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Sasquatch Scramble

Bill Zipfel

Old Doc dreamed it up. Once a year the whole town of Catapult packs into cars and heads off toward the neighboring town of Sasquatch. Some towns got a chili cook-off, for us it's the Sasquatch scramble.

Most townsfolk here in Catapult will admit up front that there are bigger and better known hunts, but we still like to think ours is one of the best, a well-kept secret that caters to the cream of connoisseurs, the Bigfoot mavens, the Sasquatch cognoscenti. Hell, you take some of those ragtag, rattle-the-redwood bashes up there in Washington state and Idaho, why you'd think they'd actually caught and mounted old Sasquatch, when in fact right here in The Pult, in one of the finest museums of BF artifacts and memorabilia extant, we have more authentic remnants than all those places put together.

The curator, who lives and works on the premises, is none other than one of the most respected of all Bigfoot Masters. Famous in fact and legend, he isn't one to put on airs, but if you want an expert, then Doc Veruckt is your man. He's been after Mr. Foot, man and boy, since before most of us were born. The stories that man can tell! And you know he's not making them up, because if they weren't entirely true, surely someone would have proved them false by now--and no one has.

Veruckt just seems to have a sixth sense about Bigfeet. He'll nose around in the woods where a BF is suspected, pick up a twig or some bracken, sniff it, catch the spoor, and set right out after the beast like some pedigreed bloodhound. Simply amazing. Doc is always in demand for his skill; hunters go to him first when they hit town, and though that nose of his isn't cheap, he'll hire out by the hour to lead a safari.

Those in the know swear by his talents. When he isn't out in the field, he's busy at the museum, dusting the displays: plaster casts of BF tracks, hanks of that reddish fur, hardened droppings, an ancient aboriginal drawing of the creature on stone and bark, and a whole cache of photos, videos, and affidavits about BF sightings.

The place is a gold mine of BF lore, and the man, well, he's one of a rare breed we here in Catapult cherish as we would a national treasure. The way that man smells defies description. For sure, if you want the best of things Sasquatch, Catapult is the launching point for your expedition. Our annual Yeti Fete, the Sasquatch Scramble, practically defines the science, as well as the sport, of Bigfoot hunting.

Now it is true that most of us Catapulters don't actually go out on the hunt; we take more of a support role, you might say, providing the housing, provisions, supplies, souvenirs and paraphernalia necessary to mount a first-class expedition. And we always have a bang-up time come hunt month. Sure, sometimes we lose a cow or two to a nearsighted hunter, and sometimes revenue agents will bust a camp for an illegal game or selling some contraband sauce, or maybe even for inviting a few ladies of pleasure along; but by-and-large we find the Scramble profitable -- REAL profitable.

In fact, at first I think we were just a little worried about old Doc, and chipped in to help with his, shall we say, stability? But when we put a room on the town hall, and had money left for a party I think the Doc gained a peculiar notoriety 'round Catapult. Nice. Real nice. A celebrity who can maintain complete anonymity by orchestrating the debacle, annually, in a neighboring burg. No one else really had it in 'em.

Pretty soon all of the community get involved, one way or another. We not only have our Big Foot, but we put it in our mouth, too.

The Pye in the Sky bakery, for example, always does a big gingerbread Bigfoot that the town fathers display down at The DrinkUpandGetOut. Half-again life-sized, it takes four men to carry it, and Addie Pye herself gets up on a ladder in the window to finish the job: coconut "fur," brushed in honey and dusted with cinnamon and cocoa to make it just the right orangy-brown shade. And that mutt-ugly face complete with marzipan nose, giant jellybean eyes, and rock candy teeth.

Addie drew her design from the archives in Doc Veruckt's museum. It's a real tradition. Most of us get a chuckle out of it when we're in a group, but damned if sometimes there isn't a shiver that goes through you when you go by that window late at night, and that gigantic confection is standing there, staring out at you, and the moon is just right and there's nobody else around....especially if you're helping to close the DrinkUpandGetOut.

Of course, there have been some pranks played on Addie's creation. Might expect that at the DrinkUAGO. Few years back -- just where you might expect it would get the most reaction from the more prop'ly-raised among us -- some good ole boys hung the gingerbread replica with a sausage and a net weighed down with a couple balls of farmer's cheese.

Hell! You'd a thought a murder had been committed by the time the sheriff got roused up and Addie was called to assess the damage! Nobody dared touch the vandalism, naturally, because it was evidence, but when gawkers began to show up and a few little kids got around their parents and started to point and snicker, the Reverend Titus Butts took it on himself to drape the obscenity with a Johnson Mills feed sack.

I'm here to tell you that our hearts beat a little faster to watch that feisty little man up there, his modest eyes averted, his spindly arms feeling around that big hunk of gingerbread: he went at it from the rear because the statue was facing the street and too heavy to move, so he had to grope his way until he had the sack just right. Took him a while, it did. With people gesturing and calling out directions through the window. First he caught the sacking under the cheeses, then under the sausage, so he had to get the range of the forcemeat and muenster by tracing the illicit additions with his fingers.

When he finally got the sack affixed, he held it in place with a piece of twine tied at the back, kinda like an apron on a gorilla. Even then, if you looked, you could see a thick ridge of that wurst bulging up just under the "Johnson" logo. Despite his best intentions, a few unfeeling people made jokes--and more than a few did double takes before the Sheriff determined there was no way he could get any prints but Titus' from the knockwurst and curds, and so he castrated the atrocity--even insisting, against Rev. Butt's objections, that he remove the feed sack--because (as he later told us), being the animal-rights person she is, Addie didn't want her creation to seem unnatural--like those nude statues in the Sistine chapel, she said, that some fools had painted fig leaves on. Nope. Mr. Foot had to be au naturel or nothing, had said Addie; and naturally, since he is a tradition, she got her way.

Some say, in private of course, that old Addie damn near laughed her garters into a knot when she first saw the vandalism undraped, but that she had to put on a straight face for the Rev. Butts. After all, the church does give Pye in the Sky a lot of business. It was rumored, too, that Addie even would have defended the anatomical correctness, but for the fact that the baked goods motif had been adulterated by the meat and dairy juxtaposition. And though few in Catapult are Kosher, Addie follows her long-standing motto: cultural diversity is nothing if it's not Pye in the Sky. It sure does ask one to pause and reflect.

Anyway, after the hunt, when all the participants are back to tell their tales and display their trophies, the statue is hauled down to the town square and served up to the community with choice of beverage. Kids, of course, will eat anything sweet with milk, including a gritty, dusty hunk of stale BF. The rest of us will take a serving to be polite, along with something a bit stronger, and push it around on the plate to be sociable, us guys grinning and making off-color comments about it being the worst piece of tail we've ever eaten. The women, naturally, roll their eyes and shake their heads, but you can tell they'd not give up the tradition for anything. The Sasquatch Scramble takes the dull off September and catapults us balls-out into Autumn. Apologies, to Titus Butts, of course.

Bill Zipfel

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