The Epoch of Dung (part 10) An Earplug Adventure


Chapter 4

As far away as it is possible to get in the space/time continuum, the ‘regular Museum of Future Technology was cloaked in the semi-darkness of approaching night…

Out on the Wide Blue Yonder, crowds massed for prayers to their particular, if ridiculous deities…

Much wailing and beating of chests occurred. However, inside the building proper, Rupert Piles – i.e. the ‘original’ Rupert Piles – was going about his regular duties: that is recording events for later transmission across all Earplugdom. His reporter’s ‘nose’ told him that the strange time-altering being, known as Gobby, would play an important role in coming events…

Gobby was aware of his presence and told him to go away.

“Freedom of the press, Gobby.” Rupert responded. “You can’t deny me my right to shoot motion pictures of anyone in the Museum of Future Technology. It’s in the constitution.”

“I could send you back in time by fifteen minutes.” Gobby threatened without actually turning around to face the source of his annoyance.

“Same rule applies.” Rupert replied. “In any case, I could always fall back on the Security Suite’s CCTV footage. It would just be a bit grainy – and not in three-dee.”

Whilst this exchange of words was taking place, Angel with a Huge Nose was walking into the Grand Hall beside the curator (and former gangster), Pretty Boy Plankton…

“Hey, Conk,” Pretty Boy said to the being who, long ago, had been mortally injured during an invasion of the museum, but had been resurrected as an angel by the museum’s Avatar, “I aint never learned to read real good: does that sign say ‘toilets’ or ‘tar pits’?”

Angel smiled, as she always did. She was well aware that Pretty Boy was telling a lie: she’d once caught him reading the vast volume War and Peat in the arboretum: he was just trying to make conversation. She was about to admonish him gently with a cuff around the jowls and a poke in the eye, when an apparition appeared before them both…

Pretty Boy’s eyes opened in wonderment, and Angel’s smile widened as the ethereal vision took on form.

“This is higher level stuff.” Pretty Boy said as he beat a quick retreat. “I’m outta here.”

Therefore, it was with Angel alone that the Avatar strolled along the adjacent corridor…

The Avatar was slow coming to the point of her appearance to Angel, but the former regular earplug didn’t mind: she loved being in the company of the higher order being. They chatted of this and that, and Angel fought valiantly to overcome her desire to gaze upon the beauteous face of Avatar.

“Yes,” she said, in a slightly whimsical manner, “cornflakes really are tasty, aren’t they.” 

But, then – her mind apparently made up – Avatar stopped walking. Naturally, Angel did likewise…

“What is it? What is it?” She said eagerly.

The perpetual smile upon Avatar’s face slipped ever so slightly. “I’ve become aware of a presence in the museum.” She told Angel. “Sensors cannot find anything that shouldn’t be here; but I ‘feel’ something. Angel, you must use your huge nose to seek out the interloper. This could be of the greatest import. Take care. Don’t fail me.”

With that, a blue glow suffused the immediate area…

…and the Avatar reintegrated with the museum’s structure.

Angel didn’t waste a second. She set her nasal sensors to ‘delicate’, and proceeded along the corridor at a considerable rate of knots…

“What’s wrong with the Angel with a Huge Nose?” people would ask each other as she raced towards and intersection that would take her to an area of the museum that had yet to be fully utilised…

…”did someone slip a tarantula into her underwear?”

Of course, Angel heard nothing of this, and even if she had, she wouldn’t have paused to refute their ideas. For her, time was of the essence. Soon she was barrelling along darkened and deserted back alleys that seldom heard footfalls…

Her nose had detected something. Something she could not recognise. Something that did not belong in the Museum of Future Technology. However, as she entered a region that enjoyed a pleasing deep suffuse blue she slowed…

Cocking an ear, she thought she could discern the indistinct sounds of voices. So, creeping forward quietly…

…she discovered an interior window that allowed a difficult view of an adjacent compartment. Moreover, when she managed to clamber into a position where she could see over the lip of the frame…

…she was astonished to discover several Incense Cones in conversation. Well, obviously she couldn’t believe her eyes. It was impossible that members of a species that had sworn to become the enemies of Earplugdom could have entered the facility by regular means. She surmised that they could only have arrived here by clandestine or nefarious means. Clearly, they were up to no good. So, for the first time since she had proven to her would-be beau – (the youthful) Magnuss Earplug – that she was no longer an earplug and could not love him, she unfurled her wings; rose from the floor in silent flight…

…watched intently and listened to their unintelligible words and unguarded thoughts…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

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