June 29, 2011

Sasquatch City

If you were a monster hunter and you wanted to hunt a monster, where would you go? To the darkest forest or the deepest lake, the snow-swept peaks or the vine-choked jungle. Legendary creatures like to hang out in remote, hard-to-reach places; otherwise, they wouldn’t be so mysterious, right?

Ben writes to tell me about his encounter with a strange creature. Although his story is similar to dozens of other mysterious sightings, it differs in one critical way: Ben saw a monster in the heart of a major American city, and he believes the creature is still there.

Ben lived in San Francisco during the go-go days of the 90s tech boom. His work demanded long hours and ate up nearly all of his free time. 

After a late night spent working downtown, Ben headed out the door of his office building. He took a seat at the bus stop at the end of the block and waited. “There were a few people around,” Ben tells me, “other late-night workers, like me.”

The long hours had wrecked Ben’s sleep schedule and before long, Ben was fast asleep in the bus shelter. “I didn’t know that they had changed the schedule,” Ben recalls. “The buses weren’t running.”

Ben awoke and saw the same street, the same lampposts, the same bus shelter that were there when he dozed off, but there was a subtle difference in the texture of the scene before him. “It was like this scary TV show I watched growing up,” Ben remembers, “A place that’s just as real, but not as brightly lit...a Darkside!

Ben seemed now a tourist in an unseen country, a place that while crowded in the daytime, became transformed in humanity’s absence. Ben began to feel strange. He was overwhelmed with the growing sensation that he was not welcome here, that something didn’t want him here: whatever he did here in the daytime was his own business, but none of that mattered now.

“I got this real creepy feeling. I was really weirded out by it,” Ben tells me. “And then I saw this thing watching me.”

Across the street in the cavernous maw of a darkened alley, Ben’s vague sense of fear suddenly focused on a figure in the shadows.

It stood next to a dumpster, a dim bulb in the alley illuminating it from behind. Ben could only make out a huge head and muscular shoulders. “I thought, that’s one big dude,” Ben recalls, “and he’s trying to hide in the alley right in front of me.”

Unsure of how long he’d been asleep, Ben thought he would simply stay where he was and wait for the bus he was sure was coming.

Ten minutes or more passed and neither Ben nor the shadowy figure moved. The street was deserted but for them, untroubled by the faint bellow of a taxi’s engine blocks away. And then Ben’s cellphone began beeping with a low battery warning. “I hated that phone,” Ben tells me.

Ben jerked and dug the phone from his pocket. He quickly silenced the alarm and looked back to the alley. The figure had moved closer.

“At first I didn’t see it,” Ben recalls. “It had moved up in front of the dumpster now but it was still too dark to make out.”

Ben was getting worried now that the bus was so late and his cell phone might die any minute. “I thought, some crazy homeless guy isn’t going to mess with me,” Ben remembers.

Ben rose to his feet and let loose a string of profanities and threats at the dweller in the alley. The figure didn’t move and Ben was starting to think he had succeeded in intimidating him until it replied with it’s own warning.

“It was half a grunt and half a snort,” Ben tells me, “but the thing that scared me was how loud it was. I thought, this dude’s got a pair of lungs on him.”

Ben was now the one feeling intimidated and he decided it was time to try to get a cab. His phone was on its last legs and Ben started dialing. The phone beeped and blinked and died in his hand.

Ben looked back to the alley only to see a small object whizzing through the air toward him. “I jumped and screamed like a girl and jumped,” Ben remembers. “Only because I was surprised.”

It hit the sidewalk to his right and Ben saw a fist-sized river rock like the ones that filled the planters that decorated the downtown plazas. Ben jumped again when another rock landed to his left.

“I was really freaked out at first,” Ben recalls. “But then I realized that he wasn’t aiming at me, he was trying to scare me. Well, it worked.”

Ben started backing up the street, hoping to find a taxi as soon as possible. He heard the figure grunt again and what Ben saw next made him run.

“Turns out, this dude wasn’t even standing in front of the dumpster,” Ben tells me. “He was sitting.”

The figure rose up and it towered over the dumpster. “Nine feet easy,” Ben tells me. The figure turned away and began walking down the alley. By the faint light, Ben could begin to make out the dark hair that covered its body and the astounding proportions of its frame.

“I thought, dude’s wearing a fur coat,” Ben tells me. Ben heard a car behind him and turned to see a taxi coming up the block. He flagged it down and looked once last time down the alley.

As the creature walked away with a strangely graceful gait, it turned to look back at Ben and Ben saw a face that looked like a man’s but could never be described as human. “It was just like that old Bigfoot film they always show,” Ben recalls. “Although this one was a lot skinnier.”

Ben took the taxi home and the next day off from work. He never waited for the bus again, but he always wondered if he did indeed have an encounter with the Bigfoot of legend.

The modern myth of Bigfoot was born just north of San Francisco, near the Oregon border, and sightings continue to pepper the region. Has Sasquatch made his way south to the urban jungle of a major metropolitan city? Do Bigfoots live permanently in San Francisco, hiding by day in wild places like Golden Gate Park or underground in train tunnels and sewers?

Those who have studied Bigfoot have long suspected that he possesses incredible powers of evasion. If Bigfoot has learned to firmly avoid all human contact, is it possible that he could live in an urban environment without being detected? If he exists, then Bigfoot must be a creature of absolute stealth, nature’s ultimate master of disguise, and maybe he can live among us in our greatest cities, living off what we throw away, hiding in the buildings we abandon, watching and waiting.

1 comment:

  1. great story...

    And if we allow for the possibility that Bigfoot is something more than a big ape that lives in the forest, ie; may have abilities that allow it to survive in other environments, then perhaps Ben really did see what he thinks he saw.

    I ask: Why not?


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