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hs16150.jpgbuy prints of select* halfsquatch photographs at etsy or dawanda. (*prints of all photographs are available upon request) day 16

Andrea Thompson had stocked the bookcases in the lobby of the Solid Gold Klondike Lodge with rows of used paperbacks, all works of notable Canadian literature — though rarely did a guest remove a book from the shelves.

When Dave was ten, dusting the bookshelves became part of his daily routine. He would get up extra-early and join the hungover and bleary-eyed seasonal staff as they prepared for another day of good mornings and can I help yous. Dave would wipe and dust and vacuum the lobby. In return, his parents would supplement his allowance. It was a good deal – his parents paid him cash, less than minimum wage for a job they’d otherwise have to add to the official payroll, and the job meant Dave could afford to order the dark graphic novels he was hooked on.

On especially dull days, he’d rearrange the order of the books – alphabetical by title, by author, fiction on the top shelves, non-fiction on the bottom. It was during a particularly dull session of fiction-on-top/non-fiction-on-the-bottom that he happened upon a book called Bear. He had previously shelved it with the non-fiction, but taking a closer look at the cover (a shirtless, long haired woman performing some sort of come-hither dance in the embrace of a bear) he wasn’t so sure. He skimmed the description on the back then opened the book to a random page.

He licked. He probed. She might have been a flea he was searching for. He licked hernipples stiff and scoured her navel. With little nickerings she moved him south.

She swung her hips and made it easy for him.

“Bear, bear,” she whispered, playing with her ears. The tongue that was muscular but also capable of lengthening itself like an eel found all her secret places. And like no human being she had ever known it persevered in her pleasure. When she came, she whimpered, and the bear licked away her tears.

Dave folded down the corner of the page and hid Bear behind a series of books about the north by Pierre Berton. He would come back for it later.

That summer – the summer of Bear — Dave and Rebecca spent hours reading from the short novel, laughing and then soberly contemplating the sick and deviant mind of the author. Dave could never be sure if Rebecca, like him, was secretly aroused by the affair between the woman, Lou, and the bear.

Dave and Rebecca returned to the Bear book repeatedly throughout the summer, until Dave’s mother found it wedged between his mattress and his bed’s box spring and promptly returned it to the shelf in the library nook where it remained for the next eight years. Dave was too afraid to sneak off with it again.

That same fear gripped him every time he stood before the Lady Sasquatch: being caught, exposed, the fear that somehow anyone, everyone, especially his mother, could read his thoughts.  

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                                                                                                                                                          ©2008 pamela klaffke