The Epoch of Dung (part 13) An Earplug Adventure

Chapter 5

Cushions need not have worried that Margret would fail her. Already she had contacted the chief curator’s doppelganger in the ruined remains of the once-flooded, but now drained arboretum…

“Cushions,” she said, “you are not going to believe the idea I came up with. Several factors led me to it. To a degree, it was the Bozo Brothers burying of their sister and their belief in a higher power. It was also the non-corrupting cup of coffee beneath the spotlight. And, of course, Rupert Piles and his huge three-dee television camera. Combined, these seemingly disparate events and objects…ugh…combined…to inspire me, and draw a fabulous conclusion. In short, I have a plan. It may seem ridiculous, but I think it’s the only chance we have.”

“Ridiculous, you say?” Cushions responded guardedly. “Let me be the judge of that. What’s the plan?”

A half-hour later, the strange being, known as Gobby, was strolling through the mud village with some characters who one could be forgiven for considering odd companions to such a cerebral giant. They were the rough ‘n’ ready and almost monosyllabic Nature Beast: the former substrata-dwelling weirdo, Grey-Vee; and a junior officer with the United Stoats Seventh Cavalry, the name of whom no one could ever remember…

Like his companions, Gobby had been imbibing fermented fruit juice. Consequently, he had taken to singing very rude songs loudly in a pleasant, if slightly nasal falsetto. Nature Beast, Grey-Vee, and the unidentified junior officer were accompanying with harmonic doo-waps and shoobie-doobie-doos. However, all this ceased when Margret led most of her troupe out from a small store shed in which they had being walking through a few routines…

Immediately the unnamed officer’s regulation cavalry hat fell from his inebriated head. Grey-Vee’s Mohican stood on end; and Gobby thought he was seeing things.

“Ugh?” he grunted – the song dismissed and forgotten, “Astonishingly beautiful girls? Wha-wha-what’s happening, man?”

Ignoring the doo-wap trio, Margret addressed Gobby directly. “Gobby,” she said, “I need you desperately.”

This surprised Gobby, and he attempted to straighten a tie that he wasn’t wearing. “Oh, really…ah…jolly good and all that.”

Whilst Margret quickly reassessed her opening gambit; and Poki found herself finding the junior officer rather fetching – as he reattached his hat to the top of his head; and Delia discovered that Nature Beast made her wish she was somewhere else, Grey-Vee was already backing away in search of a boulder or something she could hide behind to have a wee.

“Let me start again.” Margret said. “I have a plan to save the Museum of Future Technology: everyone inside it: and everyone in this alternative time-line too. But I’m going to need your talent for manipulating time.”

Gobby’s inebriation evaporated instantly. “Sod off, you lot.” He said to his singing chums – who acquiesced to his instruction without argument…

He then turned his attention to the girls. “Shoot.” He said.

“We’re going to put on a show.” Margret explained. “A dancing show, with taped music. I’ve got a tape machine in my handbag, with the music from our last show still in it. All we need is some form of sound enhancement. Something to make it louder. But that’s not a problem right now: I’m sure we’ll find something amongst the detritus that can double up as a sound box.”

“A show?” Gobby replied doubtfully. “How very charming. Very entertaining too, I’m sure. But how is this going to help us and the Museum of Future Technology?”

“Yes.” Nokaks squealed with ill-disguised enthusiasm. “We’re going to get someone’s attention. Someone who will sit up and notice us.”

“That’s right,” Ragi joined in, “someone with clout.”

“Someone,” Poki added, “who likes earplugs – probably a lot.”

Gobby understood in an instant. “The Gods.” He yelled. “You are going to try and get the attention of the Gods. Oh, Ladies, that is inspired. What do you want me to do: repeat performances every fifteen minutes?”

“Exactly.” Margret smiled sweetly. “And Rupert Piles’ camera has a Nul-Space generator built-in; so he can transmit in real time to the entire listening universe.”

A short while later Margret found Cushions in the arboretum where someone had found a few slabs of concrete beneath the mud. She couldn’t help but notice that a couple of flowers had bloomed too. Cushions took this as an omen…

“It’s a go.” Margret said as they strolled across the sodden surface.

“Did you have anywhere in mind for the performance?” Cushions inquired.

“There’s a small plaza in the village centre.” Margret answered. “It’s reasonably flat, and the surrounding buildings will amplify my tape player wonderfully. I hope to have the girls ready for a matinee performance. We brought a limited number of costumes with us, but I don’t think people will notice: most of them aren’t looking at the costumes anyway.”

Cushions wasn’t one waste time or prevaricate: only ten minutes had passed before she, Yabu, Ninja, and the Greenhorn Girls entered the village centre plaza and began advertising the forthcoming event by word of mouth…

Ninja’s voice, in particular, was…ugh…particularly strident:

“Come on, you lot,” she bellowed like a Docker on steroids, which, of course her father was, and had trained his daughter well. “Put aside all those wobbly clay pots you’re trying to shape into wine goblets.” She continued. “Cast off the yokes upon your shoulders that support erns of recently squeezed plugmutt milk. And stop trying to stick pointy bits of flint on the ends of sticks – they’ll never make good arrows anyway. In any case, what are you going to shoot them at? Do yourself a favour: come out to see a show. See the beautiful dancing girls, with their powerful thighs and skimpy costumes.”

The others too called out, with voices that quickly grew hoarse. However, slowly faces began to appear outside their hovels…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

What else did you expect a bunch of dancing girls to do? An earplug should always play to its strength.

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