Deputy Jim McElrath sat down in the chair opposite Sheriff Bob Hall after handing him a cup of coffee.  
"Ah, that's just what I need. The Mountain Cookin' Cafe has the best coffee in town." Said Sheriff Hall.
"So how is Sylvie and Jessie May Doin'?"

"They're doin' great. Ya know, Aunt Sylvie is teachin' Jessie May all about granny doctorin'. A part of me
is pleased, but a part of me is dreadin' it. You have no idea how bad some of Aunt Sylvie's potions smell
when they're cookin'!" Jim grimaced.

Sheriff Hall chuckled. "It's all fer a good cause, Jim. So how is married life treatin' ya?"

"It's great. Jessie May's a wonderful cook and my best friend. I think I'll keep her." Jim smiled.

"Well, I'm tickled to hear that. When you gonna make me a godfather?"  Sheriff Hall asked with a sly grin.

"Now Bob, me and Jessie May are still honeymooners. Besides, I'm savin' up for a down payment on a
house and Jessie May wants to do more trainin' with Aunt Sylvie before all her time is taken up with a
young'in. So, maybe in a year or so." Replied Jim.

Sheriff Bob and Deputy Jim sipped their coffee. Jim thought of Aunt Sylvie fondly. She was what local
folks call a granny doctor. She could fix just about any ailment with her remedies. She has delivered
more than half the babies in Spooks Cove. She also had the gift of knowin' from her Cherokee blood.
Because of her, Jessie May was still alive. Jim smiled to himself. He looked over at Sheriff Bob, the law
in Spooks Cove, and Jim's boss.

"Hey Jim, it looks like ya doin' some wool gatherin'. What are you thinkin' about." Laughed Sheriff Bob.

"Oh, I was just thinkin' about Aunt Sylvie. That reminds me, after work I have ta pick up a few things fer
her at the Grab And Dash, including the new issue of the National Informer.  Aunt Sylvie just loves those
tabloid magazines." Jim rolled his eyes.

"My Lara loves those things too. Truth be told, I sneak and do the crossword puzzles in them magazines
when she ain't lookin'." Grinned Sheriff Bob.

At that moment the phone rang in the outer office. Deputy Bill Ponder answered the phone. After a
couple of minutes, Bill stuck his head in the door. "I think you had better take this one, Bob. You ain't
gonna believe it!"

"Don't tell me Miz Ballard's cat is stuck up in a tree agin." Sheriff Bob picked up the phone, "hello Sheriff
Hall speaking. Whoa, whoa slow down. Harry is that you? Will ya stop yellin' and speak slower, you ain't
makin' no sense." Sheriff Bob put his hand over the mouthpiece, "it's Harry Truman Smith out on Bear
Mountain Road. Harry what seems to be the trouble?" Sheriff Bob listened for a few minutes. "Ok Harry,
I'll send someone out, just calm down."

Sheriff Bob hung up the phone. "Jim, Bill, I want you both to head out to Harry's place. Harry's claimin'
that Bigfoot is raidin' his garden. While yore out there, tell Harry to stop buyin' his moonshine from the
Granger boys. Their stuff is pure crap."

Deputy Jim drove while Deputy Bill rode shotgun. "Hey Jim, do ya think there's any truth to this here
Bigfoot feller?" Asked Bill.

"I really don't know, Bill. I've seen a lot of shows on TV about Bigfoot. I've heard reports about sightin's
in Hot Springs and over in East Tennessee. Aunt Sylvie says they're real and she has seen 'em. I think
she likes to pull my leg or she's been readin' way too many of those tabloid magazines." Replied Jim.

They pulled up in Harry Truman Smith's yard and Harry came around the house waving his shotgun. Jim
and Bill got out of the patrol car. "Harry, put down that gun before ya shoot yourself or us!" Yelled Jim.

"Ok, Ok, but that durn varmit has eaten my tomaters and run off with the watermelon I was savin' for the
4th of July. I got up this mornin' and looked out the window while I was makin' my coffee and there he
was. He was sittin' there, pretty as you please, eatin' my tomaters. I run out and started yellin' at him and
he just sat there and looked at me. I picked up a stick and started waving it at him, yellin' at him to git. He
stood up, grabbed my watermelon, and run off into the woods. That son of a bitch, I'll make 'em into a
rug!" Ranted Harry.

"Now Harry, are you sure you didn't have a bear raidin' your garden?" Asked Bill.

"No Sir! When it stood up, it must ta been 8 foot tall. It was covered with long brown fur. It had a face that
looked kinda human but not human. It grabbed my watermelon with it's hands and run off on two legs.
Bears don't run on two legs! If'en you don't believe me, then come out to my garden." Harry Truman
Smith said loudly.

The deputies followed Harry into the garden. "There ya see!" He said. They looked down and in the
moist, soft earth of the garden there were several very large footprints. The footprints looked like bare
human footprints, but they were way too large to be human or bear.  

"Bill, do we have that castin' kit in the trunk of the patrol car?" Asked Jim.

"Yeah, we do." Whispered Bill. Jim looked at Bill and his eyes were the size of saucers. "Then go get it.
We need to cast these prints before it rains." Ordered Jim.

Sheriff Bob looked at his deputies, then he looked at the footprint casts on the desk in front of him.
"You've got to be shittin' me!" He said.

"Listen Bob, we were sure that what old Harry saw was a bear. But, look at those footprints. They ain't
human or bear." Jim shook his head.

"I think someone's playin' a prank. Trying to stir up trouble and possibly tryin' to get the news folks over
here. Why, just last week, the news folks in Asheville interviewed some guy over in Cleveland County
about a Bigfoot sightin'.  It's just a copycat." Sheriff Bob sighed.

"Well, if'en it's a guy in a gorilla suit, he's mighty brave or mighty stupid. Old Harry is more than likely to
shoot first and then put his glasses on. He really loves his garden. He wins ribbons every year at the
county fair." Replied Bill.

"That's what worries me. If news of this gits out, we'll have every idiot with a gun showin' up here, tryin'
to be the one to take down the famous Bigfoot. Morons shootin' each other in the woods is not
somethin' I'm in the mood fer. I think I'd better have a word with Harry to keep quiet about this." Sheriff
Bob stood and reached for his hat.

But it was too late. As Sheriff Bob drove into Harry's yard, he saw the news truck from from the Asheville
Channel 13 News. They had cameras set up and the news lady was interviewing Harry.  His neighbors
were all gathered at the edge of the property watching the spectacle. Sheriff Bob put his hand over his
eyes and sighed, "oh, shit." He got on the radio and called back to the office. "Hey Bill, you and Jim are
about to earn yore paychecks, the news folks are here and the shit's hitting the fan."

Later that evening, Jim was sitting at Aunt Sylvie's kitchen table with her and Jessie May. He had
finished telling them about Harry's Bigfoot encounter and the news people showing up. "This is not
good. I have to agree with Bob when he says we'll be overrun with hunters, kooks, and  people claimin'
to be Bigfoot researchers. Jessie May, I know there'll be talk about this down at the Mountain Cookin'
Cafe. Warn folks to stay out of the woods, tell them I said so. I don't want no one shot by these idiots. I
know this will be real inconvenient for folks gathering herbs to sell and those huntin' to feed their
families, but it's for their own safety. I shudder to think what would happen if any of these idiots stumble
on some moonshiner's still.  If there are no more sightin's maybe this will die down soon." Said Jim.

Aunt Sylvie sat quietly and then she said, "Mr. Bigfoot and his misses are just hungry, they don't mean no
harm. The last time I seen 'em was two years ago. They spend most of their time behind Whisper
Mountain in an area far from folks. If'en they is here, the food must be poor. The nut and berry crop ain't
been very good the past coupla years. That's why I gots so many bears comin' around raidin' my bird
feeders and why they're raidin' the dumpsters in town." Said Aunt Sylvie with that stubborn look on her

Jim looked at Aunt Sylvie. "I ain't gonna argue with you whether Bigfoot exists or not. But if he's real, he
needs to stay away from here. He and anything that moves in the woods is gonna git shot at. Why don't
you bring 'em up here and cook meals fer 'em every night? It would make my life a whole lot easier. And
yore tellin' me this animal has a misses?"

"Don't ya take that sarcastic tone with me, James McElrath! They is real and I've talked with 'em. And
before ya git sarcastic agin, no, they don't speak English. I can understand a little of what they say and
motion with their hands. They is a lot closer to us humans than ya think.  Maybe, it's my Cherokee blood,
the Indians was a lot closer to the land and animals than anyone today. Mr. Bigfoot and his misses was
hungry when I last seen 'em. I understood enough that they was headin' back to their kin behind Whisper
Mountain. I give them some smoked fish and a bag of apples and they was grateful. Less than a year
later, I found that bag, the apples was in, on my back porch.  It was full of blueberries. They was paying
me back fer my kindness. How many humans would do that!" Snapped Aunt Sylvie.

Jim sat in stunned silence. Jessie May spoke up. "Jimmy didn't mean no disrespect, Aunt Sylvie. He's
under a lot of pressure because things are gonna git crazy with all this media attention. I believe you and
deep down Jimmy does too. He just has to be Deputy McElrath right now, isn't that right, Jimmy?" Jessie
May gave him a hard look.

"I'm sorry, Aunt Sylvie, I really am. If you see yore friends, please tell them to head back to Whisper
Mountain. It's not safe in the woods fer anyone right now. I'll go to the Farmer's Market and buy them all
the apples they want, if'en they'll stay away from Harry's garden and stay outa our woods. I really don't
want to see them killed." Said Jim.

"Well, that's better. I think that's a right good idea about the apples. Be a dear and git me some apples
and maybe he'll stop by. Yore right about one thing, these woods ain't gonna be safe fer man or beast."
Replied Aunt Sylvie.

A couple of days later, Jessie May called the sheriff's office from the Mountain Cookin' Cafe. "Jim, ya
need to go to the computer and look up Youtube. The word I've been hearing is that the Granger
brothers have a video claimin' they have a Bigfoot body in a freezer and they is going to sell it for

"Oh dear God......, Bill, will ya bring up Youtube on the computer. Thanks Jessie May, I'll fill ya in later on
this latest disaster."  Said Jim.
Bigfoot On Ice
By Sarah Harrison
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