It’s no good; when it comes to selecting which book supplies the next extract, I’ve completely lost the plot. But, rather than adopting my default position, which always results in me choosing The Psychic Historian, this time I’m going to plump for this slightly underrated e-book…
Okay – VERY underrated e-book. Maybe this extract, whatever it is (because its always random), will make people think again. Let’s hope so: I worked hard on this (all those years ago) and I really would like to sell a few copies.
“You miserable failure.” Wetpatch thought he heard someone say as he rematerialized beneath the emergency raffia mat.
“I’m no such thing.” He responded in his most indignant tone, which was very indignant indeed because he’d been studying Indignancy as part of the school curriculum, and had been practising upon the village green with his pal Algy Piecrust for weeks.
“Oh Wetpatch.” Amy squealed with delight as she whipped back the covering, and then quickly averted her eyes in case time travel did nasty things to people, “You’re back!”
Immediately everyone began fussing around the young hamster – asking all sorts of questions, and checking to see if he retained most of his more obvious body parts.
Naturally, after learning from Desmond that time travel can sometimes be disorientating, and can often lead people to hear things that weren’t actually said, and were usually the product of their sub-conscious, Wetpatch made his report.
Everyone was delighted, though slightly appalled by the news that both the crew and passengers were due for a pasting by the volcano’s shockwave, and that vomiting would be commonplace.
Desmond was particularly thrilled that Tutu would be safe, and was probably half way to Chunderland by now: But was slightly disconcerted when Wetpatch informed him that Tutu was a brilliant navigator, and that the lanky creature possessed a natural flair for the science, and could actually wipe his bottom with the bathroom light off.
So now, it seemed, it was just a matter of trying to survive the shockwave when it hit. And Wetpatch knew exactly where he intended to ride it out…
After securing Kevin to the wall with a pair of extremely large bolts and a length of braid from the lounge drapes, Wetpatch settled himself into a harness that swung lazily from a spring that was attached to the ceiling.
“It won’t matter how much the ship bucks about.” The youngster informed the education computer, “I’ll be cushioned from its effects by this. Of course I’ll probably empty my stomach all over the place, but I’ll remain fundamentally unharmed.”
Kevin, despite being a machine, was less than enthralled at the thought of being puked over.
“Hey, dumb-ass hamster,” it spoke as eloquently as it could, “How’s about stuffing me in a cupboard or up the extractor fan? I can’t stand no thoughts of messy stuff getting in my innards. What you wanna have me ‘round for anyways?”
Actually Wetpatch had a very good reason for having Kevin around when the shockwave hit. Amongst its many talents, Kevin could double as a DVD player, and it just so happened that during the rapid descent into the deeps, several box sets of Rat Trek had fallen from the hold of the Disemboweller into the Bargebutt, and Wetpatch had collected them, cleaned all the filth and bodily wastes from them, and now intended to spend his time on a sci-fi fest to end all sci-fi fests: Hour upon endless hour of Rat Trek re-runs – with popcorn. He simply couldn’t wait
“It’ll take my mind off my recalcitrant balance mechanism.” He explained after Kevin demanded an explanation for the inclusion of audio-visual stimulation during a period of extreme physical and mental stress. “And if I position a mirror on the opposite wall – you can watch too!”
And so it came to pass. Almost exactly three hours, sixty-two minutes, and ninety seconds later, the S.S Bargebutt found itself in the grasp of an invisible monster. Joints creaked, bulkheads bristled, and transfer hoses wobbled horrendously as the vessel was dragged across a sizable portion of the globe by the racing volcanic shockwave. Up became down, left became right, and somewhere in the middle seemed like it might end up on the outside. All in all the mighty sub was tested far beyond its builder’s design expectations, and was not found wanting. Regrettably the same couldn’t quite be said of its crew however. As promised by the earlier form of Tutu – vomiting abounded, and a great gnashing of teeth could be heard throughout its endless corridors. Recriminations were commonplace, and many a rodent said things that they feared they might later regret.
In his cabin, Wetpatch was riding the storm quite well. Although he was bouncing around the room on the end of his spring like an expiring house fly, his brain remained active, and his stomach surprisingly calm.
Kevin was doing less well. The two bolts turned out to be made of inferior shit-metal, and the braid had been manufactured in a country where quantity was generally preferred over quality, and had duly snapped at the first serious tug. The education computer now lay in the corner with both its display unit and solitary ‘eye’ camera facing the ceiling. Its tracked wheels spun helplessly, and oil was leaking from places that Wetpatch never imagined Kevin possessed. But like the obedient automaton that it was, Kevin continued to play Rat Trek, Episode Seven of Season One, ‘With Winter Comes a Nose Warmer’. And Wetpatch was doing his best to watch it even though Kevin couldn’t help itself from rolling from side to side as the vessel bucked and weaved like a conquistador’s cavy.
It was just as (on screen) Mister Splatt had finished explaining some complicated science stuff to an uncomprehending Captain Perp that a thought suddenly intruded upon Wetpatch’s enjoyment of the action adventure television show.
“Hang on a minute.” The adolescent hamster cried out over the general cacophony made by a ship that was being pounded to within microns of tolerance, “That can’t be right!”
And he wasn’t talking about Mister Splatt’s pseudo-science either. But it was to be another hour before the storm had passed, and he could put his resulting inspirational theory to Professor Desmond…
“Fluff and bollocks!” The wild-furred scientist bellowed moments after listening with great intensity to Wetpatch’s worrying tale and his most recently posited theorem.
“Fluff and bollocks?” Inquired Sally as she strode into the control room, paw in paw with Mister Ho, and with Amy in tow. “It’s not like you to swear gratuitously.”
Desmond apologised and then explained exactly what it was that had brought out the beast in him.
“I don’t think that Tutu was really Tutu.” He began, which confused the heck out of all three listening hamsters.
“What Professor Squealch means is…” Wetpatch decided to explain upon Desmond’s behalf, “…due to some unexplained interference from either the high pressures experienced in the depths. Or possibly somebody using an illegal cell ‘phone. Or perhaps electromagnetic activity from deep within the planet’s crust – his time machine didn’t send me back to the right time and place.”
“But…” Sally began; but she quickly realised that she knew next to nothing about temporal translocation, and duly shut her gob.
“But…” Amy tried more successfully, “…if it wasn’t the proper Tutu, in the proper place, at the proper time: Who was he, where was he, and when?”
The question had been succinctly put, and Roman, who had been snoozing beneath a pile of laundry, openly applauded her before joining the group.
“We think,” Wetpatch continued, “that I was diverted through a sub-atomic maelstrom into an alternative dimension in which everything appeared to be exactly the same as this one. But we can’t be sure that it actually was the same – so now Professor Squealch is all worried about Tutu again. He thinks he might be dead!”
“Fluff and bollocks!” Ho verbally ejaculated. “Some real bad shit!”
Indeed it was ‘some real bad shit’. “If our conjecture transpires to be proven,” Desmond came close to wailing, “then we can’t even be certain that Wetpatch is the same Wetpatch that we sent through time. And he can’t be certain that we’re the same bunch of miserable rodents who sent him. Oh this is unbearable: I’ve never felt more out of my depth – even when compared to that time when I went potholing with Tutu and Horatio Horseblanket, and there was a cave-in, and the river began rising, and we had to grasp the tunnel roof with our incisors, and converse through our nostrils!”
For several moments the situation looked extremely grim. Then Wetpatch had an idea…
“Send me back again.” He suggested chirpily, “Only this time I’ll take a camera. We can check the resulting photos for anomalies after I get back.”
© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013
Well what a load of sci-fi cliches and quasi-scientific bollocks that was. But it was fun too, wasn’t it? Unbelievably this book is still for sale at most e-book retailers. They don’t give up, do they! And neither should you. Visit the sidebar or Tooty’s Books Available Here beneath the header, and buy it now. Like straight away. Immediately. This instant. You know it’ll be little money spent well. Bargain of the week.