*FYI: starting tomorrow, March 8th, the Untitled Bigfoot Project posts will be going up at 9 am EST*
Upon that infinite notepad residing in his brain Albey jots down that it takes a few seconds for the doors to open, but they do eventually open. All he has to do is wait.
‘Well that sounds equivo–’ he begins to think and then stops as his legs do the same. ‘Who in the endless wood is that piece of action?’
The piece of action in question – nice save on the word choice, by the way, even though he didn’t say it aloud – isn’t facing Sidney, so she doesn’t see him stop between the twin metal detectors as if they detected a gun in his pocket. And no, that’s certainly not a gun in his pocket, he’s just happy to see her is all, and good lord does Albey need to venture outside his house more often, what the fuck, ’man?
‘How depraved am I?’
He gets walking again, ignoring the mean sneer from the pudgy fellow pushing a cart of newspapers into a room off in the back of the building while at the same time studying the way his large muffintop droops flabbily over his beltline to obscure the unsightly and frankly embarrassing bulge in his slacks. What is he, thirteen? Is this the first time he’s seen an ass (a perfect ass which is clearly no stranger to the ancient art of squatting) wrapped snugly in black yoga pants like a Christmas present just begging to be torn opened and squeezed?
‘Sidney,’ Sidney scolds himself. ‘You need to chill out.’
In addition to knocking off the weed habit, Albey decided to make things as difficult as possible for himself and give up masturbation and porn and everything else which leaks dopamine into the mind of a hormonal twentysomething with a lack of things to do, but now’s no time to get into all that. There’s never really a time to get into that, he’s just giving himself an excuse to think about sex and what that girl might taste like an–
Fine. Sidney, hands defensively in his pockets, walks up to the big circular librarian desk and picks up a pamphlet about the cost of not returning library books on time and tries very hard not to sneak a peek at the piece of action’s action as she bends over and picks up the book she just dropped Jesus Christ I’m in a bad way, god help me.’
A few seconds later the action turns around and starts a bit, but not because she caught Albey staring at her. He might be a bit rusty with the whole human-to-human interaction thing, but downright sloppy Sidney Blake is not. She just didn’t hear him walking up is all, as the wheels on that cart the pudgy boy is ferrying from one room to another are squeaking so loudly, more than loudly enough to cover the sound of Albey’s skater shoes licking the carpet like Albey would like to lic–
‘Sidney Fucking Blake!’
“Hiya, can I help you?” asks the piece of action from whom Albey would love some help.
“Hi, I think you just might,” Sidney says, wishing he hadn’t as he sloppily shoves the pamphlet into his back pocket, crumpling it past readability. I think you just might. It wasn’t that bad, was it? Nah, not as bad as this seconds-long pause though. Good grief, this boy. “I uh, I recently moved back into town and there was no library here when I left. I figure I need a library card or something, right?”
“Perhaps,” she says, then bends over slightly to tap on the low-lying keyboard. ‘Don’t look down her shirt whatever you do oh god I looked oh god she’s so perfect,’ “Uhh… shit. I mean, shoot. Hold on a second.”
She turns and scampers off to a room to Albey’s right – an office, as evidenced by the view through the large two-paned window with chicken wire pressed between the panes for whatever reason – and Albey decidedly does not look to see her ass jiggle. It definitely jiggles, as this girl is clearly no stranger to the ancient art of squatting, and though Albey feels exhausted with himself for thinking these things, he does not watch the piece of action’s action perform its action as she scampers off to the office, and that’s something.
It’s really not much, but it sure is something.
‘I need to take a fuckin’ ice bath.’
The piece of action comes back to the librarian desk not a minute later, walking calmly, confidently, and without jiggle. Sidney is very grateful for this, for battling temptation is a fool’s wager and our boy’s in no position to gamble.
“So, you don’t need a library card if you’re just coming here, but you do need one if you want to take out books.”
They look at each other for a second like two complete strangers who accidentally locked eyes in the subway and now neither of them knows what to do.
“Sooo…” she says after a moment, “are you going to take out any books?”
“Books? Uh, no. Probably not,” Sidney says, setting himself up for something he’s not nearly alpha enough to pull off. “I’m just here to do some research. I can hang out and work here, right?”
“Yeah, of course,” the girl says with a friendly smile. “That’s what libraries are for. What are you studying?”
“Oh uh, no, I’m not–… I’m actually writing a novel about… uh.” He laughs sheepishly at himself, then, “About… bigfoot.”
“You’re writing a novel about bigfoot.”
They look at each other again, neither sure what exactly they’re doing here.
“I am,” Sidney says, catching a wave and putting his hands on the table, “so I guess I should ask you if this fine establishment has any books on the subject.”
“Books about bigfoot,” she says flatly, then shrugs her shoulders (and another part of her – two parts, twins to be precise – that Albey goes to war with himself to not look at, good lord he needs to get out more). “Honestly, not the weirdest thing I’ve heard today. I’ll check the system for you, hold on juuuust a sec’.”
Honey, Sidney Blake is holding on for dear life. Believe that above all else.
“Thanks!” he chirps, hoping she didn’t notice the little crack in his voice. Her grin says she did, but her lack of words says she didn’t, so that’s… something, he guesses. “I’m uh, I’m Sidney by the way.”
“Victoria,” she says whilst struggling to understand the system. “My friends call me Tori though.”
“Yeah? Then what can I call you?”
“Ugh…” she says under her breath, stabbing Albey in the throat with an icicle and spilling blood everywhere. “Sorry, that wasn’t for you, the computer’s being stupid. It’s my first day, I don’t know how this sh–… system works. Le’me go get someone.”
As she goes to get someone, ‘Don’t look at her ass don’t look at her ass don’t look at her lovely heart-shaped ass,’ she stops and turns around to say, “You can call me whatever you want, by the way. Just don’t call me Vicky.”
“What about Vic’, then?” Sidney challenges. Vic’ shoots the boy an almost astonished smile over her shoulder, then goes about getting someone. He pulls out his phone so he doesn’t watch her go.
‘Oh yeah, got all the inspiration I need,’ Sidney thinks to himself, scrolling through his apps to watch all the pretty colors. As he locks his phone and slips it back into his pocket, ‘Let the notetaking begin.’
Tori comes back with the pudgy boy in tow. He’s not a boy, dude’s got to be at least ten years older than Albey is, easy, but he lacks the demeanor of a man… or maybe Albey’s just feeling himself for the first time in a while. Maybe both, maybe neither, but it doesn’t matter, they don’t share an interaction. The pudgy boy – Denny, according to his nametag, and why didn’t Sidney look at Victoria’s nametag? Because it’s pinned on the slope of her left tit, of course, and looking at said tit might come off as rude – mumbles to Tori as he jabs impatiently at various points on the screen. Tori, shuffling her hands, nods as if she understands whilst simultaneously exuding an aura that shouts she doesn’t, but then she suddenly calms down. Denny the Pudge finishes his lesson and hustles back to whatever he was doing, jiggling in all the right places, and suddenly Sidney is alone with a politely smiling Vic’ again.
“Sooo,” she says when the pudgy boy is out of earshot, “he didn’t really help at all, but I think I got you covered.” She reaches for a shelf under the desk, to the very spot her eyes darted the instant before she shrugged off Denny’s harried mumbling, and pulls out a book. “You’re probably go’n’a need to peruse the uh… the nonfiction section, I guess, for other books about bigfoot by yourself, but this one should get you started.”
Sidney takes the book and thanks god he didn’t awkwardly brush her fingers with his. Could you imagine?
“Footing the Bill,” Sidney reads, astounded, “The United States’ Government’s Role in the Mythization and Encroaching Extinction of the American Sasquatch. By Jeff Meldrum.” He gapes at her, unable to believe the reality around him.
“What, is that no good?”
“No, this is, fuckin’… oh, uh, sorry. This is perfect. Thank you, Vic’.”
“No problem, Sid’,” she says, then her eyes dart over his shoulder. “Oh no…”
“Whuh–” as he starts to turn, but he doesn’t finish. Doesn’t need to. Sidney could recognize that voice anywhere.
“Well would you look at this, Vicky decided to show up for work today!” booms Harrington Bogspekti, all fiveish feet of the lad. Sidney decides to turn around anyway. “And,” then Harry gasps, throwing a hand to his chest and planting his feet in faux shock. “My stars, it’s Albey Blake! He lives after all!”
Now, human telepathy almost definitely isn’t a thing, but Albey swears he hears Tori’s voice say, ‘I thought your name was Sidney,’ in his mind, and he duly answers, ‘It is, that’s just an old nickname, I promise.’ He then turns to look at her but she’s on the other side of the circular desk arena thing, mindlessly shuffling papers in hopes that this moment will end.
“Hey Harry,” Sidney says, making his approach. They clasp hands and brohug. “So I finally came to check out the library! You got good timing, ‘man.”
“I’m always right on time Albey, c’m’on. You know me better than that.” He then folds his arms as if he was waiting for something.
“Yeah, I sure do,” and thus begins the silence highlighted by the squeaking of rusty wheels. He holds up his bigfoot book then, saying, “So uh, I got’a–”
“So uh,” Harrington mocks, then throws an arm around Sidney’s shoulder and leads him to the big front desk. “Me thinks you owe me an apology, Mister Albey. You too, Miss Vicky. Bring yo’ fine self over here, would’ya?”
Victoria rolls her eyes, but does as she’s asked.
“Vicky, this is my boy Albey. That’s not his real name, of course; his government name is Sidney Blake, but he goes by Albey because he’s a hardened criminal on the run from the law. Albey, this is Vicky, the prettiest brunette this side of the One’One’Five.”
“Huh, look at that. She has brown hair,’ Albey thinks to himself, adding, ‘And hazel eyes. Very nice hazel eyes.’ Then, verbally, “Yeah, we met already. She hooked me up with this book. Speakin’a’which.”
Albey tries to shrug Harrington’s hairless arm off his shoulder but fails miserably.
“She hooked you up, huh? Easy there, Albey, don’t go try’n’a steal my girl on me.”
Victoria looks appalled. Sidney feels exactly how she looks. Harry probably doesn’t feel anything at all, just that bottomless void in the center of his mortal being.
“No I, I uh, I wasn’t–”
“Sure y’were, dude! Just look at her!” Harry says much too loudly. Where’s Denny the Pudge when you need him? “Hell, I don’t know how you couldn’t look at her!”
“Okay, can we not, please?” Victoria asks, desperately wanting to get back to work.
“Sure, we can not all day, princess. Just as soon as you apologize.” Harry turns to Albey, still smiling that toothy, seedy smile. “You too, lover boy. Hell, if y’all both say it at the same time I might even get a good laugh in.”
Albey looks at Vic’, who’s looking right back at him, hey, look at that, and then they both turn back to Harry.
“What do you want us to apologize for?” Albey asks seriously.
Harry, finally taking his arm off Sidney’s shoulder, recoils as if struck. “Uh, well, you both missed my party last week. Or whenever it was. And I cannot lie, I was hurt.”
“Oh shit, I almost forgot about that,” Albey says sincerely, gripping his bigfoot book. “I’m sorry, dude.”
“As you should be,” Harry asserts. “You both missed a wonderful time. I got some acid imported from… from don’t worry about it, and the whole thing evolved into an orgy. It was fuckin’ nuts, literally.”
“I’m not sorry,” Tori says, clearly over this whole… whatever this is. “You’re lying, anyway. Denny was there, he told me about it when I came in. He said hardly anybody showed up and it was all dudes. So maybe it was an orgy, after all.”
‘Oh shit,’ Albey thinks, relishing in this smackdown.
“Scathing,” Harry says flatly. “You’re lucky you’re so cute, Vicky. Bet you get told that a lot.”
Tori takes a slow, deep breath. “Is there anything else I can help you with, Mister Bogspekti?”
“I guess I’m not getting that apology, huh?”
“How about you, Albey?” she asks, beaming. “I can call you that, right?”
“Yeah, call me whatever you want,” Albey says with a goofy sort of smile, a smile which inspires Vic’ to titter, a titter which inspires Harry to go slightly red in the face, to regret both inviting Vicky to his party during her interview and granting her the interview in the first place.
“All right, kids, get a fuckin’ room,” as he takes his first steps in storming off. Then he stops, as if he suddenly remembered where he was, and turns back to Albey. “Yo, I almost forgot, c’m’ere. I got’a give you that tour of my newspaper racket. You’re gon’a love this shit, Sid’, it’s the tits.”
Sidney is sure of nothing more than the fact Harry’s newspaper racket is not the tits, mainly because the tits are standing just on the other side of the desk from him, and what’s more they’re attached to a pretty lady! But anyway, “I’m down, but can I come find you a little later? I have some work I got’a do, homie. I love ya, but I didn’t come here just for you. I’m ‘bout’a write a novel.”
“Oh,” Harry says, burying his hands deep into the pockets of his baggy white shorts. He’s wearing a white tee, too, and a gold chain around his neck, and a fuckin’ fisherman’s hat too, of all things, and guess what color that hat is – oh yeah, the pale green of dried algae. “Yeah, sure. Office is just over there.” He gestures to the door Denny pushed the newspaper cart out of when Albey walked in… maybe. He wasn’t paying attention. “You come find me whenever you’re ready.”
“Will do,” Sidney says with a wave. Harry doesn’t wave back – ‘What is this, a fuckin’ beach? Are we in a goddamn wave pool?’ – but he does skulk away, hands venturing ever deeper into his pockets. Albey goes to find himself a table, then turns back towards Vic’. She’s not looking at him, but when he says, “Thanks again, Vic’,” she looks up and hits him with a smile that melts that icicle into a warm trickle that makes him feel all fuzzy inside.
Feeling belligerently inspired all of the sudden, Albey sets off into the Logger’s Pond Public Library to find himself a place to sit. As he opens Foot the Bill, there is but one single thought on his mind: ‘Let the notetaking begin.’
And how the notetaking does begin; Albey doesn’t learn a whole lot about bigfoot from the book Tori found for him, only that there are various species (if you’re inclined to call them that, which Albey is, for though they may not exist in the real world, in the endless wood of The Hillside Commons they are all too real, realer than real in fact, so real that only a Mad Poet can hope to learn their secrets) of the world’s hairiest bipedal cryptid. The speciation of bigfoot varies with the biome in which they’re found, and though Foot the Bill fails to include a rainforest version of a bigfoot, ‘Probably because they figure it’s just a gorilla. Fools,’ it does list five major species. Albey, scrawly madly, takes down the following:
Species of Bigfoot
- Sasquatch of the Boreal Forest – Brown hair. Most human-like. Known to use tools, moves nimbly through the trees. Omnivorous.
- Skunk Ape of the Marshlands – Orange hair. Borderline amphibious. Smells absolutely wretched, saliva is poisonous. Omnivorous.
- Yeti of the Tundric Mountains – White/gray hair. Vicious and unrestrained. Only species with (allegedly bioluminescent) claws. Carnivorous.
- Shaggy Man of the Plainlands – Straw-colored hair. Ultimate survivalist. Expert in camouflage, sleep in waterproof huts they weave out of grass. Herbivorous.
- Sand Stalker of the Desert – Jet black hair. Subterranean, only come out at night. Extremely intelligent and swift. Carnivorous.
*All species are said to have heightened senses of hearing, sight, and especially smell compared to humans. Essentially bipedal wolves of the Halla/Calla, but ape-like.*
That was all presented in the introduction chapter; the rest of the book is primarily about how the US government raped and pillaged the Native Americans for all they had. You see, the Native Americans had a great lot of folklore about bigfoot (or Sasquatch, for accuracy’s sake) and they saw the cryptid in the light of a deity, almost. They did not worship Sasquatch, but they did respect it as a species, and Albey doesn’t blame them. In the eyes of a human, the only thing better than a human is a human who pushed the envelope of evolution until they were so big, strong, and hairy that they were capable of living out in the forest (or in the marshlands, or in the tundric mountains, or in the plainlands, or in the desert) all by themselves. It’s actually interesting – so many cultures across the world have a mythos with a creature we know as bigfoot playing the leading role, and yet the majority of humans (Sidney firmly included in that majority, don’t worry) believe the apish wild man to be little more than a figment of the overactive imagination. It’s sad, really. It would be worse if bigfoots were real and they raped and pillaged humanity like the US government raped and pillaged the Native Americans and all their culture and whatnot, but, y’know. Still sad.
Sidney skims through the rest of Foot the Bill over the course of about nineteen minutes and finds little else of its information to be noteworthy. He’s tempted to go back up to the desk and chat with Vic’ some more, maybe try to get her number or something, but ultimately decides against it. A young woman doesn’t want a young man who bothers her every time he needs something done, a young woman wants a young man who is totally autonomous, who doesn’t give a damn whether she’s there or not because he has shit to do and he’s going to do it, god damnit… right?
‘Who the fuck knows,’ Albey rationalizes as he scours the dusty-ass nonfiction section for the home of Foot the Bill: The United States’ Government’s Role in the Mythization and Encroaching Extinction of the American Sasquatch. During his sort’a expedition he notices how, contrary to every single book on the shelf, Foot the Bill is missing a little sticker with a bunch of numbers on it, but he pays that no mind. He left Tori on a high note, and doesn’t wish to spoil it. There is such a thing as saying too much.
After four minutes of searching Sidney chances across who else but Denny the Pudge busy bumbling to himself about something or other. He has a cart loaded with books rather than newspapers, and he doesn’t seem to be very happy about it at all. He also doesn’t seem to realize that Albey’s come up behind him, so Albey taps him on the shoulder. Denny jumps three centimeters off the ground.
“You startled me!” he whispers violently before turning around. When he turns around, the look on his mug takes that violence and shoots it up with steroids. And crack rocks. “Oh, it’s you. The long-haired one.”
“My hair’s not that long, ‘man,” Sidney says with a smile, though compared to Denny the Pudge’s coal black buzzcut, maybe it is that long. “Anyway, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. I got this book from Vic’ up at the fr–”
“Her name is Victoria,” Denny stammers fluently, “and I’ll ask that you pronounce it correctly.”
“Oh, she said I can call her whatever I want. So anyway, I got this book from Vic’ up at the front desk but I can’t find where it’s supposed to go. I was hoping you could help.”
Utter misery in that scowl, the kind of misery that finds company distasteful. “Give me that,” as he snatches the book. “Foot the Bill, eh? What are you, some kind of weirdo? Some kind of cryptozoologist? Very well, fine, all well and good.” He turns the book over and over, bringing his examination one step short of smelling the damn thing, then stops when he notices the spine. “Well of course you can’t find the book’s rightful home, it has yet to be granted a Dewey Decimal number!” Denny the Pudge eyes Albey the Mad Poet with one eye, one eye as stinking as the Skunk Ape of the Marshlands, and then nods to himself. “Fine. Thank you, sir, I will take care of this right away.”
“Anytime,” Albey says to the Pudge’s back as he hastily scurries away. “Hey wait, do you kn–” but he’s gone, lost amongst the shelves. Albey sighs. “Fine, I guess I’m on my own.”
The totally autonomous man, the one who has shit to do and he’s going to do it, god damnit, goes about pilfering through the nonfiction section of the Logger’s Pond Public Library all by his lonesome, and he finds a surprisingly large number of books about bigfoot. Granted, he only finds four – The Essential Guide to Bigfoot, by Ken Gerhard; Willow Creek: The Official Companion Softback to the Major Motion Picture, by Bobcat Goldthwait; Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science, also by Jeff Meldrum; and Bigfoot… It’s Complicated, a misplaced novel by Denver Riggleman, who’s an actual United States Representative, ‘No shit.’ – and none of them tell him anything he doesn’t already know, but still Albey flips through them and gives them a proper skimming. He refreshes himself on the all-encompassing diet of a bigfoot, their propensity for throwing sticks and bashing the heads of their prey in with big rocks, their nesting habits and how they regulate territorial disputes (by bashing each other’s heads in with big rocks), the noises they make (WHOOPs, knocks, all that good stuff), the lovely legend of the forest bride, which is honestly goddamn terrifying when you let yourself really think about it, which Albey doesn’t want to do.
All in all Sidney learns less than he already knew from watching as many corny-ass television programs about bigfoot as he possibly could back when he was growing up, but still, what he learned today will definitely prove useful to him. He’s feeling content with the fact that Albey the Mad Poet is not a woman, because if he was, Sidney would have no choice but to craft a forest bride incident for the book, and that would make him feel… well, honestly, he doesn’t know how he’d feel about it.
‘Maybe I will put a thing about the forest bride into The Face of Fear. Maybe there used to be somebody living in the bigfoot cabin before Albey got there, and maybe it was a woman. Maybe that’s the reason the cabin is empty, because the bigfoots made a bride out of her. We shall certainly see.’
Yikes, he almost shudders just thinking about it. Sidney cannot lie though, not to himself: he’s even more excited now than he was before to get this book started.
After putting his last bigfoot book back on the shelf from whence it came, Albey checks his phone. He’s been here for a solid two hours, not bad. It’s not closing time yet though, not even close, and if Harry catches him leaving without getting a tour first then he’ll absolutely force the tour on him, so uh… might as well face it like it’s fear, right? May as well charge head-on into the fire lest the blaze spread to him.
Sidney cautiously peeks his head out from behind the bookshelf he’s currently using to hide. He sees Harry sitting in an office yucking it up with some girl who’s hardly even a girl compared to Victoria, as rude and chauvinistic as thinking as much is. Actually, scratch that – Harry is yucking it up with some girl, just a plain ol’ girl; Victoria, standing alone in the center desk absolutely killing her first day as a librarian, is a woman, and nothing short of it.
‘Go’n’a be my woman, too, if I have anything to say about it,’ Albey thinks to himself, having absolutely nothing to say about it.
Harry suddenly turns his head and locks eyes with Sidney. Albey launches himself backwards, landing hard on the thin carpet… but at least he didn’t hit his head again. Although, maybe hitting his head would help him figure out how to court Tori… nnnaaaahhhhhh.
Sidney stands and dusts himself off. Deciding that it’s no time to take a tour of Harry’s bogus newspaper racket, he continues perusing the nonfiction shelves of the Logger’s Pond Public Library, knowing perfectly well that his notetaking is done. Sure, he could plot out his novel a little bit more, but in the sentiment of the great Wordslinger himself: where’s the fun in that?
“It isn’t,” Sidney Blake tells himself, and thus the procrastination commences.
Hello Commons, this has been the second subchapter of the third chapter of Untitled Bigfoot Project, a novel about a writer who writes a novel about bigfoot.
Untitled Bigfoot Project is part of the Third Spiral, an anthology of sorts called The Here and Now which is comprised of stories told from the various planes of Existence.
Untitled Bigfoot Project is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
If you like Untitled Bigfoot Project and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.
If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~