Wednesday, August 05, 2020

1. The Wabbit and the Carefree Flight

Susan and the Wabbit flew over Torino. They hadn't been planning a trip but the Wabbit said "Why not?" and off they went. "Are you expecting any kind of sinister plot, Commander," said Susan. She banked low and flew in a circle to get a good view. "No, no," said the Wabbit. "Just keep doing what you're doing." Susan was unhappy and decided she needed directions. "What about over the centre?" "Anything you like," said the Wabbit. Susan flew low over Via Carlo Alberto. "I can see my house from here," chortled the Wabbit. Susan banked again and flew across Piazza Giambattista Bodoni. Pigeons scattered and people pointed. "We seem to be a hit," said Susan, and she flew round again. "It's not every day you see a rabbit flying a biplane," mused the Wabbit. "So what shall I do?" said Susan. "Acrobatics," said the Wabbit. Susan flew upside down for a while and then flew straight up in a hammerhead maneuver. "Stall, stall, stall," yelled the Wabbit in excitement. Susan dropped like a stone, then recovered and looped round. There was a polite smattering of applause from below. "I guess they're used to us," said the Wabbit. "Heaven forfend," giggled Susan. She made for the Mole Spire and drifted lazily round it. "Drop me off Susan," said the Wabbit, "I'm meeting Lovely Lapinette." Susan laughed. "Got your parachute with you?" The Wabbit laughed too. "I don't need one really." He stepped out onto the wing. "Be seeing you," he said, and he jumped, landing clean as a whistle on the Mole's upper deck. He waved goodbye to Susan and shouted, "This way I don't have to pay." Susan wiggled her wings and vanished into the distance...

Monday, August 03, 2020

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

The Wabbit found the gang at the arcade. They were sitting round speculating whether he'd got lost. "How long have I been away for?" he asked. "Just overnight," said Lapinette. "Seemed like longer," replied the Wabbit. He started to relate his story. No sooner had he begun, when Skratch arrived late as usual. "Carry on," he said, "I picked up most of it." The Wabbit smiled. "Yesterday evening I was walking near here, when I touched an object and it took me on a trip." Everyone wanted to know what kind of trip it was, and the Wabbit explained the ins and outs of the entire journey. "I'm left with this key," said the Wabbit. "So it's not the end of the journey," suggested Skratch. The Wabbit was hardly impressed. He knew that already. "But what kind of a journey was it?" He effected a gentle tone of enquiry. Skratch paused for maximum affect. "The story does appear to be a descriptive open discourse - but one which requires no particular closure." Wabsworth butted in. "I think it merely tells of the personality of the Wabbit in a non-linear way." Lapinette grunted and gave a grudging smile. "I think the Wabbit was more in the realm of the documentary there." The Wabbit leaned back. "That's all very well, but what is this key for?" Lapinette studied it. "It looks like a smaller version of an old key. One that was in a previous story." Skratch laughed, "What did you do then Wabbit?" The Wabbit grinned. "I tried putting it in every lock I could find." Lapinette grinned mysteriously and winked. "Better start then ..."

Friday, July 31, 2020

7. The Wabbit and the Rest of the Way

The Wabbit was falling and there wasn't far to fall. He felt the crump as he landed. It was on the Quay in a place he knew well. He sat there for a while, hardly daring to move in case he couldn't. He was clutching something. It was a familiar object. Metal. Cylindrical. Now what in the world was he doing here clutching some kind of a doohickey? He tried to remember, but it wasn't easy. Gradually it swam back. He'd been on a walk when he chased something that proved elusive. There was a kind of shock that propelled him through several zones. All of these zones were familiar to him - but they weren't quite right. He picked himself off the ground and sat on the steps to look at the object. It was a key. "So you're the cause of all this fuss," he muttered. He banged it on the ground. Whack. It made the normal kind of ding a metal object should make. He scratched the rust away and it shone as it should. "You don't seem very dangerous now," sighed the Wabbit. He rubbed it on his fur and felt a strange tingling. That made him suspicious. "The lab for you my boy until we find you're pucka." He tucked it away safely and looked around. Everything was normal. The river lapped at the edge of the breakwater. People were out for walks and he heard them make their merry way. He rose to his feet and brushed imaginary dust from his fur. "Maybe I'm on my way to an Adventure Caffè," he said to himself. "Maybe Skratch the Cat will know what all this is about." So with a wry smile, he set off to the nearest establishment, which wasn't too far ...

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

6. The Wabbit in the Field of Gold

"Now you're talking!" said the Wabbit. The stark stairway had been replaced by a field of gold. And he could move, that was nice. He tried everything - starting with the tips of hs toes. Then the rest of his feet joined in. Soon everything was twitching, and he felt as happy as he'd ever felt. The sun was out. The marigolds were in bloom. Rolling countryside did what it did best - it rolled. The Wabbit ambled through the field, humming a merry tune. There was something not quite right about it, but the Wabbit decided to tolerate it for the time being. He ambled to the right, then ambled to the left. He ambled back and forward. Then he realised what it was. He wasn't getting anywhere. He could only amble. And the scene, admirable though it was, would not change. "I'm stuck in a loop," he murmured. He considered the matter and decided that no matter how nice it was, it should stop. "Stop the loop!" he shouted in the most commanding tone he could summon. But the loop continued to loop. "This is awfully nice, but please change!" The Wabbit's voice suggested he was at the end of his tether. "I've had enough, and I want to go back to ordinary non-Kafka adventures." A breeze sprung up. "Maybe this is it" thought the Wabbit, "Maybe everything will go back to normal." But the breeze got stronger. The marigolds began to lose their leaves and they flew in the air. Fields rolled past rather more than they should. "Here we go again," thought the Wabbit.

Monday, July 27, 2020

5. The Wabbit in the Plastic Realm

Everything ceased from tumbling. The Wabbit was on steps that at last he knew. Or so he thought. It was quiet. Too quiet. There was no sound at all. He tried scuffing his feet on the steps, but nothing happened. He looked down at his arms. "I'm shrink wrapped," he said. His mouth formed the words, but no words came. He tried to move, but couldn't. The steps appeared to be at the Medieval Castle, but there was no-one around and it was a strange colour that defied description. "Help!" he yelled. Since the Wabbit couldn't get any words out, no-one came to his rescue. "Maybe I'm stuck in time," he moaned to himself. "Yes you are," said a voice. The Wabbit definitely heard a voice.  "You're stuck," said the voice. "Stuck in what?" said the Wabbit. "You're stuck in the Plastic Realm." The responding voice had neither body nor substance. "Why am I here?" asked the Wabbit. He saw no need to move his mouth because nothing physical happened. "What is your number?" said the voice. "I do not have a number," said the Wabbit. "WHAT is your number?" asked the voice again. This time it was insistent. The Wabbit had a think. "If I'm supposed to have number, I'd better give whoever it is a number, and that's an end to it." The voice was waiting. The Wabbit thought very hard since no voice came out and it was disconcerting. "I am Number One." "Wrong number," said the voice. The Wabbit lost his temper. "I am not a number. I am a free rabbit." Everything started to tumble to and fro like a washing machine. "I'm getting tired of this," shrieked the Wabbit. To his surprise he had his voice back and it was very loud indeed. "LET ME OUT !" he yelled ...

Friday, July 24, 2020

4. The Wabbit's Market Under the Stars

When the Wabbit looked down he could see a normal market with normal clothes. But when he looked up all he could see were stars. They weren't even normal stars. These stars were in the process of forming and far, far away from here. "But where's here," said the Wabbit to himself. No-one answered. The Wabbit hadn't the foggiest notion of where he was. It was all to do with the whoosh, of that he knew. But it wasn't much to go on when you were a normal rabbit with normal ears. "Maybe I'm not so normal," he said to himself. he grimaced. He'd had quite enough of being abnormal for one evening. He looked all round and had a think. "Maybe I could find something useful in this market." He looked down at the jacket and shook his head. "That doesn't look so terribly useful to me." Even if he had desperately wanted it, there was no one around to buy it from. He had a think. Where was there a market he never wanted anything from? The answer came in a flash. It was Crocetta Market and Crocetta Market was always filled with women's clothes. And the moment that flash occurred everything started to spiral again. "Here we go again," thought the Wabbit. Every stall in the street upended and shook itself out. There were dresses, bags, gloves, hats and tights and they all became gushing rivers that flowed down several streets in the direction of the Po River. The Wabbit hung onto his stand as it ripped away from its moorings. A wall was looming up and all he could do was stare as the wall began to change .. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

3. The Wabbit and the Liquid City

It wasn't so much of a bang as a woosh. The Wabbit wasn't used to wooshes, although he'd set off plenty of Kabooms in the past. The woosh took him by surprise. Everything was sparkly and the world seemed to get smaller, but it was just the speed. One minute he grasped the object and the next he was spiralling through the air. His fingers tingled where he'd touched it and now he wished he hadn't. Hindsight was 40-40. It was going to be quite hard when he landed, he thought. But there was no sign of landing. He was stuck in a rapidly diminishing landscape that zoomed into the distance but when he looked down, he'd hardly travelled any distance at all. Noises seemed hollow. He twitched his nose. He could still smell the pizza places but it was at a distance. Of the place where he'd found the object, there was little but a blur. The rest of the city shimmered and glowed. He somersaulted in a lazy loop, and he could see the city change position. But with a violent shudder all of that changed. Everything disappeared into a pin prick then swirled as he was propelled somewhere - anywhere but where he wanted to be. The scene gradually stabilised. He was looking at a wall. Then the wall turned liquid and dripped onto a street. The street became a rushing river that gushed torrents of cars, street furniture and tables and chairs along with it. Then it stopped moving and stabilised again. The Wabbit looked all around because he was in a part of the city he'd never visited. Everything was still. The Wabbit dusted himself off. "Now that was a long strange trip," he murmured ...

Monday, July 20, 2020

2. The Wabbit and the Found Object

The Wabbit didn't know if you could pursue a happening but he thought he'd try. He quickened his pace and before long he was round about the place where it all occurred. He looked all about but he could see nothing. What was it? Where was it? All he could see were pizza places. The Wabbit liked pizza but not in Turin. You had to go south for a decent pizza and that was where the Wabbit ate them. Pizzas in Turin were door stops and he'd given up on them. He ignored the smell and hopped a bit further until the street gave way to street furniture. Suddenly it looked like the place where a happening might take place. "It's got to be round here," mused the Wabbit. He noticed the tub immediately. It had a bush growing in it, but it looked far too big for its contents. The Wabbit approached with caution because he'd been taken by surprise before. Then he put his paw in the tub and rummaged around. He felt something solid amongst the earth, but he knew it would be difficult to take it out. It was a small object that didn't quite belong amongst the street furniture. So, he poked and prodded. Nothing happened.  He put his paw right around it and pulled. Nothing happened. "That's funny," mused the Wabbit, "It should move." But the object refused to budge. It seemed to grip the inside of the tub as if it was attached, but it was not attached. "I can get this thing out," murmured the Wabbit. He pulled harder. All of a sudden, whatever was holding it gave way and the Wabbit shot backward across the street. "My Goodness," said the Wabbit. ...

Friday, July 17, 2020

1. The Wabbit and the Blank Postcard

The Wabbit was perambulating along Giuseppe Mazzini and laughing to himself. It had been a long time since he had proper time off. Any holiday seemed like work so he preferred to be incognito and lay low. He thought of his last adventure and grinned. That was supposed to be a holiday but what a holiday it turned out to be. "I'm going to pretend I'm having an adventure and that will have the opposite effect." He imagined himself fighting off enemies, and the more he imagined the more playful they became. His head was full of Kabooms as he made his way towards Via Bodoni. Kaboom! That was the Ice Mice. Kaboom! The Euls met their match. His head was so full of Kabooms that it was getting sore. The Wabbit decided to think of more pleasant things. Lying on a beach at Fregene with Lovely Lapinette - now that was more like it. But after lying for a while he began to get bored. Perhaps a sea monster would come along? But the more he waited the less happened. So he concentrated on the road in front of him. The scene looked familiar. There was the usual statue in the Square. The corner bar looked the same. The students at the Giuseppe Verdi Music School went in and out, whistling the inevitable tune. Badly behaved children ran screaming to and fro. But all the same, something was different. He sniffed the air. The air was melancholy - almost as if something was going to happen. Then he caught it in the corner of his eye. It was merely a flash but it was out of place, like a stranded whale in a schoolyard. The Wabbit chuckled to himself and followed ..

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

It was the Adventure Caffè and they all stared at the phone. "What information do you think is in it?" asked Lapinette. "We're getting ahead of ourselves," said Skratch the Cat. Wabsworth laughed. "You mean we have to discuss what adventure we just had before we investigate the phone?" Skratch the Cat pulled himself up his full height, which was rather imposing for a Cat. "I mean we've got to put first things first. If your adventure is about one thing, then that thing is colour." The Wabbit smiled. "Well, there was certainly a lot of colour in our adventure." Skratch shook his head. "I mean colour as a signifying feature. The viewer needs to know where the colour comes from." Lapinette shook her head. "I'm with you so far Skratch, but that's Kandinsky - and he also mentioned the distinctive features of colour. The Value, Saturation, Purity, Modulation and Hue." Skratch meaowed long and hard. "I was getting to that." Everyone laughed. "There's a lot to talk about," said the Wabbit. Wabsworth had said little but now he butted in. "Does that get us any closer to what's in the phone?" Lapinette laughed. "Well I, for one, don't care what colour it is." Skratch looked sagely. "That's where you can go wrong. I'll bet this phone has many colours." He paused for effect. "The phone knows the colours and the colours know him." Lapinette leaned over and took the handset and asked the phone directly. "What colours are we talking about?" The phone shook its handset from the cradle. "Red, Green and Blue," it said ...

Monday, July 13, 2020

15. The Wabbit and the Sunset Sea

The Lepus set sail for home. The Wabbit and Lapinette stood by the rails and looked out on the ocean. The red phone was safely in the hold and whatever contents it held would be extracted by the Department. The Wabbit grinned. "That was an exciting voyage." Lapinette was glad to be in one piece. She glanced back at the island. "It's gone," she said. The Wabbit looked too. It was a clear enough evening, but of the island there was no sign. "It's not down on any map," he muttered. Lapinette snorted and drew out a chart from under her frock. "I made a map." The Wabbit began to giggle. "You're a legend in your own latitude!" Lapinette tried not to laugh. "What information is in that phone do you think?" The Wabbit pretended to ponder. "I think it's all the coordinates of the hideouts of the Agents of Rabit." The Lepus ploughed a steady path through the waves and they listened to the water churning under the hull. "Seems like a lot of trouble to go to," commented Lapinette. "Trouble is what we get into," smiled the Wabbit. "And out of," added Lapinette. They gazed at the sea for quite a while until Jenny sounded three blasts on the foghorn. They nodded to each other. "Fancy a drink?" suggested the Wabbit. "I fancy several drinks," replied Lapinette. The Wabbit proffered a paw and together they made their way to the Officer's mess.

Friday, July 10, 2020

14. The Wabbit and the Enchanted Tumble

The Wabbit grabbed Lapinette - and with the phone under his arm jumped from the parapet. They fell as if in slow motion and everything changed. The sky changed, the castle fell to ruins and the Sizzling Sausage of Bondage sizzled his last. The telephone's handset came off the hook and it howled like a banshee. All this the Wabbit could see and hear, even if upside down and falling. He found himself staring into a single eye - the magic eye of the Black Dove. The Dove cooed. "Congratulations Commander Wabbit and Lapinette. The castle is no longer enchanted. You have saved the phone with all its data intact. Have a nice day." The Black Dove wheeled, circled and sped off into the sky. The Wabbit and Lapinette continued to fall but slower. The phone passed them on the way down. "I'm glad we hooked up," it trilled. They landed with a soft thump and dusted themselves down. "I can still smell sausage," said the Wabbit. "It had garlic in it," complained Lapinette. She picked up the phone and removed pieces of brickwork. "I have information for you," said the phone. The Wabbit grinned. "It'll keep until we get back to the ship." The forest was no more - barely a grove He could see the funnels of the Lepus where it lay afloat in a sea of sparkling blue. A gentle breeze sprang up. They all looked back but the castle was gone. Only a low brick wall remained. It lay amongst tufted reeds, with weeds growing from its masonry. But the Wabbit and Lapinette heard a dove cooing high up in the sky. They looked up and waved as it disappeared over the horizon.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

13. The Wabbit and the Grisly Sausage

The Wabbit was too late. Up loomed the most horrid sausage he had ever seen. It towered above the ramparts and spat hot fat across the bricks. The sky turned orange as a paprika sausage on a spit. Lapinette wrinkled her nose at the smell of frying. It was putrid, rancid and acrid - and everything else she hated. She pulled an edged weapon from her frock, then braced herself against the wall and threw it. It barely grazed the sausage, but it let out a cry and snuffled. The Wabbit collapsed in the spray of fat, rummaging for his automatic. He unleashed a shot that caught the sausage square in the middle, but the sausage soaked it up like a sponge. The phone's attempt to get down and hide was unsuccessful, and the force of the spray knocked him high in the air. Lapinette mounted a second attack. If there was one thing the sausage didn't like it was slicing and it crackled and sizzled. She kept slashing at its skin and managed to force it back beyond the parapet. It paused, sizzling hard, before it lost grip and slid down the castle walls. Lapinette helped the Wabbit to his feet. "It's not finished," she gasped. The sausage was on his way back up the wall. They could hear its laboured spitting. Spray rose into the clouds. The Wabbit leaned over the walls. "I guess burning oil is out of the question?" Lapinette shook her head. "Pickling, curing, dehydrating?" suggested the Wabbit. He pondered. "Wind drying!" he said finally. "Where do we get the wind?" asked Lapinette. "Put your lips together and blow?" grinned the Wabbit.

Monday, July 06, 2020

12. The Wabbit in the Crossfire

The Wabbit and Lapinette emerged into a weird light. A yellow sun drenched the brickwork in a post nuclear glow. They planned to escape the same way they came but everything looked different. They scampered up the steps anyway and they were halfway up when there was a crack, then another. "We're under fire!" yelled the Wabbit. Bullets zapped past as they ran. Masonry flew. Lapinette pulled out her automatic but there was no target. The bullets came from nowhere. One grazed the phone. "I'll never talk!" shouted the phone and it slammed its handset down in its cradle. The Wabbit grinned despite the danger. His nose sniffed the air. "I can smell food." Lapinette pulled him and ran faster. "It's nitro and graphite with a touch of garlic," she yelled. The Wabbit picked up speed. But all of a sudden, the bullets stopped. They sighed with relief. They looked round for their assailants but all was quiet, even the phone. "I think I can see our rope," said the Wabbit. But even as he spoke, he saw the rope stretch taut. "Something's on its way up," he muttered. The phone interrupted in a muffled tone. "We're done for!" Lapinette span her automatic round her trigger paw. With the other paw she produced an edged weapon. "Not on my watch," she growled. The Wabbit ran for the rope and started to untie it. Lapinette heard sizzling from the other side. Then a shout. "Oh no, it's him," said the phone. "Who?" asked Lapinette. "The Sizzling Sausage of Bondage," moaned the phone ...

Friday, July 03, 2020

11. The Wabbit and the Talkative Phone

The Wabbit grabbed the phone and they sped down a dank corridor. Burning braziers set high on the walls cast a dim flickering light and made the air smoky. The phone vibrated constantly and wouldn't stop talking. "Where are we going? Do you know where we're going? What if it's the wrong way. What if there's no way out?" "Be quiet," yelled Lapinette. The phone stopped talking but it started to ring. "Dring dring, dring dring." The Wabbit could take no more. "If you don't stop, I'll hang you up." The phone fell silent. The Wabbit and Lapinette continued along the corridor for a long way. "I have no idea where we're going," whispered Lapinette. The Wabbit twitched his nose. "Can you smell cooking?" Lapinette shook her head. "No," she replied. "Maybe it's the braziers," suggested the Wabbit. He sniffed again. "Burned toast." Lapinette winced. "Maybe this is the Underworld." The Wabbit continued along the wall. "Then we'd better find our way up." The phone started ringing again and it spoke - this time in a low voice. "I can see stairs." Lapinette peered into the distance. "Over there." They made their way until they came to a staircase. It was in a bad state of repair and shrouded in a damp mist. Lapinette prodded the steps with a foot. Brickwork crumbled. The Wabbit looked at the telephone. "How did you get here anyway?" The phone vibrated. "I was kidnapped by a smooth operator. He spun me a line and I fell for it." Lapinette shook her head and pointed up the steps. "Was it a party line?"

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

10. The Wabbit and the Ghostly Phone

They followed the ringing and pushed a door open. It was an old wooden door and as it swung it let out a shrieking creak. But it wasn't enough to drown the shrill sound of the phone. They stared at it. The ringing got louder and louder and louder. The Wabbit raced over and got behind it. His paw stretched out but Lapinette yelled, "No!" She jumped for the phone but froze. So did the Wabbit. "I'm not sure you should touch it," said Lapinette. The Wabbit had no choice, his paw was frozen too, just above the handset. The phone rang and rang and the handset shook until it tilted off the plungers. The ringing stopped and a voice came out of the earpiece. "Help, help!" Whatever had gripped Lapinette let go. She hopped towards the phone and bent down. "Hello." Her voice was cautious. "Who's there?" asked the voice. "Lapinette," said Lapinette. "That's a funny name," said the phone, "Is there anyone else there?" The Wabbit kept his paws off the handset. "Just the Wabbit," he said. "No-one else?" asked the phone. The voice sounded disappointed. "Afraid not," shrugged the Wabbit. "I'm trapped in this castle," said the phone, "I've been here for years without a soul to talk to." The Wabbit smiled one of his smiles. "No calls then?" The handset rattled on its plungers. "Sometimes there's a call and I answer and there's heavy breathing." Lapinette sighed, "There's a lot of these phantom callers." The phone gave a little moan. "Can you get me out of here?" Lapinette looked at the Wabbit. "It's your call."

Monday, June 29, 2020

9. The Wabbit and the Deep Stairway

The Wabbit and Lapinette crept down the stairway. But it led to another and another after that. It was dark and damp and they only knew they were getting deeper. "This must be in the bowels of the earth," murmured the Wabbit. Lapinette sniffed. "Smells like it." At last they reached the bottom. There were two passageways. It was pitch dark and even using his special glasses, the Wabbit could see nothing. Lapinette peered into the gloom. She swung her automatic up and pointed it round the corner. The Wabbit pulled his automatic out too. The safety catch was long broken, and he'd never felt like repairing it. He racked the slide. The walls silently soaked up the sound then after a few seconds fired it back. "Creepy," said the Wabbit. Lapinette grinned. "Which way?" The Wabbit thought they'd better stick together. "That way you pointed; you seem to have it sussed." They edged along the wall. "Did you hear that?" asked Lapinette. The Wabbit swivelled his ears. The sound was faint. They moved closer. "It sounds like a phone ringing," said Lapinette. "Maybe it's for us and it's someone trying to sell us something?" quipped the Wabbit. The ringing got louder. It was a jingly-jangly ring that was vaguely old fashioned. Lapinette felt her way along the wall and they crept closer. "It's coming from in here." The Wabbit swivelled round her and pointed his automatic at the source of the sound. The ringing stopped. They froze. Then it started again. "It must be a phone. Let's answer it!" yelled the Wabbit ...

Friday, June 26, 2020

8. The Wabbit scales the Walls

Watched closely by the black dove, the Wabbit and Lapinette made a circuit of the castle walls. "No luck, no door," said the Wabbit. Lapinette scrutinised the castle. "Even the high windows are barred." The Wabbit laughed and started digging in his fur. He found his old blue rope, tied a lasso and threw it over the ramparts. "Climb every mountain" he warbled." He tugged the rope taut. "Perfect," he murmured. The Wabbit scurried up the wall like young mountain goat then peered back. "Up you come." Lapinette was even quicker but couldn't resist dangling for second and looking all around. The walls dimpled and rippled as if they were fluid and so did the trees. She waved to the black dove and watched it wing off into the forest. The Wabbit heard it caw as it flew. He shrugged. He would have liked the dove to hang about, but it seemed to have its own agenda. He hauled on the rope and helped Lapinette over the wall. "We'd better explore." There were several flights of stairs leading into the castle's interior.  "Which one?" he asked. "I like that one." Lapinette pointed. The Wabbit raised an eye in question. "It was staring at me," giggled Lapinette. The Wabbit squinted at the other staircases. One ended in a sheer drop and one warped round like an Escher drawing until it was back where it started. "You first," he chortled. Lapinette hopped down the chosen stairs and out of sight ...

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

7. The Wabbit and the Enchanted Castle

They followed the black dove far into the forest until they came to a castle with a big red tower. The dove swooped round it once and then flew close. It was no longer completely black. It subtly merged with trees and sky, all except for penetrating blue eyes and a colourful speckled beak. It cooed. "We're here, we're here." The Wabbit looked up but Lapinette tried to jump to reach it. "Where's here?" she shouted. "This is the enchanted castle," said the dove. The Wabbit grinned. He slung his snazer gun cross his back and held it there, guerrilla style. "What's enchanted about it?" The dove cooed quietly. "Not one soul has gained entry for five hundred years." Lapinette gasped. "How old are you then?" "More years than I care to remember," cooed the dove. The Wabbit pondered for a bit and shrugged. "Must be something hidden in there." The dove fluttered its wings. "Legend says that two souls will come who are braver than the rest. Only they will be allowed to enter the enchanted castle." The Wabbit grunted. "What else does this legend say?" This time the dove raised its head and let out a caw that that flew high over the trees and echoed from tower. "Inside there is someone to be freed, something to be kept and something ... " "Something to eat I hope," interrupted the Wabbit. His tummy rumbled alarmingly. "Something to eat and drink," added the dove. Lapinette plucked a salad sandwich from her frock, handed it to the Wabbit and nudged him. "I feel like a drink." The Wabbit's 28 teeth flashed as he ate "Let's get this rescue underway!" he yelled. "First you have to find the door," cooed the dove.

Monday, June 22, 2020

6. The Wabbit, Lapinette & the Giant Bird

Jenny and Wabsworth stayed with the Lepus to try and float her. The Wabbit and Lapinette ventured inland to reconnoitre. The headland gave way to a wood then a dense, dark forest. Going was difficult. Strange sounds filled the air. Every tree seemed like a creature with insect tendrils that poked at their faces. Leaves crackled underfoot. Windy gusts blew up from nowhere and tugged at their fur. "A life in the open air," muttered Lapinette. "Just what I need for my holiday," replied the Wabbit. Creatures crashed in the undergrowth. Birds whooped from treetops. The Wabbit kicked his way through dead branches. Lapinette flitted over them. "Caw caw! caw caw!" The call came from overhead and to the east. The Wabbit snorted. "What is this? Edgar Allen Poe?" Lapinette pointed. "It's getting closer." A wind flattened their fur and whatever light existed dimmed in a moment. Giant wings spanned the forest as a massive black dove swooped down to hover just above their heads. The Wabbit flicked his snazer into life and its gentle hum joined the forest repertoire of creepy sounds. Lapinette's edged weapon made no noise at all, which was why she liked it. Her grip on the hilt seemed careless, but the knife was ready to fly. She ran a paw along the blade and made a clicking sound in the back of her throat. Branches bent back as the black dove flicked its enormous wings and soared into the sky. Then it flew back and called three times. "Caw caw caw!" "How do you do that?" asked the Wabbit. "Practice," said Lapinette as they followed the bird.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

5. The Wabbit and the Phantom Island

The Lepus was high and dry. Nothing would shift her. The island was fully formed now, with rocks and foreland. Waves kissed a sandy beach. "Maybe this really is my holiday," grinned the Wabbit. So followed by Jenny, the Wabbit clambered down, scampered across the sand and climbed a hill to get a better view. His ears pricked up at a familiar chattering and he checked the corner of the sky. "Lapinette!" He cheered. Below on the beach, Jenny fired into the air as a signal. Lapinette's helichopper swooped onto the island with speed and she set it down on the sand. The blades swished to a stop and for a moment there was silence. But the Wabbit spotted Wabsworth in the cabin and dug in his fur for his walkie talkie. "Wabsworth, did you find anything?" The radio crackled. "You Commander. Where is this place? It's not on the charts." "It be a phantom island," hollered Jenny. "I hope it's not thrice cursed," said Wabsworth. Jenny was getting tired of the same joke. "It'll be you who's cursed in a minute." Wabsworth and Lapinette strolled across the sand. Lapinette leaned down and scooped some up. "Maybe the island is synthetic." Wabsworth laughed. "Perhaps it's that ghost island that floats around collecting people and they all turn into ghosts for ever." Jenny wrinkled her face in horror then turned as she heard the Wabbit slid downhill in a cloud of dust and earth. "Maybe this is Love Island!" he yelled. "Eeek!" shouted Lapinette. She made a face. Sand scrunched under the Wabbit's feet as he loped towards her. "Let's scout inland." Jenny and started back to the ship, but she could feel the Wabbit staring in surprise. "I be going for the grog," she snapped.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

4. The Wabbit and the Ghostly Galleon

The Lepus searched without luck. "This is fruitless, " said the Wabbit. He tucked his binoculars into his fur. They were old and scarred but he'd never found better. Jenny looked the other way, "Behind you." The Wabbit did not turn but looked out the corner of his glasses instead. He screwed up his eyes. The result was the same and he shook his head in disbelief. "It be a ghost ship," said Jenny. The ghostly ship shimmered and vanished, then reappeared again. "Be it?" asked the Wabbit. He found Jenny's pirate talk to be catching. "Be it what we're looking for, then?" he added. Jenny laughed. "No, it be a warning to seafarers." The Wabbit shrugged his shoulders. "What kind of warning might it be." Jenny shrugged too. "The ghost ship be mostly unspecific." They stood for a while watching the ghost galleon come and go. Without warning the Lepus rose from the water and slammed down again. The Wabbit grasped on to the bulkhead. Jenny strode to the wheel. She looked at all her instruments. The echo sounder says we're aground. The Wabbit struck the bulkhead with a paw. "It must be the ghost ship. We're in the middle of the deep blue sea." Jenny shook head. "The echo sounder ain't much of a believer in ghosts." The Lepus lurched upwards again. Her propeller churned air and dripped water. The Wabbit looked out. But there was no ghost ship. Only dry land. "This be a phantom island," said Jenny. "Be it thrice cursed?" snarled the Wabbit. "Probably," nodded Jenny.

Monday, June 15, 2020

3. Lapinette and the Choppy Ocean

Lapinette kept her eagle eyes trained on the sea. But she hadn't the faintest motion what for, because her orders were so hush-hush they were only vague clues. She'd flown a long way but she rubbed her eyes and kept looking. Wabsworth was technically asleep. Of course, androids had no need of sleep. Wabsworth had decided he would run self-diagnostics - and so he arranged for an electronic dozing noise compatible with light to medium snoring. Lapinette heard him above the helichopper racket and smiled. The Lepus was making for roughly the same position but Lapinette had to keep radio silence, so she listened for ship's engines and scanned the horizon. Wabsworth woke up suddenly and looked out. "Where are we?" Lapinette shouted. "Somewhere in the Atlantic. Can you see anything?" "I'm not sure what I'm looking for." "No-one is," replied Lapinette. "I can see the sea," laughed Wabsworth. He performed an electronic scan, but nothing came up. He switched to manual view. "Isn't that something over there." Then he pointed and yelled, "Look there, the water is different." Lapinette dropped to sea level. Helichopper blades ruffled the surface until it threshed. "It could be a sunken island," suggested Wabsworth. Lapinette shook her head. "Too National Geographic." Wabsworth smiled. "I have a list of phantom lost lands." Lapinette dropped the helichopper a little more, but when she felt something tugging them, she throttled up and got some height. "I can hear the Lepus," said Wabsworth. Lapinette's ears were sensitive and she could usually hear a feather drop in a puddle. She laughed. "Your sleep did you a power of good..."

Friday, June 12, 2020

2. The Wabbit and Jenny leave Port

The Wabbit and Jenny set sail with sealed order papers. The Lepus squeezed through the narrow strait between the Irish mainland and Dalkey Island. It wasn't very deep, but the Lepus was built to a CalMac spec and required as little as 3.2 metres of draught. The Wabbit waved to Dalkey Island and turned to Jenny. "What about orders?" Jenny rocked back in her pirate boots, then forward. "Not until we be in international waters, Commander." The Wabbit thought this was curious and murmured, "All very hush hush then?" Jenny patted him on the shoulder. "Sorry about your vacation." The Lepus cut through the water like a double-edged sword. "I never really get one, so I'm not that fussed," said the Wabbit. Clouds billowed in a blue sky and the sea sparkled. Jenny spoke into the ship telegraph. "Full ahead, navigation." The Wabbit thought the device looked old fashioned. "Maybe we need an upgrade." Jenny laughed. "No internet jockey can hack into this." She sounded the foghorn. Yacht people waved as the Lepus sailed into the distance. The Wabbit reached in his fur for his walkie talkie, switched to Channel 68 and listened in to small craft chatter until it faded. He smiled to himself. Now the island was well to port and open waters beckoned. "We're 12 miles out," said Jenny, "we can open the orders." She handed the Wabbit a manila envelope wrapped in plastic. The Wabbit opened it, pulled out a sheet of paper with typing on both sides and glanced at the contents. "We need a meeting," grunted the Wabbit ...

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

1. The Wabbit and a Busman's Holiday

The Wabbit stood and breathed in sea air. He was on holiday and was on the dock of the bay as he called it, watching ships arrive and depart. This was the Dublin Great South Wall, a very long sea wall that extends from the Liffey into the Irish Sea. It was a brisk 4-kilometre hop to the Poolbeg Lighthouse, and he was on his way back when he thought he'd pause for a breather. The Wabbit was sceptical about holidays, because every time he took one, it turned into an adventure. It was a fine day, if a little chilly. Waves sparkled and gulls cawed. He leaned against the Water Polo Club wall, just beside a lifebelt, and wondered whether he'd ever enjoy a holiday. His ears pricked up. He could hear a familiar ship's foghorn - one that didn't belong to any container ship. "It's Jenny," he smiled. He dug in his fur for his walkie talkie, tuned it to the appropriate frequency and yelled. "Commander Wabbit, calling Captain Jenny. Commander Wabbit calling the Lepus." The radio crackled and Jenny answered. "No need to bellow, Commander. I can hear you without the radio." The Wabbit was delighted. "Where are you?" Jenny's voice had a pirate laugh in it. "Behind you." The Wabbit turned and gasped. "That was stealthy!" The Lepus was a retrofitted, armed ferry and she rolled and yawed on the Liffey swell. "Stealth is our middle name, Commander," crackled Jenny. The Wabbit waited for more. "The Department sent me and here I am," said Jenny. "Something's afoot," murmured the Wabbit. He saluted the ensign and shouted again, "Permission to come aboard, Captain."

Monday, June 08, 2020

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

The team met at the Safe House and prepared for a hearty meal. Skratch arrived late as usual. He brought Marshall Duetta Spyder with him and she hung from the roof, hunting moths. The Wabbit heard loud crunching but ignored it. "Well," meaowed Skratch, "I'm here to tell you what kind of adventure you just had!" Lapinette rattled the plates with vigour. "Please go ahead, Skratch." Skratch leaned back and grinned. "It was a mystical adventure, thin in narrative, yet rich in spiritual consolation." Duetta crunched a moth down like a potato chip. "Clouds represent a desire for freedom." She rustled her legs. Lapinette flinched at the sound of the moth being digested. Wabsworth shook his head and launched his own explanation. "The narrative to which you refer is but a code of multiple enigmas. The reader receives this only as so much unimportant detail. It appears gratuitously natural." "That's Barthes," said Lapinette. She reached out to grab food, but it was fruit. She quickly put it back. "That's Barthes as interpreted by Julia Lesage," grinned the Wabbit, "As long as the reader is swept along by pseudo-psychological connections, they will be rewarded with the voice of truth - and that is why it's mystical." Skratch purred. "The connections arise from the semic code, mobilised through images. They constitute the key emotional sub code and the main units of connotation." The Wabbit rattled the plates and crashed them together. "I'm contributing my own seme - noise. Decode that!" Lapinette laughed and laughed. "We're hungry! Where's the food?"
[Julia Lesage: S/Z and the Rules of the Game in Movies and Methods Volume 2. UCP Press, London, 1985]

Friday, June 05, 2020

8. The Wabbit and the Cloud Aftermath

Susan the Biplane dropped them off and they were glad to be back. Out on the Big Bridge the team hopped and talked. The city was back to normal - normal as it ever was. The traffic wasn't much but it moved. Some people strolled along as if they had nothing else to do. The Wabbit looked at the advertising billboard and sighed. "There hasn't been a movie picture on this hoarding for ages. Just these scrapings." Lapinette looked at it. "Are you sure?" Wabsworth stared too. "Isn't that .. the red things from the cloud?" The Wabbit paid more attention. "You're quite right." Lapinette hopped up and down. "Maybe it's following us." The Wabbit dug deep in his fur with both paws and seemed to come up with nothing. But suddenly the tips of his paws lit up and appeared to throw lightning at the billboard. The red things coalesced and settled on the surface - somehow, they'd become part of it. Lapinette gaped. "How did you do that lightning?" "I collect things," shrugged the Wabbit. Lapinette pointed at the billboard. "So, what exactly happened?" Wabsworth had more than a clue about what had gone on. "The Wabbit's fur is an anti-matter weave. He captured the power of the cloud and harnessed it in his fur." Lapinette turned to the Wabbit and pointed. "That was serious performativity. But is it reversible?" The Wabbit grinned. "Oh yes, there's plenty more anyway." He flicked imaginary lint from his fur and they all turned to go. "Didn't Duetta Spyder say the cloud was sentient?" asked Lapinette. "Sentient is as sentient does," laughed the Wabbit.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

7. The Wabbit and the Kosi Counter Attack

Away from the cloud, Susan the Biplane's engine burst into life and her propeller grabbed air. "Now Susan!" shouted the Wabbit. Just as planned, Susan released the Wabbit's secret weapon. Developed long ago in his shed, he'd called it Kosi and installed it in Susan's fuselage for emergencies. "What's that stuff?" yelled Lapinette. "A cunning mixture of potassium, oxygen and silicon," shouted the Wabbit. Wabsworth watched the gaseous stream penetrate the cloud. "Of course! It's a sulphur-based life form!" The Wabbit wrinkled his nose and so did Lapinette. "Hideous smelly cloud," murmured the Wabbit. Lapinette dangled her legs from a wing. "But how did it bring all the people to a standstill?" The Wabbit shook his head. "I think it induced some kind of devilish sulphurated stasis." Wabsworth looked back at the billowing cloud. "It must have been the Devil's perfume!" The Wabbit had never been certain why Satan smelled of sulphur, but Lapinette grinned and waved. "The Devil wears Sulphur!" Susan dipped her wings and swung across Turin. High above her, the black cloud lifted and began to thin out. Underneath, Duetta's spiders rattled their legs and kept formation. "I hope things are moving down on the ground," said Lapinette. "Got an appointment?" smiled the Wabbit. "Oh yes, smiled Lapinette, "I've an important meeting with a large gin and tonic."
[Lapinette is joking about a perfume called Sulphur. It is not known whether the devil ever wore it.]

Monday, June 01, 2020

6. The Wabbit and the Spider Descent

They materialised inside the black entity and coughed with the heavy pressure. Susan the Biplane kept her engines going but seemed to be standing still, stuck in the soup-like interior. Duetta and her two lieutenants flew in to protect the biplane. Legs rattled against the fuselage. Lapinette dangled from Susan's struts and she tried to climb back on board - but it was too much effort. The interior of the entity seemed vast. It stretched in all directions and heaved like a viscous sea. The Wabbit wrinkled his nose because the entity smelled like rotten eggs. The sulphurous atmosphere was just about breathable, but it made him queasy. He thought he'd better contact Duetta the Spyder by radio - but it was too much for him. Wabsworth tapped him on the shoulder. "Allow me, Commander." He grasped the radio. "Duetta do you copy?" Duetta flew under the fuselage. "Copy." Wabsworth could see her now and he leaned from the cockpit. "Any ideas. Marshal?" Duetta flew up close and rattled her legs. The entity's atmosphere responded by clutching them like a vice. Everyone gasped - all except for Wabsworth. His android construction fitted him out for most atmospheres. "It doesn't like that, Marshall," said Wabsworth. "What if you all crowd round and grab?" One by one, the spiders locked on to Susan's fuselage. "Can you take us down?" radioed Wabsworth. Susan came back online as they descended. "Systems are returning." Wabsworth smiled and thumped the Wabbit on the back. The Wabbit raised a paw and tapped a code on Susan's dashboard. Susan's intercom crackled. "OK Commander, we'll leave this thing a lovely present ..."

Friday, May 29, 2020

5. The Wabbit and the Red Cloud Entity

The Wabbit summoned Susan the Biplane and they took off for the big cloud. But when they hit the edge the propeller laboured in its dense atmosphere and the biplane began to wallow. "Switching to Interstellar Mode, Commander," said Susan. Things settled but not for long. Lighting pierced the cloud and hit the wings. Susan shuddered and rolled. "Here it comes!" yelled Lapinette. She grabbed the struts and hung like an acrobat. The cloud entity was like a swarm of bees - yet moved as one with a single purpose. It flew right through Susan as if she didn't exist. "Try speaking with it, Wabsworth." Wabsworth's all-being translator had a continuous update, but he wasn't quite sure with the entity. He tried anyway. "What is your purpose, entity?" Wabsworth listened to a series of squeaks and burbles then translated. "It says it's not a fish."  Lapinette sighed. "We said purpose not porpoise. Give it another go." Wabsworth hit the translator with a paw and spoke again. A long series of squawks and squeaks came in reply. Wabsworth clung onto the shaking biplane and shouted, "It says stand still or we will perish." Lightning crashed on the hull. The entity swarmed around the propeller. The Wabbit yelled back. "Tell it we're not the perishing sort." Without warning, Susan's propeller stopped dead and they began to drop. City streets loomed fast. "Quantum slipstream drive!" shouted Susan. There was no time to confirm. The craft appeared to dissolve under them, then they dissolved too. But the cloud was gone and so was the entity.  "Where are we now?" asked the Wabbit. "Middle of nowhere," said Susan. "At least I know where that is," smiled the Wabbit.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

4. Marshall Duetta and the Cloud Entity

Marshall Duetta Spyder took two trusted lieutenant colonels and circled the cloud several times. Lightning crackled above them, laced with an acrid electric smell. From outside there was nothing, so Duetta nodded and they moved inside the cloud. At first it was hard to see much, and a swirling mass exerted a constant pressure on their bodies, making it tough to move around. Gradually, their eyes adjusted to an inky mottled atmosphere. Just up ahead, a formation of yellow sparks blinked in a periodic sequence. They drew back a little, then Duetta called the Wabbit on a telepathic frequency that patched straight through to his receiver. "Commander, can you hear me?" Her legs rattled. "You're a bit muffled," said the Wabbit. Duetta peered around. "I'm not surprised, Commander. This is no cloud, it's an entity." There was a long silence. "Commander!" said Duetta. "Sorry," replied the Wabbit, "I was thinking." Lapinette's voice spoke across the void. "Is it hostile?" Duetta rattled her legs. "Not up to now." She nodded a lieutenant forward towards the yellow sparks but he shot backwards at speed. "It's defensive," said Duetta. The Wabbit voice crackled. "Have you tried to communicate?" Duetta and her spyders rattled her legs together. The noise was deafening. Yellow sparks threshed and blinked. Pressure increased and began to crush their abdomens. Duetta signalled and together they backed away and out of the cloud. Duetta hummed as she went. "Stormy weather..."

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.