Archive for the ‘Polar Bear Fiction’ Category

The Suburban Hearse

April 24, 2017

PBF Suburban Hearse

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Miss Glaciermelt leans into her powerpoint presentation, placing her index finger on a large grey square on the terrain view of an old human settlement.

“This large dead area was called a parking lot. It’s where the last generations of humans left their transportation machines when they interacted with shopping and activity centers.”

The teacher notices Cindy’s confused stare.

“Did you read the chapter 7 –The Suburban Hearse – of your Last Days of the Humans textbook, Cind?”

“I did,” Cindy replies. “But I still don’t get the connection between their suburban habitat and the word hearse. A hearse was a machine for moving dead bodies from one place to another many kilometers away. What does this have to do with the low-density sprawl that humans ended their time on Earth in?”

Miss Glaciermelt is glad Cindy has decided to take the second part of her Post-Human Extinction course. Nothing works better as a teaching tool than a live back-and-forth between teacher and student.

“Well, the most popular vehicles of the last years were called SUVs, and they were a lot like hearses in shape and size. Many of them were great for transporting dead humans, though they were originally used by single people for going from one characterless suburban location to another. Ironically, it was the use of these machines and all the fuels that they required that created the need for billions of hearses. The hearses of the last years of Humanity.”

Hearse imageMiss Glaciermelt fidgets with her computer and then plays a short movie-clip while talking over the narrator.

“Over there, two young human boys are driving bicycles that are much too small for them. This harms their knees. And there’s an obese jogger – another end-time human activity that destroyed body parts – knees, ankles and hips. And look at that chubby human mowing a lawn. Noise actually causes obesity but he probably doesn’t know that. Most humans didn’t know very much near the end of their species’ existence.”

Cindy: “Were humans doing all these dumb, harmful activities because of the obesity epidemics or because of the boredom? Or did their slave-like jobs make them clueless?”

Glaciermelt: “Well, it’s not really one reason. All of your reasons were contributing factors: boredom, obesity and lack of freedom. You’re really animated today, aren’t you?”

They both smile.

Cindy: “I noticed that in the footnotes, the narrator talks about – and I quote – ‘the braindead termite-people of the Suburban Shitscape.’ What does he mean by termites? They didn’t go extinct. We still have lots of termites.”

Glaciermelt: “No, termites didn’t go extinct. But I think he’s referring to the fact that humans were consuming the planet the way that termites will eventually kill the tree they live off of. And the word ‘shitscape’ refers to the low-quality and ugly surroundings that end-time humans lived in. The author also mentions that all their machines sounded like chainsaws: lawn-mowers, ski-doos, leaf-blowers, the power tools of weekend pagoda projects… suburbia was one massive chainsaw massacre.”

Cindy: “Maybe the noise and ugliness drove them crazy and they had nothing left to live for?”

Glaciermelt: “Let’s not speculate, Cindy. After all, we weren’t there ourselves.

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The Mosquito who wanted to be a Dinosaur

July 22, 2015

PBF mosquito

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(From the Cub Club Bedtime Stories collection)

There once was a tiny and desperate mosquito named Ilene. Ilene had always felt like she was destined to be so much more than a tiny, insignificant insect.

Let me tell you more.

It was the hot summer of 147 million years ago, but I remember like it was yesterday.

Ilene Pickworth was a frosh at a local college. Instead of attending classes, she would sit under the college’s huge trees and admire the brute strength and high-status size of the large dinosaurs storming by like SUVs. While Ilene spent many stressful moments of her day avoiding being swatted by appendages many times her size, the large dinosaurs proudly ripped the tops off of huge trees and dined on the sweet leaves that no other land species could reach. It certainly looked glamorous – to a bug with a two-month lifespan and chronic blood-breath.

Squish gothic

Then one morning, Ilene saw an ad in Mosquito’s Digest for a plastic surgeon/geneticist in Argentina who could transform even a tiny mosquito like her into a relatively accurate genetic approximation of a Diplodocus, a giant dinosaur who usually lived past 140. For only a few thousand euros, Ilene could finally buy the dream and live an elite existence that her mosquitohood had denied her only a few easy monthly payments ago.

She almost broke her proboscis, pulling it out rapidly before she flew home to grab her credit card and overnight bag.

The operation was a success. She also got free Diplodocus lessons and a foster family to guide her along. Within a few weeks, she was one of the gang. A happy and gigantic land animal.

Her new species went extinct a few decades later. She never had kids.

** a mosquito flies by**

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The Happy Earth

March 21, 2013

The Happy Earth

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(From the Cub Club Bedtime Stories collection)

Deep in the Milky Way stood the Happy Earth. This planet had been blessed with water, oxygen, and carbon-based food sources. These wonderful features bestowed upon the planet life-forms like us polar bears, which is why it was labeled “The Happy Earth” by its glad-to-be-alive human inhabitants.

One day a few thousand years ago, a human entrepreneur noticed that the Happy Earth had grown colder, and it was difficult for many entrepreneurs to find food to sell. He placed a small carpet on the ground and knelt down to speak directly to the planet.

“Happy Earth, why do you let us starve in the cold? This is unpleasant and unfair.”

The Earth pondered for a while, almost falling asleep in the process. Then he spoke: “Gentle Entrepreneur, take the water from my rivers and flood the great plains to grow more food than you need. You can then sell the surplus and buy status symbols and thrill rides.”

The entrepreneur looked confused: “But Happy Earth, I can’t change the flow of your waters. This would destroy the fish and animals who depend on their fragile complexity.”

The Happy Earth replied: “Do as I say. Redirect the flow of my great rivers.”

And the entrepreneur did so, and there was much food for all. Of course, this new food was mainly starch-based and the people who grew it had to remain sedentary, but the entrepreneur and his associates got to buy a lot of status symbols with the surplus.

Happy Earth MicrophoneA few decades later, the entrepreneur panicked when the Happy Earth flooded a large agricultural zone, endangering the lives of an entire civilization and its consumers. He placed his new designer carpet on the ground and knelt down to speak directly to the planet once again.

“Earth, why do you damage the very agricultural zones that you have counseled us to create? Now, many thousands of people have no food, and these agricultural workers have long lost the ability to hunt and forage.”

The Happy Earth spoke with much sadness: “Gentle Entrepreneur, take the sand from my mountains and use this sand to block the waters whence they flood.”

Once again, the entrepreneur hesitated: “But if I remove so much soil, this will create great scars on your beautiful complexion, disturbing the spectrum of land animals and destroying life-rich wetlands.”

But as with the previous suggestion, the Happy Earth insisted that the entrepreneur do as he said, and all of his mountains were subsequently flattened in order to block all the rivers at strategic points. The civilization was saved and its population doubled every few years, which lead to many new status symbols for the entrepreneur.

This process of technology-failure leading to more and more invasive technology continued until the Happy Earth was a giant, lifeless, grey rock with few species left on it. Among complex mammals, only us polar bears and a few aggressive human entrepreneurs remained. And a lot of lesion-pocked reptiles.

The entrepreneur, on his deathbed, knelt one last time to ask the Happy Earth for another bit of advice on how to progress. By now, the carpets under his feet were laden with gold and platinum strands. “Happy Earth, what will we do now that you have no more rivers, mountains, air, or food?”

The expensive rug beneath him then trembled as another human dug his way out of the underground bunker he had been living in for many years.

“Gentle Entrepreneur, I’m not really the Earth. I’m another human entrepreneur like yourself. I was just trying to motivate you to do exciting things because I was so bored in my cave.”

And then they both died of heat exhaustion.

Amen.

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The Three Big Humans and the Wolf

June 8, 2012

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(From the Cub Club Bedtime Stories collection)

One upon a time, there were three Big humans. These three Big humans were from very different classes, but one thing they had in common was that they all hated the wolf. Their Big holy books even compared the wolf to death and torture.

Every time these Big humans fail at something collectively, they blame the poor little wolf. And after a few thousand years of failure, they have had enough of trying to co-exist with him. So they set about building three different kinds of artificial environments to live in – Big environments that will be wolf-free.

The first Big human builds his Big house out of straw. To do this, he alters the flow of a river and irrigates some geometrically-arranged rows of GMO straw plants. He also scrapes a Big human posse together and terrorizes some other smaller humans into slavery to work the straw. The slave-built house is beautiful and functional with its symmetrical cone shape.

But a week later, a windstorm blows it down. And then the dry straw catches fire and burns. Wind and sun. The  survivors curse the wolf and regroup.

The second Big human – a bit more aggressive and ruthless than the first – decides to use more invasive technology to build an even BIGGER artificial environment. Rather than harvesting straw, he has an entire forest cleared (next to the river that was diverted) and uses all the survivors of the first house – slaves and non-slaves alike – as slaves to build his own Big human house out of wood and wood products.

For the first few months, it looks like this new-and-improved BIGGER house has won against its arch-enemy – nature (the wolf). But then winter comes, and the winds whip through the treeless forest at a higher speed than ever and knock down the termite-eroded structure in a few days. This time, the collapsing wooden structure kills all its inhabitants – Big and small.

Finally, the third and BIGGEST human – a former serial-killer turned cult leader – claims he has the ultimate solution to the wolf problem.

He quickly goes about finding some new slaves to work the riverbed that is now dried up because of the change of ground cover. He has these terrified workers dredge up all the clay and kiln-bake it into bricks.

Over the course of five back-breaking months, the slaves build the third Big human a strong and gigantic mansion made of brick, carved stone, and human-remains-reinforced cement. It is such a strong structure that it receives architecture and engineering awards. And as hard as they try, the loathsome wind simply can’t blow it down and the nasty termites are unable to eat its structure.

Five years later, the riverbed from which the bricks have been dredged overflows and the resulting flood drowns all the humans who have survived the other ecological catastrophes. And that’s why we Polar Bears write the stories now.

Amen.

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School Shrink

December 28, 2011

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Penelope Bailout, the school psychiatrist, isn’t really a trained doctor. She just got tired of teaching logic and math to bears who really needed health and guidance.

“Cindy, I want to talk about you trying to hurt yourself this morning. Other than to look gangster, why did you jump an oil truck?”

“Well, last week, we learned in Modern World Problems about how humans destroyed the world and got attacked by all the other animals as they were all going extinct. So that got me thinking: what if we polar bears do the same thing? What if we get so enslaved by our own daily routines that we forget about the really important but banal facts of life? What if we get so scared of nature and of dying that we end up destroying the earth with our technology and consumption?”

Miss Bailout scrunches up her eyebrows and pulls on one of her long whiskers. “Well, I guess that could happen, Cind. But even if this does happen – and I hope it doesn’t – how could jumping onto an oil truck and laying across the windshield help prevent it?”

Cindy speaks quickly, as if she has been writing a manifesto. “If I can show everyone that I’m not afraid of dying, then maybe everyone can see that it’s alright to die, and so they’ll let everyone and everything else… live.”

The school shrink scribbles something into her black velvet binder.

After a long pause, Cindy hands back her youth distress questionnaire: “Listen, Miss Bailout, I just want people to know that fear is worse than anything you can be afraid of. Humans, with all their fears and defenses, were just dinosaurs part two.”

Miss Bailout rises from her seat and walks towards the door to let Cindy out. “It’s true that humans and dinosaurs were similar. But not us, Cindy. Dinosaurs and humans didn’t live in igloos or live simply by consuming just the yearly surplus of nature like we do.

We P-Bears are going to make it after all.”

**Miss Bailout makes the volleyball team’s P-Bear sign with three fingers**

Turn to Stone

February 15, 2011

turn to stone

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.

Six years later in Modern World Problems class, Cindy sits at the same table as Van and Suvee while Miss Glaciermelt talks about the last years of humanity; the Pre-Post-Humanity era.

Miss G: “As the climate changed, the ocean’s chemical composition mutated, and the ecosystems of the earth started to fail. And then many of the non-human animals started attacking humans. Even their pet dogs and cats – their fluffy domesticated hug slaves – started hacking their masters to death with their claws.

Tell us, Cindy, how many squirrels would it take to kill an average-sized polar bear?” Miss Glaciermelt stops and bites her upper lip with her lower teeth.

Cindy’s face pales and a frown takes shape as the skin droops off her skull. She is starting to experience the same squirrel terror that she felt that night with her dad in front of the rusty old Sam Walton statue.

The teacher leans on Cindy’s laptop:

Miss G: “Let us know when the flashback’s over.”

Miss Glaciermelt is the most inappropriate teacher at Saint Teddy Consolidated. She seems to be reveling in Cindy’s panic attack – rolling around in Cindy’s pain to try to cover the smell of her own fear.

Miss Glaciermelt

The lecture continues, but Cindy’s completely tuned out and thinking about the squirrels that time in the park. Squirrels finally went extinct in her freshman year, at which point her frightened mother famously said, “Good riddance!” Cindy cried for three months,and almost failed Grade 10 because of this thoughtless remark by Orca. Parents don’t always understand the fears of their own children – they’re only bears themselves.

Cindy finally reemerges from her flashback, and scrambles to put together a decent question to make up for not paying attention earlier on. She needs participation points this semester because of a C- on her mid-term.

Cindy clears her throat:

Cindy: “Um, Miss Glaciermelt, today’s lesson has been problematic. I mean, isn’t it strange how the humans are always the bad guys in our Modern World Problems class. What about the other species, like us? Weren’t we just as invasive and greedy as the humans were? Didn’t we abuse technology as well?

And also, why the heavy emphasis on human sushi consumption? Isn’t this just a reflection of the polar-bear-o-centrism of our texts? I don’t think raw fish ever made up more than 1% of the human diet. What other polar bear features do we superimpose on these creatures that – now that they’re extinct – can’t represent themselves?

This entire lecture reeks of what Ed-bear Sayeed calls Humanentalism?”

Miss Glaciermelt freezes. Has Cindy been reading her parents’ college textbooks? How could a 16-year-old girl know so much about orsopocentrism and post-colonialism?

Miss G: “Thank you, Cindy. You may have a valid point.”

Squirrel Express

October 12, 2010

squirrel express

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“Daddy, what’s a pinner?” asks Cindy between gulps of simulated soy-milk.

“Cindy honey, I thought you were asleep. Did you hear Mommy and Daddy telling college stories?”

“Daddy, can we go to the park and make sure the squirrels are alright?”

At her elementary school that day, Cindy and her class watched a documentary about squirrels and how they might be the next victims of climate-caused extinction. According to the Squirrelologists in the video, permanent winter was proving to be more deadly to their survival then the century-long rainy summer that preceded it.

At recess after the movie, Cindy heard other bears skipping and chanting: “How many squirrels did the weather kill? One million… Two million… Three million…” She went behind a tree and cried.

“Okay, honey. If you’re that worried about those poor little furries, how about if we go feed them in Humanity Memorial Park?”

Cindy hugs him. “Oh, Daddy! I’ll get dressed right away!”

squirrel express small

..

Rusty looks in the refrigerator for something that squirrels might like to eat and finds cranberries leftover from a Xmas tree decorating party.

As Cindy whisks down the stairs, Daddy hands her the bag, and then they slide down the ice hill all the way to the giant, broken statue of Sam Walton at the entrance gate of Humanity Memorial Park.

As they enter the park, a few very lean black squirrels pop their heads out of trees to see what’s going on.

Cindy sees a single squirrel approaching cautiously, opens the bag of cranberries and begins to toss them – one at a time – on the ground. She leaves lots of space between them so they don’t fight.

Within minutes, there are a dozen squirrels circling around the two polar bears. A few minutes later, there are hundreds.

The gang of hungry squirrels starts to hiss and lunge at the bears’ paws. Cindy tries to scream when a squirrel scratches the fur off her the middle toe of her left paw, but she’s too frightened to let enough air escape. She stands there – frozen – unable to close her mouth or run.

“Daddy, they’re… everywhere. I’m really scared.”

“Don’t worry, Cind. We’re the mightiest and most blood-thirsty animals left on earth.”

“Daddy, they look more everything-thirsty than us.”

Rusty and little Cindy throw the rest of the bag of cranberries onto the icy ground and run home where they bolt-lock the door and put a refrigerator against it.

Bestmount Bears

August 10, 2010

bestmount 2

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Orc: “I am totally walking in there right now with this beer!”

Orc is losing her cool in the icy lineup of cologne-drenched punk posers in front of Club Glace on Stanley Street. Having to wait on the sidewalk before she can get into the club to dance and drink gin always pushes her into existential crisis mode.

Rusty interrupts her call to arms.

Rusty: “Hey, you were the one who couldn’t leave residence until your curls were firm enough. I told you we’d have to wait in line if we got here after eleven.”

Orc’s curls are important. Many hours of her life have been spent pursuing full, rich white curls like Annie Bearito has on television. That the curls on television are the product of lighting effects and special hair treatments that only last the time to shoot a scene … this is not important to Orca. What matters is getting the exact same results in real life as she has witnessed on TV.

Orc: “Oh Rusty, I totally don’t give a shit about anything anymore. Let’s smoke another pinner. I hate fucking waiting outside like this. I totally feel like cattle waiting to be culled.”

Rusty: “What’s the point of smoking pinners if you are going to smoke a dozen of them, Orc, sweetie. Let’s just get out a blowtorch and do some knives, why don’t we.” Michel Foucault eye-roll as he whips out a pre-rolled pinner.

A shortish female bear with green fur overhears the conversation and cuts in.

Nathalie: “Hey, are you two from Bestmount?”

Bestmount is an elite, inner-city suburb of Yukon Bay. It’s built on the side of the mountain on top of some of the last remaining blue space in the city. It’s high end in just about every way.

But instead of feeling like he’s been complimented, Rusty takes this as an insult, and goes straight home on the monorail without saying another word, leaving Orca and her friend Flora to share the just-lit pinner. There is just something about being mistaken for the upper classes that makes Rusty worry about melting ice and who is eventually going to take responsibility for it.

It sure isn’t going to be him. He’s just a furry white trash polar with nice proportions – not some hubristic rich bear with visions of world domination.

You’re Orange!

July 1, 2010

you're orange 2

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In the Duran Duran video, the president of the Western Human Federation sings out:  “Stop thinking and start dreaming!- And everybody out there, here’s a new dream!” In the background, two young males with extremely geometric haircuts walk across a field of solar panels at sunrise. Exploiting Simon Lebon’s semi-castrato voice, the vapid lyrics of “This must be Sunrise for Humania!”  imply that humanity is fed up with living under the tyranny of another species.

In real life, manipulative and repetitive texts like the lyrics of this fluffy pop song are a huge success for the corporations that sponsor them. They help ensure that nothing is done to deal with the side effects of all the environmental destruction their profit-seeking model leaves in its wake.

As Rusty watches the video and thinks about the subtext, he finds it harder and harder to concentrate on his schoolwork. All he can think about is the ice melting below his feet which he describes as totally and intense. Oh, and he often feels angry about what a bunch of opportunistic posers Duran Duran are.

Now Simon is crooning the refrain:

**This must be sunrise for Humania!**

Orca has just gotten out of a Post-Human Studies class and feels like she’s going to explode if she doesn’t share the lecture with someone.

Orca chews sugar-free gum and rolls her eyes like Michel Foucault:  “Enlightenment luminaries thought liberal democracy was going to be all Lebanese food and togas. But it totally turned into zombies and oil slicks instead.” She holds in her toke.

Rusty, seduced by her worldly eye-roll, exhales and then slowly asks: “Orc, since tonight’s Thursday, you wanna go downtown to the Glace? The drinks are like, totally half-price.”

Orca:  “The club is G – L – A – C – E, right?  It’s pronounced like glass and it means ice in French, Rusty?”  Her frown suggests that Rusty’s like totallies are cramping her after-school academia.

..

orange paw 2

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“Do you wanna go dancing or not?”

Dancing and following trends is Rusty’s way of legitimizing his existence here since he’s doing so badly at Snobordia University. He rarely attends lectures and seems oblivious to the fact that he’s not building the strategic social capital he will need to thrive in the corporate world later on. He continues to break a piece of hash into tiny spheres on Orca’s residence-issue desk.

Then Orc goes:  “I’m still kind of fucked up from last weekend. I’m totally never staying up all night on acid with you guys again! I almost missed my Psychology class Monday afternoon, and it was at like two in the afternoon! I think my circadian rhythms are totaled.”

It’s the first use of totally never this week, so we laugh. Our homemade laugh track is very important to us. And every 27 minutes, we feel the need to talk about products and then go to station identification.

**This must be sunrise for Humania!**

Technology and the Little Bears

August 19, 2009

tech and bears 2

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The soundtrack above is playing on Bimmer’s toy radio when the glass door slides open. “There’s no airbag in real life, boys. You just go right through the windshield, split your head wide open and die!” Old Bear Roger has been listening to their storytelling the whole time.

“Roger, you scared my fur right off!” gasps little Bimmer.

“Well, I must be going on home now,” chugs the old bear. “I really like how you integrated wiki articles into your little story, lads.” And off he goes into the frozen air, back past the Climate Institute, avoiding the oil mercenaries on ANWAR hill.

“I’m sort of scared, Range,” adds Bimmer. “Maybe we should go downstairs and play with the girls’ barbies just to calm down. I’m not gay or anything. I’m just kinda nervous.”

“I used to find barbies sort of faggy too, Bim, but if it’ll help you sleep, why not. I’m confident enough in my bearhood that I think it can withstand the occasional fashion drama.”

They head to the girls’ room and quietly sneak out with a nice set of tastefully-attired dolls.

Ten minutes into a mediocre round of How do you like this outfit?, Bronc’s doll has a flash of doll-playing brilliance. “I just discovered an amazing new technology, Rangina. Want to try it out? It’ll revolutionize your life…”

“Why sure, Nurse Bella!” Ranger walks his Chanel-knock-off-cloaked Barbie over towards “Nurse Bella,” Bronco’s nurse-uniform-wearing counterpart.

Bronc whips out a can of industrial varnish and gently sprays a few wisps onto Rangina’s hard, round cheeks. Putting on an exaggerated high female voice, he says: “I am not endorsing or soliciting anything, but I just know that this product will give you a lively complexion and a glow that Ken will love!”

He empties the entire can into the trendy doll’s smiling face.

“I LOVE my new look!” shrieks Rangina in a faux-excited  Barbified voice. But then, the doll’s plastic hair catches fire from combustion with the varnish fumes and Ranger drops the glamorous melting clump of plastic onto the snowy tundra.

“Oh, I think my face is melting, Nurse Bella!” Ranger giggles. “Maybe you should have tested your product a bit more.”

“I’m not really a nurse. The nurse outfit is just a way of branding my technology. It gives it a science feel.”

And on that note, Nurse Bella hops into her convertible and  drives quickly to the next town where the local Barbies have never heard of her or her “revolutionary” product or service.

Little Bear Authors

July 7, 2009

little  bear authors

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..

Ranger and Bronc have decided to avoid Old Bear Roger. His terrifying stories are making sleep difficult, and Ranger has started picking the fur off his inner thigh because of what his beariatrician calls Generalized Environmental Anxiety.

“Bronc, until we get our Internet and games back, let’s make our own stories instead of getting Old Bear Roger to come over and creep us out with his,” suggests Ranger. “This way, we can stop them just before they get too scary. Or slap on a happy ending.”

Ranger nods. “That’s a great idea, Bronc! I already have an idea for a story. I wanna tell about how airbags were a form of military-industrial propaganda back in the human days.”

“How’s that, Range?”

“Well, airbags were supposed to save human lives after they slammed their SUVs into telephone poles, right? Well, in this way they’re sorta like the douce axe machinia that always saves everybody at the end of a scary movie or TV show. No matter how badly the good guys screw up, the airbag saves them from paying the price. With the airbag, you don’t have to assume adult responsibility for your own actions. It’s empowering in a way. It lets you do some pretty violent and dangerous stuff.”

“I think it’s called “Deus Ex-machina,” Range. What does it have to do with airbags? Try to frame your answer using a critical vocabulary. Don’t just rely on folkloric cuteness and terrifying punishments to tell your story, like Roger does.”

Ranger straightens up. He has just written a mid-term test on Critical Polar Bear Discourse. “Well, the airbag acts as a commonly shared metaphor. This symbolic saftey-net manipulates the general public into feeling that automakers and governments will always come up with solutions to whatever damage their previous products cause. ‘In an interstellar burst, they come back to save the universe,’ as that miserable human being Thom Yorke used to sing. This is a type of spin.”

airbag prayer

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Bronc smirks. “So car-makers use a comforting historic symbol that is taken from a commonly shared mythology? Are you arguing that airbags – and perhaps all technology – are miracle signifiers? And that humans treated them as if they were actual miracles from a special magical messiah corporation?

If humans were so good at saving lives with miracles, where did they all go? And how did such smart creatures end up believing in magical miracles in the first place?”

They look up at the black-light Star Wars poster on the bedroom ceiling and start chuckling at the airbag cupidity that was so socially accepted just before humanity’s endtime.  “He’ll save us. The airbag will save us!” Ranger laughs so hard that he drops his Spiderman doll.

Bronco continues. “I think it’s a great idea for a story, Range. And why don’t you include the Radiohead song by the same name?”

“I would, but I can’t get the copyrights, Bronc. And anyway, it might be overkill to use a song called Airbag in a story about airbags. Maybe I’ll  just root through Roger’s old record collection to find an obscure Australian techno track, and quote some of the Radiohead lyrics in my story…”

In an interstellar burst

I am back to save the universe.

Bears Running

May 31, 2009

bears running 2

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Bimmer and Tracker stop running from the mobile oil-drilling rigs to catch their breath. They are barely surviving on a light sushi breakfast and two boxes of Cracker Jacks.

Tracker: “What kind of name is Bimmer?”

Bimmer: “I’m named after the Annette Bening character’s SUV in American Beauty,” he replies.

Tracker:“I’m confused. You were named after a celebrity?”

Bimmer:“Her SUV wasn’t a celebrity, it was a product placement, you silly cub.”

Tracker: “But… why would a rich Hollywood writer make a product so important? Doesn’t this take away from the characters and the story? Aren’t the people and the morality of their actions in the movie supposed to drive the plot?”

Just then, the Coca Cola delivery van drives by and Ronald McDonald – the new driver – waves at the running bears. He is driving a brand new, high-end Mercedes T680-X truck.

Bimmer: “I guess he hasn’t seen the oil mercenaries yet.”

They both snicker.

snickers 2

A few minutes later, Bimmer notices Tracker is running a lot more slowly.

Bimmer:“Hey, you wanna take a break and go get some snacks from that Shell station, Track?”

Tracker nods silently – he can’t even find the calories to make complete words.

The Shell station has a food store called a “Snack Shack” attached to the cash where you pay for your gasoline.

Bimmer heads right for the food aisles.

Bimmer:“Hey, where’s your bread and milk, Shell guy?”

Shell guy: “Sorry guys, we’re completely out of food.”

Tracker: “Um… Milk isn’t technically food. Where’s the dairy section? I’d even settle for chocolate milk about now, Shell guy.”

The Shell guy looks all around the store as if he is trying to find bread and milk in the air molecules between the shelves.

Shell guy:“Sorry guys,” he weakly sighs. “I don’t have any more bread or milk or anything edible. Just gasoline and oil and scratch lottery tickets. Oh, and my name is Randy, and not Shell Guy.”

So the bears starved to death, and died even sooner from drinking a bit of gasoline when they got really dehydrated. The end.

—–

Ranger: “What a miserable story, Old Bear Roger!”

He finishes his bedtime Evian water.

OBR: “Well at least you won’t be having nightmares about giant hands tonight,” he reminds everyone as he turns off the light.

In one more week, Old Man Roger will be back at the Senior’s Residence and the bears will be able to return to their virtual lives.

hungry bears 2

One Claw

May 25, 2009

one claw 2

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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.

Bear Chaps

May 14, 2009

bear chaps 2

soundtrack

Fast forward, a million years, you walk into a gay bar made of ice blocks…

“CJ, where can I get a fresh one of these?”

CJ dangles a long empty beer bottle in front of his Dodge Power belt buckle, taunting Rusty with a dumb smirk.

Rusty and CJ have been buds for years. They met while attending an Ice Flow Regeneration seminar here in Iqualuit a dozen years earlier. And now, here they are at their tenth seminar on the same subject, still swinging empty bottles.

They’re both husky and strong-looking bears, so neither one of them suspects the other one of being a furry piston, and they both have the professional grace of inventing absentee girlfriends to fill in gaps in personal conversations. Rusty calculates, incorrectly, that CJ is just being a man-pig right now, and not a flirt.

“CJ, are you sure you want another beer? You’re going to go extinct tonight – if you know what I mean.”

“I know my limits…”  CJ stumbles against the white leather bar as he fails to finish his sentence, forgetting that he is in the middle of one.

“That’s it, Ceej. You’re coming back to the hotel right now.”

Rusty calls a taxi with his cell.

When the cab arrives, it’s a pink Cadillac driven by a model wearing green plastic spiked heels.

“Hey, since when does Barbie drive a cab?” CJ asks as they’re whisked off to the Conference Center at the Royal Kinderlesse Hotel.

Pax Barbie

April 23, 2009

pax barbie header 2

soundtrack

Cher and Tundra are still working the Barbies after all these years.

Tundra: “Cher, let’s hop into the Jeep and go to the beach!”

Cher: “That otta be easy now that the beach is way much closer than it used to be.”

Polar Bear culture takes Barbies seriously. After floods drowned mankind and destroyed most human artifacts, the plastic, hollow Barbies survived for centuries because they floated to the surface in islands of plastic rubble like New York and London. Plastic takes several generations to bio-degrade even under the best weather conditions, and you could hardly call the non-stop freezing rain of the last few centuries “ideal.”

The irony of plastic Barbie’s Darwinian survival doesn’t escape their furry post-apocalyptic owners.

Cher is usually the instigator in their Barbocentric Consumer dramas, so she dramatically turns to Tundra in mock horror.

Cher: “Oh no! The Jeep is being fire-bombed by GI Joes! Quick, Silvie, swerve!”

Tundra takes on the same pretend-fearful tone.

Tundra: “I can’t swerve, Cher! Eco-terrorists have cut the brake cables and the steering controls!”

And then, staring at each other ecstatically, they yell:

Both bears: “Oh my God! They’re suffocating on the badly-designed air bags!”

It’s the same ending every time – the Barbies always end up suffocating in their own battery-powered toys.

The two furry she-bears collapse into a ball of laughter and Arctic friskiness. Once again, their Barbies have died of acute Consumerism. This ending always feels good – it’s like homeopathic medicine.

Then Cher flares her nostrils and thinks aloud.

Cher: “I can smell pot downstairs. Let’s run down and try to freak out Rav and Bronco.”

india bear

Meanwhile, downstairs in the living room, Bronco fondles his girlfriend while they smoke a massive cone joint together.

Rav: “Bronco! What are you doing! That’s my scrotum!”

Bronco: “Scrotum? But it said you were my GIRL-friend in the prequel.”

Rav: “Well then, the prequel got it half right.”

Rav is a visiting exchange bear from Madras, India. Because of the very different polar bear customs in his part of India, many of the residents of Veggie Hamlet think he’s a girl. With polar bears, the difference is, at most, pretty subtle. Sex between them is usually a blur of ecstatic muscular sensations and white fur – so gender roles are often put aside in the name of efficiency.

Bronco: “Rav, can we still fondle even though we’re both he-bears?”

Bronco’s voice trembles a bit as he looks at Rav’s big, meaty gym arms.

Just then, Tundra and her friend Cher come tearing down the stairs, waving blond plastic hair.

Tundra: “Our barbies say they want to go for a drive in the beach bus again! But the airbags aren’t up to EU standards. What should we do, Bronc?”

Bronco and Rav quietly chuckle. Will these girl-bears ever learn the difference between play and reality?

Rav coughs up a bit of pot smoke as he looks up at Tundra’s  face.

Rav: “Dude, they’re just barbies. Do their hair, dress them in green plastic boots and a princess dress, and take them to a ball. That’s all they really need.

Leave the beach bus with G.I. Joe.”

 

Tundra Visits the Climate Institute

March 31, 2009

climate institute 3

Soundtrack

Little girl-bear Tundra has just finished walking her little boy-bear neighbor Forester home from school like she does every day.

Now that humanity has been extinct for a few hundred years, the atmosphere is starting to get back to normal, the ice sheets are getting thicker, and smalltown bearlife is returning to pre-Anglo-Exxon-War normalcy.

Tundra is really kind to Forester. She’s kind to mostly everyone she knows. At Bear Camp last year, Tundra volunteered to stay up all night with the smallest bears who were afraid of the dark, and read them stories about car accidents to help them sleep.

But today, little Forester has an errand to run at his uncle Sonoma’s house way over top of ANWR Hill. It will only take a few minutes, so would Tundra mind? Pretty please?

She says “Forester, of course I don’t mind,” and they skip up to the top of the hill.

But as they get there, Tundra spots a large human building that has somehow survived the catastrophic wars and climate changes.

As they approach, they fall into a deep, ominous silence as they read the brass sign over the Mies van der Rohe door. This is the infamous Climate Institute – the last great temple of Anglo-Exxon spin.

Tundra slowly pushes open the over-sized door and, after pausing to prudently remove her sugar-free gum, goes completely berserk. Slicing her extended claws in all directions in the lobby, she dices and claws her way through filing cabinet after filing cabinet of mock reports and doctored studies.

Driven to acute,  sudden insanity by her extinction-evoking surroundings, Tundra can only see her own blood. She shreds papers, over-turns tables, and gleefully shreds the portraits of money-changers hanging on the marble-clad walls. She yells out:  “Spin this, fucktards!” as she rotates a dozen paintings into confetti on her middle finger.

Meanwhile, Forester swallows his gum and tries to think about car accidents.

The Suffering of Anne Bear

March 13, 2009

suffering 2

soundtrack

Bear Petroleum Bros had the best PR in the industry.

They had succeeded in making human beings forget all about their essential Bear connection by using only their initials in their many marketing campaigns, signing off as “BPB: Beyond Polar Bears” in every single advertisement, product placement, and sponsorship.

To neutralize the bad press from their many wars, the bears managing BPB’s PR ordered that raw fish be banned from BPB cafeterias, and then they had a David Suzuki dedication plaque removed from the head office lobby. Any indication that this was a “bear operation” had to be hidden from sight.

The superficial changes just weren’t enough for the protesters.

They came from all over Canada and the US, to Bear Petroleum Bros. HQ in Calgary. And they came armed with petitions and UN resolutions

So Bear management came out to greet the idealistic young protesters, and showed them a movie free of charge. It was called The Suffering of Anne Bear, and here – free of charge – is one short chapter of the best-selling book it was based on:

The Suffering of Anne Bear Chapter 7;  The Iceman Cometh

The rain was so thick today that you couldn’t even see the tiny icebergs of the Arctic Ocean from the kitchen table. It was as if the whole sky was crying for Mommy – still huddled in my mind, starving to death in the corner next to baby Potley as the seagulls eat away at the crumbs of my memory.

The ice fields still haven’t come back, and Poppy came home drunk again and says we’re going to start eating each other unless “the iceman cometh” – whatever that means. Sometimes I wish he hadn’t been the CEO of a major bear-run petroleum company. It brought our family so much pain from other people who wish they’d had all our advantages. If only they knew how much we really suffered.

Yesterday there was a parade near the river. Everybody else’s dad had a mangled SUV from the war, except mine. “I was way too busy wiping your hairy little asses to go make myself a hero killing humans,” he said about a million times. He doesn’t have to do anything like that for me or Minnie.

Still, sometimes I wish we could all eat together as a real family instead of sifting through garbage alone all the time. Being a roobar is no life for a beautiful, young, innocent child like myself. And it might be really nice for my beautiful, innocent family to be able to do something beautiful and innocent together.

If only someone could read my diary or see one of hundreds of big-budget movies based on its candid and heart-warming story.

O Quarante

March 10, 2009

le O-40 2

soundtrack

Hot liquids melt his fur into skin as Rusty eases into the swirling water of the massive jacuzzi. His small, pert backside brushes a water jet that parts the fine white hairs between his cheeks.

He thinks silently to himself as a cloud of artificial fog comes out of one of the disco boxes near the bar:

Someone ought to throw some ice in there once in a while so the mist doesn’t burn your flesh.

Rusty closes his eyes and fantasizes about being the quirky and high strung spokesmodel for Le O Quarante.

“Is there any better way to temporarily forget the decline of our species and the gray misery outside than with a quick fix of steam and flesh at le O Quarante health club and slushee bar?”

This mix of chlorine, the other patrons’ cologne and the pot he voluntarily ingested before the sauna are mixing together to make Rusty feel dizzy and unfocused. Which is exactly what he needs.

Am I stoned? Of course, I’m stoned!  Why wouldn’t I be. Sitting here in this sauna wasted and breathing in chlorinated mist and soap products. After all, I’m a polar bear. What have I go to look forward to? Extinction?

After working in an office all day, role-playing comes easy. But now comes the hard part for after-work Rusty – relaxing. How to relax your polar bear muscles when the fate of the entire world seems to hang on every adjective of every sentence of every conversation. ‘You snooze, you lose,’ is why he drinks so many espressos.

Visualizing Antarctic penguins, he spreads his toes and concentrates on unwinding the nerve endings in his chest and upper thighs as he exhales slowly, like a Buddhist monk creaming his smock.

Rusty’s mind changes gears suddenly:

Hey, isn’t that a grizzly wading into the pool? What the…

I have a major soft spot  – I don’t know why it’s called soft – for bears from other lands. I remember I heard some smart bears at college say something about how this was my way of avoiding intimacy.

But is that really why I chase after gorgeous and healthy brown bears? I mean, I really love being intimate with bears from other lands. If I wanted to avoid intimacy, wouldn’t I stay home instead of seeking this kind of intimacy?

The grizzly emerges from the cold water of the pool and walks right over to the jacuzzi where Rusty is now trying to relax. One of his muscles gets really tense as the small but well-built brown bear submerges his lower abdomen in the chlorinated cauldron and breaks the sauna code of silence.

“Hey, do you know what time this place closes?”

Aaah, a country bear.

Rusty will be sleeping well in a few hours.

Bear Wars 3

March 7, 2009

wars 3 new

soundtrack

No one seems to notice that Rainier has just eaten the last of the sushi rations. But it means that tomorrow, his company will be digging for rusted sardine cans in the bounty-filled landfills of New Jersey.

“Grandma, tell me about the ice sheets again,” he whispers, his voice fading in and out because of the morphine.

“Well, we used to walk on huge sheets of ice, bigger than a football field, and sometimes we would float for hundreds of kilometers just digging fish out of the water with our bare claws.”

“You mean bear claws, don’t you Grandma?” Rainier grins as he catches a whiff of some laughing gas vapors wafting over from the next cot.

Her grandson’s double entendre seemingly lost on her, Grandma suddenly rises from her seat at the hospital, and walks over to the plexiglass window. An SUV is moving in the football-field-sized parking lot. The enemy is still out there.

So she walks out of the hospital carrying just an Awake magazine and a box of inexpensive visiting chocolates, and marches right up to the vehicle – a slightly damaged Kia Sorento.

“Excuse me, do you know if you’re allowed to park here after 6 on weekends?” the commuter asks, not noticing that he’s talking to a large polar bear carrying religious literature and low-quality sweets in a colorful box.

“Excuse me, do you know if we’re allowed to survive after the Twentieth Century’s industrial disasters?” Grandma cleverly responds as she quickly shreds his internal organs and thinks about how sweet avocado and wassabe will taste with them.

Bear Wars 2

March 6, 2009

wars 2 new

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“Basking Ridge: Population 66,666. Average commute: 66.6 minutes. Percent of population that drives to work: 66.6%”

Rainier couldn’t believe what he was reading in Evangelopedia. This was probably the most anti-Bear, anti-paradise city in all of Anglo-Exxonia – at least according to the link he clicked on.

His company had been deployed to New York City where they easily blended in with the semi-homeless musicians of the lower East Side in their avant-garbage winter fashions.

“All those sixes. I don’t know what to think…” Rainier’s voice faded into the hissing of razor-claw missiles landing on the Jersey City side of the Holland tunnel.

Private Rainier was a brave, well-spoken young bear, but his voice grew thin with hunger. He had spent the last four hours vomiting up chemical-laden fish his company had found floating in the Hudson River the night before. Electric sushi, they called it.

At that moment, an SUV packed with escaping commuters failed to stop at their Holland Tunnel Bear checkpoint. Vue, a new recruit from Ellesmere Island (ice melted three months after the war started), pounced on the sport-utility vehicle and accidentally went through the windshield feet-first, her lower claws tearing off the skin of the driver’s face.

“Oops,” she giggled.

Tonight they would dine on something more substantial than the anemic trout with bleeding lesions from the day before. It’d be electric sushi with face scraps for everyone!

(Watch for “Bear Wars 3,” coming soon to a blog near you)


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