Monday, May 31, 2021

5. Skratch and the Two Enemy Agents

Skratch the Cat was out for a prowl. It was a dull day and he thought he'd take a turn down by the castle. He was in the delicate process of cat contemplation when he noticed something happening - down by the drawbridge. Two figures, who looked suspiciously like Agents of Rabit, were engaged in conversation. Skratch looked the other way - but he continued to watch them nonetheless. His ears pricked up and swivelled round. In this way he could hear everything and evade attention. He watched the first enemy agent hand the second a bundle of sticks of dynamite. He heard him whisper "Don't drop it!" The second immediately did just that. The first snatched it away before it hit the ground. "You clumsy toad. I told you not to drop it." The second was aghast. "I thought you said 'swap' it." The first agent slapped a paw to his forehead. "What on earth did you think I'd swap it for?" The second agent cringed back. "I thought they were cigars." Skratch was trying not to laugh and he sniggered lightly. "There's a cat over there," exclaimed an agent. "Probably he's cold," said the other. "How can you tell?" said the first. "He's got his coat on," said the other. They carried on chattering. Skratch thought he'd slope off to find the Wabbit but changed his mind halfway. "I think I can deal with this," he murmured. He dropped low and padded round the fence until he came to the drawbridge. They didn't notice a thing. Skratch climbed up to the gatehouse, looked all round and poised for a second. Then with fistfuls of razor sharp claws and letting out a vicious cry, he sprang ...  

Friday, May 28, 2021

4. Wabsworth and the Dart's Flight.

The Wabbit strode up and down the castle ramparts trying to think. "Who would attempt an assassination?" Although his enemies were many, no-one came to mind. He suddenly noticed a commotion from the minstrels' gallery and turned round. It was Wabsworth, his android double, with giant dart sticking from his head. Synthetic blood ran down his face. The Wabbit caught sight of Lapinette as she rushed to see what was going on.  "It doesn't hurt," said Wabsworth, "but it makes me look like an idiot." The Wabbit crossed to the gallery and tried to get the arrow out of his skull. It just wouldn't come out. "I think it's a radio transmitter," said Wabsworth, "I've stopped it downloading anything for the moment." Lapinette looked at the Wabbit. "This needs your careful paws." The Wabbit rummaged in his fur and took out what looked like a bottle opener. "Hold still," he said. The tool clamped around the dart and he gave it a smart tap. The dart fell free. The Wabbit lifted it up and carefully dropped it into the fountain that lay below. "Download that!" he grunted. Lapinette dabbed at the small wound, but it closed on its own. "What happened?" she asked. Wabsworth smiled. "Surprise attack. I was making my way along Madama Christina when two deranged rabbits stepped out. One threw this at me. I got dizzy and fell over." He was a little embarrassed. "Then they vanished, so I came here." Lapinette laughed. "We got the grenade attack. We were stunned. Might be the same pair." Wabsworth thought for a minute. "That dart was full of anaesthetic and it did work on me." The Wabbit sighed. "Sounds like the Ether Bunny."

[Image of dart. PIR04D of Pixabay]

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

3. The Wabbit and the Unpleasant Visitor

It was unexpected. One second he was looking at an Agent. In the next a grenade came spinning into the room. The Wabbit threw Lapinette to the side. The explosion was swift and fierce and the Wabbit  tumbled to the floor amidst a shower of debris. But he'd missed the best part of the blast and he picked himself up and threw himself at the door. The Agent of Rabit had already left and was racing down the small flight of stairs that led to the lift. The Wabbit heard the elevator door clang shut. He shrugged, then picked Lapinette up and shook his fur free of dust and bits of glass. Lapinette was dazed. "I didn't expect that," she slurred. "Neither did I," admitted the Wabbit, "it's just not the Agents' style." He looked around the room and shook his head. "How am I going to explain this to the landlord." Lapinette grinned. "It's the least of our worries. How are we going to find this pair of rogues?" The Wabbit picked up pieces of ornaments and thought. "What do we know about them?" he mused. Lapinette sat on what was left of the sofa. "Less than they know about us." The Wabbit sat down beside her. "We'd best relocate." He ground his 28 teeth. Lapinette thought hard. "There's my place but probably they know about that too." They both thought of the safe house at the same time. "It's a bit chilly," said Lapinette. "Less chilly than being dead," said the Wabbit. Lapinette agreed. "Let's go there and build a fire. Make plans." The Wabbit contemplated. "I'd phone ahead for Prosecco, but I'm not certain things are secure." "I think I left a bottle in the fridge," said Lapinette. The Wabbit smiled. "You'd be prepared in a sinking ship." Lapinette grinned. "That's because I make lists."

Monday, May 24, 2021

2. The Wabbit and the Rabbit on the Roof

From the Wabbit's apartment, the Wabbit and Lapinette looked over the rooftops It was a fine night and the sun was a gradually dropping ball. Eventually it would disappear behind the mountains and so they decided to watch. The Wabbit was pensive. "It's funny to think the sun will eventually be a red dwarf and we won't be here to see it." Lapinette looked at him sideways. "That's five billion years Wabbit. How long are you planning on staying?" The Wabbit sighed. "Only a million." They watched the sun a bit longer. It was pleasantly warm on the rooftop and they didn't have anything better to do. The Wabbit suddenly chortled. "I'm having a Carlos Castaneda moment. Lapinette looked up and quoted in a quavering voice. "Nobody knows who I am or what I do. Not even I." "I hardly know myself," responded the Wabbit. They were lost in contemplation. A bird landed on an aerial. They nodded sagely. Then the Wabbit saw something else. "Isn't that a rabbit over there, looking back at us." He focused on it. "I'd say that was an Agent of Rabit." Lapinette grimaced. "He's far away. Better we're over here looking at him, and he's over there looking at us." "Not normal," said the Wabbit. Every strand of fur stood up on his neck as a voice spoke. "Don't move. Both of you put your weapons on the floor. Then put your paws in the air." The Wabbit didn't flinch. He and Lapinette complied. "Can we sing the Hokey Cokey?" said the Wabbit. "And turn around?" said Lapinette. They both waved in synchrony. The rabbit on the rooftop opposite waved back. "Don't wave back, you steaming fool!" shouted the voice ...

Friday, May 21, 2021

1. The Wabbit and the Elegant Painting

The Wabbit was between missions and he was bored. So, just for fun, he hopped through the Museo del Risorgimento Italiano to see what was old and interesting. He stared fondly at the painting and imagined himself in it as he always did. In his mind he was an important figure signing something of great importance. But the Wabbit preferred to be behind the scenes, leaving all that signing to others. "Hello Wabbit!" Lapinette jumped in front of him and onto a display case. The Wabbit grinned. "I don't think you're supposed to be on top of that cabinet." Lapinette knelt on the case. "Call the police! Someone arrest me." The Wabbit laughed. "This is the room of the constitutions!" "I'll bet they protected my right to kneel on ancient artefacts," said Lapinette. The Wabbit didn't disagree and Lapinette knew he didn't dare. "I suppose you were imagining yourself in the picture," she said, "You were imagining yourself at the head of a vast revolutionary army." The Wabbit looked down at his fur and back up again. "I was rather," he admitted. "Think of the argumentation and the political whatnot," said Lapinette. She jumped up and pirouetted. The Wabbit thought exactly that. Deep down, he knew it wasn't for him. He pointed to the picture. "Do you see that empty chair?" Lapinette nodded. "I could be in that chair watching and when everything's over I incline my head sagely and leave." Lapinette sighed. "You wouldn't Wabbit, you'd have an argument with someone and be forced to leave at gunpoint." The Wabbit giggled. "With a price on my head."

Thursday, May 20, 2021

The Wabbit and his Adventure Caffè

The team found an excellent establishment and were waiting on service. As usual, Skratch the Cat liked to make an entrance - and he did so with gusto. Raising two paws in the air he cheered. "Well done you three! A Splendid Adventure." The Wabbit leant back in his seat and waved. "That's a relief, Skratch. Your seal of approval is welcome!" Skratch clapped both hands together and mimicked a seal. "Roink roink," he barked. Lapinette couldn't wait. "Tell us Skratch. What sort of Adventure did we just have?" Skratch rubbed his paws together. "This kind of story demands a suspension of disbelief. We've only your word that trafficking in modified snail parts is as described. It's largely down to cultural influence on fiction." Wabsworth chortled. "I didn't think there were any other snail parts stories going around." Skratch also chortled. "Just substitute anything at all for snail parts. It's all the same deal." Wabsworth nodded sagely. "Snails are indeed a valuable commodity in the postmodern world." The Wabbit looked anxiously around. "Perhaps the waiter has been kidnapped." Skratch shook his head. "Legal conventions in fiction demand a ransom note written in a crude hand and bearing several spelling mistakes." The Wabbit shook his head even more. "Nothing so flamboyant has been received." Lapinette tried to get word in. "In our story, there were no ransom notes." Skratch paused. "The story was not about extortion. It was about patent theft." The Wabbit agreed. "We stepped beyond codes and convention." Wabsworth gave a boisterous yell. "Give us back our codes!" The Wabbit went further. "We will find them." Lapinette thumped a fist on the table. "And we will apply them."

Monday, May 17, 2021

6. The Wabbit and the Warehouse Boom

To was brought back to normal - or abnormal as he called it. Wabsworth was relieved of back up and brought Mo in to reunite with To. But the minute they started chatting, they had visitors. Alerted by the Fugues, the Agents of Rabit came storming in for revenge. They were furious and it looked like the Wabbit was taken by surprise. Nonetheless, he and Wabsworth pulled out automatics and rained a hail of bullets on their unwelcome guest. The noise was deafening in the old warehouse. Lapinette emerged from behind Mo and she brought one down immediately. Any fire from the Agents bounced harmlessly from the shells of the MoTo snails. "Eat lead, Agents," shouted the Wabbit. "That's a cliche!" yelled Wabsworth. "That hurt!" yelled an Agent. Dust clouded everything as the Wabbit signalled a retreat. The snails were impervious to anything and they sniggered their way to the exit talking about it. The Wabbit paused and put something in the rafters. "A little present," he chuckled. Lapinette walked backwards and away from it all. Occasionally her automatic flared. Usually there was an answering cry of pain. When they were outside, the Wabbit gently pushed the sliding doors closed. Inside it sounded like a battle still raged. The Wabbit laughed and bared his 28 teeth. So did Wabsworth - and Lapinette did likewise. It was a lot of teeth to bare. As they scuttled for the jeep, they heard an enormous roar as the building collapsed to a pile of rubble. "Business is booming!" quipped the Wabbit

[Background: thanks to Peter H. at Pixabay.]

Friday, May 14, 2021

5. The Wabbit and the Mechanical Fugues

The Wabbit could see something was happening to To's shell. The inner workings were exposed and copies had been made. "Attention," he cried, "this is an inspection for the Health and Safety. All work ceases immediately." He thought for a second. "By order." A creature was holding the outer casing. "Whose order?" His voice was rough. "My order," added the Wabbit. He strode even further forward and held up a badge he'd found in his fur. Just beyond his sightline, Lovely Lapinette listened carefully as a workman with a spanner crept up. She stayed silent, waiting until the last possible minute. Then she turned and slashed with her edged weapon. It was a wide, curving blow and the knife found its mark. His throat began to bleed profusely. The spanner spiralled into the air and landed with a loud clatter. "Aaaagh!" he cried and clutched his neck. "It's only a neck wound," said Lapinette. The Wabbit gritted his 28 teeth. "You two have a lot to answer for. Who are you working for?" Lapinette had the Wabbit's attention by this time. "These look like the Fugues we met in the metro. Remember when we were The Wabbiors." She pressed the blade into the neck of the hapless Fugue. The Wabbit strode up and down, pausing by the second Fugue. He looked at him straight in the eye, then kicked his ankles. The Fugue dropped like stone. "Aargh, you've broken my leg." "Names!" yelled the Wabbit. "We don't have no names." The second Fugue spluttered as he writhed on the workshop floor. "They looked like rabbits though." The Wabbit glanced down and made to kick his ankle again. "Tell them we're coming." He signalled to Lapinette. She tucked the knife away, but took out her automatic and waved it around. "Run!" she scowled.

[Background by Michael Gaida of Pixabay]

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

4. The Wabbit and the Factory Doors

It was only a hunch but the Wabbit was drawn to the old factory doors. He could smell the distinctive odour of WD40 that he used in copious quantities. Followed by Lapinette and Mo he crept up to the door and gently slid it to the side. He looked inside. In the stygian gloom he saw nothing. They drew their automatics - all except for Mo. He didn't have one, having nowhere to put it. "Can you see anything?" whispered Lapinette. "Not a thing," said the Wabbit. Even his special powered glasses couldn't penetrate the darkness. But his ears twitched at the slightest sound. He could hear a faint drilling noise. Wheee wheee wheee. The Wabbit had retro-fitted To so he knew the sound of a drill biting into To's titanium shell. "He looked at Lapinette. "It's them," he said softly. Lapinette put her automatic away and fished in her frock for her edged weapon. "Stealth?" she whispered. The Wabbit pushed his automatic into his fur. "You do stealth and I'll do head-on stupidity." He turned to Mo. "What's that whistling noise you make?" Mo grinned. "You mean ..?" He put his lips together. "No not now," hissed the Wabbit, "Only when I give the word, whistle loudly." Mo was delighted. "I'll whistle like ... Ronnie Ronaldo." Lapinette stifled a giggle. "Here we go!" said the Wabbit. He thrust the door fully open and it made a mighty clang. "Health and Safety Inspectorate!" he shouted. The drilling stopped. Everything went quiet. "Reports of noise pollution," cried the Wabbit. He signalled to Mo, who launched into If I were a Blackbird with enormous gusto. Lapinette slipped into the building, melting into the walls. "Imitating a bird without due authority," shouted the Wabbit. He strode through the door ...

[Background image by Dimitris Vetsikas of Pixabay. Song: If I were a blackbird by Ronnie Ronaldo.]

Monday, May 10, 2021

3. The Wabbit and the Joking Passengers

One passenger dropped in beside him and there was another on the way as Wabsworth and Lapinette launched from a high building. "Hello," said Wabsworth as if that was the most normal thing in the world. "Good of you to drop in," said the Wabbit. Lapinette summersaulted into the seat beside the Wabbit. "We've come to search for Mo!" "To!" yelled Mo, "we're differentially different if you don't mind." Lapinette was just winding Mo up. She smiled and gripped on tight as the Wabbit swung round and headed back across the city. "Where are they, where are they?" muttered the Wabbit. "Have you tried Borgo Dora?" said Lapinette, "there's plenty of grotty workshops down there. They pack heat." The Wabbit thought that a little unkind. All the same, it was true. He wrenched the wheel to the left and roared down Corso Giulio Cesare. "Did you put the jeep in for a service like I said?" asked Lapinette. "No, they ran out," said the Wabbit. "Ran out of what?" sighed Lapinette. "Ran out of brake fluid," said the Wabbit. "Was the mechanic on his break?" continued Wabsworth. "Mo was getting tired. "The badinage is bad," he yelled, "let's find To." The Wabbit turned left on Via Dora and hurtled along the grass to avoid pedestrians. Then he swerved into the Railway Museum (where he was forbidden to go) and headed up the old abandoned railway track. "This doesn't go anywhere, Wabbit," said Lapinette. The Wabbit turned left then right then left again and screeched to a halt. Mo slid into his back. "Confused?" asked the Wabbit. "And dazed," replied Mo...

Saturday, May 08, 2021

2. The Wabbit and the City Drive

The Wabbit was enjoying himself. He steered his jeep through Torino as if the Hounds of Hell were on his tail. But it was Mo that was on his tail. Mo's shell spun wildly and gave him more than enough speed to follow the Wabbit. A smile creased the Wabbit's face. He hoped his mad driving would bring the culprits out from the shadows. If they'd taken To, there was every chance they'd try for Mo as well. He found himself by Crocetta market, which he had on his list. "Oi there, Wabbit," yelled Mo, "what you usin' for brakes on that thing?" The Wabbit didn't have anything much in the way of brakes. He'd meant to get them fixed but that was yesterday. He contented himself by using the engine, which had the advantage of being very noisy. Squeals and roars bounced from buildings and flew high into the rooftops. The Fiat Campagnola also had massive torque and the Wabbit used all of it as he swerved round market stalls. He cut a corner a bit fine and a letterbox flew into the air. "Cool," yelled Mo. The Wabbit mentally prayed the box been recently emptied. He span the wheels. "See anything suspicious," he yelled. "Every bleedin' thing's suspicious," shouted To. The Wabbit grinned and shot into the air. "Illegal chop shops!" he yelled. "I ain't hungry," screamed Mo. The Wabbit slewed past a gaggle of teenagers and he heard them cry, "There's the Wabbit with his retro-fitted snail." That pleased him because he knew it would draw interest. "Now we'll find them," he shouted. Mo slowed a bit. "Over there! Look!" The Wabbit glanced to the left as a familiar figure leapt into the passenger side. 

Thursday, May 06, 2021

1. The Wabbit and the Missing Snail

The Wabbit was surprised to see Mo on the bridge. Mo was in search of the Wabbit and he looked frantic. Leaving his jeep to block the traffic, the Wabbit jumped out. "What's up Mo?" he asked. Then he added, "Where's To?" The two were always together and it was seriously unusual to see just one on his own. "Wabbit, thank goodness I found you!" said Mo, "To's gone missing." The Wabbit rocked back. "Missing? How long for?" Mo was very agitated and his shell spun round. "Twenty-four soddin' hours," he yelled. The MoTo snails were punk snails, retrofitted by the Wabbit to go very fast indeed. "I've looked everywhere," said Mo. "I've looked all over Pluto Park and up and down the rivaaaah. He's nowhere to be seen." The Wabbit thought for a minute. "He's been bleedin' taken," yelled Mo. "Hang on Mo, let's think," said the Wabbit. The only reason for a punk snail to be abducted was for its technology. The Wabbit had personally supervised the installation, but hadn't bargained for it falling into the wrong hands. Now his jeep was causing traffic problems and drivers were hooting horns and getting angry. So the Wabbit jumped back in. "Follow me!" he shouted. He executed a daring handbrake turn and shot down the road at great speed. Mo followed close behind. "Where are we going?" shouted Mo. "To get some bleedin' 'elp!" yelled the Wabbit. He found Mo's cockney swearing infectious and couldn't help matching it. On the way, he tried to think who could possibly be interested. He went through a plethora of possibilities. Agents of Rabit were at the top of his list, but it didn't seem like their style. "Put your foot on it, Wabbit!" shouted Mo. The Wabbit did exactly that and knocked down rows of cycling racks, traffic bollards, planters and poles as he whizzed through the city. "Ah-mazin'" chuckled Mo.

Monday, May 03, 2021

The Wabbit at his Adventure Caffè

The team assembled as usual. Wabsworth arrived first and was already tucking into croissants and coffee. Skratch was late was usual and hove up from behind. Lapinette arrived from ballet class. The Wabbit stood up to offer her a seat - but not before his paw snaked out to nab the croissant. "We should have arrived in a different order," meaowed Skratch, "but perhaps that Dark Matter Adventure affected everyone." The Wabbit choked on his croissant. Lapinette sat down with the grace of dancer. "Now that you're here Skratch, you can tell us what kind of adventure we had." Skratch purred mightily and everything shook. "Simple. You had an eco-space adventure." Wabsworth nodded his head. "Such a story is about the unconscious and hidden objects." Lapinette squealed with delight. "Dark Matter is so hidden we can't see it." The Wabbit chipped in. "A primal scene wish-fulfilment fantasy in which the obsessive quest for origins is demonstrated." Skratch nearly howled with delight. "In that sense, all our stories are of the unconscious! But it's a purposeful look at what is there, rather than what is absent." Lapinette pulled herself up to her full height. "Not to mention the penetrative aspect of space voyages. The infant is conceived and separated from the mother. All is revealed." Skratch became contemplative. "Yet at the same time, what the story is about - is repressed. What it is represses What am I?" Wabsworth chuckled. "That's deep, Skratch." Rumbling sounds came from deep inside the Wabbit's tummy. "I'm hungry!" he yelled.

[With thanks to : Annette Kuhn, ed. Alien Zone: Cultural Theory and Contemporary Science Fiction Cinema. London: Verso; NY: Verso (Routledge, Chapman & Hall), 1990]

Friday, April 30, 2021

8. The Wabbit and the Dark Matter Smell

The journey home was uneventful, but the achievements were great. So said Lapinette anyway. The Wabbit still had heartburn even if he had saved his planet. Orni the Ornithopter sailed into the Earth's atmosphere with some satisfaction. Lapinette started to wave and the Wabbit tried to look round - but his neck was stiff from the journey. The engine note was unmistakeable. "It's Wabsworth and Susan!" shouted Lapinette. The Wabbit waved too, although his neck was cricked. Susan wheeled into position to guide Orni in, and together they headed for Torino. "How's your fur, Wabbit?" Lapinette tried to find a comfortable position on the struts. "It's still slightly singed and smells of dark matter," said the Wabbit. He dusted what looked like soot from his fur. "I'm not sure dark matter has a smell," said Lapinette. The Wabbit crinkled his nose, "It smells of sulphur." Lapinette sniffed and nodded. "You're right. It does." Orni laughed. "It's thought to be bare sulphur ions." Lapinette thought that was very funny. "Evil smells like sulphur and venom." The Wabbit shrugged. "That's about 85 per cent of the atmosphere." "Explains all your enemies," laughed Lapinette. "I don't want to go home smelling of rotten eggs," sulked the Wabbit. "The planet will forgive you!" smiled Lapinette. Orni followed Susan on the long flight path that took them closer to Earth. "What do you call that thing your friend is piloting?" The Wabbit grinned. "It's a biplane." Orni dipped his wings, just like Susan. "Maybe I could have a whirling thing at the front?" The Wabbit held his sides and shook with mirth. "You'll need a rubber band!"
[Background image: NASA]

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

7. The Wabbit and the Tiny Red Giant

Orni the Ornithopter took off once more and they hurtled through space. The Wabbit was relieved there was only one of him and Lapinette, but that was the least of his worries. Orni steered a course towards a star. "U Cam is one bright star," said Lapinette. She shielded her eyes and so did the Wabbit. " It's a Red Giant," he said. He cringed because he knew what was coming. "Get ready," said Orni. "That gas shell is going to blow," yelled the Wabbit. Orni swooped closer. "Your suit will channel it - and the dark matter." The Wabbit's fur stood on end. It was exactly what was needed because his fur acted as both a shield and a magnet. Dark matter poured through the Wabbit and into the space of Camelopardalis Galaxy. The Wabbit flinched. He felt the energy. It gave him heartburn. "Is Camelopardalis short on dark matter?" he breathed. "Far too bright in my opinion, even if the star is tiny." Orni gave a sarcastic sigh. Lapinette was stunned but knowledgeable, quite aware of where they were. "This galaxy has a double star, Cam," she said. "Has it indeed?" said Orni, "shall we double down?" "No," said the Wabbit, "there's such a thing as gilding the lily." He still had heartburn and his fur gave off a faint smell of cordite. He pointed. "What's that stop sign?" Lapinette grinned. "I imagined it." Orni was most impressed. "The power of thought." He laughed so hard they nearly fell off. The Wabbit was miffed. "This galaxy doesn't look like it's supposed to." His long explanation ended in, "It's not a giraffe or a camel. Nor is it a leopard." Orni chortled. "The Chinese call it Purple Forbidden Enclosure." "I prefer giraffe," shrugged the Wabbit.

[Credit: Background:  ESA/Hubble/ NASA and H. Olofsson (Onsala Space Observatory)]