Chapter 43:     Call Home

Transcribed from dictation, ADAM speaking--

You know, I'm beginning to understand what the Nokhontli mean when
they say that I'm bred to be an Orator.  You must have noticed by 
now how I've really gotten into telling this story.  Normally I 
don't talk this way; so formally, so structured, so dramatically. 

We've often discussed how many primitive cultures pass on their 
stories and myths by oral tradition.  Well, the person who does 
that in the Nokhon culture is an Awø'øta, Speaker, Orator.
They tell me that I've been bred to have the specific qualities 
required for the job; good verbal memory, innate interest in 
learning, appealing voice and a talent for oral presentations.  
Makes sense, doesn't it?  I've always been good with words and 
language.  

And that's why I'm getting off on telling this story...in the 
oral tradition.  So back to it.


We had a long trip ahead of us, including a detour so that I could finally let you folks know that I was still alive. Our plan was to find some NokhSo place from where I could make a phone call, then head cross country to where the next Kha-rat would be held three nights later. We had lots of time. Until a heavy snowstorm hit us halfway down the mountain. We pushed on. I knew if we just kept going downhill we'd eventually run across a road somewhere. Because we were leaving sasquatch society and heading into the land of the hairless little Nokhso folk, I convinced Dagrolyt that it would be best not to smear ourselves with stink. I told him that it would generate a cultural misunderstanding that would be best to avoid and he took my word for it. Although for Dagrolyt The idea of deliberately going TOWARD the Nokhso world made him nervous, he backed me up anyway. Meanwhile, I had some anxieties of my own: while I was relieved to have gotten through my purification ritual, I was now looking forward to the up-and-coming Kha-rat with jittery nerves. Actually, I was probably pestering Dagrolyt somewhat about how I was ever going to take on those men--or women--at the Kha-rat. "But what happens if I FAIL?" I'd whine, like some helpless little kid. He shrugged, "Just do your best," was all he said. By then he was getting a bit miffed at me for being such a wimp about a harmless little porn-star debut and mortal combat with a chain of Bigfoot bruisers, so I shut up. We didn't talk much on the way down the mountain. Farther downhill the wind finally slacked, snow came floating down slow as big fluffy flakes and the landscape became beautiful instead of white hell. The slope flattened out into open meadows and it felt really good to finally get into stride. We still weren't talking much, so it was pretty quiet except for the rhythm of our Bigfoot big feet thump-squeaking through the snow in a steady rhythm. Well, I couldn't resist that rhythm, began to sing. Started with "Blue Suede Shoes". Dagrolyt couldn't resist either, he had really fallen for the new and exciting concept of myøsik, so after a couple of verses he started singing too, imitating me--or rather, Elvis once removed-- in a rough approximation of English. Sounded pretty funny. So I taught him how to do a harmony part, a duet. By the time we hit the timberline we sounded pretty good, even clapping our hands to the beat. That was such a hit I had to teach him "Jailhouse Rock", with all the "uh-hunhs" and "hey-yaay"s. Wow, he loved it--Dagrolyt always reacted to music like some major revelation, seeing God or something. So we were making a lot of noise out there, walking through the open countryside. We'd just ended that song and were considering another when we heard a distant voice call out in English: "Hey guys, let's hear I'M ALL SHOOK UP!" Dagrolyt dived into the snow like it was water and he was gone. It was amazing, a 500-pound squatch had just disappeared, no trace. I was looking around to see where he'd gone and also for whoever it was who'd called out to us, but I seemed to be alone out there. Then I heard human voices over the next hill, at least two men. We'd probably been heard but not seen yet. Then I heard a rifle shot over there, a loud blast and lots of echoes. Hunters. I also heard Dagrolyt's muffled voice under the snow, "Hide, you skyøma!" "But where ARE you?" He rose up out of the snow like a raging sea monster, grabbed me, and threw us both into a spin that burrowed us under the snow so fast I didn't even see it. There was even an air pocket for breathing, which was nice. "We don't let Nokhso see us!" he hissed at me, "They're too dangerous!" "Hey, not all Nokhsos are dangerous," I assured him. "It only takes one." I thought about whoever that was over there with his hunting rifle. A nice guy...or Felix Sinsley? I shut up. We heard the voices pass at a distance, too muffled by the snow for me to pick up what they were saying. I was thinking it was too bad, I could have asked for directions to...somewhere. They were probably all right guys, I used to run into backpackers and climbers all the time when I was hiking around myself. Come to think of it, I used to hide from armed hunters back then too. Just in case. Later, Dagrolyt tried to teach me the snow-hiding trick. I could sort of pull it off, but once again, it required a flow of haka to do it well. You flow with the snow, see?
The farther down we went, the more NokhSo civilization tingled in the air, especially the high-tension electric lines. We started hearing diesel trucks far away on some highway, and then we came to hiking trails, graveled logging roads, occasional sheds, rusted shells of old cars abandoned out there, fences and finally--a cabin beside a small lake. I got excited about that, thinking if there was a telephone... But I saw no wires, neither telephone nor electricity. Too far out of town. There wasn't anyone living there at the time either, probably a summer retreat and we were standing in the snow, so we continued on. Left them some terrific Bigfoot prints. Dagrolyt was reluctant to walk down the open roads, insisting that cars could come upon us too fast, so we went through the woods. There was no traffic anyway, but the snow was pretty deep by then and we were leaving those famous footprints behind us everywhere we went. It would be very easy for someone to track us. I couldn't help feeling like a scared chicken being so furtive in my own familiar human world, but since I had no clothes it seemed necessary. If I'd been wearing my old checkered shirt and blue jeans I would probably have just showed myself.
We came to a narrow gorge where the only reasonable way through was to take the road, so we did. Sure enough, along came a car. It was a modern jeep of some kind, lots of headlights, big tires, 4WD. There was no place for us to hide, so we just kept walking. I gave a casual little wave as the jeep passed us, looked like three guys inside. They obviously hadn't noticed what we were until just then, it was half-dark in that gorge, we were probably just black silhouettes against the snow. It was only when they got so close that they could tell we were both 8 feet tall and dressed in our own natural fur coats. Did they freak out, or what? We could hear one of them shouting inside the car, "Hey, that's a fuckin BIGFOOT an' there's TWO of 'em!" The car accelerated to escape us, but too much and it slid sideways out of control, spinning into the ditch beside the road. So they were stuck. I was tempted to lift the car out of the ditch for them, maybe talk to them. Could be they had a cell phone, worth a try. But as I approached their car the three guys started screaming and gibbering to each other, absolutely terrified. "Don't aggravate them, they just get dangerous, " Dagrolyt said, "let's just keep going." "Yeah, well, I could just lift the car free for them..." I saw a pistol come up, aimed at me through the windshield. Lucky for me the guy was too scared to shoot--probably afraid he'd just piss me off, make me attack and bite his head off. I stopped, backed up. We left. I was slightly embarrassed about the episode, thinking: so this is what it's like for squatches who run into humans. Oh, I knew that already, I'd more or less experienced it before, but not with a brother Nokhon. And back then I'd had my clothes, my wallet with cash and plastic, cell phone, a car--I was even famous--but still people freaked out when I showed up.
It was winter, so dark came early. We felt better about travelling fast in the dark, knowing it was harder for anyone to see us, while we squatches have better night vision than you puny Nokhsos do. We'd followed the sound of traffic from a distance and suddenly there we were: looking through the trees at a busy 2-lane highway, cars and trucks whooshing by in the dark, red taillights, white headlights. I was thinking "cool, now we're getting somewhere," but just as I would step toward the road I froze...in terror. I found myself seeing that scene with the eyes of a Nokhon for the first time. An entirely different perception of the modern world I had known almost all my life: that road was an endless web of all- consuming skesk infection cutting Nature into little pieces; cars were screaming black meteors of frightening velocity--obviously dangerous--with twin suns in front and tails of red fire; I was aware that evil Nokhso demons lurked inside them. It scared me, as it should any Bigfoot, I felt an urge to panic and run away. I'd been away from civilization for two months, but more than that, I had been--and was still--in another reality. That road seemed completely foreign to me, as if I didn't understand what cars were, or what kind of alien things drove them. Until I noticed a way-sign identifying that road as "Interstate Highway 2" and my perspective flipped a 180 back to being Adam Leroy Forest, the tame Bigfoot from Monroe, who recognized exactly where he was on the Washington State road map. I was home again, reality-wise. I looked at Dagrolyt and saw that he was very nervous. It was the first time I ever saw him look afraid, the whites of his eyes and all that. But he wasn't about to run. I had to admire him for being so brave when even I, familiar with the Nokhso world, had been just about to panic. Okay, so now I was supposed to be the guru. All I had to do was figure out where to find a telephone. I had a general idea of where we were--nowhere near a town --but I was sure there were lots of small pit stops along Highway 2 on the way up to ski resorts at Stevens Pass. I considered waving down a car and seeing if I could borrow a cell phone. But we'd already seen how that could be dangerous in this weather, if a driver freaked out at full Highway speed because he saw a wild woolly naked Bigfoot trying to stop his car...and then maybe he wouldn't even have a phone anyway. Not a good plan. I decided we'd follow the road along inside the forest until we came to a gas station or a restaurant, bar, store, whatever. We went about three miles and there it was: a seedy little wayside restaurant, Burt's Diner & Burgerama.
I was glad it wasn't a tavern. I could just see us two Bigfoot monsters arriving at a sleazy hangout for drunk hunters and redneck good-ol'-boys. Shotguns in their pick-ups, you know? The three vehicles parked in front, however, WERE pickups. The diner was on the other side of Highway 2 from us. Dagrolyt was not happy being this close to a busy highway and all this Skesk-stuff and he was not going to like dodging cars to cross the road. It was snowing, slippery, there was even a slight rush of traffic going on just then, lots of cars with skis on their roof-racks. We'd also have to cross the road back again to get to where we were going after this, so I suggested he wait for me in the woods. He agreed gladly. I waited for a good break in the traffic, since I didn't want to be seen. Then I ran over and around behind the building, keeping away from the half-busy highway. Sneaked up to the front to peek inside. Theoretically, I could just walk in there, explain myself and ask to borrow a phone. But first I needed to make sure that wasn't a stupid idea, so I looked into the steamy window to see how many people were in there, trying to figure my plan of action. Boy, they sure did LOOK like rednecks in there: six men, all wearing lumberjack clothes, probably loggers, sitting around drinking beer, kinda good-old-boy-like. One man more behind the counter, frying food. Just the crowd I'd hoped to avoid. At least I didn't see any shotguns handy. The other plan had been to sneak in and borrow the phone without asking, but then I saw the old pay-phone hanging on the wall...and I sure didn't have any coins on me. "Well, if they do freak and run," I told myself, "I'll just borrow some coins and the phone while I've got the place to myself." Truth is I was scared of getting shot again. My wound had just healed from the last time I had been around NokhSo guns and I'd already had one pistol pointed at me that day. Some folks didn't always wait to find out what was really happening: see a squatch-- Blast It! But I had to do it. Opened the glass door and stepped in...then had to duck to fit under the ceiling, which was about a foot too low for me. I went down on one knee just inside the door, so that I could turn my head for maximum visibility. Everyone there had turned to see who was coming into this isolated place on a snowy, stormy evening like this. Maybe they were expecting friends. But they sure weren't expecting me. Seven men, sitting or standing, all frozen, paralyzed, nobody moving nothing. Beer bottles poised, soup spoons hovering, burgers bitten but no chewing going on. It was kind of comical, the looks on their faces--you can imagine. I raised my hand in the Peace Sign, like in the 60's, but they didn't seem to get it. "Good evening, Gentlemen," I said in my veddy most proper English, "My name is Adam Leroy Forest, you may have heard of me: I'm the famous Monroe Bigfoot." If anything, they seemed even more paralyzed. Then they reacted. "Gaw damm, you're...you're..." one of the most tough-looking among them sputtered, "---you're Smokey Chesterton's Singing Sasquatch!" That was a surprise, this guy knew about me playing music with Guesswork. "Uh, well, yeah, that's me!" "Ain't you supposed to be dead?" another asked. "I saw on TV that you'd been shot and you've been missing for so long everybody thinks you're dead." "Yeah, well, that's why I'm here. Just got back. Got to call my folks in Monroe and tell them I'm all right. Can I borrow the phone?" "To call your folks? Hell yes! Just come in and close the door, son, the snow's blowing in!" I looked at the pay phone, turned to the men. "Could anyone loan me a quarter? As you can see..." An older man smiled at me and noted, "...you've got no pockets. Don't matter, that phone don't work anyway." I think I slumped. "Oh, crap..." The man fished a cell phone out of his jacket, handed it to me, "Here, son, know how to use one of these?" "Yes, I've had one just like it. Thanks a lot." I punched in your number and went stooped over to a corner of the diner for a little privacy. I don't need to tell you about the call; you're the ones I called. But jeez, did I feel better after I'd made it--the thought of what you'd all been going through on my account had been gnawing at me for the last two months. Of course, when I was done talking my eyes and nose were running so much I couldn't see or talk. Those tough-looking men were pretending they didn't see me crying. "You mean that's the Bigfoot from Guesswork?" "Well, how many other Bigfoots do you know about?" "Gaw damm, here in OUR restaurant!" I went down on one knee beside their table to return the phone and thank them, especially for not freaking out on me. "So howya doin, son?" The older man who'd loaned me his phone was kind of grizzled and unshaven, kind of reminded me of an old squatch I'd met. He gave me a sympathetic nod as I wiped my eyes. "Oh...I'm fine. Just gets kind of emotional convincing Mom you're not dead, you know." "Gaw damm, I guess! Want a beer, son?" "Oh, uh, thanks, no. I've got to go." "Man, excuse me for saying, but you ain't got no shoes on. You'll freeze your balls out there." That was a younger guy. "Hell, he ain't got no CLOTHES on, dummy! That's his FUR." "Awwh? I thought that was a gorilla suit!" "Naw, it's my birthday suit," I told him. They all laughed at that. "And it's not especially cold for me anyway. See you guys, and thanks again." "Sure you won't have a beer--or a cup of coffee?" the man behind the counter offered, who might've been Burt, this being Burt's Diner. "Coffee?" I guess my eyes lit up. "...oh, thanks but I've got a friend waiting." "Who, another Bigfoot?" It was an enthusiastic question. They were all looking at me and I could see that this was going to be A Great Moment in their lives: the night a Real Live Bigfoot walked into their hangout... "Well, don't tell anyone, but yeah." "Gaw damm, gaw damm, ain't this somethin!" "Hey, uh...invite him over! We're buying!" For a second I considered it. These men had been great, they'd acted like decent men, loaned me a phone, been sympathetic, even brave. They were a credit to the NokhSo race, nothing like the ignorant rednecks I had dreaded running into. I was grateful to them. It might even be fun inviting Dagrolyt over for a cup of coffee, who knows, maybe even a beer. It would certainly have been an experience for him. But when I thought of Dagrolyt I also found myself thinking like a Nokhon, suddenly suspicious of NokhSo motives. Like greed, a wild Bigfoot was probably worth a lot of money. A secret phone call, here come the reporters, the hunters, the police. Lights, cameras, guns--who knows what sort of Skesk they would use to bag a couple of sasquatches? I'd been through it, I knew. So I let it go. I could take my chances that these men were all right, but could not risk Dagrolyt's freedom. I thanked those men and left while the going was good. As I was about to go out the door, Burt handed me a styrofoam thermos. "Here, take some coffee for the road, for both of you" he said. He'd evidently seen my eyes light up before. I accepted and thanked him gratefully, but couldn't help gazing wistfully at the pie rack on the wall behind him. He noticed, turning to see what I so obviously lusted for. "You want some pie too?" "Oh no, I couldn't..." I started to stupidly say, then changed that to, "oh man, I'd love some. Two pieces maybe. I could pay for it later..." A protest came from the men, "Hell, WE'LL pay for it, give him a whole pie!" "Yeah, TWO pies, them Bigfoots are BIG!" "Apple or cherry?" Burt asked. I hesitated, years of being polite, you know, then went for it: "Apple AND cherry, please," I said. The men cheered. Burt packed pies and coffee into a paper bad and handed it to me, made a little joke about it: "Fast food to go for the Bigfoot, business as usual." "Thanks, you guys." They all waved as I left. Once again, I was thankful that I hadn't been smeared with squatch-stink, probably would have been much less popular.
Dagrolyt was clearly relieved to see me returning from the evil clutches of the dread NokhSoli O'o bakhl. He was astounded at how well I'd succeeded. He was especially interested in the paper bag I had. He could smell the ingredients before I had arrived. "Those NokhSoli weren't so bad," I said, "they even invited us both to come over and join them for a warm drink." "Oh?" He was obviously intrigued. "Do you think that would be safe?" Hell, he was tempted. "No, too much traffic, too many variables. And besides, I've got drinks and food right here. Let's go." We wanted to put some distance between us and the noisy highway so that we could enjoy the little party we had in the paper bag without being stressed and nervous about being spotted. We found a nice spot deep in the woods and "took a coffee break". The coffee was still warm but not too hot, which I thought best for Dagrolyt's first-ever experience with a hot drink in a styrofoam cup. It tasted great, coffee with milk and he liked it. But the pies were something else. We had two whole pies in aluminum plates, which I broke into halves so that we could each taste both cherry and apple. Neither of us had eaten much in the last few days, so we were hungry enough to eat anything by then. But these were not "anything", this was Manna from Heaven. I liked mine, of course, I've always been a sucker for pies and cakes, sweet things in general. Tasted wonderful, mmm-mm, smack gobble. But for Dagrolyt it was Revelation of St John The Divine. He tried a little bite of cherry--and just plain froze as the impact of the taste really hit him, eyes wide in surprise. For a moment I thought he was going to spit it out, but he swallowed. What did come out were tears. Then he ate the rest of it slowly, respectfully, as if he was receiving communion. Actually, half a pie each was enough for then. I think we'd both have puked if we ate more so fast, so we took the rest with us as we went skipping back up into the mountains on a wonderful sugar buzz. We ran through the snowstorm all night, it was beautiful. Ate the rest of the pies just after dawn and pushed on, suddenly finding us on the crest of the last mountain in our path. We had made record time and were home before nightfall.
It was snowing in the little meadow I thought of as Eden. Misma and Myrøla, Dagrolyt's women greeted us, embracing him--and even me, for the first time ever. We all stayed in the big stone bakhl then. It could be easily sealed against the wind and snow, but even for us squatches it was cold when we weren't moving. Dagrolyt was Sha-haka, so he was allowed to make fire for wizardly purposes, so I suggested we make a wizardly bonfire to make the place cozy and warm. "That's forbidden," he told me, "Of course I'd do it anyway, but the smoke is the problem, impossible to hide. The Alutna could see it, or even NokhSo hunters." "Don't you ever get tired of living your life in hiding?" "Hmm. Never thought of it that way. I consider it Avoiding, not Hiding. It's more like a sport than a hardship." "Yeah, but now we have to freeze our butts." "No we don't. Oh, girls..?" We all cuddled up to keep warm. That was very nice, since the girls were much friendlier with me now that I'd been Purified. It was also nice that Dagrolyt and his women didn't smear themselves with stink when they were at home, only for getting "dressed up" and going out where they might meet other Nokhontli. But that meant we all could smell each other's natural smells and since We'd arrived the night before full moon, Misma and Myrøla were really ripe with shyøma just then. Made it HARD to just cuddle up. The girls were horny, I was horny. I'd learned that Nokhon sexual morality was totally non-possessive, so that there was no problem of whose girl friend or wife you might be having fun with, but there was still a rule of shyøma etiquette: Dagrolyt had explained it, "We do not yøramma our women for the three days before Ma-mløt-klys because we want to store that haka within us, to be at maximum potency for the Kha-rat..." "Wait, wait! Did you call it haka?" "Why yes. That's haka too, of course." "Of course nothing, why didn't you say so sooner?" "Does it make a difference? "Why, maybe, it..." Well, there it was: I was a virgin. I didn't know if it made any difference or not. I looked over at Misma and Myrøla with hormones raging, wondering how much of what I was feeling was haka. Damn they looked cute! "Sorry, but we can't be had just now," Misma told me, "because the Ma-mløt-klys is tomorrow night. But then we'll be glad to help you through your initiation. Tee hee!"
Jeez, when I think of what I'm going to have to tell about next, I have to wonder just how many people are going to hear this recording. Melly for sure and I just know that the IPR is going to want a copy of it and the UW and it could even end up published in Anthropology Journal, National Geographic, Playboy... Because what I've got to tell you about next are the embarrassingly juicy details of sasquatch culture, as experienced with my own body. In other words, my own private sex-life, which gets pretty personal. I'd been the innocent virgin guy up to now, no skin off my...whatever. Oh well, I've always wanted to be a field anthropologist and what could ever beat this?

Chapter 44

Adam out of Eden