Friday, September 30, 2022

3. The Wabbit and the Chequered Door

Susan the Biplane made an approximate landing and the Wabbit and Lapinette lurched out. A skeleton lay across the doorway. "Its bones have bleached in the sun," murmured the Wabbit. "Look!" said Lapinette. A familiar figure sauntered from the doorway. "Wabsworth!" yelled the Wabbit. "What are you doing in these parts?" said Lapinette. "How did you get here?" asked the Wabbit. Wabsworth stopped and spread his paws wide. "I was just doing a small experiment in our shed - and there was a sudden flash." The Wabbit gave a snort. "Any models involved?" Wabsworth was an android and not given to much emotion. But on this occasion he tapped into his 'surprised' algorithm. "As it happens, yes - there were models involved. Kendall Jenner came round for a cup of tea." He laughed in a silly way. The Wabbit and Lapinette figured the event had gone to Wabsworth's head. Lapinette placed her paws on her hips. "What about the skelingtron?" she asked. "I've no idea, he doesn't say much." The Wabbit jumped forward, reached behind Wabsworth and pressed a button that Wabsworth kept very secret. He shook his android head. Even a partial reset was hard on his system. "Where the binky am I?" He looked down and saw the skeleton. "Ah! I do recall," he said. He looked at the Wabbit. "He's from the ghost train." Lapinette jumped up and down. "So what's inside that building?" Wabsworth gave a snort. "An Amusement Park."

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

2. The Wabbit in the Model City

The Wabbit and Lapinette looked in awe. Lapinette scrambled onto a wing tip and looked down. The Wabbit shuddered. "I wish you wouldn't do that." Lapinette wrapped her legs round the struts. "Perfectly safe," she said. Susan the Biplane sniggered and looped around. "Whoah," said the Wabbit. He was reminded he hadn't had much for breakfast. "I see skelingtrons," said Lapinette. The Wabbit ignored Lapinette's mispronunciation because, sure enough, a couple of skeletons were lying face down at what looked like entrances to a strange building. "This looks like a model," observed Lapinette. "Big for a model," said the Wabbit. "Maybe it's a full-size model," chuckled Susan. The Wabbit mulled that over. "Can you have a full-size model?" The Wabbit craned her neck around to see more. "Yes, you can if it's made of a different material. The Wabbit shook his head. "Look for a place to land, Susan." Susan checked it out. "There's a place where I can land but I might roll over that skeleton." "He won't mind," said the Wabbit. Lapinette scrambled back into the cockpit. "We've had to deal with skelingtrons before, remember?" The Wabbit gently guided Susan in. "I was expecting an uneventful trip." Lapinette hummed a tune. "You wouldn't like it."  Susan dipped her wings. "He never likes anything, does he?" Lapinette nodded her head in agreement. "Except Prosecco and a salad sandwich."

Monday, September 26, 2022

1. The Wabbit and the Wingtip Stunt

The Wabbit and Susan the Biplane flew in over Eur and picked up Lapinette. It had all been arranged in advance. Susan swept down between apartment blocks in a highly illegal manoeuvre and Lapinette jumped from a balcony onto a wing. Susan laughed. "Welcome aboard, Marquesa!" Lapinette grasped a strut and scrambled towards the Wabbit. It was always windy at Eur, and it was touch and go. But Lapinette was delighted with herself and she smiled a broad smile. "Call me Madame la Dangereuse." The Wabbit threw his head back and laughed. "La belle dame sans merci!" He looked around to check for police helicopters. The skies were empty. Relieved the stunt was a success, he shook his head and set a course for downtown. "Steady as she goes Susan." Susan was appalled. "I'm not a sailing ship, Commander." The Wabbit smiled as they wheeled above Eur. "Why is it called Eur, plenty of euro here do you think?" Lapinette was quick to reply. "It's an acronym. Esposizione Universale Roma." Susan hung on a wingtip. "It looks like an exhibition all right." Lapinette was about to give a lecture on fascist and post fascist architecture but the Wabbit cut her short. "It's Italian rationalism - but that's really only a simplified neo-classicism." Lapinette hooted. "Wikipedia?" "No, I read it in a book," said the Wabbit. They flew over the Museum of Roman Civilisation. "Any sign of a bar?" Susan ignored him. "What's that over there?" Lapinette gasped. The Wabbit stared. "You don't see that every day..." 

Monday, September 19, 2022

The Wabbit and his Adventure Caffè

The team gathered in the porticos. Skratch was late as usual and prowled stolidly from the back. Wabsworth paused and looked on. The Wabbit had become established in the corner. Lapinette leaped out with a loving cry. "Monsieur Wabbit!" The Wabbit grinned a lopsided grin. "Zut alors, Lapinette" Wabsworth had a few words of French which he took from his universal translator. "Cou cou Lapinette. Tu es splendide aujourd'hui." Skratch was in full cat mode. "Je suis à bout de souffle," he purred. Lapinette turned and smiled. "Welcome Skratch. What was that for a sort of Adventure?" But it was Wabsworth who answered. "A repetition of subject object configurations - as perpetual becoming!" Skratch clapped but held up a paw. "Yes and the story gave freedom to a main character, the Raven. As did Edgar Allen Poe and Roger Corman." Lapinette nodded. "Perhaps our Raven was really a transformed Wizard." The Wabbit agreed. "Our Raven was a milder character than usual, but he concealed something. I've no doubt we'll find out more in due course." Skratch leaned back. "Like Goddard, you treat mainstream as a conceptual property store to be looted at will." Lapinette grinned broadly. "Perhaps the Wabbit also employs derive or detournement." The Wabbit fell about with laughter. "I'd say we did that a lot - as a deliberate policy. And we refuse to be bound by any rules." Wabsworth was most amused. He waved both paws. "Is there any rule about Prosecco?" Lapinette hooted. "Buy as much as you can."

[I'm indebted to Peter Wollen for his 2002 essay on Godard, republished by Verso.]

Friday, September 16, 2022

5. The Wabbit and the Raven's Window

The Wabbit and Lapinette were at the bottom of the stairs. "Look up," said a voice. There was the Raven, wings outstretched. He was lodged in the window glass and he hung there happily. "I hope you enjoyed your stairway tour," he cackled. Lapinette smiled. "It was you all along?" The Raven shook his head. "No, no, no. Every tour is different. I am like all birds - merely the carrier of messages. What happens to you is entirely yours to discover and interpret." The Wabbit didn't grumble. "Is there a charge for the tour?" The Raven gave small series of sounds indicating approval. "Nothing fixed. Perhaps you could delve in your fur and see if you a have a pair of internal circlip openers." The Wabbit had a rummage. "They're in my workshop. I'll pick you up a pair at the Dora Market on Sunday." The Raven snickered. "Just leave them by the stairs." Lapinette knew that ravens had a reputation for building things. "I know where I can get a whole set." The Raven nodded again, grinned a kind of a grin. "Be seeing you!" Then he melted into the glass. The Wabbit narrowed his eyes. "Did all that really happen? he asked. Lapinette thought for a moment. "It's a coded message and I think I know what it means." The Wabbit's ears twitched. Lapinette waved her paws. "Always always take the lift."

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

4. The Wabbit and the Stairwell Plunge

When it happened, it happened quickly. The found themselves pushed over the balustrades by a massive force. They turned head over heels - and tumbled from the rails. The Raven flew after them. He grew to extraordinary proportions and spread his wings to stabilise their fall. "Hold on, I'll get you," he shouted. But the Wabbit and Lapinette had nothing to hold on to. Caught in an invisible force, they were buffeted back and forward. Then everything froze. The Raven too was caught in the jowls of whatever it was. He tried to move his wings but they were stuck fast. "This is unusual," said the Wabbit. Lapinette was upside down and she looked around. "Wabbit, it doesn't matter what way we look, it's all the same."  The Wabbit would have nodded but couldn't. "It's an optical confusion." Lapinette corrected him. "An optical illusion." "Same difference," said the Wabbit. He tried to shrug but it was impossible. Then Lapinette began to intone a verse in a voice as deep as a thousand oceans. "Music of sombre motion. Break the spell's Power and bid the spirit fly, who has come near to dwell with us." They were suddenly free of whatever held them - but they were still falling. The Wabbit grimaced. "I didn't know you could do spells." Lapinette stuck out her paws. "Worth a try." The Wabbit stuck out his paws too. "Abracawabra!" Much to his surprise they stopped falling and drifted towards the stairs. He laughed. "You've got it or you ain't." The Raven fluttered down too. "I thought I'd wing it!" He chuckled. But Lapinette put her paws on her hips and snorted. "Everyone thinks they're very funny." 

Friday, September 02, 2022

3. The Wabbit and Beelzebub Cometh

"Ah there he is," said the Raven, "Coming from downstairs exactly as I said." The ghostly apparition moved stolidly forward. "I am Beelzebub!" he said. He took a step forward. "I am Beelzebub." he repeated. "I am cometh. For I am Beelzebub." The Wabbit paused on the stairs. "He reminds me of someone." The Raven had seen him before. "Pass foul fiend, pass." Beelzebub moved forward at a steady pace. He rounded the corner of the stairs and advanced on the Wabbit and Lapinette, one step at a time. And all the while he intoned. "I am Beelzebub, I am cometh." Lapinette's paw gripped the bannister. The Wabbit's held out a steadying paw to Lapinette. Maybe it was for his own safety. He gritted his teeth. Beelzebub faded and passed through the Wabbit as if he were nothing. The Wabbit felt icy cold and then all was gone. Left behind was an acrid sulphurous smell. The Raven chattered and croaked and that was spooky enough. "I told you. The stairs are spooky." The Wabbit turned to Lapinette. "Did you feel that?" Lapinette shivered. "I did." The Wabbit took a step forward. "May as well go on down. Is that all there is?" The Raven cackled. "Not at all. There's much worse to come." "Can you call these spirits from the vastly deep?" asked the Wabbit. "Anyone can," said the Raven. "Can you make dreadful discords too," asked Lapinette. "Aye and chattering pies," said the Raven. The Wabbit's stomach rumbled. "I knew I could smell food," he said.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

2. The Wabbit and the Spooky Stairs

"This is the stairway," said the Raven. "I'd never have known," said the Wabbit. "Look! There's a spook now," said the Raven. The Wabbit shook his head and pointed. "That's Lapinette. I know she can be scary. But she's no ghost." Lapinette floated down in an ethereal kind of way. "Wabbit, I wanted to be sure you weren't getting into any kind of trouble." The Wabbit grinned. "Everyone wants to look after me." The Raven addressed Lapinette. "You look like a funny kind of rabbit. You're sure you're not a spook?" "Some say," responded Lapinette. "I warned the Wabbit not to use these stairs. They're haunted," said the Raven. "Just like in books?" replied Lapinette. "A Raven is like a writing desk," ventured the Wabbit. "Now don't you start," said the Raven, "I've had all I can take of writing desks." The Wabbit looked up above. "Shouldn't we check upstairs?" The Raven snorted. "Of course not. Ghosts are seldom if ever upstairs. they're usually downstairs with the unconscious." Lapinette joined the Wabbit on the landing. "But isn't the object to get downstairs without meeting any ghosts?" "You're as bad as he is," muttered the Raven. He made a series of gurgling croaks. "Please lead the way down the staircase and keep an eye open for spectres." At that moment they heard a haunting cry. It lasted long and sounded chilling. "I'm up for it if you are, Wabbit," said Lapinette. "So many horrid ghosts," shrugged the Wabbit. "How dare they?" said Lapinette. "Words spoken cannot be recalled," croaked the Raven," so think twice before you speak." 

Monday, August 29, 2022

1. The Wabbit and the Raven's Warning

The Wabbit was back in Turin inspecting the works on the Department of Wabbit Affairs. He was not altogether pleased, but then again, nothing much pleased the Wabbit. He wandered through the building looking it up and down. The Interior Designers had their messy paws in everything he noticed, but altogether it wasn't that bad. He'd reached the top of the building and was going to sneak down the emergency stairs when he saw a strange display. "Oh really," he said, "they've gone too far this time." He stared for a bit because the figure looked familiar. He'd seen a raven just like it at the old castle. "Beware!" said the Raven. "Beware of the stairs!" The Wabbit often received beware messages and he generally took no notice. He gave the Raven an old-fashioned look. "What's wrong with the stairs. Are they a bit rickety?" The Raven lifted its hooked beak and spoke in a quavering voice "They're not rickety, they're ghostly stairs and you'll be doomed, doomed I tell you." The Wabbit looked all round and squinted into the distance. The stairs looked perfectly normal. "It's the quickest way out," he said. He noticed no-one else was using them and he wrinkled his nose. "I'll just go and have a look." The Raven swallowed hard. "I'd better come with you. In case you get into any trouble." The Wabbit laughed. "Trouble is my middle name." The Raven wanted to know whether the Wabbit had any other names. "Double," said the Wabbit, "Let's go." Then together, they went to the staircase ... 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

The Wabbit and his Adventure Caffè

The team gathered early morning at a Caffè in Testaccio Market. There was hardly anyone around. It was a holiday and very few market stalls were open. They grinned at each other and said together, "What was that for a sort of Adventure?" Skratch purred. "It was purportedly an environmental adventure with dire warnings about what was in store for the earth. But it was about something else." Wabsworth raised a paw. "The backdrop was more of a considered awareness of the natural world." Lapinette shook her head. "There was a key duality between environment with a post-apocalyptic flavour, and the question of waste itself." The Wabbit raised a paw in the air. "Real questions about what to do with waste." They contemplated for a second. Skratch was first to break the silence. "Charles Soukup poses an interesting question. He says techno-scopophilia and the voyeuristic portrayal of military technology itself is highly sexualised." Everyone's eyes went large. Lapinette pursed her lips. "There goes the family audience." Wabsworth tried to rescue the conversation. "Soukup also points out that the power of technology can be portrayed as both unwieldy and uncontrollable." The Wabbit threw up both paws. "I'll go with that, Wabsworth. We surely aren't victims of the sexualised scopic gaze." Lapinette smiled sardonically. "We're more art house than grind house." The Wabbit leaned back and looked around. "I fancy a Prosecco. Anyone joining me?" "It's 9 o'clock in the morning," gasped Lapinette. "I love the smell of Prosecco in the morning," said the Wabbit.

Friday, August 12, 2022

7. The Wabbit and the Ghastly Waste

Susan flung a grappling hook at the container, and they were off. But before they cleared the horizon a green ship rose from behind a ghostly moon and fired a single shot. It was a bolt of yellow lightening and it struck the container dead centre. The container glowed red, then exploded. Green toxic waste spilled out, bubbled onto the planet surface and into the reaches of the atmosphere. "Change of plan?" muttered the Wabbit. "They'd rather pollute than purify," said Lapinette. "Not much we can do at this stage," shrugged Wabsworth. "Interstellar Mode," snapped Lapinette. Susan didn't wait for an instant. With a roar of her propellers she vanished into a single white light. Space seemed different. Quiet. Eerie. "Not much to look at," said the Wabbit. "In Interstellar Mode, there's no-one to hear you complain," quipped Susan, "How long until we get home?" said the Wabbit. "Since I don't know where we started from, I've no idea," replied Susan. Wabsworth offered a solution. "I made some measurements. We'll be home in time for tea." Lapinette laughed. "None of us drink tea." "I'll do them again," said Wabsworth. He whirred a bit. "Time for Prosecco." Susan chortled. In Interstellar Mode it's hard to tell time." "Must be late then," said the Wabbit. "Or even early," said Lapinette. Susan switched off the drive and the earth swam into view. "Can you see a bar?" asked Lapinette. She wiggled her ears. "Because I can." The Wabbit had a fit of the giggles. "Take us in Susan. It's opening time."

 [Background Picture Pixabay.]

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

6. The Wabbit and the Toxic Trouble

Night fell. The desert gave way to a barren landscape. They could make out alien planets in the sky - or were they suns? There was no way of knowing. The team were on the Ice Mice before they knew it. Massive ears could be seen as they worked on one of their installations - the usual assembly of giant ice cubes. But there was a difference. A giant canister protruded from the dusty planet surface. "Let's go," yelled the Wabbit. He jumped from Susan's wing and so did Lapinette. Together they inspected the canister. "Toxic waste," murmured the Wabbit. "How can you tell?" asked Lapinette. The Wabbit grimaced. "It always comes in rusty containers like this. Destined for earth no doubt." They saw two more Ice Mice emerge from beneath the container and run for their lives. "Technicians," said the Wabbit. Lapinette agreed "They have notebooks." Susan circled overhead with Wabsworth. The Wabbit made a sign for Wabsworth to release the grappling hook. "What's your plan?" queried Lapinette. "Get it off-planet," said the Wabbit, "We can't destroy it. It'll hurl crap everywhere." Lapinette frowned at the Wabbit's use of bad language, but decided to let it go. "What about the Ice Mice?" The Wabbit had no idea. "We'll decide later?" He fished in his fur for a package of dynamite and passed it to Lapinette. "You throw it. Keep em busy." Lapinette pitched it as far she could. The Wabbit took brief aim and fired a single shot. There was a distant explosion accompanied by mice-like squeaks. "Fire in the mouse hole," said the Wabbit.
[Background pictures from Pixabay   ]

Sunday, August 07, 2022

5. The Wabbit and the Unnamed Desert

The team had nicknamed the place Chuck a Luck, but they weren't having much luck at all. The further they trekked, the bleaker it became. The ground beneath their feet was super parched. The sky turned from red to black. The few clouds there were, refused to give up their payload. No water was to be had, except for weak rainfall around an old dead tree. It was Lapinette that spotted it. She took a cup from her frock and held it out to the meagre shower that surrounded the branches. "Yeugh," she yelled. It was brackish and undrinkable. The Wabbit felt in his fur for a water flask, but there was none. Susan the Biplane flew overhead, dead slow to conserve fuel. They could have travelled with Susan but the Wabbit insisted he could see more from the ground. He began to regret it. "This was once a sea," he said. Everyone had noticed the abandoned barge and they nodded. "Climate change," said Wabsworth. "Maybe this is our future," remarked the Wabbit. Lapinette began to sing again, and everyone slapped a paw to their heads. "After three days in the sun. I was looking at a dry seabed. The story it told of a sea that once flowed. Made me sad it was dead." The Wabbit stared at Lapinette. "What's with all the singing?" Lapinette smiled a strange smile. "Passes the time when we're looking for Ice Mice." Wabsworth laughed. "We'll sing them into submission." They trudged on. "I'm imagining a glass of Prosecco," said the Wabbit. "Imagine one for me too," said Lapinette. 

[Background Picture: MartySeb Pixabay.]

Thursday, August 04, 2022

4. The Wabbit and the Alpine Recce

Susan flew into the Alps and for a while her visibility declined. It was as if they were in a fog. But then the fog began to clear. They all blinked. "Where are we?" asked the Wabbit. For once Wabsworth was nonplussed. What lay beneath them was a hot ocean. Above them, two alien suns. And there was rain in copious quantities - but the rain was warm, and it poured down their backs like a hot shower. They jumped from Susan onto a black, charred beach and ran jumping. Lapinette pointed. "Over there. I see rocks." The rocks were hot too but not as hot as the beach. They rested there for a while. Susan hovered over the hot sea. "I'll wait here," she said. "I'm not keen on Turkish baths. They rust my mechanisms." Lapinette had been thinking. "Maybe this is the Ice Mice Hideaway. In a time warp in the Alps." Wabsworth chortled. "Like Rancho Notorious." The Wabbit was amused. "We'll call this Planet Chuck a Luck." They turned, astonished, as Lapinette pirouetted and began to sing in a haunting voice. 
                                      It began, they say, one summer day,
                                      When the sun was blazing down,
                                      It was back in the early seventies,
                                      In a little Wyoming Town
                                      So listen to the story of Chuck a Luck,
                                      Listen to the Wheels of Fate, 
                                      As round and round with a whispering sound, 
                                      It sings the old old story of  ...
                                      ... Hate, murder and revenge.
"What's that got to do with anything?" asked the Wabbit. "I quite liked it," said Wabsworth. "It's a gambling song," said the Wabbit, "but what about hate murder and revenge?" "I'll get to that," said Lapinette.

Monday, August 01, 2022

3. The Wabbit & the Ice Mice Installation

It happened in an instant. They found the Ice Mice and their installation. It was in the shape of a tower and seemed to fulfil a particular purpose. Susan flew back and forth chopping their ice blocks to pieces. Then she activated her air conditioning unit and added a few more ice blocks for good measure. Lapinette and Wabsworth chucked ice on the Ice Mice without mercy and watched them turn tail and run. "That was too easy," commented the Wabbit, "but what the binky were they doing?" Lapinette scrunched up her eyes. "I think it was some kind of reverse air conditioning. It makes ice blocks and leaves the rest of the land ... just desert." Wabsworth was thinking too. "Evapotranspiration?" The Wabbit brought Susan round. "Something of the sort. And the possible end of the line for Turin." Susan wheeled about again in a corkscrew fashion. "Were not going to allow it. Let's hunt the rest of them down!" The three squeezed into a cockpit that was only big enough for one. The Wabbit boosted the heating. "Do a recce of the Alps, Susan," he murmured. "Right away Sir," said Susan, "What music would you like?" Lapinette jumped in because she somewhat disapproved of Susan's affection for the Wabbit. "It's cold outside," she suggested. "OK fine, just another drink then," joked the Wabbit. He delved into his fur, took out a hip flask and poured whisky into three stainless steel glasses. "That took a lot of convincing," laughed Lapinette.

[Background photo:  https://pixabay.com/photos/three-peaks-mountains-lime-rock-176000/

Thursday, July 28, 2022

2. The Wabbit and the Deserted Desert

The throb of a biplane's engines cut into the summer air and before long the Wabbit and Lapinette took off in Susan and flew north. Susan had brought Wabsworth along for his android knowledge - since he'd been forever complaining about not appearing in an adventure. But as they flew further things began to get drier. By the time they were over Piedmont, the landscape was unrecognisable. The air was like a thousand hairdryers. Susan skimmed the desert sand. Only a few scrubby plants remained in what had been lush fields and pasture. "Can your sensors detect any water, Susan?" asked the Wabbit. "Hardly any," said Susan. Lapinette had sharper eyes than most and she looked out. "Over there!" "Over where? asked the Wabbit. He was just being annoying. She pointed. "Blind as a bat," she muttered under her breath. The Wabbit grinned and twisted the joystick. Susan wheeled to port. "I saw a camel over there!" joked the Wabbit. "As it happens, I did see a camel over there," said Lapinette. Wabsworth chimed in "It's probably got the hump." "One hump or two?" said Susan. They laughed and laughed. But the landscape became progressively drier. "Where's that water?" asked the Wabbit. "Evaporating as we speak," said Lapinette. "No visual bearings now," said Susan, "just desert." The Wabbit gripped the joystick between his paws and flailed his paws. "I'd like a nice dessert." Wabsworth looked down. The arid air was bad for his fur. "My sense of humour sub routine has deserted me." Lapinette held her paw aloft. "I see a volume of ice and think I can see the Ice Mice." Wabsworth scowled. "I hate these pesky rodents."

[Background picture:  Art Tower ]

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

1. The Wabbit and the Free Water

The cleaning wagon made a whooshing noise and the Wabbit turned. There was a free water fountain where Rome provided pure water for citizens. It was near St Peter's rail station - and there the Wabbit often stood to watch the trains go by. He paused on the sidewalk with his bottle. It was seriously hot, and humidity soaked his coat. He could have switched on the air conditioning unit that he kept in his fur - but he wanted to feel the heat like everyone else. He watched the wagon go through its regular cleaning motions and he felt pleased that it was there. People were messy and the Wabbit greatly disapproved of litter. Travellers came and went, although there were fewer than there used to be. The Wabbit wondered where the line went. He'd investigated and it was rather easy to look up on a map. But every time he did, the line disappeared into tunnels and he would give up. The Wabbit thought he'd leave it to chance to find out. The question of water remained. It had been a long time since it rained, and the river looked very low. Back in Turin, the Po was as low as could be. Probably he could wade across. That was something that couldn't be left to chance. The Ice Mice crossed his mind. They were always messing with the weather and the Wabbit had been forced to deal with them on several occasions. He made a mental note. < Check out Ice Mice >. He forced himself to stop wondering about things. Lapinette often said it was bad for him and probably it was. It was then that he heard a shout and he swivelled his eyes ... 

Friday, July 22, 2022

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

The team met at a Caffè they didn't know. Lapinette was in ebullient mood. She flew through the door and jumped in the air with delight. "What was that for a sort of Adventure?" she cried. The Wabbit looked bemused. Skratch answered immediately. "High tech narrative world making," he meaowed. "The references to Westworld were well placed to exploit the world-within-a-world approach." The Wabbit smiled. "You go too far Skratch. It was just a bit of fun." Wabsworth rapped on the table. "Let's have some order here. It was in fact a reflexive world embedded in worldly experience." Skratch let out a hiss that was close to a shriek. "It was a paradoxical transgression between the world of the telling and that of the told." Lapinette squealed. "Oooh! Gerard Genette and his extra diegetic narrator intruding into the diegetic universe!" The Wabbit nodded. "Metalepsis if you like." Lapinette clapped her paws together. "Oh, that's far too technical. I really enjoyed the story. It was great fun to be in." Wabsworth seemed pained. "It's been quite a while since I was in a story." Skratch nodded. "Me too." It was the Wabbit's turn to clap his paws - which he did twice, sharply. "I can guarantee you'll be in the next one." He paused. "Always supposing you buy me a drink." "What would you like, Wabbit?" said Skratch. "And you too, Lovely Lapinette? "I'd like something really cold," said the Wabbit. "So would I," said Lapinette. Skratch raised his paw. "Prosecco all round!" The robotic voice of the waiter sounded. "That-is-all-we-have."

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

9. The Wabbits come home to Rome

Pacchero scooped up the Wabbit and Lapinette and flew through time to deposit them back where they'd come from. When they lurched from Pacchero's capacious girth, they saw he'd landed beside a caricature of the Pope. The Wabbit smiled. he knew Pacchero was playing a final joke. "What's this? A refugee from that Banksy exhibition?" asked Lapinette. The Wabbit laughed and laughed and waved heartily. "It's St Peter the Roman who will preside over the last judgement." Lapinette waved too. "Rome under heavy manners?" she asked, "I didn't say it was that bad." Pacchero trembled slightly. "Your description of Rome sounded like the end of the line. So I brought you to this quiet spot to contemplate the future." Pacchero went on. "He will pasture his sheep in many tribulations and lay waste the seven hills of Rome." The Wabbit smiled and shook his head. "Much too apocalyptic for me." Lapinette was thoughtful and changed the subject. "What are you going to do now Pacchero? Pasta World doesn't seem to be working out for you." Pacchero laughed. "I'm thinking of a new venture. The great Pasta Trail. A Pasta path leads round the coast and takes you past all the great Italian seascapes." The Wabbit dissolved into laughter. "You'll start with Ponzi." Lapinette put her paws on her hips. "You mean Ponza with its wonderful history." The Wabbit doubled up. "No. I meant Ponzi, for money making fun." "Ponzi bought a macaroni factory you know," said Lapinette. Pacchero trembled. "What happened to it?" "His management pasta way," quipped the Wabbit.

Monday, July 18, 2022

8. The Wabbit in Old Rome World

No longer in Pasta World, they'd crossed into Roman World and taken the pasta with them. "What the binky is going on?" shouted the Wabbit. "You're not supposed to be here," yelled a Roman soldier. "This is Roman World. Get out and take that pasta with you. We haven't invented it yet." The farfalle swarmed all around the soldiers. Blood spurted right and left but it was fake. Radiatori crawled around the scene getting in the way. Lapinette grimaced and wiped the spatters from her frock. She examined them, then sniffed them. "This blood is pasta sauce." The Wabbit was furious. "This whole thing is bananas," he yelled. Lapinette was horrified. "Don't mention bananas, that's tempting fate." The Roman soldiers stood stiffly to attention. "We just don't appreciate this. Rectify it immediately and begone." The Wabbit grunted. "This is all Pacchero's fault." Lapinette dragged herself from under a mountain of pasta. "I lost track of him. Where is he?" Just then a voice boomed out. "Don't worry I've got everything under control. I'm bringing you back." The Wabbit's voice was icy. "Bringing us back where?" Pacchero's voice boomed again. "Where you first started." He paused. "Where did you start? Was it Calypso World?" The Wabbit lost his temper. "It was Via Giulia in Rome," he snapped. "Rome when?" asked Pacchero. "Rome now," shrugged the Wabbit. "Rome in the 21st Century," explained Lapinette. "You know. Buses, taxis, tourists, hustle, bustle, double parking." Pacchero considered. "And just remind me - where was that again?" 

Friday, July 15, 2022

7. The Wabbit and the Big Heat

They ran down the tracks of the Control Room until the tunnel exit became a spiral. The Farfalla wasn't going to give up and he charged at the Wabbit and Lapinette. They continued to retreat but the Wabbit grabbed a couple of fire hoses from the wall and tossed one at Lapinette. Then they hosed the farfalla for all they were worth. But the Wabbit had something else in mind. With an industrial heater he kept in his fur he began to heat the water until it reached boiling point. The farfalla was tough and resisted but couldn't do anything about the temperature. It began to get soft and as the boiling water poured over it, it emitted a terrible hissing. The Wabbit increased the temperature. The farfalla was in the middle of a hurricane of scalding water. They had the upper paw now and the Wabbit decreased the water flow. The farfalla was extremely limp and fell to the ground, flopping around like a jelly fish. "I think that takes care of that," he said. Lapinette nodded and put down her fire hose. "I can't help feeling sorry for it." But the floundering gave way to twitching. The twitching gave way to spasms. Suddenly the serrated edges of the farfalla sprouted like the teeth of the hydra. They waved menacingly and started towards the Wabbit. "Any ideas?" said Lapinette. Only one," replied the Wabbit. Together they turned tail and ran down into the spiral. But the spiral began to spin faster and faster to a blur. When it stopped, they found themselves in another phantasmagorical pasta world ..

Monday, July 11, 2022

6. The Wabbit's Control Room Skirmish

Pacchero shot along the control room tracks and screeched to a halt. The place was deserted. There were pictures on the monitors but no one sat at any chairs. Lapinette and the Wabbit disembarked and looked around. Nothing. Nothing except the whirring of wings. Suddenly the farfalle were on them. They came at them in a lightning raid - rushing and swooping and pouncing then swooping again. The Wabbit and Lapinette had no hesitation in pulling out automatics and they fired burst after burst. The effort opened Lapinette's wound and she bled profusely over Pacchero - who shuddered and sat very still. If he'd had eyes he would have covered them. "Tell me when it's all over," he muttered. Lapinette managed to clip a farfalla but that didn't stop it. It merely wheeled about and nose-dived again. "What to do about them?" shouted Lapinette, "Can you get to the pasta control panels?" The Wabbit searched in his fur for a spare magazine. "I'm rather busy," he growled. But he moved backwards nonetheless. Lapinette laid down covering fire but more farfalle were coming. The Wabbit kept firing too but moving backward played havoc with his aim. He flailed with his paws and managed to hit one between the wings. It flew erratically into the tunnel and disappeared. "Gotcha," he yelled. He was nearly at the control desk and he looked at the picture of the pasta ocean. "I'll never eat fusilli again," he groaned. "You don't eat it anyway," shouted Lapinette." The Wabbit scowled and grunted. "I'll make an exception."

Saturday, July 09, 2022

5. The Wabbit & Lapinette in the Pasta Sea

Pacchero yawed and spilled Lapinette and the Wabbit into a strange pasta sea, composed of fusilli-infested reginette. It rose and fell rhythmically just like an ocean. The reginette was sharp and the fusilli snatched at their faces. The Wabbit struck out regardless but made little headway against the reginette which threatened to drown him. Lapinette clutched onto the Wabbit - still nursing an injured paw. Blood stained the waves pink. "Cling on," yelled the Wabbit. "I don't like the look of these creatures," shouted Lapinette. "Everything's gone rogue," exclaimed the Wabbit, "The whole place is a disaster." The breakers made a woozy sound as they crashed on the beach. Lapinette disappeared beneath them for an instant but the Wabbit hauled her up. She coughed and spluttered as pasta got up her nose. Pacchero tried to right himself and the Wabbit made for the safety of their craft, dragging Lapinette behind. "Pacchero is our only hope," shouted the Wabbit. Lapinette kicked her feet for extra propulsion. A fusillo was right behind her, attracted by the threshing. It was slow but deadly and its mouth chomped relentlessly. A kick landed on its teeth and Lapinette cried out in satisfaction. "Take that for your trouble, fusillo." Pacchero called out. "This way. Over here." He righted himself and bobbed up and down on the waves. The Wabbit's paw found a grip on the edge of Pacchero's pasta body. Then he and Lapinette hauled themselves on board. "I'm headed for the control room," yelled Pacchero. "What's there?" asked the Wabbit. Lapinette gritted her teeth. "Lasagne with lasers!" 

Thursday, July 07, 2022

4. The Wabbit and the Rabid Radiatori

Pacchero stopped over a lovely garden. The Wabbit and Lapinette looked over the edge. "This is Radiatori Land," said Pacchero. Lapinette pointed. "Oh look, there's pasta creatures moving round. They must be little radiators." She was delighted. "They look like slugs," muttered the Wabbit. "Don't be boring," snapped Lapinette. She leaned out further. Pacchero shuddered. He seemed to be having stability problems. "Just contacting computer control," he spluttered. "They'll have me sorted out in an instant." Lapinette and the Wabbit slid down further. Then with a yell Lapinette lost her grip and plunged towards the ground. The Wabbit seized her by the frock. But he was slipping too. A Radiatore jumped at Lapinette's paw and bit it. Blood spurted. "Yaagh that hurt!" shouted Lapinette. She yelled to the Wabbit. "Get me out of here!" The Wabbit still had her frock by the hem and he hung on and pulled it. Pacchero was aghast. "This never happens," he gasped, "We have too many failsafes! You can't get hurt in here." The Wabbit pulled himself back on board with Lapinette's dress bunched around his legs. "Your fails aren't safe enough," he growled. The Radiatore stuttered. "Boy boy boy have have we got got a v v v acation for you you you." The Wabbit groped for his automatic. But Pacchero was ready to take off. Lapinette clambered to her feet and spoke to the Radiatore. "You bit me." The Radiatore jumped up and just missed Lapinette. "I'll bit bit bit you again." "You talk too much," shouted Lapinette. "Make me shut up!" yelled the Radiatore. Pacchero started to spin - and they were gone.

Monday, July 04, 2022

3. The Wabbit at the Farfalle Corral

When Pacchero stopped, it was by a church and the sun was baking hot. Lapinette and the Wabbit hopped out on the steps, surrounded by a whizzing and a whirring of wings. "Welcome to Farfalle World!" said Pacchero. Lapinette expressed delight and jumped up and down with excitement. The Wabbit looked sceptical. "Are you sure this is safe?" Pacchero nodded. "Safe as a sardine," yelled Pacchero, "Everything in Pasta World is totally secure." He laughed and laughed. A farfalla brushed against the Wabbit's ears, then settled on his shoulders. The Wabbit whacked it off. "They're a bit big for my liking." Lapinette paid no attention. She jumped and stretched and tried to touch the farfalle. They whirled around her head and made small screechy sounds. Pacchero rocked back and forth. "Everything is computer controlled from our Pasta Centre, a state-of-the-art pasta installation on the outskirts of Rome." Lapinette frolicked around, delighted. The Wabbit skulked about in a bad mood. "You're not enjoying yourself," said Lapinette. "I have trust issues," replied the Wabbit. He pondered. "It's all too good to be true. I'm not putting any faith in someone's remote computer." "You mean that's not run by you," said Lapinette. "Yes," admitted the Wabbit. He nodded vigorously to himself but was interrupted. "All aboard for our next stop," shouted Pacchero. Lapinette bounced towards Pacchero followed by a grumbling Wabbit. "This new destination will amaze and astonish you," yelled Pacchero. "I'd rather have a tuna sandwich," sulked the Wabbit.

Saturday, July 02, 2022

2. The Wabbit and the way to Pasta World

It was certainly an amazing sight. The Wabbit had never seen a piece of pasta that big. He stepped inside and made his way from one end to the other. He looked all around. It was huge. The pasta shape began to shake and then it spoke. "Welcome to Pasta World. I promise you an experience you'll ever forget." The Wabbit thought he was hearing things. So he continued exploring. "Pasta stands above the rest," said the Pasta with pride. The Wabbit knew the pasta shape. It was called Pacchero and something else he couldn't quite recall. "The Gods made Pasta," said the Pasta. The Wabbit swore the pasta nodded. He fished in his fur for his radio and called Lapinette. "Come straight away!" said the Wabbit. "You won't want to miss this." The Pasta started again. "Mama Mia, that's a spicy pasta!" it gurgled. "I heard that," said Lapinette and I'm on my way." "Hurry, hurry, hurry," said the Pasta. "Pasta World awaits." The Wabbit started to laugh. "This is great. Do be quick." The walkie talkie crackled and faded. "Schiaffoni!" exclaimed the Wabbit. Pacchero meant a friendly slap on the back and schiaffoni meant the same - but harder. "Pasta World!" yelled the Pasta, "Where pasta is a slap on the back!" The Pasta started to rock back and forward. The Wabbit saw Lapinette dart round a corner. "Jump on," shouted the Wabbit. "Jump on, we're off." It began to roll. "Live without limits!" yelled the Pasta. "Discover your Calling!" Lapinette dived on and they were off ...

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

1. The Wabbit and the Pasta Wine Bar

The Wabbit was at a loose end. He's just finished a mission and there was no sign of another. His hop was more of an amble as he meandered through the streets. Everything was closed and the places that weren't, were - to put it bluntly - naffable. His eyes lit on a place he hadn't seen before. It was closed even for the sale of pasta. "La Bottega," he murmured and mentally put it on his list. He couldn't remember whether it was the place that had been rude to him. He'd decided never to go there again, rather than do something unmentionable to it - and he'd shut it out his mind. But it wasn't the same place. He inspected the sign. "Handmade pasta!" he exclaimed. "Nothing like it." It was rather a hot day for June and the air smelled of burning paper and plastic - the result of a recycling plant fire. "Hope they didn't burn the pasta," he laughed to himself. He hopped onward. The sun beat down like it never had before. Even the hardiest of tourists were running in melting flip-flops, and their shorts and baggy t-shirts billowed in the wind that always afflicted Rome. It felt like standing against a giant hot air drier. The Wabbit switched on the air conditioning he'd fitted in his fur. He seldom used it, but sometimes there was a call for it. "Aaaah," he said. "It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good." Then, just as he rounded a corner, he saw something he'd never seen before ...

Monday, June 27, 2022

The Wabbit's Adventure Caffè

The Wabbit and Lapinette hopped through the old Roman ghetto where they'd arranged to meet. The Wabbit wanted Jerusalem artichokes and he knew he'd find the best ones there. Wabsworth beat them to it. He'd claimed a table and waved at everyone. "Best restaurant, best seat," he exclaimed. Skratch brought up the rear and finally caught up. "What was that for sort of adventure?" he meaowed. Wabsworth got into the spirit early. "It was an exercise in horrality," he said. "The unexpected duck is liminal in its bodily state and the interaction with Ancient Egypt seeks to titillate the audience with a comedic yet intimate apocalypse." Skratch purred long and hard. "Horrality?" he repeated. "Some words and things need to be invented for what has to be said." Lapinette grinned. "I have a problem with dislocating our story from its generic overtones." The Wabbit was not to be outdone. "I would say the genre is over- saturated." Wabsworth nodded. "The fascistic continuum of fiction!" he ventured. "That's Philip Brophy," said Lapinette, "and I know that some textuality is bound up with over-saturation." Skratch urged caution. "Textuality is hilarity," he hissed. "Don't look up," said the Wabbit, reading Skratch's t-shirt just out of the blue. Everyone turned. "Do you think that Rufflesmuck Duck could be a science fiction horror cult?" asked the Wabbit. "I believe he has his admirers," replied Wabsworth. "I'm thirsty," said Lapinette. "And I'm hungry," added the Wabbit. They sat down beside Wabsworth. "What's on the menu for cats?" asked Skratch. "Gefilte Fish," laughed Lapinette.
 [Many thanks to Philip Brophy for inspiration.]

Saturday, June 25, 2022

6. The Wabbit and a Dynasty of Pharoahs

Tipsy positioned the Duck's craft and vanished up a flight of stairs to start the engine. But before she could do a thing the craft began to change. She threw the switches anyway. The outer shell broke its crust. Fissures appeared. Then out of the fiery ball appeared a familiar figure. "Unut!" gasped the Wabbit. Unut raised her paws. A sharp crack sounded, and a bolt of lightning coursed across her body.  Pieces of shattered shell landed on the duck's head. "Rufflesmuck!" she cried. "Rufflesmuck, you're out of your territory." Rufflesmuck looked crestfallen. "It was an accident!" he yelled. "I've had enough of your accidents, Rufflesmuck. You must return to the Planet Fluck. Forthwith." Rufflesmuck looked at the Wabbit. "I'm sorry to have been any trouble." The Wabbit looked down at Unut with due deference to her Goddess status. Unut looked back up and frowned but the Wabbit shrugged. "He's never a bother, Unut." Unut considered. "If you're so fond of him you can keep him, but he cannot keep this craft. It belongs to the Ancient Dynasty of Pharaohs Chapter 3." Rufflesmuck whispered something under his breath. "I heard that Rufflesmuck!" shouted Unut, "It's not a beat-up piece of junk." Lapinette intervened. "We'll fix it up. It will be good as new." "It was never that great," admitted Unut. She considered for quite a while. "OK she's all yours. But I'll need a receipt." Tipsy produced a notebook and the Wabbit scribbled a receipt. "What shall I put as its value?" "Just make it a thousand QUID," said Unut. "You use these?" asked the Wabbit. "Doesn't everybody?" sighed Unut.

[QUID: Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination]

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

5. Tipsy and the craft of the Alien Duck

Tipsy made it look easy but it was far from that. She took a grappling iron from the back of the truck and threw it at the Duck's craft. The craft was still cooling down but there was enough for a good grip. The embers closed around the hook and it fastened securely. Then she put the truck in gear and engaged the engine. The craft gradually rose from the cliff and started to roll along nicely. Tipsy then took the scenic route down the mountain and dragged the craft along a river.  She put her foot down and mused to herself as she rolled along. "I hope for the Wabbit's sake that this all works." She nodded and admitted it usually did. The truck bounced along the river bed. The craft bounced behind. She hummed a merry tune about ducks. "He once was an ugly fluckling, feathers all flocky and brown. The earth people said in so many words. Just get the fluck out of town." Water sprayed on the windshield as she coasted along the river. She switched on the wipers. Nothing happened. "Sloppy Maintenance! Sard off you pizzling gnashgabs!" yelled Tipsy. Up ahead she could see the Tiber towpath that took them straight into Trastevere. Strictly speaking it wasn't for traffic, not even army trucks. But Tipsy slewed the wheel and headed downriver. She looked in the mirror. The craft was still there, a little cooler than before. The old power station came into sight. Tipsy thought of a joke to tell the Wabbit. "Now you'll reach enlightenment." She thought better of it. The Wabbit was the only one allowed to tell terrible jokes. She smiled to herself and turned the truck and its cargo into Centrale Montemartini.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

4. The Wabbit and the Mummy in the Box

Acting on an inspired guess, the Wabbit took the duck to a museum he knew. The museum wasn't so well known and so it was quiet as the grave. When they came across the mummy in its glass and mirror tomb, the duck jumped in the air in amazement. "Why is she here?" he yelled. Lapinette looked with interest "What is she to you, Duck?" "She is the ancient founder of the Planet Fluck," said the duck, "Is this Valhalla?" The Wabbit shook his head. "This is an old electric generating system in Rome. It was powered by giant engines." The duck jumped higher. "It sounds like Valhalla to me, where they bring the dead. There must be many rooms here." Tipsy stood back, quiet for once. "There are indeed many rooms, named after the engines that inhabited them." The duck wanted to know their names, but the Wabbit knew they were only numbers. "Boiler Room One," he said. "Boiler Room Two," said Lapinette. "Each contains a massive engine of many horsepower," lisped Tipsy. The duck was thoughtful. "Valhalla's magic horses? Perhaps they could power my ship?" The Wabbit thought long and hard. The engines hadn't been used in many years but the Wabbit knew a thing or two about ancient machinery. "Let's have a look at them. See what we can do." The duck settled in reverence beside the mummy. "She doesn't speak much, does she?" They turned to go. "Don't be so sure, Rufflesmuck," said a voice that shook every piece of concrete in the building.

Friday, June 17, 2022

3. The Wabbit and the Duck from Space

Still feeling annoyed, the Wabbit rounded up a couple of trucks and the only available member of Lapinette's personal guard. Fitzy and Mitzy had taken a vacation and only Tipsy remained. She helped the Wabbit out of the truck while Lapinette jumped out of the other one. The UFO was stuck fast in a shallow ravine in the Apennines. It smouldered a bit and produced a horrible smell like a burning dustbin. "Commander," said Tipsy. "Why so polite?" asked the Wabbit. "I'm turning over a new leaf," said Tipsy. She pointed to the UFO and to an emerging creature. "What are we going to do about that Son of a Duck?" Lapinette smiled. Tipsy's resolution hadn't lasted long. The duck strolled up and down, cursing. "I'm fried fungus fecklesmeck," he muttered. Tipsy was the first on the scene and she'd had to listen to the duck for some time. "That wing ding ducklesnuck just won't stop talking." The Wabbit looked round but he didn't approach the duck. "What planet do you think he's from?" Lapinette had an idea. "I've heard of the Strucken Duck Planet." The duck shook his head. Flames leapt around his body. "I didn't want to come to this forsaken spot!" The Wabbit decided to engage with the duck but the duck stepped back and fell over the edge of the ravine. Muffled cursing commenced. His head appeared. "Pull me up, this duck is double stuck." The Wabbit proffered a paw and the duck pulled himself back to the edge. "Are there more of you?" asked the Wabbit. "Not a one like me," said the duck. "My name is Rufflesmuck MacDuck from the Planet Fluck ...

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

2. The Wabbit and the Unidentified Object

The Wabbit and Lapinette watched the sun rise over the Apennines. They were up early and it seemed like a clever idea. They blinked. A strange object came flashing down and disappeared in the mountains. They blinked again. It was gone. "Did you see that?" asked Lapinette. "I did," replied the Wabbit, "It was a glowing cinder." Lapinette giggled. "A large glowing cinder." The Wabbit hunched and stuck his paw in his fur. "Hard to say, perspective being what it is." Lapinette stood her ground. "I'd say it was an extra-terrestrial object of some considerable dimension." The Wabbit shrugged. "Can't argue with that." Lapinette made a mental note of the size. "It went yonder," said the Wabbit. He pointed, screwed up his eyes and peered into the distance. "Whatever it was and wherever it went, it's doesn't seem to be coming back." Lapinette looked hard. "Is that a fire over there?" The Wabbit could be extremely annoying. "Difficult to say in this light," he said. As the sun rose, the scene lost its rosy glow. They heard a faint boom and saw smoke. "I love the smell of burning in the morning," muttered the Wabbit. "Worth investigating," said Lapinette. "Let's get the truck and reinforcements," snapped the Wabbit. Despite the early hour, they made their way out and across the city. "I hope it's not aliens," said the Wabbit, "I really can't be bothered." Lapinette grinned widely. "They'd be crispy fried ducks by this time." "Crispy fried duck aliens?" suggested the Wabbit. "They're the worst kind," said Lapinette.

[ETO by Buddy Nath at Pixabay]

 

Monday, June 13, 2022

1. The Wabbit and the Fake Facade

The Wabbit looked up. So did Lapinette. "Not going very quickly are they?" said the Wabbit. "On the balcony?" asked Lapinette. "Across the street," replied the Wabbit. Lapinette wondered whether the Wabbit was going for Old Age Pensioner status. "I expect the workers are all inside, beavering away," said Lapinette. "No," said the Wabbit, "They're all inside that bar, eating sandwiches." His tummy rumbled. "You're hungry," smiled Lapinette. She called for a waiter to bring a salad sandwich. The Wabbit nodded but he didn't give up. "We were here three months ago - and it was exactly the same." Lapinette grinned. "Some day we'll come here and it will be all finished." "Just like that?" asked the Wabbit. "Just like that," replied Lapinette. The Wabbit launched into a catalogue of dislikes which included bed and breakfast, fast food on bicycles and taxi services run by everyone and anyone. "We can't stand in the way of progress," sighed Lapinette. "I don't like the rigged economy," grumbled the Wabbit. "Gig economy!" shouted Lapinette. The Wabbit stopped winding Lapinette up. He shoved his paws in his fur. A cyclist bearing the legend Get Stuffed brushed against his back. "I rest my case," he said, "Let's eat in a proper restaurant." "It's only 11.am," said Lapinette. But there was no dissuading the Wabbit, even if he did have a sandwich. Lapinette tried to distract him. "What's our next Adventure going to be?" The Wabbit paused and grimaced. "A decent adventure!" 

Saturday, June 11, 2022

The Wabbit and his Adventure Caffè

The team assembled at the Campagna Amica food market to go to the Caffè there. The Wabbit got there first and thought he would surprise Lapinette. He sidled behind a display of olive oil. "Boo!" he shouted. "Boo yourself," said Lapinette. She'd been there a while and had noticed the Wabbit hiding. Wabsworth hove in sight. He grinned. "You can't catch Lapinette out. She's too cute." Skratch meaowed from the back. "You don't get cuter." "Aw shucks," simpered Lapinette. The Wabbit sighed and gave up. "OK Skratch. You tell us what sort of adventure that was." Skratch meaowed and meaowed. "It was the most awful twaddle - but entertaining nonetheless." Wabsworth shook his head. "It was intelligible through meaninglessness, thus defining it as science fiction." Lapinette span around in a pirouette. "That's good coming from an advanced android such as yourself." "I'm not advanced, I'm state of the art," grumbled Wabsworth. "What art is that?" said the Wabbit. He nudged Lapinette. She pointed at Wabsworth. "He certainly looks the art." Skratch was not impressed by this tomfoolery. He got back to the subject. "Aliens are our default arch enemies. But are they not representations of ourselves and all our faults?" Wabsworth whacked his fist on a nearby table. "We never actually see the aliens. They are merely inferred through disembodied voices off." Skratch purred long and hard. "They are posited through absence. Nearly all Science Fiction uses that technique." The Wabbit grinned. "I'm feeling the absence of a glass of Prosecco!" Lapinette rose en pointe and sidled to the right. "Walk this way!" So they all rose on their toes and followed her to the bar.

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

5. The Wabbit and the Doomsday Gears

Quantum took them to the spot designated by Marshall Duetta. Duetta didn't come because that was a job for the Wabbit and Lapinette - and the truth was that they enjoyed it that way. The Gear Machine was assembled and clearly ready to shift. The Wabbit and Lapinette drifted through space bearing the shift passers. They took up positions on either side of the machine and watched the gears as they tried to throw the Earth irreversibly into reverse. The shift passers did their work. The gears span forward and on - and out of control. They began to separate. The machine began to disintegrate. Gears flew to right and left - if indeed there was a right and left in space. "Time to go," said Lapinette. Quantum pulled up alongside and took them on board. With a supersonic bang he put distance between them and the gears - and threw up a force field protecting Earth. "I thought you didn't have a force field, Quantum," muttered the Wabbit. "You're not the only one who attends night classes," quipped Quantum. On a planet light years away there was fury. There was talk about years of planning gone. People had been hired. Work had been done. Yet they had accomplished precisely nothing. "We'll get that Wabbit for this," said an alien. "How many years will that take?" said another. "Just as many as it takes," said another. The cry went up. "Kill the Wabbit! Kill the Wabbit!" Back on board Quantum, the Wabbit and Lapinette calmly sipped Proseccos. "Do you think they're annoyed?" giggled Lapinette. "Perhaps mildly put out?" suggested the Wabbit. "Maybe they should get a life!" said Quantum. Then they laughed and laughed and laughed.

[Gear machine: The Digital Artist at Pixabay] 

Monday, June 06, 2022

4. The Wabbit and the Relentless Gears

The Wabbit and Lapinette arrived with the only shaft passer they could muster. It was a purely hypothetical device which allowed a spoked wheel to rotate despite having a shaft passing between its spokes. Since it was Marshall Duetta's idea, the Wabbit was clueless for once. But Duetta thought the shaft could be employed when the Gears went into reverse. The Wabbit was sceptical. "These Gears haven't got spokes." Duetta vibrated. "They're on their way to an assembly yard, They'll marry up with the spoked wheels there. Then they'll locate and strike." As the Gears progressed through towards the gateway, Lapinette waved from the back. "They seem harmless." Duetta rattled her legs. "It's all operated remotely from a planet light years away. Nothing happens until after assembly and the job is complete. Then they will harvest our world by remote." The Wabbit tapped a Gear as it went by. It gave off a hollow sound. "I don't suppose a kaboom would destroy them?" Duetta laughed. "They'll just replicate. Our only hope is to alter the mechanism when it's underway." They watched the Gears make their way into space. He shook his ears. "If anyone can do it, we can." Lapinette shook a fist. "We'll shaft them and we'll shaft them good." The Wabbit knew all about shafts and torques and speed and he laughed. "Let them build their gear box." Lapinette laughed too. "What do you do with an enemy that has problems engaging?" "Rev the engine and slip the clutch?" grinned the Wabbit.

Friday, June 03, 2022

3. Marshall Duetta and the Gears of Space

Far away and unbeknown to the Wabbit and Lapinette, a gearwheel platform appeared in Earth's outer atmosphere. It sat there for a while before anything happened. Then with a whoosh, several satellite gear wheels appeared. They zoomed around like bees round a hive and started to chatter with each other - and with the mother gear. They spoke of Distant Lands and their Arc of Approach. They spoke of Thickness and Backlash. Most of all they spoke of Contact. It sounded like gibberish. But not to Marshall Duetta Spyder and her army of red spyders. They landed on the platform like the predators they were. They understood every word and communicated telepathically to one another. "Land on them," commanded Duetta. "All of you reduce size, make a landing and pretend to be non-threatening spider colonies." Her spiders obeyed and soon the space gears were crawling with tiny but lethal spiders. "Monitor their comms," commanded Duetta. Soon Duetta knew what they were up to. They were planning an invasion of earth and planned to put it in reverse gear. Forever. Duetta was a little distant from the Wabbit to speak with him telepathically, so she pulled a radio from beneath her abdomen. "Commander. Emergency. Code Red." Far off on Earth, the Wabbit's radio crackled. He knew who it was by its special buzz. He pulled it from his fur. "Marshall?" Duetta Spyder's vice was urgent. "We have a situation, off-planet." There was a brief silence. "Anything to do with gears?" said the Wabbit. "Indeed," said Duetta. "Come at once and bring a shaft passer."
[Background images: Earth is by NASA. Space platform is by quimono at Pixabay]

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

2. The Wabbit and the Gears from the Sky

The Wabbit was telling Lapinette about the gear wheel incident when it happened again. They were different gears, but gears nonetheless. They emitted a strange colour that bathed the city in an eerie post nuclear glow. Then they began to descend. The Wabbit and Lapinette both took out automatics and prepared to fire, but the gears didn't do anything. The Wabbit was furious. "They should do something," he raged, "Anything." Lapinette grinned. "They're the Hipsters of Gear World." The Wabbit was not impressed. "You've been reading too much Terry Pratchett." "That's Disc World," replied Lapinette. The first gear descended until it touched the Wabbit's face. "Get off!" yelled the Wabbit. He swiped at it. The second gear followed it down until it too touched the Wabbit. The third gear stayed above. "Soon we'll have enough for a whole gearbox," sulked the Wabbit. "They're shifty," nodded Lapinette. The first two gears began to ascend and they both merged with the remaining gear. Then they began to spin in opposite directions. They started to fade - and finally they vanished. The Wabbit shoved his automatic back in his fur. "They're infuriating." The city regained its proper colour and they both breathed easily. "You say they did this before?" asked Lapinette. "Yes, at the bus stop," huffed the Wabbit. Lapinette paused. "They never got out of second gear." The Wabbit thought for a long time. "Clutch problems?" That gave Lapinette an idea. "They don't have a reverse gear. They're stuck." The Wabbit threw back his head and laughed. "So there's no going back."

Monday, May 30, 2022

1. The Wabbit and the Deserted Bus Stop

The Wabbit hopped amiably towards the bus station at Via Paula. He knew he would find a bus and it wouldn't be long before it left. But the station was deserted. Not a bus in sight. He shrugged. "I'll have to wait," he murmured. He hadn't been there 5 minutes when he heard strange sounds of metal and asphalt. He turned his head. A gear wheel was grinding towards him. He turned the other way. Exactly the same. They weren't going too fast, but they made steady progress until they were nearly in the bus station. Something clicked in the Wabbit's brain. Lapinette had come across similar gear wheels in an old adventure and the Wabbit knew them as the Circles of Confusion. They got quicker. But the Wabbit noticed something important. They seemed to have no shadow. "These are ghost gears." All the same, the Wabbit stood back and let the gears collide. There was no sound. Just a silent meshing as they coalesced, combined and went on their separate ways. The Wabbit shook his head. Something told him they weren't going away. He watched them until they were out of sight and then he waited. Sure enough, they came round the corner again and clashed again. This time the cogs meshed and they continued together. They went around again and came back. The gears were bigger and stronger. Now they made a sound. Now they had shadows. They whirred and crunched their way along the asphalt and through the empty bus station. "They're no longer ghosts," shrieked the Wabbit. He climbed a pole to get out of their way and put a paw in his fur for his radio ... 

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."