Sunday, September 11, 2005

the bunny story

After reading BSC's Sunburn story, I realized that I, too, have a story that, while being of epic proportions, has not been recorded in written form and "published" in the verbal sprawl of the World Wide Web. This is a story that I have told countless times, and am somewhat famous for. It is true in both fact and spirit- I would not lie about something as serious as the bunny story, people. So, without any further ado- I give you "The Bunny Story".

As pets go, rabbits are not good ones. While intelligent, they are not percievably affectionate.While soft and cuddly, they can turn fierce as cornered mountain lions at the slightest provocation. You may not have known this, but I consider myself to have some authority on the matter, because, for a time, I lived with a bunny.

Christmas before my Senior year in HighSchool, my sister came bounding down the stairs to find that Santa has left her the cutest, furriest, most adorable little bunny in the world. It was a lop-eared Norwegian rabbit, white with brown and black spots all over the thickest and softest fur you can imagine. She immediately named him "Freckles". He came complete with food and cage, although in the months to follow, Freckles became well trained enough to live in the back yard, pretty much on his own. He would come when called, knew his name, pooped in the same little spot in the yard, and was generally not much trouble at all. My sister would bring him in to play with, mostly consisting of her holding him and then setting him down and then holding him again. That was about the extent of the bunny play. But- what he lacked in affection, he made up for in cuteness. My sister loved him.
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Soon, it became evident that Freckles' "male urges" were changing his behavior. He became downright dangerous to hold because, at any moment, he would pump his unbelievably strong haunches and flare his razor sharp claws to scramble out of your arms. He also became horribly territorial. Our poodle, while outside to "do his business" would be subjected to a literal "bounce-by peeing", as Freckles would run past him, jump into the air and spray the most acrid-smelling urine all over our little dog, who was terrified of this bunny that was bigger than he was. In fact, Freckles would sometimes chase the poodle as he ran, hell-for-leather, frantic to be saved from the lop-eared menace. Freckles, who was once a cute little bunny, was now a full fledged "buck", and (our vet informed us) was most assuredly sewing his seed all over the neighborhood with the Cottontail girls.

None of this mattered to my sister. In her eyes, he was still the cutest, most lovable little fuzzball around. As much as he would let her, she doted on him.

A year came and went. I headed off to college and in a flash, I was done with my freshman year and back home working for my father for the summer. In that time, Freckles had taken to being gone for long spells of time. He would eventually show back up for a few carrots, but had taken to spending nights away with the neighborhood ladies. He required less and less upkeep, and I pretty much forgot we even had a rabbit. This was a key mistake.

One day, as I returned home from a long day of delivering magazines, I noticed our neighbor's dog loping down the street. It was a beautiful dog, an Alaskan Malamute, and I feared that someone might steal it if I didn't intervene. Plus, the added benefit was that Brooke, our neighbor, was hot. This is a girl that I had said ten words to in my life, mostly because my tongue melted if I got within a hundred feet of her.
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She was a year older than me and, also, home for the summer. Here, finally, was my chance. I whistled to the dog, and it came bounding over to me and I grabbed the collar and led it back to Brooke's house. Knock, Knock.... nothing. Doorbell... nothing. No one home.

Ok, I thought, I can just keep the dog in our yard until Brooke comes home. I'll leave a message that says something like," Hi, Brooke, this is TJ. Your dog got loose but i've got it safe and sound over at my house. Gimme a call or just come on over when you get this message; we can go grab a bit to eat and then walk your dog back home." Yeah. Right.

That was the plan. Brooke would love me for saving this dog, I was sure. As I was pondering the details of such a proposition, I opened the gate to our backyard. As soon as I had taken two steps in, I knew that something was wrong. This dog, that only moments ago I had been gently leading as a family pet- I was now barely holding on to a rabid wolf. There was a flash of white across the yard, and I realized, with horror, what was happening. Freckles, the family bunny, had seen the Predator. The Predator had seen the bunny. Freckles was racing for his life diagonally across the yard, while Brooke's dog, my chance to win her love, is closing in from the opposite angle. One moment, I was in Suburbia, and the next moment it was Wild America. The rabbit bounded through the grass, trying to make it to the shed. In mid-leap, as Freckles was inches from safety, this wolf/dog caught Freckles in his jaws and began to shake him violently (some would say, like a Polaroid picture...).

Until this moment, I had never known that rabbits made sounds. I had always thought them mute, aside from little lettuce chomping noises. This is not so. As the dog began to shake Freckles, a scream, not unlike a baby's cry, escaped the rabbits' doomed throat. It literally sent chills down my spine.

My first inclination was to run over and stop this massacre, but as I got closer, the reality that this hundred pound beast had just savaged our twelve pound rabbit sunk in. I could only imagine what might happen to a hand, leg, or other body part that tried to stop such an activity. As I stand, rooted in horror, the Canine put the finishing touches on the food item in his jaws and the rabbit, mercifully, stopped screaming. Rest in Peace, Freckles.

The dog/wolf lays down, puts Freckles between his paws, and commences eating our family pet. What to do??... While I knew that Freckles was now in the Great Clover Patch in the Sky, I couldn't stand by and let this mongrel tear him apart and, literally, "wolf" him down. Still wondering if his more beastly insticts had subsided, I carefully picked up a stick and threw it across the yard. An interesting transformation occurred. This wild predator that, by now, had the blood of our bunny all over his jaws and face, perked up his ears, jumped up and chased the stick across the yard. I ran and picked up the still-warm, lifeless carcass of Freckles the bunny, and tried to figure out what to do.

I decided that come what may, no one should see the body, so I grabbed a shovel, went to the side yard, and dug a three foot grave and laid the rabbit in the bottom. After covering him up, and not quite knowing what to do next, I walked into the house and called my father. Our phone conversation went something like this...
"Uh, Dad, we have a problem."
" Whats the matter?"
"Our neighbor's dog just ate Freckles. "
" What?! How did he get into the back?"
" I might have let him in..."
" Oh, great. Is your sister home?"
" No, not yet- shell be home in twenty minutes."

As I am talking, I realize that I have also tracked in a mixture of dirt and rabbit blood all over my Mom's new, white, living room carpet. I inform my Father of this, as well.

" Youre really battin' a thousand, today, son."
"Dad- what do I do, Should I tell her?"
"First of all, get that dog out of the back. There was never any dog in our backyard, never. You havent see Freckles all day; you don't know where he could be. And above all, get that carpet cleaned, and cleaned NOW! if your mom sees that, youll wish the dog had eaten YOU."

I hang up the phone, go outside to take the dog back to Brooke's, and find that he is now lying down, covered in dirt, licking the bloody, dirty, dug-up carcass of Freckles the bunny. Apparently, I forgot that dogs dig. I pick up the stick, throw it again, and again the beast bounds off to retrieve it. Fierce, he is. Smart, he is not.

I bury the rabbit again, find some rope, take Killer over to Brooke's house, tie him to the Peartree in the front yard, come home, call Brooke's machine, leave a message that says," Uh, Brooke, about your dog... he got loose and I found him and he ate our rabbit- thats why he's covered in blood and tied to your tree. Sorry. Call me if you have questions."

Now- to the stained carpet. If you are ever in a situation to need blood stains out of a white carpet, "Resolve" is your friend. In five minutes of scrubbing, the carpet looked brand new. As I am getting up from my hands and knees, my sister walks through the front door.

I love my sister. I dont want anyone to think that I had anything but her best interest at heart, but as she walked out the back door and started to call for Freckles, I felt like dirty, low-down, rotten trash. And I was.

"No, I havent seen Freckles", I lied. Through the next few days, the whole family waited for Freckles to come home. My sister was just sure he would come back. I would come in the house and my father would look at me as if to say, " You deserve every pang of guilt you feel, buddy, but you better not tell your sister that a wolf ripped her bunny to peices in the backyard." I didn't. What I did do, was to walk with her through the neighborhood putting up "Lost Bunny" signs.

Eventually, my sister wised up. Almost two years later, when the pain of loss had subsided a bit, I gave her a stuffed bunny that looked alarmingly like an inert Freckles, and informed her that, indeed, a hungry beast-dog had eaten Freckles the bunny. She wasnt too suprised, but she did not forgive me for a long, long, long time.

And that, ladies and gents, is The Bunny Story.


At 6:48 PM, Blogger ali kai said...

TJ - mark and i are in Nashville, and wqould LOVE to get together with you guys! - please give me a call (248-756-5473). hope to see you soon!
ali goncalves kaiser

At 9:01 AM, Blogger jocelyn said...

that is a terrible story! i'm glad your sister finally forgave you...what a sad and graphic day!

I have my own bunny story...not quite so traumatic. When I was 16, I hit a bunny with my car (the first animal I ever ran over). It was the night before Easter and Kate Pierson told me I had run over the Easter Bunny. Thanks, Kate, for guilt pangs.

At 7:32 PM, Blogger grjoshua said...



I was literally laughing out loud (by myslef)...this is my favorite part...

"I found him and he ate our rabbit- thats why he's covered in blood and tied to your tree."

HAHAHAHAHA Oh, memories...glad to know we can talk about this in front of MickeyPaige now.... life is fulfilled.

At 8:54 AM, Blogger The Future said...

So... what did that girl say?

Did you ever talk with her after that?

At 10:01 AM, Blogger LoriLoo310 said...

Ohhh, I remember that cute little bunny. I also remember the day you called Brandon to tell him what tragedy he had befallen. Do you hear from Brooke at all? She was my Gamma Sigma big sis. I lost contact with her after she graduated.

At 10:58 AM, Blogger BSC said...

I too was wondering when it would ever be okay to mention that in front of your sister. Man that was horrible. Cute bunny, too.

At 12:00 PM, Blogger The Juice said...

thats quite the tragic story, TJ. If you were a good brother, you'd have hung it over your sisters bedroom doorway.

But I, as with Zach, am curious as to how this Brooke reacted?

At 12:08 PM, Blogger tjmccloud said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2:11 PM, Blogger Kate said...

Thank you for sharing your tragic and extrememly humorous story in writing! I want you to know that I taught "anecdote" to my 8th graders today and used your story as an example. I warned them in advance and offered that any emotional, animal-sympathizing student could leave the room. And I did have a few throughout the day. But most of the class was cracking up and enjoyed the story. When I read the part about you tracking in dirt and blood onto the new white carpet, I always got a big reaction. Hope your sister has forgiven you by now! And Jocelyn, I hope you've finally forgiven yourself for killing the Easter bunny!

At 2:20 PM, Blogger Big Daddy said...

While that is an amazingly fantastic story. As a roommate of TJs my favorite part is the carpet. The fact that TJ would hold a dead bloody carcass, dig a hole and bury it, then walk inside, without thinking of the mess that was about to take place...should not surprise any of you. Talented TJ is, clean he definitely is not!

At 1:59 PM, Blogger Brandon Scott said...

THAT IS FANTASTIC!!! OMG! I laughed out loud.

Not NEARLY as funny, I have a similar story related to a sweet dog we were dog-sitting which belonged to a single at Otter. I kept trying to bury the thing in the back, behind our creek. After some varmit dug her up 5 times I finally dumped the body in our trash can headed for the dumpster. Bless.

My favorite part of this story was this term..."hell-for-leather". Excellent.

At 6:09 PM, Blogger The Juice said...

tj please don't refer my future home of montana as a "waste." and i'm not the unibomber.

At 9:43 PM, Blogger Bogle said...

Hysterical! Sad too, but really funny. I had three rabbits once. They all died within about a month. You know, come to think about it....I am not sure I ever found out what happened to them either. Maybe I should ask MY brother.

At 11:45 PM, Blogger tine said...

oh bunny killer...
we are looking forward to seeing you guys!

At 1:11 PM, Blogger Chris Thompson said...

Funny. RIP, Freckles.

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At 2:54 PM, Blogger kentbrantly said...

hey TJ,
i'm sitting here at school next to my friend Myra who is from the Philippines. she saw a comment from you on my blog, followed the links and got to your blog. she hasn't lived in the Philippines for a while because she's been in the US for school, but she asked one of her friends if they knew of you... they had your music on their iPod. you really are FAMOUS IN THE PHILIPPINES!
- kent <><
ps - she wants an autographed CD.

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At 6:01 PM, Blogger Brooke & Peter said...

Ohhhh TJ... "the horrible neighbor girl- Brooke" here... I have not laughed or been more mortified in a long time...I had NO idea it was that it was a massacre or that detailed and dramatic a story. I feel TERRIBLE!!!! Goodness that dog was a terrible dog (god rest her soul- she got hit by a car chasing other "Freckles"). That might be one of the most classic childhood stories I have ever heard... Thanks for sharing it and thanks for not hating my guts! I wish I would have known more about that at the time... I would have offered a better apology.
I hope you can forgive me (and the devil dog) and we can keep in touch... my fiance and I have a blog too-

p.s Thanks for thinking I was hot man!!! made my day!


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