The Bear Truth

[The following is a transcript taken at the village circuit court.]

“There were mud flecks and wet smudges around my cabin. No respect for private property, bloody brats. The builder was on a two-week holiday: skiing-snowboarding-snowmobiling, and paragliding-canoeing-mountainbiking, all readily available in ‘Super, Natural’ British Columbia. I was annoyed with him for not finishing the job before taking off, but recreation comes before creation here. Bastard builder.

“During construction often there were things out of place, but nothing untoward. Things blown about – could be wind. Things distressed – could be sun. Things softened – could be rain. But the day the builder left there was evidence of tampering, someone trying the door. The handle was jarred from being forced too far, and hinges loosened by a jolt. Someone was trying to get into the cabin!

“The next day all the flyscreens were torn. Their slides were jammed and runners twisted – dried insects revealed, their corpses falling apart. And upon the glass were wet nose probing and stiff hairs. So not a brat after all, it seems, but a beast. Now to figure out the nature of this furry felon.

“The third day, the walls were battered. Something had to be done. A monkey I realized would not have behaved in this way. A famous experiment at Berlin Zoo had shown that they were methodical. They would have picked off the batts, one by one, and stacked them up nicely. And a dog would have just humped the walls or pissed on them, not tried to destroy them. So it was certainly a bear.

“The fourth day’s target was the floor. The usual entry points had proved invulnerable. Now, like great generals before him: Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Saddam – the bear was trying flanking manoeuvres. He was broadening the battlefield and busting boards. Dunes had appeared across this beige expanse of tongue-in-groove desert, but the invader had been repulsed.

“The fifth day was another day of vertical thinking, but this time, higher up. A torn-off maple branch had been used as a lever, prying off a roof panel. But the position of the snowstop had limited leverage. There may have been further jumping on the roof to mimic the effect of an avalanche, but the roof was built for a Coastal Range snow load, and didn’t buckle.

“The sixth day, the bear tried to trick its way right under my nose. My firewood is cut and bagged for the year in 100 lbs bundles. The bag I chose seemed heavier than usual, and there were no hard edges or clacking sounds. Something’s up, I thought, and left the bag right there. Later I heard canvas tearing, a burst of sneezing, and something padding through the dust.

“On the seventh day, I was relaxing in front of the fireplace, sipping Hoffmeister beer, when I sensed something was awry. Smoke was swirling in the firebox where there’d been none before. And it wasn’t just swirling, it was forming. Flames were stretched out, concentrating into sharp points, and clawing. There were sudden sparks, and the glass door flew open, raked marks on the soot inside. A plume paw reached out of the firebox towards me. I slammed shut the glass door, damped down the flue, and watched the claw rake ashes in anger and disappear.

“This was clearly a declaration of war. I realized I must be on the battlefield now, always bear aware. So at the beginning of the builder’s second week of holiday, I decided to initiate a programme of ‘Super Cultural’ lifestyle additions. First up was a camping stove. My pot of local veggies was soon ready, but something didn’t smell right. Gas was escaping unburned. It held a sweet, sweat stench – that of a dirty jungle animal. I quickly turned off this smell of bear. I would rather go hungry.

“My eco-friend from the City came up on the ninth day, and helped to install a 200 watt polycrystalline solar panel on the roof. However, even when the sun was shining all day, quite enough to run a bush hot tub, no power was generated. No photons could reach the carbon, for it was blocked by an earthly constellation, the blackness of the Great Bear.

“The most basic need of the human body is water. So on day ten, I banged a drain onto the edge of the roof, set a pipe off it into a barrel, and laid down layers of grass, charcoal and gravel. A simple filter to remove traces of bird and bat shit. After a hot day’s work I took a long, cool mouthful of the blessed holy water. But its gamey undertaste of fur-dripped liquid made me retch.

“Day eleven I called BC Hydro. They came and hooked me up that day. With the latest technology, I would surely be invincible. I put sensors all around the cabin. That first night I sat back smugly, only to have one sensor trip off, then another, then them all. How could that be? The transformer was humming strangely. I laid my hand upon it, and a shot of juice tore up through my arm – sharp tingles like stiff hairs were pushed through my veins.

“I’d been struggling to survive for twelve days now, and realized I needed access to emergency response. Telus sent an engineer immediately to fit hard-wired certainty. No more shifting signals. I saved the numbers of RCMP, Dow Security, and Pony Espresso. I was ready for anything. The phone rang – my first caller. ‘Hello,’ I said. There was a moment of silence and shuffling. Maybe it was a test call or wrong number. Then came a pop, scrape, grunt, and growl.

“There must be others like me, harassed by bears. But where could I find them? Thirteen days alone, I said to Shaw, who immediately sent someone to fix me up with broadband. He added wireless for free. Tucked up in my loft bed, I searched for bear tips. One website in particular – Unbearable Bear – gave advice on the local area. I emailed the webmaster, who responded immediately: ‘Why don’t you ask me yourself? I’m downstairs on your desktop.’ I was too scared to sleep, and frozen in a terrible trance. What happened after that I can’t remember.”

“Is that the end of your statement, Mr. Mehl?”

“Yes it is, sir.”

“You have nothing to add – or detract?”

“No, sir.”

“And you are saying this under oath, you recall?”

“Yes, sir.”

“This is your truthful explanation of why you were found by Mr. Collins – your as-yet-unpaid builder – within his house? Upon returning from his holiday, he saw that you had broken down the front door, ransacked his freezer, were naked and smeared in honey, eating Very Berry cereal straight from the box, listening to the Elvis Presley single ‘Teddy Bear’, watching Grizzly Adams on cable, viewing pornographic materials on barebear.com, having scat in his bath, eaten his goldfish, and were about to escape with a bagful of domestic goods – to get you through hibernation, you say?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And you seriously expect me to believe that?”

“Sir, you must know something. I was living in a delusion, always thinking that the bear was breaking in. Then I realized the truth of the matter, that the bear was breaking out. I could no longer hide from myself. For I am The Be..!”

[The transcript ends here. Neither the judge nor court recorder survived the incident. The guard is still in a coma. The suspect escaped, and Lucerne RCMP and Lilly Tribal Police have broadcast an All Points Bulletin for his capture. Also present in the courtroom – it is believed for behavioural analysis – was an adult brown bear, which was sedated and later released by rangers into the Upper Lilly area.]

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One Response to “The Bear Truth”

  1. That’s a great story!

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