Authors: Tamsyn Murray
I don’t know what happened when we got to our room. One minute I was backflipping from one bouncy double bed to another and accidentally knocking over EE’s signed photo of Gloria. The next, I was fast asleep and dreaming about meeting up with Mickey and Minnie Mouse in the hotel bar and before I knew it, the sun was peeping through the curtains and Susie was shaking me awake.
‘Time to rise and shine, Harriet,’ she said, smiling down at me as she clipped me into my harness and attached the lead. ‘You’ve got a big day ahead of you.’
EE frowned. ‘Are you sure she can’t escape from that? It doesn’t look very tight.’
‘She’ll be fine, Dad. Harriet’s a good girl these days, aren’t you, Harriet?’
EE didn’t look convinced, but then he caught sight of his watch. ‘We’d better get a move on or we’ll miss breakfast.’ He rubbed his hands together and licked his lips. ‘I’m really looking forward to it.’
When the waitress arrived at our table with the food, I understood exactly why EE had been so eager to get down to the dining room. His plate was piled high with bacon, egg, sausages and beans and there was a glistening slice of fried bread on the side.
Susie shook her head, eyeing the bulge of his tummy under his shirt.
‘You’re supposed to be on a diet, Dad. Mum will be cross when she finds out you haven’t stuck to it.’
EE tucked his napkin into his shirt and licked his lips. ‘There’s something you need to learn, Susie.’ He paused to wave his fork at her. ‘What happens on tour, stays on tour.’
‘What does that mean?’ Susie asked, with a puzzled look on her face, but I had a sneaky feeling I knew what he was getting at. Basically, he meant no telling tales about the tour once we were back at home.
EE pushed a forkful of food into his mouth. ‘It means that diets are off the menu,’ he said, his voice muffled by bacon and beans. Then he swallowed and tapped the side of his nose in a secretive way. ‘It means you keep mum to – er – Mum.’
While they carried on chatting, I looked around at the other guests. Over by the fresh fruit was an actress from a soap opera. I nibbled my carrot thoughtfully, should I wriggle out of my harness and pop over for a friendly chat? After my triumphant entrance the night before maybe I could give her some tips on wowing the paparazzi.
I looked at EE and Susie, they weren’t paying me the slightest bit of attention. Very carefully, I shuffled around in my seat, working the harness and lead over my shoulders. With another quick glance up to make sure no one was looking, I shook the harness off and hopped on to the floor.
Nose twitching, I set off towards the actress. From the smell of things, she was having apples and pears, my two favourite fruits. With a bit of luck she might be in the mood to share.
I was so busy drooling that I didn’t pay much attention to where I was hopping. So I didn’t see a waiter weaving towards me with a silver tray loaded with plates of all kinds of breakfast food. I might not even have noticed that I was next to Miranda and Doodle’s table, if Doodle hadn’t spotted me and lunged, her teeth bared in a threatening growl. I leaped sideways and her fangs missed my fur by centimetres.
The waiter wasn’t so lucky. As Doodle turned her head for another snap, her mouth crunched on the poor man’s leg. ‘Ouch!’ he yelped and threw his arms up in the air.
Doodle let go of his leg and looked innocently around. The tray spun, sending the plates somersaulting in one direction and the food in another. We all gazed upwards as, with a loud crash, the plates clattered into each other and fell to the floor. A second later, the food landed too, but not on the rich red carpet. Instead, eggs and bacon splattered wetly on to the glossy head of the actress.
She let out a disgusted shriek. Holding his leg, the waiter yelled at Doodle. Miranda shouted at the waiter. Another waiter rushed over and began to pluck bits of egg out of the actress’s hair. In the midst of all the excitement, everyone seemed to have forgotten about me. Deciding it probably wasn’t the best time to speak to the actress after all, I hot-footed it back to my table, where EE and Susie were craning their necks to see what the fuss was about.
‘What’s going on?’ EE said, peering across the dining room.
‘I don’t know,’ Susie replied. ‘Something about a rabbit, I think.’
As one, they both turned to stare at my chair. I gazed back at them, nibbling at my carrot as though I’d been there the whole time.
‘You don’t think—’ EE began, with a suspicious look on his face.
Susie shook her head crossly. ‘Honestly, Dad, you can’t blame Harriet for everything. She hasn’t moved from her seat!’
EE studied me for a moment, then blinked and shrugged. ‘I suppose you’re right. Now, how about a bowl of cornflakes?’
I kept my head down during the briefing and spent most of it snuggled on Susie’s lap, ignoring the evil looks that Miranda and Doodle were sending my way. Gloria did a lot of talking about where we had to be and when. EE stared at her like she was telling the most exciting story ever, nodding his head and clapping louder than anyone else at the end.
‘Gery vood, Gloria,’ he babbled, as she walked past us on the way out.
She flashed him a puzzled smile, then glanced down at me and Susie. ‘All set for the dress rehearsal this afternoon, Harriet? I hope you’ve got some extra-special moves planned.’
I stood up on my back legs and waved my paws eagerly. I had lots of ideas for ways to wow the audience. Maybe you couldn’t teach old dogs new tricks but Stunt Bunnies learned fast!