MEAN: THE BEAR STORY
I told you! I told you I would come back one day and tell you about some of the things Fallopi did in his early years. Theses things earned him a reputation of bein’ one of the toughest, and one of the meanest hombres west of the Pecos. As I said afore, He was mean, but not all bad. So I don't want you to get any bad ideas about him. I think I'd better tell you some of the good things he done afore I tell you about his meaner acts.
First off, he was honest; he never stole a single thing in his life. Second, he was truthful as a jaybird and fair as a church mouse; that is, in his own way. He weren't one to lie or cheat, and you don't want to get caught doin' either to him. He sometimes made demands that weren't never really unreasonable, exceptin’ to some of the more respectable, dishonest politicians in the town. Some of em tried gittin' rid of Fallopi one time. There I go meanderin’ agin; that's another story. I'll tell it to ya one day. It's a pip. Okay! I'm gittin’ back on the trail.
When Fallopi was about 10 years old, he was a playin’ in the yard, same as he always done, only this day he was a eatin’ a piece of bread with honey a drippin' offen it. A butterfly with beautiful yellow, orange, and black colors fluttered past him. When he reached out to grab the butterfly it fluttered out of the yard and across the field with Fallopi hot on its trail. That there butterfly led Fallopi to a stand of old oaks and cottonwood trees near a small crick about 200 yards from the house.
It weren't the first time Fallopi had been down to the crick. Matter of fact, it was one of his favorite places. He liked to climb the oaks and swing from the vines hangin' from the trees. When it was hot, which was most of the time in that part of the country, he dammed up the crick, so's he could splash in the water and cool off.
Well Sir, that butterfly went straight away to that crick with Fallopi a tryin’ to catch up to it. He was just about to close in on it, when he almost bumped into a huge black bear that was a drinkin’ from the crick. Both the bear and Fallopi leaped backwards and fell on their beehinds. When the bear got a whiff of that there honey, he raised up on his hind legs and gave out a tremendous growl.
Well Sir, Fallopi scrambled up the bank of that there crick and lit out after his favorite climbin' oak. The bear was a closin' in on his little beehind - it weren't really little, cause like I said afore, he was always big for his age. He made it to the tree, and was up it afore you could say "Uncle Ned." Well, that there bear started a climbin' that there tree, while Fallopi sat on one of the branches, munchin’ his honey sandwich.
Now as you know, bears are pretty good climbers; Fallopi knew it too. So, as soon as that bear was a half-way up the tree, Fallopi climbed out on one of the branches that was close to another oak and moved across it into the other tree.
Now anybody would have been happy to git out of that there tree while that bear was a tryin’ to cross over, but not Fallopi. No siree; when the bear was almost to the middle, between the two trees, Fallopi climbed up to the next branch just out of the reach of that bear, and crossed back over to the first tree. Well when he was directly over that poor bear, I say poor bear 'cause it didn't know it had gone up aginst Fallopi.
Anyway, when he was directly over the bear and high enough so's that there bear couldn't reach him, he sat there and poured a little of that honey down on the bears nose. When the bear tasted the honey, he tried to stand up so's as to reach Fallopi and git the honey.
What the bear didn't know was that when Fallopi crossed over the first time, he had put a loop in one of his swingin’ vines and laid it across the limb where the bear would have to cross. I kin see by your faces that you done figured out what’s a comin' next. Well, you might have part of it figured, but I know you ain't got it all figured, so I aim to tell you.
When the bear stood up, he had one paw in the loop. One other thing I forgot to tell ya. Fallopi had been chawin' tabacca since he was eight, and always carried a plug in his pocket. So, while he was a waitin' for that bear to get up there and cross over, he had took himself a chaw. The reason I'm tellin' you this, is cause, when the bear tried to reach Fallopi and stuck his nose up towards him, Fallopi let fly with a mouth full of tabacca juice, right in that poor bears eyes and up his snout. Fallopi’s aim was pretty good, cause he practiced a lot at hittin' flies and he was pretty darn good.
One time he –- Oh, there I go agin –- that's another story. You remind me to tell you about the tobacca story sometime; it's a good one. Anyways, right after he spat, he gave a good tug on that vine. The poor bear, I know I keep a sayin' “poor bear;” wait to you hear what happened afore you git on me about repeatin' myself.
Like I said, that poor bear fell offin that thar limb and was fetched up short, a hangin' by one leg about twenty-five feet offin the ground. You never heard such sounds as what come out of that bear. Bears don't like hangin’ upside down by one leg; or two legs for that matter.
Well sir, that ain't all. Any other boy would have been happy to git down outta that there tree and run fer his life. Not Fallopi. He did climb outta that tree; and he did run, but he ran to the barn instead of home - grabbed himself a couple of lengths of stout rope, and ran back to that thar tree. The bear was a yowlin' and a screamin’, and a kickin' tryin' to get himself free.
Fallopi dragged some big rocks from the crick bed and put them under that poor bear. Then he climbed back up that tree, lassoed the other leg, climbed back down the tree, ran around in a big circle, a spinnin' that poor bear round and round, until it was so dizzy it didn't know up from down. Then Fallopi climbed back up the tree and cut the vine.
Good Gawd a mighty! That bear let out such a roar as it plummeted down through the branches that the big window in Pawdunker's Saloon, all the way in town, rattled so hard it cracked in three places. When he hit, his head bounced offin one them rocks. He got up, staggered three steps down the hill and fell down, unconscious.
You’d a thought that would be the end of it, but not with Fallopi. No Siree. He took the rope that was tied to the bear's leg and tied it to the tree. Then he took the other piece of rope and tied it to the other leg. When that bear came to, he staggered to his feet and sniffed the air, cause his vision were a bit blurry from that bump on the head. Fallopi was a standin' to one side of the bear and when the bear caught his scent, he started after him.
This was a dazed, mad bear. He wasn't movin' to fast cause he ached all over from that fall. Fallopi kept circlin' the tree until the bear was fetched up tight against that big oak. Fallopi grabbed a holt of the other rope and ran the other way around the tree. Afore the bear knew what was a goin' on, he was tight up aginst that ole oak tree. The bear stood up and Fallopi ran around the tree, a holdin' the rope up so's that it pulled the bear's back tight aginst the tree. There was no doubt, that bear had met his match.
Fallopi took up a long branch that broke off when the bear came down the tree, and started ticklin that poor bear. At first the bear got angry, but when he didn't feel any pain but a funny ticklin'; well Sir, did you ever see a bear laugh? Well, neither did I.
Now, when that roar cracked Pawdunker's Window, everybody went out to see what was a goin' on. By this time the whole town was a walkin' out to the crick where they heard the sounds. When they got there, they couldn't believe there eyes.
It were some sight to behold. There was Fallopi a sittin' on a rock near that ole oak tree. The bear was tied up tighter than your mama's corset. But, what was strange was; Fallopi and that thar bear was a laughin’ and a cryin' at the same time. Nobody wanted to say anythin’ to Fallopi, so they just stood there a watchin', with their chins almost touchin' the ground.
After about a half-an-hour of this, Fallopi gave the bear the rest of his bread an' honey. The bear licked his chops and grunted like a contented pig. The town folks were a crowdin' in to get a better look, when Fallopi ups and starts untyin’ the bear. The townsfolk went wild. It looked like the first homestead rush. They was a scramblin' over each other, like dogs a breakin out of the dog pound. They was tryin' to get out of that thar crick bed afore he set that bear loose. I climbed up an oak tree afore I got trampled and watched the dangest site I ever did see.
When Fallopi took off them ropes, the bear didn't move. He sat there the same way as when he was tied up. So, Fallopi took up that branch and started ticklin’ the bear agin. The bear rolled over on it's side, and I swear, he started chucklin and rollin' about with Fallopi jumpin up a down, a laughin' and a ticklin' like one of them Indians on the warpath.
The bear started watchin' Fallopi, dancin' around havin' a good time. Now you don't have to believe this if you don't want to, but, all of a sudden, that bear got to it's feet and started jumpin' up and down and a dancin’ just like Fallopi was a doin'. Not many of the townsfolk saw this 'cause they was a still runnin', but I saw it, and by gum I will never forget it. I hung on to that tree 'cause I don't trust no bears.
Well, Fallopi and that bear became the best of friends and any hot afternoon you could find them down at the crick, a splashin' in it, a jumpin’ and a dancin' and eatin' honey sandwiches, from honey they got from one of them tall oaks. That's another story. Anyways, they had themselves one grand summer.
Gotta go now. There's a circus a comin' to town this afternoon and I don't want to miss that dancin' bear act. Be back soon.