“I can’t pay the bills on dreams, Mark!” Sylvia shouted over the dinner table.
Mark just stared down at his Shepard’s pie. This was, of course, nothing he hadn’t heard a hundred times before from her and he was done trying to convince her that his business was a viable one. When they had first met two years ago it had been in his shop, No Small Pictures, so Mark couldn’t understand how she didn’t see the value of the store. She had been a customer on more than one occasion so of course his normal response to her idea that nobody wanted to shop at his movie memorabilia store was that she had wanted to, and more people like her would come if he could get the right piece of major memorabilia and the publicity that came with it.
Mark had been devastated by Sylvia’s comments and didn’t know what to do. Part of him told him to get out and never look back. The other part told him that she was ten times hotter than any woman he had every even had a shot with before so he should stay. They had not spoken to each other since that day but for small courtesies and what was needed as basic communication to keep their lives going. He couldn’t believe that it only took twenty minutes to get back to the subject after they began talking again.
Sylvia knew she shouldn’t bring it up again after their last fight but after talking to her father on the phone earlier she was all fired up again. How could Mark not see that selling movie memorabilia was never going to work for long term stability? He never seemed to accept that with the economy in such a down turn, people were simply not going to pay one hundred and fifty dollars for a shirt that Bruce Campbell wore in Army of Darkness. His shop was so embarrassing she found herself lying to her friends about what he did. After all, she had worked hard for years to get her position as editor-in-chief at Fashion Trends Monthly and couldn’t risk one of her friends or employees going into his shop and seeing his Road Trip promotional condoms or the Big Momma’s House promotional hair curlers.
“I told you a hundred times Sylvia, I can make the shop work and I don’t want to talk about it anymore,” Mark spat as he walked away from the table.
“I am not done talking about this, where are you going?” she spat back
“I am going to my office for some peace and quiet.”
Mark had been searching the normal sites for a couple of hours with no luck when it happened. The little pop-up in the lower right hand corner of his monitor that showed he had a new email brought some intriguing news. While he didn’t get flooded with emails, he got enough that he tended to ignore the pop-up most of the time, but the subject line of this one caught his attention.
Subject: Found Horris’ original Bigfoot suit!
Mark’s heart skipped a beat when he read that. John Horris was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood in nineteen seventy-nine when he died while filming his dream project “Bigfoot caught”. The fact that he was acting in the movie caused a big stir in the acting community because many other actors felt he was devaluing their acting services since John was doing the Bigfoot movie for scale, which is the minimum amount an actor in the guild can be paid. This of course made the other major stars of the day nervous since they were concerned that they would get paid less going forward. John received several death threats, which could not be pinned to any one particular person. The death threats were dismissed at first but during the first week of shooting John suddenly died while filming a scene.
A full investigation and autopsy were completed with no conclusive proof of foul play but most of John’s fans were not convinced. Since John died while actually filming a scene, he was in the Bigfoot suit when he died. This suit was never recovered by the production company because when they tried to get it back, it was missing. This caused a bit of an uproar from the film company and they accused the coroner of stealing it. The police looked into it but could never prove it. Since then it has been considered the holy grail of horror and b-movie memorabilia. In nineteen ninety-five the production company was bought by young millionaire, Dustin Boyer, from Silicon Valley. The new owner tried to find the suit for years by offering rewards and hiring investigators. Finally in a last ditch effort he went to court and filed an official document on behalf of his production company forgoing any claim they may have to suit. His hope of course was that it should surface if the current owners didn’t have a fear of prosecution and then he could offer a ton of money for it. The problem though was that there was conflicting beliefs amongst legal experts as to whether this was even a legal document.
Mark started reading the email and became confused. Not only was the emailer telling him a story of how he came to own the suit but he also seemed to be offering to sell the suit to mark. Mark should have been skeptical and deleted the email right away, or at the very least do some research into the emailer or his company. All of the recent quarrels with Sylvia had really gotten to him though, and he began to have huge dreams about how the suit could change the fate of his shop and put him in the black for good. He would never even have to sell it, people would travel from all over to see it and they would buy his other stuff while they were there. Mark reread the email again just to make sure he wasn’t seeing things and sure enough, he had read it right. The emailer wanted to meet him at Forest Bay Park and said that he would bring the suit and several ways to prove it was authentic. The emailer also said to come alone as well and if Mark brought anyone else, the emailer would leave. Mark’s hands were shaking with excitement as he replied that he was very interested and would be available the next morning at eight o’clock.
Mark barely slept that night and was up at the crack of dawn with excitement. It was now about thirty past seven and he need to leave soon to make it to the park. He had been reviewing all of his finances for the last 2 hours and the most he could see himself coming up with in cash was $150,000 and that was cashing in all of his retirement savings and his 401K form his previous job. Mark was trying not to panic but deep down he knew that the suit was worth far more than that and he couldn’t help think about the possibility that the buyer was going to laugh at him and sell the suit to someone else. Despite his arguing with Sylvia, Mark knew deep down that she was partially right and if he didn’t land this suit he may end up having to close down the shop.
Mark arrived at the park a couple of minutes before 8 but didn’t know how to identify the seller. Mark decided to sit on a nearby bench and hope he would be able to tell who the seller was. About five minutes later, a short fat man sat beside Mark on the bench startling him. Mark took one look at him with his ponytail and too small Green Lantern shirt and knew it was the man he was looking for.
“Hello Mark. I presume you came alone?” the man asked.
“Yeah, but I am not sure why we needed all the Mulder-Deep Throat routine. Also I don’t believe I ever got your name,” Mark Replied.
“Kyle will be fine, but there is no need for small talk. The costume is in the container behind us and I’m sure you are excited to see it.”
“Absolutely!” Mark said as he turned to see the container. He couldn’t help but wonder how in the world Kyle brought that big thing up behind him without Mark noticing. “I am very excited to see it.”
Kyle picked up the container and placed it on the bench. As he slowly opened the container, Mark’s brain went wild with anticipation. He tried to remain calm but there was no hope of that. Kyle removed the lid and gestured towards the big pile of hairy suit inside.
“Go ahead and check it out,” Kyle said.
Mark pulled the suit halfway out, lying the head and upper torso across the back of the bench. It looked like the suit Mark had seen in the bootleg footage from the movie, but he didn’t know a way to be certain it wasn’t a fake. Mark began to look around the finer points of the suit, looking for something modern to prove it was a fake. The more he moved the suit, the more he began to notice a very pungent odor coming from it.
“What is that smell?” Mark asked.
“The suit has never been washed. That is the main way I am able to authenticate it for you.”
“No offense but being dirty doesn’t not prove it is the original suit.”
“Of course not,” Kyle laughed. “As you know his death was a bit of an enigma, and nobody can agree on how or why he died. However what is known for sure is that he bled from his nose. If you look inside the head of the costume you will see some dried blood. This blood is John Horris’ blood. I obtained one of his toothbrushes from the estate sale his estranged wife held. I’m sure you remember the ghastly auction where she sold everything in the house that she could possible make money from. Such a shame for his legacy to be sullied like that. No man wants his used underwear to be auctioned off like that. However, it did provide me a sample of his DNA, which I then had compared to the blood in the suit. I had it verified by four of the top DNA research labs in the world, which you can see here.”
Kyle produced a manila folder and handed it to Mark. Mark leafed through the documents in the folder but they might as well have been in Sanskrit as far as reading them was concerned. Mark simply had no idea what he was looking at and now way to know if they were legit, much less discern whether they actually proved what Kyle was saying.
“This is good, but do you have any other proof?” Mark asked.
“You’re looking for something a little less complicated, yes?” Kyle asked.
“Well, yeah I guess so.”
“Take a look at these then,” Kyle said, handing mark an envelope.
Mark opened the envelope to see a bunch of photos. The photos were obviously very old and contained behind the scenes shots from the Bigfoot caught production. As he looked through them a few things caught his eye, first and for-most was a very young looking Kyle. While the years had not been kind to Kyle, it was very obviously him in those photos. Most of the photos actually seems to be showing Kyle overseeing or watching as the costume was built.
“You built the suit?” Mark asked.
“Well, my company did. It was my design and I supervised the construction, although I wasn’t very hands on. I was always better at design that building so I let the experts do their thing, so to speak.”
“So this could just be a reproduction?”
“My boy, the smell alone should let you know that isn’t true, but I see your point. When the production folded after John’s death, my company went bankrupt since we had all of our money tied into the production. When the police came in, they took everything including my design prints. It was of course before computers, so there was no backup. Since the case was never closed, I never got my plans back.”
“How did you get the suit?”
“Well I guess you would say that I stole it. I saw how everything was going down and wanted to make sure we had a suit when production picked back up. When it was officially closed down and the criminal investigation started I just wanted to stay out of trouble.”
“How did you hide it from the police?”
“I was never high on their radar, they seemed to really focus on a few people and only interviewed me once and after I said I didn’t know where the suit was they moved on to the next person. I was never a very good liar so I was surprised the believed me.”
“So let’s say I believe you and this suit is real, why are you selling it and why to me instead of Dustin Boyer?”
“As to why I’m selling it, I’m dying of terminal cancer and just want some money to go out with a bang. As far as selling it to you and not that arrogant ass Dustin, I want it to go to someone that will truly enjoy it and not a publicity hound like Dustin. I have been looking into you and while I know you will go public to help your shop, I know you aren’t the type to try to sell it to make a bunch of money. It may not be the best thing I designed but it will be the most enduring, so despite all the controversies surrounding it, it is my legacy and I want people to appreciate it.”
“Well you’re right about Dustin, they don’t come much more arrogant. I’m not saying I’m one-hundred percent convinced, and I’m sure I don’t really want to know, but how much are you asking for it?”
“Well as I said, I only want enough to have one last blowout vacation before I die. I need one-hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Cash.”
“Um, while I know it is worth more than that, it is more than I can afford, sadly.”
“C’mon son, I know you can get together the scratch and you know this can help you make back that money in a matter of a few months.”
After a few seconds of thought, Mark replied, “I can get the money but it’s gonna take a few days. And I’m gonna keep this stuff to make sure it’s the real deal.”
“Very well, young man. Let’s meet back here on Friday at three o’clock that should give you ample time to vet the suit and get the cash,” Kyle replied.
Kyle grabbed the container and quickly made his way to a car parked in the lot behind the bench. Mark sat there for at least an hour trying to digest everything that just transpired. Was he really going to empty all of his retirement accounts for a suit that he still wasn’t sure was legitimate? How was he supposed to tell Sylvia? There was no way she would get it, but he had to make her understand. This was a once and a lifetime opportunity and was his last chance at making his store work. Wasn’t it worth the risk when it came to making your dream work? Finally he decided not to tell her until it was done, lest she try to talk him out of it.
Kyle began emptying all of his accounts. To gain enough money he had to take the money out and select to pay the taxes on it later, which he was really concerned about biting him in the ass later, but he was already in neck deep so he might as well take the plunge. It was going to take a couple of days for the money to be wired into his account but he expected it to all arrive by Thursday so everything was working out on that front. He was very glad at that moment that Sylvia had refused to join their finances when he suggested it earlier that year.
Friday morning, seemed like it took forever to come. If he had been excited before, he was like a little kid on Christmas morning now. Each day the private investigation firm he hired to help vet the suits authenticity brought better and better news. The firm was expensive but Mark wanted to be sure and the firm brought an amazing amount of data that, in mark’s mind, proved without a doubt the suit was authentic. With the data from the firm and the stuff from Kyle, Mark was now certain the suit was real and even better, he now felt sure he could get it authenticated by a major firm which would make the value skyrocket and even better in marks eyes, bring in thousands of customers to his shop. His only worry about that was having enough good inventory to sell to those customers, but he would have to save that worry for another day. Today was the day it all changed for him.
Kyle was right on time and Mark was surprised to see that he looked a little bit more ragged than before. Kyle asked for the money and as soon as Mark pulled it out of his jacket, Kyle grabbed the envelope, said thanks and left. Mark thought it was strange that he left so quickly, but after opening the container and making sure he had the correct suit, he decided he didn’t care. Mark was now the proud owner of the infamous Horris Bigfoot suit and life was about to get a lot better.
Mark expected a wave of curses and rants from Sylvia. What he got instead was a calm and very scary response when he told her of his purchase and plan to put it in the shop.
“So you think this extremely smelly, old disgusting bear suit is the solution to all of our problems and you thought it was worth spending, how much did you say it was again?” Sylvia asked.
“Well it’s a Bigfoot suit, the most sought after suit in history by the way and it only cost me one-hundred and fifty thousand. It is worth millions though,” Mark responded.
“Right. So you thought it was good to spend one-hundred and fifty thousand. You say it’s worth millions, yet you don’t plan on selling it, just displaying it in your shop?”
“Well, long term the residual income from the visitors to the shop will make up for the upfront cost.”
“Right, I forgot you were a C.F.O. now,” Sylvia said with dripping sarcasm.
With that last remark, Sylvia grabbed her purse and left the apartment. Mark had expected her to throw a big fuss and curse him out, but this was on another level and Mark wasn’t sure what to make of it.
“Well I’m sure I’ll pay for that later, but let’s get you out and see you in all your glory,” Mark said to himself.
Mark pulled the suit out if the box and laid it out on the floor. He began to stuff the suit with old rags and towels. It took a while to get the suit completely filled and the stuffing distributed evenly. He knew he was going to be deeper in the doghouse after using all of her towels, but she would have to understand. He had bought some PVC pipes in preparation and used those to create a stand to hold it in a standing position. He then put some in each arm to pose the arms and head in a menacing pose. As he stood back and look at his new pride and joy, he was quite pleased. It looked amazing in his opinion and what little hesitation he still had about spending so much money was fading away. One thing that he hadn’t prepared for and knew he had to do something about was the smell. He swore it was getting worse and now it had a really bad cigar smell. He knew Horris smoked cigars, but this smell was pungent, like someone just smoked a cigar. He was amazed that such a smell could hold in the suit for decades.
Mark went into the kitchen to get some air freshener, and couldn’t shake the cigar smell. It was now so bad he couldn’t even smell the other old smells. He knew that being allergic to tobacco smoke made him hyper sensitive to the smell but this was on another level for him. When he got back to suit, he noticed the arms had moved.
“Great, not only do I need to something about the smell, this stupid PVC pipes are not strong enough to hold the arms up,” Mark said to himself.
After a several seconds of spraying the air freshener, Mark could tell that this wasn’t going to work. All of the sudden he was struck with an idea. He decided that he could build a big Plexiglas box to display the suit in. He could make it air tight and then the smells would be locked in. He wasn’t sure about the arms yet, but he could figure that out at the hardware store, he thought. He was pretty much broke now so he decided he would have to use Sylvia’s credit card. He knew should would lose it, but he thought it was better than dealing with that smell every day. He was still convinced that she would understand and even accept the suit as a viable business expense so he grabbed the card from the emergency drawer and headed to the hardware store.
As mad as Sylvia was, the sight of the Bigfoot suit standing up in the living room, doubled her resolve. She had brought her father to help her not only move out as fast as possible but to make sure she didn’t lose her nerve. As much as Mark infuriated her at times, this being the top of that pile, she did really love him and she didn’t want to get caught up with that love and not move out, which she knew was the right decision in her life.
Sylvia and her father spent the next two hours emptying her stuff from the apartment and putting it in the moving truck her dad had rented. She had moved in with Mark straight from her parents’ house so she didn’t have large amount to move. She did however own all of the living room and bedroom furniture and moving it was very tough. Sylvia was not overly frail, in fact she always considered herself pretty strong for a woman of her size, but her dad couldn’t find parking on the street in front of her apartment. They had to carry the heavy furniture a block and a half to the moving truck.
“Well I think that is all of it dad,” Sylvia said scanning the apartment.
“Good because my back can’t take much more sweetheart. This thing really is ugly. You say he spent a hundred and fifty grand on it?” Sylvia’s father asked looking at the suit.
“Yea he has made some bad decisions over the years, but this one is the worst for sure,” she replied walking over to join him.
“Why does it smell like cigars?” He asked.
“I’m not sure. Earlier it smelled more rotten. Either way, it stinks and I hate it,” she replied.
Sylvia looked at the suit and grew angrier with each passing second. The suit was an accumulation of years of frustration living with Mark. It was the crown jewel of his irresponsibility and she hated it. With her rage building up she lost control and punched the suit in the head. It felt good, she thought, and did it again. Before she knew what she was doing she was hitting the suit with a barrage of punches and kicks.
“Sweetheart, this will solve nothing,” her father said as grabbed her arms trying to calm her.
“I hate the stupid suit and it makes me feel better.”
Just as she was about to land another crushing blow to the suits head, a hand reached out and stopped her. Sylvia was dumbstruck as she looked down and saw the nappy furred hand of the suit holding her wrist. Before she could even process the idea, the suits other hand reached out and grabbed her throat and began chocking her. Sylvia’s father grabbed the suits arm, trying to pull it off. The suit let go of her wrist and grabbed his throat as well. With super-human strength the suit’s hands squeezed the two victim’s throats until both of them fell to the floor dead.
The suit pulled itself from the PVC rack it had been hanging from and kneeled down to look at its victims. It reached down and grabbed Sylvia's hair, pulling her head up to its face and began to eat her.
Mark struggled opening the door to his apartment trying to balance the 6 large pieces of Plexiglas and unlock the door. He couldn’t believe the customer service at the hardware store. It had taken him nearly four hours to find what he needed and get the Plexiglas cut to his specifications. He was surprised to find the door unlocked as he was sure he had locked it. He finally opened the door and nearly lost control of the Plexiglas as the shock of what he saw set in. His living room was practically empty. Sylvia had moved out while he was gone.
As he brought the Plexiglas inside and closed the door the shock began to wear off and he thought about what had happened. He looked around the apartment and sure enough all of her stuff was gone. The only thing left in the living room was the entertainment center with his TV and video game systems and of course his new pride and joy, Horris’ suit. He was saddened but he knew in his heart, it was only temporary. Once he got the suit on display and turned his store profitable, she would come back and see that he was right all along.
The day had been a long one so he did the only thing he knew would calm him down and relax him. He grabbed his beanbag chair from the bedroom, cracked open and very cold beer and settled down to watch Star Wars for the countless time. Life was looking up for Mark and he was going to enjoy it.