“This is going to be a disaster. A farmer, do you have any idea how hard it is to interview a farmer?”
“But, do you have any idea how much fun it will be to watch you try to interview a farmer?”
Paula gave Victor a glance, squinted her eyes, opened her mouth then shut it again. Why give him the satisfaction, she turned her head and watched the big city disappear.
Paula Swagger had chosen the profession of a TV news reporter. In her mid 30’s, she was still waiting for her big break. On her way to a dairy farm, she knew today wasn’t the day. She held a picture in her hand, it was a picture of the farm she and her cameraman, Victor, had their GPS set for. Out to the middle of nowhere then hang a left.
She studied the picture, apparently this farmer’s farm was being over-run by rabbits. The picture showed twenty or so crates with bunnies in them. She rolled her eyes and let out an exasperated sigh.
“Boss said it would be a great human interest story, what with the Chinese New Year and all.”
Paula looked at Victor, actually stared blankly at him.
“You didn’t do your homework did you? You weren’t even paying attention in this mornings meeting?” Victor’s eyes were full of mischief, this was going to be better than he thought. He could barely sit still, his foot pressed on the accelerator just a little bit more.
“The Chinese New Year? The year of the rabbit?”
“Uh huh.” His grin widened. “People thought it would be a good idea to buy a bunny, you know for good luck. Thing is they didn’t realized what a chore it would be to take care of them.”
“So they’re dropping them off at this farm. What a mess.”
“Not only his farm, other farms and pet stores too. We’ll be there in 10 minutes.” You couldn’t wipe the grin off his face no matter how hard you tried. Paula’s head started the pound. She closed her eyes and drifted off.
“We’re here!” Paula snapped to attention.
“Would you look at that? Look at all those crates. There has to be 100 of them.”
They both sat in the stations van staring out the window. There was a fruit stand in the small parking lot where they stopped to park and behind that, a weathered barn, off to the left a farmhouse after that nothing but fields as far as the eye could see.
Paula opened her door, “Oh! Holy Mother of …..do you smell that?”
“Farms smell like poop 24/7.”
“Hello! Hi!” A man was running towards them, waving his arm. “Hello, thank you all for comin’. Are you the TV people?”
“Yes sir, we surely are.” Victor was getting into character, Paula shot him a warning look. “Hello, I’m Paula Swagger and this is my cameraman Victor. And, I’m sorry, your name?”
“Peter McGregor ma’am. I sure am glad to see you.” He shook both their hands until their teeth rattled. He pointed to house farmhouse, “That there’s my wife Elsie.” He vigorously waved to her and yelled, “These are the TV people.” Victor and Paula waved to Elsie. Peter McGregor continued to yell, “They’re gonna put me on TV, go on in and watch.”
“Oh Mr. McGregor, we’re just going to get some footage and …….” It was too late, Elsie was back in the house.
Paula whipped her head around, directed her clenched teeth towards Victor, “Get the camera, film this and let’s get the hell out of here.” He grinned at her and ran to the back of the van.
“Now Mr. McGregor how about you and I stand over there by the barn with all your bunnies.”
“They’re not my bunnies! That’s what I’m trying to tell everyone! People are dropping them off in the middle of the night. Ma’am this here’s a Dairy Farm, I can’t have a hundred bunnies hoppin around here, I got cows to milk.”
Victor arrived with his camera and handed Paula her microphone, “Ready?”
Paula glanced at Mr. McGregor, who was visibly upset. This man was looking for help and he got her. “Let’s see if we can’t get this problem taken care of sir.” She nodded to Victor, who then hoisted the camera up on his shoulder and a little red light went on. Mr. McGregor’s eye grew big as saucers and the corners of his mouth went up.
“Paula Swagger reporting from WTRX News. We are here at the farm of Peter and Elsie McGregor. Their farm has been inundated with bunnies. These bunnies are being dropped off in the middle of the night by thoughtless seekers of good fortune. You see it’s the Chinese New Year, the year of the rabbit.”
“People have been buying bunnies in hopes of them bringing good luck to their families. Then realizing they are too much work, they drop them off at local farms and pet stores. Ladies and gentlemen these animals are not good luck charms and they can’t take care of themselves.”
She turned her attention to Mr. McGregor, “Sir, can someone who wants to adopt a bunny come by and pick one up?”
“Why sure they can. I gotta get rid of them, they’re cute and all but you know how fast they, huh, multiply and I got some gal named PETA calling me sayin I have too many bunnies, that there ain’t no way I can take care of them all. She’s right, Elsie’s been runnin back and forth to the store buyin carrots, we’re running outta room.”
“There you have it ladies and gentlemen, WTRX News will post information on our website regarding adopting a bunny from Mr. McGregor. I’m Paula Swagger at the McGregor Dairy Farm from WTRX News, thank you and good evening.”
And the little red light on the camera went off, Mr. McGregor relaxed. “What we’ll do sir, is take this tape back to the station, do a little editing and we should have it on the 6:oo news.”
“You all leavin already, we thought maybe you’d stay for supper.” Paula was moved. “I’m sorry, we have to go if you want to see yourself on TV, okay?” They exchanged smiles, real smiles and Victors stupid grin turned into a smile.On the way back Paula, again drifted off to sleep. When she felt the van stop, she opened her eyes and looked at Victor, “We’re back sleepy head.” They both turned and looked in the back of the van at the crate with the bunny in it, “What are you going to name him?” Victor asked. It was Paula’s turn for the mischievous grin, “Peter Rabbit, of course.”