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Welcome Back, Doctor

By Murray Cramp

The Doctor awoke feeling groggy, disorientated; his head. For a moment the TARDIS console split in two then it went back together again. His memory of events leading to this situation was hazy and this frightened him somewhat. ‘Who am I? Where am I?’ he thought. Working purely by instinct he managed to activate the scanner unit, but nothing came into focus. A quick glance at the console showed that nothing worked. It was all fake, cardboard and plastic! Some of the lights flashed on and off and odd bleeping noises were occasionally emitted but this was not the TARDIS. In frustration he kicked this mock-up which then collapsed like a deck of cards into a pile in front of him. This then disappeared and all that was left was a small worthless coin lying in the middle of the room. Rapidly becoming confused and even afraid, the Doctor thumped solidly against the fake wooden walls of the ‘TARDIS’, but he was locked in. Laughter erupted from a loud P.A. system somewhere outside, then suddenly the walls folded back to reveal a waiting crowd of apparently happy partygoers.

‘Welcome to the great adventurer, returned at last,’ said the man on the P.A. system. Enthusiastic cheers and shouts went up all around. The Doctor was overwhelmed by his adoring fans. ‘The Doctor's back, long live the Doctor,’ said someone. ‘Can I have your autograph?’ asked a young pimply-faced prat. The Doctor, his memory quickly returning, looked around. Strangely the revellers seemed to represent a mixed range of celebrations.

Some wore black as if they were at a funeral. Others were throwing confetti, blowing whistles, holding candles, drinking from beer cans, waving flags and so on. The Doctor was carried by the massive crowd through to a raised platform and given a colourful party hat and presented with a decorative necklace, a bunch of flowers and a can of drink in that order, to look the part.

‘Speech, speech!’ yelled the waiting masses. The Doctor reluctantly began to speak. ‘I... Where am I? What's going on?’ The entire audience erupted into laughter and began to sing a bizarre mixture of ‘Happy Birthday Dear Doctor’ and ‘Three Cheers for the Doctor’ in a cacophonous orgy of sound. This was going to be some party!

Later things quietened down somewhat and the Doctor finally felt like he might get some answers. He approached many people but always received vague meaningless responses. There was much small talk about the weather, economy, sport and the increasing amount of sex and violence on television, but little of any substance. Feeling out of place in this world and no longer the focus of attention, the Doctor slipped away unnoticed, never to be seen again.

This item appeared in TSV 30 (September 1992).

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