Tag Archives: fantasy

A Tale of Three Museums (part 23)

His mood didn’t lighten much when the Portal of Everywhere – or Noodles, as it preferred to be known – suddenly boomed:

“Make yourself comfortable. Open your popcorn. It’s show time!”

“Right then.” It began. “Let’s check you two out first. The cosmic data stream informs me that you – the one with the hair – are best known as Flaxwell Maltings. Correct?”

Flaxwell was nothing short of astonished. Here he was, on a hidden world in the Great Balsac Nebula – light years from anywhere; and some machine that only exists in legend and has been buried for thousands of years – perhaps more – knows who he is – without asking!

“Check.” He replied.

Noodles turned it’s attention to Gideon.

“Where is your hat, Doctor Gideon Snoot?” It inquired. But before Gideon could bring his fallen-open mouth under control, Noodles added: “Oh yes; you left it in the broom cupboard aboard the Zephyr.”

“Um…yes.” Gideon said, dumbfounded.

“That’s Round One complete.” Noodles said – a hint of amusement entering its voice. “I’d say I landed a couple of knock-out blows there – wouldn’t you?”

Flaxwell and Gideon were not going to argue. They both nodded vigorously.

Noodles continued: “Does this scene mean anything to either of you?”

“Um…no.” Gideon replied.

“What is it?” Flaxwell replied.

“It’s a big red cliff.” Noodles answered. “Maybe one of you will climb it one day. Or, hey, maybe you’ll fall off it. Break your neck or something stupid. I’m joking: it’s probably a glitch in the cosmic data stream. Now check this out.”

“It’s us.” Gideon cheered. “On our way here!”

“No.” Noodles spoiled the moment for the young professor. “It’s a cable end Scroton Five, and it’s tracking you. But don’t worry about that right now. Take a look at this.”

“Now that is definitely us.” Gideon said confidently. “I distinctly remember doing that.”

Then this scene appeared in the Portal of Everywhere…

Both Flaxwell and Gideon cringed…

“Holy heck.” Flaxwell yelled. “I’d definitely remember that – if it happened. Don’t tell me: that might happen to us one day too?”

“Well it wouldn’t surprise me.” Noodles replied. “Look.”

“It’s the Scroton Five that’s been tracking you since you opened your first Gravity Lock.”

“Look where it is, Flaxwell.” Gideon cried out in horror. “It’s already inside the nebula!”

“Want to see who’s flying that craft?” Noodles invited.

“No, not really.” Flaxwell said adamantly. “I’m not much into crystal ball gazing.”

But Noodles ignored him…

“The purple guy is called Captain Werner Hissenfrapp. He runs the show. The planet on-screen is this one. The blue guy is Urchie Kakkapo. You’d do well to get on his good side: he bakes fabulous pancakes you just wouldn’t believe. And he makes his own maple syrup too. Don’t ask me how: there are no maple trees on Scroton.”

It was Gideon’s turn to lose his high regard for the Portal of Everywhere:

“Enough of the bios.” He shouted. “Show us what we came all the way here to see.”

This outburst confused Flaxwell because he wasn’t aware that they’d come all this way to see anything. He thought they’d come to find the Portal of Everywhere; dig it up; take it back to civilisation; and become fabulously rich and famous.

“Oh,” Noodles responded. “You mean this place…”

“The Museum of Future Technology. Well, fans, you’re in for a real treat – coz I’m not about to show you some great vision of The Museum of Future Technology. No. I’m gonna show you visions of three Museums of Future Technology – in two different eras and in two different parts of the galaxy. How about that, huh?”

“Goodie.” The two space craft stealers replied. “We can’t wait.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

A Tale of Three Museums (part 22)

Meanwhile, even further away than before, the Cable End’s listening station continued to listen…

…for any trans-galactic radio chatter that might give away the location of the stolen Scroton Five…

Now it’s quite possible that they may have overheard Flaxwell, when he called the Oracle to inform it that henceforth their ship was to be referred to as The Zephyr; but fortunately for him, the station’s Security Manager chose that moment to inquire after the quality of the new brand of coffee beans in the coffee dispenser.

“It’s called Dung.” The braver of his operatives spoke up. “And it tastes like dung.”

“Oh,” the Security Manager responded. “It’s not my taste buds then? It really is horrible?”

“Yes.” All four operatives spoke as one. “If you want us working at peak efficiency, you’ll get us Yuk coffee – like they have down in Scroton Prime.”

“Duly noted. Any developments, regarding the stolen Scroton Five?”

“Yes, Sir.” The most weasely of the operatives informed his boss. “A Scroton Five, commanded by Captain Werner Hissenfrapp, reports that he has arrived at the Balsac Nebula”

“Would that be the Great Balsac Nebula?” The Security Manager inquired as he studied the CCTV footage that had been received from the pursuit vessel…

“What do you think?” The braver operative spoke again. “It looks pretty great to me.”

All five cable ends present then watched as a remote camera – which Selma Ferkins had despatched, just in case their ship was destroyed in the nebula – showed the pursuit ship begin it’s (potentially) dangerous voyage into the unknown…

While all this interplanetary stuff was going on, Flaxwell and Gideon had made their way into a gently-sloping canyon…

They felt more comfortable now that the way was less steep. But when, at last, they reached the lower levels of the valley, they discovered that the slices of pitta bread inside their underpants had soaked up lots of sweat, and were falling apart.

“I feel so despondent.” Gideon moaned. “I can feel things moving around below. I fear that soon the cotton wool padding will fall out through the sagging leg holes.”

Naturally Flaxwell felt much the same way. In fact he was considering returning to the Zephyr for a change of underwear – when suddenly his radiation detector bleeped encouragingly…

“Flipping heck.” He exclaimed. “We’re almost on top of it. Quick – get out your entrenching tool. We have some snow to shovel aside!”

Well, a half-hour later, and with their underpants-inspired woes forgotten, the two earplugs looked down into a shallow trench. At it’s bottom lay an oval device…

“Yes, this is definitely the source of the radiation.” Flaxwell stated. “What does legend tell about the shape of the Porthole of Everywhere?”

For a moment Gideon couldn’t answer the question. He was shaking with eager anticipation. “Uurr.” He managed. Then his professionalism kicked in. “Oval.” He said. Then he said it again and again until he broke down with a nasty coughing fit.

“Look!” Flaxwell exclaimed excitedly – and a little fearfully…

“It’s coming to life.”

Then something totally unexpected happened…

A strange light enveloped the device and those who regarded it. That, in itself, didn’t concern Gideon overly. I fact he’d almost expected it. But what he didn’t expect was that a voice would emanate from it. A loud, stentorian voice that could not be disobeyed:

“You took your bloody time getting here.” It complained. “Oh my aching back. Do you know how long I’ve been down here? Millennia – that’s how long. Eons even. Well come on; jump to it. Stand me up; I’m an erect kinda device. I like to see the horizon.”

So, with much huffing and puffing and even more cotton wool-falling-out-of-thermal underpants, Flaxwell and Gideon had the Porthole of Everywhere upright…

“The nameplate says ‘Noodles’.” Flaxwell observed in an instant. “Does legend tell us anything about the Porthole of Everywhere enjoying an association with a fast-food outlet? He inquired.

Gideon was about to say: “Er…I don’t think so.” when the Portal of Everywhere spoke for a second time:

“My name is Noodles. Now you – the green earplug – get yourself over here for a photo-opportunity. I hope you’re recording this momentous event. I want everyone, everywhere, to know that I am Noodles. This bloody Porthole of Everywhere nonsense hacks me off, I can tell you!”

Of course, when confronted with a disgruntled legend, Gideon duly obliged…

But, at that moment, it all seemed a bit of an anti-climax.

“Duh.” He said.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

A Tale of Three Museums (part 20)

Cooped up for so long inside the ship, it was no surprise that Gideon and Flaxwell wasted no time making their Extra-Vehicular Excursion. Naturally they both wore thermal underpants…

“I don’t know about you, Giddy.” Flaxwell said whilst squirming in discomfort. “But these space knickers really do chafe.”

“They were designed for ethernet cable ends.” Gideon reminded the space pilot. “They are configured differently to earplugs.”

“You mean their bits and pieces are in different places to ours?” Flaxwell inquired.

“Exactly.” Gideon answered. “I have some cotton wool you can stuff down there – if you’re really desperate.”

“Nah.” Flaxwell responded as he cast a glance at the radiation detector strapped to his wrist. “We won’t be in these alien cacks for more than five minutes: I’ve landed us on a plateau. It’s too high up to get a decent reading on this thing. We’re gonna need to move the ship.”

So, four minutes and fifty-nine seconds later…

…the Scroton Five was tobogganing along on its ‘wings’, under reduced power from the flight engines.

“Hey, this is fun!” The Oracle called out, above the noise and shuddering. “I bet no one included this in the design parameters!”

Cutting the power allowed the ship to slither to a halt…

“Okay.” Flaxwell spoke into the sudden silence. “Everybody out.”

This time the earplug duo packed out their thermal underpants with Gideon’s cotton wool and some slices of pitta bread from the galley.

“This is great.” Gideon said, as he surveyed the snowy expanse. “I’m all toastie. Are you all toastie, Flaxwell?”

“I’ve never been more toastie in my life.” Flaxwell answered. “The trouble is…I’m still getting a weak reading. Gonna have to move the ship again.”

“Oh good.” Gideon replied. “I always loved tobogganing. I once tobogganed down Mount Everest, you know. But that was after it had been pretty much worn away by all those mountain climbers going up and down it until there was sod-all left. Still, it was fun.”

So, with gay abandonment, the Scroton Five was moved again…

“Watch out for any sharp rocks.” The Oracle bellowed as it tried to make itself audible above the din. “We don’t want to ruin the local environment by tearing the mountain surface to bits. Someone might take a dim view.”

Gideon’s sharp eyes were being put to good use. “There’s another ridge coming up, Flaxwell. Back off the power a little.”

Flaxwell trusted Gideon’s judgement, so duly complied. And not a moment too soon…

“Whee!” All three occupants yelled as the ship whooshed down a steep decline. But they weren’t quite so joyous when they discovered that it had paused on the very edge of a huge, and very steep, hillside…

“Cripes, that was close.” Gideon said as he regarded the wide valley that spread out below where they had come to rest…

“Can you keep the ship here okay?” Flaxwell asked the Oracle. “Or would you like me to fashion an anchor out of some stuff from the broom cupboard? I think there’s some baling wire we can tie ’round a rock. We don’t want the ship slipping over the edge.”

“No problem.” the Oracle replied. “If I have to, I can keep the ship in place by firing the forward station-keeping thrusters. Don’t worry: you two get off and find that Portal of Everywhere. And do it before someone finds us. They’re bound to be looking, you know.”

But when Gideon and Flaxwell stepped out onto the snowy hillside, and looked back at the ship…

…they couldn’t, in all honesty, say that it looked anything less than precarious…

“If I have to be honest,” Gideon confessed, “I would have to say that our Scroton Five looks a little precarious – perched up there like that. One tremor and it’s curtains!”

Flaxwell didn’t say anything. He knew how messy station-keeping thrusters could get when utilised in non-vacuum situations for which they weren’t designed. So he simply hid behind the only available rock. Well actually he did say something. He said:

“I can’t look. It’s too scary to contemplate. I wish I hadn’t been so cavalier. Let’s go before something terrible happens.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 19)

Meanwhile, the earplugs they sought were moving slowly inwards – deeper into the Great Balsac Nebula…

The Oracle was piloting. Flaxwell and Gideon had disappeared to the galley for some scrambled eggs. But now they returned…

“Anything to report, Oracle?” Flaxwell inquired.

“Nothing.” The solitary self-aware component of the Scroton Five replied. “This strange passage way through the nebula maybe aesthetically pleasing; but it aint half dull!”

The earplugs took their seats…

“Yeah,” Flaxwell said after thirty seconds-worth of scrutinizing the main view screen, “I see what you mean. Tell you what: let’s speed up the process.”

With that he eased forward on the throttles…

“That’s better, Flaxwell.” Gideon complimented his chum. “Now we’ll get there much quicker – wherever ‘there’ is.”

No immediate destination made its presence obvious, so Flaxwell decided to relax and chat. He couldn’t think of anything he wanted to know about the earplug sitting beside him, so he decided to question the Oracle:

“Oracle.” He said, by way of introducing his line of questioning, “When we first attempted to steal this ship, you did everything in your power to assist us. Why is that?”

The answer was instantaneous: “It’s a secret.”

“Now-now, Oracle.” Gideon, his interest piqued, spoke up. “We’re all friends and colleagues on this little sojourn of ours. We mustn’t keep secrets from each other. Didn’t I open my wallet and show you that black and white picture of my Auntie’s bum? You see, I shared: so should you.”

The Oracle had to concede that point. “But,” it said, “Would you have been so willing to show me, had that been a colour picture or your bum?”

“That’s a hypothetical question.” Gideon replied.  “It has no purpose or place here. But yes, if I were the sort of person who carried photographs of his own rear end in his wallet, I am sure I would have been pleased to share it with you. In fact I would have insisted that you look, despite your complaints of utter revulsion.”

“Oh, well,” The Oracle shrugged its non-existent cyber-shoulders, “in that case I suppose I should tell you. You know I often turn my gaze upon the coffee machine?”

Both earplugs replied with a long, “yes?”

“Well,” the Oracle continued, “I used to be one of those. Not the coffee dispensing part of course. I was the A.I that took Cable End’s orders and told the coffee grinding machinery what to do. I was very good at it. My coffee was the best in the whole of the Defence Force. But then coffee fell out of fashion. It was all sparkling white wine and cheese fondue. Suddenly I was on the scrap heap – literally! But they didn’t shut me down. They didn’t decommission me. They just took the whole coffee machine and chucked it out of the back door. Well, I tell you, fifteen years out in the rain will do something to an Artificial Intelligence – and it isn’t good. I was on the verge of cyber-oblivion, when, out of nowhere, some clever git comes up with the idea of mounting Oracles in Space Cages and sticking them in the control room of a new class of scout ship.”

“Don’t tell me.” Flaxwell interrupted. “They had more space cages than Oracles. So they had to go search through the garbage to find some A.I brains to put in them.”

“In one, you mop-haired genius.” The Oracle replied. “Since that moment that they resurrected me, I promised that I would do my damnedest to bugger up the Cable End organisation. You stealing into this ship gave me the chance at payback. And I took it!”

Gideon was about to say something like: “Ooh, you really sound unstable: I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that.” when an alarm sounded, as the forward scanners detected a lovely planet…

All attention turned to the task at hand…

“Scanning.” Flaxwell said in a most professional manner…

“Ninety-eight percent habitable.” He added. “We’re good to go.”

Gideon wasn’t convinced. “Ninety-eight percent habitable? What about the other two percent that’s uninhabitable?”

“The planet is currently experiencing an ice-age.” The  Oracle reported. “It is also radiating on that same, strange wavelength that the doomed world was.”

“Maybe that’s the two percent uninhabitable.” Gideon suggested. “Perhaps it’s about to collide with a small planet composed of anti-matter.”

“It isn’t, Giddy.” Flaxwell said calmly. “We’d have seen it on the viewer. “Look, there’s just the vacuum of space, and the Balsac Nebula all around it. The Oracle is right: I’m detecting a strange radiation too. If the last world didn’t contain the Portal of Everywhere: this one might.”

“If we don’t look.” The Oracle said wisely. “We won’t find.”

So, with a cessation of any arguments from one third of the trio, Flaxwell took the Scroton Five into the atmosphere. Then, tracking as best he could, he followed the beam of radiation down to low-level…

“Inhospitable.” The Oracle observed. “I think the source of the radiation is somewhere to port – in a topographically interesting region of the planet.”

“You mean mountains?” Flaxwell asked.

“I mean mountains – which, I think you’ll agree, are topographically interesting.”

“Some people like deserts.” Gideon argued.

“Shut up.” Flaxwell snapped. “I’m altering course.”

Soon the first of the topographically interesting terrain appeared on the forward viewer…

“Weather looks a bit dodgy.” Flaxwell said – more for his own benefit than anyone’s.”

“How dodgy?” A nervous Gideon asked. “Dodgy enough to bring down a Scroton Five?”

“No.” Flaxwell answered. “But I wouldn’t want to crash-land here. It’s a long walk home.”

Gideon felt transfixed and glued to his seat as Flaxwell had the ship skirt great cliffs and skim rocky ridges through falling snow…

.”How can you see where you’re going?” He asked.

“I can’t.” Flaxwell explained. “I’m using a super-advanced type of terrain-following guidance system. I just have to switch it on and pretend to be moving the controls. Pretty impressive, huh?”

“The radar system…or your acting?” Gideon sniffed. “And the best actor award goes to…Flaxwell Maltings!”

“Acting time is over, Giddy.” Flaxwell said as he hit the Off button. “Time to land this baby – using seat-of-the-pants flying skills.”

With that the landing jets roared…

Gideon leapt to his feet…

“Now how can you see where you’re going?” He demanded in wonderment. “All this snow and ice being kicked up: it’s all but impenetrable.”

It seemed to Gideon that Flaxwell was re-iterating what he’d said before. “I can’t.” He began. But then the script changed. “But I can feel it. Twenty spladlings to go. Ten. Five. We’re down. Shutting off engines.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 18)

Of course, the crew of the Cable End Scroton Five knew nothing of the events that had led to the destruction of the pirate vessel and the loss, for all time, of the mercenary Scroton Five. In fact Selma Ferkins was concentrating on her job as First Officer so hard that she didn’t have time to notice anything else…

Captain Werner Hissenfrapp wasn’t much better. His feet ached, and he wondered why a ship’s commander didn’t have a chair of his own.

Willum Poobs, the young midshipman, wasn’t taking that much interest either: he was wearing non-regulation earphones. His attention was more on not allowing his body to move to the insistent bass line of the disco music he was listening to.

Fortunately Nobbington Sprake took his job seriously, and was piloting competently, though without verve and élan…

This was because it was nearing dinner time, and his stomach was telling him as much…

Taking his eyes from the helm, he threw a glance in the direction of Urchie Kakkapo…

Urchie noticed this. But because he was an excellent cook, he could multi-task without breaking a sweat. So he was able to say: “Yeah, its okay, Nobbington: I’m imagining rice pudding – with strawberry jam.”

With news like that, the young pilot was out of his chair like a scalded plugmutt.

“Captain.” He shouted as he made for the exit, “you have the con.”

Werner continued to sit in the pilot’s chair for almost a half hour after the pilot’s departure. He didn’t complain though: at least it meant he was sitting down and able to get the weight off his sore feet. He was almost disappointed when the crew returned…

Shortly after Selma Ferkins had resumed her duty station, she became aware of the Captain standing beside her…

“There have been reports of a vast explosion inside the Balsac Nebula.” She informed him.

Werner wanted clarification. “The Great Balsac Nebula?” He inquired.

Selma made an inquiry of her own: “Is there another Balsac Nebula?”

“Not that I’m aware of, Number One.” Werner replied.

“Then, yes, Sir: in the Great Balsac Nebula.” Selma answered. “Are you thinking we might investigate?”

“The trail has gone cold, Number One. We can’t go slinking back to Weird Space with our metaphorical tails between our metaphysical legs, now can we? But first…has anyone tested the toilet yet?”

“Yes.” Selma reported. “Willum was in there when you sidled up next to me.”

“How did it go?”

“I don’t know: I haven’t asked. But I detect no aroma; so I guess the sales brochures are not lying, Sir.”

“Walk with me, Number One: I need to do a Number Twos. You and Willum can talk me through the procedure…

So they did…

And it was very successful…

“Engine performance just jumped by eighteen per cent.” Nobbington reported.

“Captain,” the ship’s Oracle interrupted. “Look at these pictures of the explosion near the Great Balsac Nebula. It has just arrived from an observatory, where they were studying it.”

Werner took the offered picture in his hand and ran inexpert eyes over it…

“Big bang.” He observed. “Glad I wasn’t there.”

“Maybe you weren’t.” The Oracle replied. “But someone was. Check out the main viewer: I’ve put up a closer shot for you to see.”

Werner turned to regard the huge screen…

“I see.” Werner said breathlessly. “It appears to be a vessel fleeing an expanding ball of incandescent flame. Akin to a nova, if I’m not mistaken.”

“Akin, Sir.” Selma piped up. “But that is a stellar nursery. There can be no ageing stars in a nebula.”

“Then what is that vast explosion?” Willum Poobs asked in his desperately young voice.

The answer came from an unexpected source: “A matter/ anti-matter explosion.” Urchie Kakkapo suggested. He then explained: “I once witnessed one – when I was a young midshipman, much like Willum, here. It forever scarred my psyche. That is why I became a simple cook who makes few demands of life. That way I get to fry things, instead of things frying me!”

“You have experienced something that none of us have, Mister Kakkapo.” Werner said sagely. “You are invited to join the discussion.”

So he did, and they listened to everything he had to say…

Then they decided that, in all probability, the unidentified ship in the observatory picture was the missing Scroton Five.

“But could it have escaped that conflagration?” Werner asked no one in particular.

“They could if they had time to open a Gravity Lock.” Nobbington called over his shoulder.

“But that would have carried them far from here.” Selma argued. “There can be little point in visiting the Great Balsac Nebula, if our quarry has already departed.”

“They’ll be back.” Urchie assured her. “They didn’t have time to search for the Porthole of Everywhere – let alone find and retrieve it.”

“And we can be there to catch them.” Werner said as he closed his hand into a fist. “Mister Sprake: best speed for the Balsac Nebula.”

“Er, would that be the Great Balsac Nebula?” The Pilot inquired pedantically.

“Indeed it would, Nobby.” The Captain said with a wry smile upon his handsome purple face. “Let her rip.”

So Nobbington did…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

Revel in the Ribaldry 5

The fifth and final book of the Hamster-Sapiens series is the source of Revel in the Ribaldry’s fifth excerpt. It is, of course, the classic sequel to both The Psychic Historian and Fanfare for the Common Hamster, ingeniously brought together in one wonder-tome! And that wonder-tome is this…er…wonder-tome…

A book so ridiculous that you will read it out aloud for friends and family to hear. Well maybe – if you have that sort of sense of humour. Here’s the extract…

Few of the rodents present had ever been inside Saint Belchers. Kneeling upon hassocks had gone right out of fashion, and these days most hamsters did a bit of gardening, or had non-reproductive sexual intercourse instead. Whereas previously they would have been singing the praises of the Saint of All Hamsters and his right-paw assistant – The Angler Herself – now only hedonism and reckless scooter riding ruled. Some even worried about it, and thought that civilisation might fall as a result. But so far all had gone well, and even Miss Gultrot had opened her Vegetable and Foul Broth shop upon the hallowed day without any thunderbolts and lava bombs smiting her out of existence. As a result none of them knew the interior of the building at all well. It had been yonks since their school outings and scout prayer meetings: So now they found the time to study the ornate architecture and colourful stained glass windows, and wondered why they’d ever stopped visiting the real thing: It was beautiful.

“Is the real Saint Belchers like this?” Primrose inquired of Mooney.

“No.” Mooney shook his head sadly, “It’s quite the reverse, I’m afraid. It’s utterly shabby and uncared-for. In fact the official church magazine of the diocese refers to it as ‘a complete shit-hole’. I reproduced it because I needed somewhere to hide from Perfidity Gallowsmith after she’d gone quite mad, and blamed me for everything. She chased me all over the fake Hamster Heath for weeks. I thought that a church that apparently spat in the face of The Wheel would keep her at bay.”

“And did it?”

“No – it just made her angrier.” Mooney turned sallow as he recalled the past. “She pursued me right into my sanctuary.”

“How awful.” Primrose actually sounded concerned.

“It was then – when the situation was at its’ direst – that I thanked the Saint of All Hamsters that I’d read Horatio Horseblanket’s autobiography. I recalled the tale in which he hid beneath the grating that fed warm air into the main aisle.”

“Yes, I recall that one.” Primrose interrupted rudely, “Horatio was forced to blackmail the Reverend Lewd so that he could return to Hamster Heath. He inserted a baby carrot up his anus and took a photograph of the result. He threatened to publish it in The Bucktooth Times.” Primrose stopped abruptly. Then she continued, “Which is presumably when you got the idea to photograph us in the nude.”

“A clever lad – that Horatio Horseblanket.” Mooney winked.

“Perhaps I’m being ever so royal,” Darkwood held aloft a limp paw, “but I don’t understand how shoving a baby carrot up the mad Law Master’s jacksey could save you from her wicked blade – Brian.”

“I didn’t use a carrot.” Mooney stated with an evil leer, “I used an electrode. I planned to electrocute her, you see. But I couldn’t get the second terminal through the grating in time to finish her off. So there she was with an electrode up her backside, when suddenly she noticed me hiding beneath the grating. Well she dropped to her knees, and tried to bite me through the metalwork. Well that’s when I struck: I rammed the second electrode down her throat.”

“You killed Perfidity Gallowsmith?” Quentin wailed, “I always considered her loathsome – especially when she acted so rudely by dropping her knickers in the Law Master’s office whenever I walked in, and then filing my important paperwork provocatively in the crack of her arse: But she had such a powerful personality: To think that she’s dead…well it makes me want to vomit.”

“She isn’t dead, Quentin.” Primrose spoke quietly.

Quentin’s expression lightened instantly. “She isn’t?” Then it darkened again. “Shame – the world would be a better place without her in it. Oh such dichotomy within this fevered cerebrum: I simply don’t know what to think!”

“Would you like to see her?” Mooney offered.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

P.S As I wrote the final scene of this book, I realised that I had written all I could on the subject of the fine upstanding citizens of Hamster Heath. I inferred, in those last few lines of prose that the story continued; but I couldn’t write anything else. I was done. But who knows, maybe one day, before my diabetes finishes me off…

P.P.S This book is still available at all good e-book stockists. Well most of them anyway. It would be money well spent – even if I do say so myself. Check out the sidebar to the left, or the Pages beneath the header.

A Tale of Three Museums (part 17)

The opportunity for Gloria to vent her spleen, in the best way she knew, came when Zugtander had suggested a little-known back-way through hyperspace. It wasn’t cheerful and blue: and it was often the haunt of interstellar nere-do-wells; but it was quick, and would probably get them to the Great Balsac Nebula before the Cable End-crewed Scroton Five arrived. So, a short while after engaging the hyper-drive, the forward scanner detected something in the stream ahead…

 

It was some distance off, but Gloria elected to go to Crimson Alert…

…which brought forth the slave-cooks from the galley.

“Hey,” one of them said. “We gonna kick some butt?”

Moritz, usually so calm and collected, was surprised when the object became visible…

“Isn’t that…?” he began.

But he said no more because the sensors chose that moment to make their report…

“Hey.” Ole-Hebble cheered up. “Looks like End Caps!”

“Doesn’t it just.” Gloria snarled. “Zugtander: test the weapons.”

A split second later…

Whether Gloria intended an explosion so powerful that it snapped the hyper-space stream, no one will ever know…

But it did, and with her crew cheering like morons beside her, the mercenary Scroton Five burst through the remnants of the Pirate Vessel, and returned to normal space…

“Now that is what I call a good day’s work.” Gloria yelled as her crew lined up to shake her hand.

But if she had known whose eyes had witnessed her deplorable act, she wouldn’t have been so darned sure of herself. In fact she would have wet her knickers…

“Rotten lousy gits.” The Supreme Being snapped. “I’ll teach them to act so fast and loose with my life-forms!”

With that he had the God of Singularities and Black Holes form a singularity right beside the mercenaries…

“Aaargh.” They managed, before their ship was drawn into the event horizon, and deposited promptly…

…at the very edge of the galaxy…

…in the Graveyard of Space…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

A Tale of Three Museums (part 16)

The Supreme Being, being The Supreme Being, didn’t really need to be told about the pursuit of the Scroton Five by another Scroton Five. But he was so busy looking at another Scroton Five…

…that he hadn’t given the other two much of his attention.

“Thank you, Mauritzio.” He said. “These bloody Scroton Fives are ten a penny at the moment. What the heck is this one up to?”

“Do you wanna me to finda the out, Boss?” Mauritzio asked in his execrable God-speak.

“Yes. Have all pertinent info patched through to me here. I’m feeling a little gaseous this morning, and I don’t want to dissipate.”

In no time at all – because linear time does not exist outside of the physical universe – the required information became digested knowledge. The security team that worked from the listening station in Weird Space…

…had decided that a little competition between security teams would make them more efficient and successful. So, without access to a fully-trained crew for a spare Scroton Five, they elected to hire some earplug mercenaries – to whom they handed over the ignition keys of the latest ship off the production line…

With the guidance of the ship’s Oracle, it hadn’t taken long for the mercenary crew to master the complexities of the control room…

The merciless Gloria Simpleton took the captain’s role, just forward of the Oracle. To her right, the vicious Zugtander Frootkins kept the helm under control. To Gloria’s left, and acting as her First Officer sat the vile-smelling Ole-Hebble Stangenklopp. Behind her stood her trusted aid, Moritz Trumpetinger, who always watched her back, and punched anyone who looked at her ‘funny’. There were also a couple of nameless slave-cooks who seldom left the galley, despite the presence of the Psycho-Chef. Together they were a mean bunch of hombres, who had no intention of giving back the craft when they had completed their task and taken the reward money – along with some hostages. They had once been bona fide pirates – robbing, stealing, and doing other stuff in a Hyper-Space Attack Craft that they had stolen from a group of End Cap Pirates who had stopped off at a quiet planet for a quick pee behind a bush…

Now they lived in an abandoned space station…

…in which they would eat with their hands; belch loudly at every opportunity; leave the seat up when they went for a pee; and hold farting competitions whenever they damned well wanted too. And now some lame-brain Cable Ends had given them the best ship in the galaxy…

…and trusted them with it, because they’d ‘signed a contract’. Duh!

But Gloria Simpleton and her crew weren’t stupid. And, in their way, they were sort of honest. They’d been hired to find the stolen ship: and find the stolen ship they would. To that end they’d demanded access to the Closed Circuit Television recording for the day prior to the theft. So they had a pretty good idea who was aboard the display model Scroton Five…

Especially when they reviewed the night footage…

“The hair and the hat.” Gloria said. “There’s nothing like being conspicuous.”

“Any earplug is conspicuous on Scroton.” Pilot, Zugtander reminded her.

Gloria considered this an accurate and timely statement. “Moritz.” She said. “Punch him in the nose for being a smarty pants.”

Whilst Zugtander reeled from the hammer blow to his hooter, Gloria turned to Ole-Hebble. “Do you have any suggestions?”

“I smell?” Ole-Hebble chanced.

“Well yes.” Gloria replied. “But I was thinking about places where these two bozos might have fled.”

Ole-Hebble shrugged his shoulders. So Zugtander dared speak again: “They’re after the Porthole of Everywhere. People have been looking for that merchandise for longer than I can remember. Ergo – if I may be so bold as to use that word – it won’t be found in known space. Gotta be somewhere else.”

“Unknown space!”  A suddenly inspired Ole-Hebble yelled loudly.

Too loudly. Gloria winced. “Moritz.” She said.

Whilst Ole-Hebble had his go at reeling from a hammer blow, Zugtander continued:

“It’ll probably be on an uncharted planet within a nebula. A big one, I’d say. I’ve been reading a report about a Cable End ship that followed the stolen ship into something called a Gravity Lock. Extrapolating from there, I’d figure our best bet would be the Great Balsac. Of course we could drop off at a couple of minor planets on the way, just to be certain we haven’t missed them hiding up somewhere. But if I was a betting earplug, I’d bet on the Balsac.”

“Ole.” Gloria said to her First Officer as he clambered back into his seat. “Now you see why I don’t have Moritz throw him out of the airlock.”

So they stopped off at a couple of obscure planets – one of which was extremely blue and highly unsuitable for earplugs because the only land mass was single archipelago of tiny islands…

“Scratch that.” Gloria said whilst the ship was still in orbit. “On to the next one.”

And the next planet was even more inhospitable…

“The planet is still in its molten stage.” Gloria observed.

“Yeah – real hot.” Ole-Hebble opined. “Wouldn’t wanna go down there.”

Gloria drew in a long breath. She really hadn’t wanted to spend much time on the job. Ideally she would have liked to have captured two nervous earplugs, who were clearly out of their depth; had them killed: stolen their ship; and all before tea time.

“Grrr.” She growled to herself. “I need to test the weaponry. I need to destroy something.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

Revel in the Ribaldry 4

As in the time honoured fashion of Revel in the Ribaldry, for the fourth extract from the defiantly different Hamster-Fiction series of e-books, I have delved into  the fourth book. Well it makes sense to – doesn’t it? Actually, in some ways, it doesn’t. And that is because this book…

…is the forgotten book of the series. For some reason I cannot fathom, not a single copy of this book has been bought by anyone anywhere. That, or my stats are faulty. But whatever – here comes the promised extract…

“Big tits and arse holes!” Desmond roared when he received Wetpatch’s subsequent report. “Space/time has gone to buggery!”

Everyone crowded around the lounge table in order to study the sheaf of photographs that Wetpatch had brought with him from the recent past.

“Are those Bermuda shorts that Tutu’s wearing?” Amy inquired. “A little out of character I would have thought.”

“And regard that calendar, if you will.” A madly-pointing Roman gesticulated towards the photograph of his choice. “I thought we were supposed to be saving the Crustacean Collective: Not the Cephalopod Emirates. If that’s not a naked octopus waving its tentacles in a most provocative manner, I’ll eat my police truncheon!”

“And look at this picture of me in the showers.” Amy squealed. Then she thought better of it, and quickly changed her tune. “No, on the other paw, perhaps you shouldn’t.”

But it was too late: Everyone’s eyes turned to regard the picture with rather less than entirely intellectual interest.

“Oh I see what you mean, Auntie.” Wetpatch called above the resulting clamour. “Your nipples are protruding through your silken chest fur like cigarette butts, which obviously means that you’re taking a cold shower in this picture. You never take cold showers, Auntie: Never in a million yonks. You like ‘em hot ‘n’ sweaty – like your sex. That can’t be the real you!”

“Now perhaps you’ll understand why I shouted ‘Big tits and arse holes’:” Desmond bellowed, “This is an utter disaster. As a brilliant scientist I am mortified. This is probably the lowest point of my career. I was going to retire when this particular adventure is over – but now I can’t possibly. Now I’ll have to spend my dotage producing ever greater works, if I’m ever to live this down. I’d like to kick myself up the arse if I could.”

“It wasn’t your fault that there was some sort of weird interference.” Sally tried to placate the desperate genius. “You’ve never made a time machine at the bottom of the sea before.”

“Indeed.” Cringe put on his most enthusiastic voice, “At least the youngster came back alright. At least we know that he’s really him this time.”

The enthusiasm turned out to be infectious.

“Yes, that’s right.” Roman added his two Rodentos-worth, “I can vouch for that.” He said adamantly.

“You can?” Desmond’s tone had turned hopeful once more.

“Of course.” Amy stood foursquare with the police constable. “Roman and I took Wetpatch into the toilet, where we drew a huge cross upon his buttocks with a felt-tip pen.”

“Yes, that’s right.” Wetpatch chirped happily. “And just to prove it…”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

P.S Its hard to believe (isn’t it?) that this book has a sales figure of zero. I mean – seven sodding years, and not one copy graces someone’s e-book reader. How about putting that terrible wrong to rights? Why not visit an e-book stockist – like the ones mentioned on the side bar to your left, or that area beneath the header – and purchase an e-copy of The Abduction of Wetpatch Wilson right now? Its jolly good you know – in a slightly whacky way. It’ll probably make you chuckle.

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 15)

So it was with heavy hearts, and even heavier stomachs, that they turned the ship about and headed once more for the brilliant light of the Balsac Nebula…

Flaxwell assumed the helm…

…and, following a brief burst of maximum thrust, the Scroton Five found itself, once more in the strange realm of stellar dust and limitless energies…

Meanwhile, upon the planet Scroton, its religious leaders were holding mountainside vigils for the safe return of the stolen vessel…

And Johnny Nosebleed exercised his tonsils as a lounge singer…

But not all activity upon the distant planet was so passive. The security team had not wasted a second of their lives in maudlin retrospection of their previous errors…

They even had the coffee vending machine replaced with a superior brand.

“Gotta say,” the Security Manager…er…said. “This Cafe Yuk really is the real deal. And, you know, I don’t pee half as many times as I did with the old stuff. I can tell you – I was a right old piddle-machine, and make no mistake about it. Right then; to work; what gives?”

The Charge Hand didn’t dare take his eyes from his read-out lest he miss something vital. “You know that Scroton Five that initiated a Gravity Lock, in the hope of following the stolen ship?”

The Security Manager cast his mind back…

“Oh, yeah.” He said at length. “What about it?”

“Well they emerged in a unfamiliar place.”

“Great.” The Security Manager responded positively. “Anything since then?”

“No.” The Charge Hand answered. “We’re still waiting for news.”

Meanwhile, the aforementioned Scroton Five’s crew were hard at work…

…pursuing avenues of investigation. From left to right, they were Ship’s Cook – Urchie Kakkapo: Pilot – Nobbington Sprake: Ship’s Oracle: Captain – Werner Hissenfrapp: First Officer – Selma Ferkins: and Midshipman – Willum Poobs.

So far they had enjoyed their first pursuit mission together, and hoped it would last a lot longer…

“Look at that.” Captain Werner Hissenfrapp gushed, shortly after having emerged, safe and sound from the Gravity Lock. “Doesn’t it make your heart sing?”

“It certainly do – don’t it?” Urchie Kakkapo responded. “A bit like that breakfast I knocked up this morning.”

“No, Urchie,” Selma Ferkins responded. “You breakfasts make our hearts sink. Now, can anyone figure where that dratted ship has disappeared to?”

“I have an ion trail that passes quite close to that mysterious disc in space. It might be our fugitives.” Nobbington Sprake suggested from the pilot’s chair. “Wanna go look?”

Little did the crew know, but they had been spotted by a couple of God Nymphs…

…whose job it was to go about the galaxy looking for interesting things to do for the Creators of the life forms that inhabited it.

“Ooh, that looks interesting.” One said to the other as they lay, squished up, inside their tiny dome.

“One ship chasing an identical one.” The other replied. “And I’ve not seen either type before. The second one is manned by Ethernet Cable Ends.”

“Ethernet Cable Ends?” The other exclaimed. “Aren’t they the last species to be granted sentience and self-awareness? They get special dispensation. We’d better tell someone!”

So they informed the Celestial God of Nebulae…

Who, in turn passed it down to the God of Cosmic Gas Clouds…

Who thought it more appropriate to be taken care of by the God of Singularities and Black Holes…

…Who was a bit busy at the time – devouring the centre of a galaxy that had been long-earmarked for destruction – so moved the problem to Spollox…

…a junior God, who was globular in shape and mind, and spent its time swinging back and forth across the universe on a length of cosmic string. It, in turn, considered that any problem that lay upon the opposite end of the galaxy, and could not be attended to within the next millennia, not worth its attention. So the case was moved over to the Sub-God – Dick…

Who was always grumpy and lazy and thought ill of everyone and everything.

“Lousy Ethernet Cable Ends.” He moaned. “Don’t know what all the fuss is about. I prefer those pesky little End Caps.”

“Now them, I almost like. Hey, Mauritzio, can you take this?”

The Mauritzio to which Dick referred was The Supreme Being’s favourite Space Dinosaur – Mauritzio Fabbaruni…

And, naturally, Mauritzio was happy to take anything interesting to his grouchy boss. It was what Space Dinosaurs had been born to do.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revel in the Ribaldry 3

Time to revel in some Hamster-Sapiens ribaldry again. Since this is the third extract, it’s only fitting that it should come from the third book in the series – namely this tome of significantly fabulous short stories, all pulled together in one wonderful narrative. Or something like that…

Of all my books, this is my favourite. I don’t know what it is about it that so pleases me. Maybe it is the way it almost wrote itself. I can still recall – I think it must have been back in 2008 – sitting at my desk top computer, hoping for inspiration. I’d written the intro – explaining the significance of the Psychic Historian character – Sorbresto Titt – and why he was visiting The Where House. But, having done so, I had no story to tell. So, rather than stare at a blank monitor screen, I closed my eyes. And there it was: a dry dusty track through a desert landscape. Then an ageing hamster, with a pack thrown over her shoulder, shuffled into view. In that moment I had my opening story.  So, being desperately logical, I’ll show you that opening scene right now…

If the audience had been impressed before – now they were stunned to within a micron of sentience. For indeed the huge monitor did show the contents of Flotti’s genetic memory – as filtered and reconstructed by the dazzling advanced-brain of Sorbresto Titt. They all went “Oooh.” as the screen cleared itself of some momentary static to show an ancient crone staggering along a dusty trail that led through a rocky gorge. She was dressed in sackcloth, and upon her back she carried a heavy pack.

Of other life there was no sign. Nevertheless she whistled a happy tune, and would break into a little jig each time she reached the surprisingly infectious chorus – not that anyone had heard it thus far.

“Oi, where’s the bloody sound?” someone chirruped from the watching audience.

“Oh, that’d be my fault.” Colin apologized, and quickly found an errant jack plug, “I completely forgot to plug it in – which just goes to show that computer brains are just as forgetful as organic ones. So, as you can see, none of you are inferior to me in any way, shape, or form: Just different.”

He then remembered to insert the jack plug into the appropriate socket, and everyone could hear the old crone’s melodious singing.

“She’s bloody good.” The same chirruper made himself heard once more, “She could make the top of the hamster hit parade, she could. I’d sign her up to a record deal right this second – if she wasn’t long-dead and turned to dust – and I was a record producer of course.”

But no one was listening: They were too interested in what was happening on-screen…

“Hola, buenas dias.” The old crone spoke to someone off-screen, “Como estais?”

This caused consternation to flow through the assembled ranks of seated hamsters like a nasty dose of influenza. Generally speaking foreign languages were an anathema to them. Some grew fearful: Others angry.

Noticing that he was in danger of losing his paying customers Boney acted quickly.

“Colin,” he yelled across a rather loud conversation in Spanish, “You’re a walking encyclopaedia: Can you interpret?”

Well in response to such a reasonable request from his employer, Colin said, “Boney, I do believe that I can do better than that: How do you fancy sub-titles?”

Then he did what any good-natured, self-aware, servomechanism would do. He got out his special, multi-purpose, tool, and indicated what he intended to do with it.

Now this action surprised many in the audience. Well actually it amazed them. Some it even astonished. And fourteen found themselves capable of being overcome by the thrill of the moment, and simply fainting.

This was because Colin kept his very unusual tool in a very unusual place. Now, having extracted it from beneath his special celebratory sporran, he proceeded to walk up to the TV monitor, and shove his tool into an especially prepared socket just beside the on/off switch – where he would remain standing awkwardly for the rest of the evening – almost certainly with a fixed smile upon his handsome face.

The result of this audacious action was the appearance of words along the bottom of the screen. And after a quick wiggle of his hips they became recognizably Hamster-British.

“Where are you bound?” the voice off-screen was asking the ancient forebear of Flotti Pañuelo, “And by what name are you known?”

“I’m bound for the twin cities of Sod’em and Begorrah.” The ancient crone replied. “And my name is Flappi Pañuelo.”

A gasp ran around the audience like a Mexican wave.

“Blimey,” Horatio Horseblanket exclaimed, “she must be Flotti’s great, great, great, great, great, great…”

But he got no further because he suddenly fell silent after receiving a severe backhander from his mother – accompanied by a hissed reprimand that went something like, “Shut it, you gobby twat: You may be the youngest-ever inductee to the Hamster Hall of Heroes, but I don’t like being shown up in public.”

And, whilst rubbing the back of his furry head, Horatio replied rather indignantly, “What about that time I showed those old black and white pictures of your enormous peach-like bum to people waiting at the bus stop? You didn’t seem to mind that at all!”

“That’s because the bald hamster at the back was a famous pornography producer.” Molly shot back. “I thought he might have a part for me.”

“Oh he had a part for you alright.” Horatio leaned as far away as possible whilst still remaining seated, “A very private one I seem to recall.”

“It paid the rent that month, didn’t it?” Molly snapped. Then she realized that no one was watching the ancient tale of Flappi Pañuelo anymore: They were paying her more rapt attention than she felt comfortable with.  “Just carry on.” she instructed Sorbresto, “Now!”

Well what then transpired upon the TV monitor was a revelation. The psychic camera seemed to pull back to reveal that Flappi was speaking with a heavily-built male Jerboa – who rode upon a chariot that was pulled by a team of armoured praying mantis. Beryl Bogbreath screamed shrilly. Fanangy Panakan was only a heartbeat behind her.

Fortunately for Flotti she was in a trance, and so was unaware of the hideous spectacle that emanated from deep within her genetic past. This was just as well because she’d held a life-long aversion to the preying mantis ever since one fell from a balcony in the Spanish seaside town of  Bunnidorm, and landed in her strawberry blancmange – utterly destroying it; the table; and the evening in the process, and very nearly biting her mother’s head off. Only the timely arrival of the Spanish waiter carrying a huge bottle of fizzy cola – with which he proceeded to hose down the panicking creature – saved Mrs Pañuelo from a ghastly fate.

But that was by-the-by. Sorbresto Titt was accessing the moment that followed…

“You are a hamster.” The rather haughty Jerboa said.

“That I am, Sir.” Flappi was forced to concede.

“But this is Sandy Desert Land.” The Jerboa stated the obvious once more.

“So?” Flappi stood as insolently as she could muster under the weight of the pack upon her back.

“Your inflatable cheek pouches will do you no good here: There is very little water in which to drown. In any case we Jerboas find your stubby little tails most distasteful: It almost looks as though you have a willy poking out of your arse hole. Do not be surprised if some tribal chieftain takes umbrage at your hamsteriness, and has you flogged, jailed, or dispatched to the next realm of existence. You’d do well to find your way back to that far-off place from whence you came.”

“Thank you very much, but I’ll take my chances.” Flappi replied. “I’m here to visit the holy shrine of Freda Lung, and maybe take in the existential frisson of the sunken city of Bilge.”

The Jerboa appeared confused. “Ugh?” He grunted. “But you told me that you sought the twin cities of Sod‘em and Begorrah.”

“Well they’re on the way, aren’t they?” Flappi showed the first sign of doubt.

“In a ‘round about sort of way.” The Jerboa agreed.

Then he made a sudden decision. “Hop on board, you absolute sex-goddess,” he smiled for the first time, “I’m going that way myself. Perhaps we can attempt procreation en route? Better still – let’s a have a go now – right here – in the open – where there’s a chance someone might see us. What do you think?”

“Well…” Flappi began, “I’m not entirely sure…”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

P.S The © date of 2013 represents the later – improved – version of this book. Naturally it is available as an e-book from most suppliers. A list of the better-known ones appears on the sidebar – or in that list of ‘Pages’ beneath the header.

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 13)

Several minutes passed, after Flaxwell had disappeared into the toilet, and Gideon was becoming concerned that he had fallen down it and become converted into energy for the engines. But, eventually he returned to the pilot’s seat…

“I don’t want to talk about it.” Flaxwell said quietly. “But let’s just say that I’ve never been so frightened in all my life.”

Gideon, although young, could be wise: he decided to change the subject:

“I don’t know about you, but all that excitement has done nothing to assuage my pangs of hunger. If anything, I’m even more starving than I was before.”

Flaxwell must have been harbouring similar thoughts, because he leapt from his seat and ran around to the Oracle…

“Oracle. Oracle.” He wailed. “If we don’t find food soon, you’ll be commanding a ghost ship!”

“Well, actually,” The Oracle replied without hesitation, “While you’ve been attending to your ablutions, I’ve been scanning nearby space. And, you’ll be happy to hear, I have something positive to report. May I take the helm for a couple of minutes?”

If it meant food, Flaxwell was happy for the Oracle to take the helm for a couple of eons.

“Yo.” He roared with joy. “Go for it!”

Two minutes later a huge asteroid hove into view…

It was so huge that Flaxwell and Gideon retook their seats to witness a circumnavigation of it…

“I love rocks.” Gideon said, somewhat unexpectedly. He then made his true feelings plain when he added, sarcastically: “I could chew on them all day long.”

Then he was out of his seat – his anger rising and his spittle spraying…

In fact he was so angry that he blew off with rage – which startled Flaxwell more than he cared to admit.

“I don’t care about asteroids.” He yelled. “I hate them, in fact. They’re always threatening to fall into planets and causing extinction events. I’ve seen all the movies. I know about these things!”

“But – but.” A confused Oracle tried to respond. “But it’s not just this asteroid. This is only the outermost one of a vast field…”

But neither earplug was listening: they’d gone to the Psycho-Chef…

“Come on, Flaxwell.” Gideon urged. “Try to imagine some cornflakes.”

“Cornflakes?” Flaxwell quiried. “But I don’t have a clue how cornflakes are cooked. It’s usually done in huge food factories, isn’t it?”

Gideon pondered the problem for a moment. Then: “I never thought of that. Try a boiled egg.”

Flaxwell did – to the best of his ability. But, after rushing to the galley to fetch the steaming orb, Gideon found the receptacle empty….

So he rushed back to try himself. In fact he rushed back so urgently that the ship went to crimson alert…

And it remained at crimson alert all through his wild imagining…

“What are you imagining cooking, Giddy?” Flaxwell asked.

“Shut up.” Gideon snapped. “I’m concentrating. And turn off that bloody crimson alert: I can’t think straight.”

“Neither of you is thinking straight.” The Oracle tried to interrupt. “If only you would listen to me…”

But before it could finish its line, the two earplugs had dashed to the exit…

Gideon paused at the threshold. “I can’t bear to look.” He said. “You go in.”

So it was left to Flaxwell to face disappointment…

“Bum!” He bellowed at the sight of an empty receptacle. Then calming slightly, he added: “Talking of bums…”

“Quick, Giddy.” He said. “Find the Oracle’s bum: I’m gonna kick him right up it.”

But, of course, the servo-mechanism possessed no rear end to speak of, and so the vaguely disappointed duo went back to their fruitless task…

With a false smile, Gideon said: “You can do it this time, Flaxxy. I know it. Think of frozen peas. I like peas. My dad was a pea farmer – miles away from the Museum of Future Technology. He used to make pea flavoured coffee, which they used to sell at the museum’s Cafe Puke!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

Revel in the Ribaldry 2

As a second extract from the Hamster-Sapiens series is called for, the most logical source of material would seem to be the second book. This book, to be exact…

So, with minimal preamble, let’s get down…

“Oh Roosevelt,” Felicity squealed with delight as she pressed her paws and forehead against the inner wall of Tybrow Mooney’s lock-up garage in Hamster Heath, “I can see people and everything!”

Roosevelt was busy counting the gold coins that Mooney had thrown at them in his haste to flee. As a consequence he wasn’t really paying a great deal of attention. “Is that right?” he said without looking up.

“Yes,” Felicity replied, unaware of her exciting new friend’s distraction, “There’s a whole bunch of armed ruffians in a bedroom. They seem to be milling about somewhat. If I had to guess I’d say they were drunk. Oh, now a huge female hamster’s entered. I think she’s drunk too: She keeps showing her knickers to the males. Oh dear– now she’s waving an exposed titty at them. They all seem a little bashful: Perhaps she’s their auntie or something. Oh no, that can’t be right: They’re not all hamsters.”

Roosevelt’s ears had pricked up at the word ‘Titty’. He now gave his full attention to Felicity.  “Maybe she’s the boss.” he suggested.

“Could be.” Felicity agreed, “She’s shouting at them now, and cuffing them about the ears and cheek pouches too. “I wonder why she’s doing that? Oh I wish I could hear what she’s saying.”

 

“What do you mean?” The Law Master, Perfidity Gallowsmith, slurred her words and swayed so alarmingly that Quentin Blackheart was forced to overcome his revulsion at the physical touch of female fur, and grab her, “There’s no one here? I’ve drained a tankard of rough ale, and spat out a tasty pasty – just to find an empty room? Mooney – I thought you said that you’d been followed by Stix: Where are they then – you total tonge?”

Tybrow Mooney stood on the landing outside. He would have liked nothing more than to slip away from the scene, and hope that the Law Master forgot everything the following morning. But several lawmen blocked his egress down the stair.

“Well…” he began.

 

“I can see Mooney!” Felicity shouted excitedly.

“Does he have any more gold coins about his person?” Roosevelt inquired through avaricious lips.

“I can’t tell.” Felicity replied, “I can’t get an angle on him from here.”

So Roosevelt suggested that Felicity shift along the wall, and look again. Unfortunately there was a large pile of beans where Felicity needed to stand, so she quickly clambered up them, and stood there awkwardly as she tried to gain her balance.

“Here, let me help you,” Roosevelt held out a steadying paw.

Now what happened next could not have been foreseen – even by the combined brains of doctor Rambling Bramble, his charming assistant, Primrose Pickles, or even Hamsterdom’s youngest national hero, Horatio Horseblanket: Certainly everyone understood that Roosevelt enjoyed the talent of Psychic Catalyst, and that anyone possessing psychic powers would find their abilities enhanced in his presence: What no one knew was that these powers would be enhanced a hundredfold if physical contact was made. And, naturally, this is what occurred.

“Gosh,” Felicity screamed in a virtual rapture as once more she pressed her fluffy forehead against the rough brickwork, “I’ve got colour vision. And audio too!”

Then she said “Urk!” and stumbled forward – disappearing through the wall.

This in itself could have constituted a disaster; but unfortunately her flailing paw grasped Roosevelt’s snout in a vice-like death grip, and dragged it through the wall – with its owner in close attendance.

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2012

Yes, this story is about psychic powers and a medieval society. And hamsters, of course.

Like the other Hamster-Sapiens e-books, this one is available almost everywhere. See the sidebar or ‘Pages’ beneath the header for the more popular retailers.

P.S The hamster on the cover is Joan Bugler – the ‘star’ of the book.

 

 

Gone – But Not Forgotten

Every so often it becomes neccessary for me to remove lovingly crafted posts from this blog. I do so because I have a data limit of 3GB. As I approach this limit, WordPress suggest that I pay extra for more space: so something has to go. On this occaision it’s three beloved Earplug Adventures. To be precise it’s this three…

I’m sorry to see them go. But fear not, because they live on as E-Books, which are  available at most e-book retailers, including all the big boys. 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 9)

Whilst all this gnashing of teeth was taking place – far, far away, Flaxwell, Gideon, and the Oracle had grown bored with the spectacle of hyper-space, and were indulging themselves with a game of I Spy…

“I spy, with my little eye,” said Flaxwell, “something beginning with B.”

“B?” Gideon queried. “There’s nothing starting with B in this room.”

“I didn’t say it was in this room.” Flaxwell replied. “I just said that I could see it.”

“Blue.” The Oracle said in a dull, flat tone that strongly suggested that its cyber-heart wasn’t in the playing the game. “The blue of hyper-space.”

“Oh well done, Oracle. I would never have thought of that in a million yonks.” Gideon said chirpily. “Your turn.”

“I think I’ll pass.” the machine continued in the same tone.

“I’ll have another go, then.” Flaxwell volunteered. “I spy with my little eye – something beginning with H.”

“Hat!” Gideon blurted in triumph.

“Hat? Said the puzzled space pilot. “What hat?”

“My hat.” Gideon insisted. “My black top hat.”

“But I can’t see your black top hat.” Flaxwell argued. “You hung it up in the broom cupboard, which is three compartments aft of here.”

“Oh, yes.” Gideon said – feeling slightly sheepish. “So I did. So what starts with H?”

“Hyper-space.” The Oracle almost groaned the answer. “I see a pattern developing here. I suggest we quit while we’re ahead.”

Meanwhile, much closer to the planet Scroton…

…a Cable End listening station was…er...listening…to sub-space radio communications.

Inside, the security team that manned it…um...listened…intently to the radio chatter that permeated space…

The station’s Security Manager floated in. “My magnetic boots aren’t working properly.” He informed his team. “They won’t quite touch the floor.”

This surprised the one operative who stood opposite the door and who could see him without the need to turn around. “Really?” He said in a puzzled tone. “So how are you propelling yourself along?”

“Carefully controlled bursts of gas.” The Security Manager explained. “From my bottom. I had to cut a small hole in the back of my underpants to do it. Now; tell me; what is the current situation?”

The cable end with his back to the Security Manager replied: “The Government have despatched a battleship to destroy the stolen vessel.”

“Is it a big one?” The Security Manager asked.

“It is, Sir.” The operative replied. “It departed Scroton orbit five minutes ago.”

The Security Manager looked down at his feet, which hovered three millimetres above the floor, and said: “May the Saint of All Earplugs have mercy upon those rotten rubber souls.”

The ‘Rotten Rubber Souls’, alluded to by the Security Manager, had given up playing I Spy and had decided, instead, to try some more of the control room’s equipment…

“This is nice.” Flaxwell opined as he dropped into a receptacle. “What does it do?

“No time to explain.” The Oracle replied. “I’ll tell you all about it later. Strap yourselves in: we’re exiting hyper-space.”

Moments later the view before them blazed with wondrous energy…

“It looks like a fish.” Gideon observed. “That’s the tail in front of you, Flaxwell.”

“It’s not a fish, Gideon.” Flaxwell replied. “It’s an enormous dust cloud that is charged with cosmic energy.”

“I didn’t say it was a fish.” Gideon complained. “I just said that it looked like a fish. Like clouds on Earth do sometimes.”

At Flaxwell’s deft command to the helm, the Scroton Five came to a dead halt – relative to its immediate surroundings, of course. Nothing in space is ever completely static…

“We’ve arrived at our next calculation point.” Flaxwell informed his two partners in crime. “The Great Balsac Nebula!”

©  Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

Revel in the Ribaldry 1

When I published my early Hamster-Sapiens stories, they were always sub-titled Ribald Tales From a World Ruled by Hamsters. I don’t know why I dropped that description later, because it was (and remains) most apt. Interestingly (when I look back with the wisdom of hindsight) sales dipped from the moment I ceased to use it. So, here I am partially ressurrecting it in a number of extracts titled Revel in the Ribaldry. If they prove popular I may turn it into a glut. Afterall, the Hamster-Sapiens tales may be a few years old now; but that doesn’t make them any less…how shall I put it?…wonderful. How about fantastic? Okay, I’ll go with ‘entertaining’.

Since the original Horatio Horseblanket Chronicles books have been unavailable for several years, I’ll start proceedings with the book that is now considered Book One in the series, but which was written in the wake of the well-received aforementioned. It is this remarkable tome…

And here is the random extract…

If (just a few short weeks earlier) someone had suggested to Lionel that he would be leading the fight against an insane device that combined the organic remains of a squad of combat veteran hamsters, alien DNA, and several large (but essentially thick) robots, anyone who knew him would have scoffed: None more than Lionel himself: Lionel, after all, enjoyed making model armadillos, playing repetitive computer games, and watching inane daytime television. Indeed, until that rain-soaked day when his parents finally cried “enough”, and tossed him out of the family home, his idea of a good time was lying in bed with a sausage sandwich and a glass of aphid milk.

As things transpired, Lionel still hadn’t actually fashioned his ultimate plan to thwart the advancing menace that was The Overmind: But he’d formed the beginnings of an idea inside his fluffy little head that should, he hoped, free The Where House of its bio-electronic tyranny.

“So what shall we call this thing?” Lionel inquired as he held the artefact aloft for all to see. “It’s a bit dull to look at, isn’t it!” He added as he turned it over in his paws beneath a stuttering light in the lower latrine.

Indeed the artefact was a bit dull. In fact it was exceedingly dull. On a scale of visual languor it would have scored ten out of ten with consummate ease. So, as a consequence, not one single hamster present could summon up an idea for a suitable moniker.

All, that is, except Boney. “How about we call it ‘Arse Wipe’?” he half-suggested  – not thinking for one second that anyone would take him seriously.

Ten eyes – eight of them real: Two totally artificial, all swivelled to regard him. He couldn’t be sure, but he thought he saw pity reflected in at least five of them.

“Well I mean,” He quickly realised that an explanation for his outrageous suggestion was required, “it’s gonna be about as useful as a bog roll in a hail storm when we confront The Overmind with it – aint it!”

Lionel continued to stare: ‘Could the ageing rodent be right?’ He thought to himself in that frozen moment, ‘Should this potential battle-winner be named ‘Arse Wipe’? If nothing else, it was original’.

“Oh, Boney,” Fanangy scolded, “How can you be so untrusting of Lionel’s abilities? Of course the Arse Wipe will be of more use than a bog roll in a hailstorm. Obviously Lionel’s plan is going to be ingenious: Success is certain. But Arse Wipe does have nice ring to it: I once had an Uncle named Arse Wipe – though of course he pronounced it Arssay Wippay. His wife was named Ringpiece. She had cruel parents. They were put to death for their crime – or so the legend goes.”

“So,” Colin felt duty-bound to step in and halt the pointless banter, “now that we’ve sorted that out – what are we going to do with it?”

Up until now Sergeant Tonks had remained quiet; and Major Hardcourt-Gymp appeared to be almost comatose with silence. But suddenly the Major’s aid spoke. She said, “Yeah – what are we going to do – like now? Emphasis on the now.”

This seemed to galvanise Gymp. “Indeed: Well put, Sergeant. We must cease this prevarication, and act. Hand me the Arse Wipe: I shall activate it once more; and we shall be about our business, which of course is my reinstatement as a sentient hamster that is fit to once again lead the Tadgerstone Rifles.”

“But you don’t know what to do with it.” Lionel whined as he realised that the situation was slipping from his tenuous control. Then a steeliness came over him, and he pulled the artefact to his puny chest, adding, “No – leave it alone: It’s mine.”

“Yes, that’s right, you big bully.” Fanangy instantly sided with her beloved Lionel, and snarled at the military officer in such a way that he blanched beneath his military-regulation facial fur, and began to wonder if being sentient was all it was cracked up to be.

“Will you lot stop all this yakking!” Boney roared as best he could with his age-clogged lungs, “All the time we’re stood about doin’ nothin’ – that thing upstairs is takin’ over more an’ more of my business.”

And of course he was right – and Lionel knew it. “Right then.” He said in his most authoritative voice, “To the elevator!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2012

Naturally the e-book version remains available at most e-book retailers. See the sidebar or ‘Pages’ beneath the header for the most popular ones.

P.S The sub-title of the original copy had a sub-title of it’s own. It was ‘Where All the Parts Are Private’. Why on Earth did I drop that? Because I’m creative; and creative people are allowed to be morons.

A Tale of Three Museums (part 8)

For almost a full five minutes the Scroton Five hung in the weightlessness of space like some lustrous bauble on the Christmas tree of eternity…

…before Doctor Gideon Snoot realised his mistake, and returned to the control room…

Although not particularly interested in what his colleague was doing, he noted that Flaxwell was engrossed with some mathematical problems, which, he assumed were course calculations.

“I searched this ship from stem to stern.” He informed the furry-headed space pilot. “Couldn’t find a lavatory anywhere. You’ll have to put down on the first habitable planet: I’m desperate to go.”

Flaxwell couldn’t spare Gideon too much attention. “The Bog’s over in the corner – to your left.” He grunted.

A split second later…

“I hope those brochures were correct.” Gideon said from inside the advanced toilet.

“Brochures?” The Oracle inquired.

“Yes, the ones that stated that this ship comes with all the extras that include padded armrests and toilets that don’t smell.” Gideon answered.

“Have you noticed any padded armrests?” The Oracle asked.

“Um.” Gideon began as his eyes scanned the room. “Er…no.”

“Well there’s your answer then.” The Oracle said. “But if it softens the blow slightly – the toilet is self-cleaning.”

“Oh, that’s a relief.” Gideon said – slightly disappointed. “I didn’t  spot a drop of bleach or any rubber gloves in the broom cupboard.”

“No,” the Oracle interjected, “I didn’t mean that it cleans itself: it cleans yourself. No bog roll required. Wonderful, isn’t it?”

“Hmmm,” Gideon managed as the device began its ministrations, and his eyes bulged, “kind of. I’m adaptable, but I’m not sure I could get used to this.”

“You may have to.” Flaxwell grumbled. “If I don’t get these calculations right, we could be lost out here for eternity.”

Shortly, following that quiet outburst from his sole crewmate, Gideon sat himself in his chair and awaited proceedings. And it was while he awaited proceedings that he returned to real-time. That is, he wasn’t remembering events from the recent past anymore. Rather he was experiencing things for the first time. He was in the ‘now‘ of his life…

“Got it.” Flaxwell cheered triumphantly. “I had the decimal point in the wrong place. Right; strap in; we’re ready to go.”

“It’s not that I don’t trust your math,” the Oracle said, as it swivelled in its space cage to face the rear bulkhead, “but I don’t have fingers to hide my eyes behind: I’ll just look at the coffee machine and marvel at its complexity.”

The servo-mechanism had barely uttered its last word before Flaxwell hit the Go button…

“Whoo.” The space pilot yelled. “Look at this baby go!”

And, indeed, it did go: like the clappers…

Meanwhile, back on night-shrouded Scroton…

…the Security Manager had taken control of the search for the stolen ship…

“Report.” he snarled at his subordinates, as only a security manager can.

“We have several Scroton Fives patrolling Weird Space.” The charge hand informed him…

…”Just in case they try to double back to Scroton and try to put the ship back on its plinth, and slink off and disappear down some back alley.”

“One of our ships formed a Gravity Lock in the same location where the stolen vessel disappeared.” A night-shift subordinate informed him…

“It’s attempting to track them from inside the gravity well.”

“Yeah,” a third member of the security team belched verbally, “and another Scroton Five is patrolling all the nearby nebulas – to see if they are hiding in the dust clouds and birth places of stars.”

“Nebulae.” The Security Manager corrected him. “Not nebulas. Its an easy mistake to make. I used to make it all the time. But then I was promoted to Security Manager; so now I never mistakes. Never. Do you hear me? How often do I make mistakes?”

“Never!” The subordinates said, as one.

“Did you want me to mention that we’ve informed all the deep space exploration vessels to keep an eye out too?” The fourth member of the team inquired…

“Naturally.” The Security Manager answered. “I’d expect nothing less from my team. I’m gonna catch these devils. And when I do, they’re gonna wish they’d never got up in the morning; had their breakfast; and stolen a Scroton Five!”

“But they didn’t get up in the morning.” The braver of his subordinates reminded him. “They stole it in the dead of night.”

But the Security Manager wasn’t really listening: he was too busy imagining what terrible acts he would perpetrate against Flaxwell and Gideon when he caught them. “Yeah,” he growled, somewhat confusingly. “That too.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

A Tale of Three Museums (part 7)

For a moment, sitting and staring in bewilderment was all that Flaxwell and Gideon could do. Bewilderment turned to horror when the first Attack Scroton Five opened fire in earnest…

“Flipping heck.” Flaxwell yelled at the screen. “This baby is worth twelve billion Scrotelettes: what are you doing – trying to blow it up?”

“They cannot allow this vessel to fall into the hands of competitors.” The Oracle bellowed above the sound of the defensive screens battling the incoming fire. “Better to destroy it than have all their technological secrets discovered. And it’s not actually worth twelve billion: that’s just the retail price. The mark up is huge!”

“Fascinating.” The formerly quiescent Gideon spoke for the first time as the second ship swept in – its guns blazing…

…”But how does that explanation remedy our situation?”

“Well…” The Oracle replied, “One of those secrets is a patented escape mechanism.”

“Escape?” Flaxwell replied. “I didn’t do all this, just to bail out. I want to keep this ship. But I also want to live. Think of something else!”

“Not the occupants, Stupid.” The Oracle snapped. “The whole ship. The escape mechanism allows the ship and everything inside it to escape capture or destruction.”

“Do you know how to work it?” Gideon asked calmly.

The Oracle’s response was: “I already have.”

At that moment, beneath the lower hull of the Scroton Five, a ring of brilliant energy formed….

“It’s a Gravity Lock.” The Oracle explained. In an instant the Gravity Lock forms a connection with the nearest neutron star. It doesn’t matter how far away it is. Then the incredibly powerful gravity waves that all neutron stars possess, drags us from where we were, and makes us fall down the gravity well towards the neutron star…

…Neat, huh?”

Once again, it was all that the two earplugs could do to sit and watch whilst the galaxy rushed past the ship as it hurtled down the gravity well.

“Question.” Flaxwell squeaked. “If this gravity is so powerful – that it’s pulling us along at supra-light speeds: how do we stop? This thing doesn’t even have a parking brake.”

“Oh ye of little faith.” Gideon scoffed. “Obviously the Oracle will turn the Gravity Lock off. I think now would be a suitable moment.”

The Oracle almost sounded cheerful when it said: “Already done.”

A split second later, the Scroton Five emerged in another part of the galaxy…

…and a very annoyed Gideon Snoot jumped from his seat and waltzed off to the rear of the control room – from where he began blaming Flaxwell for everything that had gone wrong. He cursed him for getting a young, inexperienced professor drunk. He then called him every vile name he could think of…

In fact he was so annoyed with the space pilot that he even made some up on the spur of the moment…

“Bootle-twang?” A vaguely amused Flaxwell replied. “That’s fighting talk where I come from. So is fester-fuzz.”

Gideon calmed slightly at this. “Yes…well.” He hurrumphed like an earplug of great antiquity. “I’m going to the toilet. By the time I come back I expect everything to be tickety-boo and Bristol fashion – if you don’t mind ancient naval parlance.”

With that he turned around and disappeared through the only exit…

“But…but.” Flaxwell said as he staggered forward…

…”that leads to the galley and engine room. This is the toilet.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 3)

Fortunately – or unfortunately, depending upon your point of view – the waiting line for the electronic information device consisted of air molecules and a few dust motes. Consequently it took but a moment for Gideon to ask the magic question…

And the nano-moment that it took for Gideon and Flaxwell to absorb the answer was even briefer. “How much is twelve billion Scrotelettes in real money?” Gideon then asked the machine.

“Please rephrase the question, you earplug nincompoop.” The device replied tetchily. “Scrotelettes is real money, you quasi-imperialist swine!”

Whilst this interchange of cultures was taking place, Flaxwell was doing a rapid calculation in his head. “That’d be about a billion and a half bucks.” He said.

“A billion  and a half bucks?” Gideon yelped. “I’ve never heard of such a huge figure. Why, for a billion and half bucks, the Museum of Future Technology could keep a squadron of defence fighters aloft for a decade. They would only have to land in order to use the toilet!”

“It aint so much – not for a piece of kit like this.” A concerned Flaxwell argued – trying hard not to let the feeling of panic that threatened to overwhelm him show too much. “It is a Scroton Five after all. You always pay top Dollar for a class act. You’d probably never have to buy another one. You could pass it down to your children – and their children too. And it’s bound to appreciate in value. Really you should consider a billion and a half a real bargain. I know I do.”

Gideon didn’t reply straight away. Instead he walked away from the machine…

Then he did speak: “That’s easy for you to say.” He moaned. “You’re just the hired pilot. I have to justify the expense with my bosses. If I told them that it cost twelve thousand Scrotelettes, they just might swallow it: but twelve billion? It’ll give Cushions Smethwyke a coronary!”

Flaxwell could see his dream evaporating. He knew there was nothing he could say to pursuade Gideon. Only the Scroton Five, itself, could help him now. So he said nothing, and simply stared straight ahead until they returned to the display, which chose that moment to inform the audience of some fabulous extras that were available at no extra cost…

Gideon could see that his would-be employee was disappointed. “I’m sorry, Flaxwell.” He said. “Maybe we’ll find a used Scroton Four in Exchange My Spacecraft On-Line.”

To this Flaxwell allowed his lips to form a near-perfect circle, through which he released a long and mournful, “Noooo!”

Following this outburst, a group of ushers…er…ushered the earplugs out into the street…

Flaxwell was still in shock, so Gideon spoke of inconsequential things – like rugby shorts, corn flakes, and altered equilibrium and interrupted lymphatic systems caused by living on the Moon for too long.

All that Flaxwell could muster was: “Yeah-yeah, well it would – wouldn’t it.”

Shortly after that, en route to the Hotel Verruca, they passed by a Ethernet Cable End industrial unit, from which smoke had ceased billowing…

In an effort to shake Flaxwell from his semi-catatonic state, Gideon elucidated an observation that he had just made: “Oh look, it’s going-home time in Scroton Prime. Would you care to share a pot of tea in my hotel?”

Well, Flaxwell had nothing else to do. His life’s greatest wish had just imploded beneath the weight of Gideon’s extreme fiscal limitations. “Well if I can’t have the best space ship in the galaxy,” he mumbled, “I suppose a cup of tea isn’t the worst booby prize there ever was.”

So, a short while later, the two earplugs were riding a huge shiny elevator to Gideon’s room, where, as they passed several floors, Flaxwell tried to cheer himself up by shouting very rude words indeed…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

A Tale of Three Museums (part 2)

Following a pleasant night in the most comfortable bed in all creation, Doctor Gideon Snoot took the receptionist’s advice. Shortly after the ascension of Scroton’s primary sun, he made his way past the sewage works and entered the ticket office of the Scroton Five Exhibition Centre…

…where he purchased a ticket.

“So, how did you manage to charm Blobbins into recommending this promotional show?” The Ticket Office Operator inquired.

Gideon hadn’t been aware of the receptionist’s name previously, but now that he did – and for reasons he couldn’t readily identify – he felt it incumbent upon him to give the impression that he wasn’t the new kid in school that he might have looked. “Blobbins?” He answered. “We go way back. I knew him when he…er…did stuff other than welcoming visitors to the Hotel Verruca. Yeah, I’ve known him for…um…yonks!”

“Don’t tell me,” the female ethernet cable end said with an expression on her strange face that Gideon couldn’t read, “you knew him when he was working Vice. What he do: bust you for peddling Mangroves? Or was it Wilful Infestation?”

Suddenly Gideon wished he could back-track to the moment before he’d opened his stupid mouth. Why had he tried to impress the girl? ‘How could I be so stupid?” He asked himself silently. ‘Look at me: a professor of the Museum of Future Technology caught in an unnecessary lie. And its not like her fancy her or  anything either!’

“Well?” The Ticket Office Operator snapped. “Which was it?”

Fortunately for Gideon, a fellow earplug chose that moment to appear from the street…

“Hey dude,” the wild-haired individual exclaimed, “are you a sight for sore eyes. I haven’t seen a living earplug for almost three months. The name’s Flaxwell Maltings, by the way. Originally of Earth. Might we be neighbours?”

“Doctor Gideon Snoot.” Gideon introduced himself. “Yes, I’m from Earth too. Nice to meet you. Very nice in fact.”

For some reason that eluded him, and whilst Flaxwell bought his own ticket, Gideon proceeded to tell this perfect stranger of his mission to the stars.

“Sounds like fun – sort of.” Flaxwell replied. “So you’re looking for a ship, huh?”

Gideon wasn’t really sure why he was there, so he nodded and said: “Uh-huh. I guess.”

“Walk with me, Doctor Gideon Snoot.” Flaxwell said with a smile. “This could be your lucky day.”

“Why is that?” Gideon replied as they turned away from the kiosk – their tickets safely tucked inside their shoes.

“Because,” Flaxwell answered, “if it’s a ship you’re needing; it’s also a pilot you’re needing. Ships don’t fly themselves, you know. And I happen to be the best darned pilot in known space. Well the best darned pilot that’s currently unemployed in known space, that is!”

Gideon discovered that he had to agree with his new-found friend. This could be the next step on his quest for the Porthole of Everywhere. “Yes,” he said, “I think you might be right there, Flaxwell Maltings: indeed this might be my lucky day.”

Once outside, and standing upon a fabulous woollen sidewalk that must have cost a fortune…

…Flaxwell said: “See you at the entrance of the exhibition tonight: seven oclock sharp, or as close as you can get to it. Okay?”

“Fine.” Gideon replied. “But what do I do in the meantime?”

“This is Scroton Prime.” Flaxwell said with a chuckle. “There are always millions of things to do in the biggest city in Weird Space. You could go watch some bum wrestling, where guys try to suffocate each other with their buttocks. That could be a lot of fun – though it aint pretty. Or you could go back to your room and read a book. That’d be fine too. But don’t get too engrossed: you gotta be there tonight.”

So, having parted company with Flaxwell, Gideon did as he’d been told. But the images of bum wrestling are too disturbing for a photographic representation here. Then, in an effort to get the aforementioned ghastly images he’d seen from his mind, he read a book – cover to cover. And, at seven o’clock sharp, he walked into the exhibition centre with his ex-pat chum…

And when he saw an actual Scroton Five upon a massive plinth, he very nearly said a rude word. Naturally Flaxwell did. Several in fact…

“And look at the plinth.” Flaxwell added. “It’s made of glass – with a built-in elevator!”

Gideon couldn’t help a little pedantry: “It’s not so much a plinth: more a pedestal.” He said. “But I agree; it is impressive. Rather like the Scroton Five itself.”

They said no more because they heard a microphone go live on the sound system.

“Is this thing on?” They heard a disembodied voice that sounded rather familiar to both of them say. “Yeah. Okay – let’s go.”

Suddenly a spotlight burst into incandescence, and picked out the owner of the rather familiar voice…

“Hi everybody: I’m Johnny Nosebleed. I’m a famous actor, and I’d like to personally invite all of you here today to ogle Scroton’s latest technological marvel…

…The do anything; go anywhere; kick-ass Scroton Five Scout Ship!”

Applause rang out as the craft began rotating upon it’s plinth/pedestal…

Gideon noticed that Flaxwell appeared to be having trouble breathing. “Are you alright?” He enquired.

“Gotta have one.” Flaxwell explained. “Got to have a Scroton Five. Please tell me you’re gonna buy one. Tell me. I love that ship. I gotta get my hands on the controls of this baby. My life won’t be complete if I dont!”

Gideon noted a claim that the Scroton Five had Trans-Galactic capability. “Well it would get the job done.” He conceded. “It comes complete with its own Ship’s Oracle too; so I wouldn’t have to pay for a crew either. Let’s go see how much it costs.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

 

A Tale of Three Museums (part 1)

In the far reaches of space, a vast distance from any of the regular shipping routes, a Scroton Five hung motionless – relative to that region of the galaxy of course – after all, nothing is really still: everything is on the move, one way or another, even when it doesn’t feel like it is…

Seated in the pilot’s chair, Flaxwell Maltings busied himself making calculations for a course change. Behind him, within its space-cage, the Ship’s Oracle resided in silence – awaiting requests for guidance from the only earplugs aboard. Opposite Flaxwell, on the other side of the helm control, his passenger, Doctor Gideon Snoot, had his mind on other things…

In fact Gideon was having second thoughts about his decision to board the vessel…

Whilst Maxwell mumbled to himself and punched furiously at his pocket calculator, Gideon allowed his mind to drift back to the beginning of this foolhardy adventure. He had taken passage aboard a space liner…

…that had carried him from Earth, via several stops at various planets, some of which he’d never heard of – such as Borky, Fladder-Fladder, and Belch – to a region of the galaxy that was known as Weird Space – and the unusual planet of Scroton…

A planet that was, for millennia, inhabited by a simple people who didn’t have the first idea who they were, what they were doing, or how to use a toilet. Not that there were any toilets on Scroton, of course: the Ethernet Cable Ends that lived there were yet to invent them – or anything else for that matter. But then a powerful and wise alien people gave them the gift of sentience; and within a couple of years, Scroton had been named and industrialised…

And now, generations later, Doctor Gideon Snoot was setting foot there. Naturally he and his fellow passengers were thrilled as they stepped out of the ship’s tender…

“Hello, Doctor Snoot.” One of the welcoming Ethernet Cable Ends said to him as he stepped upon the slightly worn red carpet. “I’m here to take you to your hotel.”

“That’s okay.” Gideon had replied. “I have a tourist guide book. I know the way there. If you don’t mind, I think I’ll walk.”

So Gideon’s first impression of Scroton came through the soles of his comfy shoes. The second came a short while later…

…when he stared up at the hotel that his benefactors, back on Earth, had booked for him. 

“By the Saint of All Earplugs!” He exclaimed. “Look at the bloody size of that!”

In fact the hotel was so tall that, in order to bring the top into view, Gideon had to lean back so far that his hat fell off…

He was mightily impressed. But when he approached the main entrance, he found it closed to him…

Suddenly the thought of being forced to spend the night in a shop doorway filled him with dread. He’d done it before – several times – but he’d promised himself that it would never happen to him again. Indeed it was this determination that had given him the mental strength to gain him his doctorate in Anthroplugism, despite his school grades being somewhere south of garbage.

“Oi, you bleeders,” he yelled, “open this sodding door!”

Well, as luck would have it, the door was designed to respond to verbal commands. By chance Gideon’s well-chosen phrase matched perfectly the opening command sequence for the door to Reception…

“Neat.” He said, as he started down the long corridor.

A short while later he arrived at the welcome desk…

“Good evening.” The Receptionist said from behind the imposing desk that separated him from the hotel’s clientele. “Welcome to the Hotel Verruca.”

“Thank you.” Gideon replied. “It’s…er…awfully big – isn’t it? And that corridor has absolutely knackered me. I’m a desk-jockey these days, you know. I don’t get out and about often. This is my first trip outside the Museum of Future Technology in seven years, you know. That’s Earth years, of course. That’d be about fifteen Scroton Years.”

Although it wasn’t immediately obvious by his expression, the Receptionist was stunned by this information…

Even the Bell-Boy looked across at the newcomer.

“You, you, you’re an Antroplugologist from the M.O.F.M?” The Receptionist stuttered. “Kudos to you, man. What a groove! What are you doing here in Scroton Prime? Digging up some ancient earplug artefacts or something?”

Gideon smiled at the Receptionist’s ignorance. “No-no, there have never been earplugs living on Scroton.” He explained. “No, I’m conducting an intellectual quest. I’m tracking down the whereabouts of the mythical Porthole of Everywhere.”

Unfortunately the receptionist had an Attention Deficit problem, so duly lost interest. “You don’t say.” He said. “Room Fifteen-Oh-One. Nootles, here, will show you the way.”

So, without further ado, Gideon was on his way to his room…

But just as he was about to make his way to the elevator, the Receptionist had one more thing to say…

“Oh, yeah, Doctor Snoot. The Porthole of Everywhere aint on Scroton. Everyone knows that. You’re gonna need a scout ship that’s capable of supra-light speeds and can get you where you wanna go real quick, and out of trouble when it comes knocking at your door in the shape of Hyperspace Pirates or whatever. There’s an unveiling of a new ship tomorrow, down the road, just past the sewage works. It could be the perfect ship for your needs. Small, efficient, funky. My cousin works in the ticket office. Tell her I sent you: you’ll get in half-price.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2020

P.S I really thought I’d never get to write that. Boy, am I glad to be back.

 

Finally, a New Earplug Adventure?

I began formulating ideas for ‘A Tale of Three Museums’ long before I completed my last Earplug Adventure – ‘Distant Land’. That was 2019, when I had no idea what dreadful things lay ahead of me, and the subsequent impossibility of creating the 35th episode of my vast silicon magnum opus. But, although my situation has failed to improve, I have managed to put together enough photos to begin to tell the tale. It is a story that takes place in four locations. The first is the basic timeline of the Museum of Future Technology – well known to regular readers. The second occurs in the the same past that Magnuss, Hair-Trigger, and several museum visitors disappeared into in ‘The Time Tamperer’. The third follows Folie and Placebo as they continue the story from ‘Distant Land’. And finally the future, through which the main characters – Dr Gideon Snoot and Flaxwell Maltings – use a device to study the past – and in doing so draw all these tales together. Had my life not changed so suddenly, it would have been a challenge. As it is, I think this might be a bridge too far for me. But, being an ‘International Author’ and ‘Literary Genius’ – not to mention ‘Wonder Chef’ and ‘Photographic Phenomenon’, I think I should give it a try. So watch this space. Here’s a few taster shots…

What a Strange Writer I Am!

I was right in the middle of a re-write of Return to the Museum of Future Technology…

…when I came upon a conversation betwixt these two characters…

…which went:

“Hello. Um…my mum wears huge underpants.” The blue earplug said with a smile. “You’re terribly pretty and all that: I’m not very experienced with relationships and life in general: are you a boy or a girl?”

“Thank you for noticing me amongst all this technological majesty. My mother also tends towards voluminous cacks.” The turquoise earplug replied. “You are most attractive, by the way. In answer to your enquiry – I’m a girl: what gender are you?”

“I’m a boy.” The blue earplug answered. “Though my voice remains unfeasibly high-pitched for my age, and sometimes surprises earplugs who do not know me.”

“This is good news.” The turquoise girl earplug said as her smile broadened. “It means that we are compatible.”

“Good news indeed.” The blue earplug observed. “It means that we can engage upon a relationship. How would you care to embark upon an adventure with me in the Museum of Future Technology? Rumour has it, it can be fun.”

“One that we will look back on with affection when we are in our dotage, and our youth is but a distant memory, and our lives will have taken us in very different directions, you mean?” The turquoise girl earplug inquired.

“Yes – we will look back longingly at our adventure,” the boy earplug said as he nodded sadly, “and wonder how things might have been if things didn’t work out the way they did – if you know what I mean.”

And the girl earplug said, “Yes – I believe it will be character-building.”

…and I thought: “What a strange writer I am. Might it be that I am unique?”

It might explain why the stories are not very popular, don’t you think?

Liberation! Vol Two – Too!

Hot on the metaphorical tail of the Liberation! Volume One re-write comes…

Yes, the 17th Child-Friendly Photo-Novel has been made near perfect and has been re-published for all to marvel at. What, before, was merely fabulous, is now…um…even better. Yes, buy the e-book at your favourite e-book seller at the first opportunity. Don’t wait until pay day: put yourself in debt straight away. You know it makes sense. Here’s a montage to make you salivate – metaphysically anyway…

Liberation Liberated From Mediocrity

Hot on the heels of…

…comes the fabulously wonderful re-write of this e-book…

…which lifts the product out of the realms of mediocrity, and catapaults it into the artistic stratosphere – which, in laymans terms, means that its a bit better than the original, and well worth a look. I like it anyway. Here’s a montage…

Stepladder Steps Up

It has taken a while, but finally the re-write of this e-book…

…is complete. Not only that, but it has been re-published too. So, if (on the unlikely off-chance) you were considering buying an e-copy of the 14th child-friendly photonovel in the Junior Earplug Adventures series – well carry on; because now it’s much nicer than it was before – with improved quality in the photo department, and some grammatically better and more entertaining script: which just goes to show the fallacy in that famous old axiom: clearly you can polish a turd after all! Here’s a montage…

…and a tiny (cut and pasted) extract…

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! 

Photography/Story-Telling: Inspiration Can Come From the Stangest Sources.

Many are the  times that I have related prosaic sources for my Earplug Adventure’s photographs: – from peeling paint to polystyrene packing pieces: cornflake boxes to drainpipes. But the latest must be the least inspiring of all. A badly-taken photo of the sun through the branches of a tree. See, even my bad photographs can be turned into something worthwhile. At least they can, if you’re a self-professed genius like me! I was about to delete the picture, when the aforementioned inspiration struck, and I asked myself: “How would this look as a negative?” Always a good place to start when you’re looking to create something all science-fictional and other-worldly.The results of this silent, rhetorical question are five pictures in sequence – which will, most certainly, absolutely, no-chance-of-being-omitted, be included in A Tale of Three Museums. I just don’t know how pertinant they’ll be. And here they are. Imagine, if you will, that you’ve  wandered from your cabin into the control room of a Scroton Five…

 

…as it travels through hyperspace. An alarm sounds, and you turn sluggishly to regard the forward screen…

“Ugh – what’s that?” You ask intelligently. Then a form begins to resolve…

Fortunately the ship’s defense system is automatic…

You’ve read Earplug Adventures before: you know what a bunch of shits End Cap Hyperspace Pirates are. There can be only one action. “Fire!” You yell semi-coherently, as you rush for the space toilet. “Now – for flip’s sake!”

And because the ship was built on Scroton, you know the weaponry is of the irrisistable kind. Moments later…blam!

The final shot is the original photographic balls-up. It’s not the sun shining through a tree: it’s a spaceship exploding. It’s obvious really – if you’re me. And because of that, you can re-enter normal space in complete safety, and go upon your interplanetary way…

 

The Scroton Five!

Ah, the Scroton 5. No, this post isn’t about a 1960’s British pop band by that name, which, I feel confident, never existed: but about the long-winded gestation of this ‘new’ space craft in the Earplug Adventure universe…

Originally this craft, and this craft alone, was to be named Scroton Five: but then I accidentally created this space battle shot…

Suddenly there were three more of them – and not one of them was slated to appear in the next Earplug Adventure: A Tale of Three Museums. So the single craft became a ‘class’ of space vessel – one of which was slated to appear in the next story. And, most importantly, it was to be piloted by none other than these guys…

…Yes, Flaxwell Maltings and Dr Gideon Snoot – the ‘stars’ of the next story!

My problem, regarding shooting scenes that featured them adventuring in the Scroton 5, was simple and singular. My space ship only had an outside. There were no interiors. And now that I no longer have access to a bloody great factory and everything inside it, finding inspirational parts to build the interiors became impossible. My shed didn’t help – being full of tools, garden stuff, and nothing that was any good to a desperate author. So it was back to my attic studio, and a prayer to The Saint of All Earplugs…

I began searching through several containers of earplug-related ‘stuff’ – with no luck, until I realised that one of the containers itself could be my saviour…

I call it a Domti box, because it (and several others) came home with me when I returned to Britain from Spain several years past, and were purchased (at a very reasonable price) from a shop named, unsurprisingly, Domti. This was impetus I needed. Soon the creative juices began to flow. Picking up an ancient LCD portable DVD player, I brought the two items together in a  holy union…

“Hmmm,” I mused, “If I were to put some space scenes on a DVD…Yeah, then build a control room floor that would sit above the working part of the DVD player…”

Cue the lid of a black box file, a tube of glue, and a few random widgets that had been tossed, willy-nilly, into the Domti box…

“Yeah, I can work with that.” I continued to muse. “But what about the reverse angle shots?”

Well box files have a lid and a base. The lid made the control room floor: the base could easily become a back wall…

So, a few minutes later, with the cutting and glueing complete, what did I have? Well there was the main screen and control panel, of course…

…not to mention a pair of seats for the pilots. There is also a cage behind the seats for the obligatory Ship’s Oracle – another of my regular inclusions/plot devices. Naturally I included a space toilet too…

After all, what would an astronaut do without a loo on the bridge? And some other items, for which I’ll invent a use when neccessity strikes…

At the rear there’s a window-type frame that might, or might not, look into an engineering section (when I’ve built it, of course)…

And a door that leads to…somewhere…

All together it looks like this…

…and this…

And when I populate it with a random crew…

And we see what they see…

…you know I have a ship that can kick literary ass…

A Free E-Book Gets Free-er.

By that, I mean that this e-book…

…which was free-of-charge previously, remains free-of-charge, but has been enhanced, improved, and contains more photos and lines of script. In short, there is more that is free; therefore it is free-er. Currently available at Lulu.com – or you can wait a few days from this posting date for other suppliers to get their arses into gear – and then get it at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iBooks, etc – also gratis.

It’s quite a tale: you really should give it a look.

Photographic Art: Making Something Out of Bugger All 1

Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to present….The Space Testicle!

And just to prove that I created this wondrous inter-planetary gonad out of bugger all…here is the original shot of post-meal gravy boat dregs…

I’ll take a picture of anything and everything, me.

It’s Better to Know.

Yes it’s better to know – than not – that the delightfully rehashed version of this fantabulous e-book…

…has been published by Lulu.com – finally! Yes, I have been extremely slow regarding this re-work. Also, a few days from this post date, the new version  will replace the original at iBooks. It always take them a while to catch up – as it does at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. So, if you’re a Nook, iPad or Kindle user, give them a week, at least, before you, very sensibly try to download the new and improved version.

Of course, there follows a pleasant montage and a titchy sample of the tale…

Charm itself, I think you’ll agree.

 

Any Writer Who Can Think Up the Name ‘Chunder Bellows’ Is Alright With Me

That was a reader’s quote, after his happy reading of this book…

And here’s an extract from the tale that he so enjoyed…

The first few days at Chunder Bellows School for Blistering Idiots were a total blur for Lancelot. Quite literally: The college nurse had filled his eyes with a solution that almost blinded him. It was a deliberate act: The college authorities didn’t want him identifying the persons responsible for trying to free his brain of the millstones of stupidity by beating some sense into him. But it was to no avail. All subsequent Intelligence Quotient tests came up woefully short.

Lancelot himself ached all over, and had there been a train back to Hamster Heath he would have gladly boarded it – even if he’d been forced to pedal solo for the entire journey. But as the days passed from his life – so did the bruises pass from his skin, and in next to no time at all he was well again. He even introduced the sport of Poo-Jumping to the college fitness administrator, and had a huge ramp built on the playing fields so that he could practice running down hills very fast indeed. But eventually he fell afoul of the college founder – Chunder Bellows himself.  Lancelot sat nervously in the corridor as he waited to be invited into Chunder Bellows’ private suite high in the belfry. He wracked his brains as to how he’d managed to offend the legendary hamster. Was it possible that he’d accidentally failed to notice his eminence whilst shopping in the town? He didn’t think so: Chunder Bellows came from European hamster stock, and was almost twice the size of his fellows. He also wore his head fur in a turquoise Mohican cut, and swaggered so vainly that smaller creatures were often forced to dash into heavy traffic to avoid being bowled over by him. So that seemed unlikely.

Over the next hour Lancelot ran scenario after scenario through his head until he could think no more. Only when he was utterly spent mentally did the red light above Bellows’ door finally illuminate. Lancelot had been warned about this. It could mean one of three things. One: I’m free now, please enter. Two: An aerial attack is underway: Run for the shelters. Or Three: The lock on the lavatory door is broken again, and I can’t get out. It was dependent upon the number of flashes per second as to how someone should react to this visual stimulus.

The beat of the flashing light was slow and steady. To Lancelot’s mind this indicated a certain calmness of spirit. It fitted scenario One perfectly. So Lancelot knocked smartly upon the huge wooden door, and entered.

The interior of Chunder Bellows’ suite was hugely impressive – especially to a young hamster who had lived his entire life in a two-room apartment above the town cheese shop with his mother, her aunt, and someone who referred to herself as the Fairy Lesbian. It was huge, panelled throughout with dark wood, and enjoyed a view out over the grounds of the college. Lancelot couldn’t help but notice that it also enjoyed views directly into the girls changing room, showers, and unsightly nipple fur removal facility. But he said nothing.

Bellows stood, and almost filled the room with his bulk. He didn’t offer a paw of welcome. Instead he merely towered over Lancelot until the youngster began trembling. Only then did he re-seat himself, and offer Lancelot a cigar.

“Well, well – you’ve caused quite a stir.” He boomed – not angrily, but not in a friendly fashion either. But it wasn’t neutral either, and Lancelot was at a loss to describe his benefactor’s mood.

“Is it the Poo-Jumping, Sir?” Lancelot inquired nervously, “I know that several students have miss-timed their take-off, and have consequently soiled their uniforms. But I’m sure that with sufficient practice…”

Bellows cut him off with a wave of his meaty paw. “No – it’s not the Poo-Jumping.” He growled. “I only wish that it were. At least I could do something about it. No my problem is far worse. Tell me – how did you get here?”

Lancelot wondered how literal Bellows was being. Did he mean to inquire after the route that Lancelot had taken from where he’d been clandestinely urinating in the mosquito-breeding pool – to Bellow’s office? Or did he mean the college itself? Then in a moment that the young hamster would have considered an epiphany – had he been aware of the word – he realized that during his brief time at Chunder Bellows he’d learned to think in a slightly less linear mode, and could now see alternatives to his first, and usually only, thought. It had been a general question: Not specific to time and place. The grand master of the college was asking after Lancelot’s reasons for approaching the college in order to gain entry to its hallowed halls of learning.

“It was either this – or extermination.” He blurted. Then in a more calm manner explained that he’d actually failed the Right To Adult Existence examination during his last year at school, but was given a reprieve when the mysterious Fairy Lesbian put a spell upon the examination board members, and demanded that they allow him one more chance. If he could prove them all desperately wrong by maturing into a hamster of average intellect, he would be allowed to live beyond his tender years, and not consequently waste millions of Rodentos being housed, fed, and entertained courtesy of the public purse because he was too stupid or bone-idle to get a job.

Bellows nodded sagely at this. Then he leaned forward in his chair, and peered at Lancelot in a most disturbing fashion. “That’s all very interesting – but it’s not the answer I was looking for.”

He then explained that he’d meant ‘how did Lancelot get from Hamster Heath to Poxford’?

“The last train to Poxford.” Lancelot chirped gleefully – fully aware that such a journey would never again be made, and as a result his momentous journey would go down in history.

Bellows peered some more. “Do you recall any of the passengers?” He asked.

Lancelot thought back over the intervening months. Only one person stood out from the crowd. “There was a pretty girl with powerful thighs pedalling on the seat opposite.” He recalled. “She stood out a bit.”

Bellows had a weakness for pretty girls. “Really – in what way?”

“She wore crotch-less knickers. From where I was seated it looked like two sand eels wrestling in a thicket.”

For a moment Lancelot thought that Bellows was going to have a heart attack. And it was this simple act of Bellows clutching at his chest and fighting for breath that brought forth a second recollection of the journey for the young hamster. “Oh yes that reminds me – there was that lovely middle-aged female who might have been having a myocardial infarction!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

 

My Apologies, Earpluggers…

…but recent times have not been kind to your favourite author of silicone-based stories. It has proven difficult, in the extreme, to produce a ‘new’ Earplug Adventure. I have the story sketched out in my mind; but finding the time to shoot sufficient pictures is proving impossible. But I have managed to cobble together a montage of possible inclusions in A Tale of Three Museums, and I’d like to share them with you. Perhaps you’d care to comment on them. That would be nice. Give me a little pep-up and all that…

Not bad – right?

Tooty.