Doctor Who: A Brief Encounter In A Small Cafe In Wales...
By Tony Gallichan
The small, pretty, fair haired girl paid for two cups of tea and took them to the table where her husband of one year and five months was sitting.
"Honestly, Cliff, why can't you just drop the subject?"
Professor Jones sighed. They had had the same argument ever since they had returned from the Amazon three weeks previously.
"Because, Jo, I think that the crystal did have something to do with the expedition's failure."
"Oh come on, Cliff - how could it have? I mean, you're the one who's supposed to be the scientist. I'm just the assistant. I'm always the assistant..."
Before Cliff Jones could reply, a voice from behind him spoke.
"Excuse me, do you mind if I borrowed your sugar?"
Cliff turned and saw a small man with dark hair and question marks on his sweater.
"Er, yes. Of course you can. Here..."
Wondering what a Scot was doing in Cardiff in November when there was a match between France and Scotland playing at Ibrox Park, Cliff returned to his subject.
"Look, love, you were the one who 'phoned UNIT. You were the one who was told that the Doctor was missing, presumed dead. And what reason did they give you for his death? That BLOODY CRYSTAL!"
His shout filled the small cafe.
"Cliff! Keep quiet." Jo was herself becoming upset.
"I will not be quiet. Do you realise exactly how much money I sunk into that expedition? Do you?"
"Of course I do. The Doctor told me after you had that chat together."
"The Doctor. The DOCTOR! That's all we bloody hear from you, isn't it? The Bloody Doctor. You know, Jo, I wouldn't be surprised if the Doctor had given us that crystal so that we would fail."
"Oh come on, love. You saw how hurt he looked when we said that we were to be married. Jealousy, that's what I call it."
The Scots fellow replaced the sugar.
"Thank you." he said as he tipped his straw hat at them. He was looking rather upset but neither Jo nor Cliff noticed. They were trapped in a world of their own. A world that was crumbling around them.
"What do you mean, jealousy? The Doctor was like an uncle to me. An uncle, that's all." Jo was becoming furious.
"Well I hope that's all he thought he was."
"Think about it, love. It all makes sense."
"I don't have to. That's the most insensitive thing you've ever said."
"Tough. Look, Jo, I'm fed up with hearing about your precious "older version" of me. As far as I'm concerned, that crystal was alien, therefore anything could have happened to us. Now you tell me he gave it to us with good intentions. Go on. Tell me."
Jo's face was stony and she was very pale. Tears were forming at the corners of her eyes.
"If only I had know that you could turn out to be such a monster yourself, I'd never have married you. The expedition fails so you have to find a scapegoat. Well, that scapegoat is not going to be me, neither will i allow it to be the Doctor. I won't let you defile my memory of a great, good man."
"Well, love, if you prefer you're rose-tinted memory as opposed to a "monster", I'll leave you to it. God, how could I have married such a dimwitted, mixed up idiot? Your useless in general and your useless to me."
"Then get out of my life!" Jo was in tears. In all her life she had never met such a vindictive, pig headed person.
"Fine. I will. I'll send your stuff to your precious UNIT HQ." With that he stormed out of the cafe, leaving Jo with her bitter-sweet memories.
After a few minutes, Cliff's chair was pulled out and the Scots fellow sat down.
"I'm sorry, but I couldn't help overhearing. I shouldn't be too upset, my dear."
"What?...Oh, no." Jo didn't know who this stranger was, but he had a calming influence. He seemed familiar, yet she was sure that she hadn't met him before.
"If I were you, I'd go back to London. Just for a while."
How could she have known that she was from London?
The man continued: "Things will work out. Given time." he finished the sentence in a distant fashion as though remembering something himself. With that, he stood up, then moved to the door. Jo thought he'd gone but when she looked up...
"Oh yes. I just thought I'd give you this."
He put a small parcel, wrapped up with brown paper and tatty string, and left, raising his hat as he did so. Unseen by Jo a small tear gradually trickled down the man's mournful cheek.
Tremulously, Jo opened the package. Inside was a small, blue crystal, similar to the one from Metebelis Three. As she looked into the inner fires, she began to feel less miserable.
By the time she left the cafe, life was wonderful and groovy again...
The Doctor watched from the doorway of the dark blue Police Box as she walked down the street then slowly, sadly, he slipped inside and closed the door.