Time For Some Hamster Fiction Methinks!

On this occasion I think I’ll serve up a nice little (random) extract from this rather pleasant e-book…

And here it is…

Well after that it all went swimmingly. Both Rootley and Joan learned that Darkwood’s father – Longbeach the King of Sponx – had sent his eldest son out into the world to ‘learn a few things’ before he returned to his homeland where he was expected to dispatch his father (enfeebled by age as he would undoubtedly be by then) into the next realm of existence, and then take over the throne.

Darkwood had been interrupted only once, and surprisingly it had been by the normally quiescent Joan.“Excuse me for interrupting – but you have a most unusual name. Your dad does too. How come?”

Darkwood was surprised that none of his audience was aware that in Sponx the royal children are always named after the place of their birth. “I, for example,” Darkwood had explained, “was born in a dark wood. My father came into this world upon a long beach. Of course naming a child after their place of birth doesn’t always result in names quite so poetic: My younger brother, for example, was born in a public lavatory when the Queen was caught short on a Royal Visit to a neighbouring land. Now everyone in Sponx prays that I survive my experience in The University of Life: The name King Brick Shit-House would make their kingdom the laughing stock of the known world.

Well as time went by they all learned something of each other – though neither Darkwood nor Rootley could comprehend either that Joan had slipped from her own technologically advanced world, via an invisible, and undetectable, trans-dimensional portal: through into their semi-medieval land. Or that custard could be frozen: And that there was at least one factory in Hamster Britain producing the delicious sweet.

Margarita comprehended in a second, as cavies often do, and was most impressed with Joan’s ability to ‘walk between worlds’, and offered to carry her wherever she desired, free-of-charge, with the promise that although she was a cavy she would temporarily refrain from the characteristic Perambulatory Defecation Syndrome that was so prevalent with beasts of burden like herself.

“Thank you,” Joan replied, “I might take you up on your kind offer. Of course I didn’t know I could walk between worlds: They must have inadvertently opened a door inside my brain when I visited the Institute of Hugely Important Studies for a series of psychic tests. I’m certainly feeling cleverer and cleverer with every passing second: Perhaps in time I might achieve the level of genius. Or perhaps it’s nothing more than the lovely clean air you have here. I don’t know. But that’s by the by: What do we do next?”

Darkwood was very impressed with Joan’s verbosity, and recognised that he would have fallen helplessly head-over-heels in love with her if he hadn’t been hamster-sexual, and only really fancied hamsters with squelchy bits that dangled. And as things stood, Rootley appeared to be the only ‘talent’ available currently. Unfortunately he was a mere serf with whom Darkwood would countenance no dalliance under any circumstances.

“You’re looking at me funny.” Rootley observed.

Although caught out, Darkwood quickly recovered. “I’m royalty: I’m allowed to look at people funny.” He snapped. Then added, “You’re local: Answer me this: To which location do you suggest we transport ourselves next? Food, shelter, and a safe refuge from an inevitable pursuit by the Lawmen of Weasels Pit would be a prerequisite.”

“Dunno,” replied Rootley, “I’ll have to think about it.”

“Well don’t think too long,” Margarita piped up from the shrubbery, “I can hear horns being blown in the village below.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan

This e-book is available at many outlets. Might I suggest you take a look at some of the better-known ones by checking beneath the ‘header’ or looking on the ‘sidebar’ for easy access.

Advertisements

Re-Blog: Preparing to Dash Through a Forest of Triffids

I first posted this a handful of years past. Having discovered it among the older files, here it is again…

Thank you, John Wyndham, for the inspiration.

triffids

Had I not read the works of the aforementioned, I would never have written Silent Apocalypse.

Annotation: Strange that, at the time, I didn’t add the cover photo. Not feeling particularly mercenary, I guess. Maybe I’d sold a couple of copies that week. Well I don’t have that luxury now: let’s put that right!

And just for good measure…the sequel!

Again the Psychic Historian!

Following a period of near blogging silence, I felt that you, as my loyal readers, deserved another bout of the Hamster-Sapiens giggles. So here is another excerpt from this most wondrous tome…

It had been a shorter tale than anyone had expected. The audience was caught totally unaware as the screen seemed to go out of focus, then turn dark once more.

“Is that it?” Farmer Jacksey exploded, “I was just getting into that. All those references to debauched sex – but none on view. I feel empty inside – like me guts have been torn out!”

But others felt differently. They also felt differently towards Henderson, who was just regaining consciousness. His upbringing must have been difficult. Having a fondant profiteer as a father, and a brother called Legsakimbo who was a ‘chip off the old block’, and who in turn became a fondant pirate, must have made his childhood a living hell.

This opinion was reinforced when Henderson, still a little groggy, confessed, “And I was terribly ill too. I suffer from the worst kind of motion sickness: The sort that makes you really sick. And I mean really sick: Sick for days on end just for riding pillion on foldaway scooter. So sick, in fact, that I actually considered throwing myself from the gondola of my father’s dirigible.”

“What stopped ya?” Farmer Jacksey jeered from where he sat beside his diminutive wife, the former Miss Gultrot.

“I threw up before I could clamber over the rail.” Henderson replied with a complete lack of defensiveness in his tone, “I then slipped in my own vomit, and knocked myself stupid on a cast iron support flange. I was hospitalised for a week. That’s when they revoked my flying licence. But my love of fondant remained, and in between becoming a professor of Pox and Pustules, I opened my own shop on the promenade at Chunderford. When Horatio Horseblanket destroyed that wonderful emporium of nature’s elixir of life he took everything that was precious to me. I now pray that you understand my motivation for wanting to kill him, and request that you turn your backs whilst I conduct the dirty deed.”

Horatio may not have been the sharpest blade in the cutlery drawer, but he could recognise a fabulous argument in favour of murder at a hundred paces.

“But I didn’t destroy your fondant shop,” he yelled as he stood – heedless of the imaginary sniper, “I was on board the Dragon Slayer that day – but I didn’t make the propeller fall off. A board of enquiry exonerated me utterly. It was determined that the fault lay with a boiler-room technician who accidentally whacked it with a broom whilst fighting off an attack of mosquitoes. If you want revenge – then I suggest that you turn your considerable mental ability to finding a means of eradicating the mosquito.”

For a moment utter silence reigned. No one had ever heard a young hamster say so many words without breathing in pure oxygen for at least five minutes previously. They were astounded. But once they’d recovered from the intense feeling of admiration for their local celebrity, good sense made them consider his words.

“Yeah,” Boney was the first to speak. He addressed Henderson Dangerpimple directly, “Why don’t you do exactly what he said – and do us all a favour? I hate mozzies. I s’pect we all do – deep down inside.”

Well the inference was clear to Dangerpimple as the crowd quickly got behind Boney and Horatio. “Death to mozzies! Death to mozzies!” They cried.

“Is it true?” Dangerpimple spoke directly to Horatio for the first time since Colleen Slapper had walked away whilst still wearing her wedding dress, and with her knickers still firmly hitched. “Did they really exonerate you?”

“Scout’s honour.” Horatio smiled with relief, “But if you don’t believe me you can look it up in the town library. There was a full transcript printed in The Bucktooth Times. I’m sure they’ll have a copy of it: It was a big story.”

Henderson Dangerpimple nodded acceptance. “Thank you, Horatio.” He said.

Horatio was puzzled. “For what?”

“For giving new meaning to my life.” Dangerpimple replied, “I realise now that a future in fondant icing isn’t for me: I shall do as you suggest, and turn my considerable intellect to the problem of exterminating an entire species. And as regards your theft of my wife…well I now consider that fair payment. She was really only window dressing anyway: She couldn’t hope to have competed with me in intellectual conversation: I would have tired of her very quickly, I realise that now. But for you she’s perfect. You can both talk endless crap from dawn ‘til dusk. When you finally marry her I hope that you produce a vast number of small Horatios: Hamster-Britain needs more heroes. Good luck.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan

This e-book has been available at pretty much every e-book seller upon the planet. It has not sold in its millions. So, if you would be so kind, how about you visit some of those stockists (mentioned beneath the header of this blog) and make it a huge hit. After all I can’t really call myself a literary genius and Internet sensation without your help can I!

Millions Can’t Be Wrong

Every day millions of readers write in to say: “We want more Psychic Historian”. Well, actually, it was one – and she was far too polite to demand. But numbers don’t count. It’s not quantity, but quality that matters. So, in order to keep the several million (and one) happy – here is another extract from this wondrous e-tome…

A young male hamster – perhaps only a short while out of his adolescence – sat upon the seat of a busy train. Like the passengers around him he was peddling furiously, and hating every second of it.

“I think that it’s disgusting.” A middle-aged female of huge dimensions spoke haughtily beside him, “It’s not enough that we have to pay for our seat: Now we have to power the train as well!”

The young hamster nodded sadly. “Indeed madam,” he replied, “but you know what this socialist government’s like: Any popular bandwagon – and they’re aboard – with bells ringing and whistles blowing. The Eco-Green Liberals said that steam, electric, and diesel trains were abominations: The government thought that everyone agreed: And here we are – peddling for all we’re worth.”

“Yes,” the middle-aged female gasped, “and when people stopped using the trains as often – the same idiot government decided that since fewer trains were running, they could cut the services, tear up all the tracks, and melt them down to make bombs and suchlike. It’s lunacy: Sheer lunacy!”

“Are you going all the way?” The young hamster inquired.

“To Poxford?” The middle-aged female responded after taking a few puffs upon an inhaler. “Yes – if I don’t suffer a myocardial infarction before we get there. My litter lives there you see. I’m visiting – possibly for the last time.”

“The last time?” The young hamster was suddenly alarmed, “Do you expect to perish soon?”

The middle-aged hamster tried to laugh, but she couldn’t spare the oxygen, “I don’t plan to.” She managed, “It’s just that this is the last train to Poxford. The line closes tonight. And I can’t drive a go-kart because I don’t know my left steering string from my right steering string. And the principle of breaking into corners confounds me mightily. Until some brain-box starts up a bus service, or I evolve into a non-corporeal being with the ability to teleport, I’ll have to stay at home and pine for my offspring.”

This information came as quite a surprise to the young hamster. “If this is the last train to Poxford – how will I get home again after completing my business there?”

By now the middle-aged female was close to collapse. “Fluffed if I know.” She gurgled before slumping unconscious in her seat.

Moments later the conductor entered the carriage. Spotting the comatose female he barked, “This simply isn’t good enough. We can’t have slackers slowing down the

train: We have a time-table to keep to.”

He then stopped the train, and had the poor unfortunate female lowered to the side of the track, where she was rolled down an embankment by several members of the galley staff, and left sitting upon a roadside bench with a sign around her neck that read ‘Useless Slacker’.

“She can find her own way to Poxford.” He spat.

Soon the train was underway once more. Several disgusted passengers had chosen to disembark with the comatose female, and gesticulated rudely as the train pulled away. As a result of this there were far fewer legs to power the train along, and so it was an age before it finally drew into the station at the beautiful university town of Poxford.

Soon the young male hamster found himself walking along a colonnade of (what appeared at first sight to be) market stalls. But rather than being the purveyors of fruit, vegetables, unpleasantly sweating meat products, and sunglasses of dubious origin, the stalls were actually the point of contact between any would-be students, and the representatives of the town’s universities.

“Come and scrutinize our literature. Study our informative prospectus.” Those who manned the stalls would cry out. “Look how nicely we’ve laid out our campus.”

The young hamster was impressed by their entrepreneurial skills. He stopped and chatted with several before finally settling upon a college that enjoyed the moniker, ‘The Chunder Bellows School for Blistering Idiots’.

“Hello.” He smiled as he introduced himself to the ageing wood mouse behind the counter, “I’ve checked-out all the other colleges here today, and I’ve decided that your college is the one best suited to my needs.”

The ageing wood mouse took up a quill made from the tail feather of a wren, and dipped into a pot of ink. He then prepared himself to write upon a large sheet of headed notepaper.

“Name?” The wood mouse inquired in a disinterested tone.

For a moment this seemed to stump the young hamster. Then realization struck, and he smiled: Obviously the old mouse was almost blind. “It’s there – at the top of the page.” He informed the wood mouse.

“Ugh?” The wood mouse responded in puzzlement.

“Chunder Bellows School for Blistering Idiots.” The young hamster nodded pleasantly – pleased to have been able to help.

“You what?” the wood mouse was now even more perplexed. “Your name is the same as the college you wish to join? That seems more than coincidental.”

Now it was the turn of the young hamster to be confused. “But my name is Lancelot Ballesteroid!” He cried out in surprise.

In an instant the ageing wood mouse understood. “Ah,” he began to write the words Lancelot Ballesteroid in the box marked ‘name’, “it appears that you have indeed selected your college well: For certainly you are a blistering idiot.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2019

Let’s Have Some Hamster Fiction Again!

Ribald and rude. Hopefully funny too. It’s the Hamster-Sapiens e-book series. And here’s an extract from one of the little buggers…

Lionel was still smarting from Colin’s wicked over-ruling of his suggestion that Boney select a male hamster as the next subject, and felt rightly aggrieved at it. So to quickly circumvent a potential repetition of the android’s predilection to insensitivity the young hamster leaned close to Boney’s ear, and bellowed above the din of clamouring rodentia, “Pick a male this time, Boney: Maybe there’ll be a little less sex involved, and we can all enjoy an un-edited history lesson. ”

But before Boney could reply, Lionel noticed that Horatio Horseblanket was making strange eye movements at him. At first he thought that it may have been some sort of affliction that his hero had never bothered to mention in his autobiography – but he quickly dismissed the thought: Horatio was far too ‘warts and all’ honest to exclude something so potentially serious from his magnum opus. Then a thought emerged that momentarily struck fear into his youthful hamster heart: Could it be that Horatio had contracted penile thrush, and was trying to distract his attention from the unbearable itching sensation by making himself go all ‘boss-eyed’?  Again Lionel dismissed the thought: Horatio was almost certainly immune from such sufferings: Didn’t his mother keep a permanent incense-burner smouldering in the hearth of their delightful cottage atop Realsteep Hill? And, further, wasn’t the aforementioned incense-burner well-known as a successful counter-agent for everything from evil-spirits – through dormant membranes, flaccid tongue, Bolshevik revolutions – to penile thrush? Yes it was. So there must be some meaning to the orange-faced hero’s optical manipulations.

“’Ere,” Boney interrupted his thoughts, “looks like young ‘Orseblanket’s indicating his would-be nemesis at college – Freddy Ringworm.”

‘Of course’, Lionel felt like slapping himself across the forehead, ‘Horatio intended that they select Freddy Ringworm as their next subject’. Lionel smiled to himself because it was an excellent idea – not so much because it had been suggested by his hero – but because Ringworm clearly didn’t want to be chosen, and was skulking off towards the girl’s lavatory, with a cardboard periscope only partially hidden by his huge mauve blouse.

“Freddy Ringworm!” Sorbresto yelled above the din. “I select Freddy Ringworm!”

He then winked at Lionel, and whispered in the resulting silence, “Psychic – see?”

Well naturally the spotlight caught Freddy in its baleful glare, and soon the laboratory technician found himself reclining awkwardly upon Sorbresto Titt’s sofa.

“Is there anything that you don’t want fondled?” the hamster from an alternative dimension inquired of the loathsome former student.

This question startled Freddy. He hadn’t expected it, and nothing in his former experience had prepared him for it. “Whadda ya mean?” he shrieked in a most female hamsterly manner.

“I have to caress your epidermis.” Sorbresto explained – both for Freddy’s benefit, and anyone else who was to follow later. “I have to make physical connection with you in order to access your genetic memory. Strictly speaking a sample of your blood, or perhaps other bodily fluids would suffice – but that could get nasty – and I don’t do nasty.”

“My personal protuberance.” Freddy shrieked so loudly that it set off a burglar alarm in a neighbouring gentlehamster’s outfitters. “Don’t touch my willy. No one has ever touched my willy – and no one ever will!”

At this Doctor Growbag looked up from charming Flotti Pañuelo in one of the double seats at the rear of the auditorium. “I’ll vouch for that.” He shouted, “He wouldn’t let me anywhere near it during a physical examination for the college poo-jumping team at Saint Dunces. When I said ‘cough’ I had to measure the physical response by the displacement of nearby air. His dad was the same. No one ever went near his personal protuberance either. Well that’s what they say: But it’s not like I have incontrovertible evidence or anything…”

Growbag, realizing that he had inadvertently breached doctor/patient confidentiality, then closed his mouth, skipped silently to another location in the shadows, and exclaimed in a very loud voice indeed, “I say – who was that impersonating me? Is someone trying to get me into trouble with the Medical Board?”

But by then everyone had lost interest because the psychic historian had found just the right spot on Freddy’s body, and now images were forming upon the huge monitor…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Naturally, if you happen to be conversant with my hamster tales, you will have recognised that extract from…

Available as an e-book all over the place. Check out the links to some of the major suppliers beneath the header and on the sidebar. You won’t be (terribly) disappointed.

Back – After Six Years Absence

Thought you might enjoy a reblog of something I wrote way-back-when…

How many times has your rip-roaring tale of gung-ho-ness stuttered to a halt because you’ve written your characters into a desperate corner, and you can’t find a logical way out? Loads of times, I’m sure – especially if (like me) you’re the sort of writer who can’t stand planning the whole story out before hitting the first key of the story proper. There’s nothing worse for a writer (other than writer’s block) than thinking up a fabulous new direction in which to take the story – only to be forced to ignore it because you can’t fit it into the pre-existing plot.

So my tip for today is this…

Insert needless asides and details that move the story along not one jot, and which might appear at first to be totally spurious, but will later be called upon to get you right out of the literary shit. As an example I bring you this extract from my book ‘Danglydong Dell Diaries’. You will find that it appears needlessly rude – but boy did it come to my rescue when I needed to save my characters from oblivion later in the book…

Blubbersday, the Forty-sixth of Plinth. Like the other two parties before them, the group that was psychically protected by Primrose Pickles entered Far Kinell through one of the four main gates. In their case it was the rickety old Historic gate, where market stalls had been set up that sold ‘old fashioned’ or ‘retro’ stuff – like woollen bloomers, clogs, wooden false teeth, earthenware bed-warmers, beetroot wine, and a plethora of multifarious strap-on dildos.

For a brief moment Colin was quite taken by the latter, and even went so far as to study one or two of them minutely.

“Ere,” Boney called down to him from the broad back of Gargantua the giant cavy, “leave them fake dicks alone. Nothing good can come of tinkerin’ with the unnatural.”

“But I’m unnatural.” Colin reminded his current owner. “There isn’t a natural product in my body. And I was just wondering if I could utilise one of these as an addendum to my ‘special tool’. It could be fun. I could frighten sailors with it.”

Boney had to think about this for a few seconds. “Yeah that sounds alright.” He replied finally, “Maybe we can mass produce ‘em too, and sell ‘em as advanced alien trinkets. They don’t have no patent laws in this world, do they?”

It was a brilliant idea, and Colin duly flicked a few coins in the vendor’s direction, and snatched up the largest, most impressive specimen on his stall. It wobbled alarmingly in his paw as he walked away, and appeared almost too real for comfort. “Indeed they don’t.” He said quietly.

Primrose, meanwhile, was reconnoitring the immediate area with all six senses. She cocked her head upon one side – as if listening to something that no one else could hear.

Gargantua noticed this, and immediately he began mimicking her.

“What are you doing?” Primrose inquired.

“Hoping that whatever you’ve got rubs off on me.” Gargantua replied. “Maybe I can be the first recorded psychic cavy in history.”

“Do they keep such records in Prannick?” Primrose was instantly fascinated.

Gargantua shrugged his shoulders, which almost flipped Boney from his elevated perch. “Somewhere in some secretive cubby hole of The Wheel they do, no doubt.” He said.

Primrose’s fascination dissipated. “I’m trying to sense Tybrow Mooney’s presence, or at least his spore.” She spoke sternly, “Don’t interrupt with mindless trivialities.”

Colin arrived. He waved his wobbly dildo in Primrose’s direction. “What do you think of this, Primrose?” He asked politely.

Primrose wasn’t really paying much attention. “Lovely.” She said absentmindedly.

“Would you like me to go back and buy one for you?” Colin offered generously, “There was a sign that said ‘One size fits all’. Obviously I wouldn’t know what that means, but I’m sure it must be a positive attribute.”

Primrose then noticed the dildo as it wobbled like an elongated jellybean. “No!” she screamed. “It’s disgusting. Put it away.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan

To discover how this was put to good use later in the tale, check out Danglydong Dell Diaries at any e-book retailer. It’s also available from the stockists mentioned on the sidebar and under the header – those being Lulu, Apple, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Well, Will I Do This Again?

The ‘this’ to which the title refers is writing. Sure the sentences between the photos in my Earplug Adventures is ‘writing’: but it isn’t proper writing. Proper writing is when the author describes the scene. Proper writing is the sort of stuff I used to live for. The sort of stuff I used to dream that (one day) I’d be really good at. The sort of stuff that comprised these four books…

The sort of stuff that looks exactly like this…

An extract from Silent Apocalypse.

Horse knew the way to our destination. Without any input from Driver, he turned across the road. By dawn’s early light we could make out the shape of a service station. Weeds grew through the cracks in the concrete, and rust had rotted the pumps. It had obviously been abandoned long before the plague had struck. Driver pulled us up in front of a plate glass window that had become opaque with dust and grime. The remainder of the building was coated with neglect also, and at some time a graffiti artist had immortalized himself. All in all this was a place that no one in their right mind would give a second glance. It was because of this very reason that the building had been selected. But that was something we were to learn later. An up-and-over door rattled open. Before us stood our man in black or at least someone who looked very much like him. Their isolation suits made each of them indistinguishable. Only body language could tell them apart. He beckoned us from the Crag Bus. I looked at Driver. He nodded.

We disembarked. Taking instructions from our mystery-man, we hurried into the dark recesses of the service station. I turned to watch him return to the Crag Bus. For some reason the acoustics of the building allowed me to catch their conversation. Driver leaned forward to best see the other man:  “Cosgrove, is it?”

The man, whom Driver referred to as Cosgrove (and quite clearly hailing from somewhere in North America), spoke without preamble:  “We’re not exactly packing them like sardines.”

“Can’t help that.” Driver replied flatly.

“It’s not like we have unlimited time…” Cosgrove spoke as though this was a well-worn conversational path.

“P’raps if you made them Whispers of yours easier to understand…” Driver suggested.

“Whispers, is it?” Cosgrove might have been amused if he hadn’t been so worried about something, “That’s a new one. No, we can’t make the message any clearer. We can’t take every urchin we find. We have to be selective – you know that. Only the brightest and the best…”

Driver finished his line for him. Obviously he had heard it many times before: “Only them what can decipher the hidden message. Yeah, I know. Aint too sure I agree with it: we could missin’ an awful lot of good’ uns.”

Cosgrove appeared weary. Perhaps this made him reply snappishly: “You don’t have to agree with it: Just do your job.” Instantly he regretted the outburst, though Driver appeared to take no offence. “I’m sorry, old-timer. Forget that. You’re a brave man. We owe you a hell of a lot.”

“You don’t have to go payin’ me compliments: It aint no bother. You’re the brave  ones so far as I’m concerned: I don’t need one of them isolation suits. But you…if you get just one nick in it…”

He left the suggestion hanging. Obviously it meant death-by-virus. Cosgrove clearly was a brave man.

“Well you’ve brought us another six: That’s six more than yesterday. If I get a little unreasonable once in a while, you’ll forgive, won’t you?”

Driver took up his reigns, “I’ll forgive you anything ‘cept failure.”

Cosgrove gave Driver a long, lazy salute. “I won’t fail. Our future depends upon it.”

Driver gave him a wink. Horse then turned the Crag Bus around, and they disappeared into the dawn mist.

Cosgrove quickly made his way to us – sliding the door closed behind us. Electric lights came on. We were all taken by surprise at the cleanliness of the buildings’ interior.

“Kids.” He said, (I hated the term) “Follow me.”

Without a word from any of us, we followed him to a door, which for all the world resembled an airlock. It hissed open, and we entered behind him. I felt a little trepidation run up my spine as it closed behind us once more. There were two small doors opposite.

“Right,” said Cosgrove, “I’m going to take the left-hand door: You take the right. One at a time, please.”

Then without another word Cosgrove promptly disappeared, as promised, through the left hand door. We all looked at each other. No one seemed eager to take the first step.

Lee put it into words. “Hey, we’ve come this far together: I aint too keen on breaking up our little team.”

“Yeah,” Wayne agreed, “Why should we separate? I say we all go through together.”

‘Is it camaraderie? Or are we just frightened kids who’ve been whistling into the dark for too long?’

We strode to the door as one. Donald pushed a green coloured button, just as he’d observed Cosgrove do. A lock was heard to ‘clonk’ open. He pushed upon the door. It swung silently open upon well-oiled hinges. Inside was a small room, not unlike an elevator. It was just large enough for us to pack ourselves in with a little room to spare. There was yet another door leading to somewhere else. The door through which had entered closed. The ‘clonk’ was heard again. Locked in. I didn’t like it.

“Thank you.” An electronic voice spoke, “Now please remove all of your clothing.”

Everyone erupted with varying degrees of colourful expletives. Unfazed, the voice repeated its instruction. It then added, “Decontamination will begin in one minute.” Now it dawned on us why Cosgrove had wanted us to go through one at a time. Donald tried the door, but there was no green button to press. In fact there were no controls of any kind. This was a one-way door!

“P’raps we could be decontaminated with our clothes on.” Lee said in desperation.

“Perhaps if we hammer on the door.” Katherine suggested.

I looked from one to the other several times. “Which door?”

“Both.” Wayne yelled.

Three to a door, we began hammering upon the hard metal, and shouting at the top of our voices. The electronic voice informed us that we had thirty seconds to prepare. At ten it began a countdown. When it reached zero we heard the now familiar ‘clonk’. Donald dared push at the door. It swung open into the ‘storeroom’, where Cosgrove stood waiting for us. It was difficult to make out his face behind the mask, but his eyes told us that he was not best pleased.

“Now that was a painless lesson about doing what you’re told, when you’re told. Ignore me again, and the next time it’ll be a whole lot less agreeable. Now go through one at a time.” He emphasized this last line. With that he re-entered his own door.

We shuffled about awkwardly for a moment or two. Finally Kevin made a decision, and approached the door.

“Need a bath anyway.” He said as he entered the room. “Bye.”

The door closed on his cheerful wave.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

A rather inactive excerpt, I think you’ll agree; but you can’t expect to have action-action-marvel-mystery-and melancholy at every turn – can you? No, of course not. By the way, this book, and those appearing above, are all available as paperbacks and e-books at Lulu.com; and as e-books at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and many other suppliers.

And to answer my question in the title of this post: God, I hope so!