The Set: The Scene 3

Once again, if you’ve been exposed to the Earplug Adventures for long enough, it’s likely that you can recognise a scene by it’s set. Want to prove that you really know your Earplugs? Check out the following…

First up we kick off with an easy example of earplug derring-do. This set should be very familiar to you…

Yup, it’s the bridge set of the starship Chi-Z-Sox / Brian Talbot. But what does a predominantly yellow bridge crew tell us? Again yup – it’s the Brian Talbot. And isn’t that Placebo Bison I see standing at the front? Thrice yup: it can only be this scene…

Which, I’m sure you’ll recall, appeared in Distant Land: a story so wonderful that these characters returned in A Tale of Three Museums.

So, with the easy introductory question out of the way, it’s on to the second one. Recognise this?

It’s an early set, when I still had my fabulous ‘studio’ that was later demolished. Two silver earplugs on a see-through disc. Lit from above and behind in front of a sheet of something styrofoamish. Ugh, I guess it must be…

Yes, it’s the android earplugs aboard their flying disc – en route to a fortuitous encounter with the time-manipulator, Gobby – in Earplug Aftermath.

So who is this?

Silly question: Obviously it’s the world’s pre-eminent Earplug author, Tooty Nolan, in the act of shooting a scene in Fort Balderdash. And how numerous those scenes were. I liked Fort Balderdash: it was yellow. But do you recall any scenes set there? Well here’s one of them…

In this scene a Robot Guide…ugh…guides a rather miserable looking Plopper O’Hooligan and his girlfriend Belinda Noseguard somewhere to do something in Those Magnificent Earplugs. Moving on, what on Earth is this?

I’ll tell you. At the back stands a sheet of stiff corrugated plastic material in white. In front a sheet of similarly white flexible plastic lays across some empty boxes – to simulate topography. Centre sits a piece of polystyrene packing material. This is obviously a building. It’s quite a large set, and (at the time) it caught the attention of several passers-by. And it was used for one throw-away scene. This one…

…in which the leadership of the Ice World go outside, for whatever reason, in Those Magnificent Earplugs.

So, finally, to this charming shot of a fork-lift truck’s battery charger…

Sadly this is a set that I can never again use. It still exists, but since retirement, I no longer have access to it – though I’m sure they’d allow it, if I asked nicely. It is also a ‘set’ that has appeared in many stories – over and over – as the control panel in the Maintenance Department. It oversees the workings of the Museum of Future Technology’s Nul Space Power Generator ( and The Future Museum of Mars too). In this case I’ve selected this example of it in action…

Green lights across the board: all is well for Nennigross Numbwinkle and Catford Greene in Natural Selection. Of course it’s just as likely to be showing red lights, with all kind of warning signs on the panel above Catford’s head. I needed to be careful about the time of day that I shot my scenes here. During most of the day the machine was switched off, with no lights illuminated. At night, when the fork-lift was plugged in, they would shine red. In the morning, after a night charging, the lights would shine green. I had to make sure that I took my pictures within those brief windows of opportunity. Honestly, the trouble I go to in order to bring you The Earplug Adventures!

P.S all the aforementioned e-books are available as free PDF copies by simply clicking their images on the sidebar.

Revel in the Ribaldry 33

It has been yonks since I posted RitR32, so I thought it was well past time for the next excerpt. So, today I’ve opted for a sample of my favourite Hamster-Sapiens book: this one…

Picked entirely at random, this is it!

Well, it transpired, during a most pleasant afternoon beneath Chunder Bellows’ belfry, that not only had Mahogany been blessed by a vision of the Great Angler Herself, but that the same deity had actually imparted news from the future, and that Mahogany (having acted upon this information, and visited every betting shop in the county) had become very rich indeed. Even more astounding was the news that the Great Angler Herself had suggested Lancelot for the role of Dean.

“Did she explain why, dear?” Bellows inquired.

“Not exactly, darling.” Mahogany replied. “She went on a bit about causality loops and altered time-lines, but I’m afraid that my frail female mind just couldn’t keep up.”

“Not to worry, dearest,” Bellows patted the top of her head, “I expect my powerful male ego would have endured some discomfort too.”

“Anyway,” Mahogany continued, “it seems that it’s vitally important that in order to end the vile practice of euthanizing our mentally less well-endowed – we find somewhere for them to go after their normal school years have ended. Obviously our inept and spiritually bankrupt socialist government couldn’t possibly come up with prescription for continued existence for dim-shits: And any ultra-right wing organization would probably have thickos put to death just for fun. Of course, what with so many moderate hamsters having skeletons (both physical and metaphysical) in their cupboards, any politician that tried to tread the middle ground would be hounded out of office before his feet hit the carpet beneath his shiny new desk. So divine intervention seemed the only real alternative.”

“Hmmm.” Bellows stroked his hugely furry chin, “Tell me, Mahogany dearest, were you enjoying a state of unconsciousness when the Great Angler Herself appeared to you in a vision?”

“My life was hanging by a thread.” Mahogany smiled broadly at the recollection, “And that rolling down the embankment that I got from the galley staff really whizzed my brain around something rotten.”

Bellows repeated his long, drawn out, “Hmmm.” He then backed this up with, “Now what I’m trying to say, dear – and I don’t mean to be disrespectful – but do you think that it’s possible that you might possibly have imagined it all? I mean – you always wanted to do something desperately altruistic, but you never had the ready cash available before: Is it possible that this is nothing more than pure wish-fulfilment?”

Mahogany took her brother’s huge paw in hers. “Oh Chunder, I know you mean well when you try to psychoanalyze me. So please don’t feel insulted when I tell you to stick your stupid ideas up your huge fluffy arse hole. Would you do that for me?”

Then with a grittiness in her voice that Bellows had never before heard she added, “How’d ya think I won all that money, ya great fat oaf? Luck? I’ve bet on every sporting event in the country since Thrudsday, the forty-tenth of Plinth until this morning. I’m a super-millionaire with more money that pubic fur follicles. I didn’t imagine anything, you twat: I’m blessed.”

Well in the face of such a verbal onslaught Bellows quickly made his excuses and left the room to Mahogany and the somewhat shell-shocked Lancelot.

Mahogany turned her attention to the young hamster seated across the desk from her. “Right we need a name: Any suggestions?”

Lancelot didn’t waste any time cogitating: He’d long dreamed of such a moment. “Saint Dunces.” He said emphatically.

“Good name.” Mahogany nodded. “Why?”

Lancelot then explained that for the entirety of his  life he’d been the school dunce, and that he had the heavily-inked private parts to prove it. So any college that was founded specifically for dunces should also be called dunces.

It was logic of the soundest kind, but Mahogany thought that she spotted flaw in it.

“Ah but Lancelot, darling, is there, or has there ever been a Saint Dunce?”

It was a telling question, and under normal circumstances the young hamster’s dreams might have been thwarted. But these were anything but normal circumstances.

He was now the Dean of a hypothetical university.

“We’ll invent one.” He said.

“Can one simply invent a saint?” Mahogany asked reasonably enough.

“Of course.” Lancelot smiled, “I do it all the time.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Now wasn’t that lovely! If you fancy purchasing this wondrous e-book, easy access to the publisher or well-known e-book retailers is available on the side bar. Should you elect to do so, you are guaranteed several hours of delighted sniggering at the rather rude humour.

Wallpaper 628: Meadow Hunting

Normally my photos struggle to gain ten ‘likes’ on Flickr (after all the standard is terribly high, and there’s some very fancy cameras out there). This one seemed to follow the usual path – until I’d sat myself down to breakfast – to discover that, over night, fifty people had found this nice enough to let me know. Captured the essence of Summertime perhaps?

Book Sales? Hah!

Long ago I gave up worrying about the sales figures for my ‘Silent’, Causality Merchant’, and ‘Hamster-Sapiens’ books. The extra money may have been welcome – had there been much – but it has only ever been a very minor source of income. But as the years have passed, and my promotion of the books decreased, revenues have fallen to humourous levels. So low, in fact that (because of the cost and bureaucracy) I can no longer be bothered to cash the cheques. Here’s my latest royalty payment…

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After charges I might clear $7.00 US. Not worth a trip to the bank. Still, if you fancy purchasing one of my stupendous works, be my guest: it’s nice to know that people want to read them. They’re all mentioned on the sidebar. Access to the major outlets is as easy as a simple click on the cover image.

Earplugs Without Pictures 11

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 tempestuous tale…

Whilst all this had been occurring, a great motor race had been organised inside the Museum of Future Technology. The protagonists now posed for publicity shots. The race car drivers comprised a veritable who’s who of Museum celebrities. Driving for Team Liver was the butcher’s favourite – Cyrus Buttcleft (the real Cyrus Buttcleft, that is: not the illusory one last seen in the imaginary reality created by the mind of artist Anton Twerp):  Sullen the Perp – a recent arrival from the alternative ‘Evil’ reality – drove for Fenster: Naturally Magnuss Earplug was involved. Equally naturally he drove for Team Turd: Mister Pong ran his own team, which, because he was a restaurateur, he wanted to call Date and Fig – after his pet plugmutts; but unfortunately someone miss-translated the name into Chinese, and so his team was now known as Date of Manufacture: Cray-Zee was asked to drive for his friend Jeremy – and jumped at the chance of racing glory: And after exhaustive testing, Team Achtung selected Benjamin Booger – not so much for his skills with the steering string; but more for the delightful contrast between his green face and the car’s striking yellow paint work. Of course Rupert Piles was on hand to film the event…

AND

But these were mere illusory sightings. For others, experiences were only too real. Others like Captain Sinclair Brooch; his wife Nancy; and the curator, Hakking Chestikov who were in the act of stepping on to the Woven Expanse, when the very fabric of the Expanse seemed to disintegrate before their eyes and rise up like some devastating sand storm.

“This is your museum, Hak: whatta ya think?” Sinclair enquired of Hakking Chestikov.

But Hakking found that he had insufficient time to author a reply. Instead, Nancy yelled: “Run, in the name of all that’s holy heck; run!”

So they did – as did Huget and Betty Johnson, who were standing upon the opposite side of the expanse, and now ran from a sand storm that roiled like a volcanic pyroclastic flow that advanced towards them threateningly. In fact the sandstorm was consuming the entire expanse – and Vic, Bob, Mandy, and Candy felt ever so slightly threatened. In fact the two former zombies and their ex-weightlifting girlfriends felt so threatened that they rushed to the first place of relative safety that presented itself. And that place was the legendary Fallout Shelter Seven – an edifice made famous when several customers took shelter in it when the hyperspace end cap invasion force landed the year previous, and scared the pants off everyone.

By chance Magnuss and Hair-Trigger had also sought sanctuary in the same shelter. In an effort to raise morale they quickly erected some lighting rigs; built a makeshift stage: placed their novelty sombreros upon their dainty heads; and performed a two-handed version of Los Caballeros Stupido

This went down very well with the captive audience, and almost everyone joined it with the chorus; “Ooh, we’re the Caballeros Stupido, and we like to shave our hairy legs”.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2016

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 Return to the Museum of Future Technology cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.

Wallpapers 625, 626 & 627: Tranquil / Hare Today / Flee!

As I stood, stock-still, in the middle of a sun-drenched meadow – framing this shot…

…a movement at the periphery of my vision made me pause a moment longer. I was then able to watch as a lone Hare loped towards me in a stop-start fashion – eventually arriving before me and totally unaware of my presence…

Unfortunately my autofocus chose that moment to ‘beep’.

Did I ever mention how much I dislike autofocus?

A Lifeline for Nature

In England many farmers are paid to leave parts of their land fallow for several years, and turn it over to nature. Some go so far as to sow seeds of plants known to be of benefit to endangered species. The results have been very heart-warming to those who give a damn about the creatures that share this land with us. And areas that would otherwise be an uninteresting mono-culture, look like this…

And this…

If we keep this up, who knows, we may yet save the world from ourselves.

Tooty’s Re-appraisal

Whilst out walking recently, I discovered a location that gave me a previously unseen perspective on a section of road that I’ve travelled many times upon a motorcycle since the first time in 1973 aboard my dinky little (and dog-slow) Honda SS50Z. I took a photo of it…

Back in the day, when driven quickly, this was a section of road that could be quite challenging. As the decades have progressed it has become more so. In fact it now has a reputation for being an accident black-spot. Oddly it is easier to negotiate it faster on a motorcycle than in a car. Car drivers, it seems (judging from marks left behind on the bank of the preceding downhill adverse-cambered corner [right of picture] ), lose the rear end in a slide; hit the bank; and are catapaulted across the road – usually to crash into a drainage ditch (or through the hedgerow) just before the gate in the picture. Despite an uneven surface that includes ripples, cracks, potholes, and surface repairs, motorcycles move swiftly without incident (unless they meet an unexpected horse / cyclist / tractor / hedge trimmer of course). Although I must consider myself advancing in years, I still enjoy a quick squirt along this stretch. In fact I wind my Yamaha YBR125 flat out in top gear, which requires some serious leaning to stay on the apex. This is called fun. But then I looked at a second picture…

…and thought: “Flipping heck, there isn’t a whole bunch of room for error! Maybe flat out in top isn’t a good idea – even on a diddy bike like mine: a rider could travel quite a distance through the air at 60 mph.” So, dear reader, you can rest easy in the knowledge that, from now on, the world’s pre-eminent author of earplug stories will take it a little easier. If a bigger bike passes me, I’ll just let it go. Aah…such maturity.

Earplugs Without Pictures 10

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…

Throgennis could not have imagined that he would ever have travelled to the Over-Realm. In fact he’d never heard of it. So he had no idea that he now stood upon a planet so distant from Earth; the Museum of Future Technology; and Lemon Stone, that it might easily have been infinitely far away. But he did know one thing with utter certainty: that he wasn’t happy. And he wasn’t frightened of letting people know. It was on his third outrageous bellow of anger and frustration that a huge apparition became apparent to him.

“Cripes.” He said when he spotted it. “That looks a bit scary: I’d better watch my tongue.”

“You,” the apparition boomed so loudly that Throgennis felt certain plaster would flake from the invisibly distant ceiling and tumble down to settle upon his shoulders, “are of the species Earplug.”

It was a statement. Throgennis realised this when the image of an incredibly average earplug glowed warmly beneath a spotlight.

“As such,” the vast being continued, “you are a proverbial pain in the ass. All earplugs are. In fact earplugs are such a galactic nuisance that we higher life-forms have decided that you might have to be made extinct.”

This last line gained Throgennis’s attention like no line before – even ones such as: “Look out, it’s a naked biker gang!”, “My mum’s farts are louder than your mum’s.” and “Your lavatory is unsavoury and has been condemned!”

“Yeah?” He responded insolently.

“Yeah.” The vast being replied. “Like they’ll cease to be – everywhere – forever!”

Throgennis hadn’t got where he was in life by missing inferences. He said: “I sense a ‘but’ looming.”

“I’m sure  you do.” The vast being’s voice almost smiled. “But you, and your kind can survive this. You need only be found ‘not guilty‘.”

Throgennis looked up.

“Which can mean only one thing.” He said grimly. “We stand accused of being galactic butt-wipes. And I have to answer for our crimes. Okay, bring it on. Do your worse. I’m wearing my lucky underpants today.”

“Very well,” the vast being replied, “let proceedings…er…proceed.”

AND

At the controls of the K T Woo, Hakking Chestikov sat indecisively and stared at the main viewer. But little did he know that Bottoms Barkingwell, whose tasks demanded that she work within the bowels of the huge vessel, and required rubber gloves and a large lavatory brush to complete to a satisfactory standard, spotted something that made her smile. And that something was none other than Captain Sinclair Brooch and his wife, Nancy as they scurried along on their way towards the cabin, in which resided the Cyber Oracle. So, after bringing the electronic fountain of knowledge up to date, Nancy said: “Oh Oracle, what the sodding hell are we supposed to do?”

In reply, the shocked Cyber Oracle said, “Flipping heck; that’s the most difficult question that I’ve ever been asked. It’s going to tax me to the very limits of my design parameters – perhaps beyond them. In fact so far beyond my design parameters is this question taxing me that it’s quite possible I might either make the final evolutionary step and thereby gain true artificial sentience; or I might explode.”

“We don’t have time for this nonsense.” Sinclair snapped. “Pull yourself together: you’re the most advanced computer that ever existed on our doomed world, so aptly named, by an Earplug Brother, as Worstworld. Give me the blinking answer!”

Under such pressure, the logic circuits inside the Cyber Oracle shifted into overdrive. Three seconds later the response came:

“Yeah, I think I got it. The answer is…”

Well the next anyone saw of the Captain and his wife was scant moments later, and they would never have guessed that anything was wrong aboard ship. In fact those who witnessed their passing took great comfort from their leader’s contented smile. And, if they’d seen him stop off at an internal communication panel they might have wondered who he was calling up in such a genial manner in the midst of such a terrible crisis in orbit above the Galactic Court planet.

It was Adam Binsmell (at Coms) that took the call. Adam listened intently for several seconds, before turning to the latest occupant of the Captain’s chair – Daisy Pong.

Daisy looked across at Adam. She had only just arrived at her duty station, and the replacement Helmsplug and Executive Officer were yet to arrive.

“Yeah?” She spoke bluntly and used only mono-syllables. “What you want?”

Being a talented Communication Officer, Adam relayed the Captain’s message word for word and nuance for nuance.

“Oh.” Daisy responded,”That good – innit!”

Daisy Pong’s speech pattern was abrupt; missing those joiny-uppy words that most people use; and often abrasive: but on this occasion she was utterly correct. It was good. It was very good. It was so good that Sinclair and Nancy didn’t bother to do or say anything more on the subject. Instead they simply held hands and stared at the cosmos through their favourite window on Deck Three.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017

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 We Stand Accused cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.

Photography: Seeing What Isn’t There (again)

As I wandered along a late afternoon English backlane, with the lowering Sun on my back, a Range Rover pushed past me – it’s large wheels splashing through some puddles that had formed amongst piles of gravel that had been carried downhill by Winter’s rainfall. I paused to take a few photos of the result. This is one of them…

Muddy water: Bubbles: Shadows: Gravel

Do you see the possibilities? This is what I saw…

The night sky in the mountains perhaps?

But with possible future Earplug Adventures in mind, I thought that perhaps one adventure might take place upon a most inhospitable world. So…

Wonderful things – puddles: where would alternative reality world-builders be without them?

Earplugs Without Pictures 9

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 ludicrous tale…

Meanwhile the International Transfer Conduit had delivered a cargo of pretty things from the sunny costa.

“Hola.” Said Jorge. “We booked ahead on-line. We’re Las Chicas De La Playas.

It was a bold statement. Naturally the Robot Ticket Collector ran a security scan over the new arrivals. “Las Chicas, you say?” It said with a slightly concerning tone to its voice.

“Sí.” The turquoise-haired Jimena replied.

“Yet one of you is named Jorge.” The Robot Ticket Collector observed. “Not a very feminine name is it!”

“We didn’t choose our names.” The lovely blonde, Lucia replied indignantly. “You can blame our parents for any incongruities.”

“I believe you’re trying to obfuscate the subject.” The Robot Ticket Collector growled through its forward speaking grille.

Obfuscate was quite a long word, and none of Los Chicas had ever used it in normal, every-day language. They preferred “urr”, “yeah”, “whoo”, and “more please – with a cherry on top”.

“You what?” Alba said ignorantly.

“You’re hiding the fact that Jorge here is not actually a girl at all.” The Robot Ticket Collector explained.

Alba repeated herself.

“You don’t know the difference?” The Robot Ticket Collector said impatiently. “Jorge is not a chica at all, but a chico. You are clearly not whom you claim to be. As such I cannot allow you inside the Museum of Future Technology. Not now, nor ever. So bog off!

Las Chicas De La Playas were appalled.

“Oh no.” The brunette, Carmen wailed. “We’ll have to go back to showing off our bronzed limbs on the beach again. How boring. I think I’ll die!”

“Sí.” Jimena agreed – though with a little more attitude than was normal for her.

“You’re wrong, Mister Ticket Collector.” Lucia said as she presented a photograph to its ocular array. “We had this taken just before we departed the sunny costa.”

“Hmmm,” the Robot Ticket Collector said as it cogitated, “not bad; but not good enough either. I’m going to need better evidence that this.”

Las Chicas spent a moment going through their ‘things’. They quickly realised that Jorge’s lipstick would only worsen the situation. Then Jorge himself enjoyed a moment of inspiration. “What about this?” He said.

“A sombrero!” The Robot Ticket Collector roared. “Perfect. Get your lovely selves inside my museum: clearly you are the real deal.”

AND

But as these events were unrolling across the tapestry of museum history – high upon the Suspended Animation wall, the Earplug Brothers – though frozen and inanimate – were busy linking their minds. In doing so Rudi could sketch out his plan with utter accuracy; and by increasing their brain capacity by five hundred per cent they were able to reach out with mental tendrils – through the walls, the floor, and the ceiling of their jail – to minds that were supple, pliant, and controllable. In short they took partial control of the curator’s pet cheese rind, Rover – who was passing the day by urinating all over Mr Stovepipe-Hat’s stovepipe hat. And it was this filthy act of wanton vandalism that inspired the Earplugs further still. Soon Rover was making his way through the vast building – passing the uncaring and disinterested Red-Eye as he did so – and worrying the frightened Peat-Boggers, who had never before seen such an animal. But because Seamus became instantly fascinated by the unusual cheese rind, and felt the urge to own one for himself, the Peat-Boggers began following him. They noted how much he enjoyed tiddling all over Mr Stovepipe-Hat’s spare hat. And they were close by when the Earplug Brother’s guidance led Rover to the Suspended Animation Wall number Twenty – where he emptied the remaining caustic fluid in his bladder all over the Elevation control panel.

Well cheese rind urine and advanced cryogenic equipment, are (most certainly) not a match made in heaven. Although no sparks flew, the effect upon the Suspended Animation wall was immediate. With a sad croak it stopped working. Of course the Earplug Brothers were fully aware of recent events – they’d been responsible for them after all; but what they didn’t know was that the Peat-Boggers had followed Rover all the way to his final destination. And when the citizens of the eleventh-century saw Rover summon up a majestic final effort in Mr Zinc’s direction, they tittered quietly in their hiding place at Zinc’s indignation. But when they witnessed Zinc’s passionless anger, and saw his henchmen gang up on the innocent cheese rind, they grew concerned. They grew even more concerned when the henchmen began kicking Rover.

They might have been comparative savages, when compared to Mister Zinc: but their primitive sense of justice against animal cruelty meant that their peat-bogging fury suddenly knew no bounds, and Seamus had them leap from hiding and push over the huge blue thing that placed victims upon the wall, so that it fell upon the evil gang of cheese rind-kicking abductors with a mighty ‘crash’.

Naturally everyone upon the wall began singing the Peat-Bogger’s praises – none less so than the two Trumptations, Ootis Wolliums and Dunnis Idwards, who performed so soulfully, and in perfect harmony that it brought a tear to everyone’s eye. This was unfortunate because whilst everyone was wiping their eyes, Mr Zinc, Blue, their henchmen, and hired thugs, wriggled free and immediately made a dash for freedom.

Of course an angry mob of abductees roared with rage as they freed themselves and went in belated pursuit. But the perpetrators of evil-by-proxy had a head start, and soon approached the Transfer Station that led to Las Costas.

“Oh, Zinky,” Blue cried out in shame, “what a complete fiasco. Sand and salt water play merry havoc with my aluminium parts, you know. We can’t go there!”

“Right now I couldn’t give a darn.” Mr Zinc shouted back. “I just wanna get the hell outta here. If Las Costas are the only way out of here – well Las Costas here we come!”

But when they arrived at the terminus they found it closed.

“Blast,” Mr Zinc’s henchmen bellowed in unison, “how the heck did that happen? We thought this place was automated!”

It must have come as a great surprise to Mister Zinc when he discovered that his escape route was no longer functioning. His skewed logic and sense of self-importance dictated that it must have been something that he’d done to have caused it, and as a consequence of this he spent several minutes punching himself in the face before he and his group departed at maximum speed. But his self-loathing had wasted precious time.

Moments later the real cause of Mister Zinc’s undoing stepped into view. It had been Nurse Consuela and Las Chicas De La Playas who had guessed Mister Zinc’s intention, and had switched off the Automated Earplug Transfer System – known as EATS (which confused the hell out of hungry patrons) by the simple expedient of copying the hero of the previous day – Valentine – and pouring their own type of metaphorical ginger beer into the moisture-sensitive control panel. Of course they’d lacked that particular earplug’s elephantine hip flask, but between the six of them they’d got the job done.

“Muy bien.” Consuela congratulated her compatriots. “Now aren’t you glad you didn’t buy those cartons of cafe con leches and sangria instead?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2016

Ooh, those early stories were a bit ‘off-the-wall’ weren’t they!

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 Earplug Aftermath cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.

Sorry Again Earpluggers…

…but the serialised version of Haunted Mars has had to be removed. Not enough room on this blog for it and anything new that I might create I’m afraid. Bit of a shit, I know: but the last thing I’m about to do is pay money for a space upgrade on a platform that is failing me miserably. For example, I thought I’d spend a quick half-hour doing a bit of site maintanance. I planned to clear out some really old stuff that no one looks at anymore. But could I navigate to it? Could I fuck! And slow? I’ve seen dog crap on the pavement move faster. It took me hours. But just to get access to the old stuff, I had to delete newer stuff: otherwise the system just ground to a halt and quit on me. Some stuff got deleted because the system couldn’t keep up with my fevered mouse clicking. I’d click on a particular photo or file: WordPress paused (to think about it?), then deleted an entirely different photo or file – or didn’t react at all. In the end I thought “Bollocks to this”, and deleted willy-nilly. I was just glad to rid the system of my stuff so that whatever program was trying to carry out my requests had a bit of wriggle room and maybe it’s best speed might better a moribund crawl – before stopping entirely of course. But, on the brighter side, space was created, so I can continue ranting on like a miserable old bastard in the future, and perhaps display a few pictures of my arse in the process. Also Haunted Mars hasn’t disappeared entirely: you can still read the whole thing by clicking on the book covers, which will bring up a PDF copy of the e-book version for you to either read or download – or both. The possibilities are endless! Rant over.

The Set: The Scene 2

Once again, if you’ve been exposed to the Earplug Adventures for long enough, it’s likely that you can recognise a scene by it’s set. Want to prove that you really know your Earplugs? Check out the following…

For this first example, we travel economy class to the Costa Blanca for some location work…

Yup, real Spanish earplugs playing Spanish characters – in the shape of Los Tapones Del España

…as they make their way to the Museum of Future Technology in Museum of Terror.

Right, that’s the easy one out of the way. What the heck is this..?

Well it wouldn’t surprise me none if nobody in the whole world got this one right. But wait a minute: isn’t that the starship, Chi-Z-Sox, lying nonchalantly upon that glazing pallet? Hmm, so what’s with the blue background and plastic tube? The answer is this…

It’s from Plunging Into Peril, in which the Chi-Z-Sox overheated upon entering a planet’s atmosphere, and dived into the sea to cool off – much like I used to do when I went metal detecting on the same beach where I set up the Museum of Terror shots. Here we see the space ship racing through the water as it attempts to flee angry locals who believe the crew are trying to steal their duterium.

Here’s another tricky one…

“Ah,” you’re thinking, “I recognise that pink rocket: that has appeared several times as the device that brought down the invading End Cap mother ship in The Invasion From Hyperspace and other alternate reality or time-travel stories, including Evil Empire!” And you’d be right. But this doesn’t come from either of those tales of derring-do. THIS is the shot that was…ah...shot here…

It’s the nuclear missile that the KT Woo fired at an ice packaging plant in Cold War. I then cheekily used it again as an on-screen shot aboard the Chi-Z-Sox, when Professor Hidious Gout fired an entirely different missile at the island of Dr Adolf Weil-Barrau in Mutant Island.

So, to the fourth and easiest puzzle. Where have you (more recently) seen this?

Look closely. Yes, it’s those adorable characters, Lillie Whitewater and William of Porridge…

…as he utilises his fine baritone to sing ‘What Becomes of the Broken Winded’ to her at the end of Haunted Mars.

Wasn’t that fun: we’ll have to convene here again.

P.S – Don’t forget that you can read or download any of the aforementioned stories by clicking the cover pictures on the sidebar.

Earplugs without Pictures 8

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 stupendous tale…

Click the cover pic for a FREE PDF file of the book

But before he completed the journey, the same force that had abducted Colin and Plankton, turned him into a side conduit, which was very long indeed, and only when he reached the extreme limit of the conduit, did he finally emerge into daylight…only to discover Gwen, Neezup, and Bob waiting for him in an area of mountainous wasteland.

“Hi, darling.” Gwen said. “What a relief: you’ve been possessed too!”

 At first the foursome were happy to wade through the peat and lichens of the wasteland, even if the squeeze, through the long conduit, did cause Cuthbert to become a little windy. But before long tiredness and boredom set in, and despite being under some form of mental control, they began to get a bit fed up. In fact Cuthbert and Neezup became so bored that they began singing extracts from an operetta, which didn’t please Gwen too much because she was more into classic soul/funk fusion. But Bob didn’t care: in his haste to comply with the demands put upon him by the unseen power that pulled him along, he’d forgotten to replace the batteries in his hearing aids, and so couldn’t hear a bloody thing. But he was almost thrilled when, eventually, they too discovered the secret wharf, and a nice sailing raft.

“Everybody blow really hard.” Neezup instructed the others. “We have to fill the sail with air.”

So they did, but by the time they had gained the open sea, night had fallen, and a squall had blown in from the north.

For Colin and Plankton ahead of them, the squall was quickly escalating into a storm.

“Flipping heck.” Plankton yelled above the roar of turbulent waters and lashing rain. “My underpants are soaked!”

“That’s nothing.” Colin replied. “My farts have dried up: we’re dead in the water!”

And it was in this moribund condition that the others caught up with the two friends.

“Isn’t it horrible!” Gwen shouted across the gap between the two vessels.

“It certainly is, Madam.” Colin replied hoarsely. “More horrible than you can imagine. My friend Plankton and I have been vomiting hugely for the past three hours. We have nothing left inside us, yet still we feel absolutely ghastly.”

“You think that’s bad.”  Neezup retorted. “This heavy swell forced my darling Bob to stumble and catch his knee against the mast. It’s all swollen up now.”

“Yes.” Cuthbert perked up from feeling rather unwell himself. “And the lovely Gwen slipped upon a length of storm-tossed seaweed and fell upon her arse. She’ll be pulling splinters from her shapely buttocks for hours to come!”

And so the conversation continued, whilst the rafts were buffeted hither and thither – their destination lost in the whorl of dark skies and unquenchable seas.

AND

Slomo should have been hurt by Daffney’s vicious usage of the earplug language. Mortified, even. But, because of her nervousness at meeting the unrequited love of her life, she didn’t hear her cruel words.

“Daffney De Mauritania, it’s me; your biggest fan: Slomo Chewings.” She said through her idiosyncratic lopsided smile. “I’ve disconnected the alarm system, so you can take your friends wherever you want.”

“Why would you do that?” Magnuss inquired.

“Because…” Slomo answered hesitantly. “Because, during my time here I feel I’ve come to know Daffney – if only from a distance. And, I’m not sorry to say, I’ve fallen hopelessly in love with her.”

Daffney coloured instantly.

“You’re in there, Daffney.” Magnuss joked.

“All I ask,” Slomo continued, whilst looking directly at the flushing Daffney, “is that when – whatever this is – is over, you allow me to buy you a coffee from the machine in the canteen and maybe chat awhile. Any subject: motorcycles, turnips, bras. Anything.”

“You’re on.” Hair-Trigger replied upon Daffney’s behalf. “Now keep an eye out for us whilst we visit the Sterile Area mutants. You’re now officially our look-out.”

From that moment on Daffney had been practically useless. So taken with her adoring admirer was she that she simply couldn’t think coherently. ‘She’s so cute.’ She would muse to herself. “And that lopsided smile is so endearing. And to think; she thinks I’m wonderful. Pretty, even. Oh, I’m all of a dither; I don’t know what to do!’ She didn’t either. It was pure instinct, muscle memory, and a few kicks up the arse that allowed her to lead Magnuss and Hair-Trigger back to the Sterile Area.

Naturally the two heroes left her at the door and proceeded to the habitat area alone.

It became quickly apparent that they had arrived during a sleep sequence. Speed was of the essence, so Hair-Trigger didn’t waste a moment. She began singing her favourite extract from an opera by Anton Twerp, very loudly indeed. The effect of this was a mob of mutated beings came barrelling out of their slumber pods – wondering what all the bloody racket was about.

“Line up.” Magnuss commanded them. “Come along, hurry, hurry. Line up. Line up. That’s a good band of…er… mutated anomalies. We have something very important to tell you. So perhaps we should consider telling each other our names. That’s always been a relatively good ice-breaker. I’m Magnuss Earplug. My beautiful partner, here, is Hair-Trigger Provost. She’s a bounty hunter, you know. Have you ever heard of a bounty hunter? They’re very good you know.”

Magnuss realised pretty quickly that he was running off at the mouth. So he slowed both his thought processes and his oral muscles. “Hello.” He said to a red-faced female with strange yellow eyes. “What’s your name?”

“Starry Knight.” The reply came in a pleasant contralto that reminded Magnuss of his grandmother – Granny Windbag.

“Most apt.” Magnuss said, almost condescendingly. ‘Cripes, at this rate,’ he thought, ‘this is going to take hours.’ “What about everybody else?” He asked no one in particular.

And so began an exchange of names.

The first to speak was a severely undersized rubber bung, who introduced himself as Cowpat Carlson. “Yeah,” he next said, “I used to be big and strong, but incredibly thick in the head. Now I’m tiny, but an intellectual giant. Ask me anything: I’ll give you an honest and immediate answer.”

“Can you tie your shoe laces?” Hair-Trigger inquired.

“Sorry.” Cowpat replied with a sigh. “We haven’t reached that level of development yet. But when I do…wow, my fingers will become a blur.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017

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 Mutant Island cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.

Tooty’s Rambling Art

Whilst out walking in the rain (with a water-proof camera, of course) I chanced upon a small gully that had been worn into the side of the road by Winter’s incessant rainfall. A steep hill meant that it flowed with sufficient pace to create a micro-waterfall; so, inspired by nature, I placed my camera into the water, facing up hill. I then left the resulting photo to fester in my computer for a few weeks. Eventually I decided to do something with it. I thought that perhaps I might bring into existence another world for my Earplug Adventures. So, without any plan, I started sodding about with a free photo manipulation program – Photoscape. The resulting cyber-doodle looks like this…

The Gravity Whelk arrives on the Ice World

Who knows, it might even appear in a story one day. Talking of which, so might this shot of Magnuss creeping into a missile launch facility…

Everyone knows that back doors are always left unguarded – don’t they?

The Set: The Scene

If you’ve been exposed to the Earplug Adventures for long enough, it’s likely that you can recognise a scene by it’s set. Want to test yourself? Check out the following…

Here is an industrial adhesive applicator…

Any idea what this became? Yup, the much used Robot Freighter…

…that first appeared in Cold War, but has since turned up in all sorts of stories. But what about this?

Surely it could be only one thing: a mountain scene, where it’s probably snowing…

Well slap yourself on the forehead: of course it’s the four pissed-off monks fleeing Lemonstone in Return To The Museum Of Future Technology! Ah, but what about this making-of shot?

It’s a toughie, this one. Vague, to say the least. But could that be Hair-Trigger and Magnuss slightly separated from a group of unnamed earplugs? And might that be some form of communication panel on the wall? Yes, it is…

…which means that must be an excited Magnuss who has just learned that he and his beloved are trapped in the past – from the episode The Time Tamperer!

Finally, this time, take a dekko at this picture…

It’s a face mask. Now how on Earth could a face mask be considered a set? Well if you read The Missing, you might recognise a very similar face mask appear as…

…invading End Cap prison cells in which the populace of the museum were…er…imprisoned. In this case it’s two of the brave and resourceful Greenhorn Girls.

If you did pathetically badly, don’t worry: there’ll be another of these posts along in a short while. In between times, take advantage of the free PDF e-books that are easily available by clicking on the Earplug Adventures covers on the side bar. So you have no excuse: next time you’ll be better prepared. We’ll make an Earplugger out of you yet!

Earplugs without Pictures 7

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 remarkable tale…

A week was to pass before the K T Woo made its next encounter. This time it was a robotic interplanetary space freighter of unknown origin. As they watched the vessel upon the main viewer, Sinclair asked Hakking: “What do you think of that piece of out-dated space junk?”

“It’s an ugly sod – and make no mistake.” Hakking replied. Then added, with a chuckle: “But not as ugly as I once was, of course.”

“Does anyone have the first idea about what it’s doing here and where it came from?” Sinclair asked his bridge crew.

“Sensors suggest that it’s full of ice, Sir.” Poxy Pilkington chirped up. “Millions and millions of ice cubes. The sort that you’d drop into a rum and cola, Sir. Or perhaps down the back of your girlfriend’s knickers when it’s a hot summer’s day and you’re a bit bored.”

“How strange.” Sinclair said as he stroked his chin intelligently. “Why would anyone go to the unbelievably vast cost of transporting ice cubes across interplanetary space?”

Elsewhere other members of the crew were asking the same question as they watched through the panoramic window as the vessel plodded along at sub-light speed…

And those who, because of their lowly rank, had been reduced to peering through skanky little port holes didn’t give a fig what it had aboard or where it was going: they just wanted to see it explode spectacularly. But even they were surprised when the freighter initiated a sudden course change.

“Hey,” Sinclair complained. “What gives, man?”

“I know.” Hakking suggested keenly. “Let’s follow it. It might lead us to something…er…really interesting.”

Sinclair then displayed surprising insight. “You mean Ship Number Fifteen?” He replied. “The Earth ship that left Worstworld without you aboard it?”

“I might do.” Hakking said defensively – suddenly aware that the captain understood his motivation and the true reason for his creation of the project that culminated in the construction of the K T Woo.

“Okay.” Sinclair said as the freighter accelerated away in a blinding cascade of ion drive power, “Let’s see where it leads us. Ahead full!”

The ice cube-carrying space freighter wasn’t particularly fast, and soon the crew grew bored with the uniformity of space. In fact many of them became depressed and began skipping their duties. Sometimes Captain Sinclair Brooch was astonished to find himself alone on the bridge.

“Holy heck,” his voice would echo around the empty room, “do I have to do everything myself?”

And even in the engine room the lights were kept dimmed so that no one could see how properly cheesed-off everyone was becoming. Then one day – no one was quite sure what day it was, because they’d pretty much given up the will to breathe – a bright light appeared dead ahead. Some jaded crew members became trepidatious. But in the engine room the resilient former end cap space pirates brought the compartment back to full illumination, because they had detected a world surrounded by huge rings of water vapour. Soon the freighter was racing across its sky – making an approach for some distant landing-place. After so long in space, the K T Woo’s bridge crew stood and stared at the view on the main screen.

Somewhat surprisingly Sinclair was the first to regain his wits: “Quickly.” He snapped at the helms-plug. “Follow that freighter!”

So minutes later the K T Woo plunged into the watery world’s atmosphere – levelling off at thirty-seven thousand feet, and Sinclair and the others gazed in wonderment. But then Serendipity Mollusc’s sensors detected an in-coming object.

“Tactical!” The Captain boomed above the flurry of terrified farts that erupted from so many nervous crew members. A split second later Serendipity placed this image upon the main viewer.

“Explain to me what I’m looking at.” Sinclair instructed Serendipity.

“Er, that’s us flying over the sea.” The subordinate replied. “We’re headed for a sandy coastline.”

“It appears to be huge island.” Hakking observed. “But where’s this in-coming object?”

As Serendipity adjusted the scope of her sensors she said: “Actually there are two objects approaching. Helms-plug: take evasive action!”

“I don’t like the look of this.” Nancy Brooch said from her chair beside her husband, as she watched two fighter jets, in an attempt to make an intercept of the alien craft, thrash their engines to within microns of self-destruction.

“It might be a welcoming committee.” Poxy Pilkington said hopefully. But she didn’t really believe what she was saying.

AND

Well, to say that Clancy was thrilled at the turn of events would be an understatement. He was cock-a-hoop. He’d never met such a wonderful being before. Neither had he saved anyone’s life either. And, most definitely, he’d never been so enthusiastically kissed before. “Gosh, Wendy,” he said, once he’d learned her name, “would you like to warm up in my snow buggy?”   

Wendy found the offer tempting. In fact she found it so tempting that she said: “Yes please!”

So whilst Wendy’s soggy knickers dried in front of the heater grille, Clancy took the opportunity to show-off and duly raced the snow buggy around at break-neck speed.

It was during a barely controlled downhill slide that Clancy had a wonderful idea…

“Hey,” he shouted above the din of icicles breaking free from Wendy’s duffle coat, “why don’t I take you to see our wonderful city below the ice?”

Initially Wendy was hesitant to accept: visiting foreign cities sans winter coat could be considered a social faux pas. But when Clancy informed her that no one wore duffle coats in the pale earplug city, she relented instantly, and began to enjoy the sensation of a stiff breeze blowing around her ear holes. Naturally Clancy hit the after-burners, and before long they were almost in sight of the frontier defences. But such was Clancy’s speed that he was upon the border guards before anyone was ready to mount a meaningful challenge or dive for cover…

“Out of the way!” Clancy shouted above the whine of his buggy’s turbine.

“Does that blue female have a duffle coat on?” One of the incredulous border guards shouted back.

Clancy didn’t have enough time to respond. Instead he leapt the buggy into the air, and shouted, “See for yourself.” as they soared above the defences and then roared away – leaving the guards deeply bemused, because they’d had no idea that blue earplug knee caps looked very much like pale earplug knee caps – only bluer, of course. Of a snorkel there was no sign. And they began to doubt the propaganda they’d been force-fed their entire lives. Not that Wendy cared one jot; because, by the time the guards had collected their thoughts and placed them into some kind of order, Clancy’s snow buggy had carried her all the way into the city.

“It’s lovely.” She gushed as she looked around. “So mysterious and cloaked in elegant shadows.”

But later she discovered even more impressive sights.

“What are these strange, yet remarkable, machines?” She asked her vertically-challenged host.

At first Clancy was confused by Wendy’s question. It hadn’t occurred to him that another civilisation might not have municipal jukeboxes. Once he’d gathered his wits, he told her. “They’re free.” He said. “Choose a song; press the button; and you can listen for as long as you want.”

“Gosh.” Wendy responded enthusiastically. “Can I choose one? After all I am a blue earplug, and it might not be allowed.”

“Go ahead.” Clancy said with a smile.

“Pick one for me.” Wendy said coyly. “Make it a love song. A really smoochy one.”

“Don’t mind if I do.” Clancy replied with a big grin spreading across his youthful face. “How about ‘Hot Soup’ by Heavy Breathin’ Bertha’?”

Moments later…

“Oh that’s lovely.” Wendy said as they slow danced together. “I think I’d like to live here for the rest of my life.”

Clancy hid his surprise well. “Come with me.” He said as the repetitive chorus faded into silence.

Moments later they were scurrying along one of the seductively lit corridors. Then, abruptly they burst into a busy thoroughfare. Then it was onwards for a meeting with the Personal Secretary of the Prime Minister and his assistant and his assistant’s buddy.

“Yeah?” The Personal Secretary grunted when Clancy introduced himself. “Whadda ya want?”

“This is my friend, Wendy.” Clancy replied. “She’s a blue earplug!”

“Tell us something we don’t know.” The Prime Minister’s Personal Secretary’s assistant said acidly.

Clancy chose to ignore the mealy-mouthed git. Instead he spoke directly to the Personal Secretary: “Wendy wants to come here and live with us pale earplugs.” He said. “She thinks our city is lovely.”

The Personal Secretary eyed Wendy up and down. “I’ve heard some weird stuff about blue earplugs.”  He said. “Apparently the females hold their heads up with a trellis-like assembly that bolts on to their shoulders, and are given it on their fifteenth birthday.”

“And both genders hide their chocolate chip cookies inside their Wellington boots!” The assistant’s buddy almost spat the words.

“Oh dear.” Clancy said as he turned to Wendy. “I’m ever so sorry, but if you want to live here you’re going to have to refute a whole slew of ridiculous preconceptions.”

“Yeah.” The Personal Secretary growled. “Good, innit?”

Well Wendy wasn’t the sort to take offence easily, and her sister’s duffle coat didn’t fit her anyway: so a short while later she and Clancy were being guided towards the Prime Ministerial chamber, via a frighteningly precipitous walkway.

The journey to the Prime Ministerial Chamber also involved walking down a long corridor, towards a concrete-hardened atom-proof bunker, where important decisions were often made.

For a brief moment the young lovers paused. Were they really ready for this?

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2016

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 Cold War cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.

Revel in the Ribaldry 32

Methinks the time is right for a splash of rude, ribald, and disgustingly funny Hamster-Sapiens. On this occasion we delve into the last of the series -namely this magnificently naughty e-tome…

This e-book is available at most e-book retailers, including the publishers Lulu.com

To introduce this snippet I should explain that (as she was in the act of disembarking a submarine and boarding a cross-channel ferry mid-channel) Road Safety Technician Amy Crumpet has been cast into the waters of the English Channel. Thinking quickly she had struck out through the chill, dark waters towards the very object that had caused the accident – a surfacing turtle. As the last of her breath escaped her cheek pouches she managed to climb into (what she thought was) the sanctuary of the reptilian’s anus…

Before long the darkness and solitude began to affect Amy. Sitting alone upon cold unyielding flesh made her feel unwelcome and utterly alien. She tried talking to herself, and tried to compose a love sonnet to P C Gravy. But it was no good: She needed to be able to see her environment, and possibly explore it. So she stood as best she could in the low-ceilinged reptilian rectum, took out two freshly-minted seven Rodento coins from her waist band, and struck them together. She was rewarded with a shower of sparks that briefly illuminated the immediate area. And what she saw amazed her. It also informed her that she’d missed the turtle’s anus by some distance – for all about her she could see egg upon egg upon egg – stretching away into the staccato shadows. And the ceiling wasn’t half as low as she’d expected either.

“Cor.” She said gleefully, “I certainly won’t go hungry. And it also explains the total absence of excrement upon my silken fur.”

But then another thought intruded: “But I don’t know this turtle’s destination. If it’s about to lay its eggs, then no doubt it will seek a warm, sandy beach – and that could take weeks to find.”

For the second time Amy screamed shrilly.

“And there can’t be enough air in here to keep me alive indefinitely.” She added after calming herself once more, “My only chance to live comes with the vain hope that she surfaces regularly, rolls upon her back, and exposes her minge to the air. And what are the chances of that? ” It was a rhetorical question, but Amy answered it anyway. “None. Zero, Nada.”

So she screamed some more – until her voice went hoarse, and she was finally forced to stop by a burning desire to suck a lozenge – a small packet of which she fortunately carried in her waist band.

But it appeared that not all of her despairing screaming had been in vain. Water conducts sound extremely well, and when the slow-witted ocean-dweller heard unmistakably strange high-pitched mammalian sounds emanating from her private parts she became curious. Curious enough to stop swimming purposefully forward, and allow herself to bob to the surface.

Deep within the turtle Amy felt the floor heave as internal ballast shifted. Then she felt the undeniable sensation of ‘going uppy-ness’. She let out three rousing cheers.

The female turtle was surprised when her minge apparently gave forth with sounds of delight. In fact she was so surprised that she found it necessary to pass comment…

“I say, oh personal chasm.” She said in her best ocean-reptilian, “What gives in the vocal department?”

Amy heard this gargled utterance – not as comprehensible words, but as the sounds produced by a sentient creature.

“Hello out there.” She cried out as she struggled towards the exit. “I’m an air-breather – just like you!”

Had the turtle possessed eyebrows it is certain that they would have arched alarmingly.

“Is that an egg speaking?” She inquired.  “If so please remain quiescent until such time that I am able to bury you in some deep warm sand.”

Although Amy didn’t speak turtle, something in the turtle’s tone told her that the noises she could hear outside came as a form of admonishment.

“Oh, if only I was telepathic.” She wailed almost inconsolably, “Then this stupid language barrier wouldn’t be as impenetrable as a belch. Oh if only Joan Bugler had been swept away with me!”

Perhaps it was something in the way that Amy composed her thoughts at the moment, or even a stray neuron firing out of sequence inside her cold-blooded head; but the turtle comprehended the hamster’s meaning, and in a moment of epiphany she mentally squealed, “By the length of a Ragworm’ tadger – I can read the strange furry being’s mind!”

And indeed the turtle could. Deep within her body the small hamster received this thought. For a moment she suspected that she’d gone quite mad, but when the turtle’s subsequent message amounted to thrilled surprise combined with a powerful mothering instinct, Amy was certain that the thoughts couldn’t possibly have originated in her own brain: She hated pathetic mewling babies with a passion, and possessed the mothering instinct of a well-armed death squad.

Fortunately this latter thought had no turtle equivalent, so the huge creature had no reason to feel ill-will toward the parasite within her.

“I’m on my way to India.” She informed Amy directly.

“India?” Amy’s thought came to her like a distant, slightly panic-stricken voice upon a gentle breeze, “But that’s on the other side of the planet. It’ll take yonks to get there. And when you do you’ll just drop me into a big hole on the beach, and then bury me. And how would I get back home again afterwards? I’m just a hamster. No-no – this won’t do. This won’t do at all!”

The turtle was surprised at the vociferousness of Amy’s thoughts.

“Ooh-er.” She thought in response, “You have a powerful personality. I get the distinct impression that if you stay in there much longer you could eventually overwhelm my simple psyche, and take control of both my mind and my body. And that won’t do either.”

Amy was used to thinking on her hind paws. As a road safety technician she had to be: Early morning go-kart drivers could be unpredictable, and Amy had been forced to leap to the side of the road on many occasions since taking on the job at Hamster Heath high school. She thought now – like she had never thought before. In fact she thought so hard that the turtle began to swoon from the mental energy discharges that erupted invisibly from the rodent’s cranium.

“Please,” the turtle cried out both verbally and mentally, “you’re torturing me beyond reasonable tolerance. Stop please: I’ll do anything that you want. Do you wish me to eject you into these cold northerly waters?”

Amy wasn’t sure whether the last remark was meant as a threat, but she quickly realised that if the turtle wished it could be rid of its uninvited passenger with just a single spasm, and that she – Amy – would surely perish as a result. So she guarded her thoughts much as an evil pick-pocket guards its ill gotten gains.

“Oh, most certainly not.” She replied to the turtle’s inquiry. “But I do have suggestion that I think will satisfy both of our needs. But first – tell me: Can you swim upside down?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Ah, they don’t write ’em like that anymore!

Earplugs without Pictures 6

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 fantastic tale…

Click the cover image for the FREE complete e-book in PDF form

Meanwhile, in another part of the museum that was yet to be consumed by the terrible Zinc Machine, the four former monks of the Order of the Holey Vest from Lemon Stone, Pedro Agonista, Flaccidus Aroma, Augustus Belch, and Rodney Bunting, had rented a workshop. Now they set to work inside it. For hour upon hour they toiled – fabricating, checking stolen blueprints, hammering, welding, occasionally going to the toilet. That sort of thing. But when they reached the end of their labours, the four exhausted former monks wheeled out a ‘pirate copy’ of a genuine Punting-Modesty Sputum GT250A-Attack Cycle.

“This’ll knock ’em dead down at the cavalry stockade.” Pedro said confidently.

But he wasn’t entirely correct.

“It’s a bit big and heavy.” One of the troopers dared utter.

“Yeah, and it can’t carry passengers.” Another observed.

“Just give it a try.” Rodney pleaded. “You never know – you might find it most satisfactory. And the saddle is really easy on your bum – especially if you suffer from piles – a particular problem with cavalryplugs, or so I’ve been told. “

Joe Frayzer, who didn’t like to confess to having problems with his butt, replied gruffly: “Yeah, alright; we’ll give it a run ’round the block. It couldn’t hurt none.”

So he leapt aboard; made himself comfortable; and twisted the throttle as far back as the cable would allow. Initially the Staff Sergeant was highly impressed with the GT250A. “Cor,” he yelled above the whine of the lifting motor and the roar of the propulsion engine, “it goes like stink!”

But when he rode it over uneven ground his smile quickly transformed into a grimace.

“Sorry,” he said upon his return to the stockade, “but the machine gave my false teeth a really hard time. They were shaken so thoroughly that they’ve swapped sides inside my gob. And contrary to your verbal sales brochure, the seat gave my arse the worst pummelling since my troop was chased down the side of rocky gorge on Worstworld by a whirlwind that had sucked up a whole bunch of scorpions and tarantulas, and thrown them at us. You’ll have to build something that’s much more comfortable with better protection against wind, rain, ice storms, and high-velocity rifle bullets.”

An hour later the four former monks returned with a replica Punting-Modesty RD400F Command Buggy.

“Hmmm,” Joe hummed after giving the machine a thorough examination, “but it isn’t very offensive is it? And it comes up short on good looks, speed, and endurance. Close, but no banana.”

So ten minutes later…

“The XS360 has a ram-scoop engine.” Pedro explained. “It collects dust from the air, and burns it for fuel. Primarily it’s a long-range patrol vehicle.”

“Great,” Joe replied, “but the driver is a sitting duck in a roll-over situation.”

So a half-hour later…

“Fabulous – a TX500.” Joe said, after casting an engineer’s eye over the latest version of the war buggy. You’ve chucked out that poxy, gutless eco engine. That’s good: I always vote for a balanced combination of BHP and torque. But, ah, where’s the offensive capability?”

“Holy heck.” Augustus exploded in response. “All you had before were a few flea-ridden plugmutts and some dried-out saddles that were years old and as hard as rock. You should be grateful for anything!”

Despite this atypical outburst, the hermaphrodite chums went away again – to return a short while later with…

“There you go, you pedantic arse hole.” Flaccidus growled. “The cannon’s off the Nosepuncher XL5 by the way.”

This time the Staff Sergeant was more impressed. Turning to a surprised Fanny Skidmarx. He said, “Right, Private; you may have the honour of flight-testing the machine I hereby designate P1-5S Assault Buggy. Carry on.”

AND

Meanwhile, far away upon the dusty plain that stood at the foot of the mountain range upon which Lemon Stone stood proudly, hard-working pea farmer, Bucksome Whelk, was greeting the new day even before the sun had risen. He was a hyperactive workaholic, and there was nothing he enjoyed more than getting out of bed really early to do a long day’s hard labour in the pea fields. He kept a sign in his bedroom to remind him that he should never grow lax and become like his idle idols, Las Chicas De La Playas, a picture of whom he had pinned to his wall as a constant reminder. So no one else was around to see his porch light illuminate…

(A picture of a mud building appears here)

Neither was there anyone present to see him step out into the pre-dawn – in the full expectation of finding his beautiful crop of young pea plants. But what Bucksome Whelk actually saw, in that dim light, made him stare disbelievingly like a startled gazelle caught in the headlight of an approaching trans-continental locomotive; because, laid out in front of him like some terrible manifestation of a tortured mind, sat the largest, most humongous, pile of steaming manure that he had ever seen – or ever wanted to see. But if this wasn’t enough for the simple-minded pea farmer, the situation grew rapidly worse. As he finally circumnavigated the immense turd, Bucksome discovered that his pea seedlings had been swept away by some unimaginable force.

His work gang rushed from their quarters when they heard his scream of horror.They watched in disbelief as their employer stood so still among the ruination that he appeared to have been petrified. For Bucksome it became horror heaped upon horror as the lightening sky revealed that the entire crop had simply ceased to exist. Or, to be more precise, it had been transformed into excrement and deposited on the lawn of his farm-house.

“Right, that’s it.” He said as a grim determination swelled within his chest,”I’m gonna talk to the guys about this.”

So, after Bucksome had returned to the farm buildings his staff were expecting to hear that their services were no longer required, and that they could return to the bosom of their families in the former communist states from whence they had come to the dusty plain. They even conjectured upon the size of the severance cheque. But they were to be disappointed.

“Right then.” Bucksome said. “I want you to re-plant with seeds from the store. I intend to learn the identity of the miscreant who had attempted to destroy my life’s work. I’ll be back when I’m back. Now get to work.”

With that he strode off across the newly barren landscape.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2016

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 Unity vol 1 cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.

Earplugs without Pictures 5

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 tantalising tale…

Click cover image for complete story in PDF format

So, whilst Magnuss and Benjamin began their sojourn in search of the museum’s inhabitants, the showgirls stumbled across the crashed time ship. Of course, being entertainers, they didn’t recognize it for what it was, and instead thought that it might possibly be either a crashed aircraft or an invasion from outer space. They preferred the former explanation, and duly set out to find the absent occupants. Naturally, to cover more ground quickly they elected to break up into three groups, each comprising two showgirls. Delia Stodge and Poki Kitchener set off in an easterly direction. Belle Ching and Wendy Rucksack headed north by northwest. And Ragi Half-Nelson and Nokaks Newbold dropped several floors to the basement and thence to the sub-strata upon which the original museum had been built. Upon reaching the rock bottom – literally – they were bemused when they discovered it utterly devoid of life.

“I’m bemused on at least seventeen levels of bemusability.” Nokaks informed her dancing co-worker. “I may only be an attractive young female who can step in time and kick her feet high above her head; but I really expected to find signs of a frightened populace cowering in the shadows from whatever it was that happened whilst we were in a drunken stupor. How about you, Ragi?”

Ragi didn’t reply immediately: she was too busy fretting about something that she’d just realised. Eventually she said: “Nokaks, you’re not going to believe this; but I got so drunk last night that I forgot to remove my sequined dancing knickers. Now they’re chafing the heck out of my thighs – and I’m not enjoying it!”

Meanwhile, out and about on their own earplug hunt, Belle and Wendy stumbled upon the Nul-Space Power Generator, which, they noted, whirred quietly in hibernation mode. Naturally they turned the dial up a few notches; then waited to see what would happen.

The effect of Belle and Wendy’s action wasn’t immediately obvious as Ragi and Nokaks quickly made their way back into the more modern regions of the museum. But the dancing duo nearly wet themselves when they were caught in the blinding glare of a security light.

“Oh Nokaks,” Ragi yelled only semi-coherently, “I really wish that dingbat Belle hadn’t woken us up so darned early this morning: we could be all tucked up nice and warm in our beds right now. When this terrible adventure concludes – hopefully with a happy ending – I’m going to join another ballet!”

But, in order to accomplish her ‘happy ending’ Ragi knew that standing around whilst wailing like an air raid siren would get her nowhere; so the two girls pressed on with their search. With no clear plan to follow, they soon found themselves upon a wide plain, where a small sign informed them it was intended that more exhibits from future eras would appear sometime in the…er…future. It was very wide and very flat, and both girls felt intimidated by its vastness. But although they hated the place with a vengeance, their feelings of loathing were put aside, and their quest for the truth continued – eventually leading them to a green impact splodge.

“Ugh?” Ragi said intelligently. “It looks as though something fell from the sky and went splat. What do you think it might be, Nokaks?”

Nokaks might have been an expert at wearing spectacular headdresses and performing the opening act and exciting finales in variety shows; but something falling from the sky and going splat existed in a mental environment to which she was an alien visitor. “Um,” she replied, “I’m not sure, but it looks to me like it might be evidence of some form of chemical attack. Something was dropped here, and it spread to other places…through the ventilation system, maybe? The result of which is what you see on the other levels.”

Ragi wasn’t sure what impressed her more: Nokak’s remarkable improvised theory, or the effect that sudden dread can have on a female earplugs’ ability to retain intestinal wind. “Gosh.” She said. “I wonder if the chemicals smelt as rotten as my gas.”

AND

Magnuss had been grateful for Benjamin Booger’s local knowledge. It was the green earplug who informed him that if they really needed to access the Wide Blue Yonder, they didn’t have to cross the Woven Expanse to get there. In the alternative universe the faux desert extended much farther, and with the use of a desert sled, which was powered by a mighty three cylinder air-cooled two-stroke motor, they could cross it in short order. Unfortunately mighty three cylinder air-cooled two-stroke motors consume fuel at a prodigious rate, and its tank showed empty just as the party arrived at the Wide Blue Yonder’s outer edge, which really cheesed-off Magnuss because he really liked two-strokes and was hoping to ride it all the way to the arboretum. So, stumbling through the last of the desert’s fake sand, Magnuss led the others to a vantage point that overlooked their next task. To say that the Wide Blue Yonder looked daunting was an understatement of seismic proportions.

“We’re doomed if we try to cross that.” K’Plank opined loudly. “We’ll stand out like a vicious sore on an otherwise pristine porcelain buttock. We’re sure to disappear without warning or trace. Give me back my Sheath of Unseeableness, you rotten swine!”

But then Poki had an idea. “Delia and I work in the theatre.” She said. “We know how all the wonders of show-biz work. It’s all the workings beneath the stage. That’s where the magic is made.”

“Of course.” Magnuss bellowed as hope surged within his silicon chest. “Maintenance access tunnels. They must criss-cross the Wide Blue Yonder at a thousand points. Poki, if I didn’t love Hair-Trigger Provost with every fibre of my being, I’d take you ’round the back of the nearest bike shed and give you a great big kiss. Well done: I think you’ve supplied the answer to our problem. Let’s go find an access hatch or something similar.”

Meanwhile Cabbaggio and Vortexia Di Bikini were receiving a lesson in Blue End Cap technical superiority.

“Yeah,” Flutter sneered, “when we decided that we wanted to control the Museum of Future Technology, we didn’t come in with all disruptor weapons firing. No; we were much too smart for that. We infiltrated a small combat party – complete with our patented Matter Transporter – and began our work from a hidden sanctuary. We’ve been slowly removing the population of the museum – and no one can do anything about it. First we took out the big guys: the curators, the agents of TWIT, and those pinky-orange bums – the Earplug Brothers: then we took out everyone else – except you two of course. But you don’t matter: you’re nobodies. Then, tomorrow afternoon, at about three-thirty, the invasion ships arrive. Then I will lower the defensive screens and the museum will be ours!”

“Gee-whizz.” Vortexia said as she apparently swooned. “That must be one heck of a hidden sanctuary. Where did you say it’s located?”

“In the arboretum, of course.” Flutter replied without thinking. “No one would think of looking for us there.”

“I guess you’re right.” Cabbaggio said with an admiring lilt to his slurred voice. “Now if you’ll excuse us, we need a drink.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017

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 The Missing cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.

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