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Bear Club

Story by William Yarbrough (Read author interview) June 25, 2013

art by Whitney Haney

It happened before you left. Bears showing up at my house every afternoon to drink on the back porch. Some of them wear human clothes—sneakers, vests, baseball caps. They aren’t the problem. It’s the others I’m worried about, the heavy drinkers—the ones who wear no clothes and have bits of their fur shaved off in odd places. They tend to get violent. After six or seven drinks they’ll start howling and thrashing around, chipping paint off the back door or breaking a window. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’ve tried talking to them. I was real polite about it and everything. I said, “Hey guys. I’m Dan. I live here. Just wanted to let you know it’s OK for you guys to hang out here. I don’t want to ruin your good time or anything, but let’s try and keep it down a little bit, OK? Let’s try and rein it in a little. And let’s try not to break anything. I don’t want to have to charge you for any damages.” And do you know what they said? They told me to go fuck myself and threw a bottle at my head. I guess I could have been cooler about them breaking stuff. I probably shouldn’t have mentioned charging them. But c’mon, throwing a bottle at my head? That’s a bit much given the circumstance don’t you agree?

My neighbors keep calling to complain. Yesterday they said if the bears aren’t gone by the end of the week they’re going to alert the development head. They said a bunch of other ugly stuff too. Some of it was about you. I don’t know why I didn’t tell you about this before. I should have. If I had, you might still be here, helping to chase the bears away.

About the Author

William Yarbrough lives in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. He is 22 years old. In his spare time he enjoys listening to records, reading short fiction, and watching baseball. He is still waiting for Pavement to get back together.

About the Artist

Whitney Haney is pursuing a master’s degree in art therapy. For the past two semesters she has mentored adults with developmental disabilities in weekly art classes. She is currently working with the Naropa Community Art Studio International, an organization that takes art therapy to Cambodia to help those in need, particularly victims of the sex trafficking industry. For Whitney, involvement with the arts has provided exciting ways to explore internal and external worlds.

This story appeared in Issue Forty of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Forty
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The SmokeLong Quarterly Award for Flash Fiction

Deadline November 15!

The SmokeLong Quarterly Award for Flash Fiction (The Smokey) is a biennial competition that celebrates and compensates excellence in flash. The grand prize winner of The Smokey is automatically nominated for The Best Small Fictions, The Pushcart, Best of the Net, and any other prize we deem appropriate. In addition to all this love, we will also pay the grand prize winner $2500. Second place: $1000. Third place $500. Finalists: $100. All finalists and placers will be published in the special competition issue in December 2022.