PART ONE: THE PREPARATION
Teddi awakened the next morning by the chimes of her wall clock at her usual time of seven-thirty, so she would have enough time to get herself ready and make it to Grizzly Hall before its nine o'clock opening. She returned her locket to its case, got dressed, and went to have breakfast at the Good Turn Restaurant at the Land pavilion over in the Future World area of the park as she usually did. It was just as she was about to leave when she heard a knock at her door. That's strange. Who could be visiting this early? She opened it and was surprised to see….
"Rufus! What are you doin' here?"
"Sorry to come unexpected Miss Barra, but Henry said he wanted you at the theater right away…"
"This early? It won't even be open until more than an hour!"
"I know, but he said he has a important announcement to make and he wants everyone there."
"He didn't say anything about it. He just told me a few minutes ago to pick you up immediately."
Actually, he did tell Gomer and me everything about it, but he told me not to tell anyone else, Rufus thought to himself.
"Well, we better not keep him waitin'. Let's go."
Teddi and Rufus then went outside, got into the waiting car, and drove off.
"I know my car ain't as luxurious as that limo ya normally take but this was the best we could do on such short notice, " Rufus explained on the way. "We tried gettin' yer chauffeur but he pulled an all-nighter and didn't get to bed 'til like two in the mornin', and so he had one heckuva a fit when we woke him up so early. And all that cussin' he made over the phone! He screamed so loud, we had to plug the four cub's ears!" Rufus chuckled, but he noticed that Teddi didn't seem to be paying attention. "Uhhh…Miss Barra?"
Teddi looked up at him. "Huh?"
"You were just starin' out into space! Anythin' wrong?"
"Oh no, Ruffie. I was just lost in thought. I'm really curious about this annoucement, after all."
Taking the usual roads, they soon arrived in the Magic Kingdom, taking the service entrance behind Frontierland. Henry was there waiting for them. "Ah, there ya are now!" Henry said as Teddi got out of the car. "Now everyone's here! Now, let's hurry and get on down to the Hall!"
"Henry, why did you have me come over this early? I didn't even have breakfast yet!"
"Oh, really? Sorry about that! Well, you'll be able to go back home and get it after the announcement."
"What do y'mean go back home after?"
"Whoops! Didn't mean t' say that! Sorry, Teddi, I can't say anythin' else or I'll give the announcement away!"
As they began walking to the theater, Teddi wondered what he meant by "after". After all, both parks would open in less than an hour, and she wouldn't have time to go back home because she would have to perform…
As they approached Grizzly Hall, something caught her attention. In front of the building was a sign that said, "SORRY FOLKS, WE ARE CLOSED FOR REFURBISHMENT."
Her eyes lit up in surprise. The bears never usually closed the theater for routine maintenance at this time of year, nor did Henry inform her of any upcoming rehabs. For what reason was the Hall closed? "Henry, what in the world is going on?"
"You'll see," he said as he untied the rope that was tied across the center of the porch to keep people from entering the closed theater. "Ladies first," he said as he stood aside to let Teddi through so he could tie the rope back behind him. Teddi walked up to the door, but found she couldn't open it.
"Door's locked, Teddi. Give me a second and I'll be right with 'ya." He said as he and Rufus finished tying the rope back. "Thanks, Rufus. I always have a heckuva time gettin' this thing back on tightly."
He then walked up to the door he then pulled out his key to Grizzly Hall. "Ladies first," he said to Teddi after he unlocked the door. Teddi then went in and passed through the turnstile. She walked into the center of the room, then realized she couldn't get through the automatic doors that led to the theater. She turned and saw Henry by the entrance, who bended over onto the Cast Member's podium and flipped the switch which opened the doors. "You can go through now, Teddi," Henry said as he picked up the microphone attached to the podium and spoke into it. "Remember, no eatin', no drinkin', no smokin', no flash pictures, and absolutely NO hibernatin' durin' this presentation, please," he said with a chuckle.
Teddi laughed as she made her way to the now open door. She then turned her head and noticed Henry going out, closing the door behind him. "Ain't y'all comin' in, Henry?"
"Course I am! Rufus and I are just gonna go in the back way!"
Teddi was then puzzled. "Then why didn't we go through there in the first place?"
"I had to make sure you went through the front, 'cause goin' in through th' back would've spoiled part of the announcement for you! Anyway, y'all better get in the theater before th' doors close an' get settled. See ya in a few moments!"
"Okay, then," Teddi said as Henry shut the door and locked it back before going outside with Rufus so they could reach the hidden backstage entrance behind the theater.
Teddi walked through the lobby doors, walked down the ramp and entered the theater, where all the bears were sitting in the audience seats.
"About time 'ya got here, "Zeb Zoober, the fiddle playing member of the Five Bear Rugs said to Teddi as she took a seat."We were wonderin' when ya was gonna get here!"
"Yeah, we've been waitin' for about a good thirty minutes!" added Tennessee O'Neal, who was another member of the Bear Rugs who played "The Thing", which was his custom made one-string instrument.
Teddi then noticed that two of the bears were missing.
"Hey, I don't see Ernest or Gomer. I thought Henry said everyone was here."
"Really? Well, Gomer I don't about, but if I know Ernie he's probably slackin' off somewhere."
"Then I guess that means Henry finally decided not to put up with Ernest's laziness anymore."
"Yeah, that'll teach that lazy ol' city-slicker a thing or two about bein' late!"
The rest of the bears sat patiently, eager to hear what Henry had to say. And for once, Buff, Max, and Melvin were actually quiet. The bears expected them, or at least Buff, to yell backstage for Henry to hurry. Suddenly, Melvin suddenly began shaking his head and squinting his eyes. "Oh c'mon, hurry up. I can't wait any longer!"
"Well, it was nice while it lasted…" Trixie grumbled to herself.
Buff looked at the quivering moose head, surprised that it came out of Melvin first and not him. "Oh, Melvin, what's wrong with you?" asked the buffalo head.
"Do we have to stay here and wait?" Melvin whispered to Buff. "I gotta go to the bathroom!"
Buff rolled his eyes. He knew Melvin was stupid, but this?
"Oh, Melvin," he groaned. "You don't even have the, uh, vital stuff to do that!"
"Plus, you can't even drink anymore, Melvin," added Max. "In fact, you haven't even eaten or drank anythin' for about fourteen years!"
"Oh, yeah!" Melvin said. "I forgot! Thanks fer remindin' me!"
"Your stupidity never fails to amuse me, stuffin' for brains." Trixie said to Melvin.
"Duh, thanks!" replied the moose head, taking it as a compliment. Suddenly, Henry came out from behind the curtain and walked on the main stage.
"Okay now boys, that'll be enough of them comments," He said to the heads.
Me breakin' those three wall-hangers out of some kinda chit-chat then turnin' to the audience. Why does this seem familiar? He thought to himself as he turned toward the bears.
"Now, I know you're all wonderin' why I gathered y'all here this way."
"Yeah, Henry!" shouted Zeke.
"What's th' big news?" Added Liver Lips.
"My fellow bruins," Henry started to speak, "today is a exicitin' day for us. Something I have been waiting for since the day we started performin' here has finally occurred."
Henry then walked back to the curtain, poked his head in behind it, and said,"Okay Rufus, bring him out!"
A pajama-clad, half-awake Ernest then walked from behind the curtain.
"Today, Ernest has finally woken up from…."
Buff suddenly laughed out loud, interrupting him. "You gathered everyone together an hour earlier just so you could tell them that Ernest woke up! And here I thought that Melvin was dumb!"
All of the bears started to shout and complain at Henry. Teddi couldn't believe this. She knew Henry wouldn't have dragged her here so early just for this! Then it hit her. She knew what the announcement was about. She needed to break up this commotion so Henry could finish. She stood up on her seat and yelled, "QUIET!" All the other bears stared at her, surprised that Teddi could raise her voice that loud.
"Sorry for that, but I don't think Henry was finished. Buff, y'all should be ashamed for cuttin' in on him like that. Okay Henry, you may continue."
"Thanks, Teddi. Now, as I was tryin' to say before I was interrupted," he said as he eyed Buff. "I guess I should explain before I continue. As y'all know, my great-grandfather Ursus H. Bear wanted to be as much like the humans as possible. That's one reason why he founded this theater in the first place. But it still wasn't enough for him. He wanted to experience one thing that seemed to please the humans the most: the holiday known as Christmas. However, one thing stood in his way: hibernation. Several years after foundin' this place, he decided to try to resist hibernatin'. A lot of other bears thought Ursus was being extremely foolish in doin' this."
"Um, Henry," interrupted Bunny. "Sorry for interruptin' you like this, but didn't they also think that when Ursus first tried actin' like a human?"
"And foundin' this here theater?" added Bubbles.
"But eventually saw somethin' in all of it and helped him out?" asked Beulah.
"You three are exactly right," Henry replied to them. "Yes, some other bears saw Ursus' dreams and gave him a hand, some of them bein' y'all's kin. If it weren't for their help, I don't think this theater would even be here and we all would probably be out livin' in the wild. Unfortunately, when Ursus told 'em all of his idea of skippin' hibernation, they thought that he had completely lost his mind! Now, mind y'all, this was back when bears went through life without even hearin' of Christmas. But even if a bear did know about it, they usually thought it was just some stupid legend or some other sort of flim-flam. But Ursus knew it was more than that. However, he learned that it took several years for his body to get completely adjusted to the changes. Unfortunately, he passed away before he succeeded. Bless his dear soul." Henry said as he looked up at Ursus' portrait that was hung above the stage with a tear in his eye.
"Anyway, after his passin', no one else attempted to skip hibernatin'. No one of course, until me. After findin' out about our success after we first started performin' here, I decided to carry on my granddaddy's dreams. Bein' of his kin, I felt that I had to do so. I'm sure y'all rememberin' me tellin' y'all years ago to lay off hibernatin', so we could perform more. All of ya agreed, and I thank y'all for all your support and helpin' me with these things. I think I couldn't have had a finer bunch of bruins to work with than y'all. And I'm sure y'all have experienced Christmas enough to know what a great season it is..."
They all nodded in agreement, for they really enjoyed the Christmas season. They always had some time off performing near Christmas to go off and experience wonderful things. Teddi had completely forgotten about the whole hibernation deal. Not falling asleep during winter had become second nature to her. She too had fond memories of going off to ski during the Christmas season as well as all the beautiful songs. She was too involved with her thoughts last night that she forgot all about them! She turned her attention back to Henry.
"Which brings me to the real reason I called you here. Ernest, you picked th' right year for finally bein' able to skip out on hibernatin', because we're goin' to be startin' a new tradition around here. Okay Rufus, open th' curtain."
The curtain opened to reveal something the bears couldn't believe. Instead of the usual backdrop of several signs, there was now a huge green card. It had two ribbon borders that said the words, "SEASON'S GREETINGS." In the middle of the card was a picture of a snow-covered valley, with a cabin with a smoking chimney, with two cubs building a snow bear.
The bears began to whisper to each other. Teddi smiled. It was just as she had guessed.
"Y'all ready down there, Gomer?" Henry yelled down below the stage.
"Uh-uh," came Gomer's voice from underneath.
"Then start playin' that song I told ya to play."
Gomer then came up to the stage on the elevator he used to get both him and his piano up on stage.
The bears were all surprised when they saw Gomer come up, who was wearing a huge blue overcoat, and oddly enough, sunshades. His piano was covered with tinsel and ornaments, a miniature Christmas tree was on top of it, and a small stocking with Gomer's name stitched into it was stuck to its side.
"Well, ain't he a sight fer sore eyes!" joked Max.
"Well, he sounds a lot better than the way he looks, that's for sure!" Buff added.
Ignoring the stag and buffalo heads, Henry started to sing.
"It's beginnin' to look a lot like Christmas, yep!
Soon the bells will start,
An' the thing that'll make 'em ring,
Is the carol that you sing,
From right within your heart. G'hawhawhaw!"
"Yes, my fellow bruins," Henry spoke as Gomer continued to play the song. "Startin' this year, we'll be performin' a special Christmas celebration, right here at th' good ol' Country Bear Jamboree! We'll be closed for a few days to prepare. I want y'all t' pick any Christmas or seasonal song y'all would like, and dress in somethin' that reflects th' season, like Gomer here! Expect for them sunglasses. Gomer, why did you put those on anyway?"
"So I could look like my favorite and fellow piano player Ray Charles!" Gomer replied.
"Oh. Huh-hah! I see!" Henry said. "Well, I want y'all t' think of yer favorite things at Christmas to get in th' mood, things like snow softly fallin', stocking's bein' hung, or the smell of a Christmas feast of turkey and yams comin' from th' kitchen!"
Hmmm, I like the sound of that! I think I'll use it for my openin' speech to th' audience!
"Mmmmm, mmmm!" A lot of the bears went, licking their lips at the thought.
Henry smiled as he continued singing,
"But the prettiest sight to see,
Is the holly that'll be,
On your own front door!"
"Well, my friends, that's it for the presentation! Like I said, we only have a few days to get ready, so here's how our schedule will go. Zeke, you and the Bear Band will stay here, so we can start workin' on an openin' ditty followin' what I just sung. I recall y'all writin' a few winter songs a couple years back. I need ya to come back here and think of a good one to use."
"Sure thing, Henry," Zeke replied. "OK, boys, let's get backstage and get started!"
"Ernest, I need you to do two things," Henry said to "The Dude".
"Please change out of those silly lookin' sleepin' clothes, and when you go back up to your room, don't you even think of fallin' back to sleep on us, ya hear?"
"Yeah, yeah okay. Whatever..." Ernest grumbled as he went off stage.
"Bunny, Bubbles, Beulah," Henry said as he turned his attention to the three cubs. "Rufus and I will need some help decoratin' this place. I'm sure you three would like t' help, wouldn't you?"
"We sure would!" Bunny answered.
"Oh, Teddi. I almost forgot. I need t' get y'all back to your place 'fore the parks open…"
"Why do I need to leave?"
"You have th' day off. Plus, all your stuff is down at your place. You gotta go pick out what you want t' wear in th' show." Henry then realized something. "Uh-oh…"
"I forgot t' get someone t' drive ya back home! Both Rufus and I have t' stay here and get things ready. Oh, what t' do…hey, wait a minute! Oh, Wendell!"
"Could you could do me a favor and drop Teddi off at her house?"
"Why sure, Henry! C'mon, Teddi, let's go!"
"Wait a sec," said Henry, "Teddi, do y'all have any extra Christmas decorations at y'all's place?"
"I think I have a few ornaments, holly, some lights, and some other things packed away somewhere. Why?"
"Well, we're runnin' a little short on decorations here. Could you loan us a few things?"
"Good! Teddi, give a few of those things t' Wendell. Wendell, you can deliver 'em back here, can't ya?"
"I don't see why not," replied Wendell.
"Thanks. And remember Wendell, when y' get back home, find some winter related duds and work on a song!"
"I know of a good'un. It's that one me and th' Bear Rugs wrote a few years, remember it?"
"Oh yes, it was called 'Oh, What A Christmas', right?"
"That's th' one!"
"Aha! That'll be perfect!"
"I'll have t' work on it here though. Ya have t' remember that Margaret and muh cub still hibernate..."
"Yeah, I know."
"Ahem, boys…"Teddi said behind them. "Sorry for breakin' up y'all's gossip, but it's almost 8:30…"
"Oh, sorry 'bout that, Teddi! Wendell..."
"Already on muh way! C'mon, Teddi!"
"See ya tomorrow, Teddi! Remember t' have a song ready!"
"Don't worry, Henry, I will! Goodbye!" Teddi said as she left the theater with Wendell.
Teddi couldn't believe it. A new show! She was so excited she couldn't wait to get back home so she could go through her things. There were so many different Christmas songs racing through her head. Which one would she sing? Teddi then remembered the wish for changes she had made the previous night. Was it possible that it…? No, she thought. This is just a coincidence.
Shoving the thought from her mind, Teddi then resumed thinking about her song as she and Wendell continued to her home.
As soon as they arrived, Teddi's hunger was starting to overcome her and she needed some food. She glanced down at the clock on the dashboard.
"Oh dear, it's 8:40. I'm not gonna have enough time to walk over to the Land, eat, and get back here before that place is open to th' public."
"I was hopin' I could go to that place and get some grub muhself."
"You missed breakfast as well?"
"Yeah. With Margie sleepin' the winter off, I hav'ta improvise and join Henry and the Bear Band over at Pioneer Hall near where we live and have breakfast there. Unfortunately, I got up late and didn't have time to after Henry came over and told me 'bout the announcement."
"Actually, I'm going to call them and see if I can get them to deliver the stuff. If y'all want anythin', I'll be happy to get somethin' for ya."
"Yer kind for askin', Teddi, but no thanks. I gotta get home an' get somethin' I wanna use in muh part in th' new show, and then I gotta go back to th' theater with th' stuff yer about to give me and then rehearse!"
"It's no trouble at all, Wendell…"
"Nah, I couldn't…"
"At least let me get you some coffee…"
"Well, I haven't had anythin' this mornin'…aw, heck, I think I might as well get somethin' quick. Does that place have muffins or anythin'?"
"The Farmer's Market part of it does. Corn, bran, or blueberry?"
"Ooh, boy! I'll take a couple of all three!"
"All right then," Teddi said with a laugh. "Come on in and I'll put in th' order!"
"Sure thing, Teddi!" Wendell said as he followed her through the back entrance of her house.
Inside, Teddi slipped her coat off and went directly to her phone.
"Hello, Good Turn Restaurant? This is Teddi Barra…yes, I know I didn't show up at my usual time. I had to get to a meeting over at th' theater. Listen, I have th' day off, and since it's too late for me to get there, I'm wonderin' if y'all could be so kind and deliver my breakfast over here? You can? Good! I'll be havin' my usual. Oh, can you add another cup of coffee to that? Can you also have the Farmer's Market deliver, um, about two of all three muffin varieties? Perfect! Thank you!"
Teddi hung the phone up and walked over to Wendell.
"The food's on the way, Wendell. Why don't we get those decorations while we wait. They're back here in th' closet..." She then noticed Wendell was just standing a few feet from the door, just staring around the room. "Uh, Wendell?"
"Whoo-whee…" Wendell said as he looked around Teddi's elegant home in awe. "I always wondered how fancy they made this place, Teddi, but I never woulda guessed that it was this purty! Y'all are one lucky gal!"
"Yeah, but livin' here has its disadvantages…"she said as she made her way to her closet and began to rummage through it.
"What are ya talking about?" Wendell asked, his mind still on Teddi's home. "Ya call all them restaurants they put in two years ago disadvantages?"
"That's not what I was talkin' about… ah, here we are!" Teddi said as she dragged several boxes out. "It's been a few years since I got all this stuff out. Oh, better get this box of Christmas records out of here. I'll need those later. Anyway, there should be plenty of stuff in there to decorate the Hall. Take a look!"
"Wow…" Wendell exclaimed as he looked through the boxes of Christmas decorations. "All these little wreaths, these lil' pine trees and lights…how'd ya get all this stuff?"
"I ordered several of those from shops around the area. An' I got some of them from a few places I visited on those winter breaks we used to have when we first quit hibernating. And I'm glad Henry talked us all into it. As you can tell from this stuff I got, I've grown to really love this season!"
"I'll say ya have!" said Wendell. "Hey, why did ya stop puttin' 'em up?"
"I got overworked over th' years and I just didn't feel like draggin' them out. Especially after th' night shows over that lagoon you can see out th' window started playin'. Those kept me from sleepin' well! I was just so tired I just didn't have the time."
"So that's what ya meant by disadvantages. But it's still a purty nice place, and…hey!"
Wendell then turned to the east wall of Teddi's den. Something seemed to have caught his eye. "Is that you and Georgette LaBruin?" he asked, looking at the pictures on the wall.
"Why, yes. Y'all have heard of her?"
"Course I've heard of her! She was the greatest Big Time Swinger from what I heard!"
"We were both the greatest. That's why I got to perform with her."
"Yeah, I heard from Zeke she passed away. Such a shame."
Teddi's eyes started to tear. "Yeah…I know. Poor friend."
"You were friends with her?"
"We were really close."
"It must have been sad hearin' her kick the bucket…"
Wendell must not have been aware of the whole story. Teddi didn't feel like describing it to him.
"Yes...yes it was."
"Well, I better load this here stuff up into muh truck before th' food gets here."
A knock then came from the door. "Looks like it's a bit late for that," said Teddi as she went to answer it.
"Your order, Miss Barra," said the Cast Member as he wheeled in a tray of food. The smells caused Wendell to lick his lips. "Oh, are you having company, Miss Barra?" The CM asked as he noticed Wendell.
"Oh no, he just dropped by to pick up a few things. By the way, where's that extra cup of coffee and those muffins?"
"On the bottom shelf of this tray."
"Ah, there they are. Here you go, Wendell!" said Teddi as she handed the bag of muffins to him.
"Hoo, boy!" Wendell said. He pulled a corn muffin out and took a huge bite. "Mmmmmm…"
"Will that be all?"
"Yes. Tell the folks over at The Land they've done a great job, as always."
"Enjoy!" the CM said as he left.
"Mmmmm…these muffins are th' best I've had in a long time!" exclaimed Wendell. "I gotta start goin' to that place y'all go to, Teddi. Maybe after Margie and Lil 'Bart wake up next spring, we could start meetin' each other at breakfast!"
"That would be good. Me and Margaret could catch up with each other," Teddi said as she sipped her coffee. "Just why does she still hibernate, anyway?"
"Ah, she thinks all this stuff we're doin' is, well, as Henry would say, 'a bunch of flim-flam'!"
"Why? Haven't you told her anythin' about what goes on this time of year?"
"Yeah, but she don't seem to care about that. She believes that a bear should spend th' winter sleepin', instead of bein' up an' about an' all. I mean, she's a good ol' gal, but she can get a lil' hotheaded at times. I wish we could be like Liver Lips and Onionia, loving each other with a true heart and without havin' an argument whenever I do th' smallest thing wrong!"
"It must be tough on you sometimes."
"Ah, it don't bother me none at all! Well, I'd better get a move on. I'll just take these and eat on th' road!" Wendell said as he took the bag of muffins. "Oh, better get that box as well."
"I'll lend ya a paw, Wendell. My food can wait," Teddi said as she got up.
"Oh, I think I can manage…" Wendell said has he tried to lift up the box. "Uhhh…this durn thing's heavy!"
"You'll strain yourself, Wendell. Here, let me help," Teddi said as she walked over and helped him lift up the box. "There, now keep a good grab on it."
"Gotcha there! Now, let's get this thing loaded up!"
After overcoming some difficulties getting the large box through the door, the two bruins loaded it in the back of Wendell's truck. After loading the rest of the boxes and going back in to get his coffee and bag of muffins, he was ready to leave.
"Well, I'm on muh way back, Teddi! See ya tomorrow!"
"Bye, Wendell! Can't wait to hear what song you pick for th' show!"
"You too!" Wendell said as he drove off. Teddi watched the truck until it went out of sight before heading back in to her breakfast.
The Five Bear Rugs headed up the stairs to the second floor of Grizzly Hall. They and Henry had just finished their first rehearsal on the song they had chosen for the second number of the show, a nice piece that they written a while back called "Tracks In The Snow." They needed to work on it some more, but Henry gave them a small break so they could rest and so Rufus could change the backdrop behind them and put some fake snow on their bandstand, and they would work on it later that day. But now Henry had told them to take care of something else for the time being.
"That lazy bum better not be slackin' off in there," said Tennessee as they approached Ernest's room.
"He probably is. Henry told him to come up an' just change outta them sleepin' duds", said Fred. "It's been almost a half an hour, and he hasn't come out yet!"
"An' now Henry wants us to get him outta 'thair," added Ted. "How'd you get us helpin' that slacker in th' first place, Zeb?"
"Hey! How wuz I supposed to know he wuz a lazy good-fer-nuthin' bum? He acted like an honest bear who just needed some music lessons…"
"Yeah, a whole lotta music lessons," said Tennessee. "He still hadn't learned nuthin' by openin' day an' we had ta help th' ol' bum out in th' show!"
"Yeah well, I don't call him a born loser while he sings for nuthin', ya know!" said Zeb.
"Enough with this," said Zeke, who then banged his fist loudly on Ernest's door. "Hey, Ernest! Get off yer big lazy butt this minute! Henry wants t' see ya front an' center, right NOW!"
"Yeah, yeah, in a sec…" Ernest said from behind the door.
"I'm gonna count t' three, an' if you ain't out by then, I'm gonna have big Fred here break th' door down!"
"You are?" asked Fred.
"Shush, I'm just threatenin' him!" he whispered to him. "C'mon out, Ernest! One…"
"Just gimme a durn minute!" yelled Ernest viciously.
"Oh no, ya ain't foolin' us that easy! Two…."
"I'm almost ready!"
"Uhhh…two an' a half!"
"No, wait, that ain't gonna do…gimme one more minute!"
"No! Two an' three quarters…."
"Yer stallin', ya know that?"
"That does it! Three! Okay Fred, bash it down!"
"Uh, no," the large bear said.
"Oh, why not?" asked Tennessee.
"Henry said nuthin' about usin' force. I ain't gonna be tearin' down his doors!"
"Oh, fer…" said Tennessee.
"OK then, we'll do it this th' non-violent way. Ted, go down and get Henry, and have him bring his key!" said Zeke.
"Alright, boss," the skinny bear said as he rushed down the stairwell.
"Yer in fer it now, Ernie!" said Tennessee.
"Almost done…" said Ernest.
"With whut? Takin' a half-hour snooze? Ya better get out 'fore Henry comes up!"
"ERNEST!" Henry yelled as he came up the stairs. "I thought I told ya not t'go back to sleep!"
"Oh, too late! Now you'll get it, ya slacker!" said Tennessee.
Henry stormed towards Ernest's door, carrying his special master key to Grizzly Hall.
"Okay Ernest, that's it! I've had it up t' here with yer slackin' off!" He said as he inserted the key and unlocked the door.
They found Ernest standing in the middle of the room, wearing a blue toboggan and a blue sweater.
"What th...!" exclaimed a surprised Henry. "What are y'all doin' in that get up, Ernest?"
"Why, this is what I'm wearin' in th' Christmas show! Ya did say to dress in somethin' seasonal, didn't ya? Well, I got me here this cozy warm sweater, perfect fer goin' out in the winter weather."
"Oh, muh gosh…well, I shoulda known it would take you more than half an hour to find somethin' t'wear, especially with that huge wardrobe of yours!" said Tennessee.
"That ya hardly even wear, I might add," said Ted.
"Actually, I pulled this out a few seconds after I came up," said Ernest.
"Oh, so ya slept after all, then?" asked Tennessee.
"Actually, my dear Tenn, I wasn't asleep. I did exactly what Henry said. I changed outta my pajamas, and I didn't fall asleep."
"Well, whut have ya bein' doin' then?"
"I've been busy writin' this!" he said, as he picked up a few sheets of paper off his table. "My song for the Christmas program!"
All the bears stood there, looking over the papers, which was actually sheet music, their jaws hanging out. "YOU wrote a song!" they all asked at once.
They couldn't believe it. Ernest, a bear so lazy that he had only bothered to learn to play just one song, "If Ya Can't Bite, Don't Growl", actually put effort into writing one of his own!
"Now," continued Ernest. "I've told y'all that story about that time when I was twelve, when me an' my folks were trapped in a cabin that wuz covered in snow…"
"Yeah, for nine days without food, too scared and starved to hibernate, yeah, we've heard that ol' story 'bout a thousand times!" said Tennessee.
"Well, that's what my song's about! Since were dealin' with winter, I decided to turn that horrible moment into what I think will be th' song of th' show! Just listen!"
Ernest grabbed his violin and started to play. Unfortunately, because he had thrown writing the music together in just thirty minutes, it sounded pretty horrible…
"The wind is a howlin' and thrashin' the treeeeeessssss!" Ernest sung in such a bad manner that would even make Big Al seem like a professional singer.
'Muh babbbbyyyy is growlin' and scratchin' her fleeeeeasss!
Can't open th' doooor, 'cause there's ten feeet a' snow,
And th' food is all gone an' it's forty-bellloow!
Ohhhhh, I'm hungry, I'm hungry,
I'm hungry as a bear,
If you come round muh cabin,
Ya better beware!
Cause I'm hungry! Yes, I'm hungry,
I'm hungry as a bear!
Got a mouth full a' teeth,
And a belly full a' airrrrrrr!
Ernest then stopped playing.
Ah, good. He's done with that horrible song! Tennessee thought with a sigh of relief.
Unfortunately to Tennessee Ernest then continued to sing, but without music.
"This Christmas dear ol' Santa,
won't show up, I bet..
If he comes down muh chimney,
he might just get et!"
"Well, what'dya think?" asked Ernest.
"Well Ernest, that was actually purty good..." said Henry, even though he didn't really mean it.
"What! You call that piece a' jun…" Tennessee started to say before Henry clamped his paw over his mouth.
"Shhhh!" Henry said to him.
"Actually Ernest, it could a lil' fine tuning. Let the Bear Rugs help ya rehearse it!"
He then turned to Zeke and whispered into his ear. "Please help him with this one. Th' lyrics are all right, but th' music needs a lot of work. Hopefully by openin' day it'll be enjoyable to listen to!"
"Okay, Henry, whatever ya say. Alright, boys, let's give him some help," he said.
"Well, you are all too kind!" Ernest said. "Maybe I can use ya to make this actually sound even better!"
"Yer danged right about that," Tennessee said under his breath.
"I'll leave you boys in here while Rufus takes care of everythin' downstairs," Henry said as he closed the door to Ernest's room behind him.
"Thank goodness that's over with," Henry said to himself as he walked back to the stairway. "I just hope that th' boys can make that song enjoyable beforehand, otherwise, th' show'll be wrecked! I'm not gonna let anythin' mess this up!"
"Hey, Henry," Liver Lips said as we walked up from behind.
"Oh, Mac! Have ya decided yer song yet?"
"Well actually, that's what I want to talk t' ya about. Though I'm a bit worried that ya won't like what I have in mind…"
"Oh c'mon, Mac! How bad could a simple song be?" As long as Ernest didn't write th' music to it, he thought. "Whatever it is y'all are worried about, just tell me!"
Wendell pulled up to his house in a secluded area in the Fort Wilderness campground area near the Magic Kingdom. Originally, he had lived on the second floor of Grizzly Hall. After he married though, his bride Margaret wanted a better place to live. Henry, who lived away from the Hall himself in his own private cabin that once belonged to Ursus H. Bear, thought it would be best for Wendell to move out, especially after they found that Margaret was going to have a cub. Still, it wasn't lonely living out there, because the Five Bear Rugs lived out there as well, because they preferred the backwoods nature of the place. Zeke, Ted, and Fred stayed in one cabin, Tennessee and his wife Dakota stayed in another, and Zeb, his wife and their cub Oscar in the last one. There was also a small medical center that was built just for the bears in case they needed any medical attention. The only bear couple who didn't live there were Liver Lips and his wife Onionia. They didn't think of having a cub of their own nor did they need a really fancy place to stay, so they decided to just live in their slightly larger room at Grizzly Hall. Wendell didn't know why, because he always thought this area was a great place to live.
He tiptoed up to the door, opening it carefully so he wouldn't wake his slumbering family. He sneaked into his room, looking through his clothes as quietly as he could be. After finally finding and boxing a snowcap and hunting jacket, he made his way downstairs, towards his trophy room. It was there that Wendell kept his trophies from the days he used to go hunting for game with the Bear Rugs so many years ago.
Now, where'd I put muh old rifle gun? It's been years since I last used it, and I can't remember where I put th' dang thang! He thought as he looked through the room as silent he could be. He then looked up and saw it hanging over the mantle. Ah, there it is! Oh, why'd I put it so high? I'll hav'ta get muhself some steps…
Being as quiet as he could be he got a ladder and propped it up by the rifle. Wendell had to be careful not to knock over any of the small trophies off the mantle as he reached out to get the gun. He gently removed the rifle from where it hung, but lost his balance. Oh, no…He then toppled off the ladder, knowing his impact on the floor would wake his family. Thankfully, Wendell lucked out, and landed on a conveniently placed footrest, breaking his fall. Close call! He thought as he sighed. He then noticed the rifle falling to the floor, and when it hit, it fired off a shot.
Oh, no! There must have still been some ammo in there I forgot to unload from last time!
As Wendell picked up the gun , he suddenly heard footsteps rushing down the stairs. He quickly left the trophy room, but as he did something hit him in the head, causing him to fall on the floor. He recovered quickly, and noticed Margaret standing above him clad in robe and curlers, with a rolling pin in her hand, and an angry look on her face.
"Oh it's you, honey! Ow…muh head!" he said, feeling the newly formed bump as he rubbed his aching noggin. "Ya whacked me purty good there, Margie!"
"Serves ya right, Wendell! What do you think you're doin', shootin' that gun off while me and the cub are asleep!"
"Hey, Ma!" said Bartholomew as he came down the stairs. "I heard that gun go off, is there a burglar in…oh, it's only Daddy."
"Now look what ya did!" Margaret growled at Wendell. "Ya woke the cub up! That's it Wendell, gimme that gun!"
"But dear, I needed to get muh shootin' iron out so…"
"If you and those Bear Rugs are goin' off on another huntin' trip, forgot about it. I'm puttin' this thing up an'…"
"Why no, darlin', I'm gonna be usin' this ol' thang in muh new act over at th' theater!"
"Oh, so Henry finally decided for you two to play somethin' else besides those two folk songs that you do? Took him long enough…"
"Well, we just got used to likin' them two songs, we just never thought of doin' any others! Besides, this is just gonna be done one month a year from now on…"
"Oh? Why is that?"
"It's a winter and Christmas-themed show…"
"Oh, not this Christmas stuff again!"
"Oh c'mon, Margie, stay up this year for a while so ya can at least see the first performance!"
"No! I don't think it's right for a bear to stay up durin' hibernation! You're too influenced with that Henry…him and his grandfather's old crazy ideas on likin' silly human customs! Even though I like bein' able to speak and live like a human does, I've gotta stay to my natural bear roots somehow! If only I knew you'd be doin' this before I married you!"
"It ain't silly! And I wuz gonna give ya a warnin' that I'd be resistin' hibernatin', but muh body wasn't adjusted to it yet, and I didn't think it would even work at first! That an' th' fact that you were th' only thang on muh mind at th' time…"
"You were thinking about me? Gee, I thought you were thinking more about Henry!"
"Hey, I still had to work fer a livin'! And Christmas ain't a silly thang! Ya gotta come outta here at least once and see everythang fer yourself, dear! And think whut a good experience it would be fer the boy! Think of all th' fun he could have! Th' music, th' Christmas cheer an' good will, an' Santy Claus…"
"Yeah!" exclaimed Bartholomew. "I've heard about him from the other cubs. He's the human who comes down chimneys and gives the kids toys and presents, right?"
"Yew betcha, son!"
"Is he fer real?" asked Bartholomew.
Before Wendell could answer, Margaret spoke before him. "I've told you before, Bartholomew, he isn't. He's just a silly legend made up by the humans! And even if he were real, I wouldn't want some fat human sneaking into the house through the chimney while we're asleep! See what I'm talking about Wendell? You're influencin' him with all this nonsense! He won't want to sleep after hearing all of this! Besides, he's too young and he'll tire out if he doesn't hibernate. He needs his rest!"
"Oh dear, I forgot all about that. Well anyway, I'm way due back at th' Hall, and I still gotta get ready for th' show! Well, see ya in spring, I guess."
"If you insist, Wendell…"
"Hey, wait here fer a sec," Wendell said as he went outside, carrying his rifle and winter clothes with him. "I think I'll get somethin'…"
"Now what are you doin'?" Margaret asked as she looked out the door, watching Wendell rummaging through a box in the back of the truck.
"Thought I saw somethin' in here…ah! Here it is!" He said as he pulled a beautiful wreath out.
"What did you think you're going to do with that?" Margaret asked as Wendell walked back up.
"Why, I'm gonna do this!" he said as he hung the wreath on the door. "No harm in puttin' up just one lil' decoration up! Well bye, muh darlin'!" he said as he kissed his wife. "Bart, ya better do whut yer mother says…"
"But Daddy, I wanna stay up like you do!"
"Ya have to go t' bed, Bart," Wendell said as he looked over at the scowling look on his wife's face. "I'm sorry, but there's nuthin' much I can do. Like she says yer too young to start to resist hibernatin'! See ya in th' spring."
Margaret stood by the door, watching Wendell walk away to the truck, and pulling out of the drive. She watched until he was out of sight. She then looked at the wreath. It was so beautiful looking, with delicate red ribbon with gold trim around it. She did admit to herself it was beautiful, but it didn't matter to her. She needed to take it down.
Meanwhile, Bartholomew sat up in his bed, thinking about all the wonderful stuff that his father had told him about Christmas. He wanted to see it all himself! But his mother wouldn't let him. It wasn't fair! His father got to stay awake all winter ever since he was born and enjoy everything. It all wasn't fair! The young cub laid back, thinking of a way to sneak out. Tonight, he thought. I'll run out to the Hall and see everything tonight!
Over in his room at Grizzly Hall, Liver Lips sat patiently as Onionia finished styling his hair the way that he had requested.
"Well, I think that should about do it. Here, see if it's the way you wanted it," she said as she handed him a mirror.
Liver Lips looked at his reflection pleased at the way his hair looked. "Ah, you got it just right, darlin'!" He took of the cape draped around him, wearing a pair of red pants instead of his usual overalls, and got up from the chair. "Now, let's see how it looks with the suit!"
"Let me help you in to it so you won't mess up your hair, Liver dear," she said as Liver Lips walked over to where the shirt to his outfit hung.
"Sure thing, my sweet dear," he said as she walked over to him. She then carefully helped him pull the shirt over him. He then slipped a large black, Santa Claus-style belt on to help hold his shirt together.
"There! So, how do I look?"
Onionia gazed at her husband's appearance. The wild red-sequined suit he now wore, along with the Elvis Presley hairstyle, made him look exactly like the way he wanted too: a bear impersonating Elvis dressed as Santa Claus. Even though it was true that he was mostly a folk- singer, Liver Lips started his singing career as an Elvis impersonator. Even though he was good at it, he also had taken a liking to doing folk songs as well, and he was more commonly known as a singer of heart-renderin' songs instead of his impersonations of the rock n' roll legend. After all, it was his popularity as a folk-singer that got him performing at Grizzly Hall in the first place.
"You look rather wonderful."
"Thanks, darlin'. It's been a couple years since I wore this, and it still fits me."
"Really? You've had that Elvis Santa suit for only about ten years."
"Yeah, now I remember. That was when I started usin' those winter breaks to go back to Miami where I could do my Elvis stuff again. After I learned more about the holiday season, I picked up this old outfit and started doin' Christmas songs."
"Ah, yes. I remember all that."
Liver Lips cleared his throat and began singing in an imitation of Elvis' voice.
"I got my bag of presents and I'm in your neighborhood,
I'll be droppin' down your chimney,
'cause I know you've been extra good!
I'm your Rock n' Roll Santa, baby,
Your Rock n' Roll Santa,
Oh baby, that's me. Huh-uh!
Ya better put on yer purty red dress, darlin'
You're goin' cruisin' with me!
You better take out those curlers, honey!
I got a reindeer V-8 special
And a fuel-injected sleigh,
We'll be flyin' cross th' rooftops
To my North Pole hideaway!
I'm your Rock n' Roll Santa, baby
Your Rock n' Roll Santa,
Oh baby, that's me. Uh-huh!
I'm the fat guy with the presents,
I'm gonna shake your Christmas tree!
Baby, that's me!"
"Ha! I still got it!" Liver Lips said in his Elvis voice.
"I say you do, dear," said Onionia as she applauded. "That was really lovely!"
"Yeah, honey. But I still gotta get some practice in on it, y'know?"
"Yes. But what I can't believe is that you actually convinced Henry into lettin' you do this."
"Yeah, I know. I caught him totally off guard when I told him I wanted to do it, he fainted for some reason! Well, seein' that it's only gonna be for one month a year he decided to let me do it."
"You sure it won't wreck the mood of the rest of the show?"
"Sure I'm sure! Besides, I think it'll give it a little twist!"
"If you say so, my dear."
"I'm lookin' forward t' this. Hey, I gotta get my special git-tar!" He said as he walked over to his closet and pulled out a guitar case, in which he took out a Christmas tree-shaped electric guitar.
"Wonder if it still works," he said as he gave it a soft twang. "Ah, still does!"
"Looks like you're all set," said Onionia.
"Ya better believe it, my darlin' Onionia," Liver Lips said as he kissed his wife on the check. "Guess I better start rehearsin' now," he then said.
"Are you sure it won't bother the others?"
"I don't think it will. The Bear Rugs and Ernest have been makin' all that racket for a while now, so I doubt they'd even hear me."
"Then let's hear ya, Liver."
"I got my bag of presents…"
Henry looked up at the new backdrops Rufus had just finished putting up. They consisted of several scenes of woodland or mountain areas covered in a blanket of snow. The mountain area one was really just a winter time version of the regular mountain backdrop that was behind the Bear Band whenever they played. After all the bears, excluding Ernest, had adapted to staying awake during winter, Henry had these backdrops made so they would be ready to use when they were finally ready to perform the holiday show.
"Ah, good! Perfect! Nice work, Rufus!"
Just then Wendell walked in through the back, talking to himself.
"Whoo-whee, was it hard to get through them crowds…oh, hiya Henry!"
"Ah, Wendell! Is that th' box of Christmas decorations?"
"Sure is! Take a look! Teddi's got some real nice stuff in thair!"
"I'll agree with y'all on that!" said Henry as he looked at the decorations. "These Christmas trees could go on the sides of the main stage, we could wrap these lights and garland around th' bottom rim…"
"Great idea, Henry!"
"Let's go get th' Sun Bonnets. They're outside rehearsin' in th' gazebo."
The two made their way to the backstage exit, out to a small, secluded garden outside that was boxed in between Grizzly Hall and the neighboring Enchanted Tiki Room attraction. In the middle of the garden was a gazebo, where the Sun Bonnets were rehearsing the song they had picked for the Christmas show, which was "Sleigh Ride." Henry and Wendell stood back for a moment and listened as they sung the last verse.
"…Our cheeks are nice and rosy
And comfy, cozy are we,
We'll snuggle up together
Like two birds of a feather would be!
Let's take the road before us
And sing a chorus or two!
C'mon, it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride…"
They then sung the phrase "Jing-aling, jing-aling, jing-aling-aling" three times in time with the music of the song before concluding with…
"A sleigh ride together with you!"
Henry and Wendell then stepped forward towards the girls, clapping.
"Ah, that was lovely, lil' ladies!" said Henry.
The girls then turned over to the two bears standing behind them.
"Oh, Henry!" said Bunny.
"Wendell!" said Beulah.
"We didn't see you comin' up from back there!" said Bubbles.
"Sorry, 'bout that," said Wendell. "That wuz some mighty good singin' comin' from ya'!"
"Why thanks, Wendell!" said Beulah.
"You as well, Henry!" added Bunny.
"Your three are welcome. We came t' tell ya that Wendell has brought th' decorations. Are ya three ready to help decorate th' main stage?"
"We sure are! Can we rehearse our song a little while we decorate?" asked Bunny.
"Why, I don't see why not! Of course, y'all have t' do it a bit softly, 'cause th' others are rehearsin' or restin' up!"
"Okay, Henry! Let's go, girls!" said Bunny to her sisters.
The three then dashed back inside Grizzly Hall, with Henry and Wendell following suite.
"Before I do anythin', Henry, I'll need t'slip muh winter duds on and get out muh prop!" Wendell said as he picked up his rifle case and clothes for the show.
"Sure thing, Wendell," said Henry. "Ya better slip your stuff on in th' washroom so's ya' don't disturb anyone."
"OK, Henry! Be out in a sec."
"By the way, Wendell, do ya want to perform as th' second act as usual?"
"Of course I do!"
"All right then. I'll be in my office while ya get ready. Just come get me when y'all are done."
"Gotcha!" Wendell said as he went towards the washroom in the back.
Henry entered his office, where Sammy greeted him. "Hey there, Henry! How are things goin' on out there?"
"Pretty good, Sammy. Gotta check off Wendell for his song," Henry said as he picked up a clipboard with various notes he had written about the Christmas show, one of which being the order in which the bears would perform and the songs that they would sing. On it said:
COUNTRY BEAR JAMBOREE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
1. HENRY & GOMER: IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS
2. HENRY & FIVE BEAR RUGS: TRACKS IN THE SNOW
Henry added "OH, WHAT A CHRISTMAS!" next to Wendell's name.
5. LIVER LIPS : ROCK & ROLL SANTA
7. BUNNY, BUBBLES, AND BEULAH: SLEIGH RIDE
8. ERNEST WITH BEAR RUGS: HUNGRY AS A BEAR
10. BIG AL:
11. FINALE: CAROL MELEDY
"Still some blank spaces t'fill, " said Sammy.
"Yeah, but they'll be filled in soon. Trixie and hopefully Al will let me know about their songs before th' day is through. Also Terrence went back to his place over on Tom Sawyer Island and see if he could check in on some things, and he doesn't know if he'll be able to make back across here today or not. If he doesn't though, he'll let me know tomorrow."
"And what about Teddi?"
"I sent her home t'rehearse her song, so she also won't be back 'til tomorrow."
Ah, lovely Teddi, Henry thought as he gazed at Teddi's picture in his office love struck, I know whatever song that sweet gal will choose will be beauty-ful.
Henry continued to look at the picture, still love struck. From the day he had first met her, he always thought that Teddi was the loveliest bear he ever had laid his eyes upon. To him, Teddi seemed sweet and charming. There was something about her, her voice, her personality that made her special to him. But, for some weird reason he never could bring himself to admit it in front of her.
"Hey, Henry!" Wendell called. "I'm ready! Ain't ya' comin' out here? I'll be waitin' for ya on stage!"
Henry put his mind back on his work. "Oh sorry about that, Wendell! I'll be right there!"
He then headed for the stage area, the clipboard tucked under an arm. He went over to the second of the five stages where he usually sat when the two performed. Sure enough, Wendell was standing in his usual spot on the center stage dressed in his snowcap and hunting jacket, and was holding what appeared to be some sort of prop gun. Hmmm, wonder where he got that? Henry thought. Henry looked down at the Sun Bonnets, who were wrapping strands of garland underneath the stages. "Oh, girls, Wendell's gonna try his act out. Try not to bother him while he does."
"OK, Henry," said Bunny. "We'll just start on the other side of the stage until he's done."
"Good idea, Bunny," Henry said. "Okay Wendell, let's hear ya."
Wendell cleared his throat and began to sing his number.
"On the first day of Christmas,
I said to muh mate,
I'm a-goin' a-huntin',
And I might be home late.
The next day of Christmas,
Seems I lost muh way!
And I ain't seen muh cabin,
Since dawn yestorday!
Oh, what a Christmas!
I'm lonely and lost!
I'm a-shakin' and a-sneezin',
And covered with frost!
I fell in th' river,
And lost all muh food!
Don't sing me no carols,
'Cause I ain't in th' mood…
Next year at Christmas,
I'll think I'll use muh head,
An' spend th' twelve days of Christmas
In muh bed!"
As Wendell concluded the Sun Bonnets, who couldn't help but giggle some during the song, sung out, "Next year stay home!"
"Huh-hah! That was wonderful, Wendell!" Henry said.
"Much obliged, Henry!" Wendell said. He then looked down at the Sun Bonnets. "An' girls, I like that line you added in there at th' end!" said Wendell. "Hey, why don't you sing it from off-stage when I do it in th' show?"
"We'd love too!" said Bubbles.
"Looks like that's settled then," said Henry. "By th' way Wendell, where'd ya get that gun on such quick notice? Looks purty real for a prop."
"Oh this ain't no prop, Henry. This is muh old shootin' iron from home!"
"What! That thing is real!"
"Oh don't worry, I haven't used it in a long time. It ain't even loaded no more. Look, I'll show ya!"
Wendell then pulled the trigger.
A shot fired off, breaking the stage lights. The Sun Bonnets leaped back and screamed. Hadn't the lamps over the doorways been on, the room would have been pitch dark.
"Okay, maybe I shoulda actually checked t' see if there weren't any bullets left in here…" Wendell said nervously.
Henry sighed. "Rufus," he called backstage, "Please get up there an' fix them lights…"
Suddenly, the exit doors underneath Buff, Max, and Melvin opened, and several Cast Members poured into the room.
"What's going on?" one asked. "We heard gun fire and screaming coming from in here!"
Oh great, thought Henry, they must be from the Café next door! I guess that gunshot must've scared a bunch of folks over there half to death!
"Hold th' phone there and calm down folks. I'll explain everythin'…"
Trixie, who had completely ignored the loud shot from next door, was dancing around her room and rehearsing her song to herself with glee. Her song, "Hibernatin' Blues", was one she wrote years ago. In reality, Trixie was the one bear who didn't hibernate even before she joined up with the bears at Grizzly Hall. She wrote the song many years ago, when she waited for her (now former) husband to wake up one winter so they could skate.
"Oh, the lake's all frozen over
got my skates an' I'm ready to go
And I'm waitin' for my honey,
'Cause I can't skate
If he don't show…
But he's in his cave just snorin'
I hear ya in there, baby,
And don't think I don't!
While my broken heart's just freezin'
Out here in the snow….
I got the hibernatin' blues
The hibernatin' blues!
Without by furry baby,
Springtime better come real sooooon!
If you'll come and out
An' skate with me,
I'll be real nice.
But, baby, if ya stay inside
I'll be cold as ice!
I got them aggervatin', keep me waitin'
It had been years since Trixie had performed the song, and she needed to rehearse a little so she could remember the tune. She smiled. But it wasn't the fact that she remembered how to perform the song that made her happy, it something else was on her mind. She walked over to her the portrait of the bear she admired, Henry. She had been without a love for so many years, and she was determined to make Henry hers. However, there was one problem. Henry was secretly in love with another, Teddi. Trixie was jealous of the Swinger, and every time Trixie attempted to show her interest in Henry to him he would try to ignore her, which caused her to be upset. She was so desperate to find a lover she would try anything. She went to her drawer and pulled out some mistletoe. Yes, she thought, tonight, I'll sneak this somewhere. Then, I'll lure him under it! Then I'll give him the kiss of his life and then maybe he'll forgot all about Teddi and be mine!
She knew this was a bit sneaky, but she was so desparate…
Well now that I have my song in place, I better go over and tell Henry. It's only a matter of time now…
"Well, that was a bit suprisin'…" Ted said as the Bear Rugs made their way back up the stairs. "Who'da thunk that Wendell forgot t' unload his ol' squirrel gun after all these years…"
"Yeah, of all th' dumb things…" Said Fred.
"An' all that ruckus it caused!" exclaimed Zeb. "At least I got Oscar calmed down now. That gunshot sacred him half t' death!"
"Well," said Tennessee, "At least Wendell got us outta helpin' Ernie with his so-called song for a lil' bit!"
"Now Tenn, be nice," said Fred. "It sounds much better now than it did before."
"Yeah, 'cause we're now singin' some of it! Huh, huh, huh!" said Tennessee as Fred groaned. Tennessee then glanced over towards the back of the second floor den and noticed Big Al sitting down, staring off into space. "Hey, look who sat through th' whole thing like nothin' happened!"
"Don't surprise me none th' least," said Zeke. "To think that someone could actually not react t' hearnin' someone shoot off a gun without warnin'! Well boys, we still got some work to do, so let's quit standin' around here and git to it!"
Big Al watched the Bear Rugs walk away, completely unaware of what was going on. He didn't just ignore the gunshot, he hardly even heard it, for he was a bit hard of hearing. He didn't even know why the other bears where rushing up and down the stairs all worried. This was one of Al's problems; it was why he always interrupted Henry and Sammy during the show, and why he never seemed to pay attention when the bears sang over him. He always thought it was the audience yelling to him to give an encore. This troubled Al, because he was always frustrated at this, because it always led him to that nasty tumble he always took backstage when he was done. He was also troubled for the fact that it didn't give him a good reputation with the other bears. Sure, he was the favorite of the audiences, but it didn't matter. In fact, Henry was really annoyed by all this that he almost kicked Al off the show after their first day of performing. Al sometimes was sad at this, for it was because of him that Henry never got to finish singing "The Ballad of Davy Crocket."
He peered over to the jug that was sitting on a nearby table. The contents of the jug were probably another reason behind his problems. Despite the Magic Kingdom's "No Alcohol" policy, Al had his own stash somewhere, and he always seemed to have a drunken stupor. Al thought for a moment (the first time he had in a few years). It may not help much, but maybe if Al spent the whole month without drinking out of his stash, maybe it would decrease his chances of interrupting the Christmas Show. Besides, he knew Henry had his heart set on it, so the very least he could do was not mess it up. Al took the jug off from the table and got rid of it.
Now, Al thought, I think I better git t'workin' on a song. Now, which carol should I sing…oh, I hope it don't take me years t' think up a'one…wait a minute, that's it! Years! I wonder…
Al then got up and walked downstairs. He needed to talk to Henry…
Teddi laughed with success. After spending some time searching through her Christmas albums, she had finally found the song that she had been looking for. It was her personal favorite, one that sounded lovely, and to her, had the most spirit of the season in it. Teddi then looked at herself in the mirror, looking at the outfit she had on. She wore a beautiful derby, with a red rose in it, a white scarf, and her coat. She thought that they suited her well enough for the Christmas Special. She turned on the record player, and sat back in her recliner, tilting back and forth, similar in the way she did on her swing. She then sung along to the music, and rehearsed:
"Chestnuts roastin' over an open fire,
Jack Frost nippin' at your nose,
Yuletide carols bein' sung by a choir
An' folks dressed up like eskimos
I'm offerin' this simple phrase
To kids from one to nintey-two
Oh, it's been said many times, many ways,
Merry Christmas to you…."
Teddi turned off the record player. She had always loved that song, it gave her a feeling of warmth whenever she listened to it. It was a feeling she liked whenever she was up in the Appalachian Mountains on a cold winter's night, warmth so great it even surpassed the warmth her thick winter coat of fur gave her. But at that moment, Teddi had another feeling inside her, a feeling of hunger coming from her belly. She looked over at the time.
"Goodness gracious! It's two o'clock! No wonder I'm hungry!" she exclaimed to herself. "All this excitement's given me an appetite!"
She walked over to her dresser and pulled out a menu that had every selection that all the EPCOT restaurants had to offer. She flipped through it wondering what would satisfy her.
So many selections, so little time, she thought. I've never had to eat two meals from World Showcase in one day! Then again, it sure beats trying to race to the Grizzly Hall kitchen before everyone else eats everything or putting everyone at the Crystal Palace into stress tryin' to get my meal all the way from there to the theater! Now, let's see….ah, heck, I think I'll go easy right now and just get a bowl of Cheddar Soup from Le Cellier. I'll have a bigger meal tonight!
Teddi walked over to the phone, placed her order, and then continued to rehearse her song a little more before it would arrive.
"There! That should do it!" Beulah said as she tied the last bow on the rim of the fourth side stage.
"Fine job, Beulah!" Henry said as he, Bunny, Bubbles and Oscar held on to the ladder that she was on. "Now, y'all can come on down now, but be careful!"
"Okay, Henry," said Beulah, "Be sure to hold on to the ladder really tight!"
"We will, sis!" said Bubbles.
"Yeah, you've got nothin' to worry about!" added Bunny.
Oscar, who was too shy to speak, simply nodded in agreement.
Beulah then carefully made her way down the ladder. After she had reached the bottom, they all looked at the decorated stage area.
The cubs had placed the strands of holly over all the exit doors, with the exception of the two beneath Buff, Max, and Melvin. They had also put some strands on the bottom of the four small stages. On the rims of the stages were strands of garland , with bows and ornaments on them. On the sides of the main center stage were two miniature Christmas trees, decorated with small teddy bears along with the traditional lights and ornaments. On the rim of the main stage was a garland strand like the ones on the other stages, but was much longer due the length of the stage. Another strand of garland was also wrapped around the bottom of the main stage as well, and also had Christmas lights strew around it.
"My, my, does this place look lovely!" said Henry.
"Very lovely!" said Max.
"You three did a wonderful job!" said Buff.
"Yeah!" said Melvin.
"Thanks, Henry!" said Bunny.
"Much obliged, boys!" said Beulah to the heads.
Oscar simply gave a big grin as thanks.
"Oh, Henry", said Bubbles. "There are a few decorations that we didn't use."
"I see," said Henry as he looked into the box of decorations, which only had a string of lights and some garland left. "Well, maybe if you get here a bit earlier tomorrow mornin' 'fore the crowds show up, you can hang what's left of th' garland around th' windows in th' lobby."
"Sure thing," said Bubbles. "But, what we do about the lights?"
"Hmmm...well, I can't think of anywhere else t 'put 'em…."
The girls then picked up the lights and looked at them for a moment. Then they looked up at Melvin. Or to more specific, his antlers. The three looked at each other with mischievous grins, as if they were all thinking of the same thing. Bunny walked over to Henry.
"Oh, Henry," she said to him. "I think we know what to do with them."
She then whispered into Henry's ear. Henry then looked up at Melvin, and the same grin that was on the girls' faces appeared on his.
"Oh, Rufus, "called Henry. "I've got a lil' job for you…"
The hours had passed away and night had fallen upon the World. After eating a huge dinner and learning that Laserphonic Fantasy was not going to be performing that night, Teddi was ready to settle down for a long sleep, eager for the events happening the next day. No sooner than she had slipped into her bed, her phone began to ring. Though this annoyed her a little since she was about to sleep, she went and answered it.
"Hello? Oh hey there, Henry! So, how did things go today?"
"Purty good," Henry said on the other end, "But yer not gonna believe all th' things that have happened here today!"
"Like what?" Teddi asked. Her mouth suddenly hung open when Henry told her about Liver Lips and Ernest's songs.
"What? You're going to let Liver Lips do his Elvis impersonation? And Ernest actually took the time to write a song? I can't believe it!"
"If you think that's wild, wait 'till ya hear this. Big Albert came up t'me late in th' afternoon, and ya won't believe what he's gonna do."
"And what is that?"
"He's gonna try to lay off the drinkin' for a while!"
"I know, I can't believe it muhself! But, this is great! If Al really goes through with this, this means th' show won't be messed up by anythin' at all!"
"That sounds wonderful! What kinda Christmas carol is he doin', anyway?"
"Actually, he isn't doin' a Christmas song. He had a song he wrote a long time ago that had somethin' t' do with New Year's, and since that's right after Christmas, I'm lettin' him do it."
"By the way, Henry, how'd y'all do with my decorations?"
"Oh, those were beauty-ful, Teddi. Y'all should see how lovely the theater looks now. Oh, I should tell ya a lil' story that happened about a few hours ago. The Sun Bonnets had finished up decoratin' th' place, an' all that were left were a couple a' strands a' garland and some lights. Well, th' girls decided to have a lil' fun with 'em. You'll just have to see what they did when you come by tomorrow!"
"Oh? Well, alright then," Teddi said.
"One more thing, Teddi," Henry said. "While I'm still on th' line, have ya worked out your song for th' show?"
"Of course I have!"
"Well, could ya tell me now, please?"
"Sure, Henry. It's 'The Christmas Song'."
"'The Christmas Song', eh?" Henry said as he added it to his notes. "That's a fine choice. Can't wait t'here ya sing it tomorrow!"
"Same here, Henry!"
"Well, Teddi, I guess that's all I wanted t'say. See ya in th' mornin'!"
"Okay, Henry! Goodbye!"
Teddi then hung the receiver back on the phone.
My, my. All those changes happenin' in the theater…I think I'm gonna like this! Maybe my wish is comin' true after all! Who knows, maybe one day I'll leave the Hall and become a drama actress, and find that special bear! But now I should just enjoy what's gonna happen tomorrow.
She then remembered that she wanted to get to the theater a bit earlier in the morning, so she set her clock an hour earlier. She had already let the Land know about this, and they would have a few people out to serve her, and her chauffeur was ready to pick her up early as well (he promised he wouldn't have an all-nighter like last night). She then got in her bed, and, even with all her excitement, fell to sleep.
Wendell pulled into his driveway, a bit irritated. He had been scolded many a time by most of the bears after his incident with the gun earlier. Thankfully, Henry stood by him in case anyone got really angry at him and threatened to whup him if it happened again (Ernest did do this, but that was expected of him). Good old Henry, he was a true friend to Wendell. Throughout his life, Henry had always looked out for him. He was a friend that Wendell was thankful for. Of course, Henry did give Wendell orders to get rid of his ammo, and that was something he had already taken care of. He had now put it all behind him, and all he wanted now was to have a nice, long rest. As he entered, he saw Margaret standing in the middle of the room, waiting for him. A look of concern was on her face.
"Why, Margie! This is a surprise! Whut made you…"
"Come with me, Wendell," she said.
They went up the stairs, and went into Bart's room. Wendell was suddenly nervous, for his son wasn't even in there! His bed sheets were tied down to make a ladder, which went out the window.
"Oh muh gosh! Bart…"
"I got a call from Dakota an hour ago. She said she saw him sneakin' past her place. According to her, he looked like he was heading in th' direction of your theater."
"But, why would he do that?"
"Probably cause y'all influenced him with all that Christmas stuff that's goin' on there. He'll probably get lost! See what you've done to him, Wendell!"
"Well, I wouldn't worry, Margie. The night watchmen'll probably find him."
"And so will you."
"You talked him in to this, Wendell. Now, you're gonna go out there and find him. You ain't steppin' foot into your bed until you do!"
Wendell sighed. "Okay dear, if ya say so. I better call up th' boys then, I'm gonna need their help," he said as he went downstairs to his phone.
Bart dashed through the woods, around the edge of Bay Lake, trying to remember which way it was to Grizzly Hall. Even though he wasn't sure where he was going, he pressed onwards, not knowing he was headed the wrong way…
Minutes later, Wendell and the Bear Rugs were on his trail. Tennessee had brought along his old hunting dog to help. Even though the dog was old and didn't have any teeth, it was still pretty good at catching the scent of something. And even now, it was Tennessee's dog who was keeping the six bears on the cub's trail. They ran a mile or so along the edge of the lake at a steady pace. They suddenly came to a halt, for a tall fence was blocking their way. Zeke shined his flashlight on the sandy ground in front of them. "Well, Bart's prints stop right in front of that wall. Where did he get to?"
"Actually, from the look a' things, I'd say he jumped on that tree near the fence and climbed up over it," said Tennessee.
"That means he's near th' ol' swimmin' hole, "said Zeb.
"Then let's head around to th' entrance and ask th' night guard to let us in!" said Wendell. "C'mon boys, let's go!"
On the other side of the wall was the River Country Water Park, or the "ol' swimmin' hole" as the bears and many others called it. A part of Bay Lake that was known as Bay Cove was the heart of the park, with rope swings above it so guests could cross over or jump on in to the lake, along with various water slides and flumes. After being let in by the security guard, the six bears continued their search. A few minutes later, they found Bart trying to move across one of the rope swings.
"There he is!" said Zeke.
"I'll go get him!" said Zeb. He then dashed towards the rope and leapt up to it.
"No, Zeb! You're makin' it sway!" said Fred. What Fred had said was true. Zeb's sudden weight had caused the rope to sway back and forth. Bart suddenly quivered in fear, for this had caused him to lose his grip on the rope. Zeb saw this, and went across to Bart as fast as he could. Unfortunately, he was also making the rope sway even quicker.
"Zeb! Watch out! Yer gonna-" yelled Wendell. Suddenly, both Zeb and Bart could no longer keep their grip, and both fell into the water below, "-fall."
Zeb and Bart emerged from the water and walked up on shore, both completely drenched.
"Are you guys all right?" asked Wendell.
"Brrrr…" Said Zeb as he shivered, "A little on th' drenched an' chilly side, but…Ah-chooooo!"
"Goodness gracious, Zeb!" exclaimed Zeke. "Looks like y'all are comin' down with a cold!"
"Oh, muh gosh," said Wendell. "Bart, yer okay, ain't ya?"
"Of course I am, Daddy, I…ah, ah, ah-choooo!" Bart said with a sneeze.
"Oh, no! They're both comin' down with somethin'!" said Wendell. "Quick, we better get him back home 'fore they get worse!"
The bears then quickly wrapped Zeb and Bart in towels so they wouldn't catch cold, and went straight on towards their houses.
"Bart! Yer all soakin' wet!" said Margaret when she saw him when they got in. "What happened?"
"Well, I was goin' as fast as I could to see all th' Christmas things over at Daddy's theater, and I got lost and I…I…" Bart stopped in mid-sentence and sneezed. "I fell down in th' ol' swimmin' hole…"
"Bart, you had me worried! You run away and then catch yourself a cold! You get upstairs this minute, mister!"
"Yes, mother…" said a disappointed Bart as he headed up the stairs.
"Don't worry, Bart," said Wendell, "one day I'll take ya down to th' theater muhself an'…"
"You'll be doin' no such thing, Wendell," Margaret said, "Not only you've made the cub run out in th' dead of night with all of your talk of Christmas, but now you've gone an' made himself sick!"
"But Margie, it ain't that bad. He'll be feelin' better in no time!"
"Well of course he will, 'cause he'll be sleepin' th' whole winter! Look Wendell, you've done enough trouble with all this Christmas hoo-ha. He can stay up th' whole winter when he's older, but for now, please just leave him alone so he can get his hibernatin' in?"
"Yeah, I guess so. After all, Oscar was Bart's age when Zeb tried to get him through winter without hibernatin'. Oscar was plain tuckered out from not sleepin' that he could barely stay awake when spring arrived! It wasn't until a few years later 'til he got th' hang of it!"
"I know. I suppose Bart can start that when he's older, but for th' next few years he's just gonna have to sleep th' winter. Now, do we have an agreement?"
"Yeah, I suppose. Listen, Margie, I'm sorry fer causin' all this trouble. I just got carried away with everything were doin'…"
"I forgive you, Wendell, "said Margaret. "Now, let's just go to bed and forget about all this commotion now."
"Yer right," Wendell said with a yawn. "After all that's be goin' on today, I'm completely bushed!"
With another yawn, Wendell and Margaret headed upstairs into the bedroom, where Margaret resumed her hibernation, and Wendell began to rest up for the next day.
I stand on the darkened street of Frontierland in front of Grizzly Hall, completely drenched. It has taken a lot out of me to stay in this park after hours. I had succeeded in finding a hiding place on that island attraction out on the river and stayed there after it had closed to the public at dusk. After that, I relied on all my stealth skills and instinct to avoid all the guards wandering around who were making sure everyone had left. After the rest of the park had closed later on, I made my move. Right before I could dive into the river, I was almost spotted by one of some snaggle-toothed Country Bear wandering around the island. I quickly dove into the river, and swam back to the mainland. I hope that bear didn't see me. But I can't worry about that now, I have to get inside Grizzly Hall.
I begin to climb the poles on the porch, making my way up to the roof. I then lift myself up to the balcony, where the marquee for their show was hung. My ears pick up a sweeping noise, and I look down to see a custodian cleaning the streets. I quickly fall and lay down out of sight behind the Country Bear Jamboree marquee. The custodian passes right by, not noticing me. Good. I then climb towards the top of the roof, and then notice a small gap in-between Grizzly Hall and the Tiki building next to it. I climb down from the roof and landed in what appears to be some sort of small gazebo. I then find the backstage entry door. I pick the lock, and hope that I don't set any alarms off. I don't. Perfect.
I find myself backstage, looking for a stairwell. I suddenly hear voices coming from behind the curtains. Why would any of those bears be up this late? I peek through a curtain and notice a large, fat female bear climbing up a ladder, holding some mistletoe in her paw. I then hear a snicker from somewhere in the theater. Funny, I don't see anyone. Then, something catches my eye. I look across to the right of the room, at the heads of the buffalo, deer, and moose that are hanging on the wall. The buffalo head is gazing at the fat bear, chuckling to himself as she climbs. This suprises me. How could they still be alive? This doesn't make any sense. I continue to look at the fat bear, as she hangs up the mistletoe on the rim of the stage, perfectly blending in with the holly around it. As she climbs back down, the taxidermied buffalo keeps laughing to itself. The fat bear looks over at him, and walks to him after she gets down. She then starts whispering to him. My hearing is beyond excellent, and even from my distance I can hear everything they say perfectly.
"And just what are you laughing at, Buff?" The fat girl asks.
"Oh, I was just thinkin' of somethin' funny," replies the buffalo.
"And what's that?"
"I was amazed at the fact that you were able to climb that thing without breakin' it," The buffalo says with a wink. I keep from laughing. I completely agree with him.
The fat bear becomes enraged by this. "Will you cut out those comments?" she asks. "You've been joking about me ever since the first day I walked into this theater. I've had enough of it! Can't you be nice to me for once? You three don't have any Christmas spirit, y'know that!"
"Hey, can't break tradition," says the buffalo.
"And just why were you hangin' that mistletoe up there anyway, Trixie?" The deer asks with a grin. "You tryin' to play a prank on someone?"
"You might say that…"she says back to him.
"I see. I bet you're gonna lure someone under it, and point it out to 'em before they find out about it and then smooch 'em!" said Buff.
"What a sneaky trick, Trix," says the moose.
"Yeah, and I like it!" says Buff.
As much as I like to eavesdrop I need to get back to my work, and so I leave from my spot from behind the curtain and look around the backstage area and resume my search for the stairs. The first thing I see is a cracked door with snoring coming from it. I peek through the door, and see that all there is in the room is a black bear resting on a bed. I go away and see another door next to it, and check that one…it leads to a bathroom. I continue searching through every other door until I finally locate the stairs. I quietly head up to the second floor, being careful in case any of the other bears were sleeping up there. I find myself in what appears to be some sort of den. I can hear some commotion going on between the Heads downstairs as I look around the den, reading the nameplates on the various doors in the nearby hall. "The McGrowls", "Ernest", "Big Al", "Teddi Barra"…there it is!
Since I know the Swinger doesn't sleep in there, I can go in there without fear. The bickering downstairs starts to get louder as I walk into Teddi's dressing room, going over to the swing in the center of it. I grin as I spot a wrench on the floor, which I make a grab for. I positioned myself underneath the swing, and one by one I loosen its bolts. My work is finally finished. I just want to leave now. I defiantly don't want to be around when the girl performs and falls. I just wouldn't be able to live with myself…
Suddenly, I hear various noises coming in from the rooms around me. I quickly swing out of the room to investigate, and then realize that the Heads' argument downstairs has grown louder, and has woken up the sleeping bears. I quickly try to get back into the dressing room to hide, but the door next to it opens. A bear with big Mick Jagger sized lips stumbles out of the room, half-awake. I quickly run out of the hall and enter the kitchen area, ducking underneath the table. Good, he didn't notice me. I stay under the table as he goes down stairs. Just I'm about to get out of under the table, another bear comes in, one wearing fancy pajamas with the words "The Dude" sowed into the left side of it.
"Well, as long as I'm up, I guess I'll have me a drink…" he says as he walks over to the fridge, and pours him some cider. He then swallows the whole thing in one gulp. He then sways around the room like he was drunk, gives out a belch, falls face first on the couch, and immediately goes to sleep. I wait a few moments underneath the table, putting up with the slob's snoring. Well, the bum's not waking up anytime soon, so I get up out from under the table. I then bump into it, causing a glass that the bum had left there to tip and roll over off the table. It shatters as it crashes to the floor. I freeze in place as the bum sits up, halfway opening his eyes. He looks over and me and gasps and starts rubbing his eyes. I quickly dash back underneath the table.
"Huh? Where'd she go?" I hear him say.
Dang it! I've been discovered!
A rather ugly old bear then enters into the room, and speaks to the bum.
"Huh? Oh, it's just you, Onionia…"
"Just look at the floor! You're such a careless oaf!"
"Th' heck are ya yabberin' about, woman?" The bum looks at the shattered remains of the glass I broke. "Hey, what happened there?"
"You're what happened, Ernie! You came in here and snuck yerself a swig of brew, and clumsily let the glass break as you went to doze off on the couch all night!"
"Never mind that right now! Did you see that girl before you came in here?"
"That slim she-bear that was standin' over there near th' table!"
"Oh, Ernest, you and your stupid dreams…"
"What's this racket goin' on up here, Onionia?" asked the large lipped bear as he came back from downstairs.
"Ernie came in here, snuck himself some cider, left it tippin' over th' table, and let it fall while he dozed off, and said he saw a she-bear standin' over in here!"
"What? Ernest, that's gotta be the dumbest cover up I ever heard! What'd this girl do, knock it over to annoy ya?"
"I don't know! I wuz just wakin' up as I saw her…"
"Probably just another one of your stupid Playbearish dreams, Ernie…"says the old bear.
"I guess yer right," says Ernest. "There's no way a bear could get THAT slim!"
Humph. That's what you think, you bum! I nearly starved myself to death to get thin enough so I wouldn't have the round figure of a bear! It's the only way I could get my human disguise to be more effective!
"Let's get to bed, now, shall we?" says ol big lips. "Everything downstairs has been taken care of. Rufus shut those guys up."
"Good," said Onionia. "Let's get back to bed now."
"Sounds good," said Ernest.
The three then return to the rooms, and I'm relieved. I prepare to get up and head downstairs until I hear another bear coming up the stairs. Am I ever going to get off this place? I dive back down to my hiding place under the table and watch as the black bear I saw earlier enter the room. I then notice he has a tool belt slumped over his shoulder. He grumbles to himself as he grabs some drink and honey from the kitchen. He then goes away into the…Swinger's dressing room! Oh, no, he better not notice the work I did! Why is he eating in there, anyway? I'm guessing it's because he must be too tired and lazy to go back down to his room, and he doesn't want to wake anyone by making any noise in this main room! He eats his snack, and then notices the wrench I left on the floor. He picks it up and…No! Don't look over there you nitwit! Oh dang it, he's noticed the loose bolts! No, no, don't even think about it...shoot, he's tightening them back in!
He slips the wrench back in the tool belt after he's done. So, he must have been the one who left it there. He must be the maintenance worker around here. He's looking mighty drowsy now, and, oh, no, he's collapsed to the floor and has fallen asleep! Just great. Now what do I do? If I try to go in there and do it again, that black lug will wake up and spot me! I've already been caught once, and I can't risk it! And if that black bear is the maintenance worker around here, it would be foolish to loosen the bolts again. He would just keep re-tightening them. But I can't just give up and go back to the hotel now! It's then I realize something; if the black bear is sleeping up here, than that means the room he was sleeping in earlier is unoccupied now! I dash downstairs and go into that room. I close and lock the door behind me. I notice a small closet in the corner of the room. If I hear anyone come, I'll wake up and dash in there. I take my wet clothes off and throw them next to the bed before climbing into it to rest up. What's important is that I'm inside the theater, and the plan can still work!
All I can do is wait for the right opportunity to strike…