Friday, January 30, 2015

8. 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

7. Tipsy & 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 ..?"

Monday, January 26, 2015

6. The Wabbit and the Timely Arrival

The waterlogged sounds from the Big White Ball faded as it rose into the air and it raced rapidly towards the Wabbit and Lapinette. They braced themselves for the inevitable impact. But instead of a muffled roar they heard a swooshing sound of metal gliding on metal then a double clang. The Wabbit didn't hesitate. He gripped Lapinette with one paw and a grab handle with the other as Nine the Tram hoisted them on board. The Wabbit seized the control handle and swung it viciously as far as it would go. "Difficult enemy?" asked Nine. "It's a pest," said Lapinette grumpily as they narrowly missed a large sign warning of Danger. Nine released a burst of compressed air. "Where would you like to go?" "End of the line," said the Wabbit. Nine fired another burst of compressed air. "On this particular occasion, I don't have a specific route." "Take us out past Corso Svizzera," yelled the Wabbit. "There's no need to shout," said Nine. "I have very good hearing." The Wabbit wasn't certain whether he owed Nine a favour, or if it was the other way around. He chose the second option. "Pick up Skratch and Wabsworth. We need a pow wow." "Anything else?" asked Nine. Lapinette broke in. "Could we stop at a caffè for aperitivi?" Nine giggled in a rather a pleasant and mostly sonorous tinkle. "Scenic spot?" "Da portare via!" shouted the Wabbit. "Subito!" said Nine.
[da portare via : to take away, to go.  Subito : At once, immediately]

Friday, January 23, 2015

5. The Wabbit and the Offshore Unit

The Wabbit and Lapinette ditched their jeep and ran along the riverbank with the Ball in close pursuit. The Wabbit seemed to have a clue about the Ball but his plan came to a halt when he decided to hop onto a maintenance barge. The Ball made heavy weather of the water as had been expected and its muffled roar turned into a waterlogged creaking, but it drew close enough and started to pulse. Lapinette shook a control unit. "This ship will never sail." "It's not a ship as such," retorted the Wabbit, rattling the door handle. "It's a Mobile Offshore Unit." By this time, the Wabbit knew he had made two erroneous assumptions: the first was that he could start the unit and the second that he could sail it. He was just about to move to Plan B, when he heard familiar voices. "Commander! Marchesa!" Tipsy pulled out the automatic she'd borrowed from the Wabbit's secret dump and fired a warning shot at the Ball. But the recoil spring jammed and Tipsy hurled a stream of invective that curled the Wabbit's fur. Now the Ball was stationary but its green glow pulsed steadily. Lapinette stared at it and nudged the Wabbit. "Who's inside the Ball?" The Wabbit thought of a list of enemies then shook his head. "Anyone's guess." Lapinette took over. "Tipsy," she yelled. "Take the truck and get Panico." It was the Wabbit's turn to stare. Lapinette shrugged. "Panico's the biggest friend we have." The Wabbit looked sceptical. "But he's terrified of Tipsy." "We all are," smiled Lapinette.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

4. The Wabbit & the half-finished Jeep

The Wabbit and Lapinette raced from the Gallery and jumped into a jeep that the Wabbit had half-finished renovating. The gears crashed and the transmission whined but it flew across the concourse and down the steps with the giant ball in close pursuit. An angry roar bounced from the buildings and set Lapinette's teeth on edge. "It's getting bigger!" The Wabbit ignored the clutch, revved the throttle twice and shifted up. Lapinette glanced behind as the jeep scampered onto Via Nizza at a speed that was much too fast for its brakes. "It's not him," said the Wabbit veering left. Lapinette gripped anything she could find. "Who's not who?" The Wabbit gritted his 28 teeth as what passed for suspension bounced and catapulted his ears against the canvas roof. "That isn't Rover. He's just pretending." Lapinette knew that the Wabbit could see things that no-one else could - and although that could be annoying, he was usually right. "Do we have a plan?" "Oh the usual," said the Wabbit. Lapinette shrugged. More often than not, the Wabbit missed vital details but thought everyone knew what he meant. So Lapinette chanced her own strategy. "The river?" The Wabbit might have nodded but with all the vibration it was hard to tell. "I'll do what I do best." Lapinette smiled a malicious smile. "Make life complicated ..?"

Monday, January 19, 2015

3. Tipsy, Stone and the Preview Tickets

Not too far from the Gallery, Tipsy draped herself on a wall in a sultry manner only she could manage. It was unseasonably hot and Via Nizza baked in the afternoon sun. But Tipsy had a preview ticket for the Wabbit's Museum of Enemies and nothing else to do - so she looked up at the sun and figured it was time to go. "Och, bonny wee bunny!" Tipsy looked down to see Stone approaching so she pretended to know nothing about him. "Don't you bonnie wee bunny me," she retorted and slid down the wall a little. Stone's boots flew as he performed a series of dance steps called a Pas de Basque. "You're Tipsy, so ye are." Tipsy fixed Stone with a swoony gaze. "Would you like to take me out?" Stone tapped a beat with his boots. "Whit aboot the ballet?" " Tipsy shook her head, so Stone had a think. "I'll tak ye to the movies." Tipsy smiled and nodded. Stone's boots flailed as he danced faster. "Are ye going to the Preview?" Tipsy nodded again. "We'll gang thegither," said Stone. Suddenly Tipsy's ears quivered. "Whit was that?" asked Stone. Tipsy's ears pointed straight down Via Nizza towards the Gallery and she looked into the distance. "Stone, did you hear a muffled roar?" "Aye," said Stone, "a muffled roar means unco trouble." They both started to run. "Does the Wabbit knows we're coming?" shouted Stone. Tipsy laughed. "That's why he gave us tickets."
[Pas de Basque: elementary Highland dance step. Gang thegither (Scottish dialect): Accompany each other. Unco (Scottish dialect): extreme]

Friday, January 16, 2015

2. The Wabbit and the Surprise Exhibit

Lapinette and the Wabbit strolled around the exhibition preview. They smiled as they hopped from room to room and pointed and laughed as they relived old adventures. "It's going to be a big success," said Lapinette. "Think it will make La Stampa?" murmured the Wabbit. "We do get the odd mention," said Lapinette. The Wabbit scowled. "Every twenty years?" Lapinette smiled because she knew the Wabbit didn't really like publicity. "Oh look," she gasped, "the Euclidean Faction!" "We frustrated its turn to armed geometry," grinned the Wabbit. "What happened to them?" asked Lapinette. "Nothing much," said the Wabbit. "They had no moral compass." Lapinette moved close and lost herself in the image. "Lapinette," said the Wabbit softly. "Mmmm," said Lapinette. The Wabbit narrowed his eyes and looked into the next room. "I saw something move." Lapinette hopped back as a shadow passed across the picture. "Just a trick of the light." The Wabbit frowned. "Art gallery lights don't play tricks." Lapinette shook her head. "Maybe it was an installation." The Wabbit's ears twitched. "There it is again." Lapinette looked round. "I can't see anything." The Wabbit beckoned and Lapinette joined him. "There!" Lapinette gulped. "It's ... " "Rover!" yelled the Wabbit as he delved in his fur. There was a terrifying sound as a giant ball slithered into view and spoke. "Wabbit, you have pretensions - but you're just a number." The Wabbit thrust Lapinette behind him, pointed an automatic and growled. "Where's your invite?"

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

1. The Wabbit & a Technical Departure

The Wabbit and Lapinette were the last to leave for home. Lapinette took the opportunity to collect her helichopper from maintenance then she picked up the Wabbit from Isola Tiberina. "Did you throw some juice in the bird?" grinned the Wabbit. "Yes," said Lapinette. "Light the fires and kick the tyres?" "Yes," groaned Lapinette. "Any issues?" asked the Wabbit. Lapinette turned quickly. "Loose nut behind the cyclic." The Wabbit winced. He thought it was about his loop adjustment to the pitch control, but he quickly realised Lapinette was referring to him. So the Wabbit relaxed and settled back. Lapinette made a vertical take off to hover then checked. "Pitch, attitude and position," murmured the Wabbit. Lapinette pretended not to hear. Then with a burst of throttle she wheeled and darted into the northern sky. They fell quiet except for the sound of the blades and the chattering of the Wabbit's teeth. "Any ideas?" said Lapinette. The Wabbit shook his head and Lapinette smiled. "I had a message from the Department." The Wabbit brightened. "Your Museum of Enemies is ready." "I had quite forgotten," said the Wabbit. "They want you there for the opening," said Lapinette, "and you have to make a speech." The Wabbit fished in his fur for a set of felt tip pens and a notepad. Then he grimaced. "What's up?" asked Lapinette. "The first hundred pages are the hardest," blinked the Wabbit.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Wabbit's After Adventure Caffè

They were about to order when Skratch arrived waving as usual. "Where is everyone?" Lapinette smiled. "Tipsy went to the movies with Panico." Skratch's eyes widened and the Wabbit grinned. "Terni took Jenny for a Dragon ride down the coast." Wabsworth giggled. "Fitzy and Puma have gone to the furdressers!" Skratch looked bemused. "So where's Mitzy?" "Out walking with Major Spitlove," Skratch gave up. "They'll never find out what kind of adventure we just had." "What's your learned view, Skratch?" murmured the Wabbit, who's attempts to catch the attention of the waiter had proved unsuccessful. "It was the repeated presentation of a fabulaic event along our text continuum." "That's Sternberg," said Lapinette. Everyone stared. "Yes," said Lapinette. "There's a forecast, an enactment and a report, all communicated by an authorized narrator.*" "Who's the authorised narrator?" asked Wabsworth. "Me of course," said the Wabbit, adjusting his glasses. "Well, Mr Authorised Narrator," snorted Skratch. "You can clear up a loose end." The Wabbit knew what was coming but volunteered nothing, so Wabsworth spoke. "What about the contents of the beach hut?" "Ah," said the Wabbit and he paused for effect. "Did you ever hear the story of the old abandoned beach hut?" Skratch shook his head. "There was nothing in it." said the Wabbit ...

*Shaham, I. (2013), The Structure of Repetition in the Cinema. Poetics Today, Volume 34, Number 4: 437-518

Friday, January 09, 2015

16. The Wabbit and Panico's Salvation

The Wabbit stared down at the prone figures of the Agents of Rabit and spoke to Panico. "What do you think?" Panico's fist shifted slightly. "We won!". Lapinette grabbed Panico's blue vial and threw it in the air. "Drink it," said the Wabbit. Panico didn't hesitate for an instant and he drank the contents in a single gulp. There was silence while everyone waited and chatted. "Nothing happened!" said Panico, "but Wabbit it made you tall." Lapinette laughed, "Panico, you're already tall." "I am!" shouted Panico with glee and his fist moved a little further from his mouth. Lapinette's three personal guards chose this moment to launch into song. "Some vials make you taller," chirped Fitzy. "Some vials make you fall," trilled Mitzy. "But the ones the Agents wanted," sang Tipsy, "can't do anything at all." They all giggled with mirth for some time. "So Panico," said the Wabbit. "Do you want to come back with us?" Panico smiled behind his fist. "I'd rather stay here in Rome with Terni the Dragon." "Then it's all settled," said Lapinette. Tipsy butted in. "There's just one tiny ickle thing left over!" Everyone looked at her. "When I first met Panico here on the beach," said Tipsy, "I never got an answer." Panico looked puzzled but Tipsy's eyes glinted. "You were going to take me out to dinner." "Aaaaaaagh!" yelled Panico and his shriek could be heard all along the coast.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

15. Tipsy and the Face of Darkness

Tipsy was the decoy and she was anxious to get this right. So she leaned against the beach hut in a sultry fashion and just as the Agents loomed into sight she raised her eyes and stretched out an arm. A yellow vial came tumbling from the sky and slapped into her paw as if it was a baseball catch. The Agents' snickering clicked off like a sitcom laughtrack. Tipsy let her eyes swim in and out of focus. "Oooh," she mouthed. "My names Tipthy."  "Give us the vial!" shouted the Agents. "Give us it now!" Tipsy threw the vial in the air and caught it.  "Finders keepers, so you need to make it worth my while." "A bottle of champagne," said one Agent. Tipsy snorted. "What sort of rabbit do you think I am? I don't come cheap you know." The Agents rattled their paws threateningly. "Just hand it over!" shrieked the leader, "or we'll take it by force." "Don't you oppress me," said Tipsy. "Besides, you haven't met my little sweetheart kitty cat." A shape moved behind the beach hut and Puma padded into sight. "Meaow," he growled. The Agents drew back, grumbling about sorcery and complaining of magic. "I wonder what's in the vial?" simpered Tipsy. She looked up at the sky again and started to unscrew the bottle. "It's late. I feel like an itsy bitsy drinky poo." "No!" yelled the Agents. Tipsy suddenly threw the vial in the air and batted it directly. The contents showered over the Agents. For an instant nothing happened, but it was just enough time for Tipsy and Puma to wave. "Be seeing you ..."

Monday, January 05, 2015

14. The Wabbit and the Big Wait

The beating of dragon wings could hardly be heard over the swell of the waves, but it was there. "Here he comes," said the Wabbit. They watched as Terni got closer. "Is everything in place?" asked Lapinette, although she knew that it was. "Boom," muttered Tipsy under her breath. The Wabbit stared down the beach to locate Panico and the coast team but suddenly pricked up his ears. "I can hear them." The Agents of Rabit had a very particular sound when they were stressed. It was between grinding metal and a badly played violin and it set Lapinette's teeth on edge. "So can I," she said, and lifted her walkie talkie. Skratch's voice spoke through the crackle. "I hear them but I can't see them yet." Terni started a slow descent, circling over the beach huts further down the shore. Now the beating of his wings swept along the seafront, whipping grains of sand into a series of tiny storms. Tipsy strained to hear the Agents and she could - but all the sounds were so loud that she had to shout. "They're afraid." The Wabbit kept his eyes fixed on the distant huts and growled. "Major Spitlove did his job." Lapinette kicked the sandbags. "They must want Panico's vial very much indeed." The Wabbit visualised the Agents as ten times their normal size and shuddered. Lapinette spoke into the radio in an impatient tone. "Are you all ready?" The radio crackled. "We're ready, are you ready?" "Ready as anyone can be," hissed Tipsy.

Friday, January 02, 2015

13. Spitlove & the Enchanted Fountain

Not far from the island, Spitlove, the Wabbit's double agent, hid the yellow vial and arranged that the Agents of Rabit find it. Spitlove was a rather inventive operative - and that was why the Wabbit kept him on his books. Spitlove had suggested that a team of Agents search an area they knew little about and appealed to their superstitious nature by suggesting it was a place of sorcery. The Agents were on edge. Spitlove led them past a fountain, but said nothing as they cast back and forth. "There it is," shouted an Agent stretching out a paw, "There's Panico's vial!" But the moment he touched it, the fountain creaked into life. Agents shrank back as tiny droplets of water showered over the vial. "What magic is this?" said one. "Don't let the water touch you," said Spitlove. "We might be turned into frogs." One Agent, rather brighter than the rest, spoke up. "Perhaps we can turn it off." They searched for a switch or a lever - anything that would stop the fountain. But with another creak as sudden as the first, the fountain shut down. Small waves moved the vial slightly and tiny beads of water glistened on the glass. "You take it," said one Agent to another. "You first," said the other. Silence fell and for some time the air was still. This didn't last long. "I heard an odd beating sound," said the first Agent. They looked up as a green shape loomed larger and larger. "A dragon!" yelled the Agents. Terni the Dragon swooped down and, in an instant, gathered up the vial then swooped into the distance. "Follow that Dragon!" yelled Spitlove."