Wednesday, December 30, 2020

2. The Wabbit and Strangeglove's Machine

Doctor Strangeglove called the Wabbit to see what he'd done. He'd been working in the Wabbit's shed to build a surprise present for Lapinette's birthday and the Wabbit was on tenterhooks to see it. The Wabbit was surprised. "That's Wab!" he yelled. "Oh Wabbit, I found it under some covers in a corner and adapted it. I hoped you wouldn't mind." The Wabbit was a bit embarrassed. He'd borrowed it in 2011 for a race and quite forgot to give it back. He thought about it for a bit and decided if they hadn't asked for it back, they didn't really want it. "That's OK," he said, "We've improved it." Strangeglove smiled. "We certainly have. Under the bonnet is an anti matter unit of my own design." The Wabbit patted what passed for a bumper. "What about controls?" Strangeglove nodded his gloved head. "There are three main controls. Forward to the Future, Backward to the Past - and Sideways." The Wabbit was intrigued. "Where does Sideways go?" "I don't really know!" shrugged Strangeglove, "so better not touch it." The Wabbit looked alarmed but said nothing more about it. "It has inhospitable climate control," said Strangeglove and I also put in a make-up case and a fur drier." "Very wise," nodded the Wabbit. Then he noticed the bow. "That's a nice bow, I thought you didn't do bows." Strangeglove looked embarrassed. "I found that lying around too. I stuck it on, and it wouldn't come off." The Wabbit knew where it came from. It had been attached to a present given to him by Lapinette. "I suppose bows all look the same," he chuckled. He rubbed his paws together. "Now I have to find a way of getting Lapinette round here." Strangeglove laughed and laughed. "Just tell her it's surprise," he said. "She'll be suspicious," replied the Wabbit. Strangeglove drew himself up to his full height. "Send a red rose by courier pigeon." "That'll work," agreed the Wabbit. 

Monday, December 28, 2020

1. The Wabbit and the Emergency Present

The Wabbit was stuck. He'd left it too late to get a present for Lapinette's birthday and didn't know what to do. There were only a few days left and all the shops were shut. But he had an idea that it could be something technical, so he tracked down Doctor Strangeglove to his lair. "Pleased to see you Wabbit," said Strangeglove, "I was just tuning up this engine for the electrical people." Dr. Strangeglove was in ebullient mood. Let loose on anything electrical, he was very happy. The Wabbit explained his predicament. Strangeglove smiled. "You want it to be a surprise?" The Wabbit nodded his head but looked rueful. "I should have thought of it before."  Doctor Strangeglove paced up and down, thinking. "Something technical you say?" The Wabbit nodded. "Something she hasn't got already?" added Strangeglove. The Wabbit nodded with vigour, because that was the main problem. No matter what he thought of, Lapinette had it already. The Doctor came up with an idea. "A time machine?" The Wabbit was astonished. "You could get me a time machine?" "Of course," said Strangeglove. "By Friday?" asked the Wabbit. Dr Strangeglove thought for a minute then he nodded. "I could do it for Thursday evening if I have the designs." The Wabbit was sceptical - but Lapinette did not have a time machine. That he knew. "Will it go into the future and come back?" "Anyway you like," smiled the Doctor. The Wabbit asked his penultimate question. "Will it have a seat?" "Yes," said Strangeglove, "Two seats if you want." The Wabbit wondered how much he had in his dinosaur fund. "I can build it from scrap," said the Doctor. The Wabbit had one more question. "Can you gift wrap it?" "No, I'm not that good," said Strangeglove.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

 
The Wabbit said he'd give everyone a surprise and took them to a Caffè he knew in Venice. It was very dry this year and they didn't have to wear Wellington boots - so Skratch was very pleased because he hated getting his feet wet. Lapinette and the Wabbit went ahead to order the drinks, because that was the way things worked. "Over there by the canal," said the Wabbit, "our drinks will be here in due course." Skratch was anxious to answer the question about the goings on with the letters and Wabsworth posed the question. "What on earth was that that for a sort of adventure?" Skratch was duty bound to respond. "It began as a satire about words and their meanings, but quickly changed to a discourse on the structure of words themselves." The Wabbit was disappointed. "Is that it?" Skratch meaowed a long and plaintive meow, "Certainly not. The discourse circulated around the power of the dictionary and, in essence, demonstrated that the letters had little power at all." Wabsworth grinned his android grin. "All the letters were caught in the dictionary's control of the word."  Skratch was on home territory. "And a word only has meaning as a place in a signifying chain." Lapinette laughed. "Stuck in a concatenation?" "At the station!" added the Wabbit. The rest all looked at him and groaned. "In other words it hardly mattered," said Wabsworth, "the lower cases and the upper cases are at the mercy of sound-images." The Wabbit wanted the last word. "They say the unconscious is structured like a language," Lapinette did get the last word. "Desire is therefore always left unsatisfied." "I desire my drink," said the Wabbit. Then they laughed and laughed and laughed.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

7. The Wabbit inside the Word Drum

As they walked into the vast halls of Dictionary House, a door slammed behind them and things started to revolve. The gothic interior gave way to the clean lines of a washing machine and it started to fill. One by one, all the letters they'd met joined them and started to gyrate. Everything ran and colours shattered, merged and separated again. Lapinette's kilt turned into coloured arrows and swept across her face. Only the Wabbit seemed happy. He'd been twirled before, so he lay back and let the wash do its work. Capital A got very small then big again then small. The lower-case letters swam  in the exotic brew. Now they were bigger than the capitals and they seemed happy too. "What's happening?" yelled the A. "You're being decapitalised," laughed the Wabbit. The wash got more violent and everything swirled around. All of a sudden it stopped. Then it began to twirl the other way. The letters became the same size. "Give me back my kilt!" shouted Lapinette. The tartan became tartan again. Lapinette breathed a sigh of relief. Now that they were the same size, the lower-case letters smiled benevolently on Capital A. "Join us brother," they yelled, "Join us in the heady brew of language." The Capital A shrugged. "I may as well," he said. "I was getting tired of always being at the front. Perhaps I could be in the middle." Small b smiled. "Perhaps you could be at the back," he said. "That's OK," said A, "I've been rather stressed always beginning sentences." The Wabbit dried his fur by blowing on it. "Now that your all palsy-walsy, perhaps we could get out of this drum." The door swung open. The gothic halls beckoned. "So many letters, so little time," said Lapinette. "Always time for a drink," said the Wabbit. "How do you spell that," laughed Lapinette.

Monday, December 14, 2020

6. The Wabbit and Dictionary House

The Wabbit and Lapinette carried out painstaking research but found nothing. So they took with them a python list of dictionaries and went to Dictionary House. The House lay deep in the Bavarian Quarter, a little-known part of Turin. The python list was a way of finding things out but that was a far as the Wabbit could go. It was a collection of unordered values accessed by keys. They keys had to be hashable, floating point numbers, strings and tuples. When the Wabbit got to tuples he bowed out. Of course, Wabsworth would have known all about it - but the Wabbit was determined to sort the matter out himself. "You don't need that," said Lapinette. The Wabbit asked why not. "Because," replied Lapinette, "the answer isn't there." The Wabbit nodded gravely. "Of course," he said. He waited but Lapinette said nothing. "OK where is the answer?" said the Wabbit. "The answer is in common usage," said Lapinette. It was the Wabbit's turn to say nothing. He nodded as if he understood everything. "Many languages do not have capitals at all," said Lapinette. The Wabbit waited. "Arabic, Hebrew, Korean or Japanese" (The Wabbit understood all that.) "The matter is quite complex," continued Lapinette, "but the lower-case letters appear to be demanding an end to mixed text." The Wabbit shook his head. "I don't think anyone will agree to that, but I have an idea." Lapinette shrugged. "Everything will be in upper case but very small," said the Wabbit. "I've seen it done," said Lapinette, "but I don't think the Upper Cases will agree." The Wabbit thought for a while. "What about Studly Caps mixed case?" Lapinette snickered. "Like the hidden message in HoTMaiL? They might just go for it ... let's go inside and ask."
 [HoTMaiL: HTML]

Friday, December 11, 2020

5. The Wabbit and the Rumble Letters

The Wabbit and Lapinette chatted amiably to the letters and told them they would make a case for their demands. But as they passed along Via Nizza Capital A sprang out at them. He's acquired some wheels and so he'd made good speed down the redundant cycle lanes that had sprung up. He kicked the w to the side. "Oh you big bully!" yelled Lapinette. She tried pushing him but he wouldn't desist. He swept the o to the side and laid into the letter s with venom. The letter s was having none of it and he clattered the Capital A with a left jab. "You little fool, your no better than a snake," shouted Capital A. He tried to trip the s up, but only managed to stub his base on the sidewalk. The s bounced back. "Your tyranny ends here, you moron," he shouted. The s jabbed again and again. Ever watchful from the side, the letter b shouted in support. "Take that for your trouble," he screamed, "And that and that." Encouraged by Lapinette's push, the letter o came back fighting. He rolled over the Capital and ground his wheels until they were flat. The Wabbit hadn't got involved up until now. His role as peace maker seemed to be in danger so he strode into the midst. "Quieten down now, you letters." His voice as far from soothing, especially when the w accidentally hit him in the eye. The fight was becoming something more than a rumble but remained less than a donnybrook. So there was hope. Eventually the Wabbit and Lapinette managed to separate them. The Wabbit dabbed his eye. "You've have got to make an accommodation," he said, "Or you'll all be dead letters." Lapinette had her pad and pen at the ready. "I'll dash a note off to the dictionary people to see what they say." The Wabbit nodded. "Stay clear of four-letter words!" 

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

4. The Wabbit and the Lower Cases

The Wabbit and Lapinette strolled over to meet the lower cases and they were grumbling. The letter s addressed Lapinette directly. "What are the Capitals doing now?" It was the Wabbit who replied. "Capital A is coming to beat you up, but he's going to be some time." The other letters were waiting to cross the road and they all turned round. "We've had enough of being oppressed by the Capitals. We have the weight of numbers. We will defeat them." The letter b tapped the Wabbit on the leg. "I'm b," he said. "Pleased to meet you," said the Wabbit, "what would you like to be when you grow up?" The small letters were mortally offended. "We are all grown up and perfectly capable of making our way in the world!" Lapinette tried to smooth things over. "We only meant you were small." The letters talked amongst themselves then pushed the letter w forward. "Will you help us to draw up a list of our demands?" The Wabbit dug in his fur and took out a small notebook and a pen. "Please write it all in lower case," said the o. The Wabbit nodded gravely. "Firstly," said the w, "capitals are henceforth to come at the end of sentences." The rest piped up. "And all people names shall end in a capital and not begin it." They gathered to discuss it further. Then the s turned round. "All place names shall have no capitals at all." The Wabbit noted down all the points, then read them aloud. There was a murmur of agreement. But Lapinette had an important question. "To whom shall we take these proposals?" The Wabbit made a suggestion. "The dictionary people?" The letters went into a huddle and came up with a question. "Do dictionary people agree on things?" The Wabbit went into a huddle with himself and then came up with an answer. "Mostly," he said.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

3. The Wabbit and the Indefinite Article

The Wabbit thought no more about it. But he was making his way along Via Andrea Doria when he came across an obstacle. There was Lapinette and she was staring at a giant Letter A, which was obstructing the sidewalk. "Get out of the way," she shouted and she waved her arms. "I will not," said the Latter A. "I'm getting up and standing up for my rights." Lapinette hopped from one leg to another. "Do it somewhere else!" The Wabbit watched for a little while and then he popped his head around the letter. "Hello Lapinette." Lapinette smiled and waved a greeting. "I'm trying to persuade this letter that he should locate elsewhere." The letter twitched a little. "I'm the indefinite article and I'm not necessarily a he." Lapinette placed her arms at her side and said in no uncertain terms. "I don't care. The sidewalk is for pedestrians." The Wabbit decided to get involved. "We've been getting trouble from your kind," he said. "My kind?" said the Letter, "Do you mean these other non-standard letters?" The Wabbit was lost for words. "Perhaps you're referring to the lower cases?" Now the Letter moved up and down. "We've had enough of these lower case varmints, always around our feet. We're tired of them!" The Wabbit shook his head. "Couldn't you conduct your struggle in a library or maybe even the Internet?" "No" cried the Letter A, "Were taking to the streets and soon we'll take up arms! Death to the lower cases! We shall not rest until we rid the world of them all." Lapinette was appalled. "That's not very inclusive." The Wabbit agreed. But the Letter A stood his ground. "I see some lower cases over there, I'm going to get them!" He tried to move but couldn't go fast. "Would you like a push?" smirked the Wabbit.

Friday, December 04, 2020

2. Skratch and the Way of Words

The Wabbit made his way along Via Nizza in search of Skratch when he hear a meowing behind him. He pretended not to hear and instead spoke to the poster. "I was wondering poster, why you refer to the summer? Although this is a bright day, it's Winter and yet you proclaim a different season." Skratch was beside himself. "Wabbit, Wabbit! It's me Skratch and I know all about words." The Wabbit slowly turned. "Oh it's you, Skratch. I thought that poster was speaking." Skratch climbed down from the tree. "As time passes, Wabbit, the poster becomes a sign of something else. Something long past and hard to remember." The Wabbit nodded. "True. Summer is indeed long past and very hard to remember." Skratch paused and licked his paws. "You were looking for me Wabbit?" "I was because I wanted to ask you about words," said the Wabbit, "I wondered if words could fight amongst themselves." Skratch grew interested. "What might they fight about?" The Wabbit grew pensive and replied. "Their meanings." Skratch launched into explanation. "Words have arbitrary and culturally prescribed meanings and we could assign meanings to words as we went along. As long as we agreed on the meanings all would be well." The Wabbit looked round as if someone might hear him. "Supposing the words didn't like their meanings. Supposing there was conflict." Skratch was becoming interested. "You mean if words were self-serving entities with a conscious point of view?" The Wabbit nodded his agreement. "Yes, supposing words didn't like the typeface they were set in - and supposing they went to war." Skratch laughed. "You do have a vivid imagination, Wabbit." The leaves on the sidewalk rustled in a breeze that sprung from nowhere. "Not at all," said the poster. "I should be set in Times New Roman." The Wabbit spoke sharply. "I told you there'd be trouble."

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

1. The Wabbit and the Meaning of Words.

The Wabbit walked along the porticos musing on anything he could muse on. He'd never given the Caffè sign a second glance. He merely knew it to be a place that sold extremely fine coffee. But today he looked up at it and thought for a minute. An acquaintance had given him to believe that the sign had an offensive word and he just couldn't understand why. Apart from the successful Italian rock band, he only knew it as a descriptive term of endearment in Spanish - and he'd argued with the acquaintance that The little black girl Caffè just didn't fit the bill. The friend had disagreed and had stalked off in high dudgeon, leaving the Wabbit bemused. The Wabbit shook his head. After all, he was a brown rabbit and proud; and he thought, "This is something I must take up with Skratch the Cat." So he bowled down the road, wondering about words. "What if words could take up arms against their oppressors and fight for their rights? What if they disagreed? The streets would be wash with warring factions all claiming authenticity. And typefaces too!" Such were his thoughts. He imagined it for a bit, seeing words in various fonts and sizes clashing at dawn. Capitals would wage war on lower case. Italics against Roman against Kanji. Upright might pit themselves against oblique. In the Wabbit's mind, vast armies drew up in opposition. Hiragana and Katakana waved banners at each other as if in a film by Akira Kurosawa. Written on their banners were the same words with different meanings. It was all quite overwhelming. The Wabbit spotted Skratch loping further down the porticos and he chased after him shouting in Ariel Bold ...

Monday, November 30, 2020

The Wabbit and the St Andrew's Caffè

The team gathered as always as the Adventure Caffè. It was an untidy looking place that the Wabbit had chosen carefully - because it was St Andrews Day, and the important thing was the Scottishness of the whisky. Nothing must detract from it. Skratch the Cat was late as usual, but he had under his arm the Guest of Honour; a bottle of Laphroaig whisky straight from the distillery. A man in a kilt had brought it directly from the plane and Skratch had picked it up. It was a peaty affair smelling faintly of diesel fuel and wellington boots. The Wabbit was well pleased. "Careful with that, Skratch," said the Wabbit, "But before we start you must tell us what sort of Adventure we just had." Skratch meaowed furiously. "The liberating qualities of the hypertext were much in evidence," he announced. "Unconscious fantasies were confronted in a manner which countered expected paradigms." Wabsworth nodded in approval. "And the self-consciousness involved allows for ritual expressions such as the Wabbit's priestly vestments." The Wabbit expressed mock horror. "I'd hardly say the kilt was a priestly vestment." But Lapinette was quite firm. "That kind of fashion utterance is a specific linguistic system signifying the world." She paused for effect. "Oh all right, if you say so," smiled the Wabbit. Skratch towered over everyone. "What does whisky signify?" "Life," said the Wabbit. "Then pour us four whiskies, let's celebrate life," said Lapinette. "I see no glasses," said Wabsworth. The Wabbit smiled and then reached into his fur ...

Friday, November 27, 2020

7. Lapinette and the Grand Finale

Lovely Lapinette opened the folder and waved it around. The audience went completely mad. She shielded her eyes from what was written inside. "It's what you've all been waiting for!" she yelled. "It's the Rabbit of the Year!" She unshielded her eyes. "It says the Rabbit of the Year is ..." Her voice was unsteady. She couldn't believe what was written there. "Lovely Lapinette?" She looked across the audience and they were ecstatic. "It looks like ... it's me," she gasped. The Wabbit grabbed her paw. The band started to play "She's a Winner," by the Golden Jazz Band. Fireworks exploded overhead. Lapinette leapt in the air. "It's me, It's me, it's me!" The Wabbit detached his paw to applaud. To the delight of the audience, Wabsworth and Skratch the Cat came on stage. They too applauded wildly. "Couldn't go to a nicer rabbit," said Skratch. Wabsworth nodded in agreement. Lapinette tried to compose herself. "But I didn't know I'd been nominated," she said. "It was apparently all a last-minute affair, but completely within the rules," said the Wabbit. "I wonder who?" smiled Lapinette. The Wabbit wasn't giving anything away. "Nominations are of course, confidential." He suppressed a smile. Lapinette pirouetted for her adoring fans. "How can I top this?" she sighed. "With a champagne reception," said the Wabbit. "There's carrot canapes and all manner of goodies backstage." The Wabbit took her by the paw once more. "You have to sign autographs, me first." "Where shall I sign?" said Lapinette. "I quite forgot my autograph book," grinned the Wabbit. "I'm sure I'll find somewhere," smirked Lapinette.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

6. The Wabbit and the Big Ceremony

It was the night of the Award Ceremony and the atmosphere was electric. The audience assembled and they were rather noisy until Lapinette called for hush. Under her paw she held the results. All she had to do was open the folder and read out the contents. The Wabbit was resplendent in his kilt. Lapinette had darned the moth holes like the best invisible mender and ironed each pleat until it was immaculate. He placed his paws on his belt and rolled his tummy out. The band began to play triumphal music and a loudspeaker blared out the procedure. The Wabbit quipped to Lapinette. "This won't take too long will it? I said I'd meet Wabsworth and Skratch for a quiet game of cards." Lapinette knew the camera was cutting in - so she was safe to stamp on his foot. The Wabbit groaned. "Mind my Ghillie Brogues, they're not paid for." Lapinette grinned and turned to face the audience. "Thank you all for coming. It's going to be such a wonderful evening" She held up her folder. "I have the results here. I know you've all been waiting with bated breath." The audience cheered with vigour. The Wabbit noticed Skratch and Wabsworth and Moloch creep onto the balcony. The audience noticed them too and clapped in spontaneous applause. The band broke into a Horace Silver jazz classic, How did it Happen? The Wabbit nodded approvingly.  Then the music faded, and the audience fell silent. Lovely Lapinette lifted the folder high in the air. She brought it down slowly and began to open it. "Everyone that's getting an award is written down in here. Are you ready?" The audience screamed and yelled. Lapinette opened the folder. "And the Rabbit of the Year is ..."

Monday, November 23, 2020

5. The Wabbit and the Practice Session

Robot had been employed by Lovely Lapinette to coach the Wabbit on likely questions he would get when he appeared in the Wabbit of the Year Competition. There were a vast range to choose from and they were always tricky. "Now concentrate, Wabbit," said Robot, "think flexibly, think on your paws." The Wabbit smirked. "I usually do," he said. He did a little jig. Robot looked offended. "It's really not that kind of thinking, more like an idiot would think." The Wabbit was amused. He knew what Lapinette would say if she were here. Robot launched in. "What would you tell a child who asked you if Santa Claus was real?" The Wabbit didn't hesitate. "I'll tell him he's as real as me." Robot hooted with laughter. "That's the spirit Wabbit. Let's do another. If you had an elephant and couldn't sell it or give it away, what would you do with it." The Wabbit puts his hands on his hips. "I'd arm it to the teeth and make war on the Carthaginians." Robot scowled. "I'm not sure everyone appreciates your sense of humour Wabbit." The Wabbit was quite happy. "Perhaps I'll lose. Ask me another." Robot was beginning to feel stressed. "How many square feet of pizza are eaten in Turin each year." The Wabbit swiftly replied, "None whatsoever, they'd be measured in square meters." Robot sighed and went for an awkward question. "If you were a tree, what music would you like?" The Wabbit grinned. "That's easy. Reggae ... because I'm strictly roots." Robot knew it was time to give up. He patted the Wabbit on the shoulder. "Don't worry Wabbit, you're bound to be a hit."  The Wabbit didn't know what to think but he was cheerful. "Maybe they'll offer me a show of my own?"

Saturday, November 21, 2020

4. The Wabbit and the Make Up Session

Ignoring the advice of Skratch the Cat, the Wabbit decided to go along with the Rabbit of the Year Award. It was vanity that persuaded him in the end. He thought to himself, "What if some awful rabbit got it?" That's how the Wabbit came to be experiencing a make-up session in the paws of Lovely Lapinette, and she was very much in charge. The Wabbit squirmed under the lights. Lapinette brushed on some sort of foundation, but the Wabbit wriggled and fidgeted until something unexpected happened. His face became quite a distinct shade of puce. "I'm having a reaction!" he yelled. "Stay still, Wabbit - it's all your own fault." Lapinette wasn't finished and she said so in no uncertain terms. "I look like Carlo Conti on acid," gasped the Wabbit. "It will all be all right on the night," sighed Lapinette. The Wabbit spluttered. "And what am I doing in this awful car? I should be in my jeep." Lapinette sighed again. "This is a set for Carmencita, the famous animation character, you should be pleased we got it." The Wabbit scowled, "J'aime pas les marionnettes!" "You know that's not true, Wabbit," shouted Lapinette, "now sit still!" The Wabbit settled back. Gradually his face returned to a kind of normal and he spoke. "Skratch the Cat says this is all a moneymaking exercise." Lapinette flounced. "Skratch the Cat has not been nominated for Rabbit of the Year." The Wabbit's face creased into a smile. "I'll be very pleased when we can all go back to normal." Lapinette gave a short laugh. "What kind of normal is that?" "Abnormally normal," said the Wabbit.

[TV camera by courtesy of DLPNG.com. Carlo Conti: Well-known Italian TV personality. The Carmencita Story]

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

3. The Wabbit and the Awards Game

The Wabbit and Moloch caught up with Skratch at the cinema. He was doing something with a sign and Wabbit waved up to him. "He's caught up a post," said Moloch, "I'll help get him down." The Wabbit shook his head and shook with mirth. "He's a cat, Moloch. He needs no help." Nevertheless Moloch jumped up and shook the post with vigour. "It's OK Moloch," said Skratch, "I'm just repairing this sign. It was incorrectly signifying the signified." Moloch was disappointed. He'd always wanted to rescue a cat from a tree. Now he'd been deprived of his opportunity. "Let me know when you're coming down," he yelled. "I'll be sure to do that," purred Skratch. "Skratch, we need your advice," said the Wabbit. Skratch paused and rested his paws for a second. "Fire away," he said. "It's rather embarrassing," said the Wabbit. "I'm the most discreet cat I know," meaowed Skratch. The Wabbit began a long explanation. "I want to support Moloch and his Monster Show. In return he'll support my nomination for Rabbit of the Year." Skratch purred long and loud. "I'm not sure you're Rabbit of the Year material," he said. The Wabbit looked relieved. "I thought you might say it was unethical." "No-one cares about that," said Skratch, "it's all fixed in advance." The Wabbit didn't know what to say. Moloch said it for him. "I heard the Monster Show was the same." Skratch agreed vociferously. "I get invited to the Cat of the Town every year - but every year I decline." The Wabbit couldn't get his head round this. "Because there's a whopping fee," said Skratch, "and the prize always goes to some Felix or other. Who's in the Monster Show?"  "Godzilla," said Moloch. "Aha," said Skratch. He jumped down from the sign and shrugged. "Then I rest my case." 

Monday, November 16, 2020

2. The Wabbit and the Monster Show

The Wabbit spotted Moloch near Porta Palatino and hurried to catch him. But Moloch was standing stock still and talking into a microphone held by a camera crew from the state broadcaster, RAI. The Wabbit took little notice and strolled straight in front of them. He tapped Moloch lightly on the knee. "What's happening Moloch?" he yelled. The camera crew gave up at that juncture and Moloch looked down at the Wabbit. "Wabbit, your interrupting my interview. Kindly desist." The Wabbit grinned and waved the camera crew away. "We'll come back later, Moloch when your friend is finished," said the journalist with a sigh. The Wabbit tapped Moloch on the knee again, "Spill the beans, Moloch!" Moloch's chest expanded. "I'm being interviewed for the Monster Show." The Wabbit was taken aback. "Why is there all this interest in the team?" he murmured." "What interest?" said Moloch. "I've been proposed for the Rabbit of the Year," said the Wabbit. "Oh really, I'm a judge for that but I'm not supposed to tell you," said Moloch. "Why not?" asked the Wabbit. "You might lobby me unfairly," replied Moloch. "Wouldn't dream of it," smirked the Wabbit. He thought for a minute. "You'll support me of course." Moloch was appalled. "I need to be absolutely fair," "It is fair," said the Wabbit, "I'm clearly the best contender. I support you for the Monster Show, you support me for the Rabbit of the Year." The Wabbit considered the matter a little more. "Let's take advice on the matter." "Who from?" asked Moloch. "Someone who know his way around these things," smirked the Wabbit. "Skratch the Cat?" smiled Moloch.

Friday, November 13, 2020

1. The Wabbit and the Wabbit of the Year

The Wabbit strolled back from his balcony at the Department of Wabbit Affairs. It was a mite chilly but warm in the sun and his fur felt good. All of a sudden, Lovely Lapinette poured herself through the door. "Wabbit, I have exciting news." The Wabbit waited to hear what it was. His definition of exciting was rather different from most people, but he smiled. "Lovely Lapinette, I wasn't expecting you!" Lapinette looked overjoyed. "You've been nominated for Rabbit of the Year!" The Wabbit secretly grimaced because he hated that sort of thing - and everything that went with it. "What are you going to wear?" shouted Lapinette with glee. The Wabbit had no hesitation. "My kilt," he shrugged.  Lapinette scowled. "The moths got it; you'll need a new one. And you need the whole outfit, sgian dubh the lot." The Wabbit grinned. "Don't worry, it's all wrapped in a protective cover in the back of the wardrobe." Lapinette was all cheerful again. "You'll need your fur trimmed." The Wabbit brushed his paws up and down his fur. He thought it looked OK, but he shrugged again. "Where is this Rabbit of the Year presentation?" Lapinette span round in a pirouette. "Location yet to be determined." "And the date?" continued the Wabbit. "Sometime next month," grinned Lapinette. The Wabbit breathed a sigh of relief. It all sounded a bit vague, so he had some time. Perhaps he would be called away urgently. He felt cheered. "What if I win?" he ventured. Lovely Lapinette gaped. "You? You're a normal brown rabbit, you'll never win. But there will be a gala dinner. Everyone that's anyone will be there." Now the Wabbit was miffed. "Is there anyone I know that's up for it." Lapinette shook her head. "It's all secret. No-one is supposed to know, so don't tell anyone." The Wabbit smiled a secret smile and Lapinette saw it. "Wabbit - don't you dare!"

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

The team gathered at the Adventure Caffè and for once it was a proper coffee bar. The barista wore a mask since COVID flu had ravaged the land, but it didn't stop him making perfect coffees. This was the coffee bar in the Lavazza museum and they were looking forward to trying the new blend. "It's a good thing we're cartoons," said the Wabbit, "or we might get this flu as well." Camilla flounced a bit. "Oh never mind all that. Let's be cheerful." Wabsworth was watching the barista with interest and he spoke out the corner of his mouth. "Tell me Skratch. I was wondering what sort of adventure we just had." Skratch meaowed forcibly. "It was an open adventure." Lapinette looked sceptical. "By which you mean it didn't have a proper ending?" Skratch purred for a long time. "Hardly. The story wasn't sufficient to produce narrative irresolution or ambiguity." Wabsworth continued watching the coffee being made. "No, it wasn't a tactic for producing narrative delay. The ending was secure and systematic." Lapinette paused and looked at the Wabbit. "So. What did you do with these guys anyway?" The Wabbit smirked an evil smirk. "I sent them for severe chastisement." "That's very biblical," said Skratch. The Wabbit was highly amused. "No, I just boxed their ears and sent them on their way." Wabsworth was astonished. "Where did you deliver the box to?" "Not literally, Wabsworth," said Lapinette. The Wabbit reached under the table. "I have the ears here. In a box." "Eeek!" cried Lapinette. She buried her eyes in her paws. "Only joking," said the Wabbit. Skratch moaned, "Where's this coffee?"  Wabsworth leaned forward and tapped the barista on the shoulder. "Hurry up or this will never finish!"

Monday, November 09, 2020

8. The Wabbit and the Art Preview

Everything was going to plan. The Wabbit borrowed the Film Museum for the show and it was meant to be a surprise. One minute Humphrey Bogart was on the screen and in the next it was Chagall's painting of the Dream Rabbit. On strode the Wabbit and lifted his pointer. He tapped the picture. "What you see before you is a copy of a copy of Chagall's famous painting. I do have the original copy under lock and key." He paused and looked around. A few people had arrived. "I'm offering you one of the finest copies of a famous rabbit there is. Perfectly rendered in oil and canvas." Two figures arrived at the back and they looked shifty. They were obviously the ones. "Now I can't offer you the original," continued the Wabbit, "that's safely locked up in the Museum of Modern Art in Paris." His walkie talkie crackled a bit and he murmured into the mouthpiece, "That's them at the back." Lapinette tensed. Her balcony hideout concealed her slender frame. She aimed the snazer and waited. Wabsworth too, was disguised as a museum visitor and he too was armed and ready. The Wabbit smiled. "For today and today only, I can offer you the finest copy of a copy of this painting. What am I bid?" The two ruffians at the back stepped forward and pulled out their weapons. "We know you have the original painting. And we know you have it here. So we bid you nothing at all. Hand it over." The Wabbit raised a paw. Her heard the snick of an automatic and the whine of a snazer. The ruffians were aghast. "It's a trap," said one of the ruffians. "I told you so," said the other, "it was too easy. What do we do now?" "Why don't you pretend it's performance art," shrugged the Wabbit.
[Fair use claimed for repro of Chagall's work. Minimal picture quality and of educational value!]

Friday, November 06, 2020

7. The Wabbit and the Rabbit Provenance

The Wabbit tried to figure out what interest his attackers had in his art catalogue and together with Lovely Lapinette he repaired to the Department's new Map Room. It was a nice space with plenty of room for both maps and thinking. He threw down the art book on the vast table. Lapinette had brought something along as well. "The answer is here," said the Wabbit. "And it has something to do with this," added Lapinette. She produced a copy of The Dream, The Rabbit - an early work by Chagall. The Wabbit nodded his head. "Is there any chance that we have the real picture?" Lapinette considered very carefully and tried to remember her training in European art. "Copies are so good these days that there is a chance it was substituted. Experts can be fooled. Where did you get the copy?" The Wabbit laughed. "In a market in Paris from an old Jewish fellow who looked like Methuselah." Lapinette wrinkled her nose. "It's supposed to be in the Museum of Modern Art in Paris." The Wabbit winked. "Mine is under lock and key in my shed." Lapinette flicked through the book. "The Dream, The Rabbit is not in in here." "It wasn't as popular as his later works," said the Wabbit. "Probably because there was a rabbit in it," sighed Lapinette. "Rabbit exclusion everywhere," grunted the Wabbit. "When's the catalogue coming out?" asked Lapinette. "Monday," said the Wabbit, "and it's listed as an oil and canvas reproduction. Very highly priced. Very." Lapinette hopped round the table three times. "We'll see who comes for it." "I suppose I'll have to check their credentials," smiled the Wabbit. Lapinette's paw felt for her automatic. "I'll do the checking."

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

6. The Wabbit and a Spot of Bother

On the advice of the Magician's Rabbit, the Wabbit drew up his catalogue and he was on his way home with the draft. The evening was pleasant. A gentle breeze blew along Via Giovanni Giolitti and it ruffled the Wabbit's fur. "I'm very pleased to get this finished," murmured the Wabbit to himself. An art catalogue was a tougher proposition than he had imagined. He really wasn't expecting trouble, because art was hardly a controversial matter. Or so he thought. But a shape loomed up behind him - and then another. "There he is," said a voice. "Let's get him," said another. The shape shoved up against him and buffeted him to the left and then the other buffeted him to the right. He could see now they were two giant rabbits he had never seen before. They were trying to get the catalogue, but the Wabbit wasn't going to let them have it. They pulled him one way and then another. He held onto the catalogue like grim death. "Leave off or I'll give you trouble," he yelled. He bashed one of them in the eye and there was a yelp. The other he elbowed in the nose and there was another yelp. A frantic scrabble took place and pages of the catalogue flew in the air. "That took me all day!" yelled the Wabbit, "pick them up you ruffians." The giant rabbits turned and fled. The Wabbit went around picking up the pages. The breeze wafted along the street and the Wabbit chased them up and down. Finally, he tracked the last page down. It was stuck to a litter bin with a candy wrapper. The Wabbit peeled it off. "It's all wrapped up now," he joked. But who were the two giant rabbits? What did they want? They had certainly taken him by surprise. "The fast and the furriest," mused the Wabbit.

Monday, November 02, 2020

5. The Wabbit and the Shaking Down

They just couldn't hold on. The bridge started to shake, and they were catapulted down like so many skittles. "Whoa!" yelled the Wabbit. He could see the ground coming up and it looked hard. He engaged his special coat to soften the blow. Lapinette was more confident in her agility and she started to roll. Skratch was a cat and he could cope with most things. He twisted and turned and ended up the right way. All the same it was a surprise. Wabsworth fared worst of all since he was an android and not really built for maneuvers in the air. His arms flailed and he prepared for a crash landing. Somehow, he engaged his g-force circuitry and gradually managed to move round. Lapinette found herself looking at a rabbit. The rabbit looked at her and said, "I am the Bunnyman." Lapinette twisted and landed on all fours. "You don't look like the Bunnyman to me." The Wabbit was close behind Lapinette - then came Skratch, then Wabsworth. They stood and faced the rabbit. "Where's your axe?" The rabbit smiled and opened his paws. "I have no axe. That's all piffle. I can shake things though." Without moving, he shook the bridge until it threatened to collapse. "I get the drift," said the Wabbit, holding up his paws. "But what about that?" He pointed at the planet, which had replaced the Moon. "You call this Pluto Park don't you?" said the rabbit. "I changed it for one of Pluto's." He snuffled a bit and blinked, and it was the Moon again. "Aha!" said Wabsworth, "You're a conjuror and you came out of a hat." The rabbit nodded. "I confess, I am from a famous painting." Lapinette was curious. "Where's the conjuror?" "I left him behind," said the rabbit. "I can't abide conjurors. I put him in the hat."

Saturday, October 31, 2020

4. The Wabbit's Duplicate Hallowe'en

It was a spooky night out at Pluto Park and up on the bridge, the Wabbit clutched his axe to his chest. He wasn't going to be outdone this year. He bellowed out for all to hear. "It is me who is the Bunnyman. Me! There are no others." But he heard a scuffling behind him. It was Lapinette. "No, that's not true. It is me who is the Bunnyman. None come before me and never have." She waved her axe threateningly. The wind whistled through the park. A translucent blue moon looked down. There was a noise from behind her and she turned. "I'm afraid you're wrong, Lapinette. Because all along it was me. It is Wabsworth who is the true Bunnyman." Wabsworth waved his axe too. Yet it wasn't over. The sound of a ferocious meaow that went on forever, hung over the park like a serrated sword. "I am Skratch and I am the Bunnyman who cut up his victims at Bunnyman bridge. The blood of the Bunnyman is in me." The temperature dropped and the Wabbit shivered. "There can only be one Bunnyman," he moaned. "Lapinette scowled. "I am the Bunnyman!" Skratch meaowed from the back. "I am the Bunnyman!" Wabsworth joined the chorus. "I am the Bunnyman!" They all stood their ground but the Wabbit was the first to give in. "Look it's all a joke, there's no Bunnyman. He doesn't exist." They all started to laugh. But their laughing quickly died. They staggered as something shook the bridge with force. Their blood chilled as the sound of a stick rattling along the railings drifted through the night air. It was then that they heard the harsh groaning voice. "I am the true Bunnyman and you're standing on my bridge ..."

Thursday, October 29, 2020

3. The Wabbit and the Talking Art Exhibit

The Wabbit and Lapinette decided to start their project with some borrowed art, just to test the market. Bearing a painting adapted from a medieval fresco they mounted the stairs at the Department of Wabbit Affairs. They hadn't reckoned on the weight of the frame. "Phew," said the Wabbit, "art is hard work!" Lapinette was panting with the effort. "Maybe we should have started with a miniature." The Wabbit shook his head. "It's important to start as you mean to go on." But as they climbed the stairs the painting seemed to vibrate with every step they took. "Can you feel anything?" asked the Wabbit. "I can hear something," said Lapinette. They stopped and listened. "It's whispering," said Lapinette. The voices soon stopped, and they carried on. But suddenly they started again and this time they were louder. It was the rabbits on the painting. They were saying something. They started to sing. "Beware beware, better beware, on the steppy step steps of the oldy old stairs." The Wabbit wasn't astonished one bit. "I heard something like this before." Lapinette agreed. "I think we should listen because it's a warning." The rabbits burst into melodic tune. "Have you seen the ghost of the Bunny Man? Sits in the garden on an old tin can. If you see him, you'd better ask, just where did you put your bloody axe?" The Wabbit dropped his side of the picture and Lapinette followed suit. The rabbits fell silent. Lapinette pouted. "I thought we'd heard the last of the Bunny Man?" "He never lets go," said the Wabbit. "He doesn't exist," said Lapinette. "He is coming," replied the Wabbit, "and we are here."

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

2. The Wabbit, Lapinette and Fine Art

Lapinette was surprised when she met the Wabbit in the art exhibition. The Camera Centre was featuring the work of Paulo Ventura and she thought she'd just catch it. "Hello Wabbit, I didn't expect to find you here." The Wabbit jumped. He was contemplating the various exhibits for inclusion in his catalogue and was lost in thought. "Hello Lapinette, you're just the person I need to help me in my quest." Lapinette smiled. "What are you up to, Wabbit?" The Wabbit explained about meeting Pio Pulcinella and his suggestion for stimulating the Dinosaur Fund. "Oh!" she exclaimed, "that's quite an undertaking." The Wabbit stepped back and threw his arms wide. "I was thinking of including all artists who featured rabbits." "Would you include hares?" asked Lapinette. "Certainly, all manner of lagomorphs," replied the Wabbit. "Mmm," said Lapinette, "There's Durer, Chagall and Miro." "Of course," said the Wabbit. "And John Herring," said Lapinette. "Doesn't he do mainly fish?" said the Wabbit. "Horses," giggled Lapinette. "Well of course there's this fellow Ventura here," ventured the Wabbit. "He does Rabbits. I thought I'd get him to illustrate our catalogue." Lapinette thought for a while. "They're all rather expensive, Wabbit. Have you thought about how you're going to finance it?" The Wabbit hadn't thought about that at all, but he came up with a quick answer.  "A Crowdfunder on that Internet thing?" Lapinette nodded her head gravely. "Lots of small amounts from interested parties." The Wabbit became excited. "We'll launch it on the world wide web and it will go completely spiral." "Viral," groaned Lapinette.

Friday, October 23, 2020

1. The Wabbit's Economic Imperative

The Wabbit was hopping through the Gallery of Modern Art when he spotted someone he knew. "Pio!" he shouted. "Pio Pulcinella! I haven't seen you for quite a while!" Pio turned away from the piece he was studying. "Commander Wabbit," he smiled, "Pleased to meet you again." Pio was an ace economist and a follower of Michal Kalecki. If anyone knew anything about economics, it was Pio. "I'm glad I bumped into you," said the Wabbit. "My Dinosaur Fund hasn't been doing very well lately." The Wabbit's Dinosaur Fund paid for all the unofficial missions undertaken by the Wabbit. Pio frowned. "These are difficult times, Commander." He shook his head sadly. "Call me Wabbit," said the Wabbit. "OK, Wabbit, we'll meet and sort this out," said Pio, "But what exactly is the problem?" "Things are sluggish, nothing's moving," said the Wabbit. "I still suggest Intergalactic Government Bonds," said Pio. The Wabbit frowned. "Aren't they susceptible to Rebel Alliance Attacks?" said the Wabbit, "I heard that two space stations had been destroyed." Pio threw his head back and laughed, "You should be giving me advice, Wabbit." The Wabbit laughed too. "I was thinking of something that was a nice little earner, nothing too grand." "Nothing too grand and nothing too illegal?" responded Pio. "Heavens no," said the Wabbit. Pio thought for a while. "What brings you to the Gallery Wabbit." "Gives me inspiration," replied the Wabbit. Pio was direct enough. "Have you considered Art Investment?" The Wabbit's eyes flickered with interest. "It's not very liquid," said Pio, "until now that is." The Wabbit had the glimmer of an idea. He put a finger to his lips. "Let's meet in secure surroundings ..."

Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Wabbit at the Grand Adventure Caffè

The Wabbit had arranged a special dinner for Lapinette but hadn't told her. He very much wanted it to be a surprise. So he alerted Wabsworth and Skratch. Together they persuaded Lapinette it was merely a boring talk on new protocols, but that her attendance was completely necessary. Then they laid out the table in the Big Dining Room at the Department. The menu was a fantastic one, containing everything Lapinette liked. The courses were too numerous to mention, but the menu started with devilled crab, then Carrots Royale followed by Jerusalem Artichokes a la Wabbit. There were more dishes than you could shake a stick at, separate drinks for every course and Lapinette's favourite tunes played on a sound system constructed to the Wabbit's own specifications. "Welcome Lapinette!" cried the Wabbit, "please be seated." Lapinette smiled and waved her paw. "You shouldn't have!" Skratch was waiting for his moment. "Please sit down and tell us what kind of adventure you thought we had." He drew out a chair and Lapinette sat down and spoke. "It was a system of signs predicated upon the perfect coffee," she said. "And I can safely say it was quite most hilarious compilation of sci-fi tropes I've ever seen." The Wabbit raised an eyebrow. Wabsworth launched in. "The coffee acted as a performative signifier, which itself pointed to a dislinkage between itself and the real world." Skratch laughed. "I can't say I disagree. We are all part of the theatre of images." The Wabbit wanted the last word. "Self-fashioned ones you might say." Lapinette chose that moment to rap on the table with a spoon. "Fashion me up a dinner!" "Certainly," said the Wabbit. "Let the Lapinette celebrations begin!"

Monday, October 19, 2020

10. The Wabbit and the Great Return

The Wabbit thought he had better return the coffee machine to the Lavazza Museum. So Quantum landed briefly outside and the Wabbit hopped out with the goods. "You worry too much, Wabbit," called Skratch from the Quantum's cabin. "I wouldn't feel happy if I didn't," replied the Wabbit. He lurched under the weight. The machine glowed slightly from all the radiation it had picked up in space, but the Wabbit pain it no attention. Quantum bore the scars of the brief battle with the alien vessel and had already complained bitterly. The Wabbit knocked at the door. "I brought your coffee machine back," he said. "It just took off into outer space - and me with it." The Duty Officer was puzzled and sceptical in equal measure. "We're not missing one. But I'll go and look." He went off, returning in an instant. "No, it's still there. And there's no parking here on the concourse you know." The Wabbit was dumbfounded. "What will I do with this then?" But he knew he would keep it. He turned and shouted to Skratch. "Have we got room for a second hand coffee machine?" Quantum wouldn't keep quiet. "Who cares? What about my paneling?" Skratch spoke in a soothing voice. "I might know a good yard where we can get it done cheap." "I want the best job," responded Quantum. The Wabbit hopped back to the cargo hold. "A bit of light grinding, sanding, filling and polishing?" Quantum sounded annoyed. "I want it back to as good as new. I insist on a new panel!" The Wabbit laughed. "Where's that engineering yard, Skratch." "It's so hard to keep track of them," joked Skratch. Back on board, the Wabbit reclined in the cab. "What was that for a sort of adventure?" Skratch held his sides in helpless mirth. "I think we're about to find out .."

Sunday, October 18, 2020

9. The Wabbit and the Battle for Space

The Wabbit shielded his face from the glare. The alien vessel came from underneath, firing blades of surgical steel. "Shields up!" he yelled to Quantum. Quantum's reply was terse. "This is not Star Trek Commander. I'm a locomotive not a Vulcan Cruiser." He dodged the flying blades, nonetheless. The Wabbit and Skratch were nauseous and reeled around Quantum's cab. "I never thought coffee would cause all this trouble," said the Wabbit, "Go to Lattice Drive, Quantum!" Quantum snorted. "For that Commander, I need some room and I'm not getting any." He swerved away, but the alien vessel followed. His blades caught Quantum's paneling and took some paint off. "You owe me a re-spray Commander," said Quantum. The Wabbit sighed. "Any ideas, Skratch." Skratch pondered. "They liked the coffee smell, Commander." "Well its worth a try," said the Wabbit. "Have you got any of these awful capsules we used to use." Skratch nodded. "I've got gunpowder, strawberries, seared steak and rum flavour." "Eject them all from the cargo hold," said the Wabbit. The cargo hold door creaked open and out spiraled all their old coffee pods. They watched anxiously. The alien vessel shuddered to a halt. Then it started following the old coffee capsules. "It's looking for the space equivalent of Starbuck's," sighed the Wabbit, "OK Quantum, let's go to Lattice Drive." Quantum chortled "I think we should rename it Lettuce Drive Commander? Green and leafy lettuce?" Skratch laughed and laughed. It's not just lettuce, it's wonderfully crisp and fresh lettuce." The Wabbit shook his head. "Just do it Quantum." There was a flash and Quantum disappeared into a dot ...

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

8. The Wabbit and the Coffee Standoff

Just as the aliens had said, the scene was recognisable to him. It was recognisable but hardly realistic. There were two giant rabbits sitting in a street. There were fake cars, fake trees and fake buildings - but were the rabbits fake or not? It look like a Christmas tableaux and the Wabbit wondered whether the rabbits would light up too. He gently put the marocchino down. "One marocchino for you," he said chirpily. "How do we appear?" said a rabbit. "A teeny-weeny bit out of scale," replied the Wabbit. There was something he didn't like about the rabbits, something malevolent. They were too sweet - maybe a bit sickly. Their fur was too shiny. Their ears were too pink. What lay underneath the plastic exterior? They stood rigidly to attention and looked directly at the Wabbit. "Very nice Commander Wabbit," they said in unison. "Now we want your coffee machine." A silence ensued. "And we want your vessel." The Wabbit was already backing away. "All out of date," he said. "Totally antediluvian. Hasn't been updated for years and years." He reached the door to the corridor. "I'll just be going now," he said and tipped his forelock. The rabbits sprang and that was the moment when the Wabbit took action. He turned tail and did what rabbits did best. He ran for his life. The aliens looked like rabbits, but they couldn't run like true lagomorphs could. The Wabbit was through the hatch and on his way to Quantum the Train before they could say Bugs Bunny. He radioed ahead. "Prepare lattice drive, Quantum." The radio crackled as Quantum responded. "Did you say Lettuce Drive, Wabbit?" "This is no time for bad jokes!" shouted the Wabbit.

Monday, October 12, 2020

7. The Wabbit and the Perfect Marocchino

The Wabbit made the short hop to the alien vessel carrying a perfectly made Marocchino coffee. Keeping it perfect was the key and the Wabbit was careful. They did have chocolate powder and cocoa on board but the proportions were exact and the Wabbit hoped he had got it right. The NASA machine didn't have a steam wand and the Wabbit had to knock one up from things he had in his fur. The coffee smelled good. He dusted it with a fine layer of cocoa powder and foamed the milk with his improvised wand. Then he put it all together by pouring the foaming milk onto the chocolate coffee mixture. "Ecco!" he announced. The trip to the alien vessel was uneventful and a door opened in the side. The vessel was pristine in the inside and he made his way along an aluminium alleyway that seemed to run the length of the ship. There was no sign of his hosts. But he heard high pitched voices whispering. "Coffee is coming, coffee is coming." He decided to sing them a song at no extra charge. "Ma cosa hai messo nel caffè," he warbled, "Che ho bevuto su da te? C'è qualche cosa di divers. Adesso in me. Se c'è un veleno morirò. Ma sarà dolce accanto a te. Perché l'amore che non c'era. Adesso c'è!" He ended the song with an enormous bellow. "Welcome to our vessel, Commander Wabbit," said a high pitched voice. "We see you brought the Marocchino." The Wabbit looked all around. "I can't see you, I'm afraid." The voice replied. "We are here. We will make ourselves visible in a way that you recognise." The air shimmered and they began to appear ...

Saturday, October 10, 2020

6. The Wabbit and the Coffee Invaders

The Wabbit relocated the Coffee Machine in Quantum's Dining Car and made some last adjustments. Delicious aromas ensued. Skratch the Cat arrived from the cab. "Well I must say, Wabbit, you seem to have outdone yourself." The machine was active although some creativity had been needed to adapt it. But there it was. An espresso. "It does seem to be OK," said the Wabbit. They both sipped the espresso from the first cup. "Delicious," said Skratch, "and we seem to have suffered no consequences whatsoever." There was a lull while they enjoyed the coffee. Then the loudspeakers crackled with an urgent message from Quantum. "Commander, please look out of the window. We have visitors." They both looked. It was a strange craft that looked for all the world like grinder of some kind. The Wabbit shrugged and downed the last of the first espresso. "Hail the vessel." Quantum's voice sounded rather stern. "Strange vessel, please identify yourself and state your particular business." There was no response, but the vessel nudged closer. "Try again," said Skratch. "Please identify yourself," said Quantum, "or we will be forced to blast you into a million pieces and spread you across the universe." The Wabbit gulped. "Can we do that?" Skratch was highly amused. "No, but he likes to talk tough sometimes." Silence. Then the craft spoke. "You look like a locomotive." Quantum replied. "We are a very funky train indeed. But your opinion is of little value. Please state your interest." The vessel hailed back. "We smelled the coffee and came to find out how we could obtain it. Would you perhaps have a marocchino?" The Wabbit looked at Skratch and winked. "Tell them .. maybe."

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

5. The Wabbit, Skratch and Space Coffee.

Skratch decided the Wabbit needed help with such a precious cargo. He spoke with Quantum. "I'm going outside to help." Quantum rumbled with mirth. "Don't forget your safety equipment." Skratch merely raised his eyes - and plunged from Quantum to make his way along the tether. "Hello Wabbit," he said. "Hello Skratch," said the Wabbit, "Give me a paw to guide this thing, it's awkward." Skratch fastened the tether to the espresso machine. "Running out of steam, Wabbit?" The Wabbit groaned. "Skratch, I don't really know how I got here." Skratch hefted the machine towards Quantum. "It's a nice bit of kit." The Wabbit made a face. "The sign at the Lavazza Museum said not to touch it." "Not as much as a red button?" meaowed Skratch. They sailed towards Quantum at a leisurely pace. Skratch was philosophical. "I suppose the important thing is, does it make good coffee?" "Ottimo," said the Wabbit. "Good as that!" answered Skratch. It was then he noticed the espresso cup. "What's that cup, Wabbit?" The Wabbit's head swivelled round. "It seems to go with it." The cup and saucer was following them. "Flying cup and saucer?" said Skratch. The cargo bay door swung out and they were sucked inside. "Let's get it up and running," said Skratch. They heard a rumbling from Quantum's engines as he swung round and headed for home. Skratch meaowed long and hard. "If I leave you alone for a minute, you won't get into more trouble will you?" The Wabbit looked offended. "I can operate a simple espresso machine." Skratch looked in horror as the Wabbit started to fiddle with the controls. "Now what does this knob do?" murmured the Wabbit.

Monday, October 05, 2020

4. Skratch and the Cream in the Coffee

Skratch piloted Quantum the Time Travelling Train through space. The Wabbit had said he might be in the Milky Way and it gave him an idea. It was something to do with the coffee. He was looking for a barred spiral galaxy identified first by Herschel then by Shapley - and he couldn't help singing some rhymes that were to do with clouds. "I had some dreams," hummed Skratch, "and they were clouds in my coffee, clouds in my coffee." He spoke with Quantum. "Can you get a fix on these layers?" Quantum laughed. "I'm a Time Travelling Train with Lattice Drive." There was a flash and a bump, and they went through something. Other crafts went by as if in slow motion. "If he's anywhere he's near here," said Quantum. "Look for an espresso saucer shape", suggested Skratch. Quantum looped round. His voice boomed from loudspeakers. "Initiating contour search pattern." He searched for a while. "I can smell coffee," he said. "Can you smell in space?" asked Skratch. "I can," replied Quantum, but I don't recognise the brand." Skratch recalled something the Wabbit had told him about a new brand of coffee Lavazza were introducing. "Lay in a course, Quantum." By this time, Skratch felt like a coffee himself. They hurtled through space in Lattice Drive and everything shook. "We could do with a decent coffee maker, Quantum. Have we got any milk?" Quantum laughed. "I think there's some cream in the fridge." It was Skratch's turn to laugh. "In space, no one can hear you cream." It was such a bad joke that Quantum shuddered. Then he saw the Wabbit. "There he is!" Skratch threw a lever. "Opening Cargo Bay Two."

Friday, October 02, 2020

3. The Wabbit and the Spaceworthy Coffee

The Wabbit lost grip on the coffee and everything started to spin. He seemed to be enclosed in a giant espresso cup and they all whirled through space. The coffee had tasted good. Better than good. But now he'd separated from the cup and was forced to think about what had happened. "OK," said the Wabbit to himself, "Now I'm here and I'd better get out of it." He thought and he thought. "If only I could get a message to the team, they'd send help." The Wabbit searched in his fur for quite a while. Then he came across something he'd forgotten about. He's bought it in market and forgotten it and it looked like an ordinary blue phone - but it had special capabilities following the modifications he'd made with Big Blue Snail. It might just work. It might. He dug it out, but it floated off. For a while he tried to reach it. It was very elusive and finally he gave up and called out. "Blue Phone! Come here!" It floated towards him and mysteriously attached to the back of the coffee machine. Then he tried it. "Hello, this is the Wabbit here, come in please." The line was clear enough and he heard Skratch's voice. "Hello Wabbit, where are you? We're all having a bit of a coffee break here." The Wabbit sighed with relief. "I'm in outer space with a runaway NASA coffee machine. Please get me out of here." This met with uproarious laughter. He heard Skratch speak to Lapinette. "The Wabbit is having a joke!" The Wabbit lost his temper. "This is no joke. Please come and get me out of here and be quick about it." Skratch calmed down. "Which part of space are you in?" The Wabbit looked around. "I'd say it was the Milky Way." Skratch tried to suppress a giggle. "That's handy for your coffee." The Wabbit hissed. A pregnant pause ensued. "No pressure then? We'll be right there!" said Skratch.

Friday, September 25, 2020

2. The Wabbit's Space Coffee Machine

The Wabbit inspected the machine. It was a fabulous construction, although it had fewer knobs than he thought - and he prodded it a bit. He had a sudden thought. "This would make the perfect addition to Quantum the Time Travelling Train's Dining Car. I don't suppose NASA would mind." It was rather heavy, as were most espresso makers, but he didn't think that was an obstacle. So he thought he would try it. He went to get some coffee. There was plenty around - it was all over the place in various shapes and forms, and he began to experiment. Then he connected the water and set it all in motion. Nothing happened. He went back to first principles. "This goes here, that goes there, the coffee goes in here, it comes out here."  Zilch, nothing. "OK there's something I haven't done," laughed the Wabbit. He looked all round it and even inspected the back. "I haven't plugged it in," laughed the Wabbit. He set about finding a power line. Then he connected the mains to the machine. There was a whine and a click and something started to happen. Steam hissed from a valve. But it wouldn't stop. It got louder and louder and the Wabbit became alarmed. He started to press this and that. He turned all knobs and prodded all switches but nothing could stop the process he'd set in motion. He started to smell the deep aroma of coffee. But something flashed and everything changed. The Wabbit was not where he was before. He was whirling in deep space, holding an espresso cup. He lifted the cup to his lips and tasted the coffee. It was exquisite. He twirled around and the espresso cup stayed upright, spilling not a drop. "What next?" said the Wabbit...

Monday, September 21, 2020

1. The Wabbit at the Coffee Exhibition

 

The Wabbit wandered through the coffee exhibition. His favourite coffee, Lavazza. had opened a museum and somehow failed to tell him. The Wabbit hid his annoyance. It was enough that the thing was open and he could go. So he crept in one day, completely incognito. He was early - and there was no-one around except for the person on the door. The Wabbit flipped his carefully shielded travel card. "Museum Inspectorate," he snapped, "and it had better be good." The door person smiled. "You're very welcome Commander Wabbit, this is our first day." The Wabbit had been rumbled. "Something leaked," he grumbled to himself. Anyway, he ambled around the exhibits. There was a history of coffee, and a story of the world famous Luigi and how he came to found the famous coffee company. All that he took with a pinch of salt. "No-one could possibly be called Luigi Lavazza," he said to himself, "they have to be making it up."  He hopped on through the exhibits and was pleased to see the famous cartoons who had advertised Lavazza through the years. He nodded approvingly and he used his interactive coffee cup to get his extra content. All he had to do was place his expresso cup on the designated spot - and the spot lit up and spoke about this and that. "Splendid idea!" he said and made a note in his log. The Wabbit lounged on the sofas and sat on the seats and everything was going well - as well as could be expected from a visit from the Wabbit. Until he rounded a corner and saw it. It was a space-going coffee machine. The Wabbit couldn't believe his eyes and he wanted it immediately .... 

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffe

 

"Everyone is late," said the Wabbit. "No, they're not," said Lapinette, "here they come now." The Wabbit still had a grumbly face. "OK," he said. Skratch meaowed into sight. "Hello," he said, "is this the place?" The Wabbit was still annoyed. "Yes," he said, I suppose it will do." "It looks fine," said Wabsworth looming up from the back. "Yes," said the Wabbit again. "So what was that for a sort of adventure we had." Skratch was ready. "It was a standard linear plot," he said, "unusual only from the point of view of the characters." Lapinette smiled. "I suppose the flights for small mammals, was unusual." Skratch drew himself up to his full height. "Deep focus, objective reality and a relative lack of montage suggest that the whole thing should be left to the spectator." Lapinette scoffed. "We really can't have that, Skratch." The Wabbit was still in a bad mood. "The spectator can very well get on with it and do no work at all." Wabsworth butted in from the back. "I'm inclined to agree, Wabbit. "The spectator is left in a state of dominant specularity. The spectator has to do a bit of work - otherwise what's left." Skratch was in a state of delirium. "The complexity of reality is enough,"  he said, "otherwise we're left with overwrought formalist mediation." "What do you say to a drink," said the Wabbit. "Or is that standing in the way of the impasse of the ideological?" Skratch laughed and laughed. "Are we feeling a little tetchy today, Wabbit." Lapinette laughed too. "The Wabbit is suggesting a quasi-mystical relationship between our narrative and objective reality." "Which is four aperitivi and a packet of crisps," said Wabsworth.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

8. Skratch, Wabsworth and the Prisoner

Skratch and Wabsworth guided the prisoner along the street. He was without handcuffs so as not to alarm the population. "You've been a very bad boy indeed," said Skratch. "Killing people is wrong," said Wabsworth, "even if they're in front of you at conferences." The prisoner failed to comment, but he looked at Skratch with baleful eyes. Finally he spoke. "Where are you taking me?" Skratch replied. "Taking you to the prison place, where you will be held indefinitely without trial until the end of time." The prisoner's eyes went glazed. "Just joking," meaowed Skratch. Wabsworth butted in. "You will get to choose life imprisonment or a free existence on an inhospitable planet of our choice, somewhere in the Sombrero Galaxy." The prisoner showed little hesitation. "The second," he said. Wabsworth shook his head. "It's very, very cold." The prisoner cried out, "But I'll be free." Skratch couldn't help adding some more information. "There are dinosaurs and evil flesh sucking voles," he said, "who will make your life difficult." The prisoner turned to Skratch. "I'll take my chances." Wabsworth chucked grimly. "You haven't heard everything. Every day there is a mist that sweeps in and changes your personality" Skratch gave a hiss. "Shouldn't change you much at all, except for the paranoia." The prisoner looked quite cheered. "All in all it doesn't sound so bad." Wabsworth laughed. "You are probably unaware of the Wabbit's frequent prison visits and correctional programme?" The prisoner looked tentative. "He talks for days and days, "said Skratch. "On and on and on."

Sunday, September 13, 2020

7. Flights for Small Mammals Conference

The Wabbit took his place at introduction of the Small Mammals Conference. A last-minute change to the timetable made him the target for the Murderer but he proposed to enjoy it nevertheless. "Small mammals of all kinds," he began. "For too long we have endured poor conditions in planes." There was a murmuring of agreement. "Cooped up in baskets, placed in holds - all manner of ignominy has been placed upon our shoulders." He looked around the conference. "This conference today signifies our unwillingness to endure this current treatment." There was a scuffle from the wings. The Wabbit carried on. "Today we legitimately ask, nay demand better treatment." Lapinette jumped up from the front row and pushed the Wabbit to the side, waving her automatic. "Stop right there," she shouted. You're under arrest." A figure emerged and he had a gun that pointed directly at the Wabbit. "You took the place that is legitimately mine," he yelled. "Stand down and give it to me." Lapinette yelled back. "Your place is at the back, where you belong." Creeping up behind the armed intruder were Skratch and Wabsworth, but the intruder was too intent on his task to see them. "I demand my rightful place, I am the authority on this subject, I am the one who should speak first," he shouted. Skratch took the revolver away with ease and Wabsworth handcuffed him. "Should I carry on?" asked the Wabbit. "You may as well," said Lapinette, "You seem to have the measure of it." And the Wabbit did, until he was asked to stop ...

Monday, September 07, 2020

6. The Wabbit and the Speaker List

The Wabbit met Lapinette at Lingotto. For security reasons they met in the children's section since there was never many people there. "What have you discovered, Wabbit?" breathed Lapinette. "Quite a lot," he replied. He was still clutching the guest book and he waved it. "I believe the answer is in here," He gave the book to Lapinette, who leafed quickly through the pages. "Have you ever heard of Bunk MacBatfit?" Lapinette shook her head.  "Can't say I have." The Wabbit paused. "Bunk is an authority on Flights for Small Mammals - but he likes to be first," Lapinette looked blank. The Wabbit's voice was harsh. "He likes to be first in everything he does." He paused. "Have a look at the speaker list." Lapinette read the first few pages. "He's not there." The Wabbit continued. "He's on the guest list but he's not speaking," Lapinette gasped. "He must be furious." "Furious enough to kill," said the Wabbit. Lapinette rocked backwards. "He'd kill to be first to speak!"  The Wabbit nodded. "I have a plan. Do you have any sway with the organisers?" Lapinette nodded too. "Can you get me on to the speakers list to speak first," said the Wabbit. "You're going to be bait," said Lapinette. "I'm the master of bait," replied the Wabbit, "so leave the changes until the last minute." Lapinette was cautious. "I'd better get Skratch and Wabsworth onto this. They can pass as small mammals, can't they?" The Wabbit looked sceptical. "They have to look dull." Lapinette laughed. "Anything's possible."

Friday, September 04, 2020

5. The Wabbit and the Sudden Attack

The Wabbit took a short cut along the side of the market because he wasn't sure when the attack would come. He knew there would be one - but of its exact shape he had no clue. So it wasn't entirely unexpected when it happened. When he saw a red dot appear he shifted like a cheetah running from extinction. He swayed to the left and then to the right, just as a rabbit does. He heard a sharp crack but the bullet went wide and hit the sidewall of the market. There was no second shot. Clearly the attacker had expected an easy hit and had now vanished, Nevertheless, he dropped down on all fours and looked all round for the attacker, but there was no sign, Just the mark of the bullet on the aluminium plate. The guest book was on the ground so he picked it up, shot to the other side of the road and round the corner. Clearly, he was close to the murderer and the murderer wanted the book. He clutched it against his chest and then flicked it open again.  He ran his eyes over the names of the three murdered rabbits and tried to think. The wind rustled the leaves of the book and turned the pages. There on the fourth page was the name of the next speaker at the conference, It leaped out at him. He looked familiar. The Wabbit snapped the book shut and stealthily went on his way. He didn't think the perpetrator would make a second attempt so soon. He was too smart a mammal for that. All the same, the Wabbit thought reinforcements would be a good idea at this stage. Keeping a wary eye open he stuck close to the buildings in the shadows, and made his way across town,

Monday, August 31, 2020

4. The Wabbit and the Hotel's Guest List

The Wabbit made his way to the Hotel Plaza, which was in a part of town he didn't know well. He wanted to ask for the Guest List. He figured all the homicide victims were booked in one hotel and, as it happened, they were. He stood at the desk for a while. No-one came. "This is a fine to-do," he muttered. "I'm not coming here on holiday." He waited and waited. It was absolutely deserted with not a soul around. No waiter passed. No bellboy emerged. But the thing he was looking for was on the desk in front of him. He looked each way, then flicked it open. All the names were there and a few more beside. "Tsk tsk," said the Wabbit. Then in a stentorian tone, he announced his presence. "Commander Wabbit, Department of Wabbit Affairs." No-one emerged. "I'd like to borrow your guest list for the Conference on Flights for Small Mammals," he yelled. Silence. The Wabbit flicked through the contents once more and there was one thing that he found interesting. So he scribbled a receipt, and tucked the book under his fur. Then he hopped down the stairs and out of the building. He made his way to a caffè, where he took another look at the book. "I have to figure the murderer is here," he said to himself. There were a lot of names - experts on this and experts on that.  There were keynote speakers in great number. And there was to be a special welcome by the President of the Chamber of Commerce himself. "Why wasn't I invited?" asked the Wabbit. He mused for a while. The Wabbit disliked conferences intensely, but that didn't stop people inviting him. So he nodded to himself with an impish grin. "I have an idea."

Friday, August 28, 2020

3. The Wabbit and the Naked City

The Wabbit looked out over the city. He often came up here when he needed to think and this was such a time. Two bodies and no clues. Somewhere down there was the answer, but the answer was hiding. He watched buses and trams go about their everyday business and somehow he knew that the murderer was on one of them - going to the next murder probably. This was a headache and no amount of paracetamol would fix it. He mused over the facts. Three bodies made up to look like the agents of Rabit - one killed by hanging and stabbing and the two others were deliberate drownings. According to forensics, the killings were in the night. But a curious fact had come to light. All three were going to the same event, a debate on flight travel for small mammals. The function was to be over the next three days but these rabbits wouldn't make it. There were names on the on the guest list - a Mr A.N. Other, Mr. A. Attendee and a Mr A Newman - all no-shows. The Wabbit grimaced. He could see the venue from his spot on the Mole Tower. What connected them? An esoteric knowledge of small mammal behaviour on planes perhaps? The Wabbit shook his head and tried to think hard. He lifted his radio. "Calling Lovely Lapinette. Come in please." The radio whined and whistled. "Lovely Lapinette here!" The Wabbit thought for another second then, "What do we have on small mammals on planes?" Lovely Lapinette rustled some papers. "Quite a bit as it happens." "Go through the names," said the Wabbit, "and get me any authorities corresponding to initials ANO, AA and AN." Lapinette's voice was sceptical. "When would you like it?" "Yesterday!" smiled the Wabbit.