Table Twenty-Two: Joseph Suglia

The café is teeming with rabbit. There are rabbit everywhere in the café, rabbit nibbling on the scones and the crepes in the display case, rabbit collecting napkins, gripping menus in their little pink mouths, carrying sugar shakers on their humped backs, grasping spoons with their tiny mouths, gathering provisions and bearing them to their warren. Wandering coyotes and maundering lynx, you know, would slay any rabbit that exposed themselves to predation. The peaceful rabbit retreat to their warm hive.

Look at the rabbit, happily hopping lagomorphs, hopping and bounding, streaks of white, you see the white undersides of their tails as they streak over the cash register and over the counter and dive into the kitchen.

(Lagomorph = “having the form of a rabbit.”)

Letting out high-pitched squeals, the rabbit arc through space, a leash of urine-squirting rabbit. Away from the slinky lynx. The rabbit flee from the lynx and the coyotes and the great horned owls. They ensconce themselves in their warren, their warren in the kitchen, the snowy rabbit and the pikas, friendly friends.

(Pikas are egg-shaped micro-rabbit, squeaking and sneaking egg-shaped micro-rabbit balls.)

Squirming across the floor, a tranche of beaver, gophers, gerbils, voles, and lemmings is coming. Insistently, insidiously, they are coming. Once indifferent to one another, they now form a rowdy renegade army of rodent bandits.

Like rebel warlords they are, the beaver, gophers, gerbils, voles, and lemmings. They dine on the sugar. They dine on the salt. Their chitterings and chatterings are intolerable. Chuckling chuckleheads.

Clucking chickens strut among their ranks. The beaver, the gophers, the gerbils, the voles, and the lemmings form a wavy, wondrous, shivering brown, black, and beige rug.

You glance to your left and observe that the ceiling is buttressed by white palisades and that the palisades are covered with squirrel. The squirrel scramble down the pillars, down the palisades, scampering and scurrying, crawling out of a hole in the ceiling.

Squirrel are scampering down the white pillars head-first, their white-ringed ebony eyes glimmering. They fall to the shiny obsidian floor and rush into the washrooms.

The meerkats are waddling toward you. They are nibbling at your clothing now. The meerkats stand erect, as if imitating the posture of human beings in their arrogance, with one important difference: Their tails are acting as third legs, mammalian tripods.

The fire-eyed otter is devouring the melting cake.

A colony of badgers is eating a cluster of hamburger patties in the vapory kitchen.

Squirrel are snaffling up the scrambled eggs, parceling them with their small hands and stuffing them into their oval faces.

The only other human being in the café, a matronly woman with pearl earrings, looks with displeasure at the train of ocelots and wolverines that shuffles into the café. Or is she displeased by the display of animal sexuality that is unfolding? Grubbing skunk, grabbing rabid skunk, show no restraint as they mount their female counterparts. Striped Lotharios bedding their mistresses.

And then, they promptly vanish beneath the building, to their burrow, to their underground home.

You step out of the café.

A car passes you rattlingly, cutting a swath through a sea of voles, hamsters, and hedgehogs. You nod at the car as it speeds away. A honk comes in response. You walk further down the mammal-smothered street.

The matron is stomping noisily down the street in search of a cat or a husband.

You see a warren of rabbit coming across the street. The rabbit are screaming a whistling collective scream, a scream such as you have never before heard.

Look at the man with shoulder-length hair. He is speaking to the rabbit, but he is not speaking with the rabbit. He imagines, stupidly, that he is the chosen channeler of rabbitish languages. Now, he grows bored with the rabbit and snatches at and up the dollar bills that circle and circulate in the air.

A young boy is standing with his back toward you. He is around twelve years old, shirtless, and pallid-skinned. He pitches a basketball against the outer wall of a furniture store. The ball bounces back into his hands.

Copyright 2014 by Joseph Suglia


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