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SASQUATCH

	Once Sasquatch headed straight for the trees.
	This decision wasn’t made lightly. It had been building for some time, taking shape in a gathering disquiet and then demoralization. Until one day a moment arrived when something snapped inside and Sasquatch bolted from his men’s group into the woods without explanation or farewell.
	He needed time alone to reflect upon the developments that had brought him to this pass. Things had begun well enough. That first weekend retreat he had joined along with a few of his mates from work had even been en-joyable, Sasquatch was forced to admit. The chanting, the beating of drums, the staring into campfires while listening to “initiation stories,” the running naked through the dark to express “the warrior within” all stirred Sasquatch with novel and rousing emotions.
	But as he attended more of these gatherings, joining larger and larger crowds of those who called each other “children of the ancient ones” and “spirits of the sacred grove,” Sasquatch began to have misgivings. And as he rode back in the car each Sunday night with his comrades, those misgiv-ings only grew.
	The others had developed larger jaws and at least a token stoop during the weekend’s doings, to be sure, but there was something unconvincing about their transformations. As though when they parted with the usual “secret handshake of the primal self” and returned to their everyday lives, all the bonding they had done with Sasquatch would fade into just another male fantasy to fill the void between Monday and Friday. Or maybe just between beers.
	In a decade or two, how many of them would remember any of this without flinching in embarrassment? If pressed to explain to their sons and grandsons what they’d been up to with a bunch of other guys out in the woods, would they hem and haw or would they still have it in them to declare they’d been pounding their chests and yowling at the starry vault above?
	This sense of the shallowness of his companions’ commitment came to a head for Sasquatch one weekend as he watched a pudgy fellow who claimed to be a former “person of consequence at the highest levels” run about naked and out of control for hours. “Is that me?” Sasquatch asked himself. “That has-been old blow-hard crashing through the underbrush and bumping into trees, all the while grunting heavily when not stopping to pass out his business cards as an “international advisor to the powerful” between breaths? What a fraud! They’re all frauds!”
	And that was when Sasquatch decided to go it alone. Somebody had to keep the faith. So he stood up, turned from those he now considered his bogus peers, and headed off into the darkness. There he has remained for years now, receding into a figure of myth and dispute. His very existence is doubted by some, while others cling to the most farfetched claims about his survival and whereabouts.
	There is no way of knowing, therefore, whether the rumor is true that Sasquatch occasionally comes down to the edge of the trees at night and watches the clumsy exertions of his former comrades, shaking his head in disbelief at what lost-men-in-boyland they seem.