Flash Fiction: “Those Woods Up North”

Another story, fresh off the presses. Hope you like regional accents! Also, just in case, apologies to anyone from the East Coast if this sounds mangled to you.

Those Woods Up North,

by Alexander Paul Willging

Word Count: 681

Nothing about today made any sense. I was sure of that much. I mean, c’mon, things was weird enough last week. Nutty little Frank still swears he saw a unicorn in the woods. Yeah, right, buddy. But this?

This was just… I don’t even know, man.

Alright, so get this. I’m out with my crew from Lauterpacht Lumber, yeah? We got to go and find these here trees for cuttin’ all the way in upstate New York. Like, all the way past Albany, y’know? So I says, “Sure thing, boss. Grab a few maples, no problem.”

But wouldn’t ya know it, there’s a problem. Hoo boy, there’s a problem with those woods up north…

Now, it’s eight in the morning. Me an’ the boys, we drive up and scope the forest out. We break out the saws n’ the trucks n’ everything. I mean, we start going to town, alright? I figure we’d be done by noon and call it a day. Easiest check we ever made in six months.

And then, he shows up.

This, uh, big brown bear? He comes sprinting up to the truck, yeah? And, like, this fella’s huge. Like a big, mean ol’ grizzly.

I tell my guy, y’know, stay back, I got this, blah blah blah. I get this big stick outta the truck, the kind we use to shoo off deer and whatnot. And right as this bear’s about to charge me, I give ’em a real good whack. Right between the eyes!

Ok, now, here’s the real weird fuggen part.

The bear goes, “Ow!”

No, I mean it. He straight up says, “Ow!” an’ he starts falling to his knees an’ moaning. And I’m like, “What the hell?” And I’m thinkin’ to myself, “Hey, uh, when did bears fall to their knees like that? Pretty sure they never did that before.”

And then it hits me. This ain’t no bear. It’s some clown in a bear costume.

And this guy, this friggen guy, he starts wailing n’ saying “I’m gonna sue! I’m gonna sue you!” Now I hear his voice and I swear, like, I know this guy. I know his voice, but from where?

So I go n’ help him to his feet. I brush off the leaves from his costume, try to be friendly with this nutjob. Hey, no hard feelings, am I right? Honest mistake, sure. But this kid, he ain’t havin’ it. He’s still whining. He’s, like, puffing out his chest and going, “Why you gotta do that? I was just making a point here!”

And then it hits me. Right between the eyes.

“Dave?” I say to him. “Holy… Dave, is that you?

Sure enough, it’s Dave Cotton outta Trenton. He’s one of these leftie Save-the-Earth types. I don’t know, poor kid thinks he can talk to trees or something. Musta drank one too many fruit juices or something like that.

“Oh, you’ve done it now!” he shouts at me. Like, he’s trying to be this big deal, but I mean, c’mon. He’s still wearing this bear costume. I’m almost laughing my ass off, and I can hear the boys behind me doin’ just that.

“Yeah, yeah!” says Dave. “You’re all gonna be sorry! ’Cause you gone and messed with Mother Nature!”

“Yeah?” I look around, and I’m like this close to cracking up. “She gonna spank us good or…?”

And I tell ya, I don’t believe what I see next. Like, I’m five beers in now, and I can still hear ’em.

They, uh, came up behind Dave. Like, one atta time. Couple of birds, couple of squirrels n’ whatnot. Bunch of little critters rushing into the woods like something outta Disney. But then they just keep comin’. Like, the next thing we know, there’s bears and wolves. I mean, real bears and real wolves. Ain’t no more costumes anymore. This here’s the real thing. And brother, you’d believe they’re all real mad.

So we take off. We run. We don’t get paid that day. And I gotta say, ya couldn’t pay me to go back there.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


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