The Time Tamperer (part 24)

At, approximately, the same time, high above the Earth, Tanganika Chunks put the Deathwish into a shallow dive…

She then hovered above the mist-enshrouded city of Ciudad De Droxford…

In the flight control centre, three young scientists…

…monitored the telemetry from the Deathwish. Well two were: the third couldn’t bear to watch.

“Looking good, Tanganika,” Pelvac Throost, the space ship engineer from Wetworld, informed the pilot, “it’s A.O.K to go for the burn.”

“Roger that.” Tanganika’s brave voice replied from the radio speaker.

Moments later the Deathwish’s conventional rocket motor bellowed and roared as the ship climbed vertically…

Then Tanganika hit the ‘Go’ button on Dorkan and Dawlish’s new motor…

A split second later she reported…

…”Wheeee – I’m in orbit. Cor, it aint half funny up here. I don’t weigh anything. I wonder if farts linger longer in zero gravity.”

Talk of farts reminded Cushions Smethwyke that she was overdue for a visit to the toilet. So she hopped down from the Omnipresent Scanner, upon which she was following the Deathwish’s flight, and dashed to the nearest pissoire

But she wasn’t concerned: not only was the ship in question now stationary in space…

…but her cousin, Pillows Montgomery, had stepped into the momentary breech. And it was Pillows who noted the first manoeuvre of the new ship in the vacuum of space…

And it was just as Cushions flushed the lavatory that Pillows detected a movement in space, a short distance from the Deathwish…

“Argh!” She screamed. “Red alert! Red alert!”

Instantly the entire museum reacted…

…just in time to witness the opening of a rift from hyperspace…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

The Time Tamperer (part 23)

Whilst Tanganika was writing her footnote in the history books, in the Tubo Di Tempo room…

…the three Time Techs were feeling decidedly ‘icky’ about the recent news concerning the Tubo Di Tempo.

“Oh bummer.” Runt wailed. “It’s confirmed then: we’ve lost our customers!”

“Um, I guess so.” Gregor replied. “What the heck are we gonna do?”

“We need help.” Runt squeaked. “We need help now!”

Twinkles cleared his throat. When he felt he’d gained his colleague’s attention, he said: “With the Earplug Brothers absent, might I suggest we call in the agents of TWIT.”

It was a stupid idea, but in the absence of an alternative, Gregor decided to run with it. So, without further ado they collared a passing group of TWIT agents and told them the bad news…

 

Whilst the information was being imparted, in the TWIT headquarters – Swottan Hetty…

…Major Flaccid, Nature Beast, and another officer, whose name was instantly forgettable, were trying to find the ‘ON’ switch of their new control console. Sadly with limited success.

“Nature Beast shout loud at it.” Nature Beast offered.

“Hmmm,” Flaccid mused, “I think we’ll hold that plan in reserve. Try sticking something in that little hole to the left.”

But before the artificially created life-form could react, two TWIT agents entered the control room…

Grateful for the reprieve, the officers turned to meet them…

But when they heard the news about the missing customers, lumps formed in their fearful throats like huge, stodgy dumplings…

… and Nature Beast stood mute in horror.

“Oh lummy.” He managed, after a few seconds. “No customers: TWIT budget cut. Nature Beast out of work.”

But Flaccid was looking at the bigger picture. “Damn and blast.” He roared spectacularly. “This could bring ruin upon the M.O.F.T. I have pledged my life to protect this wonderful enterprise. We must act. We must act with a…er… concisement…unparalleled in recent history. Go.” He commanded the two TWIT agents. “We need young minds with fresh ideas. Imagination and daring too. Go fetch the new recruits.”

With only the slightest hesitation those same two TWIT agents turned to leave…

“At once, Major.” They said in unison. “Great idea.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

The Time Tamperer (part 22)

Time is a relative term inside a Tubo Di Tempo; a Tunnel Temporal; or any kind of time machine. But it seemed like seconds to the three kitchen staff before they reached the end of the long thin tube along which they had wandered; and as they emerged into…

“Wow.” Saxon Nibble said as he stepped down to the solid floor of some ‘other place’. “What just happened?”

“Not sure.” Duncan Propshaft replied as he stared with disbelief at an ancient control panel. “But when I was a kid, I remember being very impressed by this piece of kit. I just wish I knew what it was for.”

“Well now we’re here.” Wilson Bucket said from his slightly elevated position in the mouth of the Tunnel Temporal, “we might as well take a look around. It’s not like we can’t simply walk back the way we came when we’ve had enough.”

Of course neither Wilson or the others had any idea that they had travelled into the past. So it was with a sense of ‘adventurousness’ that they embarked upon a look around…

Meanwhile, in an era that the kitchen staff (had they been conversant with their true situation) would call their future, a crowd began to assemble…

Some of them took up positions in the lee of a stone wall…

…and waited with ill-disguised excitement. So ill-disguised was their excitement that a second group joined them in the protective cover afforded by the sturdy structure…

…though they didn’t share the supreme confidence of the first group. In fact some of them were downright nervous.

Closer to the impending event, some retired space travellers had donned their old space suits and congregated together to watch in fascination as Tanganika Chunks…

…launched the new space ship (named The Deathwish after its revolutionary engine designers, Dorkan and Dawlish Deathwish) skywards…

K’Plank the Space Wanderer waited in synchronous orbit above the Museum of Future Technology – just in case of the unlikely event of something going wrong…

It was to be a life boat for Tanganika. Soon the Deathwish had assumed level flight…

…and Tanganika reported that the ship flew straight and true. Naturally everyone below cheered: they were all certain that some disaster would befall the new vessel; they just didn’t know in what form it would come.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

The Time Tamperer (part 21)

In the captive earplug’s era, the three Time Techs were still familiarizing themselves with the intricacies of the Tubo Di Tempo…

Right in the middle of a heated conversation about the flapper valve interior donglette, the time machine activated…

“Ah-ha.” Twinkles Forgetmenot cried with glee. “It’s our time-travelling customers returned from the past!”

But, of course, he was in error…

…as the future Time Techs, Glumb Kimball and Hombolt Whale stepped into the present day.

“We have news.” Kimball announced. “Something inexplicable has happened. “The Tubo Di Tempo is playing silly buggers. Stuff sent into your past is disappearing – including the wonderful and mighty Piggies Du Pong.”

A brief silence followed. It ended with a quiet: “Oh dear.” from Runt.

“What do you expect us to do about it?” Gregor Koch said in his best demanding tone.

“Well,” a somewhat surprised Hombolt replied, “we’d respectfully suggest that you stop using it – until we’ve figured out the ramifications and, possibly, rectify the situation.”

“Conference.” Gregor snapped; and the threesome went into an instant ‘conflab’…

“Should we mention the museum visitors?” Gregor inquired of his team mates.

Twinkles answered with a question of his own: “What would be gained from that?”

“They might be able to suggest something that would help us get our visitors back.” Runt suggested.

“We don’t know that they’re missing yet.” Twinkles argued. “They could be en route as we speak.”

“What if they’re not? Are you volunteering to go look for them?” Runt all but snarled at his careless, slip-shod colleague.

Twinkles didn’t reply: instead he turned with Gregor to face the futurians…

“Right.” Gregor said to them. “Duly noted. We’ll put up a temporary fence with a warning sign on it.”

“Excellent.” Glumb replied. “In that case we’ll be on our way.”

A moment later…

…the duo were on their way. But, rather stupidly, the trio of Time Techs failed to switch the wondrous device off; and whilst their backs were turned in whispered conversation, three museum visitors happened by…

And spotting the invitingly pleasant glow that emanated from the idling Tubo Di Tempo…

…Saxon Nibble, Duncan Propshaft, and Wilson Bucket stepped across its threshold, thereby activating the machinery of time travel…

“Ooh, this is nice.” Wilson observed. “Very warm and cosy. I wonder where it leads.”

Meanwhile, outside the Tubo’s field of influence…

…the Time Techs thought it best to switch the device off.

“There.” Gregor said confidently. “No one can get themselves into trouble now. Let’s go for a ghastly coffee at the Cafe Puke.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

The Time Tamperer (part 20)

At that precise moment, but far, far in the future, the two futuristic Time Techs – Glumb Kimball and Hombolt Whale – were enjoying an examination of an ancient and extremely crappy Anton Twerp piece of art that, somehow, had survived into that era. The two robotic guards watched them closely…

“Don’t touch.” The black guard snapped.

“It’s irreplaceable.” The white guard added.

“But I don’t want to touch it.” Hombolt complained. “I might catch something nasty from the past!”

Of course, what Hombolt didn’t know was that as he spoke, back in the past to which he referred, ‘things‘ weren’t going well for the time-travelling customers of the Museum of Future Technology. In fact ‘things‘ were going very badly indeed…

At first they were nonplussed…

Porceen Pillock was the first to speak: “Okay.” She said. “Does anyone have the first idea what just happened?”

“It’s a flipping force field!” Bunguy Jumpur exclaimed. “Someone explain the significance of it’s sudden appearance and the fact that it seems to encapsulate our entire group.”

“It’s a cage.” Peter Crushing said with a sigh. “We’ve been captured.”

“Flipping heck.” Rosie Stinkpipe responded to this awful news. “I didn’t expect this when paid my entry fee this morning. But who would do such a thing?”

The answer to her question came from an unexpected quarter: outside the impenetrable dome…

“Ah, that would be me.” An ageing red earplug with a white moustache shouted through the force field. “Sorry.”

“How dare you.” Clux tried to bellow; but, being a non-breathing zombie, had to make do with a breathless sigh. “Release us instantaneously – or I’ll drip moldy bodily fluids all over your shiny floor!”

To this the captor responded with a huge raspberry…

“But who are you?” Noodie Bumsho inquired.

“Yeah.” Randy Blueprint growled menacingly. “You look familiar. I’ve seen your stupid face and hideously drooping moustache before. I just can’t place it.”

“Me.” Randy’s jailer replied. “You don’t know me yet; but you will. So far I have only one claim to fame…

…I’m the reason you’re here. I’m Piggies Du Pong: I invented the Tubo Di Tempo.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

 

Cricetinae Fictionem – or Something Like That: 22

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

On this occasion I bring you an excerpt from ‘The Psychic Historian‘. Everybody shout: “Yeah!”

In the time-honoured fashion of hamsters, several members of the audience were caught napping when Sorbresto returned to the stage to continue the evening’s entertainment. Those who weren’t still in the toilets had actually fallen asleep. But not before gorging themselves upon Boney’s culinary efforts. The result of this was a mad rush to their seats as the Audience Recall Klaxon sounded. Sorbresto himself looked rested. In fact he appeared to have shed several grams, and even more years. He looked – Molly Horseblanket concluded – reinvigorated.

“I must have a word or two with that Yu Wah Wah-Wah. See if I can pick up a few tips” She said – leaning close to her son so that no one could over hear her lewdness.

Horatio was of the same opinion – and for a very similar reason. He could feel the steam building up pressure inside his underpants, and it was having an adverse effect upon his sentience. “Yuh.” He responded.

“Ladies and gentlehamsters. Dear, dear friends,” Sorbresto said as he bowed – before gazing about the returning audience, adding, “Do I have another volunteer?”

Several hamsters prodded their friends and neighbours – trying to cajole them into volunteering. But none were having it. Some even sat upon their paws in an effort to stop themselves from succumbing to peer-pressure. Then Lionel Flugelhorn, who also searched the crowd for a likely candidate, noticed the hurried entrance of a tiny dormouse. He recognized him as the seldom-seen Roosevelt Teabiscuit, of whom it was said, “He’s a funny little chap. Have you heard – some say he’s a psychic catalyst.” – which interested Lionel. So following the diminutive rodent’s trajectory, Lionel calculated that his seat must be somewhere in the region of Row G, Section Gertrude. Scanning the aforementioned area his eyes alighted upon the only empty seat – and there in the very next one sat the person he’d hoped to find there: Hamster Heath’s leading private detective – the floppy-hatted, huge-snouted, highly-preposterous, vaguely-effeminate, rampant female-rogering, flouncy blouse and devilish cravat-wearing,  Fabian Strangefellow. He turned to Colin, who appeared to have placed his higher brain functions in ‘idle’.

“Colin.” he whispered, “Turn your volume up to ‘max’, and call Fabian Strangefellow to the stage.”

Colin reanimated. “Oh do you think I should? He looks so poncey. Is he really ideal material?”

Receiving a vigorous nod of approval from Fanangy, who stood in the opposite wing, and was in the process of surreptitiously checking that she’d pulled her knickers up, Colin cleared his cybernetic throat, and boomed, “Oh look – we have ourselves a volunteer: It’s none other than Hamster Heath’s foremost private detective – Fabian Strangefellow!”

Well with an introduction like that, Fabian Strangefellow’s ego couldn’t possibly resist, and before long he found himself reclining upon Sorbresto’s sofa.

“Touch me where you will.” He instructed the sexually-sated alien hamster as he prodded and probed for a good contact point, “Nothing will disappoint you.”

And indeed nothing did disappoint. Within moments both hamsters had fallen into a psychic trance, and everyone’s attention was turned upon the TV monitor.

At first nothing was entirely clear to the watching audience. Everything appeared to be coloured green, and cloaked in shadow. Then, as a shaft of sunlight intruded, the picture became clearer, and it was evident that whosever eyes they were witnessing events through was either in an extremely large botanical garden, or was unfortunate enough to live in Deepest Jungle Land. Then the sound track activated, and everyone was certain that they were in for a treat: It was Deepest Jungle Land – where anything was possible – and was usually lethal too! 

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

If you’d like to discover how this fabulous story develops, the e-book is available at most e-book suppliers, which include all those mentioned on the sidebar to the right →

The Time Tamperer (part 19)

Meanwhile, Tanganika Chunks was attending a promotional TV shoot at the museum’s main entrance…

Of course, the Robot Ticket Collector and Robot Guide wanted to get in on the act…

If the TV reporter, Rupert Piles, cared, he certainly didn’t show it…

In fact he actually urged several passers-by to join in…

And why wouldn’t he: after all he specialized in crowd scenes…

But, as Tanganika was stirring up interest in her hugely anticipated test flight of the new space ship in one era; in another…

…the visitors from the future – believing in the old maxim that there is strength in numbers – reassembled in corridor 101, from where they could stand and watch the busy main thoroughfare below…

…and sigh with relief that, finally, normality had arrived. But that sense of well-being quickly evaporated when they turned into the Grand Hall…

“Uh-oh.” Danka hissed to Rosie. “Bet ya weren’t expecting that.”

“No.” She whispered back. “Not exactly.”

“If I recall my recent history correctly,” Peter Crushing said in a hushed tone, “the end cap invasion was defeated by the Earplug Brothers and some beach guys from the Iberian Peninsular.”

“Los Tapones De España.” Grimnax reminded him. “Their mother ship was shot down by a huge missile…

…So why is there a whole bunch of little orange space-invaders drilling in our Grand Hall?”

More questions would have spread through the group like a viral tornado, but Danka hushed them to silence when…

…one of the end caps became aware of their audience.

“Time to go, methinks.”She whispered.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

 

The Time Tamperer (part 18)

Meanwhile the RoboSecGua from the foyer, had finally remembered where former thespian and part-time curator, Sir Dodger Muir, lived. So it duly delivered his so-called daughter, Mincey, to the door of his apartment…

“Here we are.” It said – rather unnecessarily, or so thought Mincey.

“Lovely.” She replied. “It’s not very pretentious, is it? I mean, this hardly looks like the abode of a rich and famous ex-movie actor.”

“Movie star.” The RoboSecGua corrected the out-of-work actress – before touching the small white doorbell with its huge olfactory array.

Moments later…

“Mincey!” Sir Dodger bellowed as he stepped into the corridor. “It’s been years. What brings you to the Museum of Future Technology?”

“Why, Dad, I would have thought that was obvious.” She replied.

“Not to me.” A puzzled Sir Dodger responded. He then added: “Let’s walk and talk. I can still do that you know.”

So they did…

Naturally Mincey had one thought on her mind: a means of generating income. And she waited until the RoboSecGua had fallen far astern of them before bringing up the subject. It was a wise decision to distance herself from the security robot, because at that moment the star-struck RoboSecGua was in the act of encountering a stray plugmutt…

“Hello, little fellow.” It said in its best friendly tone, which wasn’t very friendly at all because its voice box was a low-grade type and could only produce a nasty, tinny monotone. “What is your name and are you doing out here on your own?”

Plugmutts, in general, possess a limited vocabulary and this one was no exception: “Heathrow.” It replied. “Heathrow out here – look for you.”

This reply surprised the RoboSecGua; plugmutts seldom sought out officers of the law. “I am surprised by your reply.” It said. “Plugmutts seldom seek out devices such as I. Why?”

“Beige female earplug.” Heathrow answered. “She bad news. She Sir Dodger’s estranged daughter. She no like famous movie stars. She jealous as heck. She want something. No trust her.”

This worried the RoboSecGua more than it cared to admit. “Flipping heck!” It exclaimed. “I hate to think what she might be doing to the wondrous Sir Dodger – as we speak!”

Well what Mincey was doing was not enjoying a guided tour, which included the amazing spectacles that were so powerful that they could see all the way around the world…

…and up the viewers trouser leg.

“By the Saint of All Earplugs.” Mincey squealed. “I had no idea my buttocks were so dimpled!”

But she felt more secure in her emotional state when they took a stroll towards the Future Alps Exhibit…

So it was then that she chose to drop her verbal bombshell: “Dad.” She began, “You know that you’re a museum curator and all that? Well, I was wondering…what with you being really old and stuff…might it be possible that you retire, or die or something, and give the job to me? I’ve got plans for this place; and I think that I’d do a much better job than that toothy git, Cushions Smethwyke. What do you think, Dad? Good idea, or what?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

 

The Time Tamperer (part 17)

Whilst Clux, Grimnax and Bunguy fled in terror, at a very specific point in the future…

…the three kitchen staff from Ciudad De Droxford – those being Wilson Bucket, Duncan Propshaft, and Saxon Nibbles – had arrived at the entrance of the Museum of Future Technology, during the late afternoon. The Robot Ticket Collector approached them like a ravenous shark.

“Gentleplugs.” He smarmed horrendously, “Though the hour is late, you are all welcome. We have copious Bed and Breakfast facilities. You can start your tour tonight; and complete it tomorrow – or the next day if necessary. Now what were you hoping to see inside?”

Captain Sinclair Brooch had warned the threesome of the Robot Ticket Collector’s question. As a result they had their answers ready. Since Wilson stood closest, it was he who answered first: “I would most like to see a really busy thoroughfare…

…You don’t get to see many in my line of business.” He explained.

If a Robot Ticket Collector could sound disappointed, Wilson was hearing it for the first time: “Really?” The automaton replied. “A busy thoroughfare?”

Wilson nodded enthusiastically. “With at least five people on it.” He said, in the hope that a more specific request might, more readily, be granted. “Six maybe – at a push.”

The Robot Ticket Collector decided to move on. “What about you, short-house?” It asked Duncan, rather rudely – or so thought Wilson.

Duncan was ready for it:  “Show me a…

…gigantic Orange End Cap mother ship crash upon the Woven Expanse and spill it’s terrified and thoroughly demoralised crew through a multitude of escape ports.”

The fixed smile on the Robot Ticket Collector’s face perfectly reflected the mechanical marvel’s state of mind. “Great.” It said. “We just happen to have a Three-D representation of the End Cap invasion from Hyperspace from a few years back. It features just such an event.”

Saxon was surprised by this revelation; but he didn’t let it put him off: “Yeah, and ya know what I wanna see, tin-plug?”

It was a rhetorical question; but what he didn’t know was that the Robot Ticket Collector could read minds: “Sho’nuf do baby.” It replied before Saxon could deliver the punchline, “You dig the idea of…

…attending a Sewage Workers Union meeting in their basement bunker beneath the museum’s futuristic sewage works. All fine examples of inquiring minds. Well done: you may now enter.”

So they did…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

The Time Tamperer (part 16)

For a moment the scene resembled a tableau. No one appeared to move more than an occasional involuntary twitchy-nose muscle. But then one of the young rubber bungs caught a whiff of Peter’s cheap cologne…

His resulting scream of olfactory horror galvanized the blue-eyed monstrosity in the driver’s seat into a series of spasms. This movement resulted in the successful by-passing of the nuclear engine’s security lock-out; and moments later…

…the quartet were racing away along the thoroughfare in their stolen buggy. Turning back in the direction in which they had come, the still-gaseous Peter concluded…

…”Well at least that proves we’re not the only living beings here. The place isn’t deserted after all.”

“Maybe it is.” Munqui disagreed. “Perhaps the rubber bungs broke in through a tear in the perimeter fence; then through a roof light, left open carelessly by whomever last used the roller skate shed; and thence to this place.”

Rosie Stinkpipe was very impressed with her fellow-visitor, whom she’d not met before. “I’m very impressed with you, Munqui.” She said over her shoulder. “When this is over and we’ve all returned to our correct place in space/time, I’ll have a job waiting for you at my company. We make the prettiest panties in all creation. And they’re quite comfortable too.”

Munqui didn’t reply immediately. This was because the focus of attention had shifted to Porceen Pillock, Nobby De Aranquez, and Danka Sixpack, who were now entering the Fort Balderdash exhibit…

“Ooh,” Nobby said appreciatively, “I’ve seen this place on the promo-videos: it always seemed so popular in them. Where is everybody?”

“Same place as everybody else, I guess.” Porceen half-answered. “Not here, anyway.”

“Someone screwed up royally.” Danka snarled. “If this is the past, it sure isn’t one I remember. We’ll not find the truth wandering around the exhibits. Let’s get back to the others.”

Meanwhile the two zombies, Grimnax and a Clux were exploring with Bunguy Jumpur,  when they discovered something quite disturbing …

 

“Disturbed, right?” Clux inquired of Bunguy. “Not what any of us were expecting, I think you’ll agree.”

And indeed it was…

…because what all three earplugs were witnessing was a bunch of blue engineer End Caps maneuvering an anti-aircraft atomic cannon.

“Blue end caps?” Grimnax inquired. “Since when did blue end caps work here?”

Perhaps the normally breathless zombie croaked louder than he intended; or perhaps blue end caps possess really acute hearing. But whichever it was, they heard him. So, in the time it takes for a bunch of blue end caps to maneuver an anti-aircraft atomic cannon through approximately ninety degrees…

…the bunch of blue end caps did just that; and the three earplugs got the heck outta there pronto.   

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

 

The Time Tamperer (part 15)

Fortunately the Sentinel Robots hovered by without noticing the newcomers as they shrunk against the wall; and so the band of intrepid earplugs moved on – only to find an Android Generation Booth…

Initially they felt some relief at the discovery: biological androids were, after all, almost living beings. Suddenly the earplugs felt a whole lot less alone. But then Edie Chalice had a sudden and terrible realisation…

“By the Flipping Saint of All Flipping Earplugs.” She wailed, as she recalled once seeing an Android Regeneration Booth in action…

…”Android Regeneration Booths only work on silver cybernetic androids. These are turquoise biological androids: they can’t be regenerated. This doesn’t make sense. I think I’m losing my mind. Let’s get back to the time machine and dial the future!”

But, of course, they could do no such thing: they had expected to find Tunnel Temporal technicians present to send them back to their correct era: none of them knew the first thing about the machine’s knobs, buttons, and dials. For Edie, Dina, and the others, the situation was quickly going from bad to worse. So they decided to separate and go search in small groups. Peter Crushing teamed up with Randy Blueprint and Noodie Bumsho and crossed the bridge into the Future Alps exhibit, which represented a distant version of the Alpine mountain range, long after it had been eroded flat by wind and weather and geological stuff…

But when they arrived they discovered that the refrigeration had been switched off…

“The ice is thawing fast.” Peter noted. “What does that suggest?”

“Someone didn’t pay their electricity bill?” Noodie suggested.

“The museum isn’t open to the public.” Randy answered.

“Correct.” Peter said. “And do either of you recall a time when that ever happened? Even attacks from hyper space wouldn’t force the curators to stop taking earplug’s money.”

But a slightly windy Peter was less certain of his theory when, whilst out searching with a team in which a traumatized Noodie Bumsho had been replaced with Rosie Stinkpipe and the disinterested Randy Blueprint with Munqui Bannister…

…they stumbled upon…

…four adolescent Rubber Bungs hot-wiring a parked hover buggy.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

 

Creativity, Effort, Time, and a Little Money

An Earplug Adventure doesn’t start with this author’s flashes of literary inspiration: it begins with one (or more) of these…

Being an Earplug Adventure it naturally follows that the aforementioned author must purchase some of these…

Lots actually. Then there’s the time and effort of combining these two facets, which includes the preparation of the latter…

…and the application of the former…

Not forgetting all the models, props, locations and backdrops…

So, having completed all his tasks, the author is now in possession of several hundred photographs: what does he do with them? He story-boards them, that’s what…

…before uploading them to WordPress in the correct order, where they are integrated into the wondrous tale that he has thought up in between times…

From there the episodes are integrated into one multi-megabyte manuscript; and just before the last couple of episodes are posted upon the Internet, the whole darned thing is published as an E-book…

…via Lulu.com.

So far, so good, huh? Well you’d be right: it is good. Very good, in fact. Great fun for this author; and (hopefully) not a complete waste of time for you, the reader. But there is a ‘but’. And the ‘but’ is…oh dear, I’ve seen the following plea discharged by far better authors than I, and I know it wasn’t much fun for them either – none of this comes cheap; not when you add up the time it takes to complete a tale, or the materials required to do it. Naturally I understand that the average Earplug Adventure must appeal to a very small demographic – it is, after all, somewhat off-the-wall – BUT (here it comes) if each of you, who enjoy these very silly stories, were to buy a copy of your favourite book, the resulting remuneration to me, from the publishers, would make the whole effort that little bit easier. There, how mercenary of me was that!. All the books are available on Lulu. Many can be obtained from Kobo, Barnes & Noble, iTunes/iBookstore, Amazon and the rest; so it’s not like they’re hard to find. And, who knows, maybe you could share the book with your friends. Show them what fabulous taste you have. Don’t forget, if you’ve read this, you’re probably an Earplugger already: it would be remiss of you NOT to have at least one Earplug Adventure in your collection. Go on – you know it makes sense!

 

 

The Time Tamperer (part 14)

Whilst the Time Techs failed in their effort to fret about the potential dangers of using the Tubo Di Tempo, their ‘guests‘ began arriving in the past. But quite ‘when‘ in the past, none of them knew…

“It smells funny.” The green-eyed Rosie Stinkpipe observed.

“I like funny smells.” The black, white-eyed, Nobby De Aranquez informed Noodie Bumsho. And the pink Danka Sixpack told her friend, Dina Havoc, that she considered the decor to be amongst the finest that she had ever seen. But Dina didn’t get the chance to reply because Porceen Pillock was keen to exit the Tunnel Temporal (for that is what the earplug party found themselves inside during this past era in which the Tubo Di Tempo was yet to be invented) before it switched off and left her in temporal limbo, from which, she feared, she would never return.

“Shift, Dina.”She snarled. “I’m not keen on being erased from existence.”

Shortly after exiting the Tunnel Temporal department, the entire group was surprised to discover the normally busy corridor empty of museum personnel or visitors…

The subdued lighting concerned them too.

“I’m concerned.” The pale-coloured Grimnax informed Dina Havoc. “I’m a depressed voluntary Zombie; but even I feel uncomfortable in this subdued lighting.”

Grimnax’s grey zombie pal, Clux, felt much the same way as he stared into the impenetrable shadows. “Yeah.” He agreed. “If I had any blood in my non-functioning circulatory system, it would run cold.”

But the situation improved considerably when they discovered a futuristic urinal…

Naturally, being male earplugs, Peter Crushing and Nobby De Aranquez used it instantly.

From there, and with their spirits rising, the party proceeded, at random, to Corridor 102, where they encountered the infamous EvilRoboSecGua…

…as it led a team of RoboSecGuas…

…upon some unimaginable mission. Of course the earplugs tried smiling and doing other things to gain the RoboSecGuas attention, but within seconds they found themselves alone and so moved on to Corridor 101A…

…which, initially at least, appeared to be deserted. But then two figures entered from a side corridor. And to the earplug’s horror, they were none other than…

…invading Sentinel Robots from the future.

“Argh!” They cried as one. “We’ve arrived in an era when the museum has been invaded. If we remember our history lessons correctly, we’re surely doomed!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

The Time Tamperer (part 13)

Naturally Cushions had the security forces round-up a number of the morning’s intake of visitors. Fellow curator, Winston Gloryhole appeared uncomfortable when he and Cushions were required to answer some searching questions…

“How do we know it’s safe?” The white female named Dina Havoc demanded.

“That’s right,” the vaguely brownish-purple Edie Chalice threw in her two penny-worth. “This is a new and un-tested technology.”

“Yeah.” The helmet-wearing Peter Crushing added as he gazed upon P.C Wilts shiny police helmet with avarice in his eyes. “Just coz it works in the future, it don’t mean it’ll work in this era.”

“We’re not stupid.” The yellow-headed Noodie Bumsho snapped angrily. “We know what you’re up to. We’re just a bunch of unpaid test dummies.”

Several times the turquoise android curator, Montagu, tried to interrupt the tide of accusations. But despite his best attempts, which consisted mostly of “Excuse me,” and “Oh for flip’s sake!”, the barrage continued:

“You ought to be taken out and shot.” the small mauve guest, Bungay Jumpur snarled from behind Edie Chalice. “We’ve spent our hard earned cash to come here today; and all you want to do is get us killed in an experimental time machine.”

“It’s not good enough.” The tall yellow earplug with blazing red eyes, named Randy Blueprint, bellowed as he stood beside the inactive Tubo Di Tempo. “We demand an immediate apology.”

“And our money back too.” The immeasurably sad-looking blue earplug named Porceen Pillock suggested in a manner that couldn’t be ignored. “With an ice cream cone from Cafe Puke thrown in for good measure.”

Cushions cast a quick glance at Hunting Provost. At first his grin appeared to be fixed, much like that of a cheerful manikin. But when Cushions looked a little closer she noticed that his lips moved almost imperceptibly: “Tell them that we’re sending them to an era when custard wasn’t outlawed and that the Cafe Puke of that time was named Cafe Blancmange.” They said.

Cushions could see their potential wealth draining away before her eyes. “Custard.” She shouted. “It’s really tasty in the past.Vanilla. Chocolate. Rum and raisin. Turron, Honeycomb. Cinnamon. You name it; they’ve got it. And it’s free too.”

Moments later…

“Have fun.” Twinkles Forgetmenot called as the visitors moved by him into the Tubo Di Tempo. “Yum yum!”

And after the last visitor had disappeared into the past; and the curators had gone for a celebratory run across the Woven Expanse, Gregor, Twinkles, and Runt…

…congratulated themselves on a job well done. But, as they turned away…

…their smiles felt a little forced. Although not one of them would admit it to the others, they all shared the same nagging doubt: what if they had tightened one bolt too loosely? What if one of them had stripped back a length of insulation by one millimetre too much? What if one of them had crossed-polarised the jim-jam waffle valve? What might the result be? It didn’t bear thinking about. So they didn’t.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

 

The Time Tamperer (part 12)

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

The Time Tamperer (part 11)

Speaking of Cushions Smethwyke; the toothsome female was, at that very moment, assembling other curators about her to hear the words of the temporally trapped Time Tech from the future, Gregor Koch…

“Remember me?” He inquired rhetorically. “I’m one of the Time Techs from your future that were trapped here, in our past, when the Tunnel Temporal went ape and had to be shut down. Our names are, from left to right…

…Twinkles Forgetmenot, Runt, and me, Gregor Koch. As you probably recall, we were sent here when the Tunnel Temporal began acting like a total wally…

Sure, it was glowing nicely and actually worked perfectly well…

…but, as your maintenance crew quickly informed us, it was causing time storms that were pulling the place apart and displacing customers and staff through all of recorded time…

Naturally we went to work upon the tunnel, using our extensive knowledge of temporal mechanics and the application of futuristic stuff. But it did no good…

…and for the last three years we’ve been stuck in this temporal backwater. But now we’ve received a message via the carrier wave that has been kept running through the tunnel to stop it from collapsing completely. As a result of this I’d like to draw your attention to the wall screen.”

Naturally all the curators present turned to regard the aforementioned wall screen, which displayed the disabled Tunnel Temporal. And it was glowing alarmingly and smoking in a frighteningly spectacular manner…

“Yes.” Gregor said as everybody gasped in astonishment. “Yes, we’ve been instructed to destroy it.”

A split second later…

…the museum’s sole device for navigating the river of time exploded. Blam!

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

The Time Tamperer (part 10)

Meanwhile the Museum of Future Technology’s Artificial Intelligence…

…was spending the hours of daylight…

…reviewing the previous night’s security tapes. And what it saw didn’t alarm it in the least. There was the usual bout of flat-headed youngsters playing ‘Sardines‘…

…as flat-headed youngsters were often wont. There were other similarly cranially-equipped blue earplugs who enjoyed running really fast in pitch blackness and, as a result, often taking a nasty tumble…

“Dolly,” One of them cried out on this particular night, “are you horribly injured? Have you banged your knee or twisted your do-dah?”

The A.I continued to watch as the one named Dolly groaned mournfully. But it relaxed cybernetically as, following the application of boot to the backside, Dolly decided that she wasn’t quite as badly hurt as she chose to suggest and that she didn’t possess a doo-dah that could be twisted…

Flicking to another channel, the A.I night-vision camera captured the vile act of a graffiti artist at work…

And, had it been a living, breathing, being, it would have smiled as a security light illuminated the evil miscreant and made him feel like a complete twonk…

But it was surprised when, having tuned into the secret night-vision camera inside the curator’s domicile, he discovered that Cushions Smethwyke…

…was either a fan of the A.I itself, or…

…she had a ‘thing‘ for the Supreme Being, which, coincidentally, the A.I resembled closely. Either way, it meant that Cushions required further study; the museum simply couldn’t afford to have an unstable earplug in charge.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018