April 05, 2004

What I did on my April Fool's Day vacation

Our Bostonian friends Todd and Debby have a stuffed animal -- the Cotton Bunny -- which we have long coveted. Whole Foods was selling it for a while, and Rose almost bought one for herself, but perhaps it seemed slightly too expensive for a frivolity, and she didn't get it. They stopped selling them, and she has regretted her decision ever since. We think the Cotton Bunny is adorable in the extreme, but judge for yourself:


After pining for the stuffed bunny for so long, it occurred to me that the odds were good that someone was selling it online somewhere. And indeed they were. And somewhere along the line, a plan was hatched. We would pretend to kidnap Todd and Debby's bunny.

This wasn't even meant to be an April Fool's Day joke, actually; it was just intended to provide a dose of random surrealism. But it so happened that we were visiting Boston right before April 1, so we thought we might as well take advantage of that. We stayed at their house one night, and the next morning, as we were packing, we took the Cotton Bunny and hid it in a suitcase in the guest room closet.

I should perhaps also mention that at some point we decided it would be funnier to pretend that our cat Twyla had kidnapped the bunny. And also that she had opened a Hotmail account.

From: "Not Twyla"

if u ever want too see yur buny agen put an unmarked fish IN MY BOWL

i hav enclozed a pitcher of yur buny too sho yu I AM SERIOUS and a pitcher of my bowl so yu can FIND IT AND PUT THE FISH IN IT

-- a cat who is not twyla



That e-mail was immediately followed by this one:

From: "Not Twyla"

do not mess with me becuz YU WOULD NOT WANT TOO MESS WITH ME

-- even tho i am not twyla


I was a little concerned that the jig might be up if they noticed the discrepancy between their bunny's ears (flat back) and ours (straight up), but the scam was carried off successfully. Soon, we received this response from Debby:

Dear Not Twyla,

Do your humans know what you have been up to? I am sure that they would not be pleased with your unilateral and aggressive actions towards the Cotton Bunny. The Cotton Bunny wishes only to live its life peacefully on its shelf near the other stuffed creatures in our home. Polite members of the international community do not kidnap one another or hold one another for ransom, as I'm sure you're aware.

Despite the fact that it is not the policy of our household to negotiate with terrorists, as a show of our good faith and our willingness to engage in diplomatic relations with you, we will attach a photo of three swimming tuna for you to place by your food dish as a reminder to your humans about what you expect them to provide for you on a regular basis.

I know that humans can be difficult to deal with at times, particularly when they choose not to fuzzle you or give you Pounce treats 24 hours a day, but I assure you that they only have your best interests at heart. Just as I assure you that if you do not pledge to return the Cotton Bunny forthwith and unharmed, your humans will undoubtedly punish you, and "not in a way you'll enjoy," as we say around our household.

cc: Rose White and Francis Heaney, Humans


Twyla, undaunted, replied:

yu leev my humans out of it becuz i am always asking them for fish AND THEY NEVER GIVE IT TO ME which is why i hav been forced too resort too DESPERATE MESURES

that pitcher you sent me is no good and not tasty and i hav attached another pitcher to SHO YU WHAT I THINK OF IT

-- twyla, i mean, not twyla


Apparently within a minute of sending that e-mail, she dashed off this one as well:

oh crap did i hit reply all just then

Indeed she had accidentally copied us on her response. At this point we felt it best to clear everything up.

I must apologize for our cat's behavior. Rose and I assumed, when we read your e-mail, that you were playing some sort of joke on us, but having seen Twyla's reply (inadvertently cc'd to us), we confronted her, and after heroically refusing to divulge any information to us for upwards of several tens of seconds, she confessed everything and then ran under the bed.

The Cotton Bunny has suffered no apparent trauma and was apparently promised a bite of fish when the ransom arrived by Twyla, who seems to have developed a grudging affection for the cute little creature (perhaps partly because it said Twyla could have all the fish). We have decided not to punish Twyla, except to revoke her unsupervised travel privileges.

To ensure the Cotton Bunny would be returned to you as quickly as possible, we invented a matter transporting device. The bunny should be back on its shelf, unless we miscalculated the rotation of the earth, in which case it might be in the luggage in the closet instead.

Rose and I had a fine time executing this little prank. Despite my April 1 birthday, I've never really come up with any elaborate April Fool's Day jokes myself, so I felt I had done my birthday justice this time around. But I'm far too lazy to make any promises that this will turn into a tradition.

Posted by Francis at 03:37 AM

what a stupendous romp! thanks for sharing... it made our day!

Posted by: gotcha at April 5, 2004 01:54 PM

So how did they respond after the reveal (as we say in the reality show biz)?

Posted by: dlr at April 6, 2004 12:29 PM

After we directed them to the bunny in their luggage, they wondered whether we had (a) stolen their bunny on a previous trip and returned it on this trip (which we wouldn't have done, because what if they had noticed its unexplained absence and return?), (b) done some Photoshopping (which we couldn't have done, because I ain't got the Photoshop skillz), or (c) procured our own bunny (which we didn't not have done, because that is what we did). We were pleased to have briefly mystified them.

Posted by: Francis at April 6, 2004 01:37 PM