Friday, December 31, 2021

9. Tipsy, Fitzy, Mitzy and the Roman Play

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

Monday, December 27, 2021

8. The Lepus and the Alien Crafts

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

Friday, December 24, 2021

7. The Wabbit and the Ice Mice Attack

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

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

6. Puma, Terni and the Ice Discs

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

Monday, December 20, 2021

5. Lapinette and the Big Squeeze

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

Friday, December 17, 2021

4. The Wabbit in the Ghostly Rain

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

Monday, December 13, 2021

3. The Wabbit heads for Rome

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

Thursday, December 09, 2021

2. Terni and the Devilish Phenomenon

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

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

1. The Wabbit and the Christmas Prelude

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

Monday, December 06, 2021

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

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

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

Friday, December 03, 2021

6. The Wabbit and the Big Clear Out

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