Originally posted in my March, 2020 newsletter.
Retold from Oliver’s 3rd-person POV, and written using these words pulled from a random word generator (https://wordcounter.net/random-word-generator): match – vex – catch – fat – crave – delay – zesty – vigorous – mouth – ubiquitous
It’s mildly spoilery, but I wouldn’t worry about it. The blurb pretty much tells you (or at least very strongly hints) that Wilson will come across Oliver in Bigfoot form, and this scene takes place after that discovery. The story’s fun is in the journey getting there.
If anyone had told Oliver yesterday that today he’d be giving a piggyback ride—biggieback ride?—to Wilson, the sexy tabloid reporter he’d fallen for against all attempts to listen to the commonsense corner of his brain—not to mention his sister—he would have snorted an unbecoming, untwink-like laugh right in their foolish face. Hair glitter would’ve scattered from the sudden spasm of his head. Yet here he was with Wilson’s arms wrapped around his neck, and legs around his waist, traipsing through the woods surrounding one of the family’s remote cabins.
To say the leadership council in his ubiquitous extended family would be vexed by this turn of events was putting their expected reaction mildly, because who the hell knew what kind of headline the tabloid would dream up if Wilson went back on his word. But he wouldn’t; Oliver felt that to the center of his fat, furry soul.
“What about werewolves? Are those real, too?” Wilson’s voice was tinged with a twelve-year-old boy’s excitement.
Oliver spied a miner’s lettuce patch, gave a non-committal shrug, and came to a halt. Wilson’s inner twelve-year-old needed to chill until Oliver was capable of forming actual words again. Not to mention was less susceptible to the barely-controllable cravings that came with his shift into Bigfoot form.
Wilson hopped off and Oliver tore up clumps of the greenery and stuffed them into his mouth.
“How about vampires?”
Oliver affected a shiver.
“What’s that? A ‘you hope not’ or a ‘you’ve encountered them and they’re scary bastards’?”
Oliver tipped his head and heaved a sigh.
“Right…one question at a time. Was that a ‘you hope not’?”
Oliver gave a firm nod. Who knew for sure? Most people would scoff at the idea of Bigfoot existing, yet here he was. Just because no one he personally knew and trusted had ever encountered them, didn’t mean vampires and other shifters didn’t also exist.
“How much werewolf lore applies to Bigfoots? Is it all hereditary or can you bite someone and turn them?”
Again, Oliver tipped his head to the side and sighed.
“Sorry. Is it all hereditary?”
Oliver nodded, then some of the lettuce leaves still on the ground twitched. There was no delay in his instinctive reaction as he plucked up the small toad—whose camouflage green didn’t quite match the vegetation it was hunkering down under—and popped it into his mouth.
No catch and release for any hapless little critter that didn’t have the good sense to stay out of a Bigfoot’s sight. He narrowed his eyes and gave a vigorous chew as Wilson covered his mouth but manfully managed not to gag. Oliver kept his mouth closed and suppressed the sarcastic impulse to say, “Mmm, zesty,” because there was no call for rudeness and it would’ve just come out as a Chewbacca-like wail anyway.
Wilson’s face wasn’t quite as green as the leaves surrounding him. “Right. Not judging. Sorry.”
Sure. It was nice of Wilson to say, but would he really be able to keep himself from judging?
Oliver swallowed, winced—out of worry rather than from the toad’s taste—grumbled, and stood. He looked to the west. The sun was getting lower in the sky. He cocked his head in the direction of the cabin.
“We should get back?”
Oliver nodded, and oddly enough, he was disappointed that his time in Bigfoot form was coming to an end. Would Wilson still be with him for the next one?