Chris Brock's short story, "Bigfoot Walks into Town," won an Honorable Mention at the 2018 North Country Writers Contest
The Bigfoot wandered into Highville, one fine summer morning and climbed a large maple tree in the village park.
As the sun rose over the village, located in the foothills of the Adirondacks, Myron Jones, the owner of the Highville Diner in the shadows of the leafy park, told the regulars who were buzzing about the unusual wildlife development that the creature looked lost. It just sat there in a notch of two big branches, gazing over the village like he (Myron was certain it was a he) was trying to remember where he parked his car.
“It’ll find his way home,” Myron said over a batch of scrambled eggs, as if he was an expert of such things. “They always do.”
Clifford Answorth, a regular costumer of the diner, disagreed. Between sips of coffee, he said the beast wasn't lost but that it looked dangerous and theorized it was obviously planning an overthrow of the village. He also thought it purposely swam across the St. Lawrence River from Canada and came down the River valley, to its current perch, proving its insidious craftiness.
"Just you wait,” Clifford said. “That thing has friends. You’d better lock your doors tonight.”
The Highville Police Department was dispatched to the scene and set-up a command center, in the shadow of the tree, and the whole park was shortly surrounded by yellow crime tape.
“Jeez, I didn’t think Bigfoots were real,” Police Chief Bill Myers said, as he climbed out of his patrol car and glanced up at the creature.
The first thing he noticed was the smell, and he recalled reading about a particular odor that was reported with Bigfoot sightings.
“I think it has something to do with what they eat,” said Patrolman Richard West, who was waiting near the tree, with coffee. His laptop was open, to a Bigfoot information page and he was eager to share his newfound knowledge with the chief. “Did you know they eat cows?”
“I don’t care what they eat,” Chief Myers said. “Our first problem is getting it down. Maybe if he ate a crow or two, it would be a good thing."
"I said cows," Patrolman West said. "And we don't know for sure if it's a he."
"Whatever," Chief Myers said.
"And in Canada, Bigfoots are known to ride moose," patrolman West added. "It's how they migrate."
Backed up by such expert knowledge, a half dozen officers approached the tree carefully, looking up at each step, as if they were certain the Bigfoot was going to jump down onto them, like some sort of airborne Ninja. But fears passed as they got closer and nothing happened.
“He doesn’t seem to be bothered by us,” Patrolman West said.
They decided to shout something at it.
Chief Myers went to his patrol car, retrieved his bullhorn and spoke into it, the words coming out seconds apart: “DO … YOU … KNOW … WHERE… YOU … ARE?!”
“What? You expect him to understand English?” patrolman West said. “And I think he’d know that he’s obviously in a tree.”
Indeed, the Bigfoot just lazily looked at the officers.
“You’re right,” Chief Myers said, looking befuddled. “Call the community college!"
"Call the community college!" was like the village of Highville's Bat Signal. It was reserved only for such special circumstances. The chief theorized that maybe the college had a Bigfoot expert there who knew the language.
The closest they could find to a Bigfoot language linguist at the college was a part-time anthropology professor who once studied the mating habits of Ugandan ostriches.
“Close enough,” the police chief said.
But before the professor was dispatched to the scene, the college’s president hastily called a press conference.
“If the County gave us more money, we could afford to staff a Bigfoot expert,” she told a gaggle of reporters. “Our County, and perhaps our entire State, is now in peril.”
But the anthropology professor, who was flown to the scene via the Highville Fire Department’s helicopter, did have some useful information.
“Yes, this looks like a familiar case,” the professor told the police, pacing around the tree. “You know, ostriches often will chase their prey into trees, hoping they will later expire. I suggest you wait it out.”
But the police were already going deep into their overtime budget.
"That was the most useless advice I ever got," Chief Myers complained, when the professor was out of earshot.
The crowd was getting larger and members of the media were now streaming the event live. At noon, the fire department was called in. All were losing patience. It was obvious something had to be done soon, especially when politics entered the picture.
The local Democratic Party said the Bigfoot migration to the town was an effect of global warming. Meanwhile, the Republicans, despite obvious evidence to the contrary, declared the creature wasn’t a Bigfoot at all, but rather a well-fed, inquisitive bear.
As all of this was going on, the Bigfoot continued to look around, like a casual observer. It even nodded-off for a few minutes; its head resting on a branch.
It woke-up when a ladder was slowly extended from a fire truck to the tree. At first, the Bigfoot just looked at the device. Suddenly it made a movement, the first of its kind seen by the crowd around the tree, where makeshift signs -- “We Support Bigfoot,” “Health Care for Sasquatch,” “Don’t Let a Liberal Bigfoot Loose” and “Bigfoot for Congress” – had appeared.
The Bigfoot displayed a stick in its hands and loudly pounded on the ladder with it. The sound echoed off nearby buildings.
“That’s how they communicate!” Patrolman West said in wonder. “I saw it on the Discovery Channel! I think he’s calling other Bigfoots.”
“The plural of Bigfoot is Bigfeet,” the professor corrected him.
“I don’t care what you call them” Chief Myers said. “Let’s end this now. Bring out the tranquilizer gun.”
Patrolman West radioed back to the station. The one remaining officer there said the tranquilizer gun wasn’t available. Actually, the gun was available, but all the tranquilizer darts that went with it had been used up during crowd control at the County Fair.
“Well, maybe we should just shoot the darn critter with a regular rifle,” Chief Myers said. “It’s getting awfully late. And this crowd is getting too wild.”
So, they brought out a regular rifle, one of standard issue to the police force, and gave it to the village’s dog control officer, who did the duty. The Bigfoot slumped and its body got caught in some branches a few feet below from where it perched. As the sun set, a nearby roofing crew was available to retrieve the body. The roofers wanted to keep the Bigfoot, in order to stuff it for use as a mascot that they could place in front yards at their projects.
“No,” Chief Myers said. “Let the village figure-out what to do with it.”
But Highville Mayor Charlie James consulted with Chief Myers.
“I think we should bury it at sea,” the mayor said. “Like they did with Bin Laden.”
“Good idea,” Chief Myers said. “The last thing we need is a shrine to a Bigfoot at his grave, acting as an attraction for all sorts of loonies.”
They wanted to bury the Bigfoot in the deepest ends of Lake Ontario. But the best they could do was to rent the ferry that journeyed between Cape Vincent and Wolff Island. Under the cover of darkness, the Bigfoot was loaded aboard, weighed down, wrapped in a tarp and dumped overboard.
The boat crew, paid handsomely, thought no one saw the dumping and gave each other high-fives. But on shore, near the Cape, eyes peered out from the woods -- no one quite certain if they were of man -- or of beast.
By Chris Brock
This is Chris Brock's sixth fiction piece for TI Life. Chris is the features writer and a copy editor at the “Watertown Daily Times”, where he has won several writing awards. Writing humorous short stories is a hobby. He grew up on the St. Lawrence River community of Waddington, N.Y. Besides being honored at the North Country Writer’s Festival, Chris' works have been published in “Grit Magazine.” He recently was invited to do a reading of his collection of short stories, "Those Carp People and Other Tales of Life Along the St. Lawrence" in Prescott, ON. This amusing book is available on amazon.com. Click Here to see other works.
Posted in: Volume 14, Issue 2, February 2019
Please click here if you are unable to post your comment.