Sasquatch Sings Songs for Lonely Lovers

Taksara abides

Going through the ol’ story trunk this Valentine’s Day morning and realized I should probably share this with everyone. It’s made the submission rounds many, many times. But ultimately is too weird to fit in anywhere. Kind of like bigfoot.

Happy Valentine’s Day! And enjoy!

Sasquatch Sings Songs for Lonely Lovers

Hunched over the registration desk in a tiny motel office that smelled like orange peels and stale cigarette smoke, Bigfoot signed the ledger as David Cooper. The clerk, a tiny man who looked a prune wrapped up in a madras shirt and shiny slacks didn’t bother to ask for ID. Nor did he seem to register the fact that his newest guest was a Sasquatch. Bigfoot was used to that. Unless he was loping through the mist and ferns of some Northern Pacific rainforest, people’s brains tended to fill in the shaggy space he occupied with images that made more sense: tall hippy, introverted lumberjack, whatever. Bigfoot paid cash for a week in advance.

“First time to Cactus Ranch?” the clerk asked, voice buttery like well-worn leather.

“First time in New Mexico,” Bigfoot said.

“Well, you beat the rush,” the clerk winked. He passed his stubby hand over a pegboard where eight keys with diamond-shaped tags of turquoise plastic waited. Only one hook sat empty. Beat the rush indeed! “I’m thinking the Ponderosa for you. Behind the office here, second one on the left with the split-rail fence. There are no kitchen facilities in the unit, but there is a tiny icebox. We have shared grills in the courtyard near the pool. You can get charcoal around the corner at the grocery there. Your trailer has a small toilet and sink, but if you want a shower you’ll have to use the shared ones in the yellow brick building next to the pool. Enjoy your stay.”

 Bigfoot took the key and followed the clerk’s directions to a big silver lozenge shaped trailer. He froze, contemplating the antique tin can that was going to be his home for the next week. He could already feel the walls closing in. Maybe the impulsive decision to hitchhike to New Mexico to “find himself” was a huge mistake.

Bigfoot felt lost. He’d felt that way for a while. Not lost in any real, physical sense. He knew every pine, every fern, every trailhead in his woods. He even knew many of the regular Sasquatch hunters by name though they never seemed to figure out who he was.

Bigfoot enjoyed chatting with them. It took the edge off his loneliness. The city people were all pretty much the same in the end. All they wanted was a piece of magic shaped like an eight-foot tall hairy back-country recluse, desperate for proof of something miraculous in the world.

Some people looked for angels, some for aliens. Some looked for him. But they never found him. Not really. In his giant shaggy heart, he wondered if they truly believed in him.

How could they if he didn’t believe in himself?

The sky was too open and the blue immensity of it weighed him down. He muttered a soft, “I need a drink” then went in search of one.

The tiny store around the corner was a fiery red cinderblock affair. Country music played on the little radio near the register while Bigfoot squeezed down narrow aisles past chips and brightly colored snack cakes to the cooler case at the back. He returned to the register with a case of Miller High Life and handful of comic books from a squeaky spinner rack. The bored looking woman behind the register sized him up, decided not to ask for his ID.

Not five minutes later, he stretched out on a lounge chair next to the pool with a cold beer and a Jughead comic book. The sun glared accusingly down at him. Strange, spicy smells filled his senses. Pinon, sagebrush, sun baked stone, and desert flowers. He needed this, the perfect recipe for finding himself.

It came as a surprise when he found Lewis instead.

Lewis was like him.

Well, not a Sasquatch like him. But a tourist without ambition or agenda. Like Bigfoot, Lewis didn’t quite fit. Not broody, exactly, but intense. A serious guy with things on his mind and no one to share them with. He came sauntering out from one of the other trailers and claimed a neighboring deck chair.

“Hey there. Name’s Lewis,” he said with a tilt of his narrow chin. “Where are you visiting from?”

“David. From Washington,” Bigfoot said. “The state, that is. How about you?”

“West Virginia. Just got here yesterday and going a bit stir crazy already. Like a moth in a jar.” A frown carved a dark line across his face then faded. “I always forget how quiet and lonely the desert is this time of year.”

“I don’t mind the quiet,” Bigfoot said. “I’m a solitary beast. But I’m not used to seeing that much sky.”

“It’s a lot of sky. But the sunsets… boy howdy, you’re in for a hell of a show.”

Bigfoot looked around. The courtyard sat deserted except for the two of them, a mismatched assortment of old motorhomes, one eternally land-locked yacht, and the blocky office and shower rooms boxing them in.

Lewis caught him looking and filled in the rest. “They only have nine cabins. Eight motor homes and the boat,” he said. “We’re the only guests, for now at least. Give it a in a day or two and it will be hopping. Enjoy the quiet while you can.”

“You’ve been here before?”

“I load up the Jeep and make the drive most years,” Lewis said. “It’s about the only social activity I allow myself. I…” he shook his head softly, big eyes staring at his shoes, “I don’t get out that much.”

Bigfoot said, “So you know somewhere to get dinner around here.”

“There’s a Mexican place just down the street. Do you like Mexican?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never had it.”

Lewis surprised him with brief flicker of a smile and shrouded, shy eyes. “Let me take you to dinner. I mean, if… “

The invitation made Bigfoot nervous. The more time they spent together, the more likely Lewis would see the truth. He didn’t want to spark Bigfoot sightings in New Mexico. Didn’t they already have their own cryptid? He found himself wondering if the Chupacabra was an urban legend or real, like him. He realized suddenly that he hadn’t eaten with anyone else since his parents migrated to the clan burial grounds deep in the forest years ago.

“Shit,” Lewis said, his voice slightly rushed. “I spooked you, didn’t I? Sorry. I came on sort of strong and…”

Bigfoot laughed, a low, rumbling chuckle. “No. It’s just early. In the day. Early in the day. How about I finish this beer and um, my reading?” He waved the Jughead comic. “And then we can do dinner in an hour or two?”

“Yeah,” Lewis said. The smile lingered longer this time. It was a nice smile. “Yeah. That sounds good. I’m not used to all this sun, so I’m going back to the El Cortez cabin and take a tiny nap, I guess. I’ll meet you back here in a few hours?”

“I’ll be here.”

Before long, Bigfoot discovered that he loved Mexican food. He finished off two orders of guacamole on his own, practically shoveling it down his throat with corn chips.

When they returned to the Cactus Ranch, Lewis stopped at the payphone next to the office, saying that he had to make an important call. “Work stuff,” he said, “I’ll see you in the morning.”

Bigfoot shifted his weight from foot to foot awkwardly for a few seconds then headed back to his lozenge-shaped motor home. He saw himself reflected in the glass of the trailer window and realized he had mashed up avocado in his fur from dinner. It took forever to clean it out in the tiny Ponderosa sink, but it was worth it.

The next morning, Bigfoot woke to the noise of splashing in the pool. He hit his head on the ceiling standing up and once more on the doorframe as he made his way outside.

A heavy-set old woman plowed through the chlorinated water doing laps with the determination of a former Olympic swimmer. Bigfoot didn’t want to go back inside the trailer. The morning air inside was already too warm, too still. He needed out. Somewhere. Anywhere. And he’d rather not spend too much time around his fellow residents at Cactus Ranch for fear they would eventually see the real him.

The concrete hurt his feet so he headed out into the stony hills around the edge of Chula Verde. As if by magic, his fur was matted from ankle to knee in vicious tiny cacti before he got thirty feet from the roadside. Disgruntled, he returned to the kitschy motel where he sat in the shade of his trailer and practiced being invisible while he painstakingly removed the little cacti. The heavy callouses on his thick fingers made the needles little more than an annoyance.

After a while, he heard the swimmer’s strokes grow slower and slower as she swam towards his end of the pool. Finally, she leveraged herself halfway out of the water, sunlight glistening on her wet, liver-spotted shoulders. “You must be David from Washington. The state, not the city.” She had an accent of some kind. He couldn’t place it.

Bigfoot heaved a massive sigh with his broad shoulders. “You talked to Lewis?”

“He was still awake when I arrived late last night. Stargazing. Such a creature of the night, that one. He might have mentioned you. I’m Vanessa.”

 “Oh. Hi.”

She lingered, elbows braced on the wet blue tiles around the edge of the pool, enigmatic smile aimed in his direction. Bigfoot didn’t like the way she looked at him. “Well,” she said eventually, “I’m staying in the yacht through the weekend. Don’t be a stranger.”

With that, she pushed back into the water and resumed swimming. The rhythmic splashing joined the distant sound of a radio playing classic rock and the occasional rumble of trucks passing by on the other side of the office.

This is a mistake. What am I even doing here?

By the time the arc of the sun forced him to seek shade elsewhere, three more guests checked in: a grizzled redhead guy in red & black hockey jersey and a pair of athletic young women from Florida who he thought of as The Twins, despite the fact that they didn’t look anything like one another. The twins side-eyed Bigfoot on their way to their trailer but didn’t stop to talk, though they did greet Vanessa like a beloved distant aunt.

“New guy,” the hockey enthusiast said around a dangling cigarette. He stood near the split rail fence, looking Bigfoot up and down with a critical eye. “You want to give me a hand with the charcoal and beer, yeah?”

Bigfoot pulled within himself, wondering if the hard-eyed redhead would go away if ignored with enough determination. It didn’t seem to be working, and he grew more and more uncomfortable the longer the silent scrutiny went on. “Where is it?

“At the store,” the guy said like the answer was obvious. “Jesus, you are new. I only got two hands here. I could use a big beast like you to help lug it back. One for all and all for one or some shit.”

“I don’t know you…”

“I’m Udo,” the redhead said. “Everyone knows me. Come on. Help me out and you’ll get second pick off the grill at dinner. Carlos gets first, but he’s the one who brings the meat so it’s only right, right? You got a name?”

Bigfoot hesitated, his fake name momentarily forgotten. “That’s David,” Vanessa said from the pool. “They grow them big and shy up in the northwest.”

“No shit,” Udo said with a gap-toothed smile. “Come on, big guy. Let’s get this party started, right?”

“Right?” Bigfoot echoed.

“Right!” Udo exclaimed, holding out his hand to help Bigfoot to his feet. “So, tell me, Davey boy, you a hockey guy?”

“Not really.”

Udo scoffed as he led Bigfoot away towards the store. The twins had joined the pool party by the time they returned from the corner store with two bags of charcoal and three cases of beer: two Coors and one case of something called Mexican Logger from a small brewery in Colorado. Bigfoot quickly realized that unless he wanted to lock himself away inside his trailer all day, there was nowhere to escape Udo’s relentless extroversion. The twins at least left him alone, laughing and talking amongst themselves. Sometimes they’d look in his direction, whisper to each other, then giggle behind their hands. Bigfoot couldn’t be bothered to care. Let them talk.

Vanessa at least seemed sympathetic. She admonished Udo a few times, suggested he go bother Mr. Plum in the office for a while. “Give David a little breathing room. Not everyone is as gregarious as you are, dear.”

“Thank you,” Bigfoot said as Udo followed the swimmer’s advice. “It’s all a bit overwhelming.”

“I understand. I remember my first time on holiday. I was shy, too,” she added with a conspiratorial whisper. “Too many years living on my own, I suppose. It’s easier that way, don’t you think? Just avoid everyone, be an island unto yourself. It’s nice. The solitude.”

Bigfoot nodded. “It’s nice,” he said. “Most of the time it’s nice.”

“But not all the time,” she agreed. “Which is why I come here once a year.” She indicated the assorted trailers arrayed around the courtyard with a wave of one dripping wet hand.

“It has character,” he said.

“Yes,” she nodded gravely as if he had uncovered some secret truth. “The whole made more special because of the sum of the unique parts.”

Across the courtyard, Bigfoot saw Lewis leave the small, pink trailer on display behind a white picket fence where he was staying through Sunday. He seemed to glare disapprovingly at the sun before covered his eyes with mirrored sunglasses. He joined Bigfoot in a deck chair alongside the pool.

“You’re awake,” Vanessa teased, stating the obvious.

“Mornings are horrible,” Lewis grumbled.

“It’s afternoon,” Vanessa said.

“Yes,” Lewis agreed slowly. “Because mornings are horrible.”

“Maybe if you went to bed earlier,” she said pushing away from the edge of the pool to do more laps.

“Creature of habit,” Lewis called after her. The twins tittered behind their hands at him. He waved half-heartedly. “Afternoon, girls.” He lowered his voice and turned to Bigfoot. “Hey there. I see you met the gang. Some of them at least.”

“And Udo,” Bigfoot said.

Lewis nodded like pieces were falling together in some undisclosed mystery. “I thought I heard him earlier. So, I take it you’re an early riser?”

“Up at dawn most days.”

“That’s disgusting,” Lewis said, making a horrified face. “You eaten?”

“No. But apparently Udo is going to grill something later?”

Lewis waved dismissively in the direction of the shared grills. “Not for hours yet. I have some doughnuts from a few days ago. They’re still good if you want to split them with me.”

Bigfoot had developed a taste for day old doughnuts in the northwest. “That sounds great. Thanks.”

“Come on, then,” Lewis stood, and indicated his trailer with a tilt of his head. “The coffee should be finished brewing by now.”

Soon, Bigfoot found himself crammed into a small dinette booth with a hot cup of coffee in one hand and a glazed old-fashioned doughnut in the other. It wasn’t as uncomfortable as he had expected. Well, except for sitting in the booth, which proved to be excruciatingly cramped. But the company was nice.

Lewis had to lower his head to see Bigfoot’s face around the tin lamp hanging above the table. “You never told me last night. What brings you out to this little slice of heaven?”

“I needed a change,” Bigfoot said pensively. He took a bite of doughnut. The careful, measured chewing filled the silence while he considered the question. “It felt like I was missing something. Things are fine back home. I have security, comfort, popularity. I like that. Don’t get me wrong.”

“You’re a big deal back home? The man, the myth, the legend?”

Bigfoot laughed awkwardly. “Yeah, you could say that. Heh. Legendary. In my neck of the woods, everyone knows who I am, but no one knows me. I don’t have anyone I can really talk to. It makes me wonder if I’m living a lie.”

“I get it,” Lewis said. “I’ve been there. A big deal in a small town.” His brow furrowed and he stared intently at the wall. Rippling sunlight reflecting off the pool outside shimmered on the wood grain. “A big deal in a shitty, hateful, dying small town.”

“Sounds like you hate it, wherever it is.”

“Point Pleasant. Population, somewhere around 4,000. Every single one a charmer. I keep telling myself I’ll leave. But other than a week out here every year or so… I can’t. They need me. Messed up as that is, they need me so I stay.”

Bigfoot read Lewis’ face, trying to think of what to say, some assurances he could make. He didn’t have any. “So, I figure you don’t have any advice for me.”

Lewis smiled sadly. He reached across the narrow table that separated them and squeezed Bigfoot’s doughnut hand. “If I think of anything, I’ll let you know.”

Despite their individual introverted natures, they spent most of the next few days together. Their conflicting sleep schedules meant that Lewis kept going long after Bigfoot went to bed despite his best efforts to stay awake as long as possible. But he made peace with that. Lewis had phone calls to make every night, anyway. Bigfoot didn’t want to intrude on that.

He made the most of those quiet post-dawn hours with a blank notebook and a Cactus Ranch pen from the office. While Vanessa swam her morning laps, Bigfoot sat by the pool and wrote down whatever thoughts came to him. And then, as he wound down for bed, he’d read through what he’d written earlier in the day and think about it. It started off with observations about the day. He tried to write as much as possible, even if on the first day it was mostly just snatches of overheard song lyrics or two pages describing a cactus. The second day, his observations became more personal. The third day, he came to wonder why it had taken this long to meet someone like Lewis. With that came a worry that gnawed at his gut, of how he’d be able to go back to the solitude of the rainforest now. He had learned to enjoy being lonely, to make peace with the silence. Not so much now. He came to dread checkout time like a prisoner awaiting execution might dread the walk to the electric chair.

Bigfoot looked into Lewis’ eyes, and he was lost.

Walking back to his trailer Friday morning with a honeybun from the grocery, he almost trampled a skinny guy in a battered tan suit. Bigfoot watched the man bite back a string of profanities, his face twisted red and angry but his eyes shrewdly weighing Bigfoot’s considerable size. “Sorry,” Bigfoot offered.

“Yeah. Whatever,” the stranger said. “Hey, maybe you can help me. Know where a fella can find a pay phone around here? My cell phone died on me around Las Cruces.”

Bigfoot pointed to the outside wall of the office under the shade of the window awning. The stranger didn’t bother looking, shaking his head.

“That thing swallowed my quarters. Guy behind the counter said it hasn’t worked in years, but the sign keeps blowing off. Thanks for nothing.”

 Bigfoot watched the stranger leave then went to the payphone and raised the faded black handset to his ear. No sound. Wasn’t there supposed to be a sound? He clicked on the metal tab in the cradle a few times. No clicks. Nothing. He looked closer at the metal number pad, saw grit around the keys.

“It’s like I told the other guy,” the diminutive clerk hollered from his perch on the padded stool behind the front desk. “Phone’s busted. No refunds.”

“Lewis has been using it every night,” Bigfoot said. The clerk grunted and turned back to his magazine.

Stale honeybun forgotten, Bigfoot went straight to Lewis’s trailer. He knocked, big knuckles rattling the glass in the aluminum door. He only half listened to the laughter of the twins, the methodical splash of Vanessa’s backstroke. Inside the tiny trailer, he heard the soft creak and groan of a late-riser fighting the noise for a few more minutes of sleep. He rapped harder, a hairy knuckle sharp on the window itself so hard he risked cracking the glass.

“Keep your pants on,” Lewis grumbled from inside. His lanky shadow appeared through the window, distant and distorted until he cracked the door open. His blurry frown turned into a no-less blurry smile once he recognized Bigfoot at the door. Standing behind the door, he let it swing wide to show the agitated Sasquatch in.

Bigfoot hadn’t liked spending time there, partly because of the cramped interior, but also in part because of the Vegas theme décor–sparkly gold vinyl padded seats, red velvet accents on the curtains. Bigfoot rubbed up against the kitchenette in the small space, self-conscious of his bulk. His hand came away dusty, a shimmer of gray on his wide palm.

“I wasn’t expecting to see you this morning,” Lewis said. In this tight space his closeness felt too intimate, especially given the revelation which had brought him here. “But I am glad to see you, considering that vacation is almost over.”

Bigfoot calmly removed Lewis’s hand from his arm. “Lewis, who are you talking to on the phone every night?”

His big eyes narrowed and he recoiled slightly, as if shrinking into himself. “Why?”

“The phone doesn’t work.”

Lewis looked everywhere but at Bigfoot. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“The phone is broken. Mr. Plum says it’s been that way for a long time.” Bigfoot watched Lewis pull back, afraid, small. “I’m not angry. I’m just… confused. What’s going on?”

“I have a problem.” Lewis half-whispered.

“What kind of problem?”

“You ever get so used to something you don’t know how to quit it?” He started. “I lied. The other day, I lied to you. I used to be a big deal back home. The truth is, I haven’t mattered in a long time. They used to listen to me when I called. It got to be habit. That nighttime phone call, the warning, the… well, it doesn’t matter anymore. Making the call is a routine I can’t break. It doesn’t matter if the phone is broken or not. No one is listening on the other end anyway. I’m just…”

“Lost,” Bigfoot said.

Lewis nodded, tears breaking free as he started sobbing in the small trailer.

Bigfoot took Lewis in his arms, gently stroked his smooth, bare back, buried his face in his hair. When Lewis tilted his chin up, Bigfoot met his lips with his own. It felt natural. Inevitable. Just like what followed after in the narrow trailer bed felt natural. For the rest of the morning, Bigfoot forgot about the tiny aluminum walls closing in on him, about the stale air, about the phantom phone calls, about the clock ticking on the rest of his vacation. He thought about only him and Lewis in one long, perfect moment.

Afterwards, he lay in the messy nest of bedding and watched Lewis pad around the trailer. Even the sheets had become impregnated with the same slightly iridescent gray dust, and Bigfoot distantly hoped it wasn’t some kind of toxic residue from the trailer itself.

“I wondered why you were taking so long,” Lewis said with a sly smile. “Apparently you respond to vulnerability. Or you have a fondness for broken monsters.”

The word twisted something in Bigfoot’s gut. He hated the way it felt, rolling around in the stale air between them. Monster. Is that how Lewis saw him? “I don’t like that word.”

“Monster?” Lewis asked, incredulous. The word rolled off his tongue so casually, carelessly. It felt like a slap.

“Stop it.”

“What word would you rather I use?” Lewis asked. He cocked his hip. Bigfoot couldn’t read him, couldn’t differentiate playful from petulant. “Outcast? Freak? I’ve known I’m a monster for a long time, sunshine. I’ve made my peace with it. Seems you still have some hang ups.”

“Stop saying that,” Bigfoot said too loudly. “I’m not like you!”

A silence settled between them like some poisonous thing. It curled with fangs dripping venom, waiting to draw blood or strike them dead. An invisible dragon neither of them knew how to slay.

“You’re not a monster,” Bigfoot finally whispered. “Trust me. I know.”

Lewis stood there, eyes wide, nostrils flaring. Anger mixed with sadness in his eyes. Eventually, he stepped aside and opened the door to the tiny trailer. “Get out.”

“Wait. Why?”

“You don’t get to define me,” Lewis said.

Bigfoot stood, head grazing the ceiling. “I don’t know what…”

“That’s just it,” Lewis said. “I came into this with my eyes wide open. But you… I don’t know. Maybe you’re scared and can’t see this for what it is. You can’t see me for what I am. So, it’s over. Get out. I need to pack. I’m going home.”

Bigfoot didn’t know what to say. Worried his clumsy words would make things worse, he sulked silently out of the trailer, blinking in the brilliant sunlight. Lewis’s distinctive scent still clung to his fur as if to taunt him. The dust that swirled within the trailer nestled deep within his brown tangles. He ignored the stares of the swimmers and the slack-jawed amazement of Udo in a poolside lounge chair. He went straight to the public showers and stood under the tepid water until he could smell nothing but wet fur and desert flowers.

Eyes downcast, he watched the swirl of shimmering water disappear down the drain, carrying the last of his huge, Sasquatch tears.

He found a sunny lounge chair far from the others in the courtyard and stretched out to let the unforgiving sun dry him. Across the courtyard, Lewis hauled out his room trash and locked up the tiny pink trailer.

Udo walked over to Bigfoot in a fast crouch, as if trying badly to avoid notice. “What the hell did you do?”

“We had an argument.”

“What? He’s leaving, you idiot. I thought you two were a cute couple! I figured you wild and crazy kids had a chance. Most of us don’t get that.”

Bigfoot set his jaw, furrowed his wide brow, determined not to cry again. Especially not with Udo standing over him, practically nose to nose. “It wasn’t going to work out. We’re nothing alike.”

Udo’s eyes went wide, and he looked over his shoulder at the retreating Lewis, turning back only when the West Virginian disappeared around the corner of the office.

Turning his attention back on Bigfoot, Udo flicked him hard on the ear with his finger. “You idiot. Open your eyes.”

Bigfoot flinched, both from the pain and the indignity. “What the hell?”

“Open.” Flick. “Your.” Flick. “EYES.”

Bigfoot lashed out with the fourth attempted flick, wrapping his powerful fingers around Udo’s wrist. Udo’s strangely hairy wrist. He loosened his grip and Udo tottered back a few steps.

“Did you always have horns?”

Udo tilted his horse-like head to one side, flapped his leathery black wings. He opened his mouth as if to say something, then closed it again. A satisfied smile lit his face as he clopped away on cloven hooves towards the pool.

Bigfoot followed him with his eyes, saw two large, shimmering fishtails vanish beneath the water of the pool as the twins cavorted in the deep end. In the shallow end, a gray, diamond-shaped head rose above a huge, oblong body on a glistening, serpentine neck. “What seems to be the matter, luv?” Vanessa said, concern in her big yellow eyes.

“He’s a big hairy idiot is what’s the matter,” Udo said. “Lewis went home.”

The twins turned from their splashing, their drawn out “Awwwww!” a background to Vanessa’s disappointed tongue click.

The iridescent dust that had clung to his fur—that had clung to his sheets. It wasn’t from the trailer at all. He remembered the flickering smile, the longing looks at the full moon, the jittery nervousness under the buzz of the huge sodium vapor lights in the courtyard after dark, the way passing car lights made Lewis’ eyes look red. “Holy crap,” Bigfoot said under his breath. “I’m in love with a Mothman.”

He found Lewis next to his battered old yellow Jeep. Bigfoot recognized him despite the fact that Lewis appeared taller, darker than night with huge red eyes. Huge, graceful wings dusted with iridescent gray powder hung down his back.

“It’s come to my attention that I’m an idiot.” Bigfoot said. “And my name isn’t really David.”

“I know.”

“You do?” Bigfoot blinked.

“Well, who names a Sasquatch David, for one? As for the idiot, I figured that out on my own.”

“How long have you known?”

“A while.”

Bigfoot squinted up into the sun. It would be time to fire up the grill soon. Udo’s friend would be by with trays of marinated flank steak in a bit. And they both had another day or so of vacation left. “Seems a shame to leave before vacation is over.”

Lewis smiled. “I suppose I could stay a bit longer. No one is waiting for me back home, anyway.”

“Have you ever considered Washington?”

“The city or the state?”

They laughed, and hand in hand went back to join the others at the pool.

And neither of them felt lost. At least not at the moment.

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