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"Hillary, get out here a minute, would you?"
Sound off on the important issues at
"OK, OK. Jeez, George, what time is - holy heck! What is that?"
"I think it's a bear."
"George, it's got a hold of your leg! How did this happen?"
"Well, I got up because I feared something was threatening our camping supplies. I thought it was just a porcupine. So, I gave it a little shock and awe - a good hard kick - figured 'Mission Accomplished' and turned to head back to the tent. Then all hell broke loose."
"Why didn't you ask for more help?"
"I was only planning on a limited engagement, but the durn thing grabbed hold of my boot. But I've got a plan. If you'll just - "
"George, I don't know how to say this, but I don't see your boot. It looks like the bear is up past your knee."
"There have been some setbacks. Truth be told, it's been downhill ever since I first kicked the thing. But it's getting tired of chewing. I can tell. Just look at those beady, quitter's eyes!"
"George, I don't know which eyes you're talking about. The eyes I see look bloodshot and mean. That's a half-ton brownie on your leg, taking its sweet time. I wish we had a gun. Maybe I can pry its jaws long enough to get your leg out."
"Don't you dare, Hillary! I'm winning!"
"I'm not sure winning or losing even applies to bears. Now, hold still while I jam this stick into its mouth. Once we get your foot out, I'll carry you home and fix you up."
"If we leave without killing it, the bear's going to follow us home. It's better to fight it here in the woods where it won't mess up our yard."
"Let's discuss that later."
"But I've got a plan! You see how my leg is wedged in the bear's mouth?"
"Yeah, George. There's not a lot else that has my attention right now."
"OK, good. If you look close, you'll notice its mouth is stretched just about as wide as it can go. Now, follow along. Further up by my hips, my leg is a little bigger around than it is down by my knee. So what I'm going to do is surge forward and jam the rest of my leg into the bear's mouth, choking it to death."
"That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. How about a better plan: I've got a piece of rope here. We can tie you a tourniquet while we figure this out."
"No! That would cut off the blood supply! Blood's as good as money."
"But your blood is running onto the ground."
"Hillary, that's what happens when you battle bears. If you really want to help, how about you drive back home and get me some bear bells, some bear spray, a whistle and, oh, perhaps a gun."
"For Pete's sake, George! You're not thinking straight. We don't have time for all that."
"Mistakes have been made. I've already admitted that. But we are where we are, and we need to prosecute this thing to the finish."
"I don't buy that. I think there's so much blood on the ground that, if we stay here, we're liable to attract even more bears."
"Really, Hillary! Your yellow streak is showing. You're starting to make me regret I woke you up in the first place. If you aren't going to support me, then maybe I should go it alone."
- Snap! -
"Darn it, Hillary! You pried my leg free!"
"I'm sorry, George, but I'm getting you to the hospital, whether you like it or not."
"I don't like it. Chaos will ensue! This bear battle is not over! And, Hillary - "
"Next time we go camping together, I'm leaving you at home!"
Derrick Snyder is a chef and instructor living in Juneau.