A bunny. Really? Looking into the pet carry that had mysteriously shown up on my doorstep, I had no idea who or why I was the lucky recipient of a real honesty-to-goodness fluffy white bunny, complete with big brown eyes and a pink nose. It looked at me with one big eye while its nose twitched. I could only imagine he was as perplexed about this predicament as I was.
Rassmussen barked from over my shoulder, “Shut the door and read the note, woman. You’re letting the heat in.”
With a nod, I conceded his point and brought the bunny inside, closing the door behind me before untying the red ribbon that held the pink envelop attached to the handle of the carrier. The scent of roses with a touch of lavender escaped the envelope as I pulled out a hand lettered note written on a heavy cardstock in some of the most illustrious calligraphy that I’d ever seen.
Dear Mr. Rassmussen… Well that was a new one on me. In all the time Rassmussen and I had shared quarters, I had heard the old gargoyle referred to as many things, such as beast, nutcase, heathen, killer, and old coot—I must admit this last one was mostly by me—but never had anyone ever referred to him as Mr. Rassmussen. …Please do me the great honor of taking care of Henrietta while I attend an emergency session of the Greater Midwest Association of High Magicians and Illustrious Warlocks. As you may recall, I saved your life in 1957. As Henrietta is the backbone of my livelihood, ensuring her wellbeing until my return would be not only a great kindness but bring our account to resolution. Your most appreciative servant, The Great Mandini.
Huh. Rassmussen taking care of anything more delicate than a steel bar seemed a bit ludicrous, but who was I to judge? This Great Mandini had obviously known Rass longer than I.
“Oh, Rassmussen, this one’s for you.”
I passed off the note and watched as my housemate read it, his eyes growing wider and wider, which made his wrinkles bunch up in uneven rows between his eyebrows and hairline.
“I don’t know nothin’ about raising no rabbits,” he grumbled.
“Don’t look at me. He’s not my friend.”
We continued to debate the matter for the next ten minutes before Rassmussen blew a cylinder and threatened to leave the poor creature in the basement with his roadkill collection. Can you imagine that? This poor little woodland creature relegated to the dungeon where he would be surrounded by the gruesome remains of his less fortunate brethren. That would constitute bunny abuse no matter how you looked at it.
Well, I put my foot down. Not under my roof. If he had an obligation to this Great Mandini, it was only right he treat Henrietta as an honored guest.
So here I sit and there he sits in his butt-creased recliner, the pet cage on his lap, his feet in the air and his expression clearly torn between wonder at the predicament and pathetic old man grouch. I can’t wait to see what is in store for us in the new few days.