Wednesday, May 25, 2022

The Wabbit and his Adventure Caffè

The team gathered at the Piazza de' Ricci in Rome's bustling centre. The Wabbit had booked a table at Pierluigi's famous restaurant, so they knew they were in for a treat. "Been here since 1938," announced the Wabbit. "Did you really wait that long?" said Wabsworth with a smile. "Of course not," snorted the Wabbit, "I meant it was established in 1938." Wabsworth grinned. "With all your travelling in time, you never know." The Wabbit was about to lay out a small fortune on wine alone, so he kicked Wabsworth in the shins. Wabsworth was an android and felt nothing. Lapinette snickered. "Hello," shouted Skratch. He was late and made his usual entrance. "What was that for a sort of adventure?" The Wabbit clasped Wabsworth round the shoulders and said, "It was all about the money." Wabsworth took him at his word. "You mean it wasn't about the money!" Lapinette was feeling left out. "I think it's that money that's paying for this." The Wabbit burst out laughing. "Old money is paying for the restaurant. Very old money." Skratch laughed too. "Money stories don't strive for credibility." Lapinette was sanguine. "The money-grubbing influence of capitalism is always incredible" Skratch nodded. "Money is all pervasive. It's hard to avoid. But your story is strictly for the gullible, I'm afraid." The Wabbit felt in his fur for his cash because he could see the restaurant was getting the table ready. "I seem to have left my wallet at home," he said. "Don't worry," said Wabsworth, "I have it here." He'd been watching pickpocket films and had expertly extracted the Wabbit's money. He searched for his wallet in his fur, but it wasn't there. The Wabbit waved it aloft. "I took it back," he laughed. "That'll cost you, Wabsworth," said Lapinette. "You're getting the wine."

Monday, May 23, 2022

7. The Wabbit and the Notional Monies

The Wabbit and Lapinette tumbled gently down (or was it up?) at an Adventure Caffè. Arson Fire was taken short, and had gone to find a friendly tree. The effects of the Black Hole hadn't worn off and they were only now reassuming their normal size. The Wabbit looked at the sign. It asked whether he was worried. "I'm always worried," he grinned. It was an advertising poster for a Caffè. No matter where the customer started, they always ended back at the same answer - to have an aperitivo, and always there at Marco Ciampini's place. Lapinette laughed. "What are you worrying about now?" The Wabbit didn't hesitate. "I'm worried about my Dinosaur Fund. Now it's got nothing in it." Lapinette thought that was very funny. "There's always something in it." The Wabbit nodded. He knew at that very moment, overnight deposits across the globe groaned with money from his funds. "I'm never very certain it's there," he said. "I can't put my paws on it. It's always notional." Lapinette pirouetted and with a flash of her eyes ordered drinks from Marco, "Now we won't be worried." "You're never worried," grumbled the Wabbit. "Not true," replied Lapinette. "I worry about you and what you get up to." The Wabbit was appalled. "Me? I don't get up to anything." Lapinette gently reminded him of the time he became locked in a left luggage locker in a misguided attempt to catch a burglar. And the various things he invented in his shed that didn't quite work. "These were all accidents!" he gurgled. Lapinette smiled. "You have a lot of accidents!" The Wabbit huffed and puffed and struck a pose. "Like chance, accidents only favour the prepared mind!"

Friday, May 20, 2022

6. The Wabbit and the Great Big Dictator

There was no time to lose. A swirling entrance to a black hole appeared then within it an island floating in space. Beside the island stood a figure. The image was hazy at first but as the team worked it became more distinct. There had been a change of plan. The Wabbit dug in his fur for a gold aerosol he'd bought in a market. Lapinette produced gold jewellery and they started to fashion Bit Coins. Arson Fire joined in. These weren't strictly non fungible tokens but the Wabbit had the advantage of years of knowledge. The figure was now totally distinct. He spoke, "I am the Great Big Dictator of the Republic of San Serif." The Wabbit glanced at him but didn't stop working. "I'm sure I've seen you before." The Great Big Dictator chose to ignore this. "He who has the gold owns the future." He clicked his heels. The Wabbit had seen the Dictator's future and he smirked. "You're welcome to it." He waved at the Bit Coins and sent them spinning into the black hole. "This is future gold. I changed your old-fashioned bullion for them." A spark of interest showed in the Dictator's eyes. "How much are they worth?" "Much more than you think," said the Wabbit. "They're much more valuable than cash or gold. And investors mine their own business!" The Great Big Dictator clicked his heels again and shouted. "I asked how much are they worth?" The Wabbit shrugged. "Whatever you say they're worth." The Great Big Dictator began to pick up the coins. "Then Ja! I say they're worth a lot." Lapinette and Arson Fire yelled. "More than that!" The Dictator's image began to fade and so did the islands. His voice was faint. "I'm the Great Bit Dictator." The Wabbit smirked once more. "He got Bit Coin in 1977." Arson Fire nearly had a fit of hysterics. "He'll need a lot of energy."

[Thanks to NASA and Pixabay]

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

5. The Wabbit and the Tipping of Time

The change was as dramatic as it was sudden. Lapinette, the Wabbit and Arson Fire were all seized by an overwhelming force which tipped them backwards in time. No too far, but far enough. Clocks drifted across their vision, warping them into unbelievable shapes. Arson Fire was the worst affected. Fiery flames erupted from his bottom and narrowly avoided burning the Wabbit. "Yikes!" shouted the Wabbit. His voice slipped into the vortex. He could see it see it change shape. It solidified, then vaporised like the flaming fart from Arson' Fire's bottom. Lapinette yelled. "Where in time are we going?" The Wabbit watched hands whizz round on the misshapen clocks. Then he watched them whizz back. Sometimes they blurred. Sometimes they crawled. He muttered. "The devil's whipping us round the stump." The Wabbit was given to weird expressions. Arson Fire barked three times. "Well we won't pay for his time." Lapinette wasn't going to be outdone. "The devil speaks of time but I think time speaks of him." A rasping voice called in the darkness. "Where's that gold and where's its money?" They span faster but the clocks appeared stationary. The hands settled at 12.00. Something tried to move them on - but they refused to budge. They groaned like the pit and the pendulum. "I want the money," screamed the voice. The Wabbit felt in his fur and produced a safe deposit key. "Safe and sound," he said. "Under lock and key." The clocks reversed and the hands span in the opposite direction, faster and faster. Then, with a flash of blinding light, the Wabbit, Lapinette and Arson Fire found themselves deep in a concrete vault.

Monday, May 16, 2022

4. The Wabbit and the Temporal Force.

Voices called down to them and they froze. All except for the Wabbit. Their tone was stentorian. "Drop your weapons. Drop your weapons. This is not a drill. This is not a drill." The Wabbit was matter of fact. "They're not real. Nothing is real." The voices shouted again. "Return the money, give us the money. Or you will be terminated." The Wabbit spoke again. "These are robots. Robots." At the same time three helicopters rose into the air and hovered above them. "Drones," said the Wabbit. "Giant drones." Lapinette became exasperated. "Do you have to say everything twice?" "Twice?" asked the Wabbit. ""Grrrrr," growled Aron Fire. The Wabbit waved up at the soldiers and made a rude sign. They stepped back and one by one they vanished. "Told you," murmured the Wabbit. "They're not ghosts, they're controlled remotely." Lapinette shrugged. "They don't seem dangerous." The Wabbit shrugged too. "I think they are very dangerous, but not as we know it. They're controlled from a different temporal zone." Arson Fire was sceptical and woofed once. Sarcasm dripped from his voice. "You seem very knowledgeable, Wabbit." Lapinette was quick to set him straight. "He knows about weird stuff like that." The Wabbit nodded. "They're where the money comes from. They're trying to get a fix and the next time they'll do it." Lapinette looked pensive. "Will our trick still work." The Wabbit grinned. "It will for a while - by which time we'll have altered their time zone." "How do we do that?" asked Arson Fire. "With clocks and greasy butter," replied the Wabbit.

[Soldiers: Pexels at Pixabay]

Friday, May 13, 2022

3. The Wabbit and the Ghostly Gunfire

It was just as Lapinette envisaged. They were casually crossing St Peter's Square when they were caught in a barrage of gunfire. They ducked behind chairs and returned fire but couldn't see the enemy. Just faint muzzle flashes. "They're a long way off," shouted Lapinette. Arson Fire belched fire too - but couldn't quite get a bearing and only singed the seats. "Sniper," muttered the Wabbit. "Keep moving," yelled Lapinette, "so they can't get a bearing." They moved along the chairs and back, firing all the while. The shots kept coming. ""More than one," said Lapinette. She scuttled backwards and the fire sprayed out and along. "We're pinned down," said Arson Fire. "Shall I make a run for it? I'm rather fast." The Wabbit glanced back and forth. "Try for the pillars." Arson Fire darted to the pillars, then speeded back. He was a greyhound, and he could run. But gunfire followed him all the way. Chairs splintered. Concrete shattered. A bullet shaved fur from the Wabbit's ears. "I'll get you for that!" he shouted. Lapinette screened her eyes. The sun was fading and she could see silhouettes on the rooftops. "There they are!" But one by one they vanished. The gunfire stopped. Everything went back to normal. Tourists came and went as if nothing had happened. "Think they're are our guys?" asked Arson Fire. "They have to be money ghosts," said the Wabbit. "They're as ephemeral as our gold bullion." Lapinette tucked her automatic into her frock. "They're coming all the same. Arson, can't you remember the name of the dead dictator?" Arson Fire thought and thought. "Cacchio Scarsoni!" he shouted. "That's rude," shrieked Lapinette.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

2. The Wabbit and the Numismatist

The Wabbit decided to take the gold to a safe place. There it would rest in his account. But as he began to move it, who should stroll in but Arson Fire the Greyhound. He seemed annoyed. Lapinette soothed him with a strong paw. "What are you doing with my gold?" he said. "Your gold?" echoed the Wabbit. "Yes, my gold," said Arson Fire gruffly. "I'm confused," murmured Lapinette.  Arson Fire's head nodded. "It's my hobby," he said. "I became a numismatist." The Wabbit smirked. "I've heard that one before. Confess!" Arson fire looked a bit shamefaced. "After our last adventure, I kept an eye on the Dinosaur Fund and I spotted some strange transactions." Lapinette laughed. "So you decided to make a collection?" Arson gnashed his teeth. "I deprived a few dictators of their ill-gotten gains." The Wabbit shrugged. He pulled a notebook from his fur, scribbled a receipt and passed it to Arson Fire - who ate it. "Which dictator?" Arson Fire barked twice. "I can't recall. I think he's dead now. So, the gold is mine, isn't it? It's worth six times what it was. I balanced the books and I get to keep the rest." Lapinette shook her head. "That's not the way it works. Someone is looking for this and they could be rather unpleasant." Arson Fire growled. "The dirty dogs!" The Wabbit stomped up and down, which he sometimes did when he was thinking. "We'll wait for them to show up." "And then?" said Lapinette. "We'll trick them!" Lapinette scowled. The Wabbit tried desperately to think of a trick and knew there was paper mache and gold paint in his shed. "We'll give it back." Lapinette knew exactly what the Wabbit had in mind. "Remember the Golden Rule." Arson Fire laughed. "The dog keeps the gold."

Monday, May 09, 2022

1. The Wabbit and Funds in Transit

The Wabbit had gone down to the vaults to check on his Dinosaur Fund that funded his more unorthodox missions. Details were kept in the cellars of the Department of Wabbit Affairs in a tiny deposit box. Just a few secret papers specifying where things were at any given time - in overnight deposit in the Post Office in Browne's Bottom, UK for all he knew. That was the way it worked. He'd just glance at the papers, look at the balance and go away. He took Lapinette to ensure no impropriety could be alleged. But he pushed open a door to find something extraordinary had occurred. They both gasped. The cellar contained more gold bullion than they'd ever seen in one place. He shook his head. "Is it dated?" Lapinette shrugged. "Might be a few years ago," She looked under a gold brick. "Yup," she said. "Dated 1977. But it's from the Bank of the Republic of San Serriff." The Wabbit didn't really believe it. He shook his head again. "I don't believe it." Lapinette scowled. She picked up typewritten paper clipped with a treasury tag. "Neither did anyone else. Here's a note to say it's in passage." At that very moment, a dollar bill fell from the ceiling, followed by several more. They were deluged with bills. Lapinette waved the notes. "This is a bill of lading. There are two other notes. A policy of insurance and an invoice. And here's the payment." The Wabbit tripped over Lapinette's feet and nearly measured his length on the floor. "Then everything is here, but nothing went anywhere." "Or rather it eventually arrived here," said Lapinette. "In the Department," said the Wabbit. "Yesterday," said Lapinette. "Where's it been?" asked the Wabbit. Lapinette shrugged again. "Nowhere?" "So we're in the money?" asked the Wabbit. Lapinette drew a sharp breath. "The Dinosaur Fund is in the money..."

[Background Picture: Mathias Wewering, Pixabay.]

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

The Wabbit at his famous Adventure Caffè

The Wabbit arrived first at the Adventure Caffè and took his seat. For a jolly joke, everyone else snuck in behind him. Then they all shouted "Boo!" The Wabbit knew they were there all the time, but he went along with the joke. He jumped a bit - and then he said "What a surprise! I never knew you were there." It was a new Adventure Caffè that the Wabbit liked. It was quite near the Vatican and the drinks were priced a little above the norm. But no one minded because the Wabbit said he would pay. He fished in his fur for some money. "What's are you all having?" he asked. "Before we order," said Skratch, "What sort of adventure did you just have - all on your own." The Wabbit shrugged. "You tell me." Skratch paused for effect. "It was rather like a road movie, he meaowed. "Nice to be along for the ride but going nowhere in particular." "That's true," smiled Lapinette. "But Rommy was certainly a marginal character who rejected his given identity." Wabsworth rapped on the table. "No, it was about narration, identity and representation. The story confronted all three." The Wabbit felt it was his turn. "It was between genres," he stated. "Rommy was the unwitting yet powerful delinquent, always ready to assume the lead, no matter the cost." Lapinette agreed with the Wabbit. "He disturbed and fascinated - rather like a reflection of you, Wabbit." Wabsworth reconsidered and nodded. "It was hardly an easy ride. We were repelled by and attracted to Rommy who was a different order of being." The Wabbit turned round finally. "I'd like drinks." Lapinette pointed at him. "You're paying!" She twitched an ear and a waiter appeared. The Wabbit smiled. "I'll have one for my baby and three more for the road."

[My thanks to Neil Archer: The French Road Movie. Space, Mobility and Identity. Berghann Books, New York, 2013]

Monday, May 02, 2022

13. The Wabbit and Artistic License

The Wabbit said goodbye to Rommy at Testaccio. They both looked down at the mural. Rommy chuckled. "The ears are too big." The Wabbit hung over the edge of the building and said, "Artistic License." Rommy got bigger. "I'll try to fit in." They examined the mural from top to bottom. "Jaws bigger and teeth showing," said the Wabbit. Rommy obliged. "More swirly fur," said the Wabbit. "Do you like that swirl?" said Rommy. "I do," said the Wabbit. "I'll do what I can," said Rommy. His fur swirled in all directions, and he adopted a ferocious look. "We've got to adapt," said the Wabbit, "it's good for us." Rommy was becoming too large for the top of the building, so he dropped down and merged with the mural. "Grrrrrrrrowl" he growled. The Wabbit laughed. "It's what people expect." Rommy looked up. "You mean the plebs." The Wabbit swithered and considered. "I meant the general public. Try harder." Rommy opened his fangs and growled at the top of his voice. People looked up from the market place. Some of them pointed. "You're popular," said the Wabbit. "I'm a God," said Rommy, "of course I'm popular." The Wabbit grimaced. "It's chancy to rely on only one God. The people can't have enough deities." "Or temples," agreed Rommy. He looked down at Testaccio market. "I think that market needs a temple." "I'll try and arrange it with the local municipality," said the Wabbit, "they've got a new mayor now. The last one hardly moved a fingertip." Rommy was part of the wall now. "I'm peeling. Can you get someone to touch me up?" The Wabbit couldn't help but smile. "Risky," he said, "but you never know your luck." Rommy winked. "I'll wait to hear from you." Then he froze.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

12. The Wabbit and the Misjudged Blast

The Agents arrived in droves and descended on the biscuits. That part of the plan worked well. But no one ever knew what caused the blast. It may have been faulty electrics. Maybe the biscuits caused a short circuit. Or perhaps it was the Agents' enthusiasm. But there was a blinding flash and what was meant to be just a trick turned to chaos. Rommy the Wolf had a smile on his face though. Agents hurtled through the air amidst a hail of ginger biscuits. "That'll teach them," said Rommy. He chortled long and hard. The Wabbit was aghast. "That was some Kaboom! Steady on there Rommy." Rommy reached a safe distance, skidded to a halt, and turned round. He surveyed his handiwork. "A good mechanical will sort that out in seconds. I'll get Apollodorus of Damascus onto it! The Wabbit raised a slightly blackened eye. "Wasn't he executed?" Rommy thought for a minute. "Oh yes," he muttered. "He did get into bother. He was one for an offhand quip at the wrong time in the wrong place." The Wabbit nodded sagely - because so was he. He addressed Rommy. "That completes my tour for now." Rommy's face fell. "Don't worry," said the Wabbit, "perhaps I can keep you on for special projects. You'd like the odd per diem, no doubt?" Rommy growled in a happy fashion. "Now you're talking." The Wabbit and Rommy the Wolf strolled off in the Aurelia direction. "Just one thing," said the Wabbit. "No kabooming without my say so."

Monday, April 25, 2022

11. The Wabbit and the Deserted Shop

The Wabbit and Rommy the Wolf made their way into the shop. Everyone had fled, but they made sure the shop was empty. "Do you have a plan?" asked the Wabbit. "Do you? asked Rommy. The Wabbit shrugged. So did Rommy. A wolf's shrug looked impressive. Rommy looked around. "Do these things work?" he asked. "I think so," said the Wabbit. Rommy looked intrigued. "Maybe we could lure them in. What do they like?" The Wabbit thought for a minute. "Ginger biscuits," he said. Rommy wrinkled his nose. "Really?" "Everyone does," said the Wabbit. "Do they sell them here?" asked Rommy. The Wabbit shook his head. "I'll nip out for some," said Rommy and he vanished. The Wabbit watched him go. There was a coop nearby and that's where he thought he'd get biscuits. He tucked his gun back in his fur and glanced about. There were electrical things of all descriptions. He examined curling tongs. "Useful." he said to himself. One said, "Best for short hair." He tucked that in his fur. Rommy returned bearing biscuits of varying descriptions. "That was quick," said the Wabbit. "Nobody at the till," said Rommy. They opened the doors of the washing machines and placed the biscuits deep inside. "Now we have to call them," suggested Rommy. He placed a biscuit on a stove and turned it on. The smell of hot biscuits wafted through the air. "Like this", said Rommy. He shouted. "We're having hot buttered biscuits!" The Wabbit joined in. "We're having hot buttered biscuits," he called. He heard the scurrying of feet. "They're coming," said Rommy. "Get ready to shove the devils in ..." "And then?" asked the Wabbit. "We give them a good clean," said Rommy. "And neat curls," nodded the Wabbit.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

10. The Wabbit and the Surprise Action

The Wabbit had miscalculated. The opposition - or both oppositions - were much better organised than he'd thought. They had commandeered the tops of buildings and were throwing balconies down in the street. Instead of watching them demolish each other he found himself dodging brickwork. He clung onto a road sign. Rommy was incensed. "Do you know it's my birthday today?" He growled and his fur spiked up. His eyes flared in a colour the Wabbit had never seen. "Who do they think I am?" said Rommy. A balcony whizzed past his nose. "Wile E. Coyote?" suggested the Wabbit. He ducked and dodged and complained all at the same time. "I suggest we take cover and let these rompicoglioni run out of steam," said Rommy. "I know where," said the Wabbit, "follow me." He hopped to other side of the road and down an alleyway. Passers-by dodged the hail of brickwork but when they saw Rommy they fled as their legs could carry them. The Wabbit and Rommy found themselves in a place that sold washing machines. "Best to wait here," whispered the Wabbit. "Do we have to buy anything," asked Rommy. "Not unless you're still in the market for consumer durables," grinned the Wabbit. "They play rough these Agents," observed Rommy. "Not as rough as us," retorted the Wabbit. "They got no respect," added Rommy. "So we have to teach them a lesson they won't forget," replied the Wabbit. He thought for a minute. "I usually kaboom them." Rommy didn't like the sound of that. "We should rend them limb from limb." The Wabbit nodded. "In what location should we rend?"

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

9. The Wabbit sets Rommy on the City

Acting as a decoy, Rommy the Wolf set off into the city. It was all his idea and the Wabbit was rather sceptical. The Agents were terrified of Rommy and so it seemed unlikely they'd be drawn out. But Rommy insisted. His paws struck fire from the cobbles and his eyes glared a dull, threatening red. "I'm a God," he said. "They won't be able to resist me." Rommy was at his most frightening and the Wabbit felt the heat in his fur. Rommy didn't move quickly. His pace was leisurely. His head searched from side to side. He glared into shop doorways. "Come out you Agents. Dare to fight the Mighty Rommy! Come out and be seen." No-one stirred. Nothing moved. The Wabbit followed Rommy by hopping along the rooftops. Together they made their way through Rome. It was as deserted as the Wabbit had ever seen it. Rommy growled softly. "I'll mince your chops, you verminous crew." But it was all to no avail. So Rommy began to inflate. His paws were twice their normal size. His fur shone like a thousand diamonds. When he bared his teeth, the very buildings flinched back. Then the Wabbit saw something. It was the Agents. Their horrid ears poked out from the eaves of far-off buildings. They were grouping for an attack, but it wasn't clear at what the assault was aimed. "Interesting," murmured the Wabbit. He called softly to Rommy and made a circling motion with his paw. Rommy nodded and disappeared round the back of some old houses. Now the Wabbit could see the Agents. They were comprised of two hostile groups - hostile to each other. The Wabbit grinned. "Major Spitlove!" He called to Rommy. "Back off Rommy, our enemies are making mistakes."
[Wolf by Steve Felberg at Pixabay]

Friday, April 15, 2022

8. The Wabbit and the Outraged Wolf

The Wabbit rounded the corner to find his plan had gone slightly askew. A group of Agents had assembled at a refuse dumpster and were making fun of the picture. Rommy advanced on them with venom. He roared and they scattered like billiard balls. One fainted dead away. Another was transfixed. Rommy's hackles rose and his mouth revealed devilish sharp teeth. The Wabbit waved a paw. "Rommy, this isn't in the plan!" Rommy roared again. "What plan? These foul creatures were abusing a wolf image. They must pay." The Agents of Rabit managed to dust themselves off and run away. "I'm pleased to see that the mighty cult of the wolf continues," said Rommy. The Wabbit sighed. "That's a garbage dumpster Rommy. The painting is part of an anti-graffiti, policy." Rommy grimaced. "It's the principle of the thing. Wolves will not be treated like chaff in the wind." The Wabbit knew Rommy was mixing his metaphors but felt it politic not to tell him. "I met with Major Spitlove at Testaccio - where you're supposed to be." "I was roaming," said Rommy. "Well good for you," said the Wabbit. "Spitlove is sowing dissension in the ranks. We must be ready to take advantage." "I think we already did," growled Rommy. They watched the Agents vanish into the city. The Wabbit felt that this might be in their favour after all - and said so. Rommy nodded. "They weren't expecting a God of Rome." The Wabbit grinned. "Then they're very happy or deeply unhappy!" "I shall cause them to come to my temple," said Rommy. "I didn't know you had one," joked the Wabbit.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

7. The Wabbit and Major Spitlove

The Wabbit stood in an old cowshed in Testaccio and waited patiently. When Major Spitlove emerged from the shadows. He had a broad smile on his face, which was unusual to say the least. The Wabbit scowled. It would never do to smile at Spitlove and he was anxious to keep up appearances. Spitlove's smile became broader. "All going according to plan, Commander." The Wabbit's frown was as frowny as could be. "They buy it then." Spitlove nodded. "The whole body of Agents are thrilled. I won paws down. I am now leader of the New Model Rabit Faction - and Commander in Chief of the whole shebang." The Wabbit smiled a faint smile and revealed most of his 28 teeth. "That will keep them busy for a while." Spitlove had been a double agent for as long as anyone could recall. But boundaries were boundaries and the Wabbit wasn't expecting familiarity. "That joke Skratch suggested went down well," said Spitlove. The Wabbit's ears swung back and formed a question mark. "Why did the secret agent cross the road?" asked Spitlove. "He wasn't on your side," shrugged the Wabbit with a sigh. "I'm very popular with the rank and file," said Spitlove. "I'll bet," said the Wabbit. They strolled to the gate. "How's that wolf?" asked Spitlove. "Settling in," replied the Wabbit. "A formidable ally," said Spitlove. The Wabbit nodded in agreement. "Lie low for now, and wait for my command." Major Spitlove leaned back. "Remind me. What is your command?" "I haven't thought of it yet," said the Wabbit. 

Monday, April 11, 2022

6. The Wabbit and Terni's Reunion

The Wabbit and Rommy the Wolf wandered out to the Wabbit's favourite mast. The mast was sadly in need of a repaint but the Wabbit liked it. There he often met Terni the Food dragon - and true to form Terni came swooping down. Flame billowed from his pepper nose as he let out a blood curling yell. The Wabbit grinned with all of his 28 teeth. "Rommy, meet Terni the Food Dragon." Rommy's eyes opened wide with delight. "Terni, is it really you?" Terni hovered. "Rommy - I thought you were dead." Rommy blinked several times. "I thought the same of you. Didn't the clergy get you?" Terni somersaulted backwards. "I was much too clever for them. Now they eat out of my claw." Rommy muttered. "Clerical fools." The Wabbit was astonished. "When you two have quite finished, we have work to do." Rommy bathed in the heat from Terni's nose, turning round to get an even tan. "The Wabbit tells me he's having a spot of bother with his enemies." "Oh, is it to do with Spitlove?" roared Terni. "The Wabbit turned him, but I heard dragons' whispers indicating a change of leadership." Rommy matched Terni's roar. "Let's plot. I love plotting. But my troops are all gone." The Wabbit thought this was a good time to summon his own troops. "Why don't you two sort it out - since you're so pally. I'll round up my forces and meet you at Testaccio later." Terni and Rommy were lost in conversation and the Wabbit took it as read. So he quietly padded off for the bus. "Rommy hasn't met Tipsy," he murmured.

Thursday, April 07, 2022

5. The Wabbit introduces an Old Friend.

The Wabbit and Rommy the Wolf ambled to the Largo di Torre Argentina. The Wabbit waved a paw. "And this is .." "I am Antiquicat," interrupted a cat. "He's my oldest friend in Rome," said the Wabbit. Rommy stared, then exclaimed. "I imagined you rather more orange." The cat meaowed. "I've had many lives and am quite ancient. I am therefore obliged to change my fur from time to time." The Wabbit grinned. "It's a Buddhist thing." Rommy looked round and saw the sign. "What's with the Ides of March. It's not March, it's April. So can we stop bewaring?" Antiquicat purred. "I do like your sense of humour. Are you an acquaintance of the Wabbit?" They settled down for a chat. "The Wabbit is introducing me to his friends," said Rommy. "I didn't know he had any," replied Antiquicat. He meaowed and screeched and held his sides. The Wabbit smiled amiably. Antiquicat continued although he could hardly speak for laughing, "The Wabbit comes to me for advice when he's run out of ideas." Rommy nodded. "He's a character all right." They chatted until it got late. Then talk turned to serious matters. "What about the Agents of Rabit?" asked Antiquicat, "I hear they have a new leader." The Wabbit lowered his voice. "Do tell." Antiquicat's voice was merely a squeak. "They call him ... Major Spitlove." The Wabbit could hardly be heard, his voice was so low. "He's one of ours." Rommy growled softly. "Wabbit, you have a double agent in the enemy camp?" The Wabbit nodded. Rommy snarled. "I like the sound of this. Just like the old days." The Wabbit tugged Rommy's fur, "Wanna join us?" Rommy suddenly rolled back and forward on the sidewalk, paws in the air. "We'll have a howl of a time!"

Monday, March 28, 2022

4. The Wabbit and the Wolf's Acquisition

The Wabbit and Rommy the Wolf were fed up with consumer durables, so they took a walk through the New Testaccio Market. They glanced at this, and they glanced at that. As usual it was predominantly ladies clothes. Rommy didn't seem to care and suddenly he lunged, snatched a shoe and casually padded off with it. "They see it, but they don't believe it," he growled. The Wabbit was officially appalled. "You can't just take things," he exclaimed. "I can," said Rommy, "I'm a Roman God." The Wabbit looked askance. "I think you'll find things have changed around here. Anyway, what do you want with ladies shoes?" "Spoils of war," said Rommy. The Wabbit thought of Wabsworth and quietly slipped a few notes on the market stall. They strolled on. "Are you going to wear it?" asked the Wabbit. "I'd look a right charlie wearing it," said Rommy, "I'm going to keep it in my collection of seized footwear." The Wabbit grinned. "Wouldn't you prefer a sausage?" He watched for Rommy's reaction. "What kind of sausage?" asked Rommy. "Vegetarian sausage?" suggested the Wabbit. Rommy turned up his nose. "I'd prefer a nice steak," he said. "Did you know Testaccio used to be the livestock market?" asked the Wabbit. "I know everything about Rome," said Rommy. "Then I suppose you know it's been turned into an art exhibit?" The Wabbit waited because he knew what was coming. "Hideous, hideous, hideous," said Rommy, "First year art students with too much money." The Wabbit thought about it. "The kind that did your mural?" Rommy snarled. "A bunch of baristas!" The Wabbit laughed. "Let's get a coffee."

Friday, March 25, 2022

3. The Wabbit and the Wolf go Shopping.

Rommy the wolf said he wanted to a look round the shops. "People will think I'm a big dog," he said. "Say woof," suggested the Wabbit. "WOOF said Rommy. "Needs practice," observed the Wabbit. They padded around the store. "What about one of these TVs?" asked the Wabbit. "It has many initials." Rommy looked the television up and down. "The upscaling isn't great. I can see the pixels." The Wabbit raised an eye and flapped an ear. Rommy laughed. "I'm a mural don't forget. I know about all manner of artistic stuff." The Wabbit was surprised. "What's your favourite show?" "Wolverine," said Rommy, "His past is shrouded in mystery." The Wabbit snorted. "Rather like yourself." Rommy growled. "Not one bit. There are so many stories about me I can hardly believe it." The Wabbit stood with his paws out, "You're supposed to be human." "Do me a favour," said Rommy, "That would be no fun. Trust the media to get everything the wrong way round." The Wabbit nodded. He could hardly disagree. "You founded Rome?" Rommy laughed. "I found Rome more like. What a terrible state it was in. Years of work it took me and my brother. Years." The Wabbit chortled. "How do you find it now?" "Awful," said Rommy. The Wabbit was lost in thought for a moment. "What about your brother Remus?" Rommy looked at the Wabbit. "He went to the other side." The Wabbit nodded again and shook his head, "It happens to the best of us." "I saw the birds you know, and that was it," said Rommy. The Wabbit made a flapping motion with his paws. "Birds," he shrugged, Rommy's fur stood on end, and he growled. "I hate cardinals the most."
[Wolf by Alexus at Pixabay]

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

2. The Wabbit and the Wolf of Testaccio

The Wabbit wandered through Testaccio with nothing particular in mind. He was scouting out territory just to see what he could see, and he glanced over his shoulder at a mural he particularly liked. "Hello Wabbit!" called a voice. The Wabbit sometimes felt he could never be alone. But he didn't want to be rude to the wolf. "Oh hello," he replied. "See anything you liked at the market?" asked the wolf. The Wabbit shrugged. It was a nice market and he was fond of it, but it didn't have a suitable range of unobtainable items. "No old jazz records from 1951," he said. "It's not that kind of market," came the reply. The Wabbit shrugged again, "I did buy a bottle of  olive oil with chillies and I have it here in my fur." The wolf seemed to turn. "That's the spirit," he said, "It refreshes the limbs. Just look what it did for my neck." The Wabbit laughed. The wolf looked down and smiled. "Did you meet these pesky garlic sellers?" The Wabbit nodded with vigour. "They're from the Garlic Tendency," said the wolf, "we can't get rid of them." The Wabbit was astonished. "Not even you! Are you stuck there?" "No," said the wolf, "I can get down. But I like it here and no-one bothers me much." The Wabbit thought for a bit. "Come down and show me round. You seem to have the inside line on things." The wolf thought for a while. Then he growled. "I will! You can introduce me to your friends." The Wabbit was super pleased. "What's your name?"  "Call me Rommy," said the wolf - and he jumped down beside the Wabbit and stuck out a paw. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

1. The Wabbit and the City of Dreams

The Wabbit had just arrived on the train from Bologna. As he left the platform he cast a wry glance at the train. It wasn't Quantum. It didn't talk nor could it use lattice drive, but the Wabbit felt affectionate enough. He was anticipating a big change and he couldn't say he was entirely looking forward to it. The Department of Wabbit Affairs planned major renovations and the Wabbit had to vacate Turin to relocate in Rome. He stood and thought about it. Terni the Food Dragon was there and he might see Moloch and Panico. He was very close to Fregene for a seafood lunch and he could have some time on the beach. There were museums, theatres, art galleries - and markets of course. He might find some unobtainable items. Not too bad. It would feel like a holiday. The Wabbit reflected. He didn't really like holidays and he wrinkled his nose. There was always something unexpected happening and he had to work. He brightened. "That'd be cool," he thought. He had another look at the train. "What about the pizzas?" said the train. The Wabbit grinned as he thought of Roman pizzas. Thin crisp pizzas, no giant crusts. Potato pizzas, lots of rosemary, gnam-gnam. He paused and turned directly to the train. "Did you perchance speak to me?" The train huffed a bit and made a hydraulic sound. "I did." The Wabbit smiled. "You shouldn't speak to strange rabbits." "Everyone knows you, Commander Wabbit." The Wabbit grinned again and asked, "Wanna go for a pizza?" The train sounded its klaxon. "I have to go back to Bologna. Wanna come?" So the Wabbit hopped on board and settled in. "Don't mind if I do." He mused as the train moved off and he quoted Marcus Aurelius in a low voice. "There was a dream that was Rome ... you could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish; it was so fragile ..."

Thursday, March 10, 2022

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

The Wabbit was waiting for everyone to converge at the Adventure Caffè. He'd grabbed a table on the perimeter and held onto it even though everyone was a little late. Wabsworth was charged with securing the Bejeweled Rabbit and he was most pleased with himself. "Is this a copy or not?" he asked, "Is it a work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction?" The Wabbit looked sideways. "It seems to have an aura and therefore it has all the qualities of the original." Skratch arrived and was quick to point out that the idea of an original was open to question. Lapinette wrinkled her nose. "I personally have held the original. I therefore have tactile knowledge." The Wabbit grinned. "So can you tell the difference?" Lapinette thought for a minute and had to make a confession. "I really cannot say." Wabsworth laughed and gripped the Bejeweled Rabbit tightly. "In principle, works of art could always be reproduced. As an android, I can say that it is not a mechanical reproduction, but a masterly work in its own right." Skratch was anxious to make another point. "But it lacks the original's location in time and space." The Wabbit scoffed. "How do you know this isn't the original? Magically transported in time and space by the mysterious figure?" Just then the Bejeweled Rabbit spoke. "Original original. I'm the original original." They all gazed at the rabbit with their mouths open. Skratch laughed. "Magic!" Wabsworth winked. "I confess. I pressed a button on the bottom." Lapinette burst out laughing. "We've been had!" The Wabbit chortled mightily. "I think it had us all right." Skratch wanted the last word. "It can no longer be treated as it used to be. But it's an authentic reproduction, not a commodity." The Wabbit laughed. "Any chance of an authentic drink?"

Monday, March 07, 2022

9. The Wabbit and the End of the Holiday

The Wabbit and Lapinette found themselves on the surface of another planet. It was dusty and dry and the Wabbit shook grit from his fur. Lapinette looked up. "That's not the sun we started with." The Wabbit agreed and said so. He grimaced. All the same, he was glad to be out of the clutches of the mysterious chocolate rabbit. He heard a familiar throbbing. It was Quantum the Time Travelling Train - and Skratch the Cat was at the controls. The Wabbit heaved a sigh of relief as Quantum descended through a heavy gaseous atmosphere that warped everything they could see. The train hovered. There was no flat surface. "You'll have to climb aboard Commander." Skratch's voice was warped too. They picked themselves up and staggered across the rough terrain. "If one more person asks me if I enjoyed my holiday, I will personally dismember them." growled the Wabbit. He waved up at Skratch. "Did you enjoy your holiday, Commander and Lapinette?" shouted Skratch. "Yes," said the Wabbit through clenched teeth. "A break is as good as a rest," shrugged Lapinette. They turned to wave goodbye to the planet. "What about the Bejeweled Rabbits?" asked Lapinette. They heard a squeak as a rabbit popped up his head. The Wabbit grabbed it by its ears. "Holiday souvenir!" he exclaimed. "Are we going to Wablantis?" squeaked the Bejeweled Rabbit. "Not just yet," replied the Wabbit. "It's earthquake season," said Lapinette. They boarded the train. Then Quantum slipped into lattice drive ..  and vanished.

[Background picture: Planet 188753 NASA - Caltech]

Saturday, March 05, 2022

8. The Wabbit and the Mystical Vortex

One second the Wabbit and Lapinette were climbing out of the tunnel and in the next they were sucked into a vortex. It was taking them to the sea, of that they were sure. But they were cruelly distorted and so were the bejeweled rabbits. The mysterious chocolate figure looked on, paws tucked into his pants as always. He was as distorted as they were, and he nodded cheerfully as the world span round. "I hope you enjoyed your holiday, Wabbit." His speech was distorted too. "I wope you enjeweled your hooliday, Wobbit." The Wabbit span round and round. His insides looped and churned. "Woooooot?" was all he could say. Lapinette looked none too happy. "Gug gug gug woot?" Her tartan frock took on a strange pattern, the like of which no-one had seen before. The bejeweled rabbits fared the worst. They spiralled and stretched out of control. Their ears became distended, and their eyes were mere black dots on a golden surface. "Where on earth are we?" shouted the Wabbit. "You're not on earth - remember?" said the chocolate figure, "This is your holiday destination. Have you had a good time?" The vortex revolved like a washing machine. The Wabbit sailed perilously close to the cavern walls before he was drawn back to the centre. Lapinette shouted something but the Wabbit couldn't hear. He had a stab at what she was saying. "Would you like to go home, Lapinette?" Lapinette nodded vigorously. The chocolate figure took his paw out of his pocket and raised it in the air. Everything stabilised. The Wabbit grabbed the bejeweled rabbits and rummaged in his fur for his automatic. But the figure smiled, bowed and vanished ...
[Backgrounds by Redgular and Photosharing at Pixabay]

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

7. The Wabbit and the Spiralling Tunnel

The Wabbit and Lapinette took the bejeweled rabbits and tried to get out from the tunnel, but nothing was the right way.  Corridors gave way to more corridors. Stairs twisted and spiralled along, upward then down. Going was tough but they knew they had to go up. The Wabbit perched on a step that was a sharp as a razor. Lapinette fared better and floated over the top like magic. "These rabbits are heavy," huffed the Wabbit. "Not at all," smiled Lapinette. They continued on their way. The Wabbit decided to take the stairs two at a time but fell and grazed a knee. "Slow and steady wins the race," commented Lapinette. She glided onwards. "Grrr," replied the Wabbit. Lapinette's ears swivelled. "Can you feel someone watching us?" The Wabbit clung on with one paw and risked looking back. "It's him." Lapinette kept looking forward, but her ears were tuning in. "The mystery chocolate figure?" The Wabbit screwed up his eyes. It was hard to see in the tunnel. "I think he's applauding." Lapinette snorted. "Maybe he could lend a helping paw." The Wabbit snorted too. "I don't think he's of the helping paw persuasion." He looked back again. The chocolate figure walked towards them but never seemed to get any closer. "Probably he'll be along in a jiffy," said the Wabbit. "A hundredth of a second?" smiled Lapinette. "I was being ironic," said the Wabbit. "That's not irony, that's sarcasm," grinned Lapinette. "He's hardly gaining," observed the Wabbit, "so let's ignore him." Lapinette bounded forward, "I can see a way out." The rabbits started to chant. "Way out, outa sight. Way out." The Wabbit groaned. "Can you dig it?"
[Background. Pretty Sleepy Pixabay]

Monday, February 28, 2022

6. The Wabbit and the Bejeweled Rabbits

The Wabbit and Lapinette dragged the chest to the middle of the corridor and inspected the contents. It was a surprise. There, in a plush velvet lining, lay several bejeweled rabbits. The Wabbit plucked one out - and so did Lapinette. They examined them closely. "So much for legend," shrugged the Wabbit. "They seem real enough," said Lapinette. They looked the corridor up and down. "This is a long way from Wablantis," observed the Wabbit. "Very far," said Lapinette. The Wabbit thought for a long time. "Maybe there's a second Wablantis. Like a mirror of the first, but here on Proxima b." Lapinette shook her ears. "What cunning shaman did this?" "Maybe the electric shaman? He has the guile." Lapinette's ears froze. "What's that sound?" The rabbits were talking to each other in a strange language. Not even the Wabbit's universal translator could decipher it. They spoke in whispers and appeared to agree with each other. The Wabbit lifted one up and held it close to his ear. Lapinette did the same. The whispering continued. "I can't make head nor tail of it," said the Wabbit. Suddenly the rabbits mimicked his voice. "Neither head nor tail, head nor tail." They chirruped in a sweet chorus. The Wabbit tried his luck again. "How did you get here?" They chanted as one. "We came came came, on the train train train." The Wabbit looked at Lapinette and did that thing that he did when he was puzzled. Lapinette took over. "Which train train train?" The rabbits put their heads together. "The chocolate train." The Wabbit frowned. "It's a mystery." The rabbits chirruped again. "Mystery mystery mystery." Lapinette sighed. "It's all becoming clear." The Wabbit was none the wiser. "You recall the mystery bus?" said Lapinette. The Wabbit slapped a paw between his eyes. "Not the chocolate rabbit!" "The very same," breathed Lapinette.

[Background. Skitterphoto at Pixabay

Friday, February 25, 2022

5. The Wabbit and the Vaulted Cellar

The Wabbit and Lapinette hopped down the gloomy passageway without event. But as they rounded a corner Lapinette shrieked. "Get down. Bats!" It wasn't just bats, but a series of pterodactyls that pecked at the Wabbit and Lapinette with pointed beaks. "Gerrof!" shouted the Wabbit. The bats were huge and didn't appear dangerous. But they seemed drawn to the Wabbit. They flapped around and got in his fur. "J'aime pas les chauves-souris," howled the Wabbit. He batted them away. Lapinette made her way into the main corridor. "What's that?" She pointed. "It looks like a Treasure Chest!" breathed the Wabbit. "Guarded by a large green bat," observed Lapinette. She shuddered. The Wabbit marched up to the chest and addressed the green bat. "Would you mind? he said politely. The bat tightened its grip on the chest. "I say. I want to open that box." Politeness wasn't working. The bat gripped the chest even more. It turned to the Wabbit and made a series of clicks and pings. "I think it's the guardian of the chest," said Lapinette. The Wabbit nodded. He fished in his fur, then looked up. "Got any insects?" Lapinette shook her head. "They might be mega bats," she suggested. The Wabbit shrugged. "I'll try it on fruit." He took out an old and forgotten avocado and rolled it on the passageway floor. The bat released the chest, fluttered down, ate the avocado in a single gulp and fluttered back up again. But the Wabbit was quicker. He hooked his foot around the lid of the chest and flicked it open. "Ooooh!" breathed Lapinette. "It's treasure and I don't think it's lost," grinned the Wabbit. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

4. The Wabbit and Lapinette hit the Beach

Quantum the Time Travelling Train dropped the Wabbit and Lapinette on the planet. True to his word, he'd selected a quiet beach, but it didn't meet with Lapinette's approval. "Spooky," she whispered. "Could be worse," said the Wabbit, "At least it isn't Mallorca!" Lapinette took in the scene. "I don't see anywhere to put down beach towels." The Wabbit grinned. "We can sit on the rocks and throw pebbles." Proxima b boasted a sun and several planetoids - all of them exerting an influence on the sea. "The tide is going out," commented Lapinette. She hopped from rock to rock. The Wabbit looked at the waves and wrinkled his nose. "Best move inland," he muttered. He looked up at Quantum's red streak in the sky as he vanished across the horizon. "Well, we're stuck now, so we'll get with our holiday." He started to hop. Lapinette's eyes swivelled to the left as something swooped by. "It's some kind of pterodactyl." The Wabbit nodded. "It means winged finger." Lapinette nodded. "I think it just gave us the bird." The Wabbit turned to follow it. "A sign of civilisation, I suppose." Together they waded a short distance and made their way inside. "This is the weirdest holiday I've ever had." The Wabbit's fur was now wet. He shook off the water. "A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving," he said testily. Lapinette was determined to out quote the Wabbit. "Rabbits don't take trips. Trips take rabbits." The Wabbit grinned. "What's that up there?" Lapinette stared. "It looks like a passageway." The Wabbit did a double take. "Leading to a vaulted cellar? What are we waiting for?" They would have hopped forward but an unknown force drew them in ...

[Background Credit NASA-Caltech]

Monday, February 21, 2022

3. The Wabbit, Lapinette and Destinations

Quantum sailed over the horizon of a Blood Red planet called Proxima B and flew across a storm-tossed ocean. His voice boomed over the speakers. "What a nice sunset. Lovely, lovely, lovely." Lapinette and the Wabbit looked out with fixed expressions. "I thought you said nice beaches," said Lapinette. "I'll take you to a lovely cove where you can whisper sweet nothings in each other's ears," replied Quantum. "OK," said the Wabbit, "the sea will be calm, won't it?" Quantum laughed. "The beautiful limpid waters of Proxima B." Lapinette placed her paws on her waist. "This wasn't quite what I was expecting." "Wonderful," said Quantum, "It's a surprise." The Wabbit dug in his fur for sun screen that he always kept for solar emergencies. "It certainly is." Quantum banked to starboard and sped over the rocky shores. "Bathing costumes are in the locker compartment. You'll find books too. I brought the Booker short list for you to read." The Wabbit cringed. "Got anything amusing and interesting?" There was a silence. "The Dandy and Beano Annuals, 2011 onwards." Quantum laughed like no train had laughed before. "That'll do," said the Wabbit. Lapinette wrinkled her nose but Quantum said, "I haven't forgotten you Lapinette. I have the Women's Own from inception in 1932." Lapinette's nose wrinkled even more. "Also Oh Comely. 'Self love, surrealism and forever friendships' is particularly good." Lapinette sighed. "Maybe I'll just soak up the sun." The Wabbit piped up. "I heard the planet's orbit round Centauri is 11.2 days." The speaker crackled again. "Guided tours may be booked with Skratch in the dining car." Lapinette shrieked. "Skratch is here!" Skratch's voice came over the speakers. "My feline wisdom precedes me."

[Background credit: NASA JPL-Caltech]

Friday, February 18, 2022

2. The Wabbit and Lapinette Take Off

Lapinette and the Wabbit were about to board Quantum the Time Travelling Train when they heard a voice. "Tickets please. Please have your tickets ready." Wabsworth stepped from behind the train. The Wabbit grinned and proffered two tickets. Being an android, Wabsworth had eagle eyes. "These tickets are to Milan-Garibaldi and they're out of date." Lapinette let out a giggle. "Come on Wabsworth. Let us on the train." The Wabbit was amused too. "They're usually all right for my purposes." Wabsworth was in officious mode. "I can't let you on without a valid ticket." Lapinette expressed mock horror and so did the Wabbit. Wabsworth fished in his fur, "I have here two valid tickets to a surprise beach resort." He took them out and clipped them. "Welcome on board. You may proceed to the dining carriage where complimentary glasses of Prosecco await you." Quantum's voice boomed out from the speakers. "I'm taking you on holiday to Planet Proxima b." Wabsworth groaned. "It's supposed to be a surprise!" Quantum went on regardless. "Equitable temperatures all year round. No-one to bother you on the beach." Wabsworth was appalled. "You spoiled the surprise." Quantum laughed. "How we get there is the surprise. We will go via..." Wabsworth cut him off. "The train is about to leave. All those not travelling should step out and take their belongings with them." He stood to attention and blew a long piercing whistle. He then waved to Quantum. The Wabbit and Lapinette scampered on board. They felt the familiar judder of Quantum's engines and toasted each other with the complimentary Prosecco. Within an instant they were looking out at space. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

1. The Wabbit's Archway to the Stars

The Wabbit was taking a constitutional in the Royal Gardens. He'd just got to the entrance when Lapinette came loping up and blew kisses at him. The Wabbit shuffled his feet and looked all round. "Lapinette!" he exclaimed. "To what do I owe the honour?" Lapinette looked coy. "I've been thinking." Now the Wabbit was apprehensive. "Oh really," he said cheerfully, "what about?" Lapinette jumped up and down. "We need a holiday. I asked the Holiday Section of the Department for special leave - and they said yes." The Wabbit raised his eyes. "How long for?" "A fortnight," said Lapinette. Now the Wabbit knew one thing. There was always trouble on holiday and it always turned into an adventure. He mentally packed his automatic, a stock of C4, several stun grenades and a snazer rifle. "You can bring a nice book to read on the beach," said Lapinette. The Wabbit inwardly gritted all of his 28 teeth, but smiled nonetheless. "Habermas on the logic of the social sciences." Lapinette was appalled. "No, no, no, something light, like a detective book." The Wabbit thought for a bit. "OK. The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco?" Lapinette sighed. "Phew. I suppose so." They hopped together through the archway and down to the gardens. "Doesn't it feel good to have no missions?" asked Lapinette. The Wabbit hated not having a mission - but he grinned. "Of course." Lapinette went on. "No Agents of Rabit, no prehistoric creatures, no monsters." The Wabbit paused for effect then pulled two tickets from under his fur. "Special deal on the train. Prosecco on tap and salad sandwiches galore. Quantum will take us." Lapinette slapped her paw on her head. "He's a bit stuffy." The Wabbit grinned again. "Let the train take the strain!"

Monday, February 14, 2022

The Wabbit and his Adventure Caffè

The team assembled at a Caffè in Piazza Vittorio Veneto. There, the Wabbit held court. They waited for the waiter to arrive - with the remote control on the table. "Maybe if I pressed it, the waiter would come." said the Wabbit. "Better not," said Lapinette, "we might end up in a techno thriller." Skratch approached from behind, late as usual. But he liked to make an entrance and exclaimed, "What was that for a sort of adventure?" The Wabbit laughed. "Lapinette suggested it was a techno-thriller." Wabsworth intervened. "Well, I'm an android and do I think it wasn't sci-fi - it was securely in the present." Lapinette smiled. "We need to invite Blake Crouch and he'll settle it for us." Skratch looked amused. "Settle down now, we'll put our heads together and sort it out." The Wabbit looked nonchalant. "OK Skratch I'll begin. The story didn't posit the future but was entirely predicated upon the present." Skratch looked thoughtful. "Are you arguing for a realist text?" The Wabbit was shocked. "No, I thought it was anti realist. It challenged narrative specularity - especially the battle ending." Lapinette was doubtful. "Merely because android animals fought real animals?" Wabsworth was horrified. "This android business is a point in question. We androids should be taken more seriously than that." Lapinette looked grave. "Android lives matter." Wabsworth nodded so hard, the table shook. Skratch looked serious. "Allow me to arbitrate. Can we agree it was part of a hybrid genre that challenges the tenets of narrative?" Everyone agreed to that framework, allowing for differences. The Wabbit chortled and reached for the remote control but Lapinette grabbed it from him. Then she flicked her ears. A waiter appeared immediately ...

Friday, February 11, 2022

6. The Wabbit and Spyders v Mosquitoes

The Wabbit called in another favour from Marshall Duetta Spyder. The favours were mounting up, but the Wabbit figured Duetta would like this mission. Lapinette had been right and there were more than one android mosquitoes - a whole swarm in fact. They were good androids, but they had never dealt with Major Duetta. With two of her cohorts Duetta descended on the engineering lab where the android insects had located and advanced with menace. Two spyders spun a web of liquid titanium and threw it over the mosquitoes. They squealed and squealed but were outclassed, tangled as they were in the web. Major Duetta Spyder stood to the side and shouted. "Give up, androids. We don't like your kind round here." The buzzing noise was deafening. "You will be dismembered," shouted Duetta, "and your parts used for doobley drones." The spyders began to dismantle the drones, pinching legs off here and there. Duetta lifted her radio and sent a message to the Wabbit. "Mosquitoes defeated. Dismantling now." In turn, the Wabbit sent a message to CERN saying more or less the same thing. Then he added another. "You owe us a gala dinner." Lapinette turned to the Wabbit. "Duetta and her spyders give me the creeps." Wabsworth chipped in. "But less creepy than android mosquitoes." Lapinette nodded. The sound of munching came across the radio. "Do spyders like electronics?" The Wabbit laughed. "They like anything." 
 [ Background Image: Julien Marius. CERN. Mosquitoes. Sergei Tokmakov, Pixabay]

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

5. The Wabbit and the Android Mosquito

The remote pulled them to the end of the tunnel but a shock lay in store.  A giant android mosquito sat on new bit of accelerator, and it looked very menacing indeed. The Wabbit did what he usually did. He shouted "Run!" and nobody argued. The mosquito lurched forward. Its stinger dripped venom that melted components and destroyed the fabric of the pipe. Wabsworth turned and - being an android - he tried to communicate with it. But the mosquito just screamed in an unintelligible high-pitched whine and jabbed at the Wabbit. "Gerrof," yelled the Wabbit. He caught the edge of the acid spray and it stung like amber asp. "Yikes," he yelled. Lapinette wanted to turn the tables, but she couldn't think how. "Go away you big green thing!" This had no effect. Wabsworth tried again with an algorithm he'd just invented. It was composed of an electronic version of flowery perfume mixed with garlic and onions. The mosquito stopped. Then it tried to fly. Its wings moved up and down, but nothing happened. Wabsworth yelled with glee. "It's modelled on a real mosquito. They hate some smells and they're terrible at flying." They all stopped running and turned. For a moment the mosquito stared at them. Its eyes swivelled. Then it seemed to spit, gave a short buzz, and lurched off. "This is what's been interfering with the accelerator," said Lapinette. "We've stopped it for now," said Wabsworth. "But it will certainly be back," said the Wabbit. "And what if there's more?" said Lapinette. "I don't suppose a net would be any good," pondered the Wabbit. Wabsworth laughed. "Maybe it would."

[Mosquito Sergei Tokmakov, Background. CERN. Distributed under the Creative Commons Licence]

Monday, February 07, 2022

4. The Wabbit and the Particle Accelerator

The remote control took the Wabbit into the tunnel. Somewhat to his surprise, Lovely Lapinette and Wabsworth were there and were working hard on the particle accelerator. The Wabbit waved his remote control. "This any good to you?" Lapinette looked up. "What took you so long? The Department paged you ages ago." Wabsworth scowled and shook his fist. "Old fashioned devices. This is long past its sell-by date." The Wabbit studied it for a while. "How do you know when it's working?" Lapinette responded. "It makes a sound." The Wabbit was mystified because he knew that particles colliding didn't make much of a racket. Wabsworth snorted. "It has a sonification routine. It will make diddley diddley other-worldly sounds." The Wabbit lifted his remote control. "This doesn't make much noise either." He pressed the red button. It pulsed a deep crimson. Strange other-worldly music began. Lapinette found it quite hideous. "Who made this music? The BBC radiophonics workshop?" But according to Wabsworth's test meter, particles were indeed accelerating and crashing around. "The remote control wanted to come here," shrugged the Wabbit. "After all that work!" shouted Wabsworth. The Wabbit stood back. "You need to work on that anger sub-routine, Commander Wabsworth." Wabsworth smiled and laid down his test meter. "Our work is done. Let's go home." The Wabbit looked down the tunnel. "Don't they have one of these little electric buses?" Lapinette was sarcastic. "Shall I phone one?" But the remote control twitched and tugged and made its way down the tunnel with everyone in tow. The Wabbit smirked. "In the quantum world, you don't have to wait." "Or maybe you do," said Lapinette.

[Background image: CERN]

Friday, February 04, 2022

3. The Wabbit and the Big Collider

The Wabbit knew about CERN of course - although the Department was sceptical about its general approach and the Wabbit agreed with the sentiment. Nonetheless, this was a collider and the Wabbit was caught up right in the middle. He noticed the remote-control whirling in the distance, but he couldn't reach it. A member of staff looked up and the Wabbit called down to him. "How do I get home?" But the man shook his head and mouthed something back. The Wabbit tried to read his lips and it looked something like, "Would you care for a spot of lunch?" "I'd like a salad sandwich," shouted the Wabbit in reply. As it transpired, the staff member was calling "Get out at once," but the Wabbit wasn't to know. He kept revolving. "That remote-control is a menace," he said to himself. He was a long way up and didn't fancy dropping. He grabbed for it again, but unfortunately pressed the red button. "What next?" muttered the Wabbit. Nothing appeared to happen - but the custodian fellow vanished along with a great deal of machinery. The scene faded and the Wabbit was in a deep tunnel. He thought he could see Lovely Lapinette in the distance. "Lapinette!" he yelled. There was no reply. He willed himself forward. He could see her waving. "Lapinette!" he called again. He waved back vigorously and by accident caught the remote-control. It headed into the tunnel and dragged the Wabbit along. "This is better than being zapped," sighed the the Wabbit. "Anything to stop you pushing my buttons," said the remote-control.

[Picture credit: CERN Creative Commons]

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

2. The Wabbit and the Curious Rover

The Wabbit gazed at the camera. The visor blinked. "Searching," said a voice, "please wait a few moments." The Wabbit waited and waited and he was about to give up when the voice spoke again. "Hello, Commander Wabbit." The Wabbit stared intently. "Which planet am I on?" He waited again and took the chance to look around. "It's only Mars, Commander. Nothing so exciting as you normally encounter." The Wabbit grinned. "Curiosity Rover?" The camera swung round and back. "Not much curiosity left, Commander. I've been here more than seven years and I'm still scraping rocks." The Wabbit tapped on the housing. "See any rabbits?" Curiosity Rover whirred. "Only one and that was you. You passed by me on one of your adventures." He paused. "Care for a rock sample?" The Wabbit grimaced. "Not really." He shrugged. "Maybe you could tell me why I'm here." He waved his remote control around. Curiosity shot in the air, then fell back to the surface. "Whoah," said the Wabbit. "Can you do that again?" asked Curiosity. The Wabbit waved the remote again but with more finesse. Curiosity left the planet's surface, had a look around and returned. "They'll be able to see all that in about ten minutes." The Wabbit  nodded. "I'm sure they'll be pleased." Curiosity looked the Wabbit up and down. "Would you like to hear a joke? Commander." The Wabbit smiled and nodded. "Where do Martians have a drink?" asked Curiosity. "I don't know I give up," responded the Wabbit. "Mars Bars," said the Rover. There was a flash and the Wabbit found himself back in Turin ...

[Background. Courtesy NASA ]

Monday, January 31, 2022

1. The Wabbit and the Remote Control

The Wabbit was hopping down by the river when he spotted something lying in the grass. Light caught the edge of the object and it looked shiny and attractive. It was a remote control. He bent down, picked it up and brushed off the grass. It wasn't for a television as he'd first imagined. He made out the manufacturer's name - Marantz. "This is for an amplifier," he thought. The Wabbit was pleased. He had a Marantz at home, but it had no remote. "Maybe it will operate something back at the burrow." He brushed grass and leaves from it. It looked none the worse for wear. In fact, it shone like the day it was made. He had a quick look at the battery compartment - and there were a couple in there. So just for fun, he played with it. He pressed most of the buttons and looked around to see if anything happened. No electronics on the river path, so he shrugged. But the button that caught his attention was the red one. The Wabbit had a bad record with red buttons. He'd pressed them before and without exception trouble  ensued. Heaps of trouble. "I'd better leave it until I'm home," he said to himself. But the button flashed and glowed a dull red, as if it was calling to him. His paw crept toward the red button. "No," he thought, I'd better not." He made to slide the remote under his fur. But the button flashed again and made a sound. "Beweep!" The Wabbit shook it. "Bweeeeeep," it said, but much louder. "OK," said the Wabbit. He moved his paw towards the red button and pressed it. Colours seemed to brighten. Sounds were louder. He pressed again. Without warning his surroundings flashed and he found himself ... somewhere else entirely. 

Friday, January 28, 2022

The Wabbit's Adventure Caffè

The team assembled at a Caffè of their choosing. It was in Via Vittorio Emanuele and was set out for lunch. "Let's have lunch then," said the Wabbit. "Why not?" said Lapinette. "Don't mind if I do," said Wabsworth. Wabsworth was an android copy of the Wabbit and had developed a food subroutine. He was especially fond of Spaghetti alle Vongole and the Wabbit liked to watch him eat it. Skratch was late as usual, and he slid in at the top table. "Whoa!" he said as a cyclist sped by. Lapinette laughed. "Ah Skratch, would you care for reheated substandard food delivered to your door?" Skratch shook his head vigorously. "I'd rather tell you what kind of adventure you just had." Wabsworth gurgled. "Don't you always?" Skratch ignored this and launched into his spiel. "It was a fantasy adventure where cartoons became living things." The Wabbit grinned. "Don't we always do that?" Skratch shook his head. "I mean very flat ones." The Wabbit nodded his head. "It was esoteric symbolism." Lapinette was sceptical. "I felt it was hyper anthropomorphism." Skratch was inclined to agree with the Wabbit. "A body part stood in for the whole animal with the attendant symbolism of teeth as a transformative object." Lapinette nodded. "We got our teeth into the concept of specified genre." The Wabbit was delighted. "Let's order! Wabsworth's having Spaghetti alle Vongole." Wabsworth wasn't happy. "I was going to have a change." Lapinette spoke soothingly. "You can have anything you want." Wabsworth beamed. "I want Spaghetti cacio e pepe con le cozze." The Wabbit rapped the table. "Make that four!"