Whilst this change of circumstances was taking place, back in the Museum of Future Technology, the slide show had moved on to another planet that the happy couple had visited on their honeymoon…
“Ah,” Magnuss cried out at the recognition of one of the trip’s lowest points, “Nonster planet.”
“Nonster planet?” Miles queried.
“Surely you mean Monster Planet?” Chester suggested.
“Strictly speaking it is named Monster Planet,” Magnuss explained, “but they have no letter N on their word processors: so they chose the next letter along. It could have been named Bonster Planet: but, unfortunately, the word ‘bonster’ is very rude: so they went in the opposite direction.”
“That’s the Loch Mess Nonster.” Hair-Trigger told them. “We were very lucky to photograph it: it hasn’t been seen for a thousand years. And even then most people thought it was a log, or a wave, or a packet of potato chips that had partially submerged and become sodden”
At this point in proceedings, another image from Nonster Planet replaced the Loch Mess photo…
This brought forth glazed expressions and fixed smiles. Rudi remarked upon it…
“The Colossal Two-Beaked Turkey of Zlob, right?”
Magnuss appeared slightly embarrassed. “As opposed to the Really Big Twin-Beaked Turkey of Zlob.” He said. “We didn’t know the difference.”
“One is friendly and takes you for a ride around a picturesque tar pit.” Hair-Trigger spoke quietly as she recalled their error. “The other one tears the arse out of your hiking pants and tried to chew off your buttocks.”
“That’s why we chose such comfy chairs.” Magnuss explained. “Luckily our travel insurance paid for the reconstructive surgery.”
“But our botties are still a little tender.” Hair-Trigger added.
Fortunately, the newlywed’s mental discomfort came to an abrupt halt when a snow scene appeared on screen…
“That’s us,” Hair-Trigger commentated, “arrived at the Hotel Bottox on Ice-world. You know – the Ice-world, as ruled over by Marnus Pongfinger.”
“Those dudes leavin’ don’t look none too cheerful.” Valentine observed.
Hair-Trigger returned to her use of the term “Hmmm”.
“It’s a cold world.” Magnuss explained. “As you well know – you’ve been there yourself. Very often the water in the lavatory freezes: sometimes you need an ice pick to break it. I guess those guys either didn’t know how too; or they were too late with its application.”
Sensing a degree of discomfort in the audience, the futuristic image projector quickly moved the picture on…
“Hair-Trigger,” Magnuss said, “trying on her new winter hat.”
“Lovely.” Miles opined.
“Hey,” Chester cried out, “that picture on the wall: it’s Susan!”
“That’s right.” Magnuss said with a chuckle. “Ever since she broke down with emotion at our wedding, the image of her that was broadcast on the Trans-Galactic TV Channel has become very popular. She’ll do well when the residuals start coming in – though there is a lot of pirating of her image going on too.”
Whilst Magnuss had been speaking, Hair-Trigger took the opportunity to place the art deco figurine on its base. Resuming her seat…
…she said, “Darling, we’re being haunted again.”
“Try to ignore it, Hairy.” Magnuss suggested. “They get bored if you ignore them.”
So they did, and were rewarded with a view of Magnuss and Hair-Trigger departing the Hotel Bottox…
“Funny thing – about the Hotel Bottox.” Magnuss remarked. “Whenever we tried to leave, the snow intensified into a white-out.”
“And ever since we finally trudged away, that thing at the window has been with us.” Hair-Trigger remarked.
“Gotta be the ghost of some Ice-Worlder, I guess.” Rudi suggested.
A pair of Punting-Modesty Facepuncher XL5s thundering past interrupted any further conversation that might have erupted upon the subject…
“Hey,” Valentine cheered, “gotta be a couple of my trainees. We sho’nuf got a whole bunch of XL5s now, ya know. Enough to protect the museum from any number of alien invaders. Cool.”
© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022