Wednesday, May 25, 2016

4. The Wabbit and the Upper Hand

The Wabbit suddenly turned and the severed hand jumped back. Wabsworth tentatively touched flesh that felt clammy and yielding. The Wabbit sneered and shouted, "What do you want?" For a moment the hand hung like a flap. Then fingers traced the outline of a piano and pecked at the Wabbit's fur. Music filled the arcade with wrong notes that growled and howled. Everything was off key. The hand jarred and twitched and the five fingers pinched. The Wabbit bared 28 teeth and snapped viciously. The hand retreated and bumped into Wabsworth with its stump. Wabsworth brushed it off and spoke up. "Perhaps you'd like a nice ring? I can get you five if you like." A forefinger wagged negatively and made another shape. "It wants a piano," said the Wabbit and he mimed playing one with his paws. "Skratch the Cat can get a piano," said Wabsworth quickly, "he can get anything." "He can get you sheet music, too," said the Wabbit. "And a stool," added Wabsworth, immediately regretting it. Nonetheless, the hand seemed enthusiastic because his fingers were all of a flutter. The Wabbit hummed the Last Concerto but now the hand was far from pleased. It wagged a forefinger at the Wabbit and made a move for his ears. Wabsworth grabbed the arm and twisted, the Wabbit forced the thumb backwards - and together they wrestled the hand down. "It's time to face the music," smiled the Wabbit.

Monday, May 23, 2016

3. The Wabbit and the Five Fingers

Wabsworth and the Wabbit scurried from the cinema with the disembodied hand in hot pursuit. "I need information!" yelled the Wabbit. Wabsworth was an android copy of the Wabbit and resembled him to a point. But where the Wabbit's memory was concerned, he was quicker. "Symbolically, hands can mean justice." "I was just going to say that," said the Wabbit, "but what about fingers?" The hand flexed fingers and showered them in nail clippings that hooked into their fur. A nail scraped viciously on glass. The screech crashed down and chewed the sidewalk. "It's not a helping hand," yelled Wabsworth. He grabbed the Wabbit's fur and hauled him along the gloomy arcade. "I guess handcuffs aren't going to work," moaned the Wabbit. Five fingers drew a series of notes on the wall and the arcade rang to a left handed piano concerto. A sharp nail traced a pattern through the Wabbit's fur. The longest finger touched Wabsworth on the ear and he dragged the Wabbit faster. "Any ideas from the movie?" gasped the Wabbit. Wabsworth began to lope. "We could try giving it a ring." "It hasn't got a phone," yelled the Wabbit. "A finger ring!" shouted Wabsworth. The Wabbit looked around for a jewellery shop and rummaged in his fur for a brick. But a finger and thumb pinched his ear in a painful grip ...

Friday, May 20, 2016

2. The Wabbit and the Phantom Hand

In a small repertory cinema in the very centre of town, the Wabbit and Wabsworth took what was on offer. There was no rain as Wabsworth had correctly anticipated, but there was a musty smell like a soggy mop abandoned in a corner. They sat spellbound. A wheelchair-bound pianist had been murdered and to the haunting strains of Bach's Chaconne, his severed single hand crept abroad seeking musical justice. Both Wabsworth and the Wabbit trembled as the hand opened a window, then jumped at a scrabbling sound from behind them. "People just can't behave at the cinema," whispered Wabsworth. The Wabbit pulled a pad from his fur and made a short note concerning the cinema and popular culture. The hand on the screen wrote a note and signed it, then hid itself in a drawer. "Is this the right version?" asked Wabsworth. "Things are mixed up." "Maybe it's one of these restored prints," suggested the Wabbit. On screen, the hand leaped from the drawer to a piano and played jazz in the manner of Thelonius Monk. Wabsworth was spooked and so was the Wabbit. Nails scratched fabric. "I think there's a cat in the cinema," said the Wabbit. The movie hand casually squeezed the neck of a victim. A gurgle ended in a wheeze and the wheeze faded slowly. The Wabbit felt a sudden thump in the back of his seat. "People have no manners," hissed the Wabbit angrily and he turned ...

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

1. The Wabbit in the Weary Weather

The Wabbit bumped into Wabsworth in the city. He could never recall the name of the street and if asked directions, he didn't know the way. "What's this street called?" asked the Wabbit. "I have no clue," shrugged Wabsworth, "shall I look it up using a powerful application?" The Wabbit shook his head. "I don't think it matters. It's near somewhere else." The rain was slight but it was one of these showers that soaked into the fur. Wabsworth shivered. "We need a change of climate. This makes my bones creak." The Wabbit was perfectly aware that Wabsworth was an android, but had long given up figuring his idiosyncrasies. "Me too," he murmured. "Maybe the weather is better over there." He pointed vaguely into the middle distance. "The weather is usually different in the cinema," said Wabsworth. "Oh, I know what you mean," sighed the Wabbit. On his last cinematic visit, the air conditioning was set so low he'd been forced to borrow an overcoat and socks. He thought affectionately of South Pacific and Fahrenheit 451. "I suppose we could go to the movies," he suggested, "so what's on?" "Frozen," said Wabsworth. The Wabbit scowled. Rain swept down from the Alps bearing more than a touch of frost, and they dived into a caffè.  "What will you have?" asked Wabsworth. The Wabbit's response was swift. "Caffè corretto!" "Make that a double," said Wabsworth.
Caffè corretto: espresso coffee with a shot of brandy or grappa]

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Wabbit at the Adventure Caffè

They all approached from different angles. With Nessie arriving for drinks, there seemed to be lots of room so they sat down. Nessie didn't scare the waiters because they knew with the Wabbit, anything could happen. The Wabbit looked at Wabsworth and Wabsworth looked at Skratch. "I didn't like that red wind," said Skratch. "It woke me up." It was that kind of wind," drawled the Wabbit. "Makes your fur itch." "Yep," said Skratch, "everything goes screwy." "Well I'll ask the question." said Wabsworth. He hadn't sat down and looked like he was thinking. "What sort of screwy adventure was that?" he said finally. "Skratch smiled a film class smile. "It bounced around like a cork from a bottle of bubbly." "And then the cat got the cork," smiled Lapinette. Wabsworth put a word in. "Don't be so harsh. Despite its noir pretensions, it wasn't a genre piece. The wind drove it along like a screwed up chocolate wrapping." A light breeze played with the flowers in the pink vase, got bored and moved on. Skratch relented. "The wind is invisible but in the adventure the dust betrayed it. It gave it colour and ammunition." Lapinette's ears swayed gently. "The ghosts used the wind like a freight train and didn't pay." "Better charge it to the dust and let the rain settle it," roared Nessie. A spit of rain spread a damp bead on the tablecloth and it was quickly joined by another. "The rain suggests we drink inside," said the Wabbit.

Friday, May 13, 2016

8. The Wabbit breaks the Surface

The Wabbit heard ventilators closing and the unmistakable sound of bulkhead flappers. "Brace!" he yelled and he hung onto a rail. Number Nine Tram shot up through the river in a cloud of murky spray. A warm glow from the sky embraced them and Nessie roared in delight. "Wabbit, dae ye aye have so much fun?" The air was still gritty. But there were no ghosts. Lapinette dug the Wabbit in the ribs. "What happened to the Ghosts from the Mountain?" "Mi bad bwai take care of dem duppies. Dem run." said the reggae creature. "Galang chase dem back where dey fra." "Forever?" asked Lapinette. "Trubble no set like rain, Cunie," said the reggae creature. "No badda bawl - im soon come back." The Wabbit had completely forgotten the creatures knew him as Cunie, the African rabbit god. He grinned but had a sudden thought. "What about the Roman Centurion sent to guard us?" "A voice spoke from the back. "Yahso fi real." The Wabbit grinned again. "You're not a Roman Centurion at all, are you?" "No," said the Centurion reluctantly. "I'm a time tourist." "That will cost you 500 euro," shouted Nessie. The Centurion paid up quietly. The reggae creature stared at Lapinette and whistled a low whistle of appreciation. "I-Rey! Im frack look gud." "I didn't quite hear that." said Lapinette primly.
[Bad bwai : Bad Boy.   No badda bawl. : No use crying.   Yahso : right here.   I-Rey! Im frack look gud. : Well hello! Your frock is nice.]

Thursday, May 12, 2016

7. The Wabbit chants down Babylon

Number Nine Tram hung in the Late Tunnel and all was relaxed - or so it seemed. Reggae creatures swirled through with a tune and left. But Nessie was agitated and roared. "The Ghosts from the Mountain are still coming." A reggae creature draped himself on a seat. "Yuh no haffi worry - dem jus' bong belly pickney," "That's enough donkya," snapped Nessie, "Babylon dey cum." The reggae creature hummed a snatch of an old Trench Town ballad. "Wha bangarang place yu frahn?" The loudspeakers crackled. "Yuh a chat bagga nonsense," shouted Nine, "opin up yuh iez and listen!" A wind whistled through the Late Tunnel and flung red speckled dust at the windows. Reggae creatures bounded inside, shut everything up and fell silent. There was no music - just the sound of scratching glass. "Heavy manners," murmured the Wabbit. "Look, we can't stay in the tunnel forever," said Lapinette, "we need to stop the wind." "Wi a gwaan chant dem down," said a creature. "That's it!" shouted the Wabbit and he whacked his feet on the floor. "Cole cole wind, wi chant yuh down." They all joined in, making it up as they went along. It was a whole lot of chanting and the wind dropped away to nothing. "So far, so good," murmured the Wabbit.
[Bong belly pickney : greedy children.  donkya : don't care. Babylon dey cum : the enemy is coming. Bangarang : old]

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

6. The Wabbit in the Late Tunnel

Deep beneath the bowels of the Metro lay the Late Tunnel. Known to a select few, this was where streetcars hid from inspectors, waiting to pop up on the surface ahead of schedule. Number Nine Tram appeared momentarily, scooped the Wabbit, Lapinette and Nessie from a platform and disappeared into the Late Tunnel. Loudspeakers crackled. "Welcome to my schedule," said Nine. "You're late," grinned the Wabbit.  "It's you that's early," said Nine. With a hiss of compressed air a door opened and offbeat rhythms floated through. The Tunnel was populated with Reggae Creatures, who's music gave a whole new meaning to the term "late". They happily surrounded Number Nine and played a classic that was strictly roots. There was no red speckled dust and no laughing tricksters from the Mountain of Ghosts. The Wabbit breathed a clean, clear sigh of relief. "Wabbit, Mi waah know a watta guwaan yasso?" said a reggae creature. The Wabbit shrugged. "The wind brought ghosts and they're out to haunt us." "Bun a fyah on dat!" snorted the creature. "Rassclaat duppies," snorted another. The reggae creatures broke into a strident dub that lasted a considerable time. "Whit are they oan about?" asked Nessie. "They're expressing musical outrage at our ghost predicament," said the Wabbit. "Oh aye," snarled Nessie agreeably. "Togeda we gibe dem trubble."
[Jamaican/Rasta patois. Mi waah know a watta guwaan yasso? :  I want to know what's going on.  Togeda : together
Bun a fya on dat : (abusive) Burn a fire on that!.  Raasclat  : (abusive) toilet paper.. Duppy : dangerous spirit/ghost.]

Friday, May 06, 2016

5. The Wabbit and the Laughing Wind

The red speckled dust grew worse and the Wabbit and Lapinette scampered for shelter. Nessie followed close behind and slithered along the station concourse. For a wonderful moment they were free of the dust. Then the vents suddenly opened and dense swathes of red dust filled the building. Dusty spirals burrowed everywhere and whenever they touched glass, they gave out a low sliding laugh. "This isn't funny," coughed the Wabbit.  A spiral slid across his glasses and sniggered. "Laughing ghosts!" bellowed Nessie. Lapinette dodged a feathery spiral as it chortled past. "Wabbit, these must be your ghosts." "Ghosts have no sense of humour," scowled the Wabbit as a spiral crept between his ears. Lapinette stopped. "That's not true. Ghosts play tricks and howl with laughter." The spirals howled and flung red grit at their eyes. "These are daft demons," roared Nessie. Vents chattered and threw more dust. "The Sirocco comes from the Sahara," shouted Lapinette. The Wabbit turned. "They're from the Mountain of Ghosts!" But although the Wabbit had a theory, he was no further forward. One of the spirals exhaled a spray of grit in his face and cackled. The air was unbreathable and as hot as the desert it came from. The Wabbit nudged Lapinette, made an M sign with his paws and gestured down at the rails. Then he put his paws over his scarf and muffled his voice like a station announcer. "All passengers to Level 1 for complimentary biscuits."

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

4. The Wabbit and Nessie's Connection

Lapinette suggested the wooded river and they made their way through the red speckled dust. "Something moved in the trees," said the Wabbit. Lapinette narrowed her eyes, stared through the hazy air and sighed. "I think it's a Roman Centurion." The Wabbit shrugged and pulled his scarf over his mouth. At that moment, the river erupted and spray drenched him from head to foot. "Nessie!" yelled the Wabbit. "You're supposed to home in Scotland." "I took a holiday," roared Nessie. The Wabbit was horrified. "What about the elections?" Nessie smiled a jagged tooth smile. "I voted at the Scottish Embassy." A wail from the river bank pierced the wind. "Do you know him?" asked the Wabbit. "I thought the ghost was with you," replied Nessie. Lapinette had a moment of clarity. "He is always with us." The Wabbit found Nessie's spray invigorating and he soaked his scarf and wiped dust from his face. "So he must be our ghost." Nessie bellowed above the wind. "Does everyone get a ghost?" Lapinette spoke primly. "A ghost is a projection of the unconscious, a reality we disown." "No it's not," shouted the Centurion. The Wabbit half smiled but dust went down his throat. "You can always speak to a ghost." "Speak then," said Lapinette. But the ghost spoke first. "I came to guard you," he called. Then he vanished ...

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

3. The Wabbit and the Ghost Bullet

Lapinette and the Wabbit swept into the caffè but the red speckled wind got there first. Dust swirled in every cranny. The Wabbit called for drinks and got them - but he declined the sandy sandwiches. Without warning, the bartender slumped unconscious across the bar. Glasses and cups flew everywhere, but made not a single sound as they hit the floor. The Wabbit sipped his wine, pulled out his automatic and looked at Lapinette. Lapinette looked back. Their ears retracted slightly and they waited. Suddenly glasses and cups smashed noisily and there was a devastating crack as the mirror shattered. "That was a ghost bullet," said the Wabbit. Lapinette wrinkled her nose and picked some glass from her frock. "The bullet seemed real enough." The Wabbit pushed his automatic back in his fur and shrugged. "In popular folklore," he said, "a ghost bullet can only be fired by a ghost." The wind hammered the windows like a debt collector and the door creaked. Lapinette shivered. "Then we'd better find the ghost." The Wabbit had to think. "We need to know what kind of a ghost this is." Lapinette had no option but to join in. "A poltergeist?" Another glass smashed to the floor by her feet and a coffee cup flew past her head. "I don't think so," said the Wabbit, neatly dodging a whisky tumbler, "they don't come armed." The espresso machine burst into life and made coffee. "Deus ex machina?" sighed the Wabbit.

Friday, April 29, 2016

2. The Wabbit and the Ancient Ammo

Lapinette and the Wabbit worked quickly on the rooftop. When the Sirocco blows through Turin you can't waste time. They were both enveloped in speckled red dust that swirled from the horizon - and in the blast, things had a tendency to vanish. Lapinette grabbed a cartridge box and read the inscription. "Never heard of it," said the Wabbit. Lapinette's fur stood on end because the Wabbit had heard of all that sort of thing and a bit more besides. "Never seen this before either." His voice was a mumble in the wind. Lapinette could hear it nonetheless. "It simply doesn't exist," said the Wabbit. Lapinette waited and shook dust from her scarf. "It has to be something." "It is really something. It's an ancient Roman bullet." "Nonsense," spluttered Lapinette, "how do you know?" The Wabbit looked closely, screwed up his eyes and read the lettering. "It says ... 'Up you, Crassus.'"  Lapinette laughed. "It must have been Spartacus then." Her voice was sarcastic - but the Wabbit tucked the bullet into a plastic bag that he had in his fur. "It's a ghost bullet, that's what it is." The Wabbit slapped his fur and shed speckled red dust far and wide. "There are recent sightings of Roman centurions marching beside Loch Lomond bearing current day weapons." Lapinette shook dust from her ears. "I expect the bars were open late that night." "Someone said bar!" grinned the Wabbit.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

1. The Wabbit and the Speckled Wind

The Wabbit and Lapinette ambled through the arcade, sheltering from a hot, dry wind that scooped dust and hurled it against shop windows. The Wabbit coughed and slapped his coat. The dust was everywhere - a red speckled dust that gouged bricks one by one. "This is ghastly," said Lapinette. "Just the Sirocco," said the Wabbit. All the same, his nose wrinkled. The Sirocco was relentless and it blew hot air through a cold day. Everyone was twitchy. The wind made children cry and grown men weep. It engraved glass as it passed and bartenders gave up on polishing. Lapinette tucked a paw into the crook of the Wabbit's arm and found the Wabbit's paw was on his automatic. "Emergency time?" she murmured. "It's always emergency time," said the Wabbit. He ran his paw over a broken safety catch. Two sudden cracks parted the wind and took the stage. "Nice clean cracks," said the Wabbit softly. "That's quite a wind," breathed Lapinette. "A wind with artillery?" said the Wabbit. Lapinette looked up - then back. "On the way in, did you see someone fixing the floor?" The Wabbit scuffed a foot in the dust and stared at a prone body. His 28 teeth were smiling but changed quickly into a ragged comb. "He's been laid off." Speckled dust began to shroud the figure. The Wabbit pulled Lapinette's paw gently in the direction of a store. "Let's find some fancy scarves and information."

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Wabbit and the Carrot Funcation

The Wabbit had one more thing to take care of before his Staycation was over. He had agreed to perform with Lovely Lapinette and the joint was jumping. So he jumped on stage and grooved, while Lapinette smooched and patted her ears. Jazz funk music was driving hard and for a while so did the Wabbit. Then he stopped and fished out a harmonica from his fur. Its wail cut across the music but the band paid no attention and funked on. "I'm funkin' on down, to New Orleans," chanted the Wabbit. Lapinette pouted and sang in a cut glass accent. "Smelling of whisky and old blue jeans." "Funk it!" said the Wabbit. "Funk it," called Lapinette and she patted her ear in a Gilda fashion. It was impossible to ignore the driving rhythm. The band was a funky train and it just kept rolling. "What you got on board?" shouted the drummer, sternly. The Wabbit suddenly grinned. "We got a funk load of carrots," he yelled, "let us through!" "Funky carrots!" yelled Lapinette, "out of our way!" For a moment the Wabbit's harmonica did sound like a train load of carrots coming down the track. "We only got carrots," breathed Lapinette. "Then you got nothing to pay," shouted the drummer. The music drove on like an express. Then suddenly Lapinette turned and yelled, "We fooled you, we fooled you, we got celery. All celery." The audience cheered, the music faded and the Wabbit, Lapinette and the band made their bows. "How do you feel?" asked the Wabbit. "Completely funked," said Lapinette.
[Thanks to Allen Weber, Hot Shock, for the suggestion and background photograph.Buy Allen's music at CDBaby ]

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Wabbit at the Adventure Caffè

The Wabbit and Lapinette arrived to find Skratch the Cat and Wabsworth in heated debate. "No Wabsworth," said Skratch, "the story within a story is as old as Odysseus himself." Ghost Bunny fluttered across the tables and finding no-one to haunt, eavesdropped. Wabsworth waved a paw in dismissal. "The inside story guides us to the attributes of the characters, because the outside story has no plot." Lapinette nudged the Wabbit and dragged him to a table. "My staycation is over," frowned the Wabbit, "it was never supposed to have a plot." Skratch turned to greet them both. "OK Wabbit, then it's your turn to say what kind of an Adventure that was." The Wabbit grinned a big grin. "Its function was to disclose the background of characters to the audience, somewhat like Odysseus." Ghost Bunny fluttered and wailed. "The Wabbit met ghouls, sea serpents and shadows without bodies." Lapinette chipped in. "And he used tricks," "And culinary explosives," murmured Wabsworth. "All very colourful," smiled Skratch. "I met your long lost distant cousin by the way." The Wabbit had nearly forgotten about trying to stay incognito - and was embarrassed by his deception. Lapinette covered for him. "That was a test of the Wabbit's wearable technology app." "I knew it was you Wabbit," said Skratch, "because you suddenly disappeared." The Wabbit looked furtive. He swiped his app and his ears vanished. "I'm taking that away," said Lapinette.