- Vol. 08
- Chapter 06
Cloud-cover moved in to blot the blue sky as James, Charlie, and the bear arrived at the anthill.
This is bad, thought James. Without sunlight, his tantalizing promise to the brown bear would be impossible to deliver upon.
Both boys loved being outside, and as soon as the snow washed away in the spring they began to eat their school lunches just inside the forested edge of the playground. The largest wild game either ever encountered were the occasional grey squirrels, or nosy crows.
As one might imagine, it came as quite a surprise when the lumbering brown bear stumbled through the low shrubbery of the wooded corridor. Its hair appeared matted on one side, which made sense, since it was time for such beasts to awaken from wintery slumber. The bear rubbed its eyes with the back of one big, furry mitt, and let rip the loudest yawn James and Charlie ever heard. The boys froze to the rocks they were sitting on. Their brains ran away through their open mouths.
"Boy am I famished!" exclaimed the bear. "Wha'choo got there?"
James's tongue loosened before Charlie's did. "Please don't eat us!"
The bear roared again—with laughter.
"Eat you?!" he said. "Why, I'd rather eat the contents of an outhouse."
Charlie, having found his voice, said, "Is that bear really talking, James, or am I unconscious?"
"Oh, he's ... it is he, isn't it?" asked James.
"Yes," said the bear.
"He's definitely speaking," said James, "and he's very interested in our lunch."
"Sorry lads, I'm bigger, and stronger, and I'm definitely going to eat your lunches," said the bear. "You see, I just woke up and I'd kill for a decent breakfast."
"I thought you said you didn't approve of how we taste?" said James.
"That doesn't mean he won't k-kill us," said Charlie.
"Smart lad," said the bear.
"I've got an idea," said James. "What if we keep our lives, and our lunches?"
"Don't like this idea so far," said the bear.
"Could we keep them if we provided you with a better alternative?" said James.
"What are you, child law prodigies?" said the bear. "The only alternative I am interested in is a full belly as opposed to my currently empty one."
James slowly reached for his chrome magnifying glass. He held it above the ground. "Do you see the line? It's moving. You know what that means, don't you?"
"Ants!" cried Charlie and the bear.
"Yes," frowned James, "more than enough to fill your belly, if you follow us. I know how to find the juiciest anthill you've ever seen."
"Well, ants certainly are more filling than the empty calories you two have in those crinkly packages and plastic bottles," said the bear. "But what's stopping me from having both? I know how to find ants, you know."
"But have you ever had them fried?" said James, wiggling his magnifying glass.
Charlie kissed his fingertips, "Delizioso!"