It had all started in a small diner in the heart of Acmeville. A classic, homely place where the locals came together to gossip and chat over a fresh pot of coffee or a homemade muffin. Within this diner, a grey bunny was working on waiting tables, "Order up!" Witch Hazel roared from the kitchen. The rabbit skated over to the metal countertop and grabbed the steaming hot plate of fresh baked fries and a juicy burger.
"Here you are, sir. Will there be anything else?" she asked, gently setting down the plate in front of a burly short man with a long mustache of red hair.
"No there will not!" he yelled, digging into his meal.
It was nearing her time to leave and head home when suddenly, her boss stormed up, "Honey, I need you to take the late shift tonight, and the early opening tomorrow morning,"
Honey sighed and placed her coat back on the rack, she wouldn't be leaving anytime soon.
Hmm….she sighed to herself, I wonder why Suzan can't take the late shift? Oh well…
She watched the resteraunt slowly clear out before locating a rag, spray bottle, mop, and bucket. She started at the first red booth closest to the door and slowly made her way across the empty diner, the water on the floor working up to a soapy residue. It was going to be a long night.
This is where our story really begins. A grey female bunny was wiping off the greasy table tops of "The Looney Bin; Diner and Malt Shop" on the midnight shift. Her ears were pulled back and her once shining blue eyes were dull. She was anxiously awaiting the arrival of her relief so she could collapse in her bed at home, only to awake five hours later to drive back to the same parking space in the same diner for her next shift. She thought of 17 year old Lola, sleeping at home, on the couch in front of the little TV. She wished desperately to better the lives of her and her sister. Honey was lost in thought, thinking of how in the world she would pay for little Lola's college fees when the time came for her to leave. That led her in a circle back to where she had started; she was alone. Her sister had inherited her mother's timeless beauty; the tan fur and sparkling teal eyes, added with a shapely figure. Oh yes, little Lola got all the boys, and she never objected, a new boyfriend almost every week. Honey sighed. But no, she had only received her mother's undecided ears and large tooth, the rest was all from the father she despised. Honey examined herself in the full length mirror in the back of the employees only room.
No hips, no chest, no nothing, she thought to herself.
Suddenly the little bell over the door tinkled; the signal for a new customer. She rushed to the counter and straightened her apron.
"Hello, welcome to 'The Looney Bin; Diner and Malt Shop'. What can I prepare for you?" She greeted tiredly. Her eyes were focused on the floor.
"Eh, what's up, Doc? Could I gets a booth?" a masculine voice requested, thick with a Brooklyn accent.
"Yes, sir. Right this way," Honey replied, taking a menu out of the holder and leading the unknown customer to the most recently cleaned booth. Finally she looked up. Her voice was stuck in her throat as she caught sight of the handsome grey and white gloved bunny with a casual face as he skimmed the choices from beneath half closed eye lids.
She must have looked surprised for he looked up with a funny grin and asked, "Excuse me," he checked the name tag, "Hon, can you grabs me a cup of dat coffee dere?" he asked, shutting his menu and handing it to the still astonished waitress.
"Uh, yeah, sure!" she began to walk away, "Hey, your that Bugs Bunny guy, right? The one from the cartoons?"
"Dats me, the one and the only," he smiled. Honey's face changed from surprised to embarrassed, "Hey, you ok, Hon?"
"Oh yeah, yeah I'm fine," she shook her head and went to the back of the empty diner to fix the coffee. The old industrial sized coffee maker pinged when it was done and she brought the cup out to the famous bunny. "Here," she set down the coffee and went to clean off the table a booth over, "Enjoy."
"Eh, uh, Hon? Come sid'down a bit. You looks like you could use a break," Bugs patted the seat across from him.
The young bunny looked up from her scrubbing and thought she'd heard him wrong, "Excuse me?"
"I said, come sid'down and keep a bunny company,"
"Um, alright," She replied unsure, she was half relieved and half terrified. She had spent all day cleaning tables but wasn't sure she wanted to share a booth with the most famous bunny of all time.
He sat casually across from her, investigating a newspaper with the same boring expression as of when he was reading the menu. She crossed and uncrossed her legs and her eyes were darting back in forth across the indented table top. The red-clad waitress finally squirmed around enough to make the old booth creak. Bugs looked up from his paper, "Are you ok?" he asked.
He looked around, "Uh, yeah,"
She giggled nervously and answered, "Oh, yeah I'm fine!"
Bugs placed his paper back in the rack and folded his hands, "So, Hon, tell me somethin', how's a hot young thing like you workin' in a place like dis?" he spread his arms wide, and, ironically, a light bulb flickered off and shattered.
"Well, it's kinda of a long story. Are you sure you're up for it?" Honey cringed, waiting for the harsh comment that was sure to come.
But to her surprise, the white-gloved grey bunny just placed his arms behind his head and waited for her to speak.
"Haha, really? Well ok, here goes," she took a breath, "It all started back in 1971, the day my father left….."
"Momma?" a small grey bunny with a tuft of white fur between her ears asked, tugging on her mother's skirt.
"Yes, dear?" her mother, a tan adult bunny asked, obviously exhausted.
"When's daddy coming home?"
Her mother sat down and looked in her lap, "Honey, Daddy's not coming home,"
Honey looked confused, "Why is Daddy not coming home? Doesn't he love me?"
"My little flower, of course he loves you. You're as cute as a button and sharp as a tack," she smiled, stroking her young daughter's ears.
Then a baby's cry was heard from the cradle. Honey and her mother walked into the room over and gently lifted up the little baby with fuzzy tan and white fur, blonde hair, and big blue eyes…that were filled with alligator tears, "Does Daddy love baby Lola, Mommy?" Honey asked, sleepy as her tired mother lifted her and her sister on her lap and began to rock them to sleep.
"Yes. He loves you both very much,"
"Your father just up and left you?" Bugs questioned, eyes widening in surprise.
"Yes," Honey looked down sheepishly, "And took all my mother's hard earned cash with him. She was so run down, physically and emotionally, that she died my Junior year."
"And your father? Did he's ever come back?" Bugs inquired, hoping in his heart that this poor diner girl's father had returned a changed man.
Honey squirmed in her seat, "Um, no….he-he never came back. Last we heard, he was somewhere in northwestern Oregon,"
"You say 'we'. Who exactly, does 'we' define?" Bugs asked, pulling his waitress out of her thoughts, attempting to make her feel better, "Oh, I sees. You gots a boyfriend. I bet you're just chased all over. I have no chance, I was hoping we could go outs sometimes,"
Honey Bunny was surprised and smiled, "No, no boyfriend. I was referring to my sister. She's my best friend. And that is why I'm working here; to provide for my sister and mine living expenses and my college tuition,"
"Brains as well as beauty? Man, what a catch!" Bugs exclaimed, jokingly.
Honey blushed deeply, dipping her head away from his friendly gaze. Suddenly, the alarm for the wood-grain accented coffee maker sounded again and ended their awkward lack of conversation, "Ooops, I should get back to work," she sighed, reluctantly starting to get up.
The famous grey bunny rushed out of his seat and bowed low, twirling his arm below his waist and offering his other hand to Honey, "Could I offer you a hand, Hon?" he said jokingly. She giggled shyly but took his hand and stood up.
"Thank you," she expressed her gratitude with a small smile.
"Hey, Hon," he started, back to his normal self, "how does a date sound? Nothing fancy. I could pick you up here sometime and I could treat you to dinner. What do you say?"
"Well, who can really justify turning down a date with Bugs Bunny?" she laughed, avoiding eye contact.
"It's a date den," Bugs smiled, starting to walk away from the door . Honey stared dreamily at him. Suddenly, he turned around and walked back to her, "I forgot to tip you," he placed a wad of bills in her hand and clasped it shut. Then he started back towards the door. But, ironically, the floor was wet from Honey's mopping escapade before her table cleaning and she slipped, nearly crashing to the ground. But Bugs was there in an instant, sweeping his arms around her waist and catching her, her fuzzy head mere centimeters from the cold tile.
"Just a little slick dere, eh, Hon?" Bugs laughed, his face close to her's.
"Uh, yeah," she replied absently, her eyes locked on his. He helped her to her feet once more and wiped the crumbs off her red sleeves and pecked her on the cheek without any hesitation.
"Well, I'll see ya around, Hon. Watch out for dem floors, dere kinda slippery," the grey toon bid farewell, strutting out the door.
Honey was left in the middle of the diner. She sunk to her knees.
Oh no! she thought, smacking her head with her palm, I was just asked on a date with Bugs Bunny and I don't even know how to contact him! Hey you can at least see how much he tipped you…..she thought glumly.
She carefully unfolded all of the bills, One hundred and fifty DOLLARS?! But what surprised her most was the little note written on one of the comment cards from the restaurant.
Hon, hope the tip sufficed. I hope you give me a ring so we can plan out that date.
Sweet dreams hot stuff
Honey shook her head in disbelief, That clever little….
Soon, her relief came as Suzan finally entered the diner, somewhat dampening her co-worker's trance. Honey flew out of the kitchen and stopped at the pay phone and dialed the number. After the dial tone was finally ringing, a voice picked up at the other end; the answering machine, telling her to leave her message for Mr. Bugs Bunny after the beep, then Bugs Bunny him self's voice came over the machine "And if dis is Hon callin about dat date, ill meet ya this Saturday in front of the diner. Tanks for the coffee by the way. And I hope your day is wonderful tomorrow, sweet dreams," Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep
Honey nearly choked and managed a simple, "Thank you," and an "I'll see you Saturday,"
So she got in her car and drove back to the apartment building before making a dash for the door. She hated these cold, winter nights. Finally she jammed her key in the lock and the door creaked open.
Keys clanged onto the countertop, "Shoot," Honey whispered, cupping her hands over the keys to end their noise. She heard her sister stir in the room a few feet around the corner.
The grey and white bunny tip-toed across the white and blue linoleum floor of her apartment kitchen and peeked into the living room, sure enough, a tan and blonde female bunny was splayed out across the hide-a-bed couch, like a very messy angel, the television broadcasting old cartoons. She switched it off and gazed around the tiny room. The paint was pealing on the walls, paperwork and bills were strewn everywhere, the table in obvious disarray. Her parents' wedding photograph was hanging crooked on the wall and she stumbled across the littered floor to straighten it. This was before her mother had to work three jobs to pay for her father's habits; this was when she was beautiful.
When the sweet bunny was satisfied she lifted her sister's thin body onto the small bed in the other room. Honey always fought with her as to whom had to sleep on the couch, both opting to take on the looming back pain sure to befall the poor victim the next day on that fold out couch to give the other a good night's sleep on the bed next door. So after tucking her in, she tried to make herself as comfortable as possible, stuffing pillows in the crevices where stuffing had come loose and the plaid fabric was thread-bare. Her small alarm clock, ticking softly on the tiny coffee-table by her head, lulled her to sleep with its steady rhythm. The one consistent thing in her ever changing life. But the unfortunate thing was that the next morning, her alarm never woke her up; her consistency was broken.