She had been watching him all evening. She had been watching the group of them really. She had been hoping he would be one left behind. She had taken to him almost immediately when she had started watching the group. He was merry by then, probably on his third pint. Sometimes he looked like his presence was incidental to the group but then suddenly he would join in the conversation leaning on the table as if proximity would lend weight to his words. Once he had his say he would have his say another couple times. She had taken to that too, she was always amused the way drunks thought their words interesting enough to hear a second or third time.
The group gradually thinned until it was him and a pair of colleagues who, rather obviously, were wanting to explore expanding their relationship. Clearly, he didn’t notice but didn’t query when they said goodbye and left together.
He had a pint to finish.
Now was the time for her to talk to him.
“Is it OK for me to sit here?”
“Sure, sure, I had some friends but they have all gone. All of them.”
“Yes I saw, I was sitting over there.”
“That is a good table, but this one is better. No wonder you came over.”
“Yes, I thought you looked like a nice person to talk to.”
“Damn right. That is why I am still here because I am a nice person to talk to.”
“Well yes, we will see.”
“Hang on, you haven’t a drink. Can I get you one?”
“Sure, G 'n’ T.”
“I will be right back.”
She watched him go to the bar. He wobbled a little when getting up but once going he was fine. She wasn’t sure exactly how much he had drunk but she knew he had had enough for this all to be a little hazy in the morning.
“Right, here is your one. And I got myself a little whiskey while I was at the bar. It seemed rude not to.”
“Thank you. If I may ask, what do you think about magic?”
“It is all real. Not the card tricks, but they are magic, aren’t they? I love it when I can’t work out how it is done. Real magic is real. Life is magic. It is like these things that we know, like love and laughter, and they are not just chemicals. And anger, that is magical too. Suddenly everything is different, one moment you see everything is light and cheery then it is black. And you can’t be arsed. Just like that, nothing happens it is just the magic has changed. Dopamine and adrenaline, that is the names. It is not just chemical. What about regret or contentment, that has nothing to do with dopamine or adrenaline, but they are not very magic, are they? I love magic, me. What kind of magic are you talking about?”
“The kind that inspires folk lore.”
“Hidden kisses. The thing that inspires folk tales has all been purchased by the evil agents of that tinsel town, either the one near or the one far away in your dreams.”
“You are a beautiful one, but you are wrong. It is the people who sell aspiration for the magic, not the magic that is sold. The magic they buy is only an allusion to magic. A beautiful illusion.”
“Just like you, the finest, most glorious of maidens wrestling with wit at my table. The most beautiful illusion.”
“Illusion or no, I can offer you one wish.”
“Ha, don’t worry love, you had me at hello. No need to command a wish, my wish is your command.”
“Ah, nonetheless, I have a wish to give, but I have just one to give, to use as often as you like, whenever you need it will be there, whatever he time, whatever… Oh sod the old rhymes, do you want the wish?”
“I wish, oh I wish, we could fuck like rabbits, in the fields, in the hutches, where ever the fancy takes us, we just hop across and the magic happens. You know what I think real magic is, it is that feeling of disbelief. That overwhelming feeling that everything is going to be just right, just amazingly, fuckingly right. That feeling, that is what is magic, even better than fucking like rabbits.”
“OK, first let’s get this straight, so is your wish to fuck like a rabbit?”
“Yeah, baby. Yeah.”
She took his hand and smiled. She liked this kind of wish, the kind she could lead the lucky one through. It was like taking them to the station and watching them embark on their new life before waving goodbye. At the door she let go his hand and burst into a run, loping into a corner of the pub car park to a small patch of grass. She stopped and turned to him, nearly invisible in the dark, big eyes watching him weave across the tarmac and grass.
He lolloped after her, feeling strangely ungainly. He was not unsteady, as he often is when leaving the pub at the end of the evening, rather he felt like his clothes were restricting his movements, but he didn’t care that his clothes had impossibly changed because he was being driven wild by a smell. A smell he had never smelt before but a smell he knew, with absolute certainty, was the smell of the gorgeous woman wanting to shag him. He tried to remember what she said her name was, he knew he had to work out what to say to her. It wasn’t good enough to say he could smell she wanted to fuck him. But they had talked of fucking like rabbits. Then she had run onto the grass. It was enough, it was a roleplay. He would do this.
When he got to her he stopped. He tried to imagine himself as rabbit buck approaching his doe. He would sniff her. He would sniff her all over. He would nuzzle her all over. She arched her body against him as his cheeks brushed against her clothes. This was brilliant, who would have thought of nuzzling as foreplay. He edged round behind her and they collapsed under his weight. She landed on her knees, her bum pressed against him, her head resting on her hands on the grass. He was on his knees too, one arm straight down to the grass taking his weight, the other on the small of her back. He leaned forward to nuzzle the nape of her neck while he slid his hand over her bum. He ran his hand about the curves, starting on the outside stroking down her hip, then catching hold of the hem of her skirt he stroked up until all that was covering her was the thin loose fabric of her underwear. He paused for a moment exaggerating a sniff of the scent of her hair. He worried she was finding him weird. She was docile beneath his touch. He hesitated thinking he ought to stop, wondering if he could just go ahead anyway, but then she wiggled her bottom a little and he knew it was just her getting into the roleplay. She was the little cottontail wiggling her little cotton tail like a happy bunny. He slid his fingers under her panties and pushed them down, edging them halfway down her thighs. He knelt back away from her to undo his buckle and belt, and to push his clothing down. He felt, rather than saw as the corner was too dark, her bend back and remove her knickers completely. He wondered if she didn’t want to get grass stains on them. He wondered, momentarily, if he should be taking his clothes off too. He reached to touch her naked arse again and urgently thrust forward, his stiff cock missing the target. He pictured a rabbit with its paws on the doe’s back, with short frantic thrusts he sought out her snatch. He thrust several times against her skin before slipping in. Again he was the rabbit jerking, twitching his cock inside her snatch and his come shot into her. He felt good, fucking like rabbits wasn’t about long, intense orgasms it was about mating, the mechanics of mating. He had succeeded in her fantasy of being fucked like a rabbit. He slipped out of her and busied himself with doing up his clothing. He looked across at the pub, there were no people at the entrance watching.
No one had seen.
He asked if she was alright before looking back to her, but when he did look back she was gone.
She must have slipped back into the bushes.
He smiled and started walking home wondering if he would ever tell anyone about this story. He could tell Willow when he got home, but it wasn’t the type of thing they talked about. He could tell the friends who had been drinking with him. He could tell them what they missed out on, the lads anyway. He might ask if any of them noticed the woman sitting at the table near the fruit machine. He tried to think about how he would describe her but he could not remember what she looked like. He could remember the intense feeling of his pelvis moving as fast as if he were indeed the rabbit he had been roleplaying but he couldn’t remember the colour of the skirt he had lifted in the garden or the even the texture of the hair he had nuzzled so lovingly. He could remember little of her flirting other than her wishing they could fuck like rabbits.
He was too ashamed to tell anyone the next day when he got into the office. Of course, he needn’t have worried as no one asked any questions as they had all left before him. It was an evening to be forgotten about.
He found concentrating on his work quite difficult but he thought nothing of it, it was often difficult concentrating after a night at the pub even if he had been home by ten. But he was unable to stop thinking about fucking like a rabbit. He had a feeling he needed to remember something important.
He idly watched his colleagues. Dande didn’t seem to be affected by the evening out. Head down, working on a spreadsheet: comparing figures would be pointless if he was feeling the night before. Ash and Violet were in meeting room three. Through the glass he could see both of them with the rest of their marketing team, probably a strategy meeting. He watched the meeting for a while, Hazel stood up and left the meeting. He had not noticed Hazel until that point. Must have had an IT point on their agenda. He looked over at Laurel, he was updating email addresses. He wondered if Laurel knew why Hazel was in the meeting. He looked back at Hazel, she was looking very nice in her white shirt, short white skirt and tall black boots. He liked the way her breasts looked bigger when she wore a button up shirt. The way he could see a little hint of her bra through the material. He wondered if she were wearing matching knickers, or perhaps nothing at all under the short skirt. He had an incredible desire to take her, an urge unlike any he had felt before.
If only, he thought, it could be like last night, if only we could fuck like rabbits.
Hazel looked at him and smiled before hopping out of the room. And he was back in the previous evening. He was overwhelmed by the sudden smell that drew him out of his seat and led him down the corridor to the resources room. Hazel was standing at the photocopier. He came up behind her as if to find out what she was doing, and she reached back to touch his cock. It was happening again, they were bunnies getting ready to mate. He pawed her all over until lifting her skirt and finding she wasn’t wearing any knickers. She turned towards him but he pushed her back, bending her forward with one hand as he released his cock with the other. He bent his legs to thrust up into her and once again he was fucking as fast as he could, bouncing against her his trousers hitting against her naked bum. He pushed her further forward until her hands left the photocopier and were on the floor. He rested his hands on the small of her back and coordinated her movements with his until moments later he exploded inside her.
And it was done.
Hazel stood up and pulled her skirt down into place. He put his cock away. Turned as if nothing had happened and walked back to his desk. He stared at his screen. His mind was playing through everything that had just happened. It was bad. It was the bad shit that was in the news all the time at the moment. The kind of thing that got people fired. Fired and never hired again. He knew what he had done was bad but he couldn’t feel the bad. He didn’t feel guilty. He didn’t feel like he had used Hazel, he didn’t feel like he had forced Hazel to do anything she didn’t want to do. She could have said anything at any time, he would have listened if she had said something. But he did do something. He needed to work this out. He needed to remember everything about the night before.
He changed his screen to the IT tasks list.
He could remember every step he had taken to the resources room. He remembered stepping behind Hazel. He remembered her hand on his cock. It was funny, when she had felt his cock he hadn’t wondered why she was suddenly coming on to him. He hadn’t thought: hang on, this is weird. He had expected it. It was almost like he knew it would happen. It was something to do with the smell, the smell had let him know that Hazel wanted a mate. As he thought the words he was hit with the realisation of what this meant. She might get pregnant. He would have to have that conversation with Hazel. Not now, in a few months time he would have to have that conversation. He could see Hazel out of the corner of his eye coming back to the room. She was carrying a pile of photocopies which she started sorting. She typed in her password and carried on working. As if nothing had happened. For a moment he fantasised she didn’t remember what happened.
It was Friday, he simply needed to make it through the day. He couldn’t take off, he couldn’t pretend to be sick or it would make things weird with Hazel when he got back. Things were already weird. They could not be weirder than this. It was all that mad bitch at the pub’s fault. He just needed to keep his head down and get through the day. Then he would find the mad bitch. Find out what drug she had slipped him, maybe whatever drug she had slipped him had not yet worn off. He decided it was all because the mad bitch had slipped a mickey, people will do fucked up things these days. All he had to do was get through the day. It would be OK.
He concentrated on the task list, scanned for the first thing that would take him out of the IT room.
He made it through the day without needing to talk to Hazel at all.
“You coming for a pint?”
“Not today, got a family thing.”
He watched Ash lean into Hazel’s glass office at the corner. She had said no too, must be too freaked out by being fucked at the photocopier. Who wouldn’t. Jesus it was wrong, wrong, wrong.
He waved to Ash, suddenly inspired grabbed his things. He would catch Ash for a half pint, just to check if the mad bitch was at the pub again. Just had to wait a moment so Hazel didn’t see him leave with Ash.
He stared at his hands counting up to 60. He would first find the mad bitch and work out what she had done then he would know how to make things right with Hazel.
He caught up with Ash and Violet just before they got to the pub.
“Thought I would just pop in for a half, you owe me one anyway.”
The moment he stepped into the pub he saw her, and he knew it was her. He stood at the bar with Ash and Violet. It always took a while to get the beers in on a Friday.
“We’re going to go to the Anchor, it is always better on a Friday.”
“Sure, listen, go on without me. I am going to take a piss then go to my family thing.”
He watched his friends leave. Now it was just him and the mad bitch.
“You got a nerve sitting here like this!”
“Yes, fair enough, would you like to sit? I shall explain.”
“Why should I trust you after the shit you pulled.”
“I can explain it all to you. I promise it would be better for you to hear what I have to say.”
“Thank you. Firstly I am sorry this has been so difficult, you chose a rather unusual wish.”
“I chose? I remember it quite clearly, you came onto me with some weird bunny-girl fetish, then slip some hallucinogenic in my whiskey and I am making a fool of myself, only thing it is still happening the next day.”
“Here is the thing, there are no chemicals involved. There are many words used for it over time, many words used to explain why some people just seem to have something special, something amazing about them. The words used are miracle, magic, voodoo or devilry. The folklore tends to follow the line of selling your soul to the devil or being granted wishes by a jinn usually recently freed from imprisonment. The stories usually have a twist, a price that needs paying, which is partly because the storytellers hate it when other people have an easy life, and partly because there is usually unforseen consequences of making a wish.”
He stared at her with disbelief, when he didn’t ask her any questions she carried on.
“So, last night I gave you a wish. It isn’t quite like the stories because the wish is a thing that will continue as long as you use it. Normally people wish for things like being a great orator, or being amazing at playing the guitar. You would be surprised at how many politician and musicians have been given a bit of a leg up by me and my kinda. Oh, I have a great list of the good and the famous who were once just the average before they bumped into me.
“But back to you, whether through a misunderstanding or drunken bravado, you are now equipped with the skill of fucking like rabbits whenever you wish it.”
“So how does this work, each time I want to take advantage of a woman I just wish her into a bunny-girl? What does the woman think? Christ, what am I going to say to Hazel on Monday morning?”
“OK, I have to accept some of the blame for this. I should have put more effort into discouraging you from making a silly wish. I will admit that last night was not one for my showreel. Sadly for you, magical creatures have bad days too. Anyway, I am not sure how the woman would feel because I am not a woman. In a minute you are going to think I am just a figment of your imagination. Sorry.”
He looked at his beer, he had to find the right question to ask, he had to find his way out of this. He had to get her to admit the truth. But when he looked up, he was alone. There was no one sharing his table, there wasn’t even a second stool.
On Saturday he simply pretended he had a touch of flu and binged on Netflix. His flatmate popped his head in his room.
"Ya wanna make lunch together?"
"Nah, I reckon I am just gonna chill in bed today."
"Dunno, you know how it is, I feel like shit but it might just be working too hard."
"Drinking too hard, more like. OK, I am just gonna make a sarnie then head down the Hope. You sure you not up for it?"
"Not today mate."
On Sunday got up. He stripped off his pyjamas. He stood in his bedroom examining his naked body in the mirror. His legs looked a little bowed, like a rabbit. His arms a little short, like a rabbit. His waist a little thick, like a rabbit. It may be the first time he was noticing how weird he looked but he certainly did look strange. There was something about all this shit he just had to get it sorted in his head. He would talk to Willow. Willow wouldn’t give up until he had explained it clearly, then it would be out of his head. The strangeness would be on a journey of its own.
He liked Willow. In the eight months they had shared a flat they had gradually become better friends. Willow always seemed to be in a happy mood, and he always seemed excited when people joined in doing things with him. Willow always seemed to be doing something that he could join him in. Going to the Hope, watching Strictly, playing footie. Perhaps they got on because they actually saw very little of each other. His weekdays were taken up with work and colleagues, his Saturdays sometimes with colleagues, sometimes with his family. On Sundays he played football with Willow.
“Now that is a beautiful sight, I am going wank tonight thinking about that.”
Willow had stuck his head in the room without knocking, as usual. He looked at his clock.
“I’ll be ready in five.”
“This has been a fucking weird week”
They had half an hour walk to the park, occasionally they would meet another player on the way but he expected to be able to chat to Willow for the full half hour.
“So tell me about it, Mein Herr.”
“You may need your mockery because this is totally fucked up. You are going to think I have lost it. Hell, I think I have lost it. But still it happened like it did.”
For once Willow didn’t make a joke, he just waited for the story.
“On Thursday I was the last one at the pub. Ash and Violet left together again. They pretend it is because they live in the same direction but I reckon they are having it off. Ash and Violet had just gone when this woman comes and sits at my table chatting me up.”
“I agree, this is weird. You must have had a fever, you must have imagined it.”
“Well, yes, I must have, but I will get to that point of the story soon. So here is the thing, she is talking to me all about bunny girls and stuff like that then she leads me outside and we fuck like rabbits. And this is the really strange bit, I really believed I was a rabbit. Jesus, that sound totally bonkers but it was how I felt.”
Willow let out a whistle, like he was deciding whether to say something. He did.
“Once, quite a long time ago, I was really stoned. You know the type of stoned when you think you have a magic space of a couple feet about you. So everyone who is not inside the magic space sounds like they are the end of a tunnel. Well, I was with my ex and we shagged, and at one point I kinda imagined I was a dog going at it. My hips going for it furiously fast like a dog does. Afterwards I just thought that was nice shit, I must make sure I buy some more. I didn’t worry about my mind being bent.”
“Well, that is what I assumed. I wasn’t worried when I came home on Thursday, I was going to tell you all about it but you were asleep. Thing is it didn’t stop there. On Friday morning I suddenly think I am a fucking rabbit again. I followed Hazel into the photocopy room and the next thing I know I am fucking her from behind.”
“No way, you fucked your boss at work. Wait, you got those glass offices don’t you? Was, like, everyone watching you fuck your boss on the photocopier?”
“No, the photocopiers are in a little back rooms, there are no offices at the back. I don’t think anyone saw us, I am pretty sure that no one saw us.”
“How long have you been wanting to do your boss?”
“Yeah, she is real hot, and she dresses in a way that totally turns me on. Short skirts and tall boots with the legs to match. And she wears button up shirts which sometimes gape just a little when she is leaning over my shoulder to point out something on my screen and I can’t say I am not distracted by the little glimpses of her curves but that’s not the point.”
“Of course it is the point. You are an adult, you made a totally bold move on your boss and it went your way. You wanted her and it turns out she wanted you. Hey hey.”
“But afterwards she didn’t say a thing to me, she acted like it had never happened.”
“Of course, what did you expect, for her to announce it on the company website?”
“No, I guess what I have said so far isn’t so strange but there is one more thing to say. On Friday night I go down to the pub again and there is the woman I shagged on Thursday. She was sitting at the same table as the night before. So I go up to her and I ask her what kind of drug she had slipped into my drink and this is the weird bit. This is the bit that will sound like I am mad but this was what happened. She told me she was a genie, that she had given me a wish that all I needed to do was wish I were fucking like a rabbit with someone and it would happen. But she wasn’t real. She wasn’t there at all. When she had finished talking she disappeared. And I mean disappeared, not stood up and walked out. She just was not there anymore, poof, gone, like a genie in the movies.”
“So, OK, lets work this out. On Thursday you get a freebie off a hot chick, or so you claim though she was probably a minger if she went for you. Hell, no reason why she shouldn’t be propper totty, every dog has his day. Sorry, every bunny has his day. What is a male bunny? Anyway, you go into work on Friday and you are feeling totally king of the world because some hottie has basically put a rocket up your ego. And because you are feeling king of the world you pull a stunt you have wanted to for ages but just never dared. And it doesn’t go wrong, you have to admit it hasn’t gone wrong but it hasn’t gone right either. Hazel hasn’t stared longingly into your eyes. And this is how the mind works: your worry started constructing excuses in your head. It is just how it works, it is not madness. The best excuse you could construct is that genies are real, that wishes are real, that you didn’t mean to act on your impulse so it is not your fault.”
“I don’t know. That doesn’t sound like it.”
“Face it mate, you are going to work tomorrow and you better be ready to say sorry if sorry needs to be said.”
“I can say sorry.”
“No you can’t. No one can. All the way from babies to presidents everyone makes excuses and sticks to the shit they said even when they know they are wrong. It is how we work. You got to prepare yourself to really apologise. It is why guilt is such an enduring emotion, because, sorry is the hardest word.”
On days like these the thing he loved about playing football was when he was on the pitch he didn’t think of anything but the game. When the game was over, as is usual, they all went their own way. He was slower than everyone else in changing his boots. Willow sat on the bench looking at him.
“Your guilt still troubling you.”
“OK, I have thought of your explanation, and it sounds like it could be true but the story I told you just feels so real. It doesn’t feel like an excuse. And anyway, it is a rubbish excuse. It makes things worse really, instead of me saying sorry for pulling a move I have to say sorry for forcing her.”
“That is what you are really worried about.”
“Hey, I didn’t force her. I might have wanted her but she grabbed my cock. She grabbed my cock.”
“OK, I am not the one you need to convince. So why not prove your story. Wish yourself onto that woman walking her dog and I will be your record of what happens.”
He carefully put his boots away, sat on the bench next to Willow.
“Fair enough, I wish I could fuck like a rabbit with that woman.”
The pair watched the woman walk along the path. She had brown hair, she wore a white t-shirt that was a loose fitting and grey trackie bottoms. She had white trainers. Her build was average, she wasn’t slim or overweight. Her gait was slightly lopsided, she slightly favoured her left foot, something they would not have noticed if they were not watching her so intently. The path she was walking passed near their bench, as she neared they could see she was pretty. When she passed she smiled in a formal way with a little nod. The type of greeting that said I don’t want to talk. And she was gone.
“There we go, so you gonna be ready to apologise for your moves tomorrow.”
“Maybe it is still going to happen.”
“Doesn’t seem that way.”
“Maybe I didn’t really believe my wish, maybe I really need to feel it first.”
“Oh, there are so many possible maybes. Maybe she isn’t ovulating. Maybe the football took it out of you. It doesn’t matter about the maybes, what happened has happened, you can’t change that.”
“Listen, there was something else I was thinking about. People basically do what they think they can get away with. Putting more bobbies on the beat works better than long prison sentences. It is a fact. It is obvious, if you think you are going to get caught you won’t do it, but if you think you won’t get caught you won’t care about how long the sentence is. Anyway, you did something with your boss that you thought you could get away with. You might be able to get away with it, but don’t be that guy. Do the right thing. Own your actions. Talk to Hazel about it.”
He did plan to talk to Hazel, but Monday came and went without an easy opportunity. Then Tuesday brought a chance when they were both making coffee but he wasn’t ready so he put it off. And once he had put it off once it was easy to put it off again.