Slim Clemons was a big man, weighing in at 365 pounds. To accommodate his girth, he had a big office, over 5,000 square feet. And, Slim had big ambitions to match his ample size. He was a high-stakes producer, organizing and promoting horse races, sporting events, beauty pageants and music extravaganzas. In addition, Slim had a large investment portfolio consisting of the kind of stocks that produced fast money: start-ups, mining, and energy sources.
Slim loved his fast-paced, high-pressured career, but once a year, he would fire up his luxury 40-foot recreational vehicle and take his family on an ostentatious camping vacation. Despite the luxury accommodation that defined camping in a whole new way, Slim liked a little unexpected adventure built into his vacation. As such, he would sit in his office on the 30th floor of Salesforce Tower in Indianapolis studying a large map of North America while massaging a dart between his thump and index finger. After counting to ten, Slim would launch the dart, and it would sail toward the map, puncturing the map at the destination towards which Slim would drive the R.V. This year the dart landed on Missaussagga Provincial Park in Northern Ontario, Canada.
This was Slim’s first trip to Northern Ontario, and although the mosquitoes and black flies were considerably bigger than he had expected, and their large numbers were keeping his wife inside the recreational vehicle, Slim was content. On the fourth nightin the wilderness, Slim was reading an old Kurt Vonnegut Jr. novel when something outside the R.V. caught his eye. Always a man of action, Slim grabbed his Glock G19 handgun from the bedside table and headed outside.
The park was dark, as dark as the Alberta oil in which Slim had recently invested. Slim gripped the Glock, his arm outstretched, swaying from side to side. As his eyes became accustomed to the dim light, he began to make out small animals scurrying around the forest floor and swinging from tree branches. Suddenly a loud, piercing female voice shattered the silence “Shot one of those teddy bears and that’s it for you Buster.”
Slim heard a high-pitched but muffled scream behind him. He spun around and there was Ellie hanging from a branch just inches away from his face. He backed up, tripped over a rock and crashed to the ground. He looked up at Ellie highlighted by the moon that had serendipitously come out from behind a cloud as if it understood this moment needed to be emphasized. Slim’s heart swelled in his chest: the teddy bear was beautiful. Right at that moment the 2017 Miss Teddy Bear North America Beauty Pageant was hatched in Slim’s mind.