Monday, September 30, 2013

1. The Wabbit and the No. 9 Tram

On the way from the Adventure Caffè, the Wabbit seized a chance to drive the No 9 Tram. This was something he had always wanted to do, but somehow the opportunity had eluded him. On this occasion he was successful, but it had cost the Wabbit a considerable amount - all the lunch vouchers he had in his fur and the promise of a gala dinner. Still, the Wabbit was satisfied and he switched on the power supply, released the brakes and pushed the control handle. The tram slid smoothly away from the stop and the Wabbit smiled as it glided at a leisurely pace. Occasionally the Wabbit would switch the points with a button on his console and listen to the snicking noise as the tram proceeded. "Oh I do like trams," murmured the Wabbit to himself. "Yes, so do I," said the Tram, "and do be careful wth my controls. I've just had a service." It had been some time since a vehicle had spoken to the Wabbit and he frowned. "What's your name?" he asked cautiously. "Nine," said the Tram. "OK Nine, nice and easy does it," said the Wabbit. A compressor hissed. "I feel like a jaunt," said Nine. The Wabbit saw the power notching up and he clenched his 28 teeth. "Here we go again," he muttered.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Wabbit in the Adventure Caffè

"Who's that?" asked the Wabbit. "Marco Mengoni of course." Lapinette, stabbed the magazine with her paw. The Wabbit looked quizzical. "He's a singer songwriter. He won the Italian X-factor," said Lapinette. "Oh really," said the Wabbit without enthusiasm. The Wabbit only liked old scratchy jazz records that he found in markets."Don't let Skratch see it," he said. "He'll give us a lecture on popular culture." "Too late!" said a familiar voice. "That Mengoni fellow has a sort of captivating meaow." "Oh hello Skratch," cooed Lapinette. "You tell us what kind of adventure we just had." "An interesting Brechtian escapade," said Skratch. "You certainly made your point." "Oh thanks," said the Wabbit smiling. "Well you made it rather a lot," purred Skratch. "But it was accessible enough." "Anything else? "asked the Wabbit with hesitation. "It looked good," said Skratch. The Wabbit's face fell. "But nothing, however good it looks," quoted Skratch, "should be termed good unless it is." Now the Wabbit really grinned. "Thank you Skratch, you're a most intelligent feline." "Any more good quotes, Skratch?" asked Lapinette. Skratch paused. "There are some with brains and some without," he said. "It makes for a better division of labour."

Sunday, September 22, 2013

9. The Wabbit suggests a Deal

The Wabbit hopped out into the sun to face the Slifts. "I hope you took that offer of the Fake Fur Futures," he called. "We didn’t," snorted the Slifts. "Then that was ill-advised," said the Wabbit and he snorted too. Looking down, he flicked imaginary lint from his own fur then looked up. "Futures are what the future’s all about, you know." "But we bought the fake furs," said the Slift leader.  The Wabbit stared in mock astonishment. "What on earth did you pay?" he chortled. "A Zillion Gazillion," said a Slift too quickly. The other glared at him menacingly. "For the consignment?" asked the Wabbit. "No, each," they said together. The Wabbit’s eyes went wide. "I have very bad news," he said. "There's been a double-dip recession. The bottom’s just fallen out of the fake fur market." "What about our money?" asked the Slifts. "Don’t tell me you actually spent it," asked the Wabbit and he spread his paws wide. "Please, please tell me you didn't hand over actual cash." The Slifts nodded. The Wabbit shook his head sadly. "I’ll take the fake fur off your hands - and I promise to pay you in the future," he said. "Call it a special investment. Think of it as money in the bank." "I'd really rather not," said the Slift Leader.

Friday, September 20, 2013

8. Lapinette and the Fake Fur Futures

In a slaughterhouse at the other end of the stockyards, the three commodity skinners hovered threateningly as Lapinette hopped up and down. She was holding a fake fur jacket and she gushed in an ecstatic manner. "Quite terrific, fantastic," she murmured. "Awfully, awfully good. Just the job." "They're completely fake," said the leader. Lapinette smiled sweetly. "Better than the real thing, much better. Everyone's wearing them, even Lady Gaga." "Who?" asked another skinner. Lapinette ignored him and carried on. "Tyra Banks?" she tried. "Never heard of her," said the skinner on the right. "Elle MacPherson!" gasped Lapinette, who was running out of steam. "Ah, now youre talking," said the leader and he fumbled in his fur coat. Lapinette gaped. "Are you Time Travellers?" she asked. "Because I have a nice line in Fake Fur Futures. Invest with me and I guarantee you'll triple your money in 900 years." The skinners shook their heads. "Well, the fact is there isn't any real fur available," snapped Lapinette. The skinners growled. "How much?" "A Zillion Gazillion," said Lapinette. "For the consignment?" asked the leader. Lapinette paused and thought of the Wabbit. "Each," she grinned.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

7. The Wabbit and the Confrontation

The Wabbit put his part of the plan into action. He asked for volunteers from his personal guard, the 400 Rabbits - but they all came, smelling of fresh paint and placards. The 400 Rabbits poured into Testaccio, formed a solid wall across the stockyard and waited. And when the stock arrived they started to shout at the hapless creatures. "No further!" they cried. "Stop there!" The stock halted. One of the Wabbit’s trusted cadres hopped forward in front of the Wabbit and addressed the stock directly. "Livestock!" he shouted. "Who will buy you now?" The stock agitated. "You are already bought - but not paid for," shouted the 400 Rabbits. A silence fell, except for a slithering of paws on cobbles. "Then who will feed us?" shrieked the stock. "We were given only the best of fodder and grew fat." This time the Wabbit hopped forward. "Your masters grew fat on your fur!" he yelled. "Join us and make certain that fur is in short supply." One of the stock, different from the rest, hopped forward. "That will not save our fur. Our fur will only get a higher price on the market." The Wabbit’s lip curled and only three of his 28 teeth glinted in the sun. "Today, my fellow rabbit," he grimaced, "we will render your fur unobtainable." He paused for effect. "And tomorrow it will be out of fashion."

Monday, September 16, 2013

6. The Wabbit and the Change of Plan

The Wabbit and Lapinette sat down at a beer crate to discuss a change of plan. The Wabbit said that Lapinette’s plan wouldn’t work because the creatures were too bright. Lapinette said that she could persuade them with feminine guile. The Wabbit responded by saying that usually worked, but in this case the Slifts were impervious. Lapinette asked why. The Wabbit argued that where matters of profit were concerned, only one thing worked. Lapinette rapped the crate with a paw and asked what that could possibly be. The Wabbit shrugged. "Force," he said emphatically and he hit the crate so hard that it shook and bits fell off. Lapinette sighed. "What do I have to do?" she asked. The Wabbit advised Lapinette that she should stick to the first part of her plan, but to raise the price of the fake fur to an unimaginable level. "What will you do?" she asked. The Wabbit shrugged again. "I will make any alternative impossible."  "The Slifts won’t like it," said Lapinette. The Wabbit drew back his lips and 28 teeth sparkled in a shaft of light that sliced through a hole in the roof. "Rock the Kasbah," said the Wabbit.

Friday, September 13, 2013

5. The Wabbit and Livestock Exchange

The Wabbit couldn't do a thing. Dragged into a stockyard shed, he found himself staring into the muzzle of Lapinette's automatic. He was seldom lost for words, but Lapinette made up for it. "What are you doing here?" Her voice was a whisper but it was really a yell. "You nearly blew my cover!" "Oh," said the Wabbit, weakly. "Your cover," he repeated inanely, nodding his head. He fumbled with his pistol and tucked it back into his fur. "I might need to change my plan!" hissed Lapinette. "Your plan," repeated the Wabbit. "Don't keep repeating me," yelled Lapinette. "Repeating?" The Wabbit's voice trailed off and he shrugged without enthusiasm. "Who are these creatures?" he asked in an attempt to be assertive. "And perhaps we should keep our voices down." "Slifts!" whispered Lapinette. "They're commodity skinners in the fur trade." The Wabbit flinched. "And where do you figure in all this?" "I'm posing as broker," said Lapinette, "and I persuaded them to buy a vast amount of dodgy faux stock that will glut the market." "Who'll buy livestock then?" said the Wabbit. "It'll cost the Slifts a fortune in fodder." "They'll bellow when they run out of Options," scowled Lapinette.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

4. The Wabbit of the Stockyards

This looked like a stockyard to the Wabbit and his fur crawled. Something deep in his species memory scraped him with sharp claws and he shrank into a corner and pulled out his automatic. "I don’t like the smell of this," muttered the Wabbit and his nose twitched. He could smell rust and brick and wood, but there was another thing - something from the past. The odour became palpable. The smell of rubber hoses and drains, a damp smell like old gaiters long abandoned in a dank cellar. It was only then that he heard them. There were three and they floated a half metre above the cobblestones. The Wabbit’s ears pricked up and he strained to understand the short series of moans and crackles that hung in the air like ghostly static. He picked up single words. Packers, breeders, consignment, merchandise, livestock. His paw gripped his gun tightly as the spectral voices became clearer. "Ghastly business we’re in," said one, "I can hear the creatures bellow." "We meet demand," said the other. "It's not as if it’s us who eat them," said the last. The Wabbit's ears grew hot and he gritted his teeth. A hard object poked him in the ribs. He knew for sure it was the barrel of an automatic and it certainly wasn't his own. Then a voice. "Stay completely still and don’t move a hair."

Monday, September 09, 2013

3. The Wabbit and the Watching Brief

The Wabbit followed Lapinette closely and remained completely unobserved. As a secret agent, that was his job. At the same time, it was Lapinette’s job as a secret agent to spot him. But she seemed so intent on her journey that she didn’t seem to notice the Wabbit on her tail. He followed her all the way from the seaside and into an old industrial neighbourhood in the city. All this time, the Wabbit stayed a discreet distance behind while theories raced though his head. What on earth was her destination? "It might be another fashion show," thought the Wabbit. Perhaps she was going to meet a different kind of agent altogether - a fashion industry agent who pocketed 30 per cent of her vast earnings. The Wabbit considered and glanced around the area. It had seen better days and although it was under development, it didn’t seem like a fashion industry sort of place. But he remained icy calm and hopped quietly along the sidewalk in pursuit as Lapinette crossed the road to an old building. It looked like an abandoned railway station, but on closer inspection he reckoned it was a factory or a warehouse. The Wabbit stopped, looked for another way in and changed direction. "Uptight, out of sight," he hummed.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

2. The Wabbit and the Fashion of Fur

It wasn’t difficult for the Wabbit to crash the event. With a paw over the date, he flashed his ancient press card and hopped across the beach. "I’ll never get the sand out of my fur," he grumbled. Worse was to come. Amidst much attention, Lapinette was modelling a strange garment. "It’s a fur coat," muttered the Wabbit with astonishment. The Wabbit knew several things. He knew Lapinette already had perfectly good fur. His fur could feel the beach was baking hot. And the campaign against the fur trade was dear to their hearts. He glanced up at a familiar sound to see Susan the Biplane trailing a fashion banner. The Wabbit flinched in the sun's glare. "I really am in the dark." So the Wabbit ignored the temperature, watched Lapinette strut the runway and had a think. He examined all the options. "Lapinette is up to something," he murmured, "and I’m going to get to the bottom of it." He was gripped by a flash of inspiration. "I have it!” thought the Wabbit. "Now what’s that thing models do – smize?” He fluttered his eyes and although he felt foolish, loped gracefully forward himself, raising his paws higher than was strictly necessary. "I can model my own fur and get on the inside," he grinned. "Then I won’t be in the dark." He heard a polite clapping. "Fur whom the bell tolls," he grinned.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

1. The Wabbit and the Fashion Poster

One evening the Wabbit was out for a constitutional hop and that entailed stopping at several points en route for carrot aperitivi. As he hopped, he mused on old missions and smiled in a satisfactory manner, wondering what mysterious adventure life would throw him next. It was just getting dark as he rounded a corner into a favourite square that was to be his last port of call before he headed home. "What the binkie is going on?" he exclaimed. Several people looked around and seeing nothing but a rabbit looking at a poster, continued on their way. But the Wabbit stared and stared at the poster. "No-one told me anything about this!" he complained. "I am always kept completely in the dark." Now it wasn't at all true that the Wabbit was always kept in the dark. In fact, it was usually the Wabbit who kept others uninformed - sometimes under orders, sometimes for their own good and sometimes for entertainment. He considered for a moment. "Lapinette told me nothing of this, so perhaps it's meant to be a surprise." The Wabbit's eyes glinted. "I'm going to say nothing," he murmured, rummaging in his fur for ancient press credentials that were long out of date. "The surprise will be on Lapinette," he grinned.

Monday, September 02, 2013

The Wabbit at the Adventure Caffè

The Wabbits positioned themselves in a caffè outside a cinema and waited for Skratch the Cat to emerge. Then they pretended they didn't see him. "Hello!" cried Skratch. "Hello! I'm over here!" "Oh, hello Skratch," said the Wabbit, smiling. "What a surprise to see you here." Lapinette hid a giggle. "I was at the movies," said Skratch, "I viewed Infanzia Clandestina." "That's an interesting film," said Lapinette. "The violent scenes were filmed using cartoons." "It should have had an Oscar for that," said Skratch, "but we were excluded as usual." "It has already been done," said the Wabbit, "It was in the early jazz days when Louis Armstrong was in a cartoon." Skratch nodded in agreement. "It's a controversial area," he exclaimed. He paused and pointed. "What's that you have there?" "It's an ancient jazz album," said the Wabbit. "Can you play it?" asked Skratch. "I need a phonograph," smiled the Wabbit. "I know a market where we can get one," replied Skratch, "and by the way, that Blues Bat adventure was a fine example of music genre." The Wabbit grinned ear to ear. "Yes," continued Skratch, "you allowed the main character generous expression." "You sound like film programme notes," said the Wabbit. "I do it part time," laughed Skratch.