Rabbit Fungus

By C.M. Torrens

Copyright © 2005

We didn’t exactly know what was going on, only that the rabbits in the area started disappearing.  Freeman stumbled on the answer by accident one day while out huntin’. The rabbit sittin’ there all plump and juicy. It wasn’t rabbit season but he took aim and shot the thing anyway. Poaching would end him in jail, but no one liked to bother Freeman. He was a mean old grouch of a man, and he never took more than he was gonna eat anyhow.

Good thing though, that he took it. We might never have known what was killin’ them rabbits if he hadn’t.

When he brought it home he noticed a thick white fungus coverin’ the paws of that rabbit. Cute little bunny it was. He weren’t sure if the stuff was bad or not, he decided to call me. The local vet.

Now me and Freeman, we didn’t get on well. Old rivals we was. So when he told me about some white stuff was eatin’ on a rabbit, I thought it all some odd joke. But old Freeman told me that he didn’t want me coming out nohow. No better way to get me to come was tellin’ me not to, I guess.

No more than an hour later, I stared down at that rabbit, plopped right in the middle of Freeman’s kitchen table. White doughy fungus was a ripplin’ and a movin’ all over that dead hare.

“What is it, Ray?” Freeman asked.

“Hell if I know, Freeman. I ain’t never seen this stuff before,” I bent down to give it a sniff. It smelt real nice, kinda like rabbit roasted with mushrooms.

Freeman took a sniff too, his face gettin’ all hungry-like. “It sure does smell tasty.”

“You can’t eat it,” I said.

“An’ why not? It smells good, don’t it?”

“Sure it do, but that don’t mean its good for you.”

Freeman tossed the rabbit in the fridge and handed me a shot gun. “Let’s go see why some of them rabbits is gone.”

So we went a lookin’.

We had to dig some of them rabbits outta holes. Inside the rabbit was either gone with holes filled with that doughy stuff or covered in places so’s it couldn’t move.

Freeman and I looked at each other.

Freeman and I are friends these days. We got ourselves a nice restaurant  just off the highway. We cook up a fine biscuit and mushroom gravy special. We grow ‘em ourselves. Funny thing though. Some of customers lately is looking a little pale around the edges. I wonder what they been eatin’.

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