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Klondike Jim: Chapter 3:

CHAPTER 3

It didn’t, in fact, work out. At least not the living with Rococo part. I wish that I could write that getting kicked out of his den was about something more significant than a giant sulfurous fart, but it wasn’t. To be fair, it was a Richter-scale fart, the kind that kicks the kitchen door into splinters and then proclaims: “Fresh eggs for sale!”

Except maybe the eggs actually aren’t all that fresh.

Here’s the thing: nobody can stop from farting. When it needs to happen, it happens, like rain in the springtime or the migration of geese. The part where we as thinking beings play a role is the way in which the fart is delivered. Sure, you can play it cool and stare off into the middle distance and let it just barely hiss out into the open, like a burglar in a black track suit skulking around thinking about the various properties of screen doors.

But maybe it’s better if you be a man about it and just drop a bomb. I figured: if there’s anything more manly than a man, it would have to be a bear. And a bear would appreciate the sheer unbridled wildness of having someone squat over his head — while he’s sleeping, mind you — and yell “Fresh eggs for sale!” just before decanting several liters of explosive gaseous power. He would, in fact, probably be insulted by anything less. And I was excited to give this a try. It’s the sort of thing conceptual artists discuss, and write grants for, but never get around to doing. At least I assume that’s what conceptual artists do.

My argument about conceptual artists wasn’t holding any water with Rococo the Bear. He was firm but fair about me having overstepped the bounds of guest-host relationship, and he let me know politely but without much wiggle room that I was expected to leave his domicile and go fend for myself. Or at least that’s how I later reconstructed and interpreted the raw physicality of the eviction procedure, which was comprised of him throwing me bodily through a tightly packed layer of sticks and old sweatshirts into a snowbank at three in morning, followed closely by my rolling luggage and laptop.

It seemed reasonably certain that I was going to freeze myself to death in Alaska, and while I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to the experience of the ceasing of all sensation, I tried to be philosophical about it: “Poet Laureate of Alaska Succumbs to the Hibernal Wilderness After Battling a Bear” seemed like a decent obit headline. Hopefully no one would feel like they’d have to do too much digging into all the wheres and whys and what specific gasses on whose specific heads of the situation, because that would be the sort of thing that might erode my posthumous dignity. The more I thought about it, it wasn’t really in Rococo’s interest, either, and that thought cheered me as I put my winter hat on, and walked in the direction that I assumed would take me back to Bear Anchorage, but in fact was the direction that would take me towards certain death in the wild.

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