DOCTOR WHO AND AN UNRULY CHILD
It was a bleak and rocky plain, not a McDonald's in sight. Rimmed by
distant mountains one could hike forever across the snow capped peaks
and never reach a ski resort. A broad sluggish river ran through the
centre of the plain. The river was clear and completely free of beer
cans and motorboats. In fact the river was fringed by an impenetrable
forest. Someone from London may have recognised the forest was covered
in an obscure type of plant named "trees", but probably not. There
were caves in the foothills of the mountains, well mountains as far
as England is concerned, and it was here that the Commune made their home.
In many ways they were fortunate...okay I'm lying but they weren't smart
enough to see what a bad shake of the stick they got. Once the wild beasts
who laired in the caves had been evicted through the complex stone age
tenants' union, the caves were warm and dry. There was water from the
river, fruits and berries in the forest. There was game in the forest
too, even in these most barbaric of times basketball and monopoly were
often played to pass the long boring days. Savage beasts sometimes
roamed the forest providing meat for the stomachs of the Commune, and
skins for the clothing - well in theory, in actuality the Commune members
more often than not provided their own skins as meat for the beasts.
The man called Kevin was a new comer to the Commune, but he was by far the
best of it's hunters, skilled and patient and cunning. Had this been a
modern Commune he'd have been named Breeze, worked at Safeway, and brought
home food he'd shoved down his trousers during coffee breaks. In this
time though Kevin never returned to the caves without some elaborate
fish story about the mammoth that got away and a few parrot carcasses.
It was this above all that had earned him the general apathy and bland
acceptance he so vastly enjoyed.
One day Kevin was following tracks at the edge of the forest when he saw
a miracle. He raised his hand to his mouth and yawned deeply. Witnessing
miracles had become a daily occurrence for him ever since he found that
hidden stash of the Shaman's special meditation mushrooms. There was
a wheezing groaning sound, quite unlike the roar of any beast. Kevin
figured this must be the breath of a strange creature from beyond the stars,
either that or an old man with very strong lungs. Peering cautiously
from the edge of the forest, Kevin saw a strange blue shape appear from
nowhere. He shook his head, annoyed at how often these little blue
shapes appeared before his eyes. However unlike those before it, this one
did not go away after he closed his eyes.
Many of the commune would have fled in terror, if they would ever have even
bothered to get off the cave floor and give it a look in the first place.
Kevin was more intelligent, and with that intelligence came curiosity.
Although this was usually when he skipped out of the forest for a few
hours to avoid doing menial chores back in the cave, he stayed where
he was, watching the blue shape to see what it would do. Kevin wanted
more the apathetic acceptance from the Commune. He wanted power - the
power of the leader - the power to club chicks over the head and drag
them by the hair back to his place like in all the cartoons. He wanted
Hur, the most beautiful maiden in the Commune, to be his mate. He loved
how simple and useful Hur's name was. Everyone always knew who he meant
when he talked about her. Kevin also wanted to kill Dave, son of the
old hippie chief, his only serious rival.
Kevin stared hungrily at the blue shape, wondering if he could cut it up
into little triangles and eat it with curry sauce. Here was something new,
something that so far that only he had seen. His scheming mind considered
the novelty, looking for ways to turn it to his own advantage...maybe he
could start a travelling road show and sell tickets for admission to see
the strange blue box...no, that wouldn't work! Not only would he need the
invention of wheel to make the show travel fast enough to make a profit off
the novelty but he'd need the concept of the ROAD beyond that. Sometimes
it was just so frustrating to be a caveman! If there was magic in the
blue box he would find a way to make it work for him.
In the great central cave of the Commune, they were waiting for magic too.
Dave sat cross-legged before the towering television set. The long-dead
black picture screen sat there mocking him. Dave gazed into his own
reflection in the screen and saw his frustration. The Commune gathered
around him in a circle. Men and boys, women and girls, dogs and pigs,
freaks and pushers, and Chris the one with long hair who was a cave man
or maybe a cave woman, but no one had the courage to ask. Chris preferred
to be referred to as a Cave Person and most of them left it at that.
All watched intently as Dave plugged in the chord into the wall where
he had carved two small holes. He gripped the dial on the set and
pushed it's buttons wildly. His face twisted in concentration. His
great muscles knotted with strain as he tried fruitlessly to get the
power switch to obey him, as if he could make the telly work with the
determined force of his own will. But the set remained cold and dead.
The slender dark girl by his side produced a sleek pad riddled with
rubber buttons. It was an ancient and holy object, and there was a
low gasp of awe. Dave shuck the pad angrily at the television set.
Nothing happened. Dave's shoulders slumped despairingly.
A little apart from the rest of the Commune, a skeletal, grey-haired old
woman sat mumbling on a Radio Times. This was Old Mother - Dave's mum -
the mate of his dear father - Gor Jones. When Gor had been alive and
chief, the best of the food, skins, perfumes, trinkets, cosmetic agents,
and home making magazines had come to Old Mother by right. Now she
was nothing, lower on the food chain than Martha Stewart at a swingers'
club. According to the custom of the Commune, she should have been
cast out of the cave to get a job and stop living off the dole. Some
soft streak in Dave made him keep her alive, but in truth it was
an excellent tax deduction and made him look like one hell of a regular
guy when poll time came around. Strangely enough, this only made her
despise her son the more. Dave would never make a chief like his father.
"Where is the telly that Dave makes work?" she cackled.
The girl at Dave's side was Hur. She was quick to come to his defence.
"Oi! Shut your trap you barmy old hag!"
Dave scowled at the screen. "My father brought quality programmes to
Commune! We watched A-Team and Z-Cars. A-Z!"
Old Mother muttered, "So he did - and he died for it."
Dave's dad had gone out hunting one day, and had never returned. At around
the same time that cavewoman who looked uncannily like Raquel Welch also
disappeared but no one in the Commune had the brains at the time to put
one and one together. Such incidents were common enough. Often blonde
cavewomen would wander into town and seduce the chief. Usually the Commune
members would blame the wild beasts. Beasts were sometimes quicker or
more cunning than the hunter. It kept the numbers of the Commune low,
and meant more food for those who lived. It was a better story to tell
the cavekids around the fire at night 'And Then The Great GrandChief
Zark was slayed by the giant dire wolf in a heroic struggle of certain
doom' was a lot easier to say than 'And Then The Great GrandChief Zark
met this babe from the coast and OH Boy! How did that woman stand we
"My father died hunting," rumbled Dave angrily.
"Gor was a great hunter. I never saw the beast that could destroy him.
He angered the gods by watching the shows after the watershed with all
the nude women in the soap commericals."
Dave stared in angry confusion. "He taught me how to make leopard skins
into bras to impress the young women. He taught me how to walk and to
talk and be like a proper man he did. He would have taught me how to
turn on that bloody television set, if the beast had not killed him."
"So that everyone would bow to you to get the control of distance as they
bowed to him," sneered Old Mother. But she knew Dave spoke the truth.
The secret of turning on the television set and controlling it from distance
was the most jealously guarded secret of all, handed down from chief to
chief. Gor had hung onto the secret as long as he could - a full grown
son can be a rival, too. He was always promising he would teach Dave
how to work the telly after he finished watching the match and finished
up work and finished up with his multiple interns. But the poor bastard
died before he the promise could be kept. It was all like a song by
Harry Chapin in the end.
Now Dave was chief, partly because he was Gor's son, more because he
always found ways to score lager and curry for the Commune. He still
lacked the one magical party attribute of a true chief - the ability
to get the telly to work. Suddenly, Dave leapt to his feet, and loomed
threateningly over Old Mother. "Tell me what my father did to tune in
"He crouched over the telly, and moved his hands as you do, but always,
he kept his body over the set, hiding his actions with his body. You
simply could not see through the man. That is all I know."
"Ah! Get out of my sight old woman! You should have died with him!"
Old Mother rose and hobbled away. "Television is evil," she muttered.
"Gor died because his desire to sit up all night and shop at home angered
the gods. It is better to live without television, read a book like
we did in the old times. Give a hoot, don't pollute." She laughed
triumphantly. "The television is gone now. Dave will never watch an
Dave was crouched over the set again. "Throw old Radio Times on the
set," he ordered. "Perhaps the spirit of television still lives in them."
Hur threw on the old magazines, and Dave went on gripping the dials and
buttons. The girl with uncreative parents, Hur, crouched at his side.
"The old dudes are talking against you, Dave. They say it would be better
for the stranger Kevin to lead us. They say you sit all day getting pissed
and trying to get this tv working, while Kevin at least gets off his ass and
brings them some food."
"Without meat we go hungry," said Dave. "But without tv we shall die of
boredom! Without tv, the beasts of the forests will raid our caves when
they are hungry, steal our women and children while we sleep. Without
tv there are no cartoons of stupid cats chasing hilariously clever and
"Old men see no further than who filled their bellies at the last party.
They will make Kevin the leader. And Tim, my father, will give me to HIM."
Tim was one of the elders of the tribe. He was old now, but he was still
a man of great influence. At parties his lampshade dance routine was
legendary. Since he was no longer the lover of the loudest music, he
would support the lover of the loudest music. It was the law the party.
"Kevin!?" said Dave moodily. "Kevin is no leader! It's not easy to be
a leader. I should know!"
Kevin had appeared from over the mountains one day, sole survivor of
some distance travelling tribe of mime artists. Usually mimes would
have been killed on sight but Kevin had renounced his Mimish roots and
agreed to become part of the Commune. He had brought a newly killed
bag of quarter pounder cheeseburgers as a peace offering. Kevin was
a fine hunter, quick thinker, great talker, and he knew showtunes like
nobody's business. Instead of killing him, as was their custom with
any travelling performer, the Commune had allowed him to join them.
It had been, thought Dave, a great mistake not killing Kevin. Kevin
had gathered a considerable following in the local pop charts and
there were now those who spoke of him for chief. That insufferable
Dave knew instinctively that Kevin was no fit leader for the commune.
He could hold a steady job, he did laundry, when other cavepersons
met him they thought he was holding down a responsible job in hunting
and gathering with a proper group of cave people. On the bright side
Kevin was greedy and ruthless, wanting everything for himself. Even
though Dave took the biggest share of the kill, the warmest skins,
and the imported wines, as was his right, he cared for the Commune as
well and this was his major set back. Dave was always seeing that
the hunting parties were organised, and that even in times of hardship
women and children were given food...and that he was given women, of course.
A leader must think of many things, and he thought of everything!
"Kevin is no leader." muttered Dave again.
Hur said, "Leader is the one who makes glowy box work!"
Dave sent the pile of Radio Times flying with one sweep of his powerful
arm. "I missed Eastenders again!!!! Where has the television gone?? WHERE!?"
Ian Chesterton came back into consciousness with a bruised body and an
aching head. He hoped to himself that he hadn't missed anything exciting
to get him into such a state. Cautiously, he raised his hand and rubbed
it over his scalp. There was a lump just above one ear. It was sore, but
there didn't seem to be any blood. He wondered if he had been with someone
who liked it rough. Maybe he'd had wild rompy sex and knocked his head and
temporarily forgotten he told himself.
A voice called, "Ian? Ian are you alright?"
He opened his eyes and saw Barbara kneeling beside him. Looking up at her
body hanging down above his helpless form he said "This is getting to be a
habit." He smiled naughtily and further replied, "I'm all right, I think.
Must have hit my head when..." He broke off as the memory of the evening's
extraordinary events plowed into him like a cow trying to operate a tractor
and failing miserably. "Well at least we saw Susan naked, and we've stopped
moving." Ian got gingerly to his feet and saw Susan and the Doctor sprawled
across the console, studying the instrument banks.
"Wow! Was that trip out city or what Grandfather!? I felt the universe
move!" Susan was saying.
The Doctor nodded, checking another row of dials. "Layer of sand, and
thin topsoil - nearby rock formations...ouch!..and that's just my shoes!
I wonder what it's like outside."
Susan turned, smiling and Ian and Barbara. "Are you feeling better?
We've left 1963 I'm afraid. I just got carried away with the controls."
The Doctor noddedly in agreement. "Oh yes, undoubtedly. It's very good
that your teachers were rendered unconscious. I don't see how they could
have withstood the display otherwise. Now, where and when are we I
wonder?" The Doctor leaned over the console and rapped a dial sharply
with his sock puppet. "Zero!" He said indignantly. "Zero? That can't
be right! This yearometer isn't working properly, Susan! I knew I
should have stuck with the old Japanese one and not this new fangled
Eurometer Yearometer!" He realised Susan hadn't been paying him any
attention at all, followed the direction of her glance, and saw Ian
and Barbara making out on the floor.
"Oh, yes, dwiddle dee and dwiddle dum!" he said airily, as if he'd just
remembered their existence. "What are you doing down there? It looks
naughty! You can get up now, our journey is finished. You were asleep
so I took the liberty of eating your in-flight packets of roasted peanuts."
Barbara was staring at him in horror. "All those peanuts!?! Where are
we?" she demanded. "Where are we? And why didn't we get a drink before
Ian struggled to his feet, groaning a little, "Barbara, don't tell me
they've got you believing all this nonsense. Now come back down on
the floor and we'll start back up where we left off."
"It's true Mr Chesterton," said Susan, "We've travelled a great distance
in Space and Time." There was something about Susan, some mysterious
element that made Ian want to believe her. Oh yes! It was the whole
naked thing. Ian always desperately wanted to believe whatever nude
women told him. Susan continued her appeal to his belief, "Look at
the scanner screen!"
The Doctor sniffed. "That's right, look up there and stop oggling my
granddaughter!" He pointed to a small square screen suspended above
the console. It showed a bleak and rocky plain, the edge of what
looked like a forest and a view of distant mountains.
As Ian stared at the screen in amazement, the Doctor said scornfully,
"They don't understand, and I suspect they don't want to! They're all
the same these people. Promise them fun and adventure and they get
upset at you the very first time you twist time and reality to fit
your own devious ends." He looked at Ian. "Well, there you are young man,
a new world for you."
"It's a black and white television set." said Ian stupidly. "Are
you trying to tell me that you've mastered the secrets of the universe
in this machine and yet you still use a black and white television set?"
The Doctor looked embarrassed and grumbled "Well, no, of course not.
No, this television set is from the planet Quiness, and works on light
waves that only Susan and myself can see, to your human eyes it merely
"Oh don't give me that!" Said Ian in sheer disbelief.
"ALL RIGHT! ALL RIGHT! I admit it! It's black and white! OKAY? I
broke the colour one a few trips back and I was too cheap to replace it
with another one so I picked this one up at a flea market in 1975."
Ian decided to toy with the Doctor. "So, what you're saying to me, is
that the rocks and sand, the sand and rocks, are what's outside?"
"Exactly. The immediate view outside the ship."
"And they are black and white?"
"NO!! Of course not you silly sod! They are in colour. Look I'll
fix the television set later!"
"So let me just get this absolutely clear. Are you trying to tell me
that that's what we'll see, but in colour, when we go outside - NOT the
junk yard in Tossers Lane?"
"Oh yes," said Susan brightly. "You'll be able to see it for yourself soon."
"I don't believe it." Ian was desperately trying to believe Susan. Being
naked just wasn't enough this time. Maybe if she did a little dance it would
The Doctor sighed. "You really are a stubborn bastard, aren't you, young
"All right, just you show me some proof, some concrete evidence." Ian
looked sympathically at Susan. "I don't want to hurt you, Susan, I just
think it's time you were brought back to reality, but, until that happens,
do you think you could just wiggle provocatively for a bit?"
"You're wrong Mr Chesteron! THIS IS REALITY!" sad Susan sadly.
The Doctor sniffed indignantly. "He's saying that Fuzzy and I are
charlatans! Just what evidence would satisify you young man? The
word of myself, my granddaughter, and my sock seem not to sway you!"
"That's easy. Just open the doors, Doctor Foreman."
"Foreman?" the Doctor muttered to Fuzzy Sock Puppet, as if he never heard
the name before. "Foreman? What's he talking about now? Where did I put
my spare teeth?"
"They seem very sure, Ian," whispered Barbara seductively. "And remember
the police box, the difference between the inside and the outside. Ohh,
it's just so BIG and exciting."
"Well if you want big and exciting Barbara...oh, nevermind." Ian
looked challengingly at the Doctor. "Well are you going to open those doors?"
Ian looked at the two girls and let his mind wander a bit before shaking his
head and telling them, "You see. He's bluffing."
"Not until I am sure it's safe to open them. For all you know there
are a row of gun crazy teenage gang members just waiting to pump us
full of lead as soon as we walk out." He checked some more readings.
"The air seems like oxygen. Yes, it is, my it's very clear, quite
remarkably unpolluted. Check the coffee maker, will you, Susan?"
"It's reading normal, grandfather. Grand Dad. My father's father.
The man who banged my grandmother. The.."
"Yes, yes darling. MMm, MMm Good, good. That's what Campbell's soups are
you know? I'll take the portable Mr Coffee just in case. So, young man,
you still challenge me do you?"
"Just open the doors and prove your point." said Ian wearily.
"I suppose you believe that you suppose that you can...ohh..yes..
I do suppose you do!" Said the Doctor absent-mindedly. "You really
are too narrow minded, my dear boy," said the Doctor, with an air
of insufferable superiority. "You must learn not to be so insular.
Conduct a little won't you?"
"Have you any idea where we are, Grandfather, My Great Grandfather's Son?"
asked Susan. She passed the Doctor something that looked like a plastic
"Oh, we've certainly gone back in Time...a considerable amount, I think.
I believe we must be on earth sometime AFTER it's initial formation, of
course, and some time before a week last Tuesday. That's a pretty broad
estimate I know, but when we get outside I'll take a few samples...some
rock pieces, a few plants, maybe go the cinema..then I'll be able to make
an accurate estimate. He looked drunkenly at the TARDIS console. "I do
wish these instruments wouldn't keep letting me down though. It seems
to matter where we arrive they tell me we've landed in Wales in the 69th
"You believe all this, don't you?" Said Ian incredulously. "You really
believe we've gone back in Time?"
"Oh yes," said the Doctor complacently. "No Doubt, Take That!"
"And when we open the doors, we won't be in a junk yard in London, England,
"That's quite correct. You're tone suggests ridicule young man. Say...
haven't we had this conversation before? Are you back tracking over the
"The author get paid by the word remember? Anyway, let's go on. IT'S
RIDICULOUS! Time doesn't go around and around in a circle like a German
tourist trying to get off a roundabout. You can't just step off wherever
you like, in the past or future. I mean I may just be a secondary school
teacher from 1963 but I think I would have noticed that sort of thing
"Oh? And what does happen to Time then? Instruct me!"
"Well...in my theory, time is like a sausage. And space is like bacon.
And the universe is fried eggs, and the galaxy is baked beans."
"I'm sorry, dear boy, I'm not following you? How does this theory work?"
"Well, I'm just really hungry you see." said Ian vaguely.
There was a conscending amusement in the Doctor's manner. The very
way he held aloft his sock puppet seemed to rub in his sense of aristocratic
superiority. He looked at Barbara. "And what about you? You're not as
doubtful as your friend, are you?"
"No. Nor as hungry I think."
"Good! Then there's hope for you yet!"
Ian sighed, "Oh, Barbara! Can't you just PRETEND to be hungry? Think
about it! The blackness of space could be coffee and the sun could be
this giant scone..."
"I can't help it, Ian. They're both so calm, so certain of themselves.
I just believe them, that's all."
The Doctor stared hypnotically at Ian. "If you could touch my granddaughter
in the alien sand with your hands and feet, hear her strange cries, and watch
her wheel above you....would that satisfy you?"
"Hell yes!" Said Ian simply.
The Doctor smiled, reached out and threw a switch. "Then off you go, Spanky
The TARDIS doors slid open.
Ian went to the open door and stared out. "It's not true!!" He said.
"It can't be!! I think we've landed in Cromer!"
The Doctor smiled.
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