Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Tragedy of the Scented Scarf

Scene: A large cave, well lit by torches. An elderly bear sits on a massive aspen throne, wearing a wooden crown and antler shoulder pauldrons and a regal golden cape. He also wears the typical long white wool wig of a judge. Before him are a bespectacled middle aged bear and a trembling adolescent bear. A twelve bear jury is seated behind them. All are silent as Judge LordBear speaks, his voice deep but kind.

"Troubled Youngbear. You have been brought here due to allegations of inappropriate behavior with Nice Old Lady. How plead you?"

"Not guilty, LordBear."

"Troubled Youngbear. Let me be frank. There seems undeniable prima facie evidence that, as four of your brothers have accused, that you are indeed guilty. And specifically, that you ate Nice Old Lady's scarf. What say you?"

"Excuse me, LordBear," said the Bespectacled Chill Lawyerbear. "But no evidence against my client has been presented, and I must-"

"Silence, Lawyerbear!" roared LordBear, pounding his paw on his throne. "We know you visiting Lawyerbears from Humboldt have different ways, more freedom in their courts. But we will not accept it here. And no puns in my court. Bear puns are too easy. Now. Youngbear, you have a piece of blue thread trailing from underneath your tail. What say you?"


"It is the same color as Nice Old Lady's scarf."

"Um. Yes, LordBear."

"Youngbear, this court has no time for such dishonesty. Now, you know what the Badgemen will do. They will hunt you with the Sleepsticks. They will put one Gay Tag in your ear. Who knows what else they do while you sleep. They will leave you quite far away, many days' journey from the Secret Meeting Place. And then there is the matter of justice before your fellow bears. We had a hard time choosing a fair jury of brown and black bears, for Nice Old Lady is beloved in our community. The judgment may be harsh."

"Yes, LordBear."

"Your honor, may I speak?"

"Yes, Laywerbear."

"Sir, there may be an alternate way to prevent the Badgemen from assaulting my client. In Humboldt, the local hippies are very sympathetic to bears, and they allow some leeway in their legal system. What we can do is-"

"We attack! We eat the Badgemen!" Troubled Youngbear rose and looked around the room for support, but the jury only shuddered.

"Silence, Troubled Youngbear!" LordBear angrily pounded both paws on his throne. "You will not even speak of that in this courtroom! The Badgemen also have Ouchsticks. Then you do not wake up. They have millions more Badgemen who will slaughter us for the mere association! They will- Youngbear, why are you trembling?"

"Um, I, um, I'm just so scared here in court, I-"

"Your honor, I do so apologize for this outburst," said Lawyerbear, putting his paw over his client's mouth. "I trust that my far more reasonable proposal may be aired before the court?" LordBear nodded. "Sirs, our laywers in Humboldt have learned of a powerful scroll called an Injunction. We can petition the local SPCA to prevent the assault on the grounds that my client has already endured a troubled youth, and would be further scarred by a forced relocation."

"Very well, Lawyerbear, but this theft and consumption will still anger the Badgemen."

"Please, LordBear, I have a plan. Youngbear, you said earlier that you smelled honey sauce?"


"And Nice Old Lady is known for feeding gourmet treats to local bears?"

"Yes. She made braised venison with cherry honey sauce demiglace and it was really good! And, and then she gave me some more, and some more. But I was still feeling a little peckish, and, and so-"

"And so you ate her scarf because you were hungry?"


"And you smelled honey sauce?"


"And the sauce may have been on the scarf?" Several members of the jury looked at each other, impressed. Even LordBear nodded sagely as Lawyerbear smugly continued. "So you just were hungry for more sauce? And as she left the scarf unattended, hanging on the laundry line, you thought it may have been a gift for you? Right?"

"Um. Uh. Right. Yes, that's right, sir." Yet LordBear frowned, for he could smell a lie.

"Youngbear! I think you are lying to this court again. And we will remember it when we dispense our bear justice." Many jurors nodded. "But now, we must apologize to Nice Old Lady. Fortunately, she has fed me many years, and when she took that sabbatical from cooking at El Bulli, I even assisted her in some dishes. So we shall go apologize now."

"Um. Sir, LordBear, I can't - I mean, we-"

LordBear's face softened. "You cannot apologize to Nice Old Lady?"

"No, sir."

"Well, Youngbear, I am proud of you. For it is right that you should be so ashamed of your actions that you cannot apologize. It shows that you are growing, and learning of responsibility. But you must go, for it is vital to become a less troubled young bear, and soon a recovering young adult bear."

"LordBear, I, um, I...." There was a sudden loud sound as the nervous young bear sprayed the chamber with terrified evacuation. Several jurors were covered, and Lawyerbear put his head in his hands.

"Youngbear!" screamed LordBear, rising and then thudding his whole body into the throne. "You have fouled this chamber!"

"I'm sorry, sir, I'm so sorry!"

"Please, LordBear, my client was so scared, and this only proves the sincerity of his remorse, and-"

"What's that glittering thing over there?" LordBear pointed to one of the jurors, a black and brown bear with something gleaming stuck in her fur.

"Oh Great LordBear," said one of the jurors, "it seems to be an earring."

"Bring it here!" She did so, and LordBear then fixed his gaze on Youngbear. "This looks like Nice Old Lady's earring!"

"Sir, I'm sorry, I-"

"Lawyerbear! You should inform your client that he may be due for a double Gay Tag. Two strikes!"

"Youngbear, this is very serious," said Lawyerbear. "Two tags! Do you understand?"

"No, sir."

"Well. You youngbears follow soccer, right? The World Cup was big news. You saw it, right?" Youngbear nodded. "Remember when I explained that one Gay Tag is like a yellow card? Now, you will have two of them! No leeway!"

"Yes, sir."

"You have to avoid people from now on! And- wait. Is there anything else should know?"

Youngbear shuddered. LordBear stood up, roared, and lumbered down from his throne to yell at YoungBear. "Speak! Out with it! What else did you eat from Nice Old Lady's property?"



"Well, look, I was still hungry, and my widsom tooth really hurt, and Cute Wigglyrump went off with some other bear, and the honey sauce smelled really good, and so I, well, everyone was talking about all the different food, and I wanted something too, and I, well-"


Youngbear looked guiltily at Lawyerbear. "I mean, young sir. Please detail the full scope of your interaction with Nice Old Lady. Did you eat some of her food that she didn't offer to you?"

"Yes. Well, I mean, sort of."

"What did you eat?"

"Um. Her. Sir."

"Dude!" Lawyerbear slumped back in his chair. "You ate a bit of Nice Old Lady?"


"How much?"




The room as silent for a moment, and then the entire jury began looking at each other nervously and chatting. Lawyerbear stood up and slowly backed out of the room. "Esteemed sirs. Your honor, distinguished jurors, unknown young bear. Clearly, I have been to the wrong cave. Please accept my humble apologies as I promptly depart." He turned around and shot out of the room, followed by twelve terrified jurors. The room was then silent again.

"Youngbear?" asked the judge. "Do you understand what this means?"

"Like a yellow card?"

"No, Youngbear. Not even a red card. The Badgemen have the death penalty even for suspicion of association with mankillers. You. Me. Some of them. All dead. Just a matter of time."

"I'm sorry, LordBear."

(Long silence.)

"How did she taste?"

The scene goes dark as a gunshot is heard, followed by a muffled thud.

No comments: