A Beginning is a Delicate Time
All the best human stories start in the middle, so that’s where this one starts. You lot even have a name for it: in medias res.
In medias res! Fantastic! You have to appreciate Latin. How many languages do you know that could die and still get used all the time?
This is a human story, which is why I’m telling it a human way. Time Lords don’t really have things like beginnings, middles, and ends. We’ve got parts that come before other parts, but since Time is an infinite loop of never ending experience, what’s the point in beginnings and endings?
I was hanging upside down by my ankles, a bit annoyed at the situation, trying to find my sonic screwdriver.
It all started with a picnic, you know. A perfectly innocent, lovely picnic on a planet known for its perfect picnic weather.
What? I’ve already started the story, I can hop back to the beginning if I want. Besides, we finished the picnic later. There, now you know the ending. Let’s finish the middle bit; I’m late for dinner.
I was hanging upside down by my ankles, trying to find my sonic screwdriver. All the blood was rushing to my head, which set off little sparkleys behind my eyes, and made it ridiculously hard to see properly. That was why I was having trouble finding my sonic screwdriver.
Suddenly, much to my delight, the sonic screwdriver was in my hand. I don’t remember being telekinetic and, it turns out, I’m not. I twisted around a little, only to find an upside down Reinette – it’s all relative, you know – smiling down at me.
“You seem to be in an intriguing situation, Doctor.”
I scowled. “You’re just saying that because my shirt’s off.”
“That, yes,” she set to work at the bindings around my ankle. “But you also appear to be upside down.”
“That’s only because you’re looking at it from your point of view, Reinette. I promise I’m very right side up the way I look at things.”
“Of course you are.”
I rolled my eyes, just as she got my first leg free. “Reinette?”
“Why aren’t you tied upside down with your shirt off?”
Her hands paused at the second binding, and I could just make out her upside down face warring between amusement and embarrassment. That seemed to be a pretty common thing for her since she started traveling with me. Actually, that seems to be a pretty common thing for all of my traveling companions. Ah well.
“I believe I persuaded the… locals… that I was no threat to them.” She undid the second binding, and I fell to the floor.
“OOOOOF,” was about how it sounded, but what I meant, as I clarified a second later was: “We were only having a picnic! Is this the kind of planet that jails people for picnicking? If it is, it’s not the sort of planet I want to picnic on in the first place. That’s daft.”
She made it through without interrupting me before she crossed her hands over her chest – that’s a companion thing, too! – and said, “I do not think picnicking was your offense.”
I stood and dusted off my pants, and set about looking for my jumper and coat both of which, of course, Reinette already had on hand. “Fantastic. So I was wrongfully convicted of nothing.”
“That is not what I said.”
I grabbed my jumper from her and scowled. “Well, what was I imprisoned for?”
If it had been anyone else that told me what Reinette told me at that moment, I’d probably have stalked back to the TARDIS and not come out for a week. Not that I’m sensitive, mind, just that people tend to pick on, well:
Yes, yes, that’s right. They were afraid of my ears. They were a small-eared people! Who knew? I didn’t! Besides, there are plenty of small-eared people in the universe that don’t have big-eared bigotry!
Reinette was biting back laughter, I could tell. But she remained as poised and graceful as ever as she handed me, of all things, one of those hunting caps with the ear flaps. The ones that come down and cover your ears.
“They said you’re free to go, provided you agree to wear this head covering at all times.”
Bloody small-eared people.
“Fantastic,” I muttered, snatching the hat and placing it firmly on my head. The jumper and coat followed a few minutes later, after I finished ranting about the small minded, small-eared people of the universally famous picnicking planet.
We got our picnic, like I said, and it was a good one. There was the slight issue of the flannel hat clashing with my jumper and causing me to sweat profusely, but Reinette didn’t seem to mind. She handled it all with poise and propriety I’ve come to admire in her.
And she seemed to like that hat. Now that’s the end of the story: Reinette, the hat, and me. But that’s none of your business.