I wrote a short story a couple of years ago about a guy who turns into a bear. It’s pretty good. As I sometimes do with writing I’m proud of, I sent it to my brother Darren Millar, a very funny comedian and writer in his own right.
Last week Darren performed an adaptation of that story at Victoria’s Big Rock Showdown.
He didn’t win the $100, but his story and performance won the hearts of the attendees.
Click through for a short excerpt from the story. It’s not the adaptation of course, for that you’ll have to see it live.
Consciousness lifts me into an irritable haze. Light and pain spasm in my head, my guts are roiling fire, brimstone and hunger in my belly. I struggle for a moment to open my eyes. Can’t. My eyelids are glued shut with crust. Heroically I push them on.
Man, I am tired. Exhausted. And dizzy. And hungry. As I stretch and yawn I feel an overwhelming craving for salmon. Or rabbit. Or berries. Wha- where am I? This isn’t my bedroom! This isn’t my bed! These aren’t my furry arms, or my beclawed hands – Oh Jesus Christ, I exclaim in my mind: I’m a monster. Some sort of giant furry beast. Or maybe a werewolf… maybe it’s a full moon.
Nope. That’s not it. I lumber to my feet in a panic, and that’s when it hits me: I’m a bear. A fucking bear! Fuck! Panic hits me like a bee sting on the nose.
My second thought is more upbeat: this is awesome! This is totally bad-ass! An image of me rampaging through the streets of Baltimore flashes through my mind. The next instant a rush of conflicting ideas crowd my hungover, bear-like brain.
Desperate for something to keep me from puking, I focus on my surroundings. I realize this isn’t my bedroom, or a park bench; it’s a facsimile of wilderness. I’m in the bear habitat at the Baltimore Zoo! It was just on Sunday I took my nephew here. That was a good day. He really liked the monkeys. Usually he cries at least once when we spend the day together, but not Sunday. Shit, that was just what, well last night was highball Wednesday…three days ago. I hadn’t been to the zoo in years, and then all of a sudden – twice in one week. Once as a person and once as a fucking bear!
The zoo looks a lot different from behind the bars. I throw my head back and a huge roar blasts from my massive, muscular jaws.
Having emitted a pleasantly satisfying roar, I take a better look around my environment. I can clearly take stock of my situation: a cage. But a nice cage, much bigger than my apartment. Like a giant terrace. And hey! A pool. My new place has a pool. This is the big-time. I lumber up to a four-legged stance, which is more comfortable as a bear than as a human. I amble out of the cave entrance and rub my belly on the artificial stump to the right of my cave opening. I believe the correct term is ‘mouth’, as in ‘cave mouth’, but at this point, who gives a fuck?
I use my massive neck to point my impressive snout into the air. The sky is newspaper-ink gray. It’s early morning. I guess I’m not hibernating. Do bears even do that anymore? Did they ever? Is it possible to sleep for months at a time? I hope so; I feel like shit.
Wait. Back up. What happened last night? Last thing I remember I’m buying a last round of shots at Madison’s. Then there’s a blackout. Next thing I know I’m here. A bear.
Hold up, what’s 7 x 6? 42.
I’m a bear that can do math. I’m going to be rich! The richest bear in all of the animal kingdom! If I could just get out of this cage.