From the Welcoming Committee

Sorry about the footprints. And the claw marks. I was trying to wipe my feet on that welcome mat, and, well, bears and houses don’t mix well. I have to say, though, I like hardwoods better as living trees than as floorboards.

That said, I really like your pen. Sleek, but with some heft to it. I haven’t seen a Mont Blanc before. The humans who have lived around here a while are on the scruffier side. You new folks, though, you drive fancier trucks and build bigger houses.

You’re probably surprised to be receiving a letter from a bear. Understandable. You humans, especially you European-descended ones, have been subjected to all sorts of propaganda. You’re convinced that the rest of the animals on this planet are a bunch of idiots put here for eating or skinning or shoving out of the way when you like a place. 

True, you’ve got a big advantage with your thumbs and we’re not as inventive as you are, but we’re a long way from being stupid. Most of the inventions you’re so proud of are in the process of coming back and bite us all in the ass, but you all don’t listen to yourselves, so I don’t expect you to listen to me, either.

The honey-baked ham in your stainless steel fridge in your open-concept kitchen is pretty darned tempting, so I’m gonna get to my point before it gets the best of me. Good thing we’re not close to hibernating season, or I’d have eaten it already.

The first big ask—don’t worry, there are only two—is that you remember that we need some land too. 

We read your newspapers. We read sentences like “Wildlife authorities said the animals aren’t finding enough food in their own habitat, so they’re wandering into ours” and know that you think you own the planet, but we were here first. “Your” habitat was forest before it was a subdivision. The little forest we’ve got left is where we live. Where we run and play and mate and sleep. Where we get our food and water.

The second request is to keep your trash and food picked up. You throw away a lot of tasty stuff, and we forest folk aren’t as picky as you are. As soon as one of us makes a habit of dumpster dining, you say things like “Once a bear becomes habituated to breaking into human property and eating human food, the only way to move beyond that is to euthanize the bear,” and out come the rifles. You don’t shoot the humans leaving the food out, you shoot the bear eating the food. Which is a pretty strict diet plan, to say the least. 

Looking around this giant den you’ve built yourself, I can tell you can afford to fork over the cash for bear-proof trash cans. Do us all a favor and pick up a couple. 

At this point, you probably feel like I’m asking a lot and you’re probably wondering what’s in it for you. Peaceful coexistence. You stay in your lane, we stay in ours. Everybody gets along. I hope that’s not too much to ask, but experience has taught me it probably is.


Bruce the Bear

This story was prompted by Cody O. Leave me a prompt (a living thing, an inanimate object, and a location) and I will write a story and tag you when it’s published.

Here’s where I ask for a tip

Trying to save up for a fancy stainless steel fridge. Or maybe a Mont Blanc pen.
I know there isn’t any forest where polar bears live, but I couldn’t resist the pic with this bear holding up a paw like he was waving hello.

Photo by Hans-Jurgen Mager on Unsplash