Archive for the ‘Doctor Who’ Category
The Doctor appears late in this sordid tale. All the attention is given to the protagonist of Canaanabis Roach. He’s special and he’s just been given the power of speech. Now he talks about his adventures in past lives, This one happens to include the namesake Time Lord and an impossible girl.
(Doctor Who fan fiction)
Mr. Binger (aka Matthew Sawyer)
I’ve got a chamber in my pipe. I’ll explain what I mean when I say “chamber” in a minute. I mean it is really called a “chamber,” but some of you might not know what I’m talking about. This is my “weed pipe,” my pipe for smoking weed, marijuana. I am not going to lie about it, you saw me.
You caught me with my dick in my hand. Literally, it looks like a dick – my pipe does. It’s blown, opaque purple glass and it has a bulge on the end where you suck out smoke. It looks like the vacuum-sucked head of a circumcised penis, like a doorknob stuck on the end of some guy’s pecker. A purple one. That’s the chamber. You suck the smoke out of the pee-hole of a big, sensitive dick. I’m getting another pipe or I am just going to roll joints from now on. After this bowl.
What was I saying? Yeah, that bulge in my pipe is a “chamber” where pot smoke gets concentrated. All that THC swirls into there like scented incense into a cathedral, a whole lot of incense… frankincense, mire and that kind of shit. Fundamentalist Christians throw crap in there that makes the smoke sparkle. Catholics think Jesus is hiding in there, that cloud, above the tabernacle to be precise. I’ve never seen him. What I was saying? Oh, so much smoke gets packed in there, you get blinded. I mean, you can still see, but you can’t see through that haze in the chamber. And that’s before you take the hit, but you’ll be fine. Marijuana is safer than you think.
I flick my transparent and unbranded lighter and touch flame against the bowl in my pipe, and my lips against the bulging glass phallus, then I take a hit. I draw a sooty vapor of cannabinoids into my mouth then lungs and I feel something sharp and serrated against my bottom lip. That something had come poked out of the chamber. I spit and there goes all the smoke I tried holding in my lungs.
Sat beneath the wasted intoxicating vapor, I examine the desecrated end of my purple penis pipe. A long, jagged stem projects from the opening. It looks like it may have come from the marijuana I had packed into the pipe. It was stemmy – the marijuana Sativa strain called Sunday Schoolgirl is full of stems. Sunday Schoolgirl is stemmy. And I wonder if I had loaded so much weed into the bowl of my pipe it now came out the other end. That was impossible.
The openings between the chamber and the bowl of the pipe are tiny. And there is a metal screen in the bowl that holds the weed in place. It’s where ash and resin collects. Cinders hardly ever pass through the restricted passages – which was a merit for the design of the glass pipe. A big stem could never fit through this artful and obscene piece of smoking apparatus. That would be like asking a pregnant woman to swallow a camera to examine a fetus in her womb. There are barriers.
Unmindful of the unborn, I pinch that stray stem of Sunday Schoolgirl between the nails of my thumb and my little finger and I pull it out with a snap. I’m sure I hear the pipe scream – in my mind. Did you hear it? I tell myself I heard the inanimate twig cry in my imagination. I am baffled at first when I inspect the foreign object in my hand.
What had touched my lip is a leg, an insect leg; the leg of cockroach – a cricket, I hoped – but its dismembered source follows from out of the pipe. From out of a maybe a four caliber opening at the end of the chamber, an oversized blond cockroach crawls. “How did you get in there?” I say to the insect clinging upside on the pipe. I don’t expect an answer so I should have ended that statement with a period.
Although I am repulsed the smoking creature is just above the open palm of my hand, I have my senses and remain in control of myself. The only thing I don’t pay conscious attention to is the question, “How did that huge thing ever get out of the chamber?” If marijuana smoke was dangerous, this thing should have been trapped and gassed to death, fumigated.
“Don’t kill me,” I hear it cry. The bug is talking to me. I drop the pipe when the cockroach tells me, “I am so high.” Both fall out of my hand and toward the floor.
The insect screams, “Eeee…”
The jetsam vanishes until a second later I see the bug clinging on the cuff of my right shirt sleeve. Brimming with discourtesy, I shake my arm and holler, “Get off, get off!”
Somewhere from under my arm the cockroach seems to speak to itself. It moans, “My leg, I lost my leg. Oh, the pain… the vision… the power of speech!”
“Is this a miracle?” I babble aloud. “What’s going on?”
The cockroach lets go of my sleeve and it swings itself onto the table in my kitchen. Landed skillfully despite missing an appendage, the cockroach informs me, “You tore my leg off! Giant, monster! Now I’ve only got five”
“Nah,” I object. I say no again then realize I am indeed guilty. “Yeah, okay…”
“Okay,” echos the insect. “Hey, it is okay. I can talk. The trauma and the marijuana – I can talk.
“Like the animals when the Messiah was born,” I conjecture aloud.
“What?” the bug asks me. “You’re faith is not exactly canonical.”
“Huh? Shaken is what you should say.” I ask the talking cockroach, “Who are you?”
“I am Canaanabis Roach,” he tells me.
“No,” I stutter while I am still confused. “What are you?”
“I can tell you.”
“I can tell you a story,” Canaanabis Roach promises.
My agreement comes out with an emphatic, “I suppose.”
Pushy, I ask him more. “Where do you come from.”
“Possibly from where we all come from,” Canaanabis says. “We live forever, you and me. Each life follows one past. And I think we’re all going to the same place.”
“You’re a bug, a religious bug,” I say when I answer this riddle. “Are you reincarnated? Did you do something bad?”
“Bug?” the cockroach described itself. “I would have you know, my shape today is the peak of evolution. All life on Earth will arrive at this pinnacle before the planet ends.”
“The Earth is going to end?” I ponder in morose.
Canaanabis ignores my sad realization and he still talks about himself. “I have always looked like I am, but perfected at each birth. You are too. Maybe regeneration is the correct word for what happens at death and not reincarnation.”
“I got to take a hit,” I state so and I do just that. I ignite the glass bowl again and swallow smoke from pipe without again looking at the instrument. Luckily, I never get in touch with another relative of this Canaanabis Roach.
My head swims and I repeat myself. “You’re talking.”
“We covered that. It’s the smoke,” the insect says then jumps because I bring my hand with the pipe down hard upon the table. I almost kill the miraculous bug. The whole incident is an accident.
“Careful,” it shouts at me.
“Sorry,” I beg from the creature. “It does seem a reasonable thing for bugs to worry about, getting squashed; that and fumigation.”
“You made my heart jump,” Canaanabis says.
I ask him, “Do you have a heart?”
“Of course,” he replies, “It’s full of love. I’m not even sore about the leg. The power of speech is something anyone would imaginably give a limb for.”
“Look at you, poor creature,” Canaanabis tells me. “I shouldn’t feel bad, you only have four.”
“Nevertheless,” he says and talks until he is calm again. “Have you ever had a premonition? Have you ever received a sign something bad is going to happen?”
“Whoa,” I answer. “You want another hit? Cuz’ I do.”
“Sure,” the bugs says. “I think marijuana makes me smarter.”
“It’s safe, too,” I relate while I hold smoke in my inflated chest. The swelling subsides and another question rides out of my mouth upon a stream of vapor. “How? How are you going to smoke. Do you have lungs?”
“I don’t,” Canaanabis notes.
Both of us consider a puzzle before the cockroach suggests, “I got an idea. Get that bowl smoking. Get it hot and let it smolder and put it down. I got it from there.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Take a hit,” insists Canaanabis. “Take a big one, a really big one.”
I do what I am told and place the smoking pipe on the table, carefully, next to my new friend. I make a toast and blow out smoke. “This one is for the Kafka!”
Canaanabis Roach crawls over and on top of the smoking bowl – his missing leg presented him no disability. His other five work fine. The insect hovers over the hot embers and in this way Canaanabis absorbs vapor into himself. He speaks to me while he procrastinates on top of the pot. He lingers there until the last waft of smoke dissipates.
“I am so high,” he says. “I hope this doesn’t wear off.”
“You know what it feels like?” he asks me.
“I’m sure I do,” I admit. “But I’m not so sure how it feels for you.”
Canaanabis says, “It feels like warming your cold butt… like when you’re warming yourself on Christmas morning and you get warm inside.”
“Is that your butt?” I say dismissing the sentimentality. “It looks like your tummy.”
“Let’s not talk like children,” scorns the cockroach.
In defending myself, I put all responsibilities on the many little shoulders of my new buddy. “You said you were going to tell a story.”
“I will,” Canaanabis answers and crawls down onto the table. He gazes up at me and he proposes, “I will tell you about my hunt for where I came from. I’ll tell you about my past lives.”
“Talk about non-canonical,” I tease the insect.
“Keep your opinion to yourself,” he tells me. “This really happened to me.”
“Okay,” I relent and admit to myself I am talking to a bug. I am happy with this fantastical experience – quite content with my little ‘trip.’
“I was in Japan at my beginning,” Canaanabis Roach tells me. “Long ago, there was a man called the Doctor. He wasn’t from this planet.”
I choke then say, “Hold on, man. Are you talking about the science fiction television show, Doctor Who? That’s fiction, man. There’s a copyright on that shit. The BBC.”
“You don’t even know what’s real. You’re talking to me,” the cockroach reminds me. “You have magic marijuana. And what are you holding? Look at that pipe, dude.”
“This happened in the past, anyway,” Canaanabis rants. “What would you know? This was before your time, long before.”
Surrendered, I say, “Okay, You met Doctor Who. Go on and tell me the rest of your story.”
“I never learned his name, but he knew mine,” the cockroach submits. “I never saw him again.”
Settling onto his haunches, and after myself being seated, Canaanabis continues his narrative. “This was in the Higo Province on Kyushu.”
“Kyushu?” I ask the insect.
“It’s the big island at the very south end of Japan.”
“Okay,” I confirm. “What’s a Higo?”
“The Province was named for the resident castle town. The Kikuchi clan administered the territory. Kikuchi Takefusa, the samurai, he was away fighting Mongols in China. Prince Koreyasu was the shogun.”
At this opportunity, I make a complaint. “Hey, is all of this going to be in Japanese? I don’t know any foreign language. I know sushi, if that isn’t an American word. Domo arigato, maybe.”
“I’m just giving you names,” the insect explains. “Write them down if you have to.”
“I’ll give them numbers,” I tease. “Uno, dos, tres…”
The cockroach grumbles. “It’s good the Doctor is just the Doctor.”
“What were you doing in Japan?” I ask and encourage my friend to tell his story.
“Discovering where I came from,” he replies while standing in contemplation. “I was born in Japan. Or so I thought until the Doctor told me I was a Mongol. I was a Chugen at the time…”
“A foot soldier,” Canaanabis Roach tells me. He then says immediately, “I was about to be promoted a rank and become an Ashigaru.”
“Hold on,” I say and interrupt. “You were human in a past life?”
“I said we are all the same,” Canaanabis states as if he were some mystic oracle. “And I have always appeared as I am today?”
“As a bug?” I say aloud. I cannot be certain I had not meant to ask the abrupt and rude question. “I mean, you were a Japanese soldier and you were still a cockroach. Were you small?”
“No,” screeches the outraged insect. “I was as tall as you are now.”
“A giant cockroach?”
“That’s what the Doctor said when I met him,” Canaanabis conveys and simmers.
I laugh. “That’s the hook, isn’t it? Go on. Tell me your story. I’m listening. It’s already wild.”
“Okay,” the cockroach promises. “I was fetching water for the gashira – I did that every morning and night. I could carry four buckets, one in each hand…”
“You walked upright?” I blurt shocked.
“Do you want to hear this story?” Canaanabis Roach asks me as if he were proposing an ultimatum.
“Yeah,” I claim. “It’s that you said you walked on two legs. Can you do that now?”
The bug only stares up at me.
“Fine,” I say once I relent. “Tell your story, just don’t surprise me and say you wore a kimono or something.”
“Don’t be,” he warns me. “I told you, we are all the same – begun at once in one place and the same in the end.”
“Don’t punish me with church. I’ve had enough of that,” I say and cover my ears. “I just want to hear you tell your Doctor Who story. Please.”
“Fine,” Canaanabis replies. “Be quiet.”
I respectfully mouth the letters, “O,” and, “K.” My five-legged friend then continues speaking.
“I was coming past the pit-houses…”
“Wait,” I shout when I can no longer restrain my disbelief. “Was everybody a cockroach?”
Canaanabis Roach stares at me a long while. He then asks me, “Is that what it says about the Japanese in your Western history books?”
“I guess not, no,” I opine. And I admit, “History was not my strongest subject.”
“Obviously,” the insect says. “Let me answer your questions. Just don’t interrupt the story again.”
I wave both my hands in surrender. After I exhale a held breath, Canaanabis says, “The Doctor’s time machine materialized on the path ahead. The road to the Danjo. There was a loud, labored sound like your breathing is now and the time machine appeared.”
However the storyteller meant my involvement in his tale to sound, I understand the cockroach to say I was acting noisy. I hold my breath and Canaanabis tells me more. “A gaijin wearing a black cape and accented with frills stepped out the blue box and he walked straight toward me. This one meant business. A small brunette girl had come with him.”
I think, “Which regeneration? Which Doctor is this one? There are like a dozen.” And I don’t mean Canaanabis Roach’s vague definition of reincarnation. I’m talking about canon, There’s a linear progression of Doctors in the series. The clues I had been given indicates this story includes the Third Doctor.
The woman with him could be Liz or Jo or Mary Jane Smith – if at this point the cockroach truly now adheres to canon. Canaanabis tells me outright, “Her name was Clara.”
“Oh,” I wince and pretend the noise I made was a natural and involuntary human function.
“Fascinating,” Canaanabis says the Doctor told him and I give my attention to the speaker again. My friend tells me, “We spoke the same language but I still distrusted the foreign visitors.”
“I asked the Doctor if he and his companion were ikko-ikki, rebel peasants – my masters would need to know.”
The Doctor told Canaanabis, “She may be icky…”
And Clara complained, “Hey!”
But the Doctor merely grinned and never stuttered while he yet spoke. “I’m a bit more important. The three of us have a riddle to solve. You two have a connection.”
“To that?” Clara objected and pointed. Canaanabis ignored the woman in respect for the Doctor.
“How so?” the upright, man-sized cockroach asked the time and space traveler.
“You are both impossible,” he told my friend. “You each are reborn again and again. Do you have any memory of who you were?”
Clara warned Canaanabis. “He started asking that question. It usually goes somewhere, I don’t know where. Just answer him.”
“Are you a monk?” Canaanabis said he asked the Doctor. The bug clarifies for me his question was based on the Doctor’s declaration of afterlife. Overly reverent, he asked him, “Are you a sohei?”
The Doctor said, “Something like that.”
The time traveler then directed the upright cockroach, “If you don’t remember any past lives, as my lovely friend, Clara, does not, let’s start at the beginning. Where were you were born? Here, in Japan?”
“My master would know,” Canaanabis answered. “He adopted me when I was born. I have no idea where my mother has gone or if she is even still alive.”
“That shouldn’t be a problem,” Clara is said to have stated. The Doctor hushed his companion.
“And your master is in mainland China,” the Doctor said knowingly. “He should have almost reached the Yangtze River by now… tell me, is there anyone at his Dojo that can answer questions about your past?”
Canaanabis said, “If there was, I would have found out and talked to him by now.”
“Let’s go to China,” the Doctor decided then hustled everyone into his marvelous box. “Everyone into the Tardis, the both of you. I will not have this mystery haunt me the rest of my lives. It’s like both of you are fragmented – split tachyons radiate off you into random directions. Look at you, Canaanabis Roach. Heavens, now you’re a bug!”
“I am what I am,” my friend said in defense of himself.
Clara told him, “It’s alright, ignore him. He’s made me mad, too. He just doesn’t know any better.”
“Excuse me?” the Doctor said inside his inverted spaceship. He explained to an awed Canaanabis, “This machine is larger than your whole village.”
Clara also answered the Doctor’s question. “You’re rude.”
“Me?” the Doctor argued and piloted his box over the East China Sea. Canaanabis said he watched their fight on a view-screen. The Doctor also challenged his female assistant. “Me, rude? What about you, you pint-sized mistress?”
“It’s called the TARDIS,” he told his other, insect guest. The machine landed with a thud. Clara scolded the pilot.
He told her, “Look what you’ve done, you’ve made her mad.” The Doctor was talking about his machine. He said about his Tardis, “She’ll remember that.”
“Oh,” Clara groaned. She pulled a red lever on the angular console in the center of the room and the outside doors opened. “Let’s go. Let’s find out who I am and why I’m connected to a mutant cockroach in feudal Japan.”
“We’re in China now,” the Doctor corrected her. “Near Shanghai.”
“Is my master here,” the insect asked the Doctor and peeked outside. He saw only the length of a wide, golden river.
The Doctor told my friend, “I expect so.”
Outside the Tardis, Clara asked Canaanabis, “Excuse me, doesn’t anyone say anything about… I’m sorry for being direct. What do people say about your appearance?”
He told her honestly, “The peasants think I am the child of a spirit under the earth. Lord Kikuchi’s army thinks I’m good luck.”
“If that is the case, they’ll be happy to see you here,” the Doctor said and shut the door of his machine. Canaanabis makes a personal comment in the midst of his story.
“We were outside again. All I saw was earth, water and sky and it still seemed smaller than that time I was in the Doctor’s time machine.”
He then told me the Tardis had materialized on the banks of the Yangtze near a rope corral holding thick, big-headed ponies. A circle of tents stood behind the fenced animals. A large blue jin-maku, the camp curtain, was clearly visible displayed on a center tent within the ring. Its letters proclaimed this was the army of Kikuchi Takefusa. The Doctor wasted no time marching around the fence then straight into the camp’s perimeter.
“Halt,” two armored guards told him and barred the passage with crossed naginata. “The curved pole arms were an intimidating barrier,” Canaanabis emphasized for me.
“I know Takefusa,” the Doctor told the guards. “He and I met at the dojo we shared when he was a boy.”
“They didn’t believe him,” Canaanabis said to me. “That’s why the Doctor started yelling for my master.”
“Takefusa,” he shouted. “Takefusa, come out here. I have questions about our mutual friend. I’ve brought him here.”
“’Canaanabis Roach?’ Kikuchi Takefusa said. He looked so full of hope that day I saw him, when he said my name. Then he saw the Doctor and the samurai’s face went pale.”
My friend said, “His hand dropped onto the hilt of his katana.”
“Who?” shouted the samurai. Kikuchi Takefusa could not disguise the recognition he had for the Doctor. He inquired, “How is it possible? You, you have not changed.”
“I am blessed, I imagine,” the Doctor replied. “I am blessed to see my friend grown to become a powerful lord.”
“I am a lord, Time Lord,” Takefusa told the Doctor. “I never understood what that could mean. I thought you were telling a child a tale.”
“Now you do,” the alien traveler replied and took advantage of the implied explanation for everything about him that had not changed.
“He knows everybody,” Clara proclaimed and threw up her arms and shrunk low.
“Canaanabis,” Kikuchi Takefusa said to the insect. “We need your luck. The ships have not arrived to take back our hoard. My men will eat all the horses if the barbarians come first and he must fight them.”
The pole arms were then uncrossed and the Doctor and the overstrung Japanese warrior conversed without obstruction. “That’s too bad,” the Doctor stated in sympathy. “Tell me, where did you find our friend, Canaanabis Roach?”
“What?” yelled the samurai. “He comes from here.”
Kikuchi Takefusa spoke directly to the cockroach. Canaanabis tells me he said, “My friend, didn’t you know? You come from here? The Mongols were going to eat you.”
“Ergh,” the cockroach said he gagged.
“Clara was hiding,” he explained to me. He claims, “I don’t think she was trying to stay concealed. She was short, much shorter than the Doctor. And she was shorter than me when I wanted to be a samurai. The woman was standing behind us and no one knew she was there.”
Kikuchi Takefusa told my friend, “Your mother was a witch. I found her here in China with her snake. She held you captive, Canaanabis, and the woman made you part of an experiment. I heard she transformed you into what you are now. She did this to you in her quest for immortality.”
“Now we’re getting somewhere,” the Doctor is said to have interjected. “A clue.”
“Transformed?” my friend said he wondered aloud. He tells me out of the context of his story, “I don’t think I have ever looked different, in this life or a last.”
I flatter the bug, “You look fine. Go on, so now you think you were human?”
Canaanabis Roach pauses and I am impressed with the idea my new friend is cross with me. After some time of hearing my intermittent breaths, he reminds me, “Please, pay attention.”
“I do,” I claim. In order to assure my guest, I apologize. “I’m sorry. Please, go on.”
The cockroach finally says, “Clara pushed between us, the Doctor and me. I think she wanted to say something but then my master spotted her.”
“Kikuchi Takefusa shouted, ‘The witch,’ and he pulled his sword from its sheath.”
“Clara was a witch?” I can’t help and ask astonished.
Canaanabis replies, “She was my mother.”
“My master, Lord Kikuchi Takefusa, sought to cut off her head but I stepped between them.”
The insect pauses. At this opportunity, I point at the cold pipe with a fat, fresh ounce of weed packed into its bowl. Whether or not my friend registered I was offering another round of intellectual enhancement was an infertile question. Canaanabis began speaking again. He sounded melancholy.
“I’m sure you’ve heard the claim in popular fiction – when a samurai draws his sword, he must also draw blood.”
I nod my head.
“He drew mine,” my friend says. “I sacrificed my life for the life of my mother. Lord Kikuchi took off my head.”
“Duh-ah,” I sputter in sympathy.
Canaanabis tells me, “He might have killed Clara, too. I don’t know.”
“I don’t think so,” I say and hope I cheer the insect. “The Doctor was there. He knows Venusian aikido.”
“It doesn’t matter.” Canaanabis tells me.
“Why is that?” I ask.
“Because the Doctor is coming back.”
“Huh?” I gush. “Really?”
I am sure the cockroach curtsies and he tips his head multiple times. “When?” I ask him.
“Today,” he says. “Maybe my awakening isn’t an accident.”
“Today?” I am astonished. Even so, I cannot believe a bug. “You’re having a laugh.”
“I know I saw the Doctor again,” he testifies. “I remember a dream in which he told me we were going next to the prehistoric Middle East. Clara is supposed to be there.”
Filled with doubt, I verify, “And he’s coming for you today?”
“I remember,” Canaanabis says.
“That’s convenient,” I state and pick up my unsightly smoking instrument.
My lighter refuses to produce flame. Excessive white sparks fly from the spun flint wheel but not one finds enough aerated fuel to foster a fire. I shake the empty lighter in hopes of conjuring flammable vapor but my effort is wasted.
“Let me get another lighter,” I tell my insect guest then try pushing myself out my chair. The effort produces no effect. Without any thought, I plant my hand solidly and suddenly upon the surface of the table in the spot where Canaanabis Roach had squat.
This was the end of this life for him. Completely unintentionally and now wholly remorseful, I discover I had squashed my friend. “Clumsy, me,” I scold myself.
“Clumsy, stupid me,” I say then I hear the Tardis wheeze. The Doctor was indeed coming. And I realize I have got something unfortunate to tell yet another character from my imagination. Before he gets here, I find a damp dishcloth and I wipe our mutual friend’s guts from the palm of my hand.
– END –
(Also Available From Smashwords)
(Obviously, a well-intentioned parody of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. – the author)
Chapter One- Vague Consent
An evening in February, in an unidentified and yet modest suburb of Chicago, Illinois, the Doctor comes to the home a seamstress. Shielded against electric incandescence by a flopping brown hat, the tall man rapped on the front door once and now enters the house. Clumps of snow come inside with him.
Kicking a ridiculously banded and long scarf ahead of his booted toes until he eventually stands still, he asks the owner, “Does this business do custom work? It says something to that effect on the door.”
“It depends,” Tiffany answers him. Unfazed by the sudden entrance and direct question, the home business operator jumps from behind the industrial sewing machine she has mounted on a standing pedestal there in the front room of her house. Above all else, the English accent of a potential client distracted her a whole second.
“I was looking for something professional,” he tells her and his voice sounds like tea and cream. As soft and tasty as the sound could be and because of that, her heart beats twice. And when he removes his hat, his goggled and wonderful blue eyes feel as if they melt her bones. She floats in locks of his wild hair.
Humbled and made foolish by her own astonishment, Tiffany grumbles aloud, “Why here?”
“Why not here?” asks the Doctor. Already, the man acts hyper-attuned to everything she says. He reads her thoughts and tells her, “There’s nothing wrong with here. It’s safe.”
“Safe?” she wonders.
The Doctor dismisses her concern. “Regardless, here is where I’ve wound up, or rather unwound. You see?”
Loops of ridiculous scarf flies into Tiffany’s face. Unharmed, she bats them away and she spots gaps and tears in the knitwear. The costume piece had been ravaged.
“Pardon me,” the Doctor begs her. “My scarf has been torn to pieces. I can’t control it anymore.”
“It’s nothing,” he promises. “I would just like it whole again. I would appreciate you very much if you could do that for me.”
“I can knit,” Tiffany mumbles after she stopped wondering aloud. Salvaging any poor impression the handsome English man may have gained of her, she adds with determined confidence, “It will take some work, but I can do this.”
Recovered and more focused on her business, she tells him, “The cost isn’t too bad but I will charge for each segment.”
“We can discuss compensation,” the Doctor tells her.
“Money would be nice,” she says and did not mean to sound sarcastic. Yet reminded about the deadbeats in this town, customers who never settled their bills nor collected their articles of clothing, Tiffany says seriously, “I like cash.”
Handsome as he is, and as comical as his scarf was, she had no place for his unconventional garment. She, herself, had no desire to mend something she would never use. However, she did not want to act cold. There was enough frigid air outside.
“My name is Tiffany. Mister?”
“No, no,” he interrupts her in urgency. “Doctor.”
“Doctor?” she ponders and feels infused with hope. Her heart skips twice in a row.
“Thank you,” he finishes telling her.
“So, how are you here?” she thinks again. Tiffany has no idea how her thoughts are confused by the time they come out of her mouth, but the woman is certain ‘how’ is what she meant to say.
“A blue box,” he spoke capaciously. Tiffany thinks she deserves sarcasm from the cute stranger.
While she can’t help but try imaginng what his playful insult might mean, the Doctor mumbles with curious uncertainty.
“I’m currently traveling alone,” Tiffany understands she heard him say.
“Single,” she swears he said.
“I’m an older woman,” she responds to his flirts.
“Nonsense,” he says. “You’re not as old as me.”
They appeared about the same age. Tiffany spent half her life worried passing years made girls look older than they actually were, but she did look her natural age and remarkably preserved. Tiffany was a pretty woman. She has been and always will be and she will never admit the truth. And if she knew in secret, the woman would never be arrogant and say.
“There’s nothing wrong with being old,” the Doctor says when he begins a beguiling rant. “I’m seven hundred and thirty three. Not quite over the hill yet.”
“Seven hundred and thirty three?”
“Yes, that’s how you people tell time, isn’t it?”
“I’m not sure what you’re talking about?” Tiffany admits forthright.
“Oh, you will. You will,” he says. “That’s a problem with the human brain. It’s like an analog computer and you have to wait until that one neuron lights up the place.”
“Are you like a neurosurgeon?” Tiffany asks as if she touches upon a prize she knew she recognized hidden in hat.
“I don’t practice,” he answers. “But how hard can it be?”
“Heh,” Tiffany responds to his toothy grin. She is not one tenth enthusiastic about his reply as the man still acts.
“You’re a character,” she flirts back at him and winks.
“You think?” the Doctor asks her and smiles widemouthed.
Shaking away her thrall of the man, Tiffany insists they address their business, “I charge by the hour… and each section will take one or more…”
“Time is the issue?” the Doctor asks the woman.
She stumbles with her answer. “Huh? Well, yes.”
“What if the job took no time at all?”
The woman giggles. “I didn’t quote you a base charge for labor, so I guess nothing at all. But I don’t think that’s fair or even possible.”
“You don’t think so? What is fair?”
“A thank you and a dinner would be nice… if anything is possible.”
Tiffany suddenly feels brave to specify, “Somewhere nice would be nicer.”
The man blusters with more courage than the older seamstress could ever muster. “Somewhere nice?” he shouts.
“Yes,” Tiffany replies meek again. She nods her head so her preference is made clear.
“I’ve got something to show you,” the Doctor says then opens the front door. Near the exit, a cold wind nearly solidifies his next words. “Come with me.” And he steps outside.
Leery and simultaneously curious, the seamstress takes a pale overcoat from a stand next the open doorway. “I’m not going far,” she warns him. “Not unless I know where we’re going and something about you.”
The seamstress is about to say more then pauses when she spots a blue shed in her front yard. Light shines from behind the frosted windows on the two sides of the structure there at her angle of vision. More illumination dimly glows from a cooling bulb on top.
“What is that?” Tiffany asks alarmed the object trespasses between shoveled mounds of snow on her property.
The Doctor coaxes her toward the wooden box. “Come here.”
She goes automatically and walks on her toes speared through the frozen precipitation upon the cold ground.
“Come inside,” he says.
“In there?” scoffs the woman. She almost says ‘no’ but once the box is opened, her birdsong sounds like, “Nah-ooo-ahhh.”
“I’ve been told that,” the Doctor says. “Just never so beautifully.”
“It’s bigger on the inside,” Tiffany stutters when she joins her client inside the marvelous contraption and surrounded by translucent roundels.
“They always say that.”
Tiffany is suddenly awake and concerned. “Who, other girls?”
“There have been a few,” he admits. The same time, he offers the seamstress a confectionery. “Have a Jelly Baby. They are quite sweet, like you, Tiffany. Thank you for repairing my scarf.”
The seamstress objects. “Hold on…”
“Oh, we can go anywhere,” the Doctor promises her. “Any time. Tell me where you want to go. All things are possible.”
“I didn’t say I would do it yet,” she finally replies. Latched upon the Doctor’s explanation, she stops and asks him, “Hold on, does this thing fly? Is it real?”
“It also travels through time.”
And the comment, ‘it travels through time,’ is all Tiffany first remembers when she wakes in her bed in her house the following morning. Something doesn’t feel right. Everything below her waist does not like yesterday. She visually verifies she is all right and she isn’t in pain, but her skin does tingle and she feels overly warm. Then she sprouts goosebumps when she thinks about the man who visited her last evening.
The woman panics and call the police while she still sits on her bed. “I think I’ve been raped,” she reports summarily to the authorities.
A female receptionist asks her, “Ma’am, can you come to the station and speak to a detective?”
“Can I talk to a detective now? I don’t know,” Tiffany admits confused. Tiny fractions of last night begin crystallizing in her brain.
“One moment,” the receptionist tells Tiffany after first soliciting the woman one more time to come downtown on her own volition.
A male detective then answers the waiting call. “Hello, Officer Panchecker. How can I help you?”
“I think I remember he tied me up,” Tiffany stammers as she works her mind hard to recall of what she has the impression was sheer chaos.
“Immobilized,” she clearly remembers she heard him say. She mentions that to Officer Panchecker, but Tiffany neglects to share she now recalls the Doctor told her, “It will be more enjoyable if you don’t move, but it is difficult for a beginner.”
“Do you know who this guy was?” the detective asks Tiffany.
“He said he was the Doctor,” she answers.
“Did he give his a last name?”
Then she remembers the Doctor said, “I’ll give you a little help.” Memory of the statement excites her; it makes her feel a little randy.
She begins wondering too late if whatever she did with the odd stranger last night was consensual. After saying, “He said he was going to use his scarf but he didn’t.”
Tiffany remembers he said, “The whole concept is overused, besides, it’s torn.” Her memory is just like the man was standing next to her and now said the same.
“Janis thorn,” she unconsciously utters. She does her best to imitate the Doctor’s voice.
The detective wonders, “What?”
“Nothing,” she tells the police. “I’ve made a mistake. I think it’s something I did.”
“Ma’am, were drugs involved,” the officer asks. “Are you now under the influence?”
“Sorry,” she begs Panchecker. “I’m remembering… no, no drugs. I’m sorry for wasting your time.”
Ending the call, Tiffany allows recent events to clarify themselves in her mind. Last night becomes vivid. The seamstress asked the Doctor, “What on Earth is a Janis thorn?”
“Not on Earth, Tiffany,” he replied elusively.
Revery then seemed to capture his attention. “They were left here, left behind by someone I knew.”
“What happened to her?” Tiffany knows she asked. And she is still jealous.
“Oh Leela, we recently traveled together for awhile” confesses the Doctor. “She became stationary. Stuck to some poor, static bloke on Gallifrey.”
“My home planet.”
“You’re not from Earth,” Tiffany stated.
The Doctor told her, “I think that should be obvious.”
She objected. “But we look alike.”
“Let me tell you something about the facts concerning panspermia. It’s all very exciting.”
Then is when those two began undressing themselves. The Doctor told his robotic dog, “K-9, record this.”
“Is he going to watch?” Tiffany asked about the talking machine.
“Why not?” The Doctor suggested without wearing his coat. A swath of his swollen bare chest plainly shows from beneath the wide collar of his loose frill shirt. The ragged scarf remained draped around him.
“We share everything, don’t we, K-9?” the Doctor teased his electric dog.
“Yes, master,” replied the novel, self-propelled computer.
“Good, boy,” the Doctor smooched
“Say that to me,” the Doctor impulsively instructed Tiffany.
She tried saying so aloud. “Master?”
“No, don’t,” he directly countermands. “That doesn’t sound right. Try the other one.”
“Doctor?” she asked him before he seizes her in bandy, swashbuckler arms.
“Oh, thank you, Tiffany.”
They dropped themselves into a four poster bed the pair found in another impossible room. The dog had come along then Tiffany and the Doctor made love. He brought out toys and he suggested adventures. The seamstress consented to every one.
Then came the Janis thorn. “Deadly poison,” the Doctor explained. “But if one knows how to use it right, to introduce a miniscule, non-lethal dose in order to produce partial paralysis… well, ecstasy.”
Tiffany temporarily lost sensation in her legs, but then she and her incomprehensible lover copulated like humans in their most primitive state. She thought about television then and what her experience resembled. The seamstress could only imagine the alien Spock from Star Trek, suffering Pon farr. She felt like him, that character from the sex-deprived planet Vulcan. Passion drove her mad.
The two spent an inestimable time away from civilization – in which they slept, had sex and Tiffany knitted. She stitched his long scarf together. And, oh, the places the Doctor described and all he had shown her, but Tiffany never got dinner and that was okay. The Doctor, said to her when they were finished and happy, “Next Wednesday then? Let’s say we do this every week or so, if you knew me, but you will.”
Tiffany agreed. Afterward and back at home again, she had not lost a moment in time. Maybe a minute had passed on the clocks in her house last evening before the Doctor flew away. This morning and after recovering her memories, she thinks about life in one place. She contemplates ending the long separation from her dull and unchanging husband and finishing their divorce.
– Matthew Sawyer
(Available soon from Smashwords)
The scene that might make the whole problem with the Doctor Who Episode ‘Listen’ go away…
SCENE: The tar caverns of the planet Mywurt Five. The DOCTOR lies on a tarry rock floor of a pit DOWNSTAGE CENTER. The DOCTOR is also bound hand-and-foot and his arms are behind his back.
MISTRESS enters UPSTAGE CENTER
MISTRESS (descending tractor beam into pit): There is nothing to be afraid of, Doctor – nothing and no one except me, of course.
DOCTOR (angry and exhausted): What are you twaddling about, today? Every day you have held me for ransom, I have suffered your pretentious staggering.
MISTRESS: Doctor… Be quiet.
MISTRESS stands CENTER STAGE over DOCTOR
MISTRESS (sing-song voice): Shut up, shut up, shut up.
DOCTOR sits upright.
DOCTOR (sarcastic): All right, tell me what you have to say about fear. Let’s get your speech done already.
MISTRESS: I don’t write them down, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Yes, yes… impromptu… a regular Philo, you are.
MISTRESS: Me? A great orator? A master, perhaps?
DOCTOR: It’s getting old. Come on, exercise your lungs. My ears are your treadmill.
DOCTOR: Well, you sound like a comic book character – one of the baddies.
MISTRESS (angry): Your brave speech…
MISTRESS walks a circle around DOCTOR
MISTRESS: About fear making us stronger…
MISTRESS: About making us better people.
MISTRESS: Fear can be a superpower
MISTRESS halts STAGE RIGHT
MISTRESS: Did you lift that little speech? I swear I’ve heard one of your human pets say it before I heard the same irritating pathos from you.
DOCTOR: Oh, who are you talking about?
MISTRESS: Your quaking companion, Doctor. Clara.
DOCTOR: What does she have to do with you?
MISTRESS: Clara visited me, now you know, when I was a little boy. Oh, I do miss my old pantaloons.
DOCTOR: What are you saying?
MISTRESS: I used to be afraid, Doctor. I was afraid of the dark. I was afraid of monsters under my bed.
DOCTOR (urgent): Have you done anything to Clara? I’m warning you…
MISTRESS: Relax, this was long ago.
DOCTOR: We both know what that means to people like us.
MISTRESS: I’ll tell you what happened.
MISTRESS sits down STAGE RIGHT next to DOCTOR
MISTRESS: Do you remember the Magellan columns when we were toddlers? Those storms were nothing but pure electricity, but the sound was terrifying. It scared me. I slept in my family’s barn where I knew I was protected by its static haze insulation.
DOCTOR (sarcastic): Some boys cuddle teddy bears.
MISTRESS: Clara cuddled me.
DOCTOR (dismissive): You say.
MISTRESS: Really. She visited me during a storm– that must have been the summer when my first application to the academy was rejected. Their doctors were concerned with my mental stability. Imagine that, way back then.
MISTRESS: Clara was hiding under my bed.
DOCTOR: That is convenient.
MISTRESS: I’m telling the truth. She grabbed my ankle.
DOCTOR rolls his eyes.
MISTRESS: Then she whispered softly into my ear, “It’s all a dream.”
DOCTOR: I expect.
MISTRESS: Tsk, I can prove it. Do you still have that plastic army man, the one you took from me?”
DOCTOR: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
MISTRESS: You, Doctor, are a kleptomaniac. Some worlds believe your neurosis is worst than murder.
DOCTOR: I expect I’m probably wanted on all of them.
DOCTOR: You would do them a favor by killing me now.
MISTRESS: Doctor, that isn’t what this is about. Besides, the bounty on your head is pathetic. I think Earth will give me all its weapon-grade uranium for your safe return.
DOCTOR: Why, what do you need it for? You could make a big batch for yourself.
MISTRESS: It’s a game. You know us.
DOCTOR: All too casually.
MISTRESS: I guess I should go back and act more professionally.
MISTRESS walks backwards toward UPSTAGE CENTER
MISTRESS: There is something I wanted to say before I bring back the burning cockroaches.
DOCTOR (shouts over his own shoulder): Good, they’ll give me something to do. Maybe I can use their teeth and cut the bands on my Immobilizer Cuffs.
MISTRESS (riding tractor beam from pit): If you must try… what I wanted to tell you – my answer to you that you refuse to hear… about that night long ago Clara came and visited me. I listened to your TARDIS fly away.
MISTRESS exits UPSTAGE CENTER
MISTRESS (from OFF STAGE): Fear will destroy you those times you are all alone. One must Master fear.
Listen Up is a fictional story. Doctor Who and the characters in this story are properties of Doctor Who. I submit this tale as a fan for fans of the BBC Doctor Who television series.
Listen Up by Matthew Sawyer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
I like Jenna-Louise Coleman. I think her acting in the BBC television series Doctor Who is worthwhile Sci-Fi. But honestly, her character, Clara Oswald, sucks. Steven Moffat never really developed a good backstory for the character. And with season eight of the 2005 reboot of the languishing program soon airing worldwide, it is obvious the man stopped trying. So be it. One has to let eggs drop so that more might be saved. Alas, I believe the actress herself is worth salvage. Give Ms. Coleman a new role on the show, I propose. Bring back a favorite face, I dare say. I mean a rewarding character. I elect Romanadvoratrelundar, the Time Lady from Gallifrey. Jenna rejoins Peter Capaldi on Doctor Who in this exciting new role.
Clara is Dead! Long Live Clara! is a fictional story. Doctor Who and the characters in this story are properties of Doctor Who. I submit this tale as a fan for fans of the Doctor Who television series.
Clara is Dead! Long Live Clara! by Matthew Sawyer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Please contact the author for permissions beyond the scope of this license.
Clara is Dead! Long Live Clara!
Clara Oswald has no idea why she stays around. The Doctor is a maniac. He was more considerate when he was a different man. “When he wasn’t so old,” she deliberately thinks.
“Oh,” the Doctor’s companion tells herself aloud. “He’s the same Time Lord. His face has changed….”
The TARDIS is jolted and the young woman grabs a safety rail inside the console room. She is then prompt and complains. “And his whole personality, that’s all.”
The perturbed young lady tells the Doctor on the other side of the console, “You were more considerate before. A gentleman. Slow down. Let me rest if you’re not tired.”
“I’m never tired,” the Doctor declares and he flips levers on the carousel control board. His time and space ship straightens itself upright.
“I remember,” he shouts and presses a single button repeatedly. “An old friend.”
The incredible machine groans and everyone knows it is about to materialize. Clara grumbles. “Oh, where are we now?”
“Home,” he answers. “My home, Gallifrey.”
“Oh,” Clara chirps suddenly chipper. “Is your friend here?”
She strolls around the console while the Doctor remains hunched and attached to its switches and dials. The young woman teases the fixed pilot. “Why else come home?”
The Doctor sounds sarcastic when he tells her, “I don’t know. It’s been about six hundred years since I’ve seen her last and I guess sometimes I wonder how she is getting on.”
“What’s her name?” Clara asks and bites her lower lip.
“I’d like to see her.”
“You will,” he replies in a raised voice. “Get out. Take a look – there’s a light flashing on the console.”
Clara stops mid-step toward the time machine’s exit door. “What is it?”
“Parking authority,” he scoffs. “Evidently, I can’t park here. I’ve got to go somewhere else.”
The Doctor’s female companion stays paused near the door. “I’ll come with you.”
“No,” demands the Time Lord. “Get out. Go. Clear your head.”
The advice resonates with Clara. His precise phrases make her paranoid, but the errant school teacher has felt so about him since she first met the genius alien. He periodically makes her uneasy. And she feels as if he can read her mind.
“I will,” Clara answers the Doctor. “If it’s okay with you.”
“Go, get out, look around. I’ll be right back. I’ll meet you here.”
She cracks wise. “When?”
The moment she opens the exit door, shouts come in from outside. “Take this junk to the shipyard or we’ll ship it to the junkyard. You can’t bring it here, take it to the spatially-bound staging lots.”
The TARDIS dematerializes leaving Clara alone outside the time machine. The abandoned companion sees she’s been left in a strange cathedral, a wild exaggeration with an impossibly high ceiling. The enormous walls appear made of balsa slats and paper panes – like those found in medieval Japanese noble homes.
Silly soldiers dressed in shining and ornate plastic armor tinted red come and meet Clara Oswald here in this spacious antechamber. She tells the dispatch there with their crystal pistols, “I’m with someone. He’s coming back.”
“Is he?” an ancient woman asks her. The question is sincere.
“Sure,” Clara affirms for her own good. “The Doctor has to park the TARDIS. That’s his name, the Doctor.”
She mumbles, “It’s still him,” then says aloud, “He’s meeting me here.”
“Clara?” asks the older woman while she approaches the young companion.
Clara wonders, “How did you know?”
She remembers her suspicion about the Doctor and she assumes everyone of his race all have telepathy. He does read her mind, he has the whole time. Her human brain is stuck contemplating how she can cope being someplace where everyone knows her thoughts. Clara stands chewing her lower lip and knitting her brow until the other woman interrupts her morass.
“Oh.” Clara wipes her hands before taking that of the hostess. “I am Clara Oswald. I haven’t actually known him that long – the Doctor that is.”
“Well, you have,” Romana tells her. The mysterious deepens when she says, “But that is another story.”
“I’ve known the Doctor for centuries,” the worn Time Lady informs the ripe companion. “I was assigned to keep an eye on him.”
“Oh,” Clara states unsurprised.
Romana clarifies, “He was in a different reincarnation…”
“I know how that goes,” Clara blurts.
Romana finishes. “A long time ago.”
The companion promises the old companion and nanny, “You won’t recognize him now. He’s regenerated again.”
“I know,” Romana tells Clara. “It was big news on Gallifrey, unprecedented. The Doctor had been so wasteful with his lives.”
“That hasn’t changed,” Clara gripes. She talks about herself. Inside, she admits she has witnessed his tremendous sacrifices. The man was a hero and she feels guilty about her distrusting him.
“Thank you, Clara,” Romana tells the human. “Time Lords live so long, we forgot how precious life is. You helped the council remember how appreciation feels. Your words were a gift to awaken the dead.”
“Thanks?” Clara wonders.
“Let’s go to Borusa’s old office,” Romana suggests. “I’m about to have it remodeled but mine has just been started. I was going to take the day off, but by now you probably know about Time Lords. We are a restless bunch – that’s why there are laws against our intervention. I had to stay busy.”
Clara agrees with as much as she is able to relate with. “You’re telling me. Whew.”
Romana’s red escort marches away while the two women walk the opposite direction. The Time Lady leads the way by one step ahead of the unattended companion.
“Who?” Clara also inquires. “Borusa?”
“He was the Doctor’s former teacher. The man walked a controversial path, like everyone our mutual friend knows.”
“Mine is pretty straight,” opines the human woman. “I think.”
“Examine your company,” Romana reminds her.
“I’m not judgmental,” Clara assures herself aloud.
“Come to think of it, I believe I’ve met you before,” Romana tells the other woman nonchalant while she pushes open a pair of great leaden doors. A bomb then explodes from inside the room behind the loose slag-marked slabs. Both Clara and Romana die when the tiny women are crushed.
Romana then awakes with a new face. Indeed, her whole body has changed. She is a new woman with the same name. The Time Lady is proud because the fact. She praises a planet as she gets up and on her feet. “Thank you, Karn.”
Appreciation for the Sisterhood’s Art swells both of Romana’s hearts. Regeneration is erratic without the knowledge of their spiritual methods and practice. Without their help, she would have been confused. Their miraculous elixir would have been ideal but the Time Lady was reborn into the form she visualized. Romana had seen another hero while she floated in her lucid dream of death.
The Doctor then finally arrives one more time.
“Clara,” he shouts. “What happened? You look all right. Dirty, but yeah-uh…”
“Thank you for noticing,” Romana responds. “Uh-hem, it’s nice to see you too.”
“Is someone dead?” the Doctor yells. The Time Lord drags his foot against the ceramic while red armored soldiers come and investigate the explosion from Borusa’s old office. More red comes scraped from the sole of his boot.
“Yes,” Romana reports. “I was telling your companion about the disease we Time Lords suffer because we live so long over and over again. Our apathy.”
The Doctor mentions, “It’s because of all your rules.”
A pall then falls over the Doctor’s anxious expression. “What?”
Romana mentions, “I’m sorry, Doctor. Clara is dead.”
“No,” he groans. No one is certain what the man denies.
He implies a thousand questions when he asks the air, “Who?”
“I’m Romana,” she tells him. “I was here when she was killed. We both were – I lost a life.”
“Sabotage, my lady,” a soldier tells the Time Lady before he goes back to investigating.
Romana and the Doctor face each other widemouthed and overhear another soldier identify, “Sontaran.”
“You look different,” she mentions to him out of hand before the Doctor shouts, “I wasn’t here. I didn’t see this, I can fix this.”
“Doctor,” Romana begs. She follows him when he spins around and runs the length of the Citadel cathedral. She shouts while she pursues her longtime friend. “I think I know what you’re doing. Your sense of boundaries got you in trouble during your last set of regenerations, don’t waste your new lives.”
“It’s what I do,” he yells when they arrive together at his TARDIS. “I save people.”
His new self and the newer Romana jump into the time machine, which then disappears. The sound the TARDIS makes as it vanishes is especially tedious this trip. Its noise is even more tired when the machine reappears nowhere else except back a small hop in time. Although, from a perspective inside the TARDIS, that same time is frozen. It’s stopped in the past.
The Doctor and Romana save minutes while an impromptu, prolonged discussion first interrupts then delays Clara’s impractical rescue. The Time Lord is angry. He shouts at the fresh disguise of his old companion. “Why her? Why would you look like her?
The Doctor then immediately apologizes as he always has. “What I mean is…”
“It’s terribly swell to see you again, Romana. You’re one of my favorite people. I’m happy for your change, but you look like her because Clara died. How can you do that? Change back.”
“I came back to Gallifrey just to see your face. Wash-up, for goodness sake. You’re covered in ash. And is that a scab of blood?”
“Thank you, Doctor, but no,” she tells him. “I looked like I was about to topple over. Clara was a pretty girl – and fit. You’ve always like the athletics ones.”
“You did this last time,” he grumbles. A critical point then occurs to the Doctor. He reminds Romana, “Hey, they were people, human beings,”
“They weren’t Time Lords,” she retorts.
The Doctor argues. “They were still important.”
Romana confesses, “Clara still is a hero to the people of Gallifrey.”
“So you take her face?” he snorts.
“Why not? She’s been fashionable all year.”
“I think all of you have confused memorial for fashion,” the Doctor judges. “I’m happy I don’t stay here.”
“Perhaps,” concludes Romana. Her changing the topic is abrupt. “Doctor, the officer said it was the Sontarans.”
Happy the conversation now moves at a speed he is accustomed with, the Doctor replies, “I heard.”
Resentment deep in her belly compels Romana to elaborate. “They invaded our home planet after you were made president.”
“That was hardly my fault.”
“You abdicated your position after you vanished and didn’t come back.”
The Doctor argues, “I came back.”
“You were summoned, again.”
He is grumpy, but his old companion has heard him act this way before and most of the time. She ignores his mood – one she knows he probably pretends – and Romana reminds him, “I think they hid a bomb in Borusa’s office when you on Gallifrey with that jungle girl. I saw the recordings in the Matrix.”
The Doctor grins. “Yes, Leela. Show some respect.”
He suddenly acts outraged. “Is that what this is all about?”
“You threw her into the wastelands.”
“For her own good.”
“Listen, Doctor,” Romana commands. “How far back in time have we come? Do you have a plan?”
“Do you?” he asks her, embarrassingly open to ideas. “I remember when Commander Stor had access to Borusa’s room. We’re here then.”
“That was an awfully long time ago.”
Romana calculates, “I think the bomb was set to go off when a sensor detected your DNA.”
“You think?” the Doctor answers as if he casts blame. “What about Clara? She’s the one who is dead.”
The Time Lady stays calm. “Obviously, a little of you had worn off on the girl.”
The Doctor is humbled and he states, “Right.”
Fiddling with controls on the TARDIS console, he tells Romana, “I suppose that’s the reason I didn’t come back on my free will; mysterious forces, hooey and all. Let’s not talk about it and let’s just rescue the girl.”
“Are you going to stop him, Commander Stor?” she wonders. “Aren’t you worried about causing a Paradox? I won’t look like this.”
“Good,” he replies.
“Time starts over when you open the TARDIS door. You don’t want to do anything bad.”
His tone is firm when he tells Romana, “Paradox? Nooo…”
He stomps his foot. “Someone I know died.”
Romana never relents. “Well, what are you going to do?”
The Doctor blows air up his nostril. “Well, considering the time…”
“Don’t be fallacious.”
“I’m not that,” he replies radiant with mischief.
“You haven’t changed, Doctor,” Romana grants the man. “You never will.”
She looks at herself. “Wait, I suppose Clara brought some of her clothes on board. I assume she came with you in the TARDIS. Let me change before we go outside.”
The Doctor frowns, points down an unfamiliar hallway and says nothing. Romana does not try to understand and she goes the way her old friend has directed.
“Good,” he eventually says after she has left the console room. The Doctor shouts, “Put on someone uglier.”
“What do you mean?” Romana calls from anywhere in the bowels or rafters of the time machine.
The Time Lord waves his hand from where he pauses near the exit of his marvelous spacecraft. “Pff.”
Once he never verbalizes his expression, Romana asks the Doctor from outside the room, “Do you want me to bring you a tie? I noticed you weren’t wearing one.”
“No,” he yells.
She informs no one when she ponders aloud, “I’m not going outside. I don’t want to meet myself. I am sure I was in the Citadel the day of your coronation.”
The Time Lady walks back into the console room wearing a blue summer dress. Her pale thighs are largely exposed and tinted cool shades reflected off the borrowed garment. “How do I look?”
She asks nobody. The Doctor had left Romana alone in the TARDIS with no one to talk with. She now stomps her red sandshoe and searches for a clue as to what her old friend is up to now.
“Oh,” she complains. “He’s moved everything around, like I didn’t expect that. They’ll all be different tomorrow.”
The same time she curses, Romana finds an external monitor. The Doctor had steered the flat screen’s vista toward vestibules run from the big antechamber. Borusa’s old office is located there. Watching for her friend, Romana notices the decoration.
“Wait,” she desperately mentally projects to the Doctor. She can’t know if he receives her message only because they’ve been separated so long.
Nevertheless, she thinks loud. “Look at the ornaments, Doctor. Look out a window. We landed on the wrong coordinates. We never went back in time.”
She criticizes his shadow when it appears on the view screen. “You’re no better at flying the TARDIS than I remember.”
The lead doors of Borusa’s office are closed and the previous she and Clara are nowhere in sight. Romana is grateful she and the Doctor are early. She contemplates the bomb.
“Doctor, where is your head?” She scowls when his image appears on the viewer. “Don’t you remember? The explosive is triggered by your DNA.”
“I’ve got to warn him,” she urges herself. “This is such an unnecessary waste of a life.”
Yet in the guise of Clara Oswald, Romana dashes from the sanctuary of the time machine and goes searching for the Doctor. She must warn him not to open Borusa’s office.
“Doctor,” she shouts.
Romana hears her new self say, “That sounded like me.”
The Time Lady turns around and meets a living Clara. She and her doppelganger are yet dozens of meters away from each other, but the two identical woman do find the eyes of the other. The Doctor is also there. And he is too far away. He is safe from what is about to happen, and the Time Lord can’t get close in time to help.
The old Romana opens a lead door and the room inside explodes.
The next Romana watches herself die. Before her body regenerates, her future incarnation sees she is dead. The Time Lady realizes that moment she wastes her life. She looks at the Doctor standing agape in front of her.
“Well, I’m about to get here,” are the only words he will utter. Romana follows her friend back to the TARDIS. She grills him only when they are alone together inside the time machine.
“Are you satisfied? You only made a horrible event more set in stone.”
“You still need someone looking over your shoulder,” she admits to her companion. “Someone who knows what she is doing. I’m coming with you. We’ll go do something anybody can do for your dead friend. We’ll go to Earth.”
The Time Lady drives the Doctor’s time machine without a sound. During the flight through space and time, Romana wonders, “Clara was that little girl we met together on Earth. It was Christmas time, is that right?”
The Doctor nods his head. His face appears fallen and dull but Romana might swear she sees him glow when she speaks to her friend. She continues talking to him.
“That was quite a while ago – and you still traveled with her? Hold on, she is the Impossible Girl. I remember her story, it’s why Gallifrey is in love with her beyond what is simply popular.”
“Say,” ponders the Time Lady. “She constantly pops up through time and saves your life.”
“Fragments,” growls the Doctor.
Romana tries to sound convincing. “You might see her again. Or are you two done? Was that it?”
“I’m only curious,” Romana mutters in silence after she realizes she has mentioned too much.
She asks the brooding Doctor, “Is she done?”
“Apparently not,” he answers after she asks him again. He looks directly into the face of his companion.
The Time Lord pledges, “I’m going to fix this.”
“Not alone,” Romana tells him.
“We will think about the solution first and take our time. Did you forget, Doctor? You always do. Time is on our side. That is our luxury.”
The Time Lady smiles wide enough for the both of them. “And we’re together again. Let’s remind ourselves what it is like to be alive.”
– END –
Read more of Matthew Sawyer’s Doctor Who fan fiction at Smashwords.