Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Bears

The bigfoot wailed. One of its very large feet was trapped in an even larger bear trap. Far above, Ursa Major shook its celestial head in impotent frustration at the ingenuity of Man.

A flashlight beam waved through the bushes. The bigfoot struggled to get free before the owner of the flashlight arrived, but to no avail.

"You're a big one," the hunter said, shining the beam of light first at the bigfoot's midsection. "You don't look like no bear that I've ever seen..."

The light flashed from the large furry feet, then to the eeriely humanoid face, then back to the feet, then to the face.

"Because you ain't a bear, is you?" the hunter asked.

The bigfoot howled, softly, and gestured at its foot.

"That's a thing. It looks like you're trying to communicate. Now I know a thing or two about bigfoot. Maybe even three things. The first is that you're real. I knew that before I saw you. I also know that you're supposed to be intelligent, intelligent enough to be wily, anyway. But more wily than a lynx or another beast. You're man-wily."

The hunter pulled a long knife out of his boot.

"The third thing I know is that if I take your hide back to town, I'll get famous and rich."

The bigfoot shook his head, its eyes wide.

"Now, you understand, don't you? It'll be good for you," the hunter said, creeping towards his prey. "Right now you'll die out here, shittin' in the woods. After I kill you, you'll be immortal! You and me, together, in the cryptozoological history books! Me holdin' your stinky hide with a big grin on my face!"

The hunter stabbed the bigfoot with his knife. Expecting a torrent of warm blood to flow out of the wound, he was surprised to hear his knife clanked against metal below the fur. A vicious blue arc of electricity flared from the hole. Blinded, the jolt threw him backwards into a tangle of unfortunately placed brambles.

The hunter came to a few minutes later, half-propped up by the bushes. He tasted blood and ozone in his mouth. His hunting instinct made him immediately scan for his prey.

The bear trap still bit the leg of the bigfoot. But around the bigfoot were small, grey aliens cutting through the metal with oxyacetylene torches. The fur of the bigfoot had been peeled back by another set of aliens to reveal bundles of wires and metal. Nearby, a small disc-shaped Unidentified Idling Object sat, puffing out a faint, iridescent gas from tubes arranged around the outside like the spines on a startled hedgehog.

"What is this?" the hunter asked. "You stay away from that bigfoot, he's mine!"

One of the little grey aliens turned around and flipped up his welding mask.

"You're quite wrong. This bigfoot is the property of the University of Umlax Robotic's Laboratory, in conjunction with the Committee on Xenofauna and supported by a grant from the Wi'Wi'Wi'Zort Foundation For Going Very Far Away. And you've gone and mucked it up. If it's too far broken for a field repair, I'll use this torch to cut out your brain, drop it into a vat and make it fill out the tremendous amount of forms necessary to return it to the factory."

"I...didn't know."

"Of course you didn't. We've been using these bigfoot robots to test how your civilization reacts to the unknown and the unexplained."

The grey alien flipped his mask back down and turned back to his cutting, but then thought better of it.

"Poorly, is the answer. Oh, what's the use, you're not going to remember any of this," the alien said.

"You're damn right I'm going to remember this! Unless...unless you've built some sort of horrible memory erasing machine!"

"We didn't have to build it, your planet supplied it for us," the grey alien said, pointing to an enormous bear that came out of the woods.

The Moral: if you encounter a bear in the woods, simply retreat to the nearest ship capable of interstellar travel.

edited 11/18/10 re-worded the stabbin'/electricity section

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