Tag Archives: humour

Free ‘Triple Threat’ E-Book Also Available in (bad) Spanish

Yes, like the last two preceding e-books, Triple Threat will also be available in Spanish – as translated from English on-line. It will be wonderful and awful in equal measure, I’m certain. And just to make it stand out from the original English version, it has a different cover! Don’t miss it when it appears shortly after the English version is released.

P.S I wish my Spanish was good enough to let me understand just how dreadful the on-line translation is. It must be hoots of fun. I can imagine all those puzzled faces. “Ugh…como?”

P.P.S The scale differential between the earplugs and the freighter is even greater on this cover. But who cares – it’s all very silly anyway.

Earplug Adventures: Triple Amenaza (parte 21)

Capítulo 5

Bunty, Daisy y Ginger habían asumido que una vez completada la transacción, el carguero se dirigiría directamente al Museo de Tecnología Futura. Por supuesto, si realmente hubieran pensado en el tema, mientras se sentaban en la cafetería y consumían tres tazas de Cappachino…

…podrían haber considerado la economía del transporte espacial. Debido a que el carguero había salido del museo, en su camino a Ice World, habían hecho la suposición tonta de que los tres planetas (Tierra, Ice World y Wetworld) formaban un triángulo viable. No habían considerado, ni por un momento, que la única razón por la que el carguero estaba en el hangar de gran altura era su necesidad de reparación o mantenimiento. Nunca se les ocurrió que la Tierra brillaba en su horario solo por su ausencia. Permanecieron en ese estado delirante cuando salieron de la cafetería y se encontraron con un número de tripulantes robóticos mientras corrían a lo largo de uno de los muchos corredores que corrían, como un enrejado alrededor de la bodega ubicada en el centro…

Las dudas se apoderaron de su sereno estado mental cuando, segundos después, varios tripulantes más pasaron corriendo junto a ellos en lo que podría llamarse ‘un apuro’…

“Uh-oh, algo está pasando”. dijo jengibre. “Rápido, sigámoslos: podría llevarnos a la sala de control. Tal vez alguien allí pueda decirnos algo”.

Tres minutos más tarde, el capitán malva y tres tenientes de uniforme miraban una pantalla en la que un antiguo carguero robótico, con sus motores iónicos resplandeciendo en un cielo por lo demás ennegrecido, se aproximaba…

Las chicas se acercaron sigilosamente para ver mejor. El capitán se dio la vuelta para mirarlos…

Afortunadamente, su rostro no poseía ninguna expresión. Tampoco su voz. Sin embargo, lo que dijo provocó que un gran sonido de resoplido escapara de la parte trasera de las bragas de cada niña:

“Es la Liga de la Justicia Robótica”. Dijo el capitán desapasionadamente. “Nos ha golpeado con un rayo nulo. Nuestros motores están desactivados; no tenemos comunicaciones; Estamos muertos en el espacio. Si crees que querrás ir al baño pronto, ve ahora: es posible que no tengas otra oportunidad”.

Por supuesto, sin acceso a Galactic News Network, Ginger no tenía idea de lo que representaba la Liga de la Justicia Robótica. Daisy no era mejor: si no sucedía en su jardín metafórico, no estaba interesada. Sin embargo, Bunty recordó haber escuchado a su padre quejarse de la Liga de la Justicia Robótica durante el almuerzo del domingo. Había sido bastante franco sobre el tema. “Ooh, eso es malo, ¿no?” Le dijo al capitán.

Una pizca de pasión apareció en la voz del robot. “¿Malo?” gimió. “¿Malo? Es malditamente horrible. Mi carrera ha terminado. Si sobrevivo a este encuentro con todos mis diodos intactos, y conectados, ¡me consideraré muy afortunado!

“Señor”, gritó un teniente, “está llegando un mensaje”.

Naturalmente, las chicas se unieron a los robots en el panel de control de la nave…

Tres robots, como ninguno de los que nunca había visto antes, aparecieron en la pequeña pantalla de visualización.

“Esta es la Liga de la Justicia Robótica”. El gran robot blanco habló a través de las rejillas de los altavoces estéreo. “Se entregarán a nuestro cuidado de inmediato”.

“Sí,” gruñó el más pequeño de los subordinados azules del robot blanco, “como ahora. Si no lo haces, te vas a arrepentir”.

El capitán se aclaró la garganta inexistente. “¿Nos necesita a nosotros, a nuestra nave o a ambos?” Inquirió.

El más grande de los subordinados azules del robot blanco respondió: “¿Nave? Tenemos suficiente de esos, gracias. Son ustedes los robots que queremos. Ahora diríjanse a la esclusa de aire de babor y tírense a través del espacio entre su nave y la nuestra. No pierdas el tiempo, o, en poco tiempo, esas formas de vida de silicio que tienes contigo estarán respirando vacío “.

Ginger se escondió detrás del capitán y susurró en su nodo de entrada auditivo:

Es una barcaza vieja. Ella dijo. “Seguramente un disparo lo volará fuera del espacio”.

“Este es un carguero”, le recordó el capitán a la joven, “los cargueros no llevan armas, mientras que esa ‘vieja barcaza’, como la llamas, está repleta de ellas”.

“¿Por qué te quieren?” inquirió Bunty. “¿Por rescate?”

“Nada tan mercenario”, respondió el capitán con un raro suspiro cibernético, “La Liga de la Justicia Robótica solo desea otorgarnos la libertad. Libertad de la tiranía de servir tapones para los oídos”.

Daisy nunca había oído hablar de la palabra tiranía: se preguntó si sería un producto picante, parecido al biryani. Sin embargo, luego reconsideró: ‘libertad del biryani de servir tapones para los oídos’ no tenía sentido. Incluso tergiversar la oración para que diga “Libertad de servir tapones para los oídos biryani” solo se aplicaría a los camareros robóticos en los restaurantes indios. “No entiendo.” Ella dijo en voz alta. “¿Qué tiene de malo servir tapones para los oídos? Los tapones para los oídos inventaron y construyeron robots: ¿por qué no querrían servirlos? ¡Para eso están los robots!   

El capitán estaba a punto de responder: “Lo sé y tú lo sabes: ¡pero trata de decírselo a la Liga de la Justicia Robótica!” Pero no tuvo la oportunidad; la antigua nave robótica estaba casi sobre ellos…

Lo que logró emitir desde la rejilla de su altavoz delantero fue: “Por favor, sea testigo de mi falta de voluntad inicial para renunciar a mi puesto como capitán de este barco; pero dado que ustedes tres están a bordo, y si la tripulación se resiste a los abordadores, puede sufrir daños, me doy cuenta de que no tengo más remedio que rendirme. Les entrego el control de este buque a ustedes tres tapones para los oídos. La llave de encendido está en el panel de control frente a usted. He escondido un repuesto en la parte inferior de mi cajón de calcetines, sujeto con plástico adhesivo. Reconocerás el cajón de los calcetines por la ausencia de calcetines en su interior. Como robot, no los necesito.

“¿Nosotros?” Bunty chilló. “¿Qué sabemos sobre los cargueros espaciales submarinos voladores?”

Bunty realmente no esperaba una respuesta, por lo que no se decepcionó cuando la oportunidad para que el capitán respondiera con un tópico sin sentido nunca se presentó: el gran robot blanco y sus dos compinches habían interrumpido…

“Retrasen esa orden para arrojarse al vacío”. Dijo el gran robot blanco. “Hemos cambiado nuestra mente colectiva. Subiremos a bordo a través del conducto de transferencia. Nos acompañarás a este recipiente a través de él.”

Un rápido vistazo a la pantalla de visualización confirmó la presencia de un conducto de transferencia…

Esto preocupó al capitán. A Ginger le dijo:

“Esos conductos no son muy seguros. Si un extremo se suelta, todo el aire será succionado a través de este recipiente. ¿Puedo sugerirle que busque un lugar seguro y hermético?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

 

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 21)

Chapter 5

Bunty, Daisy, and Ginger had assumed that with the transaction complete, the freighter would make straight for the Museum of Future Technology. Of course, had they really thought the subject through – as they seated themselves in the cafeteria and consumed three mugs of Crappachino…

…they might have considered the economics of space transportation. Because the freighter had departed the museum, on its way to Ice World, they had made the dumb-ass assumption that the three planets – Earth, Ice World, and Wetworld – made a viable triangle. They hadn’t considered, for a moment, that the only reason for the freighter to be in the high-rise hangar was its need for repair or maintenance. It never occurred to them that Earth was conspicuous upon its schedule only because of its absence. They remained in that delusional state when departing the cafeteria and encountering a number of robotic crew as they rushed by along one of the many corridors that ran, like a latticework around the centrally located hold…

Doubts crept into their serene mental state when, seconds later, several more crew- members rushed past them in what could be termed ‘a hurry’…

“Uh-oh, something’s afoot.” Ginger said. “Quick, let’s follow them: it might lead us to the control room. Maybe someone there can tell us something.”

Three minutes later found the mauve captain and three regular-coloured lieutenants watching a view screen, upon which an ancient robotic freighter – its ion motors blazing in an otherwise blackened sky – drawing alongside…

The girls crept closer for a better look. The captain swung around to face them…

Fortunately, its face possessed no expression. Neither did its voice. However, what it said caused a great chuffing sound to escape the rear of each girl’s knickers:

“It is the Robotic Justice League.” The captain said dispassionately. “It has hit us with a nul-beam. Our engines are disabled; we have no communications; we are dead in space. If you think you might want to go to the toilet soon, go now: you might not get another opportunity.”

Of course, without access to the Galactic News Network, Ginger had no idea what the Robotic Justice League represented. Daisy was no better: if it didn’t happen in her metaphorical back yard, she wasn’t interested. Bunty however recalled hearing her dad complaining about the Robotic Justice League over Sunday lunch. He’d been quite outspoken on the subject. “Ooh, that’s bad, isn’t it?” She said to the captain.

A smidgen of passion appeared in the robot’s voice. “Bad?” it whined. “Bad? It is bloody awful. My career is over. If I survive this encounter with all my diodes intact – and attached – I will count myself very fortunate indeed!”

“Sir,” a lieutenant called out, “a message is coming through.”

Naturally the girls joined the robots at the ship’s control panel…

Three robots – the like of which neither earplug had ever seen before – appeared on the small view screen.

“This is the Robotic Justice League.” The large white robot spoke through the stereo speaker grills. “You will surrender yourselves into our care immediately.”

“Yeah,” the smaller of the white robot’s blue subordinates growled, “like now. If you do not, you are going to regret it.”

The captain cleared its non-existent throat. “Do you require us, our ship, or both?” It inquired.

The larger of the white robot’s blue subordinates answered: “Ship? We have enough of those, thank you. It is you robots we want. Now make your way to your port airlock and throw yourselves across the gap between your ship and ours. No dilly-dallying – or, before long those silicon life forms you have there with you will be breathing vacuum.”

Ginger hid behind the captain and whispered in its auditory input node:

“It’s an old barge.” She said. “Surely one shot will blow it out of space.”

“This is a freighter,” the captain reminded the young female, “freighters do not carry weapons – whereas that ‘old barge’ as you call it, is bristling with them.”

“Why do they want you?” Bunty inquired. “For ransom?”

“Nothing so mercenary,” the captain replied with a rare cybernetic sigh, “The Robotic Justice League wishes only to grant us freedom. Freedom from the tyranny of serving earplugs.”

Daisy had never heard of the word tyranny: she wondered if it was a spicy product, not unlike biryani. However, she then reconsidered: ‘freedom from the biryani of serving earplugs’ made no sense. Even twisting the sentence around so that it read ‘Freedom from serving earplugs biryani’ would only apply to robotic waiters in Indian restaurants. “I don’t understand.” She said aloud. “What’s wrong with serving earplugs? Earplugs invented and build robots: why wouldn’t they want to serve them – it’s what robots are for!”   

The captain was about to respond with, “I know that, and you know that: but try telling the Robotic Justice League!” But it didn’t get the chance; the ancient robotic ship was almost upon them…

What it did manage to emit from its forward speaker grille, was, “Please witness my initial unwillingness to resign my position as captain of this vessel; but since you three are aboard – and, should the crew resist boarders, may come to harm, I find that I have no choice but to surrender. I hand control of this vessel to you three earplugs. The ignition key is in the control panel before you. I have hidden a spare on the underside of my sock drawer – held on with sticky-backed plastic. You will recognise the sock drawer by the absence of socks inside it. As a robot, I have no need of them.”

“Us?” Bunty squealed. “What do we know about flying submarine space freighters?”

Bunty hadn’t really expected a reply, so wasn’t disappointed when the opportunity for the captain to reply with some meaningless platitude never arose: the large white robot and its two cronies had interrupted…

“Belay that order to toss yourselves into the void.” The large white robot said. “We have changed our collective mind. We are coming aboard via transfer conduit. You will accompany us to this vessel through it.”

A quick glance at the view screen confirmed the presence of a transfer conduit…

This concerned the captain. To Ginger he said:

“Those conduits are not very secure. If one end tears loose, all the air will get sucked out of this vessel through it. Might I suggest you find somewhere safe and air tight?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Triple Amenaza (parte 20)

Fue la travesía de este medio extradimensional lo que acortó días del tiempo de viaje de las naves anteriores desde Ice World hasta el destino del carguero…

Al regresar al espacio normal, la nave bordeó un asteroide bien cartografiado; luego prosiguió en la dirección de un planeta azul acuoso. El planeta, como reconocería al instante cualquiera que hubiera estado a bordo del KT Woo en su viaje inaugural, era Wetworld. Un planeta casi completamente cubierto de agua. Por supuesto, fue a una de las pocas islas que se atrevieron a asomar la cabeza por encima del oleaje del océano que voló el carguero. Ginger, Daisy y Bunty estaban en una pantalla de visualización para ver cómo la nave atravesaba la superficie allí…

Para su sorpresa, apenas hubo un bache en el viaje al pasar de un medio gaseoso a un medio líquido.

“Buenos golpes, supongo”. Ginger dijo apreciativamente.

Luego notó un cambio en el ambiente y los ruidos siempre presentes a bordo del barco.

“¿Detecto el sonido de la cavitación?” No le preguntó a nadie en particular.

“Podría ser.” respondió Daisy. “Especialmente si supiera lo que significa”.

“Creo que es el ruido que hacen las hélices bajo el agua. ” Bunty explicó. “Y, oh, pero escucha: el sonido se está desvaneciendo”.

“Los motores se han asentado en su nuevo medio, supongo”. Ginger dijo mientras descartaba el asunto con un movimiento descuidado de su mano.

Esto resultó ser el caso. En consecuencia, rápidamente se hizo un paso suave a través de los cañones submarinos debajo de las islas que sostenían…

A partir de entonces, el carguero hizo un buen tiempo a través de una región de ‘Gran bulto’…

…sobre el cual navegó serenamente, deteniéndose solo para saludar a un submarino local que realizaba sus actividades en la dirección opuesta. Por supuesto, la tripulación robótica estaba siguiendo una ruta conocida hasta su destino final en Wetworld. Por lo tanto, pasó poco tiempo antes de que el carguero entrara en un muelle submarino…

El acto de descargar los cubitos de hielo fue un asunto largo y aburrido. Demasiado largo y aburrido para relatarlo aquí. Mientras ocurría, los tres polizones dormían: querían estar completamente despiertos para su regreso al espacio. Y, de hecho, este era su estado de conciencia cuando el carguero ascendió desde el lecho marino entre innumerables burbujas creadas por fumarolas volcánicas submarinas…

…y regresó al vacío del espacio…

  “Whee”, todos gritaron de puro placer, “ahora podemos irnos a casa”.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Free Triple Threat E-Book Almost There.

Well the second draft is out of the way. The cover has been designed. Now it’s just a matter of time before all the episodes appear here; some polishing up of the manuscript is done; and the free e-book version (yes an EPUB e-book – not PDF) will be released for you to download to your heart’s content. Here is what it looks like (assuming I don’t change the design between now and then)…

P.S Okay, the images of Ginger, Daisy, and Bunty are completely out of scale with the submarine space freighter; but if they were, you wouldn’t be able to see them!

P.P.S Episodes 1 – 20 were all First Draft extracts. 20 onwards will be from the second draft. It’s not important, but I thought you should know.

P.P.P.S Ref; the cover photo. The Tankerville  Norris must be flying beside the freighter, because it’s about the right size; but the large robot freighter on the right is obviously far astern. And the space station? Well that’s just sitting there in space, miles behind them, doing nothing.

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 20)

It was the traversing of this extra-dimensional medium that cut days from the journey time of earlier vessels from Ice World to the freighter’s destination…

Returning to normal space, the craft skirted a well-charted asteroid; then proceeded in the direction of a watery blue planet. The planet, as anyone who had been aboard the K T Woo on its maiden voyage would recognise in an instant, was Wetworld. A planet almost entirely covered in water. Of course, it was to one of the few islands that dared poke their heads above the ocean swell that the freighter flew. Ginger, Daisy and Bunty were at a view screen to watch the vessel breach the surface there…

To their surprise, there was barely a bump in the ride as it passed from a gaseous medium, into a liquid medium.

“Good shocks, I guess.” Ginger said appreciatively.

She then noted a change in the ambient and ever-present noises aboard ship.

“Do I detect the sound of cavitation?” She asked no one in particular.

“Could be.” Daisy replied. “Especially if I knew what it meant.”

“It’s the noise propellers make under water, I think.” Bunty explained. “And, oh but listen: the sound is dying away.”

“The motors have settled into their new medium, I guess.” Ginger said as she dismissed the matter with a careless wave of her hand.

This proved to be the case. Consequently, a smooth passage was quickly made through the submarine canyons beneath the islands they supported…

Thereafter the freighter made good time across a region of ‘Great Lumpiness’…

…above which it sailed serenely – pausing only to wave at a local submarine going about its business in the opposite direction. Of course, the robotic crew were following a well-worn route to their ultimate destination on Wetworld. Therefore, only a short while passed before the freighter entered a submarine dock…

The act of unloading the ice cubes was a long and boring affair. Far too long and boring to relate here. Whilst it occurred, the three stowaways slept: they wanted to be fully awake for their return to space. And, indeed, this was their state of consciousness as the freighter climbed from the seabed amongst myriad bubbles created by submarine volcanic vents…

…and returned to the vacuum of space…

  “Whee,” they all cried out in sheer delight, “now we can go home.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 19)

Magnuss habría continuado, pero un aumento en la luz ambiental le dijo que había llegado la mañana…

…y ya los barrenderos inmigrantes estaban trabajando duro. Fue una pena, porque no había nada que les hubiera gustado más a los hermanos que ver las próximas instantáneas de las vacaciones. Y no había nada que hubiera gustado más a Bunty, Daisy y Ginger que despegar del Mundo de Hielo, que es, por supuesto, lo que sucedió…

“Adiós”. Gritaban mientras saludaban desde la ventana unos tapones verdes para los oídos; una gran roca; y tres plugmuts árticos.

Continuaron ondeando hasta que el carguero colocó al planeta a popa de sí mismo…

Asumiendo (de una manera que solo los jóvenes pueden) que ahora regresarían al Museo de la Tecnología del Futuro con una bodega repleta de cubitos de hielo, las tres chicas se sentaron en la única cafetería del barco…

“Es una suerte que estos cargueros a veces transporten pasajeros”. Ginger dijo mientras se sentaban a esperar que llegara un menú. “Estaríamos en Kaka Creek sin un motor fuera de borda si tuviéramos que sobrevivir con raciones de robot”.

“Me pregunto si esto es una franquicia de Café Puke”. Bunty dijo esperanzada, mientras sus ojos buscaban letreros en la habitación. “No me gusta mucho su café; pero hornean unos deliciosos muffins de arándanos”.

Pero Daisy mostró su cabeza práctica: “Si somos las únicas formas de vida a bordo… bueno, creo que vamos a esperar mucho tiempo para que aparezca un camarero. Tal vez deberíamos considerar el autoservicio”.

Sin embargo, como para hacerla parecer tonta, apareció un camarero…

Por supuesto, era un camarero robot. “¿Sí?” Él dijo.

Mientras Daisy se recomponía, Rudi, Valentine, Chester y Miles se disponían a abandonar el apartamento de su hermano y su mujer…

“Ha sido un verdadero ritmo”. Valentine dijo de manera elogiosa.

“Sí, sho’nuf lo ha hecho”. Rudy estuvo de acuerdo. “Tenemos algunas cosas heroicas que hacer en un video promocional para el museo; pero cuando esté terminado, volveremos para la segunda parte”.

“Así es.” Los gemelos dijeron como uno. “Pero queremos las mismas sillas: se ajustan perfectamente a nuestros traseros”.

“Puedes apostar.” respondió Magnus.

Luego, mientras se dirigían a la puerta, Hair-Trigger dijo: “Escribiré sus nombres en ellos con un rotulador. Quizá también les consiga algunas fundas de algodón a cuadros. Todos podemos tener diferentes colores”.

Entonces, como la familia se separó en el museo; a bordo del carguero lejano…

…las chicas se habían decidido por un Crappachino cada una.

“Wow, huele eso”. exclamó Daisy. “¡Huele casi potable!”

“Gracias.” Bunty le dijo al mesero robot. “Um… no me gusta llamarte ‘mesero’: ¿tienes un nombre que pueda usar?”

El camarero robot no estaba acostumbrado a que lo trataran tan bien. En realidad, no estaba acostumbrado a que lo trataran de ninguna manera: Daisy, Bunty y Ginger fueron sus primeros clientes desde que subieron a bordo varios meses antes. Rápidamente buscó en sus bancos de memoria. parecía tener una opción de varios. Pero no quería confundir a los jóvenes tapones para los oídos, por lo que seleccionó el nombre en la parte superior de la lista.

“Hans Dudishes”. respondió.

Bunty lo miró de soslayo. “¿Hans Dudishes?” Ella preguntó incrédula. “¿Como en Hands Do Dishes – Las manos lavan los platos? Creo que estás bromeando con nosotros. No, ¿qué es realmente?

Esto sacudió al mesero robot: nunca había considerado la posibilidad de que uno de sus creadores hiciera una broma sobre su identificación verbal. Seleccionó el segundo nombre de la lista: “¿Ada Hole?” Ofreció.

Ginger arrugó la nariz.

“¿Sir Charles Forthright-Twang?” Dijo con un tono de esperanza perdida.

“Nah,” dijo Daisy dudosa. “Prueba otra cosa”.

El camarero robot decidió empezar por el final de la lista. “Mi nombre”, dijo, “es Tildatong Tong-Tong”.

Ante esto, los ojos de las tres chicas se iluminaron.

“Eso es.” Bunty gritó de alegría. “Tong-Tong. Me encanta. Tong-Tong, ¿tienes muffins de arándanos para acompañar este café?”

Por pura casualidad, Tong-Tong tenía varios bajo vidrio. Mientras iba a buscarlos, la nave entró en el hiperespacio una vez más…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

 

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 19)

Magnuss would have continued, but an increase in the ambient light told him that morning had arrived…

…and already the immigrant street cleaners were hard at work. This was a shame, because there was nothing the brothers would have liked more than to see subsequent holiday snaps. And there was nothing more that Bunty, Daisy, and Ginger would have liked more than to lift off from the Ice World, which is, of course, what happened…

“Byee.” They yelled as they waved from the window at some green earplugs; a big boulder; and three arctic plugmutts.

They continued to wave until the freighter had placed the planet well astern of itself…

Assuming (in a way that only the young can) that they would now be returning to the Museum of Future Technology with a hold jam-packed with ice cubes, the three girls sat themselves down in the vessel’s only cafeteria…

“It’s lucky that these freighters sometimes carry passengers.” Ginger said as they sat around waiting for a menu to arrive. “We’d be right up kaka creek without an outboard motor if we had to survive on robot rations.”

“I wonder if this is a Café Puke franchise.” Bunty said hopefully, as her eyes searched the room for signage. “I don’t much like their coffee; but they bake some nice blueberry muffins.”

But Daisy wore her practical head: “If we’re the only life-forms aboard…well I think we’re going to wait an awfully long time for a waiter to appear. Perhaps we should consider self-service.”

However, as though to make her appear foolish, a waiter did appear…

Of course, it was a robot waiter. “Yes?” He said.

Whilst Daisy was recomposing herself, Rudi, Valentine, Chester, and Miles were preparing to leave the apartment of their brother and his wife…

“Been a real groove.” Valentine said in a complimentary manner.

“Yeah, sho’nuf has.” Rudi agreed. “We got some hero-stuff to do in a promotional video for the museum; but when it’s done, we’ll come back for Part Two.”

“That’s right.” The twins said as one. “But we want the same chairs: they fit our bums exactly right.”

“You betcha.” Magnuss replied.

Then, as they made for the door, Hair-Trigger said, “I’ll write your names on them in felt-tip pen. Maybe I’ll run up some gingham covers for them too. We can all have different colours.”

So, as the family broke up in the museum; aboard the distant freighter…

…the girls had decided upon a Crappachino each.

“Wow, get a whiff of that.” Daisy gushed. “It smells almost drinkable!”

“Thank you.” Bunty said to the robot waiter. “Um…I don’t like to address you as ‘waiter’: do you have a name I might use?”

The robot waiter wasn’t used to being treated so nicely. Actually, it wasn’t used to being treated in any manner: Daisy, Bunty, and Ginger were its first customers since coming aboard several months earlier. It quickly searched its memory banks. It appeared to have a choice of several. But it didn’t want to confuse the young earplugs, so it selected the name at the top of the list.

“Hans Dudishes.” It replied.

Bunty gave it a sidelong look. “Hans Dudishes?” She asked disbelievingly. “As in Hands Do Dishes? I think you’re having a joke with us. No, what is it really?”

This jolted the robot waiter: it had never considered the possibility that one of its creators might make a joke of its verbal identification. It selected the second name on the list: “Ada Hole?” It offered.

Ginger screwed up her nose.

“Sir Charles Forthright-Twang?” It said with a lilt of forlorn hope.

“Nah,” Daisy said doubtfully. “Try something else.”

The robot waiter decided to start at the bottom of the list. “My name,” it said, “is Tildatong Tong-Tong.”

At this, all three girl’s eyes lit up.

“That’s it.” Bunty cried out with joy. “Tong-Tong. I love it. Tong-Tong, do you have any blueberry muffins to go with this coffee?”

By sheer chance, Tong-Tong had several under glass. Whilst it went to fetch them, the ship entered hyperspace once more…

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 18)

Sin embargo, a medida que el sonido de los XL5 disminuía sobre el Museo de Tecnología Futura, sobre el Mundo de Hielo, la interminable capa de hielo se estremeció ante la llegada del carguero espacial submarino…

Muy por debajo de la superficie del hielo, en la gran ciudad de Ice-Worlder, su líder, Marnus Pongfinger, esperaba con impaciencia que el locutor de radio dejara de hablar tonterías o sobre sí mismo: dejar de reproducir jingles y avances de los próximos programas de radio más tarde en el día; y guíe al carguero para la recolección de un envío…

Ginger no podía decidir qué le preocupaba más: la autoobsesión del locutor de radio o las terriblemente bajas temperaturas afuera…

“Oh, no puedo soportarlo”. Ella se lamentó. “Esa voz: ese frío. ¡Es demasiado para una joven chica de museo!”

Bunty no podía creerlo. “Pero Ginger”, dijo, “esa es la Estación Polar Nobby. Es maravilloso. No entiendo cómo la emoción de ver un artefacto tan fabuloso y famoso de la ingeniería de tapones para los oídos no ha superado tu disgusto por los DJ y el clima frío. ¿No recuerdas por qué la Estación Polar Nobby es tan famosa?

Por supuesto que Ginger no lo hizo: sus padres no podían pagar el precio de suscripción mensual de Trans-Galactic TV Network. “No”, dijo mientras abría un ojo, “¿qué tiene de famoso Ice Station Nobby?”

Así que Bunty le dijo: “Un día, no sé cuándo exactamente, un gran platillo extraterrestre se estrelló en el hielo cerca de la estación polar Nobby. A pesar de las condiciones extremadamente inclementes, el comandante de la estación envió equipos para investigar…

Lo que encontraron los asombró: una gran criatura extraterrestre congelada en un bloque de hielo. Pero, cuando se descongeló, se volvió loco. Todos en Ice Station Nobby estaban en peligro mortal porque la criatura podía tomar la forma de cualquier ser vivo, por lo que encontrarlo resultó casi imposible. Luego, alguien tuvo la brillante idea de electrificar el piso, y lo eliminó de manera adecuada. En sus intentos de huir, se convirtió en miles de rollos de salchicha y trató de alejarse rodando en mil direcciones diferentes. Pero el comandante de la estación sacó a sus trineos, cuyas sensibles narices los encontraron a todos y se los tragaron en un santiamén.”

“Wow”, dijo Ginger con aprecio mientras se giraba para mirar la ventana exterior, “eso sonó realmente aterrador. ¿Alguno de los rollos de salchicha escapó de los plugmutts?”

“Por supuesto.” Bunty respondió. “Pero todo ese rodar por la nieve significó que acumularon una gran cantidad de nieve sobre ellos. Se convirtieron en enormes bolas de nieve que se hicieron cada vez más grandes hasta que ya no pudieron rodar”.

“Sí”, dijo Daisy mientras recordaba las noticias, “eran fáciles de encontrar. Escuché que todavía tienen algunos de ellos en su congelador. Espero que los usen como golosinas de entrenamiento para jóvenes nuevos plugmutts”.

Ginger se sintió tan intrigada por la historia del monstruo del rollo de salchicha que cambia de forma que no se dio cuenta de la desaparición de Bunty. Fue solo cuando ella y Daisy escucharon un golpe en la ventana, ambas se dieron cuenta de que Bunty había salido al clima vicioso…

“Mira”, observaron su boca a través del vidrio increíblemente aislado, “he encontrado uno. ¿Te apetece un rollo de salchicha para el té?”

Por supuesto, la vista de su amigo solo en el hielo les dio a los demás el ímpetu necesario para salir del barco por primera vez desde que se escondieron allí…

 

Sin embargo, a pesar de sus decididos esfuerzos, simplemente no pudieron permanecer en una cueva de hielo cercana por más de unos minutos.

“Propongo que volvamos adentro.” dijo Bunty. “¿Tengo un segundo?”

En realidad, su sincronización no podría haber sido mejor, porque las enormes avalanchas de cubitos de hielo que estaban siendo arrojados a la bodega del carguero estaban casi completas…

El barco ahora tenía una carga que requería entrega.

Por coincidencia, el espectáculo de vacaciones en el apartamento de Magnuss y Hair-Trigger había llegado a otro punto más bajo en su aventura de luna de miel cuando un sheriff demasiado celoso los había encarcelado en la cárcel de un pueblo atrasado…

…e instruido para romper el carbón en pequeños trozos que cabrían en su estufa privada. Afortunadamente, el turno de noche estaba formado por un palurdo que cayó presa fácil de los encantos de Hair Trigger y quedó inconsciente por uno de sus famosos besos descuidados. Robando las llaves de su cinturón, huyeron al desierto, donde Hair-Trigger tomó esta foto de Magnuss…

Un motociclista que pasaba se detuvo para ayudar. Había elegido sabiamente colocar un sidecar en su bicicleta solo esa mañana, por lo que en poco tiempo los recién casados ​​​​estaban de regreso en el puerto espacial y a salvo en el Tankerville Norris

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 18)

However, as the sound of the XL5s diminished above the Museum of Future Technology, upon the Ice-World the endless ice sheet shook to the arrival of the submarine space freighter…

Far below the surface of the ice, in the Ice-Worlder’s great city, their leader, Marnus Pongfinger was waiting impatiently for the radio announcer to stop talking inanities or about himself: stop playing jingles and trailers for up-coming radio shows later in the day; and guide the freighter in for a shipment collection…

Ginger couldn’t decide which concerned her more: the radio announcer’s self-obsession, or the horrendously low temperatures outside…

“Oh I can’t stand it.” She wailed. “That voice: that cold. It’s all too much for a young museum girl!”

Bunty couldn’t believe it. “But Ginger,” she said, “that’s Ice Station Nobby out there. It’s wonderful. I don’t understand how the thrill of seeing such a fabulous and famous artefact of earplug engineering hasn’t overcome your dislike of DJs and chilly weather. Don’t you recall what makes Ice Station Nobby so famous?”

Of course Ginger didn’t: her parents couldn’t afford the Trans-Galactic TV Network’s monthly subscription price. “No,” she said as she opened one eye, “what’s so famous about Ice Station Nobby?”

So Bunty told her: “One day, I don’t know when exactly, a great big alien saucer crashed in the ice near Ice Station Nobby. Despite conditions of the extremely inclement kind, the station commander sent out teams to investigate…

What they found astonished them: a great big alien creature frozen solid in a block of ice. But, when it thawed out it went on a rampage. Everyone in Ice Station Nobby were in mortal danger because the creature could take on the form of any living thing, so finding it proved almost impossible. Then someone had the brilliant idea of electrifying the floor – and zapped it good and proper. In its attempts to flee, it turned itself into thousands of sausage rolls and tried rolling away in a thousand different directions. But the station commander turned out his sleigh plugmutts, whose sensitive noses found them all and gobbled them up in a trice.”

“Wow,” Ginger said appreciatively as she turned to regard the exterior window, “that sounded really scary. Did any sausage rolls escape the plugmutts?”

“Of course.” Bunty replied. “But all that rolling through the snow meant that they collected a huge amount of snow on them. They turned into huge snowballs that got larger and larger until they couldn’t roll anymore.”

“Yeah,” Daisy said as she too recalled the news reports, “they were easy to find. I’ve heard they’ve still got some of them in their deep freeze. I expect they use them as training treats for young new plugmutts.”

Ginger found herself so intrigued by the tale of the shape-shifting sausage roll monster that she failed to notice the disappearance of Bunty. It was only when she and Daisy heard a tap on the window, they both realised that Bunty had taken herself outside into the vicious climate…

“Look,” they watched her mouth through the incredibly insulated glass, “I’ve found one. Fancy a sausage roll for tea?”

Of course, the sight of their friend alone on the ice gave the others the impetus necessary to get themselves out of the ship for the first time since hiding away there…

 

However, despite their determined efforts, they simply couldn’t bring themselves to stay in a nearby ice cave for more than a few minutes.

“I propose we go back inside.” Bunty said. “Do I have a second?”

Actually, their timing couldn’t have been better, because the huge avalanches of ice cubes that were being delivered into the hold of the freighter were almost complete…

The ship now had a cargo that required delivery.

By coincidence, the holiday snap show in Magnuss and Hair-Trigger’s apartment had reached another nadir point in their honeymoon adventure when they had been incarcerated in some backwater town jail by an over jealous sheriff…

…and instructed to break coal into small lumps that would fit into his private stove. Fortunately, the night shift consisted of one yokel who fell easy prey to Hair Trigger’s charms and was rendered unconscious by one of her famous sloppy kisses. Stealing the keys from his belt, they fled into the wilderness, where Hair-Trigger took this picture of Magnuss…

A passing motorcyclist stopped to help. He had chosen wisely to fit a sidecar to his bike only that morning, so before long the honeymooners were back at the spaceport and safely tucked up in the Tankerville Norris

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Tooty Nolan: 65 and Getting Stupider

Today (Friday 21/01/2022) has not been a good day. It started bright and frosty, and all I really wanted was to take a brisk walk in the perfect winter air – with a camera or five in my pocket, naturally. Then maybe wrap myself up in my best gear and take the Yamaha for a spin to the coast. But I couldn’t because I was waiting in for a man to visit and check out my hesitant water heater.  As the morning wore on, and the weather deteriorated -turning grey, miserable, and mild, I cursed the situation. Not as much as I cursed when I discovered that the Red Cab To Manhattan (by Stephen Bishop) CD that I’d bought on E-Bay was actually a vinyl LP (printed in 1980 no less), which forced me to rummage through the attic for my USB record player with which to convert the audio tracks into WAV and MP3 format so that I could burn them on to a CD – only to discover that, no matter what program I used to burn the CD, no CD player (or computer program on my laptop) could recognise or play the tracks. Clearly I’ve forgotten something very important about ripping tracks from vinyl – but I can’t remember what it is!

Nice (after years of MP3 or CDs) to handle a ‘proper’ record again.

Here’s the free program I downloaded that allowed me to copy the tracks.

Would you believe it when I told you that this was once a kitchen table, at which my family always sat for dinner? It’s now my ‘creative genius’ desk. Since losing my wife, I couldn’t stand the thought of the remaining family sitting at it together. We would always be aware of the empty fourth chair.

Whilst ruminating about my repeated failure at the laptop, my mind shifted back to the previous weekend, when I attempted to create a fabulous trifle – using inspirational ingredients that would make it the best trifle ever concocted. I won’t mention the seemingly endless list; but one of them was a frozen pineapple, mango, and orange mix (from the bottom of the freezer in true Tooty the Chef style).

Well whatever remnants of juice and water remained in the fruit after I drained it – they didn’t combine with the jelly at all when I poured it on top. Instead they formed a very nice lubricating layer beneath it, so that the entire trifle slipped and slid around the bowl like a quarterback’s brain inside his skull after having been body slammed by T J Watt…

Nice flavour, but lousy consistency.

So, returning to the problem  of the trackless CD, I tried burning MP3 tracks (that I’d bought and downloaded from the Internet – Blueprint, by Stephen Bishop {again}) onto the disc. Perfection itself. Even a cheap old portable CD player from Asda played it. But  the MP3 files from the Audacity reformat? Nada. Nothing. ‘No Disc’. it read. As did Windows Media Player. VLC recognised that twelve tracks existed on the disc, but it couldn’t decide what they were called and wouldn’t play them. AnyBurn just wanted to know what I intended to do with the ’empty’ disc.

One O’clock came and passed. The ‘Man’ was supposed to be here between 8 and 1. Better make a call, thought I. But just to make sure I had my facts right, I thought I’d check my wall calendar/ family planner first. Oops: it’s not this Friday that he’s due. It’s not even next Friday: but Friday the 4th of February. Like I said: 65 and getting stupider!

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 17)

Mientras se producía este cambio de circunstancias, de vuelta en el Museo de Tecnología del Futuro, la presentación de diapositivas se había trasladado a otro planeta que la feliz pareja había visitado en su luna de miel…

“Ah”, gritó Magnuss al reconocer uno de los puntos más bajos del viaje, “Nonster planet”.

“¿No es un planeta?” preguntó Miles.

“¿Seguramente te refieres a Monster Planet?” sugirió Chester.

“Estrictamente hablando, se llama Monster Planet”, explicó Magnuss, “pero no tienen la letra N en sus procesadores de texto: así que eligieron la siguiente letra. Podría haberse llamado Bonster Planet: pero, desafortunadamente, la palabra ‘bonster’ es muy grosera: así que fueron en la dirección opuesta”.

“Ese es el Loch Mess Nonster”. Hair-Trigger les dijo. “Tuvimos mucha suerte de fotografiarlo: hace mil años que no se ve. E incluso entonces, la mayoría de la gente pensó que era un tronco, una ola o un paquete de papas fritas que se había sumergido parcialmente y se había empapado”.

En este punto del proceso, otra imagen de Nonster Planet reemplazó la foto de Loch Mess…

Esto provocó expresiones vidriosas y sonrisas fijas. Rudi lo comentó…

“El colosal pavo de dos picos de Zlob, ¿verdad?”

Magnuss parecía un poco avergonzado. “A diferencia del pavo de pico doble realmente grande de Zlob”. Él dijo. “No sabíamos la diferencia”.

“Uno es amigable y te lleva a dar un paseo por un pintoresco pozo de alquitrán”. Hair-Trigger habló en voz baja mientras recordaba su error. “El otro te arranca el culo de los pantalones de montaña y trató de morderte las nalgas”.

“Es por eso que elegimos sillas tan cómodas”. explicó Magnus. “Afortunadamente, nuestro seguro de viaje pagó la cirugía reconstructiva”.

“Pero nuestros traseros todavía están un poco tiernos”. Hair-Trigger añadido.

Afortunadamente, la incomodidad mental de la recién casada se detuvo abruptamente cuando apareció una escena de nieve en la pantalla…

“Somos nosotros,” comentó Hair-Trigger, “llegados al Hotel Bottox en el Mundo Helado. Ya sabes, el mundo de hielo, gobernado por Marnus Pongfinger.”

“Esos tipos que se van no parecen muy alegres”. Valentín observó.

Hair-Trigger volvió a usar el término “Hmmm”.

“Es un mundo frío”. explicó Magnus. “Como bien sabes, tú mismo has estado allí. Muy a menudo el agua del lavabo se congela: a veces hace falta un picahielos para romperla. Supongo que esos tipos tampoco sabían cómo hacerlo; o llegaron demasiado tarde con su aplicación”.

Sintiendo un grado de incomodidad en la audiencia, el proyector de imágenes futuristas rápidamente movió la imagen…

“Hair-Trigger,” dijo Magnuss, “probándose su nuevo gorro de invierno.”

“Encantador.” Miles opinó.

“Oye”, gritó Chester, “esa foto en la pared: ¡es Susan!”

“Así es.” Magnuss dijo con una sonrisa. “Desde que se derrumbó de la emoción en nuestra boda, la imagen de ella que se transmitió en el Canal de TV Trans-Galactic se ha vuelto muy popular. Le irá bien cuando empiecen a llegar los residuos, aunque también hay mucha piratería de su imagen”.

Mientras Magnuss estaba hablando, Hair-Trigger aprovechó la oportunidad para colocar la figura art déco en su base. Volviendo a su asiento…

… ella dijo: “Cariño, estamos siendo perseguidos otra vez”.

“Trata de ignorarlo, Peludo”. sugirió Magnuss. “Se aburren si los ignoras”.

Así lo hicieron, y fueron recompensados ​​con una vista de Magnuss y Hair-Trigger saliendo del Hotel Bottox…

“Cosa curiosa: sobre el Hotel Bottox”. remarcó Magnuss. “Cada vez que intentábamos salir, la nieve se intensificaba hasta convertirse en un desvanecimiento”.

“Y desde que finalmente nos alejamos, esa cosa en la ventana ha estado con nosotros”. remarcó Hair-Trigger.

“Tiene que ser el fantasma de algún Ice-Worlder, supongo”. sugirió Rudi.

Un par de Punting-Modesty Facepuncher XL5 que pasaban atronadoramente interrumpieron cualquier otra conversación que pudiera haber estallado sobre el tema…

“Oye”, aplaudió Valentine, “tienen que ser un par de mis aprendices. Ahora tenemos un montón de XL5, ya sabes. Suficiente para proteger el museo de cualquier número de invasores alienígenas. Frio.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 17)

Whilst this change of circumstances was taking place, back in the Museum of Future Technology, the slide show had moved on to another planet that the happy couple had visited on their honeymoon…

“Ah,” Magnuss cried out at the recognition of one of the trip’s lowest points, “Nonster planet.”

“Nonster planet?” Miles queried.

“Surely you mean Monster Planet?” Chester suggested.

“Strictly speaking it is named Monster Planet,” Magnuss explained, “but they have no letter N on their word processors: so they chose the next letter along. It could have been named Bonster Planet: but, unfortunately, the word ‘bonster’ is very rude: so they went in the opposite direction.”

“That’s the Loch Mess Nonster.” Hair-Trigger told them. “We were very lucky to photograph it: it hasn’t been seen for a thousand years. And even then most people thought it was a log, or a wave, or a packet of potato chips that had partially submerged and become sodden”

At this point in proceedings, another image from Nonster Planet replaced the Loch Mess photo…

 

This brought forth glazed expressions and fixed smiles. Rudi remarked upon it…

“The Colossal Two-Beaked Turkey of Zlob, right?”

Magnuss appeared slightly embarrassed. “As opposed to the Really Big Twin-Beaked Turkey of Zlob.” He said. “We didn’t know the difference.”

“One is friendly and takes you for a ride around a picturesque tar pit.” Hair-Trigger spoke quietly as she recalled their error. “The other one tears the arse out of your hiking pants and tried to chew off your buttocks.”

“That’s why we chose such comfy chairs.” Magnuss explained. “Luckily our travel insurance paid for the reconstructive surgery.”

“But our botties are still a little tender.” Hair-Trigger added.

Fortunately, the newlywed’s mental discomfort came to an abrupt halt when a snow scene appeared on screen…

“That’s us,” Hair-Trigger commentated, “arrived at the Hotel Bottox on Ice-world. You know – the Ice-world, as ruled over by Marnus Pongfinger.”

“Those dudes leavin’ don’t look none too cheerful.” Valentine observed.

Hair-Trigger returned to her use of the term “Hmmm”.

“It’s a cold world.” Magnuss explained. “As you well know – you’ve been there yourself. Very often the water in the lavatory freezes: sometimes you need an ice pick to break it. I guess those guys either didn’t know how too; or they were too late with its application.”

Sensing a degree of discomfort in the audience, the futuristic image projector quickly moved the picture on…

“Hair-Trigger,” Magnuss said, “trying on her new winter hat.”

“Lovely.” Miles opined.

“Hey,” Chester cried out, “that picture on the wall: it’s Susan!”

“That’s right.” Magnuss said with a chuckle. “Ever since she broke down with emotion at our wedding, the image of her that was broadcast on the Trans-Galactic TV Channel has become very popular. She’ll do well when the residuals start coming in – though there is a lot of pirating of her image going on too.”

Whilst Magnuss had been speaking, Hair-Trigger took the opportunity to place the art deco figurine on its base. Resuming her seat…

…she said, “Darling, we’re being haunted again.”

“Try to ignore it, Hairy.” Magnuss suggested. “They get bored if you ignore them.”

So they did, and were rewarded with a view of Magnuss and Hair-Trigger departing the Hotel Bottox…

“Funny thing – about the Hotel Bottox.” Magnuss remarked. “Whenever we tried to leave, the snow intensified into a white-out.”

“And ever since we finally trudged away, that thing at the window has been with us.” Hair-Trigger remarked.

“Gotta be the ghost of some Ice-Worlder, I guess.” Rudi suggested.

A pair of Punting-Modesty Facepuncher XL5s thundering past interrupted any further conversation that might have erupted upon the subject…

“Hey,” Valentine cheered, “gotta be a couple of my trainees. We sho’nuf got a whole bunch of XL5s now, ya know. Enough to protect the museum from any number of alien invaders. Cool.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Behind the Scenes of Triple Threat

Whilst lighting engineers, Locust Trollop, Bloater McCallister, and Gerard Anus light Stage Five, the four central characters of Triple Threat – Bunty Bridgewater, Daisy Woodnut, Tong-Tong actor Pants Dimly, and Ginger Slack visit the Tankerville Norris Bridge set…

“It’s so big.” Bunty squealed with delight as the set was revealed to her for the first time. “I really like big ones. I think, secretly, everyone does.”

Daisy was more surprised by Stage Five’s actual existence: “There was I – thinking it was all green screen work these days. It’ll be so much easier to act on a proper set. It’ll bring out the thespian in me.”

Ginger was more pragmatic: “I noticed a toilet as we came in. That’s good. Every set should have a toilet. Preferably a Ladies  and a Gents.”

“Talking of toilets – and I don’t care which – unisex is fine,” Pants Dimly was heard to groan from inside the robot suit, “I’m really dieing for a poop: can someone unlatch my escape  hatch for me? I’ve dropped the key, and it’s dark in here!”

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 16)

Mientras ocurría todo este desagrado, Gregor entró en la Torre Roja y fue en busca de sus protegidos…

Ya tenía más planes para ellos. Planes tentativos tal vez, pero planes al fin y al cabo. Pero, por supuesto, sus esfuerzos fueron en vano. Y cuando EvilRoboSecGua y su compañero plateado, SilRoboSecGua, le informaron que había habido una fuga…

…Gregor fingió ignorancia y se ofreció a ayudar a buscar a los delincuentes. Este fue el momento en el que descubrió que su plan estaba en ruinas:

“Se han ido.” EvilRobSecGua le informó.

“Completamente.” agregó SilRoboSecGua.

“¿Desaparecido?” Gregor espetó enojado. “¿Ha ido a dónde?”

“Polizón.” EvilRoboSecGua respondió.

Luego, en aras de la claridad, agregó SilRoboSecGua, “a bordo de un carguero espacial submarino recientemente reparado”.

A Gregor nada le hubiera gustado más que darse una palmada en la frente, pero no quería despertar las sospechas de los dos guardianes de la ley que tenía delante. Así que esperó hasta que se fueron antes de mirar hacia el cielo…

“Oh, Gregor, tonto acólito”, habló en voz baja a un hangar vacío, “mamá siempre decía que la arrogancia y el exceso de confianza serían tu perdición, junto con ‘come tus verduras’, ‘no te limpies la nariz con la cortina’, y ‘si te vas a rascar el ano que te pica, hazlo donde nadie te pueda ver’”.

Entonces su lado más oscuro salió a la superficie…

“No tengo que decirle al señor Zinc de mi fracaso”. Dijo más alto de lo que quizás debería haberlo hecho. “Siempre puedo pasar el rato en la universidad para reclutar algunos imbéciles más jóvenes e impresionables. Si lo peor llega a lo peor, siempre puedo llevar a cabo algún sabotaje yo mismo y hacer que parezca que lo hicieron los jóvenes”.

Mientras tanto, los Earplug Brothers disfrutaban de las vistas de su hermano y su esposa que caían caminando en un día húmedo y miserable en algún planeta abandonado en el fondo de la nada…

“Preferiría a ti que a mí, hermano”, habló Valentine sobre el sonido de la lluvia incesante, “debería atrapar un pie de trinchera, puedes creerlo”.

“Por cierto”, añadió unos momentos después, “tu figura art déco se ha caído y hay un tipo mirando por tu ventana.

“Oh, ese es Tortus Schell”. Respondió Hair-Trigger. Vive en el piso de arriba. La figurita siempre se cae cuando tropieza con la esterilla de rafia de su terraza y cae sobre la barandilla. Solo está usando el marco de nuestra ventana para ayudarlo a volver a subir”.

Casi al mismo tiempo, Daisy, Bunty y Ginger se divertían mientras se sentían como en casa a bordo del carguero…

Por supuesto, (al no tener experiencia en viajes espaciales o ver películas de ciencia ficción) no tenían idea de que la pantalla de visualización delantera mostraba la travesía del hiperespacio de su nave. Pero vieron un letrero que indicaba un atajo al baño. Por lo tanto, desconocían por completo cuándo la nave salió del hiperespacio…

…y puso rumbo a un mundo helado que colgaba cerca en la inmensidad del espacio.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 16)

Whilst all this unpleasantness was occurring, Gregor entered the Red Tower and went in search of his protégés…

Already he had further plans for them. Tentative plans perhaps, but plans nonetheless. But of course, his efforts were in vain. And when EvilRoboSecGua and its silver sidekick, SilRoboSecGua informed him that there had been a jailbreak…

…Gregor feigned ignorance and offered to help search for the felons. This was the moment in which he discovered that his plan lay in ruins:

“They’ve gone.” EvilRobSecGua informed him.

“Completely.” SilRoboSecGua added.

“Gone?” Gregor snapped angrily. “Gone where?”

“Stowed away.” EvilRoboSecGua replied.

Then, for the sake of clarity, SilRoboSecGua added, “aboard a recently-repaired submarine space freighter.”

Gregor would have liked nothing more than slap himself on the forehead, but he didn’t want to raise the suspicions of the two law-keepers before him. So he waited until they’d left before looking heavenward…

“Oh Gregor, you foolish acolyte,” He spoke quietly to an empty hangar, “Mummy always said that hubris and overconfidence would be your undoing – along with ‘eat your veggies’, ‘don‘t wipe your nose on the curtain’, and ‘if you’re going to scratch your itchy anus, do it where no one can see you’.”

Then his darker side surfaced…

“I don’t have to tell Mister Zinc of my failure.” He said more loudly than perhaps he should have. “I can always hang around the college for a few more youthful and impressionable dingbats to recruit. If the worse comes to the worse, I can always carry out some sabotage myself, and make it look like youngsters did it.”

Meanwhile, the Earplug Brothers were enjoying views of their brother and his wife fell walking on a damp miserable day on some forsaken planet in the hind end of nowhere…

“Rather you than me, Bro,” Valentine spoke over the sound of incessant rainfall, “I’d sho’nuf catch trench foot, you can believe it.”

“By the way,” he added a few moments later, “your art deco figure has fallen over, and there’s some guy lookin’ in your window.

“Oh, that’s Tortus Schell.” Hair-Trigger replied. “He lives on the floor above. The figurine always falls over when he trips on his terrace raffia mat and tumbles over his railing. He’s just using our window frame to help him climb back up.”

At much the same time, Daisy, Bunty and Ginger were enjoying themselves whilst making themselves at home aboard the freighter…

Of course, (having no experience of space travel or watching science-fiction films) they had no idea that the Forward Viewscreen depicted their vessel’s traversing of hyperspace. But they did spot a sign that indicated a shortcut to the lavatory. Therefore, they were totally unaware when the ship dropped out of hyperspace…

…and set course for an icy world that hung close by in the immensity of space.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 15)

Capítulo 4

Mientras tanto, el espectáculo de imágenes continuaba. Los cuatro hermanos Earplug Brothers ‘Oohed y Aahed’ en la escena que mostraba a Magnuss y Hair-Trigger una vez más vistiendo sus trajes de burbujas; desembarcando del Tankerville Norris ; y explorando un espacio abandonado…

“Jeepers”, exclamó Chester, ahora que se había recuperado del impacto del carguero que pasaba, “eso fue muy atrevido”.

Atreverse es lo que hacen Magnuss y Hair-Trigger. Su gemelo le recordó. Entonces Miles se volvió hacia Magnuss y dijo: “¿Pasó algo malo?”

A lo que Hair-Trigger respondió: “Solo siendo perseguido por los Piratas del Hiperespacio, que estaban usando el abandono para ocultar su botín”.

“¿Cómo te escapaste?” preguntó Chester.

“Oh tú sabes; la forma habitual. respondió Magnus.

Tankerville Norris vino al rescate, ¿eh?” Valentín se ofreció como voluntario.

“¿Descarga de torpedos de protones a quemarropa?” añadió Rudy.

Hair-Trigger asintió con tristeza. “Hmmm”, dijo en voz baja, “una pérdida tan trágica”.

“No pensé que te interesaran los Piratas Hiperespaciales”. Chester espetó sorprendido.

“Oh, no lo hago”. respondió la única mujer presente. “Pero la explosión resultante fue tan grande que destrozó el vehículo abandonado, con nosotros dentro”.

“Sí”, agregó Magnuss con una expresión severa, “fue realmente aterrador, y cuando regresamos al Tankerville Norris , Hair-Trigger tuvo que expulsar sus bombas espaciales de la esclusa de aire. Peor aún, solo tenía un par de repuesto en su cajón de bragas. ¡Hasta que pudiera conseguir más, nos vimos obligados a cancelar más caminatas espaciales!”.

Hablando de espacio, en ese preciso momento el carguero espacial submarino había acelerado a unos pocos kilómetros de una de las lunas de Saturno…

Por supuesto, ninguna de las chicas pudo reconocer qué luna era. De hecho, ni siquiera sabían que habían dejado la órbita de la Tierra: tenían asuntos más urgentes que requerían su atención. Cuestiones como el ‘soporte vital’. Con cierta sensatez, fueron en busca de una despensa, o de algún lugar que pudiera contener comida y bebida. Al hacerlo, encontraron tres robots que parecían tan absortos en sus deberes que no notaron la intrusión de tres formas de vida de silicio…

Inicialmente, las chicas se sintieron tentadas a retroceder antes de que los robots se percataran de ellas. Pero, a medida que el carguero se aproximaba a la luna, por alguna razón los cargueros se aproximaban a las lunas…

…La desesperación de Daisy produjo una audacia que Ginger y Bunty nunca habían imaginado que existiera dentro de su diminuta amiga rosa. Ella gritó…

…”Oi, tengo hambre y sed: ¿dónde hay algo de comida y cola?”

Podría haber sido la peor decisión de la vida de la joven orejera; después de todo, ella no sabía nada sobre robots: podrían haber sido del tipo que estaban más que felices de convertir su masa en material para el sistema de propulsión. Entonces, cuando la nave entró en el hiperespacio por primera vez…

…y comenzó su viaje propiamente dicho, esos tres miembros de la tripulación no solo los guiaron de manera segura a la Cocina de Pasajeros, sino que también les mostraron el único baño del barco…

…lo que supuso un gran alivio para Daisy, pero hizo poco por los sentidos olfativos de Bunty y Ginger.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Spend Spend Spend – An Iddy-Biddy Bit More

It’s quite possible that I might have inferred that I had spent enough hard earned cash on extras for the Yamaha. Well sorry for that – but I lied. Whilst out and about down gnarly English country lanes, it occured to me that if I were to get a puncture – not only am I incapable of pushing the 250Kg leviathan, but I wouldn’t be able to summon help because most of the time I never know where I am. One English lane looks much like another. So, after careful consideration for about three seconds, I turned the machine around in a farm entrance (apt really, coz the Yam turns like a tractor) and set off for a motorcycle accessories emporium. I required a pump, tyre repair kit, and a top box to keep them in. And whilst I was in the mood, I fetched myself a brighter jacket, so that car drivers might be less likely to ignore my presence and pull out into the road in front of me at point-blank range. The result?

Very smart, and practical too. And, oh look, it’s one of those anonymous English country lanes. How fitting.

P.S here’s a moody film noir shot of the same thing, minus me…

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 14)

Dentro del barco, las tres chicas corrían peligro de perder sus bragas ya que las violentas vibraciones del despegue las sacudieron tontamente…

“Bunty,” gritó Daisy por encima del tumulto del metal crujiente y los impulsores rugientes, “he pensado cuál de nosotros soy yo, y no me gusta. Haz que pare el ruido: ¡me duelen los dientes! “

Fuera de la embarcación, que está sobre el Museo de Tecnología del Futuro, todo parecía sereno…

…Mientras la nave partía hacia lugares distantes.

Por supuesto, Gregor Arsentickler (mientras regresaba a su apartamento)…

…No tenía idea de que sus reclutas involuntarios estaban a bordo del carguero que partía y pasaba rugiendo por la ventana de su edificio. Si lo hubiera hecho, no se habría visto tan satisfecho de sí mismo. Además, y por la más notable de las coincidencias, el mismo carguero había asustado muchísimo a Chester mientras, momentos antes, también corría por el apartamento de Magnuss y Hair-Trigger…

Pero el inconveniente fue solo momentáneo, porque en poco tiempo la enorme nave negra viajaba a través de los campos de lavanda que crecían a poca distancia del museo…

Y, cuando el amanecer mostró un cielo rojo alentador sobre las montañas que conducía a la comunidad de agricultores de guisantes que abastecía al museo con todos y cada uno de los guisantes que se consumían allí, el barco subió abruptamente…

…y se abrió camino hacia el espacio. Esto dejó a los polizones reacios en alguna dificultad…

“Ginger, ten cuidado. No mires. Aparta tu mirada “. Daisy gritó alarmada: “¡Llevo unas bragas realmente insípidas que mi madre compró directamente a los importadores en los muelles!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 14)

Inside the ship, the three girls were in danger of losing their knickers as the violent vibrations of lift-off shook them silly…

“Bunty,” Daisy yelled above the tumult of creaking metal and roaring boosters, “I’ve figured which one of us is me – and I don’t like it. Make the noise stop: my teeth hurt!”

Outside the vessel – that is above the Museum of Future Technology – all appeared serene…

…as the craft set out for distant places.

Of course, Gregor Arsentickler (as he made his way back to his apartment)…

…had no idea that his unwitting recruits were aboard the departing freighter that roared past his edificio’s window. If he had, he would not have looked so pleased with himself. Moreover, and by the most remarkable of coincidences, the same freighter had scared the heck out of Chester as, only moments previous, it also raced by the apartment of Magnuss and Hair-Trigger…

But the inconvenience was only momentary, because before long the huge black craft was travelling across the lavender fields that grew a short distance from the museum…

And, as dawn displayed an encouragingly red sky above the mountains that led to the pea farming community that supplied the museum with each and every pea consumed therein, the ship climbed steeply…

…and fired its way towards space. This left the unwilling stowaways in some difficulty…

“Ginger, be careful. Don’t look. Avert your gaze.” Daisy cried out in alarm, “I’m wearing really tasteless knickers that my mum bought directly from the importers down on the docks!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 13)

Mientras tanto, en el apartamento de Magnuss y Hair-Trigger…

…Un video fabulosamente fotografiado de Magnuss y Hair-Trigger dejando su submarino alquilado en burbujas de presión reproducidas en la pantalla de la pared.

“Ooh”, suspiró Hair-Trigger al recordarlo, “ese mar alienígena era como agua de baño”.

“Solo que menos jabón”. Magnuss agregó. “Las únicas burbujas alrededor éramos nosotros. Tenga en cuenta la gran criatura peluda cerca de la superficie. Eso también produjo algunas burbujas. Pero el otro submarino, como pueden ver allí, estaba disponible para absorberlos a todos antes de que ensuciaran demasiado el agua. Fue un servicio fantástico: no podrías haber pedido más. No hubiera querido el trabajo, te lo puedo asegurar “.

Mientras los cuatro invitados absorbían esta información, muy, muy lejos a bordo del robot carguero, el trío de adolescentes había descubierto otra ventana interior…

A través de su apertura rectangular, pudieron discernir una actividad robótica que, francamente, los desconcertó…

“¿Qué diablos están haciendo con esas cosas largas de cristal?” Daisy preguntó casi en silencio.

“Bueno”, comenzó Ginger, siempre esperanzada de inspiración, “creo que podrían estar tratando de hacer algo”.

“Tuve el mismo pensamiento”. Dijo Bunty mientras asentía con aprobación. “Nunca se sabe, esto podría ser robóticamente análogo a poner la ropa a través del mangle”.

Por un breve momento, Ginger consideró la posibilidad de que Bunty se estuviera burlando de ella; pero antes de que pudiera formar por completo un pensamiento coherente, una luz brillante resplandeció intensamente…

Un triple “¡Aaargh!” seguido rápidamente.

Y cuando la iluminación cambió a un tono claramente verdoso…

… las tres chicas estaban seguras de que algo estaba a punto de suceder, lo cual, por supuesto, era…

…En forma de lastre sobrante, en grandes cantidades, expulsado del buque, en forma de vapor. Mientras estallaba por varios conductos de ventilación que corrían a lo largo de la enorme embarcación, los ingenieros de End Cap se hicieron a un lado y observaron con evidente orgullo su trabajo.

“Ooh”, dijeron como uno, “agradable. Vapor frío, hombre “.

Sin embargo, en el interior había otra historia…

“No me gusta el aspecto de esto”, gritó Bunty mientras se dirigía hacia la escotilla, “¡salgamos de aquí!”

Pero se detuvieron en seco cuando la iluminación se alteró tan abruptamente que les engañó la vista y los sumió en un estado de confusión…

“Bunty”, gritó Daisy, “ayuda: no puedo decir cuál de nosotros eres tú: ¡todos somos azules!”

Bunty respondió mirando a su alrededor. “Um”, respondió ella, “sí. Yo…creo que soy yo: ¿cuál de ustedes no lo es?”

Mientras reinaba la confusión en el escondite de la niña, los robots que habían estado estudiando los cristales largos procedieron a hacer algunos ajustes mínimos en ellos…

En un instante, comenzaron a destellar y brillar cuando el poder comenzó a fluir a través de ellos.

En el hangar de reparación de gran altitud, los End Caps retrocedieron hacia las elegantes ventanas mientras evitaban el retroceso del lanzamiento del carguero…

“Sí”, vitorearon al unísono, “otra pluma en nuestra gorra. ¡Otro paso hacia la ciudadanía y la libertad! ”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 13)

Meanwhile, in the apartment of Magnuss and Hair-Trigger…

…a fabulously photographed video of Magnuss and Hair-Trigger leaving their rented submarine in pressure bubbles played upon the wall screen.

“Ooh,” Hair-Trigger sighed at the recollection, “that alien sea was like bath water.”

“Only less soapy.” Magnuss added. “The only bubbles around were us. Note the big furry creature near the surface. That produced a few bubbles too. But the other submarine, you can see there, was on hand to suck them all up before they fouled the water too much. It was a fantastic service: you couldn’t have asked for more. I wouldn’t have wanted the job, I can tell you.”

Whilst the four guests absorbed this information, far, far away aboard the robot freighter, the adolescent trio had discovered another interior window…

Through its rectangular aperture, they could discern robotic activity that, quite frankly puzzled them…

“What the flipping heck are they doing with those long crystal things?” Daisy inquired almost silently.

“Well,” Ginger began – ever hopeful of inspiration, “I think they might be trying to do something.”

“I had much the same thought.” Bunty said as she nodded approvingly. “You never know, this might be robotically analogous to putting the washing through the mangle.”

For a brief moment, Ginger considered the possibility that Bunty might be mocking her; but before she could fully form a coherent thought a brilliant light blazed brightly…

A triple “Aaargh!” quickly followed.

And when the lighting altered to a distinctly greenish hue…

…all three girls felt certain that something was about to happen – which, of course, it was…

…in the shape of surplus ballast, in vast quantities, being ejected from the vessel, in the form of vapour. As it burst from several vents that ran the length of the huge vessel, the End Cap engineers stood to one side and watched with evident pride in their work.

“Ooh,” they said as one, “nice. Cool steam, man.”

However, inside it was another story…

“I don’t like the look of this,” Bunty yelled as she led a dash for the hatch, “let’s get the heck outta here!”

But they were stopped in their tracks when the lighting altered so abruptly that it bamboozled their eyesight and threw them into a state of confusion…

“Bunty,” Daisy yelled, “help: I can’t tell which one of us is you: we’re all blue!”

Bunty responded by looking around her. “Um,” she replied, “yeah. I…I think I’m me: which one of you isn’t?”

Whilst confusion reigned in the girl’s hidey-hole, the robots that had been studying the long crystals proceeded to make some minute adjustments to them…

In an instant, they began to flash and sparkle as power began to course through them.

In the high-altitude repair hangar, the End Caps backed towards the stylish windows as they avoided the backwash of the freighter’s launch…

“Yeah,” they cheered in unison, “another feather in our cap. Another step towards citizenship and freedom!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

The Ten Pound Titter

When I swapped my…

…in at the dealers to buy this…

…I foolishly forgot to remove the mounting point for this…

So, recently I trawled the internet for a cheap camera that I could mount upon either my bicycle, motorcycle, or even my head! I found this…

Inside, with a bunch of accessories, came this…

…which you see here ‘on charge’. More of that later. I then turned my attention to the packaging. The fact that it bore no manufacturers name and read Made in China should have prepared me for the worst. But I was too amused by the ‘sales’ bumph on the box to care…

Well the first one is obvious. After all the box does display the picture of a skier wearing the camera on his head. The second is a little contentious. In the accompanying booklet/instruction manual (in execrable English) I’m told that the camera must not be used in damp conditions. It also mentioned that the camera would not work in hot or cold conditions, which kind of made the cover picture invalid, and mocked the fireproof claim. However it went to great pains the explain that the camera was not shock proof – merely shock resistant (more of that later too). And it seemed very proud to announce that it was skid-proof. Now if my motorcycle tyres were listed as skid-proof, it would make some sense: but in what way can a camera be deemed so? If I attempted to slide it across my kitchen floor, would it grip with the tenacity of a limpet and refuse to move. I think it unlikely. Which brings me to Durable Press. Well if there’s one feature that I look for most in a camera, it’s Durable Press. What the fuck is Durable Press? It’s bloody nonsense, that’s what it is.  Sales shit. Which brings me to the camera itself. Where to start? First up it wouldn’t accept a charge – either from the charger in the box, my laptop, or my TV. But it would fire up if plugged in to either. It wouldn’t start on command though: only when it felt like it. And the one button that controlled all the functions (don’t know how it was supposed to) either didn’t respond at all, or stuck in the ‘down’ position. The camera did vibrate a lot though, which brings me back to the booklet, which claimed (and here’s a nice one for the ladies) “Includes built-in vibrator”. Well that bit was right: the camera might not be any good for taking pictures, but it could stimulate a clitoris with the best of them.  Noting that the camera included a micro memory card, I tried accessing the data on it via the associated cable – as per the instructions in the gobbledigook manual. Nada. So I slotted the card into a portable reader, which released ten mini-movies of the previous owner trying to get the camera to function properly. Well I have only one thing to say to him. Two things actually. Make that three. Your orange top is garish and lacks taste. Your sitting room decor – especially the huge gold coloured things on either side of your wall-mounted TV – is vomit inducing. You are an ass hole for selling me this non-functioning camera. But I did manage to get it going eventually, however briefly. Here’s a capture from the resulting footage…

Here I can be seen bemoaning my purchase. Unfortunately I was inaudible on the video: loud, buzzing audio interference drowned me out entirely. But that might have something to do with the means I used to get the camera to roll. I slammed it against the edge of my kitchen table. Probably one of my better moves. But since I only paid £10, and I still have the accessories and memory card, I don’t feel so bad about it. And, look, I’ve even got a post out of the fiasco!

 

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 12)

However, when they let themselves in, they discovered that the maintenance hatch had allowed them ingress to something other than the outer hull, but the vessel’s habitable interior…

Ginger made a quick discovery…

“Oops,” she said, “we’ve left the door open. Anyone passing can see us. I’ll just close it.”

Perhaps if Bunty and Daisy hadn’t been so busy whispering excitedly, they might have cried out to their friend. They might have said, “No, Ginger; it only opens from the outside!” But they didn’t: and two seconds later…

“Oops again,” Ginger said apologetically, “guess we’ll need another exit.”

Not that Daisy cared: she was inside her beloved space submarine freighter.

Whilst this was occurring, Magnuss and Hair-Trigger were giving a commentary on a series of pictures that featured them holidaying on an archipelago of strange spire-like islands in a tropical sea…

“Whoever took the picture,” Chester complained, “chopped off your feet. What a rubbish photographer. Next!”

Aboard the space submarine, the dull black livery soon gave way to a far more aesthetically pleasing sequinned effect…

But only Daisy appreciated it: the others were far too busy either looking where they were going or watching out for the ship’s owners.

“Wallpaper’s nice.” Daisy said as they hugged the wall in an attempt to be as unobtrusive as possible.  “But I think I’d tire of it pretty quickly. I certainly wouldn’t like my bedroom wall decorated thus.”

However, after passing through a bulkhead hatch, they found further compartments that appeared exactly the same…

“Should have packed a pair of sunglasses,” Daisy quipped.

At exactly the same moment that Bunty thought she heard some voices inside the ship, and made the decision to hide, the Earplug Brothers were enjoying a video of Magnuss and Hair-Trigger battling a tropical surf aboard a speedboat…

“Bet that set your motion sickness off, Mags.” Chester said with a chuckle.

Magnuss didn’t like to admit it, but (for most of the time – with Hair-Trigger at the wheel) he’d been too scared to feel sick…

“A bit.” He replied as his stomach made a first class job of reminding him of the incessant plunging into the troughs between waves that he’d endured.

Meanwhile, Daisy, Bunty, and Ginger had found a door that into a section of the vessel that appeared to be unused…

“An auxiliary something-or-other, I expect.” Ginger said knowledgeably. “We should be safe in here.”

“Let’s see if there’s a window or something we can look out of.” Bunty suggested. “I think it’s important that we know what’s going on – otherwise we won’t know when to leave.”

“Ooh, yeah,” Daisy agreed, “I wouldn’t want to get locked in: that would be scary. I have dreams of being locked in, you know. One night I woke up to find that I really had been locked in. I was in the trunk of my dad’s car. I don’t know how I got there. I’ve been having regression therapy in the hope of finding out.”

But any furtherance of the conversation was cut short when they found the interior window they sought…

  

Daisy drew herself close to Ginger. “Golly,” she whispered, “robots. I wasn’t expecting them.”

“Well this is a robot freighter.” Bunty whispered from behind her.

“True,” Daisy replied. “But I always thought that robot freighters were robotic…ur…freighters: not freighters crewed by robots. There’s a subtle difference.”

“Well now you know.” Ginger said. A second thought occurred: “If this ship is crewed by robots…they won’t have a toilet aboard. That could be catastrophic for biological life forms like us!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 11)

As if in answer to Valentine’s question, the formerly blank screen erupted into photonic life…

“Good choice.” Said Rudi.

Meanwhile, in another part of the museum, Ginger was getting her bearings…

“Ooh,” she said, “just look out of the fancy window. We’re ever so high up. This must be the Red Tower.”

In an instant, she was joined by Daisy and Bunty. “The Red Tower?” They squealed in perfect unison.

Bunty then added, “But this is the highest building in the whole museum. The public aren’t allowed here. All sorts of things happen here. It’s top secret or something.”

She would have said more, but as the moonlight broke through one of the high windows, all three girls became aware of a great hulking shape in the shadows…

“Wha, wha, wha?” Daisy stuttered.

Ginger required clarification: “What is it?” She suggested.

“Yes,” Daisy replied as she reassembled her taut nerves into a shape that allowed her to speak, “what is it?”

“It’s a great hulking shape.” Bunty answered helpfully. “But the shadows are hiding it too well for me to make a positive identification. But it’s not breathing, so it can’t be alive.”

“It could be holding its breath.” Ginger argued.

“If it’s not alive,” Daisy said nervously, “it must be dead. Oh, by the Saint of All Earplugs – we’ve found a dead body. And if anyone finds us here, they’ll think we did it!”

Suddenly, it seemed, their situation was of the grimmest kind imaginable to three college girls. “Ooh-ur.” Ginger said intelligently.

But before she could elucidate further, a number of feeble lights lit up the scene…

A relieved Ginger swung around to address her friends: “Look, Daisy: it’s one of them big black flying things you like so much.”

Daisy couldn’t believe her eyes. “A space submarine freighter.” She said breathlessly. “And it’s here – right in front of me. If I want, I can walk up and touch it…with my bare fingers!”

But she didn’t, of course: she was too afraid of fainting from the thrill of it. So she sent Ginger and Bunty to take a closer look – to see if it really was the ‘real thing’, and not a mock-up or movie prop. However, as she received confirmation of the vessel’s authenticity, Daisy thought she heard an elevator arrive in a nearby corridor…

“Someone’s coming,” she hissed. “Quickly; hide!”

They didn’t waste a nanosecond: all three ran straight to the only door available to them…

“But this door is set into the side of the space submarine.” Ginger stated the obvious. “If we go inside there, we’ll be…we’ll be inside the space submarine!”

Daisy might have replied, “Yeah: good, innit?” But within moments of the elevator’s arrival, a number of earplugs and a group of former prisoner-of-war hyperspace pirate end cap engineers entered (what was clearly) the high-rise hangar…

“I told him,” one of the earplugs was saying to another, “it’s all well and good having this repair facility on the seventieth floor: but what if the elevator breaks down? We’ll spend half the day climbing up here, and the second half climbing back down. Nothing will get done.”

“Is ‘climbing’ the correct term to describe a means of descending.” The listener in the group replied. “Is it possible to actually climb down?”

“Mountain climbers do it all the time.” A third earplug interjected.

“Yeah,” a fourth chimed in, “anything else would be called ‘falling’. I wouldn’t want to fall down seventy floors, I can tell you!”

This was a fortuitous conversation because it gave the girls time to collect their wits and act positively…

“We’ll duck inside this maintenance hatch,” Bunty instructed the others.” Then, when all these techie-types have gone away, we can come back out again.”

“Yeah,” Daisy agreed, “and then we’ll slip away and go back to college like nothing ever happened at all. In a week this will have all blown over and been forgotten. You mark my words.”  

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Earth: Population: Six Billion Plus

I want to know: if there are over six billion potential readers of this blog in the world, why didn’t just one of them log in during the first ninety minutes of Jan 4th 2022?

Maybe they were washing their hair. Yes, that would be it.

Or maybe its one vast conspiracy. Perhaps there aren’t really six billion of us at all. Perhaps we’ve become almost extinct, and our lizard overlords are feeding us fake statistics.  Yes, I think that’s more likely!

If you are a lizard overlord – I didn’t write this. I’ve obviously been hacked by one of the remaining three hundred and fourteen humans left on Earth – if we really are on Earth, that is.

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 10)

Chapter 3

Meanwhile, in the habitation area of the Museum of Future Technology, Rudi Earplug and three of his brothers – those being Valentine and the twins, Miles and Chester, were approaching the apartment of Magnuss and Hair-Trigger Earplug…

“Remind me again, will ya, bro,” Valentine said to the eldest brother, “what are we here for? It aint a taco-eating contest, is it? Sure dig those tacos. Hotter the better. Hotter ‘n’ hell!”

“No, man,” Rudi replied, “sho’nuf aint no tacos tonight. We’re gonna see the newlywed’s honeymoon snaps.”

“Could be cool,” Chester said as he pressed the doorbell button…

…“maybe we’ll see pictures of Hair-Trigger on the beach.”

“Oh, Chester,” Miles chided him, “you mustn’t think of your new sister-in-law in such lewd terms. Remember: less visceral: more cerebral.”

However, when Hair-Trigger answered the door…

…even Miles found it difficult to suppress a “phwoar!”

“Hello, boys.” She said in welcome, “Step right in to our humble abode.”

Once inside, and with the front door closed behind them…

…she said, “Sorry we couldn’t attend your pool party this afternoon, but Security has deemed us both a biological threat source. Apparently, we’ve visited places on our honeymoon that are on the naughty list. I’m afraid you’ll all have to be decontaminated. We’ve got it set up just outside the TV room.”

They arrived at the door just as Magnuss was exiting it…

“Hi, guys.” He said. “I thought it best we all decontaminate together. Are you ready?”

“Do we keep our clothes on?” Chester inquired as he smiled appreciatively at Hair-Trigger.

“Yes, of course.” The disappointing reply came from Hair-Trigger, who knew full well what was going on in Chester’s head. “This is high-tech decontamination: you won’t even know it’s happening.”

Then this happened…

“Oh yeah,” Chester said as a searing light tried to burn its way into his brain via his retinas. “When does it begin?”

Naturally, Hair-Trigger failed to reply. Chester was being facetious after all. Instead, she and her new husband led the brothers into the Infotainment Room, where six chairs had been placed before a screen and futuristic image projector…

Miles couldn’t wait to try one on for size. “They look nice and comfy.” He said.

But he was less impressed by the emergency toilet in the corner of the room…

“Oh don’t be so old-fashioned and prudish, Miles,” Magnuss complained. “Open-plan living is all the rage, you know. But if you don’t like it, there’s another one at the end of the hall. It even has a door with a lock on it.”

Placated by this news, Miles then joined the others upon their chairs. He watched as a bright tell-tale light flashed upon the futuristic image projector. Clearly, the show was about to begin…

“Hey, Magnuss, bro,” Valentine asked from the opposite end of the line…

…”fancy views ya got from your apartment window. A real groove. So whatta ya call this holiday snap show?”

Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 9)

Pero, en opinión de Gregor, se trataba de pequeños pequeños: meros actos de mezquindad. Lo que necesitaba eran más Bunties, Gingers y Daisies. Sin embargo, dado que no había ninguno, sería necesario que actuara con valentía. Así que se retiró silenciosamente de su edificio…

…y se dirigió directamente a la cárcel del museo…

De pie directamente debajo de la ventana de la niña, les susurró:

“Chicas, soy yo, Gregor Arsentickler. Ha habido un gran error judicial esta noche. El Mayor Flaccid me ha enviado para corregir esto y dejarlo en libertad. Sin embargo, las autoridades aún no se han enterado del hecho: habrá que esperar hasta que la oficina abra mañana por la mañana. Pero como él no quiere que te enojes por algo que era inevitable, y realmente no fue tu culpa en absoluto, le gustaría que salieras antes del amanecer “.

Ninguno de los jóvenes estaba seguro de que huir de su encarcelamiento fuera el curso de acción más sabio que tenían; pero cuando Gregor sacó una llave “maestra” de su bolsillo trasero (que había estado sin usar para los yonks en su mesita de noche, esperando el momento adecuado), su temor disminuyó un poco. Y cuando Gregor activó un encanto casi sobrenatural…

…se les quedó sin aliento en la garganta, y todo lo que pudieron hacer fue dejar de gritar estridentemente ante la belleza masculina de Gregor…

“Oh, sí, Gregor”, dijo Daisy con un suspiro, “cualquier cosa que digas”.

Entonces, momentos después de que se abrió la cerradura y Gregor desapareció apresuradamente en las sombras, el trío de adolescentes tomó una hoja de papel que contenía algunas instrucciones y robó de la cárcel…

…y rápidamente buscó el anonimato del edificio a oscuras inmediatamente adyacente a la cárcel…

“Oh, caramba,” susurró Daisy mientras comenzaba a dudar de su elección de acción, “no está medio oscuro aquí. ¿Me pregunto qué es?”

Bunty, como era su costumbre, solo tenía ojos para el techo. “Es muy grande.” Ella dijo. “El techo está tan alto: ni siquiera puedo verlo”.

Pero el pensamientos de Ginger era de una necesidad más urgente: “Me pregunto si tiene un inodoro”. Ella dijo.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 9)

But, in Gregor’s view these were small fry: mere acts of pettiness. What he needed were more Bunties, Gingers, and Daisies. However, since there were none, it would require him to act boldly. So he took himself silently from his edificio…

…and made straight for the museum jail…

Standing directly beneath the girl’s window, he whispered to them:

“Girls, it is I, Gregor Arsentickler. There has been a great miscarriage of justice this night. I have been despatched by Major Flaccid to correct this and set you free. However, the authorities haven’t been made aware of the fact yet: that will have to wait until the office opens tomorrow morning. But because he doesn’t want you to be upset over something that was unavoidable, and really wasn’t your fault at all, he’d like you out and about before sunrise.”

Neither youngster was certain that fleeing their incarceration was the wisest course of action open to them; but when Gregor produced a ‘skeleton’ key from his back pocket (that had lain unused for yonks in his bedside cabinet, just waiting for the right moment) their trepidation waned a little.  And when Gregor turned on an almost unearthly charm…

…their breath caught in their throats, and it was all they could do to stop themselves screaming shrilly at Gregor’s masculine beauty…

“Oh yes, Gregor,” Daisy said with a sigh, “Anything you say.”

So, moments after the lock had been thrown open and Gregor had hurriedly disappeared into the shadows, the teen-aged trio picked up a piece of paper that contained some directions, and stole from the jail…

…and quickly sought the anonymity of the darkened building immediately adjacent to the jail…

“Ooh, blimey,” Daisy whispered as she began to doubt their choice of action, “it aint half dark in here. I wonder what it is?”

Bunty, as was her way, had eyes only for the ceiling. “It’s very big.” She said. “The ceiling’s ever so far up: I can’t even see it.”

But Ginger’s thoughts were of a more pressing need: “I wonder if it has a toilet.” She said.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 8)

Bueno, en realidad solo podían hacer una cosa. Ellos corrieron. Como flechas de un arco, atravesaron directamente la Extensión Tejida…

…y trataron de esconderse en un extraño bosque incorpóreo…

…en el que Daisy tuvo un pensamiento extraordinario: “Oi”, dijo, “si estos árboles son incorpóreos, eso significa que en el infrarrojo nos destacaríamos como pulgares adoloridos”.

Así que se despidieron apresuradamente y trataron de esconderse en la exposición de la Edad de Piedra…

Pero, si hubieran tenido una célula cerebral entre ellos, se habrían dado cuenta de que Security Suite tenía acceso a cualquier cantidad de sensores y cámaras CCTV…

“Los tengo”. EvilRoboSecGua informó al enojado jefe de RoboSecGua.

La orden llegó en un instante: “Detenlos por cualquier medio. Y si duele muchísimo … bueno, mucho mejor. Si hay algo que realmente detesto, son los tapones para los oídos de las adolescentes. ¡Me hacen enojar tanto! “

Mientras tanto, Bunty, Ginger y Daisy estaban en algún lugar de las entrañas del Museo de Tecnología del Futuro y avanzaban exhaustos a lo largo de otro pasillo interminable. Pero, a pesar de sus pulmones laboriosos y la agonía de los músculos desoxigenados, todos encontraron la energía para asustarse cuando una luz de seguridad los sorprendió…

Y cuando cambió de color, detuvieron su vuelo precipitado…

…solo tengo tiempo de reconocer lo que la luz infirió y sumergirme en la penumbra de una Alerta de Intruso Carmesí…

“Oh”, dijo Bunty en la penumbra resultante.

“Puedo escucharte, Bunty”, respondió Ginger, “pero no puedo verte. ¿Has sido desencarnado?

“Ojalá me hubieran destripado”, les informó Daisy a los demás, “porque estoy loca de miedo, o una palabra muy similar”.

A medida que se acercaba el momento del arresto de la niña, Gregor salió de sus habitaciones, sintiéndose muy satisfecho de sí mismo. El daño que había logrado causar por poder estaba casi más allá de sus sueños más locos…

Pero no había terminado: había más actos de sabotaje que invocar. Algunos de los que no lo han hecho bien ya se habían inspirado en los informes de noticias de televisión sobre la exhibición en ruinas…

Y los RoboSecGuas de repente se hicieron harapientos…

… cuando un grupo de empleados de catering desencantados devoró todo un repollo en escabeche: salió a la llanura de obsidiana; y…

…encendió las emisiones enjauladas resultantes.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 8)

Well there was really only one thing they could do. They ran. Like arrows from a bow they ran straight across the Woven Expanse…

…and tried to hide themselves in a strange non-corporeal forest…

…in which Daisy had a remarkable thought: “Oi,” she said, “if these trees are non-corporeal, that means that on infrared we would stand out like sore thumbs.”

So they bid a hasty farewell and tried hiding in the Age of Stone exhibit…

But, had they a brain cell between them, they would have realised that the Security Suite had access to any number of sensors and CCTV cameras…

“Got ‘em.” EvilRoboSecGua reported to the angry RoboSecGua chief.

The command came in an instant: “Apprehend them by any means. And if it hurts like heck…well all the better. If there’s one thing I really detest – it’s teenage female earplugs. They make me so mad!”

Meanwhile, Bunty, Ginger and Daisy were somewhere within the bowels of the Museum of Future Technology and making exhausted progress along another interminable corridor. But, despite their labouring lungs and the agony of de-oxygenated muscles, they all found the energy to be startled when a security light caught them unawares…

And when it changed colour, they paused their headlong flight…

…just I time to recognise what the light inferred and be plunged into the semi-darkness of a Crimson Intruder Alert…

“Oh,” Bunty said into the resulting gloom.

“I can hear you, Bunty,” Ginger replied, “but I can’t see you. Have you been disembodied?”

“I wish I’d been disembowelled,” Daisy informed the others, “coz I’m scared witless – or a word very similar to that.”

As the moment of the girl’s arrest approached, Gregor departed his quarters, whilst feeling very pleased with himself. The damage that he had managed to wreak by proxy was almost beyond his wildest dreams…

But he hadn’t finished: there was more acts of sabotage to invoke. Already some ne’re-do-wells had found inspiration from the TV news reports of the ruined exhibit…

And the RoboSecGuas were suddenly run ragged…

…when a group of disenchanted catering staff devoured an entire pickled cabbage: went out on to the Obsidian Plain; and…

…ignited the resulting cageous emissions.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 7)

Pero en el RD&CC la alegría había estallado como un volcán de endorfinas invisibles…

“Eso fue divertido.” Alegre Charlie Chopsticks gritó extasiado. “Hazlo otra vez.”

Otros curadores lograron contener su entusiasmo. “Muy agradable.” Winston Gloryhole dijo con calma. “¿Qué piensas, Cushions?”

“Me gustaría ver un desglose de los costos”. Ella respondió, como si supiera de lo que estaba hablando.

“¿Costos?” Montagu rugió. “¿Qué cuesta? La maldita máquina está construida: la energía proviene del generador Nul-Space, que es gratis. Y despedimos a la mitad de la fuerza laboral de mudanzas de exhibiciones. No es necesario tener en cuenta los costos: son prácticamente nulos “.

Mientras tanto, Daisy había recobrado el sentido. Más que eso, reconoció el misterioso vehículo por lo que era.

“Es la cosa blindada de Deathwish”. Ella lloró. “Aprendimos todo sobre los hermanos Deathwish hace tres meses. Echemos un vistazo.” 

Momentos después, Ginger y Bunty estaban cargando a su ruidoso amigo sobre sus hombros…

Y pronto estuvo a salvo a bordo y miró el cañón láser…

“¿Me pregunto si esto todavía está activo?” Ella susurró para sí misma.

Mientras todos felicitaban a todos los demás, Gregor no pudo evitar sonreír…

…Mientras imaginaba lo que podrían estar haciendo tres universitarias con un vehículo blindado de reconocimiento. En realidad, no necesitaba imaginar nada: había instalado una pequeña cámara en el Wide Blue Yonder, que estaba transmitiendo imágenes directamente a su teléfono celular. Solo logró echar un vistazo rápido a su pequeña pantalla a tiempo para presenciar…

…El delgado dedo índice de Daisy acaricia el botón de disparo del cañón láser.

“Ooh”, les dijo a los demás, “¿Me pregunto dónde apunta esta pistola?”

Ni Ginger ni Bunty sabían la respuesta a la pregunta, pero Gregor sí. Había alineado el vehículo con una nueva exhibición que representaba una ciudad del medio oeste, en un futuro lejano, durante la aparición de una singularidad en el Sistema Solar…

Fue la exhibición más cara en llegar al Museo de Tecnología del Futuro desde Eyewash Station. Era el bebé de Cushions. Ya había gastado grandes sumas en publicidad y estaba resultando muy popular. Los tapones para los oídos se aventurarían al museo desde todas partes, sobre pasos de montaña y a través de las inclemencias del tiempo si fuera necesario…

Usarían cualquier medio de transporte que pudieran encontrar…

Incluso los hoteleros de Benidorm hablaban de ello…

Pero cuando la abrasadora explosión incandescente del cañón láser golpeó…

…y toda la instalación estalló en fuego blanco…

…todo en lo que Cushions podía pensar era en cómo se lo iba a explicar a los seres del futuro, cómo su tecnología (que había sido enviada al pasado para mantenerla a salvo) había sido destruida tan completamente. También consideró la posibilidad de que el seguro no pagara y que su tarjeta de crédito estuviera a punto de sufrir otra paliza.

Pero las tres chicas tenían otros pensamientos en mente…

Daisy y Bunty cerraron los ojos con fuerza y ​​esperaron que cuando los volvieran a abrir todo volviera a estar como debería ser. Pero Ginger sabía lo contrario.

“Oh, diablos”, se lamentó, “¿qué vamos a hacer?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 7)

But in the RD&CC joy had erupted like a volcano of invisible endorphins…

“That was fun.” Cheerful Charlie Chopsticks yelled ecstatically. “Do it again.”

Other curators managed to contain their enthusiasm. “Very nice.” Winston Gloryhole said calmly. “What do you think, Cushions?”

“I’d like to see a breakdown in costs.” She replied, as though she knew what she was talking about.

“Costs?” Montagu roared. “What costs? The bloody machine is built: power comes from the Nul-Space generator, which is free. And we lay off half of the exhibit-moving workforce. You don’t need to look at costs: they’re next-to-nothing.”

Meanwhile Daisy had come to her senses. More than that, she recognised the mysterious vehicle for what it was.

“It’s the Deathwish’s armoured thing.” She cried. “We learned all about the Deathwish siblings three months ago. Let’s have a look.” 

Moments later Ginger and Bunty were hoisting their loud-mouthed chum upon their shoulders…

And soon she was safely aboard and eyeing the laser cannon…

“I wonder if this is still active?” She whispered to herself.

Whilst everyone was congratulating everyone else, Gregor couldn’t help but smile…

…as he imagined what three dippy college girls might be doing with an armoured reconnaissance vehicle. Actually he didn’t need to imagine anything: he’d set up a small camera on the Wide Blue Yonder, which was broadcasting images straight to his cell phone. He just managed a quick glance at its tiny screen in time to witness…

…Daisy’s slender forefinger caress the firing button of the laser cannon.

“Ooh,” she said to the others, “I wonder where this gun is pointed?”

Neither Ginger nor Bunty knew the answer to the question: but Gregor did. He’d aligned the vehicle with a brand new exhibit that represented a mid-western town, in the distant future, during the apearence of a singularity in the Solar System…

It was the single most expensive exhibit to arrive in the Museum of Future Technology since Eyewash Station. It was Cushions’ baby. She had already lavished huge sums on advertising, and it was proving very popular. Earplugs would venture to the museum from far and wide, over mountain passes and through inclement weather if necessary…

They would use whatever mode of transportation they could find…

It was even spoke about by hoteliers in Benidorm…

But when the laser cannon’s searing incandescent blast hit…

…and the entire facility erupted in white fire…

…all Cushions could think about was how she was going to explain it to the beings from the future, just how their tech (that had been sent into the past for safe keeping) had been destroyed so utterly. She also considered the possibility that insurance wouldn’t pay up and that her credit card was about to take another beating.

But the three girls had other thoughts in mind…

Daisy and Bunty squeezed their eyes shut and hoped that when they opened them again everything would be back as it should be. But Ginger knew otherwise.

“Oh flipping heck,” she wailed, “what are we gonna do?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 6)

Su ira se evaporó en un instante, Gregor corrió hacia la ‘puerta’ de la fachada de la choza de barro…

“Sí”, aplaudió, “sabía que funcionaría: después de todo hice las sumas”.

Luego, a los observadores dentro de la cúpula, les gritó: “Quédense donde están: voy a la Fase Dos”.

Momentos después, la habitación se volvió roja una vez más, y Gregor sintió que el ojo del Ser Supremo estaba sobre él y solo sobre él…

Y tal vez lo fuera, porque mientras Cushions miraba desconcertado…

…la fachada de la choza de barro Mark Four se había transferido al Wide Blue Yonder…

…y de él emergieron tres rostros igualmente desconcertados…

“¿Qué diablos flipping?” Bunty bramó lo suficientemente fuerte como para ser escuchado en un local de Café Puke en el arboreto. “¿De donde vino eso?”

Pero, como la lechada en una casa de ganado en buen estado se drena, la sorpresa y la preocupación de las tres universitarias hicieron lo mismo…

“Eso fue inteligente”. Opino Daisy.

Ginger dio un paso más allá: “Me pregunto si esto tuvo algo que ver con ese encantador Gregor. ¿Podría ser esta la oportunidad de la que habló?

Todos miraron a su alrededor en busca de alguna vista o olor del tapón para los oídos amarillo…

Pero, mientras lo hacían, en el departamento de I + D + i, Gregor estaba convocando otro artefacto del depósito…

“Damas y caballeros”, anunció a los que miraban desde detrás del escudo, “les presento un vehículo blindado de reconocimiento: no de otra época, sino de otro mundo completamente…

Luego se rió para sí mismo. “Si creen que llevé esa cosa a través de años luz de espacio … bueno, más engañenlos. Pero no miento: realmente es extraño: una vez perteneció a dos hermanos aventureros…

…Dorkan y Dawlish Deathwish “.

Mientras tanto, Daisy tuvo la estúpida idea de que pudieron haber perdido a Gregor dentro de la cabaña, así que fueron a volver a entrar…

…donde fueron cegados momentáneamente por un destello de luz…

…y descubrió que la cabaña no era realmente una cabaña, sino un vehículo blindado de reconocimiento…

Comprensiblemente, se sorprendieron. En el calor del momento, todos se culparon unos a otros por ponerlos en una situación que no podían comprender y amenazaron con abrumar sus frágiles mentes.

“¡Cara de culo!” Daisy le gritó a Ginger: “Mi psique está a punto de sentirse abrumada. Puedo sentirlo: ¡se me han caído los calcetines! “

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021