Transcribed from dictation, ADAM speaking--
(the sound of a guitar being idly strummed)
Khara, it feels good to play a guitar again! I think this is the
only artifact of civilization that I've really missed--like a part
of me I'd left behind.
(a scale is run through until a note buzzes)
Grunt! Need to practice, though. Been a long time since last.
You know, too bad I couldn't have had this guitar with me when I
was standing in the Kha-rat that night. I could have played them
a song. Which is sort of what I did anyway.
Because after a while of me just standing there and them just
looking, nobody saying or doing anything, it got more embarrassing
than frightening. Nobody was making a move. I had no idea what
the program was, but after a while I got the impression that I was
the one who was supposed to do something. Convince them that I was
okay, entertain them, something.
My mind went computing through all the impressive NokhSo education
and experience I've had, told myself how I was the unique product
of a very special situation and environment, surely I had SOME
trick to win the restless natives over. You know: an eclipse of
the moon I could pull out of my sleeve--if I had a sleeve. I figured
I had to do something to impress or amuse my audience, even though I
could hardly do a stand-up routine in Nokhontli.
Then came the multiple flash, as soon as I thought of them as an
audience, because that's a situation I knew so well. I would sing
them a song. They were all so ripped on mushrooms that they'd
probably get off on it even if they didn't understand the words.
And I knew exactly which song to sing--that was part of the multiple
flash. A song I had written about looking for the sasquatch people--
I had written it to THEM years before!
It was that song I'd done with Melly on talent night at Monroe High
School, we'd even won the contest with it. There was no guarantee
that it would appeal to Nokhontli ears, but there was no doubt in my
mind that this was the song for the occasion, I knew that with a
I didn't have a guitar or Melly to back me up, but these guys
would never know the difference.
(guitar picks up a rhythm, an easy thudding beat being stomped
on the floor)
I imagined myself as that old black blues singer I've got in my head
sometimes. Closed my eyes and stomped my big foot and clapped my
hands in this same slow, heavy beat and sang. I knew they wouldn't
understand the words, so I didn't worry about them and this new
extension of that song came spontaneously out of my mouth:
(guitar strummed, melody, ADAM sings)
On my quest to find a brother in the forests of the Earth,
Checked out the land, the trees, the lakes, the breeze, okay,
But found no peoples of my mother, nor the secret of my birth,
Until they came one night and carried me away.
They took me seeking, took me finding,
to my lost ancestral home,
Just as I quit trying, lay down dying
of being alone.
(song ends, guitar goes silent)
Well, it worked. I sang my little heart out and they knew it.
There were grunts of approval and interest, their heads bobbed up
and down, they had evidently understood the concept of rhythm. I
was a hit.
Well, not with everybody. A tall thin old-looking squatch stood
from his squat and stepped into the ring with me, unsatisfactory
look on his face. A scowl, in fact, aimed at me. He wore a
shoulder bag, yet another Sha-haka. His name was Dafnat, I later
"I think no man will sponsor this...boy. I am concerned that he
has committed Ø'skogome even here and now! That...Skesk trick he
did with his voice sounded to me like a NokhSo ritual, it was
certainly not Nokhontli!"
The people in the congregation looked at each other, suddenly
worried that they had applauded some Forbidden Thing, which itself
was Forbidden, you know. It hadn't even occurred to anyone else,
but Dafnat was a religious fanatic and liked to catch people in
violations of the rules. His claim to fame, I later learned.
"Perhaps Dannat did wrong to even bring this unclean half-NokhSo
here at all..." he said, pointing at me.
Old Dannat stood up, slowly, quite calm. "I was so instructed by
the Elders. Is it THEIR wisdom you call WRONG?"
Dafnat hesitated there, playing the game. And it was a game, a
Courtroom Drama. Remember that these people have no TV or movies
or theater, the Kha-rat is what they do for Entertainment.
That's when Dagrolyt, my buddy and the host of this event, stepped
forward into the ring. He said something to the effect of: "What
young Dadameh did was neither skesk nor a forbidden thing, since
he used no artifacts to do it, only his own Nokhon voice. It was
clearly a form of magic. I liked it."
"But he has raised his voice in Oration," Dafnat argued, "and not
to speak the Atli,"
"Nowhere in the Atli does it say that a voice raised in Oration
may only be used for the Atli itself."
"Nowhere? Do you claim to know the entire Atli?"
"Oh, sure. Don't you?"
The two Sha-hakas had a dramatic argument about the rules of the
Atli, throwing quotations at each other like two preachers
battling it out with Biblical verses. Until Dafnat bowed slightly
to Dagrolyt, said "Then this must be judged by the Elders."
"Of course," Dagrolyt said, "and they will agree with me. Just as
everyone else here agrees with me--don't you all?"
The squatches all looked at each other, then bobbed their heads,
relieved not to have been involved in some messy Ø'skogome. So
Dafnat retired from the ring. Dagrolyt looked at me, gave me a
little head bob and smiled.
I hadn't understood any of it at that time, but I was sure that
Dagrolyt was on my side and that he'd just helped me out. So I
thankfully bowed and bobbed to him too, then quickly left the
center of the circle myself, squatted down at the edge, as if I'd
done my part and it was somebody else's turn now. Nobody stopped
me, so I got away with it.
Oh, I just remembered how at one point in that evening I heard the
familiar distant thunder of a jet plane passing across the sky. I
looked up and saw a tiny bright light moving past the stars. Even
though I've never been on a jet myself, I knew what it was like
from lots of movies, TV, all that, common stuff. I could easily
imagine myself being on it.
Suddenly I seemed to fall out of that sasquatch scene and back
into the world I had grown up in, acutely aware of the civilized
world around us everywhere. There were people on that plane,
maybe even someone I knew, probably landing at SeaTac Airport in
a few minutes, perhaps flying in from the other side of the
planet. I felt a sense of wonder at the godlike technology of
Then I looked back down to where I was and saw that the Nokhontli
were also looking up. But it wasn't wonder that they felt. Scowls
were raised to the sky and curses of "Skesk!" were being
muttered. For them that little light moving across their sky was
a blasphemous disturbance, an unholy sign marring their ceremony.
It was an unwelcome confirmation that civilization was closing in
all around them and that they were being squeezed out of
I looked up again with mixed feelings. I'd just been thinking:
Hey, it would be cool to be on that plane, flying off to Europe
or Japan. I found it hard to feel like a Nokhon at that moment.
By midnight the congregation was so stoned that there was some
sort of psychedelic static electricity in the air. Most of them
were not moving, just lying back and looking up at the full moon.
Even though I hadn't eaten any mushrooms myself, I was definitely
picking up a contact high anyway, because I began to tingle. So
I laid back and looked at the moon too.
I found that one of the major functions of the monthly Kha-rat, as
well as the orgy and the initiation stuff, was a psychic event,
somewhat between being Entertaining and Spiritual. The group was
experiencing A Vision, which I couldn't see, but which was
evidently quite vivid to them.
Mostly, I just saw the same old moon. But I did catch a flickering
image of another version, quite different, as if I glimpsed a bit
of what they saw--it looked bigger, closer--a lot closer, in fact,
a whole hell of a lot closer, until it seemed to fill up the sky,
almost touching the horizon all around us. Of course, we were in
the mountains, but still--for a second the moon looked like it
was only a mile above us.
And then it went back to normal for me, because my White Man's
Brain dichotomized at this point: I knew that it had to be an
illusion. I was also aware that I was seeing an entirely
different moon than the Nokhontli saw: My Moon was in Lunar Orbit
at a mean distance of 238,857 miles above us, an astronomical
object 2,160 miles in diameter, which had been walked upon by a
NokhSo named Armstrong in 1969. Their moon was a female cosmic
entity they worshipped, whole different thing.
The logic of my scientific education kept telling me that if the
moon was actually as close as it looked, all the earth's oceans
would be draining towards the lunar gravity and that the
atmosphere would burn up due to the speed required to keep that
big rock in orbit, so that it wouldn't fall on us. It was a shame,
but I had to reject that beautiful illusion as false.
And yet, I could almost feel the gravity of the moon pulling at me.
Not my body, but my Spirit, my soul, whatever I have inside my body.
That scared me, like I was falling into the moon! I gripped at the
ground, but that didn't help because I still felt like I was slipping
out of my body...
I felt a sudden twinge of panic--had to look away from the moon,
roll over onto my belly; turn my back on that whole experience.
I was NOT ready for it! The feeling went away, as well as the
feeling that I was picking up a big zap from all the others.
When I calmed down, I noticed how quiet all the Nokhontli were.
Like they were all dead. I even wondered for a horrible moment
if those mushrooms they had eaten were poisonous, if this
ceremony had been a mass-suicide. Not understanding so much of
their language, I couldn't tell what was really going on.
But then I saw that they WERE breathing, very slowly and in
perfect sync with each other. That was weird too.
I fell asleep just before dawn. Awoke to the sounds of sex and
wrestling. It was about mid-morning and everyone but me was
getting laid one last time for the road. The shyøma was still
in the air, but less potent than the evening before.
Some of the men had evidently had enough sex and now they were
wrestling with each other instead. They were rather enthusiastic
about it and yet, very quiet. There were no shouts or cheers,
just bobbing heads for good moves. It seemed to be for fun rather
than real macho competition, but nobody wanted to get thrown.
Reminded me of Sumo Wrestling, because those squatches were so big
and heavy that the whole meadow floor shook when one of them
thumped down hard.
Luckily, no one challenged me, they knew I was wounded. I could see
that there was a special squatch technique to it, but of course, I
didn't know it. Even if I did, who could I ever have practiced with,
growing up in Monroe?
I watched for an hour, then noticed that some of the guests began
to leave the meadow. It seemed the Kha-rat was over. There were
farewells, a few final flings at sex, or wrestling, then folk
drifted off. No one said anything to me.
Not even Dannat and his women. I saw them speak with Dagrolyt, it
looked like they were saying goodbye. I walked over to them, ready
to go with them. But Dannat just gave me a nod--a goodbye nod--
and walked away.
It seemed that Dannat was finished with me. Well, I told myself,
I didn't much care for the accommodations there anyway. At least
Mawa looked back at me with something like a wistful farewell,
and they were gone.
Feeling kind of lonely, I looked around for Dagrolyt, who was now
the only one I knew there. He was busy saying farewells to his
guests, having been host for the Kha-rat. No time for me.
I didn't try to contact him, assuming that he'd also be saying a
polite farewell to me and then where would I go? I put it off.
Other Nokhontli were milling around, there was still some sex and
wrestling going on, but the party was just about wound down. I
seemed to be just in the way, so I took a walk.
I found myself in a really nice place: that perfect little meadow,
high up in the mountains, but green and warm anyway. Well, warm
enough for me, being a squatch, you might have considered it pretty
cold. It must have been about mid-December by then, drizzling
slightly, but no snow. I think there must have been some kind of
underground volcanic warmth, you know, like in the grassy crater
of Mount Rainier.
It was spectacularly beautiful! There was a fine little waterfall
and a tiny lake at one end of an alpine plateau dotted with lots of
tiny flowers in all different colors. I heard a marmot call and
saw it stick its funny little head out of the ground.
Higher up, a glacier fed the waterfall, which fed the lake and
lots of small creeks zigzagging across the grassy meadow floor
in several directions, heading downhill to somewhere far away and
out of sight. I was really hit by the symbolism of this place being
a starting point, an origin. Life was so clean here, so new.
It was Eden. Art, I remembered you describing how you'd perceived
the meadow where you met my mother and me as if it were "Eden" and
now I'd found a place that felt like that to me. Seems we all have
our own version of the Garden of Eden.
That place gave me the feeling that I'd come Home. Adam out of
Eden, right? It felt like awakening to a new life, a beginning.
Reborn, I suppose--especially after having been afraid of dying
as I had several times since having been shot, including the
previous full moon night. Suddenly, I felt happy to be there,
maybe for the first time since I'd come into the squatch world.
I thought I'd like to stay in or near this meadow for a while, if
I could find any food there. But first I felt I should get back to
where the Kha-rat had been to see if I could find Dagrolyt,
the only guy I knew.
But everyone was gone. There wasn't any a sign that 26 squatches
had ever been there, talk about your environmentally correct
tourists. If so many humans had thrown a party like that, there'd
have been burned-out campfires, tire tracks, maybe even discarded
paper and beer cans--well, depending on how ecologically oriented
the humans were, of course. But there wasn't even a FOOTPRINT--
it was if last night had never happened.
And there I was, all alone. The Nokhontli had vanished. Without
me. Had I been rejected after all?
I...(telephone suddenly rings in the background, ADAM pauses)...
jeez, wonder who THAT is...I'd answer it, but don't want anyone
to know I'm here yet...
(phone rings 4 times more, then answering machine cuts in, ART'S
VOICE: "Forest Residence, we're not home but you can leave a
message. You know the routine." beeeeeeep. but no message is
left, just a few seconds of white noise, a click, then silence)
Damn! I was hoping they'd leave a message, so I could KNOW who
was calling...like, what if it was Melly? ...aw man, I'm sure it
WAS, she never did like answering machines, HAD to be her...
...I should have...no, no. Not right Now. Just can't.