Only You

by Lisa Cristal

Smokey ruffled his somewhat luxuriant hair and pondered how it had come to this. Damn, he still felt the honey sugar high from his bender.

Last night at the bar was probably his lowest point. Some cute little cub had come over and started to flirt.

“I’ve always wondered what was in those picnic baskets you steal,” she cooed.

“I’m not that two-bit thief, Yogi Bear.” He knew he wasn’t aging well but surely he didn’t have the paunch of Yogi and a collection of ugly ties and hats. In his opinion, Yogi gave all bears a bad name.

“But you look so familiar. Who are you?”

He cleared his throat and looked deeply into her lovely brown eyes, “Only you,” he growled.

“Does that help?”

“I’m not sure that it does,” she admitted.

He pulled himself up to his full height. “How’s this? Only YOU can prevent forest fires!”

“OMG,” she tittered. “You’re Smokey the Bear. Wait until I tell my mom! My dad used to be so jealous of you. She would stop everything she was doing and run to the TV when your PSAs were on. In fact, about ten years ago my father told my mother that their marriage was much better now that you stopped appearing on TV. What have you been doing with yourself?”

It was as if she smacked him with a dead salmon. That’s when he left the bar. In the privacy of his own home he cracked open the honey jar and licked it all down.

But by the next morning he had an epiphany. He knew that global warming created dried-out forests ready to incinerate. Maybe he could secretly start a few “controlled” burns and then run in to help fight the fires. That would make him relevant again. A hero by tomorrow!

Unfortunately, the next day some campers looking to videotape bears in the wild quietly followed him into the woods. They watched him light some kindling and blow it in the direction of the water-starved forest. Using their stun guns they captured Smokey and turned him over to the authorities with the video evidence.

Smokey found himself in the jail cell with his nemesis, Yogi. The guard opened the cell door. Before leaving Yogi turned to Smokey. “Boo Boo paid my bail.  Stealing picnic baskets is one thing but burning down a forest to get attention is another.  I’m still smarter than the average bear.”

In her prior life as a trademark attorney Lisa Cristal only wrote non-fiction. The members of Writing Workshop helped her enjoy writing fiction and this assignment was writing fan fiction.