April 16, 2008

The Near-Tragic Tale of An A Bunnies

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 REALLYenjoy 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 GOTER 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 nto 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.


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 took him inside and gave him and ENORMOUS lick of peanut butter off a spoon, but I know why. It’s because he is awesome.

Posted by joshilyn at April 16, 2008 6:37 AM

Amazing that the A Bunnies didn't have a coronary! That Bagel IS one awesome dog.

Now I'm remembering a cat that I caught up on the table once, who immediately leaped to a chair and pretended to be completely sacked out. So funny when pets lie!

Posted by: Brigitte at April 16, 2008 7:10 AM

This entry captures why i read this blog.

Posted by: parrotzmom at April 16, 2008 8:36 AM

"R'abbitoir" is the one of the funniest things I've EVER read. Also, "Can This Be Eaten? (YES!)".

Poor A Bunnies. He probably could have used a lick of peanut butter after a scare like that. Or a good stiff drink.

Posted by: Leandra at April 16, 2008 9:00 AM

Still laughing. Can't breathe!

Posted by: Mir at April 16, 2008 9:03 AM

I love Bagel.

Posted by: daysgoby at April 16, 2008 9:13 AM

Awwwwww! I mean... Awwwwwwww! Nothing but AWWWWWW!

Posted by: Heather P. at April 16, 2008 9:26 AM

That's great! My dogs are insufferable liars and they also talk back.

Posted by: Laura L at April 16, 2008 9:28 AM

I pink puffy heart this storyand Bagle the Brave. Sadly, we don't have cute A Bunnies, we have city rats, and thankfully my pack knows just how to treat city rats. *squeek*

Posted by: Chris at April 16, 2008 9:36 AM

my stomach was in my throat there for a minute...i heart bagel.

Posted by: christina at April 16, 2008 9:56 AM

LOVE!! Good doggie.

Posted by: RuthWells at April 16, 2008 10:05 AM

Being Moistened by Bagle the Mighty - FOR THE WIN!

*blesses A Bunnies*

*blesses Bagle*

*blesses new book working-outzies*

*is Papal*

Posted by: Angela at April 16, 2008 10:10 AM


OMG, that is the funniest freaking thing I have read in... I don't even know how long. I'm so lucky that my boss isn't here yet, because I GUFFAWED when I read that. I do love you, in a non-stalker-y way.

I'm very glad that the A Bunny was only moistened by Bagel.

Posted by: Aimee at April 16, 2008 10:18 AM

Thank you for a joyful beginning to my morning! I shall hold that little story in my heart all day, and squeak out a little giggle at inappropriate times.

"joyfully sucked him like a lozenge" Indeed.

Posted by: Mel at April 16, 2008 10:24 AM

OK, thanks to that story, all the people in my office think I'm crazy, sitting all alone in my office laughing at nothing. Thanks for the rib tickler story.

Posted by: Therese at April 16, 2008 10:56 AM

This is one of your best blog posts EVER!

Thank you!

Posted by: Elizabeth at April 16, 2008 11:49 AM

I love Bagel. I gotta send this to my mom... reminds me of the time her Boston Terrier told the same kind of big ol' lie about needing to go outside. He promptly went out to the tall grass next to the carport, caught the possum that he somehow knew was out there (picked it up with his teeth by the back of its neck) and brought back it into my mama's kitchen. And would NOT be persuaded to let go of it (i.e. "No, this is my possum, you go get your own.") And of course, that poor possum was literally scared shitless. I'll never forget the image of my stepdad playing hockey goalie to keep the dog-and-possum from going down the hall to the bedrooms, and my mom chasing them around the kitchen table.

I broke up with a guy for being grossed out when I told that story, BTW. Of course, my now-husband was also present when I was telling the story, and he (having grown up on a farm) thought it was hilarious. Obviously I wanted to be with somebody who gets this kind of humor. (We got engaged three months later and have been married 5 1/2 yrs.)

Posted by: jenn at April 16, 2008 11:56 AM

omg! cannot breathe! must remember inhaler before reading your blog.

Posted by: Michelle at April 16, 2008 1:07 PM

well that was a lol-abunnies moment if ever there was one. (Had to hyphenate 'cause lolabunnies looked like bunnies named Lola. And now I got a Stones earworm about transabunnies. L-O-L-A ...thanks.)

And we got lotsa lozenge-flavored (a) bunnies here, but my Ella hasn't gotten close enuf to taste em. She has enthusiasm but not speed.

Posted by: Lulu at April 16, 2008 1:45 PM

Moistend A Bunnies! Too funny!

Posted by: Heather at April 16, 2008 1:46 PM

What parrotzmom said.

Posted by: Deborah P at April 16, 2008 2:31 PM

i'm having a nice "a bunnies liberation" spoonful of peanut butter myself, in celebration. (good excuse!)

Posted by: dramamama at April 16, 2008 3:03 PM

Hey, just a thought, make sure Bagel boy is up to date with his rabies vaccination, since the rabbit was a wild one. Maybe a quick call to your vet to make sure that he doesn't need anything extra.

Posted by: Heather at April 16, 2008 3:49 PM

When you said Bagel "moistened" it. . .I thought you meant that he claimed it as His Own in canine language. . .glad to know the moistening came from the mouth and not the betwixt parts. I'm sure A Bunnies was just glad to be alive.

Posted by: Roxanne at April 16, 2008 4:02 PM

you are the anti-Anyanka!

Posted by: debra at April 16, 2008 4:07 PM

I just died from laughing and had to come back and tell you that your critters are awesome!

And so's your writing ;-)

Posted by: Beth at April 16, 2008 8:17 PM

*passes A Bunnies a whiskey*

Bagel might be the sweetest dog ever.

That A Bunnies sure has a story to tell down at the bar. In fact, I don't know that any of the other A Bunnies will believe him unless he takes them back over to your house.

You'll probably see groups of A Bunnies gesturing with furry paws towards your house with little A Bunnies whispers saying "That house, there- they have some kind of a Mobile A Bunnies bath. I mean, yeah, you feel kind of violated at the time, but afterwards you just feel so clean. They're just a little insistant" with their selling tactics."

Posted by: erinanne at April 16, 2008 8:55 PM

Oh heavens. This is exactly why I read your books (love 'em with a fervor that borders on the nuts) and your blog. I'll just remember the a bunnies next time I'm stressed. Hee!

Posted by: Miss Erin at April 16, 2008 9:45 PM

Bagel exemplifies civilized canine behavior. When he grows up he will smoke a pipe. Yes.

Posted by: Caty at April 17, 2008 6:21 AM

Aaaawwwwww...I heart Bagel. He so deserved the peanut butter, even if he couldn't remember why he deserved it. :-)

Posted by: DebR at April 17, 2008 6:36 AM

DH says that from the point of view of the A Bunnies, the whole experience was probably not unlike an alien abduction. "And then it lifted me up in the air! And I was moist!" I love how his mind works.

Posted by: Jennifer Morgan at April 17, 2008 10:11 AM

OMG that was hilarious. I'm still trying to catch my breath and dry my eyes. your dog is too cool and you can definitely tell a story.

Posted by: elizabeth at April 17, 2008 12:59 PM

Hilarious! Laughed until the tears ran and it was totally worth ruining my makeup. Poor A Bunnies. Good Bagel.

Posted by: Poppy at April 17, 2008 2:22 PM

"Sucked him like a lozenge" was not what I saw coming. Bagel is awesome, indeed.

Posted by: holly at April 17, 2008 5:42 PM

Thanks for the laugh. I could picture it all, and it'll keep me grinning for a good long while, I think.

Posted by: Caryn at April 17, 2008 7:21 PM

Tell that dawg not to bother you while your writing a new book. Some of us are sitting here waiting!
hound dogs are known liars.

Posted by: Desi at April 17, 2008 8:23 PM

Oh my goodness, I needed that laugh!! My brain keeps looping an image of an A Bunnies equivalent of a panicked EEEEEK as he suddenly saw the great gaping maw of caninely death closing in. That and the sucking. And the rolling. And, ok, all of it. Because this story is just too good. I'm going to have to read it out loud to my fella when he gets home, if I can make it through without incapacitating myself with helpless giggles.

Posted by: This Girl Remembers at April 17, 2008 9:30 PM

Me, too, echoing parrotzmom.

Thank you.

(still chuckling)

Posted by: L.K. Madigan at April 17, 2008 9:42 PM

I am laughing out loud and there are tears in my eyes.

He moistened it it, oh my sides.

Posted by: carrien at April 18, 2008 4:31 AM

I'm SO glad I was not at work when I read that...I'd be unemployed and calling you to ask if you need A Bunnie's lawn mowed or Bagel taken for a walk or two! HIL-arious. You and Bagel both rock.

Posted by: Jill at April 18, 2008 7:03 AM

I am about to go out the door to a funeral. Not the funeral of someone I know well, but still, a funeral. I am dressed in properly sober garb and I'm in a funereal mood. The weather is even funereal. An icy, cold, nasty day. But I have to leave a few minutes late because I took a moment to read your blog and now I have to go reapply makeup because I've been laughing until I cry. Really messed up my mascara. But thank you anyway. You are a good antidote to funereal days.

Leslie, in Hiawatha

Posted by: Leslie Noon at April 18, 2008 8:02 AM

Hi Joshilyn.

I don't know if you remember, but (I want to say October-ish) you came to West Forsyth High School. (Forsyth County--North of Atlanta) I absolutely fell in love with you because it was comforting to know that someone else had the dark, wicked sense of humour I do. Prior to your visit to my school, I read Between, Georgia. A few weeks ago I came down with the flu and you saved me. I sat in bed with a laptop and read your website everyday. (That's really out of character for me to become such a big fan of an author.) I also read gods in Alabama and The Girl Who Stopped Swimming. Thanks a million for not making me go stir crazy :)

I also read Running With Scissors. Very dark book and I LOVED it. But one thing I want to compliment you on is--Your books are dark. But I love that I don't feel like I just witnessed a puppy getting ran over after I read your books.

Right now I am at school in my journalism class. I love it but after I wright my aricle, I have to read on the internet. I immediately turn to you. Whether it's an interview or your website.

I read an interview this morning where you said that Rose Mae Lolley keeps popping into your mind and that you may write about her. I think it's a great idea and I hope you get a new big out soon. I am going through Joshilyn Jackson's Book Withdraw. Bad.

My mom has promised to let me come to a book reading you have in Atlanta soon. She loves your books, too.

Oh and more thing--You rock.


Posted by: Emily Garmon at April 18, 2008 9:01 AM


I just said, "I think it's a really good idea and I hope you get a new big out soon."

I meant to say book. As in, get a new book out soon because I'm lost when my face isn't in one your books, lol. :)

Okay, well I better do something productive. Since I'm in school and all!


Posted by: Emily Garmon at April 18, 2008 9:10 AM

Oh I so loved that story. Good Bagel, good Joss.

Posted by: Cele at April 19, 2008 12:45 AM


Best newly coined word EVAH!

Funny, funny story.

Posted by: Dawn at April 21, 2008 8:43 PM