It was a beautiful day in the small town of Elwood Pines. The sun was shining brightly and the birds were singing sweetly. As Bob looked out the window, he began to think that he should have gotten a job that would allow him to work outside on days like this.
Bob’s friend Jane approached him as he was looking out the window. “Nice day, isn’t it?” she asked.
“Yeah. I just wish I could get out and enjoy it. So, how are things going in R&D?” Bob asked.
“It’s been kind of slow today, actually. How are you doing?” Jane asked.
“Not that great. The boss wants me to complete that efficiency report before the end of the day, and our network is down. I don’t think I’ll be able to finish it on time.” he said.
“Don’t worry. I have just the thing.” she said.
She pulled a matchbox out of the pocket of her lab coat. When she slid open the box, Bob saw the most peculiar thing her had ever seen in his life.
“Is…is that a bear the size of a mouse?” Bob asked.
“It’s actually a little bit smaller than a mouse, but yes.” Jane replied.
“Where did you manage to find a bear the size of a mouse?” Bob asked.
“I created it in my lab.” she replied.
“Why?” he asked.
“Do I have to have a reason for everything I do?” Jane asked.
Bob looked again at the tiny bear. It was sleeping soundly, not a care in the world.
“What do you call this tiny bear anyway?” Bob asked.
“I call it the Minimum Bear.” she said proudly.
“Why do you call it that?” Bob asked.
“Because it is the least amount of bear that you can have, obviously.” Jane explained.
“But ‘minimum’ would refer to the number of bears, not the size. Besides, if we’re talking about the minimum amount of bears that you would want to have, then the minimum should be zero bears.” he said.
Jane grabbed Bob by the collar of his shirt and pulled him in close. “WHO TOLD YOU ABOUT ZERO BEAR?! ZERO BEAR IS SUPPOSED TO BE TOP SECRET!”
“What are you talking about?” he asked.
Jane released Bob’s shirt. “Nothing. What are you talking about?”
Bob looked at the tiny bear again and shook his head. “How exactly do you think this tiny bear is going to help me with my report?”
“Watch and learn, my friend.” Jane said.
Bob and Jane walked into the office of Bob’s boss. Then Jane slowly opened the matchbox, gently picked up the tiny bear, and placed it on the boss’s desk. As the bear started to wake up, Bob and Jane quickly and quietly left the office. They were so focused on not disturbing the bear that they almost walked directly into the boss.
“What were you two doing in my office?” the boss asked.
“Nothing.” Bob and Jane replied in unison.
The boss looked at Bob. “Do you have the report finished yet?”
“No yet, sir. I’m working on it.” Bob said.
“Oh really? It looks to me like you’re just standing around. Now get going and finish that report!” the boss said.
“Yes sir!” Bob said.
“Good. Now, I’m going to be eating lunch in my office. You bring me that report the minute that it’s finished, understand?” the boss said.
“Yes, sir!” Bob said.
“Good.” the boss said.
The boss walked into his office, carrying a small plastic bag from the local deli. As he sat in his chair, he placed the bag on the floor next to him, not noticing the tiny bear sniffing around his desk. The boss took a sandwich out of the bag and put it on the desk, almost dropping it on the tiny bear. The bear hopped back for a moment, but then started sniffing the sandwich. It pulled some ham out of the sandwich and began eating. As the bear was eating, the boss looked through the bag.
“I can’t believe this. Did those idiots at the deli really forget the soda?” he asked.
The boss got up from his chair and, taking his coffee mug, left the office. He returned a few minutes later with his mug filled with coffee. He set the mug on his desk and picked up the sandwich, not noticing the bear growling angrily as the food was taken away. The boss took a bite out of the sandwich before noticing some tiny bite marks on the other side.
“What? Don’t tell me we have a mouse problem! I swear, this whole place is falling apart.” he said.
When he reached down to get a drink of his coffee, he stopped when he felt something fuzzy. He looked down, and finally saw the tiny bear, standing on its hind legs and drinking his coffee. The tiny bear turned toward the boss and gave him a tiny growl. The boss blinked at the bear for a few minutes, then calmly and quietly got out of his chair and left his office. He walked over to where Bob and Jane were standing.
“Listen, I’m going to head out for the rest of the day. If you finish that report, just leave it on my desk, and I’ll take care of it in the morning.” the boss said.
“Sure thing, sir. Are you feeling alright?” Bob asked.
“I’m fine. I just need to stop by the hospital and get a CAT scan.” the boss said.
As soon as the boss was out of sight, Bob and Jane went back into his office. Jane picked up the tiny bear and part of the sandwich and put them in the little matchbox.
“There, you see? Now you have plenty of time to get that report done.” Jane said.
“Yeah, but what about the boss? He’s liable to have himself committed.” Bob said.
“You’re worrying too much. When he comes in tomorrow, he’ll write off the whole thing as a stress-related hallucination. Who knows, he might even decide to take some time off so that he can relax a bit.” Jane said.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.” Bob said.
As they were leaving the boss’s office, Bob had a terrifying thought.
“You know, I just realized something. If there’s a Minimum Bear, that means there’s a Maximum Bear too, right?” Bob asked.
“Of course. It doesn’t make much sense to have a minimum without a maximum, does it?” Jane asked.
“Do I even want to know where the Maximum Bear is?” Bob asked.
Jane looked at her watch for a few moments. “Come on, I’ll show you.”
They walked over to the break room. Jane turned on the TV, and the image of a massive black bear filled the screen. The voice of a news announcer was heard over the scene.
“For those of you just tuning in, a bear the size of a mountain is rampaging through the Russian countryside. Experts say that it is heading toward Moscow, and will be there in less than an hour. Russian officials say they don’t know what is going on, but they know that this is the American government’s fault somehow.” the announcer said.
As the image of the giant bear’s rampage continued, Bob slowly turned toward Jane.
“There is something seriously wrong with you.” Bob said.
“Yes there is.” Jane agreed.
This story started as an idea for a children’s book. I might convert it to a children’s book somewhere down the road, but if I do then I’ll change the characters to children and the setting to a school or something. If I do that, I would change the ending too, obviously.