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The Bear Under the Porch

I think this happened in 2000. I've had so many computers since then, so many hard drives full of writings that have the click of death, and the full story was on one of them.

fluorite bear carvingMy best friend and I used to go to every gem show in Connecticut every spring. This year, we were at the show in Orange. We had just walked in, and not two minutes later I won the door prize. It was a rather ugly piece of something I didn't want. My thoughts must have shone on my face, because the door prize person said, "If you don't want that, you can have a gift certificate to any vendor instead." I took the gift certificate and walked back to the table where we had been browsing. That table had a selection of fluorite sculptures, which were popular at that time. I had wanted one for a while--they are wonderfully smooth and rounded and feel really nice to hold. And there was one freeform sculpture that from the right angle looked just like a bear. I used my gift certificate.

I put the gemstone bear in a place of honor on my shelf of crystals when I got home. I took off my new boots, my boots that I adored, that had a bear's head on the tongue.

If you've read my other story about the rat, you know that around this time we had a carpenter ant infestation. Turns out the ants had eaten away much of the closet-like area between the inner and outer front doors, that we called "the front hall." The front hall had to be taken down. My best friend's brother was a carpenter and he agreed to help my husband build a new open front porch, which I designed. It would extend in front of one of the windows, and out to the bottom of the current steps. Because I am a law-abiding citizen, I went to the Town Hall and paid for a permit to build said porch, and hung it dutifully on the window of the birdroom (a window that many years later would also be eaten by carpenter ants).

My husband did the demo of the old hallway by himself. I was inside reading. He came in, freaking out. "You gotta come see this!"

Because I can't help but be snarky sometimes (I have a whole Pinterest board called Pithy and Snarky!), I said, "What, did you find an ancient Indian burial ground?"

And he got even more upset and said I had to come look NOW.

So I did.

When one finds a leg in one's front yard, many questions go through one's mind. Such as, "holy shit, is that really a leg? It is human? It looks like a human leg! Now what?" And the inevitable, "should we tell anyone? Is it illegal to find a human leg? It's gotta be illegal not to tell. What if the person hasn't been dead long, we've only lived here seven years, the family could still be hoping. Oh, man, we better call the cops."

And there was a leg bone.

Remember that this was long ago, in the dark ages, before smart phones, before camera phones took decent pictures. So I have no photographic evidence, like I would if it happened now.

So, there's this leg bone in the dirt, dug up by our resident woodchuck, Chucky, a huge, bold, fat creature who liked to sit on the front steps in his characteristic groundhog way, front feet in the air, enjoying the afternoon sun before scurrying back under the steps into his burrow.

His burrow was QUITE extensive and evidently our wild friend had indeed hit the old Native American burial ground jackpot. Or found a murder dump site.

When one finds a leg in one's front yard, many questions go through one's mind. Such as, "holy shit, is that really a leg? It is human? It looks like a human leg! Now what?" And the inevitable, "should we tell anyone? Is it illegal to find a human leg? It's gotta be illegal not to tell. What if the person hasn't been dead long, we've only lived here seven years, the family could still be hoping. Oh, man, we better call the cops."

Because everything I know about crime scenes from reading thrillers had fallen from my head, I picked up the leg in my bare hand and carried it into the back yard. My neighbor was outside in her yard. She looked over the fence and said, "What's that?" and I said, "I think it's someone's femur," and showed it to her. She's a nurse and said, "Yes, that's a femur. What are you going to do?" And I said, "Call the cops, I guess."

I didn't dial 911 since even an idiot could tell the person belonging to the femur was quite dead. I called dispatch. The conversation went like this. "Hi, um, we were taking down our front porch and um, we found a leg. A femur." Running through my mind: thank the gods we got that permit! "What? A leg?" "Yes, a femur bone. My neighbor is a nurse and she said it's a femur." Disbelief: "We'll send someone out."

We sat in the back yard staring at the leg. I started having visions of my front yard covered with crime scene tape, the cops saying they had to knock down our house, being homeless, all because I did the right thing and called and now there's a MURDER VICTIM in my yard or possibly worse, an ARCHEOLOGICAL SITE and I'm going to be living in my mom's basement with two cats and four birds and my husband because I did the right thing and called to say my husband found a stupid leg under the porch.

The cop walked into the back yard wearing a look of, well, "these people are idiots wasting my time" and swaggered over to where we were sitting. I told the story and gave him the leg. His whole demeanor changed. Now the leg is being carefully bagged. He's calling it in. This is Serious Business Now. Of course I am concerned about the permit. "See, the permit is right here" but the cop doesn't care because there's a LEG.

The Official Crime Scene Car arrives, with two detectives (wearing suits and everything). They look at the leg, I reiterate the story. They open the trunk and take out the Official Crime Scene Rake. It had a broken handle repaired with electrical tape. I was thinking, holy crap, a broken rake? (Of course, a dozen years later as I'm writing this, the local police department still doesn't have internet. The police walk across the street to the public library. No doubt they have the same broken rake still.)

The Crime Scene Detectives used the Official Crime Scene Rake to go over the area of Chuckie's burrow looking for more of the person once attached to that leg but find nothing. Crime scene tape is indeed hung up but we are not evicted. The bagged leg is taken away in the Official Crime Scene Car.

Shortly after the police left, my husband noticed several more pieces of bone in the area where the Official Crime Scene Rake had been used, but the detective had said they didn't find anything. We didn't know what to do with the bones so we left them there.

And then we waited. We did not know if it was a crime scene, an archeological dig, or a big heaping pile of nothing. The new porch was on hold. The ink on the permit started to fade in the sun.

A week later, I get a call at work. (The place where I was working narrows this down to happening either in 2000 or 2001.) The results of the leg testing were in.

It wasn't human. It was a bear.

I have a bear under my porch! How cool is that? They would not give me back his leg, but we re-buried the other pieces we'd found. Never looked for more, didn't disturb his rest further. We consider him our guardian spirit.

After we found out the leg was ursine and not human, I thought back to the weekend before we'd found him, with my new bear-logo boots and my free bear statue. The universe knew about my bear and was trying to give me warning that he was coming.

Fast-forward a few years...

porchThe same Florida friend mentioned in the rat story was visiting, just for an afternoon before a business meeting in New York City. We were sitting on the finally-built front porch while she smoked a cigarette and waited for her ride. It was a Monday and I was going to a Beltane ritual that night to do a blessing of the house guardians spell. The totems I use for house guardians are the Zuni Bear fluorite and a small obsidian warrior I got in Mexico.

I was just finished with my part of the ritual when my husband called the place where the ritual was. He knew that wasn't something acceptable. I went to the phone and he started yelling at me. "What the hell did you guys do?" I was confused. "We didn't do anything. She left and now I'm here." "How did you break the window?" "Break the window? What window? We didn't break a window!" "On the porch, the one into the living room." "What? We were sitting on the porch until 6 p.m. and trust me we would have noticed if that window was busted." Turns out that as I was doing the house guardian blessing, asking for my house to be safe and protected, 20 miles away someone was breaking in.

I've posted a picture of my house so you can see how close it is to the street and wonder what kind of bold moron would break into the front window that way. (Usually there is not a carpet hanging there; of course that's the day Google would go by and photograph it!)

My husband called the police and I left the ritual early and went home. We went through the whole house. My PDA and digital camera were on the couch, untouched. Laptop upstairs, untouched. Two desktop computers downstairs, untouched. Drawers had been opened, but the only thing that was missing was a $10 gaudy faux-diamond necklace I'd just bought. The cats and birds were safe. I can only think that as the would-be thieves were smashing into my home, I put the spell into effect and they fled. Or when they went upstairs they saw my altar full of Mayan and Aztec artifacts and figured I'd cut their hearts out.


All material on this site is copyright (c) by Gevera Bert Piedmont except where noted. All rights reserved. Contact me for permission to republish. Information on this site is for entertainment purposes only. Enjoy! })i({

Page created: 13.0.0.16.19 17-Ceh 5-Cauac (25 November 2013)
Page modified: 13.0.0.16.19 17-Ceh 5-Cauac (25 November 2013)