"God damn it, Ken," Shelby said. And then: "Mollie!"
She came out of the house and looked at the clothes lying emptily in the front yard.
"Christ, he's done it again," she said.
Thus initiated the search, rustling through milkweed and pampas grass and nodding Showy Penstemon . Finally, Shelby discovered a series of pawprints which they followed under the fence and into the back yard (or garden, as Ken and Mollie liked to call it).
The sweetness of the orange tree whisked around them as a bunny bounded round and round the edges of the yard. It was a race against time and space, and that's how Shelby, and probably Mollie, knew it was Ken. Bunny or human, he was always pushing the limits.
Mollie and Shelby chased Ken in circles for awhile, calling his name until Peggy Danvers just had to pop her head over the back yard fence. That woman had a knack for bad timing, Shelby thought.
"Bunny loose again?" she asked.
"You could say that," Shelby said, crouching to grab him as he made another pass.
He was a slippery bugger, no matter what form he took. The soft fur belied the sharp nails and teeth. He was just about to chomp into Shelby's arm when Shelby felt it: the melt of fur into flesh, a pool of man spilling into the grass, naked.
Peggy Danver's eyes were wide, wide, and she squawked, vanishing below the fence before Mollie could get a blanket to wrap Ken with.
"Wot am I doin' out here?" a blanketed Ken rose with Shelby's help.
"You did it again," Mollie said, leading them into the house.
"Fuck," Ken said as they sat him down at the kitchen table.
Shelby felt a blue, cool relief that Peter was at school, and not here to witness his father, well.
"I really turned into a rabbit again?" Ken asked.
Shelby and Mollie nodded.
"Do you know why?" Mollie asked.
"I dunno why," Ken said. "Just happens."
"You got me," Shelby said. "I wouldn't know either."
"Maybe there is no cause," Mollie said.
"What if it happens when he's driving?" Shelby asked, fear like splinters in his throat.
"That's never happened --" Ken started.
"Yet. But it could."
Silence as that sank in.
Shelby listened to the kitchen clock and thought.
"Aw, hell. My ticker's blown and I'm living on borrowed time. We work together as a household. What's one more thing to manage?" Shelby said. "Besides, I kinda want to put a bell on him."
"Oi, that's me you're talking about here," Ken groused. "I'm not a pet."
"Sometimes y'are," Shelby chuckled.
The laughter bloomed between them then, warm and yellow as a sunflower.
"Let's get you cleaned up, luv," Mollie said eventually.
Ken went to the bathroom and Shelby exhaled tremulously. Just one more thing.