Jacob “Bunny” Morris did nothing to deserve Marilyn Renton – Partner, but Marilyn thinks otherwise. He was minding his own business in a humble, peaceful place until she came along and tossed her lovely monkey wrenches into his worn cogs. She looked for him, found him, and for Bunny, nothing will ever be the same again.
He thought he was done with all that. For him, it’s no laughing matter, but for us it is, as we watch him squirm under the influence of late-life romance, entirely unacceptable good fortune, and beer served in oversized bottles that is no longer enough.
If you’re no longer young, you know that love never gets easier. If you are young but you expect the day will come when you aren’t, you might as well get a glimpse, because–as Bunny Morris discovers–the arteries may harden, but the heart never quite firms up.
What shatter’s Jacob’s peace? Who is he? Who is Marilyn? Who is Jackbenny the Cur? Buy the book; read the book; find out!
All it would take for the atmosphere to explode into thick fog at six in the morning during the hot months would be for it to meet a pocket of cool air, but it won’t. The air will hang around just as it is: like a closed bathroom after a hot shower. Like mold waiting to happen and then happening, until the equatorial sun rises to burn off the overcast and expand what remains to where the humidity drops below eighty-five percent.
Inside, Bunny Morris sits at his table dressed in dull morning sweat and cotton undershorts from when he was bigger, loose but still serviceable by his standards which he defines as not so threadbare or body stained as to embarrass him if he were caught dead in them. With his coffee, delaying his cigarette for a minute of self-denial, which he will smoke as soon as the minute is up on his back-door threshold, sitting on the plastic all-purpose stand he uses as a stool, considering whatever with little dedication and a short attention span and sipping while the sun comes up on the other side of the building and the Pacific emerges from the haze a couple of blocks west of him, close enough to see some boats clearly but far enough to make his place immune to the cost of competing with tourists for it.
Not that the tourists would want it. Where Bunny sees simplicity, the tourists would see squalor. Exactly what he had in mind and exactly what the tourists would not—if there were tourists—with the bonus of cheap to start with and resistance to inflation thereafter.
During the cigarette, he’ll scratch an itch near his navel, check the progress of the stretches left by all the fat that followed his cares out of him and that even excessive interior and exterior humidity can’t plump away at his age and general state. When the cigarette is exhausted, he’ll consider a leisurely journey to the front door to ascertain whether the textures of his concrete stoop have changed overnight, which one day they might or might not depending on who expires first.
Two surfaces now starting to heat up from never cool: the part to the left, rough aggregate of gravel exposed by the loss of its skin of concrete fines and the part to the right that managed to keep that smoothness and acquire a protective nighttime covering of Cur in the form of Jackbenny, who by now will be waking and wondering why Bunny hasn’t come out to pick a fight yet, and maybe if Bunny has died in his sleep which would be okay with Jackbenny but would force him to get his ass up on the three legs that work properly and go out to pick his own fight.
It’s morning again. Hot, lazy and gloriously aimless.
A Little Town Along a Big Sea
Bunny Morris’s original given name was not Bunny. Jacob, if you count what’s on his birth certificate, passport, paper junk mail in its day and its electronic successor now. Jake if you don’t and Jake never did. Not to say Bunny isn’t his real name because there was nothing particularly real about Jacob or Jake either. Original, yes. Subject to the arbitrary whim of panicked parents whereas Bunny was Bunny’s arbitrary whim instead.
Same goes for Jackbenny. It was not Jackbenny’s original name assuming someone suffered an arbitrary whim over him before, which may not have been the case, Jackbenny having been born where dogs don’t necessarily have or need human names. It’s luck of the draw and Jackbenny probably thinks it bad luck to have a human name because of the responsibility to humans that comes with it. These are things Bunny won’t ever know because Jackbenny will never say. Jackbenny only says two things: the growl that means good morning, good afternoon, good evening or go fuck yourself, depending on context, and the groans that result from having his belly tickled by a foot, after which the old son of a bitch acts frisky for a few seconds before sliding back into his grumpy demeanor.
It’s fair to say these two animals are a pair based on similar outlooks, the most important of which is that both of them have accepted that they share the porch when the door is closed and the house when it’s open. Neither could explain why or how that happened because the second-most-important outlook is that both have perfected the fine art of don’t give a shit. Or Bunny has perfected it and Jackbenny was born with it—Bunny’s suspicion which will never be confirmed or denied—and don’t give a shit is as good a bond as any …