Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Cosmic Bunny

Years ago, not too very far from my hometown of Beloved, Kentucky some of my kin lived on Arnett’s Fork, right near Peabody, Kentucky. Now up on Arnett’s Fork was a one room schoolhouse where a whole herd o’ my kin was schooled. Mz. Birdie Sue Poovey was the schoolteacher back then.

My Cousin Peanut used to hang around the schoolhouse a good bit. Mz. Poovey wanted to think Cousin Peanut was a tryin’ to better his self. Truth was he had it real bad for Ms. Poovey. He would come in on cold mornin’s right early an’ start a fire in the woodstove, sweep up, clean the ‘rasers. Now, he had an odd way of cleanin’ ‘em. He would beat ‘em on his self till they come clean. He figured all them words on the slate board was in them ‘rasers an’ if he slapped ‘em on his self he might get some learnin…we’d call it by osmosis. Didn’t help none a’tall.

One day Mz. Poovey got a letter from the education an’ learnin’ folks at the Space Program. Said they had been sendin’ seeds an’ critters up into space to see what it would do to ‘em. They was a lookin’ for schools an’ teacher folks to raise some o’ them there seeds to see what they turned out like.

Mz. Poovey had been to the drive-in over to Hazard an’ had seen some o’ them Martian movies an’ was not inclined to raise some kind o’ turnips that was gonna mutate an’ take over the earth. She read the letter out loud to Cousin Peanut that they was carrot seeds, lettuce seeds, punkin an’ cucumber, mushmelon, watermelon an even corn an’ bean seeds. ‘Course they offered lil ol’ monkeys an’ bunnies an’ rats an’ mice to folks if they had the right facilities for keepin’ ‘em.

Well, Peanut heard ‘bout them monkeys an’ would not leave Mz. Poovey alone. He wanted one o’ them monkeys, sure enough. He kept on an’ on till Mz. Poovey agreed to write for some o’ the seeds jus’ to keep Peanut happy.

Mz. Poovey forgot she had been teachin’ Peanut to read back at Christmas time so as he could write to Santy Claus. She had filled out the form for seeds only an’ had it in an unsealed envelope layin’ on her desk. When she took the youngin’s out for recess Peanut got into the letter an’ marked with an X the space where you said you wanted a monkey an’ had the facilities to care for it.

A month or so later here come a big ol’ crate for Ms. Poovey. Peanut was there when it was delivered. When Mz. Poovey opened it they was all kinds o’ seeds, books to be readin’ ‘bout them “gramma” waves an’ all, log books to track the growth o’ the seeds. Inside the box also was one lil ol’ white bunny rabbit.

Peanut said, “That ain’t no monkey!” an’ Mz. Poovey ‘bout whipped him right then an’ there. She tol’ him he had to take care o’ that bunny an’ he groused a while an’ then said alright. He made a little cage an’ they kept it for a right smart while inside the school house.

Them seeds come up real fast an’ Peanut noticed they was a lot o’ carrots. They needed thinnin’ out, so he pulled a few ever’ day an’ fed them to the space rabbit. Ever’ day it got bigger an’ bigger. He sort o’ figured he might jus’ fatten it up for Thanksgivin’

Over the summer it got huge an’ by fall it was ‘bout big enough to take huntin for razorback hogs. Peanut tried to train it to hunt hogs, but it were not much for hog meat. It did get good at trackin’, though.

That fall he brought it back to school. Mz. Poovey commented on how big it was a getting’ an wondered if it was cause o’ them gramma waves. Peanut mentioned he had been feedin’ the grammaw wave food to Cosmo the Cosmic Bunny, as he called it.

Then one day it got a whiff o’ the coal oil in the lamp sittin’ on the table in the back.

The next mornin’ when Peanut got there it had broke out o’ the cage an’ was a drinkin’ the coal oil. He thought it was a gonna die, but it didn’t. It got bigger, matter o’ fact.

A few days later it climbed through an open window an’ got in the shed where the 5 gallon can o’ coal oil was an drank it all.

Then that cosmic bunny got loose. It went to the next farm, smellin’ the coal oil. It had been taught by Cousin Peanut to track an’ it was a trackin’ coal oil. It drank three five gallon cans…an’ got bigger.

It went to the next farm an’ the next, breakin’ into sheds, garages an’ barns an’ drinkin’ coal oil.

One day it sniffed a little propane comin’ from a leaky tank. It took them big ol’ teeth an’ bit a lil hole in the pipe from that tank an’ drank ‘er dry. All 300 gallons o’ propane. That there cosmic bunny got even bigger. It were bigger than a young heifer by now.

It took to climbin’ creosote ‘lectric poles and suckin’ ‘lectricity right from the wires! I ain’t a lyin’ to ye, I’m tellin’ a story here.

Folks saw it hoppin’ away, big as a chicken coop. They ran for their guns an’ fryin’ pans, but it were wily an’ got away ever’ time..

Bigger an’ bigger, gigantic got that cosmic bunny. It took to diggin’ holes in the road deep enough fer it to lay on it’s back in. When a car would drive over it…bunny claws would dig into the sides o’ the car an’ them bunny teeth would puncture the gas tank an’ suck ‘er dry.

With ever’ drink it got bigger an’ bigger… an’ mean, that cosmic bunny got mean. It chased a pack o’ redbone coon hounds up a tree an’ ate ‘em, tree an all!
It was a garglin’ moonshine an snortin’ dynamite. Ever’ day to drank gallons o’ coal oil, gas an’ even got hooked on diesel. They it dug into a coal mine an gorged on soft coal. It et hundreds o’ tons o’ the finest Kentucky coal.

That cosmic bunny took to breakin’ into tobaccer barns an’ chewin’ whole crops o’ tobaccer. An it could spit, Lordy, you’uns don’t even want to see how far it could spit.

Cousins, it had got big as a coal truck an’ was headed for my hometown o’ Beloved. Kentucky. It was suckin’ down coal oil an’ gas on the was an destroyin’ ever’ thing in it’s path. Folks figured it was them grammaw waves what ruined that cosmic bunny. ‘Course, Annie Pankey thought it got mean after it got into Percival Poovey’s moonshine. Lot o’ folks do get mean when they drink his shine.

Folks got scared, ‘cause if that cosmic bunny got to town it would find gas stations, the Propane Co-op an’ the coal yard by the railroad. They was afraid it would destroy the whole town o’ Beloved. Cars, propane tanks an ever’ drop o’ coal oil was moved from it’s path.

It got closer an’ closer to Beloved. Ever’ mile or two it would find a car or truck some one had abandoned an’ would turn ‘er up an swaller down the gas, regular or ethyl, if it could get it.

That cosmic bunny was hungrier an’ hungrier. It was bigger than an’ elephant, near as big as one o’ them dinosaurs by then. As it got hungrier it slowed down more an’ more.

Folks held their breath an’ hid their youngin’s.

Finally it was just over Big Hill, close to Goose Rock an’ followin’ the road straight up Route 66 to Beloved. They was panic in the streets unlike anythin’ ever seen in Beloved since the prune juice factory had the fire in 1921, sending over 100,000 gallons of boilin’ prune juice down the streets o’ Beloved. Now, that were a disaster.

That rabbit got to Big Creek, past Teges Creek an was passin’ Paddy Rock with a look on it’s face. Folks was scairt, sure ‘nough.

The sheriff an’ a bunch o’ fellers was a drainin’ ever gas tank in it’s way. They let the propane out o’ ever’ tank, shut off the ‘lectric at the ‘lectric co-op. They even drained all the stills along the creek. Finally they weren’t a drop o’ anything in that cosmic bunny’s path.

It started a wailin’, cryin’ fer a drink o’ somethin’, it were dry an’ had the cotton mouth. Nothin’ worse than a cottontail with the cotton mouth.

Then , just two miles from town it stopped. It’s ol’ ears started a quiverin’, it’s feet was a kickin’ an’ a diggin’ asphalt chunks as big as washtubs out o’ the road.

Then if fell over, kicked a couple o’ times an’ was still.

Them space program folks was in town, waitin’ to try an’ capture it. They was the first out to the body. Army men from Fort Knox was there an’ wouldn’t even let ol’ Cousin Peanut get close. Peanut was a blubberin’ like a baby over that cosmic bunny.

They hauled in a ‘frigerated railroad car an’ loaded that cosmic bunny up, gramma waves an’ all an’ hauled it away. Some folks say they took it to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio – that’s where them Martians are stored what crashed at Roswell, New Mexico, ye know. Other folks said it was hauled all the way to Roswell. Some folks didn’t much care where it was took, as long as it was took.

‘Bout a year later Mz Poovey got a letter from that education program with the space folks. It explained that them there gramma waves sure enough did somethin’ to that cosmic bunny…but Percival Poovey’s moonshine got it all whacked in the head.

They also determined what happened that day as it got closer an’ closer to Beloved.

See, it didn’t die……

It just ran out of gas.

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