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The Pettibone Lake Monster #8134349
05/06/24 06:52 AM
05/06/24 06:52 AM
Joined: Apr 2024
Posts: 47
Johnny Skunk Offline OP
Johnny Skunk  Offline OP

Joined: Apr 2024
Posts: 47

Splish-splash, paddle-bubble, Splish-splash, paddle-bubble…

There! At the end of the line! That’s the one!
It’s the end of the line for that one in the line.
Always an easy meal, the straggler. So young. So tender. So soft its bones. All blood, no fight. I rise, I snap! I sink back… Back down… Back into the lovely muck.

We’d heard stories of muskellunge pike taking whole ducklings at dawn, and we believed the stories because the men who had witnessed the violent attacks were honorable. But a whole adult duck? By a musky? Preposterous! Two fishermen claimed to have witnessed the mallard drake as it squawked and thrashed in terror before being claimed completely by a corpulent black shadow and a violent eruption of water. Only the ripples that persisted on the surface had convinced them that, yes, the event had truly happened.

Green, green, green a carpet for the queen.
That’s moss on my shell. I am ancient, can’t you tell? I am big, I am bold, I am cunning, I am cold. I kill all the night. You would fright at my sight…

Papa and I first saw the thing in August as the summer blazed away and the sun set behind the pines to cast shadows across the still water of Pettibone Lake. The creature’s dark form broke the silver mirror of the pond surface. The monster breathed its air from a misshapen head. When it submerged again, it left great rings of ripples that stretched to the shore. After our first sighting, the creature began to show itself more often. It always appeared in the evening. The neighborhood children avoided playing in the shallows at these times. They feared the water. They feared the rippled waves, as they were surely made by the beast.

Fluffy paddlefluffs, where have you gone?
Have I eaten you all?
Need food. But where to go? How about the docks.
Yes, the docks. I shall swim for the docks where the children play ...

The monstrosity made appearances nearer and nearer our swimming hole, but no one entered the water during this uncertain time. It always came in the evening, but no one knew where it spent its days. The lake lacked life that summer. Muskrats no longer swam across the pond, and the water lilies failed to bloom. When a neighborhood poodle disappeared, the town council issued an order and closed the local beach.

Greedy greedy beasty feasty fluffy puppy suppy suppy…

I also feared the water and didn't swim at all that summer. I was only six in those days. I fished the docks from the shore to the depths. I would skip along from one dock to the next, catching bluegills and calico bass on wiggly garden worms and seined minnows. One evening, I placed a catch of green bluegills in an orange wire live basket attached to our dock. Pa said it would make a wonderful dinner when we killed and cleaned the fish the following day.

Orange fish basket, orange fish casket.
So fresh. So alive.
Snip snip, snap snap, fishy-fish, now you’re trapped.
Helpless fish, they make a fine dish.
But why so glum? Isn’t this fun?
Yes! This is fun! This is bloody fun!

When morning came, I lifted the basket to find it empty but for a few scales and a string of fish guts clinging to the weave around a gaping hole of twisted wires. Pa said the wires were snipped clean as if by wire cutters. We repaired the hole in the basket. He had me catch more fish, but not for the table. We baited the basket with the fish and suspended it from the dock. A group of neighborhood men visited late in the day to discuss Papa's plan. They positioned a seining net below the basket. It was secured by oaken staffs at either end for the men to grab hold of. When night came and the creature appeared, Pa and another man sprang for the handles and engulfed the thing with the net. It turned to swim and nearly pulled them in.
They managed to turn the creature around and heaved it to the dock. It hissed and snapped and thrashed its plated tail. It clawed and bit through a section of the net. Three men dragged it to the lawn, where it lay all tangled up in the netting. It continued its hissing and its snapping, and it swung its prehistoric tail and blinked its ancient yellow reptilian eyes. But it was defenseless on land.

I'm all surrounded. Trapped by giants.
Time to fight, no time for flight.
Hiss and scratch, I bite and fight.
Is this how it feels?
Is this how “frightened” feels?

The neighbors all ran down from the hill to look at the huge thing. It’s probably female,” one said. It’s the one that laid eggs in my garden,” said another. “It’s the one that ate my flower bed,” insisted Momma. My older sister pleaded to free it. But the men would have no such nonsense.

Fearful, frightened, scared, afraid.
Hiss, scratch, snap-snap. What’s to become of me?

What’s to become of her? I thought. “What shall we do with it?” the neighbors asked. “Call Rodney,” someone said, “Yes, Rodney has dealt with these before, he knows how to prepare them. But the children shouldn’t watch when Rodney comes.”

And so, we children went up to the house. Later, we heard the crack of lightening, but the sky was clear. My sister began to cry. I guessed she didn't like the rain.

On the following afternoon, we visited Rodney’s place for a neighborhood banquet. The men drank beer and tossed horseshoes while the women drank beer and complained about the men. Rodney served up the soup and it was a fine party. Momma later made the shell into a planter. She complained that it took a lot of dirt to fill, but it grew nice flowers.


C. 2024, JMF Humphrey

Last edited by Johnny Skunk; 05/06/24 06:56 AM.
Re: The Pettibone Lake Monster [Re: Johnny Skunk] #8136277
05/09/24 06:52 AM
05/09/24 06:52 AM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 29,124
Eastern Shore of Maryland
HobbieTrapper Offline
"Chippendale Trapper"
HobbieTrapper  Offline
"Chippendale Trapper"

Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 29,124
Eastern Shore of Maryland
Nice. I’m not a fan of the soup, but not to the point I wouldn’t eat it in a pinch.

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