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The Continuing Story of the Rabbit

Vatousa, LesvosSitting in my friend Peter's house in Vatousa, Lesvos with no electricity (they have been working on it for the last couple hours), no internet (maybe next year) and only a few units left on my cell phone (I don't know where to buy phone cards). However my ipod and battery powered external speakers work, which confuses the neighbors who are wondering how the Americans can have power when nobody else in the village does. The house is a testiment to my abilities as a matchmaker. It was owned by my best friend Peter, who I introduced to Andrea's sister Pam and they hit it off so well that he proposed to her: mistake #1, and she accepted: mistake #2, and then he broke up not long after the engagement party. It was a family tragedy but the pain was eased when Pam forced him to sell the house because there was no way she was going to live next door to him after what he did. So she convinced her two friends from New York to buy two thirds of the house and since they never come to Greece anymore, for all intents and purposes the house is ours. (Thanks Pete!) It's a nice house. It is in the coolest part of the village which is the coolest village on Lesvos because the North Wind comes down from Russia, across the Black Sea and down the Bosphorus and right through the open windows of our house. No air-conditoning needed. In fact there is no reason to leave the house to go to the sea during a summer heat wave though we often force ourselves to go to Sigri where it is also cool, to swim at Fanouromeni and eat lunch in the harbor at Cavo d Oro fish taverna. At night we go to Tryfons in the lower platia on the road between Kaloni and Eressos where he makes provatina, rotisserie chicken and the best stuffed zucchini flowers on the island and we generally know every person at every table, or at least they know me. They all know I have a site about Lesvos on the internet though few are sure of what exactly is the internet. Wealth here is measure by the number of sheep you have. This is the real Greece that those who don't really know what they are asking for, try to find when they have tired of Santorini and Mykonos. The 4 Tops are singing Wake Me-Shake Me and this village has not changed much since that song was recorded or maybe since the members of the 4 Tops were born. The cafeneons and Tryfon's (which also functions as a cafeneon for the workers and old men to hang out and drink coffee and ouzo) play old laika and rembetika instead of the pretentious Greek pop and international euro-trash music that so many cafes play these days in the tourist areas.

But I am not naive enough to think that anyone reading this is interested in this remote village where I am in a state somewhere between paradise and exile. I know that people want to know what happened to the rabbit.

The Rabbit......

When I last wrote about him, Andrea was on Paros where she had taken the rabbit to her friend Carolina's farm, while I had gone to Sifnos. The rabbit probably would have been very happy there. But Carolina's husband was not happy with the rabbit. Not that he did not like the rabbit. It is hard to dislike a rabbit, especially this one which has some very human characteristics like charm, affection, comradarie and the need for human company. But Carolina's husband recognized the complications living with such a creature might create. For example they have a boat. Rabbits are not by nature good swimmers. So that means no boat trips for them or finding a babysitter for the rabbit for long trips. Carolina realized that this rabbit would not be happy sitting in a hutch all day, being fed by the neighbors for 2 weeks while they were away. So she and Andrea made posters to find a good home for the rabbit and put them all over Paros. There were a couple calls but nobody that could be trusted not to lose interest in the rabbit as a pet-friend and just eat him.

So after a week Andrea put the rabbit back in his carrying case and took the highspeed to Rafina, called George the Taxi Driver and got a transfer to Lavrion and took the ferry to Kea where the rabbit got his own room in our house. In the meantime I had returned from Sifnos to Athens to pick up my daughter and Andrea's mother who had arrived from the states and the three of us showed up in Kea where Amarandi discovered she was sharing a room with a rabbit which was fine until the rabbit fell in love and decided he wanted to have children with her. At this point the rabbit was no longer cute to Amarandi, but was now a nusiance like a needy lovesick boyfriend who follows you around and waits for you to fall asleep so he can stick his penis in your ear. When Amarandi woke up in the middle of the night to wet sheets and a spent rabbit breathing heavily next to her she freaked out and went to sleep with her mother which left me on the bed of nails in the front room and the rabbit once again in a room of his own. The rabbit did not handle the rejection well. He had never heard a voice raised in anger, much less at him. ("THE GODDAMN RABBIT PEED IN MY EAR!!!!!!") He withdrew, as rabbits will, spent hours behind the couch and stopped doing all the cute things we loved about him. It took a week before he would jump up on the bed and hang out with us again and by then it was time for Amarandi to go to Sifnos for her job at the Old Captain Bar and for me to go with her to take a break from the pressures of having a relationship with a woman obsessed with finding a loving home for a very horny rabbit.

Andrea got several bites after spreading the word but it was the same old story. It was unclear whether the people wanted the rabbit as a pet or they only said they wanted him for a pet so they could eat him. The local butcher shop had stacks of rabbits, bigger and meatier than ours and not expensive. But I supposed skinning and eating a pet rabbit is as close as many of these people will get to hunting them and satisfying a need left over from the days before they became farmers. That is the only reason I can think of. OK. It is not a problem you have to worry about when you give away a puppy or a kitten. Chances are no matter how bad a pet owner they are, the animal is not going to be eaten. But a rabbit is food to these people and the concept of pet is not understood by everyone. You would have the same problem if you gave your pet guina pig to the family down the street who just moved here from South America. So Andrea, and to a larger extent the rabbit, were treading on dangerous ground.

My suggestion was Yiannis at the Taverna Otzias because he used to have a pet rabbit that ran along a ledge and was probably quite an attraction for the families who had children who wanted to eat at the restaurant with the rabbit. And this rabbit was now a celebrity, his exploits followed by hundreds, maybe thousands, who would come to Kea on sojourns to see the rabbit and eat in Yiannis restaurant. Yiannis was interested too and promised that no matter what happened, the rabbit would not end up as stifado. It was really the perfect situation and could mean a rise in tourism for Kea. But then Andrea got a call from one of the farmers whose son wanted to raise rabbits and the male he had bought could not get it up, no matter how many little rabbit Viagra's they gave him, or no matter how many rabbit porno dvds they made him watch, no matter how many carrot dinners by candlelight with the Bugs Bunny theme song playing gently in the background. Their rabbit was hopeless and their female had needs that had to be met. So the man came with his pickup truck and took Andrea and the rabbit to his farm. They put him in the cage with the female and the rabbit did not waste a moment. He knew exactly what to do and he did it for half an hour until they both lay panting on their backs, doing the rabbit equivelant of pillowtalk and a cigarette.

So the rabbit was happy. All he had to do was perform. It was like having a job. A really good job. The kind of job most guys would love to have.

But Andrea was troubled. In the rabbit manual it specifically says to not pick up a rabbit by the ears. Even though they look like it a rabbit's ears are not handles for humans. And the rabbit breeder had picked him up by his ears and Andrea could not sleep thinking about it. She had told the man and he replied there was a special way to hold him by the ears that they did not mind. But when he picked up the female she screamed bloody murder (our rabbit did not seem to mind). So Andrea called Sarah at the Hotel Stavros in Sifnos who agreed to take the rabbit if it did not work out for him as a gigalo on a sex farm.

And just as I wrote the above Andrea came in the room and said "I have sort of bad news. The female rabbit died. Bunny lost his job. You have to go to Kea and bring him to Sifnos."

So the story continues and will probably continue to continue until we find a good home or someone eats him. I told Andrea that the rabbit is the perfect opportunity for us to live apart, one in Greece and one in North Carolina, each taking turns being with him, giving us a higher purpose. But that seems unlikely. Looks like it is in the cards that I will be making a third trip to Sifnos, not that I am complaining. I like it there. Good food, nice beach and lots of friends. And it is a good excuse not to go somewhere new and off the beaten path and then have to write about it. Anyway people are more interested in hearing about the rabbit.

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