+ Literary Series
Freelancing for Sasquatch
iChat, Feb. 21, 2008
are you there?
You're alive! ;-)
I gotta type fast, and if I run out of juice you'll know what happened.
That's why I'm chatting you.
the hell are you?
a cave. In an elaborate network of tunnels beneath the lush forests
of British Columbia. I haven't seen the sun for a long time. I was
lucky to log on while you're awake. We don't go by day and night
down here. I still don't understand... There are no regular sleeping
cycles around here. Someone is always awake, but everybody is quiet.
The Sasquatch speak rarely, and when they do, they whisper. So...
I've lost track of time, unable to discern the day and time until
I was able to power up my machine just now. It's almost March?!!!!!
When are you coming back home? Are they keeping you there against
No... No, not really. I can't say for certain that I'm having a good
time down here, mind you... But I think I've gotten used to the smell.
In fact, they're the ones making fun of me now.
I'm the only creature around here with any residual garlic and onion
pumping through his veins, and underground caves don't seem to be
equipped with showers. I stink like a homeless man in mid-summer.
Have a little sympathy the next time you move away from someone or
hold your breath. This is a natural human smell, like it was for
a hundred thousand years. Somehow, we've come to find the stench
of our own selves intolerable. I think maybe it's just an indication
that we can stand ourselves in general.
bugs are getting to me. You're supposed to not mind letting earwigs
and pill bugs crawl all over you—you
just accept them. Subterranean insect life seems to like the way
not bred for this place. The Sasquatch find this very funny. I get
plenty of visits from everyone in the tribe, every single day. They
come to see what's funny about Big Pink today. It's like turning
on a sitcom. Yesterday, I had a centipede in my underwear—it
crawled right down my butt-crack. Wait... I don't have time to talk
about this. Power is rationed here like you wouldn't believe. It's
beautiful, actually. They've been harnessing geothermal energy for
what appears to be two centuries. But they only live with what they
receive. They never use more than they have been given.
means that I had to wait something like a month to come up near the
surface to power up and use their wireless satellite card to send
this message. This battery usually lasts about 45 minutes. So here's
the scoop: The Sasquatch are in trouble.
the club," you say? Yeah.
But I'm working for them now, so I have to figure out what I can
do to help these good people. I've had plenty of time to think, obviously.
But I'm stuck. They seem concerned by the long face I show them.
Are you still there?
was supposed to make them immune to our problems. But they can't
escape anymore. Their greatest concern is to preserve their culture.
They have a deep and passionate need to be left alone.
say their biggest problem is entangled in one of their biggest strengths:
their patience. Since
time doesn't pass for them in the same way that it does for us, all
of the modern cultural infestations that have spread over the world
so gradually for us have come into their lives more like wildfire.
They're terrified of the speed with which they must discern about
what to accept and what to reject, what to avoid and what to embrace.
They've never been bombarded with so much technology before. So many
new influences. And so many terribly odd cultural twists.
have two laptops. They have several pairs of hiking boots for particularly
rough terrain. They have obtained dozens of high-end sleeping bags.
Some of the younger kids wear clothing randomly—underwear
and baseball hats and sun-dresses, and they chew on coffee beans.
One kid actually shaved part of his face. His head looks like Ted
Kaczynski's and his parents are furious.
Are you still there? This thing is flaking.
know, this is an interesting case. They've come to the realization
that the discovery of their habitat and their people is inevitable.
But unlike other such "discoveries," the
Sasquatch are not ignorant of their choices, or ignorant of the consequences
of change. In fact, they are true masters of the management of change.
I think what they're looking for now is a smooth transition. They're
looking to negotiate a clean entrance onto the world stage, and they
want it on their own terms. They want to write this chapter of history
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