He’s in a bear suit? What? Is that a bear suit? Yeah, it is. It really fucking is a bear suit. Why is he dressed like a bear?
“Mr. Bear wants to know why you think you’re right for this job.”
I’m flabbergasted. Here I sit in this mundane office, the likes of which I’ve seen at many of the job interviews I’ve attended, and across from me sits a man. A man in a bear suit. He’s in a high backed swivel chair. It looks comfortable, more comfortable than the chair I’m in. Mine can’t swivel, his can. Immediately to his right stands another man. He’s in a suit as well, though not one with the likeness of a bear. It’s just a normal suit. Black, pinstriped, well-tailored; very professional. It’s a nice suit. Nicer than mine, but this is the best I could afford. His suit is so nice it almost makes me forget about the guy sitting next to him. Almost. But people casually and inexplicably sitting around in bear suits is the kind of thing that grabs your attention.
The man, who I can only assume is the Bear’s assistant, stands perfectly erect next to the bear, his face an expressionless mask. The bear man sits to his side. His glassy, lifeless, bear-eyes boring into me. The man’s hands are folded in front of him, the bear’s hands, or paws I guess, rest on the surface of the thick, oak desk separating us. They’re both looking at me expectantly. With a slight nod of his bulbous, disproportionately sized bear-head, the assistant lowers his ear in front of the bear man’s bear mouth. I hear nothing, but the man in the suit nods and straightens his posture once more. Neither of them takes their eyes off of me.
“Mr. Bear wants to know what the problem is.” States the man in the suit.
I open my mouth to speak, but there just are no words. I look from the man in the suit to the man in the bear suit, unsure of the situation. Why is this happening? I’m confused, and a little frightened. I remember this scene from The Shining. Wasn’t he in a bear suit. My God, are they ghosts?
“Mr. Bear would like to know if you want something to drink.” Says the assistant.
“…I…” I finally manage to speak. It’s a start.
“Mr. Bear says you look nervous.”
More letters, but not technically a whole word. How does he know what Mr. Bear is saying? If they’re ghosts it’s fair to assume they have telepathic abilities, so that explains that. I guess. Did someone lace my chai tea with LSD? Did I even drink chai tea this morning? I don’t even know what chai tea is, what the fuck am I talking about?
“Mr. Bear assures you there’s no reason to be nervous. Mr. Bear understands that job interviews can be very nerve-wracking experiences. Mr. Bear wants you to relax and answer the questions to the best of your ability. Or he’ll eat you.”
What did he say?
“What did you say?” I ask.
“Pardon?” The assistant tilts his head a bit, as though he couldn’t hear me.
“Did you just say he’ll eat me?”
“No. Why would he say a thing like that? Bears like Salmon, are you a salmon?”
I’m not a salmon.
“Then you have nothing to fear from Mr. Bear.” The Assistant concludes.
They just won’t stop staring at me. Sweet Jesus, what’s going on!? Ok, calm down, look on the bright side; at least I can actually talk now. Time to get some answers.
“I don’t mean to offend you, but why is he dressed in a bear suit?” I politely inquire.
“Why are you talking to me? I’m not the one interviewing you. I suggest you direct your questions towards Mr. Bear.”
I’m pretty sure that between Mr. Bear and me, one of us insane. Can’t be sure which yet. I clear my throat and look at Mr. Bear. He’s never taken those bulbous plastic eyes off of me. He just sits. Furry and brown. All…bearlike. His bear-face exudes a kind of detached bemusement, though at times I think I can see a subtle hint of malice just below the surface of his bear-ish facade. I look through the window directly behind Mr. Bear, I see in the distance people walking, cars driving. Normal human beings enjoying an average, bear-free day. I envy them. I begin to speak.
“Why are you dressed like-”
Before I can finish the sentence The Assistant cuts me off
“I’m not dressed like a bear.”
“Excuse me. Mr. Bear says that he’s not dressed like a bear.”
“But you are, though!”
They both ignore my statement. The man continues talking.
“Mr. Bear wants to know what you believe to be your greatest strength and your greatest weakness”
This is fucking nuts. I sit awhile; I’ve lost my voice again. The Assistant speaks.
“Mr. Bear would like to offer you something to drink. Perhaps a glass of kahlua or some mead?”
What the fuck is mead? Isn’t that what Vikings drink
“Mr. Bear likes mead. Mead is made from honey. Bears like honey. Honey and salmon.” Says The Assistant, never breaking from his business like demeanor.
“Yeah. Yeah, I guess they do…”
“Guess nothing! Bears love the shit out of honey.” The man states, just as deadpan as ever.
Bears do love honey. I remember once a long time ago I heard of a mother smearing honey all over her child’s face and sending him out to a bear so that the bear would come over and lick the honey off and she could take a picture of the adorable scene. It was a good idea in theory. Did the bear eat that kid? I can’t remember.
“Okay.” I think he did eat that kid.
“Mr. Bear says he also has a cask of vintage caribou blood if you’re interested.”
“I’ll pass.” I’m pretty sure he just said something about caribou blood.
“Mr. Bear suggests we try a role reversal” Says the man. “Instead of Mr. Bear interviewing you, you will interview Mr. Bear. Mr. Bear thinks this might make you more comfortable”
I feel as though invisible robots are in my head, raping my brain with hydraulic penises covered in Tabasco sauce.
“Sure.” It’s the only thing I can think to say.
“We will begin the exercise in approximately eight seconds”
I wait for what feels like seven seconds before I speak.
“I guess my first question is-”
“It hasn’t been eight seconds yet,” The man says to me.
“Mr. Bear says that he can’t use people in the company who are incapable of counting to eight”
“Ok, I’m sorry” That was so eight seconds. He’s a fucking liar.
“Mr. Bear forgives you.”
This is a hidden camera show. One of those terrible, awful hidden camera shows all over TV. It must be.
“Says Mr. Bear. Mr. Bear said ‘no problem’. I forgot to specify.”
I look at Mr. Bear. His almost cartoonishly large head and freakish eyes are becoming more and more threatening by the second. Let’s think this through logically. Obviously they’re playing a joke on me, I just need to let them know I’m on to them and I’m not here to play games. Yeah. That’s what I’ll do.
“Would you please take the bear suit off now? I’m actually really interested in getting a job here, and-”
The man cuts me off again. “What bear suit, asks Mr. Bear?”
“The one that Mr. Bear is wearing.”
“Mr. Bear says he’s not wearing a suit.
“Mr. Bear says that bears are the deadliest land predators in existence. Mr. Bear says that he’s a Kodiak Bear. Kodiak Bears are the meanest, scariest bears in the world, says Mr. Bear. Mr. Bear suggests you don’t fuck with Kodiak Bears.”
I think for a moment. Maybe he really is a bear. Or some kind of a…man-bear hybrid. No, that’s just crazy.
“Mr. Bear wants to know if you’re on drugs.”
Me on drugs? Me?! I’m not dressed up like a fucking bear! This is pissing me off!
“Mr. Bear says he notices that your pupils are dilated. Mr. Bear thinks you’re on PCP. Mr. Bear wants you to know he runs a clean ship here, and that a No Tolerance policy for drug use is in place. Mr. Bear says that if he ever finds out you’re using drugs while you’re working for him he’ll forget you’re not a salmon. As a matter of fact, he’ll pretend that you are a salmon. One covered in honey. I would suggest you kick your debilitating PCP habit before Mr. Bear eats himself a meal of honey coated salmon.”
Ok, now they’re threatening me, this has gone too far. Something needs to be done about this, maybe I should leave.
“Mr. Bear has an erection.” The Assistant states.
“What the fuck?!” Is my reflexive response.
“Mr. Bear says that thinking about salmon coated in honey has made him aroused. Extremely aroused, says Mr. Bear. Mr. Bear asked me to emphasize the words “extremely” and “aroused”.
Is he coming on to me? I will not have sex with a bear-man, that’s where I draw the line! Enough is enough; I’m out of here.
“Ok, you know what, thank you for your time, but I think I’ll seek work elsewhere.”
I get up to leave when all of a sudden an ear-splitting bang resonates from outside of Mr. Bears office. The window behind Mr. Bear explodes inward, immediately followed by Mr. Bears head. Bear brains are splattered all over my chest and face, blood also spatters The Assistant’s face, but he remains as stoic as ever.
“What the fuck!” I shoot out of my chair and look down at Mr. Bear, now slumped over his desk, viscera running freely from his gigantic furry head. A man dressed in green and brown camouflage from head to toe, except for an orange vest and cap, hops through the window behind Mr. Bear. He has a hunting rifle slung behind his back. He looks down at Mr. Bear’s lifeless corpse, grinning from ear to ear.
“He’s a big one! Enough meat here to feed the family for a week!”
I look to the man in the suit; he stills stares at me, apparently uninterested in the scene of carnage only inches next to him.
“I suggest you seek work elsewhere.” He says.
The bear hunter has produced a skinning knife from his boot and is peeling Mr. Bear’s flesh from his arm. Now what the fuck am I supposed to do with my life?
How do you get bear blood out of linen?
To Be Continued.