"Mr. Crockett and the Bear," by Evan Lewis, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, May 2012.
The annual humor issue at AHMM is very good this year (says the guy with the cover story), including tales by my friends John M. Floyd and R.T. Lawton. But I have to say the story I admired the most was by Evan Lewis.
Mr. Lewis is one of those unique minds. I could see him developing into the next Jack Ritchie or James Powell. He won the MWA Robert L. Fish Award for his first story, "Skylar Hobbs and the Rabbit Man," which was about a guy who thought he was the reincarnation of Sherlock Holmes.
This issue features the story of a direct descendent of Davy Crockett, whose gift/burden is having the legendary frontiersman as a conscience. Sort of a Jiminy Crockett, sorry.
The modern narrator is a lawyer and he is trying to defend a zoo whose prize black bear is accused of attacking a keeper. Obviously he needs to consult the bear. Fortunately his great-greaty-great-grandfather Davy knows how to do a little "bear whispering." The solution, when it comes, is decidedly non-supernatural, I am happy to report.
Sparkling language in the story as well. I love the report that a couple were "close enough to share the same toothpick." I hope we will more from the Crocketts, and from Skylar Hobbs as well.