Three Bears

From the Story Arc: Homecoming

Previous Story in the Arc: Make-A-Wish by Re-Bear (Monday, June 24, 2019)

Next Story in the Arc: La Bella Vida by Re-Bear (Friday, September 20, 2019)

(posted Tuesday, July 16, 2019)

"This porridge is too hot," shouted Old Bear, spitting a clump of oats back into his bowl. "And why are we eating porridge anyway? Are we peasants now? Where are my mini raviolis?"

Igor sighed loudly. "Cooked whole oats are good for you. A man in your advanced age and precarious medical condition shouldn't subsist on prepackaged junk food."

"Call the Chef's canned goodness junk ONE MORE TIME and I will melt your face off." Old Bear made a fuss settling back into his brown plaid recliner.

"You are just like Eurkel, Igor," Pavel smiled broadly, digging deep for wit. "Even your scolding is boring nerd talk."

Igor shook his head. "Savages," he muttered under his breath. He resumed reading the Paragon Times.

"Old Bear, this article says the little girl you visited last week died of acute onset leukemia."

Old Bear shifted uncomfortably in his chair. He really needed his containment system looked at.

The television started getting fuzzy, and the hair on the back of Pavel's neck stood up when the door creaked open. "Good morning Sveta. Would you like some porridge?"

Sveta chuckled. "What are you? A bunch of peasants?"

Old Bear nodded vigorously. "See Igor! Your transdimensional sister-daughter understands." He flashed a smile. "So, Sveta, you are still single, yes? I know a single doctor who's looking for someone…"

Svetlana glared at him. "Is it Doctor Vazhilok?"

Old Bear frowned and sank a little into his chair. "Well you're not getting any younger " he spat.

Igor cleared his throat. "Anyway, Sveta, I think the real question is… what are you doing here? Aren't you a wanted and violent criminal."

Bejouled smiled broadly. "Due to my work with Vanguard, I have some freedoms in Paragon city. As long as I crush Rikti skulls, the Feds are willing to overlook my usual line of work. I get to do some shopping in the canyon, visit the Paragon Public Library… do all the things that we don’t really have in the Isles"

Igor adjusted his glasses and cleared his throat. "In that case, you're just in time. I have scheduled a family therapy session with Rabbi Knifeman at the Temple Beth El Ninja Enclave in Founder's Falls. I figured, given our dimensional origins and the fact we have to all coexist in this one, it would be great to get some professional help to aid in this transition."

Everyone in the room was aghast in stunned silence.

Pavel was the first to speak. "Dork."

Sveta was second. "I'm out." She hovered out the door on a cloud of static and slammed the door shut as she left. Old Bear said nothing, but sighed and sank into his chair in grim resignation.

"We'd best get prepared," Igor said, clapping his hands together, "the appointment starts in an hour."

***

During his training in the Himalayas, Enoch Knifeman came face to face with a yeti. He fought the beast with the strength of his Old Testament God, striking with his holy katana, only to have the beast rear up in a rage. For two days they fought, until the beast lost his foothold and stumbled allowing Enoch enough time to stab it in the heart. For two more days, he laid in the snow and wind, bleeding and tired, preserved only by his faith and some melting snow. It was the longest days of his life, thinking he was going to die with only God as his witness in an unnamed and unforgotten mountain pass. His longest, darkest days. Until now...

"And so, my concern is that the mitochondrial degradation involved in our transport may have eroded our ability to… Rabbi? Rabbi?"

Rabbi Knifeman awoke with a start. His alarm also woke up Pavel and Old Bear, who had both drifted off into sleep during Igor's dissertation.

Shaking the sleep away, he replied almost automatically. "I think your main problem is that although you all share the same DNA, you're still strangers." Rabbi Knifeman stroked his beard. "Have you left Paragon City since you've returned, or have you all just stayed cooped up in your home?"

"All I do is punch people and watch TV with those two losers," Pavel lamented.

Igor nodded in agreement. "We've all been so busy trying to fit in, we haven't really had a chance to bond.. as a family.”

Pavel and Old Bear shot him sideways glances. “Let’s not get carried away,” Old Bear said wearily, “You may be an exact clone of a transdimensional me, but family? That’s pushing it.”

Rabbi Knifeman smiled. “I know of a little bed and breakfast in central Virginia, a few miles from the National Cold War Museum. Apply for a leave of absence from the Hero Bureau and go on vacation. A change of scenery will do you all some good.”

Igor smiled. “Thank you, Rabbi. Same time next week for our appointment?”

Pavel and Old Bear mumbled under their breath and shuffled out of the room. Rabbi Knifeman rubbed his temples and sighed. “Let’s do it in two weeks. Keep a journal of you family outing and we’ll go over it next appointment”

Igor smiled broadly and ran down the hall after the other Bears. Rabbi Knifeman closed his door, and sat down heavily in his chair.

“I wish God would have sent another yeti!”

***

“Why am I in this accursed thing?” Old Bear shifted angrily in his wheelchair. He wore a heavy brown sweater and a plaid blanket covered his lap.

“Because, Old Bear,” Igor said plainly, as if addressing a child, “people might get alarmed if they see a real, live hero. We’re not in Paragon City anymore. People like us are the exception, not the rule.”

“Bah.”

Pavel approached. “Tickets bought for Cold War Museum. Our tour starts in five minutes.”

“A tour?” Old Bear snorted. “We have to go on tour? I have lived through Cold War. Busted many yankee spy heads. I should give tour.”

Igor sighed. “I figured it would give context to the artifacts we see, and let us interact with a larger group of people. Now hush. We need to be social.”

The tour group consisted of a mother and her young daughter, the tour guide, cheerily announcing herself to the group as Jennifer, and a group of five older ladies in purple dresses and red wide-brimmed hats.

“Well, the last of the stragglers are finally here. We can start the tour. Follow me and we’ll talk about the horrors of the Soviet Union…”

“When will we talk about the whores of capitalist America?...” Old Bear mumbled under his breath.
The tour went uneventfully until the Yalta Conference exhibit.

“Igor! Wheel me in front of weak Bourgoise Roosevelt and take picture of me with Comrade Stalin!”

Igor wheeled Old Bear as suggested, when the child in the group turned to her mother. “Mommy, Mommy! I lost my first tooth!” She held up the bloody tooth for all to see.

“I’m so proud of you!” her mother said, giving her a big hug.

“In eight more years, she will be legal!” Pavel interjected, unhelpfully.

The mother, who identified herself as ‘Piss off, creep’ when Pavel propositioned her in the Communist Ideology exhibit, shot daggers at him with her eyes.

Jennifer laughed with the shallow intensity of someone not wanting to have to write an incident report. “Okay,” she said clapping her hands together, “the next room is very interesting because it deals with atomic weapons. We have, under this roof, the world’s largest collection of Geiger counters!”

Old Bear began sweating bullets. Igor grabbed the handles of the wheelchair and pushed him down the hall. Words and sounds were stuck in Old Bear’s throat as he tried to warn Igor of what was going to happen. “Ig.. Ig.. Igor… Stop…my containment field...”

They entered the Geiger counter room, and every device began emitting a rapid deep popping noise. The needles all swung to the right with maximum intensity.

Jennifer looked around, confused. “I’m sorry folks, this has never happened before.”

The little girl looked up at her mom. “Mommy, I lost another tooth! And my hair’s coming out!”

Igor looked at Pavel, and they both looked at Old Bear, who shrugged and pointed at the plutonium reactor under his sweater. Without thinking, Pavel leaned over to Igor. “Get him out of here. I got this.”

Igor wheeled Old Bear’s chair toward the exit and Pavel approached Jennifer. “Excuse me, miss, you have something on your face!” Pavel punched the tour guide in the nose, staggering her. He then turned to the ladies in the red hats. “I have some for you too!”

Igor glanced over his shoulder, only to see Pavel tackling two of the old ladies and kicking a third in the belly.

Security raced past them to get to the scuffle, letting Igor and Old Bear get to the exit unmolested. “Thank you, Pavel,” Igor said, getting the wheelchair loaded in the van.

***

“What now?”

“What now?” Igor was livid, “What now? You need to get your containment field fixed, first of all. And second of all, we’re checking out of this B&B tomorrow and heading back to Paragon. We’ll try and deal with Pavel’s legal situation then.”

The door opened and Pavel casually strolled in. “There is no legal situation.”

“But how? You assaulted at least six innocent people!”

“I assaulted one inncocent person,” Pavel smiled and began eating an apple he swiped from who-knows-where, “It turns out those old ladies weren’t old ladies at all, but Nemesis automatons. I claimed that I knew this all along, and the radiation they were emitting was giving me false readings, which is why I assaulted Jennifer first. Everyone was so grateful, the child’s mother gave me a kiss. I’m getting an official commendation for my heroism sent to the PPD.”

“Wow, so you knew they were Nemesis the whole time?”

“Of course not. I was just creating a diversion for you two to escape. Thanks to Old Bear, nobody at that museum is ever having kids.”

Igor looked at Pavel with horror and admiration. “You punched out six feeble women for us?”

“What are interdimensional friend-clones for?”

And that night the three bears slept in their beds. And everything was just right.