“You’re making an awful noise,” our pet rabbit said, in his most scolding of tones.
I stopped swinging the rubber mallet and let go of the putty knife. “Yes, I know, but it’s for a good reason.”
He poked his nose between his cage mesh, almost close enough to nibble at the knife’s handle. “I don’t think you understand. It’s you and you’re doing that thing where you make noise.”
“I’m sorry, but there isn’t another way I’m going to get this window open.”
“Windows don’t open,” he said, and crossed his paws together. “Hasn’t anyone ever explained that to you?”
I took the box-cutter that doesn’t seem to quite have its blade come out far enough and shoved it into the painted window edge, slicing quietly if that’s what has to be done, and trying to dig out some of the many layers of paint joining the window to its frame. “Yes, I’ve heard. I’ve mentioned it. But I am not going to go through another heat wave with just the kitchen windows openable.”
He sneezed, because somehow we have a rabbit that sneezes a lot. “You’re talking crazy but at least that’s a quiet kind of crazy that you’re doing now.”
“Look, you remember how miserable it was when it was really hot here, right?”
“Not so miserable as you making that banging noise is.”
“Two weeks ago. Remember? When your wicker ball melted with all the paper ribbons inside?”
He shook his head. “Why didn’t you fix that?”
“And did you notice that cloud to the northwest, the one that burst into flame?”
“I still don’t see how this stilly `opening’ thing is supposed to help any except by making noise, which is the worst thing you can do and you’re being horrible for doing it.”
I took the — I don’t know, I guess it’s a spatula or something, ask my dad — and stuffed it into the little crack on the window side, and whalloped the handle a couple of times. “I got the dining room window to open. You heard that.”
“I did no such thing because you went and banished me. Banished! And for no good reason!”
Oh, that’s right. We did. Kind of. “We put you in the bedroom where we have the room air conditioner.”
“I couldn’t see either of you! I had no idea what you were doing.”
“We were complaining about the heat until I got the window open.”
“You should do that, then. This banging is a lot more noise than just you complaining.”
I stopped hammering. “What?”
He turned around and threw himself on his side. “You heard me.”
I hit the handle a couple more times and pushed forward and backward, making the window groan and crackle without opening any, before I had worked that one out. “It’s not the complaining that opens a stuck window. It’s the hammering.”
“And is that window `open’ as you want to call it?”
“So what’s that been good for?”
“I get to hit the window with a hammer for a couple hours.”
I let go of the handle to examine the blister forming on my middle finger. “Don’t blame me, blame whatever madman owned the house in the 60s and figured in case it were launched into deep space the house had to maintain its own atmosphere.”
He snorted again and shuffled over to the unfinished bits of hay. I returned to the putty knife, to dig deeper into the many, many layers of paint.
“You have to admit it’s so much better since I got the dining room window to open.”
The rabbit stood up onto all fours. “Not saying anything about the so-called `open’ anything in the forbidden zone.”
“I didn’t think you would.”
“But in that middle where the top and bottom used to touch, you really did something there.”
“I had to chisel them apart. It’s not pretty but it’s necessary.”
“Yeah, the forbidden zone needed something to evoke the bolus of a deranged beaver.”
I’m not sure which part of the rabbit’s sarcasm confused me the most.
He raised his hind leg. “I hate doing this but you’re clearly not listening to reason.”
I whomped on the handle again. “Oh, no, don’t. I’ll be done soon as this window’s open.”
“This is for your own good, you know.”
I set the rubber mallet down, and showed my peaceful intentions by pushing the window frame upward, which is noiseless right up to the point some muscle in my stomach buckles.
It did no good. He swung his foot down with a resounding thump. I felt punched. The rabbit then flopped out on his side.
“Is that it?” I asked.
“I’ve said everything I usefully can,” he said.
I took a break from hammering the window open.
“Madness,” the rabbit said.