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."
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.
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."
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.
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 ...
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."
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 ...