Scottish Sasquatch (Short Story No. 13)
These short stories will be part of the sequel to my novel The Lady Who Loved Bones. Any suggestions for improvement or for future stories are welcome.
Pinkerton agent Helen James contemplated the best plan of action to apprehend Captain Taz. She had confirmed that he was the one responsible for the sinking of the steamboat Victoria, and he knew where Hannah and Sweet Water had ended up. Helen didn’t want to organize a posse and try to track Taz and his gang. There was already the posse led by Marshal Howie and the other posse led by Sheriff Brown, neither of which had been able to apprehend the outlaw. No, Helen thought that some sort of trap might be her best bet. What would Alan Pinkerton do?
Just then Anne Hope, the circus bearded lady, walked into the Red Horse restaurant escorting someone, a large rather muscular fellow, who happened to be talking with a definite Scottish accent and wore nothing but a kilt.
“Why, that’s Donald Dinnie!” Robert Barnes, editor of the Helena Herald exclaimed.
“Who?” Helen questioned.
“Even I heared of him,” Shorty noted. “Ain’t he the world’s greatest athlete or some such thing?”
“Exactly,” Barnes agreed. “Wonder what he’s doing in these parts.”
“Lookit how big his feet is!” Shorty blurted.
“Shorty, you are so rude!” Helen complained as she introduced herself. “Nice dress . . . ‘er . . . kilt,” she said to Donald Dinnie.
“A pretty face suits the dish-cloot,” Dinnie said to Helen.
“What does that mean?” Helen inquired, puzzled.
Dinnie explained, “If you’ve got a pretty face, it doesn’t matter what you are wearing.”
“Oh,” Helen muttered, shaking her head. “You do have a pretty face,” she complimented. And then she lifted his kilt. “That’s not bad either. Not as pretty as mine though.”
Dinnie shrugged, more than a bit confused, said, “Yer bum’s oot the windae!”
Helen, puzzled again, asked again, “What does that mean?”
Dinnie explained, “It means that you are not making any sense.”
Anne and Donald sat down with the group that included Helen, Shorty, and Robert Barnes.
“Donald came across the ocean to talk to George Bartholomew of the Great Western Circus and others including P. T, Barnum about employment opportunities in the circus.”
“If I don’t join a circus,” Donald responded, “I just might tour America, competing in the Highland Games of American Caledonian clubs. I’m good at everything – wrestling, track and field, and weightlifting. The pay is good.”
Close encounters of the other kind
“Modest too, you are,” Anne added.
“Tell them what Barnum wants you to do,” Anne suggested.
“Oh no, not that charlatan!” Helen interjected. “He probably wants you be the Feejee Mermaid, and tour the country.”
“Dinnie fash yerself, hen,” Donald said. “Don’t worry about it. Barnum wants me to be the Scottish bigfoot and tour America.” Donald Dinnie enthralled them with the story of Am Feak Liath Mor, also known as the Big Grey Man of Ben MacDhui, the highest peak of the Cairngorms and the second highest peak in Scotland.
“I hope Barnum is going to pay you a lot of money to be paraded around with a bunch of fake fur stuck to your body,” Helen stated matter-of-factly.
Suddenly Dinnae reached out and tugged on Anne’s beard. “Ho hey! Just checking,” he offered, embarrassed. “I thought that might be a fake beard.”
“Ho hey is right,” Helen said. “I just got an idea. It appears our Captain Taz is fascinated by exotic animals from foreign countries. I would think the appearance of a Scottish bigfoot might pique his interest.”
Shorty nodded and added, “I met up with a bigfoot.”
“Och! That’s guid!” Donald Dinnae blurted. “But I dinna kin.”
Shorty nodded and began, “A few years back I was trapping beaver up on Crawford Creek that runs into the Missouri River near Fort Benton.” Shorty expounded that they returned to camp that evening, and it was obvious that their camp had been ransacked. Eventually they fell asleep, but noises woke them and something large, resembling a giant man and covered with hair loomed over the dying campfire. Shorty and his companions grabbed their rifles and fired at the ominous shape. It fled with inhuman leaps and bounds. All night they were kept awake by terrifying screams and heavy breathing. And then the creature raided the camp again, knocked Shorty’s two companions unconscious, and forced Shorty to have sex with it. Shorty concluded, “And that’s how I met my fiancée, Penelope.”
The Thin Man
“Very funny, Shorty,” Anne said. “Sounds like the time you got scalped. Fake news. No wonder Penelope dumped you, just before the wedding.”
“Penelope didn’t dump me,” Shorty insisted, “I dumped her. So yer gonna set the trap for Taz, using the Scottish bigfoot as bait?”
“That’s the jist of it,” Helen confirmed.
“So you hope that Taz will try to make Sasquatch his bitch?” Shorty questioned.
“Jings!” Donald Dinnae exclaimed.
“I’ll help,” Robert Barnes offered. “I can put an advertisement in the Helena Herald if you like. And print up some flyers and banners to post all over town and elsewhere. Send some to Virginia City et al.”
“I can do the makeup,” Anne Hope stated. “I did the makeup for a lot of the freaks at the Great Western Circus.”
“Oh, like who?” Shorty challenged.
Jenny Lind impersonator
Anne retorted, “Like Issac Sprague, known as the Living Skeleton. George Bartholomew hired him for the Great Western Circus after Barnum’s American Museum burned down, along with me and other performers. Issac is 5 feet and 6 inches and 43 pounds.”
“What did ya do, make him look fat?” Shorty questioned.
“Fat enough that the fat lady married him!” Anne snapped. “About a hundred times!”
“Now there’s an idea to draw in the suckers, like Captain Taz – a big wedding. I know, the Scottish bigfoot here and a beautiful famous woman. How about Jenny Lind? I can be Jenny Lind. I did it before. And I can sing. Just call me the Swedish nightingale. Not only can I sing Jenny’s soprano, I can sing supporting baritone.”
“Haud yer wheest!” Donald Dinnae practically shouted.
“I don’t think our Scottish Sasquatch likes the idea of marrying up with you, Shorty,” Helen observed.
Anne did Shorty’s hair and makeup and found a dress. Shorty sang “Casta Diva” from Norma and “I know that my Redeemer livith” from Messiah.
Donald Dinnae sighed and muttered, “She’ll do,” as he took the singer by the hand and led her away.
“Ya can’t tell a skunk from a house cat,” Shorty snapped and added, “and you is so ugly you could scare a buzzard off a meat wagon.”
The Scottish bigfoot just grinned like a weasel in a hen house.