Chapter 91:     Day In Court

ART reports events of Friday, August 29--

We were scheduled to attend a hearing in Seattle on Friday concerning the 
Government land grant we had applied for.  This would be our first case 
in court for the Nokhon Nation Project.  We wanted all the National Parks 
in the USA to become free range for Nokhsos, which would limit some 
activities by the lumber industry in general and be quite unhandy for 
future dam or freeway projects. We were to meet at the Federal Building 
in Seattle at 1:30 PM.

We had considered taking some of the squatches along to introduce them to 
a big American city, but decided it was unwise when we had important 
business to take care of.  Also because the only squatches who seemed up 
to such a culture shock were Magga and Masnia, definitely not the other 
three, and since both Adam and Melly had to be at the hearing, he deemed 
it wise not to flaunt them in her face.  Although she seemed to be more 
upset about Adam himself rather than his two squatch girl friends.

That the newcomers would need time to adjust to the stresses of Nokhso
civilization was made quite evident the day before.  We had driven into 
Monroe in two groups, Adam had Magga and Masnia, Pokey and I took the 
other three, Daworget, Dabababet and their woman Mazaha.  We wanted to 
spend a few hours in Monroe without a gigantic crowd swarming around us.  

We attracted attention anyway, but people managed to be polite, already 
becoming accustomed to seeing white-clothed squatches walking around town.  
The idea was to normalize the experience for everyone.

As part of our language and culture lessons, we had thoroughly explained 
the mechanics of money (work=pay/pay=work), which presented two absolutely 
new concepts to them.  We gave them some cash to put in their pockets and 
let them practice spending a few dollars to buy something they wanted. Of 
course, the only things they all wanted were cell phones like Adam had, 
which cost much more than the money they had been given, so we tried to 
teach them how to count and calculate a budget...which squatches just 
don't do.  They became frustrated and cranky.  But they cheered up when 
they found that they did have enough money to buy lots of junk food in 
McDonald's and the A&W.  (I remember thinking: My God, is this the best 
we can offer them?  Good thing Elaine was not along for that trip.) 

The point being that they were like children; big hairy 500-pound children 
intimidated by too much new input, embarrassing situations, traffic and 
noise and too many curious people always around them.  They became stressed 
enough to show signs of tempers fraying and neither Pokey nor I wanted to 
experience a Bigfoot tantrum (or 3!), so we drove them back to Camp earlier 
than planned.  And this was in safe little Monroe, where the inhabitants 
had been used to their own local Bigfoot for years, the very thought of 
taking them to Seattle...

Adam had a much better time with his women, taking them on an afternoon 
date.  They visited Pelosa's Restaurant, where he had played music many 
times and was well received as their favorite VIP.  He ordered French 
onion soup with bread and cheese for all three, teaching them how to order 
a meal, letting Magga pay the waiter (although the restaurant's owner 
almost wouldn't accept payment from his old friend Adam).  Then he took 
the girls to the Old-Fashioned Drug Store and treated them to a root beer 

Early that morning Masnia had asked Adam, "What is coveh uh voge?"  He 
eventually figured out that Melly had mentioned something like the cover of 
Vogue and explained what it meant.  When they came into the drug store 
Masnia noticed the rows of colorful magazines on display.  Since she 
couldn't read and neither could Adam, she went to the check-out girl and 
shyly asked, "Vogue?"  

The girl was surprised to see that her customer was a squatch--then doubly 
surprised when she recognized Masnia from television.  She got all excited 
and dashed to find a copy of Vogue for Masnia, who took it, looked at it, 
sniffed it, then paid for it with paper money.  She was confused about 
getting change back, but otherwise it had been a perfect foray into the 
Nokhso world of commerce.  And now she had a copy of Vogue to study, well 
on her way to becoming sophisticated.

Besides Adam and Melly, Elaine and Doug were also to participate in court. Elaine because she had been regularly involved in the meetings and paperwork leading up to the hearing, and Doug had been negotiating with some people he knew in the Government. I was just tagging along. So we five represented the Nokhon Nation Project. We all drove to Seattle together in the van, which became awkward because Melly was still freezing Adam out. At least she spoke to him civilly in public and seemed to have a professional grasp of the technicalities of our case, which she had constructed according to Adam's instructions, so there was no distracting awkwardness about our presentation in the courtroom. There were apparently many players involved and at least thirty of them present in the courtroom. This concerned some very powerful commercial interests, represented by a lobbyist group with four lawyers on their team. They were out to squash our squatch project flat. Our application was read aloud, discussions were opened, we made our case, the opposition made theirs. Democracy in action. It wasn't until after the pause that the shit started to fly. The opposition maintained that an application to establish the authority of some fantasy "Nokon Nation" was obviously a swindle, there being no proof that such an "underground government" existed at all. And even if it did, a few wild illiterate and uncultured half-apes did NOT have the right to interfere with the American Way of Life. Doug read off the list of American atrocities against Indians, slavery, Japanese-American citizen concentration camps during WWII, flourished with his flashy finishing statement: "...blah, blah, blah, ad infinitum." Melly reminded the court of their responsibility to the concept of Justice. Adam rebutted the accusation that Nokhons, such as himself, were nothing more than "half-apes" and did so with the hypnotic eloquence of a Sha-haka Orator. The audience even applauded. I recalled a teaching colleague of mine at Monroe High School, Ms. Lorna Lerwis, who had Adam and Melly in her Debate class predicting that "if those two ever went into politics as a team nothing could stop them". Well, here they were: even under these conditions of inter-personal strife, they presented arguments of words and logic that often left their opposition with no reasonable rebuttal. They were impressive and their juiciest phrases were quoted by journalists later in the evening news. So the opposition took the classic technique of revealing that their Bigfoot opponent was not the noble crusader he presented himself to be, but pervert and liar, disgracing him and everything he stood for. Most specifically: his attempt to enrich some fringe society of inbred fellow perverts. We almost flustered, wondering how much they knew about Nokhon sexual mores, or that one of Adam's women might actually be under Washington State's legal age of consent, but it turned out that they were only going after the oldest and most tired scandal of them all: Adam's relationship with Melly. It was that same old sodomy fable, big hairy Bigfoot abusing an innocent little White Girl, dug up from the archives of old American tabloids, every word therefore undisputed fact! Reinforced by Miss Melly Wielson's refusal to deny any such allegations on Nation-wide TV just three weeks before! It was utter nonsense, but effectively served to derail the proceedings anyway, while we had to waste words debating absurd accusations that had nothing to do with reality or the case at hand. All during these proceeding, there was much movement among the ranks of the opposition, lawyers would excuse themselves to confer with a colleague outside the courtroom, then return with a note for the other lawyers to read and nod. Doug whispered to us, "Someone outside is instructing their strategy. Wonder why he won't show himself?" Adam considered that for a moment and when yet another lawyer went out the door he got up and said in perfect Arnold style, "I'll be back," then followed behind, sniffing the air as he went. A few minutes later he was back, with a hugely fat man dangling by the collar of his gray flannel suit in his right hand (effortlessly, Arnold would have been envious). Everyone in the courtroom jumped to their feet, shocked by the sight of a Bigfoot gone amok. Adam looked so angry that even we wondered. He charged up to the front of the courtroom, brushing heavy benches full of people out of his path as if they weighed nothing, a force of nature coming through and everyone scrambled to get out of his way. Adam plopped the fat man onto his butt, who gasped a much needed breath of air, and stood straddling him as he addressed the court: "These people who falsely accuse me of immoral behavior toward my dearest and oldest friend are working for THIS MAN. I know him, I recognize his smell from when I was kidnapped at the age of five." This was right out of a classic TV courtroom drama: surprise witness, murmuring crowd. Adam understood that and did a Perry Mason routine, delivering information with impeccable calm: "Some of you people here might even recall that incident, it was big news back then: the Baby Bigfoot of Monroe had been snatched by a professional group of operatives. Well, they were working for this man." "It wasn't me, it wasn't..." The fat man was a blob of quivering jelly. "Silence!" The impact of an Orator's command shut up everyone in the room. "You stink of lying and too many cigars." To the rest of us he went on to say, "He wore a mask but can't disguise his own special reek. He had me chained in a cell and at one point I heard him say to his agents we’ll have to bring the surgeon here...see what we can carve out of this little ape. Then he had my mattress taken away so that I had to sleep on the cold cement floor. I escaped before the surgeon came, but it could have turned out differently." "You can't prove any of that!" the fat man wailed, looking around desperately for someone to come to his rescue, but no one was about to interfere with an angry Bigfoot. "You have no witnesses!" Adam pushed his face down close to the fat man and sniffed. "I don't NEED witnesses; I can smell exactly who you are. You drank a whiskey soda this morning even though it can't be good for your ulcer. You smell faintly of an older woman with cheap perfume and beer, last night's prostitute I assume.." then he pulled back, "..but I really don't LIKE how you smell, so enough of that." The Judge at the front of the courtroom worked up the courage to ask: "Er, Mister uh Forest sir, kidnapping is a very serious allegation. DO you have any kind of proof? Otherwise..." "Perhaps I do," Adam said. "For many years I had no idea of how I had escaped from that cell, it was a blank. Until I recently recalled that I had hypnotized my captors to let me go." "Hypnotized? At five years old?" "Hey, look at me: I'm a Bigfoot, maybe shaman traditions are genetic, who knows? It was by instinct, not design. And it could be that I hypnotized this man too. Let's see if it still works, fifteen years later." Adam closed his eyes, took a deep breath and chanted a short verse from his song Mean to Me, which seemed appropriate. Then he ordered the fat man to "Tell us who you are." The fat man answered calmly, "I am Jebediah R. Murgatroid. I've been hired by the group of industrial concerns who have a problem with your project, because I specialize in damage control..." he went on and on until Adam stopped him. "Who were you working for back when you had me kidnapped?" "Nascant Medicinal Corporation, they wanted to secure copyrights for any potential commercial applications for synthesizing Bigfoot blood. At the time they thought there was money in it, turned out wrong." "But anyway, you were willing to commit murder if it came to that?" "I was to ascertain that you never testified against us, but since you weren't a real human being it wouldn't have been murder." "Thank you for your testimony, Mister Murgatroid," Adam said contentedly, un-straddled the fat man and walked away without ever looking back at him. We left the courtroom in chaos. Any decision the court made would probably be delayed for a while.
Since we were all in Seattle we decided to go eat in our favorite Mexican restaurant on Capitol Hill, where they were also used to Adam and no longer made a fuss about him being a Bigfoot (although those Mexican mamacitas had gone pretty crazy about him when he was just a little kid). We took our time, hung out for a while. Our plan was to give Adam and Melly a chance to talk things out. She and he had been talking court business all day, but her every sentence short, terse, never smiling, just barely polite, avoiding his eyes. Adam was patiently riding it out, neither desperate nor pleading, a proper gentleman, but he was clearly unhappy with the situation. Finally, as we arrived at the restaurant, he asked her to go for a walk with him through Volunteer Park instead of eating. She agreed, reluctantly perhaps, but resolved to deal with the problem. Off they went, our hopes with them. Elaine, Doug and I ate lunch, had a beer each and discussed what had happened in court, avoiding the subject of Adam and Melly. But when they joined us again an hour later, they too avoided the subject of themselves and they were both silent for the entire trip home to Monroe. That evening the band had a rehearsal. They sounded better than ever, so we assumed that the kids must have resolved something after all. Afterwards I asked Adam directly if things were getting better between him and Melly. "Oh, we've talked," Adam told me, "but it's not any better. Melly is having a hard time being around me, so we've arranged that I'll just stay out of her line of sight as much as possible. For now anyway." "But I could hear both of you playing with the band and the music was sounding really good, how do you two pull that off?" "Yes well, that's actually pretty strange: just seeing me makes her too pissed off to play well, but if she only looks at Liss and Pokey. she's completely in the groove with them and is her normal happy self. It really is matter of line-of-sight." Adam sighed, "Then she told me that she still loves me so much it hurts-- but only when I'm not around. Melly's afraid she's going crazy and so am I." "Maybe she should see a therapist," I suggested. "I mentioned that and she really lost her temper," Adam shrugged hopelessly, "shouting that she won't have me telling her what to do, etc. Maybe if someone else says it to her: you for instance." "It's just that to me and everybody else she seems perfectly normal--like you say, her usual smiling and happy Melly-self, so I don't know what kind of therapy to recommend. Do you think all this is because of the Slobbering Monster Incident?" "Must be," Adam admitted, looking very guilty about that. "Well, Melly did get a kind of therapy about that--from all of us. She refuses to let anyone outside of our little society learn what really happened that night. So we talked it over with her, gave her lots of hugs and kisses, she cried a lot--and then she seemed okay and got to work on both Squatch & Friends and the Nokhon Nation Project, doing a fantastic job at everything she touched." "Well, now she's doing a job on me."
The dramatic events of our court hearing in Seattle made headlines, late news on local TV stations Friday night, breaking news Saturday on the national networks, FOX, CNN. The arrest and prosecution of Mr. Jebediah Murgatroid, nasty-mean-evil-fat-Baby-Bigfoot-Kidnapper, had been fantastic publicity for the noble Nokhon-rights activists in opposition to the wicked big-money scoundrels and lobbyists. Weyembauer Lumber had even backed out of opposition, claiming that they wanted nothing to do with those unscrupulous lobbyists. The fat man had a task force of lawyers to get him out on bail and begin preparations for a legal battle, claiming that he had indeed been hypnotized --but today, not 15 years ago--and was then commanded to incriminate himself by confessing to a crime of which he was innocent. There was still no tangible proof against him. Nascant Medicinal Corporation was also subpoenaed and their lawyers were busy trying to wipe all blame onto J. Murgatroid and his associates, who had not been employed by Nascent for the last 14 years. We were enjoying the show on television, high drama and low comedy. Adam's face came on screen, an interview taped outside the courthouse: "..Mr. Jebediah R. Murgatroid is a man you hire to do dirty jobs. He has no scruples about committing crimes, including kidnapping and murder. He also smokes too many cigars, eats too much fried meat and stinks of a corpulent lifestyle." The interviewer says, "Considering the legal backup he commands, you must realize that there might go years before your kidnapper actually goes to trial, if ever. How do you feel about that, Adam?" And Adam answering: "I don't care what happens to him, our opposition has been thoroughly disgraced. I consider that almost fair compensation from J. Murgatroid and Nascant Medicinal."
The rest of the week passed with language being learned, lunch being served, and band practice in the evening. The squatches spent more time near the house, becoming comfortable with the lifestyle of our little society, even though it was much noisier than they were accustomed to. Masnia was learning to play the piano, and then came band practice later, some squatches enjoyed seeing a movie on the flat screen outside on the terrace, especially action-thrillers like "Die Hard", with Adam or Pokey translating one-liners. Magga and Melly were learning to communicate about Nokhon women's culture. Adam and Melly practiced ignoring one another as well as practicing beautiful music together. The band had been scheduled to play next Wednesday at the Evergreen State Fair and were almost ready, wait. Lissandra feels compelled to tell what happens next, since she was there and is still emotionally involved, so let's let her.

Chapter 92

Adam out of Eden