PETER RABBIT AND MR. McGREGOR HAVE A MEET

   by Danny Croot

    Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny and Lilly Bobtail were running from the shrew. He called out to them with his old man's voice but decided not to pursue them further because he is lazy. The gang hadn't gotten away with too much. Besides Benjamin had already eaten his share of the Dandelions.

The shrew went back to counting his stock, "123,124,125..."

"The shrews wonderful I just want to hug him all of the time. Why doesn't he just join us?" Lily Bobtail said.

Benjamin fell over a rock and nearly smashed his head but didn't. He was fine, scratched himself then stood up, "errr what were on about again?"

"Ahhhhhhh! Group hug." Lily said and then they did. "It's okay to have friends of all Creeds," she said.

Benjamin rubbed his head and Peter ignored her. He had bigger things on his mind.

"I don't know! It's all a little bit too easy." He said, "Where is the challenge?"

"You know what you always say?" Lilly said, "Life's one big challenge."

"I know I know, because I always say it. But where are the real challenges? Something my dad would be proud of." He replied.

They walk through the Forrest. Tommy Brock is sleeping.

"I know," Benjamin said excitedly, "lets steal Tommy Brocks boot."

"Nah we've done that already." Peter replied.

"What about wind mister Todd up whereby we nearly get caught but don't and he ends up looking an elegant fool?" Lilly said.

"We've done it all before. Everything's so boring these days."

"I know." Lilly bobtail said, "Florence will know what to do won't you. Guide the way."

Once Florence was let loose, she didn't look back. Within ten minutes she was gone. Nowhere to be seen.

"Oh, I hate it when she does that." Lilly Bobtail exclaimed.

"We'll get her back." Peter announced. His voice echoing across the Forrest. His blue jacket swaying in the wind magnificently.

"Nah don't bother." She replied. "Once she's gone she's gone. That was Florence the four hundred and third."

They'd been strolling for a while looking for a new Florence or any of the other four hundred others that had previously been trapped inside a match box when Benjamin decided he needed to pee.

"Come on guys. Guuuyyys. You can sit on the rock and I'll be back in a minute."

"Do you not pee before you leave in the mornings?" Peter asked.

"And leave the smell in my house. You bet your arse I don't!" He replied.

"Please don't bet his arse Benjamin." Lilly interjected before laughing.

"Have any of you guys ever seen Mr McGregor's face?" Peter asked to lighten the mood. The day was already half over and there had been no real thrill of the adventure.

"No, I'm much too afraid to look him right in the eye." Benjamin replied from behind the mossy rock. "I'm usually to busy fleeing."

"How do you know he has an eye if you haven't looked?" Peter asked.

"Ahhhhh, don't fill my head with thoughts like that. I'll never sleep"

"What Benjamin's trying to say is, he presumes...group hug?"

Peter and Lilly hugged because he did not want to upset Lilly. If Lilly got upset she went home to wash her hair and lay out her outfit for the next few days. And that left Peter with Benjamin. That was a long conversation he could not compute. He could go home but his mother was such an all seeing know-it-all it made him feel inferior to all the other rabbits.

They waited and waited for Benjamin to start, then finish. They started to hear music. A slight hum. "Benjamin, you okay?" Lilly asked.

"Yeah errr. Its just I'm a nervous peer."

"Pretend we're not here." Lilly replied.

"I know I do." Peter said.

"No it's not you guys...you know the humming you heard it wasn't me."

"Then who was it Benjamin?"

"Mr MCGREGOR."

"RA-BBITS!" he shouted.

Mr McGregor grabbed a hold of Benjamin, "I've got you now Rabbit"

"Let me go. Let me go. I don't want to die."

"Wha- what. The Rabbit can speak." His tone loosened and he cradled Benjamin.

"Yeah, so can you. What of it?" Peter said, "now give us our friend back. I'm warning you."

After a delightful back and forth. Whereby Mr McGregor learnt of the rabbits secret he invited them back for a little of whatever they wanted to eat. He'd even chop it up for them.He carried Benjamin through the gate because he was tired, Peter and lilly followed.

Lilly whispered to Peter, "Should we be doing this?"

"Hey, remember when we flew out of his garden with stuff we found in his garden... compared to that this is a piece of cake."

"But what about Benjamin? He'll be fine. And if he isn't he'll be the first eaten and we'll escape."

"Oh you are the devil Peter. Always thinking." Lilly had the most mischievous grin.

Mr McGregor sat down on a homemade bench. It bent but did not break. "What can I get you rabbits to eat then?"

"You mean you're letting us have what we want?" Benjamin said.

"I'd-a let you have whatever you wanted if I knew you could talk. We could do roadshows maybe a circus or two if what we have isn't enough."

"There's more than enough here." Lilly Bobtail replied.

"Nah I've never been one for money." Mr McGregor sighed, "It's why I have a real small farm in the middle of nowhere. Do the other animals talk in this forrest?"

"Some of them do, some of them don't..." Peter said, "it's complicated." Lilly Bobtail elaborated more succinctly to Mr McGregor.

"So let me get this straight," he said, "Mr Tod is the Fox. He's suave as well. Quintessentially English you say. I always wandered why he dressed so damn fine...and Tommy Brock the badger. I can't believe I've been so blind. I haven't been myself lately. With my wife gone and no kids. It gets lonely out here. I see things...I can't believe this is really happening."

They sat in silence for a while. Waiting for the shock to settle-down.

"I take it your father could talk as well?" He glanced at Peter.

"You betcha he was the best dad there ever was."

"I owe you an apology." Mr McGregor paused, "My wife caught and cooked him in a pie."

"It's okay we all gotta go sometimes. He was old. I've got his notebook and my memories. Besides my mom said he was never home. She implies he cheated on her hundreds of times."

Mr McGregor roared with laughter, "Well you know the saying?" Peter Lilly and Benjamin stared at him blankly, "Guess not then."

Mr McGregor brought them over some more radishes and carrots. "How long do you guys live?" he asked, "Maybe another five-six years?"

"That's fifty in our years." He proclaimed.

"I always wondered how that worked. Animal years and human years."

"Damned if I know." Peter replied.

Come the end of the night Mr McGregor said after a few cold ones, "You rabbits are okay. Yeah Misses McGregor always was a bitch. I never wanted to bake...she's the reason I'm out here on my own. Convinced me to buy the place I didn't want, it's in the middle of nowhere for christ-sakes, she lasted a few years then upped and croaked on me."

"Yeah we'd best be on our way now." Peter said making his exit.

"It's been nice meeting you." Lilly Bobtail said.

"Ahhh, but I want more food. My hat can only store so much." Benjamin Bunny added.

"Come back anytime," he bellowed. "Miss you!"

Mr McGregor shut the gate behind him and finished the rest of his beers inside, roasting his black feet by the logs on the fire.

As Lilly, Benjamin and Peter walked home they talked of the day that had passed.

Lilly started, "Did you see his eyes?"

"Yeah I know." Peter replied. "They were the saddest thing I've ever seen. So downtrodden and crestfallen..."

 

For Tom Tom almighty. Before the bedtime.








    Danny Croot: his ambition is only handicapped by his laziness. He likes to add: we're all fucked, let's laugh.