Monday, June 26, 2017

9. The Wabbit and the Stone Fruits

"Everything's done and dusted," said Lapinette. "I'm sure they'll all agree," added the Wabbit. The meal had been good and the Wabbit stroked his tummy. That was when he looked down and noticed the cherry. It was red and bright and one of a pair. The two pranced over the cobbles like ballet dancers and hummed. The Wabbit sighed suspiciously and murmured, "What do you want?" "Nothing," said the cherries. They danced merrily off. "Who were you talking to?" asked Lapinette. "Two cherries," replied the Wabbit. Lapinette shot him a quizzical look, then sighed too. "What did they want?" "Nothing," said the Wabbit. The Alien Pilot was uneasy. His eyes flicked behind him. "I don't like the look of these cherries. They're after something." "Nope," shrugged the Wabbit. "Maybe they're stoned?" ventured Lapinette. The Wabbit shook his head. "They don't look stoned." They watched the cherries wander aimlessly around, humming and cheerfully chatting. "I changed my mind," said the Wabbit. "And I had an idea," said Lapinette; "We'll ask the cherries to help mediate between the tomatoes and the strawberries." The Alien Pilot breathed a sigh of relief. "Perfect," said the Wabbit. His 28 teeth glittered. "I'll pick some cherries out."

Friday, June 23, 2017

8. The Wabbit and the Grape Break.

Things were too much to handle so the Wabbit called a recess. Back at the safe garden, they enjoyed a well earned rest until the Alien Pilot arrived. He was being dragged along by a bunch of grapes and looked none too happy. "These are the Grapes of Wrath. They insisted on being heard," he said, He tried to shake them off but they held his hand fast. "We are the seedless grapes," they said; "We want our seeds back and we know you can help." The grapes spoke and moved as one. Their voices were tinny but with a sweet edge that was a little menacing. Stems quivered as they cried out for their lost seeds. "I will hear you," said Lapinette; "Tell me about the seeds." The grapes swayed back and forth and let out a mournful cry. "Greedy corporations took them for profit. Now we cannot propagate and re-fruit." The Alien Pilot freed himself from the grip of the grapes. "They can't rightly be considered fruit since they have no seeds within." "No seeds within," wailed the grapes:" "No seeds! What shall become of us?" They danced in rage and excreted small amounts of moisture. "I thought grapes were berries," murmured the Wabbit. "Don't you berry us," shouted the grapes; "We'd rather be raisins." "I'll programme you in then. For mediation," said Lapinette. "Will there be wine?" shouted the grapes.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

7. The Wabbit and the Green Intruders

The tomatoes and strawberries gathered for mediation. Each put a case for a standing as fruit or vegetable, noisily laying claim to authenticity. The Alien Pilot gave them a fair hearing and at the same time the Wabbit made a careful contemporaneous note of the proceedings. His merry tippedy tapping could be heard through the entire building and added to the general clamour. Lapinette checked various facts in a large encyclopedia, flicking the pages and occasionally making clucking sounds with her tongue. There was a lot of din. But when the Alien Pilot rose to speak, the tomatoes and strawberries gradually fell silent. All had become quiet when an abrupt crash shattered the peace. Lapinette turned to look at the intruders. "The proceeding is sham!" yelled a Zucchino; "We are the Zucchini Liberation Front and we order cessation." The second Zucchino began a lecture which ran on for some time. It was the view of the Zucchini that they were fruit, and not vegetables as usually categorised. They wanted fruit recognition and a financial award for previous labelling harm. "If not recognised," they shouted; "... our vines will creepy crawl across the land." A zucchino started to rant and rave. "We will strangle all so-called fruits before germination." "Strangle," repeated his mate. His voice trailed off and then he began to sing. "Salad days are here again." He did a little tap dance. "I like them," murmured a strawberry. "Me too," nodded a tomato ...

Monday, June 19, 2017

6. The Wabbit and Hostile Mediation

The Wabbit flicked his paws. Suddenly they were on the quay - and tomatoes were going bananas. "Gimme that bag!" growled a tomato. The bag span in the air.  Spray lashed everywhere as tomatoes bumped one into each one. When they bumped, they laughed a menacing laugh and spat. "I'm here to mediate your issue," shouted the Alien Pilot. The tomatoes yelled at him and compared him with a strawberry. The Alien Pilot remained calm. He tried to explain above the din, but failed. So he cut things short. "The strawberries agree to mediation." Tomatoes hooted with mirth. "Bin the strawberries! We are the One True Fruit." The Alien Pilot stamped a foot and shouted at the top of his voice. "We will find common ground with the strawberries. We'll discuss what you both are not.  The tomatoes fell silent for some time. Suddenly there was a suggestion. "We're both not sausages." They erupted into laughter and danced round and round. "I've had enough of this," sighed the Alien Pilot. "Me too," shrugged the Wabbit. Lapinette produced an automatic and pointed it at the biggest tomato. "Cut the cackle or I'll move next business." The Alien Pilot collected his briefcase and extracted a sheet of paper. "You agree to mediation. Sign here, here and here. And down there at the bottom." "Say we don't?" smirked a tomato. "I will find in favour of the strawberries," said the Alien Pilot, "that you are vegetables..."

Friday, June 16, 2017

5. The Wabbit calls on the Mediator

The Wabbit clapped his paws and everything changed. Strawberries gasped in amazement. The Wabbit held his paws high. "These," said the Wabbit; "are my mediating paws." "And this," said Lapinette; "is your mediator." She tapped the Alien Pilot's knee. He lifted his briefcase and spoke amiably. "I have various forms to complete - depending on your attitude." The Wabbit tapped the briefcase. "The mediator's judgment is final." Lapinette smiled sweetly. "And there's no right of appeal." The strawberries fell quiet, but one was forthright and shook his leaves. "What makes you the right mediator for us?" "I am alien and hence neutral," said the Pilot; "I'm partial to neither strawberries nor tomatoes." The strawberries looked up. "Is that your planet?" "No. It's my spaceship," said the Pilot. He pointed at it and it shook violently. The strawberries seemed alarmed but Lapinette waved her paws. "Any more questions?" she asked. A strawberry slid forward. "Alien Pilot - do you have fruit or vegetables on your planet?" The Pilot shook his head. "Only plants like seaweed and algae." "How do they get along?" asked a small strawberry. "Amicably enough now," said the Pilot. He smiled wryly. "Since the kelp massacres of '72." The strawberries went into a huddle then turned. "OK. If the tomatoes agree to mediation, then so do we." "Just one more thing," grinned the Wabbit; "and that's our fee ..."

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

4. The Wabbit and the Peace Process

There was only one thing to do and that was to broker a peace. The Wabbit adopted a relaxed position and moved his paws reassuringly. "OK strawberries," he said. "What's the beef with the tomatoes?" Shouting broke out. As far as the Wabbit could tell, strawberries insisted tomatoes were vegetables. Strawberries considered themselves fruits, and were hence superior. "Ah," said the Wabbit. He nodded to indicate he'd heard them but that didn't go down well with the tomatoes. They began to yell at the strawberries, denouncing them as imposters, mountebanks and fraudsters. Lapinette proffered her paws soothingly. "Tell me tomatoes. Why exactly are you angry with strawberries?" A burly tomato pushed his way to the front. "They call themselves berries - but they are not berries. Not by a long chalk." Another tomato quivered with rage. "We have proper seeds. Strawberries are mere accessory fruits." He whined 'accessory' like the spin cycle of a washing machine. "Don't you label us!" yelled a strawberry. The tomatoes and strawberries closed on each other. Bumping occurred. There were bruises and broken skin. "Let's have order," shouted the Wabbit; "and we'll get to the guts of the matter!" Lapinette waved a paw and spoke. "We suggest an independent arbiter." The tomatoes stopped, then one of them smiled slyly. "We want a botanist." The strawberries were outraged. "We insist on a culinary expert." The Wabbit and Lapinette shook their heads. "We have someone else in mind..."

Monday, June 12, 2017

3. The Wabbit and the Rotten Strawbs

The station looked like a good place to hide - and for a minute it looked like they'd seen the last of burly tomatoes. But Lapinette heard a squelch, and there they were. Three giant strawberries made a sinister sound, like pulp dropping on a runway. Lapinette turned to face them but the Wabbit grabbed her paw and tried to pull her way. "They're too big and too fruity," he yelled. Lapinette stood her ground. "I'm not being run over by fusty fruit." She rummaged in her frock and yanked out the heaviest thing in there. The Wabbit had to smile. It was a sci-fi book he'd picked up in the market and it was weighty in more ways than one. Lapinette launched the book. It scored a direct hit on the biggest strawberry and dented its skin. "I'll dice you for salad!" shouted Lapinette; "I'll make a flan with your flesh!" The strawberries quivered. Then one of them spoke. "Where are the tomatoes?" "They're not real fruit," said another. "They're imposters," said the third. Lapinette waved her paws. "Go away. I've got more books and I'm prepared to use 'em." The strawberries shrank away, but it wasn't from Lapinette. In the distance, the Wabbit could see something coming. "It's the tomatoes and we're in the middle," he yelled. Now the strawberries didn't seem so brave and they backed off. Lapinette turned to face the tomatoes. She glanced sideways at the Wabbit. "Got any hardbacks..?"

Thursday, June 08, 2017

2. The Wabbit and the Stinging Spray

The Wabbit and Lapinette headed for the tram halt on Corso Giulio Cesare and for a while it seemed the tomatoes had melted away. "Maybe it was my imagination," muttered Lapinette; "Or maybe it was a tomato promotion?" "I can still smell 'em," said the Wabbit. "Yeuch" yelled Lapinette. "Double yeuch," shouted the Wabbit. They were hit by red tomato spray that stung like a thousand bees. "Run!" shouted the Wabbit. He took off at speed, dragging Lapinette behind him. It looked like they were gaining ground, but three burly tomatoes appeared from nowhere. A torrent of juice soaked their fur and pips were everywhere - they got in their eyes and up their noses. They hopped faster but it was hard to stay upright on the sea of pulpy liquid. "What made them mad?" shouted Lapinette. She spat out several pips. The Wabbit dragged his legs through the pulp. "They're supermarket tomatoes." he yelled; "They been interfered with." "I don't suppose we could reason with them?" shouted Lapinette. "You can't reason with mad tomatoes," yelled the Wabbit. A tomato darted past the Wabbit's head and flew into the distance. They both stopped and watched it go. It was followed by the others and the spray went with them. "Maybe it's not us," said the Wabbit; "Maybe we're just in the way." "Look" yelled Lapinette. She pointed back to the supermarket. There were hundreds, maybe thousands of tomatoes and they looked mad as hell...

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

1. The Wabbit and the Burly Tomatoes

The Wabbit was prowling a remote supermarket he seldom visited, when several kisses smacked him on the cheek. "Wabbit!" shouted Lapinette. She blew more kisses, most of them accurate. The Wabbit grinned and turned. "Lapinette! What brings you to this distant outpost?" Lapinette pirouetted. "I have vouchers for free fruit." If the Wabbit knew one thing, it was that Lapinette hated fruit of any description. He rummaged in his fur for his own vouchers. "What are you going to do with your fruit?" Lapinette hopped up to the Wabbit and kissed him properly. "I'm taking it to the Arsenal of Peace in Borgo Dora to help feed less fortunate rabbits." "That's a nice thought," said the Wabbit; "I'm buying school stationery so that young rabbits get a better start." They linked paws and hopped into the store. The Wabbit sniffed. "Can you smell tomatoes?" Lapinette nodded. "We must be near the verdura section." The Wabbit disagreed. "This is all electronics and gidgety gadgets." Lapinette thought for a minute. "Tomatoes are fruit, aren't they?" The Wabbit agreed. "And they're generally a few centimetres in diameter," suggested Lapinette. The Wabbit indicated agreement. "Not two metres?" said Lapinette. The Wabbit shook his head. "And they don't move?" continued Lapinette. "They may sway gently in a breeze," said the Wabbit. Lapinette steered the Wabbit quickly through the store. "Then we have trouble..."
[1. Verdura: Italian. Fruit and vegetables. 2. The Arsenal of Peace is SERMIG, Servizio Missionario Giovani - Missionary service of young people - now housed in an old munitions factory.]

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

The Wabbit at the Adventure Caffè

Skratch arrived with a flourish but the Wabbit and Lapinette were ready for him. The Wabbit produced three theatre tickets. Lapinette slid a CD onto the table and patted it. "That's exactly what I was going to say!" exclaimed Skratch. The Wabbit grinned a lop sided grin. Lapinette fluttered her eyes in expectation. Skratch waved a paw. "Your exhibits demonstrate both the isotopy of music and the temporality of audience expectation!" The Wabbit nodded. "But what kind of adventure did I just have?" Skratch leaned back. "It was a thoroughly entertaining one but it demanded a hypothetical competent listener who had expectations about your music and the musical character." Lapinette smiled knowingly. "I once met Eero Tarasti on a radio show." "The semiotic musicologist?" gasped Skratch; "I've tried to get his books but they're always sold out." The Wabbit laughed. "I tried to get tickets for the Phantom of the Opera and it's always sold out." "So what are you holding?" asked Skratch. "Old tickets I got on eBay," said the Wabbit; "They're from 1989." "Give 'em here," said Skratch. He placed them on the table, wet a paw and scrubbed them lightly. Then he traced in new dates with the edge of a nail. "What about seats?" asked Lapinette. "Middle of the front row," purred Skratch; "No one ever sits there." The Wabbit's grin was ear to ear. "You just transcended time and space!" "There's no such thing," meaowed Skratch.
[Here, Eero Tarasti describes his work on musicology and semiotics. The radio programme referred to by Lapinette broadcast on French radio in 1984. Signification musicale led to the establishment of an international community of scholars. Isotopy is a structuralist anthropological term denoting repetition of meaning.]

Friday, June 02, 2017

9. The Wabbit and the Grand Finale

The three gathered on the balcony and the Phantom was first to sing. "What joy have I found here, now we're all down here." "We three are so happy so far underground," sang Ghost Bunny. The Wabbit's ears became pointy as he burst into tune. "We grant no admission and give no permission, for those that don't like us so far underground." Ghost Bunny moaned plaintively to the Phantom. "Some people are spiteful, for your mask is delightful and they are not welcome so far underground." Then they changed places and tempo and the Phantom sang. "Oh swear you'll tell no one, I had many omens, that people would kill me if I was observed." The Wabbit hopped forward. "We'll make it a secret. By binky we'll keep it. And no one will get you if you stay down here." The Phantom suddenly stopped singing and spoke sadly. "But this has been such fun. Now there's no-one to listen to my songs." The Wabbit groped in his fur for his audio recorder. "I'll make a complete recording of everything you sing." "The Bootleg Phantom," whispered Ghost Bunny. "Secrecy," murmured the Wabbit; "That will ensure complete success. You will go spiral." "Viral," said Ghost Bunny. The Phantom laughed. "I prefer spiral." They danced and sang. But overhead in the Metro, loudspeakers somehow picked up the music - and passengers were already joining in...

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

8. The Wabbit at the Phantom's Opera

The Wabbit managed to locate a piano of sorts, and he trundled it onto the stage. "Try it," he said and he played a few notes. Ghost Bunny floated her paws across the keys, producing a melodious yet ghostly sound that made the Phantom smile. The Wabbit retired to the balcony and applauded lightly. Ghost Bunny began to sing in an eerie tone that made the Wabbit's fur stand on end. "Those who have seen your face, retreat in fear," "And my mask makes matters worse, I hear." responded the Phantom. "It doesn't matter!" sang Ghost Bunny. She gently caressed the keys. Notes floated to the roof and back down to the stage where they swam like fish. The Wabbit stage-whispered from the balcony. "Beware, the Phantom of the Metro." The Phantom turned. "You have come here, because I am alone." Ghost Bunny sang sweetly. "We're not going to leave you, all on your own." "But it's all I have known!" sang the Phantom. Ghost Bunny moved two chords up, then crashed down with all the drama she could muster. Music shimmered and died. "Silence," she said quietly. "Save me from the silence," sang the Phantom. The Wabbit shouted from the balcony. "Your music is in the silence between the notes." Ghost Bunny played a piece by Debussy. "That's jazz," she breathed. "But what's that beat?" called the Wabbit. "My heart," exclaimed the Phantom.
[Ghost Bunny plays Chou Chou, a piece by Debussy written for his daughter. Derived from Cakewalk, a precursor to jazz.]

Monday, May 29, 2017

7. The Wabbit and the Ghostly Call

The Wabbit put in a call, even if he knew it might not work. The damp trickling down the walls had turned to heavy rain that lashed the stage and drenched the seats. His radio dripped with condensation and its crackle was more of a squelch. So he whacked it with his paw, then blinked as spray hit his glasses. "Woooooh," said a voice. The Wabbit struck the radio a mighty blow and shouted at it. "Is that you, Casper One?" "I'm up here," wailed the voice. The Wabbit shrugged, then tucked his radio away. "I can hear beautiful singing," moaned Ghost Bunny. She gazed down. "Oh look! He's there, the Phantom of the Metro!" The Phantom looked up and spread his cloak wide. "Play for me," he sang; "Play for me my lovely Spectre of the Night." Ghost Bunny fluttered down to the balcony and the Wabbit hissed in her ear. "Can you play? My phantom chum needs a bit of help." Ghost Bunny swooped around. "I can play just like Liberace!" "I'm sure that will do just fine," sighed the Wabbit. "Then I will need candelabra," wailed Ghost Bunny. The Wabbit rummaged in his fur. "You got here fast." Ghost Bunny clasped her chest with ghostly paws. "He came to me in a dream." The Phantom stared up and sang to Ghost Bunny. "You alone can play my song. You alone can make me strong." The Wabbit glanced around. "I'll rustle up an organ..."

Friday, May 26, 2017

6. The Wabbit and the Labyrinth Hall

"We're here," said the Phantom. "This is it?" exclaimed the Wabbit. "A small thing but mine own," replied the Phantom. "Wow," said the Wabbit. The hall was laid out for a concert but a heavy wraith of disuse hung over the stage. Water trickled down walls. Spectral pillars shimmered in the dappled light. Somewhere overhead, a train rattled past. Organ pipes trembled, giving out faint and discordant peeps. "I sense a terrible sadness," said the Wabbit. The Phantom nodded. "I was born disfigured. But I could sing. So I made this place and sang alone." The Wabbit felt sorry and touched the Phantom's cloak. "I could sing as loud as I liked," continued the Phantom; "The trains above covered every sound." The Wabbit was agog. "But what about the organ? What about accompaniment?" The Phantom suddenly smiled. "My niece, Krypticia used to play, but she is long departed." The Wabbit shook his head. "Well you can't stay down here in the dark, singing on your own." The Phantom laughed for the first time. "You're a very nice rabbit," he said; "But I may not leave. I'm afraid ... I'm afraid I'm a ghost." The Wabbit laughed too. "I'm not giving up on you." "Then what shall we do?" asked the Phantom. "I have a vague idea," said the Wabbit ...

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

5. The Wabbit and the Opera Portal

"This doesn't look right," said the Phantom. "Keep playing!" said the Wabbit. The Phantom picked his way along his Dobro until his cloak grew frayed. Somewhere a train slid through. Lights flickered. Opera lovers passed. And still the money kept coming in. The Wabbit started to sing. "Underneath our fur today." "We've got cash with which to pay," replied the Phantom. "But they won't let us in," shouted the Wabbit. "No! They won't let us in!" yelled the Phantom. "It's our skin," screamed the Wabbit. The Phantom threw his cloak wide as he addressed the opera goers. "My skin's seen better than this." The Wabbit leaned forward, hissed in a stage whisper and pointed to the Phantom. "His skin is better than this." Applause rang out. Coins made a clinking clanking sea on the sidewalk. "Don't stop," smiled the Wabbit. The Phantom sang like he'd never sung before. "Please don't reject me. Let the night digest me." Now there were more opera goers outside than inside - and they crowded round. "Tell me the way, to my next opera show," sang the Phantom. "In his grotto he will play. In his grotto he will play," sang the Wabbit. A gasp rose from the audience as a train passed through the front of the theatre. Everything shook. The Wabbit gripped the Phantom's cloak. Then he hung on tight as the theatre dissolved ...

Monday, May 22, 2017

4. The Wabbit and the Phantom Portal

The Wabbit and the Phantom searched the Metro high and low, without success. They scoured every platform and every doorway, but no portal appeared. "Maybe we could conjure it up?" suggested the Wabbit. He produced two guitars from his fur and offered one to the Phantom. "Give me a note," he said and he strummed a few chords. The Phantom produced a credible note and the Wabbit nodded his head. "We can't find the Phantom's labyrinth," he sang; "And we don't know what to do." The Phantom bottle-necked the strings and slid up and down the frets. "So we’re stuck here for eternity, as the trains come rumbling through." A train arrived at the platform and the doors slid back with a whoosh. The Wabbit grinned and tapped his feet. "Metro trains go up and down. And that ain't nothin' new. But the labyrinth lies so deep below. It can never be in view." "Oooh Oooh," chanted the Phantom. "Oooh oooh," sang the Wabbit. Passengers came and went - and as they passed, they threw down money. "How much have we made?" murmured the Phantom. "About 25 euro," said the Wabbit. "Let's do it again," said the Phantom. With a twang of his guitar he launched into another tune. "If I can find my labyrinth, an opera we will score." "We'll make a lot of money," yelled the Wabbit; "and we won't have to work no more." As the money piled up, the platform shimmered and passengers dissolved into shadows. The Wabbit felt a heavy pull on his fur. He leaned towards the Phantom. "I think we found your portal." That was when they vanished - and the money with them.

Friday, May 19, 2017

3. The Wabbit sings the Phantom

"Over here," said the Wabbit. The Phantom jumped. "What's up?"" asked the Wabbit. "I lost the way to my underground labyrinth," wailed the phantom. The Wabbit shrugged. "It can't be hard to find." He looked around. "Maybe we're on the wrong platform," he murmured and he touched the Phantom lightly on the cloak. "I am cruelly disfigured," moaned the Phantom. The Wabbit smiled. "Don't worry, anything goes nowadays." "No," said the Phantom; "I dare not show my face to ask the way." The Wabbit smiled. "I'll lend you a helping paw. Is there a door?" The Phantom shook his head sadly. "Well that's why you can't find it," said the Wabbit. He looked around once more and his ears swayed in search of a portal. "Are we in the right station?" "I can't remember," said the Phantom. He burst into tears. The Wabbit produced a handkerchief. The Phantom mopped his single eye. "We'll try all the stations until we find it," said the Wabbit. "You're so kind," said the Phantom; "I'll sing you a song." "Steady on," laughed the Wabbit. "I'll sing 'The Point of No Return'," insisted the Phantom; "Will you join me?" He burst into tune and so did the Wabbit. "I had no doubt," sang the Phantom, "that you'd do your best." "It's true my voice is good," sang the Wabbit. Then hand in paw they walked along the platform and onto the escalator ...

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

2. The Wabbit and the Metro Phantom

The Wabbit drifted down the escalator thinking about the Phantom of the Metro. He knew the newspaper article was arrant drivel. But all the same - you could never really be sure. Without warning the lights went out. After a few seconds, emergency lights flickered on - but illumination was sparse and spooky. That was when the Wabbit heard the music. He didn't like certain kinds of songs from musicals and he wrinkled his nose. Notes swept around the station. The Wabbit tried to be benevolent. "It's good of the Metro staff to provide music," he thought; "But jazz would be better." He could catch some lyrics and his ears bent back. "Poor fool, poor fool, poor fool is he," said the notes. The Wabbit was appalled so he addressed the empty station. "Fools rush in!" he yelled. The station was still, but something was coming down the escalator. The Wabbit knew it without turning back. "Shame shame," came a mournful cry. The Wabbit sighed. "I'm right out of sympathy today. I just want to go home." The apparition gurgled a hoarse laugh. "Are you afraid of me?" "I'm afraid not," shrugged the Wabbit. The apparition moaned. "Then turn rabbit, and witness my distress." The Wabbit did not turn, but he spoke at the gloomy station platform. "Are you the Phantom of the Metro?" Air shifted around the Wabbit as the apparition swept past. "Follow me," it moaned.

Monday, May 15, 2017

1. The Wabbit and the Metro Mystery

The Wabbit stuck his paws in his fur and smiled a wry smile. With no word from the Department of Wabbit Affairs, he was between adventures. He hated between adventures. "Wabbit!" The Wabbit refused to jump because he knew it was Lapinette. She threw her arms out and kissed him. "I thought you might be here," she laughed; "So what do you fancy doing?" The Wabbit's smile was lop sided. "I feel like having another adventure." Lapinette pirouetted. "You can't always have adventures. You need some free time." "Ah," said the Wabbit: "I dislike free time. I'm obliged to enjoy myself." Lapinette pirouetted again. "Can't have that, can we?" "Nothing on the squealer?" sighed the Wabbit. "Squawk box," laughed Lapinette. The Wabbit frowned. Lapinette continued. "There was a story in the Torino Bugle about the Phantom of the Metro." "I always disliked that show," said the Wabbit. "That's Phantom of the Opera," said Lapinette. She hopped in the air and made a show of playing the organ. Nonetheless, the Wabbit was interested. "The Torino Bugle is full of fake news," warned Lapinette. "Mmmm?" asked the Wabbit. "Like Pavarotti is alive but on the moon," suggested Lapinette. "It's for the best," muttered the Wabbit. A sudden shriek from the bowels of the Metro set the Wabbit's fur on edge. "Mice?" said Lapinette ...

Friday, May 12, 2017

At the Wabbit's Adventure Caffè

It was the nearest bar that looked open and they flocked. Skratch the Cat mysteriously arrived to join them and he raised his paw in his usual greeting. "How did you know we were here?" shouted Lapinette with glee. "I'm a feline," smiled Skratch; "I know everything." The Wabbit embraced Lapinette while addressing Skratch. "In that case, you can tell us what kind of adventure we just had." Skratch nodded gravely. "It was mostly bleak and dystopian. Yet it provided hope." Mitzy pushed at the bar door. "I hope this place is well stocked." The Wabbit drew back a chair for Lapinette. "It was a traumatic encounter with the forces of ennui." Skratch nodded. "The dystopian elements of the No society were more than a backdrop. There is tragedy - writ large." He shook his head. Fitzy grunted and rattled the stuck door. "It'll be a tragedy if I can't get drink." Tipsy had somehow acquired a glass of prosecco, which she drank too quickly. She hiccupped. "The No's created a negative spaysh and we hopped right shrew it." Skratch raised his paw again. "Tipsy is right. The Adventure may have been bleak. But once drawn out, the enemy allowed itself to be persuaded." "Aha," said Lapinette. "Our Yes was already implied in their No." "That's what Camus said," sighed the Wabbit; "So shall we break the door down?" "Yes," shouted Lapinette.
[The Wabbit refers to the essay by Camus Betwixt and Between ] 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

10. The Wabbit and the Light of Day

The day was fine and things were almost normal. Cars whizzed past. Buses throbbed at bus halts. The placards suffered the fate of most placards after a big event and lay dirty on the asphalt. "I'm glad that's all over," said Lapinette. She breathed a sigh of relief. So did the Wabbit. "I'd rather fight every monster in the Sombrero Galaxy than deal with negative ninnies." Lapinette slipped her paw into his and smiled. Her personal guard danced alongside a waiting bus and entered by the exit. "The Wabbit shook his head in amusement. "Good thing Wabsworth's not here. He'd smoke 'em." Lapinette grinned. "He'd have to get past me first." "Then I don't fancy his chances," nodded the Wabbit. A sudden flapping of cabbage wings and breathing of fire heralded the arrival of Terni the Food Dragon. "Wabbit! Well done." The Wabbit looked up. "We didn't do so much." "Negativity brings its own reward," said Lapinette. Terni circled three times and dropped down for a landing. "Caffès are open!" yelled Tipsy; "Let's stock up." "Fruit's follicles," said Fitzy; "It's aperitivi time." Doors hissed on the bus. The Wabbit looked up. "Terni, can we hitch a lift?" Terni shook with laughter and breathed a jet of flame. "All aboard for the magical mystery tour!" "Just take us for a drink," said Lapinette - and they laughed and laughed and laughed.
[smoke: military jargon.  To punish with excessive physical work due to a minor infraction.]

Friday, May 05, 2017

9. The Wabbit and the Yes Response

Daybreak provided the Wabbit and Lapinette with the perfect opportunity. The No placards assembled for a rally and the Wabbit smiled wryly as they packed themselves in. He lifted his radio. "Whiskey Alpha Bravo to Control." Fitzy's voice crackled. "Copy." "Can you transmit some old, scratched film leader?" said the Wabbit. "Of course," said Fitzy; "Anything else?"  The Wabbit would have laughed out loud but for the circumstances. "That's a yes," he answered. The screen filled with a dusty image - and superimposed was the word 'Yes'. It appeared, faded, disappeared, then faded back, flickering like Christmas lights. The Wabbit nodded to Lapinette. She pressed a button on her radio. Security doors slammed down with an alarming crash. The Wabbit lifted a paw. Tipsy emerged from the midst, holding a giant placard. "Yes," she boomed; "Yes, yes, yes!" For a moment confusion reigned. The No placards looked at the screen because they didn't know where else to look. They were transfixed. The screen flickered Yes relentlessly. One placard muttered 'Yes?' in an uncertain fashion and a few others joined it. But most stared helplessly. "Can you see it?" yelled Tipsy. The placards shifted uneasily. "Mmm maybe," they murmured. "Then can you say it?" shouted Tipsy; "Can you say it, and say it loud?" "Yes!" chanted the placards. Tipsy hopped up and down. "Then my work is done."

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

8. The Wabbit and the Attack of No

Lapinette glared at the placard, then took out a crayon and wrote Yes. The Wabbit grabbed one too, and did the same. At that moment everything changed. The sky became red and bathed the streets in a post nuclear glow. There were more Nos than you could shake a stick at and flight seemed advisable. Lapinette and the Wabbit took to their heels and ran, but the Nos vaulted along the street like pole jumpers. "Yes, yes yes," shouted the Wabbit and he gripped his placard tight. "No to the Nos!" shouted Lapinette. The No placards shouted too. "All hail the dawn of No!" The Wabbit hopped faster. "I don't like the sound of them." Lapinette swerved to the left. "Maybe we can change them!" The high pitched howls of the Nos shattered glass all around. The Wabbit shook his head. "No way." Lapinette puffed and panted but disagreed. "We can backwards map them." The Wabbit kicked a No placard backwards. It snapped and it fell to the ground. "Just like that," smirked the Wabbit. Lapinette didn't agree but a placard hit her on the head. She lashed out. "Take that, you negative ninny!" It flew straight through a shop window and lay in a crumpled heap. The No placards fell back. "They don't like it up 'em," laughed the Wabbit. Lapinette grinned. "Let's get ahead and we'll cut them off at the pass." "Then bushwhack them?" shouted the Wabbit. Lapinette rubbed her head. "I was thinking bulldoze." 

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

7. The Wabbit and the Trouble with No

The Wabbit and Lapinette scouted the city for any sign of trouble and trouble didn't take long to find. "What's this?" asked Lapinette. "I don't rightly know, ma'am," drawled the Wabbit. He lifted his radio. "This is Whiskey Alfa Bravo. Come in." The radio crackled for a while, then whined. "Copy," said Fitzy. "You got any Nos?" said the Wabbit. Reception was poor. "No," said Fitzy; "Only a couple of Nots." "What are they doing?" hissed Lapinette. "Nothing," said Fitzy. "Stand by," said the Wabbit. He shut the radio down, cupped his paws round his mouth and yelled. "Who goes there?" Silence. He tried again. This time a low voice answered. "No-one." The Wabbit bared his 28 teeth and stared into the darkness. "What do you want?" A long pause ensued, broken by a small sigh. "Nothing," The Wabbit shrugged. "When do you want it?" "Never," said the voice. Lapinette leaned across to the Wabbit and whispered. "That's metaphysics." Now the Wabbit was deep in thought. He recalled arguments in his philosophy class about whether the class was there at all - and he smiled. Then he turned and shouted. "You can't have a blanket No. It's an abstraction." The Wabbit expected no reply, and that's what he got. He kicked a fallen placard. Lapinette stooped to pick it up, but the placard wriggled and twisted in her paw. "Put me down," said a voice. "No," said Lapinette.

Friday, April 28, 2017

6. The Wabbit and the Phantom Call

They searched the deserted city for supplies and found some curling sandwiches in the station bar. Fitzy located a jar of pesto. Lapinette spread it equally around with an edged weapon she pulled from her frock. "Maybe everyone in the city shot through," said the Wabbit. "Like Spartacus," said Lapinette. "Did Spartacus shoot through?" asked the Wabbit in astonishment. Lapinette smiled. "Apparently." She handed the Wabbit her knife. "What? He just upped and left," muttered the Wabbit. The telephone rang. "Maybe it's Spartacus!" said the Wabbit. The phone rang again wildly and jumped off the hook. The Wabbit caught it. "Is that Spartacus?" "No way," said a voice. The Wabbit thought for a second and played with the telephone cord. "Maybe you'd like to speak with Lapinette." Lapinette shook her head violently and took back her edged weapon. "No," said the phone. The Wabbit shrugged and offered the handset all around - without success. He placed his mouth close to the phone, covered it with a paw and whispered. "No-one wants to speak to you." "Good," said the phone. The line went dead and the Wabbit replaced the handset. "The telephones are working at least," sighed Lapinette. The Wabbit lifted the phone and listened. There was no line. It was completely dead. "Whoever that was, they shot through." The Wabbit took Lapinette's knife, grasped the phone cord and smiled. "Noooo!" shrieked the phone. "Just checking the line," said the Wabbit.
[term: "shoot through": An Australian expression for leave or get out, usually without warning.]

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

5. The Wabbit and a Backup Generator

The Wabbit's secret dump was locked and they had to force their way in. Downstairs a commotion raged. "There's definitely something in the store rooms," shouted Tipsy. "I heard a voice," yelled Fitzy. "Let's shoot the shibblet!" shouted Mitzy. The Wabbit listened carefully, then he started to laugh. "Did you disturb my box of old tape recorders? Unless Woody Guthrie came to call." Lapinette's personal guard had a reputation for ferocity and the three brandished their weapons. "He'll never get past us!" Lapinette made reassuring noises. The Wabbit shrugged. "I'd take you all to a caffè but they're closed." The lights flickered, dimmed, went out, then flickered dimly on again. The Wabbit scowled. "Tipsy, can you check the back up generator?" "Woody can check it for me," grinned Tipsy. She disappeared through a door. They heard three curses and a yell, then several bangs, followed by the chatter of a generator. "Let there be light!" shouted Tipsy. Everything brightened.The Wabbit sat on the munitions box. "What the binky is going on?" Fitzy shook her head. "The No people won the election." "I never heard of them," said Lapinette; "What do they advocate?" "Nothing, no thing, not anything" said Tipsy. "No way, no hay," said Fitzy. "Dirty rotten sons of saveloys!" cursed Mitzy. "How will we find them?" asked the Wabbit. "We stop at nothing," replied Lapinette.
[Saveloy: a seasoned sausage, often sold battered in fish and chip shops]

Monday, April 24, 2017

4. The Wabbit and the Rural Route

Lapinette sped through the night - taking a variety of routes suggested by the Wabbit.  The Wabbit's knowledge of parks in Rome was idiosyncratic and his routes inventive. His teeth chattered as Lapinette bounced along a rough footpath and climbed a steep hill. The jeep shot into the air as she crested it. "Yow!" gasped the Wabbit. "You said to go to Aurelia this way," shouted Lapinette. Gears crashed and wheels span. The jeep slammed on the lower slope and shot through the woods. The Wabbit remembered that Lapinette trained in the Panzer Division and knew how to treat a gearbox. So he held on tight and flicked a switch on his radio. It crackled aimlessly. "Nothing doing," scowled the Wabbit and he struck it with a paw. It whined and gurgled, then Tipsy spoke. She was barely audible but the Wabbit could decipher some of her more colourful expressions. He hit the radio again. It crackled optimistically. Then it died. "Batteries," cursed the Wabbit. "There's parks all the way?" enquired Lapinette. "For the most part," said the Wabbit. Lapinette gritted her teeth and stamped on the throttle. "We have a small diversion through a convent," said the Wabbit. "After that there's a market garden, a seminary, a playing field..." The Wabbit's eyes narrowed. "Plus a bit of rough ground, nobody knows what it's for." "Then?" asked Lapinette. The Wabbit shrugged. "Then we'll use the flower beds..."

Friday, April 21, 2017

3. The Wabbit in the Cancelled City

Every road in Rome was blocked by abandoned cars. The Wabbit and Lapinette drove the river bank until Ponte Garibaldi, where they ran out of gas. "Lucky we found that old NATO gas cannister," murmured the Wabbit. Lapinette grinned. "You mean took." The Wabbit's definition of "found" could be fairly flexible, but every pump in every filling station was chained up. Lapinette looked back at the bridge. "There's the No 8 tram." "I think tram lines have been cancelled," said the Wabbit. His radio crackled. "Commander, come in please." The Wabbit looked at Lapinette. "It's Tipsy." "What's my personal guard doing here?" asked Lapinette. The Wabbit lifted his radio. "Tipsy. What do you hear? What do you say?" He held the radio away from his ear. Lapinette could only make out expletives. "Where are you?" asked the Wabbit. "At the Aurelio dump, with Fitzy and Mitzy," crackled Tipsy; "Rome's a soup sandwich. Better get over here." "Wilco," said the Wabbit. He was about to shut off the radio when it crackled again. "One teensy weensy urgent thing," said Tipsy. "Where's the booze? All the bars have been cancelled." The Wabbit sighed. "Under the C4 in a box marked 'Open in case of emergency'." "Out," said Tipsy. Lapinette stood on the brakes. "Let's get going before that booze is cancelled." She gunned the throttle and the jeep slewed round in a perfect arc. "Across the park and down the hill?" suggested the Wabbit. "You navigate," said Lapinette...
[soup sandwich: (military slang) Anything that's gone stupendously wrong.]

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

2. The Wabbit and the Dragon's Tale

The sky changed quickly - as skies do on the coast. Terni the Food Dragon threw a mound of sand behind him. "This place is never the same." The air hung with a faint smell of cabbage and peppers and mashed potatoes. The Wabbit looked at Terni directly and grinned. "What drags a dragon away from his market?" Terni puffed a ball of smoke. "Trouble of course." The Wabbit breathed a sigh of relief. "Nothing trivial I hope?" Terni breathed fire. "Triple trouble." Wet sand dried in the heat. Paint peeled and fell from the beach hut wall. "It's the talk of the market and the market's cornered," roared Terni. Lapinette waited patiently for an explanation. "Tell us Terni," she breathed. Terni flapped his cabbage wings. "Markets have been cancelled." The Wabbit shoved his paws deep into his fur. Lapinette did the same. "No-one can get a license," roared Terni. Lapinette and the Wabbit looked blank. "Anyway," continued Terni; "The License Department has also been cancelled because no one is applying." "I suppose there are no licenses to issue," nodded the Wabbit. "I don't quite understand," sighed Lapinette; "Why don't they print more licenses? "Terni blasted flame into the air. "Because print contracts were cancelled due to irregularities." "What about the food?" asked the Wabbit. "Cancelled," said Terni. "And the money?" asked Lapinette. "Vanished," roared Terni.
 [The story of  Terni's first appearance - The Wabbit and Terni find a device in the market.] 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

1. The Wabbit and the Limits of Signs

It was a dull day and the beach was deserted. The Wabbit and Lapinette hopped along the sand until they came to a sign. Lapinette looked it up and down and read it twice. "It says we shouldn't do something." murmured the Wabbit. "Not exactly," replied Lapinette; "It says we can do something within limits." The Wabbit scuffled the sand. "In four languages." He shivered in the damp air and thrust a paw into his fur. "It says we can swim between the two red buoys," stated Lapinette. The Wabbit grinned. "Let the two boys swim, it's far too cold for me." Lapinette giggled. They drew patterns in the sand and listened to the waves. "Did you hear a noise?" asked Lapinette suddenly. "Nope," shrugged the Wabbit. Lapinette's ears swivelled. "I hear wings beating." The Wabbit smiled because he knew Terni the Food Dragon was winging his way along the coast. "I hear the sound of our next adventure," he murmured. "He has a tail wind," observed Lapinette; "He'll be here in a minute." The Wabbit squinted at the sign. "What does it say about dragons?" "It doesn't mention dragons," said Lapinette. "Then dragons can do what they like," said the Wabbit. Terni's roar blasted sand along the beach. "All OK?" The Wabbit looked up and yelled. "Within limits." Terni's monster feet hit the beach and he roared, "I go beyond them."

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Wabbit at the Adventure Caffè

Fregene was a long, long way from the seven planets, but somehow not so far. The Lepus berthed at Civitavecchia and they made their way along the coast. The Wabbit was in search of a particular caffè and he was relieved to find it. "Sometimes, it's not here." Lapinette took a seat. "Isn't this the place where Pasolini met his chums?" "No-one's really sure," purred a voice. Skratch the Cat always lagged behind to make a dramatic entrance and this was no exception. "So tell us, Skratch," said the Wabbit; "What was that for a sort of adventure?" "No-one's really sure," smiled Skratch. Captain Jenny chuckled. "You're implying uncertainty was the structurating principle." Skratch looked at Jenny with awestruck eyes. "Oh Jenny it was. It was a unifying uncertainty that rendered the text open." The Wabbit tapped lightly on the table. "Then we encouraged distantiation and specularity at the same time. Where's our drinks?" An almost imperceptible movement of Lapinette's ears brought immediate service. "How do you do that?" asked the Wabbit. He wiggled his ears, but they looked ridiculous to no effect. Skratch turned his ears back to front and made a face. A waiter arrived. Jenny crossed her ears at the back. The waiter left. The Wabbit's tummy rumbled for a very long time. A waiter arrived. "Got it!" cheered the Wabbit.

Monday, April 10, 2017

14. The Wabbit is Homeward Bound

The Lepus headed home and they all knew they'd be glad to get there. "At this point, shouldn't we sing a shanty?" ventured Captain Jenny. Skratch arrived from the engine room. "Aye!" he meowed. The Wabbit called out. "Lapinette! Give me a note." Lapinette's note cracked the glass in the ship's chronometer. "Lower," smiled the Wabbit. "Let me," said Jenny. She boomed out the first line of a sea shanty. "There was a rabbit came fae Scotland. Bonnie rabbit! Hieland rabbit!" "Way hay an away we go!" wailed Skratch. "Ma bonnie hieland rabbit O!" sang Lapinette. They laughed and laughed and pointed at the Wabbit. The Wabbit grinned and bowed. "I have another song," purred Skratch. The bridge seemed to swell with his beautiful meowing. "Step we gaily on we go, heel for heel an' toe for toe." The Wabbit's voice took over. "Fur in fur an' paw in paw, all for Jenny's wedding." They danced around the bridge and made up words as they went along. "Through the worm holes, up and down. Planets red and green and brown. Past the sun and round and round. All for sake of Jenny!" Jenny laughed heartily and swayed considerably. "Is there something I haven't been told?" Skratch looked at her adoringly and stretched out a paw. "The Captain could marry us!" Jenny grinned. "But I am the Captain." "That makes things so simple," meowed Skratch.

Friday, April 07, 2017

13. The Wabbit and Lapinette's Kiss

Behind a mottled sun, the black planet flared bright and died.  “Let’s get out of here.” sighed Lapinette. She suddenly hugged the Wabbit and gave him a kiss. The Wabbit grinned. “Our taxi’s here.” The Lepus loomed impossibly large on the horizon, red lightning crashing from the bow. “My Cailleach still works,” murmured the Wabbit. “I hope so,” smiled Lapinette.  A small shock wave made them tremble. “That was the black planet,” said the Wabbit. “Is that what it was?” said Lapinette. They watched far-off planets dance into new positions.  “How do we get on board the Lepus?” asked Lapinette. “Oh, let’s just stay here for a while,” said the Wabbit; “One of the bio pods does catering.” The Lepus dropped gently and settled on the planet surface. Lapinette and the Wabbit sat down. A bio pod handed out sandwiches.  “What about the dinosaurs?” asked Lapinette suddenly. “My goodness,” gasped the Wabbit;  “I quite forgot.” “You promised them a new planet with volcanoes.” said Lapinette. The Wabbit munched a sandwich. “And decent toilets,” added Lapinette. The Wabbit appeared nonplussed. “Any ideas?”  “Why not leave them here on the blue planet?” said Lapinette firmly. “What about the toilets?” asked the Wabbit. “Dinosaurs need to take an initiative,” said Lapinette. The Wabbit looked worried. “Then what about the volcanoes?” Lapinette shrugged. “There are volcanoes everywhere.”

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

12. The Wabbit and the Daemon Reset

The remainder of the bio pods lay at the foot of a rough obelisk. Decorated with unknown symbols, it featured an oversized red button that lay just out of reach. "Give us a punt up," said the Wabbit and he shimmied up the structure. His paws traced the letters. "What do these symbols mean?" Lapinette pushed with all her might and, at the same time, racked her brains. "They spell Daemon System Reset." The Wabbit scrabbled at any edges he could find. "Here be daemons," he grinned. Lapinette pushed harder. "Can you reach the button?" "Nearly," said the Wabbit. He glanced up. "I see the Lepus flag." Lapinette puffed and panted. "Jenny is getting the ship out the way." Lapinette gave the Wabbit a shove. His paw tapped the button, but nothing happened. "Just a tad higher," yelled the Wabbit and he lunged. His paw struck the button squarely. The obelisk shook and the Wabbit started to lose his grip. A series of vibrations followed. The Wabbit looked down. "Run!" He shouted as he dropped and kept shouting when he hit the ground. "Fire in the Hole! Clear the Area!" The Bio pods swept them to safety as the obelisk blew a crater in the ground before blasting into space. They watched it go and breathed deeply. "The map was right," breathed Lapinette. The Wabbit stared as the obelisk vanished behind the red planet. "Now we need to draw a new one."

Monday, April 03, 2017

11. The Wabbit and the Bio pod Touch

Everything glinted on the blue planet but it was safe enough for the Lepus to land. The Wabbit and Lapinette hopped quickly across the beach - and when they spotted two bio pods they climbed a small ridge to examine them. The Wabbit lifted a pod and shook it. Lapinette did the same. Then the Wabbit patted his with a paw and spoke. "Bio pod Three, report." The pod spun a little, whining like a humming top. "You don't say!" murmured the Wabbit; "Tell me more." The pod spun again, humming intermittently. The Wabbit lifted his radio. "Lepus, we have the coordinates. Please copy." The Wabbit listed a long and complicated series of numbers, followed by a similar series of letters in the Greek alphabet. The radio crackled. "Copy that. Out." Lapinette looked at her pod, shook it and tapped it. Then she lifted it to her ear and listened. There was nothing. "Bio pod! Report!" she yelled, shaking it hard and bouncing it from the ground. It remained silent. The Wabbit hopped across and kicked the pod viciously. It began to glow. "Aha," said the Wabbit," "That must be Bio pod Two. It doesn't say much." Lapinette hung on to the glowing pod as it started to tug her inland at a furious rate. The Wabbit grabbed her frock and lolloped behind her. "Where are we going?" yelled Lapinette. "Two places at once," shouted the Wabbit ...

Friday, March 31, 2017

10.The Wabbit and the Critical Mass

The Lepus engines fired up with a judder. She sliced into the blue planet's orbit then out again. But instead of gaining velocity, she slowed dramatically. Space between blue and black planets was dense and silvery. It was like sailing through starry mud. Skratch's voice barked over the speakers. "Every vent is clogged, Commander. The engines are suffocating." The Wabbit switched on the Stealthicator and the Lepus half disappeared. The pirate flag did not and it seemed to wave a warning. The Wabbit shrugged and reversed the Stealthicator. The Lepus reappeared. All its lights came on. The foghorn blasted again and again. "Vents are clear," Commander," said Skratch. The starry mud seemed to drain away. Captain Jenny scrutinised the blue planet. The Wabbit took bearings and checked instruments. He shook his head. "Shouldn't the planet rotate?" Lapinette shook her head too. "It must be tidally locked." "I see no tide," said Jenny. "It's just an expression," replied Lapinette; "Think of it as gravity." The Wabbit smiled. "If it's locked, it might be a Twilight Planet with a habitable zone." They had a swift conference. "We'll send down the bio pods," said the Wabbit. "You know what happened last time," sighed Lapinette. "This time I took precautions," said the Wabbit. Lapinette raised an eyebrow. "I gave them a good talking to," said the Wabbit.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

9. The Wabbit and the Planet Mashup

"Shields up!" said the Wabbit. His radio crackled with Skratch's voice. "The shields are far from ready, Commander." Jenny rocked back and rolled slightly. "Raise them anyway." The Lepus vibrated. "Please let them work," breathed Lapinette. The white planet smashed into the black planet. A flash lit the sky. Every rivet in the Lepus shook. Then nothing. The white planet lay nudged against the black. "Wait," said Jenny. The black planet separated and swam into a low orbit. Then it headed straight for the Lepus. "Full astern," yelled Jenny. Skratch's voice rang out from the speakers. "She'll no move!" "Down shields!" shouted the Wabbit. The shields dropped and a triple blast hit the Lepus. Lapinette covered her ears with her paws and hung on. The Lepus curved behind the blue planet and stopped. All was still until the radio burst into life. "We only have auxiliary." said Skratch. The Lepus lurched and started to move. "It's no me," crackled Skratch. Lapinette gazed into space and made rough mental measurements. "It's the blue planet," she said; "It's moving." "We're being pulled, hang on," said Skratch. Mechanical clanking issued from the engine room. The Lepus shuddered to a halt. "How d'ya do it?" smiled the Wabbit. "I have a quantum anchor," purred Skratch. "Don't tell anyone," said Jenny.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

8. The Wabbit & the Dinosaur Dispute

Uproar brought the Wabbit to the cargo bay, swiftly followed by Lapinette and Skratch the Cat. Together they tried to smooth ruffled scales. The Wabbit was a bit hazy about dinosaurs so he gave his reluctant passengers names. "What's it all about Rexy?" "We want to go home," said Rexy. "Ships give us nausea," said Rap. Lapinette became sympathetic because she had no sea legs either. "It's OK in space, there's no up and down." Liz bellowed. "We don't like side to side." "Or forward and back," added Rap. The Wabbit had not the slightest notion how to deal with this. "What would you prefer?" he asked. "We like to roam!" roared the dinosaurs. Skratch shouted from the bulkhead door. "We've no got much roaming room." The Wabbit wore a thoughtful look that bode a variety of things, few of them practical. "When it's all over, we'll find you a new planet!" Lapinette winced. The dinosaurs mumbled among themselves. "Will it have a volcano?" asked Rex. "Yes," said the Wabbit quickly; "Gently warming the land around." "And lush pastures for grazing," said Rap. "Of course!" smiled the Wabbit. "And proper toilets," said Liz. "I'm fed up pooing in spiky grass." The Wabbit's smile lurched to the side and his paws flailed.  "I'll see what I can do. But I'm needed on the bridge. Any more questions will be answered by Lapinette." The Wabbit darted past Skratch and down to the bowels of the ship.

Friday, March 24, 2017

7. The Wabbit and the Short Jenny

The Wabbit and Skratch evacuated the dinosaurs and crammed them into the cargo bay. All except for one, whose name was Terry. He seemed more than happy to wing through space and pronounced it entertaining. Engines were at full capacity and for a while the Lepus made headway. But the force of the singularity tore at the flag and threatened to rip it from the mast. Jenny spoke to the engine room. "Can you give me more power, Skratch?" "Aye Captain," said Skratch, "but she'll no take it much longer." With a shudder the Lepus darted forward. "Shiver me rivets," said Jenny. She clung onto the wheel. "What next, Commander?" The Wabbit glanced from the bridge. "Hide behind the yellow planet, Try to snooker it." Terry seemed to know. He swung and with a deft movement winged to the far side of the yellow planet. The Lepus followed. The singularity carried straight on, bounced from an invisible force field and reappeared on the far side of the system. "Lost him," sighed the Wabbit. "Not for long," said Jenny. The Wabbit struck the bulkhead with a clenched paw. "Release the space plankton." A hazy cloud pumped from the funnels. The singularity seemed to inhale the vapour. Then it stopped dead and lay motionless. "Stop shot," quipped the Wabbit. Jenny swayed back and forward. "Now the white planet is closing on the black ..."
 [Short Jenny. In billiards, this constitutes an in-off shot into a middle pocket.]

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

6. The Wabbit and the Big Pull

"Yikes!" yelled the Wabbit. Skratch the Cat hissed long and hard. There was no more shelter, but the red dinosaur gripped them in a vice of iron as he bellowed at the sky. The Wabbit hung on to whatever he could. A rear foot pinned him to the ground, trampling his fur. He could barely breathe. Rocks warped and left the ground as the pull became irresistible. "It's a singularity," gasped the Wabbit. "Someone made this. Trust me," screeched Skratch. The singularity moved between the sun and the Green Planet. Suddenly it appeared to be aflame. "It's going away" roared the dinosaur. "It always does this." The Wabbit felt the pull diminish. He pulled his ear back into shape. Skratch tugged down his fur and adjusted his mask. "How long before the next time?" asked the Wabbit. He picked himself up and patted the red dinosaur with both paws. Skratch crept from below the giant claws and arched his back. Then he yawned. "The air seems peculiar." The dinosaur bellowed sadly. "We lose some atmosphere each time." The Wabbit froze. From deep in his unconscious came a moment of clarity.  "It's a harvester." His radio dropped from his fur and it crackled with Jenny's voice. "Commander?"  The Wabbit smiled into the radio. "Tip top." "I had to move the Lepus away." said Jenny. "Good idea. Otherwise you'd be compost," said the Wabbit.

Monday, March 20, 2017

5. The Wabbit and the Black Planet

The vehicles vanished and the sky grew dark. The Wabbit and Skratch found themselves pulled into a jagged cave. "I brought you to shelter," said a dinosaur. "Most kind," replied the Wabbit. He fished in his fur and brought out a meal voucher. "Here's a small token of my esteem." Skratch nudged the dinosaur. "I will triple the Wabbit's generous offer, out the goodness of my own heart." He waved three vouchers. The dinosaur threw back his head and roared suspiciously. "Who takes these?" Skratch meowed seductively. "Any participating restaurant in the Sombrero Galaxy." The dinosaur took the Wabbit's voucher and tucked it under his scales. Then he took Skratch's vouchers and did the same. A strong breeze tried to pull them off their paws. The dinosaur grabbed them both and sank his mighty claws into the rocks. "Hang on." The breeze turned into a wind that quickly became a gale. Things grew darker. Rocks flew past their heads. The Wabbit held tight, but he risked a glance back. The Black Planet hung on the horizon, sucking up everything that wasn't nailed down. "It'll go in a minute," roared the dinosaur. "Where to?" yelled the Wabbit. The dinosaur dug his claws deeper into the rock. "No one cares, as long as it's not here." Skratch reached across to grasp the Wabbit's fur. The wind pulled at his eyeballs. He scrunched his face into his mask and let out a muffled yell. "That's no planet ..."

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

4. The Wabbit and The Green Planet

It was a stiff climb and the Wabbit and Skratch were both puffed. The Green Planet was covered in shrublings that looked like a crop of some kind. "These look yummy," said Skratch; "Do you think they're safe to nibble?" But the Wabbit's ears stood straight upright, "I hear rumbling." "I thought that was your stomach," replied Skratch. Two exploration vehicles rumbled to the edge of the cliff. "Welcome," spoke a vehicle; "May we show you to the Interpretive Centre?" Skratch grinned, because the Wabbit's aversion to such centres was well known. "Anywhere around here you can get a bite to eat?" he purred. The Wabbit proffered a polite paw. The vehicle extended a sensor. "We don't get many visitors." The Wabbit nodded and asked, "When were the last?" "You're the first," said the vehicles and they chattered to each other in a noisy series of bleeps. "We were left here by a mission from SWEEPS-11. We've seen no-one since." Skratch and the Wabbit conferred. "What is your task?" said the Wabbit. "Flora and fauna protection," replied the vehicles. The Wabbit's smile was a question. "From what?" The two vehicles threw many shapes. "When the Black Planet orbits, we hide everything or the planet sucks them up." The Wabbit spoke urgently into his radio. "Lepus, can you detect the black planet?" The radio crackled with Jenny's voice. "The black planet broke orbit. It's moving our way."

Monday, March 13, 2017

3. The Wabbit and the Snooker Planets

Captain Jenny signalled the engine room and the Lepus stood still. The Wabbit felt the faint hum of auxiliary engines to be reassuring - although his heart was pounding. "There they are," he murmured; "Just where the map said." The Lepus swung in a distant orbit round an angry sun. Lapinette touched his shoulder. "They remind me of something." "Pool," said Jenny. The Wabbit shook his head. "Snooker." Jenny and Lapinette had a confab. "What colour has the most points?" "Black, seven" shrugged the Wabbit; "Black, pink, blue, brown, green, yellow, red." "How would you play this one?" asked Lapinette. "We need a break off," answered the Wabbit; "to get everything rolling." Jenny whirled the ship's wheel, which was only for effect. "Send out your Cailleach to stir them up, Commander." The Wabbit wasted no time and a giant Cailleach appeared close to the planets. A loud complaint issued immediately from the engine room. "Ye canna have holographics for long, Commander. It's braw but it's hard on fuel." "Look. Something happened," said Lapinette, She pointed to the Green Planet. "Magnify on screen!" shouted the Wabbit. The Green Planet repeatedly became bigger, then smaller. It seemed like it was breathing. "Looks like our kind of planet," said Lapinette; "but how much is it worth?" "Three," sighed the Wabbit.
[Background: NASA/JPL-Caltech  under Creative Commons Licence]

Friday, March 10, 2017

2. The Wabbit and the Ship Trials

Lapinette waited with baited breath. The Wabbit was nonchalant and lifted his walkie talkie to his ear. The radio crackled with Captain Jenny's voice. "Stage one complete. All systems optimal." The Lepus hung over the moonlit bay, throwing waves of energy to the surface. Jenny's voice sounded cheerful. "Compliments, Commander." The Wabbit grinned. Light from his 28 teeth flashed choppy reflections across the harbour. He spoke into the radio. "Up works. Now try down." The Lepus sank until her hull grazed the water. "Up again and try port and starboard thrusts." The Lepus pirouetted like a Mariinsky ballerina in Swan Lake. "Ooooh," murmured Lapinette; "your work is done!"  "Not quite," smiled the Wabbit. His mouth pressed aginst the radio. "Now loop the loop." The radio crackled with pirate expletives. "It's the red button at the base of the helm," said the Wabbit. "Aye Commander," said Jenny. The Lepus vanished. Lapinette counted the seconds and crossed her paws. Lightning flashed. The Lepus appeared upside down in the far sky and just as quickly vanished. Lapinette counted again. With hardly a splash, the Lepus settled in the harbour. Lapinette's sigh of relief lasted for ever. The Wabbit lifted his radio. "Jenny, report." Jenny's voice was a croak. "OK Commander, just a bit of upchuck." "We'll live," said the Wabbit.
[Upchuck: Vomit (US slang )]
[Photo credit: Background scene - Camilla Galli da Bino]

Thursday, March 09, 2017

1. The Wabbit and the 7 Planet Trip

It was quiet on the Big Bridge. At half a kilometre long and seventy metres high, the bridge was perfect. No-one could hear them talk about the next mission. Far below, a high speed train broke the silence as it squeaked across junctions and into Porta Nuova station. Lapinette danced a little jig to the rhythm. "Sail me to the stars," she sang. "Far past Jupiter and Mars," sang the Wabbit. "In other words, hold my paw," sang Wabsworth. "In other words, baby kiss me," warbled Lapinette. They all laughed, until a distant cry wailed along the footpath. "Me first," shouted Skratch the Cat. The Wabbit grinned ear to ear. "Now that we're here, it's time to plan the ... ." A goods train rumbled by and drowned him out. "The new planets are forty light years away," said Lapinette; "So I'll bring my fur drier and stuff." The Wabbit made a mental note regarding cargo space. "Let's give these seven planets names," said Skratch with a wag of his tail. "Maybe after we've been there?" suggested Wabsworth. "Oh that's no fun," said Lapinette. "Go on Wabsworth. You start!" Wabsworth smiled because had already thought of names. "Maia and Eleckra," he said; "Asterië, Merope, Taygeta, Halcyone and Celæno." "They're taken," said Lapinette. "Anyway, I thought one could be Lapinette." "You're more of a star than a planet," winked the Wabbit.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

The Wabbit at the Adventure Caffè

The Wabbit unfolded a colourful chart. "I made a rough copy of the star map." Silence fell in the Adventure Caffè. "I coloured it in," explained the Wabbit; "It's all the rage." Lapinette pointed to the chart. "What's that red area?" "That is our target area," replied the Wabbit. "The new planets are there - all M Class but their sun is well dodgy." Skratch the Cat gestured impatiently. "Look, if we don't understand our last adventure, we'll have no clue about the next." Wabsworth rapped the table. "All right, I'll explain. Our journey took on the attributes of a road movie." Skratch purred quietly. "But the road movie is an arrested gaze and should not be taken literally." Lapinette chimed in. "Yes, our Wablantis journey was an accretion of elements that never implied continuity." Wabsworth smiled an infuriating smile that he'd learned from Skratch. "So meaning emerges as narrative construction fades into forgottenness." "That's Heidegger," observed Lapinette. The Wabbit suddenly tapped the chart and spoke strictly. "Phenomenology won't get us to these planets, but I know what will." He paused for effect. "The Lepus will scoop up fuel particles from space, just like a whale in the sea." Lapinette shook her head. "We won't have enough thrust." The Wabbit disagreed. "I invented a quantum turbo." "What does it feel like?" asked Lapinette. "Like being inside a barrel, rolling down a hill," grinned the Wabbit.

Friday, March 03, 2017

18. The Wabbit and the Arrival Home

The Lepus sailed into Trieste harbour on a calm evening. To the Wabbit it felt like they'd never left but Nessie broke suddenly through the mirror surface of calm water. "Debriefing at 19.00 hours," said the Wabbit. "Aye aye," said Nessie. "I'll just swim awa' doon to the Grand Canal." "Please be discrete," murmured the Wabbit.  Nessie vanished with a giant splash and a monster laugh. "Commander?" said Jenny. The Wabbit nodded. "What about the spy?" continued Jenny. The Wabbit smiled broadly. "He's still with us." Jenny looked unhappy and growled. "We'll make him dance the hempen jig!" The Wabbit shook his head. "Let's keep him where we can see him." They both paused and watched the water slip by.  "And the new map?" said Jenny. "It's a star chart," said the Wabbit. "Then you won't be needing me." said Jenny sadly. The Wabbit put his paws behind his back and swayed a little like Jenny. "The Lepus engines get a retro fit. You'll be the first pirate ferry to sail space." Jenny's face lit up. "I suppose the sailing principles are the same." Now the Wabbit's face beamed. "I had an idea for tachyon propulsion and it seems just the job." "Have you tried it?" asked Jenny. "Yes," said the Wabbit, "I used a rubber duck in the bath"  "And it works?" asked Jenny. "The bath disappeared," said the Wabbit.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

17. The Wabbit and the Big Broadside.

The Wabbit looked over the rail. Wablantis was shrouded in a mist that hung over the sea like wet washing. The Wabbit signalled to the bridge. "Bring her round Jenny and steady as she goes."  The Lepus swung. So did the cannon. "Lock," said the Wabbit. "On my mark. Fire!" He lifted a paw. The coast shook.  "Again," said the Wabbit. The frackers' installation crumbled. "One more," breathed the Wabbit. The Lepus spat fire. The Wabbit watched a dull flame bathe the buildings as they collapsed to rubble. Now the installation was a flat one. The sea heaved. A plesiosaur broke through the waves and grew larger until its head and neck towered above the deck. Nessie boomed in a mighty voice. "Ye'll be needin' a pilot." Then he turned and headed slowly out to sea. The Wabbit signalled the bridge. "Follow that monster." The radio crackled with telegraph signals. "Slow ahead." The bow of the Lepus ploughed quietly through the mist, taking Nessie's route though the reefs. Suddenly they were beyond the mist and in open sea. "This way" boomed Nessie. The Wabbit's ears made a hollow noise. He could vaguely hear the cannon although gunfire had long stopped - and he felt a little dizzy. His radio crackled. "The bar is open," said Jenny. "I thought it never closed," cheered the Wabbit.

Monday, February 27, 2017

16. The Wabbit and the Added Map

The sky seemed to reflect the island and it bathed the Wabbit in an aquamarine glow as he rummaged in the bag. He knew very well that Wabsworth had appeared behind him but he continued to rummage. "I'll give you a receipt for the cash," said Wabsworth, "and I will enter the sum in the seized assets ledger." The Wabbit dug deeper and reached into the lining of the bag. "I don't care about the money." He gently pulled out a scroll and squinted at it. "I came for this, it's a map." He passed it to Wabsworth who unrolled it as the Wabbit explained. "The Wablantis map was lost on our last trip and somehow the frackers found it and came here." Wabsworth stared at the map. Then he turned it round and looked on the back. "Someone has added a new map." The Wabbit ran has eyes across it in wonder. "It's a star map!" Wabsworth scanned the map and let his circuits consult his memory banks. "These are earth-like planets, circling a sun which is provisionally known as Wablet-1." "There's a note underneath," pointed the Wabbit. "It says the whole place is terribly dangerous and on no account should anyone even consider making a trip." Wabsworth's scowl had some humour. "Then the authors of the new map are hiding something." The Wabbit chortled. "So let's play hide and seek ..!"

Friday, February 24, 2017

15. The Wabbit and the Frackers' Loot

The red rabbits attacked and the frackers ran for cover. Lapinette flew Susan the Biplane shouting orders, while below, the rabbits made short work of cables and pipes.  "I can see the Wabbit," said Susan. Lapinette shook her head. "The Wabbit isn't scheduled for this sortie." "He appears to be watching where the frackers are running to," said Susan. "but I recall he said not to worry about prisoners." Lapinette shook her head again. "I never quite know what he means by that." On the ground, frackers abandoned everything. They even took things from their pockets and scattered them as they scurried for the docks. Rabbit teeth snapped with the power of leg traps. "Just shake them off," cried a foreman fracker, "They're only rabbits." He yelped as a bunny bit him on the hand and cursed as another bit through his boot. A distant roughneck yelled at the top of his voice. "I told you we shouldn't have taken this job." "It was good money," said his mate. "Where is the money?" said another. His voice floated across the fractured earth. The foreman looked back and pointed at a shaking building. "In the office safe. It's OK, I have the key." But there were more and more rabbits and the roughnecks ran faster. The Wabbit ducked inside the building, emerging with a note-stuffed carpet bag. "Gotta pay for this mission somehow."