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 as 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]