Friday, December 31, 2021

9. Tipsy, Fitzy, Mitzy and the Roman Play

The Three Fates swept onto the stage and swayed like the Ronettes, "You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things," chanted Tipsy. "You cruel men of Rome, know ye not the Wabbit?" sang Fitzy. "Do you now put on your best attire, and do you now cull out a holiday?" sang Mitzy. "And do you now strew flowers in his way?" Tipsy's sarcasm completed the picture. They paused. "And where is the Wabbit now?" asked Fitzy. "Suffering the slings and arrows of the Ice Mice," said Mitzy. "Which is no more than his way," added Fitzy. They looked around from right to left. "What is this place? asked Mitzy, "Its look is most familiar?" They walked from one side to another and looked everyone up and down. "Interlopers!" said Tipsy. "Vagabonds," said Fitzy. "Mountebanks," said Mitzy, Tipsy pirouetted. Where was Julius Caesar they wondered? He lay prone on the ground. "They claim to make a television miniseries." Fitzy laughed. "Not about the Wabbit." Mitzy scowled. "He hates that sort of thing." "For good reason," added Tipsy, "With daggers drawn, they fill their coffers with the blood of the poor." Mitzy jumped in the air. "The Wabbit says that men are nearly always willing to believe what they wish." They swayed. "And they always will," said a mournful Tipsy. Together they danced across the stage. "The greatest enemy will hide in the last place you would never look," chanted Fitzy. "Then we must tell the Wabbit," replied Tipsy. "And bid him a happy New Year," said Mitzy. Tipsy looked grave. "Not before it's here." They all nodded - and one by one they vanished, leaving only a TV crew and fake snow.

Monday, December 27, 2021

8. The Lepus and the Alien Crafts

The sound of explosions echoed across the waves as Jenny fired on the Ice Mice. The Lepus had just reached the coast near Fregene when the Ice Mice came out of the sky. They circled around and hurled disc after disk. Most bounced harmlessly from the Lepus but one or two sliced at her masts. "Come about!" said Jenny. "Take aim and fire," The giant 4.5-inch gun on her bow spat flame and an Ice Mouse craft fell from the sky. She lifted her radio and contacted the Wabbit. "I have trouble, Commander."  The radio crackled. "I think my trouble just became your trouble." Enemy fire trebled and multiple discs stung the bows of the Lepus. "They're a devilish nuisance but nothing we can't handle," shrugged Jenny. The Wabbit was stoic. "Probably they'll go away." "They don't give the impression they're going anywhere," said Jenny. All of a sudden disc fire died away. Then the remaining craft wheeled and vanished in the direction of Rome. The crashed vessel creaked like a galleon and sank in a sea of bubbles. "We sent one to Davy Jones', but I don't see any survivors," said Jenny. She cast around with binoculars. "No, nothing." The radio crackled once more. "I think these could be drones," said the Wabbit. "They're probably controlled by a mother craft." Jenny made a comment on mothers that set the Wabbits teeth one edge. "We'll meet you further up the coast," he advised. "But I know the Ice Mice. So I'm advising you to proceed with caution." Jenny laughed. "My caution's all used up. I threw it into the last wind."

Friday, December 24, 2021

7. The Wabbit and the Ice Mice Attack

It was all very sudden. The Ice Mice launched an attack on the Wabbit in the midst of the city and he began to run. Worse still, they fired a series of discs that cut through the air and grazed the Wabbit's fur. The Wabbit wasn't having a good Christmas Eve. Not by a long chalk. He should be sitting by a roaring fire, reading that book he'd bought on Satan in the cinema. He jinked right and left but still the discs kept coming. They were razor sharp and lightning quick. There was more than one Ice Mice craft and the Wabbit felt outnumbered. They hovered in the sky close to the Tiber and the Wabbit reckoned there were more. He rummaged in his fur, found his automatic and twisted round. He took brief aim and fired at the closest disc. It shattered. He let off another three shots and all of them found their mark. That'll teach you," mouthed the Wabbit. He heard the diesel throb of an approaching truck and knew it was Lapinette and her personal guard. Could he hold off the Ice Mice until they reached him? The smell of mice was overpowering as if they were using odour as a weapon. It was a rotten fish odour that would anaesthetise a bull. "Yuk, smelly mice," growled the Wabbit. Then he heard the crump of explosions. The craft wheeled and fled. "Reinforcements," thought the Wabbit. He tucked his automatic in his fur, together with some disk shards for analysis. Then he sat on a wall to wait for Lapinette. He thought of a saying. "Don't be a mouse or the cat will eat you." He needn't have wondered where Puma and Skratch were because they too were on their way. "I'll expect them for Christmas," thought the Wabbit.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

6. Puma, Terni and the Ice Discs

Puma lurked in Rome, waiting to hear from the Wabbit. He settled in a tree, restless but watchful of the passing traffic. His ears pricked up and his tail threshed as ice discs loomed into sight. He knew of the Ice Mice and recalled giving them a good thrashing on a previous occasion. He launched into action. He jumped from the tree and pawed at the discs. An approaching Terni witnessed the whole thing and he called out a warning. "No Puma, don't touch them!" It was too late, Lightning crashed from the discs and stung Puma's paws. "Aaaagh," screeched Puma as he flew through the air. "Pesky Ice Mice!" Terni zoomed closer, his pepper nose throwing Tabasco enhanced flame. Terni was the Wabbit's pal and Puma recognised signs of anger. So he twisted away with speed. Terni let out another lengthy blast of fire and caught the edge of a disc. The disc flamed round the edges and began to melt, smelling strongly of bad bacteria. Puma veered back to the tree, crouched on a branch and looked on. A Food Dragon's breath was not to be treated lightly following a Wabbit modification. Terni swooped round and returned with an even bigger blast. Both discs were aflame now despite the ice. They melted and disappeared sizzling into the Tiber. Puma purred with continual satisfaction. Then he meaowed, "Terni, that was a good job." Terni flew close and hovered. "Jump on, Puma. I'll take you to the Wabbit." Puma sighed with relief. Although he felt it undignified for a wild cat to hitch a ride on a dragon, he wasn't passing up a lift. He stuck to Terni like a wildlife wig and they sped across Rome ...

Monday, December 20, 2021

5. Lapinette and the Big Squeeze

Lapinette and her personal guard hurried to Rome as fast as they could - and for a while everything seemed normal. But when they scouted out the Vatican, things went pear shaped. Literally. The pillars bent outwards behind them. They moved with care and looked round every corner, but the strange phenomenon was everywhere. And it was all too quiet. During Christmas the Vatican swarmed with worshippers but there was not a soul. Tipsy led the way. "I smell something." Fitzy sniffed the air. "I can smell it too." Mitzy brought up the rear. "Smells like a fertiliser factory." It was an earthy smell that Lapinette was familiar with. It smelled like bacteria gone bad. "Poo bum smell," said Tipsy. "Dagnabbit dognoobs!" screeched Fitzy. "Now I know who they are," said Lapinette. "Point them out!" shrieked Tipsy. "It's the Ice Mice. They're controlling things from a space platform." Lapinette seemed calm - now that she knew who it was. "Dirty, smelly poo platform!" shouted Tipsy. She waved her weapon in a menacing manner. "I'll shoot it down." Lapinette shook her head. "It'll crash on the city." She lifted her walkie talkie. "Come in, Wabbit." The radio crackled. "Wabbito here-io." Lapinette sighed. "Be serious Wabbit. We have a situation," "Tell me about it," said the Wabbit, "I'm still drying out." Lapinette took no notice. "It's the Ice Mice." The radio crackled again. "These frothing fools. They exist to make my life difficult." With a horrific crunching the pillars returned to normal. "Shiblets!" muttered Tipsy. "We're making our way to Testaccio," said Lapinette. "Where are you now?" asked the Wabbit. "The Vatican," replied Lapinette. "The Mice must have come to meet Cheesus," snickered the Wabbit. Lapinette sighed. "You're not funny, Wabbit." The radio crackled and died.  

Friday, December 17, 2021

4. The Wabbit in the Ghostly Rain

The Wabbit got out of Turbina. The door slammed behind him. Rain lashed down harder than he had ever seen and he wished he hadn't bothered. Turbina had a spartan interior, but the heater was particularly good. A grim moon shone through the rain and he looked up, shook his fist and growled. He turned to Turbina. "This isn't Testaccio!" Turbina's voice was rather strained. "I couldn't see it. I'm not clear where we are Commander." The Wabbit hopped around for a bit and then he got back in the car. "Under the Tiber by the feel of things." He could hear the clicking of Turbina's engine cooling, so he started her up and let her turbine take care of the temperature. "Solution?" he shrugged. "I can try to get above it, Wabbit," said Turbina. The Wabbit didn't have a better idea so he shrugged again and said, "Go for it." The rain produced a mist that shrouded them completely and buffeted them at the same time. Turbina lifted gradually. She had many dials and gauges but all of them were well misted. The Wabbit put his paws behind him and settled back until the air became clearer. With a lurch, Turbina cleared the deluge. The Wabbit looked down at a layer of solid water. "You did say to expect rain." "I didn't expect ghostly daggers from the sky," replied Turbina. The Wabbit jolted upright, "Now that gives me an idea!" Turbina laughed. "Ideas are in short supply." The Wabbit looked down and he could see Rome again. The rain had gone. "Ideas are like fish," he said, "They slip through the paws." "And leave them smelly for three days," said Turbina.

Monday, December 13, 2021

3. The Wabbit heads for Rome

The Wabbit grimaced and clenched his teeth. He'd left instructions with the team and raced for Turbina the Jet Car. He jumped in and off he went. Turbina was a little anxious. "Commander?" she asked. "Emergency!" snapped the Wabbit. Turbina left the ground and circled round. "Rome?" She knew it was Christmas and it was always Rome. The Wabbit felt the throb of Turbina's turbine. "Stay low," he muttered. Turbina blasted down the motorway a few hundred feet above the road. It was always a good bet. The traffic was mostly concerned with itself and unlikely to be any bother. Technically, Turbina outranked the Wabbit by a long way but on occasions she did what was best and went along with him. "Something strange is happening," he stated. "Surely not?" Turbina would have smiled but she was a car. She contented herself by switching the radio on. "Still, still I wonder. Who'll stop the rain?" sang Credence Clearwater Revival. "It's raining in Rome," she added - by way of explanation. The Wabbit shivered and turned on the heating. His paws beat a tattoo on the dashboard. "It's always a crisis. I just can't have a quiet Christmas, sitting by the fire, reading a book." In all the years Turbina had known the Wabbit, she'd never known him sitting reading by any fire. She said so. He looked down at the motorway and saw signs for the Vatican. "Were going to Testaccio," he said. Turbina snorted and made a slight adjustment. "How is my old friend Terni?" The Wabbit shrugged. "Bad tempered as usual." Turbina laughed. "Not like you then?"
[Background motorway. Pixabay Florien Kurz

Thursday, December 09, 2021

2. Terni and the Devilish Phenomenon

Terni the Food Dragon was patrolling Rome and keeping a watchful eye out. It was close to Christmas and there had been too may occurrences for him to ignore. He swooped round by the Coliseum then wheeled round to the church known as Chiesa del Santissimo Nome di Maria al Foro Traiano. Terni thought the name far too long for such a beautiful church. He always called it Maria. That was when he felt the iciness and saw the flickering light. Although it was a sunny day, a strange shimmering chilled the winter air to freezing and his scales caught the edge of it. "What the very devil is that?" His wings beat faster and he made a ninety-degree turn. "I need to get in touch with the Wabbit." So he sent out an emergency bulletin straight from his brain. It was a while before the Wabbit answered. "I was going to call you, Terni. We have a mission in Rome." Terni swooped higher to pick up fresh currents, but the strange phenomenon affected all the surrounding area. Bricks fell off the church and scattered in the streets below. "Better hurry, Commander, there's something going on here." The Wabbit's radio crackled. "It is unspeakably evil?" Terni made for Testaccio. Fire issued from his pepper mouth as he gained speed. "It's threateningly unpleasant." The radio static increased. He heard the Wabbit say, "Hmm," and felt the need to be terse. "'Hmm', doesn't sound urgent enough, Wabbit!" Terni loved the Wabbit dearly but sometimes he stressed people out. "Get down here now. While there's still something to get down here for!" He listened for what seemed an age. "Keep your scales on Terni. Won't be long. Out." Terni folded his wings as he coasted in to land in Testaccio. "I need a Flaming Dragon."

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

1. The Wabbit and the Christmas Prelude

The Wabbit was searching for an early Christmas present for Lapinette. He paused by a wine shop he'd never seen before and mulled over the bottles. Deep in thought he was startled by a cry. "Wabbit, Wabbit, Christmas orders." It was Lapinette. "Oh, just the usual," he said, "A barrel of bonhomie and two packets of crisps." Lapinette laughed. "Not that kind of order," she breathed. "It's Christmas orders from the Department." The Wabbit swung round. "Well, I wasn't expecting anything this late. Rome is it?" Lapinette jumped in the air. "It always is!" The Wabbit's ears curled. "Philosophers' Stones? Christmas pizzas? Time warps? Quantum wells?" Lapinette's ears curled too. "I don't know, Wabbit. The orders are sealed." They both hopped along the porticos holding paws. "Must be importantly important," murmured the Wabbit. He hunched into his fur. "Better assemble the team. and don't tell them anything." Lapinette sighed. "I don't know anything!" "All the better," replied the Wabbit. Lapinette was now completely confused - as was the Wabbit. "Is the truck serviced?" said the Wabbit, for want of anything better to say. "It's at the ready as you well know," responded Lapinette. She knew the Wabbit could be difficult but sometimes he was downright annoying. "Your personal armed guard?" asked the Wabbit. "They're thirsting for blood," retorted Lapinette. "As long as it's not mine." The Wabbit smiled weakly and his blood pressure soared. They hopped a little further. "Sure you have no idea?" said the Wabbit suddenly. Lapinette put her paws at her waist. "I heard a rumour about unspeakable and impossible evil." The Wabbit grinned. "Nothing out of the ordinary then?"

Monday, December 06, 2021

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

The team were about to take their seats at the chosen Adventure Caffè when Lapinette pointed to the sky and yelled, "It's going to rain." The Wabbit looked up at the unrelenting blue sky and shook his head. Skratch looked perturbed and started to make off. Wabsworth grinned because his barometric subroutines indicated that the weather was about to change. "Definitely rain," said Lapinette. Rain in Turin was a serious business. It poured down suddenly and soaked everyone in its path. "Nonsense," said the Wabbit, "Let's sit down - and if it rains we'll move." Skratch wanted to get down to business. He looked at the sky and made an anxious face. "What was that for a sort of adventure you just had?" Lapinette also squinted at the sky and made a face. "The semiotics of machines is quite different from humans. Spatialising the Euclidean Faction challenges the reader's linear path." Wabsworth smiled. "But it's a matter of coherence and incoherence." Skratch meaowed deeply. "Do you feel we're caught in chaos textuality and the disintegration of action?" The Wabbit chimed in with another question. "Do you then feel there was too much sensory overload?" Lapinette frowned. "No, not at all. There is little wrong with visceral impact." Wabsworth felt the first spit of rain. He laughed. "Is this umbrella tough enough to withstand the visceral impact of Turin rain?" The Wabbit shrugged. "I propose to tough it out." Skratch purred. "Shall we go inside?" The Wabbit scowled. "And get a reputation for being untough?" "That's not even a word," laughed Lapinette.

[I am indebted to a conversation at Open Culture by Colin Marshall]

Friday, December 03, 2021

6. The Wabbit and the Big Clear Out

The Wabbit never felt as calm as he did now. Things flash and banged around him, but he was cool as a cucumber. Susan the Biplane dragged the sharpies of the Euclidean Faction away and the Wabbit was content to look on. Remnants of the football bomb floated in the air. He toyed with the grappling device and mused to himself. "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs." Wabsworth smiled. "Who said that?" Lapinette chuckled. "Just about everybody." Lapinette jumped up and down and waved her paws. "Take 'em away!" They all shook their heads because no-one knew what to do with them. "Where did you get the grappler device?" asked the Wabbit. Lapinette grinned. "Local Carabiniere. I walked straight in and asked for a spike strip. They wanted to know what a pretty little lop ear rabbit like me wanted it for. I said it was a for a rough party." The Wabbit nodded and looked around. "True enough," he said. Wabsworth wanted to know where the Euclidean faction came from. "A simple mathematical dispute. You know what mathematicians are like." The Wabbit was still thinking of where to put them. "What about an asteroid belt? They can very well work out a way to get home." Wabsworth started to laugh. "They'll have to resolve into non-Euclidean space." "And back again," grinned the Wabbit. Lapinette nearly had the final word. "They have to take into account the warp factor of our jokes." But Wabsworth jumped in. "In the Orion belt that's a huge waist of Space."

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

5. The Wabbit and the Euclidean Mob

The Wabbit was on his way to a strategic planning meeting to discuss the contents of his dream. In fact, they all were - but the Wabbit was first. He got up early and proceeded along Via Accademia Albertina with speed. But just as he got past Piazza Carlo Emanuele II he met with the advance guard of the Euclidean Faction - they were sharpies armed to the teeth and as noisy as a cave of bats. The metal knives clacked together like an angry medieval mob. Planes fired a series of sharp pencils at his ears. Worse still they launched a football from their midst. The Wabbit knew deep down in his gut that the football was more than that. "A bomb more than likely," he thought, and he took to his heels. But the faster he scampered, the faster they went. He kept his eyes on the front. To his relief he saw Wabsworth and Lapinette running towards him. They had a grappling device and were ready to throw it across the road. The Wabbit thought fast. It would take care of the sharpies but not the planes. He heard the familiar sound of a biplane. "Susan!" Everything seemed to be sorted - but could he get away in time? There was nothing left but to dive on top of the ball. Bomb or not, he had little option. He jumped astride, waving everyone away. He sailed past Wabsworth and Lapinette then jumped from the ball. It carried on until the open space of the skateboard park. He heard a crump, saw the flash. He was relieved. "No skateboarders this early," he shrugged. The stinger hit the road. Netting descended on the planes. "So far so good," thought the Wabbit.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

4. The Wabbit and a dream of Apple Pies

That night the Wabbit had an extraordinary dream. He was floating in Space near one of Jupiter's moons - and there with him were Wabsworth, Lapinette and three apple pies. They each had a pie. Wabsworth seemed the most astonished and he reached out a paw to touch it the pie. He could see Lapinette doing her best to keep clear of the apple. Her antipathy for fruit was well known and her feet flailed around. In fact, she was having the self-same dream. She wrinkled her nose as she saw the Wabbit floating on his back over a massive apple pie. Wabsworth was an android and chanced to use his dreaming sub routine. He found himself stepping in a chunky apple pie which he recognised from the Wabbit's memory banks. He prodded it. It was then he noticed a familiar symbol, lurking in the background. They all gasped pi at the same time. Pi in the sky!" muttered the Wabbit. Even though it was a dream, he chuckled to himself. Wabsworth prodded the apple again. "Sir Cumference," he laughed. "that's the fattest knight." Lapinette managed to drag her feet clear of the pie. "I draw the line at apple," she said. The Wabbit's mind was working overtime. "Pi repeats itself." He said as much in his dream. Wabsworth and the Wabbit and Lapinette all woke up at the same time. They knew the dream had been telling them something and they got to work with pencil and paper and fancy calculators. Wabsworth made an intuitive leap. "Squaring the Circle!" Lapinette was thinking too. "Pi is transcendental." But it was the Wabbit that got to the answer first. "This is an attack by the Euclidean Faction!" It was well known that the Faction had given up on mainstream mathematics and taken to armed geometry. So it could be no-one else ...

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

3. Lapinette and the Circles of Confusion

Lapinette made her way along the River Dora, without a care in the world and whistling a happy tune. She turned to look at a poster advertising dance and began to sing the song. "This is quite a happy song for Len Cohen." She smiled to herself. It was then that it happened.  They were the gear wheels from Hell and they came at her in sections like refugees from an old gearbox. There were four of them, each one larger and coggier than the last. She dived in the air and they whistled past her with a whizzing and a crunching.  She flattened against the poster, but the gear wheels proceeded down Via Dora Firenze with speed. "They didn't come for me then." She watched them until they were out of sight. "They must have slipped a cog," she thought, "but that's a matter of a pinion." She smiled and thought she was getting worse than the Wabbit. That was quite a thought. "I'd better follow them." She could just see the gears and the direction they were headed. She took a short cut and intercepted them at Piazza Vittorio Veneto, where they veered to the right and disappeared into underground parking. She heard smashing crockery, then silence. "Curious," she thought. "I'd better find the Wabbit." She didn't have to look far because the Wabbit and Wabsworth were emerging from the far entrance to the underground car park. They were shaking their heads in synchrony. She hopped as quickly as she could and caught up with them. "What's with the flying gears?" she yelled. "Looks like circles of confusion," shrugged the Wabbit.

Monday, November 22, 2021

2. The Wabbit and the Attack of the Plates

The Wabbit and Wabsworth started to amble down to the River Po when the Wabbit caught a flash of white from behind. At first, he paid scant attention. Then it came closer. "Wabsworth?" he said. "I know," said Wabsworth, "Ignore them and maybe they'll go away." They walked a bit faster, but still the objects came closer. "I think it's the circles," suggested Wabsworth, "they're mobile." Suddenly there were more and they circled round and headed for them. "They don't seem friendly," said the Wabbit. he broke into a fast lope. Wabsworth kept up with him. "They seem like crockery," he ventured. "Deep plates," muttered the Wabbit. He'd been to many a gala dinner and he knew his crockery. One of the plates started to whirl and it came far too close to the Wabbit's ears. "Yikes," shouted the Wabbit. He quickened his pace. The lead plate let out a piercing wail as it whirled faster. The other plates took up the wail. It was deafening. The Wabbit and Wabsworth started to run. "I think they mean us harm," shouted Wabsworth. "As if we haven't got enough on our plate!" answered the Wabbit. The lead plate shouted out loud. "Servings, servings!" They were racing along now but still the plates kept up. "Maybe they're tectonic plates?" said Wabsworth. "They're shifty all right," responded the Wabbit. They veered sharp round a corner. The plates missed the turn and soared into an underground car park. They heard a crashing as the plates dropped down a lift shaft. "That was their own fault," grinned the Wabbit. "I have a Freddy Mercury joke," laughed Wabsworth. The Wabbit offered a quizzical ear. "I want to break three," groaned Wabsworth.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

1. The Wabbit, Wabsworth & White Circles

The Wabbit bumped into Wabsworth near the Mole Antonelliana. He was merely standing and considering what all the white circles were for. He'd never come across a junction like it. "Wabsworth," he said, "You're just the rabbit I need to speak to." Wabsworth smiled. He was always pleased to bump into the Wabbit. "I was making my way between the River Dora and the Po. Just hopping aimlessly." The Wabbit thought Wabsworth might know about new traffic schemes, and he asked him. "What gives here?" Wabsworth was an android. He was fiercely logical but not without humour. "It's sending me round in circles. I think it's a plan to separate pedestrians from traffic. The Wabbit smirked. "It seems a roundabout way of doing things." Wabsworth laughed. I was nearly knocked down trying to work it out." Both shook with mirth. "Town Council!" They said it at the same time and laughed even more. Then they stuck their paws in their fur. "Any word from the Department?" asked Wabsworth. The Wabbit shook his head like a donkey. "Not a sausage. I was hoping to hear of a mission." Wabsworth said "Ha! They'll circle around us before they announce it." The Wabbit considered then replied. "And then we'll be running in circles." They guffawed a lot. "I suppose we'd better circle the wagons!" said Wabsworth. The Wabbit knew Wabsworth watched too many Westerns. He grinned. "We'd better contact our immediate circle."  The Wabbit ran out of jokes. Just then his radio crackled from deep inside his fur. "Must be the Circle Gang."

Monday, November 15, 2021

The Wabbit and his Adventure Caffè

The team gathered as usual in a Caffè they had always ignored.  The Wabbit thought the menu was hideous. Lapinette thought the Wabbit was too critical. Wabsworth didn't care because he was an android and all food was the same to him. Skratch hove into sight, complaining that half his head was cropped from the picture. The Wabbit was adamant and wouldn't move anything. "We need to show the chairs in case anyone from our audience wants to join us." Skratch shrugged and sat down. "So what was that for a kind of adventure?" Wabsworth clapped his paws. "The Devil in literature is a popular motif." Lapinette nodded. "He embodies specific anxieties and desires. Many serious people believe in Satan. He didn't just visit us in a story. He has active agency." Skratch purred long and hard. "He was the Devil, not merely a devil." The Wabbit rapped on the table. "The Devil is a trickster and aren't our stories also a trick?" Skratch was overjoyed. "That's true. Here he appears as a representative of corruption and decay. The spammer to end all spammers." Lapinette was anxious to contribute again. "Yes, and so Satan embodies desire. The audience has a desire for a world different from ours, where the Devil can just show up." Wabsworth had the last word. "The Devil emerges from a network of cultural forces. Evil and good, right and wrong are fundamental antinomies." The Wabbit laughed. "Like having a drink and not having a drink?" Lapinette picked up the napkin holder and made to throw it at the Wabbit. "Be a devil!" she cried. The Wabbit ducked fast ...

[I am indebted to the authors of Giving the Devil His Due: Satan and Cinema. (2021) Weinstock et al, Fordham University Press.]

Saturday, November 13, 2021

7. The Wabbit when the Devil Called In

The Wabbit took both boxes and headed for town, but on the way a phone started to ring. It was one of those boxes on the wall and the Wabbit hadn't seen one for years - except maybe in the station. Mobile phones had almost rendered them obsolete. Dring dring. Dring dring. The call was insistent. The Wabbit was still looking at it when Lapinette arrived. "Answer it," she said. The Wabbit was tentative. It vibrated so much it came off the call box and dropped into his paw. Lapinette waved frantically. She pointed towards the top of the wall. The Wabbit answered the call anyway. "Hello," said a mournful voice. "Beelzebub here!" "The Devil you are!" replied the Wabbit. Lapinette was pointing at the wall but the Wabbit took no notice. In fact, he turned his back. "Always the wag. Ha ha. You'll never stop my calls, Wabbit," said the Devil. "They stop here and now," replied the Wabbit. "I have your thingymajig." The Devil laughed. "That's just a simple machine." The Wabbit took both pieces and tried to connect them. "No!" yelled the Devil. "Why not?" asked the Wabbit. He tried again to fit the pieces together. "It will route me and my calls through Gehenna switchboard," howled the Devil. The Wabbit was successful and the two bits slotted together with a click. The phone made a ringing sound like a thousand feedback loops. Lapinette watched as the Devil began to dissolve. "I'll get Moloch to tidy your remains," quipped the Wabbit. The Devil's voice whispered along the wall.  "I won't call again." The ringing sound faded. Devilish pieces liquified and ran earthwards. "Paint the devil on the wall," quipped the Wabbit.

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

6. Tipsy and the Devil behind the Calls

Out at an abandoned factory on the edge of town, Lapinette's personal security detail Tipsy, Fitzy and Mitzy rounded a corner. "There he is," murmured Tipsy. "I knew it would be him - and I knew he'd be here." Fitzy was taken aback. "I'm blabbergasted. He looks rather devilish." Mitzy scoffed. "I don't believe in the devil." The Devil had his back to them, and he stood up to his waist in a sea of blood. Tipsy drew her edged weapon and hissed. "The devil's real enough. There he is. Beelzebub himself."  The Devil's lips curled. "Personally in person, little female rabbit. Some call me that. I prefer Lucifer." He looked askance at their weapons. "You cannot harm me. I am a supernatural phenomenon." Mitzy growled. "You've been causing a lot of trouble, you fiend." "A fiend indeed. And I'll cause more," said the Devil. He drew his Hellish lips back in a sneer. He stirred blood with his finger and painted an upside down cross on one of the wooden beams. "Now it's a crossbeam. Ha ha ha." He laughed a sinister laugh. Tipsy made the sign of a cross with her edged weapon. "Stop making annoying calls," she snarled. The Devil laughed. "Don't be silly small rabbit. I have enormous resources. I'll make as many calls as I like. All day all year. I'll wear you all down. Until you join with me." "Pipe down, Hobknocker," said Tipsy, "I'll send the Wabbit after you." For the first time, the Devil looked perturbed. "The Wabbit?" He began to fade. "We'll see about that." But he was frowning. He faded until only the frown remained and the frown spoke. "I have a score to settle with that lagomorph."

Friday, November 05, 2021

5. The Wabbit and the Big, Big Tower.

The Wabbit knew all about the Superga events. He was monitoring the signals and picked up a flash. It was instantaneous but he was able to ping it. The address was a telecommunications tower on the edge of town. "Let's go," he yelled. "Bring truck, bring guns!" Lapinette took the driving seat and Wabsworth dived in the back. In 30 minutes, they were at the site. It was a lonely location where no-one ever went. Just a field, and a tower and the hovering stars. Wabsworth started to climb. "What am I looking for?" The Wabbit started after him. "A device, we'll know it when we see it." Lapinette remained by the truck and shouted directions. "The dish to your right, Wabsworth." Wabsworth scrabbled around. "It's a device. It's buried." Lapinette replied immediately. "Kin you unbury it?" The Wabbit was nearly there. "Hang on Wabsworth, I can see an edge." He pulled at a strange box. "It's in two bits, like a jigsaw," shouted Wabsworth. Together they uncoupled it and pushed the pieces in their fur. Despite the ladders and lattice framework, it was a little precarious. A piece slipped away from the Wabbit and clanged its way down the tower. It bounced once, twice, three times - before Lapinette dived and caught it. What it was exactly, no-one knew. She clutched it close. "I have the thing." By the time Wabsworth and the Wabbit were at the foot of the tower, the box was safely stowed in the truck. Lapinette poked it with screwdriver. It flashed once then spoke. "You'll never ever find me." Lapinette smiled a grim smile. "Don't count your eggs and your chickens."

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

4. The Tipsy, Fitzy and Mitzy Intercept

Lapinette's personal guard were allocated the task of finding the photo decrypter but what they found was a robocall device. It was sending out nonstop signals from the bell tower at the Basilica. "It's not so high, I'll take it down," said Tipsy. She plucked an edged weapon from her frock and clenched it between her teeth. Then she began the ascent of the tower. "There she goes," said Fitzy. "Trouper!" said Mitzy. They both laughed. Tipsy slashed at the strange device. It bleeped and the photo signals became visible. "Gotcha," said Tipsy. but the machine fought back with electric shocks. "Fudge!" said Tipsy. She changed her position on the tower. "Need a helping paw?" asked Fitzy. Tipsy thought about it. "Yup," she said finally. Fitzy scrambled up and got a grip of Tipsy. Then Mitzy did the same. She grabbed on to Fitzy. They swayed around like a drunken concertina. "It's gonna self destruct," yelled Tipsy. "Sheeps' shiblets!" shouted Fitzy. "Jump!" yelled Tipsy. "Mother trucker!" yelled Mitzy as she let go and dropped. Together they slid down and lay in a heap. They had cuts and bruises and frocks were tattered. "Jerk water!" cussed Fitzy and put her paws over her ears. With a loud bang the device detonated. Stonework fell around their shoulders. Some time elapsed. "What do we tell the Wabbit?" said Mitzy. "I'll kick his corn nuts!" shouted Tipsy. Fitzy giggled. Mitzy snickered. "And then?" Tipsy thought about it. "Let's find the key device on our own." Tipsy paused. "I think I know where it is and who has it." Fitzy fished in what remained of her frock for her automatic. "We'll get that loompity frigstick!"

Monday, November 01, 2021

3. The Wabbit and the Lamp's Message

The Wabbit was on his way home when he heard a hissing. He looked up. "That streetlight must be out of order," he thought. But with a faint flash, the light illuminated with a phosphorescent glow. "Halloween is past," said the Wabbit and he shook his head. "Wabbit!" The voice was familiar. The Wabbit struggled to place it. "It's Lamp," said the voice, "I can see you. I'm calling you from the moon." The Wabbit looked up and imagined he could see a glow on the moon. "Lamp!" he said. He looked round just in case anyone saw him talking to himself. Lamp's voice carried on. "I'm communicating with you through one of my kind." The Wabbit shrugged. He'd left Lamp on the moon because he seemed to like it but hadn't expected him to get in touch so soon. "OK Lamp. What gives?" The glow faded and brightened again. "I can't keep this up for long. Clouds you know. Interfering with communication." "Give me the gist," said the Wabbit. "I've been receiving strange calls," said Lamp. "But nothing comes of them." The Wabbit stared at the moon and tried to visualise Lamp. "Same here," he said. "I'm supposed to sort it out, but I can't find the source." The Lamp continued. "I tracked it down. It's coming from the top of the Mole Tower." The Wabbit was sceptical. "Didn't come up on our radar." The Lamp snickered. "They're photo encrypted and decrypted somewhere near Superga." The Wabbit nodded as if he knew that already. "Good info Lamp, anything you need?" "A new bulb would be nice," said Lamp, "You can send me one, they're quite light." The Wabbit laughed and the green glow flickered and died.

[See: "The Wabbit stops off at the Moon."]

Sunday, October 31, 2021

2. The Wabbit's Hallowe'en Call

Nothing could interfere with the team's Hallowe'en Party and they found a particularly messy part of Pluto Park to host it. The Wabbit brought the red phone - since his new adventure was about irritating calls. He placed it with great care on a concrete block. Lapinette fluttered over the water like a dragonfly. No-one was quite sure how she did it. Wabsworth caused lightning flashes to erupt from his paws. Since he was an android it was nothing for him to organise. Skratch was late and he stood up to his knees in the murky water. "OK Wabbit. What's your Bunnyman trick this year?" The Wabbit smiled. "No trick. It's never a trick." Lapinette cackled heartily and floated back and forward. Wabsworth's lightning flashed. "Here comes the Bunnyman," he screeched. At that moment the telephone howled. The Wabbit scowled in response. "It only does that when it's important." Lapinette fluttered. "You'd better answer it then." The telephone vibrated until it was in danger of falling from the concrete block. The Wabbit lifted the receiver. They heard the sound of footsteps. "I'm coming!" said a deep voice. "Who's calling?" asked the Wabbit. "Who do you think?" shrieked the voice. "It's the Bunnyman," said the Wabbit. His voice shook. The phone spoke again. "I sent you my axe." They gaped in horror as an axe rose from behind the concrete block. Blood spattered right to left. Wabsworth lifted his paws towards the heavens. They sparked again.  The axe faded from sight and the blood disappeared. "Holography," he laughed. "But who was on the phone?" asked the Wabbit. "Not me," shrugged Wabsworth.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

1. The Wabbit and the Annoying Calls

The Wabbit was quietly minding his own business. He'd stopped at a restaurant where he liked to go for lunch - undiscovered. It was a cheap place with good food, populated with students and the odd rabbit like himself. He'd have one of the main courses - and always a glass of Prosecco. He was known as Mr Prosecco, not Commander Wabbit, and that was the way he wanted to stay. He was getting to the coffee stage when he felt a tap on his shoulder. "Hello Wabbit! So this is your secret lunchtime haunt?" The Wabbit grinned. "Not any more." He got up to find Lapinette a seat. "Have you eaten," he asked. "I have," she smiled. "Then perhaps I can offer you an amaro?" "Montenegro," said Lapinette. The Wabbit's wave to the waiter was cut short by the squeal of a telephone. "Aren't you going to answer that?" asked Lapinette. "They've been happening all day," said the Wabbit. "The phone rings and I answer and they hang up." The ringing stopped. Lapinette was highly amused. "And that is your next mission." The Wabbit pretended to misunderstand. "Making prank calls?" "Of course not," said Lapinette. "Locating the pranksters and eliminating them." The Wabbit giggled. "That seems harsh." Lapinette pirouetted in a manner that alarmed the waiters. "They're causing the Department a lot of wasted time." The Wabbit reached under his fur for his automatic. "I will find them. Then I will answer them." Lapinette nodded. "Gather all the resources you need. The Department is hopping mad." "How mad?" queried the Wabbit. "As mad as a bag of bees," grimaced Lapinette. 

Monday, October 25, 2021

The Wabbit and his Adventure Caffè

The Wabbit pointed to the table and Lapinette jumped in the air. "Are you sure about this Caffè, Wabbit? You said they gave you a Prosecco with ice in it." Wabsworth snorted in horror. The Wabbit laughed and rapped the table. "That was in the evening. This is kind of morning." Wabsworth guffawed. "The Wabbit has Prosecco on his cornflakes for breakfast, like it was milk." Lapinette raised her eyes in mirth. "That's where you've been sneaking off to, Wabbit. You said it was to collect La Stampa." The Wabbit looked a little embarrassed. "I did get La Stampa and a copy of La Settimana Enigmistica." Lapinette grinned. "Yes, I could smell it." Skratch was impatient. "That doesn't tell us what kind of Adventure you just had." Wabsworth echoed his sentiment. "So, what was that for a sort of Adventure?" Lapinette continued to bounce. "It's quite simple. Ideology, Representation and Reality." Wabsworth agreed but ventured that it wasn't enough. "The signs and codes were lacking. Usually there are conventions and you used none of them." The Wabbit intervened. "We used a simple first order symbolic substitution. That rendered our story comprehensible." Skratch laughed like crazy. "You can't get away with that, Wabbit. That's like saying it means anything I say it means." The Wabbit gritted his teeth. "Baudrillard would have it differently. All identities, social relations and social life itself are constructed through image appropriation - and that's what we did." Skratch bowed out at that point and smiled "That's all very well but where are our drinks?" Lapinette laughed. "There's a picture of them on the table."

Friday, October 22, 2021

8. The Wabbits and the Celestial Cloud

But the clouds did clear - and they became a heavenly golden colour with bursts of celestial light radiating through. Hardhack Rat was waiting for them, and he leaped forward with his paws outstretched. "This way," he shouted. He was very excited. "All our outages have stopped. Everything is back to normal." The Wabbit and Lapinette smiled and held their weapons aloft. "We saved the world then," said the Wabbit. Hardhack Rat giggled. "I wouldn't say that exactly, but it's a big improvement. Some persistent viruses disappeared too." Lapinette nodded sagely. "The cloud looks altogether better." They formed a circle and danced. The Wabbit's jig was a bit like the one he reserved for St Andrew's Night. Then he shook Hardhack by the paw. "Couldn't have done it without you." Hardhack paused for a second. "What's it like at the other end?" Lapinette was swift to answer. "It's grotty and smells of industrial garlic." Hardhack grimaced. He only liked cheese. The Wabbit put his weapon down. "It's got a lot of collapsible bridgework and a superhighway going nowhere." Hardhack chortled. "You've summed up the current situation pretty well." Lapinette dropped her weapon too. She shrugged her shoulders to ease her strained muscles. "It was all very dramatic. What do we do for an encore?" The Wabbit laughed. "This is the coda; we don't have to worry!" Hardhack Rat was ebullient. "Time for a drink and something to eat." "Let's go the Hungry Byte," said the Wabbit.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

7. The Wabbit, Lapinette & the Gooey Web

The Hacker did exactly as expected. But he wasn't expecting the Wabbit's Web. Stuck in the goo, he wriggled and writhed. But he couldn't extricate himself. The Wabbit and Lapinette lay at the ready to pump more of the web into the system - but what was there, was more than enough. "How do you like my Web, Mr Hacker?" The Wabbit was jubilant. The Hacker tore at the web but it was useless. Sticky strands held him fast. And he couldn't say a word - just gooey goo goo.  Lapinette was cautious. She expected trouble. It was a cold night in this part of the Cloud, and she thought the web might fracture. But it held fast. "What do we do now?" asked the Wabbit. Lapinette knew the Wabbit didn't think far ahead. Strictly speaking, that part of the operation fell to her. "Kin we move him?" The Wabbit grinned and pressed a button on his snazer. The web began to contract and soon the Hacker was quite a small ball. "Sombrero Galaxy?" asked Lapinette. The Wabbit agreed. "On his very own planet. He can hack to his heart's content." He rolled the ball of goo behind him and hopped along the bridge. "How do we get out of this cloud?" It was Lapinette's turn to grin. "I made notes. Take a right after the bridge." Clouds began to swirl around him and the Wabbit ploughed through them. "I suppose we just leave this entirety of the dark web behind." Lapinette sighed and shrugged. "There'll always be a dark Web." The Wabbit suggested blowing it up. "Wabbit. you can't blow up everything you don't like," she said. The Wabbit tried to dissipate the clouds by huffing on them. It didn't work. "Pity," said the Wabbit.

Monday, October 18, 2021

6. The Wabbit, Lapinette and the Highway

Lapinette and the Wabbit stood guard at the iron bridge. It was on the Dark Super Highway and the Wabbit had spotted it through the clouds. Lapinette was sceptical "How do you know he'll come this way?" The Wabbit shrugged. "They say you can set your clock by him." Lapinette gave a sardonic grin. "Who on earth does the think he is? Kant?" The Wabbit chortled, He'd recharged their snazers with special concoction devised by Big Blue Snail and Major Duetta Spyder in the Wabbit's shed at the back of the Department. It was lethal and would trap anything. Devised as a lure, the holes were an illusion and were filled with snail slime, spider goo and Evostick. Nothing got through. Nothing. Suspended from the iron girders of the bridge, they looked like a spider's web and glistened in the night. The Wabbit looked out. He and Lapinette had different ways of looking. He crouched over his rifle and stared at the middle distance. Lapinette bounced up and down on her rabbit legs. Birds fluttered across in great number. The Wabbit sniffed the air. "Birds?" he said. He made a wavy motion with his paws. Lapinette nodded. "The Dark Cloud certainly cuts it for authenticity." They stared out for a while. "What's that?" asked the Wabbit. Lapinette's ears swivelled and her nose twitched "It's him." The Wabbit wasn't sure. How can you tell?" "Garlic mouse droppings," she said. Now the Wabbit could smell him too. He lifted his snazer and glanced at Lapinette. "He's going to meet a sticky wicket."

[Background images. Open Clip Art, JW Wein, Hans-2 all at Pixabay.]

Saturday, October 16, 2021

5. The Wabbit, Lapinette and the Hacker

Lapinette swept back the curtain and there was the Hacker. She waved a pistol at him and while he was distracted, the Wabbit snuck in behind him. "You horrid Hacker!" yelled Lapinette. Lapinette was livid. The Hacker's penetrating stare held her in a vice like grip. The Wabbit had her edged weapon and grasped the Hacker from behind. But the knife slid off his neck like an evil dream. Lapinette's automatic bent sideways "I am the rambunctious Hacker," he cried, "No gun can fire me, no knife can throw me." Lapinette tried to bend the automatic back but it wouldn't comply. The Wabbit slipped the edged weapon back in his fur and stood back. "You have an interesting turn of phrase," he grunted. The Hacker scowled. "It's the phrase that turns - not me. I am Ice Mouse Hacker and I turn for no-one." The air grew cold and Lapinette suppressed a shiver, then shrugged. "As you wish," Mr Mouse." The Hacker's lips formed into a grin. "What is your wish, Mr and Mrs Bunny?" "Stop the outages," snapped the Wabbit. "Then where will I get my fun?" said the Hacker. He pulled the curtain back and swept the Wabbit out with a wave of his paw. "I am neither pixie nor pixel. I am Hacker." The curtain closed and dissolved. There was nothing behind. Only clouds. The Wabbit grimaced. "That went well." Lapinette inspected her automatic and racked the slide. Her mouth set in a line. "How do we get him?" The Wabbit considered. "Satanic Runes?" Lapinette's lip curled. "Glurpy Glue!"

[Background. Pixabay Peter Pieras]

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

4. The Wabbit and the Cascade of Rabbits

There was a cascade of toy rabbits. They were running - out of the cloud they came, one by one. They just kept pouring through. The first one bore a software piracy logo and a spectacular set of teeth. The rest looked as lethal as the first. The Wabbit lifted his snaser rifle but Lapinette shouted to him. "They're pixels Wabbit, you won't do anything with that." The Wabbit thought about it and he knew one thing. It took fire to fight fire. "That flash drive, Lapinette?" Lapinette was ahead of him. "My thoughts exactly. I think I have it somewhere in my frock." She fished around and found it. Then she threw it. With a single deft move, the Wabbit caught it and flipped it the other way round. "Take that for your trouble," he snarled. He flung it straight at the teeth of the leading toy rabbit. He had a bit of luck. The flash drive lodged between its teeth and connected. The Wabbit leaned back as the drive downloaded a powerful new virus into the toy. The toy stopped dead just like the rabbit in the souless battery advertising. So did the rest. The numbers danced but the toys lay on the ground, as lifeless as a string of dead fish. "What was on that drive, Wabbit?" Lapinette was relieved. The danger was over for now. The Wabbit grinned. "We call it digital myxoma." Lapinette grimaced. "Wabbit! You and Wabsworth have a terrible sense of humour." The Wabbit wrinkled his nose in agreement. "We're not finished. We have to get to the Hacker." The Wabbit turned to face the numbers. They were printed on a gauze curtain of poor quality. The Wabbit laughed. "Well I call that chintzy!"

[Toy rabbit by vinsky Background numbers by Jay Rue Software Piracy Badge by The Digital Artist. All at Pixabay]

Monday, October 11, 2021

3. The Wabbit and Lapinette in the Cloud

Courtesy of Hardhack Rat, the Wabbit and Lapinette hopped through the Dark Cloud. He'd got them in by some back door - no one knew of its existence. The Dark Cloud was the equivalent of the Dark Web and as such, highly dangerous. But the Wabbit wasn't taking it seriously enough for Lapinette. "Watch where you're sticking that gun," she shrieked. The Wabbit lowered his weapon, but not by much. "Sorry," he chirped. "Lower Wabbit," groaned Lapinette. "Sooahrry," said the Wabbit in a deep baritone. Lapinette ignored this and looked all around. "So this is the Dark Cloud." The Wabbit hitched the snazer higher up on his shoulder. "Looks like it." Lapinette glanced down. "What is this were standing on?" "Looks like a bridge of some kind, probably over troubled waters." Lapinette sighed. When the Wabbit was like this, nothing would change him. "Bridge to where?" "Probably a bridge too far." The Wabbit was being really annoying, and it usually meant he saw trouble ahead. Mist swirled around them and enveloped them in damp. "This plays havoc with my sinus," said the Wabbit. "Is that why you're getting up my nose?" Lapinette had had enough. Her ears twitched. Then they heard a noise, a bit like scraping. The Wabbit shrugged and they hopped on. The sound got louder. "It sounds like the hacker," said Lapinette. They stopped. She brought her snaser round and pointed it straight ahead. The clouds gave way to a screen with numbers. Toy rabbits hopped around on the screen. A blast from Lapinette's snazer saw the screen dissolve into melted plastic. "Melt down!" shouted the Wabbit. 

[Clouds: Engin Alyurt  Pixabay]

Friday, October 08, 2021

2. The Wabbit and the Dark Web

Hardhack insisted on demonstrating his theory, so they went to the viewing theatre that the Wabbit had lovingly recreated in the Department. They picked up Lapinette on the way because she knew a thing or two about the Dark Web or the Dark Wab as the Wabbit liked to call it. Hardhack booted up his computer and they were incognito as they come. Not a soul knew of their presence. A shrouded figure appeared on the screen. "Looks like our suspect," said Hardhack. The Wabbit gasped. "It's an Ice Mouse." His voice shook the theatre as he began to speak. "Look on my works ye mighty and Despair!" The Wabbit gripped the back of the seat. "All ye who cleave to the Dark Path! Ye are my followers." His voice was like scraping a mouse scratching a blackboard. "We shall lay them low; we shall scatter their pixels like lawn mower clippings." The Wabbit spoke in a low voice. "He can't hear us can he?" The voice spoke again. "I can see all who see me. I can see everything." The Wabbit made a rude sign. Lapinette admonished him. The Ice Mouse started again. "Our next task goes beyond Facefook. It extends to the heart of the Net. To SPECTRA and beyond." The Wabbit made a funny face. "I can see you Wabbit," said the voice, "Prepare to meet whatever doom you care to name." The Wabbit looked at Hardhack. "He's bluffing," said Hardhack. "Ending transmission," roared the voice. The screen went black except for an Ice Mouse logo, which promptly faded. "My gast is flabbered," shrugged the Wabbit.

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

1. The Wabbit and the Big Outage

The big outage went on and on and every computer in the land was affected. So the Wabbit decided to seek out advice. Who better than Hardhack Rat? Hardhack didn't take appointments but the Wabbit didn't have to make one. He crept into a new bay and watched Hardhack run up and down, looking for glitches. The new bay was very chic and even had a soft seat. The Wabbit was secretly impressed but he chose not to show it. "Psst Hardhack. How are things?" Hardhack turned. "Just fine Wabbit. How do like my new minimalist supercomputer?" The Wabbit smiled to himself. "It's rather cute, Hardhack." Hardhack was astonished. "Cute?" he said. "Cute?" He grimaced at the Wabbit. "This is a state-of-the-art beast rated at a zillion exaflops." "It has a nice little seat," said the Wabbit. "That is a powerful controller," shouted Hardhack. "It helps execute neural functions equivalent to my Brian." "You mean brain surely?" laughed the Wabbit. Hardhack stuck his nose in the air. "It's what I call my brain," he said. "Only teasing," snickered the Wabbit. Hardhack put his paws on his fur. "Oh you! You're incorrigible. What can I do for you anyway?" He smiled. The Wabbit strode around looking at things. "We've had a big outage. You don't seem affected." Hardhack guffawed loudly. "I wouldn't attach this to the net. Do you think I'm mad?" The Wabbit shrugged. "It's a problem for the Department. I'm supposed to fix it." Hardhack thought for a minute. "You've considered mice." It was the Wabbit's turn to think. "I have not." Hardhack was philosophical "Oh, they talk about faulty configuration changes and backbone routers, but 70% of problems are caused by mice." The Wabbit gave that some thought. "You could be spot-on..."
[Background image by Pixabay]

Monday, October 04, 2021

The Wabbit's Adventure Caffè

The team gathered in a Caffè near the station. There had been a big fire and they wanted to inspect the damage - but it was all internal and nothing much to see. "I'm glad this place is still functioning," said Lapinette. "Yes, touch and go," replied the Wabbit. The exterior scaffolding was still in place, and they glanced round at it. "I suppose they're still putting it out," said Wabsworth. They sniffed the air. An acrid smell remained. "Blowtorch and insulation?" asked Wabsworth. The Wabbit shook his head gravely. "Just a spark," commented Lapinette. They all nodded. "Oh look! Here's Skratch," said Wabsworth, "He'll tell us what kind of adventure you just had." Skratch's call was long, as he hove into sight. "That was a pleasant adventure," he meaowed. "Nothing more than that Skratch?" Wabsworth smiled and pointed at Lapinette. Then he put both paws to his eyes and then pointed at Skratch. "Hmmm. It was mythological and barely covered by signification," said Skratch. Lapinette smiled. "It was a zone beyond!" "Elusive and ineffable," commented the Wabbit. Lapinette laughed. "You were certainly elusive and ineffable inside that mausoleum." The Wabbit's ears twitched. "No real danger there." Lapinette nearly fell of her chair laughing. Wabsworth laughed too. "The ghost eagle as an autonomous entity is quite a semiotic threat." Skratch grinned. "Where's that eagle now? He seemed clued in on movie history." The Wabbit smirked. "Probably down by the cemetery gate hiring himself out." Lapinette was helpless with mirth. "Then he vanishes after taking the money." The Wabbit suddenly tapped the table. "Talking of vanishing, where's our drinks?" "They're mythological," giggled Lapinette.

Friday, October 01, 2021

6. Lapinette and the Spectre of the Eagle

Lapinette pulled the Wabbit out and dropped him over the edge. But just as she did, the eagle took off from his statue. Fully formed he took flight from Lapinette's bullets. The Wabbit struggled to find a grip on the mausoleum, and the eagle didn't make it any easier. A giant wing almost swept him down as he batted at it with an ineffectual paw. "You can't shoot me," cried the eagle. "I'm a ghost!" All the same, a bullet clipped a wing and feathers flew as feathers do. "Take that," shouted Lapinette. "Take that and bother us no more." The eagle swooped round. "I only wanted a friend to talk to." Lapinette stood her ground. "You better choose your friends carefully and not imprison them. Be a nice friendly eagle from now on." She waved her automatic. The eagle settled on the ground and the Wabbit dropped down and strode up to him. "You were a good tour guide; you could make a euro or two." The eagle brightened. "Maybe I could." But then his face fell. "What would I do that sets me apart." Lapinette jumped down from the mausoleum. "Eagle feathers are in big demand." The eagle looked mournful. "They're illegal to possess." The Wabbit had a think. "They're ghost eagle feathers; they wouldn't last long." The eagle soared into the sky. "I'm an official tour guide then. I'll hang out by the cemetery gates." The Wabbit looked at Lapinette. Lapinette looked back and shook her head. "We have to sort everything out. It's exhausting." The Wabbit dusted off his fur. "Rewarding though." "What's our reward?" replied Lapinette. "I could use a drink," said the Wabbit. "There's an Eagle Pub," said Lapinette. The Wabbit looked at her. "It's in Pozzo Strada," she said. The Wabbit laughed. "They have everything there."
[The Eagle House Irish Pub is in Via Riete 4 (Corso Franca, Torino)]

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

5. Lapinette and the Locked Mausoleum.

Lapinette wondered what had happened to the Wabbit. She knew his meanders could take a while. All the same, it was unusual. She meandered through the cemetery with a little more purpose. And that was when she saw it. A can of WD40 had rolled to the side of a mausoleum - and its distinctive red straw was pointing to it. She picked it up with one paw and plucked her automatic from her frock with the other. "It's a clue," she murmured. Could the Wabbit be trapped inside the mausoleum? With a great deal of care, she looked round the side and placed her ear against the wall. With that ear she could hear the dead speak. She heard the muffled sound of pacing and beating and hammering. "It sounds like the Wabbit all right." She listened a little more closely. There was a lot of swearing and the sound of things being thrown against the wall. She knocked forcefully. "Is that you Wabbit? You're always getting locked into places." There was a spluttering and she thought she heard him say "Watch out for the eagle." Lapinette thought that was odd. "Perhaps you found old coins. Is there a key?" The sweary reply indicated a key was not to be found. "Stand back then, I'm coming in," she said. She hitched up her frock and started to climb the brickwork. There were plenty of toe holds and she got to the top easily. In the roof was small skylight and she prised it back to find herself looking at the Wabbit. "What took you so long?" he said. Lapinette offered a paw. "I took the scenic route. Did you know Isa Bluette is here?" "How's she keeping?" asked the Wabbit.

[Isa Bluette was an Italian showgirl of the twenties and thirties.]

Monday, September 27, 2021

4. The Wabbit and the Unexpected Turn

The Wabbit had just finished a chat when the eagle picked him up. Before he knew what was happening, he was headed back to where he started. "I think you're an awfully good companion," said the eagle," I think I'll keep you." He landed by the mausoleum and dragged the Wabbit to the door. The Wabbit knew he couldn't overpower a giant eagle so he slipped his paw into his fur and threw the first thing he could locate onto the ground. It was a can of WD40. Anyone who knew the Wabbit, would know he'd been there. "We're going to have such good conversations," shouted the eagle, "you can bet we are." The Wabbit flailed but he couldn't escape the grip of the talons. "I'm really rather boring," he protested. The eagle swept him through the door. "Not at all, you're awfully good fun," he yelled. "You can accompany me on my mausoleum tour. You'll be a graveyard smash." He spread his wings and pushed the Wabbit inside. "The Wabbit continued to protest. "I'm such a terrible windbag. On and on I go. Better release me if you know what's good for you." The door clanged shut. "See you later for a nice chat," said the eagle. The Wabbit heard the fluttering of wings as the eagle resumed his perch. He shrugged and looked round. It was fairly dark, but he could make out some plaques, flowers and the odd photo. "There might be visitors," he thought, "It might even be today." He tried to look out the window, but it was frosted glass and not very big. So he couldn't see much. "I suppose I could smash my way out," he thought and then smiled. "Wah hoo. Graveyard smash!"

Friday, September 24, 2021

3. The Wabbit and the Old Engineer

The Wabbit found himself lifted and transported to another grave. He was deposited without ceremony beside a lifelike figure. "This looks like the person himself," said the Wabbit. The eagle spread his wings wide. "Now you can tell me what he did in life." The Wabbit screwed up his eyes. "A kind of scientist. An engineer probably." The eagle made high pitched whistling noises. "Very good Wabbit, I didn't know you were so knowledgeable." The Wabbit grinned. "I read the inscription. And he has intelligent eyes." The eagle laughed. "You make him sound like a dog." The Wabbit patted him on the shoulder. "I'm rather more than a dog, even though I'm dead," said the statue. "My name is Francesco Casabella. How are my bursaries doing?" The eagle intervened. "They go to students in reduced economic circumstances as was your wish." Francesco's statue nodded. "I never hear a thing; you know how it is." The Wabbit thought it best to change the subject. "This seems like a pleasant spot." Francesco spoke again. "Yes. My tomb was donated by the Society of Engineers. I was poor and gave night classes in Bra. Then I got my degree. I built many fine buildings and factories thereafter." The Wabbit gestured to the figures left on his tomb and gave his shoulder another pat. "You have some young admirers I see." The statue seemed to come alive. "I always liked the young people." The eagle made more whistling noises. "We'd best be going. He gets maudlin." The Wabbit smiled and backed away. Everything went back to normal. "This is quite a cemetery," said the Wabbit. "Tell me about it," said the eagle.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

2. The Wabbit hears of Stefano Pittaluga

The bird transformed into a magnificent eagle and transported the Wabbit around the cemetery. Then he swooped down and deposited the Wabbit by a graveside. The Wabbit looked at the recumbent statue on the plinth. "This is the grave of Stefano Pittaluga. A cinema impresario who acquired studios in Turin." The Wabbit walked around the plinth. The eagle swooped and dropped down to sit by the statue. "You probably won't know him. He was ahead of his time in introducing sound cinemas." The Wabbit agreed. "You're absolutely right, I never heard of him." The eagle lifted off and swooped around a bit. Then returned to sit by the statue. "He moved to Rome and released foreign films. People loved it." "What happened to him?" The eagle laughed. "He died in 1931, otherwise we wouldn't be here." The Wabbit pointed. "It says there 1932." "Don't believe everything you read," said the eagle. The Wabbit knelt by the plinth. "I can see someone has been here recently." The eagle liked a joke. "Flowers. He's very popular with the old age pensioners." The Wabbit smiled. But he wanted to know who the woman statue was. "I think she was a lady friend," said the eagle. "Oh really," said the Wabbit, "that's show business I guess." The eagle became serious. "Yes, on hearing of his death she came here and prostrated herself by the grave. She wouldn't go away and died of starvation." The Wabbit looked astonished and his eyes widened. The eagle winked. "Not at all. I made that up." The eagle tried for a grin, but only managed to look sinister. The Wabbit considered everything he's heard. "I know a cat who would like to hear of this." "Is his name Felix?" asked the eagle. "No. Skratch," replied the Wabbit. "Silly name," said the eagle.

Monday, September 20, 2021

1. The Wabbit gets the Bird

The Wabbit was at a loose end, so he strolled through the Monumental Cemetery in Torino. It was always a pleasure. He recalled his primary school teacher saying to him. "Why don't you have a walk through a cemetery, Wabbit. Cheer yourself up." So he always did. He couldn't remember her name, but he remembered the advice - and then a giant grin would appear on his face. The cemetery was like a city on its own. The graves were big enough to house whole families and he fancied he saw one with a TV satellite dish. He laughed, which was entirely inappropriate for a cemetery - and he looked around to see if he'd offended anyone. That was when the bird called to him. "Caw! Wabbit!" There was a big bird on top of a mausoleum. "Impossible," he thought. He proceeded on his way, but it called again. "Yes you, Wabbit!" The Wabbit didn't look back. He'd had quite enough with things calling to him because there always seemed to be trouble. "Wanna tour, Wabbit?" The bird was insistent. "The Wabbit shrugged. "How much?" There was a fluttering of wings. "City of Torino pays. It's covered by your Museum Card." The Wabbit gave up. "I suppose so. No funny business now." The bird tried to disengage from the top of the mausoleum. Bits of brickwork fell to the ground. Finally it dragged his claws from the top of the building and swooped down in an awkward fashion. It looked around to make sure no-one had seen. "OK, what do you wanna see?" The Wabbit stuck both paws in his fur. "You're the guide. Entertain me." The bird settled on the Wabbit's shoulders and, with a sudden movement, picked him up. "My treat," it chortled - and off they flew...

Saturday, September 18, 2021

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

They gathered as usual to discuss the Adventure, but Lapinette took the show by jumping on a pole. She twisted her legs around it and let out a cry. The Wabbit was nonplussed. This was unusual for Lapinette. "Did you start the drinks early?" he asked. "No," replied Lapinette, "I just felt exuberant." Skratch approached from the rear and lifted her higher up. "What was that for a sort of Adventure you just had?" he meaowed. The Wabbit decided to start. "The inanimate object drove the narrative. It was a constant moving element throughout." Skratch laughed. "That's a little tame for you, Wabbit," he purred. "I disagree," said Wabsworth. "I felt it was truly avant-garde. The lamp was tired of acting as a source of illumination for others." Lapinette chirruped from her pole. "It was a challenge to our fixed ways of looking, staring and objectification. A reverse scopophilia." She swung round and back again, narrowly avoiding the waiter. "I suppose you're right," said Skratch. Everyone looked at him. "Lights gesticulate in a shimmery sort of way. They sway and sparkle and we take little notice. Compared to many people I see, they are alive." Skratch gesticulated in a manner designed to imitate the lamp. "Dazzling," said Wabsworth. He was quite taken by this turn of conversation. "The lamp was one of your best inanimate characters, Wabbit." Lapinette went for a total swirl. "He was very sweet, and I hope to see him again." The table lit up with a single flash from the direction of the moon. "I think he just saw you," said the Wabbit.

Monday, September 13, 2021

6. The Wabbit stops off at the Moon

At the Lamp's insistence Quantum dropped him off on the moon. He said he'd been staring up at it for so long, it would be nice to stare down from it. The Wabbit and Lapinette bounced around and tried to get him the best position. "Why don't act as lookout? said the Wabbit. The Lamp beamed. "Nothing gets past me!" Lapinette made a final adjustment. "You don't need a chain to hang from up here." The Wabbit nodded his head. "Or a lamp standard." They all bounced together. "You'll be able to see Torino," said the Wabbit. "And they will see me!" replied the Lamp. His headlamps became very bright indeed and he flashed them a few times. "Well need to alert the ESA I suppose," said Lapinette. "They won't believe it," said the Wabbit. "Anyway, there's so much ... stuff flying around, I don't think they'll notice." The Lamp flounced. "I thought you were going to say space junk." The Wabbit hung his head because that's exactly what he was going to say. Lapinette had a thought. "You won't feel lonely up here, all on your own." The Lamp shook vigorously. "I have the stars for company." Lapinette thought that was very sweet. "We can have a shining competition," yelled the Lamp. "Mmm. We should get on our way," said Lapinette and she signalled to Quantum. "I'm a train not a taxi," grumbled Quantum. He circled round and came in for a landing. "Come up and see me sometime," said the Lamp. He waved goodbye as he watched Quantum start his journey to Earth with the Wabbit and Lapinette on board. "I'm never going back to that awful place," he said to himself, "No tourists up here. But I think if I look very hard I can see them." He swung his headlamps round until Torino briefly lit up. The lights on the Mole Tower winked back at him. "Missing you already!" he shouted. 

[Background: NASA, Goddard, Arizona State University]