“I shall endeavor, darling, not to become a rabbit,” the man said solemnly.
His wife looked up from her breakfast and studied him silently for a moment. A reticent man by nature, especially where his wife was concerned, he did his best to convey his utmost sincerity. Whatever she found on his face must have been convincing.
“Good,” the woman said with a firm nod. “See that you don’t.” Then returned to her coffee.
The silence lingered over the table, festering as it had many times before. He had learned to accept, even enjoy the silences. His wife was not a morning person and had once managed to fling a cup and saucer at him with deadly, half-awake accuracy. The bruises had lasted for weeks. Her laughter, when she finally woke, had never fully ended.
There was a question, however, that needed to be answered. It marinated in the juice and crackled in the cereal until finally he thought he was going to burst. He opened his mouth, thought for a second, then closed it again.
“What is it?” his wife asked without looking up.
“Nothing.” He hesitated. “Only…”
“Would you still love me if I was a rabbit?” he repeated.
“Yes,” she answered instantly. “I would.”
The man sagged in relief. “Thank God,” he said. “Because I’m not sure…”
“But I would love you,” she continued, “as I would love a rabbit and all other furry creatures. Except squirrels. I hate squirrels.”
He nodded, despite himself. Her opinion on squirrels was long-standing and vigorous. “But that’s all?” he half asked, half pleaded.
“Well, I couldn’t love you as a husband,” she said. “That would be bestiality.”
“I-I didn’t mean…”
She sighed and reached across the table to pat his hand. “I know,” she said with a smile. “I was only teasing. And it doesn’t matter anyway. You’re not going to turn into a rabbit.”
“You can’t know that!” he said. “Look at Lisa and Tim! She turned into a bunny just last week!”
“I am not Tim,” she said stiffly. “And you are not Lisa.”
There were a great many things he could say to that, but h wisely held his tongue. Although his nose did twitch, ever so slightly. A nervous habit. Probably.
“What was that?” His wife cried accusingly.
“Your nose,” she said through clenched teeth. “It twitched.”
“No it didn’t,” he protested. “…Did it?”
“Yes,” she said. “It did. And you shall desist at once. I. Shall. Not. Have. It.”
“Yes, dear,” he said and meant it, but deep inside he knew that there was no fighting science.
The Rabbit Plague had no known cure. And the vaccine was a joke. Some people were simply going to turn into rabbits and there was nothing anyone could do about it. It was genetics.
And he was certainly not going to mention that his wife’s ears had started looking a little longer recently.
He was a rabbit, not a fool.
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