Issue 4, Autumn 2007


A Bear's Plea to Join The Noah's Ark Traveling Show Despite Having Mauled Forty-Two Teenagers
by Robert Lavender


“Then (Elisha) went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, ‘Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!’ So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths” (2 Kings 2:23-24).

Dear Noah’s Ark Traveling Show,

I’m not the bear that shit in the woods. I think you have me confused with an Indian Sloth Bear. Plus, I’m a female. I’d never think of such a thing. That’s why God made caves. And if Noah were still alive, he’d vouch for us. We lived for over a year in the ark you’re pulling all over God’s creation. We know the amount of manure it’ll hold. If not for the storm without, we would have never survived the stench within. So don’t worry about us mucking up the inside or the grounds around the traveling show. We’re sanitary. As a raven can find dead meat, we can find a cave most anywhere.

The first time I witnessed your traveling show I felt something I haven’t felt since the attack on the teens. We watched as the elephants pulled the ark into town. We hid behind trees at the edge of the forest and were so impressed. The elephants were magnificent. Then we peeped through the windows of the ark and saw them performing. We could not keep our eyes open. Can we say, “Boring.”

Yes, we can balance balls on the end of our noses, too. We are quite good at this. But the one thing an elephant can’t do is wrestle a man and never hurt him. The crowd would love this. You talk about tension! You let a man and a bear fight and people will come in droves. That’s why I want you to reconsider my application.

Yes, we know you have never used bears in your traveling show on Noah’s Ark. But, the way I figure it, if I can somehow create joy in your audience, then I’ll feel some sort of redemption for what I did. Plus, we believe we can be more exciting than the boring and sad elephant. At least we’d put a little fear in the audience. So thanks for the reply and for the chance to explain about the felony on my record. All bears have them, by the way. No perfect bear exists. Every bear kills something, just like humans. It’s in our nature. But I know my murderous act made me a caricature, and I’m tired of being the “Man-eater.” 

It seems like a tragedy, but you can’t think of it in those terms. It was like a hired hit. The forty-two teenagers had formed a gang, and they were going through the forest giving everyone a noogie. They started with the bald eagle, and then their noogies spread, until they were giving almost every animal in the forest noogies. It about drove the birds insane. They don’t like it when they get their feathers ruffled. And bears couldn’t even enjoy their bathroom spots without worrying about the teens slipping up behind us to give us a dreadful noogie.

Have you ever had a noogie? They’re not pleasant. They are annoying and considered in the animal kingdom as an act of terrorism. And we’d had enough of these teens, so we called a town hall meeting. There were arguments like those at every town hall meeting.

The bald eagle, the bird’s spokesperson, said, “I don’t know about you, but this noogie crap has to stop. Some of us birds can’t even sing a song or build a nest without their noogie attacks. I say we do something about it and do it NOW!”

Cheers erupted and the next thing I knew, I’d nominated myself, along with Frieda, my girlfriend, to track them down and put a stop to their noogie terrorism. You should have seen the way Frieda looked at me when I nominated her. It was a classic. But I saw this as an opportunity to travel. I hoped those boys would lead us deep into the black forest. I know my father is in there somewhere. This is what my mother told me anyway. She said my father is from the Black Bear clan. She says he didn’t abandon me. She says he went hunting in the black forest one day and never returned. I’ve always been a little skeptical of this, so I hoped those boys would take me right to my father. This was my idea when I nominated us at the town hall meeting. It wasn’t premeditated murder. I never thought through the act of mauling those teens. Bears don’t like the word, “mauling,” by the way. So please don’t say, “Mauled by a bear.” It makes us sound wild or native, so to hear you say that in your letter offended me at first, but I understand. You’re human. I realize that.

Don’t think I’m weird for telling you this, but a prophet of God put a curse on those forty-two teens. That’s what killed them. The teens had this prophet named Elisha cornered in a field near Bethel. They were saying repeatedly, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!”

You should have seen that man’s face. Flames shot from his eyes. It’s my guess—by the way the teens were acting—that they were about to give him a noogie. But before they could, a curse came out of the prophet’s mouth. And being in hearing distance of it, we had to respond. This is the way those types of curses work. The first animal that hears such a curse has to obey. God places certain commands in our DNA that make us do his will. It’s the same for humans. How else could Noah work for over a hundred years on the ark while everyone laughed?

Frieda and I aren’t bloodthirsty man-eaters that go around attacking teens for no reason. We had no choice, and, yes, it was gruesome. I will probably never live it down, but the strange thing is how it felt both holy and evil. I felt as if I had a higher purpose, like God had chosen me. I was going against God’s nature and working for him at the same time. Have you ever felt like this? Have you ever felt like you have a purpose, even though it seems evil?

Hope this letter clears the air. I’m not a wild, man-eating bear. I care about humans. I want to perform and redeem myself. So rest assured, I would never go off and attack the teens in the crowd. That’s not my real nature, nor do I believe it’s God’s real nature to curse forty-two teens because they laughed at an old man’s baldhead and wanted to give him a noogie. I think God is against the bully, and it’s a shame that Frieda and I are suffering the consequences. But that’s life, right?

Please reconsider our bear show. Give us a shot at redemption. We’ll thrill your audience. We promise.

Looking forward to your humble reply,
The Repentant Bear