The door to This Time Round opened, and a man looked in, hesitantly. He wore
thick glasses and looked like the worries of the world were upon his shoul...
No he didn't. He looked like someone who had no pressing problems, but was
constantly worried about minor details, just to have something to worry over.

At the moment his main worry was that he was in a strange pub and, while it was
possible people he knew might be there, they might not, and in any case he
didn't know them quite well, and maybe it would better if he slipped away now
to avoid embarassment...

"Daibhid!" came a shout from the bar. The Eighth Doctor came towards him with a
grin on his face. "It is Daibhid, isn't it? We met at the 2000 Hoedown. You
were the one with the hot dog cart and the Deus Ex Machina, right? Are you on
your way to the Grand Quadrille?"

"Yep, yep and yep." responded Daibhid. His previous anxiety had vanished, and
his grin now rivalled the Doctor's for enthusiasm. "I got an invite, and I'm on
my way. I happened to be passing here, and I thought I'd pop in and see what
the place was like, since I've heard so much about it."

"Well, I think there's time for you to have a drink. Irn Bru, isn't it?"

Daibhid nodded, amazed that the Doctor could recall the favourite beverage of
someone he'd met once in difficult circumstances. The Doctor led him to the
bar. Behind them came a black cat and a green backpack with hundreds of little

"Sandra... you remember Sandra, don't you, Daibhid? Or were you there for that
bit? Anyway, Sandra's working here now. Oh, that reminds me, you weren't at the
Hoedown last year! Just so you know, it turned out that Sweetheart..."

"...actually belongs to an ancient Time Lord called Florestan. I heard."

"Well, there's a bit more to it than that. I'll tell you once we get your
drink." He turned to the cowgirl-ghost. "Aye, Sandra, the lad'll be haein' a
wee spot of the Bru, so he will."

"Doctor," said Daibhid. "*Please* don't do that."

"Sorry. No offence intended."

"It's not that. It's just, well, your accent is better than mine! And I'm
actually Scottish!"

The Doctor smiled. They sipped their drinks. Schroedy and the Luggage both
curled up and settled in front of the fire.

"It's quite tonight." said the Doctor, looking round the cosy but near-deserted
bar. Everyone's on their way to the Quadrille. Looking forward to it?"

"Yeah, although I've got no idea what a Quadrille is, except that it's
something to do with lobsters."

The Doctor's grin grew, if that was possible, and he quoted "'Will you walk a
little faster?' said the whiting to the snail,"

Daibhid joined in "'There's a porpose close behind us and he's treading on my

Another voice came from behind them "'See how eagerly the lobsters and the
turtles all advance. They are waiting on the shingle; will you come and join
the dance?'"

Daibhid and the Doctor turned, to see a large man in a long, brown overcoat
covered in pockets. He had a ragged beard, a still more ragged haircut, and
carried an acoustic guitar on his back.

"Ah." said Daibhid, looking a bit doubtful again. "This is, um, Bob."

"Bob *the Muse*." corrected Bob.

"Sorry. Bob *the Muse*. He's, well, my Muse."

The Doctor and Sandra stared at the figure. "*That's* your Muse?" hissed the

"Apparently." Daibhid shrugged. "I know, everyone else gets pretty girls, and I
get Foul Old Ron's evil twin."

"I heard that!" snapped Bob the Muse.

"I have to say," said the Doctor, "he certainly doesn't look like any Muse I've
ever seen."

"Yeah. I noticed that. Then again, I'm not particularly into anime, so who can

The Muse shambled over to the bar. "Pint of Old Unspecified, thanks, love."

"Nice guitar." said the Doctor, "Do you play?"

Bob the Muse shrugged. "About as well as Daibhid sings." he said, modestly.

"That's pretty much a no." explained Daibhid. "Actually, he's not too bad."

Bob drained his pint. "Are we going then? Or do you want to be fashionably

"Okay, come on." Daibhid got up, carefully lifting Schroedy onto his shoulder,
while Bob the Muse scooped up the Rucksack. The Doctor also got up.

"Well, looks like we'll all be going together. Sandra?"

"I'm waiting for Imran." Sandra explained. "Besides, I have to lock up."

"Okay, then." The Doctor held the door open. "Bob, could you give us a note?"

And they were off, with the chorus of "Will you, won't you, will you, won't
you, will you join the dance?" echoing behind them.

On their way to the Grand Quadrille...

This story was largely written out of sheer determination to introduce Bob the
Muse *before* the Quadrille, which I thought was very important, for reasons
which now escape me. Hence the total lack of anything even vaguely resembling a
plot. "The Lobster Quadrille" was written by Lewis Carroll.