Carl Duff and his wife Millie lived a quiet life tucked away in a suburb of Eugene, Oregon. Carl worked as a plumber and made a very modest income. Too modest to afford the Alaskan cruise Millie had been dreaming about for years. They saved every penny they could, but it simply wasn’t enough.
Every other plumber in the region made, at least, three-to-four times more than Carl. There were plenty of leaky faucets and clogged sinks for dozens of profitable plumbers. And the lack of paying customers had nothing to do with Carl’s skills or experience. It had always had a reputation for excellence before 1997.
Now, he has a different reputation.
In the late spring of 1997, Carl took a fishing trip to one of his favorite spots. He liked to catch fish but he didn’t like to kill them. It seemed too inhumane. He always brought a 35mm disposable camera just in case he caught a brag-worthy fish. He could take a photo and quickly release the fish to continue living a peaceful life. He always had perfectly documented fish stories, so nobody could dispute them.
That day he fished for an hour or so when something caught his eye. Across the pond was a looming giant, the fabled harry monster himself, Sasquatch. In a flurry, Carl dropped his pole and reached for his camera. He managed to snap only one photo before the peaceful creature vanished into the woods.
Carl took the film to the closest 1-hour photo lab to develop the evidence. Carl took the print in his hand and strained hard to see a form in the blurred photo. To his delight, he had actually captured an image of Bigfoot in his haphazard photo shoot. It wasn’t much, but Carl could pick out every detail.
He went home and proudly displayed the photo for all of his friends and neighbors to see. He called the local news stations and even a renowned crypto-zoologist. To his utter embarrassment, nobody believe him.
“I don’t see Bigfoot…”
“This picture is a hoax.”
“This man must be lying”
“This is nothing but a publicity stunt.”
Carl’s life and business were never the same. He had been tainted and marked by the public as a liar.
Years later, Millie sat starting at an Alaskan postcard. There had to be something she could do. She thought hard hours before genius struck, but when the epiphany finally graced her mind, she didn’t think twice. She found an ad for a local costume shop. She ordered their most life-like gorilla suit and called her cousin, Jim.
“Jim,” She said, “I need to call in a favor. Carl’s business has been trashed by the tabloids for the last time. I need you to be Bigfoot.”
Jim was always up for a prank, especially if it could help poor old Carl, so he agreed.
Carl returned from another short day of work looking tired and pathetic. He sat on his worn couch and stared at the asbestos ceiling as he listened to the moments of his ruined life slowly trickle by.
“Carl, Honey.” Millie smiled as she placed a package on the table.
“It’s one of those High-Def video cameras.”
“Where did you get it?” Carl thought of his dwindling bank account.
“It’s not important.”
“Carl, I know our luck has been bad, but you can change it all. I want you to go back and find that Sasquatch. Capture the creature on video, then they’ll believe you and the customers will come in droves.”
Carl thought for a second. She could be right. It was the best and only option he’d heard yet. He took the camera and he headed back to his old fishing spot. This time he’d be ready.
The next morning, Carl came rolling home in his rusty pick-up truck. He smiled wide and ran back to Millie, who was sitting on the porch studying her favorite post card.
“Millie, I did it!” He embraced her warmly.
“You found the Sasquatch? I knew you could do it!” Her eyes burst in twinkles. Perfect acting. “Tell me everything! Show me the footage!”
“Footage…” He paused. “I don’t have any footage.”
“No video? Didn’t you find him?”
“Sure I found it. I was crouched in the shrubs. I waited all night. Then I saw Bigfoot come out from the forest. He was glistening in the moonlight. I steadied the camera but I couldn’t film.”
“No. I thought about all those critics and what they might say. I could have a crystal clear photo, an hour of footage and even a DNA sample, but it wouldn’t change anything. Nobody would believe me.”
“So that’s it? You just left?”
“No, that’s not all. I needed evidence, something undisputable. So, this time I took my rifle. His body is in the back of the truck right now.”