When I was in first grade, I wrote a short story about a bunny named Snow that had fur that was white as snow. The story was a paragraph long and recounts the emotional journey of a young girl who loses and then finds her bunny: she was sad and the she was happy. Today, the story has a slightly different ending: Snow’s fur is stolen and he is cooked in a stew, devoured by the people who once loved him.
After our “Cultural Exchange” today, I went rabbit hunting with a fellow who hosts meat nights, when we eat different kinds of meats like camel or in this circumstance, rabbit. The hunting process turned out to be fairly simple, taking place in the old Bab al-Louq market downtown. Unlike forests where one must watch out for witches and outlaws, the main danger at this market is inhaling the noxious fumes emanating from various stalls and patches of earth, smells frightening in their strength and physical proximity to food. The market’s ceilings are bizarrely high since it used to have two stories, and a deep feeling of faded grandeur pervades the place. It feels a place half-forgotten with characters that defy being swept away by time, sticking around year after year in the dimness as the place becomes more dilapidated and the smells multiply on top of one another like flies on the vegetables. The venue is available for weddings and bar-mitzvahs, if you’re interested.
We entered the cavernous market with the goal of getting us a rabbit, and find one we did at a certain butcher stall. To the left of the front counter was a tall narrow cage with different levels, the top one holding all of our furry rabbit friends. After we asked for a kilo of rabbit meat (we as in the fellow I was with), an eight year old climbed up the side of the cage, reached in, and grabbed a fluffy white bunny. It was at this point that I remembered the short story I had written so many years ago, and stopped to ponder how it was my life had led me to this point. “Capitalism,” I concluded. But then things got interesting, kind of. The boy took the bunny to the back of the stall, a long knife in his hand. To make an obvious story shorter, moments later the white fur was streaked with blood, and a few minutes after that we left the market carrying a little over a kilo of chopped up rabbit meat neatly packaged in a Styrofoam container.
Later that evening we ate a rabbit stew that was actually quite tasty, though I have to admit one of the reasons I liked it was because it reminded me of the meal Sam cooked for Frodo when they were on their way to Mordor, except for they had two rabbits that Gollum had caught for them, and we just had the one that an 8 year old had killed and skinned for us.