Ozzie Rodbit woke up early in the morning, getting into his white, short-sleeved t-shirt. Then, he put on his jean overalls and matching hat, giving himself a brow-furrowed smirk in the mirror. He was a black rabbit, almost entirely black except for some white masking on his face. Even his eyes were so dark brown that they might as well be black; he even had a black nose. But he thought he was as handsome as rabbits came. Another great day to be a Rodbit, he thought to himself. Adjusting his hat, he walked into the kitchen of his family's modest home in the Downtown area of Savanna Central, where he found his father, Walter, still in his sleeping clothes.
"Uh, dad, ain'tcha gonna get ready for work?" Ozzie cocked an eyebrow. From being born and raised in the heart of Zootopia, Ozzie's voice carried a slight city edge to it. Walter sipped some coffee calmly. He looked much like Ozzie, only he had a few more pounds on him and a black pattern under his nose that looked somewhat like a mustache.
"Nope! Not today, son," Walter smiled, looking through the newspaper. "Probably not any other day from now on, either."
"Wha- what!?" Ozzie held his arms open in surprise. "You're retirin'!? Just like that? But... but you and I are a team! A dynamic duo, kinda!"
"Son, I think it's about time you took up the Rodbit wrench, as it were, and took over The Lucky Rodbit," Walter gave a smile over to his son. Ozzie did not seem confident in this assessment. He looked at both of his paws.
"Dad! There's no way I can run that auto shop by myself!" Ozzie protested, holding his arms out toward his father. "You just fired everyone else from the shop not a month ago! What am I supposed to do?"
"No, you shouldn't run it by yourself," Walter agreed, shaking his head. "I fired everyone because they were all part of my generation. Old-timers, with old ideas. It's time for the new generation to step in. You're twenty-seven; you know plenty about automobiles to do well in the business."
"That's a bunch of dumbo-jumbo! They were good mammals!" Ozzie put his hands on his hips and stomped his foot. He looked quite cross.
"Ah, they knew it was coming, Oswald," Walter laughed gently, sipping some of his coffee. "This is a grand tradition of the Rodbit family, dating back about a hundred years now! Each generation leaves the inheritor of The Lucky Rodbit with only the shop itself, and a little bit of spending money."
"Tradition shmadition!" Ozzie folded his arms. "So you've all left some poor kit all alone with almost no money and no help? It's a wonder we've lasted this long in the biz!"
"I was in your place one day, yelling at my own father in just this manner," Walter began. "I may not be too old, but my back's starting to act up all the time, and anyone I try to hire to help you wouldn't be your decision on what you'd want or where you'd want to take the company. It's gotta be you." Walter pointed at him. "You have to lead The Lucky Rodbit into the next generation. I have to be paws-off on this. You're old enough and have the smarts to pull it off, I know you do."
"But I ain't a people-mammal!" Ozzie gave an exasperated sigh. "How am I gonna get any customers with my acrid tongue?"
"Hire some friendly personnel, then," Walter smirked. "Start small, then work your way up. Have them deal with the customers. You work on the cars. Ideally, you'd find some friendly mammals who can also work on the cars. Maybe you can hire your sand cat girlfriend in the meantime." Walter gave a small laugh.
"Don't bring her into this. She doesn't know anythin' about cars," Ozzie grunted. "This is ridiculous." He shook his head with his eyes closed. "It'll take a wish upon a star for me to keep The Lucky Rodbit in business."
"Don't have so little faith in yourself, Oswald," Walter's gentle voice was warm. He got up slowly and put his hands on his shoulders. "Just remember, it was all started by a rabbit. Just one rabbit. That's why we've done it like we've done it for generations. The Rodbit name might not be the most prolific in auto-repair in Zootopia, but it is the most enduring."
"And what if I screw up, huh? What then?" Ozzie gave a guilty, unsure look to his father. "What if I bring the Rodbit name to it's one-hundred year anniversary in a little box?"
"Well, then I suppose our luck will have finally run out," Walter took his hands away from Ozzie. "But fate has yet to deal us a bad hand, so you just go for it."
"That's reassuring," Ozzie rolled his eyes. "I don't like leaving things to luck. I really wanna do this, I wanna be recognized in the biz."
"You have the 'drive' then," Walter grinned. "Vroom, vroom!" Ozzie groaned in annoyance. Walters voice became deep and mystical. "Son, always remember who you are."
"All right dad, enough with the hokey pep talk," Ozzie grumbled. "I guess I better get this whole thing started."
"That's the spirit!" Walter gave Ozzie a hug. "Just remember that you always have me here to fall back on."
"Really?" Ozzie grinned after the hug. "That's a huge relief, cause-"
"Of course, I won't actually do anything to help you, but feel free to complain to me all the same," Walter had a pleased smile; his eyes shut.
"Ah, great," Ozzie's eyes half-lid.
That evening, Ozzie walked in front of The Lucky Rodbit and regarded it with a large sigh, shoving his paws in his pockets. The building was technically nearly a hundred years old, but it had been worked on more than any single car in the shop ever had, so it still looked quite contemporary. One of the lights in the sign wasn't working, so it actually read "THE LUCKY RO BIT" at night.
Ozzie grumbled, looking at the "CLOSED" sign and entering the shop, the tiles of the customer waiting area cool on his paws. He looked at all of the things that were off that would soon have to be on. The door leading to the garage opened for him as he pushed on it. Ozzie sniffed. It barely even smelled like oil in the garage, as there hadn't been a car in there in a little while. All of the lights were off, all of the doors were closed. Everything was "ready".
"For me to screw up," Ozzie said aloud. "Nuts."
Ozzie shut the door again and headed into his father's office, turning on his computer.
"Guess this is all mine now," Ozzie grumbled, then his brow furrowed. "Freakin'...! What am I so melancholy for? It's not like he died. What's with this tradition anyway? Throwing your kit into the deep end without a life vest? Rgh!"
Ozzie's head dropped into his paws and he held it there on the desk, trying to calm his swirling thoughts. Was this really a Rodbit tradition, or some sort of test to see if the black rabbit would buckle? Or, was it just his dad being lazy? That was also an option.
"Quit your whining, Ozzie," he told himself, "let's just do this thing, huh?"
He opened a word processing program, fiddling with the font and lettering for the sign he was going to print up to put in the window.
"Help wanted?" He asked himself. "More like 'help needed'." He paused, his finger hovering over the mouse as he was about to click print. "No, you know what?" He typed "MECHANICS WANTED, INQUIRE WITHIN" into the program, and hit print.
Ozzie reclined back in the chair, folding his arms as the printer whirred into life. While he waited for the page to be printed, he reflected on his father's words.
"It was all started by a rabbit, huh?" Ozzie said to himself. "Well, hopefully it won't all be ended by one, too."