Into The Belly of the Bear

February 20, 2013

choose your own adventure, Humor

Continuing from Part 1: A Turn of the Table…

Max and the Lost Shakespeare Thank-You Note, Part 2: Into The Belly of the Bear

“So then he the truck takes our garbage – just takes it – and drives away!  I’m like, ‘That’s right, garbage truck – you better run!’ Scared the crap out of him.  He didn’t come around again for, like, a week.”

Max caught this last bit of Bonkers story as she approached.  Bonkers was sitting at the bar of The Grizzly Bar, telling his grossly exaggerated of heroics to the bartender, his tail wagging the whole time.  She sat down beside him and said, “Still can’t get through to the mailman, though.”

“Psh.  That guy.  About time you got here,” Bonkers said.  “You should order a drink.  And one for yourself.”

Maxine pointed at Bonkers’ empty highball glass and raised two fingers.

“I have to admit,” Bonkers said.  “When you said we were meeting at a bear bar in the middle of the gay district, I expected something a little more… kinky.”

Max gestured to the room full of black bears, polar bears and panda bears all nursing drinks.  “I said ‘The Grizzly Bar; it’s a bear bar.’  How clear do I have to be?”

4229795-koala-bear-sitting-on-eucalyptus-tree-australia “It started off as a gay bar,” the bartender – a friendly looking koala – said.  But then the bears heard about a bear bar and started coming.”

“But you’re a koala.  Koalas are marsupials.”

“Me?  Yeah, I just have a thing for big, butch, hairy men.  Then the guys left, but I needed the job.  Eucalyptus doesn’t grow on trees, you know.  That’s a joke.”  He set the drinks down.  “Two highballs.”

“You buying?” Max asked Bonkers.

“You still aware that I’m a beagle?”

Max sighed and put cash on the bar.

“Where’s Reggie?” Bonkers asked.  Max tapped the amulet around her neck – it was the cursed amulet in which Reginald’s spirit had been trapped for a hundred years until she found him; now it functioned as a handy travel-case.  “And what are we doing here?  I thought the contents of the envelope were pretty clear.  Lets find this iambic thank-you note and cash in.”

“A little too clear.  Something’s not right.  With the info they have they don’t need me to find it.  I want to talk to… them.”  She pointed to a group of well-dressed men and bears sitting in a corner.   The man who’d hired Max the night before was sitting among them.

Ullr: It's like being blasted in the face with a shotgun full of toothpaste.  But in a strangely good way.

Ullr: It’s like being blasted in the face with a shotgun full of toothpaste. But in a strangely good way.

Max sent them a round of Ullr shots.  One of the men looked at the drinks with disdain and said, “I did not order any of that!”  When the bartender pointed to Max she gave a small wave and a smaller smile.  He gestured her and Bonkers over.  “Don’t you have a poem to find?” the man asked – not unpleasantly – in an English accent.

Max threw the envelope on the table.  “With this information?  Anyone could find it, I’d think.  Why me?”

“Because I suspect there’s more to it than meets the eye.  A previously undiscovered work of Shakespeare?  That’s the biggest literary find since the Dead Sea Scrolls.  And incredibly valuable.  And you, Miss Cho, are well-known for having found some very rare, very important, objects.  You see this photo of the snake?”  He pulled an 8×10 of a poorly stuffed snake from the pile of intel.  “Notice anything unusual about it?”

“Actually, yes,” Max said.  “One, this taxidermist has made the snake smile and wink, and two, that’s somehow managed to not be the worst thing about his stuffing job.”

“You see this weird flap at the back?” The Englishman asked.  “It’s a compartment.  There’s a boot in this snake.”

“Huh?” Bonkers said, tilting his head.

“A boot,” he repeated.  “What you would call a trunk.  A hiding space.  We believe the poem—“

“The thank-you note,” Max interjected.

“—is in this stuffed snake.  And the snake is in London.  How well do you know London?” he asked.

Yahoo Serious?  Anyone?  "Young Einstein"?

Oh, and famous Londoner Yahoo Serious!  Anyone? Yahoo Serious?  “Young Einstein”?

Bonkers replied, “Ah, London.  Home of The Beatles.  Manchester United.  Gwyneth Paltrow.”

“So not very.”

Max interrupted,  “I’ve been there a few times.  Look, I can find the thing.  I just want to know why me, and what it is.”

The man from the night before leaned forward.  “You – ah hah – you are familiar with the Bible, Miss Cho?”

There was a pause.

“Do you talk to everyone this way?  Or is there something about me?”

“There is a theory, Miss Cho, that when King James wanted a version of the Bible written in English, he sought out – ah hah – England’s greatest writer.  William Shakespeare.”

“You’ll notice,” the black bear in the corner said, “that the timeline of Shakespeare’s plays stop at the time James – a noted theater fan – commissions the ‘people’s bible,’ and resume shortly after it’s released.”

“There are those who believe Shakespeare wrote the bible, then wrote a poem of thanks to King James for giving him such an important task.  And that that poem is hidden” – he tapped the photo – “in this stuffed snake.”

“Hm, I’ve heard of this theory. It’s a real theory,” Bonkers said to the readers.

The Englishman concluded, “We want that snake, and we want that poem.”

“Looks like you’re buying us a couple tickets to London, then,” Max said, finishing her drink.

“First class,” Bonkers added.

“I’ll do better than that.  I’ll send you in my private jet. It’ll be faster, and keep you a little more off the radar.”

Max and Bonkers turned away and leaned in closely.  Max whispered, “I don’t trust this guy.  But getting in his plane might give us a chance to learn more about him.”

Bonkers nodded thoughtfully.  He said, “Can we have hamburgers for dinner?”


“Hamburgers are really good.”

“Bonkers, focus.”

Just then an enormous man in a suit and dark glasses entered the bar.  He was imposing enough that the bears began to look uncomfortable; several of them tried to make themselves big.

“I’d decide quickly,” the Englishman said.  “Things are about to get uncomfortable.  We are not the only one’s seeking the poem.  And who will do anything to have it.”


And don’t forget to leave suggestions for things you’d like to see show up in Part 4!

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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28 Comments on “Into The Belly of the Bear”

  1. Hippie Cahier Says:

    Not only was I amused beyond description and thrilled at Bonkers’ appearance, but I also learned something. I’m not sure what, but apparently ULLR is something akin to Fireball, and something something Yahoo Serious. I am sure that caption makes that picture even funnier and I shall spend the rest of my day trying to find out why.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Poor Yahoo Serious. He made “Young Einstein” in the late-80’s in Australia, and it was a monster hit. He was poised to be a massive comic star in the US and then the world. Theaters were given press kits on how to promote the movie and best handle the crowds. Americans responded with a resounding, “Huh… that wasn’t very good.”

      And that was the end of Mssr. Serious. Then Carrot Top came along and took his look and now he’s got that association going, too.


  2. Life With The Top Down Says:

    I really enjoyed this over my coffee. The entire bear bar scene was my favorite…still laughing at the Koala.


  3. speaker7 Says:

    Is that Shakespeare thing real? Are you really going to make me have to use my brain and look up information? Curses.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      It’s totally unsubstantiated, but it is a real theory (except for the thank-you note part). There’s little anecdotal bits of “evidence” but it’s probably not true. It’s the best kind of conspiracy theory, though, because there’s nothing sinister to it.


  4. Go Jules Go Says:

    I’d give anything to see a B Man drawing of that snake. “Or is there something about me?” Ha!

    I am loving this so much. And NOT just because of the bears / marsupials. I KNOW.

    P.S. – Are you trying to enable me? Ullr?


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Thanks! The Max & Bonkers fans are a small but hearty band.

      Ullr in hot chocolate on a cold day is inspired. Straight, your face contorts like you drank straight lemon juice, and you go, “Ewww! Gyuugh! Uhhhh! Uhhh mah gahd! Uhhh!… Hm. That was pretty good!” Then you have another and repeat the whole thing.


  5. mistyslaws Says:

    Oh come now . . . who HASN’T heard of Yahoo Serious? Young Einstein is a classic of cinematic fare.

    But now all I can think about is this strange craving for a toothpaste shooter. Hmm . . .


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I feel bad for Yahoo Serious. The movie might have been a bigger hit in the States if people had been given a primer on the sheer, batshit awesome “hey, let’s try this!” weirdness of Australian cinema.


  6. Audrey Says:

    This is way better than the “Choose your adventure” books I read as a kid!


  7. rachelocal Says:

    I’m going to have to get my husband to read up on this. He used to love those “choose your adventure” books. Can’t wait to see what happens next!


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Thanks. And the best part of these is it’s highly unlikely the next entry will be, “Unfortunately, a tiger was in the closet and he killed you. The End.”


      • Michael Says:

        I actually liked the “Surprise Tiger in the Closet” endings more than the one happy ending in those books. The writers were so creative with the many ways you could suddenly perish.


  8. skippingstones Says:

    there are two more, right? one more is not enough!


  9. pegoleg Says:

    I had to try reading this 3 times before I got to finish, it has been that kind of day. My 3rd grade Girl Scout leader was right – sooo glad I persevered.


  10. The Hook Says:

    You’ve outdone yourself! Good work!


  11. elsavayatres Says:

    I am delighted this Choose-your-own-adventure section is back 🙂

    One of the best lol moments:

    “You buying?” Max asked Bonkers.

    “You still aware that I’m a beagle?”

    Actually, I am a fan of Bonkers, period.

    I rather like these adventures than the ones I used to read as a kid. I always chose the wrong way and died. Every. Single. Time.


  12. Blogdramedy Says:

    What to include next…a tiger. In the closet.


  13. travellingmo Says:

    This is so much fun! It reminds me a lot of Christopher Moore’s writing. But that could be because I am currently reading Sacre Bleu.



  1. A Spot of Tea (And That Stands For Trouble) | The Byronic Man - February 22, 2013

    […] Continuing from Part 2… […]

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