some probably from childhood, but also from recent conversations I'd heard between Mawa, Malla and Dannat. I began to speak to them, still poorly, but much better than ever before. A linguistic quantum leap had taken place.
Maybe a week later Dagrolyt came passing through again on his way back from wherever he'd been. We picked up where we had left off, continuing our "conversation" for most of a day. This time I was able to formulate a few questions, usually about language. If he was able to understand what I might be trying to say, he would rephrase it and teach me how to say it right. Then he was gone again, but leaving me with so much to work with that I had no time to consider any plans for leaving the sasquatch world just yet: I was totally dedicated to learning Nokhontli. I was no longer bored. And then the Full Moon came around again. If you are bored the other 27 days of the month, there's always the night of the Full Moon, the Ma-mlÝt-klys, to liven things up. Way up.

Chapter 39

Adam out of Eden