Bad Earl

Earl wasn’t always bad. He started out as an average pet store rabbit; cute, fluffy and oblivious to the stew pot intentions of his purchaser. Growing up on a farm left me with a soft spot for stew bound rabbits. Learning that we just ate my missing “pet” rabbit, was more horrifying than all the plucked birds and game carcasses put together. When the “intervention”  by one of my children and friends delivered Earl to my doorstep – I had no choice but to let him in.

Not told of the planned rabbit caper; Earl arrived one evening, accompanied by teenage exuberance. Rescued from the Aunt of one of these kids – a woman who planned to fatten him up for a special dinner – I agreed to give him sanctuary. As he was snatched from his cage in the course of a daring rescue – Earl arrived cage-less and quivering in a towel. I had no cage, we had a dog, so the only place I could think of to put Earl was a room in my basement.

The situation was supposed to be temporary. I found a card board box, cut it down and shredded newspaper for a bed. Being decades since having contact with rabbits, and then under very different circumstances – I had no idea Earl would use this as his litter box and start construction of his “domain” amongst our stored belongings.

Days turned to weeks, weeks became months – assurances that this person or that would be taking Earl or had a cage – coupled with my busy life – left Earl free to build his solitary basement kingdom. He was well fed,  litter box cleaned regularly , his realm taking on mythic proportions in the room beneath the basement stairs. Our house is old, his room a place where camping equipment and old toys collected dust along side roller blades and bicycles.

Within the first year, Earl managed to construct elaborate tunnels and passages – our junk became his brier patch. Any time we needed or moved something he went to work, shoring up defences or creating new exits and chambers. For the next few years he became faster, wiser and more elusive – taking such control over that room, we dared not move a single box. Sometimes if I sat quietly at the bottom of the stairs he would sit in my lap while I stroked his fur. Earl ruled the basement for more than five years.

One afternoon, skirting the edge of his kingdom on my way to the laundry room – he snapped. In hind sight it was like something from a Monty Python skit. I dropped the clothes, howling and kicking as Earl hung mid calf; his teeth firmly embedded in my leg – no intention of letting go. Bad Earl was born.

I can’t blame Earl; no rabbit should be allowed to reach mythical proportions in a basement. We made a decision to deliver Earl from this madness. Jericho Beach, a place over run with rabbits year round was his next stop. We like to think he became King of the rabbits – without question he developed some mad skills in our basement. In all honesty, I’m haunted by Earl’s fate more than the day I ate my childhood “pet”.

Image from mountainproject.com

28 thoughts on “Bad Earl

    • I wish I had taken pictures of his kingdom – truly astounding.Being in the thick of things it took several months for me to make a Monty Python connection.When I did, and to this day I laugh every time I think of the moment I howled while trying to shake him off my leg 🙂

  1. Holy shit. That whole story is a dark fairy tale.

    Also: Do you still dress up for Halloween? I have a husband who can give you tried-and-true directions for a homemade Monty Python bunny-through-the-torso costume. 😉

  2. You want a real kick-ass rabbit? Go watch the recent “Peter Rabbit” movie and seek out Cotton-tail. She’s MY favourite!

      • Yes, it’s chances at surviving go down several percentage points. You described a fighter though, so it’ll probably do quite well.

      • That’s what we told ourselves. Bad Earl was a ingenious rabbit, hope Jericho suited him. Sigh. We’re also responsible for releasing Garter snakes at Beaver Lake in Stanley Park. Years ago we spent a summer on Vancouver Island near Parksville. My daughter begged my husband to catch a snake. Mrs. Slithers traveled to Vancouver in a large bucket,, took up residence in an old aquarium in the dining room. Mrs. Slithers scoffed at crickets, live goldfish were her passion. Sweet mercy, give me strength. A week later she gave birth to 11 babies – oh hell no! We evicted the Slithers family, graciously delivering them to Beaver Lake.

      • I have a theory, people are either snake or spider phobic, but not both. Spiders delight me, snakes make me quiver. Go figure? The Slithers couldn’t pack their bags fast enough. Hugs.

      • I have an identical “phobia” – even little garter snakes give me the creeps but I love spiders… all shapes, sizes, colours of spiders and their webs are fascinating. Yesterday I saw a little yellow spider leave my patio table and take to the wind, flowing on an invisible thread up and away until he came down about 12 feet away on top of the shop roof. That was totally amazing to watch. My favourite is the daddy long-leg spider. They’re exotic!

      • In practical terms, snakes are no less valuable in the balance of nature than spiders. Every species matters but I can’t bring myself to fancy snakes as I do spiders.

      • Earth, where predation rules. I suppose that all things matter and serve a serious purpose, except I haven’t found one for mankind.

      • You and “Ark” would get along well. I trust you have seen his frequent photos of those “charming” little creatures?

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