Chapter 59: Back to the Fray
Transcribed from dictation, ADAM speaking--
It's only been 4 nights since I left here to go finish my, uh, "duties"
among the Nokhontli, although it already seems like a long time ago.
Different world, different concept of time. And now I'm back to clocks
and calendars-- ONE of these worlds seems slightly unreal, although I
haven't yet figured out just which one it is.
I went because I had to show up for my last Kha-rat of the six months
among the squatches as I had promised to. And to have it out with my
"Adversary", which was not something I was looking forward to.
To get there I did a very un-Nokhon thing: I drove my car to save time
and effort. Using any technology, or skesk, is completely forbidden
in Nokhon culture, of course. But I decided that since Daklakht had
deliberately forced me into the technological USA, what they see is
what they get. Actually, I was more or less pissed off with them and
their rules and their hit-man maybe-father Adversary out to get me.
I sure didn't want to go to that Kha-rat, but had to keep my promise.
So I really enjoyed defying the rules and roaring down the road in my
good old Squatchmobile. It was a reminder of what Nokhso life offered:
Riding the Thunder. Might sound kind of shallow, but really, what guy
doesn't get off on the speed and power of driving a car?
Of course, I didn't dare just let loose, I had to be extremely cautious.
I drove at night so that no one could see me. It would have been more
fun with the top down, but that'd be asking for trouble. Last thing I
needed was getting stopped by the State Patrol because I looked weird--
like some kind of Bigfoot, for example. Or a journalist who had just
spotted the missing Adam Leroy Forest.
Good thing Art had filled up the tank; for me to stop at a gas station
to buy gasoline could have been a real complication. For one thing I had
no money. But I made it to the National Forest without any problems,
pulling into a public parking lot at about 04:00 in the morning. There
were a few other cars, some campers, but nobody around to see me, so I
could get out of my car without hiding.
Luckily, it was free parking, since I needed the car again in a couple
of days and didn't want it towed away. I locked the car and hoped it
wouldn't get stolen. Nokhso logistics, I realized, amused at how deeply
I had already fallen into the complexities of modern American life.
Then I turned my back on all that and slipped into the woods. There
were trekking trails up into the mountains, which I could start with,
although none of them led to Mastinta's camp--fortunately for her. When
daylight began to light up the world I abandoned the trails because of
the risk of meeting any dedicated early-morning Nokhso hikers.
I knew exactly where I was: I had studied my route with Google Earth
before I left this house. Now, there was some evil skesk-magic
that would really have pissed-off my Alutna-Jii Adversary, if he'd known.
Whom I was more or less expecting to attack me somewhere along the way:
he really didn't want me to make it to the Kha-rat.
I had enough respect for his abilities as wizard and cop to assume that
he might also know exactly know where I was, magically perhaps, so I
was feeling nervous as I passed through dark forests and climbed sheer
cliffs. I doubted that he really would go so far as to kill me, but I
wasn't sure. So I was humming my little magical mantra all the way. The
Sound of Music.
I had partially translated the English lyrics to Nokhontli, so now I was
singing "ke ra-sho ta my°sik" (literally "the good-sound of music")
which even fits within the melody rather nicely. Figured I had a hit on
In fact, everything was flowing: the music, my haka, the magic; on my
way back to Squatchland I finally felt that I really was a potential
Sha-haka. I had been negative about leaving my comfortable home and
all my tools behind just to satisfy Daklakht's concept of what a Nokhon
had to be, but now I felt almost grateful to the bastard.
About mid-day I was almost at Mastinta's lair when Daklakht made his
move, having cleverly waited for me to come to him. No attack from
behind this time, direct confrontation. I was passing through a narrow
canyon and there he was, standing right in front of me. I had to stop.
I checked to make sure he didn't have a couple of Alutna along for
backup, but he was alone. Then again, so was I.
"You shall not pass, Dadamet," he announced, "however, I will allow you
to turn around and slink back to the Nokhsos."
"I cannot. I've promised to..."
He came at me so fast I didn't have a chance to brace myself before I was
already pinned helpless on the forest floor.
My face was in the dirt but I started to sing my mantra anyway, "Ke
ra-sho ta my°sik". Daklakht looked down at me funny, "What are you
I had assumed that master Sha-haka as he was, Daklakht had somehow been
magically tuned in to that meadow when I had defeated him and his Syssk
with Mayala's song, but realized that I had an unrealistic opinion of his
magical abilities. That version of him had been like an automatic
recording, a hologram, nothing more. I was dealing with a real live
tough guy now and he was not about to vanish when clobbered by a silly
But it was all I had. "Don't you know the sound of this my°sik?" I
asked him, rushing through a stanza, "you did once."
"Are you crazy? Why would I--?" He stopped. Then he jerked me to my
feet and thrust me away from him, looking at me as if he was the crazy
one. Again I sang "Ke ra-sho ta my°sik" and he even listened.
"Oh yes, THAT phrasing of Nokhso noises. I have heard it long ago."
"From Mayala," I reminded him, "my mother. You heard her sing it."
"And it got her killed," he said, "then turned you into a Nokhso."
"Is that why you hate me?" I asked.
He scowled, but his voice mellowed. "No, not you. But I do hate the
wicked Nokhsoli and their decadent culture, which you represent. I may
not allow you to corrupt all of Nokhon society with your admiration for
their shitty skesk!" Then he surprised me by asking, "But you do
hate me, I suppose?"
"Not really, although you really are a pain in the ass. I consider you
a stiff-necked up-tight authority figure who thinks he's just doing
"Indeed, I AM doing my duty."
"And I'm just keeping my promise."
"We'll see about that."
We faced one another in a standoff. Daklakht could have attacked, but
waited for me to make my move first. So I did.
"Tell me, Alutna-Jii Daklakht, are you my father or not?"
"What?" He seemed more surprised by the question than offended. "No, I
was one of four males assigned to impregnate a female with an Orator,
"Untrue. You loved that female and would have stayed with her--and
eventually with me."
"You dare to say I lie?" His face darkened, he shifted his feet.
"The sound of your voice gives you away," me singing those words to
that melody. I saw him cringe a little.
"Orator tricks? But what magic does an Orator have..." he said, just
standing there kinda relaxed-like, then shooting a stiff-fingered blow
at my throat so fast I couldn't even see the blur "...if you stop his
I think it was an Orator instinct to protect my voice: I dodged the
blow before he launched it. His voice had given him away again and I
had moved before thinking. But Daklakht was too expert a fighter to let
a small surprise hinder him and grabbed my long hair to yank me into
position for a good solid punch, probably in the gut. And probably
really HARD, since he wanted to show me who was boss.
But I said, "Stop," and he did. Frozen in place, his face blank, a
surprise that DID hinder him. He should never have gotten into a
conversation with an Orator, I had been hypnotizing him with every word.
Remember that I mentioned finally discovering how I had escaped from
those kidnappers when I was a little kid? I never knew how and none of
us ever figured out the mystery, but it was really very simple: I had
hypnotized the kidnappers to let me go.
I'd been afraid, stressed, maybe even in some kind of trauma-trance,
instinctively using my inherent Orator's ability to mesmerize those
kidnappers, completely unaware of having done so. But against my
Adversary I had been quite deliberate about it: structured my phrases,
modulated the tone of my voice, applied that melody. Nothing to it.
Okay, actually I was surprised to have gotten away with it: super agent,
Alutna-Jii and all--you'd think he'd have been TRAINED for stuff like
that. Grunt, Bigfoot simpleton. I was amazed how deep under he was,
pretty much all the way.
"You have forgotten about me, cannot remember who I am," I instructed
him, "and you want to stay here for a while because the birds sing so
nicely, the flowers smell so sweet and you are at peace. Once you are
satisfied with having been here, you will happily return to Aket at a
leisurely pace, stopping to smell the flowers along the way."
Maybe I was laying the hypnosis routine on a bit thick, but it was a
kinder demon than his Syssk. "Do you understand?" I asked him.
"Ra," he answered and then asked, "but who are you?" I mean, he
was really tranced out.
"Just your son," I said, giving him a little clap on the shoulder before
leaving him there. And hoping it worked.
I arrived at Mastinta's lair well before sunset, a bit earlier than most
guests. The Kha-rat would begin when the moon came up, so I had
time to socialize before everyone became confused by sex and drugs.
Although the shy°ma kept getting stronger as more guests arrived. I
knew everyone there, slightly at least, but none of my actual friends
had arrived yet. Magga, for example, was not there at all.
Mastinta told me that Magga had been assigned to study at Aket, by
Daklakht of course, so I didn't get to talk to her. However, Mastinta
also relayed a message to me from Magga: that she was sorry about our
last meeting and hoped we could be happy when we were together again.
Which was a nice message to hear, but also frustrating not to receive
Frustration may seem out of place at an orgy--or, I dunno, maybe it's
to be expected if you actually feel anything for someone. As it was,
my sexual desire being aroused along with everyone else's, I felt less
and less emotional desire to be partaking in an orgy. Yes, I who had
been so horny for months. I wanted someone, not everyone. But there
I was at my promised half-year's Kha-rat, I couldn't just leave.
Dagrolyt arrived with his two sweeties and I felt better about being
there. I gave him an update on my conflict with Daklakht, he was also
extremely interested in my new-found mantra plucked from a memory of
"Kha-ra, that song Mayala learned to sing? Man, I just knew your
my°sik had a great potential for magic!" he said, "but to neutralize
the Syssk-magic of an expert Alutna-Jii is far beyond what I'd ever
"Whaddya mean?" I asked, "That was your advice."
"Ra, but I figured it was hopeless," he admitted with a little shrug
and a smile, like maybe he was only kidding, "I had to say something!"
Dabronat and family showed up. They didn't usually come to any Kha-rats,
but knew that I would be here before returning to the Nokhso world for
a while and wanted to see me off. Innocent little Masnia had come along
to partake with the adults this time. I was slightly scandalized, but
she had obviously come into puberty and that was the squatch way of life.
Dannat and his women came almost last, Mawa was very affectionate to
me and we talked about her sister and her song that had saved the day for
me 20 years later. She also remembered having heard Mayala sing it to me.
The last guests arrived just after the sun went down in the West and
before the Full Moon came up over the mountains east of us. It was a
clear night, perfect for a Kha-rat, so it began.
I don't need to go into all the details of the ceremony, seen one Kha-rat
you've seen 'em all: eating of psychedelic mushrooms, chanting Atli,
everybody gets to y°ramma, community news report, some entertainment,
mushrooms peaking, the Midnight Vision with the Full Moon serving as
TV screen, more y°ramma-ing and wrestling until sun comes up. One
hell of a social event.
I had gone into it with the attitude that I would endure it, but refrain
from y°ramma because of my lofty concept of Romantic Love. I
wanted to be true to... well, it's kind of embarrassing to say this, but it
wasn't just Magga. Back home, when the telephone rang and I thought
it might be Melly, I was suddenly confronted with how I still felt about
her. I mean, Wham! And Gulp! Knowing I was going back to her the
very next day I felt that I should... well, sort of... be faithful to her
too. Jeez, I must sound like an asshole.
But the shy°ma, man, it's pretty much irresistible. And the women who
offered themselves to me were very nice, some even dear friends. I
simply couldn't say "Skog" to Mawa (yes, yes, my Aunt, get over it), or
sweeties Misma and Myr°la (in tandem), nor to Mastinta (what a fantastic
woman!), or wonderful Malasna. There was no question of rejecting their
affections or offending their morals, I had to be nice. After all, as the
Atli commands: "ě'°'e'rah!" And I wanted to be nice, believe me.
But the last vestige of my own romantic American concept of a moral
system was put to the test early in the evening, just when the "Okay,
y°ramma now!" signal was given and the group-sex began: I found
myself face-to-face with beautiful young Masnia (who is maybe my sister,
you know). She had come directly to me first, ready to give me her
I was ready with all the proper moral objections, but not ready for what
she said: "Da-adam-ee, can you help me with this? I'm kinda scared."
A tear ran down her worried, pretty pixie face. This was her first time,
and it was to take place in a maelstrom of orgiastic, hairy, grunting and
rutting brutes--well, like me, you know. But this was her culture and
she was determined to become an adult here and now. So I... no wait, I
don't really have to tell everything if I don't want to. Forget it,
dream up whatever you want.
Almost everyone took a brief break from sex when Mastinta orated the
community announcements, and then there was a little light entertainment.
I was invited to sing my funny my°sik, so I did a couple of the
Nokhon-lyric songs I'd composed at Aket, which were amazingly well-
received. After that, I was being offered too much y°ramma and had to
slip away to join the other sex-weary men for their wrestling contests,
which went on until dawn.
I had always dreaded wrestling, but this time I went into it with a
sense of fun instead of fear, certainly because I finally had control
over my haka. And when I hummed my little mantra, I always won the
match. Dagrolyt was amazed--although I couldn't throw him at all.
I spent the morning talking with Dagrolyt, making plans for my eventual
return to Squatchland later and continuing my education, some with him,
more at Aket. There was no time-plan mentioned, it was all go-with-the-
flow, so I made no promises concerning when I'd be back. Then he and
his women gave me a hug, as did Dabronat's family--along with one young
girl's very special smile--before they went walking back to their bakhls
It would be a day's walk in the wrong direction for me, so I stayed and
got more hugs from other friends as they were leaving. I ended up being
really glad to have been at that Kha-rat, I got to feel a sense of
communion with some people I really liked. And I'll admit it: it was
great to unload all that frustration and horniness, lots of fun. A good
farewell-for-now from Squatchland.
Although I was eager to get back here and home, I wasn't the first to
leave because I didn't want to arrive at a National Forest parking lot
in broad daylight. I still needed my return to be a secret for a few
more days, and I especially did not want any "enthusiasts" to calculate
where I had been from the sighting of a Bigfoot climbing into a certain
Chevy Camaro convertible in a particular part of the Cascade Mountains.
I had to protect Mastinta's lair. So I waited until late afternoon
before heading out to pick up my car.
The return trip was problem-free. I slipped into my Squatchmobile
unseen just after sundown, had just enough gasoline to make it home,
drove speed-limit all the way. No one noticed me at all.
Although I did have one little scare: a Washington State Patrol car came
up behind me and turned on his blue blinkers. "Oh, no!" I thought and
instinctively began to hum The Sound of Music. The trooper abruptly
pulled out from behind me and raced on up the road ahead, away from
me. Whether that was my mantra or he had business elsewhere, I'll
By midnight, I was home safe and sound in Nokhsoland.