The Hare Hair Stylist
It used to be that journalists had just one job. For instance, a fashion reporter, style reporter, or the offbeat / quirky news specialist. Never was one person called upon to do all four jobs. But times are tough; People just aren’t reading magazines like they used to. Unfortunately many people lost their jobs. Most eventually found new jobs; some even started up their own companies.
But for those left with a job, their blessings were mixed. Yes, they still had a job, but now it had become jobs. Plural. So fashion / style / offbeat beat came to be handled by one person.
Melanie McKay was such a person. This is the time she found herself on the niche interview of her life.
Melanie (Mel if you knew her personally, Mellie if you’re family, and Mely Baby if you’re her clingy, but still sweet, ex-boyfriend) had been assigned to interview a Rabbi who did hair-dos for rabbits. He called himself the Rabbi Hare Hair Dresser.
It was a bit weird, sure, but hey, at least she had a job. A few days previous Melanie had talked to one of her friends. The only writing work he could find was writing online reviews. “Yikes.” So Melanie was happy to just have a job, even it was interviewing the Rabbi Hare Hair Dresser.
Except he lived way out in the middle of nowhere. Or possibly past it. Melanie had turned off the highway, onto he county road, then onto the busted up macadam farm road, and finally she turned into some scrubby woods, driving on a gravel road.
Apparently there are still gravel roads. “This can’t be right. There aren’t any houses.” Or power lines.
But just about as she was about to abandon her GPS and turn around, she spotted a sign post. Melanie pulled over. The sign post was a basic square pole like you’d see at camp with some painted numbers carved into it. It was the address she was looking for. “I’m here.” There wasn’t a driveway, so Melanie left her car on the weedy shoulder.
There wasn’t a walk either, just a path in the grass, and she couldn’t see any buildings around. “Well, I guess if you live out here, why have your house on top of the road?” Melanie walked a few dozen yards along the path. There was a lot of underbrush and plenty of trees, but no signs of people.
She had been told the Rabbi was a bit eccentric. She walked along for another minute, but still nothing. “What is this?” Melanie half-said to herself. “Where’s the house? Is this one of those eco underground buildings?” Then she called outloud. “Hello?”
“Shh!” A rabbit hopped out from the underbrush. “You’ll scare everyone with all that tramping about!”
Melanie opened her mouth as if to speak, but nothing came out. It took a few beats for some hesitant hhhhs to come out, then a bit more for actual words. “Hi.” Her voice was high-pitched and nervous. “I’m looking for the rabbi hare hair dresser?”
“Are you now? Hmm.” The rabbit scrunched up her nose in consideration. “I don’t know a rabbi hare hair dresser, but I know a rabbit who is in the same occupation.
“Rabbit!” Melanie said with some relief. “Oh, yes. That makes . . .” Not sense. Uhh. “Rabbit? You?”
“That’s right. Surprised to find a rabbit are you?”
“No. Well . . . yes. But it’s not a bad thing. I just. Well, I’ve never interviewed a rabbit before.”
“Well, I suppose if you were expecting to find a rabbi and turned up a rabbit instead . . . That would be a surprise!”
Melanie smiled. “This is quite a pleasant surprise though. Beats the ordinary humdrum of the day!”
“That’s the spirit! Well, come on, my burrow is just over here. I have a client in now. Don’t want to keep him waiting.” The rabbit turned and hopped towards a large mound with a bit of a hole on one side. It was like a root-cellar or some old-timey pioneer dugout. But smaller. The rabbit hopped to the entrance, but Melanie hesitated.
“Come on then.” The rabbit slipped inside the burrow. The entry was a bit tight for the human, but Melanie managed to squeeze in.
The little burrow wasn’t as dark and dirty as you’d expect from a hole in the ground. There was light, for starters, coming from some Victorian-looking oil lamps. But they had been reworked for electric light. The floor, walls, and ceiling however, were dirt with a few roots poking through.
There were mirrors, a few sinks, chairs, and assorted other cute little furniture. It all looked like it was made by a hybrid hippie-Amish-beaver. All things considered, it was a nice, even an arguably spacious room.
Spacious for a rabbit, but not for our intrepid reporter. She sat on the floor with her knees pulled to her chest, head titled down to avoid entangling her hair in some roots poking in from above.
At least she didn’t see any bugs.
There was a client sitting in one of the dressing chairs. He turned to look at Melanie, sniffed a bit, twitched his nose, and turned his attention back to the mirror.
“This is a reporter, come down to do a story.” The rabbit explained to her customer. “Melanie right?”
“Yes.” Melanie confirmed, still overwhelmingly confused.
“Old hare here is one of my oldest patrons.”
“Oh.” Melanie pulled her notebook from her pocket and placed it on her knee, three inches from her face. She took out a pen and did her best to focus on the paper. “How long have you been in business?”
But the rabbit could not answer. She was ferociously licking her patron. Her little claws shaping the wetted hair. She paused. “Oh, maybe seven years now.” She dove back into her work, her tongue wetting and smoothing the hair, her little claws shaping it into geometrically aligned organic tufts.
Melanie gagged at the scene. To keep from vomiting in that little rabbit home she turned to her notes and did her best to describe with words the situation she found herself in.
This exercise in journalistic ritual calmed her a bit. With a settled stomach Melanie turned her full attention back to the talking rabbit.
“Did you know in some mythologies rabbits are thought to live on the moon and make rice cakes?” The rabbit asked Melanie.
“No.” Melanie gave the statement some thought. “Is that true?”
“Why wouldn’t it be?”
“Well . . . Why would rabbits live on the moon? And, I guess, why would they make rice cakes there?”
“Why wouldn’t they? It’s okay for humans to live on the moon, but not rabbits?”
“Well, humans don’t live on the moon –“
“Aha!” The rabbit lept at the reporter. “So it is a hoax!” Having sculpted the hair of the hare’s head and upper torso, the rabbit moved to the lower back.
“No no. No. I mean.” She breathed the breath of frustration. “I mean people visited there. I don’t know, maybe they slept there? For a night? They don’t live there. They visited though –“
The rabbit looked up, plucked a few hairs from her mouth, and said, “So rabbits just visited and decided to stay. Just because humans don’t like it, doesn’t mean rabbits are so snobbish.”
“Well. I guess.” Melanie made a note of this. Moon rabbits. Beauty parlor shop talk in the rabbit burrow. Wait, what? “But do rabbits have rockets?”
The reporter opened her mouth, but no words would leave. They were clearly too afraid having seen their predecessors so swiftly cut down in the blizzard of linguistic incongruity.
The hare spoke up. “Oh, go on now! Pulling the leg of this poor person.”
“Oh, no. I’m very interested.” Melanie said.
“Well,” the hare said as he glanced in the mirror, “not everyone agrees with the story.”
“How so?” The rabbit interjected.
“Hmm.” The hare considered. “I should add that there is no greater hare hair stylist around. Bar none! This grace of Leporidae is a conduit in the hands of perfection.” The rabbit blushed, the hare continued. “Not everyone agrees with the story. The rabbit on the moon making rice cakes. I for one do not.”
“Oh.” Melanie wrote a few quick lines down.
“Others say it’s the elixir of life.” The rabbit posited.
“Exactly.” The hare agreed.
“Hmm. What’s that?” Melanie asked, thinking she had missed some piece of the conversation when she was writing.
“The elixir of life?! You haven’t heard of this. Oh ho! It’s a good thing you’ve come to my burrow before someone out there in the world takes advantage of you. Eternal life you see –”
“No, I know what the elixir of life is. Sorry. You said, that others said it’s the elixir of life. Others, what? I don’t understand the premise.”
“Oh sure sure. You know it all. The elixir. The rabbit who lives on the moon, she makes the elixir of life. Put there by a god long long ago. I suppose you can keep your rockets then. We’ll keep our god.”
The reporter scratched her head. She’d conducted hundreds of interviews in the fashion and beauty industry, most of which involved . . . eccentric? No, that doesn’t quite cover it. Crazy is fitting, but too harsh and judgmental a term for a journalist. But whatever word means crazy, but doesn’t sound so bad – the reporter had interviewed scores of those kind of people.
But none of them. Not given ten of them stacked on top of each other came close to the absurdity of the situation.
A few minutes later, certainly no more than five, the rabbit stopped and spun her patron around in the chair. She gave a satisfied nod. “What do you think.”
The hare looked in the mirror. Every bit of hair was formed in sculpted harmonies. “Wonderful. Wonderful as always.”
“What say you Melanie?”
Melanie had to agree it was rabbit hair like she had never seen it before. “I didn’t know such a look was possible.”
The hare made his way out. “Nice to meet you.” He said to journalist. Then turned to the rabbit, “And I’ll see you next week then.” Then the hare, looking the height of lupine style, left the little burrow.
“Alright.” The rabbit spun a chair around to face Melanie. “You must be full of questions. Ask away!”