Once upon a time there were six bears (yes, six, not three) who lived in a house in the woods. Great big Papa Bear, middle-sized Mama Bear, and their four children: Baby Bear One, the oldest, Baby Bear Two, his younger brother, and the two girls, Baby Bear Three and Baby Bear Four.
One morning Mama Bear made a big pot of porridge. She poured it into six bowls and then called to her children:
“Breakfast is ready!”
At first nothing happened. She had to call three more times until three pairs of feet came trampling down the stairs, followed by Baby Bear Four, who couldn’t walk yet, sliding down on her tummy. Baby Bear One shouted:
“I was fiiiirst, naa-na-na-boo-boo!”
“I’m nohooot playing!” wailed Baby Bear Two.
“Boo-hooo, I want to be first too,” cried Baby Bear Three, who hated that her brothers were always stronger and faster at everything.
When they had finally scrambled into their chairs, Baby Bear Three pushed her bowl away.
“I don’t want the purple bowl, I want the blue bowl,” she said.
“I’ll take the purple bowl,” said Baby Bear Two, who was always agreeable, and reached across the table.
“Maaaaama, he took my bowl!” shrieked Baby Bear Three.
“Dada,” chatted Baby Bear Four while chewing on a spoon. Baby Bear One said, in his whiney voice:
“When can we have chocolate waffles again, it’s not fair, last time we had them you didn’t make enough, and yesterday you promised me a lollipop for dessert if I finished my dinner, and I did finish my dinner but you never gave me the lollipop?”
“I want a lollipop too,” piped Baby Bear Three in her wee little voice, her face glowing expectantly, bowl troubles forgotten.
“Yuck!” said Baby Bear Two in his very loud voice and pushed his bowl away. “I’m done.”
“I’m done too,” said Baby Bear Three, and knocked her bowl to the floor as she got up from her chair, just in time for Baby Bear Two to step into the porridge as he came running by.
“You know what, let’s go for a walk in the woods,” said Mama Bear in her still very patient middle-sized voice. So they scrambled outside while Papa Bear settled comfortably on the sofa with his newspaper.
“I want my snack!” was the last thing he heard Baby Bear Three exclaim as the door swung shut.
The bears had not gone far when who should arrive at the house but a golden-haired girl. She knocked at the door. No one answered, so she went in.
“What a mess,” she thought to herself and picked up a rag to wipe the kitchen floor. While she was at it, she also dusted the shelves, vacuumed the carpets, and ran two loads of laundry. When she was finished, she felt rather hungry.
“Porridge!” she exclaimed. “Who wants to eat porridge?” But since she was a polite girl, she ate her fill, scraped out each bowl, and loaded up the dishwasher. Feeling guilty for taking the food, she made four peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the shape of a train, a fire engine, an airplane and an ocean liner.
Feeling tired, she sat down to rest on Baby Bear One’s chair. But she immediately got up again because her bottom was soaked. There was a big orange juice spill on the chair! Next she tried Baby Bear Two’s chair, but it was covered in honey. Baby Bear Three’s chair was already occupied with two stuffed bears and three baby dolls, all wearing bibs, and the path to Baby Bear Four’s chair was obstructed by an entire box of Honey Nut Cheerios poured onto the floor. Goldi sighed, got out another rag and scrubbed all the chairs until they sparkled like new.
Now she was very tired and went looking for a bed upstairs. She had to clear a path up the staircase and through the hallway to find the bedrooms. She sorted all the toys into the right boxes and stacked everything neatly onto the shelves. Exhausted, she fell onto Baby Bear One’s bed but almost immediately jumped up again when a very small and pointy Lego piece stuck in her back. Baby Bear Two’s bed was very sandy and she couldn’t find a blanket anywhere. Baby Bear Three’s bed was already occupied by a family of stuffed bears, all in diapers and covered neatly with little blankets, and Baby Bear Four’s crib sheet had a big carrot stain. Goldi sighed once again, changed the sheets, and plunged into a deep sleep right on the floor.
Meanwhile, the five bears returned from their walk and spilled noisily into the house.
“Go wash your hands before you eat breakfast,” called Mama Bear.
“No!” said Baby Bear Three.
Baby Bear One and Baby Bear Two ran into the bathroom and locked the door.
“I want to wash my hands too,” wailed Baby Bear Three.
All this commotion woke up Papa Bear, who had fallen asleep on the sofa.
“Is breakfast ready?” he yawned.
Mama Bear did not answer but looked around in amazement.
“Somebody has been cleaning up my kitchen!” she said in her happiest middle-sized voice.
“Humph,” said Papa Bear in his great big voice. “Who could have cleaned the kitchen?”
Mama Bear wasn’t listening.
“Somebody has been washing my laundry and folded it all up,” she called from the laundry room.
“Humph,” said Papa Bear. “How did they get into our house?”
Mama Bear didn’t care how they got into the house.
“Somebody has been picking up all the toys,” she exclaimed from the staircase.
“Somebody has been eating my porridge,” piped Baby Bear Three in delight.
“Somebody has made me a fire engine sandwich,” yelled Baby Bear Two in his very loud voice.
“Somebody has made me an airplane sandwich,” yelled Baby Bear One in his even louder voice.
“Da da da da,” screeched Baby Bear Four in her very angry little voice when she saw everybody eating and couldn’t reach her sandwich.
Mama Bear lifted her into her chair and all at once the house became very quiet as everyone chewed big mouthfuls of food. After breakfast, Baby Bear One an Baby Bear Three ran upstairs, followed by Baby Bear Two carrying Baby Bear Four. Mama Bear, who could not find anything to do, collapsed into a chair next to Papa Bear and drifted into a deep sleep.
She awoke with a feeling that something was wrong. Something was not as it should be. With a start, she realized it was completely quiet in the house! Alarmed, she ran upstairs.
To be continued (maybe)…
That is how it ends. It comes to a screeching halt, without warning, leaving the reader stranded. “It” being the story that I, totally forgotten to me, must have written during naptime 12 years ago when our oldest son was 7 and our youngest daughter 1 year old. If you knew my kids, you’d recognize their personalities in those four little bears. I just came across this story on my hard drive and had no recollection of ever having written it. And the most frustrating part, I have no idea, whatsoever, how it was going to continue. Clearly I had a plan, but most likely someone woke up from their nap, and there went the rest of my story.
What, do you think, should happen next? What did Goldi do with those kids? Kidnap them? Make Mama Bear sell her soul to her in exchange for staying on, to be used later in some evil scheme called The Teenage Revenge that made Mama Bear regret her rash acquiescence?
It absolutely KILLS me that I don’t know!
And that, folks, is the true moral of this fable. Never, ever, put a story down without finishing! Or at least leaving some very rudimentary notes that give your future self some insight into the brain function of the earlier version of You, Writer. You WILL forget. Totally and utterly. If you have a story in you, you MUST write it all down at once. Whether it means not sleeping for a week, totally pissing off your spouse by staying up into the wee hours and spending every spare moment at your keyboard, and letting the house go to utter Sodom and Gomorrah. And typing into your iPhone frantically at every red light you come to a stop at. You. Must. Not. Stop. Writing.