Stanley abandoned sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll.
It was difficult. He was, after all, a rabbit. But he wanted monogamy and Mildred wouldn’t stand for deviance. She moved on to Bob, Dave and Harry three minutes after rejecting him.
Devastated, he became a travel rabbit. You may think you’ve never heard of this ancient vocation but surely you’ve read about the one who told someone she was late? You know, white fur, top hat, pocket-watch…
Now you’re torn aren’t you? Do you ask what a travel rabbit does or find out what a rabbit knows about drugs and rock ’n’ roll?
Drugs is easy. Rabbits know more about hallucinogenic plants than a festival goer with a botany degree. That’s why bunnies lollop within three inches of a stream of cars doing sixty. They’re looking at the pretty fairies, man.
Rock n Roll? Rabbits have rhythm but not opposable thumbs: excellent drummers but really bad guitarists. And did you know that a certain very famous person based his moves on a rabbit called Elfin Perflee from Memphis, Tennessee?
Stanley was more of a balladeer than a rocker, but he considered ending his days in the lettuce patch which is the rabbit equivalent of drowning your sorrows. Only he didn’t seek oblivion, he wanted love.
So travel rabbit it was. They go by public transport and they’re invisible. The chap with the watch was breaking the first rule of the profession. (The girl was travelling by omnibus and fell down an unfilled pothole but this was edited out of the final draft.)
Travel rabbits are there to help by whispering things like “you’re late” or “it’ll be fine” or “I’ll wake you at Woking” and occasionally “stop shouting into your mobile.” They’ve learnt to levitate at rush hour – it’s that or be crushed.
After three months travelling the Waterloo to Exeter line, Stanley forgot Mildred. He needed all his strength to support the lonely, nervous, weary, disappointed and bankrupt.
One busy night, Stanley hovered, millimetres from the ceiling, barely able to breathe. When the doors opened at Basingstoke, people swarmed on. Swept in was another travel rabbit, squashed between travellers, slipping towards certain death. Stanley, breaking the second law of travel rabbits, stood on a commuter’s head and pulled her up just in time. He levitated her into the luggage rack where her slight frame trembled, her fur tousled, her eyes big with terror. He smoothed her ears and breathed words of comfort.
Station by station the train emptied. Stanley didn’t notice. He was holding the most beautiful bunny in the world.
“I’m Peronelle,” she whispered.
“Marry me,” Stanley mumbled, his heart thudding in his ears.
There was not even a pause.
“Just me?” murmured Peronnelle, “Oh yes! At last, I’ve found my soul mate. Of course I will!”
And they knew not why, but the last few weary passengers, rocking with the train on the final leg of their long journey, heard whispers of love and their hearts warmed.
Copyright 2016 by Paula Harmon. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission