Die-hard Twi-hard

A previous column revealed how the diminishing returns of Twilight fans to the Olympic Peninsula has had a dramatic effect on our tourist industry.
I suggested that a sustainable alternative to mitigate the effects of the loss of the Twi-hards would be to invent a better tourist trap. The hunt for Bigfoot could revive the tourist industry that makes this country so cool.
Coincidentally on that very same day in February, Twilight author Stephanie Meyer took the opportunity to reveal on her Web site that she “would be glad to make another Twilight movie, if she ever wrote another Twilight book.”
Maybe there was more to her statement than just a mere coincidence.
As writers, Stephanie Meyer and I share a kinship that is beyond words. I felt a connection the first time I saw her, on Oprah where she admitted changing the ending of her book at her mothers’ suggestion.
That’s my philosophy. Who cares what the critics say about your book, as long as your mom likes it?
So if Stephanie Meyer needs a little help stepping up to the plate to pen another blockbuster, I am only too happy to postpone my hunt for Bigfoot to work on a Vampire script.
Here goes:
Picture a little love nest, out where the roses cling. There’s Edward, the 160-something-year-old vampire, plus Bella the child bride and their baby in a log cabin in a suburb of Forks.
In a relatively short time, they run out of things to talk about. Money is tight. Edward is depressed. He sits around and watches a lot of TV. He sees an episode of Ax-men and decides to go logging.
At least it will get him out of the house.
With his tailored hickory shirt and Italian designer cork boots Edward is subjected to a brutal hazing ritual on his first day on the job. A small chip of wood is placed on a stump.
To prove he is not a TV logger, Edward must strike the chip with his ax, with his very first try, which he does dead center. Next, Edward is blindfolded and told to chop the chip again. Edward heaves a might chop. The crew says he missed the chip to the right, to the left, over and over again.
Edward keeps chopping until he hears everyone laughing. Edward takes the blindfold off to discover, he’s hacked his kidskin rigging gloves to pieces.
Humiliated, Edward is forced to seek alternative employment opportunities. He makes a hopeless attempt to be a fishing guide. He is polite, reasonable and efficient. He doesn’t drink, chew, spit, smoke, cuss, or lie, but they let Edward have a fishing guide license anyway. Edward fakes it for a while but screams like a girl when he has to touch a fish.
Edward just couldn’t hack it as a logger or a fisherman. It’s tough to hold down job when you’re a vampire who sleeps all day. Down on his luck, with no employable skills or experience beyond being a blood sucker, Edward applies for the one job for which he would be uniquely qualified, a government biologist. It was a detail-oriented, fast-paced work environment and Edward was a multi-tasking, self-starting, out of the box team player. During the application process, Edward is asked if he has a college degree.
“Forks U,” Edward sneers.
He is hired.
It is a perfect job for Edward. Sitting in a dark room in the basement of the capitol building with a gang of biologist spinning a big roulette wheel. Each spin of the wheel sets another fishing season or emergency closure somewhere.
At his first day on the job, the boss biologist, (Double B) had Edward placing voodoo pins into a picture of a newspaper columnist and in no time at all he is closing down fish hatcheries like a pro.
Being the new guy, Edward has to go outside once in a while. He finds himself up a creek, electro-shocking bull trout. He’s sitting on a log eating his lunch, blood sausage on rye when he sees her. A
vision of female pulchritude, even if she is eight feet tall and covered with hair. It is a Sasquatch. The mythic creature that has haunted this land since the beginning. The creature just sort of appeared and walked into the woods
Edward left in such a hurry he ran off and left his blood sausage sandwich and the electro-shocker. Edward was afraid the Double B might be mad back about the lost gear but he said they had plenty more where that came from. Besides, they had a new job for Edward and he had a brand new tool. It was an eight shot, three inch magnum twelve gauge shotgun with boxes of shells.
“You want me to shoot the bull trout?” Edward asked.
“No! You idiot!” The Double B said. “We want you to shoot the owls!” The Double B went on to explain how the Canadian Barred Owls were invading our borders, crowding our American owls out of nest sites and eating the Spotted owl’s white lab mice. There had even been stories of the Canadian owl attempting to breed with the American Spotted Owls.
“Is this the kind of country you want for your children?” The Double B asked Edward. “An America where you can no longer hear the hoot of an owl at night? Instead we are forced to listen to a Canadian owl calling Eh, eh eh. Think of our children’s’ children’s future and of their children as well. Don’t they deserve to hear an American owl? If we as biologists have to shoot some owls to save owls, I think it’s the least we can do.”
Edward was shocked.
As a vampire Edward could suck the blood out of a carcass or slaughter werewolves like rats at the dump with a wild joy on his heart-strings but the idea of harming an innocent creature was abhorrent to the very fiber of his being. Besides, it was one of the reasons he and Bella got together in the first place. Edward was one of the few guys in Forks that didn’t hunt.
“How can I shoot a defenseless owl that’s just sitting on a limb?” Edward asked.
“It’s easy,” The Double B laughed, “You just don’t have to lead them so far.
That night at the Cullen house is not happy one. Despite the fact that Bella had cooked one of his favorite dishes, Edward can’t even finish his blood soup. Bella thought it was the full moon that was getting Edward down. He used to run with his vampire pals when the moon was full. Now Edward just sat around and complained about his job as a government biologist.
“I didn’t mind shutting down the fishing seasons and closing the fish hatcheries,” he said.
“Heck it was kinda fun really. Watching those old red neck fishermen scream like a scortched warewolf because they couldn’t fish anymore. And there was nothing they could do about it.”
“Electro-shocking the bull trout was really fun. Just flip the switch and they float to the surface so you can count em. I must have set the knobs on my electro-shocker wrong by accident. About half the bull trout got a little singed so I thought I’d fry them up for a little shore lunch for the crew.”
“And you know what? It’s like they said. Endangered species just seem to taste better out in the fresh air. But I just don’t know if I can shoot an owl.”
“Shoot an owl!” Bella said. “Why on earth would you want to do that? You’re a biologist not a bounty hunter.”
“I know, Edward said. “ But the Boss Biologist, we call him the Double B, said our Spotted owls are being endangered by a bunch of Canadian Barred Owls. They must have snuck acrosss the border at night. Now the Barred owl is trying to breed with the Spotted Owls and it just ain’t natural. We can’t have all these wild critters breeding like that out where the tourists can see them. Something’s got to be done.” Edward said. “We got orders to shoot the Barred owls on sight.”
“That sounds awful,” Bella said. “I’m sure you’ll make the best little owl hunting biologist ever.”
Edward can’t believe his ears. Listening to Bella he thinks it might be the cabin fever talking. He skulks into the office before daylight the next morning. There must have been a biologist party the night before. The place looks like a biker gang had spent the weekend. There are empty shotgun shells all over the floor and a half eated bucket of chicken on his desk.
“Have some,” The Double B says as he lurches into the office about noon. ‘We saved it for you.”
“Thank you,” Edward said. He had to admit he was hungry. Bella was a loving and supportive wife but she couldn’t cook her way out of a Glad bag. At last night’s dinner the blood soup was clotted. Edward wolfs down the chicken chicken at the office until he bites into a chunk of buckshot.
“Where did did this chicken come from?” Edward asked.
“Who said it was chicken?” The Double B said. “That’s Southern fried owl. You know the rules. You find the buckshot, you wash the dishes.”
Edward goes to the kitchen and puts on his rubber gloves, sensing somehow that he has hit rock bottom.
It is while washing dishes in the basement of the capitol building, Edward begins to suspect that maybe he just isn’t cut out to be a biologist. He doesn’t want to shoot a Killer whale with a radio tracking dart, electro-shock a bull trout or shoot an undocumented Barred owl just because the poor bird got lost and found itself on the wrong side of the border.
“Cullen! Hurry up with those dishes!” The Boss Biologist bursts in whacking his leather hip boots with a gaff hook handle. “I think we finally found a job you can handle. I want you to get out there and empty those smolt traps!”
“What’s a smolt trap?” Edward asked.
“A smolt is a baby salmon that is migrating down the creek to head out to sea ya see? We dam up the creek and catch the smolts in a trap so we can count them!”
“But isn’t it illegal to dam a salmon stream? If you block the creek how are the other fish going to migrate upstream to spawn. I mean don’t smolt traps endanger the same threatened fish that we are trying to restore?”
“That’s a real good question Cullen. And someday we’ll get us a big ol’ government grant to study the problem. But right now we have a big ol’ government grant to trap smolts. Just remember one thing son. We’re biologists. We make the laws here. So unless you like washing dishes I suggest you get out there and count some smolts! I got some owls to shoot!”
For Edward, the worst part about being a vampire biologist is having to go outside during the daylight hours. Nevertheless he drives out to the smolt trap with a new found sense of professionalism. When Edward gets there, he sees something has gone horribly wrong. The smolts are gone! Edward hurries back to the office where the Double B is plucking his daily bag of owls. He tells the Double B that something got into the smolt trap.
“Could’a been anything,” the Double B said. “Bears, raccoons, mink, otter, they all like baby salmon. Here kid, I’ll let you borrow my riot gun. Just remember to hold low with the buckshot. This is your last chance Cullen. Try not to screw it up.”
After the pep talk Edward decides he is going to be the best little vampire biologist ever. Sure the biologists played a little rough. But in all of his hundred and sixty some odd years of being a vampire, this was the first job he had been able to keep for more than a day.
Edward likes the feeling of power that being a biologist give him. Of being outstanding in his field by himself, playing god with the Eco-system with a riot gun and a brand new four wheel drive with the wind in his hair, lead in his foot, the windows down and the stereo up.
Secure in the knowledge that the proletariat has but to give him some static and Shazzam! Edward can bring most any field of human endeavor to a crashing halt just by inventing another endangered species.
It’s twilight by the time Edward gets back to the smolt trap. He hides in a patch of brush and waits for whatever is stealing the fish.
In the gloaming night sounds come from the woods, heavy footfalls breaking logs and a call that sounds like a cross between a whistle and the mewing of a kitten. As it comes closer Edward raises the riot gun to his shoulder.

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