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The Rabbit Game. I knew about this tradition when I Googled you, when I romanced you, when I married you. A chronic disability, like the monthly phone bill, you are it’s most ferocious practitioner, although in jail there were no digital cameras or computers to email your siblings, play the gotcha on the first of every. Here’s how it works: The simplest of missions. Say the word Rabbit before anyone else does. RABBIT!!! HAH! Then step back and wait. My family had a variant; on automobile trips, in our crappy woodie station wagon, when passing a graveyard, the winning kid had say it three times, fast. In my mother’s day, same graveyard, but a victory shout: BUTTON, BUTTON! My sister and I were bitter, brutal adversaries at this pointless exercise in backseat boredom. Fought to the death, and in those days, on the blue highways my father liked to meander us for endless excursions to sketch tobacco barns or swaybacked farmhouses rotting in the hazy, Connecticut River Valley sun. We had another game; count Volkswagons, a color-coded scramble to find blue, white, green, black. You get the idea. A milage eraser for those endless hot-sticky-nausea-inducing hellrides.This is your September email pic, cc’d to the sibs, in honor of Ted Kennedy’s death; it was a brain tumor, not an assassin’s bullet,  that brought the Great White Dope down. The bunny Pez is posed at the State House gates, your workplace when the Beantown lawmakers are in session.You won. An easy victory. Nobody else really played, simply offered desultory applause at your endurance. There are no real contenders to the monthly Lapin crown, and your role as the family myth-keeper is secure.

fenway rabbitAugust’s victory. The Fenway Rabbit. A  collage, of a younger Pip in hockey helmet, pasteboard  ears and pillow tail,  you doodled together in your inimitable folk-artisty way.If this falls into the wrong hands, like a spurt-in-the-moment sex cassette of drunken marrieds trying on amateur porn for bedroom spice, weird crazy will ensue.

pip rabbit maskI bought you this mask at the Super Stop n’ Shop. Pictures of a much sexier nature exist, of gossamer dance moves and candlelight thespians, but safe in my harddrive. Here you sit; a fellow soberholic snaps the pic for competition purposes. You smile wickedly behind the dimestore plastic; the sweet odor of rabbit victory wafts to the heavens. This is the front yard of Sally’s Place, the sober house where parole first plunked you upon freedom’s first blush. We were married a week later; K-I-S-S up inna tree. Sally’s was good, in a better-than-jail kind of way. Run by retards, inhabited by broken boozers, battered by the idiot wind of the paroleocracy. Still, on a relativity scale, our memories are more happy than horror. We stole back our overnights, an elaborate scheme, like convent school runaways, scamming the midnight curfew with bedsheets and grappling hooks, an idling getaway car, then the casual stroll back for morning sign-out. In relativity, yes, we stifle an open-mouth giggle, amazed by how shit flows downhill.  Today, parole waits like some slimed troll for you to fuck up. A GPS bracelet pinches your slim, dancer’s ankle. A box wails at you to puff sobriety gibberish into a plastic megaphone, and the curfew has dropped to ten o-clock. A purloined sleepover is a distant sigh, a birthday card from the past given to the future, but no way Jose is it gonna be tonight. Small consolation though; your three rabbit victories this summer are a familial hat trick, you, O devoted rememberer of birthdays, zip codes, shirt sizes and favorite recipes.

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October’s entry. At the Oldies Store I spotted this ceramic guy. “Here,” I said, “hold this, so I can get a picture, for the…you know.” You grinned, and vamped as I clicked three times. “But you send it.” You said. “The joke is…hmmm, the joke is you tricked me into it, okay?”  So I did, sent the email to all your sibs–on September 30th. Breaking an ancient family protocal, striking out, a rookie rabbit virgin’s first time at bat, your perfect record crumbles. My new brother-in-law Jeff graciously, diplomatically filed a subtle protest, written in cyber-code, but the message was clear: Play by the rules, oustlander. Chastened, and deeply humbled by this furry faux paux, I vow to buy a calendar.

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