Cindy and the Sasquatch
Playing in the backyard of my mom’s house with friends or brothers. I am a nine year old girl named Cindy, even though I am in my own body. As we are playing near the woods- it’s unclear whether these are the original woods from my childhood or the current “just enough woods so the old folks who live in the new subdivision on the other side can pretend they don’t have neighbors”. We are playing chase games, when suddenly the boys are all screaming about a bear in the woods and fleeing. I run to hide in a stand of pines and watch through the branches. The creature coming out of the woods is huge, and walking on its hind legs… do bears do that? As it gets closer, it becomes clear it is not a bear, but a sasquatch with a hugely wide, squat body (unlike the often lanky appearance traditionally ascribed to bigfeets) and cone-shaped head, long auburn fur like a baboon, and an expressive, if bestial, face (Actually, now that I think of it, he looked something like Ludo, the rock-calling monster from Labyrinth). I am afraid that it will notice I am in the trees. I have the strong suspicion it already knows I’m there. Then I hear it mutter something.
“…not a bear.”
It… can talk? Well, with classic fairy-tale logic, I determine that anything that can speak can be reasoned with and should be treated like a person. Children don’t know any better, they have to be taught prejudice, after all. So I step boldly out from the trees and walk up and introduce myself.
“Hi! My name’s Cindy. What’s yours?”
The creature’s name is Grunda, it turns out. He likes shiny things and pulling up trees by the root. It turns out I also like shiny things, as I have a handful of bottle caps and suchlike in the pocket of my overalls. When I show these to Grunda, he snatches them from my hand. He doesn’t hurt me, but his strength is irresistible, like a machine. I object and try to explain that he can’t just take things from people. This seems to confuse him, because, obviously, he just did. I try to explain that it’s impolite as Grunda munches on a tree he’s uprooted, but like an animal or a faerie creature, the great shaggy beast appears… not stupid so much as amoral. As far as he’s concerned, there’s no difference between having pried them from my hand and having picked them up off the ground. He saw some shinies, he got the shinies. What’s the problem? The boys, who have crept closer now that I haven’t immediately been eaten, all want to run off and bring their own shiny collections to appease the beast. I am having none of it, and excoriate both them and Grunda up one side and down the other, but nobody is listening to me.
This infuriates my nine-year-old sense of fairness, instilled by innumerable parental lectures and petty sibling rivalries. At the earliest opportunity, I steal back all off the trinkets and hide them in one of the garbage cans by the barn, then run inside to the basement to find a weapon. And by “weapon” I mean the kind of thing a 9 year old would see as a weapon- a cardboard packing tube, maybe a rake. I finally settle on a pair of long, stripey socks from the laundry hamper. They have the advantages of being both long and stinky. And I can dual-wield them.
I run back outside to find Grunda and challenge him to single combat, only to discover that a council of sasquatches has been convened in my backyard. Grunda introduces me to his wife, Yamba, who is the leader by the simple virtue of being louder than any of the others. I do my best to negotiate with the tribe, which ends with me shrilling at the top of my lungs,
“YOU DON’T WIN AN ARGUMENT JUST BY OUT. LOUDING. THE. OTHER. PERSOOOOOOOON!!!“
My shriek is apparently literally ear-piercing to sasquatches, because they all cringe and cover their heads, and Yamba immediately, if grudgingly, concedes to my demands for a treaty that will henceforth fairly distribute shinies between both human and sasquatch denizens of the area. I leave them one of the smelly socks as a token of the agreement.
The human community, predictably, sets up a long fair tent full of volunteers at computers to serve as a temporary administrative bivouac until something more permanent can be established. I go there, remaining sock in hand, and everyone kind of winces when I poke my head through the flap. Having done my part, I am apparently now expected to fade into the background. I’m a brave little girl, yes, yes, but this sort of thing is best left to the adults now, okay? I am a bit miffed, so I toss the sock in the middle of the tent and leave. If they want to take over as holders of the treaty, that’s fine with me. I’d rather go play with my shinies, anyway.