Friday, September 22, 2023

1. The Wabbit and the Unguided Tour

The Wabbit made up a tour for himself. He just went for the first thing that came into his head and then another and so on. His first site was Superga because he liked to ride the Tramway up the hill. At the top there was a Basilica. It had been the site of many adventures and he stood stock still remembering them all. He murmured like a tour guide. The war with France culminated in the Siege of Turin. Vittorio Amedeo II fulfilled a promise to build a cathedral on the hill if the French were overturned. The Wabbit mulled it over. "Good job too," he thought. But he was pensive. "Many soldiers killed in that war, thousands." He nodded his head. His personal tour was going rather well. He looked up. The sky turned a peculiar shade. Buildings too. "I'm in an old photograph!" he thought. But it couldn't be anything to do with history. The Wabbit was an expert on photography and knew it was invented in the early 1800s. He blinked. Suddenly colour was back. Then it was gone again. Sepia returned. He thought for a while. "Maybe it's me." Then he heard a voice calling. "Wabbit, Wabbit! Follow me." He couldn't see anyone to follow. "Here, here!" He looked down. It was a military hat, more of a cap really. And it was red - a vivid crimson in a sea of sepia. He stooped down to speak to it. The hat looked up, or at least the peak did. "What's your name?" asked the Wabbit. "Eusebio Airoldi." came the reply. "That's a mouthful." said the Wabbit gently. "Call me Sebby," said the hat.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

The Wabbit at his famous Adventure Caffè

The team made its way along Via San Massimo. "It's definitely up this street," said Lapinette. The Wabbit was sceptical but said nothing. Skratch approached from the rear. He was complaining. "Cars come at you from nowhere," he screeched. The Wabbit laughed. "You prefer Rome?" There was silence. The Wabbit knew that Torino was quiet compared to the hustle bustle of Roman cars. "Never mind that," laughed Lapinette. "What was that for a sort of adventure we just had?" Skratch glared balefully at a scooter going the wrong way. "It was rich in symbolism." If Skratch could have fired a bolt of lightning at the scooter, its driver would be a lump of shriveled carbon. Wabsworth snorted. "Greek Gods were nasty. They didn't pull punches." Lapinette grunted. "I'd say they were pragmatic rather than cruel." The Wabbit didn't really agree. "They were cruel to be kind. Punishment usually fitted the crime." Skratch meaowed plaintively "Styx seemed put out by Zeus. But she bore no particular malice." "And he got the water he wanted." added Wabsworth. Lapinette was determined to find the restaurant she wanted. "Try veering to the right," said the Wabbit. They came on a large piazza with many restaurants. "There it is!" cheered Lapinette. "I knew it all along." "God's oath," muttered the Wabbit under his breath. But everyone heard it and laughed and laughed. 

Thursday, September 07, 2023

7. The Wabbit, Lapinette and Dog Days

The Wabbit and Lapinette found themselves at the gate of the museum. There was no sign of Zeus or his Gryphon. Lapinette jumped in the air. "I don't like boats and the sea." The Wabbit nodded. "I don't like rain and wet, it sullies my fur." They pondered a while. "I suppose it was to get away from the Dog Days," said Lapinette. "What are the Dog Days anyway?" The Wabbit was thoughtful. Lapinette pirouetted. "Something to do with the sea. You should know." The Wabbit had seen the film, Dog Day Afternoon and he knew all about Dog Days. But he didn't let on. Lapinette grew more impatient. "Sirius rises," said the Wabbit finally, "It brings lethargy, fever, mad dogs and bank robberies." Lapinette shrugged. "Nothing much then." The Wabbit glanced at the poster. "What's Colori dei Romani?" Lapinette pouted. "Mosaics. I'll be helping." The Wabbit stuck his paws in his fur, "Someone's got to do it, I suppose." Lapinette was silent. "Otherwise, they'd be bits everywhere," added the Wabbit. Lapinette put her paws on her hips. "You think you're very funny, don't you?" "I am funny," said the Wabbit. "That's why I said you'd help." Lapinette smiled. The Wabbit groaned to himself. He knew that small pieces would get in his fur, then they'd be a crisis and a search and a lot of shouting. "I've put you on the edges," grinned Lapinette, "They're latrine mosaics, there will be jokes." "Ah," said the Wabbit. "Like Zeus as a heron cleaning Ganymede's ...." "That's quite enough," snapped Lapinette.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

6. The Wabbit and the Craft of Stone

They made their escape. Styx turned their craft into stone to stop them, but the ship forged ahead with its precious cargo of pure water. Lapinette kept look out on the bow while the Wabbit guided the craft through perilous waters. He hummed a seafaring ditty as he span the wheel. "And the ocean waves do roll, And the stormy winds do blow." Lapinette sighed and shouted instructions. "Left paw down a bit, right paw up a bit! Watch that rock, mind that current. Steady as she goes, now." The Wabbit was oblivious to this, because in the wind he couldn't hear a thing. "I think I see land," yelled Lapinette. The Wabbit was confused. Maybe an accompaniment to his tune "I cannot hear a band," he sang. The waves splattered across the bows covering Lapinette in salty spray. She had no sea legs and was feeling nauseous. She gripped the sides of the vessel. "How do we get the water to Zeus?" The Wabbit had no idea. "We'll wait and see. It's what you do with Gods." Lapinette had the grace to laugh. "Wait and sea?" That seemed to be the magic word. The vessel was gripped by a gigantic force. Mighty talons plucked them from the water. "Water, water everywhere!" said a deep Gryphon voice. Plonked down in Montemartini Museum beside Zeus, they shed brine in all directions. But they'd kept the Styx water safe. "Well done Lapinette and the Wabbit," roared Zeus. "You may join the assembly of deathless Gods." The Wabbit looked at Lapinette and smiled. "After a year's probation," nodded Zeus. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

5. The Wabbit and the Styxian Waters

The Wabbit was right about their craft. It let in water then capsized. Lapinette and the Wabbit clambered onto what was left. Clear water from the Goddess Styx splashed upon their heads. "Wherefor goest thou?" murmured the waters. All the Wabbit could hear was tinkling. Lapinette's ears swivelled. "Wherefor goest thou!" shouted the Water. The Wabbit paused and then he spoke. "We're on a mission from Zeus." Water rained down. "He never calls, nor do my sons." The Wabbit thought quickly. "Consider us his emissaries. He tells that you are the greatest body of water in the Universe." "He should come here and tell it to my face," said Styx. Lapinette had waited her turn to speak and now she was most voluble. "All we want is to take back a small vial of your most holy water." Water continued to pour down. "I can't spare a drop." roared Styx. The Wabbit was trying to right the craft and he finally did it. The craft quickly filled with the purest of water from Styx. "Well, we'd better go back and ask Zeus," he hissed. "Good idea," said Lapinette. She started to push the boat into deeper water. The waterfall grew louder and louder. "Tell him his name is mud," yelled Styx. "If I ever see him again, I'll push him under." "Under what?" queried the Wabbit. "Underground," shouted Styx.

Monday, August 21, 2023

4. The Wabbit and the Dread Water

The Wabbit only remembered Zeus clapping his hands. Then they were aboard a barge in the Stygian depths of an underground waterway. Where it went, or where it came from, neither he nor Lapinette knew. "It could be the Styx," said Lapinette. The Wabbit thought back to his mythology classes. "The Styx is Zeus's mother." He shook his head and sighed. Lapinette went on. "He had a thing for his mother." The Wabbit trailed a paw in the water. "Zeus said that all solemn oaths of the Gods should be sworn by this murky gloop." "The dread water of the Styx," grimaced Lapinette. "What does Zeus want us to do?" groaned the Wabbit. He thought of something and smiled. Lapinette jumped from her seat, "Don't you dare, Wabbit!" He was nonchalant though. "I'm not going in there, all my fur would drop off." The barge creaked. It was an elderly makeshift affair, patched here and there. "Maybe this barge wasn't meant to hold together," croaked Lapinette. The barge creaked again and spoke. "Styx lives at the entrance to Hades, propped up with pillars. Zeus demands you fetch her cold, clear water and bring it to him. Otherwise you will be punished." The Wabbit looked aghast. "I never agreed to that." He looked at Lapinette. "Did you?" Lapinette scoffed. "I'm not Iris. Do I look like an Iris?" The Wabbit buried his head and they floated on.

Friday, August 18, 2023

3. The Wabbit and the Arrival of Zeus

Before the Wabbit and Lapinette could think of making their way to a bar, everything changed. The spaceship fragmented into splinters as a giant figure loomed. The Gryphon settled on his shoulder. "Ah, my little hound. Who have you brought for me today?" The figure's voice was gruff. Gryphon was in a bad mood. "Don't speak to me in that tone of voice. I brought you two creatures from the normal world." The Wabbit grimaced. "Normal? I wouldn't say that." The giant figure looked down. "It speaks." Lapinette chimed in. "We speak," she said, "Who are you?" Thunder roared from the giant engines that surrounded him. "I am Zeus. I am head of everything." Lapinette glanced at the Wabbit and they both motioned with their paws. "Big head," mouthed the Wabbit. "Blowhard," signalled Lapinette. "I thought you would like them, your loftiness," said Gryphon. "I don't dislike them," replied Zeus. Silence fell. "You're a meddler," said the Wabbit. "Of the first degree," added Lapinette. "Known for it," said the Wabbit. "Be quiet," said Zeus, "or I'll turn you into rabbits." They laughed. "We are rabbits," said Lapinette. "Don't get beyond yourself," grinned the Wabbit. "You obviously want something, or we wouldn't be here." Zeus shrugged. His shoulders thundered. "I do have a little task. It's not easy to explain." Lapinette growled and her ears twirled. "Go ahead, we've got all day."

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

2. The Wabbit and the Double Encounter

Lapinette and the Wabbit hadn't even reached the market when something happened. They felt a little wet, but it reached only part of their bodies. Lapinette was wetter and she shouted. "What's happening?" They looked up. They were Ice Mice vessels all right and one was directing snow straight at them. The Wabbit shook a fist. "You're not supposed to be in this sector. We had an agreement!" There was no reply. Two more vessels hovered, just as silent as the first. "Something's not right," shivered the Wabbit. "Intelligence said they were in another sector entirely."  Lapinette shrugged and tried to move but she was stuck in the snow. A silhouette fell across the Ice Mice vessels, the shadow of a giant bird. The Wabbit decided to speak harshly to Intelligence. But he left it for later. "Speak, creature!" he yelled. Again there was no response. "Use your universal translator," yelled Lapinette. "It's in for an overhaul," replied the Wabbit. Usually it didn't work, and he had given up. There was a roar. "I am tesh-tesh, the fiery one." He crumpled the vessel like an old tin can. "Respect my tendrils!" shouted tesh-tesh. The Wabbit and Lapinette smiled. "Your tendrils are most fine. Are you a gryphon?" The gryphon unfurled its mighty wings. "I am the multi-cultural gryphon of legend. From Ancient Egypt to Dante to modern folklore." The Wabbit smirked innocently. "You're not a dragon then?" The gryphon snarled. "Don't talk to me about dragons. They are most inelegant and quite rude." Lapinette raised a paw. "We're going to a bar. Would you like a drink?" The gryphon had no hesitation. "I'm partial to a glass of Sangue di Giuda."

Friday, August 11, 2023

1. The Wabbit and Lapinette take a Walk

The Wabbit and Lapinette were having a casual walk in a district they hardly knew. They were enjoying their amble as they made their way to a small market in the heart of the neighbourhood, when Lapinette turned and pointed. "Oh look. A demonstration." The Wabbit scrutinised the posters. " I hope you're not thinking of going." Lapinette shrugged. "Of course!" The Wabbit shrugged too. "Sorry to disappoint, but that demonstration was last year." Lapinette looked again. "It doesn't say the year on it." "I saw it my union journal," said the Wabbit. "It's a consumers organisation campaigning for better treatment of workers." Lapinette had a flash of inspiration. "Yes, I remember now. It's called the Clean Clothes Campaign. Clothing workers are being globally exploited." The Wabbit patted his supersonic fur. "Not guilty," he said, "But where was your mini kilt made? By children in Pakistan?" Lapinette folded her paws. "By children in Scotland!" she shouted. The Wabbit started to laugh - and so did Lapinette. Paw in paw they made their way along the road. Lapinette was curious. "What's the local market like?" "Very small, but with nice things made by local people," replied the Wabbit. "Exploitation free?" Lapinette was on her high horse. "Nothing is," murmured the Wabbit. "I think they have an alcohol-free prosecco bar, though." Lapinette was disgusted. "That's like coming to Italy and eating at McDonalds." 

Saturday, August 05, 2023

The Wabbit and his Adventure Caffè

The team assembled at a Caffè in Testaccio. Drinks had been ordered but you had to get them yourself. The Wabbit grumbled, but Lapinette said she would do it and returned quickly, because sandwiches had to be heated. She leapt into her seat. Skratch arrived and grunted at the empty table. "This isn't what I'm used to," he groaned. Lapinette was far from pleased. "Now look Skratch. I ordered you a tuna and shrimp sandwich. Don't give me grief." The Wabbit giggled quietly. Wabsworth sniggered. "Tell us Skratch, what sort of Adventure did the Wabbit and Lapinette just have?" Skratch meaowed and meaowed. "It was a slight adventure barely worth analysing." Skratch was having a fit of pique because he hadn't been in an adventure for a while. Lapinette pouted and Skratch took his sentiments back at once. "We must turn to Freud and the pleasure principle." Wabsworth scowled. "Nothing could be more annoying. Lacan said it was like hauling words over hot coals. Skratch's eyes shot up. "Good turn of phrase Wabsworth - and probably true." The Wabbit chortled and muttered about spiders. "Speak up, Wabbit," said Lapinette. "The narrator is compared to a spider in Proust and thus to madness," shouted the Wabbit. He could be very opinionated. Lapinette wanted to change the subject. "Shall we hurry up the drinks?" "We'd be mad not to," replied the Wabbit. The Shaman brushed past with tourists in tow. He turned and pointed. "Listen to them and you could learn something."

Wednesday, August 02, 2023

6. The Wabbit and the Domitian Empire.

The Wabbit and Lapinette conferred on the best course of action for the Electric Shaman. Lapinette suggested that tour guide was a good enough option for him, but the Wabbit suggested a new location. After due deliberation they decided on Musei Capitolini. The Wabbit said it was the oldest museum in the world. Lapinette wasn't so sure, but the Wabbit argued that he had a card that got him in free. That clinched it. Capitolini it was. The Electric Shaman took it all in and the Wabbit fixed it with the Director - or Zeus as he called him. They came to a door. "What is this exhibition?" asked the Shaman. The Wabbit grinned. "That's Domitian. He was quite the lad, but Conservative in his way." Lapinette pouted. "Didn't he conquer Scotland." The Wabbit scowled. "No-one ever conquered Scotland." The Shaman scribbled something in a voluminous notebook that magically appeared and just as quickly disappeared. Lapinette nudged the Shaman. "The Wabbit is Scottish you know." The Shaman scribbled Alba in his notebook. "Shall we celebrate your appointment in the bar," suggested the Wabbit. The Shaman's electric cloak brightened even more. "It's upstairs," said Lapinette. "I know where it is," said the Wabbit, "and I know how to get there." The Shaman laughed, and said, "So do I. Let's get the lift." 

Monday, July 31, 2023

5. The Wabbit and the Blue Sky Cubes

The Wabbit thought it best to discourage the Electric Shaman from any mischief, because he felt a headache coming on. He chanced the local pharmacy with the Shaman in tow. He could hear a familiar voice yelling "Yeah, yeah yeah!" and looked up. Lapinette was there and she was bouncing up and down. She seemed to be trying to touch the blue cubes and the Wabbit called out to her. Lapinette looked down and gasped, "Oh, hello Wabbit, what are you doing here?" The Wabbit explained about his headache. Lapinette gasped again "They won't give you anything in here unless you touch the sky." The Wabbit shrugged because there was another pharmacy, and it wasn't far. "Isn't that the Electric Shaman?" said Lapinette. The Wabbit nodded. "I'm a tour guide now," said the Shaman. "Then help me out," said Lapinette. "I have to touch three cubes and they'll let me have some vitamins." The Shaman waved his electric arms, grasped three cubes, and brought them to the floor. Lapinette floated down, picked them up and took them to the counter. "You haven't taken a queue ticket," said the shop assistant. She ducked as Lapinette sent the cubes flying past her head - and produced the vitamins that Lapinette wanted. "Lapinette, I remember you," said the Electric Shaman, "I had you in my cloak." "Not for long," replied Lapinette.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

4. The Wabbit and Arts and Crafts

The Wabbit stepped through a side door in the Metro. He was something of a shaman in his own right, having studied with Don Juan Matus in the Sonora Desert. So he didn't clap his paws or anything so mundane. He merely took the Electric Shaman through a door that breached reality. They emerged in a little-known house somewhere in Rome that once belonged to a group of artists. The Shaman gasped. "These designs, they look like my cloak." The Wabbit smiled. "I knew you'd like it." The Wabbit explained the origins of the house. Once it was very fine, but when a holy order of nuns took it over, it fell upon hard times. Luckily, most of it had been rescued and restored. "This is wonderful," said the Shaman. "I could come here and conjure up medieval knights." The Wabbit cringed. The thought of medieval knights jousting about Rome was worse than gladiators. "Couldn't you conjure up some nice illustrations." The Shaman looked crestfallen. "Where's the fun in that?" The Wabbit had a think. "Look Shaman, there's an awful filling station right in front of this building. It's an eyesore." The Shaman brightened. "Can I set it on fire? Get rid of it?" The Wabbit had one of his ideas. "Round up students, there's plenty in this neighbourhood. Design medieval banners. Block the road. Cause trouble." The Shaman really liked the idea. "What shall we tell the general public?" "Just stop oil," shrugged the Wabbit. 

Monday, July 24, 2023

3. The Wabbit Under the Colosseum

The Wabbit led the way down and the Shaman followed. But when they reached a lower level, he waved his wands. "They're building a Metro under the Colosseum," he laughed. “They’ve not finished it," said the Wabbit, “they've hardly started." The Shaman smiled. There was a flash. Suddenly they were in a Metro. "How do you like it?" The Wabbit groaned. "It looks like Turin. This is the curve from the station." Nevertheless, they both stood and admired the construction. "Up there is my new set of escalators." The Wabbit shrugged. "I guess this is all in your imagination." The Shaman grinned. "No it's quite solid. When the workers dig down, they'll find it's all been done already." The Wabbit shook his head like a donkey. "I don't think you understand industrial relations and the economics of land use." "Oh but I do," said the Shaman. "So I've thrown in a bit of spectacle. Masses of people will come for kilometres just to see this." He waved his wand again. A gladiator appeared and with a rapid slash of his dagger, produced buckets of blood. The Shaman waved once more. The gladiator disappeared. "He'll double as a ticket inspector," he giggled, "with on-the-spot fines." The Wabbit screwed up his eyes under his glasses. "Fines?" "The best bit," said the Shaman, "Death for non-payment." The Wabbit felt it was all too fanciful. "What about the ozone? I can still smell it." They looked around. "I think it's something to do with your gladiator," grimaced the Wabbit. "Oh phooey," replied the Shaman.

Friday, July 21, 2023

2. The Wabbit & the Electric Shaman's Job

The Wabbit caught up with the Electric Shaman by going the other way round. He grinned. "What are you doing in the Colosseum?" He stuck out a paw. The Shaman met it with a spiky electric hand. The Wabbit's paw tingled. "I took your advice," said the Shaman. The Wabbit couldn't recall what his advice was. It was about eight years ago. Probably Wabsworth would know. "How's that working out for you?" The Shaman was overjoyed. "You said show business, but I did the next best thing." The Wabbit waggled an inquisitive ear. "I became a tour guide." said the Shaman. "I am currently light painting." He changed the ambient lighting to a nice sunset. "And sometimes I do tricks. Look! There I am over there." The Wabbit glanced over his shoulder and saw another shaman. "And the tourists?" The Shaman gave a belly laugh. "They're rather glazed. Some of them think they're on a film set for the Fast and the Furious." The Wabbit permitted himself a good guffaw. The Shaman was very enthusiastic. "You haven't seen my reenactment of the Gladiators?" He paused. "With electric prods?" The Wabbit chortled. But he thought about the outstanding issue - the smell of ozone. The Shaman growled. "I can't get rid of it. I think it comes from the cellars." "Let's go down there," smiled the Wabbit. Then he turned. "By the way, what about the illegal graffiti people?" The Shaman sniggered. "I prod them."

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

1. The Wabbit and the Colosseum

The Wabbit went off for a wander round the Colosseum. It was summer, but he hadn't quite expected the number of tourists. He had a low opinion of casual tourists, but one nice young lady had given him a bottle of water and he gulped it down. Rabbits didn't sweat and his ears flailed in a circle, trying to keep cool. The day was so hot that the water heated up immediately and he carefully placed the remains of the hot liquid in a bin. "Phew," he panted, "Next time I'll come in the winter." He'd always thought there was something creepy about the Colosseum, but it was such an attraction you could hardly ignore it. His special pass from the Department of Wabbit Affairs guaranteed him admission to most things - although he couldn't help flashing his bus pass and saying, "Blue Cross Inspection!" Sometimes it worked and he grinned. Sometimes it didn't and security would laugh and say, "It's only the Wabbit having a joke." But today there was something odd happening, and the Wabbit couldn't put his paw on it. A kind of electricity maybe. He looked up and down and sniffed. He recalled the smell from the old Glasgow Subway. "Must be ozone then," he thought. He made his way out down the long corridors that lined the walls and all the time he kept smelling that smell. Then he bumped into a creature he knew ...

Sunday, July 16, 2023

The Wabbit's Famous Adventure Caffè

The team crept inside a Caffè in Via Gregorio VII because it had air conditioning. The Wabbit said it was expensive, but he suspended judgment because everyone seemed happy. There was no available waiter but a voice from the back called "Arrivo subito." The Wabbit smiled. "It's only a matter of time." Skratch leaned in. "Are you referring to another of your prehistoric adventures?" The Wabbit merely shook his head. "Tell us - what was that for a sort of adventure we just had?" Skratch's meaow was an attenuated shriek. "There was the problem of authenticity." Lapinette screwed up her nose. "How so?" Skratch leaned in even further. "It is not known if ammonites had that nautilus head." Wabsworth butted in. "Isn't knowing about that sort of thing is an ideological construct." The Wabbit laughed. "Archaeologists would have us walking about in one of their ideological theme parks." Lapinette had several post graduate qualifications in anthropology. She nodded her head. "Archaeologists carefully reveal the means of construction of what they think is really real. But all we can really know is uncertainty." The Wabbit grinned. "It's fairly uncertain if we'll ever get a drink." Wabsworth also had a laugh. "We can only be certain about our uncertainty." The waiter appeared bearing four Proseccos and sandwiches on a tray. "We never really ordered," snorted Lapinette. "He was really certain of what we wanted," shrugged the Wabbit.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

6. The Wabbit rehomes the Ammonite

The day was still hot, the pool was cool. It had belonged to a Roman Senator who was retired and looking for seclusion. He would hole up on his island and have peace and quiet. Perfect for an Ammonite. He navigated around the island and pronounced it delightful. The team arranged themselves in a tableau and watched. A prehistoric fish arrived and spoke to Tipsy. "Who are you exactly?" it said. "Mind your own business," smiled Tipsy. "Who is this creature?" it asked. "That's for me to know and you to find out," grinned Tipsy. The sun blazed down. "Now maybe the weather will go back to normal," said the Wabbit. He looked up at the clear blue sky. "You said you were the keeper of the sky," said Lapinette. The Ammonite sailed round the island three times. "I didn't say anything about the weather!" The Wabbit shrugged. "What's the opposite of a cold front?" asked Lapinette. "A warm back," yelled Skratch. "Heard it before," said the Ammonite. Lapinette shook her head. There was no pleasing an Ammonite. "Let's find a bar," said the Wabbit. "No bar," responded Lapinette. Both Tipsy and the Wabbit scowled. "You said this was a Roman place," grimaced the Wabbit. "Closing time was quite a while ago," sulked Lapinette. Skratch saved the day. "I have a couple of bottles in the truck." The Wabbit smiled at Tipsy. "Let's get trucking!" "What about us?" asked the Ammonite. "You're teetotal," shrugged Lapinette.

Monday, July 10, 2023

5. Lapinette, Tipsy and the Heavy Work

The Wabbit thought it wise to delegate certain tasks and, for his own part, it had been hard enough to get the Ammonite to his desired destination. The Waterfall Park ran entirely on its own energy and this involved a lot of steps. Tipsy and Lapinette managed to manoeuvre the Ammonite onto the ledge and he nearly fell in sideways. "Have a care. Mind my shell," he said, "Do you know how long this takes to grow?" Tipsy snorted. "A shorter time than it takes to get up to the bar." Lapinette staggered backwards with the effort. "There is no bar." Tipsy let go of the Ammonite. There was a large splash. "All this water and no bar. What kind of place is this?" The noise from waterfall was deafening and she had to shout. "I'm not deaf," yelled Lapinette. It was ridiculously hot - and tempers were short. Meanwhile the Ammonite took the opportunity to explore the lake. It swam the perimeter and returned. "Very pretty," it burbled, "but it's a little small." Lapinette nearly lost her temper. "You were in a tank when we found you." The Ammonite snorted. "I'm an ocean-going cephalopod, I'll remind you." Tipsy exploded. "You water bound wally! If you're not careful I'll find a field for you." The Ammonite moved away smartly and hid behind the waterfall. Lapinette thought for a moment. "Maybe he's right. He deserves more room." The Ammonite peeked out from behind the cascading water. "I need something to get my teeth into." "What about some nice carp?" shrugged Lapinette. "I wouldn't complain," said the Ammonite.

Wednesday, July 05, 2023

4. The Wabbit and the Pesky Ammonite

The Wabbit and Lapinette fled through the museum. At last, they got to a window, but the sky was a lurid menacing blue. They looked round. The clocks seemed to have peeled off at the door to the exhibit room - and had given up their pursuit. But worse was to come. A giant snail like thing with wiggling tendrils stood in their way. "I'm an ammonite," it boomed. "I'm in charge of skies." The Wabbit faced him down. "I don't care what religion you are. Return our sky to normal." The Ammonite laughed. "That's no fun. What would the denizens of Rome do without me and my wild friends?" Lapinette also stared. "Quite well, I think," she snapped. The ammonite waved his tendrils. "We're essential to the humour ecosystem." The Wabbit suddenly laughed and began to fall about. "Ho ho ho!" Lapinette joined in. "Ha ha ha!" The ammonite scowled. "We're not funny ha ha ha. We're sophisticated!" But the Wabbits wouldn't stop laughing. The ammonite turned and slithered up and down. "I'll report you to the humour council." The Wabbit thought that was really funny and imagined their meetings. He looked out the window. The sky was returning to normal. "I'll introduce you to my friends." The ammonite looked sad. "We can't leave the museum." Lapinette sighed. "Who says?" The ammonite thought and thought. "I don't know. But I yearn to swim in water and eat plankton." "Perfect," said the Wabbit. "I have an idea."

Monday, July 03, 2023

3.The Wabbit and Lapinette seek Shelter

The sky looked like it was going to eat them, so the Wabbit and Lapinette dived into a nearby museum. The Wabbit flashed his bus pass and shouted "Security" and Lapinette followed suit. Together they scampered upstairs. Outside the sky got even blacker and they were well out of ideas. "What's that?" asked the Wabbit. "That shouldn't be there," replied Lapinette. "This is the Ethnographic Museum and these are old clocks." The Wabbit clenched a fist and struck the display cabinet. It was quite a blow and the glass cracked, then splintered. "Why are there always three?" yelled the Wabbit. "Gears again," shouted Lapinette. She grasped the spinning cogs but they refused to stop. The clocks hovered around them like angry bees. The hands span wildly and they made a whining noise. "Looks like trouble!" gasped Lapinette. "Triple trouble," said the Wabbit and he tried to grab one of the clocks - but it just slid out of his paw. "What did you do the last time?" asked Lapinette. "They took us on a time zone journey," answered the Wabbit, "and I had help from Skratch and Tipsy." Lapinette fished in her frock for her radio, but the Wabbit was first, although he nearly dropped it. "Come in, Skratch." The radio crackled. "I read you, Wabbit." The Wabbit picked slivers of glass from his fur. "Get Tipsy and head for the Ethnographic Museum." There was a pause. "We on a day out?" asked Skratch. The Wabbit gritted his teeth. "Yes, if you can spare the time."
[A number of glass and clock photos from Pixabay. Various artists.]

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

2. The Wabbit and the Old Jeep

The Wabbit picked up Lapinette at her apartment. She was shocked. "What kind of vehicle is this?" she exclaimed. "What happened to Jeep Wab 1?" The Wabbit rubbed his fur and looked up at the sky. "Being serviced." She looked sceptical. "Wab 2?" The Wabbit glanced at the sky again. "Wabsworth has it." Now Lapinette looked at the sky. It was green - which was unusual. The heat was astonishing, and she wiped her brow. "I don't suppose it has air conditioning?" A silence fell. "Where did you get it?" The Wabbit croaked slightly "I stole it" Lapinette heaved a sigh and waited. "It was in an old underground bunker," said the Wabbit, "No one wanted it." Lapinette had to admit it motored well. "And the paint job?" The Wabbit pouted. "That's ... original." He thought he could hear a harrumph but made no reply. "Why is the sky a bilious shade of green?" asked Lapinette. "I think it's the Emperor Ming," joked the Wabbit. Lapinette had no sense of humour on these occasions. "I never watched Flash Gordon." The sky changed shade again. It was like a mesh dropped behind them. Lapinette shuddered. "We have to save the planet I suppose." The Wabbit took out a calculator from beneath his fur. "It hardly matters," he shrugged. Lapinette gunned the throttle and jumped over the parked cars. "Well, I have markets to visit, makeup to buy, clothes to try on." The Wabbit grinned. "Then we'd better get some salad in."

Monday, June 26, 2023

1. The Wabbit and the Winged Life

The Wabbit was between missions and he hated it. He walked through a part of the city he knew only too well and that bored him. "Always with the building sites," he thought. He looked up. There was a bird far up in the sky. It might have been a gull, or it could have been a raptor of some kind. He'd seen them round there - aways on the lookout for something yummy. He mused on the nature of birds. This one called to him. "Caw, caw cawdor. My name is Cawdor." The Wabbit shook his head. "Take heed then, your number's up." The bird soared upwards and the sky darkened. Buildings became spooky. The pharmacy cross flashed lurid green. "Maybe I'd better watch out," said the Wabbit to himself. He heard the fluttering of wings, but it wasn't the bird. It was a colourful dragonfly. "Don't I know you from somewhere?" asked the Wabbit. It made a high-pitched sound and flew backwards slightly. "We haven't met, Commander. But we have now." The Dragonfly overbalanced and flew upside down before righting itself on the pharmacy sign. "Your world is changing." The sky became darker. "Changing for the worse." it added. The Wabbit shrugged. "Not for the better?" He smiled because he never thought it would be  anything else. The Dragonfly clenched its sphincter. "Fire, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, bad movies." It buzzed quietly. "I am but an emissary." There was a low squelchy noise. "Any good news?" asked the Wabbit. "More mosquitoes, hurrah, gnam gnam." It made a sucking noise with is anus, turned and flew off. "That was rude," said the Wabbit.
[Dragonfly photo: Erik Karitz. Pixabay]

Monday, June 19, 2023

The Wabbit's famous Adventure Caffè

They gathered at the designated Caffè. The Wabbit's instructions were specific. The Antico Caffe del Moro was in Trastevere and had a rather interesting sign. Lapinette pointed to it and gasped. The Wabbit was unperturbed. So was Wabsworth. "It's from the old colonial days," said the Wabbit. Wabsworth agreed. "Things were a little different from the perspective of the time. Explorers took useful gifts." The Wabbit giggled. "Fernet Branca was a good offering. I'll bet they had an excellent time." Skratch was anything but late. He was already inside - and out he came, asking the usual question. "What was that for a sort of adventure?" Lapinette laughed. "It was an experimental romp, foregrounding psychoanalytic symbolism and the nature of masks." Wabsworth clapped his paws. "Skratch is going to tell you all about that Canadian 3-D movie. It was ahead of its time." Skratch meaowed long and hard. "Experimental films have their own space and time. either behind nor ahead." The Wabbit shook with mirth. "You're telling me. I saw The Mask years ago in an afternoon cinema with a couple of incredibly old rabbits. We all shook with fear."  He drawled with a Vincent Price accent. "Put ooooon the Maaaask." Lapinette pouted "Would you say that was productive dissonance. The phenomenology of cognitive imagery?" Skratch wanted the last word. "No sign, no semiotics!" The Wabbit had the final say. "Let's go inside and scare up some drinks."

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

7. The Wabbit, Lapinette & the Old Train

The Wabbit and Lapinette ducked and dived through the rail station and out onto the tracks. But the newly merged Mask was in hot pursuit. Everywhere they went he followed, until they came to the unused tracks at the edge of the station. Coming down the line was an old train from the thirties. He wasn't going at the speed of new trains, but he was large and he was heavy. "Quick," said the Wabbit. He and Lapinette headed out in front of the locomotive. The Mask laughed. Ignoring the old train, he dived behind the Wabbit and Lapinette. But the old train kept coming. The driver blew a warning blast on his klaxon, but the Mask took no notice. Lapinette dived out of the way. The Wabbit lingered and tried to lull the Mask into danger. Again he stood his ground. "Now I've got you," leered the Mask. With a grinding smash, the locomotive ploughed into the Mask. Tons of metal squealed. The Mask shattered and sprayed its surroundings with fragments. For a second it resembled a new Mask with a devilish scowling face. Then leer was gone as it vanished, leaving only pieces of itself. They faded too. The Wabbit looked up at the driver and shrugged. "Just a few gremlins." The driver looked down. "All in a day's work for a railwayman," he nodded. Then his engines burst into life and with a puff of diesel fumes the train moved out. "How shall we get home?" asked the Wabbit. "Bus," replied Lapinette.

Monday, June 12, 2023

6. A Surprise for the Wabbit and Lapinette

Leaving the remnants of the Mask behind, the Wabbit and Lapinette headed for the nearest rail station. The area was busy. It bustled with tourists, and they were relieved to get inside. But Lapinette had an uneasy feeling. "Don't you think we should have finished that Mask off for good." The Wabbit was nonchalant. "He was definitely gone. We put paid to his tricks." Lapinette glanced behind - and what she saw horrified her. Shards of the Mask were following them, and they were huge. Lapinette nudged the Wabbit. The Wabbit glanced back. "Ye Gods," he exclaimed. But he stood his ground. "Scram," he said.  "Get lost, you're in bits." The Mask tried to speak through his broken mouth. Unintelligible gibberish issued. The Wabbit was perturbed. The bits of Mask were in the process of self assembly and it looked like they'd merge soon. Its grim mouth hung together in a kind of leering sneer and by now it spoke clearly. "I'll get you for this, you Wabbits, I'll make you pay." The Wabbit looked at Lapinette. "I have an idea," he said. Lapinette knew what it was. "Run?" He gestured with his head towards the track. "The railway." Lapinette wasn't sure that was a good idea. "What if there's no train?" "We'll duck and dive," replied the Wabbit. They broke into a run - but the Mask was nearly solid now. He yelled as he chased after them ...

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

5. The Wabbit and the Secret Weapon

The Wabbit fished in his fur for a weapon and he fished fast. His paw touched a developmental model of the Snazer - enhanced and as yet untested. He pulled it out. The Mask settled on Lapinette's face, and she felt tentacles wind round her mouth and nose. She tried hard to prise it off and succeeded in lifting it a few millimetres from her skin. The Wabbit's weapon blurred into life. He took aim. He didn't want to risk hitting Lapinette, but she gasped in pain. "Do it now". The Snazer charged with a whirr. The Mask looked round and that again was his undoing. The Snazer was on automatic and the Wabbit merely breathed on the trigger. It fired. The Mask had been leering, but the bullet swerved past Lapinette by a hairsbreadth, took off the Mask's left ear and bit through its eye. The Mask fell to the ground. The leer was in two sections and lay silent on the tarmac. "Who's laughing now?" grunted the Wabbit. He was trying to look nonchalant, but Lapinette could hear the harsh rasps of his breath. He suddenly sat down. Lapinette picked herself up and offered a paw to the Wabbit. He hauled himself upright. "What was that for a masked Mask?" asked the Wabbit. Lapinette ground the remains of the Mask into the car park asphalt. "Don't ask."

Monday, June 05, 2023

4. The Wabbit and the Artificial Sneeze

They were outside the cinema with the Mask clinging all the tighter as the Wabbit scrabbled under his fur for the article. It was a flask full of sneezing powder left over from Hallowe'en, and he held it under the Mask's nose. It only took a second before it did its work. The Wabbit sneezed with such violence that the flask flew in the air. Lapinette was looking for the Wabbit. He was supposed to meet her in EUR but never turned up. She came round the corner just as the Mask shot from the Wabbit's face. "Watch out Lapinette," gasped the Wabbit, "Don't let it near your face." But the Mask was well on its way. With an enormous leer, it headed directly for Lapinette. She stuck out her paws to stop him, but the Mask kept coming, "Get off you beastly thing," she shouted. "He's a trickster!" sneezed the Wabbit. He grabbed it by the ears and twisted. "Yow," shouted the Mask. It looked back. This was Lapinette's opportunity. She gripped his nose and screwed it to the right, then pulled it to the left. It let out a painful cry and suddenly it had hollow eyes no longer. They filled with malice. It rose - and descended on Lapinette. It only took a moment before Lapinette was wearing the Mask. "What are you going to do now, Wabbit?" grimaced the Mask. The Wabbit was horrified because being inside the Mask and under its control was no joke. He saw her trying to shake it off - to no avail. "I'm going to dismember you before I kill you," shouted the Wabbit. He lunged at the Mask ...

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

3. The Wabbit and the Cinematic Smile

The Wabbit clawed at the Mask. He was no longer in the church but in a cinema. Or so he thought. "Ha ha ha," laughed the Mask. The Wabbit's lips moved but he was no longer in control of them. He tried to get the Mask away from his face, but nothing worked. It was stuck like a ghastly shadow. "I know you evil spirits - and you are one, Wabbit." The Wabbit said the words although he wanted to say something else entirely. But the Wabbit knew one thing. The Mask could read his thoughts. "I'm not the evil spirit you think," he thought, "I'm not even an Agent of Rabit." Three was a terrible cackle and the Wabbit realised he was the one who made it. "Perhaps I'm not the trickster you think I am," said the Mask, "Perhaps I'm a normal law-abiding citizen." The Wabbit hopped round and round the cinema. "Get out of my face, you monster!" he thought. The only response was a guffaw and the Wabbit's lips curved into a demonic smile. The Mask was in control of his face and mouth - but it wasn't in control of his arms. He rummaged under his fur for something useful. Everything he came across was useless. There was a pistol, a can opener and there was the lighter that started the whole business. Nothing useful. Until his paw came across a slim tube. The Wabbit smiled inwardly and tried not to think. It was something almost forgotten that he'd been saving since last Hallowe'en ...

Monday, May 29, 2023

2. The Wabbit and the Mask in the Dome

No sooner had the Wabbit lit the candle, than the vast ceiling filled with golden light. He felt disembodied. Every part of his body became flat. He was being drawn upwards towards the dome. It was a steady ascent. His legs tingled. He peered into the light. He could make out two eyes, a nose and then a giant face. It was an impish face with impish ears and a devilish grin that split the face in two. The Wabbit blinked. It's more of a mask he thought. "Yes, Wabbit. I'm all mask." The voice filled the dome with echoing laughter. "It knows my name," thought the Wabbit. "I know everything," laughed the Mask, "because I'm Phoenician." The mask darted here and there around the dome. Occasionally it giggled. The Wabbit thought he may as well ask a question. "What are you doing here? This a Christian Church." The mask floated in front of him. "Plenty of evil spirits here. I frighten them away." The Wabbit tried to twist out of his flat shape. The mask made a frightening face. "Good for you. I don't suppose you could put me down?" said the Wabbit. He squirmed round so he could see the floor. The mask released its grip - and showered in gold particles, they both floated down. "Shall we play a game? asked the mask. Suddenly he jumped and the Wabbit was wearing the mask ... 

[Mask by Camilla Galli da Bino]

Friday, May 26, 2023

1. The Wabbit and the Holy Temple

The Wabbit was out for a constitutional hop in EUR. He wondered why it was called constitutional. "I suppose it's good for the health," thought the Wabbit. He scampered down the steps at the side glancing back to look at the dome. St Peter and St Paul aren't in," he mused to himself. "Package from Amazon," he intoned in Latin. He snickered. A voice from the heavens boomed out. "Leave it with the Most Holy Concierge." The Wabbit was amused, but he looked back, then thought perhaps he should go inside. He retraced his steps and hopped to the door. It was big - but it was closed. The Wabbit leaned against it. Nothing. He gave it a surreptitious kick. Nothing. Then he realised that the door opened the other way. Feeling foolish, he pulled and went through. The Basilica was light and airy. He looked up to the massive dome. Golden light flooded down. He looked all round. Chapels on the right and chapels on the left. Chapels everywhere. The Wabbit sat down on a handy pew to take the weight off his feet. He thought about a prayer, but he wasn't in the habit of praying. He got up to light a candle and fished in his fur for a lighter. But the only lighter he had with him bore the inscription, "Flanagan's Pub, Cork. Where drinking problems continue." He shrugged - and flicked it into life. Then he lit a candle and sat back ...

Monday, May 22, 2023

The Wabbit's famous Adventure Caffè

They met at the Ape Bar being one of the Wabbit's favourites. Lapinette waited patiently for the Wabbit to point out the wall plaque of a bee - which he invariably did. Everyone nodded gravely. "It was a popular heraldic device in 15th Century Italy," said Wabsworth. "Don't you start. The Wabbit's bad enough," exclaimed Lapinette. "Here's Skratch now!" said the Wabbit, "with an inappropriate t-shirt."  Skratch meaowed. "I thought she was quite fetching." "I mean the period," said the Wabbit. "Neolithic is ten thousand years BC, not a million." Skratch merely shrugged. "So what was that for a sort of adventure, you just had." Wabsworth clapped. "Semioticians can't dig up the ground." Lapinette laughed. "But they can be drawn." Skratch laughed. "The picture is undoubtedly a sign." The Wabbit was drawn to comment. "Drawings in caves are signs just like our advertisements." Wabsworth agreed. "Yet the standing stones and also the circles are iconic signs. Your giant himself is quite a sign, however much he tries to be a signifier." Lapinette was getting thirsty. She drew herself up and looked towards the bar. A waitress appeared with a tray. "I think they know what we want." The Wabbit laughed and laughed. "I ordered it already."

Sunday, May 21, 2023

8. The Wabbit and the Great Hoisting

Lapinette manoeuvred down near the Fontana del Giglio and jumped out. The Wabbit welcomed her but she had no time for all that. She attached the giant to ropes and began to hoist him up. "Can't I stay?" said Bes, "this seems most pleasant." Lapinette shook her head "No, I have a much better place in mind. It has a lake and it's less touristy." She radioed to Wabsworth, and he guided the ropes. "Who's flying the helichopper?" asked the Wabbit. "No-one," snapped Lapinette, "it flies itself." The Wabbit shrugged and turned his attention to the Agent of Rabit. The Agent was trying to slope off whilst no one was looking. "Hoi," shouted the Wabbit. "You caused all this trouble, where do you think you're going?" The Agent looked back. Nothing to do with me. The box acquired me, not the other way round." The Wabbit shrugged. "Fair enough. Be off with you then." He thought for a moment. "Where is that mechanism. Where's the box?" Far out in the lake he heard splashing. Ducks flew from right to left and back. He saw bubbles. He nodded to himself. "It must have hitched a ride on the helichopper." For a second, he saw the actual box come to the surface. He thought he heard a laugh. It was more of a giggle. Then felt wind and heard roaring. He looked up see the helichopper disappear. He waved. Then hop by hop he continued his walk.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

7. Lapinette on the Trail of the Wabbit

Lapinette's helichopper headed for the Wabbit's last coordinates but Wabsworth had an idea. Lapinette wheeled back to the park and set down where Wabsworth indicated. Wabsworth radioed for the Wabbit and he answered - but he wasn't where he said he was. At least, he couldn't see him. He looked behind him. Lapinette waved her paws up and down. "There, there!" He swivelled and bent down to pick up the box, then drew back. "You told me that box was dangerous, and it certainly is. It's emitting bursts of unusual radiation." Lapinette pulled back on the cyclic and the helichopper rose. Wabsworth moved to a respectable distance. He was still in communication with the Wabbit. "You've been exposed to danger. You might be invisible." The radio crackled. "Well I can see you," said the Wabbit, "so I think we're a tad out of phase." "We?" queried Wabsworth. "Just get us back in phase, Wabsworth. That's me, one giant, one Agent of Rabit." Wabsworth executed an infrequently used programme and waited until completion. "Commander, you are required to move to the following coordinates. We will meet you there." He signalled to Lapinette and jumped back in the helichopper. He indicated the coordinates. Lapinette began a short, skilful, and methodical journey - then set down in an impossible location. "Now I can see him," she said, "but he has unusual pals." Wabsworth grinned. "He's the Wabbit."

Monday, May 15, 2023

6. The Wabbit and the Sticky Mechanism

The Giant Bes took the Wabbit up the road a bit and there they spotted the Agent of Rabit. He didn't see them coming. The Wabbit noticed the Agent had recovered the mechanism from the lake - or maybe it had recovered the Agent. "What's that?" whispered Bes. "It's a mechanism that collects things for a magic box." replied the Wabbit. The Giant's shoulders heaved in helpless mirth. His eyes became red suns. "Can't collect me, hee hee." The Wabbit grimaced. "You'd be surprised." They both looked at the Agent. "Is he stuck?" said Bes. The Wabbit poked out a paw and tapped the Agent on the arm. The Agent startled awake and turned. When he saw the Wabbit and the Giant, he looked aghast. He gasped. "It's only resting." The Wabbit shrugged. "It never ever rests." The Agent shook his head. "You can have it. Here!" But the mechanism was stuck to his paw. He tried to shake it off, yet he more he shook the more it fastened its grip. "Give it to me," said Bes. He made a fist to squash the mechanism - but only succeeded in smashing the Agent's paw. "Yow," cried the Agent. "Don't be a baby," said Bes. He managed to get his thumbs around the keys - and suddenly they turned. "Oh, oh," muttered the Wabbit. It was as if a curtain descended because the scene changed. They were all in the Villa Pamphili Park in Rome. And he could hear the thudding of a helicopter. It was moving away from them and towards the sea. He groaned and slapped a paw to his forehead ...

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

5. The Wabbit and Bes, the Giant

The Wabbit woke from a deep slumber to find himself in a pleasant dell. Behind him was an ancient stone building. But in front of him was a giant - and he too was made entirely of stone. He shouted at the Wabbit. "What are you doing in my domain? You tourists are nothing but trouble! Be gone!" The Wabbit rocked back on his rabbit toes and smiled. "I'm no tourist." He stretched out a paw to greet the giant. He noticed his paw was glowing. He improvised. "By my glowing paw shalt thou know me." The Giant touched the Wabbit's paw. "I hear that brings good luck." The Wabbit looked around. "Only when it's detached. Is that your house?" The giant shook his enormous head. "My house is far from here. I tried to take the bus, but they wouldn't let me board." The Wabbit giggled. "That wasn't fair!" "They said no pets allowed." It was then that the Wabbit noticed the Giant was clutching a snake. "Is that your snake?" The giant roared with laughter. "He tells me jokes." The Wabbit was on familiar territory. "He can weigh himself you know." The giant looked quizzical. "He has his own scales." "Ha, ha. I like you," said the giant, He paused. "I'm Bes, what's your name?" "I'm the Wabbit," said the Wabbit.  He thought for a minute. "Tell me. Have you seen any odd looking rabbits round here?" Bes snorted. "I did, I saw one back up the road." The Wabbit grunted. "Take me there?"

Monday, May 08, 2023

4. The Wabbit and the Stones in the Forest

The Wabbit emerged from a hole in a forest into what looked like a passageway. "It's just the way the light falls at twilight," he reasoned. Surrounded by ancient stones, he tottered from side to side like a drunken wheelbarrow. He clutched at his radio and to his surprise it crackled. "Come in Wabbit, come in." It was Lapinette's voice, but she was strangely distorted. "Wabbit, copy. Wabbit here." It was all he could manage. "Wabbit, I'm at the place in the park you mentioned. Where are you?" The Wabbit looked all round and tried to get his bearings. "Forest," he said. Lapinette grunted. "That narrows it down." The Wabbit pulled himself together. "I came out from a hole in the middle of standing stones - and the evening sun is lighting my path." Lapinette thought that sounded poetic, but it really didn't help. "Can you see anything else?" The Wabbit employed his special blue glasses. He felt something pushing him sideways, then back. "I can see big stones all standing up in a long line." The radio crackled again. "I'll look it up. Stay where you are and don't move. Out." The radio fell silent. A breeze sprang up. Trees swayed in the wind and made a whispering sound that soothed him. Leaves rustled at his feet and turned over. The stones and the hole he'd emerged from appeared to rock back and forth. The Wabbit was lulled. He felt very, very tired and lay down by the stones. Then he fell fast asleep. 

Friday, April 28, 2023

3. The Wabbit of the Lake

The Wabbit just had time to make a connection with Lapinette when the radio crackled, and an enormous force pulled him into the water. He lost grip of his radio. All he could see was bubbles. Tangles of reeds swept across his face. He gulped and held his breath. Things became clearer. He wasn't alone. He could see the old mechanism from inside the box floating in front of him. A giant turtle was pushing it along. He blinked. There was another creature - a smaller turtle. It scraped the outside of his glasses and mouthed something. The Wabbit couldn't believe it could speak under water, but he heard it. "Commander Wabbit, Commander Wabbit." The Wabbit could only think - but somehow his thoughts reached out to the turtle "What the binky is going on?"  The turtle flapped his flippers. "We're trapped by the mechanism from the box. You met the box before." The Wabbit looked quizzical. "It collects things for the box," said the turtle, " We're just acquisitions." The Wabbit floated around and retrieved his radio. "So what's with the water?" thought the Wabbit. "It's a projection," said the turtle, "It's part of our thoughts. But it's real enough." The Wabbit's brain thought he could hear his radio crackling. It was Lapinette. "Come in Commander." The Wabbit shrugged as best he could and thought, "Wabbit receiving." Lapinette sounded far away. "You sound as if you're under water." The Wabbit thought as loud he could but it only came out as blub blub blub. "On our way," said Lapinette.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

2. The Wabbit on the Bridge

The Agent's skip was enormous but the Wabbit gritted his teeth and carried on. A bridge over an ornamental lake loomed and the Agent made his way across. It was a large lake and had equally large turtles swimming there. The Agent paused and looked over the side. Now the Wabbit could see what he had in his paw. The thing that the Agent picked up in the market was a mechanism from the interior of a magic box. The Wabbit had discovered the box in Turin, and he knew it was trouble. It wasn't dangerous. At least he didn't think so. But he'd thrown the box in the River Po and thought that was the end to the matter. As the box sank, he'd heard it say, "I'll be back and I'll get you, Wabbit." The Wabbit chased on. The Agent gazed at the water. Then he lifted the object. "No!" thought the Wabbit. "Not the water." The Agent's paw drew back. He'd had second thoughts. But the key in the mechanism began to turn. Startled, the Agent dropped the mechanism onto the wooden boards - and then he kicked it far out into the water. The Wabbit saw a turtle heading for it. A threshing ensued, then the turtle snatched the mechanism. The lake swirled into a whirlpool, and it grabbed both the turtle and the mechanism. Then the vortex sucked them into a maelstrom. The Agent watched with open-mouthed horror and began to skip away. The Wabbit didn't know whether to chase the mechanism or the Agent, but both had vanished. He dug in his fur for his radio to call Lapinette.

Monday, April 24, 2023

1. The Wabbit and Market Chaos

The Wabbit was doing one of the things he liked best. He was carrying out surveillance. He was near a market somewhere and could never quite recall what it was called. He just remembered the name was far too long. He'd been searching for an unobtainable item when an Agent of Rabit passed. This was unusual. It was the Wabbit's territory, and they never came near. He sidled round a corner to watch. The Agent passed as if he was in a daze. His eyes were red, and the pupils resembled cones. The Wabbit grimaced. Agents didn't look great anyway and the ghastly eyes made things worse. The Wabbit glanced round a corner. The market was chaotic, and its graffiti was lurid as could be. So the Agent blended in like a bad trip. The Wabbit was puzzled. "Now what are you up to?" he murmured to himself. The Agent stopped. So did the Wabbit. The Agent looked from side to side. Having decided he was unobserved, he picked something up from the back of a market stall and sauntered on his way. He hummed through clenched teeth and began to skip. Before long he was out of the market and halfway towards the big park. It was a fast skip, and he could cover quite a distance at a single lope. The Wabbit couldn't both keep up and remain unobserved. He broke cover and bounded after him. His adversary noticed and moved into the park at enormous speed. Then he seemed to shimmer and vanish. "He's gone into Villa Pamphili!" groaned the Wabbit. "I'll never find him."

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

The Wabbit goes to his Adventure Caffè

The Wabbit was feeling jolly by the sea. Little did he know his team was following him. He jumped on and off the wall in merriment and glee. Lapinette was right behind him and so was everyone else. It was the day of the Artichoke Festival and they all felt full of beans. "Wabbit!" shouted Skratch. He was right at the back. "What was that for a sort of Adventure?" The Wabbit didn't move a hair of fur. He continued perambulating. But Lapinette could see there was a twitch of his ears. "Tell us O Great One, what adventure did you have on your own?" Wabsworth leaned in. "Tell us or we won't buy you a Prosecco!" Now the Wabbit looked back and smiled. "It was a cult phantasy concerning Nazis and Rats," he exclaimed. "Come, come, Wabbit," meaowed Skratch, "It was an attempt to engage with seriality." Lapinette bounced on and off the wall. "It was almost an extension of trans-medial narratology." Wabsworth scoffed. "It wasn't that innovative. You were a modern Arthurian knight, playing with the moral values of a time long gone." The Wabbit smiled. "Time has passed me by?" Everyone shouted, "And so shall we!" They all laughed. Skratch meaowed again. "What of this Spritz with fried artichokes?" The Wabbit rocked with mirth. "Fritto, fritto fritto!" Wabsworth looked at the sign. "It's a good price." Lapinette shook her head. "Thirteen euro inclusive? I've seen better." The Wabbit shrugged and put on a Sean Connery voice. "Itsh on the she front. Time for a shellabration!"

Friday, April 14, 2023

10. The Wabbit Makes an Exit

With no more explosives left, the Wabbit jumped back in the jeep. Grey Rat throttled up and headed for the far off-chink of light at the end of the tunnel. Black rats converged from either side and ran beside the jeep in an unholy rodent escort. Gates loomed ahead. The Wabbit thought they looked sturdy but Grey Rat had the bit between his teeth. He pushed the accelerator to the bare metal of the floor. The jeep surged forward. The Wabbit braced for impact but the padlocks securing the doors were old and rusty. They disintegrated easily and the doors shot outwards. Behind them, explosions went off on by one. The tunnel collapsed. Bunkers, missiles and radioactive mines were buried in a heap of concrete rubble. And so were the Nazis. The Wabbit and Grey Rat hit the ground rolling. The jeep ran on for a bit, then wheezed to a halt. Black rats spread out happily across the mountainside and were gone. "Good driving, Grey Rat," said the Wabbit. They watched as steam curled from the Jeep's radiator. "It requires an overhaul," said Grey Rat. The Wabbit thought it needed more than that. "What about these Nazis?" said Grey Rat. The Wabbit pondered for a bit. "They'll have to content themselves with throwing bricks." "Ah yes," said Grey Rat, "and the others will stand and shout Boom!"

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

9. The Wabbit and the Army Explosives

Grey Rat arrived with a jeep that had seen better days. As it jolted to a halt, the Wabbit wrinkled his nose. But he shrugged. "It's what we have," he muttered. He'd found more boxes. Enough to mine the whole corridor. Grey rat's voice was muffled from inside the jeep. "I suppose we'd better find a new home." The Wabbit panted from the weight of the box. "Plenty more hospitable than here." He looked behind at the line of boxes. He jumped back in the jeep as it lurched toward the next opening. "How long have you been here?" he asked. "Years," said the Rat. "And our Nazi familiars?" sneered the Wabbit. "Since the Cold War," replied the Rat. "You've lived a long life," said the Wabbit. "It's the stuff in the cans," responded the Rat. The jeep made a lot of noise as it careered along the tunnel. Its big end bearings had worn out years ago. Every time Rat stamped on the brakes it pulled to the left. The steering wheel shook and wobbled in a death rattle. But it still motored on. The Wabbit left box after box at every gap in the tunnel. "Where's the way out?" Grey Rat gestured ahead. The Wabbit saw an iron gate and some chinks of light. "What about your pal, Black Rat?" Grey Rat laughed. "He's on his way." He paused. "He's bringing all his pals." Now the Wabbit laughed. "I'm Der Rattenfänger of the Bunkers." The Grey Rat giggled. "The Nazis won't know where we've gone. And then what?"  The Wabbit bared every one of his 28 teeth. "Kaboom!" he grunted.

Friday, April 07, 2023

8. The Wabbit and the Radiation Suits

The Wabbit was horrified. Radiation suits hung in a tunnel alcove. Barrels of radioactive liquid lay ready. But for what? Black Rat hovered by a barrel. "It's quite yummy," he said. "That's how we get so big," The Wabbit's fur stood on end. He groaned and covered his eyes with a paw. Grey Rat did the same. He knew Black Rat was fairly clueless. "I thought you could put on one of these suits and make your escape." The Wabbit groaned again. "And no-one would ever notice me." He paced up and down. If the Agents are going to launch a radioactive attack, we have to stop them. Everyone and everything is in peril." The Wabbit looked around. "What's in that box?" "That one?" said Grey Rat, "It's only TNT. Smells OK. Doesn't taste very nice." The Wabbit was familiar with TNT. "Got blasting caps?" Grey Rat nodded. "Boxes of all manner of stuff." The Wabbit was happier than he had been. "Let's get to work!" He lifted the box and carried it to a nearby bench. More boxes on the shelves behind it contained an assortment of items, including blasting caps. He spoke to Grey Rat. "We need transport." Grey Rat nodded to further up the tunnel. "There's a jeep there." "Get it!" said the Wabbit. "I haven't got a driving license," shrugged Grey Rat. "Walk on the wild side. It's an emergency," replied the Wabbit. Black Rat spoke up. "Emergencies don't happen to rats." "There's a first time for everything," snapped the Wabbit.

Wednesday, April 05, 2023

7. The Wabbit and the Intelligence of Rats

The Wabbit staggered into the cellar a little the worse for wear. When his eyes grew accustomed to the light, there were rats as promised. One was gnawing on bread. "They feed you here?" asked the Wabbit. The rat looked up. "Why do you think we tolerate them?" The other rat chuckled. The Wabbit chuckled too. "You look like a train hit you," said the Grey Rat. "Just a scratch." The Wabbit felt wobbly nonetheless. "Sit down and have some bread." The Wabbit was peckish so he didn't care. He crouched down and had a nibble. "Is this your gun?" said the Rat. "Ah that's where it is." The Wabbit was relieved to find it. "You should always keep the safety catch on," said the Rat, "It could go off at any second." The Wabbit nodded. "I was relying on it." He slipped it into his fur. "Ready for action," he whispered. "If you must," said the Grey Rat. "Wanna get out?" The Black Rat was insistent and the Wabbit nodded his assent. The Black Rat disappeared through an opening, but the Wabbit couldn't get through. So he gave it a kicking. Bricks and plaster flew. "Subtle," grunted the Grey Rat. The hole widened and allowed the Wabbit and the Grey Rat to step into a wide corridor. The Black Rat scurried round a corner. They could hear the murmuring of voices. "Our Lords and Masters," sneered the Grey Rat. The Black Rat popped his head round the corner. "Imbeciles," he commented. He beckoned for the others to follow. The Wabbit was seldom astonished, but this time...
[Grey Rat by Karsten Paulick.]