The Epoch of Dung (part 4) An Earplug Adventure


Ah-ha, finally we break new ground. In Part 4 you will find pictures that you have never before seen. How exciting!

Chapter 2

At that precise moment, at the main entrance to the Museum of Future Technology, the Robot Ticket Collector was greeting the subjects of conversation…

“Hi, girls,” it said in its pre-programmed cheerful voice. “May I say how lovely you all look – bathed, as you are, in the rays of the setting sun?”

“Thank you,” the troupe owner, Margret Greenhorn replied, “we’re here on official business. No sequins. No high kicks and skimpy leotards. We want to see Yabu Suchs.”

If a Robot Ticket Collector could look disappointed, this particular Robot Ticket Collector would have. “Enormous piles of doo-doo,” it bellowed electronically, “I really like fishnet stockings: I was hoping to see your show – even if it was rubbish and you were all out of step. Oh well, I suppose you’d better come in then.”

Margret, although a generation older than the members of her dancing troupe, was well used to being ogled for her timeless beauty, so took no offence at the robot’s attitude. “Come on, girls,” she said, “show a leg.”

However, five minutes wandering about inside the museum left all seven females concerned…

“Where is everyone?” Poki Kitchener inquired nervously. “Erie or what?”

“This is redolent of that time when everyone was abducted by aliens in our own space-time continuum.” An unusually eloquent Delia Stodge remarked.

“Hiding, I expect.” Margret replied. “Probably under the stairs – with a thermos flask and some sandwiches wrapped in cling film.”

Then she noticed the Robot Guide in front of her. “Hi,” it said even more cheerfully than the Robot Ticket Collector, “you guys must be looking for Yabu Suchs: follow me.”

The streets, thoroughfares, and corridors had remained empty for the duration of the walk from the foyer to the front door of the Yabu Youth Centre…

“Well here you are; my task is complete.” The Robot Guide informed them. “Now go straight in – Yabu’s waiting for you.”

“Aren’t you coming in with us?” Belle Ching asked the automaton. “Mister Suchs has such huge, scary eyes: If I feel my knees knocking, I’d like to hide behind you.”

“Sorry,” the mechanism replied with false sorrow, “but one of my caterpillar tracks is all wonky and pulls to the left. I have to get it straightened out before my limited slip differential explodes in an exhortation of red-hot steel shards and boiling oil. That’s a health and safety issue: it overrides your silly girly fears. See ya.”

With those words still echoing off the museum walls, the Robot Guide was gone, and Margret decided to lead the girls into the Yabu Youth Centre…

…where they were somewhat horrified to discover that the large-eyed male was not alone. The chief curator – Cushions Smethwyke – stood beside him. They gulped as one – especially when the museum’s Artificial Intelligence appeared upon a wall screen beside them…*

Cushions had never been one for preliminaries: she got straight to the point:

“Right, you lot,” She said, “Yabu can give you the details; but the crux of the matter is – we need someone with guts and brains to go into an alternative, divergent time-line; find out what the heck has happened. They have to make sure that this time-line survives when time itself re-integrates – even if it means the total destruction of the alternative time-line and everyone in it. Got that?”

Well, Margret Greenhorn wasn’t entirely certain that her troupe of high-kickers were ideal candidates for such a daring mission: but they had traversed trans-dimensional space without injury; and time-travel wasn’t a complete stranger to them either. “Whatta ya think, girls?” she inquired of her employees.

Six pairs of eyes turned to regard each other. The dark-eyed beauty, Wendy Rucksack was the first to find her voice:

“If it means missing rehearsals for a couple of hours, I say… go for it!”

Five minutes later seven pairs of eyes regarded the Tubo Di Tempo in minute detail for the first time…

Cushions sighed and allowed her gaze to wander to the ceiling. “Do we really have time for this?” She asked herself sotto voce.

Yabu, whose hearing was monumentally fabulous, heard her. He smiled. ‘Cushions,’ he thought to himself, ‘despite all her experience, still doesn’t really understand the principle of time-travel.’

“Ooh,” Belle Ching said to Delia Stodge as the troupe peered into the dormant device, “I used to have a pair of knickers that colour. But they got stolen off my mum’s washing line.”

“Sorry to hear it.” Delia responded. “Were they really comfortable?”

“Very,” Belle answered, “though they did fall down repeatedly during netball practice. But it kept the boys in the maths lesson entertained, so I think it was worth the inconvenience. It’s what got me into show business.”

The conversation might have continued, but any thoughts of loose elastic evaporated when the Tubo Di Tempo activated…

Yabu passed Margret a hastily written guide, then stepped back.

“Off you go, then.” He said with a cheerful smile. “See you when time re-integrates.”

Moments later the Greenhorn Girls had departed their immediate portion of space / time. It was only when the red light transformed into a blue light, which informed those operating the device that the transfer through time had been successful…

…that the two yellow earplugs allowed doubt to register in their conscious thought processes.

“Oh flipping heck, Yabu,” Cushions spoke in a voice suddenly grown small and reedy, “I hope we’ve done the right thing.”

Yabu gulped audibly. “Hope?” He said. “That’s all we have. If we’ve chosen wrong, I doubt we’ll know anything about it: we, and everyone and everything we know, will just simply cease to exist.”

Cushions didn’t know how to react to such a fateful response. “And if we’re right?” She inquired.

Yabu’s smile was wry. “It means you’ll still have to worry about your credit card bill: all the time we’re in fiscal limbo, we can’t allow any new customers in through the door. We’d get sued for negligence.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

*Finally I get to use the very first earplug picture – taken on August 4th, 2014. Shit, was it really that long ago? Originally they had no faces – just a glans drawn on the top of one. It was supposed to be a tiny pink penis. How juvenile. Then the face was added. The Earplug Adventures had begun.

2 thoughts on “The Epoch of Dung (part 4) An Earplug Adventure”

  1. Funny.i can’t imagine that your Earplugs all looking like little pink penis’s 😂😂

    1. I remember making a choice between drawing on the very first faces, or sticking the ‘penis’ to the front of my trousers and wandering around the factory as though I hadn’t noticed it was there. The latter was funnier, but the former has lasted a lot longer than a quick laugh – 8 years in August 2022!

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