Junior Earplug Adventures: The Masters of Scroton (Part Twenty-One)

Whilst the benefactor’s underlings did whatever benefactor’s underlings do when they want to make contact with the society-builders that created Scroton, Edni was surprised when the two previously quiescent security guards in the council chamber leapt upon the dias…

Initially she thought that they were about to slaughter her and her friends in a frenzy of blood and gore. But the lack of wicked blades, spiky maces, or weighty cudgels quickly altered her mind-set. Were they about to arrest her instead? Under whose authority did they act? Then one of them spoke:

“Oh, Miss Gilbatross, you’re acting under a misunderstanding. The yellow cable ends of Scroton Prime are no longer brainwashed automatons. We were all given our freedom a few days ago, when the Golden One learned of the injustices that were being enacted against our class. Those responsible for the heinous act of taking us from our homes and forcing us to be police officers, have been arrested; stripped of their rank; stripped of their wealth; and stripped of their underpants; and are now hacking out chunks of wet mossy stuff in a peat bog on an off-shore island in the north.”

Edni was shocked by this revelation. “Is this true?” She demanded of Field-Marshall Dave Wolstenholm, recently installed Chief of the Civil Guard. “Are my people free citizens of Scroton? Are they now rushing back to the desert like a mindless and rabid horde? Can Sponson, Saskia, and myself return to our homes, safe in the knowledge that we will never be required to march up and down in neat rows and rough people up on street corners and hand out vicious parking tickets?”

Wolstenholm saluted smartly. “Yes, Ma’am, this is a fact.”

The air seemed to leak out of the beautiful blue cable end. She almost sagged upon her dias…

“What have I done?” She whispered. “What have I done?”

With the exception of Saskia and Sponson, everyone wondered what the heck Edni was prattling on about. Only Beatrix found the courage to ask the new leader for the truth:

“Well,” she said haughtily, “what have you done?” 

Edni paused before she spoke. How could she confess to such a terrible crime? And a crime that she need never have committed – if only she had been better informed. She looked skyward in hope of divine advice…

If, at that moment, Edni found the situation only a few microns from untenable, she would have felt a whole lot worse if she’d known that…

…not only was the worst moment of her life happening for real, but that it was happening on live TV, she might have shut her gob and taken to her heels. But she didn’t know, and duly said: “It was me who killed the Golden One. I destabilised the ship with a device I had smuggled aboard by an unwitting accomplice – that being the (now dead) Magnuss Earplug – and made it crash into the sun!”

Julian Pram – Minister without Portfolio – sighed in the way that only an experienced politician can. He said: “Several weeks ago I warned the government about the increasing boldness of desert fundamentalists. All that sand and nothing to do: it’s bound to leave a cable end susceptible to violent suggestion. You poor girl, Edni, it’s not really your fault: it’s the fault of all cable end society. We should have seen this coming. All the signs were there. I don’t think anyone could seriously hold your part in the homicide of Scroton’s great, good, and wise leader against you. But I think that, perhaps, you should stand down now, and take Sponson and Saskia with you.”

It was an excellent idea. One that Edni grasped with both hands, her feet, and the cleft between her buttocks.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017


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