Today I am Contender

The Story

He’s handsome, I’ll give him that. But looks can only get you so far in a place like this. And really, the fact that I can’t see a scar or even a blemish means he’s never been in a real fight.

Yet here he is, on my turf. The fool.

I’ve seen lots just like him step up to the challenge. Men with arms thick as oaks, who threw their big bodies around as if it would impress. But I am quick and the saying is true- the harder they fall, indeed.

It’s the small ones I find more interesting. They try to read me, feel me out. An impossible, but respectable, approach. Those ones keep their distance, dancing the grapevine of pre-engagement, shifting their weight from foot to foot. They’re fun to tease, and I’m not the only one that thinks it. So I lean right, I lean left. They’re always watching- but never close enough. These light-weights stick around a bit longer than the big boys, yet still each and every one of them has been dropped eventually.

This guy can’t be more than 210, 215. He’s toned but not that tall. A real shame that I’ll have to knock that smooth smirk off his face.

My handler is speaking with him. He’s a good guy, my handler. Always warms them up so there’s at least a little entertainment before the throw down. Each time he welcomes them in, shows them the ring. Sometimes if it’s late he’ll make sure they’re fresh- feed and water them so they at least have half a chance. But then it’s time, and they turn to me. I never disappoint, then they go. We are an excellent, unbeatable team. My handler says they’re starting to say my name far and wide, in the bigger cities. He says we’re going there soon. Maybe in the big cities there will be some better competition.

However, my handler seems a little off tonight. He’s speaking less, listening more. I don’t like it. Routine is the key to victory.

He sets his hand on the new comer’s arm and speaks low. Hmm. This guy must be nervous to face me, gotta be warmed up. Pathetic.

Finally, they turn to me. It’s time.

The challenger advances, steady with a confidence I can tell is faked. Slowly, clearly unseen, I tense my powerful legs. They are my favorite weapons.

He bends a knee to the ground, as if to lift off and pounce, but loses his balance and has to reach out his arm to steady himself. The waltz has barely started, and he’s already faltered. That’s boring. I consider playing with him, but it is late and I am tired of the weaklings.

With his hand mere inches from my faces I THUMP. Again, HARD and LOUD. He pulls back, the coward, and I advance on him. I thrive on the fear I see in his eyes. It’s a quick flash through his baby blues but I catch it, and it is delicious. He forces a chuckle to pretend he’s unafraid, but it’s too late- it is done.

My handler pulls the guy back by the shoulder, extracting him to what they pretend is safe distance from me. No distance is safe from me. Then like a good handler, he calms the poor contestant before sending him on his way.

It was a short bout. I thought this one might actually last longer than the others. A disappointment he didn’t, really.

It’s time for my reward though. My handler presents me with several delicious treats while messaging my right thigh. I’ll admit I’m no young buck, so although it’s a little embarrassing, I appreciate the warm rubs loosening the tight muscle.

“Oh Sir Fluffington, think we’ll ever find the one?”

Not here. I need a warrior with more experience. One that’s more agile, more confident.

“He was pretty cute. Not too smart though. But of course you noticed that part.”

Of course.

“Aw well. He’s out there. Until then, I think it’s bed time for both of us, yes?”

He picks me up, rubbing the sweet spot from the tip of my nose to between my long ears. This always makes me a bit sleepy, but when he sets me down in my nest of hay and a pillow I have expertly torn to comfier pieces, I send him a stare to let him know I’m still aware, still paying attention, like always. He scratches my chin and places one more piece of butter lettuce close by in case I get hungry in the night.

“Goodnight sweet bun, sleep tight.”

Another contender taken care of. Time to rest.

The Word

Contender (noun): One that contends. A competitor for a championship or high honor.

One of my brothers owns a Flemish Giant, which is a breed of rabbit that has the ability to grow to an average of 15 pounds. They’re kinda like to bunnies what the Maine Coon is to regular house cats, and they have the attitude to back it up.

Like most people who call themselves Writers, I like to dabble in playing opposites. From today’s word, you might thing we were going to meet a young athlete or perhaps a fiery mercenary. Well, to Mr. Snippy (the inspiration for Sir Fluffington), we did. He’s just a little shorter than Alexander the Great, but the heart and determination is the same, and I imagine he takes weeding out his human’s dates as seriously as one would conquering the Persian Empire. That’s my internal lesson for the day: I may be short and fluffy, but I am strong and those who challenge me should do so with caution.

That, and sometimes a little attitude is a good thing.