Monday, May 25, 2020

3. The Wabbit and the Looming Clouds

Wabsworth and the Wabbit met Lapinette on the Monte dei Cappuccini because of the gathering clouds. Clouds and lightning over Torino were far from unusual but the day was fine, and no storm was predicted. They clustered around the Big Cross - which, by special arrangement, doubled as a radio transmitter for the Department - and looked up. The cross shook with every bolt of lightning and showered sparks on their heads. The Wabbit's ears curled. "This is something to do with everyone being frozen, but I can't figure out what." Lapinette gazed at the clouds. "These look artificial. It might be the Ice Mice." Wabsworth shook his head. "It's hardly their style. They like Big Weather." The Wabbit had an idea. He fished in his fur for his walkie talkie and contacted the Department. "Patch me through to Marshall Duetta Spyder. Encrypted transmission." The radio crackled and whined. "Marshall Duetta. What can I do for you Commander?" The Wabbit smiled a wry smile. "Can you fly your spiders into that cloud formation?" The radio whined again. "With enormous pleasure Commander. Do you want anything smashed, crashed, bitten, poisoned, infected or otherwise compromised?" The Wabbit bared all of his 28 teeth. "Not yet. Just have a look." He heard the rustling of spider legs. "On our way," hissed Duetta. Wabsworth glanced sideways at Lapinette and caught her eye. She grinned and murmured, "Always with the subtle approach."

Friday, May 22, 2020

2. The Wabbit and the Stationary Bus

When they reached Piazza Carlo Felice, it was clear the whole city was affected. Everything was at a standstill. But several buses were parked near the hotels and the Wabbit thought he'd try his luck. Closely observed by Wabsworth, he jumped on the one with a driver. "Hello," he said. The driver appeared to lean towards him. "Perhaps you could tell me where this bus is headed?" There was no answer and the driver remained where he was. His papers lay strewn on the dashboard. A cup of coffee sat nearby. The Wabbit sniffed it. It was lukewarm. He looked back to where a few passengers sat motionless. Wabsworth peered in. "What's happening?" "Nothing," shrugged the Wabbit. A few people stood rigid in the street. "Uncanny," muttered the Wabbit. His radio crackled so loudly in the still air that he nearly jumped out of his fur and he snapped, "Commander Wabbit, go ahead," The voice was silky sweet. "It's Lapinette, copy." The Wabbit grinned an enormous grin. "OK Lapinette, copy all that coffee." The radio crackled again. "Have you got a situation?" Wabsworth waved to the Wabbit and the Wabbit waved back with his radio. "We do," he shrugged. "Then maybe your situation is our situation," said Lapinette. The Wabbit nodded. "Everything is at a standstill. It's locked down tighter than a potter's socket." "Wabbit, that's rude!" yelled Lapinette. "These are rude times," said the Wabbit. "I'll get the team," sighed Lapinette. The Wabbit lifted the radio again, "Why aren't we affected?" The radio whined and Lapinette spoke again, "We're a whole different species."

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

1. The Wabbit and the Standstill Stop

The Wabbit and Wabsworth strolled all the way along Via Nizza from Lingotto and turned left to cross to Via Sacchi. They were bantering about the city and how it had changed. The Wabbit recalled when there was no metro and Tram Number One went all the way from Porta Nuova station to Lingotto. Being an android copy, Wabsworth did have a memory of that - but it belonged to the Wabbit. So he ran a small programme that brought everything from these days to life. "It smells different," he said. "The metro cut down the traffic," replied the Wabbit. Cars and buses thundered past and across the junction. "Oh really," said Wabsworth. He ran the programme again and shook his head. "Perhaps," he commented. They waited patiently to cross the road. Wabsworth knew the Wabbit liked to pause on the big bridge on Corso Germano Sommeiller and watch the trains - and he grinned because he liked that too. A gap appeared in the traffic and they stated to make their way across. But without warning all traffic screeched to a halt. The road was a sea of red stop lights. Even bikes stopped and remained strangely upright. The Wabbit and Wabsworth looked all round. Drivers sat rigid in their cars, eyes staring at the traffic signals. "What gives?" said the Wabbit. "Maybe their batteries gave out," snickered Wabsworth. The silence was like a heavy blanket. The Wabbit wanted to yell but found he couldn't. "Well something's up, all right. Let's get help," said the Wabbit. So together they set off to hop through a frozen city ...

Monday, May 18, 2020

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

For a change, the team gathered at a pleasant restaurant and waited for the menus to arrive. Skratch was last to arrive and he paused by the window. "I favour fish," he meaowed. "Something like crosta di patate." The Wabbit licked his lips and grinned. "Me too," he chirruped. Wabsworth tapped on the tale. "We're forgetting the main question. What sort of Adventure did the Wabbit and Lapinette just have?" Skratch felt entirely responsible for the answer. Yet he hesitated a little. "I couldn't help noticing the denial of narrative closure." Wabsworth pounced. "Yet the adventure did end." Skratch shook his head. "Narration and ending are two different types of signifying systems." Lapinette giggled. "Entirely correct. Our binary narrative allowed for completeness of theme and also provided a closure device." The Wabbit was getting hungry and his tummy rumbled. "It was an open discourse adventure because it suggests the story can continue even after it's complete!" Lapinette didn't agree. "It's arguable, because the adventure did have a codified closure device." "Touche," laughed Skratch. Wabsworth thought this was hilarious and rocked in his chair. "Then we may hear of this mysterious cloaked figure again," he smiled. "With a brand-new bag, perhaps?" quipped the Wabbit. They all laughed and laughed. "Here come the menus," observed Lapinette. "What about our drinks?" yelled the Wabbit.
[Thanks to: "The End: Narration and Closure in the Cinema. (1995), Richard John Neupert, Wayne State University Press]

Friday, May 15, 2020

8. The Wabbit and the Letter in the Bag

They parked the launch in a secluded canal and waded through the water. The Wabbit carefully unzipped the bag, but there were no creatures. There was hardly anything at all. "What's that?" asked Lapinette. She pointed to a sheet of paper, tucked in the lining of the bag. The Wabbit plucked it out and held it up. "It's a letter," he said. "To us." he added. A rectangular piece of cardboard detached from the letter and Lapinette grasped it. "A railway ticket to Turin." The Wabbit shrugged and scanned the handwritten letter. "Looks like it's from our cloaked figure. He says thanks for all the fun, he had a great time. He invites us to come again." Lapinette looked at the cardboard. "And this is a rail ticket to Turin." "Yes," said the Wabbit, "The rail ticket is for your return trip. He says I don't get one because I was already here." Lapinette sighed. "Our cloaked figure is a bit of a spooky joker." "And spookily mean," said the Wabbit. Lapinette laughed. "Venice is a creepy place is it not." "Jeepers, creepers," shivered the Wabbit. He upended the bag and shook it - but there was nothing more inside. He placed the letter back in the bag. Lapinette dropped the ticket in too. "I'll get my own ticket, thank you very much." "Most wise," said the Wabbit. He zipped up the bag and placed it in the water. Lapinette gave it a push with a foot, propelling it into the gloomy waterway. It swirled three times, then half-submerged it floated out of sight. "Don't look now?" grinned the Wabbit.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

7. The Wabbit and the bag in Canal Alley

Lapinette and the Wabbit chased as far as they could but the barge disappeared under a bridge and round a corner. "This way!" yelled the Wabbit. Followed closely by Lapinette he disappeared into a building and ran upstairs. But Lapinette lost sight of him and found herself in a strange, bright room. She looked out of the window. Rain and clouds were gone. Underneath lay a sunlit canal and on water of the deepest blue floated a line of tarpaulin-covered blue launches. "Wow," gasped Lapinette. Nestling half-covered on one of the launches, lay a single red bag. The Wabbit emerged from an opposite window and with the briefest of waves he jumped out and onto the launch. Lapinette swung from the window and punted from the wall with her legs. The launch rocked as she landed. "Steady there," said the Wabbit and grabbed her paws. He touched the red bag with a foot. "What do you make of this?" They looked around. There was no sign of the cloaked figure or his creatures. "Which of the bags can this be?" murmured Lapinette. "Anyone's guess," replied the Wabbit. "Until we open it, I suppose," grinned Lapinette. Water made soft plopping noises against the hull. Sun glinted from the surface. "Fancy a boat ride?" said the Wabbit. He jumped to the stern, pushed the outboard into the water and with a single tug of its cord started the motor. As the launch chugged along the alley, Lapinette sat down and stared at the bag. "Might be another bag of tricks," said the Wabbit.  "Find a safe spot," said Lapinette ...

Monday, May 11, 2020

6. The Wabbit and the Red Bag Creatures

The Wabbit and Lapinette carefully sealed the creatures in the red bag and set off in search of the figure. They boarded a number of vaporettos and scoured the canals. The rain become heavy, and they were just about to call a halt when the water foamed and a noisy craft approached. It was a dirty, oily green and sported a heavy industrial crane. Steered by a dark figure, the ghostly barge cleaved a path through the murky waters with a cargo of red bags - all identical to the one they'd taken from the cloaked figure. "Looks like our opportunity," said the Wabbit, "Let's give him back his bag." He gestured with a paw. Lapinette leaned over the side, swung the bag three times then let it go. It sailed towards the barge in a graceful arc. But just as the bag reached the apex, the creatures broke free and flew in all directions. The air was thick with them. At first sight they looked like a flock of crows but the Wabbit knew better and he yelled, "Take cover!" He ducked, but they dove straight at the Wabbit, squealing as they came. Amidst the deafening noise, Lapinette tried to drag them away - but there were many. The barge drew alongside, and the cloaked figure's voice cut through the clatter of the engine. "Satisfied now, Wabbit?" He snapped a finger. The creatures broke off their attack and soared around the figure at the helm. With a burst of speed, the barge surged past and round a corner, followed by the creatures. The Wabbit picked himself up and raced to the vaporetto's hatch to yell at the pilot, "Follow that barge!"

Friday, May 08, 2020

5. The Wabbit and the Things in the Bag

The Wabbit and Lapinette scampered off and disappeared into a back-street bar that hardly anyone knew about. The Wabbit threw the bag on a table and called for a stiff drink. "You first," said Lapinette. The bag seemed full of nothing. The Wabbit prodded it. There was a scuffling sound. Lapinette drew back. The Wabbit looked at it for a while. Then he shrugged and unzipped the top, but the bag fell open and creatures flew out. One brushed past his head like an oversized moth and another darted at Lapinette. Creatures were everywhere and the Wabbit tried to scoop them back into the bag - with some success. With the last one in, he zipped up the bag and sat staring at Lapinette. Lapinette stared back and grimaced. "Well, it was your idea." The Wabbit grimaced back. "Maybe I'll just try another pocket," he said. His paw reached out but Lapinette grabbed it. "Things are bad enough already." The Wabbit tried to grin. "I suppose the cloaked figure will be looking for the right bag." Lapinette gave the matter consideration. She lifted the bag and put it down again. It seemed heavier. "We could try to exchange the bag again," she suggested. "Or we could leave it in a left luggage locker," joked the Wabbit. "Not on my watch!" yelled Lapinette. The Wabbit looked puzzled. "What are they anyway?" Lapinette remained silent and shook her head. "Some kind of phantom delicacy?" said the Wabbit. Lapinette wrinkled her nose. "At least they're quiet." That was when the noise started, a high-pitched squealing that set their teeth on edge. "Let's find the figure," gasped the Wabbit ...

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

4. The Wabbit, Lapinette and the Big Swap

It was a rain-soaked, dismal day and people waded across Venice as best they could. The Wabbit and Lapinette hated rain since it sullied their fur, but nonetheless they cast around for an appearance of the red bag. Late in the day they spotted it, half afloat under stacked tables in Piazza San Marco. "OK, here goes," said Lapinette and she sprang onto the tables carrying the substitute bag. The Wabbit glanced around for the cloaked figure but there were so many people and so many umbrellas, that he couldn't spot him. The red bag was there so he knew he had to be around, but where? Lapinette dropped her own bag into the water and fished out the other bag. She sensed something at her back, and turned to look round. Nothing. There was no figure, only a feeling that made her fur stand on end. She shook off the feeling like a dog throws off rain and with all her strength she punted the bag towards the Wabbit. It spiralled through the air towards the Wabbit's waiting paws. People brushed all around the Wabbit in a grumpy fashion, bumping into him as they plodded along the raised platform. No-one wanted to slip off into the murky flood, so they took no notice of a rabbit waiting for a red bag, or of a spiralling bag twisting in the air. The Wabbit reached like a goalkeeper and clutched the bag to his chest. "Oomph!" he grunted. It was then that he noticed the figure rising from the water. It didn't seem to see him. It was more interested in getting the red bag. The figure raised a finger and beckoned - and the bag floated towards him. "Bingo!" muttered the Wabbit.

Monday, May 04, 2020

3. Lapinette and the Substitute Bag

The Wabbit just could not let the matter lie. It was imperative to get to the bottom of the business with the red bag and he'd had an idea. He contacted Lapinette and asked her to find a duplicate bag and bring it to Venice. Lapinette scoured all of Turin for the appropriate item - and having found something that looked like the bag described by the Wabbit, took the first train. The Wabbit said to meet at the Rialto vaporetto jetty and that was where she found him. "Psst," whispered the Wabbit, "round here." He'd tucked himself well behind a kiosk and Lapinette nodded approvingly when she couldn't see him. "I've got the bag," she said in a hushed tone. She threw it over to the Wabbit, who caught it and examined it closely. "Why all the secrecy?" she asked. The Wabbit explained about the vanishing bag and the spooky figure and added, "Next time I see the bag I'm going to try to exchange it for this one." Lapinette grinned. "Not without me, you won't." The Wabbit nodded in agreement. "Maybe you can distract the figure?" Lapinette looked excited. "What does he look like?" "Just a figure," said the Wabbit. "No face?" said Lapinette. "He has kind of a hood and cloak," said the Wabbit. "No dagger? smirked Lapinette. "Not that I know of," answered the Wabbit. Lapinette tapped her frock. "I brought mine anyway." "Just in case of trouble?" commented the Wabbit. "I bring my own trouble," smiled Lapinette ..

Friday, May 01, 2020

2. The Wabbit and the Flooded Landing

The Wabbit thought no further about the figure and the red bag. But sometime later when he hopped onto a landing in Venice, there was the bag again. Water lapped around his feet and soaked the bottom of the bag and he felt impelled to rescue it. He knew it was the same bag as he'd seen on the canal - because the Wabbit liked bags and recognised all the scuffs and tears. In the Wabbit's opinion, all bags had a different personality bestowed on it by its owner and its contents. He hopped across and prodded it gently with a single foot but that told him little. All the same, he felt reluctant to open it. He gazed at it for a while until a voice came into his head and whispered in a seductive fashion. "Open the bag, you know you want to." The Wabbit replied to himself. "It's not my bag." The voice in his head spoke again. "You might find out who owns it and then you can return it." The Wabbit nodded and examined the bag closely. It had any number of zips and any number of pockets where he might find an ID. So he picked a zip and poked out a paw to grasp the pull tab, but water lapped around the bag and moved it some distance away. He followed it. The same happened again. He stopped because he heard that voice again. This time he turned fast, just in time to catch sight of a figure that quickly vanished to nothing. He wheeled back but the bag was no longer there. Now he was completely alone with only the lapping of waves to keep him company. "My paws are wet," he grumbled ...

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

1. The Wabbit and the Red Bag

The morning was more than brisk and the Wabbit took the opportunity for a constitutional hop. He was between adventures and that was time to relax and recharge. He took the long route around the town, where canals passed through the fields. He found the water peaceful and always stopped on the bridge to watch for a while. Usually not much happened. He would ponder geometry and imagine the network that took water across farmland towards Venice. But there was something in the water. That was unusual enough. But for the occasional passing of a heron, nothing of any excitement took place. He took a closer look. Just beneath the bridge, a bright red bag lay abandoned on the bank. It looked new. The Wabbit thought for a moment. "Where there's a bag there's usually an owner." He glanced around and became aware of a solitary figure that seemed to be standing in the water. "Hello there!" he shouted. "You've lost your bag." The figure didn't move. The Wabbit shouted louder. "Your bag's here, shall I get it for you?" He made his way along the bridge to slide down the bank, but when he got there the bag had disappeared. He looked up the canal and there was the bag lying under the water, just by the figure. The figure stood stock still, then solemnly waved. The single, slow sweep of its arm was like the seconds hand of a clock. The Wabbit waved back. The figure fished in the canal for the bag and finding it, turned and waded through the water. The Wabbit watched until he was out of sight ...

Monday, April 27, 2020

The Wabbit and his Adventure Caffè

The team gathered for their Adventure Caffè discussion. It was at Eataly in Lingotto and they were looking forward to it. Skratch slid in late as usual and raised a paw in greeting. "That was a fine adventure we just had," he purred. Lapinette stretched out both paws in welcome. "But exactly what kind of adventure was it?" Wabsworth's eyes gleamed. "It was at the very junction of the symbolic and the imaginary!" The Wabbit tapped the table lightly with a single paw. "You're talking about suture." Skratch meaowed pleasantly. "Well you're both quite right. The articulation of a signifying chain of episodes operates through the absence constituted by the subject." Lapinette's laughter was like a stream washing lightly over rocks. "That's Stephen Heath, as you well know, Skratch." Now Skratch purred with delight. "Our adventure was all jump cuts and blind spots." Wabsworth was very happy to have been in this adventure and his circuits whirred. "You know, I have a pristine copy of Wide Angle Film Quarterly." Skratch nearly fell over. "It's worth a fortune. Which one?" "Volume 10 No. 3," replied Wabsworth. "My goodness, said Skratch, "Do you keep it in a safe?" Wabsworth chortled. "I got it in a market for one euro, fifty. No-one knew what it was." "Or meant," laughed Lapinette. The Wabbit poked Skratch. "And who is this absent one of whom you speak." "The reader of course," stated Skratch. "Oh him," shrugged the Wabbit. "Her," corrected Lapinette.
[Skratch is talking about Stephen Heath. (1981) Questions of Cinema, The Macmillan Press, London.]

Saturday, April 25, 2020

10. The Wabbit and the Fast Train Home

The yellow box was a good as its word. The team boarded the train and made for the dining car where a sumptuous banquet awaited. The train was empty, it was only for them. But the Wabbit lingered behind and snuggled into his favourite single seat at the end of the coach. The train powered up and moved out of the station. The Wabbit gazed at the platform. He could see their footprints in the snow and a thought crossed his mind. "I have a vague feeling we'll all be back ere long." He realised he'd said it out loud and that Lapinette was behind him. "Do you reckon?" she whispered. "I know it in my waters," murmured the Wabbit. The train roared along the track to Torino. Skratch's voice meaowed from the speakers. "We're all waiting in the dining car. Please report. Drinks are on the table." The Wabbit thought it was time to venture an apology to Lapinette. "Sorry about that red button." She laughed. "Where would we be without them?" "Middle of nowhere," grinned the Wabbit. They both looked out of the window. Trees and telegraph poles and pylons blurred past. They watched them for a while. "How long have we been having strange adventures?" pondered Lapinette. "More years than I care to remember," shrugged the Wabbit. The train sounded its klaxon as it pounded through a station. "I'm hungry," said Lapinette. The Wabbit's tummy rumbled and he patted it. "What's on the menu?" he asked. "Prosecco," smiled Lapinette. She pulled the Wabbit to his feet, and paw in paw they made their way to the dining car.

Friday, April 24, 2020

9. The Wabbit and the Red Button

The Wabbit looked at the sign. "This really is the middle of nowhere." Then he paused. "And look, there's a yellow box that says stop just like the one at the tram halt." Lapinette took a good look at the box. She sighed. "Wabbit, it doesn't say stop. It says SOS." The Wabbit sulked. "Well, I spoke to one, and it said it could stop things." Wabsworth chimed in. "Probably it can. It can stop a tram." Skratch meaowed from further along the platform. "Or in this case ... a train." Skratch knew all about signs, signifiers and what they signified. The Wabbit smiled. "Maybe this is an emergency. I'm going to press the button." Before anyone could say anything, his paw jabbed the button and a voice spoke from the speaker. "Ah it's you. Did I stop you being bored, Wabbit?" Everyone pointed at the Wabbit and shouted at once. "This is all your fault!" Lapinette hopped up and down. "Boredom is not an emergency!" The Wabbit waved everyone aside. Then he turned and addressed the box. "Can you stop us being stranded?" "I can indeed" said the box. They heard the tootle of a horn in the distance. The tracks rumbled. Lights changed. A station announcement began. "Arriving at Platform One, special non-stop express train for Torino, Porta Nuova. The Wabbit grinned at Lapinette with all of his 28 teeth. Lapinette stamped a foot. "There'd better be a buffet on this train." "A banquet awaits you in the dining car," crackled the yellow box, "I think you all deserve it." Behind them, a train slid into the station and doors hissed open. But there was another sound. "That box laughed," said Lapinette.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

8. The Wabbit and the Deserted Station

Under a lowering slate-grey sky the train braked to a halt in a lonely station. Snow began to pelt down and lay thick on the platform. The Wabbit sprinted and skidded down the train. He pounded on the compartment door which was well stuck, then he sprinted back to the cab for the wrecking bar. If there was one tool the Wabbit liked it was a wrecking bar, and he set upon the door with vigour and good faith. A crack opened. Then with a hiss, the door slid open - more or less. Lapinette flew through first. The Wabbit pointed up the platform and urged her on, although he didn't know why. He just had a feeling in the pit of his stomach. Skratch was next and halted to ask a question, but the Wabbit shouted and waved him along. Wabsworth looked groggy as he tottered out. The Wabbit pushed him forward and yelled, "Everyone, get to the other end of the platform." He threw the wrecking bar between the sliding doors but it was too late. The doors slid shut just as the train powered up and left the station in the opposite direction. They watched it as it careered down the line, left the rails and hit a dilapidated railway building. The bang was deafening. The train buckled and lay groaning in the snow. Tendrils of smoke rose. Shards of metal dropped through the snow. "There goes our ride home," sighed Lapinette.

Monday, April 20, 2020

7. The Wabbit and the Emergency Brake

The Wabbit dived into the cab and searched for the emergency brake. He pulled every lever he could but the train still rumbled on. The brake handle was stuck and the dead man's switch was nowhere to be seen. He tried brute force and ignorance but that didn't work either. The train roared down the tracks at enormous speed. Vibration shook every bone in his body. He slumped down on the seat - and felt something give way. So he threw himself on the floor of the cab and groped underneath with both paws. There was something there - a red switch, jammed with a brick. He tried to dislodge it, but the switch stuck fast and every attempt to loosen it made things worse. The Wabbit jumped up and down on the seat to no avail. He sat down and gazed through the windshield. The tracks looked like a maze. Stations strobed past. A train loomed in front, but they passed straight through it. "OK. Plan B," shrugged the Wabbit. He rummaged through the cab and pulled out everything he could. Then he searched the compartment behind. "Aha!" he breathed. Standing in the corner was a wrecking bar. He seized it and lurched to the front. Then with a mighty cry he swung the bar under the seat like a scythe. The seat toppled off its plinth. "Grrr," growled the Wabbit and he set about the jammed switch with both feet. It came off too. But he felt the train slow. Then he heard a squeal and smelled the acrid odour of burning brakes. He grinned and muttered to himself. "This is the next stop of this train. Please ensure you take your belongings with you."

Saturday, April 18, 2020

6. The Wabbit in the Runaway Train

The train shrieked along the tracks like a runaway ghost. It flew through a misty mesh of signals and stopped for none of them. It shuttled through points and dissolved through anything it met. Twin lights cut a path through an iron landscape. Stations blurred past. Nothing could stop it. Inside, the team wrestled with connecting doors but they were all locked. They sat down and thought hard. "What about the alarm chain," suggested Lapinette. The Wabbit jumped at the chain and pulled it. It came away in his paw and clattered on the floor. Wabsworth tackled a window and with a touch of hydraulic pressure it moved. "Along the roof?" said the Wabbit. Everyone nodded. He shrugged, then Skratch lifted him up. With a hop, the Wabbit pulled himself through the window. Wind tore at his fur. He searched for a grip, found it, and vaulted onto the top of the carriage. Pylons flashed by. He gritted all of his 28 teeth and held on as a train pounded past on the opposite track. He ducked as the train flew under a bridge. The mist tasted like old broccoli and it battered his lungs. He gasped. But bit by bit he pulled himself towards the motor coach. The roof was damp and slippery and several times he slithered to the edge. But the driver's cab was in sight. Clinging like grim death, he threw a leg over the side and kicked until he heard glass smash. Then he dropped and vaulted inside ...

Friday, April 17, 2020

5. The Wabbit and the Train to Nowhere

The Wabbit climbed the stairs to the to the upper compartment. He flopped down, but soon realised he had company. "Wabbit!" yelled Lapinette, "What are we doing here? Is this one of your stunts?" He heard a meow from behind him. "What's going on?" purred Skratch, "I was about to watch a film." Lapinette was breathless. "I was collecting wood for your shed when everything shook and I ran and now I'm here." The Wabbit shook his head and he scowled. "Well, the tram was late so I pressed an intercom thing on the platform." They heard the clang of approaching steps. Wabsworth appeared from the lower compartment, moaning as he climbed the stairs. "I was having a quiet diagnostic when I found myself spatially dislocated." The train swayed and he grabbed the rail. He pointed at the Wabbit. "This is your fault, isn't it?" The Wabbit dismissed him with the wave of a paw. "Not guilty," he shrugged. The train got faster. Skratch looked out but stations, poles, pylons and trees blurred past. "This is the back of beyond." The Wabbit nodded. "That's more or less what the guard said." Lapinette jumped up and down. "You met a guard!" The train's PA system crackled into life. "This is the Guard. We are now approaching the station after the one before." A station blurred past. "We didn't stop!" yelled Lapinette. The PA crackled again and the Guard spoke. "There are no further stops of this train. Please have your tickets ready." The train rattled onwards ..

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

4. The Wabbit on the Foggy Platform

The Wabbit was no longer at a sunny tram stop. He was on a foggy rail platform and he shivered in the cold air. A train thundered in and the platform shook as wheels shrieked to a halt. Station announcements barked information. The Wabbit recognised none of the stations but one thing was certain. He was a long way from home. He didn't like the look of this at all - and he shook his head with vigour. The doors opened with a loud hiss but the Wabbit declined to get on. He hung from a platform light and waited. The guard's door opened, and a man stepped out. He looked up and down the train, and when he caught sight of the Wabbit, he said, "All aboard now, all aboard." The Wabbit shook his head again. "Where is this train going?" he asked. The guard beckoned. "Come on now. There won't be another train for quite some time." The Wabbit was reluctant. "I've got no ticket." He hopped back a little. "The guard waved a machine. "No bother, I'll sell you a ticket when we're underway." The train blasted its horn three times and some of the doors hissed closed. "Last chance," said the guard. The Wabbit hopped back once more but the guard pressed him. "Look all around. Do you see anything?" "No," confessed the Wabbit. "This is the middle of nowhere," shrugged the guard. He waited. "Join all your friends on board," he suggested. That was enough for the Wabbit and he hopped on. The doors hissed shut behind him as the train took off and hurtled into the fog ...

Monday, April 13, 2020

3. Skratch and the Shaking Stairs

The day was hotter than expected. It was only April but it seemed like a scorching day in August. So Skratch the Cat went in search of air conditioning. "Where else but the cinema?" he thought. He wandered down Via Nizza and strolled into 8 Gallery at Lingotto. It was very quiet and Skratch smiled to himself. "Excellent," he murmured. But when he reached the sales desk there was no-one there. "Afternoon break," he thought and prowled on. As he made his way down to the auditoriums, he could just hear movies playing above the rumble of the escalators. "I'll pay on my way out," he meaowed. Although the atmosphere was electric, he met not a soul. The place was as empty as the devil's heart. "I must be in a  film." Skratch hissed. His purring increased along with his heartbeat. "This is so weird," he growled. He adopted a crouching posture, just in case. Then the escalator lurched and the whole cinema began to shake, pitching him forward. Amid the chaos, the escalator kept going but with enough noise for three. Perspex panels vibrated and tiles fell from the ceiling. Skratch sprang forward and out of the way as the escalator stairs groaned, coiled and collapsed behind him. He twisted in mid-air, landed on his feet and looked back. Then he grinned. "Good thing I'm a cat..."

Friday, April 10, 2020

2. Lapinette and the Construction Site

Lapinette hitched a lift on the hoist of a building site. She knew the Wabbit needed wood for his shed and a friendly contractor had promised as much as she wanted. The crane operator lowered her down. "Bit to the left, bit to the right," she yelled. Lapinette sniffed the air. Something wasn't right but she didn't have a clue what it was. Something fell and the load shook. She looked up but the operator was no longer there. The load swayed outward and tilted. Lapinette clung on to the chain as it swung back and glanced down. It was a long way to the ground. A plank fell from the roof and missed her by a centimetre. A link broke on the chain, followed by another. Lapinette looked at the scaffolding and calculated the distance. Then she jumped, clung on and clambered inside the scaffolding as the load dropped to the street. But the scaffolding shook too and the bolts that attached it to the framework of the building began to pop. First one, then a second, then all of them. The scaffolding sagged and dropped with Lapinette on board. She jumped again and rolled along the sidewalk in a cloud of dust. Behind her, the scaffolding folded like a concertina. Metal struts fell around her like rain. She picked herself up but the ground under her feet trembled like a leaf. She looked for cover but every building warped to and fro. Then the noise and the shaking suddenly stopped. Now Lapinette found herself listening to the loudest silence she'd ever heard ...

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

1. The Wabbit and the Tram Stop

The Wabbit waited at the tram stop a long time and eventually he got bored. It was so long that he wondered whether all the trams were cancelled. Things seemed too quiet, but it occurred to him that it had already been a busy year for mild peril, in which he'd encountered Tremor worms, monster fish attacks and bad dragons. Maybe it was OK to be quiet for a while. He hopped up and down the platform, hoping his radio would crackle into life. Nothing came through. He studied everything intensely, but eventually he found himself reduced to counting fence posts. "May as well walk," he thought. It was then that he spotted the yellow box and he was uncertain why he'd never noticed it before. He looked it up and down. It had a red button and a loudspeaker so he stretched out a paw. It lingered over the button. "To press or not to press?" he mused. He looked at the arrow that said stop. "What's the worst that can happen?" he murmured. It was a short jab but it was effective. The speaker shrieked with a deafening alarm and voice spoke. "What would you like stopped?" The Wabbit covered his ears and yelled, "Stop the alarm please." The alarm stopped and the loudspeaker barked. "Anything else you'd like stopped?" The Wabbit thought of lots of things, few of them practical. "I'd like a tram to come." The speaker barked again. "It's not my job to start things, only stop them." The Wabbit considered. "Maybe you could stop me being bored." The speaker chuckled in a malevolent tone. "No problem, Commander Wabbit ..."

Monday, April 06, 2020

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

It was fun and games at the Adventure Caffè. Wabsworth produced a vial and told everyone it was full of bad dragon drops. No-one believed him and they all pushed the vial around. The Wabbit laughed and laughed. "But what sort of adventure was that what we just had?" he asked. Skratch leaned back and draped a paw across the back of his chair. "I'd say it was irreal." Wabsworth draped his paw in exactly the same way. "As opposed to unreal?" Lapinette poked the vial again. "Dragons are real enough and symbolic too." Skratch meaowed long and hard. "Then your story was but a structure of signification." Wabsworth was now quite excited. "A concept signifies - but a thing is expressive and a dragon is a thing." Lapinette span the vial round and round. "That's Metz. And he would want to know what kind of dragon thingyness you mean." Skratch butted it. "Your story sequence of images is a horizontal fluid discourse in which thingyness occurs." The Wabbit rapped on the table and the flask jumped up and down. "Therefore our episodes present a sequence of discontinuity which mobilises discourse through construction." Lapinette shook her head because it was beginning to spin. She was getting thirsty and felt in need of a drink. "Wabbit, sometimes you go to far." The Wabbit looked at Wabsworth. "I take it that vial no longer contains bad dragon drops." Wabsworth snatched it back and grinned. "Well I wouldn't recommend drinking it!

Friday, April 03, 2020

5. The Wabbit and the Last Bad Dragon

The Wabbit wandered through a strange landscape, clearing up bad dragons. Without their leader they were a spent force and the 400 Rabbits took care of most of them. But an enclave remained in Lingotto and since the Wabbit was especially fond of the area, he'd gone to supervise. With a happy heart, he slung his Snazer gun over his shoulder and whistled a merry tune. The atmosphere was yellow with dragon fumes but now it was clearing and that's how he came to see the shadow. With a terrible roar, a shape loomed over his shoulder breathing fumes. The Wabbit didn't bother to turn. With his paws behind him he pulled the laser's trigger and it fired a salvo that blasted a dragon to shreds. Bits dropped all around him and all over the car park. The Wabbit found himself looking down as a severed head with a tongue that continued to snake in and out as it tried to speak. The Wabbit shrugged because he was tired of bad dragons. "Any last words?" The tongue waggled to and fro. He nudged the dragon head with a foot and it rolled back and forward like a football. The Wabbit sighed. He took the Snazer from his back and pointed it. The head lurched forward and its tongue moved once more. This time it spoke. "We'll be back." The Wabbit leaned forward to look it in the eyes. "And on that occasion, we'll be ready." The eyes closed. The tongue lay still. The Wabbit shrugged again. "I hope .."

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

4. The Wabbit and the Dragon's Ointment

The Wabbit and Lapinette racked their brains for a way to defeat the dragons. They scoured the Internet and unearthed ancient tomes to locate a suitable method but they came up with nothing. Lapinette looked up. Dragons of various hues circled the skies but there was one bigger than the rest and he seemed to be in charge. She pointed. "We have to bring that one down." The Wabbit held up a paw. "I think I have it. Dragons are impervious to magic, but can't stand ointment." Lapinette rummaged in a drawer and clutching a new tube of ointment, hurried to the hanger where Susan the Biplane was ready to take off. Susan circled just below the ferocious dragon. It batted it's giant wings and flew straight towards them but Susan was nimble as only a biplane could be. "What's that ointment for?" asked the Wabbit. "Eczema," snarled Lapinette. "That'll peel its scales," chuckled the Wabbit. Lapinette scrambled onto a wing and unscrewed the cap. Susan hung in the air and waited. "Here it comes," yelled the Wabbit. The dragon's tongue snaked towards Lapinette's head and it was just the moment she'd been waiting for. The tube spat ointment on the dragon's chin and into its mouth. A cry of anguish rose to the heavens. The dragon's neck twisted and thrashed but it couldn't get rid of the ointment. Then its wings drooped as it it turned tail and fell screaming to the city below. "Flew in the ointment?" laughed the Wabbit.
[Dragons (except for Terni the Food Dragon) are courtesy of http://clipart-library.com/dragon-clip-art.html ]

Monday, March 30, 2020

3. Lapinette and the Dragon on the Roof

Not far from Wabsworth's laboratory, Lapinette was looking out a window when a dragon swooped across the rooftops. It dived straight at her and picked her up. Lapinette struggled valiantly. Even though her feet scraped the tiles she somehow managed to pluck an edged weapon from her frock. She struck out once and missed - but the second swipe caught the dragon's foot. He let out a terrifying bellow as blood sprayed on the roof. "Let go, you monster!" yelled Lapinette. The knife flashed again to some effect. The dragon let out a roar and shook her to and fro, but it dropped her. She rolled down the roof and slid over the edge. The street looked a long way down so she clung on with a single paw. With the other she lashed out at the dragon. Snapping teeth moved closer. Jaws opened and clamped up and down close to her face, but only snapped off a few tiles. Lapinette swung along the edge of the roof, searching by touch for the open window. At last her feet found the ledge and with one paw she tried to swing in. The dragon's teeth were razor sharp and raked along the roof edge, making a good grip impossible. But she struck again with the knife and this time she got lucky. The dragon's nose spurted blood. It shrieked as it recoiled and lifted from the roof. Lapinette dived inside and lay panting on the floor. She covered her ears from the deafening sound of the dragon crashing down on the roof again and again. Tiles flew everywhere. The ceiling bulged. Lapinette rolled and leaped up to make for the stairs and the street ....

Friday, March 27, 2020

2. Wabsworth and the Sudden Shake

Wabsworth returned to his laboratory and extracted the flask from his fur. This he did alone - just in case. He was an android and generally remained unaffected by poison, germs or magic drops of any kind. Nonetheless he took a lot of care. Wabsworth watched a significant amount of television from the sixties and he hummed "Puff the Magic Dragon," as he worked. But just as he got to the end, he felt the building shake under his feet. The laboratory tipped to the right and then tipped to the left. "Earthquake," growled Wabsworth. He dived for the flask, but it slid along the counter top, hit another flask and shot into the air. Dragon drops slopped around and frothed, then the cap detached just as the flask cracked down the side. Something came out. Wabsworth lurched back as an aftershock hit the lab. He scrabbled for a grip as he slid down a cabinet. The thing emerged with a faint hissing. Now it was much bigger. It spread its wings dragon-wide and then took off - plunging through the reinforced glass windows of the lab without pausing. Wabsworth watched it vanish down a corridor and felt in his fur for his walkie talkie. The radio hummed and crackled but failed to connect. So he hit it just like the Wabbit. A faint sound emerged so he shouted, "Code Red, Creature Loose. Agent in pursuit." He scrambled after it, only to see from the stairway window a silhouette of a dragon against the Turin sky. "Smuckdragon, that's torn it!" he gasped.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

1. The Wabbit and the Falling Droplets

The Wabbit and Wabsworth, his android double, were on a bit of a constitutional. The sky was the most beautiful winter blue but a sharp sun filtered through, giving warmth to their fur. "We can be Kings of the Castle," said Wabsworth. The Wabbit smiled. "Strictly speaking it's a villa and it used to belong to dragons." Wabsworth's circuits whirred. "I thought dragons were more the cave type."  The Wabbit shrugged. "Even dragons want to be legit." He caught a flash of light from above his head so he looked up and squinted his eyes. Then he heard a roar from the sky. "Get out the way, Wabbit!" shouted Terni the Dragon. "Shouldn't you be in Rome, Terni?" asked the Wabbit. He deftly dodged drops coming from a pipe. Terni dropped lower and lower and roared, "Whatever you do, don't get any of that on your fur." "Any of what, exactly?" The Wabbit could very dense on occasions, but Wabsworth was on the ball and he pulled the Wabbit away from the drops. Terni landed with a considerable thump. His peppery nose breathed fire. "These drops can turn you into a dragon and not a very nice dragon at that." Wabsworth looked curious and pulled a flask from his fur. "Bad Dragon Drops?" He stretched out a paw and collected drops until the vessel was half full. "I'm going to test these in my laboratory." The Wabbit raised an eye. "Are we going into the Bad Dragon breeding business?" Wabsworth smiled in a malicious way that the Wabbit had noticed before. Terni breathed fire again. "Thinking of sowing a few Bad Dragon's teeth?"

Monday, March 23, 2020

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

The team assembled at the chosen Adventure Caffè. The Wabbit was first to arrive and he hummed and hawed and complained about the lateness of others. But suddenly everyone bustled around him, laughing. The Wabbit leaned towards Lapinette. "Hello Lap, won't ya take a pew?"  Lapinette pirouetted. "What no drinks?" The Wabbit tapped the table. "On their way, they is on their way." Skratch meowed loudly. "Here I am!" Wabsworth sat down and looked at the Wabbit. "What was that for a sort of Adventure we weren't in?" Skratch wasn't about to give up his special position as the analyser of stories. "It was an eco-adventure mobilising an adventurous speculative discourse."  Wabsworth nodded. I completely agree. "It's positioning as a part of contemporary ecological concerns rooted it decisively in historical process." Skratch purred. "Have you been reading my letters to the trade press concerning the postmodern assassins of theory?" "Yes," admitted Wabsworth, "I saw a round robin citing you as a prejudiced dinosaur." "Excellent," growled Skratch. His claws extended and retracted. Lapinette joined in. "Don't you think it's quite disgraceful?" The Wabbit shook his head. "I do but, like postmodernism, disgrace takes us nowhere in understanding the hidden mechanisms of suture." With her paws in the air, Lapinette pirouetted again. "We will therefore continue to hold the line for theory." The Wabbit turned and yelled to a waiter, "But not without a drink!"

Friday, March 20, 2020

11. The Wabbit and the Next Situation

The voyage home was uneventful and as the Lepus slid into port, the Wabbit looked over the side. There was no sign of Akwat fish. "Mission accomplished." The Wabbit was thinking aloud. He heard the sound of a helichopper but merely inclined his head to let Captain Jenny take care of it. He was tired. He heard Jenny on the tannoy and turned. The helichopper tipped a salute and he waved a paw. "Clean-up squad despatched," murmured Lapinette from behind him. The Wabbit smiled. "What next, Lapinette?" Lapinette whistled like a ship's pipe. "Message from the Department, there's a situation." She laughed. "What kind of a situation?" grinned the Wabbit. Lapinette shook her head. "The message wasn't situation specific." The Wabbit considered. "Well, it's bound to be a sticky situation." "Otherwise we wouldn't get the job," giggled Lapinette. "We are the perfect unstickers," nodded the Wabbit. The sound of the helichopper's rotors faded in the distance. "But I'd like to unstick something fairly simple." He flicked imaginary lint from his fur. "Ah, like food from your fur?" suggested Lapinette. "No, something like an envelope," answered the Wabbit. "What about the contents of the envelope?" said Lapinette. The Wabbit thought for a moment. "I could delegate that."  Lapinette thought for a second and asked "Who to?" But she knew what was coming. "To you?" shrugged the Wabbit.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

10. The Wabbit and the Polluted Pond

The Wabbit and Lapinette inspected the river until Lapinette pointed and shouted "Look!" A noxious scummy sediment swirled on the surface and clung to the bank. The Wabbit didn't hesitate. He searched his fur and from some dim recess plucked a strange meter. Then he plunged into the river. Lapinette wrinkled her nose but she plunged in too and swam towards something that floated half in and out of the water. It was a baby Akwat. She poked it. "It's quite dead," she shouted. The Wabbit took a water sample and pressed a button. The meter whirred. Then it rang and its monitor flashed information. He gasped and Lapinette looked round. He beckoned and she swam towards him. "The water's full of oxazepram," he said. His brow wrinkled and he shrugged. "Pam," corrected Lapinette. She tried to recall something. "I've read about this. The waste makes timid fish aggressive." The Wabbit laughed. "Good thing you went to that nature night class." Lapinette suppressed a scowl. "It was full of nerdy nerds." Her ears pricked up and she turned. "Something's dripping." The Wabbit gasped again. It had been hidden by branches but now the canister on the opposite bank was obvious. It was leeching pharmaceutical waste into the river. "We'll send a clean-up squad by helichopper," said the Wabbit. "OK. Let's get out of this polluted place now," replied Lapinette. She scrambled up the bank and looked back to the Wabbit. He was still in the river and he grinned. "I was getting to like it."
[Information on pollution and change in fish habits]

Monday, March 16, 2020

9. The Wabbit and the Akwat Children

Following a track made by the Strige, Lapinette and the Wabbit found themselves at a river fed by a waterfall. Lapinette gestured for quiet. Above the sound of cascading water, they heard anguished wailing. They waited. From the top of the waterfall, three small Akwats tumbled down the rocks and into the plunge pool where they floated on their side, flapping and gasping. A larger Akwat looked helplessly over the tip. Lapinette lay down her snazer gun. The Wabbit did likewise and they both bent to look. "They're sick," said Lapinette. The young Akwats gasped on the surface of the water. The Wabbit shook his head. "I have antibiotics, but they're back at the ship." Lapinette looked at the woods. "I know some varieties of mushrooms that might work" The Wabbit reached out for an ailing Akwat and drew it towards him. "Go hop around, I'll do my best." Lapinette disappeared into the woods. The Wabbit took an Akwat by the gills and moved them around. When it started to soften, he reached out for another. The Akwat mother drew closer and watched. "No time to lose," said the Wabbit and he nodded in her direction. He grasped the gills of the last Akwat and moved them rapidly. The fish came around and escaped from his grasp. "You don't look as if you need any help," said Lapinette. She set down a variety of fungi and ground them beneath a rock. Together they distributed the medicine in the pool and watched the water bubble as the Akwats ate and played. "Maybe we're in the wrong job," laughed the Wabbit.

Friday, March 13, 2020

8. The Wabbit and the Malignant Myth

The shape shimmered and became opaque. Between a human and a bird, it perched on a rock nearby. Lapinette pointed her snazer. So did the Wabbit. A yellow sun lit the sea and in the distance they saw Akwats leaping across it like dolphins. Waves crashed soundlessly on the rocks.  "Complaints?" asked the shape for the second time. Its voice was treacle. Mutated wings fluttered. Feet skittered on the rocky outcrop. "Are you a mythical Strige?" said Lapinette. The shape nodded gravely and asked, "What is the nature of your complaint?" Lapinette waved her weapon at the sea and snarled. "We're complaining about these Akwats." The Wabbit growled. "Why are they here?" The Strige's face twisted into what must have been a smile. "They came to complain about you." The Wabbit gasped. "The cheek of it! What are you going to do about it?"  The Strige cackled. "You wish me to touch them with my evil wing?" The Wabbit wasn't happy. He poked the Strige with his gun. "What would happen?" The Strige shimmered and nearly vanished. "They'd rot." He reappeared again and Lapinette hopped forward. "They're bad enough already." The Strige whirled round and screeched at the Wabbit. "I can make you into puppets." "You can't," yelled Lapinette. The Strige whirled back, but the Wabbit yelled, "You're a has-been bird." So did Lapinette and they chanted, "Has-been, has-been, has-been!" The Strige whirled so much it bored a hole in the rock and dropped in. "The bird has bolted," laughed the Wabbit.
[Thanks to : Classical Culture and Witchcraft in Medieval and Renaissance Italy Marina Montessano]

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

7. The Wabbit and the Isle of Complaints

Followed by the Akwats, the Lepus coasted through the fog - but the fog was entirely its own. Land loomed quickly and Jenny threw the Lepus into Emergency Astern. There was a splash as she let the anchor drop into the sea. It was just in time. The Lepus scraped sand and gravel. The Akwats quickly vanished. "Nothing on radar," growled Jenny. "This place doesn't exist." The Wabbit and Lapinette strapped on snazer guns and dropped over the side. "It seems solid enough," said the Wabbit. Murky water washed across his legs and splashed upwards on his face. "Stupid wet gravelly island," he grumbled. Lapinette suppressed a laugh. "Then this must be the Isle of Complaints." Her voice was muffled and there was hardly a sound as they made their way up the beach. No wind, no birds, nothing. The Wabbit scuffed the beach, picked up a rock and threw it in the sea. It skimmed and bounced along the surface with no noise. He shouted and yelled. Lapinette shook her head. She could hardly hear a thing. She leaned close and screamed in the Wabbit's ears. "The island absorbs sound." He gripped her by the paw and together they moved inland. He stopped with a jerk. "I can feel movement." He looked straight ahead. Lapinette could see nothing. "Show yourself," said the Wabbit. Directly in front, the air shimmered as if it was rising from hot tarmac. A vague shape emerged and a quavering voice spoke. "Have you brought me any complaints?"

Monday, March 09, 2020

6. The Wabbit and the Akwat Attack

The Wabbit's music boomed over an empty sea and for a while, that was all there was. But the sky turned yellow. The waves took on a strange, ultraviolet hue. A layer of rock thrust up from the water, catching the keel of the Lepus, which threatened to capsize. Water coursed everywhere. Jenny turned on the Wabtek device and the Lepus lifted. For a moment the ship lay stranded along the rock. The Wabbit turned up the volume but it made matters worse. The Akwat creatures seemed to enjoy the music and their jaws clamped round the Lepus from stem to stern. The Lepus groaned in pain. "Kill the music, Wabbit!" yelled Jenny. The music died as the ship's giant cannon swung round the stern until Jenny got a bearing. "Fire!" she yelled. Shrieks rent the air as the reminder of her cannons fired port and starboard. Akwats plunged threshing into the water. Now the Lepus hovered, but an unknown force drew it back. Jenny let the Lepus drop with a mighty splash and signalled for full ahead. The Wabbit lurched across the bridge and hit the foghorns. The mournful sound carried across the waves and remaining Akwats moaned with them. One by one they dived under the surface and disappeared. The Lepus headed for the horizon as fast as her engines could take her. "That was close," muttered Jenny. The Wabbit peered at the surface. "They're following." He sounded the foghorns again. The Akwats fell back, but up ahead he could see a swirling mist which quickly thickened to pea soup. "We summoned our own fog," sighed Jenny.

Friday, March 06, 2020

5. The Wabbit in the Sea of Complaints

An impenetrable barrier bounded the Sea of Complaints. All looked lost until the Wabbit's Wabtek technology enabled the Lepus to fly over the barrier like a salmon leaping back to the spawning grounds. But the Sea of Complaints lived up to its name and the Lepus tossed and turned in violent waters on the other side of the barrier. Lapinette retired to her quarters and buried her head in her bunk. Even the Wabbit turned green. Captain Jenny gritted her teeth and spinning the wheel to and fro, she urged the Lepus forward. Soon they left the barrier far behind and the Wabbit breathed a sigh of relief. "I hope the Akwat fish are here after all that bother." Jenny smiled. "What bother was that, Commander?" Now the Wabbit could hear the thrum of the engines and his stomach settled down. The Lepus cleaved a path through a calm sea leaving a clean, shapely wake. Lapinette appeared from her cabin. Her face was no longer lime green, but had faded to the colour of young asparagus. She tried to sound chirpy. "Any sign of the fish?" The Wabbit shook his head and fished in his fur for electrical bits and pieces. Then he vanished below to make ready the soundbait. Lapinette heard him warble a song. "Gone fishin'. Put a sign upon my door." Amplifiers rasped out a crackly version of the ancient classic, recorded by the Wabbit himself. Lapinette covered her ears. Jenny leaned across. "What key is the Wabbit singing in?" "The key to Hell," grimaced Lapinette. 

Monday, March 02, 2020

4. The Wabbit and the Grouchy Sea.

The Lepus sailed at dawn despite the conditions. The Lepus pitched yawed and rolled and for once Lapinette seemed happy. The Wabbit looked across. "The tablets I gave you are working!" Lapinette laughed and inspected the controls. "Which button is the Stealthicator?" Jenny grunted. "On your right. You can press it if you like." Lapinette jabbed it. The Lepus shimmered and Lapinette saw the bow vanish. Jenny grunted again. "The Wabbit made a modification. Want to try?" Lapinette's smile turned upside down, but she said. "OK." The Lepus shimmered again. Now Lapinette was looking at the bow of a sailing ship. "Nice," she breathed and made it vanish again. The Wabbit waved his paws wide. "I can do a tug, a pilot ship, an oil rig and a tea clipper."  That's handy," acknowledged Lapinette. She batted her eyes. Waves crashed against the windows. The Lepus shuddered. "Where are we headed?" gulped Lapinette. Her eyes moved to the back of her head. "We be seeking the Akwat breeding grounds." said Jenny. She rolled with the ship. "If indeed they exist," added the Wabbit. He looked at Lapinette. She was beginning to look green. "Have another tablet," he suggested. Lapinette knocked back another tablet and stabilised. "So where are the grounds?" Jenny squinted. "They're said to be in the Sea of Complaints." Lapinette giggled for quite some time. "Is that why we brought the Wabbit?"

Friday, February 28, 2020

3. The Wabbit and Jenny on the Docks

"Boo!" whispered the Wabbit. Jenny didn't turn. "I can see you Wabbit." The Wabbit smiled. "Need an extra gun?" Jenny swayed as a pirate should. "Quiet, Wabbit me hearty. I be in disguise."  The Wabbit looked all around. There was hardly a soul in sight. He shrugged. "Looks like it worked." The both sat on the wall. Jenny nodded to the fishing boat. The captain gave her a wave. "I got a lift," she winked. The smell of fish was overpowering and the Wabbit thought about dinner. His tummy rumbled. "What's happening?" he asked. "The Akwat fish be proliferating and we don't know why," said Jenny, "They're becoming a menace." The Wabbit waited for more. "They be troublin' the waters, and they be as bent a barrel of fish hooks." sighed Jenny. The Wabbit resisted a grin. "What's their problem?" Jenny swayed even though she was sitting. "They be in league with some others. They be holdin' us to ransom." "Bigger fish?" asked the Wabbit. "Aye, and they should fry," sneered Jenny. The Wabbit thought for a long time. "Then we have to flush the big fish out. Let's lay a trap." Jenny growled and giggled at the same time. It was one of the most threatening sounds the Wabbit had ever heard. "Like that trap music my cook listens to?" The Wabbit looked delighted. "Exactly. We'll trap them with sound. What's their auditory weakness" Now Jenny laughed long and hard. "Stridulation?" The Wabbit cackled in a pirate accent. "A simulation stridulation stimulation..."
[def:  stridulation: sounds made by animals and fish by rubbing certain body parts together.]

Thursday, February 27, 2020

2. The Wabbit and the Fishy Business

Captain Jenny and the Lepus were early. The Wabbit and Lapinette had been viewing the most wonderful sunset when everything began to shimmer and distort. The Lepus appeared from thin air and came down with the sun. The Wabbit turned to Lapinette. "Emergency protocols!" he yelled and he whipped out his walkie talkie from his fur. "Come in Lepus. This is the Wabbit." The radio crackled with Jenny's voice. "We had some trouble. Watch out!" The Lepus dropped steadily until it hit the water with a dramatic splash. But the splash wasn't on its own and the water threshed and boiled as a sea monster emerged. The Wabbit flinched as a bullet whizzed past his nose. The creature chose that moment to belch like a Kraken. The bullet struck home, and the noxious gases caught fire. The creature turned over, bellowing. Then it sank. Flames decorated the surface and died. The Wabbit sniffed the air. "Oh yuk. Lapinette you singed my nose." He lifted the walkie talkie. "Jenny. Any more of these things with you?" Jenny's voice crackled back. "We disposed of hundreds at one stage, but they kept coming. Then we used your Wabtek device." Lapinette waved her automatic around just in case. "It's an Akwat, isn't it?" The Wabbit scowled. "Dreadful scunners!" Lapinette leaned close to the radio. "Use the Stealthicator, Captain. We'll meet you at the dock." The Lepus seem to vanish with a rumbling sound. But that was just the Wabbit's tummy. "What's for dinner?" he asked. "Fish," said Lapinette.

Monday, February 24, 2020

1. The Wabbit and the Sunset Beach

The Wabbit was strolling along Sunset Beach when Lapinette caught up with him. "Wabbit! There you are!" The Wabbit laughed and stretched out his paws. "Did you find a new frock?" Lapinette bounced up and down. "I certainly did. It's being altered." The sun continued its downward trajectory and anything remotely red sparkled in the seaside air. "I like the one you're wearing," grinned the Wabbit. "You always do!" shrugged Lapinette. They made their way along the beach in search of a coffee. "Any word from the Lepus." Lapinette looked out to sea with pretend binoculars. "Jenny will be here on the morning tide." The Wabbit knew she was likely to bring orders from the Department. That meant a new adventure so he smiled and changed the subject. "I do like the beach. How many grains of sand are in the world, do you think?" Lapinette looked as if she was doing a calculation but she already knew. "Seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion at the last count." The Wabbit was rather impressed, yet quizzical. "Who counted them?" "Mr Sandman," replied Lapinette. "I suppose it took him a while," said the Wabbit. "All day and all night," answered Lapinette. The Wabbit scuffed the sand with his foot and winked. "We can beat him." Lapinette spotted a good caffè and pointed. "We need coffee then." The Wabbit grabbed Lapinette by the paw and tugged. "We'll get a flask!"

Friday, February 21, 2020

At the Wabbit's Adventure Caffè

The team met at the Museum Caffè, which was one of their favourites. Skratch was delighted, and he came bursting in with his paw held high. "No need to ask what kind of adventure that was. That was quite a spooky adventure!" Wabsworth began to sit down. "I think I contributed to the overall spookiness," he said with a smirk. When Wabsworth smirked, his circuits became noisy and everyone heard them whirrr. Lapinette stifled a giggle. "I didn't like being in that jug one bit." The Wabbit nodded in agreement. "And I didn't like being the accidental genie and wish granter." Skratch blinked. "That is the customary approach of course. Yet wishes are only some kind of shortcut that avoid the hard practicalities of life." Wabsworth had been reading again. "Yes. Film is all about desire and wanting. Doing is quite another matter." The Wabbit rapped on the table. "Do you know, there are those who would conveniently dismiss our theorising and that is precisely what the adventure is about." Lapinette continued, "It was an aesthetic interpretation of a traumatic event and the exposing of the unanswered questions that underlay it." Skratch meaowed long and hard. "Aha! No theory, no answers," he mused. Lapinette clapped her hands just like a genie. "I summon the drinks and I summon them now." Everyone laughed and laughed, but the Wabbit cut the mirth short. "The unanswered question is - why aren't they here already."

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

6. Wabsworth and the Curio Collector

The air in the Curio Bar was thick with incense. Wabsworth's android circuits whirred as he processed it, then he placed the jar on the counter with a lot of care. He'd filled it with sfuso wine from the liquor store in the next street - and capped it with speed. Now vapor made lazy spirals on the surface of the wine. Wabsworth smiled at the figure behind the counter. "Mr Z? You come recommended." The figure grinned. "And so Mr Wabsworth, do you. Is that the merchandise?" Wabsworth nodded and tapped the side of the jar. "On no account should this be opened, Mr Z. And in the unlikely event that it is opened, no-one should drink the wine." Mr Z swayed back and forwards on the balls of his feet. "Aha. It's one of those is it?" He glanced around until he saw a likely spot. He gestured. "I'll put it over there." He lifted it, paused, then placed it on a display shelf. "And now to business. How much do you want for the curio?" Wabsworth frowned. "Technically it's priceless and therefore has no value. But I'd like to pop in from time to time and look at it." Mr Z grinned broadly. "My pleasure." "One more thing," said Wabsworth, "If anyone shows the slightest interest in it, I want to know." He handed him a crumpled business card. Mr Z tucked it in a breast pocket, winked and waved goodbye. "I wish the plan success." Wabsworth turned and winked back. "Be very careful what you wish for around here ..."
[sfuso: unbottled wine from the barrel. Usually moderately priced. Often the customer provides the container.]

Monday, February 17, 2020

5. Wabsworth and the Rabbit-shaped Cork

Wabsworth seized the jug while the Wabbit and Lapinette hopped well back and watched from a safe distance. Vapour wisped from the neck - but to no effect. "Good thing I'm an android," grinned Wabsworth. He dug into his fur, produced a cork he'd picked up in a market and slid it neatly into the neck of the jug. The vapour shut off immediately. Everyone sighed with relief. Wabsworth giggled. "I bought this rabbit-shaped cork as a present for you, Wabbit. It was a secret." Lapinette smiled an enormous smile. She knew that in the paws of the Wabbit a wine bottle didn't keep its contents long - so he seldom needed a cork. Wabsworth shook the jug, then shook it again. He held it up to his ear. He heard faint murmuring and detected an angry tone. He shook his head and gave the cork an extra thump. "That'll fix it for now." Lapinette and the Wabbit weren't convinced and the Wabbit glowered. "The plug's in the jug, what next?" Lapinette sighed. "What are we going to do with it now?" "I have a plan," replied Wabsworth. "We can't just leave it anywhere," frowned Lapinette. "Trust me," said Wabsworth. Lapinette pulled rank. "Wabsworth, I insist on knowing where you're going to locate it." "I know an appropriate jugstore," grinned Wabsworth ..

Saturday, February 15, 2020

4. The Wabbit and the Reverse Wish

The Wabbit looked at the jug and he could hear a commotion. But he was still dizzy. Lapinette beat a rhythm on the inside of the jar. "Let me out. Let me out." The Wabbit shook the jar but it made matters worse. He was aware there was someone behind him and he was aware it was Wabsworth, but he couldn't get a handle on the situation. In fact, he could barely talk. Wabsworth snapped his fingers and clapped his hands, but the Wabbit was robotic. "You have three wishes" croaked the Wabbit. He waved his paws. Wabsworth yelled at him. "Let go of the jar, Wabbit!" The Wabbit let go of the jar and it fell and rolled. "Aaaagh," yelled Lapinette as she rattled round the jar. "Two wishes left," groaned the Wabbit. Wabsworth closed up behind the Wabbit and he whispered. "Don't listen to any more wishes until I say so." The Wabbit turned and nodded his head. Then he sat down with his paws at his side. "I'm confused," he moaned, "and I wish I'd never seen that jug." Wabsworth smiled. "You're the genie apparently - and as such, you don't get wishes. But I do." The Wabbit slumped. Wabsworth leaned very close to him. "Now listen. I wish you to transfer my last wish to Lapinette inside the jug." A weight dropped from the Wabbit shoulders. "I cannot deny your second wish." He waved at the jug. Lapinette shook. The Wabbit saw her lips move. Vapour shot from the neck as Lapinette materialised on the path ...

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

3. Lapinette and the Double Summoning

Lapinette hopped along the riverbank enjoying the day, when she caught sight of a jug skimming the river. "Something to do with a gala," she thought - and she gave it scant attention, until the jug bounced in from the water and followed her up the steps. She frowned. "Litter louts," she murmured and made to pick it up. But every time she drew close, the jug rolled away until it was just out of reach. There was something inside that made a squeaky sound. "Gesh me ush. Gesh me ush." It sounded like a voice and there was something familiar about it. And there was something familiar about the contents. "Maybe it's the colours," she thought. The jug rolled closer and she bent down to peer inside. "It looks like a miniature version of the Wabbit!" she exclaimed. "Ush ush ush!" squealed the voice. She grasped the jug on both sides and what's when the trouble started. Vapour poured from the neck of the jug. Lapinette felt strange. Her legs turned to jelly and the world span round. She felt her head with paws that somehow looked like smoke but there was no head to feel - only vapour. With a hiss, all the vapours met. And just at the instant she was drawn into the jug, she saw the Wabbit take shape. He was standing on the path, just where she'd stood a moment before ...

Monday, February 10, 2020

2. The Wabbit and the Flight of the Jug

The jug took off at speed and all the Wabbit could do was peer out. "Wheee!" cried the jug as it span and tumbled. The Wabbit's tummy also span and tumbled. He braced his paws and clung to the slippery sides as best he could. "Where are you going?" he yelled. The jug didn't answer. The Wabbit got angry and he beat a tattoo on the glass. "If I'm your new Genie, I command you to put me down." The jug gave a kind of giggle "That's not the way it works." The Wabbit recognised the Turin skyline. "At least I know where we are," he gasped. Familiar domes sped past as the jug jumped and tumbled. The Wabbit ran his paws all over the glass to see if there was a control panel and at last he found small discoloured ridge. He pressed it. "Ooooh!" cried the jug and it began to fall. "You're going to make an awesome Genie," it shouted. The jug spiralled from the sky. The Wabbit saw the Mole Tower blur past, then streets, then the river. "You'd better prepare for landing," murmured the jug as it scorched along above the river. At this point, the Wabbit had no clue about up and down. So he scrunched into a ball and covered his head with his paws. The jug skimmed along the River Po like a bouncing bomb before it rolled to a stop on the bank. "How's your dynamic visual acuity?" asked the jug. "Transient," groaned the Wabbit ...

Thursday, February 06, 2020

1. The Wabbit and the Canal Occurrence

The Wabbit was between adventures, so he boarded a train, got off at random and then hopped around. The area was full of canals so he found a towpath and rambled in a carefree fashion. He agreed with himself that it was a very nice ramble. He paused to take in a picturesque scene and drew a deep breath of satisfaction - but there was something in the air. He could smell grass and damp and a bit of diesel - and something else. He spotted a large wine jug on the grass and he swore to himself it wasn't there before. He heard a suspicious hissing so he felt in his fur for his automatic and pulled it out. Then he felt a bit silly because there was no one around. So he pushed it back in his fur. But there was the hissing again. A faint cloud escaped from the neck of the jug, then stopped. It happened again. The Wabbit grabbed his automatic and turned. The grass shimmered and the ground moved beneath his paws and he staggered slightly. He shook his head because he was dizzy and he didn't know why. "What the Binky?" he mouthed. He heard his own voice and it sounded slurred. The cloud got bigger, then contracted and he felt a violent drag on his fur. He lurched towards the container with limbs like jelly as the jug surrounded him with vapour and pulled him in through the neck. Now all he could see was a world of green. "Welcome," said a voice, "You are my new Genie ..."

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

The Wabbit and the Adventure Caffè

The team sauntered in search of a suitable Caffè. There they would analyze their last adventure with the usual penetrating critique. The sound of paws and loud purring heralded the arrival of Skratch the Cat with his new t-shirt. "Now what was that for a sort of Adventure?" Wabsworth laughed loudly as he turned to greet him. "That's your job to tell us!" Lapinette interrupted. "It was a bone-shaking homage to B movies and the B-er the better!" Skratch purred and purred. "What about the specifics of worm representations?" The Wabbit grinned sideways as he often did. "Are we thinking of the linguistics and semiotics of our wormly companions?" Skratch shook his head. "Unfortunately they didn't say much." Wabsworth chimed in. "But all behaviour is communication." Lapinette disagreed. "The creatures were not sentient but in the control of an other-worldly force." Skratch nodded. "Yet they had been allocated their own mechanisms of signs and acted on the vulnerability of their prey." "Shaking," said the Wabbit. "Quaking," added Lapinette. "Shuddering," meaowed Skratch. He shuddered at the thought and murmured, "You can never trust what's going on below." Lapinette indicated they should proceed to a restaurant and hopped forward. "We really don't like squirming, wriggling and writhing." Skratch loped after her. "The body is a semiotic instrument," he purred. "So is an aperitivo," growled the Wabbit.