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 ..."