“They want me to do what?!” I asked incredulously.
Edward told me calmly, “They want you to deal with a Yeti, an Abominable Snowman.”
I said sarcastically. “In Colorado, jeez I always thought they were from the Himalayas,”
Edward said, unruffled, “There was a cargo flight from Nepal to Colorado, which ended near the town I'm talking about, Elliot, which has a large population of werewolves. Nowhere near as large as Benson of course, but substantial. There is also a smaller population of Sasquatch and the county sheriff is one. This is the only place where a significant number of werewolves and Sasquatches live together.”
He told me, “It was late when the cargo plane landed and there was no indication that there was any urgency to unload the plane, so it was left until morning. When they opened the plane in the morning, they found one of the crates broken out, all indications saying that something was in the crate. They did a thorough examination and they found prints that appeared to be similar to Sasquatch.”
Edward gave a smile as he continued, “Of course the sheriff, being one himself is an expert on Sasquatches. He says that they don't have fingerprints, but they do have marking on their fingers and thumbs, however whenever they change the marks are different. This is different, it appears the markings are the same each time he changes. They located places where it changed from human to Yeti or whatever and back in at least three places and the marks are the same each time. They have traces of gloves and footgear, but no fingerprints. Also the prints are much smaller, the sheriff estimates that the Yeti would be in the low six foot range which is very small for a Sasquatch, unless it was a juvenile.”
I asked intently, “Was the cargo section of the plane heated, Edward?”
He looked down at his notes and shook his head. He told me, “No. They have the provision to do so, but according to their cargo manifest there was nothing that required it.”
I began to speculate out loud, “Okay, suppose the Yeti, whether adult or young got on the plane and in the crate somehow. It would have had to be deliberate I would think, since he was in the crate, he didn't just wander on the plane. He was probably tranquilized or he could have broken out before the plane took off. You make no mention of oxygen, so it wasn't supplied. We've never come across a were who had the need for hibernation before. Assume that in were form he has that ability, which would mean that he wouldn't require heat or much oxygen. Either whoever put him on the place was aware of that ability, or planned for him to die.”
I mused, “Once the plane landed in Colorado, even though on a winter's night, it still would be a lot warmer than the plane in flight, warm enough to wake him up. He would have broken out and human intelligence would have shown how to get out of the plane and he would have headed for what was familiar to him, the mountains.”
I spread my hands, saying, “I still don't see why they want me, Edward. Jeez, I've never even seen snow except on television and in movies and I just got my cast off two days ago.”
Edward told me, “They know how old you are this time, but you are still the primary Elder expert in interwere relations. The sheriff is a cousin of Carrie Ross and I asked her and he isn't aware that you know them.” I realized that I would need to go. I was too curious about the new were type to leave it to someone else. I figured it was time to reveal my little gift from the Elves. It might be needed and I didn't want the Council to be unpleasantly surprised.
I said to him, *All right, Edward. I'll do it but I'll give you the pleasure of telling them about this new ability, I'm demonstrating to you. The Elves gave me a gift when I was speaking to them about Angelo. The ability to hear humans as if they are weres.* “That should shock them out of their socks and I'd like to be there when you tell them. Enjoy the moment, Edward.” I said, sweetly.
Edward closed his open mouth with a snap, then just shook his head, whether in annoyance or wonder, I didn't know and didn't intend to look to find out.
The sheriff was shorter than the males in Steve's family that I had so far met, probably about the same height as Carrie, which was six four, but he must have weighed close to two hundred and eighty pounds. I think he was a little surprised by Blue in my arms, but it was a charter after all. He smiled at me, “We got instructions from our Council to call you Robby, so hello Robby Hansen. I'm Ron Jansen.”
Barney Ross had told me to expect a little boy, but I was still surprised when a LITTLE BOY stepped onto the stairs of the charter plane this great big black and gray tabby in his arms. He must have been all of four feet ten inches tall with reddish blond hair and the biggest green eyes you've ever seen.
I introduced myself and my jaw must have dropped a foot when he said, “Hello, Dumpy.”
I smiled, well I figure I deserved one laugh, “Hello, Dumpy.”
I got my laugh when his mouth hung open with shock. I shook my head telling him, “No, I'm not reading your mind. Carrie Ross nee Jansen, is my little brother's kindergarten teacher and Steve Ross is mine and Carrie told me all about your deep dark secrets. Especially about the little dump truck that you carried around with you all the time when you were four, which gave you your nickname.”
He recovered quickly, saying, “Just as long as you don't tell my wife and kids. I don't want to be blackmailed all the way to my grave.”
“I'll think about it.” I said, smiling for a moment, before I got serious. “Blue and I are both cold, but I'd like to see the scene of the crime so to speak. I know the plane is still here. The owner's were screaming bloody murder, we had to find them a couple of cargoes before they shut up.”
He shook his head, saying, “Is that why they suddenly stopped complaining? We all wondered. Like the cartoon characters say, 'Nobody tells us nuttin.' The plane's just over here.” and he led the way, to a plane parked about a hundred yards away and guarded by a bundled up deputy. Werewolf I could tell by his aura.
Inside the plane, I put Blue down so he could do a little exploring while I did mine. He found something first. He told me, *Robby, over here.* He was sitting on his haunches looking up at a place on the fuselage. The were had bumped the fuselage here. That's what I was looking for. I picked up Blue and holding him in one arm, I put my hand on the place the were had brushed. Joining with Blue, I could feel his DNA.
Similar to Sasquatch, showing they had probably been related in the far past, but different enough that they were now a separate species. Going a little deeper I could tell he was adult and that he was indeed a he and I could feel his anger and the fear that underlay the anger. Making a quick mind sweep, I could only detect Ron inside the plane and the deputy outside, so I changed to wolf. The DNA splotch was too small to give me a scent pattern, so I began working all of the patterns out.
The pilot and copilot were easy, their scent was concentrated around the cockpit. Ron and probably several deputies and forensics experts. But the odd ones out. An unwashed body. I memorized that scent and another odd scent, again similar to Sasquatch but lighter, less pungent. I also memorized that.
I changed back to a boy. I told Ron, “He's fully adult, male. But nothing to say exactly how old he is. He's angry but underneath that he's very frightened. Not Sasquatch, but the DNA is similar as if in the far past you were one species. Also, unlike Sasquatch, he's primarily a hunter. Two odd scent traces, one of an unwashed body, I assume our were in human form and a second, again similar to Sasquatch. I know your sense of smell is a little better than a human's but not enough to put the memory into your mind. Because I am a Healer I can get more our of a scent trail than an ordinary werewolf. If you wish me to put it into any werewolf minds I will do so.”
Ron told me, “We have to find a trail to start with.”
I gave a nod as I told him, “As I said he's primarily a hunter, the DNA in the cells is indicative of a meat eater, while Sasquatch are supposed to be mostly vegetarians. Since he's totally unfamiliar with the local wildlife, it's unlikely that he will be able to hunt successfully, so it's likely he'll go after domestic stock. Probably something not too big, like sheep or goats. I've been placed in charge so put the word around to weres that we are after a were and if he is harmed for any reason except for self-defense they will answer to me. Put out that if they are not insured, we will cover any losses.”
I gave a little sigh of regret before I said, “I know that prized breeding stock can't really be replaced, but we are after an intelligent being here, one who was apparently kidnapped from his own country and brought here involuntarily. Make sure that gets around as well. As for meeting up with ranchers and farmers who aren't were, we can only hope he's lucky and won't encounter them.”
I'd been impressed by what he and his cat, well from what I had seen he was much more than a cat, had picked up in the plane and from what he had deduced just from a little bit of DNA and scent patterns. We'd gotten a little of it, but forensics hadn't really picked up much since they weren't dealing with human DNA and certainly what he had told me was going to help. Just from the completely confident way he had spoken, I was sure that he would be right and as we found out later, he was one hundred percent accurate.
“Car 3, calling the sheriff. Car 3, calling the sheriff.”
I picked up my mic, saying, “This is Ron, Daily, what's up.”
“I'm down at Kelly's Bar, Ron and we've got a brawl going on.”
I swore, under my breath, but I could see Robby grinning. Obviously, it hadn't been as far under as I'd intended. I told him, “Daily's one of my werewolf deputies. Kelly's is a strictly were hangout. Nobody else goes there. Not that they're made to feel unwelcome, but they get the idea and generally head for more congenial company.”
Robby considered, “How long would it take us to get there?”
“About three minutes.” I told him.
He said with a grin, “Tell your deputy we're on our way and to let them fight. If he gets a complaint from the owner, tell him the Councils will pick up the tab for any repairs. If feelings are running high between the two communities of weres and I'm assuming that's what started this, then they can blow off a little steam, before we interrupt their fun.” I passed the instructions on to Daily and we headed there with lights and siren going.
We stood in the doorway looking at a brawl and they were going at it hammer and tong. I started to raise the bullhorn I'd brought in with me and Robby touched me on the arm, wicked humor in his big green eyes.
He said, “Let me, I doubt if they'd even notice you.”
He blasted out, *THIS IS THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE, YOU WILL STOP FIGHTING, NOW!!!*
I could tell it had carefully not been directed at me, or the two deputies behind us, but it was so strong, we winced at the pain it caused anyway. I'd never seen a brawl end so fast in my life. There were a few unconscious bodies on the floor but the rest clasped their hands to their head and stopped in their tracks.
Robby said, “In about five minutes, when their headaches begin to wear down, we should be able to get some sense out of them. Shall we sit and wait?” Miraculously there was still a table and chairs standing a little way from the door and he grabbed a chair with one hand and sat down, putting Blue on the table. Looking at my deputies I just shrugged and waving them to sit. I took a chair as well.
I recognized two of our distinguished Elders. Not really surprising, they were as hot headed as the rest of the bunch in here and it wasn't the first brawl they'd been involved in and certainly wasn't going to be the last.
As they began to recover, they looked in our direction and catching sight of two sets of green eyes looking at them disapprovingly seemed to be disconcerting. They began to fidget and shuffle their feet like naughty little boys caught smoking behind the barn. They had obviously got a little more information from the communication (that's a fine word communication. I imagine it felt more like an bomb going off in their head,) than the rest of us had.
“What exactly started this little bit of excitement?” Robby asked softy. Not that he had to speak any louder, there was dead silence in the room. I was finding it difficult to choke back my laughter.
There's usually one or two in a crowd who act dumb and this time there were two. One of each were. They didn't say anything interesting, just those dirty werewolves/Sasquatch etc.
But Robby focused in on them and they shut up right away and began to fidget even more. He told them sternly, “I've done a great deal in the last year to improve relations between werewolves and Sasquatch, so I don't approve of your words at all and I'm sure if you were thinking a little more you wouldn't either. You should get your mouths washed out with soap.” I saw his face light up and for some reason, I felt really sorry for those two. Robby turned to me and asked, “How many toilets are there in the washrooms, not urinals, toilets.”
“Four in each.” I answered not exactly sure where this was going.
Robby turned back and continued talking, “When I was about seven, I was enjoying a run in the woods out back of our place. I knew what skunks were of course and I knew enough to avoid them. Unfortunately I wasn't watching where I was going, I just ran into this skunk and her babies.
He explained, “Of course I tried to get out of there as fast as I could and I didn't get hit in the face, but she sprayed me real good. Now my father gave me a bath in the backyard, with this stuff that removes the smell of skunk. Werewolves have sensitive noses even in human form and he could still smell skunk on me, so he got some really horrible lye soap out and washed me a couple of times with that, before he was satisfied.”
He shook his head, saying, “Of course like any dumb kid I wondered whether it tasted like ordinary soap or not, so I tasted some. Believe me I've never tasted anything worse, either before or since.” Robby smiled, wicked humor on his face. “I think a taste of that would improve your manners enormously, don't you?”
Suddenly the two grabbed their mouths and headed for the washroom at top speed, everybody very willing to get out of their way. Robby said, “I hope they had a good supper, it can be really painful trying to puke your guts out for a half hour, when there's nothing to come up.”
Robby turned his gaze on the two Elders and his face didn't show any humor now, it was cold. His eyes glinted with ice his voice echoing it as he said, “You two especially should know better. As Elders, you're supposed to stop this type of thing. Oh, I don't mean the brawl, people must be allowed their fun, I mean the reason for the brawl, so why don't you join them, I think an hour in your case should be adequate.”
They also headed for the washroom at top speed, everybody giving them a wide berth. Robby's humor was back. “Now that's much better than the way I usually punish someone, somehow I think they'll remember this little incident, don't you?
I figured that this was my cue. I asked, “How do you usually punish people, Elder?”
He said with a bit of humor in his voice, “Well I usually do what I did to catch everyone's attention, only somewhat harder, depending on the seventy of the punishment I wish to hand out.” I saw several men wince and swallow hard and I heard Daily chuckle behind me. Robby asked, “Are there any married men in this group, Sheriff, or anybody supporting a dependant?”
I took a careful look, “None, Robby.”
He said, “Since it's only the third week in January I don't imagine that any of you are flush with cash, I imagine payday's next week, right?” Most of the men nodded. He told them, “I said the Councils would pay for the repair bill, so we'll pick up the initial cost. However, we want as much of our money back as we can get, so as the Elder in charge of this region for the moment, I fine all of you one weeks pay. Those that have bills that have to be paid can stretch it over two or three months. Any objections?” Everyone shook their heads, in a way they were getting off easy and they knew it. Landing in jail and getting fined by the court system could have cost much more, over and above the repair bills.
Robby instructed, “Take everyone's name bartender and don't forget the ones in the washroom and you can put your name at the top of the list. You didn't get that black eye and skinned knuckles from just standing behind the bar.”
Robby got a laugh at that before he continued, “Mark people off the list as they pay. If there's anyone still on the list at the end of that time, their respective Elders can deal with them. I can't see any waitresses here, so sensibly they got while the getting was good, I think they can come back now.” and I saw half a dozen waitresses file in from the kitchen.
Robby stated, “Now I'd like to find out what started this brawl, I don't think it was just because some words were said.”
One of the men, said, “One of MacKenzie sheep disappeared and someone made the suggestion that it was a Big Foot and the brawl just started from there.”
Robby said scathingly, “Idiots, if this was the right time of year and somebody's apple orchard disappeared you might want to think about Sasquatch as the culprit, but most of you here know by now that they're primarily vegetarians. They prefer fish over meat and they're quite capable of digesting evergreen trees, if they just got hungry.”
“I think that does it.” Robby said, as he stood up, “Shall we go? Since I'm way under twenty-one, I think I'm here illegally and I don't want to get arrested by the Sheriff.”
When he started out of the door, I noticed he was limping a little. Catching up to him, I asked, “Something wrong with your leg?”
Robby sighed, telling me, “I broke my leg just before Christmas and I just got the cast off my leg two days ago. I only got to swim in Steve and Carrie's new pool twice.”
After we got back in the car, I said, “Sasquatches don't often get pools, most of us don't like the water all that much.”
I could hear the humor in his voice as he said, “Yeah, but most don't adopt Merfolk either. I met a were when I was in the hospital and I arranged for him to be placed in Carrie and Steve's foster care. Carrie knew I'd set them up right from the beginning, but I had to tell Steve.”
I said severely, “I am not adopting a Yeti, so don't get any ideas.”
“Don't worry, I wouldn't be surprised if he was older than you are.” Robby said with a laugh, then more seriously. “I think we'd better head out to MacKenzie's. This is our best chance of finding him.”
I looked at my watch, “It's almost nine thirty. Night searches are always hard on the participants.”
“He might not be as hard to find as you think.” Robby said, mysteriously.
“Why do you say that?” I'd been intrigued at how good at deductions he was I figured I'd get another example.
He asked me, “Now if you were in a Sasquatch village, forget about the fact that your people never had villages and something was going on, but you didn't know exactly what, what would you do?”
I told him, “Investigate, of course, assuming that we ever had villages.”
He asked, “And just who do you think would be the most likely person to do the investigating?”
It clicked, “An Elder or the Elder, or course.”
He told me with satisfaction, “Very good. An Elder. Ordinary weres have a range of a few hundred yards, between each other. Elder's two or three miles. I'm a Healer as well as an Elder, so stretch it to ten miles. With Blue's help, I can reach half again that distance. If it were an ordinary werewolf or Sasquatch we were looking for, I'd have to get within five or six miles. But since it's probably an Elder, we only need to get within fifteen miles of him to find him.
It didn't look like a place where something had been killed. But MacKenzie said that four of his prized sheep had been in this pasture and one was gone. Luckily, we hadn't got any snow since, so the tracks were clear. I thought it was funny as I said, “It's really interesting that the footprints look like the old fake footprints that Sasquatch supposedly made. Probably an adaptation to allow him to walk on snow.”
I followed the track for a few feet to see which direction it was going and then climbed on the snowmobile behind Sheriff Jansen and Blue crouched down behind us. We weren't going to be moving very fast, since we wanted to follow the footprints as far as we could. There was only one other snowmobile with us and that was for safety reasons, not to help in the search. That would be purely mental once the tracks ran out.
We were able to follow them for about three miles or so before they moved in among closer growing evergreens. We would have no chance of staying together in there, so this was the best place to start my mental search. I took Blue in my lap and opening my parka let him climb in and did it up partially and he poked his head up until it was touching my chin.
I closed my eyes to help concentrate and with Blue's help began to search, I spread my mind search out slowly so I wouldn't miss anything. I was at about half my total range when I felt intelligence and I focused in on it. I brushed the surface of his mind carefully, if he was our were I didn't want to spook him. And it certainly had to be, it was no language I had ever heard before.
Carefully I moved down to the primal level where I could understand him. He was close to sleep and though I could now understand him, it was nothing that made sense. Carefully and softly, I began to talk to him, *Elder, we have come to help you get home.* He began to wake up, becoming more alert, until he was completely awake.
*Who?* I showed myself as a boy and then changing into a wolf.
him, *I am a werewolf Elder and as I said I have come to bring you back
home.* It was possible to lie with mind-speech, rare but possible, but
not this deep.
It took him about an hour to reach us, which indicated that his feet worked better on snow than I would have thought. He was only a little over six feet tall and he was more slender than a Sasquatch, though his chest was broad for his size, an adaptation to allow for increased lung capacity. His fur was mainly white but was a very light gray in spots. Face a little more apelike than a Sasquatch. His dark eyes were large but only about two thirds that of a Sasquatch, which in a male was double a human's eyes. Like Sasquatch, his vocal apparatus was more primitive than a human's and like them, while he could make meaningful sounds he couldn't talk. His teeth were almost the same size as a human's, but his canines were oversized. As I found out later, his legs were about six inches longer than they were as a human, so his height as a human was only a little over five feet six inches and he moved with the fluid ease of a Sasquatch. Also, he didn't sport a crest of fur.
His fingers while large were more slender, than his cousins but the claws were more like a cat's and were retractable and his feet were truly enormous, broad and long with fur on both top and bottom. The fur on the bottom of the foot helped him with traction on snow and ice and he could stiffen portions of it to actually act like spikes to dig into the surface.
Robby had heard from Carrie, that we had an authentic, usable Sasquatch lodge in our backyard, so he offered it to the Yeti, figuring he would be more comfortable than he would be in the house.
Robby explained that they used houses just as we did, though of a more primitive nature. When they were hunting, which in winter was most of the time, they had permanent hunting lodges which were strategically placed over their hunting grounds and they were much like an old Sasquatch lodge.
Once we got the Yeti settled, I put Robby to bed, literally. Once everything was done, he flaked out on the kitchen chair, all energy gone. Since I had kids, I was familiar with the reaction. He didn't resist, as I picked him up and carried him to the guest bedroom, my wife Ariel following with his bag and Blue following her.
I woke Robby up enough to find out that he had pajamas in his bag but underpants also would be fine. Looking at Ariel, I could tell it would have to be pajamas, she didn't really approve of a middle ground. Our kids either slept naked or in pajamas and at this time of year it was pajamas. As we found out when we opened his bag he had pajamas all right, flannel ones, in a neat package right from the store, obviously never opened and just as obviously bought just for this trip.
Even a twelve year old boy is hard to undress alone, he doesn't weigh very much of course, but when he's three quarters or more asleep, he's pretty limp and hard to manage. I hoped he wouldn't mind if Ariel helped. As I found out later, from questions Ariel asked Carrie, he couldn't have cared less, he had no physical modesty at all. He lay on his side, head on the pillow and Ariel drew the blankets up to his chin and Blue laid down beside him.
I woke up a couple of times during the night, it gets to be habit as a police officer, not to sleep too soundly, because you never knew when you would be called out. I looked in on him both times, again before I went down for breakfast and there was no indication that he had even moved during the night.
At about eight I sent Brad my five year old, to wake him up and a few moments later I heard giggles coming from the guest bedroom, the tickling kind of giggles. I assumed that Brad had managed to wake our guest up and then got caught for a tickling fest.
When Brad showed up, he said, “Daddy, he said he'd be here in a few minutes.”
“I heard some tickling type giggles coming from there, I gather you got caught.” I said, dryly.
Brad nodded, saying with a giggle, “Uh-huh. I just touched him on the shoulder and he was awake and had me before I cud move. He knows all the tickling spots.”
Ariel put a stack of pancakes in front of Laura, my seven year old daughter. My nine year son Eric, had disappeared and I wondered where he was. He was usually in the center of things.
Robby showed up right then fully dressed and bright and cheerful. He said, “If you're wondering where your other juvenile delinquent is, he's out conversing with Tenzing. He woke me up at about six and asked if he could talk to him. I gave him permission and Blue tagged along to interpret. I said I'd give him a whistle when I came down for breakfast. Cover your ears.” and he put two fingers in his mouth. 'How loud could a kid whistle?' I thought, complacently. When he let out a piercing whistle, I sure found out. I wished for the rest of the day, every time my ears rang, that I'd listened to his warning. To add insult to injury he grinned at me, saying, “I did warn you!”
“By the way, if the rest of that leg of lamb was for supper, you need to get something else out. I'm truly, truly shocked, Sasquatch are supposed to be mostly vegetarians.” he said with a devilish grin. “But then Steve and Carrie are mainly meat eaters as well. Maybe someone should revise the text about Sasquatch tastes.”
Eric showed up then and after holding open the door for Blue he took off his coat and hung it up, then he slid into his chair. He said brightly, “Tenzing said he had three kids of his own, they're all grown up now and he has six grandchildren, though the oldest is only five.”
I realized what name he was using, “Tenzing?” I asked.
Robby answered, “Named after one of the Himalayas greatest heroes. Tenzing Norgay. He has a second name but it's private and only a very few people know it. Be proud that he trusted you with it, Eric.”
I looked at my son and I could see that he was blushing and there were tears at the corner of his eyes. He said, almost in a whisper, “I am, very proud.”
I looked with love at my son and then at Robby and he winked at me, but his expression was solemn. He told me, *Tenzing recognizes a future Elder, as do I. I will be there when he is named Elder, I promise you!*
“So how would you like to go to Nepal?” I asked Ron at noon and he choked on a bite of food. I handed him the glass of milk I had been given and he nodded his thanks, drinking the whole glass.
His voice wasn't quite normal, when he asked, “Are you serious?”
I assured him, “Completely. I was talking to various people this morning, especially the Councils. Now that I've found Tenzing, I've got to get him home. Home is Nepal.” I said logically. “I've got to find out what happened to him and who did it and if I can do anything about it. It's almost eight thousand miles there and another eight thousand back so it's going to be a long flight, with Tenzing the only company in one direction and nobody in the other. We don't have a heck of a lot in common and once I find out what he knows the rest of our conversation will probably take a couple of hours at the most.”
I grinned saying, “I also thought you might
be interested in how the story ends. The county councilors have been
contacted and since they don't have to spend any money on it, they've
given their approval.”
Ariel convinced Ron that he couldn't refuse such a great opportunity. He'd probably never have another chance like this. So a couple of days later we all ended up in Nepal, except for Blue who I left at the Jansen's house, in a taxi cab heading for the hotel. I've never had a car trip before that seemed to go so fast. The taxi driver would have made most NASCAR drivers look slow. Ron and I got out of the cab at the hotel somewhat shaken, but Tenzing seemed to enjoy it.
And that's when things got a little hairy, no pun intended. There was a man just getting into another cab as we were arriving and when Tenzing saw him, he headed for him, rage in his mind. Apparently, that was the man responsible for his being in the crate. Reaching out for his mind, I found out that he was staying at our hotel.
Luckily, the taxi took off before Tenzing could reach it and he stood looking after the cab, with murder in his mind. Literally. I spoke calmly, allowing Ron to hear me as well, *Don't worry Tenzing, this is his hotel as well as ours. He'll be coming back here. But I'm afraid I can't just let you kill him. Unfortunately, this is civilization and they take a dim view of killing of any kind. We'll go have a talk with him after he gets back.*
Tenzing was a little calmer now that the man was out of reach. I had him ask the doorman who the man was. It seems the man was named Adrian Flores and despite his last name, he was very British. He had been staying at the hotel for the last couple of months and lived in one of the more expensive suites.
When we checked in I planted in the desk clerks mind the suggestion that he phone us when Mr. Flores returned to the hotel and we went up to our suite.
Robby told us that the desk clerk would call when our man got back to the hotel, but it was a tense period and Robby spent most of the time calming Tenzing, extracting from him a promise that he wouldn't attack the man when we went to visit him. Robby told him, *Don't worry Tenzing, I intend to deal with him and it should be to your complete satisfaction. That's a promise.*
The desk clerk called just before eleven o'clock and we got into the elevator and went up to Mr. Flores floor. A large Nepalese man answered the door, well over six feet tall and maybe two twenty. Tenzing got a little agitated and told us, *That was the other man responsible for putting me in the crate.*
Robby looked at the man and his eyes were as cold as chips of ice. He said harshly, *I told you I would deal with Flores, I'll add him to my list.* I showed him my badge.
He yelled over his shoulder in broken English, “Hey, boss, tree peoples to see yous. Ones cop,” and he laughed out loud, looking at me with contempt.
“Well show them in, it's always nice to meet officers of the law.” we heard in a very British voice.
I disliked Flores on sight. He was a short plump man, the sort that you think of as jolly. From looking at his cold eyes, I imagine the only time he laughed was when he was killing someone.
*Quite true,* I heard from Robby, *he's killed many times and that's the only thing he thoroughly enjoys.* Since I was the only adult who spoke English I introduced my companions. Obviously, he didn't recognize Tenzing in the western clothes that he was wearing.
He gestured us to seats in front of his desk and after we took a seat, Robby asked, “You don't recognize our native companion?”
Flores looked at Tenzing and I saw his eyes widen in shock, but he covered it well, laughing, “No, should I?”
“Yes,” Robby said softy and I wondered if he ever yelled, “you really should, you and your friend drugged him and stuffed him in a crate at the airstrip at the base of the mountains on which Tenzing lives. I imagine he was transferred, maybe at the airport here to a cargo jet and he ended up in Colorado. Obviously alive.”
Flores looked at Robby, his eyes contemptuous, “Prove it!”
Robby's voice took on an edge of chill, “Oh, I don't have to prove it, I just wanted to confirm it.” He stood up and said, in a final tone of voice, “Goodbye, Mr. Flores.”
He got up, Tenzing and I followed him and looking at each other, we were both somewhat baffled. Behind us I could hear, Flores pick up the phone, “Hello, room service, I'd like...” and that's all I heard as we passed through the door held open by our grinning ape friend.
When we got into the elevator, Robby said, “We'll go eat now.” as he pushed the button for the lobby. *Interesting business, Mr. Flores has. He's only a middleman and he doesn't know who his bosses are. During the summer, when climbers are going in and out of Nepal, he uses some of them to smuggle the drugs out. During the winter, he has the drugs flown in and stores it until summer. That's what Tenzing stumbled on. One of his planes bringing his drugs into the country.*
He shook his head, saying frostily, *Tenzing had no idea what they were doing and Flores had a pretty good idea of that, but just in case, he sentenced Tenzing to death. Tranquilizing him and putting him in that crate, he figured that he would freeze to death. If he hadn't been Yeti, he would have died. Another way he differs from you, his body automatically changes in extreme cold and a reduction of oxygen levels and goes into hibernation, that's the only reason he survived.*
We reached the lobby then and after we got out, Robby courteously held open the door for the room service waiter, looking down at the bill which was visible on the table I saw Flores room number on it.
Robby led the way to the restaurant and we ordered. Just after it arrived, we heard sirens on the street, coming to a stop just in front of the hotel. Robby showed us what had just happened up in the Flores suite. The room service waiter, was just leaving and Flores's companion was closing the door behind him, when Flores pulled a gun out of his desk drawer and raising it he shot the man in the back of the head, then turning the gun, he put the muzzle in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Robby raised his glass of milk, green eyes very, very cold, *To Mr. Flores and his companion, may they have a very nice funeral, as they join their many victims in the other world.*
and I looked at each other again and there was a broad grin on his face
and I felt deep satisfaction. I raised my glass of water and touched
it to Robby's explaining, *Tenzing this is one way of showing deep satisfaction,
at a satisfactory outcome.* I knew that Robby would translate and Tenzing,
his smile even broader, picked up his water glass and touched it to
We drove north until we were at the base of Tenzing's mountains. He got out and began to walk away from us and then when he changed he almost disappeared, so well did his fur blend in with his surroundings, he turned once to wave and then he was gone, heading for home. Robby said, “I told him he shouldn't be too hard on the two young men from his village whose suspicious behavior caused him to start snooping around. They would have little ideas of what the drugs would do.”
Robby's voice became bleak, “They will learn. I showed Tenzing exactly what affect drugs have on society. He was truly appalled. He intends to pass that on to them. They will get away with it this time, though he intends to punish them, though not as severely as he originally planned. However they better not be caught a second time, he will kill them if that happens. They have no Council, the communities, are simply separated by too great a distance, so an Elder has the final authority.”
The journey home was lonelier than I expected. I had come to enjoy Tenzing's company, even though I could only talk to him through Robby. But I was glad to get back to my family and obviously so was Robby, since as soon as Ariel and the family met as at the airport, Robby gave me an envelope and took Blue and he waved from the top of the stairs.
I put my arm around Ariel, the kids in front of us and there was a lump in my throat when I waved goodbye. It wasn't until the plane was in the air that I remembered the envelope and opened it, to find a second envelope. Written on the front of that, was the following, 'The county councilors have been contacted about this, it will be in the papers as a bonus for the dramatic drop in the crime rate in your county since you took over as sheriff, just over thirteen percent I believe it was. Actually, I don't really know who will be paying for this. I intend to put it on my expense account under COUNCIL MEMBERS, YOU PISSED ME OFF AGAIN. gleefully, Robby.'
Ariel, who was reading it over my shoulder laughed throatily.
Opening the envelope. I found five airplane tickets to Florida and tickets to Disneyworld, for two adults and three children. There was a note included. 'If you can arrange for it over the Easter Holidays, Steve and Carrie also intend to be there at that time. Enjoy. Robby'
You can imagine how the kids reacted.
My leg still wasn't up to rough stuff like football, or wrestling, but I cocked my head looking at Steve, sitting in a floating pool chair, arms behind his head, eyes closed. I felt someone come up behind me, I turned a little and seeing that red bikini, I knew it was Carrie, She asked me with barely suppressed mirth, “Need a little extra height?”
Gleefully, I said, “Sure!” and she easily lifted me to her shoulders. Now doing a cannonball from poolside would have made a nice splash, wetting Steve down. With the extra almost six feet jumping from her shoulders, the splash was much more satisfying, swamping the chair and turning it over. Steve came up spluttering and glaring at me. I giggled and started swimming for the far end, knowing Steve would be right behind me and sure enough I could hear him splashing after me. I knew he would catch me eventually, but I could delay the tickling I was going to get for at least ten minutes, even with a sore leg.