Disclaimer: None of the characters belong to me, they belong to Universal and Mark VII. Thank, guys.
A Little Bunny Buffoonery
By: Vanessa Sgroi
“Hi, Uncle Johnny!” The small, but excited, voices greeted Johnny Gage as he swung open his apartment door.
“Uh, hi, guys. I didn’t know your Dad was bringing you over today.” Taking in their pristine Easter outfits, Gage felt decidedly grubby in his old gray sweats. Running his hand through his uncombed hair, Johnny stepped aside and invited his three visitors inside.
“Sorry, Johnny, they wanted to wish you a Happy Easter and bring you a present. Since you said earlier on the phone you were feeling better, I thought you might be up to it if we didn’t stay too long.”
“That’s okay, Roy. I’m all right. Why don’t you all sit down.”
DeSoto wasn’t at all convinced after seeing the pallor of his partner’s face. An ear infection had side-lined his partner several days ago, but he didn’t look like he was feeling much better despite the antibiotics.
“Well, we won’t stay. Kids, give Uncle Johnny his Easter present.”
Chris and Jennifer climbed on the couch next to the dark-haired man.
“Did you see my Easter bonnet? It’s got pink flowers on it.”
“I see that, Jen. It’s very pretty.”
Chris pushed a box into Johnny’s hands. “Here, Uncle Johnny, we brought you a chocolate bunny.”
“Wow, this is a big rabbit.”
“Open it! Open it!”
Gage shot a small grin at his partner, opened the box, and pulled out the candy.
“Should I eat a piece? Maybe I’ll start with the ears.”
Jennifer looked at him with wide eyes. “Oh, no, Uncle Johnny, you CAN’T eat the ears. Then he won’t be able to hear.”
“Won’t be able . . . Well, then how about the feet. I’ll start there.”
“NO! If you eat his feet, he won’t be able to hop.” Chris looked horrified.
“Okay, I’ll eat the eyes.”
“Then he can’t see!” The two kids wailed in unison.
Gage studied the rabbit a little closer and in desperation made his next suggestion.
“Okay, how about the bowtie. Can I eat the candy bowtie?” He looked at each child in turn. They both looked back at him and nodded their heads.
He carefully pulled the candy bowtie off and popped it in his mouth before looking at Roy.
“Are they always like this at Easter?”
“Yep. Now you know why we give them each a huge chocolate egg in their baskets instead of bunnies.”
Roy watched as Johnny rubbed his temples and then was wracked with a shiver.
“Look, we should go. I’ll get the kids home and then come back to see how you’re doing, okay?”
“Ah, you don’t have to do that. You should enjoy your dinner.”
“I will. But, I want to make sure you’re okay. I’ll bring you a plate.”
“All right.” Gage’s easy agreement confirmed Roy’s suspicions.
“Chris, Jen. Let’s go. Uncle Johnny needs to get some rest so he can feel even better.”
“Ahhhh, do we have to? Can’t he come with us?”
“Jennifer, don’t whine. Johnny will come over some other time when he’s better.”
“Oh, okay. Have fun with your bunny, Uncle Johnny.”
“I will. Thanks, Jen. Thanks, Chris.”
Gage escorted them to the door, waved one last time before closing it, and shuffled back to the couch. With a deep sigh, he burrowed under the covers and closed his eyes against the throb in his head. A few minutes later he drifted into a sound sleep.
The banging on the door roused the dark-haired man and he rose to answer its summons. Throwing it wide, he stumbled back a few steps when he saw the seven foot tall white rabbit standing on the other side.
“Hey, Johnny. Happy Easter!” The white rabbit was blessed, or cursed, with Chet’s voice.
“Wha? Who? Who are you?”
“Whaddya mean, who am I? You know who I am. I’m Peter Rabbit.”
“You . . . can’t be Peter Rabbit. Rabbit’s are . . . are little. And cute. And . . . and they don’t talk.”
The rabbit started chuckling. “Boy, you’re really funny tonight, Gage. So who do you think I am? Harvey? I came by to show you what I got for Easter today. See?”
The bunny held up a large piece of chocolate in the shape of a human. Strangely enough, the molded chocolate resembled the dark-haired paramedic.
“Hey, that looks like me.”
“Where should I start? Maybe I should eat the ears. Wanna piece?”
“N-n-no. Hey, you can’t eat the ears! He won’t be able to hear.”
“Then I’ll start at the bottom and eat the feet first.”
“No! You can’t do that either. Then he can’t walk.”
“Now look, this is my chocolate human, and I’ll eat it anyway I want to. Got it?” As Peter said this, he leaned forward closer to Johnny’s face and his red eyes began to glow menacingly. Opening his mouth, he bit off the head of the chocolate human and devoured it before Johnny’s eyes. The eyes glowed a little bit brighter. “Maybe you’re next.” The paramedic slowly backed away, stopping only when his back met with a wall.
Johnny came awake with a start and struggled mightily to sit up. He panicked a bit when he realized he was strapped down.
“Easy, Junior. You’re on your way to Rampart.”
Gage’s panic subsided at the sound of a familiar voice.
With a sigh, he settled back on the gurney.
“Wha- what happened?”
“You spiked a fever of 104.8. I came back to check on you, and you were really out of it so I called a squad.”
The dark-haired man glanced around, noticing that paramedic Dan Martinez was sharing the cramped space in the back of the ambulance.
“Johnny, you’re gonna be fine. We’re almost to the hospital.”
“ ‘kay. Roy?”
“Next time, bring me a chocolate egg, okay? No bunnies.”
Puzzled, Roy stared at his partner.
“Just promise, no bunnies. Ever. They’re . . . they’re evil.”
Chalking it up to his high fever, Roy quickly agreed as the ambulance backed to the emergency entrance of Rampart. Chocolate bunnies are evil? Okay, someday I’ll just have to ask. Maybe . . .
My thanks,Audrey, for the quick beta read and for the challenge and inspiration to write this one.
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