Monday, January 14, 2013

Sasquatch Fall

"Swishh, shake, shake, shake", Chris cocked his head to the sky and his insides fluttered.  Just like before his excitement was tempered with a paralyzing fear and the realization that as much as he told himself that he wanted this:  an experience with the legendary bigfoot, he knew that he couldn't hack it.  He wasn't brave enough.  He was a chicken shit little coward hiding in his sleeping bag frozen with fear.  Disbelief and incredulity flowed hand in hand like a tiny kayak over an enormous waterfall;  careening unstoppably towards a cataclysmic disaster.
He listened.  Something was rummaging through his backpack.  "The Last time" was three years ago when a group had tried to scare Chris and his roommates out of a remote campsite near this same area.  His friends had nervously laughed off the encounter but for Chris, who had witnessed a shadow return to his tent later that night and cast an unmistakeable silhouette over his tent, the experience had tattooed his brain leaving him a changed man.  The fact that he couldn't move a muscle during the entire episode, couldn't bring himself to roll over and grab his camera as the massive shape groped at the zipper, is what brought him back.  He wanted to test himself again to prove to himself that he wasn't scared of the "boogyman";  to prove to himself that he was brave and courageous.  But at this moment he realized that wasn't it at all.  He was here because he was curious.  All along he knew that even the bravest of men, when confronted by the legendary sasquatch in fur and blood, would balk at the chance to step up to him.  Seasoned mountain men were and have been terrified of the mountain devil for eons.  Native American culture professes a very legitimate respect for the validity of avoiding this creature and its territories at all costs.  The fact that he returned, alone, was enough to satisfy the question of bravery.  Unfortunately it did nothing to change the fact that the situation he found himself in at this moment was the last place on earth he wanted to be.
Summoning the courage that had eluded him in the past, Chris rolled to his side and fumbled for the video camera he had placed next to his sleeping bag, all the while waiting for his tent to cave in on him from the massive rush of an 800 lb beast.  As he got into position near the door and hit record, his heart thumped in his ears and he paused to listen.  Not a cricket nor frog nor boogeyman betrayed the suffocation of the most completely deafening silence he had ever experienced.  The thing must be frozen near my bag, waiting for me to make a move, it occurred to him,  so he can pounce, and once again Chris felt the petrification crystallizing  his body. Waiting, crouched by the zipper to the tent door, he could feel his muscles start to give and the feeling of being watched assuage.  From all he had learned of the forest giants, one never wins a game of cat and mouse with them.  He took a deep breath and with a deafening "ZZZZIIIIIP", aimed his camera light into the darkness.  A Kelty backpack reflected blue and grey from a crumpled pile of camp detritus then onto a tree limb, rocks, trunks, earth.  Whatever had been rummaging departed without notice as soon as he had turned for the camera.  If he slept at all that night, he was unaware of it, taunted completely by the lack of any sound.