"Hello friend, what's your name?" Tenderheart Bear, the leader of the Care Bears, asked, drawing close to the impressively built stranger.
"My name is Bucholz Bear," the new bear said, removing his sunglasses. "And I'm on an important mission of caring."
"My name is Bucholz Bear."
"Really? That's great," said Tenderheart Bear. All the other Care Bears nodded and cooed with interest. "Do you need any help? We're always looking for ways to spread the power of care."
"I do need help. Do you think it's easy getting up here? To this fluffy land of picnics and grabass?" Bucholz Bear spat on the ground. Seeing the Care Bears react poorly to that, his expression softened. He continued his story, "There's a girl out there who is feeling very sad, and I need to cheer her up. But it's a four man job. That's why I need your help."
"I don't know if he's a real Care Bear," said Cheer Bear. "I've never seen a Care Bear spit before. I don't like this one bit."
"Cheer Bear, it's important to always help people care," scolded Tenderheart Bear. "Even ones who are drinking beer," he added, nodding his head in the direction of the cool new stranger who was doing just that.
"Bucholz Bear, we'd be glad to help."
That night, the cold light from the moon softly lit the yard outside an ordinary suburban house. At the edge of the yard, a hedge rustled.
"Be quiet," Bucholz Bear hissed. "You'll ruin the surprise."
"A surprise mission of caring? Faith and Begorrah! Whatever for?" Good Luck Bear asked, his Irish accent grating on everyone's already taut nerves.
Bucholz Bear took a long drag from his cigarette. "Because if she knew she was going to be cared for, she'd start to get weirded out. She's got personal space issues."
Cheer Bear wrinkled her nose. "It sounds like she doesn't want to talk to you. Why do you even care so much?"
"Because we're Care Bears dammit. We have to Care. And she does want to talk to me," Bucholz Bear said, annoyed. "She's just confused. If she could only see how great of a guy I am, she'd surely want to spend more time with me. Just like before."
Tenderheart Bear nodded. "This all sounds perfectly reasonable to me." Ignoring Cheer Bear's rolled eyes, he continued, "So what's the plan?"
Bucholz Bear nodded and started extracting items from his backpack. "You take these infrared goggles and this walkie-talkie," he said, handing them to Tenderheart Bear. "You'll stay out here and keep an eye on where she is in the house, while I sneak in to her office and plant monitoring software on her computer. Good Luck Bear: You come with me, and if she finds us, you hit her with this pepper spray." Good Luck Bear nodded, his Irish blood comfortable with such deeds. "And Cheer Bear? I need you in the living room. If things go shitty, we need you to take her DVD player. That way it will look like a robbery, and no one will ever suspect it was the Care Bears."
"What! That's outrageous!" Cheer Bear protested.
"No it's not. No one ever suspects the Care Bears."
"That's not the part that's outrageous!" Cheer Bear shouted. "It's the committing a horrible crime part!"
"Cheer Bear! We must never turn our backs on a mission of Caring!" Tenderheart Bear growled. He had a strange look in his eyes, a long buried memory of a lost love suddenly resurfacing. "This is a good idea. She has to know how much we care about her. This is a very good idea."
The three of them ran down the alley, hearts racing.
"Where's the DVD player? Did you not understand that that was the sound of things going shitty?" Bucholz Bear gasped, his breathing labored.
"Fuck you!" Cheer Bear squeaked. "Where's Good Luck Bear? Where is he?"
"She shot him!"
"The crazy fucker pulled a knife on her and she shot him!" Bucholz Bear yelled. The three of them ducked behind a dumpster and caught their breath.
"We have to go back and get him!" Tenderheart Beart said, panting.
"He's gone man! He's fucking gone. Oh shit man. Oh shit." The three of them looked at each other, fear etched on their faces.
"Fuck You!" Cheer Bear squeaked.
"What's in that bag?" Tenderheart Bear asked, looking at the duffel bag which Bucholz Bear had over his shoulder. The bag was wriggling around.
"Nothing. Shut up."
"What's in that bag?" Tenderheart Bear asked again, more sternly.
"I told you what!" Bucholz Bear snapped. Behind them another gunshot rang out. "Holy shit! Run!"
The three of them sat heavily at a table in "Embrace," the sole bar in the Kingdom of Caring. "I said I'm sorry," Bucholz Bear muttered over the lip of his beer.
"I don't even want to talk to you," Cheer Bear said. "Our friend died today!"
Bucholz Bear squinted at her. "He was your friend? Really?"
"He was too my friend!"
"You never really liked him Cheer Bear," Tenderheart Bear said. "You always complained about his drinking. All the girls said he made them feel uncomfortable." Tenderheart Bear got off of his chair and laid down on the floor, exhausted. After a few moments, he asked, "What I want to know is why you stole her dog?" He cast a glance at the duffel bag sat on the floor beside them, now whimpering softly.
"I can't say for sure that I know why," Bucholz Bear said. "I think leverage? Is that right? Is that the word I want?"
"You petnapped her dog to get leverage to assist in your ability to care for your ex-girlfriend?" Cheer Bear suggested dryly.
"Errr ..." Bucholz Bear said.
"I can see the sense in that," Tenderheart Bear said.
"Can you?" Bucholz Bear asked. "Because I've been trying for awhile and haven't been able to." He sighed. "Anyways, on that note, I think I'm going to take off. You can keep the dog, you seem to have an idea what to do with it. I guess at minimum you could probably care for it. Ha ha ha! 'Care!' Like that's the thing you do! They should call me Irony Bear." Bucholz Bear sprinted from the room before anyone could correct him.