Retired California Game Warden

Black Coffee

By Jim Wictum


Being assigned to the San Francisco Office gave me a good excuse to leave my family at Mavis’ parents, far away from Nature Boy. There was the usual backlog of warrants to be served, so I was detained in the Bay Area for another three days. On the second day, I’d worked with Bigfoot.

* * * * *

“What time is it?” I called as I burst through the front door. “Is it seven yet?”

“Almost,” answered Mavis. “And what ever happened to ‘Good Evening’ and ‘My day has been empty without you’ and more importantly, what happened to your watch?”

“I forgot my watch this morning.” I dashed over to our old black and white TV and turned it on.

“You are too late,” said my soul mate. “Howdy Doody came on at six.”

“Peasant.” I twiddled with the dials. “Television history is about to be made. Bigfoot is going to be on a local station, live.”

“How could anyone call TV a cultural wasteland?” exclaimed Mavis as she hurried over to seat herself on the floor in front of the set. “This could be an historic moment.”

The set began to glow. A mellifluous voice was explaining the virtues of Creamo Non-dairy Creamer.

“How did this aberration come about?” she asked.

“A local outdoorsman show contacted the office and asked for a warden to appear on the program. The warden answers some questions about the law, explains the new laws, that sort of thing.”

“And they chose Bigfoot?”

“Well, he looks good in a class A uniform and he certainly knows the law,” I said.

“I know he is your friend, but isn’t he a bit, ah, outspoken?”

“There’s more. They wanted him to bring a dog. For realism.”

“Not Ordy?” Mavis said, aghast. “They’ll have more realism than they can handle.”

“Hush. It’s starting.”

The set was a hunting camp, low budget style. The show’s host and four other men in hunting clothes sat on plastic logs around a light bulb and cellophane campfire. Behind them, several upright logs randomly adorned with fir boughs made a patently phony forest, made even less realistic by the sponsor’s logo hanging prominently among the ersatz trees. Bigfoot and Ordy entered, stage left.

“My God, he’s not on a leash,” Mavis said in an awed whisper.

“What’s ’Foot thinking of?” I said.

Bigfoot flopped down on the end of a log, propelling the pseudo hunter on the other end several inches into the air. Outside of this minor break, the program started smoothly with Bigfoot answering the same kind of questions that are put to wardens every working day. He had an easy, relaxed manner that came across well.

Ordy, however, was soon bored with these proceedings. His first shtick was to demonstrate that though those trees might be obviously fake; he was broadminded enough to treat them as though they were real. Since Bigfoot was near at hand, he was able to give Ordy a cease and desist order that, wonder of wonders, Ordy obeyed. The hunters thought it amusing.

As Bigfoot became more involved in answering questions, Ordy decided to investigate the studio. Soon there were muffled sounds from behind the camera. I distinctly heard a female yip and a male, sotto voce, saying, “Catch that damn dog!”

Suddenly a flash of fur came streaking across in front of the cameras, followed by a tall, thin man wearing earphones over his baldhead.

“Like Harpo Marx without a horn,” laughed Mavis.

Ordy’s offstage performance seemed to have mesmerized the hunters. Their prepared questions were forgotten. Bigfoot yelled at Ordy. There was a loud crash off stage. The flash of fur returned. This time he was followed by two men. Bigfoot broke off an answer and went after his dog. In a few moments he returned, dragging Ordy by his collar, Ordy complaining bitterly about having his freedom compromised. Bigfoot kept one large hand on Ordy’s collar.

In the thudding silence the host went to a commercial. As a lead-in, he asked Bigfoot if he would like a cup of coffee. The ’Foot never turned down a cup in his life. The coffee was served to him from a thermos hidden behind the cellophane fire.

“Would you like some Creamo Non-dairy Creamer in your coffee?” said the host, thrusting the container at Bigfoot, making certain that the label faced the camera.

“No, thanks,” said Bigfoot. “I drink it black.”

“I’m sure it would be better with Creamo Creamer,” insisted the flustered host, shoving the container’s logo practically in Bigfoot’s eye.

“”No,” said Bigfoot. “I never use that crap.”

The next day I asked Bigfoot, “What was Ordy up to off stage?”

”Jocko, You don’t want to know!”

And he was right, I didn’t.

This story is from the book, WARDEN BIGFOOT,K9 UNIT ORDY, AND ME, the first in a trilogy of Game Warden tales available from Amazon Kindle or Amazon Print On Demand. If you are a Prime member at Amazon, you can borrow the book, directly on your Kindle.


If you are not a Prime member, you can buy the book for your Kindle, online at Amazon. Just Click the above link to find the book on Amazon. If the link does not work, type the following into the URL box.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *