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."

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.