Monday, March 25, 2019

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

The Wabbit had spotted a new caffe and given everyone the address. Captain Jenny arrived first and sat down. She looked around for the bar. Wabsworth drifted in and turned to greet Lapinette and Skratch the Cat. Then he spoke to the Wabbit. "Here's Skratch to tell us all what kind of Adventure you just had." Skratch purred and cast an eye over the interior. "Wabbit, I must tell you I don't believe in ferries." The Wabbit was nonplussed. Lapinette hung on the door. "Skratch means you were in a bit of a ferry tale." "Ah," laughed the Wabbit. "I suppose I was." Skratch purred, "Through varied adaptability and intermediality, the ferry tale offered cultural specificity." Everyone nodded knowledgeably. "Yet it transcended time and space," continued Skratch. "Because it had heterotemporality," suggested Wabsworth. "And hereotespatiality," added Lapinette, "since it narrated the space of location but left little residue." Wabsworth had been reading. "The tale evokes an imaginary space but one which is predicated on concrete socio-political events." The Wabbit clapped his paws. "Our ghost ferry was both real and unreal. It existed on paper, in accounts ledgers, and in carefully annotated governmental memoranda." "That," stated Jenny, "is a kind of reality." "Real people got paid," said Lapinette. She pirouetted in the doorway. "Talking of pay, where's the drinks?" asked the Wabbit. Lapinette started to laugh. "Wabbit, this isn't a restaurant - it's a furniture showroom." 
[Inspired by Fairy Tale Films by Pauline Greenhill.  Children’s Literature, Film, TV, and Media, Interdisciplinary Approaches to Literary Studies ]

Friday, March 22, 2019

9. The Wabbit and the Spoils of War

The Wabbit and Jenny stood on the bow of the Lepus and discussed the future of the ghost ship. They had seized it in the night and the unsuccessful souls released by the spectres crowded the deck. With a skeleton crew and a new name, it had orders to sail for Wablantis where its passengers could make new lives. The souls felt substance return to their bodies as they looked across the waves. The Wabbit heard cheering and he smiled a secret smile. Captain Jenny saw it. "You be certain about this, Commander?" The Wabbit shook his head because he didn't really know. The ship was a rust bucket and only vaguely seaworthy - but he thought she'd make it. "They'll have to work together," he shrugged. He looked over the side and into the deep. The spectres were weighed down at the bottom, forty fathom deep and shackled with old iron claws as sharp as razors.  "Last we'll see of them," muttered the Wabbit. Captain Jenny snorted and tilted her pirate hat. "There be more spectres in the City than you can shake a stick at." The Wabbit grinned. "Well they won't be running ghost ferries in the near future." He gazed at the sea. It was super calm, with hardly a ripple. But a shape suddenly surfaced and he shrieked, "No! Another one!" Jenny chuckled. "That be only a trash bag," The Wabbit groaned and hit his head with a paw. "Black sack crossed our path."

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

8. The Wabbit and the Spectral Exorcism

Seaweed crept across the deck until it oozed over Wabbit's feet. The spectres were on board and they didn't look happy. The ramp lifted and closed behind them. The Wabbit murmured into his walkie talkie and the Lepus shuddered as its engines fired. The spectres shed sea spray. The Wabbit kicked the bell and they froze for a moment. "Give up your souls!" yelled the Wabbit. He waved his walkie talkie at them. "And begone you hostile powers." A spectre spread oily arms wide. His voice was between a moan and a sneer. "Make us." The three spectres laughed and pointed and swore. The spectre at the back waved and shouted, "In your fur." Then the spectre at the front stepped forward, shook his ghastly head and clutched himself. "I need to go." A stream of yellow green liquid ran from his cloak onto the deck. Paint bubbled and burned. "Aha ha ha," gurgled the spectre, "that's better." The Wabbit stood his ground. The Lepus vibrated - she was underway, he could feel it. "We're taking you where you can do no harm." For the first time, the spectres seemed alarmed. They shifted uneasily and mumbled curses. They huddled together and spat on the deck. "We'll take your soul!" The Wabbit whacked the bell and yelled. "You'll have to find it first." Now they shrivelled down until their cloaks lay on the deck. "Pray," shouted the Wabbit, "The longer you delay, the heavier your punishment will be." How heavy?" whimpered a spectre." "Heavier than a bad breakfast," snapped the Wabbit.

Monday, March 18, 2019

7. The Wabbit and the Dead Bell Jazz

The Wabbit and Jenny commandeered a small craft. The gentle swell made it bob gently in the water and for a while the Wabbit thought nothing was happening. Jenny took out a packet of Sulphur Soap. "Where did you find it?" murmured the Wabbit. "In a shop," shrugged Jenny. They waited. There was nothing, merely the vague sound of an outboard motor. It was all too quiet and the Wabbit said so. "Maybe it's time, Commander," said Jenny, "Ring the bell." The Wabbit had given little thought to ringing the bell and had brought nothing to hit it with. But he tried to think of the loudest drumming he'd ever heard and came up with Max Roach. He whacked the drum with both paws. It boinged across the water. He hit it again in a series of broken rhythms that echoed from every building on the dock. Jenny gazed across the water. "Here they come." The Wabbit's drumming became frantic. Jenny took out sulphur soap and sprinkled it over the side like goldfish food. She waited and listened then  sprinkled some more. A green glow lit the depths. Three heads emerged from the water, nodding as if entranced. They came close but not too close, swaying from side to side. The Wabbit heard hoarse whispering and he continued to hit the bell. But he was getting tired. "What do we do now?"  Jenny started the motor and the craft crept forward. The spectres wheeled and followed. Jenny grinned an unpleasant grin. "Keep playing, we're going to the Lepus."

Friday, March 15, 2019

6. The Wabbit and the Big Ship's Bell

The Wabbit didn't think he'd have much bother getting a bell. The docks were full of ships and most of them had large brass affairs, heavily polished by the ship's cook. He snuck aboard the bow of the handiest ship and located the bell with ease. But he hadn't reckoned with the weight. He tried to ease it down but when it came loose, it nearly pinned him to the deck. The Wabbit swore quietly with all the seafaring curses he could remember. He reached for a rag on the deck and wound it round the clapper. Then he heaved the bell on his shoulder. "Phew!" groaned the Wabbit, "this must weigh twenty kilos." He lurched onto the pier and the bell swung onto his other shoulder. The rag unwound and the clapper hit the inside of the bell, which duly pealed out across the length and breadth of the docks. He heard a stirring from the bridge and some angry shouts, so he hopped along the wharf at enormous speed. But the faster he went, the more the bell rang. It dropped on his foot and he kicked it in retaliation but that made even more noise. He ducked into an alleyway and pulled the bell behind him. A mob of furious sailors ran past. "He went that way," one of them shouted. "Get him!" shouted another." The Wabbit fished in his fur for a nylon tie and secured the clapper. Then with as much silence as he could muster and a using a minimum of oaths, he rolled the bell towards the city ...

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

5. The Wabbit, Jenny and the City Spooks

Pirate Jenny and the Wabbit followed them through the city. The spectres paid visits to a series of financial buildings and each time they emerged they appeared to have changed. Now they wore cloaks. Facial features emerged. Eyes started to glow - dimly at first but brightening after each visit. The leader waved vestigial arms and beckoned. They called on more buildings, floating through marbled halls. They met no resistance. Nothing was an obstacle. The leader turned green and he seemed to slither on slime. The Wabbit grimaced and his nose twitched. He could smell an awful stench of seaweed and algae and rotting wood. Jenny touched him on the shoulder and drew her weapons. "They be collecting the unsuccessful souls for transport. They be paralyzed and absorbed into these creatures." "How many?" gasped the Wabbit. "Could be hundreds, maybe thousands," replied Jenny. The figures grew bigger and swept their cloaks wide as they gathered more souls. "Can they be vanquished?" asked the Wabbit. "There's only one way," said Jenny, "But we need a deid bell and sulphur soap." The Wabbit watched the cloaked figures melting in and out of doorways. Now they were all completely green and stank like a thousand hulks. He nodded. "I'll get the bell, you get the soap."

Monday, March 11, 2019

4. The Wabbit and the Container Ghosts

Pirate Jenny and the Wabbit crept onto the quiet dock and between the makeshift container village. The dock wasn't quiet for long. Container doors started to open and figures emerged. At first they were insubstantial but they quickly solidified and moved towards the city. They had little in the way of limbs or features. They appeared simply as cloaked shapes and like their ship, they could move through solid objects. The Wabbit expected them to make some ghost-like sound but they were almost silent. He could hear only the rustling of cloaks and whispering. Jenny tapped the Wabbit lightly on the shoulder. "They are creatures our pirate legends tell of. They live between land and sea, constantly shuttling back and forth." The Wabbit shivered. Jenny continued. "They protect the treasure of criminals who are long dead and whose booty continues to circulate as free trade." The figures suddenly wheeled around as if discovered. Jenny and the Wabbit ducked behind the sign. The Wabbit murmured. "Are they as pleasant as they look?" Jenny stifled a pirate guffaw. "They are the shadow of the stock markets and a million times as vicious." The Wabbit shrugged. "Just the usual then. What are they doing?" Jenny grimaced. "The legend says they visit investors to punish failure and reward success." "What happens to failures?" asked the Wabbit. Jenny shook her head. "They are taken. Then they too must shuttle between land and sea forever." It was the Wabbit's turn to shake his head. "What do they do with the rest of their time?"

Friday, March 08, 2019

3. The Wabbit and the Phantom Quay

The Lepus pursued the ghost ferry a long way, through the English Channel and down the Thames Estuary. No one noticed either ship steal into Canary Wharf and if they had, they would have paid scant attention. Vessels came and went. Visitors gawped and took photographs. The Lepus tucked in at Heron Quay and watched. The Wabbit was puzzled. "Where can they land the ghosts?" Captain Jenny strode up and down the bridge and laughed. "I think I know. They'll go to 'Arbour Quay."  "There's nothing there," said the Wabbit. "Exactly," said Jenny, "But it looks good on paper." "I saw the illustrations," grinned the Wabbit. A train passed overhead. Metal screeched and the bridge rumbled. Jenny spoke to the engine room. "Slow ahead." Quietly they followed. The ghost ferry ignored all obstacles. It simply shimmered and passed through them. The Wabbit squinted and made out a vast plain of mud bordered by a provisional quay, just wood and tyres. The ghostly ferry shuddered to a halt. The Wabbit heard it bump against wood. The quay groaned. The tyres squealed. Mist rose from the ferry's deck. Then - one by one - containers materialised, lifted and settled on the quay, stacking up like a block of apartments. Now they heard the ferry's engines. Its propellor threshed. The bow swung out and it started to turn. "What do we do now?" murmured the Wabbit. "We wait," said Jenny ...

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

2. The Wabbit and the Ghost Ferry

"Thar she blows," said Pirate Jenny. The Wabbit peered into binoculars. He could barely make out the ghostly ship. "One ugly ferry," said the Wabbit. He peered again and nudged Jenny. "These be containers." Jenny strode up and down the bridge, then swayed. "Ghost containers. All accounted for on the bill of lading." The Wabbit murmured to himself. "All ghosts have been loaded." The Lepus plunged and shot up from the waves. The sea washed over the bow and spray spattered the window. "Is the bill of lading clean and straight?" asked the Wabbit. Jenny spoke to the engine room. "Slow ahead. Engage Stealthicator." The Lepus vanished - all except for a skull and crossbones flag that snapped and fluttered in the wind. The ghost ferry was almost transparent and they watched its progress with difficulty. Jenny turned to the Wabbit. "They use a spookchain lading that indemnifies all parties." The Wabbit considered. "Ah, no paper record. So what about the ghosts?" Jenny smiled. "Independent ghost contractors. No connection with carrier or ghost company." The Wabbit watched the ferry. "But who pays the company? Who foots the bill?" "The powers that be," shrugged Jenny. The Wabbit slapped the bulkhead with a paw. "So what's the point?" Jenny grinned her broadest grin yet. "The company is paid for invisible services."

Monday, March 04, 2019

1. The Wabbit and the No Ferry Company

The Wabbit waited in the same place by the river every day for a week. He was quite tenacious, because he knew something was afoot. Despite an advertisement for a new ferry company - complete with timetable - the quay where ferries were due to dock was overgrown and dilapidated. Quayside windows were boarded over and signs hung broken and untidy. The company's advertisement also presented a mystery. It featured in a famous puzzle magazine, and was deeply concealed within conundrums and crosswords over the course of several weeks. Fervent readers dedicated their lives to solving that magazine's puzzles. The Wabbit was one of that stalwart band and knew the magazine generally featured no advertising. So when he first came across the brain teaser, he'd thought it an innovative kind of publicity. With puzzle magazine in paw, he checked it out. He wasn't the only one. Several people approached him. "Are you waiting for the new ferry?" With each enquiry, the Wabbit became more determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. He called Pirate Jenny for information. His walkie talkie crackled with Jenny's pirate voice. "Aharr, I think ye be looking for the Spookborne Packet Company." "That's the One," said the Wabbit. "It be a ghost company," said Jenny. "What do they transport?" asked the Wabbit. "Ghosts," said Jenny.

Friday, March 01, 2019

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

Lapinette had located a new caffè and was urgently ushering the team inside. "Come on now, it's very popular and it gets busy now." The caffè lay at the top of one of Rome's seven hills, just beside the Big Observatory. The Wabbit sneaked a glance inside. It was nearly empty, but lunchtime approached. He nodded. "Where's Skratch?" A figure peered round the edge of the building. "Meaow!" said Skratch. "You're just in time to tell us about the Wabbit's adventure," murmured Wabsworth. "Aha," said Skratch. "Aha what?" said Wabsworth. "I refer to an 'aha' moment," purred Skratch. He turned to the Wabbit. "Wabbit. Have you considered your onieric sequence and come up with anything?" "I did not consider the story a dream," complained the Wabbit. "It was all rather real." Skratch shook his head. "Think deeply of the associations." The Wabbit winked at Wabsworth. "I was in a bar and I associate that with having a drink." Lapinette grinned and cleared her throat. "Wabbit you said everything was blue, which is deep and impenetrable. Can you fathom it?" The Wabbit shrugged and pointed inside the bar and waved. Everyone ignored him. "Truth?" offered Wabsworth. The Wabbit bounced up and down. "There's people coming up the hill, we'd best be quick!" No one paid the slightest attention. "Of course, the blue signifies the feminine," meaowed Skratch. The Wabbit's eyes lit up. He offered Lapinette a paw and bowed. Lapinette took his paw. "That's me," she smiled.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

6. The Wabbit at the Exit to the Beach.

The Wabbit found himself blinking at the exit from the beach. The winter sun beamed down from an azure sky. "Wabbit!" shouted Lapinette, "Where were you?" Skratch meowed from behind the fence. "You were supposed to meet us at the caffè." The Wabbit blinked again. "I was under the beach, you were both there." Lapinette looked at Skratch and Skratch looked back. Skratch and Lapinette shook their heads. "You were!" said the Wabbit. He waved a paw at Skratch. "You were running the Underneath the Beach Bar." "Well, I hope I got paid," shrugged Skratch. He meowed a disbelieving meaow. The Wabbit pointed at Lapinette. "You came down the ceremonial staircase." "Where?" sighed Lapinette. "Under the beach," said the Wabbit, "you danced down and you got an award." His voice trailed off to a whisper. "There was an Escher staircase and that's how we got back here." "I came in the Jeep," said Lapinette. "Perhaps you were in the sun too long," suggested Skratch. "Maybe you lingered longly in the caffè," smiled Lapinette. The Wabbit thought for a minute. "No, no. A crowd of people came on the beach and pointed everywhere and then a piece of driftwood turned to ice." Skratch nodded in agreement. "That would have been the ice men." He winked at Lapinette. Lapinette winked back, but the Wabbit saw it and he shrugged and grinned. "Do they cometh often?"

Monday, February 25, 2019

5. The Wabbit and the Double Stairs

"This way," shouted Lapinette and she scampered up the stairs. The Wabbit tried to follow, and he scampered up too - but he found himself on a different set of stairs. The two stairways weaved in and out. No matter what he did, he couldn't find the other stairs. He thought he would jump but things changed quickly to thwart his efforts. Lapinette looked over the banister. "Come on Wabbit, this way to the beach." The Wabbit grinned in spite of himself and he called to Lapinette. "Who designed this stairway? Was it Escher?" Lapinette danced merrily on because both sets of stairs were ascending rapidly and the steps started to fold like an express escalator. The Wabbit hopped up and down as treads snatched at his fur. His stairway took him higher than Lapinette and he seemed to look down from a dizzying height - but then it dropped with astonishing speed. He leaned out to touch Lapinette's paw on the way past, but now the staircase turned upside down. Lapinette looked down at him from a startling height. She shouted. "You just have to think your way up. Think high, think tall." So the Wabbit thought tall, thought high. Both stairs lifted. Escalator steps shuffled like packs of cards and propelled the Wabbit and Lapinette higher and higher. He could smell sea and salty air - and fish. "I'm thinking of lunch," said the Wabbit.

Friday, February 22, 2019

4. The Wabbit and the Ceremonial Stairs

The Wabbit tried again. As he traced his way along the corridor it gave way to a staircase that shimmered in a blue light. The steps appeared to dance. The banisters shook to the rhythm of a Bossa Nova. The Wabbit felt his paws tap to the music, he just couldn't help it. He leaned against the wall but the wall shook too. Everything moved. He heard a voice. "Wabbit!"  Down the stairs danced Lapinette with her paws outstretched. He stretched out his own to greet her. "Lapinette, what is this place?" "This is the ceremonial under the beach staircase," sang Lapinette. She pirouetted twice and sailed into the Wabbits paws. The Wabbit hugged her and grinned. "Ceremony? What ceremony?" Lapinette continued to gyrate. "The Under the Beach Awards." "Oh," said the Wabbit, "who won?" "I won," laughed Lapinette, "I always win." The Wabbit shrugged. "Did I win anything?" "Everyone wins something," laughed Lapinette. She continued to dance. The Wabbit raised an eye. Lapinette paused. "Best original screenplay set on a beach award." The Wabbit's eyes lit up and he gave a little bow. "Then I'd like to thank Lapinette for dancing down the ceremonial staircase." "Why don't we dance up it," suggested Lapinette. "Where does it go?" asked the Wabbit. Lapinette laughed. "To the top of course."

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

3. The Wabbit in the Under the Beach Bar

Behind the wall was a bar and behind the bar was Skratch the Cat. The Wabbit put a paw into the blue. It merged with the blue and tingled. "What will you have?" asked Skratch. "What have you got?" replied the Wabbit. "You can anything you want as long as it's blue," said Skratch. His voice sounded blue. "I'll have a Curaçao," shrugged the Wabbit. "Just as well," said Skratch, "that's all we have." He offered the Wabbit a blue glass with a blue liquid. "What is this place? Why are we here?" asked the Wabbit. Skratch polished a glass. "This is the Blue Bar, where everything is safe and secure. Do you feel safe and secure?" The Wabbit grimaced. "Not particularly. I find it dreary." "Do you?" asked Skratch. He paused. "This is where I go in recurring dreams. I'm running a beach bar. People come in and go out. In between I serve them blue drinks." The Wabbit thought about it, because there seemed to be nothing else to do. "If this is your recurring dream, Skratch - do I visit?" "Never seen you in here before," smiled Skratch, He began to hum a blues tune. The Wabbit backed away slowly and dragged his paw out of the blue. It stopped tingling. He blinked. There was nothing there. No bar, no Skratch, no blue glass. He was back in the corridor...

Monday, February 18, 2019

2. The Wabbit Under the Beach

The sands shifted and the Wabbit found himself sinking. Time passed and the sand went on and on. Then things went blue. He was in a corridor surrounded by a torpid, azure atmosphere. He put up a paw and pressed. The blue gave way. He pushed forward but it was like heavy oil. He inhaled with a normal breath. "Tastes of blue," he muttered. He tried to spit it out, but it lingered in this mouth. "Phwag!" he scowled. He pushed forward along the corridor but no matter what he did, it was always the same. He tried going the other way. There was no difference. He dropped to the floor and wriggled along on his tummy but nothing changed. He plucked a hair from his fur, made it wet and stuck it on the wall. Then he tried the corridor again. Within a few seconds he was back where he'd started. The Wabbit made a joke to himself. "Hair today, here tomorrow." There was no-one around to laugh so he did it himself. His laughter echoed down the corridor and came up behind him. He turned round and quickly back as if he could catch the corridor out - all to no avail. It was infuriating. The Wabbit was running out of ideas. He kicked the wall in fury. Something rattled. He tried again. There was a vicious crack. He gripped the rail and pulled. It came away in his paw, leaving a crevice in the wall. He took several hops back and with a mighty lunge, he kicked it with all his might. The wall crumbled into blue fragments...

Friday, February 15, 2019

1. The Wabbit and things on the Beach

The Wabbit was between missions and that was always a boring time. So he decided he'd walk along the beach from Fregene to the airport. It was further than he thought and he became impatient with the beach and complained to it. Nothing happened and he continued. But after a while, he heard the sound of voices. Without warning, groups of people appeared and assembled themselves by the sea. This wasn't what the Wabbit had in mind. The people pointed in many different directions. But there was certainly no plane in the air and not a vessel could be seen in the water. The Wabbit ignored them. "I expect better," he murmured. A post sticking from the sand caught his eye. The Wabbit shrugged, because there had been the usual storms and it was the time of year when the beach was always different. Then he heard a crackle. He stared at the post. Ice formed on the top. The Wabbit shivered although it was warm in the sun. It was as if he had opened a freezer door. He heard voices fade as the people walked into the distance. He could feel sun on his fur and warmth as the temperature rose. The ice melted into water and became mere moisture. Then that too vanished. He touched the post. It was a dry as a bone and wood flaked off on the sand. But the sand seemed to shift. "What occurs?" asked the Wabbit ...

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

The team gathered at a new Adventure Caffè. The Wabbit headed off to locate a suitable table while the others chattered, but he turned when Skratch appeared. "Well Skratch. What was that for a sort of Adventure we just had?" Skratch raised a paw in greeting. "Wabbit, there are many types of adventures involving doubles, all quite different." Lapinette pirouetted and waved. "That doesn't answer the question."  Wabsworth had been reading. "It could be said to be a reflection double rather than a narrative double." "Where did you find that argument, Wabsworth?" asked the Wabbit. "On the Internet," smiled Wabsworth. Everyone groaned long and hard, including Wabsworth. "The mythic twin is as old as Zoroaster," said Lapinette. "Good and evil locked in endless battle," agreed Skratch. "So how old is Zoroaster?" asked the Wabbit. "No one can agree," grinned Lapinette. Skratch ignored this distraction and meowed. "The mythic twin is normally predicated upon a basic antinomy, but in this case we must look - not to Zoroaster - but to Lacan." The Wabbit was relieved because now he was on familiar territory. "In relations between the imaginary and symbolic, the double hollows out the real." "The absence of the other," added Lapinette with a nod. "Unspoken and unseen," shrugged Wabsworth.
[The double as the unseen of culture. Towards a definition of the Doppelganger. Milica Zivkovic.]

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

11. The Wabbit and the Big Goodbye

The Wabbit couldn't resist looking out and back down the line. The figure was waving at him. The train hurtled through the night but the figure stayed exactly the same distance away. An eastbound express flashed past and smashed over the figure - but when it had gone, the figure was still standing. He could hear it shouting "You got me, Wabbit. But there's always next time." Its edged weapon glowed red in the night. Lapinette tried to pull the Wabbit inside but it was all too fascinating. The Wabbit stared and stared. "The more you look," said Lapinette, "the more powerful his hold over you becomes." So the Wabbit ducked inside and let it be. "I doubt we've seen the last of him." "He's your doppelganger," said Wabsworth. "Well I don't like him," muttered the Wabbit, "he's thoroughly unpleasant." "Is the game finished now?" sighed Lapinette. Wabsworth grinned just like the Wabbit. "No game is ever quite finished." Lapinette grimaced. "I want my edged weapon back." Wabsworth pointed. "It's exactly where you left it." Lapinette fished in her frock and produced it. The Wabbit ferreted in his fur and found his very own automatic with the missing safety catch. Wabsworth took out two walkie talkies. The train rattled across points and through dark stations. Skratch's voice crackled over the loudspeakers. "Where would you like the next stop of this train?" "Home," said the Wabbit. "Just take us home."

Friday, February 08, 2019

10. The Wabbit and the Exit Strategy

The Wabbit saw Lapinette kick the figure and it lurched towards the door. But it bounced back and swirled the edged weapon round and round. She kicked it again, but it kept coming. He heard a hiss as Skratch opened the doors. Outside the night blurred past. The figure swayed and grabbed a rail. Whatever the figure was it had to leave of its own accord or the game would continue forever. The Wabbit pulled out the automatic but he held back. Killing it wouldn't help. He fired a shot at its ear. Blood spattered the compartment. The thing hit the door and nearly fell out. Its feet slithered on the floor. "I'm still here!" The shout was triumphant. The slipstream tugged at its fur. Its teeth chattered. The train slammed through a tunnel and the draught sucked the thing half out. Brickwork scraped its back. Its yell was frantic. "I'm not leaving!" It had one foot inside and another out. Lapinette gave it another push and shouted, "Give up!" "Never!" yelled the thing. It clawed his way back on the footplate. "Whoooo," said a voice that seemed to come from the wind. The thing turned -  and just for a moment, lost its grip.  It stared at the Wabbit with what looked like despair. Its hold loosened. With paws raised in surrender it fell to the track. The Wabbit grinned as he watched Wabsworth climb into the compartment. The doors hissed shut. "Ticket?" smiled the Wabbit.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

9. The Wabbit and the Platform Standoff

The Wabbit waited on the platform. It smelled of metal and bad gas and something else, something unnatural. A freight train blurred fast and sent a shower of gravel into his face. The Wabbit didn't blink. Another train drew into the station at a leisurely pace - a commuter train with no passengers. He slid the safety catch off his automatic and racked it twice for luck. He blew along the barrel. His breath hung in the cold air. The train screeched to a standstill. Standing alongside was the figure that looked like him. The Wabbit could see him reflected in his glasses, waving a blood spattered edged weapon. The figure drew a door open and yelled. "You're leaving the game, get on the train." Still, the Wabbit did not turn. The figure felt the muzzle of an automatic pressing just under his ear. "It's you that's leaving," said Lapinette. With her other paw she dragged him on board. The weapon clattered on the platform. The door closed. As the train began to move, the Wabbit leaped across the platform and clung to a footplate of a far compartment. The train gathered speed. It wasn't hard to lever a door and just as the train hit a bend in the track, the Wabbit tumbled into a compartment. He could hear a commotion and he ran down the train towards it. The intercom crackled with Skratch's voice. "This is the End Game Express, have your tickets ready." The Wabbit grabbed a rail as the train chattered across points and through red lights and he sang, "This train don't carry no hustlers, this train..."

Friday, February 01, 2019

8. The Wabbit and a Cat's Surprise

The Wabbit had no intention of leaving, so they hopped through the back streets in search of answers. But there was no sign of the figure and still, nothing looked right. "This looks like Milan," said Lapinette. The Wabbit shook his head and grumbled. "Pssst!" said a voice. The Wabbit shrugged and murmured, "No more surprises." Followed by Lapinette, he continued on his way - but Wabsworth hung back. A branch cracked above him. Something dropped from a tree, landed with considerable grace and purred gently. "What's going down?" meaowed Skratch. "You are," grinned Wabsworth. He beckoned the others. "What are you doing here, Skratch?" "Instinct," replied Skratch, "I felt impelled to travel here." "We seem to be caught in a game," explained Wabsworth. "Ah, said Skratch, "then what I saw was a player. It looked a bit like you, Wabbit." "Our adversary," said Lapinette. The Wabbit hopped up to Skratch. "How do we get out of the game?" Skratch purred gently. "We win the game! Let's get him." The Wabbit wasn't happy. He prodded Wabsworth. "What are our strategic options?" Wabsworth's circuits whirred. "We force our opponent to leave the game. Where did you see him?" "The railway station," said Skratch. "Perfect," said Wabsworth, "He doesn't have to go far ..."

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

7. Skratch and the Late Freight Train

The freight train coasted into Padova Central Station and Skratch the Cat stepped off. He'd had no intention of taking the train but some deep instinct told him to do it. So he'd boarded the train in Turin, then curled between two containers as it rattled at high speed towards Venice. When the train shuddered to a halt, he woke up. He was puzzled. He knew it wasn't supposed to stop until Padova Freight Village so he shook himself alert and looked down the platform. A familiar figure hopped along the platform and into the distance. Skratch purred and was about to meaow to his friend - but something stopped him. "That's not the Wabbit," he murmured. The figure plucked an edged weapon from his fur and drew it along the containers. It made a rasping sound. Blood dripped from the blade. The figure's turn was abrupt and Skratch snapped back and out of sight. A whistle blew, then with a screech the train began to move. Rails squealed as the train picked up speed. Skratch leaped for the other side of the train and when it reached the end of the platform, he jumped off and slid behind a building. The figure remained alone on the empty platform, looking from side to side and shouting. "Come out. I know you're there," Skratch was as quiet as a cat can be. He dropped onto the westbound rails and prowled past him to the exit. "I'm neither here nor there," he purred ... and he vanished into the city. 

Monday, January 28, 2019

6. The Wabbit and the Tidied Scene

The scene changed and Lapinette started yelling. "This isn't Venice, this is Padua. I won Venice. I want Venice!" Wabsworth seemed a long way off but the Wabbit could hear him. "They seem to have tidied Venice," he murmured. "Everything's wrong," scowled the Wabbit. He pulled the automatic from his fur, but the safety catch wasn't broken and he growled, "This isn't my gun." "Don't look now," called a voice. The Wabbit's head swivelled. "There he is," shouted Lapinette. She pointed. "He looks just like you." The figure took out an edged weapon and tapped it three times on the base of a statue. "That's mine," shouted Lapinette. The figure tapped the statue again and spoke. "Nothing is at it seems." His voice was dull and watery, the sound of splashes on a jetty. Wabsworth grabbed for his automatic but there was only the walkie talkie. He pointed it anyway. It crackled into life and spoke. "This is not a gun." The scene froze. They found themselves gripped like tourists wrapped in aspic. But the figure strode up and down the parapet, yelling. "You'd be well advised to leave. Don't wait til tomorrow." Then it dived into the water and vanished. The scene returned to life and the team with it. But something rose from the water, something awful - a putrid, rancid smell. Lapinette shuddered and grasped her nose. "What on earth is that?" The Wabbit looked into the water and snarled, "Mediocrity."

Friday, January 25, 2019

5. The Wabbit and the Lady Gondolier

They strolled towards the river. But it didn't seem to be the right river. It wasn't a river at all. "I told you this was a game," said Wabsworth. "Pretty," nodded the Wabbit. "It's like a painting." murmured Wabsworth. "Canaletto?" suggested the Wabbit. "Artificial topography," agreed Wabsworth. The Wabbit looked all around and took in the scene. "Are we really in it?" he asked. Wabsworth sniffed long and hard. "Yes. It smells of damp mop in a corner." The Wabbit's ears pricked up at the chugging of an outboard motor. "Johnson Evinrude," said Wabsworth. "You can't get better," grinned the Wabbit. He heard a familiar voice but this time he turned and shouted, "Lapinette!" "Wanna lift?" called Lapinette. "What's in the boxes, Gondolier?" yelled Wabsworth. Lapinette yelled back. "Haggis for Burns Night and a case of herring!" The craft edged in sideways and bumped against the jetty. "How on earth did you get here?" asked the Wabbit. Lapinette hopped off and climbed the steps. "It was a magazine competition. And I traded all my points from American Express." "They didn't run to a gondola?" queried Wabsworth. Lapinette shook her head and shrugged. "No-one can." They gazed at the bridge and noted how beautiful everything was. "Bring any weapons?" grunted the Wabbit. Lapinette patted her frock. "A machine pistol disguised as a makeup case and a pack of exploding lipsticks." "Expecting trouble?" smiled Wabsworth. Lapinette laughed. "Trouble expects me."

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

4. The Wabbit inside the Urban Maze

The Wabbit pursued the figure through a maze of old buildings - until he lost him. There was no one to curse so he cursed the building instead and stamped his foot. "Wabbit!" The voice was familiar but the Wabbit was too cute to acknowledge it. "Commander?" The voice had changed tone. Now it was sharp and urgent. "It's Wabsworth," said the voice. The Wabbit refused to look. "How do I know it's you?" "Ask me a question," said the voice. "OK," said the Wabbit, "Why is 5 to the power of zero only one?" "Everything to the power of zero is one," said the voice. "How can that be?" asked the Wabbit. The reply was quickfire fast. "It's only a convention." The Wabbit laughed and turned. "Wabsworth, what's going on?" "We're caught in a game," said Wabsworth. He threw down an automatic, then a walkie talkie. The Wabbit caught the gun and examined it but he let the walkie talkie clatter on the road. "Where did you get these?" "I had to win them," answered Wabsworth. "I'm listening," sighed the Wabbit. Wabsworth climbed from the window and shimmied down to the sidewalk. "I had to fit a stack of objects into a shape, but the objects and the shape kept changing." The Wabbit nodded. "Then there were eight crosswords, but I didn't know which clues went where." "Did it take long?" asked the Wabbit. "No time at all," said Wabsworth, "The game was a smoke screen. The gun and the walkie talkie were on a shelf and I just took them."

Monday, January 21, 2019

3. The Wabbit and the Alleyway Portal

The Wabbit hopped off in high dudgeon - but he couldn't help looking back. The shutters shimmered and vanished. At first glance it looked like an alleyway between two sheds that led to the street behind. But everything was wrong. The light was wrong. The sky was wrong. The sound was wrong. Apart from the perspective, there was little that was right. But still that voice hung in the air, whispering now, "This place doesn't really exist." The Wabbit shook his head and muttered, "The puzzle has too many pieces." As if in answer, something else happened. A figure appeared. The Wabbit's fur stood on end. The figure was the Wabbit, beckoning with his paw and smiling. An orange sun drew an impossible shadow in the cobbles. "It's a cardboard cut out," thought the Wabbit - but his likeness moved towards him and breathed softly. "Duck down the alleyway." The Wabbit scowled. "I don't think so." But a hidden force dragged him towards the cobbles. The Wabbit searched in his fur for his radio, but it wasn't there. The figure waved a walkie talkie and grinned. It burst into life and crackled with Wabsworth's voice, "Come in Wabbit, come in." The figure repeated the message, mocking Wabsworth's tone. "Come in Wabbit, come in." It beckoned once more. The Wabbit's paws scuffed the asphalt as he slid into the alley. "I'm not going your way ..."

Thursday, January 17, 2019

2. The Wabbit and the Inside Out

The Wabbit threw open the shutters and closed them behind him. An eerie light filtered through from the next street, painting the rubbish that littered the floor a fluorescent orange. At the far corner stood an old chair and a little further away, a coffee table with a reserved sign. The Wabbit pulled his automatic from his fur. "That looks like blood." His voice was the merest murmur, yet it echoed like a trumpet under a bridge. The Wabbit advanced with caution and touched the red stains. "Paint," he whispered. He thought for a moment. "Maybe someone painted themselves into a corner." He turned to the table and lifted the sign. "Reserved for whom?" He ticked it in his fur and sifted through the rubbish, but found little of interest except for a few receipts made out to 'A Customer' and listing various vague services. "This is a riddle," thought the Wabbit. It was then that he noticed the small pyramid on the chair. It looked like a Wablantis pyramid and he made to pick it up. But a little voice told him not to. He slid the automatic back in his fur and took out a camera. "I'll bring in the team and we'll scour this place with a fine tooth comb." His camera flashed. Then he tried to slide the shutter back up, but it was jammed. The voice he'd heard before spoke again. "They won't find anything. This place doesn't really exist." The shutters slammed open and a hidden force propelled the Wabbit outside. The shutters slammed shut. The Wabbit hopped back. His camera flashed again and he growled, "We'll see about that."

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

1. The Wabbit and the Back Street Market

The Wabbit was assured by a trusted source that the store would be open. So he was extremely annoyed. He'd made a special effort to haul himself out an early hour and here he was, looking at closed shutters. All the same, it was somewhere he'd never been before and so he glanced around. At first glance it looked seedy. A number of likely sorts idled around. The Wabbit thought of them as 'Herberts' and he frowned. Some greeted each other and shook hands. Others whistled aimlessly and followed others. He watched as they came and went. He detoured round the stalls in the main market, ignoring the cries of dusty dealers. Everyone was their friend apparently. Each passer-by was greeted in the same manner. "How are you? How are you?" The Wabbit hopped back to the shuttered store. "Are you a rabbit? Do you speak rabbit?" asked a trader." The Wabbit shook his head and moved on. It wasn't the kind of market the Wabbit was used to. He was fond of a search for an unobtainable jazz album, but everything he saw was boringly boring. He briefly took an interest in a stall selling football wear, but every single item sported the colours of a team he quite disliked. Then he heard a whisper. He looked around but there was no-one there. The voice whispered again. "Are you looking?" The Wabbit banged on the shutters and shouted. "I'm looking for an unobtainable item." "Maybe I can help you," said the voice ...

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

Wabsworth tapped the Wabbit on the shoulder and said "Will you ask the question?" "All right," smiled the Wabbit, "What was that for a sort of adventure we just had?" Eataly was quiet and his voice rang out. "Drink!" yelled Tipsy. She scaled the giant wine bottle then tapped it - but it sounded hollow. "Political pastiche," murmured Skratch. “It took place in a socio-semiotic framework, yet it remained undelineated." Lapinette leaned back and nodded her head. "But in terms of intertextuality, it provided an oscillation of meanings accessible to pragmatic appropriation." "Drink!" shouted Tipsy. Lapinette twitched an ear. A waiter appeared, took an order and vanished. Skratch's eyes bulged and he spluttered, "In narratological stereotypes, autonomous constructs are usually foregrounded." Lapinette held up a paw. "Only for naive readers." It was Wabsworth's turn to speak. (Being an android, he had read everything there was to read.) "The adventure was political but utilised comical sharpening, which produced negative but likeable stereotypes." "The wine is coming," yelled Tipsy. "I rest my case," smiled Wabsworth. "Wabsy, I heard that," murmured Tipsy. "Skratch creased up with laughter. "Now you have to take Tipsy to the movies." Tipsy grinned. "I like political horror." Lapinette kept a straight face. "Like They live." Tipsy slid down the giant wine bottle. "They won't if they don't bring my drink."

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

19. The Wabbit and the 5 Star Judgement

There were only five stars left but they were brought to justice anyway. "Have you anything to say in your defence?" asked the Wabbit. They mumbled incoherently. "Let's just boom them," said StrangeGlove, He waved his automatic. "Due process must be procedurised," shrugged the Wabbit.  "You start," said StrangeGlove. The Wabbit addressed the stars. "What is your occupation or business?" Silence fell. Outside, traffic shuffled down Via Nizza. "I'll mark down "layabouts", mein Fuhrer," said Strangeglove. "From whence do you come?" snapped the Wabbit. An incoherent mumble hung in the air. "I am writing down a no fixed abode kind of place," sighed StrangeGlove. The Wabbit groaned and  continued. "What language do you speak?" The stars revolved in a circle and made a chattering sound. "Gibberish?" enquired Strangeglove. The circle of stars revolved the other way then bounced into one another. What voices they had were shrill and angry. "You can't argue in here," said Strangeglove, "This is a court of law!" The Wabbit and Doctor StrangeGlove drew back and spoke to each other. "What do you suggest?" asked the Wabbit. "Microwave until they boom," said StrangeGlove. The Wabbit shook his head. "Explosive liquidisation?" suggested StrangeGlove. The Wabbit wasn't happy. StrangeGlove thought for a while. "I suggest ... gainful employment." His eyes glistened. The Wabbit smiled in agreement. "What about traffic lights?" StrangeGlove laughed and nodded. "Then they'll have to change."

Saturday, January 05, 2019

18. Puma, Terni and the Stars

Puma was waiting as only a puma could wait. Then with a mighty roar he leaped on the stars. His claws slashed, his jaws snapped and his teeth tore at the creatures. They didn't taste of much - a mite salty maybe. They were a certainly a long way short of meat. He landed on the sand, then clawed his way up a pole and leaped again. He beat them up, batted them down and ground them to dust. But there were many and they kept coming. The more he demolished the more there seemed to be - like a swarm of annoying insects. "I could use a helping paw," he screeched. That's when he heard the frantic flapping of cabbage wings. Terni the Food Dragon came swooping down from two o'clock high, toasting the creatures with a peppery dragon breath and swallowing them in giant batches. "Gnammy, yummedy gnam!" he roared. The starry warm tried to evade him by flocking up and down and circling in a sine wave formation. But they were a poor match for a food dragon with attitude. Puma picked up a fluttering star in his teeth, shook it around then let it go. He pounced again and ripped it to shreds. "Speak you little daemons," he roared, "Speak or we'll render you endangered." The remaining stars started to whine like dynamos. Puma swept them into a hole in the sand, sat on them and snarled, "You'll answer to the Wabbit!" Terni landed and tore a massive groove along the sand. His fiery breath ignited every piece of flotsam on the beach. "I can hardly wait."

Thursday, January 03, 2019

17. The Wabbit and the Stars of Doom

It was a bolt from the blue. The Wabbit watched the hatch swung open. Doctor StrangeGlove rapped on the hull and yelled, "Is there anyone hiding there in the dark?" Out lurched three stupefied Agents of Rabit, tiny stars revolving round their heads. One stumbled off in the sand and fell on his face. The others reeled around in a drunken fashion. "Incompetent fools," shouted StrangeGlove, "I will explode you like a boom." The Wabbit laughed grimly. "We'll keep the boom for later. Watch out for these stars." The stars whirled and merged then took off across the sand, like roosting starlings.
StrangeGlove and the Wabbit followed their path and watched them land along every structure on the beach. The noise was deafening. Then all became still. The Agents blinked. "Where are we?" "On the beach," said the Wabbit. The Agents looked unsteady, "I can't remember a thing," said one. They conferred for some time. "We are taking the vessel," interrupted StrangeGlove. "But how will we get home?" whimpered an Agent. The Wabbit waved his automatic. "Get the bus." The Agents hung their heads and headed to the road. "Augenblick, meine kleinen Freunde!" growled StrangeGlove. The Agents turned back. "What are these kleinen stars?" "They came out a packet of cornflakes," shrugged an Agent. "I was collecting them," said the second. "I have two yellows but I'm short of a red one," said the third. The Wabbit looked at StrangeGlove. "Do you like the stars?" StrangeGlove snapped a finger. "I prefer the dark."
["Augenblick, meine kleinen Freunde!":  Wait, my little friends!"  "Is there anyone hiding there in the dark?" : Return of the Pink Panther]