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Gene Dillon
  Gene Dillon

Tin Can + Literary Series
Freelancing for Sasquatch

March-April, 2008

iChat, Feb. 21, 2008

Gene Karen

Karen, are you there?

Gene!!! You're alive! ;-)

Listen. I gotta type fast, and if I run out of juice you'll know what happened. That's why I'm chatting you.

Where the hell are you?

In a cave. In an elaborate network of tunnels beneath the lush forests of British Columbia. I haven't seen the sun for a long time. I was lucky to log on while you're awake. We don't go by day and night down here. I still don't understand... There are no regular sleeping cycles around here. Someone is always awake, but everybody is quiet. The Sasquatch speak rarely, and when they do, they whisper. So... I've lost track of time, unable to discern the day and time until I was able to power up my machine just now. It's almost March?!!!!!

Wait! When are you coming back home? Are they keeping you there against your will?

Um... No... No, not really. I can't say for certain that I'm having a good time down here, mind you... But I think I've gotten used to the smell. In fact, they're the ones making fun of me now. I'm the only creature around here with any residual garlic and onion pumping through his veins, and underground caves don't seem to be equipped with showers. I stink like a homeless man in mid-summer. Have a little sympathy the next time you move away from someone or hold your breath. This is a natural human smell, like it was for a hundred thousand years. Somehow, we've come to find the stench of our own selves intolerable. I think maybe it's just an indication that we can stand ourselves in general.

The bugs are getting to me. You're supposed to not mind letting earwigs and pill bugs crawl all over you—you just accept them. Subterranean insect life seems to like the way I taste—I'm not bred for this place. The Sasquatch find this very funny. I get plenty of visits from everyone in the tribe, every single day. They come to see what's funny about Big Pink today. It's like turning on a sitcom. Yesterday, I had a centipede in my underwear—it crawled right down my butt-crack. Wait... I don't have time to talk about this. Power is rationed here like you wouldn't believe. It's beautiful, actually. They've been harnessing geothermal energy for what appears to be two centuries. But they only live with what they receive. They never use more than they have been given.

Which means that I had to wait something like a month to come up near the surface to power up and use their wireless satellite card to send this message. This battery usually lasts about 45 minutes. So here's the scoop: The Sasquatch are in trouble.

"Join the club," you say? Yeah. But I'm working for them now, so I have to figure out what I can do to help these good people. I've had plenty of time to think, obviously. But I'm stuck. They seem concerned by the long face I show them. Are you still there?


Seclusion was supposed to make them immune to our problems. But they can't escape anymore. Their greatest concern is to preserve their culture. They have a deep and passionate need to be left alone.

I'd say their biggest problem is entangled in one of their biggest strengths: their patience. Since time doesn't pass for them in the same way that it does for us, all of the modern cultural infestations that have spread over the world so gradually for us have come into their lives more like wildfire. They're terrified of the speed with which they must discern about what to accept and what to reject, what to avoid and what to embrace. They've never been bombarded with so much technology before. So many new influences. And so many terribly odd cultural twists.

They have two laptops. They have several pairs of hiking boots for particularly rough terrain. They have obtained dozens of high-end sleeping bags. Some of the younger kids wear clothing randomly—underwear and baseball hats and sun-dresses, and they chew on coffee beans. One kid actually shaved part of his face. His head looks like Ted Kaczynski's and his parents are furious.

Are you still there? This thing is flaking.


You know, this is an interesting case. They've come to the realization that the discovery of their habitat and their people is inevitable. But unlike other such "discoveries," the Sasquatch are not ignorant of their choices, or ignorant of the consequences of change. In fact, they are true masters of the management of change. I think what they're looking for now is a smooth transition. They're looking to negotiate a clean entrance onto the world stage, and they want it on their own terms. They want to write this chapter of history themselves.



Gene left the chat by logging out or being disconnected.

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