Saturday, September 23, 2017

4.The Wabbit and the Suspended Wait

The Wabbit squinted at the display on the metro platform. It flickered and died. He planned on catching the last train from Paradise and it had proved a long wait. "I seem a long long way from Paradise," mused the Wabbit thoughtfully. The Wabbit had read all the advertising on the platform and even ventured to the other platform to see if they were any different. He'd counted the steps on the escalator, which proved difficult - although not impossible. He'd even pressed the emergency red button but the system was automatic and seemed to know he was wasting time. His ears pricked up. He could hear a distant meowing and didn't bother to turn. It was unmistakably Skratch, and what he was doing there was anyone's guess. "Wabbit! Wabbit!" shouted Skratch. "The service is suspended. There's no last train." The Wabbit shook his head, because he could hear something else. The display flickered back and stated a train was approaching. The Wabbit glanced to his right. Air pushed a chocolate wrapper along the tracks and it danced a merry jig. "Skratch!" shouted the Wabbit, "that must be false news. The train's coming!" Skratch leaped to the Wabbit's side. "The Carabinieri told me on the way in. I came to get you. We'll take the bus." The Wabbit knew the likelihood of a 36 at this time of night was slim - but suddenly a train drew into the station and doors hissed open. They looked at each other and boarded. Doors hissed shut and the train departed. "There's something weird about this train," murmured the Wabbit ...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

3. The Wabbit and the Denied Delivery

The Wabbit waited near the station all day for the carrots and was about to give up. He'd made various inquiries, all to no avail. The carrots were a special delivery for the Carrot Club annual dinner and he was in charge of ensuring they arrived promptly. Wabsworth's voice startled him. "You gave me a fright," said the Wabbit. "Are you waiting on the carrots?" asked Wabsworth. "Yes," sighed the Wabbit. "They'll be along shortly," replied Wabsworth. "I've been here since the crack of dawn," said the Wabbit. Wabsworth was the Wabbit's android double and knew him well. "You can't predict carrot arrivals." "She said she'd be here," moaned the Wabbit. "Who?" asked Wabsworth." "The Grand Daucus," said the Wabbit. "Perhaps her train is late?" suggested Wabsworth. The Wabbit shrugged twice. "Would you like to try this carrot?" asked Wabsworth. The Wabbit took the carrot and tasted it. "It's nice," he said, "but it's not the Promised Carrot." Wabsworth took it back, stuck it in his fur and murmured, "Let's be on the alert." There was silence except for the sound of trams on wet rails. "I remember my first carrot," said the Wabbit suddenly. "What did it taste like?" asked Wabsworth. "Carrot," replied the Wabbit. Wabsworth dug out the carrot and wiped it on his fur. "Let's finish it." The Wabbit took the carrot, ate it and smiled. "I'll never forget that carrot." "Neither will I," scowled Wabsworth.

Monday, September 18, 2017

2. The Wabbit and the Big Surprise

The Wabbit had another long wait. It was several hours since Lapinette went shopping and there was nothing else for it to lope around with intent. He'd been to the bookshop, two museums and the market. He'd been to the station to look at the trains. He went up on the tethered air balloon and took down on the city to try and see Lapinette. Finally he'd watched a football match on television in a shop window. Just when he'd begun to think she'd never arrive, Lapinette hopped into the square wearing a brand new frock. "Wow!" said the Wabbit, "that's splendid!" Lapinette pirouetted. "I got in the Scottish shop." "I didn't know there was a Scottish shop," gasped the Wabbit. "It's new," said Lapinette. "There are kilts, sporrans, sgian dubhs and claymores." The Wabbit's jaw dropped several centimeters. "They've got haggis, herring in oatmeal, black buns and porridge." "No Irn Bru?" asked the Wabbit. "There's Irn Bru beer," said Lapinette with glee. The Wabbit reeled. "Music?" he asked. Lapinette was waiting for that one. "Pipe bands, Shetland fiddles, traditional folk and Scottish modern jazz!"  The Wabbit hopped up and down. "Where is this place?" You'll never find it," said Lapinette. The Wabbit felt the fabric of Lapinette's kilt and raised an eye in approval. "It's out in Sassi," said Lapinette finally. "Ah," said the Wabbit with a knowledgeable smile, "Nessie lives out there. What's the shop called?" "The Comfy Kilt Ceilidh," said Lapinette.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

1. The Wabbit and the Long Wait

The Wabbit and Lapinette waited for Skratch to emerge from the cinema. He was attending a screening of Andy Warhol's 'Empire', and no-one knew when it finished. The Wabbit stuck his paws in his fur and whistled aimlessly. He was between adventures and Lapinette knew he found that frustrating. She stretched out a paw and pushed him a little since he seemed to have gone into a trance. "Penny for them?" she whispered. "Oh, sorry, Lapinette," said the Wabbit. "I was just recalling when I saw that film." "All eight hours and five minutes?" she asked. "Longer," said the Wabbit sadly; "I took sandwiches - which was just as well, because the projectionist ran it at the wrong speed." Lapinette grimaced. "I'd rather see Night Cleaners," "So would I," smiled the Wabbit. "I've got some blank leader film, we could watch that instead." Lapinette laughed and laughed. Then the Wabbit became animated. "Any news from the Department?" "Nothing" said Lapinette. "No sign of an adventure?" asked the Wabbit. "Not a dicky bird," said Lapinette. An unexpected breeze blew through the arcade and ruffled their fur. "The wind of change?" speculated the Wabbit. "Let's throw caution at it," smiled Lapinette. The breeze vanished as quickly it came. Lapinette's radio crackled. Following a brief interchange, Lapinette turned to the Wabbit "What sort of adventure would you like next?" "Chunky with bright colours," replied the Wabbit.
[The film Night Cleaners is a key experimental British documentary, said to be poorly received by its subjects.]

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

"Is that seat for me?" asked Peggy. Skratch frowned. "It's for our readers, so that they can feel part of the action." I don't think they'll mind," laughed Lapinette. Peggy fluttered onto the spare seat and settled down. "What sort of Adventure were we just in?" she asked. "My goodness, you catch on quickly, Peggy," said Wabsworth. "Why don't you tell us?" meaowed Skratch. "Blow your whistle," added the Wabbit. "I will," trilled Peggy, "It presented a concrete intelligible space in which the spectator was created by the narrative." "Wow," said Wabsworth. Skratch shook his head. "You're thinking of Hitchcock, where form is quite indissoluble from content." Lapinette butted in. "Isn't cine-structuralism all discredited now?" The Wabbit aimed a kick under the table, missed and spluttered that the development of theory had become as restricted as political discourse itself. "Things have gone down the hill," sighed Wabsworth. Skratch purred for a long time. "Perhaps we're the only creatures keeping theory alive." "That calls for a drink," said the Wabbit. He shouted to the waiter. "Please bring menus such that we theoretical heroes might subject them to a syntagmatic analysis." "Subito!" said the waiter, disappearing into the restaurant. "I think we're a hostage to our own hegemony," said Wabsworth. "You're right there, Wabsworth," sighed the Wabbit. Peggy fluttered her pegs. "Anyone like to buy a complete set of Cahiers du Cinema?" "How much?" yelled Skratch.

Monday, September 11, 2017

8. The Wabbit and the Explanation

With the truck back where they found it, the Wabbit was desperate for an explanation. "Peggy," he said; "What do you do with all the stuff you buy and where the Binky do you put it?" Peggy took them on a walk that led through the market to an old building - and she pointed to a colourful sign that said "Peace." Skratch the Cat went over to the door and peered in. "It's full of things, Wabbit," he shouted. "What kind of things?" yelled the Wabbit. "All sorts of useful things," replied Skratch. Peggy ruffled her pegs. "People flog me things and I bring it all here." Lapinette began to understand. "It's an organisation for charity!" Peggy flapped her wings and nodded. "It's for the homeless, the immigrants, the unemployed - all the poor people that have no stuff." Now the Wabbit got it. But there was one more thing he didn't grasp. "Why don't you just give them money?" Peggy looked at him in astonishment. "That would be no fun for a bird like me. Anyway, I'm helping people recycle their stuff." The Wabbit still looked puzzled but Peggy was adamant. "If they sell things to me, they don't really need them." Skratch the Cat continued to look in the doorway and he yelled out. "It's true, Wabbit. People keep far too much stuff they don't need any more, stuff other people need." The Wabbit suddenly grinned an enormous grin with all of his 28 teeth. "Peggy, you're a Saint!" Peggy fluffed up her pegs and sang. "There'll be stuff for every creature. When the Saints go marching in."

Saturday, September 09, 2017

7. The Wabbit and a Hasty Departure

The truck flew down the road with the Wabbit at the wheel. He was smirking and that made Lapinette nervous. He made more speed and the houses seemed to fly past. "There's another!" shouted Lapinette. Skratch stretched out a paw and calmly batted a Skuttle away. It burped as it went and he watched it tumble onto such sidewalk as there was in Casorzo. "Take that for your trouble," he purred. The truck rattled on, but Lapinette was waiting for something and she looked back. Suddenly the sky went red and a dull boom shook the windows. She turned to look at the Wabbit. The Wabbit shrugged and grinned. "Too much ethanol?" asked Lapinette. "Just enough," said the Wabbit; "Old wine, vapour and a spark." "Kaboom," said Skratch stoically. For once Peggy was quiet. Lapinette nudged her. "Anything to flog?" said Peggy with a weak croak. "I have something," smiled the Wabbit. He took a corner at speed and they all clung on. Peggy remained quiet. "Oh Peggy, I'll ask," said Lapinette. "Wabbit, what do you have?" "Well," said the Wabbit. "I have a red second hand truck - possibly stolen and subsequently treated badly." Peggy remained quiet, but Lapinette touched a wing gently. "Deal?" "No deal," said Peggy, "we have to put it back." Skratch began to meaow. "In my old days ..." Lapinette pointed a paw. "We don't want to know about your misspent youth, Skratch." But Peggy wanted to know. "Skratch - did you buy and sell?" "I was in the acquisition business," purred Skratch.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

6. The Wabbit and the Skuttles' Desire

Lapinette waved the Skuttles out and they fell on Peggy's wine like a pack of wolves. "Spo-de-ode!" they cried. But one looked around. "This place looks familiar." The rest didn't care and they tried unsuccessfully to open the flasks. "Who's got an opener?" asked a Skuttle.  No opener could be found but they continued to search for one. "Maybe if we sing," suggested a Skuttle, "then the flasks will open by themselves." "Dusty wine at the end of its time," sang one. "How much per flask for that ratty old wine?" warbled the others. Peggy flounced her wings and chirped. "I only buy, I never sell." The Skuttles scoffed. "We'll take your wine and we'll drink it fine. We'll even put it where the sun don't shine." The Wabbit crept into the cab of the truck and took the brake off. The truck rolled backwards silently - and as it rolled, Peggy, Lapinette and Skratch the Cat jumped in. Peggy threw an opener from the window and the Skuttles lost no time. They were drunk as skunks in two minutes. The truck gathered pace as it rolled backwards down the incline. The Wabbit suddenly started the engine and swerved in a highly aggressive manoeuvre that made the Skuttles turn. But they were too inebriated to do a thing. So they continued drinking. "Spo-de-ode Spo-de-ode, drinkin' wine," they chanted. "Take the wheel, Lapinette," said the Wabbit. He dug in his fur and found what he wanted. "What happens now?" asked Peggy. "Just you wait," smiled Lapinette.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

5. The Wabbit and the Dodgy Truck

They followed the Skuttles until they found what they wanted. They were up to no good of course. Raiding wine trucks was part of their job description. The Wabbit sent in Skratch the Cat and Peggy as decoys - and they strolled happily along the street chatting about movies. "Oh look there," said Peggy in mock surprise. "These creatures might have something to flog." "I'd say they might," meaowed Skratch.  "Anything to flog?" yelled Peggy at the top of her voice. There was no reply from the Skuttles who continued to inspect the cargo. The Wabbit lined up his automatic and carefully shot several holes in the barrels. Wine gushed everywhere and the Skuttles fell on it with gusto. "Spo-de-ode. Spo-de-ode," they yelled and they gulped as they sang. Lapinette leapt into the driver's cabin and started the truck. It lurched as she crashed it into gear and more wine poured out. Now the Skuttles were frantic. "More wine," they cried, "Spo-de-ode. Spo-de-ode. More wine." A Skuttle turned to Peggy. "Do you have any wine?" Peggy had never ever been asked for anything before. "Yes." she chirped. "Someone flogged me a massive Barolo consignment back in '79." "Ooh," said Skratch, "You can't get better." Peggy spread her wings. "It's reserved to me in a cantina. Jump in the truck we'll take you all there." The Skuttles clambered drunkenly aboard. The Wabbit, Skratch and Peggy jumped into the cabin just as Lapinette swerved from the sidewalk. The Wabbit started to sing. "Down in Piemonte where everything's fine, all of these Skuttles will be guzzlin' that wine." "Pass me a drink," said Lapinette.

Friday, September 01, 2017

4. The Wabbit and the Film Intruders

Peggy rushed into the cinema and greeted the few people there. "Anything to flog? You got anything to flog?" The small audience thought this was for charity and viewers rummaged in pockets and bags. The Wabbit was watching the screen. "What is this, Skratch?" Skratch pointed his torch. "It's Casorzo, based on one of our adventures. This is a study clip." On the big screen, Lapinette rained automatic fire on scuttling creatures - and all the while a harmonica wailed the tune that led to their demise. It made the cinema shake - and that's when something caught the Wabbit's eye. A Skuttle quietly dropped from the screen and scuttled between the seats. Then another. "Did you see that?" Lapinette felt something fasten to her leg. "Yow! Get off!" she yelled.  A violent kick from her right foot sent a Skuttle spiraling towards the projectionist's booth. Skratch lashed out too. "Foreground that!" he yelled as he bludgeoned a Skuttle with his torch. Peggy looked down as a creature nibbled her pegs. "Anything to flog?" Her foot stamped down. Her pegs clamped and tightened. "Anything?" A long drawn out screech echoed round the theatre. "Nothing to flog," sighed Peggy. But the Skuttles continued to drop from the screen. One turned insolently. "Spo-de-ode. Spo-de-ode." Then he headed for the door as they all streamed out. "I guess they're not waiting on the main feature," said the Wabbit.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

3. The Wabbit and Cinema Sales

With some folding money under her wing, Peggy hopped along the road asking everyone and anyone if they had anything to flog. So by the time she reached Corso Emanuele, Peggy had accumulated a vast number of useless things and was considerably poorer. The Wabbit and Lapinette shadowed her protectively, stepping in if they thought anyone was taking advantage. Outside the Ambrosio Cinema, they spotted Skratch the Cat volunteering at a film festival. He pounced out immediately. "Only a few seats left, only a few now, roll up, roll up," he yelled. "I'll take the seats," shouted Peggy. "How many would you like?" asked Skratch. He'd sold no tickets whatsoever and he was therefore delighted. "I'll buy your seats," said Peggy, "and anything more you have to flog." Skratch peeled off a ticket and tried to find a programme -  but Peggy showed no interest. "You said seats. I want seats." Skratch scratched his head. "I'm afraid they're all fixed to the floor. But you can sit on a seat and watch the movie." "Yes let's!" said Lapinette, She produced a season ticket from her frock and dragged the Wabbit and Peggy towards the foyer. Peggy protested but Lapinette grabbed a wing and pulled. "A movie is just starting!" shouted Skratch. He led the way with a torch to the front row. "What's the movie called?" murmured the Wabbit. "The Wolf of Wall Street," replied Skratch. "Does he have anything to flog?" asked Peggy.

Monday, August 28, 2017

2. The Wabbit and the Excellent Deal

The Wabbit headed for the market in the company of the bird, who wouldn't go away. "Anything to flog?" repeated the bird. "I'm going to call you, Peggy," chirped the Wabbit. At that moment, they spotted Lapinette, who'd been helping her cousin Vinnie at his sales outlet. Peggy spread her wings. "Anything to flog?" Lapinette was delighted. "As it happens I do." She flicked a colourful piece of fabric that hovered weightlessly in the air. "I can see you're a bird of considerable taste," she said. "This fabric and design is unique. You won't find one like it anywhere." The Wabbit watched all this with humour and waited as Lapinette continued. "My cousin held this back for a buyer but he's lost in Peru. I can let you have it for a song." Peggy trilled a song and held out a wing. "Plus 50 euro," said Lapinette quickly, "It's stain resistant, washable and drip dry." Peggy produced 50 euro in notes and made a grab for the fabric. Lapinette quickly snatched it away and hopped back shouting, "It's uncrushable, travel proof and the colours never fade!" Peggy seized the fabric and a tug of war broke out, which she won. She carefully tucked the fabric in the iron grip of her other wing and gave Lapinette the cash. Lapinette peeled a ten euro note from the bundle and gave it to Peggy. "Special discount. Vinnie says always give one." Peggy held up the ten euro note and waved it at Lapinette. "Anything to flog..?"

Friday, August 25, 2017

1. The Wabbit and Anything to Flog

The Wabbit hopped down the riverside walk as he had done many times. Despite the frequency of his visits he had never met any other on that lonely path. On this occasion, he gazed quietly and critically at the latest graffiti and was about to make a pronouncement to no-one in particular - when he heard a squawk. "Anything to flog?" The creature was bird-like and looked friendly enough. But it kept saying the same thing over and over. "Anything to flog? You got anything to sell me? Anything at all?" The Wabbit shook the bird politely by the wing and tried to think. "I wasn't considering selling," he said. Nevertheless he rummaged in his fur for possibilities and after a while located a battered ruler and a half-eaten salad sandwich. "I'll give you top dollar," said the bird. "Oh, you can have these for nothing," smiled the Wabbit. The bird flapped its wings in dismissal. "A hundred euro for the ruler and fifty for the sandwich." The Wabbit was aghast and tried to put the objects back. But the bird snatched them away, tucked cash into the Wabbit's fur and grinned the broadest grin ever seen on a bird. The Wabbit shrugged and gave up, because it all seemed to be over and he couldn't do much about it. He turned to go on his way, but felt the flap of a wing on his shoulder. "Anything to flog?" said the bird...

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

The Adventure Caffe was electric. The Wabbit still had a quark plasma disk and was waving it around. "Nothing on it, it's deactivated," he said, tapping it on his glass. "Only corrupted old files and a bad copy of "Singing in the Rain." Skratch shouted with glee. "Ephemeralisation! Soon we'll be able to make to do with nothing much at all." Lapinette screwed up her nose. "Maybe that's accidental complexity?" she suggested. Wabsworth shook his head. "Just the opposite. It's accidental essence." Now Skratch was more than excited. "But that's exactly the kind of adventure you just had." The Wabbit twitched his ears. "OK. What was the essence of our adventure and what was accident?" Wabsworth was having none of this. "The accidents were the essence and if you take them away, there wouldn't be any essence left." Lapinette nodded knowingly. "So then our Adventure would be de-essentialised, because the complete adventure was identifiably and substantially accidental." The Wabbit laughed long and hard. "We consistently and persistently maintained accidental essence throughout." Skratch was delighted. "We worked very hard at it. Aristotle would be delighted." The Wabbit looked round impatiently, because no waiter had appeared to serve them. He tapped the disk loudly on the table. Nothing whatsoever happened. "Looks like accidental service," grinned the Wabbit.
[From an idea by Michael Durrant. Mind, Volume LXXXIV, Issue 1, 1 January 1975, Pages 595–600.]

Monday, August 21, 2017

21. The Wabbit and the Quark Stack

"Where are we?" asked Lapinette. "In the quark stack," said the Royal Seal.  "I don't like it here," said an Ice Mouse. "It's all your own fault," said Silkie the Royal Seal. The Wabbit shrugged. He fished in his fur and pulled out an ancient CD player. Then he flicked a quark plasma disk into the player. It began to play an orchestral movement that Lapinette recognised. "Water Music." The atmosphere became damp and a bit sticky. Moisture seeped from the player. Droplets flew up then fell like rain. But it wasn't rain. "That's ours," croaked the Ice Mouse. Silkie laughed. "Take it if you can." The Ice Mouse tried to jump but slipped on a fine plasma film and fell over. "It's anti-rain, said Silkie. The Wabbit grimaced. "That's what the Ice Mice wanted." The Wabbit took the disk from the player and the plasma rain ceased. He put in a different disk. It played "Riders on the Storm" and rained in a tropical manner. Silkie's voice was stern. "Commander, this is what happens when you fail to submit timely mission reports." "It rains?" asked the Wabbit. Lapinette giggled, but Silkie barked, "All this could have been sealed and delivered six years ago." "Water under the bridge," smiled the Wabbit. "Don't let it happen again," said Silkie. The Wabbit plucked the disk from the player then flipped another one in. "I get to keep these, don't I?" "For a rainy day!" shouted Lapinette. And even the Ice Mouse laughed.