Old Blog Revisited: You Think Being a Writer is Easy, Huh?

Well then check out this re-write of a re-write of a re-write from a few years past that features just two pages from The Psychic Historian...

rewrite

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Well, Will I Do This Again?

The ‘this’ to which the title refers is writing. Sure the sentences between the photos in my Earplug Adventures is ‘writing’: but it isn’t proper writing. Proper writing is when the author describes the scene. Proper writing is the sort of stuff I used to live for. The sort of stuff I used to dream that (one day) I’d be really good at. The sort of stuff that comprised these four books…

The sort of stuff that looks exactly like this…

An extract from Silent Apocalypse.

Horse knew the way to our destination. Without any input from Driver, he turned across the road. By dawn’s early light we could make out the shape of a service station. Weeds grew through the cracks in the concrete, and rust had rotted the pumps. It had obviously been abandoned long before the plague had struck. Driver pulled us up in front of a plate glass window that had become opaque with dust and grime. The remainder of the building was coated with neglect also, and at some time a graffiti artist had immortalized himself. All in all this was a place that no one in their right mind would give a second glance. It was because of this very reason that the building had been selected. But that was something we were to learn later. An up-and-over door rattled open. Before us stood our man in black or at least someone who looked very much like him. Their isolation suits made each of them indistinguishable. Only body language could tell them apart. He beckoned us from the Crag Bus. I looked at Driver. He nodded.

We disembarked. Taking instructions from our mystery-man, we hurried into the dark recesses of the service station. I turned to watch him return to the Crag Bus. For some reason the acoustics of the building allowed me to catch their conversation. Driver leaned forward to best see the other man:  “Cosgrove, is it?”

The man, whom Driver referred to as Cosgrove (and quite clearly hailing from somewhere in North America), spoke without preamble:  “We’re not exactly packing them like sardines.”

“Can’t help that.” Driver replied flatly.

“It’s not like we have unlimited time…” Cosgrove spoke as though this was a well-worn conversational path.

“P’raps if you made them Whispers of yours easier to understand…” Driver suggested.

“Whispers, is it?” Cosgrove might have been amused if he hadn’t been so worried about something, “That’s a new one. No, we can’t make the message any clearer. We can’t take every urchin we find. We have to be selective – you know that. Only the brightest and the best…”

Driver finished his line for him. Obviously he had heard it many times before: “Only them what can decipher the hidden message. Yeah, I know. Aint too sure I agree with it: we could missin’ an awful lot of good’ uns.”

Cosgrove appeared weary. Perhaps this made him reply snappishly: “You don’t have to agree with it: Just do your job.” Instantly he regretted the outburst, though Driver appeared to take no offence. “I’m sorry, old-timer. Forget that. You’re a brave man. We owe you a hell of a lot.”

“You don’t have to go payin’ me compliments: It aint no bother. You’re the brave  ones so far as I’m concerned: I don’t need one of them isolation suits. But you…if you get just one nick in it…”

He left the suggestion hanging. Obviously it meant death-by-virus. Cosgrove clearly was a brave man.

“Well you’ve brought us another six: That’s six more than yesterday. If I get a little unreasonable once in a while, you’ll forgive, won’t you?”

Driver took up his reigns, “I’ll forgive you anything ‘cept failure.”

Cosgrove gave Driver a long, lazy salute. “I won’t fail. Our future depends upon it.”

Driver gave him a wink. Horse then turned the Crag Bus around, and they disappeared into the dawn mist.

Cosgrove quickly made his way to us – sliding the door closed behind us. Electric lights came on. We were all taken by surprise at the cleanliness of the buildings’ interior.

“Kids.” He said, (I hated the term) “Follow me.”

Without a word from any of us, we followed him to a door, which for all the world resembled an airlock. It hissed open, and we entered behind him. I felt a little trepidation run up my spine as it closed behind us once more. There were two small doors opposite.

“Right,” said Cosgrove, “I’m going to take the left-hand door: You take the right. One at a time, please.”

Then without another word Cosgrove promptly disappeared, as promised, through the left hand door. We all looked at each other. No one seemed eager to take the first step.

Lee put it into words. “Hey, we’ve come this far together: I aint too keen on breaking up our little team.”

“Yeah,” Wayne agreed, “Why should we separate? I say we all go through together.”

‘Is it camaraderie? Or are we just frightened kids who’ve been whistling into the dark for too long?’

We strode to the door as one. Donald pushed a green coloured button, just as he’d observed Cosgrove do. A lock was heard to ‘clonk’ open. He pushed upon the door. It swung silently open upon well-oiled hinges. Inside was a small room, not unlike an elevator. It was just large enough for us to pack ourselves in with a little room to spare. There was yet another door leading to somewhere else. The door through which had entered closed. The ‘clonk’ was heard again. Locked in. I didn’t like it.

“Thank you.” An electronic voice spoke, “Now please remove all of your clothing.”

Everyone erupted with varying degrees of colourful expletives. Unfazed, the voice repeated its instruction. It then added, “Decontamination will begin in one minute.” Now it dawned on us why Cosgrove had wanted us to go through one at a time. Donald tried the door, but there was no green button to press. In fact there were no controls of any kind. This was a one-way door!

“P’raps we could be decontaminated with our clothes on.” Lee said in desperation.

“Perhaps if we hammer on the door.” Katherine suggested.

I looked from one to the other several times. “Which door?”

“Both.” Wayne yelled.

Three to a door, we began hammering upon the hard metal, and shouting at the top of our voices. The electronic voice informed us that we had thirty seconds to prepare. At ten it began a countdown. When it reached zero we heard the now familiar ‘clonk’. Donald dared push at the door. It swung open into the ‘storeroom’, where Cosgrove stood waiting for us. It was difficult to make out his face behind the mask, but his eyes told us that he was not best pleased.

“Now that was a painless lesson about doing what you’re told, when you’re told. Ignore me again, and the next time it’ll be a whole lot less agreeable. Now go through one at a time.” He emphasized this last line. With that he re-entered his own door.

We shuffled about awkwardly for a moment or two. Finally Kevin made a decision, and approached the door.

“Need a bath anyway.” He said as he entered the room. “Bye.”

The door closed on his cheerful wave.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

A rather inactive excerpt, I think you’ll agree; but you can’t expect to have action-action-marvel-mystery-and melancholy at every turn – can you? No, of course not. By the way, this book, and those appearing above, are all available as paperbacks and e-books at Lulu.com; and as e-books at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and many other suppliers.

And to answer my question in the title of this post: God, I hope so!

 

Cricetinae Fictionem – or Something Like That: 24

It has been a significantly vast while since I posted an extract from one of these books…

They are, of course, the legendary Hamster-Sapiens series. And on this occasion I have chosen a random extract from Danglydong Dell Diaries.

Fanangy Panakan had lost neither her great beauty nor her foreign exoticness during the years since she arrived in The Where House from a distant land that was lost in time. She was scrumptiousness personified. She was delectable upon fifteen levels of gorgeousness. Every heterosexual male hamster in the dell that night would have gladly taken her home and placed her upon a pedestal at which they would have worshipped. Only Lionel Flugelhorn knew that she suffered the occasional spot on her bum, and that she farted really badly if she ate celery. But for once in her life it wasn’t her stunning good looks that most of the audience were now giving rapt attention: It was the story that she had to tell. So with the voice of a helium-fuelled angel the lovely Fanangy Panakan spoke…

Noodlesday, the Forty-fourth of Plinth. Boney hadn’t been entirely correct when he’d assumed that the interior of the hangar was going to be warm. Certainly it was warm when compared to the exterior temperature, but Fanangy Panakan’s spectacularly erect nipples told the true story. And the intense moisture of the returning fog was making the whole affair look like a decidedly seedy ‘wet T-shirt’ competition. Had his teeth not been chattering so badly that they interfered with his vision, Boney might even have enjoyed the view, but since Gargantua had discovered the ‘close doors’ button by accidentally sitting upon it, the light levels had dropped below his personal levels of ocular acuity, and he was rendered virtually blind. He could still feel his way about of course, but after tweaking the same nipple three times, the act was beginning to wear annoyingly thin with all three females present.

They had Sergeant Tonks to thank for the brilliant idea of boarding the giant dirigible that floated above them like some sort of bobbing-up-and-downy spectre of doom.

“We can climb up a mooring rope.” She’d first suggested.

“You can.” Boney had grumbled. “I can’t. I’m too old.”

“Me Too.” Gargantua piped up from the darkness. “It’s not that I’m too fluffing old: I just can’t climb. I’m a cavy: Cavies can’t climb. It’s a well-known fact. We’re real ass-wipes at it. And paddling canoes too.”

Fortunately Adjusterming recalled his one and only trip aboard a dirigible, and in doing so saved the day. It had been aboard the airship Dragon Slayer as its crew had attempted a non-stop circumnavigation of Hamster-Britain. Unfortunately one of the propellers had fallen into the sea just off the coast near Chunderland, and the seafront fondant shop that belonged to Henderson Dangerpimple had been utterly destroyed by the mini-tsunami that followed.

“This is fascinating, Mister Boficals.” Colin had politely interrupted, “But how will your pointless reminiscing gain Boney the sanctuary of the vessel above us?”

In response to this Adjusterming had looked down his considerable snout at the android. “The Dragon Slayer had a service elevator.” He sniffed.

And so the problem had been solved.

“Cripes, if it hadn’t been for fog hiding the ground, I’d have been really scared. I might have vomited with fear. Heck – it’s a long way up!” Fanangy said as she peered over the railing and watched Gargantua arrive upon the service elevator, which was actually little more than a square wooden platform with a rope attached to each corner, and which was usually pulled upwards by a squad of burly crane operators. But in the absence of the aforementioned crane operators this particular night the gigantic cavy was forced to endure the stress of being hauled up by his new-found friends, and he wasn’t entirely certain that they possessed sufficient strength and stamina.

Eventually, though, all nine rodents made it to the sanctuary of the warmer air at roof level, and the protection from the fog offered by the passenger gondola. Sweating and gasping, the hamsters and dormice either dropped into chairs or directly to the floor. Only Gargantua was unaffected by any physical effort because he’d basically just sat there and let everyone do all the hauling. But even so he still managed to eject several nervous pellets before he could bring the inner turmoil, caused by his ascension to the gondola, under control, and finally to relax. And, of course, Colin – who was an android who never sweated or gasped; but whose internal power supply had reached critically low levels, which meant that he had to place his higher functions in ‘hibernation mode’ before he lost all sentience.

It was during the release of the fourth cavy missile that an idea formed inside the fertile mind of Lionel. He’d already watched pellets one, two, and three ricochet off a roof support stanchion and tear themselves to fragments, and so merely enjoyed the aesthetics of the spectacular display of excremental destruction. He considered how pretty they looked. But the fourth missed, and duly sailed across the void like an airborne torpedo. It seemed to him that the scene resembled a world in miniature. The fog was a bank of clouds: The turd was a dirigible. The very sight of it brought out the wanderlust in him.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Naturally this book is available at most e-book stockists – including all those mentioned on the sidebar (to the right) or – should you be using a phone or tablet – above, beneath the header. Equally naturally – were you to actually purchase this wondrous tome – you would adore every page. So off you go then.

Junior Earplug Adventures: The Grand Tour (part 64)

Magnuss considered it a fact that when he spoke he spoke for all present and many life-forms scattered across the Galaxy…

“Well first I’d like fiscal security for the Museum of Future Technology until the end of time itself.” He said.

“You got it.” The Supreme Being replied cheerfully.

“I’d also like those slimy Air Heads kicked off Scroton and it’s people freed from subjugation.”

Again the Supreme Being didn’t hesitate…

“There you go.” He said. “They’re a bit bemused; but they’re free.”

Magnuss wasn’t finished: “I’d like the Earplugs who evolved here back where they belong. This is their planet after all.”

For a moment the Supreme Being baulked; but a look from Magnuss made him cave in: “Oh alright. Anything else?”

“Yep.” Magnuss cheered up. “It’s been a long voyage. I’d rather like it if the Chi-Z-Sox and all aboard her were transported back to Earth in no time at all.”

The Supreme Being was clearly relieved by this last demand. “You got it, baby!” He laughed. And in the next moment…

…everyone was back from whence they started the Grand Tour.

“Strike up the band.” Magnuss shouted.

Naturally the museum’s resident soul group, the Trumptations, were close at hand…

“Let’s party!” Magnuss bellowed. “Huh – get down!”

And so they did…

Mandy, Candy, Vic, and Bob even put on a spectacular celebratory farting show…

But there were a few dissenters. Those who couldn’t quite believe their luck…

Earplugs who lived in perpetual fear that good times never last. And they had good reason to feel this way. Because, far out in the depths of space, evil eyes kept watch…

“I’ll be back.” The Wonky Supreme Being promised a disinterested cosmos. “And next time I’ll be wearing a reinforced jock strap!”

The End (until next time)

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

 

Cricetinae Fictionem – or Something Like That: 21

As per usual with this wondrous series, I bring you an excerpt from one of the following Hamster-Sapiens tales…

And today it’s the turn of The Abduction of Wetpatch Wilson!

Divine inspiration didn’t strike Wetpatch very often. In fact he couldn’t recall it ever happening before. But he was in receipt of it now. “Rat Trek!” He blurted.

Roman was mightily impressed with this. “That’s right.” He said with a smile so broad that he resembled a wide-mouthed frog that had been smoking the magic mushrooms of Danglydong Dell. “Mister Horseblanket was well versed in the science fiction genre, and would often utilise the events that took place in episodes of Rat Trek during periods or crisis. And like his hero, Lionel Flugelhorn made the best use of the fertile minds of those far away script writers. He freely admitted in a recent interview on Heathen Radio that without a thorough grounding in sci-fi, he and his friends would surely have perished in one of those frightening scenarios thrown up by the alien artefacts from Area Ninety-nine.”

Wetpatch didn’t know what to say when an auditory vacuum formed during the period that Roman spent trying to re-gather his breath following an ill-advised second extended sentence. So he fell back on old ways. “Yeah? So?” He grunted.

Like some sort of truncheon-wielding biathlete Roman drew in sufficient air to calm his tortured lungs for just long enough to say, “You’re a fan of the show. You have a box set of DVDs. Have you seen an episode that might pertain to our current situation in any way?”

So whilst the young police officer rolled about the carpeted floor gasping for his life, Wetpatch considered the question. It was patently true that science fiction had often pulled Horatio Horseblanket out of the metaphorical shit and probably saved the lives of countless hordes. It was equally true that Lionel Flugelhorn had also utilised his knowledge of the genre for the betterment of his situation on more than one occasion.

Wetpatch had once met Lionel at the grand opening of a rather graceless unicycle ballet, and couldn’t help but be impressed by both his girlfriend, and the copy of Fantabulous Stories that protruded from his back pocket. And he had at least seventeen copies of Horatio’s autograph: So he could see no logical reason why he – Wetpatch Wilson – shouldn’t duplicate the efforts of his illustrious predecessors. So he set to work, and quickly began running titles of Rat Trek: Season One past his inner eye.

Roman was well into his third cup of coffee, and probably his Nth spool of cotton candy, when Wetpatch looked up from the floor where he was ruminating, and waved for his attention.

“I think we shall have to conduct our search using an amalgam of science-fictiony scenarios.” Wetpatch informed the slightly older hamster. “No single tale of the much-loved TV show relates directly to our situation. But I believe that if we behave in much the same way that the helms-hamster, Mister Lulu, did in the second season opener ‘The Death Ray of Dork’, we shall take the first step upon the road that will carry us upon our great crusade to bring stability to The Crustacean Collective.”

“Wonderful.” Roman clasped his paws together in glee. “Good old Mister Lulu, whomever he is. What did he do?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Wasn’t that lovely! It didn’t tell you a bloody thing about the story, I know; but that’s the problem with random excerpts: they’re a bit…you know…random. Also as per usual, this e-book is available via the links on the side bar to your right. If you’re on a tablet it’s probably down the bottom somewhere. But it has to be somewhere. That’s the trouble with tablets; the screen isn’t big enough. On the plus side, my earplug stories look really nice on them though.

Captive Audience

If you are one of those lovely readers who come back time after time, I thank you. There would little point doing this if it weren’t for your presence here. But in becoming those very people I most need, you leave yourselves open to literary abuse. Yes – you are a Captive Audience: and as such you will be subjected to extracts from my books – without warning! Books such as these…

Books that aren’t funny!  And here are two such extracts…

Captive Echo:

Janice found Wozniak floundering around the room in search of something.

“Janice – have you cleaned up in here?” He asked.

She gave him a look that spoke volumes.

“Sorry.” He said, slightly shame-faced. “Of course you have: forgive me.”

Janice felt magnanimous. “Consider yourself forgiven. What are you looking for?”

“Last night Katherine – that’s my Katherine Marcus – brought me a strange flower. Have you seen it?”

“Oh yes – that strange black daisy. I put it into water. It’s in the window – behind the drape.”

But when they both looked in the window they found only a vase containing discoloured water.

“I could have sworn…” Janice began, but quickly dried up.

“Oh, you put it there all right, Janice – I don’t doubt it at all.” Wozniak said – shaking his head – a bitter smile upon his face. “But it’s gone now.”

It took a few seconds for Janice to get her thoughts in order. Then she said, “But I don’t understand: why would whoever took the car, also take the flower? Surely they weren’t connected in any way. Didn’t you say Doctor Marcus gave it to you?”

She then considered her own question. Wozniak was perfectly happy to let her do some thinking: he already had his own theory – and he didn’t want to let on to Janice just yet.

“The connection is Katherine Marcus.” Janice continued, and then abruptly stopped.

Where am I going with this?’ She asked herself.

Wozniak didn’t want to hurry Janice; nevertheless he couldn’t help himself from saying, “And?”

Janice looked him in the eye. “And?” She questioned his spur. “Have you jumped to the end already – and now you’re waiting for me to catch up?”

“I’ve formed a hypothesis, if that’s what you mean.” Wozniak replied. “Go on – ‘and’?”

So Janice continued: “Well, ‘and’ all I can suggest is that Doctor Marcus and the mystery ‘doppelganger’ are, in fact, one and the same. She is playing some huge, weird, ridiculous joke – and you are the victim.”

Wozniak ambled across the spacious room and seated himself at the table. He gave Janice a rueful smile.

“You don’t believe that for a moment.” He stated.

Janice dropped into the seat opposite him.

“Absolutely I don’t: but I can’t think of any other explanation that comes closer to making sense. Well my kind of sense anyway!” Then she looked him in the eye again. “But you can – can’t you? Go on – out with it!”

Wozniak seemed to prevaricate for a moment. He gave a weak smile as he tried half-heartedly to squirm his way out of an explanation. “You’ll think I’m potty.”

“I can only agree or disagree.” She urged.

“No, you can do more than that.” He said – his half-smile fading, “You can lose your respect for me.”

This surprised Janice. “My respect?” She queried. “Why would you worry over such a little thing as that? I’m only your house keeper, you know: not your editor, or whatever it is you call them these days.”

“You’re not ‘only’ anything.” Wozniak came close to sounding annoyed with Janice for the first time. “You’re an intelligent human being whom I happen to respect a great deal. I’d like to think it was reciprocal. And I’d like to keep it that way.”

Janice had been surprised at the disappearance of the car; but it was nothing compared with this outburst. She had always assumed that Wozniak merely tolerated her: but now he calls her by her first name: then seeks her advice as an equal upon a subject in which she has no expertise. And now he talks of respect…

‘But I’m only the woman-who-does’, she told herself.

Something in her look must have transmitted itself to Wozniak because he said, “If I didn’t care what you thought of me, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Don’t take this as an insult, Janice – but you are not a woman of the world. You form your opinions from what you hear in the village, and what you watch on the television. That’s not necessarily a bad thing: I’m not condemning it. Now I have to say that it does give you a narrow perspective. You tend to form your opinions, and stick to them without considering an alternative…”

Janice interrupted. It wasn’t in her nature to simply sit back and listen:

“What’s wrong with sticking to my guns?” She demanded.

Wozniak had expected this. He continued, “If you’re sure that you’re right – then nothing at all. You’d be right to stick to your guns. But that’s my point, Janice: I’ve known you – how long?”

Janice didn’t have to think about the question for long.

“Three months and four days. You owe me back pay for two weeks and four days of that.” She smiled as she spoke the last sentence.

“Right – on both counts.” Wozniak matched her smile. “In those three months and four days I’d like to think that I’ve got to know you pretty well – though it has taken me rather too long to drop the Miss Gale moniker, I confess. My point is – you make up your mind – and that’s that. The thought of altering your opinion doesn’t enter your head. Your life-views are those of your mother. She formed them as a young woman – transferred them to you – and that’s where they’ve stuck. You’re a product of your environment and upbringing.”

Janice went to speak again, but Wozniak held up a hand to stay her lips.

“But a lot of those beliefs were good ones.” He continued, “Morals; good behaviour; and all those sort of things that so many people seem to have forgotten these days: they’re good. More importantly they’re wise: and that’s what you are, Janice. Not knowledgeable. Not even savvy. But wise.”

Janice held up her own hand. “And the point of this back-handed compliment – if that’s what it is?”

“Well I suppose what I’m doing is – priming you for what I’m about to suggest.” He replied.

To Wozniak’s complete surprise Janice stood up abruptly. She scraped her chair backwards – and appeared to be about to leave.

“It’s not sexual intercourse is it?” She asked in alarm.

For a moment – it seemed to Wozniak that – he was looking into the face of a little girl. He had to swallow before he answered.

“No, Janice: it’s not sexual intercourse, or anything remotely connected with it. Jesus Christ almighty, how surreal is this!”

‘‘Now where the hell did she get that idea?’ He thought. ‘Janice you never cease to amaze me.’

Present Imperfect:

Dave Collins lowered himself on to the garden bench beside Judith. The light was poor but she appeared to look comfortingly like she had earlier in the evening. After finding himself in a changed house, and meeting people who were at least ten years too young, she was a rock upon which he could snag his anchor.

Now that Dave had come closer, Judith became aware of a change in him too. She thought back to when she’d first seen him through the dining room window only minutes earlier. Now his clothes appeared to have changed completely.

Where was his jacket? Where had the clip-on tie appeared from?’

For a moment hope soared.

“Dave.” She said urgently, “What’s the date?”

Dave hadn’t expected such a prosaic question. For a moment it threw him.

“I don’t know.” He said after a pause. “I don’t know if it’s the drink, but everything seems screwy. I’m not sure that I’m really here. I think I might be dreaming.”

Judith didn’t really know why she’d invited Dave to join her. Not specifically anyway. She knew that it had something to do with their relationship. Or rather – their lack of a relationship. Quite what she planned to do when he joined her she had no idea. She’d just hoped that inspiration would come to her. But now there appeared to be another facet to a seemingly impossible situation. One that she could not possibly have anticipated.

Digging through her light summer jacket pockets she produced her house keys. Attached to the fob was a small battery-powered light with which she usually illuminated her front door lock when arriving home late at night.

“Sorry about this, Dave.” She said as she turned the narrow beam on to his face.

The light wasn’t bright by any standards, and Dave barely blinked at it shone into his eyes.

What Judith saw in the light should have shocked her. She knew that she should have expected the same Dave Collins that she’d signalled to through the dining room windows only minutes earlier: What she appeared to have sitting there beside her was the same Dave Collins that she had dumped – would dump – ten years in the future.

Now doubts of her sanity resurfaced. She was momentarily speechless. So instead of saying anything she turned the light upon herself.

Dave Collins’ reaction was so obvious that even with the penlight shining in her eyes, Judith could still see the relief written all over his face. And judging by Dave’s subsequent smile, hers must have exhibited a similar emotion.

Switching off the light, Dave said:

“What are we doing here? How did we get here?”

“In the past, you mean?”  Judith felt more comfortable saying the words to someone she knew: someone with whom she could share her horror. Company relieved some of the fear of the unknown. It allowed her to think more clearly.

“Those are very good questions.” She forced a smile. “As regards to getting here – I started walking up Pike’s Lane from the junction opposite the Muck and Bullets in the present day: By the time that I arrived here, I’d shifted ten years into the past. Shit, Dave – Rod’s old car is parked in the drive right now!”

She then stopped to allow Dave to regale her with his own tale. But instead of doing so he said, “But you left with Rod Walker in a taxi: why were you walking back to The Peaks?

Judith didn’t answer immediately. Deep inside she knew why she’d taken the taxi back to The Peaks: She could just as easily have asked the driver to continue into town.

“One last chance, I suppose.” She replied.

Dave gulped audibly. His eyes dropped to Judith’s shapely goose-pimpled legs. “Really?” He managed. Looking up he added, “With me, you mean?”

“Yes, of course I mean you.” She feigned annoyance and slapped at his arm weakly. “Surely you don’t think I fancy Mrs Wilkins’ husband.”

“You get ten out of ten for persistence.” Dave smiled as he took the hand that only moments previous had struck him. He kissed it. “But look where it got you.”

Judith reached up with her free hand, and pulled Dave’s head down towards her face. He didn’t pull back as she lightly kissed his lips. Then their arms were around each other, and the kiss became more urgent. It lasted several long seconds before they slowly disengaged.

“Is this karma?” Judith inquired.

“You mean – was this meant to be?” Dave responded in a way that he could never have imagined before. “Was this the only way that you and I could ever break through

this wall that I’ve built around myself?”

Judith nodded.

“But if that’s the case – who designed it?” He continued. “Who made it possible?”

Judith shook her head. “I don’t know.”

“And now that it’s done,” Dave looked around the garden, and at the fine country residence that it surrounded, “do we go back to our proper era?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

Why Clive Thunderbolt isn’t Like Tooty Nolan

As, no doubt, you are well aware – being discerning (and hopefully regular) readers of this blog – Tooty Nolan is the writer of some very silly tales, be they Hamster-Fiction or Earplug Adventures. His alter-ego, Paul Trevor Nolan, writes family friendly science-fiction. But what about the third member of this story-telling triumvirate – Clive Thunderbolt? How does he differ to the other two? Well the name is vaguely silly, so perhaps he writes comedy. Nope: not intentionally anyway. Well what then? The answer lies beneath these two book covers. Take a look at an excerpt from both of them…

 

Captive Echo.

Wozniak kicked out several more boards that covered the bedroom window. Despite his certainty that he was no longer upon the world of his birth, he still needed some more visual proof. The absence of his estate car was sufficient. There was simply no way anyone could have taken it without his knowing: the alarm system he had fitted to it only two weeks previous was state of the art. The noise it emitted would have raised the dead.

Wozniak understood that the laws of inter-dimensional transference meant that everything Wozniak had brought with him to The Peaks had remained in his reality. All he had to wear outside were the pyjama bottoms he was currently wearing – and they would be of little use because they were of the simple cord fastening design, which left a huge gap in the fabric through which his penis had an habitual tendency to protrude when he walked around – which had amused Janice on more than one occasion. If he tried leaving the house in them, he felt certain that pretty soon he’d be arrested: and he didn’t want his first inter-dimensional trip to result in a charge of indecent exposure!

A quick search – and the bedroom gave up its secrets all too quickly. Every trace of clothing had been removed – along with personal effects. But oddly a radio had been left behind. He switched it on. Silence followed, and remained in situ until Wozniak recognized the problem as a lack of power. Rather belatedly he tried the light switch. As expected there was no response. Taking a deep breath with which he hoped to steel himself, he opened the door beside the light switch and peered out into a dusty corridor. The house, it appeared, was an exact duplicate of his rented accommodation. Even in the dimness caused by the boarded windows, Wozniak had no difficulties negotiation the interior. A few careful steps down the stairway into the hall, and his hands found the small door that opened on to the power breaker. Feeling about in the darkness he pushed all of the levers upward. Immediately he could hear music playing in ‘his’ room, from which a light shone into the landing above.

When he re-entered the bedroom, the music was coming to an end. It was followed by a man who introduced himself as Bob Collet.

“Well fellow Brambledownians,’ Bob said, “Old Bob figured you might be wanting to know what’s going on over at Wycksford today.”

Wozniak’s ears pricked up at the mention of the scientific community. He thought back to the words of Len Peters the night before: surely it was no coincidence that he’d arrived here when it appeared that not all within Wycksford’s garden was rosy.

Collet continued, “Droxfield leader – Kev Winterbottom – has reiterated his demands. That means he’s said ‘em again. Apparently Wycksford Scientific Community must hand over all their hardware – and data pertinent to it – to the Droxfield Militia. Well the stuff that’s less than three years old anyway. If they don’t, he says, he’s gonna let the militia loose on ‘em, and that they’d be sorry that they’d pissed him off. I spoke to the Droxfield Militia boss – that tosspot Nigel Horn – on the ‘phone last night. Here’s a recording of what he had to say.”

Another man, his voice far less rural, spoke. But where Collet’s tone had been warm and possibly rather innocent-sounding; in Horn’s voice there was an edge of threat that was clearly calculated to frighten those listening. His words backed up this impression…

“We aint changed our stance.” He began belligerently. “They got ‘til noon tomorrow, then we go in and take it ourselves. Then, whether they like it not – they’re out. Out on their fucking ears. We’re pullin’ the whole place down. It’s as simple as that. We aint gonna have none of them Scientific Communities anywhere near where we live!”

He then tried to appear more reasonable – hoping to appeal to the listeners as logical, sensible people. Easing back on the belligerence he added:

“I mean – think about it: who’s gonna want dangerous experiments going on in their back yard? No one with more than half a brain, that’s what I reckon. Anyone remember what happened a year ago? Experiments getting out of control, and going haywire, that’s what. For a while everyone thought that the world was coming to an end. I shit my pants, I did – and I don’t mind admitting it. And I bet that I wasn’t alone.”

Wozniak was grimly amused at both men’s verbal style. If only his local radio station spoke so freely…

Collet’s voice interrupted:

“Well that may be true, Nige; but why have you waited until now to make your demands? What was wrong with a year ago?”

“We had to study the situation.” Horn replied – if a little uncertainly. “We didn’t want to go off half-cocked. You can’t go accusing communities of bad stuff without proper proof.”

Collet taxed him further:

“So it had nothing to do with Peter Wozniak defecting to Droxfield, then?”

At the mention of his name, Wozniak turned the volume higher – before dropping on to the bed to listen in comparative comfort.

Horn’s tone hardened once more:

“I don’t like suggestions like that, Collet.” Horn almost growled. “We were studying the situation – like I said. Wozniak didn’t defect: he was always working for us. He knew things were dodgy over there. Well then he put us right; and now we’re gonna do what we have to do.”

“Central Liaison aint gonna be too happy about one community having a go at its neighbour.” Collet – it seemed to Wozniak at least – appeared to be arguing for the majority of sensible people who might be listening. “Have you spoken to ‘em about it? Made a formal complaint?”

“You know we fucking haven’t.”  Horn snapped back. “Central Liaison do just that: they liaise between all the communities of the Federated Shires of England. They don’t tell no one what to do. They aint got no teeth neither. And I’ll tell you something else, Bob Collet: I don’t like your line of questioning, or the tone of your voice. To my way of thinking, you Brambledownians have been pretty chummy with Wycksford for too long. Now wouldn’t it be a crying shame if some clever sod over there started thinking he could poke his nose into our affairs. You’d better tell your listeners this, Collet: if we go in – they’ll be no such thing as a non-com. Any Brambledownians we find there won’t get treated no different from Wycksford types. You’d better believe it. So stick that in your pipe, and smoke it!”

Not really Tooty kind of stuff at all. Check out this…

Present Imperfect

Tom and Peter Wozniak had an uncomfortable walk back from the orchard to the house. Both spent the entire traverse warily looking over their shoulders. Now as they approached the kitchen door they finally began to relax. Something about the sturdily built house made them both feel that it offered some form of sanctuary from the dangers of the world outside.

Wozniak hadn’t spotted his fiancée through the kitchen window so he called her name as he entered the room. His words were met by silence.

Tom followed Wozniak in.

“Probably gone for a pee.” He suggested.

Wozniak wasn’t concerned: his brother’s suggestion was a good one. In fact there were any number of rooms throughout the large edifice in which she would fail to hear his call. Then he stopped short at the sight of Janice’s torn blouse as it lay across the breakfast table. For a moment his heart seemed to stop. Fear welled up inside him like it had never done before. He knew with utter certainty that something terrible had happened to Janice. He searched the large room with his eyes. But it was Tom who bent down to pick up the unclipped bra from beneath one of the chairs.

Not yet aware of the blouse, Tom said:

“Jan taken to letting her baps loose during daylight hours has she?”

Wozniak grabbed up the blouse. He showed it to Tom – who in turn offered up the bra. A look of dread crossed both men’s handsome features.

“Jan!” Wozniak roared.

Tom grabbed him by the shoulders.

“Let’s not jump to conclusions, Pete.” He spoke firmly as his brother tried to shrug off his powerful grip. “Rational head on. Calm down and think: if she’s hurt – where is she likely to go?”

Wozniak’s flicked his eyes this way and that as he fought down the panic that threatened to overwhelm him.

“Oh my God, Tom.” He managed. “I had no idea how much I loved her until this moment. The bathroom: she’d go to the bathroom. Yes, I think that’s what she’d do. She keeps all sorts of stuff in there.”

“En suite or family?” Tom pressed.

“Ah, both.” Wozniak spoke as he turned for the door that led to the stairs. “You take the en suite: I’ll take the family.”

It was Tom who found Janice. As Wozniak had blundered into an empty family bathroom, Tom had entered the bedroom in something of an apologetic manner. He wasn’t entirely convinced that Janice was in any real trouble, and he wanted to avoid the resulting embarrassment to both of them if he caught her changing. He’d knocked politely, waited a couple of seconds, and pushed the door open slowly. His first view as the gap between the door and the doorframe widened was Janice’s bare legs upon the bed. He’d paused, and whispered her name. When she hadn’t replied he pushed it a little farther, and was duly shocked – not by her total nakedness – but by the wheals and bruises that covered her still body.

“Peter.” He yelled in a voice an octave higher than was usual for him. “In here!”

Tom was loath to enter the bedroom that his brother shared with Janice. He was content to stand in the doorway, and watch from there as Wozniak maintained

Janice’s modesty by easing her legs together. He could see by the rise and fall of her chest that she was still alive. But the bite marks upon her breasts, and the presence of an almost colourless liquid spread across her thighs made it clear that she had been subjected to some sort of violent sexual assault.

Wozniak himself listened to her breathing for a moment. Satisfied that she was in no immediate danger he then proceeded to examine the marks upon her body.

“She’s going to be alright, isn’t she?” Tom asked from the door.

“As much as any rape victim can be.” Wozniak replied with an angry undertone.

Wozniak’s anger seemed to tear at his insides, but without a corporeal antagonist upon which to vent it he felt helpless and impotent.

“Shall I call a doctor?” Tom offered.

Wozniak was about to nod, when he paused.

Would Janice wish to see a doctor? Would she want this awful event to become common knowledge? And what would they tell the police in the subsequent investigation?

He needed time to think.

“Hang fire on that, Tom.” He said in the most kindly tone he could summon.

Any further conversation was thwarted as Janice’s eyes flicked open. It took a moment for her to recognise Wozniak, but when she did, a sleepy smile spread across her face.

Wozniak couldn’t recall a time when she had looked more beautiful.

“Howdy, pardner.” He smiled.

Janice remained slightly woozy, but she was able to raise a hand to beckon him closer. Wozniak, thinking that Janice wanted to say something, bent closer. Janice placed her hand upon the back of his neck, and drew him closer still. She then kissed him gently upon the lips. He smiled and returned her kiss.

“What was that for?” He asked quietly.

“Oh I don’t know.” She spoke dreamily. “Just for being you I suppose. You know I’ve just had the strangest dream…”

She stopped when she noticed several scratch marks upon her arm. She climbed further into wakefulness.

“How did I do that?” She inquired in a puzzled tone.

Then she looked down at her body, and total wakefulness returned like the rush of a tidal bore.

“Peter!” She cried out.

“It’s okay.” Wozniak tried to remain calm. “We’re both here with you. You’re safe now.”

“Both?” Janice looked around the room. She spotted Tom in the doorway, and quickly scrabbled together some bed linen to cover her nakedness. Then the pain of her wounds struck her, and she groaned. Beneath the cover she placed her free hand into her groin.

“Peter – what’s happened to me?” She said as her hand came away sticky.

Wozniak found it hard to find the words. In the end all he could do was tell her the truth.

“Jan, I’m sorry, my love, but you’ve been raped.”

A look of horror appeared upon Janice’s face. Heedless of the watching Tom she cast off the covers, and hugged Wozniak with all her strength.

From his vantage point Tom could now see bleeding nail marks upon Janice’s buttocks as she raised herself up in her desperation to hold on to Wozniak. He took two steps into the room, and pointed a wavering finger in the direction of her wounds.

“No.” She sobbed into Wozniak’s neck.

Wozniak could find no words now: the love of his life was attempting to escape into

denial; and he wasn’t about to refuse her that temporary release.

“No.” She repeated herself, but in a more assured voice.

Wozniak released his grip upon her bruised body as she reduced the urgency of her grasp upon him.

“No.” She said for a third time as she released Wozniak entirely; pulled herself away; and re-covered her body with the bed linen. “It wasn’t rape: I was a willing participant.”

Both men were rendered momentarily speechless. Wozniak drew himself upright, and looked down upon the woman who had surprised him so many times him in the past, but never like this.

“It’s like a dream.” Janice explained as she searched her errant memory. “No.” She corrected herself. “More like a fantasy: a wild sex-fantasy. I couldn’t help myself. All I wanted was you. I wanted pure, undiluted, no-holds-barred, sex – and nothing else.”

It took a few seconds for Wozniak’s mind to assimilate this. Then he knew exactly what Janice meant.

“Of course.” He breathed out loudly. “You were subjected to a super-pheromone! But unlike me you received a neat dose – undiluted by the passage of time and the soiled fabric of an old hiking coat.”

Janice began to cry.

“You forgive me, don’t you? Please say you do.”

“Forgive?” Wozniak sat beside her upon the bed, and wrapped her up in the bed linen once more. “There’s nothing to forgive. It wasn’t really you having sex with that …” He couldn’t find a descriptive term.

“Monster?” Tom offered.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

That’s why I choose a different name for different subjects. I wouldn’t want a child reading this sort of stuff. Remember: Tooty Nolan = Funny. Paul Trevor Nolan = Family friendly/YA. Clive Thunderbolt = Darker, more explicit and sometimes violent. A style for a wider range of tastes, I’d like to think.