The Sacrifice

     O’fich had been carrying the bunny around for not quite two years when The Society convened it’s thirty-third annual convention at Big Lake State Park, just outside of City. The stuffed animal was dirty and smelly, yet cute. It had a little cotton puff tail and a big, blue glass eye that looked oh, so sad. It was known by the Members as One-eyed Self.
     O’fich shared center stage with One-eyed Self and glared out at the Members. One hand grasped the podium tightly, the other held the rabbit in a deathlike grip. He felt as if he were standing on the moon. Cold. Spinning in such a way as to face only one direction, one direction only… dizzy, O’fich felt he might float off if given half a chance. He was nervous. This was his night.
     The assembled crowd of creative types expected the unveiling of a masterpiece. The art would be permanently exhibited in the Great Hall along with the previous thirty-two productions. The Members had waited nearly one year to see what O’fich had been creating. What was hidden behind the huge, dark curtain behind the old man with such wild, glaring eyes? What is he going to say? Crazy O’fich and his One-eyed Self. Why does he always carry that ragged old rabbit around, often treating it better than his flesh and blood counterparts? It was pure, savage curiosity that had compelled the Members to vote O’fich ‘Artist Debutante’ for this years gathering. Might they better understand this strange fellow through his work? Are creations truly reflections of the creators soul? What sort of artist is O’fich? What sort of art is he to share this night? 
     The curtain behind O’fich dropped, revealing nothing more than an empty stage.
     All eyes turned back towards O’fich, who was now wielding a gun.
     “Nobody move,” he growled, “or I shoot this stinkin’ bunny.”
     This was his plan, he would show The Society how it has held itself hostage to an ideological concept, or definition, of what is or is not art. This freeform performance would in itself be his masterpiece. Nothing for the Great Hall. His defining moment as an artiste would disappear over time as the memories, or the Members, die off… or be transformed by word of mouth, as so often happens, into a mere shadow of truth. Without physical basis the moment has already begun to deteriorate. O’fich opened his mouth to explain this, but he was tired. All of the witty, thought provoking words he had expected to flow from his psyche did not, for O’fich was a loner and oral communication was not his forte. Suddenly it occurred to him that this was a serious flaw indeed, and that he would be regarded as an insane lunatic instead of an artistic genius. This was not going as he had envisioned. He stood there with One-eyed Self , his fake rabbit. He could think of nothing to say, so he resolved to just shoot the bunny. In a loud instance of explosion his performance would be complete. All of the time he had spent convincing others that the rabbit meant something to him, man, what a waste.
     Just stood up, walked slowly from his seat to the stage, up the stairs and then onto it. He hoped to save what was, to him, a very important bunny.
     For just over six months Just had been trying to buy One-eyed Self from O’fich. Just mistakenly thought this was the same bunny that he had owned as a child. For almost three months he had carried a glass eye in his pocket, an eye that belonged to another bunny, but this was not that bunny, this was the wrong eye.
     “Don’t,” said Just. “Don’t pull the trigger. Look, I have the other eye! ”

     He held it out for O’fich to see.
     “Impossible,” said O’fich. “I cut his eye out myself! I carry it in my pocket!”
     The crowd gasped.
     “Don’t shoot the rabbit, you asshole,” demanded Just, still slowly moving towards O’fich. Just under a month and a half ago he had completed an anger management course, in part because O’fich refused to sell One-eyed Self for any price. The veins in his forehead began to throb and bulge. He tried to maintain some degree of composure. This moment would become a moment of heroism or failure. Just began to shake. He threw the eye at O’fich. “You asshole!”
     “You’re the asshole!” O’fich countered. “This is life, not death, this is art, you critic, get off my stage! This moment is between One-eye and me!” He kicked the eye back towards Just, and pointed the gun at him for emphasis. Gone were the days that the purchase offers offered an amusing escape from his rabbit loving charade. He never expected Just to interrupt his presentation. The crowd was beginning to stir uneasily and O’fich felt that everything was now truly spinning out of control. He put the gun to the head of the one-eyed bunny and tried to pull the trigger. But he couldn’t do it. He had actually grown too fond of the little guy. He began to sob. He placed the gun on the podium and put his hand in his pocket. As he pulled the eye out to show Just, Just charged, grabbed the gun, and shot O’fich through the heart.
     “Dread,” O’fich gasped, and then fell to the stage, dead. The glass eye rolled from his hand.
     Just looked at it, looked over at the other eye, and then looked at the bunny still tightly grasped by the late O’fich. Suddenly he remembered that his bunny had been a tan one, with a brown eye. 
     At that very moment something unexpected happened.

A short story by Scott C. Stuart

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