Wee Bear and Goldilocks, by Jason Welch
Wee Bear was crying again.
“She was in my bed,” he said through tears, “She scares me, Papa.”
Papa Bear looked out the window, Mid Bear beside him, and watched Goldilocks run into the forest. Over the past few years Goldilocks had tormented his family. Her hair had turned a dull brown-blonde mix, and it receded on the top, leaving a patch of always sun burnt skin visible like a blood red yarmulke.
Papa Bear noticed a brown, earthy spot on Wee Bear’s bed. He was surprised Goldilocks’ weight hadn’t broken it. He’d tired over the years of the constant repairs he had to make to his youngest son’s chair, but even more so he’d grown angry when she moved on to laying in their beds. Mid Bear gazed out the window, following Goldilocks’ rump as she jangled out of sight.
Mid Bear remembered the first time he saw Goldilocks. She was sleeping in his bed, seductively waiting for him, he had thought; her cute mouth slightly open, and perfect golden curls flowing over his pillow. He loved her in that moment. But she didn’t stay. Her eyes had struck open in terror at Mid Bear, and then she was out the window, screaming and running, a streak of gold bouncing away. Mid Bear preferred to think of her how she once was, innocent and golden youth, waiting for him like Sleeping Beauty. But that was no more.
Now Goldilocks was a frantic porridge-addict, a hopeless thief who roamed the kingdom scavenging like a once golden haired vulture. Years of fights and stealing from magical creatures had aged her quickly. For a while she stayed with the trolls under the Excelsior Bridge. Then it was the Beast’s castle, with all his servants, and so on. She worked at this and that for a while, but mostly she stole and rambled from man to man.
Papa Bear had called the police numerous times, but they consisted mostly of garden gnomes, whom Goldilocks regularly stole from and mocked as she raided their gardens. She would twirl them around like plump little batons, and send them flying into their neighbor’s lots. They would never lock her up.
Papa Bear couldn’t stand the scared look of Wee Bear any longer. He wanted his son to have the natural childhood he never had, one devoid of human interaction. That night, Papa Bear tucked Wee Bear under his salmon spotted blanket, and made up his mind. Goldilocks had gone too far. He didn’t want Wee Bear caught up in her golden net like Mid Bear. How many times had he told Mid Bear to stop staring out the window, slobbering on himself? Wee Bear’s toes touched the bottom of the bed frame. Soon, he thought, Wee Bear would need a new, larger bed. And tonight, Papa Bear would end the source of his son’s countless nightmares.
As the night grew darker, Papa Bear sharpened his claws on a metal post, showing Mid Bear for the first time how to bring out their razor edges. It was time for Mid Bear to become a big bear. Papa Bear would allow Mid Bear the kill, a noble commemoration into his adult life.
Goldilocks would be porridge-high late into the night, Papa Bear guessed from the amount of brown sugar missing, now pumping through Goldilocks’ veins. He woke a napping Mid Bear at 2:30 AM.
They checked the garden gnome’s lands, acres and acres of vegetables stretching over small hills. Here and there, a mound was erect with a host of wild mountain flowers, and small plum trees gave dark purple outlines to each gnome’s plot. This is where she would pass out. They knew she was lying behind some shrubbery. They snuck through each garden. Any second now, they’d find her. But, as the sun rose they were still searching, frustrated, finding nothing.
Back at the house, Papa Bear and Mid Bear walked in tired and with their heads low. They had wanted to wake Wee Bear up with the good news. Now, they walked into his room, prepared to disappoint him.
Wee Bear was still sleeping. And next to him was Goldilocks, fast asleep under the covers, big spooning Wee Bear, snuggling him like a teddy bear she’d won at the fair. The wooden floor creaked under Papa Bear’s steps, waking Goldilocks. There was dry porridge smudged over her lips, and as she scrambled for the window Wee Bear’s bed frame broke with a loud thump.
Wee Bear woke up when the bed frame collapsed. He opened his eyes just in time to watch Goldilocks disappear through his window. He fingered a last golden thread of her hair left on his pillow. Then he was at the window with his dad and brother, watching an old girl scamper into the woods, a billow of long brown hair and a red dot escaping from their view.
Jason Welch is currently an MFA student at Northwestern University. He’s an avid long boarder, lover of fabulous fiction, and NCAA All-American wrestler. “Wee Bear and Goldilocks,” is a short, new spin on the old tale, which he hopes you’ll enjoy reading. See more of Jason at JasonWelch.us, and on Twitter@WelchGrapevine
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Tags: fairy tales, fantasy, Jason Welch