Don't Feed the Bears.
She entered the Bear Inn, a rarely-opened pub above the cliffs which advertised Cream Teas on its door. She really, really wanted one.
“Sorry but we’re out of scones” Said Ken the avuncular landlord
Her heart sank, she had been eyeing the advert hungrily for months and been waiting for the pub to open on a sunny day so she could have one in this unique setting. Perhaps then she would compose a sonnet to it’s memory.
“We’ve got Chelsea buns, Danish pastries, Battenburg, Bakewell tart, and all the other cakes” said Ken waving a laminated menu.
“Give me some of those please,” she said disappointedly.
“Do you want a pot of tea with them?”
“No thank you- Just tap water!” Her day had been slightly ruined.
Ken handed her a large plate full of cakes.
“Tell me, why is this pub called The Bear Inn?” she asked through a mouthful of jam doughnut, “Surely there have never been bears living round here.”
Ken looked alarmed, then he leaned forward and whispered “Shhhh! they might hear! There are bears everywhere”.
“Shhh! Yes big brown ones, …..with claws” Ken’s face was troubled. “I keep the cakes handy” he explained, “in case we have to calm them down.”
“Which are their favourite cakes?” she asked.
“Scones!” said Ken “that’s why we haven’t got any. The bears have had ‘em.”
“Hmmm” she replied “And what’s with the irregular opening hours?”
“In order to stop them killing customers and staff I have to open the pub when they least expect it and I always keep a scone on hand!”
“Except today!” she reminded him bitterly.
“Yes” coughed Ken evasively “except today of course”.
“Try an Eccles cake. They are very good!” he whispered pointing at a disappointing bun.
“Now where was I? Oh yes. Scones! Bears love ‘em. But woe betide you if you rhyme them with cone, or put the cream on first! I’ve lost many barmaids that way” he sighed.
At this point a bear entered. It was not wearing any clothes and lumbered on all fours. It was not a friendly looking cartoon bear in a hat but a real angry one.
“Good evening sire” said Ken obsequiously, his fear betrayed by the high squeak of his voice.
“The usual!” muttered the bear
“For you mate anything!!” replied the landlord, producing a delicious looking cream tea from beneath the counter.
He shot his other customer an apologetic glance. Her eyebrows arched with cynicism.
“Actually” said the bear “just give me a jam doughnut after all.”
Ken stuttered desperately, the other customer had eaten the last one, it was her fault! He had said the bears wouldn’t like it.
The bear let out a furious cry picked Ken up in his huge paws and carried him from the pub screaming. Ken was never seen again.
The other customer enjoyed a lovely cream tea on the cliff top before heading home entirely unmolested.
Poor Ken, like so many landlords he had not heeded the lesson that all in his trade are taught in basic training (or ought to be).
Which is, that if find yourself in a dangerous story and want to last to the end, you should make feeding the writer your top priority, for bears don’t make up the endings.