iSasquatch (1-14-18)

Sasquatch and Waldo are tied in this years Hide-and-Seek Championship. [Link to post.]

“He’s *gotta* be cheating.” I heard Waldo say. I looked in the direction I heard the voice from. The crowd of fans made it hard to pick him out. Waldo’s fame pretty much ensured he had an entourage anywhere he went. People flocked tightly around him, as if they were trying to fit into a phone booth.

“Damnit Waldo, quit hiding,” I said with a sigh. He stepped out of the crowd and I saw him. He sighed even harder.

“I’m not hiding! It just kind of happens,” he shrugged and walked closer to me. The cluster of bodies followed close behind him. Inwardly I chuckled slightly at the comedy of it. These people would just show up and stand around. No one ever asked for an autograph or anything. It seemed like just standing near Waldo was enough for them. “Anyway, Sasquatch has to be cheating. There’s no way something that big, hairy, and stinky can hide so well,” he said.  I nodded, then the announcer’s voice caught my attention.

“Five minutes until the tie breaking Hide-off! Contestants please report to your spotters.” I turned back to Waldo, but the crowd seemed to have swallowed him again. I cursed myself for taking my eyes off of him.

“Would you please stop disappearing?” I said. He stepped out of the crowd again.

“I keep telling you.  I CAN’T HELP IT!” he yelled at me.

“You know, if you really can’t help it… it could be argued you’re cheating too,” I said with a shrug. It wasn’t the first time Waldo mentioned Sasquatch cheating. Waldo had been the Hide and Seek champion four years running. This is the first year Sasquatch entered the competition, and I knew Waldo was just feeling insecure. Deep down he knew there was no way to *cheat*, because there were no real rules to break. To win, a contestant just has to go the longest without being spotted. Waldo used his entourage during the competition, so whatever Sasquatch was doing was definitely valid. Without a reply from him Waldo’s bundle of people walked out of the locker room, taking Waldo with them. I made my way to the bleachers.

They used a large football stadium for the Hide and Seek arena. The 50 yard line marked a border between a dense forest, and a crowded beach. Colorful beach towels and large umbrellas decorated the white sand while people milled about enjoying the sunshine.

“Ladies and gentlemen our competitors are ready to take their mark. Are you ready?” The announcer asked. The crowd cheered. It made me smile when I realized how full the stands were. In recent years with Waldo winning so easily, interest in the sport had begun to decline. There was no denying that  Sasquatch helped revitalize the game. An airhorn sounded and I closed my eyes along with the rest of the spectators and the announcer began to count.

“One!” he said, and the crowd joined in.

“MISSISSIPPI!”

“Two!”

“MISSISSIPPI!” I smiled at the laughter and cheering. All these strangers had enough faith in each other to close their eyes together. This was why I loved the sport. It’d taken hard work to get to this point, but the HaS association didn’t mess around. In the early days there was plenty of pick pocketing, and audience spotters for competitors. The HaSA implemented strict rules, and even stricter security guards. Anyone caught with their eyes open was ejected from the audience, after being thoroughly embarrassed in public. This game was the biggest crowd I’d ever seen, and it was almost magical to stand in a stadium full of people with closed eyes, being able to completely trust everyone around you.

“TEN!”

“MISSISSIPPI!!!!!!!!!!!” The crowd roared.

“Alright folks, open them up and let’s see what happens. Though I’m sure most of you know the rules, we here at the HaSA pride ourselves on being welcoming to newcomers, so I’ll explain the rules in case this is anyone’s first game.” The announcer took an audible breath.

“Each competitor has a team of three Spotters. The Spotters each know where their athlete is, and they are tasked with finding the opposing athlete. Now, each Spotter is paired with a Spotter from the opposing team that tells them whether they are right or wrong, when they think they find an athlete. Spotters of the same team all work independently, and the first team to get two correct sightings wins. That’s the gist of it anyway, and if you have any other questions, just ask around. Someone in the crowd will be happy to help you understand it,” the announcer said.

The roar of the crowd died down now that the game was officially under way. Giant screens on each side of the field showed different views of the field, and everyone watched the spotters scrolling through different views in real time. I sat and enjoyed the camaraderie of the crowd. Hide and Seek was not an action packed game, and people liked to chat while they waited.  After several hours the announcer’s voice came through the speakers.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are now marking the end of Day 1. The score is still  0-0, and we will start again tomorrow morning. Please hold on to your ticket stub if you don’t want to pay again.” I waited until most of my row filed out before I went down to the locker room. When I walked in I was surprised to see the HaSA president and Sasquatch talking to a crowd of people. I saw a hand in a red and white sleeve come out of the crowd and wave me over.

“So then we’re agreed? Sasquatch is willing to settle for a tie if you are. He’s already bored and just wants to go back to his forest.” The HaSA president asked. Waldo stepped out of his human fort and extended his hand toward Sasquatch.

“What?” I asked, and walked over to grab Waldo’s hand.”You’re giving up?” He looked at me, and I saw his eyes sparkle behind his glasses. He smiled brightly.

“I told you he was cheating!” he said, and shook hands with Sasquatch. The HaSA president spoke up.

“Turning invisible is not against the rules, but your Spotters would never find him.”

“Invisible?” I asked, and looked up at the giant 8 foot tall mountain of fur. Silver liquid began to drip out of his fur. Slowly at first, but within seconds it covered him completely in a silvery, mercury like liquid. Then he vanished.

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