While Bart the bear merely complained about the cruelty of the universe, Sammy the skunk ranted. “Dogs are pussies! You just stink them and then they run away. If you’re lucky you get the human too. Teach ‘em a lesson!” Sammy was enjoying the story.
Edward was trying to work out the story in his mind. “The ‘rope’ on the dog was a leash. I think are designed to keep dogs from getting lost. If a human was walking a dog at the same time you were in the yard… wouldn’t that indicate the human was unaware of your presence?”
“Oh yeah, the human didn’t see me at first.”
“Stink them both! Stink them all!” Sammy was hopping from foot to foot, as if desperate for the opportunity to spray a human and a dog at the same time.
“So anyway the dog was yelling at me. I can understand dog language, and it was barking out all sorts of nasty mean things. A lot of stuff about ‘violating territorial integrity’ and ‘challenge to battle to the death’ and meanest of all it kept repeating ‘get off my lawn’. Who needs that kind of abuse?” Bart was playing for sympathy but getting none from either Sammy or Edward. “I was just eating apples which belong to me because I want them and I’m hungry. They should give them to me because I’m a bear. And I want them, which is really the main point. That they’re mine, I mean.” Bart paused to sort out his thoughts. “Anyway that big stupid dog was fixing start a big battle. And it would probably involve the human too, since she wasn’t letting go of the leash.”
Bart sighed, “I tried to make a peaceful overture. I grunted and did my best explanation which was ‘I’m really big so buzz off’. Then I stood up so the dog would know how big I am. It didn’t work. The dog would attack a mountain if it was on its owner’s lawn.”
Bart shook his head. “Things that would take on a fight they couldn’t possibly win? That’s just stupid.”
Both Bart and Edward involuntarily glanced at Sammy. He loved nothing more than to ‘attack’ anything in its path. He never considered ‘winning or losing’. He came from a large family of skunks which had been born near that very apple tree. All of his siblings had died grisly deaths; which most woodland creatures thought was an example of ‘losing’. Among the forest it was generally assumed it was better to not be dead; which is ‘winning’.
Of his huge family, Sammy was the only one left. It had been more luck than skill. Just looking at Sammy, you knew he was going to go out in an ugly manner. The mortality clock was ticking whenever Sammy was around. You could hear the Grim Reaper smile at his every utterance.
Bart continued. “So when I stood up I figured the dog would run. Instead it came at me! It was growling and barking. Stuff like ‘this ends now’. What the hell does that mean? The human could just barely restrain the dog. She was pulling it hard to get it back inside the house. I decided to run for the forest.”
“It was just a dog! You could’ve killed it 10 times over!” Sammy was practically screaming.
“Maybe. But that particular dog is pretty damn big.” Bart muttered. Realizing he’d made an admission he’d rather not, he hastened to add, “I mean I’d have to kill it fast before the human came back with a boomstick… or I suppose it would be a shotgun?” Bart glanced at Edward to check if he’d used the right vocabulary.
“For you, I think they would use a rifle.” Edward pondered. “Humans have shotguns and also rifles. The latter can fire much farther and they seem to kill things of any size. They have these strange tubes on top that give humans eyesight a lot like,” Edward paused to make sure they understood the full import of what would come next, “…eyesight nearly equal to mine.”
“Sounds weird.” Bart waved his hand dismissively, obviously no human could really hurt a bear.
“You know how the people at that farm always hang a dead deer just before winter?” Edward continued. “They seem to be able to kill a deer from a very long distance. They can do it to a bear too.”
“Bullshit!” Sammy puffed up his fir. “Nobody has ever taken a shot at me from a very long distance.”
“I think that’s because they don’t care if you live or die so long as you keep your stink away.” Edward explained in his most reasonable voice. “I suspect they are perfectly happy leaving you alone as a resident of the forest.”
It was meant as reassurance but it didn’t work. Edward had infuriated the skunk. It seethed with white hot rage.
“I’m not worth shooting?!? Is that what you’re saying!?!” Sammy assumed all things centered around him and here was evidence to the contrary. He hopped about near Bart’s foot. “Let’s go there, right now, you and I. Let’s go Bart! We’re going to find that dog and stink him up!”
Bart had to admit, Sammy’s confidence was infectious. Bart started working himself up into a good rage to join Sammy. “You know what this is about? This is about… This is about…” Bart couldn’t really figure out what to be upset about. He began to lose steam and think about taking a nap.
Sammy intervened. “I know what it is about. It’s about that damn dog. That dog is white and you are a black bear. A black bear! The dog is racist!”