Friday, December 04, 2020

2. Skratch and the Way of Words

The Wabbit made his way along Via Nizza in search of Skratch when he hear a meowing behind him. He pretended not to hear and instead spoke to the poster. "I was wondering poster, why you refer to the summer? Although this is a bright day, it's Winter and yet you proclaim a different season." Skratch was beside himself. "Wabbit, Wabbit! It's me Skratch and I know all about words." The Wabbit slowly turned. "Oh it's you, Skratch. I thought that poster was speaking." Skratch climbed down from the tree. "As time passes, Wabbit, the poster becomes a sign of something else. Something long past and hard to remember." The Wabbit nodded. "True. Summer is indeed long past and very hard to remember." Skratch paused and licked his paws. "You were looking for me Wabbit?" "I was because I wanted to ask you about words," said the Wabbit, "I wondered if words could fight amongst themselves." Skratch grew interested. "What might they fight about?" The Wabbit grew pensive and replied. "Their meanings." Skratch launched into explanation. "Words have arbitrary and culturally prescribed meanings and we could assign meanings to words as we went along. As long as we agreed on the meanings all would be well." The Wabbit looked round as if someone might hear him. "Supposing the words didn't like their meanings. Supposing there was conflict." Skratch was becoming interested. "You mean if words were self-serving entities with a conscious point of view?" The Wabbit nodded his agreement. "Yes, supposing words didn't like the typeface they were set in - and supposing they went to war." Skratch laughed. "You do have a vivid imagination, Wabbit." The leaves on the sidewalk rustled in a breeze that sprung from nowhere. "Not at all," said the poster. "I should be set in Times New Roman." The Wabbit spoke sharply. "I told you there'd be trouble."

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

1. The Wabbit and the Meaning of Words.

The Wabbit walked along the porticos musing on anything he could muse on. He'd never given the Caffè sign a second glance. He merely knew it to be a place that sold extremely fine coffee. But today he looked up at it and thought for a minute. An acquaintance had given him to believe that the sign had an offensive word and he just couldn't understand why. Apart from the successful Italian rock band, he only knew it as a descriptive term of endearment in Spanish - and he'd argued with the acquaintance that The little black girl Caffè just didn't fit the bill. The friend had disagreed and had stalked off in high dudgeon, leaving the Wabbit bemused. The Wabbit shook his head. After all, he was a brown rabbit and proud; and he thought, "This is something I must take up with Skratch the Cat." So he bowled down the road, wondering about words. "What if words could take up arms against their oppressors and fight for their rights? What if they disagreed? The streets would be wash with warring factions all claiming authenticity. And typefaces too!" Such were his thoughts. He imagined it for a bit, seeing words in various fonts and sizes clashing at dawn. Capitals would wage war on lower case. Italics against Roman against Kanji. Upright might pit themselves against oblique. In the Wabbit's mind, vast armies drew up in opposition. Hiragana and Katakana waved banners at each other as if in a film by Akira Kurosawa. Written on their banners were the same words with different meanings. It was all quite overwhelming. The Wabbit spotted Skratch loping further down the porticos and he chased after him shouting in Ariel Bold ...

Monday, November 30, 2020

The Wabbit and the St Andrew's Caffè

The team gathered as always as the Adventure Caffè. It was an untidy looking place that the Wabbit had chosen carefully - because it was St Andrews Day, and the important thing was the Scottishness of the whisky. Nothing must detract from it. Skratch the Cat was late as usual, but he had under his arm the Guest of Honour; a bottle of Laphroaig whisky straight from the distillery. A man in a kilt had brought it directly from the plane and Skratch had picked it up. It was a peaty affair smelling faintly of diesel fuel and wellington boots. The Wabbit was well pleased. "Careful with that, Skratch," said the Wabbit, "But before we start you must tell us what sort of Adventure we just had." Skratch meaowed furiously. "The liberating qualities of the hypertext were much in evidence," he announced. "Unconscious fantasies were confronted in a manner which countered expected paradigms." Wabsworth nodded in approval. "And the self-consciousness involved allows for ritual expressions such as the Wabbit's priestly vestments." The Wabbit expressed mock horror. "I'd hardly say the kilt was a priestly vestment." But Lapinette was quite firm. "That kind of fashion utterance is a specific linguistic system signifying the world." She paused for effect. "Oh all right, if you say so," smiled the Wabbit. Skratch towered over everyone. "What does whisky signify?" "Life," said the Wabbit. "Then pour us four whiskies, let's celebrate life," said Lapinette. "I see no glasses, said Wabsworth. The Wabbit smiled and then reached into his fur ...

Friday, November 27, 2020

7. Lapinette and the Grand Finale

Lovely Lapinette opened the folder and waved it around. The audience went completely mad. She shielded her eyes from what was written inside. "It's what you've all been waiting for!" she yelled. "It's the Rabbit of the Year!" She unshielded her eyes. "It says the Rabbit of the Year is ..." Her voice was unsteady. She couldn't believe what was written there. "Lovely Lapinette?" She looked across the audience and they were ecstatic. "It looks like ... it's me," she gasped. The Wabbit grabbed her paw. The band started to play "She's a Winner," by the Golden Jazz Band. Fireworks exploded overhead. Lapinette leapt in the air. "It's me, It's me, it's me!" The Wabbit detached his paw to applaud. To the delight of the audience, Wabsworth and Skratch the Cat came on stage. They too applauded wildly. "Couldn't go to a nicer rabbit," said Skratch. Wabsworth nodded in agreement. Lapinette tried to compose herself. "But I didn't know I'd been nominated," she said. "It was apparently all a last-minute affair, but completely within the rules," said the Wabbit. "I wonder who?" smiled Lapinette. The Wabbit wasn't giving anything away. "Nominations are of course, confidential." He suppressed a smile. Lapinette pirouetted for her adoring fans. "How can I top this?" she sighed. "With a champagne reception," said the Wabbit. "There's carrot canapes and all manner of goodies backstage." The Wabbit took her by the paw once more. "You have to sign autographs, me first." "Where shall I sign?" said Lapinette. "I quite forgot my autograph book," grinned the Wabbit. "I'm sure I'll find somewhere," smirked Lapinette.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

6. The Wabbit and the Big Ceremony

It was the night of the Award Ceremony and the atmosphere was electric. The audience assembled and they were rather noisy until Lapinette called for hush. Under her paw she held the results. All she had to do was open the folder and read out the contents. The Wabbit was resplendent in his kilt. Lapinette had darned the moth holes like the best invisible mender and ironed each pleat until it was immaculate. He placed his paws on his belt and rolled his tummy out. The band began to play triumphal music and a loudspeaker blared out the procedure. The Wabbit quipped to Lapinette. "This won't take too long will it? I said I'd meet Wabsworth and Skratch for a quiet game of cards." Lapinette knew the camera was cutting in - so she was safe to stamp on his foot. The Wabbit groaned. "Mind my Ghillie Brogues, they're not paid for." Lapinette grinned and turned to face the audience. "Thank you all for coming. It's going to be such a wonderful evening" She held up her folder. "I have the results here. I know you've all been waiting with bated breath." The audience cheered with vigour. The Wabbit noticed Skratch and Wabsworth and Moloch creep onto the balcony. The audience noticed them too and clapped in spontaneous applause. The band broke into a Horace Silver jazz classic, How did it Happen? The Wabbit nodded approvingly.  Then the music faded, and the audience fell silent. Lovely Lapinette lifted the folder high in the air. She brought it down slowly and began to open it. "Everyone that's getting an award is written down in here. Are you ready?" The audience screamed and yelled. Lapinette opened the folder. "And the Rabbit of the Year is ..."

Monday, November 23, 2020

5. The Wabbit and the Practice Session

Robot had been employed by Lovely Lapinette to coach the Wabbit on likely questions he would get when he appeared in the Wabbit of the Year Competition. There were a vast range to choose from and they were always tricky. "Now concentrate, Wabbit," said Robot, "think flexibly, think on your paws." The Wabbit smirked. "I usually do," he said. He did a little jig. Robot looked offended. "It's really not that kind of thinking, more like an idiot would think." The Wabbit was amused. He knew what Lapinette would say if she were here. Robot launched in. "What would you tell a child who asked you if Santa Claus was real?" The Wabbit didn't hesitate. "I'll tell him he's as real as me." Robot hooted with laughter. "That's the spirit Wabbit. Let's do another. If you had an elephant and couldn't sell it or give it away, what would you do with it." The Wabbit puts his hands on his hips. "I'd arm it to the teeth and make war on the Carthaginians." Robot scowled. "I'm not sure everyone appreciates your sense of humour Wabbit." The Wabbit was quite happy. "Perhaps I'll lose. Ask me another." Robot was beginning to feel stressed. "How many square feet of pizza are eaten in Turin each year." The Wabbit swiftly replied, "None whatsoever, they'd be measured in square meters." Robot sighed and went for an awkward question. "If you were a tree, what music would you like?" The Wabbit grinned. "That's easy. Reggae ... because I'm strictly roots." Robot knew it was time to give up. He patted the Wabbit on the shoulder. "Don't worry Wabbit, you're bound to be a hit."  The Wabbit didn't know what to think but he was cheerful. "Maybe they'll offer me a show of my own?"

Saturday, November 21, 2020

4. The Wabbit and the Make Up Session

Ignoring the advice of Skratch the Cat, the Wabbit decided to go along with the Rabbit of the Year Award. It was vanity that persuaded him in the end. He thought to himself, "What if some awful rabbit got it?" That's how the Wabbit came to be experiencing a make-up session in the paws of Lovely Lapinette, and she was very much in charge. The Wabbit squirmed under the lights. Lapinette brushed on some sort of foundation, but the Wabbit wriggled and fidgeted until something unexpected happened. His face became quite a distinct shade of puce. "I'm having a reaction!" he yelled. "Stay still, Wabbit - it's all your own fault." Lapinette wasn't finished and she said so in no uncertain terms. "I look like Carlo Conti on acid," gasped the Wabbit. "It will all be all right on the night," sighed Lapinette. The Wabbit spluttered. "And what am I doing in this awful car? I should be in my jeep." Lapinette sighed again. "This is a set for Carmencita, the famous animation character, you should be pleased we got it." The Wabbit scowled, "J'aime pas les marionnettes!" "You know that's not true, Wabbit," shouted Lapinette, "now sit still!" The Wabbit settled back. Gradually his face returned to a kind of normal and he spoke. "Skratch the Cat says this is all a moneymaking exercise." Lapinette flounced. "Skratch the Cat has not been nominated for Rabbit of the Year." The Wabbit's face creased into a smile. "I'll be very pleased when we can all go back to normal." Lapinette gave a short laugh. "What kind of normal is that?" "Abnormally normal," said the Wabbit.

[TV camera by courtesy of DLPNG.com. Carlo Conti: Well-known Italian TV personality. The Carmencita Story]

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

3. The Wabbit and the Awards Game

The Wabbit and Moloch caught up with Skratch at the cinema. He was doing something with a sign and Wabbit waved up to him. "He's caught up a post," said Moloch, "I'll help get him down." The Wabbit shook his head and shook with mirth. "He's a cat, Moloch. He needs no help." Nevertheless Moloch jumped up and shook the post with vigour. "It's OK Moloch," said Skratch, "I'm just repairing this sign. It was incorrectly signifying the signified." Moloch was disappointed. He'd always wanted to rescue a cat from a tree. Now he'd been deprived of his opportunity. "Let me know when you're coming down," he yelled. "I'll be sure to do that," purred Skratch. "Skratch, we need your advice," said the Wabbit. Skratch paused and rested his paws for a second. "Fire away," he said. "It's rather embarrassing," said the Wabbit. "I'm the most discreet cat I know," meaowed Skratch. The Wabbit began a long explanation. "I want to support Moloch and his Monster Show. In return he'll support my nomination for Rabbit of the Year." Skratch purred long and loud. "I'm not sure you're Rabbit of the Year material," he said. The Wabbit looked relieved. "I thought you might say it was unethical." "No-one cares about that," said Skratch, "it's all fixed in advance." The Wabbit didn't know what to say. Moloch said it for him. "I heard the Monster Show was the same." Skratch agreed vociferously. "I get invited to the Cat of the Town every year - but every year I decline." The Wabbit couldn't get his head round this. "Because there's a whopping fee," said Skratch, "and the prize always goes to some Felix or other. Who's in the Monster Show?"  "Godzilla," said Moloch. "Aha," said Skratch. He jumped down from the sign and shrugged. "Then I rest my case." 

Monday, November 16, 2020

2. The Wabbit and the Monster Show

The Wabbit spotted Moloch near Porta Palatino and hurried to catch him. But Moloch was standing stock still and talking into a microphone held by a camera crew from the state broadcaster, RAI. The Wabbit took little notice and strolled straight in front of them. He tapped Moloch lightly on the knee. "What's happening Moloch?" he yelled. The camera crew gave up at that juncture and Moloch looked down at the Wabbit. "Wabbit, your interrupting my interview. Kindly desist." The Wabbit grinned and waved the camera crew away. "We'll come back later, Moloch when your friend is finished," said the journalist with a sigh. The Wabbit tapped Moloch on the knee again, "Spill the beans, Moloch!" Moloch's chest expanded. "I'm being interviewed for the Monster Show." The Wabbit was taken aback. "Why is there all this interest in the team?" he murmured." "What interest?" said Moloch. "I've been proposed for the Rabbit of the Year," said the Wabbit. "Oh really, I'm a judge for that but I'm not supposed to tell you," said Moloch. "Why not?" asked the Wabbit. "You might lobby me unfairly," replied Moloch. "Wouldn't dream of it," smirked the Wabbit. He thought for a minute. "You'll support me of course." Moloch was appalled. "I need to be absolutely fair," "It is fair," said the Wabbit, "I'm clearly the best contender. I support you for the Monster Show, you support me for the Rabbit of the Year." The Wabbit considered the matter a little more. "Let's take advice on the matter." "Who from?" asked Moloch. "Someone who know his way around these things," smirked the Wabbit. "Skratch the Cat?" smiled Moloch.

Friday, November 13, 2020

1. The Wabbit and the Wabbit of the Year

The Wabbit strolled back from his balcony at the Department of Wabbit Affairs. It was a mite chilly but warm in the sun and his fur felt good. All of a sudden, Lovely Lapinette poured herself through the door. "Wabbit, I have exciting news." The Wabbit waited to hear what it was. His definition of exciting was rather different from most people, but he smiled. "Lovely Lapinette, I wasn't expecting you!" Lapinette looked overjoyed. "You've been nominated for Rabbit of the Year!" The Wabbit secretly grimaced because he hated that sort of thing - and everything that went with it. "What are you going to wear?" shouted Lapinette with glee. The Wabbit had no hesitation. "My kilt," he shrugged.  Lapinette scowled. "The moths got it; you'll need a new one. And you need the whole outfit, sgian dubh the lot." The Wabbit grinned. "Don't worry, it's all wrapped in a protective cover in the back of the wardrobe." Lapinette was all cheerful again. "You'll need your fur trimmed." The Wabbit brushed his paws up and down his fur. He thought it looked OK, but he shrugged again. "Where is this Rabbit of the Year presentation?" Lapinette span round in a pirouette. "Location yet to be determined." "And the date?" continued the Wabbit. "Sometime next month," grinned Lapinette. The Wabbit breathed a sigh of relief. It all sounded a bit vague, so he had some time. Perhaps he would be called away urgently. He felt cheered. "What if I win?" he ventured. Lovely Lapinette gaped. "You? You're a normal brown rabbit, you'll never win. But there will be a gala dinner. Everyone that's anyone will be there." Now the Wabbit was miffed. "Is there anyone I know that's up for it." Lapinette shook her head. "It's all secret. No-one is supposed to know, so don't tell anyone." The Wabbit smiled a secret smile and Lapinette saw it. "Wabbit - don't you dare!"

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

The team gathered at the Adventure Caffè and for once it was a proper coffee bar. The barista wore a mask since COVID flu had ravaged the land, but it didn't stop him making perfect coffees. This was the coffee bar in the Lavazza museum and they were looking forward to trying the new blend. "It's a good thing we're cartoons," said the Wabbit, "or we might get this flu as well." Camilla flounced a bit. "Oh never mind all that. Let's be cheerful." Wabsworth was watching the barista with interest and he spoke out the corner of his mouth. "Tell me Skratch. I was wondering what sort of adventure we just had." Skratch meaowed forcibly. "It was an open adventure." Lapinette looked sceptical. "By which you mean it didn't have a proper ending?" Skratch purred for a long time. "Hardly. The story wasn't sufficient to produce narrative irresolution or ambiguity." Wabsworth continued watching the coffee being made. "No, it wasn't a tactic for producing narrative delay. The ending was secure and systematic." Lapinette paused and looked at the Wabbit. "So. What did you do with these guys anyway?" The Wabbit smirked an evil smirk. "I sent them for severe chastisement." "That's very biblical," said Skratch. The Wabbit was highly amused. "No, I just boxed their ears and sent them on their way." Wabsworth was astonished. "Where did you deliver the box to?" "Not literally, Wabsworth," said Lapinette. The Wabbit reached under the table. "I have the ears here. In a box." "Eeek!" cried Lapinette. She buried her eyes in her paws. "Only joking," said the Wabbit. Skratch moaned, "Where's this coffee?"  Wabsworth leaned forward and tapped the barista on the shoulder. "Hurry up or this will never finish!"

Monday, November 09, 2020

8. The Wabbit and the Art Preview

Everything was going to plan. The Wabbit borrowed the Film Museum for the show and it was meant to be a surprise. One minute Humphrey Bogart was on the screen and in the next it was Chagall's painting of the Dream Rabbit. On strode the Wabbit and lifted his pointer. He tapped the picture. "What you see before you is a copy of a copy of Chagall's famous painting. I do have the original copy under lock and key." He paused and looked around. A few people had arrived. "I'm offering you one of the finest copies of a famous rabbit there is. Perfectly rendered in oil and canvas." Two figures arrived at the back and they looked shifty. They were obviously the ones. "Now I can't offer you the original," continued the Wabbit, "that's safely locked up in the Museum of Modern Art in Paris." His walkie talkie crackled a bit and he murmured into the mouthpiece, "That's them at the back." Lapinette tensed. Her balcony hideout concealed her slender frame. She aimed the snazer and waited. Wabsworth too, was disguised as a museum visitor and he too was armed and ready. The Wabbit smiled. "For today and today only, I can offer you the finest copy of a copy of this painting. What am I bid?" The two ruffians at the back stepped forward and pulled out their weapons. "We know you have the original painting. And we know you have it here. So we bid you nothing at all. Hand it over." The Wabbit raised a paw. Her heard the snick of an automatic and the whine of a snazer. The ruffians were aghast. "It's a trap," said one of the ruffians. "I told you so," said the other, "it was too easy. What do we do now?" "Why don't you pretend it's performance art," shrugged the Wabbit.
[Fair use claimed for repro of Chagall's work. Minimal picture quality and of educational value!]

Friday, November 06, 2020

7. The Wabbit and the Rabbit Provenance

The Wabbit tried to figure out what interest his attackers had in his art catalogue and together with Lovely Lapinette he repaired to the Department's new Map Room. It was a nice space with plenty of room for both maps and thinking. He threw down the art book on the vast table. Lapinette had brought something along as well. "The answer is here," said the Wabbit. "And it has something to do with this," added Lapinette. She produced a copy of The Dream, The Rabbit - an early work by Chagall. The Wabbit nodded his head. "Is there any chance that we have the real picture?" Lapinette considered very carefully and tried to remember her training in European art. "Copies are so good these days that there is a chance it was substituted. Experts can be fooled. Where did you get the copy?" The Wabbit laughed. "In a market in Paris from an old Jewish fellow who looked like Methuselah." Lapinette wrinkled her nose. "It's supposed to be in the Museum of Modern Art in Paris." The Wabbit winked. "Mine is under lock and key in my shed." Lapinette flicked through the book. "The Dream, The Rabbit is not in in here." "It wasn't as popular as his later works," said the Wabbit. "Probably because there was a rabbit in it," sighed Lapinette. "Rabbit exclusion everywhere," grunted the Wabbit. "When's the catalogue coming out?" asked Lapinette. "Monday," said the Wabbit, "and it's listed as an oil and canvas reproduction. Very highly priced. Very." Lapinette hopped round the table three times. "We'll see who comes for it." "I suppose I'll have to check their credentials," smiled the Wabbit. Lapinette's paw felt for her automatic. "I'll do the checking."

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

6. The Wabbit and a Spot of Bother

On the advice of the Magician's Rabbit, the Wabbit drew up his catalogue and he was on his way home with the draft. The evening was pleasant. A gentle breeze blew along Via Giovanni Giolitti and it ruffled the Wabbit's fur. "I'm very pleased to get this finished," murmured the Wabbit to himself. An art catalogue was a tougher proposition than he had imagined. He really wasn't expecting trouble, because art was hardly a controversial matter. Or so he thought. But a shape loomed up behind him - and then another. "There he is," said a voice. "Let's get him," said another. The shape shoved up against him and buffeted him to the left and then the other buffeted him to the right. He could see now they were two giant rabbits he had never seen before. They were trying to get the catalogue, but the Wabbit wasn't going to let them have it. They pulled him one way and then another. He held onto the catalogue like grim death. "Leave off or I'll give you trouble," he yelled. He bashed one of them in the eye and there was a yelp. The other he elbowed in the nose and there was another yelp. A frantic scrabble took place and pages of the catalogue flew in the air. "That took me all day!" yelled the Wabbit, "pick them up you ruffians." The giant rabbits turned and fled. The Wabbit went around picking up the pages. The breeze wafted along the street and the Wabbit chased them up and down. Finally, he tracked the last page down. It was stuck to a litter bin with a candy wrapper. The Wabbit peeled it off. "It's all wrapped up now," he joked. But who were the two giant rabbits? What did they want? They had certainly taken him by surprise. "The fast and the furriest," mused the Wabbit.

Monday, November 02, 2020

5. The Wabbit and the Shaking Down

They just couldn't hold on. The bridge started to shake, and they were catapulted down like so many skittles. "Whoa!" yelled the Wabbit. He could see the ground coming up and it looked hard. He engaged his special coat to soften the blow. Lapinette was more confident in her agility and she started to roll. Skratch was a cat and he could cope with most things. He twisted and turned and ended up the right way. All the same it was a surprise. Wabsworth fared worst of all since he was an android and not really built for maneuvers in the air. His arms flailed and he prepared for a crash landing. Somehow, he engaged his g-force circuitry and gradually managed to move round. Lapinette found herself looking at a rabbit. The rabbit looked at her and said, "I am the Bunnyman." Lapinette twisted and landed on all fours. "You don't look like the Bunnyman to me." The Wabbit was close behind Lapinette - then came Skratch, then Wabsworth. They stood and faced the rabbit. "Where's your axe?" The rabbit smiled and opened his paws. "I have no axe. That's all piffle. I can shake things though." Without moving, he shook the bridge until it threatened to collapse. "I get the drift," said the Wabbit, holding up his paws. "But what about that?" He pointed at the planet, which had replaced the Moon. "You call this Pluto Park don't you?" said the rabbit. "I changed it for one of Pluto's." He snuffled a bit and blinked, and it was the Moon again. "Aha!" said Wabsworth, "You're a conjuror and you came out of a hat." The rabbit nodded. "I confess, I am from a famous painting." Lapinette was curious. "Where's the conjuror?" "I left him behind," said the rabbit. "I can't abide conjurors. I put him in the hat."