The bears are lined up on the living-room floor. Seven of them now, but there used to be nine. Plus a stuffed dolphin and Iago the Parrot from Disney’s Aladin. They are all supposed to be gone, except for Anton, he’s the oldest and the first, and Victor and Conan, who are eerie, intelligent bears that bond to their owners.
You can give them away, her kid said years ago. He’s all grown up now, living in a different city. You can give them away, all except for Anton, because he was the first, and Victor von Doom because he’s alive and follows you with his eyes, and Conan, because he’s Victor’s brother.
She managed to get two of the bears — a brown and a ginger — to a rummage sale. She’d taken Sonia, too — a pepper-furred grizzly four-foot tall — but couldn’t bear to leave her, and brought her back home.
There is no place to keep these bears. She sat them on the couch, taking up what space the kitty-beds didn’t. She stuffed them on old twin beds, now guest beds in the home office. She couldn’t put them in the spare room, because that’s where the stuff is dumped — like left-over shelves and old books and an old sink-top that she might need again some day. These bears couldn’t be dumped in the junk room.
So they sit on the living-room floor, lined up along the credenza, gathering dust. She vows to vacuum them one of these days.
Today was going to be a day for stories; scary stories about teddy bears. A strange tale with a twist ending. But a freak storm blew through yesterday, and the power was cut for hundreds of thousands of people. No telling when power will be restored. It was also 104-degrees yesterday, 100 in shade. It’s supposed to be that hot again, today. She can’t leave the cats, can’t leave the windows closed. She’s hoping a battery operated fan will do. It’s kind of scary. Oh, and the laptop battery is now at 44% and the AOL dial-up is puttering along at archaic speed. (No, she does not have a smart phone or 3-G or 4-G or an ipad.) She’s hoping to find a babysitter in the hot house for the kitties, so she can get down to the local Starbucks and use their wifi.
In the meantime, this little blip of a story will do, until a real doozy of a scary bear story can be completed.