The Monster In The Living Room


“I can’t help sensing a certain coolness in you toward me,” the savage, bloodthirsty monster said.

I agreed with our pet rabbit. “Well, I have felt a bit put off by you lately.”

“It wasn’t my fault!” He shook his head, flapping his ears together, in that way that starts out being dramatic and ends up comic because, you know, rabbit ears flapping. “I didn’t have any choice when you went and attacked my tail.”

“Uh-huh,” I said, and scratched the part near my knuckle where the scar was. “Me, one of the two people who’s spent the past fifteen months bringing you all the food you could eat — ”

“Not nearly all!” he protested. “I could have a whole box more of raisins if you gave me a chance!”

“— and who gets rewarded for brushing you out with an attempt to sever my finger.”

He sniffed. “You were touching my tail!”

“Also your head.” If I hadn’t been, he might not have been able to get at my hand, much less get enough leverage on it to scrape some skin off. “And you love being scritched on the head.”

“But my tail. How do I know you weren’t trying to steal it?”

“Steal your tail? What would I do with it?”

“I don’t know! You’re the one trying to steal it.”

“Even if I wanted your tail for myself I couldn’t very well use it, not without having to throw out or re-tailor my entire stock of pants. Do you know how much I would lose in writing off that inventory?” Heck, my whole wardrobe might come to as much as a hundred dollars invested in things to not be naked in.

“Um … three?”

I didn’t expect that and repeated the rabbit’s answer. He looked up unsurely and said “Four then? Maybe sixteen?” I allowed that it could be as much as fourteen as I didn’t want to seem greedy.

“And anyway how could I even see it was you back there?”

“There’s that thing where you have a 350-degree field of view, for one thing.”

“You might have been a hawk back there! I can’t let myself get attacked by a hawk just in case it happens to be you.”

I pointed out how he’s never even seen a hawk.

“I’ve never seen Ohio before either but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t be there!”

“So you feasted on my sinews out of your fear of finding yourself in Ohio?” He really didn’t get anywhere near my sinews, and I didn’t think he even broke my skin until the bleeding started. And then it continued, so I had to wash my hands, which is fine since given nothing in particular to do I’ll wash my hands every fifteen to twenty minutes. And of course I put on some antibiotic lotion and then a bandage and then waited until I could brush on that liquid skin stuff, because I somehow like the liquid skin stuff, even though it’s painful to put on and makes my skin look all crusty and wrinkled for days. I have no explanation for any of this.

“It’s a serious problem,” he finally said.

“Savage monster,” I said. “And worse, now that you’ve tasted blood you’ll never be fully tame again.”

“I will too,” he said. “I’ve tasted blood before and look how nice I am!” And then he looked confused that I was smiling. “I’m a sweetheart!”

“That you are,” I conceded. But I don’t think there’s anyone in the immediate family that he hasn’t bitten for one reason or another.

“I just want you to get past this whole who-bit-who problem,” he said. “You’re ignoring everything about me except that scar that I bet you won’t even remember someday.”

That’s more like what I wanted. “What would you suggest, my little predatory home-beast?”

He looked at his forepaws, and then up at me. “You could scratch me. On my head. And my back all the way to my rib cage. Not past there.”

Mmm. “Possible. Was there anything else?”

“Could … could you let Ohio know I’m not really scared of them?”

“You want me to let let an obvious peril to life and limb into the Nutmeg State?” I wondered since I can’t keep straight which is the Nutmeg State and the Buckeye State.

“Maybe some of those baby carrots too?”

“And that’d smooth things over between us, you figure?”

“You could have one,” he offered. I took the deal.

As I stepped out of the living room I overheard him saying, “A peril to life and limb!” and giggling with pride. “Me!” Which was all I really wanted.

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

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