E WAS FEELING VERY LONELY when he found the bear cub. He was also feeling very drunk, but that had to do with the handle of vodka he had split merrily with The Bass Player.
The bear cub was there, on the side of the road, on the way home from The Bass Player’s off-campus house. It was small, about the size of a bush, and it was eating a glass bottle. He was struck by a sudden feeling of kinship with it. “He likes to drink too!
” He thought, and: “He’s in a bad place. Just like I am
The bear had torn the door off the mini-fridge and had spread coffee grounds across the floor.
He decided to take it back to his dorm.
When he woke up the next morning his head was throbbing and his room was in shambles. The bear had torn the door off the mini-fridge and had spread coffee grounds across the floor. It had ravaged his extensive library of 20th-century literature, and it had peed on his Nintendo 64. Like an angel, it was sleeping on his shredded laundry bag in the corner.
He felt even lonelier than ever. First the rejection from that beautiful, beautiful girl, and now this. He gave The Bass Player a call:
“What do you do if there’s a bear in your room?”
The Bass Player: a logical friend:
“Call animal control. Obviously.”
“The thing is, I think I brought him here.”
“Why would you do that?”
“I felt very alone.”
Then The Bass Player said that he had to get off the phone: his mother was on the other line.
He decided to try and share his feelings with the bear.
“I’ve been so depressed lately,” he said, and it looked up at him with sleepy, chocolate eyes. “I thought you might know how it is. I’m just so solitary these days, and rejection really hurts.”
The bear cub got up and started munching on a boot.
“Mistakes were made, last night and I really didn’t mean to cause you any harm.”
It gave him a soulful look, but had nothing to say. Its teeth were full of faux-leather.
“I mean it,” he said. “I didn’t intend to use you.”
It was as he said this that he realized that the bear cub had smashed his laptop. Pages and pages of unpublished short stories and carefully worded philosophy papers lay smoldering on the ground.
“Oh boy,” he said dismally.
Later that day he had his friend Hunter over to sort out the situation. Unfortunately, the bear was feeling choleric and instantly chomped all the fingers off Hunter’s right hand.
“FUCK!” she screamed.
“Oh my god!” he screamed. “Are you alright?”
“I want to be a goddamn sculptor!” she screamed. “Can you envision that dream becoming a reality now!?”
That night he tried to nudge the cub out of the room with his foot, but it snarled venomously and he inched back. He dreamt that the cub’s mother was outside his window, reciting poems about loss and thievery. She howled and screamed against the shrill midwinter winds. Snow pounded the glass.
“I don’t think you can possibly pass my class,” said his favorite literature professor. “You haven’t turned in a single assignment for the past two months.”
“Every time I write them the bear shreds them…”
“What’s really the problem?” his professor’s noble mustache crinkled with sympathy and misunderstanding.
“I’m just lonely,” he said to his tattered shoes.
In the corner of his room the tiny bear slept, nestled in pages of Shakespeare and Whitman.