THIS TIME ROUND: ON THE NATURE OF OBSESSION
"Nyssa, could I have a word with you, please?"
"Certainly, Doctor. Won't be a moment." She carefully marked
her place in the catalog and set it on the desk before giving him
her full attention.
"Ummm-- about this latest hobby of yours..."
"Creating humorous sculptured caricatures of Senators Kennedy
and Feinstein out of eggshells?"
God, this was awkward. "No. The other one."
"You mean killing Adric."
"Yes. About that-- don't you think you may be getting a little _too_
focused on doing the poor boy in?" The Doctor fidgeted under her
gaze. She was starting to give him 'the look'. The one that made
him feel like there was a large bullseye painted on his forehead.
"Meaning _what_, exactly?"
Oh dear. She was turning up the intensity on 'the look'. The
Doctor toyed for a moment with the idea of just giving up and
saying, 'Oh, nothing. Forget I asked.' and then leaving as fast
as dignity and the laws of physics would permit. But he'd start-
ed this and would see it through, if he could.
"Well, Nyssa," he said carefully, "it's just that you spend so much
time these days focussing on Adric's routine and making the ar-
rangements for his demise, getting every little detail right, and
then killing him. I just don't think it's healthy. For you, I mean."
"It's not like I spend _all_ my time on that," she said defensively.
"See." She gestured toward the corner, where there stood a sur-
prisingly good likeness of two certain Democratic Senators dancing
the Lambada in the nude.
"Still, I think you should ease up. Find some form of social inter-
action that doesn't involve murdering Adric." He began to ease
toward the door as her brow furrowed and 'the look' became a full-
blown glare, when suddenly her face cleared.
"Oh! I see! I guess I have been a little 'Adricentric' lately. Thank
you for helping me see that." Her smile was warm and beatific and
made her seem the most beautiful woman alive.
The Doctor let out the breath he'd been holding. Courage and pers-
everance had won through again. "Well, you know, I was just--"
"So, who should I kill instead?"
"Who should I kill instead of Adric? I would kill that Yates fellow.
He certainly deserves it, but he's still picking splinters out of his
bum from where Tegan got hold of him*."
This was not _exactly_ what the Doctor had planned. "Errr... look,
"How about that Mel? A bit of strychnine in her carrot juice and
we'd have one less contestant in the Friday Night Screech-a-Thon."
Hmmm. It was something to consider... He shook his head.
"Peri, perhaps? Or that annoying little whiner Susan?" Nyssa
laughed a little ruefully. "You know, it's embarrassing to admit,
but I hadn't really considered what a selection of deserving po-
tential victims we have."
The Doctor sighed, defeated for the moment. "You've rather miss-
ed the point. I meant-- Oh, sod it. Look, just try not to be so ob-
sessive about your hobbies, okay?" With that, he left.
She sat deep in thought, looking at the place where he'd stood.
After a moment, she roused herself, and smiled.
"Obsessive? No, I don't think I'm being obsessive at all." She
picked up the catalog and found her page, marking several items.
She then made a phone call.
"Hello, Acme Industries? Yes, I'd like to order a dozen of your
medium anvils, two crates of dynamite, a giant rubber band..."
* see the This Time Round story 'Five Little Words'.