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.]

Monday, April 03, 2023

6. The Wabbit and the Bunker Rats

It was a brightly lit control room. In the middle fluttered a Nazi flag and under it, the Wabbit saw Agents of Rabit going about some ghastly business. "Nazi Agents of Rabit," muttered the Wabbit under his breath, "The worst kind." The Wabbit saw his opportunity and edged along a ledge designed for a projection screen. The Agents of Rabit were busy making plans and looking at maps and failed to notice him. But the Wabbit realised he'd severely miscalculated the ability of the ledge to take his weight. It began to bend. As it flexed it let out a horrifying screech of tortured metal. The Wabbit lost his grip and tried to grasp the flag but to no avail. The Agents looked up. His automatic fell out of his fur. Everything was going wrong. He crashed to the floor and looked up at the Agents. It was worth a try "Flag inspection," he said. The Agents were stupid but not that stupid. He tried again. "Awfully neat but significant fraying at the edges." Three Agents picked his up and pushed him around. "What are you doing here?" said one. "How do you know this place?" said another. Yet another howled. "How did you get access to the secret bunker?" The Wabbit remained cheerful. "I was taking a constitutional hop and stumbled upon it by accident." The leader slapped him with force. Then pressed a button and a panel slid back. "Put him in there. The rats will gnaw his fur and when they've finished, he'll be ready to talk." The Wabbit grimaced. "At least they won't rat me out."