The bear burst out of the tree line and for the moment caught Will Mittleback by surprise. However, it didn't take long for the rugged outdoorsman to gather his wits and do what any manly guy would do in this situation. He grabbed his Winchester from the sling on his shoulder, squared around and confronted the charging, roaring grizzly. He then shot a single round into the ground right in front of the beast. The earth literally exploded at its feet. The man-eater skidded to a stop just ten feet from Will then stood on his back paws. Extending his 800-pound frame to the sky and towering above the unmoving human in front of him, he let out a loud, vicious roar to let the ruddy-complexioned man know who was the boss. However, Will never flinched. Instead, he howled back at the beast to let him know that he was not impressed enough to move.
"Will! What are you doing?" A familiar voice behind him intoned.
Will turned and faced his wife, perturbed she had dared to come up behind him like that. "I'm raking the leaves just like you asked!"
"Well, that's a funny way to do it," she said, pointing at the rake in his hands, leveled like a rifle and aimed at a tree in front of her husband.
"I was taking a break," he replied. "Getting ready to wrap it all up."
"Good, 'cause dinner will be ready in about ten."
Jill Mittleback went back into the house, but not before sniffing her disapproval of his behavior and adding a disgusted shake of her head. Will furiously attacked the leaves at his feet letting them know he was firmly in charge—of his life as well as the growing pile of autumn decay.
Behind him, he thought he heard a sound. He twirled suddenly and discovered a bear sitting and pointing a paw at Will. The large grizzly let out a haunting belly laugh and rolled onto its side, his front legs hugging its round belly.
"What's so funny?" Will asked, puzzled.
"The mighty outdoorsman. Felled by a little sow," the bear chortled.
Will ignored his adversary and finished raking the leaves, with the sound of giggling accompany his every move. With the last of the leaves safely whisked into the huge pile, he grimaced and walked back into the house, Bear laughter echoing in his ears.
This is an excerpt from a short story in progress that is meant to be a tribute to "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" by Jame Thurber. With a movie about to premier, I thought something truer to the short story needed exposure too. Nothing against the movie (which I haven't seen) but at least read the short story before you go. Oh, the picture at the top is of me at Glacier National Park. I thought this blog might need a picture to go with it, so why not?