Distant Land (part 40)

…the girls clambered out from the crevasse. Weevil ‘harrumphed’ loudly from the tail-gunner’s position; then complained: “When I joined the Geisha Adventure team, I never expected to use pitons, crampons, and other climbing paraphernalia. My dainty Geisha clogs are utterly ruined. And I had to pay for them, out of my wages, too! You know, I’ve a good mind to quit.”

“Oh, don’t do anything rash.” Maureen warned her colleague…

“Indeed, Weevil.” Yaki said through a hidden smile. “It’s an awfully long way back to the Museum of Future Technology. Wouldn’t you rather ride in my nice warm armoured personnel carrier?”

Weevil might have been feeling disenchanted with her choice of career; but she wasn’t stupid. “Did I say ‘Quit‘? Of course I was referring to smoking. Clogged lungs play merry havoc with assailing precipitous rock faces and the like.”

So, moments later…

…Yaki was guiding her vehicle home. But conditions had worsened during the course of her rescue mission…

…and the motor struggled with frozen coolant pipes. Worse still…

…the deepening snow had sucked some of the oxygen out of the air – further reducing the efficiency of the carrier’s power plant. In fact Yaki was getting decidedly flappy in the undergarments department, as…

…her vision slowly blurred in the terrible conditions. But she thankfully gave up a prayer to the Saint of All Earplugs as her vehicle stuttered to a halt only slightly short of her carport.

“Quick, everyone.” She shouted whilst dismounting. “Get indoors, before our knickers freeze to our buttocks like superglue!”

Naturally no one wasted a nanosecond…

…and within five minutes Yaki had returned to Valerie…

“Well, Val,” She said – in far better frame of mind since the safe return of her Geishas, “now we can enjoy the snow. Let’s get outside and winter boogie!”

So they did…

…and they both enjoyed themselves enormously.

Whilst the curvaceous beauties frolicked without shame, former space-plugs, Richter and Beaufort, were en route to their rented rooms…

“What do you think of Whoops Brannigan’s plan, Beau?” Richter asked his brother.

And Beaufort replied: “It’s the end of the world – and we’re running away. It doesn’t feel right at all. How will history judge us? How will anyone from the future know that we were ever here? It’s like becoming extinct – but without dying. Can’t say I’m keen at all: but what other choice do we have? I just hope they have toilets in the alternate quantum reality: I hate pooping in ditches!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

 

Hard Work Worked Harder Still

Okay, I’m on a roll. Yes, I’ve re-worked the third book in the Junior Earplug Adventures series. This e-book…

…is now available in it’s new & improved form (both visual and literary) at Lulu and iBooks. Like those that came before it, it’s wonderful in every single way imaginable. Here’s a montage, lovingly assembled by the author himself…

Hard Work Worked Harder

Following the minor success of retouching The Museum of Future Technology, I’ve been at it again, with the second book in the series – namely this one…

Naturally I’ve re-published it, with all the pictures made-over and looking lovely. Here’s a sample…

The story picks up EXACTLY where the first ended, so there’s no need of a reprise. Of course it’s charming and of the highest literary quality imaginable. Check out Lulu (on the sidebar or beneath the header) to see it in all it’s glory.

Distant Land (part 39)

Princess Cake told the brief tale of George Tweedy and his son, Aswara, who had tried tirelessly to reach the sanctuary of the Museum of Future Technology. But as tireless as the young Aswara was, George’s extra years did not work in his favour, and soon his tortured body fell to the snow-strewn ground…

“Oh, Father.” Aswara had cried. “You must be strong. Stand up and continue the struggle.”

“No.” George had replied. “I’m done for. Go on without me. I bequeath you my corregated bike shed manufacturing facility to you. Carry on the business in my name. Would you do that for me?”

Aswara was taken aback by his father’s capitulation to the elements…

But he also quite fancied being the boss of a factory – even if said factory was buried beneath several metres of snow and ice. “Oh.” He said. “Is it alright if I paint them yellow?They might show up better in the snow.”

“Orange.” George had replied. “Less aesthetically pleasing: but more vibrant. Of course it’s only a suggestion.”

“Which proves,” Princess Cake concluded – all too quickly, or so thought Richter, “that earplugs will always continue to uphold their conventions and do their duty, even when the situation seems dire and the problems insurmountable.”

She then went on to tell the tale of Yaki Hogwashi, a Geisha Adventure Team Leader, who (along with her latest recruit, Valerie Perkins) were standing at Geisha HQ’s window when the trans-dimensional disaster had struck…

Valerie was overwhelmed for a moment; but Yaki reacted with admirable alacrity…

“Flipping heck, Val.” She said. “How long has it been snowing now? Five – six hours? Perhaps we should go outside and check out the temperature.”

“Oh, Geisha Boss Yaki,” Valerie squealed, “my little wooden geisha shoes are totally unsuited to these inclement conditions. In short: my toes are becoming solid and are threatening to become frostbitten and gangrenous. Please let’s go back inside.”

Valerie’s timing couldn’t have been more…er…timely: it made Yaki consider something that hadn’t occurred to her, but should have…

“Flip me over backwards!” She exclaimed. “The sudden climatic change has addled my mind. I completely forgot the Adventure Geisha Team. They’re up in the mountains, serving green tea to some male business earplugs and dispensing other niceties and looking demure and pleasant. I suppose I’d better see if I can find them. They won’t last long in this weather – even with their kimono’s internal heaters turned up to ‘max’.”

So, without thought for her own safety, she raced to the garage and leapt aboard her armoured personnel carrier…

…which, without hesitation, she gunned out into the snow storm and raced away at breakneck speed…

“Hold on, girls.” She yelled against the incessant wind. “Yaki Hogwashi’s on her way.”

Fortunately the mountains stood a short distance from the museum, and soon she closed upon her destination…

Slowing to a halt, she dropped from the vehicle and began wading through the snow drifts…

“Weevil.” She cried. “Consumpta. Maureen. Where are you?”

She then paused to listen for plaintiff calls for help. Moments later she spotted her ‘girls’, lower, beneath her, in a crevasse…

“Oh, Geisha Boss,” One of them, who might have been Consumpta, cried hysterically…

…we’re down here. Our clients escaped via helicopter; but we were considered worthless scum and not worth saving. Fortunately their craft was caught in a waterspout and they were dashed against a mountain, where the helicopter’s fuel tanks ruptured and the resultant explosion destroyed it entirely. Heck, are we glad to see you!”

Yaki cared nothing for the absent clients: they’d payed in advance, so she’d lost nothing. But her team were another thing. “Hang on in there.” She bellowed.” I’m coming for you!”

And so the struggle towards salvation began. Many times they stumbled and fell back; but eventually…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

Bottom of the Freezer Cooking (with your chef Tooty Nolan)

Everyone knows how easy it is to fill the family freezer to bursting point. Miss-matched items just seem to proliferate behind our backs. Well I’m not immune myself. In fact I’m so un-immune that I had to buy a second freezer – which quickly duplicated the first. The kitchen cupboards aren’t any better. If anything, they’re actually worst. I had to build some hidden shelving, just to house the tins of baked beans,chopped tomatoes, pasta, and sweet and sour sauce that were threatening to tear the high-level units off the wall. And I don’t want to think about what’s lurking in the cupboard under the stairs! So, recently, I thought the time was right for a purge. I don’t mean throwing good food away: I mean using the stuff up, irrespective of it’s suitability. And just to show you well it can work, if a little imagination is used, here is the photographic journey of last night’s meal that I shared with my two hungry children.

First up I thought I’d use some sausages that were so ghastly when we first tried them, a couple of years ago, that we vowed never to touch them again…

A quick defrost in the microwave and an even quicker chop…

Then its virgin olive oil in the pan…

Turn on the gas at a medium heat…

…and start sizzling…

And just to prove that it really is your favourite author doing all the donkey work…

Next up is pretty obvious. It has to be that split bag of potato and leek soup mix vegetables…

In it goes…

Crikey, those potatoes are gonna take some cooking!

Okay, now for the wall units. Ah, what’s this? Perfect – that’s what it is…

Right then – chuck it in…

Nice, but not quite there yet. I know: there must be five or six packs of that freezer-burnt pulled ham in the bottom drawer…

Yup – in that goes too…

But wait – those potatoes are still half-raw. Some boiling water should take care of that..,

Simmer for eternity…

Then select a bed upon which to lay this fabulous concoction…

Kinda similar: They’ll do – especially since they’ll take a mere four minutes in the microwave to cook. And they did too…

May I present Tooty’s Cat Sick Supper. Weird, but wonderful. Well, edible anyway. Which shows that if the sauce is strong enough, any old crap will make a tasty meal.

Distant Land (part 38)

Of course, being power generation engineers, Beaufort and Richter knew their way around the back alleys and secret conduits of the maintenance department like the back of their hand. Despite this, Beaufort was a little surprised to find himself standing atop the Mud Village exhibit, which hailed from a future era in which everyone became fervently ecological and gave up concrete and bricks for several generations, until one particularly wet night when every house in the world dissolved back into slimy soil and people were forced to sleep under hedges, straw bales, and raffia mats…

What surprised him less was the sight of the barely visible electromagnetic defensive screen that had been erected to ward off the dramatic climatic change.

“That must take almost every erg of energy the museum can produce.” He exclaimed. “But how long can they keep it up? Eventually it’s bound to fail. Then it’s curtains for everyone. Oh lummy, Richter: we’re gonna die. And after all we’ve been through too. It isn’t fair!”

But Richter was less pessimistic: “Oh I don’t know: those scientists are a clever bunch of so-and-so’s: one of them is bound to think of something. Come on, let’s get inside the exhibit; then we can make our way into the museum proper.”

So with slightly gladdened hearts, the brothers proceeded…

It was a difficult descent down slippery steps that hadn’t benefited from dry-air dehumidifying since the crisis had begun…

But the brother’s ‘space legs’ served them well on the uneven treads; and soon they reached the bottom, where they knew of a fire exit…

…that would allow them entry into the main building…

“It’s certainly warmer in here.” Richter observed.

“Not for much longer.” Beaufort complained.

Nothing more was said until they approached the tunnel that took them within spitting distance of the royal palace. It was there that they heard a loud-speaker announcement, which informed them that their arrival had been detected and that they had been summoned to a meeting with the scientists and Princess Cake… 

“Ooh,” an impressed Richter said in a stage whisper, “they don’t miss much, do they!”

Naturally the brothers attended…

…and what they learned astonished them. Two things actually. One: Dennis Tawdry had run out of fresh underpants and had attended the meeting sans lingerie. Two: Princess Cake was delighted to announce that Whoops Brannigan’s team had calculated that, by using the same device with which they had accessed the alternate reality and caused global ruin, it was possible to send everyone into another – hopefully safer – dimension.

“Did you hear that, Richter.” Beaufort whispered as the others spent a few moments feeling self-satisfied and smug, “we can escape this living hell – soon to become a dying hell?”

Beaufort had; but he was more concerned that Dennis had nothing more than the material of his lab coat protecting them all from his hideous wind breaks. Then Princess Cake took a few moments to tell the boys a tale of bravery that she believed should be a source of inspiration for everyone. Two tales actually. One about a father and son: another about a beautiful female earplug who was the Mother Superior to a team of Adventure Geisha.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019 

 

Distant Land (part 37)

For a moment the brothers simply stood stock still and watched the storm rage beyond the transparent opening in the hull – known, technically at least, as a ‘window’…

“Okay.” Richter said with a shrug of his shoulders. “It’s not an experience I’d care to share either.” And he duly made tracks…

…towards the bulkhead door…

…which opened at his approach…

…and allowed ingress of only a tiny proportion of the bitter cold from outside…

It was several hours later that the brothers finally laid their plans for approaching the museum in relative safety. They decided to ride a low-altitude two-seater sky-cycle, which Richter was to pilot…

But when he read this message upon the dashboard…

…he was struck with the realization that any flight taken during a blizzard aboard the fair weather craft was doomed to failure. So (after cursing the sky-cycle’s designers) instead they…

…thought it best to test the strength of the frozen river, upon which the Gravity Whelk had landed.

“It’s a bit – you know – slushy, isn’t it?” Beaufort half-stated/ half-inquired.

Indeed it was. In fact they both wondered how the ship had remained upright on such structurally unsound footings. But then Beaufort slipped into the icy liquid accidentally and discovered that the river was actually very shallow…

“Hey,” Richter exclaimed. “That’s given me an idea.”

Three minutes later…

…the brothers were riding the ships’ life raft through the semi-frozen waters…

“Are you sure this river will take us to the Museum of Future Technology?” Beaufort asked from the forward passenger seat.

“Indubitably.” Richter replied. “It’s the source of the power generator’s coolant supply. I thought everyone knew that.”

Naturally Richter was entirely correct; and in a short while the flowing slush had carried the life raft to the outer walls of their destination, where they quickly disembarked before it transported them all the way to the distant frozen sea…

“Look.” Richter said with a triumphant squeal. “The emergency back door to the Maintenance Shed!”

And he was right…

“Quick.” Beaufort yelled, as he pushed past and dashed through the deepening snow towards the inviting entrance. “Without thermal underpants on, this weather is playing merry hell with my bladder!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

 

Distant Land (part 36)

Well, as luck would have it, someone had forgotten to switch off the museum’s Racing Plugmutt homing beacon. So, before very long, the Gravity Whelk’s atmospheric drive roared above the Museum of Future Technology in a blaze of fury…

“There it is.” Richter yelled in unadulterated joy. “Down there – below us. Call them up! Call them up!”

Beaufort was no less enthusiastic; so it was with dejection that he felt compelled to inform his brother of the radio silence that greeted his hail.

“Arse!” Richter yelled in disappointment. “I’m so disappointed I could cry. Try another pass: maybe someone will notice us out of their bathroom window.”

Beaufort had similar thoughts, and within seconds he’d instructed the Automatic Pilot to perform a U-turn…

“Best be careful.” The Automatic Pilot warned the siblings. “The Museum has automatic defences – against marauding aliens from outer space and suchlike. You don’t want to get us shot out of the sky, I hope.”

This was a situation that neither brother had considered. Now they did. “Take us somewhere else.” Richter yelped in an embarrassingly high pitched voice.

Beaufort took a second or two deliberating: “Somewhere nearby, but not too nearby.” He added.

So, moments later…

…the ship headed for the nearby hills, where…

…its sole occupants disembarked.

“Was our world ever this cold?” Richter asked as he stared at the snowy hills, beyond which their home lay quiescent and strangely foreboding.

“No.” Beaufort replied. “Not even during winter. Something happened while we were gallivanting about the Galaxy upon a fools’ errand. By the way – I wish I had some thermal underpants on.”

Richter felt much the same way. “Do we have any aboard ship?” He inquired.

Beaufort thought about the question…

“No.” He answered finally. “But if we visit a city, we might find some in a department store.”

Richter didn’t hesitate: “Let’s go!” He yelled.

But when the ship grounded once more – on the outskirts of the nearest city – Ciudad De Droxford – they discovered that it was…

…thoroughly snowed-in, ice-bound, and barely visible through the blizzard that greeted them.

“Arse again!” Richter growled as he and Beaufort looked out of the Viewing Room window…

Richter sighed. “I guess there’s no point in searching for survivors. Surely anyone with more than two brain cells would have made tracks to the Museum long ago.”

Beaufort also sighed. Then his gaze fell upon the Space Loo that glowed invitingly upon the other side of the Viewing Room. “Oh, that reminds me: I’m desperate for a pee. I hope you don’t mind, but I like to do it alone.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

Great Nook Spikes!

At first glance that title might appear nonsensical. Who is Great Nook and what has he/she spiked? Sadly it’s nothing so fascinating: just me bringing some book sales stats to your attention. It’s just that recently there has been a slight spike in my book sales – notably the ‘Silent’ books…

…which is excellent: they are (after all) my better work. But, in the time honoured fashion, all sales have been to Barnes & Noble Nook users. Once again the Kindle readers have been left languishing in their wake – having taken only the ‘freebie’ Junior Earplug Adventure e-books. Hip, hip, hooray to all you Nook readers: and yah-boo sucks to the freeloaders – unless you come back to buy some of the non-freebie tales, in which case I would have to tell you that I love each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. But, at the moment, I only love you from the heart of my bottom. So get on over to the sidebar (or the relevant page beneath the header above, if you’re using a tablet or phone to view this) and start selecting a wondrous e-tome or two. Stand out from the crowd why don’t you!

Dig the Pictures, Huh?

Are you one of those discerning types who actually like my photographs? If so, might I suggest that you visit my Flickr page. It’s really rather nice. Do what (to date) over 270,000 other discerning types have done. Yeah, I couldn’t believe that stat when I read it either. I had to get a colleague to check that I hadn’t gone mad. Oh, if only I could get those sort of numbers for my works of fiction!

Reading the Same Book Over and Over and Over Again

Sometimes you discover a book that you just know you’ll never give away. It doesn’t have to be a great work of literary art (like wot my books is), but nevertheless it just seems to resonate with you. Ever done that? In my case it was an early work of Isaac Asimov. I’d discovered his writing through a teenage boys’ magazine entitled Speed and Power. The publication was shite; but it did include short stories by famous science-fiction writers, which caught my attention. Well, quick as you like, they had me hooked. In the case of Asimov’s entry in the aforementioned magazine, it was the author’s least favourite story (in fact he couldn’t stand it, and confessed a sense of embarrassment when he read it) called The Weapon Too Dreadful to Use: and I thought it was fab – about a weapon that separated attacking spaceship pilots brains from the rest of their bodies – but without killing them. That was it: I was officially a sci-fi nut. So I absorbed everything I could find by the great author – starting with short story collections; then graduating to the novels – in this case, his first (as a very young man – barely out of his teens, I believe) – Pebble in the Sky. I read it first as a Seventeen year old. Then again at age Twenty-Two. Two decades later I read it once more. But still I couldn’t get rid of the book. I knew there was still some mileage in the ageing tome. So recently – again twenty years on – I treated myself over. And, you know, I still haven’t moved that book on to the next reader. In fact I’ve secreted it away in a safe place. Here’s a re-enactment of a 62 year-old Tooty discovering a line of dialogue that he recalled (for the third time) from his first reading – way back in the mid seventies…

I was going to suggest that I might read it again when I reach eighty-two: but looking at that grey beard of mine, it looks like I’ve already done it!

P.S Look at that classic 70’s book cover: they don’t make ’em like that any more.

P.P.S Back in the eighties I was once offered the opportunity to try out as an actor. Check out the scenery chewing in this shot. Fortunately, for the world of thespianism, I turned them down.

P.P.P.S I know there’s no such word as ‘thespianism’; but you know what I mean.

 

Early Work Gets a MASSIVE Makeover

For some while now the quality of my early Earplug Adventures – both script and photos – has concerned me. At the time (2014) I was dipping my metaphorical toe into the art and didn’t really know what to expect. I used a nasty cheap camera: I had a very limited supply of ‘actors’: my computer programs available to me were the basics that come with Windows 7: even my pens failed to write properly when I drew faces upon the the earplugs: and I didn’t have a story either. So I suppose its a surprise that I was able to produce The Museum of Future Technology at all. On top of that, for some reason, the photographic quality dipped further as I transferred the pictures from one file to another as they were integrated into the final manuscript. So I thought the time was right for a makeover. No re-shooting, obviously – that would take months: but a general clean up of the pictures – making facial characteristics clearer and adding a few special effects – and a re-jigging of some of the prose, was in order. Well its not yet complete, but here’s a sample of some of the pictures…

When its done I’ll pull the original version of the e-book, and replace it  with the new and improved version. You know, I might even label it as such. Good idea, yes? Will it be worth the effort?

Tooty