It didn’t take long for someone to notice that there was a growling bear sitting on the check out counter of the mini-mart and two customers trapped inside. Before I finished my smoke there were 3 news helicopters overhead, two television trucks and a couple of lawyers followed shortly thereafter by an army of civil servants. There was a swat team, firetrucks, the sheriffs department, a lady from the zoo, a guy in a beekeeper suit and a detective.
Let me tell you something, there is nothing more frustrating in the world than knowing what actually happened and then have somebody with a badge tell you what they think really happened. I told the detective the whole story, just like I told you. That’s a chore for me, because a lot of people think I am mute. I’m not, I just don’t like to talk. I told him everything but he wasn’t really interested in the truth.
He looked at me like I was the village idiot and said, “Look, Charles’s wife was killed by a bear. The bear and her cub hung around and she must have come back in and ate Charles too. Why is she following you? Because she isn’t hungry yet, she’s playing with her food. You are her next meal.”
I just looked at him and clammed up, I had nothing else to say. Of course Charles turned into a bear, I was there.
Right now, Charles was like Butch and Sundance in Bolivia, not much chance of getting away. There was some trapper guy there, the one who gets squirrels and raccoons out of attics, the lady from the zoo was hysterically begging the cops not to shoot and the game warden was gesturing and pointing while the swat team had lasers trained on every inch of Charles’s body. The fireman were ready with hoses and the town’s only snowplow was pulling into the lot, driven by the mayor.
A red Lincoln Continental pulled up, cruising at its normal top speed of 18 miles an hour. The Grammarian drove right past the police line and rolled down her window and barked at the cops to “use the god damn crosswalk.” She pulled into the handicap spot in front of the mini mart and oblivious to the events of the morning, she marched right past the whole circus and opened the door of the store. You have to understand, our town is not one for big events like this, no one actually thought, at that moment, to tell her that there was a bear on the counter, it was her store and if she wanted to march in, well, that was her decision.
I hoped it was a positive will day.
Over my shoulder, I heard someone call my name. It was Paul and he was holding out the bear cub, Hope. He was in his homeless clothes again and gestured for me to come with him. So, I did. They had a lot to teach me.
Thanks to all who patiently endured this story. I needed to free write a little modern mythology after a near writer’s block-inducing college composition course taught by a poor teacher. I’m reading the biography of the American Indian medicine man, Lame Deer and am under his influence. And; I needed a little practice on symbolism and character development. I am going to write more in the future about money, greed and what it does to families, I think some of the characters I met writing this series of blog posts will be involved. Any similarities to living or dead people is purely intentional. I appreciate your kind words and I’ll let you know if this madness overtakes me again.