Wallpaper 343: Interrogated by Aliens

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Wallpaper 342: Window on the Past

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Junior Earplug Adventures: We Stand Accused (Part 15)

And Cushions success was her ability to use the Omnipresent Scanner so efficiently that she discovered Magnuss upon a distant planet in ten seconds flat. So she, everyone in the Museum of Future Technology, and even those in the Galactic Court, watched as Zip Fladgerston dashed back to fetch the golden Magnuss and demand that he follow him into the desert…

“What are you so flipping excited about, Zip?” Magnuss asked reasonably enough. Then he added: “Gosh, it’s hot here: no wonder you took your silver suit off. It’s a pity that you didn’t have any underpants on underneath it though.”

But when he saw what Zip had seen earlier, he completely forgot all about the sight of the cable end’s bum, because he could barely believe his sodding eyes.

“It, it, ” he stammered, “looks like a small oasis town. A rather more significant observation though is that it appears to be populated by beings much like yourself!”

And Magnuss’s observation was entirely accurate…

But then surprise turned to something analogous to horror when…

…a team that Magnuss recognised as a Security Squad arrived. It was only a tiny oasis town, so it was relatively easy to enter the town from both ends at the same time…

Magnuss and Zip stood aghast as some of the townsfolk tried hiding in the woods…

And others dashed off into the desert…

But the Security Squad were efficient and remorseless in their pursuit…

…and very quickly they began rounding up their quarry…

“Gotcha!” The Squad Leader with a blue cranium roared with boastful delight.

“But why?” His captives voiced their fears. “What possible reason would you have for rounding up all us yellow desert folks?”

“Security Squad members don’t grow on trees, ya know.” The Squad Leader answered. “Only yellow cable ends are any good at it. So, every once in a while we go on a recruiting drive. You’ll be taken back to the city and conscripted into the security forces. You won’t like it initially, but before long the indoctrination process will have you loving every minute of it. Who knows, maybe next year you’ll be rounding up your brothers and sisters just like we’re rounding up you right now.”

But some were smarter than others; right under the Squad Leader’s olfactory array, they took off across the pitched roofs…

Naturally the Security Squad went in pursuit…

But they didn’t know the back streets like the locals did, and before long three desert folk managed to place some distance between themselves and their pursuers…

Or, to put it another way, they got away. But they needed somewhere to hole up until night fall. And they found it…

…in a hole in an ancient building’s wall; though they did experience difficulty squeezing through it…

But when they did…

…they were amazed to discover catacombs even more ancient that must have dated back to the Year One.

To be continued…

© Paul Trevor Nolan

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Junior Earplug Adventures: We Stand Accused (Part 14)

The Red Alert came as a response to something that had happened earlier. Cushions Smethwyke had been discussing some incredibly important curator’s stuff with some fellow curators in the Great Hall…

…when they were suddenly interrupted by a mob of angry earplugs…

“You have to do something about those poor lost museum customers on Mars.” The mob’s spokesplug and fellow curator, Widerspoon Flange demanded. “You are morally and legally obliged to mount a rescue mission.”

Cushions was horrified: she had no means of keeping up her part of the bargain entered into when a customer buys a ticket that allows them entry into the museum.

“But Space Ship Number Fifteen is no more; the K T Woo is far away in deep space; and the Mars Shuttle hasn’t returned yet.” She complained. “I don’t know how. Do you, Pretty-Boy Plankton?”

“Er, no.” The multi-hued former hood replied. “But I guess you could try the Omnipresent Scanner to find them, and then maybe contact Magnuss Earplug, wherever he is, and maybe ask him to help out. He is a saint, after all.”

“Great idea.” A relieved Cushions replied as she quickly adjusted Pretty-Boy’s plan into something more practical. “Let’s make that official. Go to Crimson Alert. I’ll warm up the Scanner: you call the Earplug Brothers.”

So, whilst Cushions did this…

…Widderspoon met with no success whatsoever contacting the heroic siblings, because Rudi and Valentine were riding the travelator as they passed the timber yard en route to Auntie Doris’s house for a cup of tea and a slice of  lemon drizzle cake…

And Chester and Miles were somewhere…

…arguing the merit – or demerit – of another Anton Twerp work, this time entitled The Mint Sauce Rocket. So it proved impossible for them to make telepathic contact with their talented brother. But although Widderspoon scored zip with his task, Cushions was more successful…

To be continued.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017

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Tea Dust Art: The Mission Takes a Direct Hit

The funny thing about tea dust art is that it usually produces hills and mountains, and quite often explosions too – most commonly World War One type explosions where huge gouts of soil are flung into the air. This shot is the opposite. The church-like building appeared in the tea dust, with a section of wall apparently torn away. So it seemed natural to add the explosion…

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Junior Earplug Adventures: We Stand Accused (Part 13)

Then, without warning, or any previous experience of the phenomenon, Billious has a premonition of doom…

“Holy heck,” he yelled, “someone’s about to do something potentially disastrous!”

Little did anyone on the surface of Mars know, but deep beneath, in the ancient sunken citadel of the Martian civilisation that had been destroyed thousands of years previous by an unexpected and cataclysmic ignition of a global methane cloud following the annual World Farting Contest, the current Martian’s robotic servants were experimenting with their power generator…

Unfortunately a young apprentice, who had only recently been constructed, and whose programming hadn’t been triple-checked, accidentally turned the dial up to eleven, and something happened that didn’t tally with scientific dogma and theory, and totally failed to match their expectations…

The result was a power outage, and the cessation of the homing beacon that all the walking customers required to guide them through the storm to the museum. And the result of the result was…

…a sense of uncertainty in the minds of Kraken, Narlden, and Billious. This sense of uncertainty grew into a sense of bad-tempered grumpiness as they discovered that their other sense – that being their sense of direction – had deserted them…

“I’m feeling really fed up.” Kraken complained. “Getting lost on cold, inhospitable worlds is really boring.”

Narlden couldn’t agree more: “I couldn’t agree more.” He agreed. “In addition I would like to…ah...add that I find this episode with the homing beacon failure reprehensible on at least fifteen levels of reprehensibility.”

“I’m gonna write to my Member of Parliament.” Billious informed the others. “And, boy, am I gonna use some really strong language. Assuming that we survive this, of course.”

But, as the minutes dragged by, those inside the Future Museum of Mars…

…began to worry. The sole curator, Frisby Mumph, stood atop a watch tower with the replacement for his assistant, Badgerlilly, who was none other that former K T Woo bridge crewperson, Lilly Whitewater…

Asked why he’d chosen Lilly to replace Badgerlilly, who had elected to become a free-plunging pot holer, Frisby had replied: “Coz I like the name Lilly, and she came with her own pressure suit.”

But despite the high elevation of the tower, he couldn’t see the missing trio…

…as they struggled on even though darkness began to fall.

Far away, in the residential area of the Museum of Future Technology, viewers of night-time TV were better informed as the Galactic Court overrode normal television transmissions…

In that same court, the defendant, Throgennis Frote, fought mightily to retain his composure…

…especially as yet another accuser…

…noted that the museum had gone to…

…Red Alert.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017

 

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Junior Earplug Adventures: We Stand Accused (Part 12)

Then, as the wan light of a distant sun illuminated the shuttle…

…it’s pilot adopted a nose-down position to begin his approach to the planet. It was at this moment that the passengers discovered the changed face of  the former Red Planet…

“Flipping heck.” One of them bellowed as he stared with incredulity through his porthole. “I didn’t expect this!”

He then added: “I wish to register a complaint. No one told me to pack either my snow shoes or my thermal underpants!”

Surprise in space can do strange things to silicon life-forms. So, naturally, a shouting match erupted. Many earplugs told other earplugs to…

“Shut thy face, thee spawny wassack!” And “I’ll punch you right up the throat if you don’t shut your stupid great gob!”

Since the transformation of Mars into an ice planet, the Shuttle Conductor had seen it all before. He merely stood to one side with a vaguely bemused look upon his face…

Other passengers were actually quite pleased with the altered situation on Mars…

…because some of them loved watching biathlon and ski jumping on TV, and now they might get the chance to try it for themselves in a lower gravity environment.

By the time everyone had calmed down, the shuttle was streaking across the upper atmosphere…

A short while later the reversing thrusters blasted like a bunch of loonies…

…and before long everyone became aware that they had landed a short distance from…

…the Future Museum of Mars.

“Sorry everyone,” the Conductor said with an apologetic tone in his voice, “but the docking ring is iced up. You’ll have to walk the final kilometre to the museum. But don’t worry, the air is now breathable, and if you run at a gentle pace, you’ll keep nice and toastie warm. Just don’t run like heck and build up a sweat: you’ll freeze to death before you get half way there.”

Several didn’t like the odds, and chose to return to Earth. But others decided to take a chance…

…but they weren’t entirely sure it had been a sensible choice. And others, who had brought wooly scarves in their hand luggage…

…positively enjoyed themselves. Of course Billious, Kraken, and Narlden fell somewhere between the two extremes…

But when the snow began to fall again, Billious considered voicing his doubts…

© Paul Trevor Nolan

 

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