In the basement below Foo Foo, Peter sat shivering while White lit a candle. ‘For fuck’s sake,’ said White, ‘that prick just had to ruin my opium den like the sparrow ruins the corn, didn’t he?’
‘He… wait, what?’ said Peter, snapped from his paralysis.
‘Foo Foo, piece of shit that he is, just doesn’t get it,’ said White.
Peter stood up and walked over to where the old rabbit was bent over the candle. ‘What happened to your voice?’ he said.
‘Foo Foo was right. It’s all just an act I hide behind, much like the tree hides in the forest.’
‘But you still use strange metaphors?’
‘Is he right about the lab thing?’
White let out a sigh. ‘Yes. How else do you think I lived this long? They tested some weird shit on me, but I guess it wasn’t that bad in the long-run.’
‘What about the swearing?’ asked Peter. ‘I thought it messed up your Qi.’
White quietly laughed, ‘Nah, that’s a load of shit. I just told people that so I wouldn’t slip back into my normal voice. It’s all part of the illusion. It’s a shame Foo Foo doesn’t have an eye for illusions, or else he would’ve seen tonight coming.’
Peter looked up towards the ceiling when he heard crashing sounds and shotgun fire coming from overhead. ‘Are… are we underneath Foo Foo?’
‘Yes. Trapdoors and opium smoke make for an excellent escape.’
‘But why didn’t you take us far away?’ Peter stood stock-still and cupped his head in his hands. ‘Oh shit! Rabbit! Rabbit’s dead!’ he said before bursting into tears.
‘It doesn’t matter,’ said White evenly.
‘How can you say that?’ said Peter between sobs.
‘Because he didn’t have long left anyway. His alcohol abuse had murdered his liver and his sinuses and lungs were shot through from all the coke. It was better he died like this.’
‘He had his head blown off!’
‘But it was quick and merciful,’ said White. ‘Do not think that I am not saddened by his demise. I am, but I also need you to understand that it isn’t such a bad thing because it means we can end this tonight. It’s why Foo Foo is here.’
‘I lured him here tonight with a view to ending this permanently.’
‘Ohhhh no,’ said Peter, backing away, his arms stretched out in front of him. ‘Ohhh no, that’s so pretty fucked up shit. You lured us here tonight to be used as bait on purpose?’
‘Yes. I told Alice to tell Foo Foo where I was hiding, and I told Rabbit to bring you here. It is a shame Foo Foo felt it necessary to torture Alice, but sacrifices must be made.’
Peter threw up his arms and paced back and forth. ‘That’s great, that’s just fucking great. My night sucks. I get roped into being the Easter bunny, I get abused by a tortoise and I get lured to an opium den by a crackhead, only to to get murdered by a giant fluffy psycho.’
‘Would you like to hear what I have in mind or would you like to keep overreacting like a duck on an ice floe?’ said White as he moved towards a cabinet.
‘Fine. Whatever. I don’t even care anymore.’
‘What I would like to do is dust Foo Foo in the lovely heroin which I have here in this cupboard. I would like to dust him in it until he passes out, whereupon I will instil in him an urge to wipe out the tortoises,’ White said calmly.
‘Just like that? You’re going to ‘instil in him an urge to murder tortoises’ just like that?’ said Peter, his head cocked to one side.
‘You bloody love saying “yes”, don’t you?’
‘As I said earlier. Sometimes we are all “yes”.’
‘And how are you going to instil him with this urge?’ asked Peter.
‘With hypnosis,’ said White Rabbit.
‘Hypnosis is bullshit.’
‘No, homeopathy is bullshit. Hypnosis is a proven method to alter someone’s sub-conscious state. I know, I was one of the test subjects in the study.’
‘So that’s it then?’ said Peter. ‘It’s as simple as overdosing that furry fuck upstairs on heroin and brainwashing him into hating tortoises?’
White grinned a manic smile. ‘Oh yes. I’m as sure as the grass which floats in the river.’
Upstairs, Foo Foo was having a dizzying amount of fun. He had furniture to break, serving girls to assault and patrons to hurt, all in the one location.
‘I’ll ask you one more time,’ he growled at a girl. ‘Where is the big white crackhead?’
‘I don’t know! For the last time I don’t know!’
‘You don’t know how right you are,’ said Foo Foo. He grabbed the girl by the hair and threw her into one of the roof supports. She landed heavily and didn’t move. Foo Foo surveyed the carnage he had wrought on the den. Not one piece of rice paper had gone un-torn, not one piece of furniture was intact and he still had two serving girls and four opium addicts to play with before he had to find something else to do.
‘WHERE IS THE WHITE RABBIT?’ he screamed. The group huddled in the corner of the room only murmured, so Foo Foo pointed his gun at the leg of what looked like a business man and asked the question again. When the man failed to answer instantly he lost his leg in a shower of lead pellets and laughter. ‘I can only do this for so long, everyone,’ he said. ‘I’m going to run out of people to hurt soon.’
As he loaded more shells into his gun he heard the floor creak behind him and managed to turn around just in time to see an antique vase an inch away from his face approach at great speed. He fell to the floor, his nose bloodied, and he did not move. White Rabbit wasted no time in emptying his bags of heroin onto Foo Foo’s face. Peter used the time to tourniquet the newly-legless man’s thigh and tend to the injuries of the others. It was with a sense of regret that he removed his now-ruined waistcoat and used it to wipe the blood off of a serving girl’s face. She smiled at him, and all the gold buttons in the world wouldn’t be able to replicate the feeling that washed through him. White Rabbit picked Foo Foo up and propped him up against one of the roof supports. He tied his hands firmly behind his back with the remains of the velvet curtain then slapped Foo Foo hard across the face. Foo Foo hazily opened his eyes and tried to focus on White Rabbit’s face. What he saw instead was a pendulating Yin/Yang symbol dangling from a silver chain.
‘Little Bunny Foo Foo?’ asked White.
‘Yes?’ mumbled Foo Foo.
‘When you go riding through the forest, what do you bop on the head?’
Foo Foo smiled dreamily and said, ‘Worms and field mice and filthy rabbits.’
‘Would you like to bop some other things on the head as well?’
‘Then repeat after me…’
As the sun rose four hours later White Rabbit was helping Foo Foo onto his motorcycle, much to Peter Rabbit’s displeasure. White stepped back from the bike as Foo Foo checked out the pedals and switches as if he’d never seen them before.
‘This is bullshit, I don’t see why we can’t just convince him to drown himself or something,’ said Peter to White.
‘Because,’ began White, ‘he is our best shot at stopping this feud once and for all.’
‘I still think he’s getting off easy.’
‘Oh he is, just like a boat does to the land.’
Foo Foo kicked the bike into life and it growled menacingly. White walked up to him. ‘How are you today, Foo Foo?’
‘I’m fine. How are you?’
‘I’m good, thank you for asking. Tell me, do you feel like doing anything today?’
‘I really feel like cracking a few tortoises over the head to be quite honest.’ Foo Foo rubbed the back of his head. ‘Do I know you?’
‘Yes, you know us,’ said Peter, stepping forward. ‘We’re your best friends, Peter and White, remember? We all got drunk last night and crashed out here.’
‘Oh.’ Foo Foo frowned, but relaxed almost immediately. ‘Sorry, I don’t remember a thing. Must’ve been one hell of a night.’
‘It most certainly was,’ said White.
‘I really wanna smash some tortoises for some weird reason.’
‘I imagine you would,’ said Peter. ‘Those pricks put a hole in your ear last night in that bar-fight. Do you remember that?’
‘Nah, not a damn thing. Still, cracking a few of em wouldn’t do any harm. At least not to me.’ He laughed slowly and deeply. ‘I don’t know what to do if they tuck inside those damn shells of theirs though. I’ve always wondered about that.’
White smiled and pulled a large red mallet out of his robe. ‘Just keep hitting their shells until you get to the gooey centre, and then keep hitting that.’
‘Yeah. Yeah good idea!’ said Foo Foo, taking the mallet. ‘Damn, this is a nice hammer. Can I keep it?’
Foo Foo put on his helmet, and revved the bike. ‘So, I’ll see you guys around, yeah?’
‘Most definitely,’ said White. ‘As sure as a cat sees the wasp. Come and see us back here when you’ve bopped all the tortoises on the head. We’d love to hear about it. But only once you’ve bopped all of them.’
‘You’re weird, man, but I like you,’ said Foo Foo. ‘See you guys soon.’ He revved the bike and roared off down the street, large red mallet in hand.
As Foo Foo disappeared around a distant corner Peter turned to White and said, ‘Does this mean we now have our own hitman?’
Peter walked back towards the wrecked opium den, but turned before reaching the doorway.
‘It’s all going to go wrong, isn’t it?’ he said.
White turned to watch the rising sun. ‘Yes, but not for us.’
He smiled widely and his teeth shone in the new sunlight.