But Gregor wasn’t finished. There was far more interesting news for him to impart. “Yeah, right on. What a groove.” He said. “And there’s far more interesting news for me to impart too.”
With that he called in Police Constable Salisbury Wilts as a witness and led the curators to an adjacent room, where he introduced them to…
…Runt and Twinkles, who, in turn, presented a new piece of hardware.
“Ladies, Gentlemen, and P.C Wilts,” Runt spoke clearly above the building excitement that ran like a raspberry ripple through the assembled V.I.Ps, “may I present to you the Tubo Di Tempo. It’s a new, mini version of the Tunnel Temporal – designed by the brilliant Italian scientist, Piggies Du Pong.”
“If you don’t mind me saying,” the charming (if ancient) former movie star, Sir Dodger Muir…
…interrupted, “Piggies Du Pong doesn’t sound overtly Italian. Rather, I’d wager the fellow hails from either Belgium or France.”
“In your era, perhaps.” Runt replied. “But in Piggies’ era he’s Italian; so shut it, okay?”
Sir Dodger was about to author a dazzlingly witty riposte, when his train of thought was interrupted by the activation of the Tubo Di Tempo and the arrival of two bug-eyed weirdos from another time zone…
Instantly the newcomers addressed Cushions Smethwyke. With a curt bow the smaller-nosed of the couple introduced itself as Glumb Kimball and it’s huge-hootered associate as Hombolt Whale. “Greetings from the future.” It added. “What do you think of the Tubo Di Tempo?”
Cushions wasn’t sure how to respond: and P.C Wilts’ expression betrayed his instant dislike of the pretentious twerps from a clearly technologically superior era.
“Er…very nice.” She managed. Then growing in confidence she added: “A lovely shade of blue. My favourite. Well my second favorite actually. I’m rather partial to a warm orange glow.”
“How wonderful.” Hombolt Whale squeaked through it’s huge, but obviously restricted, snozzle. “Because when it’s turned on at this end it glows orange. Regarde s’il vous plaît.”
Moments later the Tubo Di Tempo did just as Hombolt had promised.
“There.” Sir Dodger grumbled. “Told you it was French.”
But even as the ageing thespian was speaking, so too was Glumb Kimball: “Well we’ve left a copy of the owners’ manual with your Time Techs, so, if its alright with you, we’ll be on our way to our own era. It’s much nicer there, by the way. By-ee.”
With that the time-travelling duo stepped into the tiny maw of the machine and disappeared in an instant…
Naturally Cushions rushed forward to deliver a blistering farewell insult, but she was too late and needed to be consoled by the former bounty hunter and part-time curator, Hunting Provost: “Don’t concern yourself, my delightful love interest.” He whispered into Cushions’ ear. “They were ugly sods with big bulgey eyes: the future’s welcome to them. And they’ve left us with something really valuable.”
“They have?” Cushions inquired as everyone crowded around to take a look at the wonder from the future…
“Of course.” Hunting spoke in a conspiratorial hush. “Now we can start charging visitors for trips into the Museum of Future Technology twice. Once in this era; and again when they go into the past. I bet, if we take a look at our bank accounts, we’ll find that we’ve already begun amassing a vast wealth before we’ve actually begun sending anyone through. All we need to do is actually set the metaphorical ball rolling. We need to find new-arrivals with no prior knowledge of our earlier time travelling problems.”
“Yeah.” Cushions replied as she let her gaze wander past Hunting. “People who aren’t scared of visiting the past and run the risk of getting stuck there. And I think I know the very people.”
© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018