Cold Comfort

From the Story Arc: Cold Front

Previous Story in the Arc: Food and the Art of Mourning by Krasnaya Zarya (Friday, December 15, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Brother to Brother by Russian Battler (Friday, December 15, 2006)

(posted Friday, December 15, 2006)

For three days Re-Bear struggled, pacing around his freight container apartment deep in the hold of the Sanctuary.

"Bah," he said to himself, "What am i to do? Should I buy her flowers? Or candy? Waffles? Nobody brought me anything when Ilyana died, although, technically it wasn't me who experienced it. It was Old Bear who lost Ilyana; I can't even remember what she looks like!"

He kicked a box of Arachnos stationary out of frustration. Injection-molded Lord Reculse pencil sharpeners scattered across the floor. He picked up his Hello Kitty bank, pulled seventy-five dollars out, and set it aside. He then counted the remainder.

"What could I buy Bella for forty-seven dollars and fifteen cents," Bear silently calculated, "I could buy her an Old Boxer Beat the Fat Unanimous Decision Grill! Or season one of Flavor of Love on DVD! Or a basketball..."

Bear stopped himself in mid-thought.He knew it was hopeless. Not even an electric grill could bring Commissar Bestial Boy back among the living. What Bear really wanted to give Bella was a hug. That's what Old Bear would have done. But now, it would have different meaning. Pavel's attraction to the fairer sex did not account for rank. He desired Bella, like he desired many women, and sometimes Waitron (with whom he was already initmate if you include intrusive and embarrassing medical procedures). He could not risk showing such excitement to a Commissar.

"No," Bear said aloud, "the only thing to do is leave her alone. I will write her a sympathy letter."

He stooped down and picked up some Arachnos letterhead. He reached into another box and pulled out a Crey fountain pen and envelope. He began to write when Comrade Sofia, his new commanding officer, knocked on his door.

"Pavel," she said coldly, "We need to talk about this damage bill. And no, I do not care that Fruit Loops were on sale."

She turned sharply and walked off.

"I suppose this letter can wait twenty minutes," Bear muttered to himself, and went to the ships's washroom to take his second cold shower of the day.