Hello Mother, hello Father…. (If anyone knows what I’m referencing and you’re under fifty, you’re officially cool in my book.)
I’m a camper at the idyllic, online retreat writers know to be Camp NaNoWriMo (not Granada), where people who can’t make the November event or just want an additional similar challenge over the summer can write and have fun!
My project is to write 10,000 words’ worth of short stories over the month of July. My goal is to write about a thousand words per day, give or take, and since this isn’t for a school project, I’m sure the words will flow like endless rain into a paper cup. (If John Lennon wrote books, I can only imagine what other artful, odd metaphors he might use.)
Plus, the handy-dandy word count recorder thingie on the Camp NaNo site predicts that I’ll need to write a minimum of 250 words per day to meet my ultimate writing goal, so my personal per-day goal cuts me plenty of slack. I can take generous breaks if I need, but let’s hope that won’t happen too often.
Today, I finished one of the short stories I was writing for my project. I don’t have a title for it, but it’s basically a discombobulated prequel to the first Figgies in the TARDIS story. It presents some odd theories as to where the FITT cast comes from, some awkward moments between Time Lord and companion, and some vague references to a certain time-traveling uncle.
That said, enjoy my on-the-fly handiwork! (Seriously, my other writings go through minimal editing before I share them with anyone; this is an exception.)
The Doctor lounged on an inflatable … well … lounge chair in the middle of the TARDIS’ swimming pool, engrossed in his favorite Agatha Christie novel, a facsimile edition from the far, far future, long after Jack Harkness, ideally, should have died, of Death in the Clouds. There were benefits, as it were, to having a swimming pool in the library.
Cece Ryder, his companion, sat at the edge of the pool, soaking her feet. She was knitting a long scarf for herself, unaware that a good eight feet of striped yarn were now submerged in the chlorinated water. (I spilled some really bad perfume on it, she’d later claim when people inquired of the scarf’s unusual smell.)
“Cece,” the Doctor said, shutting the book. (He had the propensity to go through whole books in a matter of minutes; it was no fun trying to read Harry Potter with him, because fifteen minutes after you started The Philosopher’s Stone, he was already sobbing about the ending of The Deathly Hallows and looking to confide in you. Not ideal for first-time readers who don’t want the ending spoiled for them.) “Did I ever tell you that––?”
“Oh my gosh!” Cece yelped, finally aware of the condition of her scarf. “Doctor, why didn’t you tell me that my new scarf is soaking up chlorine?”
“I was about to tell you.”
Cece huffed and puffed and eventually pulled not eight but eighteen feet of knitted yarn from the pool. (Although the depth at the end of the pool is clearly marked seven feet, it is highly likely that it, too, is bigger on the inside. Unless you are an aquatic creature, always wear a life vest when swimming in the Doctor’s pool.) “Doctor,” she said, “I’m going to hang this up to dry in the Eye of Harmony room. Don’t sit in there for too long.”
The Doctor stretched lazily and paddled over to the bookshelf where he kept all of his mystery books. And Then There Were None sounded like a promising read; he owned – or, at least, acquired by some means – every single version of the text.
Her hands protected by thick, red oven mitts that uncannily resembled boxing gloves, Cece carefully slid the tray of fish fingers out of the oven in the TARDIS kitchen and placed them on the table in front of the Doctor. “If something about the way I prepared your sacred fish fingers and custard, keep it to yourself,” she said warningly.
“No, it’s what I was trying to tell you before, in the library.” The Doctor wasn’t wearing oven mitts, so he burned his hands when he tried to take a piping hot fish finger from the pan.
Cece rolled her eyes. “I’m now quite aware that my scarf had fallen into the pool, Doctor. Unless….”
The Doctor lowered his eyes sheepishly. “I lied, yes. I was actually going to tell you that––”
The fire alarm turned on. It wasn’t your average alarm, though. Unless, of course, hearing Barney and a bunch of wee bairns from the 1990s who probably aren’t so wee anymore sing “Hurry, hurry, drive the fire truck,” is considered average in your timeline.
“Oh no! I didn’t turn on the stove – oh, Doctor, your custard’s ruined!”
The Doctor leaped out of his seat to save the precious condiment. (Yes, to the Doctor, it’s as much of a condiment for fish fingers as ketchup or tartar sauce.) “Oh, crumbs,” he muttered, watching the plastic spoon – or what was left of it – drip viscously into the brownish-yellow mush. “And you left the spoon in the pot, too.”
Cece stormed out of the room, shouting, “Well, you can make more from a package,” over her shoulder.
The Doctor sighed. He still hadn’t told her what he wanted to tell her.
All heads, excluding shop mannequins, turned to the source of the outburst: one Carole Catherine Ryder, who was gripping the handle of her pushcart so hard, her knuckles were white.
The Doctor realized now was not a good time. “Um, could we buy hair dye so I can be ginger?”
Cece facepalmed and shook her head vehemently. But that was for another story….
Cece was crying because her favorite character in the book she’d picked up at the store was acting like an idiot. Most likely the handiwork of a new, inexperienced ghost writer.
The Doctor gave her a gentle pat on the back. Cece, who hated being touched, went into black-belt karate mode and sent the poor Time Lord flying.
The Doctor picked himself up from the floor and left the room as quickly as his lanky legs could carry him. Which was surprisingly quick.
Cece grasped the handle of a frying pan in both hands, looking not unlike a mix between Mara Jade and Samwise Gamgee. Her eyes were glued to the presumably empty space above the Doctor’s shoulder. “Doctor, whatever you do, do not take my attention off that weeping angel over your shoulder.”
The Doctor turned around, eyed the creature in question, and scratched his head in wonder. “Now how did that find its way into my greenhouse?”
Luring a weeping angel into the Eye of Harmony room and making sure it doesn’t destroy your twenty-foot handmade scarf when your back is turned so you can you trick it into falling into a black hole, in Cece’s opinion, was not the ideal way to spend your morning.
Cece sat rigidly in the TARDIS’ control room, holding a can of Dr. Brown soda (the Doctor actually knew him; super nice guy, he recalled) with shaky hands. The Doctor, ever an English gentleman who was neither English nor human, was sipping daintily from a nice, warm “cuppa.”
Cece sighed wearily. “Yes?”
“Can I tell you what I wanted to tell you now?”
Cece nodded mutely. If she wasn’t so shaken up, she might have corrected his usage of the word can over may.
The Doctor did a little hop-skip-jump in the air. “Oh, goody! So, I recently learned that in an easily accessible parallel universe, they made a show based on my adventures.”
Cece dropped the can of soda in disbelief. Caramel-colored fizzy stuff dripped through the gratings on the floor. If Rory Pond had been down there doing repairs at the Doctor’s direction, which he was not, he’d probably be covered from head to toe with cream soda – and very angry, at that.
“Yes, I’m on telly,” the Doctor repeated. “And the radio.”
“H-h-how did you g-g-get there?” Cece demanded. “Am I on the show, too?” Uncharacteristically, she began fussing with her auburn curls. “Like, can they see what we’re doing right now in our everyday lives, like on Big Brother?”
The Doctor shrugged. “It’s a scripted broadcast; that’s all I know. I can only hope they didn’t make my ears look like rocket fins or something horrid like that….”
Cece chuckled to herself. In his current form, the Time Lord was funny-looking enough as it were … and his ears did already seem to have a bit of a rocket fin quality to them.
“Do you reckon we could, y’know, visit this place?”
The Doctor nodded. “I don’t see why not. I mean, it would be just brilliant to meet the fans! I wonder if they know about Rose….” His voice trailed off as he thought of his lost companion, as it often did when he thought if his lost companion.
“I’m sure they do,” Cece said helpfully, eager to change the subject before the Doctor started brooding. “Let’s check this parallel universe out!”
The Doctor took a large package out of his small pocket. (It’s bigger on the inside, you see.) “Jake sent me this last week. I picked it up from our temporal rendezvous earlier today.”
“What’s that do?” Cece inquired, eyeing the strange little device the Doctor had taken from inside the box. Her next question was, Who is Jake, but she figured he’d only answer her with a lie.
The Doctor climbed down below the circular dashboard. Cece watched him through the grating. “This little device enables the TARDIS to take us to easily accessible parallel universes.”
That meant they couldn’t visit Rose’s, was the unspoken conclusion.
“All set,” the Doctor called up a few minutes later. “The Fiendish Thingie Version Two Point O’ is installed and ready to– WHOA!!”
Cece peered down. “Doctor, are you all right?” she whispered meekly.
If Rory Pond — or worse, his dad, Brian — had slipped in a puddle of cream soda, he would most likely be indignant and maybe a little furious. Fortunately, the Doctor was not a Pond. He was, however, a bit dizzy.
Two ice packs and one Swiffer mop later….
“What do you say we land in somebody’s house and give them a fright?” the Doctor suggested, his face the very image of mischief. (Others, in the past, referred to him as The Face of Evil, although, teshnically, one might find it more appropriate to call this incarnation The Face of Mischief.)
“Yeah,” Cece. “I’m sure everyone watches your show, so you must be famous — I’m sure they’ll love it!”
The Doctor pushed some buttons on the dash and was about to finalize it all with a grand pull of a lever when he paused.
“Cece?” he said.
“Try not to mention anything about the fact that we’re from another universe when we’re there, all right?”
“Okay,” she agreed. As if that wouldn’t be hard for anyone to figure out on their own.
The Doctor smiled cheekily. “Fantastic! Are we ready to go?”
“Am I ever!”
The Doctor plunged the lever down. As the TARDIS began to shake and the Time Lord and his companion were thrown off their feet on this particularly perilous journey from one world to another, all they had to say on the matter was, “GERONIMO!”