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]