Tag: bear

Show Me

Putting one foot carefully in front of the next, Woodruff and Bob made their way slowly toward the back of a bright yellow van.  Bob signaled with his hands for Woodruff to move to the passenger’s side of the windowless vehicle, while he crept quietly around to his left.  The two moved slowly and silently, in parallel, until they reached the front doors.

Woodruff peered through his window and held his index finger to his lips.  Bob nodded back, from the other side of the glass, and mirrored Woodruff’s shushing motion.  Tentatively, Bob reached up and laid hold on the chrome door handle.  He looked across to Woodruff, who bit softly on his lower lip.  With his thumb, Bob gently pressed in the shiny metal button and there was a faint click as the door latch disengaged.  The sound was barely audible but both he and Woodruff winced at the minute noise.

Bob looked over to Woodruff for confirmation.  Woodruff glanced warily over each shoulder and nodded for Bob to continue.  His thumb was still pressed firmly on the button, but he had not moved a muscle since the tiny click.  He drew in a deep breath through his nose and held it for a few seconds.  Woodruff closed his eyes tight as Bob eased the heavy door open.  The hinges creaked and Bob froze.  A wide-eyed Woodruff shook his head and held his hands in the air to beckon him to stop.  Bob remained as still as a statue as Woodruff tip toed around the front of the van to joined him by the creaky door.

“What do we do?” Bob whispered.

Woodruff raised his hands and made a series of signals with his fingers.  Bob opened his mouth slightly and shook his head.

“You know I only know the sign for milk and yes,” Bob replied in his best library voice.

Undaunted, Woodruff gestured to the door and began to pantomime his communications.  He gestured toward the door handle with a closed fist and slowly opened his first with his fingers apart.  Bob carefully released his grip on the chrome lever and took a step back.  Woodruff slid between Bob and the slightly ajar door.  He laid his body flat against the side of the van and slipped his arm into the open crack, like a pair of tweezers fishing for the wishbone in a game of Operation.

“Careful,” Bob mumbled, in a barely audible voice.

Woodruff crinkled his lips, making the universal shush formation.  A gust of wind blew the door wide open with a creak and a clunk.

“Ah man,” Woodruff moaned.

“We’re dead,” Bob said.  “I told you.”

“We could have done it.  We almost made it.”

“No way.  It’s impossible to survive in A Quiet Place universe.  There’s just no way.”

“Especially if you don’t know sign language.”

“My lack of ASL skills did not kill us, the wind did.”


“We were killed by the wind!”

“Can I ask what you two are doing?” a deep voice, with a drawl, called from behind them.

They spun around to find a uniformed policeman standing with his hand resting on his hostler.

“Oh, uh, hi Officer…” Bob squinted to read his badge.

“McClusky,” he replied.  “I say again, what are you two doing?”

“We were seeing if we could survive in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity is hunted to extinction by sound,” Woodruff said.

“Spoiler alert, we could not.”

“No we couldn’t.”

Officer McClusky removed his mirrored sunglasses and eyed them suspiciously.

“Is this your vehicle?”

“Technically, it belongs to our friend, Hands,” Bob said.

“Technically?” the policeman asked.

“Well it was left to him by his trainer,” Woodruff said.  “But legally speaking he can’t drive.”

“And why is that?”

“On account of him being a bear.”

“Your friend is a bear?”


“A bear who owns a van?”

“That’s right.”

The van began to rock from side to side.  Officer McClusky dropped back and loosed the clip on his hostler.

“What’s in there?”


“He chose to take a nap while we watched a movie.”

“He doesn’t like horror films.  Although I would argue it wasn’t truly a horror movie.”

“It was more of a suspense thriller family drama.”


“Are you telling me there’s a bear in that van?” Officer McClusky asked.  He pointed to the rocking van with transparent concern and aggravation.  A growling yawn emanated from the back of the van.

“Well it ain’t a chipmunk,” Bob said.

“He’s a little grumpy after naptime, so I’d put your weapon away,” Woodruff added.  He walked to the back of the van and pulled one of the double doors open.  Bob grabbed hold of the other door and heaved it to the side as the policeman shuffled between them.

Hands sat up and scratched at his protruding belly.  He blinked his big brown eyes as he strained to adjust to the daylight.  A pedestrian on the sidewalk tripped over the curb and fell on his hands and knees, never talking his eyes off the bear in the van.  Officer McClusky hurried over to the man and helped him to his feet.

“Is that a…a…a…,” the pedestrian stammered.

“Yes sir, that’s a bear,” Officer McClusky said.  “You’d better move along.  I’ll handle this.”

“Handle what?” Woodruff asked.

“The bear issue.”

“What issue?”

“Well for starters,” the policeman said.  “How did it get here?”

“It is a he and HE rode here in the back of HIS van.”

“Sounds like the issue here is bearism.”


“Yeah, the bearist fear and prejudice against large furry mammals.”

“No, the issue is it’s illegal in the state of Missouri to drive with an uncaged bear in your vehicle,” Officer McClusky said.  He got out a small ticket book and began to write.

“Uncaged bear?” Bob said.  “Do you hear yourself?  That’s the most bearist comment we’ve heard this whole trip and we’ve been through Kentucky.”

“And where are you headed on this trip?” Officer McClusky asked.

“Oklahoma,” Woodruff said.  “Hands is competing in a wrestling tournament, unless you’re going to tell us that’s illegal too.”

“Actually, I believe it is.”



“Well poop,” Bob said.

“You can’t say the p-word in Missouri,” the policeman continued to scratch out words on his pad.

“You can’t say poop in Missouri?”

“Nope,” Officer McClusky said.  “This is the Show Me State.  You start throwing words around willy nilly and it gets messy.”


“So, you’ve got a busted taillight, expired tags, an uncaged bear and two counts of using the p-word,” Officer McClusky said.  He finished writing out the ticket and handed it to Woodruff.

“Things escalated quickly.”

“That how it works in the Show Me State,” Officer McClusky snapped his sunglasses back on and scrunched his nose to push them up into place.

“This feels like the time we committed low treason,” Bob said.

“In my defense, I didn’t know she was a monarch,” Woodruff replied.

“How do you intend to get that bear out of here?” the policeman asked.

“Call him ‘that bear’ just makes you sound more bearist,” Bob said.

“Can’t we just pay the fine and drive out of here?” Woodruff asked.

“Afraid not.  I can’t let you drive out of here with an uncaged bear in the back.”

Through the trees, on the far side of the parking lot, Bob spotted a sign that read Pat’s Pets.  A smile broke across his face and he began to nodded rhythmically.

“I’ve got an idea.”


Minutes later the yellow van was motoring down the highway with the happy occupants signing along to the radio.

“I don’t wanna be your fool, in this game for two, so I’m leavin’ you behind.”

“Bye, bye, bye…”

“Genius idea, Bob.”

“The man wanted a caged bear, we gave him a cage bear.  Isn’t that right, Hands?”

Hand grunted and waved his cage-covered paw at the front seat.  The dome-shaped decorative bird cage fit perfectly over his enormous right bear paw.

“Might sound crazy, but it ain’t no lie, baby, bye, bye, bye.”

Simultaneously, they locked arms in a fist pump position and danced their fists across their faces in unison with the lyrics.

World’s Best, Amigo

“Well?” Bob asked.

“Oh my goodness,” Woodruff mumbled with a mouthful of food.


“Oh yeah.”

Woodruff picked up a napkin and wiped his mouth.

“Do we need to keep looking?” Bob asked

“Nope, these are them.”

“The best?”

“No doubt.”

Bob did a little dance in his chair and Woodruff pulled a crumpled piece of paper, and a Maximum Red crayon, from his pocket.  He crossed off the next item on the list that read Eat the World’s Best Taco.

“I told you I’d find them for you.”

“How did you find this place?”

“Remember how I told you my uncle lived down in Belize?” Bob began.  “And my mom used to bring me down here in the summers to visit?”

“Yeah,” Woodruff said as he leaned forward eagerly.

“Well, when we were in Des Moines, last week, I saw a flyer in the window of a Mexican restaurant that said Best Tacos in Iowa,” Bob continued.

“Yeah,” Woodruff repeated with a raised eyebrow.

“Well, it was written in Spanish.”

“Yeah?” Woodruff wore a puzzled look on his face.

“And Spanish in the second most common language in Belize,” Bob said.  “And I thought that if a place in Des Moines could have the best tacos in Iowa, then a mostly Spanish speaking country had a way better chance of having the best tacos in the world.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“We flew all the way to Belize because you saw a flyer in Des Moines?”

“A flyer in Spanish.”

Bob nodded and Woodruff shook his head.  Two masked men burst through the front door of the spacious restaurant and fired their guns toward the ceiling.

“Get dung on di ground!” the large man in the black ski mask shouted.

Woodruff and Bob fell from their chairs, like a couple of bowling pins, and joined the other patrons on the floor.

“Oh no,” Bob said.  “It’s a hold up.”

“A hold up?” Woodruff asked.  “At a taco shop?”

“In Belize, tacos are a form of currency.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Have I ever joked about tacos?”

“Yu two, shut it!” the second man in the red ski mask ordered and waved his gun at them.

“You should be careful where you point that,” Woodruff said.  “Statistics show that thirty-six percent of gun fatalities are accidental.”

“If ya don’t shut your mouth, it won’t be an accident, ya overstand?” Red Ski Mask said.

“My friend is just trying to keep you from a lifetime of being haunted,” Bob said.

“You mean haunted by regret, right?” Woodruff asked.

“No,” Bob said.  “If he shoots me, I’m going to haunt him.”

“That’s your go-to move,” Woodruff said.  “Just haunt anyone semi-responsible for your death.”

“Is there another move at that point?”

“You could Christmas Carol him.”

“Sing to him?”

“No, get three spirits to scare him into changing his ways before it’s too late.”

“Oh, you mean Scrooge him.”

“Tor-till-a tor-tee-ya.”

“But where would I find a crippled boy with a heart of gold.”

“My cousin walks with a limp.”

“Dat’s it,” Black Ski Mask interrupted.  “One more word an’ mi ago shoot yu in da face.”

“That’s kind of harsh,” Woodruff said.  “I mean a shot in the leg or the foot would send the proper message.  The face seems a little overkill.  Pardon the pun.”

“Stop uno noise na man!”

The man in the red ski mask jerked Woodruff to his feet and stuck the gun to his forehead.

“I don’t think he pardoned your pun, Woodruff,” Bob said.

“Should have used pun control,” Woodruff grinned down at Bob, with the barrel of the gun still pointed at his head.  “Get it.”

“Good one,” Bob said.  “Very punny.”

“Mi ago kill yu,” Black Ski Mask said, as he pulled Bob to his feet and shoved the gun in his face.

“Puns don’t kill people,” Woodruff said.  “People kill people.”

“You’re on fire,” Bob said.

“The smoking pun,” Woodruff quipped.

“Enough,” Black Ski Mask said.  “Yu two idiots are go’n fi get dead.”

“Woah, pun violence,” Bob said.

“Are yu loco?” Red Ski Mask asked.

Woodruff and Bob giggled.

“Sorry,” Woodruff said.  “We’re just having a little pun.”

“Okay Woodruff,” Bob said.  “I think they’ve had enough.  Put the puns down.”

“All right, we’ll be quiet,” Woodruff said.  “As you were.  Rob the money, or tacos, or taco money.”

“How ‘bout wi tek your money,” Black Ski Mask said.

“Sure thing amigo, the name’s Bob.  And this here is Woodruff.”

The men in the ski masks looked at each other and back at their hostages.

“And you are?” Bob asked.

“Yu don’t need fi know who wi are,” Black Ski Mask said.

“Well I’m not going to give a friend money if I don’t even know his name,” Bob said.

“We’re not friend,” Black Ski Mask said.

“Then I’m not giving you any money,” Bob said as he folded his arms.

A short man with a bushy black mustache walked out of the back room with a plate full of tacos and nervously placed it on the counter near the men in the ski masks.

“Jose, do you know these guys?” Woodruff asked.

“No,” Jose replied and looked down at the ground, as he stepped away from the taco plate.

“Then why are you just giving them your delicious tacos?” Bob asked.

“Shut your face!” Red Ski Mask shouted.

“That’s physically impossible,” Woodruff said.  “He could shut his mouth, or his eyes.  If he used his fingers he could even shut his nose, but not his whole face.  Who’s the idiot now?”

“Just let them take the tacos and they’ll go,” Jose said.

“When they didn’t even say please?” Bob said.  “No way, Jose.”

The man in the black ski mask reached for the taco plate and Bob slapped his hand away.

“Uh uh,” Bob warned.  “Somebody needs to teach you some manners.”

“An’ who’s go’n fi teach us, yu two?”

“If we must,” Woodruff said.

The men in the ski masks lowered their guns and began to laugh.

“An’ how’re yu go’n fi do dat?” Red Ski Mask asked.  “Your unarmed.”

“We could take you down with our bare hands,” Bob said.

The robbers looked at each other and back to Woodruff and Bob.  The man in the red ski mask tossed his gun on the table, followed by the man in the black ski mask.

“Teach me, now,” Black Ski Mask said.

“You asked for it,” Woodruff replied and winked at Bob.

“Hands!” Bob shouted toward the open front door.

A massive brown bear sidled into the restaurant on all fours and unleashed a titanic roar.  The men in the ski masks fell down on the floor and raised their hands over their heads in surrender.

“Meet our bear, Hands,” Woodruff said.

Hands stood up tall on his hind legs and roared again.  The men in the ski masks scurried around the counter and fled out the back of the restaurant.

“I love it when a pun comes together,” Bob said.

“Free tacos for everyone!” Jose cheered.

“Yay,” Woodruff said.  “Come on, Hands, let’s eat.”

Hands meandered up to the table and buried his snout in the plate.  Woodruff and Bob gathered around their furry friend and grabbed tacos that slid to either side of the giant bear.

“Taco ‘bout a party,” Bob said with a grin.

“Puntastic,” Woodruff said.

“You can Jose that again,” Bob added.

Hands lifted his face from the plate with a disappointed grunt.

“Estoy de acuerdo, Oso,” Jose agreed.  “You’re just trying too hard, amigo.”