Thursday, March 30, 2023

4. The Wabbit and the Abandoned Tunnel

The Wabbit was gripped by an immense force he couldn't control and then violently thrust through the hole in a building made by the first missile. The force gripped him like an iron glove and pulled him through tunnel after tunnel. A stale smell of damp like a long-forgotten building filled his nostrils. He was dragged over cement floors and rubble. He came to a stop. He sneezed. He was covered in enough dust to bake a concrete cake. "What is this place?" mused the Wabbit. There was no-one to hear him, but the soft twanging noise made him look at the forest of steel bars emerging from the walls. He dusted himself off. "This seems like a bunker," thought the Wabbit. He pondered longer. "A nuclear bunker." The Wabbit thought again. "To protect from a nuclear attack? Or to make one?" He glanced at a stairway to his rear. "Maybe that will tell me." An orange glow lit the stairs. A low hum came from the upper level. He picked his way over dust and metal and lumps of concrete until he came to the bottom of the stairs. On the upper level he could see many rooms and a corridor lined with computers. They clicked and whirred. "That's where the noise come from," thought the Wabbit, "but why aren't they blocked with dust?" They were old, but functional enough. He felt in his fur for his radio, but there was no signal. The Wabbit scowled and looked around again. Then with a great deal of caution he began to climb the stairs...

Monday, March 27, 2023

3. The Wabbit and the Rusty Missiles.

The Wabbit did what he usually did and started to run. He scurried through the buildings and when he came to a narrow walkway he chanced a look back. It was an astonishing sight. Nuts and bolts had vanished. In their place were three rusty missiles. He took off at an even greater rate. The missiles might be rusty, but they often were. An article on corrosion in missiles flashed through his head, but he just couldn't remember. He hopped faster than any rabbit was able to hop. The missiles kept coming. No matter how much cunning he employed, the missiles followed him. He dodged this way and that. He swerved, he veered, he turned cartwheels. He made some ground and grinned. "You want me, then first you have to catch me." He cartwheeled from the walkway and back on again. The first missile hit a parapet and exploded, shattering walls and collapsing ancient buildings. "One down," muttered the Wabbit. Just up ahead a wall cut across the walkway. The Wabbit bounced from it at speed, just as the second missile smashed against the brickwork. The Wabbit shrugged off rubble as he sprinted the other way. He feinted to the right as the last missile grazed his heels then came to a sudden halt. The missile didn't. What was left of a gasometer crashed lazily to the ground and buried the missile in a tangle of twisted metal. The Wabbit surveyed the scene. His head glanced from left to right. His nose twitched. There were no more missiles. But he knew it wasn't over...  

Friday, March 24, 2023

2. The Wabbit and the Leaden Sky

The Wabbit wasn't sure what the old gantries were for. Loading something maybe? The Wabbit imagined something nice being loaded on barges. Coffee or candy maybe? But their time was long past. He was reflecting on the matter when the weather changed. It hadn't been a great day, but the sky turned a leaden orange and everything became post nuclear, contrasty and sharp. All was quiet. No traffic noises. People ceased chattering. Birds stopped singing. Then he heard it, up high in the air. A tinny jangling. A grating of metal on metal. Bolting and screwing. Then they were on him. "What the binky!" exclaimed the Wabbit. One of the bolts hit his back. Anther grazed his chin. He lost his footing on a sharp metallic cylinder. The Wabbit kicked out and fended the metal objects off as best he could. Then he dived for cover. They weren't just attacking the Wabbit. They made for anything vaguely mechanical. Cars, bicycles, prams and scooters - all took a hammering. They were out to destroy, and little could stop them. The Wabbit sheltered under a nonmetallic board and watched them. He tried to formulate a plan, but everything seemed fanciful. The bolts weren't all rust-covered. Some looked new. A few remained straight and others bent and squirmed like worms. The Wabbit searched in his fur for his radio then thought better of it. It might be compromised. "Only me here," he murmured, "and just at the moment I've got no clue."

[Nuts and bolts by Piro4D at Pixabay]

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

1. The Wabbit and the Old Iron Bridge

The Wabbit was taking a constitutional hop across the old iron bridge. It was called Ponte dell'Industria, but, like many others, the Wabbit knew it as the iron bridge and he didn't see why he should change. It had taken some recent damage. A fire had nearly consumed it and the Wabbit surveyed the bent girders and scorching. He was pleased to see it was mostly repaired. He looked along the Tiber. The area hadn't changed much. In some bits it seemed quite grotty, but a cheerful ethnic mix ensured it was as vibrant as it had been. Rome was a strange mixture of urban and rural and while the Wabbit definitely preferred urban, he accepted the city as it was. Then he spotted a strange piece of iron lying on a repaired bridge segment and for a moment he stretched out a paw. Then he drew it back. It was the kind of thing that always seemed to get him into trouble. He looked to see where it might have fitted, but it could have been anywhere. Maybe a workman had left it behind. There were a mixture of iron plates and nuts and bolts and rivets. He admired the rusty orange colours of all the sections. Way down below, the Tiber churned its way to the sea. "How well Horatius kept the bridge. In the brave days of old," murmured the Wabbit. "He was the oldiest," he added to himself. He sniggered and made his way over the bridge to Via Antonio Pacinotti. But something was following him ...
[Quote from Horace: A lay made about the year of the city. CCCLX]

Monday, March 20, 2023

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

The team gathered at the Glamour Caffè. The Wabbit always wondered why it was named Glamour, because it was rather functional and plain. But the service was good, and it did an excellent prosecco. He dropped into a seat and was just about to order when the rest of the team arrived. "There you are Wabbit!" proclaimed Lapinette. "In your usual seat I see." The traffic was fierce and the spot was far from quiet. The Wabbit had to raise his voice. "I love the smell of gasoline in the morning," he said. He waved for four proseccos. "Wabsworth smiled a crooked smile. "What was that for a sort of adventure you just had?" Skratch arrived at the back and half sat on a table. "That's my job, especially since I was in it." Lapinette laughed. "It's the job of all of us to deconstruct the story." Skratch meaowed. "I am the one who went to classes." Wabsworth chipped in. "Everyone went to classes except me. I learned everything from archives." The Wabbit was getting tired of all this flim-flam. "It was an attempt to link with the past in an autobiographical fashion. More of a mythmaking exercise." Lapinette agreed. "A manipulation of space and time." Skratch nodded. "It refined the pictorial syntax of the reader." The Wabbit snorted. "Didn't we do well?" Lapinette agreed. "I think we did well to stay alive." They fell silent for a while. "If I had a glass I'd raise it to the re-envisaged past," said the Wabbit. Wabsworth turned to the bar and signalled frantically. "Life can only be understood forwards but it must be lived backwards." "Wrong way round," smiled Lapinette. "I'm trying to make the drinks happen," said Wabsworth.

Friday, March 17, 2023

6. The Wabbit & the Abandoned Cathedral

Skratch drove and the Wabbit navigated. They drove straight into the city. ""See that old abandoned cathedral," said the Wabbit. Skratch nodded. "Straight in the front door," added the Wabbit. Skratch did as he was told. They came to steps, so he screeched to a halt near a pile of rubble. "Up the stairs," shouted the Wabbit. They scrambled up the ruined stairway and scaled one of the towers. "You've been here before," meaowed Skratch. "I have," replied the Wabbit. They heard the whirring of a biplane. I guess it's not a crop duster? asked Lapinette. "I hope not," shrugged the Wabbit. Susan appeared from the horizon and began a swoop that came low over the cathedral. The Wabbit gritted his teeth. "Get ready to jump." Ordnance exploded behind them. "Now!" he shouted. They sailed through the air and grabbed on where they could. Susan flew as close to the ground as was possible. "Slow, then up," said the Wabbit. Susan throttled back and coasted slowly, then suddenly climbed at an impossible angle. They clung on like limpets. When she levelled out, the cathedral was a tiny dot in a strange green city by a lake. They looked down. "There's ferocious freshwater sharks in there," said the Wabbit. "Nice for a swim," said Lapinette. "If you survive the mercury, you're so much fish food," mused Skratch. Susan's engine droned and they felt the clutch of a force field. "I'm taking you back to our own time," she said. "How did you know where we were?" asked the Wabbit. Susan's engine growled. "Something like this always happens when you buy a new coffee pot."
[The church of Saint-Pulpice stands in for Santiago Cathedral, Managua. Photo by Alexandria of Pixabay]

Friday, March 10, 2023

5. The Wabbit and the Two Messy Agents

The track turned into a road and the road led into a town. It looked like many in the region. He screeched to a halt outside a church and opened the door. "Feeling religious?" asked Lapinette. "They're here, I know it," grimaced the Wabbit. Lapinette pulled a loaded weapon from her frock and scrambled onto the roof. "Get in the driver's seat Skratch, we might have to be quick." Skratch pounced into the seat and revved the engine. "I'll say a prayer." The Wabbit landed on the dusty steps and there they were - two Agents holding bombs. "I was expecting Agents," stated the Wabbit with an icy edge to his voice that everyone knew well. "Get out of the bus," shouted the first Agent. "I am out of the bus," laughed the Wabbit. "So am I," shouted Lapinette. They glanced up to find themselves looking at the barrel of a Beretta 96. "I have you in my sights and I never miss." said Lapinette. Skratch revved the engine again. "The driver is on the bus and he should get out," said the second Agent. "He has an up-to-date bus pass," smiled the Wabbit. "We'll explode you with our exploding bombs," said the two Agents together. "You won't be around to hear the blast," mocked Lapinette. She racked the automatic's slide like a boss. The Agents looked at their bombs. They'd decided on gelignite but the day was hot and it was inclined to sweat. It wasn't going the way they wanted. "Lay down the bombs and slide them extremely gently over here," murmured the Wabbit. "No," said the Agents. Lapinette fired... 

[Background photo by Cramirez}

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

4. The Wabbit and Going Bananas

They managed well for a while but as they passed a banana plantation, the bus became stuck in a deep rut. There were palm fronds everywhere. The Wabbit used various combinations of gear, throttle and brake. Nothing worked. Lapinette jumped out and went to look for something to put under the wheel. She looked up at the Wabbit. The Wabbit waved his paws around. She waved back and said something unmentionable. She wiped sharp fronds away from her eyes. Skratch was rummaging in the rear of the bus and suddenly appeared with something red. "What time is it, Wabbit?"  "Nearly a quarter past four," replied the Wabbit. Skratch stared at the object. "Better get rid of this then," he purred. He threw the object as far as he could throw it. It described a long arc, then landed in a ravine. There was a thud, followed by a delay - then a blast rocked the bus. He shrugged. "I think that's why there was no-one on board." The Wabbit shuddered. So did Lapinette. She stooped and shoved a plank of wood under the wheel. "It's an ill wind that blows no-one any good," she murmured. She caught the Wabbit's eye. "Gently now," she said. The Wabbit throttled up and coaxed the bus back onto the narrow path.  Lapinette jumped back in. "Things are a little too quiet around here." Skratch was right behind her. He held up a questioning paw. "Do you know who controls this area?" The Wabbit gritted his teeth. "Who knows."  The bus rolled onwards...

[Bomb by Hawksky. Banana plantation by Efraimstochter.]

Monday, March 06, 2023

3. The Wabbit and the School Bus

The jeep crashed down in front of a school bus. But the Wabbit knew that just because it said School Bus didn't mean it had anything to do with a school. "What's the time, Lapinette?" Lapinette inspected a complicated Longines watch she kept in her frock. "Half past one." "Not the time of day," said the Wabbit, "What year is it?" The jeep began to vanish beneath them. He could hear Lapinette's gasp of surprise. "1981." She jumped out and made for the bus. The doors swung open, and she called. "The bus is for us, Wabbit!" Propelled from his sleep, Skratch leaped, then turned in mid-flight and headed for the bus. "Come on Wabbit!" The Wabbit span the steering wheel of the disappearing jeep, ground the gears and shouted. "Accursed vanishing jeep!" He felt his molecules disintegrating just as he jumped. Lapinette stuck her head out the door of the bus. "I don't think there's another one. Get on." The Wabbit hopped very fast indeed. He could see the bus was empty apart from Lapinette and Skratch. "Who's driving?" Lapinette yelled "You are! You're the only one who has a clue where we are." The Wabbit made himself comfortable in the driver's seat. "What about the children?" asked Lapinette. The Wabbit snorted. "No children. This is just an ordinary bus." He engaged gear and the bus rolled forward through the space where the jeep had been. But the Wabbit could see movement up ahead - too far away to make out, even for his special glasses. But he heard some noise. Felt rumbling. Noticed some smoke. The Wabbit grunted and turned down a rough track.

Friday, March 03, 2023

2. The Wabbit and the Coffee Plantation

There was a sudden bang and the coffee shop trembled. "Earthquake" said the Wabbit. He swept Lapinette into his paws and headed under the doorway. But it was too late. Everything shimmered. There was another bang, and they were in the jeep leaping over a forest. "What the binky doodle doo!" exclaimed the Wabbit. Lapinette gritted her teeth. "Did I see you rubbing that coffee pot?" "I was polishing it," sulked the Wabbit. "Where are we, Wabbit?" said a sleepy voice from the back. Skratch rubbed his eyes. "I was having a lovely snooze on the back seat of your jeep. Are we going somewhere?" The Wabbit tried to explain. "I was in this coffee shop when .." Lapinette sniffed and clapped her paws. "That's it, we're in coffee plantation country." The Wabbit gripped the steering wheel as gunfire broke out. "It's hostile." Skratch was pensive. "It looks like the land Puma told me about." Lapinette took cover as best she could. "Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Columbia?" The Wabbit nodded sagely, "Somewhere like that." Just for a second, he recalled soldiers and AK 47s at the side of the road and the sweet smell of aviation fuel. "Incoming," he warned. A shell exploded near the front wheel. "I thought everything had gone quiet in these parts?" said Lapinette. "Nothing ever really goes quietly quiet there," replied the Wabbit. The leap seemed to have finished and he could see where they might possibly land. "Feel like a Rum and Coca Cola," he laughed. Skratch meaowed tunefully. "Working for the Yankee Dollar?"

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

1. The Wabbit and the Bialetti Shop

The Wabbit browsed the Bialetti Shop with pleasure. He prodded and pushed all the pots in the shop - it wasn't that they did much but he liked it. He chose the shiny blue one because he's never seen that colour pot before. He flipped the lid up, then back down. He did it again. He made it go clangedy clang for a second time before he heard a voice. "You'll break it." Lapinette was browsing at the back, and she disapproved of customers playing with the goods. "You'll break the lid and then it won't fit." The Wabbit had several old coffee pots at home in various states of disrepair. "When the lid comes off, I'll put a paper clip in the hinge," he said. Lapinette knew he'd done this with several machines and usually ended up burning his paws with scalding coffee. But the Wabbit was satisfied the lid was good and strong - so he ignored her. He made for the check out. "I'd like the box," he said "with unlimited safety instructions in forty languages." Lapinette scowled. "You never use them," she said. She visualised the Wabbit's shed with dangerous electrical points and a tangled mass of extension leads. "I like to read safety instructions," replied the Wabbit, "some of them are hilarious." Lapinette looked sceptical. The Wabbit chortled. "Safety doesn't happen by accident." Lapinette snorted. The Wabbit effected a strange accent. "When coffee pot glows red, then is time to be afraid." Lapinette jumped up and down and waved her paws. "Time for the Wabbit to be afraid!" 

Friday, February 24, 2023

The Wabbit and his Adventure Caffè

The team assembled at one of the team's favourite places in Rome. It was a little dark and the Wabbit squinted his eyes. He couldn't see in the dark like Skratch the Cat, and he didn't want to use his super glasses. "Who put the lights out?" he asked. "Perfectly fine for me," replied Skratch. Wabsworth was an android copy of the Wabbit and had no trouble. He'd developed an algorithm for night time vision, but it was green - and sometimes orange. They headed for a table. "What was that for a kind of adventure we just had?" asked the Wabbit. "You were completing art history," decided Skratch. "The toy shop, the lost steam train and the like. Detailing the structure of the objects it seeks to illuminate." Lapinette didn't agree. "Semiotics queries ideas and shapes. Structures are not singular. They are iterative." Wabsworth heaved a sigh. "There's a split between enunciation and what is enunciated. The object so to speak." "The locomotive?" suggested Lapinette. "Not to mention its circumstances," meaowed Skratch," which can never coincide with anything else." The Wabbit was sceptical. "You're treating the locomotive as a work of art." Wabsworth giggled. "I don't think we have a clue what we're talking about." "Does anyone?" asked Lapinette. "I'm seriously talking about a drink," said the Wabbit. They all burst into laughter, when Wabsworth said, "When it comes to the semiotics of drinking, the Wabbit knows his stuff." Lapinette couldn't resist. "It mediates social life." Skratch was to get the last word. "Wine is an index of metropolitan modernity!"

Thursday, February 23, 2023

6. The Wabbit and the Jolly Locomotive

The Wabbit had put in a few calls and called in a few favours. At the top of Superga, the scene was set for the off. Wabsworth arrived for his official duties as a part time railway inspector. The Locomotive looked spick and span as could be. The Wabbit had fished out some tartan paint he'd been keeping for such an occasion and given him the once over. "I could do with a better refit," complained the loco, "My smoke box door is peeling." Locomotive's complaints were as frequent as telegraph poles on a railway journey. "The yard is at the bottom of the gradient," snapped Lapinette. "Stop arguing. Now are you ready?" shouted the Wabbit. He paused. "Are your brakes on?" "They are," said the locomotive. The Wabbit nodded. Steam was up. He checked the regulator and throttle and fiddled around for effect. He pushed the reverser bar forward and opened the cylinder cocks. He gave two blasts on the whistle for forward. Woo, woo! He released the brakes and opened the throttle. Wabsworth blew his own whistle. Lapinette lifted her emergency police stick that she'd found in her frock. The locomotive started to move. Slow at first than faster. "Oh glorious rails! I'd forgotten what they were like," said the loco. He trundled along the track. Wabsworth hopped into the cab. Then Lapinette. "Ticket please!" yelled Wabsworth. "You got to hand it to him," quipped the Wabbit. And the last anyone saw was the locomotive heading down the track ... 

Monday, February 20, 2023

5. The Wabbit and the G-Gauge Bus Lane

The bus interior was covered in smoky grime from the loco's funnel. But it travelled all day until evening fell. Round and round Rome went the bus, until everyone was exhausted. "I think we finally got rid of the Toys of Destruction," said the Wabbit. "Maybe they got rid of us," replied Lapinette. With the help of a band of willing passengers, they pushed the huffing, chuffing locomotive from the bus. Romans were tolerant enough. They'd put up with the smoke and no-one seemed to care about moving a large-scale model steam engine. "This way," said Lapinette. She waved her hands as if granting authority to the locomotive. "He seems to like it," commented Lapinette. "He's old fashioned," said the Wabbit. "He'll be asking for a flag next." "Chluff chluff," agreed the loco and puffed out billowing clouds of steam. "I run on G-Gauge but this lane suits," he chluffed. "How on earth did you find your way into that toy shop?" Lapinette put her paws on her hips and stared at him. "Luck" replied the locomotive. They made their way down the dedicated bus lane. The Wabbit had a quiet word with Lapinette. "We should find him a shunting depot or something." The locomotive's brakes screeched. "Can't you find me a location with a little more style?" Lapinette looked thoughtful. "Wabbit, can you think of anything scenic that would suit our iron-wheeled friend?" The Wabbit turned to look at the locomotive.  "How are your traction skills?"

Friday, February 17, 2023

4. The Wabbit and the Train on the Bus

There was no further incursion from the Toys. Nonetheless, the Wabbit knew the Toys had it in for the locomotive. He and Lapinette decided to get him out of town on the first bus of the day. The locomotive was reluctant. Lapinette waved frantically and do did the Wabbit. "Come on, get on," yelled Lapinette. "Can't I just take a train?" The locomotive wasn't happy. Steam issued from his chimney. "I can't get up on that step." The Wabbit was furious. "Of course you can." The locomotive moved back. "The doors will close on me." Lapinette waved and waved. "Join the rest of the world," she yelled. "I won't fit," yelled the locomotive. The Wabbit and Lapinette got behind him and shoved until he was firmly wedged inside. "Where's the conductor?" said the locomotive. "This is not the 1950s," groaned the Wabbit. He put three tickets in the machine - which he felt was more than enough. "Who's going to drive?" said the locomotive. Lapinette jumped up and down and buried her face in her paws. "I will if I have to," said the Wabbit, "now keep still." At that very moment, they heard a door slam and the sound of the engine starting. They began to move. "Is this bus running on time?" asked the locomotive. The Wabbit was completely exasperated. "No," he said, "It's running on biofuel." For a while, the locomotive was quiet. The bus trundled down the road. The Wabbit looked at Lapinette and she looked back at the Wabbit. The locomotive whispered. "Are we there yet?"

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

3. The Wabbit and the Attack of the Toys

The Wabbit and Lapinette emerged from the Pasticceria Siciliana with the locomotive in tow. The locomotive's whistle was well and truly wet so when the ruckus began, he was taken by surprise. He spewed a gout of steam as he shot into the air. The Toys were fast and their attack was sudden. Crash! A more than life-size doll pushed a truck from the roof with her enormous feet. "Yippee," she cried. "Get these trucks a-truckin'." "I told you so!" shouted the locomotive. He vaulted onto his wheels. "Treacherous devils!" The doll turned her massive head. "We're not treacherous, we're toys. Hence deliciously destructive." The Wabbit's automatic was out and ready, but somehow, he couldn't bring himself to shoot at the toys. He ducked as the truck shot past his head. "These are not nice toys," squealed Lapinette. "Contact the Toy Association," yelled the Wabbit. A wooden plane winged in, but drew short of smashing into the bar." Yikes," yelled the Wabbit, "This isn't fun and games." He tucked the automatic away, took shelter in the bar doorway and watched. The locomotive emerged from a corner alcove. "They don't like me. I'm a scale model." Lapinette laughed. "I don't imagine you as a toy boy." Crash! The Wabbit grimaced as another truck got pushed from the roof. "Toys in the attic, the lot of them."

Monday, February 13, 2023

2. The Wabbit and the Toy Locomotive

The toy shop spanned several windows and so the Wabbit and Lapinette walked further up the street, looking in each one. "I can smell steam," said Lapinette. "So can I," replied the Wabbit. The steam spread along the whole sidewalk. "It's a train," stated Lapinette. "A locomotive, but you're right," said the Wabbit. "Chluff chluff woo," said the locomotive. The Wabbit turned and continued but so did the engine. It butted his behind. The locomotive appeared to have come from the toy shop but it looked too old. It was bent and bashed. Rust hung from its frame. Steam issued from its smoke box door, which was broken and in danger of falling off.  It started to gasp. "I know I'm a bit of a wreck, but I bring a dire warning." The Wabbit wiped smut from his fur and waited for more. The locomotive chluffed and delivered a long wooo. "Beware the treacherous toys!" Lapinette bounced up and down. "Treacherous in what way?" "In a disloyal, misleading, betraying and indeed perfidious kind of way," chluffed the locomotive. "What possible treachery could we expect," grimaced the Wabbit. Smoke billowed everywhere. Lapinette spoke quietly. "And wouldn't we need to trust the toys first?" The Wabbit murmured. "I never trusted them in the first place." Lapinette thought about it. "Not even childhood toys?" The Wabbit grunted. "I had a train set. It was always covering its tracks." He looked at the locomotive. "You need a drink. Wet your whistle?"

Monday, February 06, 2023

1. The Wabbit and the Toy Shop Window

The Wabbit stared in the shop window. He was fascinated with toys and this window was full of ones he liked. He had an assortment of toys in his apartment and there were certain toys he would definitely like to add to his collection. Lapinette crept up behind him. She thought he was so intent on looking at the display, he wouldn't hear her. He pretended not to. She poked him in the ribs. "Have you chosen?" The Wabbit jumped a metre in the air and waved his arms. Lapinette laughed. "Do you remember that wind-up toy rabbit that sprang into the air when you had a visit from a diplomat?" The Wabbit gave a mischievous giggle. "Never saw him again." Lapinette approached the window. "Did you ever wonder what would happen if toys came to life and went malevolent?" The Wabbit nodded. "There's plenty of films, but they never seem convincing." They turned away from the window and set off to the underground station. Lapinette giggled. "What if they were zombie toys? Zombie cars and helicopters?" The Wabbit considered. "Strictly speaking, they wouldn't come to life. They would be undead." He heard a sound from behind him and turned back. He shook his head and shrugged. "Nothing there." Lapinette heard something too but she paid no attention. They didn't see the toy train that chewed his way through the window and down into the shop doorway. "Chluff chluff," said the train. "I heard a chluff," said Lapinette. "Probably a chluffed drain," said the Wabbit.

Saturday, February 04, 2023

The Wabbit and his Adventure Caffè

On a rainy and windswept evening, the Wabbit and his team mustered at Campo de' Fiori. The rain had eased off a little, but the wet cobbles glistened with colour. The Wabbit hated getting wet so he agitated for a restaurant or even a Caffè to be chosen immediately. "Skratch isn't here yet," said Lapinette. "Yes I am!" meaowed Skratch. He'd approached from Via dei Baullari. He had an acquaintance there and so was a little late as usual. The rain dried up altogether and they stood chatting for a minute. Wabsworth posed the question. "What was that for a sort of adventure we just had?" Skratch leaned backwards as only a cat can do. "Typically, skeletons are connotationally regarded as untrustworthy,  signifying obviously evil aspects such as death and decay." The Wabbit nodded. "But in this case the skeletons were a single entity, the Gashadokuro, further defined as bloodthirsty and dangerous." It started to drizzle again and the Wabbit shuddered. "I feel the problem with the Gashadokuro was that he represented a distorted death, his bones comprised soldiers who died on the battlefield but were never buried." Wabsworth nodded. "They fought honourably were treated dishonourably," The Wabbit was getting wetter and was not impressed. "That was hardly our fault!" Lapinette knew all the Wabbit's foibles. "I suggest we go into one of these restaurants where it's dry." "And I can have a dry Martini," said the Wabbit. "As long as it's not watered down," laughed Skratch.

Friday, February 03, 2023

8. The Wabbit Bursts Through

The Wabbit burst through the bricks and sent them flying into the bundle of bones that comprised the Gashadokuro. It was explosive. Whatever was in the old bricks was something the creature didn't like. Lapinette elbowed her way past. "Throw more bricks." Wabsworth found himself clutching a skull. "Alas poor Yorick," he muttered, "I knew him Wabbit." He threw the skull into the fray. The Wabbit hurled another brick. "Cudgel thy brains no more about it, Wabsworth." Lapinette gritted her teeth. If we can't get rid of it, we may as well make it dance." But the Gashadokuro was sinking. It got angry as it sank, and its bones rattled like beans tossed in a bladder. "Aaaaagh, aaaaagh!" it yelled. They threw every brick they could find. Bricks piled up around the Gashadokuro until all that could be seen was a single skull. It stared with sightless eyes and spoke with a last gurgling breath. "No matter how far you travel, no matter where you go, I will find you." The skull disintegrated into dust and joined the pile of bricks. "I can't say I care for its attitude," scowled Lapinette. She tried to brush the dust from her frock. "Or its altitude," said the Wabbit. He jumped up and down on the pile and reduced it by another centimetre. Wabsworth smiled. "Ezekiel he fit dem dry bones, dem bones gonna walk around." The Wabbit shrugged. "Dem bones were made for hopping." Lapinette couldn't bear to be left out and stamped. "Now I hear the word of the Lord."

Monday, January 30, 2023

7. The Wabbit and the Secret Hidey Hole

They were safe in the hiding place for now. But it was dark. Both the Wabbit and Wabsworth rummaged in their fur. The Wabbit plucked out a lighter and flicked it into life. Wabsworth did the same and found a light meter, an old German model called an Actino. It was fairly ancient, but Wabsworth had modified it, so now it emitted an eerie blue glow. In the flickering light, they explored the crumbling cellar. It was half brick and half carved from sheer rock. They shivered. "I can feel a cold draught of air from somewhere," said Lapinette. They looked up. But if there was anything there, it was too dark to make out. "Maybe if I hop up I can see," she said. She started to hop. In the distance, they could hear the Gashadokuro wail. "Gashi gashi! Bones bones. Collect bones. Drink blood." It was a miserable moan that set their teeth on edge. Lapinette hopped up again but this time failed to reappear. "Where are you?" gasped the Wabbit. "I'm hanging from a ledge. My paw is wedged." The Wabbit hopped up and so did Wabsworth. They found themselves on a protruding ledge. With the aid of his lighter and a screwdriver the Wabbit extracted Lapinette's paw. "Thanks Wabbit," said Lapinette. She brushed away dust and grime from the wall. Now they saw a badly fitting door. So the Wabbit did what he did best. He kicked it. Then he kicked it again. It began to crumble ...

Saturday, January 28, 2023

6. The Wabbit and the Gashadokuro

"Skeletrons" yelled Lapinette. It came rattling up from the cellar, more a collection of bones than a single entity. "My eyes hurt!" It moaned and threshed and lamented its lost eyeballs. It was a frightening sight. A skeleton segment thrashed its single arm around like a weapon. Skulls howled at the walls. Ribs played a tattoo on the iron railings. "Run," yelled the Wabbit. He wasn't sure of what to do and in the absence of ideas, flight seemed the best option. The Gashadokuro wailed. "Gachi gachi. I'm thirsty. Gachi gachi!" Wabsworth was known for his fearlessness but even he quailed. "They'll rip off our heads and drink blood from our bodies." Lapinette looked for an exit. "I smell rabbits," shouted the Gashadokuro. "Rabbits, rabbits, smelly rabbits," chanted the many skulls. The Wabbit pointed to a gap in the wall. They all headed for it. "I'm not a smelly rabbit, you rude creature!" shouted Lapinette. A femur came smashing down and narrowly missed her head. "Eat their flesh, drink their blood, add their bones," yelled the Gashadokuro. It stamped its bony feet on the stairs. Stamp, stamp, stamp. It rose until it was a massive fifteen foot. Lapinette squeezed into the narrow opening. Wabsworth was next. The Wabbit brought up the rear but he turned to look. The sightless creature thrashed in puzzlement. Its skulls span around and around. "They're getting away," it gurgled. The Wabbit pulled a stone over the crevice. Then they crouched in the dark and kept silent. The sound of the Gashadokuro faded. "Numbskull," growled the Wabbit ...

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

5. The Wabbit and the Cellar Fumes

The snakes had melted away but their hissing remained. "Go no further, go no further."  The Wabbit paused but urged Wabsworth on. Wabsworth was an android and could withstand substantial blasts, toxicity, and most weaponry. Lapinette took out her edged weapon. It was versatile and also quiet. The Wabbit hugged his automatic although he knew it had seen better days. "Must upgrade," he muttered to himself. The safety catch fell completely off. He shrugged. Wabsworth walked a little deeper into the cellar towards a blue light. His fur detected something, but it was too late. He was enveloped in a red fog. He pretended to cough. "Wabsworth?" The Wabbit and Lapinette were both concerned. "Just vapour and hardly worth mentioning," said Wabsworth. It was then that they heard a wail. It came from the direction of the blue light. With a wave of his paws, Wabsworth cleared the red vapour. "What's with the wailing?" Lapinette sheathed her edged weapon. "It sounds like a Gashadokuro." The Wabbit looked with curiosity. Lapinette explained. "It's a Skeletron of the undead. It roams the night." The Wabbit chuckled. "What other time." The wailing gave way to rattling. "That's its bones," shrugged Lapinette. Wabsworth retreated a bit. "It's a gathering of bones. In this case it must be catacomb bones. Plenty around." The Wabbit tucked his automatic in his fur. "It must be big," said Lapinette. "Fifteen times the size of a person," added Wabsworth. "Good thing we're only a skeleton crew." quipped the Wabbit.

[Red smoke by Van Luong Nguyen]

Monday, January 23, 2023

4. The Wabbit and a Surprising Discovery

The snake led the way. Another fell in with its undulation - and followed by the Wabbit, Wabsworth and Lapinette, they hissed their way into the catacombs. Their way was lit with hanging lanterns. Crumbling bones and skulls of all kinds lined the walls. The smell was peculiar. It was dry and dusty with the faint aroma of church. Here and there a lemon scent wafted through the air. Wabsworth knelt to examine the bones that lay scattered on the floor. "These are recent," he said. "In fact, this doesn't seem like Roman catacombs." Wabsworth was an android and his memory banks were capacious. The Wabbit nodded and so did Lapinette. "Someone else uses this place," said Lapinette. "I wonder who?" said the Wabbit, who could be a little vague at times. "Ssssshhhhhh." The snakes came to a halt and hissed long and hard. They murmured to each other. The Wabbit could only catch snatches. Lapinette flapped her ears. "I can hear musical chanting." It was audible only to Lapinette. The snakes slithered forward in a silent serpentine motion, heads swaying in synchrony with the music. Now Wabsworth and the Wabbit could hear it, They could smell scent. "A burnt offering," said the Wabbit. Wabsworth nodded sagely. They followed the snakes round corner after corner - until they came upon a door. The snakes melted away like fitful vapour. The door was old as Ezekiel and according to graffiti, he'd carved his name on it. Its iron hinges creaked as it swung back ...

[Bones by Wolfgang Eckert, Pixabay Catacombs by Hermut Kellner, Pixabay]

Thursday, January 19, 2023

3. The Wabbit and the Lonely Catacombs

At a little known destination just out of town lay an entrance to very old catacombs. Over many hundreds of years, different local municipalities of different kinds tried to tidy it up but it resisted all attempts to sanitise it. No one ever went there now except for stray dogs, and even then, they had to be brave.  An area had been laid out for visitors but the few picnic tables there were, lay abandoned on their side. Night began to fall over the site. Soon it would be pitch black. "This is spooky," said the Wabbit. He leaned against the brick enclosure and took his gun out of his fur. Wabsworth climbed on top of the building and waved his automatic around. Lapinette stood with her back to everybody. She was ready for anything that might come her way. The doorway lay open - usually it was locked with three massive padlocks. The Wabbit looked at the stairway and ground his twenty eight teeth. Without warning a massive head coiled round the doorway and looked the Wabbit straight in the eye. "Hiss, hiss!" it said. Its mouth gaped open. "Hiss hiss!" responded the Wabbit. The snake reared up. "This isn't a competition. Who are you?" Lapinette turned round to face the creature. Wabsworth trained his automatic on the snake. The Wabbit shrugged. "Catacomb patrol," he said. "Have all shelves, bones, artefacts and relics ready for inspection." "Oh," said the snake. "We're not ready for visitors. It's a bit dusty in there." Lapinette hopped forward. "Girls dust wanna have fun." Wabsworth called from the roof. "So we'll take you dust the way you are."
[Snake by Pete Linforth, Digital Artist at Pixabay]

Monday, January 16, 2023

2. The Wabbit and the St Peter's Express

The Wabbit got to the station just in time to meet Wabsworth and Lapinette. The train was 30 seconds early," smiled Wabsworth. "I will write a letter of complaint." The Wabbit knew Wabsworth well and he knew that he would. Lapinette bounced in the air and flung her paws wide. "What a nice day. You wouldn't think it was the dead of winter." The Wabbit stretched out his paws. "That's Rome for you!" He waited to hear news of his new mission, but no-one was saying. Wabsworth and Lovely Lapinette hopped on. The Wabbit thought that the purpose of the railings was to make you hop a long way. Usually, he ducked underneath. But he shrugged and hopped along with them. "Where are we going?" he asked. "Shall we take the bus?" said Lapinette. She had answered a question with a question and the Wabbit groaned inwardly. "You can see more from the bus," observed Wabsworth. "We'll get the 64 and sit behind the bus driver," said the Wabbit. "So that we can talk behind his back?" suggested Lapinette. She knew all the Wabbit's bad jokes. Wabsworth laughed like a drain because he hadn't heard it. The Wabbit could wait no longer. "So what's this mission then?" Wabsworth grinned and shook his head. Lapinette giggled. "A dark mission with dark spaces. Concealed corners and dramatic angles." The Wabbit groaned again. He'd been thinking of smooth silky beaches and mirror-like waters. "Sounds like a film," he said. "All our missions are a bit like a film," said Wabsworth. "What film is it a bit like?" asked the Wabbit. "No Time to Binky," grinned Lapinette.

Friday, January 13, 2023

1. The Wabbit and the Quiet Spot

The Wabbit found what he was looking for - a quiet spot. That wasn't so easy in Rome, where tourists flocked hither and thither. He'd been studying faces. No-one seemed to be enjoying themselves. Too much flocking, not enough rocking. He grinned at his own joke and stopped to take in the view. Despite the increase in tourists, it wasn't hard to get off the beaten track. He suddenly felt bored, so he plunged his paw into his fur and took out his radio. He jabbed at it. It was dead. He jabbed again. It came on at full volume and his quiet spot was quiet no longer. He shook it into silence and dialed Lapinette's channel. "Wabbit here, come in Lapinette." The radio whined and crackled. "Lapinette. What's your 20?" The Wabbit looked around because he hadn't a clue. "I'm near a big church." Lapinette giggled. "This is Rome, Wabbit. You could be anywhere." The Wabbit smiled and tried to get a fix on  his location. "Not far from Largo de Torre Argentina." Lapinette was used to vague responses. "So what's up?" The radio crackled.  "I wondered if there are any new orders." He began to hop. "Yes, but no rush," answered Lapinette, "Take your time." She could hear the sound of his feet padding over cobbles. "OK. Out," said the Wabbit. He made for Vittorio Emmanuelle II and the bus station, but he took the back route through Campo de Fiori. "I might see something for Lapinette," he thought.

Monday, January 09, 2023

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

They all met in Testaccio Market. For once, Skratch was on time, since he was helping out a pal. Lapinette was late and as she headed round the corner, they greeted her with a loud Hello! "It's nice to make an entrance," she laughed. Skratch winked. "Since it is you that's late, you have to say what kind of adventure you were in." Lapinette hugged the Wabbit then leaped on to a bar stool. "I'd say it was a medieval kind of adventure. Historical drama if you like." The Wabbit also jumped on a stool. "Without the history." Wabsworth grinned. "Without anything. All texts refer to other texts. All stories have been told." Skratch was waiting to pounce. "The story has been told so many times. it hardly has any meaning left." "Umberto Eco," nodded Lapinette. They all nodded back. Soon everyone in Testaccio market was nodding. "The name of the Agents are almost non-existent and destroyed," muttered the Wabbit. "The story has been told and now only itself is left behind. Everything else disappears," said Wabsworth. "Into the void," added Lapinette. The Wabbit considered this for a whole minute. "Talking of voids, we were supposed to meet for a drink." Skratch meaowed. "I'll get everyone a Prosecco and since I'm in charge of the bar, it's on the house." The Wabbit leaned back. "The house always wins?" Lapinette grabbed a Prosecco. "Mostly," she smiled. "But most of your money disappears."

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

8. The Wabbit and the Trick of the Light

Lapinette tracked them down. With her super hearing she could hear the strange snickering sounds of their incisor teeth. They crept into the building. "What's that? asked the Wabbit. "Trick of the light," replied Wabsworth. Lapinette wasn't impressed. "Concentrate!" They drew their automatics. Rabits began to mount the stairs. One of them emerged from the underground cavern and made his way towards the window. The Wabbit shrugged. "They shouldn't make it so easy." Lapinette snorted. "It's never easy." Tipsy giggled and said something under her breath. The Lion of Judah had insisted on being part of the action and he nestled in large basket. The Wabbit thrust his paw deep in his fur. Lapinette hissed. "Wabbit, this building is a tourist attraction." The Wabbit grinned. Everyone knew his opinion of tourists. He pulled out a hand grenade. "Time for a New Year Kaboom." Lapinette groaned. "We can take a few Agents of Rabit with our automatics." The Wabbit shook his head. "Where's the stun in that? On the ground everyone." He crouched, pinned down his ears and threw the device towards the cavern. It spluttered. Nothing happened. The Wabbit held up a paw for what seemed like an age. There was an enormous crack. Agents dropped like stones. The Wabbit dusted himself off and waved his paws. "See - no damage." Then from the distance they heard the rumbling of stonework and what sounded like an avalanche. The Wabbit shrugged again. "Not much anyway."