One Claw

one claw 2

soundtrack

Ranger: “What do you mean, ‘No more Internet until we start getting better grades in the real world?’ And who are we setting a bad example for? We’re the only two kids in the family,  me and Bronc!'”

Ranger’s strategy is to plead for leniency when faced with punishment. It’s as if his primary purpose in life as the elder cub is to forever defend the little bear against any possible abuse by adult hegemony. He sees himself as the fruit roll-up-eating citizen’s lawyer to smaller siblings –  when he isn’t in trouble with the law himself, that is.

Momma Bear always plays the good-cop, which means she pretends to be ‘the sane one’ while Daddy acts like he’s going over the edge. She waits for bad-cop Dad to walk away fuming, then utters her final word:

Mom: “You both got D’s in reading and history this semester, so no more Internet or games until I see some good grades.”

As soon as she shuts the door, Bronc, who is only six and a half, starts to tear up and breath irregularly: ”

Bronc: What are we going to do to kill time, Ranger?”

Their parents finally gone from their room, the two boys huddle next to a battery-powered 101 Dalmatians candle and try to come up with some kind of media strategy for the semester. Two months without Internet or Wii. No castle rescues or war-winning. Just analog reality twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Ranger: “I know! Why don’t we get Old Bear Roger to tell us stories. He says they used to tell car accident stories to keep from getting scared during the Bear-o-caust.”

suv with ice

Old Bear Roger shows up a half hour later, his round-rimmed glasses steamed up from the Arctic air.

OBR: “Well, how’s about I tell you the story of the Grizzly Claw? Now, you all better get real close because it’s kinda scary and all.”

Old Bear Roger learned to talk like this at drama camp, where loud rhetorical speech was used for therapy. The two cubs squeeze together like the wet patties of a child’s Big Mac as Roger begins to storytell.

OBR: “There was once a giant Grizzly Claw in the sky, and His name was Allen Goodman. (Roger’s stories often feature pointlessly bland human names like this).

Now two little bears, much like yourselves, noticed the Giant Claw-in-the-sky one day, and they asked It what Its function was. Allen – the Grizzly Claw – answered that He could grant them any three wishes they wanted.

But before He could even show them some daily special wishes from the menu, the older bear – Cecil – was asking him to make the world warm and sunny every day. So, the Claw flipped around a few times, and the chemicals in the atmosphere changed so that it was exactly 22 degrees and sunny everywhere. This lasted about five minutes. Then the ice caps melted and a giant wave destroyed civilization.

That’s when the other bear – let’s call him Brandon – asked for his second wish which was to dry up all the flood waters.

So the Claw flipped around and around, again changing the chemical composition of the atmosphere – until this time, all the liquids on earth dried into solids or gases. This killed virtually all the lifeforms that had survived the flood.

Desperate, both little bears asked that their third wish be granted, that everything go back to the way it was before.

But Allen Goodman explained that this wasn’t possible, and that they had already exhausted the wish-granting power of the Claw and would have to live (or die) with the consequences of their original wishes.

And with that, the middle finger of the Claw pointed upwards, flipping a bird in the sky over which the wishes of mankind could never cross.

And that’s the end of my story, boys”

The boys would miss the Internet more than they ever imagined.

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