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When the going gets worse

August 6, 2018

Winnie, a rabbit, answered the question of how it can get worse.

The incident I’m about to share happened about five or six years back, when my daughter and I were still living in a quirky little Cape Cod in South Charleston. The house with a big, fenced-in yard and a ridiculous number of animals. Two of them being my rabbits, Winnie and Stu.

Winnie had been a dream of a pet. Her nature always sweet and affectionate, she’d come when you called her, and only ate the books I’d already read. Stu—not so much. His vast destruction soon relegated him to the back yard. However, when the weather was nice, I would allow Winnie out to roam with Stu. Outback sat an old storage building they could hide in, if need be, and an open garage.

And unfortunately, on one summer evening, there also sat a chair.

I remember well how my discovery of the chair’s fate came about. I’d walked into my kitchen to find one of my daughter’s friends staring out the kitchen window, looking confused. Her eyes were squinting up into a big oak tree that towered over our porch. “Is that snow?” she asked. “It’s in the 80s,” I said. She pointed. “Then what’s that?” I looked. Saw a big puff of white stretched out long across a branch. She directed my attention to another nearby branch stuffed in a similar fluffy, white manner. I let out a long sigh.

Once upon a time, I had an overstuffed chair, in its better days it had been admired as pretty—until it attracted the attentions of a claw-sharpening cat. Over time, the cat so thoroughly shredded the chair’s sides that it came to look as if it was wearing a Hawaiian grass skirt. The chair didn’t lose its comfort, I decided to relocated it to the basement, where the chair would suffer its next misfortune. I had placed it directly beneath a pipe. Which broke. Thoroughly soaking the chair.

I dragged my poor chair into the back yard and positioned it in the sun to dry, except while there, our rather large rabbits soon made delightful discovery. Truth be told, the two could’ve fit easily across the chair’s wide seat, but the hares wouldn’t share.

While bunnies might appear to be docile creatures, in reality, they can be hostile beasts who will repeatedly fling each other from a hula chair with intense brutality. I imagine it had occurred during such a flinging that a small hole got torn into the chair’s back.

I noticed a few puffs of white drifting about and a flash of a “Oh, that isn’t good” jogged by

on the treadmill of my brain, but I was so busy with chores it didn’t click until later. Even if Fd paid more attention, I doubt my anticipation could have done much beyond tugging out a only few mouthfuls of stuffing.

Even my worst thought had never imagined what would happen.

For the first time ever, my competitive rabbits found a game they could engage in together. Let’s call this game, “Gut the Chair.” When I returned home hours later, I found them working in synchronization to drain and distribute what little remained in the now deflated chair.

Had I not known the source, my first thought would have been how few hundred pillows had been slaughtered in our yard. Pillow pieces were strewn about in some sort of morbid display. How so much stuffing came from one single chair seemed impossible.

The sunlight had already begun to set when I made this discovery, and my body felt exhausted from a full day of running about, (and since I put the “PRO” in procrastinating), I decided it could all wait until morning. What more could happen?

That question found its answer not only by rabbits but squirrels too. The nest-worthy fluff that had been strewn all over my yard by rabbits found its way sometime in the wee morning hours, redistributed high into my trees by squirrels.

So when my daughter’s friend asked, “If that’s not snow, what is it?”

I answered, “It’s proof of how very wrong I can be.”

Karln Fuller can be reached via email at karlnfuller@gmall.com.

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