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A large, excessively hairy inmate at the county jail had an anchor with wings tattooed on the back of his neck. Were you in the navy? I inquire.
“No, but my uncle was…”
Ah. Interesting. Did your uncle give you the tattoo, then?
“No.” Hard Look.
A conversation eventually develops, or seems to, I’m not sure; there’s no one else in the
cell, yet I’m certainly not doing any of the talking; but questions are being posed, sure enough, answered in a timely fashion; entire theologies flashing before our very eyes. I’m trying to detect a slight change of voice, perhaps some distortion of facial features – fill in a few intriguing blanks – when I’m suddenly thrust into the multiple personality spotlight (or, again, seem to be, he begins making eye contact at any rate).
What? I ask.
“Do you like baseball?”
Ah. As a matter of fact I do---
“Played T-ball once when I was a kid. Struck out. Didn’t have no mitt and my brother he…”
The sheer logistics of the notion hit me - Wow. Had no idea you could strike out playing T-ball, I mean, with the ball resting on the T and all.
Overhanging brow, protruding jaw, and his hands appeared slightly flat, no opposable digit. And that long, loping gate…
Could this be the Missing Link?
Homo erectus to Neanderthal, hunter/gatherer to agriculture, the possible bridge between fossils and modernity sitting right under our nose all this time! I was overcome with emotion, felt like Darwin standing on the pitching, heaving deck of the H.M.S. Beagle, staring out at the Galapagos Islands. I scrambled for pen and paper – must compile notes, I told myself, need facts and figures, measurements and chronologic order – these findings must be published. The world must know!
“What are you writing?”
Ah. Opportunity knocks…
Proceed with caution, I reminded myself, don’t want to startle or in any way provoke the beast. Perhaps if I can soothe and somehow coax it into slumber I might obtain a tissue sample, a hair follicle, anything; the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Royal Society will require proof, physical evidence. I mean, nobody in their right mind will believe such a creature (possessing the power of speech no less!) could possibly exist in this day and age and – egad.
Could this be a sighting?
Um, I’m writing a letter to my mom, I tell it. She lives up in Vancouver and I worry about her sometimes. They’ve got all kinds of weird stuff running around in the woods up there, you know, Bigfoot and all [trying hard at this point not to glance down but – oh my God! – they’re HUGE] or maybe they’re called Bigfeet, you know, in the plural. Any idea?
I think they call them Sasquatch and Yeti too, but, uh, you know, it’s probably all just a myth, right?
Say, have you ever lived up north?