The Doctor and Frobisher starring in…
One of Our TARDISes Is Missing
A Comedy in Extremely Bad Taste by
John Rocco Roberto
Based on the 1985 short story “Excuse Me Sir, But Have You Seen My TARDIS” by John Roberto and Ardella Eagle.
The Doctor, an intergalactic time traveler.
Frobisher, a shape shifting Wifferdill in the form of a Penguin.
Bob and Bill, workers for the City Council.
With its typical wining and groaning motion, the TARDIS came to rest within the shadow of many skyscrapers. The morning sun streamed down on the deserted London Street, and with the exception of the leaves rustling in the wind, there was no sound at all. Suddenly the door to the TARDIS is flung open, and a 4-foot tall Empire Penguin steps out. He looks around taking in the sites of the deserted streets and calls back to his traveling companion. “Hey Doc, I though you said we we’re heading for a fun spot?” The Doc, or Doctor as he preferred to be called, exited the TARDIS locking the doors behind him. His bright multi-colored coat make him look like he was just caught in an explosion at a rummage sale, and the contrasting striped orange and yellow paints did nothing to change this image. “What are you on about now,” the Doctor asked, the annoyance in his voice made it very clear that complaining was the one thing his traveling companion did well. “Well after that really fun time you showed me with Pepin and Tacitus,” Frobisher replied, “I though you said we were gonna be taking a holiday. Now I don’t know what your definition of a holiday is, but mine ain’t standing on a deserted street coroner watching the grass grow!”
The Doctor could never understand why all of his companions always expected him to materialize the TARDIS right in the middle of any situation. It amazed him that when he did stumble right into the middle of things, usually for the worst, they’d complain and go on about how he had no control over the TARDIS, or how he had very little regard for their personal safety. But here it was, having promised Frobisher a holiday, and having materialized a mere 5 minute walk from said vacation, The Doctor is receiving a tongue lashing for not putting them in the middle of it. “Now, now Frobisher,” the Doctor said calmly. “A four foot penguin walking around 20th century London will draw enough attention with out a metropolitan police box materializing out of thin air.” “Earth!?” Frobisher spun around angrily, his flippers fluttering in the air. “You brought us to Earth for a holiday?” “Earth in the 20th century,” he added for effect. “It was a very interesting time in human history,” the Doctor found himself defending his favorite planet. “Not quite a technologically advanced species at this point, but just close enough to allow the weary time traveler just the right amenities for a good relaxing vacation.”
Frobisher looked around himself, staring at the sky and then the floor. “Well I don’t see any amenities,” he pointed out. “Nor cars, people, birds, dogs, cats. I don’t even see a hot dog stand!” “No,” the Doctor said, looking around the empty streets. “There does seem to be a conspicuous absents of people mulling about.” “So where do you think they’ve gotten to?” Frobisher moved slowly around the corner peering down the street. “Maybe its a Sunday,” the Doctor guessed, “and there’s a game on.” “Or maybe we’ve arrived after the Earth’s been abandoned,” Frobisher added. “Not possible,’ the Doctor answered. “We have definitely arrived in late 20th century England. I recognize the architecture. And the pollution content in the atmosphere, there’s no dough.” Frobisher finished looking around. Turning towards the Doctor he asked, “Then where did all the people go?” Suddenly, and slowly, the low sounds of cheering people rose above the rustling of the leaves. “What’s that,” Frobisher asked? “I not sure, but I think we need to investigate.” Heading toward the sounds, The Doctor and Frobisher set off to investigate.
Down the main street a convoy of black limousines made there way in a straight line to the cheers of thousands. Confetti poured out of the office building windows and children, their small hands clasped firmly in their mother’s own, cried in the streets. The Doctor and Frobisher pushed there way through the massive crowds that lined the street. The group was so think that it was almost impossible to see the street itself, but the Doctor was clearly able to make out that some sort of parade was going on. “Com’on Doc, what’s going on, what do you see?” Frobisher asked impatiently. “I can’t really see much from back here,” the Doctor replied. “It’s a parade of some kind, but I can’t see for who.” “Well lift me up on your shoulders and I’ll take a look.” The Doctor looked down at him, “Certainly not. A fine thing for a TimeLord such as myself. Going around with a 4 foot tall shape-shifting penguin on my back!” “Well push your way through then, cause I want to see what’s going on.” Frobisher started jumping up and down flapping his flippers as if he was trying to take off. The Doctor just stood and smiled at him. “You picked the wrong aquatic bird if you expect to get anywhere near off the ground.”
Just then the crowd starting shouting “the President, the President,” and Frobisher looked up towards the Doctor. “President? I thought you said this lot was ruled by a Prime Minister?” “Well they are,” the Doctor answered. “Usually, but things may have changed. Perhaps we’re not in the 20th century after all.” “Well whether it’s the 20th, 30th or 40th,” Frobisher squawked, “its still not the holiday I was sold on!” The Doctor however, looked worried. He was sure he had set the coordinate rights, so how was it possible that they had shown up in the wrong place? Then a sudden moment of realization hit him. “Of course,” he shouted, “this must be a celebration for a visiting American President!” He looked down at Frobisher, “they used to be greatest friends, Britain and the United States.” “This must be the American President.” “Well whoop-de-do,” Frobisher said spinning on his tail feathers. “That still does not change the fact that I am spending my vacation standing on a hot crowded street with nothing to see but the back-end of on lookers!”
The Doctor was about to reply when a man wearing a dark gray suit walked up to where they were standing. The man wore dark sunglasses and seemed to have some type of communication device in his right ear. In his hand he was holding a long, dark tube shaped object. Walking straight up to Frobisher he handed him the tube-like object and asked, “Excuse me sir. But would you mind holding this Bazooka?” Without even thinking Frobisher reached out a flipper and took the bazooka from the man. “Why sure.” Before the Doctor could mutter his objection all hell broke loose.
Bill and Bob both hated their jobs. Well that is to say that Bill and Bob both hated their job when they were actually doing it. For most of the time when they sat around the truck depot sipping coffee and playing cards they loved it. But today, 90 degrees plugging down the London back streets with the air conditioner broken, they hated it. Suddenly something caught Bob’s eye, well his good one at least. “Hey Bill,” Bob said nudging him awake. “What is it!” was the angry reply. “I though we got all of the ones in the south area,” Bob commented. “We did,” Bill answered, half turning to go back to sleep. Bob though for a second, and then a second more before bringing the truck to a stop.
“Then what’s that then?” Realizing that he wasn’t going to be getting any more sleep, Bill sat up in his chair. There, standing before them, gleaming in the mid-day sun was a metropolitan police box. “What the…” Bill said, looking through the crumbled pages of their work orders. “According to this we picked them all up!” “Well somebody must have forgotten this one,” Bob answered. “What do you think we should do, leave it for someone else to get it?” Bob asked. “And take a chance of being send out to get it on an even hotter day? No thank you.” Bill opened his door and climbed out of the lorry. “You get the tackle and I’ll find a space for it in the back,” he told Bob. Bob slid out from behind the drivers seat, and moving towards the center of their truck, pulled out a dolly and tackle. In the back, Bill shifted through his keys until he came across the one that would un-lock the back doors. Swinging the doors open, the sun shined down on twenty metropolitan police boxes. “We’re lucky,” he called over to Bob, who had his tackle around the TARDIS and was dragging it onto the dolly. “There’s room for one more.”
Story © 2002 John Rocco Roberto.