THE SHAREBEAR APOCALYPSE
By D.G. Valdron
OPENING – A news desk with two local news casters, Tom Nabors and Merica Johnson, a regional news hour.
ZOOM IN on the male Newscaster in the center, middle aged, blandly handsome, carefully coiffed. Tom Nabors:
NABORS: ….And that’s the news for Chicago. Turning now to the human interest side of life, we have Merica Johnson, who went into the field with this evening’s in-depth feature about Chicago’s newest invasive species, and for once, it’s a welcome one. Chicago, say hello to the … Sharebears.
CUT TO MERICA JOHNSON, blonde, perky, on a busy Chicago street. Beside her, holding her free hand, is a grinning Sharebear, and with it, a pair of smiling children and their mother.
MERICA: Thank you… Jim. Yes, Chicago has a new invasive species, and for once, Chicagoans couldn’t be happier. The windy city is for once, opening its arms wide for a hug for the Sharebears…
CUT TO montage of file footage clips, rats, pigeons, rabbits, raccoons, skunks. A shot of a coyote slinking down a street. Deer munching in peoples lawns.
MERICA (VOICE OVER): The urban environment is home not just to people and their pets, but to a variety of ride along animals. Animals which have adapted to city life and people. We have rats and pigeons of course, but in the last few decades, skunks, raccoons and even deer have adapted to the urban and suburban way of life. Mostly, they just stay out of our way, or are considered pests and troublemakers. But not these little fellows.
MONTAGE SHIFT – shots of Sharebears and children playing in a park. A garbage man pausing on his rounds to hand out sandwiches to Sharebears. A busy executive pausing on his rounds to exchange a hug.
CUT TO INTERVIEW WITH GARBAGE MAN, standing next to his garbage truck
MERICA: Do they ever cause trouble? Are they ever a nuisance?
GARBAGE MAN: Well they tip over some trash now and then, you can understand they might get hungry. But no. They’re not like rats or raccoons. It’s nice having them around. We don’t mind picking up after them now and then, it’s just a little thing.
MERICA: What happened to your hand?
GARBAGE MAN: Oh this? (Holds up a bandaged hand, missing fingers) Caught it in the machinery. It’s a risky job sometimes. No big deal, doesn’t hurt at all.
MERICA: The Sharebears aren’t a distraction.
GARBAGE MAN (laughs): Not at all. It’s nice having them around. It brightens up my day. My wife has taken to packing extra sandwiches for the little rascals.
CLOSE UP ON MERICA, addressing the camera.
MERICA: So what exactly are Sharebears? Where do they come from? Why are they so gosh darned friendly and loveable? To find out, we went to the experts…
CUT TO MERICA in what looks like a laboratory office. Caption identifies a man in a white lab coat as “Doctor Penfield Stangwild – Expert on Sharebears.” Doctor Stangwild wears an eye patch and has heavy scarring down one side of his face, testament to a previous history of working with dangerous animals.
MERICA: Doctor Stangwild, are Sharebears actually bears?
STANGWILD: (laughs) Oh no, not at all. They’re not related to the genus Ursus. What they are is an offshoot of Mustelids, a Procyonidae – their closest relatives are raccoons and badgers, and of course, skunks (chuckles). The resemblance to bears is remarkable, but that’s a result of parallel evolution – having much the same lifestyle and diet – on average, Sharebears are a tenth or less the size of real bears. And of course (chuckles) real bears are much more dangerous.
MERICA: You said similar lifestyle?
STANGWILD: Yes. Well, Sharebears are order carnivore, like dogs, felines and bears of course, but despite that, they’re basically omnivores. Like bears, a large part of their diet comes from vegetation. Like Bears, they’re basically forest dwellers, going through seasonal phases. I believe that they originated in the Pacific Northwest.
MERICA (interrupting): I guess the question everyone wants to know is why they’re so darned cute!
STANGWILD: Oh… Oh… Sorry. A lot of reasons, I think. They’re plantigrades, partially bipedal, like Bears they can stand up on their hind legs and walk. They actually walk better and further than bears. Even more than apes at times. So there’s a humanlike quality there that attracts people. Of course they’re small, so harmless – an average Sharebear is around sixty pounds. And then there’s the appearance – the whole ‘Disney’ thing – they have large eyes, short muzzles, rounded features. Their vocalisations sound a lot like happy children laughing or playing. And of course, there’s the ‘Sharebear Share’ which is hard to resist (chuckles).
CLOSE UP ON MERICA – ADDRESSING CAMERA
MERICA: Whatever the reason, the Sharebears make friends no matter where they go.
INTERVIEW: KENNELS, mostly empty. Subtitle, ‘Animal control.’ A second subhead identifies the person Merica is talking to – Vic Wakin, Manager.
MERICA: So you’re the head of the Chicago’s animal control department?
WAKIN: That’s right Ma’am, twenty years now.
MERICA: So you must have seen a lot of animal cases, not just stray dogs and cats.
WAKIN: Mostly dogs and cats, but just about everything. Lots of raccoons and skunks. Skunks are bad. Some coyotes. Deer even. There was a python once, someone abandoned in a hotel room. And then there was even one time a cougar wandered into the city. Vermin, hate em all.
MERICA: What about Sharebears?
WAKIN (visibly lightening up and breaking into a grin): Well, now that’s a different thing. I remember the first time we saw one – had a call for a bear in a back yard. Figured it was a real bear. Those things are dangerous, you get a bear, it’s a crisis. We were loaded up, tranquillizers, shotguns, a big bear trap… we get there, and it’s just a little thing. At first I thought it was a cub or something. But then, damned if it didn’t get up on its hind legs, walk over and give me a hug. Everyone laughed! (Wakins smiles at the memory)
MERICA: Are Sharebears a problem?
WAKIN: No problem at all. They’re as harmless as can be. Unless you don’t like hugs.
MERICA: But don’t they cause a nuisance? Dig up things, get into trash, make nests, poop?
WAKIN: Oh not so you’d notice, it’s never anything to get all worked up over.
MERICA: So no one minds?
WAKIN: Well, I suppose some do, but you know, they’re just Grumps. Grumps we like to call em down here. And the thing is, Sharebears, they do a lot of good.
MERICA: How so?
WAKIN: Well, they’re just so darn adorable you know. But besides that, I can tell you that since the Sharebears started showing up, we hardly get any calls for raccoons or skunks, it’s like they just take off. Hell, we pick up hardly any stray dogs even.
TRACKING SHOT OF LONG ROW OF EMPTY DOG POUND KENNELS
WAKIN: All I can say is that I’m all right with the Sharebears. I wish there were twice as many.
MERICA: Twice as many?
WAKIN: They just make you feel good, you know. You feel good having them around.
SCENES OF MOUNTAINS AND GREEN PACIFIC RAIN FORESTS
MERICA (VOICE OVER): Originally, Sharebears were native to the American northwest. Their range was the hills and valleys of the Rockies, from British Colombia to as far south as Oregon, where they were beloved by the Native People.
CUT TO: A Native American elder sitting in front of a Haida village, totem poles and long houses, the Rockies rising majestically behind him. Close up on the Elder.
ELDER: The animals you call Sarh-bears, we knew them as Wish-Santa-Eh-Way. They were a very spiritual animal. Very powerful magic. We were taught, you must always be respectful of the Wish-Santa-Way. You could only approach them from behind. And if they saw you, you must run away as fast as you can. The lands of the Wish-Santa-Way were forbidden to men, we did not go into them.
CUT TO SHOT: MERICA in a laboratory setting. On the wall behind her are a series of larger than life diagrams of Sharebears and Sharebear anatomy. With her is a tall man in a white lab coat, balding. Zoom in.
MERICA: This is Doctor Stanton, an expert in biochemistry. Doctor Stanton, I understand that you’re also an expert on Sharebears.
STANTON: In a manner of speaking.
MERICA: Doctor Stanton, we’ve heard a lot about the ‘Sharebear Share’ what can you tell us about that?
STANTON: Well, technically speaking, it’s not a share at all. It’s a chemical defense mechanism. Like a skunk.
MERICA: A skunk! Oh no
STANTON: It’s a defense mechanism, Merica. Like skunks, Sharebears don’t have much in the way of teeth or claws; they’re not very fast comparatively, so they need a way to defend themselves from attackers. Sharebears are related to skunks, and they’ve evolved a very similar defense mechanism. Skunks discharge a powerful noxious chemical from their anal glands.
MERICA (looking off camera): Can we say anal on the news?
STANTON (ignoring her): As I said, SKUNKS discharge from ANAL glands. A lot of animals have ANAL glands. But Sharebears, instead of discharging from ANAL glands, discharge from a pair of modified NIPPLES on their upper torso. Skunks lift their tails, Sharebears rear up on their hind legs and spread their forelimbs wide (demonstrates).
MERICA: Now nipples. We may have to edit this.
STANTON (irritably): Yes, Merica. NIPPLES. The big difference between Sharebears and Skunks though, it’s not just about NIPPLES and ANAL glands, is in the chemical nature of the discharge.
MERICA: And what is that? We all know skunks are pretty noxious.
STANTON: Correct, skunks are… as you say ‘noxious.’ The Sharebears chemical discharge, however, is a psychoactive.
MERICA: You mean like a perhomone.
STANTON: (sighs): No, not a pheromone. A psychoactive chemical, loosely related to opiates. The molecule is coupled to a neurotoxin, so it works either inhaled or through skin contact. It brings about a feeling of tranquility, wellbeing, passivity, aggression vanishes, and while it’s not a full paralytic motor coordination declines.
MERICA: So skunks spray a terrible odor, and Sharebears spray a feel-good. Isn’t that amazing? Sharebears defend themselves from attack by making their enemies feel good.
STANTON: It’s not unlimited, each Sharebear has maybe a dozen or so shots, and then their bodies have to manufacture more. That’s why Sharebears will often line up beside each other, together, to discharge. The more animals, the more intense the discharge. The less strain on each individual. And the fewer chances of a miss.
STANTON: Well, there’s more to it than that. It’s incredibly potent stuff, even a trace amount strongly affects behavior. As I’ve said, it’s linked to a neurotoxin for skin absorption, and it’s surrounded with an oil base, so if it gets on you it clings, which extends the effect.
STANTON: That’s why Sharebears like to hug. It’s in the area of the oddly shaped patch of fur.
MERICA: The heart shape?
STANTON: In some, yes, it resembles a heart shape. Sometimes a triangle, or a starfish, or a cloud, it’s actually just random. It’s a specialized patch of hair follicles that hold the discharge, and are used to rub it into the subject.
MERICA: That’s just amazing. Doctor Stanton, I want to thank you for your time. There you have it folks. Aren’t the Sharebears just the most wonderful little things ever!
BACK TO NEWS DESK – MERICA AND NABORS
CLOSE UP ON NABORS, HE TURNS TO CAMERA
NABORS: The Pacific Northwest is a long way away from the Windy City. How did they get here? The answer is in the Sharers.
CUT TO: Exterior – windy day, overcast, the wind is making popping noises on the microphone. A Winnebago pulls up to a playground, riding over the parking dividers with a lurch before coming to a stop. A group of children cease playing, their mothers stepping forward protectively.
The Winnebago door opens, and a group of Sharebears file out. They mill around. Seeing the children, they open their arms wide for a hug. After hesitation, the children run to embrace the sharebears. Mothers beam happily.
VOICE OVER, CLOSE UP ON AN UNKEMPT BEARDED MIDDLE AGED MAN, SOMEWHAT EMACIATED, TALKING TO NABORS
NABORS (VO): This is Dave Mundy. Dave is part of a network of ‘Sharers men and women who have made it their life’s work to bring the Sharebears to the world.
MUNDY: That’s right, Tom. Me and the family, we’ve been bringing the good news, introducing these adorable creatures to the wide world.
NABORS: How long have you and your family been doing this?
MUNDY: Oh, I’d say going on twelve, fifteen years now. You lose track. I think we might be the first Sharers, me and Doris and the kids. (Looks vaguely off camera) I used to have a job, right. And a house. But you just get called right? You fill with purpose, and you go where the lord wants you to go. And the lord wants us to spread these little fellows around. There’s not enough love in the world, and god sent them to redress that balance. And god sent us to help them get their message out there.
NABORS: How did you happen to do it?
MUNDY: Well we were on vacation, me and the family, in the Northwest, and we just came across these little fellas. We were pulled up, and having dinner? Out in the wild, you know? And I think… I think… I think… My daughter, Angie, she came back to camp, and she had one of the little guys with her. She said ‘He’s my new friend, he’s hungry, can he have supper with us.’ He looked like a bear cub, I was concerned there was a mother bear around. I shooed everyone in the trailer. I said, ‘Angie, come away from that.’ But she wouldn’t, she just said over and over, ‘He’s my new friend.’ Then the little fellow got right up on his hind legs, and walked right up to me and gave me a big hug. Suddenly, I knew it was all right. So I called the family out, and it was amazing, he gave each of us a hug, just like a person. I could tell he didn’t mean no harm, so we treated him just like a human guest. And others came along, and soon we were feeding a pile of them. They just kept coming. And we kept staying, making new friends. Until the food ran out.
MUNDY’S SMILE IS BEATIFIC
MUNDY: So then Delores, that’s… that was my wife, she said we had to go get food. But we didn’t want to be away from them. So she said ‘let’s take them with us!’ And off we went. Everyone loved them, everyone we met, they loved them just like we did. A few got tired of travelling with us, they made so many new friends, I guess, they just wanted to stay. And we kept travelling… That’s how it started.
NABORS: So you’re not working?
MUNDY: No, not since we started sharing.
NABORS: How do you support yourself and your family now?
MUNDY (SMILING): When you share love, people give you what you need. I go into a gas station, a grocery store, and all of a sudden, there’s so much love and goodwill, people give me money, food, I fill up the gas at the pump, and the clerk won’t even take money for it. That’s the effect these little guys have. It’s as if Jesus himself was walking with us.
CUT TO: CCTV camera showing a gas bar lot, featuring rows of pumps, as the Winnebago pulls up. The Winnebago door flies open. A man staggers out, followed by a small horde of sharebears scampering about. Cars pull away, or swerve to avoid entering the lot. A pair of sharebears run up to a man pumping gas in his car, pulling him down. The gas nozzle falls to the pavement, still pumping away, as the man frolics with the two sharebears. His shirt begins to stain red, but he is not bothered. Some of the bears on all fours race into the gas bar’s convenience store.
CUT TO: CCTV interior of the convenience store, the bears are scampering up and down the aisles pulling products from the shelves and scattering them about, tearing open packages. One of them manages to open the cooler section. Bottles and cartons are flung about, until it finds its way to the ice cream. The humans in the store watch without any signs of terror or distress, as the animals run riot.
NABORS: Can they be destructive?
MUNDY: They’re high spirited, I’ll admit that, but they don’t mean no harm.
NABORS: What about your family? Where are they? Do they still ride along with you?
MUNDY’S SMILE FLICKERS – for the first time, he looks uncertain. He tries to focus, his brow furrowing. And then it fades.
MUNDY: They’re not around any more…
SLOWLY, MUNDY’S PLACID EXPRESSION RETURNS, HE STOPS THINKING ABOUT THEM.
CUT BACK TO NEWS DESK – MERICA BEAMS AT TOM.
MERICA: Well, from the gas station footage, it seems like they sure can be a handful, those frisky camps.
NABORS: Yes indeed, but you can tell from the footage, and I can verify from talking to people, that no one seems to mind.
MERICA: What’s a little mess, after all, right?
NABORS: Exactly, what’s a little mess?
MERICA: It can always be cleaned up. No big deal. And it’s a small price to pay for these adorable visitors.
NABORS: That’s right Merica.
MERICA: Chicago’s got quite a population of these friendly critters now, would you say?
NABORS: Well, we couldn’t get a hard answer from anyone, but the consensus seems to be that there aren’t enough of them yet. They haven’t worn out their welcome in Chicago. And I don’t think they will for some time to come.
MERICA: Chicago’s welcomed them with open arms. Even into people’s homes.
CUT TO: ESTABLISHING SHOT IN A ROW OF TOWNHOUSES.
CUT TO: INTERIOR IN A RESIDENTIAL LIVING ROOM, ESTABLISHING SHOT, MERICA SITTING IN AN OVERSTUFFED CHAIR, WITH A MIDDLE AGED MARRIED COUPLE, LEANING FORWARD OVER COFFEE.
MERICA: I just want to say, this is good coffee!
MAN: Thank you, Merica. (Caption identifies him as Sydney Blasco)
A GOLD FURRED SHAREBEAR WALKS UP TO MERICA ON ALL FOURS, YEARS AND GIVES HER A HUG. MERICA MAKES A SURPRISED NOISE. THE SHAREBEAR’S CLAWS DRAG ALONG HER SHOULDER, TEARING HER JACKET AND BLOUSE. FOR A MOMENT, A BREAST IS EXPOSED, NIPPLE PROMINENT, BUT ALWAYS PROFESSIONAL, SHE COVERS IT. THE CLAWS LEAVE RED WOUNDS DOWN HER SHOULDER, BUT SHE DOESN’T SEEM TO NOTICE.
MERICA: (Laughs) That was surprising! I guess this is the newest member of the family?
WOMAN: We call him Jake. (Caption identifies her as Marion Blasco) Actually, our son Anton named him. Brought him home one day. Just like that. He was so friendly, he was like family. He was practically a person. We brought him a chair, he sat right at the dinner table with us. He slept in Anton’s room that night, it was as if they’d been best friends their whole lives.
SYDNEY: We weren’t sure what to do. I mean, it is a wild animal, right?
MARION SLAPS HIS KNEE REPROACHFULLY
SYDNEY: But winter is coming, and it’s getting pretty cold out there. We were worried that the little guy might have a tough time of it.
MARION: Anton insisted that he stay with us, just for the winter. So he’d be safe.
SYDNEY: Well, that’s a little unusual, sheltering a wild anim– anim– …. But hey, we had plenty of room, right.
CAMERA PANS ACROSS THE ROOM – THERE ARE VISIBLE CLAW MARKS ON THE WALLS, THE FURNITURE IS TORN, WITH STUFFING RIPPED OUT, THERE ARE FAECES ON THE FLOOR ALONG THE WALLS. WHEN SYDNEY SCRATCHES HIS LEG, HIS PANTS LEG LIFTS, SHOWING A HEAVY BANDAGE JUST ABOVE THE ANKLE.
THE SHAREBEAR MOVES TOWARDS THE CAMERA, WHICH SHAKES SUDDENLY. THE WORDS ‘GET AWAY FROM ME!’ CAN BE HEARD FROM THE NEWS CAMERA. THE SHAREBEAR VEERS AWAY.
MARION, SYDNEY AND MERICA LOOK TOWARDS THE CAMERA. SHE LOOKS CONCERNED.
MERICA: Are you okay, Billy? You didn’t kick it, did you?
BILLY (VO): No, no. It just surprised me, that’s all.
MARION: (laughs) That’s Jake. I swear, he’s the friendliest thing you ever saw.
BILLY (VO): (interrupting) Merica, are you okay.
MERICA’S SCRATCHES ARE BLEEDING, SHE HASN’T NOTICED. HER HAND IS STILL COVERING HER EXPOSED BREAST. SHE LOOKS IRRITATED AT THE INTERRUPTION. SHE RETURNS TO THE INTERVIEW.
MERICA: I’m fine Billy. Now, Marion…
BILLY (VO): (interrupting) Merica, I think you’re bleeding.
MERICA LOOKS IRRITATED AGAIN.
MARION: (seeming to notice) Oh dear! How did that happen! Let me get something to put on that for you.
MARION GETS UP AND LEAVES FOR THE KITCHEN. CAMERA WATCHES HER GO. SHE LIMPS A LITTLE. JAKE FOLLOWS HER INTO THE KITCHEN.
MERICA: Now where were we? Yes, I can certainly see that Jake is friendly.
SYDNEY: (Continuing) Loves people. Loves animals. He’s just best friends with our little dog Perkins.
BILLY (VO): (interrupting) I haven’t seen a dog around here.
SYDNEY: Oh he’s around here somewhere. He just loves Jake. We all love Jake. Why, he could be my own son… if my son was hairy and went around on all fours sometime.
BILLY (VO): Anton, that’s your son right. Where is he right now?
SYDNEY: At school, I guess. That boy studies hard.
BILLY (VO): It’s Saturday.
SYDNEY LOOKS BLANK.
BILLY (VO): It’s Saturday, there’s no school on Saturday. Sydney…. listen carefully to me. Where’s Anton?
SYDNEY SEEMS TO THINK, CONCENTRATING.
SYDNEY: I guess… I guess… He must be… (brightens) He’s up in his room!
MARION: (Returning, with a white towel and some medical tape on a tray.) What?
JAKE FOLLOWS HER FROM THE KITCHEN.
SYDNEY: Anton, he’s up in his room.
MARION: (Smiling, as if having been reminded) Oh… that’s where he is. Such a good boy. He brought Jake into our family. Did you know that? Walked right through that door with him.
BILLY (VO): If I went to Anton’s room… what would I find?
MARION AND SYDNEY LOOK BLANK. MERICA IS PRESSING THE WHITE CLOTH TO HER SHOULDER, SHE’S LOOKING INCREASINGLY UNCOMFORTABLE.
SYDNEY: (Hesitating) Anton’s up in his room.
BILLY (VO): I’m going up to Anton’s room.
MERICA: Billy! Enough!
PATTING MARION’S KNEE, LEANING FORWARD TO THE TWO OF THEM.
MERICA: I’m so sorry. I promise, we’ll edit this part out.
CUT BACK TO STUDIO, MERICA AND NABORS AT THEIR NEWS DESK.
NABORS: Well, it seems that Chicagoans are opening their homes as well as their hearts. It’s a beautiful thing.
MERICA: That’s right, Tom. The Sharebears are here to stay. There may be some downside, but I can tell you, their greatest gift is to bring out the best in people!
NABORS: And that’s our show.
MERICA: (laughs) Not quite Tom, to bring things to a close, we have a surprise special guest to say hello.
NABORS: (laughing) Oh that’s right. Bring him out!
FROM OFF CAMERA, ACCOMPANIED BY A HANDLER WHO IS NOMINALLY HOLDING A LEASH, A SHAREBEAR, LIGHT BROWN IN COLOUR, COMES WADDLING OUT IN A FOUR LEGGED GAIT. IT SEEMS CONFUSED BY THE LIGHTS, REARING UP ON TWO LEGS AND DROPPING BACK TO FOUR FEET, AGAIN AND AGAIN. FINALLY, IT TURNS TOWARDS THE CAMERA, REARS UP, AND SPREADS IT’S ARMS WIDE FOR A HUG.
THREE YEARS LATER
YOUTUBE – VIDEO – TITLE: SHAREBEARS MEET BAMBI
EIGHT MINUTES LONG POSTED BY NATUREFACT
VIDEO shows a young white tailed deer in the forest.
NARRATOR: Okay, now watch this.
VIDEO: The deer looks up, the ears flicker, the tail elevates, we can see tension in the body, as it prepares to flee.
NARRATOR: It senses danger.
VIDEO: The deer takes off bounding a few steps and then stops, trembling and uncertain. A sharebear is ahead of it. The deer stares at the bear uncertainly. The sharebear is upright on two legs, with its arms spread wide. The deer looks around, apparently distressed but unwilling to move. From behind, another sharebear moves towards the deer, also upright, with its arms spread.
NARRATOR: Now this is interesting. Did you see that? The bears were working together. Classic hunting behaviour, like a wolf pack. One bear startles the deer and sends it fleeing into the ambush.
VIDEO: The deer retreats slowly as the sharebears advance, a third and then a fourth one comes into frame, each walking upright. They approach the deer, which seems uncertain, but does not try and flee. First one sharebear, and then the others embrace the deer. Eventually, the deer starts licking and nuzzling the bears as they crowd around it.
NARRATOR This is amazing.
VIDEO: One of the sharebears is biting and clawing at the deer’s flank. Blood is clearly flowing. The deer shows no sign of distress, continuing to lick one of the sharebears affectionately. The other bears follow suit, a slow motion feeding frenzy. The deer wobbles and then goes down, again showing no sign of distress.
NARRATOR: Dear god.
VIDEO: One of the sharebears appears to be digging into its stomach. Loops of intestine are briefly seen. There is blood everywhere. The deer blinks, and tries to nuzzle the bears affectionately. It displays no awareness that it is slowly being torn to pieces.
NARRATOR: I can’t believe what I’m seeing. These things are all over the place now. I saw one the other day in a park where kids were playing.
VIDEO: Sharebears feeding…
FIVE YEARS LATER
SHARECROWS NEST – A MESSAGE BOARD,
ELIAN: It’s not just a North American problem. They’re in Brazil.
ROBIN: What? How the hell did they get down there? Ship?
ELIAN: No, flew down. Apparently, one of these Sharers bought three of them tickets as children. They walked right through the terminal, right through security, no one did anything. On the plane, they freaked out and ate a stewardess and nobody was the least bit bothered.
MIKE: Goddammed Sharer!
SANDIP: That shit goes way beyond pheromones, or neurotoxins or whatever. I swear those things have some kind of psychic power.
NIGEL: Nope, all chemistry. They’re just animals. They’re not even any smarter than raccoons or apes or creatures like that.
ELIAN: Yeah, so there’s a colony of them in Brazil, ended up in the Barrios, where the poor people just love them. Government tried to eradicate them, riots went on for three days.
NIGEL: I’ve heard of colonies in Europe. They’re in London, France, Berlin. Apparently, in Berlin, they were in a zoo, that didn’t turn out so good. Even Moscow. I heard that they were doing biological research.
ELIAN: These things are just getting everywhere. I tell you, we need to be worried.
SANDIP: I don’t think they’ll show up in places like Calcutta or Lagos, they’d just eat them there. Riyadh’s too hot for them.
NIGEL: You ever look at the growth projections. Active predator, high reproduction rate, no enemies. Hell, we end up protecting them. There’s no limit.
MOD: I’ve warned you about fearmongering.
SIX YEARS LATER
YOUTUBE – VIDEO – TITLE: SHARING WITH SHAREBEARS
NINE MINUTES LONG POSTED BY BRONWIN
VIDEO: shows a mother pushing a baby carriage out for a stroll in the park. A sharebear walks up to her. She stops to pet it, kneeling down.
MOTHER: Hello fella, how are you?
VIDEO: It licks her face and she laughs. As she tries to stand, it wraps its arms around her in a hug. She pauses a second and then disengages herself, standing upright. The Sharebear rubs itself against her leg like a cat, and pushes at her hand with its muzzle.
MOTHER: You sure are friendly. Do you want a treat? I’m sorry, I don’t have anything. I’m sorry.
VIDEO: The sharebear licks her hand. Nuzzling it. The baby cries. Another sharebear approaches.
MOTHER: I’m sorry, I don’t have anything to feed you…
VIDEO: She pets the second sharebear, as it sniffs around, its nose poking at her knees, at the other bear, at the carriage. The two sharebears touch noses.
MOTHER: You guys are so hungry! That’s awful! I wish I had something… Wait, I know.
VIDEO: The mother pulls a baby bottle from the carriage.
MOTHER: Here, I have something. Here you go!
VIDEO: She squirts milk at the first bear, wetting its muzzle. It licks its muzzle and opens its mouth wide. She squirts milk into its mouth, and then into the open mouth of the second bear.
MOTHER: Here you go, here you go, here for each of you, you babies like that. Yes you do. You like that.
VIDEO: Two more Sharebears are approaching. The mother doesn’t pay attention, instead focusing on squirting milk into their open mouths, and cooing and laughing.
MOTHER: That’s it babies, drink up. That’s it. You like that. I know you do! This is the good stuff. It’s not formula. It’s straight from mommy herself. I pumped this morning. Oh yes yes yes, you love it! I know you do.
VIDEO: The other two sharebears have arrived, she squirts milk into their mouths, alternating among the four of them, and laughing. One of them grabs at her hand with its forepaws, wrestling the baby bottle away from her. It takes several comical steps away, holding the bottle in its forepaws, and then rolls onto its back to suckle from the bottle.
VIDEO: The baby is crying. The camera returns to the carriage. One of the sharebears is hugging the mother, who is returning the hug, bending forward, wrapping her arms around the creature. Another rears up, and she hugs it. The third Sharebear is becoming interested in the carriage, poking its nose. The baby cries louder.
MOTHER: What’s that? What’s that?
VIDEO: The hugs are over. Now two sharebears are rearing up to poke their noses into the carriage. The third is examining the wheels of the carriage.
MOTHER: Oh you guys! You’ve never seen a baby! Want to see? Want to see?
VIDEO: She takes the baby out of the carriage and bends down, holding it out for the Sharebears to see. They all rear up on their hind legs. Two of them reach out with forepaws. One of them pulls the baby from her, holding it in its forelimbs.
MOTHER: Oopsy! You want to hold him. You hold him. That’s a good boy. Look at you. You’re holding him just like mommy.
VIDEO: The sharebear turns to walk away, not hurried this time, but clumsily walking upright carrying the baby. The other three sharebears, including the one that was sucking on the bottle, follow after, together with the mother, still making cooing noises.
MOTHER: We’re all going for a walk together. Yes we are. Yes we are.
VIDEO: The five of them amble on out of camera range.
VO: What the hell?
Jess Morrow: I can’t believe she handed her baby over to those things to eat.
Amatagat: Jesus Christ, Jess, you’re a cynical bitch. Seek psychological help.
NINE YEARS LATER
SHARECROWS NEST – A MESSAGE BOARD
THOMAS: Hey, anyone seen that video of a mother handing her baby over to those things?
WIN: It’s ancient. What is it, ten years old?
CAREGIRL: It’s fake.
THOMAS: You don’t know that.
CAREGIRL: It’s been debunked. No one could find the mother or the baby. It’s a hoax. All these videos popping up of Sharebears attacking humans, I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. But most of these clips are faked, fake blood, edits, if you watch, it’s all play behavior that people are misrepresenting.
THOMAS: Some of this looks pretty real.
CAREGIRL: I’m not denying that it’s possible to get hurt. They’re carnivores, they have teeth and claws, it’s easy to get scratched or bitten by accident, if you’re not careful, and most people aren’t careful.
THOMAS: Accident, uh?
THOMAS: What about that woman in Detroit, they found her half eaten in her own home, the Sharebears were still chowing down when they found them. Human remains in their stomachs. Open and shut case.
CAREGIRL: Heart attack, the bears were stuck in there with her, the dead body was the only food source. There was no sign of a struggle or attack. We see dogs and cats doing the same thing when their shut in owner dies.
CAREGIRL: There are very very few cases of Sharebears deliberately attacking or injuring a human being, almost none.
WIN: Because they ‘love’ us.
CAREGIRL: Yeah, they’re friendly and affectionate, and they get along with people. But that’s not it. If you can set aside your kneejerk hysteria, I’ll explain it.
WIN: Explain away, professor.
CAREGIRL: It’s very simple: We feed them. We feed them constantly, so they’re never hungry around us. It’s that hormonal thing they do, yes, it makes us like them and makes us want to feed them. As long as we keep shoving food at them, they’re not interested in eating, or even attacking humans. It just doesn’t happen.
THOMAS: Unless they feel like it.
CAREGIRL: Come on, this is just anthropomorphizing. They’re not from outer space. They’re not secret geniuses. They’re not plotting together. They’re just animals. They’re just a version of skunks, but instead of a stinky toxic spray, they evolved a euphoric that didn’t work particularly well in nature, so they evolved social behavior to compensate, and these traits just happens to serve them very well in human society. It’s not magic.
THOMAS: Tell it to the cats and dogs.
THOMAS: Where they start showing up, cat and dog populations start to drop.
CAREGIRL: Boo hoo, people are finding a better, more emotionally rewarding pet. That’s competition in the marketplace. That’s capitalism, boys.
THOMAS: Feral cats and dogs, and urban wildlife, raccoons, rats, you name it.
WIN: Anything that makes the rat population drop is a good thing.
THOMAS: You’re pretty glib.
CAREGIRL: And you’re over-reacting. I bet you haven’t even met a sharebear up close. You should try it, you’d see how you’re over-reacting.
THOMAS: I don’t want to be any closer than a snipers rifle.
CAREGIRL: Like that guy in Tucson? He shot a civilian, you know.
THOMAS: The civilian jumped in the way.
CAREGIRL: Like in the movies? Yeah, that’s not how it works. In real life, bullets go really fast. He was a psycho, and he didn’t care if he killed a few people.
CAREGIRL: I’ve seen them up close. They’re not big deal. You can get a little goofy at first, but that’s all. It’s not like they’re mind controlling you. Hell, I spent eight hours on a train with some. No ill effects.
THOMAS: Jesus. You mean to tell me you’re a Sharer.
CAREGIRL: We don’t like that word. We’re not fanatics.
WIN: What the hell?
CAREGIRL: Look the ecology is out of whack, species everywhere are out of balance, there’s no more natural order left. You act like it’s a crime to reintroduce, or introduce species into a damaged ecosystem.
THOMAS: I can’t believe this.
CAREGIRL: Yeah, well, if we don’t do something pro-active, there isn’t going to be an ecosystem left. Then what are you paranoid conspiracy theorists going to do?
FOURTEEN YEARS LATER
SHARECROWS NEST – A MESSAGE BOARD
AL: There was another plane crash.
JEN: Oh cripes, not this again.
MOD: Al, is this another conspiracy theory? Because this is your third warning. Your privileges are about to be revoked.
AL: Haven’t you noticed the last ten years, more plane crashes every year, more accidents, more malfunctions.
JEN: Here it comes. Goodbye Al, it was nice knowing you.
AL: At the same time, their population has skyrocketed. They’re everywhere now. They’re all over the place. Remember when we used to argue about whether they would attack a person. Now, its official, they eat winos.
KEVIN: Who cares about winos? Remember when everyone was always pissing about the homeless? Remember the crime that came with the homeless? The losers, the addicts, the bunch of them? They don’t bother people that can look after themselves. It’s just nature, man, and you can’t blame them for being natural.
JEN: Nature’s law trumps man’s law.
AL: And there’s cases documented where they’ll go into an only child household, and kill the child, and the family just starts to revolve around them.
JEN: Yeah, that’s ugly, and we should watch out for that. We should be making sure that the child can co-exist, that he’s not a threat to the sharebear so it doesn’t have to react defensively.
AL: No, that’s not acceptable. Ten years ago, people would have been freaking out about this, people would have been going nuts. Now it’s ‘who cares about winos’ and ‘too bad about the kids.’
JEN: That was offensive. I didn’t say ‘too bad about the kids.’ You’re not being fair.
AL: Things are changing, and we don’t even notice. It’s like we’re frogs in water that’s slowly being brought to a boil, and we just keep sitting there.
JEN: I disagree.
AL: There’s studies linking their euphorics with long term cognitive breakdown, permanent neurological changes. As little as one or two exposures and we’re seeing long term behavior changes. And no one is paying attention!
KEVIN: A lot of those studies are exaggerated. You can’t trust everything you read. These alarmists, man, they have an agenda they’re pushing.
AL: The agenda is not being eaten.
JEN: Al, give it a break. We’ve heard all these exaggerations before, you’re like a broken record.
AL: There’s more of them around in urban centers than ever before, and they’ve been around for a long time now. There’s evidence their euphorics persist in the environment. No one knows what those concentrations are doing. And we’ve got planes dropping out of the sky.
KEVIN: I’m not following you. Are you saying that it’s causing airplanes to fall apart.
AL: No, I’m saying that euphorics are in the environment, and people aren’t as careful, error rates go up, planes fall out of the sky, surgeons make mistakes, mechanics make mistakes, drivers… people are dying.
KEVIN: You’re saying that because of Sharebears, people are on the whole happier, and that’s a bad thing? Geez, you’re delusional on so many levels.
AL: We used to be afraid of sharks. Leopards. Lions. Tigers. Wolves. Saber Tooth Tigers, Cave Bears. In the end, we beat them all. Nothing could touch us. We were the dominant species. But I think we’ve found a predator that figured out a way to use us against ourselves, and we have no defense. Their weapon wasn’t teeth or claws, it was love and hugs, and we fall for it. We can’t stop ourselves from falling for it.
MOD: Final warning, Al.
AL: What happens to prey, when there’s a predator that it has no defense against? A predator that we can’t kill, because it makes us want to protect it. Everywhere I look, the world is falling apart around me, and no one seems to care. It’s not that the evidence isn’t there, the studies the predictions, the graphs. No one cares. What’s the world going to be like in another ten years? Or five?
MOD: Banned from the list, conspiracy theory and negativity. Goodbye Al. Have a nice life. And for god’s sakes, hug a bear, maybe you’ll be able to stand yourself.