Author: Michael Panush PM
When a small town discovers a troop of Bigfoot living in the nearby woods, they soon discover that sucess isn't what it seems and that the real beasts are the ones in the expensive suits. A dark tale of greed and cruelty.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama/Supernatural - Words: 5,375 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 05-16-07 - Status: Complete - id: 2362784
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
All the arguments to prove man's superiority cannot shatter this hard fact: in suffering the animals are our equals.
Skipping the giants and the traditional, I'll choose the gorilla. ... If you threaten his group he will charge, and a charging gorilla is a fearful spectacle. To stand your ground with a handgun and flatten him at 15 feet is man's work
Part I: Grendel
Percival Beuregard, mayor and highest-ranking elected official of the small West Virginia town of Sarsaparilla Flats was not used to being woken up the middle of the night by an incessantly ringing phone placed by his bed. For one thing he needed his sleep. It was true that Sarsaparilla Flats was small and that small towns can be idyllic, peaceful and wonderful places to live, but that did not mean that they were free from all problems. In Sarsaparilla Flats, a town of just under one thousand residents, it seemed that not only did everybody know everybody else by name, but also by birth date, and that closeness lent itself to several problems.
First and foremost in Mayor Beuregard's mind was that of funding. The town coal mine had been the only industry around and now that the last shovel full of precious coal had recently been removed, it was the only historic landmark for miles around. The town was out of cash and to keep Beuregard's satellite television operational, as well as to pay for things like schools, the decaying roads, and law enforcement, that cash was needed. Beuregard had been struggling to try and turn Sarsaparilla Flats into the only thing that a small town could survive as in a world of Wall Street and the Internet: A tourist attraction.
It wasn't working. The town simply did not have enough attraction to be a tourist attraction. Yes, the forests were beautiful, dense, and serene, but forest just as beautiful, dense and serene were as easy to find as coffee table books depicting them, and closer to shopping malls and fast food outlets. Nothing historically interesting had ever happened in Sarsaparilla Flats, unless you include a massacre of Cherokee Indians around 1800, but that's hardly a claim to fame.
No, there was nothing for Sarsaparilla Flats, and Mayor Beuregard was in quite the fix. And now a phone call disturbing his sleep in the middle of the night. His large eyes opened and fixed on the phone, and his pudgy hand reached out to grab it before the ringing disturbed his sleeping wife next to him.
"Hello?" he asked petulantly.
"Mayor. It's Sheriff Granes."
Reluctantly, Mayor Beuregard sat up in his bed. "Yeah, Robby, what is it?"
"It's Old Man Kelvin. You remember how I was tell you about that giant monster he keeps on saying is stealing his chickens at lunch at Rosie's the other day?"
"Yeah. Crazy old fellow. What about him?"
"Well, he caught the giant in his house, after it tore the old man's wife in two. I'm over here with Jimmy and the guys and I figured you ought to know. Maybe you should get over here. I ain't sure what it is, but it's big and angry and I think there might be more of them."
Beuregard was already standing up and pulling on a robe. "I'll be right there, Robby. Hang tight and don't shoot anybody. Should I bring a piece?"
"Yeah. Might be a good idea." The Sherrif hung up.
Mayor Beuregard shook his head in disbelief as he pulled a slim magnum revolver out of his dresser. He pulled on some trousers and a shirt over his prodigious gut, pocketed the gun, and then quickly combed his thinning hair as he walked downstairs. His old beat-up ford was waiting for him like a loyal hand.
With the headlights on at full blast and a mournful country tune playing on the radio, Beuregard drove out to Old Man Kelvin's place. Both of the towns police cars were parked there, as well an ambulance and every cop in town. They all had shotguns and rifles trained on the house. The building had smashed windows and the lights were still on.
"What the hell's happening out here?" Beuregard asked as he parked his car and walked out. Sheriff Robby Granes was waiting for him, standing next to a shocked looking Kelvin. The sheriff was a gaunt man with a hatchet thin face and piercing gray eyes. He held a shotgun in the crook of his hand like it belonged there.
"Don't know what it was, mayor!" Kelvin said, shaking his head in shock and sadness. "Killed poor Doris before she knew what was happening. Damn beast tore her in two!"
"It's an animal, like a bear?" Beuregard asked, cautiously eyeing the house. Shadows danced in the windows and something immense moved around. Spotlights were pointed at the front door as cops ran around back to cover all the exits.
"Sounds like a bear. Except for bears don't live in these woods." Graves shook his head. "It didn't move like a bear either. Damn thing was bipedal."
"Like a bike?"
"Nah. It moved on two legs, like a person would." Graves and Beuregard both gulped.
Suddenly the door cracked outward, splintering and breaking as some immense strength was hurled about it. Beuregard drew his revolver and held it with both hands, and Graves leveled his shotgun as other officers charged around and knelt, preparing for whatever was going to come charging out.
There was silence for a few seconds, and the crickets and heartbeats were audible, then the door shattered and a giant came charging out. It was twice as big as a man and covered in thick brown hair hanging in shaggy lengths off of its giant muscular arms. The things face was dark, with a sloping brow, black features and muzzle, and large dark eyes. It roared and hooted as everyone opened fire on it, and then charged straight into the crowd, moving faster than something that large should be possible too.
One of the police cars was in the way, and the hairy giant bellowed in rage and pain as it slammed the car out of the way and dashed into the woods surrounded Old Man's Kelvin's Place.
The police officers stood there, panting for a few seconds before reloading their weapons and examining the damage done to the totaled police vehicle.
"What was that?" Beuregard asked. "King Kong?"
"Reckon it was a Sasquatch," Sheriff Granes said simply. "I've heard some reports of those things, but I didn't believe them until now." He looked down at the thick blood on the floor. "It's bleeding. We can follow it."
"Sasqautch? L-like a Bigfoot?" Beurergard asked.
"Yeah. Like a Bigfoot." Granes started issuing orders to his officers. "Hey, Jimmy!" Jimmy Granes was Beuregard's chief deputy, and also his son. "Go down to the station and get some bloodhounds. We'll go after this thing, see where they live."
Beuregard shivered, looking at the ruined door and destroyed police car. His mind was racing. Bigfoots, Bigfeet, Sasquatch. Folks had been looking for those elusive giants for ages, and now they were crawling around his town. Maybe Sarsaparilla Flats did have a possible life as a tourist attraction.
A few hours later the policemen and Mayor Beuregard were walking through the woods, several sniffing dogs in front of them. The sasqautch had left a large trail of blood, almost visible in the moonlight and easy to follow. The trail wound through dense forest, the kind of woods unexplored by white men for centuries. After five hours of hard tracking, they found it.
Sheriff Granes shined his flashlight around the clearing in the woods, gasping at what he saw. There were nests, hastily yet firmly constructed of leafs, surrounding the clearing in a vaguely circular fashion. In each nest was a sleeping sasqautch, sometimes two. There were female ones, with hanging dark breasts that looked oddly human, and young and baby sasquatches curled up protectively against others. A half-eaten deer carcass and several piles of chicken bones rested in the middle of the clearing.
"There sure are a lot of them," the Mayor whispered. "A whole herd, or colony or whatever you call a bunch of Bigfoots."
"They're meat-eaters," Granes said, pointing to the dead deer. "And they're man-killers." He cocked his shotgun. "Let's get rid of them." Slowly, Granes took aim at the nearest large primate.
Quickly, Mayor Beuregard pressed his shotgun down. "Not so fast, sheriff. I've been doing a lot of thinking about these things. They're real popular, as far as I can remember and a lot of people would be willing to come from far away to get a close look at these gentle giants."
"They're dangerous," Granes explained slowly. "They can tear a man apart, like Kelvin's poor wife. We ought to finish them off now."
"No, no," Beuregard shook his head. "The survival of our town depends on the survival of these sasqautches. We need to keep them alive. You men watch them from afar and keep tabs on these herd or colony or whatever. I think I'm going to call an emergency town meeting. A lot things need to be done."
"Mayor, these things are killers. The town could be destroyed by them!" Granes had a fierce look in his eyes.
"Stand down, officer. Don't worry. There's more of us than them, and we are the ones with more evolution." The mayor smiled. "Now, who would be able to help me back to town?"
The town meeting began just as the sun rose over Sarsaparilla Flats. Quickly, and while keeping in radio contact with Granes and his men out in the forest, Mayor Percival Beuregard explained his idea to the town council. The sasquatches would be watched, catalogued and observed, and tourists would come from miles around to catch a glimpse of them.
"Or maybe shoot them," Beuregard said with a chuckle. "One of those apes would look real nice stuffed and mounted!"
The town council agreed unanimously. It was like a godsend. Sarsaparilla Flats was saved from potential economic failure by the timely arrival of a bunch of hairy apes. Soon as the word was out, everyone from Hollywood directors to big-time scientists would descend on the town, all eating at Rosie's Diner, sleeping at the local Inns and quenching their thirst in the local pubs.
"And one more thing," Beuregard said grandly. "I was thinking of a little name change for our town. Just to really get out message out. We change the town's name from Sarsaparilla Flats to Sasquatch Flats. What do you think?"
The council-members nodded their heads. It passed without even needing a vote and Sasqautch Flats was born.
2. Grendel's Mother
Robby Granes slunk through the woods surrounding Sasquatch Flats. He was dressed in cameo with a small military style cap on his head and shooting glasses covering his face. A high-powered hunting rifle rested in his hands. Granes was still getting used to his new job as hunter's guide. He had just been Sasqautch Flats' sheriff just a few months ago, he reflected, and now so much had changed.
"So, where's the troop?" Reginald Primps, Granes's customer asked. Primps looked fashionably militaristic in his expensive camouflage outfit, standing out from the small number of his hangers-on. He was a millionaire, an ultra successful businessman who ran a conglomerate that pumped out everything from soft drinks to assault weapons. And like most businessmen, he needed a thrill, and he got it by hunting the sasqautch.
"Remember, sir, you're not allowed to go after a member of the troop. The sasqautch is just too endangered to go on popping off moms and babies." That was the law, handed down from Washington. Hunting had taken a severe toll on the sasquatches, and it had been necessary to quickly put out a variety of restrictions. "We'll find a young male outcast, someone the troop doesn't need, and bag him."
"Oh. Well, I wouldn't say laws are particularly important." Reginald Primps smiled, his teeth blinding white. "Surely, I could just offer out a few campaign contributions to the Mayor Beuregard's re-election fund or start some new building projects, and all the unpleasantness would be snuffed out." He wore non-prescription glasses and had slicked back black hair. He angered Granes, anathema to everything the old lawman cared about. But the Mayor had called him up just before Primps's expedition left town, explaining that the millionaire was the town's biggest investor, and that it was utterly important that he had a good time.
Granes smoldered, but didn't say anything.
"Oh, you look like a hillbilly gun-nut. Let me show you the weapon I'll be using for this hunt. I guarantee you'll be impressed." Primps clapped his hands and two of his servants came forward holding out a silver suitcase. Primps clicked it open and drew out a long black assault rifle with a thick drum magazine. He clicked off the safety and cocked it. "Beautiful weapon," he said wistfully. "You ever seen anything like it, Mr. Granes?"
The ex-sheriff shivered as memories flowed through him. "Yes, sir. I have."
He remembered back to a couple months ago, his last job as sheriff. He and Jimmy were on patrol when they gotten a word from headquarters. Someone had tipped off the Sasquatch Flats Police Department about a major drug deal going down in one of the construction sights that was appearing all over the city. Jimmy and Robby Granes headed over there without a second thought.
Sasquatch Flats was developing fast. New buildings, some finished, some skeletal steel construction, were popping up everywhere. Luxury hotels, expensive restaurants, and numerous casinos, gift shops and other lures to tourists were taking over the city, and Sasquatch Flats's residents were finding it more and more complicated to live their daily lives. They couldn't afford the expensive new restaurants, they didn't get to live in the deluxe cabins that were appearing on the edge of town, and the idea of debasing themselves and becoming slaves to the wealthy tourists was less than appealing.
The tourists and development brought something else: crime. It was soon discovered that sasquatch musk was a major relaxant. It was soon combined with other chemicals and herbs and then 'Musk' become the wonderfully expensive and highly illegal designer drug of choice around the country. Gangs were crowding into Sasquatch Flats, struggling to get their hands on the stuff. The outfit behind this deal were the West-Side Stink-Apes, a local gang that recently appeared on the scene with a well-deserved reputation for brutality.
"Dad, this is the place," Jimmy Granes said as they neared a construction sight. Sure enough, a group of shady men in trench coats seemed to be conducting some kind of deal. "Should we call for back-up?"
"Nah." Sheriff Granes shook his head. "These guys don't have that much firepower. Never had to call for backup before." He clicked open the car and walked out, his hand on his pistol.
"Cops!" It was only a second before the criminals spotted him. One of them drew an Uzi machine-pistol out of his coat and opened fire, making Granes duck down. He fired once with his pistol and the thug collapsed. The other gang-members ran into an unmarked black van parked near the construction sight and took off. Jimmy drove over to Sherrif Granes, holding the door while his father hopped inside.
"Let's get them!" Granes shouted as Jimmy stepped on the gas. "These bastards are tearing apart our town!"
The pursuit zoomed through the city, but there was a problem. The new tourism had crowded the small streets of Sasquatch Flats horribly. The traffic congestion was unbearable, and multiple collisions occurred as Jimmy and Robby attempted to chase down the criminals. Horns honked and angry tourists shouted from inside their cavernous mini-vans.
Granes ignored them, reaching for his pistol and firing out of the window at the black van. Bullet holes appeared on the doors, and Granes smiled as he tried to take out the tires. The Stink-Apes weren't going anywhere.
Then the door was thrown open and thug in a ski mask glared down the road at Robby Granes. He was holding a lethal-looking black assault rifle with a thick drum magazine. Without warning he opened fire into the crowded street.
Robby Granes ducked back as bullet flew around him at lightning speeds. People screamed and glass shattered and Jimmy Granes let out a low moan. After the rain of bullets stopped, Robby turned to see his son clutching his bleeding chest.
"They got me, dad," he wheezed, collapsing on the wheel.
Robby Granes held his son in his hands. "Oh, Jimmy, don't die on me boy! Stay strong, I'll get help!"
Jimmy's eyes were wide and dark, just like the sasquatche's. He gave out a few more sputtering coughs and then lay still, dying in his father's arms.
A look of pure fury came across Robby Granes's face. He kicked open the car door, grabbing the shotgun that was slung on the ceiling and fired a single time at the black van, destroying the two back wheels. The van zoomed forward, quickly becoming uncontrollable and crashing into a fancy hotel's marble awning. The Stink-Apes poured out, but Sheriff Robby Granes was running after them.
They hotel entrance was crowded as vacationing families made their way inside. Granes fired into the crowd with the shotgun and then with his pistol. He killed the Stink-Ape with the assault rifle, scoring a head shot. He kept on firing at the other gangsters, hitting a well-dressed gentleman, a girl in a shimmering dress, and a hotel porter instead.
"I'm sorry, Robby," Mayor Beuregard had said. They were in his new office just hours after the shooting. Lawsuits were being filed, lawyers about to be unleashed. "I ain't got no choice. This has hurt the town real hard. Four people killed in the street and three in the lobby?" Beuregard shook his head. "The town will survive it, but there's gotta be consequences."
The new office was swank, with a well-trained and beautiful secretary, a mahogany desk and assorted golden paperweights and framed photographs on the Mayor's desk. The Mayor was wearing an expensive hand-tailored blue suit.
"Hell," Robby Granes said. "I didn't kill those civilians! It was the Stink-Apes. Bastards fired on us in a crowded area! We had no choice but to hit back, me and Jimmy." He blinked several times remembering the death of his son. "Poor kid didn't stand a chance."
"You've got to resign, Robby," Beuregard explained slowly. "Several companies have already cancelled their reservations. I've lost a guided tour company, and three casinos. Do you know how much money was in that deal? You can't even imagine, Robby."
"Do you know how much pain this town is going through because of your damned loyalty to the corporations and the rich folks!?" Granes shouted, coming to his feet. "My Jimmy wouldn't be dead if you didn't bring in all of these out-of-town businesses and gangsters and money! You've ruined Sarsaparilla Flats!"
"It's Sasquatch Flats, now," Beuregard said meekly. "And all of those things had made the town incredibly wealthy. We're going to be a huge internationally recognized city, on the level of New York or Paris."
"Yeah, sure, Percival. We'll be big. But we'll also be ruined." Granes shook his head. "I wish I had killed all of those sasquatches when we first met them. They've caused this city nothing but heartbreak." He paused for breath.
"I'm going to fire you, Robby," the mayor said slowly. "I don't want to, but that's the way it is."
"Nah, you won't fire me," Robby Granes said. "I quit!"
And now he was getting used to his new job as a hunting guide, helping the reach people choose what Sasquatch to kill and how best to kill them. Reginald Primps was still showing off his fancy assault rifle. Had he sold it to the Stink-Apes? Perhaps in return for Musk? Granes was forced to shake his theories out of his head.
"Come on, sir," he said, loping through the woods. "We'll go down to the watering hole. Maybe a male or two will be there."
"How about the clearing?" Reginald asked, tapping his fingers against his gun. "I want to see the clearing. Where the whole troops sleeps."
"Well, all right. But you can't kill any of them, okay?" Granes grudgingly began to lead Reginald Primps towards the clearing and home of the sasquatches. The millionaire's servants stayed behind. "Besides, if you start shooting, they'll all be after you, and we probably won't get out alive. Sasqautches are as strong as ten men and they get angry fast."
"Duly noted," Primps said. "Now take me to the clearing!"
He did, finding the easiest and most well worn trail. The forest itself had been developed, with new paved trails, elevated walkways in the trees, and blinds and hunting lodges almost around every bend. It only took them a few hours to find the clearing.
The sasquatches hardly noticed them. The big apes were going about their daily business, picking over a couple of dead rabbits, playing games filled with hoots and squeals, and grooming each other. Granes saw the peaceful scene displayed before him, and found himself automatically comparing it to the violent and chaotic swirl of life in Sasqautch Flats.
"I could pick off so many before they realized what was happening," Primps said. "And they look so human, don't they?" He chuckled. "Killing one is the legally and ethically the closest thing to killing a man." He smiled cruely as he looked down his sights.
"Don't you do nothing. The law-"
"The law be damned. I'll kill however many I want and buy the law, change it afterwards. I'll own Sasquatch Flats, Mr. Granes, and there's not a damn thing anyone can do about it." Primps ran a manicured finger through his hair and then opened fire. He killed two sasquatches in the first burst. They moaned and cried like people as they died. Primps continued firing, driving the younger sasquatches away as some of the older gray-backed creatures converged on their position.
"Run!" Granes shouted, getting up.
"What for?" Primps asked, taking aim at a charging male. The sasquatch lunged forward, tearing the assault rifle out of Primps's hands before he could fire and breaking the weapon in his massive hands. Primps turned to run and it was only because of Granes's covering fire that he escaped with his life.
They ran through the woods, the sasquatches charging after them. Primps was breathing heavily as they turned the corner and came to a hunting lodge. It was their only chance. Granes reached for the ladder and began hauling himself off, but Primps pulled him down and shoved him out of the way. "You deal with it!" he cried as he scrambled up the ladder and into the safety of the hunting lodge.
Robby Granes faced the charging sasquatch. He lowered his rifle and fired one shot, wildly missing. And then the mighty ape was upon him, pulverizing his thin body and tearing him to pieces. The sasqautch hooted and roared at Primps who cowered in the safety of the elevated hunting lodge.
It took at least half an hour before the great ape got bored and wandered away. Primps pulled out his wafer-thin cell phone and made a call. "Yes, I had a great time. Really got the blood pumping. Send in some men to get me out of here, and get the bodies to the taxidermist."
Reginald Primps smiled as his obedient lackeys agreed to his orders. He hung up and then made one more call. Mayor Percival Beuregard answered.
"Mr. Primps? How did the hunting trip go?"
"Fantastic. The guide got killed, but I had a wonderful, and I've killed at least four apes."
"Robby was killed?"
"Yeah. Died quite heroically, saving my life from a charging beast. Real pity." Primps quickly changed the subject. "You know what, mayor, I'm going to triple my investment into this town. I'm going to put it on the map. I really had fun today, and I want to show my gratitude."
"Oh, thank you sir! You won't regret your decision."
"Toxic waste dumping. Do you have any rules about that, Mr. Beuregard?" Primps took out his PDA and checked the screen. "I've got several barrels and nowhere to put them, and I think this town would be a good place. Bury them out in the woods somewhere."
"Don't worry. No one would find out, unless it leaked into the river or something. And even then, there'd just be a few deaths and babies born retarded each year. You and I drink bottled water."
"I, uh, I don't think-" Beuregard was indecisive and Primps knew it.
"You don't want to, eh? Well, that's fine. The Mayoral election is coming up and I've got a friend who would be perfect for the job. You won't be re-elected."
"But, how can you-" Beuregard was stammering. "I've won the election without any trouble nearly seven times!"
"Your reign of terror is at an end. I'll release the scandal, how the psycho-cop that gunned down eight civilians used to be your best friend. And that you cheat on your wife. You'll lose in a landslide."
"But I don't cheat on my wife!" Beuregard cried.
"Hmmm. Maybe you should start." Primps hung up and let out a low laugh. The town was his, and he would indeed put Sasquatch Flats on the map.
Percival Beuregard sweltered in the driver's seat of his truck in the summer heat. Carrying toxic waste back and forth from Primps's plants in Virginia to the dumping sight just a few miles out of town was not a pleasant job, and it was supposed to shorten Beuregard's life by at least ten years, but it was the only job he could get now. He wife had left him, the town had turned against him, and nobody wanted him.
Sighing, Beuregard turned on the radio. He skipped through several country stations until he came to a local newscast. "Gang Violence rocked Sasquatch Flats, as sixteen people were killed in a drive-by of the North-Side Wendigos in retribution for last week's firebombing by the West-Side Stink Apes. Police are at a loss to identify the killer."
The road twisted on, Beuregard's headlights illuminating the road. He was listening the radio intently, not watching exactly where he was going. "Damn gangsters," he muttered to himself.
"In other news, police evicted at least a hundred homeless, many of them former Sasqautch Flats citizens from an abandoned casino. They declared that they had been squatting there after their homes had been demolished to make way for the new Bigfeet-Big Pockets casino."
Beuregard cursed again, and then gasped. Something was running across the road, a massive man-like shape in the headlights. The former mayor turned on the breaks, but he was too slow. His truck careened forward, striking the figure hard and sending it flying.
Quickly, Beuregard hit the brakes and jumped out of the truck. He ran over to the fallen form lying in the road. It only took a moment to see that it was a sasquatch, and a moment more to see that it was dead. Beuregard cursed softly as he stared at the giant corpse. It had been filled with such power when it was alive.
He hastily pushed it out of the road and went back to the car. The news was still blaring from the radio. "Researches have declared the sasquatch is practically extinct, having been hunted almost completely to extinction as well as suffering from severe loss of habitat." Beuregard cursed as a scientist's voice came on the radio.
"We think there may be a few isolated males in the woods, but certainly to replenish the species. Except for the few in zoos, we can correctly state that in a couple of years, the sasqautch will be completely extinct."
The radio announcer came back. "Already, protestors are gathering in Sasqautch Flats to attack the anti-environmentalist policies which led to the extinction of the great sasqatuch."
With a final curse, Beuregard clicked off the radio and drove on. He had shipment of toxic waste to deliver.
Reginald Primps watched the protests become riots from the highest story of Primps Tower, the highest building in Sasquatch Flats. He had a martini in one hand and a cigar in the other, and he was smiling as the riot cops waded into the vast crowds of protesters, clouds of tear gas obscuring all.
"There will be death tonight," Primps said matter-of-factly. "And not just from the usual car accidents, gang wars, drug overdoses and toxic poisoning. No, there will be much death tonight. And fire as well." He spun around, facing the people he had gathered together in his office. There was the town police chief, his puppet mayor, and several other owners of casinos and businesses.
"You're all fired," Primps said. "My private jet leaves this town in two hours. You're free to find your own way out."
They stared in disbelief.
"Well, get out, or you will be shown out." Reginald Primps sat down in his swivel chair as they filed out obediently. He spun the chair around and continued to watch the riots as he waited for his private plane to fill up. He soon became aware of a presence in the room.
Reginald Primps turned around and saw a young woman in a lab coat. "It's Dr. Marsh, from the Sasqautch Research Center. We've just got a call from a trucker who says he hit a sasqautch."
"Hmmm," Primps said. That was all he felt like saying.
"Yes. This is the last one, you know. After the family of three that was shot going through someone's dumpster last month. We radio-tagged them all, and this is it. The last one."
"Your point being…?"
"They're extinct, you bastard!" Dr. Marsh screamed, throwing her clipboard at him. "Another species almost as intelligent as man and you killed them! You disgusting fiend!"
"Almost as intelligent. Well, I gotta tell you, that's not saying much because man is really dumb." Reginald Primps smiled as his cell-phone rang. "I've got to take this." He put the phone to his ear, talking loudly and ignoring the fuming doctor in his office. "Yes… in Scotland, you say. They've found a whole school of the things? Wow. I'll be there in a few hours. Be sure to make some contacts, and let me know who I can trust and who I need to get rid of." He hung up.
"What was that?" Dr. Marsh asked.
"My man in Europe. Says they've discovered a school of ancient plesiosaurs in some lake in Scottland. Causing quite the sensation." Reginald Primps came to his feet and walked out the room. "Maybe I'll see you there. I always run into the same sorts of people. Or animals."