Tag Archives: earplugs

The Set: The Scene 2

Once again, if you’ve been exposed to the Earplug Adventures for long enough, it’s likely that you can recognise a scene by it’s set. Want to prove that you really know your Earplugs? Check out the following…

For this first example, we travel economy class to the Costa Blanca for some location work…

Yup, real Spanish earplugs playing Spanish characters – in the shape of Los Tapones Del España

…as they make their way to the Museum of Future Technology in Museum of Terror.

Right, that’s the easy one out of the way. What the heck is this..?

Well it wouldn’t surprise me none if nobody in the whole world got this one right. But wait a minute: isn’t that the starship, Chi-Z-Sox, lying nonchalantly upon that glazing pallet? Hmm, so what’s with the blue background and plastic tube? The answer is this…

It’s from Plunging Into Peril, in which the Chi-Z-Sox overheated upon entering a planet’s atmosphere, and dived into the sea to cool off – much like I used to do when I went metal detecting on the same beach where I set up the Museum of Terror shots. Here we see the space ship racing through the water as it attempts to flee angry locals who believe the crew are trying to steal their duterium.

Here’s another tricky one…

“Ah,” you’re thinking, “I recognise that pink rocket: that has appeared several times as the device that brought down the invading End Cap mother ship in The Invasion From Hyperspace and other alternate reality or time-travel stories, including Evil Empire!” And you’d be right. But this doesn’t come from either of those tales of derring-do. THIS is the shot that was…ah...shot here…

It’s the nuclear missile that the KT Woo fired at an ice packaging plant in Cold War. I then cheekily used it again as an on-screen shot aboard the Chi-Z-Sox, when Professor Hidious Gout fired an entirely different missile at the island of Dr Adolf Weil-Barrau in Mutant Island.

So, to the fourth and easiest puzzle. Where have you (more recently) seen this?

Look closely. Yes, it’s those adorable characters, Lillie Whitewater and William of Porridge…

…as he utilises his fine baritone to sing ‘What Becomes of the Broken Winded’ to her at the end of Haunted Mars.

Wasn’t that fun: we’ll have to convene here again.

P.S – Don’t forget that you can read or download any of the aforementioned stories by clicking the cover pictures on the sidebar.

Earplugs without Pictures 8

Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this stupendous tale…

Click the cover pic for a FREE PDF file of the book

But before he completed the journey, the same force that had abducted Colin and Plankton, turned him into a side conduit, which was very long indeed, and only when he reached the extreme limit of the conduit, did he finally emerge into daylight…only to discover Gwen, Neezup, and Bob waiting for him in an area of mountainous wasteland.

“Hi, darling.” Gwen said. “What a relief: you’ve been possessed too!”

 At first the foursome were happy to wade through the peat and lichens of the wasteland, even if the squeeze, through the long conduit, did cause Cuthbert to become a little windy. But before long tiredness and boredom set in, and despite being under some form of mental control, they began to get a bit fed up. In fact Cuthbert and Neezup became so bored that they began singing extracts from an operetta, which didn’t please Gwen too much because she was more into classic soul/funk fusion. But Bob didn’t care: in his haste to comply with the demands put upon him by the unseen power that pulled him along, he’d forgotten to replace the batteries in his hearing aids, and so couldn’t hear a bloody thing. But he was almost thrilled when, eventually, they too discovered the secret wharf, and a nice sailing raft.

“Everybody blow really hard.” Neezup instructed the others. “We have to fill the sail with air.”

So they did, but by the time they had gained the open sea, night had fallen, and a squall had blown in from the north.

For Colin and Plankton ahead of them, the squall was quickly escalating into a storm.

“Flipping heck.” Plankton yelled above the roar of turbulent waters and lashing rain. “My underpants are soaked!”

“That’s nothing.” Colin replied. “My farts have dried up: we’re dead in the water!”

And it was in this moribund condition that the others caught up with the two friends.

“Isn’t it horrible!” Gwen shouted across the gap between the two vessels.

“It certainly is, Madam.” Colin replied hoarsely. “More horrible than you can imagine. My friend Plankton and I have been vomiting hugely for the past three hours. We have nothing left inside us, yet still we feel absolutely ghastly.”

“You think that’s bad.”  Neezup retorted. “This heavy swell forced my darling Bob to stumble and catch his knee against the mast. It’s all swollen up now.”

“Yes.” Cuthbert perked up from feeling rather unwell himself. “And the lovely Gwen slipped upon a length of storm-tossed seaweed and fell upon her arse. She’ll be pulling splinters from her shapely buttocks for hours to come!”

And so the conversation continued, whilst the rafts were buffeted hither and thither – their destination lost in the whorl of dark skies and unquenchable seas.

AND

Slomo should have been hurt by Daffney’s vicious usage of the earplug language. Mortified, even. But, because of her nervousness at meeting the unrequited love of her life, she didn’t hear her cruel words.

“Daffney De Mauritania, it’s me; your biggest fan: Slomo Chewings.” She said through her idiosyncratic lopsided smile. “I’ve disconnected the alarm system, so you can take your friends wherever you want.”

“Why would you do that?” Magnuss inquired.

“Because…” Slomo answered hesitantly. “Because, during my time here I feel I’ve come to know Daffney – if only from a distance. And, I’m not sorry to say, I’ve fallen hopelessly in love with her.”

Daffney coloured instantly.

“You’re in there, Daffney.” Magnuss joked.

“All I ask,” Slomo continued, whilst looking directly at the flushing Daffney, “is that when – whatever this is – is over, you allow me to buy you a coffee from the machine in the canteen and maybe chat awhile. Any subject: motorcycles, turnips, bras. Anything.”

“You’re on.” Hair-Trigger replied upon Daffney’s behalf. “Now keep an eye out for us whilst we visit the Sterile Area mutants. You’re now officially our look-out.”

From that moment on Daffney had been practically useless. So taken with her adoring admirer was she that she simply couldn’t think coherently. ‘She’s so cute.’ She would muse to herself. “And that lopsided smile is so endearing. And to think; she thinks I’m wonderful. Pretty, even. Oh, I’m all of a dither; I don’t know what to do!’ She didn’t either. It was pure instinct, muscle memory, and a few kicks up the arse that allowed her to lead Magnuss and Hair-Trigger back to the Sterile Area.

Naturally the two heroes left her at the door and proceeded to the habitat area alone.

It became quickly apparent that they had arrived during a sleep sequence. Speed was of the essence, so Hair-Trigger didn’t waste a moment. She began singing her favourite extract from an opera by Anton Twerp, very loudly indeed. The effect of this was a mob of mutated beings came barrelling out of their slumber pods – wondering what all the bloody racket was about.

“Line up.” Magnuss commanded them. “Come along, hurry, hurry. Line up. Line up. That’s a good band of…er… mutated anomalies. We have something very important to tell you. So perhaps we should consider telling each other our names. That’s always been a relatively good ice-breaker. I’m Magnuss Earplug. My beautiful partner, here, is Hair-Trigger Provost. She’s a bounty hunter, you know. Have you ever heard of a bounty hunter? They’re very good you know.”

Magnuss realised pretty quickly that he was running off at the mouth. So he slowed both his thought processes and his oral muscles. “Hello.” He said to a red-faced female with strange yellow eyes. “What’s your name?”

“Starry Knight.” The reply came in a pleasant contralto that reminded Magnuss of his grandmother – Granny Windbag.

“Most apt.” Magnuss said, almost condescendingly. ‘Cripes, at this rate,’ he thought, ‘this is going to take hours.’ “What about everybody else?” He asked no one in particular.

And so began an exchange of names.

The first to speak was a severely undersized rubber bung, who introduced himself as Cowpat Carlson. “Yeah,” he next said, “I used to be big and strong, but incredibly thick in the head. Now I’m tiny, but an intellectual giant. Ask me anything: I’ll give you an honest and immediate answer.”

“Can you tie your shoe laces?” Hair-Trigger inquired.

“Sorry.” Cowpat replied with a sigh. “We haven’t reached that level of development yet. But when I do…wow, my fingers will become a blur.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017

Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the Mutant Island cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.

Tooty’s Rambling Art

Whilst out walking in the rain (with a water-proof camera, of course) I chanced upon a small gully that had been worn into the side of the road by Winter’s incessant rainfall. A steep hill meant that it flowed with sufficient pace to create a micro-waterfall; so, inspired by nature, I placed my camera into the water, facing up hill. I then left the resulting photo to fester in my computer for a few weeks. Eventually I decided to do something with it. I thought that perhaps I might bring into existence another world for my Earplug Adventures. So, without any plan, I started sodding about with a free photo manipulation program – Photoscape. The resulting cyber-doodle looks like this…

The Gravity Whelk arrives on the Ice World

Who knows, it might even appear in a story one day. Talking of which, so might this shot of Magnuss creeping into a missile launch facility…

Everyone knows that back doors are always left unguarded – don’t they?

Earplugs without Pictures 7

Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this remarkable tale…

A week was to pass before the K T Woo made its next encounter. This time it was a robotic interplanetary space freighter of unknown origin. As they watched the vessel upon the main viewer, Sinclair asked Hakking: “What do you think of that piece of out-dated space junk?”

“It’s an ugly sod – and make no mistake.” Hakking replied. Then added, with a chuckle: “But not as ugly as I once was, of course.”

“Does anyone have the first idea about what it’s doing here and where it came from?” Sinclair asked his bridge crew.

“Sensors suggest that it’s full of ice, Sir.” Poxy Pilkington chirped up. “Millions and millions of ice cubes. The sort that you’d drop into a rum and cola, Sir. Or perhaps down the back of your girlfriend’s knickers when it’s a hot summer’s day and you’re a bit bored.”

“How strange.” Sinclair said as he stroked his chin intelligently. “Why would anyone go to the unbelievably vast cost of transporting ice cubes across interplanetary space?”

Elsewhere other members of the crew were asking the same question as they watched through the panoramic window as the vessel plodded along at sub-light speed…

And those who, because of their lowly rank, had been reduced to peering through skanky little port holes didn’t give a fig what it had aboard or where it was going: they just wanted to see it explode spectacularly. But even they were surprised when the freighter initiated a sudden course change.

“Hey,” Sinclair complained. “What gives, man?”

“I know.” Hakking suggested keenly. “Let’s follow it. It might lead us to something…er…really interesting.”

Sinclair then displayed surprising insight. “You mean Ship Number Fifteen?” He replied. “The Earth ship that left Worstworld without you aboard it?”

“I might do.” Hakking said defensively – suddenly aware that the captain understood his motivation and the true reason for his creation of the project that culminated in the construction of the K T Woo.

“Okay.” Sinclair said as the freighter accelerated away in a blinding cascade of ion drive power, “Let’s see where it leads us. Ahead full!”

The ice cube-carrying space freighter wasn’t particularly fast, and soon the crew grew bored with the uniformity of space. In fact many of them became depressed and began skipping their duties. Sometimes Captain Sinclair Brooch was astonished to find himself alone on the bridge.

“Holy heck,” his voice would echo around the empty room, “do I have to do everything myself?”

And even in the engine room the lights were kept dimmed so that no one could see how properly cheesed-off everyone was becoming. Then one day – no one was quite sure what day it was, because they’d pretty much given up the will to breathe – a bright light appeared dead ahead. Some jaded crew members became trepidatious. But in the engine room the resilient former end cap space pirates brought the compartment back to full illumination, because they had detected a world surrounded by huge rings of water vapour. Soon the freighter was racing across its sky – making an approach for some distant landing-place. After so long in space, the K T Woo’s bridge crew stood and stared at the view on the main screen.

Somewhat surprisingly Sinclair was the first to regain his wits: “Quickly.” He snapped at the helms-plug. “Follow that freighter!”

So minutes later the K T Woo plunged into the watery world’s atmosphere – levelling off at thirty-seven thousand feet, and Sinclair and the others gazed in wonderment. But then Serendipity Mollusc’s sensors detected an in-coming object.

“Tactical!” The Captain boomed above the flurry of terrified farts that erupted from so many nervous crew members. A split second later Serendipity placed this image upon the main viewer.

“Explain to me what I’m looking at.” Sinclair instructed Serendipity.

“Er, that’s us flying over the sea.” The subordinate replied. “We’re headed for a sandy coastline.”

“It appears to be huge island.” Hakking observed. “But where’s this in-coming object?”

As Serendipity adjusted the scope of her sensors she said: “Actually there are two objects approaching. Helms-plug: take evasive action!”

“I don’t like the look of this.” Nancy Brooch said from her chair beside her husband, as she watched two fighter jets, in an attempt to make an intercept of the alien craft, thrash their engines to within microns of self-destruction.

“It might be a welcoming committee.” Poxy Pilkington said hopefully. But she didn’t really believe what she was saying.

AND

Well, to say that Clancy was thrilled at the turn of events would be an understatement. He was cock-a-hoop. He’d never met such a wonderful being before. Neither had he saved anyone’s life either. And, most definitely, he’d never been so enthusiastically kissed before. “Gosh, Wendy,” he said, once he’d learned her name, “would you like to warm up in my snow buggy?”   

Wendy found the offer tempting. In fact she found it so tempting that she said: “Yes please!”

So whilst Wendy’s soggy knickers dried in front of the heater grille, Clancy took the opportunity to show-off and duly raced the snow buggy around at break-neck speed.

It was during a barely controlled downhill slide that Clancy had a wonderful idea…

“Hey,” he shouted above the din of icicles breaking free from Wendy’s duffle coat, “why don’t I take you to see our wonderful city below the ice?”

Initially Wendy was hesitant to accept: visiting foreign cities sans winter coat could be considered a social faux pas. But when Clancy informed her that no one wore duffle coats in the pale earplug city, she relented instantly, and began to enjoy the sensation of a stiff breeze blowing around her ear holes. Naturally Clancy hit the after-burners, and before long they were almost in sight of the frontier defences. But such was Clancy’s speed that he was upon the border guards before anyone was ready to mount a meaningful challenge or dive for cover…

“Out of the way!” Clancy shouted above the whine of his buggy’s turbine.

“Does that blue female have a duffle coat on?” One of the incredulous border guards shouted back.

Clancy didn’t have enough time to respond. Instead he leapt the buggy into the air, and shouted, “See for yourself.” as they soared above the defences and then roared away – leaving the guards deeply bemused, because they’d had no idea that blue earplug knee caps looked very much like pale earplug knee caps – only bluer, of course. Of a snorkel there was no sign. And they began to doubt the propaganda they’d been force-fed their entire lives. Not that Wendy cared one jot; because, by the time the guards had collected their thoughts and placed them into some kind of order, Clancy’s snow buggy had carried her all the way into the city.

“It’s lovely.” She gushed as she looked around. “So mysterious and cloaked in elegant shadows.”

But later she discovered even more impressive sights.

“What are these strange, yet remarkable, machines?” She asked her vertically-challenged host.

At first Clancy was confused by Wendy’s question. It hadn’t occurred to him that another civilisation might not have municipal jukeboxes. Once he’d gathered his wits, he told her. “They’re free.” He said. “Choose a song; press the button; and you can listen for as long as you want.”

“Gosh.” Wendy responded enthusiastically. “Can I choose one? After all I am a blue earplug, and it might not be allowed.”

“Go ahead.” Clancy said with a smile.

“Pick one for me.” Wendy said coyly. “Make it a love song. A really smoochy one.”

“Don’t mind if I do.” Clancy replied with a big grin spreading across his youthful face. “How about ‘Hot Soup’ by Heavy Breathin’ Bertha’?”

Moments later…

“Oh that’s lovely.” Wendy said as they slow danced together. “I think I’d like to live here for the rest of my life.”

Clancy hid his surprise well. “Come with me.” He said as the repetitive chorus faded into silence.

Moments later they were scurrying along one of the seductively lit corridors. Then, abruptly they burst into a busy thoroughfare. Then it was onwards for a meeting with the Personal Secretary of the Prime Minister and his assistant and his assistant’s buddy.

“Yeah?” The Personal Secretary grunted when Clancy introduced himself. “Whadda ya want?”

“This is my friend, Wendy.” Clancy replied. “She’s a blue earplug!”

“Tell us something we don’t know.” The Prime Minister’s Personal Secretary’s assistant said acidly.

Clancy chose to ignore the mealy-mouthed git. Instead he spoke directly to the Personal Secretary: “Wendy wants to come here and live with us pale earplugs.” He said. “She thinks our city is lovely.”

The Personal Secretary eyed Wendy up and down. “I’ve heard some weird stuff about blue earplugs.”  He said. “Apparently the females hold their heads up with a trellis-like assembly that bolts on to their shoulders, and are given it on their fifteenth birthday.”

“And both genders hide their chocolate chip cookies inside their Wellington boots!” The assistant’s buddy almost spat the words.

“Oh dear.” Clancy said as he turned to Wendy. “I’m ever so sorry, but if you want to live here you’re going to have to refute a whole slew of ridiculous preconceptions.”

“Yeah.” The Personal Secretary growled. “Good, innit?”

Well Wendy wasn’t the sort to take offence easily, and her sister’s duffle coat didn’t fit her anyway: so a short while later she and Clancy were being guided towards the Prime Ministerial chamber, via a frighteningly precipitous walkway.

The journey to the Prime Ministerial Chamber also involved walking down a long corridor, towards a concrete-hardened atom-proof bunker, where important decisions were often made.

For a brief moment the young lovers paused. Were they really ready for this?

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2016

Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the Cold War cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.

Earplugs without Pictures 6

Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this fantastic tale…

Click the cover image for the FREE complete e-book in PDF form

Meanwhile, in another part of the museum that was yet to be consumed by the terrible Zinc Machine, the four former monks of the Order of the Holey Vest from Lemon Stone, Pedro Agonista, Flaccidus Aroma, Augustus Belch, and Rodney Bunting, had rented a workshop. Now they set to work inside it. For hour upon hour they toiled – fabricating, checking stolen blueprints, hammering, welding, occasionally going to the toilet. That sort of thing. But when they reached the end of their labours, the four exhausted former monks wheeled out a ‘pirate copy’ of a genuine Punting-Modesty Sputum GT250A-Attack Cycle.

“This’ll knock ’em dead down at the cavalry stockade.” Pedro said confidently.

But he wasn’t entirely correct.

“It’s a bit big and heavy.” One of the troopers dared utter.

“Yeah, and it can’t carry passengers.” Another observed.

“Just give it a try.” Rodney pleaded. “You never know – you might find it most satisfactory. And the saddle is really easy on your bum – especially if you suffer from piles – a particular problem with cavalryplugs, or so I’ve been told. “

Joe Frayzer, who didn’t like to confess to having problems with his butt, replied gruffly: “Yeah, alright; we’ll give it a run ’round the block. It couldn’t hurt none.”

So he leapt aboard; made himself comfortable; and twisted the throttle as far back as the cable would allow. Initially the Staff Sergeant was highly impressed with the GT250A. “Cor,” he yelled above the whine of the lifting motor and the roar of the propulsion engine, “it goes like stink!”

But when he rode it over uneven ground his smile quickly transformed into a grimace.

“Sorry,” he said upon his return to the stockade, “but the machine gave my false teeth a really hard time. They were shaken so thoroughly that they’ve swapped sides inside my gob. And contrary to your verbal sales brochure, the seat gave my arse the worst pummelling since my troop was chased down the side of rocky gorge on Worstworld by a whirlwind that had sucked up a whole bunch of scorpions and tarantulas, and thrown them at us. You’ll have to build something that’s much more comfortable with better protection against wind, rain, ice storms, and high-velocity rifle bullets.”

An hour later the four former monks returned with a replica Punting-Modesty RD400F Command Buggy.

“Hmmm,” Joe hummed after giving the machine a thorough examination, “but it isn’t very offensive is it? And it comes up short on good looks, speed, and endurance. Close, but no banana.”

So ten minutes later…

“The XS360 has a ram-scoop engine.” Pedro explained. “It collects dust from the air, and burns it for fuel. Primarily it’s a long-range patrol vehicle.”

“Great,” Joe replied, “but the driver is a sitting duck in a roll-over situation.”

So a half-hour later…

“Fabulous – a TX500.” Joe said, after casting an engineer’s eye over the latest version of the war buggy. You’ve chucked out that poxy, gutless eco engine. That’s good: I always vote for a balanced combination of BHP and torque. But, ah, where’s the offensive capability?”

“Holy heck.” Augustus exploded in response. “All you had before were a few flea-ridden plugmutts and some dried-out saddles that were years old and as hard as rock. You should be grateful for anything!”

Despite this atypical outburst, the hermaphrodite chums went away again – to return a short while later with…

“There you go, you pedantic arse hole.” Flaccidus growled. “The cannon’s off the Nosepuncher XL5 by the way.”

This time the Staff Sergeant was more impressed. Turning to a surprised Fanny Skidmarx. He said, “Right, Private; you may have the honour of flight-testing the machine I hereby designate P1-5S Assault Buggy. Carry on.”

AND

Meanwhile, far away upon the dusty plain that stood at the foot of the mountain range upon which Lemon Stone stood proudly, hard-working pea farmer, Bucksome Whelk, was greeting the new day even before the sun had risen. He was a hyperactive workaholic, and there was nothing he enjoyed more than getting out of bed really early to do a long day’s hard labour in the pea fields. He kept a sign in his bedroom to remind him that he should never grow lax and become like his idle idols, Las Chicas De La Playas, a picture of whom he had pinned to his wall as a constant reminder. So no one else was around to see his porch light illuminate…

(A picture of a mud building appears here)

Neither was there anyone present to see him step out into the pre-dawn – in the full expectation of finding his beautiful crop of young pea plants. But what Bucksome Whelk actually saw, in that dim light, made him stare disbelievingly like a startled gazelle caught in the headlight of an approaching trans-continental locomotive; because, laid out in front of him like some terrible manifestation of a tortured mind, sat the largest, most humongous, pile of steaming manure that he had ever seen – or ever wanted to see. But if this wasn’t enough for the simple-minded pea farmer, the situation grew rapidly worse. As he finally circumnavigated the immense turd, Bucksome discovered that his pea seedlings had been swept away by some unimaginable force.

His work gang rushed from their quarters when they heard his scream of horror.They watched in disbelief as their employer stood so still among the ruination that he appeared to have been petrified. For Bucksome it became horror heaped upon horror as the lightening sky revealed that the entire crop had simply ceased to exist. Or, to be more precise, it had been transformed into excrement and deposited on the lawn of his farm-house.

“Right, that’s it.” He said as a grim determination swelled within his chest,”I’m gonna talk to the guys about this.”

So, after Bucksome had returned to the farm buildings his staff were expecting to hear that their services were no longer required, and that they could return to the bosom of their families in the former communist states from whence they had come to the dusty plain. They even conjectured upon the size of the severance cheque. But they were to be disappointed.

“Right then.” Bucksome said. “I want you to re-plant with seeds from the store. I intend to learn the identity of the miscreant who had attempted to destroy my life’s work. I’ll be back when I’m back. Now get to work.”

With that he strode off across the newly barren landscape.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2016

Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the Unity vol 1 cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.

Earplugs without Pictures 5

Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this tantalising tale…

Click cover image for complete story in PDF format

So, whilst Magnuss and Benjamin began their sojourn in search of the museum’s inhabitants, the showgirls stumbled across the crashed time ship. Of course, being entertainers, they didn’t recognize it for what it was, and instead thought that it might possibly be either a crashed aircraft or an invasion from outer space. They preferred the former explanation, and duly set out to find the absent occupants. Naturally, to cover more ground quickly they elected to break up into three groups, each comprising two showgirls. Delia Stodge and Poki Kitchener set off in an easterly direction. Belle Ching and Wendy Rucksack headed north by northwest. And Ragi Half-Nelson and Nokaks Newbold dropped several floors to the basement and thence to the sub-strata upon which the original museum had been built. Upon reaching the rock bottom – literally – they were bemused when they discovered it utterly devoid of life.

“I’m bemused on at least seventeen levels of bemusability.” Nokaks informed her dancing co-worker. “I may only be an attractive young female who can step in time and kick her feet high above her head; but I really expected to find signs of a frightened populace cowering in the shadows from whatever it was that happened whilst we were in a drunken stupor. How about you, Ragi?”

Ragi didn’t reply immediately: she was too busy fretting about something that she’d just realised. Eventually she said: “Nokaks, you’re not going to believe this; but I got so drunk last night that I forgot to remove my sequined dancing knickers. Now they’re chafing the heck out of my thighs – and I’m not enjoying it!”

Meanwhile, out and about on their own earplug hunt, Belle and Wendy stumbled upon the Nul-Space Power Generator, which, they noted, whirred quietly in hibernation mode. Naturally they turned the dial up a few notches; then waited to see what would happen.

The effect of Belle and Wendy’s action wasn’t immediately obvious as Ragi and Nokaks quickly made their way back into the more modern regions of the museum. But the dancing duo nearly wet themselves when they were caught in the blinding glare of a security light.

“Oh Nokaks,” Ragi yelled only semi-coherently, “I really wish that dingbat Belle hadn’t woken us up so darned early this morning: we could be all tucked up nice and warm in our beds right now. When this terrible adventure concludes – hopefully with a happy ending – I’m going to join another ballet!”

But, in order to accomplish her ‘happy ending’ Ragi knew that standing around whilst wailing like an air raid siren would get her nowhere; so the two girls pressed on with their search. With no clear plan to follow, they soon found themselves upon a wide plain, where a small sign informed them it was intended that more exhibits from future eras would appear sometime in the…er…future. It was very wide and very flat, and both girls felt intimidated by its vastness. But although they hated the place with a vengeance, their feelings of loathing were put aside, and their quest for the truth continued – eventually leading them to a green impact splodge.

“Ugh?” Ragi said intelligently. “It looks as though something fell from the sky and went splat. What do you think it might be, Nokaks?”

Nokaks might have been an expert at wearing spectacular headdresses and performing the opening act and exciting finales in variety shows; but something falling from the sky and going splat existed in a mental environment to which she was an alien visitor. “Um,” she replied, “I’m not sure, but it looks to me like it might be evidence of some form of chemical attack. Something was dropped here, and it spread to other places…through the ventilation system, maybe? The result of which is what you see on the other levels.”

Ragi wasn’t sure what impressed her more: Nokak’s remarkable improvised theory, or the effect that sudden dread can have on a female earplugs’ ability to retain intestinal wind. “Gosh.” She said. “I wonder if the chemicals smelt as rotten as my gas.”

AND

Magnuss had been grateful for Benjamin Booger’s local knowledge. It was the green earplug who informed him that if they really needed to access the Wide Blue Yonder, they didn’t have to cross the Woven Expanse to get there. In the alternative universe the faux desert extended much farther, and with the use of a desert sled, which was powered by a mighty three cylinder air-cooled two-stroke motor, they could cross it in short order. Unfortunately mighty three cylinder air-cooled two-stroke motors consume fuel at a prodigious rate, and its tank showed empty just as the party arrived at the Wide Blue Yonder’s outer edge, which really cheesed-off Magnuss because he really liked two-strokes and was hoping to ride it all the way to the arboretum. So, stumbling through the last of the desert’s fake sand, Magnuss led the others to a vantage point that overlooked their next task. To say that the Wide Blue Yonder looked daunting was an understatement of seismic proportions.

“We’re doomed if we try to cross that.” K’Plank opined loudly. “We’ll stand out like a vicious sore on an otherwise pristine porcelain buttock. We’re sure to disappear without warning or trace. Give me back my Sheath of Unseeableness, you rotten swine!”

But then Poki had an idea. “Delia and I work in the theatre.” She said. “We know how all the wonders of show-biz work. It’s all the workings beneath the stage. That’s where the magic is made.”

“Of course.” Magnuss bellowed as hope surged within his silicon chest. “Maintenance access tunnels. They must criss-cross the Wide Blue Yonder at a thousand points. Poki, if I didn’t love Hair-Trigger Provost with every fibre of my being, I’d take you ’round the back of the nearest bike shed and give you a great big kiss. Well done: I think you’ve supplied the answer to our problem. Let’s go find an access hatch or something similar.”

Meanwhile Cabbaggio and Vortexia Di Bikini were receiving a lesson in Blue End Cap technical superiority.

“Yeah,” Flutter sneered, “when we decided that we wanted to control the Museum of Future Technology, we didn’t come in with all disruptor weapons firing. No; we were much too smart for that. We infiltrated a small combat party – complete with our patented Matter Transporter – and began our work from a hidden sanctuary. We’ve been slowly removing the population of the museum – and no one can do anything about it. First we took out the big guys: the curators, the agents of TWIT, and those pinky-orange bums – the Earplug Brothers: then we took out everyone else – except you two of course. But you don’t matter: you’re nobodies. Then, tomorrow afternoon, at about three-thirty, the invasion ships arrive. Then I will lower the defensive screens and the museum will be ours!”

“Gee-whizz.” Vortexia said as she apparently swooned. “That must be one heck of a hidden sanctuary. Where did you say it’s located?”

“In the arboretum, of course.” Flutter replied without thinking. “No one would think of looking for us there.”

“I guess you’re right.” Cabbaggio said with an admiring lilt to his slurred voice. “Now if you’ll excuse us, we need a drink.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017

Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the The Missing cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.

Earplugs Without Pictures 4

Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this terrific tale…

Click cover image for complete e-book in PDF

So, with trepidation evident, the threesome ventured out of the superfluous alcove. Naturally they followed the convenient signage, which, unsurprisingly, led them into a pleasantly lit corridor. Then, having traversed the aforementioned pleasantly lit corridor, Magnuss, Nennigross, and Lucian discovered the desperate occupants of the flying saucer assembled in the engine room, trying desperately to metaphorically kick-start the fuel pumps. But before anyone spotted them standing there like a bunch of lemons, the reality of the situation struck the three galactic travellers.

“The situation couldn’t be worse.” Nennigross whispered to Magnuss. “With the ship out of gas, it’ll float onwards through space unimpeded – until the wheel of eternity grinds to a halt. Death will hold dominion over all of us.”

But Lucian had more immediate concerns. He’d picked up a urinary infection in the Upper Realm, and desperately wanted to piddle.

Despite his personal fears, Magnuss plucked up the courage to ignore Nennigross, and forced himself to be positive.

“Guys.” He said loudly, “Quit all that panic-stricken arsing about: fate has a task lined up for you.”

This bold statement caused all activity to cease abruptly. Of course (being aliens from far away) not one of the prospectors recognised Magnuss: but Catford and Julian did. Their confident smiles proved that they had never doubted that their friends would return, following their unexpected disappearance. The appearance of Magnuss Earplug was a bonus, and both felt certain that an incredible adventure was bound to follow his arrival. Questions flowed like raging white water rapids, and filled the air with so much mental viscosity that anyone other than Magnuss would have sagged with brain-exhaustion beneath its intellectual weight.

“It’s like this,” Magnuss began his explanation for his opening statement. “We’re stuck up in outer space, and we’re whooshing away into deep space at huge velocity. It seems to me that the only course of action open to us is to embrace the situation and turn it to our advantage.”

This confused the heck out of his audience, but Magnuss’ apparent confidence filled them with some of their own.

“Tell us more.” Julian and Catford demanded.

“Well,” Magnuss replied, “not many people know this fact, but I once read some of the technical logs from the Museum of Future Technology’s sole star ship, Spaceship Number Fifteen – before it was destroyed in the Battle of the Museum, of course…”

“And?” Buddy Napalm demanded.

“And,” Magnuss replied, “what I discovered was,” Magnuss paused – less for dramatic effect; but more to draw breath – before continuing: “that when the ship was returning to Earth, the crew discovered a wormhole in space – exactly half-way between Earth and the Moon. They considered it so important that they left a warning beacon orbiting the event horizon. All we need to do is use our communication equipment to locate it, and then blast in its direction by using the manoeuvring thrusters. Then we enter the wormhole; travel through it; and end up somewhere else completely – possibly somewhere nice and safe – like a planet. We can worry about getting back to the museum later.”

It was a brilliant plan, and everyone who heard it said so. Except Wilhelm Von Schnottgobbling: “We don’t have no fuel for the thrusters either. We can’t steer.”

Magnuss was horrified at the news. “But, but,” he stammered, “without thruster fuel my plan won’t work! Whatta we gonna do?”

AND

Plopper and Benjamin looked at each other – the same thought passing through both silicon brains at the same time: Holy heck – they’re gonna steal a flying saucer: what are we gonna do about it? Well what they did was call the T.W.I.T headquarters, Swotten Hetty. Just a few minutes later Major Flaccid called several operatives into his office. Unfortunately he’d been at a sherry sampling seminar, and as a result of this his memory failed him. He could remember who his operatives needed to find, but couldn’t recall what Plopper and Benjamin had told him that the prospectors intended to do.

“Look everywhere.” He said with a slurred voice. “All at the same time – twice. Leave no stone unturned, and no…things un…er…thingy.” Then he burped very loudly, and produced an enormous fart that stopped his agents in their tracks.

Naturally the operatives didn’t have a bloody clue what their leader required of them, except that they find, and presumably arrest, eight aliens in silver suits. So without enquiring further, they turned about and began their search.

By chance the prospectors had called into a public urinal for a pee, and watched as the agents of T.W.I.T passed by the window.

“Oops,” Brock said quietly to himself. “Looks like we’ll have to step carefully. It’s time to go into extreme stealth mode.”

This reaction was to save their endeavour, because RoboSecGuas were also on their trail. And Brock’s extreme stealth mode paid dividends when EvilRoboSecGua led a squad into the grand hall. But Brock was ready for them, and had already hidden around the corner.

“Right then,” he said, following the RoboSecGuas departure, “Let’s have a look at that map Mister Plop drew for us. I feel it in my bowels; we’re getting close.”

But little did any of them know, but Nennigross and her friends were following museum protocols strictly, and were in hot pursuit.

It was Galve Mullion and Torsten Gobbfist who took the lead as the prospectors made their way through a labyrinth of corridors through which the map guided them towards their goal. And they continued to lead, even when the museum security decided to go the emerald alert.

“Holy carp,” Galve exclaimed, “that nearly made me have an accident in my boxer shorts!”

Torsten would have been equally startled, but the thought of Galve experiencing a lavatorial accident in his company took his mind off the subject of the emerald alert like an unexpected kick in the groin or being hurled from the deck of an aircraft carrier.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017

Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the Natural Selection cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.

Earplugs Without Pictures 3

Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this magnificent tale…

Click cover image for complete story in PDF

Waiting until another law enforcement patrol had passed by, Erroneous and Hellfire sidled up to the door, where they duplicated the coded knock that the burglars had given only minutes earlier. A half-second later they had disappeared from the street. Not surprisingly they found themselves inside the burglar’s den – where the night’s paltry booty was being shared out over mugs of coarse ale and out-of-date Cornish Pasties, served to them by a pair of disgruntled end caps.

“Ho, ho, ho.” One of them erupted. “We’ll feast tonight, and make no mistake.”

Another concurred: “Aye, we’ll all have two pasties tonight. And maybe we could stretch to a celebratory flagon of ginger beer. Or maybe a half carafe of the house lemonade!”

This was more than Erroneous could stand. “Enough idle banter!” He roared.

Everyone turned to look at him – except the end caps, of course: they couldn’t give a hoot what he had to say: they had Cornish pasties that needed de-furring.

“Yes, enough!” Hellfire supported his friend ably.

“As burglars,” Erroneous continued, “you’d all make excellent bus drivers. In other words…you’re all complete…” He paused before adding a very rude word indeed.

To say that the burglars were shocked would be like saying that the enormous poop that blocked the Museum of Future Technology’s sewage system, and thereby saved it from an iron-fisted dictatorship, was…er…enormous. They were also stunned: no one had ever slipped past their security and called them crap before. This was new ground.

“Oh yeah?” One of them replied belligerently. “Who sez?”

Hellfire quickly selected a driving rock theme upon the juke box, before following Erroneous’ lead as he leapt upon a table.

“Erroneous Bosche, that’s who.” Erroneous growled.

“And Hellfire McWilliams.” Hellfire added. “Just out of Sloshed Antlers Mountain Penitentiary: we’ve been professional burglars for our entire lives. There is no place safe from us. We know a lousy burglar when we see one”

“That’s right.” Erroneous fired off those two syllables like bullets from a twin barrelled gun of some description – though he wasn’t sure that such a weapon actually existed. “We got past your security like phantoms in the night. So when we say you’re rubbish burglars, you’d better listen.”

“Especially,” Hellfire delivered the punch line, “since we can do something about it. How’d you like to be the first intake of The Whatever This Town is Called Academy of Burgling?”

Naturally the incompetent burglars were keen to join such an organization – though most of them thought that they could have authored a better name for it. But that didn’t matter: they were all ears.

“Well,” Erroneous said, once he knew he’d snared his audience, “we’ll brush quickly over the rudiments of burglary; then it’ll be on to the refinements – like lock picking; drain pipe shinning; glass breaking; how to help yourself to the contents of an alarmed fridge; and, of course, using a victim’s lavatory without them knowing about it, or leaving your DNA behind.”

“Sound’s great.” The previously doubtful oik who had spoken last yelled in joy. “When do we start?”

“Just as soon as you’ve signed up to the course; made a blood oath; and promise to give us – that’s Hellfire and me – twenty-five per cent of your booty.”

“Where do I sign?” The useless burglar said through a broad smile. “And whose blood?”

As a result of this huge success, Erroneous and Hellfire soon had the burglar gang  fully trained and back to work. But they knew that efficiency in burgling wasn’t enough: they had to get the local law enforcement officers ‘on side’ as it were. So after several successful burglaries that netted the couple a considerable hoard, they led the gang to the nearest Cop Shop, where they left one gang member to keep watch.

The police officers were surprised when several known villains entered their establishment.

“What’s this,” they said, “come to hand yourselves in, have you?”  

The remand prisoners in the cells were surprised too – particularly when the ‘look out’ entered as well.

“Not exactly.” Erroneous replied. “We’ve dragged ourselves all the way here so that we – that’s you and us – can come to some sort of accommodation.”

The police officers weren’t particularly well educated: the meaning of Erroneous’s words eluded them. So Hellfire handed them their recent takings.

“Does this explain better?” He said.

At this the Chief of Police replied, “Who said that?”, as he pocketed the booty and gave Hellfire a knowing wink.

And

By chance, the ‘new boss’, Mister Zinc, was taking the evening air with his biological android girlfriend, Blue.

“What’s wrong, darling Zincipoo?” Blue enquired when her delusional beau became silent, slightly moody, and reticent to elucidate his inner turmoil.

“This Father Superior stuff isn’t half as satisfying as I thought it would be.” Zinc confessed. “And it’s a bit boring too.”

Blue was about to author some banal and pathetic response, when this happened.

“Ye Gods.”  Zinc blurted uncharacteristically. “You’ve been targeted by the Angelic Targeting Laser that sits atop the Holy Sniper Rifle!”

Mister Zinc wasn’t particularly surprised when the targeting laser shifted its aim. He tried to remain philosophical.

“I think someone is dropping an enormous hint, Blue. I also think I should react accordingly.”

So when Chester, Miles, and all the others arrived, they found Mister Zinc open to persuasion.

“Yeah, of course you can stay here until morning. Stay here as long as you like.” He responded to their request for lodgings. “You can join the order, for all I care. Find your way to the kitchens, why don’t you. Just don’t expect Blue to do the cooking: We’ve got bigger concerns to worry about right now.”

He then informed the attentive earplugs of the recent incident with the Angelic Laser Light, which Zak and Bolah both knew was utterly bogus, and who whispered this information to the heroic duo. Zinc then called all the monks of the Order of the Holey Vest to listen to his words.

Of course Dilbert and Gilman were among the crowd. They’d only just arrived in time, after hiding the Holy Sniper Rifle behind a low stone wall in the cemetery. They smirked because they had a pretty good idea what was coming.

“Monk guys.” Zinc called out. “I got a call from a higher order. Ya know what I mean? It’s time I took a hike. I just aint quite figured out the direction I should go yet.”

Naturally Dilbert and Gilman couldn’t help themselves: They offered to show him. Equally naturally everyone was thrilled, especially Chester and Miles, who knew what a lousy git and a silicone turd Zinc was.

“Off you go, then.” Chester said, unable to disguise his broad smile. “I’m sure they have somewhere lovely in mind for you.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017

Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the Those Magnificent Earplugs cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.

Earplugs Without Pictures: Extract 1

Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this wonderous tale…

Click cover image for complete story in PDF format

Extract One

Elsewhere – that is aboard the X1 – Magnuss and Nigel decided that it was probably a good idea to practice some emergency procedures.

“There’s a hypothetical space pirate vessel approaching.” Magnuss suggested. “What do we do?”

“Open hypothetical fire?” Nigel replied.

“No weapons – remember?”

“Oh, yeah, no time to fit them. Okay…swerve.”

“Correct. Now we’re about to encounter space turbulence: our seatbelts are in the wash: What do we do?”

“Easy.” Nigel answered, “We don our see-through helmets.”

Magnuss was most pleased with his colleague’s grasp of procedures. “Very good.” He said. “But what should we do if the landing engine fails?”

“Other than poop in our pants, you mean?” Nigel responded. But before Magnuss could speak, Nigel had flicked a few switches. “Inflate the giant transparent air bag.” He answered.

Extract Two

At much the same time, the Joyfulettes were finally having their audition with Ootis Wolliums. Much to their surprise Ootis had invited the other Trumptations – those being Dunnis Idwards, Cory Valentine, and Shat and Beeki Spitoon – along to the museum’s Grand Hall. After a relatively formal greeting, Ootis had some technicians wheel out the stage upon which the three girls would perform.

 Naturally Beeki had a few words of wisdom to impart: “Don’t whine or shriek.” She told them. “And don’t sing in a higher key than Cory because he’s the group’s falsetto lead, and in his deluded mind no one on the planet can sing a higher note than Cory. Oh, and try to keep in step with each other: Ootis can’t stand elephantine dancers.”

And so their chance at the big time – a permanent act at the Museum of Future Technology – commenced. Initially all went well for Blinky, Piper, and Swetti. Piper and Swetti, in particular were admired for their ability to keep up with Blinky’s gyrations whilst delivering pitch-perfect Doo-Waps and Ooh, Baby-Baby. And any reservations Ootis might have harboured for Blinky’s vocal talents were extinguished when the act slipped down from the stage and Blinky fluttered her huge eyelashes at the ageing soul group leader. After clearing his throat several times, Ootis was finally able to deliver his opinion.

“Piper,” he addressed the smallest girl in the group, “you’re a short-arse and you don’t match so well with the taller girls – but it’s nothing some boosters in your high heels won’t fix. Blinky; you can’t sing for toffee, but we have machines in the studio to put that right. You look great, so any shortfall in the talent department can be disguised by fish net tights and a girdle. Swetti, with you I have a problem. You got a great voice – we all recognise that, girl; but you’re a little…how can I say it, Dunnis?”

Dunnis looked awkward when he answered in his rich, gravelly voice: “Homely?”

“Yeah,” Ootis continued. “Homely. Not so much the girl-next-door: but more the girl locked up in next door’s basement.”

“What he means,” the blind performer, Cory Valentine, interjected, “is that you should be seen and not heard. Well let me tell you, Ootis: I can’t see the girl, but I sure can hear her good. You know where I’m coming from, man? She’s best singer here today – and that includes Beeki – or you, for that matter, ya mealy-mouthed tonge. So if you pass on her, you can pass on me too – butt-wipe: the Trumps can perform without the best falsetto the world has ever heard.”

Cory had been one of the founding members of the Trumptations. Ootis had found, throughout their career together, that it was wise to heed the pink-ish earplug’s council.

“Yeah, alright then.” He said brightly to the girls. “You can all join us in the show tonight. Anyone who falls short gets shown the back door. Okay?”

Of course it was ‘okay’: Blinky might be no singer: Piper might be a little short: and Swetti might look like a barn door; but in show business any shortcoming could be hidden behind a half-decent backing band, ladled-on make-up, and subtle lighting. For the Joyfulettes the show was on. And they couldn’t wait!

Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the The Masters of Scroton cover image above to bring up the full PDF file.

Spoiled Illusions 7: The Factory Toilet!

Are you one of those who, upon watching a DVD check out the extras, which often include a Making Of clip. I used to; but I don’t anymore: I don’t like to see the illusion spoiled. But just in case you are, here’s a little Earplug Adventures illusion spoiler.

Sometimes, during my working day – when things had gone a little quiet – I would steal away to shoot Earplug Adventure scenes. One of my preferred places was the ever-reliable lavatory – a place that quaranteed anonimity and freedom from intrusion – though, it must be said, lacking in many artistic opportunities. In my latter working days, this particular loo proved a boon to my story-telling…

Positioned at the end of a row of cubicles, it was very cramped, and drafty (in winter), with a tendency to block easily. It was unpopular – so it became my go-to-loo for shooting earplugs. Here it is in all its interior glory…

I imagine you’re thinking, “Not a lot of creative potential there.” But you may not have factored in the genius of the Earplug Adventures creator. Look at that narrow shelf and structural support tubes…

Why, the potential is almost unlimited. Check this out: the very first shot taken (17/08/2017) in the ‘new’ factory bog…

With a little plastic widget for a ‘prop’ doorway, it’s two of the dancing girls from ‘The Missing‘.

In contrast, here’s the last picture taken there, in early 2020…

It utilizes the diagonal support tubes as they intersect the shelf. I didn’t know that it was the last shot at the time, of course. I also didn’t know that this character would appear in ‘Haunted Mars’ and be named Mulleon Cleets.  And I certainly never imagined that it would become an exit from a cave.

After moving to the ‘new’ factory in 2017, most of my shooting took place at home. But there were times – when a new idea arrived – that I’d need to shoot then and there, before the thought escaped. Here’s a shot from ‘Mutant Island’ that used the top of the cistern for the first time…

It would be used again, fear not, as proven by this scene from ‘The Grand Tour‘…

…in which a desperate photographer needed an access tunnel for his characters to emerge from, but could only find the toilet roll. Desperate times: desperate measures. But I’m sure it was entirely convincing  within the story itself. And it was only half a toilet roll after all. And I did squash it slightly.

Speaking of toilet rolls – look how handy their  dispensers can become…

Yes, it’s the scene from ‘Distant Land‘ in which the reader is introduced to Placebo Bison. I didn’t figure he’d get a sequel at the time. But then why should I: I never plan anything.

So, finally, we come to the…ah…final example of lavatorial inspiration. It’s the opposite end of the shelf, where the bitter Winter wind blows into the bog in an uninterrupted manner. Prior to plugging it with a length of polystyrene, I snapped this shot for ‘The Time Tamperer…

Hopefully it conveys the idea of distance beyond the well-lit area. I’m sure it does.

In the next episode we’ll be looking at other locations around my former workplace – many of which were opportunistic. By that I mean I shot some piccies with no plan whatsoever – before the location changed beyond recognition, or disappeared somewhere on the back of a lorry. It was a working factory after all!

Spoiled Illusions 5: Every Day I Use Everyday Items

Are you one of those who, upon watching a DVD check out the extras, which often include a Making Of clip. I used to; but I don’t anymore: I don’t like to see the illusion spoiled. But just in case you are, here’s a little Earplug Adventures illusion spoiler.

What I particularly enjoy about shooting the Earplug Adventure photos is the using of everyday items to create the illusion of the earplug universe. When (in Haunted Mars) Folie visited  Deck One of the Gravity Whelk…

…he was quite impressed by it’s soft pastel colours and sensuous curves. He was less enamoured with the soft-top roof…

Well the story never called for that scene. It took it nowhere. But it was a quite amusing cameo for this everyday item…

Yup, a regular fabric conditioner bottle. Can’t remember which brand. But it doesn’t matter: they’re all excellent. Here’s an example of another one…

It’s the engine core of a Scroton Five from A Tale of Three Museums. It just needed some strange lighting to make it convincingly NOT a Comfort bottle – and some software jiggery-pokery to create the God of Stalled Motors. Same goes for bleach bottles too…

And the great thing about bleach bottles is – they come in so many different colours…

No doubt this rather exotic turquoise version will find itself included in a future adventure: I’ve got two of them in the shed. And a yellow one under the sink!

P.S I’ve already told the tale of how I use Lavatory Santisers and Canderel and Hermesetas coffee sweeteners to create convincing scenes for the earplugs to gallavant through. Check them out if you haven’t read them already. You might be amazed!

Spoiled Illusions 4: Cardboard is My Chum

Are you one of those who, upon watching a DVD check out the extras, which often include a Making Of clip. I used to; but I don’t anymore: I don’t like to see the illusion spoiled. But just in case you are, here’s a little Earplug Adventures illusion spoiler.

If you’re an Earplug Adventures photographer, one of your best friends is the humble material known as cardboard. With a little imagination and a bit of jiggery-pokery, it can become anything you bloody well want it to. Take, for example this empty insulation pile reel…

Hmmm, lots of potential there. Now let me see; what can I turn THAT into? Well there’s this very nice dungeon/kitchen…

…which appeared in Return of the Prodigal Earplug. It looks like a dungeon – especially with those flaming torches (burning matches) set into the wall. But the story said it was a kitchen: so I guess it must have been a medieval themed kitchen. It appeared again in Return to the Museum of Future Technology as Wilton Carpetti and Vinkie Vinkleton’s test facility – only dressed more futuristically…

And again as Ballington Cork’s temple in Return of the Prodigal Earplug…

Oh look, it’s those flaming torches again. In fact these reels have appeared in so many stories that I’m spoiled for choice. But I’ll make the last example this one…

Yes, it even featured as the K T Woo’s engine room in Stepladder to the Stars. Very versatile, cardboard reels.

But cardboard comes in many guises. Like these strips – wot I cut…

These utilise that old perspective trick that was taught to us in school art lessons, all those millions of years ago. This is how this particular duo of strips looked in the story, Cometh the Earplug

Hair-Tigger wasn’t sure if the building was small and quite nearby, or huge, but a long way off. So she altered her focus, and…

…the latter proved to be the case. Silly, but I like it.

The following picture has been used over and over – almost every time that I need to show the city of Scroton Prime. It was a semi-perminant set at my old ‘studio’ despite the fact that I constructed it in the main warehouse of the factory where I worked. Everyone knew what it was, so left it alone – even the management. I was blessed to work there…

But I often re-dressed it – either physically – or later (when it was history, and all I had were some pictures of it), electronically for different stories.  Here’s how it appeared the first time, in Plunging Into Peril...

It was then re-used a hideous number of times, culminating in (at present) the most recent tale – Haunted Mars...

Will there ever come a time when this shot doesn’t appear ad infinitum? Hope not.

Those cardboard inserts you find in, say, vacuum cleaner or microwave oven boxes are a God-send as well…

If used as interiors, they make excellent caves – as seen here in Stepladder to the Stars, where Sheriff (later Captain) Sinclair Brooch makes an astonishing discovery…

And as exteriors, all you need do is cut a couple of openings…

… and they make perfect mud villages…

…as seen here in The Grand Tour. All in all, a jolly useful commodity for a creative genius, like wot I is.

Of course there are many other cardboard items which are extremely useful for a Earplug Adventure shooter: but I’ll leave them for another time.

 

 

Spoiled Illusions 3: Potential Noticed

Are you one of those who, upon watching a DVD check out the extras, which often include a Making Of clip. I used to; but I don’t anymore: I don’t like to see the illusion spoiled. But just in case you are, here’s a little Earplug Adventures illusion spoiler.

Sometimes Earplug Adventure props/sets appear to me in a flash of…um…let’s call it artistic inspiration. Take, for example, this sheet of melamine-coated chip board. Clearly someone has used it as a base for spraying something – and it was the over-spray that caught my attention…

“Yeah,” thought I, “I can do something with that.” So I took a picture of it. So much easier than storing the original. Well, almost five years later, I did. It appeared in A Tale of Three Museums…

…as emergency habitations for the survivors of the ruined world that featured in that tale. And there’s this too…

Sometimes, when things were quiet at work, I would use a rotary saw to slice thin sections from blocks of artistically interesting timber. Here are a couple of examples that, for some reason, I chose to photograph. I remember turning the top one into a desert scene; but I’ve never had reason to use it. The other has sat quiescent for two-or-so years – until I required a scene to depict a newly-formed rift in a landscape. Thank you, slice of wood, for supplying the surface torrent in Haunted Mars...

To put it into perspective, here it is with two characters inserted…

And then there was my daughter’s cast off light shade. That came straight out of the bin, and into my old (and still lamented) ‘studio’…

Does anyone recall what it was used for? Well, more recently, it was what the false Supreme Being turned into after it’s underpants had been blown off in The Grand Tour

And here he is, sans human appearance…

But previously it had appeared as a hot-air balloon. Here it is in Those Magnificent Earplugs

But I think it looked better in Return to the Museum of Future Technology

…complete with its Christmas bauble gondola.

For the final example, this time, regard this…

I wanted a port hole set for a story that took place aboard Ship Number 15. Remember that old bucket? Ship Number 15 was a miserable green – the only colour paint available to me at the time. So I did this to one of the office box files (don’t tell the boss. Oh, it’s okay: he retired a couple of years ago – and he probably knew anyway. He had eyes everywhere). But I digress. Here is that box file in action…

…where it played the role of the Scout Ship hangar in Worstworld. In the end the circular hole wasn’t used as a port hole, but instead played a very nice interior window…

…for Vanilla Redbush to look through, and a lovely shooting embrasure…

…which worked very well, I think…

Pity I destroyed Ship Number 15 during the Battle of The Museum of Future Technology in Liberation. How short-sighted of me.

Spoiled Illusions: 2 Tooty the Shootist

Are you one of those who, upon watching a DVD check out the extras, which often include a Making Of clip. I used to; but I don’t anymore: I don’t like to see the illusion spoiled. But just in case you are, here’s a little Earplug Adventures illusion spoiler.

Here’s a shot of Tooty the Shootist in the early days of the Earplug Adventures…

I bet Kodak never figured on their basic little Easyshare M550 ever producing pictures  that would be forever immortilized, in pixel-form, in e-books such as Evil Empire. Here’s the shot from the same location, but using different characters…

I can’t remember if this is the ‘nice’ Charles and Wolfgang checking out the Nul-Space generator’s heat exchanger, or their evil twins: but, because I’ve been living in their silicon world for so many years and adventures, for me it’s strange to see the image of me creating the characters, who seem almost real now.

Here I am again, pointing out the discarded office sound attenuators…

…that became The Woven Expanse and The Wide Blue Yonder…

Here former zombies Vic and Bob, and female weight-lifters Mandy and Candy cross the Woven Expanse in the very early tale, Museum of Terror. And the Wide Blue Yonder immediately afterwards, where they find a door into the Arboretum…

This is my fridge at work. I had a lot of home comforts at my place of work…

At my most self-indulgent I had a coffee machine (which appeared in a  few shots, a record player (ditto), tape deck (ditto), radio (errr ditto), a TV, a DVD player, and a kettle. But the item that appeared more than the rest combined was the fridge. Here’s a couple of shots…

In this shot from Earplug Aftermath, two silver androids visit the lavatory (of course). And in the following shot from Haunted Mars we see it used for the very last time…

It’s odd, looking back on this shot, which I probably took in late 2019 or early 2020, none of these ‘actors’ had names or personalities then. Now I see them differently. I like the look of acceptance on the face of rocket scientist, Treacle Fagging – second from left. Sadly, when I quit my job, I left my fridge behind for the guy who would take over from me. And a lot of other props too. I wonder what he made from them. Nothing probably.

And finally, moving from shootist to shootee…

Wonderful acting, I think you’ll agree. This is how I appeared as the Museum fo Future Technology’s A.I (in Winning Numbers) making an important announcement – probably of doom. I was very good at that…

 

 

 

Horror on an Earplug Adventure Shoot!

Yes, frightful news has just been released from the makers of The Earplug Adventures. Apparently star of A tale of Three Museums, actor Folie Krimp, had just completed a scene in which he kick-started a snow skimmer aboard the Gravity Whelk

…when, inexplicably, the show’s creator and principal writer, Tooty Nolan, dropped a laptop on his head. Sources inform us that the little yellow earplug was crushed utterly, and that no amount of tugging and pulling would make him “puff up again”. Tooty tried rolling him between his slender, artistic hands, and even attempted to blow him up again with his divine breath. But to no avail. Fortunately his alter-ego – The Supreme Being was on hand, who, in desperation, placed Mister Krimp in  a 900watt microwave oven for five seconds. Good news is that a complete recovery is expected, but shooting for the day has been cancelled because Mister Krimp had a nasty headache and is really pissed off…

Mister Nolan is reported to have said: “Folie sure was mad at me: I’m just hoping he doesn’t come into the studio tomorrow and kick me in the bollocks!”

Now The Real Work Begins

The opening episode of Earplug Adventures: Haunted Mars used re-worked stock-shots. Today I began shooting originals and generic stock-shots with serious intent. It’s slow and sometimes frustrating. And, as you can see, a little cramped too…

It has been four months since my wife, Linzi died, and (as you can probably imagine) I haven’t really been in the mood (Tooty the Chef aside); but the bug is finally biting again. And, for the first time in my life, I don’t have to create the time to do it. If I feel like it, I just clamber up into that attic and get going. Here’s a shot from today’s work – as seen in the making-of shot (above). It features an (as yet un-named) engineering robot that has  been discovered by Folie just staring out at space from a view port set into the side of the Gravity Whelk…

As regards the Gravity Whelk: I can’t wait to start telling tales featuring that old tub again…

So hopefully you won’t need to wait too long for Episode Two!

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.

 

Another Earplug Smart Phone Wallpaper?

Months ago – I don’t recall how many, a lot of things have happened since then – I posted an experimental Earplug Adventure wallpaper for  smart phones. I’d rather hoped that someone would download it and give it a try – just to see if I had the specs right. So now that I’ve been reminded of that chronologically distant event, I’d like to try it again – if that’s alright with you. If it works, just leave a comment in the ‘comments’ box. The same if it doesn’t, obviously. Thank you. Here’s a wallpaper featuring the scary version of Folie Krimp…

Smart Phone Wallpaper Test: When Bathroom Walls Close In

I found a blog in which the owner gave away wallpapers for smart phones. I thought: “Neat”, so duly downloaded one to test its properties – those being 26mp resolution, and sized at 473 x 1024 pixels. I then duplicated those dimensions with an Earplug Adventure picture. As a Mark One, it kind of worked, but will need tweaking. But just as a test – should you own a smart phone of course – could you download the following picture, to see if it fits and is of acceptable quality? That would be very useful. If it works, I’ll do some more – hopefully better. 

Leave your comments and results in the comments box below. Thank you.

Shooting ‘A Tale of Three Museums’: On The Scroton Five Set

Recently we were honoured to be invited on to – what is probably the single most important – Earplug Adventures set of A Tale of Three Museums. The principal characters – those being Dr Gideon Snoot and Flaxwell Maltings – took a break from shooting to speak with our reporter, Maxime Langenscrote.

 

Maxime: “Wow, this is one heck of a set. I almost feel that I’m stepping aboard a Scroton Five. Do any of the buttons work?”

Flaxwell: “Just don’t touch the big ‘GO’ button on the helm control.”

Maxime: “Why – does it fire up the hyper-drive?”

Gideon (chuckling): “No; it dispenses ice for his gin and tonics. Oh yeah – don’t try using the toilet either: it’s not plumbed in.”

Maxime: “But it’s so life-like: I’d swear it was a real space toilet!”

Maxime: “Why is that engineer hanging upside-down on the helm control?”

Flaxwell: That’s Bernie Tankslapper: he’s our lighting rig guy. He suffers from vertigo. I think he’s re-aligning some crystals in his inner ear or something.”

Maxime: “So how long have you been shooting these interiors? This show has been in the works for some time, and I think some people were beginning to think it would never be made.”

Gideon: (looking to Flaxwell for support) “Whoo – weeks. I don’t know how many. I gave up counting after the first twelve or thirteen. Unusually we did all the exteriors first. We’ve come back here to Stage Seven to close off principal photography – before the first episode goes on-line.”

Flaxwell: “Yeah – we figured that once the show went live, we couldn’t afford any hold-ups. You know – tech problems, or me breaking a leg, or something dumb.”

Maxime: “I have to ask this question. Did you get to meet Magnuss Earplug?”

Flaxwell: (shaking head and grinning ruefully) “Sadly not. All their – their meaning Magnuss and Hair-Trigger – shots were  filmed elsewhere – mostly in The Attic Studio where they keep all the Museum of Future Technology sets and props.”

Gideon: “But we will – at the wrap party. I’m really looking forward to it. Hey, maybe Magnuss’ll let me kiss Hair-Trigger!”

Flaxwell: (to Gideon) “He might – if you wear your hat. No one can take you seriously when you’re wearing that thing. Is it still in the broom cupboard, by the way?”

Gideon: “If there really was a broom cupboard, it would be. Nah, it’s in the props department. And it’s not really mine. If they offer it to me at the wrap, I think I’ll decline. (to Flaxwell) What about your hair?”

Flaxwell (looking upwards): “I’ve arranged to have a barber waiting off-set when we shoot the final scene. If they green-light  a sequel, I’m getting a wig made. I’ll even pay for it!”

(Crew laughs. Bell rings. It’s time for the next shot. And it’s on to the reverse angle set of Stage Seven – home of the Scroton Five bridge)

Maxime: “Thank you, guys, for taking a time-out to speak with us.”

Oracle: “And next time you can interview me! What – you think I don’t have feelings too?”

Product Placement – Again?

Well, obviously, no one took the slightest notice of my suggestion that they advertise on this blog. Well, I mean, why should they? It was only a joke, after all. But, more seriously, my readership has been steadily falling for yonks and yonks. I thought that, maybe, things would improve when Covid 19 placed everyone indoors and bored them stupid; but sadly I was wrong. My stats continue to disappoint. And now that WordPress seem to have it in their heads that I want the Premium Plan and are asking for real money from me, I’m considering walking away from good old HamsterBritain dot com. But before I do, I thought I might have some more fun with product placement. In this case it is a product that I actually use. And here it is…

When Magnuss Earplug and Hair-Trigger Provost find their energy reserves sapped by endless heroic acts – made in the preservation of the sanctity and liberty of The Museum of Future Technology…

…they whip out a tube of Berocca from inside their novelty sporrans; tear off the…er…tear-off bit , and up-end the contents upon their tongues. A short while later…

…they’re feeling perky as heck and ready to go kick some ass.

Berocca: makes you go-go-go when you feel totally shit! 

Product Placement?

If there’s one thing missing from the Earplug Adventures that has probably gone unnoticed, it’s product placement. Yup, you can search through 30+ volumes and you will fail, miserably, to discover any product placement. This isn’t because I’m virtuous to the point of sainthood, but because no one has ever offered me money to place their product in one of my tales – the bastards.But, just to give would-be advertisers the idea, here is a couple of product placements that wouldn’t go entirely without comment, were they to appear in the next serial / e-book…

Before they start their day – defeating would-be dictatorships and alien threats to the Museum of Future Technology and what-not, Magnuss and Hair-Trigger always enjoy a huge bowl of Scotts Porage Oats – even if it does make Magnuss delightfully windy.

And…

When Dr Gideon Snoot and Flaxwell Maltings break from their heavy schedule whilst shooting the Earplug Adventures, they pass on Cafe Puke and march straight to Starbucks. Coffee that’s guaranteed to keep them awake at the controls of the Scroton Five – and tastes quite nice too!

Okay, advertisers: I leave the ball in your court.

Sources of Everyday Earplug Inspiration 3: Venerable Swiss Sweetener Dispensers

In the original Everyday Earplug Inspiration, I mentioned a popular coffee sweetener dispenser. In this edition, another rears its familar head. It is, probably, the first artificial sweetener available in Europe, and has been in production for eons. It is, of course, this…

Now, if you read the first post, you might be wondering just how I managed to find similar inspiration from this tiddly little transparent box – with no apparent removable parts that could be utilised as Earplug modes of transport. But look closer. Imagine that blue plastic cover torn apart and cast into the nearest litter receptical. What would you be left with? I’ll tell you: it’s this…

I’m talking about the white bit, upon which all those other plastic parts have been glued. In this case Valentine and Rudi are discussing the merits of the Punting-Modesty Facepuncher XL5 Attack Craft. Here it is in action during the Battle of the Museum of Future Technology – in the story….er…actually I can’t remember which book that was. It might have been Liberation. Yes, that would make sense…

With no ancillary parts for a second Punting-Modesty, the next Hermesetas box yeilded a Taxi-sled, which carried a group of T.W.I.T recruits to the museum in The Time Tamperer

And soon the third will appear as a sports version of the sled in A Tale of Three Museums…

And who knows what other uses it might be put to. Can you think of anything? I’m all ears – metaphorically that is. 

Sources of Everyday Earplug Inspiration 2: Lavatory Fresheners

I may have mentioned, once or twice, that my camera and I seem to hang around toilets rather a lot. A strange place to find inspiration, I’m sure  you’ll agree. And you’d be right. But that doesn’t change anything. On this particular occasion I’d like to draw your attention to a little toiletry object that, perhaps, most loo-users might over-look – quite literally, if you stand up to pee. I refer, of course, to this…

You know, the simple device that does this…

They come in or sorts of shapes and…er…well…shapes…

But, boy, are they useful! Look at these natty habitat modules for use in distant places and inclement conditions…

Or maybe military outposts…

Or scientific facilities…

On all sorts of worlds…

And there’s the out-spill too, of course. The sweet-smelling stuff that the dispenser…um…dispenses. The coloured chemicals that adhere to the bowl on the way down to the water. Play with a shot of that for long enough and one can create a lava explosion…

Or, thinking bigger, a solar flare…

“Yeah, great, Tooty.” I hear you complain. “You’re an artistic genius, okay? I get that. But what the heck does any of this have to do with Earplug inspiration? I don’t see any of these bog cleaners in the Earplug Adventures!”

And you’d be right. But not for much longer. Look…

And look again…

And again…

Believe me, when I say: “Toilet fresheners are the future!”

Cardboard Dreams Become Reality (part 1)

Okay, maybe that title does overstate the usefulness of cardboard slightly, but as the creator of the Earplug Adventures I can tell you, I wouldn’t be able to visualize half of what you see in these dippy tales without it. Wonderful stuff; and free too!

If you’ve been following the stories for a while, you might recognize this circular item. It, and many very like it have appeared over and over. Check out these examples…

Looks like the engine room of the early version of the K T Woo to me. And what about this?

A scientific lab, obviously. It makes for a charming religious establishment too…

Just look at those burning torches. Attention to detail – or what!

Cardboard tubes and rings can come in handy too…

This is the ‘before’ shot of Scroton Prime – capital city of the Cable End’s home world, Scroton. Note the use of plain cardboard sheeting as a background and as sharply-angled ‘buildings in the foreground. This is how that locale appeared on the cover The Masters of Scroton

And in a segment of the story…

Cardboard blocks are groovy too. Especially those items perched on the top of this pile of tubes…

With the help of a length of insulation material, a canvas backdrop, some bits of sticky-backed paper, a sheet of plastic laid on top, and a nice example of perspective…

..something starts to take shape. Here’s a ‘before’ shot of Don Quibonki and his side-kick Panta Lonez in situ…

But to see the resulting pictures from the story, you’ll have to come back for Part Two of Cardboard Dreams Become Reality!

What a rotten git I am.

 

Sources of Everyday Earplug Inspiration 1: Canderel Sweetener Dispensers

As I nonchalantly dropped a quartet of sweeteners into my cafe au lait, I took a moment to consider the dispenser in my hand. “Hmmm,” thought I, “that’s an interesting shape: maybe I can use some of that in my stories.”

So, once it had become exhausted of little white tablets, I wrenched the thing apart and considered the constituent parts. And guess what: I was right. I was hoping to find something ear-pluggish that was analogous to either the dog or the horse. I was also in search of a personal transport vehicle for my characters. In the Canderel dispenser I found both. Witness the emergence of the Plugmutt…

They have proved so useful that I’ve used them over and over again – in all sorts of colours…

And, of course, they’re great for riding upon…

Which, by chance, were the dispensing mechanisms too…

Of course the ‘buggies’ don’t have the character of the Plugmutts, but they are excellent for moving my characters from one location to another…

But other sweetener dispensers haven’t been ignored: not in the Earplug Adventure world. Some of them have made quite pleasant boats…

And others, wheel-less wheel barrows…

Is there no end to their usefulness? Sweetener dispensers: where would the Earplug Adventures be without them?

 

Special Earplug Effects: Just How Special Are They?

If you are a regular visitor to this cyber-shore, you’ll probably be aware that I like to take photos and write stories. I particularly enjoy combining both…er…shall we say ‘passions‘? The result is – the Earplug Adventures. I like trying to make something out of very little. Taking something unspectacular and prosaic, and turning it into a vivid scene is a challenge. Often I find the aforementioned unspectacular and prosaic somethings standing right in front of me. For example, like this…

People who catch me snapping merrily (and know about my harmless perversion) can be often heard saying: “Don’t tell me; it’s for one of your Little People stories.” They don’t ask what I expect to do with the resulting picture: they just know it’ll be something unexpected. Can you figure what I created out of this door? Check out the peeling blue paintwork; that’s what gave me the idea for…

…some islands for Magnuss and Hair-Trigger to fly above…

The story is entitled Mutant Island; and when the daring duo discovered the titular island, they took a closer look…

Wow, that’s some really rocky island down there, huh? Well, actually, no: it’s…

…a tree stump. But what about a few drops of condensation on a frosted glass window? *

You don’t get many things duller and less interesting than that. Surely nothing neat could possibly be made out of a gents toilet window and some dripping water! Well…

…I beg to differ.

Ah, little things. Very silly, I’m sure. But it keeps me happy and stretches the brain cells, so I don’t grow old too quickly.  Where’s the harm in that? 

* Those Magnificent Earplugs

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

Yes, preparation is underway for production of the next Earplug Adventure. New actors have been recruited…

A new mini-Tunnel Temporal (named the Tubo Di Tempo) has arrived from an era in the future to replace the old TT, which (if you recall) was creating debilitating Time Storms in the Museum of Future Technology. And the Supreme Being has been busy drawing faces on the new life-forms…

But most importantly, Magnuss has welcomed them to the studio – and Rupert Piles recorded it for posterity…

 

 

Cricetinae Fictionem – or Something Like That: 18

Long before those demented earplugs appeared upon the scene, my comedic desires were pleasantly assuaged by stories about sentient hamsters that lived in a parallel universe to our own. Hence the Hamster-Sapiens series of e-books.

On this occasion I’ve selected an excerpt from ‘The Where House’.

Several seconds elapsed before Fanangy chirped up with, “Cripes, Colin’s taking an awful long time getting dressed. Shall we intercede?”

“Leave ‘im alone.” Boney snapped. “It’s a very tricky job – putting on a different ‘ead. And he ‘as to do it with his eyes lookin’ the other way too!”

At that precise moment Colin’s subtly altered face appeared at the side window. “What do you think?” he asked.

“Wowie, Colin,” Fanangy exclaimed, unsure whether she was pleased or disappointed, “you still look like you!”

Then, to the consternation of all present, a ripple seemed to flow across Colin’s face, and instantly he looked like someone else completely.

“By The Saint of All Hamsters,” Lionel bellowed in a voice that belied his tender years, “you look like someone else completely. I don’t happen to recognise him, probably because I don’t watch factual TV very much, but it’s quite uncanny. How does it work?”

“Well,” the strange face said with Colin’s placid tone, “this particular face is constructed with thousands of micro-contortion bars running through it. And the epidermis is made of Vario-Visage.”

Lionel mouthed the words ‘Vario-Visage?’ to Fanangy.

“Jeepers, Lionel, don’t you read all the latest science magazines? It’s obviously an alien version of Bendi-Face – the special mask stuff that they make for impossible spying missions into enemy territory.”

Lionel accepted this. He had little choice. “But the voice?” He said, perhaps with a slightly triumphant tone to it, “He sounds like Colin.”

“Oh, I don’t think so, young fellow.” Colin spoke in a perfect facsimile of Gymp’s voice, “Not with my Alterno-Garglebox insert. With this little gizmo I can sound like any damned thing I want to!”

With that he roared like an angry weasel, and everyone cheered until they were sick.

The public flogging of a number of graffiti artists was just getting underway when Colin and the others arrived in ‘his’ staff go-kart.

Immediately Colin made his way to the Officiating Podium to join the General and his wife, Agnes, there. The others simply slipped into the crowd, and thereby rendered themselves anonymous, and therefore invisible.

Colin allowed several thrashings to take place before he began his act of discrediting Major Hardcourt-Gymp. But when he began, there was no mistaking his intent. Making certain that the microphone, which supplied both the public address system and the listening hoards on local radio, was ‘open’, he sidled up to the general and said, “I say, General; you know you were looking at my willy this morning…?”

The General’s grim enjoyment of the spectacle before him evaporated like a fart in a hurricane. “What!” He verbally ejaculated.

Colin continued as though the other hamster hadn’t spoken, “Well I fancied a second opinion. I wonder if your good wife…?”

He didn’t say anything else. Instead he got out his ‘special tool’.

“The Great Angler Herself preserve me.” The general roared as he reeled back in surprise. “That looks a whole lot more impressive than that thing I saw this morning. That certainly doesn’t conform to normal military parameters: That’d make a damned fine target for an enemy sniper, and make no mistake! Agnes, cover your eyes!”

But Agnes couldn’t cover her eyes quickly enough. She couldn’t avert them either.

“Oh, flipping heck.” She wailed before fainting horribly, and falling from the podium.

“Gymp, you buffoon!” The General bellowed like any good general should, “You’re a disgrace to your uniform. And that is definitely not a regulation willy. You are summarily dismissed from the Tadgerstone Rifles. Go – before I have you shot as a scoundrel!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2012

A Fourth Reminder of Past Works

This excerpt comes from an e-book that was to have been entitled The Island of Doctor Wiel-Barrau; but the publisher didn’t like it. So, with regret, I went with Mutant Island

Those aforementioned footfalls emanated from the soles of sturdy shoes worn by none other than the troubled Daffney De Mauritania…

…who had visited the uppermost level in an attempt to ‘clear her mind’ in the natural sunlight. But now, uncertain once again, she returned to the lower levels…

…where she heard a voice calling her name. Puzzled she raced to the closest area of habitation: the holding cell…

“Excuse me.” She said through the security lattice. “Why did you call my name?”

“Because,” Magnuss replied, “I have searched your heart and peered into your soul; and I know, for a fact, that you are far from happy here. You have been questioning your role here; and for good reason. Your talents are being squandered on the nasty task of torturing poor unfortunate earplugs and suchlike and turning them into freaks and weirdos with big noses and stuff. You have watched as the spirits of  previously happy couples from Lemon Stone – not to mention the two nice boys from across the valley – have been crushed by the mental deprivation wrought upon them by the cruel ministrations of the vile Doctor Wiel-Barrau. Tell me I’m wrong.”

Daffney’s mouth worked ineffectually for several seconds before she stammered: “Bu, bu, but how did you know?”

“Hah.” Hair-Trigger scoffed. “Don’t you know who you have here?”

Daffney shook her head.

“Magnuss Earplug!” Hair-Trigger roared triumphantly.

Daffney re-shook her head, which surprised Hair-Trigger, and quite annoyed her too: she liked being famous by association. “Of the Earplug Brothers, stupid.” She snapped. “The only bona fide saint living today. The most famous hero the Museum of Future Technology has ever – or will ever – know.”

The mention of the museum broke through Daffney’s mantle of ignorance: “The Museum of Future Technology?” She shrieked. “I studied for, and received, my Batchelor of Science in a little café that specialised in really terrible coffee there. It was a fabulous place. I had a wonderful time. But jobs were short on the ground in those days: I went where the work took me – which was this place. And I’ve been here ever since.”

“It’s still wonderful there.” Magnuss said huskily. “How would you like to try again? How would a job in the museum’s Space Science Department appeal?”

Daffney didn’t reply immediately: instead she hit a stud that made the latticework separate – creating a portal…

“Tell me more.” She said, as her face flushed with excitement. “But not right now: Security will have detected my action.”

Daffney was quite correct: Security had detected her action. Or, to be more precise, Slomo Chewings had detected Daffney’s action…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017

Forgotten Again!

In Forgotten Heroes 1 I asked you to vote for the characters featured therein – by clicking the Like button. Well, I didn’t notice it (at the time), but FH1 (as I like to call it) was actually rather popular – eventually. But it has taken me this long to recognise the fact. As a result of this belated revelation – when I can find the time to fish them out from amongst the hundreds of other silicon superstars – the following guys will make an appearance in the next tale. How, I’m not sure: but I’ll think of something.