Friday, September 29, 2017

7. Lapinette and Trouble in the Tunnel

Lapinette was dreaming - or so she thought. The cold seemed real enough and she shivered in the gloom. She turned to look down a tunnel and saw a light in the distance. The light got bigger and brighter and pushed a wind that tore at her new frock. The light turned into a howl. Her ears blew madly as the wind pressed her against the wall and stole her breath. Suddenly a shriek filled the tunnel. A train hurtled towards her like a rocket, but then with a sigh it glowed and slowed. It was moving like slow motion film and she could catch voices. "... then you can't have a ticket." The conversation was all about a ticket. The train seemed slow but the wind seemed fast. Her ears flailed as she struggled to hear. "Nowhere, nowhere, nowhere!" The haunting voice bounced from the tunnel roof and the rails hissed it back. She could make out what sounded like the Wabbit but his voice was muffled. "Press ... red ..." Lapinette's mind raced. The voice got sharper and she heard it loud and clear. "It's on the box to your right. Not my right, that would be my left." It was definitely the Wabbit. Now she saw the box. She stretched out a paw but the wind blew it around and she couldn't reach the button. The box came loose and moved away from the wall.  Lapinette kicked the button with her foot. The train shuddered to a halt. Lapinette let her foot drop and sighed with relief. Then she screamed. Now the train was coming the other way ...

Thursday, September 28, 2017

6. The Wabbit and the Ghost Inspectre

The Wabbit peered into the adjacent carriage. Suddenly Ghost Bunny filled the window. "Woooooh, tickets please!" The Wabbit shrugged and produced his metro pass. "Wabbit," said Ghost Bunny, "This is the Ghost Train. You require a ghostly ticket." She rapped on the window. "You too, Skratch." Skratch didn't have any ticket at all, but that hardly seemed to matter. "I'm not a ghost," sighed the Wabbit. "Then you can't have a ticket," replied Ghost Bunny. "No special offer?" inquired Skratch. Ghost Bunny haunted up and down for a while, then wailed. "Special offers are only available through the Ghost Institute in Via Nizza. And we've sold out." The Wabbit peered behind Ghost Bunny and couldn't make out much. Only fleeting wraith-like figures with hardly any substance. "I can only see shadows," he said. "Oh them," howled Ghost Bunny. "They are spectral commuters, awkward and empty as the worst of your jokes." Skratch smiled to himself. He knew that Ghost Bunny had a thing about the Wabbit and he was therefore being mercilessly teased. "Where does the Ghost Train go?" he ventured. "Nowhere," explained Ghost Bunny. "We don't do destinations." "So what might it say on a ticket?" asked the Wabbit. "Round Trip to Nowhere" shrieked Ghost Bunny. "And how much does it cost?" asked Skratch. "Nothing," laughed Ghost Bunny.

Monday, September 25, 2017

5. The Wabbit and the Last Metro

The doors whooshed shut. Skratch and the Wabbit grabbed rails as the train took off with a siren wail and shot down the tunnel at enormous speed. The Wabbit's 28 teeth clattered. Skratch's tail spiked out like a porcupine. "Maybe the driver's late for supper?" suggested Skratch - although he very well knew the whole system was automatic. The Wabbit hardly needed to shake his head; it was shaking like a shirt in a hurricane. He smiled nonetheless. The loudspeaker system crackled into life with a spectral voice. "This is the last Metro to the end of the line. Passengers not travelling to the end of the line, should get off the train now." The Wabbit wanted to laugh but his stomach revolved like a spin drier. The speakers crackled again. "We wish to apologise for the speed of the train. This is due to a motor malfunction and braking failure." The train gathered more speed. The noise became unbearable. Stations flashed by in an instant. The Wabbit drew close to Skratch and shouted in his ear. "Do you believe any of this?" Skratch counted his nine lives usage and came to twelve. His shrug looked like hip hop and his grip on the passenger rail was a Lindsay Kemp mime. "You know any good prayers?" he asked. The Wabbit tried to oblige. His teeth chattered wildly. "Bless this journey that we undertake. Do thou guard and protect us." Skratch sighed. "Wabbit, there is no guard." Suddenly the train slowed and a ghostly voice issued from the speakers. "Wabbit, you're not supposed to be on the Ghost Train ..."

Saturday, September 23, 2017

4.The Wabbit and the Suspended Wait

The Wabbit squinted at the display on the metro platform. It flickered and died. He planned on catching the last train from Paradise and it had proved a long wait. "I seem a long long way from Paradise," mused the Wabbit thoughtfully. The Wabbit had read all the advertising on the platform and even ventured to the other platform to see if they were any different. He'd counted the steps on the escalator, which proved difficult - although not impossible. He'd even pressed the emergency red button but the system was automatic and seemed to know he was wasting time. His ears pricked up. He could hear a distant meowing and didn't bother to turn. It was unmistakably Skratch, and what he was doing there was anyone's guess. "Wabbit! Wabbit!" shouted Skratch. "The service is suspended. There's no last train." The Wabbit shook his head, because he could hear something else. The display flickered back and stated a train was approaching. The Wabbit glanced to his right. Air pushed a chocolate wrapper along the tracks and it danced a merry jig. "Skratch!" shouted the Wabbit, "that must be false news. The train's coming!" Skratch leaped to the Wabbit's side. "The Carabinieri told me on the way in. I came to get you. We'll take the bus." The Wabbit knew the likelihood of a 36 at this time of night was slim - but suddenly a train drew into the station and doors hissed open. They looked at each other and boarded. Doors hissed shut and the train departed. "There's something weird about this train," murmured the Wabbit ...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

3. The Wabbit and the Denied Delivery

The Wabbit waited near the station all day for the carrots and was about to give up. He'd made various inquiries, all to no avail. The carrots were a special delivery for the Carrot Club annual dinner and he was in charge of ensuring they arrived promptly. Wabsworth's voice startled him. "You gave me a fright," said the Wabbit. "Are you waiting on the carrots?" asked Wabsworth. "Yes," sighed the Wabbit. "They'll be along shortly," replied Wabsworth. "I've been here since the crack of dawn," said the Wabbit. Wabsworth was the Wabbit's android double and knew him well. "You can't predict carrot arrivals." "She said she'd be here," moaned the Wabbit. "Who?" asked Wabsworth." "The Grand Daucus," said the Wabbit. "Perhaps her train is late?" suggested Wabsworth. The Wabbit shrugged twice. "Would you like to try this carrot?" asked Wabsworth. The Wabbit took the carrot and tasted it. "It's nice," he said, "but it's not the Promised Carrot." Wabsworth took it back, stuck it in his fur and murmured, "Let's be on the alert." There was silence except for the sound of trams on wet rails. "I remember my first carrot," said the Wabbit suddenly. "What did it taste like?" asked Wabsworth. "Carrot," replied the Wabbit. Wabsworth dug out the carrot and wiped it on his fur. "Let's finish it." The Wabbit took the carrot, ate it and smiled. "I'll never forget that carrot." "Neither will I," scowled Wabsworth.
[Roughly adapted from Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. (Scene 1 - The Carrot Scene)]

Monday, September 18, 2017

2. The Wabbit and the Big Surprise

The Wabbit had another long wait. It was several hours since Lapinette went shopping and there was nothing else for it to lope around with intent. He'd been to the bookshop, two museums and the market. He'd been to the station to look at the trains. He went up on the tethered air balloon and looked down on the city to try and see Lapinette. Finally he'd watched a football match on television in a shop window. Just when he'd begun to think she'd never arrive, Lapinette hopped into the square wearing a brand new frock. "Wow!" said the Wabbit, "that's splendid!" Lapinette pirouetted. "I got in the Scottish shop." "I didn't know there was a Scottish shop," gasped the Wabbit. "It's new," said Lapinette. "There are kilts, sporrans, sgian dubhs and claymores." The Wabbit's jaw dropped several centimeters. "They've got haggis, herring in oatmeal, black buns and porridge." "No Irn Bru?" asked the Wabbit. "There's Irn Bru beer," said Lapinette with glee. The Wabbit reeled. "Music?" he asked. Lapinette was waiting for that one. "Pipe bands, Shetland fiddles, traditional folk and Scottish modern jazz!"  The Wabbit hopped up and down. "Where is this place?" You'll never find it," said Lapinette. The Wabbit felt the fabric of Lapinette's kilt and raised an eye in approval. "It's out in Sassi," said Lapinette finally. "Ah," said the Wabbit with a knowledgeable smile, "Nessie lives out there. What's the shop called?" "The Comfy Kilt Ceilidh," said Lapinette.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

1. The Wabbit and the Long Wait

The Wabbit and Lapinette waited for Skratch to emerge from the cinema. He was attending a screening of Andy Warhol's 'Empire', and no-one knew when it finished. The Wabbit stuck his paws in his fur and whistled aimlessly. He was between adventures and Lapinette knew he found that frustrating. She stretched out a paw and pushed him a little since he seemed to have gone into a trance. "Penny for them?" she whispered. "Oh, sorry, Lapinette," said the Wabbit. "I was just recalling when I saw that film." "All eight hours and five minutes?" she asked. "Longer," said the Wabbit sadly; "I took sandwiches - which was just as well, because the projectionist ran it at the wrong speed." Lapinette grimaced. "I'd rather see Night Cleaners," "So would I," smiled the Wabbit. "I've got some blank leader film, we could watch that instead." Lapinette laughed and laughed. Then the Wabbit became animated. "Any news from the Department?" "Nothing" said Lapinette. "No sign of an adventure?" asked the Wabbit. "Not a dicky bird," said Lapinette. An unexpected breeze blew through the arcade and ruffled their fur. "The wind of change?" speculated the Wabbit. "Let's throw caution at it," smiled Lapinette. The breeze vanished as quickly it came. Lapinette's radio crackled. Following a brief interchange, Lapinette turned to the Wabbit "What sort of adventure would you like next?" "Chunky with bright colours," replied the Wabbit.
[The film Night Cleaners is a key experimental British documentary, said to be poorly received by its subjects.]

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

"Is that seat for me?" asked Peggy. Skratch frowned. "It's for our readers, so that they can feel part of the action." I don't think they'll mind," laughed Lapinette. Peggy fluttered onto the spare seat and settled down. "What sort of Adventure were we just in?" she asked. "My goodness, you catch on quickly, Peggy," said Wabsworth. "Why don't you tell us?" meaowed Skratch. "Blow your whistle," added the Wabbit. "I will," trilled Peggy, "It presented a concrete intelligible space in which the spectator was created by the narrative." "Wow," said Wabsworth. Skratch shook his head. "You're thinking of Hitchcock, where form is quite indissoluble from content." Lapinette butted in. "Isn't cine-structuralism all discredited now?" The Wabbit aimed a kick under the table, missed and spluttered that the development of theory had become as restricted as political discourse itself. "Things have gone down the hill," sighed Wabsworth. Skratch purred for a long time. "Perhaps we're the only creatures keeping theory alive." "That calls for a drink," said the Wabbit. He shouted to the waiter. "Please bring menus such that we theoretical heroes might subject them to a syntagmatic analysis." "Subito!" said the waiter, disappearing into the restaurant. "I think we're a hostage to our own hegemony," said Wabsworth. "You're right there, Wabsworth," sighed the Wabbit. Peggy fluttered her pegs. "Anyone like to buy a complete set of Cahiers du Cinema?" "How much?" yelled Skratch.

Monday, September 11, 2017

8. The Wabbit and the Explanation

With the truck back where they found it, the Wabbit was desperate for an explanation. "Peggy," he said; "What do you do with all the stuff you buy and where the Binky do you put it?" Peggy took them on a walk that led through the market to an old building - and she pointed to a colourful sign that said "Peace." Skratch the Cat went over to the door and peered in. "It's full of things, Wabbit," he shouted. "What kind of things?" yelled the Wabbit. "All sorts of useful things," replied Skratch. Peggy ruffled her pegs. "People flog me things and I bring it all here." Lapinette began to understand. "It's an organisation for charity!" Peggy flapped her wings and nodded. "It's for the homeless, the immigrants, the unemployed - all the poor people that have no stuff." Now the Wabbit got it. But there was one more thing he didn't grasp. "Why don't you just give them money?" Peggy looked at him in astonishment. "That would be no fun for a bird like me. Anyway, I'm helping people recycle their stuff." The Wabbit still looked puzzled but Peggy was adamant. "If they sell things to me, they don't really need them." Skratch the Cat continued to look in the doorway and he yelled out. "It's true, Wabbit. People keep far too much stuff they don't need any more, stuff other people need." The Wabbit suddenly grinned an enormous grin with all of his 28 teeth. "Peggy, you're a Saint!" Peggy fluffed up her pegs and sang. "There'll be stuff for every creature. When the Saints go marching in."

Saturday, September 09, 2017

7. The Wabbit and a Hasty Departure

The truck flew down the road with the Wabbit at the wheel. He was smirking and that made Lapinette nervous. He made more speed and the houses seemed to fly past. "There's another!" shouted Lapinette. Skratch stretched out a paw and calmly batted a Skuttle away. It burped as it went and he watched it tumble onto such sidewalk as there was in Casorzo. "Take that for your trouble," he purred. The truck rattled on, but Lapinette was waiting for something and she looked back. Suddenly the sky went red and a dull boom shook the windows. She turned to look at the Wabbit. The Wabbit shrugged and grinned. "Too much ethanol?" asked Lapinette. "Just enough," said the Wabbit; "Old wine, vapour and a spark." "Kaboom," said Skratch stoically. For once Peggy was quiet. Lapinette nudged her. "Anything to flog?" said Peggy with a weak croak. "I have something," smiled the Wabbit. He took a corner at speed and they all clung on. Peggy remained quiet. "Oh Peggy, I'll ask," said Lapinette. "Wabbit, what do you have?" "Well," said the Wabbit. "I have a red second hand truck - possibly stolen and subsequently treated badly." Peggy remained quiet, but Lapinette touched a wing gently. "Deal?" "No deal," said Peggy, "we have to put it back." Skratch began to meaow. "In my old days ..." Lapinette pointed a paw. "We don't want to know about your misspent youth, Skratch." But Peggy wanted to know. "Skratch - did you buy and sell?" "I was in the acquisition business," purred Skratch.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

6. The Wabbit and the Skuttles' Desire

Lapinette waved the Skuttles out and they fell on Peggy's wine like a pack of wolves. "Spo-de-ode!" they cried. But one looked around. "This place looks familiar." The rest didn't care and they tried unsuccessfully to open the flasks. "Who's got an opener?" asked a Skuttle.  No opener could be found but they continued to search for one. "Maybe if we sing," suggested a Skuttle, "then the flasks will open by themselves." "Dusty wine at the end of its time," sang one. "How much per flask for that ratty old wine?" warbled the others. Peggy flounced her wings and chirped. "I only buy, I never sell." The Skuttles scoffed. "We'll take your wine and we'll drink it fine. We'll even put it where the sun don't shine." The Wabbit crept into the cab of the truck and took the brake off. The truck rolled backwards silently - and as it rolled, Peggy, Lapinette and Skratch the Cat jumped in. Peggy threw an opener from the window and the Skuttles lost no time. They were drunk as skunks in two minutes. The truck gathered pace as it rolled backwards down the incline. The Wabbit suddenly started the engine and swerved in a highly aggressive manoeuvre that made the Skuttles turn. But they were too inebriated to do a thing. So they continued drinking. "Spo-de-ode Spo-de-ode, drinkin' wine," they chanted. "Take the wheel, Lapinette," said the Wabbit. He dug in his fur and found what he wanted. "What happens now?" asked Peggy. "Just you wait," smiled Lapinette.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

5. The Wabbit and the Dodgy Truck

They followed the Skuttles until they found what they wanted. They were up to no good of course. Raiding wine trucks was part of their job description. The Wabbit sent in Skratch the Cat and Peggy as decoys - and they strolled happily along the street chatting about movies. "Oh look there," said Peggy in mock surprise. "These creatures might have something to flog." "I'd say they might," meaowed Skratch.  "Anything to flog?" yelled Peggy at the top of her voice. There was no reply from the Skuttles who continued to inspect the cargo. The Wabbit lined up his automatic and carefully shot several holes in the barrels. Wine gushed everywhere and the Skuttles fell on it with gusto. "Spo-de-ode. Spo-de-ode," they yelled and they gulped as they sang. Lapinette leapt into the driver's cabin and started the truck. It lurched as she crashed it into gear and more wine poured out. Now the Skuttles were frantic. "More wine," they cried, "Spo-de-ode. Spo-de-ode. More wine." A Skuttle turned to Peggy. "Do you have any wine?" Peggy had never ever been asked for anything before. "Yes." she chirped. "Someone flogged me a massive Barolo consignment back in '79." "Ooh," said Skratch, "You can't get better." Peggy spread her wings. "It's reserved to me in a cantina. Jump in the truck we'll take you all there." The Skuttles clambered drunkenly aboard. The Wabbit, Skratch and Peggy jumped into the cabin just as Lapinette swerved from the sidewalk. The Wabbit started to sing. "Down in Piemonte where everything's fine, all of these Skuttles will be guzzlin' that wine." "Pass me a drink," said Lapinette.

Friday, September 01, 2017

4. The Wabbit and the Film Intruders

Peggy rushed into the cinema and greeted the few people there. "Anything to flog? You got anything to flog?" The small audience thought this was for charity and viewers rummaged in pockets and bags. The Wabbit was watching the screen. "What is this, Skratch?" Skratch pointed his torch. "It's Casorzo, based on one of our adventures. This is a study clip." On the big screen, Lapinette rained automatic fire on scuttling creatures - and all the while a harmonica wailed the tune that led to their demise. It made the cinema shake - and that's when something caught the Wabbit's eye. A Skuttle quietly dropped from the screen and scuttled between the seats. Then another. "Did you see that?" Lapinette felt something fasten to her leg. "Yow! Get off!" she yelled.  A violent kick from her right foot sent a Skuttle spiraling towards the projectionist's booth. Skratch lashed out too. "Foreground that!" he yelled as he bludgeoned a Skuttle with his torch. Peggy looked down as a creature nibbled her pegs. "Anything to flog?" Her foot stamped down. Her pegs clamped and tightened. "Anything?" A long drawn out screech echoed round the theatre. "Nothing to flog," sighed Peggy. But the Skuttles continued to drop from the screen. One turned insolently. "Spo-de-ode. Spo-de-ode." Then he headed for the door as they all streamed out. "I guess they're not waiting on the main feature," said the Wabbit.