Bigfoot Boy - Lost On Earth
"Errl. Pssst. Look at this. It's ill," Errl's best friend Berndt whispered. "The humans eat eggs. They're camping right below. Something is sizzling in a flat iron pan. Worm infested pig meat and eggs. Gross."
"Shut up. The Teach is looking at us."
"Dr. Teach? He's too touched to notice."
"He thinks out loud same as us. Gummy wad, Berndt?"
"No, thanks. My cud's full."
The boys and girls with big hairy feet were on their yearly field trip to Earth from Planet X. Errl, the smallest of them, combed the hair on his legs. He didn't want to listen to their MiddleSchool teacher. They were learning English and Errl heard enough to get by if he had to. Getting by was good enough for him. Later he wished he had listened more carefully.
"Shhh. Some cute girls just got on the airpod."
"Oh, that's your sister, Errl. Torannee. Hard to tell with the long blue streaked hair down the front."
"Ee-yah. All the girls are coloring their body hair now."
"Still. Your sister's cute, Errl."
Their speech sounded like grunts and bleeps to an untrained ear. Even by Bigfoot standards, Errl was ugly. He began to comb the hair on his face.
"Gross. Who's her friend?"
"I think it's Lally. I wish Teach hadn't kept the girls in another part of the ship. It's hard to tell one from the other." Berndt flattened his webbed fingers and whistled. "There's water down below." He scanned the Moduports in the front of the airpod. Teach grunted into the control panel. The pod eased across the tops of the forest below, scaring deer into the open. Their ship was silent and still, invisible to the group of young human campers.
"They're eating eggs and wormy pork meat, with chunks of rat infested bread."
"Ee-yah, their eyes and smell aren't as keen as ours, Errl. The rest of us, anyhow. Maybe not you." Berndt laughed. He slapped Errl on the back.
Errl put down the comb. Teach dropped his gummy wad. He picked it up again and chewed. Errl's sister smiled at Berndt behind her long blue hair.
"What's that white stuff on the big hills?"
"They call it winter. Don't you know nuffin'?" Berndt winked at the six feet tall Bigfoot girl. She was starting to show signs of stars in her eyes and long hair on her belly.
"I'd rather sleep than listen to Dr. Teach."
The ship lurched. Teach went skidding past them. The laser machine that guided the airpod sparked and smoked. The girls clung to the rails at the side. They tried to get to the control panel. Lally whipped her long arms around the controls and pulled. Teach skidded past them again as the ship righted itself. Errl grasped the rails. The ship screamed to an emergency landing in the forest below, Torannee and Lally at the controls. Teach grunted and swore. His fuzzy hair matted where he sat on his butt.
"Holy pine nuts," Errl said. "What happened, Dr. Teach? The Humans must have seen that."
"One of their radio satellites knocked out our power," Teach said. "I forgot to set the screens."
"You forgot to set the screens?"
"No harm done," Torannee said. "The human campers didn't see us." Her voice sounded like sacks of rocks crunching together. Berndt thought she was beautiful.
"I don't think they saw us, anyhow."
She was wrong.
The rest of the Bigfoot boys crowded into the cockpit. "Are we really going out now, Teach?" they asked. "Can we stay a while and wade in the water that's white capped over there, frozen in places? We're so hot in this cabin, Teach."
"Not now, boys." The MiddleSchool teacher brushed himself off and rose to his feet. He regained his dignity. He adjusted the thick vision aids on his flat nose and secured them with hair from his face.
"When are we going out?"
"Our big ship is circling their moon. We'll have to meet up when it gets here."
"We can't stay in the pod, Dr. Teach. It's getting way too hot in here."
"Yes, they'll have to send another pod to rescue us. Wait, boys and girls. Have a fresh gummy wad and I'll try to pry the door open."
Lally’s hairy hand moved and pulled a lever. The door swung open.
"Yay!" Six Bigfoot boys seven feet tall poured out of the open door, followed by the two girls. Errl wasn't as tall as the rest of his friends. His eyes were weak and he blinked in the bright sun. His sister hung behind with Berndt.
"The river!" They dashed to the edge of the roaring water. White caps foamed on top. Bits of ice floated down stream. The forest was on the side of a mountain.
"Where's the humans?" Errl asked.
"I didn't see them again," Berndt said.
"Where's my gummy wad?" Teach adjusted his vision aids. He chewed on a fly that was hung up in his body hair.
The boys leaped into the river. Errl hung back at the shore. He didn't like water.
"What's the matter, Teacher's boy, you loser? Don't want to get wet? Your Mam didn't raise no Bigfoot athlete?"
"I'll be with you in a nanosecond." Errl looked at Teach. Teach held a small box in his hairy hands. He signaled the big ship 238,000 miles away.
The airpod smoked and flames began to flicker from inside.
"We're going to set fire to the forest." The boys splashed in the river and put distance between themselves and the pod.
"Torannee, what do we do?"
The girl with the blue hair ran back inside the pod and threw open a cupboard. She took out a hose. Thick foam gushed into the pod. The fire went out. The ship smoked.
"It's useless," Teach said, brushing himself. "We have to wait for the big ship."
"When?" Errl asked. He put a toe in the frozen water.
"They'll be here at six chronos."
"Well, they're hanging out at the Earth moon. There's junk on the moon. They want to clean it up first and put up our flag."
"That's more important than keeping us safe?"
"Every year we come here on our field trip to learn more about Earth. We have to be secret. Earth people don't like strangers. Nobody knows what happens on their moon."
"I think they do," Torannee said. She smiled and stroked the blue hair on her belly. From the river, the boys whistled and yelled.
"They do, don't they, Teach?" Errl asked.
"Some of them do. But our Bigfoot are very smart. Our flag looks like what the humans call a hammer and sickle. They'll blame the Russians."
"They're still fighting the Russians?" Lally asked, who had studied MiddleSchool Earth history.
"No. That's why we're so smart. There won't be a war. They'll just yell at each other."
"Why don't we put up another flag and leave the junk there? What do we care?"
"Our captain has a sense of humor. He's also a dirt disturber."
"Oh," Torannee said and waved at Berndt in the river.
"Can I go for a walk in the forest, Teach?" Errl asked. I don't like water. And I have to relieve myself. The farther away I get from these smart alecks the better I'll like it. I like games. If I hide in the forest they'll have to look for me. What fun!
"Yes, I suppose so, but be back by six chronos. We must leave then. Don't be late. We'd have to leave you behind, Errl, if you're not here then. The new airpod will have to meet the ship at a certain spot in the sky. We can't be late. The big ship will be in orbit. If you're not here at six chronos it will be another ten loops of the moon around the Earth again before we can come back to look for you. Our instruments were set on our Planet before we left. We can't differ."
"I understand, Teach." Errl glanced at the chronometer on his arm. He grunted and loped into the forest.
He did not have a good sense of direction. On Planet X, he depended on his friends to find the long way back to his home and parents after a week of MiddleSchool. On a field trip, he was almost useless.
It's so dark here in the forest. I smell strange animals and their droppings. It wipes out the smell of the river. Everything looks the same. I don't know where the sounds are coming from. Strange sounds and smells are all around me. Where am I?
Dr. Teach shouldn't have let Errl go into the forest alone. The big brown trunks of the fir trees closed around the boy and his weak eyes blinked in the dim light. Errl walked farther and farther from the river.
Be back by six chronos? Darn frog's foot, I forgot to bring my tech compass.
The trees loomed over his head. His hairy broad feet tripped on roots and shrubs. The gloom of the forest closed around him. He no longer knew the direction of the downed and smoking pod. He heard only the buzzing of insects and the wind through the tops of the trees.
On and on he stumbled. This isn't a game anymore, he thought. He was lost.
The forest was a scary place. On Errl's home Planet X there were no trees. Just wide spaces with tall grass, shrubs, lakes, huge buildings and airships in the sky.
I see why we visit Earth. So much to see that's strange. So much to learn. By Zorster's toenails, I need my gummy wad.
Huge dark firs blocked his path. A small creature with a bushy tail ran up a tree.
The creature has a nut in its paws, like the Krakzen nuts at home that grow on shrubs. The nuts are good to eat. My gummy wad is gone. I missed the last meal. The creature must give me its food.
The creature chattered and ran higher as Errl began to climb the tree and came to the first branch. He crawled out on the branch as far as he could. The creature looked at him with sharp bright eyes. It smiled.
Give me your food. I'm hungry. Errl didn't think that he could gather nuts by himself.
He had to learn to think for himself. This was his first lesson. He slept or talked through most lessons.
You little Krakzen thief. Give me that.
The branch broke as Errl reached out for the bright-eyed creature. The creature leaped to the next branch and chattered at him. The Bigfoot boy dropped to the ground.
Falling straight to the forest floor, he realized that at almost seven feet and four hundred pounds, he was lucky. Lucky and strong. Still, it was a horrible fall and when he hit the soft pile of leaves, he felt a tree root crack.