Daylight saving. It began this morning, baffling me the way it always does. Which device has the correct time? There is no internet connection here, so how would anything know to change on its own? Where is an actual analogue clock? KittyLicious, emulating Luna the Boatcat, yowled me awake reliably at 5.16am. I got up to shake her bowl – reassuring her that yes, there was already food in it, cracked the door catsize to outside and went back to bed.
When I re-emerged it was just after 10am. Or was it? I had no idea and nowhere to be, so it didn’t really matter. Made a pot of tea, did some writing, fed the two little rats and eventually got dressed – SilkyMit rash still in situ (that’s a whole other post of complaint and despair). Pottered around and gathered some celery, a few bits of carrot to deliver to the Bun on my way to check on the chooks. (There is one very ebullient five day old fuzzy chick.)
Out the back door, I rounded the corner where there is a straight view of the rabbit cage. The door is painted pillarbox red. It was wide open. Brain. Could. Not. Compute. What. It. Was. Seeing. A tumble of thoughts fell into my head thusly;
“How did it get the door open?”
“Surely I couldn’t have left the door open?”
“Did I actually LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN?”
“I have to find the Bun.”
“This is the end of my house-sitting career.”
“How am I going to tell them I lost their bunny?”
“I am DOOOOOMED. The Bun (if it hasn’t been taken by a hawk or the jack russell terrier by now) is also DOOOOOMED.”
It was pouring with rain. I ran to the cage with the whimpering hope that the Bun would be hiding in its bed at the back. No dice. There was a void of Bun. An Emptiness of Ears. Fuck.
“At least,” I thought, fumbling for some hope, “At least it’s black. It will be easier for it to hide from predators.”
I looked all around the cage, under the trees, under the cars, calling like an idiot: “BUUUUUN!! BUUUUUNNNNEEEEE! Where ARE YOU?”
And more winningly, “Here Bun, Bun, Bun. I have CELERY!”
I staggered down the driveway continuing to emit bunny-summoning pleas, looked into the chook home, found the little chick intact, turned around and went on with my search. I considered the neighbours. Sunday morning, if it was still morning, did I want to bother them on the off chance they might glimpse a black bunny? What point would there be? I decided against that option and began heading back toward the house and the cage looking down each row of grapevines and cursing my existence.
The poor little bunno…it was probably long gone. If I had to live in a cage and it was pouring with rain, I’d probably have headed off as well – if some dickhead didn’t latch my door properly. I kept calling, checked behind the cage again, and walked toward the dogs. They are chained up but have some scope to run around. Gary, the Jack Russell terrier, had shown me what he could do despite his shackled – last week he chased an echidna into a rotten log until it was just almost out of his reach. There was blood on the echidna’s back spines, but I’d hoped it belonged to Gary. I had had to tie him up further away to give it a chance to escape over night. While the echidna would have been an interesting distraction for Gary, the Bun would have had him delirious with desperation. A plump tasty morsel…
I was quite reluctant to have to investigate the dogs, but they both looked at me as normal. I knew that if Gary had knocked off the Bun, he would be showing visible and joyful signs – there were none. Such relief. I bent down to look under the caravan. Nothing. I looked through the trees toward the outside bath which sits on a small deck overlooking a valley. Underneath, silhouetted against the sky, was the black bedraggled outline of the Bun!! BRAINSNAP! I ran to the cage to get an enticing stick of celery. I ran to Gary and tied him on a very short leash to a tree – his chain would have allowed him to get a few metres from the Bun – too close. I did not want that Bun to Run.
I am always a bit nervous of picking up buns and chickens – I haven’t done it often enough to be comfortable – but I gave myself a talking to as I began stealthing toward it – you must GRAB THE BUN AND NOT LET IT GO. I was super worried that it would run when I got close to it. I’m not sure how smart buns are, but I guessed that having fed it for the last few days it might remember that I am not the Evil. So I sang some comforting bun-like songs as I made my way closer. It was about two feet back under the deck. I knelt down and showed it the celery. I used that celery like a a wand made of phoenix feather and dragon heartstring. Long, 14 inches, slightly whippy.
The Bun came tentatively toward it. Sniffed it. I sang a calm, comforting bun-song. It sniffed it again, coming slightly closer. I dropped the wand and grabbed it like a goddamn superhero. Like a flash. I held it gently but firmly like a little cat. I couldn’t believe I had found it. The Bun did not try to get away. The Bun was wet from the rain and radiated a miserable feeling. We came inside, and with one hand free I tipped KittyLicious off her lovely comfortable lounge chair and booted her into the hall, blocking the sliding door shut with some books.
The Bun I put on to a dressing gown with a bit of carrot in front of the wood heater. It stayed there, chomping gently while I found a cardboard box, cut a hole in it and went through the rain to get some bun-hay to stuff inside. I put it near the Bun. Two minutes later the Bun was inside and must have finally felt secure, because it did a huge wee that instantly flooded out on to the floor. I found it very reassuring. I think it’s going to be okay. KittyLicious is still pounding and yowling at the door. The Bun has started to wash itself like a cat. I am limp with relief.
EPILOGUE: I slept the night on the couch, keeping Bun in front of the fire and providing a pissed off Kittylicious with a hot water bottle in one of the bedrooms. In the morning, Bun was just fine – ate a bit of banana as a treat and seemed happy to return to her home.
What follows is a very short yet therapeutic documentary….