Karl vs. Bigfoot
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
"I see they're hunting for Bigfoot," said Karl the Curmudgeon, taking a swig of his beer. We were sitting at our favorite Ukrainian bar, enjoying a couple of cold Obolons, a Ukrainian beer brewed in Kiev.
Who's doing what now? I asked.
"Bushnell Binoculars and Field and Stream magazine are offering $1 million to anyone in the United States who takes a photo of Bigfoot."
"No seriously, Kid. I read it on the Internet."
On the Internet, huh? I read on the Internet that he was living at Graceland in the apartment over the garage.
Karl plonked his beer on the bar. "Now you're just making fun of me." He sulked in his seat, so I bought him another beer, which cheered him up.
"They know no one has ever actually seen a photo of Bigfoot. It's just a marketing stunt for their real contest."
What about that grainy Bigfoot video they show on Discovery Channel?
"A fake. The guy admitted he faked the whole thing before he died."
Did you hear about that on the Internet too?
"Nope, cable TV."
Oh, that's so much more reliable. How do you know he faked it? Maybe he wasn't real either. Maybe it was a couple of teenagers pretending to be an old guy making a deathbed confession.
"Shut up a minute, Kid, you might learn something. The real contest is for best deer photos, best non-deer photos, and funniest photos. But they'll cough up a million bucks if someone can find the real Bigfoot."
That's just stupid. I mean, is anyone actually crazy enough to look for Bigfoot in the freaking wilderness and. . . oh no, you're entering, aren't you?
Karl beamed at me. "And I'm going to win too!"
But there's no such thing as Bigfoot.
"How do you know?"
How do I know there are no eight-foot, fur-covered semi-humans wandering the Pacific Northwest? Oh, call it a hunch.
Call it a wild guess.
Call it rampant speculation.
"Kid, you're too smart for your own good."
My high school algebra teacher would disagree with you. Now there's a Bigfoot candidate for you. Hairiest math teacher I ever met.
"Kid, this isn't easy for me, but. . . well, I need your help." Karl plonked his beer again. Not his usual plonk of indignation and disbelief; it was a shy, almost humble plonk.
I'm sorry, Karl, I didn't know this meant so much to you. What can I do for you?
"I need a trail camera."
"It's a camera you mount to a tree so it can take shots of passing wildlife."
And what will you do after you get it?
"Mount it to a tree. Didn't you hear what I just said?"
I mean where in the country do you plan on mounting it?
"Hmm, that's a good question. New York, Florida, and Rhode Island residents aren't allowed to enter the contest, so they're out."
Why do you suppose that is?
"Don't know. Maybe Bushnell just doesn't like those guys."
Or maybe they know that's where Bigfoot is hiding out, and they're trying to keep people from collecting the $1 million.
"That's just plain stupid."
Said the guy who wants to take pictures of a yet-unseen North American ape.
"Fair enough. So you're not going to help me?"
I didn't say that. I actually want to see how far you're willing to take this.
"All the way to Washington State."
"You said yourself that Bigfoot's in the Pacific Northwest, so we'll head up there and see what we can find."
Whoa, what do you mean we, Kemosabe? I never agreed to this crazy scheme, I'm just helping you get a camera. After that, I'm done.
"Oh, don't be such a pansy."
Tell you what, I'll find you a camera, and you come up with the rest of the gear. The tent, the sleeping bag, the food – you'll probably need three month's worth – extra clothes. . .
And you'll need a way to transport it all, so you'll need an SUV. Of course gas is awfully expensive, so you'll need a several hundred dollars just to get there.
And God help you if he crosses into Canada. Are the photos even eligible if you take them in Canada?
"How about you just take photos of me in a gorilla suit in the woods behind my house?"
Now you're talking. Let's have another beer.