Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 8)

Well there was really only one thing they could do. They ran. Like arrows from a bow they ran straight across the Woven Expanse…

…and tried to hide themselves in a strange non-corporeal forest…

…in which Daisy had a remarkable thought: “Oi,” she said, “if these trees are non-corporeal, that means that on infrared we would stand out like sore thumbs.”

So they bid a hasty farewell and tried hiding in the Age of Stone exhibit…

But, had they a brain cell between them, they would have realised that the Security Suite had access to any number of sensors and CCTV cameras…

“Got ‘em.” EvilRoboSecGua reported to the angry RoboSecGua chief.

The command came in an instant: “Apprehend them by any means. And if it hurts like heck…well all the better. If there’s one thing I really detest – it’s teenage female earplugs. They make me so mad!”

Meanwhile, Bunty, Ginger and Daisy were somewhere within the bowels of the Museum of Future Technology and making exhausted progress along another interminable corridor. But, despite their labouring lungs and the agony of de-oxygenated muscles, they all found the energy to be startled when a security light caught them unawares…

And when it changed colour, they paused their headlong flight…

…just I time to recognise what the light inferred and be plunged into the semi-darkness of a Crimson Intruder Alert…

“Oh,” Bunty said into the resulting gloom.

“I can hear you, Bunty,” Ginger replied, “but I can’t see you. Have you been disembodied?”

“I wish I’d been disembowelled,” Daisy informed the others, “coz I’m scared witless – or a word very similar to that.”

As the moment of the girl’s arrest approached, Gregor departed his quarters, whilst feeling very pleased with himself. The damage that he had managed to wreak by proxy was almost beyond his wildest dreams…

But he hadn’t finished: there was more acts of sabotage to invoke. Already some ne’re-do-wells had found inspiration from the TV news reports of the ruined exhibit…

And the RoboSecGuas were suddenly run ragged…

…when a group of disenchanted catering staff devoured an entire pickled cabbage: went out on to the Obsidian Plain; and…

…ignited the resulting cageous emissions.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 7)

Pero en el RD&CC la alegría había estallado como un volcán de endorfinas invisibles…

“Eso fue divertido.” Alegre Charlie Chopsticks gritó extasiado. “Hazlo otra vez.”

Otros curadores lograron contener su entusiasmo. “Muy agradable.” Winston Gloryhole dijo con calma. “¿Qué piensas, Cushions?”

“Me gustaría ver un desglose de los costos”. Ella respondió, como si supiera de lo que estaba hablando.

“¿Costos?” Montagu rugió. “¿Qué cuesta? La maldita máquina está construida: la energía proviene del generador Nul-Space, que es gratis. Y despedimos a la mitad de la fuerza laboral de mudanzas de exhibiciones. No es necesario tener en cuenta los costos: son prácticamente nulos “.

Mientras tanto, Daisy había recobrado el sentido. Más que eso, reconoció el misterioso vehículo por lo que era.

“Es la cosa blindada de Deathwish”. Ella lloró. “Aprendimos todo sobre los hermanos Deathwish hace tres meses. Echemos un vistazo.” 

Momentos después, Ginger y Bunty estaban cargando a su ruidoso amigo sobre sus hombros…

Y pronto estuvo a salvo a bordo y miró el cañón láser…

“¿Me pregunto si esto todavía está activo?” Ella susurró para sí misma.

Mientras todos felicitaban a todos los demás, Gregor no pudo evitar sonreír…

…Mientras imaginaba lo que podrían estar haciendo tres universitarias con un vehículo blindado de reconocimiento. En realidad, no necesitaba imaginar nada: había instalado una pequeña cámara en el Wide Blue Yonder, que estaba transmitiendo imágenes directamente a su teléfono celular. Solo logró echar un vistazo rápido a su pequeña pantalla a tiempo para presenciar…

…El delgado dedo índice de Daisy acaricia el botón de disparo del cañón láser.

“Ooh”, les dijo a los demás, “¿Me pregunto dónde apunta esta pistola?”

Ni Ginger ni Bunty sabían la respuesta a la pregunta, pero Gregor sí. Había alineado el vehículo con una nueva exhibición que representaba una ciudad del medio oeste, en un futuro lejano, durante la aparición de una singularidad en el Sistema Solar…

Fue la exhibición más cara en llegar al Museo de Tecnología del Futuro desde Eyewash Station. Era el bebé de Cushions. Ya había gastado grandes sumas en publicidad y estaba resultando muy popular. Los tapones para los oídos se aventurarían al museo desde todas partes, sobre pasos de montaña y a través de las inclemencias del tiempo si fuera necesario…

Usarían cualquier medio de transporte que pudieran encontrar…

Incluso los hoteleros de Benidorm hablaban de ello…

Pero cuando la abrasadora explosión incandescente del cañón láser golpeó…

…y toda la instalación estalló en fuego blanco…

…todo en lo que Cushions podía pensar era en cómo se lo iba a explicar a los seres del futuro, cómo su tecnología (que había sido enviada al pasado para mantenerla a salvo) había sido destruida tan completamente. También consideró la posibilidad de que el seguro no pagara y que su tarjeta de crédito estuviera a punto de sufrir otra paliza.

Pero las tres chicas tenían otros pensamientos en mente…

Daisy y Bunty cerraron los ojos con fuerza y ​​esperaron que cuando los volvieran a abrir todo volviera a estar como debería ser. Pero Ginger sabía lo contrario.

“Oh, diablos”, se lamentó, “¿qué vamos a hacer?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 7)

But in the RD&CC joy had erupted like a volcano of invisible endorphins…

“That was fun.” Cheerful Charlie Chopsticks yelled ecstatically. “Do it again.”

Other curators managed to contain their enthusiasm. “Very nice.” Winston Gloryhole said calmly. “What do you think, Cushions?”

“I’d like to see a breakdown in costs.” She replied, as though she knew what she was talking about.

“Costs?” Montagu roared. “What costs? The bloody machine is built: power comes from the Nul-Space generator, which is free. And we lay off half of the exhibit-moving workforce. You don’t need to look at costs: they’re next-to-nothing.”

Meanwhile Daisy had come to her senses. More than that, she recognised the mysterious vehicle for what it was.

“It’s the Deathwish’s armoured thing.” She cried. “We learned all about the Deathwish siblings three months ago. Let’s have a look.” 

Moments later Ginger and Bunty were hoisting their loud-mouthed chum upon their shoulders…

And soon she was safely aboard and eyeing the laser cannon…

“I wonder if this is still active?” She whispered to herself.

Whilst everyone was congratulating everyone else, Gregor couldn’t help but smile…

…as he imagined what three dippy college girls might be doing with an armoured reconnaissance vehicle. Actually he didn’t need to imagine anything: he’d set up a small camera on the Wide Blue Yonder, which was broadcasting images straight to his cell phone. He just managed a quick glance at its tiny screen in time to witness…

…Daisy’s slender forefinger caress the firing button of the laser cannon.

“Ooh,” she said to the others, “I wonder where this gun is pointed?”

Neither Ginger nor Bunty knew the answer to the question: but Gregor did. He’d aligned the vehicle with a brand new exhibit that represented a mid-western town, in the distant future, during the apearence of a singularity in the Solar System…

It was the single most expensive exhibit to arrive in the Museum of Future Technology since Eyewash Station. It was Cushions’ baby. She had already lavished huge sums on advertising, and it was proving very popular. Earplugs would venture to the museum from far and wide, over mountain passes and through inclement weather if necessary…

They would use whatever mode of transportation they could find…

It was even spoke about by hoteliers in Benidorm…

But when the laser cannon’s searing incandescent blast hit…

…and the entire facility erupted in white fire…

…all Cushions could think about was how she was going to explain it to the beings from the future, just how their tech (that had been sent into the past for safe keeping) had been destroyed so utterly. She also considered the possibility that insurance wouldn’t pay up and that her credit card was about to take another beating.

But the three girls had other thoughts in mind…

Daisy and Bunty squeezed their eyes shut and hoped that when they opened them again everything would be back as it should be. But Ginger knew otherwise.

“Oh flipping heck,” she wailed, “what are we gonna do?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 6)

Su ira se evaporó en un instante, Gregor corrió hacia la ‘puerta’ de la fachada de la choza de barro…

“Sí”, aplaudió, “sabía que funcionaría: después de todo hice las sumas”.

Luego, a los observadores dentro de la cúpula, les gritó: “Quédense donde están: voy a la Fase Dos”.

Momentos después, la habitación se volvió roja una vez más, y Gregor sintió que el ojo del Ser Supremo estaba sobre él y solo sobre él…

Y tal vez lo fuera, porque mientras Cushions miraba desconcertado…

…la fachada de la choza de barro Mark Four se había transferido al Wide Blue Yonder…

…y de él emergieron tres rostros igualmente desconcertados…

“¿Qué diablos flipping?” Bunty bramó lo suficientemente fuerte como para ser escuchado en un local de Café Puke en el arboreto. “¿De donde vino eso?”

Pero, como la lechada en una casa de ganado en buen estado se drena, la sorpresa y la preocupación de las tres universitarias hicieron lo mismo…

“Eso fue inteligente”. Opino Daisy.

Ginger dio un paso más allá: “Me pregunto si esto tuvo algo que ver con ese encantador Gregor. ¿Podría ser esta la oportunidad de la que habló?

Todos miraron a su alrededor en busca de alguna vista o olor del tapón para los oídos amarillo…

Pero, mientras lo hacían, en el departamento de I + D + i, Gregor estaba convocando otro artefacto del depósito…

“Damas y caballeros”, anunció a los que miraban desde detrás del escudo, “les presento un vehículo blindado de reconocimiento: no de otra época, sino de otro mundo completamente…

Luego se rió para sí mismo. “Si creen que llevé esa cosa a través de años luz de espacio … bueno, más engañenlos. Pero no miento: realmente es extraño: una vez perteneció a dos hermanos aventureros…

…Dorkan y Dawlish Deathwish “.

Mientras tanto, Daisy tuvo la estúpida idea de que pudieron haber perdido a Gregor dentro de la cabaña, así que fueron a volver a entrar…

…donde fueron cegados momentáneamente por un destello de luz…

…y descubrió que la cabaña no era realmente una cabaña, sino un vehículo blindado de reconocimiento…

Comprensiblemente, se sorprendieron. En el calor del momento, todos se culparon unos a otros por ponerlos en una situación que no podían comprender y amenazaron con abrumar sus frágiles mentes.

“¡Cara de culo!” Daisy le gritó a Ginger: “Mi psique está a punto de sentirse abrumada. Puedo sentirlo: ¡se me han caído los calcetines! “

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Revel in the Ribaldry 36

It’s very easy for a literary genius (like wot I is) to forget that there are stories written (by the aforementioned literary genius) at a time earlier than the present. In other words, literary genii are apt to forget their old stuff: old stuff that might actually be quite good: fabulous even! So, once in a while, that earlier stuff should be dusted down and exhibited. And so this has come to be. Welcome to an extract from a wondrous e-book. An e-book so wondrous that it defies description, pigeon-holing, and a predetermined genre. This wondrous e-book…

The best book ever written. A monument to the imagination of mankind. Or me. An e-book that is available at the best e-book stockists – like the ones mentioned on the sidebar and beneath the header. So here is the extract. Chosen at random, naturally…

When, at last, Izzy and Freda returned to the bar of The Handsome Dong, everyone except Eli Epididymis had returned to their leaden-hearted homes to sleep away the misery of the dark, cold night that stretched out before them like some infinitely long river of demon-filled sludge.

“Well,” Freda explained to an annoyed Eli as she adjusted both her mussed head fur and displaced gusset, “non-reproductive sex wasn’t what I was actually talking about when I burst in – but Izzy seemed so keen I just thought I ought to go along. It also gave me the chance to try out some of those ideas that I put in my sex-aid books.”

“Well they worked just fine.” Izzy was still smiling from ear to ear, and probably around the back of his head too.

“You two didn’t ‘appen to discuss the campaign to save ‘Amster Britain between bouts, I s’pose?” Eli grumbled.

Smiling for the first time since she could remember, Freda sat herself beside Eli in the snug, and knocked back the remains of his half-price rhubarb fizz. “Well actually it was Izzy’s idea of The Campaign for Stale Air that made me acquiesce to his sexual demands.” She told the surprised hamster, “I thought that they were brilliant. I’m fully behind it.”

Eli remained confused. “But didn’t you lead the campaign to clean up the air, and thereby ruin ‘Amster Britain?” he whined.

Freda’s smile fell away. “I did indeed. I used my persuasive literary style to influence a succession of useless governments until I got my way. But now I regret those acts of thoughtless environmentalism, and wish to undo the damage – if it’s not already too late.”

Eli thought about this for a moment. He sighed, thoughtlessly adjusted his testicles, and said, “Sorry about that minge-bit.”

He then explained that it was he who had written the inflammatory letter. He finished with, “…and I don’t want you to die horribly. In fact I want you to live a full and happy life – but in a Hamster Britain that we can all be proud of. Not this airy-fairy version where electricity is considered to be the spawn of  the otter’s rectum: But one where we can switch on a light, or blow-dry our fur, and have a good suck on a lung-full of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses, without interference and finger-waggin’ from an over-protective legislature.”

It was possibly the longest sentence that Eli had ever uttered, and despite feeling slightly light-headed, he was certain that in the coming weeks he would be making many more – throughout the land – in parliament if necessary – and much, much, longer too.

“I wonder if it’s still possible to buy bottled oxygen?” he added, “Or did you ‘ave that banned too?”

Naturally without the aid of newspapers and television – getting the message out to the people of Hamster-Britain was going to be problematic. And there were far too many hamsters living throughout the multifarious isles to write to personally. That left only one course of action open to them…

As the mayor of Teetering-on-the-Brink, Clifton Wassack had not enjoyed a happy tenure. He had overseen urban decay of legendary proportions. True the streets of tiny terraced homes had always been miserable: But at least their occupants had enjoyed the benefits of having go-karts parked in the road outside them. Now all he could see from his council office window was a moribund populace poking around in corners looking for something to do. So when he was suddenly confronted by the sight of the famous writer/environmentalist Freda Bludgeon, and two dodgy-looking sidekicks, who then presented their Campaign for Stale Air manifesto to him, he thought that all his birthdays had arrived at once. This was his chance to become a national politician, and forever be associated with the salvation of Hamster-Britain.

“Of course.” He boomed in his most stentorian voice, “Of course you may use my offices and all my staff to further your cause. Just make sure that my name is mentioned in everything that you do. Might I suggest that we gather a crowd of like-minded folk – storm the redundant television station – and start broadcasting again. I think that it would be an excellent way to start – don’t you? We can print some pamphlets too: I think there’s still a small supply of blank paper in the stationery office. So all that remains for me to say is – let’s get this show on the road!”

Well naturally they did all these things. And Freda personally wrote to all the most influential organizations in the land, and pleaded for their help.

Well equally naturally they rallied round like never before. Soon the National Breast Fondling Club had posters pinned to telegraph poles the length and breadth of Hamster-Britain. And other organizations soon followed suit.

In the capital the weak socialist government quickly recognized the ugly mood of the country, and capitulated. Former business hamsters dug out the keys to their factories and their farms – took on their old staff – fired up the boilers – uncovered their secret caches of fuel – and went back into production.

Within weeks Clifton Wassack was appointed to the role of Prime Minister, Eli and Izzy were proclaimed the saviours of Hamster-Britain, and Freda Bludgeon was annointed in oils and became venerated as a saint.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

In the light of modern climate change fears, this story couldn’t be more inappropriate and politically incorrrect.  Go now: purchase the book: thumb your nose at fate!

 

 

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 6)

His anger evaporating in an instant, Gregor raced into the ‘doorway’ of the mud hut façade…

“Yeah,” he cheered, “I knew it would work: I did the sums after all.”

Then, to the observers inside the dome, he shouted: “Stay where you are: I’m going to Phase Two.”

Moments later the room turned red once more, and Gregor felt that the eye of the Supreme Being was upon him and him alone…

And perhaps it was, because as Cushions watched in bewilderment…

…the Mark Four mud hut façade had transferred to the Wide Blue Yonder…

…and from it emerged three equally bewildered faces…

“What the flipping heck?” Bunty bellowed loudly enough to be heard in a Café Puke outlet in the arboretum. “Where did that come from?”

But, like slurry in a well-maintained cattle house drains away, all three college girl’s surprise and concern did likewise…

“That was clever.” Daisy opined.

Ginger took it a step farther: “I wonder if this had anything to do with that lovely Gregor. Might this be the opportunity he spoke of?”

They all looked around for any sight or scent of the yellow earplug…

But, as they did so, in the R, D & C-C department, Gregor was summoning another artefact from the depot…

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” he announced to those watching from behind the shield, “may I present an armoured reconnaissance vehicle: not from another era, but from another world entirely…

He then chuckled to himself. “If they think I brought that thing all the way across lightyears of space…well more fool them. But I’m not lying: it really is alien: it once belonged to two adventurous siblings…

…Dorkan and Dawlish Deathwish.”

Meanwhile, Daisy had the stupid idea that they may have missed Gregor inside the hut, so they went to re-enter…

…where they were momentarily blinded by a flash of light…

…and discovered that the hut wasn’t really a hut at all, but an armoured reconnaissance vehicle…

They were understandably startled. In the heat of the moment they all blamed each other for placing them in a situation that they could not comprehend and threatened to overwhelm their fragile psyches.

“Bum face!” Daisy shouted at Ginger, “My psyche is on the point of being overwhelmed. I can feel it: my socks have fallen down!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Gnashed Teeth: Another Digital Camera Sets Sail for Cyber Heaven

Off on one of my walking jaunts, recently, I chose three cameras at random. My best one – that being a x50 zoom Sony:  a trusty Kodak compact that I’ve had for yonks: and a very shiny Fujifilm I seldom use that I thought deserved a trip out of its box. The voyage of disaster began badly: the Kodak failed to fire up. Reason: the battery retaining clip had broken, thus breaking electrical contact. Arse – but not insurmountable. The Fuji proved more amenable. For example, it took this pleasant photo of some seed heads…

It went on to produce three more equally pleasant photos – before something made a silent click inside the works and it went doolally. Suddenly, for no obvious reason the video capture only worked on audio; and the still shots all contained interference. It had me looking somewhat like this…

Why doesn’t electronic stuff work properly after you pack it away for a while? You’d think it would be grateful for the rest!

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 5)

El alegre Charlie Chopsticks quería saber cómo esperaban mover artefactos y exhibiciones más rápido de lo que podían hacerlo actualmente. “Quiero decir”, casi se burló, “para mover las cosas más rápido de lo que ya lo haces, tendrías que usar la transmisión de materia”.

Mientras Montagu gruñía molesto por la ignorancia del curador, Cushions dijo: “Eres un idiota, Charlie: ¿por qué crees que estamos aquí?”

“¿Qué?” un alegre Charlie aún más excitado chilló. “Vamos a ver que las cosas se mueven, ¿ante nuestros propios ojos? ¡Oh, vaya!”

Mientras tanto, el sol artificial estaba a punto de deslizarse por debajo del horizonte inexistente: pero las chicas habían llegado a las coordenadas que les había proporcionado Gregor…

Daisy estaba tan feliz como un tonto en una bandeja de arena; pero Bunty y Ginger se sintieron menos confiados.

“Estamos destinados a estar en el lugar equivocado”. Bunty gimió preparándose para el fracaso. “Quiero decir, solo tenemos un teléfono celular entre nosotros, y la batería está casi descargada”.

A lo que Ginger agregó: “Y es uno barato en el mercado: probablemente no sepa una coordinada de un acordeón”.

Mientras tanto, Wonky le había explicado los peligros inherentes a la demostración que estaban a punto de realizar. Luego cometió el error de llamarlo experimento.

Cushions se alarmó por esto. “¿Experimentar?” Gritó ella. “No hago ‘experimentos’. Tú haces los experimentos: luego llámame cuando estés listo para “demostrar” el proceso. Si no estoy del todo seguro, el espectáculo se cancela “.

Esto decepcionó a los tres androides. Sus corazones artificiales se hundieron. Pero el astuto Gregor aprovechó la oportunidad para congraciarse y salvar su plan de la ruina al mismo tiempo.

“Si pudiera entrometerme …”, dijo mientras Cushions se dispuso a irse, “pero tengo una idea que mantendrá el desarrollo de la técnica de transmisión de materia en el camino y dentro del presupuesto, mientras te da un maldito buen espectáculo de luces que recuerde durante las próximas décadas “.

Luego se ofreció a operar el dispositivo solo, mientras todos se refugiaban en la completa seguridad de un domo de energía, que los protegería a todos en caso de que el transmisor de materia funcionara mal y lo volara en pedazos.

“Bueno, si estás feliz de arriesgar la vida y la integridad física”, respondió Cushions, “Estoy totalmente de acuerdo. ¡Vamos a seguir adelante!”

Entonces, mientras los androides y sus invitados se dirigían a la cúpula…

…y se encerraron fuera de peligro…

…Gregor comenzó a ajustar los diales y juguetear con las perillas del panel de control del transmisor…

Y en la sala de control de energía del generador Nul-Space…

…Los ingenieros de servicio, los que eran ex levantadores de pesas, Catford Greene y Nennigross Numbwinkle, notaron un aumento en la demanda de energía.

“Ooh”, dijo Nennigross mientras flexionaba los bíceps de forma experimental, “Me pregunto qué estarán cocinando en el Departamento de Investigación, Desarrollo y Reducción de Costos esta noche”.

Con los ingenieros y curadores escondidos detrás de su escudo, Gregor aumentó el flujo de energía hacia el transmisor de materia.

“No te preocupes por mí”, dijo sotto voce mientras lanzaba dagas etéreas en dirección a la cúpula, “solo soy el desconocido y totalmente desechable Gregor Arsentickler: los tapones para los oídos como yo cuestan diez centavos la docena”.

Luego corrió hacia el ‘extremo comercial’ del dispositivo y esperó con enojo los desarrollos…

“Los androides biológicos”, se burló, “creen que son los cerebros del atuendo. ¿Han olvidado que los tapones para los oídos los crearon? Debería dirigir este programa; ellos no. Por el santo de todos los tapones para los oídos, los encuentro detestables, al igual que los idiotas a cargo que depositan su confianza en formas de vida artificiales como ellos, mientras retienen a los jóvenes genios, como lo que soy, y nos reducen a roles de hacer sándwiches. y arreglos de cafeteras. Si lo pudiera lograr…”

Pero su diatriba casi silenciosa fue interrumpida cuando…

… aparentemente de la nada, un estallido de luz casi lo cegó. Sus ojos aún no se habían recuperado cuando todos se dieron cuenta de que la habitación ahora estaba lejos de estar vacía…

Una cabaña de barro Mark Four, destinada a la exhibición Era Gamma Hooter, había llegado desde el depósito de suministros muy por debajo de donde ahora se encontraban los observadores, a través de la transmisión de materia.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Galactic Newsletter: The Planet Scroton Imperilled

When the Gravity Whelk reported the sighting of a dangerous-looking object that appeared to be on a collision course with Scroton, the Supreme Commander of the Scrotonic Armed Forces – Walker Crabtrouser – demanded an immediate military response…

The order went out: “Attack the Giant Space Penis!”

 

 

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 5)

Cheerful Charlie Chopsticks wanted to know how they expected to move artefacts and exhibits around more quickly than they currently could. “I mean,” he all but scoffed, “to move things around any quicker than you already do, you’d have to use matter transmission.”

As Montagu growled with annoyance at the curator’s ignorance, Cushions said: “You thick, bozo, Charlie: why do you think we’re here?”

“What?” an even more excitable Cheerful Charlie squealed. “We’re going to see things move around – before our very eyes? Oh wow!”

Meanwhile, the artificial sun was on the brink of slipping below the non-existent horizon: but the girls had made it to the co-ordinates supplied to them by Gregor…

Daisy was as happy as a plugmutt in a litter tray; but Bunty and Ginger felt less confident.

“We’re bound to be in the wrong place.” Bunty moaned in preparation for failure. “I mean, we’ve only got one cell phone between us – and the battery’s almost flat on that.”

To which Ginger added: “And it’s a cheap one from down the market: it probably doesn’t know a co-ordinate from an accordion.”

Meanwhile Wonky had explained the dangers inherent in the demonstration they were about to perform. He then made the mistake of calling it an experiment.

Cushions became alarmed at this. “Experiment?” She bellowed. “I don’t do ‘experiments’. You do the experiments: then call me when you’re ready to ‘demonstrate’ the process. If I’m not entirely safe – the show is cancelled.”

This disappointed the three androids. Their artificial hearts sank. But the sneaky Gregor snatched at the opportunity to both ingratiate himself, and save his plan from ruin at the same time.

“If I might intrude…” He said as Cushions made to leave, “but I have an idea that will keep the development of the matter-transmission technique on track and on budget, whilst giving you a damned good light show that you’ll remember for decades to come.”

He then offered to operate the device alone, whilst everyone took themselves into the complete safety of an energy dome, which would protect them all should the matter transmitter malfunction and blow him to bits.

“Well if you’re happy to risk life and limb,” Cushions responded, “I’m all for it. Let’s get it on!”

So whilst the androids and their guests made their way to the dome…

…and locked themselves out of harm’s way…

…Gregor began setting dials and fiddling with knobs upon the transmitter control panel…

And in the Nul-Space generator power control room…

…the engineers on duty – those being former female weightlifters, Catford Greene and Nennigross Numbwinkle – noticed a surge in demand for energy.

“Ooh,” Nennigross said as she flexed her biceps experimentally, “I wonder what they are cooking at the Research, Development and Cost-Cutting Department tonight?”

With the engineers and curators tucked safely away behind their shield, Gregor increased the energy flow into the matter transmitter.

“Don’t concern yourself about me,” he said sotto voce whilst casting ethereal daggers in the direction of the dome, “I’m just the unheralded and totally disposable Gregor Arsentickler: earplugs like me are a dime a dozen.”

Then he ran around to the ‘business end’ of the device and angrily awaited developments…

“Biological androids,” he scoffed, “think they’re the brains of the outfit. Have they forgotten that earplugs created them? I should be running this show; not them. By the Saint of All Earplugs, I find them detestable – just like the morons in charge who place their trust in artificial life-forms such as them, whilst holding back young geniuses, like what I am, and reducing us to sandwich-making roles and fixing coffee machines. If I had my way…”

But his almost silent tirade was cut short when…

…seemingly out of nowhere, a burst of light almost blinded him. His eyes still hadn’t recovered when everyone became aware that the room was now far from empty…

A Mark Four mud hut, intended for the exhibit Era Gamma Hooter, had arrived from the supply depot far beneath where the observers now stood, via matter-transmission.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Earplug News 24/7: Under Neptune’s Gaze

Despite the God of the Sea, Neptune’s disapproving stare; the deafening roar of a passing space submarine freighter; and an erupting volcano on the horizon, Iceworld scientist, Uda Spritzer took her paddle board to the aid of two drowning morons who forgot to tether their houseboat properly and were attempting to swim to shore in search of a public lavatory…

She was commended for her bravery by the local coastguard, but then cuffed around both ears and poked in the eye for contravening Health and Safety rules by failing to wear a life preserver vest or a lanyard to her paddle board. In response, spinster, Ms Spritzer was reported to have said: “Sod this: next time I’ll let the bastards drown.”

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Gnashed Teeth: A Little Respect Would Be Appreciated

Recently the relevant authority erected a sign at the entrance to the village that I call home. It designates the furthest point west of the South Downs National Park…

I don’t know why, but for some naive reason I formed the idea in my stupid head that people might treat the area with a little more reverence than they do the surrounding towns. Ten paces into the park I discovered this…

Stella Artois: stronger than average: the chosen beer of British yobs: almost certainly tossed from the passenger window of a lowered VW Golf with a loud exhaust: it wasn’t alone: I should have known better.

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 4)

Capitulo 2

Varias horas después, Gregor Arsentickler se acercó a la puerta de su apartamento…

El lugar al que llamaba hogar estaba ubicado en el sector menos ostentoso de la zona de habitación del museo. Abundaban las paredes blancas, y cualquier decoración pública se encontraba en algún lugar al sur de lo minimalista. A Gregor le gustaba llamarlo “espartano”. Pero esta no fue la razón por la que nunca invitó a sus colegas a casa. Ésta no era la razón por la que siempre tomaba las rutas del circumbendibus a casa en un esfuerzo por sacudir a cualquiera que decidiera seguirlo. No, la razón por la que hizo ambas cosas, y otras cosas más reservadas, fue porque era un Zincista: un acólito del detestado Mister Zinc. Y era con el señor Zinc con quien ahora se comunicaba a través de un transmisor especial que podía volverse invisible y una pantalla de visualización que imitaba de cerca un retrato que colgaba de una pared interior…

“¿Por qué te comunicas conmigo?” Zinc preguntó mientras estaba de pie junto a su novia androide biológica, Blue en un puesto avanzado distante en la cabecera de un paso de montaña que conducía al monasterio de Lemon Stone…

… Un lugar al que había sido desterrado por sus anteriores transgresiones contra el Museo de Tecnología del Futuro.

“¿No ves que estoy ocupado?” El ex megalómano se quejó. “Tengo que supervisar este pase. Si alguien pasa por mi atalaya, el Padre Superior enviará a algunos de sus monjes aquí para patearme el trasero la semana que viene “.

“Buenas noticias, señor.” Gregor habló mientras completaba una reverencia. “He encontrado algunos descontentos que son jóvenes, tontos y maleables. Ya he puesto en marcha un plan que resultará en una catástrofe localizada. Bueno, eso es lo que estoy esperando. Desafortunadamente, estas tres chicas están realmente tontas, así que nada es seguro. Pero si su plan tentativo para hacer que los curadores parezcan ineficaces y descuidados, lo que resultará en su remoción del poder y, por lo tanto, abrirá el camino para su regreso triunfal, es trabajar, estos jóvenes tontos podrían ser el ímpetu que requiere. Ellos podrían, efectivamente, poner en marcha su campaña “.

A lo que Zinc respondió: “Oh, claro”.

Pero Blue, siendo el más activo de los dos desde su destierro conjunto al tedio y el frío abrumadores de la torre de vigilancia, requería detalles, que Gregor debidamente proporcionó.

“Muy bien.” Dijo ella secamente. “Seguir adelante.”

Así que fue un engreído Gregor Arsentickler quien se apartó de la pantalla…

… Que instantáneamente reanudó su falsa apariencia como un afiche de fan de los Earplug Brothers, mientras que el comunicador especial destellaba brevemente antes de camuflarse y volverse completamente invisible a simple vista, cámara digital o detector de infrarrojos.

“Hah”, se dijo a sí mismo, “voy a ser el mejor acólito que mi maestro, el señor Zinc, haya tenido. Seguro que me convertirá en un alto funcionario de su gobierno después de la caída de Cushions Smethwyke y su banda de incompetentes idiotas del silicio “.

Hablando de Cushions Smethwyke y la élite de curadores del museo…

… Cushions, Winston Gloryhole, Montagu y un curador invitado del Museo de la Avena Rancia, un Fluff Buttons, estaban echando un vistazo antes de la cena a su región de realidad en el Escáner Omnipresente. Estaba entrando en calor cuando llegó un mensaje para ellos, cuya esencia era la noticia de que se había realizado un desarrollo muy importante en los esfuerzos del departamento de mantenimiento del museo para acelerar los cambios de exhibición, haciéndolos más eficientes y, por lo tanto, reduciendo los gastos. .

“Esto lo tengo que ver”. Dijo Cushions mientras apagaba el interruptor.

El mismo mensaje se transmitió a los palillos de Charlie Alegre y a Betty del código de barras mientras se esforzaban por regular el flujo de energía del generador Nul-Space…

“Oh, Dios mío”, exclamó un excitado Alegre Charlie. “Una demostración de tecnología más fabulosa: estoy totalmente de acuerdo. Ponga el regulador en piloto automático, o maneje este solo, Betty: no quiero perderme el comienzo “.

Mientras tanto, Daisy, Bunty y Ginger habían logrado encontrar su camino hacia la Extensión Tejida…

… Que, por supuesto, era la única forma de que pudieran llegar a su destino: el Wide Blue Yonder. Aunque a Ginger le dolían los pies y se quedó un poco atrás, ella y las otras dos chicas estaban decididas a aprovechar al máximo la oferta de Gregor Arsentickler de una segunda oportunidad con el Mayor Flaccid.

Ahora no estaba demasiado lejos, estaban seguros, lo que estaba bien, porque en ese momento, en el laboratorio del Departamento de Investigación, Desarrollo y Reducción de Costos…

… los curadores recientemente convocados estaban siendo recibidos por el personal del laboratorio de androides biológicos. Por supuesto, Gregor se había ganado un papel en I + D & R C varios meses antes, y se había vuelto indispensable, asumiendo roles que el personal regular era reacio a hacer y que a veces eran francamente peligrosos…

Aunque Gregor odiaba a Cushions y compañía con cada fibra de su ser, sonrió dulcemente y se quedó en la periferia como el buen ‘ardilla’ que era…

Montagu, como un androide biológico, estaba justificadamente orgulloso de su equipo. Presentó a los tres androides turquesas:

“De izquierda a derecha, Cushions, te presento a Agnes Lovehandles, Steve Jessop y Wonky”.

Luego falló por completo en mencionar el tapón amarillo para los oídos aparentemente ansioso al lado de ellos, lo que solo hizo que la furia interna de Gregor arda un poco más brillante…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 4)

Chapter 2

Several hours later Gregor Arsentickler approached his apartment door…

The place he called home was located in the less ostentatious sector of the museum’s habitation zone. White walls abounded, and any public decoration lay somewhere south of minimalist. Gregor liked to call it ‘Spartan’. But this wasn’t the reason that he never invited colleagues home. This wasn’t the reason why he always took circumbendibus routes home in an effort to shake anyone who chose to follow him. No, the reason why he did both these, and more secretive stuff, was because he was a Zincist: an acolyte of the detested Mister Zinc. And it was with Mister Zinc that he now communicated via a special transmitter that could be rendered invisible, and a view screen that closely mimicked a portrait that hung upon an interior wall…

“Why are you communicating with me?” Zinc inquired as he stood beside his biological android girlfriend, Blue in a distant outpost at the head of a mountain pass that led to the monastery of Lemon Stone…

…a place to which he had been banished for his prior transgressions against the Museum of Future Technology.

“Can’t you see I’m busy?” The former megalomaniac complained. “I’ve got this pass to oversee. If anyone gets past my watchtower, the Father Superior will send some of his monks up here to kick my arse into next week.”

“Good news, Sire.” Gregor spoke as he completed a curtsy. “I have found some malcontents who are young, foolish and malleable. Already I have set a plan in motion that will result in localised catastrophe. Well that’s what I’m hoping for. Unfortunately these three girls really are dopey, so nothing’s certain. But if your tentative plan to make the curators appear ineffective and slovenly, which will result in their removal from power, and thereby open the way for your triumphant return, is to work, these silly youngsters could be the impetus it requires. They could, effectively kick-start your campaign.”

To which Zinc responded: “Oh, right.”

But Blue, being the more switched-on of the two since their joint banishment to the mind-numbing tedium and cold of the watchtower, required details, which Gregor duly supplied.

“Very good.” She said curtly. “Carry on.”

So it was a smug Gregor Arsentickler who turned away from the screen…

…that instantly resumed its false appearance as a fan poster of the Earplug Brothers, whilst the special communicator flashed briefly before cloaking and becoming completely invisible to either the naked eye, digital camera, or infra-red detector.

“Hah,” he said to himself, “I’m gonna be the best acolyte that my master, Mister Zinc, has ever had. He is certain to make me a high ranking official in his government after the fall of Cushions Smethwyke and her gang of incompetent silicon oafs.”

Speaking of Cushions Smethwyke and the museum’s curator elite…

…Cushions, Winston Gloryhole, Montagu, and a guest curator from the Museum of Rancid Oats – one Fluff Buttons – were taking a quick peek before dinner at their region of reality upon the Omnipresent Scanner. It was just warming up when a message came through for them – the gist of which was the news that a very important development had been made in the museum maintenance department’s endeavours to speed up exhibit change-overs – making them more efficient and thereby reducing expenditure.

“This I gotta see.” Cushions said as she flicked the OFF switch.

The same message was relayed to Cheerful Charlie Chopsticks and Barcode Betty as they strove to regulate the energy flow from the Nul-Space generator…

“Oh goodie,” an excitable Cheerful Charlie exclaimed. “A demonstration of more fabulous tech: I’m all for it. Set the regulator on Auto-pilot, or handle this solo, Betty: I don’t want to miss the start.”

Meanwhile, Daisy, Bunty and Ginger had managed to find their way on to the Woven Expanse…

…which, of course, was the only way for them to gain their destination – the Wide Blue Yonder. Although Ginger’s feet hurt, and she lagged behind slightly, she and the other two girls were determined to take full advantage of Gregor Arsentickler’s offer of a second chance with Major Flaccid.

It wasn’t too far now, they were certain, which was just as well, because at that moment, in the Research, Development and Cost-Cutting Department laboratory…

…the recently summoned curators were being welcomed by the biological android lab staff. Of course Gregor had finagled himself a role in the R, D & C-C several months earlier, and had made himself indispensable – taking on roles that the regular staff were loath to do and sometimes were downright dangerous…

Although Gregor hated Cushions and company with every fibre of his being, he smiled sweetly and stood around on the periphery like the good ‘gopher’ he was…

Montagu, as a biological android himself, was justifiably proud of his team. He introduced the three turquoise androids:

“From your left to right, Cushions, meet Agnes Lovehandles, Steve Jessop, and Wonky.”

He then failed utterly to mention the seemingly eager yellow earplug beside them, which only made Gregor’s inner fury burn that little more brightly…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Galactic Newsletter: Chilly Willy Discovered

Whilst exploring an uncharted and utterly frozen world, crew-members of the K T Woo have discovered an ancient space rocket entombed in ice! Former protégé of Magnuss Earplug – Yabu Suchs – who commanded the team and drove the lead hover chariot remarked:

“A quite remarkable phallic symbol. Possibly the most significant I have ever seen.  It’s very big. Very, very long – and perfectly straight too. I say, would you mind switching off your microphone: I’m feeling vaguely inadequate.”

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 3)

Con suficientes tomas disponibles en la biblioteca de fotos, y algunas palabras garabateadas también, continúa con el tercer episodio…

Mientras tanto, en un sector cercano, un talentoso ingeniero, de nombre Gregor Arsentickler, se deportaba con gracia a lo largo de un estrecho corredor de mantenimiento…

Disfrutaba de muchas responsabilidades, una de las cuales era la reparación de las recalcitrantes máquinas expendedoras de Café Puke. Y, por casualidad, era la máquina de la oficina temporal de TWIT a la que lo habían llamado…

Bunty pasó desapercibido mientras miraba sin pensar al techo. Él tampoco pudo registrar su presencia. En cambio, se puso manos a la obra. Pero, después de un tiempo, no pudo evitar darse cuenta de un ruido molesto. Eran Daisy y Ginger conversando…

“Bueno, dije”, dijo Daisy en voz alta, “mi novio puede saltar sobre charcos mucho más grandes que tu novio”.

Ginger estaba intrigada. “¿Qué dijo ella a eso?” 

“Nada.” Daisy respondió jactanciosamente, “qué podía decir ella: era verdad: mi novio vive en una casa flotante: ha estado saltando de la cubierta a la orilla y viceversa toda su vida. A veces lo hace solo por diversión. Una vez lo vi hacerlo con los ojos vendados y una pierna atada a la otra “.

Luego, con un cambio brusco de tema, Ginger dijo: “Nunca aprendí a atarme los cordones de los zapatos: ahora me dicen que el gobierno o alguien los ha prohibido. Toda esa práctica, por nada. Te lo digo, me estoy enfermando y cansando de cosas en estos días. No es como cuando éramos niños “.

“¿Qué, como el año pasado, quieres decir?” Interrumpió Daisy.

“Sí”, refunfuñó Ginger, “y el año anterior”.

“Pasan tan rápido, ¿no?” Dijo Daisy mientras asentía sabiamente. “¡Al ritmo que vamos en este momento, seremos viejos antes de tener la oportunidad de crecer!”

Gregor miró al guardia de TWIT, que claramente había estado soportando la conversación durante un tiempo considerable…

 

Parecía proto-catatónico y no respondió a la subrepticia ola de Gregor.

Y el combo Ginger-Daisy continuó…

“Sabes”, dijo Daisy mientras lanzaba una mirada en dirección a Bunty, que estaba mentalmente ausente, “su padre se cayó de su scooter la semana pasada”.

Ginger miró al suelo y deseó poder “desconectarse” como Bunty: no le gustaban las historias de dolor y angustia. Luego pensó que si no respondía, Daisy podría llevar la conversación en una dirección más agradable. Ella estaba equivocada:

“Sí”, continuó Daisy, “realmente se raspó la rodilla. Tuve que ponerle un yeso. Pero no se pegaría: lo hice al revés “.

Luego, para alivio de Ginger, Daisy cambió de tema:

“¿En qué crees que está pensando Bunty?” Pero antes de que Ginger pudiera responder, dijo: “Oh, mira, tengo una de esas úlceras en la lengua”.

“Nunca he sido fanático de las úlceras”. Dijo Bunty, a pesar de que su mirada permaneció fijada firmemente en el techo. “He oído que cuajan la leche”.

“Sí,” convino Daisy, “me alegro de no tener ninguno. Leche, es decir: no úlceras. Tengo una úlcera, mira. ¿Puedes verlo, Ginger?”

Gregor estaba teniendo dificultades para concentrarse en su trabajo de reparación. Afortunadamente, el operativo de TWIT, Nature Beast, eligió ese momento para entrar…

Gregor estaba más que aliviado: y sólo podía adivinar cómo se sentía el guardia de TWIT por la interrupción.

Nature Beast no creía en el preámbulo. Tampoco tenía mucho tiempo para palabras cortas que unieran a otros. Como era habitual en él, habló de sí mismo en tercera persona…

“Nature Beast obtuvo los resultados de la prueba”.

Bunty bajó del techo. “¿Están ellos bien?” Preguntó ella.

“Nature Beast no puede leer”. Nature Beast respondió. “Pero colega me dijo qué es qué”.

“¿Te dijo que pasamos?” Preguntó Daisy esperanzada.

Nature Beast se tomó un momento para considerar esta difícil pregunta. “Aférrate.” Respondió. “Nature Beast necesita un momento para pensar”.

Ginger tenía la clara sensación de que las cosas no iban como ellos querían. “Este colega”, le dijo a Nature Beast, “¿era, por casualidad, el Mayor Flaccid?”

Una luz apagada se encendió detrás de los ojos del monstruo. “Sí.” Gritó. “Tal vez no seas un idiota como dice Major”.

Pero eso fue lo mejor que pudo. Mientras reducía su volumen, Nature Beast agregó…

“Dice mayor: ya tenemos suficientes idiotas en TWIT: no necesitamos tres más”.

Naturalmente, esto no fue bien recibido. Bunty estaba particularmente molesto: “Pero nos tomamos un día libre haciendo … tus … cosas y otras cosas importantes … para venir aquí: ¿por qué has perdido nuestro tiempo?”

Las palabras llegaron demasiado rápido para Nature Beast: se tomó unos momentos para asimilarlas antes de responder con: “Dice el mayor: los idiotas pierden el tiempo con pruebas estúpidas: pierdo el tiempo de ellos. Dice cosas recíprocas “.

Esta respuesta enfureció tanto a Daisy que sus ojos se cruzaron. “Lamentarás el día en que cruzaste los tres … ah … los tres … um … nosotros

… Y recuerda esto, tu extraña excusa para un tapón para los oídos: la venganza es un plato que se sirve mejor … um … se sirve mejor… “

“Con aceitunas”. Bunty gritó enojada. “Ahora, por favor, abre la puerta y salgamos con un mínimo de orgullo … o ‘orgullo’, como lo llama mi madre”.

Momentos después, Gregor vio cómo sus lecturas positivas parpadeaban en la pantalla de la pared; pero escuchó en secreto mientras Nature Beast mostraba a sus invitados la puerta…

 

Una idea se estaba formando en su cabeza, y no quería que Nature Beast o el guardia TWIT reanimado se dieran cuenta de su cambio de comportamiento…

Entonces, cuando los dos agentes de TWIT cumplieron con su siguiente deber, Gregor Arsentickler dejó a un lado su itinerario, al menos metafóricamente, y fue en busca de las tres chicas.

Los encontró compadeciéndose de una taza de café espantoso…

“Señoras”, dijo mientras se acercaba a su mesa, “creo que puedo ser de alguna ayuda para ustedes”.

Luego explicó exactamente cómo sabía que habían fallado en su entrevista de trabajo…

“Pero tengo buenas noticias para ti”. Añadió. “No todo está perdido. Si desea impresionar al Mayor Flaccid, ubíquese en estas coordenadas del Wide Blue Yonder justo después de que se ponga el sol artificial “.

Luego les entregó una nota escrita apresuradamente. Mientras se alejaba de las excitadas exclamaciones de la chica y se alejaba…

… Dijo: “Nunca se sabe; este podría ser tu día de suerte “.

Pero en realidad no lo decía en serio: tenía motivos ocultos.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

Tooty’s Fashion For Fogeys 4

In the previous iteration of TFFF, Tooty displayed an uncanny talent for looking good whilst shopping at Waitrose during the Summer months. Now, rather belatedly, it’s Autumn fashion for old sods who don’t want to follow the norm. Well first up – if you own or drive a Hyundai, Kia, or a Honda Jazz, you’ve no fucking chance, so look away now. For those others still with a bit of pizzazz in their driving, read on. Well autumn colours come in many hues – not just shades of brown (leaves) with a touch of grey (skies). No, autumn trees come in so many varieties: your clothes should reflect this. So to Tooty himself: what is he wearing during the weeks that lead up to Christmas? Regarde…

   

Okay, the coat is brown. Well brown is good for coats: it hides all the shit that’s bound to get on it whilst out and about – especially in grubby underground carparks and the like. But elsewhere upon the lithe, almost youthful body (at a distance, with your eyes shut), you will discover a rainbow of autumnal colours. Is that plum you detect upon the stylish fabric shoes from Spain? Are there reds and oranges in that checkered shirt? Are those Marks & Spencers trousers really apricot? And did he actually choose that bright yellow belt during the hours of daylight? You bet your ass he did: how else are the blinkered old fogeys that clog the Waitrose aisles supposed to see him coming? Yes – follow his example, you old fogey: stand out like a beacon of style – and don’t get in his bloody way: he has a patience deficit you know!

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 3)

With sufficient shots available in the photo library, and a few words scribbled down too, it’s on with the third episode…

Meanwhile, in a nearby sector, a talented engineer, by the name of Gregor Arsentickler, was deporting himself with grace along a narrow maintenance corridor…

He enjoyed many responsibilities, one of which was the repair of recalcitrant Café Puke vending machines. And, by chance, it was the machine in the temporary TWIT office to which he had been summoned…

He went unnoticed by Bunty as she stared mindlessly at the ceiling. He too failed to register her presence. Instead he set straight to work. But, after a while, he couldn’t help but become aware of an annoying noise. It was Daisy and Ginger in conversation…

“Well, I said,” Daisy mouthed-off loudly, “my boyfriend can jump over much bigger puddles than your boyfriend.”

Ginger was intrigued. “What did she say to that?” 

“Nothing.” Daisy replied boastfully, “what could she say: it was true: my boyfriend lives on a houseboat: he’s been jumping from the deck to shore and back again all his life. Sometimes he does it just for fun. I once watched him do it blindfold with one leg tied to the other.”

Then, with an abrupt change of subject, Ginger said: “I never did learn to tie my shoelaces: now I’m told that the government or someone has banned them. All that practice – for nothing. I tell you – I’m getting sick and tired of stuff these days. It’s not like when we were kids.”

“What, like last year, you mean?” Daisy interrupted.

“Yeah,” Ginger grumbled, “and the year before.”

“They go by so quick, don’t they?” Daisy said whilst nodding sagely. “At the rate we’re going at the moment, we’ll be old before we’ve had the chance to grow up!”

Gregor looked across at the TWIT guard, who had clearly been enduring the conversation for some considerable time…

 

He appeared proto-catatonic, and failed to respond to Gregor’s surreptitious wave.

And the Ginger- Daisy combo continued…

“You know,” Daisy said as she threw a glance in the direction of the mentally absent Bunty, “her dad fell off his scooter last week.”

Ginger looked down at the floor and wished that she could ‘zone-out’ like Bunty: she didn’t like tales of pain and anguish. Then she thought that if she failed to respond, Daisy might take the conversation in a nicer direction. She was wrong:

“Yeah,” Daisy continued, “he really grazed his knee. I had to put a plaster on it. But it wouldn’t stick: I had it the wrong way ‘round.”

Then, to Ginger’s relief, Daisy did change the subject:

“What do you think Bunty’s thinking about?” But before Ginger could answer, she said: “Oh look, I’ve got one of them ulcer things on my tongue.”

“I’ve never been a fan of ulcers.” Bunty said, despite the fact that her gaze remained, clamped firmly upon the ceiling. “I’ve heard they curdle the milk.”

“Yeah,” Daisy agreed, “I’m glad I haven’t got any. Milk, that is: not ulcers. I’ve got an ulcer, look. Can you see it, Ginger?”

Gregor was experiencing difficulty concentrating on his repair work. Fortunately the TWIT operative – Nature Beast – chose that moment to enter…

Gregor was more than relieved: and how the TWIT guard felt about the interruption, he could only guess.

Nature Beast didn’t believe in preamble. He didn’t have much time for short words that joined others together either. As was usual for him, he spoke of himself in the third person…

“Nature Beast got results of test.”

Bunty came down from the ceiling. “Are they good?” She inquired.

“Nature Beast can’t read.” Nature Beast replied. “But colleague told me what’s what.”

“Did he tell you that we passed?” Daisy asked hopefully.

Nature Beast took a moment to consider this difficult question. “Hang on.” He replied. “Nature Beast need moment to think.”

Ginger had the distinct feeling that things were not going their way. “This colleague,” she said to Nature Beast, “was he, by any chance, Major Flaccid?”

A dull light went on behind the monster’s eyes. “Yeah.” He bellowed. “Maybe you not some dumb-ass as Major say.”

But that was as good as it got. As he reduced his volume, Nature Beast added…

“Major say – we got enough dumb-asses in TWIT already: don’t need three more.”

Naturally this was not well received. Bunty was particularly annoyed: “But we took a day off doing…ur…stuff and other important things…to come here: why have you wasted our time?”

The words came too quickly for Nature Beast: he took a few moments to assimilate them before replying with: “Major say – dumb-asses waste my time with stupid test: I waste their time back. He say it reciprocal stuff.”

This reply enraged Daisy so much that her eyes crossed. “You’ll rue the day that you crossed the three…ah…the three…um…us

…And remember this, you weird excuse for an earplug: revenge is a dish best served…um…is best served…”

“With olives.” Bunty yelled angrily. “Now kindly open the door and let us depart with a modicum of pride…or ‘proudness’, as my mum calls it.”

Moments later Gregor watched his positive read-outs flash up on the wall screen; but secretly listened as Nature Beast showed his guests the door…

 

An idea was forming in his head, and he didn’t want either Nature Beast, or the reanimated TWIT guard to notice his change in demeanour…

So, as the two TWIT operatives went about their next duty, Gregor Arsentickler tossed aside his itinerary – at least metaphorically – and went in pursuit of the three girls.

He found them commiserating over a cup of ghastly coffee…

“Ladies,” he said as he approached their table, “I believe I can be of some assistance to you.”

He then explained exactly how he knew that they had failed their job interview…

“But I have good news for you.” He added. “All is not lost. If you wish to impress Major Flaccid, be at these co-ordinates upon the Wide Blue Yonder just after the artificial sun goes down.”

He then handed them a hastily-written note.  As he turned from the girl’s excited exclamations and walked away…

…he said: “You never know; this could be your lucky day.”

But he didn’t really mean it: he had motives of the ulterior kind.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

Portrait of an Earplug: Uda Spritzer

We asked famous Iceworld scientist, Uda Spritzer, how she started her day on such a cold and forbidding world…

She informed us that she rarely eats anything less than a vast bowl of oatmeal for breakfast every day. But, she recalled with some regret, on a recent visit to Earth, someone suggested she add a handful of sultanas to  the bowl…

She won’t be trying that trick again. She is also considering eggs, bacon and fried tomatoes for breakfast from now on.

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 2)

As with previous tales, Triple Threat has been badly translated on-line for Spanish-speakers around the world. If you don’t find the story funny, you will probably enjoy the translation errors.

Y en Español…

Al igual que con los cuentos anteriores, Triple Threat se ha traducido mal en línea para los hispanohablantes de todo el mundo. Si no encuentra la historia divertida, probablemente disfrutará de los errores de traducción.

Preciosos pocos tiros en la lata hasta ahora, pero no permitamos que esa deficiencia frustra el segundo episodio. ¡Vamos!

Capítulo 1

El día había comenzado bastante mal para los tres aspirantes a reclutas de las fuerzas armadas del Museo de Tecnología del Futuro. O TWIT como era más conocido. Nadie podía recordar por qué se había llamado así a TWIT. Algunos sugirieron que las palabras Táctica y Weapons podrían haber constituido las dos primeras letras del acrónimo; pero nadie estaba poniendo dinero en ello. Y puesto oficial al mando del twit, Major Flaccid, era una buena ósea twit, él mismo, apodo de la organización parecía más adecuada. Bunty Bridgewater ahora conducía a sus amigas, Ginger Slack y Daisy Woodnut a lo largo de uno de los muchos pasillos que se extendían como los hilos de unos enormes hongos a través del gran edificio…

Habían realizado una prueba de aptitud en línea y, en consecuencia, habían sido invitados a una entrevista en la sede de TWIT, Swottan Hetty…

… Que estaba en remodelación, luego de un ataque inesperado a sus cimientos por gusanos pulmonares gigantes. Naturalmente, ninguno del trío de aspirantes quería llegar temprano, por si acaso se encontraban reclutados para llevar un casco o soldar por arco, ninguno de los cuales había estado en sus planes de estudios universitarios. Así que ahora desperdiciaron el tiempo sobrante deambulando y contemplando las vistas. Lugares de interés como la vía principal de fama mundial…

… Que había aparecido en varias películas de acción y emocionó a Daisy hasta el punto en que pensó que estaba a punto de vomitar de emoción.

Afortunadamente, Bunty y Ginger pudieron controlar la locura momentánea de su amiga haciéndola respirar en una bolsa de gomas de vino. Pero la interrupción había sido suficiente para desviar su innato sentido de la orientación, y pronto se encontraron tropezando con el Gran Salón…

… en el que un RoboSecGua permanentemente estacionado (y aburrido y tonto) rugió indignado por su intrusión:

“¿Qué diablos crees que estás haciendo aquí?” Gruñó en un diminuto mono-tonal … ugh … gruñido … a través de la rejilla del altavoz. “Ustedes no son nadie. Eres escoria de silicio. Piérdase.”

Sorprendidos por este estallido de rabia cibernética abiertamente racista, Bunty, Ginger y Daisy se retiraron rápidamente a una sección tranquila en la que Daisy accedió a la interfaz de Inteligencia Artificial del museo para pedir indicaciones para llegar a Swottan Hetty…

… Mientras Ginger mostraba su habilidad para producir cornetas de fondo de espectro visible.

“¿Swottan Hetty?” Preguntó la IA. “Seguramente, ¿sabe que actualmente se está renovando después de un ataque de gusanos pulmonares gigantes?”

Daisy no estaba al tanto de la existencia de preguntas retóricas, pero antes de que pudiera obtener una respuesta de su cerebro sorprendido, la IA continuó:

“Hay una lista de oficinas TWIT temporales a lo largo de este magnífico edificio. Se puede comprar una lista, por una pequeña tarifa, en cualquier punto de venta de Café Puke. Ahora soy un programa informático muy ocupado, así que vete y no me molestes de nuevo “.

Desafortunadamente, la emisión gaseosa de Ginger había afectado las habilidades mentales de Bunty de manera negativa, por lo que no se dio cuenta de la señalización de Café Puke detrás de ella. Tampoco le había hecho ningún favor a los procesos mentales de Ginger, por lo que en poco tiempo la joven mujer drogada se estaba divirtiendo mucho, balanceándose arriba y abajo en la corriente ascendente del ventilador extractor de la freidora en el restaurante de comida exótica de Mister Pong…

Peor aún, Daisy reconoció al tapón para los oídos que acababa de salir del restaurante, ¡no era otro que el mismísimo Major Flaccid!

“Oh, migajas”, dijo Bunty cuando se enteró de esto, “esperemos que nunca haya notado los giros aéreos de Ginger”.

“Hmm”, respondió Daisy, “nunca se sabe, puede que sea sordo y ciego”.

A pesar de esto, el tiempo seguía siendo abundante, por lo que las chicas se fueron al Laberinto de Kiddies…

… Donde, en su emoción, se interpusieron en el camino de varios padres que habían perdido a sus estúpidos hijos en el enorme rompecabezas circular. Pero, a pesar del sentido innato de dirección antes mencionado, los tres estaban desconcertados por su circunvalación. Por supuesto, eso no les impidió disfrutar el acto de tratar de encontrar la salida…

Pero, a medida que pasaban los minutos y los nervios se tensaron, la desesperación se apoderó de ellos, y en poco tiempo se encontraron en el centro del laberinto…

“Está bien”, dijo Daisy mientras su cara era empujada contra el costado del pequeño espacio cilíndrico, “¿cómo sucedió eso?”

“Supongo que no somos los genios que esperaban nuestros padres”. Respondió Bunty.

“Soy claustrofóbico”, gritó Ginger. “Mi profesor de geografía me lo dijo. Siento náuseas. ¡Me voy a largar de aquí! “

Con eso, se subió a los hombros de sus amigos y escapó a la “isla” central. Pronto se unió a ella Bunty, que pensaba más rápido…

“Podemos saltar a través de las brechas”. Ella sugirió. “Hay un túnel de mantenimiento allí, en las sombras: probablemente nos lleve a otro lugar: vamos a eso”.

Cinco minutos después…

“Oh, maldición”, se lamentó Daisy, “¿dónde estamos ahora?”

“Mira”, gritó Bunty cuando sus ojos agudos vieron un par de puertas de ascensor, “vamos a intentarlo”.

Pero, habiendo atravesado varios pisos a una velocidad casi vertiginosa, el trío no estaba más cerca de su destino: de hecho, estaban en el techo…

… Donde presenciaron la partida de dos cargueros submarinos espaciales.

“Por el santo de todos los tapones para los oídos,” susurró Daisy sin aliento,”he muerto y me he ido a Silicon Valley. Siempre quise ir en un submarino espacial: aquí hay dos, casi al alcance de la mano. ¿No son maravillosos? ¡Tan negro y bulboso! “

“Si te gusta ese tipo de cosas”. Un Ginger no convencido respondió.

Pero Bunty no escuchaba la conversación ni miraba boquiabierta a los submarinos espaciales: su mirada estaba firmemente pegada a una puerta que conducía al interior del edificio. En ella se leían las palabras: OFICINA TEMPORAL DE TWIT DE ESTA MANERA.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Earplug News 24/7: UFO Ditches in Popular Winter Vacation Lake

We bring you the news that other news outlets can’t!

Crowds of pissed-off would-be skaters railed against a trio of aliens who had crashed their UFO into a much-beloved frozen lake and thawed it with their super-heated drive plasma. Local hostillery owners insisted that the aliens remain partially submerged until either the lake refroze or they drowned. Tudor Porks – a local government official – was despatched aboard his sky scooter to reconnoiter and assess the situation, but was too traumatised to look, and flew home immediately for a cup of tea and a slice of lemon drizzle cake with his new boyfriend…

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 1)

As with previous tales, Triple Threat has been badly translated on-line for Spanish-speakers around the world. If you don’t find the story funny, you will probably enjoy the translation errors.

Y en Español…

Al igual que con los cuentos anteriores, Triple Threat se ha traducido mal en línea para los hispanohablantes de todo el mundo. Si no encuentra la historia divertida, probablemente disfrutará de los errores de traducción.

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza

Por Tooty Nolan

Prólogo

La luna de miel de Magnuss y Hair-Trigger Earplug había sido larga y ardua; pero ahora, mientras su barcaza de luna de miel, el Tankerville Norris , pasaba por la Luna de una manera bastante espectacular…

… adentro, mirando a través de un conveniente puerto de observación, la feliz pareja fue testigo de su fallecimiento del compañero celestial de la Tierra…

“Ah”, dijo Hair-Trigger con un suspiro, “por mucho que disfruté de nuestra última aventura, es bueno estar en casa”.

“Estoy totalmente de acuerdo”, respondió su cónyuge, “No puedo esperar para mostrarles a los chicos nuestras fotos de vacaciones”.

Pasarían solo unos minutos antes de que el Tankerville Norris cerrara la brecha entre la Luna y la Tierra, por lo que los únicos tapones para los oídos a bordo regresaban casualmente al puente…

… justo a tiempo para ver cómo su confiable nave atravesó la atmósfera del planeta y se precipitó hacia las nubes de abajo…

“Sabes, Hairy”, comenzó Magnuss…

Pero nunca completó su línea: Hair-Trigger pronunció las palabras por él:

“No hay lugar como el hogar”.

Luego llegó el momento de hacer un recorrido por las torres de la ciudad más cercana al Museo de Tecnología del Futuro, Ciudad de Droxford, donde los habitantes subieron a las azoteas para dar la bienvenida colectiva…

Luego, habiendo lucido lo suficiente, la nave se curvó en un amplio arco parabólico, para revelar el museo en sí sobre la holopantalla del puente…

“Quién hubiera pensado”, dijo Magnuss mientras contemplaba la vista, “qué habría sido del Museo de Tecnología del Futuro si mis hermanos y yo no lo hubiéramos visitado en esa fatídica mañana, hace tantos años”.

“Dos cosas, con toda probabilidad”. Hair-Trigger respondió en un instante. “El museo habría caído en manos de los primeros invasores: y nunca te habría conocido”.

Magnuss sonrió ante esto. Entonces, será mejor que no retrocedas en el tiempo y cambies nada. Él dijo.

Y continuó sonriendo mientras el barco se acercaba a su destino…

… porque estaba ansioso por la fiesta en la piscina que sus hermanos habían planeado para la tarde de su llegada…

Y especialmente quería probar el nuevo servicio de entrega de drones Café Puke. El se preguntó; ¿Llegó el café en una taza de plástico o el dron arrojó el vil lío marrón en la taza del cliente desde un depósito interno?

“O tal vez”, dijo en voz alta, “lo arrojan directamente a la boca del cliente”.

Hair-Trigger habría cuestionado la extraña e inesperada línea de diálogo de Magnuss, pero no tuvo tiempo: el Tankerville Norris se estaba instalando en una torre de aterrizaje…

Habían vuelto: la luna de miel era tiempo pasado: era hora de seguir adelante con la vida matrimonial con el héroe más grande del museo. Y, mientras se desabrochaba el cinturón de seguridad, no pudo evitar preguntarse qué terrible amenaza pondría a prueba el temple de los habitantes del Museo de Tecnología del Futuro.

“Algo bastante fuera de lo común, probablemente”. Ella dijo.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 2)

Precious few shots in the can so far, but let’s not allow that deficiency to thwart the second episode. Go!

Chapter 1

The day had begun rather badly for three would-be recruits to the armed forces of the Museum of Future Technology. Or TWIT as it was better known. No one could recall why TWIT had been so named. Some suggested that the words Tactical and Weapons might have constituted the first two letters of the acronym; but no one was putting money on it. And since TWIT’s commanding officer, Major Flaccid, was a bone fide twit, himself, the organisation’s moniker seemed most appropriate. Bunty Bridgewater now led her chums, Ginger Slack and Daisy Woodnut along one of many corridors that spread like the threads of some vast fungi through the great edifice…

They had conducted an aptitude test on-line, and had consequently been invited to an interview at the TWIT headquarters, Swottan Hetty…

…which was undergoing refurbishment, following an unexpected attack to its foundations by giant lungworms. Naturally neither of the trio of hopefuls wanted to arrive early, just in case they found themselves conscripted into hod carrying or arc welding – neither of which had been on their college curriculums. So now they wasted the surplus time by wandering around and taking in the sights. Sights such as the world-famous Main Thoroughfare…

…which had appeared in several action movies, and thrilled Daisy to the point where she thought she was about to vomit with excitement.

Fortunately Bunty and Ginger were able to bring their friend’s momentary madness under control by having her breathe into a bag of wine gums. But the interruption had been enough to throw off their innate sense of direction, and soon they found themselves stumbling into the Grand Hall…

…in which a permanently-stationed (and bored witless) RoboSecGua roared in outrage at their intrusion:

“What the flipping heck do you think you’re doing here?” It snarled in a tinny mono-tonal…ugh…snarl…through its speaker grill. “You’re nobodies. You’re silicon scum. Get lost.”

Startled by this outburst of overtly racist cyber-rage, Bunty, Ginger and Daisy quickly retreated to a quiet section in which Daisy accessed the museum’s Artificial Intelligence interface to ask for directions to Swottan Hetty…

…whilst Ginger displayed her ability to produce visible spectrum botty bugles.

“Swottan Hetty?” The A.I inquired. “Surely, you’re aware that it is currently undergoing refurbishment following an attack of giant lungworms?”

Daisy wasn’t aware of the existence of rhetorical questions, but before she could summon a response from her startled brain, the A.I continued:

“There’s a list of temporary TWIT offices throughout this magnificent edifice. A list can be purchased, for a small fee, at any Café Puke outlet. Now I’m a very busy  computer program, so go away and don’t bother me again.”

Unfortunately Ginger’s gaseous emission had effected Bunty’s mental abilities in a negative manner, so she failed to notice the Café Puke signage behind her. It hadn’t done Ginger’s thought processes any favours either, so before long the stoned young female was thoroughly enjoying herself, bobbing up and down in the updraft of the deep fat fryer extractor fan in Mister Pong’s exotic food restaurant…

Worst still, Daisy recognised the earplug who was just exiting the restaurant – him being, none other than, Major Flaccid himself!

“Oh crumbs,” Bunty said when she learned this, “let’s hope he never noticed Ginger’s aerial gyrations.”

“Hmm,” Daisy responded, “you never know, he might be deaf and blind.”

Despite this, time remained in abundence, so the girls took themselves off to the Kiddies Maze…

…where, in their excitement, they got in the way of several parents who had lost their stupid children in the huge circular puzzle. But, despite the aforementioned innate sense of direction, all three were baffled by its circumambience. Of course that didn’t stop them enjoying the act of trying to find the way out…

But, as the minutes ticked by, and nerves grew taut, desperation set in, and before long they found themselves at the centre of the maze…

“Okay,” Daisy said as her face was pushed against the side of the tiny cylindrical space, “how did that happen?”

“Guess we’re not the genii our parents hoped for.” Bunty replied.

“I’m claustrophobic,” Ginger cried out. “My geography teacher told me so. I feel nauseous. I’m getting the heck outta here!”

With that she climbed upon the shoulders of her friends and escaped on to the central ‘island’. She was soon joined by the quicker-thinking Bunty…

“We can jump across the gaps.” She suggested. “There’s a maintenance tunnel over there, in the shadows: it’ll probably lead us somewhere else: let’s head for that.”

Five minutes later…

“Oh crikey,” Daisy wailed, “where are we now?”

“Look,” Bunty yelped as her keen eyes spotted a pair of elevator doors, “let’s give them a try.”

But, having risen through several floors at almost breakneck speed, the trio were no closer to their destination: in fact they were on the roof…

…where they witnessed the departure of two space submarine freighters.

“By the Saint of All Earplugs,” a breathless Daisy whispered, “I’ve died and gone to Silicon Valley. I’ve always wanted to go on a space submarine: and here’s two of them, almost within arm’s reach. Aren’t they wonderful? So black and bulbous!”

“If you like that sort of thing.” An unconvinced Ginger replied.

But Bunty was neither listening to the conversation nor gawping at the space submarines: her gaze was firmly attached to a door that led to the interior of the building. Upon it read the words: TWIT TEMPORARY OFFICE THIS WAY.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

Galactic Newsletter: Winker Worried

The United Stoats Seventh Cavalry’s sole starship, the Chuck Winker, was chased through a hyperspace conduit by a vast alien vessel of unknown origin recently . Fortunately the crew of the ‘Winker’ were able to make their escape by ejecting the contents of their latrine, which obscured the alien’s windshield long enough for them to return their vessel into normal space/time unnoticed. Nominal captain – Staff Sergeant Wetpatch Wilton was reported to have said: “I lived up to my name there, I can tell you: that really shit me up good and proper!”

Earplug News 24/7: Midnight Buggy Race Under Threat

The weekly Magnuss Earplug – sponsored Midnight Buggy Race through the streets of the Old Quarter is facing the axe following a display of almost complete disinterest and apathy by the local inhabitants. Apparently they prefer to sit around street corners drinking vile coffee from the Cafe Puke vending machines…

Or visiting the toilet.

Featuring wondrous writings and phabulous photos. It's probably quite nice if you're feeling a bit down. SOME CONTENT IS UNSUITABLE FOR CHILDREN!