About 2,500 words
I’m not really sure how to tell this particular part of the tale….
The part about the cute tail….
You’re probably thinking that I really haven’t had anything particularly nice to say about anyone, including myself so far….
Well, I never claimed to be a Romantic novelist.
Or a even a writer of Romance Novels. I write Travelogues. And a trashy Gossip Column for a small scandal-rag with intergalactic redistribution. As cage-liners.
I’m not sure that I would even describe myself as a Realist… or even a Surrealist.
I guess my cynicism and pessimism have driven me to the point that I have become a Naturalist. And perhaps I even transcend Naturalism.
Life’s a bitch and then you die.
Or you marry one.
And then you die.
After you get fucked.
Because she kills you.
But not quickly.
The bitch makes sure it’s a long… painful… agonizing… gruesome… death….
Or she just makes your life so miserable that you wish you were dead… so you could escape her seemingly eternal torment….
Damnation. To Hell. Or the only place in the Solar System that may be even a tad hotter. And less fun. Mississippi.
Then… just when you finally get to the point that you realize your end is near… mercifully… you read some recently published research that confirms that married people live longer… so your wife has just added a few extra years of pain and misery before you are even able to escape through blissful death than you otherwise would have to endure… if you would have just remained single….
So why would any otherwise rational male of any species in the Universe ever get married in the first place…?
What can I tell you…?
Can’t live with ‘em….
Can’t live without ‘em….
They run our lives….
Even worse than our wives.
And they run our wives… who in turn ruin our lives….
And for that little chunk of reality… we have doctors to thank….
I say screw‘em.
I SCREAM screw‘em!
But… marry’em first….
At least… that’s what I did….
Married a doctor the first time. That actually worked out pretty well.
But having a good first marriage left me woefully unprepared for the savage beating I took in my second. Because I thought marriage was easy.
And it is….
When you love your wife….
And she loves you….
And she’s not just lying to you….
And stealing from you….
And snacking on your kids….
When you’re not looking….
I guess I’m being a little coy. I should explain.
My first wife was pretty… and we got along pretty well….
Ok… I should be honest…. Brutally honest.
Actually, truth be told, she was beautiful.
Blonder than blonde.
Blonder that “true” blonde.
Blonder than platinum blonde.
She was albino. Like a rabbit.
In fact… my first wife… was a rabbit….
An albino bunny.
And she had those soft, pink albino bunny eyes.
And she did that cute twitchy bunny thing with her nose.
And she was soft… and pink… and furry….
And I loved to pet her soft… pink… furry… parts….
In fact… they really came in handy on our honeymoon…. Exploring warm, furry parts can certainly be fun on certain occasions. Like on our Honeymoon. In Hades….
We decided to go “off the beaten path” a bit on our honeymoon because we were just starting out and didn’t have much money. So we picked a new… what I guess would be called today… a “destination” location….
I guess the splashy adds now say that it caterers to skiers and rugged adventurers.
Now that they have figured out a more effective marketing strategy.
We were actually looking for a more of a tropical kind of place for our Honeymoon. A place with lots of sunshine… and beaches…. Maybe a volcanic island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean–on some seclude… non-radioactive… atoll….
So we picked Hades thinking that had to be hot.
Well… apparently… not necessarily….
Allow me to correct myself….
NOT AT ALL!!!
Turns out that Hades is just the nickname. The real name is 90482 Orcus. And… it’s a TNO…. Not a tropical island. A Trans-Neptune Object. An object that some scientists consider a dwarf planet with a large moon in the Kuiper Belt on the OTHER side of Neptune… which it turns out… is not on the other side of Pacific Ocean….
And not anything like a tropical island.
We found out after we arrived that Orcus was a plutino locked in a 2:3 resonance orbit with Neptune: meaning that Orcus makes two trips around the sun for every three that Neptune makes. Orcus is considered to be the anti-Pluto because its moon Vanth is similar to Pluto’s moon Charon… and when one is at its aphelion, the other is at its perihelion…. Orcus, in addition to being a demon prince, is also the Etruscan equivalent of Pluto.
So… what does all that mean…?
I thought it would be quaint.
I mean the climate.
And… it wasn’t….
We were expecting the Riviera.
We got Antarctica. Only more extreme.
One thing that the travel agents was truthful about was the volcanic activity of Orcus: they just didn’t stipulate that it was cryovolcanic activity–meaning that the plumes and vapor that formed and spewed were from methane and ammonia as well as water ice and vapor at low temperature. Basically the “lava” flows were pushed towards the surface as they froze. Most people postulate that tidal friction warms the ammonia and water to the requisite 2730K (or -950C) required for melting. Subsurface Greenhouse effects from Methane and Ammonia… or possibly radioactive decay… have also been suggested as heat sources…. But trust me…. There ain’t much heat!
I guess X would have loved all of those volatile gases because she was raised on Venus, which has a similar atmosphere.
But Betty Bunny was a Terran transgenic mammal.
Her breed was developed as part of a group of experiments intended not only to increase the speed, grace and beauty of athletes from Earth, so that we could compete on a more equal footing (or four) with athletes from other planets in the All Sol Olympic Games, but also to produce a new generation of physician researchers who would be more empathetic… and who could more easily communicate… and understand… more profoundly… research animals….
Such experiments were carried out in most phyla.
Not all were as successful as the rabbit experiments, however.
Certainly not as cute.
Now I can look back and laugh, but at the time, we were both crying.
And our tears froze. And hers… stuck in her cheek hairs….
We had packed our swim suits.
We needed Antarctic Parkas, insulated bibbed overalls, snow boots and Expedition mittens.
Orcus was bitterly cold.
All we could do was huddle together on the coach. And snuggle.
I think I mentioned my music career and my very brief attempt at poetry, but I believe that the only thing that save our marriage was the poem I wrote for her while we were huddled on that sofa by the fireplace, burning the furniture and what clothes we didn’t have on at the time while we waited for the expedition clothing store to open so we could buy appropriate Antarctic wear.
Anyway…. Here’s the poem I composed.
Love Song for a Frozen Planet
By Lazarillo de Tormente, Cub Columnist for “The Martian Chronicle”, Tour Guide for Interplanetary Entertainments and Amateur Poet.
Don’t throw a blanket on my love, My Love.
I need nothing artificial
‘Cuz my love for you’s sufficient.
I need nothing but your arms
To keep me warm
When snows are blowing,
And everybody else is growing
Don’t throw a blanket on my love, My Love.
Dedicated to Betty Bunny….
I still cry when I read… or even think about that poem…. I wrote music for it and sometimes I sing it to myself.
Betty Bunny died too young.
Way too young.
And… she died… tragically….
And tragically, Betty left me alone to raise our three small children from our twenty weeks of marriage.
She was fertile, my Betty Bunny.
Full of life.
Seems we could just whisper the word “sex” and she’d get pregnant. I guess rabbits are like that.
I know this may sound funny, but in a way I am glad she was delivered from a slow, agonizing, painful death.
Her dream was to watch our daughter grow up–I’m sure the older boys, too, but she mostly spoke about our youngest.
Who looks almost like a carbon-based copy of her mother.
And when she would… when she did… her nose would twitch wistfully… and she would stare off into the distant Space….
Little tears would form in the corners of her pink round eyes and run down the silky white fur that covered her face.
And she would sniff.
And the dream would end.
And she would start tapping out rhythms with her feet and with her hands.
And another dream would form. And grow. And start to glow. And take the place of that other dream. The dream of watching our daughter grow.
And a HUGE smile would transform her face into a glorious shining Rock-n-Roll Star!
Her dream. Her REAL dream.
But… all dreams end…. And… it seems… many dreams… end in tragedy…. Especially in the music business.
In a way, I am glad this one ended before the inevitable disagreements and fighting–before the painful death.
The long, painful, agonizing death that lingers interminably.
Choking the life out of everyone.
Ghastly death that drains our lives and leaves us vapid… empty… shells… of our former selves…. Like a box of Annie’s Pasta®…. But with Velveeta® processed cheesefood substituted in the place for real Vermont white cheddar cheese….
My life with Betty Bunny was beautiful… just like she was beautiful….
Even the unbearably cold… the seemingly endless time we endured in Hades… seems warm and all too brief in retrospect….
Passionate. Creative. Artistic. Alive!
Poetic. Sheer poetry. Passion. Fire!
But the most beautiful thing about poetry is that… well… it’s poetry….
Poetry isn’t practical.
Poetry isn’t supposed to be practical.
It’s supposed to be passionate.
Of course, in some ways Betty Bunny was practical.
But she was also poetic.
And she was beautiful.
A veritable paragon of bunny beauty on par with the accepted standard of bunny beauty–the Easter Bunny.
They even shared the same last name.
So I asked her if they were related, and she admitted rather shyly that she was his granddaughter, but she wanted to make it on her own and not bank on his fame.
I always admired that aspect of her character… and loved her even more for her fierce independence….
Well… most of the time….
But Betty Bunny wasn’t just beautiful; she was bright. Very intelligent. Super smart! An outstanding intellectual. She was valedictorian in high school; her perfect record was marred by one B. Then she maintained a 4.0 in Pre-Med through college while simultaneously being active in her sorority–Delta Gamma. Graduated second in her class in Medical School at the very prestigious Washington University after transferring there following her second year from the University of Mississippi, where she ranked first. And rankled a lot of Rednecks… who don’t particularly cotton to aliens… or mutants… or clones…. Even cute ones…. And who ain’t afraid to let you know kust how they feel….
Not only was Betty Bunny beautiful and intelligent, but she was also amazingly compassionate. She was passionate about being compassionate. So no one was the least bit surprised when she decided to pursue an academic career working with research species–both domestic and intergalactic vertebrates. Ungulates in particular.
But essentially everyone was surprised to find out that was not her true passion.
That is… everyone except me….
I wasn’t surprised.
I was SHOCKED!!!!
Betty Bunny’s dream job was to be the drummer in a Rock-&-Roll band. That was what got her motor running and got her heart racing–pounding the skins. So I decided that I would try to scrape the money together to buy her the complete Yamaha Electric Trap Set she wanted: selling my songs; selling my hair; selling my plasma; selling my semen (essentially the family business it seems); selling whatever I had–whatever it took to come up with the money.
But my wife would have no part of that.
She told me flat out that she was not Della from O. Henry’s short story The Gift of the Magi, and she would not accept my gift.
She would simply use the ones she already had.
In the basement apartment she rented just for practice.
With the band.
Who had just recruited her to replace their last drummer.
And were about to embark on a World Tour.
I must admit that I had some misgivings. I was hurt that she had not trusted me enough to tell me. Ahead of time. And I wasn’t sure she was really ready for a World Tour. And I wasn’t sure that I was ready for her to leave on a World Tour either.
My postgraduate Veterinary training took up an enormous amount of time.
And we were newly weds.
And our daughter was just two weeks old.
So I was afraid she wasn’t fully recovered from birth trauma. But bunny babies apparently recover quickly.
And Betty Bunny would hear none of my arguments.
And looking back… I guess they do sound rather lame…. Or… rather petty….
And my baby sure looked rather petty.
Or to be more precise, like a pet.
Or a bunny.
She had worked hard to lose the weight she gained during her pregnancy: all six ounces of it.
I wasn’t doing nearly so well losing mine. So I relented–and supported her completely.
I let her handle all of the business and financial arrangements: sign contracts and get passports and visas. I focused on feeding our kids and changing diapers and spending all day and night at the clinic and hospital on call.
She called often to tell me how well the tour was going and tell me how much fun she was having and talk to the kids and tell them how much she missed them.
She told me that the guys in Spinal Tap were awesome, but she didn’t really care for the manager, Ian Faith. He wasn’t really very good at his job, apparently.
Then I received that tragic call that changed my life forever.
Apparently my beloved wife, Betty Bunny, spontaneously combusted while banging out a drum solo on stage.
Unbeknownst to me, her untimely demise was not the first amongst the group’s drummers. There was a known… pre-existing… definitely disturbing… trend in that direction….
That’s really all I can disclose at the moment… due to pending litigation…. I’ve probably already said more than I should.
I never felt so cold… so dead inside… as when I got that call…. Not even when we were Honeymooning on Hades. It’s like a freeze ray shot out of the uTRU and right into my brain… A bolt of frickin’ freezing. Lightnin’…. Like a shot of straight bourbon whiskey… that shot straight down to my heart….
Because I lost my Bunny….
The love of my life….
The mother of my three children….
Lost my wife….
Or rather, she was taken from me….
She was a flame that burned too hot….
And burned too bright….
And burned up too fast….
And I was left to care for our three kids… or as my second wife frequently referred to them with a sardonic smile… my three little Chums….
About 2,500 words