Tom Starita


Saul’s bar had twenty-seven patrons inside its hallowed halls, which wasn’t half bad for a rainy Wednesday night. Out of those twenty-seven, eight were there for the monthly talent show. The bar was famous for the contest, the primary claim to fame being one of the contestants ended up appearing on American Idol. Naturally, Saul’s identified itself as the premier source of spotting talent in the greater Yuma area.

Sitting upfront in his usual seat was Timothy. No one ever spoke with Timothy. No one ever sat near Timothy. No one ever made eye contact with Timothy. For as long as Saul’s bar had been running the talent show was as long as Timothy had been an active participant.

Singing the same song.

Over and over and over again.

People would complain, and Saul, the owner of Saul’s bar, would grab another piece of dip, place it inside his mouth and shrug his shoulders. “What do you want me to do? He’s harmless, and he drinks!” As a compromise, he always performed at the halfway point of the night, an unofficial bathroom break.

That night eight contestants were scheduled to sing, highlighted by Tammy doing her ear-splitting rendition of the “Moody Blues — I’m Just a Singer.” She departed the stage after her third bow, and now it was time for Timothy. All the regulars left to smoke, while the new members of the audience were too polite to stand up. The MC of the night, Saul’s nephew Byron grabbed the mic and said,

“And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for…Timothy!” Timothy stood up, re-tucked his green flannel shirt into his tan Dockers and made his way to the stage.

“Hello, my name is Timothy, and I’m going to do a song I wrote myself. I call it the Bears song.” He was met with a smattering of polite applause. Timothy removed the mic from the stand and held it up to his lips. Whispering to himself, he said, “Ready? On 3. 1…2…3 now!”

“Bears are fierce, and bears are cool

You have to remember to follow the bear’s rules

Grrr when they grizzle

Grrr when they growl

Grrr when you’re sick

Grrr when they’re on the prowl

Ohhhh bears are scary

They’ll eat your face

Ohhh bears are scary

Carry some mace

Grrr when they grizzle

Grrrr when they growl

My aunt touched my uncle

My uncle said ow

Because my aunt is a bear

My uncle is honey

Bears are cool

Cooler than money.

Bears are COOL

Bears ARE COOL

BEARS ARE COOL

GRRR GRR GRRR

BEARS!”

Timothy held both arms high above his head to soak in the non-existent applause. He handed the mic back to Byron, left the stage, and sat back in his seat. Byron looked out at the confused faces in the audience and said,

“Okay as you know, that was Timothy doing his famous bear song. Up next we have — “ Suddenly a large man wearing an expensive three-piece suit got up from his barstool and walked over to Byron.

“Before you do my name is Frankie Biggg of Mr. Biggg’s Records. I was driving in my limo and heard singing and had to come inside.” Frankie turned his gaze toward Timothy. “Son, that was incredible, and regardless of whatever the judges decide, I want to sign you to a recording contract.”

The patrons of Saul’s bar sat in stunned silence. Tammy tried to say something, but she could produce no words. Everyone stared at Frankie and then at Timothy, who beamed with validation.

With a tear in his eye, Timothy stood up and shook Frankie Biggg’s hand, and they left the bar together. It is said that when Mr. Biggg delivered his now-famous speech, Saul himself swallowed the piece of tobacco he kept in his cheek and puked all over his bar. Timothy climbed into Mr. Biggg’s limo, filled with dreams of what’s to come. During the ride, Mr. Biggg gave Timothy several glasses of champagne, which Timothy eagerly drank.

Suddenly Timothy felt funny. The last words he remembered saying out loud before falling into the black was, “That’s some champagne.”

Timothy was drugged, and when he awoke from his stupor, he was in some sort of cabin, sitting on a cold dirt floor and handcuffed to an old fashioned radiator. Mr. Biggg noticed his awakening and came over. Words were still hard to come by, but Timothy managed to say,

“I don’t understand. I thought you were signing me to a record deal.” Mr. Biggg leaned in close, so they were practically nose to nose.

“No, I think you understand plenty. For years you have been singing your Bears song. In that song, you mention the bear rules. THAT IS FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE!” Mr. Biggg struck Timothy across the face, causing him to cry.

“I didn’t know. Honest! I was just making it up!” Tears and snot flowed freely from Timothy’s swollen face.

“It is too late. My people are in position. There is nothing left to be done.” The fear so overwhelmed Timothy that he hyperventilated. In between gasps, he managed to get out,

“People? What people? WHAT PEOPLE!”

“THE BEARS!” Mr. Biggg ripped off his mask, and a grizzly bear stared back at Timothy. He was eaten alive.



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