CHEMICAL FOG By Bill Diamond

“Don’t mix chemicals. Weird shit can go down.” That was the only anti-drug advice Jack’s father had given. Jack generally abided by it. But, sometimes things happen.

Rabbits are warm and fuzzy, unless they are five times larger than you. When Bugs Bunny is chomping a carrot, those protruding front teeth are funny. When they threaten to chomp you, they are sharp daggers.

Jack didn’t understand how he’d gotten into this predicament. Before starting the yard-work, he had a joint. Mowing the lawn, he disturbed a beehive. In a flash, he had five painful stings. Once safely in the house, he’d gulped down a large dose of antihistamine medicine to treat his venom-swollen arm.

Intent on vengeance, he returned to the yard and unleashed a thick fog of pesticides on the hive. Inhaling the potent mist, he was suddenly lightheaded. Jack staggered and collapsed on the grass.

Awakening, he was groggy and had a head bruise. Through bleary eyes, he looked up and saw a large rabbit watching him. Jack closed his eyes and shook his muddled mind to emerge from the dream. The rabbit was still there when he peeked out: enormous and hopping closer. He recognized the rabbit as one plaguing his garden. To save his lettuce and demonstrate who was king of this dominion, Jack had spent the summer battling the animal’s attacks with fences, shovels and thrown rocks. He hated the hare. Now, in the large black eyes, he saw the feeling was mutual.

Jack scuttled backwards away from the approaching behemoth. He tried to stand and run, but his rubbery legs made him stumble. He waved his arms and shouted, “Go away. Get out of here. HELP!” However, tiny vocal cords make tiny sounds. The rabbit came closer.

Jack crawled to the side of the house and hid behind a downspout. It partially concealed him, but offered little real protection. The rabbit’s elephantine ears and twitching nose honed in on his location. The only available weapons were pebbles. They were impossibly heavy. Jack hurled one toward the determined beast. It bounced harmlessly off the cotton candy tail. The futile attack only made the huge rabbit more determined.

Panicking, Jack looked for an escape. With the tables turned, he was desperate for shelter. He saw a dirt hole and dove toward it with the rabbit close behind. He slithered inside just as the rabbit reached the entrance. The hopping mad bunny was too large to enter, but thumped the ground knocking dirt onto Jack and waiting for him to emerge.

Temporarily safe, Jack attempted to slow his breathing. His befuddled brain strained to figure out what was happening.

Too late, it occurred to him that maybe he should have tried peaceful co-existence with the animals. Before he could gather his wits, he heard something scratching toward him from deeper in the dark hole. With despair, Jack thought of his other yard nemesis: the sharp-clawed mole.