CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It's said that a man's home is his castle.
In my world, though, that sentence needs tweaked. Take out the word "man." Insert "rabbit." Then substitute "castle" with "garage."
Sometime this spring, my garage became the castle of a large wild rabbit, one determined to fight to the death to defend it. Trouble is, I didn't realize I was fighting a war until I found myself in the middle of the first skirmish.
For the record, it is my garage, not the rabbit's. I'm the one who pays the mortgage and keeps that narrow, old single bay stocked with junk. I'm not happy about the junk part, but there's this thing I used to do -- this misguided compassion for inanimate objects -- that caused my garage to become a landing place where possessions lingered while making the transition from household to trash.
I was all about pacing. There were no sudden shocks for my belongings, where one day they'd be gracing the mantel and the next, set out in shame on the curb. I was gentle about it, first moving the item from upstairs to down, then to the back part of the basement, then to the garage. The last stop before Goodwill or curb.
Time in the garage often altered the purposes of cast-off items. All flat surfaces, regardless how small, were transformed into counters. Golf clubs became shelf supports. Vases held bouquets of paintbrushes and screwdrivers. And a file cabinet with a missing bottom drawer became a makeshift cannon barrel for a rabbit with a short fuse and aggressive tendencies.
Especially when said rabbit's den was defiled by a human wielding a leaf blower.
Prior to arming myself with my unintentional weapon, I'd spent hours cleaning and de-junking the garage. I'd left the doors open all day and was in and out repeatedly, so the rabbit had ample time to vacate the premises had he wanted to leave. He apparently liked getting his house cleaned for free. It wasn't until I reached my final step that he took offense.
This final step involved using the leaf blower to remove the cobwebs and dust from the many nooks and crannies of my now less cluttered garage. Unfortunately, the first place I chose to clean happened to be occupied by a grouch. This I learned after shoving the nozzle of the blower behind an old file cabinet and turning it on.
A rocket launcher could not have propelled that rabbit toward me with greater force.
Its eyes were wild. Teeth bared.
It was coming straight for me.