Tag Archives: comedy

Junior Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars (part five)

Soon both Mars Shuttles had disgorged their loads and set metaphorical sail for Earth – leaving behind them a milling mass of silicon life forms…

Frisby – quickly realising that the dull light of the Martian sky was permeating the museum’s shell with its depressing lustre – decided to switch on the artificial lighting. He selected the blue of Earth…

“Well it’s not like its going to raise the electricity bill.” He explained to Tangerine. “We have a nul-space generator. Power isn’t a problem.”

Soon guests were swarming all over the museum – despite the fact that it still held no exhibits, or seemed likely too in the short-term…

“Don’t you just love this lower gravity on Mars?” Sir Dodger inquired of an attractive female guest on one of the main walkways. “I do believe I feel thirty years younger – if you catch my drift.”

“Oh I do, Sir Dodger.” She replied. “When my elastic snapped just now, my pants refused to fall down. I was very grateful to be here, and not Saturn or one of those large planets.”

“Oh, absolutely.” Sir Dodger sympathised. “I’d hate to think what might have happened on one of those gas giants. I’ve heard their moons are very pleasant though.”

Several months earlier  the Museum of Future Technology had dispatched a team of engineers to assist the native Martians – or ‘Muffins’ as they preferred to be known – with their attempts to resurrect thier  civilisation. They were easily identified by their orange colouring. Although most were on assignment upon the plains, others remained inside the museum. Some of them were delighted to see an influx of new people…

But they were not always best pleased when the aforementioned ‘new people’ brought their bad habits along with them…

But at least the engineers weren’t expected to guide them when they became hopelessly lost in the vast edifice…

There were just so many levels…

…that guests quickly tired and had to be taken to the dispensary for a pick-me-up. But other engineers managed to find fault with certain guests who failed to read the signage properly…

“What?” They would cry in despair. “You did what in the Tinkle Point? Don’t you realise the problems you’ve caused? It’s gonna take a team of eight to unblock this properly.” And: “No, Tinkle Point does not mean Toilet: it’s Martian for urinal!”

But out upon the Martian plains, engineers who lived in temporary shelters began to grow nervous…

There was a decidedly nippy breeze blowing in from both poles…

…and one or two of the gangs wondered if they should think about packing their haversacks and head back to the museum.

But new arrivals were unaware of the subtle shifts in the climate. They were just so glad to be able to get outside and experience the real Mars. People like the Museum of Future Technology’s sewerage workers union representatives who were enjoying a hiking holiday paid for by their union member’s union dues…

And former M.O.F.T visitors, Las Chicas De La Playas…

…who were fans of El Custardo y Los Natillas, and who believed with all their hearts that it was possible to get a tan from the Martian sun.

And amongst the shuttles manifest a small mineral prospecting company had dispatched representatives to discover what mineral wealth Mars still possessed…

 

But, perhaps, the most striking passenger, and therefore museum customer, was a property developer who had fallen foul of the  authorities on his home world, so pulled up his roots; put on his hard hat; and now sought to make his fortune at the expense of the natives of a different world entirely…

He was an Ethernet Cable End, and his home world was none other than Scroton!

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

Junior Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars (part four)

Naturally it took a while for the transfer buggy to deliver the customers to the reception point inside the museum. It gave Frisby just enough time to persuade Charles De Glop to join himself, Lillie, and Tangerine in welcoming them…

Already they had fixed their smiles, and it wasn’t long before they could hear the hissing and grinding of the airlock as it allowed ingress to the travellers…

…one of which almost tripped on the ageing red carpet that wouldn’t lay flat.

“They’re almost here.” Frisby said quietly to Lillie. “You can do it. Just move a little closer to the door.”

“Okay.” Lillie replied in a tiny voice that belied her real capabilities.

Frisby could never forget that his assistant had seen real space combat experience. She had done things that most earplugs couldn’t even dream of. He was also aware that she had her frailties – perhaps as a result of those experiences. “Have you remembered to put your space knickers on this morning?” He inquired.

But it was too late for Lillie to reply: the first of their quests had arrived…

“Hello everyone.” Lillie began her welcoming speech. “We’re ever so pleased that you’ve managed to cross the vacuum of interplanetary space without suffocating or anything like that.”

But no one was listening: they’d spotted Tangerine…

…and, as anyone who knows anything about the history of the Museum of Future Technology, futuristic robots are often looked upon as potential threats and considered very scary indeed!

“Don’t worry about Tangerine.” William of Porridge spoke to the huge cork standing beside him. “He’s one of the good guys. He’s been with Frisby Mumph since the Future Museum of Mars was sent back in time from the future. He has no  ulterior plans for domination or anything.”

Lillie picked up on this. “That’s right.” She almost squealed with delight. “Tangerine is just a big cuddly lovey-dovey!”

“Well said, Lillie.” Frisby whispered to her. “You have great improvisational skills. Have you ever considered un-scripted stand-up comedy? I think you’d be wonderful at it.”

Lillie was too embarrassed to reply; so it was a timely moment that M.O.F.T curator, Sir Dodger Muir, chose to introduce himself…

“My, what a charming greeting.” He said in his beautifully cultured thespian voice. “I’m Sir Dodger Muir, by the way. I’m here to see how things are getting along. You can call me Dodge.”

Lillie was too young, and originated upon a distant world, so she didn’t have a clue regarding the famous Sir Dodger: but his demeanour and the tonal qualities of his aged, but still powerful voice made her knees tremble. And even Charles De Glop seemed pleased to meet the former matinee idol and TV thriller star…

“Great….Dodge.” Frisby said with a stupid smile upon his face. “No doubt you have a master key to the museum; make yourself at home.

By now others were beginning to crowd the narrow entrance…

“Indeed I have.” Sir Dodger replied. “I also have a full set of new artificial knees, so I’m not slow and creaky like I once was. As a result I like to show off a bit. How would you like me to show your guests to their quarters? I’m sure William of Porridge wouldn’t mind.”

“Thank you…ah…Dodge.” William spoke from amongst the group. “That’ll give me more time to stow everyone’s luggage properly.”

“Jolly good.” Sir Dodger replied, then had a thought: “Oh there’s one more thing: I don’t know if you’re in the know; but a second shuttle took off just after us…

…It should be landing any time now.”

And so it came to be. Once more the welcoming committee took up their positions – this time facing the eastern entry point…

“You know, Mister Mumph,” Lillie said as she composed herself following Sir Dodger’s departure, “I’m rather enjoying this. It’s so much more rewarding than raising defensive electro-magnetic screens, making evasive manoeuvres, and firing proton torpedoes.”

Then it was on with the task at hand: the airlock had opened again…

But it wasn’t the sight of some uncertain and hesitant customers that that made the museum staff smile…

It was the arrival of Frisby’s favourite mariachi band…

…El Custardo y Los Natillas!

Now, for the first time, Frisby Mumph was glad to have paying guests. He just prayed that William of Porridge didn’t damage either their guitars or their trumpets. He adored ethnic Latino music!

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Junior Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars (part three)

Meanwhile, upon Mars, the brief cold Summer was coming to a close. As is usual for the planet, Autumn was certain to be skipped, and the world would soon be plunged into a long, stunningly ultra-arctic winter. But, for the moment, the temperature at the equator hovered at zero degrees…

Inside the communications room of the Future Museum of Mars, its sole curator – Frisby Mumph – received an anticipated call from the Museum of Future Technology…

…informing him that more paying guests were en route from Earth aboard a Mars Shuttle.

His assistant, former bridge crew member of the K T Woo – Lillie Whitewater – was quietly going about her work in the hydroponics bay, where she experimented with Earth plants and Martian chemicals…

As usual she was disappointed with developments.

“Oh bum.” She snarled daintily. “Nada. I knew Frisby was wrong when he said that I needed neither air nor water. Next time I’ll listen to my inner voice.”

Frisby’s other assistant – that being the robot named Tangerine…

…was making its ’rounds’ – searching for leaks, blockages, and other annoying structural abnormalities.

“Check.” It would say. “Check. Lovely.”

And in the subterranean storage facility, the giant cork – William of Porridge – was making sure that he had sufficient room for their in-coming guest’s luggage…

“Hmm,” he muttered to himself, “might have to open up Bays Eight and Nine. One can never be too careful. Don’t want to get pinched for space. Best to avoid a panic. Yes, I’ll open Bays Eight and Nine. Oh yes; and I’ll keep Bay Ten as an over-spill area.”

Shortly, the radio message completed, Frisby turned away from the panel…

“A second Mars Shuttle is due as well. Oh, that’s going to stretch us thin. Guess it’s all those thrill seekers – hoping to catch the beginning of our murderous Winter, and hoping they’ll have a tale or two to tell for their friends, work colleagues, loved ones, and anyone who will listen to them yammer on incessantly about how they almost got frost bite and how parts could have fallen off, but actually didn’t.  If I’m honest with myself, I’m not really cut out for this touristy stuff: I liked it when I was terraforming a dead world. It was a worthwhile job that I enjoyed. Now it’s all…oh I don’t know…different. In a way I’m quite grateful for these mini ice-ages: it keeps the riff-raff out.”

But he’d managed to pull on his smiley face by the time he encountered Tangerine…

“A second shuttle, Sir?” A surprised robot responded to the news. “Methinks the Museum of Future Technology is running short of funds: they wouldn’t normally pack in two vessels this late in the Martian year. Have you had words with Cushions Smethwyke upon the subject?”

“I have, Tange.” Frisby replied cheerfully. “I told her where to shove the third shuttle. I think she took my displeasure on-board.”

Lillie – ever the professional – had listened in on the inter-museum com-chat, so had already been apprised of the situation. She decided to go do something else. Origami sounded quite appealing…

And in the storage bay, William of Porridge had similar thoughts. But he was more realistic…

“Oh, I suppose I’ll have to play the role of of doorman again.” He said with a sigh. “How very tedious. Perhaps I’d better visit the lavatory first: as much as I detest our guests, I don’t want to offend them with violent gaseous outpourings.”

It was about this time that Frisby encountered Lillie upon her balcony…

“Good news, Lillie.” He said without preamble, “You’re promoted to the role of Welcome Plug. It’ll mean a raise of pay and the key to the executive toilet. Starting today – with the very next shuttle in!”

Lillie didn’t know what to say. She’d paid her way out of the Worstworld military because she didn’t like responsibility: now she was going to have to smile and say meaningful things to complete strangers.

“Crumbs.” She managed. “What an honour.”

Then it was on the Charles De Glop – the museum’s chef…

“Hey, Chuck, baby.” Frisby cried out as he entered the super-futuristic kitchen from the…ah…future…

…”you’re going to need a bigger ladle.”

Charles De Glop was a fastidious chef: he didn’t like non-gastronomes in his facility. He didn’t much like Frisby either. He hated the smell than often escaped from his superior’s ancient (and superfluous) pressure suit…

“Impossible!” He snapped. “I do not have the herbs I need. Lillie has failed to supply me any from her hydroponics bay. And I will not open a single can of baked beans.  It is beneath me. I would rather perish on an open plain!”

“I wouldn’t ask you to.” Frisby replied. “But whatever you do decide on, make up your mind: I can feel a ship landing upon the landing mound as we speak.”

And he was right too.  Mars Shuttle One had landed…

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

 

 

Revel in the Ribaldry 24

It’s  no good; when it comes to selecting which book supplies the next extract, I’ve completely lost the plot. But, rather than adopting my default position, which always results in me choosing The Psychic Historian, this time I’m going to plump for this slightly underrated e-book…

Okay – VERY underrated e-book. Maybe this extract, whatever it is (because its always random), will make people think again. Let’s hope so: I worked hard on this (all those years ago) and I really would like to sell a few copies.

“You miserable failure.” Wetpatch thought he heard someone say as he rematerialized beneath the emergency raffia mat.

“I’m no such thing.” He responded in his most indignant tone, which was very indignant indeed because he’d been studying Indignancy as part of the school curriculum, and had been practising upon the village green with his pal Algy Piecrust for weeks.

“Oh Wetpatch.” Amy squealed with delight as she whipped back the covering, and then quickly averted her eyes in case time travel did nasty things to people, “You’re back!”

Immediately everyone began fussing around the young hamster – asking all sorts of questions, and checking to see if he retained most of his more obvious body parts.

Naturally, after learning from Desmond that time travel can sometimes be disorientating, and can often lead people to hear things that weren’t actually said, and were usually the product of their sub-conscious, Wetpatch made his report.

Everyone was delighted, though slightly appalled by the news that both the crew and passengers were due for a pasting by the volcano’s shockwave, and that vomiting would be commonplace.

Desmond was particularly thrilled that Tutu would be safe, and was probably half way to Chunderland by now: But was slightly disconcerted when Wetpatch informed him that Tutu was a brilliant navigator, and that the lanky creature possessed a natural flair for the science, and could actually wipe his bottom with the bathroom light off.

So now, it seemed, it was just a matter of trying to survive the shockwave when it hit. And Wetpatch knew exactly where he intended to ride it out…

After securing Kevin to the wall with a pair of extremely large bolts and a length of braid from the lounge drapes, Wetpatch settled himself into a harness that swung lazily from a spring that was attached to the ceiling.

“It won’t matter how much the ship bucks about.” The youngster informed the education computer, “I’ll be cushioned from its effects by this. Of course I’ll probably empty my stomach all over the place, but I’ll remain fundamentally unharmed.”

Kevin, despite being a machine, was less than enthralled at the thought of being puked over.

“Hey, dumb-ass hamster,” it spoke as eloquently as it could, “How’s about stuffing me in a cupboard or up the extractor fan? I can’t stand no thoughts of messy stuff getting in my innards. What you wanna have me ‘round for anyways?”

Actually Wetpatch had a very good reason for having Kevin around when the shockwave hit. Amongst its many talents, Kevin could double as a DVD player, and it just so happened that during the rapid descent into the deeps, several box sets of Rat Trek had fallen from the hold of the Disemboweller into the Bargebutt, and Wetpatch had collected them, cleaned all the filth and bodily wastes from them, and now intended to spend his time on a sci-fi fest to end all sci-fi fests: Hour upon endless hour of Rat Trek re-runs – with popcorn. He simply couldn’t wait

“It’ll take my mind off my recalcitrant balance mechanism.” He explained after Kevin demanded an explanation for the inclusion of audio-visual stimulation during a period of extreme physical and mental stress. “And if I position a mirror on the opposite wall – you can watch too!”

And so it came to pass. Almost exactly three hours, sixty-two minutes, and ninety seconds later, the S.S Bargebutt found itself in the grasp of an invisible monster. Joints creaked, bulkheads bristled, and transfer hoses wobbled horrendously as the vessel was dragged across a sizable portion of the globe by the racing volcanic shockwave. Up became down, left became right, and somewhere in the middle seemed like it might end up on the outside. All in all the mighty sub was tested far beyond its builder’s design expectations, and was not found wanting. Regrettably the same couldn’t quite be said of its crew however. As promised by the earlier form of Tutu – vomiting abounded, and a great gnashing of teeth could be heard throughout its endless corridors. Recriminations were commonplace, and many a rodent said things that they feared they might later regret.

In his cabin, Wetpatch was riding the storm quite well. Although he was bouncing around the room on the end of his spring like an expiring house fly, his brain remained active, and his stomach surprisingly calm.

Kevin was doing less well. The two bolts turned out to be made of inferior shit-metal, and the braid had been manufactured in a country where quantity was generally preferred over quality, and had duly snapped at the first serious tug. The education computer now lay in the corner with both its display unit and solitary ‘eye’ camera facing the ceiling. Its tracked wheels spun helplessly, and oil was leaking from places that Wetpatch never imagined Kevin possessed. But like the obedient automaton that it was, Kevin continued to play Rat Trek, Episode Seven of Season One, ‘With Winter Comes a Nose Warmer’. And Wetpatch was doing his best to watch it even though Kevin couldn’t help itself from rolling from side to side as the vessel bucked and weaved like a conquistador’s cavy.

It was just as (on screen) Mister Splatt had finished explaining some complicated science stuff to an uncomprehending Captain Perp that a thought suddenly intruded upon Wetpatch’s enjoyment of the action adventure television show.

“Hang on a minute.” The adolescent hamster cried out over the general cacophony made by a ship that was being pounded to within microns of tolerance, “That can’t be right!”

And he wasn’t talking about Mister Splatt’s pseudo-science either. But it was to be another hour before the storm had passed, and he could put his resulting inspirational theory to Professor Desmond…

“Fluff and bollocks!” The wild-furred scientist bellowed moments after listening with great intensity to Wetpatch’s worrying tale and his most recently posited theorem.

“Fluff and bollocks?” Inquired Sally as she strode into the control room, paw in paw with Mister Ho, and with Amy in tow. “It’s not like you to swear gratuitously.”

Desmond apologised and then explained exactly what it was that had brought out the beast in him.

“I don’t think that Tutu was really Tutu.” He began, which confused the heck out of all three listening hamsters.

“What Professor Squealch means is…” Wetpatch decided to explain upon Desmond’s behalf, “…due to some unexplained interference from either the high pressures experienced in the depths. Or possibly somebody using an illegal cell ‘phone. Or perhaps electromagnetic activity from deep within the planet’s crust – his time machine didn’t send me back to the right time and place.”

“But…” Sally began; but she quickly realised that she knew next to nothing about temporal translocation, and duly shut her gob.

“But…” Amy tried more successfully, “…if it wasn’t the proper Tutu, in the proper place, at the proper time: Who was he, where was he, and when?”

The question had been succinctly put, and Roman, who had been snoozing beneath a pile of laundry, openly applauded her before joining the group.

“We think,” Wetpatch continued, “that I was diverted through a sub-atomic maelstrom into an alternative dimension in which everything appeared to be exactly the same as this one. But we can’t be sure that it actually was the same – so now Professor Squealch is all worried about Tutu again. He thinks he might be dead!”

“Fluff and bollocks!” Ho verbally ejaculated. “Some real bad shit!”

Indeed it was ‘some real bad shit’. “If our conjecture transpires to be proven,” Desmond came close to wailing, “then we can’t even be certain that Wetpatch is the same Wetpatch that we sent through time. And he can’t be certain that we’re the same bunch of miserable rodents who sent him. Oh this is unbearable: I’ve never felt more out of my depth – even when compared to that time when I went potholing with Tutu and Horatio Horseblanket, and there was a cave-in, and the river began rising, and we had to grasp the tunnel roof with our incisors, and converse through our nostrils!”

For several moments the situation looked extremely grim. Then Wetpatch had an idea…

“Send me back again.” He suggested chirpily, “Only this time I’ll take a camera. We can check the resulting photos for anomalies after I get back.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Well what a load of sci-fi cliches and quasi-scientific bollocks that was. But it was fun too, wasn’t it? Unbelievably this book is still for sale at most e-book retailers. They don’t give up, do they! And neither should you. Visit the sidebar or Tooty’s Books Available Here beneath the header, and buy it now. Like straight away. Immediately. This instant. You know it’ll be little money spent well. Bargain of the week.

 

Tooty the Chef Eats His Hat (part 2)

And now for the concluding episode…

Although daringly bare-buttocked, our favourite chef quickly re-stocked the frying pan with oil, heated it, and tipped in the shaved potato…

At this point he was so sure of success that he moved aside to allow the camera to witness the cooking of the shaved potato…

…which actually proved far more difficult than he had imagined. Being thin and starchy, the spud shavings stuck to each other like procreating foxes: they just didn’t seem able to let go. So some were barely cooked, whilst others were browned to within microns of destruction.

It was at this juncture that doubts began to make themselves unwelcome. Especially so when he added the ingredients to the egg mix – which needed the addition of a further two eggs…

So it was with waning confidence that Tooty the Chef took up his flipping tool…

Gonna need another frying pan, Chef. I think he realised that. But, not entirely blind to the inevitable, he carried on…

And for a few minutes all appeared well. But that omelette looked awfully thick and disturbingly runny. In such a tiny frying pan his flipping tool was utterly useless. So, being an adaptive kinda guy, Tooty the Chef decided to up-end the omelette into a second frying pan – thereby cooking both sides equally. Genius – or what? But…

…he wasn’t desperately good at it, and when the sloppy mess fell from one pan into the other, it folded and broke in the middle. So he had to beat it reasonably flat with his flipping tool…

This enraged him greatly…

Following a further two attempts, the omelette was sufficiently cooked to remain in one piece and to flip correctly. This brought him great joy…

…and demonstrated his remarkable acting skills. But despite this, the centre  remained uncooked. The omelette looked fine until it was pressed, when, disturbingly ghastly coloured goo and lumps of half-cooked vegetable leaked out in various directions in a most emetic manner… 

It was beginning to look a lot like shit…

And it didn’t smell too clever either. So Tooty the Chef did what any self-respecting cook would do. No, he didn’t chuck in the bin: he’d promised his Son ‘something omeletty’ and ‘something omeletty’ he would get. So, in a desperate effort to cook the centre, he re-used the second frying pan and chopped the omelette in two – then, ultimately, four…

But still the centre-goo refused to play ball. So Chef cast off his apron; put aside his regular sugar-free Sprite; and took to the Moscato…

When he’d recovered his decorum, the omelette looked like this…

Here you see it placed beside his dog’s dinner. Can you tell which is which. Also, it transpired, there was insufficient to feed three people. So poor Tooty the Chef was reduced to eating his hat…

So he never got to find out what it tasted like. But, 24 hours later, neither off-spring had been admitted to hospital, so perhaps it wasn’t quite as bad as it looked.

 

 

Tooty the Chef Eats His Hat (part 1)

Recipes don’t always go to plan. We all know that. Of course Tooty the Chef doesn’t even have a plan, so it’s odds-on that eventually he will crash and burn – at least in a culinery sense. This is the story of his first total gastronomic cock-up. And it all started so promisingly – when his Son suggested something ‘omeletty’ – to use up the eggs. Unfortunately he also suggested using potatoes. But even then, had the wonder chef possessed a wide-enough frying pan, maybe it could have worked. Let’s see how it went, huh?

Initially Tooty the Chef was pleased as punch to find a use for his ageing eggs…

But he wasn ‘t quite so sure about wasting some nice fresh bacon on an experimental meal…

And when he was presented with tubs of strange stuff intended for North African style meals his uncertainty increased to alarming levels…

But never one to stand around pissing about, he set to work on some spuds – shaving them into…ah…potato shavings…

Other veggies would be required, so he tried on this charming comedy nose…

…but decided to dice the pepper instead, and added it to the pile that included some onion…

Then, of course, we had the inevitable rigmarole of removing the ‘nasty fatty bits’ from the bacon…

I don’t know why he can’t get a grip: a little fat isn’t going to cause instantaneous rigor mortis. Anyway, on with the cookery. In order to make the eggs nice, Tooty the Chef added some black pepper and oregano. See how he carefully measures it into the palm of his slender artiste’s hands. Ever the professional – even when he doesn’t really know what he’s doing…

Then it was time to tip it into the eggs…

…and annihilate it with this wonderfully tactile whisk…

What – you thought he’s use a rotary whisk? Or perhaps an electric one? Shame on you: this is Tooty the Chef we’re talking about here!

Well having done the deed, it was time for the usual…

Yep, extra virgin olive oil. Only the best for Tooty the Chef. Then the moment came to hurl in the pre-chopped bacon. Oh yes, did I mention that? When he sliced off all the nasty fatty bits, he also chopped the bacon up into smaller (but not very small) bits…

Then, having given it a very quick fry, he separately did likewise with the onion and the peppers…

Attention to detail: that’s the thing. Talking of which: please note that the good chef isn’t slacking in the apparel department either. It may be January; but he’s still cooking sans lingerie

Which is where we must leave the great chef for now – wearing yet another Waitrose apron (that he found in the attic) and with his bum showing. Come back later for part two of Tooty the Chef Eats His Hat. You won’t be disappointed. Well you might; but your level of disappointment will fall well short of Tooty the Chef’s!

Tooty the Shame-Faced Chef

Oh dear, look at Tooty the Chef…

Doesn’t he look sorry for himself? What could he have done to cause such shame-faceness? Shame-faceness? Is that a real word? It doesn’t look right. But then that’s the beauty of the English language: you can say or write something that’s completely wrong, but people still know exactly what you mean. But I digress: back to the shame-faced chef. Look what he created recently…

Doesn’t it look yummy? It even featured red cabbage and lemon sauce. I mean, by God, it must have been some wonder recipe! But there’s the point of his misery. He was so busy in the Attic Studio (fabricating some interiors of the re-fitted Gravity Whelk for the ‘Haunted Mars‘ photo-novel) that he didn’t realise how late it was. So he had no time or inclination to pause for photos of his wondrous gastronomic delight. Instead he could only spare enough time to actually snap this single shot of the finished product. And he’s so ever so ever so sorry about it. But, looking on the bright side; he did actually get something done on the third floor: look…

…a green deck,  sparkly gold wall, blue inter-compartmental air-lock, and a very nice lavatory with a pink light to show that someone is inside having a poop! Clearly it was worth all the misery.

 

Revel in the Ribaldry 23

For this fabulously random extract from the world of the Hamster-Sapiens series I have delved into the hallowed cyber-pages of this magnificent e-book…

And very nice it is too – as you will now discover…

Felicity Bugler, Joan Bugler’s diminutive dormouse adopted sister, stretched hugely beneath her cosy duvet atop the bunk bed that she shared with the slightly rotund hamster. She listened minutely as tendons popped into their allotted slots, and joints nestled together in the time honoured way that young joints generally do. Then she sniffed the air, and came to the instant conclusion that her sister was absent.

Perhaps in any other household this situation wouldn’t have raised more than a slightly inquiring eyebrow; but this was the Bugler girl’s bedroom, and there had been no recorded instance of Joan ever rising from her bed before the trim and nimble Felicity did. Not one eyebrow even so much as quivered upon the pretty forehead of the female dormouse: No: – alarm bells rang loud and clear inside her head, and inaudible klaxons all but deafened her. She was off of the top bunk quicker than you could say ‘Horatio Indigo Transvestite Horseblanket’. A second later she was in the corridor calling Joan’s name in her most frantic manner.

Felicity’s immigrant gerbil mother, Brenda, appeared at her bedroom door.

“Felicity.” She bellowed in her strange accent that no one had ever been able to place, as she entered the corridor whilst rubbing sleep-filled eyes, “What’s you doing girl? You’s gonna wake them neighbours, and make ‘em all mad as heck. What you shoutin’ Joan’s name for anyway – aint she layin’ in that bunk of hers like some lazy tart kind’a thing?”

It took a few nanoseconds for Felicity’s reply to penetrate the gerbil’s sleepy brain.

“What?” She shrieked in alarm, “She aint in no bed? Her day-clothes aint been took outta the closet? She’s done gone outside with no knickers coverin’ her shapely hamster ass? Where’d she go?”

It wasn’t a rhetorical question, but Felicity’s expression told the middle-aged gerbil that it should have been.

“She been kidnapped?” Brenda offered.

Again the look from her adopted dormouse daughter.

“You mean she gone to that weirdo place in that other dimension kind’a stuff?” She suggested less hopefully.

“Can you think of any other plausible explanation?” Felicity asked – more in desperation than hope. “Or even a whimsical one?”

“But her knickers, girl.” Brenda tried to argue. “She don’t go nowhere without her sturdy cold-store kind’a pants on. Nowhere!”

“I know.” Felicity suddenly wailed, and tears began to form in her eyes. “It must have been some sort of terrible trans-dimensional accident.”

Then a thought struck. She spoke as the thoughts grew in both numbers and intensity…

“Let’s think – this is a socially rented apartment that belongs to the local socialist government: What could be different about this particular edifice that might cause Joan to have a trans-dimensional accident?”

Both rodents placed their metaphorical thinking caps firmly upon their metaphysical craniums; but after fifteen minutes of intense thinking, Felicity came up empty.

“Nada.” She said dejectedly, “I’m calling Police Constable Gravy: Perhaps he can shed some light upon the situation.”

“You just hold your stag beetles.” Brenda held up a paw to thwart Felicity as she reached for the wall ‘phone. “I just thunk of something.”

Moments later both rodents were hammering on the toilet door, and calling Joan’s name. Felicity tried picking the lock with the end of her tail, but it was too furry. So Brenda set about the hinges with her powerful incisors. Within moments the door fell outwards into the corridor, and they raced each other to be first inside. Naturally, being small and nimble, Felicity won, and duly tripped upon the new mat, and, with a wail of dismay, disappeared out of the open window.

“Felicity, girl,” Brenda called down to her adopted daughter as she struggled amongst the briars below, “You gone done forgot your own knickers too. Ya just gave the post-hamster a heart attack. But ya done good: Ya found where Joan went. Now ya can call that P C Chest guy to come find her.”

But Felicity wasn’t so sure. As she struggled to regain her modesty by tucking her nightdress between her knees whilst giving the aging post-hamster the kiss of life, she called back, “I don’t think so. I’ll tell you all about it after you’ve ‘phoned for an ambulance.”

Felicity didn’t actually explain anything to her mother until she’d called her boyfriend, Roosevelt Teabiscuit. Naturally the equally diminutive dormouse had rushed around to Brenda’s apartment, and was already unbuckling his novelty sporran as he walked in.

“Sorry, Roosevelt,” Felicity had said moments after Brenda had screamed in horror, “I should have told you that mum was here, and that I needed you – not for your amazing powers in the rampant non-reproductive sexual intercourse department – but for your equally amazing talent as a psychic catalyst.”

Roosevelt had duly apologized for being presumptive, and now they all sat around the dining table to discuss Felicity’s remarkable discovery.

“As I fell through the window I remember distinctly hearing the words – ‘Honestly, if you spent a little more of the church’s coffers on constructing roads, we wouldn’t be having this difficulty’, which in itself isn’t proof positive that Joan has crossed over into Prannick, but the reply – ‘Never mind that, just keep pushing: It makes your powerful buttocks go all shapely’ – kind of tears it. Those voices belonged to Darkwood Dunce and Quentin Blackheart. I’d recognise them anywhere.”

“You heard all this while you was fallin’?” Brenda squealed with disbelief, “But it only took one of them seconds. That kind’a thing don’t sound right to me. I’m tellin’ ya – you’s took a nasty knock on your noggin, girl, that’s what you’s done. You’s aint heard nothing but the post-hamster droppin’ to his knees and praisin’ The Saint of All Hamsters for the sight of your wotsit.”

As theories went Brenda’s was a very good one. Unfortunately it was also entirely incorrect.

“Mummy, dearest,” Felicity responded kindly, “shut the fluff up, and listen.”

She then made her proposal to prove that she had really heard what she thought she’d heard.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

There, didn’t I tell you it was nice! This book remains available at most e-book stockists. Some are mentioned on the sidebar and beneath the header in Tooty’s Books Available Here. But you can get it at all sorts of places in many countries of the world. If you liked the extract, you’ll adore the book. Oh yes: it’s also a bit rude – so no children to see it, okay? 

Junior Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars (episode 1)

SPOILER ALERT: This prologue contains information about earlier tales. If you haven’t read them, and don’t want to know what happened in one or two of them (in a very brief summarised form, that is) look away now!

Before the tale proper can begin, Dear Reader, you must first be reminded of just how the planet Mars became the Mars that the curator of The Future Museum of Mars – Frisby Mumph – so adores, and for which he would gladly give his life; his generous pension benefits; or tear off his famous old pressure suit and show everyone his bare buttocks.  It goes like this: Mars…

…is dark, cold, foreboding, and miles from anywhere. A world that was seemingly lifeless. So, in their infinite wisdom, those beings from the future who gave us the Museum of Future Technology…

…that fabulous emporium of technological wonders from the future that have been sent back through time for safe-keeping in the past – decided to build a smaller version on Mars  (just in case Earth blew up or something) and awaited the successful terraforming of the red planet, before they delivered any artefacts worth paying good money to see. So, for many years, the Future Museum of Mars…

…sat quiescent – awaiting the lifetime’s work of the aforementioned Frisby Mumph to come to fruition.  Frisby…

…enjoyed the company of his huge robot – Tangerine – and an idiot assistant, named Badgerlilly, whom he kept in permanent suspended animation. He also enjoyed going to the toilet. But most of all he enjoyed trundling about the barren landscape aboard his terraforming machine…

…with which he hoped to transform the planet from a dead, barren landscape, into a thriving eco-system. Although most of Mars remained utterly lifeless, some areas began to show promise. Tough, wiry mosses began to take hold…

Although Frisby was unaware of the fact, he had been under surveillance from the day he’d landed upon the red planet. He continued to remain blissfully unaware until Magnuss Earplug and his protégé, Yabu Suchs, discovered the ‘Muffins’ in a buried city beneath the rusty sandstone surface…

Eventually the native beings became allies of Frisby – reactivating their advanced scientific laboratories (that had lain inactive for millennia following the destruction of the Martian civilisation by a cataclysmic accident when the combined gasses, produced during a global farting contest, had been ignited by a cooker’s gas ring, the owner of which had forgotten to turn off whilst boiling an egg ) and setting to work on realising some of the brilliant ideas they’d been dreaming up before being forced into uncounted centuries of suspended animation…

One particular device came in jolly handy -at a time when the staff of the Museum of Future Technology were battling robots from the future for control of that vast edifice. The significance of the device was so…ah…significant that the Earplug Brothers were sent to Mars to see it for themselves…

Long story short – the device allowed earplugs to transit between quantum realities. But, more significantly for Frisby and the ‘Muffins’, it was discovered that it could also shift worlds between quantum realities. So they chose a better, more suitable Mars, and swapped their knackered old version for a nicer one from a different reality…

And for five minutes the future looked rosy. For the first time the light outside shone blue through the museum control room’s translucent walls…

But, unfortunately, they’d randomly selected a world that was in the midst of an ice-age; and soon Mars began to freeze over…

Soon the museum became entombed in ice…

And recent arrivals from Earth found themselves up kaka creek without a paddle…

Of course, the locals had never before seen snow, and (as they slipped and slid down the ancient citadel steps) they didn’t much like it…

Frisby and Tangerine were aghast and mortified. They wandered about in the snow drifts, looking for their lost customers. But without success…

More fortunately Captain Sinclair Brooch, of the Worstworld star ship K T Woo, arrived and released a volley of well-aimed proton torpedoes…

…which exploded beneath the ice…

…and melted it – creating a dramatic climate shift…

…that brought forth great horticultural wonders. The areas in which Frisby had been working so hard for so long, bloomed with native growths…

And following a period of incessant rainfall…

…the sole curator was delighted to discover that his hardy Earth plants were doing okay as well…

So, all in all, it was a happy ending. Or was it? Mars, unlike Earth, lies outside the ‘Goldilocks Zone’. The Sun is much farther away. Mars, despite its new look, was still a cold world: and, with every passing year since ‘The Miracle’, winters seemed to be getting longer and starting sooner. Oh flip!

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

Revel in the Ribaldry 23

Well I seem to have lost my way slightly regarding which book should supply the next excerpt. So, in an attempt to bring you some of the most wonderful Hamster-Sapiens work available, may I present you with a random extract from this book…

Yes, the divine ‘The Psychic Historian’. The best book ever written in the history of the world. You don’t believe me? Read on…

Now one of the major tenets of Betty was coined from the words of a popular religious song of that era, which had been miss-transcribed by a probationary nun during the earliest years of the order of Our Lady of the Tilted Cervix. No one knows what the true wording of the ancient song was, but in her miss-transcription the probationary nun scribbled ‘When I get that feelin’ – I want sex on the ceiling’ and the ways of Betty were set (if not in stone, then certainly) in bold black print. The result of this error meant that the nuns of Our Lady of the Tilted Cervix then had to live up to their name by indulging the locals in high-altitude sexual intercourse.

Naturally there was no shortage of volunteers from a country plagued by internal strife and external war. In fact the recruiting office was so overwhelmed with would-be nuns that its recruitment officers had to beat them off with a sharp tongue and a big stick. Eventually a select number were then handed their habits, and duly packed off to the island of Impetigo. And for a while all had gone swimmingly. Then one day a nasty case of Poor Sore Willy was discovered in Deepest Jungle Land, and blaming the nuns for this worsening condition as it ran riot through the population, the convent was placed out-of-bounds by the elders of the nearby villages.

With no income and nothing to do, the nuns began calling the outside world upon their huge radio set. They searched the ether for inspiration. After weeks and weeks of twiddling dials they finally discovered what they sought.

Hamster-Britain had a severe shortage of fondant icing. What little could be manufactured domestically exchange paws for quite incredible amounts of Rodentos. It was beyond the pocket of all but the very rich, and if the situation remained, it was quite likely that the poor would rise up in some sort of confectionery revolution, and possibly bring down the government and behead the royal head of state. It was immediately clear to the nuns where their duty lay. They must save their country by the only known means possible: They must produce copious amounts of fondant icing, and ship it, by whatever means, to Hamster-Britain.

The first part of the problem was easily solved. They turned their creative talents away from inventing news means of sexual gymnastics – to the production of fondant icing. Sugar bearing plants were multifarious and many-fold: And beating them into a fine white paste-like material merely took physical effort. But the problem of transporting the resulting product to Hamster-Britain confounded them utterly.

“Fluff and bollocks!” The Mother Superior was heard to shout loudly from the privacy of her window in frustrated despair, “Arse holes and piles!”

But then fortune fell upon them from the sky – in the form of a lost dirigible pilot who had been blown off course by a particularly nasty gust of wind. His name had been Pilot Officer Brandenberg Dangerpimple. For a share of the profits, and some ‘sex on the ceiling’, he was willing to transport the fondant icing for them until either he was caught and hanged as a profiteer; the war ended; or he grew too old to either fly a dirigible or indulge in sexual intercourse.

“Marvellous.” The Mother Superior exclaimed, and threw up both her paws and the hem of her habit in joy, “But what might we do if any of those three possibilities were to transpire?”

“I’ll teach my future son to fly as soon as his rear paws can reach the rudder pedals.” Dangerpimple had assured the chief nun. “And any other sons that I might acquire en route to an old age.” He added with a wink of his eye.

But that was all in the past. Now Brandenberg Dangerpimple was being taken upon a tour of the new fondant production facility.

“As you can see, Brandenberg, this line is entirely automated.” Sister Serendipity Clone waved an all-encompassing paw to include the interior of a huge bamboo shed, into which a considerable amount of modern production equipment had been recently installed.

Dangerpimple was impressed; but he also foresaw a problem. He smoothed back his head fur and released the air from his lungs in a single rush. “I think I’m gonna need a bigger airship.”

Serendipity looked concerned. “Is this a problem?”

“I’ll have to be promoted to Flight Lieutenant.” Dangerpimple replied. “That’s going to mean a lot of greased paws. I’m not sure I have sufficient funds…”

Serendipity smiled, then reached under her habit and brought forth a huge wad of Rodentos. “I was saving them up for something nice – but needs must and all that.”

Dangerpimple snatched the offered cash, and rammed it down the front of his flying trousers. “There.” He said, “All safe and sound. And in a secondary role they can protect my wanger from anti-dirigible fire as well!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

See? Did I not tell you the truth? Where have you read better than that? Naturally this book is available at most e-book stockists, and for the best eReaders – including the more famous Kindle, iPad, Nook, and Kobo. Wonderful tales; witty prose; and cheap as chips. What more can you ask for!

 

 

Tooty the Chef Makes ‘Rattatuti!’

Before we begin, let me bring you up-to-date with some of Tooty the Chef’s latest brilliant ideas. Well one anyway. Autumn has been wet and mild in Tooty the Chef’s portion of reality; so mosquitos have been rather prevalent in his kitchen. Unwilling to use ozone-depleting sprays (and having actually caught one of the little bastards as it attempted to finagle it’s pointy bits through the tough hide of his hairy knuckles), the great chef decided to tackle the problem head on. Literally. With a Sainsbury’s reusable cotton vegetable bag…

Voila! Not just a pretty face, I think you’ll agree.  Anyway, enough of that load of old bollocks: on with the cooking. Now Tooty the Chef has never been one to turn his nose up at a bargain: so when his local M&S Food Hall offered him three packs of four breaded chicken breast steaks for only £10 he snatched their metaphorical hands off. The downside of this was the need to devour them before the use-by date expired; which meant that whatever he was about to create, it must compliment breaded chicken breast steaks. Four of them to be exact…

No probs: let’s see what’s in the cupboard…

And, oh look, there’s some ancient eggs (that can easily recall high Summer) in the fridge…

Naturally the fridge had other gifts to give…

…those being soft and floppy courgettes; a pair of measly spuds; a couple of almost-rotten toms; three skanky carrots; an old onion; and a withered pepper that couldn’t decide if it was red or yellow. All grist to Tooty the Chef’s mill, I assure you. But what kind of sauce should he use? All the regular stuff was just too boring for words; so he stuck his fingers up at them…

But, after getting down upon his hands and knees, he discovered just what he needed…

…a can of Waitrose Cream of Petit Pois and Bacon Soup. Inspired choice. This was all the impetus he required: for the next half-hour he would transform in Le Chef Tuti!

Having turned on the oven to get warm, it was  dice-dice-dice-and- dice-again time…

Preperations complete, it was the correct moment to slide the chicken into the hot oven…

Now the race was on. Would the chicken cook before Le Chef Tuti was ready for it? Or would it be another of his fantastically unlikely dead-heats? Only…um…time would tell. Don’t fret Tuti; get those eggs broken…

…and lobbed into a bowl with black pepper, Himalayan salt, and paprika…

Come on Chef, pour out that olive oil with all your might…

Once heated upon the hob, the oil was joined by the slowest-cooking ingredients – those being the  potato, carrot, and onion…

Having given it a few minutes to get it’s head start, he added the courgette and pepper…

Look how delighted he was to do so. Actually he was acting.  He’s very good at that you know. He’d give Tom Conte a run for his money, I can tell you. And Pauline Collins. But I digress. After a while, when there was about ten minutes to go, he tossed the tomato in…

And, after fielding several gastronomic questions from his offspring, he tipped in the Waitrose soup and set it simmering on a low heat…

Yes, Le Chef Tuti has heard of ‘low’ you know. He doesn’t use it often, but (as a remarkable chef) he is aware that you should never boil soup: it makes it nasty or something. Then it was a simple matter of pouring the egg mix into a frying pan with hot olive oil at the bottom: blasting it for a while; then flipping it over;  blasting it a bit more; and chopping it into pieces with the edge of the flipping tool…

…before serving it proudly and displaying it to the camera with a stupid face…

Not bad,  eh?

Then, naturally, it was time to uncork a bottle of Muscat de Rivesaltes. On this occasion he decided to aschew the usual complimentary Sprite, and instead selected some vaguely uninteresting Schweppes Slimline Lemonade…

Unfortunately someone forgot to hide the key to the wine cellar; and when that one ran out, Le Chef Tuti found another, which could, inevitably, only end in one way…

Oh, if only we’d stocked it with shandy and ginger beer!

Revel in the Ribaldry 22

For R.i.t.R 22  we visit, once again, that great well of ribaldry – Fanfare For The Common Hamster. This is what the e-book looks like…

And this is what a tiny portion of the script looks like…

Joan was surprised to find Stubby Collett alone upon the path that led away from Far Kinell by the most circuitous route possible. Of the Abbot there was no sign, despite the fact that he’d promised to tend Stubby’s wounds in their absence.

The others – Darkwood, Rootley, and Brother Alfonso, weren’t though, and nodded sagely as Stubby explained that the Abbot’s nerves had become frayed to within one micron of total mental collapse, and that, in an effort to free the poor hamster from his inner religious turmoil, he had pretended that they were being stalked by a wild mutant weasel, and in an effort to dissuade the beast from consuming them Stubby had apparently transformed into a mythological homo sapien once again, and frightened the imaginary monster away.

Naturally the Abbot had sought, and found, solace in his beliefs, which ran counter to the sights that his eyes beheld, and so, in an almost catatonic state, the former Farley Dunnock had taken the only course left to him (other than madness) and had returned to the town – presumably to reassume the role that he believed he was born to do – that being The Abbot of The Wheel.

“I didn’t like him anyway.” Stubby concluded, “He smelt funny.”

Then his eyes alighted upon Felicity, and despite his grievous injury, his trousers flapped alarmingly. “Cripes,” his voice half-said/half-trilled, as he surveyed the dormouse’s non-curvaceous hips, “there’s a sight for sore eyes, and make no mistake.”

He then introduced himself to the two newcomers.

“I’ve always wanted to meet a brilliant illusionist.” Felicity informed him, “A really crappy one visited our school once, and appeared to turn into a bowl of pitted cherries. He looked delicious; but I saw right through his visual subterfuge: It was quite obviously a hologram.”

Stubby bristled, “It was no such thing!” He bellowed his best – which with his chest seeping blood all over the place was really quite impressive.

For some mysterious reason no one seemed to notice the incongruity of the small harvest mouse’s outburst – except Roosevelt. And he spoke in a manner that greatly impressed Rootley Farnham.

“Excuse me,” he said, “How the fluff would you know? Were you there?”

Now under normal circumstances it is certain that Stubby would have denied ever having been anywhere near a school for girl rodents, let alone within Joan, Felicity, and Roosevelt’s continuum: But these weren’t normal circumstances: He was grievously hurt, and he was also in the company of a psychic catalyst. So he said, “Yes. I’ll have you know that appearing to turn into a bowl of pitted cherries in front of several hundred young females taxed me enormously, and I had to have a lay down afterwards.” Then in a more aggrieved tone he added, “And to think that they believed that it was nothing more than smoke, mirrors, and advanced laser technology: Well it offends me greatly.”

“I’m sorry.” Felicity whispered as she reached out to comfort Stubby, “But why were you giving an exhibition of advanced illusionism to a bunch of girl hamsters and one dormouse?”

Stubby sighed. He then informed them that prior to becoming a psi-cop field agent; he was a talent scout for them. He’d hoped to promote an interest in psychic abilities amongst the young persons of several alternate realities.

“Sadly with scant reward.” He sighed again. “We met with little success. Except for Joan, of course.”  Then he coughed a bit, and everyone knew that the interview was over.

                                                                 ***

The timely arrival of the Abbot – Farley Dunnock – at The Rancid Maggot Inn might have saved Perfidity Gallowsmith from a lynching by outraged ‘Wheelists’, but The Law Master quickly realised that she must regain their trust and loathing by being seen to act as a Law Master should, and stop behaving like the drunken, exhibitionist, trollop that she was.

The primary reason for this sober summation of her current situation was that only moments after having made his grand entrance, the Abbot had strolled to the bar, downed a flagon of ale, touched up the barkeeper, and then slumped to the floor – where he began speaking gibberish, and attempting to unravel the coarse raffia mat that Mooney kept for soaking up his customer’s sweat and vomit. Clearly something had happened to the Abbot, Perfidity reasoned well enough: Now she must grasp the nettle: This was just the opportunity that she’d spent the last thirty seconds praying for…

“Right then,” she announced, whilst slipping into her best chainmail knickers, and strapping on Jock, her favourite dagger, “who’s feeling ready for a punch-up? I’m looking to form a posse.”

                                                                         ***

The small group of rodents had been prevaricating over a decision concerning Stubby’s immediate future for some time, and were no closer to a solution regarding his welfare, when Rootley gasped, and hissed, “A posse departs the Rancid Maggot Inn. We must act – in haste if possible.”

Stubby forced his trembling eyelids to flutter open. “You have a talent too, I see.” He then added, “Do you have more details concerning this posse?”

Rootley shook his furry little head, “ ‘Fraid not.” He said.

Stubby then shook a wavering finger in the approximate direction of Roosevelt. “Touch the puny hamster, young dormouse: He has need of your energy and ministrations.”

Everyone’s expressions asked the same question: What energy’s that then?

“He’s a psychic catalyst.” Stubby explained as quickly as his trembling lips would allow, “I sensed it the moment he arrived. He resonates with such power that my buttocks haven’t stopped clenching for more than ten seconds at a time.”

Feeling rather embarrassed by the attention, Roosevelt coloured beneath his fine mantle of fur. He then straightened his tie, and did as he was bid.

Immediately Rootley’s buttocks constricted so violently that he squeaked in alarm. But then his pinched expression was replaced by a look of serenity. “I can see them.” he breathed, “Not my spasmodic buttock muscles, you understand: The whole posse. They’re on their way to the Hoopla Hall. The Law Master leads them. She’s carrying her favourite dagger – Jock. And her knickers…they’re her best chainmail ones. Fluff it – the bastards’ll be passing straight through here in just a few moments!”

Then a nearby horn could be heard blaring into the night. It sounded like a cavy giving birth to a weasel inside a tin bath.

“Cripes.” Roosevelt squeaked as he jumped and released his grip upon Rootley.

Darkwood began to panic. “What are we going to do?” he said, casting his gaze first one way, then the other. “I can’t get caught hanging about outside a gent’s bog-hole again! Not so soon anyway.”

“Run, muy rápido.” Alfonso suggested.

“Bog-hole?” Stubby’s tremulous voice cut through the type of mass-apprehension that is so taught that it almost audibly twangs like the whiskers of a champion weightlifter, “We’re in close proximity to Far Kinell’s almost-famous public bog-hole? By The Saint of All Hamsters – salvation stands before us upon cast iron feet and rough wooden shingles: There’s an inter-dimensional cross-over portal inside it. I’ve used it several times before. Quickly now, despite the agony – get me inside.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

This magnificent example of hamster fiction is published by Lulu.com, and is also available at most e-book retailers, including the one that best suits your e-reader, tablet, or whatever

 

Tooty the Chef: Kitchen Commando

Welcome to the kitchen of Tooty the Chef: the only chef in Britain who cooks whilst going commando – at least publicly. The same chef who only cooks for people who don’t want to cook, but (through no fault of their own) have to…

Well  on this particular day, Tooty the Chef had been out of the kitchen doing other fascinating and often thrilling stuff – like walking the dogs, riding his motorcycle, or raking leaves from the lawn. Unfortunately not only had he forgotten to turn the heating on (December after all), but he’d also left the kitchen door open to the elements. But, true to his credo ‘the bum must always be bared’, he began as he always does. Only this time he turned on the oven early so that he could defrost his buttocks…

Then it was on to a grub hunt. Quickly he found some soft cauliflower. But before it had a chance to decompose in his hands he chopped it up…

Then he discovered a packet of bacon that still had a couple of days life in it…

It was smoked, which Tooty the Chef abhors almost as much as an astronaut abhors a vacuum, but the label said Great Taste 2020, so he went with it. But first he placed the cauliflower in his plastic microwave cooking thing; added some boiling water…

…and set it to cook in the microwave for nine minutes. Then he did what any chef worth his or her silver collander award would do; he trimmed the nasty fatty bits off the bacon…

…then splashed a whole bunch of olive oil (Spanish naturally) into the oval roasting thing…

…and laid the bacon in it. To this he added some frozen peppers…

…before returning to the freezer for a handful of peas and sweetcorn. After all you gotta have colour in your meal: otherwise it’s just oatmeal…

On cue the microwave went ‘Ding’, so it was a tentative tipping of the scalding cauliflower into a sieve…

…before slopping it on top of the other stuff in the roasting thing, and covering it with a jar of white wine sauce…

Tooty the Chef selected a white wine sauce by Morrisons. He reasoned that if the label was accurate, and that the company had been established in 1899, it was fair to assume that they knew a thing or two about sauce…

Anyway, then it was into the (already hot) oven…

Did you notice the tray on the lower shelf? Tooty the Chef didn’t. This would come back to bite him on the ass later – at least metaphorically. So, with the grub in the oven, it was time for some meditation…

A quarter of an hour later the roasting thing was removed from the oven and coated with the last of Tooty’s grated cheese…

Then back into the propane furnace, which released the great chef to watch a bit of TV and make himself a nice cafe au lait…

A further quarter of hour passed, and Tooty the Chef judged that the meal was cooked…

But when he poked around in the bottom of the roasting thing, he found – to his professional horror – that the bacon wasn’t quite done. He also discovered the hitherto unnoticed baking tray that had absorbed much of the oven’s heat. So it was out with the tray, and in with the meal. Then, as the oven door closed, he realised that his nether regions were once again chilled mightily. Fortunately he had the wit to plug in a fan heater with which he brought the general area back to life…

Ten minutes on and, not only were his comfort levels returned to factory specifications, but  the meal was cooked…

…to perfection…

So it was off with the jumper and hat; and time to select a complimentary drink. Naturally he chose a 2016 Muscat de Rivesaltes and 2020 sugar-free Sprite. A perfect combination, I think you’ll agree…

Tooty the Chef Returns to the Crock Pot

Tooty the Chef’s last foray into slow cooking was so successful that he’s decided  against waiting for the next millennium to arrive before his second attempt: he’s gonna do it now!

Of course the preparation for any meal must begin with the discovery of the ingredients. I say ‘discovery’ because that’s what Tooty the Chef does. He discovers what he has hidden away in cupboards and freezers and whatnot; then goes with them. On this occaision he discovered some frozen stir-fry veggies that he’d tossed in the freezer some time previous when their sell-by-date had expired…

Unfortunately this time the sauce mix shelf came up horribly short…

There were no casserole mixes, or anything that could be turned to that role. “Oh bum.” He cried, “This is gonna taste bloody awful!” So he had to get inventive. And if there’s one that Tooty the Chef is good at (apart from rushing to the lavatory) it’s being inventive. So he followed up the stir fry veg with some regular root veg, along with…

…a lump of pork loin, some mystery cereals and pulses in an unmarked jar, and a packet of Spanish rice and mushrooms that had lost their label, and which he hoped contained some spices and flavouring. Hope is a neccessary prerequisite for any meal. Every cook ‘hopes’ their creation is going to be wonderful. He also hoped that the out-of-date stock tubs (pictured to the right) weren’t actually poisonous. That’s another thing that cooks do: try not to poison anyone. They don’t always succeed; but they do try. Anyway, Tooty set to work on the root vegetables with verve and elan…

He was equally vervish when it came to  stripping the pork loin of any nasty fatty bits…

You know how much he hates fatty bits. Then he chopped up the meat and veggies; chucked them in the slow cooker; and stirred like a cement mixer on steroids…

The result was this…

…to which he added the stir-fry veggies…

Then it was a matter of introducing some flavour – in the shape of black pepper and paprika…

In an aside, let me tell you that he fell in love with paprika when, at age twenty, he stayed a while in Zurich, Switzerland, with his girlfriend, who introduced him to paprika flavoured crisps. He was heart-broken when, upon his return to Britain, he discovered that such things did not exist in his homeland, and probably never would.

Anyway, on with the show. Of course kitchen steam had been hard at work ruining anything powdered, so he was forced to stab his way into the paprika…

But, having done so, the resulting ingredients looked an awful lot like this…

Yummy already. Then is was time to mix the stock with boiling water and pour on…

The result? This…

So he then set the dial to LOW and went off to do lots of other things – one of which was to take a well-earned, and relaxing, bath…

Only it wasn’t really relaxing because he spotted the camera…

And fearful that his willy might protrude above the level of the water, he sat up…

…and was mortified that anyone would be so underhand as to place a camera in the bathroom with him…

Fortunately the great chef’s ruffled feathers were smoothed down in time for his return to the kitchen – some hours later – where the under-cooked meal was looking decidedly…ah…undercooked – with the veggies succeeding where his willy had not…

Time to add some more water. But just to be sure that the flavour wasn’t weakened and made wimpy and putrid, he grabbed one of those Spanish stock cubes for lentils that he so likes…

…and mixed it with the boiling water…

…and poured it on top…

Looking yummy again. But an hour later all those cereals, pulses and rice had sucked up all the water…

It looked arid, but rich. So this time he just added hot water…

…which also got sucked up. But it didn’t really matter because an hour later the meal was cooked. And since his speciality is stodge, this is what he served up…

And, not only was it excellent in every way possible (as long as you don’t mind stodge), but there was some left over for a mid-day snack the day after…

Two meals for the price of one. Well almost.

Revel in the Ribaldry 20

That last excerpt from The Abduction of Wetpatch Wilson was so divine that I thought I’d include an extra one. And here it is…

Only the Saint of All Hamsters knows how many slimy tunnels that the delightful Sprightly was led down by the floundering Wetpatch Wilson. Wetpatch certainly didn’t. He’d given up counting almost straight away, and even the normally observant field mouse had retreated into a world of her own. So when they literally stumbled upon a gang of huge mutant woodlice – each emblazoned with rather faded examples of the emblem of the Crustacean Collective upon their tough, segmented carapaces – both rodents were very surprised. Wetpatch was well aware that woodlice couldn’t speak – even huge mutant ones – but he was reasonably well-versed in the semaphore language of the local woodlice that lived amongst the rotting mushrooms and other disgusting detritus of Hamster Heath’s famous Danglydong Dell. So, despite being an insolent youth, he attempted to convey his thoughts in the time honoured fashion of sign language.

“Hello.” He said by waving his paws above his head in much the same manner that woodlice use their antennae to communicate. “Can you show me the way to the Federation Council?”

Unfortunately the mutant woodlice that lived within a vast series of tunnels that had been burrowed into a submarine mountain didn’t speak Danglydong Dellish. All they read was, “Herpes. I’d like to show you something that bounces.”

Well naturally, having little contact with mammals, the woodlice had no conception of herpes. But the idea that there were things that bounced intrigued them.

“Show us. Show us, oh damp furry thing.” Their leader implored, “Bouncing things are simply marvellous.”

Unfortunately Wetpatch read this as, “Bow to us. Bow to us, you damned flaccid thing. Dancing will sting my mother’s anus.”

Wetpatch looked to Sprightly for help. Fortunately, being a servant of the Federation, she recognised the creatures for what they were – terrestrial woodlice that had been deliberately bio-engineered for use as construction workers in areas that were too hazardous for both mammals and water-dwelling crustaceans. She had instinctively spoken fluent mutant woodlouse since the day when she bounced upon the knee of her lesbian aunt – the strange Uncle Daphne – and now turned that talent to good use. So in order to placate them she picked Wetpatch up and shook him so violently that his swollen testes bounced with sufficient vigour to satisfy the woodlouse leader’s request, and added “There, was that what you wanted?”

“That was lovely.” The leader woodlouse signed. “Thank you vastly. How can we repay you for such intense entertainment and a profound sense of fulfilment?”

“Well what we’d really like,” Sprightly signed carefully lest a stray finger might suggest that she wished to procreate, “is to be taken to the Head Council Member with almost infinite alacrity.”

To her surprise Sprightly watched as the entire group of mutant woodlice bristled angrily. “Have I said something out of place?” She enquired.

Then, to her dismay, she watched the lead wood louse as it signed, “Sorry, no-can-do. Think of something else.”

“I can’t think of anything else.” Sprightly complained. “We’ve come here on a mission to save the Crustacean Collective from tearing itself apart with petty rivalries and stupid empire building. Why can’t you take us to the council, you foul multi-legged abominations?”

“Because we’re runaways.” The leader replied in an agitated manner that made his antennae difficult to read. “We don’t work for the lobsters no more. We work for ourselves now. We’re building our own empire. It’s not very big yet: But you know what they say – from substantial tubas giant rhubarb trees grow. Not that any of us have seen a real rhubarb tree of course: But we’ve felt the Braille descriptions, and they seem majestic and desperately moist.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Like I’ve mentioned countless times previously, this magnificent e-book remains available at most e-book retailers (including the one of your choice), despite the fact that, in seven years, not one bloody copy has sold. Please do something to recify this desperately unfair situation!

Chef Tooty and The Dissenting Voice

Chef Tooty…

Every day millions of fans write in to thank Chef Tooty for his wonderful cookery tips – particularly fans who hate cooking, but have to because no one else in the house/apartment/pension/galley will – the idle, lazy, bastards. Some tell him how his techniques helped save their marriage. Others remark upon how much their dogs enjoyed the leftovers. And a few mention the fact that his meals taste almost as good coming up as they did going down. We don’t quite understand that last remark, but we’re confident that it’s meant in a complimentary fashion. But, every once in a while, a non-fan writes in to complain. Some have gone so far as to suggest that Chef Tooty isn’t very good at cooking. LOL. A very small minority cast aspertions in his direction. The word ‘Shit’ was mentioned more than once or twice.  But one letter, in particular, caught our attention. We shall quote from it…

“I don’t know what all the fuss is about. That Chef Tooty is a charlatan. He couldn’t cook his way out of a tool-roll. Almost all his meals look like vomit. I cannot understand why everyone thinks he is so fabulous. Anyone would think that the sun shines out of his arse-hole.”

Well, say we in response to this, it’s strange you should mention that. Because, only the other night, Chef Tooty felt the need to do a spot of midnight cheffing. He didn’t want to disturb anyone, so he didn’t bother turning on the lights. This is what the security camera caught…

Clearly his fans think correctly.

Easy-Peasy Cooking with Chef Tooty

Chef Tooty: he who gives tips to reluctant cooks who only cook because they have to. Today a quick and easy knock-up – Tuna Pasta Bake!

For a Tuna Pasta Bake Chef Tooty recommends these items…

…and, of course, some pasta – but not the toaster: that only appears in shot by accident. To begin with, our resident gastronomic giant threw some pasta in a saucepan – on top of a sprinkling of olive oil, which he swears  stops the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Then he added some boiling water and set it going…

Note how he placed a lid upon the saucepan. Yes, that’s right: it means that  the gas can be turned down, and the clean clothes on the dryer in the corner of the kitchen…

…don’t get pleasantly steamed and made soggy again.

About ten minutes in, he repeated the act (minus the oil) with some peas and sweetcorn…

Then, when he judged the pasta to be perfectly done, he strained it and lobbed it into the famous Roasting Thing…

Please note how not a single dollop of pasta has adhered to the bottom of his pan. One fancy chef, I think you’ll agree…

Then it was repeat time with the veggies…

Yes, I know that’s an awful lot of steam; but (like rushing off to the toilet) some things can’t be avoided. Once his glasses had lost their misty veneer, Chef Tooty took on the most dangerous procedure: the opening of the tuna can…

Oil/spring water could have gone everywhere. Fortunately Chef Tooty has a high tolerence to squirty cans, so it wasn’t long before he was depositing the contents onto the pasta/veggies amalgum..

This was quickly followed by the contents of the tuna pasta bake sauce jar, which, as you can probably imagine, is the mainstay of most great chefs…

Naturally a hearty stir followed…

… which itself was followed by the mandatory sprinkling of grated cheese – before being deposited into a pre-heated oven, which (on a rare occasion) wasn’t quite maxxed-out…

…for approximately ten-or-so minutes. Well long enough for a quick trip to the loo, a moment of relaxation, and a congratulatory chocolate chip cookie…

Then it was back to retrieve the finished product before incineration commenced…

Yummy – or what?  For an accompanying drink Chef Tooty eschewed the contents of the bodega this time, and instead selected some lovely…

…sugar-free strawberry and watermelon Tango. Perfecto! Who would have thought of that? Such class.

 

 

If It Was Good Once, It’s Even Better Twice 3

It’s Digging-Out-the-Earplug-Adventure-Excerpt-Time again.  So, without further ado, help yourself to a chunk of Distant Land

Shortly Princess Cake returned to the royal chambers…

…where she returned to her fretting…

…about all of her surviving subjects who were out in the cold of the resulting nuclear winter. She even felt a smidgen of pity for the four scientists that had caused the disaster, and who now helped the search teams in their quest to bring those survivors into the bosom of the museum…

“You gits.” One particular survivor shouted at them from the deck of passing hover truck. “You’re lucky this truck is moving: if it wasn’t, I’d leap from this deck and give you all a good kick up the arse!”

Knowledge of this made Princess Cake almost wistful…

“Why, I do wish I’d thought of that: I’d have loved to kick Whoops Brannigan up the arse.”

Meanwhile, the loud-mouthed (but essentially harmless) survivor’s twin brother arrived from the opposite direction aboard another hover truck…

But he was too traumatized to say anything. Instead he avoided eye contact completely.

“Whoo, lucky.” Frutilda whispered to Dido. “I was certain that one was going to kick us up the arse really hard.”

Despite her eagerness to conjure up a brilliant plan to save the population, Princess Cake seemed singularly incapable. This concerned her…

“Honestly.” She complained to herself. “What kind of nominal ruler are you? Surely it can’t be that difficult to save the world!”

Meanwhile, out in the cold, word got around…

“Really, I think its lamentable.” Whoops said to Dennis. “That female is getting ideas above her station. If anyone is going to think up a brilliant alternative to a slow dissolution into extinction, it should be us.”

And Dido said to Frutilda: “I don’t know so much: maybe a good kick up the arse would give us just the impetus we need to activate our genius genes. Tell you what: I’ll kick you first: then you kick me.”

Naturally Princess Cake had secret microphones everywhere; and when she heard this, she felt confident that, perhaps, the day might yet be saved…

“They’ll think of something.” She said with a relieved sigh. “I’m sure they will.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

As you can plainly see, this is a wonderful e-book. You really should buy it for your e-reader. Suppliers are mentioned on the sidebar. Or you could go directly to the publishers, Lulu. You could. You should.

Revel in the Ribaldry 17

Up to 17 already: gosh how time flies. So it’s time for an excerpt from this fair e-tome…

I can’t think of a better choice. Talking of choice, let’s allow random chance another go at selecting the excerpt this time – after all it’s worked pretty well so far, with the possible exception of Revel in the Ribaldry 16.  And here it is…

Algy Timber  had been waiting patiently outside Tybrow Mooney’s lock-up garage for longer than he cared to recall. His bladder was sending urgent messages to his brain, but fortunately his conscious mind had found a way to override this information – if only temporarily. This new-found skill had allowed him to remain seated in the passenger seat of Fabian Strangefellow’s fabulous sporting go-kart, and watch the small brick-built construction with an intensity rapidly approaching that of a Garden Cross spider as it awaited the arrival of a myopic fly.

Fabian Strangefellow shifted in the driver’s seat. Like Algy he too had spent many hours watching for any sign of either Felicity or Roosevelt’s emergence. But an important difference between the two hamsters made his experience so much more bearable. He was vastly more experienced in ‘stake outs’, and had chosen to wear voluminous trousers that allowed him to keep a large plastic bag fastened to the end of his willy without anyone seeing it. Consequently his comfort levels were several pegs higher than those of Algy, and he hummed a pleasant, if repetitive, little tune.

Algy butted in on the forty-second chorus. “Are you sure this is the right garage?” He demanded – not for the first time in the many hours of the youngster’s mysterious absence from Hamster Heath.

“My dear chap,” Fabian replied – apparently unable to show any sign of irritation, “I assure you that this is the very spot to which I tailed my dear, dear, assistant, and the lovely Felicity. They went in: They never came out: And they’re not inside there now. Now why don’t you pop around the rear of the vehicle, and relieve your tormented internals. You know that you’ll regret this stoicism in later life if you don’t. Have you never heard of enlarged prostate glands? They play merry hell with your water works.”

Algy was about to take his new-found associate’s advice, when to his utmost joy he watched as the up-and-over door of the garage began shaking. In fact so taken with this was he that he failed entirely to notice something about Strangefellow – but the strange hamster’s superior air seemed to dissipate for a moment, and his expression betrayed concern. Then Algy’s bladder kicked in, and he creased up with agony. In that moment his gaze fell, and locked, upon Strangefellow’s visage.

“You look like someone’s just cloned your bank details.” He squeaked to ward off the pain, “What’s wrong?”

Of course Strangefellow couldn’t admit that his secret desire was that neither Felicity nor Joan return from the parallel universe – at least not until he was ready to ‘courageously brave the void between worlds, and save them from certain doom’. Then he thought of the adulation that he would receive: And the television interviews that were bound to follow of course: Along with the book deal and personal appearances.                                                                                                                        

“Wrong, my dear Mister Timber? Wrong? Why nothing at all.” He lied.

Then the garage door opened, and Joan appeared – squinting in the day light.

“Bollocks!” the strange hamster bellowed – his wide-brimmed hat billowing gaily in the morning sunshine, “Fluff and bloody bollocks!”

But Algy wasn’t listening: He was already out of the car, and running towards his portly young employee. But, as he approached upon legs so desperately crossed that he feared he might stumble, fall to the ground, and accidentally urinate copiously inside his Kool Kustard company-jodhpurs, he noticed that Felicity was there too – with Roosevelt Teabiscuit holding her paw. And then a whole bunch of others as well – including someone with chocolate all down the front of their jacket.

‘Or is that blood?’ He thought.

Of all those standing in the doorway of Tybrow Mooney’s garage, it was Joan who spotted Algy first.

 “Cooie.” She called, and waved theatrically, “You look like you need a wee. How did you know we’d be here?”

Algy was about to reply, when his bladder got the better of him, and he was forced to dash behind a huge dandelion.

Naturally Fabian Strangefellow stepped into the hurriedly vacated breech.                                 

 “Logical deduction, my dear Miss Bugler.” He offered a limp paw and a half-curtsy, “It comes from a life-time of experience.”

He then cast several ethereal daggers in Roosevelt’s direction.

Roosevelt’s response came in the form of body language. It was a form of body language that Fabian had learned many yonks previously when he was captured by a tribe of Pygmy Shrews whilst on a caravan holiday in The Republic of Darkest Pongo, and almost eaten. Only the sight of his shaven, and heavily tattooed genitals had saved him from certain death at the time: But their language was forever burnt into his consciousness.

“Things got out of control.” Roosevelt had also learned the subtle moves well, “Our plan was skuppered from the beginning: It’s far more dangerous in Prannick than we’d assumed. I barely got out alive. If it hadn’t been for the skills and knowledge of Stubby Collet – chances are we’d all be pin cushions by now. Talking of which – Mister Collett desperately needs a doctor.”

In the few fleeting moments to took for Roosevelt to impart this information, both he and Strangefellow had fallen silent. It came to the attention of Felicity, but she assumed that the great private detective was having a hamstery fugue, and that Roosevelt was experiencing some sort of ‘episode’ caused, no doubt, by the trauma of his experiences in Prannick.

The others merely stood and waited patiently, which suited them just fine because it gave them the chance to regain their breath, their composure, and their dignity – the latter of which being very important to a hamster – especially one from a semi-medieval society, and particularly one with royal blood coursing through his veins, and who has mislaid his favourite cavy.

“Ah,” Strangefellow suddenly reanimated, “this must be Stubby Collett: My word, Stubby, you look like someone threw you into the path of an omnibus. Perhaps we should convey you to a hospital. I have a fine example of the go-kart builder’s art: If you would care to…”

“No hospital.” Stubby interrupted rudely, “Too many questions asked. Get me to an experienced military surgeon who just happens to have left the forces, and is readily available within close proximity to Hamster Heath. But do it quickly: My life ebbs away.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

There, wasn’t that nice! Of course the e-book is even better. Were you interested, you could purchase it, for a very reasonable sum, at most e-book retailers. Or you could click on the cover pictures on the sidebar. You could, if you felt particularly daring, click on the Lulu logo on the sidebar and be transported to my publishers directly. It’s all good fun. It’s worth it just to have a look at all my pretty book covers.

 

Chef Tooty Makes Spaghetti Bollock Nose!

Chef Tooty – with recipies and techniques for people who hate cooking, but, for whatever reason, have to.

In much the same way that Chef Tooty is unable to pronounce Dauphinoise, so he is also useless at saying Bolognese. So, where the former became Dolphin Nose, the latter is now pronounced Bollock Nose. When you stop and think about it, it all makes perfect sense.

Naturally, as is the way of things, before he began preparing the meal, Chef Tooty went in search of ingredients…

One of the first to be given the old heave-ho was the spaghetti…

Everyone knows that you don’t use spaghetti to make Bollock Nose: it’s too thin. Use tagliatelli. On this occaision Chef Tooty also selected the following ingredients…

Olive oil,  a mixture of grated Cheddar and Mozzarella cheese, the aforementioned pasta, a courgette, carrots, a pepper, an onion, and some minced beef. He would have added tomatoes, but he didn’t spot them on the top shelf of the fridge door until it was too late. Of course he could have used an alternative to the beef that’s based upon beans or fungus. It wouldn’t have tasted the same, of course; but it’s use would be helped to save the planet. Cow fart is a greenhouse gas after all. And a nasty one at that!

Now Chef Tooty doesn’t like to hang about. If his meal takes three quarters of an hour to prepare and cook it’s apt to get him riled. So it’s Shortcutsville for him whenever possible. First up  – he doesn’t bother boiling the water in a saucepan: he uses a bloody kettle. But first he likes to splash some olive oil in the pasta pan…

…to stop the pasta sticking to the bottom, which really annoys him and wastes his time. Then it’s chuck the tagliatelli into the pan and pour over the boiling water…

Notice he’s already boiling a second load of water. You never know when you’re gonna need some more. It’s always handy to have it hot and ready to go. What did Don Covay say in his 1975 hit record ‘It’s Better to Have‘? Yeah – it’s better to have and not need, than to need and not have. Very wise man that Don Covay: should have had more hits.  Anyway, on with the show…

Whilst the water comes back to the boil, Chef Tooty has whizzed through dicing the veggies. Note that he has removed some cheese from the pack. This is to allow it to gain room temperature prior to being sprinkled upon the gloriously wonderful finished product. Then he chucked the carrot into some pre-heated olive oil. Carrots, like all root vegetables, are bastards and don’t like being cooked. Consequently they take longer to soften up than more reasonable veggies. After a couple of minutes he added the onion…

A couple more minutes and in went the beef…

Naturally he had to keep stirring the mess like buggery. Because beef releases it’s own juices, it was important that he not use too much oil at the beginning. So – remember this everybody – stirring stops burning on the bottom. No one likes a burnt bottom – least of all Chef Tooty…

Meanwhile Chef Tooty has placed a lid upon the pasta pan and turned the heat down. This saves energy, which is good for his wallet and the planet. It does result in spillages…

…but if incessantly cleaning them up, as you go along, can be considered an enjoyable challenge, it’s almost fun. Almost – but not quite. Plus there’s the added bonus of reducing steam within the kitchen, which might cause black mould to form on the ceiling, or stop the inevitable laundry on the clothes horse in the corner of the room…

…from drying properly. 

Once the beef was browned and clearly no longer raw, Chef Tooty added the courgette and the pepper. This was the first of two ingenious acts. Because the courgette cooks slightly quicker than the pepper, when the courgette is ‘done’, the pepper still retains a degree of delightfully fresh crispiness. Is there a real  word called ‘crispiness’? It doesn’t look right written down like that. Who cares: carry on.

He fried this concoction for several minutes – stirring and turning it over most attentively. Then the second act of genius occurred.  As you probably know, Chef Tooty doesn’t like pissing about with spices and pastes and supposedly clever stuff: he likes things out of packets and jars. So he pulled this out of the cupboard…

It said ‘pasta sauce’ on the label – and surely that’s all a decent chef needs to know. So he slopped it into the pan: sploshed  some water about in the jar to get out the dregs, and added that too. Then it was simmer-time until the firm white flesh of the courgette became dull and slightly less opaque – bordering upon vaguely transparent at the edges – rather like his buttocks. But that’s being pedantic. Then came a moment of simple, inspired logic: if the courgette looked cooked, everything else must be!

By now the pasta had boiled itself into submission and was drained. It was then slopped on to the pre-warmed plates – microwaved naturally –  quickly followed by the bollock nose, and a topping of cheese…

Then, after delivering the meals to their intended victims, and quickly remembering to feed the dogs, it was time for Chef Tooty to pour himself a congratulatory half-glass of ginger beer and tuck into what was left…

Bon…uh…thingy!

 

Revel in the Ribaldry 15

Since this series of excerpts from my wondrously fabulous Hamster-Sapiens e-books appears to be fulfilling a desperate need deep within the bosom of so many, here’s another one. Of course, numerically at least (if not artistically) it must come from the majestic…

Yes, Danglydong Dell Diaries – not only a sequel to Fanfare for the Common Hamster, but to The Psychic Historian too. I mean, what else could you want from a book? And here is that random extract…

Wendy Nuthatch knew better than to return to the dais. Like Horatio before her, she had read the program. In fact she’d written it, so was well aware that to step upon the dais now would invite disaster. Instead she merely checked her watch, folded her arms against the increasingly chill winter breeze, and sat back to watch.

Into the same chill winter breeze stepped Joan Bugler. As was usual for the young, if plump, female – she appeared out of thin air. She then reached back into the invisible realm from which she had just arrived, and yanked through a prissy-looking fellow in bright red tights, a huge floppy hat, and a colourful, gold braided, jerkin. He carried with him a long dull-metal trumpet.

Once the brightly-bedecked apparition had recovered from the transition from one reality to another, he promptly put the trumpet to his mouth and blew a pleasant little ditty that had the first five rows tapping their toes in time with it. Those further back lacked natural rhythm, but appreciated the melody nevertheless.

The tune only lasted a few moments. Joan then stepped to the microphone.

“Did anyone recognise the tune?” She inquired.

Naturally no one did, but Horatio was excellent at putting two and two together, and correctly guessed that it was the recently rearranged, funked-up, version of Fanfare for the Common Hamster.

Joan pointed at Horatio and grinned. “I thought you’d figure it out. Can you guess what happens next?”

Horatio didn’t just want to guess; he wanted to be an active participant. Leaping from his seat, and dashing forward, he reached out to Joan’s paw, and said, “May I?”

Joan had once experienced non-reproductive sexual intercourse with Horatio. They now enjoyed a near-telepathic talent for understanding each other’s needs. “Of course.” She replied, and helped Horatio on to the dais.

To Horatio alone she said, “Reach into Prannick Horatio.”

Naturally Horatio didn’t need further prompts. He lunged with his free paw into the undetectable portal, grabbed hold of the first thing that he found there, and yanked as hard as he could. His paw returned clutching a spectacular plume that had been fashioned from the feathers of some exotic bird. The plume came attached to a huge brass helmet. And attached to the brass helmet was the heir to the throne of Sponx – Darkwood Dunce – and he didn’t look best pleased.

“I say!” He bellowed in a disturbingly effeminate voice that he quickly brought under control, and duly continued in a more testosterone-enriched tenor, “Have a care, cur; don’t you know who I am?”

It was a great show, and the people of Hamster Heath applauded loudly, which gave Horatio time to regain his seat.

Abruptly aware that he and Joan were not alone, Darkwood immediately doffed his helmet; made a sweeping gesture that might have been a bow; winked at Joan; and then called, “Greetings good people of Hamster Heath. I’m just so thrilled to be here. Really I am.”

“We’re thrilled that you’ve agreed to appear.” Nurse Growler, from the local surgery, called out in response. “It’s not every day that we get to meet the heir to a kingdom in our dinky little town.”

“Why thank you, fair maid.” Darkwood nodded in satisfaction. “It is not every day that I am so privileged to stand before an audience of such class and breeding.”

“Breeding?” Huck Ballesteroid’s startled tones filled the dell. “Is that big poofter suggesting that we start breeding? Well I’m all for it: I’ve always had an eye for Nurse Growler. She’s a right miserable-looking sod, but I bet she goes like a race-prepped go-kart.”

Nurse Growler might not have been the most friendly and caring of nurses, but she had always been extremely professional, and was never short of medical equipment should the need arise. She could usually lay a paw upon some important implement – night and day – becalmed or tempest – sober or totally rat-arsed. And so she did that night in Danglydong Dell. From somewhere (no one could honestly say that they witnessed its appearance) Nurse Growler produced a heavy cast iron enamelled bed pan.

Upon the dais Darkwood flinched. He’d never seen a bedpan before, and feared that it was some terrible advanced form of weaponry. And he was right. Nurse Growler stood up, pushed Doctor Growbag’s head between his knees so that she had room to swing, and proceeded to revolve upon the spot – building up speed with every turn – until she launched the bedpan with all the skill and fury of a rodentolympic hammer thrower. The bedpan then sliced through the air in a rising arc like a startled sparrow with a veterinarian’s thermometer up its jacksey.

In his bath chair Huck Ballesteroid had a terrible sense of foreboding. Ever since childhood he’d been certain that one day this moment would come. And now it had arrived – not on the battlefield as he’d hoped – but in Danglydong Dell; on a winter’s night; with everyone watching. He sighed in the face of dreadful inevitability and made his peace with his chosen deity.

The bedpan, when it arrived, came out of the dark night sky like a silent meteorite, or an avenging dirigible passenger’s frozen turd. It caught Huck directly between the eyes – knocking him senseless, and pitching him backwards into the lukewarm water of his bath chair.

For a moment utter silence reigned. Then Horatio (who had history with Huck) cheered like a hamster possessed, and within a heartbeat the entire dell had erupted with a cheerful chorus of hoorahs.

Darkwood didn’t know what to make of it. So he leant forward and spoke into the microphone, and said, “I say, do you want to hear my tale, or not?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Fantasy? The writers of Game of Thrones should have read this book before they wrote that series. Imagine how much better it would have been – especially the ending! But that’s by-the-by: they didn’t, and the world’s a sorrier place for their omission. But you can still buy this tale of derring-do at most e-book retailers – some of which are mentioned on the sidebar or in Tooty’s Books Available Here beneath the header. Also check out the Lulu logo on the sidebar.

 

Revel in the Ribaldry 14

Fourteenth excerpt means it must be from the fourth book. In a world gone mad, it’s the only logical thing thing to do…

Yes, the book that everyone ignores. Well please don’t ignore this extract: it’s rather nice – in a vile sort of way. And here it is – entirely chosen by our best chum, random chance…

Tutu, meanwhile, had not been visited by the time-travelling Wetpatch. He was still under the illusion that he had until eternity to reach Hamster-Britain aboard Droop’s private submarine. In fact he was rather pleased at the prospect of a long ocean journey because he believed it would take that long for him to comprehend the rudiments of the euphonium. It wasn’t enough that he should learn to play the instrument: In order to become a virtuoso he must understand its inner workings, and merge his soul with it. Fortunately for the cross-eyed twit, the ship’s computer enjoyed the luxury of an artificial intelligence component. It was just this that saved Tutu from a dreadful demise…

“Hey, Honey.” The computer whispered in its seductive female voice, “I have some disturbing facts lined up for y’all.”

Tutu didn’t enjoy being in receipt of disturbing facts. In fact he hated them worse than penile thrush – especially when it interfered with a really unimportant task.

Looking up from the rear inspection panel of the euphonium, he snapped, “What is it? Can’t you see I’m busy!”

“I’m sorry, Sugar.” The A.I replied, “But I don’t have any conception of the word ‘busy’. I understand it’s meaning in the literal sense – that being how it’s described in the National Dictionary of Hamster-Britain: But its relationship to you, Honey, is lost to me.”

“The facts! The facts!” Tutu uncharacteristically lost his cool. “I have a flange weeble to adjust you know!

“Well here it is, Tutu, honey: You’d best be strapping your masculine rodent body into something real soft, and get this vessel out of here real quick, baby – coz the volcano at Perineum is going to explode, and y’all well within the blast radius.”

Tutu was well acquainted with blast radii: He’d been in too many of them during his years of servitude to Professor Desmond Squealch.

“Fluff!” He yelled, and jabbed frantically at the High Velocity Button that stood proud from the dashboard, with flashing L E Ds highlighting it in a most spectacular fashion. “Is this ship warp-capable?”

It was a foolish question, and Tutu knew it; but he hoped for the best anyway.

“Well, Honey,” the computer’s seductive voice said after several seconds of cyber-cogitation, “there is the experimental Z-Drive. Y’all could give that a try.”

Tutu had never heard of a Z-Drive. In fact he wondered if the computer wasn’t playing some ghastly trick upon him, and had made it up on the spur of the moment.

“Z-Drive?” He heard himself query. “Is that some sort of experimental propulsion system that Professor Squealch included in this vessel by accident?”

“Well, Tutu, sugar, you get five out of ten for logical deduction from scant data: But you aint entirely right.” The computer’s sultry tone hadn’t moderated despite the seriousness of the situation, and Tutu found it hard to concentrate: And his trousers kept flapping uncontrollably too. “It’s a means to tap into the underwater equivalent of hyperspace:” It continued. “It’s called Moister-Space – and if you want to live to an old age, you should open the hidden panel above your head; pull down the cord you find dangling in there; then hang on for dear life. The Z-Drive is experimental, unproven, barely out of the theoretical stage, and highly intoxicating.”

“That may be the case,” Tutu managed to reply coolly, “but will it get my furry rear end out of here?”

The computer’s response was equally chilly. “Yes, but I have no idea where we’ll find ourselves afterward. It could mean instantaneous loosening of the bowels.”

Tutu mulled this over for perhaps fifteen nanoseconds. Then a warning klaxon nearly made him burst from his seat like gerbil with a scalded rectum.

“Warning.” A defence mechanism overrode the hamster/computer companion interface. “Unimaginably vast shock-wave approaching. Batten down the hatches. Put away the best crockery. Collision imminent.”

Tutu didn’t waste a second more prevaricating. There really was no other decision that he could make. Circumstances minimized his options to one.

“Operate the Z-Drive now.” He yelled above the tumult, and yanked on the cord.

“Initiating primary use of the Z-Drive in ten seconds.” The computer became terribly professional now that it had been given a clear and concise instruction. “Ten, nine, eight…”

Such dire straits brought out the worst in Tutu, and instantly his fine veneer of civilisation was torn away by the abrasive nature of the situation. “I said now – you cybernetic asshole!” He roared in his most inelegant tone.

Naturally the computer did what any well-designed computer would do in such a situation. It hurried through the remaining digits in triple-quick time, and the Z-Drive was duly initiated.

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Now does that strike you as the sort of book that people gleefully overlook? I can’t understand it. Anyway, whatever, it remains available at most e-book outlets. So, if you’ve chosen not to ignore this amazing literary piece, some of the better-known ones are mentioned on the Tooty’s Books Available Here page beneath the header.

 

Revel in the Ribaldry 13

The thirteenth excerpt from the Hamster-Sapiens series of e-books features this magnificent work…

Surely the greatest book about sentient hamsters that has – or will ever be – written. Well I think so anyway. It’s certainly my favourite. Here goes…

Several minutes were wasted as Sorbresto Titt scanned the mass of fur and flesh that sat before him – searching out an involuntary nervous twitch, or a stray mental burp. But his search was fruitless: Everyone appeared to have turned to stone, and their brain activity reduced to hibernation levels.

Then Lionel had an inspired thought…

“Hey,” he bellowed loudly into the microphone, “Did anyone notice that the last history lesson came from a location that lies north of Hamster Heath? Well it did – and there hasn’t been too many of them. In fact I can’t think of any at all. Now I wonder why that is?”

This was just the catalyst that Sorbresto had sought. Hamstery fugues were escaped, and the naturally inquisitive minds of the rodent crowd began to reassert themselves.

“Might be coz it’s bloody cold up in the north of Hamster-Britain.” Farmer Jacksey postulated his most recent theorem.

“Oh yes indeed.” Beryl Bogbreath threw her considerable weight behind Jacksey’s statement. “And in the Extreme North it’s cold enough to freeze your tits off in the winter – so they say. I’ve not been there, or anything; so I wouldn’t know from personal experience.”

Quite where this was leading was anyone’s guess – and pretty much everyone was figuring on it leading nowhere at all. But then Beryl had a second thought…

“Chester.” She squealed with a sudden recollection.

“Beryl.” Chester Bogbreath responded coolly.

“Didn’t your family come from somewhere north the northiest place of most northern Hamster-Britain?” Beryl asked/stated.

If a smile could resemble a drunkard’s vomit – that’s what the mayor’s smile did at that precise moment. Chester did indeed hail from the most northern extent of the land – and he’d been trying to hide the fact his entire political career. No hamster in modern times had admitted to being a furry northerner, and remained in office. And a matching accent was the purest form of poison known to political hamsterdom. Quite how his wife had discovered the identity of his forebears eluded him for the moment. Perhaps he’d spoken of his childhood whilst hopelessly drunk, or asleep, or during a moment of ecstasy. But whatever the reason – all of Hamster Heath were now aware of the fact.

‘Or are they?’ he thought secretly, ‘I could always deny it, and call my wife a stupid bitch. Yes that’s what I’ll do – only I’ll leave out the stupid bitch bit: That could lose me a few votes and a whole week’s rumpy-pumpy’.

“What, in the name of the Saint of All Hamsters’ made you think that, dear?” he said rather too loudly to be entirely convincing.

“Because it’s true.” Sorbresto called out clearly as he strode to the edge of the stage, and looked directly down upon Chester. He then tapped the side of his head, and whispered, “Psychic – remember?”

“Well of course you’re absolutely right.” The vomit-ridden smile turned mellifluous. “I have a proud heritage. The Extreme North is a wonderful place: Who wouldn’t be proud of a lineage that stretched in a northerly direction?”

“A proud heritage, eh?” Sorbresto said as he invited Chester to join him, “Let’s take a look, shall we? Or are you scared of what we might find?”

Chester could tell when he was being manipulated – and this strange alien hamster was very good at it. He was placing him in a virtually untenable situation. He couldn’t refuse – people would say, ‘what does he have to hide?’ Conversely if he accepted the challenge – everyone would soon learn that he really did have something to hide.

‘What’s best?’ He asked his inner self, ‘to have them suspect – or to have them know for certain? What might the ramifications be?’  His inner self answered in an instant. ‘If they suspect something – they’ll think that you’re a sneaky bastard. Chances are they won’t vote for you come election time – and some of the more argumentative types might assault you in the street – with their fists. But if you confess the terrible crime of your heritage – they’ll think that you’re  just about the most honest politician that they’ve ever met – vote you in for another term – and possibly Molly Horseblanket might caress your private parts for you in the sanctity of your mayoral limousine.’

Chester was shocked: He’d no inkling that he’d ever desired Molly Horseblanket – or any part-time prostitute for that matter. This inner revelation caused his tongue to betray him…

“What do you think I should do, Molly?” he whispered.

For the briefest moment Molly stood mute with surprise. She simply couldn’t understand why the mayor would be asking for her opinion. Then she noticed the tiniest amount of lolling in his tongue department – and like some form of carnal epiphany it all became clear to her. This was her chance to get on the inside of the local council, and she wasn’t going to blow the opportunity.

“Go for it, Chester.” She whispered back, and winked suggestively.

“I accept your challenge, strange alien hamster.” Chester announced as he clambered upon the stage. “Do your worst: This politician has nothing to hide.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Naturally this e-book is available at an e-book stockist of your choice. After seven years on release it’s pretty omnipresent.  But then, why wouldn’t it be? Quality always prevails.

A Tale of Three Museums (part 66)

The Zephyr remained quiescent for another hour – cooling down and shedding any residual radiation. But shortly after fifteen o’clock a group of guards came for the thieves, and soon had them marching into a long, low-ceilinged room that lay in the heart of Scroton Prime – where they were surprised by a phalanx of Ethernet Cable Ends that stood silently at attention at either side of them…

Naturally the un-worldly-wise Gideon assumed the worst:

“Oh lummy, Flaxwell.” He groaned. “It’s a firing squad: and just to make sure they don’t miss, they’re going to shoot us from both sides!”

But Flaxwell wasn’t overly concerned: he’d already noticed the absence of weapons. He also noted that not one cable end looked grim and determined. Or if they did, it was because they weren’t used to standing to attention for any period of time beyond a couple of minutes, and their feet hurt like heck.

“Nah, Giddy.” He replied. “I don’t think so.”

This relieved Gideon somewhat, but a ripple through the right-hand rank made Flaxwell begin to question his optimism…

But a second ripple, through the left-hand rank, returned his sense of well-being. Clearly someone important was about to appear; and, as everyone knows, important people get less important people to do their dirty work for them…

And both earplugs confidence grew when a third earplug, who introduced herself and Wilma Lozenge – Ambassador from Earth, joined them in the spotlight…

“I’m here as a witness.” She said with a soothing tone of voice that Gideon, in particular, found most attractive.

“Goodie.” He said. “Wilma is such a lovely name.”

“Just not quite so sure about ‘Lozenge’.” Flaxwell joked.

But neither earplug was prepared for what happened next…

Walker Crabtrouser, the Chief of the Scrotonic Armed Forces, kissed them on both cheeks and said: “It is an honour – brave earplugs.”

Surprise then turned to astonishment, when the founding father of Scroton – The Golden One – or Nigel, as he preferred to be known – approached them…

As Nigel stopped before them, Gideon and Flaxwell gulped as one…

“I once knew Magnuss Earplug.” Nigel said to them. “I believe that we were friends. Well I let him use my lavatory several times, so I guess you could say we were friends. He was a great ally to Scroton – at a time when our fledgling world most needed one. Together we flew in Scoton’s first space vessel. It was quite a ride – I can tell you. And you’ve had quite a ride yourselves – so they tell me.”

Nigel paused – hopeful of some response. But Gideon and Flaxwell were too enthralled to think sensibly. “Ooh – right.” They said. “Yeah.”

The bright spotlight then dimmed…

“Doctor Gideon Snoot and Space Pilot Flaxwell Maltings,” the ancient cable end spoke with surprising volume, “you are exonerated from any blame regarding the ‘theft’ of the Scroton Five, henceforth to be known as ‘The Zephyr’, and the abduction of the vessel’s A.I – also known as The Oracle. Furthermore, you are both to be applauded for returning the aforementioned vessel – complete with special guest – that being The Portal of Everywhere.”

“Noodles.” Gideon interrupted.

“Noodles?” The Golden One questioned.

“Noodles?” Wilma Lozenge and Walker Crabtrouser queried as one.

“Poodles?” The twin phalanx of soldiery mumbled.

“No – Noodles.” Gideon corrected them.

“It’s all in the ship’s log.” Flaxwell offered. “I entered it when we were in hyper-space – just after escaping the pursuing Scroton Five.”

“Oh,” Nigel nodded his head in understanding. “Noodles it is then. I really must get someone to read that log. Quite an oversight on our part.”

Nigel then added:

“Now, if you would care to walk with me, I have someone who would like to have a little word in your ear.”

So they did…

…and before long they found themselves confronted by Captain Hissenfrapp…

…who introduced himself and his crew to the two earplugs.

“You two led me a merry dance.” He said. “By rights your atoms should be spread across the cosmos; but when my crew and I discovered that you had allies from an entirely higher plain of existence, we realised that resistance was futile, and so made directly for home.”

“Only to get straight into a fight.” Urchie Kakkapo chipped in.

This seemed to embolden the others.

“One we were quickly losing.” Nobbington Sprake added.

“Until you arrived with all blasters…ah…blasting.” Selma Ferkins said as she shivered with goose bumps at the recollection.

“Yeah,” the young midshipman, Willum Poobs said eloquently, “you blew the crap out of them. Their sort won’t bother Scroton again – I can tell you!”

“Oh, thanks very much.” Gideon replied. “It was a lucky shot. Well, when I say ‘lucky’: I was aiming. It’s not like I closed my eyes and hoped for the best or anything.

“No, I’m sure you weren’t.” Nigel said with a chuckle. “But neither of you needed to risk your lives in a fight that wasn’t yours. But you did: so if it’s alright with you, I’d like you to walk ahead of me…

…towards the exhibition hall.”

With twin fixed smiles the daring duo did just that.

“Why are we going to the exhibition hall, ah…Golden One?” Flaxwell asked.

“Because,” Nigel replied slowly, “you are going to be reunited with your ship and it’s crew.”

Our ship?” Gideon said incredulously. “You’re giving us the Zephyr?”

Both earplugs were so surprised that they began to dawdle. In fact they slowed so much that Nigel had to give them a gentle kick up the arse…

“Oh, I’m so happy,” Gideon yelled as the phalanx applauded their departure, “I could vomit!”

“Me too.” Flaxwell yelled back. “Only without the vomiting bit of course. Imagine the sort of places we’ll be able to go.”

“I am.” Gideon replied. “I am.”

And he was too!

The End

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

The three e-books that comprise this trilogy are dedicated to my late wife, Linzi, who (for years) not only put up with me shooting the pictures and writing Earplug Adventure manuscripts; but actively participated – finding props and earplugs for me.

 

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 65)

Before long the planetary tractor beam had pulled the Zephyr down to the surface. In fact the space craft had arrived in the industrialised zone of Scroton Prime…

…and now hovered scant microns from the hard concrete-like ground. Naturally Noodles – the Portal of Everywhere – was less than impressed with the smoke and particulates in the air, and duly said as much…

“A civilisation that relies upon agriculture is a civilisation that is going nowhere.” The Oracle argued. “Everyone knows that.”

“That’s right.” Gideon said from his seat beside Flaxwell. “I’m an anthroplugologist: I know all about this sort of thing. It doesn’t matter what life-form it is – without technology, its inhabitants will remain firmly planted in their point of origin – never learning anything of what lies beyond their horizon – both actual and mental.”

“Without industrialisation,” Flaxwell added, “you’d still be face-up in that ditch in the Balsac Nebula.”

“That would be the Great Balsac Nebula.” Noodles reminded the redundant pilot. “But I take your point. It’s just a pity that it has to be so harmful to those using it and the environment. And you’re wrong about all life-forms, Gideon. If I get the chance I’ll show you a species that grow earthquake-proof sky-scrapers out of their own excrement. Quite remarkable.”

“Also quite a business opportunity for any air freshener manufacturers too.” The Oracle quipped.

“Hmm,” Noodles replied, “you’ve got me thinking there. I can show you the pictures and present the sounds of anywhere in any era: but the aroma of a scene is always absent. An oversight, by my creators perhaps?”

“Maybe you could hand out some of those cards that people can scratch, then sniff the artificial pong that relates to the current scene.” Flaxwell suggested. “For example, were you to display the tower blocks made from plop, the scratch card could smell of…”

But he got no further, because the Zephyr was being drawn through the city at a most amazing velocity…

   

“Some ride!” Gideon remarked. “I wonder where it’s taking us.”

But then, just as quickly as it had begun, the journey ended…

“You realise where we are, don’t you, Giddy?” Flaxwell cried out.

“Oh, the irony of it.” Gideon replied. “Oracle – do the Cable Ends understand irony?”

“Irony?” The Oracle responded in a puzzled tone. “Is that a less advanced form of steely?”

“I imagine – if that is possible for a Portal of Everywhere,” Noodles spoke, “that the owners of this craft are merely being practical. This vessel is a sales model: it belongs upon a pedestal where prospective buyers can study it. Oh look, as usual, I’m right.”

With those words still reverberating around the control room in a cacophony of echoes, the Zephyr settled upon its plinth…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

Revel in the Ribaldry 12

The excerpt on this occasion must come from this book…

It’s the rules. As per usual  the selection is made by random chance. Good old random: you can always rely on him. Oh, look, here it is…

As per instructions from Fabian Strangefellow, Roosevelt Teabiscuit duly intercepted Felicity Bugler as she exited The Institute Of Hugely Important Studies, and was not surprised to be invited to walk the young dormouse home. Only when he discovered that they were well on their way towards the wastelands that bordered the petrified forest and The Green Mucus Home For Old Bastards did he begin to have misgivings concerning his employer’s plan. It was most decidedly the ‘wrong’ end of town in which to be found at night. But not all was doom and despondency for the small male dormouse: En route they encountered several roadside rhubarb trees, and despite her obvious attraction to him, at no time did Roosevelt feel the need to fight off Felicity’s ardent sexual advances because, of course, there were none. The reason for this became clear as they skirted the industrial estate: Felicity paused to ignite a thistle cigarette, and by the light of the flaring match Roosevelt could see that she was very slightly younger than himself, and was yet to be influenced by the persuasive aromas of hot young bodies and the presence of strong, silent, rhubarb trees.

Roosevelt was about to introduce the subject of her mental exercises at The Institute for Psychic Rodent Research when Felicity cried out in gleeful surprise…

“Well fluff me: Would you look at that!” She said, pointing toward a row of lock-up garages, “That’s one of Joan’s crossover points into Prannick: I wonder if I can see through the wall?”

This was almost too much for Roosevelt. His plan was working so well that it came close to making his trousers flap with joy.                                                                “Indeed.” He said in a calm tone that perfectly disguised his excitement.

It never occurred to Felicity to try out her potential psychic skills by attempting to see inside the garage. Instead she simply broke the ageing lock with a single karate chop, and let herself inside.

Fortunately Roosevelt always carried his favourite Timmy the Twonk Engine wind-up torch. Most young people of Hamster Heath did so since it had become known that the town’s only Hero of All Hamsterdom – Horatio Horseblanket – was very keen on them, and owned several of each model in a multitude of hues. It took several twists of the large blue knob on the side to fully charge the capacitor. But when at last the meter read ‘full’, Roosevelt unleashed a beam of such incandescence that he thought it might actually burn its way through the wall, and advertise their illegal presence to all and sundry. He needn’t have worried. The sudden arrival of Tybrow Mooney through the same wall placed the tall hamster directly in the beam’s way, and instead of devastating the brickwork, it ravaged the mean rodent’s eyesight so badly that he screamed incoherently, and cast a huge bowl of gold coins in their direction.

Naturally neither dormouse waited to see what would happen next: Instead they fell to the floor, and began sweeping the fallen coins into large internal pockets that Dormice always have stitched into their coats, and sometimes their cardigans too. They didn’t see Mooney turn about in a eye-streaming panic, feel his way back to the wall, then disappear though it. But they did hear the almost inaudible ‘pop’ of displaced air as he receded into the alternative dimension. Suddenly heedless of the great wealth dragging at her, Felicity hauled herself and her bulging coat to the wall, whereupon she placed her forehead to the rough surface, spread her fingers as wide as her tiny paws would allow, and concentrated…

What she ‘saw’ upon the other side of reality could only have occurred because of the close proximity of the psychic catalyst – Roosevelt Teabiscuit. She saw Mooney race from his bedroom, then barrel down the stairs that led to the bar, screaming, “Law Master: Law Master: They’re back!”

Perfidity Gallowsmith, better known to the residents of Weasels Pit as The Law Master, was carousing in a most unladylike fashion in the Rancid Maggot Inn. She had already shown her knickers to various members of the clientele several times, and was in the middle of exposing one of her huge furry mammary glands to Quentin Blackheart, who was equally drunk (and secretly hamster-sexual) when Tybrow Mooney burst into the bar from the back room.

“Law Master – come to my room:” He bellowed as he pointed back along the way he had just come, “I have something to show you!”

Perfidity Gallowsmith spluttered with great mirth at this exhortation. “No,” she waved a drunken finger in her best admonishing manner; “it is I who has something to show you!”

With that the huge furry mammary gland appeared from inside her leather jerkin – slapping Blackheart about the cheek pouches as it did so. She then proceeded to jump up and down several times to increase the shock-effect.

The Law Master knew instinctively that in the morning she would regret this brazen act, and that her pectoral muscles would ache abominably. But she also knew that Quentin Blackheart would ‘lean’ upon any witnesses, so that no one beyond these four walls would ever learn of her disgusting weakness of the flesh.

Mooney paused to savour the moment. He licked his lips appreciatively. Then he then took a few discrete photographs with a digital camera that he kept hidden behind his Official Booze Purveyor badge.

‘Perhaps’ he thought quietly to himself, ‘I can use this as evidence against her. Maybe I’ll get that roll in a shallow ditch with her after all.’

Then it was back to business for him…

“You don’t understand,” He cried out plaintively, “They’ve found me again. The prisoners must have escaped. If we go now we can slay them like the curs they are!”

In her drunken state Perfidity didn’t realise that Mooney had misidentified his pursuers: She assumed, reasonably enough, that The Abbot had assumed his duties as a spy for her against the Stix. But she was too inebriated to think coherently beyond this point.

“Thank you very much, that won’t be necessary.” she slurred whilst popping her wayward tit into its cosy chain mail chest-hammock, “But you can lead me to the bog-hole? I think I’m about to puke vastly.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

This e-book remains on sale at many outlets – some of which are mentioned on the sidebar and on the Tooty’s Books Available Here page beneath the header. As you can easily see – it’s…ah…fab!

 

The Tale Wags Again

Were you to visit my publishers – Lulu.com – you would discover that this e-book…

…is now available to buy, at a very reasonable price. And were you to purchase said literary and photographic wonder, you would be pleased beyond measure.

P.S Other distributors – like Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple, etc to follow shortly

A Tale of Three Museums (part 59)

Meanwhile Gideon and Flaxwell were still trying to avoid going all gooey-eyed – when the Portal of Everywhere suddenly decided to initiate a Rose Pink Alert, which startled the two earplugs…

“What the flipping heck is Rose Pink Alert?” Flaxwell asked and complained at the same time.

“Time you two weren’t here.” Noodles replied, both loudly and cryptically.

Gideon was about to inquire further, when, in the distance, incandescent flares descended upon the snow-covered valley floor…

Despite the considerable distance from where they now stood, and the unforgiving terrain all about, both earplugs elected to run in the direction of the grounded Zephyr. But they hadn’t taken more than a half-dozen steps, when energy bolts struck the surface around them…

“By the Saint of All Earplugs,” Flaxwell shouted above the din of multiple detonations, “this is exactly as Noodles foretold it!”

Naturally Gideon replied with, “Aaargh!”

Meanwhile, aboard the quiescent Zephyr…

…the ship’s Oracle was experiencing a Rose Pink Alert of its own – only it called it Crimson Alert…

It was doing it’s best to look in every direction at the same time.

“Cripes,” it yelled to an empty control room, “do my sensors deceive me? Are the guys under attack from another Scroton Five? How did I not detect its approach? But enough of these useless questions: this is no time for wasteful self-reproach: it’s time for action: and no one does ‘action’ better than me!”

At that particular moment, Gideon and Flaxwell had just arrived back at their original location…

“Noodles,” Gideon cried out in desperation, as random fire rained down from upon high, “you’re an ancient device of fabulous complexity: surely you must have some defensive capability!”

“Why would I?” The Portal of Everywhere replied. “Would you expect an encyclopaedia to protect itself from some heathen who chose to use it as a door stop, furniture levelling device, or a murder weapon? Of course you wouldn’t. So, no, I don’t have any defensive capability.”

“But these random shots from upon high,” Flaxwell wailed. “One of ’em is bound to get us eventually!”

“I am sorry, Flaxwell Maltings.” The stentorian voice boomed above the sound of blaster hits, “but….”

But it never finished its line; because – just in the nick of time – a matter transmitter beam latched onto the trio…

…and delivered them to the control room of the Zephyr…

Naturally all three would have thanked the Oracle more profusely than they would have thought themselves capable: but the Oracle was too busy to consider listening to overt outpourings of gratitude…

It was switching the ship’s ‘chin’ landing light to red and starting the main motor…

But it knew that its efforts would be to no avail. It was a matter of time before a deadly hit caught them amidships and detonated their energy core. In fact, if the Oracle had taken a moment to consider the situation, it would have been surprised that the Zephyr was yet to come under direct fire. Of course, what it could not possibly know was that the ship was in receipt of some divine assistance…

“Come on, you bunch of twerps,” the Supreme Being grumbled to himself as he looked down from his vantage point atop the mountain, “I don’t normally do this sort of thing. This is rather atypical of my behaviour. But I owe earplugs a debt of gratitude, so I thought I should intervene.  But I can’t keep throwing off Willum Poobs aim for eternity; he might grow suspicious. And we can’t have that: it’s against the rules!”

“I can’t understand it, Captain.” Willum moaned as Nobbington brought the Scroton Five around for another strafing run, “Every time I press the firing button, the gun shifts its aim. It’s inexplicable!”

“And really annoying too.” Hissenfrapp growled.

“Yeah,” Urchie noted from his place in the Psycho-Chef, “it almost makes you want to believe in a higher power. But, of course, that is patently ridiculous. By the way – sandwiches anybody? Cheese and ham perhaps?”

But then everyone became aware of the Zephyr making a dash for freedom…

“For goodness sake.” Selma screamed. “You clearly can’t concentrate, Willum: I told you to go to the toilet while we were still in orbit!”

Aboard the Zephyr, Flaxwell was using all of his piloting skills to hide from the Scroton Five by flying through narrow valleys…

“Over there – to the left.” The eagle-eyed Gideon yelled. “A narrow valley that runs at ninety degrees to this current one. It should carry us away from Ground Zero.”

And much to everyone’s surprise, it did…

…as the rain of fire now fell in a neighbouring vally.

“Keep us low, Flaxwell.” Gideon advised the pilot as though he was a battle-hardened guerrilla fighter;  a life-long smuggler; or a daring apple scrumper. “They’ll find us otherwise.”

So, as best he could, Flaxwell had the Zephyr hug the mountain range’s rugged terrain…

He then switched into yet another valley, which opened onto undulating countryside…

…where he opened the throttles and blasted for freedom.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

A Tale of Three Museums (part 56)

Magnuss was pleased with the news. “Good.” He said. “Well done.”

With that he stepped up to give a rousing speech…

But when he opened his mouth to speak, he realised that he had very little to say. He did manage to utter:

“Let’s all thank Vincenzo for the loan of his time machine. It’s…ah…very nice of him.”

And following three cheers for the engineer, Magnuss concluded proceeding with:

“Hair-Trigger and I will try it first. If nothing explodes, you kids from TWIT should follow. Then everyone else, okay? No pushing and shoving.”

“Does anyone want to use the toilet before we go?” Hair-Trigger asked. Then, after receiving nothing more than a wave of shaken heads, she added: “Right – here we go.”

And so they did…

Not that Nobby noticed: he was too busy trying to remember the moment. A moment he wished he could live over and over again.

And after the last earplug had passed through the circular opening of the Tubo Di Tempo – it’s inventor stepped in front of it and thought of all the money it would make him..,.

Vincenzo sighed. “Ah,” he said to the room in which history had been made, “the fame will be rather nice too. I wonder if middle-aged females will get so excited that they throw their knickers at me.”  

He then flicked the ‘Off’ switch; dimmed the lights; and sauntered off for his well-earned supper of macaroni cheese…

It came to no surprise to those who viewed this scene that the time and location shifted abruptly…

…where the Earplug Brothers; some Time Techs; and a representative of the United Stoats Seventh Calvary stood at attention and awaited the arrival of the lost travellers.

They didn’t have to wait long. Some shuffling of feet and excited voices announced the arrival of Magnuss and Hair-Trigger…

…who were so pleased to be back that they didn’t know where to look or what to say. Needless to say, the boys made up for their reticence…

…and much back slapping ensued. Whilst this took place, everyone else poured from the machine…

Naturally Rupert Piles was there to record the moment for posterity – although (he didn’t know it at the time) that posterity wouldn’t be as long as he would have expected – due in no small part to a future proton torpedo hit in the archives…

Of course Magnuss was too busy greeting his brothers to notice that the kids from TWIT had been relegated to the rear…

He was also too busy to see or hear Major Flaccid as he met them with the news that they would be charged with being Absent With Out Leave, and that their pay would be docked for the period of their absence. Sadly he was also too busy to see and hear Pixie tell Flaccid what he could do with his charges…

…as she and the boys quit their jobs.

“…And I don’t mean up your nose!” She finished.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

P.S The Seventh Cavalry appear in this extract by accident. Without my glasses on, I mistook one of their troopers for a Time Tech figure. Excuse: They’re the same shade of Toyota blue.

 

 

 

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 54)

Few people were aware. Scratch that: No one was aware that Peter Crushing held a secret desire. So, equally, no one was aware that – during afternoon tea – whilst the museum’s red corridor was deserted – the ridiculously-hatted earplug crept furtively down it…

…until he had attained a position that placed him equidistant from each end – where he began to orate a self-penned libretto. This, in itself, would have caused no harm – even to those who heard it: but, sadly, his oration quickly morphed into a pseudo-melody, which could be termed – at a stretch – as opera singing. Or singing opera…

Unfortunately for Peter, the curator’s secret passage to the arboretum passed behind the stylish wall covering against which the dozy earplug chose to stand whilst delivering his lyrics…

“Cripes,” Cushions yelled – now having recovered from the state of indignation caused by Montagu’s unforgivable ogling of earlier, “that’s coming from the red corridor. It’s ghastly. Get on your radio, you android: and get someone to shut that noise off.”

Well, as luck would have it, the young recruits of TWIT were passing quite nearby when they heard Montagu’s request for help…

“Hmm,” Chickweed Gubbin said as Montagu’s voice faded from the public address speakers, “what do you think? We’re quite nearby.”

“I don’t know what all the fuss is about.” Jeremy Farton replied. “I think the guy has a great voice. It is a guy, isn’t it? Or did someone tread on a Plugmutt?”

Pixie Taylor – ever eager for something to do – said: “I’ll go. I’ll catch up with you guys at the Cafe Puke.”

So, thirty seconds later, Cushions’ wish came true…

“Flipping heck, Mister Crushing,” she yelled at the top of her voice, “I was hoping for a cup of coffee; but that noise has just curdled all the milk!”

Peter had always been aware that his voice lacked a certain something that other singers did, which is why he wasn’t overly hurt by Pixie’s outburst…

“But what about the lyrics?” He asked. “What did you think of them?”

To which Pixie replied: “They were tender and gorgeous. So full of adoration and selfless love. I would love someone to sing those words to me.”

“Oh.” Peter replied. “That’s good – because I wrote them for you.”

Pixie smiled sweetly. “For me?” She said coyly.

“Ever since I first clapped eyes on you,” Peter confessed, “I was smitten instantaneously. So I rushed off to the nearest lavatory and wrote these heart-felt words on a length of toilet tissue.”

“Oh, that’s lovely.” Pixie gushed. “I hope it wasn’t a used tissue. Forget what I said about the curdled milk: it was a complete lie. Let’s go get ourselves a huge coffee. What do you think?”

“I think – yeah.” Peter said enthusiastically. “A really big one – we can share – with chocolate dust on top and two plastic straws!”

Meanwhile, Magnuss and Hair-Trigger were responding to a summons by Vincenzo…

Well, when they arrived, Hair-Trigger was stunned:

“What?” She squealed with almost-disbelief. “You have a fully-functional time machine finished already? You mean it’s not just those four gently-glowing lights that actually work?”

“Darned right.” Vincenzo replied. “You wanna try it?”

“No, no, no.” Magnuss yelped in semi-panic. “Time travel is all to hell at the moment. For now this is a one-shot deal. We use it once; then you shut it down – until such time that the Time Techs in the future have figured out what’s wrong with the River of Time. Well done, Enzo: you’re a real genius.”

With that he and Hair-Trigger made their farewells…

“You call me when you need my Tubo Di Tempo.” Vincenzo said as they departed, “I might be having my dinner, or maybe wooing some pretty girl, huh?”

Much further ‘meanwhile’ – upon that cold, ruined world that contained the parallel development version of the Museum of Future Technology…

…Folie and Placebo were making their way along the main thoroughfare…

They should have been glad to be back in their own quantum reality; but the chill air confirmed their theory that the borrowed power from the Brian Talbot was almost depleted…

“Placebo,” Folie said as he scurried alongside the huge polystyrene blob, “I’ve tried several toilets since we’ve got back, but none of them work properly. The U bends are all frozen solid.”

“Really?” Placebo replied. “And you’re telling me this because…?”

“I really wanna go.” Folie answered. “I wanted to go in the other reality – there wasn’t much left after the city-ship took off. You did a thesis on public lavatories in college: where do you think a usable loo might be?”

Placebo thought for a moment – before replying with:

“Heat rises. Let’s try one of the mezzanines. I know – the one on which the Angel with a Huge Nose dumped the young Magnuss.”

It was a solid theory – so shortly…

“Can you do that slightly more quietly?” Placebo complained. “I hate grunting noises: they’re so uncivilised.”

This intrusion into Folie’s personal practises urged him to hurry up. Moments later he emerged to find Placebo staring across the concourse below with something akin to awe…

“Don’t you think this is so remarkable?” The larger of the two youngsters said. “I mean that two buildings, on such distant and disparate worlds, would be so utterly identical?”

“Yeah, I s’pose so.” Folie replied. “Do you think it infers divine design?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 52)

Naturally Magnuss mentioned that Vincenzo would, one day, invent the Tubo Di Tempo…

“Whadda you know about my Tubo Di Tempo?” Vincenzo growled. “It’s a secret. I aint so much as done a drawing of it yet. I aint mentioned it to no one neither. It’s all in my head.”

“We know it’ll work.” Magnuss replied pleasantly.

“You know it’ll work nothing!” Vincenzo bellowed. “You’re just feeling me out for ideas.”

“It’s how we came here.” Hair-Trigger said – once she’d recovered from an intense desire to punch Vincenzo in the mouth. “Your Tubo Di Tempo will replace the big, bulky, and ultimately unreliable Tunnel Temporale.”

These last two words were the breakthrough that Hair-Trigger was hoping for…

“Really?” Vincenzo said in a voice that did nothing to disguise his enthusiasm and desperate hopes. “It’s better than the Tunnel Temporale? I always thought that thing was a piece of junk. So, tell me, when will I invent this time machine you travelled here in?”

“This afternoon.” Magnuss replied…

“Once we’ve given you a couple of pointers.” Hair-Trigger added.

“I don’t need no pointers.” A doubtful Vincenzo said rudely. “I got it all inside my head already.”

“And that’s where it’ll stay.” Magnuss snapped back at him. “For yonks and yonks. You’ll be middle-aged by the time you complete it.”

“Think of all those accolades you will have missed by not inventing it much earlier in your life.” Hair-Trigger whispered. “Not to mention all those royalties and residuals.”

“That you’ll get while you’re still young enough to enjoy them.” Magnuss slipped in.

“Show me.” Vincenzo said in response.

Moments later the three earplugs had moved to Vincenzo’s computer terminal…

…where Magnuss gave Vincenzo some figures that he’d learned from Valentine during their Psychic Bridge; who, in turn, had gleaned from the future version of the Tree of Knowledge.

“Hey, man,” the excited inventor exclaimed, “I would never have thought of that!”

“Actually you would have.” Hair-Trigger assured him. “But not any time soon.”

“Hey,” Vincenzo had a sudden thought, “what about my Plasmapretzel? Whadda ya gonna tell me about that little honey?”

Magnuss looked at Hair-Trigger. He really had no idea. Neither did Hair-Trigger. She said: “Never heard of it. Must have been a dud. What does it do?”

Vincenzo shrugged his shoulders. “Dunno.” He answered. “But it is kinda pretty – don’t ya think?”

Then it was back to work. Vincenzo wanted to see how Magnuss’ figures affected the results of his mental working-out…

Then he punched a few keys and fiddled with a knob or two…

….followed by a mental calculation that would have taxed a mathematician, and announced that everything was now clear to him and that…

…he couldn’t wait for the money to start rolling in.

So Magnuss and Hair-Trigger left him to his work…

“Do you think he’ll have it ready for this afternoon?” Hair-Trigger asked Magnuss doubtfully.

“Mid-day tomorrow, maybe.” Magnuss replied confidently. “We won’t have too much time cooling our heels. We’ll probably need that long to round everyone up anyway.”

Meanwhile, far away across the galaxy, and several years into the future, Folie and Placebo stood at a safe distance from the city-ship launch area…

“It’s awfully desolate out here.” Placebo observed.

“Hmm.” Folie half-replied – his attention concentrated upon the distant blast area. “Any minute now.” He whispered to himself.

But he was wrong: it was ‘any second now’. And before he had time to squeeze shut his eyes…

…BLAM…the launch motors fired!

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

P.S Nice story – huh?

A Tale of Three Museums (part 51)

The theory that the missing customers might have been hiding in plain sight accidentally was proven quickly…

…when Munqui Bannister found Bunguy Jumpur, Randy Blueprint, Dina Havoc, and Porcine Pillock studying futuristic ballistic missiles…

“What?” They shrieked after being told the good news.

Well Bungay, Dina,  and Porcine did. Randy managed a more masculine, “I beg your pardon: did you say that Magnuss Earplug has a plan for our temporal retrieval? I’m astounded. I’m more astounded than I have ever been in my life. Even more astounded than when I learned that these Mark Six Missiles are so fast that they can hit the Moon before they’ve even been launched. Now that’s pretty astounding, don’t you think?”

“How does he propose to do it?” Dina inquired.

But when Munqui replied with, “I have no idea; who cares – it’s Magnuss Earplug: nothing can go wrong.”  Randy and Porcine showed their ignorance of Museum Heroes by allowing their mouths to fall open and doubtful utterances to escape them.

“Tranquilo mis amigos.” Munqui responded calmly. “You’re all in good hands. Now be ready for the word to move. When it comes, it could be sudden.”

Ever since the group conversation in the sunny park, the thought of the two zombies – Clux and Grimnax – nagged desperately at the short-arsed earplug with a stupid hat. He’d heard that they had both taken jobs at the Thomas Blueden Project…

…where, it was hoped that  (inside several futuristic domes ) grass, capable of re-invigorating the surface of Mars, was being grown…

As he made his way between the smaller of many domes, the thought of such a project certainly invigorated the mind of (and brought a sense of well-being to) Peter Crushing. Particularly so when he approached the foyer dome…

…which allowed him ingress to the inner sanctum of grass growing expertise. A short while later – after receiving some kind directions from several staff members, he entered the Engineering section of the project where seeds were genetically manipulated, and roots were grafted, and stuff like that…

“Hi, Peter,” one of two total strangers said to him – as though they had known him for weeks, “how’s it hanging, man?”

Peter was further dumbfounded when the other said: “We wondered when you guys would show up here. Isn’t this Thomas Blueden Project just fantabulous!”

“Probably.” Peter managed. “But changing the subject slightly; I’m looking for a pair of Zombies called Clux and Grimnax: could you tell me where they’re at?”

Both earplugs laughed at this. “Pete,” the darker individual said, “it’s us. We’ve given up our lives as voluntary zombies. This place has made us new again. I’m Clux.”

“And I’m Grimnax.” The lighter of the two earplugs added. “What did you want to see us about?”

At this point, the watching Gideon and Flaxwell were left to guess at Peter’s next words. But it was pretty obvious what they were…

Then it was on to another place, but in the same museum in the same era…

The earplug to whom the watching audience was now introduced was a young inventor by the name of Vincenzo Mussalheddi, who was fiddling avidly with a device that he called The Plasmapretzel. So he was less than accommodating when Magnuss and Hair-Trigger let themselves into his workshop…

“Who are you?” He asked belligerently. He quickly followed this opening gambit with, “Whatta ya want; a punch in the face?”

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

A Tale of Three Museums (part 50)

It was the latter action that brought Nobby to his senses.  Slightly embarrassed, the golden-eyed earplug explained his mental absence in a most eloquent manner:

“I couldn’t take it no more.” He said as he fought to stem the flow of sobs that followed the opening of his huge gob. “Dislocated in the time-stream like this: it’s like an enema to me.”

Hair-Trigger sought to correct his choice of word: “You mean an anathema.”

“No.” The reply came instantly. “I know what I said. Being away from my own era has had me living in the lavatory on an almost permanent basis. So I got some of that hypnotherapy. I got hypnotised into believing that I belong here. I even got a job at the power supply facility. But they let me go: I was just rubbish at it.”

“Ditto.” Magnuss mumbled as he looked at his own feet. Then, after bringing his chin up, he added, “But no need for any more of that hypno-crap, Nobby: you’re going home, pal.”

Nobby’s mood brightened to near incandescence. “I am? How?”

How doesn’t matter right now.” Hair-Trigger replied. “We have to get the gang reassembled. Do you know where they are?”

Freed from his hypnotic state by Magnuss’ saliva splatter, Nobby’s mind was as sharp as a hat pin:

“Well,” he said, “while I go rounding up the guys and gals, you two can see about getting the kids from TWIT out of their hibernation cells.”

Well no sooner had Magnuss made the request for the suspended animation sequence to end – when it was done. Of course the first that Pixie, Jeremy, Neville, and Chickweed knew of it was when a hooter blared loudly and an intensely bright beacon began flashing.

In fact, such was the mesmeric rhythm of the beacon that Pixie Taylor found herself incapable of dragging her gaze from it. And Neville Scroat thought that an atomic bomb was about to explode. But when, moments later, everything became quiescent…

…Jeremy and Chickweed started calling out for their jailer’s attention: Pixie became aware of the CCTV camera that followed her every move; and Neville took the time to think things through.

‘I wonder,‘ he thought quietly to himself, ‘whether this hibernation stuff was such a good idea. If this really is the future, and we’re back in our own time – then surely our real selves – those being the us that has yet to visit the Museum of Future Technology – are waiting here for us. That there will, in effect, be two of all of us. How will the law recognise us? We’ll be doppelgangers!”

Aware that the four youngsters had been released from their voluntary temporal incarceration, Magnuss and Hair-Trigger made straight for the site. Naturally, to avoid confusion, and to prove that he was who he claimed to be, Magnuss wore his famous Cossack hat…

But he needn’t have bothered: by the time they met, the foursome were totally cognizant with the facts…

Well, not entirely cognizant.

“What are we doing here?” Chickweed Gubbins said in his best complaining voice. “Every second that we live in the past, we’re endangering the time-line. One simple act – such as breaking wind in a crowded elevator – could have un-thought of repercussions. Who knows – maybe we’ll never be born at all!”

It was an interesting hypothesis, and Magnuss would have enjoyed a further discussion about it; but he had better, more productive things to do…

“You’re all going home.” He said – which elevated everyone’s mood. “I have the situation in hand. So just stay out of trouble until you get the call. If you see any of your fellow customers from the future, tell them.”

The young TWIT recruits’ response couldn’t have been better if Magnuss had slipped them a five Pluggento note. They saluted smartly and said: “Yes, Sir!”

Shortly, Magnuss and Hair-Trigger returned to the park, where they hoped to meet the remainder of their fellows. But they were immediately concerned when a RoboSecGua arrived with only half their number…

“Ooer,” Magnuss wailed, “I was rather hoping for a full compliment.”

The approaching group didn’t look any happier…

…so the daring duo put on their best ‘confident’ faces…

“Hi-ya.” Hair-Trigger said cheerfully, “we certainly have a lovely day for a meeting in such a gorgeous park.”

This confused their visitors.

“But the weather is artificial.” Rosie Stinkpipe pointed out. “It’s always wonderful weather here.”

Nobby De Arenquez felt compelled to defend Hair-Trigger’s statement. “Not so.” He said. “What about that time when we had a mini ice-age? It wasn’t nice here then.”

Magnuss could see the conversation getting out of control…

…so he interrupted:

“Shut up.” He said rudely, which had the desired effect. “Now I distinctly remember coming to this era to save a lot more than just you lot and the kids from TWIT. Where is everyone else?”

The RoboSecGua replied…

“Sir.” It began politely. “We have security teams searching every nook and cranny of the museum. If they are hiding away, we will find them.”

Jemina Jobsworth thought she could see a flaw in the servo-mechanism’s logic…

“But what if they aren’t hiding?” She said. “What if they’re just going about their business – sight-seeing or something?”

“Yeah.” Peter Crushing ably supported her argument. “What about Clix and Grimnax too? They’re both voluntary zombies: your sensors won’t recognise them as living beings. They don’t breathe!

It was true. The others then threw in their two-pennies-worth…

But it was Edie Chalice who made the most pertinent point:

“I was as drunk as a lord when I visited the museum. I can’t remember squat. What if I wasn’t alone in my inebriation? What if some of us simply don’t know  we’re living in the past?”

“Or worse still,” Magnuss added…

…”that they’ve taken to the bottle since, and simply don’t care? Oh, by the Saint of All Earplugs: we have to act with utmost alacrity. Find those missing visitors: and find them fast!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020