Thursday, July 28, 2011
The LOUIS stories
Bidding is now closed on the 1,500 word essay "Tell Me about the Rabbit George."
Signed, hand-bound limited edition of 1.
Bidding closed midnight Friday, December 2, 2011
The Winning Bid: $107.22 G.R. Chelsea, Quebec. CAN
If you are wondering what on earth this is all about, scroll down to the text below item number 11.
Questions concerning this bidding process:
1) Is this just a ruse where people think they're just getting an essay but I actually give them Louis, the rabbit, as well? Answer: No. But that's a good idea...
2) How often are the bids updated on the website? Answer: As long as I'm at the keyboard I'll update as I receive the bids so you know what you're up against eh? If you will, before bidding, it is best you check the latest bid on the website. I will inform you by email if your bid is not higher than the highest already pledged. Did that make sense? God I hope so.
3) As much as I love the bid offering $20 and a rifle with bullets, I'd like you to know that only the monetary amount pledged will actually count. Rifles, carrots and recipes for rabbit lentil soup, don't get me wrong, are very nice bonuses and will be taken into consideration in the event of a tie.
4) Do I have to have my initials (first and last names) put on the website with the bid I made? Of course not. You can provide me with an alias if you like, always keeping in mind of course that this is a family-oriented website... kind of...
5) Isn't this all just a money-grabbing vicious horribly manipulative ploy by a cantankerous old biddy who wants to make an actual (and not pretend) living as a writer? Answer: Yes. And your point would be?
6) How could you be so mean by not sharing the finale of Louis and his Crimes and Misdemeanors with everyone who fell in love with him? Answer: Don't blame me. Blame the highest bidder. They and they alone will have the story to distribute as they like :)
7) Who does this writer think she is?!? Answer: Hell if I know but when I do, I'll let you know.
8) Why do you think we give a rat's ass about Louis? Answer: Because you are reading this.
9) I hated the Louis stories. Should I bid anyway? Answer: Yes.
10) Why? Answer: One day. Oh one day long from now, maybe when I'm dead and gone and the grey shadows of all my yesterdays as a struggling writer have long since past, maybe then I will become famous and YOU, yes YOU will have the only ONLY copy of the Louis adventures signed by the author. You will be rich beyond imagination. Princes and Kings and Queens and Captains of Industry will be in a bidding war for this object and you will remember back to this time, when you bought this sad little fable for but a pittance in comparison. You will smile ruefully to yourself then. Yes, you will spend all that lovely money knowing that rightfully it could have been mine, the author, if only I'd lived beyond my own demise. Yes, I will of course have long since died in poverty and obscurity on the day you sell my essay but I believe, yes I do believe you will remember me. And that, in this day and age is all that a writer can ask for. Lord knows we can't ask for a living really. I only know that Louis will live on.
11) No. You can't bid in half cent increments. For heavenssakes!!!
This website will be updated in September on its regular basis. Until then, the Louis story, wherein I try to get rid of a rabbit in the Wakefield News classifieds has taken on a life of its own.
Here is a picture of Louis after being chastised for chasing Veronica the cat AGAIN... He didn't stay under the chair for very long.
1. MONDAY / WEEK ONE
I have a rabbit in the bathroom. This rabbit arrived at 10:00 p.m. in the evening at the back door and would not go away causing a furor with the dog so I brought it in. It seems to be tame. Are you missing a rabbit? I live in Chelsea PQ. If you can identify it please since I don't want any French chefs calling. I will never eat Lapin a l'orange again. firstname.lastname@example.org
Louis peers longingly through the screen door.
The rabbit, now named Louis Lapin, continues his adventures on my back deck. He has discovered the cat door and is now sitting on a table by the window inside the house looking at me. He is a very big rabbit and it is a very small table. Are you missing a rabbit? email@example.com
Louis, left alone, finds solace gazing at himself in the glass.
Once Louis the rabbit made it to the table through the cat door he was effectively able to take over the house. We didn't have a chance. Louis is everywhere. But it isn't us who suffer. It is the cats. And the dog. Our dear adorable large golden-like retriever dog. Louis loves them.... in the way of the flesh so to speak. The cats are now peering down from high up on top of the fridge with a look of abject horror on their wee furry faces. The confused and desperate dog, unluckily tied to the ground, can find no respite. I had to put Louis Lapin L'amour back in the bathroom to save the dog's sanity if not virginity. But never mind all that. Louis is a lovely rabbit who is litter trained and very affectionate. When he is not fornicating, he likes lying in the sun and eating lettuce. Apples are his favourite food. He would make a lovely household pet for a large rambunctious family who do not mind rabbits rutting dogs and/or stuffed animals and/or cats and/or blankets in the living room... or any other object in any other room for that matter. If you or someone you know would like to adopt Louis, contact us immediately... I mean immediately! firstname.lastname@example.org
Louis discovers the dog.
Louis L'Amour will be running for Ward 3 Council in Chelsea, Quebec. Louis does not like playing hockey but might like soccer. This newcomer to the scene has impeccable credentials. He will be for keeping Chelsea's rural character, eliminating all the roads and putting in an extensive organic lettuce farm. Louis promises to live permanently at Municipal Headquarters if you vote him in so if you want to see even more hare-brained ideas from your Council vote for Louis the rabbit! Yay! Louis! Louis! Louis! email@example.com
Louis stands on his hind legs to further discover the dog.
I have for sale a delightful little pink plastic bowl made in China. It is about four inches tall and 3.5 inches in diameter at the base and about 6 inches at the rim. This lovely bowl can be yours for a mere $1.20. In fact, if you call right now I'll give you a $1.00 discount! That's right! Only 20 cents for this lovely plastic bowl. But that's not all! I'll fill the bowl with corn flakes if you contact me in the next 10 minutes! AND I'll double that offer! That's right! For the mere price of .20 cents I'll give you TWO lovely lovely pink plastic bowls made in China filled to the brim with genetically modified cornflakes courtesy of Monsanto! In fact I'll give you the whole cereal box! Two even!!! And that's not all!!! If you call now I'll PAY you 20 cents to take these bowls off my hand. That's right. I'll PAY you! And if you call right now I'll throw in, at absolutely no charge to you, a very large rabbit named Louis L'amour. Absolutely free!! You heard me! ABSOLUTELY Free! Don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity. Contact me now! firstname.lastname@example.org. Did I say contact me now?! This offer won't last forever.... Hopefully....
Louis is chastised by the dog.
6. IT'S MONDAY AGAIN. WEEK TWO
Attention Gatineau Valley Historical Society: I understand you will be conducting an antique auction in the near future and are looking for donations. I have this rabbit. I think he is very very old. I'm sure he's very very very old. In fact, I don't mean to brag about having such a rabbit in my possession but I believe this rather large rabbit has provenance with the French kings at Versailles. Louis XIV I believe owned a rabbit of which this rabbit is a direct descendant. I seem to have misplaced the papers proving this however there are paintings in the Louvre I believe depicting a rabbit that looks just like this one cavorting about in the Palace with a gold and emerald collar and munching on cake. I don't have the collar unfortunately. But I do have the rabbit. Alright.... So what if it's not the original! There's always a place for imitation: a royal rabbit revival if you will. Besides, nobody will be able to tell the difference and I won't tell anyone if you don't.... I'm absolutely convinced that this rabbit is worth at least fifteen thousand dollars. You could start the bidding at twenty cents if you like. You can keep all of the proceeds for your good cause. Please let me know when you would like to come and pick him up. email@example.com
Rebuffed yet again by his four-legged friends, Louis seeks human comfort.
To the person in the last classifieds who was offering the free cardstock which I will be picking up: Look, I just don't feel right taking this without giving you SOMETHING, so here's a rabbit. No need to thank me. Really! firstname.lastname@example.org
Louis tries to reason with the dog to no avail.
Look at this rabbits face! Just look at him! See the sad brown eyes gazing at you. See the long drooping ears hanging listlessly from his fuzzy big head. See the large paws and the huge thumping hind legs that should be dancing in the clover instead of scratching about on my nice hardwood floors. Louis has no home and no other rabbits to mount endlessly. What future does he have? What can poor Louis do with such a sad existence? Chased away by dogs and spit at by cats, Louis' sole hope lies with you! You can make a difference in Louis' world. You can help Louis lead a full rabbit life with opportunities to fornicate in the fields like other rabbits do. Without a hutch and no hope Louis will probably fade away into a dark and deep depression and it will be too late then. Once the dog figures out how to climb up on top of the fridge with the cats Louis will be all alone here. The Louis as we know him will be gone and just the shell of a rabbit will remain huddling in the corner of the couch watching Jeopardy like he always does. What is money anyway! Nothing but vanity and vexation and taxes. Your pointless meaningless existence on this planet will end happily if you help dear little Louis the rabbit. If you help Louis, your life will have meaning and how many people have real meaning in their lives these days? Yes. Discover your purpose. For twenty cents I will give you Louis. Just take the 20 cents and you can help change this poor sad rabbit's life. Contact me now. I'm standing by any time night or day just for you to adopt little Louis. email@example.com
Louis tries to steal a sweet moment with Veronica.
Did I mention that if I don't receive $15,000 immediately I will have to shoot the rabbit. That's right. This poor dear little... well big... rabbit will die a dreadful death unless you give me $15,000 within 24 hours. That's right. This lovely velvety bundle of Easter delight named Louis who loves cuddling and well... other things... will die unless you pay up. If that is not possible, I will of course pay you 20 cents instead. Please don't make me kill Louis. I don't even own a gun. I'll have to strangle him. Bring small unmarked bills. Come alone. If you contact the Humane Society I will know and the rabbit dies. I will know because I talk to them everyday and apparently they haven't had anyone looking for a rabbit in about seventeen years. Which is not to say I don't try and call every day. They know me now so don't even THINK about contacting them. I WILL know. The rabbit WILL die. Save Louis now! Don't make me kill Louis. Louis deserves to live a full and rich rabbit life procreating in the fields. Save Louis! Send money now! (or let me give you 20 cents). Remember, if you want to see this rabbit alive you have 24 hours only. The clock is ticking. firstname.lastname@example.org
Prostrate with love lost, Louis lies alone and forlorn on the cold hard ground.
I killed Louis. I told you I would. It was a terrible death too! Don't you feel guilty now!!! You'll have to live with this on your conscience for the rest of your born days. And all for the sake of 20 cents (Canadian) ! Really. How can you live with yourself! Poor Louis the rabbit. Poor little lecherous Louis. Wait. I'm just teasing. I didn't kill Louis. You can still save yourself by adopting Louis. email@example.com
Louis' fuzzy head is all in disarray and deep despondency.
11. YES INDEED. IT'S MONDAY AGAIN. WEEK THREE
RE: Performance by Florquestra Brazil sextet. You put on a fabulous show on July 23 at La Grange in Wakefield. Have you ever thought about expanding your act? Louis Lapin L’Amour has excellent percussion skills when he thumps his back leg and being a rabbit of such constitution he could easily contribute to the sex part of the sextet if he's provided with appropriate props. He could wear a hat. Please contact me right this instant because I hear “Echo and the Bunnymen” are frothing at the bit for a dancing rabbit… We’re offering him to you first because Louis prefers rutting to dancing and, because we’re attached to Louis in a deeply disturbed kind of way, we want him to be happy with his work. Really. firstname.lastname@example.org
Louis begs Veronica who shows only disdain.
To the person who was wondering if Louis Lapin L’Amour the rabbit is related to Louis L’Amour the cowboy/romance writer. But of course! Louis himself has been writing novels for years. He has written some classics: The Great Grain Robbery, The Good, the Bad and the Snuggly, Have Bunny Will Travel, Bunny the Kid, Little Big Hare, No Country for Old Rabbits, Butch Rabbitty and the Bunnydance Kid, The Treasure of the Sie Hare a Madre, Hare with No Name, Rabbit Ballou, Lonesome Rabbit, and of course his most famous—Dances without Wolves. If you would like to adopt the author of these books or if you would take the rabbit and 20 cents (Canadian) please contact: email@example.com
Undaunted, Louis steals a kiss in passing.
Single white male looking for a companion or companions. I am new to the Hills and need some place to call home. I like early-morning runs, watching television, high-jumping and fornicating. I’d love to go out for a salad. If you think you’d like to take me in, contact Louis L’Amour at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tormented Louis searches for Veronica everywhere and anywhere. Day and night. Night and day.
I’m wondering if anyone out there knows what to do about my cat Veronica’s problem. She’s been coughing up hareballs. This has been happening mostly since Louis L’Amour’s arrival. Do you think there’s a connection? (Okay, I know that was really bad…. Even I can’t forgive myself for that one. My only excuse is that desperate times call for desperate measures: Louis is now eyeing the neighbour’s cats.) If you would like to provide some relief for Veronica’s chronic problem by adopting Louis please contact email@example.com
Louis peers through the screen door hoping to catch a glimpse of the fair Veronica.
GARAGE SALE this weekend. Items available: Elastics multi-colored. Those little plastic tabs they close bread bags with. Toenail clippers a little rusty but they can be cleaned up. Some vitamin C just a little past the expiry date. A book of crossword puzzles mostly done in pencil. Mirror broken but just at the corner. A pair of nylons with runs only above the knee. Two plastic margarine containers. A very big rabbit free with anything you buy or steal. Oh, I almost forgot: The margarine containers do come with lids. firstname.lastname@example.org
Louis, his twitchy little nose crinkled in frustration wonders where he went wrong.
16. MONDAY WEEK 4
I seem to have lost the e-mail address from the woman who was complaining that Louis L’Amour had his way with her cat. Look, I do apologize. Louis got away just that one time! Louis couldn’t help doing what he did to your prize-winning Blue Persian. It is in the nature of rabbits, of which by the way, Louis is a most splendid example with very large feet. We do seem to have a serious situation on our hands. I don’t know if you realize how deeply serious this is. I’m sorry to have to tell you that no matter what everybody else may tell you, cats and rabbits do indeed breed. Yes, you are going to be a grandmother! Now, how could you let these little baby crabbits live without a father? It grieves me terribly because we are very very fond of Louis in a twisted kind of way, but for the sake of these wee baby crabbits yet to be born, I will give you Louis. No need to thank me. Really! email@example.com
Attention people at the Black Sheep in Wakefield. Why sheep? When was the last time you saw a sheep in Wakefield?!? Really! What’s wrong with, oh I don’t know, say for example, rabbits? There are lots of rabbits around about Wakefield. Even white ones. So it’s high time you changed the name to The White Rabbit Inn and since you’ll need a white rabbit to live on the premises, Louis L’Amour is here for you. He is clean and somewhat tidy and doesn’t drink… much… A few Harvey Wallbangers now and then maybe with a celery stick… Just a few. Contact me immediately. firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you interested in paper-making? Some of the finest (and most expensive) examples of paper in the world are made from the dung of elephants on a wildlife preserve in Africa. This paper is very popular with artists however the surface is actually quite coarse and doesn’t lend itself to fine details. The search is on for the development of a finer grade of paper made from truly natural ingredients. Imagine the quality of the paper made with, oh I don’t no, say for example, rabbit dung. If you need a dung-making rabbit for your paper-making needs contact: email@example.com
To the person who sent me the emails concerning the impossibility of cats and rabbits breeding: Now, what colour are the moons on your planet? Please don’t be silly! Everybody knows crabbits exist. Please do not e-mail anymore with long attachments concerning your work on genetic manipulation and interspecies procreation. Crabbits are not chimeras. They are just naturally occurring crabbits. Really! You must get yourself some help. However, if you need a rabbit to donate some male seed on a regular basis for your genetic research Louis might be interested provided he can live at home with you. firstname.lastname@example.org
To the man complaining about the loud noises last night coming from the house on the 105: I’m afraid it’s Louis again. I do apologize. It seems that Louis, spurned continuously by the cats and growing more and more despondent over the lack of a hare-m, has turned to religion for some comfort. Even though it’s rather difficult to persuade Louis of anything when he’s in this frame of mind, I’ll try and ensure he lowers his voice when chanting Hare Krishna in future. If you would like to adopt a devout rabbit: email@example.com
21. MONDAY WEEK 5
Attention NASA. I understand you send small mammals out into space for the betterment of humanity. I can imagine it would take a very high calibre animal to be so honoured. This is why I'm offering up Louis the rabbit. I wouldn't normally part with dear Louis who has become so much like a member of the family. I mean, this rabbit is very special to us in a deeply macabre way and I will so seriously miss his fuzzy little head bobbing up and down while he ruts the stuffed teddy bear but I understand that all this is for the betterment of humanity. It will be a far far better thing he has done than he has ever done before. And he's done all the cats and the dog so another little adventure might just be what Louis needs. Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
To the woman who sent me an e-mail, which I have purposely misplaced, concerning the accusation that Louis had his way with her Chihuahua. Why are you blaming Louis? Louis, aside from cats, only likes large dogs or as some would call them—big-boned dogs: Great Danes, Border Collies and particularly Nova Scotia Duck-trolling Retrievers. For heavenssakes woman! I will not be paying damages and that’s final. I have it on good authority that the episode with Louis and the maid’s French poodle in that hotel in Paris would not be taken into consideration by the courts as evidence. Louis has friends in high places. Just so you know. (If anyone would like to adopt a well-connected rabbit contact: email@example.com) butnevermindallthat.blogspot.com
Are you pregnant? How will you ever “really” know without a rabbit? Louis Lapin L’Amour firstname.lastname@example.org butnevermindallthat.blogspot.com
To Whom it May Concern: As a result of the hard-hearted lack of interest out there in the welfare of this most unfortunate rabbit, for the sake of Louis Lapin L’Amour and his desperate deeply pathetic search for a home before the bitter winds of winter arrive, I will be putting myself, the husband, the dog and the cats up for adoption. We don't need "fixing" at the vet but at this point in time counselling would be a good idea I'm thinking... and hot rum toddies. Lots of hot rum toddies. If you or some one you know would like to take in this amazing family please contact email@example.com
A writer's gotta do what a writer's gotta do when a writer's gotta do it. So... Want to know what happened to Louis and his reluctant owners after five weeks (yes… count’em! Five weeks ! 25 days!) of classified ads? Up for auction--the next installment in the life of Louis Lapin L’Amour (and quite likely the last for heavenssakes!)(… but then again, you never know….). The highest bidder by midnight Friday December 2, 2011 wins the 1,500-word essay entitled “Tell me about the rabbit George.” This story will be a hard-copy--handsomely bound and signed by the author. No other such bindings will be made. No other copies will be made. It will be yours and yours alone to know the immediate fate of Louis and his unrequited lust for love. You may share or not share as you choose: the secret of Louis’ adventures will be safe with you and I. (And George of course.) I will announce the highest bid (I mean… if there “are” any bids) regularly on this website. The bidding starts at 20 cents… Canadian… To bid: firstname.lastname@example.org
And to answer the question out there if I actually have a rabbit: Yes. I do. He arrived on the back deck after making his way somehow along the side deck through the gate. In the dark we couldn't see his dark coloured ears so the creature at our screen door looked a bit like a disfigured dog maybe or a mutated raccoon and it took some nerve to go out and investigate. It proved to be a very big rabbit. There he stayed by the screen door peering longingly into the house completely oblivious to the frenetic barking of the dog on the other side of the screen. Little did I know at the time that he wasn't looking so much for a home as for something else. He appears to be in love with Veronica my cat. I picked him up and brought him in. Why I did this I'll never know but I figured a white rabbit in the dark is great fodder for owls, fishers, wolves and the like and a tame rabbit must be somebody's pet. Regular routes in advertising for a lost rabbit came to nil. The Humane Society says many people often get rabbits as babies and unfortunately let them loose when they start growing out of the cuddly stage. Louis is a French Lop rabbit I gather: the largest you can get.
A dear friend of mine has told me that a white rabbit arriving on my doorstep on the eve of a full-moon in the year of the rabbit can only be good luck. Of course Veronica the cat might disagree with this.
In this post I present all the initial ads. I will update daily if and when I write them. I've actually had three offers to take Louis. Two have fallen through. The third offer was from a meat producer. Well. We are deeply attached to Louis in a seriously unhealthy way and could not bring ourselves to part with him in this manner. Even if he just spends his time with the females, well... his children you know... Anyway, it was never my intention to create such a ruckus but lazy days in summer tend to feed my silliness... and everybody else's by the looks of it...
THE MEMOIRS OF A HAIRY PLOTTER: LOUIS LAPIN L'AMOUR
Chapter 1: I Am Born
I never knew my father. My mother said he was a hare of uncommon valour but not too bright really even though he had a pedigree as long as twelve sheets of paper. She told me that the fluffy crown of black and white hair on my head was from him. It was like a badge to my family line that she told me stretched back to the days of the Vikings and before. Long before. That crown of hair was a Celtic mark that some say the witches made on a Spring night during the vernal equinox and any rabbits with such hair were always set apart in some way. It was because it was hair and not fur like the rest of their bodies. It grew and grew and never seemed to shed and so, ashamed by their anomaly, they would secretly gnaw the hair down to stubbles on each other at night in the burrows.
You see, in the beginning the families born with litters of babies sprouting hair there would hide away knowing that these offspring were some kind of freaks. Some even tried to murder their own children, eat them at birth even, but eventually over time they grew proud of that hair. Some took to braiding it and curling and piling it on top of their heads in great twirls and twists. It was the witchery in them that made them that way my mother was convinced. Many of them died out because of it: unable to escape the hounds in a hunt because of their coiffures catching in the briar or hindering the entrance to their burrows. Oh the poor vain things. My mother said my father who was so brave and wild trimmed his hair in a crew cut so he could never be caught. He needed freedom more than mousse. Freedom more than anything... well except that other thing, my mother said.
Sometimes when I gaze into the mirror, as I do often because I'm a fine specimen if I do say so myself, I see what my father must have been: a hare with hair. He escaped from the lab before I was born there in that shabby little place, in that wretched pen in the basement of that mad man who would call himself a scientist. He was no scientist. He had no board of ethics. He had no paper war or funding proposals to write. He didn't even take notes. He was just a mad man doing genetic research beyond his own capacity to understand. My mother hated that man. She would bite his fingers when he fed her carrots and choice bits of cantaloupe but at the end, when I made my escape she stayed behind. She knew he needed her. I think though that it was because she'd grown accustomed to biting him. It gave her some kind of perverse reason to go on everyday. I think that hatred can work that way sometimes.
So many times I asked my mother why she did not want to escape and find my father whom she says she loved in her hare-brained kind of way. She said, "Louis, a rabbit's life is not easy. We sleep around. It's the way we're wired. And this man. Well, he provides me with lots of bucks and I have loved each and every one of them. Your father perhaps most of all, but it is not in a rabbits nature to remain faithful. We're just sluts and we always have been. But Louis, you're different. You have your father's heart. It is brave and strong and pink. You will only give your heart to one and only one. You're like your father that way. He drove me crazy really with his constant oppressive attention. I'm telling you, if that buck brought me one more bloody bouquet of four-leafed clovers I think I would have just gone crazy but you know, now sometimes I kind of miss it. Well... I miss the clover anyway. They say that only dogs can be bitches Louis but your mother is a bitch and a rabbit and proud of it. It's in my nature. He loved too much that bloody rabbit so I bit his ears until he left.
"Never forget Louis that you're a French Lop rabbit. They don't come any bigger than you and you are a giant among cabbages and kings. You will play the fields of grasses but you will only love one. I'm trying to say you're also a slut but one with heart.
"You are also the product of genetic engineering. That man that mixed you. That man that I bite. He made you intelligent. More intelligent than I ever was and something your father would never be. Not that I ever needed him to be at the time really. Anyway, this intelligence is something no other rabbits have because that man of course didn't keep any notes when he was doing his concoction. Silly bastard. No matter how hard he's tried since then, all he's ever produced are mutant misfit hares that don't even like escargots or singing in the morning. I have lived among these mutants for a long time now and I know it is not for you Louis to live this life of tedium and procreation. You are a hare above that.
"Louis my favourite: You were a lone rabbit born to me on a Spring night during the vernal equinox. There were no others in the litter. And I was known to have large litters. It was a sign Louis. The witches and the mad man made you, mixed you up in a vial of possibilities on that dark and crisp and star-clustered night. I was just a vessel for your amazing birth. You were born singing Louis. You were born to be strong, free, wild and utterly eccentric." And then she'd say, "And wealthy! Always remember, 'Never accept a carrot when a karat will do!'"
Oh my dear mother. I miss her still. She gave me everything including most of all my delusions of grandeur. I'll always remember her last words to me, "Louis, clip your hair but don't clip your wings. Fly!" she said. "Fly!"
And I did. As much as a rabbit could fly. I gnawed through the metal wires with my fine fine buck teeth and I scuttled around to the back of the desk and when the man came I bit his ankle hard (with my fine fine buck teeth) and then I flew. I flew. I flew like the wind in a winter's gale out through the door. Away from the snug fur-lined nest and the soft cooing snuffles of my mother and my 203 step-siblings. Out into the wilderness that was. Out into my destiny. I had to find my father. And I had to find my love. My real and most perfect love. My Veronica. And I also had to find a harem or something like it. Really soon.
Chapter Two: LOST IN WALMART
I was young. A young rabbit freshly sprung into life and I could run, swift as the wind, silent as the night.
No dog could catch me although they would try. No cat could escape me. You have to understand I found no other rabbits in the city and so cats became all I had. I was young but my appetite was ancient and overpowering. To be truthful, I had them all: the tabbies, the persians, the siamese with their delicate cream fur and sly glances, the wicked wild alley cats with their lusty exuberance. Yet as clever and voluptuous as my lustrous lovely felines were, they were only playthings; it was my fascination with people that would be my downfall.
They were nothing like the scientist who reeked of dry paper and chemicals and cabbage soup. These humans were all dramatically different from each other, unlike rabbits. And they all smelled differently. The further out of the suburbs I'd go, the sweeter they would smell. The more trees there were the more they would smell like fruit or newly opened flowers. But in the suburbs most were tainted with the acrid stench of sweat and sorrow and cement.
I was always drawn to them. I blush remembering my young self there watching from behind little shrubs and the dark shadows at the edges of buildings, my nose forever twitching, twitching. I would rush out and touch their heels and then run. The little ones would laugh and their delight drew me closer and closer, made me braver in my antics. Eventually I was caught by a little girl who smelled like buttercups and alfalfa and the innocence of newly-formed moss on an open tundra. She enticed me into her knapsack where I snugged down for a light nap.
When I awoke I was in a new world without grass or sky. She had taken me to Walmart shopping with her mother and left me on a shelf between a box of laundry detergent and a roll of paper towels. She never did come back although I waited for a very long time, always returning to the knapsack at the break of day to hide inside its promise.
Whenever I drink too much now, old rabbit that I am, and particularly the rich potato Vodka of the Steppes, I recall my Walmart days and find myself confessing that it was these very days that formed the essence of who I was to become. My character was forged by the smell of the plastic, the uneasy flutter of florescent lighting and the taste of generic gerbil food and genetically modified lettuce. I would never want that again.
I would forever seek out the scent of natural materials, the glow of candlelight and the exotic taste of vegetables fresh sprung from the belly of the soil. But at the time I did not know better. Oh how I shudder to think of it. At the time I grew fat and pallid with all that I could eat without effort. I munched on bags of anemic carrots and limp spinach. I ate without relish, or mustard for that matter, the bags of gerbil food only because I liked the picture of the gerbil. And as painful as it is to admit, I drank coke because they always stored that on the lowest shelf. Once I even tried the frozen vegetarian pizzas but I hated the tang of cold which tingled my toes. When the mood hit me I went to the toy department.
It only took me two days to find the toy department but when I did I knew I had died and gone to rabbit heaven. Not that I knew much about heaven and hell, being philosophically naive at the time. All I knew was the happiness. Pink and blue and plush furry little things all waiting for me. They didn't run away. There was no sport of the chase when I had my way with the teddy bears but it was always interesting. If I pushed a button or two they would sing and sometimes talk and I would feel less lonely.
My most favourite was a giant pink stuffed rabbit that sang "Somewhere over the rainbow" so sweetly sometimes I would forget about everything and fall asleep in its cotton arms and wake when the store opened. Then I would have to spend twelve hours staying absolutely still while little children pawed through all the stuffed toys. There was never any danger they would pick me because I was mute and didn't sing or dance or smile with fake human teeth or play on little imitation drums. The whole store would have stopped in silence if I sang. For I can sing. Yes I can sing. Angels choirs have nothing on my talent for I have gift that is beyond heaven. But anyway, at times like that, cowering in the plush toy section of Walmart, it wasn't hard to stay still because fear captured me, paralyzed me to the spine and down to the end of my wee little tail.
It wasn't the humans. It wasn't even Raoul the cleaner who kept spying me now and then as he depondently pushed his mop up and down the aisles. He would put out poisoned pellets thinking I was stupid. We danced around each other all that time. He grew to hate me. He'd curse and swear at me and vowed my death but I would only laugh at him. He could not outrun or outsmart me for I was Louis Lapin and Louis Lapin could run and outsmart anyone! Of course I could read by then. I learned from a toy computer in the electronics department. Big Bird taught me the ABCs and Oscar taught me numbers but I learned the most from sleepily listening to the wicked conversations between customers and of course the Walmart Greeter. He taught me how to swear. One day I found a block of arsenic-laced alfalfa and a note that read DIE RABBIT DIE. Silly Raoul. I kept the two things just for fun in a mayonnaise jar in my knapsack. No, Raoul didn't scare me that man. But even still, there among the plush toys I was terrified.
I was terrified of the shopping carts. It was the memory of the cage in the scientist's house that always came back to me. I would watch in horror as my dear delicious Friday night favourite, the purple Teddy bear with the top hat was carted away in one of the walking cages. On the day they took away my pink rabbit I cried as I know now only rabbits can cry, my nose twitching, mouth wide to the sky and a howl of sorrow that bounced off the metal ceiling and scuttled the moths high in the rafters. No being can cry like a rabbit.
I vowed never to grow close to any of my conquests after that until Veronica the cat. Despite my growing seductive wiles, I never wavered on that commitment to indifference when it came to love. Lust was good enough. On that day I built a little innocuous looking pile of boxes beside the doors to hide under and when they opened the store I swept out into the parking lot and into the world again. I ran like my mother told me. "Fly!" she said. "Fly!" And that is what I did. Even though the hair on my head had now grown long beyond reason because I had no other rabbit to trim it, I managed to fly despite how it kept getting tangled in my feet and in front of my face.
I didn't know why then but I took with me the knapsack the little girl had brought me in, all rolled into a bundle. Behind me the bored employees of Walmart in the smoking tent near the building remarked to each other about the strange sight of a rabbit carrying a bundle stumble-rushing through the parking lot. Perhaps they even thought they should chase after me but then they likely all agreed they had to get back to work to rule.
Next: Louis discovers the nightlife of Hull
Posted by Sylvia Shawcross at 7:41 AM