Flash: B is for Bear

Photo by Adrien Tutin on Unsplash

“Get back to nature” the Fakebook advertisement appeared beside Jordan’s feed after she had hovered over a series of posts from some old school acquaintance-friends who up-bragged about their European backpack summer. At forty-six with her two kids off at college, the deep forest picture made her stare longer than it should. The green, the dark, she could feel the crisp autumn biting her ears as she shuffled through the image in her mind. It wouldn’t be lonely surrounded by all those trees.

“Witchy Wonder Time” floated from the bottom of the ad to the top. The animated cycle ended with fancy green and golden lines growing into words: Live your best life. An easy to remember link remained at the bottom throughout the ad.

Jordan put her computer to sleep and ignored her phone, blinking from two spam callers. Dishes, the last set from the kids coming by for Labor Day, needed doing, then seven months until Easter, spring break, before she would see them again since both of them separately were doing trips for the winter holidays with friends. Last year nearly killed her during the dark months after her youngest went off to his freshman year.

The sinks filled with hot sudsy water on one side and clear water on the other. Rubbing the water that splashed on her face with the back of her wrist, Jordan sighed, then submerged the glasses into the hot water.

If only she could work, but after years of taking care of her grandparents, her parents, her husband’s parents, and her husband as well as raising her two children, she had no work experience. Attempting fast food last year surrounded by teenagers had been embarrassing; being chastised by an eighteen-year old child for not filling out her time card correctly had sent her into a crying jag for two days. It wasn’t like she actually needed to work after inheriting from the parents, since both her and her husband had been only children. Still, having a reason to get out of the house would have been nice.

“Be careful with the knives,” she muttered before reaching for the first sharp utensil, submerging it, washing it, and putting it into the clear water. She washed the nine knives individually, then picked up the group and moved them into the drying rack. “Next up, plates.”

Getting back to nature would be out of the house. Could you imagine her backpacking across Europe? With the blisters, foreign languages, and people she had no understanding of. Spending her kids inheritance. That would be a nope.

But a simple, local camping trip? Would that be enough to get through the long months alone?

A “Witchy Wonder.” What is that about? Dancing in the woods around a campfire?

“Live your best life.”

Well, getting the last of the pots done certainly wasn’t Jordan’s best life. It had been her life, always had been her life, but not her best life.

She rinsed out the sinks and wiped them down, leaving the dishes in the drying rack to be put away tomorrow. The last day with more than one glass and plate for 206 days. … unless she let things build up. But since dishes was something to do, they got done every day just after the morning doomscroll on Facebook to see if her kids posted anything overnight. They never did after her last check when she finished watching the late news.

Jordan returned to the computer and woke it up. She typed in the link that seem to have burned itself into her mind. Witchy Wonders trips … wasn’t exactly a camping trip according to the site. For a small fee, about the cost of a new four-man tent, a witch would transform a client into an animal. Fascinated, Jordan dug deeper. Using the old “curses” techniques, modern witches transformed client into an animal with specific release requirements to release the curse.

The testaments, which recorded reactions a lot more unique than the normal “it was great” and “I highly recommend”, sung praises of spending a day as a frog, a weekend as a dog, and a week as a crow.

The disclaimer portion of the website stated some lingering affects of the animal choice could impact the personality and body; a list of most common reaction was provided. Sharper nails after being a cat, and those who had been horses nearly universally took up jogging after time in the pasture.

Further instructions included, the client must arrange for a situation of safety for their animal during their nature time. A final bit mentioned forms related to the release requirements.

A pop-up appeared in the bottom-right for instant messaging chat customer service. “Hello, my name is Jennifer, I see you have been on our site for six minutes, would you be interested in talking to a live representative?”

The cursor blinked once, twice, thrice.

Jordan typed, “Yes.”

And that is how she spent most of the winter as a Bear.

(Words 834, first published 4/2/2023)

8 thoughts to “Flash: B is for Bear”

  1. What an incredible premise! You have a fantastic imagination, Erin. Now you’ve got me wondering about some of the possibilities you’ve opened up . . .

    1. Thank you for dropping by. I’m assuming you are part of the A-to-Z crowd. Please drop me a note of which blog is yours and I’ll try to visit.

      Yes to the possibilities. I meant this as a one-off flash, but the business premise might just show up randomly in one of my other stories. Kind-of like – oh look, a pizza place, a check-cashing place, a suntan booth, and the cursed vacations. Just the normal strip mall around here. And move on and have the reader go … wait, wait, the what now???

    1. Right? Every now and again I click on the Facebook ads. I shouldn’t – it just means more things in my feed, but sometimes the algorithm is correct.

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