Boredom, up here on the hill in my cosy little grave, was relieved today by a visit from Cranberry the Bear.
“I miss you, Wolfydog,” he grunted amiably. “Not one single wolf on the whole dang mountain to converse with any more!”
“Shouldn’t you be turning in for a long winter’s nap soon?”
Cranberry didn’t seem happy. “The berries were the pits this year. The human beat me to the pears and plums—and she’s stopped eating meat since you’re gone! She has the world’s lousiest compost heap! What’s a skinny bear to do?”
“Skinny was never your middle name,” I informed him. “And don’t insult my adorable human.”
“Yeah, well, one night she apparently convinced a visitor to leave a cooler full of salmon and crab outside. That was kind. I told my missus to take the kids down there for a picnic. ’Course, the kids had terrible tummy-aches from that see-through stuff humans wrap their food in. I must’ve told their mom a hundred times to teach the kids patience—take that poisonous junk off the meat first. Does she listen to me? Me, the old survivor?”
I had to laugh. “Didn’t you get your share of fresh salmon this year? I heard everybody got stuffed—bears, dogs, cats, humans…. Sorry to miss the fun!”
Damn! When I think about salmon, I sure miss being alive!
“Yeah, salmon was good—for once. A fluke. Everybody knows it. Just as that grizz said, the one who went through here the other day—I can still smell her mark. Whew! Sure am glad I’m a black bear—our girls smell good!”
“What did Her Ladyship say?” I am curious about Grizzly Philosophy.
“Too many humans! Too many tree-eaters! Too many stream-skruckers!’ She claimed to be starving—that they’re all starving. She did look pretty slim—a size 8, say. She said the weather’s different; the snow’s different; dens are flooding, and they’re going to bed for the winter with half-empty tummies.”
A sibilant snarl broke into Cranberry’s story: “Just try bringing up kittens nowadays!” Clarissa! Ms. Schwarzekitty, ubersexy in ways I could never quite appreciate. The merest whiff of that pungent cat scent was enough to turn me around on a pinecone in the path, bang into my human’s legs and absolutely insist on trotting home a.s.a.p.—the hell with pride or elegance. This bitch always means business and I didn’t want me or mine to become part of it!
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