The Sasquatch Who Spoke His Mind: A Fable

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There once was a Sasquatch who lived in a forest in British Columbia. He was nine feet tall, covered from head to toe with long black hair, and because he ate too many berries, he weighed 500 pounds.

To try and lose weight, the Sasquatch stomped through the forest all day, and the more he stomped, the more paths he made. They zigzagged all over the forest like a maze.

The rabbits often left their droppings on the paths, and this made the Sasquatch mad. When he wasn’t looking, he would stomp on the droppings, and they got stuck in his hairy feet.

One afternoon, the Sasquatch was stomping through the forest when he saw a rabbit about to poop on the path. He stretched out his hand and yelled, “Stop!”

“What’s your problem?!” the rabbit answered. “I’m doing my business.”

The Sasquatch frowned. “You rabbits always poop on my paths. When I go to sleep at night, my feet stink.”

The rabbit was offended. “That’s a negative stereotype. Not all rabbits poop on your paths.”

“I’m sorry,” the Sasquatch said. “But most rabbits do. Why can’t you do it under a tree?”

“Because when I gotta go, I go,” the rabbit said with sass. “And I gotta go right now!”

The Sasquatch stomped closer to the rabbit and pointed his finger. “Go poop behind that tree, you inconsiderate animal!”

“This is no longer a safe space for me,” the rabbit said assertively. “Please step back.”

The Sasquatch, realizing that he had been rude, immediately stepped back. Then the rabbit pooped on the path, and hopped away.

After the conflict with the rabbit, the Sasquatch felt stressed, and he needed a drink. So he left the path, and took another path that led to a stream. But when he got there, the stream was gone. It was now a beaver pond.

He saw a beaver working on a new dam, and stomped across the dam to speak to him.

“Hello there,” the Sasquatch said with a smile.

“What do you want?” the beaver asked with a scowl on his face.

“I was here yesterday, and this was a stream with fresh water.”

“It was,” the beaver said, returning to his work, “but not anymore.” He packed mud on the dam and laid down more branches.

The Sasquatch took a deep breath, and tried to stay calm. “This creates a problem for me. When you build a dam, the water becomes stale, and I can’t drink it.”

“That’s your problem, not mine,” the beaver said sharply. “Go further downstream. You can drink all the fresh water you want.”

“But that’s a long way from my cave,” the Sasquatch complained. He decided to be firm and direct. “The truth is—you’re destroying the environment. You started with one dam, and now you have 13. You’re a greedy animal.”

The beaver exploded in anger. “Greedy?! I live in poverty in a mud house, and I freeze my tail off every winter! But you’re rich compared to me. You have a cave, and a fire to keep you warm at night.”

“Just because I have a nice cave doesn’t give you the right to flood miles and miles of the stream.”

“And you have no right to make endless trails in the forest. You know what you are?”

“What?” the Sasquatch wondered.

“A hypocrite!” Then the beaver slapped his tail several times in the water, and got the Sasquatch all wet.

The Sasquatch was so angry, he wanted to grab the beaver and strangle him. But he decided it would be better if he went back to his cave and meditated. Meditation helped him control his angry thoughts and violent impulses. So he went back to his cave, pressed his palms together, crossed his legs, and meditated. Then he fell into a deep sleep.

At midnight, the Sasquatch woke up to a loud noise. The wolves were having a party, and when wolves are having a good time, they howl.

“Not again!” the Sasquatch yelled. “I can’t take this anymore!”

He came out of his cave, and stomped through the forest until he found the pack of wolves. They were howling and eating fresh meat.

“Shut up!” the Sasquatch shouted. “Shut your big mouths!”

“What’s wrong?” the leader of the pack asked, calm and in control.

“You howl every single night and wake me up!”

“Some animals sleep in the day, and some at night,” the wolf said with a smile. Then he turned to the wolf pack. “We were made for the night, weren’t we boys?”

The wolf pack howled in agreement.

The Sasquatch paused, took a deep breath, and said, “You need to be considerate of animals who sleep at night.”

“And you need to be considerate of animals who sleep in the day,” the wolf retorted. “You often wake us up when you go stomping through the forest.”

The Sasquatch scoffed. “That’s ridiculous! I’m not that loud.”

“We can hear you from six miles away,” the wolf replied. “We’re much more sensitive to noise than you are.”

This conversation is going nowhere, the Sasquatch thought to himself. So he said to the wolf, “If you don’t stop howling, I’ll, I’ll…” And he tried to think what he might do.

The leader of the pack said, “Are you threatening us?” He turned to the wolf pack. “He’s threatening us.”

The Sasquatch stomped up and down with both feet. “If you don’t stop howling, I’ll stomp up and down like this when you’re sleeping.” The Sasquatch had huge feet, the size of snowshoes.

One of the wolves shouted, “He’s going to stomp up and down on us, and murder us when we’re asleep!”

“You lying animal!” the Sasquatch yelled, pointing his finger. “I never said that.”

Another wolf hollered, “Monster!”

The Sasquatch was so mad, he roared, a roar so loud that all the wolves became quiet and lowered their tails in fear. Some of the wolves were trembling.

Realizing that he had lost control, the Sasquatch turned and stomped back to his cave. He sat down and tried to meditate, but he couldn’t. He was too upset. But the wolves were no longer howling, so he went to sleep.

The next day, the Sasquatch woke up at noon, and came out of his cave. He was surprised to see a dozen rabbits, a dozen beavers, and the pack of wolves waiting for him.

“What do you want?” he asked them abruptly.

The rabbit that pooped on the path said, “We don’t want you in our forest anymore.”

“What?” the Sasquatch replied, taken aback. “Why?”

“Because you hate us,” the beaver from the dam said.

“I don’t hate you. You animals just do things that make me mad.”

“We think it’s best for everyone if you leave,” the leader of the wolf pack declared.

“No; I have just as much right to live here as the rest of you.”

“No one has the right to be hateful,” the beaver said.

“Hate leads to violence against innocent rabbits,” the rabbit said, and the other 11 rabbits nodded their heads in agreement.

The Sasquatch shook his head. “I never said I hated you! All I did was speak my mind. And everything I said was true.”

“You insulted us and hurt our feelings,” the rabbit cried. “You’re offensive.” Then all the rabbits chomped their teeth at the Sasquatch.

The Sasquatch took a deep breath and sighed. “I know I can be blunt sometimes, but you’re not nice to me either.”

“You don’t belong here,” the beaver declared. “You’re not even an animal. You’re a man-animal.” Then all the beavers chomped their teeth at the Sasquatch.

The Sasquatch crossed his arms and stomped his foot. “I’m not leaving!”

The wolf walked up to the Sasquatch and said, “If you won’t leave voluntarily, then we will use force.”

The Sasquatch couldn’t believe this was happening. He looked at all the animals. “Why are you doing this to me? What’s the real reason?”

The wolves started growling and howling, and they formed a circle around the Sasquatch. And so, fearing the wolves might make fresh meat out of him, he gathered his things from his cave, and left the forest.

And to this day, the Sasquatch is rarely seen or heard by anyone.

Love, But Not Marriage: A Short Story

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When Johnny was 12, his father came into his bedroom and said, “I have to leave, son, and I don’t know when I’ll be back.”

Johnny got out of bed, hugged his father, and said sadly, “I wish you and Mom would stop fighting.” Johnny heard his mother shouting before his father opened the door.

“We’re not going to fight anymore,” his father promised, and he meant what he said.

Johnny’s father never came back, and he never sent any money to pay the bills.

That summer, Johnny got his first job picking cherries, and he gave half of what he earned to his mother. He did the same with every job he had until he finished high school.

After high school, Johnny worked in a saw mill, and saved enough money to start his own business. At age 25, he achieved his dream. It was July 1st, 1989, and Johnny’s Gym was celebrating its one-year anniversary.

Johnny was standing behind the counter, signing up a new customer: a large woman in her early 30s. She looked uncertain and nervous.

“Thank you, Daisy,” Johnny said, handing her a membership card. “You’ll love exercising here.”

“It’s a great deal,” Daisy said, her face expressionless. “You have the best price in town.”

“You’ve made a wise decision today—a life-changing decision.”

Daisy frowned. “Why? Because I’m fat and need to lose weight?”

“No, ” Johnny said, shaking his head. “If you work out, you’ll feel healthy and happy, and happy people are always beautiful.”

This made Daisy smile. Johnny valued women for more than how they looked. Because of what his father had done—leaving his mother for a younger woman—he vowed never to be like him.

After work, Johnny decided to go to swimming. He went to Skaha Lake, the beach where single people in Penticton went to. Because he worked out, he had a great body, and he met many young women there.

Johnny had girlfriends, but his number-one priority was work, and after a few weeks or months, they went their separate ways. However, today Johnny met a woman he would be with much longer.

He went for a swim and smacked into her while she was doing the backstroke. Her name was Samantha, and she was two years older than him. She was wearing a red, one-piece bathing suit.

“I’m so sorry,” Johnny said when his head came up from the water. “I’m not the greatest swimmer.”

Johnny could do the front crawl, yet despite his great strength, he could only swim 10 minutes at a time, and had to stop to catch his breath. There was something wrong with his stroke.

“It’s OK,” Samantha said shyly. They were both treading water, near the yellow buoys that marked the area where it was safe to swim.

“Are you a good swimmer?” Johnny asked.

Samantha smiled. “I’m a lifeguard at the Community Centre.”

Johnny was attracted to Samantha, so he suggested, “Maybe you could teach me a lesson.”

She tried to teach him, but it was no use. He couldn’t improve his stroke. But that didn’t matter to Johnny. After that lesson, he and Samantha never spent a day apart.

They had a great summer together. They worked out, went to the beach, and danced in the clubs. In September, they went hiking in mountains. And in December, they went skiing. They both had a lot in common. They loved to be outdoors and do things that challenged them physically.

Johnny had never been happier in a relationship. Samantha was an amazing cook, they had sex all the time, and they never had a fight. But Samantha started to wonder where their relationship was going.

On New Year’s Day, she asked Johnny, “What do you think about marriage?” Samantha’s parents were happily married, as were her three sisters.

“I don’t believe in it,” Johnny said offhandedly. “You don’t have to get married to prove you love someone.”

“You get married to show your commitment to the person you love. If you make a vow to each other, you’re more likely to stay together.”

Johnny scoffed. “It doesn’t mean anything. My father cheated on my mother all the time.”

“I know that many marriages end badly,” Samantha admitted. “But people who get married stay together longer than people who don’t.”

Johnny held Samantha’s hand, and said softly, “I don’t want to argue about this. I love you, and I’m not going anywhere. Isn’t that enough?”

Samantha didn’t know what else to say, so life went on as before. But in the spring, she started to think about marriage again.

One Saturday night, they went out for dinner, and she brought it up while they were waiting for dessert.

“Johnny, do you love me?”

“Of course I do,” he said with a smile. “I’ve been thinking. Why don’t we move in together?”

“No!” Samantha said adamantly. “Definitely not.”

“Why not?” Johnny frowned. “If you move into my place, we’ll see each other more, you’ll have more space, and you won’t have to pay rent.”

“If I move in, you’ll never want to get married.”

“I told you,” Johnny said, raising his voice. “I don’t want to get married.”

Samantha didn’t know what to say to change his mind, but she knew what she had to do.

After dinner, they did what they always did on Saturday night. They went to Samantha’s apartment, and after watching a movie, they went into her bedroom. Sitting together on the bed, they started kissing, but Samantha pulled back and pressed two fingers on Johnny’s lips.

“I’ve… decided something,” she said with hesitation in her voice. “We’re not making love anymore.”

Johnny was in shock. “What! Why?”

“I’m like a sports car to you.”

“No,” Johnny said, shaking his head. “You’re not an object to me. You’re a beautiful woman.”

“And for nine months, you’ve taken me for a test drive, but I’m not a free ride anymore.”

Johnny pleaded and begged, but it was no use. Samantha wasn’t going to change her mind.

Not having sex was like a drug withdrawal for both of them, but they made it through the spring. On Canada Day, they went to Skaha Lake again. It was their one-year anniversary, and they had a picnic on the beach. They sat together on a blanket, ate sandwiches, and drank lemonade.

“Samantha,” Johnny said, looking away from her. “I’m not sure about us anymore—if this is working.”

Samantha took a deep breath, and tried to stay calm. “Are you… breaking up with me?”

“I don’t know,” Johnny answered vaguely. “But maybe we need some time apart.”

Samantha felt her throat tighten, and she couldn’t speak. She got up and walked into the water.

Johnny stood up and started kicking the sand. He really did care for Samantha, but he was frustrated that she wouldn’t sleep with him. He walked into the water after her. “I was just being honest, OK? Let’s talk about it.”

Samantha was so angry, her chest hurt. She turned to Johnny and said, “I know why you don’t want to get married.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because you’re waiting for the perfect person!” Samantha said, distraught. “Someone better than me.” Then she swam away.

Johnny swam after her, but Samantha, not wanting to be near him, kept on swimming—beyond the buoys—thinking he would turn back.

Johnny knew it wasn’t safe to swim out that far, and he wanted to stop, but he saw Samantha struggling in the water. Beyond the buoys, there was an undertow from a small river that spilled into the lake, and it was pulling her under.

Johnny swam as fast as he could. When he reached her, he was out of breath and had stomach cramps, and couldn’t keep up his stroke. He took hold of her, and tried to swim back with her, but they were both sinking, and Johnny went under. Samantha’s head was barely above the surface.

A man in a boat saw them struggling, and came to their rescue. He reached and pulled Samantha out of the water. But Johnny was floating face-down, a hundred feet away.

Kneeling at the edge of the boat, Samantha spotted him and screamed, “Johnny!”

The man took the boat closer, and then he and Samantha lifted Johnny out of the water. He wasn’t breathing, so she performed CPR. She did multiple chest compressions, tilted his forehead back, lifted his chin, pinched his nose, and gave him two rescue breaths. He didn’t respond, so she tried again. He still wasn’t breathing. But on the third attempt, Johnny came to life, water spilling out of his mouth.

Then the man in the boat took them back to the beach.

After Johnny sat up, Samantha held him, and with tears streaming down her face, she said, “I’m so sorry. It’s my fault this happened. I promise—I won’t talk about marriage again.”

Johnny was in a daze, but after a minute, he said in realization, “I was a coward.”

Samantha put her hands on his cheeks. “Johnny, no. You risked your life to save me. You were very brave.”

“When you were drowning,” Johnny said, looking away from her, “I realized I was afraid … of marrying the wrong person. I’ve always wondered if that’s why my father left my mother.”

After a long pause, he turned to Samantha. “But when I was drowning, I realized what a fool I was. In that moment, I knew—if I lived, I wanted to spend my life with you.”

Samantha smiled. She put her hand on her chest and took a deep breath.

Johnny held her hands, and then he said, “I really do love you, Samantha… Will you marry me?”

“Yes!” Samantha cried.

Johnny kissed her, and he held her in his arms for a very long time.

Three Reasons Why Women Have An Affair: The Letter (1940)

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In the opening scene of William Wyler’s The Letter (1940), Leslie Crosbie (Bette Davis), a married woman, murders the man she was having an affair with. The film reveals three reasons why women cheat on their husbands: boredom, loneliness, and an emotional connection with a male friend. These are not the only reasons why married women have an affair; nonetheless, they are significant.

In research by Allen et. al, “boredom in the marriage”1 was cited as one reason why men and women were unfaithful to their spouses. One predisposing factor in Leslie’s unfaithfulness is boredom. Throughout the film, she is seen doing lacework. She finds the activity “soothing”, and took it up because she “had nothing else to do.” Although she has been married for 10 years, she has no children, and does not work outside the home. Even in her own home she has little to do. She says, “the boys take such good care of us.” Leslie has no major responsibilities as a housewife. An affair brought a feeling of excitement to her life.

Another factor in Leslie’s unfaithfulness is loneliness. As the manager of a rubber plantation, her husband Robert (Herbert Marshall) works long hours and is sometimes away on business for “a day or two.” Leslie accepts the reality of her husband’s absence, saying “I never mind being alone. A planter’s wife gets used to that.” However, the reason Leslie is “used to” being alone is because she has been cheating on Robert for many years. With an absent husband, she felt lonely, and her affair filled that emotional void.

According to Spanier and Margolis, “Women report a significantly greater emotional involvement with their extramarital partners than men.”2 In their research, 51% of the men and 72% of the women reported that they “had some emotional commitment” or it was a “long-term love relationship.”3 While it is more common for men to have an affair due to lust (physical attraction), women are more likely to be in love with the man they have an affair with. Leslie confesses to Robert that she has been “in love for years.” Her extra-marital relationship began as a friendship seven years prior, but at some point she fell in love, and it became a sexual relationship.

A central theme in The Letter is that a married woman who is idle and has an absent husband is more likely to cheat. Robert loved Leslie, provided for her, and gave her everything that she needed, but she was bored, lonely, and had no goals or dreams of her own. With no children to care for, and no job, she turned to another man to find meaning in her life. Then, when her lover suddenly abandoned her, she murdered him.

Notes

  1. Elizabeth S. Allen et al., “Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, and Contextual Factors in Engaging in and Responding to Extramarital Involvement.” Clinical Psychology: Science & Practice 12, no. 2 (June 2005): 109.
  2. Graham B. Spanier and Randie L. Margolis, “Marital Separation and Extramarital Sexual Behavior.” The Journal of Sex Research 19, no. 1 (February 1983): 23, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3812417
  3. Spanier and Margolis, “Marital Separation and Extramarital Sexual Behavior,” 36.

The Man Who Flipped a Coin: A Short Story

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A handsome young man lived in a small town. His name was George Stone, and the year was 1964.

George never felt lucky. In high school, he fell asleep in bed while smoking a cigarette, and his parents’ house burned down. He made the junior hockey team, but he broke his neck during a playoff game. And once, when he went hunting, he ran out of bullets and got attacked by a bear.

After graduating from high school, George worked for a butcher, but one day his boss said, “I’m going out of business.”

Although George applied everywhere, he couldn’t find another job, so he had to move back in with his parents.

Not long after that, his girlfriend told him, “I don’t want to be with you anymore.” And she left him for a guy who worked in a saw mill.

George didn’t know what to do. His father told him, “You need to move to a big city. There’s nothing here for you.”

The next morning, George said goodbye to his father and mother, put his suitcase in his car and drove away.

When he reached the highway, he couldn’t decide which way to go. He planned to drive west, to a big city on the Pacific coast, but if he drove east, there was a big city beyond the Rocky Mountains. So he pulled over on the side of the road, reached in his pocket, and took out a coin.

“If I flip heads,” he said to himself, “I’ll go east. If I flip tails, I’ll go west.”

George flipped heads and drove east. Within a week, he got a job in a meat packing plant. Not long after that, he met a young woman and fell in love. Her name was Grace, and she was in grade twelve. The summer after she graduated from high school, they got married.

George and Grace drove to the big city on the Pacific coast for their honeymoon. They stayed in a hotel, and had a great time, swimming and sunbathing, but on their final night they had a big fight.

George said, “Honey, when we go home, I really think you should get a job.”

“No,” Grace said, shaking her head. “I want to be a mother.”

“But we can’t put a down payment on a house if you don’t work.”

Grace was irate. “We talked about this before we got married!”

“But you’re not pregnant yet, so you should work. You got good grades in high school, and you’re beautiful, so you could easily get a job.”

Grace glared at George. “I know why you want me to work. You don’t want to have children!”

Then she started crying and throwing things at George.

George didn’t know what to do, so he threw his wedding ring at the wall and went to a pub. He sat at the bar and ordered a drink.

An hour later, when he was on his third drink, a young woman sat beside him. He looked at her, and he was attracted to her.

Gwen was a stewardess, and she had a zest for life. She told George about all the cities she had been to, and they had a great time. But two hours later, George remembered Grace.

“It’s getting late,” he said. “I should go.”

“Will I see you again?” Gwen asked.

“I can’t,” George confessed. “I’m married.”

“Oh,” Gwen said sadly.

George shook her hand. “Goodbye, Gwen. I hope you have a really great life.”

And then he left the pub.

Standing outside in the parking lot, he looked back and thought, “If I flipped tails instead of heads, I wonder if I would have met Gwen. I might have married her.”

George walked back to the hotel and apologized to Grace. And Grace apologized to George. Then she put his wedding ring on his finger.

“I’ve been doing some thinking,” she said excitedly, “and I have an idea!”

“What’s that?” George asked.

“One day, when our children are older, I want to become a nurse.”

George thought for a moment and said, “I think that’s a really good plan.”

Grace kissed George, and George grabbed Grace, and nine months later she had twin boys.

Six years later, when both boys were in school, Grace went to university and became a nurse. Then George and Grace bought a big house with a big backyard.

One morning, Grace came home from work at the hospital, and she looked upset. George was in the kitchen, washing dishes.

“What’s wrong, honey?” he asked her.

“A woman was brought in last night,” she said sadly. “A stewardess. After her plane landed, she took a taxi, and it went over the bridge. The doctor tried to save her, but…”

George felt curious. “What was her name?”

“Gwen Jones.”

George remembered her vividly. He finally told Grace how he met her on their honeymoon.

Grace looked worried. “Did you… ?”

“No,” George replied. “I’ve always been faithful to you. I love you.”

“She could have been me,” Grace said, and she burst into tears. “She had two young girls.”

“Yes, she could have,” George said, holding her tightly. “But she wasn’t you.”

Although George felt sad for Gwen, he was glad that he married Grace. He looked at her and loved her like the day they first met.

Then he said, “Before I met you, I always felt unlucky, but now I know that what seemed like bad luck was actually good luck. I really am a lucky man.”

And George kissed his wife.