Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Beast of Bishop's Bottom

I was channel surfing the other night and caught about 45 seconds of a program about "Big Foot." I have traditionally made it a point not to watch these kinds of programs for the same reason I don't watch horror films. I have an active imagination and don't need any of that kind of stuff stuck in the folds of my grey matter. I spent a lot of time in the infantry, by myself, in unfamiliar territory, in the dark. Even now, as a hunter, I am in the woods a lot pre-sunup and post-sundown. The last thing I need is a memory of some movie's maniacal monster fueling my imagination. Anyway, the Big Foot story prompted a memory of a story my Dad once told me.

As I remember the story, near my folks' hometown was a particularly inpenetrable tract of land called Bishop's Bottom. A local legend of sorts had persisted about a bigfoot type creature that lived in Bishop's Bottom, and was the grist for conversation at the regular meeting of my Dad's breakfast group, the Liars' Club. Several members of the Liars' Club hatched a plan to play a practical joke on a mutual friend who lived in a subdivision not far from Bishop's Bottom. They scrounged an old paint can and attached a length of horsehair to the bottom. When pulled between thumb and forefinger, the horsehair produced a blood-curdling screech that was amplified by the open end of the paint can.

One evening after dark, they crept into the woods between the subdivision and Bishop's Bottom and, after a giggling fit at the thought of the probable consequences of the action, commenced to give voice to the Beast of Bishop's Bottom. After completing a sufficient number of screeches and another round of giggling, they began to pick their way back out of the woods. Their careful creep became a panicked rout when from behind them, deeper in Bishop's Bottom, came a screeching answer to their calls.

Suffice it to say, debate still rages as to whether the screech that they heard was the Beast, or produced by someone playing a prank on the pranksters.
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