Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this magnificent tale…
Waiting until another law enforcement patrol had passed by, Erroneous and Hellfire sidled up to the door, where they duplicated the coded knock that the burglars had given only minutes earlier. A half-second later they had disappeared from the street. Not surprisingly they found themselves inside the burglar’s den – where the night’s paltry booty was being shared out over mugs of coarse ale and out-of-date Cornish Pasties, served to them by a pair of disgruntled end caps.
“Ho, ho, ho.” One of them erupted. “We’ll feast tonight, and make no mistake.”
Another concurred: “Aye, we’ll all have two pasties tonight. And maybe we could stretch to a celebratory flagon of ginger beer. Or maybe a half carafe of the house lemonade!”
This was more than Erroneous could stand. “Enough idle banter!” He roared.
Everyone turned to look at him – except the end caps, of course: they couldn’t give a hoot what he had to say: they had Cornish pasties that needed de-furring.
“Yes, enough!” Hellfire supported his friend ably.
“As burglars,” Erroneous continued, “you’d all make excellent bus drivers. In other words…you’re all complete…” He paused before adding a very rude word indeed.
To say that the burglars were shocked would be like saying that the enormous poop that blocked the Museum of Future Technology’s sewage system, and thereby saved it from an iron-fisted dictatorship, was…er…enormous. They were also stunned: no one had ever slipped past their security and called them crap before. This was new ground.
“Oh yeah?” One of them replied belligerently. “Who sez?”
Hellfire quickly selected a driving rock theme upon the juke box, before following Erroneous’ lead as he leapt upon a table.
“Erroneous Bosche, that’s who.” Erroneous growled.
“And Hellfire McWilliams.” Hellfire added. “Just out of Sloshed Antlers Mountain Penitentiary: we’ve been professional burglars for our entire lives. There is no place safe from us. We know a lousy burglar when we see one”
“That’s right.” Erroneous fired off those two syllables like bullets from a twin barrelled gun of some description – though he wasn’t sure that such a weapon actually existed. “We got past your security like phantoms in the night. So when we say you’re rubbish burglars, you’d better listen.”
“Especially,” Hellfire delivered the punch line, “since we can do something about it. How’d you like to be the first intake of The Whatever This Town is Called Academy of Burgling?”
Naturally the incompetent burglars were keen to join such an organization – though most of them thought that they could have authored a better name for it. But that didn’t matter: they were all ears.
“Well,” Erroneous said, once he knew he’d snared his audience, “we’ll brush quickly over the rudiments of burglary; then it’ll be on to the refinements – like lock picking; drain pipe shinning; glass breaking; how to help yourself to the contents of an alarmed fridge; and, of course, using a victim’s lavatory without them knowing about it, or leaving your DNA behind.”
“Sound’s great.” The previously doubtful oik who had spoken last yelled in joy. “When do we start?”
“Just as soon as you’ve signed up to the course; made a blood oath; and promise to give us – that’s Hellfire and me – twenty-five per cent of your booty.”
“Where do I sign?” The useless burglar said through a broad smile. “And whose blood?”
As a result of this huge success, Erroneous and Hellfire soon had the burglar gang fully trained and back to work. But they knew that efficiency in burgling wasn’t enough: they had to get the local law enforcement officers ‘on side’ as it were. So after several successful burglaries that netted the couple a considerable hoard, they led the gang to the nearest Cop Shop, where they left one gang member to keep watch.
The police officers were surprised when several known villains entered their establishment.
“What’s this,” they said, “come to hand yourselves in, have you?”
The remand prisoners in the cells were surprised too – particularly when the ‘look out’ entered as well.
“Not exactly.” Erroneous replied. “We’ve dragged ourselves all the way here so that we – that’s you and us – can come to some sort of accommodation.”
The police officers weren’t particularly well educated: the meaning of Erroneous’s words eluded them. So Hellfire handed them their recent takings.
“Does this explain better?” He said.
At this the Chief of Police replied, “Who said that?”, as he pocketed the booty and gave Hellfire a knowing wink.
By chance, the ‘new boss’, Mister Zinc, was taking the evening air with his biological android girlfriend, Blue.
“What’s wrong, darling Zincipoo?” Blue enquired when her delusional beau became silent, slightly moody, and reticent to elucidate his inner turmoil.
“This Father Superior stuff isn’t half as satisfying as I thought it would be.” Zinc confessed. “And it’s a bit boring too.”
Blue was about to author some banal and pathetic response, when this happened.
“Ye Gods.” Zinc blurted uncharacteristically. “You’ve been targeted by the Angelic Targeting Laser that sits atop the Holy Sniper Rifle!”
Mister Zinc wasn’t particularly surprised when the targeting laser shifted its aim. He tried to remain philosophical.
“I think someone is dropping an enormous hint, Blue. I also think I should react accordingly.”
So when Chester, Miles, and all the others arrived, they found Mister Zinc open to persuasion.
“Yeah, of course you can stay here until morning. Stay here as long as you like.” He responded to their request for lodgings. “You can join the order, for all I care. Find your way to the kitchens, why don’t you. Just don’t expect Blue to do the cooking: We’ve got bigger concerns to worry about right now.”
He then informed the attentive earplugs of the recent incident with the Angelic Laser Light, which Zak and Bolah both knew was utterly bogus, and who whispered this information to the heroic duo. Zinc then called all the monks of the Order of the Holey Vest to listen to his words.
Of course Dilbert and Gilman were among the crowd. They’d only just arrived in time, after hiding the Holy Sniper Rifle behind a low stone wall in the cemetery. They smirked because they had a pretty good idea what was coming.
“Monk guys.” Zinc called out. “I got a call from a higher order. Ya know what I mean? It’s time I took a hike. I just aint quite figured out the direction I should go yet.”
Naturally Dilbert and Gilman couldn’t help themselves: They offered to show him. Equally naturally everyone was thrilled, especially Chester and Miles, who knew what a lousy git and a silicone turd Zinc was.
“Off you go, then.” Chester said, unable to disguise his broad smile. “I’m sure they have somewhere lovely in mind for you.”
© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017
Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the Those Magnificent Earplugs cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.