The Epoch of Dung (part 3)

Cameo alert. Cameo Alert. Lots of famous earplug names not really contributing to the tale.*

The look of horror upon Yabu’s face intensified. “I can’t,” he cried out in mental agony, “they’re not on Earth. Magnuss and Hair-Trigger boarded the Tankerville Norris

…to visit the Ice World. Having arrived to great fanfare and hullabaloo, they set off on a sponsored circumnavigation of the planet’s equator…

…upon which they hoped to raise sufficient funds to begin a scientific exploration of the crust’s re-formed sub-strata, and discover why it’s gone all visually mono-tonal…

“Okay,” Cushions said with a sigh. “So the ‘A’ team are out of town: what about the remaining four Earplug Brothers? Don’t tell me they’re off-world too!”

“Sorry.” Yabu replied. “Actually they are. They’re on Mars – checking out the progress of planetary terraforming.”

Cushions was confused by this information. “I’m confused.” She said in a tone that could only be described as ‘confused’. “This information makes no sense. The last time I looked, Mars had been moved to an orbit directly opposite this world, but on the other side of the Sun: it has a climate much like Earth’s now.”

“True,” Yabu replied sagely, “but Mars’ deserts have been dead for thousands of millennia. Earth seeds don’t like them. So the boys have gone along to cheer up everyone on the project. And, whilst they’re there, they can get to fly around in the Punting-Modesty Facepuncher XL5 without worrying Air Traffic Control.”

Cushions mused upon this information for about three nanoseconds. “That’s why they’ve gone to Mars, isn’t it? To play silly-buggers on a planet with a thinner atmosphere, reduced gravity, and a tiny population, in a powerful attack craft. Really it’s all about having fun.”

To which Yabu answered in the affirmative. He then added, “It’s their way of reducing stress. You know – the stress of always having to be heroes and failing at nothing.”

To which a scornful Cushions replied, “Huh – I’m so stressed that sometimes I think my knicker elastic will snap with the strain: but I don’t go racing around alien worlds in rocket-powered aircraft. Call them back instantaneously!”

A sheepish look slid…er…sheepishly… across Yabu’s countenance. “That could be a problem, Cushions.” He said. “We received a very garbled message from Folie Krimp and Placebo Bison. They were on their way to Earth aboard the Gravity Whelk at the time. Would you like me to play it back to you on my cell phone?”

Yabu didn’t wait for a reply. A split second later, his phone’s tiny screen displayed this…

Whilst Placebo was yelling, “Aargh”, Folie managed to bellow a warning:

“Massive ion storm encountered in Solar System. All ships should attempt planet fall at the soonest opportunity – like now. Communications are failing. Act immediately. Our ship is loads better than yours; and look what the ion storm is doing to it.”   

The scene shifted to a remote external view…

Cushions had time for one decent nervous gulp before the screen blanked.

“Coms have been out ever since.” Yabu said miserably.

This was terrible news: it should have floored the curator. However, Cushions rallied quickly. “What about those three girls? You know – the heroes in training. They’ve got a great big robot freighter: surely they can do something to help. I mean – what’s the point of heroes in training, if they can’t do something heroic when the need arises!”

“You mean Bunty Bridgewater, Daisy Woodnut, and Ginger Slack.” Yabu  answered…

“Do I?” Cushions snapped. “Oh yes, I suppose I do. Those names do seem familiar. Well?

“Their ship was severely damaged on a training mission by an ethereal alien walking machine on a dark planetoid.” Yabu replied…

…”They’re still waiting for a tow-truck. But, I do have one trick left up my sleeve. Remember Margret Greenhorn and her dancing troupe, the Greenhorn Girls?”

Cushions screwed up her face – partially in doubt, and partially because she was trying to remember when she had last seen the Greenhorn Girls in action. Then it came to her: they’d danced at the wedding of Magnuss and Hair-Trigger Earplug…

“Flipping heck, Yabu,” she wailed, “is that the best you can do?”

Yabu shrugged in response. “I’ve sent out a page to Margret: they should be at the front door right about…now!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

* Also allows him to use some of those ‘arty’ earplugs shots that wouldn’t otherwise appear.

The Epoch of Dung (part 2)

So, on to the second instalment. If it appears familar that is because (like part 1) this episode has also appeared before. But this time it’s good…

This wasn’t Glumb and Humbolt’s first encounter with the Museum of Future Technology’s curator- in- chief. They knew when it was best to stand up and ‘front’ her. They also knew when to cower a little and behave as obsequiously as they could, taking into consideration, of course, their sense of self-importance…

“Well, you see, your worship, it’s like this.” Glumb began.

“Like what?” Bubbly Salterton inquired of Winston Gloryhole sharply. “What’s it like?”

“Something very interesting has happened.” Humbolt replied as he attempted to view the read-out upon his hand-held Chrono-Shift meter at the same time that he spoke. “If these figures are correct…aah…something really significant – temporally that is – has occurred in this era.”

This was news to Glumb Kimball. “It has?” He inquired as his huge, bulbous eyes snapped sideways to regard his colleague.

Humbolt wasn’t sure whom he should address first. A look of thunder from Cushions made up his mind for him. “Yes,” he said, whilst looking straight at the curator, “and it absolves Glumb and me of responsibility – completely and utterly. This is your baby, so-to-speak, Ms Smethwyke; we can wash our hands of any repercussions. You want to step up to bat? Here’s your chance. Be my guest.”

Glumb appeared considerably relieved by this uncharacteristically verbal outpouring from his normally taciturn co-scientist. “Right then,” he said as the curators stood open mouthed, “we’re out of here. Bye-ee.”

Naturally, the Time Techs rushed to usher their superiors into the Tubo Di Tempo…

…but, as the time machine activated, Widderspoon Flange made to intercept them.

“But you haven’t told us what this significant event in our era is.” He cried, “What is going on?”

Humbolt passed his Chrono-Shift meter to Gregor Koch. “Ask Gregor,” he replied to Widderspoon’s question, “that’s assuming he can remember how to read the data correctly, of course: he’s probably a little rusty.”

Meanwhile, Auntie Doris, so recently promoted to the Curator Elite, smiled warmly at the worried Cushions, and said:

“Don’t worry yourself, Dear: Whatever it is, I’m sure the Earplug Brothers can sort it out for you.”

For a fleeting moment, these kind words gave Cushions a degree of confidence that she so badly needed. Then Widderspoon and the Time Techs returned with some news. News that would shake the very foundations of the museum’s existence.*

Chapter 1

A short while later, Cushions Smethwyke and the curators that had accompanied her to meet the recent arrivals from the future, stood resolutely together…

…and faced the camera of the museum’s TV reporter, Rupert Piles…

They wished to address the entire populace of the museum with the devastating news. Of course, Auntie Doris tried to soften the blow with a pleasant smile, but it did little to lift the spirits of those who watched and listened upon the TVs in the imagined sanctuary of their own homes…

…their workplaces…

In bars, restaurants, and walkways…

And upon the huge wall screens that hung in most thoroughfares and public meeting places, such as the Great Hall…

Even zombies, on their way to a hat-wearing competition, paused to listen and learn…

Wherever earplugs – and other silicon-based lifeforms within the Museum of Future Technology – heard Cushion’s resolute and unwavering voice as she elucidated in her most dispassionate manner, the result was always the same…

Shock, fear, and an intense desire to visit the lavatory. Some – those being first cousins of the Earplug Brothers, Clancy, Brad, and Gilbatross Earplug…

…fled to the lower levels and catacombs beneath the earlier museums that formed the Museum of Future Technology’s supportive strata. But seasoned – if terribly young – campaigners, such as Fulham Peach and Crudlove Twang…

…reacted in a more positive manner. They had recently joined The Yabu Youth – an organisation created by Magnuss Earplug’s protégé, Yabu Suchs, to discover brave young earplugs with the wherewithal to become future heroes. Whilst Fulham considered fortifying herself with the rapid consumption of a cup of Café Puke’s fabled Crappachino, Crudlove was receiving a page from their leader. Casting a quick glance over his shoulder at the sunset, he said:

“Fulham, sweetie: it’s time to act positively. Let’s go volunteer.”

In fact, the only people who failed to react with any observable…er…reaction were Baron Frankincense’s monsters…

…who had escaped his laboratory and were now on their way to the cinema to watch an avant-garde rom-com about high school girls experiencing abduction by a swarthy band of pirates and discovering the delights of tight pants and disco.

Whilst he awaited the arrival of Crudlove and Fulham, Yabu Suchs – of the Yabu Youth – spoke quietly with Cushions…

“So, Chief,” he said, “is that right that there has been a divergence of time-lines – right here and now, in our era?”

To which Cushions replied:

“You’re quick on the up-take. Of course it’s right, you vaguely off-yellow twerp. Something happened that caused the Tunnel Temporale to hiccup, so-to-speak, and create an alternate time-line. Starting, as of a couple of hours ago, there are now two potential histories. One is the correct time-line that will eventually reconnect with the river of time: the other will lose temporal momentum, and stagger to a halt – freezing whatever exists during those final moments before the end of time in a repetitive causality loop that can never be broken. Death will hold no dominion there; but everyone will go completely ga-ga with boredom and probably eat each other.”

A look of horror crossed Yabu’s face. “And in the morning they would find themselves whole again, and go just that little bit more insane. Oh such misery – and eternal too! ”

“Yeah, and it gets worse.” Cushions added mirthlessly, “There’s nothing to say that the ‘other’ timeline gets the bad news. It’s a fifty-fifty chance that it’ll be this time-line that enters the loop. That it’s we who go ga-ga and eat each other. We need the Earplug Brothers; and we need ‘em quick. But we can’t find them. They’re out of town. You’re Magnuss’ protégé; you must have their number; give ‘em a call!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

* Whatever that means.

The Epoch of Dung (part 1)

Following the aborted first attempt to display this latest wondrous tale of silicon-based life, sufficient photos and enough script has finally been produced to allow it’s creator to release the opening salvo of this, the 44th edition of the Earplug Adventures. You won’t be disappointed Earpluggers. It may be shorter than average – but only by twenty-five percent or so. And you know what they: the best things come in small packages*…

Earplug Adventures: The Epoch of Dung

Tooty Nolan

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Prologue

Every day was an interesting day at the Museum of Future Technology – especially since a new spaceport had opened to the paying public…

 

Visitors would wait, often interminably, in the foyer for the next shuttle to arrive…

…to take them to the Departure Lounge – from whence they would board space ships to here, there, and everywhere. Therefore, it was into this seething cauldron of silicon life that the next potential disaster poked its unwelcome hooter. Biological android, and self-proclaimed princess, Princess Agatha, and her friend, Belinda Noseguard, had happened by the long-abandoned (and previously troublesome) Tunnel Temporale, when suddenly it erupted with crimson light. Although technical imbeciles, both long-term inhabitants of the museum quickly realised that any activity within the futuristic tube that possessed the ability to traverse the river of time, but which had caused unprecedented damage when it allowed time storms to rip through the structure of both the museum and space/time itself, was very bad indeed. Naturally, they scarpered as quickly as they could…

At more or less the same time, the three Time Techs, all of which had been marooned in their past by the resultant closure and long-term temporary decommissioning of the Tunnel Temporale, were strolling back to their work stations after a quick visit to the nearby Café Puke outlet to use their toilet…

The chief Time Tech, Gregor Koch, looked sideways at his subordinate, Twinkles Forget-me-not, and said:

“What lovely urinals they have at the Café Puke. So sweet smelling. And the soap dispenser is to die for.”

“Pity their coffee tastes like it came from the same dispenser.” Runt said from behind Gregor.

“Mine tasted like it came from the urinal.” Twinkles complained. He then added, “Why can’t we have our own toilet? Why do we have to borrow other people’s loos? It’s so demeaning.”

“Cushions Smethwyke still blames us for the time storms.” Gregor replied. “She still thinks that our attempt to return to our period in history, during the worst of it, was tantamount to desertion.”

“She has a point.” Runt spoke again. “We are Time Techs after all: running out on them during their greatest need of us was kind’a ploppy.”

“That’s easy for you to say.” Twinkles grumbled. “Of the three of us, you’re on the lowest pay level: you don’t have a fortune in back-pay accumulating in the future.”

Runt had to think for a second before responding. “Hmmm,” he replied, “and I’m not exactly loaded here either. I might consider applying for a position aboard the K T Woo, you know: they’re always looking for crewmembers. You get to meet aliens too. Sometimes they shoot at you with advanced directed energy weapons. But most of the time it’s great. And the pay is terrific.”

One of the older Time Techs might have responded with, “Yeah, go for it: you’re no sodding good to us.” but the sight of the startled-looking Princess Agatha interrupted any such thought process as she exited an elevator behind Belinda Noseguard…

It took both blue earplugs approximately a half nanosecond to cover the distance between themselves and the three semi-permanent visitors from the future…

…where they quickly transferred responsibility for whatever might happen next because of them having found the Tunnel Temporale in unexpectedly operative mode.

“Yeah,” Belinda blurted, “it was all glowing red and stuff.”

“We were so scared we had to stop off at a launderette on the way here!” Agatha added for good measure.

Gregor didn’t respond initially. Well actually he did. An almost inaudible squeak escaped his trousers. But, rallying with alacrity, he said, “Thank you, ladies; on your way; leave this to us.”

Thirty seconds later, any potential CCTV cameras would have found all three Time Techs making best speed for the Tunnel Temporale…

…which startled the crews of two armoured hover reconnaissance vehicles, who had stopped off for a wee behind one of the huge concrete support columns that held up the disused roller skate park roof.

However, nothing – not even the complaining members of the military – could be allowed to slow Gregor, Twinkles, and Runt, as they raced towards (what they feared was) their destiny. Moreover, to their horror, they soon discovered that neither Princess Agatha nor Belinda had been exaggerating…

“I can’t look!” Twinkles wailed as all three Time Techs turned their backs on the apparition.

“Quick”, Gregor yelled above the humming sound that emitted from the Tunnel, “let’s run away; kill the witnesses; and feign ignorance of the whole damned deal!”

“No,” the calmest earplug present snapped. “Pull yourselves together. We must inform our superiors. Quickly – to the smaller, but infinitely more reliable, Tubo Di Tempo!”

Of course, Runt was entirely correct. So, five minutes, and several high-speed elevators later…

…Gregor, Twinkles, and Runt arrived at the Tunnel Temporale’s replacement, just in time to see it activate remotely.

“Looks like someone in the future already knows about our little problem.” Twinkles observed.

He wasn’t wrong. A moment later, the colour of the Tubo Di Tempo shifted into the blue spectrum, and two figures emerged from it…

It was a slightly shaken Humbolt Whale who led his colleague, Glumb Kimball, from the machine.

“Ooh, that was a nasty ride.” Humbolt managed after a bout of retching. “I’ve never been travel sick in a time machine before.”

“It must have been temporal eddies caused by the temporally-adjacent Tunnel Temporale.” Glumb conjectured. He then explained to the waiting Time Techs that he and Humbolt had been conducting some preventative maintenance upon their future version of the Tunnel Temporale…

…when it activated spontaneously.

“Spontaneous, it was.” Humbolt said in support of his co-worker. “We didn’t touch a thing.”

This amused Runt because it displayed a level of insecurity that matched his immediate superior’s. He was almost tempted to say, “See, Gregor, even your boss feels the need to cover his arse.” but he didn’t get the opportunity because Glumb continued to relate their tale…

“So, after due consideration, we thought we ought to get ourselves here and see if there was someone else would could pin the blame on.”

It was very fortunate for Gregor that Cushions Smethwyke had been following the situation aboard the Omnipresent Scanner. Just as Glumb had spoken those words, she and several curators entered the room.

“Ah, she said, as the surprised Time Techs turned to meet the party…

…”you’re all as bad as each other in the future. It’s time someone stepped up to the plate and took some responsibility. Well I’m here to say to you, stand aside, you gutless wonders: Cushions Smethwyke has entered the building.”

She then demanded to know ‘what the heck’ was going on.

Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

* Whoever said that obviously hasn’t seen my willy!

P.S If you ‘Liked’ this before, I’d be very pleased if you ‘Liked’ it again.

Apologies, Earpluggers – Again

After the aborted start to the 44th Earplug Adventure – Epoch of Dung – I can now announce that this time I’m actually ready to start posting episodes properly. There are currently 231 fully processed shots in the can, and probably just a handful more to snap before I can say “Done!” Regular stories require 400+ shots, so I guess this is a photo-novella in comparison. The previous shortest story was Natural Selection; but I’m pretty certain this one is coming in under that fabulous tome. Here’s a brief montage…

Lots of cameos included this time. See if you can remember which tales the characters have appeared in before. And there’s a tsunami too!

Watch this space!

 

Tooty the Chef and the Near Linguine Cheese Disaster

Tooty the Chef had been talked into attempting his late wife’s signature Spaghetti Cheese. Despite a talent that transcends gastronomy, he had his doubts – especially when he discovered that the larder contained insufficient quantities of Italy’s finest export (not counting Asti Spumante of course). So he went with Linguine instead. I mean, why not: it’s all bloody pasta, isn’t it? After boiling it for the required period of time, he drained the sloppy result and went looking for his world-famous Roasting Thing. But, oh curses; something inexplicable had happened to his world-famous Roasting Thing. A corner had fallen off!

What a to-do. And what was he to do? His other Roasting Thing was too small and oval shaped. No good at all. Then his late wife came to the rescue. The thought entered his head that he should look on the bottom shelf – right at the back – of the kitchen corner unit; a place that is best known for chill winds and stygian darkness. And there he found it: a new, never-been-used Roasting Thing. So he mixed the linguine with some chopped tomatoes, passata, tomato paste, garlic paste, grated cheddar, grated mozzarella, black pepper, spaghettata al limone, and peas. The gooey result was then hurled into the middle shelf of a maxxed-out oven for twenty-five minutes…

Yippie – spaghetti cheese – just the way his children’s mother used to make it…

…except for the linguine – so it wasn’t quite the same. But it was similar. Another success for the floppy-buttocked burk!

Pig Sick and Thinking of Spain

If you are a long-term reader of this illustrious blog, you’ll know that I have a long lasting affection for Spain. As I watched the three-day build up to the 2022 Spanish MotoGP – with the first mass crowd in evidence since the original Covid 19 lockdown in 2020 – I could almost feel the heat of the sun as it beat down upon the spectators from a perfect blue Spring sky above Jerez. I could smell the jasmine, scorched soil, drains, and petrol fumes. As the meeting progressed, more and more I wanted to be there. But I didn’t let it effect me: I was at home, with my family, and that was that. Then, as the meeting came to a close, a camera panned around to the motorcycle park – zooming in on a portion of it. The air sloughed from  my lungs and my shoulders slumped. But not before I’d freeze-framed the playback. This is what I’d seen…

I went to bed – totally pissed-off.

Tooty the Chef’s Tips on Presentation.

Here’s a very simple tip to follow from Tooty the Chef…

It really doesn’t matter how you slap the grub on the plate: just make sure that the cutlery matches the accompanying drink. Or vice versa. The guests / recipients will be so impressed that no one will notice the food…

Hoi Sin stir fry, by the way. Tasty.

Tooty Gets His Nuts Out

There are two Robins that vie for supremacy in my garden. A rather neat and spic and span fellow (Loser) and a somewhat bedraggled example (Winner). Every morning, when I go out into the garden to refill the bird feeder (my late wife did it religiously, and I wouldn’t want to disappoint her), Winner arrives immediately; gets in my way; and generally demands breakfast, which I’m always glad to supply. But he does have to work for it. Here he is, waiting on the bird table…

Having set up the camera to capture the moment, today I went into the shed to fetch some nuts for him. Winner – the  undoubted ‘top dog’ Robin in the local area – became impatient, and immediately hopped aboard the handy perch…

…and proceeded to watch my every move. Flitting over to the fence…

…he awaited my outstretched hand, which he knew was full of nuts. And, as usual, he flitted back; checked me out…

…hovered for a moment; snatched a nut; then scooted for the sanctuary of the tree…

This is his modus operandi. He touches down for a nanosecond, then puts as much distance between himself and I as he can – usually disappearing into an adjoining garden to devour his catch. He’ll do it as many times as I’m prepared to stand there, like a lemon, with an aching arm stretched out in front of me…

But I know that when he’s off over the fence, Loser grabs his opportunity with both feet. There he is, look – watching over my shoulder…

This is when he slips in unnoticed. More often than not he may get chased off by Winner, but when I feel his little talons grip my fingernails…

…for me he’s the real winner. After all he gets the time to select the best nut in my hand. And if he’s feeling choosey, he might even take a meal worm. Yum!

Throw Something Together Quick with Tooty the Chef

If you’re anything like Tooty (unlikely, but there must be one or two) you too will be the forgetful sort who arses about doing inconsequential stuff when you should be preparing that meal you so hate cooking – but have to because no one else will. Well, guess what, that happened to Tooty, only today. There he was, thoroughly enjoying himself, doing something that didn’t need doing, when the clock chimed – to remind him that time was of the essence. Something needed cooking, and it needed cooking now. Enter Tooty the Chef…

No time for planning: action was needed. And action it got – whatever ‘it’ was. Straight out of the fridge, an onion was rapidly diced…

This was quickly followed by some breakneck carrot shaving…

and dicing into quite large lumps. As were some sweet potatoes…

Already an idea had burst with incandescence from the fertile mind of the aging gastronome..,.

Pork fillet and pre-made puff pastry. Tooty the Chef was gonna make a pie sort of thing. So it was time to trim off the nasty fatty bits of the pork fillet…

…and cut it into slices…

…which, in turn, were reduced to lumps approximately twice the size of the sweet potato chunks…

…coz everyone knows that meat cooks waaaay quicker than sturdy root vegetables.

Next up, the pastry invited an assault of the rolling pin kind…

Sadly this meant that Tooty the Chef had to re-injure his problematic shoulder by reaching high into the wall cupboard for some flour…

…which resulted in unprintable expletives that might have included, “Bum”, “Arse”, and “Deary me, that did hurt so, I don’t know what to do.”

But, naturally, he quickly overcame the agony, and before you could say: “Forget it bladder: I’m not going to the toilet until this job is finished”, his quicksilver fingers were rolling out the pastry…

Then a thought struck. It was a fundamental sort of thought. It went: “Ugh, whatta my gonna cook this in?” Time to go searching the cooking crockery cupboard that his late wife kept so well stocked, and which he is yet to clear out…

Please note fabulous yellow trousers. From this angle, I bet you’re glad he no longer cooks sans ligerie. Well there were quite a few bowls and stuff that were microwave and dishwasher-proof. But only one that was oven-proof. Like it or not, all the ingredients would have to fit inside it. Using the bowl as a template, Tooty the Chef cut two circles of pastry… 

One, he placed in the bottom of the bowl…

After all, he did describe this as a ‘pie sort of thing’, not actually a pie.

A decision was then required. What spices to add to the ingredients? Hmmm, tricky. So he tried pot luck and selected some Spanish stuff intended for chimichurri… 

…which he mixed in with the onion, sweet potato, carrot, and pork. He then rammed the whole lot into the bowl…,

…and laid the second circle of pastry on top – whilst using the left-overs to seal the edge and create a wonderful central decoration that wouldn’t have disgraced Leonardo Di Vinci…

Here it is in a moodier light…

The speckles in the pastry are some of the spices that stuck to his hands. He didn’t wash them off before applying the top: he doesn’t approve of waste. Naturally the bowl was eased into a pre-warmed (and maxxed-out) oven, for (he estimated) fifty-five minutes…

Fifty-five minutes later…

Yum, or what! A drop of beef gravy, and voila...

See, cooking aint so bad. It doesn’t have to take hours. Give it a go. Let your imagination loose. Take a chance with the ingredients. The result will always be palatable to someone – even if it’s only the dog. He hates to admit it, but Tooty the Chef has found that cooking can almost be rewarding.

Timeless Tooty

Some things never change. Human behaviour, for one. But we don’t want to go down that serious philosophical avenue right now: let’s stick to a far more cheerful subject. Please regard this hideously faded photo of Tooty (before he became Tooty) in 1976…

As you can probably see, he was a cheerful and lovable chap. Well his mum loved him, and, at that time, so did this delightful young woman…

Also as you can probably see, he was a motorcyclist. Protective equipment amounted  to motocross boots, a crash helmet, and gloves. Back then, when very few people considered health and safety, body protection was provided by a pair of flared cotton trousers and a small corduroy jacket.  Note the corduroy jacket appears festooned with sew-on patches. Here it is again, later in the year…

It has grown a few more. And again in 1977…

…where even more appear evident. Because of the extraordinarily piss-poor resolution of the ancient print, it is doubtful that you can  recognise any wording or logos that appears on the plethora of patches. Well let me tell you (if you haven’t guessed already) most of them read ‘Yamaha’.  He was, at that time, The Yamaha Kid. He doesn’t know when, or whence, that jacket disappeared, but he really misses it and has cursed his carelessness on a regular basis for the last few decades. When he returned to motorcycling in 2020, his son suggested that they find a modern equivalent jacket, then do likewise with the patches. Tooty decided against it on safety grounds. If he had ever crashed with that jacket on, it is pretty odds-on that he would have come away with somewhat less skin than if he’d remained perpendicular to the asphalt. So he decided against it. In any case, a sixty-three year old version of The Yamaha Kid would look a tad pathetic, wouldn’t he?  BUT he WAS able to find exact duplicates of many of those 1970’s patches on the Internet. In fact one of them was an original. Prices were too high for most of them, so he passed. What was the point of purchasing expensive patches for a jacket that he wasn’t going to buy or wear? But one was an affordable price, and the orignal patch was an absolute  giveaway. These he simply couldn’t resist. Then his son found an exact copy of the U.S AIRFORCE patch that he had worn above the left breast pocket – and duly bought it for him. Well, the other day, the temptation to sew them on to something overwhelmed him; so he took out his Spanish fisherman’s jacket (that he paid too much for in a Villa Joyosa market a few years ago) and set to it with the needle and thread. Ladies and Gentlemen: in a subdued manner that should not embarrass the old fool too much – The Yamaha Kid returns…

But he doesn’t ride his bike in that gear: he’s not a complete moron. Pity the camera strap had to hide the original 1970’s patch though. Stupid Tooty!

I Won’t Grow Old Gracefully! Do You Hear me? I Refuse!

In 1985 my wife and I needed a joint temporary passport. I don’t remember why, but we did. Now, generally speaking, passport photos make the passport holder look like either a startled hare; a somnolent zombie; or the ugliest bastard in town. Not so we two, I feel…

I think I might have passed for the drummer in a Californian soft rock band; and she would have been our lead singer, no question.  But the years that followed had the same entropic effect upon me as it did everyone else. Eventually it became so bad that I felt compelled to post my first Tooty’s Fashion For Fogeys on this very site. In that opening salvo I displayed an uncanny ability to wear beige without appearing a doddery old fool who watches re-runs of Judge Judy, but doesn’t realise they’re re-runs and has to get up and go to the toilet every commercial break…

…even if I really do. By and large, I think I almost pulled off a perfect deception. Particularly when I added this sort of thing…

…in later blogs.

But, just thirteen months after posting the original T F for F, my son noted the clothes I’d put on in order to walk the dogs. They included those self-same beige trousers; an olive green jacket; and a pair of brown walking shoes. He said:

“You’re looking very…beige…today. Are you on your way out to buy a grey flat cap so that you can complete the uniform and look like an old fogey?”

I checked the mirror. A look of horror stared back at me. Without hesitation I proceeded to a local haberdashery, where I purchased an over-priced tub of colour dye. It accompanied the trousers into the washing machine…

And, several hours later, I’d shed that look of antiquity entirely. Well not entirely, perhaps: but at least I didn’t look like I had a Hyundai i10 or a Kia Picanto in the car port…

And look, matching socks…

And now, judging from the undoubted inelegance I display in this photo, you can see why my wife was the international dancer; and I spent the 1970s pissing about and freezing my bollocks off on motorbikes…

Note the bike: a Yamaha – naturally. Ostend, Belgium, December 1978. So cold that the butane in the gas heater froze and the damned thing exploded. Now that’s something you wouldn’t catch me doing at my age! Talking of which: check out this hair and beard from 1988…

Oh God, I’m so depressed! Where’s that Californian soft rock band when you most need them?

Blast From the Past 2: The Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back

Sifting through some more floppy discs that I found in my loft…

Tooty and his harvest of stuff

…I discovered three scripts that I had forgotten entirely. Blanked from my memory, no doubt. This is because (when I began reading the opening lines) it all came flooding back. It was this proposed children’s animation that was the final straw that broke the metaphorical camel’s back. I now recall the boss of a leading children’s animation TV series provider liking it very much, but who couldn’t see how it would fit into a saturated market (at that time), what with Thomas the Tank Engine  and Bob the Builder etc already well-ensconced. He also doubted that I could create enough story-lines for an entire series. He might or might not have been correct about the former; but, as I was to prove very quickly, he was absolutely on-the-money  with the latter. I managed  three episodes…and dried up. I had nothing. This (rather than the failure to sell my adult stuff) is what prompted me to finally give up. But, looking back at it now, almost twenty years later, it wasn’t half-bad. Check out this portion. Skidlid is the driver of a Swedish-built truck named Woden. Scooter is a truck-mountable forklift truck that rides on the rear of Woden. Farquar is a regular electric counter-balanced forklift truck  at the factory for  which they deliver ‘widgets’. Danny drives Farquar; and Binky works in the office.

As previously encountered, the formatting from Windows 95 means that the copy is slightly all-over-the-place…

            SKIDLID & SCOOTER by Paul Nolan

                                    EPISODE 01: WEATHER FOR DUCKS

            1: EXT. DAY. LOGAN’S YARD.

WODEN is reversing across the yard into the loading bay of LOGANS PRESSED WIDGET COMPANY. 

Although his ‘bleeper’ is sounding loudly, SCOOTER, who is still mounted on Woden’s rear, calls out a warning…

                                                            SCOOTER:

Mind yourselves. Mind yourselves. Woden is coming in.

            WODEN: (Swedish accent)

Thankyou, Scooter, but everyone can hear my reversing beeper. You don’t need to worry.

           

            2: INT. DAY. LOADING BAY.

Woden halts. SKIDLID, drops from the cab, then reaches back inside to retrieve his safety helmet – placing it upon his head.

FARQUAR, driven by DANNY, enters from the warehouse, and approaches the lorry.

                                                                        SKIDLID: (calling to Danny)

                                                            Hey, hey!

            Skidlid indicates his own helmet.

                                                                        SKIDLID:

Come on Danny, you know the rules: You must wear a helmet when driving a forklift truck.

            DANNY:

Sorry, Skidlid. I forgot.

            Danny reaches back to fetch his helmet from the rear of Farquar.    

            SKIDLID:

You always forget. One of these day’s you’ll forget your head. Now what have you got for Woden to deliver today?    

              FARQUAR:

He doesn’t know. It’s too early; he hasn’t woken up yet.

                                                                      DANNY:

                                    That’s right. It’s too early; I haven’t woken up yet.

            Mister Logan hasn’t given me the delivery sheets yet, either…

                        SKIDLID:

Fair enough.

                        Skidlid and Danny make for the office

                        FARQUAR: (to Scooter)

Hello, Scooter.

                        SCOOTER: (defensively)

Hello, Farquar.

                        FARQUAR:

Aren’t you coming down off of there?

                        SCOOTER: (calling)

Skidlid?

                        SKIDLID:

Yes, Scooter?

                        SCOOTER:

Is it all right if I come down off of here?

                        SKIDLID:

No, it’s all right. You best stay there. We won’t be long.

                        Skidlid and Danny disappear inside the office.

                        FARQUAR:

Do you feel slightly superfluous – hanging around like that – like a metal monkey?

                        SCOOTER:

I don’t know. What does ‘superfluous’ mean?

                        FARQUAR:

It means something that isn’t really needed.  Something extra that we could all do without.

                                                                        SCOOTER:

That’s not a very nice thing to say. Of course I’m needed. Skidlid often uses me.

                        FARQUAR:

When?

                        SCOOTER:

Well, when we go places where there’s no forklift trucks around.

                        FARQUAR:

You mean forklift trucks – like me?

                        SCOOTER:

Of course.

                        FARQUAR:

But if there are forklift trucks like me around, he leaves you hanging onto the back of Woden – like a metal monkey?                      

                        SCOOTER:

Well…yes, I suppose so…

                        FARQUAR:

I thought so.

Skidlid and Danny return with BINKY – who carries a sheaf of paperwork.

She hands them to Skidlid one at a time.

                                                BINKY:

Your first call is at the new bridge. They need a widget cruncher. Their widget cruncher broke down.

                        SKIDLID:

Thanks, Binky: We’ll get straight over there. Come on Danny – load us up.           

 

3: EXT. DAY. LOGANS YARD.

Danny uses Farquar to place a huge, heavy box onto the rear of Woden – who sags under the weight.

                                                WODEN:

Are you trying to burst my tyres, Farquar? This is very heavy.

            FARQUAR:

Too heavy for Scooter, I think. Perhaps you should leave him behind. He will only slow you down.

            WODEN:

No, I do not think so. Where I go, Scooter goes.

He is a very useful forklift truck.

            DANNY: (calling)

O.K, Skidlid, all done: Off you go.

Woden pulls from the yard. Danny and Binky wave their farewell.

                                                                        DANNY:

                                                            Fancy a cup of tea, Binky?

                                                                        BINKY:

                                                            Good idea.

They depart. Farquar looks up at the darkening sky. The first raindrops to fall hit him.

                                                FARQUAR: (calling)

                                    I say, don’t forget me!

                        FADE OUT.

                        FADE IN.

 

                        4: EXT. DAY. WODEN.

Scooter is becoming drenched by rain as Woden drives through the countryside. He is not enjoying it.

They pass a holiday camp, full of caravans.

                                                            SCOOTER:

Oh, those poor people. What horrid weather for a holiday.

 

5: EXT. DAY. RIVERSIDE ROAD.

Woden drives along beside the river – which is rising in the pouring rain.

                                                            SCOOTER:

                                                That river looks awfully high.

                                                            WODEN:

It is all this rain. It is making the river rise so high I think it may flood.

            SCOOTER:

That sounds like fun.

            WODEN:

Not if you live near the river, and the river fills your home with water.

            SCOOTER:

Oh, no, I suppose not.

 

                        6: EXT. DAY. UNFINISHED BRIDGE.

Several workmen and a large diesel forklift truck shelter from the rain beneath a canvas hut beside a partially built steel bridge.

                        Woden arrives. Skidlid drops from the cab.

                                                                               SKIDLID:

Hello, I’ve just brought your new widget cruncher.

            WORKMAN:

Lovely. Just drop it there, will you?

It’s weather for ducks out there, and we don’t want to get wet.

            SKIDLID:

Do I have to take it off myself?

            WORKMAN:

Very kind of you to offer. Just there will do.

            SKIDLID:

But the load is very heavy…

            SCOOTER: (interrupting)

I can do it, Skidlid. That’s why you brought me along.

            SKIDLID:

But they have a much larger forklift truck here already…

            SCOOTER:

Please, Skidlid; I don’t want to be superfluous…

            SKIDLID:

But it’s really heavy. I don’t think…

            SCOOTER: (interrupting)

Please…

            SKIDLID:

O.K, Scooter, you can give it a try.

                                   Woden begins lowering Scooter to the ground.

 

                                           7: EXT. DAY. UNFINISHED BRIDGE.

With Skidlid driving, Scooter approaches the heavy load on the rear of Woden.

                                                                                    WODEN:

Are you sure you want to do this, Scooter?

            SCOOTER:

Yes. The load only looks heavy. I’m sure Farquar made it look much harder than it really is.

Scooter strains to lift the load. He huffs and puffs. The load begins to rise, but his rear wheel will not remain upon the ground. It begins to spin as he tries to reverse.

The workmen rush from shelter, clambering upon Scooter – bringing his wheel back down.

                                                SKIDLID:

No, no – it isn’t safe. Everyone off. This load is too heavy for this machine.

The workmen retreat to cover, and Skidlid lowers the load back onto Woden.

                                                WODEN:

                                    Well it was nice while it lasted.

                                                SCOOTER: (sadly)

Farquar was right: I am superfluous. No one has any need of me. You might as well throw me into the river.

            SKIDLID:

Oh, no, Scooter, you’re not superfluous: It’s just that truck-mounted forklift trucks aren’t made to lift huge widget crunchers. It needs big counter-balanced forklifts like…

            SCOOTER:

…Farquar?

                                                SKIDLID:

Well, yes – like Farquar. But Farquar would be no good on the back of Woden, would he? He would be too big. We’re all good at different things. There are times when you are very handy. Just not right now.

                        THE WORKMEN CRY OUT AN ALARM.

Skidlid notices that they are pointing to the river- upon which a caravan bobs in the current.         

A family can be seen waving for help from the roof.                       

                                                                                    SKIDLID:

Oh, cripes, that mobile home is being swept away!

            WORKMAN:

What are we going to do? If it hits the bridge, it’ll be torn apart!

            SKIDLID:

Your big fork-lift truck: Perhaps it could go down to the bank – reach across – and stop the mobile home before it hits the bridge.

            WORKMAN:

Good idea.

(Calling Diesel)

Diesel!

The diesel forklift truck roars into life – smoke billowing from its exhaust.

 

8: EXT. DAY. RIVERBANK.

The Workman eases the diesel forklift truck down the bank toward the fast-moving water.

Skidlid calls from the bridge…

                                                            SKIDLID:

Hurry – the mobile home is getting closer.

            WORKMAN:

I can’t; it’s the mud: It’s too soft. My wheels are sinking. I can’t go backwards or forwards.

 

                        9: EXT. DAY. UNFINISHED BRIDGE.

                        Woden and Scooter look-on…

                                                                                    WODEN:

Things do not seem to be going well, Scooter.

            SCOOTER:

That poor family; they’ll be here in just a few minutes. They’ll be dashed into the raging river.

            WODEN:

Perhaps they are Olympic swimmers, and can swim easily to the bank.

            SCOOTER:

What are the chances of that, Woden?

            WODEN:

About a million-to-one.

          SCOOTER:

That’s what I thought.

(Calling)

Skidlid – fetch out Woden’s towrope. Do it quickly!

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2003

Hmmm, wonder if this could be persuaded to morph into a children’s book…? Whatta ya think?

 

 

There is Always an Arsehole

It doesn’t seem to matter where you live, there always seems to be at least one arsehole in the vicinity. During 2021 the village in which I live decided on a ‘Greening’ campaign. Wild flower seeds were distributed to every household, with the intention that it’s occupants would plant them, and the gardens,  streets, paths, and byways would blossom forth with native flora. It was a success, and everyone was very pleased about it. Fast forward to 2022…

…and some fucking dip-shit decides to poison the public footpaths that pass beside his rented field…

…killing off every one of the wild flowers that bloomed there.  That, in itself, would label him as shit-head of the month; but the over-spray has also poisoned the grazing grass on the other side of the fence. I find it less than coincidential that his sheep are notable by their absense. I just hope it’s costing shit-for-brains a fortune in vets bills!

Eight Years On

As I mentioned in my Tooty the Chef’s wheel restoration post, I bought my ‘modern classic’ 1998 Toyota Corolla, in immaculate condition in 2014. It was done on the spur of the moment, and I’ve never regretted the impetuous act. Here’s what the little beauty looked like back then…

Well, as I said earlier, the years have not been kind to my dinky 1.3 automatic. But recently a new air filter, an automatic gearbox oil change, and those dashing yellow wheels seem to have perked up the motor somewhat. So, to celebrate the fact that my favourite car is still up and running after twenty-four years, I stopped by the same locale and took it’s portrait again…

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I know: but I think it’s still a cracker. I think a lot of old Corolla owners feel the same way: there’s still loads of them on Britain’s roads, and every one of ’em I spot makes me smile. You’re bound to find at least one in Waitrose car park. Quality lasts, obviously. And if you’ve never driven one, give it a go: there’s something indefinable about them. If you haven’t guessed, I’m a big fan.

Blast From the Past

Whilst searching (unsuccessfully) for the set-up disc for a printer I have in  my bedroom, but never use, I chanced upon some floppy discs at the bottom of a plastic storage box. Some of them contained corrupted data, which was inaccessible. But one still worked. It contained the script for Episode Eight of a TV thriller/mystery/ sci-fi show that I had written almost exactly twenty years ago. If I recall, ten episodes were completed before I began trying to interest potential production companies. I also recall that a lot of people made a lot of nice noises about the scripts, but none of them were in a position to influence anyone of importance. Agents and actors mostly. I spent many a happy hour on the phone chatting with them. But when it seemed that my dreams were going nowhere, I quit writing (in 2003)and ran away to Spain for a sabbatical, which lasted until the money ran out in 2005. I never returned to script writing. But, as I mosied through Episode Eight, I began to wonder…

Here’s a snippet from it. Please excuse the strange layout. Word couldn’t read the ancient Windows 98 system I used back then. I was forced to upload from the disc using LibreOffice, then converting to Word 2003, before finally being able to access it on my usual laptop. In the process, the formatting went a bit doolally.

                5: EXT. NIGHT. MASON’S FARM.

                 Wozniak’s car glides into the yard, halting

                before the front door of the farmhouse.

 

                (6: INT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE HALLWAY).

                The front doorbell is jingling insistantly.

                GEORGE MASON, a stout, florid, man in his

                late fifties – very much the archetypal

                owner-farmer, clumps in from the adjoining

                pantry, and begins unlatching the door.

                When he speaks it is with a broad rural

                accent.

                                        MASON:

                                Hold your blooming horses will

                                ya!

                He opens the door to the bloodied and

                dishevelled group.

                                        MASON:

                                What the blinking heck

                                happened to you lot?

                Janice steps forward.

                                        JANICE:

                                Hello, Mr Mason…do you

                                remember me?

                                        MASON:

                                Janice Gale: What the heck’s

                                happened to you girl: Been in

                                a fight?

                                        JANICE:

                                Yes. Can we come in?

                Mason is flummoxed momentarily.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                We really need to come in.

                Judith notices a brief flicker of headlights

                amongst distant trees.

                                        JUDITH:

                                There’s a car in the lane.

                Wozniak bundles the others past an uncertain

                Mason, then goes for the car.

                                        JANICE:

                                (concerned)

                                Peter!

                                        WOZNIAK: (shouting)

                                Mr Mason…is there a barn

                                or something? I need to hide

                                the car.

                Mason senses the urgency of the situation…

                                        MASON:

                                Round the back: I’ll fetch the

                                key.

 

                7: INT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE (PANTRY).

                 Arthur sits at the table, confused.

                Cavisbury lays upon a bench, slowly

                recovering.

                Judith is tugging the curtains closed as

                Janice enters from the hall.

                                        JUDITH:

                                (breathless)

                                The door?

                                        JANICE:

                                Locked and barred.

                                        JUDITH:

                                Oh, Miss Gale, I’m so sorry

                                I got you involved.

                                        JANICE:

                                Don’t be: Remember what you  said…

                                it’s Peter’s stock-in-trade. He may

                                be scared ridged, but deep down

                                inside he wouldn’t miss this

                                for the world.

                                        JUDITH:

                                But you could both die!

                                        JANICE:

                                (smiling)

                                May we live in interesting times.

                     The door is flung open, startling Arthur.

                Wozniak enters, followed by Mason, who locks

                the door.

                                        MASON:

                                (to Janice)

                                Your young man’s explained

                                everything. You’re being

                                chased by an escaped nutter.

                                Well you can rely on me. Aint

                                nothing I wouldn’t do for

                                a fellow Brambledownian.

                                        JANICE:

                                Thankyou, Mr Mason.

                                        MASON:

                                Call me George.

                                (noticing Cavisbury)

                                Here, aint that Lord

                                Cavisbury?

                Cavisbury looks at Mason through bleary eyes.

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                Mason, isn’t it?

                                        MASON:

                                It is. I’m surprised you

                                remember me. Do you remember

                                all your tenants you chuck out

                                on their asses?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                I remember you because of all

                                the grief you gave me.

                                (looking around room)

                                I see you’ve done well for

                                yourself…

                                        MASON:

                                No thanks to you.

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                Nonsense: It was the making of

                                you.

                Wozniak interjects…

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                Excuse me, Lord Cavisbury –

                                how long ago was this?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                What was it, Mason: Twenty,

                                twenty five years ago?

                                        MASON:

                                Twenty two years ago.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                (to Cavisbury)

                                And you recall it clearly?

                                        CAVISBURY: (defensively)

                                It was twenty two years ago!

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                And yesterday? Anything?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                (confused)

                                Yesterday? I don’t under…

                                        JUDITH:

                                (to Cavisbury)

                                Can you remember anything of

                                yesterday – last week – last

                                month?

                Cavisbury mentally strains to recall – without

                success.

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                No, nothing. What’s happening

                                to me? Have I lost my marbles?

                                        JUDITH:

                                We don’t know exactly: It has

                                something to do with General-

                                Elite.

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                (startled)

                                General-Elite? How the devil’d

                                that happen?

                                        JUDITH:

                                Sorry?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                That damned Wake fellow:

                                Pressurised me for months.

                                Him and his so-called

                                “fertility clinic”. Couldn’t see

                                the connection – his line of

                                business and mine. And now you

                                say the companies are merged?

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                You knew nothing of this?

                Wozniak drags Arthur forward.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                (to Cavisbury)

                                How well did you know your

                                staff?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                I pride myself on knowing

                                everyone by their forename.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                Good. Who is this?

                Cavisbury regards Arthur.

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                You do look familiar.

                Wozniak tosses Arthur’s ID to Cavisbury, who

                studies it.

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                No – Arthur Cronin is

                                brilliant: This man is

                                clearly…

                                        JANICE:

                                …An imbecile?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                When you put it like that…

                                (holding side of head)

                                And violent with it.

                                        JUDITH:

                                This is Arthur Cronin. This is

                                what General-Elite do to

                                brilliant people…to people

                                who get in their way.

                                        JANICE:

                                And you are the result of what

                                they can do to people they

                                need. How does it feel to have

                                your strings cut?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                Like a vodka martini.

                Seeing incomprehension…

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                Shaken and stirred.

                Mason pulls away from the curtain, going to a

                cupboard, which he unlocks.

                                        MASON:

                                There’s someone in the yard.

                                I heard footsteps in the

                                gravel.

                He pulls out a shotgun, then some cartridges.

                Wozniak lays his hand on the barrel, shaking

                his head.

                                        MASON:

                                If there’s a homicidal nutcase

                                out there, Bessie here could

                                come in handy.

                Wozniak thinks about it. Then…

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                O.K; but if you have to use it

                                – go for a head shot. Nothing

                                else will do. If you don’t

                                kill him with the first shot,

                                you wont live long enough to

                                regret it.

                                        MASON:

                                You make him sound like a

                                superman.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                Treat him as such, and we

                                might come through this.

                                Now let’s get out to the

                                cowshed.

                Wozniak makes for the door. A nervous Mason

                follows, loading the shotgun as he does so.

                                        JANICE: (sharply)

                                Peter.

                Wozniak halts at the latch. He takes Janice in

                his arms.

                                        JANICE: (quietly)

                                Remember your promise.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                I remember.

                They part, and Wozniak exits without another

                word.

 

                8: EXT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE GARDEN.

                 Mason, shotgun in hand, leads Wozniak away

                from the house.

                THEY SPEAK IN WHISPERS.

                                        MASON:

                                Young Janice mentioned a

                                promise?

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                The last time we encountered

                                this sort of…man before, he

                                raped her. I promised never to

                                leave her alone again.

 

                9: EXT. NIGHT. COWSHED.

                 THE MUFFLED LOWING OF CONTENTED CATTLE.

                Wozniak and Mason slip along the base of the

                wall toward the main door.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                (whispering)

                                It’s dark. He’ll not be at his

                                best. It’s his one weakness.

                                He needs to synthesise light

                                to be totally effective.

                                        WAKE:(oov)

                                So – you’ve encountered your

                                future before!

                Startled, Mason swings the shotgun around in

                an arc.

 

                10: INT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE (PANTRY).

                 Janice, Judith, Cavisbury, and Arthur wait.

                TWO SHOTGUN RETORTS.

                Janice leaps at the door.

                                        JANICE:

                                (desperate)

                                Peter!

                FADE OUT.

                                ACT TWO.

                 FADE IN.

                11: INT. NIGHT. COWSHED.

                 Wozniak is urging the frightened cattle toward

                the door. He yells, and slaps at their flanks.

 

                11A: (INTERCUT) EXT. NIGHT. COWSHED.

                 Mason crashes to the ground.

                Wake leaps upon him, straddling him, baring

                his carnivorous teeth.

                Mason is powerless, staring up at Wake in pain

                and fear.

                                        WAKE:

                                You were once a warrior. Had I

                                not the eye of an eagle, and

                                the speed of a cheetah, you

                                would surely have removed my

                                head from my shoulders. I like

                                you.

                He leaps up, dragging Mason to his feet.

                                        WAKE:

                                Fight me some more.

                He taunts Mason with a series harmless boxing

                moves, then cuffs the man around the ear.

                Mason lashes out a heavy fist, missing by a

                margin as Wake ducks away with ease.

                                        WAKE:

                                Oh, but you have grown old.

                                Past your sale-by-date. For

                                you, I am so sorry to say,

                                time’s up.

                He is distracted by the sound of approaching

                hooves..

                                        WAKE: (impatiently)

                                Now what?

 

                11: INT. NIGHT. COWSHED.

                 Wozniak pursues the last of the cattle from

                the building.

 

                12: EXT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE GARDEN.

                 Janice stumbles about in the dark. She finds

                the garden gate. As she begins to open it, she

                is forced back by the stampeding cattle.

                                       JANICE:

                                (calling desperately)

                                Peter!

 

                12A:(INTERCUT) EXT. NIGHT. FARMYARD.

                 Wozniak unlatches a barn door, then dashes on

                to the next, which he opens to reveal his car.

 

                12: EXT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE GARDEN.

                 The stragglers from the stampede pass.

                Janice dashes out into the yard.

 

                13: EXT. NIGHT. COWSHED.

                 Janice finds a bloodied, and badly shaken

                Mason pressed against the cowshed wall. He

                stares at something unseen.

                                        JANICE:

                                George…where’s Peter?

                He does not respond. She follows his gaze…

                CUT TO JANICE’S POV.

                A figure lays trampled in the dirt several

                metres off.

                RESUME.

                Janice runs to the figure.

                A cat-like eye slowly opens. The voice is

                breathless and pained.

                                        WAKE:

                                My dear, you cannot imagine

                                how much I hurt. Hereon I

                                shall treat the common milk

                                cow with greater respect.

                Both are abruptly bathed in the light of

                Wozniak’s car headlamps.

                                        WOZNIAK:(oov)

                                (calling)

                                Jan, get away from it. Get

                                Mason.

 

                14: EXT. NIGHT. FARMYARD.

                 Wozniak and Jan bundle Mason into the rear

                seat of the car.

                All aboard, the car accelerates across the

                yard toward the rising Wake.

                Wake dives aside as the car sweeps through his

                position.

                He turns angrily, vainly spitting venom at

                the departing car.

                                        WAKE:

                                (sotto voce)

                                You’ll not cheat me, so

                                easily. I’ll identify you soon

                                enough; and when I do…

                THE SNORTING OF A LARGE ANIMAL…

                Wake is hesitant to turn around.

                                        WAKE:

                                Uh oh…

                He turns around to see a bull standing in the

                doorway of the barn.

He whips off his jacket, fluttering it before him.

                                        WAKE:

                                Ole!

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2002

I remember a guy from one of the many production companies, whom I conversed with, being very impressed with my explicit camera directions. Pity I can’t bring that level of care and attention to my ‘regular’ writing.

Four episodes were later re-jigged to become my two ‘Causality Merchant’ books, Captive Echo and Present Imperfect. So it wasn’t a complete waste of my time and effort. And, who knows, maybe I’ll get to finish that third one I started in 2016.

 

Forcing the Grey Matter to Activate

Sometimes, when I’m bereft of fresh ideas for an Earplug Adventure, I utilise a little-known technique for forcing the issue called writer’s block. I visualise a location or scene. Then, having done so, I take one aspect of that location or scene, and create a title for the story that is yet to exist. I did it with The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah, and I’m doing it again. It was this picture that delivered the impetus to create…

It’s the Ethernet Cable End’s mud village from Plunging into Peril. I  thought: “Hang on, I’ve got loads of those cardboard inserts in the ‘studio’: better check ’em out.” And I did too…

Having done so, the title came to me. The Epoch of Dung. Sounds great. It’ll look great on the cover too.

So there it is: the next Earplug Adventure. I wonder what it’ll be like. Time travel, I wouldn’t be surprised.

What is Getting My Earplugs So Excited?

With the Earplug Adventure: Triple Threat now just a distant memory, something is causing the silicon populace of my attic to become even more animated than normal…

The clue to it’s identity comes from those coloured objects that appear to have the nearest earplugs in their thrall. Yes, it’s time to prepare for another adventure…

…which means sprucing up the make-up, and smoothing out the age-lines. Golly, the Supreme Being has his work cut out for him…

…Some of these earplugs are eight years old! But, be assured, they’ll be fighting fit and looking their best when the camera next rolls. All that’s needed is a script. Thinking cap on. Getting those little grey cells agitated is the key. What could the scenario be for the next tale? Surely the possibilities are endless. Any suggestions?

Tooty the Chef Gets Auto-Restorational

Everyone knows Tooty the Chef…

…and his inspirational recipes for people who don’t really want to cook, but have to…

Well, back in 2014 he happened upon a low-milage Toyota Corolla for sale at the side of the road. His wife drove one, and he liked it so much that he didn’t hesitate to buy it…

But the passage of time was not kind to his pride and joy.  Five years of daily commuting and weekends away, plus three years of dissuse on the hard standing, took their toll upon the sadly fading and peeling paintwork. Deciding to give it a visual ‘once over’ Tooty tore off the wheel trims and was appalled by the condition of the rusting wheels…

Things weren’t much better in the wheel arches either…

And the sight of the crud-encrusted suspension and brake fittings really ‘shat him up’…

So a major clean-up was undertaken with alacrity…

Now all thoughts of the day’s food preparation had been dismissed as inconsequential. Tooty the Chef had become Tooty the Auto Restorer – despite the fact that he knows sod-all about mechanicking, and usually pays other people to get their mits dirty. But, coming over all ‘Wheeler Dealer’, he pulled off the wheels and began cleaning off the dirt and rust…

But he was quickly thwarted when water became trapped in the micron-thin gap between the surfaces of the rim and hub of his pressed steel wheels. Fortunately our favourite chopping board champ is also an improvising kinda guy, and before long he’d dug out a paint-stripping heat gun that hadn’t seen use since the mid-nineteen nineties…

Naturally it worked fabulously. How could it not? But after Tooty had applied a coat of rust conversion liquid…

…that same micron-thin gap came back to haunt him, and those improvisational skills were required again…

Yes, he set-to  with a propane blow torch. And it was so successful that Tooty simply had to make a celebratory corned beef and masdamm cheese toasted sandwich..

So, as the last day of March 2022 came to a close, all five wheels now bore a coat of red oxide primer…

And very nice they looked too. But as the first day of April dawned, Tooty knew that a plan that had been festering in his head for hours would require action. He decided to go with a Spanish theme for the wheel resto. So, as a cold north-easterly blasted through his workplace with the gusto of a ravaging  hoarde of Viking warriors, Tooty masked off the tyres  and pulled out his rattle-can of bright yellow paint…

Despite the icey blast playing havoc with his aging bladder, the wielder of the spatula soon had his tatty wheels all spruced up and looking dandy…

…even if he, himself was feeling far from dandy. Knackered would be more accurate. But, as he touched up a few areas that appeared slightly less than perfection itself…

…rain, sleet, and a flurry of snow intervened…

But, being a hardy sort, a quick cup of coffee was partaken, and he was soon back on the case. And, oh my,  what a result…

Fortunately a delivery van arrived, on cue,  with a set of wheel trims that Tooty had ordered on-line. A quick and timely service soon softened the garish wheels…

…leaving Tooty so pleased with himself that he made a delicious  chicken curry…

…that was really nice. Gosh, what a multi-talented individual he is. And such good automotive taste too!

Earplugs Without Pictures 15

Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this rumbustious tale…


© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017

Whilst Brother Hugo and Brother Austin took the time to reflect upon their impetuosity, far away in the Museum of Future Technology, the four young out-of-towners – Crudlove Twang, Fulham Peach, Fledgling McCormack, and Spodney Gridlock, had become friends, and now played on-line games together in Bazookas – one of the futuristic entertainment rooms. And it was probably because their juvenile minds were engaged in what was basically a mindless activity that they received the telepathic summons from the far away Buttox.

A half-hour later, with their wallets lightened considerably by the exorbitant price of a Transfer Conduit ticket, the foursome arrived in pea-farming country.

“Ooh,” Spodney said nervously, “I aint never been farther from home than the next town. Have we travelled a really long way?”

“It’s hard to tell with Transfer Conduits.” Fulham replied. “There’s no sense of distance or passage of time.”

“Where do we go now?” Fledgling asked Crudlove.

Crudlove looked around for inspiration. “Well,” she answered, “I suppose we’d better follow the instinct that brought us here. I feel an increase in altitude is required.”

Five minutes later they’d hired a hot air balloon, and now trusted their luck to the prevailing wind. Once airborne, Fledgling regretted Crudlove’s requirement for greater altitude, and he refused to look out of the window. So he never witnessed the sight of endless pea-farming country spread out beneath him. And he continued in this manner whilst feeling decidedly air-sick until the balloon ditched in the snow-covered mountains. Sadly they weren’t overly pleased with anything they found there. And when darkness fell they began to wonder why they’d followed their youthful impulses. But when morning arrived, they were greeted with a sight that gave them hope. The incessant winds had blown away much of the drifting snow – to reveal the surface features of the vast edifice that Buttox had found hidden beneath the ice.

AND…

A short while afterwards the group came across its first artificial structure, though they had no idea what a structure was, or that the word ‘artificial’ referred to something that wasn’t created by Mother Nature. The golden cable end then had them enter it, whereupon they were all encased inside an energy field that, when it had finished doing its pre-programmed work, it had brought them the concept of civilisation, an aversion to nudity, and toilets. In fact the latter was so successful that none of them wanted to be watched when they went for a pee. And others stood around feeling slightly embarrassed as someone farted accidentally when they sneezed.

But more was to follow. Much, much more. And that ‘much, much more‘ began with the invention of basic agriculture, which meant that they didn’t need to rely on nature to provide all of their requirements, and gave them the peace of mind of knowing that they would continue to eat through the winter months. And gaining a roof over their collective head – in the shape of cave-dwellings – would protect them from the weather and predators.

Although pleased as punch – at least initially – shortly their newly acquired intellect and creativity made them seek to improve their life style by building simple mud huts. But before the year was out, they’d developed two-storey wattle and daub constructions, which, when built en masse, quickly grew into a village, where cable ends could converse with each other in communal quadrangles, and could enjoy nice roof terraces with views of the distant hills, and rowdy neighbours with whom they could remonstrate and get into fist fights. And an inefficient sewage system that often overflowed and brought the risk of disease, damp carpets, and nasty pongs. But worse was to come when the village elders decided that the air was far too clean and rather ‘nippy‘ in the temperature gradient department and introduced the rudimentary log-burning stove with which the villagers could heat their homes and cook their meals. The resultant pollution forced the smarter inhabitants to create a suburban region on the outskirts of the only village upon the planet. They began with simple, single storey, stone-built edifices. But quickly added extensions to allow greater freedom, more bedrooms, and add value to the property. Eventually adding follies and luxurious towers from which they could look down upon the stupid villagers who stayed behind in their wattle and daub hovels.

Sadly, despite the gift of intellect and reason, the newly intelligent cable ends found it necessary to pray to the ‘gods’ and give thanks and to ask for more. And their prayers appeared to be answered, because soon their basic agriculture quickly expanded into a vast monoculture that stretched to the (very limited) horizon with linking tracks for easy access to the resultant crop. Then the golden cable end introduced the idea of cottage industry, which quickly escalated to the construction of a protective wall around the village to keep out any wandering Angling Land Lobster Squids, which, once winter finally arrived, meant that they beat their stupid heads against it in utter futility.

They also took the opportunity to invest time and energy in the development of the stair case and informative signage. And when, in the following spring, the cottage industry grew into a much larger affair, it meant that some cable ends could work the Night Shift, which gave them the necessary personal wealth to move into newly built concrete condominiums and to buy enough exterior emulsion to paint them a pleasant shade of yellow.

But still they prayed to their ‘gods’, because they couldn’t quite believe that (without the gods help) they were really smart enough to invent flush toilets, elasticated underpants, and construct a Nul-Space generator with which to power their growing civilisation.

Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the Plunging Into Peril cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.

 

Wattpad Ditched

After weeks of relentless uploading, and half-way through this fairly wondrous tale…

…I said, “Tooty, you only have one reader: why are you bothering?”

So I quit. That was a lot of effort for no gain – spiritual or otherwise. And some of the writing on Wattpad is utterly execrable. Makes the Earplug Adventures look like Shakespeare. Phew, glad to be free of that lot. Still, it was an experience to discover that all the awful things people say about Wattpad are true. Where next, I wonder? Any ideas, anyone?

Featuring wondrous writings and phabulous photos. It's probably quite nice if you're feeling a bit down. SOME CONTENT IS UNSUITABLE FOR CHILDREN!