Chapter 89:     The Nokhso Nation

ART reporting events from Thursday the 21st of August to Monday the 25th--

The squatches were "located" at the far end of the Mother Meadow woods 
and the edge of the woods, the place we started calling our "Nokhon 
Refugee Camp" or just Camp.  They had no need for housing or toilets or 
campfires, none of the things we Nokhsos would have established right 
away.  

There was that overhang up in the trees for camouflage purposes, under 
which they could have kept out of the rain, but we were having a nice 
warm rain-free late summer, so they usually slept somewhere else in the 
woods.  The only sign of our Camp actually existing was the big old 
mahogany table and four chairs we set out there, more for our sake 
than theirs.  It gave us the impression of being an "office", where we 
could we lay out papers and laptops, place our cell phones so we didn't 
lose them in the dirt. 

We also stacked some old magazines on the table for them to look at, as 
part of the acclimation process, or laid out some food for them to taste.  
The idea was to get them to feel at home, give them a place to gravitate 
to.

When we discussed that with Adam, he said, "I know!  A mirror, just like 
at the Town Square in Aket!"  He went up to the barn and brought back a 
big old mirror and set it up against a tree.  The Nokhons were fascinated 
to see themselves and suddenly they began to hang there out a little more.

Our Language School, however, we reinstated next to the house.  We were 
using a lot of skesk and didn't want to do that in their only comfort 
zone.  We set up a laptop with a larger external flat screen to show the 
videos we had taken of Adam and Dagrolyt teaching language.  The first 
time our new friends saw that they were astounded.  We entertained them 
by filming them and showing it onscreen.  There was no structure to the 
first day of class--in fact, I'm not sure that they were even aware that 
we were trying to learn/teach anything.  Words were learned anyway, in 
both languages.

It might seem naive to expect a "class" of five wild squatches to sit still 
and pay attention to the teacher, but they were all students of Atli.  Plus 
we had an Orator in Adam who could command attention with the magic 
of his voice.

Either Doug or Elaine and I would act out short scenes full of simple and 
useful English phrases for the squatches to learn. Doug caught on to their 
humor right away and strove to get a laugh out of them every now and then, 
so that they enjoyed the classes.

Pokey was a good between-man, he had a real feel for their language, spoke 
and understood Nokhontli better than any other Nokhso present and kept 
learning faster.  Although Doug was closing in fast.

Elaine and I were doing all right, but it was good that we didn't have to 
speak Nokhontli over a telephone.  Slow and easy, we could communicate, 
as long as there were no surprises.  Maki was the only one somewhat 
outside, but of course she was also the newest to this rather specialized 
society of ours.  She was nervous about how big and hairy the squatches 
were (except for Masnia, who was only slightly taller than Doug at at 6'3").  
I suppose it would be only fair to mention that cute little Maki is about 
5'2", so maybe a squatch could just oversee and step on her. 

As for the Nokhons, Masnia was their star student.  In fact, she was 
uncanny--more about her later.  Magga was next, smart girl, easy to 
connect with.  The other three, Mazaha, Dabababet and Daworget, were 
less interested and maybe even a little dense.  


Masnia was the only one who would rather spend more time near the house than away from it. She was obsessed with the musical universe that had been opened to her, she had to hear EVERYTHING just to find out what was available. So when not learning English in the day, one could always find her sprawled out on the sofa in the living room wearing headphones and tuned into another world than the rest of us. Rather like any typical teenage girl. One could become irritated, think "she's so lazy", if it wasn't for the fact that she was learning EVERYTHING faster than any of the rest of us: language, cultural etiquette, cooking Nokhso-style and the entire musical spectrum of human civilization. At first she concentrated on hearing every piece of music we had in the house at least once and then started to categorize songs and symphonies into favorites to be studied in depth when she had time. She learned to use the CD player, Adam had showed her which buttons to push, how to put CDs in or out, volume control, power switch and an hour later she could start going through our collection of disks all by herself. We have about 300 CDs, collected over the years. But when Adam gave her a new MP3 player, showed her the songs she could upload from his computer, where he had about a thousand songs in MP3 format, she began to comprehend that there was far too much music in our world to process all of it. It seemed hopeless to even try to listen to every piece of music recorded over the last hundred years. But when I saw her downloading music files herself, three days after first encounter with our technology, I realized that we had a wunderkind on our hands. She was using the computer, mouse, keyboard, volume controls, and seemed to be READING the onscreen list of MP3 files. (She was actually only differ- entiating titles by the length of unreadable text lines in detail view, but even that was pretty amazing anyway.) She asked about Melly, or "Ma-elli-a" as the squatches called her. Masnia wanted to meet her as soon as possible. Adam had told Masnia and Magga that Melly was his "First Woman" and they had respected his words. There was some "marital" business that only a "First Woman" could initiate, evidently a pecking order that squatch women live by. When we showed Masnia and Magga Adam's bedroom upstairs, both girls had been interested in the big double bed and asked what it was. Adam explained and they felt how soft the mattress was (it's actually a very firm hand-sewn mattress, but to squatches used to a few branches of brush lying on the cold hard ground, it was a pink cloud). I couldn't catch all the conversation, but the word "y°ramma" came up a lot and Adam looked a little embarrassed, so I assumed they wanted to try having sex on the bed here and now. Masnia laid out on it, spread and ready, without the slightest regard to Elaine and me being present. Adam felt an ethical qualm about that and told them that the bed was also Ma-elli-a's territory, and that as First Woman she had to give permission for anyone else to have sex with her man on it. The girls accepted that without protest or wheedling, even though they were both already warmed up to have some fun. We already knew a lot about Nokhontli sexual mores from Adam's narrations, but it was something else to see how casual they were about it. We knew that they have wild orgies during Full Moon, but since they can never match that intensity any other time, usually find normal sex boring and just don't bother. That seemed to be the case for Mazaha and her two boyfriends, seemingly more good buddies than romantic lovers. We also knew that Adam had been raised in our sexually-fixated culture and had picked up his fair share of macho dude mentality, so he acted more like the generally horny guy most Americans try to be. What surprised us was how eager his two women were to have sex with him anytime even though it was a departure from their culture's standard custom. Not that they seemed in any way excessive, in fact they acted more like "normal humans" than we had expected. Typical young newly-enamored American couples often have sex at least once a day, which is hardly considered abnormal. Adam's girls were young (Masnia maybe TOO young) and obviously loved him, which was nothing but nice to see. We only learned any details about Adam's sex life with his two women because he told us, not because of any blatant display. He was simply being honest as usual, not bragging, and needed to discuss it because he was concerned about how Melly (and Lissandra) would feel about two more lovers showing up. Of course, Elaine and I are also conflicted about all of this because of our own loyalties to Melly, whom we have considered our "daughter-in-law" for years. She has been forgiving Adam's sexual adventures in Squatchland while dealing with her own frustrations over the celibate relationship they've been forced to endure, but this might be too much. But we like his Nokhon girl friends anyway. I'm tempted to say especially Masnia, simply because she's so cute and enthusiastic, but Magga also has a very appealing personality. My concern for Melly's potential broken heart was befuddled by my appreciation for what a lucky guy Adam was. (Note: nowhere have I mentioned the word "envious".)
The plan was to publicly announce Adam's arrival back to the good ol' US of A on Monday, the 25th of August. We needed to prepare, not only for the media onslaught but several legal niceties also needed to be in place, so we had to let some people know in advance. It was time to call our old friends at the IPR, The Great Pacific Northwest Indigenous Primate Research Center based at the University of Washington in Seattle. I had, in fact, been in touch with them all along, setting up the things for which we needed their expertise and political clout. I made a call to Professor Rubin Evanzine, director for IPR, and gave him our good old "eagle has landed" code so that he understood to continue the conversation in privacy and not blurt out "My God, Our Bigfoot is BACK?" in a roomful of journalists. Then I handed the phone to Adam, who made the arrangements we needed to. Evanzine was eager to come out and visit us and meet the five new Nokhons, still savoring the anthropological thrill of his conversation with Sha-haka Dagrolyt. We all agreed that we could not take the five new Nokhons into town until we had paved the way for a smooth entry into civilization. No surprises would be best, we let them know what to expect, let the world know who they are. No shooting of wild Bigfoots, please. That meant that we had to establish identities for them, get some usable ID for them, establish what legal rights they had, confirm that they were all born in the continental USA and therefore American Citizens. Otherwise Immigration Authorities would roll in and take them all away, to who knows what fate. Adam's right to be considered a Human Being had already been legally established when he was a child, so we had precedence with which to debate any legal questions. Fortunately, the IPR was still in contact with some of the same lawyers we had worked with back then. While Adam had been away Melly had been working on our "Secret Project", organized to correspond with Adam's "Shaman Vision". It was time for that to go public and we expected to become involved in a complex legal battle over ownership of large areas of land and natural resources, certainly against some very powerful special interest groups. We expected it to get nasty. Therefore, one of the potential legal problems we had to consider was Masnia. To wit: how old was she? If word got out that Adam was having intimate relations with a minor, that could cause legal repercussions for everything. But was she a minor? We didn't even know. In the Nokhon culture Masnia had fulfilled the age of consent: once a female produces shy°ma she is an adult, Nokhons do not count years since they have no concept of a calendar. But in our culture, we do, down to the hour, minute and second if a legal point can be won. As Doug put it: "If we're going to go up against big-money organizations with teams of lawyers and investigators, it'll probably get dirty enough without Adam being accused of sexually abusing his 12-year old sister." "She's not 12 and usually she's doing all the abusing, " Adam protested, "Besides, no squatch considers her my sister, not even her." "Doesn't matter what squatches think--or even what the truth is," Doug pointed out, "if there's a loophole or legal nitpick the opposition can exploit, they'll jump for it. And she looks young, so we'd better legally ascertain her age before someone with an agenda asks." "Agreed," I added, "fortunately, we've got anthropology science people from IPR coming out here Saturday anyway, so let's tell them we need to ascertain the ages of all our guests, among other things; like disease control, everything the authorities might want to hassle them about. I'll make sure the IPR sends a dentist to check their teeth." "If she's over 18 years old we have no problem," Doug said, "or 16 if Adam is less than 60 months (5 years) older than her...and that might be cutting it pretty close." Doug still had those numbers from back when he had been trying to protect another young girl from Adam's clutches. "Otherwise we'll either have to send her back out into the woods or..." he stopped, unable to say the next words. Adam said them, "Or make me promise not to have sex with her anymore?" "Sorry, Adam," Doug said, looking quite ashamed, "I didn't mean to..." "I know, Doug, don't worry, everything you said is valid. But Masnia may not go along with either plan." "What choice does she have?" I heard myself asking. Adam laughed. "You all know that the Nokhontli breed their few children with genetic talents, like they did me. I recently discovered that Masnia was specifically bred to become an Elder of the Ultimate Nine, the rulers of the Nokhon Nation. Actually, as you've all been witnessing, she has many talents-- but foremost the power of persuasion. Masnia tends to get what she wants."
Adam told Masnia about the problem of her age, explaining that some men would do some tests to see how old she was. She asked Adam, "How many season-cycles do you want me to be?" Squatches aren't good at numbers, not even Adam, so he held up 10 and then 8 fingers. She could understand that meant 18. The anthropology guys from IPR came out to us on Saturday as arranged. They were all very excited about meeting the new sasquatches, especially because this was a First Contact situation for them, an exclusive meeting without a crowd of journalists and other tourists to mess it up. This was Pure Anthropology! One of the older technicians was a relic from the good old days at IPR, back when the Baby Bigfoot of Monroe was the new scientific wonder. Now it was Adam helping them by asking his squatch friends to cooperate even though all the skesk-instruments made them nervous. Adam was first to be tested, to show the others that there was nothing to fear, then the new Nokhons were tested for everything possible. Later comparisons would be made between Adam and the five sasquatches as yet uncontaminated by the American Way of Life to see who was most healthy. But none of them were less than superhumanly healthy, even Adam after a lifetime of candy and burgers. It was a scientific orgy. Later followed by a vegetarian barbecue and lots of beer (the squatches had tried beer before, but since it only made them sleepy, they preferred a mix of cranberry-apple juice). We made a bonfire, Adam and Masnia played and sang songs in Nohontli. We did bilingual stand-up comedy routines, everybody laughing at the stupidest jokes. Vocabulary was traded between Nokhons and Nokhsos. It was indeed a happy flock of anthropologists who went home around midnight. And an equally glad bunch of squatches who had found out that hey, these Nokhsos are all right guys. Masnia, it had been determined, was 19 years old. We all nodded and said, "Oh, good, that's what I thought." But believe? Later, in private Adam said to me, "Nineteen years old? That's impossible! She was pre-pubescent when I met her last year. Sixteen, maybe, fifteen more likely." "You're trying hard to avoid saying fourteen, aren't you?" I teased him. Adam asked Masnia about it, "What did you SAY to the men who were looking at your teeth?" "Ohhh, nothing," she replied, so innocent, "I just told them I HOPED I was this old..." She held up two hands with 10 fingers, then two hands again with 8 fingers...and then let one more finger spring up, just to make sure. It's true: Masnia really does get whatever she wants.
We had been doing specialized language sessions, teaching the Nokhons polite phrases for the television cameras that would be pointed at them on Monday. They knew about video cameras since we had already been using them as a teaching tool, filming them while they said an English phrase and then showing it to them so that they could see how bad their diction was--although they were really only concerned about how good they looked. Either sex was equally vain; kind of funny for big shaggy monsters. At one point Doug pulled Adam aside to apologize for the other day: "Look, Adam, I feel like an idiot for saying all that about..." "Abusing my 12-year old sister?" "Yes, I certainly didn't mean to moralize, but it WAS a potential legal problem. And then I had to say something that reminded me so much of what I've done to you and Melly...for which I may never forgive myself." "Look, Doug, I won't say forget it, but I know why you said those things: you're worried that it's my turn to break Melly's heart." "Well, uh...guess that could be." "I won't do that, I prom..." Adam bit off the final word. They looked at each other in mutual disbelief, then relaxed and shared a laugh. "That was close," Doug said, "you gotta be careful what you promise, Adam." "Yeah, thought I'd learned that." "But the truth is, I don't think I was after you about Masnia because of Melly. I DO trust you not to break her heart, and she's so absolutely in love with you that she's yours under no-matter-what conditions." "I wish I believed that." "Sure, she's been upset by things that have happened between you, and she'll probably be pissed as hell to find two extra girls in her bed--I guess you've got four now, you bounder!--but she will never leave you. I know her and I can promise you that." "Actually, I know that too. My Vision showed that Melly and I would be working together all our lives." "Well, there you go." "Yeah, but there was never any guarantee that we would be HAPPY together," Adam shrugged, "but who ever gets that anyway?" Then he changed the subject, "By the way, Doug, I have figured out why you were so after me about Masnia." "Yeah? Kind of ironic, huh?" "But understandable, she's a fascinating creature." "Look, I know you Nokhons are into sharing each other at a Kha-rat, but is it all right if I... can she..?" "Masnia chose me, but I don't own her, or Magga. I love them both, but in the squatch way. So you can TRY to seduce her, but understand that she's not promiscuous, not even at a Kha-rat. She's already learned that too many males desire her and is unwilling to satisfy them all. However, if SHE wants YOU... well, Masnia always gets her way." Doug pondered something for a moment and then said: "You know, Melly CHOSE you too, Adam. Even before you met. She was three years old, we were living in California, the Baby Bigfoot of Monroe came on TV and she pointed and shouted...hey, I want that! Then she talked us into moving to Washington State to get you." "And here we are," Adam finished, without much enthusiasm. But Doug was not finished yet, "The thing is, you DO own Melly. I've learned that by trying to control her, she's my daughter, but not mine. She has always been yours." "She owns me too." "Oh yeah, she certainly does, man," Doug affirmed.
Monday morning at 9:00 we called the three major television and radio stations in Seattle, several newspapers, Reuters Agency, CNN, and announced that Adam Leroy Forest had returned and was scheduling an open press conference today at Forest Hacienda, 2:00 in the afternoon. There's not much I need to report about that, it was all over national television by the same evening, one can still see Adam's statements and subsequent interviews on You Tube or read about it in some of the books that have been showing up. So I'll just summarize: about 400 press and media folk were gathered in front of our house when Adam came out to meet them at noon. He gave the speech about having come back from his own people, those we call Bigfoot and Sasquatch but whose own name is Nokhontli. He told how they have always lived secretly in the mountains and forests of the Great Pacific Northwest and introduced five of them to the world. They were dressed in the white clothes Elaine had made for them, their hair washed and brushed, you almost couldn't see that they were sasquatches until you compared their size to normal people, but on a TV screen--as most people in the world first saw them--they looked like humans of some indistinct race, perhaps Hawaiian. The five Nokhons were obviously nervous, but well trained in how to behave as civilized people. They spoke broken but comprehensible English and pronounced their names for all to hear, thus establishing their identities. As newsworthy as this had been for the journalists, there was the extra high-octane moment when Masnia stepped forward to say her name and pose for all those cameras. Flashes blitzed, telephotos zoomed, all capturing that exotic pixie face and those profoundly clear green eyes as she spoke in her own special accent, "Hello, my name is Masnia, I am nineteen years old and am so happy to be exploring this wonderful new world of music and light. Thank you." There was a loud collective gasp, comments about how beautiful she was, a sudden flip-over of any concept or prejudice anyone had ever believed or imagined about Sasquatches. And then the explosion of applause, they liked her. A star was born. Then Adam announced his intention to establish an official territory for these citizens of the Nokhon Nation, which had always secretly coexisted away from civilization, but now had to make their presence known in order to survive the ongoing plundering of the planet by Mankind. He planned to open an embassy and consulate for contact and communication with the Nokhontli people and begin negotiations for their right to a place to live undisturbed in whatever remains of the American wilderness. And for those Nokhons who so chose, also implement their right to join American society as indigenous natives. There was a bit of fuss about that. Afterward there were questions about how Adam planned to reclaim land that was already owned by the Government or large corporations, to which he responded, "Buy some of it, apply for land grants, much like the American Indians have done. But not to create reservations." Only one journalist, a free-lancer for Rolling Stone Magazine, thought to ask about the future of the Squatch & Friends Band. "I'll see when I have time for that," was all Adam said about it.
The press conference was to start at 2:00, but by noon the crowd gathering outside had already grown to gargantuan proportions due to curious people arriving to be part of the event. Most came from around the Monroe area but cars from Seattle and Everett were caught up in the growing traffic jam. We had expected that and had a plan to get rid of them all. Adam announced that we would now like to show our new Nokhon friends a typical American small town. Monroe was only seven miles away, but for these people of the wilderness it was as far away and alien as another planet. So Adam invited everyone to come along on a walk into Monroe, along with six Nokhons out to take a tour of the town. The mayor of Monroe, Stan Waller, was with us. He and I had discussed the logistics of such a move and he was all for it. The publicity it would bring the town was one thing and the money to be spent by hungry and thirsty sasquatch-tourists was hardly to be ignored. Fortunately, the annual Evergreen State Fair was not due to start for a few more days, or the town of Monroe might just explode at the seams. Seven miles is nothing to a squatch, but can be a long walk for some people, especially if they had to walk back to their cars again, so we gave the cars a head start just to get them out of the way. They sped off to Monroe to begin the party ahead of us. Then Adam took the lead and marched out to Old Pipe Line Road with his five friends and several hundred people tagging along. It took an hour to walk to town with so many dancing in and out of the way, folk coming out of houses along the route to welcome the sasquatches to our world, offering snacks and beer, the smell of marijuana everywhere, it was a rolling party. The Monroe Chamber of Commerce had laid a red carpet where we crossed Highway 2 and passed into Monroe proper and a large hand-made banner that read "Welcome to Our Nokhon Friends". And then we went from free cups of coffee at Starbuck's to a tour of the local Safeway (all that food was amazing to them), on to visit City Hall, the Police Station, the fire Station and Monroe High School, home of the Bearcats (I tried to explain that I used to teach there, but my Nokhontli was missing words like "work", a concept they don't seem to have). The hospital was next, a gas station, onward to complimentary root beers at the A&W, passing McDonald's, KFC, Jack-In-The-Box. There, they had just seen America. The crowd was cheerful and I should SAY they were in good spirits, but it soon became too much for the shy Nokhons. Except for Masnia, of course, who was ready and willing to party all night long, as long as there was music. Around 9:00 in the evening we began to extricate our little group from the rollicking crowd that was Monroe and went back up the road to our Hacienda and our peaceful woods. I was tired enough of walking that another seven miles seemed like overdoing things, so Adam tossed me onto his back and the squatch track team sprinted home in under ten minutes.

Chapter 90

Adam out of Eden