Ambling along as I’m wont to do, knobby walkin stick juttin from my hand and the crisp mornin' sun warmin' my soul, a peculiar odor snatches up my senses.
“Why, that’s an altogether incongruent aroma pervadin the air on such a fine spring morn as this.”
Then I see him sittin in the park, back against a tree, head a-hangin low, ears a-flopped over and droopin betwixt his fluffy legs. Darned if this ain’t my lucky day. Why, I know right away what this here situation is.
“Say there young fella, what seems to be causin' you sucha great pain when the Lord Almighty has provided as fine a day as this to be celebratin' His glorious benevolence?”
“I’m finished,” says he all slow and doleful like. “Through. Done. Warshed up.”
“Say, if I didn’t know better, I’ve either stumbled upon the sulfurous rim of a burblin volcano, or you gotcher self a mess-a bad eggs in yonder colored baskets.”
Shakes his head and holds up his paws. Laments, he does, in a meanderin' sorta way like you’d suppose a gigantical speakin' rabbit would do. “Oh! It’s awful! Every egg in this year’s batch is ruined! Rotten, rancid rejects! Once that Cadbury bunny showed up with his chocolate eggs, I was on the outs with the kids, and every year since it’s gotten worse, but now this! I’ve had it for sure.”
“Well, now, hang on just a second there young fella,” I tell him. “As it turns out, this just so happens to be your lucky day.”
“Yeah, how’s that? You got about a million painted eggs hiding in your back pocket? I’m done and out of the Holiday business forever. You know of anybody hiring rabbits?”
“Why, friend, don’t tell me that you don’t recognize me.”
“Well, golly mister, I can’t say that I do.”
“Aloisius Cottonbottom, at your service.” I snatch up his paw and give a good, hearty shakin as I’m wont to do with folk.
“Uh, hi Mr. Cottonbottom, I’m the Eas–“
“No introductions necessary Mr. Bunny, of course I know who you are. I also know some of your friends as well. A mister Terry Fingerhut?”
“Uh… Fingerhut? I don’t think I know him.”
“Well sure you do, though he no longer lays claim to the Fingerhut moniker these days. Tooth Fairy ring a bell?”
“Oh yeah, I know the Tooth Fairy! He’s a really good guy.”
“He didn’t always go by the name Tooth Fairy, though. When he came to be in need of my services, he was Terry Fingerhut, and he was havin’ a Devil of a time. Facin' lawsuits and jail time and whatnot. Ain’t many parents out there very comfortable with a fella name of Terry Fingerhut sneakin' into their child’s room in the middle of the night and rootin around beneath their pillow so as to spirit away their dislodged ivories whilst they slumber. But that’s where I come in, ya see?”
“Uh… No. I guess I don’t see.”
“Image my friend. In your particular vocation, the name of the game is Image. That's what I give 'ol Terry Fingerhut. Took him from slinkin' creep to magical Fairy, and not only that, a magical Fairy with a sack of cold hard cash. Hush money if you like, but in the end, everybody's happy and the Tooth Fairy's every kid's hero, all because that's his new Image.”
“Image, huh? You suppose I should get some of that?”
I’m lookin at him a little crossways now. Poor fella musta been huffin too long on them putrefied pastel poultry embryos. “Sure, Image. You don’t rightly know what Image is, do ya there?”
“Uh… well, nope. I suppose I don’t.”
“Ya see,” I says a little bit slower, “Image is how the world looks upon you. It’s how the folks for whom you’re providin' this service see you. For instance, if you go about sendin’ out these here substandard delights, your Image forever more will be rotten eggs. When kids say ‘Easter Bunny’ moms and dads the world over will see rotten eggs. Why, you’ll surely be finished, just as you’re figurin'.”
“Yeah, that’s what I was figuring all right. I’m through.”
“Well now, not so fast. Like I said, this here’s your lucky day. What you need is Aloisius Cottonbottom’s Surefire Image Reconstruction Services.”
“…Reconstruction Services, that’s exactly right. Offered by yours truly, for a nominal fee, merely a pittance in comparison to the outstanding support, technical know-how, emotional aid, mechanical improvement, and financial guidance that this all-encompassing service will provide.”
“Wow, that’s sounds great. What’s the service again?”
“Image Reconstruction, E.B. A complete overhaul, from top to bottom. We’ll start today and on the third day, you shall rise again, a newer, more powerful Bunny that will have that ‘ol Cadbury feller droppin' something else outta his backside longside them chocolate dandies.”
“Yeah. That’s what I need. Image Redestruction Servicing. That’ll show that little Cadbury fucker. What did you say this will cost again?”
Ah, you’ve got to love the big guy, don’t ya? I toss an arm ‘round his downy shoulders and help him to his feet. Easter’s only three days off. We’ve got work to do.
“Walk with me young fella. I’ve got big plans for you. Do you by chance happen to play any musical instruments?”
"Aloisius Cottonbottom's Surefire Image Reconstruction Services"
Copyright: © 2009 Steve LoweSteve Lowe is a sports journalist and author residing in South Bend, Ind. with his wife and two sons. He writes for the South Bend Tribune, Irish Sports Report and Associated Press, and has been published in several national and regional newspapers and magazines. His fiction has appeared or will soon do so, in The Absent Willow Review, House of Horror, Allegory, and the Dead Bait and Creature Features anthologies. In his spare time, such as it is, Steve plays a serviceable shortstop for various slowpitch softball teams and enjoys writing autobiographical blurbs in the third person.