by Stuart Robinson
ENEMY WITHIN OF DOOM PART THREE
In which Tom reflects on his past life as a regression therapist and Jerry Goldsmith comes to the aid of the party.
“So, uh, how did you know? About the Dr Who thing?”
Kris pointed at Tom’s chest.
Tom looked down at his T-shirt. It bore the legend ‘Keep Calm and OH MY GOD DOCTOR WHO IS ON!”
“Ah” said Tom. “Here I was worrying about meeting Fanz and then it just happens and I’m all like ‘Tom you are such a silly. . .wanker’.”
“That’s my name, by the way”.
“Ah. I am Peter.”
“But I thought you said your name’s -”
“Peter, Matt, David, Christopher, Paul, Sylvester, Colin, Peter, Tom, Jon, Patrick, William Krump.”
“That’s a lot of names.”
“Yes. I change it by deed poll after every regeneration story.”
“Seemed like a good idea at the time. Imagine how thrilled I was that the Doctor has a second regeneration cycle. HA HA HA.”
“Ha ha, yes.”
“My friends call me Kris.”
“Well, I imagine they do.”
“Dont you know?”
“No I mean, when I imagine I have friends, they call me Kris.”
“Well, shall we go Kris?”
“You called me Kris!” Kris gasped “Are you. . .my friend?”
“Um…Lets go with that. Shall we?”
They walked on in silence enjoying the early summer evening. Great, thought Tom, he was already worried about meeting people – what will they think when he turned up with The Hooded Weirdo? On the other hand, if they were going to point and laugh at anyone it wouldn’t be him. At first. Yay.
It was at this point Tom noticed the loud noise Kris’ shoes – boots? – were making. Was the man wearing clogs?
“Um, your boots make quite a racket dont they.”
“I am not wearing boots.”
“If I didn’t know better, I’d say they were hooves, ha ha”
“I am wearing soft leather moccasins.”
“Oh. I . . . “
“Ah here we are.” Said Kris, indicating the pub.
He took out his phone, tapped the camera to video and began to slowly sweep it past the pub, narrating in an American accent.
“The Whine Bar. Refitted in ‘03 in an attempt to make it more trendy. She boasts four crew -”
“Sorry, hang on what? Kris what are you doing?”
“A beauty pass. Like in the Star Trek films.”
“This isn’t a Star Trek film.”
“No. But. . .”
The temptation was too much. “Fukit” Tom stood behind Kris, his eyes on the camera. They both slowly walked along the front of the pub.
“Hang on, hang on” Tom took out his phone and selected the appropriate music from his soundtrack collection. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (special edition), track 6, The Enterprise. Thank you Jerry Goldsmith.
“The Whine Bar. Refitted in ‘03. She boasts four bar staff. Two floors. Top floor – restaurant. Open lunchtime ‘till 7 each weekday. Lunch times only on Sunday. Full menu, array of bar snacks. Downstairs, bar. Seven beer launchers, battery of wines, spirits and soft drinks. Fully carpeted. Beer garden. Also fully carpeted. Satellite TV. What do you think?” Kris pointed the camera at Tom.
“She’s a beauty” said Tom, all faux manly awe.
“Yeah. Treat her right, she’ll always bring you home / call you a cab.” Kris suddenly dropped his American accent. “On the other hand, one pub’s very much like another. Shall we?”
They entered the pub. Sometimes, being a geek was just plain fun.
Someone once said that a pub is a home away from home. But he was pissed and nobody paid attention to him.
Where its exterior was welcoming, the interior of the pub held all the welcome and allure of a runny nose. Which went some way to explaining the sticky consistency of the carpet. The pub had clearly seen better days, in much the same way as could be said of a rotting corpse. Whatever it may once have been, or what it had aspired to be, those days were long gone. Which is how the pub decided to remember it. Well, it was better than remembering the truth, where its aspiration had run off with a younger, sexier pub.
“I wonder where landlords go when they fancy a night out at the pub” mused Tom.
“Probably not here. Unless they really hate themselves. Right, I believe Fanz meet in the snug. You make contact while I get the drinks in. What can I get you?” said Kris.
Since the acrimonious breakup with his wife, Tom had been drinking rather more than usual, which is to say, a lot. He was in danger of becoming an alcoholic. There was really only one thing to do, only one organisation that could save him. He joined CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. Now he drank excessively because he was an aficionado. Close call.
He regarded the sad, worn decor of the pub. “Beer please”, deciding that it was pointless to be picky. Brown water that didn’t taste of self loathing was probably as near as they could get.
Tom moved toward the snug, his pulse sweaty, his brow racing, his body so tense it was struggling with metaphors. He hadn’t felt this way since watching the special, sadistically extended edition of Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King. After two hours of Sam and Bilbo climbing the mountain, he ended up screaming “Just throw the fucking thing already.” In times of stress his vocabulary tended toward that of an old, sweary Jewish woman. A regression therapist had once told him that this was because he was indeed, in a former life, a sweary old Jewish woman. He told her she was indeed, in this current life, a flagrant charlatan klutz and then argued with her over the price of the session.
Come on Tom concentrate, he chided himself. First impressions count. Unless you were Mike Yarwood, in which case they were shit. He had to get this right.
“Hi, I’m Tom. No. Well hellooo. HELLO, hello, HELL-ooooo. No, no, no! Might as well ask if they’re into group sex. Hello, my names Tom.”
Tom looked up sharply. A – woman? – was standing before him, a look of accusation on her face. To be fair, it seemed the sort of face that looks of accusation liked to hang out on, but still. Damn it! She must have heard him mention group sex! Great. So much for first impressions. OK Tom, calm this down, straighten it out.
“Tom. Me. That is, um. Doctor. Sorry, this is silly, let me try again. Are you into Doctor Sex? Group sex, I meant group sex. Wait, no I didn’t !”
Not taking her eyes off him, the – woman? – called over her shoulder to a group of people.
“THERES SOMEONE HERE WANTS TO KNOW IF WE DO GROUP SEX. SHALL I HURT HIM?”
Great. Two seconds and this was spiraling out of control. His pulse was, by now, very sweaty indeed.
“Oy vey iz mir!” he muttered.
“Um, what? No look you see, I’m Tom and -”
“I’m into anything you like.” The tall, bronzed man towered over him, a salacious smile playing upon his lips.
TO BE CONTINUED…