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my first day as the Easter Bunny

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My first day as the Easter Bunny.

The set is moving. There are animatronics.
No one told me there’d be animatronics
A rabbit with a busted plaster ear eternally chases cabbages,
which are inexplicably spinning, spinning.
A tiny farmer, armed with a pitchfork
( a real pitchfork, mind you,
on a children’s set---madness. )
a farmer futilely tries to defend his garden.
One of his arms looks like it was broken and set wrong;
it sticks out at a weird angle.

There is fake green grass,
little white picket fences,
a shed with a big ornate garden chair for kids
to sit and pose with the Easter Bunny.
There are no kids yet.

One young guy is manning the fort.
As I approach, I think, ‘he doesn’t know my face,
I could still walk away’...walk away, it echoes
in some dim part of my mind that still has dignity.
But I know this is my destiny. Appointed by God,
or drilled into my psyche from childhood;
some forgotten moment when mommy
laughed and smiled at an unpremeditated antic.
A stumble, a surprised look....resulting in laughter.
A clown is born. And so here we are.

I tell the guy my name. We go to ‘suit up’.
There are hidden places in malls, walls with keyholes,
that open into large empty spaces used to store stuff.
The suit is there.

I must admit it is beautiful.
Pristine, first snow of winter white.
Soft, lovely fur.
Except for one little brown spot on the belly.
The guy tells me ‘There was an ice cream incident. “

I put on the suit.
It fits perfectly, of course.
All white, with a pink belly, the body of the suit alone
makes me feel like Sasquatch.

I picture me walking,
big arm swings in the woods, grainy image,
I look back over my shoulder, Wild Easter bunny ,
showing contempt for humankind.

The feet are enormous boats of white spongy material.
They go on right over my old boots.
(the same boots that stepped in the poop of Shaq
oneals dog, at another weird job. )
The bunny hands consist of thumbs and one big finger.
And then the head. It’s a really nice one.

Shiny, pink nose, big dopey red smiley mouth,
the expression perpetual surprise, amazed with happiness
that this child showed up, this old best friend.
When you put on the head for the first time,
you think ‘maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.’ .
The head is hot. Let’s start like that.
Go into your attic, rip some of that pink, fluffy stuff
off the walls, wrap it tightly around your head.
Now go outside on a hot summer day and cavort,
Dance around, wave, hop, gesture, shake your head.
Imagine there’s a government sniper watching you
through a scope with orders to shoot if you stop moving.
This is the Easter Bunny experience.
But I don’t want to give the impression it
wasn’t fun. I found it immensely so.
But then I’m weird.

Someone escorts me to the set, because, did I mention,
you can hardly see anything from inside the bunnyhead.
The whole outfit is like a man on the moon spacesuit,
on which the big, clear face bubble has been spray painted
almost completely over by mischievous aliens.
You can see straight ahead through two big eyeholes,
but there’s a sort of black fog over everything
because you’re looking through mesh.
There’s a surreal quality to it, children waving,
bunny smiling, as volcanic ash slowly falls from Mount
St. Helens.

Later. At the set.
Waving, dancing, holding onto the lapels
of your tiny Easter bunny vest, playing ‘peek a boo,
blowing kisses, more waving, lots of waving.
And some kids are happy and some are scared,
some stunned at the weirdness of it all.

When you sit in the bunny suit,
your hard little bunny tail will wedge itself uncomfortably up your butt.
So if you notice your Easter bunny adjusting his tail
before he sits, you know why.
There’s a little fan low to the ground, blowing sweet air up,
and if you angle it just right the breeze flows in the crack at your
neck, and cools you down.

Still later.
I realize it’s only kids here,
kids as customers, kids in charge.
So I start to push the envelope.
Making bunny gang signs at kids too old and
tough to sit on my lap.
Saluting security guards,
clapping when pretty girls walk by, making the curvy
hourglass figure with my hands,
imitating people on cell phones, one furry hand clapped to my big ear,
the other hand gesticulating wildly.
Peek-a-boo, that’s my specialty.
I love to play peek-a-boo with adults.
No one likes it,
they all walk away fast.

The job is fun, the kids are cute, the pictures are good
if we can get them to look at the camera.

The quintessential moment comes
when I am doing something stupid, dancing,
or just lolling my big fat head around, sweating profusely.
I stop, I see... a movie poster.
Viggo Mortensen is wielding a shiny sword,
his hair blows in wild wind.
He looks out proudly at a billion people who know his face, his name.
That is the highest height of being an actor.
And this, a faceless, sweaty clown in a bunny suit, is the lowest low.
But I am strangely happy.

As my shift ends, and I am escorted to the ‘secret room’
to change out of my bunny suit,
some kid asks me
‘are you somebody famous under there? “
I put a finger over my bunny lips and disappear
behind the hidden door.

About the Author

Keith is a writer and actor in Los Angeles California. He is a rabid creator and should be put down or made famous. he makes short films. puppetts, and sometimes people nervous.
his latest short film can be seen at www.easterbunny.notlong.com


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