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Home: The Toast

Vic, we gotta talk. I see you got all those important fuckin’ papers everywhere, but this’ll only take a second. 

I don’t have to tell you that morale around the casino is fuckin’ shot. The fish aren’t showin’ up, our guys aren’t skimmin’ much, and the ad campaign we shelled out for is fuckin’ garbage. So hear me the fuck out. 

My neighbor’s got this rabbit. 

Jesus Christ, Vic, will you let a man talk? This ain’t like the kitten thing, this is fuckin’ practical. My neighbor has this rabbit. “Oh, come see this rabbit I got,” he says, like I’m a fuckin’ sap for their huge ears or something, I dunno. I gotta pay my dues with this guy, he kept quiet about the Marziano deal on my porch, so I go to see the fuckin’ rabbit.

Vic. Vic. Like a dog, this rabbit was.

This rabbit, I swear to god. It just fuckin’ hops up to my hand and puts its fuckin’ bunny head in there. And Vic, I ain’t never lied to you before, or even twisted up the truth to make somethin’ look better—you remember when I told you we had to bleed Johhny, or he’d run back to his cop brother-in-law? I am not one to fuckin’ paint a picture too rosy, but this rabbit’s ears were as big as fuckin’ oven mitts. And soft, you know? Like how you wish a fuckin’ oven mitt would feel. What, you never put on an oven mitt and wished it was softer? Maybe attached to a rabbit? 

I’m gettin’ to the point, sit down, I just want you to know that this fuckin’ rabbit ain’t like a rabbit, it’s like a dog, that’s how fuckin’ sweet it is. But quieter than a dog, right? That was the problem with the puppy, I admit it, he wouldn’t shut up and nobody wants to go to a strip club where a fuckin’ beagle won’t stop howlin’ (even though it’s just their fuckin’ nature to howl), you got me, that was bad for business.  

Here’s the thing: rabbits don’t make any fuckin’ noise. (‘Cept when they die, Vic, and that’s the worst noise on earth, let me tell you. I’ve heard a guy chokin’ on the back of his own tongue after he’s been shot in the dome, but a rabbit dyin’, it just hits you different, ‘cause you know it’s so fuckin’ confused, like why did some mook have to come around and hurt it, it was just munchin’ on some grass and makin’ its little poops or what-the-fuck-ever, it ain’t done nothin’ or snitched on nobody.) 

Vic. Vic. Sit down. Here’s what we do. We get some wood, we get some chicken wire, we build a fuckin’ hutch—a hutch, it’s like a little rabbit-house, they gotta have one—and we put the fuckin’ rabbit in the casino office. He can be the casino mascot, a fuckin’ lucky rabbit, you know? And my neighbor, he says these rabbits, they don’t need much, just some water and some fuckin’ pellets. Vic, I will get the pellets. 

Vic, Christ. I said I was sorry for that. This isn’t like the fuckin’ ferret, okay? What, a guy fucks up once and you’re on his back forever, actin’ like it’s his fault that fuckin’ Ernie forgot to feed the ferret and it ate a bunch of fuckin’ bullets and died? Vic, I’m gonna be honest as fuck with you right now. I cried for four days straight after that fuckin’ ferret bit it. 

Forget it, I don’t know why I fuckin’ told you that. 

Listen, Vic, I’m gonna say somethin’ I don’t say often, here. I’m gonna say it because you’re my fuckin’ friend, and also, you fuckin’ owe me because I broke that bookie’s legs yesterday: please. Please let me get this fuckin’ rabbit.

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Mel Kassel writes in Chicago. She loves the horror genre and stories that take their talking animals seriously.

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