The Set: The Scene 4

If you are one of those brave folk who have persisted with the consumption of Earplug Adventures over a long period of time, it’s quite probable that you will recall pertinent scenes by your recognition of a set – or vice versa. But just to test that hypothesis, check out the following. Here’s a simple one to start with. Two yellow earplugs standing upon a tarpaulin that has sagged and filled with rain water…

What great potentiality did I notice in this? Yes, it’s…

…two of the dancing Greenhorn Girls (can’t remember which ones) by the beach in The Missing.

So what about this fabulously vague piece of cardboard that has been dirtied by the incessant rubbing against it by lengths of aluminium extrusion, and a sheet of translucent plastic stuff that wrapped the aforementioned?

Well, combined artistically they become…

…a snow scene and a distant wintery forest. Honestly they do. Look here’s those unemployed (and unemployable) couch potatoes, D’Neferious Berk, Freda Conk, Numpty Dingbat and Clem Borstal in a scene from Time Shard Museum

Getting the hang of it? Try this one…

If you’re not sure what you’re looking at, it’s two pieces of split 4 x 2 timber, set against a sheet of styrofoam. Now clearly this is supposed to be a rock formation and a blue/grey sky. No? Well it is. And the end result of my transformation of the original shot is…

…Patti Roularde and Nobby Hollister engaged on a Precipitous Ledge Walk in a snow storm in Haunted Mars. Ah, now you remember. So what about this one..?

There’s some giveaway signage on this piece of legendary prop. What does it say? Transfer Conduit Station Seven? Lordy, has this set been used a multitude of times – though not always as Transfer Conduit Station Seven…

Here it is as Lottery Central in Winning Numbers, and in the following shot as a desert fortress in Cometh the Earplug Vol 2…

Of course I couldn’t let this set pass without displaying it as it should be seen: as the previously mentioned Transfer Conduit Station –  this time witnessing the arrival of the Jaundice Family in Unity Vol 2…

So, try your hand at this set…

Ugh, it’s a nasty rust stain at the bottom of a brick wall that appears to be on the inside of a factory or warehouse. No it’s not. Not in my make-believe world it aint. It’s actually…

…a wonderful distant city, discovered (in The Grand Tour Vol 2) by sibling adventurers Dorkan and Dawlish Deathwish. And what an adventure they had. Of course you can view all of the Earplug Adventures by clicking HERE and reading (or downloading) the complete stories in PDF. Do it now – before the servers are overwhelmed by demand.

 

Making Light of Advancing Years

By the time I turned sixty (and everything went south rapidly) I’ve found it more and more difficult to ride my bicycle. Downhills became hard work: the flats felt like I was climbing Ben Nevis with an anvil on my back: and uphills…well uphills were impossible. Even pushing the bike up any gradient was hard work. In fact I was becoming concerned that I might be experiencing a heart problem. But a coincidental day in Accident & Emergency, on a heart monitor, soon put that fear to rest. So when I spotted a bike in fine fettle for sale at the side of the road at a very nice price, I was tempted. My daughter convinced me. “Nice colours.” She said. “Your favourites. And shiny mudguards too.”

I bought it…

 

And, oh my, what a transformation. It may have a steel frame (the older one is lightweight aluminium) and a weird seat that looks as though it will disappear up my rectum – taking my goolies along for the trip – but it’s so much more comfortable (if you discount the absense of suspension). And the effort to ride it…well there is no comparison: I now  ride up hill: on the flat I’ve yet to be overtaken by young boys on their back wheel, or ladies in lycra, or anyone else for that matter. And downhill is now limited by the effectiveness of the block brakes (not very). Journey times are now halved, and I don’t have to take a fifteen minute pulse-checking lie-down to recover after the ride. It’s like I’m 59 again! The reason for this? The previous owner kept it in a dry shed and actually performed maintenance (spit-spit, I hate maintenance) on it. So what have I learned?  Well I’ve learned this. I’m not too old and knackered to ride: I just need to look after the bike to stay young. So will someone kindly pass me the chain lube?

Rejoice: Good News, Earpluggers…

…principal photography has begun on the 42nd Earplug Adventure – or the Forty-Two’eth episode, as I prefer to call it. And just to prove that the camera hand is still firm and capable, here’s a trio of shots for the opening segment of the tale…

Yes, that last shot features Nigel the Golden One – leader of the Planet Scroton. He’s back! Can’t wait for more? Neither can I!

Tooty’s been a-fiddlin’

When I presented the model of the next Earplug Adventure’s space ship – namely the honeymoon barge of Magnuss and Hair-Trigger the Tankerville Norris…

…I pretty much admitted that it was no ‘looker’, but that it had an excellent name. I also stated that I would make the ship believable. Well here are a few shots of it ‘in action’. We’ll start with a beauty shot…

…which proves that even the stubbiest, ugliest ship in all creation can look good from one angle. Here’s one of it in an atmosphere under cover of night…

This one looks like it might have narrowly avoided a huge explosion or disaster…

And this one clearly had either Magnuss or Hair-Trigger hitting the ‘Go Faster’ button…

So, as you can clearly see, I haven’t been entirely idle. As regards the story: other than the couple becoming a…well…a couple, I don’t have much clue. But just to get my ageing creative juices flowing I’ve given it a non-sensical title that should stretch me somewhat, and hopefully the plot will reveal itself to me. And that title is ‘The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah‘. I wonder what it means? I do make life difficult for myself, don’t I! 

Does Eight Seconds Really Make That Much Difference?

When I “do a selfie” I don’t hold the camera at arm’s length: I utilize the camera’s built-in timer. This makes it appear that it’s not a selfie at all, and that someone else took the picture. But sometimes, when I’m not paying close enough attention, I might possibly set it to the wrong time duration before it goes click. Most cameras have a 2 second delay and a 10 second  delay. If the light is bad – or if someone is approaching, and I don’t want to appear a complete narcissist to them – the tiny icons on-screen could look similar enough for a simple mistake to occur. Two could be confused with ten. But does this really matter? After all, it’s just a photo of little old me looking as good as he can, and hoping that he can fool the world into thinking that he might be cool and in full command of his corporeal existence. Well yes it does! This is what I look like after peering myopically into the camera’s sun-drenched LCD screen and selecting the wrong icon…

Then, to compound this error (and after moving to another site because someone became curious at my behaviour and started hanging around) I carelessly set the camera up facing into the Sun…

So, sorry, although I found the right icon this time, you’ll have to imagine how cool and in command of my corporeal existence I actually look.

I Expenda on a Fenda Extenda

Back in late 2020, when I was rediscovering the joys/pains of motorcycling, my boots often looked like this…

And the bike’s engine was even worse. So I trawled the Internet for an answer to my muddy problem. I found (and fitted) this…

My Fenda Extenda (terrible name, but very discriptive) was a Godsend, and it made the bike look nicer too…

So when I stepped up to its replacement, I was ahead of the curve. I didn’t wait until my header pipes and engine casings were all covered in shit: I bought another Fenda Extenda first…

Now if it’s any bloody good I have no idea: but it  certainly looks  nice…

Of course, on a machine this handsome, a rusty bucket would probably look fabulous.

P.S I am in no way affiliated with the Fenda Extenda’s manufacturers – Pyramid Plastics; I just like the product.

P.P.S The magnetic tank bag featured here is the same one on both bikes – made by Oxford (and really neat). It just shows the vast difference in the size of the bikes.

P.P.P.S It may be a coincidence, but don’t you think that the bikes (although very different) look rather similar in their stance and bearing? I must be a fan of modern retro.

 

Flipping Heck, It Must Be Some Kind of Earplugfest!

To whomever decided to download every Earplug Adventure ever written today (20/09/21)…all I can say is: “Wow!” Hope you enjoy them.

Of course anyone else who might fancy a giggle or two can emulate the mystery reader and either read them on-line, or download them for later by visiting the appropriate Page on this site. Anyone interested can take the shortcut to it right HERE.

Then you too can experience the…ah…Earplug Experience for yourself. Here’s a random representative e-book cover. Nice, isn’t it!

 

 

The Unexpected Result of 365 Days of Mourning

I am writing this at 9.00pm on the 15th Sept 2021. Exactly one year previous, though four hours earlier in the day, my wife’s body had been taken away to lay in a local funeral director’s establishment. I had become (and remain) a widower. I’ve been dreading the approaching anniverary for some while, as has my daughter, who took the day off from her day care centre to stay home with me. But I had already resolved to treat the day like any other. It is simply the 15th of September, just as the 14th was a regular day, and the 16th will be tomorrow. Just another day. And, by and large, both of us were successful. We spoke of her, of course; but we never dwelled upon the subject. That’s been done enough during the intervening twelve months. I also knew that I needed something to keep me occupied, lest my mind wander back through time. So I decided that I would make a model out of used household ‘stuff’.  ‘Stuff’ such as lavatory cleaners and anti-persperant containers. You know, quality ‘stuff’. I knew what sort of model I wanted to create. A space ship for the next Earplug Adventure. More specifically a honeymoon spaceship for Magnuss and Hair-Trigger.  So, having previously purchased a huge tube of contact adhesive, I set to work. Many hours later…

…the ship took on form. And what a nice colour it is too. Toyota Carina E metallic blue (which I found in the shed behind the windscreen washer fluid) and some nattily scissored pieces of yellow sticky-back plastic…

Okay it doesn’t really look much like a spaceship; but you wait until I’ve taken a few shots of this baby and played with them on my computer. Then you’ll be convinced. You will swear you can hear the hyperspace drive motors whine as it streaks across the screen. And it already has a name. Rather ironically I discovered it on an old gravestone. It belonged to a boy who died during infancy in the late Seventeen hundreds. It was a wonderful name – though not really for a little boy. Or any human being for that matter. I don’t know what his parents were thinking when they gave him that moniker: but it’ll make  a great name for an earplug spaceship. It’s called the Tankerville Norris. See, how silly is that? So I’m not going to  shed a single tear today: instead I’m going to smile. She won’t be upset, of course: I told her I was going to do it, when I woke up this morning. Of course I can’t be certain that she heard; but she knows  what a silly old Tooty I am, so she’ll figure it out. And she was always happy to help out with an Earplug Adventure. I believe I can feel her smiling wryly behind me as I type.

 

Tooty’s Pissed Off Again

I didn’t think it unreasonable of me to expect to add The Age of Stone to my list of free e-books on this blog’s sidebar. I mean, every other book is there: why not the latest? Well WordPress had other ideas. The ‘Classic’ posting system just wouldn’t  work. I mean, it wasn’t even there to try. And the new ‘Block’  system (which I loathe with an intensity usually reserved for recalcitrant ink jet printers and DVD players that can’t recognise that there is a DVD in the tray) just sat there and did nothing – for ten minutes – before I gave up; called it several names, none of which are printable here; cursed the designer of the ‘block’ system to perminent impotence, considered creating a voodoo doll; and decided on an alternative course of action. And this is the alternative course of action. All Earplug Adventures in PDF Format Unexpurgated & FREE! Yup, there’s a page beneath the header that now contains every Earplug Adventure file, which can be accessed by anyone and everyone absolutely free. And very nice they are too. Well worth a visit. Now, if WordPress would kindly allow me, I’d like to remove those free e-books from their fucking sidebar. But I’m not hopeful. Bunch of shits.

 

La Era de la Piedra (The Age of Stone), en su totalidad, ¡GRATIS!

Es posible que se haya perdido algún episodio de La Era de la Piedra (The Age of Stone) en el camino; pero eso ya no importa porque ha llegado la versión gratuita en PDF para que la descargues y leas en tu tiempo libre (y quizás la compartas con tus amigos), o para leer in situ aquí mismo. Trate de comprender la magnitud de esta maravillosa oferta: es inigualable en la historia de la literatura y la fotografía. Todas esas fotos: todas esas palabras: todo ese genio creativo, ¡absolutamente GRATIS! Simplemente haz clic en la imagen de la portada del libro y es todo tuyo, tuyo, tuyo.

The Age of Stone – in it’s entirety – FREE!

You may have missed the odd episode of The Age of Stone along the way; but that doesn’t matter anymore because the free PDF version has arrived for you to either download and read at your leisure (and perhaps share with your friends), or to read in situ right here. Try to comprehend the magnitude of this wondrous offer: it is unequalled in the history of literature and photography. All those photos: all those words: all that creative genius – absolutely FREE! Just click on the book cover image, and it’s all yours, yours, yours!

Earlier Earplug Adventure books are also available too. Just click on the side bar images to access  them. Or, better still, visit the All Earplug Adventures in PDF Format Unexpurgated & FREE! page beneath the header.

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: La Era de la Piedra (parte 27)

Poco después de que todos se hubieran reintegrado con el ritmo disco, Chester se reunió con la subunidad principal de Susan y Magnuss con Hair-Trigger.

Susan sugirió que Chester y ella deberían “Aplazarse al aire libre”, en lo que Chester fingió pensar durante medio nanosegundo…

Y Magnuss le preguntó a Hair-Trigger si se casaría con él…

Afortunadamente, el volumen de la música era lo suficientemente bajo como para permitirle escuchar su respuesta.

“¡Sí!” Ella gritó. “Sí. Ya era hora: ¡pensé que nunca lo preguntarías! “

Por supuesto, estando tan cerca, Chester y Susan escucharon todo. Así que fue con un brillo acogedor a su alrededor que abandonaron la pista de baile llena de gente…

… y paseé al aire libre de la exposición Age of Stone…

“Levántate, Chester”. Susan dijo mientras cambiaba de forma y deslizaba su ‘cabeza’ debajo de su amigo de tapones para los oídos…

… “Vayamos a un lugar tranquilo. Perdámonos en la Era de la Piedra “.

Así lo hicieron, y tuvieron una jodida diversión a la luz de la luna a través del gigantesco jardín de ranúnculos del castillo…

“¡Vaya!”, Gritaron al unísono, “¡este es el mejor día de mi vida!”

Mientras tanto, el Ruibarbo Crumble había recibido una convocatoria de Marte, por lo que había regresado a su planeta de origen bajo el mando del piloto automático…

El momento fue impecable porque, en el baño, todo el personal de ingeniería estaba viendo los créditos en el último episodio de la segunda temporada de Destination: the Stars…

“Creo que fue excelente. Perfecto, de hecho “. Budgitte Wilgoss opinó.

A lo que Lawrence Endocarp respondió: “Estoy totalmente de acuerdo”.

Y Douglas Dungipon agregó: “Y el programa de televisión tampoco estuvo mal. Pero no es un parche de la vida real. Me pregunto qué pensarán esos Hermanos Earplug a continuación “.

“Sea lo que sea”, respondió su supervisor, “espero que no nos inviten. Una aventura es suficiente para mí “.

El fin

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: La Era de la Piedra (parte 26)

En ese momento, en el salón de baile, Hambledon Bohannon encendió las luces y subió el volumen del sistema de sonido a once…

Era hora de festejar…

Los que llegaron tarde corrieron por los pasillos cuando escucharon el golpe del propio monstruo de Bohannon, ‘ Everybody Slap Your Disco Thighs’ resonando a través de las gruesas paredes de piedra…

… siempre con la esperanza de que sus ojos sean asaltados por un espectáculo de luces caleidoscópicas…

Por supuesto, no se sintieron decepcionados. Ya muchos tapones para los oídos se estaban poniendo al ritmo de los graves insistentes y de la conducción…

Nada menos que Cushions Smethwyke, que bailaba con una nueva enfermera del dispensario del museo. “Me gusta tu uniforme blanco”, dijo. “¿No tuviste tiempo para ir a casa y cambiarte?”

A lo que la nueva enfermera respondió: “Oh, no, estoy de servicio, estoy aquí por si alguien se emociona demasiado y se desmaya o algo igualmente catastrófico”.

Y Simon Knights-Templar estaba tan hipnotizado por el espectáculo de luces que simplemente deambulaba aturdido. Por supuesto, asistió Rupert Piles. Ninguna discoteca podría celebrarse sin que el evento se grabara para la posteridad en su enorme cámara de televisión 3D…

Por supuesto, asistieron Rudi, Miles, Chester, Valentine y Magnuss. Naturalmente, Hair-Trigger estaba al lado de Magnuss…

Y Susan estaba allí, con sus partes constituyentes independientes del todo…

“Está bien, chicas”, se dijo efectivamente a sí misma. “Ve y mézclate con las masas. Como dijo el encantador Hambledon Bohannon: Es hora de la fiesta. Bajemos. ¡Eh!”

Pero después de una breve incursión en la pista de baile, tuvo otra idea. Momentos después hizo esto…

… Que casi derriba la casa. Eso es metafóricamente, por supuesto: después de todo, en realidad se construyó a partir de enormes trozos de piedra, que se habían construido para durar mil años.

Cinco minutos después, Magnuss seguía sintiendo los efectos del mareo por movimiento. Fue todo lo que pudo hacer para combatir los ataques de náuseas…

Pero entonces Hair-Trigger dejó caer una bomba en su regazo: “Hambledon Bohannon”, gritó por encima del estruendo de los emocionados asistentes a la discoteca y el mega éxito de los Trumptations de ayer, ‘ Aint too Proud to Fart’  “ha vuelto a mezclar la pista de acompañamiento de Los Caballeros Stupido en una versión de fusión de jazz funk de tu pieza clásica de fiesta. Se espera que tú y los chicos lo realicen, como ahora “.

No fue una solicitud: fue una orden. Así que unos minutos después se encendieron las luces, ¡para revelar a The Earplug Brothers en vivo!

Lamentablemente ninguno de ellos estaba familiarizado con el jazz, el funk o fusiones de ningún tipo; por lo que su desempeño fue menos que estelar. Pero a nadie le importaba realmente: eran, después de todo, héroes del Museo de Tecnología del Futuro. Y pronto Hambledon hizo que los tocadiscos giraran amablemente de nuevo…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

 

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Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: La Era de la Piedra (parte 25)

“Creo que salió muy bien”. Miles dijo mientras los cinco heroicos tapones para los oídos observaban cómo la nave alcanzaba la órbita…

 … “Creo que las cosas podrían haber salido bastante peor. ¿Una palmadita en la espalda por todos lados?

Rudi sonrió ante esto. “Por lo menos, hombre”. Respondió.

Susan, en sus muchas partes, se sentía de la misma manera. Cada subunidad tenía algo que decir, incluso si todos los demás supieran exactamente las palabras que usaría…

“Saben”, dijo la subunidad principal a los demás, “Me siento como si estuviera en una especie de pandilla de chicas. Es divertido, ¿no? ¡Poder femenino!”

Pero a pesar de lo divertido que fue, Susan se reintegró para su papel de Capitán. Y no le sorprendió descubrir que el personal de ingeniería había regresado a su caja de DVD…

Además, no se sorprendió mucho cuando Chester la buscó, y se pararon en una ventana de observación y vieron pasar los asteroides en su camino hacia una colisión con el planeta de abajo…

“Pobres pequeños asteroides”, dijo con una sonrisa que, si no enderezaba su rostro pronto, temía que se volviera perpetuo, “de todos los planetas para elegir, eligieron el del Ser Supremo. Puedo verlo bastante molesto “.

Continuó sonriendo todo el camino de regreso al puente, lo que dejó a Chester libre para unirse a sus hermanos…

—Mirando, diablos —explicó Magnuss—, mira la distancia que hemos cubierto en sólo quince minutos. Ese es Sirius por el que estamos barriendo majestuosamente. Worstworld está a la vuelta de la esquina. Está a mitad de camino de la Tierra. Otros quince minutos y aterrizaremos en el viejo Museo de Tecnología del Futuro…

Por supuesto, había una probabilidad del cincuenta por ciento de que la ubicación del museo en la superficie del planeta lo cubriera con el manto de la noche, lo que significaba que la Era de la Piedra era demasiado…

El gran salón del castillo ya estaba listo para la discoteca de celebración. Cuando el barco aterrizó y su tripulación desembarcó, Hambledon Bohannon estaba calentando sus tocadiscos futuristas, pero maravillosamente retro de los años 70…

Y tapones para los oídos del museo propiamente dicho se dirigían a la exposición de la Era de la Piedra…

Pero muchos ya estaban haciendo fila en pasillos adornados con fabulosas cortinas…

Incluso el Avatar del Cementerio había logrado arrastrarse a sí mismo y a varios acólitos…

“Oh, ¿no es encantador?” Ella lloró de alegría. “Esta piedra es tan fría y premonitoria: es como estar en casa”.

Más adentro del castillo, se habían erigido enormes pantallas de luz…

… Que se veía realmente ordenado y bañaba el interior pedregoso con una luz azul fría.

“Gusta.” Se escuchó pronunciar al doctor Snippentuck, el incompetente cirujano plástico residente. “Cuando pueda pagarlo, conseguiré que mi cirugía esté decorada de esta manera. Será la comidilla de la ciudad “.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Impetuosity isn’t reserved for the young 2: Driven by Necessity

When I bought my awesomely ridiculous Yamaha XJR1300 it came with a pair of expensive after-market exhausts (quite nice, but standard would have been better) and a pair of stupid little headlights, which looked like this…

But it wasn’t the aesthetics of the ‘streetfighter’ lights that really bothered me; it was the fact that the resulting beam of light was coloured brown and wasn’t even suitable for a bicycle, let alone a machine capable of 140mph (220kph). The first time I rode at night (in 22 years, I might add) it (to use a local regional vernacular) ‘properly shit me up’. I couldn’t see where I was going!  In an effort to correct the situation, my first port of call (the next day) was a bike breakers emporium, where I was told: “No we haven’t got one, but if we did, we’d have to ask a hundred pounds for a tatty used one.” And in answer to my questioning “Ugh, why so much?” the owner of said emporium informed me that: “You’ve got a cult classic there: prices are going up all the time.”

This news was both good and bad. Good that the bike is worth more than I paid for it. Bad that parts are hard to find and expensive. So, being impetuous I went on Ebay and chose a random 8″ motorcycle headlight and duly paid my £50 to buy it. Three days later this happened…

But, upon reading the label, my impetuosity appeared to have backfired on me. It was a replica headlight for a 1980 Yamaha RD350LC. Oops. So I (impetuously) set to work  stripping the brown pool devices from the XJR and setting about the replica headlight with a hacksaw and file. An hour later…

“Ta-dah!” as they say. And it works too – brightly.

But that isn’t all. When I first showed the ‘new’ bike to my  sister, she eyed my well-worn jeans and said: “Right, you’ve got to get some proper trousers now.” So, once more I cast my gaze to Ebay, but no one selling leather trousers seems to be the same shape as me. But, as desperation set in, impetuosity reared it’s handsome head once more. I spotted a pair of trousers with a 34″ waist. My size! But how long were the legs? Most sellers didn’t mention this, which I thought was extremely stupid. But in the description this seller stated that he was 6′ 5″ (tall – like very). I am six feet and half an inch (still, surprisingly).  But, I reasoned, a lot of my height is in my legs: this guy is probably tall in the body. Logic? No, not really. Impetuous? Yes, probably. I bought them. They arrived whilst I was wiring the Yamaha’s headlights. So, bouyed with success, I tried them on…

Now you could be forgiven to thinking that they are slightly baggy. And maybe they are, a little. But when I place my feet on the slightly rear-set footpegs of the bike, the trousers  fit exactly. They couldn’t be more perfect if a tailor had made them for me. I’m getting rather keen on the impetuosity stuff. I’m even beginning to wonder if I’m not being guided from beyond the veil. Actually I’m convinced I am. And I can’t wait to see what I do impetuously next!

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: La Era de la Piedra (parte 24)

Pero aún así, la situación empeoró para Wonky SB. No contentos con despojarlo de su mono atómico, Miles y Chester dejaron rasgar sus calzoncillos divinos…

… y el aspirante a vengador se vio obligado a ocultar sus regiones inferiores poniéndose en cuclillas de la manera más indigna…

“No”, se lamentó, “me rindo. No más. Déjame en paz.”

“Ve”, gritó Magnuss en respuesta, “antes de que te destruyamos por completo”.

“Voy. Voy.” Wonky SB dijo apresuradamente cuando un extraño portal rojo se abrió detrás de él…

Luego, con la derrota grabada en cada paso que daba, Wonky SB recogió los restos de sus calzoncillos y vagó, vacilante, de regreso a su reino incognoscible…

Pero cuando se volvió para mirar a su némesis…

… una fuerza lo agarró y lo arrastró hacia un caldero turbulento de energía…

… Que podría haber sido un agujero negro.

Por un momento, los chicos simplemente se quedaron allí en estado de shock. Luego, una cascada de bonitas partículas de energía descendió sobre ellos…

Por supuesto, era el Ser Supremo en modo de celebración…

“Bien hecho muchachos. Qué trabajo tan brillante. Ahora regresen aquí “.

Un latido después, ellos y la subunidad principal de Susan estaban en una ventana de observación en el Ruibarbo Crumble

“No podríamos haberlo hecho sin tus poderes”. Magnuss informó al Ser Supremo. Pero estaba siendo cortés: obviamente, el Ser Supremo ya lo sabía. Y Susan también. Añadió.

“De hecho”, dijo el Ser Supremo mientras miraba la subunidad principal de Susan, “si ella no hubiera intervenido en el momento apropiado, todo podría haberse perdido. Enhorabuena a ti también, pequeña mancha verde. Ahora espero que a todos les guste volver al Museo de Tecnología del Futuro para una discoteca de celebración. Bueno, sigue tu camino: creo que encontrarás el viaje de regreso algo más corto que el de aquí “.

Pero, por supuesto, antes de que el Ruibarbo Crumble pudiera ir a alguna parte, estaba la cuestión de devolver el Gorgojo Trunnion a su lugar en el almacén…

Luego, completada la tarea, la primera nave que salió de la nueva línea de producción marciana atravesó el extraño y cambiante paisaje…

… y salió disparado hacia el cielo…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Perfectly Imperfect

I figured that if I exhibited a sample of one of my Causality Merchant books, I would be remiss if I didn’t do the same for the sequel…

So please accept this extract from Present Imperfect.

Janice looked about her in wide-eyed wonderment. The interior of the Courtney’s home was like a living museum. Snatching a look into the kitchen from the sitting room in which she now stood, she caught sight of an open cupboard – complete with boxed food stuffs that included Bisto Gravy and Kellogg’s Cornflakes, and unbelievably a plunger-capped bottle of Corona Lemonade. Mavis removed a tea caddy from the cupboard, and closed the door.

Looking away Janice noticed a quiescent television set in the corner of the room. She hadn’t recognized it at first because of its apparent disguise – that being its construction of lacquered wood, and its subsequent vague resemblance to a piece of furniture. She was reminded of her earliest memories – of visiting her grandmother in her house of brown-on-brown décor and yellowing picture rails and dull whitewashed ceilings. Of wall paper that dated from before the Second World War.

“Oh, I see you have a television.” Janice tried to sound impressed at the presence of a piece of ancient technology.

“What’s that, dear?” Mavis popped her head around the doorframe as the kettle began to whistle.

Janice nodded towards the TV. “I don’t suppose everyone in the village has one of those?” She said.

“Oh, the telly.” Mavis all but dismissed the device. “That’s George’s pride and joy, that is – though I don’t know why: there’s hardly anything on it, and when there is you can’t see much of what’s going on. Me – I like the cinema. Those Technicolor pictures are wonderful. I can’t see telly ever catching on.”

Any further discussion on the merits of cinema verses television was interrupted by the sound of child coughing upon the floor above. Janice automatically looked heavenward.

“Oh that’ll be Wallace.” Mavis answered Janice’s unspoken question. “Poor little mite – he’s had that cough all day and all last night. If he’s not showing signs of getting better by morning I’ll take him to see that lovely new doctor at the surgery. He’s quite a dish. Have you met him? I think his name’s Doctor Traynor.”

For a moment Janice forgot herself, and lowered her guard.

“Doctor Traynor?” She blurted. “He’ll still be here in forty years time!”

Janice couldn’t quite describe the look she received from Mavis. But after a moment she said, “Oh-no, I shouldn’t think so: he intends going places. He wants to be one of them Harley Street specialists.”

Janice felt that she should try to explain her outburst.

“What I meant was – I expect he’ll fall in love with the village, and decide to spend the rest of his life here. I’m sure I would: it’s a lovely place. So tranquil.”

“Some would call it a bit boring.” Mavis returned to the kitchen to pour the tea. “I know George wouldn’t mind leaving if the right job came along. Take sugar, do you?”

Mavis wasn’t aware that Janice had risen and followed her into the kitchen, so she was startled when Janice spoke from directly behind her.

“Two please. Is that a new gas cooker?”

Quickly recovering, Mavis replied proudly, “Isn’t it smart? It arrived this morning. George had it fitted before he went out. Bob Langtry did it in a bit of a rush: George’s the treasurer of the Ancient Order of something-or-other, and had to be off a bit sharpish. I’m not really supposed to use it until he’s a had a proper check – but with the old electric stove unplugged, and sitting in the garden, I couldn’t boil the water for Wallace’s hot water bottle and our cup of tea any other way. I’m sure it’ll be alright.”

Janice thought back to her childhood. She tried to recall the distinct aroma of the gas used during that era. She couldn’t, but she was certain that she’d recognise it when she smelt it. As surreptitiously as possible she scented the air.

“Would I be right in thinking that they use piped town gas here?” She inquired. “It doesn’t come in a steel bottle or anything like that?”

“We’ve just been connected to the mains.” Mavis informed her knowledgably, “They spent a fortune extending the pipe up from Crampton. Funny, isn’t it – us country-folk using town gas? Don’t seem right somehow.”

“Perhaps they should re-name it. They could call it Coal Gas.” Janice pretended to agree with the young mother. “But aren’t you worried that it might be dangerous?”

“What – compared to electricity? No of course not.” Mavis exclaimed. “And it’s a sight better to cook with too, I can tell you. My sister swears by it. Instant heat – instantly off. No more milk boiling over. Now that has to be a safety feature.”

Janice nodded, but she looked about as convinced as she felt.

“Well doesn’t the thought of suffocation worry you?”

This was obviously a subject upon which Mavis had conversed before.

“George says that as long as the equipment’s working fine and there’s no blocked flue, there’s no chance of that happening. Next you’ll be suggesting that it might explode in the middle of the night!”

This thought was foremost upon Janice’s mind. She bit her lip with indecision.

Mavis noticed this.

“You do think it’s going to explode, don’t you?” She spoke in a puzzled tone. “Now why on earth would you think that?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

One of these days I’ll write the sequel to the sequel. It’s not like I don’t have time or anything. But for now both Causality Merchant e-books are still available. You can access the better-known suppliers by clicking on the images on the side bar.

 

Earplug Adventures: The Age of Stone (part 27)

Shortly after everyone had re-integrated themselves with the disco groove, Chester met  with Susan’s primary sub-unit, and Magnuss with Hair-Trigger.

Susan suggested that Chester and she should “Adjourn to the open air”, which Chester pretended to think about for half a nanosecond…

And Magnuss asked Hair-Trigger if she would marry him…

Fortunately the music volume was just low enough to let him hear her reply.

“Yes!” She yelled. “Yes. It’s about bloody time: I thought you’d never ask!”

Of course, standing so nearby, Chester and Susan heard everything. So it was with a cosy glow around them that they abandoned the crowded dance floor…

…and strolled into the open air of the Age of Stone exhibit…

“Up you go, Chester.” Susan said as she changed shape and slipped her ‘head’ beneath her earplug chum…

…“Let’s go somewhere quiet. Let’s get lost in the Age of Stone.”

So they did, and they had a bloody good frolic in the moonlight through the castle’s giant buttercup garden…

“Whee,” they cried in unison, “this is the best day of my life!”

Meanwhile the Rhubarb Crumble had received a summons from Mars, and so had returned to its home planet under the command of the autopilot…

The timing was impeccable because, in the rest room the entire engineering staff was watching the credits roll on the last episode of Season Two of Destination: the Stars…

“I think that was excellent. Perfect, in fact.” Budgitte Wilgoss opined.

To which Lawrence Endocarp responded: “I concur wholeheartedly.”

And Douglas Dungipon added: “And the TV show wasn’t bad either. But it’s not a patch on real life. I wonder what those Earplug Brothers will think of doing next.”

“Whatever it is,” his supervisor replied, “I hope they don’t invite us along. One adventure is quite enough for me.”

The End

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: La Era de la Piedra (parte 23)

Tan tensos eran sus nervios que los segundos parecían convertirse en minutos. Pero fueron solo unos pocos latidos antes de que el Ser Supremo Maravilloso saliera de su reino alienígena y entrara en la exhibición de la Era de Piedra…

“Hah.” Rugió en un supuesto triunfo. “Podrías haber tomado esto tumbado: pero, no, querías una pelea. Bueno, estoy aquí para decirte que no va a haber una pelea, porque solo eres cinco tapones para los oídos insignificantes; y soy algo especial. Y lo que es peor, para ti estúpido quinteto de tontos demasiado confiados, ¡estoy usando esto! “

Los hermanos de tapones para los oídos no estaban familiarizados con Atomic Boiler Suits. “¿Es bueno eso?” Magnuss preguntó con voz firme.

“¿Bien?” Wonky SB respondió en voz alta y con cierto grado de incredulidad. “Es malditamente maravilloso. La tela de esta prenda me hace completamente invencible. Fue hecho por una costurera artesanal de una manera del reino … mucho … más alto en la escala evolutiva que este vil lugar. Y no puede ser violado por ningún tipo de arma de energía. Y mi sombrero pretencioso es solo la guinda del pastel: está hecho del mismo material “.

Estaba claro para los chicos que tenían una pelea entre manos, incluso si Wonky SB pensaba que no. Levantaron su escudo psíquico…

Wonky SB repitió su apertura “¡Hah!” antes de abrir con una salva de rayos…

… que fueron fácilmente repelidos por el escudo psíquico…

Así que Wonky SB, un poco sorprendido, dejó escapar múltiples salvas…

Una vez más, el escudo psíquico encogió de hombros la enorme energía de sus flancos no existenciales. Pero la corriente de fondo del asalto barrió el edificio de piedra y atacó a los muchachos con un terrible huracán de aire desplazado, golpeando a los dos hermanos que estaban en cada extremo al otro lado de la habitación y por un pasillo adyacente. En este punto, la batalla se habría perdido; pero Susan no había podido permitirse salir de la zona. Simplemente tenía que quedarse y ayudar a Chester. Así que fue ella quien salió corriendo de la relativa seguridad de un nicho y atrapó a Miles en sus enormes fauces…

… mientras enlazaba a Valentine con una parte de ella de la que no le gustaba hablar, incluso con su médico…

En cuestión de segundos volvieron a estar en su lugar junto a sus hermanos…

Aunque permaneció en absoluto silencio, Magnuss les habló a los demás con su mente: “Ese material de caldera atómico puede ser inexpugnable, pero ¿escucharon lo que dijo sobre su construcción? Fue hecho por una costurera: eso significa que está cosido. Esa es su debilidad: los hilos que lo unen. Ahora, si tan solo tuviéramos algún medio para atacar esos hilos “.

“Los ojos de rayo láser serían buenos”. Sugirió Chester. “Dondequiera que miráramos, seguirían rayos devastadores de energía. Simplemente podríamos quemar las encuadernaciones y la prenda se desmoronaría “.

“Genial”, Rudi se unió a la conversación mental, “pero no tenemos ojos de rayo láser. O los dedos de los pies con rayo láser, para el caso. ¿Alguien tiene un rayo láser de culo a mano?”

“Pon tu fe en el Ser Supremo”. Magnuss respondió a esto. “Nos dijo que tenemos los medios para derrotar al Wonky SB. Si necesitamos ojos de rayo láser para eso, los tendremos. Confía en mí.”

Mientras tanto, Wonky SB se había vuelto curioso. En primer lugar, se preguntó cómo habían sobrevivido a su ataque. En segundo lugar, se preguntó por qué estaban parados frente a él y no hacían absolutamente nada. Para satisfacer su curiosidad, se inclinó hacia adelante para tener una mejor vista…

“¿Puaj?” Preguntó.

Tuvo el tiempo justo para ponerse de pie de nuevo antes de que Magnuss dijera con calma: “Caballeros; seleccione sus objetivos “.

Una fracción de segundo después, rayos naranjas de luz intensa saltaron de los ojos de los Hermanos Earplug…

Y, tal como había predicho Chester, dondequiera que eligieran mirar, los rayos láser siguieron un microsegundo más tarde. Simplemente no podían fallar…

“Argh”, gritó el Wonky SB con horror mientras alcanzaba su sombrero caído, “¡no es mi sombrero pretencioso!”

Pero lo peor estaba por seguir…

… Mientras las vigas quemaban las costuras que mantenían unido el traje de caldera atómico.

“Vaya, esto es malo”. Wonky SB rugió de rabia y desesperación. “El viejo y tonto murciélago se olvidó de usar hilo de algodón invencible. ¡La próxima vez que la vea le daré una buena patada en el trasero! “

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Captive Audience

I can’t recall the last time that I posted an extract from this e-book…

…but suffice to say it’s been a bloody long time. Too long: people will forget that I ever wrote serious sc-ifi mysteries. So, in an effort to re-set the creative balance of nature, here’s a smidgin of Captive Echo…

Wozniak’s bank account was still far from overflowing, but the future appeared rosier for him than it had in a very long time. His new secretary may have had a great deal to do with the resurrection of his self-confidence, and many of his friends had taken to Janice Gale in a big way – none less than his agent, Wallace Courtney, who was speaking with Janice over the telephone.

Janice was perched upon the end of a sofa in Wozniak’s small flat overlooking London’s Docklands. From her vantage point she could look out over Old Father Thames, and much of the city beyond. She was a country girl born and bred, and at first she’d found it difficult to adapt to the hustle and bustle of the capital of England. But with Wozniak’s help, and more surprisingly – her mothers’ blessing, Janice had done so, and was enjoying life more than at any time that she could remember since leaving behind the innocence of childhood.

Her laughter was light and gentle as she conversed with Wallace.

“Are you kidding?” She was saying. “I couldn’t hold him back. He wants to get started on another script as soon as he can. But first he wants to complete the tie-in novel that will accompany the show.”

She listened to Wallace’s cheerful questioning for a few seconds before replying, “No, he doesn’t have any firm ideas on future stories at the moment: but he knows that they’re bound to come. It’s all about location, location, location – or so he says.”

Once more she paused to listen.

“No – he’s gone on ahead. I have a few details to go over with Tommy down at Clarridge Productions – you know about the interview with Peter for the special edition DVD re-release of Clash of Symbols. Then I’m going home too. You realize that it’s almost a year to the day that Peter and I got together. Yes, we’re going to have a quiet celebration: Then with luck he’ll have my drawers down quicker than you can say ‘alternate reality’, and we can commemorate the occasion in the time-honoured manner that any two horny bastards should.”

Laughing loudly at Janice’s lewdness, Wallace signed off, and Janice replaced the receiver. She considered calling Wozniak, then looked at the time. She chose to wait until later: she had business to conclude.

Wozniak strolled into the grocery store in Brambledown’s main street as though he was the prodigal son returning home. He rubbed his newly grown beard absentmindedly before picking up a shopping basket. It looked so strange in his huge hands, and he wondered what he’d been doing the last time he’d carry one. Certainly life hadn’t been half as good as it was now.

Miss Witherspoon appeared from out the back. Wozniak’s beard was no suitable disguise against one of his greatest fans…

“Why if it isn’t Mister Wozniak! Oh I’m so glad to see you again.” She cried out gleefully

“Hello, Miss Witherspoon.” Wozniak responded – giving the older woman a smile that was guaranteed to melt her heart. “How’re things in the great rural metropolis?”

Things’ seldom changed much in the sleepy village of Brambledown –usually for decades. One year was much like another. People grew older, and new children were born into the village. It was all perfectly reciprocal – that is until the year previous…

“They never did find out what happened up at that scientific place, you know.” Miss Witherspoon informed Wozniak as he approached the cash register.

“Thank goodness for that.” He replied. “I’ve just written a make-believe story about what happened there: I’d be ruined if they found out the truth.”

“Oh, so you’re writing again? That is good.” Miss Witherspoon tried to reach across her cash register to hug Wozniak. “I s’pect that lovely Janice Gale has a lot to do with that. I always wondered if some lucky man was going to find her out one day. I’m so pleased it was you.”

Wozniak winked at her.

“You and me both.” He said. “I’m in The Peaks for a few days: I just need the basics. You know – caviar, champagne…”

“Ooh, I don’t know about them.” Miss Witherspoon responded. “How about milk, tea, butter: that sort of thing?”

“Sounds like heaven to me.” Wozniak replied – his smile widening as he felt his heart go out to the women standing before him.

At that Miss Witherspoon began scurrying around, filling Wozniak’s basket with the necessities of life.

“Janice with you, is she?” She asked.

“Still up in London. She should be along tomorrow.” He told her.

“That’s good.” Miss Witherspoon grinned cheerfully. “Send her round when she arrives, won’t you: I want to know all about life in The Smoke. Do you want this on your tab?

Wozniak opened his wallet. He was about to say “No Need,” but, as usual, it was lighter than he’d hoped. “Ah, yes,” He replied – his smile falling. “Perhaps that might be a good idea. Jan will put you right tomorrow.”

With that he made his farewell, and climbed into his large estate car.

Wozniak felt an intense blast of wellbeing as he drove through the village. Several people recognized his car. He felt quite like royalty as he returned their waves.

Turning into Pikes Lane he was half-afraid he might spot a small sports car sliding toward him. Although a year had passed, but now that he’d returned to the scene of the crime, events suddenly seemed all too fresh. Perhaps writing about it time after time – honing his work – had kept it very much alive in his mind, even if most of the people involved in the incident were now dead. With a spine-chilling sense of déjà vu, he caught sight of Tom, the now ex-postman, pushing his bicycle. He had no choice but to pull over.

Tom responded to his hail with, “Blow me down – if it aint Mister Wozniak. You aint got one of them manuscript thingies for the missus to send off by any chance, have you?”

Wozniak recalled the last time the older man had asked that question.

“Well you never know, Tom.” He said cheerily. “There’s always a chance.”

“Hope it’s better than that one they showed on telly the other day.” Tom said – climbing aboard his bicycle.

“One of my old shows was on television?” Wozniak was thinking of the royalty cheque he could expect in the post. “Terrestrial was it?”

“Nah – on me satellite dish.” Tom seemed almost dismissive. “Detective show, it was.”

Wozniak’s shoulders slumped. His one foray into police drama had not gone well for him. The results hadn’t been quite what he – or the production company – had hoped for. The story had been weak, and the director inept.

“That was an old one.” He said. Unable to avoid a critique – even when he knew it would be bad, he added, “What did you think of it?”

“Honestly, Mister Wozniak?” Tom responded sadly, “I thought it was one of the biggest load of bollocks that I’d seen in years. I hope yer next one’s gonna be better.”

Wozniak gave him a sickly grin. “I think we can safely assume that. See you later, Tom.”

With that he drove on.

The action of steering his vehicle into the grounds of The Peaks brought back his sense of well-being. It was only when he parked, and the gravel of the driveway crunched beneath his feet, that the memory of Katherine Marcus’ strange little sports car came back to haunt him once again – dismissing his lightening mood in an instant.

‘Is it really a year since that unbelievable night?’ he asked himself silently.

He began to wonder if somehow he’d managed to blur the line between fact and fiction in his final script: Could it all have been true? Really? Wasn’t there a chance that he’d allowed his imagination to run away with him? That his script lay somewhere between fact and fiction? An amalgam of both perhaps? He shook his head: he knew the truth.

The Peaks was just as he remembered it. Mrs. Wilkins had changed nothing – not that she needed to: the house came as close to perfection as it is possible for any edifice to come. His step was jaunty as he entered it.

After stocking the fridge, he went for shower. The water heater was still giving trouble.

Even paradise isn’t perfect’, he thought.

By the time he’d dried himself off and dressed, he was surprised to find that the time was well past six o’clock.

Too late to call Jan now,’ he considered, ‘she’ll be over at Connies’.

“I’ll catch her later.” He spoke aloud to the room.

The sun was far from setting, so Wozniak treated himself to a walk about the garden. This killed perhaps a half-hour. A year in London had altered him. He could no longer lounge about doing nothing: he needed to entertain, or be entertained. Normally his word processor would prove sufficient for his needs – but that required unpacking – and he remained as inept with wires and sockets as he’d always been. He sought solace elsewhere.

Entering the Muck and Bullets public house, Wozniak was disappointed to find it devoid of clientele. Claude, the landlord, stood alone behind the bar watching the television news. He jumped when Wozniak asked for a pineapple juice.

“Well if you aint a sight for sore eyes, Mr. Wozniak.” Claude grinned “Wait ‘til I tell the wife: she’ll be over the moon. You sure a pineapple juice is strong enough? I seem to remember you’re a brandy man.”

Wozniak couldn’t remember which one of his many middle-aged-to-elderly female admirers was married to Claude; so he said, “I’m here for a short break, Claude: she’ll probably catch me in the street sometime. And yes – the fruit juice is fine. Whichever one you have to hand: I kind of went off brandy.”

Claude rattled some ice cubes into a glass, and handed it to him. He opened a bottle of pineapple juice, and emptied half of it into the glass – placing the half-empty bottle beside it.

“Well you won’t go making my fortune with that.” He half-stated – half-complained.

Wozniak looked about the empty bar.

“Quiet tonight.” He observed.

“Like the blinking grave.” Claude nodded toward the television, “Footie’s on tonight: England against somebody. These days blokes like to stay at home with a few cans from the supermarket. Times have changed: it aint so much fun runnin’ pubs no more.” He lamented. “If you aint got satellite TV and a full-time restaurant, you’re well and truly buggered.”

“I suppose you are.” Wozniak responded – casting his gaze about the dark half-lit room.

‘Cutting down on electricity consumption?’

He had no wish to sit alone; but neither did he want to spend his free time lamenting the end of civilization with a morose bartender.

“Still,” he continued, “being the only surviving pub in the village, I suppose you have something of a captive audience.”

Then he noticed a pair of well-worn steel toe-capped boots protruded from within a snug. He indicated the direction to Claude.

“So I’m not entirely alone, then?”

“That’ll be Len. Len Peters.” Claude replied, “Funny bugger he can be sometimes. Believe anything – he will. Reckon he’s a bit keen on them flying’ saucers and stuff like that. Don’t talk to him much, m’self.”

“Sounds like my sort of man.” Wozniak grinned – taking his purchase, and making for the snug.

It took little more than a handful of paces for his long legs to carry Wozniak to his destination – a semi-enclosed area featuring a central rectangular table, with high-backed benches to either side.

From Claude’s description he had expected a man of few years – slightly spotty, wearing spectacles and an anorak; so he was surprised when a bearded septuagenarian looked up from his beer.

“Hello.” Len said gruffly. “Thought you’d turn up again. Figured you couldn’t stay away.”

“And a good day to you.” Wozniak remained unruffled. He responded with, “Have we met?”

“Not so much that you’d notice.” Len’s cryptic reply came.

Wozniak didn’t like being manoeuvred into asking questions. Nevertheless he was instantly intrigued.

“You’re right there.” He said, turning away – hoping that Len Peters wouldn’t let him leave without finishing what he’d started.

“But you will.” Len stressed the last word.

Wozniak couldn’t help himself:

“Will?  As in a future tense? I thought we just did.”

“Depends,” Len took a sip from his glass, “on what came first: the chicken or the egg.”

Wozniak allowed his eyes to narrow. Len looked straight into them. The big man chose to sit.

“Okay,” he said – lowering his large frame onto the bench that faced the mysterious elderly man, “you’ve got me snared. I don’t know a damned thing about you; but you obviously know something about me.”

“Do you believe in dreams?” Len asked obliquely.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

I really should get back to ‘proper’ writing. Naturally this book remains active in the market place. Should you be interested, some of the better known retailers are mentioned behind the book covers on the side bar. Just click on the image.

Earplug Adventures: The Age of Stone (part 26)

At that moment, in the dance hall, Hambledon Bohannon hit the lights and wound the sound system up to eleven…

It was time to party…

Late-comers raced down corridors when they heard Bohannon’s own monster hit, ‘Everybody Slap Your Disco Thighs’ resonate through the thick stone walls…

 

…ever hopeful of having their eyes assaulted by a kaleidoscopic light show…

Of course, they were not disappointed. Already many earplugs were getting down to the insistent bass and driving rhythm…

None less so than Cushions Smethwyke, who was dancing with a new nurse from the museum’s dispensary. “I like your white uniform,” she said. “Didn’t you have time to go home and change?”

To which the new nurse replied: “Oh-no, I’m on duty – I’m here just in case someone gets over-excited and faints or something equally catastrophic.”

And Simon Knights-Templar was so mesmerised by the light show that he merely wandered around in a daze. Of course, Rupert Piles attended. No disco could be held without the event being recorded for posterity on his huge 3D TV camera…

Of course, Rudi, Miles, Chester, Valentine and Magnuss attended. Naturally Hair-Trigger was at Magnuss’ side…

And Susan was there – with her constituent parts independent of the whole…

“Okay, girls,” she effectively said to herself. “Go mingle with the masses. Like that lovely Hambledon Bohannon said: It’s time to party. Let’s get down. Huh!”

But after a brief foray on the dance floor, she had another idea. Moments later she did this…

…which almost brought the house down. That’s metaphorically of course: it was, after all, actually constructed from huge chunks of stone, which had been built to last a thousand years.

Five minutes later Magnuss was still feeling the effects of motion sickness. It was all he could do to fight off attacks of nausea…

But then Hair-Trigger dropped a bombshell in his lap: “Hambledon Bohannon,” she shouted above the din of excited disco-goers and the Trumptations’ mega-hit of yester year, ‘Aint too Proud to Fart’  “has re-mixed the backing track to Los Caballeros Stupido into a jazz funk fusion version of your classic party piece. You and the boys are expected to perform it – like now.”

It wasn’t a request: it was a command. So a few minutes later the lights came up – to reveal The Earplug Brothers live!

Sadly neither of them was familiar with jazz, funk, or fusions of any kind; so their performance was less than stellar. But no one really cared: they were, after all, heroes of the Museum of Future Technology. And soon Hambledon had the turntables whirling nicely again…

©  Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

 

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: La Era de la Piedra (parte 22)

En respuesta, el Ser Supremo bajó la fiesta de los tapones para los oídos en la sopa de la realidad…

Y con una mirada de completa autosatisfacción…

… los despidió, a la exposición Age of Stone dentro del Museo de Tecnología del Futuro…

“Espectacular.” Susan habló con aprecio. “Entonces, ¿qué estamos haciendo aquí? ¿La SB va a ayudar o no? “

Por supuesto, los Hermanos Earplug sabían exactamente por qué habían sido devueltos a la Era de Piedra. También sabían lo que se les pedía. Chester llevó a Susan a un lado…

Ninguno de los dos notó que la formación rocosa se parecía exactamente al culo de un pato.

“Susan”, dijo, “el enfrentamiento con Wonky llegará pronto. Esta es una batalla que no puedes pelear. Y si te lastimas, no estoy seguro de ser de mucha ayuda para mis hermanos. Por eso es muy importante que te escondas ”.

Por un momento, Susan se sintió abrumada por la emoción…

Chester no había anticipado esta reacción. “Oh, Sue, no me hagas pedazos ahora”.

“Pero soy parte de la exposición Age of Stone”. Murmuró desde algún lugar del suelo. “No puedo abandonarlo en su momento de necesidad. Y tampoco puedo abandonarte. Oh, Chester, eres un chico tan encantador como el rosado anaranjado: quiero estar a tu lado en las buenas y en las malas. Incluso vería póquer en televisión, tarde en la noche contigo, si realmente insistieras. Y también te compraría una tortilla, si tienes hambre. Y aceitunas “.

Chester se comprometió a decir, “Um …” antes de que Susan se abalanzara sobre él y le plantara un beso enorme en la cara…

“Por favor, déjame unirme a esta pelea”. Agregó de alguna otra fuente que Chester no pudo identificar fácilmente. “Te lo ruego”.

La falta de oxígeno dio alas a los procesos de pensamiento de Chester. “Tus cortafuegos”. El pudo. “Alguien tiene que gestionar los que vinculan este lugar con el museo propiamente dicho. Evitarán que Wonky lleve esta pelea al indefenso museo. Si se separan en sus formas de tapones para los oídos, creo que son suficientes para llevar a cabo la tarea “.

Cinco minutos después, y tras una plétora de besos, Chester fue a reunirse con sus hermanos…

“Vuelve sano y salvo”. Llamaron como uno solo. “Hay más de donde vino eso”.

Poco después, los Hermanos Earplug se pusieron hombro con hombro…

“Está bien”, dijo Magnuss, “si tengo esto bien, ya tenemos las herramientas para derrotar al Wonky SB. Es solo una cuestión de utilizarlos para su mejor efecto “.

“Hmm”, respondió Miles poco convencido, “sin embargo, me habría sentido mejor con un respaldo de peso pesado. Ese Dios de las bolas de cuero parecía un hombre mezquino “.

Magnuss consideró esto durante uno o dos nanosegundos. Podía comprender la decepción de Miles. Pero Miles no había estado dentro de la cabina. No le habían expandido la cabeza. Magnuss estaba seguro de que había ocurrido algo más que la transferencia de información dentro de esa cabina. Pero en este momento no sabía qué era, por lo que se mantuvo callado sobre el tema. En cambio, dijo: “Bien, necesitamos llamar la atención de los Wonky SB. ¿Alguna sugerencia?”

Bueno, durante la siguiente hora el quinteto heroico marchó alrededor de la exhibición gritando algo como: “Wonky es un valiente”. Y “Ven y pruébalo si crees que eres lo suficientemente duro”. Incluso rompieron el viento e hicieron comentarios despectivos sobre su parentesco. Pero fue en vano. Pronto cayó la noche dentro de la Edad de Piedra, y su marcha se había reducido a un vagabundeo serpenteante…

… Y sus gritos se intercalaron con bostezos. Estaban considerando ir a tomar un café, cuando, de repente, ocurrió algo antinatural … um … ocurrió

Un portal pareció formarse en la sólida muralla del castillo. Esto, en sí mismo, no era una prueba incontrovertible de que el Ser Supremo Wonky estaba a punto de aparecer: pero la alteración en la coloración ambiental de la exhibición ciertamente fue…

“Oh, bragas”. Magnuss gimió. Luego, reuniendo su coraje, espetó: “Hombros erguidos, muchachos”. Luego confundió a los gemelos (pero impresionó a sus mayores) usando un antiguo término militar: “No dispare hasta que vea el blanco de sus ojos”.

No dijo más porque apareció una forma dentro del portal…

Entonces, algo de la fuerza extra que Magnuss esperaba que hubiera ganado mientras estaba dentro de la cabina impregnó a sus hermanos…

No sabían qué esperar; pero los Hermanos Earplug no tenían dudas: estaban listos para la batalla.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Earplug Adventures: The Age of Stone (part 25)

“I think that went very well.” Miles said as the five heroic earplugs watched the ship attain orbit…

 …“I think things could have worked out rather worse. A pat on the back all ‘round?”

Rudi smiled at this. “At the very least, man.” He replied.

Susan, in her many parts, was feeling much the same way. Every sub-unit had something to say, even if all the others knew exactly the words it would use…

“You know,” the primary sub-unit said to the others, “I’m feeling like I’m in some sort of girlie gang. It’s fun, isn’t it? Girl power!”

But as fun as it was, Susan reintegrated for her role of Captain. And she wasn’t surprised to find the engineering staff had returned to their DVD box set…

Also she was less than surprised when Chester sought her out, and they stood at an observation window and watched asteroids pass by on their way to a collision with the planet below…

“Poor little asteroids,” she said with a smile that – if she didn’t straighten her face soon – she feared might become perpetual, “of all the planets to pick on, they chose the Supreme Being’s. I can see him getting quite annoyed.”

She continued to smile all the way back to the bridge, which left Chester free to join his brothers…

“Flipping heck,” Magnuss exploded, “look at the distance we’ve covered in just fifteen minutes. That’s Sirius that we’re sweeping majestically by. Worstworld is just around the corner. It’s half way to Earth. Another fifteen minutes and we’ll be landing at the good old Museum of Future Technology…

Of course it was a fifty-fifty chance that the museum’s location on the planet’s surface would have it smothered in the cloak of night, which meant that the Age of Stone was too…

Already the castle’s grand hall had been made ready for the celebratory discotheque. As the ship landed and its crew disembarked, Hambledon Bohannon was warming up his futuristic, but wonderfully 1970s retro, turntables…

And earplugs from the museum proper were making their way to the Age of Stone exhibit…

But many were already standing in line in corridors bedecked with fabulous drapes…

Even the Graveyard Avatar had managed to drag itself and a number of acolytes along…

“Oh, isn’t this lovely?”  She cried with glee. “This stone is so cold and foreboding: it’s like being at home.”

Further inside the castle, huge light screens had been erected…

…which looked really neat and bathed the stony interior in a chill blue light.

“Like it.” Doctor Snippentuck, the resident incompetent plastic surgeon was heard to utter. “When I can afford it, I’m going to get my surgery decorated like this. It’ll be the talk of the town.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: La Era de la Piedra (parte 21)

Enorme y aterrador fue un excelente resumen de la apariencia del Ser Supremo. Y también tenía una voz realmente molesta…

“Oh, Dios”, se lamentó falsamente – y burlonamente, “para que mis ojos no me engañen: ¡realmente son los Hermanos Earplug! ¿Y qué es esto: un cambiaformas de su futuro? ¿Lo que da?”

Susan se asustó tanto que se reconstituyó a sí misma como una mancha amorfa…

Magnuss explicó (nuevamente) su misión de encontrar un poderoso aliado para combatir al Wonky SB. El Ser Supremo apropiado se sintió descontento con esto. Esperaba tener mejores noticias, aunque no tenía idea de cómo Magnuss podría haberlas transmitido…

“¿Qué piensan chicos?” Llamó a otros seres parecidos a Dios, a los que Magnuss nunca había visto antes.

“Es su problema”, una monstruosidad en forma de bala realmente desagradable…

… con un jersey con cuello de tortuga se quejó, “déjelos que lo resuelvan: tenemos un cosmos que correr”.

Otro dios, esta vez el Dios de las bolas de cuero, coincidió con el primero…

“Son gomosos”. El anunció. “Pueden salir de los problemas a rebotes”.

Pero otros no fueron tan despectivos. El Ser Supremo los escuchó con atención…

“No-no”, argumentó el dios de las narices moradas, “¿y si pierden?”

El bebé arbusto cósmico de dos pisos estuvo de acuerdo. “Wonky te llevó una vez, SB”, le recordaron a su jefe, “¿qué le impide volver y hacerlo de nuevo?”

Y los Espectros Desamparados de Woople gritaron: “¡Son tan lindos: tienes que ayudarlos, jefe!”

El Ser Supremo fue nada menos que instantáneamente decisivo, especialmente después de que el Ojo de la Eternidad que todo lo ve habló…

“No veo nada más que problemas por delante si los enviamos sin ayuda. Sabes lo que tienes que hacer, SB “.

Con eso, el Ser Supremo hundió su mano en la pequeña burbuja de realidad dentro de la cual existían sus visitantes…

… y los levantó a través de la tensión superficial que separa el Universo del Ultraverso de Dios…

“Magnuss,” tronó, “tengo una pequeña idea. Pero primero tengo que comprobarlo contigo como una mula de prueba, por así decirlo “.

En un instante, Magnuss se encontró de pie junto a una pequeña cabina roja, que miró con sospecha…

“Lo inventé hace tres segundos”. El Ser Supremo lo explicó a medias. “Ahora entra.”

Magnuss no estaba dispuesto a discutir. También creía que hiciera lo que hiciera la cabina, probablemente dolería. Hizo una mueca de anticipación…

Y cuando su cerebro se hinchó a tres veces su tamaño normal, notó que su suposición había sido correcta…

Pero justo cuando pensaba que no podía aguantar más, su conciencia estaba en otra parte…

… Aunque no pudo ubicarlo del todo. “¿Qué es este ambiente extraño?” Preguntó.

Fue puesto firmemente en su lugar cuando la voz del Ser Supremo respondió: “Yo hago las preguntas. Ahora dime, ¿cuál es la cosa más preciosa en toda la eternidad? No lo digo en un sentido genérico: me refiero a ti personalmente. Quizás debería haber formulado mejor la pregunta “.

Pero Magnuss había dejado de escuchar: sabía exactamente qué era para él la cosa más preciosa en toda la eternidad…

“Mi futura esposa.” Él respondió. “Provost Hair-Trigger”.

“Buena respuesta.” Un Ser Supremo de aprobación habló casi amablemente. “¿Qué es lo más emocionante que has hecho en su empresa?”

Magnuss tuvo que dedicar algún tiempo a contemplar la pregunta. Habían compartido tantas aventuras emocionantes juntos. Incluso le gustaba ver la televisión con ella, siempre y cuando no fuera la televisión diurna o los programas de “telerrealidad”. “Lo sé”, gritó mentalmente, “fue en ese momento cuando nosotros…

… voló sobre el océano en mochilas propulsoras y descubrió una isla secreta llena de mutantes “.

“Frio.” El Ser Supremo respondió … eh … con frialdad. “Ahora la misma pregunta, pero con tus hermanos como tema, en lugar de Hair-Trigger”.

Si la pregunta anterior había afectado a Magnuss, esta era casi imposible de responder. ¿Por dónde empezó? Pero entonces recibió la respuesta y supo de dónde venía: sus hermanos, usando su fraternal talento telepático.

“La vez que nos enfrentamos a esos robots centinela rojos en la batalla del Museo de la Tecnología del Futuro”.

“UH Huh.” Llegó la respuesta evasiva. “Ahora, ¿cómo puedo decir esto? ¿Cuál fue su gloria suprema con respecto a su última batalla frente a probabilidades abrumadoras?”

Magnuss no necesitó ayuda para responder eso. “Nuestro escudo psíquico”. Respondió…

Pero antes de que tuviera tiempo de agregar algo más, Magnuss estaba parado afuera de la cabina…

“Oye, lo estaba disfrutando”. El se quejó. “Bueno, ¿obtuviste lo que querías? ¿Vas a ayudar?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Two-Wheeled Tooty: Confidence Regained

Once upon a time, five years before he was named Tooty (in 1981), a young country bumpkin was talked into switching from Honda motorcycles to Yamaha. Here he is posing  with his mighty steed – a Yamaha RD125DX…

He and the Yamaha gelled instantly and he would become a life-long fan of the brand. But life being life – that is unknowable and often incomprehensible – in time his situation changed, and motorcycling  became a thing of the past. Then, in 2020 (21 years after quitting bikes), he took the plunge and returned to the fold…

Of course his mount was a Yamaha. A YBR125 to be exact. But it wasn’t the best that ever escaped that manufacturers stable. It wasn’t Japanese for a start! But he didn’t know that when he bought it. And he never really forgave the machine, despite the fact that it was totally reliable and never let him down. But he never felt entirely confident upon it – especially in traffic. Poor suspension: lack lustre brakes: feeble single cylinder engine were its major bug-bears – though Tooty had hoots of fun rushing down gravel-strewn, muddy-as-heck, and cow shit-ridden back lanes on it. Look at the picture above: does that really say “Confident rider”? Nah. What he really needed was something that would give him back the two-wheeled exuberance of his long-lost youth. Something with a bit of oomph. Another Yamaha obviously. But one built in Japan.  Regardez vous por favor…

Ten months later. Yup, I’m back – and on a cult classic too! But I think I might pass on the gravel-strewn, muddy-as-heck, cow shit-ridden back lanes for now. Maybe an off-road bike for those. Might have to get some motocross boots though. Hmm, sounds fun…

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: La Era de la Piedra (parte 20)

Cualquier otra conversación se vio frustrada cuando un declive final...

… precedió a su entrada en (lo que Rudi describió como) un arboreto…

Fue difícil, y Rudi estuvo casi tentado de sacar su machete del ejército suizo de su cinturón de herramientas…

“Oye, hombre”, dijo Valentine mientras se abría paso a través de espesas hojas de vegetación, “¿dejaron ir al jardinero o algo así?”

Pero, tan repentinamente como había comenzado el arboreto, terminó y se encontraron parados en un área que claramente no era natural. Igualmente de repente, el grupo se sintió decididamente incómodo…

“¿Hacia dónde ahora?” Susan no preguntó a nadie en particular…

Luego disfrutó de un momento de inspiración y se disolvió debidamente en su multitud de partes, algunas de las cuales pronto descubrieron un edificio con una ventana larga y baja…

Al explorarlo más a fondo, la subparte principal de Valentine y Susan descubrió un respiradero de vapor…

… en el que miraron minuciosamente…

Fue mientras consideraban el uso improbable de energía a vapor en la Corte Galáctica que la subparte terciaria de Susan vio algo enorme y aterrador.

“Aargh”, gritó, “¡es enorme y aterrador!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021