Friday, May 26, 2017

6. The Wabbit and the Labyrinth Hall

"We're here," said the Phantom. "This is it?" exclaimed the Wabbit. "A small thing but mine own," replied the Phantom. "Wow," said the Wabbit. The hall was laid out for a concert but a heavy wraith of disuse hung over the stage. Water trickled down walls. Spectral pillars shimmered in the dappled light. Somewhere overhead, a train rattled past. Organ pipes trembled, giving out faint and discordant peeps. "I sense a terrible sadness," said the Wabbit. The Phantom nodded. "I was born disfigured. But I could sing. So I made this place and sang alone." The Wabbit felt sorry and touched the Phantom's cloak. "I could sing as loud as I liked," continued the Phantom; "The trains above covered every sound." The Wabbit was agog. "But what about the organ? What about accompaniment?" The Phantom suddenly smiled. "My niece, Krypticia used to play, but she is long departed." The Wabbit shook his head. "Well you can't stay down here in the dark, singing on your own." The Phantom laughed for the first time. "You're a very nice rabbit," he said; "But I may not leave. I'm afraid ... I'm afraid I'm a ghost." The Wabbit laughed too. "I'm not giving up on you." "Then what shall we do?" asked the Phantom. "I have a vague idea," said the Wabbit ...

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

5. The Wabbit and the Opera Portal

"This doesn't look right," said the Phantom. "Keep playing!" said the Wabbit. The Phantom picked his way along his Dobro until his cloak grew frayed. Somewhere a train slid through. Lights flickered. Opera lovers passed. And still the money kept coming in. The Wabbit started to sing. "Underneath our fur today." "We've got cash with which to pay," replied the Phantom. "But they won't let us in," shouted the Wabbit. "No! They won't let us in!" yelled the Phantom. "It's our skin," screamed the Wabbit. The Phantom threw his cloak wide as he addressed the opera goers. "My skin's seen better than this." The Wabbit leaned forward, hissed in a stage whisper and pointed to the Phantom. "His skin is better than this." Applause rang out. Coins made a clinking clanking sea on the sidewalk. "Don't stop," smiled the Wabbit. The Phantom sang like he'd never sung before. "Please don't reject me. Let the night digest me." Now there were more opera goers outside than inside - and they crowded round. "Tell me the way, to my next opera show," sang the Phantom. "In his grotto he will play. In his grotto he will play," sang the Wabbit. A gasp rose from the audience as a train passed through the front of the theatre. Everything shook. The Wabbit gripped the Phantom's cloak. Then he hung on tight as the theatre dissolved ...

Monday, May 22, 2017

4. The Wabbit and the Phantom Portal

The Wabbit and the Phantom searched the Metro high and low, without success. They scoured every platform and every doorway, but no portal appeared. "Maybe we could conjure it up?" suggested the Wabbit. He produced two guitars from his fur and offered one to the Phantom. "Give me a note," he said and he strummed a few chords. The Phantom produced a credible note and the Wabbit nodded his head. "We can't find the Phantom's labyrinth," he sang; "And we don't know what to do." The Phantom bottle-necked the strings and slid up and down the frets. "So we’re stuck here for eternity, as the trains come rumbling through." A train arrived at the platform and the doors slid back with a whoosh. The Wabbit grinned and tapped his feet. "Metro trains go up and down. And that ain't nothin' new. But the labyrinth lies so deep below. It can never be in view." "Oooh Oooh," chanted the Phantom. "Oooh oooh," sang the Wabbit. Passengers came and went - and as they passed, they threw down money. "How much have we made?" murmured the Phantom. "About 25 euro," said the Wabbit. "Let's do it again," said the Phantom. With a twang of his guitar he launched into another tune. "If I can find my labyrinth, an opera we will score." "We'll make a lot of money," yelled the Wabbit; "and we won't have to work no more." As the money piled up, the platform shimmered and passengers dissolved into shadows. The Wabbit felt a heavy pull on his fur. He leaned towards the Phantom. "I think we found your portal." That was when they vanished - and the money with them.

Friday, May 19, 2017

3. The Wabbit sings the Phantom

"Over here," said the Wabbit. The Phantom jumped. "What's up?"" asked the Wabbit. "I lost the way to my underground labyrinth," wailed the phantom. The Wabbit shrugged. "It can't be hard to find." He looked around. "Maybe we're on the wrong platform," he murmured and he touched the Phantom lightly on the cloak. "I am cruelly disfigured," moaned the Phantom. The Wabbit smiled. "Don't worry, anything goes nowadays." "No," said the Phantom; "I dare not show my face to ask the way." The Wabbit smiled. "I'll lend you a helping paw. Is there a door?" The Phantom shook his head sadly. "Well that's why you can't find it," said the Wabbit. He looked around once more and his ears swayed in search of a portal. "Are we in the right station?" "I can't remember," said the Phantom. He burst into tears. The Wabbit produced a handkerchief. The Phantom mopped his single eye. "We'll try all the stations until we find it," said the Wabbit. "You're so kind," said the Phantom; "I'll sing you a song." "Steady on," laughed the Wabbit. "I'll sing 'The Point of No Return'," insisted the Phantom; "Will you join me?" He burst into tune and so did the Wabbit. "I had no doubt," sang the Phantom, "that you'd do your best." "It's true my voice is good," sang the Wabbit. Then hand in paw they walked along the platform and onto the escalator ...

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

2. The Wabbit and the Metro Phantom

The Wabbit drifted down the escalator thinking about the Phantom of the Metro. He knew the newspaper article was arrant drivel. But all the same - you could never really be sure. Without warning the lights went out. After a few seconds, emergency lights flickered on - but illumination was sparse and spooky. That was when the Wabbit heard the music. He didn't like certain kinds of songs from musicals and he wrinkled his nose. Notes swept around the station. The Wabbit tried to be benevolent. "It's good of the Metro staff to provide music," he thought; "But jazz would be better." He could catch some lyrics and his ears bent back. "Poor fool, poor fool, poor fool is he," said the notes. The Wabbit was appalled so he addressed the empty station. "Fools rush in!" he yelled. The station was still, but something was coming down the escalator. The Wabbit knew it without turning back. "Shame shame," came a mournful cry. The Wabbit sighed. "I'm right out of sympathy today. I just want to go home." The apparition gurgled a hoarse laugh. "Are you afraid of me?" "I'm afraid not," shrugged the Wabbit. The apparition moaned. "Then turn rabbit, and witness my distress." The Wabbit did not turn, but he spoke at the gloomy station platform. "Are you the Phantom of the Metro?" Air shifted around the Wabbit as the apparition swept past. "Follow me," it moaned.

Monday, May 15, 2017

1. The Wabbit and the Metro Mystery

The Wabbit stuck his paws in his fur and smiled a wry smile. With no word from the Department of Wabbit Affairs, he was between adventures. He hated between adventures. "Wabbit!" The Wabbit refused to jump because he knew it was Lapinette. She threw her arms out and kissed him. "I thought you might be here," she laughed; "So what do you fancy doing?" The Wabbit's smile was lop sided. "I feel like having another adventure." Lapinette pirouetted. "You can't always have adventures. You need some free time." "Ah," said the Wabbit: "I dislike free time. I'm obliged to enjoy myself." Lapinette pirouetted again. "Can't have that, can we?" "Nothing on the squealer?" sighed the Wabbit. "Squawk box," laughed Lapinette. The Wabbit frowned. Lapinette continued. "There was a story in the Torino Bugle about the Phantom of the Metro." "I always disliked that show," said the Wabbit. "That's Phantom of the Opera," said Lapinette. She hopped in the air and made a show of playing the organ. Nonetheless, the Wabbit was interested. "The Torino Bugle is full of fake news," warned Lapinette. "Mmmm?" asked the Wabbit. "Like Pavarotti is alive but on the moon," suggested Lapinette. "It's for the best," muttered the Wabbit. A sudden shriek from the bowels of the Metro set the Wabbit's fur on edge. "Mice?" said Lapinette ...

Friday, May 12, 2017

At the Wabbit's Adventure Caffè

It was the nearest bar that looked open and they flocked. Skratch the Cat mysteriously arrived to join them and he raised his paw in his usual greeting. "How did you know we were here?" shouted Lapinette with glee. "I'm a feline," smiled Skratch; "I know everything." The Wabbit embraced Lapinette while addressing Skratch. "In that case, you can tell us what kind of adventure we just had." Skratch nodded gravely. "It was mostly bleak and dystopian. Yet it provided hope." Mitzy pushed at the bar door. "I hope this place is well stocked." The Wabbit drew back a chair for Lapinette. "It was a traumatic encounter with the forces of ennui." Skratch nodded. "The dystopian elements of the No society were more than a backdrop. There is tragedy - writ large." He shook his head. Fitzy grunted and rattled the stuck door. "It'll be a tragedy if I can't get drink." Tipsy had somehow acquired a glass of prosecco, which she drank too quickly. She hiccupped. "The No's created a negative spaysh and we hopped right shrew it." Skratch raised his paw again. "Tipsy is right. The Adventure may have been bleak. But once drawn out, the enemy allowed itself to be persuaded." "Aha," said Lapinette. "Our Yes was already implied in their No." "That's what Camus said," sighed the Wabbit; "So shall we break the door down?" "Yes," shouted Lapinette.
[The Wabbit refers to the essay by Camus Betwixt and Between ] 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

10. The Wabbit and the Light of Day

The day was fine and things were almost normal. Cars whizzed past. Buses throbbed at bus halts. The placards suffered the fate of most placards after a big event and lay dirty on the asphalt. "I'm glad that's all over," said Lapinette. She breathed a sigh of relief. So did the Wabbit. "I'd rather fight every monster in the Sombrero Galaxy than deal with negative ninnies." Lapinette slipped her paw into his and smiled. Her personal guard danced alongside a waiting bus and entered by the exit. "The Wabbit shook his head in amusement. "Good thing Wabsworth's not here. He'd smoke 'em." Lapinette grinned. "He'd have to get past me first." "Then I don't fancy his chances," nodded the Wabbit. A sudden flapping of cabbage wings and breathing of fire heralded the arrival of Terni the Food Dragon. "Wabbit! Well done." The Wabbit looked up. "We didn't do so much." "Negativity brings its own reward," said Lapinette. Terni circled three times and dropped down for a landing. "Caffès are open!" yelled Tipsy; "Let's stock up." "Fruit's follicles," said Fitzy; "It's aperitivi time." Doors hissed on the bus. The Wabbit looked up. "Terni, can we hitch a lift?" Terni shook with laughter and breathed a jet of flame. "All aboard for the magical mystery tour!" "Just take us for a drink," said Lapinette - and they laughed and laughed and laughed.
[smoke: military jargon.  To punish with excessive physical work due to a minor infraction.]

Friday, May 05, 2017

9. The Wabbit and the Yes Response

Daybreak provided the Wabbit and Lapinette with the perfect opportunity. The No placards assembled for a rally and the Wabbit smiled wryly as they packed themselves in. He lifted his radio. "Whiskey Alpha Bravo to Control." Fitzy's voice crackled. "Copy." "Can you transmit some old, scratched film leader?" said the Wabbit. "Of course," said Fitzy; "Anything else?"  The Wabbit would have laughed out loud but for the circumstances. "That's a yes," he answered. The screen filled with a dusty image - and superimposed was the word 'Yes'. It appeared, faded, disappeared, then faded back, flickering like Christmas lights. The Wabbit nodded to Lapinette. She pressed a button on her radio. Security doors slammed down with an alarming crash. The Wabbit lifted a paw. Tipsy emerged from the midst, holding a giant placard. "Yes," she boomed; "Yes, yes, yes!" For a moment confusion reigned. The No placards looked at the screen because they didn't know where else to look. They were transfixed. The screen flickered Yes relentlessly. One placard muttered 'Yes?' in an uncertain fashion and a few others joined it. But most stared helplessly. "Can you see it?" yelled Tipsy. The placards shifted uneasily. "Mmm maybe," they murmured. "Then can you say it?" shouted Tipsy; "Can you say it, and say it loud?" "Yes!" chanted the placards. Tipsy hopped up and down. "Then my work is done."

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

8. The Wabbit and the Attack of No

Lapinette glared at the placard, then took out a crayon and wrote Yes. The Wabbit grabbed one too, and did the same. At that moment everything changed. The sky became red and bathed the streets in a post nuclear glow. There were more Nos than you could shake a stick at and flight seemed advisable. Lapinette and the Wabbit took to their heels and ran, but the Nos vaulted along the street like pole jumpers. "Yes, yes yes," shouted the Wabbit and he gripped his placard tight. "No to the Nos!" shouted Lapinette. The No placards shouted too. "All hail the dawn of No!" The Wabbit hopped faster. "I don't like the sound of them." Lapinette swerved to the left. "Maybe we can change them!" The high pitched howls of the Nos shattered glass all around. The Wabbit shook his head. "No way." Lapinette puffed and panted but disagreed. "We can backwards map them." The Wabbit kicked a No placard backwards. It snapped and it fell to the ground. "Just like that," smirked the Wabbit. Lapinette didn't agree but a placard hit her on the head. She lashed out. "Take that, you negative ninny!" It flew straight through a shop window and lay in a crumpled heap. The No placards fell back. "They don't like it up 'em," laughed the Wabbit. Lapinette grinned. "Let's get ahead and we'll cut them off at the pass." "Then bushwhack them?" shouted the Wabbit. Lapinette rubbed her head. "I was thinking bulldoze." 

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

7. The Wabbit and the Trouble with No

The Wabbit and Lapinette scouted the city for any sign of trouble and trouble didn't take long to find. "What's this?" asked Lapinette. "I don't rightly know, ma'am," drawled the Wabbit. He lifted his radio. "This is Whiskey Alfa Bravo. Come in." The radio crackled for a while, then whined. "Copy," said Fitzy. "You got any Nos?" said the Wabbit. Reception was poor. "No," said Fitzy; "Only a couple of Nots." "What are they doing?" hissed Lapinette. "Nothing," said Fitzy. "Stand by," said the Wabbit. He shut the radio down, cupped his paws round his mouth and yelled. "Who goes there?" Silence. He tried again. This time a low voice answered. "No-one." The Wabbit bared his 28 teeth and stared into the darkness. "What do you want?" A long pause ensued, broken by a small sigh. "Nothing," The Wabbit shrugged. "When do you want it?" "Never," said the voice. Lapinette leaned across to the Wabbit and whispered. "That's metaphysics." Now the Wabbit was deep in thought. He recalled arguments in his philosophy class about whether the class was there at all - and he smiled. Then he turned and shouted. "You can't have a blanket No. It's an abstraction." The Wabbit expected no reply, and that's what he got. He kicked a fallen placard. Lapinette stooped to pick it up, but the placard wriggled and twisted in her paw. "Put me down," said a voice. "No," said Lapinette.

Friday, April 28, 2017

6. The Wabbit and the Phantom Call

They searched the deserted city for supplies and found some curling sandwiches in the station bar. Fitzy located a jar of pesto. Lapinette spread it equally around with an edged weapon she pulled from her frock. "Maybe everyone in the city shot through," said the Wabbit. "Like Spartacus," said Lapinette. "Did Spartacus shoot through?" asked the Wabbit in astonishment. Lapinette smiled. "Apparently." She handed the Wabbit her knife. "What? He just upped and left," muttered the Wabbit. The telephone rang. "Maybe it's Spartacus!" said the Wabbit. The phone rang again wildly and jumped off the hook. The Wabbit caught it. "Is that Spartacus?" "No way," said a voice. The Wabbit thought for a second and played with the telephone cord. "Maybe you'd like to speak with Lapinette." Lapinette shook her head violently and took back her edged weapon. "No," said the phone. The Wabbit shrugged and offered the handset all around - without success. He placed his mouth close to the phone, covered it with a paw and whispered. "No-one wants to speak to you." "Good," said the phone. The line went dead and the Wabbit replaced the handset. "The telephones are working at least," sighed Lapinette. The Wabbit lifted the phone and listened. There was no line. It was completely dead. "Whoever that was, they shot through." The Wabbit took Lapinette's knife, grasped the phone cord and smiled. "Noooo!" shrieked the phone. "Just checking the line," said the Wabbit.
[term: "shoot through": An Australian expression for leave or get out, usually without warning.]

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

5. The Wabbit and a Backup Generator

The Wabbit's secret dump was locked and they had to force their way in. Downstairs a commotion raged. "There's definitely something in the store rooms," shouted Tipsy. "I heard a voice," yelled Fitzy. "Let's shoot the shibblet!" shouted Mitzy. The Wabbit listened carefully, then he started to laugh. "Did you disturb my box of old tape recorders? Unless Woody Guthrie came to call." Lapinette's personal guard had a reputation for ferocity and the three brandished their weapons. "He'll never get past us!" Lapinette made reassuring noises. The Wabbit shrugged. "I'd take you all to a caffè but they're closed." The lights flickered, dimmed, went out, then flickered dimly on again. The Wabbit scowled. "Tipsy, can you check the back up generator?" "Woody can check it for me," grinned Tipsy. She disappeared through a door. They heard three curses and a yell, then several bangs, followed by the chatter of a generator. "Let there be light!" shouted Tipsy. Everything brightened.The Wabbit sat on the munitions box. "What the binky is going on?" Fitzy shook her head. "The No people won the election." "I never heard of them," said Lapinette; "What do they advocate?" "Nothing, no thing, not anything" said Tipsy. "No way, no hay," said Fitzy. "Dirty rotten sons of saveloys!" cursed Mitzy. "How will we find them?" asked the Wabbit. "We stop at nothing," replied Lapinette.
[Saveloy: a seasoned sausage, often sold battered in fish and chip shops]

Monday, April 24, 2017

4. The Wabbit and the Rural Route

Lapinette sped through the night - taking a variety of routes suggested by the Wabbit.  The Wabbit's knowledge of parks in Rome was idiosyncratic and his routes inventive. His teeth chattered as Lapinette bounced along a rough footpath and climbed a steep hill. The jeep shot into the air as she crested it. "Yow!" gasped the Wabbit. "You said to go to Aurelia this way," shouted Lapinette. Gears crashed and wheels span. The jeep slammed on the lower slope and shot through the woods. The Wabbit remembered that Lapinette trained in the Panzer Division and knew how to treat a gearbox. So he held on tight and flicked a switch on his radio. It crackled aimlessly. "Nothing doing," scowled the Wabbit and he struck it with a paw. It whined and gurgled, then Tipsy spoke. She was barely audible but the Wabbit could decipher some of her more colourful expressions. He hit the radio again. It crackled optimistically. Then it died. "Batteries," cursed the Wabbit. "There's parks all the way?" enquired Lapinette. "For the most part," said the Wabbit. Lapinette gritted her teeth and stamped on the throttle. "We have a small diversion through a convent," said the Wabbit. "After that there's a market garden, a seminary, a playing field..." The Wabbit's eyes narrowed. "Plus a bit of rough ground, nobody knows what it's for." "Then?" asked Lapinette. The Wabbit shrugged. "Then we'll use the flower beds..."

Friday, April 21, 2017

3. The Wabbit in the Cancelled City

Every road in Rome was blocked by abandoned cars. The Wabbit and Lapinette drove the river bank until Ponte Garibaldi, where they ran out of gas. "Lucky we found that old NATO gas cannister," murmured the Wabbit. Lapinette grinned. "You mean took." The Wabbit's definition of "found" could be fairly flexible, but every pump in every filling station was chained up. Lapinette looked back at the bridge. "There's the No 8 tram." "I think tram lines have been cancelled," said the Wabbit. His radio crackled. "Commander, come in please." The Wabbit looked at Lapinette. "It's Tipsy." "What's my personal guard doing here?" asked Lapinette. The Wabbit lifted his radio. "Tipsy. What do you hear? What do you say?" He held the radio away from his ear. Lapinette could only make out expletives. "Where are you?" asked the Wabbit. "At the Aurelio dump, with Fitzy and Mitzy," crackled Tipsy; "Rome's a soup sandwich. Better get over here." "Wilco," said the Wabbit. He was about to shut off the radio when it crackled again. "One teensy weensy urgent thing," said Tipsy. "Where's the booze? All the bars have been cancelled." The Wabbit sighed. "Under the C4 in a box marked 'Open in case of emergency'." "Out," said Tipsy. Lapinette stood on the brakes. "Let's get going before that booze is cancelled." She gunned the throttle and the jeep slewed round in a perfect arc. "Across the park and down the hill?" suggested the Wabbit. "You navigate," said Lapinette...
[soup sandwich: (military slang) Anything that's gone stupendously wrong.]