There had been some weird things happening at the ranch. One day I had a perfectly straight hay stack and the next day it had fallen over. I found hay feeders broken to smithereens and the shop door was mysteriously left ajar. All of a sudden water troughs were overflowing and gates were left open. There was only one logical solution to this mystery.
You might suggest that it was just wild animals, the Abominable Snowman, or even perhaps that I may in fact have left the shop door open myself. Or perhaps the water troughs needed repair after 60 years.
But I had another theory.
You’ve no doubt heard of the famous Loch Ness Monster? Well, I just knew I had my own monster running rampant on the ranch. Instead of “Nessie,” I called my monster “Messie” because I found little piles of trash left everywhere. From the looks of the cans left behind I assumed that Messie drank Coors. He or she didn’t clean up after itself either and left droppings behind, like shotgun shell casings. It couldn’t have been hunters because I had posted “No Trespassing” signs.
I knew Messie had to be a bigger than King Kong because I would have sworn I put a 50 pound block of white salt by the water trough only to find it 100 yards downhill the very next day. Now how do you explain that? I don’t think a cow could put it between her teeth and move it. At least I knew my cows couldn’t because most of them didn’t have any teeth.
Judging by the scat left behind I judged Messie to be a frame score 37. “Could be an alien from outer space,” my little nephew wondered as we all shuddered in fear.
I’ll admit that Messie was clearly a life form of higher intelligence. The monster knew every time I put out supplement because it was always gone the next day. Sometimes at night the dog would howl and I would rush out the door to catch a glimpse, but Messie was way too smart for that. My problem was nobody would believe me because no one had actually seen Messie. The creature was nocturnal and didn’t show itself in the daylight. I knew that I had to do something because Messie was doing the Monster Mash on all my fences and was spooking the cattle.
I figured if I could just get a picture of Messie I could convince the government to send out the National Guard. So I invited all my friends over one evening to track the monster down. I wasn’t surprised when neither one of them showed up. The cowards! So my wife and I forged on ahead ... she and the dog way out in front. The plan was that we would sneak up on Messie at it’s favorite haunting ground and we wouldn’t turn on the flashlight until we got close enough to take a picture. I said to my wife in a hushed whisper as we neared the haystack, “Look at those huge footprints.”
“Those are mine you idiot. You are following me,” she hissed.
We heard it before we saw it. Sure enough, it was munching on the haystack. For one brief second my wife turned on the flashlight for me to snap a photo or two and in that short time I caught a glimpse of the most hideous freak I have ever seen in my life. The grotesque gargoyle had one eye in the middle of its forehead, was green, fat and appeared to be clothed in tattered rags.
But my wife insisted I was just seeing a reflection of myself in our antique camera.
After snapping a couple pictures we ran back to the house, me in the lead this time, and dead-bolted the door behind us. Because we still use an old Kodak camera with real film, the next day we had to take the film down to the photo shop to have it developed. We waited in suspense and needless to say it was a very anxious week.
The mystery of Messie was solved when the man from the photo shop called and said, “The pictures of your horse are ready to pick up.” ❖