Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

Yes, preparation is underway for production of the next Earplug Adventure. New actors have been recruited…

A new mini-Tunnel Temporal (named the Tubo Di Tempo) has arrived from an era in the future to replace the old TT, which (if you recall) was creating debilitating Time Storms in the Museum of Future Technology. And the Supreme Being has been busy drawing faces on the new life-forms…

But most importantly, Magnuss has welcomed them to the studio – and Rupert Piles recorded it for posterity…

 

 

Four Years: Thirty-One Photo-Novels: Is This a Record?

I was browsing my book covers on the iBookstore, thinking about how charming  they looked, when I realised that it’s exactly four years since these damned fool earplug adventures first appeared on this blog. To think it all started with two little pink earplugs and an ancient Kodak digital camera, purely as an experiment. Well now there are thirty-one volumes out there. Can’t believe it? Click on the link and see for yourself! 

New Release; With a Touch of the Hypothetical

Were you, by chance, to visit the iBookstore, you would discover that these two e-books have appeared there…

And were you the owner of an Apple product, upon which e-books can be easily read, I would urge you to visit. The world is full of wonders and although these books aren’t two of them, they are quite nice. And if you were to read them in public places, people might notice and begin to doubt the fullness of their lives. This, in turn, might cause them to investigate the Earplug Adventures – rendering them instant Earpluggers. How good would that be!

‘Return of the Prodigal Earplug’…er…Returns (after a fashion)

Back in 2016 I brought to the world a wondrous tale of earplug derring-do. It was titled Return of the Prodigal Earplug Volume 2. Unsurprisingly it was a Magnuss vehicle that also featured his side-kick and girlfriend, Hair-Trigger Provost. Very nice it was too. But once it was removed from this blog (to make room for later tales), that, as they say, was that. It was technically impossible for it to re-appear. Then I discovered a little tool buried in my Microsoft Windows 7. It’s called Snipping Tool, and it allows a stupid author to go back to his Word edition of a Junior Earplug Adventure; make the wording larger; then ‘snip’ out pages in JPEG form. So, the following pages of RotPEv2 are actually photographs. Photographs taken of a book, but without using a camera. Don’t you just love tech? Anyway, check out the first ten pages. Older readers might recognise it. Newbies – this is how earlier stories looked…

That’s right: just like they look these days.

P.S If you would care to see excerpts from earlier tales (or not, possibly), leave a comment in the comment box. R.S.V.P

Random Shots

Sometimes, when I’m in my attic, shooting earplug photos…

…I often produce pictures than I can’t use, for whatever reason. Unless they’re out of focus I keep them on file – just in case they might come in useful one day. But some shots just can’t be integrated, no matter how much I like ’em. And here’s one of those random shots. Its called The Sand Storm Approaches…

And now that I’ve used it here, no doubt I’ll get an idea for a story.

Launched…into Cyber Space!

Yes, even before the last excerpt appears on-line, The Grand Tour makes it into e-book-land. These two devilishly stylish volumes are now available at Lulu.com – prior to general release everywhere else. Go take a look, if only to satisfy your curiosity.

I’d like to think that the story was just too big for a single volume; but, to tell the truth, all those photos use up an awful lot of megabytes. The e-book file would have taken an eternity to download. So, yeah, like I said: the story was just too big for a single volume!

Cricetinae Fictionem – or Something Like That: 21

As per usual with this wondrous series, I bring you an excerpt from one of the following Hamster-Sapiens tales…

And today it’s the turn of The Abduction of Wetpatch Wilson!

Divine inspiration didn’t strike Wetpatch very often. In fact he couldn’t recall it ever happening before. But he was in receipt of it now. “Rat Trek!” He blurted.

Roman was mightily impressed with this. “That’s right.” He said with a smile so broad that he resembled a wide-mouthed frog that had been smoking the magic mushrooms of Danglydong Dell. “Mister Horseblanket was well versed in the science fiction genre, and would often utilise the events that took place in episodes of Rat Trek during periods or crisis. And like his hero, Lionel Flugelhorn made the best use of the fertile minds of those far away script writers. He freely admitted in a recent interview on Heathen Radio that without a thorough grounding in sci-fi, he and his friends would surely have perished in one of those frightening scenarios thrown up by the alien artefacts from Area Ninety-nine.”

Wetpatch didn’t know what to say when an auditory vacuum formed during the period that Roman spent trying to re-gather his breath following an ill-advised second extended sentence. So he fell back on old ways. “Yeah? So?” He grunted.

Like some sort of truncheon-wielding biathlete Roman drew in sufficient air to calm his tortured lungs for just long enough to say, “You’re a fan of the show. You have a box set of DVDs. Have you seen an episode that might pertain to our current situation in any way?”

So whilst the young police officer rolled about the carpeted floor gasping for his life, Wetpatch considered the question. It was patently true that science fiction had often pulled Horatio Horseblanket out of the metaphorical shit and probably saved the lives of countless hordes. It was equally true that Lionel Flugelhorn had also utilised his knowledge of the genre for the betterment of his situation on more than one occasion.

Wetpatch had once met Lionel at the grand opening of a rather graceless unicycle ballet, and couldn’t help but be impressed by both his girlfriend, and the copy of Fantabulous Stories that protruded from his back pocket. And he had at least seventeen copies of Horatio’s autograph: So he could see no logical reason why he – Wetpatch Wilson – shouldn’t duplicate the efforts of his illustrious predecessors. So he set to work, and quickly began running titles of Rat Trek: Season One past his inner eye.

Roman was well into his third cup of coffee, and probably his Nth spool of cotton candy, when Wetpatch looked up from the floor where he was ruminating, and waved for his attention.

“I think we shall have to conduct our search using an amalgam of science-fictiony scenarios.” Wetpatch informed the slightly older hamster. “No single tale of the much-loved TV show relates directly to our situation. But I believe that if we behave in much the same way that the helms-hamster, Mister Lulu, did in the second season opener ‘The Death Ray of Dork’, we shall take the first step upon the road that will carry us upon our great crusade to bring stability to The Crustacean Collective.”

“Wonderful.” Roman clasped his paws together in glee. “Good old Mister Lulu, whomever he is. What did he do?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Wasn’t that lovely! It didn’t tell you a bloody thing about the story, I know; but that’s the problem with random excerpts: they’re a bit…you know…random. Also as per usual, this e-book is available via the links on the side bar to your right. If you’re on a tablet it’s probably down the bottom somewhere. But it has to be somewhere. That’s the trouble with tablets; the screen isn’t big enough. On the plus side, my earplug stories look really nice on them though.

Captive Audience

If you are one of those lovely readers who come back time after time, I thank you. There would little point doing this if it weren’t for your presence here. But in becoming those very people I most need, you leave yourselves open to literary abuse. Yes – you are a Captive Audience: and as such you will be subjected to extracts from my books – without warning! Books such as these…

Books that aren’t funny!  And here are two such extracts…

Captive Echo:

Janice found Wozniak floundering around the room in search of something.

“Janice – have you cleaned up in here?” He asked.

She gave him a look that spoke volumes.

“Sorry.” He said, slightly shame-faced. “Of course you have: forgive me.”

Janice felt magnanimous. “Consider yourself forgiven. What are you looking for?”

“Last night Katherine – that’s my Katherine Marcus – brought me a strange flower. Have you seen it?”

“Oh yes – that strange black daisy. I put it into water. It’s in the window – behind the drape.”

But when they both looked in the window they found only a vase containing discoloured water.

“I could have sworn…” Janice began, but quickly dried up.

“Oh, you put it there all right, Janice – I don’t doubt it at all.” Wozniak said – shaking his head – a bitter smile upon his face. “But it’s gone now.”

It took a few seconds for Janice to get her thoughts in order. Then she said, “But I don’t understand: why would whoever took the car, also take the flower? Surely they weren’t connected in any way. Didn’t you say Doctor Marcus gave it to you?”

She then considered her own question. Wozniak was perfectly happy to let her do some thinking: he already had his own theory – and he didn’t want to let on to Janice just yet.

“The connection is Katherine Marcus.” Janice continued, and then abruptly stopped.

Where am I going with this?’ She asked herself.

Wozniak didn’t want to hurry Janice; nevertheless he couldn’t help himself from saying, “And?”

Janice looked him in the eye. “And?” She questioned his spur. “Have you jumped to the end already – and now you’re waiting for me to catch up?”

“I’ve formed a hypothesis, if that’s what you mean.” Wozniak replied. “Go on – ‘and’?”

So Janice continued: “Well, ‘and’ all I can suggest is that Doctor Marcus and the mystery ‘doppelganger’ are, in fact, one and the same. She is playing some huge, weird, ridiculous joke – and you are the victim.”

Wozniak ambled across the spacious room and seated himself at the table. He gave Janice a rueful smile.

“You don’t believe that for a moment.” He stated.

Janice dropped into the seat opposite him.

“Absolutely I don’t: but I can’t think of any other explanation that comes closer to making sense. Well my kind of sense anyway!” Then she looked him in the eye again. “But you can – can’t you? Go on – out with it!”

Wozniak seemed to prevaricate for a moment. He gave a weak smile as he tried half-heartedly to squirm his way out of an explanation. “You’ll think I’m potty.”

“I can only agree or disagree.” She urged.

“No, you can do more than that.” He said – his half-smile fading, “You can lose your respect for me.”

This surprised Janice. “My respect?” She queried. “Why would you worry over such a little thing as that? I’m only your house keeper, you know: not your editor, or whatever it is you call them these days.”

“You’re not ‘only’ anything.” Wozniak came close to sounding annoyed with Janice for the first time. “You’re an intelligent human being whom I happen to respect a great deal. I’d like to think it was reciprocal. And I’d like to keep it that way.”

Janice had been surprised at the disappearance of the car; but it was nothing compared with this outburst. She had always assumed that Wozniak merely tolerated her: but now he calls her by her first name: then seeks her advice as an equal upon a subject in which she has no expertise. And now he talks of respect…

‘But I’m only the woman-who-does’, she told herself.

Something in her look must have transmitted itself to Wozniak because he said, “If I didn’t care what you thought of me, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Don’t take this as an insult, Janice – but you are not a woman of the world. You form your opinions from what you hear in the village, and what you watch on the television. That’s not necessarily a bad thing: I’m not condemning it. Now I have to say that it does give you a narrow perspective. You tend to form your opinions, and stick to them without considering an alternative…”

Janice interrupted. It wasn’t in her nature to simply sit back and listen:

“What’s wrong with sticking to my guns?” She demanded.

Wozniak had expected this. He continued, “If you’re sure that you’re right – then nothing at all. You’d be right to stick to your guns. But that’s my point, Janice: I’ve known you – how long?”

Janice didn’t have to think about the question for long.

“Three months and four days. You owe me back pay for two weeks and four days of that.” She smiled as she spoke the last sentence.

“Right – on both counts.” Wozniak matched her smile. “In those three months and four days I’d like to think that I’ve got to know you pretty well – though it has taken me rather too long to drop the Miss Gale moniker, I confess. My point is – you make up your mind – and that’s that. The thought of altering your opinion doesn’t enter your head. Your life-views are those of your mother. She formed them as a young woman – transferred them to you – and that’s where they’ve stuck. You’re a product of your environment and upbringing.”

Janice went to speak again, but Wozniak held up a hand to stay her lips.

“But a lot of those beliefs were good ones.” He continued, “Morals; good behaviour; and all those sort of things that so many people seem to have forgotten these days: they’re good. More importantly they’re wise: and that’s what you are, Janice. Not knowledgeable. Not even savvy. But wise.”

Janice held up her own hand. “And the point of this back-handed compliment – if that’s what it is?”

“Well I suppose what I’m doing is – priming you for what I’m about to suggest.” He replied.

To Wozniak’s complete surprise Janice stood up abruptly. She scraped her chair backwards – and appeared to be about to leave.

“It’s not sexual intercourse is it?” She asked in alarm.

For a moment – it seemed to Wozniak that – he was looking into the face of a little girl. He had to swallow before he answered.

“No, Janice: it’s not sexual intercourse, or anything remotely connected with it. Jesus Christ almighty, how surreal is this!”

‘‘Now where the hell did she get that idea?’ He thought. ‘Janice you never cease to amaze me.’

Present Imperfect:

Dave Collins lowered himself on to the garden bench beside Judith. The light was poor but she appeared to look comfortingly like she had earlier in the evening. After finding himself in a changed house, and meeting people who were at least ten years too young, she was a rock upon which he could snag his anchor.

Now that Dave had come closer, Judith became aware of a change in him too. She thought back to when she’d first seen him through the dining room window only minutes earlier. Now his clothes appeared to have changed completely.

Where was his jacket? Where had the clip-on tie appeared from?’

For a moment hope soared.

“Dave.” She said urgently, “What’s the date?”

Dave hadn’t expected such a prosaic question. For a moment it threw him.

“I don’t know.” He said after a pause. “I don’t know if it’s the drink, but everything seems screwy. I’m not sure that I’m really here. I think I might be dreaming.”

Judith didn’t really know why she’d invited Dave to join her. Not specifically anyway. She knew that it had something to do with their relationship. Or rather – their lack of a relationship. Quite what she planned to do when he joined her she had no idea. She’d just hoped that inspiration would come to her. But now there appeared to be another facet to a seemingly impossible situation. One that she could not possibly have anticipated.

Digging through her light summer jacket pockets she produced her house keys. Attached to the fob was a small battery-powered light with which she usually illuminated her front door lock when arriving home late at night.

“Sorry about this, Dave.” She said as she turned the narrow beam on to his face.

The light wasn’t bright by any standards, and Dave barely blinked at it shone into his eyes.

What Judith saw in the light should have shocked her. She knew that she should have expected the same Dave Collins that she’d signalled to through the dining room windows only minutes earlier: What she appeared to have sitting there beside her was the same Dave Collins that she had dumped – would dump – ten years in the future.

Now doubts of her sanity resurfaced. She was momentarily speechless. So instead of saying anything she turned the light upon herself.

Dave Collins’ reaction was so obvious that even with the penlight shining in her eyes, Judith could still see the relief written all over his face. And judging by Dave’s subsequent smile, hers must have exhibited a similar emotion.

Switching off the light, Dave said:

“What are we doing here? How did we get here?”

“In the past, you mean?”  Judith felt more comfortable saying the words to someone she knew: someone with whom she could share her horror. Company relieved some of the fear of the unknown. It allowed her to think more clearly.

“Those are very good questions.” She forced a smile. “As regards to getting here – I started walking up Pike’s Lane from the junction opposite the Muck and Bullets in the present day: By the time that I arrived here, I’d shifted ten years into the past. Shit, Dave – Rod’s old car is parked in the drive right now!”

She then stopped to allow Dave to regale her with his own tale. But instead of doing so he said, “But you left with Rod Walker in a taxi: why were you walking back to The Peaks?

Judith didn’t answer immediately. Deep inside she knew why she’d taken the taxi back to The Peaks: She could just as easily have asked the driver to continue into town.

“One last chance, I suppose.” She replied.

Dave gulped audibly. His eyes dropped to Judith’s shapely goose-pimpled legs. “Really?” He managed. Looking up he added, “With me, you mean?”

“Yes, of course I mean you.” She feigned annoyance and slapped at his arm weakly. “Surely you don’t think I fancy Mrs Wilkins’ husband.”

“You get ten out of ten for persistence.” Dave smiled as he took the hand that only moments previous had struck him. He kissed it. “But look where it got you.”

Judith reached up with her free hand, and pulled Dave’s head down towards her face. He didn’t pull back as she lightly kissed his lips. Then their arms were around each other, and the kiss became more urgent. It lasted several long seconds before they slowly disengaged.

“Is this karma?” Judith inquired.

“You mean – was this meant to be?” Dave responded in a way that he could never have imagined before. “Was this the only way that you and I could ever break through

this wall that I’ve built around myself?”

Judith nodded.

“But if that’s the case – who designed it?” He continued. “Who made it possible?”

Judith shook her head. “I don’t know.”

“And now that it’s done,” Dave looked around the garden, and at the fine country residence that it surrounded, “do we go back to our proper era?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

Where is This Story Going?

You’ve stayed with me for 50 whole episodes so far, But where is the story going? Here’s some clues…

Let’s see. Bottom right looks like Dorkan and Dawlish’s prospector’s ship. Top right includes several Museum of Future Technology curator’s and the Omnipresent Scanner. Top left looks like the front door of Fort Balderdash. Bottom left…well it’s the boys, isn’t it. But what are they doing? Centre is clearly the Supreme Being, who doesn’t look too pleased about something. Nice hair though. That’s unusual. Actually those are terrible clues. I doubt you can work much out from those. So I suggest you hang on in there a while longer and watch how it pans out. I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait. Aren’t they always!

Why Clive Thunderbolt isn’t Like Tooty Nolan

As, no doubt, you are well aware – being discerning (and hopefully regular) readers of this blog – Tooty Nolan is the writer of some very silly tales, be they Hamster-Fiction or Earplug Adventures. His alter-ego, Paul Trevor Nolan, writes family friendly science-fiction. But what about the third member of this story-telling triumvirate – Clive Thunderbolt? How does he differ to the other two? Well the name is vaguely silly, so perhaps he writes comedy. Nope: not intentionally anyway. Well what then? The answer lies beneath these two book covers. Take a look at an excerpt from both of them…

 

Captive Echo.

Wozniak kicked out several more boards that covered the bedroom window. Despite his certainty that he was no longer upon the world of his birth, he still needed some more visual proof. The absence of his estate car was sufficient. There was simply no way anyone could have taken it without his knowing: the alarm system he had fitted to it only two weeks previous was state of the art. The noise it emitted would have raised the dead.

Wozniak understood that the laws of inter-dimensional transference meant that everything Wozniak had brought with him to The Peaks had remained in his reality. All he had to wear outside were the pyjama bottoms he was currently wearing – and they would be of little use because they were of the simple cord fastening design, which left a huge gap in the fabric through which his penis had an habitual tendency to protrude when he walked around – which had amused Janice on more than one occasion. If he tried leaving the house in them, he felt certain that pretty soon he’d be arrested: and he didn’t want his first inter-dimensional trip to result in a charge of indecent exposure!

A quick search – and the bedroom gave up its secrets all too quickly. Every trace of clothing had been removed – along with personal effects. But oddly a radio had been left behind. He switched it on. Silence followed, and remained in situ until Wozniak recognized the problem as a lack of power. Rather belatedly he tried the light switch. As expected there was no response. Taking a deep breath with which he hoped to steel himself, he opened the door beside the light switch and peered out into a dusty corridor. The house, it appeared, was an exact duplicate of his rented accommodation. Even in the dimness caused by the boarded windows, Wozniak had no difficulties negotiation the interior. A few careful steps down the stairway into the hall, and his hands found the small door that opened on to the power breaker. Feeling about in the darkness he pushed all of the levers upward. Immediately he could hear music playing in ‘his’ room, from which a light shone into the landing above.

When he re-entered the bedroom, the music was coming to an end. It was followed by a man who introduced himself as Bob Collet.

“Well fellow Brambledownians,’ Bob said, “Old Bob figured you might be wanting to know what’s going on over at Wycksford today.”

Wozniak’s ears pricked up at the mention of the scientific community. He thought back to the words of Len Peters the night before: surely it was no coincidence that he’d arrived here when it appeared that not all within Wycksford’s garden was rosy.

Collet continued, “Droxfield leader – Kev Winterbottom – has reiterated his demands. That means he’s said ‘em again. Apparently Wycksford Scientific Community must hand over all their hardware – and data pertinent to it – to the Droxfield Militia. Well the stuff that’s less than three years old anyway. If they don’t, he says, he’s gonna let the militia loose on ‘em, and that they’d be sorry that they’d pissed him off. I spoke to the Droxfield Militia boss – that tosspot Nigel Horn – on the ‘phone last night. Here’s a recording of what he had to say.”

Another man, his voice far less rural, spoke. But where Collet’s tone had been warm and possibly rather innocent-sounding; in Horn’s voice there was an edge of threat that was clearly calculated to frighten those listening. His words backed up this impression…

“We aint changed our stance.” He began belligerently. “They got ‘til noon tomorrow, then we go in and take it ourselves. Then, whether they like it not – they’re out. Out on their fucking ears. We’re pullin’ the whole place down. It’s as simple as that. We aint gonna have none of them Scientific Communities anywhere near where we live!”

He then tried to appear more reasonable – hoping to appeal to the listeners as logical, sensible people. Easing back on the belligerence he added:

“I mean – think about it: who’s gonna want dangerous experiments going on in their back yard? No one with more than half a brain, that’s what I reckon. Anyone remember what happened a year ago? Experiments getting out of control, and going haywire, that’s what. For a while everyone thought that the world was coming to an end. I shit my pants, I did – and I don’t mind admitting it. And I bet that I wasn’t alone.”

Wozniak was grimly amused at both men’s verbal style. If only his local radio station spoke so freely…

Collet’s voice interrupted:

“Well that may be true, Nige; but why have you waited until now to make your demands? What was wrong with a year ago?”

“We had to study the situation.” Horn replied – if a little uncertainly. “We didn’t want to go off half-cocked. You can’t go accusing communities of bad stuff without proper proof.”

Collet taxed him further:

“So it had nothing to do with Peter Wozniak defecting to Droxfield, then?”

At the mention of his name, Wozniak turned the volume higher – before dropping on to the bed to listen in comparative comfort.

Horn’s tone hardened once more:

“I don’t like suggestions like that, Collet.” Horn almost growled. “We were studying the situation – like I said. Wozniak didn’t defect: he was always working for us. He knew things were dodgy over there. Well then he put us right; and now we’re gonna do what we have to do.”

“Central Liaison aint gonna be too happy about one community having a go at its neighbour.” Collet – it seemed to Wozniak at least – appeared to be arguing for the majority of sensible people who might be listening. “Have you spoken to ‘em about it? Made a formal complaint?”

“You know we fucking haven’t.”  Horn snapped back. “Central Liaison do just that: they liaise between all the communities of the Federated Shires of England. They don’t tell no one what to do. They aint got no teeth neither. And I’ll tell you something else, Bob Collet: I don’t like your line of questioning, or the tone of your voice. To my way of thinking, you Brambledownians have been pretty chummy with Wycksford for too long. Now wouldn’t it be a crying shame if some clever sod over there started thinking he could poke his nose into our affairs. You’d better tell your listeners this, Collet: if we go in – they’ll be no such thing as a non-com. Any Brambledownians we find there won’t get treated no different from Wycksford types. You’d better believe it. So stick that in your pipe, and smoke it!”

Not really Tooty kind of stuff at all. Check out this…

Present Imperfect

Tom and Peter Wozniak had an uncomfortable walk back from the orchard to the house. Both spent the entire traverse warily looking over their shoulders. Now as they approached the kitchen door they finally began to relax. Something about the sturdily built house made them both feel that it offered some form of sanctuary from the dangers of the world outside.

Wozniak hadn’t spotted his fiancée through the kitchen window so he called her name as he entered the room. His words were met by silence.

Tom followed Wozniak in.

“Probably gone for a pee.” He suggested.

Wozniak wasn’t concerned: his brother’s suggestion was a good one. In fact there were any number of rooms throughout the large edifice in which she would fail to hear his call. Then he stopped short at the sight of Janice’s torn blouse as it lay across the breakfast table. For a moment his heart seemed to stop. Fear welled up inside him like it had never done before. He knew with utter certainty that something terrible had happened to Janice. He searched the large room with his eyes. But it was Tom who bent down to pick up the unclipped bra from beneath one of the chairs.

Not yet aware of the blouse, Tom said:

“Jan taken to letting her baps loose during daylight hours has she?”

Wozniak grabbed up the blouse. He showed it to Tom – who in turn offered up the bra. A look of dread crossed both men’s handsome features.

“Jan!” Wozniak roared.

Tom grabbed him by the shoulders.

“Let’s not jump to conclusions, Pete.” He spoke firmly as his brother tried to shrug off his powerful grip. “Rational head on. Calm down and think: if she’s hurt – where is she likely to go?”

Wozniak’s flicked his eyes this way and that as he fought down the panic that threatened to overwhelm him.

“Oh my God, Tom.” He managed. “I had no idea how much I loved her until this moment. The bathroom: she’d go to the bathroom. Yes, I think that’s what she’d do. She keeps all sorts of stuff in there.”

“En suite or family?” Tom pressed.

“Ah, both.” Wozniak spoke as he turned for the door that led to the stairs. “You take the en suite: I’ll take the family.”

It was Tom who found Janice. As Wozniak had blundered into an empty family bathroom, Tom had entered the bedroom in something of an apologetic manner. He wasn’t entirely convinced that Janice was in any real trouble, and he wanted to avoid the resulting embarrassment to both of them if he caught her changing. He’d knocked politely, waited a couple of seconds, and pushed the door open slowly. His first view as the gap between the door and the doorframe widened was Janice’s bare legs upon the bed. He’d paused, and whispered her name. When she hadn’t replied he pushed it a little farther, and was duly shocked – not by her total nakedness – but by the wheals and bruises that covered her still body.

“Peter.” He yelled in a voice an octave higher than was usual for him. “In here!”

Tom was loath to enter the bedroom that his brother shared with Janice. He was content to stand in the doorway, and watch from there as Wozniak maintained

Janice’s modesty by easing her legs together. He could see by the rise and fall of her chest that she was still alive. But the bite marks upon her breasts, and the presence of an almost colourless liquid spread across her thighs made it clear that she had been subjected to some sort of violent sexual assault.

Wozniak himself listened to her breathing for a moment. Satisfied that she was in no immediate danger he then proceeded to examine the marks upon her body.

“She’s going to be alright, isn’t she?” Tom asked from the door.

“As much as any rape victim can be.” Wozniak replied with an angry undertone.

Wozniak’s anger seemed to tear at his insides, but without a corporeal antagonist upon which to vent it he felt helpless and impotent.

“Shall I call a doctor?” Tom offered.

Wozniak was about to nod, when he paused.

Would Janice wish to see a doctor? Would she want this awful event to become common knowledge? And what would they tell the police in the subsequent investigation?

He needed time to think.

“Hang fire on that, Tom.” He said in the most kindly tone he could summon.

Any further conversation was thwarted as Janice’s eyes flicked open. It took a moment for her to recognise Wozniak, but when she did, a sleepy smile spread across her face.

Wozniak couldn’t recall a time when she had looked more beautiful.

“Howdy, pardner.” He smiled.

Janice remained slightly woozy, but she was able to raise a hand to beckon him closer. Wozniak, thinking that Janice wanted to say something, bent closer. Janice placed her hand upon the back of his neck, and drew him closer still. She then kissed him gently upon the lips. He smiled and returned her kiss.

“What was that for?” He asked quietly.

“Oh I don’t know.” She spoke dreamily. “Just for being you I suppose. You know I’ve just had the strangest dream…”

She stopped when she noticed several scratch marks upon her arm. She climbed further into wakefulness.

“How did I do that?” She inquired in a puzzled tone.

Then she looked down at her body, and total wakefulness returned like the rush of a tidal bore.

“Peter!” She cried out.

“It’s okay.” Wozniak tried to remain calm. “We’re both here with you. You’re safe now.”

“Both?” Janice looked around the room. She spotted Tom in the doorway, and quickly scrabbled together some bed linen to cover her nakedness. Then the pain of her wounds struck her, and she groaned. Beneath the cover she placed her free hand into her groin.

“Peter – what’s happened to me?” She said as her hand came away sticky.

Wozniak found it hard to find the words. In the end all he could do was tell her the truth.

“Jan, I’m sorry, my love, but you’ve been raped.”

A look of horror appeared upon Janice’s face. Heedless of the watching Tom she cast off the covers, and hugged Wozniak with all her strength.

From his vantage point Tom could now see bleeding nail marks upon Janice’s buttocks as she raised herself up in her desperation to hold on to Wozniak. He took two steps into the room, and pointed a wavering finger in the direction of her wounds.

“No.” She sobbed into Wozniak’s neck.

Wozniak could find no words now: the love of his life was attempting to escape into

denial; and he wasn’t about to refuse her that temporary release.

“No.” She repeated herself, but in a more assured voice.

Wozniak released his grip upon her bruised body as she reduced the urgency of her grasp upon him.

“No.” She said for a third time as she released Wozniak entirely; pulled herself away; and re-covered her body with the bed linen. “It wasn’t rape: I was a willing participant.”

Both men were rendered momentarily speechless. Wozniak drew himself upright, and looked down upon the woman who had surprised him so many times him in the past, but never like this.

“It’s like a dream.” Janice explained as she searched her errant memory. “No.” She corrected herself. “More like a fantasy: a wild sex-fantasy. I couldn’t help myself. All I wanted was you. I wanted pure, undiluted, no-holds-barred, sex – and nothing else.”

It took a few seconds for Wozniak’s mind to assimilate this. Then he knew exactly what Janice meant.

“Of course.” He breathed out loudly. “You were subjected to a super-pheromone! But unlike me you received a neat dose – undiluted by the passage of time and the soiled fabric of an old hiking coat.”

Janice began to cry.

“You forgive me, don’t you? Please say you do.”

“Forgive?” Wozniak sat beside her upon the bed, and wrapped her up in the bed linen once more. “There’s nothing to forgive. It wasn’t really you having sex with that …” He couldn’t find a descriptive term.

“Monster?” Tom offered.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

That’s why I choose a different name for different subjects. I wouldn’t want a child reading this sort of stuff. Remember: Tooty Nolan = Funny. Paul Trevor Nolan = Family friendly/YA. Clive Thunderbolt = Darker, more explicit and sometimes violent. A style for a wider range of tastes, I’d like to think.

Silence X Two

As a break from all my silliness, please try some samples of my sensible stuff – namely these…

Although I never intended to write these books for YA, I did write them with my teen-aged self in mind. I wanted to write stories that I would have enjoyed as a youth. So p’raps I did, after all – only sub-cobsciously. Anyway here they are – suitable for all ages…

Silent Apocalypse.

I stood atop the slightly wind-swept railway embankment. Looking back I could see three winding tracks cut by our quad bikes through the long grass of the adjacent field. They halted at the embankment. Below my friends awaited good news.

Using binoculars, I scanned through three hundred and sixty degrees. Not a movement could I see. Not a sign that man or beast existed. No smoke; no sounds; Nothing, but a constant silence. The land was empty. Upon a whim I placed an ear to the railway track. All I could hear was my own breathing.

‘And where there’s breath, there’s life. And where there’s life, there’s hope.’

I stood up, and waved.

“It’s all right:” I called to the others, “You can come up.”

With their pillions now dismounted, Kevin, Donald, and Lee were able to blast their mounts up the steep incline. Within seconds the quad bikes were positioned within the railway tracks – upon the sleepers that separated them unfortunately. It was hoped that their wheels would be run over whatever detritus had filled the hollows between the sleepers. We also hoped that it would be both firm and deep.

Katherine put it into words, “Railway sleepers do not a highway make. Ouch, ouch, ouch, and ouch.”

Once underway it was a case of ‘close your eyes and hang on for dear life’. Although our speed must have been modest at best– all four wheels were seldom on the ground at one time. It felt like we were attempting the land speed record down the side of Everest. Our teeth veritably rattled in our heads, and our eyes could barely focus. It was so ridiculous that I had to laugh.

I heard Katherine’s voice over the thudding of four-stroke engines, and the considerably louder rattles emanating from every other component of the sturdy vehicles as they threatened to disassemble themselves whilst on the move.

She shouted to Donald, “How fast are we going?”

He shouted back, “Don’t know: My eyes are blurred.”

And I knew from current experience that he wasn’t joking.

“Have we gone very far?” She called again.

“Oh, about a million miles.” Donald bellowed between bouts of handlebar wrestling.

“I’m sorry, Don,” Katherine yelled, “But I don’t think this is such a good idea after all: I have a terrible headache, and my posterior is quite numb.”

“That’s nothing:” Donald may have been joking, but I’m not certain, “I have a posterior-ache and my head’s gone numb!”

My chauffeur, Lee, chanced a look back at me. He shouted, “You know, one of these days we’ll look back at this, and laugh like bleedin’ drains!”

“No we won’t.” I was pretty certain of the veracity of my reply, “This will haunt us for all eternity.”

“It’s not quite that bad.” He shouted again.

“Yes it is.” I informed him forcefully – punching his shoulder with every word.

As lead vehicle it was our decision when the caravan stopped or deviated from its course. Lee spotted an unmanned road crossing just ahead.

“You’re right. Hang on.” He shouted – before swerving off of the track, and onto the narrow tarmacadam road, where he braked to a halt.

 The others followed. As they pulled alongside, their expressions showed undiluted gratitude.

Kevin summed it up when he said, “That was yukky!”

Katherine dismounted and stretched her legs.

 “Not that I’m ungrateful, or anything: but why have we stopped?”

“I thought I’d give the fluid in my brain-box a chance to settle.” Lee replied. Then to everybody, “Right – who votes we follow the railway now?

Not a solitary hand was raised.

Lee pointed toward a hill before it. The railway could be seen entering a tunnel through it.

“Unless somebody’s got a better idea, we’ll follow the track cross-country. Sounds’ good?”

All hands were raised simultaneously.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

It’s almost impossible to select excerpts from a sequel that doesn’t give away the plot of the original story. This is made all the more difficult when the excerpts are chosen at random. So, by necessity, the following snippet is all too brief. Sorry.

Silent Resistance

Karen had joined our triumvirate by the time, two hours later, when Shane entered carrying a tray of scalding hot coffee.

“Colin thought you egg-heads might need some brain-juice.” She said. “So where do we hit first?” She asked whilst scrutinising the vast scattering of notepad pages upon Cosgrove’s desk.

“Funny you should ask that, Shane,” I answered, “because I need an ally right now, and I think you’re just the girl to back me up.”

I swear her ears actually pricked up.

“Yeah?” She said with undisguised eagerness, “What’s all this about then?”

So I explained that I still wanted an answer to a question that had been niggling me since the day that Wayne had died so unnecessarily.

“Oh yeah, that one.” Shane said carelessly. “Why was an Espeeg hiding out in a bus station, and why’d he gone stark-raving bonkers?”

“Yes, that’s the one.” I said admiringly. “The others aren’t quite so keen to find out.”

“Yeah, you can count me in.” The diminutive girl said eagerly, “I’ll come with you. It’s about time I did something other than sitting around picking my nose.”

“Too much information!” Kylie wailed.

I hadn’t actually been seeking a side-kick on what was essentially a very secondary mission; but now that I had a volunteer I realised that it was probably a good idea to take someone along. Shane must have seen my reaction.

“When do we leave?” She asked as she dropped into a spare seat.

“No one said that anyone is going anywhere.” Karen said disapprovingly.

I chose not to hear the older, wiser girl.

“Well I’d like to finish my coffee before we go, if that’s okay.” I answered.

“Yes, that’s right.” Karen sniffed. “Ignore me completely. Ignore the voice of rationality.”

So Shane did as she had apparently been instructed. It was only when Tasman and Kylie also voiced their concerns that she responded with:

“Hey, maybe we should take Dainam along: after all he speaks the lingo which is more than we do.”

So it seemed that the decision had been made – in my favour.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

These books were actually written ten years apart. The former was polished somewhat and re-issued in 2014, following the completion of the latter. Both are available at most e-book suppliers. The paperbacks at Lulu.com (see side bar).

 

RERB: Ridiculous Error Rectified Brilliantly

Er, was anyone paying attention during Parts 29 and 30 of The Grand Tour? I ask that question because it became glaringly clear to me (as I planned Part 31) that your favourite author had made one heck of a boo-boo. After writing tales of earpluggish derring-do over the period of four years, he completely forgot what two of his central characters looked like. Namely Chester and Miles. This is how they appeared throughout the entire span of Earplug Adventures…

This is how they appeared in Parts 29 & 30…

What the hell is going on? Well, if you want to see the best excuse that rectifies this ridiculous error ever, go look at episode 31. You won’t be disappointed. Then try to tell me that I’m not a literary genius.  

Cricetinae Fictionem – or Something Like That: 20

And so – to the twentieth extract from one of these wondrous tomes…

As the cover photos suggest, this particular excerpt comes from Fanfare for the Common Hamster. And very nice it is too…

Quentin Blackheart was now in a quandary: Once more he’d been ordered to exterminate a large group of individuals: and once more he found himself unequal to the task.

“I’ll tell you what,” he shouted at the guards and lawmen that surrounded the captive Stix and their sympathisers, and who felt just as uncertain as their captain, “you lot get off down to the bakery and get yourselves some sausage rolls for breakfast: I’ll wipe out this lot with my mighty sword and powerful arm muscles by myself. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Oh, and by the way – leave the door unlocked: my paws might be so bloodied and coated in distasteful gore that I won’t be able to turn the lock when I try to leave.”

Naturally everyone quaked in his or her boots initially; but when, after the last guard had tromped out, Blackheart said, “Now bugger off, the lot of you. Remain out of trouble, and stay incognito if you can. Just let the situation cool. Don’t go antagonising the Law Master. So no trying to bust up The Wheel for a while. Now get the fluff out – before anyone comes back to witness the executions!” that they all relaxed and fell into each other’s arms with relief.

Joan couldn’t help but notice that she’d automatically fallen in Rootley’s direction, and that he had fallen into hers. She also couldn’t help but notice that he’d collapsed under her weight, and that they now lay upon the floor in, what some might have described as, a compromising position.

Darkwood certainly did, and consequently had them both hoisted upright by Brother Alfonso.

“You heard what the kind captain said: ” He said shrilly, “Let’s run away.”

So, without another word, they filed out of the building via the rear entrance, which was seldom used and was partially blocked by stinging nettles and a family of very cross Garden Cross spiders.

The delay gave Blackheart his opportunity for a final request…

“If any of you happen to get recaptured, you won’t mention this little episode? The Law Master will have me slain in your places – and there’s loads of you.”

 

Night had fallen once more before the four hamsters dared emerge from the cover of the nettle patch. When eventually they did, it was with mixed emotions. Ideally they should have made best speed for Weasels Pit, and for Joan to once more make an attempt to return home: But the memory of Tybrow Mooney’s actions had buried itself so deeply within their collective hide that they couldn’t leave without doing something about it.

“I say we corner the bastard on a dark alley, and beat him to a pulp!” Rootley dared a yell into the darkness.

“No, no, no:” Brother Alfonso introduced a counter-suggestion, “I say we hang him from the abbey spire – by his escroto!”

“I agree,” Darkwood nodded vigorously, “but not before we learn the whereabouts of his wealth: I know that it’s my father’s most fervent wish to reclaim, from the pawnbrokers, his toilet painting kit.”

“Aren’t we getting ahead of ourselves?” Joan interjected, “We don’t even know where he is?”

Darkwood looked at Joan with pity – though fortunately Joan couldn’t see it due to the darkness.                                                                                                                                

“My dear Walker-Between-Worlds,” He sighed, “He owns the Rancid Maggot Inn: He’ll be there – plotting his revenge for the gross mistreatment that he received from the Law Master.”

“Oh, yeah.” Joan immediately cheered up, “I hadn’t thought of that.”

And she really hadn’t either: She didn’t believe in revenge: Hamsters seldom did: they preferred a cup of hot chocolate and a nice DVD to watch. Especially ones with immigrant gerbils for a mother.

Now it was Joan’s turn to sigh: Oh, how she longed for a cup of hot chocolate and a nice DVD to watch. Then she had another thought, and it concerned Rootley and some rampant non-reproductive sexual intercourse. And this thought blew the first thought into the weeds. But both were interrupted when Alfonso hissed – then pointed in the direction of The Rancid Maggot Inn.

A flickering light had appeared in an upper floor window. It was time to act!

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013