Monday, April 16, 2012
You're No Bunny Till Some Bunny Loves You
“Ladies and gentlemen—the Japanese Beatles!”
The band took the stage in Dante’s bar, and the crowd, mostly bunnies, swarmed onto the dance floor. Chaz surveyed the turnout and grinned. Dante’s infrequent “bunny hops”—featuring ‘50s and ‘60s music and restricted to the smaller species, who tended to get understandably antsy in the usual hard-drinking, hard-rock predator crowd—brought out a fine flock of ladies, and that brought out Chaz. He wouldn’t even need his four rabbit’s feet. He was going to get lucky tonight.
The band launched into a spirited rendition of—“What the pellets is that?” Chaz said to the person crammed on the dance floor beside him. Who, as luck would have it, was a cute, petite female with the prettiest nose he’d ever seen. Chaz liked a pert little nose on a girl. He flashed his most charming smile.
“I wanna hold your hand,” she said.
Whoa. That was fast even for a bunny. “You want to go out to my car?”
She planted her fists on shapely hips. “The song, mate. It’s ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand.’ I recognize the tune, but don’t ask me to quote the lyrics. Crikey! Everything in Japanese sounds like bloody cursing.”
“You’re not from around here, are you?”
“You’re a bright one. I’m from Australia. I’m here in the States to visit my cousins. They’re from—”
Chaz didn’t hear or much care what they were. An Aussie, eh? He’d heard good things about Down Under: a rabbit’s paradise with no native predators, as long as you could dodge the dingos. He’d heard even more about Aussie girls. “You want to dance?” Somehow “dance” made it out of his mouth without any innuendos attached.
“That’s what I’m here for, mate. Let’s get hopping.”
The band swung into something Asian that had started life as “I Saw Her Standing There.” Chaz’s little partner got hopping with a vengeance. He found it hard to keep up with her. This one might be worth hanging onto.
The band moved into a slower number, thank the Black Rabbit. “I’m Chaz,” he gasped out.
“Yeah, I can see that.”
“No no no. My name’s Tiny. Well, it’s really Tina, but c’mon, what else’re you gonna call me?” She swept her hand in a four-foot-seven arc with a big cud-chewing grin. “You’re a bit thick for a buck, but you can dance. I guess you’ll do.”
“Hold it,” Chaz said as the band picked up the tempo. “I think I actually know this one.”
“Ripper. How’s your jitterbug?”
It was damn athletic and so was hers. They jumped, jived and twirled enthusiastically enough to clear themselves their own little space on the dance floor. Chaz risked life, limb and a sprained back and lifted her over his head. A lot of bunny girls were too stocky for this move, but Tiny was just the right size.
Only her feet weren’t. They were tiny, just like the rest of her.
He set her down harder than he meant to. “You’re not a bunny.”
“Never said I was, mate.”
Okay, detective time. Herbivore: went without saying. Smaller than the average bunny. Australian. Too small for a kangaroo, but could dance like a bunny on uppers. Put it all together …
“Got it.” Chaz snapped his fingers. “You’re a kangaroo rat.”
“Hang on, buck. Maybe it’s rat to American blokes, but where I’m from we’re called ‘hopping mice.’ There’s nothing ratty about me, and I won’t stand for you even thinking it.”
“Hey, easy there, Tiny. There’s not a thing rattish about how you can dance. Anyway, here in Talbot’s Peak we’re more relaxed on species integration. C’mon, this place is called the Interspecies Pleasure Club. That should give you a clue.”
Tiny thought it over, then relaxed. “Sorry for the snap. I’m a bit jumpy. New country and all. Gotta hand it to you, you dance better than the bucks at home.” She moved into his arms as another slow dance started. “You busy for the next couple of weeks?”
“I get the feeling I will be.” He moved her a little faster than a slow dance required. She didn’t mind a bit. “You have got to stick around for disco night.”