It seems like a weird title, but there is no singular form of the word bunnies at my house. When Sam was little, he called all rabbits, A Bunnies. In honor of his long gone babyhood, we still call single rabbits “A Bunnies.” Groups of rabbits are ALSO called A Bunnies, and the phrase is like FISH. It can be 1 A Bunnies or 75 A Bunnies, it is all still A Bunnies to us.
A, you understand, is part of the proper name, not an article, so it is grammatically correct to say, “Yesterday, we saw an A Bunnies in the yard.” Or if more than one, you say, “We saw some A Bunnies in the yard.” We would never say, “We saw a bunnies in the yard.” That would be like saying “We saw tractor in the yard.”
Last week, my dog told me a lie. This is unusual, first because his brain is made of four separate cells that sit too far apart in the darkness of his skull cavity to ever be rubbed together, and I did not know the dog had the intellectual CAPACITY to lie. It was also surprising because Bagel is SUCH a diffident animal. He doesn’t have an alpha dog bone in his body. I suspect his spine is made of taffy.
He practically genuflects when my one-eyed massive pirate cat walks by, and he is SO submissive that when we FIRST brought him home, he had a healthy, “SIR, YES SIR!” style respect for a large wrought iron pig that sits on the hearth by the fireplace. He would run through the den and as he passed the pig he would go all LOW BELLY and shoot it a worried glance as he slinked and bobbed past it. He wasn’t sure if the pig was ALIVE, but just in case it decided it WAS, he wanted to make absolutely sure the pig understood its authority was not being challenged.
But the KITTEN, Boggart the Dreadful, is another matter. The wrought iron pig has seniority, clearly, but Bagel was here BEFORE the kitten. He sees the kitten as a peer and they REALLY enjoy each other’s youthful, sproingy company as they bound through the house and wear each other out playing fun games like, “Let’s Ruin All the Furniture!” and, “Can This Be Eaten? (Yes!)”
When we first got Boggart, he was about the size of Bagel’s left ear-flop. NOW he is about the size of Bagel’s head, so he plays with Bagel as if the head were the entire dog. Sometimes he plays with Bagel as if the TAIL was the entire dog, but he doesn’t ever try to take on all 50-some pounds worth of hound. Bagel, chock full of good stupid goodness, agrees to forget the existence of whatever portion of himself the cat is not using for the sake of not accidentally killing my kitten.
THEN LAST WEEK, Bagel told me a lie. The lie was, “I RILLY NEEDTER GO TER THE BATHROOM.” Usually when Bagel needs to go to the bathroom, he creeps up to me sideways and, in a sorrowful and apologetic manner, makes the canine equivalent of a gentle throat clearing. It is a barely audible whispery ahem noise in the back of his throat, coupled with sad down-tilty hound eyes that telegraph how VERY sorry he is to be a bother. He repeats this endlessly until his bladder explodes and he dies, or until someone notices and takes him out to use the lawnly facilities.
Last week, he came tearing up and LIED TO MY FACE that if I did not take him to the bathroom IMMEDIATELY, me and my carpet would suffer many vile indignities. I was in the middle of drafting a scene in the new book, but he lied with SUCH vigor, threatening all manner of indoor biohazards, that I hit save and marched him forthwith to the backdoor. The NANOSECOND I cracked the door, he EXPLODED out of it, banging me out of the way and tearing down the deck stairs.
That was when I saw an A Bunnies was in the yard. It was a small brown A Bunnies, with its slump shouldered little back firmly toward us, eating up the long grass in the center of the yard. It heard the clatter of dog nails on the wood, and it looked behind it, and it saw 50 pounds of A Bunnies Destroying Befanged Evil bearing down upon it like a slavering train. ALL A Bunnies had to do was run under the back gate, not 20 feet away, but Alas! POOR A Bunnies lost its total crap.
A Bunnies panicked. It took off in an entirely incorrect direction, trapping itself in a corner of the tall fence. I then lost my total crap, picturing my backyard as a R’abbitoir: I saw four of the world’s most luck-free paws scattered to all the main points of the compass, a detached ear flopped into the azaleas, the head mysteriously golfed away or eaten, red entrails making a gruesome Christmas in the long green unmowed grasses that had called poor A Bunnies in the first place.
I started screaming, “NO BAGEL NO BAGEL NO BAGEL NONONONONONO.”
Bagel was deaf. Bagel was blind to all but an A Bunnies trapped in the corner. Bagel did not slow nor did he veer. He charged straight up to poor, paralyzed an A Bunnies, and, gentle reader, I am sorry to report, he MOISTENED it.
See, this is the world’s most diffident dog, and he regularly plays with a kitten about the same size and shape of an A Bunnies. He basically scooped up an A Bunnies in his cavernous, maw, careful not to bite down, and joyfully SUCKED HIM LIKE A LOZENGE for a damp moment before gently rolling an A Bunnies across the lawn.
There was a brief frozen moment where an A Bunnies, ABSOLUTELY SURE that he was dead, sat in a saliva-coated, unharmed heap. And then he realized he was FINE and he went leaping away, in the correct direction this time, and goozled under the back gate and was gone.
Bagel came bounding back to me with fur breath and asked to go back inside. I said, “You are a big liar pants. You did not EVEN need to go to the bathroom.” But by then he had already forgotten the whole thing and had NO idea what I was talking about. He also had NO idea why I gave him an ENORMOUS lick of peanut butter off a spoon, but I know why. It’s because he is awesome.