Sunday, August 1

Chapter 7:

Spanky's Revenge
A One Act Play

[Chuck and Harold sitting at a bar – Harold is obviously drunk]
Chuck: Never again I say… “never again.”
Harold: Never… what?
Chuck: Did I tell you what happened Ed? Did I tell you?
Harold: Huh? What.
Chuck: He tried to kill me.
Harold: Who?!?
Chuck: The one with the red eyes.
Harold: I must be drunk, I didn’t catch a word of that.
Chuck: It was my wife’s idea. She said that rabbits were a “good investment” and that we should “stock up now while the market was low.” Why didn’t I just shoot myself instead.
Harold: Well…
Chuck: She bought us this one rabbit – called him Spanky. Oh yeah, he was the ring-leader of the group I could tell: close-set eyes. And red. I isn’t never seen eyes that red. When he’d stare at me… You ever tasted fear Harold?
Harold: I had zucchini bread once…
Chuck: Fear wells up in your throat. Back here! [motions to his throat] It tastes like acid, but its worse. It says, ‘are you ready to die?’ and keeps coming. My wife had me buy the cages too. Big enough for them to procreate in, but not enough for them to run. They were cold hard metal. Nothing in the world shows a man how much he has lost in this world as when he’s looking at the world through bars.
Harold: You know, we’re at a bar right now?
Chuck: Then she had me put them in the cages: one by one until they were all in and secure. Then they looked at me… that look of tormented rage and persecution that haunts you in your sleep. [grabs Harold’s arm] She had me kill the babies!
Harold: [lifting his head from the bar] I’m awake!
Chuck: She said they’d taste like chicken. They tasted of… of death. I couldn’t eat them, so we sold them. My wife had me feed them – every day. And every day I’d see him – Spanky – sitting there staring at me. Staring at me with his red eyes. [shudders] And every day he grew to hate me more. It was the end of February – I had just sold the last of the babies to the meat market and went home: my wife told me to clean out the cages.
Harold: She don’t like cleaning?
Chuck: “They’re just rabbits” she said.
Harold: Who, me?
Chuck: It began to rain: the cold gray sky turning ominous as I walked out through the mud and sleet in my rain slicker towards the barn. You could smell the electricity in the air – that was fear: it was fear warning me of things to come.
Harold: Like a good bird-dog?
Chuck: Like a bird-dog pointing out the grouse: “it’s there” the storm said to fear, “you are the grouse, and Spanky is the hunter.” I heard it. I heard it as clear as day. “You are the grouse.” I grabbed the barn door and slid it open – all the way. It ground across the metal runners until it stood open. I stepped gingerly on the hay strewn across the floor, but it crushed beneath my feet like a thousand roaches, sending the crackle echoing through the barn to where Spanky waited at the end of the line. The smell of rabbit droppings mixed with the fear I felt: it made me sick. But I cleaned out the cages. My breath and the occasional thunder cracking were the only sounds. The rain began again and the sound of the water pounding on the roof drove me mad with terror.
Harold: Is this the same story you were just telling?
Chuck: Finally, I had cleaned out the cages – all but Spanky’s. Lightning flashed as I unlocked his cage. I should have seen it as a sign, but I was too scared to think. The cage door creaked as I opened it, and it settled with a clang against the cage wall. There he was. I tried not to look in his eyes. I tried not to touch him. I reached my hand in to grab the newspaper and straw…
Harold: Where am I?
Chuck: My hand accidentally brushed against him.
Harold: [puts his head on table again]
Chuck: I lifted my eyes. There he was. Staring at me with those horrible red eyes. Hatred poured from his white fur like the rainwater off the roof above. Lightning struck and so did Spanky. He lunged at my throat! [loud noise startled Harold] I grabbed him and threw him across the barn, then turned… he was gone. I knew he would be waiting for me to exit through the barn doors, so I waited. Lightning flashed and I saw him… silhouetted against the sky – staring at me.
Harold: I had a rabbit once. Called him “Petey the Great.”
Chuck: [stops and stares at Harold]
Harold: We ate him.
[Harold passes out again]
[Chuck shakes his head and walks away]
This play is a reprint of a Creative Writing assignment from July, 2003.


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