The Epoch of Dung (part 20) An Earplug Adventure


When the news reached the Museum of Future Technology’s Avatar, whom had taken overall control of the defence of the mighty edifice…

…concern was evident. Well some concern: it’s doubtful that Auntie Doris and Cheerful Charlie Chopsticks fully comprehended what they were hearing and seeing.

“But what if it’s this time-line that’s destroyed?” The fabulous artificial lifeform wailed. “There will be no survivors anywhere!”

Montagu was more practical. “Their time on that lifeless planet is numbered in months alone. Soon the plugmutts will starve and produce no effluent. Building material and fuel will quickly dwindle. The end will be slow, inexorable, and certain.”

“Well, if you put it that way,” the Avatar’s mood lightened at this, “I guess we shouldn’t go beating ourselves up about it. But, it would be nice to know the identity of the time-line that will cease to exist, don’t you think? Some way to make certain that it’s this one that survives.”

Well, as chance would have it, the Time Techs (in the hope of gaining the approval of Cushions Smethwyke, and therefore earning their very own lavatory) had been working on the subject. They now approached the foyer in which the Avatar had emerged from the structure of the building itself…

As they entered, Gregor spoke out…

“Good news, Avatar, acolytes, hangers-on, and brown-noses.” He said. “We may have the answer to the museum’s most telling problem.”

Joining the group…

…all three Time Techs took their turn explaining their theory that should – in theory – prevent the currently-existing Museum of Future Technology from experiencing non-existence…

“Wow, aint that something!” Cheerful Charlie Chopsticks…err…cheered, after they had finished, “We gotta let the guys over there know about this. This is real hotdog with chilli sauce!”

The Avatar couldn’t argue with Cheerful Charlie’s assessment of the situation. As a result, an info transmission by foghorn along the Tubo Di Tempo, reached the Greenhorn Girls, who heard it and quickly departed so that they might pass it on to those who might use it best…

“Can we remember all the facts?” A worried Margret asked the others. “It’s a long way back. We might forget something important.”

“Nah, don’t worry.” Wendy said as she strode beside her boss. “They’ll get the gist of it. That Hydious Gout guy has a brain the size of my bottom; he’ll work it out, even if we take just half of what he heard back to him.”

Belle didn’t mind either way;  she was enjoying the simple act of watching their shadows bobble attractively in the flickering, staccato light thrown  by the Tubo Di Tempo as it powered down.

Of course, once Hydious and everyone that matters heard this, a conference quickly convened…

“It’s a no-brainer – with apologies to the Professor, who is all brain.” Cushions bellowed. “I say let’s go for it. Let’s evacuate. And I don’t mean our bowels!”

Shortly, taking what meagre possessions they had managed to pull from the ruins of the museum, the populace of the mud village began to abandon their homes and handiwork…

Some did pause in their flight to regard the quality of the artisanship included in some of the better-made walls and floors…

“Hmmm, very nice.” Former Zombie, Vic, noted. “Someone used a plumb line here – that’s obvious.”

“Good trowel work.” The female biological android behind him observed. “And that solar-powered streetlight is still glowing, despite the leaden skies and dull overcast.”

The museum had always been a busy place, and the regular inhabitants numbered in their hundreds. Therefore, it took a considerable time for everyone to evacuate. Barry Dirtbox, in particular, was having extreme difficulty finding his way out of the village – trapped, as he was, upon his own balcony…

Hair-Trigger had found herself at something of a loose end, so she took herself into the mud village in search of stragglers. Instead, she found the Angel with a Huge Nose. Or perhaps it was the other way around…

“Hair-Trigger,” the previous love interest of Magnuss Earplug said to the current one, “I sense someone’s distress. I’m very busy doing angelic stuff: would you go into the oldest part of the village and seek out some lost soul that, I’m certain, is calling out for help – if not physically, then spiritually?”

Hair-Trigger didn’t need persuading. She was gone in an instant…

Cocking an attractive ear, she listened intently. Silence greeted her tympanic membrane. Moving on, she decided to switch tactics, and use her olfactory senses…

For a moment she felt overwhelmed by the multitude of pongs – both natural and…well only natural actually. There was nothing artificial to smell. Nevertheless, one stench alone stood apart and above all others. It was the smell of fear. The fear of enclosure. She knew it well. Claustrophobia. Someone was locked in and couldn’t get out. So rounding the very next corner, she discovered a public lavatory. Smashing the door in like the professional kick-boxer she had once been, Hair-Trigger uncovered a rather annoyed female End Cap…

“Thank flip for that.” The End Cap said. “Whoever fitted this bloody door didn’t allow for swelling in a moist atmosphere. If I find the builder responsible…well I won’t be responsible for my actions. Thank you, by the way. Ooh, you’re Hair-Trigger Earplug, nee Provost. Wow, what an honour: can I have your autograph?”

  “Not right now.” Hair-Trigger replied with a smile, “You have a space ship to catch.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

More appalling modelwork on display here; but it’s all part of the story’s charm – don’t you think?

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