Herman’s Igloo

Polar bears sat in a circle inside Herman’s igloo and warned him of the coming storm. He listened while they talked, smoked his pipe, and said very little. When they left he stood alone and sipped beer from a can. If they were right his igloo would be demolished by the storm winds by daybreak. There wasn’t enough time to get to the snowcat, drive it back, load his things, and make it to safety. He heard the wind’s hoarse moans getting more and more urgent outside as a soft snowfall danced at the end of the entry tunnel.

Part of him suspected the polar bears were conspiring to scare him off the mountain. Then they would be the only ones here when the mother-ship landed. But he also knew they needed a human present when the aliens arrived in case there was trouble.

The beer wasn’t really doing its job. He began to feel cold and sweaty at the same time. Sitting down in front of the radio he pondered the loose wires and transistors. He pulled at some green and red ones but some small pieces came loose and scattered onto the rug. Before he could pick them up a strange yellow light shone in through the entry tunnel. He heard some polar bear voices. He didn’t leave yet, one said. No. He ain’t never leavin’. Then there was some scuffling and one of the big ones squeezed down the hall into the main room. Aliens are here, the big polar bear, Marty, said. So soon? Herman said, still holding the wires.

Yeah. They’re early.
Do they want me?
No. They couldn’t give two shits about you.
It’s the girl they want.
Girl’s gone.
Oh really? Well you’re gonna have to tell them that yourself. And the big guy squeezed back out the tunnel into the yellow light. Herman finished his beer. Took a shotgun from beside his bed. And then went out to meet his fate.

But there weren’t any aliens out there. Just a fierce wind and snow. And there didn’t seem to be any bears around either. Just a lone puffin, barely able to stand up in the weather. They tricked you, Herman, the puffin said. Wha–? Herman started towards the puffin but just then he felt his flesh phasing. Hold on a second! Then he swung around. He dropped the gun before he completely dematerialized and was gone from this Earth.

The puffin shuddered. And then, dragging the rifle in his beak, he waddled slowly down into Herman’s igloo.



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