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the master of portballintrea

(Note to the reader: The following is a true account of an attempted invasion by aliens of our planet, told through the compilation of various eye-witness accounts - I. McP. )

A) Extract from broadcast on an independant and illegal radio station in Glasgow, by Private Investigator, Teddy Bootlace; entitled: "Bootlace Investigates - The Missing Dulse" September 1988.

I was on a coastal road. It was the end of August, the weather was warm, and the view was not too hazy. Pointing towards me, from across the North Channel, the 'finger-tip' of the Kintyre peninsula; on my right, to the east, that odd little 'bump' - the Ailsa Craig - guarded the Strathclyde coastline; to the west, Ratline Island - once thought to be part of the Hebrides; and beyond that, Donegal and, ultimately, the Americas.

I was in Disneyland: so-called because the Scots-speaking natives don't say "Doesn't" - they say "Dis-nay". Together with Wales, Cornwall and the South-west of what is now Scotland, it had been one of the last stands of the Britons at a time when these islands were being invaded by Celts, Gaels and Anglo-Saxons. I was on the North-east coast of Disneyland, and had been called in by my Uncle Cecil ( a farmer from Ballymena, the capital of Disneyland ) to investigate an acute shortage of 'dulse' - a kind of red, rubbery seaweed which is a popular confection in Atlantic areas.

I was heading west along a bumpy coastal road, in a 1976 Mini, borrowed from my cousin whose name is also Cecil, WHEN all of a sudden, and 'as if from nowhere', Doctor Who's Tardis materialised on the road right in front of me! I swerved to the left, scooting over a fence and into a field on a slope, sending the sheep scattering. The ground was damp, despite the day's sunshine, and I eventually stopped when I hit a tree.

In shock, I jumped out and hoofed it up the field, sliding in the tyre-tracks, and climbed over the barbed-wire fence onto the road.

Dr. Who and his lovely female companion, Ace, walked out of their time machine as if nothing happened. Not being a great fan of the seventh Doctor, I was going to show no mercy.

'What's the story here, pal, by the way?' I shouted, going for the Doctor's throat. then Ace took out a base-ball bat and hit me on the back of the head.

When I came round again, I was lying on the back seat of a vintage car. Ace was sitting in the passenger's seat with her back to me. I looked up and saw the Doctor closing the doors of what appeared to be a garage at the back of the Tardis. He got into Bessie and started to drive.

'Here, big yin man! Where are ye takin me?' I protested. I was still seeing stars.

The Doctor introduced himself. He was an odd 'wee' man, with a rough and rubbery face, and he wore his thinning hair combed backwards. When he spoke, I couldn't help thinking of Malcolm Muggeridge. To tell you the truth, I could-nay make out half of what the guy said. I thought Ace was a very nice looking 'wee' girl but a rough dame too, by the wallop she gave me in the head!

( Note: Why had Dr. Who come to Disneyland? Well, throughout our history the Doctor has played an important role in giving human technology a helping hand. many of the things which, today, we take for granted would simply not have come about if not for the Doctor's interventions: for example; things like Dynamo; the water wheel; the internal combustion engine; and the electric blanket.

In this instance, he had planned to visit Ratline island where, in 1898, Marconi had preformed an early radio experiment. Dr. Who had intended to lend a hand, but had materialised on the mainland in the year 1988 instead. This, he does not yet know and is presently driving along the coast to the little town of Ballycastle from where he hopes to acquire a boat to Ratline. I return you now to Teddy Bootlace - I. McP. )

When we arrived in Ballycastle in Bessie, in one piece, Ace was anxious that the couple might be conspicuous. With it - isn't she?

'Well, I shan't,' chuckled the Doctor, 'In this regeneration my voice has become more dentally plosive, and much more or-r-r-rhotic!'

Ace was-nay convinced. In fact, I don't think the 'wee' girl knew what the Doctor meant. She was-nay alone. I thought he meant his teeth were about to blow up!

'In other words, my dear Ace,' he explained, 'I have acquired something close to a Lallans accent.'

He parked the car, and we got out. By good fortune, it was the first day of the 'Auld Lammas Fair' - a sort of festive market event. By this time, the Doctor had twigged that he had arrived in the wrong century.

So, to save face, he bought us both 'yellow-man' - a sort of hard, sticky sweet with guaranteed tooth-decay or your money back. The Doctor chewed a bit and put the rest back in the bag. As he licked his fingers, a large winged insect flew down and joined in. Ace screamed and dropped her 'yellow-man', which was a good idea, so I did the same.

'Some sort of hymeropter-r-r-ran!' said the Doctor.

'Aye,' says I, 'Ye get a lot o' they big things up this way!'

'Yes,' said he, 'they're been here for about 300 million years as well.'

His eyes flitted about from side to side ( in unison, of course ), and his childishly misshapen teeth stuck out over his lower lip, as if they were thinking that this might have serious implications. He was a nut. he returned to the market stall where he had bought the 'yellow-man'.

It was run by an old wifey called Mrs. McNougher. She smoked a pipe and had a set of teeth that would have done the gear-box of a Ferrari. The Doctor removed his hat and asked for dulse.

'I'll no' b' sellin' any dulis from here till Donaghadee, I'm tellin' ye...And thon's the reason over there, d' ye see?' Mrs. McNougher said, removing the pipe from her mouth, spitting on the ground and pointing across the market square to a tractor pulling a trailer full of dulse. The driver sat in a trance-like state. I was as interested as the Doctor, and I asked Mrs. McNougher where the tractor was going.

'Boys! I dare say it's fer BallyScallion. There's a bin powerful odd goin's on at BallyScallion. It's mysterious. But if ye want to know anymore, ye'll need t' ask big Sammy over there. I have t' see till my customers,' she answered.

'Big Sammy' was a black guy who wore a trilby hat and sun glasses. He was leaning against a fruit stall across the street, playing jazz on an accordion.

'Mmm,' mmm-ed the Doctor, propping his chin against his red, plastic question mark, 'Disneyland jazz - my favour-r-r-rite!'

Big Sammy told us that BallyScallion, which lay inland between Portballintrae on the coast, and Bushmills inland, had been cursed with a dulse-devouring fervour. The people there had bought all the dulse there was, and BallyScallion farmers walked about as if in a trance-like zombies! He also told us that outsiders were kept outside by what the Doctor deduced was a force-field. Big Sammy put it all down to fairies.

'Fairies?' asked Ace.

'Wee folk - little people,' I said.

'Oh!' she said, 'You mean Leprechauns!'

No, not Leprechauns!' said I, 'That's only in Hollywood. All we have here is fairies.' Do you wish you hadn't said something?

'It all started,' said Sammy, 'when yon Master arrived.'

'Master?' exclaimed the Doctor.

'Aye,' said Sammy, 'the new School Master. He's fro' Ballymena.'

'That's a relief,' said the Doctor, 'What's this School Master's name?'

'Mister McMaster,' said Sammy.

Well, that settled it! Dr. Who was off like a shot to deal with his relentless enemy. Ace waited behind to get Sammy to autograph her copy of an L.P. called "Big Sammy McFetridge Plays Flowers Of Scotland and other Squeeze-box Jazz Favourites" which she had kept in her shoulder bag.

( Note: The Doctor uses the special ghetto-blaster he invented for Ace to calculate that Bessie will have to reach a speed of 240 mph to breakthrough the force-field on the main road to BallyScallion. Ace and Bootlace decide to sit this one out. The Doctor puts the little car into Hyper-drive and, although he does manage to break through the force-field, he crashes into a ditch on the other side. I return you, once again, to Teddy Bootlace's account - I.McP. )

The Doctor was sprawled awkwardly at the bottom of the roadside ditch. He was unconscious, and I was-nay going to take the responsibility of moving him.

'He's no the Doctor who I used to watch,' I commented.

Ace got her special galaxy-blaster out of the back of the car. It was working okay. She showed me a big red button at the back of the machine beside which was written, in big letters: PRESS IN AN EMERGENCY. So we did.

There was a repeating wheezing sound, like the Tardis makes when it takes off ( like a synthesizer having an attack of asthma ). Then, the Doctor's body dematerialised before our eyes.

But that was-nay the last of our worries. Behind us, we could hear a sickening chirruping and clicking sound. We were both afraid for our lives when we turned and looked. The creature was about ten feet tall. It had a dark metallic lustre and two large eye-pods on its head, and two great big jaws. Its elbowed antennae swung from its thorax which narrowed to an unbelievable slender join with its abdomen. It smelt awful too! It was a Zarbi!

'W-w-w-what are we g-g-going to d-d-do, Teddy?' asked Ace.

I could not stop myself from shaking as the Zarbi ran towards us on its pointed legs. I looked at Bessie, but the wee car was stuck in the ditch and too badly damaged to make a getaway. However, lying on the driver's seat were the Doctor's hat and scarf.

'J-j-just call me "Professor"!' I said, putting them on.

~~~

I tried my best to impersonate Dr. Who, as the Zarbi's tentacles pushed us into the master's study at the BallyScallion school house.

'Hope I didn't hurt your feelings,' I said to the Zarbi, raising my hat. Pathetic, wasn't it?

The Master sat with his back to us in a big leather chair, He was staring out of the window at a scene of a Zarbi herding the hypnotised folk of BallyScallion, with their collections of dulse, into a big hole in the ground. I was reminded of the aphids which are herded like cattle by certain types of ants on Earth.

'We meet again dear Doctor! What brings you to Disneyland? I did not hear your Tardis arriving,' he said, drinking more coffee and smoking a cigar.

'W-w-w-well,' I said. 'It's an ill wind that gathers no moss. I came in my souped-up lobster...I mean roadster.' I was very nervous.

'but you have regenerated again, Doctor,' he said, 'your voice is somewhat different.

'Yes, ' I explained, 'I've become more mentally explosive, and more rheumatic!' I looked at Ace to see how I was doing. The look she gave me was not encouraging. Then, the Master got out of his chair and turned around. When he faced me, I felt once more like a terrified youngster. I knew I was looking at the personification of evil. Those dark, dark eyes. I did what would come naturally to us all. I ran and hid behind the settee.

'You are not the Doctor,' the Master laughed.

'Yes he is, you toe-rag! So leave him alone!' said Ace pushing him against the window. He grabbed her wrists and seemed to stare right down into her mind. As if by some unheard, unspoken command, a Zarbi came into the room and took us both away. I asked the Master what he was going to do with us.

'My dear children,' he chuckled heartily, 'you will be held in the store room until the Doctor turns up for you. If he does not, then you will join the rest of the workers.'

~~~