Happy Year of the Rabbit! I didn’t know until just then, when I googled Years of the Rabbit, that I’m, in fact, a Rabbit. Which makes sense, because I am one.
Kiki will be a Rabbit too.
Did you know a baby Rabbit is called a Kit?
I’m so happy to know that I’m a Rabbit – it’s much better than say, being a Rat.
Here is my favourite Rabbit joke:
What do you call a man with rabbits up his bum?
Here is a story about a Rabbit:
Mr L and I were living in a house in Brunswick and there was a backyard and we were sort of Melbourne hippies and I had short hair and I think maybe a diamond nose-stud and we planted things in our nasty little backyard that either died or sprouted bizarrely, like enormous courgettes and weird, curly carrots. Mr L got fascinated with organic farming and wanted to get a rabbit to help tend the ‘garden’, which in fact, was little more than some piles of dirt that we’d attempted to rake into patches, lots of balding grass and a stinking attempt at a compost heap. But he was determined. I bought ridiculous flowers from overpriced city shops and planted them on weekends with the radio on, which was nice, and futile. One day, Mr L and I drove to Moonee Ponds.
And we returned with Beverley.
In the pet store there was a big, glass case down the back and inside it a whole pack of cute little fluffy bunnies, pygmy bunnies I think the man called them, and I squealed with delight.
“I want that little white one with the socks on and coffee on his face!” I said, palms clapping under my chin, cheeks rosy.
But no. Mr L wanted a ‘good working bunny’. He’d done his research. And suddenly the seething mountain of fluff cleared to reveal a giant bunny sleeping at the back of the pen. A big, ugly, heavy, grey, tired old rabbit. I’d never seen one like it.
“She’s been here a while,” said the pet store man. “The little ones treat her like a mother. We didn’t mind keeping her all this time because of that.”
“How much?” asked Mr L.
“Twenty,” said the man.
And he put her in a box and we put that box in the car and all the way home there was a THUMP. THUMP. THUMP.
When we got her home and let her out she went bounding madly around the backyard. She was bigger than even some of the largest courgettes. I tried to catch her and finally did. I tried to cuddle her.
Her feet were like two monster fists in my belly. I fell to the ground, making that winded wheezing sound that is hilarious when it’s not you, but when it is you, you feel like you’re going to die.
And so it was that Beverley came to reign.
Mr L had constructed a hutch for her that he saw in an organic farming book that she didn’t like at all and would sit with such a pathetic look on her face that we’d have to lift it up and let her out. She would go bounding around the garden, destructing everything in sight. Every fragile flower struggling to survive the dry soil and my questionable planting techniques exploded in her wake. She definitely did till the soil. But not quite as Mr L had anticipated.
And then, one day, she was gone. With her sheer brute strength she must have simply lifted the hutch in the night and stole away. She was tough, our Beverley, and smart. She scared me. We were anxious. We put up posters around the neighbourhood:
Have you seen Beverley? A Good, Working Bunny.
With a picture of her underneath the writing. She was no oil painting our Beverley. She looked like a stone-age battleaxe who tilled the potato fields with her bare hands. The look in her eye was ‘Do Not Fuck with Me.’
A few days later there was a knock at the door. A man was standing there with a cat-cage and that familiar THUMP. THUMP. THUMP.
“I found her in the old abandoned market garden next to our house up the street. She was ruling supreme over the local stray cats and mice. It’s bunny heaven there. She was not at all happy to leave.”
The man was concerned for Beverley’s welfare and asked to see our yard. We felt like very bad parents. The backyard did look like a war zone. The man looked at the hutch.
“She probably needs more space than that. And your backyard is very small.”
We nodded ashamedly and the man left. Beverley gave us a smirk and went back to destruction.
Mr L sighed.
“It hasn’t worked out how we’d imagined, has it?” I said. At that moment Beverley punctured the fence in a punctuating THUMP.
“Hmmm,” he said. “Not quite.”
So we let Beverley roam free in the backyard and boarded up the tiny space under the tall gate she must have squeezed under and any other possible escape route. The fences were tall. She was safe.
But three days later, she was gone again. Images of her high-jumping the fence horrified and thrilled me. She must have sprung herself like a bullet over those high walls. I tried to imagine what that would look like from the street – a big, fat flying bunny. Why did she hate us so much? Were we really that bad? Mr L was upset and I was too, that she was so desperate to escape us she would go Superhuman. Superbunny.
And sure enough, a few days later the same man knocked at the door. Beverley wasn’t with him, but we Knew. This time his look was openly reprimanding.
“I have friends in the hills. They have a big, big space in which Beverley can roam free. I think I should take her there.”
We nodded glumly. And our Beverley was gone. To her new Bunny Heaven.
That was the story of Beverley the Bunny. The lesson? Beverleys don't cuddle. Pygmy bunnies might. And if you live in the city and are looking for a Good Working Bunny, you'd better be prepared for the fact that one way or another, they're going to Bunny Heaven.