June 29, 2006
Three hours before being shot and killed by hunters in a state-sanctioned hit June 24, Bruno the Bear stopped by the office of the Spitzingsee Bugle for an exclusive interview.
BUGLE: You look tired.
BRUNO: I’m being chased by men with guns. You have any water handy?
BRUNO: I prefer Pellegrino, but sure. [Drinks] Thanks.
BUGLE: What’s it like being a national icon?
BRUNO: Icon? How’s that?
BUGLE: You’re the first wild bear to roam Germany since 1835. The people are fascinated by you.
BRUNO: That’s very, very gratifying, but frankly, I’m more concerned about the people aiming rifles at my head.
BUGLE: So what brought you to Germany?
BRUNO: A Europass. No, but seriously…I was raised in Italy by my mother —
BUGLE: Ahh. Italian. That explains the Pellegrino.
BRUNO: It was all part of a national program to reintroduce wild bears to the Alps.
BUGLE: So why didn’t you stay in Italy?
BRUNO: I’m a bear. National boundaries mean nothing to me. I am a creature of the earth.
BUGLE: If you stayed in Italy, you wouldn’t be hunted now.
BRUNO: Where’d I put my damn passport?
BUGLE: About your mother. How do you feel about her being blamed for your savagery?
BRUNO: Sure. Always blame the mother. First of all, I contend that I am not savage.
BUGLE: Not savage? You’ve killed 25 sheep and four goats in the past few weeks.
BRUNO: Just because you don’t kill the cow with your bare hands doesn’t mean it doesn’t die for your cheeseburger.
BRUNO: You know, when I first wandered into Germany, I was welcomed here. Bavaria’s state Environment Minister —
BUGLE: Werner Schnappauf.
BRUNO: Yes. Herr Schnappauf said there was nothing for people to fear. And then I eat a few sheep and suddenly I’m a menace.
BUGLE: And there was the beehive, too.
BRUNO: Beehive? Honey? Bears? Hello!
BUGLE: And the rabbit hutch.
BRUNO: OK. Fine. That was a mistake. I give you that. I’m usually not into rabbits.
BUGLE: Herr Schnappauf labeled you “out of control.” You disagree?
BRUNO: I get it. I don’t wear a pointy hat and ride around on a tricycle, so I’m out of control. Please.
BUGLE: Bear experts have suggested you came to Germany looking for a mate.
BRUNO: Bear experts, my hairy ass. Who goes to Germany looking for chicks? Have you been to Italy? Ever? Come on.
BUGLE: When Herr Schnappauf changed his mind about the danger you posed to humans, and sanctioned the hunt in late May, you were believed to have crossed the border briefly into Austria. True?
BRUNO: Killer pastries.
BUGLE: In mid-June, authorities called in teams of Finnish dogs to track you down. Did they ever catch sight of you?
BRUNO: Almost. I was hiding behind some shrubs, and when I saw them I nearly died laughing. I mean really, bringing Finnish huskies in when they’ve got a country crammed with German shepherds? Is that ironic or just plain silly?
BUGLE: You may want to know that the plan was to corner you with the dogs and shoot you with a narcotic.
BRUNO: Narcotic? No, I didn’t know that. Really? They were just going to drug me?
BUGLE: And transport you back to Italy. But since that effort failed, they’ve loaded up with live ammo.
BRUNO: I see. Well. Hmmm. Is this ironic or just plain tragic?
BUGLE: Have you seen the Internet hunting game you’ve inspired?
BRUNO: You’ve got to be kidding me.
BUGLE: A brown bear pops up from behind trees and shrubs, and the player tries shooting you with a narcotic dart.
BRUNO: I suppose that’s humane. But still, kind of creepy.
BUGLE: Are you feeling all right, Bruno?
BRUNO: No. I have an overwhelming sense of dread, like a dark veil settling over my soul.
BUGLE: More water?
BRUNO: No. I should go.
BUGLE: Thanks for dropping by. Our readers will be pleased. Before you leave, do you need to use our restroom?
BRUNO: Very funny.