It's all the fault of Craig Howell, the managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times.
On weekends, when the children have been especially naughty or annoying, I make them go to the office with me. OK, I don't use the office as punishment, but I do take them with me when we are on our way from one place to another and the office is on the way.
One afternoon, I came in with the children and Craig had "Dr. Who" on.
"What's that?" asked the Professor, watching a phone booth blink out of existence (someone let Superman know to stay away from that weird phone booth the Doctor tootles around in, lest he get sucked into another dimension or time period.)
Craig waxed eloquent about a time-traveling doctor (I'd like to know what medical school he went to; I've never see him perform so much as a check-up).
The Professor decided this was lame (because old people liked it?), and I considered it a bullet dodged.
Fast-forward to a recent weekend. I came downstairs, and the Professor, who wakes up at 6:30 a.m. every morning, was camped out on the couch, watching television. I grabbed a bagel and joined him.
People were running around in Victorian-era garb and speaking with English accents.
"This had better not be 'Downton Abby,'" I said. "I don't think that's appropriate for small children."
"Shhh!" The Professor put an index finger to his lips. "It's 'Dr. Who.'"
For some reason, the Doctor and some random chick traveled back to Victorian London to rock out to a Charles Dickens live reading. (Actually, I think this is a great use for the power to bend time and space.) Unfortunately, their good time was spoiled by ghosts made of natural gas who possessed dead bodies and ran them around London like meat puppets (including to Dickens live readings, which proves Dickens is interdimensionally popular).
They held a seance (mistake No. 1) and the gas-ghosts told them they were a ragged band of intergalatic travelers who were dying out and couldn't they please come through and possess dead bodies? Evidentally, the Doctor is very credulous, because he believed this (mistake No. 2) and decided to help them (mistake No. 3.)
"I'm calling it," I told the Professor. "These are bad guys. No antagonist has made themselves known yet, so these gas-ghosts are the obvious choice."
The maid had the ability to "bridge" between the real world and wherever the gas-ghosts were hanging out, so - with only their word they were on the up-and-up, a shady plan to possess dead bodies and with no research - the Doctor encouraged her to allow herself to be used as an intergalatic subway.
The gas-ghosts pop through and reveal they aren't few, but many, and they intend to use the dead and the living as meat puppets. Cue evil laughter.
"See," I told the Professor. "This Doctor guy is dumb. Let's watch something else."
"Shhh!" he said. "It's a marathon."
A marathon. Thanks, Craig.
(Wallace-Minger, a resident of Weirton, is community editor of The Weirton Daily Times.)