dianne salerni author
dianne salerni author

 

MichelleOur final submission for October First Impressions is a MG humorous adventure from Michelle L. Brown titled SQUATCH WATCH:

***

 If you’re going to be the first human to interview Bigfoot, you need bait.

            But my bait had a sore throat. Rodney, the other founding member of the Junior Squatch Watcher’s Society, was the best Sasquatch caller in the whole state of Washington. Now that Rodney was raspy, I was stuck with my kid sister, LuEllen, who didn’t even believe in Bigfoot. Conditions were ripe for a Squatch sighting, though, so I couldn’t be picky.

            “Hurry up and put this on,” I said, handing her the Squatch suit.

            She sniffed. “Leo, I am not wearing that thing. What’s on it, dog hair?”

            “Precisely. I gathered clippings from Mom’s clients, then glued them to these coveralls. This suit is just the right Bigfoot blend of grays and blacks. Sheepdogs and schnauzers, mostly.”

            “You mean this came off the floor of the Triple P?”

            “Lu, you’re an eight-year-old Einstein. Isn’t that what I just said? Now put it on. You know you owe me.”

             I’d been doing all her chores in our garage, better known as the Pampered Pup Parlor, for the last two months to build my collection of dog hair. Of course, I hadn’t told the Kidster or Mom the reason I’d morphed into Mr. Helpful.

             LuEllen slid her skinny body into the suit. “You know I’m only doing this to prove you wrong.” She pulled a fur-covered ski mask over her frizzy blonde braids. “Ugh! What’s that awful smell?”

            “Sasquatch scent,” I said, squirting her with my mister. “It’s my own special blend of sweaty socks, rotten potatoes, and pickle juice. Mixed with wet dog hair, you’ll smell perfect!”

            “Ew!”

            “Now swing your arms when you walk, like this.” I swung my long arms in classic Sasquatch style.

            She flapped like a chicken on fire.

            “Bend your knees, and twist your hips while you take giant steps.” This time I went slower, doing my best Bigfoot swagger straight of the old 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film I’d been studying.

            LuEllen tried and face planted. “The pant legs are too long,” she whined. “I’m a lot shorter than Rodney.”

            “Never mind the walk.” The moon was up, and the man-beasts would be on the move. I shouldered my backpack and switched on my headlamp. Then I grabbed LuEllen by her furry glove and led her a little way into the Umatilla Forest that bumped up to our back yard. We came to a clearing where I’d seen lots of deer. “I’ll spread the peanut butter sandwiches in a wide circle around this stump, then take my position in that bush. You sit here and try to look like a helpless baby Bigfoot.” 

***

Okay, this is just adorable! The premise, the execution, the voice – I’m having a hard time finding anything to critique. I love the homemade Bigfoot suit made out of discarded dog hair and scented with sweaty socks, rotten potatoes, and pickle juice.  I love LuEllen’s attempts to follow Leo’s instructions:

“Now swing your arms when you walk, like this.” I swung my long arms in classic Sasquatch style.

She flapped like a chicken on fire.

There are only a couple of details for me to critique. How does Leo know that Rodney is the best Sasquatch caller in the state of Washington? Has he successfully called one? (And if he has, why is LuEllen still a disbeliever?)

And I really, really would have loved the opening line … if I hadn’t seen the opening line in a previous version Michelle sent me:

If you’re going to interview Bigfoot, you need bait.

When it comes to punchy opening lines, I think shorter is better. So if it were me, I’d switch to the original version.

Readers, what do you think? Michelle, thanks for sharing your page with us! Marcy’s thoughts can be found at Mainewords, and you can follow Michelle on Twitter at @MLBrown_writes.