Scobie looked at herself in the shop window. Still a rabbit, even after a second trip in a shape-changing time machine. She played with her ears before picking at one of her teeth and a tiny claw. She looked cute.
‘Sheeesh! You a rabbit.’
Scobie turned around and looked seeing no one and then looked down at the drunk. He wasn’t short, she was just taller, even without the long ears. She turned and flicked her tail. At least she was the adult and not the junior version. Who would respect a junior rabbit?
‘Isn’t everyone, doc?’ Scobie pulled a carrot out and took a bite. ‘Is there a problem with that? It isn’t as though I’m a rabbit and invisible. When was the last time you saw an invisible rabbit?’
‘Wasn’t there a film about one?’
‘And a play. The play came first. He wasn’t a rabbit, he was a pooka. You remembered the film?’
‘Was it about a drunk.’
‘A nice drunk. Did he give you his card?’
The drunk paused, struggling to remember more.
‘Do you remember the bar? Charlie’s Place? I think he might have a date there. Always out gathering folk for dinner at his house.’
The drunk shook his head, adjusting his tie looking at his reflection, almost taking her appearance for granted now. That or he was sobering up.
‘What about Eddie’s Bar? I could hustle a drink there myself.’
He closed his eyes and touched her arm and looked at her again. ‘You’re still a rabbit.’
‘You got good eyesight, doc. Cute, ain’t I?’ Scobie fluttered her eyelashes. ‘Take care, doc, I have a date…or it could be a coconut. Hard to tell these days.’
Scobie walked on down the street, oblivious to the people stopping and staring. That never worried her in the past, so why should it now. Her longer legs made striding easier as she crossed the street, causing the traffic to shunt to a halt.
Someone shouted out, ‘You look like a football mascot.’
‘At least I’d have a job on Saturdays.’
Why should she shout? She never used to shout back.
Scobie kept walking, pausing briefly to look at pizza parlour and then realised she probably preferred veg to pie. She wandered on and took another bite from her carrot. Maybe she should find a hotel? Find somewhere to think or why she wasn’t getting any advice from the Stable-mates anymore? Had she succeeded and gotten home? She sniffed the air. It certainly felt like London. The heavy touch of smog and carbon monoxide and petrol fumes. Who couldn’t mistake that? Then again, she could have stolen a gold brick from the yellow road. How much was going on in her head? A lot of people wandering about in patterns known only to themselves as to where they were going. Normally, she rarely cared where she went, living up to chaos theory in practice. She just roamed.
She stepped out onto the road and got promptly ran over by a white van that sped on.
‘Of all the vans in all the gin joints…’
Scobie paused. It had to be the one time where she got run over and there was no other traffic. That had been shunted up the road. That was wrong. After tapping her fingers on the tarmac, Scobie shook her ears as she stood up, her rabbit body unhurt by the collision.
‘Of course, you realise this means war.’
Scobie ran down the street after the van. Accidents might happen to other people but not to her. At least there was no car worthy staircases…well, unless they went via St. Paul’s Cathedral. Would they have Cybermen there?
She put her foot down or rather both feet rapidly and running as fast as Bugs but not as fast as the Road Runner. Should she trip up the van when she caught up? It was tempting to skid to a halt but that would miss the only clue she had. Who was the driver? At least it wasn’t an empty van. Then it would be a funny sort of duel, unless she had a car. Scobie looked down at her feet as she passed a parked car. With those feet, how could she use the pedals?
Pushing herself, Scobie felt herself gaining on the white van. This was surreal. If this wasn’t London, where was it? Who was going to turn up next, the Gryphon Turtle? What did the girls say? Be in control. Just because it looks like London, doesn’t mean it is.
I’m being distracted. She leapt and landed on top of the white van which initially swayed but kept going. If reality changes to what he imagines, the last thing her Stable-mates would want was to track down the white rabbit. They want to get back to normal reality. I’m supposed to convince Max of this. What with? Mental assault?
Scobie dropped her face down over the windscreen. ‘Ehhhhhh, what’s up, doc?’
The van screeched to a halt, forcing Scobie to dig into roof to stay on. No enforced dives for her. Being run over once was enough. The echo of the voices suddenly reverberated in her head. Assert yourself. Was it them or her memory of them? Distraction.
She looked the long haired hippy in the eye. ‘Y’know, doc, you really should just touch the brake an’ you wouldn’t have run me over the first time.’
A head poked out the window. ‘You’re a rabbit.’
‘Ya noticed that, doc. Double score your vision.’
‘Y’know, doc. Keep up. Twenty-twenty. Although why people make that four hundred beats me.’
‘Takes one to know one.’ Scobie paused. ‘Let’s do this in one. We were talking a while back. Remember, doc? You were a Cheshire Caterpillar. Then you forced me to move out when you turned slow motion. Let’s skip that. We’re in some sort of mental battleground inside your head. You put the other Stable-mates in Victorian London. They…we would all like to go home…p-p-uhleeze. Pretty please. Then you tell us where you are and we rescue from the shape-shifting Pattern and then find Sara. You remember Sara. She’s your best friend. There. I’ve said it all this time.’
Hope I got it all right, guys? No words of confidence or encouragement came back. She really was alone this time. It must have stirred an echo in her head.
‘But I haven’t done anything. Sara told me it was dangerous. And I haven’t been this Cheshire Caterpillar’
‘Oh! You got a double or a Pattern maybe? We thought you might be their prisoner.’
‘I don’t remember.’
‘What do you remember? Not your entire history. Say the last couple days. Oh, the magic word. Kaleidoscope.’
‘I was in London. I met Sara. I had just pulled a first edition. She told me I had to get out of there and then…then…’
‘Don’t rush it, doc, but let it all hang out.’
‘But I just said it.’
‘Excuse me, doc, Ben Fane I ain’t. Been told so many porkies. This has been too easy. Here I was wandering down the street, not knowing who’d I meet. Then you knock me over and say you ain’t using your power in here. I catch up. You tell me that. Y’know, doc, it’s a bit too pat.’
‘But you gave me the password. Kaleidoscope.’
‘Bah! There was no password. I made it up ta get you talking.’
‘Sara gave me one.’
‘But she didn’t tell it ta me.’
‘Who are you? I mean…you’re a rabbit.’
‘A biped rabbit, doc. One of you turned me into it.’
‘It wasn’t me. Honest. Sara told me she inhibited my powers. Said they were too dangerous.’
‘Yet here you are, doc. In a mindscape. Oh, I’m Scobie.’ She put out her hand and shook his.
‘Flamin’ Scobie? The ‘Flamin’ Scobie?’
‘Just Flamin’ Scobie. No The. Flanolla actually. My Stable-mates call me a flamin’ nuisance.’
‘Sara was nice about you but said you had a screwball talent, A walking disaster behind you.’
Scobie looked behind her at the peaceful scene. The car shunts were far down the road.
‘I must be slipping. Nothing’s changed behind me. This isn’t real. It looks real but not. Well, not like the Victorian London your…doppelganger dropped us in. The Pattern have been trying to infiltrate us, even here. Maybe they succeeded.’
‘Sara told me about this Pattern. Warned me about them. Shape-shifters but they can’t copy your…other abilities.’
‘Looks like this one got lucky. He needs to stay close to you. So where are you out there, Max. Where so we find you? We want to rescue you.’
‘Can’t Sara find me?’
‘Sara and the Voodoo lady tried and vanished. We found her with amnesia but not Sara.’
‘But you found me here.’
‘Phaw! A lucky plan. Get one of us into the mindscape. That was me. Thought I had the best chance of bumping into you. Being unpredictable. Different odds.’
‘You’re talking normally. Your voice changed.’
Scobie sniffed. ‘When we spake, you can’t tell us apart. I think my head is beginning to tell me this isn’t real.’
‘You think I’m the real Max?’
Scobie pulled out another carrot and took a bite. ‘Tell one. Tell them all. One of you might be real. This is probably unstable. I made a joke. In the real world, you must use your power. Bring things back to normal or reach out so we can find you.’
‘Sara did something to my head so I can’t do anything.’
‘Yet here you are.’
Max looked around. ‘It looks very…real. But I can’t do anything. Sorry.’
‘You might have a point, doc. You might be a bigger menace but it’s very real in the real world. No inhibitions. He won’t want to attack you. Use that to your advantage. Anything to get noticed.’
‘But if you met him here then he knows.’
‘Y’know, doc. He might not believe it himself. Might even thought he dreamt it. After all…’
‘You’re a biped pink rabbit.’
‘A cute one though.’
‘He did this to you?’
‘That would be an ecumenical matter. I have no idea. It’s all mind games.’
‘How do you get out of here?’
Scobie looked around. ‘I had a time machine. I guess I just have to pinch myself and hope I don’t skim down a tunnel.’
‘Like you do coming out of anaesthetic having a tooth pulled.’
‘They don’t do that anymore.’
‘Exactly. Who wants to fall out of a sewer?’
‘Accept for waking out of this. Will I have the same experience?’
‘You had a tooth pulled?’
‘Not under anaesthetic, only local.’
‘Nothing to worry about. You go home. I go home. Only remember to do something to alert one of us where you are.’
‘How do I go home?’
‘Shut your eyes. Click your heels and say there’s no place like home.’
‘Isn’t that from…?’
‘Maybe. It might not get you home but it should make you wake up.’
‘You really are crazy.’
‘Don’t tell everyone. They might believe you. Mind the traffic.
Max nodded and closed his eyes and tapped his heels together.
‘There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no…’
Scobie produced a giant mallet and hit him on the head. Max vanished.
‘That didn’t seem to be working. Ah well, there’s always a plan b.’
Reality shifted. Scobie looked around. Facing her was Sheena Ramone. No longer in her Victorian attire but dressed like a spiv with a large fedora on her head.
‘Errrr, what’s up, doc? Did it work?’
Sheena adjusted her hat. ‘A new look. Reality has shifted. We’ve moved forward to the 1930s.’
‘That’s good, isn’t it?’
‘Except you’re a rabbit.’
Scobie looked down, flicked her ears and produced a carrot and took a bite.
‘Oh crap! I bet this never happened to Barbra S.’
© GF Willmetts 2020
© Psi-Kicks, Flanolla Flamin’ Scobie, Max Undergrave
All rights reserved
As before borrowing