Sunday, September 23, 2018

1. The Wabbit and the Chocolate Factory

The Wabbit loved being undercover, especially when he was in a chocolate factory. He hopped along the aisles and inspected chocolates as they dropped from exquisite machines. He gave each one a sniff and then went on to the chocolate bars. He examined all wrappings and nodded his head gravely. He carried packs of chocolates from factory to shop, ensuring the boxes were stable and protective. He straightened displays, polished counters, cleaned equipment and did everything he could to look authentic. But his eyes were everywhere and his ears sharp. He was expecting to see a visitor whose interest was far, far away from chocolate. The Wabbit had forewarning of a dastardly plot to cause harm and havoc in the city through the distribution of doctored confectionery. The mission was vital. The Wabbit shook his head, for he found the smell of chocolate intoxicating - and he wasn’t alone. All in his team of specially selected agents loved chocolate, so he’d no need to ask for volunteers. This was a labour of love. They had no idea of when the visitor would arrive, only that he would. They just had to wait - and the chocolate was oh so tempting. Eating any chocolate was forbidden, because it was heady stuff and they were likely to lose sight of their mission. The Wabbit's head swam slightly with delicious smells, but suddenly he became aware of another less subtle odour. He wrinkled his nose, picked up a box of chocolates and made for the shop ...

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Wabbit's Adventure Caffè

"In here, in here!" yelled Lapinette. Wabsworth looked at the Wabbit and the Wabbit glanced back. They both grinned, because this wasn't the sort of place that Lapinette frequented. "It's raining," yelled Lapinette, "and there's a special offer." The Wabbit and Wabsworth stopped abruptly. Skratch crashed into their backs. "What's that for a sort of adventure?" he meowed. "Episodic," replied the Wabbit. "Featuring seemingly random events," added Wabsworth. "And repetition," shouted Lapinette. The Wabbit peered inside the establishment. "I thought they only served beer in that place," observed Wabsworth. "English beer," added Skratch. "And they show Italian football," said the Wabbit. "It's an Irish pub, isn't it?" purred Skratch. "Phew and phew again," shrugged the Wabbit. "I think Jarmusch should make a film about it," said Wabsworth. Lapinette hopped up and down and pouted. "They said they had only limited prosecco." The Wabbit held up a paw and a waitress rushed out with four glasses and four plates of chips. They sat down. Rain dropped on the canopy. Cars swooshed past. "I didn't think you knew this place," frowned Lapinette. "Sunday football," explained the Wabbit. "Is that why you smell of beer and cigarettes on Sundays?" asked Lapinette. The Wabbit shook his head. "High spirits and bonhomie, much smoke, beer spilled on fur." Everyone laughed. Lapinette glanced at the TV. "I don't understand football."  "No-one really does," smirked the Wabbit.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

7. The Wabbit and the Size of Reflection

Wabsworth hopped off. He felt his work was done and he left the Wabbit to reflect. Lapinette took the Wabbit by the paw. "Did you find your point of view?" The Wabbit grinned the biggest grin she had ever seen. "It wasn't lost," he said. "Not even misplaced?" asked Lapinette. "It was here all the time," said the Wabbit. "In front of your nose," suggested Lapinette. "Yes," shrugged the Wabbit. "It was so close I lost sight of it." Lapinette considered. "It must have crept into your blind spot." The Wabbit looked down to the floors underneath and his eyes swept back and forth. He nodded. "Wabsworth could see it." "Wabsworth doesn't have your blind spot?" said Lapinette gravely. It was more of a statement than a question. "He's an android version of me," said the Wabbit. "He has a version of my blind spot but he knows it's there." Lapinette thought for a while. "So he can see more than you." The Wabbit shook his head. "He can see my version and he has his own version. That's how he knows about my point of view." Lapinette giggled. "He's much more than a reflection." "Scary," said the Wabbit. Lapinette pulled the Wabbit away. "Lets eat," she said, "Metaphysics makes me hungry." The Wabbit's tummy grumbled. "I'm a little peckish myself." Lapinette smiled in a mischievous fashion. "I know a great place with a view." The Wabbit was curious. "The Piano Bar," said Lapinette. The Wabbit waited for a punchline. "On Piano 35," yelled Lapinette.
[The San Paulo building in Turin hosts PianoTrentacinque, a chic restaurant on the 35th floor.]

Friday, September 07, 2018

6. The Wabbit in Che Tempo Che Fa

"Welcome to the show, Commander." "Very pleased to be here, Fabio. May I call you Fabio?" "Call me anything you like," said Fabio. The Wabbit smirked and winked at the audience. The audience tittered. "Commander," said Fabio. "You recently compiled all your adventures into one big bumper book." The Wabbit looked directly at the audience. "It's a dual purpose book." Fabio raised an eye and blinked. "It will tell a story and double as a door stop," said the Wabbit. "You're a rather famous rabbit now," sighed Fabio; "How does fame affect your fur?" The Wabbit droned on for a while as instructed, then ended by striking the table. "... and so fame comes at a cost." "At what cost?" asked Fabio. "About the price of a haircut." The Wabbit waited for a laugh. The audience giggled. "And that's what RAI is paying me tonight," grinned the Wabbit. The audience reaction was cut short by a long-legged lady rabbit who climbed on the table and lay along it. "Were you ever harassed by anyone, Commander?" Fabio intervened and pushed her to the side. "Leticia, that's not why the Commander is here." The Wabbit brushed him away. "All the time," he said. Letitia looked at the audience and simpered. "So what do you do about them, Commander?" "Sometimes I blow them up," said the Wabbit. The audience went wild with glee, hollering and clapping. "Or occasionally I exile them to a distant galaxy." The audience was on its feet. The cheers were deafening. Leticia crawled past Fabio until she was in front of the Wabbit. "May I touch your fur?" "Put a paw on me and I'll push you off the table," grinned the Wabbit.
[My compliments to Fabio Fazio and Leticia Littizzetto of the popular Che Tempo Che Fa talk show, formerly broadcast on RAI3 now on RAI1]

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

5. The Wabbit and One side or the Other

"What's this for a sort of algorithm?" asked the Wabbit. "It's my deviancy algorithm," said Wabsworth. "At least it's warmer than the last," commented the Wabbit. He smirked. Wabsworth smirked back. Traffic passed. Lights changed. Shadows grew longer. "So?" asked the Wabbit. "I designed this one to test out your point of view," smiled Wabsworth. "You know my point of view," said the Wabbit. "I know your point of view," grinned Wabsworth, "but do you know your point of view." "Of course I do," answered the Wabbit; "I made it in the first place." He swung around the pole and looked up at the sign. "It is forbidden to enter the binary," said Wabsworth. "I can read," said the Wabbit. He hopped across the rails and hopped back. Then he shrugged. "Nothing happened." Wabsworth grinned. "Nothing happened because it's my algorithm." A tram hurtled past and blew sand in the Wabbit's face. "You better keep to one side or another," warned Wabsworth. "Nah," said the Wabbit. "You think you can change water to wine," frowned Wabsworth. "On a good day I can," said the Wabbit. "And on a bad day?" queried Wabsworth. "Vinegar," sighed the Wabbit, sourly. "From your point of view my freedom is absurd," said Wabsworth. "And vice versa," nodded the Wabbit. Another tram whizzed past. "I must remind you I'm an android," said Wabsworth. "Nobody's perfect," said the Wabbit.

Monday, September 03, 2018

4. The Wabbit and the Window of Nine

"This is like breathing cotton wool," spluttered the Wabbit. "This is my Cloud in Time saves Nine algorithm," said Wabsworth. Mist swirled round his paw as he carefully adjusted the hands of the clock. "So is there anything you want to keep in the Cloud!" he asked. The Wabbit looked puzzled. "Before time gets to Nine," explained Wabsworth. "What happens after Nine?" asked the Wabbit. Wabsworth made another adjustment. "It's more expensive," he shrugged. The Wabbit shivered. "More expensive than what?" He was even more irritated than usual since he was very cold. He leaned against the wall because there was warmth there. "Than it would cost you before Nine," continued Wabsworth. The Wabbit nodded, but he still had no clue. "So is there anything you want to store there?" Wabsworth voice was pressing. "Such as?" shrugged the Wabbit. "Information." said Wabsworth. The Wabbit thought hard. "Like all the soccer results ever?" Wabsworth shook his head back and forth. "Oh that will cost you." "Not before Nine!" said the Wabbit quickly. "OK then," nodded Wabsworth. Now the Wabbit shook his head sadly. "But I haven't got them with me." Clouds of mist swirled round the clock as Wabsworth pushed the hands close to Nine o'clock and murmured, "You might be able to get them from somebody else's Cloud." "What will that cost me?" asked the Wabbit. Wabsworth pushed the clock hands ever closer to Nine. "It will cost you five minutes." "Time is short," groaned the Wabbit. "So is money," answered Wabsworth.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

3. The Wabbit and the Wind Window

"You said absurdity," said Wabsworth. "I did nothing of the sort," said the Wabbit. Wabsworth ignored him and exclaimed, "This is the wind window and you get a great point of view with extra special effects." The Wabbit's ears flattened as the wind tore at his fur. "Are we really in a small plane with no windscreen?" "Virtual reality," said Wabsworth. "We're quite close to that building," warned the Wabbit. "Nothing but pixels," said Wabsworth. "What are we sitting on then?" asked the Wabbit. "Pixels," said Wabsworth. The Wabbit's stomach rumbled. "Got anything to eat?" he asked. Wabsworth took a salad sandwich from under the seat. The Wabbit grabbed it and tore at it frantically with his teeth. "It's not very tasty," he grumbled. "Pixels," said Wabsworth. "It's like cardboard and lubricant," complained the Wabbit. "I did my best," responded Wabsworth. "Well, at least it's not raining," said the Wabbit. Wabsworth pressed a switch on the instrument panel and a spray of minute particles hit the Wabbit's face. "Pixels?" asked the Wabbit. "I worked hard on that one," said Wabsworth. Now the Wabbit was existentially tired. "Where and when will we land?" he snapped. "I never got to that," said Wabsworth. "I'm expressly feeling a state of angst," moaned the Wabbit. "Excellent!" shouted Wabsworth. He reached under his fur and pressed something. The plane disappeared and they seemed to hang in space. "How do you feel now?" he asked. "My self is authentically irritated," gasped the Wabbit.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

2. The Wabbit and the Wet Window

Wabsworth became completely still and the Wabbit looked over his shoulder in case anything was wrong. "Nothing's wrong," said Wabsworth. "I just changed your point of view." The Wabbit put his paw out just in case his fur was wet. But it was bone dry. "I've been experimenting with virtual reality," said Wabsworth. "Good wheeze," shrugged the Wabbit; "So what about some water?" Wabsworth's circuits whirred momentarily. The air became distinctly damp. "That's as far as I got there," apologised Wabsworth. He paused. "It gives you a point of view change in the physical sense, but not in the existential sense." The Wabbit breathed a sigh of relief.  "OK, I had enough wet for now." "I'll turn it off," said Wabsworth. His circuits whirred again but nothing happened. Wabsworth made several unsuccessful attempts. "We're stuck in the rain," grumbled Wabsworth. "Maybe we should sing," quipped the Wabbit. They sang several verses of Singing in the Rain but the wet was still with them. "Maybe the desert will work," said Wabsworth. His circuits whirred alarmingly and there was smell of burning metal. Now it was very hot but the wet remained. "This is like Panama when the rain stops," moaned the Wabbit. "I'm still in the trial stage," said Wabsworth. The Wabbit nodded gravely. "We could try an existentialist change," suggested Wabsworth. The Wabbit shook his head vigorously but Wabsworth pretended not to notice. "Angst or absurdity," queried Wabsworth. "I already do both," groaned the Wabbit.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

1. The Wabbit and his Point of View

Wabsworth bumped into the Wabbit by a corridor window in the Department of Wabbit Affairs.  Wabsworth started as an exact android copy of the Wabbit - but time had elapsed. Now he was very much his own android and knew all the Wabbit's faces. Some of them Wabsworth was born with, some of them he'd copied and some of them he'd adapted. But this was an expression he couldn't do a thing with. "Penny for them?" he asked, touching the Wabbit's shoulder. He tried to hide a smile but the Wabbit half grinned. "I'm looking for a window of opportunity." Wabsworth shrugged and then turned theatrically to squint out the window. "They should replace this glass." The Wabbit was horrified. "It's sixteenth century!"  Wabsworth looked again and nodded gravely. "Yes, yes of course. It does offer a different perspective." With their noses pressed to glass they both squinted out. A few moments elapsed. "Can't make out a thing," said the Wabbit. "Neither can I," said Wabsworth.  The Wabbit shook his head like a donkey and murmured; "Now I can see your point of view." They stood in silence for a while. Voices echoed in the corridor. Traffic noise found its way through the glass. "Maybe I lost my point of view," said the Wabbit. "Maybe it's only mislaid," commented Wabsworth. "Maybe it's gone forever," answered the Wabbit. Wabsworth's processors searched quietly and then he poked the Wabbit in the ribs. "Maybe I still have a copy."

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

The team gathered at the Safe House. It was medieval and seemed the most appropriate place. Skratch was well in character, purring and waving both paws at the table for attention. "Ariel, bring a corollary rather than want a spirit!" "Oooh, am I Ariel?" Lapinette lips puckered and she made a pert face. "You're Miranda," said Wabsworth, "and since I am closest, I must be Ariel." "I'm not sure who I am," murmured the Wabbit. Lapinette laughed. "Don't be so stodgy, Wabbit. Maybe you're the rainbow-bearing messenger sent by Juno." Now the Wabbit cheered up. "Then I'll get the drinks in!" He made to get up for the kitchen, but Skratch stopped him. "First Wabbit, tell us what was that for a sort of Adventure." "Postmodern," shrugged the Wabbit. "He says that about everything," laughed Lapinette. "It was a pastiche of two forms, the latter an adaptation of the former," said Wabsworth. "That is indeed postmodern." Wabsworth's voice was firm. He glanced at the kitchens and held up a paw. Four drinks arrived. The Wabbit grinned and sat down. "It's sour wine and mead, flavoured with honey," smiled Wabsworth. The Wabbit rose again and disappeared to the kitchen. "It's prosecco," whispered Wabsworth. They all laughed as the Wabbit returned with four glasses which he placed on the table. The Wabbit winked at Wabsworth, tossed back his drink and smacked his lips. "Cool clear water!"
["Ariel, bring a corollary rather than want a spirit!" Corollary: The Tempest. Act 4 Scene 1.  a redundancy, a supplement. ]

Thursday, August 16, 2018

9. The Wabbit and the Dream Manifest

"Wabbit, Wabbit! Wake up!" The Wabbit had been asleep for some time. His eyes were glazed and his mumbling incoherent. Lapinette shook him. He snored heavily. His chuntering at the end of each snore shook the papers on the desk. Lapinette leaned to hear. "Full fathom five, the Wabbit lies." murmured the Wabbit. Lapinette shook him more vigorously. He started to growl. "Be not afeard, the isle of full of robots." He sat up suddenly and looked around but just as quickly lapsed into sleep. Lapinette gave him a vicious dig in the ribs. "Ah woo, hoo," spluttered the Wabbit. His mouth tasted of brine so he scowled and complained. "I'm all pins and needles. It was the icy water." Lapinette folded her paws. "Wabbit! Have you been drinking?" The Wabbit shook his head. "I was rescued from a moving island." "You were snoring," said Lapinette. "Who me?" said the Wabbit, "I never snore." "Yes, you make enormous snores," said Lapinette, "and there's meaning in them." The Wabbit considered for a moment, then lifted the page of the Tempest that had fallen from the tome. Lapinette looked at it and smiled. "So did you find your inner self?" The Wabbit looked rueful and shrugged. "Nearly."

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

8. The Wabbit and the Savage Waves

A storm forced the Unut to move away from the island and the Wabbit was cut off. The island was still moving and massive rocks smashed together like gravel in a mixer. The sea rose above the Wabbit's legs. There was only one thing to do. "I have to swim for it," thought the Wabbit. He hadn't a clue where "it" was, but he dived in and started to swim like marsh rabbit. The water was icy and quickly numbed every bone in his body. His brain swam. He began to see a hazy picture of himself on a beach on the Caribbean eating a salad sandwich. The picture cleared and he spotted a waiter dressed as a plesiosaur arriving with beer. The waiter shouted something again and again. He strained to hear it. "Wabbit, Wabbit. Wake up!" Spray hit his head. He blinked water from his eyes and clung onto the waves. "Nessie!" he spluttered. The Wabbit coughed sea from his lungs as he lunged onto a large breaker that rose to meet Nessie's mouth. Now he was hanging by his fur from Nessie's teeth. "Hold yer nose," said Nessie with a muffled voice. The plesiosaur plunge took the Wabbit by surprise. Water rushed past at an alarming rate - then he burst from the surface of calm waters. The Lepus and the Unut floated on a mirror of antique blue. "My ships came in," murmured the Wabbit as he passed out.

Friday, August 10, 2018

7.The Wabbit and the Uncertain Welcome

An inner voice told the Wabbit to venture alone to the final island. He hopped from rock to rock across the brine, looking into every crevice, until he heard a voice calling from the cliff. "Hail, Captain of the storm-tossed ship." A ghostly voice sang a mournful tune and a specter wailed its way from the depths. "Hell is empty," it moaned, "and all the devils are here." "You devils look familiar," murmured the Wabbit. Waves smashed against the promontory and soaked the Wabbit's fur. "We take the shape you choose," said a figure on the rocks, "What message do you bring?" The Wabbit thought for a second and then shrugged. "I am the only message." The specter hung in the air and wailed long it set the Wabbit's teeth on edge. "What ails thee, specter?" asked the Wabbit. "Nothing ails me but the lack of it," moaned the specter. It sank beneath the waves only to surface close to the Wabbit. "Who are you?" said the Wabbit. His question was sudden and commanding. The figure on the rocks leaned down until he nearly reached the sea. "We are remnants, deserted and forgotten. We wait to be set free." The Wabbit grinned. "Thou shalt have freedom yet. Freedom is for the taking." "Then take us with you," said the figure. The Wabbit beckoned in welcome - but at that moment, both figure and specter faded until only waves remained.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

6. The Wabbit and the Premised Tempest

The sea had looked like a mirror but a storm blew in suddenly from the east and lashed the Unut like a thousand whips. The sky grew black. Lightning coursed along the surface and flickered up the hull. The Unut was 10,000 tons and more but the sea tossed it up and down like a cork. The Wabbit strolled calmly along the deck and anchored himself to a rail. Lapinette scurried out and did the same. They peered into the distance. "It's good to mess about with boats," smiled the Wabbit. Lapinette thought of the pedalos in the park. "Adventure in the open air," she gasped. Her stomach lurched but her eyes swept the horizon nonetheless. "What's that?" "Something that shouldn't be there," muttered the Wabbit, "Dead slow." signalled Lapinette. But the Unut was already slowing to a standstill. Three islands shrouded in a soaking mist danced in the sea. "Dead slow ahead," signalled the Wabbit. The Unut moved forward. So did the islands. They're floating," gasped Lapinette. The wind roared and tore at their fur, snatching their voices and returning them mangled. "A plague on this howling," shouted Lapinette." "I've no mind to sink!" yelled the Wabbit, "Full ahead!" The islands pulled away and parted. as the vast bulk of the destroyer tore a path through the perilous waters. The Wabbit grimaced at the sea. "Parting is such sweet sorrow."

Sunday, August 05, 2018

5. The Lepus and the Mysterious Island

Captain Jenny was first to report the sighting of a likely island. But there was nothing there. Not a seagull, not a gannet, not even a crab. "Curious," thought Jenny. "Hail the island," she shouted. The Lepus let out three klaxon blasts, loud enough to wake the dead. The island remained still as the Lepus circled. Jenny considered a landing party but something made her draw back. "Move away," she ordered. The Lepus moved out a few metres but stopped. Propellers thrashed in an unyielding sea that clutched the Lepus in a grip of steel. Engines died. The breeze stopped and the flag hung limp. The Lepus pitched lazily up and down like a fishing fly. Jenny picked up the radio but it was dead. Only then did she feel a tug from below that dragged the Lepus close to the rocks that surrounded the island. She tried to compensate but it was useless. Then she felt a push in the opposite direction - it was a bit stronger than the pull. Jenny saw water thresh around a large hump, which lay close against the hull. Now a steady force pushed the Lepus sideways out to sea until it was some distance from the island. Only then did Nessie's head break the surface to an ear-splitting cheer from the crew. "Nae problem," said Nessie.
[Nae (Scottish dialect) :  No]

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

4. The Wabbit and the the Fatal Island

When Lapinette arrived at the docks, things were more than ready. "We leave on the next tide," said the Wabbit waving his map. "Aye, Commander!" yelled Skratch the Cat. Lapinette wanted to know where they were going. "What's on the map?" asked Wabsworth. He tapped the jeep's hood three times. "Oh nothing of interest," said the Wabbit. "I just like to wave it." He tucked it back in his fur and paused for effect. "From the information in the Codex, I gather it's somewhere between Naples and Tunis." Parakalo the dove circled overhead and cooed. "Parakalo is our lookout." said the Wabbit, "He will fly ahead and bring back twigs." "So we'll know when we're close," murmured Lapinette. "Then what?" asked Wabsworth. "We land and look for the holy artifact," shrugged the Wabbit. Skratch wanted to know if there was anyone on the island. "A miserable old man and his daughter," replied the Wabbit, "and a sprite - and someone referred to as a son of a witch." Skratch meaowed down. "What's the name of this island." The Wabbit looked up. "The codex says it's called The Fatal Island. Many tried to find it and all perished." "At the gills of a sea monster," nodded Wabsworth. The Wabbit stared. "How the binky did you know?" Wabsworth grinned. "I saw it in the movies"

Friday, July 27, 2018

3. The Wabbit and the Codex Instructions

The Wabbit grabbed the page and took off, reading it. Lapinette flew after him. "That looks original!" The Wabbit smirked. "Maybe it is and maybe it's no." He hopped down the stairs. Lapinette hung over the balcony and tried to see the page. "It's a play," she smiled. "There's a list on the back," said the Wabbit. He read it out. "Knife, sword, firewood." Lapinette's ears swayed. The Wabbit continued. "Ship box, island, dogs ears." "Dogs ears?" yelled Lapinette. "I think so," said the Wabbit, "the writing's squiggly." He squinted down the page. "Any more?" asked Lapinette. "Fripperies," announced the Wabbit. Lapinette paused to think. "Does the list involve a magic book?" "It's in capitals," nodded the Wabbit. "Then they're all things in The Tempest," murmured Lapinette. She pirouetted. "You were on the stage weren't you?" said the Wabbit slyly. Lapinette fluttered her paws. "Acting is a passport to fun." The Wabbit laughed. "So maybe you could play spy and decode this." Lapinette flew down the stairs and seized the page. Her eyes flew up and down the page and then she turned it over. "The code is in the text." The Wabbit took it back and had a look. "It says we gotta split forthwith." "Our transport awaits," said a familiar voice. The Wabbit didn't turn. "Where are we off to?" "To unpathed waters, undreamed shores," answered Wabsworth.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

2. The Wabbit and the Medieval Tome

The Wabbit was in a temporary office at the castle, allocated to him by the Department of Wabbit Affairs. His own office was sorely in need of redecoration and the Department had taken the opportunity when it presented. He looked at the book on his desk. It had been there on his arrival and it was in such poor shape, he was reluctant to move it. He poked it with a paw and a bit fell off. He scowled. "No no no," shouted Lapinette. "You need to be more careful" "Oh, it's only a dusty old tome," decided the Wabbit. "It looks priceless," commented Lapinette. The Wabbit frowned. "Look, someone's pinned a note to it." He studied it, but could make head nor tail of neither the note nor the manuscript. He leafed the pages over so quickly that Lapinette felt the breeze shake her ears. "I can't understand a thing," he said. "It's upside down," said Lapinette. "I still can't," retorted the Wabbit. Lapinette took the book and read out loud. "Wretched fellow, said he." Lapinette looked at the Wabbit and pointed at him for effect. "Thou meritest no blessing, and thou wouldest not be profited by one, seeing that thou art clad in fur on such a day as this." The Wabbit felt his fur to make sure it was still there. "It must be a code," he suggested; "Perhaps it's our mission instructions?" At that moment a loose page fell out of the book .... 

Monday, July 23, 2018

1. The Wabbit and the Sign that said Stop

The Wabbit was in a dwam, just hopping along the footpath. Suddenly he came face to face with a giant warning sign. He stopped and studied it closely. The sign clearly advised walking on the opposite side but the Wabbit preferred the side he was on and said so loudly. No-one heard. He shouted a bit and poked the sign with his map. There was no response. "A rabbit can't go anywhere these days," he moaned. He opened his map and studied it. "Cartographers fill things with stuff," he complained. He turned it the other way. "That's better," he murmured, "now I can see where I have to go." The Wabbit was planning a trip and in order to plan a trip the Wabbit required a map, even it was a map of somewhere completely different. "I must have a map," he shouted into the air. The buildings echoed his statement but were otherwise silent. It was true that the Wabbit made good use of maps. He had once found his way out of a dense forest using only a railway map and a compass made from a needle and some string. The Wabbit thought the best parts of a maps were the edges. He ran a paw round all four and cast an eye up and down. But whatever the Wabbit as looking for, it wasn't on the map. That was a given. Things would be just too easy otherwise. He looked up at the sign, then whacked it with a paw. "No, I won't stop!" "Suit yourself," said the sign.
[dwam : Scottish. A state of being lost in thought.]

Friday, July 20, 2018

The Wabbit at the Adventure Caffè

The day was boiling hot and everyone was thirsty. "There's a special beer on tap," said the Wabbit, "beer all round?" Everyone agreed. The Wabbit looked at Lapinette. "You don't like beer." "It's hot, I'll give it a whirl," smiled Lapinette. The Wabbit watched Wabsworth waft to and fro, ferrying foaming beers. Lapinette sniffed her drink, but her nose twitched and she convulsed in a sneeze. The Wabbit signalled to Wabsworth. "Large dry cold prosecco in a chilled glass!" Skratch the Cat loomed up and leaned in. "What was that for a sort of adventure you just had?" Wabsworth returned bearing prosecco. "In this case, art organised experience, to articulate the random as causal." "People like the illusion," shrugged Skratch. "Aye, it be thematically sutured," said Jenny. Lapinette nodded gravely. "You're right there Jenny. Another beer?" She sipped prosecco. Skratch purred. "Before we descend into the pit of relativism, I have something for Jenny." He delved in his fur and produced a red rose identical to the one she'd lost. He threw it high in the air. Jenny caught it and hid a grin. She pinned it on her hat. "What's the connotation of the icon?" "Passion?" offered Wabsworth. Skratch shook his head. "Resurrection and immortality." "You certainly know how to talk to a girl," said Jenny.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

11. The Wabbit and the Lepus Blockade

"The Lepus!" shouted the Wabbit. "How did it get here? "The cockpit radio crackled. "Captain Jenny to Susan, steady as she goes." Susan the biplane flew up then stalled. The Scunner Akwat hung in the air. The Lepus fired. Akwat shrieked as a low blast shook his fins. Susan shot up then back down. The Wabbit could only watch as he clung to the struts. Susan made three attempts to swung Akwat on the cargo deck and finally released the anchor. Sailors rushed on the deck and secured the giant fish with grappling hooks. "Hurrah!" gurgled the salmon as the big shrimp made a getaway. Susan flew in slow and they all jumped on the deck. Jenny was there to welcome them, but before she could speak, the Wabbit wanted to know the details. "They were your modifications, Commander," said Jenny, "The Lepus can yaw in and out of slipstream like a dog at a fair." "What shall we do with him?" wondered Lapinette. Wabsworth grinned. "Take him to the toxic lake at the back of the old munitions factory?" "I suggest Deep Ocean," smiled Jenny. She vanished to the bridge and suddenly the water churned and the ship shuddered. The Lepus and everything on it vanished leaving only a frightened shrimp with a giant salmon. Silence fell. There wasn't a breath of wind and the river surface was like a mirror. "What do you say we tell no-one?" suggested the salmon.

Monday, July 16, 2018

10. The Wabbit and the Scunner Bait

The arrival of Susan the Biplane and Wabsworth offered a different possibility. Susan would tow a baited anchor to lure and hook the Scunner Fish. "What will we use for bait?" asked Lapinette. Wabsworth  disappeared briefly and returned bearing an enormous shrimp. Lapinette wrinkled her nose. "Where?" Wabsworth shrugged and commenced a lengthy explanation. "Out at the old abandoned munitions factory there's a strange lake." Lapinette shook her head, loaded the shrimp on the anchor, and clambered aboard. Susan's engine was a deafening roar as she took off and whisked the anchor along the river. "That's dangerous!" shouted Nessie - but they were up and running. "Extreme fishing," murmured the Wabbit. He held on with one paw and flicked imaginary lint with the other. "There he is!" yelled Wabsworth. With a fountain of spray, the Scunner Akwat soared from the river towards his prey. Susan hung back then flicked the anchor forward. Akwat dived. He missed. "Stupid Scunner!"groaned Susan. She flicked the anchor in the manner of a cat toy. This time Akwat fastened his teeth round the shrimp and swallowed it along with the anchor. He threshed angrily, but he was hooked. "What do we do now?" said the Wabbit.

Friday, July 13, 2018

9. The Wabbit and the Lucky Anchor

Captain Jenny went in search of a suitable vessel. The Wabbit and Lapinette scavenged for useful items that might help them in pursuit of Akwat, the giant fish. Nessie was content to remain in the river and advise. "Whit's that?" said Nessie. "Some kind of algae," muttered Lapinette. "Never heard of him," said Nessie from a cloud of mist. Lapinette smiled and poked the green substance with a stick. An acrid, rotting smell reached her nose. "Poo bum smell." she spluttered. "Ripe," commented the Wabbit. He put his paws around a giant anchor and tugged. It didn't budge. He placed a foot underneath and levered it. The anchor uttered a rusty groan as it lurched on the Wabbit's other foot. The Wabbit stifled several expletives. "This is a lucky anchor," he announced. Nessie roared with laughter. "Because it landed on a rabbit foot?" The Wabbit merely grinned. "It's lucky because it met me." This met with silence. "It's a big hook, isn't it?" Everyone nodded. "Well, a big hook can snare a big fish." The Wabbit was ebullient and he rocked the anchor dangerously back and forth. Lapinette rose to her feet. "Wabbit, it weighs a ton." The Wabbit looked at Nessie and back to the anchor. His 28 teeth glinted in the sun. Nessie frowned. "Laddie, I'm a plesiosaur, not a traction engine." "Pretend you're in the Highland Games," smiled the Wabbit.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

8. The Wabbit and the Scunner Akwat

The team followed the fish until they would go no further. Leaving them behind, they waded until the water grew shallow. Nessie crouched flat along the bottom, semi-shrouded in imported mist. Lapinette punted along quietly. The Wabbit complained silently about his fur and the damp. Jenny brought up the rear, pirate boots glooping from the mud. "This be a creepy place, Commander." The Wabbit nodded and checked his fur. Water lapped at the shore and the reeds bent lazily back and forward. Lapinette shivered. They were armed and ready but it took them by surprise. The water spat a giant fish in the air and it was all teeth. It lunged forward with enormous speed and its teeth made a tattoo rattle. It looked back and forth, then it fixed the Wabbit with a steady stare. It dropped its lower jaw and made a clangy rattling like a teaspoon in a tin. There was a pause and the rattling stopped as it turned its gaze to Lapinette. Its lower jaw dropped and it made the same soft sound again. Again there was a silent pause but it broke as Jenny's boots made a loud plop in the mud. The fish swung round but Jenny dunked under the surface - and all it could see was Nessie. It gazed for a while, then its jaw dropped and it made the same rattling sound. Nessie dropped his jaw too - and rattled his teeth. The fish let out an incredible roar. Then it swung and aquaplaned along the water, far into the distance.

Monday, July 09, 2018

7. Wabsworth and the Hungry Salmon

Wabsworth was in receipt of an urgent radio message. It was transmitted only once and was heavily mangled but Wabsworth made the best of it and scrambled Susan the Biplane. The message said feed the fish, at least that's what he thought. It hadn't been hard to spot the fish. There were many, circling round a giant salmon. Wabsworth heard the salmon shouting. "Go round, Susan," he yelled. The salmon reared from the water. "Did you bring the food?" Wabsworth had only found Tropical Pellets, but he stuck a paw up anyway and Susan circled round again. On the second pass Wabsworth poured out food. Water foamed as the fish threshed with delight. "Excellent, yum yum," called the giant salmon. Susan flew back and forward along the surface of the river. Each time she passed, Wabsworth threw more food and the salmon gulped another message. "They've gone to shallower waters! You'll find the culprit there." Wabsworth had no clue about any of this. So they went round again and Wabsworth poured more. "Will you lead us?" he yelled. "We can't go there," yelled the salmon. Susan passed again and Wabsworth shouted an inspired question. "Who are we chasing?" The giant salmon bared his twelve sharp teeth. "We call him the Scunner Akwat." His fins made the river foam around him. Wabsworth threw down the last of the food and held up a paw in salute. Susan dipped her wings, then wheeled and roared south to the shallows.

Friday, July 06, 2018

6. The Wabbit and the Salmon Gang

They hunted high and low for the culprits but when they came to Sassi there was another commotion. Nessie exploded from the water with a great wail. "Help me Wabbit," shouted Nessie, "ah canny get rid of thae salmon." The Wabbit mulled over the salmon as the guilty parties, but the idea was too fishy. He could see Nessie was in distress so he pulled a can of Irn Bru from his fur and climbed Nessie's neck. The drink was so shaken that it hissed and fizzed then exploded into Nessie's mouth. "Och," gulped Nessie, "You're a wee brammer. Anything to eat?" Lapinette dug in her frock and produced a couple of shortbread biscuits she'd kept from a party. Nessie head swooped down. The Wabbit clung on as Nessie swept the biscuits into his cavernous mouth. "What's with the fish?" asked Jenny. She batted a leaping salmon back over the bridge. "They followed me here from Loch Ness," complained Nessie. The salmon continued to spiral around them. Lapinette narrowly avoided a head on collision with a salmon, but it slapped her on the face as it passed. "Aaagh, big wet fish," spluttered Lapinette. Suddenly they were gone. "They had their fun," said Nessie, "they'll be away." "Other fish to fry?" grinned the Wabbit. Jenny sniffed the cuff of her uniform and wrinkled her nose. She paused for a second then sniffed again. "It might be worth following them."

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

5.The Wabbit - "Return of the Monstroids"

It was Captain Jenny's suggestion to look out from the bridge. It was the Marathon Bridge and its boards creaked with the ghosts of a thousand runners. They set out for the middle but from under the bridge came a monster roar. The Wabbit saw the creature first. "Monstroid!" It towered above them, dribbling blood from its jaws. More Monstroids thumped along the groaning bridge towards them.  Lapinette clutched her edged weapon and shouted. "I'll split you stem to stern!" Jenny yelled at them too." "Get back to Hades!" The Monstroids chortled and nudged each other. The Wabbit had an intimate acquaintance with their kind. One had grown inside him, and when it burst free it spawned an army that terrorised the city. The Monstroid was talking. Only the Wabbit could understand. Lapinette heard him speak a strange language. "Why did you hang the Agent of Rabit?" The Monstroid frowned a grim frown. "Not me." "Who roughed up our captain?" The Monstroid looked back at his cohorts. They shook their heads. The Monstroid shrugged. "You shot at Jenny." yelled the Wabbit. "Not guilty," said the Monstroid. "Then why are you here?" said the Wabbit. "We miss you!" said the Monstroids. The Wabbit made a rude sign with his paw. The Monstroid smiled a hideous smile - then dropped silently into the river. The others seemed to evaporate. Lapinette tugged questioningly at the Wabbit's fur. "They're family," sighed the Wabbit, "I'm obliged to speak to them."

Monday, July 02, 2018

4. The Wabbit and Jenny in Trouble

The Wabbit and Lapinette searched the River Po from the Dora to Ponte Isabella and beyond. Upstream, the trail became lush with vegetation. The sun appeared and made it sparkle. The Wabbit sniffed, then stopped because he'd lost the scent. They peered around but there was nothing to see. Crickets chirped. Humming birds hovered. Leaves lay flat and breathless. Suddenly Jenny came crashing from a tree with a thud loud enough to startle the squirrels. The Wabbit and Lapinette stood stock still and watched. Jenny looked the worse for wear. Her hat was improvised and her uniform unkempt. The weapons looked functional, but they didn't belong to Jenny. Something was far amiss. The Wabbit heard a scurrying in the undergrowth and looked round, but Lapinette heard it first. She raised her automatic and pointed. The Wabbit saw the sun glint from a gun barrel aimed directly at Jenny, and the only thing he could do was yell, "Hit the Deck, Jenny!" Jenny dropped quickly from sight just as two shots rang out. A blast from the woods tore a fragment from her hat and made a groove in her fur. A second from Lapinette sent the assailant's gun spinning. There was a groan. Something crashed off through the undergrowth - followed by a hail of bullets as Jenny and Lapinette fired round after round. "I hate the countryside," sighed the Wabbit, "it's far too noisy."

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

3. The Wabbit and the Angry River

It  didn't take long for the Wabbit and Lapinette to reach the troublespot. The river had gathered momentum since the last bridge. It snarled and thrashed at the banks in some kind of private fury. The noise was so deafening they had to shout. "Over there!" yelled Lapinette. The Wabbit saw a body hanging, suspended over the river. It swayed and turned lifelessly. But its arms were tense and its paws were bunched in fists of rage. Lapinette scaled the tree and tried to cut the body down. "Is he definitely dead?" called the Wabbit. "Looks likes rigor mortis," shouted Lapinette, "but he only just left us." "You gonna cut him down?" yelled the Wabbit. "Can't leave him here!" shouted Lapinette. The rope was easy meat for Lapinette's edged weapon and the body dropped. But it tumbled into the torrent. They were helpless to stop the river grab the body and they watched it float out of sight. The Wabbit ground all of his 28 teeth. "I was hoping to learn something." Lapinette shrugged and clambered down. Twigs broke. Leaves dropped. A bird startled suddenly and the Wabbit looked up. "There's Jenny's hook!" A bright red hook nestled, trapped between branches. The Wabbit shook the tree and caught it as it dropped. "There's blood on it." Lapinette grimaced, but she was thinking. "Where would Jenny make for?" "Downstream," pointed the Wabbit ...

Monday, June 25, 2018

2. The Wabbit and the Bridge to Cross

The Wabbit's hop down the river was a formal affair that involved crossing a suitable bridge, then continuing on the other side to the next bridge, then crossing again. They hopped some distance, crossing many bridges until they reached the big University. There, the river became wild and inhospitable and it coursed down to the Po like it was late. The Wabbit studied the graffiti. "Who are the Sons of Anarchy?" Lapinette knew all about it. "It's a crime soaper on cable TV about a motorbike gang." "Now I remember," said the Wabbit; "Hamlet and Harleys." Lapinette glanced down. A rose lay on the parapet and she picked it up. "This is the rose Jenny wears on her pirate hat." "Are you certain it's hers?" said the Wabbit; "They all look alike." Lapinette peered into the swirl of water. "Well, there's her hat!" The Wabbit's fur stood on end and he jumped to dive into the river. "There's no-one, Wabbit. I can't see her," yelled Lapinette. They both raced to the other side of the bridge but they could see only river and woods. The water roared by with a deafening growl but there was no mistaking the bark of an automatic. "Jenny," breathed Lapinette. The Wabbit indicated a point farther down the river. A muzzle flash lit the water and a bullet hit a tree. Branches cracked and birds lifted. "Let's join the party," said the Wabbit.

Friday, June 22, 2018

1. The Wabbit and the Iron Bridge

Lapinette caught up with the Wabbit on the Iron Bridge at Via Borgo Dora. "Wabbit! Are you hanging about?" "Yes," said the Wabbit. "Just in case a certain rabbit comes by!" He touched Lapinette's shoulder and smiled. Between adventures was dull, but the day was balmy and together, they listened to the river gurgling pleasantly under the bridge. It was one of the Wabbit's places, because he liked to see all the different kinds of characters there. Later he'd trawl the vast market in search of something unobtainable. "Any news?" he asked. "Adventure news?" replied Lapinette. The Wabbit brightened. Lapinette shook her head. The Wabbit frowned. "Adventures are like buses," shrugged Lapinette. The Wabbit smiled. "Another one will come along in a minute?" Lapinette scoffed at this. "Well, eventually the bus arrives and you get a bone-rattling ride home." The Wabbit sighed. "I would be more than happy to have my bones rattled." Lapinette couldn't take that seriously. "We could be bone deep in a boneyard." The Wabbit chortled. "Shall we walk the river?" Lapinette was horrified. "What? To the source?" The Wabbit laughed. He's been thinking of the spot where the River Dora empties into the Po. It wasn't so far. "We'll have lunch at Sassi," suggested Lapinette. "What could possibly go wrong?" laughed the Wabbit. So paw in paw they hopped their way along the Dora ...

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Wabbit and his Adventure Caffè

It was blisteringly hot and the team met inside the Adventure Caffè. Skratch the Cat was on duty behind the bar and he welcomed everyone with a mighty meaow. "Ask the question Skratch!" cheered the Wabbit. "I will!" smiled Skratch; "What was that for a sort of freaky adventure?" Wabsworth gently pulled Tipsy into the bar, but she didn't need much pulling. "It belongs to the rather old genre of the road movie," said Wabsworth. "A special representational anchoring, necessarily rooted in recognition," nodded Skratch. "Speaking of anchors, the sun is well past the yardarm," said Tipsy. "I'll get the drinks," laughed Skratch. "The shark was this big!" yelled Lapinette suddenly. She threw her paws wide. So did everyone else. "It looked bigger," suggested the Wabbit. "What happened to the shark?" asked Wabsworth. "I hit it on the nose so hard its teeth rattled," grinned the Wabbit. Lapinette snorted. "It still has a chunk of his fur." Skratch scratched the corner of the bar. "The episodic nature of the adventure provided a staggered lurching, rather like an army truck." Wabsworth chuckled. "It was thematic foregrounding. The protagonists had no control of mysterious happenings." The Wabbit chortled. "The sequence was the adventure." Tipsy lurched forward and spoke directly to Skratch. "Any danger of you bringing me a little dwink?" "Tipsy! That's a trope," meaowed Skratch. "I can take a twope," shrugged Tipsy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

6. The Wabbit and Tipsy's Findings

The Wabbit had tasked Tipsy to go over the truck with the finest tooth comb she could muster. Mist shrouded the building and the Wabbit's fur felt damp. "Find anything?" Tipsy laughed and took the miniature whisky that the Wabbit quietly proffered. She tucked it into the top of her frock.  "I found two things." She pushed a CD ROM into his paw. The Wabbit winced because he recognised it. It contained a series of modifications for Quantum the Train's lattice drive. "Don't worry Commander," said Tipsy, "it wasn't anything to do with your CD." She held out a shim. "This naughty washer is a weensy teensy bit out of phase." She spun the shim in the air and it hung for a while. Then it dropped into Tipsy's paw. "But not all the time," she added. "What's it out of phase with?" asked the Wabbit. He shoved the CD ROM deep into his fur with an exaggerated air of innocence. "Us," said Tipsy. The Wabbit looked at the building and then at Tipsy. "Did you try putting it back?" "I made copies," smiled Tipsy, "and refitted every washer in the truck."  Together they watched the truck moving up and down the building. "It's controllable," sighed the Wabbit with some relief. Tipsy raised her whisky miniature in the direction of the truck, then drained it in a single gulp. "For the most part..."

Friday, June 15, 2018

5. Lapinette and the Way to Drive

Lapinette drove through the dark and the dark seemed endless. But she saw a chink of light and she drove straight at it. There was crash and a lot of splintering as she hurtled through three corridors, down a flight of stairs and into a luxurious office. A panoramic window loomed. She pumped the throttle, shot through it and braked. The lorry stopped, half in, half out of a tall office block. The Wabbit looked down. "How many floors in this tower?" Lapinette grinned. "Thirty five counting the roof restaurant." "I know this building," said the Wabbit; "It's new. It's bioclimatic." "Not any more." giggled Lapinette. The Wabbit counted the floors. "How do we get down?" Lapinette made a calculation, then winked. She inched the truck forward until it pivoted on the rear axle. Then she gritted her teeth. "We drive down." The Wabbit braced. The truck lurched over until its front wheels touched the side of the building. Lapinette jabbed the throttle. The rear tyres bumped over the edge. She crashed the truck into reverse and stood on the brakes. The truck began to slide down. The Wabbit jerked the handbrake on. Lapinette gunned the throttle. Tyres groaned. Burning rubber fumes made them cough. Suddenly gravity grabbed the truck and it dropped with a slam. "Aaaagh!" yelled the Wabbit. But knobby tyres grabbed at the tower. The truck clung. Then with a squeal like a thousand bats - and a lot of smoke - it slid quietly to the bottom. "This wheel's on fire!" yelled Lapinette.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

4. The Wabbit and the Road to Hell

The Wabbit wished he hadn't said it, but he was getting annoyed. "This truck can go to hell." Suddenly they were surrounded by flames that licked at their fur. Lapinette dived into the driver's seat and tried to steer through the flames. "Some like it hot," she murmured. She gritted her teeth against the searing heat and pumped the throttle - to no avail. The Wabbit stared into the blaze. "I see a strange fire bird." His ears began to singe and when the acrid smell reached Lapinette, she wrinkled her nose. "That's purely mythological. Is it like a Phoenix?" "It looks more like a fire chicken," replied the Wabbit. Lapinette thought the Wabbit was suffering from smoke inhalation. "Do you still have these Wabtex weather packs?" The Wabbit searched his fur. He pulled out several Wabtex packs and frowned. "They're well past their freeze-by date." "Throw them anyway," said Lapinette. The Wabbit's teeth flashed as he jettisoned all the packs. They looked quite ordinary but they began to sparkle in the heat and exploded in a vast shower of ice shards. The flames died and things grew dim. Lapinette peered through the windscreen at a sea of black. She shrugged and tried the throttle again. With a roar of the engine, the truck shot into the darkness ...

Monday, June 11, 2018

3. The Wabbit and the Deep Blue Sea

The truck's descent took them over the sea. It was blue. Very blue indeed. And that was all there was. The truck settled on the surface. The engine died and everything became quiet, save for the sound of the waves and something they couldn't identify. "I'll look around," said the Wabbit. Lapinette didn't like the sea. It moved too much. But the Wabbit dived in with a merry shout. "Come on in, the water's fine!" It didn't look fine to Lapinette. The truck rose with the sea's swell and she felt like washing in a laundromat. The Wabbit swam around the truck and back. He shook his head. "Nothing. No explanation." Lapinette smiled. "Maybe it's a magic truck." The Wabbit bobbed up and down. "It didn't used to be." "Did you check the tyres?" asked Lapinette. The Wabbit took in a mouthful of water and spluttered. "I hardly think pressure matters at the moment." Lapinette shook her head. "Maybe there's something inside the tyres." "I hadn't thought of that," said the Wabbit; "I'll dive down and have a look." But Lapinette saw something. "Not just yet. Come back." "I'll do it in a jiffy, won't be long," said the Wabbit. At that moment he turned to see a mouthful of serrated teeth headed straight at him. "Yikes!" he yelled. He swam fast for the truck and grabbed Lapinette's paw. "Are there killer sharks in the Med?" "Seven," said Lapinette. "Phew, not so many," said the Wabbit. "Seven species," sighed Lapinette.
[Background photograph: Camilla Galli da Bino]

Friday, June 08, 2018

2. The Wabbit at the Top of the World

The truck would not behave. Even Lapinette was unable to prevent it shooting upwards until it was some height above the city. It was cold and the air was thin, but the truck's engine throbbed on with a consistent clatter. The Wabbit checked everything inside but there was no sign of modification. He hopped outside and Lapinette followed him. Together they clambered over and under the truck but nothing appeared out of the ordinary. The Wabbit peered down. He made a wry smile then shut his eyes. "What are you doing?" asked Lapinette. "Praying," replied the Wabbit. "Who to?" asked Lapinette. "Any gods I can think of," smiled the Wabbit. Lapinette was quiet for a moment but then she said, "Any reply?" "Nothing whatsoever," sighed the Wabbit. Lapinette shivered. "You'd think up here they'd be able to get through." The truck engine hesitated and wheezed so they clambered back in the cab. With a cough and a splutter the engine stopped. The truck began to fall, slowly at first but quickly picking up speed. City streets rushed towards them. The Wabbit turned away from the window and shrugged. "Maybe a god did answer." The truck's descent slowed and the engine sprang to life. Lapinette laughed. "Deus ex machina?"

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

1. The Wabbit and the Panoramic View

"This truck is still on loan to my unit," murmured Lapinette. She'd reluctantly agreed to the Wabbit's plan to jump it from the top of the hill at Superga. Every jump raised funds for his favourite charity and he was heavily sponsored. He'd done it before, so all being well, things would go to plan. The truck left the ground at the predetermined point and fell gracefully towards a ramp down by the river. She took in the view. "Bella panorama!" yelled the Wabbit. The horizon suddenly tilted as something lifted the truck and propelled them into the air. Lapinette watched the city swirl under the truck. "What the Binky!" groaned the Wabbit. "Turbulence?" suggested Lapinette. She held on tight as the truck wafted sideways over Lingotto. The Wabbit sank back and folded his paws. "No control." He reached for his walkie talkie but it fell and lodged under his seat. "You didn't retro-fit the truck?" asked Lapinette hopefully. The Wabbit grimaced. "On loan." He tried a few switches then pulled the handbrake just for fun. The truck stopped and hung in the air. He touched the throttle. The truck slewed forward. He tried reverse. The truck edged back. Lapinette frowned. "What will make it go down?" Her stomach lurched as the truck dropped. The ground came up fast. "Go up," shouted the Wabbit. Nothing happened. "Go up!" shouted Lapinette. The truck climbed skywards. "Tell your truck to behave!" yelled the Wabbit ...

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

11. The Wabbit and the Leaseback

Hardhack Rat and Lovely Lapinette met the Wabbit for a briefing in the secret DWA viewing theatre in Via Nizza. There, they looked at graphs and charts and analysed figures. "The market hardly recovered," said Lapinette. "Collateral damage," smiled the Wabbit. Hardhack was anxious to squeeze more life out the system and the Wabbit looked at him shrewdly. "Would you like to be in charge of my Dinosaur Fund?" Hardhack was delighted. "When do I start?" "Right now," yelled Lapinette. She waved at the chart. "We punished our enemies but innocent investors were caught in the operation." The Wabbit agreed that restitution should be made. Hardhack thought for a second. "I can hack back to the brokers." "That's a start," said Lapinette. "Afterwards, how much do we have left?" The Wabbit flicked imaginary lint from his fur. "€57 million - give or take fees or charges." "Which I am duty bound to minimise," said Hardback. "It's in our Articles of Association," explained the Wabbit. Lapinette raised both eyes. Her ears quivered. Suddenly she waved at the piles of notes. "Where's the rest of the money?" "At the Bank of Despond," said Hardhack. Lapinette gasped. "Our personal guards seized the building," shrugged the Wabbit. "Ours now," laughed Hardhack. Lapinette sighed. "The Department wants that building." "Sold to the Department!" shouted the Wabbit. Hardback's eyes gleamed as he made a note.  " ... and leased back."

Friday, June 01, 2018

10. The Wabbit and the Big Spike

"Nearly there!" said Hardhack. His ratty claws flew across the keyboard as he whistled 'Carolina Moon' This was getting on the Wabbit's nerves. "Is it working?" sighed the Wabbit. "Oh yes," said Hardhack; "This optimistic news will hike the price." He continued to type and whistle. Tipsy flourished a wad of crypto keys and giggled. "We're gonna pump and dump." The Wabbit hopped patiently, clutching a shovel with he'd thought might be useful. He tried to keep up with the bitcoin market jargon, and waited. Hardhack entered all the key numbers. Tipsy opened a briefcase console and interfaced with the servers.  Hardhack nodded to the Wabbit. "OK, Commander. Tipsy just sold you the keyholders' bitcoins. Then you sold them to me. Tipsy bought them back and now I have them." Tipsy checked her console monitor. "We have a spike." She bought the coins back. The spike climbed and went on climbing. "She's mooning!" yelled Tipsy. It peaked, dropped like a stone, then climbed rapidly again. "Now Hardhack! Fly me to the moon," shouted Tipsy. "Selling, selling, selling - all sold." said Hardhack. The spike peaked again, then fell rapidly. "The Market has been suspended," smiled Tipsy. "So who's left with the bag?" chuckled Hardhack. "I think I know," grinned the Wabbit.
[Tipsy is carrying a specially adopted Fang Battlebox, a powerful gamer's computer.  Bag refers to a bagholder, a trader left with low value coins who hopes they will improve in value. Mooning refers to the unwanted spikes in value, Pump and Dump relies on inflating bitcoin value then offloading onto gullible victims. Bitcoin slang can be found here. The background picture is the Chinese Sunway TaihuLight computer. It appears to be a publicity shot, no credit is available.]

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

9. The Three Muses and BitBubbles

The Three Muses swept onto a trading floor and swayed like the Ronettes. "Where are the coins we cannot see?" Tipsy held out three coins and they made a clinking klanking sound as she chanted. Fitzy swayed gracefully. "Someone has them under lock and key!" "Who?" stated Mitzy. They all shouted at the same time. "The Wabbit!" Tipsy threw the three coins in the air. "The Wabbit chases triple trouble." "The Wabbit meets triple trouble halfway," sang Mitzy. She and Fitzy changed places while Tipsy stepped forward and juggled the coins. Suddenly, she snatched one. The rest hung in the air and became bubbles. "Who will vouch for this coin?" asked Tipsy. "Me," shouted Mitzy. "Me," shouted Fitzy. "We three agree," said Tipsy. She threw the remaining coin in the air. It evaporated. The droplets hung like a blanket in the stale air of the exchange. "The coin has gone, I don't know where," shouted Fitzy. "It's in that cloud, I do declare," answered Mitzy. The three turned, faced outwards and chanted. "Bankers cry in lamentation. Their money's gone from circulation." "No fees!" shouted Fitzy. "No charges!" yelled Mitzy. "And no interest!" screamed Tipsy. She raised both paws and smiled. "They're not going to be happy!" "This is a Greek Chorus," grinned Mitzy. "We don't do happy."
[Stock exchange graphic courtesy of Katrina.Tuliao at Trading Group. The Bitcoin graphic is the prevailing publicity logo of Bitcoin]

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Wabbit at the Adventure Caffè

"Our table is reserved," frowned Wabsworth. It was their favourite table at the Adventure Caffè and was usually left alone. "I booked it in your name," said the stranger. "Thank you!" said Wabsworth. He bowed to the stranger. Skratch the Cat leaned across and hissed. "What kind of adventure is this for goodness sake?" The stranger smiled. "It's an iconographic deconstruction of ideology." Skratch didn't buy it. "Who are you exactly?" The stranger squinted his eyes. "I am the Outside Auditor." Lapinette waved politely. "You know all about this affair?" The Auditor nodded. "It's part of a plan to manipulate currencies and economies." The Wabbit grew impatient and butted in. "How do we go forward with all this?" The Auditor grinned. "Let's give the Gangbankers what they want." The Wabbit's eyes lit up. "Destabilisation!" Wabsworth was the Wabbit's android double and Lapinette knew he could think fast. "What's the most destabilizing thing we could do?" "Spend their money," said Wabsworth."Ostentatiously," said the Wabbit. "Hardhack will hit the bitcoin stock markets in two precise strikes," said Wabsworth." "The market will spike," agreed the Auditor. "Panic ensues," meaowed Skratch. "... and the Gangbankers will be caught in the crossfire," shrugged the Wabbit. "Bang bang"" yelled Lapinette.

Friday, May 25, 2018

8. The Wabbit and the Bitcoin Mine

Hardhack Rat saw the Wabbit arrive but he was much too busy to stop. "I found everything!" he yelled. Tipsy paused and drank her coffee. "We found it." She put a paw to her lips for silence. The Wabbit waited to find out what had been found. The supercomputer was rather noisy and its hum hung in the air like a cloud. The Wabbit angled his ears and listened carefully. "Cut them blades loose, Tipsy." murmured Hardhack. "Many blades cut quickly," chuckled Tipsy. Hardhack began to dictate a steady flow of code. Tipsy's paws flew. The computer hummed dangerously. It seemed to take forever but the code kept coming. "More drink," said Tipsy. She drained the cup, made a few adjustments and glanced behind at a monitor. "We're so rich," she gurgled. "What gives?" snapped the Wabbit. Hardhack ignored him and spoke to Tipsy. "They're all forked?" Tipsy slapped the Bitcoin miner with glee. "Double forked and packing our wallets." Hardhack finally turned to the Wabbit and waved a 50 euro note. "They liquidised some of your Dinosaur Fund." "Then they reverse-laundered Bitcoin access keys into the notes, like tabs of acid." said Tipsy. "Bitcoin Bonanza," grinned Hardhack. The Wabbit shrugged. "Can we cash 'em in?" "Not without my help," said a voice ...

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

7. Tipsy and the Hardhack Solution

Hardhack Rat had never met Tipsy but he knew all about her. "What are you doing here Tipsy?" Tipsy's laugh was like water trickling over smooth rocks. "I have an ickle job for you," she said; "It's from the Wabbit." Tipsy pulled wads of low denomination bank notes for her frock and threw them in Hardhack's direction. She dusted her paws. "Maybe you could tell me if you have a 3D printer?" Hardhack was delighted. "Of course I have." Tipsy smiled sweetly. "Then perhaps you could print me a little dwink?" "No problem," nodded Hardhack. He pressed a button and turned to sort through the banknotes. He studied them for a while, then studied them some more. Only then did he look up. "What is the nature of the financial inquiry?" he asked. Tipsy pouted. "The Wabbit wants to know where the notes have been." "They look as if they've been washed," sighed Hardhack. Tipsy giggled. "The Wabbit says dirty money has its very own indelible trace." Hardhack thought the Wabbit said a lot of things, but he took the notes nonetheless. "I'll have to scan them and subject them to rigorous probing." "Probe on," suggested Tipsy.  Hardhack smiled and lifted a coffee pot. "Your drink is ready." Tipsy looked at the coffee with horror. "It's spiked with amaro," grinned Hardhack.
[Background photo credit:Argonne National Laboratory under the specified license]

Monday, May 21, 2018

6. Wabsworth & the Outside Auditor

Wabsworth was an android copy of the Wabbit and knew all the tricks of the spook trade. The stranger looked like a banker, so he trailed him along the porticos, keeping a suitable distance. But in the quiet of the early hours, he had no option but to make himself visible. The stranger was well aware he had company but paid no particular attention. He was interested solely in empty properties and closed down shops. Wabsworth watched as he peered through shutters and rattled letterboxes. Occasionally he heard him dictate notes into a recorder in a strange language. "He's talking shorthand," thought Wabsworth. He grinned to himself. "Maybe he's an endangered species." His circuits whined as he ran images through a finance database. There were bankers, accountants, stockbrokers, insurers, even arbitrageurs. But no match emerged for the man in the suit. The stranger made a sudden stop and looked back. Wabsworth dodged behind a pillar out of professional courtesy. The stranger slipped a hand in his jacket and took out a crumpled note, which he dropped indifferently on the sidewalk. Then he walked briskly on. Wabsworth let him go. He bent down, scooped up the scrap of paper and tucked it in his fur. "A pizzino," murmured Wabsworth. He knew a pizzino wasn't a small pizza, it was a coded message. "Now I know who you are," murmured Wabsworth.
[Used by the Sicilian mafia, a pizzino is a small slip of paper carrying high level communications. First mentioned in the Adventures here in our early days.]

Friday, May 18, 2018

5. The Wabbit and the Horse's Mouth

For the Wabbit and Lapinette, it was child's play to break in. "This it is," said the Wabbit. He pointed to the bottom of a flight of steps, where two statues stood guard. "Dark horses," murmured the Wabbit. "Better keep an eye on them," whispered Lapinette. The Wabbit heard a horse whinny and noticed the shake of a head. He glanced in the indicated direction. A washing machine in the corner revolved and splashed gently. The Wabbit ears twitched. He held up a paw and listened. It was playing looped sound composed of metallic chinks. Then the machine span rapidly and stopped with a shudder. Lapinette heard tinkly piano jazz. The Wabbit crept round the back, reached across and pressed a button. With a bang, the door shot open and money sprayed out. Lapinette lifted a sodden note. "These are so, so low denomination." The Wabbit shrugged. "Things went sour for the Bank of Despond?" Lapinette pondered for a second. "Maybe the money you moved broke the bank." The Wabbit frowned. ".. and they want revenge." The washing machine door crashed shut and the drum clattered. "I hear ominous ticking," said Lapinette. They backed abruptly away but bounced from a dark horse, who squealed long and hard, then snickered. Lapinette looked it straight in the flank. "Should we stay? See what comes out in the wash?" The dark horse shook his head vigorously.  "Nay," translated the Wabbit.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

4. The Wabbit at the Bank of Despond

"I don't recall ever seeing this building before." The Wabbit dismounted and kicked the door soundly. "It's real enough." He clutched his foot and grimaced. "I've been down this street a hundred times," said Lapinette, "and this building isn't here." Mo and To sniggered in a punk fashion. "Where is this Bank of Despond anyway?" said To. "The address said Edinburgh," said the Wabbit, "so I did a quick satellite search." "I'm betting there was zilch," said Lapinette. "A shut down newspaper building." shrugged the Wabbit. Mo laughed and laughed. "Ha ha, this is it; it's a pop up bank." The Punk Snails sneered in unison. The Wabbit squinted up. "I can climb up there." He placed a foot on a window ledge and gradually scaled the building. "Ah," he exclaimed. He grabbed a piece of broken masonry and hurled it at a window. Tiny fragments of glass showered Mo and To. They wiggled their antennae. "Cool!" said To. "Amazing," said Mo. The Wabbit opened the window and glanced inside. Then he sighed and shook his head. "No Gangbankers?" shouted Lapinette. "No Gangbankers here. But plenty of money." "Toss it down," shouted To. "I can't," said the Wabbit, "it's wet." Lapinette's ears swayed. "What's that sound?" "Sounds like a washing machine," replied the Wabbit. Mo and To slithered in a sideways shuffle. "The Money Laundromat." yelled To. "It stinks" shouted Mo.

Monday, May 14, 2018

3. The Wabbit and the Flying Bankers

The Wabbit and Lapinette prowled the city in search of the Gangbankers but found no leads. "Can you hear howling?" asked the Wabbit. Lapinette caught a glimpse of shadow, then the sky filled with a single engine plane. The Punk Snails looked up. Their antennae wiggled. "It's them!" shouted Mo. "Take cover," yelled To," but it was too late. Lapinette's automatic spat bullets. They tore through a wing and the plane banked suddenly. "She's gonna stall!" shouted Mo. The Wabbit saw a stick of explosive heading straight for him, so he grabbed it and hurled it back. It caught the undercarriage and detonated. Fragments fell on the Snails. "Cool," said Mo. The plane spiralled and sank out sight. An explosion followed. "Super cool," said To. "They landed," laughed Mo. To nudged Mo. "A-may-zing," he drawled. The Wabbit and Lapinette held tight as the Snails slid to and fro in a slithery dance. "Gangbankers," growled the Wabbit. "Where do they get their money?" said Lapinette. "They're bankers," shrugged To. "They rob their own banks," explained Mo. Lapinette frowned. "Wabbit, is this anything to do with your Dinosaur Fund?" The Wabbit thought hard. Having observed strange activity, he'd wrenched significant monies away from a small merchant bank. The bank duly collapsed. His face was grim. "The Bank of Despond."

Friday, May 11, 2018

2. The Wabbit and the Gangbankers

Morning was on its way and shops were flickering into half life. Mo and To, the Punk Snails, were hanging on the corner and the Wabbit was pleased to see them. "See anything unusual?" Mo and To sneered in synchrony. "Nothing surprises us." Lapinette jumped onto To's shell and pulled out an edged weapon. "Oooooh" said Mo. "We just got shot up by some hoods," explained the Wabbit. To waved an antenna. "You mean the gangbanking gang?" "To, that's rude" yelled Lapinette. "Not any more," sneered Mo. "Bankers ain't shit on their own," sneered To. "They 'ave to be in a gang." said Mo. "We 'ate them," drawled Mo. "They're 'orrible," agreed To. The Punk Snails waggled their antennae in a circle. The Wabbit pulled out his automatic and waved it. "I don't like the sound of these gangbankers." He hopped onto Mo. "Are we going somewhere?" giggled To. "These bankers dissed us in our own city," hissed Lapinette. "Criminals!" yelled Mo and To. The Wabbit smiled and politely asked, "Where does that gang hang?" "Corners, shadows, penumbra," sneered Mo. "They lurk," said To. The Wabbit raised an eye. "They are without purpose," sneered Mo. "No moral centre," sniffed To. The Wabbit shrugged. "Then they might be hard to find." He gently nudged Mo with a foot. Mo slid forward followed by To. "These gangbankers sure made us mad," murmured Lapinette.

Friday, May 04, 2018

1. The Wabbit and the Rogue Bullet

It was late. People were going home. The sound of traffic died away. All that could be heard was the creaky, squeaky sound of one ramshackle bicycle. The Wabbit let his grin go lopsided and drawled. "The city was asleep. The rats and the cats and the bats were all in their holes." From some late night club, some late night musician guy played jazz. The Wabbit strained to hear the notes, but they flew by without lingering. "There are a million stories in the naked city," he drawled. "We'll never read them all," smiled Lapinette. Her giggle was clear and airy and it swayed off down the street. The Wabbit watched it go. He stuck a paw in his fur and whistled softly. "What about a bite to eat?" "Everything's closed," said Lapinette. "I know a place that's still open," said the Wabbit. Lapinette raised a quizzical eye. "My place," said the Wabbit. "That doesn't count," laughed Lapinette. A loud bang bounced along the walls and rattled shop windows. "Just a car backfire," said the Wabbit. They looked at each other and shrugged. There were five more. Lapinette frowned. "Backfires don't come in batches of six." "They weren't meant for us," offered the Wabbit. A bullet zapped between his ears. "These cats is making a big mistake," snorted the Wabbit. "They zigged before they zagged," scowled Lapinette. "You go that way, I'll go this way," said the Wabbit. "Cut 'em off at the pass," nodded Lapinette. "Dead end street," hissed the Wabbit ...