Sunday, September 25, 2011

I'm baaack....

Portrait of S. Spence, 2009, Chelsea $550
Published here with the model's permission and forgiveness.
She actually loves this portrait.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Sometimes you need the muppets. Here's a video dedicated to the stretch of Highway 105 between the Smokehouse and Les Fougeres and thems that are supposed to fix it.

Bidding on the 1,500 word essay "Tell Me about the Rabbit George." Signed, hand-bound limited edition of 1 continues: $91.00 Wednesday, August 24, 2011 Bidding closes midnight Friday, December 2, 2011 To bid send an e-mail to Chapter Two of The Memoirs of a Hairy Plotter: Louis Lapin L'Amour "Lost in Walmart" is HERE!!! See below this post. To follow the initial story see my July post on the right ----------->


Einstein’s Time Management Seminar

S. Shawcross

This column is no longer available on the website. It is contained in the new book available for a mere pittance from


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.


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

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