The Great Bunny Robbery 2: Bad to the Bun

Hoppy Easter!

The sequel to a story about friendship, bunnies and the nature of man.

GBR2
It is said by some that the preparations for a wedding ceremony were more enjoyable than the wedding itself. There at the wedding, everyone gathered to revel in the union of two souls. Timeless photos were taken of the couple and their families. Stories of the past were shared. And two parts became one. There was a delight to the wedding day but the true joy was in the little things that made up the big day. Some thought the satisfaction of creating the wedding invitation, making friends with other engaged couples and tasting potential wedding cakes was the most joy they could find in life.  Some people found so much joy in the preparations, they ended their marriages so they could go through it all over again.

Karyn thought those people had to be committed to the nearest mental clinic. The preparations were hard work. Time-consuming and stressful. Karyn was to marry Reese Tail.  The two were birds of a feather and completed one another. If they were birds, they would be Australian ostriches. Both tall with strong slender necks and quick on their feet. Reese would be a tick quicker than Karyn as he was a squirrely guy and Karyn’s ostrich would be weighed down by her many tattoos.

But to get back to Karyn the person, she was going to be at her happiest once she was married and off on her honeymoon. She and her fiance, Reese Tail were going to be speeding through the sky on a fighter jet hundreds of miles above the earth. The wait for this was killing her. Figuratively not literally.

However, the wedding preparations were literally killing her. To be exact, they had taken seven years off of her life. Most of the damage to her mortality came from the precious hours of sleep she lost. She stayed up late researching wedding locations.

The lack of sleep leaked into her job performance. Before she started planning her wedding, Karyn had been Chick Fil A’s employee of the month for three months straight. She was on her way to being promoted with a huge pay raise. Once Reese proposed, Karyn became a manager’s nightmare. She got customer orders wrong. She came in late and left early. She was caught falling asleep at the counter. She would become belligerent when customers prodded her awake. She had to be placed on probation after she attempted to drown a rude customer in the lemonade machine. Karyn did end up finding a cozy little place for the wedding; an outdoor park she and Reese had hiked through on an adventurous weekend.

Karyn tried to include Reese in the wedding planning whenever she could but his unique ideas were troublesome to implement. After seeing Jurassic Park for the thousandth time, Reese had pushed for a dinosaur-themed wedding. He wanted him and Karyn to walk down the aisle in animatronic velociraptor costumes while the Jurassic Park theme played. He was very anal about the accuracy of the costumes. He wanted feathers like how the real velociraptors had had them. He and Karyn were to enact a velociraptor mating cry shortly after being wed. Jeff Goldblum was Reese’s pick to marry them.  Karyn shot this idea down once she saw the cost of Reese’s feather raptor costumes. They and Jeff Goldblum could not fit within the strict budget they had.

The date for the wedding had been set for August 15th.  The same day that Esmeralda, the world’s renowned bunny whisperer would come back to America after a tour through South Africa. She was raising funds to prevent the extinction of the endangered Karoo rabbit. Esmeralda was known to bunny pet owners for her philanthropic efforts towards buns. She was believed to be the one person who understood the soul inside of every bunny, rabbit, and hare. She was one of the few people on the planet that Karyn would trust to watch her buns, Siesta and Tempter, for a week.

Siesta was an overweight grey and white Mini Lop. Karyn took her for walks to try and get Siesta’s weight down but the bun loved her treats. She had ears like Eeyore and shared some of his down mentality. Her name was given to her for the long naps she took at the bunny reservation before becoming Karyn’s pet.

Her other bunny was a black Netherland dwarf with a heart as black as his fur. He was trouble. Siesta was the good one. She ate her treats and listened to Karyn. Tempter had a bad attitude and was prone to creative escapes from his cage. Eight months ago, he had convinced Reese’s good friend to bunnap him and take him on an adventure. The incident sent Karyn into a coma. Before that, he had manipulated Reese’s mother to take him to Six Flags and ride rides that no bunny would be allowed to ride.

After the bun-napping, Karyn took no more chances with Tempter. She used her tax return money to have a state-of-the-art bun containment room installed in the basement of the Tail house. The entrance to the room was hidden behind an old bookcase. To enter the room, a key code had to be punched into a keypad on the bookcase.  After the key code was punched in, the shelf would move to reveal the entrance. Inside of Tempter’s containment room was a transparent plastic glass that separated visitors from Tempter. The arrangement was not cruel. This was not a punishment for the bunny, but a precaution for his own safety. Tempter had been all for it. Escaping his steel bunny cage had become too easy. He wanted a challenge. Karyn had a radio installed that played music from light FM radio stations, Tempter’s favorite. He was not left in the room to rot either. Karyn would take him out most day for walks with a bunny leash. If Tempter behaved, she let him roam around the house under close supervision. The only way to release Tempter from his cage was to punch in another keycode into a keypad on the glass. Karyn entrusted that code to Reese, his mother, his father, and her own family. On top of the entry security, there was a laser system in place to detect if Tempter had escaped from his cage. If he attempted to escape, the door and window would lock shut and a text message would be sent to Karyn. No bun got in or out without Karyn’s knowing.

With the date and location set, the next step in the wedding planning was finalizing the list of wedding invitees. Sadly not everyone could make the cut. Karyn tried to talk to Reese about making the list but he danced away when the subject was brought up.  He’d find something in the house to clean if Karyn approached him with a piece of paper in hand. He’d go to work early. On one occasion, he jumped out the nearest window and hurt his toe.

Today there was nowhere to hide for Reese. Karyn had locked all the windows in their home. She had cleaned everything that could be cleaned and some things that shouldn’t have been. Today Reese had off from work. His excuses had run out. As Reese ate a bowl of Captain Crunch, Karyn sat down in front of him with a pen and paper in hand

After some prodding and some poking, Reese gave her some names of close friends and family. Then some more names of classmates. More names after those. Even more names followed those. A flood of names came after those. He didn’t stop. The list of wedding guests went from one page of printer paper to half a notebook.

This would not do. Not every Tom, Becky, and Zac could be invited. The budget did not permit it. The list was chopped down to one page. One more person had to be cut to get within the budget. It was proving to be a heart-breaking experience for both of them.

“Bill is my best friend! He has to be there!” pleaded Reese.

“I thought Big Rob was your best friend.” said Karyn.

“He is too. They both are.”

“I love Bill too, babe. But if Bill’s coming, someone else can’t. Like maybe Algie.”

“But Algie’s hilarious.”

“When’s the last time you talked to him?”

“In second grade. But he was hilarious.”

“Reese, we have to pick one person.”

Reese skimmed his finger down the list of names. He stopped at someone he didn’t recognize

“Who is this Ted?”

“My uncle Ted. You met him.”

“The one in jail?”

“He’s out now.”

“Is he that one who punched a bunch of preschoolers?”

“That was self-defense.”

“They were preschoolers.”

“They surrounded him. Like what’s the guy going to do if they’re all up in his face? He got scared.”

“My little cousin Percy is going to the wedding. He better not like punch him in the face.”

“If she keeps her hands to herself, there won’t be trouble. Maybe she shouldn’t be invited if she can’t behave. ”

“Maybe Ted shouldn’t.”

“I kinda already like promised he could come.”

“Unpromise him.”

“Before we get into this, could you call my cell phone again?”

Karyn’s cell phone had been missing for three days. She had become prone to asking Reese to call it at random times. It had not been in her car or at her job or at her other place she might have left it.

Reese rang her cell. There was no sound of a the phone vibrating on a table . The pair of them strained their ears for the tunes of Karyn’s ringtone, the chorus from Shakira’s “She-Wolf”. They did not hear Shakira’s “Awoooo!” but they did hear the SWAT Team kicking in their front door.

“Go! Go! Go!” screamed the  team as they sped into the suburban home like it was a terrorist hide-out. They were in standard SWAT gear. All black and armed with big old guns. The five SWAT team members trampled their way into the kitchen and aimed their big old guns at the hearts of Reese and Karyn.

“Oh my god!” screamed Karyn.

“Hands up! Don’t move! Drop any weapons on the floor!” shouted the SWAT team leader.

“I don’t have any weapons! I’m unarmed!” stammered out Reese as he raised his arms.

“He’s unarmed! Get him!” directed the SWAT team leader. A SWAT member to his left fired a taser into Reese’s chest. A thousand volts of completely legal electricity shot through Reese’s thin frame. Reese flopped like a Magikarp using splash.

“Reese! No!”

“She’s unarmed too, sir! What should I do?” yelled the SWAT member!

“Give her a taste of justice, kid!”ordered the SWAT team leader. The SWAT member pointed the taser at Karyn. She clenched her eyes tight and braced herself.

“Enough. Cuff them.” said a voice from behind the SWAT Team. A man with dark red sunglasses in a grey suit as grey as his hair and beard took command. His voice as serene and calm. His grey hair and beard were premature. He had to be in his late thirties. He lit a cigarette and took in a long swig from it. He had been waiting for the moment for a long time.

“Yes, sir!” replied the SWAT team. All five SWAT team members hopped on top of him and slapped their own pair of hand cuffs on him. He was unarmed so therefore he was incredibly dangerous. Five hand cuffs were needed to keep  him under wraps. They ran up next to Karyn.

“She’s mine.” said the man in the grey suit. He finished his cigarette and took out a pair  of hand cuffs. He cuffed Karyn’s arms behind her back.

“I been waiting on this a long time, Karyn. Your type of scum is the worst. You’re under arrest for multiple charges of bun abuse and bun neglect. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have”

“Bun Abuse?! I would never ever abuse a bunny!”

“We received an anonymous tip that your Mini Lop, Siesta has been stolen.”

“Siesta’s asleep in her cage!”

“Oh is she? Go find the bunny, boys. She’ll be in the cage down the stairs in the basement to the left.”

The SWAT Team blasted down the door to the basement and marched down the staircase.

“Doors have knobs you know!” moaned Reese. He had recovered from his taste of federal justice.

Sounds of rumbling and smashing went on beneath them. Reese tried to slide out of the five hand cuffs. Karyn exercised her right to remain silent and blew the hair out of her eyes. The man in grey suit lit up another cigarette. The SWAT team emerged with a bunny cage in their grasp. She saw the cage was empty. Her heart sank.

“Get these bun abusers out of here. Process them.” said the man in the grey suit.

The SWAT Team grabbed the couple by their legs and dragged them out into their big old black SWAT van. They drove them to their big old federal agency headquarters. The couple was separated upon arrival. Reese was uncuffed and thrown into a spooky steel interrogation room to await his big spooky interrogation. He sat down in a cold uncomfortable steel chair. He shifted in it, but no matter how he moved his buttocks he remained uncomfortable.

The door creaked open. It was the man in the grey suit and dark red sunglasses. He plopped a folder full of papers down on the table and then placed down a black mug that had “Special Bunny Investigative Unit” written on the sides of it in Arial Font.

“How are you doing? Thirsty?”

“Where’s Karyn?”

“Friends of mine are having a nice chat with your girl friend. Don’t you worry about her. Chill out, pal. Got your favorite drink right here. Lukewarm chocolate milk.”

The man in the grey suit slid the mug over. He forced a friendly smile onto his face. It was incredibly painful for him as he hadn’t smiled in years. But he was a federal officer of the law. Dealing with pain came with the job.  Reese stared at the mug like it was filled with poison.

“It’s safe, Reese.”

“How do you know that I like lukewarm chocolate milk?”

“It’s my job to know. I know how you and Karyn met at that St. Patrick’s Day parade in 2010. I know what time you and Karyn go to sleep. I know how Karyn thinks that the Evil Dead remake wasn’t that bad. But it was. There is no Evil Dead without Bruce.  I know everything about you and her. When Tempter went missing and you put up those billboards in West Philadelphia where you were born and raised, the Special Bunny Investigative Unit took an interest in you two.  We installed recording equipment in your basement to monitor the situation. ”

“Uh-oh.”

“Uh-oh is right. You and Karyn are in big trouble. We’ve got enough evidence of bun neglect to throw the book at the two of you. You’re looking at ten to fifteen years behind bars as the co-conspirator. She’s looking at life. You’ll both get the brand too.  It does not have to go that way. If you cooperate with me, you’ll get a slap on the wrist.”

“Cooperate?”

“We want you to sign some papers and confess to being a bad bun parent. You’ll never be allowed to own a bunny again, but you won’t go to jail. And we’ll need you to testify against Karyn in the trial. ”

“Never.”

“This is your life, Mr. Tail. Don’t throw it away for her. There are other women out there. Who don’t share Karyn’s ailment of having giant ears.”

“I like her giant ears just fine. I’m not talking to you anymore. I want to speak to my lawyer.”

“I get it. You love her. Get her to confess to being a bad bun parent and she’ll go to jail for ten to fifteen years tops. Is that a more suitable proposal for you?”

“I want to speak to my lawyer.”

“Bill? He’s been called.

” I prefer my chocolate milk made by non-douchebags.”

Reese pushed the cup away.

“Reese, I am a federal agent of the law. You do not call me, a douchebag. Or there will be severe consequences. I may take my offer off the table. And then you’ll have to have your wedding through steel bars. You work with me and maybe we can arrange a shortened sentence for Karyn too. You mess with me and she goes away for the rest of her life.”

“Douche.”

“You little shi-”

Someone banged on the other side of interrogation door.

“I’ll be back. I’ll forget what you called me. And we’ll start over. Think about your future and your wife’s future too, Mr. Tail.”

The man in the grey suit shuffled out as he had shuffled in. Reese ran his hands through his hair.

Agent Aonuma, the top operative for the Special Bunny Unit, frowned at the man in the grey suit. Agent Aonuma looked exactly like a young Jackie Chan. That’s because he was actually a young Jackie Chan who had time traveled to the future to prevent a terrible atrocity. But that’s a story for another time.

“Waa-yah! Cut him loose. The charges will not stick.”

“Mr. Aonuma, we have the evidence to convict him and Karyn. We have hours of tapes of these two off of the wire we installed after the bun-napping by Kwame.”

“Oooh! Yah! I am familiar with the tapes. Hiiiiiii! They will hold up in court. Only against Karyn, the legal owner of the rabbits. We can keep her.”

“But they’re engaged! He’s as much as an owner, sir!”

“No. Ha-chah! After marriage, he shares the ownership. Not before the wedding and the signing of the marriage license! Hi-yah! He only her boy toy in the eye of the law!” Agent Aonuma karate chopped the air to prove how serious he was.

“Tck. Details.”

“The devil in the details. Yah! Yah! Hiyah! You should have moved after the wedding. Learn from your mistake. Yes! Haha! Ach-cha! Now cut him loose.”

The man in the grey suit gritted his teeth loudly.

“What’s the status on Karyn, sir?”

“I was speaking to her. Ooooh. She want her lawyer too.”

“Just like him. They’re smart kids.”

“We are smarter. Get them in room together. Listen to what they say. Ha-cha.”

Back in the room with Reese, he was eyeing the mug with the chocolate in it. His stomach growled. He hadn’t finished his bowl of Captain Crunch before being arrested. He missed out on the gum cutting goodness. Reese fought the temptation. He wouldn’t give the douche the pleasure. His stomach insisted. He grabbed the mug and chugged down the chocolate. It was ice cold. He felt the wind in the room change as the steel interrogation door opened.

“Reese!” shouted Karyn.

The couple was reunited. They hugged like an old married couple would. You know like when you’ve seen somebody every day and then it’s been a while since you saw them. That sort of like I miss you but like not too much cause I see you enough but I still like missed you hug.

“Like this is like so crazy.” said Karyn.

“The craziest.” replied Reese.

On the other side of the door, Agent Aonuma and the man in the grey suit listened in to their conversation. Rather Agent Aonuma pressed his ear to the crack in the wall and relayed the information to the man in the grey suit.

“What are they talking about now, sir?”

“Ahh. Ah-cha. How crazy this is. It’s like the craziest. Like they’ve never seen anything this crazy.  ”

“Now what?”

“Now they speak of their lawyer. Some friend with the name of Bill.”

“He’s on his way. ETA. Five minutes.”

“Now they talk about the time they went to Wawa and saw a guy who looked like Carrot Top before he started working out. Oooooh no. Oh no. Oh no. No. AH CHA! HI YAH! This is terrible. ”

“Hang in there sir.”

“Now they talking about Broad City and how funny it is. How it is the funniest new comedy television.”

“A few more minutes sir before the lawyer gets here, sir. You can last five more minutes. ”

“Now they’re arguing who’s better? Ay! Ay! Ay! Ha-cha! NSYNC or the Backstreet boys. Karyn says Backstreet. Reese agrees.”

“They know we’re listening. Just screwing with us. No one could think that the Backstreet Boys are better than NSYNC.”

Agent Aonuma removed his ear from the crack. He tried to wipe what he heard from his ear. He shook his head. What he heard had seriously disturbed him. He thought about letting the bomb in Times Square go off. Maybe the future didn’t deserve to be saved.

“How you listen to them for three months?”

“I thought about my wife and kids. I thought how this was the biggest case of my career. All the money I could set my family up with if we convicted that bunny abuser and her co-conspirator. That’s how I kept going.”

Agent Aonuma checked his phone.

“Their lawyer here.”

Reese had five best friends. Ten if you asked him so don’t ask him. Bill was the longest tenured best friend of twenty years. He was the one Reese took all his problems to. Bill was the Swiss army knife of people. Jack of all trades and master of none. He had some knowledge on every subject. He could do anything but no things well.

So he was Reese and Karyn’s go to guy for any legal trouble. He was not officially a lawyer. He started called himself one after watching three court case videos on Youtube and every season of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. He had none of the smarts and know-how of a real lawyer. He did came with one huge plus; he was free.

He barged into the federal agency building, donning a white t-shirt with the word “Lawyer” on it. He had on these turd brown jeans that had looked so much better on the guy in the commercial than they did on Bill. He carried with him a briefcase full of old grade school assignments to appear more important to everyone.

Agent Aonuma and the man in the grey suit reluctantly led him to his clients. Bill made demands of them.

“I am gonna need time to build my case. Under NATO, I am allowed to use any federal interrogation room inNorth America as an office for a court proceeding. Don’t none of you listen in or I’ll enact the whistle blower act and go Snowden on this federal agency.”

“None of that made sense. Do you understand what you said?” questioned the man in the grey suit.

“I plead the fifth and twenty-first amendments! ”

“You can’t-”

“Sssh. Pleaded.”

“Wise guy. Ha-cha. Let Mr. Bill use room here for all he needs ” stated Agent Aonuma. Bill shook hands with both officers of the law. Into the interrogation room, he went. The man in the grey suit raised his eyebrow above his dark red sunglasses. Agent Aonuma patted him on the back.

“Let him do what he want. Hi-yah. This case is ours. Ha-cha. He know nothing of basic laws of man. He won’t get his head round the complicated laws of bunnies. Easy conviction. Do not forget my words of wisdom! Hiiiiii! Be detail-oriented!  Now if you will excuse me, I have bomb to defuse in Times Square. Ha-cha! Ay Ay Ay! Hiyah!” Agent Aonuma somersaulted and back flipped down the hallway while making karate noises.

In the interrogation room, the defense for Karyn was being built. Bill opened up his briefcase and laid out some papers that were irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

“First thing’s first. The good news. Reese, they got nothing on you. You’re free to go home.” Bill said as he rustled through his papers.

“And Karyn? ”

“Bad news. She’s charged with five counts; two counts of aggravated bun abuse and three counts of bun neglect. If convicted, she’ll like get uh 15 to 25 or like 30 years or like may be life with no chance of parole. And she’ll get the brand.”

“What’s that?”

“Karyn knows more than me.”

“Reese, bad bun parents are branded like cows. They burn the letters ‘BTTB’ into your skin with a branding iron. It stands for Bad To the Bun. They burn it in so everyone can see it and know you’re bad to buns. ” said Karyn.

Reese covered his mouth.

“That’s crazy.”

“They take crimes against buns very seriously, babe.” Karyn coughed. She was starting to look dreadful.

“Babe, are you okay?” asked Reese.

“I need my shot of bunsulin.”

Karyn had such an attachment to her bunnies that should anything bad happen to them, she would fall into a coma. Much like how a diabetic had their insulin, she had her bunsulin shots to take when her buns faced hard times. She had not brought it along when she was arrested.

“I got you, Karyn. Thought you may need this.”

Bill threw Karyn her shot of bunsulin. It resembled an epi-pen. Karyn shot herself up and was back to herself.

“Thanks, Bill. ”

“Billie boy,  what can we do to save Karyn?” Reese switched the conversation back on to Karyn’s safety.

Bill ruffled through his papers.

“Uh…nothing?”

“Be more posi, Bill.”

“This is the federal government. They don’t take cases on unless like they are sure they will win. You know they have a 99.7999999999% chance of conviction.”

“I’m more worried about Siesta than me. She’s been bunnapped.  I can’t deal. Twice now my buns have been taken. It’s like I’m the mom in Home Alone 2.” Karyn sighed and looked down at her left hand. She had a tattoo of her two buns on the back of it. Reese comforted her. As Karyn sank into depression, a light bulb lit in Bill’s head.

“We gotta find Siesta!” said Bill

“We should. She could be in trouble.” said Karyn.

“And their case against you falls apart if we find her!”

“Does it, Bill?” asked Reese.

He sought the truth from his long time friend. The bun showing up would not be enough to have Karyn’s case dismissed. It was likely she could still go to jail for life. Bill could have told that to Reese, but he knew Reese needed some posi in his life  So he did what good friends do. He lied.

“Yes. Karyn will 100 percent absolutely be free if we find Siesta.”

Karyn shot Bill a glance. Bill shrugged his shoulders. She decided to play a long too. She wanted Siesta found more than anything. If Reese was on the case, it would get done.

“Where do we get started with that?” asked Reese.

“Tempter. He would know, babe. Buns that live together have like this psychic connection Go home. Ask him. Don’t let him out of his cage. No matter what he says. Do not let him out.  We don’t want two missing buns. ”

“I’ll find Siesta and get you out of this mess before the trial starts, my salami, eggs, and babe-con. ”

“The trial starts in an hour, Reese.” said Karyn.

“What?! That’s crazy!”

“They take crimes against buns very seriously, babe.”

In an instant, Reese was gone and on a mission to find a stolen bunny.

“You shouldn’t lie to him like that, Bill.”

“He needed some posi.”

“So any ideas for how I get out of this?”

Bill gave her a sinister smile. Then he toned it down to a mischievous one. Then a light smile like the one you give when someone you don’t like says a joke that’s really funny. And toned that down to a neutral face. Then Bill broke down in tears.  Karyn started to look on the bright side of things.

“If we have the wedding in a prison, maybe we can afford to have Jeff Goldblum.”

A bus ride, taxi ride, and a light jog got Reese home in fifteen minutes. He had roughly thirty minutes to find out what happened to Siesta, rescue her, bring her to the court and watch the love of his life be locked away in prison despite his best efforts. Reese did not know that last part was going to happen. so he kept his chin up and called his mother.

Reese’s ma and pa were at the annual South Jersey Parent’s Fair for the week. It was a fair for parents by parents. There they could live every parent’s dream and get away from their children for an entire week. All of them put aside money from their checks and paid into a joint account for the parents of South Jersey. The money went into the Parent’s Fair. This year it was at a luxury resort hotel in Philadelphia.

Mama Tail did not pick up. Reese left her a long message. She would get back to him if she knew anything about the missing bun.She was one of his five best friends so she was obligated to.

He left out of his long message the damage the SWAT Team had done to the house.The Tail house hadn’t looked this beat-up and destroyed since the Flyers lost to the Devils in the playoffs back in 2000. Reese hoped he’d have time to call a carpenter before the South Jersey Parent’s Fair was over. He’d worry about that crap later. Siesta was on his mind.

He stepped over the smashed-in front door. Some critters from the woods had made the Tail house their new home. A family of frogs swam in the sink. A snake cornered a baby mouse into the bathroom. A few conservative deer were catching up on the 2016 election in the living room. Reese asked the deer if they had seen Siesta out there. None of them had. He left them to CNN’s 24/7 Donald Trump marathon.

The basement was the place to start to find out what happened to Siesta.  He flipped on the lights. The SWAT Team had taken evidence out of the basement. Siesta’s bunny cage was nowhere to be found. All his pictures of Jesus were gone. Some of his book cases were empty. They had taken his game consoles.

Reese heard some rustling behind the couch he and Karyn watched TV from.

“Who’s back there?!”

Some guy stood up. He was some normal guy with some normal jeans and a T-shirt.

“Sup.” said some guy.

“What are you doin’ in here?”

“Taking stuff.”

“Get out!”

Reese shooed him out of the house. Some guy was never seen again.

The SWAT Team had not touched the area near the entrance to Tempter’s containment room. It was strange. From what Reese could tell,  they had been everywhere else.  Reese repeated to himself what Karyn had told him. Under no circumstances was he to let Tempter out of his containment room.

Reese punched the numbers into the keypad carefully one by one. The digits were the coordinates for the exact spot where he and Karyn met. He was doing this for her. The system clicked and buzzed as the correct entry was accepted. The bookshelf slid up to reveal the containment room for the baddest bun in South Jersey. There was a short passageway to walk in before you got to Tempter. Karyn had gone all out once Mama Tail and Papa Tail gave her the go-ahead to get a new room installed. Reese hated the walk to the containment cage. It was so dreary down there. Totally not posi.

His soft steps echoed in the passageway of slab stone and steel. Reese could see the foundations of his home. The passageway smelled like an old person’s fart in a brand new car. Karyn had tried to make the environment as pleasant as possible for Tempter. Off in the distance, he heard a beat that had to be Drake’s “Hotline Bing”. It grew louder as he neared Tempter. Finally he reached the transparent plastic glass that separated Tempter from freedom. The lighting could have been better in the containment cage. Karyn had expressed concerns about the quality of the lighting in there. Tempter had assured her it was okay. He enjoyed the dark. Reese saw all of Tempter’s favorite bun toys. Karyn had approved Tempter having toys that could not be used to escape. Among them was a wooden ball for Tempter to chew on and a toy cell phone that lit up. The pictures of he, Karyn, and the Buns from last Easter were on the side of the containment cage. He saw all the food and water Karyn had left for Tempter last night before she went to sleep. She always made sure to change it every day.

But he saw no Tempter. He was missing.

Meanwhile the trial was underway and Karyn’s goose had 99.7999999999% chance of being cooked when it was over. She and Bill at the defendant’s table. The trial took place in a municipal right across the street from the federal agency. The Special Bunny Investigative Unit was so efficient and effective at charging and then convicting bun abusers, the government had a municipal building built across the street to further speed up their process. The average trial for a normal criminal could take months before all the evidence was gathered and the , but the entire process for bun abusers took two hours on average.

Karyn was nearing the start of her second hour. Bill was anti-help. He had a trial by a jury of her peers changed to a trial by federal judge because it was easier to convince 1 person than 12. He failed to notice the man in the grey suit, Karyn’s arresting officer, was also the prosecutor in this case. He also failed to notice the man in the grey suit slipping hundreds to the judge as the evidence was being brought out. Mostly because Bill was engrossed in his golden wheat bread from Subway.

Karyn knew if anyone was going to save her, it was going to have to be her. She had to convince the honorable Judge Lacey she was a kind and caring bun parent. Judge Lacey hadn’t let a defendant off since becoming a judge. She was one of those people who thought it was better 99 innocent people be convicted to stop one guilty person from walking free.

The man in the grey suit chatted her up as the proceedings got started.

“How are the kids, Lacey?”

“Great. Bobby and Remy are in college now.”

“Already? I remember throwing the ball around with those two. ”

“I know! Kids grow up so fast. How long is this trial going to take by the way? I have some clothes I left drying at the laundromat. Should I call my husband and have him pick them up? Or will this be over sooner than that?”

“No need Judge Lacey. I hope to break my record and have this bun abuser in bars for the rest of her life within the next thirty minutes. ”

“Perfect! ”

She slammed her gavel down and got things going.”

“This court is now in session! The United States of America vs. Karyn. Karyn is charged with two counts of aggravated bun abuse and three counts of bun neglect. She will be sent to jail for life without parole and be branded with the ‘BTTB’ brand when she is found guilty.”

“Don’t you mean if I’m found guilty?” interrupted Karyn.

“Oh yeah. If. I forgot that part. Prosecution, you are up first.”

“I object!”

Bill had finished his bread and was now mentally locked into the trial. He knew objecting could not hurt his case.

“To what?” asked Judge Lacey.

“Me and Karyn need to go first.” said Bill.

“No. You’re overruled.”

“I object to your overruling of my objection.”

“Can he do that?” Judge Lacey was a seasoned vet of the law system. Never before had her overruling to an objection been objected.

“No. He can’t, your honor.” replied the man in the grey suit.

“Overruled. Your move, prosecution.”

The man in the grey suit put away his dark red sunglasses. His eyes a bluish grey. He gained the poise of a pastor in a church on Easter Sunday. He was about to deliver his sermon.

“Your honor, today I will prove that Karyn is guilty of the crimes against her. She is a detestable reprehensible sadistic twisted sicko of a human being. Her heart is cold. She has no regard for bunnies, rabbits, or hares. The woman has no respect for herself. She has besmirched the skin that God has given her with the ink of the devil. She should have her bunnies stripped away from her so they can know what love is. She needs to be locked away for her crimes against the defenseless rabbits she has harmed. She needs to be branded so the world can know she is bad to the bun!  I will prove her guilt by using the mountain of evidence collected from her home, her social media accounts, and the recordings we’ve taken. ”

Karyn rolled her eyes. She’d been dealing with tattoo haters her entire life. Judge Lacey hanged on the man in the grey suit’s every word. He bowed and she clapped for him.

“That was beautiful.” Judge Lacey wiped a tear from her eye.  The man in the grey suit sat down in his seat. It is said by some people that the most enjoyable part of a bun abuser conviction wasn’t the conviction itself, but all the preparation and work that went into it. The man in grey suit was not one of those people. His bliss was ahead of him. He would be at his happiest when Judge Lacey banged that gavel down and sentenced Karyn to life without parole. The wait for it was killing him.

Bill cleared his throat and started his introduction.

“Karyn-”

“I’ve heard enough. We’re on to the presentation of evidence. Prosecution, you’re up. ” interrupted Judge Lacey. Karyn patted the crest-fallen Bill on the back. He was trying to help. There was no helping her. She knew she was innocent of the crimes. She had never neglected her buns. Tempter may have been locked away at night in his containment room , but she spent as much time with him as she did Siesta. The charges of bun abuse were fallicious, but in the court of bun law, you were guilty until proven innocent. She hoped the pain of the branding wouldn’t sting for too long.

Back at the house, Reese peered into the glass. If Tempter had escaped, the alarm system would have went off. Unless he had disabled the system, but how could the bunny have done it from inside his containment cage?  Reese knocked on the glass.

“Tempter!” said Reese sternly.

A shadow moved in the dark corners of the room. A fuzzball of black hopped into the light. Tempter’s ears pointed up like horns. He stared at Reese with his red eyes. He shook the dirt out from his fur. He wriggled his nose and moved his body. He seemed to speak to Reese.

“Hello, Clarice.”

“We been over this. It’s just Reese, man.”

“Sorry.”

“I know you don’t like me and I don’t like you, but Karyn’s in trouble!”

“Oh no. How terrible.” replied Tempter.

“She’s in real bad trouble, Tempter. She could go to jail for life.”

“We wouldn’t want that. She’s the best bun parent a bun could have.”

“Good. We’re on the same page. Siesta’s missing. If we find her, all the charges will be dropped.”

“Have you checked the bag of bun treats? She practically lived in there.”

“Stop with the jokes. This is your bun mother and your bun sister. They need your help.”

Tempter started to dig into the cement floor.

“Is that a yes you’ll stop with the jokes?” asked Reese of the bun.

Tempter hopped around, trying to dig and smooth out the cement. He then turned back to Reese and seemingly spoke to him again.

“Sorry. I just need to do that some times. Siesta could have…no…she wouldn’t have…could she?”

“What?”

“Nothing.”

“What Tempter? Tell me. Tell me! I order you to tell me as your bun father!”

“Bun step-dad.”

“As your bun step-dad, I order you to tell me.”

“Siesta told me she had a dream where she was on the roof of the house. She loved that dream as much as she loved her treats. She told me if she could, she’d escape from her cage and go on the roof.”

” Then that’s where must be! Thanks Tempter!” Reese started to run. Tempter screamed an unsettling bunny scream.  Reese stopped in his tracks and returned to him.

“What Tempter?”

“I just remembered. She told me if she ever went on the roof, she would hide in a place only another bunny could find her so she wouldn’t get in trouble. It was a very specific dream”

“Only another bunny? Oh no.”

“Yes. Do you know another bunny who could help you look for her? ”

“I don’t have time to find another bunny.”

“Then I suppose you might have to let me help you.”

“Karyn said never to let you out.”

“Karyn lets me out. She watches me. I don’t cause trouble. I am worried about Siesta. I love her. Allow me to help you find her.”

“You love her? Like as a sister or like you know like me and Karyn?”

“Both. ”

Reese thought it over. Karyn did let Tempter out every day. If she could watch him closely, and nothing bad happened, why couldn’t he? He needed Tempter’s help. Siesta had to have escaped her cage. She had done it before. Maybe she somehow had gotten on to the roof. He had to check. Time was running out for Karyn. The trial could be ending any minute.

“Tempter. Give your word you won’t try to escape.”

“I want only to help Karyn and Siesta. You have my word.”

Reese ran to go get one of the bunny leashes Karyn used when taking the buns for walks.  He thought about what he was doing. What if Tempter escaped? What if Siesta wasn’t on the roof?  He shook the negative thoughts from his head. He had to stay positive. Siesta was going to be on top of the roof. He punched in the key code to open Tempter’s cage.The security system shut down. The glass door opened.

Tempter hopped out. He was free once again. Reese bent down to put the bunny leash on him. Tempter gazed down the passageway. He was faster than Reese. In a flash, he could have been gone. Reese slid Tempter into the bunny leash. The two of them became a Siesta finding team. They made their way to the roof of the house.

Elsewhere, the trial was nearing its end. The defense hadn’t been allowed a word. Conviction was inevitable. The man in the grey suit was on fire. Figuratively not literally.

“Your honor, Karyn is not only irresponsible she is emotionally abusive to her bunnies.”

“What?!” yelled Karyn.

“And she is overly aggressive.”

“I am not overly aggressive!” screamed Karyn.

“Mr. Bill. Keep your client quiet or I will have her held in contempt of this court!”

“Karyn, chill.” whispered Bill. Karyn chilled out begrudingly.

“Your honor, are you familiar with Instagram?”

” I have one. ”

“So you’re familiar with the fact that Instagram users uploaded pictures and can add comments to them?”

“Oh no.” whispered Karyn. She hid her face in her hands. It was over. Bill surfed through Karyn’s Instagram to try and keep up with the evidence. He was still trying.

“Yes very much. I always add comments.” said Judge Lacey.

“I have a few choice comments from Karyn’s Instagram that prove that Karyn is a habitual bun abuser. These comments were posted with pictures of her bunnies.  Ahem. ‘Haha my dum buns.’  ‘My buns so dum.’ ‘Dummy bunnies.’ ‘Bunny dummies.’ ‘Bun dum.’ ‘Silly buns’ ‘Funny bunnies’. ‘Dummy funnies’. ‘Scrummy funny dummy bunny.'”

“Your honor!  I object! My client has never said ‘scrummy funny dummy bunny’! I’m looking at her Instagram right now!”piped in Bill.

Bill was useful for once. Judge Lacey was so taken aback at his apt lawyering that she forgot her preexisting bias.

“Can the prosecution present any evidence that the defendant in fact did write the comment ‘scrummy funny dummy bunny’?”

The man in the grey suit shifted through his notes.

“I can’t, but I’m certain she did, your honor.”

“If you have no evidence to support your claim, then it shall be ignored. ‘Scrummy funny dummy bunny’ will be stricken from the record.”

“Good one Bill. “said Karyn.

“Your honor, while Karyn may not have said ‘scrummy funny dummy bunny’, she has committed a heinous crime. She used her bunnies to dispose of trash.”

The man in the grey suit turned on a projector. A video of Tempter and Siesta adorably eating a book was played. The video made Bill hungry and brought a genuine smile to Judge Lacey’s face. The bunnies were having such fun, out and about in the home.

“Aw. That’s cute. ” said Judge Lacey. The man in the grey suit started to sweat. Mostly because the heat was turned on and he was in a suit. A little because Judge Lacey was giving Karyn and the defense a chance. He had not prepared his case for a fair trial.

“She’s using your bunnies as a trash compactor, your honor! That is not cute! That’s textbook bun abuse.”

“The bunnies look happy.”

“They were happy, your honor. They love chewing up paper.”said Karyn.

“What are their names, Karyn?”

“Tempter and Siesta.”

“Cute names too.”

“Oh thank you, your honor.”

“This does not look like bun abuse to me. ”

The man in the grey suit was losing Judge Lacey. The longer she sat in the chair, the more she became unbiased. He had come too far to only come this far. He had to end the trial before Judge Lacey saw the holes in his mountain of evidence. It was all circumstantial. The recordings from the wire inside the Tail home proved Karyn was a bun lover, not an abuser.

“Your honor, I am asking for your final judgement of the case now!”

“Oh. What about the rest of the evidence? All the hours of tapes from the wire in the home?”

“Forget that! Judgement now!”

“Well…I suppose looking at the evidence, there’s more against Karyn than-”

“Stop the trial! !” An old woman’s voice soared into the court room.

The doors of the court flew open. By god it was Mama Tail! With her, she had Siesta! Karyn started jumping for joy. Bill started hootering and hollering. The man in the grey suit sulked down in his seat. He had nearly had Karyn put away.

Siesta hopped into Karyn’s arms.. Bun and bun mom together again. Judge Lacey watched as Karyn doted on her bun. Karyn hugged the life out of Mama Tail.  Judge Lacey could see Karyn was not a bun abuser of any kind. But the evidence was what the evidence was. And it was damning. The man in the grey suit watched the dilemma play out in Judge Lacey’s eyes. When she frowned, he knew he had won.

Karyn started asking Mama Tail a thousand questions. Bill patted Siesta on the back of the head. Siesta made a bunny honking noise. She hadn’t had her third treat of the day yet.

Judge Lacey banged down her gavel.

“Order in the court! I am about to give my judgement.”

The room grew silent.  The brief glimmer of hope was to be snuffed out.

“Karyn, I see that in your heart lies a deep love and affection for bunnies. I wish I did not have to do this, but the evidence provided by the man in the grey suit says other wise. I am afraid I must sentence you to life in prison without parole and to be branded with the letters ‘BTTB’ I am sorry.”

She raised her gavel. Once it hit the table, the sentence would be carried out. Bill thought of a way to object, but he had nothing. Mama Tail too had nothing. The man in the grey suit braced himself for bliss. Siesta thought about what she would eat next. Karyn looked through the legal papers in front of her. Everything about the trial had been given to her and Bill when it started.

There she found salvation. She raised her hand!

“Your honor, I have one last thing to say before I go to jail to life.”

The gavel stopped in mid air. Judge Lacey was sympathetic. The man in the grey suit was not.

“Bang that gavel, Lacey!”

“Speak Karyn.”

“My name is spelled K-A-R-Y-N, not K-A-R-E-N! These papers have my name spelled wrong.”

She ran up to the judge with the legal papers and her driver’s license.  The person who had put together these papers had not been detail-oriented.

“She’s right. All charges dropped.” She banged her gavel down quickly. The man in the grey suit jumped over his table in a white rage.

“Your honor! She is guilty! You can’t do this! SHE IS A BUN ABUSER! SHE IS BAD TO THE BUN!”

‘That’s the American justice system. The devil is in the details”

“Your honor, this is my life’s work! I spent months listening to her and her stupid boyfriend argue! I missed my son’s tenth birthday. I did not attend my mother’s funeral! I HAVE SACRIFICED EVERYTHING FOR THIS!”

The judge shrugged her shoulders.

“Then you should have made sure her name was spelled right.”

Agent Aonuma jumped kicked into the courtroom

“Ha-cha! I told you to remember the details! ”

He jumped kicked back out of the courtroom.

The defense table shared a group hug. Karyn was a free woman, free to married and to love her buns.  There was one matter to take care of. The mystery of why Mama Tail had Siesta.

“Mama Tail, where did you find Siesta? How’d you know to be here?” asked Karyn.

“Reese left me with a long message and explained everything. Siesta was with me at the Parent’s fair. You told me to take her.”

“When? I don’t remember that.”

“You texted me yesterday.”

“I haven’t had my cell phone for three days.”

The roof of the Tail House wasn’t extraordinary in any way. It could be reached by heading up into their dusty old attic and then climbing a ladder from there. It was high up. From the outside of the home, you’d think you’d only break some bones if you jumped off of the top. It was only once a person got on top of the roof that they realized how long a fall it was. If a person was not careful, they would fall to their doom.

The Siesta Finding Dream Team was careful. Tempter led Reese all over the roof. Reese was tired. He could barely keep up with the spry legs of Tempter. He didn’t notice Tempter was leading him around in circles. His brain was too pooped out to think logically. Siesta could never have gotten on to the roof by herself. That big old bunny would never have made it past the first step. Maybe it was the shocks from the taser still affecting him. Maybe his mind was clouded by his worry for Karyn’s safety. Whatever it was, it kept him so occupied and out of it that he didn’t notice Tempter run through his legs and tie the bunny leash around his ankles. Reese’s legs buckled. His head hit the roof. He saw stars. Reese was out.

Then he stirred awake. His arms and legs were bound together by the leash. He had been pushed to the edge of the roof. Tempter had freed himself. Reese’s brain started working again. He had been had.

“I should have seen this one coming.” He struggled against the leash. Tempter had tied it tight. The bun hopped on Reese’s head and then hopped off.

Tempter wriggled his nose at Reese.

“Awake now?”

“Tempter, once I get out of here-

“You’re too nice a guy to be making threats, Reese. You’d never hurt anyone. ”

“Why are you doing this?”

Tempter hopped onto Reese again. He dragged Reese’s cell phone out of Reese’s pocket with his mouth.

“The trial is over by now. The Special Bunny Investigative Unit works fast. I’ll miss Karyn. She was nice. With her locked up, you’re my temporary bun owner until the government comes for me and Siesta. I’d rather that not happen.”

“You set all this up? Tempter, you’re a bad bun!”

“There are no bad buns. Only smart ones.”

“You are in such trouble. Like I am so telling Karyn. Like we’re taking away your light FM radio and like no yogurt treats for a week. ”

“Reese, you’re done telling me what to do. Now you will listen to me.”

Tempter used his cutesy bunny paws to unlock Reese’s cell phone and access the voice record app on it. If he wasn’t so evil, it would have been so adorable.

“You need to emancipate me. Denounce my status as a pet so I’ll be free to do whatever I please. I will send the recording to the federal government. As my temporary bun owner, you have that power. Then I will be free. If I ran away, they would hunt me down and place me in a bunny half house. I’d have to spend the rest of my life on the run. ”

Reese stuck his tongue out.

“I thought you might act this way. Your death would set me free too. I didn’t want to have to do this. Mama Tail is a good woman. She rode King Da Ka like a pro. ”

Reese was not worried. How could a little bunny push him off the edge of the roof? He was a grown man with a Master’s Degree. If only Reese knew the strength hidden in a bunny’s hind legs. Tempter was stronger than the average bun. He had prepared himself for this moment by hopping around in containment cage and doing squats. Tempter started to roll Reese closer to the edge with his hind legs. Reese started to realize this was no game.

“Tempter! Stop! No!” yelled Reese. He tried to roll back, but the bun was more than strong enough to push Reese over the edge. He had never skipped leg day. The bun was committed. Freedom was at hand. Reese had had his chance to live. Now it was time to break him and a few hearts. If Karyn hadn’t climbed onto the roof, Reese would have been Reese’s pieces.

“You dum bun!” said Karyn.

Tempter and his owner locked eyes. She wasn’t supposed to be here. The Special Bunny Investigative Unit had failed him. His plan for freedom was foiled. All his efforts had been for naught; stealing Karyn’s cell phone, texting Mama Tail to take Siesta, calling in an anonymous tip to the Special Bunny Investigative Unit. All for nothing. He stopped pushing Reese but kept his hind legs on him. Reese started to gnaw on the bunny leash.

“Karyn, stay back! Or August 15th will mean nothing!”

“Tempter, leave Reese out of this. I’m the one you’re angry at”

“He’s as much a part of this as you are!”

Next door at the Wilkerson’s, Mr. Wilkerson and his son were in an intense game of hackeysack. Mr. Wilkerson took pride in being the only parent who didn’t leave during Parent’s Week. He was a smug guy who looked for things to be smug about. Karyn’s shouting and Reese’s screams drew the father and son’s attention away from their game.

“Daddy, why that grown lady yelling at a bunny?” asked little Wilkerson.

“I don’t know son. I stopped trying to understand women when I met your mother.”

The scene at the roof was growing tense.

“Why Tempter? Like why? Cause of the bun containment room? This is not cool, Tempter! Not cool!”

“No. I loved the bun containment cage. It was cozy. ”

“Then why Tempter?”

“April 12th.”

The date didn’t ring a bell to Karyn.

“What’s April 12th?”

“April 12th. You took me and Siesta out to the park. You gave her 2 treats. I had two treats. Before I could eat my second one, she ate it. And you let it happen. I don’t want to live with an owner that would let that happen. I’d rather live free.”

“You were going to like have me thrown in jail for life and you were going to like kill Reese over one freaking bunny treat?! I can’t….oh my god Tempter! ”

“It was the principle of the matter. You should have stopped her. ”

“I can give you all the treats you want. Let’s go down to the basement.”

“Not uh! You’re going to punish me.”

“I promise not to, Tempter. I’m sorry I didn’t stop Siesta from eating your treat.”

“Really?”

“Yes. I am tots sorry.”

Tempter accepted Karyn’s apology for April 12th. He backed away from Reese who had freed himself from the bunny leash. He had chewed his way to freedom. Now all was good at the Tail house. Both buns were safe. No one was going to jail. A happy ending for all.

It would have been if Reese had been careful getting up. The leash was still around his ankles. He took a step and got tripped up for the second time. He tumbled over the edge of the roof. Tempter hopped after Reese in an attempt to save him. Karyn couldn’t do much at all but watch as the two fell to what should have been their certain doom.

What happened next I don’t really know. Maybe something good. Maybe something bad. Maybe one day we’ll find out. Maybe not. Maybe Reese was okay and they got married and were like happy. Maybe he was not okay and like died and Karyn was sad. Or maybe he fell on like a trampoline and bounced back up all cool like. Maybe nothing happened next cause the world blew up. Or everything happened next like everything that could happen ever at one time in one place. You know. Like maybe that happened.

I guess this is like to be continued. Maybe.

 

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How To Stand In An Elevator When A Man Farts

You walk in the elevator and press your floor number. It’s a few floors up. You prepare yourself for some self reflection. Or you start send out a morning text to the bae with two smiley faces. Cause she’s worth that.

Then elevator stops on the second floor. And it’s him. You know this guy. You’ve had many awkward elevator rides with him. A man with more width than height. More years behind him than ahead. You’ve greeted him a few times and only got a miserable mumble back.

Today starts the same. You flash a small smile. He presses the button for the third floor. He manages to eek out a sound that’s as close to hello as you’re going to get from him.

And then he eeks it out. A force you did not expect to deal with at seven o’ clock in the morning. A force that will have you taking the stairs from that day on.

Loud. Like a car revving in a swamp. Long. For what seems to be hours, it goes on. You can’t stop it once it’s begun, only hope you can bear the pain. It ends wet. You can try to cover your nose, but you’ll never be quick enough. It shoves itself right up your nostrils.

Don’t bother trying to ask him about what he could have possibly eaten for breakfast to concoct this olfactory violation. He’ll avoid eye contact and get off shortly after his butt burst.

Do not let this get to you. You need to contain your rage. It’s unfair that your eyes may be watering , but let it go. Your co-workers don’t deserve the bad mood you’ll be in if you dwell on this.

Focus on a memory, bad or good. Make it a strong one. One that will take you away from the elevator until the doors open and you’re free. The fate of your day is in your hands. It’s on you if you want to have a bad one.

Aberration

What of he who belongs nowhere?

Not to any creed, nor any faith?

Not to his companions nor his country?

Not even to his own kin?

Not by his own doing.

Ousted. Ostracized.

A rejected creature.

And how did he come to be?

Is he a defect?

A broken creation?

Or an unsightly mutation?

It isn’t known.

And what is to become of him?

Have he not a home?

No. Forever a stranger to the world.

Should we pity the beast? Or put it out of its misery?

rubber-duck-in-desert-david-buffington

Fight! Fight! Fight!

Jayce hates Mondays. And Tuesdays. He hates pretty much everyday that isn’t Saturday or Sunday. Every weekday he has to drag himself through the halls of Regal Senior High, an institution overflowing with large rowdy noisy douchebags.

The Regal Senior High student handbook states on page 34, that the douchebags are not to be touched; fighting is a level V disciplinary infraction. Jayce knows this disciplinary infraction very well. It’s the one the principal yells about every time Jayce ends up in his office.

Jayce’s mother is driving him to school today. She’s been ranting all morning about last chances and other topics Jayce has no interest in. Jayce hears her words but he isn’t listening. He has his hood over his head. He’s been staring out the window watching the town fly by him. His mother hasn’t noticed.

Jayce hasn’t been in school for three weeks. He was suspended following a level V disciplinary infraction. Jayce brawled with five other students in the student parking lot about a month ago. Two of the five students are still in the hospital. One of which will never be able to walk properly again for the rest of his life. A plea of self-defense was the only thing that kept Jayce from a long stay in Regal Penitentiary.

Jayce’s father found the incident hilarious. Five steroid-abusing yodels couldn’t take down his boy. He made Jayce retell the story five times. He even asked for Jayce to stand up and show off some moves.  Jayce’s mother has a very different sense of humor. The story has never been retold with her in the house.

“Why are these boys always picking on you?”

That’s what his mother asked him on their way home from the court room. Jayce didn’t have an answer for her then. Each fight was started over something different. Last time one of the boys had been teasing Jayce about the sweater that his mother knit for him. That boy currently has a Type 3 nasal fracture.

Today is an easier day for Jayce. It’s a half day. He gets out at 12 p.m. It’s a trial week for him. If he gets into a fight this week, he’ll have to be home schooled for the rest of the school year. As much as he hates school, he can’t let that happen. His mother would unleash pure fury upon him. His father would get burned in the crossfire. No more family outings to the local diner for them. No more sparring sessions in the garage. His dad’s collection of Jon Wang’s kung fu movies would never see the light of day again.  The two of them would have to read books.

His mother’s car slows down to a stop in front of the school.

“Remember what I said. Have a good day today. If anything happens, walk away.”

Jayce nods his head as he heads out the car door.

“Whatever. See ya later.”

He throws his hands in his jean pockets and marches off to the front doors.

Students passing by recognize him. He sees groups of them muttering. One mousy freshmen drops his books and runs off in another direction at the sight of him. Jayce can’t help but snicker. This is turning out to be another fine day at Regal Senior High.

He heads straight through the front doors . So far so good.  He checks the time on his watch. 9:00. He’s out at 12 p.m. He can do three hours. He has only has to suffer through three classes,; Spanish 101, Gym, and Drafting 101. Spanish 101 is first and in room 123. That’s all the way at the end of the hallway.

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Jayce sees a massive traffic jam in front of him. The source of it is a group of nerds that are all gathered around their friend’s locker. Orubou is showing off his Skarcan helmet that he sculpted. It took him three months of saved up allowance to buy the supplies to make it.

Jayce taps Orubou on the shoulder.

“Excuse me. Could you move?”

Orubou and his giddy gang of geeks turn around. Orubou’s skin color turns to a pale white. His helmet slips out of his fingers. It splinters into pieces on the ground. . He and his friends make a path for Jayce to walk through. Jayce makes his way over the pieces of the helmet on the ground. He hears the group of friends blame him for the broken helmet once they think he’s out of earshot.

Jayce is almost there. He sees room 117, then 119. Then he sees three giant goons. He’s never seen these particular goons before. They’re large. They could be football players or wrestlers. Each of them is wearing a varsity jacket with the school’s colors, black and red.  One of them spots him and whispers to another.

Oh boy. The three of them head toward Jayce’s way. One of them cracks his knuckles. Shit is about to go down. Jayce keeps his hands in his pockets and keeps marching.

The goons are right in front of him. Here it comes. Jayce decides the one on the left is the guy to go for. His backwards baseball cap signifies that he’s the leader. Once he does down, the other two will run away. Hopefully.

The goons walk right past Jayce and head into classroom 118. That did not go as expected. Jayce looks at the class room numbers. He is at room 123 now. He reaches for the door.

A basketball slams into the back of Jayce’s head. His head goes loopy for a second. He whips around and sees a large mammoth of a man in front of him. He’s bigger than the three goons put together. Jayce can’t tell if he’s a student or not. This man may have been left behind a few years. It takes everything Jayce has to remain calm. His heart beat rises. He eyes up his opponent. He has no buddies. He’s bigger and he thinks he’s stronger. He has rage on his side. This could be a dangerous combination if he was fighting someone else.

A crowd of students forms around the pair of them. This is always how it starts. There’s not an authority figure to be seen anywhere. The big lug opens his mouth.

“You’re the mother fucker who put my brother in the hospital. ”

The massive man puts his hand on Jayce’s shoulder. Jayce focuses his eyes on the freckle-covered face of his opponent.

“Which one was he? I’ve sent a lot of idiots to the hospital. Was he the ugly one?”

“Fuck you, bitch. I owe you for what you did to my brother.”

“Take your hand off now,” Jayce responds.

The massive man clenches Jayce’s shoulder tightly. He raises a large fist.

“What you gon-”

Bam! Jayce’s fist cracks into the jaw of the massive man.

Gasps shoot through the crowd. A girl shrieks. 

The man’s massive head shoots violently back. His immense body tumbles to the ground with the elegance of an elephant. Jayce hops on top of him. He slams fists and elbows into the freckle-covered face. Everything goes white for Jayce. His heart beats in his chest like a Congo drum.

Jayce comes back to reality. Jayce glances at the time on his watch. 9:12. He lasted less than a half hour.

He gazes down at the crumbled heap on the floor. He sees the bloody mess that used to be another human being’s face.

He’ll have to apologize to his dad when he gets home. The two of them are going to get burned.

The Eagle’s Wife

The arrow pierced his proud heart, the same heart that taught me how to love. The sound of that arrow whistling past me echoes in my dreams. I watched on in awe as his majestic body collided with the unforgiving ground. He didn’t die from the fall unfortunately. He bled out slowly gasping for air. He saw me on the branch I was resting on. We shared a long stare as his heart gave out its final beats. He knew I couldn’t help him. He wouldn’t blame me for his death. I still couldn’t help but feel guilty as his life flowed out of his body and on to the grass. Before the shot, I heard the branches shake. There are only two things that can shake a branch like that; bears and humans.

No bear can shoot an arrow. Arrows are a human creation. Humans are unnatural. Humans are the only creatures on the planet that do not kill with their bare hands or claws. They also do not kill to eat.  They do not belong in this forest.

I watched as the archer approached my fallen lover. The fiend had a devilish smile on his face. He came closer to my husband’s carcass and examined it. He would have orphaned my children just for a chance to impress his human friends. This archer like most humans did not hunt for food. I’d seen his kind before.

An orange glow awoke me from my sleep many nights ago. I flew near this strange glow and saw a group of humans sitting around it. It was a fire. I watched as the flames of a fire whisked from side to side in the light wind. An archer opened his bag and showed the corpse of a young eagle to a group of other human. They all laughed and danced before the rest emptied their bags. The meat was not eaten by him or his friends. They mutilated the bodies of those they had killed. They wore the carcasses as clothing. The archer attached the eagle’s feathers to his arrows. Son and daughters’ bodies were being paraded around as a joke. That’s what death is to these creatures.   Humans hunt because it makes them laugh. I can’t condone this. I kill because I need to eat, not because I enjoy it. That is the way of life.  Humans are perverting it.

I turned away when the archer skinned my husband. I could hear the swipes of his knife. Each swipe felt like he was cutting into me. When the swipes stopped, I turned to look again. The archer threw the mangled body in a bag, tossed it over his shoulder and walked away with a father, a teacher, and my lover. I’m not sure how long I stared at the blood on the ground. I hoped that in some way it wasn’t real. His beautiful wings would embrace me again tonight like they had before. He’d bring back a hare in his sharp elegant beak for our children. He’s gone now. He’s not even a meal to feed someone. He’s just a casualty of humanity’s perversion of life.

There would be no consequence for the archer. He would return home and laugh with the rest of his friends. Nothing would stop him from repeating this unnatural, brutal, and perverted act. The archer would be back to do this again. Next time, it could be my children that he would kill for no reason, but his own deluded joy. It was here that my pride finally rose up from the bottom of my heart. My wings soared me up from the branch I laid on. The archer heard me rise. He turned his head. His eyes widened in fear.  My talons were the last thing he ever saw. I ripped at his eyes. He screamed and grabbed his eyes. It was too late for him to do anything. The damage was done. He yelled for help. He swung his knife wildly at air. It was quite a funny sight to see.  My pride died down. I was satisfied as the archer tripped, and stumbled through the forest. We both had lost something irreplaceable now. His eyesight can never return just like my lover.

Writer’s Digest Writing Prompt

  • Coffee?

Good things happen to good people and great things happen to great people. I am a great person. How do I know this? Today, the girl that I’ve been nursing a curse on for quite some time came to my house and asked me out. There’s not much more that a man could ask for in life than that. I never thought things like that actually happened to people. It almost makes me want to start believing that the world isn’t such a bad place to live in. But I know better of course.

There’s only one downside. We’re in a Starbucks. I’ve despised coffee since a very young age. Everyone used to mispronounce my name and call me coffee. I’ve never tried the stuff and I never will. I can’t complain though. Just standing in this line next to her gives me that giggly bubbly feeling in my neck. She’s here because she wants to spend time with me and only me. I’m getting so excited. Now she’s turning to face me with those unforgettable eyes. Ooh. My heart is fluttering.

“What are you thinking of getting, Greg?”

Who’s Greg? Is that supposed to be a joke? How cute of her.

“I have no idea what I’m going to get, dude.”

“What’d you get last time? The Caffè Misto?”

There was not a last time. Does she have me mixed up with someone else? Maybe she’s just kidding around since this is our first time out together. I’ll play along.

“You should. It was really good, miss.”

“Yo. Greg, Can you find us a table? This place is filling up. ”

“It must be coffee time. That’s why this place is getting so full. Haha.”

That is an awkward smile on her face. She didn’t find that funny at all. Hopefully she forgets I said that by the time she gets back with her coffee. Now to find a table. There? No. Someone left their blue backpack on it.  That green table by the window over there is empty. It’s the also the only green table in here. There’s probably something wrong with it. I’ll just sit at this brown one next to it. Here she comes and she’s brought two cups of coffee. I don’t remember asking for coffee. I’ll just let it sit here.

“Somebody needs to answer their phone more often.

“What are you talking about?”

This girl has never called me. This can’t be a joke then. She has me mixed up with some other guy. Oh no. That means not only does she not like me, she has no idea who I am. She must like this other guy. Hold up. If she likes him and she thinks I’m him, it’s pretty much the same thing as her liking me because of the transitive property. Basic Algebra saves the day again. I’ll just see where this goes.

“Yesterday. I called you like 5 times.”

“Oh yeah. Sorry. My phone was on silent. Hehehe.”

“So how’s work been going on that project of yours?”

“It’s been uh-great. It’s going great.”

“So you don’t need my help, then?”

“Um. No. Uh. Yes. I don’t know.”

“You seem confused.”

“Could you remind me what kind of help you were going to give me?”

“Sure. By the way you should drink your coffee before it gets cold.”

“You shouldn’t have got me one. I don’t drink coffee.”

“What?”

“I don’t like coffee.”

“That’s what I thought you said. The Greg I know would never ever say anything like that not even as a joke. He worships Starbucks coffee.”

“Uh. Um.”

“Who are you?”

“I-I-i gotta go.”

I never knew I could move this fast. That’s what happens when you screw up a date with the girl of your dreams. This is one of the worst things that could ever happen to me. If I ever see her again, she’ll know me as the guy pretended to be Greg. I can never live this down. I’m not a great person. I’m not even a good person. Darn it. I should have just stayed home and played video games. That sounds like a good idea. Battlefront 2 here I come!

Alright.

A positive mind can conquer anything. Dwelling on the past can lead to a person’s demise. Looking forward and keeping your head up is the right way to live life. Just ask Robert Walnuts.  Robert has always been a positive person since the age of reason. Even when he was a young boy, he knew that complaining and whining wasn’t the way to go through life. His parents raised him properly.

On his fifth birthday, Robert almost complained for the first time. It was his first birthday party. All his friends and family members were there to help him celebrate his lively five years.  He had told his mother that his favorite flavor of ice cream was vanilla and she should get vanilla cake for his birthday. That was all he wanted. But his mother misheard him. His parents gave him chocolate cake.  Robert looked down at the cake disappointed. Robert hated chocolate. He would rather have not had cake at all than eat chocolate ice cream cake. Everyone watched him as he was about to cut the first piece. All eyes were on him. He knew it was better to just eat the cake and not complain. As he ate the cake, he thought to himself. “Alright. This isn’t too bad.  Some kids don’t even get cake. I can’t complain. Next year I’ll get the cake I want.”

Robert went through most of his teenage years without a single incident of negativity. He coasted through school with straight Cs. He was alright with his grades. With each test, he passed, he let out a sigh of relief. The worse was now behind him. He helped his mother at home and never opened his mouth when he was asked to do chores. Robert never had a reason to complain about anything. Then she happened. Robert had taken a liking to one of the girls in his class. He wanted to take her to prom. He had had a crush on her for quite some time. Robert wasn’t the best looking fellow. He was portly and balding at age seventeen. He would try comb over his orange hair but it still looked pretty bad. He had no problem with it, but the girl did. Her name was Stephanie Stefanski. She was quite pretty. She had long blonde hair and eyes you couldn’t forget.

She thought she deserved better than a portly balding acne ridden boy. Stephanie was not a nice girl. Some would even go so far as to call her a bitch. Those people would be right. Stephanie had heard rumors that Robert was planning on asking her. She didn’t like this one bit. Robert thought he was in her league. He wasn’t. So she decided to play a cruel joke on him to teach him a lesson. When Robert asked her, she told him yes. Upon hearing this, Robert was the most excited he had ever been in his life. He told his friends. He told his parents. He even told his barber. He started exercising more so he wouldn’t be as portly. He bought himself a hat to wear at the prom. He needed to look his best for what could be the best night of his life. Prom night was going to be a night to remember for Robert but not for the reasons he thought it would be.

So then the night came. Stephanie said she would arrive at Robert’s house at 5:00 pm then he could drive both of them. Five became six. Six became seven. Robert grew worried. He called her house but there was no one there. He drove to her house and knocked on the door. There was no one there. Robert decided to go to the prom. Maybe she had gotten a ride with a friend and forgot to tell him. Robert would later wish he never went.

Robert drove to the prom.. He was late to the prom. He said hello to his friends and asked them if they had seen Stephanie. His friends told him that they hadn’t seen Stephanie yet but they would keep an eye out for her. They didn’t need to keep an eye out for long. Stephanie arrived shortly after Robert.

Stephanie arrived in the arms of another man. That man was Carl Delione. Carl was twenty three years old. He was a high school drop out with slicked back black hair and rock-hard abs. There was nothing portly about this man. Robert stared on as the two of them exited Carl’s car. The two embraced right before Robert’s eyes. It was here that Robert’s positivity almost ended. He wanted to walk over and yell at Stephanie for lying to him. He wanted to punch Carl in his pretty face and rip out his hair.

But he didn’t. He just whispered to himself, “Alright.” Then he went home never mentioning what happened to his parents or his friends ever again. It would be some time before Robert would try again at romance. It was about five years. He met Jane outside a grocery store. Robert almost ran Jane over with his car as he left the store. He promised to make it up to her by taking her to lunch.

The two of them hit it off. They both went to same college and they didn’t even know it. Their lunches became a regular thing. The two of them became quite the pair. Robert brought Jane home to his parents, but Jane refused to do the same. She never mentioned her parents. Robert was alright with this. He didn’t pry. He didn’t want to make her unhappy. Then Jane told him one day that she would take him to her house to meet her parents for dinner.

The “dinner” lasted five minutes. Robert got into the house and sat at the dinner table. Jane’s father demanded that Robert leave on the spot. Jane broke up with Robert the next day. She let him down easy. She wasn’t allowed to date men who weren’t Asian. She apologized to Robert. Robert shrugged his shoulders and told her it was alright. Robert had planned to ask Jane to marry him, but it was okay. He could always find another girl.

He didn’t. But his parents did. They found him his future wife. She wasn’t the best looking girl. She wasn’t a good cook. She’s wasn’t very bright. She didn’t even like Robert that much, but she didn’t want to be alone. That was a good enough reason for her and Robert to get married. Robert never felt much of anything for this woman. She was just there. She felt the same about Robert. The two of them were twenty six when they eloped.

Yesterday, Robert was eighty-six years old. It was his birthday. His positive way of living has been the same after all these years. Last week, the doctor told him he didn’t have long to live. Robert had inoperable cancer in his kidney that would kill him. Robert asked his doctor how this happened. Robert had always been a light drinker. His doctor didn’t have an answer for him. Robert just nodded his head as he was given his death sentence. He had lived a long life. Some people don’t even get to live this long. He had lived long enough and he was happy about that.

Robert’s birthday party was just like the ones that had come before it. There was a small gathering of his friends and family. Each year the gathering grew smaller and smaller. Robert had no children as his wife was barren. This year it was just him, his wife, and two of her nephews. All of Robert’s friends and coworkers had already moved on. Robert’s wife had gotten him a cake. They filled it up with eighty-six candles. Robert looked at this cake and realized this could be the last birthday he would ever have. His wife had gotten him chocolate cake. She hated vanilla cake and always got Robert chocolate for his birthday. Robert looked down at this cake. His last birthday cake and it was his least favorite flavor. He felt all the years of turmoil boil in him. He felt the anger from when Stephanie had played with him. He felt the frustration from being laid off his last job due to cutbacks. He felt the anguish from not marrying his dream girl. He felt the sheer rage of wasting his life with a woman who never cared for him. He felt the annoyance he didn’t let himself have at age six.

And then he felt the cold hand of death. It was quick and sudden, but it felt like an eternity. Robert was finally going to let the world know how he really felt. He was going to just lose it. But death took this from him. He gasped for air and collapsed on the ground. His wife shrieked. The world spun and started to fade out. Robert realized that this was it for him. He was never going to live another day. He would never get the vanilla cake that he wanted. He would never speak his mind. One last thought shot out before Robert left this world.

“Alright.”