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    Grumpy Bear
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Worlds Apart - 22. Over the River and Through the Woods

The house in Sea Cliff was a buzz of activity on Thanksgiving morning. The bears bustled about, some showering and dressing in the best clothes they had packed for the trip, and others busy in the kitchen cooking up a Thanksgiving meal fit for ten bears.

“I don’t understand why we’re going to all the trouble of cooking a feast for the bears who tried to kill us yesterday,” Barry complained to Gunnar, wielding a long kitchen knife. “I say we let them starve for a few days and make them suffer!”

“No,” Gunnar replied, “If we’re going to show these bears that they can trust us after Colt is gone, it starts now. By showing them some compassion while they’re our prisoners, we’re not only heading-off a potential jailbreak, but we’re also being the werebear role models that they clearly haven’t had before now.”

“And how, exactly, did you manage to get that flea-bag hotel on Mission Street to become our temporary jail, Laddie?” Dom asked as he chopped celery for Gunnar’s special dressing. “I don’t think the werebear manager was much of a fan of ours after we nearly broke down his front door!”

“Easy,” Gunnar replied. “After you gave me a call from the boat and let me know to prepare ten holding cells for our captives, I simply called my accountant, who called my real estate agent, and I bought the El Capitan Hotel, and became the manager’s new boss. The Hotel is currently ‘Closed for Renovations’ while the manager enjoys the pay raise that comes with the new job title of Prison Warden.”

“Are you sure that hotel is going to hold the prisoners?” Barry asked, tears now running down his cheeks as he chopped an entire bag of sweet onions. “We can lock them in and nail the windows shut, but there’s really nothing stopping them from busting down the door or breaking the windows if they really wanted to escape.”

“It’s the same concept as a human minimum-security prison,” Gunnar replied. “They can escape if they want, but if they try, the alternative is worse. For these bears, it means being back out on the streets with Colt hunting for their hides. I think they were actually relieved that we were giving them a place to lay low for a while.”

“Well, we’re cooking enough food to feed the Royal Regiment of Scotland,” Dom said. “I hope they enjoy the hospitality and benevolence of the Sturgeon Bay werebear clan.”

Gunnar pulled two twenty-pound turkeys from the commercial-grade oven.

“You two go get showered and dressed,” he said to Dom and Barry, “I’ll finish the dressing and then we’ll pack everything up and drop it off at the El Capitan on our way to San Jose.”

“And tell me again why we’re getting all gussied up in our Sunday best, Laddie?” Dom asked.

“Because we’ve been invited to attend the Thanksgiving dinner of Dr. Nameer Rawal and family,” Gunnar replied. “We don’t want to arrive looking like a bunch of bumpkins, now do we? We’re going to show those tigers that we bears can be just as refined and civilized as they are.”

“Even more so,” Mike said, walking into the kitchen, still healing from his internal injuries. “We don’t make plans to force our offspring into arranged marriages when they’re only five years old!”

“We’re going to respect their cultural traditions,” Gunnar countered, “While at the same time, explaining to Shivay’s mother and his ‘bride’ that forcing him into a marriage that goes against his nature is a losing prospect for all parties involved.”

“Yeah, right,” Barry replied with a laugh, “I think I’ve heard enough about Shivay’s mother to know when I’m walking into a bloodbath! I’m going to wear my reinforced athletic supporter under my fancy trousers to protect my balls from that vicious bitch! What time do the festivities begin, anyway?”

“We’re supposed to arrive promptly at 3:00 this afternoon,” Gunnar said, “Because that’s when everybody in America eats Thanksgiving dinner for some reason.”

Dom and Barry left Gunnar and Mike to finish the Thanksgiving feast for their prisoners and started up the stairs to their bedrooms to get showered and dressed.

“Hey Laddie,” Dom said, elbowing Barry in the ribs as they ascended the stairs, “You wouldn’t happen to have an extra one of those reinforced jockstraps, would you? I’m beginning to think if there was ever a day to wear underwear under my kilt to protect the jewels, today would be the day!”

****

Colt stood in his living room and raged at the assembly of bears gathered around him. There were significantly fewer than had been there on Tuesday night, and that fact was not sitting well with the big Kodiak at all.

Hank had been heading up the strike team who were supposed to attack the fishing boat out on the open ocean yesterday morning. Their mission was simple. The ten bears in Hank’s team were to overwhelm and eliminate the six bears on board along with any humans unlucky enough to be on the boat with them. There were to be no witnesses left alive to alert the human population at-large of the existence of werebears amongst them in the City. After all bears and crew aboard were dead, the bodies were to be tied together and attached to the anchor, which was to be sent to the ocean floor. They were then supposed to start the fishing boat engine and tie off the steering wheel pointed in a westerly direction and let it pilot itself over the horizon out into the Pacific until it eventually ran out of fuel and drifted aimlessly for the next ten years.

Instead, Hank’s crew left at five in the morning and never came back. Colt sent an underling down to the Wharf last night after sundown and received the report that the fishing boat was moored back in its usual spot again, safe and sound.

“Have any of you assholes seen Hank or his gang since yesterday morning?” Colt raged at the fifteen bears sitting nervously around him on his shabby furniture.

“No sir,” one bear reported. “We checked all their apartments and even the bars they hang out in. We can’t find a single one of them.”

“Well,” Colt said, trying to get his anger under control, “I guess we can assume that they failed at their assignment and are all dead. If they aren’t dead, they will be if I ever see any of those mangy bitches again!

“That explains the absence of ten of my bears,” Colt continued, “But not the other ten who aren’t here this morning. Can somebody tell me just where in the fuck everyone is today?”

“They pussied out, boss,” Shane said from his usual spot in the recliner. “They know that Hank’s team got their asses killed and they’re afraid to tussle with these intruder bears anymore. They’re all probably hiding under their beds right now, pissing themselves in terror.”

Colt closed his eyes and clenched his fists, turning suddenly to punch the wall over the fireplace, leaving a round hole in the brickwork of the old house.

The bears flinched at Colt’s physical outburst and looked around at each other nervously. At the moment, hiding under their beds sounded like the better plan.

Colt unclenched his fists and took a deep breath.

“Fine. Just… fucking fine,” he said through gritted teeth. “If I only have fifteen bears who are willing to do what needs to be done, then we’ll take care of business with fifteen bears. The others are going to find themselves on probation. If they think their lives were shitty before, just wait till they receive the punishment I have in store for them. They’ll be sucking cocks in every back-alley in the City for a buck a pop for the next five fucking years!

“Shane!” Colt said suddenly, changing the subject and turning to his right-hand bear. “Give me some good news… please!”

“Sure boss,” Shane said with a grin. “I got the tiger’s address in San Jose. He still lives with his fucking parents! Isn’t that the most pathetic thing you ever heard?”

“Good job, Shane,” Colt said, finally cracking a smile. “If the bears are going to play hard-to-kill, I think we’ll send them a message. Boys, we’re all taking a Thanksgiving trip over the river and through the woods, but we ain’t going to see grandma, and we ain’t bringing a bottle of fancy wine for the host. We’re going to bring the gift of death and destruction for that entire tiger family. When Siku and his pack of bears find his pet tiger slaughtered at the dinner table along with his mommy and daddy, they’ll know who the fuck they’re dealing with, and exactly what we’re capable of!”

“Colt… boss…” one of the bears said cautiously, “Running our prostitution ring, selling party drugs, and committing petty theft is one thing, but now you’re talking about cold-blooded murder against weres outside of our territory. Weres who haven’t even done anything to any of us!”

Colt strode over to the bear and picked him up by the front of his shirt.

“Are you going to pussy out on me too, Doug? ‘Cause I can find a new batch of clients into scat who would pay me a lot of money for the opportunity to take turns shitting in your fucking mouth while you’re bound and blindfolded with your jaw wired open. Is that how you want to spend the next decade, Doug?”

“No, boss,” Doug said, turning his face away so that he didn’t have to look Colt directly in his frenzied eyes.

“Then if you’ve made your choice, we’re all going to go murder that tiger family because I fucking said so! Got it?”

“Got it,” Doug replied, still looking away from Colt’s face.

Colt dropped Doug on the floor and looked around at all fifteen bears sitting nervously around him.

“That goes for all of you fucking pussies!” Colt screamed, in a rage again. “If I tell you assholes to kill me some tigers, you’re going to say, ‘How many, boss?’ Got it?”

“Got it,” the bears all said in unison.

“Now that you all understand what’s expected of you on this fine Thanksgiving Day,” Colt said, with an evil grin on his face, “Get your asses in the van. We’re going to San Jose for dinner!”

****

Shvay’s mother prowled in front of her family, inspecting their attire for the Thanksgiving dinner. Her parents sat to the side and watched their daughter evaluate her family with pride. Her daughter wore a beautiful pink silk sari, and her mate and their cubs wore matching navy blue sherwani formal attire. Nameer wore a black sherwani while Shivay was resplendent in a white sherwani with elaborate silver and gold embroidery that she had stitched herself years ago in anticipation of this very day.

“Nana,” the eldest of the cubs asked, “Why do we have to get so dressed up just to have dinner with some people we don’t even know?”

“Because,” she replied, “We are meeting the young lady who is going to become Shivay’s mate and her parents today. We want to make a good impression upon them, don’t we?”

“Young lady?” the cub asked with a giggle, “I thought Uncle Shivay was a fagg…”

But the cub didn’t get to finish his observation as the back of his grandmother’s hand struck him squarely across the face. The cub’s mother and father gasped audibly at the sudden harsh discipline at the hands of his grandmother, but they wisely kept silent.

“I will have no more talk like that today!” she hissed at the cubs until they were all staring at the floor in fear. When the Banerjee family arrives, the ten adults will eat in the dining room, while you three will be at the children’s table in the kitchen where you belong.

The cub who had been struck across the face opened his mouth to reply but closed it again without saying a word.

“If I hear so much as a peep from you, the children’s table will be moved from the kitchen to the garage. Do you understand me?”

The cubs nodded and the smallest wiped tears away from his eyes.

“Now,” she continued, “The table is set, and the food is prepared. When the Banerjees arrive, we will offer them a rum punch for refreshment. Nameer and I will talk with the parents while Shivay and Lakshmi take time to speak and get acquainted.

“Dinner is served precisely at three o’clock, which means that I want everyone seated at the table five minutes in advance for prayers. My daughter, you and your mate will recite the meditations on Sri Krishna and Sri Rama. My husband, you will recite the meditation on Lord Ganesha. I will recite the meditation on Lord Shiva, and you, my son, will recite The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra, The Life-Giving Prayer, as befits this passage into your new married life.

“Do all of you remember the words?” She asked finally looking back and forth at here assembled family.

“Yes, ma’am” they all answered in unison, which pleased her.

“Today must be perfect,” she said after looking them each over one more time, adjusting their cuffs and brushing away a loose thread. I will have no stumbles or fumbles in front of the Banerjees. I hope I have made myself clear.”

The assembled family nodded in response, and the elder tigers rose from their seats to congratulate their daughter on the success and discipline of her brood.

There was just enough time to fill their best crystal glassware with rum punch and adjust the table settings one final time before there was a knock at the door.

“Nameer!” she hissed at her husband. “Go open the door greet our guests!”

Nameer hurried to the door and opened it to reveal a tall and stately tiger couple. The man dressed similarly to Nameer in a black sherwani while the woman was dressed in a red pant sari with gold embroidery in a very modern style.

“Vishal and Amoli Banerjee,” Nameer said, “Welcome to our home. Allow me to introduce my wife, Nimerah.”

Nameer’s wife, having been introduced, no longer had any use for her husband, and subtly pushed him aside.

“You honor us with your presence today,” she said sweetly. “It has been a long time to wait for this first meeting of our betrothed cubs!”

“Yes,” Vishal said, taking Nimerah’s hand and kissing it boldly. “Allow me to introduce to you our daughter, Lakshmi.”

The two tigers parted to reveal a petite female standing behind them, eyes downcast, wearing a beautiful traditional sari, dyed in an ombre fashion, deep purple at the bottom hem, fading gradually to pure white at the bust, embellished with many small freshwater pearls, colored in white, pink, and lavender.

“What a lovely daughter you have,” Nimerah said to Amoli, pressing her hands together in front of her heart and bowing her head formally as the other tiger mirrored her gesture. “I can see that she gets her grace and beauty from her mother.”

As the trio of tigers entered the foyer, Nimerah turned back to Nameer and cleared her throat with a slight glare.

“Ah yes,” Nameer said, remembering his next part in the ritual. “Allow me to introduce our son, Shivay.”

Shivay stepped forward and pressed his hands together in front of his chest, bowing his head respectfully.

Lakshmi looked up for the first time, at the face of her betrothed husband. The adult tigers were all able to detect the faint scent of attraction and arousal which flowed from the young tigress at the sight of Shivay and were pleased. This was a significant part of the first meeting, indicating that she had accepted her future husband on a subconscious, biological level.

“Well then,” Nimerah said, “Now that we are all properly introduced, let’s refresh ourselves with a rum punch and talk before dinnertime.”

Nameer recognized his wife’s cue and brought forth the tray of crystal glasses filled with the colorful rum punch. After each had taken a glass, Nimerah took her son by the elbow.

“Shivay,” she said, “Why don’t you take Lakshmi to the back terrace and show her the gardens while your parents talk wedding preparations.”

“Yes mother,” Shivay replied, and offered his arm to Lakshmi, leading her through the house to the patio in the rear of their home.

“Quite lovely,” Lakshmi said upon viewing the manicured gardens in the backyard. Symmetrical flowerbeds flanked a central path of lush, close-cropped grass through the center of the garden, with an elaborate fountain bubbling away at the center. The young tiger sipped her drink and looked shyly up at Shivay.

“Um,” Shivay began, not quite sure what to say to the girl, “I love your sari. It is traditional, yet the embellishment and the coloring is quite modern at the same time.”

Laksmi blushed, and looked down, smoothing an invisible wrinkle from her garment.

“Thank you,” she replied. “Mother buys her own formal attire from a Bollywood fashion designer but insisted that I make my own sari to wear for the occasion today.”

“You made this yourself?” Shivay said, tentatively taking the hem of the short sleeve between his fingers and examining the beadwork with the colored pearls. “This is quite amazing!”

“Well, I confess,” Laskshmi said, “I did partially get the idea from an episode of Project Runway.”

“Oh!” Shivay exclaimed, “I love that show! I know what episode you’re talking about! It was the one where the contestants had to pull a card from the button-bag and whatever country was written on the card, they had to create an updated and modern version of that nation’s traditional costume.”

“Yes!” Lakshmi replied, also excited, and now looking at Shivay with new eyes, “That gave me the inspiration to do the ombre dye-job on this sari. I was so nervous, because I made the entire dress in white silk, and then dyed it when I only had the embroidery and beadwork embellishment left to do. I knew that I only had one chance to get the dye right, and I was frightened that I would ruin the entire thing!”

“I would say that you did an excellent job,” Shivay said smiling. “If you had been on that episode of Project Runway, you would have won the challenge for sure.”

Lakshmi smiled bashfully at the compliment and took another sip of her drink.

“It was my dream as a young cub to go to school to become a fashion designer,” she said. “I’ve been teaching myself with material and patterns that I’ve gotten at the fabric store. My mother thinks that I’ve been practicing to become a good wife and make clothing for my future family, but I really wish that I could have gone to New York or Los Angeles and studied at one of the big design schools and maybe have gotten an apprenticeship with one of the major fashion companies.”

She looked back down suddenly, fearing that she had said too much, and would anger her future husband with her confession of dreams that extended beyond their upcoming marriage.

“I think that’s wonderful that you have ambitious dreams,” Shivay said reassuringly to her, and she looked back up at him and smiled, “When we are… married… I would encourage you to have a career of your own. Fashion design would seem like a logical path for someone with your passion and talent.”

Lakshmi squealed with delight, and threw her arms around Shivay’s shoulders, kissing him lightly on the cheek.

“Ahem!” a voice called from the French doors of the house. They turned to see their mothers standing side-by-side with sour expressions on their faces, scrutinizing their inappropriate display of affection.

“If you two are finished with your… conversation,” Shivay’s mother said, coldly, “It is time to go to the dining room for dinner.”

The adult tigers gathered around the big table in the dining room wile the cubs were ushered to their places at the kitchen table by Shivay’s sister. Once everyone was in their place, they all sat at the same time. The Banerjees noted that it was Nimerah rather than Nameer who sat at the head of the table, with her husband sitting at her right-hand side, but they remained silent on this minor breach of traditional protocol.

“Before we begin to enjoy the holiday feast which I and my mother have prepared,” Nimerah boasted, “Let us pray to the gods to whom the tigers owe our very existence.”

She nodded at her daughter, who began the Meditation on Sri Krishna.

“Vamshee vibhooshita karaan navaneeradaabhaat

Peetaambaraadaruna bimbaphalaa dharoshthaat;

Poornendusundara mukhaad aravinda netraat

Krishnaat param kimapi tattwam aham na jaane.”

[I know not any other Reality than the lotus-eyed Krishna with hands adorned with flute, looking like a heavy-laden cloud in lustre, wearing a yellow silk garment, with His lower lip like a ruddy bimba fruit, and with face shining like the full moon.]

Her mate continued as soon as her prayer was complete with the Meditation on Sri Rama.

“Dhyaayedaajaanubaaham dhritasharadhanusham baddhapadmaasanastham,

Peetam vaaso vasaanam navakamala dala spardhinetram prasannam;

Vaamaankaaroodhaseetaa mukhakamala milal lochanam neeradaabham,

Naanaalankaara deeptam dadhatamuru jataa mandalam raamachandram.”

[One should meditate on Sri Ramachandra, with hands reaching the knees, holding the bow and arrows, seated in the locked-up lotus posture, wearing a yellow garb, with eyes vying with the newly-blossomed lotus petals, with a pleasant gait, who has Sita seated on His left thigh, who is blue like the clouds, who is adorned with all kinds of ornaments and having a big circle of Jata on the head.]

Upon his son-in-law’s completion of his prayer, Nameer began the recitation of the Meditation on Lord Ganesha.

“Gajaananam bhootaganaadisevitam

Kapittha jamboophala saara bhakshitam;

Umaasutam shoka vinaasha kaaranam

Namaami vighneshwara paada pankajam.”

[I worship the lotus feet of Ganesha, the son of Uma, the destroyer of all sorrows, who is served by the host of gods and elementals, and who takes the essence of the kapittha-jarnbu fruit (fruit resembling the bilwa fruit).]

When her husband was complete, Nimerah began to recite the Mediation on Lord Shiva.

“Shaantam padmaasanastham shashadharamakutam panchavaktram trinetram,

Shoolam vajram cha khadgam parashumabhayadam dakshinaange vahantam;

Naagam paasham cha ghantaam damaruka sahitam chaankusham vaamabhaage,

Naanaalankaara deeptam sphatika maninibham paarvateesham namaami.”

[I prostrate myself before the five-faced Lord of Parvati, who is adorned with various ornaments, who shines like the crystal jewel, who is seated peacefully in the lotus pose, with moon-crested crown, with three eyes, wearing trident, thunderbolt, sword and axe on the right side, who holds the serpent, noose, bell, damaru and spear on the left side, and who gives protection from all fear to His devotees.]

When she had completed her prayer, she raised her eyes to look at her son. Shivay nodded at her silently and began to recite The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra, The Life-Giving Prayer.

“Om trayambakam yajaamahe sugandhim pushtivardhanam

Urvaarukamiva bandhanaan mrityor muksheeya maamritaat.”

[We worship the three-eyed One (Lord Shiva) Who is fragrant and Who nourishes well all beings; may He liberate us from death for the sake of immortality even as the cucumber is severed from its bondage to the creeper.]

Nimerah smiled as her son completed his prayer. The day was perfect just as she had planned, and the marriage of her son to Lakshmi already appeared to be perfect as well, if their interaction on the terrace was any indication.

Despite the recent hardships and setbacks, nothing now could stop the life that she had so meticulously planned for Shivay, like the threads painstakingly stitched in the sari that she would wear to his wedding.

“Thank you, my family,” she said. “Now, let us all enjoy the bounty which Lord Shiva has bestowed upon us.”

At that moment, the doorbell rang, followed by a knocking at the front door. Nimerah looked up in shock, not mentally prepared for anything to interrupt her carefully planned timeline of the day.

Nameer smiled and stood up from the table.

“It would seem that Lord Shiva has bestowed more guests upon us on this wonderful day!” he said. “I will answer the door and welcome them!”

Nimerah shot Nameer an icy stare, wondering what mischief her deviant husband had planned to ruin this momentous event for her family, but he ignored her and strode to the foyer to answer the front door, walking with a confidence in his stride that she had not seen since they were first married.

The tiger family's traditional Hindu prayers credit:

Das, Subhamoy. "A Guide to 5 Hindu Prayers for All Occasions." Learn Religions, Sep. 17, 2021, learnreligions.com/hindu-prayers-for-all-occasions-1770540

Copyright © 2021 Grumpy Bear; All Rights Reserved.
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Grumpy Bear's Werebear Tales

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

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Great timing with the arrival of the newcomers.  I’m just afraid it may not be the ones we want!  PLEASE be the ones we want!

The Banerjees seemed to be surprised that Mother is the ruler in this family, and not Nameer (although I was really pleased when even SHE noticed the change in his attitude withe arrival of his guests).  This family may not be what they were led to believe it was, and they may already be second guessing themselves.

Lakshmi seems pleased, however.  Not only is Shivay attractive, they share an interest in Project Runway (and maybe fashion design?) and he supports the idea of her pursuing a career in the fashion industry in which she seems to have some talent.  Even if they are not married, maybe they can get her away from her traditionalist, controlling parents.

Figures Gunnar takes the nurturing pathway.  He is a very caring werebear/person.  He realizes that these bears who attacked them were being coerced in fear of their lives.  Maybe they can turn ‘state’s evidence’ (is that the term?) for the Council to help convict Colt and his minions and send them away for a VERY long time.

Please, @Grumpy Bear, don’t be long in bringing the next chapter.  We have to know who is at the door!

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