Thursday, December 3, 2009

8th Doctor - The Next Life (i)

Serial 8W - The Best Wife
An Alternative Program Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
Twenty-Third Entry in the EC Unauthorized Guide O' Bigamy


Serial 8W - The Best Wife –

Deep in the ruins of a city, Richard E Grant leers out the window of his bed-sit and demonstrates his complete lack of social graces to a passing young girl.

But when he starts boasting about how destroyed the city they are standing in due to the aid of his bigger-on-the-inside liver, the girl shows him the finger.

Outraged, REG leans out the window to remonstrate with the passer-by and falls out. He then struggles to escape a vicious kicking from the girl, but it's too late...

Part One - Inactions

Aboard the good ship TARDIS, Charley and C'Rizz are slowly coming to the conclusion that being trapped in an alternate reality that consists solely of Cardiff is driving the Doctor bowel-shatteringly insane.

The increasingly grumpy and distracted Doctor has recently started to refuse to leave the TARDIS. He has started tearing up every book in his library with the letter J in the title. He has started to hang upside down from the ceiling squawking like a penguin. Just the other day, he repeatedly struck himself over the forehead with a Stradivarius violin, screaming "I am a magnificent man in my flying machine!"

Today, Charley awakes to find the Doctor has dressed himself up as a Ringmaster and trapped C'Rizz inside a steel cage. He is now torturing the Eutermisan with a holo-cat-of-nine-tales to change his skin color on cue and sing 'I'm A Little Tea-Pot'.

"At last, Doctor, you're starting to act normal," says Charley, relieved at this development.

The TARDIS re-materializes several hundred miles above Cardiff and begins to plummet towards it at gathering speed. Charley decides this is the perfect time to regale the others with a time she suffered "phantom limb" reflex – when her French 'uncle' Jacques groped her with an arm he lost during the war.

"Is this relevant, Charley?" the Doctor sighs.

"Is this relevant?" echoes Charley in disbelief. "Is THIS relevant? Is this RELEVANT??!?, not entirely, no."

Ultimately, this discussion has simply delayed the Doctor from saving their sorry arses.

The TARDIS strikes Cardiff and...

...C'Rizz awakens, disoriented, to find himself lying in the backseat of a Cadillac in the Multi-Market car park with his lover L'da.

Stunned, C'Rizz realizes that he's somehow traveled back into reality and conveniently found his girlfriend in the mood to "get squelchy". He admits there is a good chance that this is some kind of mental construct created by an evil megalomaniac, but if he refused to have sex with this possibility hanging in the air, he'd still be a virgin.

...Charley awakes, disoriented, to find herself in a 1960s student flat with her niece, Polly Wright and her stoned mates who are, like, you know, totally amazed.

"Polly, girl, what the hell did you put in the rum punch?"

"Just the ecstasy and the marijuana gin, Ben."

"Oh, wow! You know what this means?!"

"Yes, it means –-"

"No, no, no. It MEANS... Yeah, this is some good shit we're having, man! That girl appeared out of like nowhere at all, man!"

"Barry, why the hell do we invite you to these things?"

Somehow, Charley finds she isn't all that interested in going downstairs to screw the entire football team; she's shagged too much by now for a mere bunch of jocks to arouse her.

"Hey, Aunt Charley," an un-surprised Polly says in a mellow voice as she passes a gold-plated Turkish bong. "How come you're not screwing someone by now? You feeling ill or something?"

"I just don't feel like it, Polly. I've just come from a divergent universe where I slept with practically every single person. There's not much inclination left, I suppose."

"No! Really? Everyone?"

"Yep. The Doctor, the Oroog, Sil, the Boring Man, the Boring Man's assistant, the entire rebel cell on Gauda Prime. Even C'Rizz."


"I know, I know. But it was raining. There was nothing good on TV. Who else? Uh, L'da, the Fourth Doctor, my own son..."

"Your own son?!"

"Yeah, little Richard E Grant Doctor. He wasn't as good as his father, but he was out of his skull on lighter fluid at the time."

"You've slept with a whole universe – even your own son?! Wow, Auntie, where were you at Parent Teacher Night? You would have seriously put the whole 'bike shed' incident into perspective."

Suddenly, the Kro'ka reappears in the bedroom and complains she hasn't shagged him yet and, frankly, he's taken that rather personally.

Charley politely asks how the Kro'ka, a dead game show host from another plane of existence entirely, just happens to drop in on a 1960s bedroom just after she critiqued his sexual prowess?

The Kro'ka fumbles for an excuse for around thirty seconds, then gives up. He explains that Charley is plugged into a very shoddy VR program at the behest of his master, Nicholas Briggs.

Briggs himself appears in the dream and announces that he has absolute control over Charley's mind. However, this proves to be an utter lie. Charley imagines him dressed in a bunny suit and gets him to recite the French national anthem before locking himself in the cupboard.

In reality, Briggs despairs – they can easily control C'Rizz's mind (what there is of it) but it will take more than a teenage sexual fantasy to dominate Charley's consciousness for more than 0.3 of a second. This is going to require cunning.

"Sir," the Kro'ka whispers. "I have a cunning plan."

"Oh, god," Briggs replies. "Is this likely to be as cunning as your plan to defeat the Doctor by putting him on your show and making him perform in quests only *you* find at all difficult and challenging?"

The Kro'ka insists this is even more cunning – they release Charley from her VR world and then explain she is now in VR and the only way to return to real reality is to get into what appears to be a VR program and to let Briggs control her every single thought.

Briggs announces that the Kro'ka is as intelligent as the broken Stradivarius in the corner and kicks him in the groin. Luckily, Briggs has a plan so cunning it could sneak up on a fox about to rob a chicken coop and steal his trousers without him noticing.

Briggs returns to the dreamscape and tells her that that the fact her mind has taken her to a wild night out with her niece suggests she no longer finds partying with the Doctor so bitching cool.

"I might find my niece's university parties more enjoyable than recent times with the Doctor, but I prefer the Doctor to you, Baldo, so just piss off, already."

"No, Charley, listen! I've plugged you into virtual reality so your tiny human brain can recover from what happened. I, at great personal risk saved you and C'Rizz from certain death when the TARDIS crashed into Cardiff and exploded into a million, billion pieces."

"Prove it," Charley retorts.

"Disprove it!" Briggs answers back.

Charley doesn't quite know how to answer that and Briggs swaps into C'Rizz's dreamscape. There he threatens to reveal to Charley what C'Rizz has been doing with a video camera in the TARDIS shower block.

C'Rizz is not concerned – it was Charley's idea, after all.

Briggs changes tactics and decides to offer C'Rizz all the booze and sex-crazed women he can handle in return for betraying the Doctor, Charley and everything he ever believed in. "But you won't do that for a few drunken groupies, will you?" Briggs asks mildly.

"If that was a serious question," C'Rizz replies, "I'd be worried about you, Nick. You bet your ass I'll help you!"

Briggs returns to the 1960s party, grabs Charley off a cheerleader and vanishes in a puff of logic.

"So... that was your auntie, huh?" asks Ben Jackson as he puffs on a communal hookah.

"That's her," Polly replies.

Ben nods very thoughtfully. "We lead interesting lives."

Charley and C'Rizz awake inside the TARDIS – but the crash has got rid off all the furniture, marble plating and wood paneling, turning it into a bare, skeletal Farscape-style metal shell.

Charley points out this invalidates Briggs' story – but Briggs insists that the TARDIS *did* shatter apart, and he's put it back together. Unfortunately, the Kro'ka has continually screwed up the repair work which is why half the controls are missing and the dynomorphic inertia system has been replaced with a bicycle pump.

The Kro'ka switches on a laptop on the scanner to show the Doctor desperately attempting to seduce a red-haired woman in what appears to be a San Francisco studio apartment.

Yes, it appears that the Kro'ka is accidentally playing an off-air recording of the 1996 telemovie and Briggs was hoping that no one would notice this.

The Kro'ka helpfully explains this and Briggs strikes him.

Briggs goes on to say that he too was infected with Zig-Zag-Gay-Ass energy when they last met, which explains his cruel, cowardly and pathologically stupid behavior; however, he claims to have freed himself from its influence via a 12-step program.

Once he has repaired the TARDIS and kidnapped the Doctor, they will all return home bar C'Rizz, who will stay with L'da having fantastic – if meaningless – sex for the rest of eternity.

Charley decides if anyone's going to find the Doctor before he can seduce another woman, it's going to be her. So saying, she strides out of the TARDIS and, after some prompting from Briggs, so does C'Rizz.

"Why are you so happy, Mister B?" the Kro'ka asks.

"Because, vegetable descendent, our plan is going precisely according to... to, well, plan."

Briggs then lets loose with a peal of diabolical laughter, and the episode ends soon after.

Part Two – The Pattern of Sinfinity

The Kro'ka is slightly confused. Briggs has made C'Rizz and Charley so angry with the Doctor they might kill him before returning him to the TARDIS, which might possibly be a flaw with Briggs' plan.

"Well done, Kro'ka! You seem to have actually worked something out by yourself. True, that something is so obvious you could put it in a crowd of very obvious things and it would still be the one you noticed first; but it was still a nearly coherent thought. You are of course, completely wrong."

Meanwhile, the Doctor wakes up in a small Cardiff lake feeling extremely hung over. A sheep wanders over to him and begins to nibble his hair.

At the last moment, however, a woman arrives and shoots the sheep between the eyes. The Doctor looks up at his rescuer and gasps...

"Grace? Grace HOLLOWAY! Bugger me sideways, Grace, how the hell do you happen to be here? In the afterlife? Of another universe? Five hundred years AFTER I first met you?"

"It's a long story," Grace explains. "And mostly dull."

The Doctor takes this entirely on trust and asks her if she's seen the TARDIS anywhere around, or perhaps the unconscious bodies of a teenage school girl and a giant lizard.

Grace explains that the sheep are dangerous. There is also a storm about to break over Cardiff. And a tsunami is sweeping towards the little town as they speak. The Doctor checks his Psion personal organizer and finds today is marked "IT'S COMING! THE MYTHICALS GROW NEAR AND THE FOUR HORSEMEN COME SOON! THE APOCALYPSE IS HERE! WE MUST SAVE OURSELVES! ARMAGEDDON!"

"It looks like it's going to be one of those days, isn't it?" the Doctor mutters philosophically, before grabbing Grace's hand and fleeing for the Slap & Tickle gentlemen's hostelry.

The tidal wave breaks over the shore, and a goat is drowned.

Watching the goat from a safe distance are C'Rizz and Charley. Charley idly wonders if she slept with that goat and C'Rizz finally snaps and screams abuse at her.

"Damn it! Yes, you're sexy! Yes, you have slept with every single person I have met bar the Kro'ka! Big FREAKING deal!! Well, when I betray you and the Doctor to Briggs and live the life of Riley with L'da, we'll see how damn horny you are then!"

Briggs and the Kro'ka are watching this on the TARDIS scanner. "Do you TRY to be this stupid, C'Rizz, or is it just an unhappy accident?" Briggs screams furiously.

Luckily, Charley doesn't pay C'Rizz much attention in the first place and the duo continue onwards towards the main setting.

At the Slug & Sandwich local tavern, REG is ordering the finest wines known to humanity from the bewildered Welsh bar staff. They also accuse REG of killing the landlord, especially after entering the pub splattered with blood and saying, "I'm glad I killed that stupid bastard of a landlord, aren't you?"

REG's P.A., a Eutermisan called G'Dunce, reminds REG that his wife, Grace Holloway, has 'popped out for a quick smoke' the very hour the apocalypse starts. REG let her go, assuming she was getting booze.

Grace and the Doctor run through the streets of Cardiff, and encounter the dazed landlord who – as he was already IN the Afterlife – has returned from the dead and determined to get his revenge on REG.

"Don't you dare say that name!" roars the Doctor and pushes the landlord in front of a passing car.

Unfortunately, this kills the landlord again and, until he can return to town, everyone now thinks the Doctor is a very stupid serial killer. With a perfect scapegoat, REG asks the Doctor if he's got any money.

The Doctor is horrified to see his and Charley's love child again, and REG reveals he got kicked to death for ogling women survivors on the planet he was left on. Since arriving in the Afterlife, he's spent most of his time in the pub, got a PA and married Grace.

The Doctor begins shaking with anger and is unable to articulate his rage. REG announces the Doctor is speaking in tongues. The primitive, superstitious Welshmen (is that an oxymoron?) move to kill him...

Part Three – Rhododendrons

The Doctor points out that, under traditional Welsh justice, he is allowed a night at the local brothel, and is then allowed to hunt down the arsehole who accused him in the first place.

This does kind of explain why traditional Welsh justice is rarely used in the Western world.

G'Dunce escorts the Doctor to the knocking shop, and the Time Lord quickly tries to chum up with him, pointing out that chameleonic life forms like them should stick together. The Doctor notices that G'Dunce flinches whenever he mentions "that wanker, C'Rizz", but puts it down to the fact that the people of this universe have some kind of race memory about the poetry-obsessed loser.

REG tries to apologize to the Doctor by way of buying him a meal at the pub. To REG's surprise and annoyance, the Doctor does not order off the set menu and dives into the expensive ploughman's lunch with gusto. The ploughman is put out, to say the least.

As dinner progresses, discussion naturally turns to the apocalypse encroaching the Afterlife. If Cardiff itself is threatened with destruction, than the divergent universe is logically, totally stuffed and no mistake.

Charley and C'Rizz reach the town where the Eutermisan spots G'Dunce – who he recognizes as his father. G'Dunce runs off, screaming he has no idea who C'Rizz is and even if he did, C'Rizz can't prove a thing. But C'Rizz is desperate to tell his father of the hardships he's written about in poems, the girl's he's seduced, and also get some money.

Charley watches this apathetically, and wanders off.

The Doctor learns it is time to go to the brothel and Grace insists that, as the Doctor might be the one person with a chance in hell of saving the Afterlife and it's occupants, sentencing him to death isn't exactly a wise move.

REG simply swigs a glass of lighter fluid and laughs like a madman.

Grace shakes her head and decides to go with the Doctor. The Time Lord chuckles darkly to himself – it's taken a while, but she's finally started to warm up to him.

Charley bumps into her son and is a bit sad that her only child managed to drop dead a few minutes after she left him. REG simply insists he is 'too spaced' and starts to prance around the town, claiming he is a pretty ballerina with cancer of the brain.

C'Rizz catches up with G'Dunce and proves that he is the Eutermisan's son – he's got the birth certificate, school reports, photos and mobile numbers to prove it. He wants his father to meet the Doctor, who often suspected he would feel kinship with a man whose child is not so much a disappointment but an advertisement for retroactive birth control.

G'Dunce snaps and, grabbing C'Rizz's head and tries to drown him in a well, in the hope he might kill a guy who's already in the afterlife. It's a vain hope, but the only one he's got.

C'Rizz finally breaks free and bitch-slaps his father. OK, he never wrote, he never called, just what G'Dunce told him to do. Is it his fault that his father died from over-dosing on viagra after a bondage session with Charley (well, I assume who the 'big, blonde and bouncy' humanoid was)?

With a cry of "Damn it, dad, you used to be COOL!", C'Rizz strides off into the town, looking for a poetry slam to attend.

REG accidentally shoots himself in the foot. Literally. With a harpoon gun. And, leaving her bastard child skewered to the pavement, running around in a circle singing "Pretty ballerina! Pretty ballerina!", Charley runs for the safety of the brothel nearby.

Inside, the Doctor and Grace have stripped down to their underwear when Charley bursts into their room.

"WHO'S SHE?!?" Charley demands.

And so, the biggest cat fight in this, or any universe, begins...

The Doctor awkwardly introduces cardiology-expert and violent racist Dr. Grace Holloway to Charlette Elspeth Pollard, time-travelling underage mother and author of the best selling novel How To Be A Complete Slut.

"Doctor! You're cheating on me!"

"Oh, lighten up, Charley! You've shagged most of two universes and you're nagging me over fidelity?"

"It looks, little girl, like you can't give the Doctor what he wants," Grace announces lightly as she gives the Doctor a long, Swedish massage.

"You don't even KNOW what he wants, Grace!" Charley rejoinders. "I've shagged him more times than can even be DREAMED of in your barren American philosophy! Everyone knows he prefers English schoolgirls!"

"Sure. He lusted after me from the day I accidentally killed him on the operating table. He only went for you out of sexual frustration."

"Oh, very convincing," Charley retorts sarcastically.

"Actually, Charley, that's really what happened..."

"Shut up, Doctor! I got him first! We've done the nasty more often than he did with Romana – and that's saying something!"

"I agree – you're burnt out. He needs someone... fresher."

"Is that as good as it sounds?" asks the Doctor, intrigued.

"Doctor! I'm still fresh! I'm not twenty till next week – and considering we're in a universe with no time, that means I'll always be fresh! Look at Grace, Doctor! Look at her!"

Charley smacks the Doctor. "Ow!"

"Not THAT closely, Doctor! She's over thirty! She's practically senile! That body screams menopause!"

"Where as yours screams 'childhood obesity'."

Taking a well-earned break from this girl-fight of destruction, in the TARDIS, the Kro'ka has gotten confused. Again. Well, he was lobotomized sans anaesthetic by Briggs at the end of the previous story, so cut the poor bastard some slack.

Briggs is watching a convenient Divergent TV News broadcast showing that the nine galaxies in this universe are being destroyed – the dead are returning to life, animals are killing everything in sight, the stars themselves are burning into nothing and all the warranties on white goods have simultaneously expired. The peoples of the universe have nothing left to do but wait for the end and watch repeats of Double the Fist.

On the condition that he not discuss his personal hygiene, Briggs allows the Kro'ka to ask why, as Briggs knows the divergent universe is caught in one giant time loop of death and destruction, doomed to suffer an endless cycle of chaos, pain, death and misery, why doesn't Briggs do a damn thing about it?

"It's a laugh this way," Briggs explains.

Back at the hotel room, the Doctor and C'Rizz watch with perverse excitement as Charley and Grace slap and generally attack each other.

"Face it, Grace, you just don't have that great of a body. You're short, with small breasts and hollow hips."

"Small? They're the size of Winsconsin!"

"In lego-land! Lucky the TARDIS telepathic circuits come free with an electron microscope, or I wouldn't even know they're there!"

"While you're so much better, Charlotte. Positively Rubanesque in those sweatpants and maternity shirt!"

"Hey, this T-shirt helped me out a lot when carrying REG. And also, that means I've got living proof I've had sex – unlike you!"

"So why are you still wearing it? Knocked up again?"

"Bloody hell, I hope not," mutter the Doctor and C'Rizz in unison.

"How many cheese-burgers do you eat a day, Charlotte? And have you ever heard of deodorant? Or moisturizing spray? Cause sure as hell they've never heard of you! Emitting feminine order is so... so unfeminine!"

"And I bet you're still using those tampons that were linked to toxic shock syndrome in laboratory animals!"

"Well, it beats those panty-liners you're using!"

"Keep going, Gracey! Give me an excuse to rip your out throat like a marauding wolf!"

"At least you can admit you're a bitch, Charlotte! Now, I'm warning you, if you keep this up, I'm ripping your lips off and shoving them down your throat!"

"Yeah, well I'll do it to you – but not the lips on your face!"

"I'd like to see you try when I've got my hands wrapped around your throat, strangling you til you're twenty different shades of blue and purple!"

"Tough! You won't see ANYTHING when I scratch your eyes out!"

"It still won't make you cute, Time Tramp!"

"Don't knock it till you've tried it!"

Outside, REG finally manages to pry his foot for the pavement. Screaming in agony, he runs to the pub and demands entrance. Unsurprisingly, he is thrown back out again moments later.

Meanwhile, in the Pink Room of the Afterlife's only brothel, the bored Doctor and C'Rizz are now playing a game of whist as Charley and Grace, who have now collapsed from exhaustion, hurl insults at each other. G'Dunce gives each insult a score out of ten.

Grace leads with, "Anyway, I think I'm about to take the plunge!"

"What? Lose your virginity? What took you so long? Listen, you slut-bitch-creep. If you try to ruin my admittedly-unlikely relationship with the Doctor, I swear I'll kill you!"

"Just count to ten, Charley, and let all the nasty impulses fade away – if you can control yourself to that degree."

"YOU'RE talking to ME about self-control?!

"I was talking about... marriage."

This gets everyone's attention.

"You see!" laughs Grace triumphantly, earning a 8.7 from G'Dunce. "Charley never even considered marrying the Doctor! But I'm up for it – and if we somehow survive the Apocalypse and reappear the moment after the Big Bang, I can start breeding a new race with Doctor."

"B... but I've already had his child! That proves my fertility! If anyone's going to be Eve to the Doctor's Adam, it's going to be me!"

"Excuse me, but to I get a say in this?" asks the Doctor meekly.

"No!" Charley and Grace shout at him.

The Doctor bangs their heads together, 'Three Stooges' style. "Look, Charley's pregnancy lasted three weeks and nearly killed me. If you think the idea that either of you like that for the rest of eternity excites me, you've got the wrong Time Lord."

"It works for me though," C'Rizz offers, who gets a smack in the mouth for his troubles.

The Doctor decides that, in order to decide which girl he'll marry, there will have to be a mud-wrestling competition between Charley and Grace, a competition to discover who... the BEST wife?

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