The creatures wanted a confidential discussion so the Wabbit went to the rear of the Number Nine Tram. They spoke and the Wabbit listened attentively. "What are they saying Wabbit?" asked Nine impatiently. "Just a second," said the Wabbit. Then he held up a paw and nodded his head vigorously. "All right Nine, I have it." Nine, the Tram waited patiently. "In order for them to continue offering the Late Tunnel service, they would like some quid pro quo." stated the Wabbit. "And what exactly is this quid that I should quo?" said Nine. "While you're down here," said the Wabbit, "the creatures would like entertainment." There was a long silence. "They feel it's only fair," added the Wabbit. "What kind of entertainment?" queried Nine. "They like music," said the Wabbit, "can you sing?" "The Number Nine Tram laughed and burst into a blues. "Hey Mr. Judge, your trams are coming down the line. The cargo ain't too much if you can chase the friends of mine." The Wabbit threw back his head. "I heard they smuggle in the goods, along the western union line." He bent down to the creatures and talked for a long time. "What did they say?" asked Nine. "They prefer Reggae," said the Wabbit. "Zion Tram!" said Nine.
The Wabbit hopped down from the driver's seat. "Open the door, Nine," he said firmly. "We never open doors in the Late Tunnel," protested Nine. "There's a first time for everything," said the Wabbit in an irritating manner he had learned from his grandmother. "On your head be it!"" said Nine. "Don't come hopping to me when it all goes wrong." There was a hiss of compressed air and the doors folded open. The Wabbit slung a paw round a rail, leaned out and peered down. "Ah" he said screwing up his eyes. "Um," said the Wabbit peering further. "Ah," he said again. "Oh please Commander," sighed Nine. "May we dispense with the interjections. What can you see?" "I recognise your creatures," said the Wabbit, much as if he saw them every day at the supermarket. "Enlighten me," said Nine. "They're equations," said the Wabbit. "They make your neat little late system work." "Let's just leave them be," said Nine with a hiss of compressed air. "Let's close the doors and be on our way." Nine's motor started to whine. "Hang on Nine," said the Wabbit. "They seem to want something." He bent a little nearer and murmured something in algebra. There was sqeaking sound and a sharp click. "They'd like more in their wave packets," said the Wabbit.
The Wabbit was fascinated with red buttons and never failed to press them, usually with unexpected and occasionally unfortunate results. Now he stared from the driver's cabin at a sea of grey and no matter what he did with the control handle, the tram floated gently through grey space. "What the Binky?" muttered the Wabbit. The voice of Nine, the Number Nine Tram sounded spooky in the void. "You pressed the red button and I'm afraid we're in the Late Tunnel." The Wabbit breathed in and out to become mindful of his breath. But he had never got the hang of it and was only mindful of grey. "What on earth is the Late Tunnel?" he sighed. "The Late Tunnel," said Nine, "is an emergency zone where we can go if we are irremediably late." "To hide from an inspector?" asked the Wabbit. "No, to make up time," said Nine. "We reappear at a distant fare stage as if we hadn't been late in the first place." The Wabbit thought of his city travels for a minute. "That explains quite a lot," he said. "How long will we be here?" "Oh, there's no time in here," said Nine. "Just relax." "I suppose it could be enjoyable," said the Wabbit, counting his breaths. "Oh it is," said Nine, "except for the Creatures."
The Wabbit jumped into the tram driver's seat and slammed shut the cabin door. "OK Nine, I'm in charge so I'm going to check everything is in place." Compressed air hissed and the passenger doors closed. The Wabbit nodded approvingly. "Do you have a vigilance control system and logic speed control?" he asked. "Yes," said Nine. "Where?" said the Wabbit. "There," said Nine. The Wabbit noticed they were switched off, so he leaned forward and switched them on again. Then, after a brief thought, he stretched out a paw and flicked them back off. "Do you have plenty of braking sand in your reservoir?" he asked. "I do," said Nine. "Pantograph?" said the Wabbit. "Foot pedal," said Nine with a hiss of compressed air. "Dead Rabbits Handle? asked the Wabbit. "Not necessary," laughed Nine. "And remind me Nine," grinned the Wabbit, "of who exactly is in control of the Tram?" "My driver is Commander Wabbit of the Department of Wabbit Affairs," said Nine. "Tell me one more thing Nine," said the Wabbit. A silence fell, only to be broken by another hiss of compressed air. The Wabbit pointed at a cluster of instruments. "Precisely what," asked the Wabbit, "does that red button do?"
The Wabbit found himself back in the Number Nine Tram, which seemed to be heading along its normal route to Corso Massimo D'Azeglio. He was thinking things over and the rattle of rails and hum of nearby traffic became so hypnotic that he was all but lost in reverie. Suddenly the tram braked harshly and the Wabbit nearly fell off his seat. "That's enough thinking," shouted the Wabbit to empty air. His words bounced round metal and wood and returned to stare him in the face. "OK, that's it!" he said. "Passenger no more!" and he hopped up from his seat and made for the driver's cabin. Tram Number 9 increased speed and tore round the corner from Via Madama Cristina. The Wabbit grabbed a paw rail and screamed at the top of his voice. "I'm taking over, Nine." There was no reply. "This cost me all my lunch vouchers and I'm going to drive," yelled the Wabbit. Nine the Number Nine Tram switched points and coasted onto Corso Massimo. "I've lots more to show you," he said, with a hiss of compressed air. "Yes, but I'm in charge," said the Wabbit and he advanced menacingly on the cabin door. "Don't you like being a passenger?" asked Nine. "It never sat well with me," grimaced the Wabbit.
The Wabbit looked in awe. "Maya!" he exclaimed. Attended by Unut, his old friend was changing rapidly. Maya was the Cat who knew about Time and over the years she had proved a source of great strength to the Wabbit. "What's happening Maya?" he asked. "I ran out of Time, so I must transform," miaowed Maya. She reached out and touched the peak of the pyramid and Unut laid a paw on her leg. Maya's paw grew enormous and glowed in the darkness. Unut the Rabbit Goddess spoke. "Maya is to be a Goddess and she will join us here in the dark basement," she said softly. The Wabbit looked across at Lapinette and saw her eyes were moist. "How will we know about Time now?" he said. "Time is the father of truth - but its mother is our mind," said Maya. "You may visit me here with the other Goddesses - if you have the time." The Wabbit trembled and didn't know what to say, so he thought hard. And as he thought he suddenly saw Maya as a Sphynx Goddess with colossal paws. "Anything you need for the afterlife, Goddess?" he asked. The Sphynx Goddess spoke. "Vanilla yoghurt," she said, "and Wudy's turkey sausages."
Nine the Number Nine Tram vanished back into the tunnel and emerged somewhere the Wabbit vaguely knew. And there was Skratch the Cat looking urgent and Unut the Rabbit Goddess too. The Wabbit squinted at Skratch. "Look Skratch I'm on a Tram journey," he said. "What's the deal?" "An emergency stop overrides the itinerary," interrupted Nine. "What kind of emergency?" asked the Wabbit. Skratch looked up at him. "This is the trade entrance of the Egyptian Museum," he explained. The Wabbit felt that Skratch was unusually flustered. "I'm aware of where we are, Skratch," he answered softly. "Well, Unut is waiting for you, and she can't keep the door open long." The Wabbit paused. "You have to go," urged Skratch. The Wabbit felt like shrugging but his shrug stayed in his shoulders and he slowly put a foot out of the tram. "Come on Commander!" shouted Unut. The Wabbit stopped. "When I visit, I usually go in the front entrance," he thought. "Will you please stop thinking and do as you're told?" yelled Unut. The Wabbit wasn't predisposed to doing what he was told, but Unut was a Goddess and he usually made an exception. "OK," he said and he jumped down. "Hop this way," said Unut. "Hop like an Egyptian," murmured the Wabbit.
"Trams should have toilets," murmured the Wabbit to himself as he went to wash his paws. "So they should," said his reflection. The Wabbit looked in the mirror and shook his head. "We have to stop meeting like this," he quipped, shrugging in a way that only the Wabbit could. "I wish you wouldn't shrug like that," said his reflection. "It looks like you don't care." The Wabbit was going to shrug again, but the reflection held up a paw. "There you are, you're doing it again." "I have a tram to catch," said the Wabbit and he dried his paws on his fur. "Not so fast," said his reflection. "I hope you're taking note of all the things the Tram is showing you." "Why?" asked the Wabbit. "Because you need to be more aware of your path." His reflection waved a paw back and forward indicating a long path. The Wabbit hissed softly. "What's my path got to do with the Number Nine Tram?" "Everything," said his reflection. "What you've been, what you are now, and what you will become." The Wabbit stared at his reflection and grinned. "Can you shrug?" His reflection shrugged just like the Wabbit. The Wabbit nodded approvingly and so did his reflection. "Now together!" yelled the Wabbit. They both shrugged at the same time. "You'll get the hang of it," said the Wabbit.
The Number Nine Tram suddenly reversed, plunged back into the tunnel and burst through a wall. Then with a hiss of compressed air he shuddered to a halt. The Wabbit looked out. "This is my secret garden," he said. "I come here to contemplate." "And look! There you are over there," said Nine the Tram, "but why are you touching the wall?" The Wabbit watched himself for a while. "I touch the wall," he said, "because it's very old and emits some kind of vibration." Nine was silent and waited for the Wabbit to continue. "This is a defended space," said the Wabbit. "It's a quiet little world and the wall keeps things out." "And in," said Nine. The Wabbit thought for a moment. "Yes it does," he murmured. "Things I consider here, I keep very much to myself." "It's your sacred space," said Nine quietly. "When I'm here it belongs to me," said the Wabbit and he looked down the compartment with a question on his lips. "Are you a Hop-on Hop-off Tram?" he asked. "I'm a Hop-on Tram," said Nine. "Hopping off is a matter of negotiation." The Wabbit wriggled. "Could I hop off for a second?" "Why?" said Nine. "I need to go to the toilet," grinned the Wabbit.
The scene changed as abruptly as before and a hiss heralded a sharp chill as the front doors swung open. So the Wabbit hopped to the rear and looked out. "What do you see?" asked Nine, the Number 9 Tram. "Turin," said the Wabbit and then he thought for a bit. "But just the top." "What about the whole Turin?" asked Nine. The Wabbit gazed down. "The whole Turin is a complex network of culture and relationships." Compressed air hissed again. "You sound like a book," said Nine. The Wabbit fought for an example. "I can see the spire of the Mole Antonelliana but I can't see the film museum inside. I can't see people having fun." "You can see only the surface of things," said Nine. "Yes, it's like a map," said the Wabbit. "But down there my friends are working and playing." "Can you see the Old Abandoned Hospital?" asked Nine. "Yes," said the Wabbit. "It's over there." "And you can see the Big Ramp at Lingotto?" "Yes," said the Wabbit. "But can you see yourself?" said Nine. The Wabbit stared and stared and stared. Then suddenly he caught sight of the Tram reflected in the River and he saw his face at the window, peering out. The Wabbit winked. His reflection winked back. "My fur needs a trim," smiled the Wabbit.
Suddenly everything changed. Nine, the Number Nine Tram emerged from the tunnel to an extraordinary scene and the Wabbit looked out at billions of stars, trying to recognise where he was. "Mostly Red Dwarfs," muttered the Wabbit. "Well at least it's my own galaxy." He shrugged at his reflection in the glass and relaxed. Everything was so unbearably quiet, he could hear his heart beat. The Wabbit let go of the control handle and poked the window with his paw and thought long and hard. "I'm used to being in charge," he thought, "but maybe I can't be in charge of everything." He rummaged in his fur and extracted a list of "Things to be in Charge Of" and a stubby pencil. The Wabbit licked the end of the pencil, added "trams" to the list and stuffed it back in his fur. "You can't be in charge of trams," said Nine. The Wabbit stared at the console, then tapped it with his paw. "Now look Nine," he said. "Let's drop this poor tram nonsense. What's going on?" "Look at your reflection, Wabbit," said Nine. "and tell me what nine means to you." The Wabbit reflected. "Nine is where we return to the One," he said. "The Cosmos. The life and death cycle." There was a hiss of compressed air. "I have things to show you," said Nine. "I thought you'd say that," sighed the Wabbit.
Nine, the No. 9 Tram swerved across the junction on one set of wheels and turned across a bridge. Ringing his bell frantically, he switched points without mercy and dashed across busy junctions against the lights. The Wabbit hid his eyes as cars screeched to a halt and he grabbed a rail as Nine lurched down Corso Casale to Sassi and the funicular railway "Where are you going Nine?" asked the Wabbit through clenched teeth. "The scenic route," said Nine. The Wabbit had to laugh. "We're in a tunnel," he said, "and we're not supposed to be here." "Pretty, isn't it?" said Nine. "I never get to go in tunnels." "Well you should have been a train," said the Wabbit. "It was my parents' fault," said Nine. "I wanted to be a train but they said a tram was a steady living and it was local." The Wabbit felt a throbbing in his foot, which meant he thought his leg was being pulled. "I rather like tunnels," he said chattily. "There's a nice sense of enclosure." "I used to take a psychiatrist to the hospital every day," said Nine, "and he was a mine of information about tunnels." "You know all about them, then," said the Wabbit. "Always assuming I agree," said Nine, "I'm a follower of analyst Carl Jung myself." The Wabbit smiled. "So what did you learn, Nine?" "The light at the end of the tunnel," said Nine, "is a new life."
The Wabbit held on tight as the No. 9 Tram rocketed forward. There was a squeal as it rushed past a platform, so the Wabbit tried the brakes. Then he released some sand on the wheels but to no avail. The Tram got faster and faster. "Are you certain you're designed for this speed?" said the Wabbit irritably. "I don't really know," said Nine. "I'm bored with the same old route." The Wabbit looked quizzical. "Corso this and Via that," moaned the Tram. "It all looks the same." The noise was deafening and the Wabbit's ears twitched. "Ding ding, doors open, doors closed," continued the Tram. The Wabbit shook his head sadly. "Yes, how utterly dreary," he agreed in an attempt to forge a bond with the tram. But there was more. "People block the doors and won't let others off," said the Tram. "Oh really?" asked the Wabbit. "And some drape themselves round my ticket machine and jump off when they see an inspector." "Rascals!" shouted the Wabbit. "Am I not worthy of my hire?" asked the Tram, picking up more speed. "Oh yes, Nine," said the Wabbit firmly. "The tram is worthy of his reward, 1st Timothy 5:18." "Ah," sighed the Tram, "it's lovely to meet someone like you." "Watch out for that curve!" yelled the Wabbit.