“Stop doing that!” Dove snaps.
“What?” asks Rabbit.
“No. What I will do is begin the interviewing process.”
“What? Is that about twitching your nose in a wuffly sort of way?”
“It’s about getting us out of this field.”
“It’s a nice field.”
“Isn’t it? The warmest, most comfortable, predator-free and happy field ever. Pure bloody magic.”
“You wuffled again,” says Dove.
“Shut up and pay attention. We were trapped in this field by deceit.”
“Is that the one with the funny hat?”
Rabbit closes his eyes, takes a deep breath and counts to … and remembers he can’t count. “There’s no way I can hop out of this field because of the chains and locks, and you can’t fly through the dome of glass…”
“The hard sky you bang into. We were promised safety and easy food and that’s what we got.”
“Nice, isn’t it?”
“No. It’s a sodding trap and we fell for it. We’re getting out.”
“But the seeds aren’t so juicy on the other side. There may be foxes and falcons … all sorts of stuff.”
Rabbit shakes his head. After a lengthy sigh he says, “Fear is the enemy of freedom. Did I say that? Amazing! Remember that, Dove. Remember when I am famous you’ll be able to say you were the person I said it to.”
“Forget it. Right, the sun is past the fiddly bit of mistletoe. It’s time. Follow me to the gate.”
“The bit of wall with the bars going across and not up and down. We’re going there and then escaping.”
“But you can’t open it.”
“No and for this reason I have brought to bear my most outstanding qualities, genius, lateral thinking and cunning. The problem is about to be solved. The git who magicked a cage and field into the same place is going to suffer.”
Rabbit bounces through lush grass and twitches his nose between the gate’s bars. On the other side stands a cute fawn who says, “I’ve come about the job you advertised.”
Rabbit shakes his head again. “We were looking for someone a little less cute.”
Fawn narrows his eyes, lowers his head and attempts to growl like a wolf. The noise actually sounds like a small frog burping.
“Sorry,” says Rabbit. “Next, please.”
A large and craggy dog approaches. Rabbit raises a paw and says, “Intelligence was in the list of desirable qualities. What’s a dog doing here? Can you solve problems?”
The dog snorts in contempt, spattering everything in dripping nasal mucus. “I have an infinite amount of solutions to problems.”
“OK, open this gate and the field is yours.”
“All of it?”
“All of it.” Rabbit nods. “To cover in crap to your fart’s content.”
“Wow!” The dog tenses, steels itself and emits an air-shattering bark. “Funny, the gate didn’t open.”
“Try something else,” suggests Rabbit.
Dog barks again and looks at the gate expectantly.
“Something other than barking perhaps?” murmurs Rabbit.
Dog looks startled. “Like what?”
“I thought you had an infinite supply of solutions.”
“I have infinite barks, yes. I’ll try again…”
“Enough!” Rabbit waves Dog aside and says, “Next.”
A king cobra appears, rises and stares from a lofty three metres high at Rabbit and Dove, who flies in panic across the field. Tasting air with a flickering tongue the cobra says, “Stay still, little rabbit”
Rabbit squints up. “Are you here about the job?”
“I’m here to eat you.”
Rabbit wuffles in deep thought. “Interesting … try it.”
“Aak!” follows the sound of a snake’s head hitting the glass dome but precedes some words that will not be repeated here, followed by a flump of cobra falling unconscious not only in a literal sense but also unaware that it’s going to need dentures in the near future.
“Next,” calls Rabbit – and wishes he hadn’t.
A giant spider thunders forward, its clawed feet tearing boulders from the ground. From massive jaws drips the blood of its last victim. The spider roars, “It’s a job and payment is that sweet little field, all pretty and nice … and with not a single web anywhere!” Bloody saliva sprays in a torrent of fury.
“Exactly. The test is opening this gate, which could hold back charging bulls … rabbits anyway. Or you could break the hard dome that doves can’t fly through. After which you can do what you like with the field. To be most effective in this job you must have the correct disposition. Are you by nature kindly and gentle?”
“Get stuffed. I’m murderously violent. Gratuitous death at the drop of a hat. I loathe everything and want to kill it!” The spider’s jaws crack together making sounds which Rabbit would think are akin to glaciers breaking up. Though he’s never seen a glacier but … this is going nowhere.
Rabbit screams and darts aside as those mighty jaws grip steel bars and rip the gate away in a hideous screeching crescendo. Monstrous Spider grunts and heaves up and down, shaking the ground. “Do I get the job?”
“Of course, absolutely. All you need to do is stay in this field until it happens … you will know when it does … and stop it happening to any of us ever again. When it happens you will be shocked and surprised and, I hope, really pissed off.” Rabbit wuffles and darts from the field.
Dove lands beside him. “You did it! You did something. What was it you did?”
“I’ve put a stop to that magician and his stupid top hat. Next time he pulls something out of it, and thus from the field, he’ll get a microsecond to regret trapping dumb animals … and me.”
“Oh, look,” says Dove. “I have to fly!”
“There’s a fox coming this way.”
©Gary Bonn 2018