(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
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