Dolly can’t remember the last time it rained. The dust grinds into everything, her hair, her skin. Worst of all, her eyes. It’s all part of life in the Okanagan desert. Heat and the dust in summer. Snow and cold in winter. Maybe Brad and she will move away, go to the coast and live in the rainforest.
For the past month Brad has been going out day after day, tracking a Sasquatch, the legendary Bigfoot. Lots of people have reported seeing it but it’s too elusive to capture. Most have given up but Brad is the best tracker around. Ask anyone. He’s First Nations, through and through. None of his people were taken to residential school and he learned the old ways.
Brad’s luck is changing, Dolly can feel it. She’s been reading the Tarot all week.
When Brad phoned at noon his voice was hoarse and he sneezed three or four times in a few minutes. Dolly has scattered lemon myrtle oil on his pillowcase to boost his immune system. She drips some onto the sofa where he sits every night and watches PBS.
With a glass of water in one hand and a joint in the other, Dolly settles on the cane-bottomed chair on the front porch. Dinner is simmering in the slow cooker and she hopes they’ll have something to celebrate tonight. Brad said he had exciting news but wouldn’t say anything more.
Over the far hills, dark clouds are gathering. Dolly whispers to the evening breeze, “Please let it rain.”
She hears Brad’s truck before it rumbles into sight. Even the dog wakes out of its heat-induced stupor and thumps its tail hopefully. Brad slams the pickup to a stop and runs up the stairs.
“Are you alone?” He peers into the house.
Brad goes inside and checks the rooms, followed by Dolly. “God. What is that smell?”
“Lemon myrtle oil. To help you get over your cold.”
“Yeah. You were sneezing…”
“Stay here. Just stay where you are. Close your eyes.”
She hears the truck door open. The dog barks, a high-pitched frantic yap. It runs past her and hides under the bed. In the distance thunder cracks. An acrid, sneeze-inducing smell reaches Dolly as two sets of footsteps march into the house.
“Okay,” Brad says.
When Dolly opens her eyes, her chin drops.
The creature before her is at over eight feet tall, bent at the waist to avoid hitting the ceiling.
Brad touches Sasquatch’s arm. “He will stay with us tonight. Then I’m going to take him to the coast, far away from the people who want to hunt him down and keep him in a cage.”
Dolly is speechless.
“Bigfoot is lucky for us,” Brad says. “He brings the rain.”
Brad doesn’t see the way Sasquatch looks at Dolly. She moans softly and holds out her hand. All these years she thought Brad was her true love. How could she have been so wrong?
Photo from Wikimedia Commons: Sign on Pikes Peak Highway by Gnashes30