Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Of Rabbits and men

Of course Milou was excited. Hunting season had opened two weeks ago. For Parisian Milou was, going hunting was like Spring break for a college kid who hasn’t had sex in 6 months. “Milou sit!” called Jean-Jacques. A nice September weekend in Burgundy was on the horizon.
Jean-Jacques and Milou zoomed towards Dijon in the Peugeot.
He was joining his friends, Corine and Francois at their country house, a few miles away from Dijon.
On that afternoon, Jean-Jacques picked up porcini mushrooms in the woods to cook with the stew of rabbit Corine had cooked for dinner. Heaven on earth.
That evening, Corine and Francois insisted on opening the best bottle of Aloxe Corton from their cellar, a 1978.
Milou was getting tired of this 3 hour meal, punctuated by “ahh the wine is soooo good. Ohhh, this stew is superb. Aoah, the cheese is A-MA-Zing”. Milou was obviously not French. Gastronomy was not in his genes. He was an Irish Terrier, and by now he was jumping off the walls.
“Jean-Jacques, your flee bag is driving me insane. Let it go outside or I’ll shoot it with my riffle” Corine snapped.
“Ok”, Jean-Jacques puffed. “But let me tell you that if someone ever shoots my dog, that will be me, not you. Hunter’s pride”.
“Cheers! To dogs and rabbits. Dead or alive” said Francois, as he gulped another mouthful of the stew. Soon the Aloxe-Corton was gone, so they opened the Gevrey-Chambertin 2000. As they were about to finish the époisse cheese, Milou scratched the door, back from his bathroom break.
“Ok he can come back in, but make sure he keeps quiet now” moaned Corine, sipping a long nice sip of wine.

 “What the fuck! what the fuck!” screamed Francois, as he opened the door to the mudroom.
“What happened” Corine shouted, running towards the dog.
Milou let go of a full grown rabbit to the feet of his master. A trophy of the magnitude of a water buffalo, in human comparison.
Jean-Jacques was beaming. “Oh my god, Milou, you killed this thing on your own. That’s so huge! Good boy! Ah my dog is amazing. I guess we’ll have rabbit again tomorrow!”

“Jean-Jacques, I’m gonna kill your dog” Corine barked. “Your fucking Milou didn’t kill  A rabbit. Your fucking dog killed the award-winning pedigree clad Blue Angora rabbit of the fucking neighbor. So now YOU go tell the neighbor that your wonderful, genius Milou killed his best-in-show rabbit”.
“FrouFrou has won more awards than Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson combined.”

Francois, Corine and Jean-Jacques sat in stupor looking at dead Frou-Frou, covered with earth and dead leaves, but still gorgeous with his blue-silver coat shining under the dirt like an armor. No doubt FrouFrou had been sent to the after-world. He was probably entering the heaven of rabbits, and he would sit to the right side of the prophet of rabbits, who was probably Bugs Bunny.

In the meantime, Francois, Corine and Jean-Jacques were considering fleeing the country.     Or collective suicide. All very sane thoughts as the neighbor, Monsieur Gendrot was probably the meanest person on earth, heaven and hell combined. And Monsieur Gendrot was also madly in love with the pride of his life, FrouFrou, his show-rabbit, the son he never had.
“Monsieur Gendrot will find a way to have us arrested and thrown in jail when he finds out we killed his rabbit” Francois whined.
“Well, that’s only if he finds out we killed his rabbit” noted Corine coldly.
By then the vapors of Burgundy had subsided. Corine was sharp and lucid, like a terrorist on an attack. She was executing a plan. She took the remains of FrouFrou, examined him and declared. “He has no marks or bites, no blood and no visible injury. Milou must have broken his neck in one snap.” She was all of a sudden appreciative. “It is very simple, we are going to clean FrouFrou, wash him, fluff him. And we’ll put him back in his cage before this moronic Gendrot wakes up” she asserted

Jean-Jacques and Francois knew they had no choice.
“Jean-Jacques, your dog killed FrouFrou, you wash it!” Corine yapped.
Jean-Jacques thought he was gonna throw up, but he know it would be ludicrous to protest. He asked for a shot of brandy, a poire-william from Corine’s father’s collection.
Francois put on Cab calloway on the CD player.
And off they went.
First they wet dead FrouFrou under the shower; and they shampooed him; they rinsed him; then they patted him dry in a large towel. He looked like, well just that: a dead wet rabbit. So they put him on the radiator to dry him. But Francois was afraid the heat would start cooking him.
So Corine brandished her secret weapon: her blow dryer, and a flat brush. The sound of the blow dryer was soothing. In 10 minutes, FrouFrou was fluffy and pretty all blue and silver and shiny. Ready to win his last trophy.

It was 4am. Francois volunteered to put FrouFrou back it its cage. He had to confess that he had already intruded in Monsieur Gendrot’s yard, mostly to take back pruning sheers that Monsieur Gendrot borrowed but refused to give back. Anyway. He knew the way to FrouFrou’s home, in a shed, not too far from the house. And he was the most sober of the three.

In a commando mission so dangerous that he identified with the Seals, Francois took FrouFrou’s mortal remains wrapped in a checkered kitchen cloth and he climbed the fence.
When he came back, he coldly said “Mission accomplished”.
Then they screamed and argued about who should shoot the dog, they took the shot gun out. Milou was waging his tail. He thought it was time to go hunting. But they passed out in an ethylic fog.

“Yawn, I am so hung over!” cried Jean-Jacques, holding his forehead. “I dreamt that Milou killed a best-in-show rabbit” he thought. But when he saw the hair dryer on the floor, he remembered that it was not a dream.
Over the strongest coffee, Corine, Francois and Jean Jacques decided not to go hunting. Milou was locked in a crate for the day. A very happy outcome given he could have been poked with hundreds of bullets.

The weather was balmy. They timidly decided to venture out of the house. They heard Monsieur Gendrot calling his wife “Annie, Annie, mais c’est pas possible.Viens voir, j’te dis!”.
He spotted the three rascals looking into their coffee cup as if in oblivion. He called “Francois, Francois, You would not believe what happened!”
“You know my rabbit FrouFrou. The one that was always best-in-show. My blue Angora. He is miraculous. He’s a saint. He was so attached to me that he caused a miracle. He was sick so yesterday I had to take him to the vet and I had him euthanized. That was horrible. When I came back, I buried him, not far from your fence actually. And this morning, I wake up, and FrouFrou is back in his cage”.

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