It may be watching.
Mole found him. That's my dog. You can't hide from Mole.
Not in a hole you can't.
Which is where Mole found this guy.
He said his name was John Pistola Engrasadora, Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, and he was monitoring the trail for suspicious activity, to protect my safety and the safety of others.
I had no idea.
"I bet you thought this was a national park," he said. "I bet you're thinking 'What is the TSA doing here in a famous national park?'"
This guy was reading my mind.
"Well it isn't. Any more. A national park," he said, speaking from his hole. "The TSA has an unmatched success rate, unlike the National Park Service. Which is why they went titsup. We're running things now, from hidy holes, from behind bushes, anywhere you'd least expect. Want to see my badge?"
Yes, I did. And he showed it to me.
It said "Yosemite Sam", and it was yellow, and plastic.
"Hey," I said, "just now, you told me your name was John Pistola Engrasadora. So what's the deal?"
"Disguise," he said. "Like this hole I'm in. You never know who's watching, or what they're up to. You can never be too careful."
"But I found you," I replied.
"No, your dog did. Dogs are hard to fool. They're actually too smart for us, but we just got a grant to work on that."
Mole cleared his throat. Yosemite Sam inched deeper into his hole.
He had a point, and I don't mean on the top of his head. I couldn't see that part of him. Due to the hole and all.
"Look. In a modern, industrialized nation such as we have, there is simply no room to allow potentially dangerous unsupervised activities. Which is basically what the National Park Service was known for.
"Unlike us, the Transportation Security Administration. We get it.
"Which is why we've been expanding.
"First the airlines. Then the highways. The borders. Ports. Country roads. City streets. Shopping malls.
"We're almost everywhere now, but not quite, leaving out - what?"
I shrugged. I'm generally clueless when it comes to high-level thinking. "Dunno, I guess," I said.
"Leaving out those activities which honest citizens never participate in, committed in places people go when they want to evade surveillance cameras."
"What? Trails?" I said.
"Yep," he replied. "You got it, babe. Trails. Serious danger points in our national security net. Now that we have funding we'll be hardening campgrounds, putting up barb wire, bringing everyone back home. Where they belong. In view of our cameras."
"Supervised from your hole?" I asked. But he kept talking, not hearing me I guess.
"Need to get somewhere? Take a plane. Take a car. Take a bus. Don't take a hike. Don't give me that. We know better. Nobody hikes. Got any water?" he said.
I did, but it was a hot day, and I was already thirsty. I wasn't sure I wanted to pour water into a hole in the ground, so I asked Mole what the thought, but he just cleared his throat again. A little louder this time.
"You know," I said, "I'm not sure I should know so much. Maybe Mole and I ought to move along before we become persons of interest."
"Wait," he said. "I understand, but I do need a drink. And so does Agent Barbie." A skinny hand holding a nearly naked plastic doll extruded itself from the hole.
I say "nearly naked" because she was also carrying a badge, which read "Special Agent Boop".
"Help me, old Mole dog guy," said the hole, "You're our only hope."
Unlike Mole, who's comfortable with snap judgments, I'm still not sure if we did the right thing.
Hiker and dog save man trapped for days in hole on California mountain.