Yeah, it all started on a rainy night. Just like it was raining while I looked out the office window.
The outer door opening snapped me out of my thoughts. I looked out into the reception area. Our postman, Willie, stood there holding our bills and junk mail and whatever.
“Hiya, Willie. How’s things?” I asked, walking to greet him.
“Pretty decent, Mister F, pretty decent.”
“How’s the family doing?”
“Well, my daughter Shelly passed her bar exam. Her momma and me, we’re real proud.”
“That is fantastic, Willie! Glad to hear it! Maybe I can throw some business her way. I’m always getting sued.” I replied. “What do we have today?”
“Electric bill, cable bill, the usual junk mail, some letters for you. Probably fan letters I’m thinking. Kids that saw your personal appearance on Svengoolie.”
“Oh sure! He’s a giant gorilla and he gets fan mail.” Hal hollered. “Do my fans send fan mail?”
“Your fans are all divorced women who smoke too much and speak with a whiskey falsetto.” I laughed. “Thanks Willie, my best to your wife.” Willie left, and I put the bills on Abby’s desk. I tossed the junk mail in the trash and sat down with my mail. Kids’ fan letters. I love these. I send them all an autographed picture. I don’t charge anyone for them, least of all kids. There was a request from a Cub Scout pack to make a personal appearance. I would squeeze that in. One was a request from the Midwest Paranormal Society to speak at one of their meetings. I charge a speaker’s fee for these kind of things. Usually two grand for small groups like this. I charge a lot more to speak at Comicon. And then I opened a letter that stopped me in my tracks.
“Dear Mister Frankenstein,” it began, ”I’m writing to you to ask for your help.” I could tell by the penmanship the author was a minor. “My family and I live in Alsea, Oregon. My dad is a constable here. That’s like a policeman. Lately bad things have been happening. People around here started disappearing, even some of the kids at school. My dad couldn’t find them. Then some of the hunters found them but all that was left was bones. Something ate them. Everyone is real scared. We stay inside at night and we don’t go in the woods. No one else disappeared, but then people started saying something was outside their home banging on the walls and stuff. My dad went to a house that had this because they called him to come in his squad car. He saw something that really scared him. Now mom and me are scared. A guy from the state came out and said it was a bear and he went into the woods to hunt it. He disappeared. Now, something is walking around our house at night, slapping the walls. My dad says you’re not real. He says you’re just a wrestler who fakes stuff to get money. But I saw wrestling on TV lots of times and I saw you catch Mothman on that bridge on TV and turn it over to the agents. I know wrestling isn’t for real, but I saw you tear a girder off the bridge and hit Mothman with it. I know you’re for real. Whatever this thing is that’s eating people that my dad saw and is so afraid of, I know you can stop it. Please, Mister Frankenstein, don’t let him eat us. Sincerely, Robbie Grover.”
I put down the letter. “Are you done yet?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Hal replied. “With the bodyguard work you did, we are quite in the black! God, I love bodyguard work. We can charge an arm and a leg for it. Why?”
“I’m taking a trip to Oregon.” I tossed the letter to him. Hal read thru it.
“This sounds bad. You want me to come with, big guy?”
“No.” I exhaled loudly. “I’ve got a feeling this is going to get ugly.”
“Say isn’t your ex-fiancé from Alsea?”
“Yep. The cherry on the sundae.” I got out my credit card and began looking up flights online.
I’d booked first class O’Hare to Portland same day. Which means I paid a lot for the ticket. Not too many people in first class. Now, I’d become something of a media sensation. Some of my altercations were in public, and news crews and citizens with cell phones recorded these . You can find me all over YouTube. But still, I get the shocked faces, the fish eye, the dirty looks, the occasional scream. I ignore it.
The flight attendant got me a scotch and water, and after drinking it, dozed off. Best way to deal with a long flight. While I dozed, I dreamt. No, no prophetic dreams, no ghostly warnings. I’ve never had them. Maybe that’s because I’m super human not supernatural. I’ll let you know if I do, though. No, I dreamt about my seventh grade English teacher. I had the hots for her.
The flight attendant woke me. We were getting ready to land, and I needed to buckle in. We landed with no problem and disembarked. I had an hour until I could board the puddle jumper that would take me to the Eugene airport. From there I’d have to rent a car.
So what did I know? The info in the letter. I didn’t try to get a phone number and call ahead to check this out. If it was somebody jerking my chain, no harm no foul. If it were someone setting a trap for me, well, small arms fire just flattens against my skin. I don’t really know how strong I am. I’m more than capable of fighting my way out of any traps. But if this was true, and this boy’s father saw it and is that scared, he’s not going to want to talk to me on the phone. What else? I actually lived in Alsea for a short time when I was engaged to Lizzy. Small mountain town. Quiet. Most folks live outside the town on small farms or homes in the woods further up mountain. Woods. Lots of woods. Canopy so thick the sun doesn’t really get thru. Bears and cougars. Deer and elk. Sometimes someone reports seeing Bigfoot. Bigfoot? Could a sasquatch be the cannibal? I’d never seen one, but I’d read a reports about them eating people.
I signed two autographs, drank a coke, and caught the flight to Eugene. Puddle jumpers are fun for big people. I sat sideways in the seat, using a belt extension. We landed. Eugene has a tiny airport, but it is an actual airport with baggage claim and security. They also have a FedEx office there. I shipped a package before I left with same day delivery paid for. I walked to their counter, hoping it would be there. And lucky me, it was. So, package in hand, I went and rented a Yukon Denali. My package contained my gun, ammo, my knife, and four flash bang grenades I’d purloined from Chicago PD’s SWAT team. Open carry be damned, they’re still not going to let you fly packing heat. It was spring, which meant it rained more than usual. I couldn’t find a radio station that I liked, so I settled on NPR. I made a call to Hal. It went to voicemail. I let him know that as high up as I was going, there’s no cell service, so don’t worry if there’s no calls from me. It was dark by the time I made it to Alsea. There’s no motels. So, I pulled up in front of the constable station. The lights were off. Nothing to do but wait until morning.