Another funny, fairly ‘mischievous’ memory I have is of the time when Jaimenacho and I decided to pool our money and rent a gorilla suit.
I had come down from Seattle to Redding for my birthday, and had taken some time off from work – so I was free to relax and take it easy at home for the better part of a week. On one of those days, Jaime and I had been sitting around, talking about life in general and trying to think of what to do that evening.
I can’t remember exactly how or why, but we eventually decided that it would be pretty awesome to rent a gorilla suit. It was one of the few goofy things we’d never done before, and after all – how can you not have fun with a gorilla suit?

We went downtown to the Humor Shop (I thought it used to be called the Humor ‘Shoppe’ – what gives?) , and made the difficult and time-consuming decision of which gorilla suit we were going to rent. Should we pick the black one with the rubber chest and nipples, or the brown one that came with furry feet that covered your shoes? Did we want the screaming King Kong head, or the laughably retarded-looking “confused but angry” one? These were all factors we had not considered… so Jaime and I deliberated over our choice for nearly an hour. Finally, the store was about to close – so we wrapped things up. We ultimately decided on the brown one, because it was more complete and probably looked a little more realistic from a distance.


Several hours later, we all convened at Jaime’s house. He suited up first, and we took off toward downtown. We stopped at 7-11 along the way, and walked around downtown Redding for a while. Jaime is pretty tall to begin with, and in that suit he looked to be about seven feet tall. The people out walking around were pretty leery of him, and walked way around us.
We eventually wound up at the Casino Club, where things got a little more entertaining. We went up to the cheesy dance club they have upstairs there, and Jaime proceeded to get down to the boogie. It was funny, because at first most people just ignored the fact that some dork in a gorilla suit was dancing next to them. The place was full of overdressed jock dudes trying to pick up Redding hoochies, and they were too cool to be fazed by Jaime’s sasquatch freestyle. After a couple of them noticed, however, the girls in the place were drawn to its power. Within a minute, Jaime had several Casino Club hoochies dancing with him. Unfortunately, after about 5 minutes of shakin’ it, Jaime had gotten way too hot inside the suit – and needed a breather. He came back to our table and collapsed.

Oddly enough, local curiosity and occasional political candidate Kip Lee had joined us at our table only a minute or two prior to Jaime’s return from the dance floor. I didn’t know who he was; he was just some weird pudgy guy who wanted to shake all of our hands. He said he was running for president, and that he’d appreciate our support. Most of us just smiled and ignored him. He was mainly interested in speaking to “the man in the gorilla suit”, and kept trying to get Jaime to have a conversation with him. Jaime wouldn’t respond, but Mr. Lee was insistent upon talking with him. He kept bugging him for a while, until Jaime abruptly reached over and started drumming on his belly. I nearly peed.

After a few minutes, I changed into the suit and made my way to the dance floor. By now, most of the amusement had worn off with the people up there, so I just busted a backspin and top rocked a little bit, finishing off with a centipede. When I got up, I realized that I had somehow managed to clear the floor.
The suit was hot inside, and the place itself was pretty warm to begin with. It was like wearing a thick parka while jogging in place inside a sauna. We decided to leave and commit more hi-jinks elsewhere. On our way out, I took the head off so I could breathe easier. We were almost to the car when Kip Lee came running out after us.

Greetings and salutations from Starfleet Command!” he said, as he stopped before us.

“Huh?”

He said he wanted to talk with us before we left, because he needed our solid support in his bid for the White House. We felt kinda sorry for him, so we politely assured him that he had our support. He then shook our hands and gave us another weird Star Trek salutation, which prompted us to finish getting into the car.


It was getting pretty late, which meant it was time for our other idea. We drove up 299 toward Whiskeytown, and parked in a gully near a particularly lonesome stretch of the highway. There was a decent curve up ahead, and plenty of dense foliage. It was extremely dark, and the setting provided a near-perfect backdrop for what we had planned.
Jaime had gotten back into the suit, and was now crouching in the brush near the side of the road. Pepe, Pecos and I were on the opposite side. As soon as I saw headlights approaching, I gave the alert.

“Get ready…

okay…

NOW!

Jaime shuffled across the road, much like a real sasquatch would. We had it timed right so that the driver would see him in their hi-beams as he crossed the road. The curve wasn’t sharp enough for there to be any danger, but we were pretty confident that whoever saw Jaime’s furry 7-foot frame sauntering across the highway in the dead of night would be pretty freaked out.
We did this a few more times, and a couple of cars nearly stopped when Jaime reared up menacingly in the glow of their headlights. We were all laughing pretty hard, and he had to dive into the bushes each time to avoid the possibility of getting caught.
We had hoped to see a “Motorists Report Bigfoot Sightings on 299” story in the paper the next day, but it didn’t happen. I guess we’ll just have to try harder next time.


Before we returned the costume the next day, it took a while to clean all the dirt, stickers, and grass out of it. It was a pain, but the evening had been well worth it. Our investment had paid off, and we both felt that our money had been spent wisely.

Redding isn’t boring… you just have to create your own entertainment.