This story first appeared in Pandemic Prose. A collection of work inspired by Covid-19 and gifted by the Bunbury Writers Group to Mark McGowan, Premier of Western Australia.
It is now in the WA State Library's Covid-19 collection.
The book is not for sale, but I share my story for your entertainment.
I had fun writing it. I hope you enjoy reading it.
‘It is common knowledge,’ said EB Carl, ‘that rabbits are not affected by nuclear activity.’
Everyone stopped bickering and talking at once and those who had him in-sight on their Zoom screens put their faces closer to their computers so that they could see him better.
I did too.
I was also in this Zoom meeting, but secretly.
My name is Lucas, and I am certainly not an EB.
I’ll explain later.
‘Bee-do. Bee-do. What?’ said EB Carl, blinking his single eye and running a paw through his short buzz haircut. He used his elbow to move his skateboard a bit further away from his computer keyboard.
‘What? Why are you all looking at me? Well, my screen only shows four of you, but the rest of you have stopped arguing, bee-do, so you must be looking at me too.’
EB Carl pulled his bowl of ice cream closer. He sucked some ice cream off his paw.
‘You can google it if you don’t believe me. Bee-do. Bee-do. It’s so funny really, these Aussies spend so much on R&D, that’s research and development, in trying to get rid of us and yet every year they want us to deliver Easter Eggs. Not that I mind at all. I am the only EB on a skateboard, I do it much faster than all of you. Bee-do. Bee-do. I have lots of f—’
‘Shut up, EB Carl, and stop making all those noises. You are in an official pre-Easter EB convocation, and you need to pay attention, not change the subject.’
EB Dave was annoyed, and I could see he felt rather sorry for EB Felonius Gru, who was way out of his depth trying to manage a meeting spread across all nine regions of the state, from his bedroom. We could all see his wife lying reading in bed behind him. Poor EB Gru was making no headway at all. His nervous finger tapping on the dressing table kept him in sight on the screen.
In case you are wondering EB Felonious Gru, EB Gru for short is the head Easter Bunny in Western Australia. Every year he meets with his minions, well I like to call them his helper-minions, to plan the Easter weekend. If you haven’t figured it out already, EB stands for Easter Bunny.
The 2020 EB convocation was two weeks earlier than usual. There was this thing called the Coronavirus messing up the world and threatening to spoil Easter weekend altogether.
The World Health Organisation was even calling it a pandemic.
Apparently, that’s something really awful and hasn’t happened since before our grand-dads were born.
There was so much fear.
People were getting sick.
People were dying.
There were so many rules about social distancing; about washing hands and how much toilet paper you could buy.
Then came the rules restricting travel across regions.
You could only cross borders if you worked in essential services.
With all these challenges, it was touch and go whether the annual Easter egg campaign would be cancelled altogether.
Then, EB Dave came up with a meeting solution.
At the same time, it would be a distraction from paw washing and worrying where to stash extra toilet paper and how else to dodge this creepy invisible virus.
He’s a bit geeky.
Well, he’s good at video games and that’s the same as being geeky and it was his suggestion that they have a Zoom meeting instead of the whisker-to-whisker one at the Optus Stadium in Perth as they usually do.
I didn’t know about Zoom before Corona, it’s a new thing, also taking the world by storm. Not in a nasty way like Covid-19 at all, but in a happy get-together sort of way.
Everyone hops onto their computers, not literally, I know bunnies like to hop.
Provided you have the link and the password you can join in a meeting as if everyone is all together in the same room.
It’s cool and safe, there is no spreading of bugs or germs or anything like that.
I’m not saying bunnies spread the virus, but rules are rules.
The problem with a Zoom meeting, especially if you are using the freebie version is you can’t see everyone at the meeting at the same time. I guess the noisiest four people, umm bunnies are shown.
The current speaker or the one making the most noise takes the main screen. As you can imagine it gets a bit chaotic when everyone starts speaking all at once.
I suggested everyone bring a wooden spoon along and hold it up every time they want to say something. But only EB Stuart listened to me, and I suspect that’s because his mom gave him a purple one for Christmas. I forgot you can't see everyone, I guess.
So, I’m in this story because my favorite things in the whole wide world are video games, minions, and Easter eggs. When things are your favorite, you get good at looking after them.
I showed EB Dave how to help all the EB’s download Zoom onto their BC’s, that’s their Bunny Computers. I sent out all the invitations on behalf of the big boss, EB Gru, and then decided to secretly invite myself.
Nobody would know I was at the meeting.
Nobody would see me if I stayed dead quiet.
My screen stays flat, that’s blank, with no visual of me.
It was my chance to find out how the EB’s coordinate their deliveries. It was kinda cute that they were taking the whole virus thing so seriously and wanted to run a successful campaign.
Besides, you can’t let 588,973 children down, just because there’s a stupid virus going around. That’s how many children there are in WA, you can Google it if you like.
My friend Taylah says I always over-explain stuff. Taylah’s not my girlfriend but she’s my best friend and that’s way cooler than having a girlfriend. I’m only eleven after all, too young to have a girlfriend but if I was old enough then just maybe it would be Taylah, when she’s a bit older, she’s only 9 now. She has lovely bouncy hair that she flicks over her shoulder when she gets excited. You’ll get to meet her soon. She’s also in this story.
I think we should go back to the meeting now, so you can see what happened.
EB Carl was talking as if he hadn’t heard EB Dave shouting at him.
‘They said on Nine News this evening that Nadia has been infected by Coronavirus and –’
EB Stuart raised his purple spoon and began speaking before EB Gru could nod at him.
‘Who on earth is Nadia?’ EB Stuart rolled his single eye and tried to unflop one of his purple ears, ‘and what is that to do with us? Sometimes, with all your bee-do, bee-doing around you really don’t make sense.’
EB Stuart lowered the spoon and glared at EB Carl.
‘I know Nadia! I know her!’ said EB Josh. He was also eating ice cream, but he got so excited he messed some on his fireman suit.
He explained, ‘Nadia is a tiger in the New York zoo, five other big cats in the zoo are also coughing. So, you are saying that people may think animals will start spreading the virus. And that rabbits weren’t so badly affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, so they probably won’t be affected by the virus either. That way the Easter bunnies get to keep their jobs.’
EB Josh licked some ice cream off his sleeve.
‘Bee-do, bee-do, someone gets it!’
EB Carl jumped up and knocked his skateboard off the desk in his excitement. He sat down and looked at EB Josh suspiciously, ‘Why are you wearing your fireman suit?’
‘You know I always wear my fireman suit when you’re around’, said EB Josh wiping the spilled ice cream off the front of his suit with some paw sanitizer.
‘What with all your bee-do bee-doing, you never know whether there’s a fire or not.’
Watching EB Josh I nearly giggled, did he really need paw sanitizer? I noticed that two of the others had also brought along sanitizer to this at-home-on-the-computer meeting. I didn't dare laugh out loud. That would make my screen flash on, and then they would see me in the meeting room.
Then I noticed that EB Tim was vibrating in his massage chair and the bookshelves behind him were lined with TP, that’s toilet paper. It was too much for me, I cracked a laugh and my screen flickered. I dived under the table.
When I raised myself back into the meeting EB Kevin was saying how relieved he was that all the teddy bears on windowsills all over WA weren’t being called upon to take over the job.
The others rolled their eyes. EB Kevin was always the slow one.
For those of you who don’t know people everywhere are propping up their teddies in their windowsills to cheer people up when they go for their restricted and lonely lockdown walks.
I was beginning to find the whole meeting very boring and wondered if they would ever get to the point of the meeting when I noticed that someone was in the Zoom waiting room and asking to be let in.
Who could it be?
All the EB’s were present and correct at roll call earlier. Then I remembered I had told Taylah about the meeting.
I texted her quickly.
That you, Taylah?
She responded with a thumbs-up sign.
I will let you in, but you must be very quiet. Otherwise, they’ll see you and that would be a breach of …
I didn’t know what it would be a breach of, so I just pressed SEND.
I let her in.
There’s a saying about letting the cat in amongst the pigeons. Well, after this weekend, I think there’ll be one about letting Taylah in amongst the EB’s.
She just burst into that Zoom meeting, spitting excitement and passion, sending three EB’s scurrying for their paw sanitizer. EB Tim set the vibrations higher on his massage chair and EB Gru fell over backward onto his king-size bed. His wife noticed for the first time that she was on camera and dived off the far side of the bed onto the floor. EB Carl and EB Josh downed the rest of their ice cream and were left sanitizing their paws vigorously. EB Kevin just pulled up the mask around his neck over his mouth and gave her a nervous wave.
‘Look, said Taylah, flicking her hair over her shoulder and refusing to look at me. I was now also out in the open in the meeting.
My screen had activated with my ‘But, but, but–’.
‘I know you are all at your wit’s end, but I have it all worked out. I have written a letter to Uncle Mark,’ she said.
‘Who’s Uncle Mark?’
It was the first time EB Gru had spoken in his own meeting.
Taylah glared at him.
‘The Premier, of course. Mark McGowan, he’s the one making sure we don’t get sick, the one who’s almost as good as that one from New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern. He made the rules about closing regional borders. He forgot about the Easter eggs. We need to remind him.’
The EB’s tried to debate the contents of Taylah’s letter but she was adamant it was good enough. The rest they say is history.
That evening my mom shouted for me to stop my video games and come and watch the news. The Premier was about to address the children of WA. At the same time my phone beeped, it was Taylah.
Go watch the news. Uncle Mark’s office phoned my mom. Easter egg delivery is now an essential service. The Easter Bunny has free passage in WA.
She added a zillion smiley faces.
When I grow up, I am gonna be a politician.
I think I’d like to be the Premier of WA.
I have some cool ideas.
The Premier loved our gesture, he liked my story. He sent this letter: