Yesterday I was visited by the brown bunny of happiness. This is like the bluebird of happiness, except that it slips into your garden and eats all the tops off the carrots, lots of the leafy greens, and an entire huge acorn squash. And it talks — but I didn’t know that at first.
I am familiar with the eating power of bunnies, as well as their ability to fit their bodies through tiny spaces because I had rabbits as pets when I was a kid. I started with a white rabbit when I was in kindergarten, and over the years had six others of various colors and sizes. However, this bunny was special!
We’ve been seeing this bunny all summer, suspiciously near the garden (which is fenced, but so what, says the rabbit), but not until yesterday did it stay in visual range long enough for me to get some pictures of it eating one of our blackberry bushes:
Imagine my surprise when, after allowing me to take its picture, the bunny spoke to me (telepathically, otherwise you would, of course, see pictures of it talking).
“Oh camera-happy human, you have managed to catch me in the act!” The bunny announced. “You have totally lucked out! For managing to take a non-blurry picture of me, despite how I hop and twitch, and despite your hand tremors, I will grant you three wishes!”
As you can imagine, I was totally shocked! I had expected two wishes at the most.
“Oh adorable-yet-destructive bun-bun,” I replied. “I have been trying for over a year to get my lemon-of-a-powerchair fixed, to no avail. Then I asked for a refund. Then I had to get involved with the Better Business Bureau, the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Affairs, and the related District Attorney’s office. It’s been a total fucking nightmare, because I just want to be able to get out and about, walk my dog, and be done with this useless behemoth. When I tried to negotiated with the vendor from whom I purchased the chair, all I got in response was yelling and accusations.
For my first wish, could you please get them to come to some sort of reasonable compromise with me?”
“Hm,” the bunny said, “let me think about that.” The bunny nibbled some grass, pondering.
“Alright,” the bunny said. “That does totally suck. The next time you talk to someone about coming to terms, he will offer you a partial refund for returning the chair.”
Thus, it came to pass that today, when I spoke to someone who had stepped in “to put out fires” for the organization from whom I bought my wheelchair, he offered me a two-thirds refund over a six-month period (because they are strapped for cash) in exchange for returning the chair. I was thrilled. I can’t wait to get that monstrosity — emblem of so much pain and stress — out of my house. I am going to use that money to try to buy a used chair that will better meet my needs.
“Great, bunny, thank you. Please excuse me if I’m skeptical. A talking bunny is one thing, but this wheelchair situation, well — I’ll believe it when I see it.”
“I hear you,” the bunny said. “I get that all the time. Let’s move on to your second wish, okay? I’m feeling twitchy out in the open like this. I am a prey animal, after all.”
“Good point,” I said. “For my second wish, will you show me that my work with Barnum has been paying off, and that we have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever being a public access team?”
“Silly human!” Said the rabbit. “Don’t you remember Saturday, when you took Barnum to your town’s Old Home Day, and he was able to loose-leash walk some of the time, in the face of great distractions, and even — after hours — lie down quietly? And then when you took him with you into the Town Hall, how he did a working walk and then did a down-stay in the extremely tight space of the stall (with you and your powerchair and your oxygen) despite having no experience inside other buildings before?”
“Yes, that’s true,” I said, “but he also did a lot of pulling on leash and jumping around, and when I left him with Betsy so I could go dance, he barked.”
“Well, you asked for wishes, not miracles. Give him time.”
“True,” I said, feeling a little let down.
“What about the next day?” The bunny asked, with a touch of irritation. “When you took him to the local food coop, and he did a default sit upon exiting the van, and then gave you great and continuous eye contact, along with sits, downs, reverse, and a very nice working walk? And you felt so pleased with him that you took him inside the store, where he did remarkably well at staying in position, giving you eye contact, following cued behaviors, and in general astonishing you with how happy, ‘in the game,’ and attuned he was?”
“My god, you’re right!” I said, smacking myself in the forehead, practically sending my glasses flying. “He did super until the end, when there were suddenly lots of people, including one person talking to him and petting him, ignoring that I was telling him, ‘Leave it!’ and pulling him away from her, and then he also was obsessed with trying to sniff another woman’s butt.”
“Yeah, that sounds a tad embarrassing. You will have to work a lot on stranger zen and ‘interesting smells in new places’ zen.”
“Exactly,” I concurred.
“On the other paw,” the bunny continued. “After you left the store, when you were going back to the van, he gave you eye contact and followed cues while ignoring a barking dog behind him! Did you forget that? And what about how he pooped on cue before you left home in the first place?”
“You’re right! Wasn’t that amazing?” I almost squealed in delight at the recollection.
“Well, it’s not my thing, really,” said the rabbit. “But whatever floats your boat. Anyway, I think I have pretty clearly shown you that you are Barnum are totally kicking service-dog-in-training ass, so can we move on to wish number three?”
“But you didn’t do anything,” I griped. “You just reminded me of things I already knew.”
“Do I have to remind you about the lesson from the Wizard of Oz? That Dorothy just had to be reminded that there’s no place like home?”
“Wow, you’re a very literate bunny,” I said, impressed.
“I am part of a great tradition of children’s literature,” it replied. “The Velveteen Rabbit, for instance. I do my homework.”
The bunny scratched behind its ear. “Man, all this talking is making me hungry. It doesn’t usually take this long. It’s usually, ‘Gimme a pile of money, a big house, and someone to mate with,’ and I’m outta there.” The rabbit sighed. “I need more blackberry vine. I have an extremely high metabolism. I have to keep my energy up.”
Was it my imagination, or had the rabbit just rolled its eyes?
“Well, um, okay,” I said, feeling pressed for time now. “The Five Minute Fiction contest is tomorrow again. It’s being guest-hosted and guest-judged by a speculative fiction writer, and he’s already said that it will be a science fiction/fantasy prompt. It just seems like everything is SF/fantasy these days, and that’s really not my genre. I’m quite nervous about it. Can you help me out?”
“I would think that having just written an entire blog wherein you are speaking to a magic rabbit who telepathically grants you wishes indicates that you have some clue about the fantastical.”
“Oh, yeah,” I felt my face turn red. “This is different though,” I explained. “I have been imagining talking animals since I was four. What if the prompt involves some totally weird worlds and names that I don’t grok at all? It’s very hard for me, with my cognitive impairment, to grasp and connect with seriously hardcore SF and fantasy.”
“Alright!” The bunny stomped his hind feet, cutting me off. “Tomorrow, even though it will be a prompt that will completely throw you and confuse you, you will just go with the first idea that pops into your head, relating to one of your favorite writing-related themes–”
“You mean like food, humor, sex, or animals?”
“Do you want this wish or not?”
“Sorry,” I bit my lip.
“Anyway, you will just do your best, and even though you will be impressed by the other entries and feel completely outclassed, you will still manage to get a piece in on time, and you will be a finalist, again, okay?”
“Really? A finalist? Two weeks in a row? Will I win again?”
“That would be a fourth wish. Besides, that’s up to the voting public. You’re done!” Announced the rabbit, and hopped away. I thought I heard him mutter something about “writers” and “divas,” but I was probably just imagining it. After all, we writers have excellent imaginations.
“Wait!” I called after the bunny, its white tail bobbing toward the underbrush. “Where do I tell people to go and vote?”
“Just tell them to click on this sentence!” He yelled before disappearing into the greenery.
I wasn’t really sure about that third wish. And the second one was kinda a “gimme,” too. . . .
“I’ve changed my mind!” I shouted after him. “Can I change one of my wishes to a new computer that doesn’t constantly crash, freeze, and run as slow as molasses? And that won’t outgas horrible fumes and make me sick? Or how about for more people to follow my new writing blog?”
From somewhere in the underbrush, I thought I heard the sound of two hind feet pounding the ground, very hard.
I’ll have to look up Eastern cottontail rabbits in my Audubon guide and see if they ever grant a second round of wishes. . . .
– Sharon, the muse of Gadget, and Barnum, SDiT
P.S. Woops! I forgot. I’m doing a little trivia game. After reading my entry, guess who my biggest SF influence is? I’ll post a hint after each guess in the comments.