Nicki peeked her head around the corner, nose crinkled up at the smell and the smoke. It reeked of onion and peppers, but Bill seemed oblivious.
“Bill,” she hissed. “What are you doing in here?”
“Hmm?” Bill asked, peered over his shoulder as he worked in a giant steel pot by the sink. “I’m making tacos.”
“You’re doing it wrong,” she said, started to leave, but then came back for a second look. “What in the hell is in that pot?”
“What pot?” Bill asked, turning to face her, keeping the pot suspiciously behind him at all times.
“The one you’re—”
Just then, a soaking wet bunny hopped onto the counter, its little white tail twitching briefly before it dashed towards the fridge.
Nicki said nothing for a moment.
“Listen,” said Bill, hustling up to her and speaking in hushed tones. “It’s a foreign dish.”
“I don’t think that matters,” said Nicki, watching the cute little bunny bounce around the room happily, shaking itself off every few steps, trying to get dry. “You’re not going to… you know… butcher it here, are you?”
“God no,” laughed Bill, and she laughed too. Silly misunderstanding. It was all good now. Phew! “No, you’re supposed to boil them alive.”
She stopped laughing.
“No really, it’s a special recipe.”
“I don’t care what kind of recipe it is—”
“I don’t care where it’s from,” Nicki said, turning off the stove and dumping the pot of water down the drain. “You’re not boiling live animals in my home.”
“It’s Kathy,” he muttered, putting away the salsa with a long face. “She’s coming for dinner.”
“Kathy from the office? Why?”
“She’s been hitting on me,” he mumbled. “Every day for the last three months. I couldn’t take it anymore.”
Nicki sat down at the table, picked up a celery stalk and started eating loudly, as if it might help dissipate her frustration.
“You go from stupid to stupider,” she said. “You’re married, Bill.”
“And you invited another woman here for dinner? While I’m still here? I mean, I knew you were stupid, but I didn’t realize you were too dumb to pull off an affair—”
“No, that’s exactly it! It’s not an affair!”
She bit off another chunk, chewed furiously.
“Then what is it?” she asked. “And your answer better be good.”
“I’m trying to scare her off. She won’t take no for an answer, so I’m going to make her sit down for a dinner with you, and serve her bunny tacos. I figure after that, she won’t talk to me ever again.”
“I know I won’t,” Nicki said, picking the bunny up and brushing its damp fur. It sniffed her hand.
“Listen,” he said, kneeling down in front of her and taking her free hand in his. “I know it’s crazy, but please play along. I need her to leave me alone, and this is the only way I could figure.”
“So you’re not going to kill the bunny?”
“Hell no,” he laughed. “I’m going to say I’m running late, just a few steps left to make the recipe complete, and go through the motions. That should be enough.”
Nicki pet the bunny, fed it a carrot.
“So we get to keep him?”
“What’s her name?”
“She doesn’t have one. Any ideas?”
“Sweetie. She looks like a Sweetie.”
Just then, the doorbell chimed, and Bill jumped up, knocked his collar crooked, dishevelled his hair, and sprinted to the door. Nicki kept playing with Sweetie, feeding her another carrot, stroking her black and brown fur.
“Kathy, you remember my wife Nicki,” said Bill, leading a walking bed sheet into the room. Nicki was about to be the polite hostess, but she found herself unable to move for fear of bursting into laughter. Kathy peered out from a pair of eye holes in the sheet.
“Oh,” said Kathy, hesitating. “I didn’t realize there would be three of us at dinner…”
“You don’t mind, do you?” Bill said, dashing back to the counter and bringing some more vegetables to the table, started chopping. “By the way, why the sheet?”
Kathy shuffled her feet a bit.
“I… well, you said it was the Guatemalan Festival of the Dead, so I wanted to come prepared.”
“Ah,” said Bill, working on some carrots. “Good thinking.”
Nicki peered down at the bare legs coming out of the blanket. They were bare quite a long way up. She could make out the colour of a red bra through the sheet, and her eyes narrowed immediately.
“You came prepared,” she said to Kathy.
“It’s okay,” Nicki said, petting Sweetie. “There’ll be lots of time to explore the issue after dinner.”
There was a long pause where Nicki wondered if she’s miscalculated and somehow locked herself into an awkward threesome.
“What is dinner?” Kathy said, voice squeaking under Nicki’s persistent glare. “It smells wonderful.”
“Oh, Guatemalan tacos,” said Bill, dumping vegetables into a bowl and filling the pot with water again. “It’s a special recipe we enjoy ‘round here. Boiled bunny meat.”
Kathy’s gaze went from Bill to Nicki to Sweetie in less than a second. She said nothing.
“You almost ready, dear?” asked Nicki, petting the bunny and putting it on the table near the vegetables.
“Almost!” said Bill, turning off the tap. “Help me here a second.”
Nicki grabbed the handle to the pot, winked to Bill, and then they both stopped cold at a loud thunk from behind, followed by some rough sawing.
They turned around to see Kathy’s sheet sprayed with crimson blood, trying to break Sweetie’s spine with the knife.
Nicki dropped the pot on the floor.
Kathy looked up, cocked her head to the side, and left the knife jutting out of the poor dead rabbit.
“Oh crap,” she said. “You’re supposed to boil them alive, aren’t you? Shit. I’m so sorry.”
With contributed insanity by @alexiskn ("tacos"), @Ebonwumon ("bedsheet ghost"), @kdnewton ("inter-office relationship") and the wonderful @janoda, who sent a pic of two bunnies in a pot. Bloody stinkin' hell, people. It's HER fault.