Chapter 87:     Migration

Transcribed from dictation, ADAM speaking--

We were all upset about losing a man in the underground river and none of 
us were prepared to just walk away without doing something to find him, but 
there was no way we could go back upstream against that river gushing out 
of a cave.  We tried anyway, but it was all underwater and the current was 
too strong.  There was nothing we could do.  

We told ourselves he might have come out somewhere else--which was 
possible, the river had branched several times in the dark.  Finally we 
gave up and went on our way.  None of us even knew his name.

The other three Nokhons, a girl and two guys (Mazaha, Dabababet and 
Daworget) had been students and were not sure of where to go, at least 
until the conflict in Aket was resolved.  

Their bakhls were quite far away and in various directions and they 
wanted to stay together.  They'd been studying together in oh-so-celibate 
Aket for months and now I sensed a needy three-way romance coming up. 
They knew who I was, having seen Masnia and me do the Aket concert two 
days before, so they asked if I was going back to the Nokhso world.

I said, "Yes, soon, but first I have to find a safe place for these girls."  
We had not yet discussed a destination, so I wasn't certain they would 
accept coming home with me.  But--

"I'm going with you to the Nokhso world," Masnia informed me, "that's the 
only place safe from Da-starda-hat!"

"And so am I!" Magga announced.  We looked at her, waiting for her reason.  
She finally said, "Because I CHOOSE Dadamet!"

"Huh?  I thought you were going to become Sha-haka-ma instead of chosing a man."

"I AM Sha-haka-ma," she announced, "as of yesterday."

"Really?  Well, congratulations.  But I also thought you weren't into chosing 
any man ever." 

"For you I am," she admitted, with a little smile.

"Yeah, well I chose him first!" Masnia informed Magga, "So I am First Woman!"

"You're only a kid," Magga countered, but not laughing, "far too young to 
choose a man yet."

"Yeah?  Well, I did anyway, the guy is MINE!"

"That only shows how little you know.  Dadamet understands that I am HIS!"

"Girls, girls, I love you both, just come home with me."  Even as I said it 
I knew that this was going to complicate my love-life with Melly, so I 
quibbled, "although I must tell you that I already do have a First Woman."  

"The golden-haired Nokso girl?" Magga asked, suddenly less self-assured.

"Yes, I've loved her since I was a little boy.  You'll both just have to 
accept that."  

Looking just as insecure Masnia asked, "But will she accept us?"

Okay, there it was, what was I to say?  As always, I'm stuck with the truth.  
"I shall command her to."  Well, I'd try.  

They looked at each other, bobbed their heads, back at me.  Both smiling, 
"Okay, works for us."

"And you ARE both aware that to go where we are going is forbidden by Atli?" 
I stipulated. 

"Yes, but the laws are being defiled by the Elders, we need to rewrite them," 
expounded Magga, suddenly a political activist.  

"Besides, my father--y'know, the Alutna-Jii Himself?--gave us permission."  
Then in a first attempt at befriending Magga, touched her and said, "And 
Magga too."  

"All right, so let's go to Nokhso Land."

The other three squatches had been observing our conversation all along, as 
if fascinated.  Then they looked at each other, bobbed their heads in perfect 
agreement and Daworget asked: "Uh... can we come too?"

So we were six squatches walking out of the Cascades toward civilization. Nokhons never travel so many grouped together, but none of us were into hiding any more. Besides, I had to brief all these people about proper etiquette for mixing with the cute little Nokhsos, which was best done as one group. For example, they wanted to make a good impression on any Nokhsos they met, so they were about to follow proper squatch tradition and smear their hairy bodies with shit and piss. I talked them out of it quick as I could. I also tried to teach them some English phrases so that humans would be forced to see them as fellow humans. "Hi, don't shoot; I am a friend of Adam Leroy Forest." Masnia was the fastest learner, Magga wasn't bad, but the three students from Aket couldn't get past "Hi" or pronounce anything correctly. They were all excited about visiting the forbidden world, but also nervous about meeting Nokhsos, those hairless little demons with all the dangerous skesk. I was a little nervous too, I knew how wrong things could go if the sight of six sasquatches approaching was too scary for some lone hunter with a high-powered rifle. But caution was not something I had to teach any squatch. We were more than a long day's hike from Monroe if we took the most direct way, but that would have us crossing roads and passing through small towns, we'd certainly be spotted. Of course the whole point of taking them into civilization was to introduce them to that world, so we'd have to eventually show ourselves anyway. But I knew what would happen if I didn't control the circumstances, so I wasn't willing to let it be accidental. The more I'd thought about how to bring these people into that world, the more I came to dread the Media Machine that was waiting for me to show up in Monroe again. I knew I had to protect these innocent squatches from such a frightening first impression of the Nokhsoli. So we took the long way and spent a few extra days getting home, up and down mountains, through thick forests most of the way, sneaking across roads when there was no traffic. We passed over a mountain crest that offered us a scenic sundown view of our destination, most of Puget Sound spread out before us. As the sky went dark we could see the lights of civilization taking over the landscape. I pointed out Seattle and all my companions got very quiet: they'd seen cities from afar before, but that had always been like seeing the moon-- now they were going into them and would be there soon. From there we followed a Nokhso nature trail leading down, through a National Forest. There might be campers, but it was night and we should easily pass them by unnoticed. As we approached the parking area, my friends began to get nervous about the smells of skesk, cars, gasoline-- and even worse, small hairless people. I told them it was time to get used to it, since we were now on the edge of the Nokhso world. Those smells would only get stronger from here on. I signaled for us to pass around the area, continuing through and out of the park. But then I heard the music. It came from down in the parking lot, a car radio, I figured, although the quality of sound was pretty high, crisp and clean. A song was playing, good sound, strong beat, something familiar, but too far away to identify. I mean, REALLY familiar. I finally recognized it as we came closer. "That sounds like you," Magga said, looking spooked. In fact, they all looked spooked, seeing me right here but hearing my voice over there. They might have heard snatches of Nokhso radio from afar before, but had no concept of what a recording was. I searched for a Nokhontli word to explain it to them. Masnia suddenly recognized the song: "That's you singing Ha mm-kro wo'ha, only with Nokhso words. Hmm, is that some kind of skesk echo-magic?" Damn clever girl, Masnia. "Ra, it's a skesk-echo of that concert I did just before I left the Nokhso world last time. But this is the first time I've ever heard it myself. Let's go see where it comes from." The others looked hesitant, to say the least. They'd been conditioned all their lives to avoid those nasty and dangerous little people and now with Nokhsos so near they couldn't help being afraid. "Okay, I'll go, you folks wait out here in the woods and we'll see how this works out." They bobbed their heads gratefully and retreated into the bushes. I went down the slope to the parking lot alone. There was only one vehicle parked in the area, obviously for the night, since any day-trekker cars had left. It was an old beat-up school bus, painted in psychedelic colors, which had been converted into a camper. I couldn't see anyone, but there was light behind the curtained windows and loud music coming out them. Whoever was in there obviously thought that they had the park to themselves. I Like To Run was just ending and a new song was beginning, Take Me Seeking, also from the Seattle concert. I recognized Melly's piano, Pokey's drums, Lissandra's bass. CD or MP3? I was intrigued and knocked on the bus door. "Hello, in there," I tried to sound friendly, "yoo-hoo!" "Who is that?" called a startled woman's voice. It was night, after all. "Uh--I'll see," a man said, sounding cautious. "I'm Adam Leroy Forest," I announced myself, to prepare them for the shocking sight of a hairy Bigfoot standing in the dark outside their camper. "Look, I heard you playing my music so I figured maybe you know who I am..." "Adam Leroy Forest? From Squatch & Friends? The Monroe Bigfoot?" sounding totally unconvinced. "Yes, that's me. And yes, I AM a Bigfoot, so don't freak out, please." Lots of hesitating going on in there. Whispering, then, "Prove it!" "Aw come on, just take a look. I won't bite." The door opened a crack--one eye peeked out--then it was abruptly thrown wide-open. A shaggy-haired hippie in his forties looked out at me, appearing much wilder than I ever could, doing the Big Surprise Expression when he saw me. Then he shouted--not in terror, but in amazement--"Holy Fucking Shit, it really IS you!" "Well, uh, yeah. Didn't mean to scare you; monster in the dark and all." Behind him, a mature hippie woman rushed to the doorway excitedly, "It's really REALLY HIM? Omigawd, I mean, Oh My God, I don't believe this!" They introduced themselves to me as Zack and Butterfly and insisted that they were my biggest fans. Instead of fearful campers or ferocious hunters, I had dropped in on two dedicated Squatch & Friends enthusiasts. They were both so excited to meet me that it was almost embarrassing. I apologized for being unclothed because I'd been out in the wild and was just getting back to civilization, but they said they knew all about my disappearance. In fact, they were from Ohio but had come to the Pacific Northwest to look for me. Not that they really thought they'd ever find me, it was their fun-fantasy while hanging out in the Cascades, where Adam Leroy Forest was assumed to be. Said they'd just been talking about me so they put the CD on and cranked it up as a signal for me to come in out of the cold, just in case I coincidentally happened to be passing by. Which I was. "I've been out of touch so I didn't even know a CD existed," I told them. "Are you kidding? Man, it's probably the top-selling CD in the world right now! Not to mention the Double-DVD of the Seattle Concert! You're rich and famous, man, if you didn't know that!" Butterfly came running with the CD cover to show me. That was the first time I'd ever seen that now-famous photograph of Squatch & Friends on stage during the concert at Paramount Northwest, which I hardly need to describe since everyone in the world seems to have seen it by now. I liked how the CD package looked, got to admit. I couldn't read the text, but had a good idea of what was written. They almost went crazy trying to update me on everything that had happened in the three weeks I'd been away. Finally I had to interrupt them to ask if they had a cell phone I could borrow to call home. They were overjoyed to loan me their telephone, excited to be of significant help to their favorite media star. I would have preferred a little privacy, but they were so desperate to hear what I had to say that I just let them. Although I did swear them to secrecy first, which they emphatically agreed to, overwhelmingly overjoyed to be in the trusted inner circle of the famous Adam Leroy Forest. I wanted to call Melly first but not in front of...well, in front of anyone, since we hadn't been speaking when I'd left. So I called home instead. Art took the phone, but I hardly need to say much about that call, since Art has already posted a comprehensive report in our infamous family "Document". I'll just mention that when I asked about Melly he told me that she and Lissandra were in California at the moment. Of course Zack and Butterfly, hanging on to every word, picked up on that I was on my way home with five Bigfoot friends. If they had been excited before, now they went bananas. They insisted that I invite my squatch friends to their camper for a visit, offering coffee and tasty snacks. Butterfly said that she had everything needed to make lots of french toast, which sounded tasty to me. And I thought, my friends have got to meet some Nokhsos sometime very soon, why not over coffee and tasty goodies? An isolated camper in an otherwise empty parking lot was as close to a perfectly controlled environment as I could hope for. I went back into the woods to fetch the others and told them that those Nokhsos were friendly enough to invite us all for a social visit, offering us good things to eat. Their reactions were amusing. Reluctance, horror, cold feet, except for Masnia, who was ready for anything. I talked them into it, being an Orator you know, although it was not easy. Then there was the amusing cultural experience of introducing five Nokhons to two Nokhso hippies. Zack and Butterfly were also scared, but considered it their duty as fans to help me any way they could. They also appreciated the coolness-factor of being part of a historic meeting between races. It went pretty well. Everybody was shy but polite. We big squatches squatted around Zack and Butterfly's tiny camper table just outside their bus. I warned my friends not to burn themselves on the hot coffee, which some liked and some did not. But the french toast with honey and lemon broke down all social barriers, the squatches were suddenly sold on exploring whatever the Nokhon world had to offer. They even dared to stick their heads inside the camping bus to see how Nokhsos lived. "This is so FA-A-A-AR OUT!" Zack proclaimed. Since everyone was getting along so well, Masnia even being quite entertaining with her few English words, I saw my chance to slip away from the crowd for a moment. I humbly asked Zack if I might be allowed to make a long-distance call, offering to pay for it later. "Oh sure, you must want to call Melly and Lissandra," he said, having over- heard my conversation with Art, "just go ahead, but please forget about paying for it." "This is so much fun for us," Butterfly added, "We just saw the girls on TV a while back, on The Evening Show talking about all the glamorous Hollywood people they were supposed to rub elbows with while they were in LA!" I went to the other end of the parking lot and called Melly's number, glad that I could remember every telephone number I'd ever heard spoken aloud since I'd regained my Orator status. It had been a drag to forget so much, like being crippled. I was nervous, since Melly hadn't been talking to me at all when I'd left home.
(ring-tone) MELLY: (noise of a party going on) Hi, this is Melly. I'm not home right now, but I'm having fun anyway. ADAM: (carefully) Hi Mell, it's me, Adam. MELLY: (surprised, rattled) Addy....uh...where are you? ADAM: On my way home, in the parking lot of a national park right now. I met some campers who loaned me this telephone. They're devout fans of Squatch & Friends and were playing our CD, so it seems you guys have been taking care of business. MELLY: Yeah, we've been pretty busy, too bad you weren't there to help. ADAM: Sorry about that, but I've been busy on my end too. It all comes together now. MELLY: Oh that's right, Adam's Vision coming through. Wait, what about your "Adversary", did you take care of THAT business? ADAM: Yes, but not how you might think, I'd rather tell you that story in person. MELLY: That'll have to wait a week; we're in California right now, me and Liss. ADAM: I know, Art told me. Acting in a movie! Sounds like you're having fun at least. Party time? MELLY: Hmm, yeah, cast party. We're we're on location in Death Valley right now, so it's life in the fast lane. But we fly into to SeaTac next Wednesday, guess we'll see you then. ADAM: You don't sound very excited about that. Are you still afraid I'll be a slobbering monster? MELLY: (considering how to answer) No, I think I'm over the worst of that, but I'm not sure exactly what I'll be coming home to, Addy. Our love life is not what I... ADAM: Wait, there's something I have to tell you, best while you're still grumpy anyway. MELLY: I'm not being grumpy! I'm just not sure that you and I...tell me what? ADAM: About bringing five other squatches home with me. We're all sort of refugees at the moment. MELLY: (excited for fist time) Addy, that's perfect! You can begin the Nokhon Nation project, we've already done a lot of the legal ground work. Your Vision REALLY WILL be coming true!" ADAM: Yes, but I need to tell you that Magga and Masnia are among the five. MELLY: What, who? Magga? Masnia? ...both your squatch lovers? You're bringing them home to US? ADAM: I had to. MELLY: Oh great, so now you'll be with them instead of me? ADAM: No, no--well I can't ignore them, obviously, but... MELLY: But you CAN ignore me? And Liss? We're out now? ADAM: What? You're not out--Liss either--I'm hoping we can all... MELLY: Yeah, right, hoping we can all fit in your bed! So I get to watch while you lay everyone but me? Goddammit, Adam, you are just SO untrue to me! ADAM: No I'm not untrue, Mell, you're my... MELLY: (really mad now) I'm your nothing! Fuck you, Adam Leroy Forest! (dead-tone)
I tried not let my conversation with Melly upset me, but when I returned to the others both my "lovers" noticed right away. Magga asked me, "What's wrong, Dadamet?" "It's because of his First Woman," Masnia explained, her woman's intuition quite advanced for one so young, "he spoke to her on the talky-skesk. About us, I think." "Poor Dadamet, let us comfort you with a double-y°ramma to make you feel better," Magga suggested and Masnia concurred. No doubt I'd feel better, but also worse. Melly's accusation of me being untrue to her had seemed unfair, as if my human and squatch lovers could not possibly find any reason to be jealous of one another. But now I was putting them all face to face with no certainty of what was going to happen next. Zack and Butterfly invited us to spend the night inside their bus, although the six of us sasquatch-types could never have fit. We also wished to continue traveling as far as we could under cover of darkness, so we said "Ta-ash," and went on our way. Zack and Butterfly gave me their word that they wouldn't blab about us until I had made a formal media announcement about my return and my companions. Then they could brag all they wanted. They agreed and kept their word. We moved fast all night, powered by french toast, went the rest of the way in daylight without ever being seen. Took the back way down the hills behind Monroe, directly into the Mother Meadow. Late the next day we were home.

Chapter 88

Adam out of Eden