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Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Las líneas de Tah-Di-Tah (parte 6)

Estamos en racha ahora. Simplemente no había forma de detener el siguiente episodio un momento más. Bienvenidos a la sexta parte.

Capitulo 2

Ninguno de los ocupantes de la nave gloriosamente azul sabía exactamente cuánto tiempo había pasado mientras atravesaban el hiperespacio…

Estaban demasiado ocupados siendo recién casados. Pero, finalmente, abandonaron la cocina, donde habían estado masticando vorazmente galletas con chispas de chocolate, y entraron al puente…

La pantalla de vista holográfica les informó que todavía estaban atravesando la Galaxia a buen ritmo y que todo estaba bien con los sistemas de la nave.

Mientras las migas de galleta caían a la terraza desde la barbilla de Magnuss, dijo: “Lo sé: detengámonos y contemplemos la vista”.

“Sí”, respondió Hair-Trigger con entusiasmo, “Seamos aleatorios: pisemos los frenos y veamos qué pasa”.

Entonces lo hicieron…

Pero cuando corrieron hacia la ventana de observación, descubrieron una falla en el diseño del barco de Bunk-Bunk Bunsen…

La vista de un asteroide cercano se vio empañada por el veteado en el exterior de la ventana.

“Guess Bunk-Bunk debe haber especificado el tipo de material incorrecto”. Hair-Trigger apostó. “El polvo cósmico ha erosionado la superficie exterior de la ventana”.

“O tal vez se olvidó de incluir un escudo deflector”. Sugirió Magnuss.

Hair-Trigger tenía otra explicación. “Quizás los Scrotonites tuvieron que tomar atajos en alguna parte y eligieron un vidrio más barato y menos resistente”.

Magnuss dudaba de la veracidad de la idea. “No, las escrotonitas nunca harían eso. Los tapones para los oídos pueden: pero no las escrotonitas. Bueno, ciertamente ha estropeado la vista. Si alguna vez me encuentro con Bunk-Bunk Bunsen, le daré una patada en el trasero “.

Pero sus espíritus se animaron un poco cuando descubrieron una ventana secundaria…

“Oh, no puedo mirar”, chilló Hair-Trigger mientras desviaba la mirada. “Es como si nada nos separara de todo el espacio, el tiempo y el infinito, excepto esas barras, por supuesto. Pero podríamos deslizarnos fácilmente entre ellos y perdernos en el vacío sin gravedad del espacio interestelar por la eternidad “.

Magnuss pensó que su esposa se estaba volviendo un poco fantasiosa, pero no dijo nada: Hair-Trigger tenía la llave del barril de galletas en la parte de atrás de sus bragas y no quería molestarla.

Dos minutos más tarde habían bajado un nivel, al puente…

Un planeta apareció en la pantalla de visualización.

“Eso se ve … tú … muy turquesa”, observó Magnuss.

“¿Crees que el barco está tratando de mostrarnos algo interesante?” Hair-Trigger preguntó y sugirió en una oración.

Magnuss estaba seguro de ello, y momentos después el Tankerville Norris asumió un rumbo hacia el planeta…

… lo que lo acercó alarmantemente al sol local…

Si no hubieran descubierto la ventana de observación dañada, ni Magnuss ni Hair-Trigger se habrían preocupado menos por la proximidad de un gran horno estelar en la proa de babor; pero lo habían hecho, y se pusieron un poco nerviosos. ¿Qué más podía fallar en un barco tan nuevo y que había sido ensamblado a partir de un paquete plano muy grande en el Museo de Tecnología del Futuro?

Hablando de eso…

… Cushions estaba de camino de regreso a la suite del curador desde el baño ejecutivo, cuando se reunió con su principal interés amoroso (si así se puede llamar) Hunting Provost…

“Oh, Hunting”, susurró con complicidad, “tengo una confesión que hacer”.

“¿Parezco un sacerdote?” Él espetó en respuesta.

Esto sorprendió a Cushions: no era propio de Hunting ser mordaz. “Oh”, dijo, “entonces tú también estás preocupado por ellos”.

“El hecho de que fuera un marido pésimo y permitiera que Hair-Trigger se divorciara de mí sin discutir, no significa que no me preocupe por ella. Sí, me preocupa que haya ido a vagabundear por la galaxia en una nave espacial no probada que fue juntada por un grupo de personal técnico del museo. ¿Lo que de ella?”

Cushions asintió. “Sí, bueno, también me ha dejado un poco vacilante. Esta mañana me olvidé por completo de reconfigurar los protocolos de seguridad del Omnipresent Scanner para permitir que Cheeky McMartin acceda a él. Me avergüenza decir que tres de los láseres antirrobo lo golpearon bien y correctamente… “

“En cuyo caso”, respondió Hunting con brusquedad, “tal vez sea mejor que le entregues el timón a Winston Gloryhole o al Alegre Charlie Chopsticks: claramente, mientras Magnuss y Hair-Trigger están fuera, ninguno de nosotros está en condiciones de tomar el mando”.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

La cocina, un barril de galletas y algunas galletas con chispas de chocolate se mencionaron en este episodio. Son, como imagino que habrás adivinado, metafóricas. Esta historia puede tener lectores menores de edad: por lo que no podemos hacer ninguna mención de los personajes centrales de la historia que tienen relaciones sexuales matrimoniales, ¿verdad?

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: Las líneas de Tah-Di-Tah (parte 5)

Volviendo al pozo de nuevo. Un pozo que necesita ser llenado, debo agregar. Pero hasta que se seque … ¡aquí hay algo más de acción de tapones para los oídos!

Momentos después, después de haberles mostrado las escaleras que conducían a la bahía de la cinta transportadora, y mientras los invitados a la boda bailaban en línea con la música de Las Bragas…  

… Magnuss y Hair-Trigger comenzaron a buscar una forma de entrar en la nave… 

 Y tampoco tardó mucho. Pero una vez dentro… 

 … reinaba la confusión.  

“Oh, todo esto es tan extraño”. Observó Hair-Trigger. “Dijeron que Bunk-Bunk Bunson era un tapón para los oídos, ¿no? Esto no me parece una tecnología de tapones para los oídos: ni siquiera del futuro “.

 Pero no debían haberse preocupado demasiado: era solo un tipo extraño de esclusa de aire con el que no estaban familiarizados. Más adentro del interior de la nave, la normalidad se reanudó…

 “Mira”, dijo un Hair-Trigger aliviado mientras pasaban por un portal que mostraba una imagen de cómo se vería el espacio, una vez que la nave hubiera despegado, por supuesto, “un elegante panel de interfaz y una flecha, apuntando hacia el puente”.

“Oh, bueno”, respondió Magnuss alegremente, “en ese caso creo que es mejor que lo sigamos”.

Aunque, según los estándares de las naves espaciales, el Tankerville Norris no era un gigante; era un poco grande para dos tapones para los oídos. Les tomó casi cinco minutos encontrar el camino hacia el puente. Pero cuando lo hicieron, quedaron muy impresionados…  

La iluminación estaba claramente en modo de hibernación, pero incluso por su débil iluminación, estaba claro para los recién casados ​​que la nave avanzaba más allá de su comprensión, aunque notaron que una de las sillas, que asumieron que eran posiciones de piloto, estaba ligeramente torcida. . Luego, un par de luces malva eligieron ese momento para estallar en una suave vida incandescente…

Hair-Trigger estaba a punto de chillar de alegría, cuando de repente se encendieron las luces principales y la silla del piloto torcida se enderezó automáticamente…  

“Vaya”, pronunció Magnuss sin aliento, “¡y ni siquiera tuve que aplaudir ni nada!” 

Luego, ignorando el hecho de que no había una pantalla de vista obvia frente a la posición del piloto, se apresuraron hacia adelante para tener una vista inversa de la silla auto-enderezadora…  

“Me gustaría uno de estos en nuestro apartamento alquilado”. Hair-Trigger expresó su aprecio por la tecnología a la que ahora se enfrentaba. “Cada vez que lo recorto con la aspiradora o me caigo sobre él en un estupor borracho, y lo envío a un giro vertiginoso, ¡no tendré que volver a enderezarlo!”. 

Magnuss se divirtió con esto; pero también le preocupaba que las sillas parecieran muy pesadas e incómodas. “Tienen muchos bultos tecnológicos detrás de ellos”. Él dijo. “Me pregunto si podemos sentirlos a través del acolchado futurista”. 

Bueno, la única respuesta a esa pregunta fue ponerlos a prueba…  

“Usted primero, señora Earplug”. Magnuss dijo. 

“No-no, nadie debería ir primero”. Respondió Hair-Trigger. “Somos un equipo. Somos uno, tú y yo: nos sentaremos al mismo tiempo, juntos “.

Entonces lo hicieron…   

Pero cuando se acomodaron en el lujoso abrazo de la silla, se dieron cuenta de una X, con pequeñas luces en cada punto, tal como aparecía en el aire ante ellos. Por supuesto, no tenían idea de lo que significaba. Y fue en ese momento que notaron la ausencia de una pantalla de vista principal.

“Ojalá tuviéramos un manual de usuario”. Dijo Hair-Trigger. Luego tuvo un pensamiento repentino: “Asegúrelo”, agregó, “creo que sé lo que es eso. De hecho, tengo la clara sensación de que sé mucho más sobre el funcionamiento de esta nave de lo que debería “.

La comprensión golpeó a Magnuss como una bota de fútbol en la parte trasera. “Por supuesto”, rugió en comprensión y comprensión, “cuando no pudimos ver el puente correctamente, se encendieron las luces. Cuando vio la silla desplazada, se enderezó. Y ahora que el barco sabe que queremos una pantalla de vista principal… “

Pero no llegó más lejos, porque…  

… La X fue reemplazada por una vista holográfica de lo que había fuera del Tankerville Norris. 

“Volteando diablos”, explotó Magnuss, “ya no estamos dentro del museo: ¡estamos flotando afuera!” 

Y ellos también…  

Esta vez Hair-Trigger chilló de alegría. “Cualquier cosa que pensemos, consciente o inconscientemente, el barco responde. Oh Magnuss: no necesitamos aprender a pilotar este barco. Ni siquiera necesitamos un piloto automático: ¡simplemente lee nuestras mentes! ” 

La gente en el museo se había dado cuenta de que el Tankerville Norris había volado por el aire. Dondequiera que estuvieran, y lo que se suponía que debían hacer, todos se detuvieron para ver cómo se desarrollaban los eventos en las pantallas públicas gigantes del museo…  

Observaron, algunos de ellos en un silencio atónito; otros con fondos muy chirriantes, mientras la hermosa embarcación azul se alejaba y levitaba sobre el estuario cercano…  

… donde un par de turistas, Clive e Indigo Firebush, estaban de vacaciones en kayak…    

… Y quién se preguntaba qué había causado que una sombra momentánea se cruzara en su camino y los asustara sin sentido, especialmente después de haber mirado hacia arriba, donde no podían ver nada más que cielo abierto.

Por supuesto, la razón por la que no pudieron detectar ningún rastro del Tankerville Norris fue porque ya había atravesado la atmósfera de la Tierra y estaba en el espacio…  

“Vaya”, dijo Magnuss mientras él y su esposa miraban a través de la enorme ventana de observación con aumento, “eso fue suave”. 

Y rápido también. Se agregó Hair-Trigger. “¿Entonces, qué hacemos ahora?” Pero, al no haber recibido respuesta de su nuevo marido, de repente reconoció la expresión de su rostro juvenil y atractivo. Estaba en comunicación telepática con sus hermanos…  

“Oye, hermano”, gritó Rudi, tanto mental como verbalmente, “tu nave está completamente equipada: tienes un complemento completo de torpedos de protones: diviértete un poco”. 

“Sí”, agregó Chester, “podemos cuidar el museo en su ausencia. ¡No somos del todo inútiles! ” 

Muy por encima de los cuatro Hermanos Earplug restantes, los sistemas a bordo del Tankerville Norris se activaron en una secuencia predeterminada…  

… Y se encendieron las luces traseras. 

Habiendo regresado al puente…  

… los únicos ocupantes compartieron una mirada; luego miró al frente. 

“¿Listo?” Magnuss preguntó. 

“Listo.” Respondió Hair-Trigger. 

En su escáner omnipresente, Cushions Smethwyke observó con fascinación con la boca abierta (y con muchos dientes)…  

Una fracción de segundo después, el Tankerville Norris comenzó su viaje inaugural… 

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

¿Qué tipo de luna de miel pueden esperar Magnuss y Hair-Trigger? No es un tipo normal, eso es seguro. ¡Sintonízate de nuevo para descubrir cuán irregular!

Earplug Adventures: The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah (part 4)

The photos have been taken and processed. The words to accompany them have been written. Why not post them? No reason not to. Here’s episode four…

Moments later the lights dimmed; a stage was rolled in; and the Trumptations broke into a special wedding version of their hit, Beauty is Only Skin Bleach

This was followed by the booming bass-driven sounds of a Hambledon Bohannon track, which was expertly danced to by the Greenhorn Girls…

Then, to ice the metaphysical cake, Las Bragas returned… 

 …and everyone ‘got down’ to the Latin beat…

 

 

 …though Nigel had to make a quick exit. He was needed elsewhere. Elsewhere like the museum’s Red Tower…

Shortly he joined Cushions and the slightly bemused newlyweds…  

“I’ve never been here before.” Magnuss confessed. “Where are we going?”

“That would be telling.” Cushions replied.

“It’s a mystery location.” Nigel added. “Very few people know where it is – including me.”  

But when the signage petered out, it transpired that Cushions didn’t have much clue either…

“Oh dear,” she explained, “I’ve only been here once – and that was with your former husband, Hair-Trigger: I’m afraid I wasn’t paying enough attention: Hunting was trying to tickle my bum with a feather boa that he keeps in his utility belt.”

Hair-Trigger nodded sagely in response: she well-remembered Hunting’s feather boa. Fortunately a scientist in Lab 17 was able to shout directions through the bullet-proof glass window. But less fortunately the glass was also sound-proof, and none of them were particularly adept at lip reading: so before long they were hopelessly lost. But Cushions put a call through to the Security Suite, and a holographic image of one of the on-duty RoboSecGuas appeared in half-size form and showed them the way…   

Nigel was impressed. “Nice technology.” He said. “From the future?”

“Isn’t everything in the museum?” Cushions replied as they followed the hologram’s directions.

Soon Cushions found herself on more familiar ground…  

“Ah, yes, I remember this bit.” She said confidently. “But it’s a bit dark: I wonder where they keep the dimmer switch?”

But she didn’t need to worry. Nigel lived up to his name and emitted a golden glow…  

…that allowed them to see their way to a large observation window, beyond which something resided in a most interesting manner… 

 “I’m getting a good feeling from this.” Magnuss said as he peered down from his high vantage point.

“It’s a bit like that trip you took to the Martian ship building facility.” Hair-Trigger reminded him.

Magnuss had to agree. But then he thought on: “But there is no ship building in the Red Tower.” He replied.

But he said no more: the lights had come up and a small space ship had trundled into view upon an advanced and futuristic conveyor belt…  

“The Scroterton Pancake.” Cushions announced. “Brought here in flat-pack form aboard Nigel’s star ship. If you like it, it is your honeymoon barge – to take you wherever you want to go.” 

]“Designed and built in our second great city, Scroterton.” Nigel informed them. “Of course if red doesn’t float your boat, how about a more subtle shade of grey?” 

 

Following a deep intake of breath by both Magnuss and Hair-Trigger, Nigel added: “It’s called the Sir Goosewing Grey. It’s named after a great captain of industry on Scroton – Goosewing Grey, whom I knighted for his creation of the Snotty-Nosed Sharon children’s toy. It revolutionised the way Scrotonic children play. Previously they’d always spent their formative years picking their noses: now they had a doll that could do it for them. I.Qs leapt overnight.”

 “I’d like to meet him.” Magnuss replied. “He’s not dead, is he?” 

But before Nigel could answer his inquiry, Hair-Trigger spoke. “The Scroterton Pancake looks a bit threatening. I wouldn’t want to go scaring alien species with its evil red colouration. And the grey one…well it’s so dark, we could lose it in a fog.” 

Cushions was about to say something that might have gone: “Ungrateful git; you should be thankful for whatever’s on offer.”

But she didn’t get the opportunity, because a third vessel – cloaked in shadows – appeared in the window…

 “Lights!” Magnuss shouted.

Instantly the new arrival became bathed in a suffuse light that did it all sorts of aesthetic favours…  

“Oooh,” Hair-Trigger sighed appreciatively, “nice. A rich blue upper fuselage; and a stealthy black underside. I’ll take it.”

Magnuss didn’t argue – not that he would have, even if the colour scheme had mad his retch. “Tankerville Norris.” He added. “What does that mean?” 

“Well,” Nigel replied as he settled himself down to tell a tale, “It wasn’t supposed to be called the Tankerville Norris. Not originally. Originally it bore the moniker, The Love Hutch. But one of our engineers thought it sounded a little risqué, so he suggested the Bunk-Bunk Bunson – named after the factory in which the prototype was developed.” 

Magnuss held up a hand to stem the flow of words. “I know I’m going to regret this; but why was the factory called Bunk-Bunk Bunson?” 

To his surprise it was Cushions who answered this inquiry…

 

 “Honestly, Magnuss,” she scolded, “haven’t you been keeping up with the trans-Galactic news network? Bunk-Bunk Bunson was an earplug who travelled to Scroton from the future. Actually his name wasn’t Bunk-Bunk Bunsen: it was merely Bunson. But he was so nervous – when he was arrested by the Scrotonic security forces – that he stammered when asked for his identity. From then on he became known as Bunk-Bunk Bunson.”

“Oh,” Magnuss responded, “I’d like to meet him too.” He then turned to Nigel: “I suppose he had the designs of the new ship in his back pocket, and you took them off him?”

“Quite so.” Nigel smiled proudly. “Then we sent him on his way – back to the future – where the Time Police most probably arrested him for disturbing the time-line or some such. In recognition of his great sacrifice, we named the factory after him. It was the least we could do.”

It was Magnuss’ turn to nod sagely. “Yes, I understand completely. So the original design was labelled Tankerville Norris. Yes, it all makes sense.” 

Then the light that shone upon the Tankerville Norris shifted subtly… 

 …and revealed Susan, in her amorphous blob mode, as she searched for Chester whilst they played Hide and Seek. 

“That’s handy.” Hair-Trigger said as she turned to watch, “that gives us something to compare the ship with. Until I saw Susan, I couldn’t gauge its size or scale.” 

“Hey, that must be Chester in that forward observation window.” Magnuss cried out with glee. “Good place to hide, bro: Susan is too big to get through the airlock.”  

“Ah,” Nigel said with an air of knowledgeability, “the forward observation window. Great care must be taken with that. It is made from patrisha nancitate, and has a magnifying effect – to better see distant planets of course. But it also works both ways. People outside can see you inside – magnified hugely. It can scare the hell out of primitive alien life-forms: they think everyone inside is a vast giant – and take to their heels without hesitation. It’s also best to keep your trousers on when using it. It’s a modesty thing. I think you’ll understand.” 

This concerned Hair-Trigger. She didn’t want to go scaring primitive alien life-forms: and she sometimes liked to use observation windows whilst in her night gown. “So why isn’t Chester huge and scary?” She inquired. 

“It only works in space.” Nigel replied. He then pressed a button on the window frame. The view of the Tankerville Norris was instantly replaced by an image of the ship in flight…

 …and it was Game Over. 

“Give me the keys,” an eager Magnuss pleaded, “give me the keys: I gotta check this baby out!” 

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

There, wasn’t that nice! “Are there sufficient photos for a Part 5?” I hear you ask. Silly question: of course there are.

Earplug Adventures: The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah (part 3)

So I’ve only shot twenty percent of the photos that I need to tell an earplug tale:  so what? With that twenty percent I can tell twenty percent of the story. Why wait around until everything is in place? So I won’t. Here is a hundred percent of the third episode…

This moment, so charged with emotion, proved too much for Susan. Losing control of her constituent parts, she took on her regular amorphous shape and wailed with tears of joy… 

 …which amused everyone – even those watching far away. Those like… 

 …Placebo Bison and Folie Krimp aboard the Gravity Whelk…  

But although her outburst was short-lived, Magnuss and Hair-Trigger couldn’t quite wipe the smiles from their faces as the ceremony proper began…  

The Angel with a Huge Nose went through the necessary procedures. All that “We gather here today to,” stuff. And, “It is in the sight of the Supreme Being himself” sort of thing. And when Hunting Provost failed to step up and yell his complaint when the Angel said: “Does anyone here have anything negative to say about this union?”, they got on with the vows, which didn’t go quite to plan because Hair-Trigger got her tongue twisted around Magnuss’ middle name, and called him Magnuss Finklestink Earplug…  

“That’s ‘Finklestein’, dear.” The kindly Avatar corrected the nervous multi-coloured earplug. 

“That’s the guy.” Hair-Trigger responded cheerfully. “He’s great – isn’t he? I love him so much. I’m really glad it’s me he’s marrying.” 

When it came to Magnuss making his vows, he had no such problem…   

But he did make an addendum: “By the way, I feel the same way about her too.” 

It was whilst the audience tittered at this quiet outburst of earplugness that Cushions Smethwyke turned to the other curators… 

 “Right, I’ve got something I have to do. Cheerful Charlie, you record what happens next on your mobile phone.” Then she was gone, out through a side door that very few people knew about.

 As the door clicked shut behind Cushions, the lights in the Grand Hall dimmed once more. A blue light, created by the Angel with a Huge Nose’s holy bioluminescence, shone upon Magnuss and Hair-Trigger…

“Magnuss and Hair-Trigger Earplug,” she said loudly, so that all – even the deaf sods at the back – could hear, “I now pronounce you earplug and wife.”

The Avatar then added: “Magnuss, you may now kiss the bride.”

Rupert Piles didn’t waste a second: he was in like rabid lottery ticket winner for a close-up…  

“Hello, Missus Earplug.” Magnuss said following their very public embrace.

Like the crowd in the Grand Hall, and the masses watching throughout the Museum of Future Technology, far away, upon a deep space mission, the watching bridge crew of the K T Woo all cheered themselves hoarse… 

 …until a number of them broke down in a coughing fit.  

And Yu-Wah and Way-Hey Pong couldn’t stop themselves from stepping forward for a better view of their dear friend’s union… 

It was at this point in proceedings that Nigel took the opportunity to also step forward…  

“Magnuss,“ he said in an ultra-masculine and stentorian tone that had the weaker-willed females present fainting where they stood, “you have been a great ally to my world. When Cushions called me with a problem, and mentioned that it concerned you, I put my metaphorical thinking cap on. You still haven’t decided upon a honeymoon location, I believe?”

Both Magnuss and Hair-Trigger were too overcome to reply: they merely grinned and shook their heads in negation.

“Well I have the answer to your problem.” Nigel continued. “I brought it with me, from Scroton. When proceedings are complete, I ask you to join me.”  

Naturally the two earplugs accepted. How could they not? Not that they wanted to, of course.

“Sho’nuf, Nige.” Magnuss managed – then felt vaguely embarrassed because it was something that his brother, Valentine might have said.

He was saved by Hair-Trigger’s, “Thank you, Golden One: we shall.”

Then it was time for their grand exit… 

The Earplug Brothers made up one half of the Guard of Honour. The non-commissioned officers of the Seventh Cavalry constituted the other half. And the couple departed the Grand Hall to the combined horns of Las Bragas de Alegría and three rousing cheers. 

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Of course this is only the beginning of the story. Come back for what happens next!

The Set: The Scene 4

If you are one of those brave folk who have persisted with the consumption of Earplug Adventures over a long period of time, it’s quite probable that you will recall pertinent scenes by your recognition of a set – or vice versa. But just to test that hypothesis, check out the following. Here’s a simple one to start with. Two yellow earplugs standing upon a tarpaulin that has sagged and filled with rain water…

What great potentiality did I notice in this? Yes, it’s…

…two of the dancing Greenhorn Girls (can’t remember which ones) by the beach in The Missing.

So what about this fabulously vague piece of cardboard that has been dirtied by the incessant rubbing against it by lengths of aluminium extrusion, and a sheet of translucent plastic stuff that wrapped the aforementioned?

Well, combined artistically they become…

…a snow scene and a distant wintery forest. Honestly they do. Look here’s those unemployed (and unemployable) couch potatoes, D’Neferious Berk, Freda Conk, Numpty Dingbat and Clem Borstal in a scene from Time Shard Museum

Getting the hang of it? Try this one…

If you’re not sure what you’re looking at, it’s two pieces of split 4 x 2 timber, set against a sheet of styrofoam. Now clearly this is supposed to be a rock formation and a blue/grey sky. No? Well it is. And the end result of my transformation of the original shot is…

…Patti Roularde and Nobby Hollister engaged on a Precipitous Ledge Walk in a snow storm in Haunted Mars. Ah, now you remember. So what about this one..?

There’s some giveaway signage on this piece of legendary prop. What does it say? Transfer Conduit Station Seven? Lordy, has this set been used a multitude of times – though not always as Transfer Conduit Station Seven…

Here it is as Lottery Central in Winning Numbers, and in the following shot as a desert fortress in Cometh the Earplug Vol 2…

Of course I couldn’t let this set pass without displaying it as it should be seen: as the previously mentioned Transfer Conduit Station –  this time witnessing the arrival of the Jaundice Family in Unity Vol 2…

So, try your hand at this set…

Ugh, it’s a nasty rust stain at the bottom of a brick wall that appears to be on the inside of a factory or warehouse. No it’s not. Not in my make-believe world it aint. It’s actually…

…a wonderful distant city, discovered (in The Grand Tour Vol 2) by sibling adventurers Dorkan and Dawlish Deathwish. And what an adventure they had. Of course you can view all of the Earplug Adventures by clicking HERE and reading (or downloading) the complete stories in PDF. Do it now – before the servers are overwhelmed by demand.

 

Making Light of Advancing Years

By the time I turned sixty (and everything went south rapidly) I’ve found it more and more difficult to ride my bicycle. Downhills became hard work: the flats felt like I was climbing Ben Nevis with an anvil on my back: and uphills…well uphills were impossible. Even pushing the bike up any gradient was hard work. In fact I was becoming concerned that I might be experiencing a heart problem. But a coincidental day in Accident & Emergency, on a heart monitor, soon put that fear to rest. So when I spotted a bike in fine fettle for sale at the side of the road at a very nice price, I was tempted. My daughter convinced me. “Nice colours.” She said. “Your favourites. And shiny mudguards too.”

I bought it…

 

And, oh my, what a transformation. It may have a steel frame (the older one is lightweight aluminium) and a weird seat that looks as though it will disappear up my rectum – taking my goolies along for the trip – but it’s so much more comfortable (if you discount the absense of suspension). And the effort to ride it…well there is no comparison: I now  ride up hill: on the flat I’ve yet to be overtaken by young boys on their back wheel, or ladies in lycra, or anyone else for that matter. And downhill is now limited by the effectiveness of the block brakes (not very). Journey times are now halved, and I don’t have to take a fifteen minute pulse-checking lie-down to recover after the ride. It’s like I’m 59 again! The reason for this? The previous owner kept it in a dry shed and actually performed maintenance (spit-spit, I hate maintenance) on it. So what have I learned?  Well I’ve learned this. I’m not too old and knackered to ride: I just need to look after the bike to stay young. So will someone kindly pass me the chain lube?

Tooty’s been a-fiddlin’

When I presented the model of the next Earplug Adventure’s space ship – namely the honeymoon barge of Magnuss and Hair-Trigger the Tankerville Norris…

…I pretty much admitted that it was no ‘looker’, but that it had an excellent name. I also stated that I would make the ship believable. Well here are a few shots of it ‘in action’. We’ll start with a beauty shot…

…which proves that even the stubbiest, ugliest ship in all creation can look good from one angle. Here’s one of it in an atmosphere under cover of night…

This one looks like it might have narrowly avoided a huge explosion or disaster…

And this one clearly had either Magnuss or Hair-Trigger hitting the ‘Go Faster’ button…

So, as you can clearly see, I haven’t been entirely idle. As regards the story: other than the couple becoming a…well…a couple, I don’t have much clue. But just to get my ageing creative juices flowing I’ve given it a non-sensical title that should stretch me somewhat, and hopefully the plot will reveal itself to me. And that title is ‘The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah‘. I wonder what it means? I do make life difficult for myself, don’t I! 

Does Eight Seconds Really Make That Much Difference?

When I “do a selfie” I don’t hold the camera at arm’s length: I utilize the camera’s built-in timer. This makes it appear that it’s not a selfie at all, and that someone else took the picture. But sometimes, when I’m not paying close enough attention, I might possibly set it to the wrong time duration before it goes click. Most cameras have a 2 second delay and a 10 second  delay. If the light is bad – or if someone is approaching, and I don’t want to appear a complete narcissist to them – the tiny icons on-screen could look similar enough for a simple mistake to occur. Two could be confused with ten. But does this really matter? After all, it’s just a photo of little old me looking as good as he can, and hoping that he can fool the world into thinking that he might be cool and in full command of his corporeal existence. Well yes it does! This is what I look like after peering myopically into the camera’s sun-drenched LCD screen and selecting the wrong icon…

Then, to compound this error (and after moving to another site because someone became curious at my behaviour and started hanging around) I carelessly set the camera up facing into the Sun…

So, sorry, although I found the right icon this time, you’ll have to imagine how cool and in command of my corporeal existence I actually look.

Flipping Heck, It Must Be Some Kind of Earplugfest!

To whomever decided to download every Earplug Adventure ever written today (20/09/21)…all I can say is: “Wow!” Hope you enjoy them.

Of course anyone else who might fancy a giggle or two can emulate the mystery reader and either read them on-line, or download them for later by visiting the appropriate Page on this site. Anyone interested can take the shortcut to it right HERE.

Then you too can experience the…ah…Earplug Experience for yourself. Here’s a random representative e-book cover. Nice, isn’t it!

 

 

The Unexpected Result of 365 Days of Mourning

I am writing this at 9.00pm on the 15th Sept 2021. Exactly one year previous, though four hours earlier in the day, my wife’s body had been taken away to lay in a local funeral director’s establishment. I had become (and remain) a widower. I’ve been dreading the approaching anniverary for some while, as has my daughter, who took the day off from her day care centre to stay home with me. But I had already resolved to treat the day like any other. It is simply the 15th of September, just as the 14th was a regular day, and the 16th will be tomorrow. Just another day. And, by and large, both of us were successful. We spoke of her, of course; but we never dwelled upon the subject. That’s been done enough during the intervening twelve months. I also knew that I needed something to keep me occupied, lest my mind wander back through time. So I decided that I would make a model out of used household ‘stuff’.  ‘Stuff’ such as lavatory cleaners and anti-persperant containers. You know, quality ‘stuff’. I knew what sort of model I wanted to create. A space ship for the next Earplug Adventure. More specifically a honeymoon spaceship for Magnuss and Hair-Trigger.  So, having previously purchased a huge tube of contact adhesive, I set to work. Many hours later…

…the ship took on form. And what a nice colour it is too. Toyota Carina E metallic blue (which I found in the shed behind the windscreen washer fluid) and some nattily scissored pieces of yellow sticky-back plastic…

Okay it doesn’t really look much like a spaceship; but you wait until I’ve taken a few shots of this baby and played with them on my computer. Then you’ll be convinced. You will swear you can hear the hyperspace drive motors whine as it streaks across the screen. And it already has a name. Rather ironically I discovered it on an old gravestone. It belonged to a boy who died during infancy in the late Seventeen hundreds. It was a wonderful name – though not really for a little boy. Or any human being for that matter. I don’t know what his parents were thinking when they gave him that moniker: but it’ll make  a great name for an earplug spaceship. It’s called the Tankerville Norris. See, how silly is that? So I’m not going to  shed a single tear today: instead I’m going to smile. She won’t be upset, of course: I told her I was going to do it, when I woke up this morning. Of course I can’t be certain that she heard; but she knows  what a silly old Tooty I am, so she’ll figure it out. And she was always happy to help out with an Earplug Adventure. I believe I can feel her smiling wryly behind me as I type.

 

Tooty’s Pissed Off Again

I didn’t think it unreasonable of me to expect to add The Age of Stone to my list of free e-books on this blog’s sidebar. I mean, every other book is there: why not the latest? Well WordPress had other ideas. The ‘Classic’ posting system just wouldn’t  work. I mean, it wasn’t even there to try. And the new ‘Block’  system (which I loathe with an intensity usually reserved for recalcitrant ink jet printers and DVD players that can’t recognise that there is a DVD in the tray) just sat there and did nothing – for ten minutes – before I gave up; called it several names, none of which are printable here; cursed the designer of the ‘block’ system to perminent impotence, considered creating a voodoo doll; and decided on an alternative course of action. And this is the alternative course of action. All Earplug Adventures in PDF Format Unexpurgated & FREE! Yup, there’s a page beneath the header that now contains every Earplug Adventure file, which can be accessed by anyone and everyone absolutely free. And very nice they are too. Well worth a visit. Now, if WordPress would kindly allow me, I’d like to remove those free e-books from their fucking sidebar. But I’m not hopeful. Bunch of shits.

 

La Era de la Piedra (The Age of Stone), en su totalidad, ¡GRATIS!

Es posible que se haya perdido algún episodio de La Era de la Piedra (The Age of Stone) en el camino; pero eso ya no importa porque ha llegado la versión gratuita en PDF para que la descargues y leas en tu tiempo libre (y quizás la compartas con tus amigos), o para leer in situ aquí mismo. Trate de comprender la magnitud de esta maravillosa oferta: es inigualable en la historia de la literatura y la fotografía. Todas esas fotos: todas esas palabras: todo ese genio creativo, ¡absolutamente GRATIS! Simplemente haz clic en la imagen de la portada del libro y es todo tuyo, tuyo, tuyo.

The Age of Stone – in it’s entirety – FREE!

You may have missed the odd episode of The Age of Stone along the way; but that doesn’t matter anymore because the free PDF version has arrived for you to either download and read at your leisure (and perhaps share with your friends), or to read in situ right here. Try to comprehend the magnitude of this wondrous offer: it is unequalled in the history of literature and photography. All those photos: all those words: all that creative genius – absolutely FREE! Just click on the book cover image, and it’s all yours, yours, yours!

Earlier Earplug Adventure books are also available too. Just click on the side bar images to access  them. Or, better still, visit the All Earplug Adventures in PDF Format Unexpurgated & FREE! page beneath the header.

Impetuosity isn’t reserved for the young 2: Driven by Necessity

When I bought my awesomely ridiculous Yamaha XJR1300 it came with a pair of expensive after-market exhausts (quite nice, but standard would have been better) and a pair of stupid little headlights, which looked like this…

But it wasn’t the aesthetics of the ‘streetfighter’ lights that really bothered me; it was the fact that the resulting beam of light was coloured brown and wasn’t even suitable for a bicycle, let alone a machine capable of 140mph (220kph). The first time I rode at night (in 22 years, I might add) it (to use a local regional vernacular) ‘properly shit me up’. I couldn’t see where I was going!  In an effort to correct the situation, my first port of call (the next day) was a bike breakers emporium, where I was told: “No we haven’t got one, but if we did, we’d have to ask a hundred pounds for a tatty used one.” And in answer to my questioning “Ugh, why so much?” the owner of said emporium informed me that: “You’ve got a cult classic there: prices are going up all the time.”

This news was both good and bad. Good that the bike is worth more than I paid for it. Bad that parts are hard to find and expensive. So, being impetuous I went on Ebay and chose a random 8″ motorcycle headlight and duly paid my £50 to buy it. Three days later this happened…

But, upon reading the label, my impetuosity appeared to have backfired on me. It was a replica headlight for a 1980 Yamaha RD350LC. Oops. So I (impetuously) set to work  stripping the brown pool devices from the XJR and setting about the replica headlight with a hacksaw and file. An hour later…

“Ta-dah!” as they say. And it works too – brightly.

But that isn’t all. When I first showed the ‘new’ bike to my  sister, she eyed my well-worn jeans and said: “Right, you’ve got to get some proper trousers now.” So, once more I cast my gaze to Ebay, but no one selling leather trousers seems to be the same shape as me. But, as desperation set in, impetuosity reared it’s handsome head once more. I spotted a pair of trousers with a 34″ waist. My size! But how long were the legs? Most sellers didn’t mention this, which I thought was extremely stupid. But in the description this seller stated that he was 6′ 5″ (tall – like very). I am six feet and half an inch (still, surprisingly).  But, I reasoned, a lot of my height is in my legs: this guy is probably tall in the body. Logic? No, not really. Impetuous? Yes, probably. I bought them. They arrived whilst I was wiring the Yamaha’s headlights. So, bouyed with success, I tried them on…

Now you could be forgiven to thinking that they are slightly baggy. And maybe they are, a little. But when I place my feet on the slightly rear-set footpegs of the bike, the trousers  fit exactly. They couldn’t be more perfect if a tailor had made them for me. I’m getting rather keen on the impetuosity stuff. I’m even beginning to wonder if I’m not being guided from beyond the veil. Actually I’m convinced I am. And I can’t wait to see what I do impetuously next!

Earplug Adventures: The Age of Stone (part 27)

Shortly after everyone had re-integrated themselves with the disco groove, Chester met  with Susan’s primary sub-unit, and Magnuss with Hair-Trigger.

Susan suggested that Chester and she should “Adjourn to the open air”, which Chester pretended to think about for half a nanosecond…

And Magnuss asked Hair-Trigger if she would marry him…

Fortunately the music volume was just low enough to let him hear her reply.

“Yes!” She yelled. “Yes. It’s about bloody time: I thought you’d never ask!”

Of course, standing so nearby, Chester and Susan heard everything. So it was with a cosy glow around them that they abandoned the crowded dance floor…

…and strolled into the open air of the Age of Stone exhibit…

“Up you go, Chester.” Susan said as she changed shape and slipped her ‘head’ beneath her earplug chum…

…“Let’s go somewhere quiet. Let’s get lost in the Age of Stone.”

So they did, and they had a bloody good frolic in the moonlight through the castle’s giant buttercup garden…

“Whee,” they cried in unison, “this is the best day of my life!”

Meanwhile the Rhubarb Crumble had received a summons from Mars, and so had returned to its home planet under the command of the autopilot…

The timing was impeccable because, in the rest room the entire engineering staff was watching the credits roll on the last episode of Season Two of Destination: the Stars…

“I think that was excellent. Perfect, in fact.” Budgitte Wilgoss opined.

To which Lawrence Endocarp responded: “I concur wholeheartedly.”

And Douglas Dungipon added: “And the TV show wasn’t bad either. But it’s not a patch on real life. I wonder what those Earplug Brothers will think of doing next.”

“Whatever it is,” his supervisor replied, “I hope they don’t invite us along. One adventure is quite enough for me.”

The End

©Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: La Era de la Piedra (parte 23)

Tan tensos eran sus nervios que los segundos parecían convertirse en minutos. Pero fueron solo unos pocos latidos antes de que el Ser Supremo Maravilloso saliera de su reino alienígena y entrara en la exhibición de la Era de Piedra…

“Hah.” Rugió en un supuesto triunfo. “Podrías haber tomado esto tumbado: pero, no, querías una pelea. Bueno, estoy aquí para decirte que no va a haber una pelea, porque solo eres cinco tapones para los oídos insignificantes; y soy algo especial. Y lo que es peor, para ti estúpido quinteto de tontos demasiado confiados, ¡estoy usando esto! “

Los hermanos de tapones para los oídos no estaban familiarizados con Atomic Boiler Suits. “¿Es bueno eso?” Magnuss preguntó con voz firme.

“¿Bien?” Wonky SB respondió en voz alta y con cierto grado de incredulidad. “Es malditamente maravilloso. La tela de esta prenda me hace completamente invencible. Fue hecho por una costurera artesanal de una manera del reino … mucho … más alto en la escala evolutiva que este vil lugar. Y no puede ser violado por ningún tipo de arma de energía. Y mi sombrero pretencioso es solo la guinda del pastel: está hecho del mismo material “.

Estaba claro para los chicos que tenían una pelea entre manos, incluso si Wonky SB pensaba que no. Levantaron su escudo psíquico…

Wonky SB repitió su apertura “¡Hah!” antes de abrir con una salva de rayos…

… que fueron fácilmente repelidos por el escudo psíquico…

Así que Wonky SB, un poco sorprendido, dejó escapar múltiples salvas…

Una vez más, el escudo psíquico encogió de hombros la enorme energía de sus flancos no existenciales. Pero la corriente de fondo del asalto barrió el edificio de piedra y atacó a los muchachos con un terrible huracán de aire desplazado, golpeando a los dos hermanos que estaban en cada extremo al otro lado de la habitación y por un pasillo adyacente. En este punto, la batalla se habría perdido; pero Susan no había podido permitirse salir de la zona. Simplemente tenía que quedarse y ayudar a Chester. Así que fue ella quien salió corriendo de la relativa seguridad de un nicho y atrapó a Miles en sus enormes fauces…

… mientras enlazaba a Valentine con una parte de ella de la que no le gustaba hablar, incluso con su médico…

En cuestión de segundos volvieron a estar en su lugar junto a sus hermanos…

Aunque permaneció en absoluto silencio, Magnuss les habló a los demás con su mente: “Ese material de caldera atómico puede ser inexpugnable, pero ¿escucharon lo que dijo sobre su construcción? Fue hecho por una costurera: eso significa que está cosido. Esa es su debilidad: los hilos que lo unen. Ahora, si tan solo tuviéramos algún medio para atacar esos hilos “.

“Los ojos de rayo láser serían buenos”. Sugirió Chester. “Dondequiera que miráramos, seguirían rayos devastadores de energía. Simplemente podríamos quemar las encuadernaciones y la prenda se desmoronaría “.

“Genial”, Rudi se unió a la conversación mental, “pero no tenemos ojos de rayo láser. O los dedos de los pies con rayo láser, para el caso. ¿Alguien tiene un rayo láser de culo a mano?”

“Pon tu fe en el Ser Supremo”. Magnuss respondió a esto. “Nos dijo que tenemos los medios para derrotar al Wonky SB. Si necesitamos ojos de rayo láser para eso, los tendremos. Confía en mí.”

Mientras tanto, Wonky SB se había vuelto curioso. En primer lugar, se preguntó cómo habían sobrevivido a su ataque. En segundo lugar, se preguntó por qué estaban parados frente a él y no hacían absolutamente nada. Para satisfacer su curiosidad, se inclinó hacia adelante para tener una mejor vista…

“¿Puaj?” Preguntó.

Tuvo el tiempo justo para ponerse de pie de nuevo antes de que Magnuss dijera con calma: “Caballeros; seleccione sus objetivos “.

Una fracción de segundo después, rayos naranjas de luz intensa saltaron de los ojos de los Hermanos Earplug…

Y, tal como había predicho Chester, dondequiera que eligieran mirar, los rayos láser siguieron un microsegundo más tarde. Simplemente no podían fallar…

“Argh”, gritó el Wonky SB con horror mientras alcanzaba su sombrero caído, “¡no es mi sombrero pretencioso!”

Pero lo peor estaba por seguir…

… Mientras las vigas quemaban las costuras que mantenían unido el traje de caldera atómico.

“Vaya, esto es malo”. Wonky SB rugió de rabia y desesperación. “El viejo y tonto murciélago se olvidó de usar hilo de algodón invencible. ¡La próxima vez que la vea le daré una buena patada en el trasero! “

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Earplug Adventures: The Age of Stone (part 26)

At that moment, in the dance hall, Hambledon Bohannon hit the lights and wound the sound system up to eleven…

It was time to party…

Late-comers raced down corridors when they heard Bohannon’s own monster hit, ‘Everybody Slap Your Disco Thighs’ resonate through the thick stone walls…

 

…ever hopeful of having their eyes assaulted by a kaleidoscopic light show…

Of course, they were not disappointed. Already many earplugs were getting down to the insistent bass and driving rhythm…

None less so than Cushions Smethwyke, who was dancing with a new nurse from the museum’s dispensary. “I like your white uniform,” she said. “Didn’t you have time to go home and change?”

To which the new nurse replied: “Oh-no, I’m on duty – I’m here just in case someone gets over-excited and faints or something equally catastrophic.”

And Simon Knights-Templar was so mesmerised by the light show that he merely wandered around in a daze. Of course, Rupert Piles attended. No disco could be held without the event being recorded for posterity on his huge 3D TV camera…

Of course, Rudi, Miles, Chester, Valentine and Magnuss attended. Naturally Hair-Trigger was at Magnuss’ side…

And Susan was there – with her constituent parts independent of the whole…

“Okay, girls,” she effectively said to herself. “Go mingle with the masses. Like that lovely Hambledon Bohannon said: It’s time to party. Let’s get down. Huh!”

But after a brief foray on the dance floor, she had another idea. Moments later she did this…

…which almost brought the house down. That’s metaphorically of course: it was, after all, actually constructed from huge chunks of stone, which had been built to last a thousand years.

Five minutes later Magnuss was still feeling the effects of motion sickness. It was all he could do to fight off attacks of nausea…

But then Hair-Trigger dropped a bombshell in his lap: “Hambledon Bohannon,” she shouted above the din of excited disco-goers and the Trumptations’ mega-hit of yester year, ‘Aint too Proud to Fart’  “has re-mixed the backing track to Los Caballeros Stupido into a jazz funk fusion version of your classic party piece. You and the boys are expected to perform it – like now.”

It wasn’t a request: it was a command. So a few minutes later the lights came up – to reveal The Earplug Brothers live!

Sadly neither of them was familiar with jazz, funk, or fusions of any kind; so their performance was less than stellar. But no one really cared: they were, after all, heroes of the Museum of Future Technology. And soon Hambledon had the turntables whirling nicely again…

©  Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

 

 

Earplug Adventures: The Age of Stone (part 25)

“I think that went very well.” Miles said as the five heroic earplugs watched the ship attain orbit…

 …“I think things could have worked out rather worse. A pat on the back all ‘round?”

Rudi smiled at this. “At the very least, man.” He replied.

Susan, in her many parts, was feeling much the same way. Every sub-unit had something to say, even if all the others knew exactly the words it would use…

“You know,” the primary sub-unit said to the others, “I’m feeling like I’m in some sort of girlie gang. It’s fun, isn’t it? Girl power!”

But as fun as it was, Susan reintegrated for her role of Captain. And she wasn’t surprised to find the engineering staff had returned to their DVD box set…

Also she was less than surprised when Chester sought her out, and they stood at an observation window and watched asteroids pass by on their way to a collision with the planet below…

“Poor little asteroids,” she said with a smile that – if she didn’t straighten her face soon – she feared might become perpetual, “of all the planets to pick on, they chose the Supreme Being’s. I can see him getting quite annoyed.”

She continued to smile all the way back to the bridge, which left Chester free to join his brothers…

“Flipping heck,” Magnuss exploded, “look at the distance we’ve covered in just fifteen minutes. That’s Sirius that we’re sweeping majestically by. Worstworld is just around the corner. It’s half way to Earth. Another fifteen minutes and we’ll be landing at the good old Museum of Future Technology…

Of course it was a fifty-fifty chance that the museum’s location on the planet’s surface would have it smothered in the cloak of night, which meant that the Age of Stone was too…

Already the castle’s grand hall had been made ready for the celebratory discotheque. As the ship landed and its crew disembarked, Hambledon Bohannon was warming up his futuristic, but wonderfully 1970s retro, turntables…

And earplugs from the museum proper were making their way to the Age of Stone exhibit…

But many were already standing in line in corridors bedecked with fabulous drapes…

Even the Graveyard Avatar had managed to drag itself and a number of acolytes along…

“Oh, isn’t this lovely?”  She cried with glee. “This stone is so cold and foreboding: it’s like being at home.”

Further inside the castle, huge light screens had been erected…

…which looked really neat and bathed the stony interior in a chill blue light.

“Like it.” Doctor Snippentuck, the resident incompetent plastic surgeon was heard to utter. “When I can afford it, I’m going to get my surgery decorated like this. It’ll be the talk of the town.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Two-Wheeled Tooty: Confidence Regained

Once upon a time, five years before he was named Tooty (in 1981), a young country bumpkin was talked into switching from Honda motorcycles to Yamaha. Here he is posing  with his mighty steed – a Yamaha RD125DX…

He and the Yamaha gelled instantly and he would become a life-long fan of the brand. But life being life – that is unknowable and often incomprehensible – in time his situation changed, and motorcycling  became a thing of the past. Then, in 2020 (21 years after quitting bikes), he took the plunge and returned to the fold…

Of course his mount was a Yamaha. A YBR125 to be exact. But it wasn’t the best that ever escaped that manufacturers stable. It wasn’t Japanese for a start! But he didn’t know that when he bought it. And he never really forgave the machine, despite the fact that it was totally reliable and never let him down. But he never felt entirely confident upon it – especially in traffic. Poor suspension: lack lustre brakes: feeble single cylinder engine were its major bug-bears – though Tooty had hoots of fun rushing down gravel-strewn, muddy-as-heck, and cow shit-ridden back lanes on it. Look at the picture above: does that really say “Confident rider”? Nah. What he really needed was something that would give him back the two-wheeled exuberance of his long-lost youth. Something with a bit of oomph. Another Yamaha obviously. But one built in Japan.  Regardez vous por favor…

Ten months later. Yup, I’m back – and on a cult classic too! But I think I might pass on the gravel-strewn, muddy-as-heck, cow shit-ridden back lanes for now. Maybe an off-road bike for those. Might have to get some motocross boots though. Hmm, sounds fun…

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: La Era de la Piedra (parte 20)

Cualquier otra conversación se vio frustrada cuando un declive final...

… precedió a su entrada en (lo que Rudi describió como) un arboreto…

Fue difícil, y Rudi estuvo casi tentado de sacar su machete del ejército suizo de su cinturón de herramientas…

“Oye, hombre”, dijo Valentine mientras se abría paso a través de espesas hojas de vegetación, “¿dejaron ir al jardinero o algo así?”

Pero, tan repentinamente como había comenzado el arboreto, terminó y se encontraron parados en un área que claramente no era natural. Igualmente de repente, el grupo se sintió decididamente incómodo…

“¿Hacia dónde ahora?” Susan no preguntó a nadie en particular…

Luego disfrutó de un momento de inspiración y se disolvió debidamente en su multitud de partes, algunas de las cuales pronto descubrieron un edificio con una ventana larga y baja…

Al explorarlo más a fondo, la subparte principal de Valentine y Susan descubrió un respiradero de vapor…

… en el que miraron minuciosamente…

Fue mientras consideraban el uso improbable de energía a vapor en la Corte Galáctica que la subparte terciaria de Susan vio algo enorme y aterrador.

“Aargh”, gritó, “¡es enorme y aterrador!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

DDW: Downloads Doing Well

Have to say, it’s nice to see downloads of the free PDF copies of my Earplug Adventures moving along nicely. I like to imagine people are actually enjoying what they find there. For the seven days covering 25th August 2021 to the 31st, an average of 4.6 downloads were made every day. Not setting the world alight, I know; but someone’s taking the time and trouble. So well done. Anyone interested in repeating this act can do so by accessing the files via the Free Earplug Adventure Ebook page beneath the header at the top of this post. And you don’t have to download them: if you like you can read them in situ. Do so and enjoy those exciting tales featuring this bunch of wassocks…

 

Wallpapers of the Tooty Kind

Having concluded my important task of the day (I can do only one per day: two taxes my memory too much), I sat myself in front of my laptop and began fiddling with some pictures I took whilst on a wander through a tranquil graveyard the day previous. This is what caught my attention…

A novel step over a flint wall – complete with hole for slipping a foot into, or allowing a small dog to pass. The scene itself makes a pleasant wallpaper. But I felt that the hole was the real star. So, on my first pass I created…

…a scene through a window on an ice planet. Hmmm, might use that in an Earplug Adventure. My second pass brought forth…

…the interior of a defensive position during battle. Hmmm, might use that one too. And on my third pass I created…

…the view from a cell in an alien prison. And it was this one that gave me an idea for another Age of Stone story. If, during the Age of Stone, all technology is based upon rocks and stuff, then  surely they would make their star ships from stone too!  Have to put my thinking cap on now. Could this be the forty-second Earplug Adventure e-book in the making? Bloody hope so: I don’t have any other ideas!

Earplug Adventures: The Age of Stone (part 22)

In response the Supreme Being lowered the party of earplugs into the soup of reality…

And with a look of complete self-satisfaction…

…he dismissed them – to the Age of Stone exhibit inside the Museum of Future Technology…

“Spectacular.” Susan spoke appreciatively. “So what are we doing back here? Is the SB going to help, or not?”

Of course the Earplug Brothers knew exactly why they had been returned to the Age of Stone. They also knew what was required of them. Chester took Susan aside…

Neither of them noticed that the rock formation looked exactly like a duck’s arse.

“Susan,” he said, “the showdown with Wonky is coming soon. This is a battle you can’t fight. And if you get hurt, I’m not sure that I’ll be much help to my brothers. So it’s very important that you go hide yourself away.”

For a moment Susan was overcome with emotion…

Chester hadn’t anticipated this reaction. “Oh, Sue, don’t go to pieces on me now.”

“But I’m part of the Age of Stone exhibit.” She mumbled from somewhere on the floor. “I can’t abandon it in its hour of need. And I can’t abandon you either. Oh Chester, you’re such a lovely little pinky-orange guy: I want to be by your side through thick and thin. I’d even watch TV poker, late at night with you – if you really insisted. And I’d get you an omelette too – if you were feeling peckish. And olives.”

Chester committed himself to an, “Um…” before Susan lunged at him and planted a huge kisser all over his face…

“Please let me join this fight.” She added from some other source that Chester couldn’t readily identify. “I beg of you.”

Lack of oxygen gave wings to Chester’s thought processes. “Your firewalls.” He managed. “Someone has to manage those that link this place with the museum proper. They’ll stop Wonky from carrying this fight into the defenceless museum. If you separate into your earplug forms, I believe there are just enough of you to carry out the task.”

Five minutes later, and following a plethora of kisses, Chester went to join his brothers…

“Come back safe and sound.” They called as one. “There’s more where that came from.”

Shortly the Earplug Brothers stood shoulder to shoulder…

“Okay,” Magnuss said, “if I’ve got this right, we already have the tools to defeat the Wonky SB. It’s just a matter of utilising them to their best effect.”

“Hmm,” an unconvinced Miles responded, “I would have felt better with some heavyweight backup though. That God of Leathery Balls looked like a mean hombre.”

Magnuss considered this for a nanosecond or two. He could understand Miles’ disappointment. But Miles hadn’t been inside the booth. He hadn’t had his head expanded. Magnuss felt certain that something other than information transference had occurred inside that booth. But right now he didn’t know what it was, so he kept quiet upon the subject. Instead he said: “Right, we need to get the Wonky SBs attention. Any suggestions?”

Well, for the next hour the heroic quintet marched around the exhibit shouting this such as: “Wonky is a wally.” And “Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough.” They even broke wind and made disparaging comments concerning his parentage. But to no avail. Night soon fell inside the Age of Stone, and their marching had reduced to a meandering wander…

…and their yells were interspersed with yawns. They were considering going for a coffee, when, suddenly an unnatural occurrence…um…occurred

A portal appeared to form in the solid castle wall. This, in itself, was not incontrovertible proof that the Wonky Supreme Being was about to appear: but the alteration in the exhibit’s ambient colouration certainly was…

“Oh, bum.” Magnuss whimpered. Then gathering his courage he snapped: “Shoulders straight, boys.” He then confused the twins (but impressed his elders) by using an ancient military term: “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.”

He said no more because a form appeared inside the portal…

Then something of the extra strength that Magnuss so hoped he’d gained whilst inside the booth permeated through his siblings…

They didn’t know what to expect; but the Earplug Brothers were free of doubts: they were ready for battle.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Impetuosity isn’t reserved for the young.

For the past year I’ve done several things on impulse. My carelessness has reminded me that I was once young and did all the stupid things impetuous young men do – often with regret when they went painfully wrong. So, if I have any sense, you would think that I might have learned something as I’ve grown older. Namely that it’s usually safer if you think something through before acting. But, as I approach the second half of my sixth decade, impetuosity seems to be taking control again. Recently, whilst out walking in the English countryside I was smitten by a sudden thought. An inquiry really. I don’t know why, but I had to know the answer. So I acted on impluse; and now I know that my willy is impervious to the common stinging nettle, but my scrotum is not. It’s not important, and it won’t enhance my life; but it’s good to know. But that paled into insignificance at my latest bout of impetuosity. Bored with the limited performance of my (shabbily-built Chinese-produced) Yamaha YBR125…

…I began trawling through the dreadfully limited stock of my local motorcycle dealers. I was looking for something affordable in the 300-500cc range. Instead I bought this…

Flipping heck it’s a monster. It’s a 2002 Yamaha XJR1300. It has three more cylinders than my 125; ten times the cubic capacity; and, I reckon, weighs more than all my previous bikes put together. What was I thinking? And I’m afraid that it’s going to hurt a lot more than that patch of stinging nettles did. But it’s my dream-bike: with impetuosity in control, how could NOT buy it?

Earplug Adventures: The Age of Stone (part 17)

Meanwhile, in another compartment entirely, Rudi and Valentine were checking out the ship…

“Yeah, sure the outside and the bridge look just like the Chi-Z-Sox,” Rudi said to his brother, “but these corridors are completely new.”

“Sho-nuf dig the hue, bro.” Valentine replied. “But I keep catching my knees on these sticky-out pipes. Hey, patella pain, man.”

At that particular moment, the warning light on the Fanangy-valve cover decided to glow green…

“Ah-hah.” Budgitte exclaimed triumphantly. “I’ll call the bridge: we can get under way once more.”

But in the moment between saying the words and engaging the intercom, the ship went to crimson alert…

For a brief moment neither Rudi nor Valentine, knew how to react. What could possibly cause a crimson alert in the depths of space? They were temporarily befuddled.

The situation on the bridge wasn’t much better…

“Did anyone notice that blue planet that we passed after emerging from Hyperspace?” Magnuss inquired.

He received a plethora of shaken heads.

“What of it, Magnuss?” All of Susan’s parts spoke as one.

“Well,” Magnuss started nervously, “I could be wrong; but I think our sensors have detected a beam of some sort emanating from it. Hence the somewhat vague warning on screen.”

“What can we do about it?” They all inquired.

Magnuss had to think about that. Eventually, following a series of ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ he answered: “Well we could turn off our sensors, which the people on the planet might consider rude and inflammatory: or we could fly away really quickly before they decide to open fire.”

“I like both options.” The principal Susan in the Captain’s chair replied. “Let’s get the heck outta here!”

On the lower deck, Rudi and Valentine had much the same idea…

…and quickly raced back to their duty stations on the bridge. But before the vessel could initiate a starting procedure for the repaired star drive motor or even the manoeuvring jets, a sensor beam of unimaginable intensity leapt from the planet towards the Rhubarb Crumble…

A split second later crimson alert was cancelled by an exterior force. This was quickly followed by the appearance of a familiar face upon the main viewer…

“What?” A  surprised Supreme Being both exclaimed and demanded at the same time, which, of course, is the way of omnipotent beings. “The Earplug Brothers? What the flipping heck are you doing out here? Oh, don’t tell me: you’re on Museum business. Further, I’d wager you’re in some kind of kaka that you need help getting out of. Okay – not that I’m really interested, you must understand – but what’s your problem? I probably owe you a favour.”

Magnuss spoke the six words (or seven if you count a contraction as two words) that he was certain would gain the Supreme Being’s attention like no others: “The Wonky Supreme Being.” He said. “He’s back.”

Well, to say that this news shook the Supreme Being would be the understatement of the year. If he’d been an earplug, he would have pooped in his pants…

But, following several seconds of demented raging, SB calmed himself sufficiently to merely steam lazily…

“Okay,” he said, “While I calm myself into a more acceptable God-like state, please follow my trail to the Galactic Court. You’ll see a big sign telling you to go away. But ignore that: just drive up and park your puny vessel.”

So, feeling rather pleased with himself, Magnuss asked Susan to do just that. And a half-hour later, dead ahead of the Rhubarb Crumble, the planet of the Galactic Court suddenly appeared out of nowhere…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Earplug Adventures: The Age of Stone (part 15)

So Cushions took the only course of action open to her: “Right then; I’ll be off. Good luck. See ya.”

With that she went straight to the exit and turned back to take one final look at the Rhubarb Crumble’s first (and hopefully not last) crew.  One of Susan’s multi-bodies took the Captain’s chair, where she stumbled upon the dimmer switch for the bridge lighting…

The boys were amused, but Susan’s other parts were less so. Components of shape-shifters weren’t supposed to work autonomously; of their own volition; off their own bat; or any other descriptive phrase for individualism.

“Sorry,” she said, “my finger must have slipped. I’ve only had them for two minutes: I’m not used to the way they feel. But I’m sure it’ll come to me.”

Then she realised that she still hadn’t returned the illumination levels to earplug normal. “Oh, sorry again.” She said as she stabbed at the dimmer switch…

Cushions took this as her cue to leave. Five minutes later the flying saucer blasted from the surface of Mars…

Naturally the principal component of Susan replaced her secondary part in the Captain’s chair. In doing so she activated the ship’s main viewer, which displayed a misty picture of the ship yard…

“Look at that,” Chester said as he leaned towards the nominal Captain, “dawn already: we’d best follow Cushions’ lead and be on our way.”

Susan concurred; but moments before she announced lift-off, Cushions had boarded her portable Omnipresent Scanner and had used it to send them a farewell message…

“Boys,” she said gravely, “once again the Museum of Future Technology is indebted to you – even if I am indebted to the bank personally. I’m sure you’ll be entirely successful: but if you’re not, don’t worry about my credit rating – I’ll probably be dead or incarcerated in some dismal dungeon inside the Age of Stone – if and when you get back. By-ee.”

Susan had little patience for sore losers: a split second later the Rhubarb Crumble’s lifting motors fired…

And shortly after that everyone felt slightly odd as they entered the void beyond the planet’s feeble atmosphere…

Miles listened surreptitiously as Chester said to Susan: “Have you ever been in space before Susan?”

To which Susan replied: “Yes; once.”

“Were you space sick?” Chester inquired nervously.

Susan answered in the affirmative. “Several times…copiously.” She added. “I lost my job as an interplanetary translator as a result.”

This wasn’t exactly what Chester wanted to hear, so he ran around to the other side of the chair, which placed him opposite the exit…

“Perhaps you should adjourn to your ready room.” He suggested. “I think there’s a sink or vanity basin in there for you to vomit in.”

It was a sound, logical suggestion, but saying it was much easier than doing it. Her vast bulk almost filled the tiny cabin…

…and she knocked her com-panel off its plinth, which sent sparks flying.

“Drat.” She said – before doing this…

“Oh,” she said, “how strange: that electrical discharge has cured my queasy organ that’s analogous to the earplug’s tummy. In fact…

…I’m rather annoyed that I’ve been forced to flee my many duty stations. Right: I – or rather we – are coming back.”

Moments later…

“Captain on the bridge.” Rudi announced as he stepped down from his self-appointed position in the Captain’s chair.

“I’ll have to remember that trick – the next time I feel ghastly.” Susan said through a smile. “Can someone set me up an electrical socket in this chair? One I can stick my finger in.” She then gave her first command in space: “Okay, here we go: fire up the main drive.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: La Era de la Piedra (parte 13)

Bueno, las palabras de Susan, sin mencionar sus dimensiones y capacidad de actuación, alteraron todo el aspecto del argumento…

Cushions sonrió falsamente a través de su gran muralla de gnashers blancos. “Oh, es así, ¿verdad?” Luego, a Barcode Betty, dijo: “¿Dónde se encuentran actualmente KT Woo , Chi-Z-Sox y Brian Talbot ?”

“Malditas millas de distancia”. Respondió el comisario jaspeado. “Todos en asignación al espacio profundo. Ninguno de los dos puede volver aquí durante semanas, ni siquiera a máxima velocidad “.

“Tenía miedo de que dijeras eso”. Cojines murmuró en respuesta a las malas noticias.

“¿Qué pasa con los astilleros de construcción de barcos en el Marte recientemente reformado?” Winston Gloryhole ofreció…

Los cojines chuparon sus considerables dientes. “Pero los nuevos barcos aún no están terminados”. Ella se quejó. “Y el transbordador de Marte está fuera de servicio para su inspección de seguridad anual. No podemos pisotear a la Comisión de Salud y Seguridad, ¿sabe?

Magnuss se dio cuenta de que Cushions se aferraba a los hilos de su bolso metafórico como si su vida dependiera de que permanecieran bien cerrados. “Podemos usar nuestro platillo volante”. Él ofreció.

Con un suspiro evidente y una gran caída de hombros, Cushions finalmente sucumbió a lo inevitable. “Está bien”, dijo en un susurro, “me rindo: iremos a Marte. Dame media hora para poner mis asuntos en orden “.

Susan decidió pasar la siguiente media hora de forma productiva, por lo que volvió a entrar en la Era de Piedra para comprobar sus cortafuegos. Chester se ofreció a acompañarla. Habiendo concluido rápidamente que todo estaba bien, en el camino de regreso al museo, Susan decidió llevar a Chester del mismo modo que le había dado a Magnuss…

“¿Qué piensas, Chester?” Preguntó ella. “¿Es divertido? Oh, por cierto, mis haces de nervios olfatorios están ubicados allí arriba: no romperás el viento, espero.

Chester estaba demasiado asombrado por Susan como para insultarla con un pedo subrepticio, por lo que fue una mancha verde feliz la que los devolvió a ambos al museo y retomó su enorme apariencia de tapones para los oídos…

No pudo evitar notar que la expresión de Chester mostraba preocupación, y tal vez un poco de tristeza. “¿Qué te aflige, Chester?” Preguntó con voz amable.

Chester se mostró reticente a responder, pero después de un par de patadas en la espinilla decidió responder: “Yo … yo … realmente me gustas, Susan. Pero … pero me siento realmente triste porque nunca podremos ser nada más que amigos heroicos. Eres tan grande y yo tan pequeño. Por qué, incluso si aceptaras un gran beso descuidado detrás del cobertizo de las bicicletas, ni siquiera podría alcanzar tu barbilla. Y peor aún, solo podías besar la parte superior de mi cabeza. Estoy tan deprimido, ¡realmente lo estoy! “

Susan respondió bien a este estímulo emocional…

“Oh, por el amor de Dios”, gritó, “¿no has olvidado que soy una cambiaformas? Puedo convertirme en todo lo que pueda imaginar. Mira este.”

“Er, encantador.” Chester respondió: “Pero apenas me excita”.

“No he terminado”, dijo Susan con irritación. “Regarde”.

“Aah, oh, tienes dos ojos como un alfiler. ¿Es bueno eso?”

“Sigue mirando.” Susan respondió.

Entonces Chester hizo…

… y lo que vio lo sorprendió bastante…

“Caramba”, dijo, “Esa es una bonita forma de tapón para los oídos que tienes allí”.

Pero no dijo nada más cuando la bonita forma de los tapones para los oídos se volvía más bonita a cada segundo, antes de separarse del resto del cuerpo por completo…

Chester miró alrededor del hombro de la aparición y comentó: “Lástima que los de tu hermana sean tan sencillos”.

Luego dio un paso atrás cuando la bonita forma del tapón para los oídos avanzó sobre él…

“Oh, pero mira, Chester”, respondió la parte de Susan, “mira dónde están mis labios ahora: el lugar adecuado para un gran beso descuidado. ¡Y no hay nadie más alrededor, así que ni siquiera necesitamos un cobertizo para bicicletas para ir detrás! “

Se le formó un nudo en la garganta de Chester. No supo qué decir. Así que Susan respondió en broma así…

“¿O prefieres besar un repollo?” Ella ofreció.

Pero, por supuesto, no podía ser tan cruel, y en muy poco tiempo…

… ella había vuelto a su forma de tapones para los oídos múltiples. “Y si no te gusta el verde”, dijo con una sonrisa tan perversa que a Chester se le puso la piel de gallina, “puedo convertirme en cualquier color o tono que desees. Está bien, Chester – fruncir el ceño; ¡Te espera el beso de tu vida! “

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Earplugs Without Pictures 13

Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this tremendous tale…

As usual there are two brief extracts presented. Both chosen by Mr Sheer Randomness.

“Ladies, Gentlemen, and P.C Wilts,” Runt spoke clearly above the building excitement that ran like a raspberry ripple through the assembled V.I.Ps, “may I present to you the Tubo Di Tempo. It’s a new, mini version of the Tunnel Temporal – designed by the brilliant Italian scientist, Piggies Du Pong.”

“If you don’t mind me saying,” the charming (if ancient) former movie star, Sir Dodger Muir interrupted, “Piggies Du Pong doesn’t sound overtly Italian. Rather, I’d wager the fellow hails from either Belgium or France.”

“In your era, perhaps.” Runt replied. “But in Piggies’ era he’s Italian; so shut it, okay?”

Sir Dodger was about to author a dazzlingly witty riposte, when his train of thought was interrupted by the activation of the Tubo Di Tempo and the arrival of two bug-eyed weirdos from another time zone. Instantly the newcomers addressed Cushions Smethwyke. With a curt bow the smaller-nosed of the couple introduced itself as Glumb Kimball and its huge-hootered associate as Hombolt Whale. “Greetings from the future.” It added. “What do you think of the Tubo Di Tempo?”

Cushions wasn’t sure how to respond: and P.C Wilts’ expression betrayed his instant dislike of the pretentious twerps from a clearly technologically superior era. “Er…very nice.” She managed. Then growing in confidence she added: “A lovely shade of blue. My favourite. Well my second favourite actually. I’m rather partial to a warm orange glow.”

“How wonderful.” Hombolt Whale squeaked through it’s huge, but obviously restricted, snozzle. “Because when it’s turned on at this end it glows orange. Regarde s’il vous plaît.”

Moments later the Tubo Di Tempo did just as Hombolt had promised.

“There.” Sir Dodger grumbled. “Told you it was French.”

But even as the ageing thespian was speaking, so too was Glumb Kimball: “Well we’ve left a copy of the owners’ manual with your Time Techs, so, if it’s alright with you, we’ll be on our way to our own era. It’s much nicer there, by the way. By-ee.”

With that the time-travelling duo stepped into the tiny maw of the machine and disappeared in an instant. Naturally Cushions rushed forward to deliver a blistering farewell insult, but she was too late and needed to be consoled by the former bounty hunter and part-time curator, Hunting Provost: “Don’t concern yourself, my delightful love interest.” He whispered into Cushions’ ear. “They were ugly sods with big bulgy eyes: the future’s welcome to them. And they’ve left us with something really valuable.”

“They have?” Cushions inquired as everyone crowded around to take a look at the wonder from the future..

“Of course.” Hunting spoke in a conspiratorial hush. “Now we can start charging visitors for trips into the Museum of Future Technology twice. Once in this era; and again when they go into the past. I bet, if we take a look at our bank accounts, we’ll find that we’ve already begun amassing a vast wealth before we’ve actually begun sending anyone through. All we need to do is actually set the metaphorical ball rolling. We need to find new-arrivals with no prior knowledge of our earlier time travelling problems.”

“Yeah.” Cushions replied as she let her gaze wander past Hunting. “People who aren’t scared of visiting the past and run the risk of getting stuck there. And I think I know the very people.”

AND

Naturally Mincey had one thought on her mind: a means of generating income. And she waited until the RoboSecGua had fallen far astern of them before bringing up the subject. It was a wise decision to distance herself from the security robot, because at that moment the star-struck RoboSecGua was in the act of encountering a stray plugmutt. “Hello, little fellow.” It said in its best friendly tone, which wasn’t very friendly at all because its voice box was a low-grade type and could only produce a nasty, tinny monotone. “What is your name and what are you doing out here on your own?”

Plugmutts, in general, possess a limited vocabulary and this one was no exception: “Heathrow.” It replied. “Heathrow out here – look for you.”

This reply surprised the RoboSecGua; plugmutts seldom sought out officers of the law. “I am surprised by your reply.” It said. “Plugmutts seldom seek out devices such as I. Why?”

“Beige female earplug.” Heathrow answered. “She bad news. She Sir Dodger’s estranged daughter. She no like famous movie stars. She jealous as heck. She want something. No trust her.”

This worried the RoboSecGua more than it cared to admit. “Flipping heck!” It exclaimed. “I hate to think what she might be doing to the wondrous Sir Dodger – as we speak!”

Well what Mincey was doing was not enjoying a guided tour, which included the amazing spectacles that were so powerful that they could see all the way around the world and up the viewers trouser leg.

“By the Saint of All Earplugs.” Mincey squealed. “I had no idea my buttocks were so dimpled!”

But she felt more secure in her emotional state when they took a stroll towards the Future Alps Exhibit. So it was then that she chose to drop her verbal bombshell: “Dad.” She began, “You know that you’re a museum curator and all that? Well, I was wondering…what with you being really old and stuff…might it be possible that you retire, or die or something, and give the job to me? I’ve got plans for this place; and I think that I’d do a much better job than that toothy git, Cushions Smethwyke. What do you think, Dad? Good idea or what?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the The Time Tamperer vol 1 cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file. By the way, in addition, and also – you can access all the Earplug Adventure files (including Vol 2 of this exciting tome) on the sidebar by clicking the cover images.

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: La Era de la Piedra (parte 12)

Rudi pudo haber estado desesperado por tomar una copa, pero eso no le impidió rodear a sus hermanos y regresar a la salida en su compañía…

“Sí”, dijo, entre muchas otras cosas, “cuando encontré esa caverna llena de cascadas de agua y una deliciosa niebla, hice todo lo que pude hacer para evitar arrojar mi pobre cuerpo torturado por el acantilado y en su fresco abrazo. “

Magnuss miró hacia atrás por encima del hombro y sonrió. “¿Desde cuándo Rudi habla tan poéticamente?” Se dijo a sí mismo. “¿Cuerpo torturado y abrazo frío? Nunca escuché algo así “.

Afortunadamente para todos los interesados, la cadena Café Puke de viles emporios de café tenía sucursales en el Museo de Tecnología del Futuro, y solo pasaron cinco minutos de caminata rápida antes de que los Hermanos Earplug se toparan con uno de sus puntos de venta automatizados…

Naturalmente, Rudi corrió primero hacia la máquina expendedora, seguido rápidamente por Magnuss, igualmente desesperado. Esto dejó a Chester, Miles y Valentine charlando sobre su breve encuentro con los poderes del Ser Supremo Wonky.

Miles dijo: “Tuvimos tanta suerte de tener a Susan para salvar el día; de lo contrario, no sé qué horrores podrían habernos sobrevenido “.

A lo que Valentine respondió: “Sí, muy lejos, hombre”.

Y Chester gritó: “¡Susan! ¡La encantadora, aunque bastante desafiante físicamente, Susan! Debe estar tan desesperada por un café como nosotros: debemos correr de regreso a buscarla. Iré.”

Pero, en última instancia, no necesitaba: Susan: ser un empático del futuro; y Chester poseía talentos telepáticos (podía seguir los pensamientos embarrados y el rastro de sudor que había caído de la mente y la frente de Rudi) y ahora se unió a los hermanos…

“Me temo que solo hay un sabor disponible”. Chester dijo disculpándose en nombre de la gerencia inepta de Café Puke. “Es Americano Intenso. Es negro, por eso viene sin leche. Pero, si está desesperado, puede agregar azúcar “.

“Estoy tratando de controlar mi peso”. Susan respondió. “También soy un diabético en el límite del Tipo Dos: ¿acaso el dispositivo contiene tabletas de edulcorantes?”

Chester estaba consternado: “¿Diabetes tipo dos? ¿En el futuro? ¡Por qué, el estándar de la medicina es más bajo que la Stone Age real! “

“Bueno”, dijo Susan con un suspiro, “es así: como todo lo demás, todas nuestras tabletas están hechas de piedra. ¿Alguna vez ha intentado tomar pequeños guijarros con sus comidas? Es posible, pero no sirven de mucho. Y pasarlos también puede ser bastante incómodo, incluso para alguien que cambia de forma como yo. Así que no me molesto, pero vigilo mi dieta para compensar “.

La conversación continuó en la misma línea, ya que ambas partes intercambiaron información sobre ellos mismos y sus anomalías físicas. Pero pronto, habiendo dejado el Café Puke, camino a una reunión con los curadores, Susan hizo un descubrimiento asombroso…

 

“Miren, muchachos”, gritó con deleite de niña, “¡Desde que bebí ese vil café, puedo convertirme en un tapón para los oídos gigante!”

Mientras Chester (en particular), Miles, Rudi y Valentine estaban encantados, Magnuss vio este descubrimiento como una ventaja potencial para ellos cuando finalmente conocieron a Cushions Smethwyke, porque aunque los intentos del Ser Supremo Wonky de infiltrarse en el Museo de Tecnología del Futuro habían sido frustrados. , su mera presencia seguía siendo una amenaza para él y para todos los que estaban dentro. Aunque no lo había discutido con sus hermanos, estaba claro para Magnuss que tendrían que llevar la pelea al enemigo. Y para eso necesitarían una nave estelar. Algo que no crecía en los árboles y que era muy caro de manejar.

“Excelente.” Dijo mientras los demás hacían sus propios comentarios de felicitación. “Bien hecho Susan. Ahora vamos a emborracharte con un poco más de Americano Intenso “.

Dentro de poco…

—Gracias, Magnuss —le dijo Susan un poco incómoda a Magnuss—, pero creo que quince tazas de café espantoso son suficientes por ahora. Y espero que haya un baño con cubículos más grandes que el promedio de camino a nuestro encuentro con esta mujer de Cushions Smethwyke: siento que mis piernas se cruzan mientras hablamos “.

De nuevo en breve, y después de que Magnuss explicara su comportamiento a todos, se vio a los Hermanos Earplug marchar resueltamente a su cita con el curador en jefe…

“Mantendremos a Susan en reserva”. Magnuss dijo.

“En caso de que Cushions intente sujetar firmemente los cordones de su bolso”. Añadió Rudi.

Y, por si acaso, Valentine agregó: “Sí, sho’nuf. ¡Tocar el asunto exacto!”

Bueno, por suerte, Cushions había empezado a preguntarse dónde diablos se habían metido todos, así que se llevó a su séquito a conocer a los chicos en una de las muchas vías del Museo…

 Su ‘séquito’ incluía a la tía Doris, Barcode Betty y Winston Gloryhole. Naturalmente, Rupert Piles lo siguió con su potente cámara de televisión 3D, que ya estaba funcionando cuando llegaron los Earplug Brothers …

“Hola chicos.” La siempre alegre tía Doris los saludó con una de sus sonrisas. Estáis todos intactos, espero. Llame al apartamento que comparto con K’plank Vagabundo Espacial más tarde: hice un delicioso pastel de limón con llovizna “.

Naturalmente, los hermanos agradecieron a su tía la amable invitación; luego dirigieron su atención a Cushions, al igual que Rupert Piles y su cámara de televisión…

Magnuss tomó la iniciativa y le contó su aventura en The Age of Stone. Terminó con: “Entonces, como puede ver por sí mismo, a menos que nos libremos de la amenaza existencial del Ser Supremo Maravilloso, el museo descansa sobre un terreno inestable”.

Rupert se acercó para un primer plano.

“¿Si?” Cojines respondió. “¿Qué quieres que haga al respecto? Ustedes son los héroes por aquí: descúbrelo “.

“No lo tenemos, mamá cobarde”, respondió Valentine a la manera vagamente antagónica del curador, “y no va a ser barato”.

Tanto Barcode Betty como Winston Gloryhole mostraron una sutil alarma ante esta información. “¿Qué quieres decir?” Preguntaron al unísono.

“Debemos visitar el planeta de la Corte Galáctica”. Magnuss respondió. “Necesitamos los poderes de los seres semejantes a Dios que residen allí para luchar contra nuestra potencial némesis”.

“Ese es el Ser Supremo Maravilloso”. Chester intervino amablemente.

“Así que necesitamos una nave estelar”. Miles agregó.

Naturalmente, siendo el curador en jefe de un museo casi en bancarrota, Cushions inmediatamente rechazó la idea. “Honestamente”, respondió ella, “las ideas que tienen los chicos. Estoy seguro de que has exagerado esto por completo. ¿No lo despidió esa gran mancha verde?

“Sí, lo hizo”. La voz de Susan llenó la vía pública como una fanfarria de tubas mal interpretadas con placas deflectoras desalineadas…

… “Y les digo que es solo cuestión de tiempo antes de que él, o él, rompa los cortafuegos que he erigido alrededor de la Era de la Piedra. Luego, cuando él, o él, entra, es…

… adiós Cushions Smethwyke y todo lo que amas! “

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Earplug Adventures: The Age of Stone (part 14)

Meanwhile Magnuss had reconvened with Hair-Trigger – who was less than enamoured with the idea of her beloved racing off across the Galaxy in search of divine intervention…

She said as much; to which Magnuss replied: “Oh do shut up, you miserable tart: I’ll only be gone five minutes. Knowing the Supreme Being like I do, I expect he’ll click his fingers and have us all back here before we’ve even left!”

Hair-Trigger, being a wise and resourceful former bounty hunter, could see the logic in Magnuss’ assertion that she remain behind in the Museum of Future Technology to defend it should any Hyperspace Pirates, or the like, choose to launch an attempt to invade during the absence of  the Earplug Brothers.

“Well Valentine did teach me the rudiments of flying the Punting-Modesty Facepuncher XL5 in an attack posture.” She said. “So I suppose I would be more use here than lost somewhere in deepest outer space. But I’m coming to the launch bay: you’ll not deny me my farewell wave.”

And so it was…

And even better, the Launch Control room had a whacking great big telescope through which she could watch the flying saucer leave the boundaries of Earth’s atmosphere…

“Tread carefully, Magnuss,” she whispered into the telescope, which fogged the view somewhat, “it’s a big unfriendly place out there.”

A short while later…

  …the saucer made an early evening landing upon the rejuvenated Mars. From the landing point, everyone aboard walked directly to the space ship construction facility…

…which was such a hive of activity that no one noticed as Cushions led Doris and her nephews to an observation window above the manufacturing shop floor…

“Wow,” Chester cried appreciatively, “does Frisby Mumph run this place too?”

But no one was listening: they were too busy staring down at the work in progress…

Everywhere earplugs scurried about – doing this, that, and the other. Welding robots sparked alarmingly as the three ships currently in production, slowly took shape…

“Outta sight!” Valentine remarked.

Rudi was right behind him with: “Groovy, baby!”

“Do they have names yet?” Miles asked.

“The zero-zero-one bay contains the drive unit of the Indefatigable.” Cushions replied. “They start off with the drive units; then build the rest of the ship on top of them. The zero-zero-two bay contains the drive unit and outer hull of the Saint Petersprong. The ship in bay zero-zero-three is almost complete. Obviously that is the ship that you’ll be using. I just hope it works: no one’s actually tried it yet. They’ve not even wired up the starter motor or tested the lavatories yet.”

“I’m sure it’ll be fine.” Magnuss said with the confidence of the young and Saint-like. “What’s its name?”

Cushions sighed before replying. Eventually she said: “Its name was chosen by popular ballot – so don’t blame me. Instead lambast that bunch of peasants in the Future Museum of Mars: they chose it.”   

“Yes, sure; I will. I promise.” Magnuss replied. “But what is it?”

Through gritted teeth Cushions answered: “The Rhubarb Crumble.”

“I love rhubarb crumble.” Chester said as he pushed in for a better view…

“Yeah, me too.” His twin volunteered.

“Real tasty, man.” Valentine added. “Gets my vote.”

“Excellent choice, Cushions.” Rudi said through a rare smile. “If we need to introduce ourselves to any aliens, we won’t sound even slightly intimidating.”

With that they turned about…

“So now you’ll want to see the inside, I suppose?”  Cushions grumbled.

Moments later, having collected Susan who had been deemed too big and ugly to climb the stair to the observation window…

…the Earplug Brothers made their way to the manufacturing shop floor and the Rhubarb Crumble itself…

Miles noted the lack of proper illumination.

“The ship is powered down,” Cushions explained, “whilst they fix all the bugs and do the topping out, so-to-speak. Oh – and there’s no crew either: so it’ll be interesting to see how you five earplugs – none of whom know diddally squat about star ships – figure you’re going to fly it to the Galactic Court.”

Magnuss refused to be flummoxed by this setback. “Well I’m sure Frisby Mumph can afford us a few engineers – if only to maintain the main drive.”

“And I can act as crew too.” A vast voice echoed through from the Captain’s ready room…

… “After all,” Susan said as she entered the bridge in her many separated forms…

… “I’m from the future. All this tech is old stuff to me. I could work it with all my eyes closed and numerous hands behind several backs. Look – I’ve already figured out how to turn on the light.”

No one could argue with the indisputable truth – even Cushions, who ground her impressive teeth together in rage. To her it was now clear that the space flight would take place, despite her vague attempts to thwart it. How she was going to pay for it, she knew not. She sighed again. “Oh, I suppose there’s always my credit card.” She said sotto voce. “It’s not quite maxed out.” Then, in an attempt to lighten her mood she allowed herself to look at the bigger picture: “And, of course, if they’re right about the Wonky SB, it might actually save the Museum of Future Technology – again. The Government will have to reimburse me from their alien invasion contingency coffers.”

“Yeah,” Susan (in her red-eyed form) – who had better-than-average hearing – yelled. “Money well spent!”

Whilst her green-eyed form smiled pleasantly at the recollection of the big sloppy kiss she’d enjoyed with Chester.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Aventuras con tapones para los oídos: La Era de la Piedra (parte 11)

Los chicos, mientras tanto, habían decidido mirar hacia afuera …

“Todavía es invierno”. Miles informó a Rudi, que estaba en el umbral de la puerta, pero no mostraba deseos de salir. “Todavía está nevando también. Y el cielo sigue siendo un malva espantoso “.

“Supongo que tendremos que esperar a que sucedan las cosas”. Rudi respondió.

Así que espera que lo hicieron. Pero a medida que pasaba el tiempo, empezaron a preguntarse si el ataque de Susan al hack de Wonky SB había fracasado. Entonces, con el corazón apesadumbrado fueron en busca de una salida …

El montacargas sonaba alentador, si podían encontrarlo, por supuesto. Y fue mientras se dedicaba a una búsqueda sistemática de lo antes mencionado que Rudi entró en un agradable cuadrilátero de piedra …

Pero no había dado más que unos pocos pasos, cuando de repente la falsa nieve cesó y el pseudo-sol empezó a brillar …

Por supuesto que podría haber sido una coincidencia, pero de alguna manera Rudi pensó que no. “Bebé maravilloso.” Él dijo.

Y en otros lugares, donde el temporizador día / noche obviamente había fallado, Magnuss se sentía de la misma manera …

¿Y se estaba disipando el malva en el cielo? Magnuss pensó que sí. Rudi también lo hizo. Entonces, sin dudarlo, corrió bajo tierra, hasta el lugar donde se había encontrado con la cueva de lava, para encontrarla llena de una maravillosa niebla fría y acuosa …

Allí dio las gracias a The Saint of All Earplugs: claramente, el ataque multivectorial de Susan contra el virus de Wonky SB había funcionado. Pero solo para demostrarlo, corrió a la superficie para ver el cielo despejado por sí mismo. Pero tal era su prisa que su boca se secó y su lengua se secó e hinchó …

Se las arregló para forzar algunas palabras a su alrededor. “Un café espantoso”, murmuró, “tengo que tomar un café espantoso: he estado corriendo como un idiota durante horas: ¡estoy tan deshidratado!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

That was a brief episode; but I’m sure the remainder will be larger in both width and girth.

Earplug Adventures: The Age of Stone (part 13)

Well Susan’s words – not to mention her dimensions and acting ability – altered the whole complexion of the argument…

Cushions smiled falsely through her great wall of white gnashers. “Oh, it’s like that, is it?” Then to Barcode Betty she said: “Where are the K T Woo, the Chi-Z-Sox and the Brian Talbot currently located?”

“Bloody miles away.” The mottled curator answered. “All on deep-space assignment. Neither of them can get back here for weeks – even at maximum velocity.”

“I was afraid you were going to say that.” Cushions mumbled in response to the bad news.

“What about the ship-building yards on the recently refurbished Mars?” Winston Gloryhole offered…

Cushions sucked on her considerable teeth. “But the new ships aren’t finished yet.” She complained. “And the Mars shuttle is down for its annual safety inspection. We can’t ride roughshod over the Health and Safety Commission you know.”

Magnuss could tell that Cushions was holding on to her metaphorical purse strings as though her life depended upon them remaining tightly closed. “We can use our flying saucer.” He offered.

With an obvious sigh and a great slumping of shoulders, Cushions finally succumbed to the inevitable. “Okay,” she said in a whisper, “I surrender: we’ll go to Mars. Give me a half-hour to get my affairs in order.”

Susan decided to spend the next half-hour productively, so she re-entered the Age of Stone to check on her firewalls. Chester volunteered to accompany her. Having quickly concluded that all was well, on the way back to the museum Susan decided to give Chester the same ride that she’d given Magnuss…

“What do you think, Chester?” She inquired. “Is it fun? Oh, by the way, my olfactory nerve bundles are located up there: you won’t break wind, I hope?”

Chester was far too in awe of Susan to insult her with a surreptitious fart, so it was a happy green blob that returned them both to the museum, and resumed her huge earplug-like appearance…

She couldn’t help but notice that Chester’s expression showed concern – and perhaps a little sorrow. “What ails thee, Chester?” She asked in a kindly voice.

Chester was reticent to reply, but after a couple of kicks in the shin he decided to answer: “I…I…really like you, Susan. But…but I’m feeling really sad we can never really be anything more than heroic friends. You’re so big, and I’m so small. Why – even if you were to agree to a big sloppy kiss behind the bike shed – I couldn’t even reach your chin. And worse still – you could only kiss the top of my head. I’m so depressed – I really am!”

Susan responded well to this emotional stimulus…

“Oh for flip’s sake,” she yelled, “haven’t you forgotten that I’m a shape-shifter? I can become whatever I can imagine. Look at this.”

“Er, lovely.” Chester replied, “But hardly a turn-on.”

“I’m not finished,” Susan said tetchily. “Regarde.”

“Aah, oh, you have two pin-prick eyes. Is that good?”

“Keep watching.” Susan answered.

So Chester did…

…and what he saw quite surprised him…

“Golly,” he said, “That’s a pretty earplug shape you have there.”

But he said no more as the pretty earplug shape grew prettier by the second – before detaching itself from the rest of the body entirely…

Chester looked around the apparition’s shoulder and remarked: “Pity your sister’s are so plain.”

He then took a backward step as the pretty earplug shape advanced upon him…

“Oh, but look, Chester,” the part of Susan replied, “look where my lips are now: just the right place for a big sloppy kiss. And there’s no one else around, so we don’t even need a bike shed to go behind!”

A lump formed in Chester’s throat. He didn’t know what to say. So Susan jokily responded thus…

“Or would you prefer to kiss a cabbage?” She offered.

But, of course she couldn’t be so cruel, and in next to no time…

…she had reverted to her multi-earplug form. “And if you don’t happen to like green,” she said through a smile so wicked that it gave Chester the goosebumps, “I can become any colour or hue you wish. Okay, Chester – pucker up; you’re in for the snog of your life!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2021

Was that final spoken line couched in a degree of metaphor? I leave it for you to decide.

What Really Happens in English Graveyards at Night

In the light of day, and the average English graveyard appears tranquil and silent, gravestones sit quiescent and still..

But at night, when no one is around to see or hear…

…earplugs hold very important meetings in their grand halls. I wonder what they discuss?

 

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