Hunting Monsters

by Rudi Dornemann

The waitress nodded at them from behind the bar. A chupacabra and a Florida skunk-ape looked up from the pool table. The sasquatch at the back corner table was staring at a half-empty bottle.

The alien, the werewolf, and the yeti headed to their usual table and had barely settled into the creaking wooden chairs when the waitress arrived with their usual drinks.

“So,” said the werewolf. “Anybody see anything?”

The alien shook his head and used his mind to twirl the little paper umbrella in his glass.

“I checked the camera traps this afternoon,” said the yeti. “Nothing. One had a bunch of blurry pics of satyrs..”

“That’s a waste,” grunted the werewolf, and peeled the label from his beer with one claw.

“I don’t think he exists,” said the alien in a quavering voice that always seemed to come from somewhere behind you. “I’ve never gotten anything on any of my scans, not once.”

The yeti leaned forward in his chair so that he loomed over the alien’s egg-shaped head. “I tell you I’ve seen him. And there’s all the evidence -- the tracks, the magazine articles, the endless TV documentaries.”

“I used to believe,” said the werewolf, “but I’m starting to wonder -- maybe cryptozoologists don’t exist.”

Way in the back, the sasquatch made a coughing noise but, when the alien, the werewolf and the yeti looked his way, he was taking a swig of his drink.

“Hey,” said the werewolf, “what’s Sass doing here?”

The alien shrugged skinny shoulders. “That’s his usual table.”

“But he’s in the Wednesday dart league, and was up against the thunderbird last night,” said the werewolf. “Nobody beats the bird, and Sass is a sore loser. He shouldn’t be back until Saturday, at least.”

The sasquatch didn’t look in their direction, but seemed to know that the three of them were staring at him. He wiped his brow as if he were sweating. One of his eyebrows stuck to the back of his hand.

“It’s him!” said the alien, and everyone turned in the fake sasquatch’s direction.

He ran out the door faster than the real sasquatch -- faster than the jackalope even.

They found his camera where he dropped it and, when the alien developed the film, found it was full of great candids that they framed and hung behind the bar.

But they never saw the cryptozoologist again.

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