Thursday, February 27, 2020

2. The Wabbit and the Fishy Business

Captain Jenny and the Lepus were early. The Wabbit and Lapinette had been viewing the most wonderful sunset when everything began to shimmer and distort. The Lepus appeared from thin air and came down with the sun. The Wabbit turned to Lapinette. "Emergency protocols!" he yelled and he whipped out his walkie talkie from his fur. "Come in Lepus. This is the Wabbit." The radio crackled with Jenny's voice. "We had some trouble. Watch out!" The Lepus dropped steadily until it hit the water with a dramatic splash. But the splash wasn't on its own and the water threshed and boiled as a sea monster emerged. The Wabbit flinched as a bullet whizzed past his nose. The creature chose that moment to belch like a Kraken. The bullet struck home, and the noxious gases caught fire. The creature turned over, bellowing. Then it sank. Flames decorated the surface and died. The Wabbit sniffed the air. "Oh yuk. Lapinette you singed my nose." He lifted the walkie talkie. "Jenny. Any more of these things with you?" Jenny's voice crackled back. "We disposed of hundreds at one stage, but they kept coming. Then we used your Wabtek device." Lapinette waved her automatic around just in case. "It's an Akwat, isn't it?" The Wabbit scowled. "Dreadful scunners!" Lapinette leaned close to the radio. "Use the Stealthicator, Captain. We'll meet you at the dock." The Lepus seem to vanish with a rumbling sound. But that was just the Wabbit's tummy. "What's for dinner?" he asked. "Fish," said Lapinette.

Monday, February 24, 2020

1. The Wabbit and the Sunset Beach

The Wabbit was strolling along Sunset Beach when Lapinette caught up with him. "Wabbit! There you are!" The Wabbit laughed and stretched out his paws. "Did you find a new frock?" Lapinette bounced up and down. "I certainly did. It's being altered." The sun continued its downward trajectory and anything remotely red sparkled in the seaside air. "I like the one you're wearing," grinned the Wabbit. "You always do!" shrugged Lapinette. They made their way along the beach in search of a coffee. "Any word from the Lepus." Lapinette looked out to sea with pretend binoculars. "Jenny will be here on the morning tide." The Wabbit knew she was likely to bring orders from the Department. That meant a new adventure so he smiled and changed the subject. "I do like the beach. How many grains of sand are in the world, do you think?" Lapinette looked as if she was doing a calculation but she already knew. "Seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion at the last count." The Wabbit was rather impressed, yet quizzical. "Who counted them?" "Mr Sandman," replied Lapinette. "I suppose it took him a while," said the Wabbit. "All day and all night," answered Lapinette. The Wabbit scuffed the sand with his foot and winked. "We can beat him." Lapinette spotted a good caffè and pointed. "We need coffee then." The Wabbit grabbed Lapinette by the paw and tugged. "We'll get a flask!"

Friday, February 21, 2020

At the Wabbit's Adventure Caffè

The team met at the Museum Caffè, which was one of their favourites. Skratch was delighted, and he came bursting in with his paw held high. "No need to ask what kind of adventure that was. That was quite a spooky adventure!" Wabsworth began to sit down. "I think I contributed to the overall spookiness," he said with a smirk. When Wabsworth smirked, his circuits became noisy and everyone heard them whirrr. Lapinette stifled a giggle. "I didn't like being in that jug one bit." The Wabbit nodded in agreement. "And I didn't like being the accidental genie and wish granter." Skratch blinked. "That is the customary approach of course. Yet wishes are only some kind of shortcut that avoid the hard practicalities of life." Wabsworth had been reading again. "Yes. Film is all about desire and wanting. Doing is quite another matter." The Wabbit rapped on the table. "Do you know, there are those who would conveniently dismiss our theorising and that is precisely what the adventure is about." Lapinette continued, "It was an aesthetic interpretation of a traumatic event and the exposing of the unanswered questions that underlay it." Skratch meaowed long and hard. "Aha! No theory, no answers," he mused. Lapinette clapped her hands just like a genie. "I summon the drinks and I summon them now." Everyone laughed and laughed, but the Wabbit cut the mirth short. "The unanswered question is - why aren't they here already."

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

6. Wabsworth and the Curio Collector

The air in the Curio Bar was thick with incense. Wabsworth's android circuits whirred as he processed it, then he placed the jar on the counter with a lot of care. He'd filled it with sfuso wine from the liquor store in the next street - and capped it with speed. Now vapor made lazy spirals on the surface of the wine. Wabsworth smiled at the figure behind the counter. "Mr Z? You come recommended." The figure grinned. "And so Mr Wabsworth, do you. Is that the merchandise?" Wabsworth nodded and tapped the side of the jar. "On no account should this be opened, Mr Z. And in the unlikely event that it is opened, no-one should drink the wine." Mr Z swayed back and forwards on the balls of his feet. "Aha. It's one of those is it?" He glanced around until he saw a likely spot. He gestured. "I'll put it over there." He lifted it, paused, then placed it on a display shelf. "And now to business. How much do you want for the curio?" Wabsworth frowned. "Technically it's priceless and therefore has no value. But I'd like to pop in from time to time and look at it." Mr Z grinned broadly. "My pleasure." "One more thing," said Wabsworth, "If anyone shows the slightest interest in it, I want to know." He handed him a crumpled business card. Mr Z tucked it in a breast pocket, winked and waved goodbye. "I wish the plan success." Wabsworth turned and winked back. "Be very careful what you wish for around here ..."
[sfuso: unbottled wine from the barrel. Usually moderately priced. Often the customer provides the container.]

Monday, February 17, 2020

5. Wabsworth and the Rabbit-shaped Cork

Wabsworth seized the jug while the Wabbit and Lapinette hopped well back and watched from a safe distance. Vapour wisped from the neck - but to no effect. "Good thing I'm an android," grinned Wabsworth. He dug into his fur, produced a cork he'd picked up in a market and slid it neatly into the neck of the jug. The vapour shut off immediately. Everyone sighed with relief. Wabsworth giggled. "I bought this rabbit-shaped cork as a present for you, Wabbit. It was a secret." Lapinette smiled an enormous smile. She knew that in the paws of the Wabbit a wine bottle didn't keep its contents long - so he seldom needed a cork. Wabsworth shook the jug, then shook it again. He held it up to his ear. He heard faint murmuring and detected an angry tone. He shook his head and gave the cork an extra thump. "That'll fix it for now." Lapinette and the Wabbit weren't convinced and the Wabbit glowered. "The plug's in the jug, what next?" Lapinette sighed. "What are we going to do with it now?" "I have a plan," replied Wabsworth. "We can't just leave it anywhere," frowned Lapinette. "Trust me," said Wabsworth. Lapinette pulled rank. "Wabsworth, I insist on knowing where you're going to locate it." "I know an appropriate jugstore," grinned Wabsworth ..

Saturday, February 15, 2020

4. The Wabbit and the Reverse Wish

The Wabbit looked at the jug and he could hear a commotion. But he was still dizzy. Lapinette beat a rhythm on the inside of the jar. "Let me out. Let me out." The Wabbit shook the jar but it made matters worse. He was aware there was someone behind him and he was aware it was Wabsworth, but he couldn't get a handle on the situation. In fact, he could barely talk. Wabsworth snapped his fingers and clapped his hands, but the Wabbit was robotic. "You have three wishes" croaked the Wabbit. He waved his paws. Wabsworth yelled at him. "Let go of the jar, Wabbit!" The Wabbit let go of the jar and it fell and rolled. "Aaaagh," yelled Lapinette as she rattled round the jar. "Two wishes left," groaned the Wabbit. Wabsworth closed up behind the Wabbit and he whispered. "Don't listen to any more wishes until I say so." The Wabbit turned and nodded his head. Then he sat down with his paws at his side. "I'm confused," he moaned, "and I wish I'd never seen that jug." Wabsworth smiled. "You're the genie apparently - and as such, you don't get wishes. But I do." The Wabbit slumped. Wabsworth leaned very close to him. "Now listen. I wish you to transfer my last wish to Lapinette inside the jug." A weight dropped from the Wabbit shoulders. "I cannot deny your second wish." He waved at the jug. Lapinette shook. The Wabbit saw her lips move. Vapour shot from the neck as Lapinette materialised on the path ...

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

3. Lapinette and the Double Summoning

Lapinette hopped along the riverbank enjoying the day, when she caught sight of a jug skimming the river. "Something to do with a gala," she thought - and she gave it scant attention, until the jug bounced in from the water and followed her up the steps. She frowned. "Litter louts," she murmured and made to pick it up. But every time she drew close, the jug rolled away until it was just out of reach. There was something inside that made a squeaky sound. "Gesh me ush. Gesh me ush." It sounded like a voice and there was something familiar about it. And there was something familiar about the contents. "Maybe it's the colours," she thought. The jug rolled closer and she bent down to peer inside. "It looks like a miniature version of the Wabbit!" she exclaimed. "Ush ush ush!" squealed the voice. She grasped the jug on both sides and what's when the trouble started. Vapour poured from the neck of the jug. Lapinette felt strange. Her legs turned to jelly and the world span round. She felt her head with paws that somehow looked like smoke but there was no head to feel - only vapour. With a hiss, all the vapours met. And just at the instant she was drawn into the jug, she saw the Wabbit take shape. He was standing on the path, just where she'd stood a moment before ...

Monday, February 10, 2020

2. The Wabbit and the Flight of the Jug

The jug took off at speed and all the Wabbit could do was peer out. "Wheee!" cried the jug as it span and tumbled. The Wabbit's tummy also span and tumbled. He braced his paws and clung to the slippery sides as best he could. "Where are you going?" he yelled. The jug didn't answer. The Wabbit got angry and he beat a tattoo on the glass. "If I'm your new Genie, I command you to put me down." The jug gave a kind of giggle "That's not the way it works." The Wabbit recognised the Turin skyline. "At least I know where we are," he gasped. Familiar domes sped past as the jug jumped and tumbled. The Wabbit ran his paws all over the glass to see if there was a control panel and at last he found small discoloured ridge. He pressed it. "Ooooh!" cried the jug and it began to fall. "You're going to make an awesome Genie," it shouted. The jug spiralled from the sky. The Wabbit saw the Mole Tower blur past, then streets, then the river. "You'd better prepare for landing," murmured the jug as it scorched along above the river. At this point, the Wabbit had no clue about up and down. So he scrunched into a ball and covered his head with his paws. The jug skimmed along the River Po like a bouncing bomb before it rolled to a stop on the bank. "How's your dynamic visual acuity?" asked the jug. "Transient," groaned the Wabbit ...

Thursday, February 06, 2020

1. The Wabbit and the Canal Occurrence

The Wabbit was between adventures, so he boarded a train, got off at random and then hopped around. The area was full of canals so he found a towpath and rambled in a carefree fashion. He agreed with himself that it was a very nice ramble. He paused to take in a picturesque scene and drew a deep breath of satisfaction - but there was something in the air. He could smell grass and damp and a bit of diesel - and something else. He spotted a large wine jug on the grass and he swore to himself it wasn't there before. He heard a suspicious hissing so he felt in his fur for his automatic and pulled it out. Then he felt a bit silly because there was no one around. So he pushed it back in his fur. But there was the hissing again. A faint cloud escaped from the neck of the jug, then stopped. It happened again. The Wabbit grabbed his automatic and turned. The grass shimmered and the ground moved beneath his paws and he staggered slightly. He shook his head because he was dizzy and he didn't know why. "What the Binky?" he mouthed. He heard his own voice and it sounded slurred. The cloud got bigger, then contracted and he felt a violent drag on his fur. He lurched towards the container with limbs like jelly as the jug surrounded him with vapour and pulled him in through the neck. Now all he could see was a world of green. "Welcome," said a voice, "You are my new Genie ..."

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

The Wabbit and the Adventure Caffè

The team sauntered in search of a suitable Caffè. There they would analyze their last adventure with the usual penetrating critique. The sound of paws and loud purring heralded the arrival of Skratch the Cat with his new t-shirt. "Now what was that for a sort of Adventure?" Wabsworth laughed loudly as he turned to greet him. "That's your job to tell us!" Lapinette interrupted. "It was a bone-shaking homage to B movies and the B-er the better!" Skratch purred and purred. "What about the specifics of worm representations?" The Wabbit grinned sideways as he often did. "Are we thinking of the linguistics and semiotics of our wormly companions?" Skratch shook his head. "Unfortunately they didn't say much." Wabsworth chimed in. "But all behaviour is communication." Lapinette disagreed. "The creatures were not sentient but in the control of an other-worldly force." Skratch nodded. "Yet they had been allocated their own mechanisms of signs and acted on the vulnerability of their prey." "Shaking," said the Wabbit. "Quaking," added Lapinette. "Shuddering," meaowed Skratch. He shuddered at the thought and murmured, "You can never trust what's going on below." Lapinette indicated they should proceed to a restaurant and hopped forward. "We really don't like squirming, wriggling and writhing." Skratch loped after her. "The body is a semiotic instrument," he purred. "So is an aperitivo," growled the Wabbit.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

6. Tipsy and the End of the Tremors

The Wabbit and Lapinette scampered back down the Metro to clean up any remaining worms. But before they got even halfway they met a worm slithering up an escalator. On its back was Tipsy. She yelled in triumph. "I found a control box!"  She waved a unit with a mess of conduit spilling from its guts. Lapinette danced with delight. The Wabbit shook his head although he could barely contain his mirth. But the worm's tail threshed in a sudden movement and both Lapinette and the Wabbit jumped back. "I can make it move," shouted Tipsy. The creature's eye bulged. Its jaws thrashed and its teeth gnashed. Tipsy bent to make an adjustment and the snake set her down. "Can I keep it?" The Wabbit grinned. "We have to investigate it first" Lapinette frowned at Tipsy. "I don't know where you're going to put it." Tipsy pouted in disappointment. The Wabbit took pity. "Oh, I have some space at the back of my hanger." He turned to Lapinette. "The snakes are mechanical - but who made them and where did they come from?" Lapinette pondered. "System SDSS J1228+1040 is rumoured to be surrounded by an ancient scrapyard belt, run by ghastly ghost robots. They collect junk spaceships." The Wabbit looked sceptical. "What would they want with us?" "Satellites, space debris, old washing machines?" suggested Lapinette. "Well," shrugged the Wabbit, "they've only got to ask. We'd clean up." Lapinette's smiled a wry smile. "I don't think they like to pay."

Monday, January 27, 2020

5. The Wabbit and a Taste of Dynamite

Skratch took service stairs up to the station but the worms were fast and they came crashing through the floor in front of him. He looked around but there was no way to escape. He stood his ground though - and he hissed as he had never hissed before. He spat for good measure. But they kept coming. From under the hellish animal trap teeth came rough red tongues. "Worms don't have tongues," thought Skratch but he clawed one anyway and the worm moved back. "Take cover Skratch," yelled a voice. He looked up to see the Wabbit and Lapinette spiralling through the air in a shower of explosives. "Lunch time for worms!" shouted Lapinette. She scored a direct hit. Skratch dived into a doorway and scrunched into a corner. It was a reflex action on the part of the worm. Its tongue curled in and it swallowed. Then it stopped in its tracks. An enormous belch burped from its mouth and a stream of flame issued from its tail. It writhed in pain. The Wabbit took aim and launched his explosives. The other worm tried to be clever and dodge out the way but the dynamite bounced from the wall and disappeared straight down its throat. For a moment nothing happened. The worm panted, then broke a nearby water pipe and drank heavily. "Run, Skratch! Now!" shouted the Wabbit. Skratch launched himself through a shop window and disappeared. But he felt the scalding heat of water under pressure a second before he heard the blast ...
[Worms have something they poke from their mouths, called stylets. But they're not really tongues.]

Friday, January 24, 2020

4. The Wabbit and the Wormy Writhing

Skratch rounded the corner but there were more worms in pursuit of unidentified quarry. He doubled his pace. Before long he could see a whole wiggle of worms menacing the Wabbit and Lapinette. They were just ahead and he hoped they had a plan. With a howl, the lead worm gnashed its teeth. Secondary teeth flew from its head. The others followed suit. The air filled with glaring eyes and sharp serrated jaws - and that was when the cursing started. The jaws hurled taunting invective at the Wabbit and Lapinette but the rabbits ran faster and shouted. "Sucks to you, you motley crew." The worms were enraged and they gnashed and crashed around the tunnel. Skratch flattened against a wall. He could only watch as they grew frantic. The Wabbit and Lapinette dashed round a corner and vanished. The worms stopped. One of them peered round the corner, then turned back and shook his ghastly head. Skratch squeezed into a service hatch as the lead worm spoke. "We are the Clew. And this just won't do." The moved together into a ball and had a conference. Skratch picked up a few words, but there was so much hissing he couldn't make head nor tail of anything. The ball flew apart and the worms began to hiss together. They hissed so hard that mortar fell from the roof. "Tremor strategy," shouted the lead worm. As the worms writhed and wriggled against the tunnel walls, Skratch crept past and round the corner ...

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

3. Skratch and the Metro Worm Incursion

Not far away, Skratch was going to the movies for a Tremors retrospective. He'd taken the Metro to Porta Nuova aiming to pad to a nearby cinema and had settled back. He loved to ride at the front, which strictly speaking was reserved for children - but since they all knew him they shouted, "Let Skratch the Cat look out!" He was about to rise when the train started to shake and brake. The train was automatic and driverless and it juddered to a stop. Skratch peered down the line. At first he saw nothing, but when the rails began to flex he dived for a door and forced it open. He leaped down the service platform but a terrible bellowing brought him to a halt. That was when the worm dropped from the roof. It stretched and coiled and stretched back, displacing rails and strewing them across the track with an ear splitting din of metal on metal. Skratch waved passengers back and ran after the worm as it slithered round the bend towards Porta Nuova. It was moving fast and he lost sight of it. But he could hear it. He slithered to a halt and pulled an emergency handle. But the worm was systematically damaging everything metal as it passed. The handle came off in his paw. Now he heard a train coming the other way. With an extra burst of speed he caught up with the worm just as it brought the train to a halt. Passengers tumbled from the coaches and fled. The worm snapped at them with jagged teeth as they ran back to Porta Nuova. Skratch leaped straight past the worm and followed them. But he turned for a last look and yelled. "Don't think you can worm your way onto my patch!"

Monday, January 20, 2020

2. The Wabbit and the Wriggling Worms

Parakalo the Dove said if there were worms, he could roust them out. So the Wabbit called Lapinette and together they went to where the vibrations were strongest. Parakalo circled as they looked up and down Via San Massimo. At first they saw nothing. But when Parakalo landed on a rooftop and scattered some debris, they felt the tremors start. Windows shook and roof tiles rattled until Parakalo let out a screech and flew faster than time straight down the street. In pursuit came worms of glistening serrated metal with heads shaped in hexagonal flanges. Inside the heads lay animal-trap teeth, but behind the teeth lay single glaring eyes that focused on whatever victim came their way. "Good grief!" said the Wabbit. Parakalo shot into the air and wheeled back. "I never saw any worm that big," he cooed. Lapinette shuddered as a worm turned its horrid head and stared at her. The worms slithered across the street and climbed towards them, wriggling from window to window. "Do you have a back way out?" she yelled. "I do," said the Wabbit. He grabbed her by the fur and headed for an open skylight. By that time the worms were on the roof and Lapinette could hear them. They made gasping sounds like a hydraulic pump, while scales of serrated metal squealed over the tiles. The Wabbit pushed Lapinette through the skylight, and turned to face the worms. He made a rude sign, then dropped down and slammed the skylight shut. Lapinette caught him as he tumbled down the stairs. He made a wry grin. "I think we've got a case of global worming."