Monday, March 02, 2015

Lapinette and the Artichoke Premises

"It won't be ready in time," said Jenny. "It was supposed to be ready last week," said Lapinette. "They'll think we're broke," said Jenny. "We'll say it's minimalist," said Lapinette. A pregnant pause hung silently, but it was broken by a pop and a hiss. "We'll need more beer!" yelled Tipsy. Lapinette wrinkled her nose and envisaged the visit of the Carrot Club delegation. "Maybe they don't drink beer." "Of course they drink beer," said Tipsy and to prove it, she drank some herself. Jenny placed her hook on her hip. "We can always get beer, but we need more members for the official visit." "I'll move around a lot," said Tipsy. "Then I'll go outside and come back in dressed as someone else." Jenny mentally doubled the beer order and looked around. The premises were a recent acquisition and the outcome of an arrangement that involved stuffing envelopes for charitable appeals. "We haven't a stick of furniture," said Lapinette. "They can sit on the floor." Tipsy slid down the wall and squatted on the floor. Lapinette shook her head. "If we can't find more members, the Artichoke Club will be a laughing stock." Tipsy looked up. "I'll get Fitzy and Mitzy." Lapinette smiled. "They don't have to be female. Our Club is open to all, regardless of gender." "Then why have we only got three members?" asked Jenny. "Self discrimination!" shouted Lapinette.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Wabbit at the Cardoom's Address

Lapinette guided Jenny into the Carrot Club and introduced her as Cardoom of the Artichoke Club. The Wabbit, although surprised to meet Jenny in this capacity, remained unflustered. Members gathered and rapt attention fell as Jenny began her address. "Members of the Carrot Club, thank you for your gracious invitation." We thank you, thank you!" cried Club members. "I apologise," said Jenny. "I'm unaccustomed to addressing illustrious gatherings such as this." A rustling of approval rustled round as Jenny began. "Carrots are well-rooted ..." The members nodded in agreement. "... while artichokes are all heart," continued Jenny. Members started to smile. "Some say artichokes are prickly." "No, never," cried the members. "But I say, they're soft inside," chortled Jenny. A smattering of pleasant laughter echoed in the high ceilings. Now Jenny raised a paw in pause. "We have many similarities." "What are they?" yelled Lagso. "Carrots and artichokes are nutritious and keep well." said Jenny. "Carrots are vitamin sticks." said Caroto." "Artichokes are a rich source of folic acid," retorted Jenny quickly. Jenny looked at Lapinette because she was running low on ideas. The Wabbit stepped in.  "Cardoom, how shall we move forward?" "We must move forward with ... " Jenny faltered but Lapinette whispered something. "With meaningful priority!" commanded Jenny in an oratorical voice. Cheering broke out and Jenny turned to Lapinette. "How was that ... Mr Green?" "Awesome," said Lapinette.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lapinette, Jenny and the Switcheroo

"Jenny!" gasped Lapinette. "I thought I'd find you here." Jenny looked at Lapinette's disguise with due regard. "Have you been trying to get into the Carrot Club?" Lapinette waved a letter. "Never mind that, we're having a meeting." Jenny raised both eyebrows. "This is an Emergency Meeting of the Artichoke Club. Now!" yelled Lapinette. "We haven't got a quorum," shrugged Jenny. Lapinette hopped up and down and waved the letter wildly. "I'm the Cardoom and this is Cardoom's Emergency Action." Jenny saw Lapinette was agitated and knew this to be unusual. So she ordered a rum and waited. Lapinette calmed. "I'm passing Cardoomship to you for a week." Jenny narrowed shrewd eyes. "So what do I have to do in this week?" "You'll give an official address to the Carrot Club." Jenny gave a pirate guffaw. "What do I say?" Now Lapinette fell silent because she hadn't a clue. The coffee machine hissed and gurgled. "Oh, make it up as you go along." Jenny nodded curiously. "Where is the Carrot Club?" "I'll introduce you," said Lapinette. "Just remember - my name is Bunky Green." "And you're some kind of boy," winked Jenny. Lapinette waved the letter again. Jenny took it and muttered. "What about the Wabbit?" "He's delighted," said Lapinette. "You know, in his pompous way." Jenny swayed backwards. "Will I address you as Bunky?" "Certainly not!" said Lapinette. "Call me Mr Green."

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Wabbit takes Bunky Aside

The Wabbit was interested in the recruitment potential of the Artichoke Club and the Carrot Club's latest member, Bunky Green, seemed knowledgeable. On the pretext of showing him round the building, the Wabbit took Bunky aside and spoke in a respectful, serious tone. "Bunky. For a male, you know a lot about the Artichoke Club." "Who me?" said Lapinette lightly, pretending to consider the matter. "No more than an ordinary bunny on the tram." The Wabbit disagreed but nodded encouragingly. "It's just that we're hoping to recruit female members." Lapinette was enjoying posing as Bunky so she made a rash suggestion. "Why don't you ask them?" The Wabbit was delighted. "Yes," he agreed. "We'll formally invite their leader. What do they call her?" Lapinette groaned inwardly. "Cardoon." It was all very well being Cardoon of the Artichoke Club and posing as new recruit Bunky - but Lapinette couldn't be both in the same place at the same time. She knew her ruse would be discovered, so she tried desperately to think of a plan. Of this, the Wabbit seemed unaware. "Excellent, I'll draft a letter inviting an address from the Cardoon." Lapinette bounded up the staircase. "I'll deliver it if you like." "We wouldn't put you to any trouble," said the Wabbit. Lapinette smiled the broadest smile. "Let's use the personal touch. It's awfully good PR." "I couldn't possibly impose," chortled the Wabbit. "It's on my way home," smiled Lapinette ...

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Wabbit and the Mixed Reception

The cocktail and carrot reception had been underway for some time and the Wabbit waited for new recruits with a glass of welcoming aperitivo. He began to tire and thought of drinking it himself - when in hopped a likely candidate. "Welcome!" boomed the Wabbit. "Please partake of liquid refreshment." My name's Bunky," said Lapinette, taking the glass. "It's Bunky Green." "Our Carrot Club is your Carrot Club," said the Wabbit. Lapinette effected a male pose and looked around. "Isn't this a cocktail and carrot reception?" "Yes." said the Wabbit. "So where are the carrots?" "In the cocktails," smiled the Wabbit. They nodded amiably but the Wabbit nodded harder. "I was hoping to greet a few female recruits." Lapinette gulped and the Wabbit stared hard at her ears. "Don't I know you from somewhere?" Lapinette thought fast. "The soccer stadium?" The Wabbit's face fell. "Perhaps you know of females with a passion for carrots." Lapinette grinned a lop sided grin. "All the females I know are interested in artichokes." "They don't like carrots?" asked the Wabbit. "I've really no idea," gasped Lapinette, draining her aperitivo much too quickly. The Wabbit took her glass. "Tell our members about yourself while I'll fix you another drink." He vanished and everyone turned to look at Lapinette. She adopted a solemn stance. "I was arrested during the Carrot Riots."

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lapinette and the Artichoke Approach

In the home of a dear friend, Lapinette rigged herself out in male gear. Convinced the Carrot Club was closed to females, she was determined to apply anyway. "One way or another," she mused, "I'll break down this bastion of male misogyny, this leaning tower of patriarchy, this ... " Lapinette couldn't think of any more names. But during her office as First Cardoon of the Artichoke Club, she had successfully facilitated key motions decrying gender inequality. These motions were all duly proposed, seconded, and unanimously passed. They were then ceremonially inscribed in the Grand Directory and celebrated with copious quantitities of Cynar Liqueur. But they went no further. Of all this, the outside world remained blissfully unaware. Lapinette straightened her carrot tie, which she had seized from the Wabbit's secret drawer of carrot accessories, and looked at her legs in the culottes she had made from an old coat. "Not bad," she murmured. "Now what about some laddish speech?" She placed her paws on her hips and winked at the mirror. "Carrot juice puts fur on your chest!" Then she patted her chest and pointed. "Let's go to the Carrotery, jump the juice and get legless." In her thoughts, things became frisky. "Let's find ourselves a couple of hot carrots." Lapinette sighed and returned to first principles. "My name's Bunky. I'm a boy."
[Cynar is an liqueur flavoured with herbs and plants, predominantly artichokes. Laddish: a young man who behaves boisterously]

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Wabbit's Carrot Club Conundrum

The Wabbit stalked the hallowed corridors of the Carrot Club bearing his badge of office. He had acted as Grand Daucus for three years and his tenure was due to expire, so he wanted a big splash when he stood down. He hopped along the corridor, then hopped back.  "How," he thought, "can I enlist the first female member of the Carrot Club?" He shook his head like a donkey because nearly everyone thought the Carrot Club was a stuffy, male only institution. But there was one simple incontrovertible fact. Despite the best efforts of the Club, no female had ever applied. The Wabbit ploughed through a list of membership ideas.  "Perhaps," he mused, "I could be a guest speaker at the Artichoke Club." The Wabbit visualised the large numbers of females he'd seen travelling every year to the Artichoke Festival of Ladispoli and saw himself moving quietly amongst them, passing out carrot leaflets. The Wabbit smiled. "I could make a special offer. If the new member doesn't like the Club after 3 months, we return the fee." The Wabbit felt he was getting somewhere so he mentally listed several ideas and thought out a design for a badge bearing the slogan "Carrots Matter". "I have it!" yelled the Wabbit suddenly. "We'll hold a cocktail and carrot reception!" His voice travelled to the end of the corridor and returned jollier than it had set out. "I'll get some costings in the bar," thought the Wabbit.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Wabbit hosts the Adventure Caffè

They gathered in a caffè by the river and waited for Skratch to arrive. In the interim, the Wabbit glared at Wabsworth and Wabsworth stared back. Lapinette tried to distract the Wabbit. "This is a nice place Wabbit, I didn't know it was here." "It's part of the Old Medieval Castle," muttered the Wabbit. Tipsy lurched against the wall and yelled, "Oh look it's Skratch!" Skratch purred his way into the throng. "Well that was quite an adventure." "What kind of adventure, though?" grinned Jenny. The Wabbit finally smiled. "I expect you're going to tell us about narratological repetition." "Not at all," said Skratch. "I'm going to tell you that repetition is an untranslated unconscious message." Finally Wabsworth spoke. "It was my job to bring that to consciousness." Lapinette crossed her legs. "So what was the message?" Wabsworth nodded sagely. "We're all preserved as individuals from moment to moment and that's repetition." "Who's buying the drinks?" yelled Tipsy. "Looks like John Paul Sartre." said Skratch. The Wabbit winked broadly. "Then we may have to wait a while, so I'll get them." He made a secret sign and glasses tinkled in the kitchens. "How did you do that?" asked Lapinette. "Practice," said the Wabbit. Lapinette looked sceptical because when it came to attracting the attention of waiters, the Wabbit was hopeless. "I come here every day," confessed the Wabbit. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Wabbit and the Ball Question

The Wabbit's team arrived just as a cry of "We surrender!" issued from inside the ball. Lapinette sliced away a cake-shaped portion and an Ice Mouse appeared with a white flag clenched in its jaw. "This wasn't supposed to happen," said a stern voice at the rear. The Wabbit gasped in amazement. "Alien Pilot. What the binky are you doing here?" Alien Pilot blinked all four eyes. "I'm afraid this is an art installation for your Museum of Enemies, Commander." The Wabbit began to bluster, so Lapinette waved her edged weapon. "We were not informed." Alien Pilot looked abashed. "It was interactive. That was the whole point." Lapinette noticed the Wabbit getting furious so she cut in. "Who's idea?" "It was Wabsworth," said the Alien Pilot. "He knew you'd be pleased." The Wabbit tapped a foot rhythmically in a fashion that even Tipsy found alarming. "Oh I am pleased," he growled. "Very pleased indeed. Any others that I should perhaps congratulate?" "Nine the Tram," said the Alien Pilot. A strange thing happened. The Wabbit's head tilted back and he started to guffaw. "Haw haw haw." The Wabbit's sides shook as he convulsed in helpless mirth, but he stopped suddenly. "Where's my souvenir?" Without warning Tipsy fired a single round. Panico caught the bullet between his teeth and threw it to the Wabbit. "All's well that ends well, Sir." The Wabbit laughed again. "The fun has only just started!"

Monday, February 09, 2015

The Wabbit watches from a Height

From his vantage point in the tram, the Wabbit could only wait and hope. But Lapinette easily hit Panico's palm dead centre, then flipped onto the ground with the edged weapon still in her paw. The Giant Ball dropped like a stone and showed signs of collapsing. Lapinette ignored faint hissing and turning on one foot, slashed again. She opened three more vents but couldn't see much inside. "Take it, Tipsy!" she yelled. Tipsy pulled out the automatic she'd borrowed from the Wabbit's secret dump, took careful aim and picked out one of her initials on the ball's surface. "Not so big now, you Ball!" she shouted. Lapinette thought she could hear something from deep inside. It was something she knew, but she couldn't place it. Panico shook a fist at the Ball and when nothing happened he shook it some more with a voice that sounded braver than he felt. "I've come to get you!" he said loudly. "Be most afraid and give up at once." But from the Ball there came not a murmur. Lapinette felt a sudden burst of impatience. "Tipsy, do you have any lighter fuel?" Tipsy not only had fuel, but possessed several serious lighters and a full kit of spare parts. She groped under her dress and something that looked like a flame thrower glistened in the dappled sun. "Come on out," she screamed, "or your Ball's toast."

Friday, February 06, 2015

The Wabbit and Lapinette's Plunge

Nine the Tram did something interesting. Without disengaging the Late Tunnel he selected full speed ahead. It was a tactic the Ball hadn't expected because it gave in the middle and distorted - but now they were stuck together as they rolled back towards Lingotto Station. "Nine! Disengage!" shouted the Wabbit. For one brief moment the whole tunnel warped. Then with a monstrous groaning that seemed to come from the very Pit of Hell, they all materialised above Lingotto. Lapinette's lip curled as she produced an edged weapon from beneath her dress and hung from the window. "I'll get that thing!" With two deft slashes she ripped a hole in the ball. "I'll open you up like a can of beans!" Lapinette stretched to make another cut, but Nine the Tram pitched and vibrated and her grip loosened. Skratch grabbed for Lapinette's foot but gravity defied him and she started to fall. But just as Lapinette felt herself slipping from the tram, she caught a brief flash of orange way down below. It was Panico. His eyes narrowed as he pulled and pulled with all his might. Suddenly his fist unstuck from his face with a sound like a suction cup, and branches swayed as he unfolded a giant hand. "Over here Lapinette! I'll save you!" Lapinette pretended she had a parachute, spread her limbs and homed in on the outspread palm ...

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Tipsy and the Inconvenient Check

Tipsy came hurtling into Turin like she was finishing the Grand Prix with only one car to beat. "Better notify my next of kin," she sang as she wrenched the wheel and slithered onto Corso Svizzera. "Where are they?" asked Panico, leaning out. "The Wabbit asked Nine the Tram to take him here." shouted Tipsy, "so I'm starting here." "Anything could have happened to him!" yelled Panico. "Anything!" "Well it usually does," nodded Tipsy and she dived across the tram lines with scant regard for road signs or traffic signals. The radio crackled. Tipsy tried to hold it to her ear but it it flew from her grasp and sailed around the cab. She could hear Wabsworth asking her to come in please, so she raised her voice and screamed, "Copy!" Wabsworth's voice was calm. "The Wabbit is in the late tunnel. Proceed to Lingotto." "Wilco!" shouted Tipsy. Everything lurched as she doubled round to head for the Big Bridge. For several seconds her truck ran on two wheels and then stabilised at the cost of two decorative conifers. "Look out, police!" shouted Panico. Tipsy put her foot to the floor. Stop signs flew skywards as the truck swept past the squad car. Panico gasped. "They shouted that the Wabbit is in the late tunnel." "They just want to take me to dinner," said Tipsy.

Monday, February 02, 2015

The Wabbit and the Tumbled Arrival

The Wabbit only had time to turn as Jenny and Skratch jumped. Skratch landed easily but Jenny cartwheeled and sprawled on the floor. With a hiss of compressed air, Nine's doors swept shut and suddenly everything stopped. The Giant Ball hung in the tunnel like a cut-out moon and all was still. "Red light," said Nine the Tram. "I engaged Late Tunnel mode." The Late Tunnel was a quantum space known only to Turin trams and a few cognoscenti. Few people knew their way into that space and even fewer found their way out. Skratch smiled at Jenny. "You've never been here, have you?" Jenny shook her head and dusted herself down. "I'm a pirate chief, not an underground surveyor." "Nor a circus acrobat," smiled the Wabbit. Lapinette stared at the Giant Ball. "I thought I saw something move." The Wabbit turned. "What kind of something?" Lapinette gazed at the Ball. "More like somethings." Now they all looked, but only Lapinette seemed able to see anything. So the Wabbit did something he seldom did. He fumbled in his fur for a hidden control unit and switched on his Blue Glasses. "I doubt if they'll work in here," said Nine. "This isn't a gadget space." Lapinette studied the Ball again. "They're very annoyed." "I know how it feels," said the Wabbit. He whacked his control unit on a grab handle and scowled. "Nine, I know how to deal with this," said Jenny softly. Everyone stared. "Ram it ..."

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Wabbit in the Approaching Tram

"There they are!" yelled Jenny as Nine the Tram shot up an incline with the Giant Ball close behind it. "I can see them," shouted Skratch. "Nine is in reverse, his rear doors are open and the steps are down." "Then get ready to hop," called Jenny. "I don't hop," meowed Skratch. "I'm a cat. Cats leap." Jenny smiled and leaned out further to judge the distance. The Wabbit spotted her from the Tram and nudged Lapinette. "We have company. Get ready to grab." Nine had found it difficult to shake off the Giant Ball. Busy traffic made his life difficult and his manoeuvring proved unsuccessful, so he made for a siding that he knew led into the metro. But the only way he could access the tunnel was backwards. With squealing wheels and a substantial quantity of sand he stopped dead, threw the control unit into reverse and hurtled into the darkness. But the Ball squeezed into the tunnel and whirled rapidly forward like a spinning top. Skratch could see it was gaining on Nine and he leaned out and listened. His ears were certainly the sharpest at low range and he could hear a dugga-dugga throb above the whine of the motor. "Nine's getting ready to close the doors." Jenny stretched at an impossible angle. She could make out the Wabbit's glasses and saw a raised paw counting down. Now Jenny could hear the compressor and she repeated the count to Skratch. "Five, four, three, two ..." The whistling bolt of orange drew level and they leaped at the same instant ...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tipsy and the Question of Confidence

Tipsy found Panico by Roma St Peter's Railroad Station. There, it was his habit to watch trains pass over the bridge, a pastime which he found soothing. Panico was delighted to see Tipsy although it was hard to tell. His eyes blinked rapidly, his fist shook and his voice was tremulous. Tipsy looked up with swimmy eyes. "Panico, fancy meeting you here!" Panico's heart fluttered. "Are you visiting?" Tipsy laughed. "No, I came to ask for your help." Panico was about to say "who me?" but instead he drew himself up to his fullest height. "I'm at your service!" "The Wabbit asked for you specially," said Tipsy, "He's having difficulty with an enemy." Panico drew a breath and started back. "How big is it?" Tipsy threw her paws wide. "It's a giant ball." Panico shuddered inside but he spoke boldly. "Giant balls hold no particular terror for me." Tipsy gaped. Panico nodded vigorously. "I can deal with giant balls." Tipsy smiled inwardly for she knew this bravado was more for Panico's self esteem than for the task in paw. "How do we get there?" asked Panico suddenly. "The truck," said Tipsy. "It's a very long way," groaned Panico, "so who's driving us?" "Me," said Tipsy. Panico's eyes bulged in terror. "Aaaaagh! Fabulous!" he yelled. He listened to his voice bouncing round the railroad arches until it faded entirely. Tipsy fluttered her eyes. "Panico darling, do you want to drive ..?"