Back in Turin, the Wabbit propelled Lapinette into one of his favourite haunts. He had asked the staff to be on the lookout for Romans and a waiter had assured him that he always was. Reassured, the Wabbit sat down to wait for a special cocktail of his own invention. "It’s taking ages," said Lapinette. "It has to be precise," said the Wabbit. "What do you call it?" smiled Lapinette. "It’s called a Jazz Wabbit," replied the Wabbit. Lapinette waited very patiently to hear about the ingredients but the Wabbit took his time. "It’s just like a carrot aperitivo," he said finally,"but instead of soda there’s Irn Bru." "But they won’t have any Irn Bru here," scoffed Lapinette. "I used to bring my own," smiled the Wabbit, "and now I hear that lots of people have been asking for Jazz Wabbits." Lapinette shook her head. "It will sweep the land no doubt," she said and she had a sudden vision of a bottle of Irn Bru in every fridge in Italy. "What sort of adventure do you feel you had this time?" she asked suddenly. "It was a dream so it doesn’t count," sighed the Wabbit. "It was a real dream," said Lapinette, "and in it was a detailed film epic, within a fur meta-text." The Wabbit looked shrewdly at Lapinette. "Have you been raiding my cinema library?" he asked. "No, I've heard you talk and I just made that up," said Lapinette. "Then what did the film think, and who did it talk to?" asked the Wabbit. "A film can't think," said Lapinette. "You'd be surprised," said the Wabbit.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
"Wake up Wabbit wake up!" The voice was insistent and something was tugging on his ear. The Wabbit gradually forced his eyes open. "What, who, where?" gasped the Wabbit. "You were dreaming," said Lovely Lapinette, "and you wouldn’t come to." "But it was so real," spluttered the Wabbit. "The 400 Rabbits captured the Romans, and you were in a most fetching uniform." "It must have been the fur treatment," sighed Lapinette. "How much did you put on?" "I splashed it on all over," said the Wabbit ruefully. "You’re supposed to use it sparingly," said Lapinette. "We hadn’t heard from you. We were worried." "But I radioed for help," said the Wabbit, "and no-one took me seriously." "That was in your dream," sighed Lapinette. "Oh," said the Wabbit and he thought for a moment. "But what about the Romans?" he asked finally. "Dream," said Lapinette. The Wabbit was tentative. "The 400 Rabbits?" "Dream," said Lapinette. "And your cute uniform?" ventured the Wabbit. "In your dreams," smiled Lapinette. "Well you know what Freud said," stated the Wabbit. "I expect your going to tell me," said Lapinette. "Every dream is an unfulfilled wish," said the Wabbit. "You went on holiday for a rest but unconsciously you wanted excitement," interpreted Lapinette. "OK I suppose," agreed the Wabbit, "but what did you think of the film?" "I can’t possibly know, it was your dream," replied Lapinette, and she waved the fur treatment in front of his nose. "You can be in my dreams if I can be in yours," said the Wabbit. "It’s a deal," said Lapinette.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
In a single instant the Wabbit found himself looking down on a massive outdoor cinema screen and he didn’t pause to think why. He knew he was watching a film of his recent adventure, but he didn’t give that a second thought. This was because the Wabbit was very keen on films and where cinemas were concerned he knew exactly what he wanted. Normally he would have sat at the front in the middle, because from that position he could assess whether the projection was just right. It was his custom to look back sternly at the projectionist in his box and then frown until the picture was correctly adjusted to his satisfaction. But now, even from the very back, the Wabbit could see what was required. "Projectionist, projectionist!" he cried, in as loud a voice as he could muster. He thought he could hear a faint squeak from the projection box so he carried on. "It’s a little out of focus, just a bit soft," he yelled. The picture became crisper. "And it’s fuzzy at the edges." The picture sharpened all round. "Slight tilt down at the right," he called. The picture moved into position. "Are you certain your projector is rock steady?" he demanded. "There’s a bit of jump and weave." The picture lost its slight shake and became steady. "Perfect," said the Wabbit and leaned forward to watch - until he became aware of a familiar voice that wasn’t part of the film soundtrack. The voice was coming from beside him and it was getting louder. "Wabbit? Hello! Are you there? Wabbit!" ...
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
It happened with lighting speed. The 400 Rabbits charged in a wedge that suddenly split and they quickly surrounded the Romans whose formation was clumsily conceived. The 400 Rabbits packed in until the Romans were penned like sheep while a reserve battalion of rabbits streamed over the hill and down the slope to capture escapees. In what seemed like an instant it was all over and the Wabbit's lieutenants hopped forward to take the surrender. A groaning and a moaning rose from the Romans, who were not used to losing battles against rabbits, and a cheer rose from the 4oo. "Good tactics, Commander Wabbit," said Lapinette. "Did you learn that from Sun Tzu’s book of War?" "No," said the Wabbit and he wiggled his ears. "I adapted it from an old episode of Star Trek." "What shall we do with them now," asked Lapinette. "We can’t keep dumping enemies in the Sombrero Galaxy." The Wabbit turned to the 400. "What shall we do with them?" he yelled. There was silence. Then the 400 turned their paws down as one. The Wabbit smiled. "Well, what happened in Star Trek?" enquired Lapinette. "They let them go," said the Wabbit. “And overcome with shame they melted away to trouble no-one again." Lapinette looked sceptical. "I’m joking," said the Wabbit. "Take them away!" he yelled to the 400, "and put them in the Coliseum." Lapinette’s eyes shot in the air. "The tourists will take care of them," explained the Wabbit. "That’s harsh," said Lapinette.
Monday, July 23, 2012
The Wabbit tried very hard not to look surprised. Stretching into the distance were the ranks of the Wabbit’s private guard, the 400 Rabbits. At the very front stood Lovely Lapinette and she held aloft a heavy snaser gun as if it was a child’s toy. The Wabbit was about to ask her what took her so long but decided to leave that for later in favour of oratory. He always pretended to dislike public speaking, but that never seemed to stop him when the opportunity presented. And so he looked at his army. "What is your name?" he yelled. "We are 400!" came the reply. "How many enemies do you see?" asked the Wabbit. "Not that many!" The roar was deafening. "What is the first position?" cried the Wabbit suddenly. "No effort!" roared the 400 Rabbits. "And what is the second?" shouted the Wabbit. "No error!" The sound of the 400 made a wind that bent the trees. The Wabbit raised a paw and turned to Lapinette. "You certainly took your time!" he hissed. "It made for a dramatic entrance," whispered Lapinette with a glint in her eyes. "The Wabbit knew that glint. "I like your new frock," he quipped. "You noticed!" sighed Lapinette. The Wabbit winked and turned back to the 400 Rabbits. He raised a paw and made a wavy sign and the 400 Rabbits rapidly assembled into a wedge. The Wabbit turned back to Lapinette and growled loudly. "On my Command!" There was a deathly hush in the ranks and everything was still. The Wabbit shrugged. "Unleash Hell!" he grinned.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
The Wabbit continued to glance behind him until he reached the Circus Maximus, a location he knew like the back of his paw. The Wabbit always visited the old Roman racing stadium when he was in town and he would hop round the circuit pretending to be Ben Hur. But he was suddenly aware of a curious and terrifying sight. Roman soldiers filled the stadium as far as his eyes could see. The Wabbit’s fur stood on end and a chill ran all the way down his back and straight to the end of his tail. For a moment he didn’t know what to do. And when he didn’t know what to do, he started analysing things. "It’s too few for a legion, too many for a cohort," he thought. Several maniples perhaps," surmised the Wabbit. "And all infantry, no equestrians." But the Wabbit knew that for all his analysing, there was an awful lot of them and he was only one. A cry rose from the soldiers. It was soft at first, barely a murmur. Then it grew loud and threatening, "Mortem! Mortem! Mortem ad Cuniculum!" The cry became deafening as the voice of the Romans swelled to fill the vast space. "Mortem! Mortem! Mortem!" they shouted as one. "I don’t like the way is going," thought the Wabbit," who planned to carry on living. "Stultus Lepus! Stultus, stultus, stultus!" shouted a row of soldiers. "Oh that’s it," muttered the Wabbit. "I’ve had quite enough of this." He bared all of his 28 teeth and hunched head down. "Age quod agis" yelled the Wabbit as he hopped forward to meet the enemy. But above the roar of the Romans he heard strange sounds from behind him - and so he chanced a quick glance over his shoulder ...
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
The Wabbit loped through the city keeping one eye on the Roman soldiers whose numbers appeared to be increasing. The Wabbit knew the city well, but not as well as the Romans and he couldn’t shake them no matter how many twists and turns he took. So when he got to Largo Argentina, he delved deep in his fur for something he had almost forgotten he had with him. His walkie-talkie was directly connected with Wabbit Command and he had been expressly forbidden to take it on vacation far less use it. The Wabbit deemed this an emergency so he pressed a button and hissed "Wabbit Command, Wabbit Command. SOS." The radio crackled alarmingly. "Are you enjoying your holiday, Commander?" said a voice. "I’m being tailed, send help," whispered the Wabbit. "Yes. Yes Sir. We were warned to expect a call like this and you’re on holiday Sir," said the irritatingly soothing voice. "Look, this is not a joke, send assistance," hissed the Wabbit. "What’s that Sir?" came a calm reply. "This is not, repeat not a joke," hissed the Wabbit. "It’s the Romans. Send reinforcements." "How much Sir?" asked the voice. "Aaaagh!" shouted the Wabbit. "Send reinforcements, they’re going to advance." "Got it Sir," the voice replied. "Send four euro, you’re going to a dance." "Grrr," growled the Wabbit. "Glad to hear you’re enjoying your vacation, Sir," said the voice and the radio went dead.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
The Wabbit hopped leisurely through the portico of St Paul Outside-the-Walls and, as was his way, felt quite at ease in the imposing structure. But as he hopped he became aware of someone or something watching him. Now the Wabbit’s predisposition for paranoia was well known, but as time passed, he had developed a working relationship and was on rather good terms with the phenomenon. So at first he just twitched his ears and glanced up at the roof and looked around and about. He knew that mosaics could play tricks with the eyes, so he clutched his fur remedy firmly and took in the scene. The Wabbit liked to count the Basilica’s 150 columns as he hopped because he found it soothing - and he was supposed to be on a relaxing holiday so he did exactly that. But suddenly his fur started to prickle. He had miscounted and that never ever happened. The Wabbit turned his head to see a flash of red and a figure vanishing behind a pillar. "Romans!" thought the Wabbit. The Wabbit was tolerant enough of Romans but this looked like trouble. Certainly he recalled their record with Paul was mixed to say the least. He also knew that Roman soldiers had weapons, which they called "throwables", and he had no intention of getting in their way. He grasped his box closer to his chest. "They’re not getting my fur lotion," thought the Wabbit.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
The Wabbit was beginning to enjoy his vacation and decided he needed pampering. So he hopped out of his sanctuary and made his way across the city to a homeopathic pharmacy he knew. It was tucked away in a corner of the Basilica of St Paul Outside-the-Walls and hardly anyone knew it was there. Many visitors came and many visitors went and they all stopped to pay their respects at the tomb of St Paul. But mostly they passed by the little pharmacy without noticing its existence. If the Wabbit knew anything, he knew one thing. He knew that for rabbit fur improvement it was the only place to go in Rome and he went there directly and without deviation. He took bus number 23, got off at Via Ostiense and hopped straight in a little side entrance hidden in the massive wall of the Basilica. It was very quiet as usual and the Wabbit took his time looking all around the pleasant pharmacy. He inspected this and poked that and took things from shelves and looked inside things. Eventually he decided on a fur treatment that was right for rabbits and selected an unassuming white box. It was a little on the expensive side, but because of the special international status of the Basilica he was allowed a diplomatic discount. The Wabbit went to the counter and produced his papers but the shop assistant waved them aside. "Welcome to Rome, Commander Wabbit, are you enjoying your stay?" "I’m having a good fur day!" grinned the Wabbit.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Thursday, July 12, 2012
The Big Red Train zoomed along and day turned into night. The Wabbit tucked his puzzle magazine in the seat in front and looked up at the moon. Sometimes he fancied he could really see the Rabbit Goddess in the moon. So he stared and stared and the more he stared, the more she took shape. The Wabbit wasn’t particularly religious, but he was spiritual and if Goddesses spoke to him he was inclined to speak back. This time he chose to speak first. "What’s it all about, Goddess?" he murmured. Although there was no reply, the Wabbit felt the Moon Goddess was waiting. So he waited too and as he waited he started thinking. Then he did something he sometimes did when the situation demanded. He thought about everyone he had ever known. With some he was still in everyday contact and a few of those he considered his friends. Some were long out of touch and he hadn’t the slightest clue what had happened to them. But an increasing number had permanently departed and could never ever return. It was the last group that puzzled the Wabbit and the more he puzzled the harder it became to find an answer. "I know there’s an answer to every puzzle," thought the Wabbit and he instinctively reached for his puzzle book to look at the back and find out. But neither the question nor the answer was in the book. "Wabbit!" The Wabbit heard a soft voice and turned to look up at the moon. "For some puzzles there is no answer," said the Rabbit Goddess.
Monday, July 09, 2012
The Wabbit resumed his vacation but refused to take the bus. "I’ll take the Big Red Train" he said to himself and he picked out a seat, paid his fare and propelled himself along the platform. It wasn’t that the Wabbit didn’t like having vacations. He just knew that something always happened and he would have to work. He hesitated to call this a busman’s holiday for obvious reasons. The last time he went by bus it took him home and then he had lots and lots to do. "I want to relax," thought the Wabbit. "I want to read a puzzle magazine and figure things out." The Wabbit especially liked complicated puzzles, where the reader had to think through a location, making correct assumptions. It was like real life but without ramifications. The Wabbit hoped his journey would be ramification free. So he clutched his Settimana Enigmistica to his chest like a talisman. As long as the puzzles stayed inside the magazine, he would have no trouble. "OK," mused the Wabbit. "If you drive the train from Rome to Turin, and 22 people get off at Milan and 2 get in, then the train stops at Bologna and 7 get in and 2 hop off, then another 15 join the train when it stops at Florence, and then after 5 hours the train stops in Rome, what’s the name of the driver?" The Wabbit knew the answer so he giggled and hopped on the train.
Sunday, July 08, 2012
Because he had been forced to intervene in the careful plan to get information from the Hit Rabit, it was incumbent upon the Wabbit to buy lunch. So he chose a rather swishy venue that he thought might impress. And he was absolutely right. Sensing his advantage, he decided to kick off the discussion. "What was that for a sort of adventure?" he asked. "I thought it was turning into a mini-series," laughed Lapinette. "A mini series, that's just the job," said Wabsworth. "My data banks indicate that a mini-series is overdue." "Not soapy enough," smiled the Wabbit. "No melodrama!" "I thought it was a buddy movie," said Lapinette, "in which the female was relegated to the background." "What will you have to eat?" asked the Wabbit, quickly handing Lapinette the menu without prices. "Artichoke roulade," said Lapinette with a smirk. The Wabbit mentally kissed goodbye to a week's wages but felt it worthwhile. "We've been getting letters from the Sombrero Galaxy," said Lapinette. "Oh really?" said the Wabbit. "It's just a scam. Pay no attention." "I expect they're fed up with new people that don't pay their fares," said Wabsworth. "They need to be more tolerant of outsiders," smirked the Wabbit. "Perhaps we can interest them in bio-diversity." "Bio-diversity is old hat," said Wabsworth. "The notion of the umbrella species has quite put paid to all that tosh." "An umbrella species like us rabbits!" laughed Lapinette. "I prefer flagship species," said the Wabbit.
Friday, July 06, 2012
Wabsworth hit the red button and hopped back. There was a rumbling and the lift shot up and straight through the roof of the station. "Our cue to leave," said the Wabbit and together they loped up the stairs and down the Via Nizza. "Where’s it going?" shouted Wabsworth. "No need to worry," said the Wabbit. "I want to know," said Wabsworth. "The Sombrero Galaxy," said the Wabbit. "Quantum the Time Travelling Train is waiting to pick him up and deliver him to a suitably hostile planet." "How hostile?" asked Wabsworth. "You ask too many questions for an android," said the Wabbit. "Well what about the station roof?" asked Wabsworth. "The Department will send a cleanup squad. It’ll be fixed by morning." said the Wabbit. "So it’s all settled then," grinned Wabsworth and he dusted his paws. "Except for one small matter," said the Wabbit. Wabsworth looked questioningly. "The small matter of the Hit Rabit's unpaid fare," smiled the Wabbit. Wabsworth growled a growl that came from somewhere deep inside. "Well someone has to pay it." said the Wabbit. "It was on our shift so it will have to come from your stipend." "I have a stipend?" asked Wabsworth. "We all do," said the Wabbit. "And I have to pay his fare," groaned Wabsworth. "It’s only one euro, 50 cent," said the Wabbit. "So how far is the Sombrero Galaxy?" asked Wabsworth. "It’s approximately 30 million light years away," replied the Wabbit. “I’ll get him," said Wabsworth.
Thursday, July 05, 2012
The Wabbit and Wabsworth raced down to the platforms and dodged inside a lift pursued by the Hit Rabit. But when he followed they pressed the up button, dodged out again and sped up the stairs to meet the Hit Rabit at the top. The Hit Rabit froze rigid at the back of the lift as the doors opened. "Where’s his weapon?" shouted Wabsworth. The Wabbit grinned a sinister grin. "Inside him," he said quietly. Wabsworth looked puzzled. "Liquid explosive. He’s a Kamikaze Rabit," said the Wabbit. "And please don’t speak too loud. It might set him off." Wabsworth realised why he didn't detect a weapon and he was most annoyed. "Why he is waiting for goodness sake?" asked Wabsworth in an upset tone. "Things haven’t gone to plan for him either," said the Wabbit. "He’s waiting for instructions from a remote source." "We can’t stand here waiting for him to receive instructions," said Wabsworth and he turned to face the frozen Rabit. “Give us information," he said in a soft but menacing voice. But there was no reply. "Be soon!" urged Wabsworth. The Hit Rabit remained silent. Wabsworth turned to the Wabbit. "What does that red button do?" he asked. "Press it and see," said the Wabbit. "It wasn’t there before," said Wabsworth. "I put it there," said the Wabbit. Wabsworth looked with horror. "Do what’s needed," said the Wabbit. "I cannot," said Wabsworth. "He was trying to damage you," said the Wabbit. "All the same ..." said Wabsworth and his voice trailed off. "He didn’t pay his fare," shrugged the Wabbit. Wabsworth grimaced. "OK then," he said and he lifted his paw ...
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Wabsworth the Wabbit’s android double liked the Metro. He had already pressed three buttons and as he pushed his ticket through the machine it made a satisfying sound. So he hopped on the escalator and let his sensitive ears measure how far behind him his follower was. "I’ll bet the Hit Rabit doesn’t have a valid ticket," thought Wabsworth and he sneered an enormous sneer at such deceit. He so enjoyed the Metro and was just giving himself an electronic pat on the back when something stopped him in his tracks. Wabsworth was aghast. "Oh no, the plan’s gone wrong!" he thought as he saw the Wabbit coming up the stairs towards him. But the Wabbit signalled to him, put a paw to his lips, did several things with his head and winked. Wabsworth hadn’t a clue what the Wabbit meant so he processed this data again. "Wink means a trick and I’m supposed to know," he thought. The Wabbit smiled and nodded his head and flipped his ears. Wabsworth winked and continued to think. "One jerk up means he knows that Hit Rabit is there," he reasoned. "And a jerk down means carry on down the escalators." So Wabsworth started to hop faster and the Wabbit turned and began to lope down the stairs with enormous speed. Wabsworth didn’t think the Hit Rabit had seen the Wabbit, because his follower had been too busy avoiding his fare. So Wabsworth smiled to himself and thought of a private revenge on the Hit Rabit. "We’ll make him pay double for this affront," he murmured.
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Wabsworth the Wabbit’s android double made it to the Metro without incident and the Hit Rabit followed. "No problems so far," said Wabsworth to himself. "All is going according to plan." But Via Nizza at the railway station end was fur-raising enough on its own and as Wabsworth hopped past signs of urban change that were not in his data banks, he postponed his plan to nod amicably to passers-by. "I need to update the Wabbit on socio-economic matters," he thought. But the big Metro logo was both welcoming and reassuring and Wabsworth paused at the top of the steps to make sure the Hit Rabit knew exactly where he was going. He wondered what kind of weapon the Hit Rabit used, because he his sensors didn’t indicate anything at all and he found that slightly creepy. "Perhaps he’s going to hypnotise me with his menacing eyes," thought Wabsworth and then he giggled, because he was an android and he couldn’t possibly be hypnotised. Wabsworth found it difficult to acknowledge that he wasn’t really the Wabbit. In most respects he felt like the Wabbit and was therefore drawn to do the things the Wabbit would do. This made him want to break the rules. Left to his own devices, he would have preferred to hide behind something, then kick the Hit Rabit onto the railway track as he went past and shout something rude. But he thought better of it, rummaged in his fur for his weekly ticket and hopped on down the steps. "This would be the wrong day to meet a ticket inspector," he thought.