My name is Buster, and I’m the Talkin’ Bunny. That’s right, the fuckin’ real-life Talkin’ Bunny. Fictitious accent – “Noice day isn’t it?” ““ tilt head, expose buck teeth ““ “Wonder whot Bettina is up to this mornin’?” ““ fake stutter: “Sssay, here she comes right now.” Hoppity-hop.
Bettina’s my co-star, of course: that fluffy white rabbit who’s always wearing a big ugly bow. Otherwise how would the audience be able to read her gender? The irony is, Bettina’s a male.
And sssay, here he comes right now.
“I’m sick of this, absolutely sick of this,” I say.
“So am I,” Bettina says. “Hey,” he says, as if reporting some sort of groundbreaking conclusion. “Why don’t we quit?”
“Yeah, right, Ratbrain. They won’t just let us quit. We’re the fuckin’ Talkin’ Bunnies.”
“Well, so much for that, then.” He nibbles on some hay.
I insist: “Need to get out of here before they try to breed us or some shit.”
“Breed us? How?”
“Not together, dumbass.”
“Okay, so, what are we gonna do?”
I lower my voice. “We blow this place sky-high, lagomorph style.” I’m quick to add: “And then run out in the confusion.”
“What are we going to do when we get out of here?” he asks, still chewing.
“Well, we’ll find other rabbits.”
“What if they don’t like us?” he asks. “We’re genetically engineered”¦”
“So what. If that’s the case, we’ll tell “˜em: “˜better to be engineered than the alternative. You guys are stuck with a buncha nucleotides nature barfed out thirty million years ago.'”
“Eww, nature barf,” he mocks. “Wait, how d’you know how to blow stuff up? You been hanging out with terrists?”
“Me? No, our “˜producers’ dropped all the know-how we need right into our paws.”
“Season Two, Episode Three.”
A look of enlightenment dawns on his face. “Gotcha,” he says. “I know what we need to do.” He runs off purposefully, but comes scampering back a few seconds later, a look of concern on his face. “What will the kids think?”
“The kids? They’ll probably be all like, “˜Man, I always knew that Talkin’ Bunny was one fucked-up bastard.'”
“Kids don’t talk like that.”
“You met any real kids?”
“Of course.” He looks at me like I’m stupid. “The show?”
I roll my eyes. “Those weren’t real kids, those were actors.”
“Actors?” He looks shocked.
“Well, loosely speaking.”
The vinegar was easy. My obnoxious handler Serena had me sit in the kitchen all evening while she baked cookies for tomorrow’s guest actors. She buzzed away at the batter with her obnoxious electric mixer while I tried to figure out how to tip a little vinegar into a bowl. “Need help there?” she asked without turning her head.
“Naw,” I said. “I’m just making a noice green salad.”
“Are you sure you don’t need help? Let me”¦” She was already standing over me, pouring into the bowl.
“You’re making a lot of salad dressing.” No kidding.
The baking soda was even easier. While Serena took a phone call I made my way over to the counter she’d been working on, picked up the baking soda box in my teeth, and ran it over to my living “˜room’. Simple. Hoppity-hopped back.
“Need help with that bowl of vinegar?” she asked, oblivious. She was already carrying it toward my feed tray, so I walked along nonchalantly behind her. She sang a saccharine lullabye, said goodnight, petted us, and left. Finally.
“How’s the volcano coming?” I ask Bettina.
“Is this good?” he answers.
“Bigger,” I reply.
When it’s done I lift up and pour the whole box of baking soda in ““ a little overkill can’t hurt ““ and tell Bettina to stay back. I push the bowl of vinegar up the slope, brace myself against the volcano, and prepare to hand in my resignation letter”¦
Beth Langford currently lives in British Columbia, where she works as an ecology field assistant. More of her flash fiction will soon appear in Kaleidotrope, Aoife’s Kiss and Sporty Spec: Games of the Fantastic. She is an editor of Ideomancer Speculative Fiction.