Disclaimer: The words, the plot, and the story are mine.
UP A TREE
“Damn it!” Abe cursed as he clung to the thin tree for dear life. “Damn twig done ripped a hole in my long johns!”
“Shut your trap, you stupid idiot.” Frank paused to glare at his younger brother, balance on his own tree. “Don’t you know what it means to be quiet?”
The youngest of the three Chapman brothers, who’d been lucky to find a branch sturdy enough to side on, glanced up from the piece of wood he was whittling. “Abe don’t know about being quiet, Frank, you know that. ‘Sides, it was him that left the food out and attracted the bear.”
Frank nodded in agreement, carefully adjusting his foot on a branch. “It sure was at that,” he said, glancing down at the brown bear ravaging their campsite. “Seein’ as he was, seems only right he’s the one that ripped his long johns on a branch and not one of us.”
Pete, the youngest brother, wisely kept it to himself that there was a gaping hole in the seat of Frank’s long johns – after all, he didn’t rightly know how long it’d been there. “I can’t tear mine because I put on my pants,” he announced.
Abe growled as he slipped down the tree a bit. “Why didn’t you wake me up instead of putting on your pants? Maybe we coulda all been up a tree with pants on.”
“Ain’t my fault you sleep like the dead and didn’t hear the roar,” Pete replied with a shrug, never taking his eyes off his wood. “Anyways, we’re safe enough up here. Just don’t be slidin’ down any further.”
“Easy for you to say, little brother,” Abe snapped, desperation in his voice, “you got yerself a comfy little seat right there on that branch.”
Pete shrugged. “What can I say, big brother? I suppose I just got all the luck in the family.”
“Both you boys be quiet now,” Frank hissed as menacingly as he could stuck up a tree while bear at his lunch. “We need to figure a way to distract her and get her out of here.”
“We ain’t got that much food down there,” Abe mused thoughtfully. “Maybe we oughta just wait her out and then head on back home when it’s safe.”
Frank shook his head vehemently. “She’ll shred our clothes. We gonna go traipsing back home in nothing but town long johns, Abe?”
Both brothers seemed puzzled by the problem and it was what finally got the Chapman brothers to be quiet.
In the meantime, the bear realized there was nothing left to interest her and she lumbered back into the thick undergrowth that surrounded the clearing. Frank and Abe were completely oblivious, too caught up in the problem of clothes to notice the change.
Pete, however, pocketed the whistle he’d finished carving and shimmied down the tree. He walked all the way home, got new clothes for his brothers and walked back to the campsite.
They were still clinging to the trees.