Monday, August 21, 2017

21. The Wabbit and the Quark Stack

"Where are we?" asked Lapinette. "In the quark stack," said the Royal Seal.  "I don't like it here," said an Ice Mouse. "It's all your own fault," said Silkie the Royal Seal. The Wabbit shrugged. He fished in his fur and pulled out an ancient CD player. Then he flicked a quark plasma disk into the player. It began to play an orchestral movement that Lapinette recognised. "Water Music." The atmosphere became damp and a bit sticky. Moisture seeped from the player. Droplets flew up then fell like rain. But it wasn't rain. "That's ours," croaked the Ice Mouse. Silkie laughed. "Take it if you can." The Ice Mouse tried to jump but slipped on a fine plasma film and fell over. "It's anti-rain, said Silkie. The Wabbit grimaced. "That's what the Ice Mice wanted." The Wabbit took the disk from the player and the plasma rain ceased. He put in a different disk. It played "Riders on the Storm" and rained in a tropical manner. Silkie's voice was stern. "Commander, this is what happens when you fail to submit timely mission reports." "It rains?" asked the Wabbit. Lapinette giggled, but Silkie barked, "All this could have been sealed and delivered six years ago." "Water under the bridge," smiled the Wabbit. "Don't let it happen again," said Silkie. The Wabbit plucked the disk from the player then flipped another one in. "I get to keep these, don't I?" "For a rainy day!" shouted Lapinette. And even the Ice Mouse laughed.

Friday, August 18, 2017

20. The Wabbit and Quark Plasma

The Wabbit dived for the ledge as an oncoming portal sped towards the team. There was an apologetic bang, but no doubt of the result. Quark plasma disks emerged in number and when they hit the tunnel, they began to spin fast. The Wabbit brought his stick down hard and yelled, "Drop the web." But the web didn't hold. Disks sliced through the tough weave and continued along the path of the decelerator. Lapinette dived for cover behind the ice floe. But the ice floe turned blue and began to melt - so she rolled across the track and quickly joined the Wabbit. "What's that? Do you know?" "That is the opposite of our ice floe," said the Wabbit; "It's a quark plasma stack." Waves of heat assaulted Lapinette's ears. The disks were sharp and silent. When they hit the side of tunnel, they lodged there, still spinning. Walls became soft, but held their form. Neither solid nor gas nor liquid, they hung in a plasma curtain. The ground vibrated. The Wabbit and Lapinette felt the tracks undulating beneath their feet. They were plasma too. Cautiously the Wabbit poked the plasma with his stick. Everything stopped. Disks dropped from walls. The ice floe reverted to arctic white. The tunnel restabilised. "Looks like that's all we get," murmured the Wabbit. He picked up a disk and polished it with his fur. "Think there's a tune on it?"

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

19. The Wabbit and the State of Matter

Deep in the mountains lay an important and very secret installation. At the Wabbit's behest, the Department of Wabbit Affairs built a particle decelerator - and allowed the Wabbit to modify it. "It needs to be straight on the rails," yelled the Wabbit, waving his stick. The red spiders patiently adjusted the ice floe. Measurements indicated it wasn't really cold, but it felt as if it was. Lapinette adjusted the timer carefully and said - as she always did at this juncture - "Do you think this will work?" "I tried it using a vase," said the Wabbit. Lapinette's face was a question. The Wabbit looked up in triumph. "All the bits came back!" "Bits?" He hesitated. "Powdery bits." "Ready when you are," called Marshall Duetta. The Wabbit stepped away from the track and lifted his stick. "On my mark." Lapinette activated the decelerator. Nothing appeared to happen. But the Wabbit knew the ice floe had been and gone and come back. An ozone smell wafted through air and sounds of sizzling like frying sausages. "It's different," said Duetta. She tapped the floe lightly with a leg. A hollow sound echoed through the tunnel. "Stand back," said the Wabbit. He raised his stick. Lapinette re-activated the device. Again, nothing seemed to change. But Duetta rattled her legs. "It's come back exactly the way it was." "The Wabbit pointed his stick down the tunnel. "Then what's that over there ..?"

Monday, August 14, 2017

18. The Wabbit and the Aftermath

When they flew across the city they knew something had happened. Burning craft lay in several places. In the distance, Duetta's red spiders ferried the ice floe along the mountains. Lapinette couldn't talk to the spiders directly, only through Duetta. So she put in a call. "Marsha Duetta Spider, come in," For a while there was nothing. Then there was a voice, but it wasn't Duetta. "Copy you," Lapinette," said Wabsworth. "I need actual Duetta," responded Lapinette. "Lapinette, standby," said Wabsworth abruptly. The Wabbit heard muffled explosions in the transmission and a lot of shouting. He took the walkie talkie. "Everything under control?" "Yes, Commander," said Wabsworth, "Never a bother." The Wabbit listened to an impossible number of ammunition rounds exploding. Then all went quiet. The radio crackled. "Commander, we had a small contretemps." Wabsworth was the Wabbit's android double and just like him in many ways. But Wabsworth had a penchant for understatement. "A situation has been contained. Advising rendezvous change to Point Delta." "Copy that Wabsworth," said Lapinette, "What situation?" "Ice Mice tried to kidnap the Royal Seal," replied Wabsworth. The Wabbit waited for more information and Wabsworth somehow smiled down the radio. "They tried to seal his fate." "And...?" asked Lapinette. "Our seal is armed to the teeth." said Wabsworth.

Friday, August 11, 2017

17. The Wabbit and the Night Tripper

Susan the Biplane lifted them from the bridge with the ease of a cargo hoist. It was a timely intervention. Saucers came from all directions firing green lightning that singed their ears. “They’re everywhere, Commander,” said Susan, “All over the city.” Lapinette clung onto a strut to lean out and back as Susan swooped from left to right. “Good thing you did that sidecar racing course,” muttered the Wabbit. Lapinette’s lean was quite impossible. She treated gravity like a toy and her merry dance on the wing was a tour de force. “Hold tight," said Susan. She stood on a wingtip, hung for an instant, then dived abruptly to the ground. Lightning blasts glanced past as she looped the loop and circled back. A following saucer didn’t quite make it and buried itself in a railway siding. Another that was right behind suffered the same fate. But there were more and more saucers. Susan buzzed two craft who’s crew became so disorientated they crashed their vessels into each other. Shards of fuselage littered the railway. Three craft hit power pylons and exploded. One dropped from the sky without warning and as it landed, its lights flickered and died. Lapinette heard singing above the roar of the engine. It was the Wabbit singing into his walkie talkie. “We are the champions, we are the champions!”

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

16. The Wabbit and the Big Drop

It happened in an instant. Without warning, saucers filled the air and they came thick and fast. The Wabbit and Lapinette were thrown from the bridge. Snow pelted their paws as they clung to the slippery surface. The Ice Mice turned and walked away without a word or a backward glance. "How did that happen?" muttered the Wabbit. His fur stuck fast as frost froze them both in a welcome embrace. The Wabbit watched saucers whizz past and he heard them make a fast-freeze cackle as they span. He slowly hauled himself over the parapet, then turned to lean out. He pulled Lapinette onto the bridge, set her down and murmured, "We need a better plan." Lapinette's frock was a frozen board. "Did we have a plan?" The Wabbit shrugged. "No plan is also a plan." He rummaged in his fur for his emergency fur drier and blasted it around. Lapinette was unimpressed and yelled, "Ears please." The Wabbit blasted Lapinette's ears until they were toasty. "We're making heavy weather of this," he sighed. The snow thickened but somehow it didn't settle. It turned into ice pellets the size of golf balls and clung to every surface of the bridge. The Wabbit activated his fur drier in a ferocious attack using unauthorised settings. It failed to melt a single one, but the snow stopped and the temperature rose. Lapinette was awe struck. "Where did you find that?" The Wabbit grinned ear to ear. "It found me."

Monday, August 07, 2017

15. The Wabbit and the Mice's Ice

The Wabbit hastened across the city to the rendezvous. It was becoming extremely cold and lazy snowflakes clung to his fur. Lapinette had lagged behind to explain something to Skratch the Cat. But now she hurried to catch up - and there they were, just behind the Wabbit. The Ice Mice were impervious to snow or any other weather and they hopped in his steps as the downfall grew fiercer. "Wabbit" shouted Lapinette. The Wabbit wiped snow from his fur and turned. Then he smirked at the three Ice Mice. "Hiding behind a rabbit's back is extremely poor form." He pulled an automatic from his fur. "This is my friend Mr Makarov." An Ice Mouse made a bee line for the Wabbit, but cold steel against his throat changed his mind. "Going somewhere?" growled Lapinette. The Ice Mice lolled around casually, like a bunch of gangbangers in a grotty ghetto. "Message for the Wabbit," said one. "Phone my secretary," snorted the Wabbit. "Call off your eight legged freaks," said an Ice Mouse who was struggling in Lapinette's grip. "Give us our ice and we'll be on our way." Lapinette held an ear and traced patterns with her blade in the creature's fur. "Why do you want the ice?" No-one spoke, so she poked the blade around. "Aaaagh!" yelled the Mouse; "It's spin ice." The Wabbit signalled to Lapinette. "Spin ice?" Lapinette ran a paw along the edge of her weapon. "Spin ice is quantum disordered ice." "The worst kind," sighed the Wabbit.

Friday, August 04, 2017

The Wabbit and his Adventure Caffè

The Wabbit threw a book on the table. "I found it." Lapinette was agog. "It's practically unobtainable." Skratch the Cat bore down on the group flaunting his new t-shirt, but he spotted the book and let out a long haunting meaow. "Where? How?" The Wabbit grinned and shook his head. "That, I may not reveal.  But it's yours now." "A Theory of Musical Semiotics," he chortled; "I'll quote that for years." A fresh breeze ruffled the pages. A faint tune rose and died away. Lapinette took the opportunity to ask the question. "What kind of adventure are we having?" Skratch blinked in a way that only a cat could achieve. "I wouldn't dare criticise a project in progress." "That's Sartre," said Lapinette. The Wabbit tapped the table with a firm paw. "Less methodology, more entertainment." Skratch tapped his chest. "I suggest water is invariably the site of conflict. In cinema, it mobilises a dramatic and conflicted discourse as fluid and changing as water itself." It was Wabsworth's turn to contribute." "This is about the content of water, not its shape. It's somethingness is the issue." The arcade was hot. A welcome breeze brought a change in temperature, prompting Skratch to sweep his paws across his ears. "Something in the air. Something strange." The Wabbit rose. "Time to rock n'roll..."

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

14. The Wabbit and the Ice that Wasn't

Back on earth, things were cool. But not that cool. Marshall Duetta's spiders brought as many as the ice floes they could capture and the Wabbit felt he should supervise. "Front legs down a bit, back legs up a bit." Marshall Duetta rattled all her legs. "Leave the capturing to us." The Wabbit shrugged. "What do you think, Wabsworth? Should we break the ice?" Wabsworth was the Wabbit's android double but was his own android nonetheless. "It won't break. It's not our kind of ice." The day blistered in the sun and the Wabbit felt hot and bothered. The floes promised refreshing coolness but steadfastly refused to melt. "Take them to the North Pole," suggested Wabsworth; "It could use some more." Lapinette thought that was a good idea. She leaned from a metal tower. "Global warming won't melt these in a million years." Wabsworth smiled and activated his sensors to make a brief analysis. "High pressure. Variable density. The molecular structure is a cube lattice weave. And there's something else I can't determine." A floe crashed to the ground but hardly made a sound. Then another. A wall of unyielding ice grew long and high. The Wabbit hissed. "The Ice Mice know about the something else. They usually do." "Then they'll be here soon," said Duetta. The Wabbit flashed all of his 28 teeth. "Post sentries," he muttered; "Everyone else take five for cold drinks."

Monday, July 31, 2017

13. The Wabbit and the Space Kaboom

Quantum the Time Travelling Train was technically a merchant craft, unequipped for dogfights in space - but he was fast. "Lattice Drive, Commander?" "No," said the Wabbit. He connected his radio to Device A119 and hummed a simple tune. "Locked and Loaded," said the device. "Wait," said the Wabbit. Device A119 waited, and while he waited he played an electronic tune. "So tired," he warbled; "Tired of waiting for you oo ooh." "Now!" yelled the Wabbit. It was only an instant but it seemed like an hour. Suddenly the lunar surface glowed with a strange yellow light. There was no sound, just heat and light. A fiery blast seared past Quantum. "No-one look back," yelled the Wabbit. New fire added to old. Space was as floodlit as a stadium. Shards of saucers flew past Quantum's hull. A random blast from an Ice Mice craft shaved paint from one of Quantum's plates. "Dead Stop! Engage Lattice Drive!" snapped the Wabbit. Quantum groaned, shuddered and vanished, leaving behind only a light-drenched scrapyard. From a safe distance, Marshall Duetta and her legions of red spiders watched. Something odd was happening. Explosions on the lunar source sprayed water bombs into space. There, they froze into Arctic ice floes and drifted towards earth. Duetta spoke telepathically to her spider army. "Take your positions ..."

Friday, July 28, 2017

12. The Wabbit and the Broken Saucer

Under the pressure of the red spiders, the saucer plunged and crashed. Spiders swarmed over the surface, but nothing emerged. The Wabbit and Lapinette stared across a river of the deepest blue. "Is it water?" asked the Wabbit. "Not as we know it," said Duetta. Her legs rattled. "I wouldn't drink it." Marshall Duetta stuck a tip of a leg in the water and withdrew quickly. "The molecules aren't quite right." The Wabbit had a thought. "It looks like a reservoir." Lapinette charged her snazer gun. The whine was audible even in the wafer thin atmosphere. "But who's reservoir is it?" Duetta received a signal from the red spiders. "Marshall, there's movement inside the craft." Duetta ordered her troops to smash against the side of the vessel. The Wabbit and Lapinette gripped their snazers. They were expecting a sudden onslaught of Ice Mice, but all was still. "It's too quiet," said the Wabbit. Duetta nodded upwards. "How quiet do you like it?" Saucers emerged from behind Earth and they were fast and furious. "I estimate they'll be here in two hours," said Lapinette. "Call off the spiders," said the Wabbit; "Let them think we cut and ran." "We'll head for the dark side of the moon," said Lapinette. "It's going to be cold," sighed the Wabbit. "We'll heat things up," said Duetta; "Got any CL-20?" "I always do," replied the Wabbit, flicking imaginary lint from his fur. "Lay it under the water," suggested Duetta. "Blasting harms the environment," said Lapinette. Duetta rattled her legs. "If the Ice Mice get here, we won't have any."

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

11. The Wabbit and the Liquid Moon

Marshall Duetta Spyder hung just off Earth and watched the moon turn liquid. Then the remnants of a distant shock wave rattled her legs. Quantum the Time Travelling Train burst through the lunar surface, spraying icy droplets into space. Duetta spoke telepathically to her cohorts. "Stand by." "There's another craft, Marshall," came a silent response. "Ice Mice," growled Duetta. She transmitted another message. "Battalion Two. Give that craft trouble." A thousand red spiders broke orbit and headed for the saucer. Marshall Duetta turned her gaze to the moon. She knew the value of water and the sinister role of the Ice Mice in diverting natural resources. Climatic catastrophe was the certain result. She sent another message, this time to the Wabbit. "All possible information. Copy." The Wabbit's radio voice vibrated through every hair she had. "The moon is full of water. The discovery droid told no-one." Marshall Duetta rattled her legs. "Someone else knew. We have company." The Wabbit's voice was harsh. "Can you divert them?" "Not indefinitely," said Duetta. The saucer was at a standstill, but suddenly powered up and made for the moon's surface. Quantum moved to intercept. For a moment a collision looked unavoidable, but Quantum vanished and reappeared from the far side of the moon. Trapped between Quantum and the spiders, the saucer shuddered to a halt. Red spiders covered the craft. Duetta hissed and bared her fangs. "Smother it."

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

10. The Wabbit and the Place of Water

In the dining car of Quantum the Train, the Wabbit fiddled with Device A119. It was rather old fashioned and had seen better days. But it worked. Space Traveller looked out into deep space and worried. "Does he know what he's doing?" Lapinette shrugged. "Maybe." The Wabbit ignored all this. He continued to poke inside the device and hummed gently. "Is that you or the device?" asked Lapinette. The Wabbit hummed a different note, then another. Suddenly Device A119 spoke. "Up a bit and to the left." "Your left or my left?" sighed the Wabbit. "Right paw up a bit until you find the red capacitor." There was a flash. "Ouch," said the Wabbit. "Spot on," said the device; "You have control." The Wabbit sighed again. "Control of what?" "Me," said the device. "Can I have a salad sandwich?" said the Wabbit. "I can promise a panino in due course," replied the device; "but I have to find it first." Lapinette laughed and signalled the kitchens. "What was your function?" continued the Wabbit. "To find water in the moon," said the device. The Wabbit probed with his screwdriver and murmured, "What was the outcome of your search?" The device played a soothing snatch of Cool Water. "I'll take that as a yes," said the Wabbit; "so who did you inform?" "No-one," responded the device; "I have no instructions to tell anyone." An audible gasp shook the dining car. "It was forgotten," said the Device. "That doesn't hold water," grinned the Wabbit.

Friday, July 21, 2017

9. The Wabbit and the Lost Performers

Torrential rain lashed at the Wabbit's fur. The Agents were looking at something and the Wabbit knew what it was. It whistled and sang, it chirped and warbled. Then under the light of a mystifying moon, the Agents began to dance. Space Traveller pitched his green ears. "What is that?" The Wabbit plucked his walkie talkie from his fur. "I forgot about Device A119. It's a droid." He changed frequency and whispered urgently. "Command Line 76. Execute Bootstrap. Information Protocol 119." His radio crackled and whined. "Hello, hello, hello hello." "The Wabbit had an idea. He whispered again. "Device A119, please accept my requests." The Wabbit listed a series of obscure novelty chart-toppers. The Agents danced in circles and made jazz paws in the rain, oblivious to anything but the heterodyne whine of Device A119. "That's ghastly," said Space Traveller, making a futile attempt to cover his ears. The Wabbit spat out a list of performers known for execrable one-hit wonders. Device A119 played them all. "I can take no more," sighed Space Traveller. "Wait," smiled the Wabbit. The Agents whirled to left and right, then sank exhausted to the ground. The rain stopped. Silence fell. The Wabbit hopped forward and retrieved the device. Then he grabbed onto Space Traveller and grinned, "Let's fade away." And they did.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

8. The Wabbit and the Cynical Switch

The Wabbit felt strange to be an Agent of Rabit, but Space Traveller seemed to be enjoying himself. They wiggled their pointy ears and practiced snickering just like Agents. "Get these gophers," sneered the Wabbit. "Scrag their scroggles!" said Space Traveller, a bit too loud. Suddenly there were three agents throwing out their chests and snivelling. "Who are you?" they shouted. The Wabbit looked over the wall. "We're new." "We just got here," added Space Traveller. "No-one said you were coming," said an Agent. "Last minute thing," smiled the Wabbit; "In consequence, we are hopelessly raw and don't know our asses from our elbows." Another Agent shook with annoyance. "It's always the same when we need help." "But we're so cute," simpered the Wabbit. The three Agents huddled, then emerged to address the pair. "There was one interloper. Now there are two." "I can see them," said the Wabbit.  "Where?" sneered the Agents. "Over there," said Space Traveller; "You can make out their ears." The Agents became agitated. "We can't see them." The Wabbit pointed to his glasses. "Special spectacles." Space Traveller tapped his. "Wearable specnology." "Yes, I see ears on the horizon," exclaimed an Agent. "Best follow them," suggested the Wabbit. "Keep your own ears to the ground," advised Space Traveller." The Agents made off at speed and disappeared. "We'll look after your stuff," shouted the Wabbit.

Monday, July 17, 2017

7. The Wabbit & the Planet of the Voles

Quantum dropped them off. The planet looked pretty much as the Wabbit had left it, but something wasn't right. The sky darkened and rain fell. Drops prickled the Wabbit's fur. "Acid rain," murmured the Wabbit. "Usually this is when the voles come, remember?" said Space Traveller. The Wabbit recalled his story of the voles with a chuckle. "I made all that up." Lightning flashed. The Wabbit plucked his walkie talkie from his fur, but it crackled aimlessly. A long way above, Quantum the Time Travelling Train wheeled and departed. "I do think we have trouble," sighed the Wabbit. "There they are, the voles," shrugged the Time Traveller; "They're most unpleasant." The Wabbit stared straight ahead. "They're not normal voles." The Space Traveller shuddered. "Voles should stay in their holes." The Wabbit fished around in his fur for ideas. "I'm truly sorry I left you with the voles." Damp droplets turned to lashing rain. The Wabbit tucked his radio away. "It's an off-planet platoon of the Agents of Rabit. Our sworn enemy." The Wabbit hissed harshly but Space Traveller brightened up. "Let's give them a thrashing." Agents charged over the brow of the hill, snickering as they closed on their prey. "Grab onto me," said the Traveller; "We'll give them the round run." The Wabbit did as he was told. With a grimace and a shudder the Traveller began to change. And so did the Wabbit ..

Friday, July 14, 2017

6. The Wabbit and the Forgotten Web

The sun's glare barely penetrated the abandoned mall. Marshall Duetta Spyder stared through a web at the Wabbit and Lapinette. "This is an old web of mine. I can tell by the excellent weave." Silkie's voice boomed out from the graffitied wall. "Listen to the words of the Royal Seal." The Wabbit's paws were stuck fast, but he managed a shrug. "I'm not going anywhere. Spit it out." "This is the dream of unfinished business," shouted Silkie. "In this unfortunate space are things you forgot about." A green figure gazed from a shuttered shop and cried mournfully, "You said you'd come back for me." The Wabbit looked round, then cringed. "Oh no! It's Space Traveller!" Duetta rattled her legs. "It's true Commander. You leave a lot of matters unresolved." Tock, the Blue Ball spoke up from the farthest point in the passageway. "I'm left over from an old adventure, you forgot me too." Lapinette was suspicious and wrinkled her nose. "What's this really about Silkie?" Silkie tiled his crown at angle. "I discovered some old adventure reports. They were behind the Wabbit's filing cabinet stuck to a half-eaten salad sandwich." "The Wabbit pulled a paw from the web and crashed it on his brow. "Then I didn't forget!" Silkie barked loudly. "The reports remain unprocessed. I need to sign and seal certain adventures." The Wabbit sighed with relief.  "That's easy," he murmured. "Exactly where they took place," said Silkie ...

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

5. The Wabbit and the Dreams of Seals

Tock the Ball took off in pursuit. The Wabbit wasn't entirely sure that he would detonate. But they all ran rapidly through the market anyway. The whoomph was unexpected. It was far from an explosion but their paws left the ground as it propelled them past market stalls. That was the moment when Silkie the Royal Seal did something surprising. He became enormous, then twitched his nose. A swarm of red spiders erupted from his face. "Silkies can change into anything," muttered the Wabbit. "You can change, Seal," shouted Tock; "but you'll never escape." There was another whoomph like a burst tyre and they scooted faster. The red spiders made their own noise. These were shrill calls designed to attract others. And others were coming - of that the Wabbit could be sure. He could almost hear them scuttling. "Who are you, Silkie?" shouted the Wabbit. "I am change," said Silkie. The Wabbit's radio startled into life. "This is Marshall Duetta Spyder. Copy?" "Duetta! What the binky is going on?" asked the Wabbit. "I had a strange dream about a seal barking," said Duetta. "Get over here!" yelled the Wabbit; "Bring every spider you can muster." Another whoomph shifted them further. "Hand over the Royal Seal," shouted Tock. Spiders spilled from Silkie's mouth - and he too looked more and more like a spider. "Onwards to the web of dreams," smiled Silkie ...

Monday, July 10, 2017

4. The Wabbit and the Market Face-off

The Wabbit and Lapinette hopped with speed. The Market was closing and they had no difficulty in spotting what looked like a royal seal. The Wabbit put aside niceties. "Are you our seal?" The seal barked twice. "I am at the present time, your seal." "You're in danger," shouted Lapinette; "please come with us." "I was enjoying my break," sulked the seal. The Wabbit launched a fast explanation. "A dangerous ball is looking for you." Tock's voice shrilled from behind the rolled up awnings. "Deliver the Royal Seal to me. You have two minutes left." The Wabbit wheeled round. "Stand down, Tock. Your ticking days are numbered." It was hot and muggy under the glaring sky and they were all flustered. The Wabbit blinked rapidly. The seal tilted his crown over his eyes. Lapinette's ears swayed like fans. Tock's eyes misted over. "One minute," he said sleepily. The Wabbit signalled for the others to wait. Forty seconds, passed - then fifty. Tock deflated a bit and he wheezed. Then he snored deeply. The seal barked and the Wabbit snarled, "Tock hasn't a minute to call his own." The seal barked again. "I'm Silkie the Royal Seal, I've been your seal for years." A sudden hiss of air made them turn. "One minute to detonation," said Tock. The Wabbit grabbed Silkie's whiskers and tugged. "Run for it!"

Friday, July 07, 2017

3. The Wabbit and the Seal Search

The market was almost closed and people were making tracks. It was the biggest market in Europe and home to many different sorts. No-one took any notice of Tock as he bounced in a determined manner towards the Clock Market - except for the Wabbit and Lapinette. The din of the traffic drowned the crackle of their radios. Lapinette's ears swivelled. Tock muttered as he bounced and she crept closer to hear him. "Copy?" said the Wabbit. "Copy," said Lapinette. "Got anything?" asked the Wabbit. "Stand by," responded Lapinette. She crept a little closer and hid behind a fence. Then she pointed her radio at Tock and made a few adjustments. "Got him." "Patch him through," said the Wabbit. Tock was chanting. "Find the silkie, find the silkie." Lapinette switched back. "That's all he says. What's a silkie?" The Wabbit chuckled. "A mythological Scottish beast." "What kind of beast?" asked Lapinette, although she knew the answer. "A seal," said the Wabbit. Lapinette crept closer. "Is it royal?" The Wabbit scooted round the tram but he kept out of sight. His mouth was close to the radio. "Sometimes," he whispered. Lapinette watched Tock carefully. "Maybe it's not our seal," said Lapinette. "Too many seals, so little time," said the Wabbit. Tock suddenly turned. "I can see you both. You cannot stop me." The Wabbit hopped into the open. "Stop what?" Tock began to tick loudly. "I have only ten minutes to find the silkie." "And then?" asked the Wabbit. Tock whirled like a top and vanished...

Thursday, July 06, 2017

2. The Wabbit and the Suspect Ball

With every intention of taking a tram to the market to look for the royal seal, the Wabbit and Lapinette hopped along Corso Svizzera. It was a dull day with nothing to recommend it. Then they saw it in the distance - a blue ball with many eyes. "I know that ball from somewhere," yelled the Wabbit. "Let's follow it!" shouted Lapinette. She vaulted a fence like an athlete and scampered onto the rails. A tram braked with an unnecessary squeal and the driver shook a fist. They took no notice and used the tram as cover. There they waited to see which way the ball would bounce. The ball stopped and turned. The Wabbit and Lapinette disappeared behind the tram. But the ball was curious and bounced to the platform. The Wabbit and Lapinette knew the tram gave them temporary cover - but soon it would move off and they would be revealed. So the Wabbit clung onto a step and hauled Lapinette behind him. The doors hissed and opened. The ball boarded the tram and squeezed its way to the front. The Wabbit and Lapinette crept inside and hid at the rear. "That ball is familiar and I can't think where it's from." Lapinette thought and thought. "I know - it's Tock, the talking bomb." They watched the ball assail the driver. "You are now under my control," said Tock; "Take this tram to Porta Palazzo market." "I'm going there anyway," sighed the driver. "Then be quick about it," said Tock and he put a ticket in the machine ...

Monday, July 03, 2017

1. The Wabbit and the Royal Seal

The Wabbit and Lapinette wandered through the Department of Wabbit Affairs - and thought about lunch. "The Department Bar does good salad sandwiches," said the Wabbit. "Oh, I feel like something more substantial," replied Lapinette. The Wabbit shrugged and smiled. "In the bar, I can sign for sandwiches and I don't have to pay until next month." Lapinette shook her head vigorously. "Didn't you hear? There's a moratorium on expenses. The Royal Seal has disappeared." The Wabbit knew the Department was far from royal - and certainly didn't need a seal. But it was the way things had always been done. He flapped his paws together and made a honking noise. Lapinette groaned at such an old joke. "The Department is worried that the seal may have fallen into the wrong paws. Until it's found or replaced, only essential claims can be made." The Wabbit slapped a paw to his head. "Sandwiches are essential." Lapinette was sympathetic. "It would be much easier to find the seal, than change the Department's procedures." "Any clues?" The Wabbit cast his eyes up and down the hall, just in case a clue might suddenly appear. "We could try the market," said Lapinette; "Most things gravitate there." The Wabbit leaped with joy. "And we can get food and an unobtainable jazz album." "I know just the place," smiled Lapinette; "It's called Pasta on a Platter."

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Wabbit at the Adventure Caffè

The caffè seemed busier than usual. "What's happening?" asked Lapinette." "I expect Skratch will let us know," said the Wabbit; "And here he comes now." Skratch the Cat made an entrance and he was all smiles. "We're on location with G and T, a famous web series." "Don't they mind?" said Wabsworth. "Special permission," said Skratch. "In that case, Skratch," said the Wabbit; "What kind of adventure did we just have?" Skratch waved to the film crew. "I thought it was a perfect anti narrative. It defied semiosis." Lapinette laughed. "You mean there was no story." "Not at all," said Skratch. "But this world is over textualised and we are constricted by language." The Wabbit laughed and pointed at Lapinette's glass of prosecco. "How did you get that drink?" "I lifted an eye and it arrived shortly thereafter," said Lapinette. "You didn't speak then?" continued the Wabbit. He winked at Wabsworth and sat back. Skratch didn't turn a hair. "Lapinette's sound image was referential. Even though there was no utterance." Wabsworth grinned and agreed. "The waiter did not require an extended semantic field to recognise Lapinette's request." But the Wabbit wasn't fully satisfied. "That doesn't tell us a thing about our last adventure." Skratch patted the Wabbit on the head and told him it had Erzählbarkeit. "That's another story entirely," said the Wabbit.
[We briefly shared a location with the makers of the successful web series G and T.   Erzählbarkeit: German - narrativity]

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

10 The Wabbit and the Last Settlement

The Wabbit knew one thing. The venue had to impress. So by special arrangement, they gathered for mediation in the Dark Basement of the Goddesses. There was general hush as the strawberries, tomatoes and grapes conversed in whispers. It was like a cocktail party in a church. "I do like cherries," said Unut, the Rabbit Goddess. "Thank goodness for the Romans." chuckled the Wabbit. (Lapinette flinched. The Wabbit's relationship with the Goddess was increasingly informal.) "Oonty," said the Wabbit; "Can you facilitate the cherries to mediate an agreement?" Unut raised her staff and the cherries began to address the gathering. "We bring our vast experience to bear on fruit and fruit-like things." There was a general murmuring. The cherries continued. "Your problem is the seed fixation. Don't worry about seeds." "But we do worry, that's why we're here," said a grape. "And how do you feel?" asked the cherries. "All alone," said the grapes." The cherries smiled politely. "You would not feel all alone, if fruits could only get stoned." "You mean there's another way?" said a tomato. "There's always is," said the cherries; "It depends on how you look at things." "How do you look at things?" asked a strawberry. "We're stoned and were proud," said the cherries.
[The Romans introduced cherries to Egypt. Unut herself is Romano-Egyptian] 

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]