Austin, Texas. The Barbarella Bar was usually packed. The fact that it wasn’t was one of those things that gave Jon Harister pause. His neck hair stood, and he shuddered as he fought the mood shift that normally came when he experienced Déjà vu. He was wearing dark jeans, a black turtleneck t-shirt, and an army green jacket that had once been attached to an “Abercrombie and Fitch” tag. The tag had been removed. He had an old army, World War II mail bag for a purse that said “MASH” but the number wasn’t quite so clear. Most people saw 4077th. In it was a book, “Anomalies In Time,” he had picked up at a Half Price book. He had been reading a curious fact that any time there had been a train accident, there had been an unusual drop in passenger counts, as if people subliminally knew not to get on that train the day of the incident. There were lots of curious fact like that in the book. Take the Titanic for example. Next to 9/11, the Bombs dropped on Japan, and Fukashima, the Titanic had the largest volume of written artifacts where friends and or loved ones had received letters begging them not to take the Titanic. There were even people who had written about their dreams in which they were being warned by their subconscious not to take the Titanic. Some went, never to return. Some men assured their families survived, but only because their dream placed them just where they needed to be to ensure placement on a life raft; most of the heads of households went down with the ship. Some people canceled their trips all together, and wondered what was it that changed their minds, and even their friends and family had told them prior that they were just being superstitious, go on your trip, make history.
Loxy Isadora Bliss, tulpa, invisible to all the world but Jon, was suddenly by his side, slipping her arm in his. She had the appearance of being half his age, in appearance, but in actual years was probably two years old. In Tulpa years, she was much wiser than he at age 50. “You feel that?”
“Yeah,” Jon said. “It’s creeping me out.”
“Why did you come here?” Loxy asked.
“I don’t know,” Jon said.
“That makes what, the fourth compulsion to do something out of your norm this week?” Loxy asked.
“So, what wouldn’t I do?” Jon asked.
“Oh, you would never go over to those girls at the bar and introduce yourself,” Loxy said.
There were two particularly young, and interesting looking girls sitting together having a drink. And she’s was right, he would not approach them. “Because they’re lesbians?”
“Oh, no, because you don’t have the balls,” Loxy said.
“I most certainly do,” Jon said.
“Prove it,” Loxy said.
“Um, no, let’s just go over there,” Jon said, pointing towards booth against the far wall.
“Or, switch, and let me go introduce ourselves to the ladies,” Loxy said. ‘Switching’ was a term tulpamancers used for switching personalities, allowing the tulpa to front.
The lights flared. No one seemed to notice. All sound in the bar whooshed away, as if he were in a movie and the sound had been cut. No, not cut, muffled through a tunnel. Beer coming out of a faucet seemed to be coming out of the tap in slow motion. Loxy seemed suddenly remote. A waitress was frozen in mid swing, looking odd as if she were out of balance. He felt as if he was stuck in this moment for days, but slowly felt momentum as he approached the two females. They appeared to be getting up to leave.
“Going already?” Jon asked.
“Yeah,” the brunette said.
Loxy backed up to the bar and hopped up. She was wearing a miniskirt and cowboy boots, and a red button up blouse that she had tied just above her navel. She made no apparent signs that she was aware that the bar had come to a stop.
“Excuse us,” the blond said.
“Wait wait wait, just one moment,” Jon said, almost sounding frantic. And, in a way, he was. He was feeling an urgency to delay them, without the why.
“Not interested,” the Blond said, taking her friend by the arm.
“Two minutes of your time in order for me to practice being a psychic,” Jon said. “I will buy both of you a drink of your choice.”
“Psychic?” the brunette asked.
“That’s the best pick up line you got?” the blond asked.
“Not a pick up line. Just pushing past my comfort zone, and even if I fall flat on my face, you get a free drink. Two minutes?” Jon said.
The two ladies exchanged looks, and sat back down at their chairs. Jon took a fifty dollar bill out of his wallet and pushed it to the waiter. The girls ordered. They turned back to him. Jon looked to Loxy. She shrugged and smiled.
“So, go ahead,” the blond said. “Impress us.”
Jon bit his lip and tried to communicate to Loxy with his eyes that he wanted some help. The bartender thought he was wanting his attention.
“You need to hold my hand?” the brunette asked.
Jon stepped back. “No, no touching,” Jon said, holding both hands up to gesture a boundary. “I am struggling to remember how this goes.”
“Remember?” the brunette asked.
“Did you ever see Groundhog Day?” Jon asked.
“That’s like old,” the blond said. “Like you.”
“Oh, no, that’s a like a classic,” Jon said. He pointed to the brunette. “Eight years old. A dog named Sparky.”
“No,” the brunette laughed.
“Chalky,” Loxy said.
“Chalky?” Jon asked Loxy, not caring that the girls were following his eyes to no one there. “Who would name a dog Chalky?”
“How did you know my cat’s name?” the brunette asked.
“Are you talking to someone?” the blond asked, leaning up to look over the bar.
If there was someone behind the bar, the bartender walked over them as he brought the drinks.
“So, I have your attention,” Jon said.
“Yes,” the brunette said.
“No,” the blond said.
“Look, I need to leave, I need you to stay at the bar,” Jon said. “For exactly five minutes.”
“What?” the brunette asked.
“Give her the list,” Loxy said.
“Oh,” Jon said, pulling a piece a paper. “This is a list of all the items in your purse. For every item you pull out of your purse that is not on this list, I will give you fifty dollars, provided you are still here when I come back in five minutes.”
Jon backed away from the bar, motioning them to stay, emphasizing five minutes. He paused.
“Blue or green?” he asked the brunette.
“Pick one. Blue or green?”
“Blue,” the brunette said.
He turned and walked quickly outside of the bar. The air felt better outside, as there was a slight breeze. Loxy came through the door and caught up to them.
“They’re actually staying this time,” Loxy said. “Now what?”
“I don’t know. We never get this far…”
“Then why the blue or green?” Loxy asked.
A white cat jumped up onto a public trashcan and meowed.
“Chalky’s a cat!” Loxy said.
Jon rushed to the trashcan. The cat ran away. Peering in the trashcan revealed a homemade pipe bomb. Jon wanted to run away, but he reached into the trash and pulled out the bomb. He wasn’t sure how long he held it, trying to understand it. An expert would probably find it crude, but to him, it looked pretty damn scary. Two patrol officers on Segways turned and accelerated towards him. Jon reached for the green wire, even as the law enforcement were dismounting, drawing their weapons. Behind them, someone stepped out of the shadow of a truck; the man had a weapon. Jon saw him in his periphery vision, but didn’t give him much mind, as the bomb preoccupied him; he assumed the gunman was pointing at the law enforcement. The bomb was the only real thing at the moment, and everything else was in slow motion, and distant. He was pretty sure the officers were shouting. Shots were fired. Jon pulled the green wire from the device just as a bullet ripped through his shoulder; the bullet did not from law enforcement, but from the guy at the truck. Law enforcement fired at the gunman, and he went down.
Jon found himself sitting on the ground, the bomb still in his hands. His left hand was trembling. One of the officers was pointing a weapon at him, the other was holstering his weapon so he could take the device and set it down. He heard them calling for an ambulance. Several police cars arrived, coming to a halt on the side walk. Loxy sat down next to him.
“I am confused. I thought she said the blue one,” Loxy said.
“Yeah,” Jon said. “I was asking which one I don’t pull.”
“Oh, well, that makes sense,” Loxy said.
A man approached the officers and showed them identification. They helped Jon to his feet, and the man took over, leading him away towards an ambulance that had just arrived. Directly behind the ambulance, on the street corner, was a 1950’s Police Box. Jon was escorted into the box. The door closed behind them.
“Sit here,” the man said, helping him to sit on the steps. The man ran towards a box and started rummaging through it. “Come on, I know I put you in here.”
“Jon?” Loxy said, having followed them in. She continued past into the control room. “Are you seeing this?”
“I think am going into shock,” Jon said.
“Uh?” the man said. “Oh! No, no, it’s just a flesh wound. The perfect Hollywood wound that will make people have sympathy for you, but not life threatening in any way. Well, not life threatening unless we do something. But don’t worry. Today is your lucky day. Yes! Here it is.” He brought the clam shell looking device over to Jon. “I’ve always wanted to use this. Never really had the chance.”
The device clamped over the shoulder, capturing both sides of the body, both the entry and exit wound. The man tightened it down by turning nob. Jon barely even grimaced. The man went to push the button, but paused.
“You can trust me. I am the Doctor,” he said, maintaining eye contact the whole wile. “This isn’t going to hurt. Well, it shouldn’t hurt much. To be honest, I really don’t know if it’s going to hurt, so an accurate report would be very helpful to whether I use it again in the future.”
Loxy came closer to watch the procedure, kneeling and touching his knees. “I think he’s okay.”
The Doctor didn’t miss the eyes traveling and the final nod of acceptance. The Doctor activated the device. Jon seemed confused. He bit his lip. Even Loxy had to stand up, her hands going to her forehead. “Oh, that’s just lovely,” she thought. She staggered to the rail, clutching it for support. “OMG.” Jon’s eyes rolled back into his head and he fell back.
“Really?” the Doctor complained, pulling out his sonic screw driver. “They promised me no pain cure.” The Doctor bit his lip. “Oh.”
The clam shell device chimed and popped off the shoulder. Jon lay there, euphoric. Loxy’s breathing normalized.
“Do that again,” Loxy said.
“That’s enough,” Jon said.
“Yep, all done,” the Doctor said, clearly seeing the wound was healed. The Doctor picked up the device to examine it closer. “It’s Kastrian made, but supposed to be Universal. Still, not a bad side effect, I suppose. Could be worse, eh? Not completely unexpected, I suppose. You can’t have that much positive, regenerative energy exciting all the cells, and not expect total system thresholds to be exceeded.”
“I am surprised there aren’t more of those on the market,” Loxy said.
“Alright then, all better, off you go,” The Doctor said.
Jon got up to leave, noticed his book had fallen out of his bag, put it back in, turned towards the exit, and was even taking a step forwards as he felt the hole in his shirt. He stopped.
“Yeah, sorry, it only mends flesh,” The Doctor said.
“It’s just that,” Jon said, his voice trailing. He was avoiding the Doctor’s eyes, as if he were afraid to look. It was as if he didn’t want to know the face, or as if he needed to forget all of this and go about his mundane life that was increasingly anything but. He was staring towards the door. It seemed miles away.
“Oh, go ahead. Ask. I’ve been waiting for you to do so,” the Doctor said.
“It’s really peculiar, when you think about it,” Jon said.
“You’ll feel better if you just speak it,” the Doctor said.
“I have been having a really queer day,” Jon said.
“You should really clarify that,” Loxy said.
He held a finger at her as if signaling her to give him a moment to process his thoughts. “Not queer like LGBT, but queer like strange,” Jon said.
“I love strange,” the Doctor said. “Strange is my middle name.”
Jon found it curious that the Doctor and Loxy were orbiting him, as if they had to be on opposing sides. The Doctor held a device with green light as he orbited, as if looking for something. “So, today, of all days, I have been overwhelmed by feelings of déjà vu.”
“I get it all the time, it’ll pass,” the Doctor assured him.
“It drove me to a used book store. Out of a thousand books I found one that called to me, and a dog ear on the page that had me reading the one page I needed to see to move forwards in life. I felt extremely satisfied, but then I had this compulsion to go to a bar,” Jon continued. “And I never go to bars.”
“That’s not true,” Loxy said.
“Correction, I seldom go to bars, because I don’t drink,” Jon corrected.
“Not precise,” Loxy corrected.
“More accurately, I drink very little,” Jon said.
“Fair enough, move this along to the question,” the Doctor said.
Jon looked at him a bit cross. “You’re rushing me,” Jon said. “Where was I?”
“You drink very little,” Loxy said.
“How is that relevant?” Jon asked.
“You’re asking me?” the Doctor asked.
“It isn’t,” Loxy said simultaneously with the Doctor’s question.
“Okay, wait, so I entered this bar,” Jon said.
“It sounds like the setup of a joke,” Doctor and Loxy both said simultaneously. Loxy peered around Jon to the Doctor, baffled but amused with him.
“If you’re going to make fun of me,” Jon said.
“Please, continue,” the Doctor said.
“I entered, I saw these two women, and there was this flash of light,” Jon said. “No, bigger than light. Sustained lightening. It was as if everything was luminescent. Not a single shadow in the room. As if, every object, every person, was cut from a movie that wasn’t my movie but imposed upon my reality frame…”
“Kind of like a beautiful mind,” Loxy said.
“A beautiful mind. She kind of looked like Jennifer Connelly,” Jon said.
“The brunette? Yeah, I noticed that,” the Doctor said.
“You saw a beautiful mind?” Jon asked.
“No, but I know Doctor Nash. I hang out with a lot of physicists,” the Doctor said. “Do you have a question?”
“Yeah, it was given to me,” Jon said.
“It was given to you?” the Doctor asked.
“The world lit up. Just for an instant, but it felt like an extended epiphany,” Jon said. “In that moment I saw all these permutations. No, I think I lived all of these permutations. No. That doesn’t make sense. I would have had to have died a hundred time before getting that right.”
“Or a thousand,” Loxy said. “But who’s counting.”
“Could both be real?” Jon asked. Again, the door seemed so far away. Loxy and the Doctor seemed bigger than life.
“A probability wave?” the Doctor asked.
“Tell us the question,” Loxy said.
“You didn’t hear the question?” Jon asked.
“No,” Loxy said.
“You haven’t told me yet,” the Doctor said.
“Curious. I heard this voice, that was not my voice ask me, ‘if it were given, what would you do with eternity?’” Jon asked.
“Oh!” the Doctor exclaimed. “What a brilliant question. What did you answer?”
“Uh?” Jon asked.
“You have a moment in time where you hit transcendence, you hear a voice asking you the most peculiar question of your life, and your response was?” the Doctor asked.
“I didn’t have one,” Jon said.
“Seriously?” the Doctor asked.
“Yeah, and then it was over, and I found myself trying to chat up the two girls, favoring the Jennifer Connelly doppelganger. The blond was kind of mean; not that she was obligated to be nice. Probably just trying to save time, like New York direct. That’s not mean and I am sure I came off a bit creepy….”
“You do that sometimes,” Loxy said.
“But I couldn’t even engage them correctly, because the urgency to go disarm the bomb, which, come to think of it, I knew there was a bomb, but I kept forgetting that fact. It’s like if a girl came up and gave you her phone number on the condition that you remember it without writing it, but you suck at holding numbers in your, and so the one chance to meet the perfect girl is just over because you suck at remembering numbers, unless you can memorize with your finger, because the fingers remember things, like playing Moonlight Sonata. The whole thing is weird because, all the while, I knew sort of what needed to be done, but there were these distractions, like the two girls, but had I not chatted them up, I am pretty confident they would have died,” Jon said.
“You could have died,” the Doctor said.
“Yeah, but here’s the thing, Doctor,” Jon said. “I don’t run. I am not very clever. And, I tend to forget things. Tomorrow, I probably won’t even remember this.”
“Well, Sir, I think your luck has changed,” the Doctor said. “Because, I do run. Quite a bit actually. And I am very clever. That’s not boasting, either. And I never forget. Well, no, I rarely forget. Sometimes self-induced amnesia helps you from purposely contradicting yourself from over thinking a thing. So, what do you say? Fancy a trip through time and space?”
“Sorry. What?” Jon asked.
“You, Sir, are doing something weird, but you are reading the perfect book for the perfect encounter, and I think this is important,” the Doctor said.
“I am sorry. You lost me,” Jon said.
“Don’t worry, I will catch you up to speed,” the Doctor said, patting his back and running to the console. He began pulling levers, and pushing buttons, and twirling around the console in a mad rush. “You, Sir, have captured my curiosity.” He paused on the closer side of the console. “Do you ever feel like you’re sitting in a chair, leaning back, balancing the chair on two legs, and you’re about to fall, but you catch yourself just before.”
“Steven Wright joke?” Jon asked.
“Yeah, I gave it to him,” the Doctor said. “It wasn’t meant to be a joke. I feel like that all the time, but I always land on my feet… Mostly, I land on my feet. And, you, Sir, appear to have taken a step into my world. Which is curious, because it’s way too soon in human evolution for that to happen. There’s was debate amongst my people that it would ever happen. Which is odd, when you think about it. We have time machines. There should be no debates. Oh, but then, things change. Most things change. Change occurs all the time. Except, for the few hard events. Those things change, but they’re really resistant to change, but there are some hard limits, as if someone else collapsed the wave front. Which begs the existential question, who is observing whom?” He reversed his way around the console undoing everything he had done. “Oh, too much, sorry, I ramble when I am excited. Do you ever ramble?”
“All the time,” Loxy assured him.
“Here we are. Don’t move. Wait right here. I need to collect some friends. Can’t have a proper adventure without friends, now can we?” He headed to the door, Jon turning to watch him leave, but not leaving his present spot. The Doctor came to a halt, taking hold the arm rail as if he needed it to stop his momentum. He turned to Jon with his afterthought. “Well, I mean, you could have an adventure without friends, but then it just becomes a tall tale that people question the veracity and validity to the point you even begin to wonder, and when you wonder, that’s when things really start to change, and so to properly collapse the wave front and make reality solid, you need people! That’s my story. Don’t move. And don’t touch anything. I’ll be right back.” He thought about it further. “I should be right back. There is food and drink in that cabinet there. And there is a lavatory and toilet just around that bin. But don’t move. I should be back before any of that.”
“Well, he’s a bit queer, isn’t he,” Loxy said.
“I am still sorting,” Jon said.
“Fair enough,” Loxy said. “We’re definitely picking up momentum, though, what do you think?”
“It’s really beginning to be difficult to discern the difference between waking reality and our daydreams. Before meeting you, had anyone asked if daydreams could be as real as say, a regular lucid dream during REM sleep, I would have said they are smoking something.”
The door to the TARDIS burst open with energy. A female was leading the charge and she seemed mad, as evidence by her walk and the fact she was lamenting that she had thought the Doctor was done with them.
“Amy! I am surprised,” the Doctor said. “Why would you even think that?”
Another man entered, closing the TARDIS door behind him. He was wearing jeans and pull over shirt with an alien logo on it. He, also, appeared to be upset. The woman, wearing a white, flowery summer dress, and a wool sweater, came to a stop on seeing Jon. Jon tried a smile. She swept hair out of her face and turned back to the Doctor so quickly that all of her hair switched to the other side, requiring her to brush it out of her face again.
“You replaced me with an old guy?” Amy asked.
“Amy?! How could you even think such a thing? I don’t trade out people. I simply make new friends,” the Doctor said.
“You prefer an old guy friend to me?” Amy asked.
“Don’t stare at her,” Loxy whispered in Jon’s ear.
Self-conscious, Jon looked away.
“Were you staring at my wife, Sir?” Rory demanded, approaching Jon.
“Ease off, Rory,” Amy said, approaching just as close, staring at Jon as if she wanted to poke his face and test whether he was real. “What’s his name?”
“I don’t know,” the Doctor said. “I didn’t get that far. Interestingly, he has also not interjected it into the conversation. I find that actually refreshing. Someone who isn’t so ego driven they feel compelled that I know their name, or demand I explain what’s going on. He’s just taking it all in stride. Absolutely beautiful.”
“You’re actually clueless, aren’t you?” Amy asked him.
“You are absolutely stunning,” Jon said.
“OMG, Jon, everywhere we go,” Loxy said.
Amy bit her lip and looked to the Doctor. Rory tapped his chest. “I am warning you, Sir. I was a centurion.”
“You used to be a hundred years old?” Jon asked.
“What?” Rory asked.
“A centurion, Jon, not a centenarian, though, technically, Rory actually qualifies for both,” the Doctor said, gesturing freely.
“He’s not very clever, is he?” Rory said.
“He sounds American,” Amy said.
“Oh! Amy, Rory. Please,” the Doctor said. “You can’t connect the two.”
“I wasn’t suggesting he is stupid because he’s an American,” Amy said.
“Oh, well, then, yeah, I picked him up in America,” the Doctor said.
“Seriously, Sir, no offense. I have lots of American friends,” Amy said.
“Name one,” Rory said.
“Why would you put me on the spot like that?” Amy said.
“Don’t say it,” Loxy told Jon.
Jon turned to Loxy. “Don’t say what?”
Amy and Rory both took a step back.
“What was that?” Amy asked.
“Picked him up, where, precisely?” Rory said. “A line at a Mental Health Clinic?”
“No, Rory, please. That would be very cruel taking someone who struggling with the social norms and mental illness out into space. I picked him up outside of a bar,” the Doctor said.
“Seriously,” Amy said. “You’re not helping my esteem.”
“He’s interesting?!” the Doctor said.
“He’s dull!” Rory said.
“He’s old,” Amy said.
“I am not that old,” Jon said. “Wait a minute. I am at least as old he is and you clearly fancy him!”
“He’s the Doctor,” Amy said, as if that explained it all.
“How come every time you get mad you switch to RP,” Loxy asked, very American sounding.
“What’s RP?” Jon asked.
Amy pointed at him when his eyes shifted back to the person who wasn’t there. “He’s hallucinating and has multiple personalities,” Amy said.
“They call it DID now,” Rory said.
“I don’t think he’s a hallucinating,” the Doctor said.
“He clearly responding to internal stimuli,” Rory said.
“I think he is channeling the soufflé girl,” the Doctor said.
“The girl in the Dahlek?” Rory asked.
“He’s channeling a Dahlek and you brought him into the TARDIS?” Amy said, taking another step back. She took Rory’s arm to pull him back.
“He’s not a Dahlek,” the Doctor said.
“So, why did you bring us in on this?” Rory asked. “Is someone about to die?”
“No, no, this is not an emergency. This is just, interesting. He’s an anomaly,” the Doctor said.
“I am not an anomaly,” Jon said.
“Where did you fetch him from?” Amy asked.
“Texas,” the Doctor said.
“Texas is a big place, could you narrow it a bit?” Amy asked.
“Austin. A bar named Barbarella,” the Doctor said. “A really nice little bar. Subdued lighting. Really diverse group of patrons.”
“You’re picking up companions at bars now?” Amy said.
“It’s not like that,” the Doctor said.
“Oh, what’s it like picking up old men from bars?” Amy asked.
“You don’t remember?” Rory asked.
“I am so going to hurt you,” Amy said. She caught Jon trying to hide his reaction. “Don’t you smirk, Sir. I was putting myself through college.”
“I was willing to help you,” Rory said.
“I wanted to do it on my own,” Amy said.
“Are you two fighting again?” the Doctor asked.
“You didn’t notice? I swear, every time we get into it you show up and block us from getting anything resolved,” Rory said.
“Oh, don’t blame him for our problems,” Amy said. “OMG, I can’t take this. What is your name, Sir.”
“Jon Harister,” Jon said.
“What do you do for a living?”
Jon hesitated, looking to Loxy for help.
“Don’t be ashamed. They’re the accepting sort. Just tell them,” Loxy said.
“What is that?!” Amy said.
“What was what?” Jon asked.
“Stop acting crazy stupid. You looked over there like you were looking to someone for an answer,” Amy said. “Are you making shit up?”
“What?” Jon asked.
Amy snapped her fingers at Jon. “Looking up and to the left means you’re accessing the right side of your brain, so you’re trying to come up with a lie.”
“Where did you get that?” Rory asked.
“From that detective show we were watching,” Amy said.
“Oh, I must have fallen asleep there,” Rory said.
“Just before,” Amy said. “Quick, Jon Harister, what do you do for a living?”
“I am a hypnotist,” Jon said.
“Oh, well, that’s kind of cool. Like a stage hypnotist?” Rory said.
“No, more like a male escort,” Jon offered.
“What?” Amy asked. Rory’s ‘what’ sounded more like, “Really?!” They exchanged looks.
“Is that kind of like a kiss-a-gram?” the Doctor asked. “Because Amy used to do that, too.”
“I never hypnotized people against their will,” Amy said.
“No, you just hit people with a bat and handcuff them to the heater,” the Doctor said.
“That’s usually how my personal dates go,” Jon said.
“It wasn’t a date,” Amy corrected him.
“And I don’t hypnotize people against their wills,” Jon said.
“Why are you here?” Amy asked.
“Doctor, why is he here,” Amy asked.
“I told you, I think he’s channeling soufflé girl,” the Doctor said.
“Is he even human?” Rory asked.
“That’s the strange thing,” the Doctor said. “He’s absolutely human. Mundane, ordinary, nothing particularly special about him in any remarkable way. I suppose one could argue his extreme normality in itself is abnormal.”
“Oh! Don’t listen to him, Jon,” Loxy said. “I think you’re special.”
“Except,” Amy said.
“Two things. First, I found him caught up in a small temporal loop, which I interrupted by bringing him here,” the Doctor said.
“Does that happen a lot?” Rory asked.
“Temporal loops? Oh, much more often than people care to acknowledge,” the Doctor said. “Of course, most people pause and ride it out, experiencing nothing more than a little freaky déjà vu, and then they push on about their routine, and never think of it again. But he was riding it. That in and of itself is worth closer scrutiny.”
“And the other thing?” Amy said.
“He’s channeling the soufflé girl!” the Doctor said.
“Channeling how?” Rory asked. “Like a psychic?”
“Precisely,” the Doctor said. “He is in telepathic contact with soufflé girl.”
“How is that even possible?” Amy asked. “She was blown up with the planet.”
“Yeah, yeah, but, that planet is a long ways a way, and so, clearly, he is getting old transmissions,” Rory said.
“Are you trying to be clever?” Amy asked.
“I was aiming for funny,” Rory said.
“Well, stop it,” Amy said. She looked to Jon. “Are you channeling soufflé girl? What was her name?” She snapped her fingers trying to get someone to give it to her.
“Clara,” the Doctor said.
“Yeah, are you channeling Clara?” Amy asked.
“I am really kind of lost here,” Jon said.
Amy put her hands on her hips, akimbo, and spoke very slowly: “Are you, channeling, any alien entities?”
“There are aliens? Like, for real aliens?” Jon asked.
Amy looked to the Doctor. “Please tell me, you didn’t replace me with him.”
“I did not replace you,” the Doctor said.
“Jon,” Rory said. “Why do you think you’re here?”
“I am still trying to sort that,” Jon said. “But I find, if we just go along with the dream characters, it eventually all makes sense.”
“You think you’re dreaming?” Amy said.
“Yes, and I think I can prove it,” Jon said.
“We’re listening,” Amy said.
Since Rory was closer, Jon held his hand out to him. “Would you give me a twenty dollar bill please,” Jon said.
“I am British,” Rory said.
“Oh, okay, well then, the equivalent in pounds,” Jon said.
“I didn’t bring my wallet,” Rory said.
“And that’s my proof,” Jon said.
“Asking for money and not getting it is proof that you’re dreaming?” Rory asked.
“Yes. There’s always an excuse for me not receiving money. Therefore, I am dreaming,” Jon said.
Amy was shaking her head in dismay. “How is that even logical?! If you were dreaming, and you asked for money, it should rain money.”
“I wish! But never in my dreams,” Jon said. “It’s actually kind of funny. You ask for money and people have all kinds of weird excuses. Rory has none. Who walks around with no cash?”
“Lots of people,” the Doctor said.
“Okay, maybe I am not dreaming, but I bet I can give you evidence you’re dreaming,” Jon said.
“Even if that made sense, what does that have to do with you?” Amy asked.
“Well, if you’re dreaming, then I clearly I am not here, because I am a dream character,” Jon said.
“I am not dreaming…” Amy said.
“I want to hear this,” Rory said.
“Are you angry?” Jon asked Amy.
“No, I am annoyed,” Amy said.
“Annoyed sounds angry,” Jon said.
Rory rubbed the back of his head not adding anything to the observation.
“I am going to be angry if you say my being annoyed is evidence I am dreaming,” Amy said.
“Oh, no, that’s not the evidence, but most people are not annoyed by a real thing but a perceived thing, which means, you’re annoyed either due to direct dream content inconsistencies, or because of an expectation that should be a certain, which subconsciously means you know you’re dreaming and you don’t like the divergence,” Jon said, and when their expression suggested he was dazzling them into incoherence, he changed tracks. “Forget that. Let me walk you through this. Have you ever been in a crisis?”
“So many I have lost count,” Amy said. “Can you be more precise?”
“Okay, have you ever had a crisis and the Doctor was present?” Jon asked.
“That’s really not narrowing it down, is it?” Rory said.
“No,” Amy agreed.
“That’s interesting, and could be evidence you’re dreaming,” Jon said.
“Because every time I travel with the Doctor there’s a crisis is evidence I am dreaming?” Amy asked.
“The alternative is the Doctor comes with a lot of drama, which means, what, you like drama, and then I have to sort out why you’re angry, because either you’re living the life you want or you would be making efforts to avoid the Doctor, but yes, the fact that the Doctor keeps coming at you and you keep having crises is meaningful. And I am not saying the Doctor is the cause crises. That would be like that thing where the bigger the fire, the more firemen show, suggests there’s a correlation between damage and the number of fireman, whereas damage is more likely related to the size and intensity of the fire. The Doctor’s presence could be explained because you were already in crisis when you met, oh, that could be evidence for dreaming,” Jon said.
“No it’s not. Everyone has crises,” Amy said.
“But not everyone gets a Doctor,” Jon said. “Oh. Here it is. Think back to any one crisis. Were you ever in a tight spot with the Doctor and it looked like all hope was lost?”
“All the time,” Amy said.
“And yet, something always inexplicable happens, like the Doctor has an epiphany or suddenly, out of nowhere, the very thing you need to resolve the situation, like a tool, or a key to the door, or the entry of another agent. If anything magically diverted, delayed, or ended the crisis, you’re most likely dreaming.”
“How do you figure that?” Amy said.
“Either you’re an unsuspecting character living in a reality TV show filled with tons of badly placed plot contrivances to move your story along, or you’re dreaming,” Jon said. “True deadly monster or robots don’t walk around mechanically saying ‘kill, kill, kill, exterminate, kill,’ they just kill you. Real bad guys don’t pull up and suddenly have a spot of tea with you or design elaborate pitfalls and stick around to watch you suffer. They shoot you, they move on.”
“I don’t have a way to refute that,” Amy said.
“I am not asking you to,” Jon said. “This is why I never questions reality. There’s always either an explanation that seems to satisfy at the moment, or something happens to distract you from the question. So, right now, maybe I am inside some really cool spaceship time machine that’s bigger on the inside, or I am on a movie set and you are all having a bit of fun at my expense, or I am dreaming. I could be hypntozied, but that’s just dreaming, isn’t it!”
“You’re not dreaming,” the Doctor said.
“That’s exactly what a hallucination would say. That’s also, interestingly enough, what the paid actor would say to keep me going along with the script,” Jon said.
“What would convince you?” the Doctor asked.
“Give me twenty bucks,” Jon said.
“I honestly don’t have any cash,” the Doctor said.
“Seriously? I am not asking for a million dollars. I am cheap and easy,” the Jon said. “Just give me twenty bucks.”
“I don’t have twenty bucks,” the Doctor said. “But I do have a really cool spaceship time machine that’s bigger on the inside.”
“I would find twenty bucks more convincing,” Jon said. “I’ll give it right back.”
“We don’t need money when traveling with the Doctor,” Rory said. “And, I get tired misplacing my wallet and having to get a new license so I left it on the dresser.”
“Seriously?” the Doctor asked. “You never told me you lost your wallet. That could be a serious temporal hazard.”
“Three more excuses,” Jon said.
“OMG,” Amy said, and nearly walked away.
“What would you do with the money?” Rory asked.
“Well, I’d keep it. If I am dreaming, and it’s always a dream, I will wake up and not have the money, and I will have my proof, and you won’t have lost anything,” Jon said.
“But if you aren’t dreaming, you will have my money,” Rory said.
“Exactly, which is why no one ever wants to wager with me that I am not dreaming, because, they’d be out twenty bucks,” Jon said.
“You don’t need money in a dream,” Amy said.
“Which is probably why I never have any,” Jon said. “And, the whole point of the conversation is really to demonstrate, there is no way to know I am not dreaming, but one might reasonably conclude that when discussions of aliens, or really cool spaceship time machines, start creeping into the conversation, one is most likely dreaming. Per Mathew O’Dowd, it’s never aliens, until it’s aliens.”
“Who?” Amy asked.
“A physics guy on youtube,” the Doctor and Rory said.
“Oh, very nice,” the Doctor said.
“I am trying to keep up with you,” Rory sad.
“Good for you. I can’t think of a single video of his that might be helpful in any of our situation, but knowledge is always good. Keep watching. Alright, but back to the mystery at hand, dream or no, if you’re not talking to Clara, who are you talking to?” the Doctor asked.
“Oh, just go ahead and introduce me,” Loxy said.
“They’ll think I am crazy,” Jon said, answering Loxy direct.
“Too late,” Amy said.
Rory took a step back to rejoin his wife. “Schizophrenia could explain a lot.”
“Except you backing away; it’s not catchy,” Jon said.
Amy stepped closer to where she suspected Loxy was, based on Jon’s eye movement. Her hands didn’t find anyone.
“Oh, I already tried that,” the Doctor said. “Even tried scanning for her. No luck. That said, the TARDIS seems to recognize her presence.”
“The TARDIS recognizes there is someone else here?” Amy asked.
“Cause, that’s not creepy,” Rory said.
“Who is the TARDIS?” Jon asked.
The Doctor motioned ambiguously to the room.
“Oh,” Jon said. “You have a Tulpa, too?”
“A what?” Rory asked.
“A Tulpa,” Jon said.
“What’s a Tulpa?” Amy asked.
“You really don’t know?” Jon asked.
“Doctor?” Amy asked.
“Well, it’s kind of complex,” the Doctor said. “And, dependent upon cultural definitions. You can liken it to multiple personality disorder.”
“They call it DID now,” Rory said.
“So you said,” the Doctor said. “So, how do they explain multiples when it’s trauma related?”
“This is not DID,” Jon said. “Basically, a Tulpa is a thought form. A complex thought form. In essence, I imagined a personality with such persistency and enthusiasm, through a process of repetition that eventually the subconscious mind took over the character I created and animated the personality. The personality no longer responds from pre-programed scripts but instead has an internal life of its own. A tulpa is a completely autonomous personality that co-exist in parallel to the host personality. With continued interaction, the personality becomes sentient. I share my brain with a companion; she is able to impose herself on all of my senses so I experience her in my everyday world as if she were really here. She has access to my unconscious mind. We practice lucid dreaming and active imagination techniques, invented by Carl Jung, and in doing so experience all the Universe has to offer from an internal perspective.”
“Oh,” Rory said. “That’s kind of cool.”
“Seriously?” Amy asked. “It’s really sad. He couldn’t make any real friends, so he had to make an invisible friend! Oh, what irony. It’s exactly what you do for your clients? You hypnotize them into having fantasies.”
“You can make fun me all you want, but not my clientele; they’re off limits,” Jon said.
“You help people live a lie,” Amy said.
“So, you’re also against movies, TV, and books?” Jon asked. “Do you know how many lonely people there are in our world? Seriously, people actually thought Gilligan’s Island was a real thing! They wrote letters to the Navy asking them to help find the castaways. We’re more connected with technology than ever, but depression and loneliness are epidemic! I don’t give people a permanent vacation into fantasy. Some just want travel to some exotic, foreign land. Some of my clients just want a moment without pain. Some want to dance with the stars, and imagine being free from their wheelchairs. Some want to meet aliens. Some want to go on a nice fancy dinner with a movie star. I make that happen. They know in advance it’s not real. During the experience, it’s very real for them, and they helped sculpt it before we even start into the trance. Afterwards, they have very pleasant memories of the experience, but again, they know it was fantasy. Hypnosis is deeper and richer than anything television can offer, because it engages all of the senses. Yeah, some of them swear by it, thinking they were actually there. But, that’s not even the weird part. Many of my clients through this process actually experience sudden, inexplicable remission of illnesses, like no more migraines or allergies. The physically challenged experience improved mental health. After two or three sessions, most of my clients feel so much better about themselves that they become more social, they start changing their lives, and they stop calling me for fantasies. Who would have thought fantasy hypnosis would help people actually get better.
“Yes, Amy, I was lonely. I have been lonely all my life. Oddly, I have been lonely even when I was with other people. But, instead of whining about my situation, because people just love hanging out with crybabies, right, I became self-reliant. Fantasies were working for my clients. I decided I would practice my own medicine. I created a Tulpa. Her name is Loxy Isadora Bliss. And she has changed my life. I am happier. I am healthier. I am actually putting myself out there in the real world, flaws and all, and taking risks. Which, oddly enough, has brought us to the three of you. This feels significant somehow, but I am starting to get annoyed. And this is where I practice one of my three golden rules: 1, always assume you’re dreaming. 2, treat all dream characters as yourself, because how you treat yourself is ultimately how you will treat others. And 3, boil all problems down to one of three solutions sets, which is fight, flight, or love. I have done all the fighting I am going to do. It just leads to more fighting. I am tired of running, cause no matter how far or how fast you run, at the end of it all, you’re left facing yourself; you’re never really running from the thing you were trying to avoid, but rather from something inside you. There’s a joke there. Where ever you go, there you are. The only real solution, to any problem, is love. I embrace everything, imperfectly sometimes, but I do the best that I can with what I have in each moment.”
Silence followed. The Doctor was musing it over, and seemed impressed. The TARDIS hummed happily in the background, not a single protest. Amy blinked.
“That sounds rather profound,” Rory said.
“Actually,” Amy said. “Doctor, have you been coaching him?”
“Jon, how would you like to meet your Tulpa in the flesh?” the Doctor asked.
“That’s possible?” Jon and Loxy both said at the same time, and then smiled at each other.
“Oh, there are lots of ways of manifesting Tulpas,” the Doctor said. “Some are more lasting than others.”
“It won’t hurt her, will it?” Jon asked.
“Oh, no, no,” the Doctor said. “Well, my preferred way won’t hurt her. I don’t think.”
“If it was anything like the shoulder mender, I am game,” Loxy said.
“What did she say?” the Doctor asked.
“Okay,” Jon said.
“Okay it is!” the Doctor said, rushing to the control console. “To Ever Land.”
“Where Peter Pan lives?” Jon asked.
“That’s Never Land,” Amy said.
“Just making sure. I don’t want to go there,” Jon said. “Again.”