I Am Bigfoot
by Paul Crehan
First, I want to publicly apologize for ripping the congressman’s head off. That was rude of me. In my defense, I had warned his people that we can smell deceit and find it lethally noxious. But they told me, ‘Oh, don’t worry about that.’ Yet when he came toward me, I could barely draw breath because of the stench coming off of him, so I feared for my life. What else was I supposed to have done? I couldn’t run away—you had me in leg irons.
If it’s any consolation to his loved ones, assuming he has any—because I mean, that smell!—I know his death was too sudden and quick for the man to have even registered its happening. Bigfeet have twenty times the strength and dexterity of our cousins the Great Apes.
And by the way, they’re not so great. You can’t have them over for dinner, because while we may throw acorns at one another when the conversation gets heated, they’ll shit right there into their hands and fling it. I can’t tell you the number of squirrel casseroles that have had to go uneaten because the Apes started a row.
Of course, you may think some of our own customs unseemly. As you know, I was captured a year ago, taught to speak a passable human, and did pretty well on the talk show circuit, except for that regrettable incident of flinging Dame Judi Dench into the studio audience.
With her, I simply forgot that I was dealing with a human. Among our kind, Tossing a Friend is a sign of affection, and since we’re too big to toss too far, no one is ever hurt. But she said something particularly nice to me, so I thought she deserved a particularly nice tossing. So I’m really sorry for killing her, too—and the audience member she slammed into.
I also want to apologize to that young actress I met backstage after the incident. I had made her mad by killing Judi Dench because now they had to cancel the rest of the show, and she didn’t get her chance to appear—and she’d been dieting for a month so she could fit into the dress she had on.
Anyway, as the PR person they got for me says, it’s been ‘quite the assimilation process’ for me, so there are ‘bound to be a few cross-cultural bumps in the road.’
Like for instance last month, when I was asked to leave the Winthrop-Highgate wedding. I felt really bad about that because I liked the human music—almost as beautiful as a brook, a lark, and the wind through an aspen playing all at once; and not having lived my life seeing a lot of white other than snow, it mesmerized me to see the bride covered head to toe in it and not shivering.
When she got to the front of the church and stood facing the priest, I did what we do at pairings to show respect. I made my way toward her and sniffed her butt. A good deep lung pull to show my profoundest admiration. I had assumed everybody else would follow suit, because, you know, somebody always has to be the ice-breaker, and that guy’s usually me.
I felt bad for the bride to see that no one else wanted to come up and sniff her butt. In fact, everyone looked so horrified that I had done so that I wondered what she might have done to offend them all. But it must have been pretty bad, because being the guy who dared show her respect got me escorted from the church.
But I understand that pairings can be times of stress. It is for us, too—bunch of family gathered when a lot of them can’t stand the sight of one another. I get it. I’m from a long line of Scratches-with-a-Stick, and we just cannot get along with the Pisses Anywhere.
But though we’re similar in some ways with human beings, mostly I’ve found that we’re very different from you. We’ve observed you from the shadows for thousands of years now and find you most uncivilized. For instance, you bury your dead. Why? We eat ours, as is only right. You’re not only taking in your loved one so that they become a part of you, but when protein can be rather difficult to come by, why would you waste it?
And about that, here’s something I’ll reveal. In more of your cemeteries than you may think, we have built elaborate tunnel systems. So once you plant your loved one in the ground and leave, we tunnel toward him or her, break through the coffin and drag off the corpse for consumption. It’s win-win. You still get to visit the grave and pay your respects, but the loved one you think is resting comfortably below is in someone’s belly and going for a nice walk in the woods. We’re good that way—respectful.
We also watch how you raise your children. Bigfeet children make sounds of protest too. But as quiet, stealth, and secrecy have kept us from your genocidal tendencies for generations, we absolutely cannot risk any kind of exposure by sound. So we must kill our loudly obstreperous kids. They get a warning—we’re known in the animal kingdom as tolerant parents—but only one. Anyone fusses a second time, we have to bash their heads in. Then eat them, of course. We’re strict disciplinarians, but very loving.
As to how we communicate with one another, typically we do so by mimicking birds. For Bigfeet in the Western United States, we laugh by mimicking the Scrub Jay or the Quail, and show sorrow by mimicking the Owl. Normal, everyday conversation is carried on in Towhee, but of course we have greatly expanded upon their vocabulary and grammar. Towhees are incredibly shallow birds—nothing at all meaningful to say, other than iterations of ‘I found a grub.’ ‘Where?’ ‘There.’ ‘Here?’ ‘No, there.’ ‘I just ate my grub.’ ‘You did?’ ‘I did.’
Interestingly, you call us ‘Bigfoot.’ But that’s a misnomer. First, the ‘big’ part. We’re not all that big. The average black bear, standing on his hinds legs, is about as tall as we are, but we’re a good hundred pounds lighter. As for the ‘foot’ part, all I can say is that all those pictures you see on the TV of big, weird footprints don’t come from us. Maybe from a freakish bear or puma, but not from us. You’ve actually seen our tracks, but don’t know that you have; because over thousands of years, we’ve developed ridges on the soles of our feet that leave prints that look like they’ve come from a stag, or, in the case of the Pisses Anywhere Clan, a bull elk.
You also have never found where we sleep because we have a rat-like ability to squeeze ourselves into the narrowest of spaces. If you’ve ever been on a hike in the woods and have seen even ten inches of darkness between the ground and a rocky overhang, you can be sure several of us are either asleep in there or waiting for you to pass. Also, as indicated before, we’re excellent tunnel makers, connecting underground cave to underground cave. Out of your sight, we have entire neighborhoods engaged in neighborhood activities. Our neighborhoods are well-lit, too, because we know where it’s safe to let the sun shine through in warm, breadth-y shafts.
Speaking of rats, by the way, you humans are altogether too hard on them. They’re very witty and unusually good poets.
The biggest reason you never find us is that our senses are keen. We can hear and see humans from one mile away, and smell them from three. Even deaf and blind Bigfeet do very well, because we can feel your tread on the earth a quarter mile out.
That I was caught was a fluke. I had a bad head cold—we get them—and because my nose was congested, I couldn’t smell very well. I was standing too close to a raging river, the vibration in the earth from it subsuming all over vibrations, and I had no line of sight because I was in a particularly dense bit of forest. I could smell the rotting corpse of a moose, but as it was so distractingly pleasant and powerful it masked the scent of the humans approaching me from just beyond it. They were within fifty yards of me before I got sense of them, and they shot me as I fled. They weren’t out to shoot me, of course, just out to shoot deer. But what a trophy I’d be. I was too injured to move, let alone kill them, so here I am in your midst today.
I make the best of it. I can’t return to my own, because you keep me locked up here, only allowing me out when you determine I’m not a flight risk; and anyway, how am I supposed to escape when you have me in leg irons all day every day? Even at the wedding and talk show I had to hobble around in them.
I’ve tried to break them, but we’ve only ever had to break rock and wood and bone. We’ve never developed strength enough to take on something like your iron.
So I’m your prisoner. I keep my spirits up so that it’s not horrifying to me. I like your sushi—it’s pretty much what we ourselves eat, and your vegetation is not dissimilar to a lot of our own, and in some cases, exactly the same—as with mushrooms and several fruits and nuts. You do need to feed me more, because I’m hungry all the time. But at least you remember to feed me at all, most days. So I’m grateful.
But I’m lonely. Lovely people come to visit me—and they care about me—but I was out gathering food for my mate and our children when your hunters came, and I wonder what my family thinks of my disappearance, and I miss them so badly I ache every day. And I cry openly, because why not? No need to hide anymore. No need to mimic an owl. People tell me that when I cry, I disturb them, because I sound so human.
About the Author
Paul Crehan produced for the television series, "Proof Positive." If he wasn't investigating claims of Bigfoot sightings, he was following up on tips about the whereabouts of dead Elvis and the latest mischief of Mothman. He speculates that he must have been a particularly bad producer, because he was never able to confirm a single sighting of Bigfoot, find dead Elvis where he was supposed to be, or link upset patio furniture to Mothman's impish ways.