Earplugs Without Pictures 9

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 ludicrous tale…

Meanwhile the International Transfer Conduit had delivered a cargo of pretty things from the sunny costa.

“Hola.” Said Jorge. “We booked ahead on-line. We’re Las Chicas De La Playas.

It was a bold statement. Naturally the Robot Ticket Collector ran a security scan over the new arrivals. “Las Chicas, you say?” It said with a slightly concerning tone to its voice.

“Sí.” The turquoise-haired Jimena replied.

“Yet one of you is named Jorge.” The Robot Ticket Collector observed. “Not a very feminine name is it!”

“We didn’t choose our names.” The lovely blonde, Lucia replied indignantly. “You can blame our parents for any incongruities.”

“I believe you’re trying to obfuscate the subject.” The Robot Ticket Collector growled through its forward speaking grille.

Obfuscate was quite a long word, and none of Los Chicas had ever used it in normal, every-day language. They preferred “urr”, “yeah”, “whoo”, and “more please – with a cherry on top”.

“You what?” Alba said ignorantly.

“You’re hiding the fact that Jorge here is not actually a girl at all.” The Robot Ticket Collector explained.

Alba repeated herself.

“You don’t know the difference?” The Robot Ticket Collector said impatiently. “Jorge is not a chica at all, but a chico. You are clearly not whom you claim to be. As such I cannot allow you inside the Museum of Future Technology. Not now, nor ever. So bog off!

Las Chicas De La Playas were appalled.

“Oh no.” The brunette, Carmen wailed. “We’ll have to go back to showing off our bronzed limbs on the beach again. How boring. I think I’ll die!”

“Sí.” Jimena agreed – though with a little more attitude than was normal for her.

“You’re wrong, Mister Ticket Collector.” Lucia said as she presented a photograph to its ocular array. “We had this taken just before we departed the sunny costa.”

“Hmmm,” the Robot Ticket Collector said as it cogitated, “not bad; but not good enough either. I’m going to need better evidence that this.”

Las Chicas spent a moment going through their ‘things’. They quickly realised that Jorge’s lipstick would only worsen the situation. Then Jorge himself enjoyed a moment of inspiration. “What about this?” He said.

“A sombrero!” The Robot Ticket Collector roared. “Perfect. Get your lovely selves inside my museum: clearly you are the real deal.”


But as these events were unrolling across the tapestry of museum history – high upon the Suspended Animation wall, the Earplug Brothers – though frozen and inanimate – were busy linking their minds. In doing so Rudi could sketch out his plan with utter accuracy; and by increasing their brain capacity by five hundred per cent they were able to reach out with mental tendrils – through the walls, the floor, and the ceiling of their jail – to minds that were supple, pliant, and controllable. In short they took partial control of the curator’s pet cheese rind, Rover – who was passing the day by urinating all over Mr Stovepipe-Hat’s stovepipe hat. And it was this filthy act of wanton vandalism that inspired the Earplugs further still. Soon Rover was making his way through the vast building – passing the uncaring and disinterested Red-Eye as he did so – and worrying the frightened Peat-Boggers, who had never before seen such an animal. But because Seamus became instantly fascinated by the unusual cheese rind, and felt the urge to own one for himself, the Peat-Boggers began following him. They noted how much he enjoyed tiddling all over Mr Stovepipe-Hat’s spare hat. And they were close by when the Earplug Brother’s guidance led Rover to the Suspended Animation Wall number Twenty – where he emptied the remaining caustic fluid in his bladder all over the Elevation control panel.

Well cheese rind urine and advanced cryogenic equipment, are (most certainly) not a match made in heaven. Although no sparks flew, the effect upon the Suspended Animation wall was immediate. With a sad croak it stopped working. Of course the Earplug Brothers were fully aware of recent events – they’d been responsible for them after all; but what they didn’t know was that the Peat-Boggers had followed Rover all the way to his final destination. And when the citizens of the eleventh-century saw Rover summon up a majestic final effort in Mr Zinc’s direction, they tittered quietly in their hiding place at Zinc’s indignation. But when they witnessed Zinc’s passionless anger, and saw his henchmen gang up on the innocent cheese rind, they grew concerned. They grew even more concerned when the henchmen began kicking Rover.

They might have been comparative savages, when compared to Mister Zinc: but their primitive sense of justice against animal cruelty meant that their peat-bogging fury suddenly knew no bounds, and Seamus had them leap from hiding and push over the huge blue thing that placed victims upon the wall, so that it fell upon the evil gang of cheese rind-kicking abductors with a mighty ‘crash’.

Naturally everyone upon the wall began singing the Peat-Bogger’s praises – none less so than the two Trumptations, Ootis Wolliums and Dunnis Idwards, who performed so soulfully, and in perfect harmony that it brought a tear to everyone’s eye. This was unfortunate because whilst everyone was wiping their eyes, Mr Zinc, Blue, their henchmen, and hired thugs, wriggled free and immediately made a dash for freedom.

Of course an angry mob of abductees roared with rage as they freed themselves and went in belated pursuit. But the perpetrators of evil-by-proxy had a head start, and soon approached the Transfer Station that led to Las Costas.

“Oh, Zinky,” Blue cried out in shame, “what a complete fiasco. Sand and salt water play merry havoc with my aluminium parts, you know. We can’t go there!”

“Right now I couldn’t give a darn.” Mr Zinc shouted back. “I just wanna get the hell outta here. If Las Costas are the only way out of here – well Las Costas here we come!”

But when they arrived at the terminus they found it closed.

“Blast,” Mr Zinc’s henchmen bellowed in unison, “how the heck did that happen? We thought this place was automated!”

It must have come as a great surprise to Mister Zinc when he discovered that his escape route was no longer functioning. His skewed logic and sense of self-importance dictated that it must have been something that he’d done to have caused it, and as a consequence of this he spent several minutes punching himself in the face before he and his group departed at maximum speed. But his self-loathing had wasted precious time.

Moments later the real cause of Mister Zinc’s undoing stepped into view. It had been Nurse Consuela and Las Chicas De La Playas who had guessed Mister Zinc’s intention, and had switched off the Automated Earplug Transfer System – known as EATS (which confused the hell out of hungry patrons) by the simple expedient of copying the hero of the previous day – Valentine – and pouring their own type of metaphorical ginger beer into the moisture-sensitive control panel. Of course they’d lacked that particular earplug’s elephantine hip flask, but between the six of them they’d got the job done.

“Muy bien.” Consuela congratulated her compatriots. “Now aren’t you glad you didn’t buy those cartons of cafe con leches and sangria instead?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2016

Ooh, those early stories were a bit ‘off-the-wall’ weren’t they!

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 Earplug Aftermath cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.

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