LT came streaking through the cat door like a bat out of hell. He was out of breath and his eyes were wide and scared. "Bear! I saw a bear! It's in the yard next door. A bear, not a teddy bear, not a koala bear. A real live big-assed bear!" Peep looked up from where she was sleeping on the Daddy's chest. "Hunh? What's this about a bear?" She stretched, causing her tail to tickle the Daddy's nose. "There's a bear in Fuzzy's yard. I just saw it over there when I was checking out a rabbit nest. He's going through the garbage cans. You've got to come see this. Where's Rudy?" LT was still out of breath. He wasn't as young as he used to be, and was not used to such a long run. "She's sound asleep, and when I woke her before by accident she swatted at me. Let's just leave her here." Peep jumped down and finished her stretch. "Just give me a minute to finish waking up." Waiting wasn't one of the things that LT was good at. He paced and circled, and finally nudged at Peep when it appeared she might fall asleep again in the middle of a slow stretch. "Okay, okay, I'm coming." She stood up and the two went out through the cat door. "So, bears. I know absolutely nothing about bears. Are they bigger than dogs? Are they friendly? Will he share his food with me if he finds anything good?" Since Peep was a lot younger than LT, she could run and talk at the same time. LT stopped short and put one paw to his lips, indicating that Peep should be quiet. He said to her in a low voice, "Bears are dangerous, Peep. They have paws that are bigger than your whole body, and claws that could split you in two halves." That caused Peep to sit down right where she was with a thud. Wide eyed she asked, "Then why the heck are we going over to see it? I don't want to be a kitty filet. I have dreams left to dream and worlds left to conquer!" "We're not going to go up and introduce ourselves. I just want you to see him. We'll sneak up on the edge of Fuzzy's yard to where we can see him. Come on, let's go." With that, LT slunk off through the underbrush, belly low to the ground. Peep followed reluctantly. They heard the bear before they saw him, and smelled him almost as soon, and boy did he smell bad. They heard metal garbage cans banging against each other as the bear pawed through one he'd knocked over, sending it rolling into the next one. LT was right. The bear did have a big...posterior. At the moment, that was all they could see of him. "The only good thing about him stinking so bad is that I'm sure he won't be able to smell us." LT said this in a low voice. The bear's head came up out of the garbage can. "I'll have you know that I have an excellent sense of smell, and even better hearing. And I don't appreciate you're insulting me. It's not me that smells, it's this garbage. I don't know what he's got in here, but it's been dead for a looong time." The bear turned in their direction. "I don't think we've been introduced. My name is Timothy. Who might you two be?" Peep stood there frozen. This bear weighed about 100 times more than she did, and could probably either squish her or close his jaws around her body, either of which would have spelled the end of Peep. LT saw that it was up to him to try to mollify the bear. "Ah, hello. I am LT, short for Lucky Tiger, and this is the Peep. We live next door, and having never seen a bear in person we wanted to, um, make your acquaintance. Welcome to the neighborhood." "How nice, a polite cat. Well, LT, it's nice to meet you. Few folks actually want to meet me, much less welcome me to their neighborhood." The bear grabbed something from the can and began to eat it noisily. "I bet if you were honest, you'd say that given the choice you'd have spied on me and left quietly without ever saying anything. Don't worry, I don't take offense over things like that. It's part and parcel of being a large and dangerous animal." Her voice squeaking, Peep replied, "Well, Timothy, sir, we are a bit scared of you, but that's just because you're so big and well, scary. Will you please promise not to eat us?" "Oh, sorry. Of course. Not eating you. I have no intention of hurting you, much less eating you. I don't much like the taste of cat. I'm more of a scavenger, really. And I'm just passing through. My territory is south of here - I was just visiting some friends over yonder, and detoured when I smelled these yummy trash cans." The bear put his head in the can and emerged with some wrapped food. "Ah, I love it when they gift wrap my dinner. NOT!" He tore the paper off with his teeth and ate the contents. "Ahhh - overripe chicken, my favorite." They chatted for a few more minutes and finally Timothy the bear said his good-byes and ambled off though the yard. When Peep finally stopped shaking enough to walk, she and LT headed home. When they came through the cat door, the Daddy was still lying on the couch. Peep jumped up on his chest and began to tell him of their adventure. LT added comments, although he was pretty sure the Daddy wouldn't understand. Humans rarely understood cat. Jay looked down at the Peep, who was talking a mile a minute. "And Daddy, he was so big and smelly - it wasn't the garbage it was him, I know it. I wasn't even scared. I walked up to that bear and told him that we didn't need any bears in our neighborhood, and to stay away from our trash cans. You better stay clear of him, Daddy - he's BIG!" Jay (aka the Daddy) scratched Peep's head and listened attentively. Peep thought - maybe, just maybe this once we'll get through to him. He sat up, putting Peep on the coffee table and said, "Okay guys, I hear you, I hear you. I'll get the treats. You don't have to ask so many times." Peep sighed. Well, hopefully the bear would head on home, and she wouldn't have to worry about the Daddy encountering him.
Photo courtesy of Mike Thomas - http://www.flickr.com/photos/urbanworkbench/1556827726/