Family. Even a sasquatch doesn’t get to choose them.
A buzz came from my phone.
“Yeah, Acorn, what is it?” I aimed the plastic ball at the plastic hoop and let it go.
“There’s a man here to see someone in production, and Mr. Forest says it’s your turn. I’ll send him right in.”
I swore under my breath and hit the intercom on the phone. “Lance, I’m buried with our next release at the moment.”
My doorknob turned, and an enormous, hairy creature walked in.
I sighed. “Hey, Pinenut.”
He grunted and sat. The chair groaned under his weight. The smell hit me a moment later. Most sasquatches took personal grooming seriously. Everyone except this guy. He smelled of too much moonshine and not enough bathing time.
“Won’t you come in,” I muttered.
“I have a piece for you,” Pinenut grunted. He reached within the folds of his light brown coat and drew out a folded piece of paper.
“You know we prefer digital copies now, correct?”
“Can’t put this on the computer. If they tracked it back to me I’d be a dead beast.”
The paper waited for me to pluck it from his fingers. I wondered what it would be this time. He’d finally run his multi-dimension humans living in the same place we were but in a different…something or other…a few months ago. The faster I let him get it out of his system the faster he would be gone. I took the paper. “You realize that we’ll put your name on the article if we publish it.”
He grunted again. “You think Pinenut is my real name?”
It was. I’d known him since we were kids. I sighed. “Tell me about it.”
“Look at it.” He indicated the paper.
I unfolded it, wary of the suspicious red stain, and found a fuzzy photograph. Of a child’s toy. “It’s a robot,” I said.
“Yes, but not from here.”
Again, better to get it over with. “Where is it from, Pinenut?”
He leaned forward, and somehow his breath of death got all the way to my nose. “The human world.”
I groaned. I couldn’t help it. “We’ve been over this.”
Pinenut held up a ratty paw. “Hear me out. I found this, took a picture, and wrote a note on it. The next day, it was gone.”
“Probably because a cub took it.”
“No. A human.”
“And how do you know it was a human?”
“I saw tracks.”
“Probably of a cub.”
He ignored the comment. “And this was there in its place.” Pinenut once again fished an object out of his coat.
This one was about the size of the end of my finger, and thin. I’d never seen anything quite like it. The color reminded me of shiny, almost orange dirt. Before I could stop myself I held out my hand. Pinenut dropped the item in my outstretched palm.
It held no weight, and was slightly warm, although I imagine that was from it being somewhere in his coat.
The object was roughly oval in shape, and curved along the long direction. The back side was smooth, but the front side had a picture on it. A wiggly boarder surrounded an outline of a blob that sort of looked like Lake CleanWater. There was what could be writing on each side and then again at the bottom.
“It’s from the human realm.”
I shook my head. “Someone could have made this.”
“Out of what? What is it?”
He had me there. “Have you had it tested?”
Pinenut let out a snort. Other, less savory things, came with said snort, and I grabbed a tissue to wipe my desk. “The government would take it, and me, if they knew about it.”
I handed the thing back. “Which is why I couldn’t possibly put it in the paper. It would put you in danger.”
Pinenut’s brown eyes flashed. “The truth needs to be documented.”
We’d been through this a dozen times, although the addition of whatever he had in his paw was cause for actual interest, so I knew the drill. I sat forward, interlaced my fingers and looked him in the eye. “I can see that this might be big. Bigger than anything we’ve ever put in the magazine before.”
“But, we’re going to need more proof. Do you think you can get more of those?” I pointed at the object.
“I can try.”
“Why don’t you do that?” I stood and hauled him to his feet. “Get me so much proof that I won’t be able to refuse you. Then the world will know the truth.”
His eyes shone with gratitude. “Thank you, Mr. Stick.”
“No, thank you.” I steered him to the door of my office. “Come back with more proof in two weeks. Ask to see Mr. Forest. He’ll be waiting.”
More nodding. “I will. I’ll get everything you need.”
I patted him on the shoulder, careful to stay on the clean patches of fur, and watched him leave the office. I rubbed my face. “Why me?” My eyes darted to Mr. Forest’s office, and I glared at him. I mouthed, “You’re next,” before going back into my office and grabbing the plastic ball off the floor.
“He’s your dad,” Mr. Forest mouthed back.
I sighed. Why me?