Excerpt of The Rabbit Factory by Marshall Karp
(Page 3 of 8)
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Eddie had waved at him. The kid waved back. Eddie
followed up with a little hippety-hoppety dance, and the
kid smiled. Then he walked over, purposely almost tripping
over his two giant rabbit's feet. The kid laughed.
Eddie stretched out his white-gloved paws and Mom
helped her son jump into the eager arms of Rambunctious
Rabbit. Eddie slid one hand between the boy's legs and
the other behind his head. He touched his rabbit nose to
the kid's nose and got another laugh from the boy and a
happy shriek from the mother.
The father scrambled for his camera. "Can we get the
statue in the background?" he said, in surprisingly perfect
Eddie snuggled the tiny genitals in his palm and
walked toward the thirty-foot bronze likeness of the late
Dean Lamaar. Dad took a picture. Then another. Take
your time, Eddie thought, re-cupping his hand so that his
thumb rested in the crack of the sweet little butt.
This, he thought, as cold, clammy sweat trickled from
every pore, is even better than the school bus driving
days. Good pay, good benefits, and parents who lift up
their kids and hand them to me crotch first.
At that moment, Eddie had less than an hour to live.
He spent another twenty minutes in Tyke Town, then
he and Noreen headed for the tunnel that led to The Rabbit
Hole, the vast underground world hidden beneath
Familyland's 866 acres. Above ground was fantasy. Below
ground was the hard reality of hundreds of miles of electric
cable, sewage lines, refrigeration pipes, and of course,
scores of locker rooms, cafeterias, toilet facilities, and rest
areas for the 6,200 employees who made the fantasy happen.
There was still another half hour till quitting time, and
Eddie needed a smoke. As soon as they got through the
tunnel, Eddie pulled off the rabbit head. "I got something
to do before I change," he said. "See you tomorrow." "Goodnight Eddie," Noreen
said. "Thanks again for the video."
Eddie had picked up an old Brad Pitt movie at a flea
market for two bucks. "My pleasure," he said. "I know how much you like him."
The entire Rabbit Hole was a No Smoking Zone, but
Eddie knew a spot where he could light up out of view
of the security cameras. He wound his way through a
maze of ductwork, plopped down on the cool tile floor,
and set the giant Rambo head down next to him. He lit a
Marlboro Light, inhaled deeply, leaned back against a
water pipe, and exhaled the smoke from his lungs with a
long, slow breath.
It was his last.
The rope came from nowhere, cutting deep into his
neck. He tried to scream, but nothing came out. He tried
to inhale, but nothing came in.
Thirty-seven seconds later, Eddie Elkins, a.k.a.
Edward Ellison, sex offender, child molester, and convicted
pedophile, had his last conscious thought.
God, I was so happy. Why now?
He knew better than to ask, why me?
I wish I still smoked. Some occasions just seem to go
better when I inhale deadly toxins. Occasions such as
opening Joanie's monthly letter. But I gave up
tobacco seven years ago, so I had to resort to other self inflicted
I did forty-five minutes on the bike, managed 114 situps,
then hit the shower, slowly edging the hot water
from invigorating to excruciating. I switched to cold just
before my back started to blister.
I was out of coffee, but there was half a pot of Juan
Valdez's finest still on the counter from yesterday. I
poured a cup and nuked it. It tasted like Juan's donkey's
finest, but at seven in the morning, I'll take my caffeine
any way I can get it.
I poured myself a bowl of Cheerios. Andre heard me
chewing and showed up before I swallowed my first
mouthful. "We're giving out numbers this morning," I told him. "I'm One. You're
Two. Wait your turn."
Copyright Marshall Karp 2006. All rights reserved. Reproduced by
permission of the publisher, Macadam Cage.