Look what it did to the rug!

Let's say you're a senior citizen, that your telephone rings at 1 a.m. on a Sunday, and that a youthful voice says something about a bear in the house. You'd probably assume it was someone's idea of a joke, right? But that's not what Vic and Jill Harling thought when it happened to them earlier this month. Instead, the Clam Gulch, Alaska, couple told the caller how to unlock a cabinet that held their gun collection so he could protect himself. The caller, you see, was their teenage grandson, Blaine, who'd been staying in a cabin they own and awoke to the sound of an intruder ... that turned out to be an adult black bear looking for food. A window left open for ventilation had provided access, and when Blaine went to investigate he found himself face to face with the animal, which was poking around the refrigerator. He grabbed the only weapon within reach – a bottle of lotion – and threw it. Then he retreated to the bedroom, bracing a dresser against the door, and called his grandparents and police. The latter, accompanied by a wildlife agent, arrived to see a bear among trees outside, concluding that it must have left through the same window. Blaine was unhurt, and a search turned up the remains of some muffins the critter had eaten and garbage that was strewn around the floor. But the worst mess, Jill Harling said, was caused by her grandson – the lotion that splattered when he threw it.

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