We left our camp around 5 PM, hoping to intercept the Bunnies as they began their march from the BMIR radio headquarters to the Man himself.
Hundreds of Burners were already marching in that direction, some of them dressed in pink or wearing bunny ears. Already tensions were high. Our encounters were short and heated, like rival baseball fans trying to keep their cool. We were the crazies, the rebels, the outsiders — the Westboro Baptist Church crashing a gay pride parade.
And we were only just getting started!
We were a ragtag, but enthusiastic crew. There were at least 30 campmates, plus another 20 allies dressed in full Carrot regalia, and perhaps twice that many passers-by whose loyalty we had earned with drinks, an orange hat, and a green bandana.
We had flags and banners, dozens of them, bright and colorful with catchy slogans: “Bunnies make great coats.” Or, perhaps more to the point: “Eat a bunny!”
A woman came up to one of the Carrots and mimed taking a large, obnoxious bite out of her. The rest of us rallied to her aid.
“Friends, not food!” we shouted, until we’d driven her away.
After a short detour to round up some more of our supporters — “Oh, no!” someone shouted, “we forgot the Pirates!” — we marched at full speed toward the Esplanade.
A few of our members had backgrounds in political protest, and knew a thing or two about rallying a crowd. We’d made bucket drums, which we beat in unison as Jonah and Danny took turns leading chants over the megaphone. Jonah was in his element. Over the course of the week, I’d seen him grow more and more at ease in this alien landscape. He had wondered, at first, what it was that I saw in this place, and why I kept returning year after year.
I told him that there comes a moment when the heat, and the dust, and the social fabric strips you down to your truest self, when you stop thinking and just do, whatever it is in your nature to do. This was one of those moments.
Here he’d come, at my insistence, halfway across the country, to the middle of the desert, to lead this ragtag band of Carrots in their futile but valiant resistance against the Billion Bunnies.
“More carrot, less stick!” he shouted.
“More carrot, less stick!” we echoed back.