Five-Minute "The Unquiet Dead"
Young Man: Grandmother, I'm so sorry you're dead.
Mrs. Pearce: Actually I'm grateful -- being dead's a gas. Come join me!
Young Man: Really I'd rather n-- GAK!
Charles Dickens: God, I'm depressed. My career is in the toilet and I'm reduced to doing ridiculous special appearances like this.
Dresser: Don't worry, Mr. Callow. They'll probably make Shakespeare in Love II any day now.
Dickens: I'm in character now, you idiot.
Gwyneth: Mr. Sneed! Mrs. Pearce's corpse just up and ran away.
Sneed: Dang it, that's another 50-quid fine from the Undertaker's Guild. Quick, girl, use your unnatural abilities. Where is she?
Gwyneth: (concentrating) I see a grumpy old man in a red velvet room getting depressed about his failing career.
Sneed: Never mind me, girl -- tell me where the corpse is!
Rose: You never take me anywhere.
Doctor: I just took you to see the end of the world!
Rose: And what a bust that was. Doctor, we can go anyplace, anytime! Take me somewhere exciting, scintillating, and sophisticated.
Doctor: 19th-century Wales it is, then.
Host: Ladies, gentlemen, and undead corpses, Mr. Charles Dickens will now read from his Christmas masterpiece.
Dickens: (ahem) "Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot --"
(Mrs. Pearce, in the audience, disgorges a blue phantasm that begins shrieking around the auditorium)
Dickens: Well, that's a new one. Usually they just pelt me with roast beast.
Rose: Doctor, I hear people screaming!
Doctor: Those bastards, they started the plot without us.
Doctor: What's all this then?
Dickens: You! Are you responsible for this apparition?
Doctor: I swear she's legal! I mean, we're just friends.
Rose: I think he means the blue ghost, you perv.
Dickens: The phantasm disappeared into a gas lamp.
Doctor: Gas -- Just as I suspected! It must be a Squeephalott from the planet Breakwindus III!
Dickens: That's the most preposterous thing I've ever heard.
Doctor: Well, you only just met me.
Rose: I saw you carrying away this old woman's body. Are you trying to hide an epidemic of walking corpses?
Sneed: Yes. Now breathe deeply.
Rose: Mmmph! (collapses)
Sneed: See? And I'll bet you wonder why I always carry around a handkerchief soaked in chloroform.
Gwyneth: Yes, I do.
Doctor: I have to chase after Rose, so I'm stealing your coach.
Dickens: Not without me you don't. Driver! Follow that hearse!
Driver: Yes, Mr. Dickens.
Doctor: Wait -- you're Charles Dickens? The Charles Dickens? I'm your biggest fan!
Dickens: After seeing Gone in 60 Seconds, I regret that I am unable to reciprocate the sentiment.
Rose: Wh-- where am I?
Mrs. Pearce: Oh, just locked in a room at the undertaker's with us undead corpses.
Rose: Right. The Doctor taught me what to do if this happens. (ahem) Ho! Tom Bombadil, Tom Bombadillo!
Doctor: (breaking into the room) Get out, you old wight! Vanish in the sunlight!
Mrs. Pearce: AIEEEE! (collapses)
Doctor: Fantastic. Come on, Goldberry.
Rose: I told you not to call me that.
Sneed: So when I first came to Cardiff I found this great house for my undertaker's business. Dirt cheap -- and we found out why it was so cheap.
Doctor: It was a hotel for women?
Sneed: What? No, it was haunted. Pay attention.
Rose: Hasn't anyone suspected something was going on here?
Sneed: Well, there were these four kids with the huge talking dog, but other than that...
Doctor: So here's the solution. The ghosts are gaseous aliens from the other side of the universe, coming through a spacial rift in your basement. That's why your gas lights flicker -- they live in the pipes. Decomposing bodies release gas too, so they like to inhabit the corpses.
Rose: But that doesn't make any sense. Live bodies release gas as well as dead ones. And the whole planet is covered in gas -- why don't they just live in the air?
Doctor: Look, you're new so I'll let that one go, but when I say I have the solution, that means the writer is about to feed us the plot.
Rose: Oh. Sorry, I must've missed that in the handbook. Sometimes Sarah Jane's handwriting is a little hard to read.
Gwyneth: Where you come from is strange and disturbing, and the women dress appallingly.
Rose: What, are you reading my mind?
Gwyneth: No, I was just going through the "Hello!" magazine you left in the parlor. Who is this woman Britney Spears?
Rose: Don't get me started on her.
Dickens: What the Me is going on here?
Doctor: It's a sťance. We're trying to contact the ghosts.
Dickens: But you said they were aliens, not ghosts.
Doctor: But they're posing as ghosts, so we have to contact them that way. It's like Call Forwarding.
Dickens: I see. Wait -- what?
Rose: Look at Gwyneth!
Doctor: She must be getting through. Gwyneth, what do the aliens say?
Gwyneth: "Sam Wheat"!
Doctor and Rose: (looking at each other) "Sam Wheat"?
Gwyneth: Just kidding. They say: "We are the Gelth. We have no bodies. We want yours. Just the newly dead ones will be fine."
Doctor: Sounds good to me.
Rose: Hmm, I have a bad feeling about this.
Rose: Doctor, this won't work. I'm from the future and we don't have animated corpses walking around.
Doctor: You just haven't met any. Most of them end up as American Democratic presidential candidates.
Rose: So the Gelth want us to stand down here in the morgue, with all these corpses around us, and use Gwyneth's psychic ability to just let them all through the rift?
Doctor: Seems like a brilliant plan.
Rose: Right. So just to review, you're the brilliant 950-year-old time traveler who's seen everything, and I'm the shopgirl from 2005 who's spent the last two years folding sweaters, right?
Doctor: Right. Trust me, nothing can go wrong with this scenario.
Doctor: All right, Gwyneth, we're ready. Tell 'em to come on through.
Gwyneth: "We are the Gelth. Thank you for your assistance. Our people will now come through the rift in alphabetical order. Aardvark, Aaron... Aardvark, Abner..."
Dickens: Holy schlamoley, how many of you are there?
Gwyneth: "Checking. Six... fifteen... carry the three... er, 1.5 billion."
Doctor: But -- there aren't that many recently dead bodies on Earth at this time.
Gwyneth: "There will be when we kill you all."
Rose: Ha, ha. I was right, we're all gonna die. Who's your daddy? Huh? Who's your daddy?
Doctor: (sigh) You are.
Gwyneth: "Aardvark, Axel... Aardvark, Azaz the Unabridged..."
Rose: Doctor, the Gelth are animating the corpses! They're going to kill us!
Dickens: Doctor, I've had a brainstorm. Gas! If we flood the room with gas, the Gelth will be sucked out of the bodies, into the area of greater concentration.
Doctor: You're right! Everyone, upstairs to the kitchen. We have to eat as many beans as possible if --
Dickens: -- Oooor, we can just disconnect all the pipes from the gas lamps.
Doctor: Er, that'll work too.
Rose: Ew. Just -- ew.
Rose: It's working. The Gelth have left the corpses and are just floating around. Now what?
Doctor: Everyone outside. Gwyneth, can you hear me?
Gwyneth: No, I can't hear you. The Gelth killed me.
Doctor: Oh. But -- you're not being animated by the Gelth, right?
Gwyneth: No. I'm just a regular human animated corpse.
Doctor: Perfect. I -- wait, what?
Gwyneth: Shh, don't question it. It's the only way to resolve the plot.
Doctor: Oh. So do you have any matches on you?
Gwyneth: Yes. Even though I'm already dead, as soon as you leave I will strike a match and blow the place up, thus closing the rift and ending the Gelth threat forever.
Doctor: You're the bravest dead psychic woman I've ever met. Break a leg!
Sneed & Company Building: KABLAMMO!
Rose: (sigh) No one will ever know I saved the world tonight.
Doctor: You mean Gwyneth. Gwyneth saved the world.
Rose: Right, Gwyneth. Did I say "I"? Because I meant Gwyneth.
Dickens: Doctor, despite your incompetence, this experience has opened my eyes. I think I shall rewrite Great Expectations so that Miss Havisham is an undead corpse.
Doctor: Shouldn't read too differently. Well, we're off.
Dickens: Goodbye! God bless us, everyone!
Rose: Doctor, should we have dematerialized right in front of him like that?
Doctor: Don't worry, he dies a few months from now.
Rose: From what?
Doctor: Um, a TARDIS falls on him.
(Rose reconsiders traveling with the Doctor at Ludicrous Speed)
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___ Five-Minute Doctor Who
___ ___ Ninth Doctor
___ ___ ___ Five-Minute "The Unquiet Dead"
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All material © 2005, Mark Wilson.