P.J. Monroe's Published Writing

Friday, May 25, 2012

998 Bunny Rabbits

            When I came in the front door of my apartment, my husband was waiting for me.  I was soaking wet and being followed by 998 soaking wet bunny rabbits. 

            “Where have you been?  I’ve been worried,” my husband said. 

            “The “L” reconfigured itself while I was on it,” I replied.

            My husband started walking towards the back of the house and I followed him.  The bunny rabbits stayed in the living room, hopping and bouncing on the furniture, as bunny rabbits are wont to do.

            “So where did you end up getting off?” my husband asked.

            “I got off at the Sheridan stop, but it was really the Belmont stop.  And it was only a two stop difference, so I counted myself lucky and walked the rest of the way,” I answered loudly, so my husband could hear me.  His head was in the linen closet.

            “I don’t know why you ride the “L”.  You know it is likely to reconfigure itself, especially when it’s raining,” my husband said, as he handed me 499 towels.

            “I had to.  I ran out of money.”

            We walked back to the living room.  We each picked up a bunny rabbit.  We started to dry them off.  The other bunny rabbits saw this and immediately formed two lines.  498 bunny rabbits in each line.

            “Perhaps you should start at the beginning,” he said, diligently rubbing down his second bunny rabbit.

            “Okay, so I was getting ready for work…”

            And then I heard the horrible flash back music.

            I have this volunteer job.  Because I don’t have a real job and I don’t have kids.  And I don’t ever want either.  But what would people think if I just stayed home and watched Star Trek all day, everyday.  So I have this volunteer job.  Not because I want to help anyone.  Mostly I hate the human race.  But that’s neither here nor there.  I read to deaf people.  I don’t know if I’m helping them because I don’t understand sign language.  And I have to admit, some of them look annoyed when I show up and follow them around, reading the newspaper. 

            Anyway… I was getting ready for work when the doorbell rang.  I answered it with my usual trepidation, because who knows what is going to be on the other side.  On the other hand, if you don’t answer it, they’ll keep ringing. 

            When I answered the door, there were 998 bunny rabbits standing there.  One of the bunny rabbits stepped forward and tried to hand me a piece of paper.

            “We’re here,” the bunny rabbit said.

            “What?” I asked.

            “We’re here.”

            He was shaking the paper at me.  I took it and looked at it.  It was one of those moments when you know every word on the paper, but somehow, strung together like that, they make absolutely no sense.

            “What?” I asked again.

            “You ordered 998 bunny rabbits.  And we’re here,” he said, talking very slowly, for I was obviously an idiot.

            “I didn’t order 998 bunny rabbits.”

            “Your name is on the invoice.”

            I looked at the invoice.  Damned if my name wasn’t there.  Well, what can you do?  So I explained that I was just on my way to work and that they should come with me and we would get them settled in afterwards.  So out to the corner we went.  I hailed a cab and we all got in. 

            “Beautiful day,” the cab driver said, after I told him where we were going.  It was, in fact, not a beautiful day.  It was a cold Chicago day, with wind whipping off the lake, and thunderheads forming.

            “Hhhmmm…” I grunted.  I started petting the bunny rabbit that was on the top of the pile on my lap with great interest.  Mostly I get cab drivers who want to talk.  Which I wouldn’t mind so much if they could think of anything to talk about besides the weather.  It turned out that the lead bunny rabbit, the one who’d handed me the invoice, wanted to talk, so I was off the hook.  He asked all sorts of questions about Chicago landmarks and, oddly enough, Swedish cuisine.  He and the cab driver talked the whole way.

            “That will be $516,” the cab driver said.

            “Are you sure?” I asked.

            “$17.00 for the trip and fifty cents for each additional passenger.”

            “Oh, right.  Forgot about that,” I said.  Then I handed him $650 and told him to keep the change.  I always overtip.  We went to my job and followed deaf people around, reading to them.  Some stopped to pet the bunny rabbits.  One guy even had a long chat with the lead bunny rabbit.  Paws and hands flying through the air.

            “What was that about?” I asked, after the guy had left.

            “Oh, he was just saying that you annoy him,” the bunny rabbit answered. 

            “Yeah, I figured.”

            Then it was time to go home.  And I didn’t have enough money to take a cab, so we went on the “L”, because the rule there is that if you can walk underneath the turnstile, without ducking, you can ride for free.  So I only had to pay for me and the two biggest bunny rabbits.  But it was raining.  And I should have known.  Every time it rains, the “L” reconfigures itself.  Once I was going to the Sheridan station, the one by my house, at 4000 North and I ended up at 5300 South.  It was very inconvenient.  This time I only ended up two stops away.  So I just walked.  998 wet bunny rabbits in tow.

            And then the flashback was over.  And nobody had died this time.  Very lucky day for me.  Probably because of all those bunny rabbit feet.  The real lucky ones are still on the bunny rabbit.  If it wasn’t lucky for the bunny rabbit, why would it be lucky for anyone else?  I was almost at the end of my line of wet bunny rabbits.  I looked around the living room to find the lead bunny rabbit.  He was checking out the DVD collection. 

            “We’re going to be a bit crowded until we can find a bigger house to live in, so you and the rest of the bunny rabbits will have to double up on quarters,” I said.

            “That’s fine,” said the lead bunny rabbit, waving a paw in my direction, never taking his eyes off the DVDs.  “Hey, can we watch Independence Day?!?!?!?!?”