Note – this is the third installment of the story of Hazel the rabbit Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.
Hazel Part 3 Hazel Charms the Head Resident
by Stanley W. McFarland
I had a basement room. There were three other rooms on my floor and a wing of three rooms for grad students. Storage, the showers for everyone in the dorm and an extra large bathroom took up the rest of the floor. With so few neighbors and the cooperation of the three other undergrads on my floor I was beginning to think I might be able to keep Hazel’s presence a secret after all.
Miles, our head resident lived in an apartment on the first floor with his wife Cindy and two year old daughter, Myla. I never knew another Myla, before or since. Maybe she was supposed to be a boy and named Miles Jr.
Their living room was directly over me.
Miles must have heard me in the lobby because he came out his apartment less than a minute after I arrived.
“So what are you building down there?”
It didn’t occur to me that Miles would hear me and be worried that I was damaging the room.
Karl, one of my fellow apple stealers turned to me. “You better show him.”
“Show me what?” Miles was a seminary student across the street. Though he was an old married guy in his late twenties, he liked hanging out with the rest of us. He wasn’t the sort of head resident that tried to get guys in trouble. I had to trust him.
“C’mon downstairs and meet Hazel.”
“Hazel? Who’s Hazel?”
Karl just smiled. When you’re in your late teens and early twenties there’s a fiendish delight in watching someone else get in trouble. Of course you don’t want to see your friend arrested or thrown out of school but this was just serious enough to be trouble and not serious enough to get me thrown out.
Karl was in heaven. I couldn’t blame him. I’d feel the same way if it had been him.
“You don’t have a dog down there, do you?”
I figured that if I told Miles I had a rabbit, he would just tell me to get rid of it. My only chance was if Hazel could win him over. Miles, Karl and I walked down the stairs through the oversized bathroom and toward my room.
Miles looked at Karl several times along the way but Karl didn’t say a word. He just kept smiling.
I opened the door and Hazel was out in the middle of the floor. She turned her head to see who was coming in but made no attempt to get out of the room and showed no fear at the presence of a new stranger.
“This is Hazel.”
As soon as Karl closed the door behind us, Hazel started hopping around the room. She cautiously approached Miles who reached down his hand. She leaned into his hand as he scratched behind her ears.
“She’s pretty friendly.”
“She likes people.”
“Aren’t you afraid she’ll poop on your floor?”
“She has her box for that. You see any poop on the floor?”
Control is hard for young bunnies and Hazel had left little brown balls around before. I was glad she hadn’t this time.
“How’d you box train her?”
“I just asked her.”
Miles gave me a look like I was putting him on. I didn’t blame him for not believing me. I was having a hard time believing it myself.
Karl, who could see I wasn’t in any immediate trouble, reached over and petted Hazel. “She does tricks, Miles.”
Karl and I sat on the bed while Miles sat at my desk. Hazel started running around the room and from that into her sliding game. She bumped into a few things and we all laughed.
Karl nodded at Miles. “Stand in the middle of the room.”
“Don’t worry about it. The bunny’s not going to hurt you.”
Miles shot Karl a look but he stood up from the chair and stepped out on the floor. Hazel had only done her jump look once. Would she do it again? Miles was more than half a foot taller than me; could she jump that high?
Hazel circled around to the farthest corner from Miles and began to charge right at him.
Hazel did fall a couple inches short of Mile’s eye level but the result was impressive non-the-less. As she had with me, she looked him straight in the eye at the top of her leap, turned a hundred and eighty degrees in the air and hit the ground running away from him.
“She meant to do that?”
“I can’t think why else she’d do it.”
“I think she likes the reaction.”
“She has a sense of humor?”
“Can you think of any other reason?”
Miles was baffled but he was also charmed. He sat back down in the chair. Hazel went and used her box, then hopped out and jumped up in my lap.
“You’re really not supposed to have pets here, you know.”
I didn’t say anything. Whatever I said would only break Hazel’s magic.
Miles tried to look serious but then started laughing. “Cindy’s gotta see this rabbit.”