Mr Shaggy Bones

Cataclysmic force, red and orange elliptical fire balls on a black background. Flying fists, fury and grimacing faces set against the black sky and a billion incandescent stars.

That is how I imagined life. I am a woman in a bear suit, wishing she was a girl in the cape of a superhero. Thing is, life is so subdued, so often done by so many, that I have taught myself to hold a magnifying glass to the microscopic. Cataclysm is in the banging of atoms against each other, not the sober swaying of distant planets. The smaller one is, the more amazing the vibrations. I am a small woman, in a bear suit at a mall, hugging kids, smaller than myself. I am Mr Shaggy Bones, the Black Bear from Black Cake Forest. I don’t even remember how it was that I ended up in this suit. Perhaps I’ll forget where the zipper is one day, and be thusly forced to adopt my pseudonym.

“The names Mr Shaggy Bones officer, and I didn’t realise I couldn’t park here.�?

My real name is Sarah. My friends call me Sarah or sometimes Mrs Smith, because my last name is Smith. I am employed by Mall Co. A small conglomerate of shopping centres based in New South Wales. I’m what’s loosely defined as the Infant Service Customer Response Unit Co-ordinator. In my role as ISCRUC I am required to entertain the progeny of ‘adult’ customers frequenting Mall Co’s many fine stores on any given day. This sounded fairly straight forward, that is, until I received the Guide.

The Guide is set of standards. Standards if implemented precisely would lead a child inexorably to betterment. That was Mall Co’s goal, improve the child increase the sales. The guide was Five. Five rules written by five men in the offices of Dennis and Clinch lawyers circa 1983 in the town of Jumbuck.

1. A child is a unit, a considered structure, wanting of boundaries.

I am a woman who longs to be out of this hulking, unflattering bear costume.

2. Mr Shaggy bones is the anthropomorphism of the boundaries required by a child. Mr Shaggy bones is a caring bear, but like all wild creatures and further the Earth itself, danger lies in the seemingly innocuous.

Life exists all around us, and it’s easy to be scared.

3. The child must never be spoken to directly. Ambiguity is the corner stone of control. One cannot argue if no argument exists.

But I’m not scared, I just needed this little push, so I can remember how to work the zipper.

4. Properly controlled, the child as individual units and as a collective can be stabilised in perpetuity. Mr Shaggy Bones must reduce action to negate reaction. Discipline is the bear’s honey pot, viscous and plentiful in the face of buzzing bees.

And then, we can chuck a ball around and have fun.

5. Beware the lone warrior. Quell the voice of discontent. You must always remain Mr Shaggy Bones, passing the lessons of nature onto the young.

So I took the damn bear suit off, in front of all the kids and the parents and even my manager Bob. Underneath I’m a sweaty thirty-year-old woman. The kids loved it. They laughed and played with the massive fury flesh of the dearly departed Mr Shaggy Bones. I was escorted off the property, sacked and humiliated by my superiors. But I went home and called Mark, my closest friend and had coffee underneath the elliptical stars, and orange explosions above the earth. Cataclysm and spectacle are all unleashed beyond even the microscopy of atoms. It is inside my mind now, where I guess it must have always been. The big bang is a coffee with friends, cheering at your favourite team when they don’t win, smiling at some random person because your face feels nicer that way. It’s good to shake off a shackle.

That’s my submission for the Redbubble comp. I guess if you like it add it to your favourites, thanks tonnes for reading it!

Mr Shaggy Bones


Sydney, Australia

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Artist's Description

What if you just wanted to be the person under the bear suit?

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