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," 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."