Rabbit Food & Other Weird Stories


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Rabbit Food

  I don’t think Annie will ever forgive me for cheating. She’s unpacking in our room upstairs while I try to eavesdrop from the patio. Neither of us said a word as we drove here, but she put on her biggest smile when the movers turned up to unload what little furniture we decided to bring. She’s been flirting all morning and I can hear her talking excitedly to one of the boys she’s taken an interest in. Undoubtedly she’s coerced him inside with a plea to help lift something. Can’t hear a word they’re saying, so I start admiring the size of our new backyard. The grass is a lifeless brown divided by patches of bone-dry earth. Two large gum trees at either corner of the yard provide shade yet the heat of the sun bearing down is still enough to fry anything green to a crisp. Wire fence secludes our patch of land from the rest of the bush and I assume the metal must get dangerously hot on days like today. I make note not to touch it. Squinting, I notice the remnants of an old vegetable patch between the trees and I remember Annie’s complaint about being unable to find the organic food she’s used to eating. She’s always on some kind of bullshit fad diet. She stopped eating gluten for three days a few years back until I asked her to prove she could explain what gluten was. Livid, she ordered a pizza, told me to fuck off, and refused to speak to me for the rest of the night. It seems impossible to grow anything out here but I’m gonna give it a try. I’ll get started first thing tomorrow. I think she’ll make me sleep downstairs tonight.
   The next morning we chat in a detached way over breakfast and I convince her to let me start a garden with the promise of cheap organic food.
“Anything that gets you out of the house”, she says.
  “I’ll grow you anything you want my love.”
    “Grow from love.”  
She mimics our marriage councilor as she raises her coffee to her lips. I finish breakfast and head outside determined to impress her.
  Who knew it was so bloody difficult to start a garden? Including the book, and shovel, everything has cost more than a week’s worth of groceries. The book tells me I need five complex layers of different animal dung as well as straw to sit on top. The only problem is a gust of wind is blowing the smell into the house and now Annie thinks everything reeks of shit.
“Smells like our marriage.”
That’s the last thing she says to me as she locks all the doors and windows. I can’t tell if her tears are from the smell or if she’s actually upset. If I'm let back in I’ll be sleeping downstairs again.
  She didn’t let me back in last night. Today is my first day at my new job. Practically nuking myself in aerosol to hide the smell I change into the plain jeans and t-shirt I found in my car and begin the long drive to the factory. I discover our nearest neighbor lives twenty minutes up the road. I can’t say I’m interested to know them. After I arrive at the factory I’m relieved to find that the job is virtually identical to my previous position in the city. I’ve always worked in quality control and it’s always been a nice simple job. Boxes printed with cute cartoonish animal faces pass me one by one. It’s my job to make sure they’ve been filled with the right amount of cereal. Hippo, rabbit, fox, lion, tiger, rabbit. Each has a large cheesy grin advertising the sugary breakfast inside. After nine hours of hard work it’s time to head home. I have an idea to get Annie’s attention. I pull up at our house with a bag of thick juicy carrots from the grocery store. Sneaking into the backyard I push each one into the garden bed. It’s midnight and she’ll be sleeping upstairs. If she questions how the carrots grew so fast I’ll tell her that mixing different animal shit makes vegetables grow super fast, that it’s in the book, and that it’s science. I sleep downstairs excited for her reaction in the morning.
  Things never go according to plan. She gets worked up at breakfast when she sees the carrots outside.
  “Do you think I’m an idiot?”she says sounding exhausted.
She questions why she saw me from her window pushing carrots into the ground at midnight like some mad man.
 “I thought you’d lost the plot.”
I tell her she must have been dreaming, and that maybe the carrots grew from leftover seeds the previous owner left in the soil. She raises an eyebrow and presents the empty bag of carrots she found in the bin. Fuck. It’s 7am and I already know I’ll be sleeping downstairs. When I think I’m about to cop another earful I see her smile for the first time since we’ve moved here. She looks just like one of the cheeky animals on the cereal boxes at work. She dashes over to the window like an excited schoolgirl. I cautiously follow scared I might spoil her mood. Sitting out in the yard is a fluffy white rabbit – the first animal we’ve seen since moving here. He impresses me with his appetite as he downs each of the long carrots one by one before jumping over the fence and disappearing into the bush. Annie’s good mood lasts for the rest of the day and later that night we have sex - I’ll be buying more carrots tomorrow.
  I’m standing in the backyard building a little rabbit hut for Annie’s friend as I’ve caught on that cute animals mean sex. The rabbit jumps over the fence and slowly approaches. He eats a carrot straight from my hand. I can hear Annie giggling from the window. He downs every carrot in the bag and looks directly at Annie then at me before opening his mouth and saying
  “I want your wife.”
 I freeze. I think I’m going insane. Rabbits can’t talk. I try and think back to the pest section of my gardening book and whether it specified any breeds of rabbit that can talk. While I stand there like a stunned mullet he jumps back over the fence and into the bush. I convince myself that it must be the heat, and head to work. I don’t think I’ll be building a rabbit hut for Annie’s “friend”.
   It’s another regular day at work, only the cereal boxes with rabbits on the front start to creep me out a little. The rest of the afternoon goes smoothly and I head home early from work to surprise Annie. She called at lunch and told me she feels ready to move on. I park away from our house so she won’t hear me coming in. As I open the door the sound of jazz music and the scent of vanilla candles is over-powering. She reserves these things for when we have sex. Moving upstairs my heart sinks at the thought of what I am about to walk in on. I open the door to my wife dressed seductively in the black lingerie she hasn’t worn in over a year. Her long dark hair curls down her back she gazes longingly out the window bent-over as her breasts lightly touch the glass. In her mouth she seductively eats a carrot swirling her tongue around the tip before taking a bite. I see a silhouette lit by the moon sitting in our backyard. It’s the rabbit. He disappears into the bush when he sees me. I knock Annie to the ground and she says nothing. I sleep downstairs. She sleeps where I left her. I awaken early the next morning and make a list of poisons and traps I intend to buy on the way home from work. I’m going to crush his skull. At work every time a cereal box with a rabbit on the front comes by I stab it with a pair of scissors. Tiger, stab. Fox, Lion, Tiger, stab. I pretend the cereal pouring out is his blood. They send me home early not quite sure what’s running through my head. This let’s me spend all afternoon setting up sharp metal traps and trails of carrots leading to them. I sprinkle poison on everything.
   In the morning the traps are all sprung and the carrots are gone – No rabbit. Every time I check on Annie she’s still where I left her. Probably thinking hard about what she’s done. I start feeling uneasy about the rabbit. If he’s smart enough to speak, and evade traps he’s probably smart enough to open a door. I lock everything. Every door every window. Annie is filthy in her black lingerie and she makes the whole house smells like shit. It’s 2pm and work is calling the home phone probably wondering where I am. I pull out the phone cord so I can listen for the rabbit. For all we know he could pick locks. Who is “we”? All husbands. I fight for my marriage in the name of every man who has ever had a rodent problem. I shut every blind.
   Days later the house is hot and dark. There’s a knock at the door. I turn the knob. A young scout is selling Anzac biscuits. Her uniform has many badges and she doesn’t complain about the smell inside. She talks me into buying three boxes. When I ask her how much it will cost she smiles and says:
 “I just want your wife.”
It’s at this moment I realise that this “scout” is only three inches tall and that she has long fluffy white ears. The rabbit quite clearly in disguise tries to rush inside but I slam the door in his face. I can hear him gnawing on the door. I can’t keep going on like this.
  The next night I have an idea. He can’t take her if he can’t find her. It’s so genius I don’t know why I’m only just thinking of it now. I wrap Annie in the rug downstairs to hide her, and in the dead of night I start digging a hole in the garden bed. It’s such an obvious place to look that he won’t even think to check. He’ll think she’s still inside the house and tonight I’ll burn the house to the ground to send the message that he shouldn’t fuck with me. I win. Flies buzz around Annie as I bury her deep. He won’t have my wife. I need to be a good husband. I need to save my marriage.

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