Easter morning 2013. I was driving across North Carolina when my cell phone rang. It was my buddy Ed up in New Jersey, who I had not seen for over a year. Last time I was there he said I could not stay at his house anymore... at least for the time being. I had been too often, his wife was tired of me, I snore too loudly, etc., etc.
"Ed," I answered cheerfully. "Happy Easter to you. Is Peter Cottontail hopping down your bunny trail."
I heard deep, sorrowful moaning and then crying on the other end of the phone. "How could you say something like that to me? Oh my God! What am I going to do?"
"Ed, is everything OK?"
"No, definitely not OK. The Artful Dodger is dead."
"No surprise considering how long ago Oliver Twist was written."
"Bill, I'm talking about our pet bunny rabbit. You know, the Artful Dodger!"
"Oh, was that the name of your rabbit? He was always hiding when I came over."
"He was the house rabbit. The house bunny. And we loved him so." Ed was slurring his words.
"Ed, have you been drinking?"
"Indeedy I have, and all night long. The Artful Dodger is dead! You hear what I'm telling you? Deceased. Pushing up daisies. Breathing dirt. Stiff as a board. You get it?"
"Yes, a dead bunny."
"Dead as a freakin' doornail. Gone, goodbye, rest in peace." Ed let out a long, loud whistle. "Right up to bunny heaven. I'm drunk, or rather, I am drinking because I don't want to think about what Diane will say."
"She doesn't know yet?" I asked.
"She and the kids are in Oregon visiting her folks. She is gonna kill me when she finds out I let him die."
"What exactly happened?"
"Someone gave him a poisoned carrot."
There was a long pause. Then Ed said, "I really have no idea, I was just jumping at the most irrational explanation possible. You follow?"
"Bill, what the hell am I going to do? The Artful Dodger died!"
I tried to take a motivational tone. "You move on with your life. You pull yourself up by your bootstraps and you go forward. You splash some cold water on your face and look in the mirror and say Yes I Can!"
Ed whimpered on the other end of the line. "But my bunny rabbit is dead. The Artful Dodger is gone forever."
"You really do miss him, don't you?"
"Yes, but the real crap is that Diane is going to call me a murderer. A bunny killer! She'll never forgive me in a million years. The Artful Dodger died on my watch!"
I kept on talking to Ed til my cell phone battery ran out. By the end of our conversation, he was starting to get sleepy anyhow.
So my take is that one bunny rabbit died last night in New Jersey. And another rabbit rose early this morning to deliver Easter eggs to children worldwide. You can't keep a good bunny down.