What Might Come – On the Earplug Front, That Is.

I must admit that (due to circumstances beyond my control) work upon the next Earplug Adventure has been sporadic; sometimes non-existent. For once I have the outline of a plot in place, but precious little else – particularly the most time-consuming element of an EA – namely the photographs. But whenever the opportunity presented itself, I have grabbed my camera; scooped up a silicon character or two; and snapped a few shots. Here is a montage of some of them…

So there you have it. All I need do now is shoot several hundred more photos; make the necessary alterations to them; sort them into a story board; write the text; and post them here. Then, finally, you’ll see the follow-up to this…

 

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The Time Tamperer (part 57)

Epilogue

It was the following day when Cushions Smethwyke finally used the Omnipresent Scanner to contact Magnuss and Hair-Trigger.

“Sorry,” she said through her huge set of gnashers, “but I’m afraid that with the Nevertron off-line, we can’t get time-travel to work at all. It’s as if the Nevertron had always existed and thereby allowed passage between eras. That Piggies DuPong must have been one heck of an evil genius: he planned everything. He just didn’t allow for an out-of-work actor; a disgruntled chef; and a plugmutt turd. Well, anyway, so until some advanced tech from the future arrives, you’re stuck there. You two; the Twits; and our paying customers!”

Magnuss would have responded with some up-beat and utterly meaningless platitude, but before he could do more than lick his lips in preparation, the link with the future failed…

“Oh bum wipe.” Hair-Trigger responded to the darkened screen. “Without a com-link to the Museum of Future Technology, we can’t figure out a way back.”

Once again Magnuss whetted his tongue. This time though he was interrupted by the jangling of a nearby public telephone. Naturally, in the faint hope that Cushions might be on the other end of the line, he answered it…

Both earplugs were thrilled to hear the voice of a chum they thought had been blown to smithereens.

“Yes, I’m still alive.” The excited space pilot’s voice screeched from the speaker grill. “I rode upon an anti-gravity belt – all the way across the sea, until I met a distant shore…

…where the power ran out and I landed in a nice-looking farming community…

Then a really nice farmer came rushing out of his house…

…and introduced himself to me as Farmer Thompson. Well we hit it off like we’d known each other for years. So, when he asked me in for a glass of gin and tonic and a slice of tortilla…

…I found I couldn’t resist. So, what I’m trying to say is; that last attack cured me of my need for daring exploits. There is no way I could ever top that. I’m ready to settle down to a domestic life now. So, what I’m really trying to say is: don’t come looking for me; I’m doing fine. In fact I’m getting married in the morning. It’s been great knowing you; and you’ll always be my favourite Saint and his girlfriend. Byee!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

The Time Tamperer (part 55)

Of course an explosion of that magnitude, when deflected by massively powerful electro-magnetic defensive screens, is likely to take the top off any building, irrespective of its size, design and…um…futuristicness

As the blazing light faded and the dust settled, it became clear that two towers – both over a kilometre high – had been blown away and now smouldered pleasantly…

And it was through one of those enormous openings that Tanganika Chunks had been blown…

…to ride the currents of air upon the anti-gravity belt that she’d had sewn into the waistband of her space panties by an old crone who specialised in that sort of thing.

“Whoo-hoo.” She cried as she drifted off across the ocean. “This is fun: I wonder where I’ll land?”

Meanwhile, in a later era inside the Time Shard version of the Museum of Future Technology…

…three members of the disgraced mountain rescue squad watched the changing light upon the mountains, whilst the other two took a leak in the futuristic urinal.

“What do you think?” Carlos Minehunter asked of the team member beside him.

“Very nice.” Chaz Wassaloni replied. “I’ve always been a fan of modernistic lavatories.”

“No, Stupid.” Carlos snapped. “The view of the mountains: Doesn’t it make you want to get out there and climb them and, possibly, rescue someone?”

“No.” Chaz answered. “There are no toilets in the mountains.”

Any further inspired and spirited conversation was suspended when the sound of approaching footsteps stalled their thought processes…

“Oh look.” Said Cowpat Carlson…

…”it’s the lovely Buttox Barkingwell and her handsome monks, Zak and Bolah: I don’t know which one I like best.”

“Good news.” Buttox said without preamble. “The proper Museum of Future Technology has terminated your contracts. You’re out of work. I live in the mountains in my stranded museum; how would you like to work for me? I’m certain there’s money to be earned saving people from an icy death: some of it could come your way. And you get free board and lodgings. Sound wonderful or anything?”

“I think I speak for the five of us.” Cowpat replied. “We think this museum has a future – no pun intended; we’d like to practice our talents here.”

“Yeah.” Chaz added. “You’ve got great toilets here too. Some of the pipes gurgle real musical, know what I mean?”

So it was a done deal…

…and Buttox departed with a smile upon her face. She’d gotten one over on the real museum: unlike her, Cushions Smethwyke and her cronies didn’t have any mountain rescue capability. Now her museum would appeal to thousands of mountaineers around the globe. As she walked away she could almost hear the cash registers ringing.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

 

The Time Tamperer (part 51)

Mincey then sent for her personal TV reporter – the brainwashed Rupert Piles…

Stepping on to the huge balcony…

…Mincey began a speech, which she intended everyone – those brainwashed in the museum; and those sent into exile across the Obsidian Plain – should see and hear. Although it’s quite possible that she wouldn’t have wanted Magnuss and Hair-Trigger in the loop, so-to-speak…

…but she didn’t have much choice.

“My dear, dear subjects.” She began.

Immediately alarm bells began ringing inside the heads of Magnuss and Hair-Trigger…

…as they were both familiar with megalomania. “Oh heck, Hairy.” Magnuss complained. “Why does the Museum of Future Technology always seem to bring out the worst in people? Walk these hallowed corridors for long enough; and before the day is out it’s time to plan for world domination.”

Of course, they weren’t the only viewers who remained compos mentis. The four T.W.I.T operatives, the zombie duo, and the catering triplets, had all gathered around a monitor…

…and were listening to Mincey as her voice grew shriller and shriller whilst she expounded the virtues of her absolute rule: “And nasty dry toilet tissue is outlawed from this moment onwards.” She continued. “Of course anyone who fancied a spot of dissent will be taken out on to the Wide Blue Yonder and have their underpants shoved down their throat. Just thought you ought to know. So, in summation, Piggies DuPong is toast. Remember that. From now on its Hail to Mincey. Okay? Good.”

By chance, the Omnipresent Scanner locked on to their receiver, which pleased Magnuss and Hair-Trigger, because other than Tanganika, they had – so far at least – appeared to be the only earplugs in a position to resist the former actor…

They smiled because now there were potential allies…

They watched as those potential allies turned away from the darkened monitor. Quickly Hair-Trigger spoke into a microphone. In the corridor, those hearing her voice…

…were surprised and sceptical. Especially when Hair-Trigger made the rash promise to whomever was listening that she and Magnuss would bring down ‘that trash-talking rat-bag, Mincey Muir’.

Pixie and Saxon went into an impromptu conference…

“What do you reckon?”  Saxon asked. “It could be a trick.”

“You’re asking me?” Pixie replied. “You who helped murder Piggies Du Pong!”

“I didn’t know it was poison.” Saxon complained. “I just thought he’d poop in his pants or something. But that’s by-the-by: do we respond, or not?”

“By the Saint of All Earplugs.” Magnuss’ disembodied voice boomed. “Switch on your monitor: let’s have a face-to-face.”

Moments later…

“There, that’s better.” Magnuss said as he and Hair-Trigger appeared on-screen. “We’re recent arrivals from the future; we’re not entirely au fait with current events; what information can any of you give us?

Further moments later, having heard every one of the earplug’s responses, Magnuss and Hair-Trigger began to wish they’d never asked the question…

The situation was worse than they’d thought: the Nevertron could destroy everything that had ever, or would ever, exist.

“Urk” Hair-Trigger gurgled.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

The Time Tamperer (part 50)

As Piggies breathed his last, far away, in the Chi-Z-Sox starship exhibit to be exact, an exhausted Tanganika Chunks dropped into the Captain’s chair and took the weight off her tired feet…

Being a space pilot she felt quite at home on the fake bridge. “Fire the atomic cannons.” She yelled in jest. “On my mark, give me maximum velocity, full defensive shields, and a comfy cushion or two: this seat is as hard as a plank!”

Of course this playfulness didn’t go unnoticed…

“That’s Tanganika Chunks!” Magnuss exclaimed.

“But she was blown up by that Space Pirate vessel that disappeared into hyperspace after it did it’s dirty work.” Hair-Trigger added – possibly unnecessarily.

Magnuss, being Magnuss, quickly made sense of the situation: “Ugh, I guess it must have been that experimental drive system in her saucer.” He said – speaking slowly as his thoughts coalesced. “It probably reacted to the sudden energy surge as the vessel exploded, and hurled the pilot’s escape pod backwards through time.”

“Of course.” Hair-Trigger said calmly. “It makes perfect sense. The Chi-Z-Sox model is almost next door: let’s go get her.”

So, a few minutes later…

…Tanganika was still issuing commands to her non-existent crew, when the dashing duo crept in unseen. They then shuffled silently towards the slightly addled female…

…and made her jump out of her skin – at least metaphorically.

“I don’t believe it.” She squealed when she’d recovered. “The Museum of Future Technology’s most celebrated hero and his wondrous girlfriend, Hair-Trigger whats-her-name!”

This last line amused Horatio: normally such an unintended slur would have earned the perpetrator a karate chop to the kidneys from Hair-Trigger; but clearly his beloved was too pleased to find someone from her own era, to allow herself the luxury of anger. Today, it seemed, she did not want to live up to her name.

“Nice to meet you too.” She replied to the space pilot. “You ugly sod.”

“How would you like to join our little troupe, Tanganika?” Magnuss inquired. “The situation could be grave. In fact I’m sure it is. But if we’re to put things right and return to our native place in time, we have no choice but to face adversity with a grimace, some quick wits, and, if possible, a mailed fist.”

“Great.” Tanganika replied. “I’ve always wanted to be a real hero: now’s my chance.”

But if she’d known that her future adversary had now taken control of Piggies DuPong’s apartment and was now staring out of his toilet window, whilst plotting her next move…  

…she might have harboured a few doubts.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

The Time Tamperer (part 49)

Little did Mincey suspect it, but two clever individuals had just tuned into her location and had heard everything…

“Ooh.” Hair-Trigger responded to the unwittingly proffered information she’d just received.

“I think we’ll have to keep an eye on her.” Magnuss said as he re-tuned the Omnipresent Scanner. “And this Piggies Du Pong character too.”

Meanwhile, not desperately far away…

…a weary Tanganika Chunks was beginning to wish she’d blown up with the Deathwish. But, like Mincey before her, she had no inkling that she was being watched…

If she had, she wouldn’t have considered…

…pausing for a good fart.

Meanwhile, in his private quarters, Piggies DuPong sat upon his throne and awaited his evening meal…

“Well?” He snapped at Mincey. “Where is it? If I have to wait much longer, you wont be getting any of it. Hurry those half-wit chefs along before I lose my cool.”

As if on cue, Saxon and Wilson arrived with a huge bowl of Paella that steamed invitingly…

Mincey’s mouth opened in horror when Piggies said: “Yellow? Nobody told me that Paella was yellow. I hate the colour. It makes me want to vomit!”

“Well keep your flipping eyes shut then!” Saxon snarled as only an aggrieved chef can. “What you can’t see can’t hurt you. Everyone knows that.”

“True.” Piggies responded as he eyed the larger items buried in the stodgy rice. “Good idea. And those peppers are a really nice shade of green. I think I’ll indulge after all.”

And so he did, whilst Saxon, Wilson, and Duncan beat a casual retreat and pretended to be unconcerned.

“Is it yummy?” Mincey inquired of Piggies.

“Yes.” Piggies replied and nodded vigorously. “But I’m afraid you’ll have to make do with some slightly moist Ginger Snaps from the larder: I’m enjoying this so much I think I’ll eat it all. The flavour reminds me of the time I…”

But any further discourse on the subject ceased abruptly as Piggies’ gut churned suddenly and uncontrollably…

“Uh-oh.” He managed – before dashing to the emergency toilet…

…and letting rip in a most forthright manner and producing visible gas that possessed a greenish hue that would have bamboozled the average colour-blind.

“Argh!” He groaned as he staggered away from the symphony of smells and the a cappella of aromas. “I think I’ve been poi…” Then he dropped dead…

“Heathrow was right – and then some.” Mincey said as she stood over her victim and smiled. “He wasn’t joking when he said it was toxic. I think I might persuade the clever little fellow to keep a stockpile for me in the woodshed or somewhere similar. Now I wonder where Mister DuPong keeps the keys to the Nevertron?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018