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Chapter 09

Home Chapter 09

Copyright 2012 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia


Present – Samantha – In the woods


As I wake up (yes my darling husband Frank let me take a little nap) my nose goes crazy and I question, "Is someone cooking bacon?"


Frank replies, "I thought I smelled bacon too."


I sit up and sniff, my stomach growls and I continue, "Hell yes, now I'm sure it's bacon. I wish we had some."


Frank adds, "Well after the feral hogs found our camp last night by the smell of our food, I would hate to be the ones cooking bacon today because that smell will attract every animal for miles."


My stomach growls again and I whine, "Well I still wish we had some."


I get up, stretch, catch my husband watching me and accuse him with a grin, "I know exactly what's on that lecherous mind of yours."


He grins back and declares, "Hey, we're married so it's not lecherous."


I get ready to tease the hell out of him with my answer, but we hear a noise and Frank yells, "Incoming!"


Present – Ben – In the woods


I wake up to the smell of bacon, look over the makeshift hammock and son-of-a-bitch Stacy is cooking breakfast! What the hell does she think she's doing - this is going to attract everything for miles around and she might have just signed our death warrant. I get ready to lay into her when I remember my thoughts of last night - the ones about becoming my dad and I decide I have to stop being the same kind of asshole as he was.


When I start climbing out of the tree, Stacy sees me and joyfully announces, "Ben because you did such a good job making me a wonderful bed last night and then standing watch. I decided to make you breakfast."


Yeah with her attitude I'm glad I didn't give her a ration. I would have just done to her what my old man did to me. I fake a smile and say, "Thanks Stacy it smells wonderful." And I quickly do a thorough threat assessment of the area, then I relax slightly when I don't detect any threats.


She brings me a plate of food, follows it with another damn kiss on the cheek then hops away to get her food. I can't help but feel we're being watched so I walk a close perimeter while eating my food.


Present – Stacy – In the woods


When I first saw Ben, I thought he was really angry at me about something. But then he seems better but not happy like I thought he would be. I mean I worked really hard on this breakfast and now he's walking around and eating his. I hoped we could sit together and talk.


Well, I'm enjoying this wonderful meal even if Ben is acting like a skittish horse. I'm about half way through the plate of bacon, eggs and pancakes when I see...


Present – Ben – In the woods


Stacy freezes, points with her fork behind me and says, B…B…Bear!"


I turn and sure enough there's a bear behind me! But something isn't right, because it's not a black bear it's sort of brown colored. He's sitting on his haunches looking at us and Stacy whispers, "Ben if you aren't going to shoot it I am."


Oh great Stacy finally grows a pair and at the exact wrong time. I order, "Stacy, right now he's not being a threat so let's not start something. Besides, he's wearing a collar."


We stare at each other, then the bear does the most amazing thing…


Present – Stacy – In the woods


I can't believe it, the bear stands up on his hind feet and salutes Ben. Ben returns the salute and the bear then pats it's stomach. Ben questions, "Stacy do we have any more food?"


I reply, "Hell yes I figured the eggs would go bad so I cooked up enough damn food to feed an army."


Ben asks, "Get a good sized plate ready for me."


I begin to get it ready and question, "Are you really sure about this, after all he is a bear."


Ben says, "Well I remember reading something years ago about a bear that saluted but I'll be damned if I can remember the details. Since he's the only damn animal that hasn't tried to kill us I'm hoping that we have a new friend. By the way where the hell are Bo and Patches?"


I finish with the plate, walk over to Ben, grab his elbow and reply, "I let them go a bit ago to forage because they'd eaten all the grass around here. I wanted to check with you before I gave them any grain."


Ben takes the plate and says, "Well you're the horse girl so you know best about that." Then he orders, "Ten hut!"


Amazingly the bear stands to its feet and looks like a soldier standing at attention then salutes Ben again. Ben returns the salute walks toward the bear (I get really nervous and pull my pistol but this time I make sure to keep my finger off the trigger). He sets the plate on the ground and the bear still acts likes he's standing at attention. Ben says, "Fall out." and the bear goes after the food like crazy.


Ben turns, walks toward me while smiling and says, "Now that's one smart bear, much smarter than your damn monkey. By the way thanks for covering me but you can put your pistol away."


 I look past Ben, notice the bear's finished with his food and looks like he's a soldier again. I comment, "Ben, your bear needs something."


Present – Ben – In the woods


Damn I know I read about a fucking bear like this before, now where the hell was it and what the hell were the details? I swear sometimes I can't remember shit. Stacy says the bear needs something, so I turn and see he's at attention again. I look at him and order, "Fall out." The bear sits down I notice his collar and tell Stacy, "I'm going to look at the tag on his collar."


Stacy worries, "Ben are you sure you want to get that close to him?"


I wisecrack, "He's safer than most women I know."


She complains, "I sure hope you aren't including me in that group."


I don't answer but think to myself that she's number two in the group. I walk up to the bear and say, "I'm just going to look at your collar."


I reach down, look at the tag and it says, 'Wojtek III Iranian Brown Bear.'


Then I remember and announce, "Stacy this is Wojtek III he must be the grandson of the original Wojtek."


Stacy asks, "Who or what is a Wojtek? Is that some sort of Russian satellite?"


I chuckle under my breath and tell her the story that I now remember, "In the early part of World War II, a local boy found a bear cub near Hamadan, Iran. He was hungry and sold it to the soldiers of the Polish Army stationed nearby for a couple of canned meat tins. As the bear was less than a year old, he initially had problems swallowing and was fed with condensed milk from an emptied vodka bottle. The bear became quite an attraction for soldiers and civilians alike, and soon became an unofficial mascot for all units stationed nearby. Because of this, he was officially drafted into the Polish Army and was listed among the soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps. With the company he moved to Iraq and then through Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and to southern Italy."


I took a breath, thought for a second and continued, "The bear was fed with fruits, marmalade, honey and syrup, and was often rewarded with beer, which became his favorite drink. He enjoyed wrestling and was taught to salute when greeted. As one of the officially enlisted "soldiers" of the company, he lived with the other men in their tents or in a special wooden crate transported on trucks. According to numerous accounts, during the Battle of Monte Cassino, Wojtek helped his patrons by transporting ammunition – never dropping a single crate. In recognition of the bear's popularity, the HQ approved an effigy of a bear holding an artillery shell as the official emblem of the 22nd Company."


Stacy questions, "Ben are you lying to me again?"


I laugh and say, "No way! This is true and when we get to civilization you can look it up on the internet."


Stacy gets ready to say something when Bo and Patches come crashing through the bushes making a beeline towards Wojtek. I face Bo, hold out my hands and yell, "That's enough Bo, this bear is smarter than your average bear."


Stacy falls on the ground giggling like crazy so I question, "Just what's so funny?"


Present – Stacy – In the woods


Oh my God this is just too funny and Ben has no idea why? I can't stop laughing. Ben asks again, "Stacy I don't understand the joke, can you tell me what's so funny?"


I finally catch my breath and explain, "You two remind me of Yogi and Boo-Boo bear, especially when you used one of the quotes from the show."


Ben looks puzzled and asks, "What quote was that?"


I grin and reply, "'Smarter than your average bear.'"


Ben ignores me, waves his hand and says, "We need to go through the gear before we take off. We're going to move some to our packs and abandon some."


I question, "Well can't Boo-Boo carry some of the gear?"


Present – Ben – In the woods


Damn! Sometimes Stacy comes up an idea that is just great and this is one of those times. If Wojtek could carry a set of saddle bags it might really help. But now there's one big problem, how do you test and see if a bear can wear saddlebags, and how much weight can this bear safely carry?


Stacy is actually busy being helpful by cleaning up. I look at Wojtek and decide to try Patches saddle bags on him. I get her saddlebags out of the tree, pick them up, carry them over to Wojtek and start to put them on him. However, he begins to wrestle with me and I immediately notice he's damn strong.


Stacy looks over, begins to laugh again and asks, "What's wrong? Are you and Boo-Boo having a spat?"


I complain, "Hell no, I was just trying to put Patches saddlebags on Wojtek and he thinks I want to play."


She questions, "Well he's not a horse, maybe he can carry a pack instead."


I grab Stacy's pack and she complains, "Why are you using my pack?"


I lie to her and say, "It was your idea, besides your pack is lighter and I thought you'd rather have him carry it."


She replies, "Thanks Ben that makes sense and is nice of you."


I set the pack down in front of Wojtek, and decide show and tell might work better with him. So I run and grab my pack. I get back and see he’s figured out how to get Stacy's pack open and was eating something. I quickly close up her pack and thank God that she didn't see what he did because she was still pissed about the news team 'messing up' her pack.


I order, "Ten-hut!"


Wojtek stands at attention and I say, "If you're going to be part of this troop you have to carry your own weight." Stacy adds, "…which means my pack."


I proceed to put on my pack, then point to Stacy's pack. I grab her pack, loosen the straps and put it on Wojtek, then I fasten the waist belt.


I grin because he looks funny as hell and I really wonder if this will work because he can't walk on just his hind legs all the time. I command, "Come on."


He drops to all four, and I guess I didn't close her pack very well because all the crap comes tumbling out of Stacy's pack. This she sees and begins to screech, "What the hell! All my stuff is getting dirty."


She runs over and demands, "Get my pack off Boo-Boo right now!"


I take the pack off him and she begins tossing her things back in the pack, then she complains, "Hey my pack smells like – it smells like that bear of yours."


Yeah, she discovered why I didn't want to use my pack. To protect myself I lie, "Oh I didn't think of that."


Present – Stacy – In the woods


I'm pretty darn sure Ben just lied to me, but he's been in such a good mood this morning I don't want to start a fight. But my pack smells terrible. I begin to put my things back in my pack and ask, "Ben, where's my cell phone?"


Ben looks confused and says, "Stacy I don't know - I didn't take it." This time I can tell he didn't lie.


I frantically dump everything back out of my pack, and search everything twice but it's gone. I look at Ben and demand…


Present – Ben – In the woods


I've been messing around with Wojtek trying to get him to carry saddle bags and I think we're going to be able to work something out. He's still chomping on something from Stacy's pack and finally spits out what looks to be the remnants of her cell phone. I quickly pick it up and throw it as far as I can.


Stacy frantically demands, "Ben we need to go back to the bunker, kick the news teams asses and get my cell phone back."


I look at her like she's crazy and ask, "Just how in the hell do you expect to do that. There were eight of them and only two of us."


She states, "Well you kicked more bandito's asses at the bus than that, so eight people should be easy for you."


I laugh and explain, "Stacy there's a hell of a difference between untrained banditos and Mossad troops. And not only that, after you destroyed the news van they're now pissed off Mossad troops. If we run into them again it could be really bad."


She grimly states, "Yes really bad for them because I'm going to kick their butts."


I order, "Okay if that's what you feel you need to do, then I will back you up. But we're burning daylight so throw your crap back in your pack, saddle Patches and let's get moving."


Wojtek and I have come to an agreement about the saddlebags: He doesn't seem happy but he will carry them. I decide though I don't want him running off with half the supplies so I tie a rope to his collar and then to Bo's saddle.


Stacy finishes getting her stuff in her pack, saddles Patches and then tries to get on Patches with her pack on her back. I jump off Bo, run over and say, "Take your pack off."


She takes off her pack, I tie it to the back of Patches saddle and say, "There, that should make things easier."


Stacy kisses me on the damn cheek again and says, "Thanks Ben, are you sure we can't go back after the news team?"


I shake my head but this time I don't lie, "No Stacy, you're mobile phone is gone forever. But if you're nice I might let you get a new one when we get to a town."


She climbs on Patches and says, "That's okay, I have everything backed up online. I just didn't want them to have it."


I jump on Bo and we return to our journey.


Present – Samantha – In the woods


The incoming happens to be our replacement news van, and boy is it a beauty! But I will miss the old van because we'd been through hell with each other.


The driver steps out and announces, "Special delivery for a stranded news team."


I grin and respond, "That would be us."


He states, "Well, I should probably explain things to the folks that are going to be driving this van because there are some special features they need to know about."


I wasn't interested in that garbage, but I was interested in the interior. When I opened the door, I was shocked: It looked more comfortable inside than most living rooms. I climbed inside, sat on the couch and promptly fell asleep…


Present – Stacy – In the woods


I'm still not happy about my cell phone, but Ben has been so nice to me this morning, plus he promised I can get another one so I'm not devastated. In addition, Patches is much happier without the saddlebags, but Boo-Boo doesn't seem really happy to be carrying Patches saddlebags.


I do need to do something about my pack, because it stinks like hell. I know the old joke is 'do bears shit in the woods', well it smells like this one shit in my pack. Perhaps Ben will even buy me a new pack when we get to town.


We come up to another cell phone tower and Ben says, "Let's take a break while I take out this mobile phone tower."


My ass was sore so I'm glad to get off Patches anyway. Ben pulls one of the rifles off Bo and begins firing…