Chapter 69: Cultural Exchange
We did not want any strangers to know that yet another sasquatch was
visiting us, for obvious reasons. But of course when Melly, Lissandra
and Pokey came home from the Lake after their much-needed day off from
band practice they were introduced to Dagrolyt, who had already learned
enough English to say, "Hallo frenzz, gladd to meet."
Melly's response, upon seeing two sasquatches in the living room, was,
"Gol, you guys sure do fill up the room!" Adam translated that for
Dagrolyt, who laughed and responded in Nokhon.
Adam translated, "Only because your rooms are so small, we're just two
We had expected Pokey to be enthusiastic about meeting another Bigfoot,
he'd always felt a Red Man-Sasquatch kinship with Adam, but were all
quite amazed when he began having a simple conversation with Dagrolyt
in Nokhontli! He'd been interested in the glossaries we'd assembled,
as we all had, but he had evidently been studying the language far more
seriously than any of the rest of us. Pokey, who was famous for being
a poor student.
The girls came out to the kitchen where I was making hot chocolate.
Melly did a spaced-out routine, "Gol, I've never seen so much hair and
muscle in one place before!"
I agreed. "Pretty fantastic, the two of them."
"You know," Lissandra admitted, "I wasn't ever really sure I believed
every word of Adam's story until now--but that Wookie is obviously just
as real as our own Freakfoot!"
"Well, we always knew that if Adam exists there must be others."
"Yeah but still, it did all seem a little tooo science-fictiony: I mean,
lost cities? wizards?"
"Hey, isn't Da-gro-lyt that guru-friend Adam told us about?" Melly
realized, "Gol, he IS a wizard!"
"A Sha-haka, yes," I confirmed, "Interesting fellow, extremely
intelligent anyway, he's learned a lot of English in one day."
"Hmpf, " Lissandra mused, "he LOOKS like a mountain of muscle. But you
think he's just as smart as Adam?"
"I think Adam is probably a baby compared to Dagrolyt! He's come here
by some sort of telepathic instinct, I gather."
"This is so bizarre," Melly observed, "and yet it seems so natural, like
Adam is a native from Africa or South America and someone from his
family comes here to visit him. Sasquatches suddenly aren't mysterious
Adam took Dagrolyt for a tour of our property, showing him The Mother
Meadow where Mayala had died 19 years before, then introducing him to
the horses, goats and chickens. The dogs went merrily along for the
walk, having already accepted Dagrolyt as just another Adam. Owning or
even simply caring for animals was a very foreign concept to a squatch,
but Dagrolyt was fascinated that he could touch and pet them.
But he was most fascinated by Old Pipe Line Road, especially after we
told him that it led into the town of Monroe. He wished he could see
that exotic and mysterious metropolis, such wonders so near and yet so
far. We offered to give him a tour that very evening, under cover of
That evening we dressed Dagrolyt in some of Adam's clothes, which fit
pretty well, Adam being only six inches taller than Dagrolyt. He
crawled into the back of the van--after taking a moment to overcome an
attack of claustrophobia, since he had never been all the way inside a
skesk-vehicle before. Starting the engine and rolling down the
driveway took another moment of adjusting nerves, but he braved it out
and I drove him on a tour through the Nokhso town of Monroe, Washington.
Our van has mirrored windows, so if anyone did happen to catch a glimpse
of him inside they would assume it was Adam. All Bigfoots look alike.
Of course, Adam had to stay behind so that we wouldn't have to explain
TWO sasquatches; we had no wish to generate any publicity at this time.
Dagrolyt conquered his fear of being inside a moving car, but became rather
excited about cruising through the streets of downtown Monroe. His nose
was pressed against the window as we drove a quick little tour down Main
Street, past the shopping center, up the strip on Highway 2 and back
home again. Welcome to America!
We made it back without incident. I had worried about having a flat
tire, or being stopped by a random cop, any little thing that would
have us getting out of the car and revealing a strange sasquatch, but
everything went smoothly.
Over the next few days Dagrolyt's presence became routine, it seemed
perfectly natural that he was with us. He was an easy guest, not a
problem. He went off into the woods at night, preferring to sleep
outside in nature rather than in the house or barn.
But he enjoyed being near the house in the day, absorbing all the
information he could. He was very interested in learning English from
any of us who had time to teach him some words. And he watched TV
Television offered him a close look at our society. He did not enjoy
the news, but then who does? He often frowned when he observed that
so much of the news was bad; war, crime, disaster.
But as spectacular and violent as the news was, the regular TV series
were often more so, showing people in their worst light. Cop shows
especially. Since we considered the majority of programs to be utter
trash, we tried to interest him in the "higher-class" Channel 9
educational documentaries. But of course, he preferred sit-coms like
"Friends" (Adam's old favorite), was fascinated by "Star Trek" reruns
and action movies with explosions and car-chase scenes. We tried to
convince him that much of television presented an untrue portrait of
NokhSo life, but also had to admit that TV was such a powerful medium
that people tended to imitate what they saw anyway.
Dagrolyt had decided that he must try to understand the NokhSo world,
just as Adam had taken on the Nokhon world. We all encouraged him and
thought of the best ways to do so. But to physically explore our
civilization, Dagrolyt would have had to pass himself off as Adam to
avoid becoming a television star himself.
He didn't look like Adam to us: his hairline receded and he had no beard,
but we made a partial wig and false beard, glued it on with rubber cement.
It was great fun. He even learned to imitate Adam's voice and say a few
phrases that might just carry him through some critical situations. Up
close he wouldn't fool anyone who knew Adam, but no stranger expected
to meet any other sasquatch.
Having survived the experience of visiting a small town, Dagrolyt felt
ready to explore that huge sprawling cluster of skesk he had viewed
from afar all of his life: Seattle. So one evening I took him on another
ride in the van, this time delving all the way into the heart of Western
Civilization, only 40 minutes away by freeway.
He was calm as we passed Monroe (been there, done that), but began to
fret as we merged with thicker traffic, then passed over the Floating
Bridge from Belleview to Seattle and into the intense six-lane rush of
the I-5 Freeway.
As I was negotiating the Union Street off-ramp into downtown Seattle,
he asked me in Nokhontli what seemed to be, "You're not afraid of all
I had to bob my head and admit, "Well, a little bit, yeah."
I drove us up onto Capitol Hill, where we had a great view of Seattle,
Puget Sound, the Space Needle. Off in the sunset we could see Mount
Rainier to the South, the Olympic Mountains to the West. Always an
impressive panorama, even to me who had lived here most of my life.
Dagrolyt was constantly mumbling, "skesk-haka," meaning technology-magic,
and I could relate: Jumbo 747s passed slowly over us and helicopters
dangled in the sky; sailboats decorated Lake Union; cars, trucks, busses,
motorcycles everywhere. People walking around in swarms, probably more
people gathered than he had ever seen at any one time in his life. We
cruised down 7th Avenue to the Waterfront, 1st Avenue past the Pike
Street Market, 5th Avenue between the skyscrapers, out by the Civic
Center where we could peer up at the Space Needle. Dagrolyt yearned to
get out of the van and touch things me see if they were real, but we
both knew that was not a good idea, so we headed back to Monroe. It
had been enough of an adventure without taking any unwise chances.
Dagrolyt had passed through the City of Aket on his way to find us and
had some messages to Adam from friends or acquaintances he'd known
there. Adam was especially interested to hear from that one girl he
liked, Magga, who was now studying at Aket. But Dagrolyt had not been
able to meet with her because she was now the special protégé of
Daklakht and he had her living with him in Alutna Headquarters, which
was a restricted section of Aket.
It seemed that Daklakht was training Magga to become Alutna. Adam had
been upset about that, but took what solace he could in the rule that
celibacy was the rule within Aket. (He then tried not to think about
how the Great Lady of the Alutna had almost raped him, informing him
that Alutna Headquarters was separate from Aket and that sex was
allowed if she said so. And Daklakht outranked her, of course.)
Adam was also interested to hear from his "little sister" Masnia, although
I got the impression that his feelings for her were more intense than
brotherly. He had been evasive about their last meeting at a Kha-rat
orgy. He seemed quite glad to hear that the poor little girl missed
him terribly and was anxiously awaiting his return.
I try not to judge Adam with my "Nokhon morality", I know it's another
world and culture out there in Squatchland, but he's also living that
way in our culture. I can't help sympathizing with Melly, I don't want
her hurt. But then not only does she forgive Adam his Nokhon lovers,
she also invites Lissandra into bed with her and Adam, so I give up.
When Adam had told me about the possibility of other sasquatches coming
here to find him so that they could start a new life, I imagined a few
problems that could arise: cultural conflicts, misunderstandings.
Knowing that Dagrolyt had taught Adam the Nokhon language and was a
teacher of Atli, I had an idea.
"How about organizing some Nokhon language classes?" I asked Adam, "If
both you and Dagrolyt can teach a group of us while he's here, we
might be able to cope when the first wave of Nokhon immigrants shows up
on our front porch!"
Everybody involved thought that was a good idea, we had each and all been
haphazardly learning occasional words, even phrases, mostly to make
polite contact with Dagrolyt. Elaine and I had been quite diligent about
learning words, as had Melly. Pokey had never been a great scholar, but
was interested in being "the only Indian in the world who spoke Squatch":
he thought it would be "Cool!" Lissandra had learned very little up to
then, but the idea of Monroe being overrun with Freakfoots made her
realize that it might end up being a very handy ability.
So we tried to hold informal evening classes for the five of us, just
after dinner, although that was sometimes in competition with someone's
TV shows--the worst offender being Dagrolyt-- and resulted in sporadic
success. Daytime was unhandy, some of us had to go to work and others
had to go to the Lake. It was not a dedicated group of enlightened
academics we were catering to.
It ended up that one 4-6 hour block of intense language training every
weekend (Saturday/Sunday interchangeable) was the ideal learning
environment for our group, especially when there was picnic and beer
afterwards. And, of course, home-made music.
The teaching form also became quite entertaining: rather than memorizing
tables of verb conjugations, Adam and Dagrolyt would perform a mini-
sitcom and learned to understand what they were talking about. Dagrolyt
especially liked Two and a Half Men for some incomprehensible reason,
and would perform his own version of whichever episode he had last seen.
Actually, no wonder he enjoyed it: when Adam translated Dagrolyt's
cultural interpretations of the stories they were so hilarious that we would
often end up giggling and laughing until we slid out of our chairs. But by
repeating the funny parts in Nokhontli, we effectively learned a lot of words.
I was positively amazed at how Pokey applied himself. He was genuinely
enthusiastic about learning the language, came to every session, diligently
practiced pronunciation and the more abstract hand-signals that were so
difficult for the rest of us to master. We could hear Pokey becoming fluent
at Nokhontli faster than us. In school he had always been the student
teachers considered a waste of time, but here he was at the head of the
class. He and Dagrolyt also seemed to hit it off on some Sasquatch-Red
Man level, just as he had with Adam.
After a week we had a local semi-Nokhontli-speaking environment, we
used standardized squatch phrases for everyday activities, curses for
fun. So if we did have any Nokhon visitors we could all say "Welcome,
we'll take you to Adam..." Or even, should it happen to prove necessary,
"Screw your mother, you stupid shit!"
The rehearsals had to go on as well. Adam was still searching for the
right songs and things had been going slowly. There were only ten days
to go before their big concert and they still weren't decided on which
songs and in what order or arrangements.
Dagrolyt was interested in hearing the music Adam considered to be his
own magical power, complete with instruments and accompaniment. The
band played a number for him, the old Fats Domino classic Blue Moon, which
they had down very nicely. He seemed impressed, but did not swoon
with unrestrained adulation; it was a very alien culture to him.
But even if he could not understand the music, the flow of haka was
something he knew about and could sense that the band had a problem. He
discussed it with Adam.
"I suppose there's some magic there, Dadamet, but not as much as I have
heard you produce alone. Perhaps you should play without the others."
"No, they aren't the problem, I am. I can't decide what to play."
"That's not very strong haka, my friend."
"You're telling me, I feel too spread out, unfocused. I don't have all
the songs I want."
"What songs do you want?"
"Well, that's just it--they don't exist yet."
Dagrolyt thought with furrowed brow for a second and then shook his head,
"A confusing concept--as far as I can tell, songs never do exist. They
aren't tangible things, only ideas, words chanted to a melody, and only
while someone is singing them, then they are gone again like a flame."
"Sure, but songs are repeatable, therefore they do exist--like the text
of the Atli. But the songs I want have never yet been sung. New songs."
"Then how do you know they are what you want?"
"What I want is to create them myself. But I don't hear them, they
aren't here yet."
Dagrolyt pondered. At this point let us remind ourselves that he is
Sha-haka, a Nokhon wise man, a shaman and Adam's guru. "The problem is
clearly your own ego. The band has four egos, if you wish to make magic
together you must become one ego."
"What, like The Three Elders of Aket?"
"None of you are at that level, but you've got the idea. May I offer
So Dagrolyt sat in on their rehearsal, or rather, he wandered around
between them as they played music, studying the individuals from various
perspectives. Sometimes he would touch them; he put his hands on Pokey's
back as he was drumming, he stood behind Melly at the piano and sniffed
at her neck under her hair (she giggled). He held Lissandra as she stood
playing bass; one hand on her breasts the other on her butt (she was about
to protest but Adam gave her the "hang-in-there" look).
When Dagrolyt was done studying them he said to Adam, "I shall make a
mixture. You must all fast overnight. I also recommend that you play no
more today, save some magic for tomorrow at dawn."
That meant a nice summer day-off for everyone and they were all on their
way to Naked Lake within minutes. Although without a picnic this time.
On the dock they discussed the likelihood that Sha-haka wizardry could
actually benefit their American music, but were all willing to try, if
only for the experience itself.
"At dawn" Dagrolyt had said and meant it literally. He gathered the four
of them before the sun came up at 5:17 AM. Lissandra was almost cranky,
Pokey was almost manic and they were all hungry, having eaten nothing
since the morning before, as ordered by the guru.
Dagrolyt had breakfast for them: a thick green paste packed in leaves.
Melly was never one to abuse drugs and asked what this was, but Adam said
"Never mind, just do it," and she obeyed. Everyone agreed that it was
the WORST tasting crap they had ever put in their mouths, but swallowed
Then they were to take their musical instruments and go up to The Mother
Meadow. Dagrolyt took Melly's big old upright piano over his shoulder as
if it weighed nothing and led the way. Upon arrival he had each of them
take exact positions in relation to each other and the rising sun, then
he ordered them to take off all their skesk (clothes). It was still
chilly then, but they obeyed and stripped. By the time they had set up
the sun was also set up and the psychotropic mixture they had imbibed was
starting to work.
Dagrolyt understood that Adam needed thirteen original songs, of which he
had four. He told them to play the four they already knew. It was a
beautiful morning, the sun was just beginning to warm them, there was a
sweet breeze, they were almost stoned, they closed their eyes and played
It went well, sounded good, they felt good. They were doing magic, it
was nice. Exciting, in fact. By the time they had done their fourth and
final song, the rhythmically powerful One I Can't Forget, they had gone
far beyond excitement into rapture, finally aware that they were the four
best musicians in the Entire Universe.
They were quivering with readiness to play more, each breathing raggedly
as if sexually aroused but now stranded, because they had no more songs.
"Keep playing!" Dagrolyt commanded with the authority of a Sha-haka.
And so they did, flying into unknown territory, boldly going where no
man has gone before. (ed: I couldn't resist!) Song after song, out of
nowhere, exploding out of Adam's mouth, the other three producing rhythms
and riffs worthy of gods, melodies Mozart would envy.
They played passionately for nine hours and when they collapsed together
in a vast laughing and kissing cuddle (including Dagrolyt) they had nine
more songs they could use. It had definitely been magic.
Adam experienced another episode of Sha-haka magic that was perhaps even
more mind-bending. Dagrolyt had gone away for a few days, still honoring
his duties as Dwayarat in Squatchland, and returned with a message from
Da-nama-hat in Aket. But he could not simply tell Adam the message.
They went into the forest to be alone. Dagrolyt squatted before Adam
and closed his eyes, apparently going into a trance.
"Hey, Dadamet, greetings to you and your Nokhso family!"
Adam was surprised but aware that he was hearing not Dagrolyt's voice,
but that of Da-nama-hata, speaking directly through Dagrolyt as if he
were a cell phone.
"Da-nama-hat? That IS you?"
"Ra, Dadamet, nice to speak with you again!"
"What is this, some kind of telepathic link?"
"Good boy. Now I need to tell you about Daklakht: first mentioning that
he had walked all the way back to Aket before discovering that you had
enchanted him somehow. An Orator trick, he says. He seemed to take it
rather well; at least there was no display of emotion or anger, no vows
of revenge. He became busy with some duties as Alutna-Jii and behaved
"What? Intrigues in Aket?"
"...as good as your daytime TV series, wonderful stuff! Now about those
intrigues at Aket: Alutna-Jii Daklakht lives a secretive life and does
not tell anyone what he thinks or what he is doing. But because he is
empowered to do ANYTHING he deems proper in the services of National
Security (translating roughly here, but you get the idea), I feel that
someone should keep an eye on him to keep him honest, doing so myself.
"There is only one person he does confide in, his faithful lieutenant
Ma-ralla-hata, Grand Lady of the Alutna. She displays more emotion than
he does and is therefore easier to read. What I read was that Daklakht
is secretly coming after you again, even now."
"What? Here among the Nokhsos?" Adam was surprised.
"Perhaps, although that would be difficult."
"Sure, but not impossible. He could always pass himself off as me simply
by putting on some clothes. It could be done."
"You have a wonderful imagination, Dadamet! You too have seen daytime
"How can you know about daytime TV?" I asked, "you have no skesk in
"I've been watching it at your bakhl through Dagrolyt's eyes. Some of
the myøsik is nice too. Especially that of you and your friends,
Dadamet, it is coming along quite well. Keep practicing though, you're
not quite there yet."
"Well, thanks, but--what about Daklakht? IS he coming HERE?"
"He has been missing for many days, he may be anywhere, no one knows.
So be alert! Good luck, my boy. And keep perfecting your myøsik, you'll
become a Sha-haka yet!"
Except for some small talk, that was the message Adam received. After
which Dagrolyt opened his eyes and was himself again.
Professor Rubin Evanzine came visiting. Adam had needed the man's
support with the IPR and the anthropology department at the UW, so he
was one of the few people outside our family circle who had been told
the entire story of Adam's experiences among the Nokhontli. We knew
he would keep our confidences. He wanted to meet Dagrolyt, of course,
so we invited him for dinner.
Professor Evanzine ended up staying overnight in our guest room. He was
fascinated to be discussing anthropology with a "wild Indigenous
Primate", assisted by Adam's translations. It was also fun for us to
hear the two wise men comparing societies.
Dagrolyt was very erudite for a primitive Bigfoot savage, saying "Many
advantages of your technological culture are so misused that they
become disadvantages. Television, for example-- fascinating skesk-
thing, destructively seductive. However, we Nokhontli have something
similar and as misuse it just as badly, although without technology. Ours
is telepathic, boosted by psychotropic substances we take ceremonially
under the full moon..."
"You mean hallucinogens?"
"...no, the events are actual, real, we can communicate around the planet,
share visions, visit other places in astral form. No commercials though. Too
bad, I often find the commercials the most fun part of a TV session."
"Don't you have to spend most of your time just struggling to eat? Most
primitive cultures-- or rather, non-archaeological cultures --tend to
devote their entire day in search of food. It seems the Nokhontli are
non-agricultural, non-hunting, living off the forest. That must provide
meager supplies for a community living in a limited area."
"We are not so many; our populations are controlled, unlike your own. As
for my own food, I never have to look for food unless I am away from my
women--that's their job. Women gather food, so that I, their Sha-haka,
can make fire and teach others. So I am like you, professor, ha ha ha!"
"Wouldn't you say that women are repressed in your society?"
"I wouldn't, no. Or maybe they are, but then so are men, everyone has
duties. A Sha-haka-ma is equal to me, but most women choose to serve
a man. Look here, Elaine does the same, making food."
"Yes, I even gathered it from the shopping center," Elaine boasted,
"foraging in our trusty van."
"Women serve man, Man serve Sha (sun), Sha serve world, and so on."
"Just how do you serve Sha?" Evanzine asked.
"The same way you do--study, teach, become full of light."
Dagrolyt was in and out of the area for the week before the concert.
He still had other students out in the wilderness. Because we wanted him
to continue teaching language classes, we would sometimes drive him up
into the Cascades to get him there quicker although he always returned on
He was now more or less part of the family. Generally pleasant and fun,
he also enjoyed wallowing in our culture so much that we got to enjoy it
afresh. We made certain he saw as complete a cross-section of the NokhSo
world as he could without getting TV news cameras in his face.
Dagrolyt did, however, have to endure our cameras in his face. We made
several instructional videos of him speaking Nokhontli with Adam,
primarily to demonstrate the hand signs so important to the language.
Dagrolyt became comfortable with the process and spoke as freely as when
he was teaching Atli to his Nokhon students. Sometimes, just to have
words to say, he told stories about his own life, his younger days, which
to us were interesting anthropological documentations of Nokhon life. For
example, a description of his earliest contact with Nokhso technology,
captured as an audio recording and later translated by Adam.
Meanwhile, there was a substantial amount of publicity happening for the
coming concert. The major brunt of the publicity was for Chrome Pie,
naturally, including repeating TV and radio spots, posters, flyers.
"Don't miss it! Sweet-Rock at Most Cool, the fabulous Chrome Pie! And
on this once-only double-bill, the world's only musical Bigfoot, Adam
Leroy Forest with his new band "Squatch & Friends".