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Published April 25, 2014 More Info »
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Published April 25, 2014
“He should have listened to her.”
Jim grabbed the square bottle and poured the last drop into his “Big Gulp” cup. He brought it to his lips and suckled at the rim, then smashed it against the wall; filling the air with shards of glass and drops of bourbon and spittle, only adding to the fetid odor of vomit, urine and whiskey that already saturated the 590 sq ft east side Albuquerque apartment.
“She always told him,”There are thing you've just can't skimp on”. I mean who finds an oncologist on Craig's List? You would have thought; after that botched face lift; he would have learned his lesson. Throw me that last fifth, Chief”
“He always said it was exactly the facelift he asked for. That's why he got that tattoo.”
“Which one?”
“Chicks Dig Scars”
“Oh, the one on his neck? I could never figure out what it said. But I never asked. You know how he was.”
“He was one of a kind!”, Chief broke the seal and filled two plastic 7 Eleven cups with Jack Daniels.
“To Josh, I guess he finally learned his lesson”
“To Josh!”, they toasted in unison.
“Who lives like this?”, Jim looked around at the squalor. Piles of newspapers lined the walls. The burned and stained eggshell carpet was covered with broken glass and cigarette butts.
“I think this was more of a repository. He spent most of his time in that camper.” Chief picked up a San Francisco Enquirer from March 21st, 1998. He flipped through the pages. “Why this one? It just doesn't make any sense.”
Jim opened a shoebox filled with small pieces of cash register paper.
“These are all from McDonald’s”, he sifted through the slips of paper, “and all for Big Macs. And all have little pencil written notes. This one says, “Desdemona smiles at the meadowlark”
“Well, there's a coffee stain on this article about the phases of the moon, but I don't see anything in here that would warrant keeping it.”
“Here are bundle of receipts clipped together, that just say, “diarrhea”. Here's one with a scratch and sniff “Strawberry Shortcake” sticker. It says “ Onions”.”
“I think he was crazy.”
“Crazy like a fox”
“What? You think this is just being clever?”
“No, that's what's written on this receipt. He was definitely insane. This one's from 1987. Who would keep something like that? Except a lunatic?”
“What's that in that big box over there?”
“It says “Squatch Pubes”. You wanna open it?”
“No, that's all you. I do want to get over there to that curio cabinet. If I can maneuver through this sea of empties.”
“Good luck. Here's a stack of resumes. There must be two hundred; all on purple card stock. And here's a cover letter.
 
“Dear Harvard,
I am very disappointed in your limited fields of study. You are currently operating your institution of higher learning without offering the knowledge most essential to turn today's youth into functioning members of society. For shame, for shame. What would Francis Scott Key say?
I will, for a reasonable sum, create departments of Cryptozoology, Astrology, and Parapsychology. I will be the dean of all three departments with sole power of budgeting and hiring and firing.
I will be there this Friday, sometime between twelve noon and eleven pm to sign my tenure paperwork. I have included a resume.
Sincerely, Josh”
“P.S.: I have enclosed my latest proposition on The Spiritual Benefits of Biological Alchemy”
 
“Biological Alchemy: A Holistic Approach”
“I first came across the idea of ingesting lead in order to turn my feces to gold, on a trip through the Himalayas. There, I found several piles of Yeti scat sparkling in the ice, laced with flakes of pure gold. I questioned my Sherpa about this strange phenomenon,and although I don't speak the language, I took what he said to mean: the Yeti's diet includes copious amounts of lead, and his digestive juices work as a peptic philosopher's stone, turning it all to bright shiny gold.”
“I immediately set out upon my, now well-known experiments. I started small: a few paint chips at a time, but even then I could feel my consciousness rising through the nausea and blindingly painful headaches.”
 
“The rest is blacked out, with a big “confidential” sticker.”
The sound of breaking glass again filled the room.
“I shouldn't have worn these damn moccasins!”
“Careful, this not a place where you want to leave behind any DNA evidence, let alone blood splatters.”
Chief carefully made his way across the sea of Rolling Rock shards.
“Okay, this stuff is just weird. Look's like there's a shelf dedicated to animal shit.
Three marked “Skunk Ape”; two “Yeti”s; one “Sasquatch”; one “Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly”. That's just gross.”
“Here's a broken Heineken bottle with a silver plaque that says “Leprechaun Teeth”,and a half melted Silly Putty egg, with a blob of black goo. The card says “Burning Man 2007”. Right beside it is a Polaroid of a goat in a bonnet.”
“Hey Chief, I think I found it”, shouted Jim, “right next to the pube crate.”
“The diary?”
“Yeah, I'm sure this is it. What the CIA would want from anything in this place is a mystery to me.”
“This whole place is a mystery to me.”
“He took that website as gospel, who goes “Skunk Ape mad”
“Josh”, they said in unison.
The Skunk Ape Diaries:
 
Day One:
Finally in Ochopee. 35 hours on the road. It was tough, but that's why the Good Lord Jesus gave us meth. It's 3am, and I'm waiting in the lobby of the Skunk Ape Research Center for it's founder, Dave Shealy. Easier to break in than I would have thought. Note: Talk to Dave about Skunk Ape Security.
I hope I make a good impression. I know Shealy lives by the credo:“It's illegal for me to take anybody anywhere”, hell it's even on his website, but I'm not just some regular Joe wantin' to see a Skunk Ape. I did my research. I got my cabbage palm, my pond apple and my hog plum. I got four fresh deer livers.
I got my magnifying glass, my plaster of Paris and my snake bite kit. I'm gonna bag me a big one.
Of course, I'd like to take him alive; make some real “King King” money; take him to Broadway, P.T.Barnum-style.
But you never know what might happen. You must prepare yourself for every possible situation. Even though according to “skunkape.info”, there is no factual evidence of a Skunk Ape attacking anyone, Dave still recommends, “If you are attacked, defend yourself by any means possible”. I am prepared to do just that.
He also says, “My biggest hope is that somebody will call me and tell me, “Yes, I have a hand, a foot and a skull”, and I plan on winning him that Skunk Ape Trifecta.
I only hope I can stay awake until he returns from what I am sure is some Xtreme Research. 
 
Day Three:
Not sure if this is nutria, rattlesnake or gator. Every meal in the Collier County jail tastes like chicken.
My brother, Jim should be sending bail this afternoon. I don't think I can fight the breaking and entering charges, but there's no way pissing your pants in the back of a police cruiser constitutes public urination. I'll fight that one to the Supreme Court. And I told those guys a hundred times that I had to drain the Squatch. They just wouldn't listen.
 
Day Four:
Apparently Dave took my advice and upped the security at the Skunk Ape compound. The armed guards and the restraining order are making it impossible for me to get close to him. Dave says,“I don't want to get into any big conspiracy theories, but there's a lot going on down here.”.To quote the bard, “Methinks the conspirist is the conspirator- the game is afoot!”
 
Day Five:
To catch the Skunk Ape, one must think as a Skunk Ape. I have started on a strict diet of hog plum and raw deer liver. I probably should have iced this down back in Valdosta. It's smelling a little ripe. But I'm willing to take such chances and make such sacrifices in the name of science. That's what Xtreme Research is all about.
 
Day Six:
Every meal in the Collier County General Hospital tastes like chicken. I came in for a routine stomach pump, and they say they're holding me for psychological examination. Not sure what day it is, but they say if all goes well, I should be released next Friday.
 
 
Day Twenty Three:
Finally back on task. I thought Shealy would have forgiven and forgotten by now, but no such luck. In fact it seems he's increased security. There's a rumor in town that he's got a new deal with The Travel Channel to finally produce his “Skunk Ape University” project. I'm expecting to see film crews roll into town any moment now. This is the prime opportunity to get back in his good graces. When I show up on camera and say, “Yes, I have a hand, a foot and a skull”, we'll both be big time TV stars.
 
 
Day Twenty Four:
Dave says the best way to track a Skunk Ape is to talk to the locals. Today, I overheard a conversation that led me to believe there are more Skunk Apes than the estimated seven to nine in the Florida everglades. From what I have gathered, there are whole packs of tiny blue Skunk Apes running through the forest: These must be their young. There are even some with specific names. They spoke of what sounded like “Papasquatch”, and “Squatchette”, as if they knew them personally. I was chased away by authorities before I could get close enough to interrogate. I plan on coming back at recess again tomorrow.
 
Day Twenty Five:
8:00 am:
 Finally ready to stalk my prey. Unfortunately, while I was in the hospital; racoons ravaged my camper and destroyed my cabbage palm and my pond apple; and half a case of beer, a carton of cigarettes and three jars of peanut butter. But I'm pretty sure I remember what pond apple looks like. I can always pick some more.
It was a true sign from above when I came across that fresh hit buck by I-75. I managed to get at that liver, just before the buzzards got too much of it.
 
8:30 am:
My hunting instincts are taking over. “Be the Skunk Ape”, I tell myself, over and over and over. And to be the Skunk Ape, I've got to loose my human scent.
According to Dave's website, “Evidence suggest that Skunk Apes spend a great deal of time in underground caverns or alligator caves filled with swamp gas and rotting animal cadavers. Methane gas emitted by decaying matter in these low lying areas are what gives the Skunk Ape it's unique skunky/rotten egg odor.
The obvious solution is to crawl into an alligator cave Xtreme Research -style.
 
10 am:
 Success in masking my scent. My Xtreme instincts and an untied boot lace, led me face first into two and half feet of swamp gas and rotting animal cadavers.
I can feel the skunky/rotten egg odor.
I can feel the Inner Skunk Ape.
I can barely feel my right leg.
I do feel the bite I got on my left leg from that little nipper when his momma took that deer liver out of my vest. Ouch!
 
2:27 pm:
 Almost forgot the research part of Xtreme Research. The last entry was closer to 10:15, maybe 10:20, and to be honest, I didn't really get on the road until about 8:30. Let's say 8:34, and that might be a little liberal .
 
12:31 pm:
 I'm letting my non-Skunk Ape self overtake my actions. It must be fatigue. I've been doing a lot of limping.
 
 
12:42 pm:
Here, I've been looking for beds of leaves and twigs piled approximately one foot tall and six foot in diameter to provide hair samples, tracks and droppings, when I should simply be building my own bed of leaves and twigs piled approximately one foot tall and six foot in diameter and lead the Skunk Apes to me.
They will certainly be led to believe that I am their long lost kin . My stench should draw them far and wide, and they will accept me as one of their own.
I've found the perfect leaves for bedding. I've come across a patch of what I'm sure is pond apple. Come to me my brethren Skunk Apes! Thank the Dear Lord Jesus, those coons left me a couple of Old Milwaukees.
 
3:12 pm:
 Still no sign of Skunk Apes. I did,however, have prophetic dream about riding a giant snake to the palace of “Papasquatch”, king of the Skunk Apes. When I awoke, a massive black snake was crawling through my bed of pond apple leaves and twigs. I am fortunate that I had my Peterson's First Guide to Florida Wildlife in my back pocket. I nearly used my snake bite kit; mistaking him for a cottonmouth.
A snake bite kit saved is a snake bite kit earned”, that's what George Washington always said and so do I.
 
3:27 pm:
 Still no sign of Skunk Apes and this is my last cigarette.
 Dave says, “A lot of people thought the Skunk Ape was a hoax. They said it cheapened my business. Made me look like some kind of flim-flam man, out to take advantage of tourists. That's not my intention at all.”
 But I'm starting to wonder if maybe that is his very intention.This doubt is probably just brought on by the searing pain in my leg, and this horrible rash I'm developing. I just need to ask myself, “Would a true Skunk Ape give up so easily?”
 
3:35 pm:
 Still no sign of Skunk Apes. Maybe it's best to continue my Xtreme Research elsewhere. I may still be able to make the last recess.
 
Day Twenty Nine:
7:03 am:
Like the Bible says, “Whenever the Good Lord Jesus shuts your foot in the door, you know at least he can't effectively lock it.”
That is unless he just takes the whole damn thing off. Fortunately, I've crossed that bridge and broke that door off the hinges.
I successfully overcame a severe case of gangrene just hours before amputation would have been eminent. The only downside is that the daily wound debreeding requires full body hair removal twice a week.
 The legends say, “There is no better way to be shunned by the Skunk Ape community, then to show up to the party pale skinned and naked.” , so I have to resort to Plan AA.B
But, Praise the Lord for Xtreme Fate!
It appears that while; to aid in my recovery from poison oak (which looks remarkably like pond apple) infection, and my venom extraction (Fuck you, Peterson!); I was in a medically induced coma, Dave Shealy found more evidence of local Skunk Apes. The Discovery Channel is on it's way, and so is plan AA.B.!
Again, my dear friend the bard, “The game is afoot!”
 
Day Thirty:
9:09 am:
Success! According to my credentials, I am freelance best boy, “Josh Biggs”, studied at Harvard; worked with Spielberg and Cameron. Woody Allen says: “ Josh Biggs -Best best boy... Ever!: Four stars!”. I've Tweeted it all over the world. I'm sure to get hired. I'll finally get to state my case to Shealy.
 
10:32 am:
Not sure what a “best boy” does, so I'm sitting at the drive through at Tim Horton's; buying three coffee: black; two with sugar; one with extra cream and just a shot of caramel; one amerretto; and a dozen donuts. I'm sure to impress.
 
11:07 am:
Arrive at the Skunk Ape Research Center, just as the Discovery Channel RV is pulling out. Smart move to let the satellite dish rip through the vines and branches to create camouflage. What a time saver! The Skunk Apes will never know they're here. Need to follow.
 
11:18 am:
A mysterious figure has just emerged from the woods. He says he's the sound man and has missed his ride. I plan on giving him one, but I'm a little suspicious. He's speaking in nearly unrecognizable guttural tones, and smells remarkably like a smokey skunk. No I'm not writing about you. Great! Now you messed me up!
 
12:35 pm:
This place looks familiar. It must be deja vu: a memory from a past life that I brought to the surface in the search for my inner Skunk Ape.
 
1:22 pm:
Shealy is now in my sights. Now is the time to impress. Yes my friend, the hunter has finally become the hunted. I will smother him with compliments and reverence for his accolades. He will surely accept me as one of his own.
 
1:25 pm:
It's coming back to me now. The sight of the Old Milwaukee can was the first clue. This is not a bed of leaves and twigs piled approximately one foot tall and six foot in diameter built by the elusive Skunk Ape, but the very bed of leaves and twigs piled approximately one foot tall and six foot in diameter built by myself; less than a week ago . I'm debating on whether or not to warn Dave that it's built out of poison oak. I'll smoke this cigarette, and decide.
 
6:38 pm
Finally leaving Ochopee. It takes longer to evacuate 244 people than you would have imagined. They say the explosion was just an anomaly caused by the combination of swamp gas and dried poison oak, but I'm a bit suspicious. Like Dave says, “The first thing that I think of when I hear "off-limits" is that there's something going on out there”.
They say it should burn out after a couple of days; shouldn't destroy more than a few dozen acres. The big problem is the alligator infestation . They say they may have to burn down the smallest post office in the country. It'd be a shame to lose this former tomato farm irrigation pipe shed. Some things just can't be replace.
So why did I start the fire? Well some say it was sheer negligence. Others point my history of arson charges. But there are those that say my dedication to Xtreme Research; and my admiration for Dave Shealy and the work he does at skunkape.info; just couldn't let the world see him as a flim-flam man. Some say I believe in Dave when he says, “I'm an American. I should be a shining example of how great this country is.” Some say, I too think he should.
But what's the real truth?
We may never know.

(author's note: all quotes attributed to Dave Shealy can be found at  http://www.skunkape.info/ where you can find out more about the Skunk Ape than you would ever want to know)

 

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