The Short Life of Mr. Simon J. Bunny
There will be no funeral service. No honor guard to carry his remains to his resting
place. We ask that no flowers be sent to the home. If you feel the need to send cash, I
will gladly accept said gift. Mr. Simon J. Bunny has died after rescue operations
failed. I had no clue that was his name or that it was a male, but the six-year-old via
Skype has informed me that this is true. He had a wonderful, all-be-it short life
eating expensive plants, grass, and bark in the yard. He is now in heaven where he
is playing with Jesus, eating lettuce to his heart’s content, and is under the
protective watch of the Old Man, the dog who loved to chase rabbits while he was on
earth, but has been redeemed of his wicked ways in the afterlife. Mr. Simon J. Bunny
is survived by his mother, fathers, and his dozen siblings I hear rustling in the
bushes every time I walk out of the house.
Spring brings the hope of renewal and new life, and at the Soderstrum home almost
certain death. There was the Great Easter Bunny Massacre. My neighbor has a
rabbit that lives under his back porch. How do I know this? Because the rabbit
tortures my dog, Layla. It has somehow figured out that Layla knows she is
forbidden to leave the boundaries of the yard, that there is an invisible line she
cannot cross. So, Layla, when she goes outside to answer the call of nature, spies the
rabbit lounging in the neighbor’s yard, makes a b-line towards the floppy-eared
rodent, and has to stop on a dime when she reaches the edge of the yard.
Said rabbit has become totally nonchalant about Layla’s pacing back-and-forth
presence. I have even gotten involved, daring the rabbit a time or two to venture on
over to my yard and face my killer dog one-on-one.
This rabbit also is very fertile. It breeds like a rabbit or something. Every spring
like clock work, a new batch of bunnies takes over the yard, eating plants and laying
waste to everything like they are Sherman’s troops marching through Georgia.
Children like bunnies. People that take care of yards, don’t. For several years, it was
no problem. There was a mangy old cat that was probably on the ark with Noah
whose owner let her roam at night. I have no proof that the cat killed a single bunny,
but “don’t ask, don’t tell” has always been my motto.
The cat died. When the bunnies made their appearance last year, they went to
town. I was informed that I should go outside and shoot the rabbits. At this point in
my life, I am a total pacifist, even when it comes to rabbits. Plus firing a gun when
you have neighbors is never a good idea. So, they ate the hostas and nibbled at the
trees. A neighbor, who also faces this onslaught of bunnies, took matters into his
own hands and poisoned them. I knew nothing about this. The bunnies did not die in
their hole or warren. Rather, my backyard became their graveyard.
There is truly nothing better than to wake up on Easter Sunday, open the back door
to let the dogs out to find, not chocolate covered eggs in the backyard, but five dead
When confronted with something dead, dogs tend to roll on them or pick them up
in their mouth and parade around the backyard like they just won the Stanley Cup.
This conduct never goes over well.
So, I did the only thing I could think to do. I ran to the garage, grabbed the sand
shovel because I did not want to touch the bunnies’ dead bodies, and planned on
hurling them into the cornfield across the street.
Two problems. Dogs think this is a game of keep away. They are jumping up and
down trying to knock the dead bunny out of the metal scoop. It had also been awhile
since I had cleaned the backyard and my dogs are extremely regular, fecal
landmines everywhere and I was not wearing shoes. If it had been a war movie, I
would have been the soldier killed before the opening credits were over. So, I am
hopping on one foot, the dogs are acting like it is a piñata party, and I am trying to
throw the bodies of dead bunnies as far as I could.
The scream of a child who has just watched you whip the body of a dead bunny out
of your shovel like you are swinging a baseball bat is something you will never
forget. In fact, time slows down. These sweet little bundles of fur that were joyfully
eating and playing together just yesterday, now one-by-one are hurling through the
air. In my mind, and I know it is not true, I could hear the thud as they landed in the
cornfield. It is at that moment you realize that you are the worst human being ever.
Let me repeat, ever.
So, a new batch of bunnies came back this year. In fact, these bunnies had so little
fear of humans that I almost grabbed one of them by the ears while pulling weeds.
So, I decided to drive them off by letting my brave dog chase them into the
neighbor’s yard. I figured after a few dozen times of being driven out of the yard
they would get a clue that they were not wanted.
Remember that brave dog that pranced back and forth like she could not wait to
get at the rabbit next door? I took her outside, pointed at the bunnies playing in the
yard, and, even though she is deaf, said, “Get ‘em!”
My dog ran at full speed at these bundles of fluff and they did not run. I thought,
“Oh, no. Layla is going to rip them to shreds. Instead it was my dog that ran. My 80-
some pound dog when confronted nose-to-nose by these two to three inch, floppy-
eared bunnies, promptly ran back to me and hid behind my legs.
So, I made peace with the yard being a bunny haven. The problem is I have a rotted
out wooden egress window that I have been trying to get a handyman to fix for the
last couple of years. One side of it has already collapsed. Surprisingly, in Bernie
Sanders’ America, money doesn’t seem to mean as much as it used to. Three
separate times appointments have been made and three separate times the
handymen have not shown up. Being hired to fix that egress window is the first step
in a witness protection program. The handymen just vanish.
One of the bunnies had fallen down the egress window. How do I know this? It
decided its best path of escape was to ram its head into the glass window two feet
from my desk just before the sun went down as I was Skyping with the now six-
year-old, who heard the commotion and became extremely concerned with the
I ran outside to survey the situation. Given that the wood was rotten, there was no
way I could lower myself down. The bunny decided the best course of action was to
hide under a fallen beam that was covered in dirt. So, there was no way I could shoo
it into a bucket with a rake.
I got a bucket, put some lettuce in it, tied a rope to it, and lowered the bucket to the
bottom of the egress window, allowing the bucket to remain slightly tilted on the
rotten beam. I cursed myself for saving the bunny’s life, as my karmic reward was
going to be devoured hostas and bushes, I hoped the rabbit would smell the lettuce,
go into the bucket, not be able to get out, and I could pull it up. Releasing it to
freedom a few houses down. That was the plan. It was not going to do any of this
until it felt safe enough to venture out, which meant my going inside.
The bunny’s plan? Bang its head against the window (that could not be opened) all
night long. Edgar Allan Poe tells the story of the heart that kept beating under the
floorboard until it drove the protagonist nuts. He got off light. Try listening to a
bunny rap on a window all night long with a six-year-old wanting to know if Bunny
is okay. You are not going to sleep.
Simon did not live to see the morning sun. Thankfully one of his siblings that also
fell down the egress window with him, who I had not noticed, did. I was filled with
pride as I walked with the bucket a few houses down and dumped the bunny into
the ditch. The bunny hopped to the edge of the road. I looked at him. He looked at
me. I then looked up and saw the hawk circling overhead. Crap. Worst human being