The Wabbit was at Feltrinelli’s bookshop in the railway station to research spam, when Skratch hove into sight. "Hello Spamch, you're just the fellow I want to see," called the Wabbit. "Hello Spambit, I had some trouble getting here," said Skratch. "My tram was full of spam." "It’s everywhere. And it’s getting worse," said the Wabbit. "The Department wants us to investigate." "I’m hardly surprised," said Skratch. "Did you see these mothers pushing their spam?" The Wabbit looked aghast. "It’s horrifying," he said. "When I catch the spam artist responsible for this, I’ll make him eat all the spam in the city." "I'll hold him down," said Skratch. They both nodded in agreement. "So where do we start?" asked Skratch. "Where does spam come from?" "Somewhere obvious," said the Wabbit. "Somewhere we wouldn’t think of," added Skratch. "Right under our noses," said the Wabbit and his nose twitched several times. "I can smell it already," said Skratch. "Turbina the Jet Car has just been serviced. We could cruise around," said the Wabbit. "We’ll look into every nook and cranny. "I’m with you," said Skratch. "But let’s sit down and make a plan. May I offer you a spametivo?" "It’s all you can get," sighed the Wabbit.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
The Wabbit leaned forward to speak to Lapinette. "Are you sure she’s been serviced properly?" he asked. "Of course I have," said Turbina the Jet Car, "I suppose you want me to take you to Rome?" "I didn’t say anything about Rome," said the Wabbit. "I know what you’re thinking," replied Turbina. "Oh why don’t you two get a garage or something?" said Lapinette huffily and she wiped the remains of a salad sandwich from the dashboard. "Look Wabbit, your dinner’s here from last time." "That’s mine!" said Turbina, so please leave it in the glove compartment." Lapinette slammed the compartment shut. "Wabbit, there’s another mission coming up." The Wabbit brightened and leaned through Turbina's window. "The Department has been receiving an unbearable amount of spam," said Lapinette. "It's arriving every day. No-one can move for spam." "What’s spam, remind me?" asked the Wabbit. "Is it that that food that comes in a can?" Lapinette sighed. "Because I can never open these things," said the Wabbit. Lapinette sighed again. "Well, the opener goes all the way round until nearly the end," said the Wabbit, "and then it comes off and hurts my paw." Lapinette glared at the Wabbit. "Spam is unsolicited e-mail. It’s clogging up departmental bureaucracy." The Wabbit’s eyes sparkled with delight. "I do hope it hasn’t delayed my departmental evaluation." Lapinette shook her head. "That's scheduled as usual," she smiled. "I have an urgent priority appointment in Abu Dhabi," said the Wabbit.
Monday, November 26, 2012
The Wabbit suddenly found himself in the Dark Basement of the Goddesses and he was indeed in his own fur. So he shrank back as Unut bore down on him. "Commander!" said Unut. "Your Goddess Highness-in-charge," trembled the Wabbit. "What was that for a sort of mission?" asked Unut. The Wabbit was silent. "I will tell you," said Unut. "First there was the rabble rousing rally." "Yes," acknowledged the Wabbit. "Then came the show-off pyrotechnics," growled Unut. "Mmm," said the Wabbit. "And after that, there was the sarcastic sermon," sighed Unut. "I suppose so," muttered the Wabbit. Suddenly, Unut leaned back and smiled a broad smile. The Wabbit looked up hopefully. "Skratch the Cat Burglar was exemplary in every department and conducted himself with aplomb," she said. "Oh yes?" brightened the Wabbit as Unut continued. "And for this reason, Bastet, Cat Goddess is extremely pleased. "Oh everything’s fine then?" said the Wabbit. "Everything’s finally fine," said Unut. "So may I offer you a coffee?" "A mug for me," gasped the Wabbit. "This turn of events is fortunate, my Emissary," said Unut, "because otherwise I would now owe you two whole favours." The Wabbit raised a querulous eye at Unut’s striking frame as she continued. "But Bastet now owes a Goddess favour to Skratch the Cat, "so I only owe you one and a half favours." The Wabbit was relieved. "I’ll have the half favour now," he grinned. It was Unut’s turn to raise an eye. "I’ll take another pot of that coffee," said the Wabbit.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
The three met for a celebration lunch just round the comer from Largo di Torre Argentina, where the Wabbit had a special arrangement with a popular restaurant. "Well hello li’l lady," said Skratch. "John Wayne!” said Lapinette, waving a paw. Skratch swaggered. "Talk low, talk slow and don’t say too much," he drawled. "What happened to the Normots?" asked Lapinette. "They’re helping the cats," said the Wabbit. "Feeding them and cleaning out their quarters?" suggested Lapinette. "No, they’re raising funds on a Fun Run," confessed the Wabbit. Lapinette hopped up and down. "It will keep them off the streets," she giggled. They all laughed but it couldn’t cover the sound of the Wabbit’s stomach grumbling. "Carciofi alla giudia for me!" cried Lapinette. "I think I’ll have ricotta cheesecake," said Skratch. "Vellutata di funghi," murmured the Wabbit. Lapinette sighed. "Are you going to show off your dialect skills?" she asked and nudged Skratch. "Mi a gh'eva, ti at gh'evi, lu al gheva," said the Wabbit. "That sounds like a conjugation," laughed Lapinette. "It always worked for me," said the Wabbit. "But it doesn’t get my artichokes," said Lapinette and she pointed accusingly. "In that adventure, you were the Bad Tempered Emissary of the Gods!" The Wabbit cringed because he had quite forgotten that it was the Rabbit Goddess who had sent him on mission - but Lapinette hadn’t. "I wouldn’t like to be in your fur when you next meet Unut," she said. "Neither would I," murmured the Wabbit.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
The Wabbit addressed the two Normot delegates who had been pushed to the front. "Please sign the terms of surrender and return them to me." The Normots shivered in the water. "Sign!" growled the Wabbit. "Are you going to kill us?" asked the first Normot. "I’m a rabbit not a monster," smiled the Wabbit. "It says on the television that we shouldn’t sign things," they said together. The Wabbit grinned. "I was on television," he said and he flicked an imaginary speck of dust from his coat. "I was on Island of the Famous." Both Normots looked in awe and their mouths dropped open. "I want to touch your fur," said the second Normot. "That would be a start," replied the Wabbit. The Normots looked blank for a long time and the Wabbit hopped up and down. "You must love the cats," he hissed. "But they’re inappropriately sited," said the first Normot. "They poo," said the other. "Embrace chaos and love the cats," said the Wabbit. There was silence. "Repeat after me, “We embrace chaos and we love the cats”," shouted the Wabbit and he stamped his foot. "I don’t know how," moaned the second Normot. "Chaos was on the Discovery Channel," advised the Wabbit. The Normots looked at each other and nodded vigorously, again and again. "Then we’ll try," they shouted. "We embrace chaos!" "You see how easy it was," smiled the Wabbit with a wicked grin. "Yes!" they cried with delight. "We don’t mind cat poo now and we’ll pick it up and eat it." The Wabbit slapped a paw to his head. "This isn’t Bear Grylls," he sighed, "and they’re felines not lagomorphs."
Monday, November 19, 2012
The Normots fled the Largo di Torre Argentina and the 400 Rabbits. But they ran straight into the paws of Skratch and his entourage - and found themselves bottled in a narrow passageway. "Let us through!" they cried. "You're all under arrest,” said Puma, who had loped straight from the railway station. Skratch leant close to Puma and in a stage whisper asked, "What is the punishment for cat harassment in Rome?" "Death," growled Puma. Skratch knew Puma was prone to exaggeration, but he let it stand and watched as the Normots tried to think. "Save us!" shouted the Normots. "We’re obliged to take you to Commander Wabbit who will decide terms for your surrender," purred Skratch. "No, no," wailed the Normots, "he’s mean and nasty." "Oh I know," said Skratch. "But he can’t help it. Now turn around." "What will we do?" cried one Normot. "Feel ashamed," suggested Skratch, "feel very ashamed." But the Normots didn’t know how to feel anything. "Well at least look ashamed," added Skratch. The Normots gazed at each other with blank eyes. "Try looking at the ground and shuffling your feet," he suggested. "Does that work?" whispered Puma. "No, but it will be fun to watch," murmured Skratch. The Normots wheeled around reluctantly, but one turned back. "Shall we appeal to the Wabbit’s better nature?" All the cats started to laugh. "He hasn’t got one," said Skratch.
Friday, November 16, 2012
The 400 Rabbits rounded up a group of Normots responsible for expelling the cats - and brought them to the Wabbit. The Wabbit looked at them with the utmost disdain. "Abandon the territory," he said. "We won’t," they cried. "Then abandon hope," said the Wabbit with a chilling shrug. The Normots cringed back but the 400 Rabbits poked them in the back and nudged them forward. The Wabbit leant towards the Normots. "The cats have been here since the Romans," he advised, but he heard no reply. "They have staying power, and we will reinstate them." "Why?" shouted a Normot. "Because I say so!" shouted the Wabbit. "It’s not normal," said the leading Normot. "It’s just not normal at all." The Wabbit glared. "We like things to be normal," continued the Normot. "We like to speak normal." "Norma-lly," corrected the Wabbit. "It stands to reason," said the Normot with the sign. The Normots took courage and started to chant. "Hygienic archaeology, hygienic archaeology. Dirty cats out!" The Wabbit put his paws over his ears. "Shut up or I’ll shoot the lot of you myself," he said. But the Wabbit was a little embarrassed by his poor temper and adopted a conciliatory tone. "Let’s be civilised," he said. "You can do this the hard way or the easy way." "Which is normal?" said a Normot. "The easy way," laughed the Wabbit. "Then what should be do?" asked a Normot. "Under these circumstances," said the Wabbit, "it would be normal to run."
Thursday, November 15, 2012
They waited until nightfall when the Largo di Torre Argentina was deserted. Then the 400 Rabbits swept in without effort to seize the space. Soon every nook, cranny and crevice was alive with armed rabbits. The Wabbit looked down from the wall until the rabbits assembled and then he waved his paws around in a very special way. Instantly, the shadow of a man appeared on the moon and the 400 Rabbits let forth a low, menacing growl. "400 Rabbits!" shouted the Wabbit. Every pillar echoed to the hum of charging snaser guns. "Let them know we’re here!" yelled the Wabbit. Lapinette repeatedly fired her automatic in the air and gave forth a warbling, blood-curdling scream as a round of tracer bullets sliced through the night. The 400 Rabbits immediately raised and fired their weapons. And as the sky glowed with blue light from their snasers, they too screamed with such intensity that it hurt the Wabbit’s head. But all across the city, cats’ ears pricked as they heard the frightening sound. They looked at each other and nodded, then one by one they started padding towards the old ruins that were rightfully theirs. There was to be no sleep for anyone in Rome that night. "Our enemies left the space clear," muttered the Wabbit. "They will regret their error." He watched as some of the 400 rabbits danced a war dance through the ancient temples, threading their way through the pillars and singing lustily. "Hey Lapinette!" he called. Lapinette looked up. "Whatever happened to Saturday night?" asked the Wabbit.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Skratch carefully skirted Largo di Torre Argentina and the Normots, then prowled through the ruins behind the Roman Ghetto. "Meow!" said a black cat on the wall. Skratch turned abruptly and rattled his weapon. "I didn’t get as far as I've come today, by meowing," he said sharply. "Exactly how far did you come, Mr Skratch?" smiled the large red-flecked cat on the road. Skratch casually slung his snaser gun across his back and proffered a paw. "Antiquicat I presume? I have a message from the Wabbit," he said strictly. "How is the Commander?" said Antiquicat. "Furious," said Skratch. "He said to wait for his signal." "What will that look like?" asked Antiquicat with a faint smile. Skratch paused because he hadn't been told, then shrugged his broad shoulders. "Oh you know the Wabbit," he said. "Probably he’ll wave his paws around and make a shadow of a person on a wall." "I already owe him a favour," said Antiquicat. "You can buy him lunch later," said Skratch. "Why can’t we just find a new home?" said the cat near the wall. Skratch wheeled round. "You’d miss the shops," he growled and turned back. "Listen up, fellow felines, the Rabbits will take back the territory and hold it for your return." "What then?" asked Antiquicat. "You and the rest of the cats will replace them, while we pursue and confine your enemies." "Rabbits, plural?" queried Antiquicat. "The Wabbit brought his private guard," said Skratch. Antiquicat’s eyes widened. "I almost feel sorry for the Normots," he murmured. "The 400 Rabbits will deep fry their pizzas," nodded Skratch.
Thursday, November 08, 2012
As instructed, the 400 Rabbits took Rome by surprise. Somehow Lapinette had obtained special permission and the Wabbit looked on as the 400 Rabbits shouldered their arms and swept across the famous piazza. He waved for Lapinette’s attention. "They certainly won’t expect us to come this way," he yelled. "How did you pull that off?" "Do you think you’re the only rabbit with friends in high places?" smiled Lapinette. The Wabbit grinned too and called Skratch on his walkie-talkie, as he insisted on calling it. "Go ahead to the target Skratch and round up as many cats as you can. See if you can find Antiqicat and tell him to wait for my signal." Skratch nodded and the radio hissed. “It's two klicks to target," said Skratch "So I’m headed for the short cut across the river." And with that he was gone and the Wabbit looked back. To any innocent bystander, there seemed to be as many as 4000 rabbits, because they just kept coming. Then the Wabbit heard a noise. It was the faint sound of applause and he realised something - so he called to Lapinette. "It was Cardinal Lapin, wasn’t it?" "He gives Pets Blessings at San Giovanni dei Fiorentini," shouted Lapinette. The Wabbit narrowed his eyes and peered into the distance. He saw a flash of red and used his special glasses. Yes, there he was - Cardinal Lapin himself, nodding benevolently as the 400 Rabbits raced to save the cats of Rome.
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Lapinette had readied all the Wabbit’s private guard and they waited at the Palatine gates to do his bidding. "Do your thing, Wabbit!" said Lapinette and she fired her automatic four times in the air. The Wabbit hopped forward with a clatter of armoury. "How many are you?" he yelled. "We are the 400!" came the reply. The Wabbit paused for effect. "And where are we?" he shouted. The 400 rabbits shouted as one. "Turin, the old capital!" "So where are we going?" screamed the Wabbit. "Rome!" they scoffed. The Wabbit looked over his shoulder at Lapinette and grinned. Lapinette frowned at the Wabbit. "They’ll do anything you say, so don’t make jokes," she hissed. The Wabbit turned back and raised a paw. "What is our motto?" "Out of our way," they yelled. "And what of our enemy?" "Already vanquished!" they roared and the ground shook under their paws. The Wabbit tuned to Skratch. “So far so good,” he murmured. "They’re scary," said Skratch. "Are you sure you have them under control?" "Just watch," said the Wabbit and he yelled "Ale' Toro!" "Ale’ Toro!" they screamed. "Stamp the grass and scare the snake!" shouted the Wabbit. This time the 400 waited silently. "Sweep through their territory," he yelled. The 400 assembled into formations and formally hopped forward. "Better get out their way," said Lapinette and the Wabbit leapt aside as they crashed through the gates. "Where did you get that screen?" asked Lapinette. "Borrowed it from Cinecittà Roma" said the Wabbit.
Monday, November 05, 2012
Thoth was a God who was thrice great - and he knew it. But he liked the Wabbit and spoke in a friendly voice. "Thrice hello Wabbit!" The Wabbit leant back against Thoth's imposing frame "I’ve come for my briefing," he said. "Well, you’ve come to the right God," said Thoth, "because I can both name and describe the enemy who want to expel the Roman cats from their ancient home." The Wabbit looked up and listened. "The enemy are called the Normots and they are thrice normal." boomed Thoth. "Thrice normal!" breathed the Wabbit in horror. "Yes," confirmed Thoth, "they are very sick indeed. They have no subjectivity and move themselves as objects in a world of objects." The Wabbit, who had trained in analytical psychology in Geneva, nodded gravely. "Then they are most dangerous," he said, "because they recognise no feelings of their own." "Thrice correct Wabbit," said Thoth." But they observe feelings in others and copy or steal them. They are therefore stupid yet cunning." "Mmmm," said the Wabbit. "Shall we confront these Normots?" "Hah Hah Hah!" boomed Thoth. "They may not even understand your purpose and that is thrice to your advantage." The Wabbit shook his head. "Do they know we’re coming?" he asked . "Of course not," said Thoth, "They are many, but they don’t know whether they’re coming or going." "Yet they know enough to organise this expulsion," observed the Wabbit. "They watch television," sighed Thoth.
Friday, November 02, 2012
"You look sleepy, Wabbit, would you care for a coffee?" Unut’s voice was barely a whisper in the vast Basement of the Goddesses. The Wabbit yawned. "I don’t mind if I do," he said and downed a cup in a single movement. "Wabbit, I may speak only with you and I am charged with asking for something on behalf of the Goddesses." "The Goddesses!" echoed the Wabbit. "Oh they know you well," said Unut. "They repeat your jokes incessantly and bellow with laughter." The Wabbit resolved to cut down on his jokes in case it got him into trouble. And while he was resolving, Unut spoke again." "It is Bastet, Cat Goddess, who asks that you be her champion in a certain matter." "I’ll certainly do what I can," said the Wabbit. "The venerable cats of Torre Argentina in Rome are being expelled from their ancient home in the ruins," said Unut gloomily. The Wabbit’s fur stood on end. "What!" he cried, "I’m on my way immediately." Unut frowned. "Be still, Commander, don’t throw yourself at an enemy when you don’t know even its name." "This is personal," said the Wabbit and he hopped up and down. "You’ll need help," smiled Unut. "So take your 400 Rabbits and that Skratch the cat burglar." "I’ll round them up," said the Wabbit. "We march at dawn!" "Dawn has long passed," said Unut. "Then we march at dusk," cried the Wabbit, "and we’ll be mob-pawed and armed to the teeth." "Wait!" Said Unut, "Thoth will brief you." "I will be thrice briefed," sighed the Wabbit, who was anxious to be on his way. "Have another coffee," suggested Unut. The Wabbit nodded his head. "Then I'll jump to it!"