20. päivän iltaluukku: Christmas story for school advent
Huomaathan, että Veetin joulutarinan lopussa odottaa kuva.
In the dead of space, on a Christmas Eve not unlike tomorrow, had the vacuum been filled with air, one would have heard a strange noise. It was like a machine breathing heavily, taking laboured metallic breath after another. It was like an organic engine revving itself with great trouble, pulsating, getting stronger. It was otherworldly, it was like a key being scraped down a broken piano string, it was a shrill, awful noise. And yet, it was the most hopeful noise anyone in the universe had ever heard. And, had you been there that day, when Christmas was being celebrated somewhere else, you’d have seen a thing most peculiar.
At first, it seemed the cacophony of vworps came from nothingness, or perhaps a strange kind of localised gust of wind. But as the sound kept pulsing in and out of existence, so did something else. A nondescript rectangle at first, gaining in detail before losing it all again with each cycle, each pump of the unstable engines trying to work out the spatial coordinates. Eventually, you could tell the wooden texturing on its surface – or could it have been concrete? – and you could just about make out the contours of the lantern on top of it. It began pulsating with blue light, akin to an alien lighthouse, guiding any lost travellers of the starry void.
As the object gained in tangibility, more and more became obvious: it had windows, two on each side. It had indentations and corner posts, and a roof no less than three thin layers high. It had doors on its front, with haphazardly placed handles and an inconvenient divider beam down the middle. But most peculiar was the anachronistic signage. “Police Public Call Box”, read the signs adorning its top, instructing passersby of a function the teal monument most certainly didn’t perform. “Officers And Cars Respond To Urgent Calls” read the white text on the glossy black signage on the door – technically equally false, yet, in practice, surprisingly apt. Though, if I may, the bit about cars was uncommon.
With a loud thud, the box would’ve announced its presence, were sound able to travel in the space between stars. An unsuspecting piece of space junk with a peculiar origin – a 1950s Metropolitan police telephone box with a slightly sunken roof and a nonstandard palette – is how it would’ve been perceived. But anyone with a chance to peek inside would’ve instantly called its bluff. Once they’d finished marvelling at it, that is.
The little box was known as the TARDIS, a name indicated by absolutely nothing, as intended, with its exterior being a disguise. A shoddy disguise, barely resembling what it’s supposed to be, and completely out of place almost anywhere it landed, but a disguise nonetheless. And while the outer shell looked expertly crafted yet ultimately unimpressive, the space contained within was unimaginable.
At the other side of the doors, the expected claustrophobic walls were nowhere to be seen, giving way to a massive room that shared zero of the features the exterior indicated. This impossible space bid farewell to the wooden, rustic appearance of the walls it was paradoxically contained within, instead looking clean, white. Almost clinical, in a way. Like a dentist’s office, but considerably less evil, and with no drills or fluoride or hospital chairs. Or those pictures they put on the roof for you to look at if you’re a child.
The next thing you’d notice would be that the all-white space was decorated with evenly spaced white round lights on the walls. An expert could tell you these weren’t only lights, but served practical functions as well. Alas, haphazard design choices had led to most of them being unreachable, serving a purely aesthetic purpose. In fairness, they were doing a good job at it. Around the same time, you might find yourself watching your step, instinctively trying not to fall off the floating bridge that comprised most of the floor, despite the safe railings guarding you in case you were to be nauseous or lost in thought. Ramps and slopes twisted and circled around this bridge, bringing you to one of several levels or countless hallways.
And looking back up, trying to get your bearings, you’d be faced with the most defining design element of the entire room – a massive control unit, with liquid streaming up and down, swirling inside a glass tube surrounded by a hexagonal table, covered in unknown and unknowable levers and buttons and trinkets and switches just begging to be fiddled with. The impressive centre of the room towered over anyone standing next to it. This included the man in charge of this ship.
A well-travelled man, old of eyes yet young of face, stood at the ready, walking aimlessly and frustratedly in the space between the futuristic console and the room’s only splash of colour – a 1950s jukebox, lit up with warm and bright hues, shades of yellows and oranges.
“Nonsense!”, the man, known only as the Doctor (or, affectionately, Dr. Who) shouted, more exasperated than angry, with an accent natural to him yet befitting of his storied past. A mixture of accents from across the universe, most prominently Earth Scottish with some Rwandan. “Why can’t you land where I ask you to?”
The static hum of the console room was broken up by the buzzes and whirrs of the machine. Which, I’ll let you in on a secret, wasn’t a machine at all, but a living being with a mind of her own.
“Yes, yes, I know”, he whined. “If I had spare parts for the navigation system, I’d install them. But you,” he said, taking a dramatic pause and affectionately petting the side of the console, “are vintage.”
“And I guess I’m in no hurry. The good thing about you being a time machine is, it could take us four days to get wherever we’re going and we could still be five minutes early. Maybe four minutes late.”
The Doctor kept circling around the console, prepared for the holiday wearing his brown plaid suit over one of those ugly Christmas sweaters nobody actually wears or buys (and anyone who does gets my full and genuine respect), with a Santa Claus hat atop his head, holding a and a warm burgundy scarf with an evaluating gaze.
“Do you think this scarf’s very Ruby? I figure the stripes work for her”, the man said, frantically trying to untangle the woolly neckwear from around his wrists. “What do you say?”
The impossible box just bleeped in confusion and apprehension.
“Oh, come on, your fashion sense is just fine! I love the jukebox, it suits you”, the travelling man said, while trying to fiddle with the controls, still trying to figure out another way to get to Ruby’s place without wasting days and days on either end, or, in the worst case, years and years. Wouldn’t be the first time.
After several false starts, the Doctor finally felt the satisfying thud of the TARDIS landing as it should. Well, as he thought it should – with ear-splitting noise, a loud thud and mildly concerning tremors of the floor, followed by the sound of books falling and a vase breaking somewhere in another room. With the feeling of standing inside changing from the feel of a rocking ship to that of a stable solid platform, the traveller figured he’d reached land. Certain he was ashore at last, he threw the scarf around his neck and made his way to the doors.