(Wilson Banks is interviewing Emma Pearson, a Bigfoot witness)
“Could you explain in detail how he ‘looked’ startled?” Specifics like that were what would bring Wilson’s story to life.
Her head tipped to the side and her lips pursed as she pondered the question. “Besides the body language—he’d stopped short and recoiled—he wasn’t ‘scary close,’ but he was close enough for me to get a decent look at his facial expression.” She tapped her eyeglasses. “I didn’t need these back then. My vision was perfect.”
Wilson nodded, and she continued. “His eyes bugged like he was terrified.” She laughed. “He was afraid of me.”
Eyes “bugging”—and facial expressions in general—if her memory was accurate, would be a difficult feat to achieve with a costume. Possibly the fake Bigfoot’s head was more makeup than mask. But that would be virtually impossible to do with short notice. More likely her memory had slowly altered over the years.
“The eyes and the gasp are what jump out in my memory.”
“Was the gasp audible?”
“Yes. He also made a noise when he tripped while running away from me.”
“Can you describe his sound?”
“I would have been hard put to describe it at the time, but years later when I watched Star Wars, I couldn’t help wondering if whoever’d developed the voice of Chewbacca had heard a Bigfoot and mimicked the sound.”
Wilson smiled. Considering her Princess Leia hairstyle, the Star Wars tie-in could probably be taken with a grain of salt. “Did he look like Chewbacca, too?”
“It’s kind of the reverse. More like Chewbacca looks like someone wearing an exaggerated, extra hairy Bigfoot costume.”
He chuckled. “I like that. I’ll never be able to watch the Star Wars movies again without thinking of you.”
She grinned, then continued her narrative. “I was shaken, but I was also impulsive, and…” She rolled her eyes. “After pulling up my pants, I took off after him.”
“Wow.” That could have ended badly.
“I didn’t catch him, obviously. He was surprisingly fast once he’d gotten over his initial shock at discovering me.”
“Did you chase him far? Did you get lost?”
“No to both. It became clear very, very quickly that he could outrun me. So instead, I went to investigate the spot where I’d first seen him, because he’d made a noticeable noise running away, and I should have heard his approach. So I figured maybe he’d been squatting or sitting, too, and had only just stood up and taken maybe a step or two when I spotted him.”
“That makes sense. What did you find?” It was curious that Marvin hadn’t mentioned anything about physical evidence she’d gathered.
“A little patch that would have been a forager’s paradise. I could see where a bunch of mushrooms had been ripped off, a huckleberry bush had been stripped of berries, and a patch of miner’s lettuce had been torn up. There was barely enough left for me to identify it.”
Wilson’s brows shot up. “Interesting.” And indeed it was. Although it wasn’t tangible evidence she’d been able to bring back with her, it was, if she was to be believed, compelling. Because it was either an extraordinarily elaborate ruse, or it had been a bear. Except a bear would have run off on all fours, rather than re-standing to run after tripping. “And easy to see why you came to your conclusion.”
“Right? And please believe me, I’ve never been the kind of person who is easily tricked.”
“I believe you. And because I’m pedantic, I want to clarify. When you refer to your Bigfoot as ‘he’ and ‘him,’ are you using the male pronoun in a generic way, or was there something about the…creature you saw that makes you think it was a man?”
“He had…” She reddened and cleared her throat. “Dangly bits. And trust me, you couldn’t miss them.”
Wilson coughed. He kind of wanted to shake the hand of whoever had come up with a costume with that kind of attention to detail.
“Using language that I wouldn’t have known at the time, but looking back I can apply it, let’s just say he was proportional, and a ‘shower,’ not a ‘grower.’ Or at least I sure as hell hope that’s the case, because damn, my sixteen-year-old self was astounded and maybe a bit traumatized, and my sixty-six-year-old self is still rather impressed.” She grinned sheepishly, and Wilson laughed. He could see Jerry’s headline now…Bigfoot flashes teenager, scars her for life! Normal men pale in comparison!