The Rabbit and the Squirrel

Young Grey Squirrel and sandy rabbit


Squirrel is walking merrily down the path when he comes upon Rabbit taking a break seated on the ground and leaning against a stone. 

SQUIRREL: (tipping his hat) Good morning Mr. Rabbit!

RABBIT: Morning Squirrel.

Squirrel passes on by but then turns to add another comment. 

SQUIRREL: Mr. Rabbit, if you please, I’d like to respectfully request that you extend your deadline, that is the date upon which you will decide if you are going to kill yourself, by the exact amount of time you have spent in Alabama. Otherwise, it feels like a setup. Things aren’t going to change the way you want them to while you are in Alabama. THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!!! Get out of there!!

Squirrel again turns and begins back down the path but stops and turns as Rabbit responds. 

RABBIT: I’m trying, Squirrel. I’m trying. Don’t worry. How are you?

SQUIRREL: Doing okay, I think. Waiting to hear back about the disability approval, so a little stressed out about that. Having a hard time getting the energy to go to the gym et cetera which I really need to do because as you can see, I’m getting a double chin!

Squirrel lifts his chin to show his submandibular weight gain. 

SQUIRREL: See? No joke. Otherwise, I’m doing pretty good. I’m going to more meetings and focusing on one program more- I’ve been kind of lax and that “self-will run riot” thing does tend to creep in.

RABBIT: You’re telling me brother. Food, sex, money. “If we can’t kill em with drugs, we’ll kill em with these!”

Dennis the Cat passes on the path without stopping. As he passes the two interlocutors, he delivers a single line:

DENNIS THE CAT: Meditation is the answer.

Dennis the Cat walks gracefully on down the path.

SQUIRREL: He’s right you know. That’s why I’m planning to take up yoga— you know, tomorrow.

RABBIT: Why start tomorrow? I hear the best classes are on Sumday.

SQUIRREL: That sounds even better. I’d go today but I plan to take a bike ride, then have an early dinner. Don’t think I can fit in a yoga class today.

RABBIT: huhu, you said “fit one in”

SQUIRREL: (laughs) Fitting isn’t a problem for me.

Squirrel winks.

RABBIT: Fisting bottom are you?

SQUIRREL: Only in my dreams. Actually now that you mention it, married life has probably made me tight as a virgin again— not so much ass action in years now. I love my husband but we don’t have much of a sex life.

RABBIT: Sorry to hear. Gays get fucked up around sex. Monogamy can’t provide the same anxiety-infused experience we got use to during our collective and individual “liberation.”

SQUIRREL: It’s okay. We’re both on Effexor and that eliminates our sex drives. I’m like an old lady— I cough and dust comes out of my pussy.

Rabbit doubles over laughing. When he’s composed himself:

RABBIT: I can’t do SSRIs and have a sex life. I’m back on Wellbutrin. It’s supposed to help with ADHD too.

SQUIRREL: Yeah, I read that you were back on Wellbutrin. I hope it works for you.

RABBIT: Me too! I hope it doesn’t fuck up my writing though.

SQUIRREL: Yeah, that would be bad.

RABBIT: I need my edge to be loyal to my authentic voice.

SQUIRREL: Where did you go to college?

RABBIT: University of Alabama for a BA in Theatre and The University of Utah for a second Bachelors in English.

SQUIRREL: Did you find that you were smarter than everyone there?

RABBIT: No. But I can say in retrospect I can say that it is almost laughable how I let those people at the University of Alabama kill my confidence. I allowed their actions to make me feel insignificant and untalented. The professors would actually cast themselves and their spouses in the productions. How embarrassing! Most of them couldn’t act their way out of a wet paper bag.

SQUIRREL: I’m surprised you didn’t find yourself smarter than most of the people there. I have a fancy Ivy League education and I think you’re smarter than most of the folks I met at Yale. (pause) Oh never mind— feeling smarter is not the same as being smarter.

RABBIT: The one place I am very confident, despite my experience at The University of Alabama, is in my talent. Unfortunately the place I feel least confident is the business part of show business. I wish someone would just come in and take over that part of it. I honest-to-God  do feel like if I ever found myself in a situation where I could simply focus on my work as an artist— and for me that means creative producer, director, writer, actor— whomever was smart enough to put me in that position would become a very rich person.

SQUIRREL: As an outside observer, I think a large part of your problem is that you are too fucking smart for you’re own good. You may be tormented by all sorts of other demons, but the power source that enables them is your intellect. I think the business stuff will start attending to itself once you let yourself write. It’s one of those “when the student is ready the business manager will appear” zen things. And I don’t mean too smart for your own good in the sense of uppity or anything like that, obviously. I mean you have an unmanageably powerful instrument with which to torture yourself if you aren’t careful. I think you are really, really fucking smart Rabbit.

RABBIT: Want to hear something funny? In the beginning, I actually thought that’s what Mr. Fox would become—the one to handle the business part.

SQUIRREL: That’s not funny, that’s sad. That’s heartbreaking.

RABBIT: “Hindsight” and all that but still— He was in a job that he absolutely hated. He was newly sober and looking to begin his life anew. We were in love.  I gave him $10,000 to bail out his rental property and then he took out a second mortgage on that house to pay himself for sisx months to find out what he wanted to do instead of what he had been. He enjoyed working on our film and then he worked on a couple others and some TV shows. He is incredibly smart and would have been great in the business end of exploiting what I had accomplished so far. But there is too much of his father in him. For both of them, there is absolutely nothing that comes in front of what they want, their needs. Fox had to be the star of the show and I just slipped into the background and started supporting him in his goal to become a doctor. I gave him thousands of dollars, paid for so much of what we did together including air tickets, gave him my love and support, hauled him back and forth to school, bailed him out when he’d fucked up around drugs and alcohol, lied for him, put up with his cruelty, took the fallout of his untreated bipolar disorder, and all because I loved him. Goddamn I was a fool. He swore to me it would be worth it, that I’d see a return on my investment. Then he walked out laughing. He’ll pay, the motherfucker. You mark my words, he’ll pay. And not by my hand for sure. But karma is real, motherfucker. Karma is real!

Squirrel looks stunned, not able to understand how Rabbit has gone off on such an non-sequitur. Squirrel returns to what he was saying.

SQUIRREL: One of the reasons I really want you to get out of Alabama is that powerful brains in bad environments are like pressure cookers that explode. I don’t want your pretty little head to actually pop like a grape. You have a good therapist? Or a sponsor? Some old-timer who tells you you’re full of shit?

RABBIT: No. I’m willing. But I’ve never been very good at using a sponsor. That’s embarrassing but it’s true.

SQUIRREL:  (laughs)  I can imagine that might be true. (pause) Every time you mention the deadline, I wince—partly for the obvious reason— but also because I think that you are about six millimeters away form the dimension in which you are so immersed in a good and satisfying life that you forget the fucking deadline altogether. Poof! Just slips your mind.

RABBIT: The verdict comes on September 1, 2015. The sentence would be carried out on October 15, 2015. But to tell you the truth, I’d go back to using before I killed myself. I’d go back to smoking weed. It apparently has helped a lot of people with PTSD. The only reason I haven’t done it isn’t because I think I’d become a pothead, but because I would be exiling myself from the recovery community and I do need that very much.

SQUIRREL: My issue isn’t so much with the deadline. I don’t know why you have such a place in my heart, but you do, for better or worse. That being the case, as painful as your death would be, I think it’s more painful to contemplate that every single fucking day for the next nine months you are approaching the world form a place of not feeling your life is worth living. That’s just devastating to thing about. It’s not, not, not anything for you to soothe or answer for me— I’m not suggesting that.

RABBIT: Thanks, I appreciate that. I’m trying desperately to stop care taking everyone’s feelings. I can say this in honesty though: If I were approaching every day like my life wasn’t worth living, I wouldn’t be writing and I wouldn’t be doing all the things I’m doing to try and make things better.

SQUIRREL: That’s true in the daily sense, but there is sort of a big dark cloud under which all this is happening.

RABBIT: And that big dark cloud has been hanging over me since very early on. I’m just defusing it by being more open about it, sharing it with the world.

SQUIRREL: And more to the point, your “solutions” originate from the same brain that is giving you trouble.

RABBIT: And trust me, every single day I have to resist the urge to stop being so open and public about it all because I do know a lot about people and woodland animals and I am extremely empathic and as paranoid as it makes me sound to say so— often I really do know what people and woodland animals are thinking— even when I’m not in their presence. And I know there are a lot of people and woodland animals out there who have paid at least a little attention to what’s been going on with me and are like, “my GOD what a fucking narcissistic egomaniac. And I don’t deny a measure of narcissism but what they don’t understand is that at the center of narcism is an essentially low self-esteem. God, that is so depressing!

SQUIRREL: If there are those people and woodland animals, fuck them.

RABBIT: But my intuition tells me that this process is going to work and not only that but that others are going to be helped immeasurably by my being so open and honest about my process, even when it is embarrassing.

SQUIRREL: Can’t save your ass and your face at the same time. I have no doubt that your writing is helping a lot of people and woodland animals. It’s helping me. I just want you to be happy, not just to make things better “enough” that you don’t kill yourself.

RABBIT: I’m too mature and have seen too much to believe that just having certain things arranged in my life the way I think I want them is going to bring happiness. I’ve seen too many people who have those things who were still miserable. Finance is the most depressing and ever-present weight. I really do think if I could just take care of that one thing, I could move forward with a little bit more liberty and peace of mind. I’ve had a lot of people come into and out of my life over the years promising to help me in this area. I currently have another. I’m cautiously optimistic but again my experience has been so bad in this area it’s hard for me to trust.

SQUIRREL: For me, seriously, for me— part of being happy is being around other people who roll their eyes at my plans and to-do lists and say “than’s nice honey now go to a meeting and call your sponsor.”

RABBIT: My to-do lists are about doing the action items toward the fulfillment of the goals. And in some cases to not do things that are killing me slowly anyway. When I read my journals from ten years ago, I’m whining about the same shit I am now. That $110 K or more per month goal likely makes a lot of people laugh— or at least scoff. But you and I know a lot of people in Hollywood that make that or more! And there are more on Wall Street. I really do believe that what I have to offer is at least as valuable as what they do.

SQUIRREL: You are the problem. Also the miraculous solution. Same as every other addict. That’s why you need to be around your crazy sober urban tribe.

RABBIT: And I haven’t been. (pause) I want to go to the gym.

SQUIRREL: The people you mention who make that kind of money are the top .05% of the earners in the world. One can have a very rich life on $20K a month. Or, one can do a million in a day and then nothing for a year. Either way, I’ve gotten much more financial success by following the principles of “next right indicated action” than by tying to manifest a particular number.

RABBIT: I’ve just always heard that measurable goals were the best. As you know my idea is to be able to live off 10% of my income so obviously I could live on much less. I’m just delighted by the idea of having enough financial liberty to offer help to others in the way that I see fit without always having to to beg for money from others. I guess that’s part of the non-profit world but if I had the money Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie do, I could give at the level they give— or more! And that is an idea that brings me a lot of joy.

SQUIRREL: I’m a crazy addict. If left to my own devices, I suffer from the persistent delusion that it is my burden to figure out to get from point a to point b. So I retreat into my brain and try to figure it out. This accomplishes nothing until I run into a friend who says “you are insane. Go help someone less fortunate and go to a meeting. God laughs at your plans. All we have is a daily reprieve, etc. etc.” Without that, I am literally lost and useless. And it works— stopping planning makes great things happen.

Rabbit seems saddened by something Squirrel has said. 

RABBIT: (after a pause) I don’t want to think God laughs at my plans, or my goals, or at anything my heart desires. (pause)  So you’re saying I should drop my goals? My 10 goals that I’ve been working towards? The thought of that literally does make me want to kill myself.

SQUIRREL: I, Squirrel, hereby declare my faith that Rabbit will be rich and successful if he can ever figure out how to get out of his own way. I thing you have an incredible beautiful mind and a very rare talent. I KNOW it. And a beautiful passionate heart. And a strong warrior spirit. These things are very, very clear to me. You also have a noisy addict’s brain that likes to trick you into thinking it is your responsibility to apply your willpower and your intellect to power your way out of your current circumstances. I happen to believe— and I could be wrong— that you need another year of healing over Fox before you try to conquer the world.

RABBIT: Oh God! I don’t want to wait another year before I seek a new relationship. I don’t want to be a year older and looking for a husband! I don’t want to wait another year before continuing to strive for any of my goals!

SQUIRREL: You don’t need to discard the list. You need to be around people who tell you that it’s okay if you take care of yourself, that your’e wonderful just the way you are, that the list can be a tool but the answer is in you and God and your fiends and love and not in running a foundation or being a millionaire. You will find the husband the minute you are ready. I don’t think the man you want to be with would like knowing he’s an item on your to-do list. Because then he will always wonder if you really love him or are just crossing off an outstanding task.

RABBIT: I don’t know what to say to that. (pause, shifting subjects) I’m so worried about my fellow post-911 veterans. I know that I can help them because I have unique talents in that area. My vision of operating a production company that employs them is such a joyous prospect.

SQUIRREL: You keep helping them one at a time until things expand.

RABBIT: And frankly I think I would be one of the best rich people on Earth but for right now, I would settle for being able to pay my bills and have enough money to go to the theatre or a ball game and go out to eat once in a while. God, I just got a rush of anxiety when I realized Fox has those things! And partially because of the hard work I put in! Fuck it—that thinking gets me nowhere at all. I’m just so sad and hurt and— well, right now I don’t even feel angry. Just hurt. (pause) Just begin able to have a reasonable budget and stick to it would be such a beautiful gift. I have been living off $810 a month. Being able to be paid to head the foundation would allow me to help veterans and support myself financially. I feel like so much less a man because I am always broke! I’m willing to work doing what God made me good at. I’ve just had such a horribly hard time finding out how to let that happen. But heading the foundation is just one idea. I’m open to God’s will for me. I’m willing to do the work I’m just not willing to work outside of my raison d’être. That is part of the problem— a huge part of the problem in this country— Americans are working in jobs that they hate to pay the interest on the credit cards to have the shit they don’t need just so they think it will make them feel like they are worthy and worthwhile human beings! It’s such horseshit! If I willingly board that boxcar on the way to that concentration camp, I deserve what I get when I get there.

Squirrel goes into a momentary trance, revives.

SQUIRREL: God is telling me to tell you to get the fuck out of Alabama. Get a sponsor and some happy gay sober meetings. You need to be deeply immersed in people and woodland animals who love and accept you, and talk about your problems from the podium, and listen to what people and woodland animals say. The world is a challenging, depressing, obscene, unfair, broken place. Your PTSD adds to the mix, I know. I know writing helps but your writing keeps revealing this insane notion that you are supposed to thrive and succeed without other people around you to support you, challenge you, etc. An addict in isolation is in a dangerous place. I have to go meet a friend for a bike ride so I gotta go. I love you so much, Rabbit. Woodland animals as smart and as good-hearted as you are are a rare and precious breed. As always, I’m here for you if you need me, and even if you don’t.

RABBIT: Thanks buddy, I love you too. Have fun on the bike ride. See y’all tomorrow. 


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