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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

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…

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!”

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

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…

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

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!

 

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 12)

Sin embargo, cuando entraron, descubrieron que la escotilla de mantenimiento les había permitido ingresar a algo más que al casco exterior, pero al interior habitable de la embarcación…

Ginger hizo un descubrimiento rápido…

“Ups”, dijo, “hemos dejado la puerta abierta. Cualquiera que pase puede vernos. Lo cerraré “.

Quizás si Bunty y Daisy no hubieran estado tan ocupados susurrando emocionados, podrían haberle gritado a su amiga. Podrían haber dicho: “No, Ginger; ¡solo se abre desde el exterior! ” Pero no lo hicieron: y dos segundos después…

“Vaya de nuevo”, dijo Ginger en tono de disculpa, “supongo que necesitaremos otra salida”.

No es que a Daisy le importara: estaba dentro de su amado carguero submarino espacial.

Mientras esto ocurría, Magnuss y Hair-Trigger comentaban una serie de imágenes que los mostraban de vacaciones en un archipiélago de extrañas islas con forma de aguja en un mar tropical…

“Quienquiera que tomó la foto”, se quejó Chester, “te cortó los pies. Qué tonto fotógrafo. ¡Próximo!”

A bordo del submarino espacial, la librea negra opaca pronto dio paso a un efecto de lentejuelas mucho más agradable desde el punto de vista estético…

Pero solo Daisy lo apreciaba: los demás estaban demasiado ocupados mirando hacia dónde iban o vigilando a los propietarios del barco.

“El papel pintado es bonito”. Dijo Daisy mientras se abrazaban a la pared en un intento de ser lo más discreto posible. “Pero creo que me cansaría bastante rápido. Ciertamente no me gustaría que la pared de mi dormitorio estuviera decorada así “.

Sin embargo, después de pasar por una escotilla de mamparo, encontraron más compartimentos que parecían exactamente iguales…

“Debería haber empacado un par de gafas de sol”, bromeó Daisy.

Exactamente en el mismo momento en que Bunty pensó que escuchó algunas voces dentro del barco y tomó la decisión de esconderse, los Hermanos Earplug estaban disfrutando de un video de Magnuss y Hair-Trigger luchando contra un oleaje tropical a bordo de una lancha rápida…

“Apuesto a que eso provocó el mareo por movimiento, Mags”. Chester dijo con una sonrisa.

A Magnuss no le gustaba admitirlo, pero (la mayor parte del tiempo, con Hair-Trigger al volante) había estado demasiado asustado para sentirse enfermo…

“Un poco.” Respondió mientras su estómago hacía un trabajo de primera clase al recordarle el incesante hundimiento en los abrevaderos entre olas que había soportado.

Mientras tanto, Daisy, Bunty y Ginger habían encontrado una puerta que daba a una sección del recipiente que parecía no estar utilizada…

“Supongo que un auxiliar de algo o de otro”. Ginger dijo con conocimiento. “Deberíamos estar a salvo aquí”.

“Veamos si hay una ventana o algo por lo que podamos mirar”. Sugirió Bunty. “Creo que es importante que sepamos lo que está pasando; de lo contrario, no sabremos cuándo irnos”.

“Oh, sí”, asintió Daisy, “no me gustaría quedarme encerrada: eso daría miedo. Tengo sueños de estar encerrado, sabes. Una noche me desperté y me di cuenta de que realmente me habían encerrado. Estaba en el maletero del coche de mi padre. No sé cómo llegué allí. He estado recibiendo terapia de regresión con la esperanza de averiguarlo “.

Pero cualquier avance de la conversación se interrumpió cuando encontraron la ventana interior que buscaban…

  

Daisy se acercó a Ginger. “Caramba”, susurró, “robots. No los esperaba “.

“Bueno, este es un robot carguero “. Bunty susurró detrás de ella.

“Es cierto”, respondió Daisy. “Pero siempre pensé que los cargueros robot eran robóticos… ur… cargueros : no cargueros tripulados por robots. Hay una sutil diferencia “.

“Bien ahora lo sabes.” Dijo Ginger. Ocurrió un segundo pensamiento: “Si esta nave está tripulada por robots… no tendrán baño a bordo. ¡Eso podría ser catastrófico para las formas de vida biológica como nosotros! “

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 11)

Como en respuesta a la pregunta de Valentine, la pantalla que antes estaba en blanco cobró vida fotónica…

“Buena elección.” Dijo Rudi.

Mientras tanto, en otra parte del museo, Ginger se estaba orientando…

“Ooh”, dijo, “sólo mira por la elegante ventana. Estamos siempre tan alto. Esta debe ser la Torre Roja “.

En un instante, Daisy y Bunty se unieron a ella. “¿La Torre Roja?” Chillaron al unísono perfecto.

Bunty luego agregó: “Pero este es el edificio más alto de todo el museo. El público no está permitido aquí. Aquí pasan todo tipo de cosas. Es ultrasecreto o algo así “.

Habría dicho más, pero cuando la luz de la luna atravesó una de las ventanas altas, las tres chicas se dieron cuenta de una gran forma descomunal en las sombras…

“¿Qué, qué, qué?” Tartamudeó Daisy.

Ginger requirió una aclaración: “¿Qué es?” Ella sugirió.

“Sí”, respondió Daisy mientras reunía sus tensos nervios en una forma que le permitía hablar, “¿qué es?”

“Es una forma grandiosa y descomunal”. Bunty respondió amablemente. “Pero las sombras lo esconden demasiado bien para que pueda hacer una identificación positiva. Pero no está respirando, por lo que no puede estar vivo “.

“Podría estar conteniendo la respiración”. Ginger argumentó.

“Si no está vivo,” dijo Daisy nerviosamente, “debe estar muerto. Oh, por el santo de todos los tapones para los oídos, hemos encontrado un cadáver. ¡Y si alguien nos encuentra aquí, pensará que lo hicimos! “

De repente, pareció que su situación era del tipo más sombrío imaginable para tres chicas universitarias. “Ooh-ur”. Dijo Ginger inteligentemente.

Pero antes de que pudiera dilucidar más, una serie de luces débiles iluminaron la escena…

Una Ginger aliviada se giró para dirigirse a sus amigas: “Mira, Daisy: es una de esas grandes cosas negras voladoras que tanto te gustan”.

Daisy no podía creer lo que veía. “Un carguero submarino espacial”. Dijo sin aliento. “Y está aquí, justo enfrente de mí. Si quiero, puedo acercarme y tocarlo … ¡con mis dedos desnudos! “

Pero no lo hizo, por supuesto: tenía demasiado miedo de desmayarse por la emoción. Así que envió a Ginger y Bunty para que lo miraran más de cerca, para ver si realmente era lo ‘real’ y no una maqueta o un accesorio de película. Sin embargo, cuando recibió la confirmación de la autenticidad de la embarcación, Daisy pensó que escuchó un ascensor llegar a un pasillo cercano…

“Alguien viene”, siseó. “Con rapidez; ¡esconder!”

No desperdiciaron ni un nanosegundo: los tres corrieron directamente hacia la única puerta disponible para ellos…

“Pero esta puerta está colocada en el costado del submarino espacial”. Ginger dijo lo obvio. “Si entramos allí, estaremos… ¡estaremos dentro del submarino espacial!”

Daisy podría haber respondido: “Sí, bien, ¿no?” Pero momentos después de la llegada del ascensor, varios tapones para los oídos y un grupo de antiguos ingenieros de tapas de extremo piratas hiperespaciales prisioneros de guerra entraron (lo que claramente era) en el hangar de gran altura…

“Le dije”, le decía uno de los tapones para los oídos a otro, “está muy bien tener esta instalación de reparación en el piso setenta: pero ¿y si el ascensor se avería? Pasaremos la mitad del día subiendo aquí y la segunda mitad bajando. No se hará nada “.

“¿Es ‘escalar’ el término correcto para describir un medio de descenso”. Respondió el oyente del grupo. “¿Es posible realmente bajar?”

“Los escaladores lo hacen todo el tiempo”. Intervino un tercer tapón para los oídos.

“Sí”, intervino un cuarto, “cualquier otra cosa se llamaría ‘caer’. ¡No me gustaría caerme setenta pisos, te lo aseguro!

Esta fue una conversación fortuita porque les dio a las chicas tiempo para recobrar el ingenio y actuar de manera positiva…

“Nos agacharemos dentro de esta escotilla de mantenimiento”, instruyó Bunty a los demás. Luego, cuando todos estos tipos de tecnología se hayan ido, podremos volver a salir “.

“Sí,” asintió Daisy “y luego nos escabulliremos y volveremos a la universidad como si nada hubiera pasado. En una semana todo esto habrá pasado y se habrá olvidado. Recuerda mis palabras “.  

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 10)

Capítulo 3

Mientras tanto, en el área de habitación del Museo de Tecnología del Futuro, Rudi Earplug y tres de sus hermanos, los que eran Valentine y los gemelos, Miles y Chester, se acercaban al apartamento de Magnuss y Hair-Trigger Earplug…

“Recuérdame de nuevo, hermano”, le dijo Valentine al hermano mayor, “¿para qué estamos aquí? No es un concurso de comer tacos, ¿verdad? Seguro que te gustan esos tacos. Cuanto más caliente mejor. ¡Más caliente ‘n’ infierno! “

“No, hombre”, respondió Rudi, “sho’nuf no hay tacos esta noche. Vamos a ver las fotos de la luna de miel de los recién casados ​​”.

“Podría ser genial”, dijo Chester mientras presionaba el botón del timbre…

…”tal vez veamos fotos de Hair-Trigger en la playa”.

“Oh, Chester,” le reprendió Miles, “no debes pensar en tu nueva cuñada en términos tan lascivos. Recuerda: menos visceral: más cerebral “.

Sin embargo, cuando Hair-Trigger abrió la puerta…

…incluso Miles encontró difícil reprimir un “phwoar!”

“Hola chicos.” Dijo como bienvenida: “Entra directamente en nuestra humilde morada”.

Una vez dentro, y con la puerta principal cerrada detrás de ellos…

…dijo: “Lo siento, no pudimos asistir a tu fiesta en la piscina esta tarde, pero Seguridad nos ha considerado a los dos una fuente de amenaza biológica. Aparentemente, hemos visitado lugares en nuestra luna de miel que están en la lista de traviesos. Me temo que tendréis que descontaminaros a todos. Lo tenemos instalado a las afueras de la sala de televisión “.

Llegaron a la puerta justo cuando Magnuss estaba saliendo…

“Hola tios.” Él dijo. “Pensé que era mejor que nos descontamináramos todos juntos. ¿Estás listo?”

“¿Nos mantenemos la ropa puesta?” Chester preguntó mientras sonreía apreciativamente a Hair-Trigger.

“Sí, por supuesto.” La respuesta decepcionante vino de Hair-Trigger, que sabía muy bien lo que estaba pasando por la cabeza de Chester. “Esto es descontaminación de alta tecnología: ni siquiera sabrás que está sucediendo”.

Entonces esto sucedió…

“Oh, sí”, dijo Chester mientras una luz abrasadora intentaba abrirse camino en su cerebro a través de sus retinas. “¿Cuándo empieza?”

Naturalmente, Hair-Trigger no respondió. Chester estaba bromeando después de todo. En cambio, ella y su nuevo esposo llevaron a los hermanos a la sala de infoentretenimiento, donde se habían colocado seis sillas frente a una pantalla y un proyector de imágenes futuristas…

Miles estaba ansioso por probarse uno de tamaño. “Se ven bonitos y cómodos”. Él dijo.

Pero estaba menos impresionado por el baño de emergencia en la esquina de la habitación…

“Oh, no seas tan anticuado y mojigato, Miles”, se quejó Magnuss. “La vida de planta abierta está de moda, ya sabes. Pero si no te gusta, hay otro al final del pasillo. Incluso tiene una puerta con cerradura “.

Apaciguado por esta noticia, Miles se unió a los demás en sus sillas. Vio como una luz brillante y reveladora destellaba sobre el proyector de imágenes futurista. Claramente, el espectáculo estaba a punto de comenzar…

“Oye, Magnuss, hermano”, preguntó Valentine desde el extremo opuesto de la línea…

…”Vistas elegantes que tienes desde la ventana de tu apartamento. Un verdadero ritmo. Entonces, ¿cómo llamas a este espectáculo navideño? “

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

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

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

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

Revel in the Ribaldry 36

It’s very easy for a literary genius (like wot I is) to forget that there are stories written (by the aforementioned literary genius) at a time earlier than the present. In other words, literary genii are apt to forget their old stuff: old stuff that might actually be quite good: fabulous even! So, once in a while, that earlier stuff should be dusted down and exhibited. And so this has come to be. Welcome to an extract from a wondrous e-book. An e-book so wondrous that it defies description, pigeon-holing, and a predetermined genre. This wondrous e-book…

The best book ever written. A monument to the imagination of mankind. Or me. An e-book that is available at the best e-book stockists – like the ones mentioned on the sidebar and beneath the header. So here is the extract. Chosen at random, naturally…

When, at last, Izzy and Freda returned to the bar of The Handsome Dong, everyone except Eli Epididymis had returned to their leaden-hearted homes to sleep away the misery of the dark, cold night that stretched out before them like some infinitely long river of demon-filled sludge.

“Well,” Freda explained to an annoyed Eli as she adjusted both her mussed head fur and displaced gusset, “non-reproductive sex wasn’t what I was actually talking about when I burst in – but Izzy seemed so keen I just thought I ought to go along. It also gave me the chance to try out some of those ideas that I put in my sex-aid books.”

“Well they worked just fine.” Izzy was still smiling from ear to ear, and probably around the back of his head too.

“You two didn’t ‘appen to discuss the campaign to save ‘Amster Britain between bouts, I s’pose?” Eli grumbled.

Smiling for the first time since she could remember, Freda sat herself beside Eli in the snug, and knocked back the remains of his half-price rhubarb fizz. “Well actually it was Izzy’s idea of The Campaign for Stale Air that made me acquiesce to his sexual demands.” She told the surprised hamster, “I thought that they were brilliant. I’m fully behind it.”

Eli remained confused. “But didn’t you lead the campaign to clean up the air, and thereby ruin ‘Amster Britain?” he whined.

Freda’s smile fell away. “I did indeed. I used my persuasive literary style to influence a succession of useless governments until I got my way. But now I regret those acts of thoughtless environmentalism, and wish to undo the damage – if it’s not already too late.”

Eli thought about this for a moment. He sighed, thoughtlessly adjusted his testicles, and said, “Sorry about that minge-bit.”

He then explained that it was he who had written the inflammatory letter. He finished with, “…and I don’t want you to die horribly. In fact I want you to live a full and happy life – but in a Hamster Britain that we can all be proud of. Not this airy-fairy version where electricity is considered to be the spawn of  the otter’s rectum: But one where we can switch on a light, or blow-dry our fur, and have a good suck on a lung-full of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses, without interference and finger-waggin’ from an over-protective legislature.”

It was possibly the longest sentence that Eli had ever uttered, and despite feeling slightly light-headed, he was certain that in the coming weeks he would be making many more – throughout the land – in parliament if necessary – and much, much, longer too.

“I wonder if it’s still possible to buy bottled oxygen?” he added, “Or did you ‘ave that banned too?”

Naturally without the aid of newspapers and television – getting the message out to the people of Hamster-Britain was going to be problematic. And there were far too many hamsters living throughout the multifarious isles to write to personally. That left only one course of action open to them…

As the mayor of Teetering-on-the-Brink, Clifton Wassack had not enjoyed a happy tenure. He had overseen urban decay of legendary proportions. True the streets of tiny terraced homes had always been miserable: But at least their occupants had enjoyed the benefits of having go-karts parked in the road outside them. Now all he could see from his council office window was a moribund populace poking around in corners looking for something to do. So when he was suddenly confronted by the sight of the famous writer/environmentalist Freda Bludgeon, and two dodgy-looking sidekicks, who then presented their Campaign for Stale Air manifesto to him, he thought that all his birthdays had arrived at once. This was his chance to become a national politician, and forever be associated with the salvation of Hamster-Britain.

“Of course.” He boomed in his most stentorian voice, “Of course you may use my offices and all my staff to further your cause. Just make sure that my name is mentioned in everything that you do. Might I suggest that we gather a crowd of like-minded folk – storm the redundant television station – and start broadcasting again. I think that it would be an excellent way to start – don’t you? We can print some pamphlets too: I think there’s still a small supply of blank paper in the stationery office. So all that remains for me to say is – let’s get this show on the road!”

Well naturally they did all these things. And Freda personally wrote to all the most influential organizations in the land, and pleaded for their help.

Well equally naturally they rallied round like never before. Soon the National Breast Fondling Club had posters pinned to telegraph poles the length and breadth of Hamster-Britain. And other organizations soon followed suit.

In the capital the weak socialist government quickly recognized the ugly mood of the country, and capitulated. Former business hamsters dug out the keys to their factories and their farms – took on their old staff – fired up the boilers – uncovered their secret caches of fuel – and went back into production.

Within weeks Clifton Wassack was appointed to the role of Prime Minister, Eli and Izzy were proclaimed the saviours of Hamster-Britain, and Freda Bludgeon was annointed in oils and became venerated as a saint.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

In the light of modern climate change fears, this story couldn’t be more inappropriate and politically incorrrect.  Go now: purchase the book: thumb your nose at fate!

 

 

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 6)

His anger evaporating in an instant, Gregor raced into the ‘doorway’ of the mud hut façade…

“Yeah,” he cheered, “I knew it would work: I did the sums after all.”

Then, to the observers inside the dome, he shouted: “Stay where you are: I’m going to Phase Two.”

Moments later the room turned red once more, and Gregor felt that the eye of the Supreme Being was upon him and him alone…

And perhaps it was, because as Cushions watched in bewilderment…

…the Mark Four mud hut façade had transferred to the Wide Blue Yonder…

…and from it emerged three equally bewildered faces…

“What the flipping heck?” Bunty bellowed loudly enough to be heard in a Café Puke outlet in the arboretum. “Where did that come from?”

But, like slurry in a well-maintained cattle house drains away, all three college girl’s surprise and concern did likewise…

“That was clever.” Daisy opined.

Ginger took it a step farther: “I wonder if this had anything to do with that lovely Gregor. Might this be the opportunity he spoke of?”

They all looked around for any sight or scent of the yellow earplug…

But, as they did so, in the R, D & C-C department, Gregor was summoning another artefact from the depot…

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” he announced to those watching from behind the shield, “may I present an armoured reconnaissance vehicle: not from another era, but from another world entirely…

He then chuckled to himself. “If they think I brought that thing all the way across lightyears of space…well more fool them. But I’m not lying: it really is alien: it once belonged to two adventurous siblings…

…Dorkan and Dawlish Deathwish.”

Meanwhile, Daisy had the stupid idea that they may have missed Gregor inside the hut, so they went to re-enter…

…where they were momentarily blinded by a flash of light…

…and discovered that the hut wasn’t really a hut at all, but an armoured reconnaissance vehicle…

They were understandably startled. In the heat of the moment they all blamed each other for placing them in a situation that they could not comprehend and threatened to overwhelm their fragile psyches.

“Bum face!” Daisy shouted at Ginger, “My psyche is on the point of being overwhelmed. I can feel it: my socks have fallen down!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Gnashed Teeth: Another Digital Camera Sets Sail for Cyber Heaven

Off on one of my walking jaunts, recently, I chose three cameras at random. My best one – that being a x50 zoom Sony:  a trusty Kodak compact that I’ve had for yonks: and a very shiny Fujifilm I seldom use that I thought deserved a trip out of its box. The voyage of disaster began badly: the Kodak failed to fire up. Reason: the battery retaining clip had broken, thus breaking electrical contact. Arse – but not insurmountable. The Fuji proved more amenable. For example, it took this pleasant photo of some seed heads…

It went on to produce three more equally pleasant photos – before something made a silent click inside the works and it went doolally. Suddenly, for no obvious reason the video capture only worked on audio; and the still shots all contained interference. It had me looking somewhat like this…

Why doesn’t electronic stuff work properly after you pack it away for a while? You’d think it would be grateful for the rest!

Galactic Newsletter: The Planet Scroton Imperilled

When the Gravity Whelk reported the sighting of a dangerous-looking object that appeared to be on a collision course with Scroton, the Supreme Commander of the Scrotonic Armed Forces – Walker Crabtrouser – demanded an immediate military response…

The order went out: “Attack the Giant Space Penis!”

 

 

Earplug News 24/7: Under Neptune’s Gaze

Despite the God of the Sea, Neptune’s disapproving stare; the deafening roar of a passing space submarine freighter; and an erupting volcano on the horizon, Iceworld scientist, Uda Spritzer took her paddle board to the aid of two drowning morons who forgot to tether their houseboat properly and were attempting to swim to shore in search of a public lavatory…

She was commended for her bravery by the local coastguard, but then cuffed around both ears and poked in the eye for contravening Health and Safety rules by failing to wear a life preserver vest or a lanyard to her paddle board. In response, spinster, Ms Spritzer was reported to have said: “Sod this: next time I’ll let the bastards drown.”

THIS FABULOUS WALLPAPER IS DOWNLOADABLE.

Galactic Newsletter: Chilly Willy Discovered

Whilst exploring an uncharted and utterly frozen world, crew-members of the K T Woo have discovered an ancient space rocket entombed in ice! Former protégé of Magnuss Earplug – Yabu Suchs – who commanded the team and drove the lead hover chariot remarked:

“A quite remarkable phallic symbol. Possibly the most significant I have ever seen.  It’s very big. Very, very long – and perfectly straight too. I say, would you mind switching off your microphone: I’m feeling vaguely inadequate.”

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Triple Amenaza (parte 3)

Con suficientes tomas disponibles en la biblioteca de fotos, y algunas palabras garabateadas también, continúa con el tercer episodio…

Mientras tanto, en un sector cercano, un talentoso ingeniero, de nombre Gregor Arsentickler, se deportaba con gracia a lo largo de un estrecho corredor de mantenimiento…

Disfrutaba de muchas responsabilidades, una de las cuales era la reparación de las recalcitrantes máquinas expendedoras de Café Puke. Y, por casualidad, era la máquina de la oficina temporal de TWIT a la que lo habían llamado…

Bunty pasó desapercibido mientras miraba sin pensar al techo. Él tampoco pudo registrar su presencia. En cambio, se puso manos a la obra. Pero, después de un tiempo, no pudo evitar darse cuenta de un ruido molesto. Eran Daisy y Ginger conversando…

“Bueno, dije”, dijo Daisy en voz alta, “mi novio puede saltar sobre charcos mucho más grandes que tu novio”.

Ginger estaba intrigada. “¿Qué dijo ella a eso?” 

“Nada.” Daisy respondió jactanciosamente, “qué podía decir ella: era verdad: mi novio vive en una casa flotante: ha estado saltando de la cubierta a la orilla y viceversa toda su vida. A veces lo hace solo por diversión. Una vez lo vi hacerlo con los ojos vendados y una pierna atada a la otra “.

Luego, con un cambio brusco de tema, Ginger dijo: “Nunca aprendí a atarme los cordones de los zapatos: ahora me dicen que el gobierno o alguien los ha prohibido. Toda esa práctica, por nada. Te lo digo, me estoy enfermando y cansando de cosas en estos días. No es como cuando éramos niños “.

“¿Qué, como el año pasado, quieres decir?” Interrumpió Daisy.

“Sí”, refunfuñó Ginger, “y el año anterior”.

“Pasan tan rápido, ¿no?” Dijo Daisy mientras asentía sabiamente. “¡Al ritmo que vamos en este momento, seremos viejos antes de tener la oportunidad de crecer!”

Gregor miró al guardia de TWIT, que claramente había estado soportando la conversación durante un tiempo considerable…

 

Parecía proto-catatónico y no respondió a la subrepticia ola de Gregor.

Y el combo Ginger-Daisy continuó…

“Sabes”, dijo Daisy mientras lanzaba una mirada en dirección a Bunty, que estaba mentalmente ausente, “su padre se cayó de su scooter la semana pasada”.

Ginger miró al suelo y deseó poder “desconectarse” como Bunty: no le gustaban las historias de dolor y angustia. Luego pensó que si no respondía, Daisy podría llevar la conversación en una dirección más agradable. Ella estaba equivocada:

“Sí”, continuó Daisy, “realmente se raspó la rodilla. Tuve que ponerle un yeso. Pero no se pegaría: lo hice al revés “.

Luego, para alivio de Ginger, Daisy cambió de tema:

“¿En qué crees que está pensando Bunty?” Pero antes de que Ginger pudiera responder, dijo: “Oh, mira, tengo una de esas úlceras en la lengua”.

“Nunca he sido fanático de las úlceras”. Dijo Bunty, a pesar de que su mirada permaneció fijada firmemente en el techo. “He oído que cuajan la leche”.

“Sí,” convino Daisy, “me alegro de no tener ninguno. Leche, es decir: no úlceras. Tengo una úlcera, mira. ¿Puedes verlo, Ginger?”

Gregor estaba teniendo dificultades para concentrarse en su trabajo de reparación. Afortunadamente, el operativo de TWIT, Nature Beast, eligió ese momento para entrar…

Gregor estaba más que aliviado: y sólo podía adivinar cómo se sentía el guardia de TWIT por la interrupción.

Nature Beast no creía en el preámbulo. Tampoco tenía mucho tiempo para palabras cortas que unieran a otros. Como era habitual en él, habló de sí mismo en tercera persona…

“Nature Beast obtuvo los resultados de la prueba”.

Bunty bajó del techo. “¿Están ellos bien?” Preguntó ella.

“Nature Beast no puede leer”. Nature Beast respondió. “Pero colega me dijo qué es qué”.

“¿Te dijo que pasamos?” Preguntó Daisy esperanzada.

Nature Beast se tomó un momento para considerar esta difícil pregunta. “Aférrate.” Respondió. “Nature Beast necesita un momento para pensar”.

Ginger tenía la clara sensación de que las cosas no iban como ellos querían. “Este colega”, le dijo a Nature Beast, “¿era, por casualidad, el Mayor Flaccid?”

Una luz apagada se encendió detrás de los ojos del monstruo. “Sí.” Gritó. “Tal vez no seas un idiota como dice Major”.

Pero eso fue lo mejor que pudo. Mientras reducía su volumen, Nature Beast agregó…

“Dice mayor: ya tenemos suficientes idiotas en TWIT: no necesitamos tres más”.

Naturalmente, esto no fue bien recibido. Bunty estaba particularmente molesto: “Pero nos tomamos un día libre haciendo … tus … cosas y otras cosas importantes … para venir aquí: ¿por qué has perdido nuestro tiempo?”

Las palabras llegaron demasiado rápido para Nature Beast: se tomó unos momentos para asimilarlas antes de responder con: “Dice el mayor: los idiotas pierden el tiempo con pruebas estúpidas: pierdo el tiempo de ellos. Dice cosas recíprocas “.

Esta respuesta enfureció tanto a Daisy que sus ojos se cruzaron. “Lamentarás el día en que cruzaste los tres … ah … los tres … um … nosotros

… Y recuerda esto, tu extraña excusa para un tapón para los oídos: la venganza es un plato que se sirve mejor … um … se sirve mejor… “

“Con aceitunas”. Bunty gritó enojada. “Ahora, por favor, abre la puerta y salgamos con un mínimo de orgullo … o ‘orgullo’, como lo llama mi madre”.

Momentos después, Gregor vio cómo sus lecturas positivas parpadeaban en la pantalla de la pared; pero escuchó en secreto mientras Nature Beast mostraba a sus invitados la puerta…

 

Una idea se estaba formando en su cabeza, y no quería que Nature Beast o el guardia TWIT reanimado se dieran cuenta de su cambio de comportamiento…

Entonces, cuando los dos agentes de TWIT cumplieron con su siguiente deber, Gregor Arsentickler dejó a un lado su itinerario, al menos metafóricamente, y fue en busca de las tres chicas.

Los encontró compadeciéndose de una taza de café espantoso…

“Señoras”, dijo mientras se acercaba a su mesa, “creo que puedo ser de alguna ayuda para ustedes”.

Luego explicó exactamente cómo sabía que habían fallado en su entrevista de trabajo…

“Pero tengo buenas noticias para ti”. Añadió. “No todo está perdido. Si desea impresionar al Mayor Flaccid, ubíquese en estas coordenadas del Wide Blue Yonder justo después de que se ponga el sol artificial “.

Luego les entregó una nota escrita apresuradamente. Mientras se alejaba de las excitadas exclamaciones de la chica y se alejaba…

… Dijo: “Nunca se sabe; este podría ser tu día de suerte “.

Pero en realidad no lo decía en serio: tenía motivos ocultos.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

Tooty’s Fashion For Fogeys 4

In the previous iteration of TFFF, Tooty displayed an uncanny talent for looking good whilst shopping at Waitrose during the Summer months. Now, rather belatedly, it’s Autumn fashion for old sods who don’t want to follow the norm. Well first up – if you own or drive a Hyundai, Kia, or a Honda Jazz, you’ve no fucking chance, so look away now. For those others still with a bit of pizzazz in their driving, read on. Well autumn colours come in many hues – not just shades of brown (leaves) with a touch of grey (skies). No, autumn trees come in so many varieties: your clothes should reflect this. So to Tooty himself: what is he wearing during the weeks that lead up to Christmas? Regarde…

   

Okay, the coat is brown. Well brown is good for coats: it hides all the shit that’s bound to get on it whilst out and about – especially in grubby underground carparks and the like. But elsewhere upon the lithe, almost youthful body (at a distance, with your eyes shut), you will discover a rainbow of autumnal colours. Is that plum you detect upon the stylish fabric shoes from Spain? Are there reds and oranges in that checkered shirt? Are those Marks & Spencers trousers really apricot? And did he actually choose that bright yellow belt during the hours of daylight? You bet your ass he did: how else are the blinkered old fogeys that clog the Waitrose aisles supposed to see him coming? Yes – follow his example, you old fogey: stand out like a beacon of style – and don’t get in his bloody way: he has a patience deficit you know!

Earplug Adventures: Triple Threat (part 3)

With sufficient shots available in the photo library, and a few words scribbled down too, it’s on with the third episode…

Meanwhile, in a nearby sector, a talented engineer, by the name of Gregor Arsentickler, was deporting himself with grace along a narrow maintenance corridor…

He enjoyed many responsibilities, one of which was the repair of recalcitrant Café Puke vending machines. And, by chance, it was the machine in the temporary TWIT office to which he had been summoned…

He went unnoticed by Bunty as she stared mindlessly at the ceiling. He too failed to register her presence. Instead he set straight to work. But, after a while, he couldn’t help but become aware of an annoying noise. It was Daisy and Ginger in conversation…

“Well, I said,” Daisy mouthed-off loudly, “my boyfriend can jump over much bigger puddles than your boyfriend.”

Ginger was intrigued. “What did she say to that?” 

“Nothing.” Daisy replied boastfully, “what could she say: it was true: my boyfriend lives on a houseboat: he’s been jumping from the deck to shore and back again all his life. Sometimes he does it just for fun. I once watched him do it blindfold with one leg tied to the other.”

Then, with an abrupt change of subject, Ginger said: “I never did learn to tie my shoelaces: now I’m told that the government or someone has banned them. All that practice – for nothing. I tell you – I’m getting sick and tired of stuff these days. It’s not like when we were kids.”

“What, like last year, you mean?” Daisy interrupted.

“Yeah,” Ginger grumbled, “and the year before.”

“They go by so quick, don’t they?” Daisy said whilst nodding sagely. “At the rate we’re going at the moment, we’ll be old before we’ve had the chance to grow up!”

Gregor looked across at the TWIT guard, who had clearly been enduring the conversation for some considerable time…

 

He appeared proto-catatonic, and failed to respond to Gregor’s surreptitious wave.

And the Ginger- Daisy combo continued…

“You know,” Daisy said as she threw a glance in the direction of the mentally absent Bunty, “her dad fell off his scooter last week.”

Ginger looked down at the floor and wished that she could ‘zone-out’ like Bunty: she didn’t like tales of pain and anguish. Then she thought that if she failed to respond, Daisy might take the conversation in a nicer direction. She was wrong:

“Yeah,” Daisy continued, “he really grazed his knee. I had to put a plaster on it. But it wouldn’t stick: I had it the wrong way ‘round.”

Then, to Ginger’s relief, Daisy did change the subject:

“What do you think Bunty’s thinking about?” But before Ginger could answer, she said: “Oh look, I’ve got one of them ulcer things on my tongue.”

“I’ve never been a fan of ulcers.” Bunty said, despite the fact that her gaze remained, clamped firmly upon the ceiling. “I’ve heard they curdle the milk.”

“Yeah,” Daisy agreed, “I’m glad I haven’t got any. Milk, that is: not ulcers. I’ve got an ulcer, look. Can you see it, Ginger?”

Gregor was experiencing difficulty concentrating on his repair work. Fortunately the TWIT operative – Nature Beast – chose that moment to enter…

Gregor was more than relieved: and how the TWIT guard felt about the interruption, he could only guess.

Nature Beast didn’t believe in preamble. He didn’t have much time for short words that joined others together either. As was usual for him, he spoke of himself in the third person…

“Nature Beast got results of test.”

Bunty came down from the ceiling. “Are they good?” She inquired.

“Nature Beast can’t read.” Nature Beast replied. “But colleague told me what’s what.”

“Did he tell you that we passed?” Daisy asked hopefully.

Nature Beast took a moment to consider this difficult question. “Hang on.” He replied. “Nature Beast need moment to think.”

Ginger had the distinct feeling that things were not going their way. “This colleague,” she said to Nature Beast, “was he, by any chance, Major Flaccid?”

A dull light went on behind the monster’s eyes. “Yeah.” He bellowed. “Maybe you not some dumb-ass as Major say.”

But that was as good as it got. As he reduced his volume, Nature Beast added…

“Major say – we got enough dumb-asses in TWIT already: don’t need three more.”

Naturally this was not well received. Bunty was particularly annoyed: “But we took a day off doing…ur…stuff and other important things…to come here: why have you wasted our time?”

The words came too quickly for Nature Beast: he took a few moments to assimilate them before replying with: “Major say – dumb-asses waste my time with stupid test: I waste their time back. He say it reciprocal stuff.”

This reply enraged Daisy so much that her eyes crossed. “You’ll rue the day that you crossed the three…ah…the three…um…us

…And remember this, you weird excuse for an earplug: revenge is a dish best served…um…is best served…”

“With olives.” Bunty yelled angrily. “Now kindly open the door and let us depart with a modicum of pride…or ‘proudness’, as my mum calls it.”

Moments later Gregor watched his positive read-outs flash up on the wall screen; but secretly listened as Nature Beast showed his guests the door…

 

An idea was forming in his head, and he didn’t want either Nature Beast, or the reanimated TWIT guard to notice his change in demeanour…

So, as the two TWIT operatives went about their next duty, Gregor Arsentickler tossed aside his itinerary – at least metaphorically – and went in pursuit of the three girls.

He found them commiserating over a cup of ghastly coffee…

“Ladies,” he said as he approached their table, “I believe I can be of some assistance to you.”

He then explained exactly how he knew that they had failed their job interview…

“But I have good news for you.” He added. “All is not lost. If you wish to impress Major Flaccid, be at these co-ordinates upon the Wide Blue Yonder just after the artificial sun goes down.”

He then handed them a hastily-written note.  As he turned from the girl’s excited exclamations and walked away…

…he said: “You never know; this could be your lucky day.”

But he didn’t really mean it: he had motives of the ulterior kind.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

Portrait of an Earplug: Uda Spritzer

We asked famous Iceworld scientist, Uda Spritzer, how she started her day on such a cold and forbidding world…

She informed us that she rarely eats anything less than a vast bowl of oatmeal for breakfast every day. But, she recalled with some regret, on a recent visit to Earth, someone suggested she add a handful of sultanas to  the bowl…

She won’t be trying that trick again. She is also considering eggs, bacon and fried tomatoes for breakfast from now on.