Mayor Sandy Stimpson was awakened by a strange noise in the middle of the night on Easter Eve. He grabbed his trusty rifle from the closet and headed toward his kitchen, from where the sound seemed to be coming.

As he peeked through the door, he saw what appeared to be a very large rabbit milling around his kitchen.

“WTH?” he thought.

He got the mutant animal in his scope and put his finger on the trigger.

But right before he pulled it, he saw there was something even more peculiar about this already strange bunny. He was wearing a bow tie and carrying a basket full of something, though it didn’t appear to be eggs.

“Well, I’ll be. He does exist,” the mayor whispered, feeling very much like an M&M discovering Santa — as one usually does in these types of situations.

No longer feeling threatened, the mayor swung open the door to his kitchen and surprised the not-so-mythical creature.

“Excuse me, Mr. Easter Bunny,” the mayor said politely. “I’m assuming you are leaving some tasty treats for my precious grandchildren, but you came dangerously close to being braised in red wine and served alongside the ham and deviled eggs tomorrow.”

The bunny lit up a cigar, and turned to the mayor, exposing a filthy coat with potato chip crumbs stuck in it and what appeared to a very large beer belly, if such was possible on a large make-believe rabbit.

“Trust me,” he said. “You don’t want any of this.”

“Indeed,” said the mayor. “Well, it was very kind of you to bring the kids something. But if you could just leave the basket on the table and hop along now, that would be fine. If we wake Jean up, she’ll have both our hides.”

“Animal skinning jokes?” the Bunny said in a deadpan voice. “Funny.”

The mayor shrugged.

“Listen, Stimpson, this basket is not for your grandchildren, it’s for you.”

“Oh, well, ‘tank you Easter bunny. Bawk Bawk,” the mayor laughed.

“Geez, now ‘80s Easter commercial references. I hope you’re here all week,” the Bunny said as he rolled his eyes. “Listen, mayor, this is serious. It’s not just all Peeps and Cadbury eggs with us Easter Bunnies.”

“Us?” the mayor said. “So there’s more than one of you?”

“Yeah, you may not have noticed, but there ain’t much hippity hop left in this old rabbit. I need help.”

The bunny handed the mayor his basket.

“Listen, mayor,” he said. “Me and my associates visit mayors worldwide and give them tools to help them do their jobs and make their cities a better place.”

“But why?” the mayor asked in astonishment.

“Why do we ‘hop’ around the world and deliver baskets full of sugar to kids right before they are supposed to put on nice clothes and go sit still in church? Some things just don’t make sense.”

“Touche,” the mayor said.

The mayor pulled something out of his special basket.

“A garbage bag?” he said. “Gee tank you, Easter Bunny.”

“You just can’t give that a rest, can you, mayor? Anyway, look this isn’t just any garbage bag. I hear you are a man who hates trash. Am I right?”

“Yes, present company excluded, of course,” the mayor said with a wink.

“I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that. In this bag is the answer to all of your litter and trash problems,” the Bunny said.

“ I’m surprised you are so interested in trash, Easter Bunny,” the mayor mused.

“Yes, despite my appearance, I’m quite tidy. But before you open your magic bag, I have some additional thoughts.

“Go on,” the mayor said.

“I know this is stating the obvious, but this is phase one of the plan,” the Bunny said. “You need more garbage cans and I mean everywhere. Seriously. Can lazy, disgusting litterbugs really be expected to tote a carload full of fast food bags and/or dirty diapers and/or Bud Light cans all the way to the front of a grocery store? Not bunny likely. No, you need cans by every shopping cart return rack in every parking lot at every grocery, drug or dollar store in Mobile. You need them by every park bench, on every street corner on every hill, and in every valley and on top of every mountain top in Mobile,” the Bunny ranted.

“Well, we don’t really have any mountains in Mobile, but I get your point, though you are beginning to sound like someone I know,” the mayor said. “But don’t you think the cans themselves everywhere will be unsightly?”

“No,” the bunny said in an agitated voice. “We will have artists or art students paint them all. They’ll be works of art…. that just happen too occasionally stink.”

“But who will maintain them?”

“I don’t know, if you can’t find the money in the budget for city workers to do it, then have local businesses, schools, etc, ‘adopt’ the cans and have their employees volunteer to change them out once or twice a week. Once all the ‘art cans’ are complete, you could even have an ‘adoption’ party where everyone could bid on ‘custody’ of their can.”

“Hmmm, Bunny, this idea is kind of out there, but I’ll think about it” the mayor said. “Can I look in my magic bag now?”

“Just a second. I have to explain. So phase two is the education part of the campaign. I think that ‘only trash litters’ is a very good slogan, but I think we need to take it to the next level and define what and who ‘trash’ is,” the Bunny said. “Really shame people. I mean really shame them.”

The mayor pulled a large sign out of the bag showing a port-a-potty on it, with the line “What’s nastier than a Sunday night BayFest port-a-potty? Someone who litters.”

The mayor smiled nervously. This Bunny was clearly insane. “OK, well this is interesting. Let’s see what other ‘slogans” you have come up with,” trying to be nice to the Bunny.

The next poster showed a scantily clad toothless woman ‘smiling’ that said: “What’s nastier than a $5 Oakleigh Hooker ready to take $3? A littlerbug.”

“That one’s my favorite,” the Bunny said proudly as he puffed on his cigar.

“Well I get the shaming part, but this may be a little much,” the mayor said, clearly upsetting the Bunny.

Just as he was pulling out another poster with a man looking lustfully at a mini-horse on it, he heard the sweet words of his wife Jean, “Sandy, Sandy, wake up. You’re dreaming about litter again, darling.”

The mayor sat up and bed, and said, “Oh thank goodness. I was having the craziest dream. A filthy Easter bunny was trying to help me solve our litter problem. And it involved hookers and mini-horse lovers, and it was terrible.”

“I know. I was about to have both your hides,” the first lady said before drifting back to sleep.

Terrified, the mayor didn’t sleep a wink the rest of the evening.