Wednesday, September 29, 2021

5. Lapinette and the Locked Mausoleum.

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

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

Monday, September 27, 2021

4. The Wabbit and the Unexpected Turn

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

Friday, September 24, 2021

3. The Wabbit and the Old Engineer

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

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

2. The Wabbit hears of Stefano Pittaluga

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

Monday, September 20, 2021

1. The Wabbit gets the Bird

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

Saturday, September 18, 2021

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

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

Monday, September 13, 2021

6. The Wabbit stops off at the Moon

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

[Background: NASA, Goddard, Arizona State University]

Saturday, September 11, 2021

5. The Wabbit and the Exploding Hole

Everything was confusion. The Lamp bolted out the door and stared the green craft down. His headlamps carved their way into the bottom of the craft. The Lamp distorted and flared as the light smashed the vessel. Still it went on. Bits of the craft split and became separate entities while the original craft carried on. Quantum elongated but stayed the same size. The Black Hole filled with colour as bits of both crafts span off and circled round. Inside the craft, the Wabbit and Lapinette warped too but tried to get Lattice Drive back online. There was a clunk as Quantum engaged and he clawed his way out of the hole. "Get the Lamp back on board," yelled the Wabbit. Quantum engaged a tractor bean that pulled at the Lamp and bit by bit he was persuaded back into the cargo hold. Things stabilised inside - but outside, parts of the green craft whizzed past. Lapinette patted the Lamp. "I think you got the measure of him." The Lamp looked pleased, "Can we do it again?" The Wabbit groaned, "Let's get going while the going's good." Lapinette ensured they were free of the Black Hole, and set coordinates for Earth. They looked back. The green craft struggled to free itself of the confusion. The Wabbit stared. "Was that really the Ice Mice?" Lapinette shook her head. "A version of them? Who knows?" The Lamp was astonished, "Friends of yours?" I wouldn't say that exactly," said the Wabbit. They all laughed. Then Lapinette said, "Take us home, Quantum." "The scenic route?" asked Quantum. "We've done the scenic route," laughed the Wabbit. The Lattice Drive crackled under Quantum's wheels and the Wabbit raised his eyes, "Don't spare the horses," he quipped. 

Thursday, September 09, 2021

4. The Wabbit and the Shedding of Light

Quantum the Time Travelling Train positioned himself at the event horizon of a black hole - and waited. "Out ye go!" said the Wabbit and pushed the lamp to the door. "Light that up!"  The Lamp found himself floating in space, He could feel the tug of the singularity, but it didn't shift him much. "That's a lot of black," he murmured. His headlamps burst into life and he focussed them on the black hole. It didn't do much at first since the Black Hole absorbed the light. "I'll get you," shouted the Lamp. The Lamp drew massive energy from somewhere - and gradually the beam widened. Then the Lamp started to move it around. "Can't see much," said the Lamp. "Try the edges," said Lapinette. The beam swept back and forth. "Can't see much at all," said the Lamp. "It's a black hole," said the Wabbit, "it sucks everything in." The Lamp focussed the beam again. "I think I see something." The Wabbit winked at Lapinette. "Of course you can, Lamp." The Lamp swayed from side to side. "On the edge of my vision, something moved." The Wabbit snorted, "That'll be right. The hole destroys everything." Lapinette was more cautious. "Listen to the Lamp, Wabbit." The Lamp shook violently. "I'm coming back in, open up." Quantum obliged, then the door swished shut. "I'm picking up alien intruders, Commander." The Wabbit's fur stood on end. "What colour is their Spaceship?" Quantum made a spectral analysis. "Green, Commander." Lapinette peered into the distance. "Lattice Drive, Quantum. On the double." Quantum spoke quickly "I can't mobilise Lattice Drive, Marquesa, we're being drawn in." The Wabbit grabbed at the windscreen. "Reverse thrust, Quantum." But it was all to no avail as they plunged into the hole ...

[Background Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and D. Coe, J. Anderson, and R. Van der Marel (stsci)]

Monday, September 06, 2021

3. The Wabbit and the Saga of the Lamp

The Wabbit decided that space would be a good place to test out the Lamp's cherished ambition. After all, he said that he wanted to light the world, but he hadn't mentioned which one. Quantum's the Time Travelling Train's dining car seemed a good place to keep the Lamp in containment, and as they whistled through space, the Wabbit whistled a merry tune. "These look like competition to me," said the Lamp. "Not at all," said the Wabbit, "they're darker than they look." The Lamp switched his headlamps on. The Wabbit recoiled in the harsh glare as the beam cut across his nose. "Not now Lamp," he shouted, "we're not there yet." "Where are we, asked the Lamp. "Global Cluster NBC something," said the Wabbit. "I think," he added. "What are you planning?" asked Lapinette with a sigh, "Oh some old forgotten black hole or other." The Wabbit smirked and nodded. "Light up the Hole," he sang. "Wabbit!" yelled Lapinette. The Lamp floated up and down. He was dying to light up something and a Black Hole seemed cool. "This a long way from Turin," he said, "no flocking tourists flocking here." Lapinette scowled. "It has its moments, I can assure you." She looked out - just in case there might be aliens. The global cluster dimmed slightly. "Are we there yet?" asked the Lamp. Quantum's voice rumbled through the speakers. "Approaching the event horizon, Commander - there might be a little turbulence." The Lamp began to sway. "Like Turin on a Saturday night," he breathed. Lapinette shuddered. "Totally different," she shrugged. and she tossed her head, Quantum began to vibrate. "Coming out of Lattice Drive." They held on to their seats and waited. The Lamp went into free fall and floated wildly. "Cool," he murmured ...

Saturday, September 04, 2021

2. The Wabbit shares the Load

The Wabbit had just helped the lamp down when Lapinette appeared round a corner. "Wabbit you can't just take a lamp, it's illegal." The Wabbit was struggling with the weight. "It's his wish to go, but I'm wishing I hadn't bothered." Two lights flared from inside the lamp. They looked for all the world like headlamps. "That's better, I can see now," said the lamp. "Lapinette was astonished. "What are you up to with this lamp, Wabbit?" The headlamps burned bright and they swivelled back and forth. "I want to escape," shouted the lamp," I'm fed up hanging in that spot. Tourists here, tourists there - with their incessant prattle. Pointing and gawping." Lapinette thought for a minute and then she pointed. "OK, let's move down the road. Try not to look conspicuous." The Wabbit was panting. "Can you take some of the weight?" The heaviness vanished as the lamp started to float on his own. "That's better," it said. "I didn't like that chain at all." Having helped the lamp down, the Wabbit was unsure of what to do and he said so. "So Lamp. Do you have any plans?" asked Lapinette. "I want to see the world," said the lamp, "I want to light it up." The Wabbit snorted. "Knock yourself out why don't you?" Lapinette put her paws on her hips. "That's enough of your cynicism, Wabbit. You helped him and now I'm afraid you have to take care of him." The lamp started to sing. "Light up the globe. Light it right up. Light up the globe. I believe in myself." The Wabbit cringed but Lapinette thought it was cute. The Wabbit remined cynical but knew it was his fault. "Let's go and have a drink and think about it." The Lamp was delighted. "Like tourists!" Lapinette danced forward as only she could. "Let's light the way to a gin and tonic." "Follow that dancer," said the Wabbit. 

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

1. The Wabbit and the Talking Lamp

The Wabbit was hovering in the Piazza San Giovanni, where a narrow path linked the Royal Palace with the Cathedral. There was usually a small amount of casual traffic, but on this occasion, the passageway was quiet. He became aware of murmuring and looked up. The murmuring stopped. Then it started again. It appeared to be coming from the lamp and it got louder. "People take no notice of me. I'm just a common old lamp to them." The Wabbit continued to look up and his ears twitched. "You might twitch your ears," said the lamp, "you rabbity creature." The Wabbit smiled but didn't reply. He inclined his head in a therapeutic manner, just like he'd learned in Zurich. The lamp continued. "Switch on, switch off, that's all they care about. But the things I see, they wouldn't care for me to repeat." The Wabbit shrugged slightly, "How does that make you feel?" The lamp flickered even though it was bright day. "Angry, annoyed, frustrated." He paused. "Sometimes they give me an environmental retrofit. Doesn't make a whit of difference, I can tell you. Lumens this and lumens that." The Wabbit grinned and waited. "They change my bulb sometimes, but no one cleans it regularly." The lamp swayed a bit. "I'm a powerful symbol you know. Let there be a light." The Wabbit didn't correct the lamp, it seemed rude. He addressed the lamp directly. "If you could have your way, what would it be? What would you do?" The lamp flickered again. "I wouldn't hang around here for all and sundry. I'd move around guiding the way." The Wabbit thought for a second. "Where would you draw your power?" The lamp laughed a triumphal laugh. "No problem. Power is everywhere." The Wabbit allowed himself a giggle. "OK. I'll see what I can do ..."