The warm sun framed Goldilocks’ face on the path in the forest. Her yellow dress with red flowers flickered like a butterfly as she skipped along. When you had been born cute with such golden curls, you couldn’t help feeling entitled.
Tucked in between the tall trees on the edge of a clearing was the bear’s house; they lived in a cozy rustic, comfortable way, and Goldilocks had been told they left on a walk in the morning after having poured their porridge into bowls to cool; they were very well-mannered in their habits.
She went over and looked in the window. Then she stepped up to the door, rang the bell, and listened. When she heard no sound, she pulled out a little case of lock picks from her dress pocket. No door had ever been closed to Goldilocks.
But her sassy confidence was too quick, and someone grumbly stomped down the stairs. A bear opened the door, a middle-size brown bear with a red-and-white striped towel around the waist and a green terry cloth turban on its head. It had been shampooing, and it was furious at being disrupted.
She hit the pick on her back and glued herself to the spot, not because she was frightened but because she had charmed much bigger beasts with attention and honey.
The bear said, “Forgot your keys again?” and turned around and went back upstairs.
“Can’t see a damn thing.” It said from the landing. “Just go ahead.”
Don’t mind if I do, Goldilocks thought. She scanned the room from the doorstep: the kitchen area with the cast iron stove in the back, the three bowls of steaming breakfast on the table to the side, and the different sized armchairs around the flatscreen TV with an Xbox underneath. She thought: my God, what a frathouse. This is almost too easy.
The pair of them lumbered back from the creek as their appetite rose like the sun in the sky. Their wet fur coats diamond-studded wandering molehills. The wee one said,
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
About food, it was always impatient. It had its priorities straight and argued on their behalf when given a chance. It said, “Why do we wait?”
The great big one said, “Metabolism.” It subscribed to every health magazine available after learning that bears can double their lifespan with biohacking. It said, “When we are hungry, we are sharper and faster.”
They turned the corner to the clearing with their house.
The wee one said, “But we don’t have to catch the—why is the door open?”
But the great big one didn’t hear it. It had sped up and was already at the entrance. There it stopped in shock. The wee one bumped into it from behind.
A tornado had passed through the house; the dining table was tipped on its side, chards of broken breakfast bowls underneath it, porridge smeared on the walls, one of the benches torn in half, the TV screen cracked like a rock on a windshield, the cords to and from the Xbox cut and sticking out like curious worms. And in its middle-sized recliner sat the middle-size bear naked, tied and gagged.
“Hello bears,” said Goldilocks from the top of the stairs.