“You call this Easter? With no hot-cross buns and no chocolate eggs and no bunny? This is so typical of Rolbos! The world passes us by every time and we fail to even notice it.” Vetfaan is in a foul mood: the battery of his tractor is flat again.
“Then you should do something about it, Vetfaan,” Precilla says sweetly. “I think you’ll look great in a bunny suit. I’ll bake a chocolate cake and maybe Gertruida can paint some eggs. Boggel can open a bit earlier and then we can all have a heap of fun.”
It is Monday, and they aren’t sure whether Boggel will open the bar on the public holiday after Easter Sunday. Oudoom’s sermon is still too fresh to forget; so they have gathered in the sun on this autumn day, hoping…
“Come on, Vetfaan, we’ll dress you as a bunny.” Gertruida has that determined look no man will ever dare to resist.
Vetfaan has a vision about Hugh Heffner with his assorted Bunnies clad in ears and fluffy tails. He thinks Precilla should be the bunny; but gets a friendly slap for his suggestion.
“No, Vetfaan. You started all this. And I think you’ll make a beautiful bunny – I really do.” When Precilla flutters her lashes like she does now, she’ll get Vetfaan to do anything she likes.
When Boggel unlocks the doors of Boggel’s Place, Gertruida and Precilla gets Vetfaan on a little table and starts Project Bunny. Kleinpiet gets one of his oversized overalls which Vetfaan puts on before they start stuffing the ‘bunny’ with several old blankets. Boggel supplies a feather duster for the tail, but they get stuck when it comes to the ears. The whiskers are easy: Servaas supplied several pipe cleaners from his tobacco pouch and fashioned them to fit to Vetfaan’s nostrils. While Precilla starts with the rouge, Gertruida scampers off to manufacture the ears.
Of course, the only way to get Vetfaan to stand still during all this activity, is to keep up the constant supply of Cactus Jack. By the time Gertruida gets back with the twisted clothes hanger, draped in an old baby blanket, Vetfaan’s enthusiasm for Project Bunny has warmed considerably. He leads Boggel’s Place with a redition of Hasie, hoekom is jou stert so kort, followed by the dirty version of the frog that wanted to go courting in the swamp. Once his outfit is complete, he starts hopping around in a passable imitation of a drunken rabbit.
Alcohol can be a great social lubricant. Put strangers together, add alcohol, and you have a lively conversation going. Usually. Somehow, it doesn’t work with Vrede, the town’s dog. Maybe it is because he is a teetotaller or maybe he is in one of his rare moods, but he suddenly realised that Vetfaan isn’t Vetfaan any more. Vetfaan is a rabbit. A big rabbit. And he’s hopping around on Vrede’s turf.
Gertruida says she never knew about Vetfaan’s athletic abilities. The speed he manages down Voortrekker Weg is quite astounding, especially if you consider the way he is dressed. However, two legs swathed in stuffing and a feather duster up his backside do not automatically imply a faster speed than the four unencumbered legs Vrede has to work with. Yard for yard, the distance is shrinking between the snarling canine and the human-turned-bunny. Even the rabbit in The Tortoise and The Hare would have been ashamed.
The only refuge is the house next to the church. Oudoom is relaxing with a cup of tea on his veranda when Vetfaan rushes past him with the dog ripping at his feathered tail. Vrede, it must be said, used to be a police dog and as such has the discipline and determination never to give up. He doesn’t care about the little mat in the hallway, nor about te ay it skids from beneath his whirling paws. He doesn’t pay attention to Mevrou as she drops the tray with the cookies or hear her scream as he rushes past. He has one goal in mind: he’s got to get that rabbit. (see: https://rolbos.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/rules/)
Vetfaan gets to the bathroom first and manages to close the door halfway. Only Vrede’s snarling snout – dripping drool – is inside the bathroom while the still-running legs try to force the door open. The combined sound of snarling (Vrede) and howling(Vetfaan) carries down Voortrekker Weg to the laughing group on Boggel’s veranda.
“We should go and help.” Precilla is the only one really worried about the situation.
“What? And face the combined wrath of Oudoom and Mevrou? No ways. Vetfaan will be okay. Or, at least, I hope so. The damage to him will be less than the damage to us if we storm in there now.”
Oudoom eventually pulled hard enough on Vrede to get his head from the doorway, but doggy brains tend to run on a single track when they are this excited. Although Vetfaan got the door closed, Vrede is still convinced that the rabbit is inside the room. Anybody preventing him from reaching his quarry is an enemy. Men of the cloth are not exempt from this rule. Thus, Vrede snarls Oudoom off and takes up position in front of the door.
Mevrou suggests shooting the dog. Oudoom tells her they should rather shoot Vetfaan. Vrede growls his approval.
It takes and hour for Vetfaan to squeeze through the little bathroom window – minus his bunny suit, of course. He storms into Boggel’s Place in a worse mood than he was earlier, and is in the middle of his tirade when Gertruida asks the important question.
“Shouldn’t you first dress properly before shouting at us?” Only now does Vetfaan look down to the frayed boxers – to realise he undressed before he put on the overall.
The latest news from the pastorie is that Vrede is still sitting to attention in front of the bathroom, refusing to budge. That rabbit is his and nobody will stop him.
Mevrou has to use the facilities in church now. She is not amused. Every time she trots over to the toilets there, Oudoom ducks behind the book he’s reading. Gertruida says it is the first time she’s seen him laugh so much.