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10 February 2017 @ 11:55 am
LJ Idol Season Ten: "The Notorious B.U.N."  
The Notorious B.U.N.
idol season ten | week eight | 1300 words
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It was difficult to deny his involvement when the farmer's rake scratches still adorned his posterior, but Peter Rabbit refused to admit to anything. McGregor's vegetable patch was unnaturally alluring, and Peter was an ordinary rabbit. He just didn't have the willpower to ignore it.

The word around the fields and garden was, "Resist!" No matter how juicy and tempting the vegetables, all of the birds and animals knew they were meant to pretend indifference and just keep moving. Woe to those who did not.

While Peter's mother and sisters had no difficulty holding themselves in check, Peter was less fortunate. He was his father's son, through and through—his dead father, to be precise. Father Rabbit had met his end several years prior, at the hands of the same farmer who had so recently chased Peter round the garden.

There were stories far and wide of other animals who were not always on their best behaviour. A certain reckless toad had acquired quite a reputation, as had a group of mice who commandeered a pumpkin and went joyriding. A few townships over, there was even talk of a mole who had taken a human bride!

What were a few missing beans and radishes compared to that? Why, Peter wondered, was everyone making such a fuss?

Mother Rabbit's friend, Jemima Puddle Duck, thought the problem was that Peter's naughtiness embarrassed the other animals, while Peter thought the problem was that Mrs. Puddle Duck was a complete ninny. He didn't put much stock in her opinion.

"So, that business with the garden," Peter's cousin Benjamin began.

Peter bristled. "Who's asking?" he said.

"Me," Benjamin said. "Who do you think? So, what was it like, anyway?"

Peter squinted at him, one ear going lopsided with the effort to look as confused as possible so as to perpetuate his denial of the entire affair. "What was what like?" Peter asked. "And anyway, how should I know?"

Some of the other animals, mainly the more edible creatures such as birds and Peter's cowardly relatives, said there ought to be a trial.

"For what, precisely?" Peter said. "Are we to put kittens on trial for playing with string?"

"Say nothing," Mother Rabbit admonished, and she hired a solicitor for him, Mr. Bunwell Twitchit.

Mr. Twitchit invited Peter into the business room of his warren, where they sat down at opposite sides of the desk lump formed by the root of a hawthorn bush. "Tell me your side of the story," Mr. Twitchit said.

"Er…" Peter stalled.

Mother Rabbit swatted Peter with her handbag. "He's your solicitor," she said, "you can tell him everything."

Peter proceeded to lay out the story, which Mr. Twitchit pronounced ridiculous. "You'll have to do better than that."

The trial began in a small grove of trees at the far corner of McGregor's main field, where fallen logs provided seats for the many spectators. The farm's large Cotswold ram presided from behind a large tree stump. "O-o-orderrr," he bleated.

Peter hid his laughter behind a paw, pretending to spruce up his appearance by cleaning his ears.

His barrister, a pheasant with a propensity for squawking, smoothed his top crest and leaned toward his client. "I presume you brought the payment," he murmured out of the side of his beak.

"For what?"

"For—" The barrister let out a distressed screech, and then calmed himself. "For the bribe," he rasped.

"What?" Peter said.

"Oh dear, oh dear." The pheasant hopped on one foot, then picked at a stray feather along the edge of his wing. "Oh, this will never do."

The ram called for the spectators to take their seats, and addressed Peter's council. "Mr. Squabblerot, you may begin," he said.

"Thank you, your Honour," the pheasant said. "My client would like to plead guilty."

"I would not!" Peter said.

"Extremely guilty," the pheasant added.

The judge nodded sagely. "Quite." He leaned down behind the officiating stump to nibble some fresh grass. "Do continue," he said.

Charges were presented, and the trial progressed. Things quickly became ugly.

"The defendant is reported as having a predilection for wearing… clothing," said Bartholomew Badger, the claimants' barrister.

"Your Honour, I must point out that my client is not wearing any clothes now," Mr. Squabblerot said.

"Because he lost them," the badger said. "He is quite obviously careless, in addition to being a hardened criminal."

"My learn-ed friend exaggerates," the pheasant said. "The defendant is simply a rabbit."

"He is a deranged danger-bunny who will get us all killed," the badger pronounced.

"Stuff and nonsense!" Peter shouted.

"Silence!" the judge and jury said.

The pheasant squawked in surprise, then shook himself and coughed. "My client is most apologetic,"

"I am not!" Peter said. "Your Honour, Mr. Squabblerot is not listening to me in the slightest."

The judge chewed a patch of clover, looking thoughtful. "That is hardly an issue for this court."

"May I terminate his employment, then?"

The judge tore into a mouthful of grass. "No."

Peter fidgeted. "May I leave?"

"Certainly not!" The judge glared at Peter until he sat back down.

Bartholomew Badger straightened up to his fullest height. "Your Honour, at this time I would request a verdict."

Peter Rabbit decided he had had quite enough. "Your Honour, I remained silent on the advice of council, but now I wish to speak in my own defence."

The pheasant squawked at such an insult, and was summarily ejected from court. "Proceed," the judge intoned.

Peter related his story, beginning with the new clothes and his high-minded intentions of good behaviour (which might have been slightly exaggerated). He described the enticing aroma of the lettuce and French beans, the rapture of the exquisite first nibbles, and he maintained that he had never intended to let things get so far out of hand. The farmer, he said, was simply in a bad temper that day, and Peter had grown flustered and become stuck on some netting before escaping. "It could have happened to anyone, really," he finished.

The judge considered the jury. "Quite guilty, I should think."

"Oh, yes!" the hens clucked, whilst the bullfrogs bellowed in agreement and the squirrels chattered amongst themselves.

Peter looked about in alarm. It was his direst moment, yet few others seemed as concerned as he. His cousins were off playing bandy-wicket in the meadow whilst his uncle Barley drank all the ale in the family's newly-packed picnic hamper. Peter's former barrister stood at the periphery of the grove, checking his pocket-watch and sighing. Only Peter's mother, who kept dabbing her tears with a handkerchief, seemed to have any notion of the gravity of the situation.

"You shall go to prison for a term of not less than two years," the judge announced, pressing a nasty-looking stoat into service as police escort.

"Shan't," Peter said, hopping up out of his seat and over the makeshift courtroom gallery. He bolted through the field of Mr. McGregor's far less tidy neighbour, and kept going for the next several hours. He didn't stop until he reached the outskirts of a nearby city.

Mr. Squabblerot packed up his things and went back to nesting and intermittently vocalising in the brush. The ram who had served as trial judge eventually became dinner, as did several members of the jury.

Peter missed his family terribly, but he soon fell in with a bad lot, who provided sufficient distraction. Before long, Peter was destroying flowerbeds and gambling at cards, and altogether having the sort of high time that better suited the punishment he'd been given.

As for the farmer, he continued planting tasty vegetables, but never again did they bring him a prize so great as the little blue jacket and tiny brown slippers that had once belonged to certain naughty little rabbit.


If you enjoyed this story, you can vote for it along with many other fine entries here.

carindaeeyore_grrl on February 10th, 2017 09:11 pm (UTC)
This is amazingly lovely!

I'm always a fan of fairytale, myth-revision type stuff. This was well crafted and fun to read! :-)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 10th, 2017 09:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

You would be surprised how much research it took, too. That'll learn me-- British, turn of the last century, AND legalese. :O
cindy: plot bunnytsuki_no_bara on February 11th, 2017 03:52 am (UTC)
this is so freakin' cute. and i note the british spellings. :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 11th, 2017 09:02 am (UTC)
Hahaha-- I love that little furball of an icon.

So glad you enjoyed it, AND noticed the special spelling. Which was hard to do, with every part of me resisting and with Word flagging every alternate rendering of particular words.
favoritebeanfavoritebean on February 11th, 2017 08:49 am (UTC)
This is so delightful! I love the idea of continuing the story of Peter Rabbit, the trial as absurd as it is. Also, the parallels to the current climate are quite telling.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 11th, 2017 09:05 am (UTC)
I actually thought about titling this "reductio ad absurdum," but it wasn't a "fun"-sounding title. I'm glad the other one came to me. :O

That technique makes for one of the best environments for satire and crack, in my book-- pushing things to the extreme and seeing what breaks. :D

kschlotwrites: pic#126840869kschlotwrites on February 11th, 2017 03:46 pm (UTC)

I haven't finished reading this yet, but I had to comment. I love the line, "Deranged danger bunny."

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 11th, 2017 08:01 pm (UTC)
Hahaha-- so glad you enjoyed that line, and the story overall! :D
i_17bingo: toileti_17bingo on February 11th, 2017 04:24 pm (UTC)
That was an incredibly frustrating trial, especially because Peter Rabbit isn't necessarily innocent, but you definitely didn't want the court to win. It was a good take on the classic story.

I could hear the British accents on everyone in the story, so you really nailed that.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 11th, 2017 08:07 pm (UTC)
He IS completely guilty, the question is more one of whether there _should_ be a trial. Children's literature would say, "Why not? You have a rabbit wearing clothes whose mother goes to market to buy bread." On the other hand, he is on trial for essentially behaving like a rabbit. The one thing that is obvious is that the reaction is overblown-- but again, not unheard of in the genre.

One day you're trying to become a Real Boy and get side-tracked by a trip to a full-time carnival, and the next you've been turned into a donkey to pull the carts at the same carnival (in what apparently is a Ponzi scheme of misery).

It's almost as if the moral is, "Fate is uncertain! But yours probably will not be kind, at least not in the short-term."

I may have read entirely too many stories in this genre... ;)
Shadow Wolf Byrdshadowwolf13 on February 12th, 2017 03:33 am (UTC)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 12th, 2017 07:10 am (UTC)
Thank you! ♥
marlawentmadmarlawentmad on February 12th, 2017 02:36 pm (UTC)

I adore this. It is downright delightful.

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 12th, 2017 08:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! :)
bleodsweanbleodswean on February 12th, 2017 04:33 pm (UTC)
Crack fic indeed! You should post this on A03!! Fantastically imaginative and laugh-out-loud funny mash-up of Peter Rabbit and Alice in Wonderland! It's so irreverent! Great work here!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 12th, 2017 08:20 pm (UTC)
Irreverent is right! Poor Peter. One little species-driven slip-up and you're headed for lawlessness.

But at least have not become dinner. ;)
Rebeccabeeker121 on February 13th, 2017 12:55 am (UTC)
No bribe? Guilty! This is incredibly fun, though I am curious to know what the farmer plans to do with the little blue jacket.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 13th, 2017 02:47 am (UTC)
I think, in the original story, he hung up the jacket and slippers as a warning to all other creatures who might dare to come into the garden. Sort of like a scarecrow ghost.

Only in children's literature...
Raised by Wolvessinnamongirl on February 13th, 2017 08:34 am (UTC)
This is so cute! Very well written, and using the Peter Rabbit-verse is a great choice.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 13th, 2017 08:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. :)
Teo Sayseternal_ot on February 13th, 2017 03:02 pm (UTC)
Awwwwesome!!! Loved the way you wrote it and I could almost hear voices in my head as I read the dialogues of the different characters ( I don't know what that will make me look like..:P) :D Nailed it! Well done. *Claps*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 14th, 2017 07:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you! The characters here were a lot of fun, especially poor Peter and the judge and attorneys.

You would think, "I'm a rabbit" would cover most of the issue, but then again, these rabbits where clothes and carry baskets, so they are living in a different world than most!
rayasorayaso on February 13th, 2017 04:37 pm (UTC)
This was absolutely stone cold wonderful! I laughed out loud in many places. I loved the details, like the death of Father Rabbit, that worked back into the original story. The trial scene could be out of "Alice in Wonderland." This was great, great, great!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 14th, 2017 07:47 pm (UTC)
It felt cruel to mention Father Rabbit's fate, and yet, "cruel" is exactly what's called for with this type of story. As is the eventuality that some of the characters will be eaten. ;)

Glad you enjoyed this one so much!
mamas_minionmamas_minion on February 14th, 2017 03:29 am (UTC)
This is a good story, nice take on the prompt. (wish there were illustrations!)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 14th, 2017 07:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, how I wish I had the talent to illustrate something like this! I would definitely show the pheasant mid-squawk if nothing else, because pheasants irritate me a fair amount, and perhaps the judge casually eating his way through the trial while the attorneys bluster and the jury pretends to be scandalized.

Thanks for reading and commenting!
fading_lightfading_light on February 14th, 2017 03:36 am (UTC)
"He is a deranged danger-bunny who will get us all killed," the badger pronounced.

Danger bunny...I love it!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 14th, 2017 07:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you! That was my favorite line in writing this, too. :D
veritasveritas_st on February 14th, 2017 02:05 pm (UTC)
Absolute genius!

I always loved Beatrix Potter and I adored how you bought in other tales as well. Brilliant!

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 14th, 2017 07:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Mrs. Puddle-Duck was so hapless that I felt she deserved a mention. I didn't have any opportunity to get into Mrs. Tittlemouse's OCD issues, and Mrs. Tiggywinkle is blameless and gainfully employed, and while I've always loved her... again, no opportunity.

So glad you enjoyed it!
(no subject) - veritas_st on February 17th, 2017 11:33 am (UTC) (Expand)