Sighting Big Foot

Contributor: Chris Sharp

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Terrible it is to receive an original Christian LaCroix nouveau dress shirt from Paris by the hand of a loving Auntie Mame, only to have it explode on his neck in the men’s room. His Auntie Mame – she was really his Aunt Mary – had no idea his neck had grown into a 17 incher since she last found a shirt for him. He gritted his teeth and growled in front of the men’s room mirror, but it was no help in getting him to get his top button to cooperate under his tie.
John Bousque III flinched when his manager Mort stepped up to stand right beside him in the restroom mirror.
“Our conference begins in ten minutes,” said Mort. “What’s the matter with you, John?”
“This shirt costs hundreds of dollars, but the idiot top button won’t close under the tie.”
“Maybe you should lose some weight.”
“I have ten minutes to shrink into a size 16 neck, Mort. Help.”
“I’m telling you, John, we have a CEO coming in on his private jet all the way to our little Surf City branch to look product and results, not appearances. Jim’s not so great looking himself. That’s why you never see his picture anywhere, you know. He’ll tell you himself he looks like an ape.”
“You think this collar makes me look like a mess-up?”
“I think you better be in the conference room and well prepared before Jim gets in there. Let me tell you something about Jim. If you flip heads on Jim, he’s a flaming genius. You flip him tails, he’s a frigging animal who’ll have you for lunch.”
Then – to make Mort’s portrait of their company CEO even better – the manager turned on his heel and strode hard out of the restroom. John Bousque III followed him meekly with his right hand still on his open collar and his left hand shooting breath spray into his poor mouth.
All the officers of the branch were already seated around the conference table. There was a quality in their eyes of being at a solemn ceremony – a wake, or a corporate funeral.
“Jim should be in here in just a few minutes,” Mort said in general, but it seemed to be in particularly directed to John Bousque III. He looked straight through his subordinate’s eyes as he finished saying “minutes.”
Then a man entered the room, but when John Bousque III looked up at the fluster breaking the grim silence, he saw a sort of a man.
The other part of the being that entered the room was more a creature of the wild.
He was huge. His pin-striped suit burst at the seams under his gigantic torso. He had no shoes because his wild, hairy feet just burst out under the hem of his pants to turn into a flood of wild nature into the conference room.
The ape man stepped right up in back of John Bousque III, as if he were preying on a new food from behind.
“I don’t believe I have yet met this gentleman,” said the creature.
“Jim, this is John Bousque III,” said Mort. “John is the new finance manager of our branch.”
John Bousque III had only been looking at the ape man’s available skin all the time, because it was twitching feet at every pore. He somehow recalled reading that the exposed skin of hominids twitched to throw off the jungle bugs.
“Hello John,” said the CEO. “I’m Jim.”
The ape man put out one of his upper paws, which was about half the size of his “foot,” to shake “hands.”
John Bousque III came to his feet in an effort to come out of everything else in the room.
The CEO’s head was about two feet tall from the top of his head to the point on his “chin.” There was so much hair on his head that the details of his face seemed like they had a natural tendency to be masked by what looked like million-year-old facial fur.
“John,” said the ape man. “I’ve got my hand poking out here and it’s ready to shake hands with you.”
Mort the manager – or someone – sighed loudly at the conference table.
“Hi,” said John Bousque III finally.
“Is that all you’ve got, John?” said Jim, not just shaking his “hand” but vibrating it at everyone now. It seemed to John Bousque III that once the CEO had gotten his prehistoric “hand” over his own, his human hand would never be the same again.
“Hi,” John Bousque III said again, this time forcing himself to smile somehow.
“Gentlemen,” said Jim, drawing his “hand” back at last. “We have adult business to discuss today. I recommend we first find something for this young man to do as we adults talk.”
“John,” said Mort, the life-long name ripping from his throat. “Go to the office and make a copy of something. Make a copy of the phone book.”
“Make a copy of the phone book?”
“The business section. Might come in handy to you to call some business owners. Take a trip downtown also.”
“Yes sir. Yes sir.”
“And John. Hold on a minute.”
Mort actually ran up John Bousque III and got so close his breath could be felt.
“John, you know how people are in this one-horse town. The last thing we need is to get people talking that Big Foot has visited us.”
“Yes sir.”
Then John Bousque III strode away from the whole scene in a conscious gait that was gentlemanly and as non-simian as he could. It was the only way he had left to argue, to walk in a way that was a million years distanced from all the creatures that had preceded him in this earth’s history. He just wanted to walk and walk, far away from the whole scene, even from Surf City itself, and keep wearing this Christian LaCroux shirt that made him feel so evolved.

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Chris Sharp has several flash-fiction stories in the archives of Daily Love, Linguistic Erosion, Weirdyear and Yesteryear Fiction. His new book, “Dangerous Learning: The New Schooling in California” is being distributed by Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
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