Monday, April 12, 2021

The Wabbit and his Adventure Caffè

The team assembled at the designated Caffè just off Via Roma. Wabsworth was in fine fettle and had brought a bottle of prosecco. Lapinette looked with amusement. "It's frozen, Wabsworth," she giggled. "Ah yes," said Wabsworth, "I tried my new wine chilling routine, and it went a bit far." The Wabbit laughed and laughed. "We can try blowing on it, speed up the defrost." Wabsworth merely chortled. "We can wait - or order a new one." He held up a paw. "While you're doing that," said Skratch the Cat, "I'll try and explain what kind of adventure that was." His tail thrashed against the back of a chair. "Computeracy as I call it, deals with stories concerning computers, where computers really stand in for toys." The Wabbit leaned forward. "Like puppets?" Lapinette leaned forward too. "Perhaps more like a motif of folkloric transformation?" Skratch purred gently. "That's about it. I haven't forgotten the codes and algorithms though. They stand in for the deception involved in children's games - like hide and seek." Wabsworth took the opportunity to speak. "That's a cultural embeddedness, refracted through our daily interactions with computers and passwords." The Wabbit nodded in agreement. "No longer a commodified object, but a jolly thing with a personality." "Or a devil," said Lapinette. "Or a child!" said Wabsworth. Being an android he had something of a handle on that. "How's that wine going Wabsworth?" asked Lapinette. "It appears to be lightly chilled now," said Wabsworth. "Let's order four glasses!" grinned the "Wabbit.

Friday, April 09, 2021

6. The Wabbit and the Meaning of Life

The Wabbit's viewing theatre was formerly in Via Nizza but when it went up for sale, he bought it and moved it, brick by brick. The Department paid. It had become a talking point and as such, could hardly be refused. The Wabbit made one change. It now boasted a state-of-the-art digital cinema projector. Wabsworth scanned the old copy of Byte magazine and using the flash drive, projected the selected page. When they enlarged the page, there it was. Hidden amongst the pixels was a single word. The Wabbit shook his head like a donkey. "'Sign' is hardly a very good password." Lapinette laughed. "It doesn't have to be. It's repeated several times on each page in different formats." Wabsworth cleared his throat. "Any attempt to get closer will bring catastrophic catastrophe." The flash drive laughed. "I told you so." The Wabbit looked stern. "You said it would explain the meaning of life." "That is the meaning of life," replied the drive, "it's as close as you get. Il n'y a pas de hors-texte, so the meaning of life can only be what's left." Lapinette grinned. "Skratch the Cat should be here." "I'll give him his own preview," scowled the Wabbit. Lapinette asked flash drive to keep the old copy of Byte magazine safe - in case anyone unsuitable found it. "What should we call you, we can't keep calling you flash drive." The USB detached from the digital cinema unit. "Jack," he said. "Why Jack?" asked the Wabbit - although he had a clue what he was going to say. "Jumping Jack," came the reply. "He's a gas gas gas." added Wabsworth.

[ Il n'y a pas de hors-texte. From Derrida. "There is nothing outside the text."    Pixel image by by Gerd Altmann at Pixabay]

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

5. The Wabbit and the Dismal Old Office

The scene changed dramatically. They were in a very old office with very old things. Everything was seedy, tarnished and neglected. Lapinette looked around with distaste. "I hardly believe Byte magazine lived in such seedy surroundings." The Wabbit jumped on an old drawer and started to rifle through a cabinet. "I don't care. Where is it? Where is it? Where is it?" He jumped up and down so hard, the filing cabinet threatened to topple. There wasn't much there at all. Just an empty bottle and an old aspirin. Wabsworth jumped on the other cabinet and made a methodical survey. He finished all the drawers and waved, "Not in here." The flash drive merely sat and waited. He could remember he put it somewhere but not exactly. It was in a magazine in the dingy room, that he knew. Lapinette let out a loud shout. "Must be this one." The cover depicted burglars and she thought that was appropriate to the day. "I remember now!" said the drive, "that's the one!" The Wabbit was getting tetchy. "I want to know now. I want to know the meaning of everything." Wabsworth was philosophical. "If we knew that, we'd know the location of the password." Lapinette leafed through the ancient copy of Byte magazine and then back again. "There's talk of algorithms here." Wabsworth looked at the flash drive and said, "There's debate about who invented you - and when." The flash drive gave a hollow laugh. "I'm here aren't I?" They all turned as Lapinette yelled. "Got it!" "The answer to the meaning of life?" asked the Wabbit. "No," said Lapinette, "the encrypted password. I'll tell you all about the meaning of life - later."

[Original background picture by Tama 66 at Pixabay]

Monday, April 05, 2021

4. The Wabbit and the Encryption Set-up

They followed the flash drive until the basement. That was where it all happened. A keyboard appeared beneath their feet and a metal honeycomb slammed down, cutting it in half. A USB slot with a blue glow shone from the centre as the flash drive moved to dock. They lost their footing as they were pulled close to the slot in the honeycomb. "What's happening, Wabsworth?" The Wabbit was closest and didn't like it. Lapinette followed him, pulled by an enormous force that twisted her arms and legs. Wabsworth let himself go - but he was listening as a stream of characters passed in front of him. He memorised everything. "I think it's best to let go Commander." "We've hardly any choice," said the Wabbit. The Wabbit noticed the drive had nearly docked and he wasn't surprised when it was the wrong way up. It reversed and this time docking was successful.  He smiled. "Maybe that's the password to the meaning of life?" speculated Lapinette. Her frock flattened against the honeycombs. "I wouldn't be surprised," muttered the Wabbit. They were flat against the hexagon, just like on the wall of death. "Honeycomb over here!" shouted Lapinette to the Wabbit as she blew him a kiss. But the Wabbit was in no mood for jokes. He shouted to the flash drive. But the drive had more important business and it made a faint sound as it completed data transfer. "Do you remember Byte magazine," yelled Wabsworth. The Wabbit signified that he did. "Didn't that come with a bottle of vodka?" Wabsworth grinned. "That's where the password is now." 

[Honeycomb by Pete Limford at Pixabay]

Friday, April 02, 2021

3. The Wabbit and the Flash Drive

The leap seemed to span centuries. The key changed materials and with it, its colour.  Now it hung in the air above them. They looked up and couldn't help raising their arms as if in supplication. The key spoke solemnly. "I am the key to end all keys. No key shall go before me." The Wabbit recovered enough to see that it was a computer drive and he said so. "You're a flash drive!" The floating flash drive continued. "I contain the password to the meaning of life." Lapinette swiftly grasped all this. "So what is your password?" she said. "The password is 'password'," said the drive. It laughed long and hard. Wabsworth knew there was rather more to it than that. "And that gets you ... where?" The flash drive performed a swirling revolution and his USB connection sparkled in the light. "That gets you to a series of honey-encrypted algorithmic blocks." Wabsworth knew only too well where that led. "What if you get it wrong?" The Wabbit interrupted. "It blows you to kingdom come?" The flash drive sneered a bit. "Nothing so crude." Lapinette stepped forward. "I know. You have to get it wrong to get it right?" "Maybe, maybe not," said the flash drive, "but if you find me a computer I can plug into, you might find out." Lapinette was intrigued. "Lead the way." The flash drive turned and made it way downstairs. The Wabbit nudged Lapinette. "Do you have a lot of time?" Lapinette looked over her shoulder. "It takes three years to get it in the right way up?"

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

2. The Wabbit and the Key with No Lock

Wabsworth and the Wabbit followed the key - or rather the key tugged them along. When it turned right into a building and floated upstairs, they were obliged to follow. Lapinette was on the stairway and the key seemed to know because it nodded a kind of greeting. "I've seen that key before," shouted Lapinette. "Hello Lapinette," said the Wabbit. He couldn't stop because the key was pulling hard, and he was stuck. Wabsworth had space to look around. "These stairs go up and down, but which way is up and which down - and which way are we going?" Lapinette peered down. "This is a museum and I'm always confused by these stairs." The Wabbit was tired and his limbs ached. "This never ends well," he puffed. The key came to a halt and hung in mid-air. And then it spoke. "I am the key and I open doors." Lapinette put her paws on her hips. "I expected nothing less." They all stood there for a while, not knowing what to do. The key spoke again. "I require a lock." Wabsworth prodded the Wabbit in the back. "It requested a lock." The Wabbit flounced. "I'm a rabbit, not a locksmith!" The key span around. "With a lock and a key, you're always safe and secure." Lapinette sighed. "Of course!" She looked at the Wabbit. "Wabbit, you have a habit of collecting strange creatures." She gazed at the key and the key became adamant and spoke tersely. "Without a lock, there is no place for a key. Each and every key needs a lock and vice versa."  Wabsworth grinned impishly. "Then what is your particular function, key?" The key faced him. "I am a warded lock key, but I can change into other types of key." The key began to shine, then glow - and then it changed into something quite different ...

Monday, March 29, 2021

1. The Wabbit and the Unexpected Key

The Wabbit was hunting for a particular fabric with Wabsworth his android double. Wabsworth was due at a swish do and he wanted something different to wear. When it came to fabrics, Wabsworth was more adept at rummaging than the Wabbit. The preference of the Wabbit was for ancient vinyl and discarded nuclear motor units. The Wabbit watched Wabsworth turn over items when he noticed something familiar. "It's that key again, Wabsworth." Wabsworth looked across. "My goodness so it is. How did it get here?" The Wabbit was nonplussed. "The last time I saw it was in a drawer full of similar yet miscellaneous objects." Wabsworth laughed. As an android everything he possessed was neatly ordered. "You need lists to make sure keys are accounted for." The Wabbit's obsession with lists was well known. He'd created more and more lists until he needed separate lists to keep track. In consequence, nothing could easily be found. "It's glowing," said the Wabbit. He poked it with a paw. Wabsworth continued to sort through items. "Probably a bit of luminous material rubbed off on it. Perhaps from an old alarm clock?" The Wabbit studied it closely but kept a bit of distance. "Radium, tritium ..? Maybe it's dangerous?" Wabsworth laughed. "You're hardly going to eat it, Wabbit." The Wabbit contemplated eating the key and smiled. "I was trying to find the right keyhole for it." Just at that moment the key span round and lifted into the air. The Wabbit shrugged. "Better follow it!" Wabsworth sighed and gave up sorting. "Low key or a high key adventure?" "Off key," shrugged the Wabbit.

Friday, March 26, 2021

The Wabbit's Adventure Caffè

The team gathered at the Caffè of their choice but something was different. They couldn't sit beside one another. Lapinette arrived and the Wabbit got up to offer her a seat. Skratch the Cat didn't know whether he was coming or going. "It's because of this COVID crisis," explained the Wabbit, "I told them we were rabbits but they seemed adamant." Lapinette was calm as usual. "We just have to fit in," she said. "Well, I'll stay over here and shout," said Skratch. Wabsworth was fortunate in having arrived first, but he was gracious. "Sit here Skratch. I'm an android and I don't mind." "Oh, never a bother," said Skratch, "Maybe I could have that pole?" Lapinette giggled. "Dance or climb?" she asked. Skratch sat down at the next table although he felt awkward. "Perhaps I could tell you what sort of Adventure you just had?" Wabsworth quickly agreed and kept his seat. "We're looking at what I call a hauntology," said Skratch. "Derrida again!" Lapinette was quick to spot repetition. "It's extremely important, Lapinette," said Skratch. "The past living in the present is always - already." "Different forms of temporality can't be interpreted by your philosophy," said Wabsworth. "They're already both dead and alive?" added the Wabbit. "Yes, they can't be captured by the sign - or indeed, the signifier," argued Skratch. Lapinette became intrigued. "Husserl did say there are certain phenomena that cannot be perceived." The Wabbit laughed. "Husserl is a bit of a spectre when he's at home!" But it was Wabsworth who had the last word. "A spectre is haunting our table." They all paused. "The spectre of the missing drinks!" smiled Wabsworth.

[I'm indebted to Asunción López‐Varela Azcárate for Semiotic Hauntologies of Ghosts and Machines.]

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

6. The Wabbit and the Disappearing Ship.

The sea phantoms had vanished, but the ship began to disappear too. It shimmered as it broke into crystals, then faded to nothing. It was as if it had never been there. Only an empty berth remained. Moloch turned and spread his arms. "They've gone." He seemed disappointed. "We fight another day, shrugged the Wabbit. "But they said they'd be back," said Lapinette. "I'll be ready for them," said Moloch. Lapinette considered for a moment. "How do we know they're on the ship?" The Wabbit knew the answer. "It's how they travel. Any ship will do. They just take it over." Lapinette sniffed. A faint smell from the bottom of the sea lingered on. They began to walk back along the berth, but turned as the invisible ship gave a prolonged blast on its foghorn. The Wabbit nodded gravely and waited for the next. After two minutes it sounded again and the Wabbit said, "They're telling us they're making way." Lapinette shuddered. Moloch loped along. He was quiet for a monster. "What are they for?" he said. "For?" echoed the Wabbit. "What is their purpose?" said Moloch. Lapinette paced silently behind Moloch. "I think they're harbingers of doom." "So I guess we'd better keep on bewaring," said the Wabbit. "Like the man in the bookshop said," whispered Lapinette. The Wabbit gave it consideration. "Perhaps we weren't supposed to beware of the sea phantoms, more what they portend." It was all too much for Moloch. "I don't beware much, as a rule," he chortled. Lapinette poked him in the back and he jumped in the air. "Beware of alphabet grenades," she quipped. "Why?" said Moloch. "They could spell disaster," giggled Lapinette.

Monday, March 22, 2021

5. The Wabbit and the Delayed Boarding

The chase lasted until dusk. They ducked and dived until at last the team found themselves behind their adversaries. They were in the docks. The m/v Dagmar bobbed on the water as it waited for high tide. The ghouls had chosen wisely. No one would look for them on such a vessel. Moloch was spoiling for a fight and the Wabbit couldn't stop him. Before the ghouls boarded, he let out a cry and jumped at them. "You think you can scare me, ghoul? I am Moloch, you insubstantial fiend. I'll cut out your liver and eat it on toast." The head ghoul stood his ground and sneered "I have no liver, monster. Just the ill cut weeds of a thousand leagues, bitter to the taste." Lapinette drew her edged weapon. I'm going to cut out whatever he's got." The Wabbit held her back. "Leave Moloch to do his thing." Moloch's claws were sharp as a fistful of box cutters. With his first swipe he shredded the head of the ghoul, but the head merely re-assembled. His second swipe cut it in half - with much the same result, except for a rank smell of seaweed. But the ghoul was in difficulty and stepped back to join his fellow spectres. "You think you've won, Moloch? Far from it." All three gradually faded from sight until there was nothing left but smell. "Where have they gone," shrieked Moloch. The air whispered on the dockside like lingering body odour and a voice hissed." "We'll be back!" Lapinette swung her edged weapon at nothing much. "Did they board the ship?" They were uncertain but the Wabbit couldn't resist a quip. "They bought tickets to the Dead Sea."

Friday, March 19, 2021

4. The Wabbit and the Unexpected Guest

The Wabbit and Lapinette tracked the spectres to the sea. The ghouls seemed to have a destination in mind and they wanted to find out what it was. Moloch was an unexpected arrival. "Hello Commander, I was just taking a small vacation. Sea air and all that." His vast frame loomed over a rough canopy on the beach and makeshift though it was, the rough structure seemed to take his considerable weight. Lapinette spotted the ghoul at his back and tried to alert him. She waved her arms and jumped up and down. The Wabbit wasn't looking in the right direction and he gestured to the departing ghouls. "They went that way!" he insisted. Moloch was pleased to see his pals. "Are you having monster trouble?" he asked. "I can sort that out with a mighty sweep of my mighty arms." He swept his arms in both directions and the right hit the ghoul on the nose. "Whoops," said Moloch and turned. The ghoul growled and moaned and clutched his nose. "Is that him?" said Moloch, "what a poor excuse for a monster." He gave the ghoul a kick. It responded with a kick of its own. "You want trouble do you, pipsqueak?" said Moloch, "take that!" He picked it up and threw it along the beach, which had the unfortunate effect of alerting the other two. They turned and moved swiftly towards them screaming like banshee. "This wasn't in my plan," said Lapinette. "Nor mine," shrugged the Wabbit. "I think we should run," said Moloch. He vaulted the structure and grabbed them both. Then together they fled along the beach. "I think my original plan was better," puffed the Wabbit.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

3. The Wabbit and the Sea Phantoms

All the streetlights failed at the same time. What little light there was came from nearby shops and they were going out too. The Wabbit and Lapinette looked with horror as three spectres cut a dark passage along the street. Each time they passed a shop, lights dimmed and failed entirely. The Wabbit put an arm in front of Lapinette. "Don't go near them." Lapinette sniffed. "Yuk. They smell of bad sea." The Wabbit grimaced at the odour of seaweed and long dead things from the bottom of the ocean. "They're sea phantoms, I've met them before." Lapinette turned. "With Jenny. You told me." The Wabbit sniffed. "They're probably the things we have to beware of." He didn't like his sentence construction. Lapinette smiled and corrected him. "Of which we have to beware." The Wabbit let it go. "At the minute it's three ghouls to two." He chortled at his bad joke. "Well maybe we can even it up," said Lapinette, "What did you do the last time?" "Sulphur soap and a bell," said the Wabbit. "Sounds like Jenny," replied Lapinette, "Old school." The Wabbit twitched an ear. "What does new school say?" Lapinette spoke calmly. "Derrida says they are daemons from our own past." The Wabbit wasn't impressed. "Well. They are." Lapinette crept after the phantoms. "We won't fool them twice with the same trick." The phantoms wheeled and made their way onto Via Gregorio VII. Lapinette was still talking. "We have to figure what overall structure they're part of." The Wabbit struck. "Of which structure they're part?" Lapinette stood on the Wabbit's foot and he couldn't help giving a yelp before they ducked out of sight. A phantom turned and looked around. He shouted with a voice from the very bottom of the ocean. "Who goes there?" "Mice?" whispered the Wabbit.

Monday, March 15, 2021

2. The Wabbit and the Ides of March

 
Far from Torino, the Wabbit and Lapinette were enjoying a break. Round the corner from Largo di Torre Argentina they hopped along happily, when a voice spoke to them. Lapinette turned. "It must have been that nice old gentleman selling books." They stopped, but the man didn't look up. "Beware, small kinigl." The man seemed kind enough to give them a warning, but he also seemed busy with his museum. "What do we have to beware of?" asked Lapinette. "The Ides of March of course," replied the man. "That's today," observed the Wabbit. "It's Julius Caesar," said Lapinette. "What's that got to do with us?" said the Wabbit, who was puzzled. He knew Julius Caesar was stabbed not a hundred meters from where they stood - but that was some time ago. "It's Greek to me, but if I were you and I was a rabbit, I'd certainly beware." The man spoke while continuing to look at his phone. "Thanks very much, we're obliged to you," said Lapinette. She dragged the Wabbit onwards. "I'm always bewaring," said the Wabbit. "It seemed like a legitimate warning to me," insisted Lapinette, "It was nice of him to beware us." Lapinette was always polite and the Wabbit knew better than to be anything else. "I'm not expecting anything," he said. The Wabbit could be annoying and this was one of these times. Lapinette turned and addressed him forcibly. "We must look out. because the Ides of March are come." The Wabbit flounced in a Shakespearian manner and waved his paws. "But not gone!" Lapinette turned and walked on, shouting over her shoulder. "You'll be sorry!" That was when the street lights extinguished - and all became dark...

Friday, March 12, 2021

1. The Wabbit and the City of Torino

Here I am up on Monte dei Cappuccini. It's named for the order of monks, although I've never seen a monk up here, hooded or not. I just keep missing them. That's where the name comes from by the way - the hood is a cappuccio and gave its name to many things including the coffee. I'm between Adventures and I come up here for a bit of relaxation. It will almost certainly get interrupted because I expect a call any time from the Department of Wabbit Affairs. In the meantime I'm going to admire the view and tell you a bit about the place. Turin - or Torino - is a city of around 900,000 people and that's where I have my adventures. There's always plenty to do, believe me. Behind me is the Mole Antonelliana, which is the symbol of the city. Intended as a Jewish Temple, it's now a film museum. Many of my Adventures are set in and around it. That's where we met Moloch, who gave up his bad ways and became a member of our team. He's a key part of the plot of Cabiria, a silent movie made in 1914. It was made in Turin by the way and although the studios are long gone, we like to pay homage to that movie tradition. Oh, wait there's the radio crackling. It's probably another Adventure and so I must be on my way. Join me next week for another exciting story with Lovely Lapinette, Skratch, Wabsworth - and all the gang! Be seeing you then.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The Wabbit's Adventure Caffè

The Wabbit proposed a quite different venue and the team agreed. With any luck someone would bring coffee. Skratch loped down the stairs with a suspicious expression. "What's going on Wabbit? We never meet here." The Wabbit called this the Blue Sky Caffè because he need to do some blue sky thinking. That's what he told Skratch. Skratch wasn't impressed. "Didn't we use to call that Brain Storming?" Lapinette was appalled. "Think of the Brain Storm Caffè. What would it be like?" Wabsworth nodded his head. "That expression changed because it reflected badly on epileptic people." Skratch shrugged. "It never ever crossed my mind." He turned to the Wabbit. "What do you want to blue sky?" The Wabbit drew himself up and spat the problem out. "We need an entirely new publication strategy." Skratch wrinkled his nose. "We discussed that back in 2011." Wabsworth hadn't contributed so he rapped the table. "I for one wasn't part of that." Lapinette laughed. "You hadn't been constructed then." The Wabbit spread his paws wide. "There you are. We need to get everyone on board and read from the same page." Lapinette hooted with laughter. "Black words on white paper?" At this point Skratch decided to play along with the Wabbit. "Our brand is our sign," he purred, "and we have to communicate via codes, myths and archetypes." "That's the spirit Skratch," said the Wabbit. "So what should our publication convey?" asked Wabsworth. "Authenticity," said the Wabbit. Skratch drew his claws along the table and the noise made everyone cover their ears. "Like the last story?" he laughed. "Authentic lies!" smiled the Wabbit.

Monday, March 08, 2021

7. The Wabbit and the Friends of Turin

The Wabbit did his best with the venue. It was only partially in the open air, but it was spacious and accommodated the Phrenology head. The wooden bird had room to swoop and the two Garibaldini had a fence to lean on. There, they happily exchanged stories and guffawed. Everything was going to plan. Lapinette arrived. "Everyone's got something to drink but me." The Wabbit handed her a glass of Prosecco. "What's this do called?" she asked. The Wabbit laughed. "Nominally, it's the Revolutionary Friends of Torino." Lapinette pirouetted. "Introduce to me to your new pals." The Wabbit waved a paw. "These are the two Garibaldini, over there is Mr Phrenology Head and beside you, tucking into 3-in-One, is Ornithopter." Lapinette nodded politely. Everyone nodded back. The Wabbit felt obliged to explain how they arrived. "It's all the fault of the interior designers. They were planned for my Risorgimento-themed office but were overlooked in the back of the furniture truck." Lapinette made a clicking sound with her teeth. "Now you're obliged to look after them." The Phrenology head called across to Lapinette. "May I read your bumps, your ladyship." Lapinette wore a sickly expression. "My bumps are already in good order," she said. The Garibaldini were suitably deferential and bowed from the waist. "A toast to your loveliness!" The Ornithopter finished slurping 3-in-One oil. "Perhaps I could interest you in a ride?" "Later," nodded Lapinette. She sipped her Prosecco and looked daggers at the Wabbit, who ventured, "Not very sensible?" Lapinette put her paws on her hips. "I predict a riot."

Friday, March 05, 2021

6. The Wabbit and the Phrenology Head

The Wabbit made his way out of the archives department of the Risorgimento Museum where he'd being carrying out research before his reception. But he'd got no further than the courtyard when a shadow fell across his path and a voice spoke to him. "May I attend your reception, Wabbit?" The Wabbit was getting used to this. "You nearly knocked me over, Mr Head." The head swayed slightly. I'm deeply sorry to startle you, Wabbit." The Wabbit didn't startle easily but he let that one go. He took a good look at the head and recognised it from the same time period as the Risorgimento. So he immediately thought of the accursed interior designers. "Did you by any chance come in a van with design people?" The head stabilised. "I found them poor company," he complained. The Wabbit sighed. "Everyone does." The head was dismayed. "I find people in this time rather shallow." "You're not alone," shrugged the Wabbit, "but how did you find out about my reception?" The head shook back and forth as if in mirth. "I was in the same van as a wooden mechanical bird, whom I did find engaging." The Wabbit gave his reception some thought. "I'm not sure I have space to get you in. Perhaps I'll hold it in the open air." The head considered it. "That would be nice. As a phrenologist, I will observe and know everyone - and their superior functions." The Wabbit smiled. "Maybe eventually." The head actually laughed. "I will add bumps to their heads." Now the Wabbit doubled up with mirth. "Can I do it?"

Thursday, March 04, 2021

5. The Wabbit and the Ornithopter

Leaving the Garibaldini to freshen up, the Wabbit walked across the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele bridge. It wasn't unusual to see birds of prey swooping in the currents. So he paid no particular attention when he saw some kind of creature coming his way. But as it came closer he could see it resembled a golden eagle. Closer and closer it came, until the Wabbit could make out its mechanical structure. His smile turned to a frown. "It's an ornithopter!" thought the Wabbit. The mechanical bird flapped its wings a little. It flew up in the air and turned around and came back until its beak was nearly level with the Wabbit. "Hello!" it squawked. Its orange beak quivered with delight. "Pleased to meet you!" The Wabbit was getting the hang of this. "Hello," he said, "Did you come with the interior designers?" The bird flew up and down along the river, then returned. "I can't find them," it said. "I was in a van and they opened the door and I flew out. Then I lost them." The Wabbit grinned. "I hardly think that matters. They seem to have lost the run of things themselves." The bird hovered. "I like this river." "Been far?" asked the Wabbit. "I went as far as a water-bound city and back," replied the bird." The Wabbit was astonished. "Venice. That far?" The bird took off at speed and returned just as quickly. "It's not that far," said the bird. "I saw lots of strange things." The Wabbit thought for a minute. "Perhaps you'd like to come to our reception?" The bird considered. He moved his head and it creaked slightly. "Any 3-in-One oil?" "All you can drink," said the Wabbit. "Original?" said the bird. The Wabbit laughed. "Totally the right stuff."

Monday, March 01, 2021

4. The Wabbit and the New Garibaldini

The Wabbit lost sight of the old soldiers for a while but he caught up with them on a metro platform. They were patrolling up and down with all the officiousness they could muster. The Wabbit noticed something. He knew they were supposed to be Garibaldini, but everything was wrong. Their jackets were way too flowery and their hats were not quite right. It was when he saw the rifles, he knew something was badly amiss. They were his own special issue Snazer guns and they were strictly restricted. He tapped a soldier on the back. "Who goes there?" enquired the soldier. "Commander Wabbit," replied the Wabbit. They snapped to attention and saluted. "I fear there's been an error," said the Wabbit, "Garibaldi is long victorious." "Good news," said one soldier. "Hurrah," said the other. "We have assumed this detail," said the first soldier. "We are patrolling the great iron railroad. Are you with Cavour?" The Wabbit shook his head, but he'd had an idea. "Did you perhaps come with the interior designers?" "We came in a van," said the soldier, "with a lot of strange stuff. Then we were left alone in an unfamiliar building." The Wabbit realised the Risorgimento remodelling of his offices had resulted in unintended consequences. "I'm having a little reception for the Revolutionary Friends of Torino," said the Wabbit, "so perhaps you'll join us for refreshments." "Will there be bagna càuda?" asked a soldier. "With cardooms?" said the other. The Wabbit was delighted. "Your authenticity is showing," he said.

[Bagna càuda is a hot dish from Piedmont]

Friday, February 26, 2021

3. The Wabbit and the Rattle of Gunfire.

The Wabbit tried to forget about his new office and sauntered down the porticos thinking of other things.  He looked at a nearby eating establishment and wrinkled his nose. If it described itself as a restaurant it had no business selling pizzas. That was his view and he was going to stick to it.  He was so busy thinking that he didn't take any notice of the first crack. He thought it was a car backfiring. When the second came he also paid scant attention. Then when it became a rattle accompanied by flying plaster he ducked down and took evasive action. Down on the ground, he tried to see where it came from. There was another crackle. It looked like it came from the other side of the street. A barrel poked out from a window and occassionally issued flame. The Wabbit bolted for the other side but the bullets followed him. They were a very heavy guage and smacked into buses, trams and cars. Traffic came to a standstill. The Wabbit rolled under a bus shelter. He was on the same side of the road as the weapon now, and he'd narrowed the angle. It gave him time to think. Who could this interloper be? Maybe there was more than one. He saw two figures dart out from a building carrying a massive weapon. But the weapon was old. Very old. And so were the figures. "Why me?" thought the Wabbit, "why does it always fall to me to deal with bizarre actions?" The Wabbit got to his feet and dusted himself down. Bits of plaster flicked everywhere. He watched the two figures disappear into the metro. "Going to catch a train are you?" mused the Wabbit. He flicked a last piece of plaster from his fur. "I'll catch up with you! And you're getting the dry cleaning bills."

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

2. The Wabbit and the Design Invasion

 
The Wabbit searched for his old desk in vain. But it had been replaced. Everything was furnished in a retro style from the time of the Risorgimento. All his disparate bundles of papers had gone. Old invoices waiting for payment had disappeared. In their place, an old revolver and a book about the life and times of Garibaldi lay on a clean desk. The Wabbit sat down and gazed in amazement. He looked at Lapinette. "What the Binky is going on?" Lapinette grinned. "The Department brought interior designers in. Everyone needs a clean start. That's what they said." The Wabbit lifted the revolver and sniffed it. "This is ancient," he said. Lapinette sprang in the air then pirouetted around. "You're not supposed to use it, Wabbit. It's supposed to give you ideas." The Wabbit flourished the gun and thought merciless thoughts about interior designers. "It's given me ideas all right." He put the gun down and leafed through the book. "Inspirational," he grinned, "I could always hit somebody with it." Lapinette continued to dance around. "I think it's a great idea." The Wabbit toyed with the pistol and spoke with great enthusiasm. "First we'll get Garibaldi out of prison." Lapinette laughed. "He was released in 1831."  The Wabbit laughed too. "Better late than never." Lapinette was still for just an instant. She placed her paws on her hips. "Now pay attention, Wabbit. This is supposed to give you ideas for combating the wicked Agents of Rabit." The Wabbit stood up waving the old revolver. "Send out the 400 rabbits. Arrest the usual suspects!" Lapinette sighed. "Will you be serious for just a minute?" The Wabbit frowned. "I was being serious."

Monday, February 22, 2021

1. The Wabbit and a Difficult Admittance

The Wabbit stomped up the stairs of the Department of Wabbit Affairs. He was in a bad mood for several reasons. He'd been called in for new orders just when he was taking a well-earned break. But when he'd turned up, he found that new security protocols had been put in place. The doorman had asked him for his pass. The Wabbit never carried it. He'd known the doorman for more than ten years and pointed this out to the doorman. But the doorman insisted it was more than his job was worth to let him in. The Wabbit had to return to the house and go through drawer after drawer. Finally he'd found it but the doorman pointed out that it was out of date. In order to get it re-validated he had to enter the building but the doorman continued to refuse him admittance. Finally, he'd bribed the doorman to look the other way. This cost him a dinner for two at Piano 35, the slickest restaurant in town. So he growled on his way and made a detour to the credentials department, where a very large rabbit put him through an interrogation the like of which he'd never endured. "This better be an exciting mission," he said to himself. He thrust his new pass deep into his fur and scowled. "The Ministry for Revenge will hear of this." His blood boiled. But then he heard the voice of Lovely Lapinette calling after him. He looked back as she shouted, "I've got your new pass, it came in the post." The Wabbit now had two new passes, but said nothing. He slid the duplicate further into his fur and smiled. "Thank you so much, Lapinette." Lapinette looked at him. "How did you get in?" "Charm," said the Wabbit.  

Friday, February 19, 2021

The Wabbit at the Adventure Caffè

Skratch the Cat was late as usual but not by much. Lapinette was late too. The Wabbit and Wabsworth were engrossed in conversation and were merrily rapping paws on the table. "Hello Skratch," said Lapinette, "We're just in time to tell everyone what an exciting adventure the Wabbit and I just had." Wabsworth was already in full flow. "I've been hearing all about it." Skratch leaned over the table. "I thought it disappeared, like all sci-fi, into the accretion of postmodern theoretical debris." The Wabbit laughed. "I don't know how you can justify that one, Skratch." I can't," meaowed Skratch, "but I rather like saying it." Wabsworth coughed. "Let's lay bare the cultural instrumentalities at work." Lapinette groaned. "But that fails to adequately deal with generic issues." The Wabbit wanted to have his say. "The best we could do was to introduce a rogue truck as the monster. This struck at the heart of generic convention." Lapinette wasn't impressed. "Where does that stand in the paradoxical circle of cause and effect?" Skratch was amused. "Where is the truck anyway?" "Round in the corner in the underground car park," said Lapinette. "That's a postmodern aesthetic dilemma in itself," replied the Wabbit, "It calls into question the existing patterns of consumption and usage." Lapinette allowed a small guffaw. "That's what the truck said anyway." Skratch was getting thirsty. "What about or own patterns of usage and consumption?" The Wabbit raised himself up and shouted to the bar. "Four proseccos please!" "And a packet of peanuts!" added Lapinette.
 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

7. The Wabbit and the Extra Vehicle

Thinking better of buying the van, the Wabbit and Lapinette made their way back to join Quantum the Time Travelling Train. But the van followed them. Through the auction room and up the rickety-rackety stairs, it followed relentlessly. The Spieler stood in their way but the van just ran him over. They could hear the crunching of his bones. The Wabbit shrugged and ran on. Finally they arrived at the space tether and Quantum guided them in. Then they looked back. The truck had followed out into space. The Wabbit offered up his paws. "I put the money back, I swear I didn't buy him." Lapinette continued to insist it was his fault, but there was nothing the Wabbit or anyone could do. He couldn't hear its engine but he spotted exhaust fumes. "We'll have that Greta Thunberg on our backs for this." Lapinette said something that the Wabbit couldn't quite hear, but he knew it was very rude indeed. The Wabbit yelled to Quantum and crashed into lattice drive. There was an explosion and they left at speed. But the truck was still there. Quantum spoke to the Wabbit over the intercom. "I'm getting a communication from the blessed truck you brought with you." He sighed deeply and asked what it was. "He wants to know how he gets into second gear," said Quantum. The Wabbit gritted all of his 28 teeth. "Tell him to select reverse and go home." There was a pause. "He says it's broken." The Wabbit let fly with several expletives and ended with: "We don't have parking space." They heard a babble of signals, then Quantum spoke. "He says we're in space now and there's plenty of space."

Monday, February 15, 2021

6. The Wabbit and the Shabby Market

The scene gave way to a very shabby market indeed. Lapinette paused to scrabble but the Wabbit strode forward with purposeful expression. "Serviceable van here," he said, "it's small but properly marked." Lapinette looked round. "It's probably for moving things around, Wabbit." The Wabbit was skeptical. "On an asteroid?" The Wabbit looked around the rest of the market. "A load of old tat," he said. Lapinette laughed. "I thought you liked that." The Wabbit shook his head. "To a limit," He wasn't so happy, but he searched and searched anyway, coming up with next to nothing. "Seems to still be Christmas here," he said. "They might have wanted to liven it up," replied Lapinette. "It needs it," scoffed the Wabbit. He looked at the van again. "How much do you think they want for it?" Lapinette was looking at an old chair. "About a fiver," she said. The Wabbit nodded. He took five QUID out of his fur and laid it on a nearby shelf. Then he jumped inside the van. "The keys are still in it." He started the van and everything shook. Lapinette waved the fumes aside. "You can't take the van," she said. "Why not?" said the Wabbit. He put his foot on the throttle and it started to move. "I forbid you to take the van," said Lapinette. The Wabbit gave up and jumped out. But the van didn't stop. It rolled past Lapinette and out of the doors, into space. "I told you," said Lapinette. The Wabbit watched it go. "It's going about its appointed rounds," he observed, "Maybe it's 2020 GT." "QG," said Lapinette.

[ "A car-size asteroid flew within 1,830 miles of Earth over the weekend, the closest pass ever. We didn't see it coming."]

Friday, February 12, 2021

5. The Wabbit and the Bony Auctioneer

The Wabbit and Lapinette found themselves in an auction room with windows looking out into space. At the front was a skeleton. The Wabbit knew him. His name was Spieler and he travelled across galaxies in order to lie, cheat and swindle. The Wabbit hid round a corner and took out his automatic. Lapinette pranced into the theatre and danced to his stream of sales talk. "Super Crazy Prices, no crazier then here," shouted the Spieler. Lapinette yelled "Yay," and danced some more. "What can I sell the cute little lady in the tartan frock?" smiled the Spieler. "What'ya got?" responded Lapinette. She threw her hands in the air in the manner of a Highland Fling. The Spieler smiled. "I got asteroids, planets, nebulas. clusters. I got whole galaxies for less than a pack of peas." Lapinette laughed. "What about the whole universe?" The Spieler wasn't fazed at all. "Buy it from me and you'll be the sexiest rabbit in it!" The Wabbit had heard enough. He stepped out and pointed his automatic. "That's it, you faker. I'm arresting you for phony boney baloozy." The Spieler made his way to stand in front of the Wabbit. "You're out of your jurisdiction, Commander." He placed a bony finger on the muzzle of the automatic and added, "Or my names not Boney Maroney." He turned to walk back. The Wabbit fired. The Spieler kept walking, turning back once to raise a single digit. Then everything vanished. The auction room was the barest place you could imagine ...

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

4. The Wabbit, Lapinette and Crazy Prices

The Wabbit and Lapinette made their way down.  It was ornate but heavily faded and the stairway creaked and cracked with every step they took. Lapinette didn't seem to care whereas the Wabbit was amused. A stencilled sign flashed at them and the recorded voice started again. "Super crazy. Crazy crazy crazy. Every one of our prices is super crazy." Water dripped down the walls with a steady drip drip drip. "Thinking of buying something?" asked the Wabbit. "I won't know until I get there," replied Lapinette. The Wabbit smiled again because he usually had something in mind. The lights flickered and returned to life. "I was looking for a multi-headed electrical thing," said the Wabbit. The lights dimmed again. Lapinette didn't reply because she was ferreting. "Maybe a good set of tools to repair these stairs," said the Wabbit. "Tell the landlord," said Lapinette. She moved downwards into the gloom. The Wabbit followed on. They could see a large warehouse. It was filled with what the Wabbit could only describe as bric-a-brac and grotty tat. The Wabbit took one look and turned to go. "I've seen enough," he said. He hunched his shoulders and stuck a paw in his fur. "We've come this far," said Lapinette, "there may be something ultra valuable here." The Wabbit stifled a giggle. "We'll be rich beyond our wildest dreams." Lapinette bent to look at something. "What's this?" The Wabbit bent down to look - and at that moment the stairs collapsed flat and he tumbled the rest of the way. "That got me down," he said. "Stairway to heaven?" quipped Lapinette. "That's the other way," grumbled the Wabbit.

Monday, February 08, 2021

3. The Wabbit and the Market in Space

The asteroid was worth investigating. It was going the same way at the same speed and it seemed improper not to. They were still in Lattice Drive so Quantum set up a tether and off they went. They scrambled over the asteroid and they found nothing interesting until they came to what looked like a cave. The Wabbit hesitated on the edge but Lapinette looked inside. A light came on. An arrow lit up. A sign pulsed and the sign said Market. It says "Market," said Lapinette. "Yes," said the Wabbit, "but what kind of a market is it?" As if in answer, a recorded voice started to shout. "Super Crazy Prices, you won't get lower. Shop at Super Crazy Prices, for all your planetary needs." It wouldn't stop and repeated several times. Lapinette didn't hesitate. "It might stop if we go in and buy something." She grinned and disappeared, The Wabbit followed. The message got louder. Lights came on. Inside was a cavern of goods on sale at super crazy prices. The message changed. "Today we have special offers on illuminating white mice. An absolute bargain at 5 QUID each. Surround yourself with mice light. Protection from all forms of adversity guaranteed." The Wabbit wrinkled his nose. "White mice?" Lapinette laughed. "White mice have long cared for interplanetary travellers." The Wabbit looked quizzical but the voice boomed again. "Dark clouds of misfortune dispelled by our jolly jujus at super crazy prices!" Lapinette looked round. "Make a purchase?" The Wabbit didn't like the sound of it. But he dug in his fur for some space currency ... 

[QUID: Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination]

Friday, February 05, 2021

2. The Wabbit and the Object in Space

The Wabbit persuaded Lapinette he knew of a much better market but it was a bit of a hike. Soon they sat aboard Quantum the Time Travelling Train with the Wabbit in charge. Kepler 186-f was an M Class planet and was only around 500 light years away. The Wabbit had heard it boasted some of the best markets in the Milky Way - but how much of that was tittle tattle he had little idea. The Wabbit tried to set coordinates but Quantum was ahead of him. With a blast of hot gases, he was off. It was all for show, because Quantum emitted little in the way of gases. With hardly any motion at all, Quantum engaged lattice drive. The Wabbit leaned back in his seat as they flashed through space. "Just a little jaunt," said the Wabbit. Lapinette was amused. "A spin?" she asked, "I hope you packed a picnic basket." The Wabbit tapped a hamper beside him. "Just in case we get hungry," he said. The speaker system crackled. "Better prepare for evasive action Commander," said Quantum, "we have a rogue asteroid in our path." The Wabbit was confused but Quantum anticipated his confusion. "It's also travelling at lattice speed, Commander." It was highly unusual. Quantum said as much as he sidestepped the asteroid and booted his engines to maximum. Soon the asteroid disappeared, but just as quickly reappeared on the starboard side. "I can't shake him," said Quantum. "Is there any immediate danger?" asked Lapinette. "No," responded Quantum in an annoyed voice. "Just leave him then," said Lapinette. Quantum chuckled. "I believe we have no crater enemy."

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

1. The Wabbit and the Unobtainable Item.

The Wabbit caught up with Lapinette at the Crocetta Market where she was totally absorbed in shopping. "Don't like that one," she muttered, "Oh, but that one's nice." The Wabbit paused for a while and listened, smiling to himself. Lapinette could spend all morning at Crocetta Market. Sometimes she bought a mass of things and sometimes nothing at all. The Wabbit was totally different and there wasn't much there for the likes of the Wabbit. No unobtainable jazz albums, no small tools that he could keep in his fur. Just ladies clothes. The Wabbit crept behind a nearby stand and watched her. He decided to play a joke. Dropping his voice to an audible whisper he hissed, "I am the Ghost of Crocetta Market and I command you to buy the largest hat you see." Lapinette didn't turn a hair. "I can see you Wabbit, you're reflected in a mirror." The Wabbit effected disappointment. "Found anything nice?" he said. "I found Bix Beiderbecke's debut album, playing with the Wolverines," said Lapinette. "That's impossible!" replied the Wabbit. Lapinette laughed a quiet laugh. The Wabbit half turned as if to go and find it - but turned back. "You're joking me," he said. "I am!" smiled Lapinette. The Wabbit watched her as she continued shopping. "I feel a new adventure coming on," he said. "That's nice," said Lapinette. She continued shopping. "Monsters galore!" continued the Wabbit. "There's a nice jacket here with monsters on the front," murmured Lapinette. The Wabbit pretended excitement. "It's a start."

[When Bix Beiderbecke played with the Wolverines, a 78rpm record had an insufficient 3 minute play time]

Monday, February 01, 2021

The Wabbit's Adventure Caffè

The gang all met up at Luigi's famous restaurant to discuss what kind of adventure they just had. Skratch was early for once and he led the discussion. "I must say that was an excellent example of a mystery." Wabsworth appeared puzzled. "What, no semiotics, Monsieur Skratch?" Skratch meaowed, "I was getting to that. It was realism, perception and truth." Lapinette stifled a grin. "What, all three at the one time?" Skratch paused. "The box is a robust sign, and its real purpose is to open the gates of the unconscious." The Wabbit was desperate to get started. "Thus entering the realms of obscurity, meaningless and chaos?" Lapinette waved her arms. "Only partially, because it was a battle between good and evil." Wabsworth chimed in. "Yes, we wouldn't want psychology to destroy the mystery of magic." Lapinette tut tutted, shook her head and continued. "Yet, the story was deeply symbolic. I couldn't help thinking of Pandora's Box. When you opened the box, all evil flew out - but there was hope left inside." "I shouldn't have thrown it away then!" said the Wabbit. Lapinette sighed. "I think the box will get on just fine on its own. Zeus will look after it. There's no way to escape the will of Zeus." Skratch was very happy with this. "That box represents your unconscious, Wabbit." Wabsworth wanted the last word. "And no matter how complex the box's decorations, it's symbolic worth lies in what it contains. To open it - is to take a risk." The Wabbit thought for a minute. "Any risk of a drink round here?" 

Friday, January 29, 2021

6. The Wabbit disposes of the Box

The Wabbit took the box to the river to get rid of it. On the way he met Lapinette, who wasn't aware of the story. "Oh, what a nice box," she said. "Does it open?" The Wabbit was aghast. "I'm getting rid of it," he yelled. Lapinette didn't understand so the Wabbit gritted his teeth. "It's jinxed," he said. "You should dispose of it environmentally," answered Lapinette. The Wabbit prepared to throw the box. "You can't dispose of jinxes environmentally. It's going in the river." The Wabbit always pronounced it rivaaaah when he was annoyed. "What kind of jinx is it?" enquired Lapinette. The Wabbit's arms came back as he prepared to jettison the box. "It's a pain in the neck, insect jinx," he said, "If I don't get rid of it, the thing will hang around." The Wabbit threw the box with all his strength. It summersaulted once and landed in the water. Then slowly it began to move down river towards Venice. Lapinette looked sorry. "That's a shame, it's a pretty box." The Wabbit put his paws on his hips. "Pretty is as pretty does." Lapinette watched the box. The waves lapped around it. "Whatever does that mean?" she asked. "I've no idea," shrugged the Wabbit. Waves swept the box back and towards the Wabbit. "Maybe the jinx has washed away," ventured Lapinette. Just then a voice came from the box. "I'll be back, and I'll get you, Wabbit!" Lapinette put her paws in the water and tried to wash it into the middle of the river. "What an unpleasant box." The Wabbit laughed. "So, will you take the money or open the box?" There was no hesitation. "The money," said Lapinette.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

5. The Wabbit and the Dragonfly's Flight

The Wabbit waited because he knew about insects. If they flew out of the window, everyone was happy. But then they'd fly in again. He waited. Nothing happened. He thought he'd get some height and he climbed on the chandelier. He kept a close eye on the window, and he heard it before he saw it. The flapping of gossamer wings heralded the arrival of the strange dragonfly. It flew in the window and up to the roof. That was what the Wabbit wanted. He launched himself from the chandelier and nearly grasped the dragonfly, but it was crafty. It twisted away and the Wabbit twisted after it. He got a wing then lost it. He tried again. He managed to get a hold on its body and together they crashed downwards. "Get back in the box!" he yelled. "Can't make me unless you ask me properly," shouted the dragonfly. They spiralled down together. The Wabbit tried to think of different ways of saying it. "Please get back in the box." No effect. "Return to the box." The Wabbit was desperate. The dragonfly shook its head. The floor loomed. "Box in go," tried the Wabbit. The dragonfly laughed. They hit the floor and rolled and rolled. The Wabbit kept his grip. "Obey my command, get in the box." The dragonfly lost all its spirit. It dragged itself to the box and crawled inside. The box snapped shut. The Wabbit sighed with relief. He could hear a faint voice from inside. "You haven't heard the last of this, wascally Wabbit." The Wabbit grinned the weakest of grins and he made sure the box was fastened down. "You have to think outside the box."

Monday, January 25, 2021

4. The Wabbit and the Faulty Return

The Wabbit and Wabsworth agreed that the safest course of action was to take the box back, then keep an eye on it to see what transpired. That was a double bonus - because it was originally the museum's problem and any difficulties would accrue to the museum. So the Wabbit retraced his steps. But he couldn't help poking and prodding it. He was just built that way. There was another compartment in the top and he fiddled with the rings surrounding a strange looking iris. Without warning there was a hiss, the compartment opened and out sped a creature with beating wings. Although the Wabbit tried to catch it, it was much too quick for him. His paws swiped right and left but came nowhere near the beast. The Wabbit sensed trouble. He looked around. It settled on a horse's head and sat very still. But when the Wabbit approached, the creature - it looked like a dragonfly - flew up and off. The Wabbit was patient. He set the box down and stalked the creature. After about twenty minutes he managed to capture it in his paws. "You have trapped me," it said, "and now I must grant you a wish." There was something sly about its tone. The Wabbit shook his head and made his way back to the box. "Please don't put me back in the box," said the dragonfly. The Wabbit had heard it all before and he carefully opened the iris. He was about to put the dragonfly back when it bit him, and he dropped the box. The dragonfly made for an open window, and before the Wabbit could do anything it had gone. "That's torn it," muttered the Wabbit ...

Friday, January 22, 2021

3. Wabsworth and the Secrets of the Box

The Wabbit met Wabsworth in a Caffè which purported to have the best sandwiches around - and there, the Wabbit presented his find to Wabsworth. He handed it over with a smile and Wabsworth examined it top to bottom. But it was as he got to the bottom that the box slid from his grasp. The Wabbit was surprised because Wabsworth was an android and had never let anything slip from his grasp. The box jumped in the air, landed on a table and bounced upwards, breaking into segments. The segments hovered in the air, moving round and round until the Wabbit was dizzy. Wabsworth watched carefully. One segment formed an inner compartment and two floating keys locked into place. "Gotcha," said Wabsworth. He grasped both keys at the same time and twisted them - one way then the other. The segments stopped spiralling and became still. The box began to open. The Wabbit squinted at what appeared to be an empty space. "There's nothing in it!" he exclaimed. "Don't be so sure," said Wabsworth, "Nothing about this box is normal." The Wabbit jumped up and down. He desperately wanted it to be a great discovery. But he could smell fish and chips. "Are you thinking about food?" he asked. "Yes, fish and chips," said Wabsworth. "So maybe the box will reflect what we think about," murmured the Wabbit. He thought about sausage and broccoli and suddenly it was there on the table. Wabsworth turned the keys back, grabbed all the bits and reassembled them. "It could be dangerous," he said. "Think and eat?" said the Wabbit.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

2. The Wabbit and the Magic Box

The Wabbit paused on the way out because he couldn't resist a closer look at the box. He needed better light, so he hopped up on a ledge by a window and pulled it from his fur. It was a strange looking affair - roughly square but not quite. And there was a device on the front that looked like a knob. The Wabbit fiddled with it. Nothing happened.  He turned it upside down and shook it - but to little effect. The knob clicked round and round - but didn't open the box. He looked closer. There were numbers etched on the side. "A combination lock," hissed the Wabbit. He was secretly thrilled with his find. A box was one thing but a box he couldn't open was another. He made a few attempts starting with 000. To the Wabbit's knowledge, all combination locks had a row of zeros as a default. There was no result. The Wabbit tapped the box and then gave it a good whack. Nothing. "This needs an expert," he thought. For a moment he tried to think who that expert might be but there was only one - Wabsworth. Since Wabsworth was an android, he reasoned, finding the combination would be a piece of cake. For a moment he could smell a sweet cake which he particularly liked. "Panettone," he murmured. Then the smell was gone. "Curious," he thought, "but I'd rather have Rum Baba." For just a second the smell of Rum Baba wafted through the air. In fact, he could almost taste it. "This needs looking into," he said to himself. The smell hung in the air and then vanished. His stomach rumbled and he tried to drag the top from the box. It resisted all efforts to open. "Grrr," he said, "I don't employ an android for nothing." Then he vanished in search of Wabsworth. 

Monday, January 18, 2021

1. The Wabbit's find, high up in the Dome

The Wabbit was at a loose end and he decided he'd potter in the Royal Museum. As usual he decided to go somewhere he wasn't really allowed. He spotted ladders - so he climbed high up into the dome and edged his way along the scaffolding. Repairs were in progress and he watched the workers. Their patient work would ensure everything stayed together as it was supposed to. The Wabbit knew it wouldn't do to have things fall on his head. He grinned in satisfaction. Things were in progress and while the workers were concentrating, there was always the chance of finding something interesting. He looked at every nook and cranny. Nothing much except the dust of ages. He tried to recall when he'd last visited. "I think it was 2011," he mused to himself. Lapinette was in hospital and he'd prowled the length and breadth of Turin in search of stuff to do. And he'd certainly found it. He smiled to himself and edged out a little further to look at the scene below. Workers scurried back and forth carrying materials. It was then he noticed something in a corner, something that had been discarded. No-one seemed to care. It looked in danger of being discarded so the Wabbit thought he'd better secure it. The corner was difficult to access but he persevered. He stretched out a paw. The object looked like a box with serrated sides. He tried to open it, but it was complicated. So he tucked the box into his fur and made his way down. He nodded to the workers on his way past. "Everything all right Commander?" said the foreman. The Wabbit shoved the box further into his fur. "Perfectly hunky dory," he smiled. "Tip top," said the foreman ...

Friday, January 15, 2021

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

Far from Rome, at a Caffè in Sal Salvario, the team gathered to discuss the recent adventure. Skratch the Cat was late as usual. As he scrabbled his way onto the remaining seat, the Wabbit asked him the question, "What was that for a sort of Adventure we just had?" Skratch meaowed a massive meow. "It resembles others I've seen - but with one distinguishing feature." They waited with baited breath. "It had an anti-war vibe right in the middle. In that respect it is anti-war story." Wabsworth grinned and rapped the table. "There's no such thing as an anti-war story in my opinion." Lapinette was sceptical. "You are misquoting Truffaut. He said that to show something was to ennoble it." Wabsworth shrugged as if he'd proved his point. The Wabbit decided to contribute. "So the officer's noble grunt was just another way of ennobling war?" Skratch held up a paw. "War can be represented as spectacle, the eerie display of soldiers up to their waist in snow and the determination of the soldiers to advance. That is ennobling too." Lapinette demanded attention. "No one asked about the stripped-down buildings that provided our rather inhospitable destination." Wabsworth's memory banks whirred. "Guy Debord would have appreciated it." "Ah yes," said the Wabbit, "The Situationists may have recognised industrial set design." Skratch smiled and meaowed, "Paulo Ventura might have said something about that too." "Since he designed it," laughed Lapinette. "He designed it," said the Wabbit, "but he's never actually been there!" "I didn't see a bar there," said Wabsworth. "More's the pity," laughed the Wabbit. "We would have stayed longer."

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

8. The Wabbit and Sideways Home

Lapinette got into the car, slammed the door and switched on the heater. "Brrr," she said, "Let's go home." The Wabbit was cold too. He turned the heater up to maximum. Lapinette looked at the adapted gear lever. "Which way?" The Wabbit didn't have a clue but he suggested the other way from before. "Opposite direction, sideways," he said. Lapinette crashed the lever over. The car shimmered and shook. Then it warped in a lateral direction. The felt the pressure. Then it was gone and they sailed over the rooftops. The Wabbit looked down. Colours changed, but the sea continued to crash silently on a long- forgotten beach. "What was that place?" asked Lapinette. The Wabbit pondered while he gazed and then he said, "It's not a place, it's a different space. We inhabited it for a while. Now it's gone." Lapinette sat in the driver's seat but there was nothing to do but wait for the car to make its journey home. "It's a relaxing drive," she said, "but I'm looking forward to an aperitivo in a proper city." "Why don't we have one here and another when we get there," smiled the Wabbit. He fished a hip flask from his fur and handed in to Lapinette. "I come prepared," he grinned. Lapinette lifted the flask to her lips and took a hearty swallow. "Chilled Aperol Spritz," she murmured, "my favourite. What time do we get back?" "Same as when we left according to Dr Strangeglove," replied the Wabbit. They progressed through various colours. Suddenly the scene cleared. They were staring at the Rome traffic - and before long they were parked outside the Pasticceria Siciliana Svizzera. "Happy Birthday!" said the Wabbit. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

7. The Wabbit and War and Peace

The Wabbit and Lapinette made their way to street level but what they found surprised even them. An army moved slowly along the street sinking deeper and deeper into snow. It made a sound - as if it was a slowed down recording. The Wabbit saluted because that was demanded by protocol. Lapinette followed suit. One of the officers turned to look and spoke to the Wabbit. It sounded slurred and unintelligible to Lapinette but the Wabbit had a universal translator and the sound fed through it, becoming almost normal. The voice asked why they were there. The Wabbit replied that they came by coach to have a look. He whispered in Lapinette's ear. "It looks like stage set from Erwin Piscator." Lapinette nodded. "He worked with Brecht you know," added the Wabbit. Lapinette nodded again. The Wabbit was knowledgeable in that department. "What war is this?" He addressed the officer directly but the answer was a long time coming back. "Napoleonic," he replied. They looked bitterly cold. The officer spoke again. He was shivering in the freezing temperature. "Are you from the future?" "Sort of, but not as you might think," replied the Wabbit. The atmosphere cut through him like a knife and the Wabbit shivered too despite his fur. "Will we be victorious?" asked the officer. "Winter is coming, worse than this," replied the Wabbit and he shook his head sadly. The officer shrugged and raised his hand in farewell. "War is Hell," he said and moved on. The Wabbit and Lapinette saluted once more and the army moved slowly past. I'm freezing," said Lapinette, "let's go back to our coach." Then together they climbed back to the roof ...

[I am indebted to Paulo Ventura and his excellent exhibition in Turin Photo Museum. The exhibition is extended into this year.]

Friday, January 08, 2021

6. The Wabbit and the Flat Roof

Lapinette set the car down. "You don't call this car by his old name?" said Lapinette. "It's your car now, he needs a new name," replied the Wabbit, He got out of the car and strode to the parapet. "Radicchio," suggested Lapinette. The Wabbit looked back. "If you like," he said. He laughed for a minute because it was a funny name for a car. He looked over the edge. Lapinette joined him. Buildings stretched into the distance. Behind them the sea rolled out and in without a sound. "Someone's got to live here," said the Wabbit, "Someone pays the rent." Lapinette looked doubtful. "What would you set the rent at?" The Wabbit thought about it. "Tenement by the sea? A thousand euro." Lapinette gasped. "That's a bit steep." "Everything's a thousand euro now." insisted the Wabbit. Lapinette nodded sagely. Then she thought of something important. "What does Radicchio run on?" "Hydrogen," said the Wabbit, "so no worries. Then there's the anti-matter backup." Lapinette looked sceptical. "It's not to going to blow us all to Kingdom Come." "Not yet," replied the Wabbit. "Kingdom ain't coming for a bit." They both looked down into the empty streets below. "I thought I saw something move," said Lapinette. "So did I," said the Wabbit. "It looked like a flag." Like ghosts, a sea of flags moved through the silent streets. These flags didn't flutter but stayed quite rigid. "I don't like the look of this," said the Wabbit. "Better investigate," said Lapinette. "Could be fun," shrugged the Wabbit. "Is it safe to leave the car?" joked Lapinette. "It has an anti-theft device," responded the Wabbit. Lapinette looked at the Wabbit with horror. "It vaporises assailants," shrugged the Wabbit.
 

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

5. The Wabbit and the Place by the Sea

Lapinette left the control lever where it was as the vehicle lurched into a different land of colour. The car bent and warped and shimmered and shook as it progressed sideways through a spectrum they'd never seen before. The scene cleared and the car warped back into shape. There was an island. And on the island, there were buildings. Nothing looked quite right. They looked completely deserted, uninhabited, not as much as a mouse. The sea rolled incessantly. The island smelled of the tropics but there was no sound. All was silent. "Some place for a holiday," said Lapinette. "Peace and quiet," quipped the Wabbit. He was about to say you could lie on the beach - but there was no beach. They skimmed the rooftops looking for a place to land. Each terrace gave way to another terrace. "Getting tired of terraces," said the Wabbit. "Great to witness catastrophes from," grinned Lapinette. "That's a cheery yet privileged thought," replied the Wabbit, "This is a catastrophe waiting to happen," commented Lapinette. The Wabbit thought that was correct, but he didn't feel an answer was appropriate. Instead, he said, "It feels like ambush country!" Lapinette took a chance on the throttle and sped forward. "I see a flat roof over there." Lapinette edged round and down. "I think I can land the jalopy." The Wabbit looked all around for hostility. His ears twitched back and forward and to the side. There wasn't any sign of an ambush - or of anything. "Let's get this baby off the ground." Lapinette looked at all the switches on the dash. "I'm looking for one that says soft landings, flat roofs." The Wabbit smiled. "That's what Buzz Aldrin said."
 

Monday, January 04, 2021

4. The Wabbit and Lapinette meet Traffic

Lapinette shifted the lever sideways and the car went likewise. But then with enormous speed it burst into the traffic. It continued to slew sideways and they watched as everything passed. Things were fractured. They just missed a motorbike as the traffic went every which way. Lapinette tried to bring the lever back but it wouldn't budge. The Wabbit gritted his teeth. "Exciting," he murmured. Lapinette muttered something rude about the controls. With enormous effort she shifted the lever and it swung back to dead centre. They seemed to be at a standstill but the traffic came forward towards them and they moved with it. Lapinette wrestled the controls and managed to move it sideways but in the other direction. The car swung round and lifted a bit. The traffic was still fractured. "It's the first run," observed the Wabbit. "I thought you said the car travelled in time," said Lapinette. The Wabbit nodded at the traffic. It was going backwards now and they followed it. But the traffic diverged and the car came to a standstill. "It's looking for instructions," said the Wabbit. "I'll  give it binky instructions," growled Lapinette and she threw the lever forward. This time it engaged. Now the traffic seemed to be streamlined, and filaments attached to every vehicle. The car started to turn on its axis. The cockpit was so small that the Wabbit and Lapinette stayed more or less where they were - but they turned with the car. "Interesting," said the Wabbit. "Very," said Lapinette through gritted teeth. The car continued to turn until the traffic blurred into a single colour. They made their way backwards through the colour, then  left the colour behind. "Where are we now?" asked Lapinette. "The Other Side?" replied the Wabbit. 

Friday, January 01, 2021

3. The Wabbit and Lap's Birthday

 
The Wabbit brought Lapinette to St Peter's Square and there was no need for subterfuge. The car was in place by kind permission of ex Cardinal Lapin. He always authorised Bond movies so he could hardly turn the Wabbit down. "New car, Wabbit?" she asked. "It's yours," said the Wabbit, "Happy Birthday!" Lapinette looked at the car, "Haven't I seen this before?" The Wabbit grinned his widest grin. "Modified," he whispered. Lapinette took a step back. "You shouldn't have!" "It was nothing," said the Wabbit. He looked at the ground. Lapinette jumped up and down. "No, I really mean you shouldn't have. Your modifications are well known." The Wabbit tried to set her mind at rest. "Doctor Strangeglove did the whole thing," "That's reassuring," she replied - with more than a hint of sarcasm. Lap walked round the car and came back. "How do I get in?" The Wabbit shrugged. "With a little bit of difficulty. You lean back, swivel and drag your ears in behind you. I'll climb in after you," "Cosy," said Lapinette. She placed her paws on her hips and waited. "One other thing," said the Wabbit, "It travels in time." Lapinette leaped in the air. "I knew it!" Nonetheless, she eased the gullwing doors up and got inside. The Wabbit crammed in after her. "What's that lever for? "she asked. "Forward for the future, back for the past," replied the Wabbit. "And sideways?" Lapinette was interested at last. "Better not to push it sideways," said the Wabbit, "It's still at the developmental stage," But it was too late, Lap pushed the lever. The car wheels turned silently on the wet cobbles and it crept sideways. "It doesn't do much," said Lapinette. Suddenly there was a blinding flash ...