Month: September 2021

Baby Bear

I’ve been here since I was eight months old. I can remember mom saying the men on her side of the family lived for twenty six or twenty seven years. The bears here make it to twenty, they say it’s a hard life, hard on the bones with these cold stone floors. I know what that means now. I feel tired all the time, aches and pains everywhere.

When they brought me here what really struck me was the smell, disgusting toilet stench mixed with rotten meat. I got used to it, sometimes I hardly think about it. I have dreams about walking among the pine trees, the sweet air, soft ground, it’s a different world. I wonder if it’s still there.

They say I was captured in the wild but that’s not the whole picture. Sure, we lived in the woods, but we had a place, I had my own bedroom. I played in the yard while Mom and Dad searched for food, other bears would visit. We knew that if we ever had contact with humans we would have to move, all the animals talked about it. When the people start poking around it’s bad news, just get as far away as you can.

One day we got our breakfast ready and went off into the woods to take a dump. When we got back we found this blond girl asleep in mom’s bed. She woke up and panicked. We didn’t hurt her, she ran out of the house. They say that people are just as scared of us as we are of them, or is that spiders? I don’t know, anyway after she went Dad said we all had to leave, get out quick. Mom was all upset and crying, I didn’t know what was going on. It didn’t seem long enough but suddenly a whole bunch of people appeared from nowhere.

We were surrounded, so dad lashed out. That’s the bit they always show on “When Bears Attack”. It’s so unfair, for years this guy sits around minding his own business raising his family and then a bunch of people come around with guns and it’s all our fault. Dad was shot, I think mom was too, I couldn’t tell, there was so much blood. I assume dad died on the spot, mom was sobbing and poking at him. That’s my last memory of my parents, I haven’t seen them since. I’ve been stuck in this prison zoo. People staring at me, I know they’re thinking that’s the one from When Bears Attack, but what did I do? I was a cub. The blond girl should be the one in jail, she caused all the trouble.

They call me Boo-Boo, like the sound a baby makes. I suppose I was a baby when I came in, it’s just embarrassing now. Fozzy ribs me all the time, Betty Boo-Boo, Boo-Boop-Be-Doo happy birthday Mr President, he’s just joking around. It’s a defence mechanism. They caught him raiding bins behind a 7-11 in Beaver Creek, Montana. He was 4 years old, been here 11 years. He says anything’s better than life in Montana, people hide in bushes and shoot at you from miles away, for sport. You don’t stand a chance, out there I would have been dead by now, they did me a favour here. I think he just says that, he misses the open air more than me but he’s afraid of those high-powered rifles. He could make it, he’s lived out there for real and he’s still strong. Stronger than me.

I share this cell and exercise yard with Yogi – dumb name for a bear, but he’s as happy as a clam. He was born in here, it’s all he knows. He loves hearing about salmon fishing and pine forests, poor kid, real life is a fairy story to him. I’ve tried to be more positive like him, but every time I go to sleep I’m walking in the forest with the fresh mountain breeze. Then I wake up on this concrete floor. Fozzy and Yogi do tricks to get extra food from the visitors, mostly swaying their heads and yawning, we’re not supposed to do that. One time Yogi freaked out and had to be sedated when someone gave him the wrong sort of mushrooms. They do it on purpose. A wild bear would’ve known not to eat those. Fozzy should have told him, but he had dropped his guard. You get in the habit of eating whatever people throw. Everything they say sounds the same, we can’t tell what we’re supposed to do and what we’re getting punished for. The voices have the same warbling quality of a turkey. I wonder if turkeys and humans can talk to each other, I had an uncle who said he could talk to racoons, no-one believed him.

I know I’ll die here. I’ll never see our house again. I don’t know if I want to, unless mom’s there. I often wonder why? Why did she come to our house? You don’t do that do you? Just walk into someone’s house and take stuff, we could have had a normal life. Sometimes I wish they’d shot me too on that day, but then I think about mom, she might be alive somewhere. I wish I could just see her once. She would still call me Baby Bear, and not in that stupid embarrassing way.

I heard the guards shot a lion, he attacked them because he just couldn’t take it anymore. I could do that, but I won’t give them the satisfaction. All those people that come to stare, they want me to attack a guard and get shot so they can take pictures. Not me, I’ll just sit here and wait, they won’t take any more from me.

30 September 2021

Pigs vs Wolf

A play.

The Actors:

Judge: A wise old horse of good standing
Three Little Pigs: A group of property owners alleging wilful destruction of their estate
The Big Bad Wolf: The accused

Montgomery Mole: Construction industry expert.
The Jury: Three sheep, five chickens and four foxes
Public Gallery: Two cows, various ducks and geese, and a disinterested ginger cat called Sparky.

Scene 1 : A barn laid out to resemble a courtroom.

Judge: All rise in the hearing of case No 2019:42a the Three Little Pigs versus The Big Bad Wolf. The Pigs and The Wolf will represent themselves. Be seated. Mr Wolf, you are charged with wilful destruction of property, namely one straw house and one house made of sticks belonging to the plaintiffs, how you plead?
Wolf: This stinks worse than those pigs, they set me up see, not guilty!

Muttering sounds from the public gallery.

Judge: Ah, The Wolf pleads not guilty. Let the proceedings commence. First, The Pigs will state their case.
Pig 1: The Big Bad Wolf blew down our straw house.
Pig 2: And then he blew down our house of sticks.
Pig 3: He was going to eat us all up!
Wolf: I didn’t do it you filthy pigs!
Judge: Mr Wolf, I will call on you to speak when it’s your turn in the order of proceedings. Pig 1, you will desist from inflammatory epithets like Big Bad, please refer to the defendant by name only. Pig 3, that’s speculation, overruled. Ok, the pigs allege wilful destruction of their property. Mr Wolf, you may state your defence.
Wolf: You can’t make a house out of straw see. The whole thing was shoddy, cheap materials, union labour, probably the wind blew it over. I wasn’t even there.
Pig 1: I thought his name was The Big Bad Wolf, everyone calls him that.
Pig 2: We followed regulation!
Pig 3: Admit it! You did it!
Wolf: Simmer down, I wasn’t there, you got nuthin’.
Judge: I’ve heard enough. Pigs, do you have any presentable evidence?
Pig 1: Only this cctv coverage of The Wolf blowing the houses down.

Pig 1 hands over plastic evidence bag containing a VHS cassette to the judge.

Wolf: I call my expert witness, Monty Mole.
Montgomery Mole: I’ve studied that tape all day long and I can’t see a thing, and that’s an awful big house for a pig.
Judge: Thank you for your expert testimony Mr Mole. The case is finely balanced, the only piece of evidence is put in question by the expert testimony. The jury will adjourn to consider their verdict. In this case a simple majority verdict will suffice, as there is no death sentence for crimes against property in this jurisdiction. Before the jurors adjourn, let me remind you, you are required to judge the facts of the case alone. Any prior dealings with The Wolf, and I’m looking at you Three Sheep, are irrelevant to the matter in hand. All rise! Court is adjourned for jury deliberations.

Scene 2 : The Deliberation Chamber, a cowshed, with the jury seated around a large table.

Chicken 1: You know that wolf’s going to eat you, you can be sure he’s done a deal with the foxes.
Sheep 1: What? We didn’t do anything, no.
Chicken 2: Put him away and run for it, it’s our only hope.
Chicken 3: You fools, put him away and he’ll come back hungrier and angrier than ever.
Sheep 2: We shouldn’t upset him.
Chicken 4: What, so that he’ll return the favour? He’s The Big Bad Wolf! Forget about it!
Sheep 3: That’s the choice, upset him and get eaten, or do nothing and take our chances
Fox 1: Let him go free for your own peace of mind? Outrageous! We have duty to punish the guilty wolf.
Sheep 1: That’s very true Mr Fox.
Chicken 5: Why did the Mole expert say it’s an awful big house?
Fox 2: Forget about that, the idiot can’t even see.
Chicken 5: I don’t like it, this whole set-up is flaky.
Fox 3: Set-up? What set-up? You saw the video, he did it.
Chicken 1: You want him out of the way Mr Fox, I can see through you.
Chicken 5: That’s it! The house isn’t big, the so-called wolf is small, the cctv pictures are black and white but I’ll bet that’s a small reddish-brown wolf.
Sheep 2: There’s another wolf? Goodness!
Chicken 2: No you mutton-head, it’s one of the cunning foxes on the video, they’ve framed The Wolf thinking we’d convict him because we don’t like him.
Fox 4: Nonsense, why would we tangle with The Big Bad Wolf, what do we have to gain?
Chicken 2: Getting rid of the competition, and how did you even get on the jury – with your record?
Fox 1: You chickens will blame foxes for anything! We are not on trial here!
Fox 2: Cunning Foxes? Cunning? Media stereotypes are a shortcut for lazy writers, and they promote prejudice and bigotry. Stick to the subject, the guilty must be punished.
Chicken 2: But we haven’t established guilt, have we? Only The Foxes are asking for the guilty verdict and I agree with Chicken number 5, that’s a Fox on the tape!

Act 3 : Back in the courthouse, only the sheep and foxes return from deliberations.

Judge: Where are the other jurors? There were five Chickens.
Sheep 1: As foreman, it is my duty to inform you that The Chickens, well they chickened out, but we do have a majority verdict.
Judge: Well, this is highly irregular, but we must proceed. Deliver your verdict.
Sheep 1: By a simple majority of 8-4, the jury finds the defendant not guilty. By 8-4.

Muttering and shuffling sounds from the public gallery

Judge: Order! Ok, if that’s the verdict then so be it, but let me tell you Foxes, if find out that you ate those chickens you’ll be held in contempt.
Pig 1: This ain’t right, someone blew down our houses!
Wolf: Tell it to the Judge.
Pig 2: We did.
Judge: Indeed, someone did huff and probably puff in the furtherance of considerable damage to your property. The fragility of the property is not a matter for court deliberations, the actions of perpetrator are. But the court finds that it wasn’t The Wolf. Now, I will summarise the proceedings and adjourn the court. In summary, the court has examined the available evidence and found in favour of the defendant. In closing comments, let me say this; Mr Wolf, you are found not guilty in this case, but your record is far from unblemished. Nevertheless, the court is hopeful that this chapter marks a new turn in your otherwise unwelcome contributions to our peaceful society. To the pigs I say this, you may feel that justice has not been done but I can assure you that it has. Ask yourself this – if the wolf didn’t do it, who did? The court is adjourned, all rise!

The animals exit the courtroom in an orderly manner. The Wolf, unaware of the conversation in deliberations, walks alongside the pigs and let’s them know he isn’t happy, he vows to find out who set him up.

In the sequel to this story : The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf, the houses are blown down again, and again The Wolf lands in court. This time The Horse judge throws the case out on a double jeopardy technicality, you can’t be tried for the same crime twice. A simple comparison of cctv tapes would have shown that it was different incident but the tape from the first trial was destroyed in a mysterious barn fire.

26 September 2021