Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What is that smell? Skunk Ape?

Three words and write…
Obedient, adjective: complying or willing to comply with orders or requests; submissive to another's will.
Raspy, adjective: hoarse or harsh-sounding.
Somber, adjective: dark or dull in color or tone; gloomy; oppressively solemn or sober in mood; grave.

Here is some fiction for you on this short work week we are having...

 What is that smell?  No , not rain, no not smoke, could it be Skunk Ape? 

There are still small parts of the world that are inhabited with people who live outside.  Sure, it is not unusual to see these people photographed in periodicals and located in different parts of the world, but you never expect to see one of these people down the street from your house.  I’m not talking about Big foot, I’m talking about people living outside the normal lines that dictate that civilized humans live under a roof and not out in the open.  I’m not talking about normal homeless people either.  I’m talking about someone who chooses to be naked and live in the woods.  I saw one of these people yesterday.  Believe me or don’t believe me, but here is the story…

I had decided to go for a drive last night. It was a cool evening and it had just rained and the moisture hung thick in the air.  I drove my car with the windows down.   My childhood home is about ten miles from my current home and it is in the middle of some fields, frozen in time, on a dirt road; still the same as when my family lived there, except for the age of the house showing where the porch has fallen on one side.  My treehouse is gone, and the circular pond that used to be in the front yard has been filled in.  The house is uninhabited, it looks somber.  There is still furniture in the house.  Someone owns it and posted no trespassing signs all around.  I visit the house sometime because it holds memories of my childhood and I like being able to step back in time and remember the shenanigans me and my brother shared. 

My brother and I were left alone all day long in the summer and we did as we pleased.  Thinking back if you had seen us in our early years you would have thought of us as those wild people I mentioned before.  I remember my brother and I did everything together and there was no one to be obedient to.  In the mornings we would get out of bed and dress ourselves.  I copied my brother and if he went without a shirt, I went without a shirt.  Our ages were less than ten or twelve and I didn’t have a developed body of a teen, so I didn’t think anything of it, neither was there anyone to tell me any different. Wearing only our shorts, we would go out into the world exploring, building, swimming, fishing or riding our pony. We did everything outdoors. We didn’t even think about going home for lunch, if we were fishing, we would start a fire and cook the fish over the fire.  We knew how to survive, for us it was like an instinct. We had a carefree childhood. 

One time we got in trouble because we turned on the water hose in the driveway and made a river to play in.  I know we played with the water on for most of the day.  Before our father got home we made sure to sprinkle the dry part of the driveway with the hose so it would look like it had rained.  Our small minds did not think of the two miles our father had to drive on the dirt road before he got to our driveway, that were dry as a desert.  He knew it had not rained.  I’m sure we got more trouble than I remember, but I do remember us arguing with father that it had rained and he listened and then corrected us.  He may have not been so mad about the water, as he was about us lying to him.  Arguing with father was a no, no in our home, and lying, that was not tolerated. 

 I drove down the muddy dirt road, first I drove past the house and wanted to drive down to the bridge where the road covers the creek to see how high the rain had raised the water level.  I  know there can be wild animals in the road out here in the country, so I drove with enough speed to keep the car from getting stuck in the mud, and slow enough to be able to stop if there was an obstacle I needed to avoid in my path.  I watched the road ahead, and there was a slight haze from the steam in the air after the rain. I thought I saw what looked like a tall, thin person run across the road about 100 feet in front of me.  I slowed down in case the person was not alone.  It happened so fast that I didn’t have my wits about me, to soak in more details of what I had seen.  I slowed and as I reached the spot where someone should have been standing on the side of the road, there wasn’t anyone.  I drove on to the bridge and watched my rearview mirror to see if I saw the person again.  I did not.  The end of the road had a dead end and I drove to the end and then stopped at the bridge to peer over the edge.  I could see where the beavers did a number on the creek and dammed up one side.  I spotted a couple of small beavers, but knew they were children to bigger beavers judging by the size of the tree’s that were down, a much larger animal gnawed the trunks. 

I got into my car and an uneasy feeling came over me.  I cannot explain it, but I didn’t want to drive back toward the house.  It was twilight and I knew if I wanted to stop at the house I needed to drive on.  As I approached the spot where the person had crossed the road, I did notice footprints on the freshly rained over dirt road.  I tried to look into the tree line and then I heard a loud crack, and felt blood trickle from my forehead and down the edge of my eye.  I had been hit by something. I stopped, and then I saw him.  

The man was thin, not really dirty, but his feet were muddy he spoke with a raspy voice, he was too far from the car for me to make out the words that seemed to come out of his mouth in slow motion. He was approaching the car fast and I felt my body go cold.  I stomped on the gas pedal and the car tires spun in the mud trying to get traction.  I eased up and stomped it again, the tires took grip to the dirt and the car lurched forward.  The speed caused the car to fishtail and spun in the direction of the man.  I managed to turn the car away and as I passed him I heard another thud.  This time the rock hit the car.  The naked man stood in the middle of the road. I could see him in my rearview window.  I drove down that road as fast as I could and did not relax until I drove onto the paved road and onto the main road that would take me back home.  I stopped at the nearest gas station and wiped the blood from my forehead, it was a surface scratch, I didn’t need stitches.  I thought of telling someone what had just happened, but decided against it.  What would I have said, “hey there is a naked man on the dirt road throwing rocks at cars?”   Uhhhh, yes, that is exactly what I would have said, if I had reported it. 

I was shaking as I drove the rest of the way home.  I feel like if I had been hit a little harder by the rock or a little to the left, I might have become a missing person.  No one knew I went to my childhood home; the road that had only one solitary house on it, no one would have reason to drive down it. No one would even think that would have driven out to the country to the old homestead. No one would have even looked for me until this morning when I didn’t show up for work. I know he would have done me harm.  If he had needed help, he would not have hidden, also he could walk the couple of miles to civilization.  I know I was in danger.  

I told you what happened as best I remember it. Honestly, I will try to forget it ever happened.

Let the Lower Alabama Skunk Ape Hunt begin! Is he a skunk ape if he is hairless??

Happy South, Ya’ll!!

-        DP


  1. interesting recollection thanks for sharing this.

  2. interesting read

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