Chapter 67:     Pelosa's

Transcribed from recording, ADAM speaking--,,,  testing, testing... Okay, volume is Up and we 
ARE recording.  Yes, it's back to the microphone for me: Adam L. Forest 

When I got back from my half year with the Nokhontli I was amazed to 
"read" this AOOE Document which has become the impassioned project 
of our extended family, everybody adding to it; Mom, Dad and Melly, 
even Pokey and Liss now.  I think it's cool the way it's not just about 
me, but is the historical record of a common experience we're all 
going through. 

Though I gotta admit I was kinda shocked about what Melly's been putting 
on paper.  Not that her passions and frustrations are any surprise to me 
and I'm all for honesty, but she's pretty brutal with herself.  Then she 
pointed out how I haven't been any more discreet about the potentially 
embarrassing details of my time with the Nokhontli and we agreed that 
this document is a lot more fun to read than some dry scientific treatise, 
so screw it. 

Besides, this is our private internal document anyway, hidden in a secret 
archive on our family computer, all backup copies encrypted.  It will 
probably never be published as is, so we can get as bare-assed naked as 
we want here and tell the story truly.  

Art would like for me to narrate a daily report every day which he could 
then transcribe, but I don't really have that much different or new to 
say about life in Monroe.  All you others are better at that.

However, I do have some Monroe stories to tell just now.

Our band played its first gig last Friday, at Pelosa's Restaurant for the 4th of July and it was...a success. I was tempted to say a "qualified" success, but even though there were some flaws and blunders the end result was a happy audience that wanted more and More and MORE, applauding and cheering us on. How would a perfect performance be better? Considering that we were suddenly obligated to do a show with so little time to rehearse an entirely new set of songs, it went amazingly well. I'd gotten a call from Ed Smart, Pelosa's manager, where I'd played lots of times with Smokey Chesterton's band and some solo gigs. He'd heard that I wanted to get back into music and offered me a spot: the 4th of July evening, in the bar. I wasn't sure our little band was ready to go public yet, but it seemed to be fate insisting, so I said yes. Ed had assumed that I was simply going to do my old solo routine, play guitar, sing standard songs, but I told him about my new band and he was interested. So he needed a name for the advertisements he'd be putting on a few posters and radio spots. Without even thinking I told him "Squatch & Friends". I figured if the others didn't like that name we could always change it for the next gig. When I told Melly, Pokey and Lissandra that we had a gig at Pelosas's in 12 days they all thought I was kidding--or crazy. None of them felt that we were ready to play anywhere for money, especially since we still had not established a repertoire. But I talked them all into it, me being an Orator, you know. The four of us have practically moved into the Mead Hall (actually IPR's Bigfoot Lab), which is a perfect music studio to rehearse in. It's big and comfy and soundproof, fortunately for Art and Elaine, or we would have driven them crazy. We had to rehearse five nights a week for those two weeks, getting about 30-40 songs down. It's hard enough to get four people into perfect sync with so much material and even harder when we didn't know what to play. It was up to me to provide a program. I knew lots of songs and I'd played many of them with Melly before, Pokey and Lissandra were good at following our lead, but I felt that it was time to do something new. I just didn't know what. I had a few songs of my own, but had never been so impressed by them myself. It was time to do something inspired. I practiced alone out in the woods a lot, trying to find inspiration, but mostly finding dissatisfaction with my own musical talent. My vocalizations were satisfactory. My guitar playing was okay--I never had been a flashy lead guitar soloist but could carry melody and rhythm pretty well. The problem was that I wanted to write my own songs and they simply weren't materializing. Where's this famous magic I keep talking about? Problem was I had no idea what to write songs about. Most of my own songs had been the "poor me" angst stuff written about my teen-age feelings for Melly and I just didn't feel like singing them anymore. It was only because Melly actually LIKED a couple of them that we'd decided to use those anyway, just to have SOME original material. It wasn't only my own ego that I wanted to represent, I'd hoped Melly and Pokey could write something too, or even Lissandra. It was supposed to be OUR magic. Actually, Pokey had once surprised me with a pretty good political song he called "White Man's World", almost a rap number to his tom-tom and we considered using that--but it seemed to be the only song he had in him, written five years ago. Melly was too critical of her own writing to allow us to even hear any of it. As it was, we had only three or four original numbers and the rest were standard songs, so we practiced what we had. We had only 30 songs down really tight by the time we had to go onstage: some rock, some blues, a little easy-listening, stuff from old musicals (although Pokey and Liss felt they were SO corny), some Robbie, some Beatles and a smattering of country- western. Actually, it was exactly what a Pelosa crowd should like, as I recalled from playing there before with Smokey and the boys. Then suddenly the 4th of July sneaked up on us (surprise!), not that we were ready. The audience was sympathetic, at least. Ed Smart had done some advertising and the place was packed with people from all around the county to see the famous Singing Sasquatch and his friends. We were interesting; we didn't have to be great. Nor were we, in the beginning. I guess you could say we were slowly warming up. But we seemed to be among friends so got past being nervous and by the time we had done our 30 tight songs the crowd was cheering and clapping. So just when they were hungry for more-- we were out of material. You really do need 40 songs for two sets of tavern music and there we were, out of gas. But then the long-awaited "magic" cut in. The audience was on our side so we just jammed-- playing songs we'd never played together before, taking requests, ad-libbing all the way. Of course, I can always remember lyrics, although playing the music right was something else. Okay, it got sloppy sometimes, but the energy was over the top, nobody complained about imperfections, not even us. We played some of our own songs over again, arranged differently this time. The audience joined us in the choruses. We couldn't stop when our contracted time was up, played another hour until the restaurant had to shut us down. So I guess it was an UNqualified success. But there was more: among the audience was a guy named Si Bintzen from Paramount Northwest, the biggest concert hall in Seattle and he invited us to play another gig: as warm-up band for the coming Chrome Pie concert on Saturday, the 26th of July. We were astounded, since Chrome Pie is probably THE VERY HOTTEST Sweet-Rock band around these days, genuinely professional. We were almost intimidated enough to chicken out, but accepted anyway. Actually, there was absolutely no way I could have not accepted: you know about That Fabulous Vision OF Mine, which I'm supposed to follow; it had predicted a concert that would have great significance for the success of both our band and the much bigger Project we would be embarking upon. None of us are deluding ourselves into thinking we are really a professional band yet, but most groups struggle for years and never get an offer like this. We're quite aware that my being the one and only famous "Singing Sasquatch" makes us a novelty act that might attract an audience even if we're no good. But here is a chance to make of it what we will. There was even good money mentioned. Although we haven't been doing this for money, that's always been a condition for what my Vision has predicted will happen later. Of course I can afford to be cavalier about "mere money". None of us have jobs, which is why we have time to rehearse, but I've got my "special minority" grant from the IPR and Melly is very well off as heir to her mother's estate; but I know Pokey and Lissandra could certainly use some moolah pretty soon. They're living for free at the Hacienda, but that can only become awkward for them at some point. So when we got paid for our concert at Pelosa's, which was at least a few hundred dollars, Melly and I tried to give our shares to them, but they both insisted on an even split. But even for Pokey, who'd often been destitute and never had more cash on hand than absolutely needed to get by--meaning a bottle, back then--he was more thrilled by our "artistic success" that night at Pelosa's than the pay. Besides, he still associates extra money with his previous destructive lifestyle and actually enjoys being ascetic now. So now we're all inspired to practice even more--which we'll HAVE to for the Paramount Northwest concert in only three weeks! So it's quite handy that the whole band is living together. Art and Elaine don't mind and there's room enough. It helps that Pokey's set up his teepee out in the woods. It's summer and he prefers living outdoors anyway, just like me. Actually, we're all living outdoors, since my bedroom is mostly a big open balcony and Melly and Liss are sleeping there with me almost every night. I want to mention, this being our family history, that Melly and I are happy together again. Totally in love, but with the same old frustrating problem as always. We both wish we know...but my old promise is still going strong. I guess Lissandra sleeping with us may seem like an extra complication. Well, of course, it IS, no getting around that. Unless we kick her out of bed and... okay, I'll admit it, I've always had a thing for her, so I REALLY like her being in my bed. Luckily, so does Melly, which may seem weird--but somehow isn't to the three of us. In a way it even feels right and, well, nobody's getting laid anyway (no, Liss and I are NOT copulating--yet, anyway) (although-- well, never mind) so what's the big deal? We're all just living in the moment, rather intensely and I believe that all our repressed sex is empowering our music. Instead of being frustrated about it our rehearsals became ferocious, we're often working on music fifteen hours a day. Yes, it IS almost too much, but I see this as another kind of Enduring we just have to get through. Later we can go back to doing real-life stuff, like work on the farm, riding horses, going to Naked Lake and updating this document. Speaking of which, I do have another Monroe story to report. A rather dramatic incident about two weeks back: I met Peter Sinsley on the street.
I was alone, coming out of Fred Meyer's, my car all the way on the other end of the parking lot, as far away from Highway 2 as I could get. I usually park there so that passing cars driven by out-of-towners won't see a Bigfoot and go out of control, crashing and burning. I'm not kidding; locals are used to me, but strangers overreact all the time. This was a few days before we had gotten the Pelosa gig, so the band was not yet constantly rehearsing and I could still get a little time to myself. I'd gone shopping for a birthday present to my Mom. I always do that sort of thing early in the day before there are so many people around and most of those are locals who let me be in peace. A few people waved but no one was really making a fuss, which was nice. Outside in the bright sunlight there was this guy walking ahead of me, seemed to be slightly crippled, jerking and lurching as he went. He was moving much slower than me so I had to go around him from behind. I went wide, since I don't like to startle people because of my size and went on past. Not looking at him, trying to be polite enough not to gawk at his handicap. But I heard him make a funny croaking sound and fall down, so I had to turn and see if he was all right. He was sitting on the asphalt, having fallen backward on his butt, gawking at me with mouth wide open and eyes even wider, in real terror. Obviously afraid of the monster Bigfoot. Then he folded in on himself, covering his eyes with his defective arm and whimpered, "Don't hurt me, don't hurt me!" Well, I was kind of embarrassed, "Hey, it's okay, I won't hurt you. Are you okay?" I was wondering if I should help him up or just let him be, not wanting to scare him even more, so I held back. "Look, I really won't hurt you, so you can get up now." As he slowly uncovered his face it took me a sec to recognize that this was Peter Sinsley. And another second to convince myself that it was really him. For one thing, it took me by surprise: I'd assumed Peter was locked up in some mental ward somewhere, or better yet in prison for attempted murder. But here he was walking around town, out free. For another, I recognized his face but otherwise this guy looked nothing like the Peter Sinsley I remembered: too thin and pale, facial expressions all different, moved differently, even smelled differently. He was almost not Peter at all. So there we were, me towering above and scowling down upon him, not sure what to do about a frightened cripple, who actually had very good reason to be afraid of this particular Bigfoot after all. I'm sure there was a pretty scary expression on my face as I realized who he was. But he hadn't been looking up at me, just floundering around without dignity, ineffectively trying to scramble to his feet. He was grotesquely uncoordinated. I was tempted to step on him, but ended up helping him to his feet. It was too unequal; he was too little, too thin, too pathetic. Too disgusting. Once he was up, he stood shivering in front of me, still not looking up. "You really won't hurt me?" I may have hesitated, but did say "No," although not quite certain of it myself. Then he looked up at me and smiled; shyly, innocently, like he didn't understand that we were enemies. "," he said, slowly like a simpleton. "'re that big... Bigfoot...aren't you? My Dad...said you'd hurt me." It made my fur crawl to hear him speak, Peter had always sounded so macho-manly, but now he sounded like an idiot. "Your Dad usually lies about me," I said with some satisfaction. Suddenly he lurched toward me, evidently not afraid anymore and needing to touch me. Half-spastic, scuttling like a crab, left leg dragging, spine twisted, head twitching with the effort. His left arm was defective and folded up on his chest. This time it was me who stepped back in horror. The horror was to know that I'd done this to a human being with just one punch. I couldn't help thinking: if I'd known then how to punch with haka, I could have put this poor thing out of its misery. Then re-thought: no, better him like this than me being a murderer. Even if Peter HAD deserved to die. "I'm Petey," he said, "what's your name?" "You know my name, Peter," I insisted. "No. Don't re...mem..ber, but I've...heard about the...the Bigfoot." Actually, he didn't really seem to be an idiot exactly. He spoke slowly, but not stupidly, I could hear that there was still thinking going on inside his head. He was speaking as if he was re-learning the language--like I did while learning Nokhontli. "I'm Adam. You don't remember anything about me?" I demanded to know. "No. Dad told me...I knew you once...were we friends?" "No, we were enemies. You tried to kill me," I said, as politely as one could say that. He looked quite surprised, saying "Oh! Sorry." Then looked down, apparently embarrassed, "So I guess you don't want to talk with me?" "We'll see. Just don't try to kill me again," I said. "Oh, I WON'T! can we be friends now?" I was so astounded by that jump of logic that it stymied me for an answer. I usually try to smooth things over and meet people halfway, always the nice guy, you know me. But I never take words lightly and felt that any forgiveness I could muster for Peter Sinsley would be unjustifiable. Even though this seemed to be another kind of Peter Sinsley. Or was he? I sniffed, but could not smell a lie. He impulsively reached out and touched my hand, feeling my fur with childish fascination. Somehow that reminded me of how he had mistreated Melly and I felt a wave of anger. No, make that hate. And then something happened that really scared me: suddenly, out of nowhere, the Ssysk was back! I felt that familiar animal confusion skitter across my brain, almost freezing me with panic--then I was humming my mantra and it was gone again. No, no, I don't hate anybody, I tried to convince myself. Thing is, when I looked down into Peter's eyes I seemed to see someone like myself when that Syssk was inside me, someone shoved way to the back, with very little control over who he was. Not that I felt sorry for the asshole, but was aware that we had a connection, a common destiny, that we were related somehow, if only by catastrophe. Yet he was smiling up at me, kind of a foolish smile but also kind of real and asking, "Can I have... your au-to-graph?" "Uh...I can't write." I told him, too rattled to be nasty to him. "Oh. Just like me...I can't write either...but I'm going to learn, aren't you?" "No, I've tried, just can't." "Don't give up. Everybody thought I was going to be stupid too, Mom and Dad and the doctors, but I fooled them all: I'm learning to read again. You could too...though it IS hard." And all the while I'm wondering: is he for real--or putting on an act so that he won't have to go to prison? Now that I'm back he may just want to finish the job of killing me. I never knew exactly why he shot me in the first place-- was it jealousy? or because his father had so poisoned him against me? or was he just plain insane? Peter himself had never made any statement on record. Not knowing what to do about him, I just left him standing there. Not because he scared me, but because he made me scare myself.
Oh yeah, yet another report from the Nokhso world, this time bad news. For a select group anyway, including us. Little over a week back, on an especially hot summer day, our band packed a picnic and hopped into the Squatchmobil with the top down, cruised out to Naked Lake. The usual flock of old friends was already there on the dock, about 20 people, all naked as usual for fun in the sun. Maybe I'm just remembering with already nostalgic eyes, but the lake looked so perfect, a blue-green jewel set in the bosom of nature; yet another Eden. Just for fun, I announced my arrival by bouncing my 500 pounds on the dock to make it rock. Usually someone laughs, or throws something, but not this time. Everyone seemed glum about something. "Haven't you heard?" Dave the Hippy Mailman told us, "The logging company that owns this land is going to start cutting here next month, so the road will be closed, all these trees cut down and the dock destroyed. Afterwards they're selling the land for housing developements. It's the end of Naked Lake!" "Oh NO!" Melly cried, "They can't do that!" "It seems they can. And will." "God damn capitalism does it again," Pokey bitched, "fucking Weyembauer Lumber!" "Yeah, it's the shits," Dave commiserated, "but actually they've been quite tolerant about allowing people to come here for all these years. But now they want to harvest their trees. Can we blame them?" "But isn't there something we can do?" Lissandra asked. "Doesn't look like it. A bunch of us regulars have already talked with Weyembauer about buying the land from them, but even as a group none of us have the kind of money it would take." "Too bad for us who love this place," I commented. Melly took in the entire scene with new eyes, "Yeah, this is our own little Paradise!" Dave the Hippy Mailman shrugged sadly, "Well, like the Eagles call someplace Paradise..." Almost everyone on the dock knew just which song he was referring to; twenty-five voices finished the lyric "....kiss it good-bye." This is a minor catastrophe for us and all the other regulars (perhaps a hundred people) who have been coming to this little private paradise for the last 20 years. Melly and I practically grew up here. And personally, this was absolutely the only "beach" where I, being a big hairy squatch, had ever felt comfortable and accepted among Nokhsos. It's not that the lake itself is better than any other body of water in the area, but it has that nice big dock and is just exactly isolated and secret enough to allow a naturist lifestyle not permitted on public beaches. Once this place is gone so is our cozy little alternative society of naked and organic happy freaks. Our haven is being taken away from us. You know: this is exactly what the Nokhontli experience constantly.
Okay, that's enough reportage for now. We've got a lot of rehearsing to do. I'm also feeling pretty stressed out about the really great original songs I don't seem to be able to write. I NEED them soon! It doesn't help that I have to spend most of tomorrow in Seattle with the IPR people. Yes, even amidst all the music I'm continuing my studies at the UW: I meet once a week with Professor Evanzine. I haven't forgotten the need for a university degree or my Sha-haka degree. All of this ties in with that Vision and that Negotiator thing... Jeez, listen to me: bitch, bitch, bitch. When really I'm riding the thunder. So what if it's hard? I'm doing what I want along with those I love. It'll all work out. The songs will arrive. Hey, someday these will be the Good Old Days!

Chapter 68

Adam out of Eden