I hesitate to post this story for two reasons. One, it opens up a discussion about Dr Who, which I don’t follow and don’t want to follow; two, the post contains swearing, for which I can only apologise and blame the character.
However, when this week’s InMon prompts came into my inbox, I was caught by the phrase “The Doctor is Sick,” and this story wouldn’t go away until I wrote it. So here you are, please enjoy. And please don’t ask me anything about the Dr – Janice is much more up on these things than I am!
The Doctor Is Sick
“It’s Liz now,” her niece, Bella, had declared over the phone this morning. “Bella is a baby name.”
Janice hadn’t argued. She’d always dreamed of being the Cool Aunt: someone her niece and nephews would look forward to spending time with and be able to confide in when they couldn’t talk to their parents. So if Bella wanted to be called Liz, Liz it would be.
She carefully pulled the gift tag off the biggest parcel under her tree and wrote a new one. “Merry Christmas, Liz. Hope these are as sick as the new ones. Love, Auntie Jan x”
Sick, apparently, was a good thing and Janice was rather pleased with her gift. Last time she’d been over there, Bella had been glued to the television and the latest episode of Dr Who, so Janice had dug in the attic, pulled out all her VHS tapes of old episodes and had them put onto DVDs. Then she’d spent hours on the computer, making covers that were exactly like the old ones, but fit into the new sleeves. It had taken her hours, but this was finally a way they could reconnect, so she wanted to exploit it.
* * *
Janice left the other adults in the kitchen and wandered back to the living room. There was wrapping paper strewn everywhere. The boys were fighting with their foam swords and she realised she should have moved a few more ornaments, but resisted the temptation to grab them now lest it make her nephews self-conscious about their game.
Liz was curled up in the armchair tapping on her phone. She looked up at Janice.
“Thank you for my present,” she said, the lack of emotion clear in the spaces between the words. She was saying it because she’d been taught to.
Janice was confused. “I used to watch Doctor Who a lot, I thought you might enjoy a bit of the back-story.”
“They’re all on Netflix,” Liz muttered and looked back to her phone.
“Oh,” said Janice. “But there’s nothing like having your own copies.”
“No. Thank you.” Again, the tone was wooden, and Liz didn’t look up.
“I imagine Slyvester McCoy is a bit different from David Tennant. Not as good-looking, for a start.”
Liz seemed to realise she wasn’t going to get out of this conversation. She put her phone to one side. “He was the Tenth Doctor,” Liz said. “Do you actually know anything about it?”
Janice saw the opening, but not the trap within. “I know Daleks can’t climb stairs.”
“Jesus! Stop trying so hard to be my friend!” Liz stood up, grabbed her phone and flounced into the kitchen. “Daleks can fucking fly!” she yelled over her shoulder.