It’s a sunny November afternoon. It’s mild and still, inside a room that’s pink and blue and green and gold. Outside there’s a sea breeze that’s lost most of its momentum, trying to reach this far from the sea. The trees do little more than shiver. Not me. It’s perfect. And on this perfect afternoon I find myself in a place I’ve known for almost half my life. In the middle of a conundrum. Two companions. As different as you could imagine. And I’m wondering which will bite me next.
To my left is Antaresia stimsoni, two years old, sleek and perfectly designed for task. Immobile, but never motionless. Eyes like polished beads. Movements deliberate – like liquid stone. To my right is Oryctolagus cuniculus, five years old, soft and round. Never really still. Pelt like the finest velvet. Movements almost a cliché – like a character on a TV cartoon.
Both have tried to bite me – one tried yesterday. Both will try again, given the right circumstances; given the provocation. One has succeeded. A deep painful bite – drawing blood. The other is yet to make me bleed. May not even be capable. Yet I wonder – even worry – which of my two companions future visitors to this room might fear. Might loathe. Maybe demonise.
I suspect it won’t be fair.