The Epoch of Dung (part 5) An Earplug Adventure

The photo-novella featuring sentient earplugs continues apace…

Whilst this brief conversation was taking place in one time-line, in the other temporal hiccup time-line, the Tubo Di Tempo burst into crimson life…

Moreover, as the unimaginable energies abated, and the device began to glow coolly…

…the Greenhorn Girls stepped into an altered reality. As Poki Kitchener gasped in surprise, Margret Greenhorn said:

“Er, what’s with all the wattle and daub wall coverings?”

“Maybe we’ve landed in an exhibit that represents a period in history when they ran short of tech and had to resort to Twelfth Century European construction practices.” Delia suggested.

Belle, a dancer who often looked for details that other dancers might have missed, stared straight ahead in horror, and wailed:

“Flip me sideways – the smell…it’s ghastly. These aren’t just mud walls: they’ve got poop mixed in with them too. And not long ago either: they’re still fresh!”

As trans-dimensional dancing girls, it was very easy for the troupe to become collectively fixated upon one subject. Consequently they continued talking about the unexpected nature of the building though which they passed…

“They would need straw to bind the mud and excrement together.” Nokaks informed the others knowledgably from the rear. “Not something commonly found in the Museum of Future Technology, I would have thought.”

Ragi Half-Nelson had been reading up on the recent history of the museum – specifically since the arrival of the Earplug Brothers, which coincided with events becoming vastly more interesting and numerous:

“Well there was that old barn they hid the museum’s interceptor craft,” she reminded everyone. “You know – the saucers that defended the museum from Hyperspace Pirates in their earliest adventure.”

Margret was also quite well versed upon the subject of the Earplug Brothers – particularly Magnuss, whom she thought was ‘kinda cute’. She cast her mind back to the event and place to which Ragi referred…

“Of course,” she cried out in revelation. “The barn contained the remnants of marsh reeds. They must grow them in the arboretum!”

“But why would the Curator Elite waste time and energy on simple, non-teccy stuff like marsh reeds?” Wendy Rucksack inquired in her best ‘oh that’s so stupid’ voice. “I mean, like, this is the Museum of Future Technology after all. Duh!”

“To save money, of course.” Margret explained. “There’s a rather unpopular exhibit that includes a delightful hamlet that comprises several thatched cottages. I don’t know what era it’s supposed to represent, but it appears quite pastoral. Maybe it was here first, and they decided to keep it, despite the need for occasional re-thatching of the roofs. But, whatever, it’s obviously cheaper to grow the reeds in-house – rather than import them at exorbitant prices from outside.”

“Yes, of course,” Belle said as she examined the walls of the narrow alley, down which they now found themselves wandering, “that would explain so much. But where do they find their poop? The smell alone tells me this isn’t earplug doo-doos.”

“It’s a mystery alright.” Margret said with a sigh of exasperation. “We’ll just have to wait until we find someone to ask.”

By the strangest of coincidences, the alley down which they travelled did a quick left-right, and, in a moment, they found themselves facing a solitary female earplug…

None of them recognised her from their time-line, so they each tried a warm smile of welcome.

“Howdy,” Margret said before the mysterious earplug could take both fright and flight, “I’m Margret Greenhorn: these are the Greenhorn Girls.”

“I know!” The yellow earplug squealed with delight. “I’m Ninja Perkins: I’m your greatest fan. One day I wanna be in your troupe. I’m a really good dancer – and, look, I’m already wearing false eyelashes and mascara!”

Margret was suitably impressed: she had plans to expand the troupe’s repertoire, which would require at least two more dancers. Ninja certainly looked the part. “Lovely,” she said, “but first of all we’d like to know what the heck has happened in this time-line. Where is the Museum of Future Technology?”

At this, four more figures appeared from the shadows of a mud hut…

Margret recognised country singer / songwriter Billy Bromide from both her original quantum reality and the one to which she and the girls had escaped. Although two were strangers to her, she thought the earplug beside the doorjamb nearest Ninja Perkins might be a member of the mariachi band, El Custardo Y Los Natillas – so beloved, by the Future Museum of Mars curator, Frisby Mumph…

However, before she could wave daintily in his direction, Ninja was explaining everything:

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

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