Wild Things

She hopped along behind the rabbit in imitation of its long-eared, long-footed gait. When the rabbit stopped to nibble at the young shoots of grass, she did the same. This is how her mother found her, face to the ground, knees tucked under her chest.

“What are you up to, my little bunny?” her mother asked.

“I’m eating breakfast,” she said. “Do you have any carrots? We rabbits adore carrots.”

Her mother rummaged around in the picnic basket at her side. “Here, I think this will do.”

The girl hopped over to her mother, perched on her knees, twitched her little rabbit nose, and proceeded to reach for the carrot with her teeth.

“Be careful,” her mother said. “I should have to make a stew out of you if you nip me.”

“Mother!” The girl bit into the carrot and hopped away to munch on the crisp vegetable. “May I give some to the other rabbits?”

“Oh, that wouldn’t do,” mother said. “Those are wild rabbits, and we don’t feed wild things. Wild things feed themselves on what God provides for them. If we feed them, they won’t be wild anymore.”

She puzzled for a bit, crunched another bite of carrot, then said, “But I am a wild thing and you feed me. Will I stop being wild someday?”

“I certainly hope not,” mother said. “You are my favorite wild thing. God has provided you with a mother to feed you then.”

She smiled in reflection to her mother’s smile and hopped about in the yard.

“Some day I may stop being a rabbit,” she said, stopping to look back at her mother.

“Oh, yes. I know,” her mother said, twitching her grown up mother nose. “And that will be a sad day for all the rabbit world.”

Camping

The father came back in the evening and packed up the camp site. Large tent accommodated the family, wife and four daughters. The youngest, Asherey, had told the campers in the next site that her fifth birthday was tomorrow.

,The neighbors, an older couple, modest dome tent and a resolve to live sustainably, had nodded and smiled at the girl, offering congratulations. The couple wondered aloud to each other why the family left in the evening instead of the morning like all the rest of those who came and left. Wasn’t this a respectable, but quaint, state park?

They talked into the night, speculating on the influence that sugar from s’mores had on small children and how they wished that the vigor of children riding bikes could be bottled up and sold on store shelves. Perhaps, thought the couple, something had happened to the young family. After all, they only saw the father return to collect their things.

Night fell and the stars above illuminated the animals that come out at night and make their night noises and east their night prey.

It’s the Law p1

In the little town of Robinson, Sheriff Robinson (no relation) picks up a warrant from the judge’s bench and collects one citizen, arrests him or her and keeps them locked up for exactly one week. This is, of course, after he releases the incarcerated citizen from the prior week. All of this justifies the ongoing employment of the sheriff and the judge in this otherwise peaceful and law-abiding town.

Most of the time, a citizen named Lawrence volunteers for the person named in the warrant. Not one for much work and access to plenty of reading material, Lawrence didn’t mind the free meals and non-leaky variety of roof over his head. Also, he isn’t all that fond of the other citizens of Robinson who routinely fail to appreciate him for performing a civic duty. Still, he feels it was his role in life.

Most of the time, Sheriff Robinson drives Lawrence from the jailhouse to Lawrence’s small home on the edge of town where the citizen has some time to himself to collect anything he might need and check up on his few belongings. Meanwhile the sheriff drives back into town for a cup of coffee and a doughnut at the local cafe, The Fancy Diner. Then he drives back to Lawrence’s home with the new warrant (the judge’s office being next door to the cafe) and picks up said citizen to drive him back to jail.

Most of the time, but not this time. Lawrence had received some disturbing correspondence that his sister was in poor health and could he come visit her in the hospital. After apologizing to the judge and sheriff, he takes a bus to the next town over. This leaves the incarceration un-incarcerated, a most distressing situation.

Who would be picked to spend a week in jail? Much of the morning convivial conversation at The Fancy Diner centers around this crucial question. Everyone asserts their own contribution to the well being of Robinson, their irreplaceable status. Without anyone in jail, why, the entire social structure of Robinson is in peril.

Neighbors

Their argument could be heard next door. I wasn’t trying to listen but in a quiet neighborhood everyone knew everyone else’s business. Thinking about it, I can’t recall what they were arguing about and I doubt they could either. It was the sort of heated conversation that a longtime married couple has when they have teenagers and a history of saying things like “Don’t tell me…” or “You’re not listening…” This was their life and they were living it perhaps not as best as they could but the railroad tracks kept them on moving toward their inevitable final destination. The only question was how long they would both decide to stay on the train.

An Inconvenience

She, being my mother, married at an early age. A marriage of convenience she called it. More like a marriage of avoiding the inconvenience of raising a child as a single parent. An unwed mother was ostracized by the townsfolk, a person somewhat less than a person, a parent of a child who was somewhat less than a child. That would be me, the inconvenient child in spite of the requisite two parents and their compulsory relationship.

My father was not the man my mother married. Not that the subject was discussed. Far from it. But I could tell when I looked in a mirror. I looked nothing like the man Mother married. I could also see the truth in the eyes of the townsfolk. They could see it too, and looked down on me for it as if I had chosen who my mother and real father were. The townsfolk looked at me like something less than a child, less than a person: an inconvenience that could only result in trouble for everyone.