THE HUNT FOR THE CHUPACABRA by MICHELLE DYER PETERSON

Nigel’s wife said she didn’t want to go because it was summer and she didn’t want to spend her summer chupacabra hunting. Nigel thought Simone would love to go with him, that she could go back to school in August and tell all her kids about the chupacabra her husband hunted, that he was so brave and courageous and found it, all on his own. But she suggested Nigel ask Ted instead because she wanted to relax by the pool and read romance books, and Ted, she said, would be a much better partner. So Nigel asked Ted, a buddy of his that he’s known in his IT department for many years. He’s like Nigel in that they both love chupacabras. That’s how they met, actually – Nigel was doing some research on recent sightings and Ted just happened to see what Nigel was looking up and said that he, too, had been looking at the same stuff. Almost every lunch break from then on out they talked about how awesome it’d be to find one, to take pictures of it, to get proof only feet away. They even thought about making a goat costume, just in case the chupacabra was able to see them, so that they’d lure it over and could pet it and get to know it up real close. But then Nigel and Ted thought that’d be a bad idea because they both have wives at home and Ted has a few kids of his own he needs to watch out for, so they opted out of the goat costume.

When Simone first met Nigel, she said his fascination with chupacabras was cute and liked that he was so curious about such a mythical thing. But when Nigel made the chupacabra’s mating sound in bed, she rolled over and curled up underneath the covers, shivering like she had ants on her skin. Nigel tried to bring the mood back, saying it wasn’t creepy at all and completely natural. She asked how in the hell he knew what a chupacabra sounded like. He told her that his research indicated they make that sound when they’re about to attack, and he did it again – he clasped his hands together, put his thumbs against his pursed lips, and sucked in and out from his diaphragm, making this noise that sounded like a can got caught up in the garbage disposal. Nigel still believes, if he does it enough, it’ll really turn her on one day.

Ted and Nigel soon said goodbye to their wives and set out on their three-week trek. They spent most of their nights trying ways to get the chupacabras to come out: they left out cups of goat’s milk in rows, scattered goat’s wool about their campsite. Nigel even tried teaching Ted the mating noise, not because he wanted to seduce Ted, but because he thought Ted should learn it, because two calls were better than one.

They often stayed awake all night, talking about what if. What if they caught the chupacabra for real, or what if they were even able to snap a picture. Simone will be so impressed, Nigel said, but Ted was drifting to sleep and didn’t respond. Nigel whispered to himself the words he would say when being interviewed for the SyFy channel: Possibly female, appendages all down her back changing colors from red, to orange, to violet, then finally to black. I tried to reach for her but she lunged away from me at a speed unknown to any other creature. What can I say? I’m no goat. She doesn’t want my blood! And there is a hazy black and white reenactment of the chupacabra darting away from a shadow of a man, and then it cuts to commercial break.

The journey ended to be fruitless, with no signs of chupacabras anywhere. No goats with their blood drained from puncture holes, no track marks in the ground, no grinding aluminum sounds startling them in the night.

When Nigel and Ted got to Nigel’s house, Ted headed straight for the fridge; Nigel called for Simone.

Simone? he called out. He checked in the bathroom, thinking maybe she had her headphones on while she shaved her legs. He checked in their closet – perhaps she was holding different dresses against her body as she stood in front of the mirror. He even looked under the bed, wondering and mostly hoping she was getting into it, dressed as a chupacabra herself, ready to surprise attack and nibble on his neck. They would wrestle on the ground, and as he would clasp his hands together and put them at his mouth, she would be doing the same, too.

Simone? he called again. Nigel went downstairs, found Ted digging in the refrigerator.

I can’t find my wife, Nigel said.

I’m sure she’s just out, Ted said, munching on a slice of cheese.

Yeah, Nigel said. I’ll just wait here.

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About the Author: Michelle lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her cute husband and their dog named Snickers. She loves guacamole, Conan O'Brien, and the quirky side of America. She would love to connect with you on Twitter! You can find her @dyerdesire.

Story Song: "When You Return" by Jackie Greene