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Eaten By Bears

Dave Donelson

If cellphones had existed in 1988, and if we had carried one with us, we wouldn’t have gotten lost. Or maybe we would have been lost, but Cindy wouldn’t have panicked about getting eaten by a bear. Or maybe she still would have panicked, but I could have calmed her by pretending to call for help, although she would probably have seen through that and panicked anyway. Or I could have distracted her by showing her some pictures on my cellphone, or played a game on it—Candy Crush or something—that would have taken her mind off the bears closing in on us in the woods. 


Because there certainly were bears in the woods. And we were certainly lost, although I refused to admit that. A cellphone might have helped with that, come to think of it. Or not, depending on whether there had been any cell towers in the Great Smoky Mountains. 


There were bears, though. Cindy couldn’t see them, but she said she could hear them breathing heavily behind the trees as they circled around us, getting ready to pounce. I tried to reassure her that it was probably just the bears murmuring to each other like bears do when they’re trying to be quiet and not bother anybody. If cellphones had existed, I would have told her they were talking the polite way you take a call when you’re in a public place. You know, softly, keeping your conversation to yourself and the person on the other end of your call. 



Dave Donelson ( is a freelance journalist with some three million words in print. He was recently honored with a grant for poetry by the NYS Council on the Arts. His work has appeared in dozens of national publications as well as fifteen books of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and memoir.

Photo Credit: Emilee Luke, "Enveloped in Autumn"

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