My phone was ringing and I knew who it was before I picked it up.
“Hey Ralph,” I answered.
“Hey Sam,” Ralph greeted. “How are things going down there? Find the, er, what’s that thing called again?”
“Mamptaput,” I replied, “and no, I haven’t found it yet.”
“How much more time do you need? Either document it or come home. I didn’t send you to Jamaica for a free vacation, you know.”
“I am fully aware of that,” I replied. “I think I’ll be headed home soon anyway. From what I’ve gathered so far, the Mamtaput may just be a part of Jamaican legend and may not exist at all.”
“Fine. As soon as you’re packed, see if you can catch the next flight to Fort Myers in Florida. There’s a nearby town called Palmetto Bay that’s got something promising. Have you heard about the legend of the Palm Tree Ape?”
“That’s just another folk tale,” I countered.
“Think so? Some residents there cleared some ground near the woods where they think it lives. The next day they found some size 13 footprints. I think you’ve got a better chance with this one.”
After a moment of pondering I made my decision. “Okay, I’ll go ahead and close the Mamtaput case and start heading to Florida.”
“Good,” Ralph agreed, “Give me a call when you get to Palmetto Bay and we’ll touch base then. I have a list of people who’ll work with you to get the Palm Tree Ape documented.”
“Sounds good,” I smiled. “I’ll talk to you later.”
After I hung up I turned around to see Henry, my host and my sole contact to confirm the existence of the Mamtaput. He had on a face of great concern.
“Are you leaving already?” he gasped.
“I’m afraid so,” I replied. “As far as my research goes, I believe the Mamtaput is only a Jamaican folk legend and does not exist.”
“I’m afraid you’re wrong. The Mamtaput is not an actual creature per se but a mischievous spirit that roams the island at night in search of nonbelievers like you. It will cast you under its spell and take control of your body without it ever being seen.”
“That’s what I read,” I confirmed, “but unfortunately there isn’t any evidence to prove that this is true.”
“Then why are you touching the ceiling?”
After a confused pause, I then realized that I was in fact touching the ceiling without my knowing it. Something, some unseen force, was controlling my arm.
“The Mamtaput,” I whispered.
Henry smiled and pointed at the window where a glowing mist illuminated the dark patio outside. Right away I knew that my trip to Florida would have to wait.