All the lights were out. Rain, snow, sleet and hail drummed, thudded, and pummeled roof, siding, and window. Lightning flashed. Thunder rumbled. Sport cowered under the bed. Ritter opened another beer. Furrz licked her paws. Dwain bitched because the internet was down and you can’t WOW and massively murder multi-players when the internet is down. Fannie chewed her nails and occasionally squealed. In short, it was a dark and stormy night.
Sport had a premonition that things were about to get interestinger than they already were. Fannie agreed with him, but couldn’t crawl under a bed. Large people usually can’t do that, and Fannie was an exceptionally large person. However, excepting Furrz (and perhaps Sport), she is the most interesting person we have to deal with here. She was the only employed person (except perhaps Sport, who might claim guard dog status) living in the single-wide in the Last Lost Valley Trailer Suites. Her employer, Drig Willkull of Willkull and deStroyd Logging, LLC, thought she was the best clerk this side of heaven. That alone should make her interesting. Right?
I do not mean to large-shame Fannie when I say she was large. But she was large. She could hold a grapefruit in one hand and squeeze it dry. Her arms spanned three full yards—with the grapefruit masticating fists clenched. She wore men’s size 16 boots. She had shoulders the size of linebacker Troy Polamalu’s—with his pads on. Her mother said birthing Fannie damned near split her in two. Which is why Fannie was the only one, which is why Fannie is one of a kind. There was only one Fannie, and she was just plain large. Much too large to fit under a bed—she barely fit on top of one—king size, at that. And king size does not fit inside a single-wide. Dr. Wizzenholt once told Fannie she had the largest heart he had ever stethoscoped.
Largeness, though not usually largeness of heart, was the first thing people remarked about Fannie. And most people just let it ride right there. “She’s large. Shes intimidating. She probably plays basketball, maybe even football,” they’d think. And so of course they never got to know Fannie. Large people are hard to get close to because most of us do not like tilting our heads back to look into their eyes, and also we just expect large people to be bully and mean and push-you-around types of people. Some are like that, of course, and this gives a bad name to largeness. But Fannie wasn’t like that at all.
Fannie had the spirit of an angel kissed by Jesus or Buddha or Krishna, or maybe Allah. Maybe all of them, maybe even the blind old atheist clerk at the smut store. This is why Sport, Furrz, and Dwain were part of the household. This is why she married a short, little-hearted person like Ritter. Nobody else would have them. Fannie was the 43rd person that Ritter tried to engage in mutually satisfactory sexual intercourse—all the other attempts being abject failures. The attempted congress with Fannie had not been that successful either. But, when he asked her to marry him, he had such a pathetic loser, lost aspect about him, she had to take him in. What else could she do?
Dwain was Ritter’s nephew. His mother had not been seen in two years. Nobody knew precisely who his father was. He showed up on the doorstep one morning with his laptop and a sack full of rumpled clothing. “Come on in out of the rain,” Fannie said. What else could she do. Ritter grumbled.
Fanny found Sport chained to the guard rail on U.S. 287 one cold night as she was commuting home from a day of exhaustion at Willkull and deStroyd Logging, LLC. For a large, determined woman, chains are pretty easy to disassemble. Sport got loaded in the Toyota and hauled back to the single-wide. What else could she do. Furrz had been the trailer court mooch that everybody b.b. gunned whenever he came around. Fanny wouldn’t let Ritter pot at him with his Daisy, so Furrz started not mooching elsewhere and moved into the single-wide. There had been others, but Ritter said, “one dog, one cat, one asshole. That’s it. That’s it.” He had a point. The house was pretty small—single-wide, one bathroom.
As I have said, there were premonitions among certain inmates of this single-wide that things were about to get much, much worse than a dark and stormy night.
And as premonitions would have it, there was a knock on the door.
It probably would have been fortuitous, for some inmates, if none of them had heard the knock on the door.
And it may, or may not, be significant that the two premonitioners (Sport and Fannie) did NOT hear the knocking.
But there was knocking.
It was heard by Furrz who scooted under the bed to join Sport.
It was heard by Ritter who said, “Jesus,” and slugged back another 8 ounces of Montana Grizzly Piss Lager.
Dwain also heard it, and thought, “It probably isn’t Jesus, fool.” And since he was tired of whining about not being able to get on WOW and massively murder multi-players on line, and because he thought maybe whoever was knocking might be something else to whine about, he opened the door.
As he had expected, what had knocked on the door was something else. As he had also predicted, it was probably not Jesus. And as he had so foolishly hoped, it appeared to be something else to whine about.
What had been knocking on the door and what was now standing in the doorway was a bear the size of Ward’s Peak. To be precise it was an albino grizzly bear the size of Ward’s Peak.
You say that’s impossible? Bears do not go knocking on trailer court, single-wide doors in the middle of a typhoon, you say?
To you (you rabid skeptic, you) I say, whose tale is this? Yours or mine? If it’s yours you can have anybody you want knocking on the door, a weasel, a kangaroo, hills like white elephants, whatever. But this is my story, and I am telling you a white bear was, in fact, in the doorway, standing upright, paws hanging across his belly, whoof-sniffing into the very small—and getting smaller—single-wide. He was soaking wet.
He also stank. There is no describing the aroma of a grizzly bear. It is the smell of terror in the sewer, the odor of hell in the garbage pit, the noisome despair in the darkest corner of a heart. And when an albino grizzly bear is wet, he doubles down on stink.
This smell, this odor, this noisomeness would have been enough to suggest to a normal person that he/she should seek avoidance. But let me tell you right here and now, stink is not what influenced the inmates of this single-wide to perform as they did. It was size, grizzlyness, and a door standing open with grizzliness standing in it.
Here is what happened. Ritter pissed, shat, dropped his half full can of Grizzly Piss and vanished, unaided, through the little window above the kitchen sink.
Dwain pissed, shat, and fainted (so much for massively murdering multi-players on line).
Sport and Furrz whose only experience, so far, with the albino grizzly at the front door was olfactory, remained under the bed. Olfactory was all they needed to see.
Fannie looked up and saw just what was there. A large, lonely, cold, bewildered, old boar of a bear whose winter hibernation home had been invaded and destroyed by a D-8T caterpillar blade owned by Willkull and deStroyd Logging, LLC. Fannie didn’t need the presence in the doorway to say any of this. She just knew it. And, being the clerk at Willkull and deStroyd Logging, LLC, she felt a large responsibility for this personage’s loneliness and homelessness. What else could she do.
She boiled some water for hot tea.
Sometime in the night, after the dark and stormy was done, Dwain vanished to God knows where, probably to where massively murdering multi-players on line is the fancy de jour.
Nobody ever saw Ritter again.
Sport came to love Old Boar, as he would be called. He was a great, if smelly and quite large, playmate.
Furrz licked her paws, and sat in the window, and occasionally furred up and hissed—nothing changed there.
Willkull and deStroyd Logging, LLC, butchered the last tree within 75 miles and promptly declared bankruptcy because Drig had enough money in stashes offshore plus his Social Security, and he didn’t like working all that much anyway. He moved offshore and retired. A few of the residents of the trailer court complained about no jobs and about a stinky albino bear being their neighbor. But these complaints soon abated because the complainers, most of whom had been fired by Willkull and deStroyd Logging, LLC, just moved on. They apparently preferred not to starve and complain about it, and had little reason to remain in the presence and stench of an albino grizzly bear and complain about that too. Pretty soon there was only one other house in the Last Lost Valley Trailer Court Suites, a double wide—and it was abandoned.
Fannie loved having another large person in the single-wide. The stink was just something she would have to put up with. Without her job you might think things went from poverty to starvation pretty fast especially since she was supporting a cat, a dog, and a homeless albino grizzly bear. But minus little-hearted Ritter, and massively multiplayer murderer Dwain, things went pretty well. I am not sure how they went pretty well, but apparently they did because:
An albino grizzly bear, a dog, a cat and a large, large-hearted woman lived happily ever after in a single-wide cottage in an empty trailer court in a landscape that was beginning to grow new trees again.