The White Rabbit Is Late, V 2.0

Published August 25, 2014 by B. Rabbit

If you’ve been following me at all, you may have noticed that I’ve done a little late-summer cleaning. The place was getting rather dusty from lack of use.

I’ve taken a page from the book of a dear friend of mine and revamped this place in hopes that I can guilt myself into writing more regularly. I’ve been working on things sporadically, but it’s not nearly as much work as I should be doing. I tend to be loath to post things if they’re not somewhat “done”–poetry notwithstanding–and I need to stop doing that. I need to put words on the page, even if those words do turn out to be terribly embarrassing later.

So in light of that, my plan is to start posting more regularly–hopefully at least once a week–to get myself back into the game. I’ve got all kinds of notes floating around and several currently-abandoned projects, so maybe it won’t be too tough! There will be poetry, short fiction, character sketches, and possibly discussions about various literary things. You know…words on the page. I do sincerely hope my friend doesn’t hate me for ripping her off!

It’s a start, at least. Especially for a person from the Dorothy Parker school of thought: “I hate writing; I love having written.”

I’ll be making this post a sticky (at least for awhile), partly to explain to my visitors what’s going on here and partly to remind myself why I’m doing this. All my new stuff will show up under this post. Also, if you simply can’t get enough of me, please feel free to follow me on Tumblr, where I hardly ever post anything about writing but will happily reblog things from my favorite fandoms like it’s going out of style.

<3
B. Rabbit

Empathy For The Devil

Published September 9, 2014 by B. Rabbit

So, um, a did a thing–a thing that did not turn out in any way like I intended for it to.

This is a story about Bob, the Devil’s valet. That was my beginning premise. But it rapidly got away from me.

So what we have here is a man who has a gigantic crush on his employer that he tries (unsuccessfully) to hide and a terrible tendency to wax poetic. Is what he believes about Lucifer actually the truth? The world may never know.

Empathy for the Devil

He stands–resplendent–before the mirror, just as vain and proud and beautiful as he ever was. Only the sharpest eye could detect the hint of weariness beneath the kingly bearing. But I have been with him for longer than I can remember, so my eye is plenty sharp.

“Your jacket, Lord Lucifer?” I say, holding out the item in question.

He laughs a bit ruefully as he takes the jacket and shrugs it on. “You know I hate when you call me that, Bob.”

“I’m sorry, Majesty, but old habits die hard,” I reply, the beginnings of a grin turning up the corners of my mouth. “Would you prefer ‘Prince of Darkness?’ Or how about ‘King of the Damned?'”

Lucifer rakes a hand over his golden blond hair and snickers. “Did you really just make an Anne Rice reference at me?”

“Comic relief’s never been my strong point, my lo–er, Lucifer.”

He beams at me, looking every bit the angel he is. “See? That wasn’t so hard, was it?”

I don’t bother answering and simply busy myself with making sure the seams are all straight on his perfectly-fitted suit, marveling once more at the skill of Hell’s legion of tailors. He and I are more than just an employee and his employer. We are friends. Nevertheless, I still remain more comfortable with the formal address.

Above me, he sighs.

“You really aren’t looking forward to tonight, are you?” I ask before I can stop myself. It’s a needless question; the answer is evident. He is, however, kind enough not to point it out.

“Not really. Dealing with any of the underworld entities is never a particularly enjoyable way to spend an evening. But going to a dinner party at Hades’ place with all of them in attendance is going to be…well, I’d say ‘hellish,’ but that would be an insult to our humble abode, wouldn’t it?”

“Look on the bright side, my lo–friend. It still beats the endless gloating sessions that Jehovah forces you to sit through every month.”

He nods in agreement. “I’d go to an underworld dinner party every day if it’d get me out of Jehovah’s little sunrise breakfast soirees.”

“I think we all would,” I reply.

He laughs again, revealing teeth so straight and white they’re almost blinding. His glittering hazel eyes meet mine in the mirror. “It looks like I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”

“You look splendid,” I tell him.

He turns and claps a hand to my shoulder. “You’re a good man–too good to be down here.”

“So you keep saying,” I mutter, looking away from his knowing gaze.

“I suspect it has something to do with the fact that you don’t fear him,” he continues. “Actually…I don’t think you’re afraid of anything.”

I force out a small chuckle. “I don’t know that I’d go that far, Lord Lucifer.”

He lets my lapse slide this time. “I would.” Then his face darkens for a moment, almost imperceptibly. “He was never a fan of those who wouldn’t bend a knee for him.”

This time, my laughter is genuine, and I’m able to meet his eye again. “When one is born to be a king, one need never kneel in the presence of his inferiors.”

His face brightens, and he’s back to his old self again. “Indeed!” He slaps me on the back. “I suppose I’m off. Don’t wait up for me.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.”

(I’m lying, and we both know it.)

He graces me with one last smile and then glides regally from the room.

He is beautiful.

~~~~

Most of the denizens of Hell think I’ve always been with my lord, but that’s not true. There are some in the abyss who have been here since the Great Evacuation, but I’m not one of them.

I have been with Lord Lucifer–I can call him that here, out of earshot–for a great many centuries. I couldn’t tell you exactly how long, though. Time does still move in this place, but not quickly. It drips slow and thick in the heavy fever-dream of our never-ending existence. Eternity is a long time, even for creatures like us.

How my lord would laugh if he heard me speak this way….

Regardless, I have been with him as his valet, his gentleman’s gentleman, for so long that the language I spoke when I once walked the earth is long dead. Dead and forgotten, as though it never existed at all. My lord is one of the few in this hole who can still pronounce my given name. To make it easier on everyone else, I simply insist that they call me Bob.

And so I am known to everyone as Bob, Satan’s valet.

He’s not what you’d think, and nothing at all like the earthly stories have painted him. But, as they say, it’s the winner who writes history. Personally, I think my lord got a raw deal.

Oh, I would never deny that he has his flaws. He is vain and proud and stubborn. He has a tendency to lose his temper when dealing with fools and is prone to fits of melancholy where he locks himself into his rooms and refuses to see anyone but me and occasionally Beelzebub. He was sometimes petty and spiteful in the older days, but he seems to have mellowed over the millennia–a tall, imperious glacier smoothed over around the edges by the very ocean it rests in.

But still, he is no monster, merely a boy-king in exile.

There is no torture here, or at least none that descends from his command. The only real torture is the climate: the stifling heat and humidity; the infernal wind that never ceases and serves only to keep everyone restless and on edge, like the uneasy feel just before a spring tornado; the dry, barren clay that the wind often kicks up in thick, dusty red clouds; and, worst of all, the endless red-orange twilight of a sky that has never seen daytime and will never give us the relief of its falsely-promised coming night.

Simply being here is torment enough.

He does all he can to keep us comfortable, swallowing his pride to ask for concessions for us from Jehovah. We are his subjects, and he takes his duty to us seriously. In the very worst of the dust storms, I’ve seen him go out himself, abandoning his palace and his throne to bring water to the masses.

Noblesse oblige.

~~~~

In his absence, I change the linens on his bed and leave a glass (to be filled with ice water later) and his favorite peppermint-scented lotion on the nightstand.

~~~~

Lord Lucifer believes that there is a being above all the petty tribal gods–Jehovah, Set, Zeus, Odin, Vishnu, and all the rest. He claims to have seen it once, briefly, before the Uprising. It was a glorious bright light, he said, and it showed only a quick twinkling of itself before it disappeared back into the ether.

In his most unguarded moments, he will even admit it’s one of the reasons he tried to usurp the throne, in hopes that the great Truth would reveal itself. Those moments only come once every eon or so. He thinks it better to be thought a betrayer than a fool.

I’m not sure how I feel about it. I believe that my lord saw something, but if it were truly what he says it is, why hasn’t it come for us? Why let us continue to suffer? I sometimes share these thoughts with him, and he just smiles benevolently at me and pats my cheek.

Either way, if it does exist, it will have had no greater ally than my lord Lucifer–the great light-bringer himself.

~~~~

It is late when Lucifer arrives back to the palace, disheveled and a little intoxicated. I’m napping in a wingback chair when I hear his footsteps approaching, but I scramble to my feet and fill the water glass by the bed before he slips into the room.

“Back already, my lord?” I ask, raising an eyebrow.

“Oh, stop,” he says as I relieve him of his jacket. “No more of that ‘my lord’ stuff, Bob. We’re friends!”

“Yes, sire.”

He makes a noise that sounds suspiciously like a giggle and tries to whack me with the slipper he’s somehow managed to unearth from beneath the bed. “I thought you weren’t waiting up for me tonight.”

“You think too highly of yourself, my lo–Lucifer. I’ve merely been enjoying the scenery this evening.”

He gives a most undignified snort but says nothing else as I help him undress and slide into his night clothes.

“How was it?” I ask, just to fill the silence.

He sits on the edge of the bed and takes a long drink of water. “Not as bad as I feared. Some of the duller pantheons weren’t even there at all.”

“I’m sure the wine helped, too.”

“You have no idea,” he answers, smoothing lotion over his deceptively delicate-looking hands. “Everyone partook quite heavily. So much so that I even managed to get dances with both Hela and Kali before the night was over.”

“Well, you always did like brunettes.”

“I did, didn’t I?” He smiles, fondly, and gazes off into the distance for a time. Then he shakes himself out of his reverie and pats the expanse of mattress next to him. “Come. Sit.”

I obey, though somewhat uncomfortably.

“Closer, my friend!” He is almost jovial in his inebriation as he slings an arm around my shoulders and drags me near. His skin seems to glow in the early hours of the morning, sheltered as we are from the blood-orange light outside by the walls of the palace.

As soon as I’m close enough to suit him, he ruffles my carefully-styled black hair–like a boy would do to his younger brother–and laughs at the disarray he causes. Then, suddenly, his angelic face falls uncharacteristically solemn, and his shining hazel eyes catch my own.

“I wonder…” he says, his voice barely a whisper.

“What is it, my lord?” My voice is no louder than his own.

The moment lasts a couple of beats longer than it should, and then he flops back on the bed. “Oh, nothing, Bob. Go on to bed. I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Of course,” I reply, rising to my feet and clasping my hands behind me to hide their faint tremble.

I’ve turned out the light and am almost out the door when I hear a soft “Good night, Bob” from the direction of the bed.

“Good night, my lord,” I say and let myself out into the hall.

I hear the unmistakeable thunk of a slipper hitting the closed door. “For the love of Asmodeus, Bob, I’ve told you to stop doing that!” he shouts, sounding equal parts amused and exasperated.

I can’t help but let out an amused chuckle myself as I make my way to my own quarters. All is well–or as well as it can be, anyway–in the house of our Lord Lucifer, King of Hell, Emperor of Gehenna, and the Morning Star that burns sharp and silver and brilliant for us all in the land of the eternal twilight.

A Cautionary Tale

Published August 26, 2014 by B. Rabbit

So I had the brilliant idea recently that I would write some sort of flash fiction or other. I thought about it for a couple of days and wasn’t really able to come up with anything. Then, suddenly, this little spark of inspiration came to me while reading an anthology of short stories about demons lent to me by a friend (shut up, I like demons, ok?) roughly thirty minutes after taking a sleeping pill. I rationalized this to myself by thinking that it would be very short, and I would, therefore, be able to finish it long before said sleeping pill took effect.

Well…it is fairly short (750-ish words), but the rest of the rationalization wasn’t exactly true. When I showed it to my friend (who lent me the demon stories book) the next day, her first response was “You were high as a kite when you wrote this, weren’t you?”

So basically…don’t say I didn’t warn you.

A Cautionary Tale

There’s an old tale that’s been around for God knows how long. I don’t even remember where I heard it from no more. I dunno if it’s true or not. Probably not. Them old tales usually ain’t. But it might be. It just might be.

They say there was this girl. She was young and pretty and smart. Like you, I guess. Nothin’ like me, at least. Young and pretty and real small-like. Petite, I reckon you’d call it. With long blonde hair she didn’t have to bleach out and big bright blue eyes and pale, pale skin.

Anyhow, this girl was what the old folks would call “a lady of the night.” But she’d tell you right quick that she wasn’t no porn tragedy girl. She was in school–law school, medical school, somethin’ like that. Maybe she was studyin’ to be a dentist. I’m not sure. But she wasn’t no drug addict out of options. She was on her way up in the world. Told folks that if men were stupid enough to pay her for her company, she was smart enough to take their money from ‘em. Can’t nobody fault her for that, I don’t reckon.

The men sure loved her, at any rate. She may have been takin’ ‘em for a ride, but she was doin’ it in style, by God.

This pretty li’l gal came home one night after a long evenin’ of what they call escortin’. They sure do got a lot of polite terms for it, don’t they?

Anyway, she came home, and it was after midnight. She wanted somethin’ to eat, but she was about dead on her feet. She didn’t wanna go back out and get anything, if there was even anything to get after midnight back in them days. I don’t know if there was or not.

So she decided that she’d try to make somethin’ herself with what she had in her ‘frigerator and her cabinets. Reckon she hadn’t been to the grocery store in a while ’cause she didn’t have a whole lot to choose from. She just pulled a whole bunch of stuff out and started throwin’ it all in a great big ol’ pot on the stove. Soup, stew, whatever you wanna call it.

You’d think that’d be pretty harmless, wouldn’t you? Well, you’d be wrong. Maybe she wasn’t payin’ attention to what she was doin’, or maybe she just didn’t know how to cook, but instead of makin’ dinner, she managed to summon a demon. A demon. It just come right up outta that pot on the stove and laughed at her. Loud, cacklin’ laughter that just went on and on and on.

They say she just stood there rooted in that spot. I’m inclined to believe that that part’s true, at least, ’cause what else are you gonna do if you summon a demon? It’s not like runnin’s gonna help you none.

Anyhow, she just stood there, probably scared to death, while that demon just laughed at her. When it finally stopped laughin’, it looked at her with its fiery ol’ eyes and said somethin’ like, “You of all people oughta know you can’t turn a ho into a housewife, gal.”

Sounds like that demon’s name oughta have been Ludacris, don’t it?

And, well, nobody’s real sure what happened after that. Dunno if that demon ate her soul right then and there and took over her body, or if the sight of a fiend from the very pits of hell messed her up so much that she just never was the same again afterward. All anybody knows is that she went to her landlady’s house ’bout one o’clock in the mornin’ and knocked on the door. When the confused and sleepy ol’ woman came to the door, the girl just laid the key to her rental house in the landlady’s hand and walked off into the woods. Nobody ever seen her or heard from her again.

Like I said, I don’t know if it’s true or not. It probably ain’t. But it don’t seem too smart to take chances to me. That’s why I don’t never cook anything, ‘specially not after a night at work like this. So if you’re hungry, we can just go to McDonald’s or somethin’. You can get sausage and biscuits there after midnight, you know.

Amor En Inglés

Published March 7, 2014 by B. Rabbit

Note below in italics not an actual part of the poem, just FYI.

Amor En Inglés

You are a broken little thing,
bastard child of ancient royalty,
though you share in none of their gentility.

You are neither clever
nor beautiful;
you are illogical, vexing, nonsensical.

You are not at all Romantic,
and though still young,
you are covered in scars.

And yet, I have loved you–
fiercely, passionately–
for longer than I can remember.

I fear how fragile you are,
certain each time I hold you
that my inept hands will destroy you.

You are damaged but
enthralling when I touch you;
you taste like hope in my mouth.

But you’ve had many other lovers in your young life,
lovers with fingers less clumsy
and tongues far more skillful than mine.

Still, you tolerate my oafishness,
and I cling to you,
desperately and unashamed.

You are flawed, incomprehensible, and utterly insane,
just like me–
so I cannot help but love you madly.

Some nights, you come to me,
frenzied and violent, demanding my touch,
artless though it may be.

And in those small and frantic midnight moments,
I allow myself to think that maybe, maybe…
you love me, too.

(Spoiler alert: Literal love letter to the English language)

The Rabbit Farmer

Published February 24, 2014 by B. Rabbit

This idea came to me last night. I took a couple of notes before I fell asleep and finished with it today.

The Rabbit Farmer

What detachment
it must require
to raise your own meat.
What cold and clinical
mental sterility.

The rabbit in the cage thinks
you a god.
Food, water, clean straw,
a kind word if you allow–
all delivered by your calloused hand.

There never was a god who didn’t
require sacrifice.
As above, so below.
Be capricious, so long as you call it love.
(And make sure the knife is sharp.)

It takes but one quick motion
to slice a life
right out of a quivering throat.
Do it right, and
your hands don’t even get dirty.

Crimson blood stains white fur
never before sullied.
The gentle hand on the back
does nothing to kill
the terror.

A beast, however stupid, still knows a Judas kiss.
And some part of it,
some collective unconsciousness,
surely remembers the gods’ needs
for betrayal and burnt offerings.

And so, god of treachery,
what would you do
if you knew
that bunny’s
last despairing thought?

There’s no such thing as love.
There’s no
such thing
as love.

There’s

no

such

thing

as

love….

Celestial Bodies

Published January 25, 2014 by B. Rabbit

I don’t have anything terribly profound to say about this one. It’s not a work of art, and I didn’t mean for it to be. I wrote it because it amused me, in a wry sort of way.

Celestial Bodies

As I was going through one of my old hard drives the other day,
I happened across
an old poem.

A bad one, of course–
mine always are.

It was about you,
as they always were
in those days.

Some prattle that painted
you the Sun and
me the Earth,
gravitationally chained to you,
whether I liked it or not,
until your girth and your heat eventually swallowed me whole
some 5 or 6 billion years later.

The metaphor was all right, I suppose,
but the execution atrocious.

But even after I had a giggle or two at
my own propensity for melodrama,
I didn’t forget the image.

If I had been more insightful
(though I never was back then; they say it’s a hallmark),
I’d have called you the Earth
and me the Moon–
tide-locked,
unable to turn away, and
forced to stare at your stupid face for all eternity.

Oh, how you would’ve loved that.
(Though Uranus and one of its moons would’ve probably fit better:
I have the Shakespearean name for it,
and you’re no doubt an asshole.)

But it occurred to me today,
on my way to McDonald’s for a chicken sandwich
(and coffee, naturally),
that I am neither Earth, nor Moon, nor any other celestial body.

What I am, instead,
is a Space Shuttle….

And I have achieved escape velocity, motherfucker.

An Early Easter

Published January 22, 2014 by B. Rabbit

So I got all ambitious and shit today and decided I’d try to write a sonnet. Yes, a fucking sonnet. And, yes, it rapidly turned into “a FUCKING sonnet” when I remembered that I can’t count syllables or identify where stresses are on a word.

But, by that point, I’d already gotten halfway through the damned thing, and it seemed a waste not to finish it. You can probably tell the exact point where I lost control of it because it gets labored there in the middle. I’m sorry. My only defense is that this is my very first attempt at writing in iambic pentameter. I probably should’ve at least just gone for blank verse to start with, rather than trying to do the iambic pentameter AND the end-rhymes. But what is a woman without ambition, yes?

Oh, also, this was supposed to be a rather happy poem, but it got away from me and took a turn for the depressing at the end. That was also not intentional. Lo siento. For the record, knowing that there is an early Easter coming does, in fact, make me very happy. But, alas, this year’s isn’t until the end of April. Oh, the irony.

Also-also, all the usual disclaimers about rough drafts and maybe one day going back and fixing this thing. Try not to laugh yourself into an asthma attack if you continue past this point.

Early Easter

When poor Persephone’s descent begins
and takes with her the light of afternoon
even before just 6 o’clock, again
I find the madness that once more consumes
me. It sacrifices my sanity
upon the altar of the Autumn night,
and seems quite endless–least it does to me.
But one small thing gives hope, a single white
and black wee square upon the calendar.
Oh, God, yes–Easter comes in March this year!
The pain of Winter starts to ease, to blur,
replaced by hope and light–uncertain cheer.

But why is it the Lamb must die in vain
that I may breathe and laugh and live again?

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