All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living, dead, undead or slightly unwell, is purely coincidental.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Dead Again

A figure stood framed in the doorway. Lightning flashed. 

"Roth!" I exclaimed, surprised. "You were dead."

He stepped inside out of the rain. "I got better," he replied.

"I went to your funeral."

 "I faked it."

 "Why?"

 "I wanted to hear what people would say about me after I was gone."

"What did they say?"

"Oh, there was a really nice eulogy. A few snivels then a cough, two belches and a fart."

"Touching, I think. I'm also really glad you went for the burial rather than cremation."

"And someone dumped 17 tons of grapes into the grave."

"Sorry, that was me."

"What!"

"Well, when someone is ill you visit them in the hospital," I looked for understanding, "Yes?"

"Yes."

"And bring them fruit?"

"Yes."

"Dead is the ultimate in ill, so I thought you'd need a lot of fruit."

Friday, 29 March 2013

Point of Reference

There is no mistaking the smell of an English Pub at opening time. Stale beer and ageing cigarette smoke are a potent mix. Not a-typically music was playing quietly in the background. I could be sure the volume would hike as soon as the landlord eyed some people trying to have a conversation.

Cigarette smoke. Interesting, I must have arrived before 2007.

I walked over to the bar, "Hi, who's this playing on the radio?"

"Kayleigh? Can't stand it. At least it didn't make number one."

1985. I turned to leave.

"Aren't you going to buy a drink?"

"Er, no, not today, I don't think."

"What do you think this is - a free information service?"

"No, do you have a lavatory?" Under my breath I added, "I've been busting for a pee since 1615."

"It's in the corner, over there."

I turned and walked towards it.

"Patrons only," the barmaid announced.

Now that was just unreasonable. Surely this wasn't Berlin in 1942. "I am a patron. I just haven't bought a drink yet."

I left. Trips through time require careful plotting and the use of Temporal Navigation System is nearly essential. Think of it as sat-nav for time machines. "You have passed December 1976, please do a U-turn when possible."

Unfortunately, on a whim, I had changed the Temporal Navigation System to speak Swedish and my laughter at it sounding like the chef from the Muppets quickly turned to panic when I realised I couldn't reset it. So I had resolved to get home by taking little steps through time, stopping, investigating & moving on a little bit more. I've been using my local pub, The Fox and Armpit, as my point of reference. Thankfully, 1985 was a pretty good hit and I only needed a little bit of luck to get close enough to "home".

I walked through the door of The Fox and Armpit and sat at the bar. I looked around. There was no smoke in the air, most of the patrons were nursing the one drink they could afford and using their phones to communicate with friends thousands of miles away, whilst ignoring those in the room. Yes, indeed I was "home".

The barmaid wandered over. "Hi," she said.

"Hello. Can I trouble you for a pint of Witches Broomstick please?"

"That'll be £2.75."

I fished around in my pocket for the money. Damn, it was good to be home.

"If you don't mind me asking, but don't you normally drink with a really tall gentleman?"

"I often do. Hopefully he'll be along later. I expect he's been taken in by the furniture shop's buy two armchairs, get a pizza free offer."

"I saw that. I didn't think most people would be swayed by the offer of a pizza."

"Mr Indigo Roth is quite definitely not most people. You don't get offers like that where he's from."

"Why, where is he from?" Hooked.

"Did you not notice the accent?"

"No, he sounds pretty Home Counties to me."

"He disguises it really well, but he is originally Norwegian. He took loads of lessons to learn how to drop the accent when he went to RADA. Just get him to say gravlaks - you'll see him salivating slightly and his accent will slip."

"He went to acting school?"

"I'm told his characterisation of Calamity Jane was absolutely unforgettable."

"Really?"

"Oh, yes. It was terrible that he got thrown out. Such a waste of raw talent. If it wasn't for his terrible addiction, we'd see him on the West End stage now. He might even have made it to Hollywood."

"Addiction? How awful."

"Lots of Norwegians suffer that way. I think it may be genetic. Hid jars of it all over his dormitory. Turned up on stage reeking of it."

"Booze. My auntie suffered like that. I hope he got help."

"Alcohol, no, no. Goodness no. Much worse than that. Pickled herring."



"But did he get help after he was thrown out of RADA?"

"Yes, they put him on a pickled herring substitute and I think it's a bit more manageable for him now. We just slip him one of these and he is, as they say, a happy badger." I held up a frozen packet and passed it over.

"What do you do with them?"

"Use your imagination."

Roth arrived. "Hi, can I have my usual please?"

The barmaid pulled him a Guinness, and he took a long pull before speaking again.

"Did you see the offer that furniture shop is doing? Awesome. I bought sixteen armchairs." He paused, had another sip, "How has your day been?"

"1615? It was a bit dull to be honest. I left a SIM card in one of the excavated pits at Stonehenge. Might brighten things up for the archeologists in the future."

"Yes, it would." He laughed, took a good chug of stout, then turned a looked at me, "Why is there a frozen fish-finger in my beer?"

Friday, 15 February 2013

A Quantum Of Spinach

"We need to go on a quest, find some mystical artefact and wrest it from the forces of darkness in an epic battle," Roth struck a pose very familiar to those brought up on black and white movies.

"He looks a lot like Errol Flynn standing like that," I whispered to Eolist.

"Yes, Errol Flynn having a pee!"

Roth continued, although frankly I didn't hear a word of it. I'm quite sure I was going purple trying not to laugh through his grand, and I'm sure rousing (if we'd been listening) speech.

"He's going to get the hat and the whip out soon," Eolist commentated.

"Oh oh, Indiana Roth and the Rhubarb of Doom?"

"Wasn't that a Quantum of Spinach?"



"That's Bond!"

"Oh."

Eolist was the first to notice it and once we had, I'm don't understand how we could possibly have missed it. "It's getting awfully smoky in here," she said, "I can barely see Roth."

"I can still hear him though."

"Well, nothing in this world is entirely perfect now, is it?"

"It's not your smoking ghost?"

"No, no, I don't think so. He's been trying to give up. I keep finding nicotine patches all over the house."

"Do you think the Surgeon General's warnings on the packet have finally worried him into giving up?"

"So he can enjoy a longer and more fulfilling life? I think the boat may have sailed on that already, given he has already reached the point in his existence where he should be doing pottery with Demi Moore."

I started coughing, "Where is this coming from?" My eyes watered.

The smoke swirled and a figure appeared.

"It's Jack the Ripper!"

"It's Dick Dastardly, surely?"

The figure before us wore a fine suit and stood with the jacket open. His waistcoat had a Xbox controller wedged into a pocket. Below a scary handlebar moustache was a pipe belting out the skyline of Victorian Sheffield.

He took his pipe from his mouth and spoke, "Don't call me Shirley!"

Continuing he said, "I have come to set you a quest. See that ring over there on the fireplace?"

"The one that has been there doing no one any harm for years?" I asked.

"That one, yes." He paused for dramatic effect. "Put it in the fire."

Eolist picked up the ring and put it into the blazing fireplace we hadn't mentioned before.

"Now pick it out carefully with this poker." He waited until we had the still glowing ring nestling on the end of the poker, "Can you see the elvish writing?"

Eolist and I both struggled to find our glasses and put them on. We looked at the ring. "No," we said in unison.

"It WAS there. I assume if I ask you to go on a quest and dump this in a mountain full of fire, you'll actually be able to see the bloody mountain without glasses?"

Roth appeared, "Did someone say 'Quest'?"

Eolist and I nodded, "He did."

"Fantastic, OK, I'll take the ring, Max, pick up the dwarf. Good to see you Gumley..."

"Oi, who are you calling a dwarf!"

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

UK Top Secret

As The Tunguska Event is the least visited place on the Internet, I have opened its pages for the storage of the UK's most secret papers from the last 100 years.




The Queen Memorandum

Dear Associates of the Executive Council,

As you are aware Queen Elizabeth II retired in 1990. Unfortunately we, of the council, couldn't allow her to abdicate in favour of her successor as Prince Charles is clearly away with the fairies.

Since 1990 her role has been taken by a number of fine actors and actresses. This has both strengthened the monarchy and reduced the number of exciting re-interpretations of the works of William Shakespeare we'd have otherwise endured. Allowing foreign actors and actresses to play the role during leap years has really kicked it into a higher gear.

There have been many notable turns as the monarch and some minor gaffs:

  • Sir Patrick Stewart, who tapped a man on each shoulder with a sword and then spoke the words he will always remember - Engage. Warp 6.

  • Samuel L Jackson who told Prince Harry he was too old to be trained as a Jedi.

  • Scarlett Johansson could have made the role her own, if it were not for a double back flip during a royal premier. We attempted to cover this by releasing a story about the issues with extra powerful springs in replacement knee joints.

  • Julie Andrews was simply terrifying during a Royal visit to an umbrella factory. You will have seen the videos. We don't want a repeat.


The weekly meeting between the monarch and the Prime Minister has been unaffected, most PMs having attended public schools like Eton and Harrow and having their heads shoved so far up their posh arses as to be unable to notice. Even Charlton Heston's turn as the Queen wasn't spotted despite leaping onto a palace drawing room chair and yelling "Every man should have the right to carry a gun."

There have been instances where an actor as suitable as those referred to above could not be found. For example, during much of a diamond jubilee a slightly pissed-off looking mannequin was used. Notably for the river Thames trip.

None of the Royal Family have been aware of the substitution of the Queen by an actor. Centuries of in-breeding certainly have advantages, but intelligence and observational skills are not amongst these. Maybe if the extreme wet weather continues the webbed feet will be of value after all.

Please reply with suggestions of actors and actresses we can approach. Anyone who suggests John Barrowman will be unlikely to be heard of again.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Final Part

Our heroes have been fed, followed a trail of notes requesting help, driven by bus, flown in a stunning replica of the Starship Enterprise, shot, killed, resurrected by the bus driver, who turned out to be Death and finally reached the source of the notes where a fate worse than, er, Death awaited them.



The seventh part of the trilogy:

Skimming time like a stone on a pond

It's turned out weird again

Trail of Crumbs

An unfortunate bullet in the head

Death And Taxes

The Light at the End of the Tunnel






The orderly walked down the corridor. He paused at each of three doors opening the flap and looking into the room. "Poor souls," he muttered, "Hallucinating for weeks. The tall one keeps muttering about wresting a laser from a shark, cutting open the door and escaping."

His supervisor arrived just as he closed the last flap. "I've heard him. Sharks with lasers. Pah! Found on the pavement outside the Euthanasia Curry House in 1979."

"Curry too strong for them?"

"No, apparently it was the after dinner coffee. Eolistblend prepared the Turkish way. Not recommended by the World Health Organisation and banned under the Geneva Convention."

The supervisor lifted the first flap, "Bloody hell, we're going to get crucified for this!"

"What!!"

"This one has gone! Check the others."


In 1979, a cracked trio was sent to the loony bin by a psychiatrist for windows they didn't lick. These men (and a woman) promptly escaped from a maximum security mental hospital to the Slobering-under-the-Bed underground. Today, still wanted by hardly anyone, they survive as crazies for rent.

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... The Caffeine-Team.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

The Light at the End of the Tunnel



The sixth part of the trilogy:

Skimming time like a stone on a pond

It's turned out weird again

Trail of Crumbs

An unfortunate bullet in the head

Death And Taxes



"The next note is in the cave, Death said," said Eolist.

"Well, this is the only cave I can see," I said.

"Why does it have to be halfway up a mountain, and in the baking heat," complained Roth. He was hungry and hunger always makes him tetchy. We had last eaten in 1979.

We climbed the rock strewn slope. Every time we reached a point where we thought the next rise would lead to the cave, we would get there only to be disappointed. The bullet hole in my forehead was still bleeding and painful. You'd have thought when Death resurrected us from the dead he'd have attended to minor details like this.

"Anyone got an aspirin? I've got a really sore head," asked Eolist.

"Get down!" Roth hissed. We ducked behind an outcrop of rocks that was next on our list to scrabble over. In the distance three horses and riders were galloping towards the cave. They stopped and one of the riders looked straight at us. He turned back and the three of them continued.

"Did you notice anything odd about them, because they really gave me the willies?" I asked.

Roth thought for a moment and said, "No shadows. It's blazing hot, brilliant sunshine and they had no shadows."

We decided to approach the cave more slowly, moving from rock outcrop to stone cairn to laying flat on the hot rocks. Whatever we did, we didn't want to be seen.

The sun was setting before we arrived at the cave. Dusk was an advantage we hadn't planned for, but were grateful for nonetheless. The mouth of the cave was not at all as expected, being made of metal rather than the more traditional stone. I picked up a small rock in entrance and turned it over. Underneath it said made in china. We looked around. There was no one there and thankfully no sign of the three horsemen. We walked further into the cave taking care to keep to places where we could hide easily. The entrance was now hidden from us but there was enough light to see, although from where it came we couldn't make out.

We sat down on a "rocky" outcrop, although it felt chilly and metallic probably because it was cold and made of metal.

"What do you think this place is?" I asked.

"And where's the note?" Eolist added.

"Do you think they have a vending machine?" Muttered Roth under his breath.

Before Roth finished his sentence the wall of the cave slid open and blinding lights shone down upon us. We were in a huge control room with a giant boardroom table and chairs. On the opposite wall, framed like a huge picture, was glass window onto an aquarium. A giant shark swam up to the glass before being bitten in half and gobbled up by something much scarier with tentacles.

A voice boomed out, "Ah, Mr Roth, we have been expecting you!"

The figure standing on the gantry was black, oriental and immaculately dressed.

"Who's that?" I hissed at Indigo.

"That is Dr Wang. He's probably trying to take over the world. Again."

"Seize them," shouted Dr Wang.

The three horsemen we saw earlier appeared out of the shadows.

"Who are you?"

"We're the three horsemen of the apocalypse," a dark reverberant voice said, "For I am War." He bowed slightly. "This is Famine," he gestured to the very thin horseman to his left. "And this," he paused, "is The Other One."

"Dammit, I'm Pestilence. Do I need to wear a name-badge?" he wheezed.

"It would help," War agreed. The Other One shot him a daggared look.

"I thought there were FOUR horsemen. Where is Death?" I asked.

"He is no longer a horseman. He drives buses. We were supposed to be the four horsemen of the apocalypse: Death, War, Famine and The Other One."

"Pestilence," The Other One interjected.

"Whatever!" War continued. "We were meant to be the four horsemen of the apocalypse, not the three horsemen and the one bus driver of the apocalypse. Besides he gets all the limelight, for instance I hear he has appeared in The Tunguska Event, whatever that is, no less than five times. Am I not photogenic enough?"

The three horsemen grabbed us and hauled us off to a musty and damp prison cell. Actually "hauled" was overstating it, they were really quite gentle and just cajoled us in the right direction. Roth muttered something about "having a word with Dr Wang about his henchmen training."

"I was rather expecting a note. Not Dr Wang and three supernatural jockeys from the Bible," Eolist complained. She had a point.

"He could have killed us. Did you see the automatic machine gun emplacements? It was like something out of Aliens," I said.

"It's not Dr Wang's style. He likes nice elaborate death settings. Something slow, painful, humiliating and basically anything I can escape from. He's a gentleman genocidal manic, with impeccable manners," Roth filled us in on this aspect of his former life. Normally all he talks about are the fast cars and the expense account.

We sat in the cell for hours before the two of the three horsemen came back. The cold and the damp was quite pleasant after the long dry climb up to the cave.

"We've been told to take you to the dining room. Dr Wang would like a word over dinner," said War.

"Hang on, you're War, he's The Other One, so where is Famine?" I asked.

"Pestilence," hissed the other horsemen and was promptly ignored.

"Famine is cooking dinner. He's quite the Gordon Ramsey when he has the chance you know," War replied, "Loves Hell's Kitchen."

As we stepped out of the gloom War looked us up and down. We were still wearing the uniforms from the Enterprise, but the knees of our trousers were worn through, there was blood from our gunshot wounds and we looked a mess. "I better take you somewhere to get cleaned up."

We arrived at dinner, showered and very well turned out. Roth and I had Saville Row suits and Eolist was wearing a black designer number.

"Ever felt he might have had this planned? This suit is a perfect fit," I said.

"Dr Wang is like that. Never play battleships or noughts and crosses against him. His anticipation and forethought is legendary," Roth replied.

"So, Mr Roth, how did you deal with my three trigger happy henchmen down below?" asked Dr Wang, "I was most annoyed to hear they had shot you dead."

"We got a little surprise help from Death. He decided to bring us back to life and dispatch your henchmen. Not that we knew they were yours, of course," Roth explained. "We were puzzled as to why Death was involved."

"I needed some unusual assistance, and I found this lovely little vein of rivalry amongst the four horsemen. The three who are here, War, Famine and The Other One are really fed up with Death. It seems they hate him getting all the big speaking parts and roles in adventures whilst they are the also-rans. Also they seem to really resent his driving of a London Bus instead of the riding a horse."

"War could make a good living as a voice over artist," I interjected.

Dr Wang ignored me and continued the explanation, "Between us we concocted this idea that there was someone in trouble, who needed rescuing, and they were leaving a trail of notes. I knew Indigo Roth would find that irresistible, especially if the someone, possibly, was female. Death was lead to believe that the rescue was essential and that whilst Roth might die it must go on. I needed to get the 'Roth might die' bit in so as I can kill him at my base in a fiendishly clever manner."

"So that's why he saved us when we were all killed," said Eolist.

"Indeed. The other three horsemen will be delighted to make Death feel like an ass."

We ate in relative silence. Famine could have been a Michelin stared chef in another life.

At the end of the meal, Dr Wang got his supernatural henchmen to take us to a room. It looked like the bottom of a missile silo. In the middle was a shaft in the ground which we were taken over to inspect. At the bottom of the shaft was molten lava. It was rising gently. When we looked up there were the rocket exhausts of a missile. One of the walls of the silo was glass.

Dr Wang explained, "You three will be tied to these metal poles. The lava will rise in the shaft until it covers the floor and cracks the glass, whereupon a shark will break out with millions of gallons of water. The shark has a laser on its head. The laser will ignite the rocket exhausts."


"Dr Wang, you fiend!" Roth exclaimed, with cool English composure.

Eolist and I remained quiet as the three of us were tied to the metal poles. It didn't seem fair.

"Dr Wang, this doesn't seem fair. Your beef is with Roth here, not us. Let us go," said Eolist.

"My dear woman, there are three poles and the apparatus needs a little testing do you not think?"

"What do you expect from us?" I asked.

"Dr Tunguska, I expect you to die!" replied Dr Wang. He paused and made some corrections in his notebook, shaking his head slightly.

He left the room, locking the hatch and leaving us to our fate. The lava rose, the shark butted the glass and the rocket exhausts loomed over us threateningly. Soon the lava flowed over the rim and edged towards our feet.

Are our heroes doomed? Again?

Monday, 9 July 2012

Scratch & Sniff

You may have wondered what your favourite characters smell like. Well, due to the power of technology I bring you the scratch and sniff guide to The Tunguska Event.

Scratch and sniff below to get the authentic smell of Max Tunguska:


Now try the fine aroma of Eolist Petite:


Then the heady wiff of Indigo Roth:


And finally for the brave, the Squiddrel:


Unfortunately the technology required to make this work isn't available in your century. I recommend you move forward to the next century or attempt to scratch and sniff Max Tunguska, Eolist Petite, Indigo Roth and the Squiddrel personally.

Actually, forget about scratching and sniffing the Squiddrel. He might not like it much. And then you wouldn't like it much.
These blog entries are protected by copyright © Dr Max Tunguska, 2009 - 2012