artwork by Scott Osbourne

by C. Allen

     James has an unusual guest. They're rolling on the floor. Two big bodies playing wildly. The floor has jungle rugs that feel good all over. Living where it's quiet. Free to do most anything. Within limits.
     Linx has a body covered with thick black hair. They met a year ago in woody areas nearby. James is a cryptozoologist. Tall, big boned. Not bad looking. He has seen many strange creatures.
     The two are in bed now. Linx is quite aware of something in particular.
     "You're always tired," he said.
     "Well, I have a demanding job."
     "You'll run off with some fine young chick sooner or later."
     Then James turned over and said, "I'm too involved with my work."
     "You say that all the time."
     "Get some rest," James said.
     "But you do work too much."
     "You complain too much."
     "Well, I have to speak my mind."
     "We've gone over this many times. Besides, I need some sleep. It's been a long day."
     "We rarely go anywhere."
     "You know how dangerous it is."
     Linx didn't say another word. This place has modern conveniences, including electricity. Trails branch off into clear-cut roads for driving. There are hundreds of miles densely populated.


     James got up on time as usual. People send mail all the time. With hundreds of questions to ask. A young woman left an e-mail about strange creatures nearby. James rushed to her home to investigate.
     "You've seen hairy creatures, huh?" he asked.
     "Believe it or not."
     "We live in a strange world."
     "I read about the coelacanth near Madagascar years ago. That fish was supposed to have been dead." Then Malina sat down next to James on a recline and continued talking. "People in Madagascar have been catching that fish for centuries."
     "Scientists aren't perfect."
     "But sometimes, they make too many mistakes."
     "You have an open mind about these things," James said.
     "Oh, yeah. The two creatures that I saw had long dark hair. Something like wild men."
     "Where were you?"
     "On the other side, but they didn't bother me at all." She has feisty eyes that match her long racer-back suit.
     "Too bad you didn't bring a camera."
     "They'll probably show up again."
     "Well, I have your report." Then James stood up and headed towards the front door.
     "I can't believe how nonchalant you are."
     "Oh, it'll fade away in time." But he didn't dare mention about Linx.
     They'll need more than pictures for evidence. James has known Malina for eight years now. They talk a lot about strange phenomenon.


     So far, things at home haven't changed. The big hairy man is never seen outside without clothes on. He heard the cryptozoologist come in.
     "Hi, I have something very interesting."
     "Oh, what?" Linx asked.
     "Malina has seen two hairy men around."
     "No, they're dead."
     "That's what you said months ago."
     "The woman made a mistake."
     "I have never seen any evidence," James said.
     "You believe everything that she says?"
     "No, but I know Malina quite well." Then James moved closer. "Why is your penis showing?"
     "I guess it's getting longer."
     "Don't play games with me."
     "Look, I told you about the other two," Linx said.
     "Oh, yeah. They had a big argument and ended up killing each other."
     "I was always a little suspicious."
     "Look, I could've left a long time ago."
     "Knowing that I can't prove a damn thing."
     "Malina made a mistake."
     "Oh, please. I knew something like this would happen."
     Then James left the room. Feeling like a fool for taking Linx in. Knowing it's only a matter of time before the whole world knows about him. But, James doesn't want the hairy man hurt or killed.
     There was a time when Linx had parents. The hair was cut and shaved before going to school. No one suspected anything. But his parents died of old age.
     Sometime later, Linx met two older men. They became friends fast. Close as brothers. With so much in common. It's funny how things change. But, Linx had a wild streak. He liked to party at someone else's expense. Which was a big problem. Anyhow, he did work. Mostly in computering. But the stigma of being different always haunted him.
     James checked with several reporters about sightings. So far, nothing new has come up. Linx wears different clothes to cover his body before going outside. The place is surrounded by a field. Densed areas that can hide anyone.
     Walking does a lot for the body. A trail leads to the field where groundhogs flourish. Eating everything in sight. But it's always strange in this area. Hairy man decided to go back home.
     "You weren't gone for long," James said.
     "Something's in that field."
     "You think too much."
     "I'm not kidding."
     "Well, I know one thing."
     "What's that?" Linx asked.
     "You smell."
     "But the only difference is that I have a hairy body." Then he went to the bathroom.
     James didn't forget about something being in the field. He's looking out the front window now. No sign of life. Not even a bird flying by.
     Linx came back into the room trying to hide something.
     "Are you still angry?" he asked.
     "A little."
     "Well, I didn't lie about anything."
     "Only time will tell." Then James turned towards him. "Now, what did you see out there?"
      "Nothing. But it felt creepy."
     "What are you hiding?"
     "Oh, nothing."
     "C'mon. We're both grown."
     "Okay." Then Linx removed his hands.
     "Ohhh. It's your penis again."
     "Does it look longer?"
     "I guess it just looks like that," James said.
     "Haaaaaa. Ha."
     "Ha, ha."
     "Well, that was a nice release."
     But, James isn't so sure.
     "Are you having problems with sex?" he asked.
     "Oh, man. Don't make me laugh again."
     "Well, face it."
     "I get so--" he broked down and started crying.
     "That's right. Let it all out," James said.
     "Living like a freak is hell, man!"
     "I'm glad we're talking about it." Hoping that he can handle the situation.
     "I can't go on living like this," Linx said.
     "Don't give up!"
     Linx is looking at him strangely now. "I've never known you to raise your voice," he said.
     "Well, it does happen. Believe it or not." They're facing each other. "Look, I'm still suspicious."
     "Well, that figures."
     "I know it's rough."
     "Maybe I should leave."
     "It's too dangerous."
     But, Linx feels frustrated. "What the hell am I suppose to do?"
     "Stay here. We'll work it out somehow."
     "I'm horny at times too."
     "You're not the only one."
     "Ha, ha. You crack me up."
     "I maybe too involved with work at times but we do have fun," James said.
     "Well, yeah."
     "Now, as far as sex is concerned. Watch a few of my videos."
     "They sure are sexy, man."
     "Oh, so you have been watching."
     "I go out every now and then," James continued.
     "With Malina."
     "Well, at least. No one is bothering us."
     "Wait till they see me with all this hair."
     "Oh, stop it."
     "Well, I need more to do than walk around and watch videos all day long."
     James turned away and looked out the window again.
     "I can't tell anyone about you. It's too risky," he said.
     "Well, I'm not staying here much longer."
     Then Linx walked towards the bedroom.
     They share a specially made bed that's quite large. More room for those big bodies. But something else happened.
     James came into the room and was shocked. He saw the hairy man lying on the floor. Then James started laughing. Thinking it's a trick. But the hairy man didn't move a muscle. He just died.
     There are strange things in our world than many of us will ever know.

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