“Bigfoot’s Playdate”

Bigfoot’s Playdate”

#MindOfMarlar is written by Darren Marlar, host of Weird Darkness

If you’re planning a picnic most everyone knows your biggest enemy is going to be ants. Those dreaded, six-legged creepy-crawlers that seem capable of lifting an entire pickup truck over their heads and walking away with it – if the pickup truck was edible, that is. I don’t think they have much need for a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Now… replace your picnic pest with, instead of an insect… a Sasquatch. That is apparently what happened to one family… for realsies!

Anyone remember this disappointment on April 21, 1986?

Mark, his wife Jenny, and their daughter Lily were out for an ordinary day in the serene forests of northern California, planning for a family picnic. It was August 2nd, 2022, and the day began as uneventful as an Al Capone documentary hosted by Geraldo Rivera. (I had to reach pretty far back for that reference, I hope you appreciate it.) They started at the farmers’ market to stuff their basket with artisanal cheeses, fresh bread, and probably some tofu or kale (because California) and ventured into their favorite forest.

Daughter Lily, channeling her inner Dora the Explorer, wandered off to collect pinecones to put in her “Backpack, backpack, backpack, backpack…

Mark, being a dad, was genetically required to deliver the line heard so often by our fathers before us, “Don’t go too far!

Lily chirped back, “I won’t, Daddy!

Actual, honest-to-goodness realistic and accurate map of where Bigfoot resides. on our flat earth.

The problem though, with using words like “don’t go too far” is that it’s kinda subjective. To Mark, it probably meant staying within eyeshot. To Lily, “too far” meant “so long as I don’t collapse from exhaustion or fall off the edge of the earth.” That would make for a totally different story that my Flat-Earther followers would salivate over.

About fifteen minutes later, just about time for lunch, Mark and Jenny hear a blood-curdling scream from Lily coming from the forest. Sprinting toward the source, Mark and Jenny braced for a worst-case scenario involving a scraped knee or, heaven forbid, a lost pinecone… or even worse, Lily falling off the edge of the earth! Either way, Lily would get a stern talking-to! Did she not see the sign about keeping the noise level down in the serene forest? Did she not care about the sign, or did she not know how to read yet, despite her recent report card? (She did go to a California public school, so that might explain it.) Or… it could be that she had just come face-to-face with Bigfoot! Definitely not one of the scenarios Mom and Dad were conjuring in their craniums.

When I travel, I’m often mistaken for some other furry guy that was in a space movie. That’s why I travel with my American Express travelers checks. I don’t leave home without them.”

Apparently the blood-curdling scream was only momentary shock, because now there sat Lily, utterly unphased and giggling by a tree log, next to a large, furry bipedal behemoth. And since we can rule out Chewbacca because the creature wasn’t wearing a bandolier or packing a blaster pistol, the other option is… Bigfoot!

As if finding a hair in your egg salad sandwich isn’t bad enough, this family had Harry the hominid pulling a Yogi Bear to get close their picnic basket.

This was an eight-foot-tall, hulking mass of fur and muscle, complete with piercing dark, gentle eyes that either spoke of a wisdom never imagined, or perhaps just a fondness for playing peekaboo. Literally. Lily and Bigfoot were playing a synchronized game of copycat. The giant beast mirrored Lily’s every move, from head tilts, to cheek scratches, to peek-a-boo. It grunted in what can only be described as Bigfoot laughter—a low rumbling sound that echoed through the forest. My dad used to blame that sound on invisible elephants under his La-Z-Boy. Who knew it was actually a hidden Sasquatch?

Mark’s brain short-circuited between the instinct to rescue Lily, the desire to yell “get your stinking paws off her, you damn dirty ape,” and the logic of not provoking the gentle giant at all – that last one probably being the best of the above options. Wife Jenny, meanwhile, oscillated between fear and awe, likely wondering if this would make for a viral TikTok.

Lily eventually responded to her parents’ panicked cries – probably more like whispered pleas, so as to not tick off the gorilla Goliath, but you get my meaning – and she casually stood up, waved goodbye to her new giant, furry Muppet friend, and skipped back to the picnic blanket, leaving Mark and Jenny alone with Dr. Zaius – who, ever the courteous guest, locked eyes with the couple for a brief moment before disappearing into the forest as if to say, “Thanks for the playdate.”

I can only assume the picnic did NOT go on as planned?

On the drive home, Lily couldn’t stop talking about her exciting adventure and her new bestie. She described the creature as a “great big puppy” and expressed her disappointment at not being able to pet it. Meanwhile, Mark and Jenny debated their next steps… first, take a shower to get rid of the skunk-ape smell, and then deciding against telling the authorities about their problematic picnic.

Instead, they turned to the most credible and reliable source available to man… the internet… and a cryptozoology forum. Now that is some unbiased expert advice you can count on! And that’s also how this story got out. Gee, what a surprise.

Shut up and take my money!

You have to wonder if a “Close Encounter of the Bigfoot Kind” negatively affects the brain, because since this happened, apparently braver now – or dim-witted-er (I’ll let you decide) Mark’s family has frequented the same forest, hoping for another encounter with Lily’s Brobdingnagian playmate. (And yes, Brobdingnagian is a real word – up to 71 Scrabble points if you’re playing in the U.K. Zero points in the U.S. because, what the heck does Brobdingnagian mean?) Alas, Bigfoot remains elusive, leaving the family with nothing but a wild story that most people won’t take seriously… except for those who frequent a certain cryptozoology forum.

So next time you’re on a picnic out in the forest, keep an eye out. You never know when the big guy might drop by for a game of copycat. Just make sure you have plenty of snacks and a keen understanding of the rules to playing peek-a-boo… you might need both! And let Bigfoot win… we all know it’s not wise to upset a Wookie.

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