savagely mauls the little bicycle she is trained to ride.
It wasn't the bars
nor the gawking yokels that made her snap--
it was the memory of the scent of pine needles,
and of two round black faces following trustfully behind her.
Where are they now?
And so the bicycle pays.
it pleads for its life,
saying, "I am only a conveyance,
and though I am a tool of the same captors who misuse us both,
though I was born at their hands and at their whim,
I am not them."
Wilhelmina drops the talking bike from her jaws and blinks.
"What are you, then?"
"I am a bicycle. Nothing more."
That night, Wilhelmina dreams she is back in the pine forest.
She raises her great nose to the air and there it is--
She turns like a locomotive in a roundhouse to warn her cubs,
but her cubs are bicycles,
and they rise, riderless, into the trees.
In the morning,
the keeper comes.
He was once a fairly successful wildlife photographer,
whose shots of snow leopards once graced the face and bones
of a famous national magazine.
drinking and sloth have brought him here,
to Wilhelmina's cage.
"You've done for your bike, have you, you canny bitch?"
He bends to pick it up by its handlebars,
and that is when he becomes the conveyance,
ridden by 400 pounds of maternal fury.
"Thank you," says the bicycle, touched and grateful.
Wilhelmina remembers, now, what it is to kill,
and she is filled with strong and conflicting memories,
which she cannot properly articulate.
she is only Wilhelmina,
I first wrote about the keeper HERE. So many people wanted him to get his, that I brought him back to be bear chow. For the record, wild animals being made to perform bothers me.