Kirk Novak: A Bear Shits in the Woods

A gigantic Kodiak bear named Rob was taking a shit in the woods. His mind filled with nothing but existential dread. It was early December. The weather was already below freezing. Rob would usually have gone to den about this time of year, but he thought he might forgo denning altogether and stay active throughout the winter.

Not going to den was often a death sentence for a bear. Rob knew this. He felt pretty sure that he wanted to die. At least, that’s what his brain continually kept thinking. Rob didn’t only just think, “I want to die.” Rob vividly used his imagination and pictured how he was going to die. He’d go to the river to fish and just stare into the raging rapids. Rob would think about holding his head under the rushing water until he stopped breathing. He pictured his unconscious body being thrashed downstream as his head bashed against the rocks before being dragged over the falls.

Rob pinched it off and tried to cover his droppings as best he could, but the ground was frozen solid. Suddenly, he just took off running through the barren wintry forest. He slipped and fell down a hill, tumbling through brush and bramble, until he splayed out on fours and slid across the top of a frozen lake.

Rob tried to stand and wobbled like a newborn deer before slipping and falling on his face. Rob lay there on the lake, the heat from his body fusing his fur to the ice sheet. The sound of the ice shifting and crackling across the lake, echoed throughout the valley.

He was overcome with fear.  Rob didn’t want to die. He tried to run but he couldn’t get traction. Rob splayed helplessly back out across the ice. He watched the silhouette of another Kodiak bear move across the ridge above. Rob wished he could trade places. The ice below him groaned beneath his weight and shattered. He fell into the freezing water paralyzed by the extreme cold. Rob could only help but think one thing:

“This is not exactly what I wanted.”

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