Revel in the Ribaldry 13

The thirteenth excerpt from the Hamster-Sapiens series of e-books features this magnificent work…

Surely the greatest book about sentient hamsters that has – or will ever be – written. Well I think so anyway. It’s certainly my favourite. Here goes…

Several minutes were wasted as Sorbresto Titt scanned the mass of fur and flesh that sat before him – searching out an involuntary nervous twitch, or a stray mental burp. But his search was fruitless: Everyone appeared to have turned to stone, and their brain activity reduced to hibernation levels.

Then Lionel had an inspired thought…

“Hey,” he bellowed loudly into the microphone, “Did anyone notice that the last history lesson came from a location that lies north of Hamster Heath? Well it did – and there hasn’t been too many of them. In fact I can’t think of any at all. Now I wonder why that is?”

This was just the catalyst that Sorbresto had sought. Hamstery fugues were escaped, and the naturally inquisitive minds of the rodent crowd began to reassert themselves.

“Might be coz it’s bloody cold up in the north of Hamster-Britain.” Farmer Jacksey postulated his most recent theorem.

“Oh yes indeed.” Beryl Bogbreath threw her considerable weight behind Jacksey’s statement. “And in the Extreme North it’s cold enough to freeze your tits off in the winter – so they say. I’ve not been there, or anything; so I wouldn’t know from personal experience.”

Quite where this was leading was anyone’s guess – and pretty much everyone was figuring on it leading nowhere at all. But then Beryl had a second thought…

“Chester.” She squealed with a sudden recollection.

“Beryl.” Chester Bogbreath responded coolly.

“Didn’t your family come from somewhere north the northiest place of most northern Hamster-Britain?” Beryl asked/stated.

If a smile could resemble a drunkard’s vomit – that’s what the mayor’s smile did at that precise moment. Chester did indeed hail from the most northern extent of the land – and he’d been trying to hide the fact his entire political career. No hamster in modern times had admitted to being a furry northerner, and remained in office. And a matching accent was the purest form of poison known to political hamsterdom. Quite how his wife had discovered the identity of his forebears eluded him for the moment. Perhaps he’d spoken of his childhood whilst hopelessly drunk, or asleep, or during a moment of ecstasy. But whatever the reason – all of Hamster Heath were now aware of the fact.

‘Or are they?’ he thought secretly, ‘I could always deny it, and call my wife a stupid bitch. Yes that’s what I’ll do – only I’ll leave out the stupid bitch bit: That could lose me a few votes and a whole week’s rumpy-pumpy’.

“What, in the name of the Saint of All Hamsters’ made you think that, dear?” he said rather too loudly to be entirely convincing.

“Because it’s true.” Sorbresto called out clearly as he strode to the edge of the stage, and looked directly down upon Chester. He then tapped the side of his head, and whispered, “Psychic – remember?”

“Well of course you’re absolutely right.” The vomit-ridden smile turned mellifluous. “I have a proud heritage. The Extreme North is a wonderful place: Who wouldn’t be proud of a lineage that stretched in a northerly direction?”

“A proud heritage, eh?” Sorbresto said as he invited Chester to join him, “Let’s take a look, shall we? Or are you scared of what we might find?”

Chester could tell when he was being manipulated – and this strange alien hamster was very good at it. He was placing him in a virtually untenable situation. He couldn’t refuse – people would say, ‘what does he have to hide?’ Conversely if he accepted the challenge – everyone would soon learn that he really did have something to hide.

‘What’s best?’ He asked his inner self, ‘to have them suspect – or to have them know for certain? What might the ramifications be?’  His inner self answered in an instant. ‘If they suspect something – they’ll think that you’re a sneaky bastard. Chances are they won’t vote for you come election time – and some of the more argumentative types might assault you in the street – with their fists. But if you confess the terrible crime of your heritage – they’ll think that you’re  just about the most honest politician that they’ve ever met – vote you in for another term – and possibly Molly Horseblanket might caress your private parts for you in the sanctity of your mayoral limousine.’

Chester was shocked: He’d no inkling that he’d ever desired Molly Horseblanket – or any part-time prostitute for that matter. This inner revelation caused his tongue to betray him…

“What do you think I should do, Molly?” he whispered.

For the briefest moment Molly stood mute with surprise. She simply couldn’t understand why the mayor would be asking for her opinion. Then she noticed the tiniest amount of lolling in his tongue department – and like some form of carnal epiphany it all became clear to her. This was her chance to get on the inside of the local council, and she wasn’t going to blow the opportunity.

“Go for it, Chester.” She whispered back, and winked suggestively.

“I accept your challenge, strange alien hamster.” Chester announced as he clambered upon the stage. “Do your worst: This politician has nothing to hide.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Naturally this e-book is available at an e-book stockist of your choice. After seven years on release it’s pretty omnipresent.  But then, why wouldn’t it be? Quality always prevails.

Wallpaper 571: Field Scabious in Divine Light

After the funeral of my wife of Thirty-eight years, I decided to spend the following bright and blustery morning looking for one of her favourite wild flowers to photograph. It’s not really the time of the year for the little bloom, but recent excellent late summer weather had me hopeful. So, taking myself to open chalky downland I began my search. There were a few there, but they were scrawny, ill-fed, and barely recognizable. I was about to give up, when a shaft of light suddenly burst through a dense hedgerow – to reveal the very item I sought, waving back and forth in the stiff breeze. Divine light? I like to think so. Look…

 

Growing Old in a Single Season

I must admit that the Summer of 2020 was the worst period in my lifetime. I had to give up work (good) to nurse my ailing wife through her cancer treatment (less good), and, ultimately, its failure and her final days (devastating). Through it all Linzi and I encountered untold kindness and limitless caring from many, many sources. But, as the end approached, I noticed that much of the kindness was centered, more and more, upon me. It seemed that those responsible for that kindness had noticed something in me. A man at the end of his tether perhaps? But I couldn’t see or feel any difference in myself. I was getting by, wasn’t I? What is all the fuss about? Then, today (27/09/2020) I visited my local church and had my little Fujifilm take my picture in the vestibule. And when I saw the result, I realised why words and offers of help and comfort are my constant companion…

I’ve grown old.   

Unwelcome to the English Countryside

As I was driving through the English countryside, I thought I’d pause to take a few piccies of a nice river scene. But as I pulled into a dissused gateway that was overgrown with brambles, locked with a chain, and liberally wrapped in barbed wire, I got the distinct feeling that my presence wasn’t wanted…

So I parked anyway. But a few steps further on I discovered this…

Was paranoia threatening? Well you figure it out, because a few paces along the lane there was this to greet me…

This was accompanied by so many signs telling what I couldn’t do that it could only be considered overkill…

For a moment I considered pissing in their poxy river. But then I thought: “Oh bollocks to it: what’s the point?” and duly buggered off back to my own village, where people smile and say, “Good morning”. It appears that the English countryside (in the Meon Valley at least) is out of bounds for now.

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 66)

The Zephyr remained quiescent for another hour – cooling down and shedding any residual radiation. But shortly after fifteen o’clock a group of guards came for the thieves, and soon had them marching into a long, low-ceilinged room that lay in the heart of Scroton Prime – where they were surprised by a phalanx of Ethernet Cable Ends that stood silently at attention at either side of them…

Naturally the un-worldly-wise Gideon assumed the worst:

“Oh lummy, Flaxwell.” He groaned. “It’s a firing squad: and just to make sure they don’t miss, they’re going to shoot us from both sides!”

But Flaxwell wasn’t overly concerned: he’d already noticed the absence of weapons. He also noted that not one cable end looked grim and determined. Or if they did, it was because they weren’t used to standing to attention for any period of time beyond a couple of minutes, and their feet hurt like heck.

“Nah, Giddy.” He replied. “I don’t think so.”

This relieved Gideon somewhat, but a ripple through the right-hand rank made Flaxwell begin to question his optimism…

But a second ripple, through the left-hand rank, returned his sense of well-being. Clearly someone important was about to appear; and, as everyone knows, important people get less important people to do their dirty work for them…

And both earplugs confidence grew when a third earplug, who introduced herself and Wilma Lozenge – Ambassador from Earth, joined them in the spotlight…

“I’m here as a witness.” She said with a soothing tone of voice that Gideon, in particular, found most attractive.

“Goodie.” He said. “Wilma is such a lovely name.”

“Just not quite so sure about ‘Lozenge’.” Flaxwell joked.

But neither earplug was prepared for what happened next…

Walker Crabtrouser, the Chief of the Scrotonic Armed Forces, kissed them on both cheeks and said: “It is an honour – brave earplugs.”

Surprise then turned to astonishment, when the founding father of Scroton – The Golden One – or Nigel, as he preferred to be known – approached them…

As Nigel stopped before them, Gideon and Flaxwell gulped as one…

“I once knew Magnuss Earplug.” Nigel said to them. “I believe that we were friends. Well I let him use my lavatory several times, so I guess you could say we were friends. He was a great ally to Scroton – at a time when our fledgling world most needed one. Together we flew in Scoton’s first space vessel. It was quite a ride – I can tell you. And you’ve had quite a ride yourselves – so they tell me.”

Nigel paused – hopeful of some response. But Gideon and Flaxwell were too enthralled to think sensibly. “Ooh – right.” They said. “Yeah.”

The bright spotlight then dimmed…

“Doctor Gideon Snoot and Space Pilot Flaxwell Maltings,” the ancient cable end spoke with surprising volume, “you are exonerated from any blame regarding the ‘theft’ of the Scroton Five, henceforth to be known as ‘The Zephyr’, and the abduction of the vessel’s A.I – also known as The Oracle. Furthermore, you are both to be applauded for returning the aforementioned vessel – complete with special guest – that being The Portal of Everywhere.”

“Noodles.” Gideon interrupted.

“Noodles?” The Golden One questioned.

“Noodles?” Wilma Lozenge and Walker Crabtrouser queried as one.

“Poodles?” The twin phalanx of soldiery mumbled.

“No – Noodles.” Gideon corrected them.

“It’s all in the ship’s log.” Flaxwell offered. “I entered it when we were in hyper-space – just after escaping the pursuing Scroton Five.”

“Oh,” Nigel nodded his head in understanding. “Noodles it is then. I really must get someone to read that log. Quite an oversight on our part.”

Nigel then added:

“Now, if you would care to walk with me, I have someone who would like to have a little word in your ear.”

So they did…

…and before long they found themselves confronted by Captain Hissenfrapp…

…who introduced himself and his crew to the two earplugs.

“You two led me a merry dance.” He said. “By rights your atoms should be spread across the cosmos; but when my crew and I discovered that you had allies from an entirely higher plain of existence, we realised that resistance was futile, and so made directly for home.”

“Only to get straight into a fight.” Urchie Kakkapo chipped in.

This seemed to embolden the others.

“One we were quickly losing.” Nobbington Sprake added.

“Until you arrived with all blasters…ah…blasting.” Selma Ferkins said as she shivered with goose bumps at the recollection.

“Yeah,” the young midshipman, Willum Poobs said eloquently, “you blew the crap out of them. Their sort won’t bother Scroton again – I can tell you!”

“Oh, thanks very much.” Gideon replied. “It was a lucky shot. Well, when I say ‘lucky’: I was aiming. It’s not like I closed my eyes and hoped for the best or anything.

“No, I’m sure you weren’t.” Nigel said with a chuckle. “But neither of you needed to risk your lives in a fight that wasn’t yours. But you did: so if it’s alright with you, I’d like you to walk ahead of me…

…towards the exhibition hall.”

With twin fixed smiles the daring duo did just that.

“Why are we going to the exhibition hall, ah…Golden One?” Flaxwell asked.

“Because,” Nigel replied slowly, “you are going to be reunited with your ship and it’s crew.”

Our ship?” Gideon said incredulously. “You’re giving us the Zephyr?”

Both earplugs were so surprised that they began to dawdle. In fact they slowed so much that Nigel had to give them a gentle kick up the arse…

“Oh, I’m so happy,” Gideon yelled as the phalanx applauded their departure, “I could vomit!”

“Me too.” Flaxwell yelled back. “Only without the vomiting bit of course. Imagine the sort of places we’ll be able to go.”

“I am.” Gideon replied. “I am.”

And he was too!

The End

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

The three e-books that comprise this trilogy are dedicated to my late wife, Linzi, who (for years) not only put up with me shooting the pictures and writing Earplug Adventure manuscripts; but actively participated – finding props and earplugs for me.

 

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 65)

Before long the planetary tractor beam had pulled the Zephyr down to the surface. In fact the space craft had arrived in the industrialised zone of Scroton Prime…

…and now hovered scant microns from the hard concrete-like ground. Naturally Noodles – the Portal of Everywhere – was less than impressed with the smoke and particulates in the air, and duly said as much…

“A civilisation that relies upon agriculture is a civilisation that is going nowhere.” The Oracle argued. “Everyone knows that.”

“That’s right.” Gideon said from his seat beside Flaxwell. “I’m an anthroplugologist: I know all about this sort of thing. It doesn’t matter what life-form it is – without technology, its inhabitants will remain firmly planted in their point of origin – never learning anything of what lies beyond their horizon – both actual and mental.”

“Without industrialisation,” Flaxwell added, “you’d still be face-up in that ditch in the Balsac Nebula.”

“That would be the Great Balsac Nebula.” Noodles reminded the redundant pilot. “But I take your point. It’s just a pity that it has to be so harmful to those using it and the environment. And you’re wrong about all life-forms, Gideon. If I get the chance I’ll show you a species that grow earthquake-proof sky-scrapers out of their own excrement. Quite remarkable.”

“Also quite a business opportunity for any air freshener manufacturers too.” The Oracle quipped.

“Hmm,” Noodles replied, “you’ve got me thinking there. I can show you the pictures and present the sounds of anywhere in any era: but the aroma of a scene is always absent. An oversight, by my creators perhaps?”

“Maybe you could hand out some of those cards that people can scratch, then sniff the artificial pong that relates to the current scene.” Flaxwell suggested. “For example, were you to display the tower blocks made from plop, the scratch card could smell of…”

But he got no further, because the Zephyr was being drawn through the city at a most amazing velocity…

   

“Some ride!” Gideon remarked. “I wonder where it’s taking us.”

But then, just as quickly as it had begun, the journey ended…

“You realise where we are, don’t you, Giddy?” Flaxwell cried out.

“Oh, the irony of it.” Gideon replied. “Oracle – do the Cable Ends understand irony?”

“Irony?” The Oracle responded in a puzzled tone. “Is that a less advanced form of steely?”

“I imagine – if that is possible for a Portal of Everywhere,” Noodles spoke, “that the owners of this craft are merely being practical. This vessel is a sales model: it belongs upon a pedestal where prospective buyers can study it. Oh look, as usual, I’m right.”

With those words still reverberating around the control room in a cacophony of echoes, the Zephyr settled upon its plinth…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

Revel in the Ribaldry 12

The excerpt on this occasion must come from this book…

It’s the rules. As per usual  the selection is made by random chance. Good old random: you can always rely on him. Oh, look, here it is…

As per instructions from Fabian Strangefellow, Roosevelt Teabiscuit duly intercepted Felicity Bugler as she exited The Institute Of Hugely Important Studies, and was not surprised to be invited to walk the young dormouse home. Only when he discovered that they were well on their way towards the wastelands that bordered the petrified forest and The Green Mucus Home For Old Bastards did he begin to have misgivings concerning his employer’s plan. It was most decidedly the ‘wrong’ end of town in which to be found at night. But not all was doom and despondency for the small male dormouse: En route they encountered several roadside rhubarb trees, and despite her obvious attraction to him, at no time did Roosevelt feel the need to fight off Felicity’s ardent sexual advances because, of course, there were none. The reason for this became clear as they skirted the industrial estate: Felicity paused to ignite a thistle cigarette, and by the light of the flaring match Roosevelt could see that she was very slightly younger than himself, and was yet to be influenced by the persuasive aromas of hot young bodies and the presence of strong, silent, rhubarb trees.

Roosevelt was about to introduce the subject of her mental exercises at The Institute for Psychic Rodent Research when Felicity cried out in gleeful surprise…

“Well fluff me: Would you look at that!” She said, pointing toward a row of lock-up garages, “That’s one of Joan’s crossover points into Prannick: I wonder if I can see through the wall?”

This was almost too much for Roosevelt. His plan was working so well that it came close to making his trousers flap with joy.                                                                “Indeed.” He said in a calm tone that perfectly disguised his excitement.

It never occurred to Felicity to try out her potential psychic skills by attempting to see inside the garage. Instead she simply broke the ageing lock with a single karate chop, and let herself inside.

Fortunately Roosevelt always carried his favourite Timmy the Twonk Engine wind-up torch. Most young people of Hamster Heath did so since it had become known that the town’s only Hero of All Hamsterdom – Horatio Horseblanket – was very keen on them, and owned several of each model in a multitude of hues. It took several twists of the large blue knob on the side to fully charge the capacitor. But when at last the meter read ‘full’, Roosevelt unleashed a beam of such incandescence that he thought it might actually burn its way through the wall, and advertise their illegal presence to all and sundry. He needn’t have worried. The sudden arrival of Tybrow Mooney through the same wall placed the tall hamster directly in the beam’s way, and instead of devastating the brickwork, it ravaged the mean rodent’s eyesight so badly that he screamed incoherently, and cast a huge bowl of gold coins in their direction.

Naturally neither dormouse waited to see what would happen next: Instead they fell to the floor, and began sweeping the fallen coins into large internal pockets that Dormice always have stitched into their coats, and sometimes their cardigans too. They didn’t see Mooney turn about in a eye-streaming panic, feel his way back to the wall, then disappear though it. But they did hear the almost inaudible ‘pop’ of displaced air as he receded into the alternative dimension. Suddenly heedless of the great wealth dragging at her, Felicity hauled herself and her bulging coat to the wall, whereupon she placed her forehead to the rough surface, spread her fingers as wide as her tiny paws would allow, and concentrated…

What she ‘saw’ upon the other side of reality could only have occurred because of the close proximity of the psychic catalyst – Roosevelt Teabiscuit. She saw Mooney race from his bedroom, then barrel down the stairs that led to the bar, screaming, “Law Master: Law Master: They’re back!”

Perfidity Gallowsmith, better known to the residents of Weasels Pit as The Law Master, was carousing in a most unladylike fashion in the Rancid Maggot Inn. She had already shown her knickers to various members of the clientele several times, and was in the middle of exposing one of her huge furry mammary glands to Quentin Blackheart, who was equally drunk (and secretly hamster-sexual) when Tybrow Mooney burst into the bar from the back room.

“Law Master – come to my room:” He bellowed as he pointed back along the way he had just come, “I have something to show you!”

Perfidity Gallowsmith spluttered with great mirth at this exhortation. “No,” she waved a drunken finger in her best admonishing manner; “it is I who has something to show you!”

With that the huge furry mammary gland appeared from inside her leather jerkin – slapping Blackheart about the cheek pouches as it did so. She then proceeded to jump up and down several times to increase the shock-effect.

The Law Master knew instinctively that in the morning she would regret this brazen act, and that her pectoral muscles would ache abominably. But she also knew that Quentin Blackheart would ‘lean’ upon any witnesses, so that no one beyond these four walls would ever learn of her disgusting weakness of the flesh.

Mooney paused to savour the moment. He licked his lips appreciatively. Then he then took a few discrete photographs with a digital camera that he kept hidden behind his Official Booze Purveyor badge.

‘Perhaps’ he thought quietly to himself, ‘I can use this as evidence against her. Maybe I’ll get that roll in a shallow ditch with her after all.’

Then it was back to business for him…

“You don’t understand,” He cried out plaintively, “They’ve found me again. The prisoners must have escaped. If we go now we can slay them like the curs they are!”

In her drunken state Perfidity didn’t realise that Mooney had misidentified his pursuers: She assumed, reasonably enough, that The Abbot had assumed his duties as a spy for her against the Stix. But she was too inebriated to think coherently beyond this point.

“Thank you very much, that won’t be necessary.” she slurred whilst popping her wayward tit into its cosy chain mail chest-hammock, “But you can lead me to the bog-hole? I think I’m about to puke vastly.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

This e-book remains on sale at many outlets – some of which are mentioned on the sidebar and on the Tooty’s Books Available Here page beneath the header. As you can easily see – it’s…ah…fab!

 

The Tale Wags Again

Were you to visit my publishers – Lulu.com – you would discover that this e-book…

…is now available to buy, at a very reasonable price. And were you to purchase said literary and photographic wonder, you would be pleased beyond measure.

P.S Other distributors – like Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple, etc to follow shortly

Chef Tooty Pulls Up His Caks

Due to circumstances far beyond Chef Tooty’s control, the light in his life has been extinguished. As a result of this  he isn’t feeling quite as jocular as previously displayed, which means that he’s decided not to show his bum any more. But he will continue to cook. After all – people gotta eat, haven’t they? And just to prove that the oven is still hot, here’s a photo of his latest creation…

Yes, the Roasting Thing has been put to use yet again. Unfortunately he forgot to take photos of the stages this meal went through to get to this point. But it was very nice; so he’ll make another one. Just don’t expect to see his botty…

A Tale of Three Museums (part 63)

Well, whilst Noodles enjoyed the view, Flaxwell, Gideon and Oracle held a pow-wow. It went, roughly, like this:

“What are we gonna do?”

“Where are we gonna go?”

“What’s gonna happen to us once we do it and we’ve gone there?”

Of course the reason that they asked these questions is because, in their heart of hearts, they already knew the answers. Oracle would have to face the justice of Scroton for allowing the Zephyr to be stolen: and the earplugs for doing the actual stealing. Their crime might be mitigated, slightly, by the fact that they returned with the ship intact and with the Portal of Everywhere on board; but they were all well aware that the music they faced was of the most discordant and unmelodious kind. But, taking a deep breath, adopting an adult attitude, and following a couple of trips to the space toilet, the earplugs aboard chose to head for Weird Space…

…in which the planet Scroton orbited.

Flaxwell’s nervous fingers were useless upon the helm, so it was left to Oracle to pilot the vessel to within range of its planet of origin…

Flaxwell leaned forward in his chair and said: “Oh flipping heck: now that I can actually see Scroton I’m not so sure that it was a good idea to come here.”

Gideon was in full agreement: “Perhaps we we stooged around a while – you know – just to get used to the idea…”

The Oracle, though artificial in its intelligence, wasn’t quite as logical as would be presumed. “Yeah. Yeah.” It said eagerly. “I know – I’ll run a sensor scan: that’ll take a while. It will give us time to consider our next action.”

It received no argument from the others, so that is what it did. And, to no one’s surprise, it detected an incoming robotic freighter…

…which gave Flaxwell an idea:

“Hey,” he shouted, “that’s given me an idea. Maybe we could get in real close and shadow the freighter all the way to Scroton.”

In an instant Gideon understood his plan. “That’s right.” He said as he squirmed in his seat with creative…ah…thinking. “Then, when it enters the atmosphere, we could break away; fly down to Scroton Prime – under the cover of darkness, obviously; and sneak the ship back into the hall when no one is looking.”

Whether this joint plan was of any value was lost on Oracle. When Flaxwell  had shouted “Hey” it had cybernetically jumped in its space cage and accidentally sent the sensor beam elsewhere at complete random. In doing so it had detected another vessel on an intercept course with the robotic freighter. It had just sufficient time to put an image on the main viewer when…

…it opened fire. As it did so, both earplugs rejected their hurriedly assembled plan, and chose instead to watch…

Unbeknownst to any of them, Noodles had re-entered the control room.

“My,” It boomed in its mountainous way, “won’t cha look at that. The freighter’s taking quite a pounding. I wouldn’t want to be one of those robots flying that ship!”

And the Portal was right…

“Cripes, you’re right, Noodles.”  Gideon bellowed. “They’re going to get blasted into cyber-oblivion!”

“But look.” Flaxwell yelled into the auditory vacuum left behind by Gideon’s superfluous outburst, “two Scroton Fives – coming out of an artificial wormhole. There’s going to be a battle!”

And indeed, it did look that way. And it would have looked a whole lot more that way had they known that Captain Hissenfrapp had found the black hole he’d so desperately needed; re-entered the galaxy from the resultant Gravity Lock wormhole; and was now hurrying home through hyper-space…

And when his Scroton Five came into range, it dropped out of the hyper-space and, without hesitation, and with the forward blaster…ah…blasting, joined the fray…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 64)

But, to the dismay of everyone except those creatures that manned the attacking craft, a second hostile vessel opened fire upon Hissenfrapp’s Scroton Five…

Aboard the Zephyr, no one liked this turn of events…

“Jeepers,” Gideon exclaimed in his old-fashioned professorial way, “the good guys are going to lose this. Where are all the other Scroton Fives? Surely there should be loads of them!”

“Out looking for you, one presumes.” Noodles boomed from the rear of the control room. “Even, as we speak, the Ethernet Cable Ends are sending out a distress call to all available ships. It’s very well scripted, I should tell you. And the cable end that’s doing all the talking has just the right amount of desperation in its voice to illicit a positive response from anyone who hears it.”

“Oh good.” Flaxwell replied. “I’m pleased to hear it – though not literally, obviously. Please don’t play it to us: I feel bad enough already.”

But Noodles, with the wisdom of great age and knowledge, ignored Flaxwell’s instruction, and duly repeated the distress call.

“Thanks a bunch, Noodles.” Flaxwell said as he disconnected the Oracle from the helm. “You know how to press my buttons. Gideon; man the forward blaster: we’re going in.”

Moments later, the Zephyr accelerated towards the battle…

Naturally, as they approached the rear quarter of a hostile vessel, Noodles went straight to Rose Pink Alert…

In the Listening Station the Manager watched with rapt attention…

“I don’t know who is aboard that Scroton Five,” he said, “but they’ve turned up at the right moment. With the hostile vessel’s defensive screens facing our ships, it has left its rear quarter totally unprotected. One lucky shot should be enough. Let’s pray to whatever it is we believe in that they make that shot the luckiest they’ve ever fired.”

Well Gideon knew squat about forward blasters of any kind: he was a museum professor after all. But the Zephyr was awfully close to the enemy, and if he squinted along the sighting mechanism with his good eye, he felt he might possibly…

…squeeze off a shot that would result in…

…the utter obliteration of the enemy ship.

“Whoo,” Flaxwell yelled as debris battered their own defensive screen, “you did it, Giddy. You’re a real warrior, you are!”

“Indeed.” The Oracle concurred. “That should put us firmly in the good books of the Scroton authorities.”

Not that Gideon heard any of this, of course: he was too amazed to hear anything except the pounding of his heart. But he did recover sufficiently to hear a message of gratitude from the robotic freighter captain…

“Ta, pal.” It said. “Good shooting. The other ship’s sodded off, so you don’t have to blow that one up too. By the way: welcome to Scroton. Prepare to be engaged by the planetary tractor beam.”

“The what?” Flaxwell began.

Then the planetary tractor beam latched on to the Zephyr; killed its engines; and began drawing it towards the planet…

“Oh well,” The Oracle said quietly. “It was fun while it lasted.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To

A while back – probably longer than I imagine – I posted some pictures of plastic bags in the wild. By that I mean plastic bags that had almost disapppeared beneath the debris, soil, leaflitter, etc that had been produced over the decades that the aforementioned plastic bags had lain, untended and forgotten in the woods. Well, recently, as I took a stroll along a Deer trail in another wood entirely, I stumbled across this black plastic bag, that – judging by its almost perfect and shiny condition – appeared to be a relatively new arrival…

Aware that there had been considerable and recent forestry worker activity there, I was quite disgusted that they should litter the forest so – they did, after all, leave a temporatry lavatory behind, which I didn’t approach, despite my apparent obsession with toilets. But then I paused to take in the lay of the land. The thick, almost impenetrable undergrowth that I recalled had long gone – to be replaced by a carpet of ground ivy – but I recognised my location in a second. Speaking aloud to myself, I said:

“If I find some galvanised steel grilles, this is it.”

Kicking at the ivy for maybe five seconds revealed this…

Like the plastic bag, its condition was excellent. Not a trace of rust anywhere – despite being submerged in soil and tree roots. I figured I had my litter culprit. But just to make sure I stepped back a few paces and regarded the trees closest…

Yup, there they were: the three trees that in 1974 had been mere saplings – to which my pal, Steve, and I had tied poles to form the support of a den roof. We’d also collected chicken coope grilles and used agricultural bags from a nearby farmer’s dump. But having begun the construction we were interrupted, and – being teenagers – instead of returning to complete the task, we forgot all about it, and did something else equally unimportant. Judging by the condition of those man-made den components, kids in a hundred years will still be able to finish the job for us. I’d like to think they will – assuming the wood is still there of course. And it goes to show just how well made things were in the sixties and seventies. Buy it once: never need replace it.

A Tale of Three Museums (part 62)

But, just as the Cable Ends thought they were ready to re-enter hyper-space, something rather dramatic happened…

“Uh-oh.” Captain Hissenfrapp groaned. “Now we’re in the deepest kind of kaka.”

Of course, the young and inexperienced midshipman had no clue what he was looking at. Selma noticed the puzzled expression in his beady little eyes: “It’s a space-farers legend, Willum.” She said quietly. “They call it the Galactic Eye.”

“Uh-huh.” Willum replied as he assimilated this information. He then added: “So what is it looking at us for?”

“Looking’s fine.” Urchie half explained. “It’s when it blinks, you have to worry.”

Willum was about to ask what would occur should the Galactic Eye blink, when the eye blinked. And, in the blink of an eye, the ship and crew found themselves somewhere else completely…

“Oh for flip’s sake, Nobbington roared, “it’s sent us to the very edge of the galaxy!”

“It’ll take us years to fly back through hyper-space!” Selma wailed. “What are we gonna do?”

“No problem.” Urchie chirped up from where he stood beside the Oracle. “At the centre of every galaxy lies a singularity – or ‘black hole’, as it is more commonly known. All we need do is open a Gravity Lock on the centre of the galaxy, and the black hole will pull us back – at incredible velocity.”

Hissenfrapp looked at the cook with open admiration. “The next person who complains about this guy’s paella, or his special vegan sausage rolls, gets a punch on the nose from me – okay?” Then, to his pilot, he said: “Nobby – scan for a black hole and then open a Gravity Lock.”

“Getting something.” Nobbington informed the captain. “Putting it on screen.”

But it wasn’t a singularity that the sensor had detected; but a ghastly face that scared the heck out of everyone who saw it…

“Oracle,” Hissenfrapp yelled. “What the heck is that?”

The A.I didn’t even bother to turn around in its space cage. “It’s nothing, captain. It’s the God of All Things Arboreal – or ‘Wooden Face’ for short. It means that whomever is thwarting us, is running out of available gods. Find your singularity, Nobby: that thing can’t do anything except make us poop in in our space suits.”

Meanwhile, aboard the Zephyr, Noodles had noticed the view through the main viewer…

“Is that what space really looks like?” It said. “I had no idea it was so beautiful.”

Gideon was surprised by this reaction to the sight of open space. “But you can see everywhere.” He said. “Nothing is hidden from you. Not even the toilet!”

“Or underpants.” Flaxwell added.

“I can show everywhere.” The Portal of Everywhere explained. “But I can’t actually see it. Not first-hand, in the raw, as it were.”

“But you’re a window on all reality.” A puzzled Flaxwell said. “I don’t get it.”

Gideon didn’t hear Noodle’s reply: Flaxwell’s words had got him thinking. Five minutes later he, Flaxwell, and Noodles stood before a large viewing window in the rear of the ship…

“This is not a digital representation?” Noodles inquired.

“Nope, you dope.” Flaxwell answered it. “It’s a transparency. On the other side of it is nothing but vacuum, radiation, and the depths of interstellar space.”

Noodles was clearly moved because it went to an involuntary Rose Pink Alert…

“Nice, isn’t it!” Flaxwell said by way of understatement.

But when the Portal failed to respond, the earplugs switched off the light and left it to gaze upon creation – and finally to truly ‘see’.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

 

 

 

The First Tale is Wagging!

By that I mean  that the first of three volumes of A Tale of Three Museums has been published in e-book form at Lulu.com. Yee-hah!

It looks an awful lot like this…

Volumes 2 & 3 will appear before the final serialized version excerpt appears. Are the e-book versions better than the on-line versions? Of course they are!

P.S Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and other versions will follow shortly.

P.P.S The world may be a shit hole right now; but I’m doing my best to make it better.

A Tale of Three Museums (part 61)

Inside the pursuing Scroton Five, Urchie Kakkapo was out of the Psycho-Chef like a cat that’s fallen into the lavatory bowl…

“Flip me sideways, Captain: how’d you know they’d appear here?”

Hissenfrapp didn’t move his gaze from the main screen as he replied:

“It’s what makes ship’s captains, Urchie: gut instinct and some damned good long-range sensors.”

“Something them, over there, don’t have.” Selma Ferkins added.

“Strictly speaking,” Nobbington interjected, “they do have the long-range sensors: they just don’t have the wit to use them.”

“Yeah.” Willum Poobs added his two Scrotelettes-worth. “They just look straight ahead and figure we’re just a bunch of dim-bats that they’ve left in their stupid wake.”

The Oracle didn’t really want to join in: it had once controlled an iced tea dispenser beside the coffee machine that had housed the Zephyr’s Oracle, and it felt sympathy for its former colleague. But, even then, it couldn’t help itself saying: “You’re just sore you couldn’t score a single hit.”

But no one was listening: the scent of blood was in their collective nostrils: and they were about to fall upon their quarry.

Fortunately the Zephyr’s Oracle wasn’t looking out of the front window. It had run a routine sensor sweep and noted the appearance of the wormhole. In an instant the A.I had assumed control of the ship and sent it into hyper-space. Naturally Flaxwell was out of his seat quicker than you can say misanthropic discombobulations. Gideon was only a step behind him…

“Hey, what gives, Oracle?” Flaxwell shouted as the Zephyr accelerated far beyond the speed of light. “You don’t like my driving?”

“No time to explain,” Oracle cyber-gasped, “re-routing energy transfer conduits. We need every erg of power available – and we need it now!”

Of course Hissenfrapp had the Scroton Five in quick pursuit…

And like those they pursued, he and his crew were now guilty of looking straight ahead and ignoring internal sensors – which, in one particular case, showed that the engine’s power core was running slightly hotter was normal…

But as the Zephyr continued to accelerate, so did its pursuer – which meant that the glitch in the cooling system exacerbated the problem with the temperature control anomaly…

Too late Nobbington Sprake spotted the tell-tale on his helm control. A split second later…

…his ship had dropped out of hyper-space. And little did anyone suspect – or a sensor detect – the true cause of their problem…

“Oh I do so enjoy being the God of Stalled Motors.” The God of Stalled Motors said gleefully – before disappearing into the realm that is the domicile of the Supreme Being.

Although unaware of the source of their problem, the crew went straight to work on a fix. Within minutes they had concluded that by dipping into a dead planet’s atmosphere they could collect enough cool gas to reduce the engine’s temperature to within designated parameters.

“Got one – dead ahead.” Nobbington said cheerfully.

Of course the procedure wasn’t without its dangers, so they chose to go to Crimson Alert, which made them feel safer and considerably more confident of success…

And successful they were. Within minutes of completing their task and climbing from the dead world’s gravity well, they were ready to re-start the engine…

“I’ve extrapolated their course.” Selma informed her captain. “I know a short cut. We can head them off at the metaphorical pass.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

Aesthetics: The Art of Considerate Parking 2

If you’ve read my first Aesthetics; T.A.o.C.P, you’ll know that I like drivers to think about the car beside which they park their own. This is particularly important if said driver drives a brightly coloured car. If, like me, you are burdened with a dull colour – like silver or black – there really isn’t much chance of some pleasant colour co-ordination in your local car park. But those who have – say, a blue car – should never park  beside a red  car because together both vehicles will look like absolute shit.  Always choose the correctly coloured car that will best compliment your own. This is most important: cars are everywhere: clogging up the view at every turn. We really should make them look as nice as we possibly can. Take, for example the owners of this BMW and Ford…

Individually both look quite nice: but together they work in perfect harmony. I don’t know which car was there first; but full marks to the driver that arrived second. Yellow and red: the colours of happiness and joy – and those of the Spanish national flag, which is the most cheerful flag on the planet. So remember, next time you’re parking: think about the car you park beside: you might just make someone’s day.

A Tale of Three Museums (part 60)

Then it was a simple matter of rocketing into space and placing the planet between the Zephyr and the hunting Scroton Five…

It was only then that the two earplugs could relax a little.

“Wow,” Gideon managed, “that was some ride!”

As the tension slowly oozed from him, Flaxwell gave a nervous giggle. “You’re not wrong, Giddy.” He said. “Any chance of something to eat? It feels like we were down there for an eternity!”

“I was down there for an eternity!” The Portal of Everywhere boomed loudly. “And look at me now: a back-seat passenger in a silly little scout ship. Surely a device such as I – of such pre-eminence – should, at least, have been carried back to, so-called, civilisation in an armada of ships-of-the-line?”

The Oracle swivelled in its space cage to face the Portal…

“Oh don’t bleat on.” It snapped. “You’re lucky to be here at all. Now keep quiet and sit back and enjoy the ride.”

But the Portal wasn’t really listening. It wasn’t in the habit of paying any attention to former coffee dispensing machines. “Where’s my name tag?” It complained. “Without my name tag I have no proof that my name is Noodles. Everywhere I go, from now on, I’ll be the Portal of Everywhere. It’s just so pretentious. I want to be called Noodles!”

“It’s okay, Noodles,” Flaxwell called from the pilot’s chair, “we all know you’re Noodles. We’ll put it in the ship’s log: that’ll make it official. You can show it to Immigration – when we find somewhere to go that is.”

“Oh yes, that’s a point.” Gideon spoke in a hushed tone. “Where are we going to go? We stole this ship, after all.”

“Right now?” Flaxwell replied. “I’d settle for anywhere outside the Balsac Nebula.”

“That’s the Great Balsac Nebula.” Noodles corrected the pilot. “If your ship’s log is to be believed, all the facts must be correct, above reproach, and beyond question.”

“Quite so.” Flaxwell said as he took the Zephyr into the strange slipstream that should, he hoped, carry them to open space…

There followed a period of silence in the control room. Gideon would have liked to conjure up a quick meal, but he didn’t want to interrupt the peace and quiet that smothered the scene like a bewildering duvet…

“Perhaps a new name plate could be made for me at our final destination.” Noodles suggested.

The Oracle was used to being the most complex artificial intelligence aboard. The sheer size and antiquity of the Portal of Everywhere gave it an inferiority complex. So it countered this feeling of inadequacy by replying to Noodles’ suggestion with one of its own: “Yeah – and perhaps we could throw you out the airlock too.”

It wasn’t original, but it surprised and amused Gideon…

But then he began to have misgivings. Just where would they go now? He could hardly return, in triumph, to the Museum of Future Technology aboard a stolen vessel and a horde of angry Ethernet Cable End ambassadors calling for his arrest.

“Oh dear.” He said to himself. “What a to-do.”

But then he cheered up a little when the Zephyr finally cleared the boundaries on the Great Balsac Nebula…

Noodles released a sigh. “Home.” It said. “It’s been my home for thousands of years. I wonder if I will ever see it again.”

“You’re the Portal of Everywhere, Noodles.” Gideon reminded the device. “You can see anywhere you bloody well want to!”

“Yes, I suppose you’re right.” Noodles replied. “Perhaps, on occasion, I could put aside a moment or two and revisit that little, un-named planet – which has upon it a name tag that is currently laying face-down in the snow, and reads ‘Noodles’.”

To which the Oracle responded with: “Oh shut up about your lousy name tag, you great big…lavatory seat!”

It was approximately half an hour later approximately because no one had bothered to check the time – whilst the Zephyr made headway in the generally accepted direction of Explored Space that a wormhole opened upon its rear port quarter…

…from which a Scroton Five emerged.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 59)

Meanwhile Gideon and Flaxwell were still trying to avoid going all gooey-eyed – when the Portal of Everywhere suddenly decided to initiate a Rose Pink Alert, which startled the two earplugs…

“What the flipping heck is Rose Pink Alert?” Flaxwell asked and complained at the same time.

“Time you two weren’t here.” Noodles replied, both loudly and cryptically.

Gideon was about to inquire further, when, in the distance, incandescent flares descended upon the snow-covered valley floor…

Despite the considerable distance from where they now stood, and the unforgiving terrain all about, both earplugs elected to run in the direction of the grounded Zephyr. But they hadn’t taken more than a half-dozen steps, when energy bolts struck the surface around them…

“By the Saint of All Earplugs,” Flaxwell shouted above the din of multiple detonations, “this is exactly as Noodles foretold it!”

Naturally Gideon replied with, “Aaargh!”

Meanwhile, aboard the quiescent Zephyr…

…the ship’s Oracle was experiencing a Rose Pink Alert of its own – only it called it Crimson Alert…

It was doing it’s best to look in every direction at the same time.

“Cripes,” it yelled to an empty control room, “do my sensors deceive me? Are the guys under attack from another Scroton Five? How did I not detect its approach? But enough of these useless questions: this is no time for wasteful self-reproach: it’s time for action: and no one does ‘action’ better than me!”

At that particular moment, Gideon and Flaxwell had just arrived back at their original location…

“Noodles,” Gideon cried out in desperation, as random fire rained down from upon high, “you’re an ancient device of fabulous complexity: surely you must have some defensive capability!”

“Why would I?” The Portal of Everywhere replied. “Would you expect an encyclopaedia to protect itself from some heathen who chose to use it as a door stop, furniture levelling device, or a murder weapon? Of course you wouldn’t. So, no, I don’t have any defensive capability.”

“But these random shots from upon high,” Flaxwell wailed. “One of ’em is bound to get us eventually!”

“I am sorry, Flaxwell Maltings.” The stentorian voice boomed above the sound of blaster hits, “but….”

But it never finished its line; because – just in the nick of time – a matter transmitter beam latched onto the trio…

…and delivered them to the control room of the Zephyr…

Naturally all three would have thanked the Oracle more profusely than they would have thought themselves capable: but the Oracle was too busy to consider listening to overt outpourings of gratitude…

It was switching the ship’s ‘chin’ landing light to red and starting the main motor…

But it knew that its efforts would be to no avail. It was a matter of time before a deadly hit caught them amidships and detonated their energy core. In fact, if the Oracle had taken a moment to consider the situation, it would have been surprised that the Zephyr was yet to come under direct fire. Of course, what it could not possibly know was that the ship was in receipt of some divine assistance…

“Come on, you bunch of twerps,” the Supreme Being grumbled to himself as he looked down from his vantage point atop the mountain, “I don’t normally do this sort of thing. This is rather atypical of my behaviour. But I owe earplugs a debt of gratitude, so I thought I should intervene.  But I can’t keep throwing off Willum Poobs aim for eternity; he might grow suspicious. And we can’t have that: it’s against the rules!”

“I can’t understand it, Captain.” Willum moaned as Nobbington brought the Scroton Five around for another strafing run, “Every time I press the firing button, the gun shifts its aim. It’s inexplicable!”

“And really annoying too.” Hissenfrapp growled.

“Yeah,” Urchie noted from his place in the Psycho-Chef, “it almost makes you want to believe in a higher power. But, of course, that is patently ridiculous. By the way – sandwiches anybody? Cheese and ham perhaps?”

But then everyone became aware of the Zephyr making a dash for freedom…

“For goodness sake.” Selma screamed. “You clearly can’t concentrate, Willum: I told you to go to the toilet while we were still in orbit!”

Aboard the Zephyr, Flaxwell was using all of his piloting skills to hide from the Scroton Five by flying through narrow valleys…

“Over there – to the left.” The eagle-eyed Gideon yelled. “A narrow valley that runs at ninety degrees to this current one. It should carry us away from Ground Zero.”

And much to everyone’s surprise, it did…

…as the rain of fire now fell in a neighbouring vally.

“Keep us low, Flaxwell.” Gideon advised the pilot as though he was a battle-hardened guerrilla fighter;  a life-long smuggler; or a daring apple scrumper. “They’ll find us otherwise.”

So, as best he could, Flaxwell had the Zephyr hug the mountain range’s rugged terrain…

He then switched into yet another valley, which opened onto undulating countryside…

…where he opened the throttles and blasted for freedom.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

A Tale of Three Museums (part 58)

“The amazing thing about the Gravity Whelk,” Cedric continued, “is that it was designed specifically for the Skail Brothers to fly it. Two guys who knew nothing about flying spaceships.”

As he and Placebo gravitated towards the main viewer, Folie felt that the Captain was holding back an “and”: so he said it for him:

“And?”

 “And there were two of them.” Kragan Welliboot said.

“And there are two of you.” Hubert Boils joined in.

With the sort of chuckle that is usually reserved for wise captains and know-alls, Cedric said: “Have a nice ride, boys.”

A split second later…

…Folie and Placebo were gone: aboard the distant Gravity Whelk. Then, after giving them time to assimilate their changed circumstances, Captain Mantequilla performed a perfect flypast…

Or rather he had Hooper Hellstrom perform a perfect flypast – which left the ageing alien vessel and its two occupants alone to bask in the light of that distant sun…

“Oh, Folie,” Placebo sighed, as he and his earplug friend stood at one of the myriad windows of the Gravity Whelk, “how many times have I dreamt of this moment?”

Folie smiled. “I don’t know, Placebo.” He replied. “Lots?”

“Lots.” Placebo confirmed Folie’s hypothesis. “Lots and lots and lots.”

Folie nodded as they watched the Brian Talbot slowly increase its velocity – as though inviting them to follow. “Well we can’t sit around here all day,” he said, “basking in the glow of this distant sun: we’d better get our arses into gear.”

Placebo pulled himself together. “Quite so, Sir Folie. Automatic Pilot: follow that spaceship!”

And the Automatic Pilot – being an excellent automatic pilot – did just that…

Upon the unnamed world, deep within the Great Balsac Nebula, Gideon and Flaxwell fought to stem the tears of happiness…

“Oh, wasn’t that a great ending, Flaxwell?” Gideon croaked.

“Sure was, Giddy.” Flaxwell agreed wholeheartedly. “Everyone got back to their proper era: Princess Cake and the alien earplugs escaped in their city-ship; and Folie and Placebo finally got to touch the stars. If I wasn’t a hardened space pilot, I’d get all choked up.”

The conversation continued in much this vein for a while: but had they known it, it would soon be rudely interrupted; because, entering orbit, the pursuing Scroton Five’s crew had them very much in their cross hairs…

“Shall I get breakfast, Captain?” Urchie Kakkapo inquired. “Cornflakes, perhaps?”

“Ah…not just yet.” Captain Werner Hissenfrapp replied. “We have a little task to perform first.”

“Orbit attained.” Pilot, Nobbington Sprake announced. “Nice and smooth and in stealth mode.”

“Picking up an ion trail that leads to the mountainous region in the northern hemisphere.” First Officer, Selma Ferkins reported. “Signature strongly suggests Scroton Five origins.”

“Shall I arm the forward blasters?” Midshipman, Willum Poobs inquired. “I’ve never done that before.”

“I think that would be appropriate.” Hissenfrapp replied with a grim smile. “You may proceed.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 57)

It was a while later that Rupert Piles raced to get his camera into position…

…to record Cushions Smethwyke, as she stood alone, against a simple backdrop…

…to make a public announcement, to everyone within the Museum of Future Technology.

“Hello…er…everyone.” She began. “I expect you’re wondering why I have called this special public announcement. Well, you know that I have been unstinting in my efforts to return our missing customers, personnel, and operatives to the bosom of the museum?  Right? Well when the Earplug Brothers came to me for guidance, I pointed them in the direction of the Tree of Knowledge. Well it transpired that this simple action initiated a sequence of events that those amongst you who have a personal stake in the return of our missing time-travellers will find quite fascinating. Well, more than fascinating, actually. Perhaps the correct word should be ‘thrilling’. And why do I say this? I say this because…Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls; may I present, for your joy and entertainment – and back amongst us once again  – none other than…

…Magnuss Earplug and Hair-Trigger Provost!

Naturally the crowd, throughout the vast edifice, erupted with unadulterated passion.

“Speech! Speech!” Many would call.

Others would simply faint. But whatever an individual’s reaction, all of them expected Magnuss to give them the best possible news. So, naturally, Magnuss did just that.

“Hello, fans.” He said with a characteristic smile. “We’re all back: every one of us; safe and sound. So, if it’s alright with you, I say it’s time to paaarty!”

Instantly Rupert swivelled his camera to encompass the watching crowd…

But he wasn’t quick enough to catch Magnuss join his brothers; throw on his Cossack hat; and start a line dance…

…which, naturally enough, got the whole building ‘getting down’ to the country beat.

Clearly it was celebration time at the Museum of Future Technology. And celebrate is what they did – far into the night…

Meanwhile, far away, across the galaxy, the bridge crew were making their way back from the landing craft bay, to the bridge of the Brian Talbot

And they were celebrating too – in their own, rather subdued, way.

Once they were back at their duty stations, Captain Mantequilla had Folie and Placebo join them there…

…where they regarded the Gravity Whelk upon the main viewer.

“Ooh,” Folie said, “nice.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

Revel in the Ribaldry 11

With five books from which to choose the next excerpt, I hope randomness does a good job. Well actually its not quite as random as totally random: the excerpts appear in sequence. e.g Ist excerpt: Book 1. 10th excerpt: book 5. So 11th excerpt can only come from Book 1. This one…

…which is where the randomness kicks in. I now turn to a page; close my eyes;  and plonk my finger wherever it may fall. Oh, look…today’s excerpt is…

It was a poorly measured amount of time later when Tonks reawakened to find herself being carried along a dank, ill-lit corridor. Furthermore this activity could only be described as being done ‘in a furtive manner’. She was about to say something indignant like ‘Unhand me you curs’, or ‘It’s lucky for you I don’t have my army skirt on: If I thought that you’d seen my regulation knickers, I’d have your guts for garters!’ But a soft feminine paw clamped over her snout with a vice-like grip that would countenance no argument.

“Shush,” Fanangy whispered, “we’re getting awfully close to the Artefact Store. Remain silent.”

Tonks sighed, and Lionel and Boney both turned about and ‘shushed’ her angrily.

“Wah we dooa?” she mumbled through her furry gag.

“Pardon?” Lionel couldn’t help being polite, even in the midst of danger and imminent discovery.

Tonks repeated herself three times before Boney indicated that Fanangy should allow their captive to speak.

“I said,” she was finally able to elucidate, “what are we doing?”

“Just what you instructed.” Boney tried a conspiratorial grin, but it got lost somewhere between his brain and his jaw muscles, and came out as a dangerously lascivious leer, which startled Tonks for a moment.

“We have a plan,” Fanangy explained, “that is both devious, and will succeed. It also relies upon you somewhat I’m afraid. Not that I think you’ll fail or anything: It’s just a bit of a cheek of us involving you in something so underhand.”

Now if there’s one thing that’s specifically designed to really get the juices of a female army sergeant flowing – it’s something underhand: Especially when it’s going to be perpetrated against a commanding officer whom she believes is both incompetent and downright mean. She wanted to know everything.

“No,” Tonks finally said with apparent disbelief, after having the entire plan laid out before her, “surely not?”

Then a grin creased her normally bland features, and Lionel thought that she looked almost attractive.

Unsurprisingly Fanangy noticed a slight tremble in Lionel’s trouser department. Her eyes narrowed – at least as much as rodent eyes would allow – and a metaphorical green light illuminated them from within. Then to everyone’s consternation she blurted, “But I think we can probably accomplish our aim without the aid of the good sergeant. I’ll take her role. I’m sure we can dress me up as drably. My feminine curves could be sufficiently hidden by the copious over-use of pillows. And a spot of axle grease administered to my lovely face would make me easily the equal of Tonks on a one-to-ten scale of hideousness. Well nearly anyway. In the dark. To a mole.”

Lionel wasn’t particularly well-versed in the ways of the world; but even he could spot a terrible case of jealousy at a hundred paces – with both his eyes averted, and corks shoved so deeply into his ears that it hurt. For a moment though he was flummoxed. What could have brought about this sudden change? Was it something that he’d done? Then he noticed his trousers flapping – and realised that, for once, it wasn’t wind. This brought on a bout of self-appraisal.

‘Is that why I’m so scared of Fanangy?’ He thought more quickly than he had ever done. ‘Because she’s so pretty? Surely not? But why would I find Tonks more alluring? Could it be that I find Fanangy threatening – whereas Tonks is merely… Is merely what? Certainly not homely and kind in a mothering sort of way. And I don’t go for ugly old bags – so it can’t be that. But something got my trousers flapping – if not spectacularly – at least enough for Fanangy to notice…’

Then, abruptly, a sense of wellbeing came over him as he recognised the truth, and he cried out, ‘I’m normal. I’m normal after all! Praise be to the Saint of All Hamsters, my gonads work within statutory parameters – at least upon a superficial level!” Then he came to his senses once more, and added, “Sorry.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2012

That wasn’t too bad, I hope. I should now mention that this e-book remains available at many outlets, including the ones mentioned in the Tooty’s Books Available Here page beneath the header; and the book covers on the sidebar.

 

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 56)

Magnuss was pleased with the news. “Good.” He said. “Well done.”

With that he stepped up to give a rousing speech…

But when he opened his mouth to speak, he realised that he had very little to say. He did manage to utter:

“Let’s all thank Vincenzo for the loan of his time machine. It’s…ah…very nice of him.”

And following three cheers for the engineer, Magnuss concluded proceeding with:

“Hair-Trigger and I will try it first. If nothing explodes, you kids from TWIT should follow. Then everyone else, okay? No pushing and shoving.”

“Does anyone want to use the toilet before we go?” Hair-Trigger asked. Then, after receiving nothing more than a wave of shaken heads, she added: “Right – here we go.”

And so they did…

Not that Nobby noticed: he was too busy trying to remember the moment. A moment he wished he could live over and over again.

And after the last earplug had passed through the circular opening of the Tubo Di Tempo – it’s inventor stepped in front of it and thought of all the money it would make him..,.

Vincenzo sighed. “Ah,” he said to the room in which history had been made, “the fame will be rather nice too. I wonder if middle-aged females will get so excited that they throw their knickers at me.”  

He then flicked the ‘Off’ switch; dimmed the lights; and sauntered off for his well-earned supper of macaroni cheese…

It came to no surprise to those who viewed this scene that the time and location shifted abruptly…

…where the Earplug Brothers; some Time Techs; and a representative of the United Stoats Seventh Calvary stood at attention and awaited the arrival of the lost travellers.

They didn’t have to wait long. Some shuffling of feet and excited voices announced the arrival of Magnuss and Hair-Trigger…

…who were so pleased to be back that they didn’t know where to look or what to say. Needless to say, the boys made up for their reticence…

…and much back slapping ensued. Whilst this took place, everyone else poured from the machine…

Naturally Rupert Piles was there to record the moment for posterity – although (he didn’t know it at the time) that posterity wouldn’t be as long as he would have expected – due in no small part to a future proton torpedo hit in the archives…

Of course Magnuss was too busy greeting his brothers to notice that the kids from TWIT had been relegated to the rear…

He was also too busy to see or hear Major Flaccid as he met them with the news that they would be charged with being Absent With Out Leave, and that their pay would be docked for the period of their absence. Sadly he was also too busy to see and hear Pixie tell Flaccid what he could do with his charges…

…as she and the boys quit their jobs.

“…And I don’t mean up your nose!” She finished.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

P.S The Seventh Cavalry appear in this extract by accident. Without my glasses on, I mistook one of their troopers for a Time Tech figure. Excuse: They’re the same shade of Toyota blue.

 

 

 

 

Some Things Don’t Change in the English Countryside

The world is constantly evolving – changing – becoming more ‘modern’. Heck, we even have fast broadband in my home village. But, despite the turning of a couple of centuries, some things don’t change…

It’s still twelve miles to Portsmouth.

P.S A neighbour recently found this hiding inside a hedgerow. He duly uncovered it and gave it lick of paint. I remember it from childhood. But oddly, I recall it reading…

London, 50 Miles

So I guess there’s another one hiding somewhere in the same hedgerow. Must try to  find it one day. Or maybe I’ll leave it to my neighbour.

A Tale of Three Museums (part 55)

Placebo had absolutely no doubt that a greater, controlling force was at work. A deity or higher form of life, if you please.

“Yeah.” He said. “I do.”

But before Folie could enquire further, they heard a door creak open, which made them turn towards the source of the sound…

Strangely they felt no fear at an intrusion inside a building that only they inhabited. After what they had just seen, they were keen to share it with someone. Nevertheless they were relieved when the door finally opened fully – to reveal…

…Captain Mantequilla and the bridge crew of the Brian Talbot.

“Boys,” Cedric called as they rushed to meet their missing crew members, “we’ve been scanning the place for hours. We feared you were lost in the alternative dimension forever.”

Bringing up the rear was the engineer – Lawrence Bunion…

“Good news.” He shouted above the hub-bub of welcomes. “We got the old Gravity Whelk with us. And it goes too.”

This was very welcome news indeed for Folie and Placebo. They had been utterly enthralled by Beaufort and Richter’s adventure aboard the Gravity Whelk: so to think that it now hung in orbit above them seemed almost surreal. They said as much to Captain Mantequilla.

“The guys fixed it up real good.” He replied eloquently. “No leaks: lots of air. Don’t see a reason why you two can’t go aboard before we head out for pastures new.”

“Time to go, Captain.” Kragan Welliboot informed his commanding officer. “Power here is just about to run out.”

With information like that, the crew of the Brian Talbot beat a hasty retreat towards the exit. And not a moment too soon, because even as they set off, the lights dimmed…

Meanwhile, far away and several years in the past, it was evening time – when most visitors to the Museum of Future Technology had gone home, and its inhabitants were having their main meal of the day – the time-lost earplugs gathered in Vincenzo’s workshop…

“Well it’s great to see everyone here.” Magnuss said as they gathered around the entrance of the prototype Tubo Di Tempo. “We are all here, I suppose?” He added.

“The Chefs from Ciudad De Droxford chose to remain behind.” The mauve Bungay Jumpur informed him. “They’ve got much better jobs in this era.”

This statement was confirmed by Edie Chalice. “That’s right.” She said. “They’re baristas at Cafe Puke.”

“Clux and Grimnax are here.” Peter Crushing said proudly.

Magnuss was surprised: he hadn’t noticed any zombies amongst their number. So Clux and Grimnax felt compelled to repeat what they’d told Peter in the Thomas Blueden Project. The only addition they made was, when Clux said: “Only we’re not called Clux and Grimnax anymore: now we prefer to the addressed as Giles and Julian.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 54)

Few people were aware. Scratch that: No one was aware that Peter Crushing held a secret desire. So, equally, no one was aware that – during afternoon tea – whilst the museum’s red corridor was deserted – the ridiculously-hatted earplug crept furtively down it…

…until he had attained a position that placed him equidistant from each end – where he began to orate a self-penned libretto. This, in itself, would have caused no harm – even to those who heard it: but, sadly, his oration quickly morphed into a pseudo-melody, which could be termed – at a stretch – as opera singing. Or singing opera…

Unfortunately for Peter, the curator’s secret passage to the arboretum passed behind the stylish wall covering against which the dozy earplug chose to stand whilst delivering his lyrics…

“Cripes,” Cushions yelled – now having recovered from the state of indignation caused by Montagu’s unforgivable ogling of earlier, “that’s coming from the red corridor. It’s ghastly. Get on your radio, you android: and get someone to shut that noise off.”

Well, as luck would have it, the young recruits of TWIT were passing quite nearby when they heard Montagu’s request for help…

“Hmm,” Chickweed Gubbin said as Montagu’s voice faded from the public address speakers, “what do you think? We’re quite nearby.”

“I don’t know what all the fuss is about.” Jeremy Farton replied. “I think the guy has a great voice. It is a guy, isn’t it? Or did someone tread on a Plugmutt?”

Pixie Taylor – ever eager for something to do – said: “I’ll go. I’ll catch up with you guys at the Cafe Puke.”

So, thirty seconds later, Cushions’ wish came true…

“Flipping heck, Mister Crushing,” she yelled at the top of her voice, “I was hoping for a cup of coffee; but that noise has just curdled all the milk!”

Peter had always been aware that his voice lacked a certain something that other singers did, which is why he wasn’t overly hurt by Pixie’s outburst…

“But what about the lyrics?” He asked. “What did you think of them?”

To which Pixie replied: “They were tender and gorgeous. So full of adoration and selfless love. I would love someone to sing those words to me.”

“Oh.” Peter replied. “That’s good – because I wrote them for you.”

Pixie smiled sweetly. “For me?” She said coyly.

“Ever since I first clapped eyes on you,” Peter confessed, “I was smitten instantaneously. So I rushed off to the nearest lavatory and wrote these heart-felt words on a length of toilet tissue.”

“Oh, that’s lovely.” Pixie gushed. “I hope it wasn’t a used tissue. Forget what I said about the curdled milk: it was a complete lie. Let’s go get ourselves a huge coffee. What do you think?”

“I think – yeah.” Peter said enthusiastically. “A really big one – we can share – with chocolate dust on top and two plastic straws!”

Meanwhile, Magnuss and Hair-Trigger were responding to a summons by Vincenzo…

Well, when they arrived, Hair-Trigger was stunned:

“What?” She squealed with almost-disbelief. “You have a fully-functional time machine finished already? You mean it’s not just those four gently-glowing lights that actually work?”

“Darned right.” Vincenzo replied. “You wanna try it?”

“No, no, no.” Magnuss yelped in semi-panic. “Time travel is all to hell at the moment. For now this is a one-shot deal. We use it once; then you shut it down – until such time that the Time Techs in the future have figured out what’s wrong with the River of Time. Well done, Enzo: you’re a real genius.”

With that he and Hair-Trigger made their farewells…

“You call me when you need my Tubo Di Tempo.” Vincenzo said as they departed, “I might be having my dinner, or maybe wooing some pretty girl, huh?”

Much further ‘meanwhile’ – upon that cold, ruined world that contained the parallel development version of the Museum of Future Technology…

…Folie and Placebo were making their way along the main thoroughfare…

They should have been glad to be back in their own quantum reality; but the chill air confirmed their theory that the borrowed power from the Brian Talbot was almost depleted…

“Placebo,” Folie said as he scurried alongside the huge polystyrene blob, “I’ve tried several toilets since we’ve got back, but none of them work properly. The U bends are all frozen solid.”

“Really?” Placebo replied. “And you’re telling me this because…?”

“I really wanna go.” Folie answered. “I wanted to go in the other reality – there wasn’t much left after the city-ship took off. You did a thesis on public lavatories in college: where do you think a usable loo might be?”

Placebo thought for a moment – before replying with:

“Heat rises. Let’s try one of the mezzanines. I know – the one on which the Angel with a Huge Nose dumped the young Magnuss.”

It was a solid theory – so shortly…

“Can you do that slightly more quietly?” Placebo complained. “I hate grunting noises: they’re so uncivilised.”

This intrusion into Folie’s personal practises urged him to hurry up. Moments later he emerged to find Placebo staring across the concourse below with something akin to awe…

“Don’t you think this is so remarkable?” The larger of the two youngsters said. “I mean that two buildings, on such distant and disparate worlds, would be so utterly identical?”

“Yeah, I s’pose so.” Folie replied. “Do you think it infers divine design?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 53)

Folie and Placebo stared in wonderment. The sight enthralled their gaze; and the noise assaulted their other senses – even ones they didn’t know they had…

“Flipping heck.” Folie erupted. “You can taste the smoke!”

“Yeah.” Placebo agreed. “And smell the vibrations!”

Then the huge vessel / edifice climbed from gravity’s embrace upon a column of insistent and terrifying power…

The two watchers were forced to lean heavily upon their back muscles to witness its heavenward thrust…

And still it climbed – the white-hot fires from its rockets scorching the air around it…

Then, abruptly, the rockets died, and the fusion drive lit up…

…which disappointed Folie somewhat, because he really liked old-fashioned rockets that roared and bellowed – until they were gone from sight…

“I’m somewhat disappointed.” He informed Placebo. “I know that fusion drive is a very pretty shade of pink; but I like old-fashioned rockets that roar and bellow until they’ve gone from sight.”

But that didn’t stop him enjoying the pretty shade of pink as it pulsated into the sky…

Then, simultaneously, both friends discovered that the power of gravity was stronger than their back muscles, and so they toppled backwards…

But that didn’t stop them enjoying the view…

…which was very…ah…viewable

…mostly because the fusion drive really kicked in, and all that pretty pink was tossed overboard. Now the vessel’s tail glowed incandescent…

…and a little pink too, in places – until it reached an altitude that was simply too high for the watchers to perceive…

…and so they picked themselves up; wished the vast craft a happy voyage…

…and wandered off towards the horizon, beyond which lay the Dimensional Relocation Device…

“Time to get back to our reality.” Folie said. “It’s been fun.”

“Yup.” Placebo agreed. “We’ve got quite a tale to tell our grandchildren.”

Folie was puzzled. “But we don’t have any grandchildren.” He said.

Placebo sighed. “I know that. We don’t have any grandchildren right now; but we probably will in the future – when we’re much older than we are now. “

Folie nodded his comprehension. “So these grandchildren are purely hypothetical?”

To which Placebo replied: “Your nose is going to be hypothetical in a minute, if you don’t shut up.”

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 52)

Naturally Magnuss mentioned that Vincenzo would, one day, invent the Tubo Di Tempo…

“Whadda you know about my Tubo Di Tempo?” Vincenzo growled. “It’s a secret. I aint so much as done a drawing of it yet. I aint mentioned it to no one neither. It’s all in my head.”

“We know it’ll work.” Magnuss replied pleasantly.

“You know it’ll work nothing!” Vincenzo bellowed. “You’re just feeling me out for ideas.”

“It’s how we came here.” Hair-Trigger said – once she’d recovered from an intense desire to punch Vincenzo in the mouth. “Your Tubo Di Tempo will replace the big, bulky, and ultimately unreliable Tunnel Temporale.”

These last two words were the breakthrough that Hair-Trigger was hoping for…

“Really?” Vincenzo said in a voice that did nothing to disguise his enthusiasm and desperate hopes. “It’s better than the Tunnel Temporale? I always thought that thing was a piece of junk. So, tell me, when will I invent this time machine you travelled here in?”

“This afternoon.” Magnuss replied…

“Once we’ve given you a couple of pointers.” Hair-Trigger added.

“I don’t need no pointers.” A doubtful Vincenzo said rudely. “I got it all inside my head already.”

“And that’s where it’ll stay.” Magnuss snapped back at him. “For yonks and yonks. You’ll be middle-aged by the time you complete it.”

“Think of all those accolades you will have missed by not inventing it much earlier in your life.” Hair-Trigger whispered. “Not to mention all those royalties and residuals.”

“That you’ll get while you’re still young enough to enjoy them.” Magnuss slipped in.

“Show me.” Vincenzo said in response.

Moments later the three earplugs had moved to Vincenzo’s computer terminal…

…where Magnuss gave Vincenzo some figures that he’d learned from Valentine during their Psychic Bridge; who, in turn, had gleaned from the future version of the Tree of Knowledge.

“Hey, man,” the excited inventor exclaimed, “I would never have thought of that!”

“Actually you would have.” Hair-Trigger assured him. “But not any time soon.”

“Hey,” Vincenzo had a sudden thought, “what about my Plasmapretzel? Whadda ya gonna tell me about that little honey?”

Magnuss looked at Hair-Trigger. He really had no idea. Neither did Hair-Trigger. She said: “Never heard of it. Must have been a dud. What does it do?”

Vincenzo shrugged his shoulders. “Dunno.” He answered. “But it is kinda pretty – don’t ya think?”

Then it was back to work. Vincenzo wanted to see how Magnuss’ figures affected the results of his mental working-out…

Then he punched a few keys and fiddled with a knob or two…

….followed by a mental calculation that would have taxed a mathematician, and announced that everything was now clear to him and that…

…he couldn’t wait for the money to start rolling in.

So Magnuss and Hair-Trigger left him to his work…

“Do you think he’ll have it ready for this afternoon?” Hair-Trigger asked Magnuss doubtfully.

“Mid-day tomorrow, maybe.” Magnuss replied confidently. “We won’t have too much time cooling our heels. We’ll probably need that long to round everyone up anyway.”

Meanwhile, far away across the galaxy, and several years into the future, Folie and Placebo stood at a safe distance from the city-ship launch area…

“It’s awfully desolate out here.” Placebo observed.

“Hmm.” Folie half-replied – his attention concentrated upon the distant blast area. “Any minute now.” He whispered to himself.

But he was wrong: it was ‘any second now’. And before he had time to squeeze shut his eyes…

…BLAM…the launch motors fired!

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

P.S Nice story – huh?

A Tale of Three Museums (part 51)

The theory that the missing customers might have been hiding in plain sight accidentally was proven quickly…

…when Munqui Bannister found Bunguy Jumpur, Randy Blueprint, Dina Havoc, and Porcine Pillock studying futuristic ballistic missiles…

“What?” They shrieked after being told the good news.

Well Bungay, Dina,  and Porcine did. Randy managed a more masculine, “I beg your pardon: did you say that Magnuss Earplug has a plan for our temporal retrieval? I’m astounded. I’m more astounded than I have ever been in my life. Even more astounded than when I learned that these Mark Six Missiles are so fast that they can hit the Moon before they’ve even been launched. Now that’s pretty astounding, don’t you think?”

“How does he propose to do it?” Dina inquired.

But when Munqui replied with, “I have no idea; who cares – it’s Magnuss Earplug: nothing can go wrong.”  Randy and Porcine showed their ignorance of Museum Heroes by allowing their mouths to fall open and doubtful utterances to escape them.

“Tranquilo mis amigos.” Munqui responded calmly. “You’re all in good hands. Now be ready for the word to move. When it comes, it could be sudden.”

Ever since the group conversation in the sunny park, the thought of the two zombies – Clux and Grimnax – nagged desperately at the short-arsed earplug with a stupid hat. He’d heard that they had both taken jobs at the Thomas Blueden Project…

…where, it was hoped that  (inside several futuristic domes ) grass, capable of re-invigorating the surface of Mars, was being grown…

As he made his way between the smaller of many domes, the thought of such a project certainly invigorated the mind of (and brought a sense of well-being to) Peter Crushing. Particularly so when he approached the foyer dome…

…which allowed him ingress to the inner sanctum of grass growing expertise. A short while later – after receiving some kind directions from several staff members, he entered the Engineering section of the project where seeds were genetically manipulated, and roots were grafted, and stuff like that…

“Hi, Peter,” one of two total strangers said to him – as though they had known him for weeks, “how’s it hanging, man?”

Peter was further dumbfounded when the other said: “We wondered when you guys would show up here. Isn’t this Thomas Blueden Project just fantabulous!”

“Probably.” Peter managed. “But changing the subject slightly; I’m looking for a pair of Zombies called Clux and Grimnax: could you tell me where they’re at?”

Both earplugs laughed at this. “Pete,” the darker individual said, “it’s us. We’ve given up our lives as voluntary zombies. This place has made us new again. I’m Clux.”

“And I’m Grimnax.” The lighter of the two earplugs added. “What did you want to see us about?”

At this point, the watching Gideon and Flaxwell were left to guess at Peter’s next words. But it was pretty obvious what they were…

Then it was on to another place, but in the same museum in the same era…

The earplug to whom the watching audience was now introduced was a young inventor by the name of Vincenzo Mussalheddi, who was fiddling avidly with a device that he called The Plasmapretzel. So he was less than accommodating when Magnuss and Hair-Trigger let themselves into his workshop…

“Who are you?” He asked belligerently. He quickly followed this opening gambit with, “Whatta ya want; a punch in the face?”

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

The Race Against Time

When my last Earplug Adventure – ‘Distant Land’ – was published (17/10/2019), and the final extract of the serialised version appeared here (21/10/2019), it was a very different world I lived in – and I don’t mean free of Corona Virus. My wife had recently returned from hospital following a massive operation to free her of cancer. Any ideas of writing a follow up story were shelved in favour of nursing her back to health. Well, to cut a long story short, the procedure failed. The cancer was not defeated. An ordinary life became impossible, and by the time of Corona Virus lock-down in Britain I had to give up my work to care for her full-time. The prognosis was not good. All we could hope for was more time together. As a consequence I felt no desire to write silly stories about earplugs. But, as time passed, and I realised that it was quickly running out, I decided to attempt to complete the story while I still had the chance. I knew I would never write it otherwise. It has been, quite literally, a race against time.  Now (22.00 hrs 08/09/2020), as I lay in bed beside my fitfully slumbering and terminally ill wife, I can announce that I have just completed the 66th and final episode of A Tale of Three Museums. It may not be a great work, but I dedicate this story to her: she who named me Tooty and who has always supported my writing. I hope it’s my best Earplug Adventure. She will never get the opportunity to read it.

Thank you for reading my indulgence,

Tooty.

The extracts will continue to appear on a pre-scheduled basis until the story is complete.

A Tale of Three Museums (part 50)

It was the latter action that brought Nobby to his senses.  Slightly embarrassed, the golden-eyed earplug explained his mental absence in a most eloquent manner:

“I couldn’t take it no more.” He said as he fought to stem the flow of sobs that followed the opening of his huge gob. “Dislocated in the time-stream like this: it’s like an enema to me.”

Hair-Trigger sought to correct his choice of word: “You mean an anathema.”

“No.” The reply came instantly. “I know what I said. Being away from my own era has had me living in the lavatory on an almost permanent basis. So I got some of that hypnotherapy. I got hypnotised into believing that I belong here. I even got a job at the power supply facility. But they let me go: I was just rubbish at it.”

“Ditto.” Magnuss mumbled as he looked at his own feet. Then, after bringing his chin up, he added, “But no need for any more of that hypno-crap, Nobby: you’re going home, pal.”

Nobby’s mood brightened to near incandescence. “I am? How?”

How doesn’t matter right now.” Hair-Trigger replied. “We have to get the gang reassembled. Do you know where they are?”

Freed from his hypnotic state by Magnuss’ saliva splatter, Nobby’s mind was as sharp as a hat pin:

“Well,” he said, “while I go rounding up the guys and gals, you two can see about getting the kids from TWIT out of their hibernation cells.”

Well no sooner had Magnuss made the request for the suspended animation sequence to end – when it was done. Of course the first that Pixie, Jeremy, Neville, and Chickweed knew of it was when a hooter blared loudly and an intensely bright beacon began flashing.

In fact, such was the mesmeric rhythm of the beacon that Pixie Taylor found herself incapable of dragging her gaze from it. And Neville Scroat thought that an atomic bomb was about to explode. But when, moments later, everything became quiescent…

…Jeremy and Chickweed started calling out for their jailer’s attention: Pixie became aware of the CCTV camera that followed her every move; and Neville took the time to think things through.

‘I wonder,‘ he thought quietly to himself, ‘whether this hibernation stuff was such a good idea. If this really is the future, and we’re back in our own time – then surely our real selves – those being the us that has yet to visit the Museum of Future Technology – are waiting here for us. That there will, in effect, be two of all of us. How will the law recognise us? We’ll be doppelgangers!”

Aware that the four youngsters had been released from their voluntary temporal incarceration, Magnuss and Hair-Trigger made straight for the site. Naturally, to avoid confusion, and to prove that he was who he claimed to be, Magnuss wore his famous Cossack hat…

But he needn’t have bothered: by the time they met, the foursome were totally cognizant with the facts…

Well, not entirely cognizant.

“What are we doing here?” Chickweed Gubbins said in his best complaining voice. “Every second that we live in the past, we’re endangering the time-line. One simple act – such as breaking wind in a crowded elevator – could have un-thought of repercussions. Who knows – maybe we’ll never be born at all!”

It was an interesting hypothesis, and Magnuss would have enjoyed a further discussion about it; but he had better, more productive things to do…

“You’re all going home.” He said – which elevated everyone’s mood. “I have the situation in hand. So just stay out of trouble until you get the call. If you see any of your fellow customers from the future, tell them.”

The young TWIT recruits’ response couldn’t have been better if Magnuss had slipped them a five Pluggento note. They saluted smartly and said: “Yes, Sir!”

Shortly, Magnuss and Hair-Trigger returned to the park, where they hoped to meet the remainder of their fellows. But they were immediately concerned when a RoboSecGua arrived with only half their number…

“Ooer,” Magnuss wailed, “I was rather hoping for a full compliment.”

The approaching group didn’t look any happier…

…so the daring duo put on their best ‘confident’ faces…

“Hi-ya.” Hair-Trigger said cheerfully, “we certainly have a lovely day for a meeting in such a gorgeous park.”

This confused their visitors.

“But the weather is artificial.” Rosie Stinkpipe pointed out. “It’s always wonderful weather here.”

Nobby De Arenquez felt compelled to defend Hair-Trigger’s statement. “Not so.” He said. “What about that time when we had a mini ice-age? It wasn’t nice here then.”

Magnuss could see the conversation getting out of control…

…so he interrupted:

“Shut up.” He said rudely, which had the desired effect. “Now I distinctly remember coming to this era to save a lot more than just you lot and the kids from TWIT. Where is everyone else?”

The RoboSecGua replied…

“Sir.” It began politely. “We have security teams searching every nook and cranny of the museum. If they are hiding away, we will find them.”

Jemina Jobsworth thought she could see a flaw in the servo-mechanism’s logic…

“But what if they aren’t hiding?” She said. “What if they’re just going about their business – sight-seeing or something?”

“Yeah.” Peter Crushing ably supported her argument. “What about Clix and Grimnax too? They’re both voluntary zombies: your sensors won’t recognise them as living beings. They don’t breathe!

It was true. The others then threw in their two-pennies-worth…

But it was Edie Chalice who made the most pertinent point:

“I was as drunk as a lord when I visited the museum. I can’t remember squat. What if I wasn’t alone in my inebriation? What if some of us simply don’t know  we’re living in the past?”

“Or worse still,” Magnuss added…

…”that they’ve taken to the bottle since, and simply don’t care? Oh, by the Saint of All Earplugs: we have to act with utmost alacrity. Find those missing visitors: and find them fast!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

 

 

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 49)

When the Portal of Everywhere’s view shifted once again, Gideon and Flaxwell quickly realised that they would have to stop being disappointed by the repeated breaks in the narrative…

But, as usual, the change wasn’t necessarily for the worse. In fact any scene that involved Magnuss and Hair-Trigger raised their expectations to stratospheric levels…

What surprised them – this time at least – was that they were witnessing a disagreement between the couple.

“But we do everything together.” Hair-Trigger was arguing.

“That’s not strictly true.” Magnuss responded in his most logical manner. “For example – I’ve never followed you into the ‘ladies’ public lavatory. In fact I’ve only followed you into our rented bathroom to hand you the futuristic shower gel.”

“That’s different – and you know it.” Hair-Trigger replied sharply.

“A poor analogy, perhaps,” Magnuss said with a wise nodding of his youthful head, “but the principal remains. There are things that only we – as individuals – can do. I can’t produce a bloody good fart that will release trapped wind in your gut: and you can’t communicate telepathically with my brothers. Farts come easily; but telepathy requires huge levels of concentration: I really don’t need a distraction.”

“Is that all I am?” Hair-Trigger wailed. “A distraction?”

Of course Magnuss wanted to assure his beloved that she was anything but – but he needed time alone – so he said: “Sometimes.”

Hair-Trigger’s reaction to this was wholly expected: she walked off in a huff…

Initially Magnuss felt an urge to go in pursuit of his favourite female earplug; but good sense ruled his heart, and so he turned his attention to the job at hand…

So, with a huge smile of anticipation – and with the full knowledge of what he needed to do, transferred to his brain via the Tree of Knowledge, Magnuss allowed his mind to open itself up to whatever potentiality existed within his realm of existence…

“Whoo,” he said, “pretty.”

Years into the future, the other four Earplug Brothers were attempting the very same thing…

But despite their best efforts and broad smiles, something seemed to be holding them back. Following several aborted attempts to make contact with the past, Rudi was beginning to think that the Tree of Knowledge must have been experiencing an off-day when it instructed Valentine and him to engage their group mind – or collective intelligence, as it called it. And it might have remained that way, except something quite remarkable happened: the Supreme Being appeared to them…

“Oh for my sake!” It erupted. “You all have different expectations. You’re not using your God-given talent properly. You’re over-thinking this. Just relax: let your thoughts coalesce; become one. Got it? Right – I’m outta here.”

And suddenly Rudi, Val, Chester, and Miles were also ‘in the zone’. Despite the wall of years that reared up like a big reary-uppy thing between themselves and their sibling, they had become one with Magnuss. They knew what he knew; and vice versa.

“Can you dig it?” They said as one. “Yes we can.”

So, with all pertinent information transmitted and received successfully, Magnuss quickly patched up his relationship with Hair-Trigger, and they duly took themselves off to the park to find the other time-travellers that had been dumped in the current era with them. But they were astonished when Nobby De Aranquez failed to either notice or recognise them. In fact the situation was so bad that Hair-Trigger was forced to shout at him, and Magnuss to blow a very loud ‘raspberry’…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 48)

Following a mad dash down a spiral staircase, Folie, Placebo and Princess Cake arrived upon Concourse One in time to…

…be greeted by the scientific elite and the Skail Brothers.

Naturally, in the unbounded joy of reunion with their ruler, the other-worlders completely forgot the two terrestrials…

But as they welcomed her back into the fold, Dennis Tawdry couldn’t help but notice something out of place:

“Oh-no, tell me it isn’t true.” He wailed quietly. “Is that the royal arse I see on display?”

Dido Warblington hushed him surreptitiously – before adding, in a whisper: “Pretend you saw nothing. If anyone asks, you know nothing about those rather fetching dimples.”

Then, having done her duty, Cake turned to her saviours…

By way of thanks, she said: “Is there anything I can give you as reward for your brave, heroic action?”

“Well,” Folie said – having considered his response for half a heartbeat, “you could always pause to tie your shoe as you walk away.”

“Cheeky.” Cake said with a smile. “I think that might be a step too far. But, if it helps your future careers any, I can make a royal decree. I hereby award you my world’s greatest honour and I dub thee Sir Folie Krimp and Sir Placebo Bison.”

“Thanks very much.” They replied in unison. “We like you too.”

And so, Princess Cake re-joined with her subjects, and moved gracefully away…

…to be replaced with Richter and Beaufort.

“We did as you said.” Richter said eagerly.

“You did?” Folie responded to the earplug who so closely resembled himself – except for the larger eyes, of course. “What was that?”

“To look down the back of the filing cabinet in the engineering office.” Beaufort replied upon his brother’s behalf.

“Yes.” Richter took up the mantle once more. “We discovered the manuscript for an owners-manual. It had everything we needed to complete our work on the city-ship.”

“Apparently,” Beaufort butted in, “the starter motor has a sticky solenoid. But a kettle of boiling water and a thump with a length of timber soon sorted that out. We’re ready to leave – just as soon as you get to a safe distance – which is half way across the desert outside.”

“Oh – right then.” Placebo replied. “We’d better be on our way then. And you too, I guess.”

With that they bid their final farewells, and the brothers made haste after the royal party…

Folie and Placebo watched them go…

“Great guys, don’t you think, Sir Folie?” Placebo opined.

“Great guys, Sir Placebo.” Folie agreed. “The best. Now we’d better get a move on: this place will be blown to smithereens by their take off blast.  Where’s the door to the outside world?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020