Hey folks. I’m trying something new here and invited my good friend Dan to post here whenever the spirit moves him. I’ll adjust this blog’s template to make sure it’s easy to figure out who’s posting what. – Brian
A Hare’s Tale
The hare ended his life under the paint shed at Steel America, Inc. The shed was on the backside of a building originally erected by United Warehouse. When land was worth something around here, they built tall warehouses of brick and glass. Thousands of windows walled whole floors, letting in an abstract light of antiquated difference. Jerry Halowell leased out the first floor in 1982 and started up Steel America. He was the company’s only boss and employee and was working 80-hour weeks to make a name in a trade of masters. He could not afford his first help but he could less afford t not have it. Slowly, the shop grew and men filled in the space that was far too vast for a one-pony show. When the hare came along, 11 men worked in the shop and one lady handled the office affairs.
The front of the shop opened out onto Ohio Street, which it shared with a tire plant, shotgun houses, and three churches. Grown over fields and chained off parking lots to long closed manufacturing houses spaced the active buildings in no discernable order. A candy plant at the end of the road covered the cheaper scents of piss and alcohol with the chemical sweet smell of bubble gum. In the golden rose light after a summer storm, the leaning churches appeared to have grown from the soil and the empty lots were small meadows. (The natural order of entropy was breaking down the geomteric forms into organic piles of rubbish) Though the noon sun showed it all to be a wrangle of weeds that the city had left for dead. Neither vision was present for this day was the tenth straight of an endless cloud that spat rain just long enough to make concrete sweat.
The hare lived in a stack of railroad parts next to the track that ran behind the shop. He had more twists and turns than even he knew what to do but the long rain had soaked his hole and he could find no way to comfortable in spite of his handsome pelt. Steel America was about two hundred yards from his hole, which was an awful distance to be out in the open. If the dogs found him that far out, it would be a nightmare, so he moved in short hops and kept track of the world around. At every movement his eye caught, he stood stock still, letting his dapple brown coat hide him from all. In this tortoise fashion, the hare made his way under the shed of Steel America, Inc.
The hare had been around the two-legged animals to know a few things. They jumped about and hollered, flapping as they shouted all manner of weird sounds to each other. And the dark-skinned one under the shed was still drunk. The hare could relax some for the teetering man was as harmless as a two-legged dog.
He hopped onto the gravel and smelled his way around the perimeter, one eye on the man at all times. Half of a peach rewarded him for the part of his adventure so he continued his path along the back wall. There was no easy escape from this place so he would have to be even sneakier. The journey along the corrugated metal wall yielded nothing but a small patch of clover that tasted of nothing he had ever tried and of such foul proportions that he almost developed a concept of evil from it. Of course, he knew nothings of paints, thinners, cleaners, primers, pre-primers, or any of the other concoctions spilled, sprayed, and otherwise disarrayed all over the shed.
The search was becoming unbearable, no longer could he suppress escapist instinct with curiosity. And so he began the sneaky march back to the known world. Just past a set of saw horses holding up a swirling nouveau handrail, he found most of a salad. The pieces looked so delectable on the ground, no hare could resist. Sugar crunchy emerald leaves of lettuce made a lovely bed for pieces of light crimson tomato and the medley of vegatables and nuts that make a salad more than an appetizer.
He never had a chance to wonder what might have happened, there was no pulse racing escape. In fact, the only thought he had was for a piece of lettuce followed by nothingness.
A rock was lodged in his skull and the drunk was running toward him as the red came swirling down before his eyes. Something grabbed him by the ears but he was too close to death to know.
“Ha!” Ernest Clark shouted as he picked up his prize, admiring the rock lodged in the rabbit’s skull. Joy washed away the hungover drunkness and now he was dancing about the yard whooping and hollering in quite a state of triumph tempered by insanity.
“What in the hell is all this commotion about? Ernest, I’m sick of this. I don’t know what I’m gonna do about you dancing and lollygagging when these handrails gotta be out today.”
“I was just having a little fun, “ Ernest exclaimed as he turned around to Duwayne with the hare in his hand.
“What in the? I can’t believe you finally got the bastard, told you it would go after that salad.”
“Sorry boss, but I’ll get to them handrails when I’m done with this, it won’t take but a minute.”
Duwayne walked off yelling at an errent welder, “How am I supposed to get anything done with employees like that.”
Ernest pulled out a folding knife and cut a small hole in the rabbit’s stomach. With that hole, he could pull the skin and tear it around the body. Grabbing the fur on both sides where he separated it, he pulled until he unpeeled the tail like a lab glove. Next, he set the animal on a piece of cardboard and cut the head off. He wielded the knife with great skill but it was a difficult task for the dollar store blade. At last, the blade cracked the neck and he was able to work the two sides apart. With a quick slice, he opened the rabbit’s stomach and chest. Entrails spilled out and he set to the task of removing everything he could get. The eerie smell of blood and feces mixed with the paint fumes to create an unholy bouquet. After he threw the rabbit guts into the trash he found a hose and cleaned the remaining headless form. Ernest admired the iridescent striation radiating along and through each piece of muscle wrapped around the small skeleton.
“You better hurry cause I got food but I ain’t got time for you to be dicking around!” Duwayne hollared from within the shop.
“Why don’t you go do whatever it is you do.” Ernest barked back.
“I’m yelling at you that is what I do.”
“You need to find a new trade because no one ever got anywhere by yelling at me.” Ernest snapped back as he walked into the shop. Inside was the usual array of equipment for tearing and mashing steel into useful shapes. It was a cramped room and Ernest had to twist and dodge his way through the pieces of iron scattered between the men and their machines. Beyond the hulking masses of dirty equipment, Ernest found a small alcove that housed a few chairs and a grease streaked refrigerator. He wrapped the fresh meat in foil, put it in the icebox and picked his way back to his paint shed.
“What you gonna do with the ole bunny rabbit?” One of the fitters asked as Ernest walked past.
“I’m gonna take it home and eat it. I may be broke but I can still put meat on the table.”