It was the best of times -- it was the worst of times -- it was 7.09 pm in TTR
on the night of the 2005 Adrics awards, and the booze was running wild and
free, and the patience was running sort of out. The pains-, or at least
mickey, -takingly constructed stage, had now been destroyed and rebuilt three
several times by assorted Toonside interlopers, who were running if anything
even wilder and freer than the booze aforementioned.
After the last destructive incident, sparked by a clash between a cat in a hat
and a terminally depressed-looking mutt of which few of the unfortunate
witnesses will willingly speak even today, the reconstruction schedule had been
further disrupted by a mysterious and unambiguously 3-D superheroine in a
highly exiguous costume consisting chiefly of iridescent mirror shades and a
strategically-placed sash bearing the legend 'Extremely Visible Girl'. This
enigmatic vision, who bore some superficial resemblances to Candy and on
certain present evidences boasted the unspeakable or at least slightly
unprintable superpower of instant male lignification, had collared the entire
repairs crew for an urgent backstage discussion, the unseemly and mostly
non-verbal racket of which had long since replaced the wholesome strains of
_Whistle While You Work_.
Apropos of rackets, 'Marchie' Marchant-Ivory, Sabalom Glitz, and a small mouse
with a big hammer had been press-ganged by an impromptu committee of scary
regulars into some instant DIY. The results weren't pretty, but the stage was
just about ready again. For all the bloody presenters seemed to care, as Ms
Tegan Jovanka (Bright-Wing, Bel-Phoenix, Qantido 5th Dan) has so aptly phrased
As the mouse drove his hammer down on the very last nail, which happened to
belong to a big grey cat who expressed his displeasure in rather a marked
manner, the saloon-bar door crashed open. A gleaming-eyed Northern type who was
no doubt the Ninth Doctor, and a buxom blonde English Rose who was definitely
quite a lot of the regulars' type, burst in upon this sorry scene.
"Sorry we're a bit late," the Doctor called to all and sundry in not remotely
apologetic tones, "plague of Nora Battys in the subspace interface, don't mind
us, you can carry on with the show now..."
"Ee, you'll like this," he ignored Rose cheerfully as he turned to her. "It's
got Lauren Bacall in it, and this amazing intergalactic pop star-cluster; but
what you really have to see is the continuity abuse. Play on, maestro!" he
hollered at the new-repaired stage, over which forlornly hung a mismatched set
of out-of-sync flashing neon signs which appeared to have fallen off the back
of various major Las Vegas hotels, and which too prematurely blazed out the
legend 'ADWC ADRIcS AW4RDS 20O5' over a background of a supercolossal blue
star-shaped fly-exterminator freshly painted around the edges with Airfix gold
enamel. After a long-tailed previous sentence, the Doctor committed a sudden
"And I think it's gonna be a long long time!" the Magical Mechanical Musical
Box in the corner crooned with open sarcasm, its festoons of fibreoptic tinsel
"So what," gibed Rose, "evil aliens have murdered the presenter before we *got*
here? That's pretty good even for us!"
"Nooo." The Doctor scowled dismissively. "I took a peek ahead, didn't I? She's
probably just having a quicky in the bogs with her gorgeous assistant, from
what I hear."
"Ewww!" Rose noted.
"There's some cartoon animals at the bar, let's buy them a drink and get the
gen. What's yours?"
"I think," said Rose, shaking her head, "it'd better be a big stiff -- "
The bar fell suddenly silent, causing our plucky heroine to break off in
bewilderment followed swiftly by disgust; but not even that mighty invocation
to Our Lady of Nothing Entendres sufficed to summon the spam-eyed Naiad of the
Datastreams to grace our little ceremony by, for instance, in the time-hallowed
expression, getting on with it -- she being, according to abundant aural
evidence from backstage, far too consumed with the urgent business of getting
it on with, &c, &c.
Who now shall save our little jollification from ignominious and indecent
failure, O Gentle Reader? Many appealing and no few downright ugly expressions
are turned to elephantine Marchie and his elegant partner-in-dodginess Kyra at
this crisis; but 'Crisis? What crisis?' is what their serene expressions are
radiating, as a chipper grey trunk genially beckons Ninth and Rose over to
share a bevvy or two with their goodselves and a somewhat raddled 1970s
caricature of famed Brit leader Sunny Jim Callaghan.
But be of good cheer! For 'twas ever in such moments of ultimate peril that the
good Doctor was ever wont to show us the true quality of his mettle. We can
trust him to sort this sad situation out in a jiffy, *right*, CAN'T WE,
"You don't suppose, do you?..." the First and Third Doctors began to
They sat at a corner table in the TTR. The pub had just barely
survived being a Toon construction site. The pair were watching the
exuberant goings on as a final few nails were bashed in, and a last few
lights were adjusted to complete the set.
It had been amusing, though tiring to watch. The whole thing had been
accomplished in accordance with Toon Convention. Everything had been
over-energetic, with the pauses in the right place, and of the right
length, to get the best belly laughs... Only neither of the Doctors
was laughing. They shared a worried glance.
"After you, Old Chap," the Third said. "After all, you are the Elder."
"Quite right, my boy..." The First acknowledged, breaking off to take a
sip from a steaming mug of cocoa. "But you don't really want me to say
it out loud, now do you?"
"Quite right, Old Chap. There's no point in tempting fate. We're
probably in enough trouble as it is with all that lot." The Third
nodded at the milling Toon-siders crowding into the main room of the
The First Doctor eyed them askance. "Are the whole of Toon-side coming
here tonight?" he inquired.
"Possibly," the Third answered. "You do know what this will mean?"
"Of course I do," snapped the elderly fellow. "The Toon-side Magic
will be drawn through with them. The more Toon-siders come to Outside,
the more Toon Magic there will be. If the build up reaches critical
mass... Just like it did after that Disney fellow started messing
Both Doctors shuddered at the memory.
The Third said, "Mickey Mouse as President... Luckily, the President
was at Camp David that day, so it wasn't as bad as it might have been."
"Quite," agreed the First; "but I was thinking more of the Daffy Duck
The Third Doctor grimaced. "Do you think that we should contact THEM?"
"We may have no choice," said the First, "if things get out of hand;
but I'd rather not if it could be avoided. You remember the trouble it
caused last time?"
"You're right, of course," the Third conceded. He took a good long
pull at his pint of bitter. The beverage was got in specially from the
generic pub to which he was wont to adjourn with the chaps from UNIT
after some successful outing to thwart the Master. "But THEY were
crucial in resolving the Roger Rabbit debacle."
"Granted," the First acknowledge the point. "But do we really want our
Toon- side Doppelgangers coming here?"
"They'll probably turn up anyway, whether we contact them or not."
The First harumphed. "Undoubtedly. I thick we should wait and see
what develops. If things begin to get..."
The Fourth and Seventh Doctors, who were threading their way through
the press of Toon-siders, heading for the table, when a Toon mouse
popped into being just behind the Fourth. Jerry Mouse was going at a
dead run. He raced up the Fourth Doctor's trailing scarf, skipped from
shoulder to head, and used that as a springboard to reach the corner
table in a single bound. He landed with a plop in the remains of the
Third's pint. Jerry scrambled madly out, and dived for a mouse hole
which had just conveniently appeared in the skirting.
The pursuing cat had no chance. The Doctor went down with arms
flailing. His drink went shooting out of his grasp. Tom bounded off
the Doctor's back, and shot under the table in hot pursuit.
The Fourth started to push himself up; but a huge bulldog with a spiked
collar ran him down again. Its legs got tangled in the scarf. The
snarling mass of Toon energy somersaulted into the table at which sat
the First and Second Doctors. In accordance with Toon Convention, the
table promptly disintegrated into a shower of broken wood. Debris,
drinks, and two somewhat startled Doctors, flew in all directions. The
Third's pint described a parabola, paused in the air for effect, before
landing open end down on his head.
"...Get out of hand," finished the First, from where he sat among the
wreckage of the corner table. Through some temporal sleight-of-hand,
the wily old fellow was still clutching his cup of hot chocolate, quite
un-spilt. He took a sip, and went on urbanely. "Spontaneous Toon
Manifestations are only the start. You know what comes next?"
The Third nodded grimly. They helped each other up, and adjourned to
an undamaged table, where they were joined by the Fourth and Seventh.
"The next thing to go will be the Conservation of Reality Law," The
First continued after he was comfortably ensconced. "And we all know
where that will lead."
The Fourth nodded. "Yes, it would be dangerous to even mention that
there was this great... MMMMMPPPPHHHH!!!!????" The Fourth Doctor's
explanation was cut-short as the other three Doctors all slapped hands
over his mouth, whilst glancing nervously at the huge Toon weight,
cheerily labelled in ominous black lettering with the legend: "1000
tonnes", which was in the process of manifesting itself in the air over
The Toon weight faded, but slowly, and with a great show of reluctance.
After a moment, the Doctors hesitantly removed their muffling hands.
"Mark my words," put in the First portentously, "it'll be the Roger
Rabbit fiasco all over again. Then we will HAVE to call them in to
help. Outside will need all the help it can get at that stage."
An amused grin broke out on the Fourth doctor's face.
"What are you grinning at?" demanded the Seventh. "It'll be no
laughing matter if that happens." He looked a little uneasy.
"I was just thinking," the Fourth began, "not so much a question, more
an outright statement of fact..."
"It was a desperate situation," the Seventh put in too quickly. He
sounded more than a little defensive. "Desperate measures were called
for. Besides, I only suggested the vat of acetone, I didn't
actually... Besides which, you can't really exorcise the Toon-side
Magic like that. That bit at least was made up... And anyway... Ah,
I see they're about to do the drabble presentation." He sounded more
than a little relieved at the timely distraction.
The intro music faded down to be replaced by an enthusiastic whooping
and hubbub. A distinctly nervous looking Adric shuffled into the
spotlight to make the presentation. He stood blinking bemusedly as a
pair of Mickey Mouse ears sprouted unnoticed on his head.
The first indicated the aberration with a nod of his white haired head.
Conservation of Reality Law's on the blink already," he observed
The Western Onion Indian puttered onto the set on his scooter. He
dismounted, and went through his surreal little dance before handing
Adric the golden envelope. The messenger then thinned away in his
time-honoured manner to thunderous applause from the Toon-siders in the
Adric took the card from the golden envelope and began scanning the
names. The envelope, clutched forgotten in his hand, began to wriggle.
Adric dropped it in alarm. The envelope turned bright pink, and
metamorphosed into a huge butterfly. The gorgeous creature fluttered
around the amazed boy's head, before dipping down to plant a gentle
kiss upon the tip of his nose. Adric jerked back, more embarrassed
The butterfly split in two. Suddenly, there were two dancing in the
air. Then there were four; then there were eight. They continued to
divide until the whole set was a cloud of fluttering pink. The chaotic
whirl soon settled into the shape of a grinning skull. Still holding
formation, the cloud zoomed straight for the table where the four
For a stunned moment, Adric just stared after the macabre
manifestation, then he calmly introduced the nominated drabbles...
Well, actually, it seemed the most appropriate thing to do at that
A six foot tall Sooper-Dooper Professional Animators Pencil in bright
red drew itself into being at Adric's side. The Pencil acknowledged
the crowds with a little bob. As Adric announced the name of the first
nominee, the pencil zoomed about creating an instant animation in a
cheeky pastiche of an Old Master's style.
A Past Master of the Art
by Paul Andinach
"That was close," the Doctor said, slamming the TARDIS doors shut
behind him and leaning on them.
Alison, who'd stayed in the TARDIS, looked to the scanner screen:
outside, in Toledo, a bearded man in black stood glaring venomously at
"Doctor," she said worriedly, glancing at their other companion, "tell
me that isn't - "
"It is," said the Doctor, "Domenikos Theotocopoulos, called 'El Greco'.
I bumped into him as he was coming out of his studio, and he got - " He
shrugged off his overcoat, revealing an enormous smear of paint on one
sleeve. " - terribly offended, I don't know why."
The pencil reversed, and whizzed about re-absorbing the Toon before
starting on a Manga style rendering of the next drabble.
The battle against entropy
The Doctor stalked through the ruined place, the dust of countless
centuries set into turmoil in the wake of his footsteps. The air was
stale and still until disturbed by his breath.
It had been far too long.
He approached the ancient machine and pushed the button. With a click
and a roar, everything began to change.
Ace snatched her earphones from their roundeled shelf, jammed them into
her ears, and clamped her pillow over her head to muffle the noise from
the next room. 'Why can't he do his bloody vacuuming while I'm awake?'
The pencil sketches in a vacuum cleaner. The hose snakes about sucking
up the Toon. Then the pencil takes pity on Adric. It zooms around
erasing Adric's Mickey Mouse ears; and then, after a thoughtful pause
replaces them with a fair approximation of Bugs Bunny's ears.
A double barrelled shotgun an walrus moustache sticks out from the
wings stage right. "Wabbit!" exclaimed Yosemite Sam. There was the
ominous sound of hammers being cocked. The Pencil dashed back and
removed the ears. The shotgun was withdrawn.
In florescent colours, the pencil set about animating the next drabble.
by Daibhid Ceannaideach
"All right, Beep," the Doctor muttered, "You win. I'll do whatever you
The Most High meeped excitedly. "Excellent, Doctor. There are two
tasks with which your expertese may be useful."
"What do you want me to do?"
"While I am not foolish enough to tell you my entire plan, I can tell
you it requires my fur to be a vivid orange. I also need a wooden
replica of your TARDIS. I know that, in your quiet moments between
adventures, you have practiced both hairdressing and carpentry.
He leant closer. "Your choice is simple, Doctor.
"Dye me, or join!"
After erasing the animated drabble, the Pencil quickly draws in a chin,
against which it taps thoughtfully for a few moments while mulling over
the style for the next drabble. At length, the Pencil decides to go
with a flowery pastel style, rather than the New Age Gothic which
suggests itself, but was sooo predictable.
Vampire from Space
by K. Michael Wilcox
Giles considered the Doctor's announcement. "There have been cases of
vampirism being transferred to animals, of course," he said. "This,
though, is unfathomable."
"Not so much as you might think. Sadly, it's happened before to other
members of my race," the Doctor explained.
Buffy tapped her foot impatiently. "How do I kill it?"
"The usual methods, I should think," Giles suggested.
"Perfect," Buffy said, twirling her lucky stake in her hand.
"I'm afraid that won't be enough," the Doctor said.
"Wonderful. What'll I need, some Gallifreyan death ray?"
The Doctor grinned naughtily. "No, but you will need a second stake."
The Toon was erased and the Pencil went into Looney Toons style for the
last nominated Drabble.
Warning by Molly Schlemmer
When the old soothsayer Galen had grabbed his coattails as he walked
by, the Doctor had been annoyed. "Beware the woman with the emerald
gaze," old Galen had said, her own cloudy eyes staring blindly into
another dimension. "Angel of destruction..."
When his companions asked who he had been talking to, the Doctor
brushed off their questions. "Just the incoherent ramblings of a mad
old woman," he said, puttering around the TARDIS console, initiating
When the Doctor bumps into a woman as he enters a saloon on Nishino
Prime, he innocently notes the beautiful green color of her eyes.
The pencil races around erasing the last Toon drabble. Darting behind
Adric, it quickly draws a great heart shape and colours it is with a
pair of portraits. One is Adric, and the other is a pretty young woman
with wavy brown hair. They lean towards one another; but before their
lips meet, the heart becomes a huge eye, which winks suggestively.
The Pencil takes a bow before sketching in a sporty looking pencil
case, slipping inside, and zooming off the set.
And the Winner of the Adrics 2004 Drabble award is...
A tie between...
The Choice by Daibhid Ceannaideach...
Warning by Molly Schlemmer.
The general chaos induced by the ever-swelling flood of uninvited toons was,
superficially, still still absent or at least in abeyance at the noble oasis
called Bar. Kyra and Marchie were giving Nellie the Elephant some comradely
advice anent her upcoming constructive dismissal suit against the Circus.
Kinki, in a rare contemplative moment, had disappeared with Woody Woodpecker
behind the most thoroughly potted palm in Nameless -- for an earnest
theological discussion, if we are to be guided by the frequent and
unprecedented exclamations of "Wha-ha-ha-ha-ha! God bless my soul!" emanating
from it. And Tony the Bumptious Breakfast Cereal Tiger was busy making a
complete Blackburn of himself in a doomed attempt to tempt Kimiko back to his
lair for purposes of putting some 'grr-r-r-reat!' sugar-frosted cornflakes in
her bowl, which exhibition the object of his affections was so far tolerating
with the air of a fascinated ailurology student on a field-trip. (Ailurology is
essentially like anthropology, but there is a higher incidence of the subjects'
sneaking up and planting their bum immovably on the student's notes.)
For Ben, however, the situation was a bittersweet one, intricately balanced
between a myriad joys and sorrows. Con, he had no particular penchant for
cartoons, and on the influx's becoming excessive had contented himself with
knocking down Bluto and making his way towards that beacon of light and hope
that was the management's witty sign, "I'm the bar -- fly me!"
Pro, this left him able to appreciate in (hitherto) relative peace, the glories
of a long dark rum.
Con, it was Lamb's Navy, and Ben really had no idea what he was missing in the
Captain Morgan stakes. Sad, no?
Pro, Polly had retired from her normal duties to serve behind the bar for the
night, having noticed (i) that the median height of the toon invaders was
approximately that of a healthy hobbit; and that (ii) this sat, and even stood,
rather ill with her 1960's hemlines. Thus, she was on hand and available for
banter, which was nice for both of them.
Con, con, con, con, con, con, con, con, this banter had been disrupted shortly
after the sounds of stage-repair had abruptly ceased, by a masked and faintly
porcine Bar Bore of Mystery who had glommed onto Ben like an out-of-work
Now Ben, as a sailor-man of considerable experience and cheerfully conventional
tastes, was not normally at a loss for a response when accosted in bars by
overweight middle-aged men in leather dominos and black lycra. In this
instance, however, several factors had induced in him a fatal hesitation. Not
wishing to use language like that in front of Polly was a part of it. Man of
Mystery's powerful build and scarcely veiled air of universal truculence was
another matter carefully to be weighed, suggesting as it did that that his
preferred conversation might swiftly degenerate into one apt to attract the
attentions of François before (and, indeed if) Ben could successfully conclude
it. Ben was a generous-hearted soul, and by no means cared to add to the heavy
load already on the back of the overworked Ogron.
But the supreme consideration, topping all the others by a nautical mile, lay
in the black-enamelled bicycle lamp that hung like a camera around his
persecutor's corded neck. As a veteran companion from the classic era of _Dr
Who_, Ben knew the BBC's idea of a terror weapon of ultimate doom when he saw
one, and further was well aware that attempts to confiscate it without the good
Doctor's participation bore but little chance of success, and even then not
until the final episode. Therefore, a strategy of noncommittal grunting seemed
the ticket, until Bar Bore Boy should either get the message, or collapse from
a fatal overdose of the gin-and-tincture-of-iodine that he was currently
putting away like a bastard, or else abruptly retire _hors de combat_ after
having met a nasty and inexplicable accident with a recorder.
Alas, Nemesis was so far showing a very understandable inclination to stand
this lad up. And judging by the tenor of his repetitious and increasingly
aggravating conversation, she was by no means the only one.
"I mean," Bar Bore Boy explained, dunking a spam scratching in his tincture in
order to bring out the subtler points of its flavour, "take the women, hah?
*As* I'm sure you do. Do I have anything against them? I do not." He waved the
scratching generously in Polly's direction. "Do I pluck them screaming from
luxury space-cruisers and force them to dress up in skimpy cabin-bggggirl
uniforms whilst feeding me olives and reciting actinide decay series before
stranding them at Surbiton-sub-Stella spaceport when I find their trust funds
have no intention of paying the ransom? I do not. At least not often. Hardly
ever! And *do* I support their career choices, when they can justify them over
my no doubt old-fashioned Golden Agey preferences using force, eloquence and
reason that wouldn't shame a male man? And fragging big chainsaws?! I daresay I
probably do! And what thanks do I get for it?"
"None," said Polly through a fixed smile. BBB ignored her completely. A vein in
Ben's temple began gently to pulsate.
"I will tell you, because you don't know. They throw it all away on stupid
common career tracks like dwarf-tossing, trash-collecting, snow-ploughing, and
medical assisting. I tell them I can't bear to watch. I tell them they will
come to a sticky end. Is my wisdom heeded? Does it indeed ever reach their
sweet little auditory canals over all the background noise? Will Hieronymus
Merkin ever forgive Mercy Humppe and find, I ask you, true happiness???"
Ben could bear it no longer. "Honestly, chum, I couldn't give a toss."
BBB began a violent recoil, but then alas laughed a great bass villain's laugh
and slapped Ben with painful familiarity on the shoulder.
"Well, of *course* you couldn't. No more than could I, and so is tragedy bred.
For we be manly men who sail the black abysses of infinity, our hairy chests
bare to the wind that blows between the worlds, revelling in the clean,
wossname, revelry of rum bumming cigarettes and the lash; and we know nor reck
little of the unspeakable joys of the dwarf-tossers and their ilk. That is
under*stood*." Ben's fists were doing a lot of autonomous twitching. Bar Bore
Boy gestured offhandedly at Polly, and said to Ben out the side of his mouth in
a tone of hatefully confiding speculation, "I don't suppose *she* could?
There's gold-pressed lutonium in -- "
Ben stepped back and threw a mighty roundhouse punch at his scummy
interlocutor. Polly, in the same instant, was bringing down a bottle of Bell's
smartly upon BBB's bonce, remarking "Afore ye go!" with positively Emma
Peelesque panache. And so it was justice was very nearly served.
Unfortunately, the Joyless Roger had chosen that very moment to trip his
shuffling feet over a thoroughly unexpected obstacle. Down he went like a ton
of lead feathers. "Whack! Smash!" said the whiskey bottle to Ben's head.
"Splat! Crunch!" said Ben's fist to Polly's nose. The two companions exchanged
one horrified look of blood-dripping remorse and embarrassment, and passed out
as one stooge.
Rising from the unprepossessing layer of random bar detritus favoured by our
Green and thrifty Proprietor as an eminently natural alternative to sawdust,
the Mysterious Bore snarled, scowled, spat, swore, stifled a vilely mucous sob,
and kicked Ben in one direction and a dazed Bashful the Dwarf in the other.
Even through the now thoroughly excessive mill of uninvited Toons, there was
something that drew notice and comment about the sight of three brawny Wombles,
Snow White blushing Rose Red, the other six Dwarves, and the DWM Seventh all
variously attempting to crawl, sidle, whistle innocently, or construct
selective invisibility machines from two beer mats and a squashed packet of
jelly babies as they made their stumbling, hollow-eyed, and rag-clad ways away
from their evidently all-too-strenuous labours backstage.
A howl of appalling loss, or at least of losing it pretty damn appallingly,
boyo, wrenched itself from the black-leotarded one's wide throat. He held up
his bicycle-lamp like a talisman, and in a voice trembling with rage, cosmic
angst, and ham or worse meats he declaimed the following awful incantation:
_"By dark of dive or disco's light,
I hold the Door of Doom, awright?
Let those inclined to give me shite
Beware my power -- *Black Bouncer's Light!*_
And from his magic lamp there poured an appalling flood of swirling, seething,
evilly sparkling sheerly actinic black light, whose obligatory
space-operatically adjectivality was in *no way* impaired by the admitted fact
of its total invisibility to non-UV-sensitive eyes, but has been intuitively
deduced from two circumstances.
The first circumstance was the ghostly glow of multiple voting-security stamps
upon the hands of all too many of the regulars, but let *that* pass. The second
circumstance was the mad terrified rush for the door of every Toon upon whom
the evil irradiance fell, as it inked the maddening quavers of Avril Lavigne &
the Azathothettes' l8test hit across the all-too-blank paper of their innermost
psyches. (Luckily for the rest of us, inking m.q.'s of anything all over a
*three-dimensional* psychic surface is manifestly impossible, as you can easily
see for yourself with the aid of a pen and a closed artist's notepad.)
The three-D contingent's main role in this stampede, somewhat inevitably, was
to be stampeded into the ground in humorously cartoon fashion.
"What the hell???" demanded an annoyed Kinki, emerging hot and bothered from
behind the potted palm, her claws sliding meaningfully out.
"God bless my soul!" squawked a voice behind her. "Replace it! Put it back!!!"
The supervillain blasted her, palm and voice and all, at point-blank range. A
woodpecker joined the panic instanter, leaving the palm all on its ownsome but
rejoicing in a richly nitrogenous parting gift. Nellie and Tony, though
untouched at the bar, followed suit by sheer power of suggestion, which was
kind of hard on the clean-up crew afterwards.
But fast as black light is, sometimes sound can be quicker. Kimiko, her face
suddenly cold as the fabled White Tiger of Death, emitted a single soaring blue
note that shattered the black light millimeters short of her sister, and
crashed on through to shatter the lamp's Black Lens just as thoroughly.
Now, thoroughly, ahem, roused by the indescribable racket in the barroom,
Extremely Visible Girl emerged from backstage and boldly did sally forth. Or at
least swung her over a brawny shoulder in a fireman's lift and carried her off
for Coffee, after Sally pointed out with her trademark dry ersatz humour that
US-wide syndication rights hung on this brief assumption of the fig-leaf of
decency. So don't go looking in your _Cleveland Plain Dealer_ funnies for the
pics tomorrow morning, 'cause you'll be stone out of luck, laddie!
The cartoon horde were putting on the brakes and kicking up clouds of the
sordid local equivalent of sawdust. But there was to be no escape for the
gatecrashers this time. For Ca'at now cantered in from the car- park, or
whatever the Camel for 'canter' is, and proceeded to hump continuity right
there in the doorway. And a PLOT hole yawned before the unhappy interlopers'
At the rear of the doomed mob, a Nyssa-esque anime character known as Ultimate
Alien Schoolgirl had a brief psycho moment, lobbing a veritable firestorm of
shuriken, firecrackers, and poison darts over her shoulder at her persecutor.
Ha! All struck Kimiko's triumphant Note and burst into harmless spark showers!
All except a harmless Cockney teacake, included in the barrage by mistake,
which duly zinged off Black Bouncer's bonce and knocked him stone cold.
"Ay-ay-ay!" lamented Extremely Visible Girl. "His fatal weakness! An object
with a *visible colour*! Ah, faugh me -- my only love!"
Sally Forth wagged a finger waggishly in the general direction of EVG's painted
toenails, no other salient directions being available in her present posish.
"I've told you, wait until you get me home! For Coffee," she added, as she felt
that special lawyer-sense which is a _sine qua non_ for survival in her harsh
and exotic habitat start tingling like a splash of tabasco where no tabasco
Extremely Visible Girl did not deign to reply, merely tucking the fallen
villain under her free arm in a sudden surge of devotion-fuelled adrenaline,
and carrying off both her prizes back backstage to a fate better than Toonside.
Probably. As for those intruders not carried off by our mysterious spam-pink
Valkyrie, an annoying fate was theirs: Toon physics mandated that they would
variously, hilariously, and at rank-dependent lengths *just about fail* to
brake themselves short of the fatal threshold. And so it proved. And no Toon
now remained in the bar save for Marchie Marchant-Ivory and his feline ladies.
And the cartoon-stomped regulars now began to rise groggily to their feet. And
François began to clear his throat; and a faint, almost indefinable aura of
ugliness began to arise along with the patrons.
Kyra called cheerfully across the scene of utter wreckage, carnage, and woe,
"Is there a Doctor in the house?"
"What am I," Seventh demanded pawkily, "Scotch mist?" And, likewise albeit with
a spelling variation in the relevant adverb, Sixth was fain to back him up.
"This'll just take a moment," Marchie assured everyone. Kyra went over and
spoke quietly to the Doctors at some length.
Then Kyra had no longer spoken to the Doctors at all, as a massive volunteer
clean-up crew had issued forth from every TARDIS in the parking lot at the very
moment the PLOT hole closed after the late gatecrashers, thus obviating the
need for her ever to have dropped so much as a hint in the first place. Now,
*that's* what we call discretion!
"Shall we get on with it?" Tegan suggested, relaxing her frazzled nerves with a
Long Bad Pommie Joke Up Against The Wall When The Revolution Comes, With One Of
Those Little Umbrellas In It.
The stage remained resolutely bare.
"Never mind, never mind!" trumpeted Marchie buoyantly, bounding onto the bar
and requisitioning the public attention. "The chaos, violence, and gratuitously
cheap humour are banished; order and method are restored; world peace, joy, and
harmony are assured. Up next and presenting the Best Round-Robin Chapter award
is... *is*... ha-ha, an elephant, as you know, never forgets, I had you all
worried there, I'll warrant...*IS...?!?" Kyra deftly whipped an autocue out of
the astonished air. "...*are*, my goodness, BK Willis's _Spring Surprise_ crew.
Well, my word, with big hitters like that, there's certainly nothing that
can -- "
"Great love of my life," said Kyra crisply, "come down from there this very
second, before something wholly bad happens to you!"
Which, after some milliseconds' consideration, the Nabob of Nice Little Earners