Giant Cyclops in the Woods

BASED ON A TRUE STORY.

It was the summer of ‘84 when we found him. Me, George, Brad, and Herbie was huntin' for frogs to fill up the aquarium we built in Herbie’s back yard. Turns out that was a bad idea. We did not set up the environment right from the get-go. Frogs cannot survive very long in sixty degree iced tea. We thought that would make it sweeter for ‘em. We shoulda done more research in Brad’s set of World Books before we even set out, but we was lazy.

We was makin’ our way down the back path near the woods when George thought he caught sight of Whopper. Whopper was a legend in our parts. He was not just a frog. No siree. Whopper was the king of the frogs. Timmy Buckshire caught Whopper two or three times down where the creek lets out into the lake. But the slimy beast slipped away every time. Let me tell you - if you caught Whopper, you made a name for yourself. And we four was hungry to do just that.

Well, George dove for somethin’ in the shadowy part of the creek. He yelled a mighty, “GOT HIM!” and his whole body shook - all four foot nine inches of him. But as the other three of us bent over, we busted out laughin’. Georgie Boy had caught hisself a nice lump of mud. It was only shaped like a frog. Totally realistic-like, though. George’s face went through ‘bout fifteen shades of red. He started chucklin’ at his mistake - but then we saw his eyes go wide as hubcaps...

I guess while we was distracted by George’s little goof up, none of us four noticed the humongous shadow that had fallen upon us. Or maybe we did and we just thought it was a passin’ thundercloud or some such thing. But as we turned ‘round one by one, we knew it weren’t no thundercloud. Forecast called for clear skies that day anyways, far as I can recall. No, we was stunned to see that the shadow belonged to a giant cyclops!

We did not move. We could barely breathe. Our eight terrified eyes somehow all locked with his single bloodshot one. We looked each other over. The cyclops had a bald head, but his torso was as furry as any squirrel I had ever seen 'round Mackinaw County. He carried a crude spiked club, and his private parts were covered with a dirty bedsheet he musta swiped from Old Lady Harrigan’s back yard. Also, one of his testicles was hanging out a little bit which made the whole encounter kind of awkward.

It was Brad that noticed the testicle first. He started giggling. The rest of us knew what got him all a-titter so we tried to hold back. We did not want the cyclops to devour us with his normal-sized teeth (cyclopses are not giants!). But the more we fought to restrain our chuckles, the more they came flyin’ out ‘til eventually our new friend noticed. His mouth was agape and we thought we was done for - but to our delight, he started laughin' with us.

Yes, the cyclops had a sense of humor. We could not believe our luck. He got closer and slowly laid down his club. That exposed testicle dragged on the ground, which only made us laugh harder. The cyclops caught onto our joke and pointed to his own enormous ball. He tilted his head to the side and in what musta been his own language, offered for us to touch it. That stifled our laughter but he insisted. Suddenly our fear returned.

Just then, we heard a noise behind the thicket. It was a big ole brown bear! He lunged out and took a swipe at me but I managed to duck just before his pointy bear claw would have connected. My scream was all it took to switch the cyclops into attack mode. I won’t go into the grisly details of what happened next. Just you believe me when I say that bear could never rightly have produced any cubs again.

After we catched our breaths, we went to thank the cyclops for saving us - but he was gone. We split up and Herbie found him crossing over the fallen tree bridge - the tree bridge that lead right into our neighborhood!

We all surrounded the cyclops and begged him not to go any further. Our parents were simple folk. They would not know what to do with a cyclops. They’d-a had him working at the state fair performing feats of strength, if’n he were lucky enough not to get cut up in the name of science.

Well, a funny thing happened in our beggin’ and pleadin’. The four of us were so desperate to convince the cyclops not to leave the woods that we began scratchin’ maps and diagrams right there into dry mud with some old sticks. The more we drew, the more the cyclops started smilin’. Then when the ground was covered with drawings, he took his big spiked club and held it high above his scaly cranium. We thought we was goners for sure!

And that’s when somethin’ magical happened. Ya see, the cyclops didn’t harm us at all. Not one bit. When that giant club came down, the cyclops used it to start drawin’ his own pictures in the mud. He drew maps of his home country. He drew detailed pictures of his kind’s anatomical makeup. He even drew what we thought was one-a them free energy machines, but George accidentally smeared it when we went back to trace it later. We mighta changed the world if not for that dimwit.

Now that we knew the cyclops was smart, we told him he had to stay in the woods. We made the whole situation a little better for him by buildin’ a secret clubhouse under the sewage drain. It may not have smelled too pretty, but he liked it well enough. We started bringin’ him our homework and he’d work it out for us. Long as it was visual homework, like geography or geometry, he’d get us solid B’s. It woulda been higher but he got stressed out on the take-home quizzes. He wasn't a good test-taker y'see.

Yes, we kept the cyclops there for weeks, feedin’ his gullet with a special sauce he taught us to make from cardamom, moss, and a paste made of smushed up tadpoles. Hey, it made him happy. If you said we had reached an understanding with the cyclops, you’d-a been dead on.

And then as the weather was gettin’ cold, we went to bring him an afghan Herbie’d tricked his grandma into makin’. It was this pretty combination of red, dandelion, and like a dusty rose. But the sewage drain was empty. Yes, our cyclops was gone!

We searched for damn near three days, lyin’ to our parents the whole time. But we had no luck. The cyclops up and moved on without so much as leavin’ a note. The only proof that we had not imagined the whole thing was a set of wrinkly testicle impressions he left in the mud. Brad casted those impressions in plaster and gave us each a reproduction. I am wearin’ mine 'round my neck as I type this. It is really heavy.

The four of us are older now. All livin’ in different parts of the country, working at our grown up jobs and always rememberin’ that special summer we shared as kids when we counted a giant cyclops as one of our own. We made a solemn promise back then not to ever tell our secret. I guess I might be breakin’ that promise now, but the other three were never much for readin', so I am pretty sure I am safe.

I often wonder what would happen if I got a postcard in the mail from the cyclops. Or maybe a phone call in the middle of the night. He would not say much, but I would still know it was him by the way he would pronounce my name with that little lisp of his. "Thteve" is how it sounded. It was so cute.

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