I wish I could just come out and report it: Bigfoot has been spotted running amok and terrorizing town folk in the wilds of Turner. Or possibly Greene.

We’re talking about the legendary, hirsute biped out there uprooting trees, slaughtering livestock and eating slow-moving hikers like they were pork rinds. Or possibly Funyuns.

I’d like to suggest you lock your doors and bolt your windows and carry a can of bear spray and a rape whistle wherever you go. I’d like to investigate this matter in intricate detail, risking my life by going out into the wilderness to look for massive footprints and Bigfoot droppings.

Oh, the fun we could have. While I’m out there interviewing some moonshine-swilling, shotgun-cradling Bigfoot enthusiast in the Leeds backcountry, you fine people would be hard at work coming up with a clever nickname for our new hairy friend — early entries include Andro the Giant, Bête Poilue, Androx, The Twin City Terror and the Scoggin’ Goblin.

The newspaper would be so dazzled by ad sales and website clicks generated by the story it would skip all that boring news — school committees, City Hall stuff, elections — and put me on the story full time.

Each day would bring dozens of fresh Bigfoot/Androx/Andro the Giant sightings from the alert and possibly glue-sniffing public.

“The creature stole unmentionables from my clothesline!” reports Gladys from Greene.

“I saw the beast twerking in the Mixers parking lot!” rants Sally from Sabattus.

“Mr. Foot crept up behind my house and tried to steal my Wifi!” advises Loretta of Leeds.

It would be a national sensation, much like the Turner Beast of 2006, only much scarier and less dead-dog-on-the-side-of-the-roadesque than that turned out to be. Frenzied legions of journalists, scientists and cryptozoopohoohoopologists would come from all over the world to investigate, turning our corner of Maine into the epicenter of madness and mystery.

Which, frankly, is exactly what we need around these parts. I mean, look at the city of Westbrook, all strutting around and showboating with its giant, alleged snake and fancy spinning ice disc, or whatever the heck that is. Why are we letting Westbrook take over as the center of weirdness? Does anybody even know where Westbrook is?

City planners and chamber of commerce types are always babbling on about economic development, how we need to lure new business to the area and blah, blah and how it’s happening here, blah.

And sure, getting a Sizzler and a dozen more dollar stores would be swell, but think about the chat would come with a series of bona fide creature sightings. Hotels would fill up. Restaurants, too. Filmmakers, thrill-seekers and mysterious men in black would pay top dollar for local sherpa to guide them into the wilderness. Everyone makes a buck, but more important I’d have something to do that doesn’t involve parking bans, snowfall amounts or the city’s dwindling supply of road salt.

I want a creature. I NEED a creature. So desperate am I for reports of a rampaging, mutant-type monstrosity out there that I’ve been turning to local experts in hopes of shaking something free.

I asked the famed Rich Burton of Specialized Wild Animal Trapping if he has seen, smelled or heard of any big-footed creatures roaming the local landscape.

“Weasels, flying squirrels and beavers but no Bigfoot,” he said. “I’m sure that I could trap it if it was around though.”

I asked Drew Desjardins, more commonly known in the area as Mr. Drew and his Animals, Too. He hasn’t heard any Bigfoot rumblings in years, he said. But at least he understood my desperation.

“A little ingenuity and paper mache,” he said, “and we can make things happen.”

I asked seasoned animal control officer Wendell Strout if he’s seen Bigfoot, but he didn’t answer right away. Probably because he’s still mad at me over that thing with the gnu a few years back — I don’t know how many times I can apologize for the gnu incident, Wendell!*

(*Wendell called five minutes later. He hasn’t seen Bigfoot, either. And he’s totally over the gnu thing.)

If Andro the Giant is out there, he ain’t talking. He’s not stomping across Sabattus, galloping across Greene or eating pork rinds in Poland. Once again, I’m forced to retreat to hopes for smaller, less-impressive cryptids to hoist me out of my news doldrums. A Mothman flapping over Monmouth would do the trick. The Kraken in the Lewiston canals or a plain old chupacabra might get me out of a weather story or two.

In the meantime, I’m going back to Leeds to bond with that moonshine guy. Might as well have a little something to drink if I’m going to spend the rest of winter writing weather stories and learning to paper mache.

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