Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Triumph of the godless killing machines.

Bear World, distant land teeming with the cruelest beasts in all creation. It requires a trek too arduous to contemplate, deep into the Idaho wilderness. Few return alive, and those who do return alive pray for death.

And yet we embarked. We were afraid, but as Anonymous once said,

"Daring deeds are not done by fearless hearts, but by ordinary hearts who've had a few too many."

So drunk on Dasani, loud music, and excessive quantities of salt-and-vinegar chips, we finally rolled through the Gates of Doom.

First ring of the Inferno: the gift shop. Brilliant strategy. Make the bears look plush and cuddly and we will enter their trap without a struggle. It is curious to note, however, that despite their best efforts, the capitalist vampires were unable to serve up much in the way of non-creepy bait. Witness:

Zombie bear wants squirrel for lunch. But you are dinner.

Hangover bear offers you all the booze you can drink. After the third beer, your head turns up missing.

Severed, floating bear head keeps on a-smiling. You think you're safe because he has no stomach? Think again.

Friendly toilet paper dispenser bear waits until you're at your most vulnerable before attacking. Yes, the t.p. rod doubles as a light saber.

Of course they have to brainwash the kiddies, too.

And the lowest of the low: a bear posing as the Son of God. Sick, sick, sick.

Also in the bear-tivity: a bear in sheep's clothing. Need I say more?

Not to be outdone, the moose-tivity offers up a moose in sheep's clothing.

And the barnyard-tivity contributed a sheep in shepherd's clothing. Will the perversity never end??

But I digress.

Dosed on warm fuzzies, we stumbled out of the gift shop a little poorer and a lot giddier. But there was something in the air.... a hazy foreboding? The stale stench of death?

Next stop: the baby bear enclosure. Tumble, wrestle, prance -- sweet teddy bears come to life! There is nothing amiss, Dear Visitor. Behold the cuddly cubs! They love you! You love them! Love will conquer bloodlust! LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED!

Devious hippie bears.

And then the amusement park rides, where all bears are jolly roly-polies.

"If you are shorter than this, you'll only make the appetizer plate."

"Ho, ho, ho! Jump into my tummy and I'll take you for a spin!"

"Don't cry, little child! Bears aren't scary at all -- what's scary is alien grapes falling from trees!"

"And what bear could compete with the raw horror of living-dead clowns?"

"Or the bladder-emptying terror of a deranged clown coaster?"

"No, really, Silly! The bears don't want to eat you! See? You get to eat the bears! Yummy, yummy bear fries! Show those bears who's boss!"

Next they lure you on the so-called Curator Tour. "Feed The Wildlife," says the sign (in gratuitous quotation marks), suggesting that you are in control. They herd you into a truck, lock you in, and haul you away.

On the way they point out the frolicking mountain goats. They introduce you to Buffalo Bill the jolly buffalo and Jane Doe the gentle doe. They show you the majestic and rare white elk and her white elk baby, as lovely and serene as unicorns. While you are craning your neck toward these wonders, they drive you into The Bear Enclosure....

First they park you at the grizzly compound. Nine hundred pounds of hairy evil pacing up and down like the Devil himself. You shudder in terror, but they are quick to comfort you. "Silly tourists! These bears eat Twinkies and little powdered donuts! They're as fat and harmless as Homer Simpson! Throw them Twinkies, folks!"

Next, the black bears. "Look how they sit up and clap for the donuts, folks! Aren't they adorable? Don't you just want to hug and snoodle them? They love you, too!"

At this point, we were quite charmed. Maybe I've been wrong about bears, I thought. And maybe Stephen Colbert is wrong, too. Maybe they aren't really godless killing machines. Maybe they just get a bad rap.

I was holding a treat absentmindedly as I watched the black bears clap for their food. "Cutie pies!" I exclaimed. When I looked down, a mean-looking sucker was standing below me, drooling. "He really wants that bread!" laughed the tour guide.

Or was it my hand that he wanted?

Miraculously no one got mauled on the Curator Tour, and they unloaded us at the baby bear pen. "That wasn't so bad!" we told each other. "Let's drive through again, but this time in our car, so we can see them up super close. We were silly to be afraid -- they just want to be our fuzzy-wuzzy buddies!"

So off we went for another visit. We saw a bear bound up a tree like a deranged super-villain. "Awwww, how cute!" we cooed. We saw four angry bears fighting. "What a fun game!" we exclaimed. We bopped along, brainwashed, until a big bear ambled out in front of the car. He bent down and sniffed the front bumper. "Tee hee," we said. "Mister Bear likes Hondas!" But before we knew what hit us.....

....he hopped up on the hood of the car! He turned his massive head and eyed the squealing Sharon over the steering wheel. Drool dripped from his lower fang as he paused a moment to savor our distress and then....

....he sat down on the windshield, as if to say, "kiss my fuzzy brown butt, feeble humans!" I swear I saw him smile as he peeked over his shoulder at our flailing and wailing. "A tank full of tasty lobsters -- which should I choose first?"

Sharon honked for the ranger and we waited, breathless, for help to come. Meanwhile, the monster scrambled up on the roof of the car to sharpen his teeth and ponder life at the top of the food chain.

Finally, we spotted the white ranger truck coming through the trees. "Hooray for the ranger! We're saved!"

But then he stopped.

He pulled out a camera and took a picture.

Before we could holler obscenities at him, a massive paw crashed through the front passenger window, and scooped Jen out of her seat. The sounds grew louder on the roof of the car. The screams, the crunching, the suck-suck-suck of juices. The stuff of nightmares. We heard her yell, "Drive! Drive! Save yourselves!" Sharon slammed on the accelerator, but she was too late -- the bear was done with his appetizer and ready for the main course. As we sped away, the bear slipped through the broken window like a pudgy Duke of Hazzard and started pouring ketchup on Sharon's head. Doubly cruel when you consider how much Sharon hates ketchup.

This was the moment of truth. Would I pause to snatch my friend from the jaws of death? Would I confront the hairy tyrants of this earth with a fearless eye and a swift uppercut?

I opened the rear door and ran for the back gate, blubbering like a fool.

The gate attendant greeted me with a bright smile. "Did you enjoy your drive through the bear habitat?"

I gasped and gestured toward the car, my clothes drenched in blood and ketchup.

"Lucky you -- you've been selected for a special candid shot! Be sure to stop at the Photo Den on your way out -- and have a great day at Bear World! Buh-bye, now!"

Still dazed, I stumbled obediently toward the Photo Den.

Another grinning blonde greeted me. "Ohhh....you're the one from the blue Civic! Aren't you the lucky one -- a real Bear Encounter! Won't your friends be impressed!"

I whimpered something about an ambulance.

"Oh, that won't be necessary -- it's all over now. But there's no need to be upset -- it's just the Circle of Life, and they went quickly. Plus we've got a special offer for you! Our ranger got a photo of the bear on your car! What price can you put on a picture of your friends' final moments? Well, here at Bear World we only charge ten dollars!"

"Sick blood sucker!" I protested. "Trying to cash in on my despair! Plus, I bought the Super Fun Pass, and I get 10% off ALL PHOTOS!"

"Hmph," she sniffed. "Okay -- nine dollars. So do you want one, or not?"

"Well, yeah -- of course. Otherwise people will say I made the whole thing up. Oh, and do you have anything to remove blood stains?"

"Pick up a stain stick in the gift shop on your way out. Show them this Death and Dismemberment Discount Card for an extra 5% off. Thanks for visiting Bear World, and come again soon!"


Rachel said...

Poor Sharon and Jen. At least you made it out alive with your camera.

sharonsfriendjen said...

That was the best story telling I have heard!! I laughed SO hard I cried. Some of the tears were however from that fateful moment when the bear "attacked". Gives me chills.

Marie said...

Rachel -- if I said that the camera was attached to my wrist, would you believe me? I would never save a camera over a friend. Well, not unless the friend was a goner.

Jen -- I'm so touched that you came back from the dead to read my blog! So how is heaven? Are there any bears?

sharonsfriendjen said...

There aren't any bears here. After all they are Godless Killing Machines. Heaven is nice. Jesus sends his love. Yay, for me the internet is available here, what would I do without your blog??

Belladonna said...

Personally, I think those salt and vinegar chips are just plain nasty.

But to each their own.

Rachel C. said...

Bestest best post evah. Thanks for the entertainment!

Marie said...

Belladonna -- they're the only chips worth eating! Oh, how I love them. I could probably save a lot of calories by just sucking on them and then discarding the limp chip which is, after all, just a vehicle for the lovely salt and vinegar.

Rachel C -- Aw, shucks. I'm glad you like it! I see your blog has finally been un-secreted. I will come and read soon -- when I'm not at work -- and confess all my secret wedding obsessions.

April said...

Rachel C. recommended your site, and thank goodness she did! This post was hilarious! (If only I hadn't read it while at work.)

Marie said...

Hiya, April! I hope there were no negative consequences for reading during work. If you got canned, it would just be another victory for the bears. They rejoice in human suffering.

Tristi Pinkston said...

That was seriously hysterical. I'm going to send all my friends to that entry.

Josi said...

holy cow, seriously funny! Have you entered that in a short story contest? hilarious.

lenalou said...

That was classic! Very funny.

I also love salt and vinegar chips -so yummy and bad for one.

Also (in a probably breach of blog etiquette) I just read your old sports/Frank DeFour post and LOVED it. Totally related on many levels, including loving Frank's writing.

lenalou said...

(I'm thinking the etiquette breach was commenting on the wrong post - not reading it). Just to clarify.

But hey, now I've bumped your comment total up. I love extra comments on mine.

Dainon said...

I don't know who you are, but you ARE hilarious. I'm glad the bear didn't eat you.

Hey, It's Ansley said...

Having read a few posts this morning, I think you are the secret Pilates of humor (I'm also breaching blog comment etiquette, or am I just bringing it full circle, a la Jerry and Elaine)? Either way, this post about Bear World is so funny, my abs, they hurt. The bear on the car telling you to kiss his hairy butt, priceless.

Marie said...

Oh, the adulation! My adoring public! I adore you, too! Buy my new book, "How to Write About Nothing," at a bookstore near you.

Seriously -- thanks for reading, guys. You made my day, and it was a day that needed making. Don't buy me flowers, don't call me pretty -- just tell me I'm funny and I'll dance happily to the grave.