Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Of Bigfoot, BBQ and Kudzu

Today at lunch, I stopped in at the local neighborhood market to pick up a diet Pepsi before heading back to work. The thirty dollar ho from across the road was in line in front of me (oh joy of joys.) She asked the cashier if she'd heard about that woman up on Split Branch who'd seen Bigfoot.

Huh? Why had I not heard of this?

A boisterous discussion ensued, speculation as to whether it was actually a bear or some old mountain man that had actually been seen, with the thirty dollar ho finally paying for her ho rations and leaving. I slapped my Pepsi down on the counter and said, "Okay, spill it. What the hell is this about Bigfoot?"

"Oh geeze, I don't know. It happened last week sometime. There were about forty men that came into the diner for breakfast on their way up to Mack's Peak (located on Split Branch.. It's complicated, stick with me here.) They told the waitress they were part of a Bigfoot hunt going on up there. There's some website where they contact each other for these hunts."

LAST WEEK? I can spit on the diner from my property. Anyone going up to Mack's Peak has to drive by my house and as ya'll know, you can't fart sideways in Frog Pond Holler without everyone knowing about it. Why hadn't I heard anything about this?

I went back to the office, giddy with juicy gossip. I called Bubbles and Thelma into my office, told them the story I'd heard and asked if they knew anything about it.

"Why yeah, I was in the diner when they came in," said Thelma. "They were all decked out in cami, we thought they were a' hunting bear, 'ceptin it ain't bear season, and they didnt have no dogs out in their trucks, we sent Junior out to check."

"We seen 'em headin' up the mountain on our way to church, Hubby told me what they was doin," Bubbles chimed in. "They had them big infrared lights mounted on top of their trucks, it looked like a convoy a goin' up there."

"Well, who exactly saw Bigfoot?" I asked.

Both of them shook their heads. "Some woman up Split Branch is all I heard," stated Thelma.

This was starting to sound like a Sci-Fi channel movie of the week or something. I couldn't believe there'd been a Bigfoot sighting here. I've never heard of any around here before. I mean, this is the South, not the Northwest. Kudzu monkeys... maybe. Bigfoot... no. Granted, there are some serious looking wooly boogers that come down of the hiking trail in the summer, with dreadlocks, strange piercings and the occasional kilt, but not Sasquatch.

I also found it really hard to believe that no one seemed to know just who this woman was who'd seen the thing. Everyone in a twenty mile radius would have known her identity within minutes.

I decided to see if I could find the website with the limited information the cashier at the store had given me. I did find it and sure enough, an expedition had been scheduled for our area last week. I wish I could post it here, but I know the locals are probably googling the hell out of it at the moment, so I'd better not. I spent some valuable company time on the site, but I figure it was for the good of the community *cough*. From what I can gather, there was no sighting. This group organizes expeditions in locations all over the country. Their data shows that the last sighting reported for our area was in 1899.

I'm no rocket scientist, but I'd say that particular critter has made his way to the great beyond.

Anyway, this group gets $400 per vehicle taking groups of 25-45 people. You must provide your own food, camping supplies etc. There's no fee for the camp sites. You must provide your own vehicle.

I'm a little pissed. These people are making a KILLING!!!


Taking a group of city folks out in the remote areas of the mountains, dividing them up in to groups, sending them out in the woods in the dark of night with flashlights... where I come from, we don't call that an "expedition"... we call that SNIPE HUNTING. If you don't know what a snipe hunt is, gimme a call. I'll be more than happy to take you on one. I went on my first (and last) snipe hunt at the ripe old age of thirteen, when I was attending the Triple R Ranch Christian summer camp program. I didn't sleep right for a month after that.

I feel I must interject here, that there may very well be a whole friggin' colony of Bigfoots.. Bigfeet.. whatever.. up in these mountains. There remains plenty of remote areas back in there, where something or a family of somethings could live unnoticed. Take for instance, the case of the panthers (mountain lions.) The U.S. Forest Service swears there aren't any left here, but there are numerous eye witness accounts by fairly sane and sober residents of the area. The Cherokee have a name for a large hairy man beast, said to have walked these hills for centuries, which some speculate could be the same creature as the legendary Bigfoot. So who knows?

It also occurred to me as I was writing this, that maybe there was a sighting by a member of the expedition, not by a local resident and perhaps that's where the rumor got started. I've been told the whole story will be in the county paper tomorrow. We'll see.

In the meantime, I'm thinking of starting my own "expedition" business.

"Mahala's Kudzu Monkey Search, Pork BBQ and Shindig in the Meadow."

You see, I figure, the rafting business is probably winding down for the season, so those rafting companies will be looking for some other sources of revenue. I can probably lease one of those big buses they use to carry rafters up river pretty cheap in the off season. I'll sell seats on the bus for about fifty bucks a pop. I just know city folk will be lining up for my hillbilly extravaganza.

I'll cart 'em all out to the edge of town where there's the biggest patch of Kudzu you've ever seen. I'll bet it covers nearly five acres. On the way there, I'll tell them all about the small, mystical, spear bearing creatures that reside in the depths of the invasive vine. I'll get 'em worked up real good. When we arrive at our location, I'll instruct them to line up around the edges of the Kudzu patch and slowly begin walking in, whispering in unison, "moooooooooonkEEEEEEE.... mooooooonkEEEEEE."

As they begin their quest, I'll climb the ladder to the top of the bus, sit back in my lawn chair, propped back with my diet Pepsi, cigarette hanging strategically from the corner of my lips, cradling my shotgun cocked and ready, just in case there's any mishaps. What? You didn't think I was going in there with them did you? Are you nuts? I'm not walking in that stuff.

As for the little critters themselves, I'll employ the assistance of my crazy old aunt who lives in a double wide at the top of one of the back country peaks about ten miles outside of town. She's got this pack of dogs on her property, which originated from two Pomeranians her father-in-law had and one Chihuahua mix she had. After ten years of fornicatin' and propigatin' and the sewing of wild seed, she's got about thirty little evil midget dogs running wild up there. You think I'm joking... but I'm dead serious. I figure, we can have old Crow hiding up in the far end of the Kudzu patch, in his overhalls that always reek of Penzoil and Redman chewin' tobacco, with those evil midget dogs in crates. Believe me, Kudzoo is thick stuff, you could hide a whole house in there. When I give the signal, he'll release them into the vines. The snarling, growling and whining of those little beasts is enough to make your hair stand on end. The paying customers, who by now are waist deep in thick growth, will only hear the sounds and see the rustling of leaves and will, undoubtedly, crap their BVDs. We'll have Joe hiding under the bus with empty crates filled with dollar store brand kibble and some left overs from the diner's breakfast offerings, to ensure that the little demons run the adventure seekers all the way back to the bus.

By now they'll all be spent from the excitement (and a little stinky from the need to change their delicate underthings) so I'll take 'em all down to Moe Ray's picnic area down by the river, where they can rinse off before dining on some good Southern pork BBQ, and listen to the rousing sounds of the FFA Bluegrass band.

Oh hell yeah. I'm gonna be rich.