DONATIONS TO CLARITY, by Noah Baird, Second Wind Publishing, 220 pp., $13.45 (Kindle $4.99).
The plan was simple: hoax bigfoot, then sell tours to bigfoot enthusiasts. The plan wasn’t brilliant, and neither were Harry, Earl, and Patch. The three chemical-abusing friends only wanted to avoid the 9 to 5 rat race, but their antics attract the attention of a real bigfoot. When the misogynistic Earl is mistaken for a female bigfoot by the nearsighted creature and captured; it is just the beginning of their problems.
The U.S. Government has a plan to naturalize the mythical creatures living within the U.S. borders. The problem is the plan needs to be carried out carefully. You can’t just drop little green men and Sasquatch in the middle of Walmart without warning Ma and Pa Taxpayer. The naturalization program is not ready to be set into motion, and the rogue bigfoot is bringing too much attention to itself, including a feisty investigative reporter who uncovers the truth of the government conspiracy and two bigfoot researchers. No longer able to contain the situation, government agents are tasked with eliminating the bigfoot and all witnesses.
Between bong hits and water balloon fights, Harry and Patch come up with a plan to save Earl and the lovestruck bigfoot. Where do you hide a giant, mythical creature? In an insane asylum, because who is going to listen to them?
Along the way, the three friends learn Star Wars was a government training film for children, the truth behind Elvis meeting President Nixon, and the significance of the weight of the human turd.
It takes 73 newtons of force to fracture a human skull. Roughly. Variations in bone thickness, age, and location of the blow introduce countless variables. A major league baseball player can lay wood on leather with 200 pounds of pressure or 890 newtons.
The skull was hit with 253 pounds of pressure or 1125 newtons. The blow was delivered with 20 percent more force than what a professional athlete would deliver. Over fifteen times the required force needed to crack an adult male’s melon open. The entire swing took less than half a second. A 26 inch carbon steel baton weighing 1.46 pounds was used. Contact between baton and target lasted a precious 0.02 seconds. Faster than the 0.33 seconds required to blink, or the 0.878 seconds it took the victim’s heart to pump one last time.
Ian King would have found this statistical information interesting. A welcome distraction from the butterflies surfing his own synapses. Ian even may have engaged the provider of such delicate morsels of information in conversation had it not been his skull used to provide the empirical data.
Green buds were sprouting on the tips of every branch in the forest. Mother Nature letting her hair down after the long winter. The season when children were lined up for crewcuts to prepare for warmer weather while Momma Nature was silently shaking her mane out. In three days, the buds would have opened and Ian would never have seen the footprint.
Two minutes before his last thought, Ian relaxed his pace. The sky had been full with rain and was now starting to drizzle. With the rain, the wind began to shift erratically. Ian stopped and adjusted his backpack and cracked his neck. He knew the pack would have difficulty picking up his scent with the wind shifting. He also knew the rain would mask the snapping twigs of his approach. He still needed to be careful. Eastern timber wolves were notoriously shy of humans.
Ian’s thoughts drifted. The weather was warming, and warmth brought undergrads in shorts. He wondered what this year’s batch would look like. He was in his third year of graduate work at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry. The curriculum required him to take undergrads out for field work. The work could be gratifying unless he had to remind the students to take their earbuds out or stop texting. At least there were the girls.
Ian noted the pack’s pace was focused over the last two days. Gone were the typical meanderings and backtracking. The wolves were moving quickly now, seldom stopping to rest. Ian knew he was anthropomorphizing, but he had a gut feeling the wolves knew they were in dangerous territory. What could be making the pack skittish? Ian rechecked the topography map and verified they were at least a half day’s hike to the nearest civilization. It couldn’t be humans making them pick up the pace.
Rain dropping on his face renewed his focus and he kneeled over with his tracking stick to pick up the stride of the pack lead. He glanced to his right and saw a familiar indentation in the mud. Nothing in nature resembles a human’s silhouette. The same can be said for a human footprint. This particular print was nearly 18 inches long and deeply depressed into the mud. Ian jerked up with the realization of what he was looking at. He just connected the dots of why the wolves were quickly moving through the area when the baton struck his head.
A man dressed completely in black efficiently wiped the baton before collapsing it. He turned to an identically dressed man, “That ape is getting sloppy. Make contact with him and remind him of our position.”