Thanks for taking a look at these latest extracts from 'Life Begins at 40', the bizarre world of Doctor Who fanatics (ahem... enthusiasts!) Pete and Jeff. Pete and Jeff's adventures will be continuing in print, in a hilarious new novel (published by Hirst Books) due for release in December 2010. The entries on this blog are only the very beginning! If you like what you've read so far, and want to know how the story continues, why not pre-order a copy direct from the Hirst Books website here.
As a thank you, your name will be printed in the credits and you will receive a signed copy before the book hits the shelves.
As a thank you, your name will be printed in the credits and you will receive a signed copy before the book hits the shelves.
And in the meantime, here's a sample to be getting on with...
TARDIS LOG #5: Terror Nation!
Jeff: Thursday 1st July
“Wow.” Said Pete, slightly breathless.
“Yeah.” I nodded, much like when Amy showed The Doctor her wedding dress.
“I mean... Just... Wow.” He fumbled at the air in an attempt to find the right words.
“Well, I suppose it had to happen some time...”
“You know, now it's gone...” I began tentatively. “It's like... I don't...”
“...Miss it. Yeah, I know. I actually, you know, kind of prefer it this way.”
He was right. Replacing the life-sized cardboard cut out of David Tennant in the bathroom with the new Matt Smith one was the best thing I'd done all year.
Jeff: Friday 2nd July
I had a message from Rachel on Facebook saying she'd like to meet up again! I was in such a good mood I found myself just pacing up and down, listening to the new Doctor Who theme, too euphoric to actually do anything. Which was a shame, because before I checked my messages, I'd been getting some sterling work done on our new 'Vaporiser' novel...
Drew Ardon stalked the futuristic corridors of the metallic bunker. Penelope Foxxworth was captive somewhere within the compound, and if he didn't get her to safety by 1500 hours, his ass would be on the line, and he knew all too well that the Senator slapped asses with a scythe.
Just as he rounded a corner at the end of the corridor, there came a sound from far down the corridor to his left.
“So you have returned!” A sinister voice crackled. Drew didn't need to look around to see who it was. When he did, there was no mistaking it. The crash helmet, the custom green Nikes, the spandex body warmer: The Vaporiser! “We melt again, Mr. Ardon! Hahahahaha!”
Jeff: Saturday 3rd July
It's pissing me off that Open Office insists 'Vaporiser' is a spelling error, telling me to spell it with a 'Z'. I'm not American!
Jeff: Sunday 4th July
Upon further reflection, perhaps I should spell it with a 'Z', to make it a bit cooler, more modern and transatlantic. Sex it up a bit.
Jeff: Monday 5th July
No. That whole 'Americanisation' thing is a terrible idea. We don't want another 'Doctor Who – The TV Movie' on our hands!
Jeff: Tuesday 6th July
I awoke to find a slightly bizarre text in my inbox: 'Brilliant. I'd love to be friends. Maybe we can go for a drink sometime? I'll even wear the costume! Your pal, Adric.'
Pete promised me he wasn't the culprit, but I wasn't convinced.
“Jeff... Why has Daisy put up a 'Women's Nutritional Chart' above the sink? We're both men. And I've never heard of a...” He squinted at the word. “Celeriac. Jesus! It looks like an Ood.”
“D'you reckon the Ood count as proper Doctor Who monsters?” I asked, trying to ignore the chart.
“Well, I mean, I was thinking about K9, and how iconic he is. But he kind of missed all the good stories, didn't he?”
“I don't... Really... What are you... Hang on! What about 'City of Death'?”
“You can't count 'City of Death' just because Tom Baker says 'Hello K9'!”
“He is still in it though.”
“That's not the point. The fact is, K9 is synonymous with Doctor Who.” I held aloft my Doctor Who mug and pointed at the picture of K9 to prove my point. “And yet, he came in fairly late in the game. Don't you think it's weird that by the time we first heard about The Master, the show was already a decade old?!”
“8 years.” Pete abruptly cut me off.
“Whatever. But... You know? Doctor Who is: Time Lord, TARDIS, companion, sonic screwdriver, Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, K9 and Autons. But some of those came pretty late on.”
“Ooh! Wait! I'll draw a chart!” He squealed excitedly.
“Well, that's not really what I-” But he'd already got out his marker pens, and was hastily scribbling.
“And the winner is...” He announced proudly, spinning it around for me to see. “The Daleks!”
63 – Daleks / 66 – Cybermen / 67 – Yeti / 67 – Ice Warriors / 68 – Sonic Screwdriver / 70 – Autons / 70 – Homo Reptilia / 71 – The Master / 74 – Sontarans / 75 – Davros / 77 – K9
“Actually, I think you've proved my point!” I boggled. “That's it. 1977 must be the cut off point! I mean, that stuff's all proper Doctor Who! Can you imagine how excited people would be if the Ice Warriors came back?”
“What about the Zygons?”
“They were only in one story. Does that count?”
“Of course it bloody counts. I'm putting it in! Zygons... 75...”
“But seriously... Did they invent anything new in the 80s? Anything that people would actually get excited about if it returned?”
“I don't think... I mean, there was literally nothing.”
“Just Cybermen standing around saying 'Excellent'! And I can't really imagine the Glam-Droid from 'Visitation' making a welcome comeback...”
“What about Sil?”
“Oh, come on. You can't compare Sil to the Autons!”
“At least he got to be in it twice. It's like, they invented all these aliens like the 'Terileptils' and the Vervoids, but they didn't have the audacity to bring them back because even the writers knew they were rubbish.”
“'Terror of the Vervoids' is a-” I leapt to its defence, but Pete held up a hand to silence me.
“Whatever you're about to say, forget it. You can't seriously compare 'Vervoids' to 'Genesis of the Daleks'!” He was right. “The 80s was just a big rehash fest! I mean, they even reused The Black Guardian!”
“Yeah! And that weird, big-headed Omega in 'Arse of Insanity'.”
“We said we'd never talk about that!” He yelled, his eyes widening. “Omega dies at the end of 'The Three Doctors' and that's that!”
“Sorry... So... What was I saying? Oh yeah, the Ood! Are they a proper Doctor Who monster now? What are the new modern standards?”
“I don't think we'll know for at least a decade, but I can't realistically see anyone getting excited by another Slitheen story.”
“You're right. Celeriac is a weird vegetable. And I have no idea where that chart came from.”
Jeff: Friday 9th July
It occurs to me... Uma Thurman was in two films in 1997 – 'The Avengers' and 'Batman and Robin' – which were, on separate occasions, both voted the worst film of all time. Whereas, to my mind, 'The Avengers' is one of the greatest films ever made. That's all I really have to say on the matter.
Jeff: Saturday 10th July
I had a route under my bed and found the box of doom. At the bottom were all my high school love letters from Rachel, all perfectly preserved in a plastic wallet. I listened to 'Undisclosed Desires' as I leafed through them. Valentine's cards, Christmas present tags, photos, drawings... I came across my favourite, torn from the geometric page of a maths notebook and speckled with black dots where the ink had run as I'd stood reading it in the rainy schoolyard. In the top right hand corner I'd drawn stick figures of the two of us, holding hands outside the TARDIS.
...It's hard to tell you how much I love you because there just aren't enough words to describe it. I don't even mind about having to go to school, because it means I get to see you. I love you so much. I've never felt like this before. I want us to spend the rest of our lives together...
I went on Facebook again and looked at the countdown to her wedding day. I suppose this happens in every relationship eventually. One of you gets a fairytale, and the other gets an old box stained by raindrops that fell a thousand years ago, somehow still wet.
I was dragged out of 1984 by the buzzing of my phone. Bloody hell – my Mum? What did she want?
“Jeff? It's your Mum.”
“I know.” Try as I might, I still couldn't get her to understand the concept of caller ID.
“It's your father. He's gone a bit... Mad.”
Jeff: Monday 12th July
“Where the hell have you been?” Shrieked Pete, as I stumbled home at 1am.
“You know how you always said my Dad was mental for spending all day pacing up and down Hound's Hill shopping centre in his security guard uniform?” I sighed, sinking into the sofa.
“Even though he retired ages ago?”
“Yeah. And I always said that he was just very proud, and that he was just making sure they were getting on okay without him?”
“Well... I think you were right. I think he probably is a bit... Mad.”
“What happened?” Pete raised an eyebrow.
“Well, he was pacing around as usual, but then he caught someone shoplifting.”
“Well, at least he's still being useful-”
“Except they weren't actually shoplifting. It was just an old woman trying to fit a bag of cakes into her trolley.”
“So, what happened?”
“Well, the police arrived, but he insisted she was a criminal. So when they refused to arrest her, he accused them of being imposters.”
“Yeah. Well, specifically Russian spies, disguised as police officers on some sort of mission to overthrow the monarchy.”
“He's always had it in for the KGB, hasn't he?”
“So he took the old woman hostage with his air rifle, and barricaded himself in that chicken shop. I had to go and reason with him until he let her go.”
“You were a hostage negotiator?! That's amazing. You're like Sylvester Stallone or something... You'll definitely get a job at the BBC now!”
“It was my Dad. I don't think it counts.”
“So you were negotiating until 1 in the morning?”
“No, we had to go with them down to the station.”
“He's in prison?”
“Out on bail. They've suggested counselling.”
Jeff: Wednesday 14th July
Daisy and I went to Comet. I'd forestalled getting a new laptop for too long. Before I was even fully across the threshold, I'd been pounced upon by a salesman. I told him I wanted a decent laptop.
“What you need is the Advent Roma 3001!” He trilled. “Would you like to be introduced?” I thought this was a highly unusual thing to say. Was this computer sentient?
“Introduced? It's not... Self-aware or anything, is it?” I asked, as he led me to a glass cabinet.
“Almost! It's terribly interactive. It's time to step into the 10s!”
“Well...” I was uncertain, slightly afraid of his almost inhuman demeanour. “...I suppose I'll be up to date at last.”
He unlocked the window and pointed to the laptop on its little stand. “Intel, Celeron Dual-Core T3100, Genuine Windows Home Premium 4096 MO, Hard Drive: 250 Gigabyte, DVD-RW Rewriter, sexy black shell, 15.6 Widescreen and Immediate response!”
“It's not that impressive.” Daisy snorted.
“What?” The salesman looked hurt. “It has seven computer languages and five protocols!”
“Protocols?” I asked.
“Yes. That's how it talks to other computers.” He gave me a well rehearsed wink. “The FBI and the CIA use Advent computers, sir. They're favoured universally and used for all sorts. You could design ships. Run power stations. Oil! Gas! Who knows where the energy industry would be without Advent computers.”
I ended up leaving with a Compaq for a hundred-and-twenty quid.
“You have a nice day now, sir!” The salesman yelled, before sidling up to me and whispering in my ear. “Oh, and by the way sir, I strongly suggest you marry the girl.” He winked in Daisy's direction. I left feeling a little unsettled and with the strangest sense of deja vu.
“I've had a really productive day!” Proclaimed Pete, as I stepped through the door.
“Right.” I found this hard to believe, as it was 4pm and he was sat in his underpants, drinking a Mars Bar milkshake and watching the Spice Girls movie.
Jeff: Thursday 15th July
I am now officially and inescapably in the red. I've exceeded my overdraft and I maxed out my credit card buying the new laptop. And still no sign of any benefits! I bit the bullet and rang them, only to be informed that my claim was in “processing hell” and that if I was desperate for cash, I should apply for a “crisis loan”. He transferred me to another department.
“Hello? I'd like to apply for a crisis loan.”
“Can I take your number please?”
“National Insurance number?”
“No. The number you were assigned in the telephone queue.”
“Oh... Err... 6.”
“Okay, Number 6. May I have your National Insurance number?”
“WH 24 11 63 O.”
“I see. Unfortunately, Number 6-”
“Stop calling me that. It's weird! My name's-”
“I'm afraid we take a very strong stance against individual personality in our clients. It creates room for bias, Number 6. As I was saying, it appears that you already have a claim open with the DWP. I cannot authorise a crisis loan to someone already receiving benefits.”
“But... I'm not getting any benefits! My claim's in processing hell!”
“In that case, Number 6, I suggest you take it up with your local Job Centre.”
“But they told me to call you!”
“That will be all, Number 6. Be seeing you.”
Jeff: Friday 16th July
“What the hell is this?” Asked Pete, as I placed his tea in front of him.
“It's bangers and mash.” I said.
“These aren't bangers! They're carrots!”
“I couldn't afford any sausages!” I snapped. “It was either this or carrot and potato stew.”
“Stew? But only old people eat stew. It's just stuff with bits in!”
“Exactly. So shut up and enjoy it.”
“When are we going to get some real food? My parents are coming over soon!”
I couldn't help it. I sniggered.
“You know. It's just...”
“I thought his life support system was so efficient he didn't need to eat. I thought he lacked teeth. And taste buds.”
“That is not funny!”
A silence fell. “It is a bit funny...”
Jeff: Monday 19th July
I tweaked my bow tie (a red one today!) and surveyed myself in the mirror.
“Come on, look at me! No plan, no back up, no weapons worth a damn. Oh, and something else: I don't have anything to lose! So, if you're sitting up there in your silly little spaceships with all your silly little guns, and you've got any plans on taking the Pandorica tonight, just remember who's standing in your way!”
I was ready for my appointment at the bank.
“So, Mr. Greene. I understand you wish to extend the overdraft facility on your account?” Said the chubby man with the moustache. He looked like a Dickensian villain.
“That's right, yes.” Shit... Was the bow tie a bad idea?
“And the reason for this?”
“Oh, just a temporary cash flow problem. I'm between jobs right now... Looking into going into... You know how it is... Can't make money without spending money. Haha!”
He asked for my NI number, mobile telephone number, email address, and the name of my favourite uncle. I squinted at his name badge: 'Mr. William Eckerslike'. After a few minutes of frenzied tapping at his keyboard, he eventually spun the computer monitor around and I was a bit confused – if not downright horrified – to find that I was staring at my Facebook page. “According to your latest status update, Mr. Greene, you are – and I quote – 'Skint! Skint! Fucking Skint!' Would you care to elaborate?”
“Well, you know how it is...”
“I'm not sure I do. This evidence hardly convinces me that you are a reliable investment, and hardly capable of repaying a larger overdraft – especially in this time of recession. If I may take a moment to review your situation, you are an unmarried, non-home-owning, unemployed debtor, with no savings or premiums, who currently owes £400 on his credit card, and is £250 over his £2000 overdraft limit. You have an outstanding library fine of £24, and...” He peered at the screen. “...You owe someone called 'Dom' a tenner. Given the circumstances, I am reducing your overdraft. We'll introduce a repayment scheme as of today.”
Jeff: Tuesday 20th July
I received a letter from the DWP, telling me that my claim for benefits had been rejected.
Dear Mr. Greene,
Unfortunately, your claim has been rejected by the computer.
I refer you to the payslip for £800 from Blackpool Transport LTD, dated 1st July. This exceeds the amount you are permitted to earn whilst claiming benefits. May we remind you that we take fraudulent claims very seriously. In future, you could face a fine or even a custodial sentence.
I examined the attached payslip, and saw that it was dated 1st July 2005. Still, it wasn't all bad. Now I wasn't technically receiving benefits, I could re-submit my crisis loan application before correcting their error! I reached for the phone.
“Hello?” Came a dull greeting.
“Hello. I'm ringing about a crisis loan.”
“What is your number?”
“Err... 6.” I said, somewhat uncertainly.
“Ahh, Number 6. I'm afraid you are not eligible for a crisis loan as you do not currently have an open claim for benefits.”
“But I thought I couldn't get a loan if I was on benefits?”
“Yeah. It's just that if you don't have a claim registered on the system, the computer won't recognise your existence.”
“Well, what can I do? I need to pay the rent!”
“Well, according you your Facebook page, you live in very close proximity to your parents. I suggest you ask them to put you up.”
“39, actually, Mr. Greene.”
Pete: Wednesday 21st July
I normally find my life busy, hectic and fulfilling but today turned out to be a bit of a non-starter, so I decided to deal with all the tedious jobs I'd been putting off for ages. I reasoned the place was probably due for a clean up before my parents came anyway. The soul of my slipper got stuck to the sticky lino this morning and ripped clean off when I lifted my foot. Even though I'd bought them from 'Shoesaverz' 8 years ago, that probably wasn't supposed to happen.
I cleaned the kitchen; stacked the pans in order of size and brand; combed the sofa; changed my sheets; dealt with that green area on the carpet, where me and Jeff had drunk too much Horlicks and decided to try our hands at alchemy; scrubbed between the bathroom tiles with a toothbrush; and re-applied any posters that were peeling. Then I checked my watch. Shit: it was only 11:31am. Why is it that when you clean out of obligation, it seems like an unending task of unbearable tedium, but when you do it willingly, you breeze through it? I'd have to turn my attention to matters of personal grooming to kill some more time, but even when I'd showered, plucked my eyebrows, shaved, rubbed my entire upper torso in roll-on deodorant and done my clenching exercises, it was still only lunchtime.
I was going to have to do it. I was going to have to go through all my unread emails. I started with junk mail. I couldn't believe the number of messages telling me I needed cheap Canadian medicine to help my libido, rid me of alleged erectile dysfunction and – mysteriously – add an extra couple of inches to increase the size of my penis. It defied logic. Where was that extra length supposed to come from? Did the pills come with their own plastic surgeon or was it all done by some kind of rudimentary torsion machine?
It was all getting a bit depressing. I was about to give up when I saw a message reading 'Comedy Dan has suggested you rejoin the Facebook community. Why not catch up with all those old friends who are missing you?' I was reasonably sure I didn't have any friends that actually liked me enough to seriously miss me, apart from maybe Jeff, and I'd just seen him a few hours ago, so if he was itching to get in touch again so soon, I'd be a bit worried. Nevertheless, setting up a Facebook profile would kill a little time.
I’d originally deleted my account, after I got a crazed phone call from Dom telling me that the whole thing was a secret brain experiment set up by the giant lizards, but now that I thought about it, that didn’t seem particularly plausible. I was mildly freaked out, however, when I followed the link and found that it remembered all my details. Photographs that didn’t really look like me anymore; an insincere biog that made me sound like a confident, fun and outgoing socialite (all bollocks, of course); and, disconcertingly, my credit card number. It was as though I’d never really been gone at all! Even all my old school ‘friends’ were there. Why? It didn’t make any sense that the sort of people who used to beat the crap out of me now wanted to be best friends. Craig Brickstock, who once held me by the ankles and poured milk into my nostrils – before stealing my shoes – had become a Community Support Officer with six kids. In year 8, Jenny Goldstein humiliated me by tearing up the ‘Caves of Androzani’ Target Novelisation, in which I’d written her a love note, in front of our whole food studies class. Now she looked like Blackpool’s answer to Delia Smith and had repeatedly ‘poked’ me (not literally, it turns out) for failing to ‘fertilise her Little Green Patch’. What did it all mean?! Was it some kind of sexual innuendo, or a new development in hyperspace flirting to which I was completely ignorant? There was something else niggling at me too – all these people seemed to be doing quite well for themselves. They all looked ‘normal’. Push the thought out, Pete. Just ignore the bad thoughts and they’ll go away.
It wasn’t all bad, after all. Terry Williams, who I hadn’t seen since primary school, had sent me a ‘friend request’. I quickly perused his photos to make sure he wasn’t doing too much better than me before accepting. Overweight – check; balding – check; wife/girlfriend – negative; embarrassing mid-life crisis car with flame transfers on the bonnet – check, but I’d let him off the hook for that one. Not only was I going to add him, I was going to send him a message and invite him over for a drink. Perhaps a healthy dose of reminiscence and pointless nostalgia would help me work out where it had all gone so drastically wrong. I wrote out a couple of friendly, concise emails and then picked the one that made me sound the least weird. I was proud of myself. I hadn’t agonised over it for too long, and I’d even included a little joke.
Sure enough, it was only a couple of minutes before a new message came through. I opened it eagerly, my head swimming excitedly with warm recollections of the past. Except that it was from that girl Daisy had tried to set me up with, Tracey: 'Sure. I’d love to come over for a drink! Wait until you see my new Chinese dragon dress. It’s REALLY tight!! XXXXX'.
Shit. Shit. Shit! I pressed the ‘back’ button a few times and glanced in horror at my ‘friend requests’ page. Tracey had been the next one down from Terry. But all of a sudden, I was struck with a genius plan, and reached for my mobile to give Andy Pond a call.
Jeff: Wednesday 21st July
It was with a heavy heart that I logged onto Job-Finder.net. Its homepage was garish and yellow, depicting a smiling Asian woman with a disfigured lip, sitting in a wheelchair. She had short, spiked hair, an eyebrow piercing and was brandishing a selection of power tools. I clicked on the 'situations vacant' tab to see a picture of some pest control officers in a sewer, all with their arms raised and inane grins on their faces. A caption below read 'Proud to be a TEAM!'
I couldn't take it anymore and crawled into bed, where I spent the remainder of the day eating Coco Pops from the box, and reading 'White Darkness'.
Jeff: Thursday 22nd July
I decided to be assertive and go to the Job Centre. I'd tell them that the payslip was 5 years old and try to find a job that wasn't subterranean. After breakfast, of course.
I watched 'The Avengers', just to occupy me, whilst I ate my toast. But then Pete got up and suggested we eat spicy beans, so I watched a bit of 'The Infinite Quest' whilst he prepared them.
By midday I was ready to leave, but decided to check my emails first. After watching a really well put together Youtube video, featuring every single jelly baby reference in Doctor Who, back to back, I was straight out!
Just as I was leaving, Pete handed me a 'Value Noodle-Pot' and said there was something I just had to see that would blow my mind.
By 3pm, having watched the silent, black and white footage of the film crew from Fury from the Deep, I was at last at the Job Centre!
The man behind the desk apologised for the mix up, but said it would be at least 14 days before I received any money, and suggested that I apply for a crisis loan in the meantime. He handed me an application form. I reigned in the impulse to scream, stuffed the form into my tweed jacket and made my way to the War Machine type things that were supposed to help find you a job.
I typed my details in using the touch screen. I explained that I had a degree in English Literature, almost 20 years of work experience and a cycling proficiency certificate. I specified that I was looking for something in the media. Who knows – it might get me a job at the BBC!
It took a few minutes to digest the information, before returning its findings: 'The following position is suitable for you: stripper'.
Pete: Friday 23rd July
For the seventh time in a row, an electronic voice had just interrupted a polyphonic ringtone version of Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ to apologise for keeping me on hold. This always got to me. Unless they’d installed this particular robot with some sort of empathy chip, how could it possibly make a sincere apology? I’d been putting it off for weeks, but had finally decided to take the plunge and phone about sickness benefits. There was something about the whole process that made me kind of uneasy. Admitting it to a legitimate government agency seemed like making my 'condition' official, and I wasn't sure I was ready to admit it to myself yet... They’d told me to think of the call as an ‘informal chat’, but then warned me that it would include some pretty rigorous questioning (interrogation?) and would last about 45 minutes. I’d been waiting nearly that long already. Time wasted whilst I could have been getting on with my life. ‘Deal or No Deal’ was due to start any second, and Mum mentioned that Noel Edmunds has stopped colouring his beard. I couldn’t miss that!
Just as I was drifting off, a polite – if clinical – female voice announced its presence.
“You’re not a computer too, are you?” I quipped. My humorous remark didn't go down well. Her tone instantly became frostier, like a school teacher sternly reprimanding a misbehaving child.
“May I remind you that this call is being recorded.”
“And furthermore, antagonising a Benefit Officer for Sickness Services will only result in a delay in your claim.”
“But it was only a joke.” I protested.
“A joke? Didn't think there'd be much time for fun and games in your condition, Mr. Roth.” She reprimanded me. “Perhaps you're not as depressed as you say you are?”
“I'm not depressed. I'm agoraphobic!” I already felt like hanging up. “And it's Ross, not Roth.”
“Surely you're not accusing the government of keeping inaccurate records?” Her tone became even more stern. It was as though she tensed with every word.
“No, I'm just saying that my name's Ross.”
“Could you spell that for me, please?” I did, and listened to her spelling out the letters, scribbling with a pencil. “So that's... R-O-T-H.” I ground my teeth, but couldn't be bothered correcting her again. “Okay, so let me just get your details up on the computer. Ah, yes... And... I see... So you filled out a postal application, and...” She stopped dead. “Oh dear.” That didn't sound good.
“What is it?” I asked nervously.
“Well, it says here that you don't have a doctor's note to authenticate your claim?”
“Yes, I do!” I didn't mean to sound so hostile, but Doctor Kowalski had been very reluctant to make a house call. He showed up in a foul mood, possibly drunk and conducted a very forceful examination which I now realise might have been a bit 'hands on'. Surely confirming a patient's psychological condition shouldn't involve anyone dropping their trousers?! “I spent bloody ages trying to fax a copy of that thing over.” Already, I was on the verge of tears. No one had used the fax machine for years since it had 'gone rogue' and eaten a poisonous plant.
“I apologise.” She sounded even less sincere than the robot. “I'm afraid there must have been some sort of processing error.” I was gripping the phone so hard that my knuckles had turned white when I heard these words. “It seems that there is a medical report on your file, but it's not yours.”
“Then who the hell's it for?!”
“It's for a Mr. Pete Ross. I can see how they'd have made such a silly error. What with you two having such similar names.”
“We don't have similar names. We have the same name. I'm Pete Ross.”
“No. I'm afraid it says quite clearly on our form here that your claim is registered under the name 'Pete Roth'.”
“Look, I don't want to argue about this, but that's only because it's not open to discussion. I think I know my own name.” She paused for a moment. I could hear the sound of long fingers drumming against a desk.
“Well, the way I see it, there are two options here. Either you don't know your own name as well as you think you do, or you've just submitted a fraudulent claim under a false identity, which is a criminal offence. Which is it to be, Mr. Roth?”
“Look...” I tried to sound authoritative, but my lip was trembling. In the space of one short phone conversation, or 'informal chat', this woman had got me down on my knees begging to be acknowledged as the sort of certifiable idiot who doesn't even know his own name, in order to avoid a prison sentence. “Isn't there any way I can sort this out?”
“The only thing I might be able to do is book you an appointment at your local job centre.”
“But I can't leave the house.”
“Can't leave the house, Mr. Roth? That's not the sort of attitude we take too kindly to. How are you supposed to get yourself a job if you can't be bothered to-”
“No, I mean, I have agoraphobia. We've been through this. It's what this whole thing's about.”
I heard her take a long breath, click a series of keys on her computer and sigh heavily. At length, she said “Have you heard of a website called Face-Book?”
“Yeah, of course I have. Everyone's on it.” Why was this relevant? “I only restarted my profile a few days ago.”
“That's not the point. I draw your attention to a photograph from the folder 'birthdays', which shows you, dressed as a medieval knight, outdoors. Does this foray into the outside world – presumably to consume some kind of hallucinogenic drug – sound like the behaviour of a so-called agoraphobic?”
“No, but that was taken four years ago. And I wasn't dressed as a knight. I was dressed as a Cy-ber-man.” I knew that rejoining Facebook was a recipe for disaster.
“Be that as it may, Mr. Roth, I'm afraid things don't look good. I've keyed in all your variables into our computer, and it hasn't been able to output a single directive. Obviously we can't act without instruction from BOSS.”
“Can't you just... Hang on – sorry..?” I hesitated. “What did you just say?”
“It looks as though we're going to have to terminate your claim.”
“No, I mean... BOSS. What's all that about?” I'd been about to hang up, but now I was curious.
“Oh, BOSS is our new computer. It stands for Benefit Officer for Sickness Services. We let him do all our thinking round here.”
“Riiiggghht...” I really should have hung up. Any minute now, a giant maggot was going to crawl from behind the sofa. “And might you be able to tell me what your name is?”
“Stevens. Letitia Stevens.”
That was it. It had all got too weird. I hung up. There was no doubt about it. They were giant insect larvae. They were in league with Facebook. They were the league of evil. Maybe Dom had been right about the lizard people.
Jeff: Friday 23rd July
Stayed in bed all day with phone off.
Pete: Saturday 24th July
It was an ordinary Saturday night – Jeff was cooking up something in the kitchen, the Quantum Leap repeats were on in the background, and I was sat on the floor eating a cornflake toastie – when the sofa started making a weird noise. I craned my head down to the groove between two cushions, recoiling in horror when I heard it.
“Je-efff?” I called. “Have you still got your new phone set to 'caller announce'?”
“I don't know.” He appeared in a spattered apron, 'Smoke Me a Kipper' written across its front. “I can't work out how to turn the bloody thing off. What does it say?”
I swallowed hard. “Hello sweetie.”
“Oh no... She hasn't? Surely?”
“What is it?”
“Daisy said she'd done something hilarious with my phone, to surprise me when she called. She must have changed her contact name.”
“And she thinks that's funny? Doesn't she realise that any issue relating to Alex Kingston is no laughing matter? You're going to have to change it.” I chucked him the phone.
“I don't know how. You do it! You're The Computer Doctor.” He chucked it back.
“This isn't a computer!” I threw it back again.
“I know!” He wailed. “If it was, it'd have a mute button and I could shut the fucker up!” He swung his arm back and hurled the offending phone towards the wall. I couldn't let him smash up another one. Daisy would have lectured me about 'provoking him with my negative chi' again. I lunged to catch it, but knocked the answer button in doing so. Shit! A wave of panic flooded through me. Jeff left the room, and I was forced to do the only sensible thing a man in my position could. I pressed the receiver to my mouth, put on my best comedy Welsh accent and pretended it was a wrong number.
Jeff: Sunday 25th July
Pete won't let me eat anything yet, even though his parents won't be here for another hour. I persuaded him to let me have a slice of toast, but things didn't look good when I opened the 5kg tub of butter. (At the same time as buying all the Doctor Who pasta, Pete also bought twenty catering sized tubs of butter. He'd watched the news for the first time since 1996 and was starting to panic about nuclear war.) It was coated with a layer of green fur. We'd only opened it yesterday! I resisted the urge to gag and began scraping off the worst with a dessert spoon.
“What the hell are you doing?” Pete yelled, as he caught me about to throw the offending matter in the bin. “You know what my parents are like with their cleanliness inspections! You can't just put mould in the bin. It'll grow!”
“Well, what d'you want me to do? Eat it?” I snapped.
“We'll have to flush it down the toilet. It's the only solution.” He proclaimed.
Following a lot of scooping and four flushes, the greenish-yellow mass was still bobbing around defiantly in the toilet bowl.
“They'll be here soon!” Pete wrung his hands frantically. “They can't see this!”
“We could scoop it back out with a fishing net or something?” I ventured hesitantly, cringing at the thought.
“No... Then we'll be back to square one. It's too solid to flush. We're going to have to melt it.”
“Melt it? How?”
“We'll pour boiling water on it. It's the most logical solution. It's what Peter Davison would do!” I wasn't convinced, but Pete was already tearing towards the kitchen.
10 minutes later, it still hadn't melted, but did seem to have expanded somewhat. Pete was becoming frenzied. “Just one more! That'll do it!”
“Pete, I'm not sure if there's any more room in the bowl...” He flew back to the kitchen and promptly returned with another kettle full of boiling water. Despite my efforts to apprehend him, he poured the lot in and the toilet overflowed.
“Shit! Flush! Flush!” He yanked the handle.
“That's the worst thing you could've done!” I cried. The flush caused another surge of water to cascade out of the toilet bowl, not only saturating the bathroom floor but ejecting the offending article which began to float towards the doorway. Then the doorbell rang.
Pete: Sunday 25th July
The day was upon us. Doomsday. The end of time. My parents were coming round for Sunday lunch. This meant trouble. There's no way I'd be able to relax. I'd have to spend the whole time attempting to impress my Mum, whilst simultaneously trying not to disappoint my Dad, and keeping Jeff's Dalek impressions to a minimum. So then my brain would be in three different places at once – four if you counted the one inside my head. I'd be bound to wrong foot it somewhere. And to make matters worse, Mum said she had important news. If she didn't tell me what it was right away, I'd spend so much time trying to guess what horrible thing it might be (and how it would affect me) that I'd suddenly realise I hadn't been listening. Dad's voice-box could be difficult to understand at the best of times.
I hadn't really slept properly. I woke up shortly before 5, clutching a Clockwork Robot head. This made for a puzzling start to the day. Not only had I no memory of getting up in the night to get it, I didn't remember buying it, being given it, or ever owning it before, so god only knows where it had appeared from. Had I sleepwalked to 'Thunderbooks', broken in and nicked it? No, because that would involve going outside and I wasn't convinced that even my subconscious could handle that sort of strain at the moment. But it didn't seem like the kind of thing I would forget about owning either. The thought did occur that it was the actual real head of a Clockwork Robot, but I quickly dismissed that and got up to do some obsessive tidying. The naked Katy Manning shot on the mantelpiece was replaced with the boring geranium vase photo I always put up when Mum came round. The sofa stains were easily concealed with one of Daisy's brightly-coloured Indian throws. I even dug out my most up-market clothes: a green and red stripy blazer with those trendy big lapels like John Travolta had, a pair of brown flared suit trousers, and a swirly orange shirt – button up, no less! Even Peter Davison had never looked this good.
Lunchtime came, however, and things didn't get off to the best start. Whilst Jeff tried to soak up the tide of butter, the sofa started talking again. It was that new phone, and this time I knew I hadn't misheard it.
“Jeff?” He ran from the bathroom, frantically wringing a greasy dishcloth.
“This better be important! We've got a race against the clock on here. And one of our pans was practically on fire when I went back to check on the food a minute ago.” He whispered it, looking cautiously over his shoulder, as though the very mention of fire might send dinner up in flames again. “Why did you insist on cooking with alcohol anyway?”
“You know my Dad won't eat anything unless it tastes of whiskey. Anyway, why's your phone saying 'Davros'?”
“It,erm, isn't... For sure.” He looked guiltily down at his slippers. “It's Dave – Dave Ross. Your Dad must be calling to let us know he's nearly up the stairs. That's good, isn't it?”
“No, it's NOT good, but I don't want to get into that right now. I've got to be calm – not stressed. That's not easy though, when your fucking phone's quite clearly saying 'Davros'!” I punched the wall. “Which is completely discrimina... Well, disable-ist, or... Something. The point is, it's not funny. That's what it is. Isn't! Ah, forget it. But I tell you what: if we get through this lunch alive, I'm divorcing you as a friend!”
“I knew it!” An electronic sounding voice rasped accusingly from the doorway. I spun round to see Dad, leaning heavily on its frame. Oh god – he'd heard me talking about divorce. It was going to fuel yet another round of cruel jokes about me and Jeff being gay lovers. Except he started going on about something else entirely. “I knew you wouldn't have installed that stair-lift. You just want to watch your old man suffer. That's it, isn't it? Can't think of any other reason you'd live on the top floor. Well, ha! Cause I win. 10 quid!” He stretched out his hand, but remained where he was. How he'd got this far when he was only supposed to be able to walk a few steps unaided was a mystery. The answer soon presented itself. My Mum hobbled into the room, out of breath from carrying his heavy looking, state-of-the-art wheelchair. Dad fixed her with a disparaging glower. “42 seconds from car door to here, woman.” He tutted. “I could have been dead by now!”
“Calm down, dear.” She shot him her 'be on your best behaviour or else' look, as Jeff sauntered into the room, wisps of smoke rising from his singed sleeves as he served up drinks. “Thanks, love. And don't you listen to him, Peter.” She sunk gratefully into the sofa, mercifully stifling Jeff's mobile. “He's got his wires crossed again. It was Stanley who bet you he'd put a stair-lift in.” The way she spoke, it was like she was talking to a child, or someone with an extremely limited intellect.
“Yeah, well 'es a lyin' bastard an' all! Didn't even pay up!”
“He had a stroke!”
“What? Is that Sex-Offender Stanley you're talking about?” Jeff took a seat.
“Yes!” Mum's eyes lit up. “He used to be something of a 'player' back in the day!”
“I don't think that's quite how they put it in the paper.”
Nobody was paying any attention to my Dad, so he pressed the 'emergency help' button on his wheelchair, and, when everyone turned round, started to complain about the lack of central heating. Mum told him off, pointing out that it was the middle of summer, and then launched into a long description of someone-I'd-never-met's holiday plans. Dad began talking about how the gas company were trying to bleed him dry, and how they would rue the day they crossed him. Jeff kept trying to usher people to the table. And I hadn't said a single word in the 15 minutes since they'd arrived. It was exactly like my house when I'd been growing up: everyone talking, but no one listening to each other. I may as well have not even been there for all the input I had. I could have put my cardboard Matt Smith cut-out at the dinner table and saved the bother of having to hear Dad recount what seemed like every one of my childhood sporting failures. He even dug out his old 'results book' from when we used to have head-to-head general knowledge quizzes at mealtimes, to show how I was “inferior stock”. He laughed at this remark like it was some sort of joke, but no one else joined in. Instead, Mum kept looking at me apologetically. After pudding, everyone was relieved when Dad was escorted to the bathroom for his regular post-dinner toilet session.
“I was tempted to press the big red self-destruct button.” Jeff muttered when we had a moment to ourselves. The last part was in his best Dalek voice. Even Nicolas Briggs would have been impressed.
“You'd never believe he used to write romantic poetry before we were married.” Mum spoke mournfully.
“Whatever did happen to Dad's poems?” Hearing my own voice at last sounded strange.
“He thought the Communists were going to come and steal his identity, so he burnt them all.” I could hear him laughing maniacally from the bathroom. Mum lowered her voice. “Look, that's not why I came here today. I wanted to talk to you about something without your Dad interrupting. I'm afraid I've got some bad news...”
“Oh no...” A sense of foreboding flooded through me. “Tedric's not fallen apart in the wash, has he?”
“No, It's about your Uncle Julian.” Mum continued, placing a sympathetic hand on my leg. “I'm afraid he recently... passed away.”
I couldn't help but find myself saying “Oh”. I didn't really know what to think. When I'd thought of Tedric's furry arms disappearing and being chewed up by the lint trap, I'd felt close to weeping. Did it make me a bad person that I was relieved when I found out it was just my Mum's step-brother? I mean, don't get me wrong. Julian was a nice guy, if a bit peculiar, but no one in my family really saw much of him. It didn't seem like especially big news. Of course, I couldn't be totally nonplussed, but I couldn't break down in hysterics either. As far as I was aware, there was just no etiquette for the adequate amount of fuss to make in this sort of situation. But maybe that was just because all my reactions and emotional responses came from TV and books: they never made a fuss when minor characters, who'd only ever been mentioned a few times, died.
“The only consolation is that he died doing what he loved, and he probably went in the way he wanted.”
“Oh right. So... He was sleeping then?”
“No, erm, sadly not. He had a violent heart-attack whilst on a photo shoot for a new brand of extra tight-fitting swimming trunks.” Jeff immediately covered his mouth. I hoped it was through shock, and not because he was trying to stifle a laugh.
All I could think to say was “That's... Unusual.” Why do we always make such inane comments when someone dies? Are we really that emotionally immature that we can't deal with it head on? If only Tedric had been here. He'd have made it all better. Mum's grip on my leg tightened as we heard the toilet ominously flush.
“Look, I can't go into detail now, because your Dad isn't going to be very happy about this, but I've been looking over your Uncle Julian's will, and... Well, it seems he must have taken quite a shine to you that time you met, because... And you might want to brace yourself... He's left all his money... to you.”
At that moment, Dad emerged from the bathroom and rolled towards us. Evidently he'd heard about the inheritance, because the veins in his neck were protruding more severely than I'd ever seen. “What did you just say?!” You could tell how angry he was from the amount of feedback resonating off his voice-box. “This insubordination will not be tolerated!” He seemed to become more angry with each syllable, spittle flying from his wrinkled lips. “That money should have been mine. My campaign money to become president of the golf club!” He was working into a frenzy, stuttering and repeatedly striking the side of his chair with his burnt hand. “I should have been a god!” Mum looked terrified. Jeff was in stitches. I felt too numb to feel much of anything.
The Doctor Who cliffhanger music should have gone there, but it didn't. Mum poured my Dad a large drink to calm him down, but he just sat seething in the corner as she got ready to leave. She told me she'd call about Julian's estate. As they were about to go, Dad rolled up to me, a dark glint in his remaining eye, and whispered just out of Mum's earshot. “I've left a little unpleasant surprise for you in the bathroom. Think of it as a parting gift.” And cackling, he left. Only then did I notice the huge clump of butter clinging to his wheelchair spokes. Oh god- it was going to go in his booklet of things to humiliate me with at our next 'dinner party'. I'd never hear the last of it.
I went through to the toilet, ready to deal with something horrific, but it was just a note taped to the cistern: 'I haven't forgotten that stair lift, you bastard. I WANT my tenner!'
Jeff: Monday 26th July
Daisy came round and asked me to go to Hamburg with her next weekend. I said I couldn't afford it and she started nagging me about getting a job. My mind raced desperately for a way to placate her.
“Yeah, but... It just doesn't seem right, you know? I mean, there's little kids starving to death in Greece-”
“I mean Ethiopia!” I should have remembered that one. It was on South Park. “And here we all are...” Think, Jeff, think. Something clever. “It's like half the world's starving to death, and the other half's too fat to do anything about it!” Ha! Nice one, Eccleston!
“What's that got to do with getting a job?”
“Well, there wouldn't be all those problems in the third world if we didn't keep buying stuff. Probably. So, it's like, how can I be a part of a system that's destroying the world?” This was easy. If only the Job Centre people were this easy to convince, then I could just stay at home watching 'Shakedown' everyday.
“Aww, Jeffy!” Her voice went all gooey and she gave me a cuddle. “It's so sweet that you care! But all we need is love! A revolution won't bring down the system. We just need to start loving everything, even the stuff we don't agree with. The system is afraid of love. It governs by fear. So the best way to fight it is to love it! Embrace it. Finding the joy within the soul of capitalism is the only way you can help all the poor and needy in the world!”
“Right. Yeah.” Shit. She's going to force me to become a stripper.
Pete: Monday 26th July
After seeing the way my Dad behaved last night, it got me thinking about myself. Obviously, we lead very different lives, but I had to wonder if the demon gene might kick in at any time. Was I in danger of turning into him? I came to the conclusion that if there was any chance whatsoever of this happening, then I'd have to rebel against my DNA. From this day forward, I'd take the high ground. I'd be a mature, sensible adult: considerate, intelligent and emotionally developed. This was the day when everything changed.
Pete: Tuesday 27th July
Jeff: Tuesday 27th July
What's the point in anything? Life is shit, and then you die. I got round to drinking that Morrisons own brand whiskey and filled out my crisis loan application form. I explained I needed £5000 to fund the construction of a death ray.
Jeff: Wednesday 28th July
OMG! The new DWM has the most adorable picture of the gang from Amy's wedding day on the cover. Rory, you lucky bugger!
Pete: Friday 30th July
I logged on to Facebook and saw that my Mum had added me as a friend. When I accepted, and looked at her page, I realised that she'd had a profile for ages. Surely this was the ultimate generational reversal? I was supposed to be The Computer Doctor, but not only was she more technologically advanced than I was, she had a better social life too. Her photo albums were numerous: attending 1950s style soirées with her friends, sequence dancing classes, a Women's Institute flapper's evening. My Dad wasn't on any of them. So that was how she coped with him... They were never in the same house together.
And then I got a message from her. It'd only been a few minutes since I'd pressed 'accept'. So she could type quicker than me too!
Hello Peter, I thought I'd catch you on here to talk about your inheritance somewhere your Dad can't listen in. He's doubled his medication since the weekend, and keeps droning on about how you tried to murder him with margarine (?) Anyway, I see from the 'status updates' page that you're apparently in love with a man named Andy? What's going on, dear? Surely you've not decided to sample the rough and tumble world of homosexuality? It's not as though I have a problem with... That sort of thing... But your Dad would go spare. You know how he gets. When England got knocked out of the football cup, I only managed to confiscate his gun after he'd shot three pigeons.
By the way, you'll be pleased to hear that Eloise Cartwright's hip replacement went swimmingly. She'll be tangoing again in no time! Keep in touch. Mum XXX
I was immediately struck by two thoughts. 1.) Who the fuck is Eloise Cartwright? 2.) Why has Andy broadcasted to the world that we're in a relationship? This called for direct action. It was time to put phase 2 of the plan into action. I picked up the phone and dialled for Comedy Dan.
Pete: Saturday 31st July
“Comedy Dan?!” Jeff was aghast, as I spooled through the adverts on our 'Pic N Mix' video.
“Alright! Keep it down, will you? 'Horror of Fang Rock's about to start, and we always end up talking through this one.”
“That's because it's sub-par.” His mouth was full, but even that barely stifled his comment. He must still have been in shock about my brilliant plan.
“Shhh... Do you want Terrance Dicks to hear? Let's just keep quiet and watch the episode, shall we?” Despite my stern tone, I gloated inwardly about the brilliance of my brilliant plan. It was brilliant.
“Alright then.” He was quiet just long enough to see the TARDIS materialise on the rocks. “Who else is coming to the meal from hell then?”
“Well, obviously Andy Pond has to be there... Then there's Big Dougie. Oh, and Tracey of course. Now, come on – we said we wouldn't talk.”
“Yeah, you're right. I suppose I owe Fang Rock another chance.” He was silent for all of 8 seconds. “So remind me again why exactly you want to invite this bunch of losers over... on your birthday? Don't you want to give yourself a fighting chance of getting your 39th year off to a good start? Why don't you just go all out and invite your Dad? Oh, and Eloise Cartwright whilst you're at it?”
“Who is this Eloise Cartwright?”
“No idea.” He shrugged. “I just made her up.”
“No you didn't! My Mum was going on about her yesterday, so either you've developed ESP, or you've been spying on me online.” I fixed him with my best accusatory squint, but he barely flinched.
“Yeah, well like you said, maybe we should just keep quiet and watch the episode.” A-ha! The words of a guilty man! The Doctor had just met Reuben. They were exchanging some witty dialogue. Although, watching now it didn't seem as witty as I remembered. In fact, it was pretty tedious. This had scared the crap out of me when I was 8! Come on, Pete, must keep quiet. Got to set the precedent.
“Thing is, Jeff...” He jumped. “I'm going to need your help. On my birthday, I mean.”
“Uh-uh. I'm not sticking round to share dinner with The Munsters, birthday or not.”
“Go on... I'll buy you a milk chocolate Magnum?” He seemed to consider it for a moment.
“Well, alright... You've twisted my arm, but just this once. So what's the plan?”
“I'm going to take care of Tracey Grimeford and Andy Pond... Once and for all.”
“Take care of them? Shouldn't you hire a contract killer for that kind of thing...” I could see he was trying to think of a suitably witty name to call me. “...Dr. Evil?” 5-out-of-10.
“I'm not going to kill them. I just need to lose them.”
“I don't think that's going to be easy. It's not like misplacing a quid down the back of the sofa.”
“Ahh, but you haven't heard my brilliant plan in full yet! I've done some pretty thorough research on Tracey's profile, and it's full of pictures of her spilling out of PVC dresses, trying to cop off with big biker blokes covered in bad tattoos. And who do we know that fits that description?” I waited. “Exactly! Oh... You didn't answer. Why didn't you answer?”
“Big Dougie.” He said wearily. “But isn't he a bit suspect? You know? Writing all those poems about cocks?”
“He's just asserting his masculinity.”
“Yeah... But... Poetry?”
“He's in touch with his emotions, no matter how violent or warped they may be. And come on: he wears leather jackets and chains; that tattoo he's got's full of grammatical errors; plus he's been a builder, a police man and in the army. What could be more manly than that? Tracey'll love him. We won't even need to try and force them together. But Andy and Dan might be more difficult, and that's where you come in. Now, I've made this choreographed seating plan...”
“Can I just stop you there? I know Andy Pond's deluded enough to think you're actually interested in going out with him, but don't you think he'll be a bit turned off by Dan's... Problem?”
“Ah, no! That's the beauty of it. If I know my Andy...” I stopped. Had I just said my Andy? Jeff didn't seem to have picked up on it. Backtrack. Backtrack. “If I know Andy, he loves a sob story. He's bound to find Dan's stutter charming. I just need you to sit with them, and sort of gently, non-intrusively – and in a completely not obvious way – drop hints about what a wonderful couple they'd make.”
“But what if they make me talk about gay things? They might take a shine to me. I've been there, Pete. That time Daisy made me go to The Pink Handbag, cause she said I was prudish and homophobic? I don't want to go there again.”
“It's fine. I'll be there... Although we can't sit together, obviously.” His face fell.
“So you're putting me in unfamiliar territory? Making me handle a potentially dangerous situation? And we're going to be separated? It'll be like Year 10 science class all over again. Boy-girl-boy-girl seating, surging hormones and Bunsen burners didn't go together then. This sure as hell isn't going to now. And you do realise I'm not exactly flush with cash at the moment? I presume I'm paying for this meal?”
“Well, it is my birthday. And we talked about this. I'll pay you back when I get my inheritance.”
“You've no idea how much that inheritance is worth yet though. I know Julian got a lot of work doing those dodgy underwear shoots, but what if he blew all his cash? You might only get a couple of hundred quid.”
“Great! I could pay you back, buy a proper computer, stock up on Series 5 toys, and get a pair of new shoes with the change... Right?” Jeff's face tensed in a way that showed up all the encroaching wrinkles of his future, but he didn't reply. 'Horror of Fang Rock' part 1 was drawing to a close. The ship was heading for the rocks. “Hang on...” A revelation suddenly dawned upon me. “I've never picked up on it before, but I think that boat might just be a toy! And that used to look so convincing when I was little...”
“Nooooo! Next you'll be telling me that submarine in 'The Sea Devils' is just 4 inches long.” He rolled his eyes. “Look, I don't know about this whole dinner party thing.”
“How about I make it two milk chocolate Magnums?” The title sequence music started.
“I've got a bad feeling about this...”
Jeff: Sunday 1st August
It's August! We're getting old and we're going to die!
Jeff: Monday 2nd August
Shit! It's Pete's birthday in less than two weeks. When did that one sneak up on me? I need to get some presents, but there's still no sign of any benefits! I rushed into town to at least buy him a Matt Smith themed birthday card, but to my horror the Doctor Who rack had been replaced by Twilight cards. Oh God! It's all over! It's 1985 again. Any day now they'll be releasing “Doctor In Distress 2010”!
I'd allowed myself £20 for the rest of the week, but I spent £15 on a copy of Doctor Who Adventures, a sticker book and a Matt Smith action figure from Thunderbooks. How could I resist? It could be my last chance to buy Doctor Who merchandise for fifteen years!
Jeff: Tuesday 3rd of August.
I realise that I may have over-reacted slightly yesterday. I made some instant noodles and sat down to watch the 'Who Peter – Partners in Time' featurette on 'The Horns of Nimon' DVD when there was a knock at the door. Maybe Tommy Asbo had finally brought those DVDs round! It was the police.
“Yes?” I stammered.
“I'm arresting you on suspicion of terrorism.”
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