Wednesday, April 24, 2019

1. The Wabbit and the Interesting News

When the Wabbit was bored, he often hung round the back of Castello del Valentino. The castle now belonged to the Polytechnic and he could sit on the steps and listen to office chat and grin. The Wabbit wasn't an office rabbit in the slightest. His own desk was piled high with uncompleted paperwork and since he was between missions he had plenty of opportunity to catch up. Instead, he sat on the steps in the sun and wondered where the next mission might come from. He yawned and stretched his paws. "Busy busy busy," he murmured. His radio crackled and spluttered. He pulled it from his fur and pushed the talk button. "Sting Dem Radio. Yuh a luk fi DJ Wabbit?"  Wabsworth's voice whined from the speaker. "Very funny Commander, but we have a situation." The Wabbit laughed. "What kind of situation." The radio whined and the Wabbit jabbed 'talk' a few times and tapped the unit on the wall. "It's a carrot situation, Commander," said Wabsworth. The Wabbit sat down and sighed. "Don't overdo it with the carrots, Wabsworth. Just get to the root of the matter." The radio crackled again. "It's not a Club thing, Commander. It's a dangerous carrot incursion." The Wabbit waited and the radio fell silent. Then it hissed. "Are you still there?" "I'm waiting," said the Wabbit. "You'll have to see it for yourself," said Wabsworth. "On my way," sighed the Wabbit.

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

The team assembled for the Adventure Caffè. This time it was in the restaurant high atop the SanPaolo building - and that day, things were quiet. As usual, Skratch was late, because he'd taken time for a prowl around the edge of the viewing platform. This was the highest building in the city and now he was excited. "Hello, hello!" he meaowed. His tail threshed on the floor and he unleashed a delighted screech. "What about our last Adventure?" asked Lapinette. Skratch sat down. "It was in the realm of the hyper real." Everyone leaned back except for the Wabbit, who grinned and called for aperitivi. Skratch continued. "The first effect of the hyper real is vertigo of detail." Lapinette recalled her fall from the bus and nodded vigorously. Wabsworth chipped in. "That is related to simulation where documentary is expressed as narrative." Lapinette giggled. "You speak of the Nouvelle Vague." Skratch purred. "Not exactly. The adventure was rhapsodic as suggested by Barthes. It ran in the poetic register. But the structural dimension gained autonomy, allowing signs to interchange independently of narrative."  The Wabbit rapped on the table. "So the chocolate rabbit moved within the poetic register." Lapinette jumped from her seat. "That granted him desire to drive the bus." "Well I wouldn't stand in his way," smiled Wabsworth.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

8. The Wabbit and the Hidden Depths

Lapinette grabbed the object. The Wabbit gazed at it. "The ancient bejeweled rabbit of Wablantis!" Lapinette looked puzzled. "But there's only one and we already have it." The Wabbit shook his head. "The old legend said that two were made but one was lost." Lapinette laughed. "Well, now we have them both." She tucked the bejeweled rabbit into the back of her frock. A sudden gushing noise took their attention. It seemed to come from beneath the pond. The water lit up. "Illuminations?" grinned the Wabbit. Gushing turned to a roar. Headlights carved a path through the depths. A CGT Turin bus rose to the surface like submarine."Is that our bus?" asked Lapinette?  "I'd say that was definitely ours," said the Wabbit. Lapinette squealed and hopped up and down. "Are our tickets still valid?" The Wabbit laughed. "I think we can work something out." He pointed to the front of the bus. The chocolate rabbit was driving and he waved and changed gears and revved the engine. The Wabbit hailed the bus with a smile. "How do we get on?" asked Lapinette. The bus floated higher and higher until it floated over the surface. The doors hissed open. "After you," said the Wabbit. He lifted Lapinette onto the platform and then jumped on himself. The doors hissed shut. There was a roar and the bus vanished. Diesel fumes hung briefly in the air and died away. Water lilies shimmered and closed over the pond. The bus and its passengers were gone.

Monday, April 15, 2019

7. The Wabbit and the Big Search

The Wabbit and Lapinette followed a path through the woods until they came to a delightful pond with a little bridge. They stood on the bridge for a while and looked at the foliage. The Wabbit grinned. "Whatever it is, I suppose this is the place we'll find it." Lapinette gazed at the pond, which she found quite delightful. "Find what?" The Wabbit jumped into the pond and started to wade. "We won't know until we find it." Lapinette followed suit. She tried to keep her frock dry without success because the Wabbit was turning over every frond and kicking up a stir. He turned over stones. He grasped stalks and shook them. Lapinette did the same and together they worked away for some time. The Wabbit was well aware that the chocolate rabbit had followed them, because he could feel a stare at the back of his head, but he didn't look back. He shrugged. "We're supposed to find whatever it is and that chocolate rabbit will wait here until we do." The day wore on but they hadn't found much. Lapinette complained. "A slug crawled up my frock." "I hope it didn't get far," laughed the Wabbit. Lapinette shrieked with laughter and sprayed the Wabbit with pond water. That's was the moment she noticed something glinting. It was half hidden in the water and covered in sodden leaves. Her cry caused every bird in the woods to flutter upwards. "I found it!"

Friday, April 12, 2019

6. The Wabbit and the Blue River Glen

They followed the rabbit along a path to the bottom of the hill, where mossy steps led to a rapidly flowing river. The rabbit hopped onto a small shingled beach. Then he stepped into the water and stood quietly. He nodded downstream to the woods where the river slowed. The Wabbit looked in the direction of the nod but all he could see were trees. The river was blue and noisy. It should have gargled but it roared like a torrent. The rabbit seemed to hover above the water. "Over there," he said. The noise nearly drowned his voice. Lapinette heard him though. "Over where?" The rabbit nodded again. "Over there." "I suppose we'd better look," suggested Lapinette. The Wabbit scowled. "But what if it's a trick?" He didn't sound happy. He didn't much like woods and remembered the occasion where he'd been tracked through the trees by an assassin. Lapinette hopped forward. "He doesn't look very dangerous." It was then that the Wabbit caught a scent of something very familiar. "He's made of chocolate. White chocolate." Lapinette laughed brightly. "Well there you are, what harm can come from a chocolate rabbit?" The Wabbit wrinkled his nose in suspicion, then called across to the chocolate rabbit. "Will you come with us?" "No," said the chocolate rabbit, "You must go alone."

Thursday, April 11, 2019

5. The Wabbit and the Wooded Glade

All things considered, their landing wasn't so bad. Lapinette fell in a bush which totally broke her fall. The Wabbit dropped on a fence, then bounced onto a path. He saw stars and his eyes went glazed, but although he did a lot of complaining he was none the worse for his fall. Lapinette gave him a shake. "You're all right, Wabbit." The Wabbit sat up quickly. "I'm sure I have a concussion." His eyes swirled. "I have memory, balance and coordination problems." Lapinette tried to poke him in the eye. He swept her paw away with a single deft move. Lapinette laughed. "What is zero to the power zero?" "It's an indeterminate form," growled the Wabbit. "Now tell me where you live?" said Lapinette. "At home," snapped the Wabbit. "Nothing wrong with you," grinned Lapinette. She pulled his paw. "Now, get up!" The Wabbit sprang to his feet, but his eyes were drawn to the path. A figure stood in the distance as still as a statue - and it seemed to be watching. The Wabbit sighed. "Are we expecting Peter Rabbit?" Lapinette looked round and shrugged. "Nope, it's not him." The Wabbit stared at the rabbit and called out. "Who the binky are you?" The rabbit took one step forward and after a long pause, spoke in a hoarse voice. "Welcome to the Lost Glen." The Wabbit groaned. "What's lost about it?" The rabbit did not respond but merely turned on his heel and hopped off down the path. "Better follow that rabbit," murmured Lapinette ...

Monday, April 08, 2019

4. The Wabbit and the Rapid Descent

The bus fell apart. It was a sudden as it was unexpected. The Wabbit and Lapinette had secured partial control and the daring leap over the canal tunnel had been successful. They turned to congratulate each other but in the next moment they found themselves in the open, spiraling down towards a bridge they'd never seen before. It looked like a fancy clothes hanger and it was coming up fast. Bits of the bus flew though the air. A seat narrowly missed the Wabbit. A seat belt buckle grazed his nose. Lapinette automatically grasped for a flying steering wheel, but it whirled from her grasp and fell into the darkness. One of the wheels loomed out of the sky and flashed past her head so close she could smell rubber. The Wabbit tried to see what lay beneath the bridge but it didn't seem to be water - it looked more like concrete. He gritted his teeth and called out to Lapinette. "Brace in the unexpected event of a hard landing," Lapinette gripped her billowing frock and shouted against the roar of the wind. "I'm all braced up." Something red loomed out of the darkness and both of them saw it. The Wabbit spread out his paws. So did Lapinette - but the object veered the Wabbit's way. With a single swipe, he grabbed it and held it tight. "It's the red button!" "What are you waiting for?" screamed Lapinette. "Hit it!"

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

3. The Wabbit, Lapinette & the River Wild

The bus careered down the River Po but when it reached the mouth of the Doro it swerved left and headed across the city. Torrential rain lashed the windows. "Never mind the weather," sang the Wabbit from gritted teeth. It grew chilly inside and the wipers gave up. "As long as we're together," trilled Lapinette. Lights flickered but then held steady. Headlight beams lit the churning water that threatened to engulf them. The Wabbit grabbed at the steering wheel. He managed to budge the bus trajectory slightly and so avoided three bridges. Lapinette poked at the brakes, but there was no response. A heavy wake lay to the back of the bus. Waves washed over footpaths and up embankments. "We seem to have missed all the halts," laughed the Wabbit. "No-one's out tonight!" laughed Lapinette. "Do you think we're late?" grinned the Wabbit. "If we're late, we can take our time," shrugged Lapinette. As if in response, the bus lurched, wallowed for a second and stopped. Water rose above the windows. "Whoa, steady on," groaned the Wabbit. Lapinette jabbed at the throttle. The bus lifted, then skimmed along the surface, bouncing across turbulence like a hydrofoil. But a subterranean canal loomed fast. The Wabbit looked at Lapinette. "Over or under?" Lapinette jumped with both feet on the throttle pedal. "Over the top ..!"

Monday, April 01, 2019

2. The Wabbit and Lapinette Splash Down

The bus made a big splash, but less than the Wabbit expected. He held Lapinette close as the bus poised over a vortex of swirling water that looked like a liquid black hole. The bus was stuck half in and half out. Water raged against the windows. A little seeped in through rubber seals. The windscreen wipers swiped back and forth in a futile attempt to clear the torrent. The Wabbit and Lapinette concentrated, tuned their ears and listened. The engine was still running. The watched the clutch depress and the gears shift. Wheels span and water foamed at the rear. The bus seemed to move up and out of the river but it plunged back. "What's going on?" yelled Lapinette. "It's like a quantum whirlpool," shouted the Wabbit. Lapinette gripped a handrail. "Spiral lasers! Try the lights!" The Wabbit hopped to the controls and located the switch assembly. He turned everything on and off. Nothing happened. Outside, the vortex sucked with enormous force. "Try the vents," shouted Lapinette. "Ah," said the Wabbit. With a mighty cry, he kicked the mouldings until they fell off - and there under a vent cover lay a red button. The Wabbit kicked that too. They heard a sudden change in noise. It was as if they'd switched off a jacuzzi. The vortex died. The whirlpool lost its grip and the river became calm as millpond. The bus shifted gear. Wheels span and it lifted out of the water.  "Phew," smiled the Wabbit, "I'm glad that's over." Lapinette waved to the front as the bus headed down river at a furious speed ...

Friday, March 29, 2019

1. The Wabbit and the Mystery Bus

The bus was a long time coming, so the Wabbit and Lapinette decided to hop home instead. But just as they reached the top of the road, they heard the Sassi bus coming up from the park. Lapinette turned to watch. The lights on the bus shimmered in the distance. "That doesn't look like our bus." The Wabbit turned too. "Maybe it's a new route," he suggested. "Let's take it," smiled Lapinette. The Wabbit shrugged. "What's the worst that can happen?" The bus shuddered to a stop, the doors hissed open and they both hopped inside. The bus took off and careered round the corner at high speed. "New driver?" said the Wabbit. They clung on for dear life as it shot across junctions and through traffic lights. It moved in short bursts like the driver was using the throttle and brake at the same time. The Wabbit decided to go and see the driver and he hopped down the corridor, but when he got to the front, there was no driver. Just an empty seat. The steering wheel twisted and turned by itself. The throttle pedal jerked up and down and so did the hand brake. When the Wabbit tried to take the wheel, an electric shock sent him flying to the back of the bus. He grabbed Lapinette and they tried to lever a door open but to no avail. It was stuck fast. The bus picked up speed. Buildings loomed and vanished. The Wabbit pointed out the front. "The river!" The bus left paintwork behind as it shaved past a bridge and pitched down the embankment ...

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

The Wabbit had spotted a new caffe and given everyone the address. Captain Jenny arrived first and sat down. She looked around for the bar. Wabsworth drifted in and turned to greet Lapinette and Skratch the Cat. Then he spoke to the Wabbit. "Here's Skratch to tell us all what kind of Adventure you just had." Skratch purred and cast an eye over the interior. "Wabbit, I must tell you I don't believe in ferries." The Wabbit was nonplussed. Lapinette hung on the door. "Skratch means you were in a bit of a ferry tale." "Ah," laughed the Wabbit. "I suppose I was." Skratch purred, "Through varied adaptability and intermediality, the ferry tale offered cultural specificity." Everyone nodded knowledgeably. "Yet it transcended time and space," continued Skratch. "Because it had heterotemporality," suggested Wabsworth. "And hereotespatiality," added Lapinette, "since it narrated the space of location but left little residue." Wabsworth had been reading. "The tale evokes an imaginary space but one which is predicated on concrete socio-political events." The Wabbit clapped his paws. "Our ghost ferry was both real and unreal. It existed on paper, in accounts ledgers, and in carefully annotated governmental memoranda." "That," stated Jenny, "is a kind of reality." "Real people got paid," said Lapinette. She pirouetted in the doorway. "Talking of pay, where's the drinks?" asked the Wabbit. Lapinette started to laugh. "Wabbit, this isn't a restaurant - it's a furniture showroom." 
[Inspired by Fairy Tale Films by Pauline Greenhill.  Children’s Literature, Film, TV, and Media, Interdisciplinary Approaches to Literary Studies ]

Friday, March 22, 2019

9. The Wabbit and the Spoils of War

The Wabbit and Jenny stood on the bow of the Lepus and discussed the future of the ghost ship. They had seized it in the night and the unsuccessful souls released by the spectres crowded the deck. With a skeleton crew and a new name, it had orders to sail for Wablantis where its passengers could make new lives. The souls felt substance return to their bodies as they looked across the waves. The Wabbit heard cheering and he smiled a secret smile. Captain Jenny saw it. "You be certain about this, Commander?" The Wabbit shook his head because he didn't really know. The ship was a rust bucket and only vaguely seaworthy - but he thought she'd make it. "They'll have to work together," he shrugged. He looked over the side and into the deep. The spectres were weighed down at the bottom, forty fathom deep and shackled with old iron claws as sharp as razors.  "Last we'll see of them," muttered the Wabbit. Captain Jenny snorted and tilted her pirate hat. "There be more spectres in the City than you can shake a stick at." The Wabbit grinned. "Well they won't be running ghost ferries in the near future." He gazed at the sea. It was super calm, with hardly a ripple. But a shape suddenly surfaced and he shrieked, "No! Another one!" Jenny chuckled. "That be only a trash bag," The Wabbit groaned and hit his head with a paw. "Black sack crossed our path."

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

8. The Wabbit and the Spectral Exorcism

Seaweed crept across the deck until it oozed over Wabbit's feet. The spectres were on board and they didn't look happy. The ramp lifted and closed behind them. The Wabbit murmured into his walkie talkie and the Lepus shuddered as its engines fired. The spectres shed sea spray. The Wabbit kicked the bell and they froze for a moment. "Give up your souls!" yelled the Wabbit. He waved his walkie talkie at them. "And begone you hostile powers." A spectre spread oily arms wide. His voice was between a moan and a sneer. "Make us." The three spectres laughed and pointed and swore. The spectre at the back waved and shouted, "In your fur." Then the spectre at the front stepped forward, shook his ghastly head and clutched himself. "I need to go." A stream of yellow green liquid ran from his cloak onto the deck. Paint bubbled and burned. "Aha ha ha," gurgled the spectre, "that's better." The Wabbit stood his ground. The Lepus vibrated - she was underway, he could feel it. "We're taking you where you can do no harm." For the first time, the spectres seemed alarmed. They shifted uneasily and mumbled curses. They huddled together and spat on the deck. "We'll take your soul!" The Wabbit whacked the bell and yelled. "You'll have to find it first." Now they shrivelled down until their cloaks lay on the deck. "Pray," shouted the Wabbit, "The longer you delay, the heavier your punishment will be." How heavy?" whimpered a spectre." "Heavier than a bad breakfast," snapped the Wabbit.

Monday, March 18, 2019

7. The Wabbit and the Dead Bell Jazz

The Wabbit and Jenny commandeered a small craft. The gentle swell made it bob gently in the water and for a while the Wabbit thought nothing was happening. Jenny took out a packet of Sulphur Soap. "Where did you find it?" murmured the Wabbit. "In a shop," shrugged Jenny. They waited. There was nothing, merely the vague sound of an outboard motor. It was all too quiet and the Wabbit said so. "Maybe it's time, Commander," said Jenny, "Ring the bell." The Wabbit had given little thought to ringing the bell and had brought nothing to hit it with. But he tried to think of the loudest drumming he'd ever heard and came up with Max Roach. He whacked the drum with both paws. It boinged across the water. He hit it again in a series of broken rhythms that echoed from every building on the dock. Jenny gazed across the water. "Here they come." The Wabbit's drumming became frantic. Jenny took out sulphur soap and sprinkled it over the side like goldfish food. She waited and listened then  sprinkled some more. A green glow lit the depths. Three heads emerged from the water, nodding as if entranced. They came close but not too close, swaying from side to side. The Wabbit heard hoarse whispering and he continued to hit the bell. But he was getting tired. "What do we do now?"  Jenny started the motor and the craft crept forward. The spectres wheeled and followed. Jenny grinned an unpleasant grin. "Keep playing, we're going to the Lepus."

Friday, March 15, 2019

6. The Wabbit and the Big Ship's Bell

The Wabbit didn't think he'd have much bother getting a bell. The docks were full of ships and most of them had large brass affairs, heavily polished by the ship's cook. He snuck aboard the bow of the handiest ship and located the bell with ease. But he hadn't reckoned with the weight. He tried to ease it down but when it came loose, it nearly pinned him to the deck. The Wabbit swore quietly with all the seafaring curses he could remember. He reached for a rag on the deck and wound it round the clapper. Then he heaved the bell on his shoulder. "Phew!" groaned the Wabbit, "this must weigh twenty kilos." He lurched onto the pier and the bell swung onto his other shoulder. The rag unwound and the clapper hit the inside of the bell, which duly pealed out across the length and breadth of the docks. He heard a stirring from the bridge and some angry shouts, so he hopped along the wharf at enormous speed. But the faster he went, the more the bell rang. It dropped on his foot and he kicked it in retaliation but that made even more noise. He ducked into an alleyway and pulled the bell behind him. A mob of furious sailors ran past. "He went that way," one of them shouted. "Get him!" shouted another." The Wabbit fished in his fur for a nylon tie and secured the clapper. Then with as much silence as he could muster and a using a minimum of oaths, he rolled the bell towards the city ...