A mere hour and a half later, the millions of kilometres between the area that Rudi had designated Pongy Space, and the Museum of Future Technology, had been traversed…
“Cor,” Chester gushed characteristically, “these Hyper-space attack ships sure do shift. By the way – where are the brakes?”
But the younger of the twins needn’t have worried about crashing headlong into their beloved emporium: Valentine – skilled as he was at piloting vessels such as the Punting-Modesty XL5 Facepuncher…
… pulled the saucer up short with plenty of microns to spare. Within moments of disembarkation, the five-some stood upon hallowed ground…
“Ah, that’s better.” Miles said as his eyes ranged here, there, and everywhere. “Anyone fancy a ghastly coffee at Café Puke?”
Magnuss, now feeling better once upon terra firma, was about to reply, when they all heard the annoyingly metallic (and monstrously mono-tonal) voice of a Robot Security Guard – more commonly known as a RoboSecGua – as it called for their attention…
“Flip me sideways,” Magnuss whispered out of the side of his mouth to Rudi, “what have we done this time?”
“Hey, Val,” Rudi said in response, “did you pay the parking meter?”
But they need not have concerned themselves fiscally: the RoboSecGua was only there to accompany them in a mad dash through the museum…
…to a recently installed facility called ‘Decontamination’…
“Hey,” Chester squealed with delight, “I’m not affronted by this embarrassing situation at all: my bum has never been so pleasantly tickled before. What about you, Valentine?”
“Yeah, cool, man.” The second-eldest brother replied. “And regard the funky moisturising cream dispenser: I really dig it!”
But all good things must come to an end, and soon they were released…
Unsurprisingly the first person they encountered was their Auntie Doris, who had brought her beau, K’Plank the Space Wanderer, with her…
“Hello boys,” she called from the top of the Up ramp, “nice to see you back. Before you rush off on your new mission, K’Plank has some fatherly advice for you.”
“Indeed I do.” The former bad guy, but now totally reformed rotten egg, added. “I think you should take pause to consider those closest to you. Magnuss, Rudi, and Valentine: your girlfriends are undoubtedly pining for you: I think it best that you see them first – just in case something terrible were to happen to you in the new Age of Stone exhibit.”
Naturally the three brothers mentioned took on board these wise words, and before long Magnuss had invited Hair-Trigger for a quick snack at Mister Pong’s Exotic Food Restaurant…
…where he planned to tell her that he was off on another adventure without her. Naturally Pong’s daughters, Yu-Wah and Wah-Hey were there. And, whilst Mister Pong took Magnuss’ order, the girls tossed aside their waitress dresses and rushed off for a rendezvous with the eldest Earplug brothers…
“Hey girls,” Rudi said as the females appeared from a side corridor and matched velocity with them, “we were on our way to see you.”
“Sho’nuf were,” Valentine confirmed his brother’s words. “We got something to tell ya.”
“We know.” Yu-Wah replied. “Everyone does. It’s all over the museum.”
“When do you leave?” Wah-Hey added.
“We’re on our way there now.” Rudi answered unwisely. “We were just gonna stop off to say hello before we caught a travellator to the new exhibit.”
“I’m surprised you didn’t just give us a quick phone call, or maybe text us.” Wah-Hey added.
“And to think we left our posts to come see you.” Yu-Wah whined. “Magnuss took Hair-Trigger to Dad’s restaurant. He’s a proper boyfriend, he is: not like you two.”
“Yeah,” Wah-Hey snapped. “We hope you get lost in the Age of Stone – that’s what we do.”
“And we hope the toilets are blocked too.” Yu-Wah finished. “Goodbye.”
Well there wasn’t much either Earplug brother could think of to say, so they watched the waitresses disappear down the corridor from which they had emerged in a far better mood…
“They’ll get over it.” Rudi said in the resulting silence.
“Yeah, sure thing.” Valentine replied uncertainly. “But I hope that wasn’t some kind’a curse they just put on us: getting lost aint too bad; but the thought of blocked toilets just makes me quake in my funky disco boots.”
A half-hour elapsed before the quintet re-joined…
As he rallied his troops, Rudi made no mention of Yu-Wah and Wah-Hey’s displeasure. “Okay, guys,” he said, “let’s go kick some stone-age buttocks.”
With that, and with slightly trepidatious hearts, the five pinky-orange earplugs climbed the stainless steel ramp that led to the new exhibit…
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…
First up we kick off with an easy example of earplug derring-do. This set should be very familiar to you…
Yup, it’s the bridge set of the starship Chi-Z-Sox / Brian Talbot. But what does a predominantly yellow bridge crew tell us? Again yup – it’s the Brian Talbot. And isn’t that Placebo Bison I see standing at the front? Thrice yup: it can only be this scene…
Which, I’m sure you’ll recall, appeared in Distant Land: a story so wonderful that these characters returned in A Tale of Three Museums.
So, with the easy introductory question out of the way, it’s on to the second one. Recognise this?
It’s an early set, when I still had my fabulous ‘studio’ that was later demolished. Two silver earplugs on a see-through disc. Lit from above and behind in front of a sheet of something styrofoamish. Ugh, I guess it must be…
Yes, it’s the android earplugs aboard their flying disc – en route to a fortuitous encounter with the time-manipulator, Gobby – in Earplug Aftermath.
So who is this?
Silly question: Obviously it’s the world’s pre-eminent Earplug author, Tooty Nolan, in the act of shooting a scene in Fort Balderdash. And how numerous those scenes were. I liked Fort Balderdash: it was yellow. But do you recall any scenes set there? Well here’s one of them…
In this scene a Robot Guide…ugh…guides a rather miserable looking Plopper O’Hooligan and his girlfriend Belinda Noseguard somewhere to do something in Those Magnificent Earplugs. Moving on, what on Earth is this?
I’ll tell you. At the back stands a sheet of stiff corrugated plastic material in white. In front a sheet of similarly white flexible plastic lays across some empty boxes – to simulate topography. Centre sits a piece of polystyrene packing material. This is obviously a building. It’s quite a large set, and (at the time) it caught the attention of several passers-by. And it was used for one throw-away scene. This one…
…in which the leadership of the Ice World go outside, for whatever reason, in Those Magnificent Earplugs.
So, finally, to this charming shot of a fork-lift truck’s battery charger…
Sadly this is a set that I can never again use. It still exists, but since retirement, I no longer have access to it – though I’m sure they’d allow it, if I asked nicely. It is also a ‘set’ that has appeared in many stories – over and over – as the control panel in the Maintenance Department. It oversees the workings of the Museum of Future Technology’s Nul Space Power Generator ( and The Future Museum of Mars too). In this case I’ve selected this example of it in action…
Green lights across the board: all is well for Nennigross Numbwinkle and Catford Greene in Natural Selection. Of course it’s just as likely to be showing red lights, with all kind of warning signs on the panel above Catford’s head. I needed to be careful about the time of day that I shot my scenes here. During most of the day the machine was switched off, with no lights illuminated. At night, when the fork-lift was plugged in, they would shine red. In the morning, after a night charging, the lights would shine green. I had to make sure that I took my pictures within those brief windows of opportunity. Honestly, the trouble I go to in order to bring you The Earplug Adventures!
P.S all the aforementioned e-books are available as free PDF copies by simply clicking their images on the sidebar.
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 rumbustious tale…
Throgennis could not have imagined that he would ever have travelled to the Over-Realm. In fact he’d never heard of it. So he had no idea that he now stood upon a planet so distant from Earth; the Museum of Future Technology; and Lemon Stone, that it might easily have been infinitely far away. But he did know one thing with utter certainty: that he wasn’t happy. And he wasn’t frightened of letting people know. It was on his third outrageous bellow of anger and frustration that a huge apparition became apparent to him.
“Cripes.” He said when he spotted it. “That looks a bit scary: I’d better watch my tongue.”
“You,” the apparition boomed so loudly that Throgennis felt certain plaster would flake from the invisibly distant ceiling and tumble down to settle upon his shoulders, “are of the species Earplug.”
It was a statement. Throgennis realised this when the image of an incredibly average earplug glowed warmly beneath a spotlight.
“As such,” the vast being continued, “you are a proverbial pain in the ass. All earplugs are. In fact earplugs are such a galactic nuisance that we higher life-forms have decided that you might have to be made extinct.”
This last line gained Throgennis’s attention like no line before – even ones such as: “Look out, it’s a naked biker gang!”, “My mum’s farts are louder than your mum’s.” and “Your lavatory is unsavoury and has been condemned!”
“Yeah?” He responded insolently.
“Yeah.” The vast being replied. “Like they’ll cease to be – everywhere – forever!”
Throgennis hadn’t got where he was in life by missing inferences. He said: “I sense a ‘but’ looming.”
“I’m sure you do.” The vast being’s voice almost smiled. “But you, and your kind can survive this. You need only be found ‘not guilty‘.”
Throgennis looked up.
“Which can mean only one thing.” He said grimly. “We stand accused of being galactic butt-wipes. And I have to answer for our crimes. Okay, bring it on. Do your worse. I’m wearing my lucky underpants today.”
“Very well,” the vast being replied, “let proceedings…er…proceed.”
At the controls of the K T Woo, Hakking Chestikov sat indecisively and stared at the main viewer. But little did he know that Bottoms Barkingwell, whose tasks demanded that she work within the bowels of the huge vessel, and required rubber gloves and a large lavatory brush to complete to a satisfactory standard, spotted something that made her smile. And that something was none other than Captain Sinclair Brooch and his wife, Nancy as they scurried along on their way towards the cabin, in which resided the Cyber Oracle. So, after bringing the electronic fountain of knowledge up to date, Nancy said: “Oh Oracle, what the sodding hell are we supposed to do?”
In reply, the shocked Cyber Oracle said, “Flipping heck; that’s the most difficult question that I’ve ever been asked. It’s going to tax me to the very limits of my design parameters – perhaps beyond them. In fact so far beyond my design parameters is this question taxing me that it’s quite possible I might either make the final evolutionary step and thereby gain true artificial sentience; or I might explode.”
“We don’t have time for this nonsense.” Sinclair snapped. “Pull yourself together: you’re the most advanced computer that ever existed on our doomed world, so aptly named, by an Earplug Brother, as Worstworld. Give me the blinking answer!”
Under such pressure, the logic circuits inside the Cyber Oracle shifted into overdrive. Three seconds later the response came:
“Yeah, I think I got it. The answer is…”
Well the next anyone saw of the Captain and his wife was scant moments later, and they would never have guessed that anything was wrong aboard ship. In fact those who witnessed their passing took great comfort from their leader’s contented smile. And, if they’d seen him stop off at an internal communication panel they might have wondered who he was calling up in such a genial manner in the midst of such a terrible crisis in orbit above the Galactic Court planet.
It was Adam Binsmell (at Coms) that took the call. Adam listened intently for several seconds, before turning to the latest occupant of the Captain’s chair – Daisy Pong.
Daisy looked across at Adam. She had only just arrived at her duty station, and the replacement Helmsplug and Executive Officer were yet to arrive.
“Yeah?” She spoke bluntly and used only mono-syllables. “What you want?”
Being a talented Communication Officer, Adam relayed the Captain’s message word for word and nuance for nuance.
“Oh.” Daisy responded,”That good – innit!”
Daisy Pong’s speech pattern was abrupt; missing those joiny-uppy words that most people use; and often abrasive: but on this occasion she was utterly correct. It was good. It was very good. It was so good that Sinclair and Nancy didn’t bother to do or say anything more on the subject. Instead they simply held hands and stared at the cosmos through their favourite window on Deck Three.
Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can seewhat’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the We Stand Accused cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.
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.
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…
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.
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 takehours.’ “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.”
Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can seewhat’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.
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…
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…
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.
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’?”
“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?
Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can seewhat’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.
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…
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.”
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.
Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can seewhat’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.
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…
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.”
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.”
Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can seewhat’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.
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…
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?”
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.
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.
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…
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.
“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.
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.”
Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can seewhat’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.
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…
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.
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.
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 ‘TheGrand 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!
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…
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!”
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…
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.
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?”
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!
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.
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.
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 TheTime 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.
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…
Believe me, when I say: “Toilet fresheners are the future!”
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?
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?
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…
As you’ve probably ascertained from my earlier posts on the subject of photography, I’m a point-and-shoot merchant. If the picture on the screen looks like the thing I’ve just photographed, I’m happy. Auto is king. But not always. Sometimes you have to fiddle with your knob and twiddle your doo-dah. For example here is the picture of some Michaelmas Daisies that my Sony HX400 decided was true and accurate…
“Pretty,” thought I, “but that’s not what it looks like.”
So I fiddled with my knob. This is the result…
“Close,” I said to the Sony, “but no banana.”
So I twiddled my doo-dah. Here is the result…
This is what the garden just outside my kitchen window actually looks like.
So the moral of this tale is: a photographer should never be afraid to fiddle with his/her knob. And as regards to his/her doo-dah: well it’s just gagging for a good twiddle.
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