The bus nudged it’s passengers from side to side as it rapidly navigated through the sharp, narrow roads of the town. A curious old lady sat in one of the reserved front seats. She leaned her head to a side to better observe the contents of the pink plastic shopping bag that dangled in front of her. At first she thought it was some sort of white cuddly toy. But when she took her spectacles from around her neck and perched them on her nose the image came into focus and she saw it move. The bag was slung over a boy’s shoulder, the handles of the bag in one of his hands, a bus pole in the other. A head protruded from the top of the bag and returned the old lady’s curious glances with bright eyes, twitching whiskers and it’s long ears standing to attention. She looked and smiled at the boy and leaned forward in her seat to touch and feel the soft, white ears.
‘Is this your rabbit?’ she asks the boy, ‘he’s very pretty!’
‘Yeah. This is Dinner.’ the boy replies.
The old lady sits back in her seat, her expression of charmed admiration, slipped into confusion, to disgust, and back to confusion. The boy pushed the button on the pole and hopped off the bus.
He skipped along the footpath with Dinner swaying from side to side over his shoulder until he got to Lucy and Ciara‘s house. He knocked on the door and Lucy came out and lead him through the house to the tiny back garden where a box, smashed together with bits of old, white-painted, skirting boards and chicken wire, housed another black and white bunny. Ciara, the younger of the two girls stands over it, dropping pellets of rabbit food through the wire.
‘Is that her?’ the boy asks.
‘That’s her.’ Ciara says as she throws herself to her knees and removes the stone that keeps the door closed. She stretches an arm in and rummages after the bunny, trying to avoid getting her wool jumper caught in the stray, rusty nails that protrude within. She grabs her by a hind leg and lifts her from the box as she squirms to free herself from her grasp. She drops her on the grass and she scurries a couple of steps into space.
‘Isn’t she the coolest rabbit you ever saw?’ Ciara asks.
‘Dinner is cool too!’ the boy reacts. ‘What did you name it?’
‘Brittany. After Brittany Spears’ Lucy replies with pride.
‘Brittany the bunny… I like it.’ the boy says.
‘We can call one of the babies Brinner.’ Ciara shouts as she chases Brittany around the lawn, trying to gather the evasive bunny up into her arms so she can hold it and give it love.
‘Or Brunch.’ the boy adds.
‘Why would you call it Brunch? That doesn’t make any sense.’ Ciara reprimands, tired now from her futile attempt to catch the rabbit.
The boy shrugs his shoulders and lowers the plastic bag to the ground and releases Dinner.
Dinner immediately mounts Brittany and begins trusting quickly.
‘Should we give them some privacy?’ Lucy asks.
‘Maybe they escaped!’ Ciara says when the boy returned a month later. He was confused. Lucy had told him at school that day that Brittany was after having little bunny babies that morning. The three of them stood over the box, bewildered by the absence of the bunny babies.
‘They might have squeezed through the tiny holes in the wire and ran away.’
They turned the little back garden upside down searching for them, checking every bush, shrub, flower and blade of grass but to no avail.
The next day they found little bones in Brittany’s poo.