|Doctor Who Internet Adventure #14 - "Endless Night"
"As The Jester Told His Tale"
by Jason Miller
"Realms of this, realms of light
Some are born to sweet delight
Some are born to sweet delight
Some are born to the endless night
End of the night, end of the night
End of the night, end of the night"
— The Doors
* * *
YOU DO NOT HAVE THE WIL!
by Wil Young!
CHAPTER 2: An Autobiographical Life
Of course, it's not easy being famous. Or infamous, as the case may be. I'm stopped on the streetway literally all the time. People wanting my autograph. Women wanting a piece of me to take home to their friends. It's all very flattering. Especially the latter part of it. Not that I've had many pieces to give, to begin with, but I find ways. I find ways.
When these same folks on the street mention that they've seen me perform, or they've seen me up on the screen, they usually want to know from where I get my motivation. Or my method, or what not. And I usually have to say it's my wife who gives me the inspiration. That just seems to be the thing that's said in this industry. So I say it, and my wife is very appreciative, you might say.
(OK, and you all want to hear me say it, so I'm going to: "And just how appreciative is she? *wink wink*")
(There, I've said it, now I'm done)
But the purpose for my writing this tome in the first place, apart from attempting to make yet more money, now that my career's hit its inevitable downside — a man my age isn't supposed to be funny, unless you're, like, Jack Lemmon, but it's very hard to be Jack Lemmon, even in this part of the galaxy. I've always wanted to meet him.
Oh wait. I was in the middle of a sentence there. Anyway. The purpose for my writing this tome, this book, this very true story, is to tell of my experiences. The anecdotes I related for you in Chapter 1 are just a part of the tale. You see, as Yogi Berra once said, "You can't go home again, because once you've left, it's not your home anymore."
Yes, Yogi Berra really said that.
But I tried to go home. I begged and pleaded with my Doctor to be taken home, to the place I'm calling "Paracastria" in order to protect the innocent and cover up for the criminal conduct of the guilty.
And then, finally, he took me home, and for the 11 hours that I got to stay there, weren't we all sorry?
* * *
It's the injury that I don't like to talk about. You see, for a few hours in my life, I knew the complete and abject terror of paralysis. I broke my neck — crushed my spinal column, really — and couldn't move. I thought I'd never walk again, until the Doctor did something bizarre and contrived, and within a matter of minutes, you could never tell that such a thing had happened in the first place.
I've mentioned this on the interview shows before. I was caught in the thrust of a bomb explosion (that's what bombs do, after
all -- explode) and was hurled through the air like a florid metaphor. And then I came down like an unfortunate turn of phrase, the base of my neck colliding squarely (cylinder-ly?) with the side of the Doctor's transport. My home. I lay on the floor in an unconscious heap for hours, my cheek brushing up against my home, the very thing that had deprived me of my motion, my life, my ability to juggle.
As you all know by now, my home, the TARDIS (well, my home at the time) had strong psychic capacities, and I had the oddest hallucinations. Played tricks with the memory, the ego, the self-esteem. Taunted my sudden newfound inability to juggle.
And even though the cure for my injury was so perfect — so contrived, one might say — it's the *memory* of being helpless, of being trapped in a web like a tired simile, that haunted me and held me down for years afterwards, deprived me of my true potential.
I thought the Doctor would be the one to help me out psychologically, to restore my self-confidence. He couldn't, of course — he was a Wizard, it was all smoke and mirrors with him, and you can't see your ego's reflection in the mirror if there's too much smoke. How I overcame that mental block, how my mind learned to walk and juggle again, is a story that my editor has
told me has to wait for a later chapter.
* * *
When I was 32, I landed a funny role in THE VAL KILMER STORY, which most of you haven't seen. It was during post-production on that movie that I had an affair with a movie starlet. In one of those bizarre coincidences that plague life like a mixed metaphor (as the miller said to the nun's priest) (go on, admit it, you bought this volume just to hear that line) (go on!)
Anyway, it was the discovery of that extra-marital encounter that really set me on the path to success. I'd been labouring in the industry in one form or another for nearly a decade. I'd been married to Angie for longer than that, ever since we'd parted company with The Doctor. I was still having ego troubles, confidence troubles.
When the press found out exactly what I'd been up to (and what said starlet had been down to, heh heh, as the cocktail waitress said to the golf pro) (my editor said I'd need new versions of that line if I wanted people to read past Chapter 1), my marriage nearly ended. The movie itself had been troubled all during production — the actress they hired to play Jean Marsh for the WILLOW sequence turned out to be some sort of extra-dimensional sorceress, I think the Doctor said — and I was nearly thrown off the set when my wife's lawyers moved in, waving papers at me.
(Why is a lawyer like a squid? When agitated, they both squirt ink in all directions.)
I did what all celebrities do in a situation like this.
(It didn't matter that I wasn't a celebrity, and that I wouldn't be for another few years. I just sat on the story all this time, and parlayed it into a big cash advance.) I went into therapy. I was asked about home, about Paracastria, so I told them.
* * *
I fled from Paracastria in fear for my life. I went away with the Doctor, and a lot more people here on Earth have done that than you might realize. I stayed with him for several years, both of us knowing that if I ever returned to Paracastria, I might die.
I wasn't home long enough to find myself in mortal peril, fortunately. Our two travelling companions at the time, Angela and Jadi, managed to get themselves kidnapped by the unfriendly regime — the planetary natives who'd managed to overthrow the existing colonial government.
Angela found herself trapped in the regime's laughing excuse for a criminal justice system. Her cell-mate was a woman named Grace — the same Grace to whom I alluded in Chapter One, a former companion of the Doctor who stayed behind on Paracastria at the same time that I left in the TARDIS.
Grace was now stark-raving mad, it appeared — or so I was told. During the course of events, I never really got to meet up with her again, mostly because I was off-planet for so long.
The Doctor and I had been split up from Angela and Jadi, and we went back to the TARDIS to look for them, after waiting out the curfew period imposed by the new planetary rulers. And this is where things got really weird:
* * *
The Doctor scratched the back of his neck thoughtfully. (I've always wanted to say that). He stormed out of the TARDIS, and peered down both ends of the street in apparent confusion.
I wasn't used to seeing the Doctor confused, so I asked him if he was sure he hadn't misplaced them.
"They're not in the console room. They're not in their bedroom. They're not in the swimming pool, they're not in the Cloister Room, they're not engaged in coital activities in the Butterfly Room. They're not in the Globe Theater."
"How could you have checked all those places? You were inside the TARDIS for exactly," I checked my wrist-chronometer, the one with Snoopy on it, "3 seconds. No-one could have checked all those places in 3 seconds."
The Doctor sighed melodramatically. It was a very Oscar Wilde moment. He'd once told me to slap him if he ever had one of those moments again, so I did. I don't think he appreciated it.
"Well, if you just get to the point and stop sighing
and looking all velvet-y, we'd have a lot more direct conversations and a lot less obvious padding filler," I reminded him.
He was about to sigh again, but caught himself. "Wil. There's a hostile regimed in charge of the planet. Jadi can't take care of himself at the best of times, and ever since Angela thought she'd ejected him out into space on Arcis Station and thought she killed him, she's been so diligent in looking after him, that she's certainly no longer capable of looking after the both of them as a unit. If they've left the TARDIS, at a time like this, especially during curfew, there could be trouble."
"Oh. Meow!" I said.
The Doctor drummed his fingers against his velvet lapels. (There, I've always wanted to write that line too.) "Think, Wil, you know them best — if they really haven't left the TARDIS, if they're not imprisoned in some grim insectoid dungeon somewhere, then they're somewhere deep in that ship, and I'd like to know where."
"I, er, have some ideas as to where they might be," I said. There were some rooms on board that ship that even the Doctor didn't want to know about, but Angela and Jadi had been quite thorough in their explanations (wink, nudge, &c.). They'd even told me about some of them, once when they were trying to shut me up.
"Take 5 seconds, and be thorough. If they're not in there, we've no time to waste — we'll have to go back to Mr. Tarrant's quarters and ask him to lead us to the nearest holding barracks — and I don't think you want to be in that scene again." He shuddered, and so did I.
"No, I certainly don't want to appear in that kind
of scene again."
* * *
I went back into the TARDIS, while the Doctor traipsed around in the Paracastrian mud outside, drumming a tattoo on his lapels, and practicing his best Wildeian leers, with me not around to place checks and balances on his unbridled melodrama.
I didn't even make it out of the console room. The Doctor's new console room was essentially several "rooms" mashed together at once — the flight deck, the Edwardian sitting room, the library, and a tiny little dormitory full of Caligulan pleasures that Angela and Jadi had, er, discovered. Or maybe created, using the architectural controls. Angela was good with TARDIS-type machines. Psycho-interactive bio-software.
The important thing for you to remember, I said, my editor looking over my shoulder with a Menacing Glare to make sure I finished this chapter on time, is that there were beds in this dormitory. And though the dormitory was reasonably well-hidden from the casual intruder to the TARDIS console room, it was also a great hiding place if you happened to be wanting to hide from the ship's angry owner.
So when I checked in the hidden dormitory, I was
basically attacked at gunpoint by an angry, unkempt man with a greying shock of unwashed brown hair. He was wearing the bright orange jumpsuit of the kind that screamed "Inmate! Inmate!" — as if to accentuate the image also wore standard prison supply shower slippers, grey sweat-socks, and he was clutching a nasty piece of ordnance that could only have been designed by native overlords.
"You're taking me off this planet!" he screamed,
brandishing the gun in my direction. If I had any balls at all, if I'd ever had any balls, I'd have thrown them in his face and distracted him.
(That sentence didn't quite end up liked you thought it would! Admit it, Constant Reader!)
I had lots of questions to ask — how'd he get in there, How had he escaped from the natives? If he had, and he was obviously on our side, why was he holding a gun on me?
And who was that beguiling, gorgeous girl with him? Could not have been more than 18. She too was clad in orange, was unkempt, looked like she'd been locked in a cell for weeks and weeks.
She was beautiful. I was destined to marry her. And here I was, her father was holding a gun at me and telling me to take him off the planet. Which, as I'll relate in a further chapter of this book (after some more anecdotes about movie starlets, post-production wrap parties, and why one should never, under any circumstances, intone or mutter Lou Reed lyrics on Logopolis — they unravel the entire causal nexus!), I did. Take them off planet, that is — not quote "Walk on the Wild Side" in front of The Monitor. He would have fallen to pieces...
So this is the cliff-hanger bit. What had happened to Jadi and Angela? How would the Doctor overcome the Overlords with his TARDIS hi-jacked, and me off-planet — me, who was supposed to come home and put Paracastria to rights all by myself?
Who was this seeming madman holding a gun in the TARDIS?
And why was his daughter so Beautiful? We were never apart again, not for a single night, all these decades later.
To be continued...
Prev | Up | Next