Ronald L. Jones was giving a friend a ride to Lynchburg, Va., yesterday, so he wasn't around to talk about the monster he said he saw the other night at the edge of a tobacco field near his home in southern Ann Arundel County.

A lot of other folks, however, were talking about Ronnie Jones and the monster, including his wife, Sheri, county detectives and the afternoon paper up in Annapolis, the Evening Capital. Their stories were all a bit different, of course. A monster story should never be told the same way twice.

Before plunging too deeply into the account, it is best to understand the dimensions of this particular monster. This comes from the police blotter account of what Jones said he saw: "It was a creature 7 1/2 to 8 feet tall, 400 to 500 pounds. It stood erect on two legs (hind) and was covered with long dark brown hair. It had a strong, pungent odor about it."

And now the story, or at least a blend of all the different versions.

It began after 9:30 Tuesday night. There were some friends over at the Jones house, but Ronnie wanted to leave. "Every once in a while he just gets in a mood where he wants to be by himself," explained his wife, "We told our friends that he was just going up to High's to get some cigarettes.But I could tell he had it in him to go for a ride in the new truck."

The truck was a 1977 pickup, three weeks old. Ronnie Jones was behind the wheel, driving westbound on a country road near Tracy's Landing. The police blotter picks up the action:

"He noticed a large hairy creature on the should of the road so he stopped the truck and followed it (the creature) into a tobacco field. Said he hit the creature several times and then struck it with a tire iron, at which time the creature let out a scream."

Jones told police he then scampered back to his pickup truck, but the monster caught up with him. He escaped unharmed; the truck was not so lucky. "There were several long deep scratches and two large dents on the right side of the truck," read the police account. "The rear bumper on the right side was slightly ajar from the truck's body."

To county detectives, the whole thing has the appearance of a tall tale. The kind of story, one said privately, that one concocts when one scratches up a new truck and is embarrassed about it. But some area folks, remembering stories about the Chalk Point Monster in years past, are ready to believe the latest including his wife Sheri.

"I've known Ronnie for 10 years, been married to him for 7 1/2," she said. "When he came in that night he was scared stupid. That's all. Never seen him like that before. Now, neither of us drink nor smoke, 'cept for cigarettes. And we haven't even made the first payment on that truck. You gotta believe us."