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This is a question Lucky Escapes

Freddie Woo says: Looking back on it, the moment when we left the road because I was trying to get the demister to work, regaining control just in time to miss a tree probably wasn't my finest bit of driving, nor my cleanest pair of pants. Tell us about your lucky escapes

(, Thu 4 Jul 2013, 15:44)
Pages: Popular, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

I took far too much Calpol once.
Luckily I didn't die of an overdose. That shit is strong.
(, Tue 9 Jul 2013, 18:21, 3 replies)
When we were about 10 me and twinshambles got a bollocking for building a fire
which was arguably justified given that we were building it in the grounds of a large ICI explosives factory.
(, Tue 9 Jul 2013, 17:49, 13 replies)
Suburban spelunky
As the eldest and best child, I had the attic room at my parents' place. It had big velux windows that offered a splendid view over the sunken garden at the back of the house, and meant I could smoke crafty jazz fags without alerting my elders and betters.

Being the super-rebellious punk fan I was, my pride and joy was an ashtray I'd made by nicking a 7" Simply Red single and dunking it in boiling water before squishing it between two breakfast bowls. I called it 'Flick Hucknall'. Sophisticated and ironic, the ladies, my suave self imagined, wouldn't stand a chance when faced with such awesome art/terror.

Emptying the ashtray out the window one night, the jam-jar base came unstuck and my prized posession clattered eight feet down the roof tiles before getting caught in the gutter. Gulp. Although my parents would never see it if it stayed there, the wind would likely send it spinning into the back garden where the 'rents could cop a glance meaning I'd be i) done for nicking/ruining a 'perfectly good' single ii) done for smoking in the house. I needed to get it back then and there.

Several McGuyver-style aerial lead and coathanger contrivances later, and Flick Hucknall was still resolutely stuck - I could hook it, but the leading edges of the tiles made it impossible to pull it back up. There was nothing for it, I'd have to climb down.

I looked out the window again. Eight feet to the gutter. Four storeys down.

Now, I wasn't totally stupid - I knew climbing out there with no rope was a fool's errand, so using my superior intellect, I reasoned that a 20-foot aerial cable would do the job admirably. I lashed one end around an exposed beam, tied the other end round my waist and climbed out the window.

The descent, inch by inch, would be the second-longest three minutes of my life. The roof offered little or no purchase, so it must have been sheer terror that held me on. I reached the ashtray, stuck it in my back pocket and, splayed like a hand under an opportune bottom, I began to ascend. Perversely, this was better than the descent - I was now moving in the right direction. Hurrah!

The cable stretched and I slid four feet backward.

Had our neighbours been listening at open window, they would have surely heard the high, keening whistle that emerged from my bottom as I abandoned sense, pulled hard on the cable and tried cover the remaining distance before my bumrocket power gave out and gravity realised what I was up to. I cleared the windowledge and crashed gratefully onto my bedroom floor.

I was subsequently bollocked for 'making a loud noise'. I didn't mind.
(, Tue 9 Jul 2013, 17:13, 7 replies)
Aloha can also mean goodbye...
I used to know two astronomy students, at university. They were due to fly to Mauna Kea in Hawaii, for some observatory experience.

One of them went to the doctors for some unrelated reason, and was told that he had a previously undiscovered heart condition, which meant that he would probably have dropped dead in the thin air at the top of Mauna Kea.

In the confusion caused by his sudden removal from the trip, it had to be put back a week. Which turned out to be lucky for the other fellow, as the plane they were due to be on turned into the worlds first 737 convertible at 24,000 feet:

(, Tue 9 Jul 2013, 17:00, 5 replies)
A tiger once bit my leg ... well - sort of ...
(, Tue 9 Jul 2013, 14:32, 5 replies)
Back when it was possible to recognise the bits under the bonnet of a car...
Late one night driving through Basildon in my old 850 Mini, I was obviously keen to get home. You could see the car fires in the distance all around, and I didn’t want to add to the usual festivities of the area.

Going up a slight hill I had my foot flat down to ensure I’d actually see the peak before dawn broke. Sure enough, at a magnificent 50mph I reached the top, and was greeted with the sight of a nice 500 yard slope down to a roundabout and then the freedom of the A127 and my exit route.

Surprisingly my trusty old David Vizard-inspired engine was picking up a nice bit of speed and I got to the giddy heights of around 80mph before I decided that the feeble drum brakes should start doing their thing before I got to the small tree-covered roundabout.

Unfortunately as soon as I pressed the clutch in I heard BOLLOCKS! BOLLOCKS! BOLLOCKS! from the engine as it hit about 9000rpm. The throttle cable had worn and gotten stuck in the sleeve at full throttle. Back in gear and braking hard I was still accelerating. I didn’t want to turn the engine off as the steering lock would have negated any chance of negotiating the junction (and surviving) and leaving it out of gear would blow my engine up. Thank God for legendary Mini handling, I just managed to make the left then right corner before I turned the engine off and coasted to a stop on the other side.

Thankfully my bloodstream was full of adrenaline, so I could get out, swap the choke cable for the throttle cable (to accelerate with my left hand) and get back on my way before the chavs started creeping out of the darkness...
(, Tue 9 Jul 2013, 14:24, 11 replies)
When I was young and foolish
I was the proud owner of an Austin Mini. More than than anything I loved to do a heavy downshift, redline it in 2nd and squeal around corners.
I was less than enthusiastic with constantly repairing this paragon of British engineering. My mechanic skills were somewhat less than sterling. I had fixed the front brakes but somehow the left hand shoes had gotten a liberal coat of brake fluid. On hard braking the thing would swerve violently to the right.
I was buzzing down the street when I noticed cars stopped ahead. I was looking at the open lane when I noticed that a boxcar was being shunted on the tracks across the road. Standing on the brakes caused my Mini to hop the lane and squeeze through without a scratch, without noticeably slowing down.
I attributed my good fortune to my awesome driving skills.
(, Tue 9 Jul 2013, 13:48, 3 replies)
Not me
But a mate of mine. He was commuting to Leeds on the M1 one day in his brand new company car. Tootling along at around 80 in the fast lane he was somewhat perturbed when a lorry veered straight across all three lanes on the opposite carriageway and crashed through the central reservation directly into his path. There was no way he could avoid it and he only had time to turn the wheel at the last minute to avoid a straight head on collision. In his words after the screeching noises had stopped he managed somehow to lever himself out of the wreckage and collapsed next to what was left of his car until the ambulance came. The last minute turn of the steering wheel is what saved my mates life. Instead of hitting the side of the lorry head on he hit it at an angle which meant that the passenger side took the brunt of the impact. That side of the car was so utterly mangled that the attending fire crew had to ask my mate if anyone had been sat in it as they couldn't tell. It made the local news with subsequent pics of the wreckage and my mate spent around a year recovering before he could drive again. The accident investigator told him that the fact that the car was brand new had probably meant the difference between him surviving and snuffing it.
Total damage 1 broken sternum several broken ribs, a broken leg, arm and damage to his back
(, Tue 9 Jul 2013, 13:34, Reply)
Yadda yadda Die Hard.

(, Tue 9 Jul 2013, 13:29, 7 replies)
Dark sky - bright sky
I was about to say no I haven't had a close escape but I had, shock has made me all but forget this. Back in 1987 during the big storm (not hurricane stupid) I was living out in the country in a converted Rectory, big building old trees etc. Beside the garage was an Olive tree and this, being a few hundred years old was seriously big. The main storm had blown in during the night and the morning after it was still tree-mendously windy (see what i did there?) and I had been out riding a motorcycle in the morning. I rode back home and along the driveway to the garage which was beside/under the tree. Just as I stopped under the shade of the 400 ton leviathon the sky went all bright - yes it had fallen over - with me underneath it! Luckily at an angle of about 70 degrees to my line of approach, so missed me entirely but crushed the garage and a few other out buildings. The timing and scale of the destruction still is difficult to put into words.
(, Tue 9 Jul 2013, 12:33, Reply)
I was doing heavy amounts of cocaine and ectasy with a champion powerlifter and ex-Mr. South Africa
This guy was 26 stones of mainly muscle, during our reflective evening which led to the early hours of the morning he suddenly stated that he was, "Very horny.". I am not adverse to Greek encounters but. . . eeek.
(, Tue 9 Jul 2013, 10:26, 10 replies)
We told Colin to take a sidestep to the left, just in time too.

(, Tue 9 Jul 2013, 10:26, 5 replies)
I was competing in the IOM TT
I was going very fast on a motorcycle of my own design when a toddler suddenly appeared in front of me causing me to swerve and almost lose control of my throbbing machine. I nearly done a poo in my tight leathers but I regained control and offered up a whimsical thought to self, "never touched me."
(, Tue 9 Jul 2013, 10:22, 1 reply)
Told this one before, but anyway
When I was a mere slip of a lad, maybe 13 or 14, I went on a summer "Outward Bound" camping week with my school. This was in the Sussex countryside, and we did all the usual things: climbing, canoeing, orienteering and so on. One night, we did night maneouvres - orienteering in the dark.

Now I freely admit that, as team leader, I cocked up and we got rather lost. It was a misty night, and we were a little way from where we should have been. Perhaps half a kilometre or so, nothing major. But this was a mistake that nearly cost us dearly...

We were tromping through a field. A fence loomed out of the mist, so we clambered over it. As we continued, I noticed that the grass seemed to change colour up ahead. Curiously I wondered what was causing the change. Right up until I realised that the grass hadn't changed colour, it had in fact stopped. About a metre away was the edge of a rather well-known cliff known as Beachy Head.

Yes, Beachy Head. 162 metres (530 ft for the Merkins) of sheer, ball-shrinkingly terrifying verticality. Which I'd come within about two steps from reaching.

What the FESTERING LEFT-HANDED WANK were they thinking, sending a bunch of kids out on night manoeuvres, in poor visibility, on BEACHY FUCKING HEAD????

Still gives me cold shivers, 35 years later.
(, Tue 9 Jul 2013, 10:20, 1 reply)
I had a narrow escape from a life of boredom
in the publishing industry when I last my jib as a poof raider.
(, Tue 9 Jul 2013, 8:47, 1 reply)
(, Tue 9 Jul 2013, 4:48, 4 replies)
On the very rare occasion I do something dramatic/athletic/brave, I always
wrongly assume that my limbs and muscles and bits are aware of the plan.

My friends were sat on the other side of a fence, on the cliff-top, having a picnic. This is all much safer than it sounds; there was a lot of grass to sit on.

I made the decision to do a spectacular and manly leap over the fence. I had occasionally leapt before and it had always gone well. This time, my limbs were not aware of what I wished them to do and my legs and arms got it all wrong.

My intention was one hand on the fence, swing my legs over, land triumphantly. Instead, I just ran into the fence at quite some speed whilst doing a pathetic little jump with my arms to my sides. My colossal momentum caused me to pivot, like a hairy windmill, over the top of the fence into an accidental-somersault. The edge of the cliff is quite some distance away when you've gently lowered yourself over the fence, but when you propel yourself over the fence, upside-down, the resulting sausage-roll will accelerate you to it quite quickly.

I did not die because I grabbed onto a bit of tree and my friends arms. They laughed at me afterwards.
(, Tue 9 Jul 2013, 4:28, Reply)
I was running away from a basilisk, and I met a beholder in a random encounter, and I could only hit him on a natural twenty and I did.

(, Tue 9 Jul 2013, 1:09, 1 reply)
Narrow miss with a tree
I was renting a room in a house in the mountains. The garage was above the house on a steep slope. When I moved in, I noticed a big redwood tree against the garage. I don't know why I paid attention to it. In the winter of '83 we had a storm that was so furious that I was driving along, and signs were snapping off on the side of the road. Power was out for a week. I decided to stay at the house while the smart roommates left. I was done goofing around with my Norton in the garage, and was walking down the slope to the house. Something was happening that I didn't know about until I walked in the front door and looked out a tiny window it had. Suddenly the whole house shook violently, and that window turned green. Big branches were poking through the ceiling. That tree had been falling as I was walking to the house. I'd have been impaled by huge branches had I not gotten inside when I did. Actually I did die, and I'm typing this from hell.
(, Mon 8 Jul 2013, 23:00, Reply)
Cast your mind back to my childhood it was a wonderous time filled with weather and beans.
I went to school as a child and I learned many things.
At school I got picked on for being tall and weird.
Anyway one horribly snowy day I was skipping through the halls holding a ruler.
I then emerged into the playground to see a really large snow ball fight in process.
I decided the smart thing to do would be to walk around the edge of the playground and towards the safety of the library.
I managed to get within ten feet of the door when the cry came.
"Get the lanky prick" it said. Well I didn't waste any time contemplating who that prick was and bolted for the door. Unfortunately it was closed and I winced as the volley came, they all missed.
I then turned into Samuel L Jackson quoted some verse from the bible and shot Ringo Starr.

After school was finished i got pushed over and my face was centimeters away from a dog turd.
(, Mon 8 Jul 2013, 22:50, 1 reply)
How am I alive??
Don’t do anything mentioned below it’s pointless, stupid and will probably kill you!
Read some of the highlights and wonder at my staggering idiocy and inordinate amount of luck! This is only the stuff I can remember right now but I got away with just scrapes (and bitemarks!) all my bits and pieces are in good working order so I really can’t complain.

Sticking the business end of an air bomb into a moped shock absorber to make a small hand held cannon and firing it indoors. Newton’s law sent it backwards, nicking my shoulder and embedding itself in the wall behind me (it blew the windows out and I could hear nothing but ‘eeeeeee’ for a day or two!)
Having the great idea of sliding down a scaffolding support pole without gloves and letting go when my hands got hot. I was falling long enough to hear the wind in my ears before I hit the deck.
Another wind in my ears moment was in Spain, I leapt over a wall for a slash without looking what was on the other side… about 30 feet of fuck all apparently, thankfully the ground sloped away from the wall at the bottom so I bounced off that and eventually rolled to a halt, got up and shouted ‘I’m okay!’
Making my own sky rockets… When it doesn’t light properly, returning to it is not a good thing to do, I heard a rising ‘sssssssSSSSSS!’ and jumped at the right moment, I have a nice still from a bit of video with me in an Austin Powers time tunnel pose, mid-air, and a massive fireball beneath me.

Involuntarily ducking during the storm of ’87 and narrowly avoiding a high speed sheet or corrugated iron which soon embedded itself 2 feet into an earth bank, I felt it brush my head as it went by so I’m guessing it was a close thing!
Sauntering down the pavement, minding my own business and getting hit by a car, I took the wing mirror off and was still able to chase the fucker down the road.

Almost got pearly gatified by a car whilst on a motorbike, he indicated left, I overtook and he turned right. I dropped the bike, shaving the foot pegs off and went under. I crushed the petrol tank with my legs about two inches on each side but still managed to push the bike home (and when my mum brought me a cup of tea and I’d sat down I immediately burst into tears!)

Pouring some old black powder from a knackered firework onto a candle with my hand, not realising that the trail of powder will set off the stuff I was holding, that was a very bright, loud, and stingy experience.
Running away from a goat is the best thing to do if it’s hell bent on killing you. It caught me and had me pinned up against a wall by my chest, after I started feeling faint my dad (finally) noticed and smacked it one with a decent sized lump of wood.
Idly mixing everything I could find in the bathroom to make something fun. Instead I made chlorine gas and didn’t feel right for a couple of days.
Cantering along on a horse with a saddle far too large for it, flipping upside down and seeing nothing but nasty crushy hooves until I managed to extricate myself (I was 8 at the time!)
Kicked a dog when I was 13 (After the fucker had latched on to my arm!) and alerted the police when I’d got free, one copper knocked on the owners door and it leapt at his face destroying his radio in the process. It ragged him a fair bit apparently!

(, Mon 8 Jul 2013, 21:44, Reply)

When I worked in the care home I had two jobs. Job number one: wiping people's arses. Job number two: remembering to hold a tissue in my hand. My boss made-up a special poem to help me remember both my jobs. I can still recite it to this very day word for word. It went "If you've a wet wipe under your fingernails it's time to reach for shit."

One day I had the best day at work ever. Every arsehole was glistening like a dingo's donger and smelling sweeter than a KFC extractor fan, and I didn't have any shit anywhere apart from in the waste bucket. I took the bucket home to show Mrs Ringofyre that I wasn't in fact "a drongo who couldn't wank a wallaby without an instruction book".

I left the bucket on the kitchen table while I got changed out of my nurses uniform. Looking back now that may have been a mistake. I should have realised that, to a Mrs Ringofyre driven half insane by 2 hours without food, a bucket of turds swaddled in wipes was going to look indistinguishable from a pile of tortilla wraps from our fave restaurant.

Before I'd even entered the kitchen I knew what had happened because of the loud eating noises and satisfied groans reverberating around our large house with 44,000 litre saltwater pool, which we own outright.

Luckily for me she polished off the lot without noticing any problems, and even asked for "more of them nutty ones" when I popped out to pick up second dinner later that evening.
(, Mon 8 Jul 2013, 21:43, 14 replies)
I reckon the Egyptians had a lucky escape, but what to do now?
(, Mon 8 Jul 2013, 21:20, 2 replies)
The Great Eskape
This actually happened...


There was a moment of disorientation, and then Doctor Skagra found himself, to his rage and disbelief, in the brig.
‘Ship!’ he bellowed, ‘Let me out of here! I am your Lord Skagra! Let me out!
‘I am very much afraid I can no longer accept your orders.’ There was a haughty tone to the Ship’s female voice which set Skagra’s teeth on edge. ‘You are an enemy of my Lord, the Doctor.’
The Doctor! Skagra grimaced, his whole body vibrating in anger. ‘I am your Lord! I built you! Release me, I command you! And launch instantly!’
Again, the Ship disregarded his commands. ‘Do you know the Doctor well? He is a wonderful man. He has done the most extraordinary things to my circuitry.’
Skagra pressed his hands to his head, hardly believing what he was hearing. What had the Doctor done to his Ship? Skagra couldn’t bear the thought of being outwitted by such an irreverent buffoon. ‘Release me!’
‘Truly wonderful,’ said the Ship in a tone of syrupy admiration. ‘If you like I will tell you all about him.’
Skagra fell to his knees, despair swamping him. ‘Let me out,’ he sobbed. ‘Let me out.’
A ripple of mocking laughter was the Ship’s response. It had never laughed before. Skagra curled into the foetal position, hands clamped over his ears. But he couldn’t blot out the voice.
‘Greatest of all the Time Lords, the Doctor left Gallifrey to explore the universe and meet lots of new friends. Like me! Along the way he vanquished many evil foes. Let me tell you about all his victories. I’ll start with his struggle against the vile Lard Men of Mazzolia...’
Skagra screamed. Truly, he was in hell. But despair wasn’t in Doctor Skagra’s nature, so he got back to his feet and pounded the wall until his fists were numb. The Ship should be singing his, Skagra’s, praises!
‘Ship!’ he commanded. ‘I order you to stop this catalogue of inanities!’
It paid him no attention whatsoever.

Over the next few hours, Doctor Skagra tried endless combinations of orders, hoping that one of them would jog the Ship into remembering its true Lord, but it had clearly been too thoroughly re-programmed. He changed tack and tried reasoning with the Ship, trying to make it see how the Doctor had perverted its nature. But it completely ignored him, continuing to list the Doctor’s victories. Despair began to eat at him again – but even so, Skagra did not once try pleading with the Ship. He didn’t entertain the idea for even a second.
Doctor Nikkolai Skagra, beg for mercy?!
He would rather suffer an infinity of exquisite surgical torture on the most sensitive parts of his body before lowering himself to that. Begging was, to Skagra, a sign of weakness. And Doctor Skagra would not admit to a single weakness. Doctor Skagra was invincible, irresistible, invulnerable –
- Imprisoned. In the brig of his own Ship.

Finally, after what seemed like days, Doctor Skagra lay down exhausted, arms folded across his chest, and waited with psychotic patience for death or madness, whichever came first. The harsh lighting of the brig combined with the pristine walls to create an achromatic glare so intense that Skagra could imagine that he was already in limbo. His stomach growled with hunger, and Skagra cursed his body, the body he would have left behind had his plans for the Universal Mind come to fruition.
And still the Ship wittered on and on in a tone of insane enthusiasm about the exploits of its new Lord. There seemed to be an endless series of them, an eternity of miraculous last-minute victories over power-mad dictators, insane computers, implacable hive minds, amorphous alien masses, evil corporations, warmongering clone races, emotionless cyborgs – and hubristic scientists...
Was Doctor Skagra merely the latest in the long line of the beaten? Had his defeat been inevitable all along, the Doctor’s victory somehow guaranteed by the invisible forces which bound the universe together? The unending stream of triumphs seemed to imply this, to doom Skagra to rot in the brig of his own Ship, forgotten, shoved casually to the side of the chessboard.
Though his hatred of the Doctor was infinite, a small flame within Skagra burned with admiration for the Time Lord. A worthy foe indeed. The way he’d trapped Skagra by turning his own Ship against him was exquisite. And to have the Ship recount the Doctor’s adventures indicated a streak of cruelty in the Doctor with which Skagra could well identify. Cruelty, arrogance, intelligence – all these both Skagra and the Doctor possessed. If things had been different, they could have been allies. But no, the Doctor had to have it his own way, couldn’t see the brilliance of Skagra’s plan to create a Universal Mind - with Skagra ruling over all, of course. No, the Doctor had to speak up for the individual, make stupid jokes, wear ridiculous clothes and not appear to take anything seriously, even the dangerous business of time travel. And now this, the final humiliation.
‘The inhabitants of the planet Centreb Minor were so grateful that he had saved them from the dreaded slobberings of the foul Scrunge Worms that they built a giant statue of the Doctor in honour of his glory – a statue fashioned completely of raspberry ripple ice-cream!’
Skagra couldn’t take much more of this. ‘Ship, I beg of you, stop! Please, stop.’
With cold shock, Doctor Skagra realised what he’d done. He’d pleaded. The Doctor had brought him to this! He put his head in his hands and screamed. Through the sound of his own yelling voice, he heard – nothing. The Ship had stopped!
He stood up, hope flowering within him. ‘Ship! Return me to the bridge.’
‘Are you listening now?’ came the Ship’s voice, treacly and indulgent. ‘Then I’ll continue... the ghastly affair of the Fombugg seemed at first to spell certain doom for my wonderful Lord...’
And so the endless fanfare continued.
Skagra roared in rage, beyond despair now.
He paced the floor of the brig, recalling better days, trying to blank out the horror of the present with the glories of the past...

Back on the planet Drornid when he’d ruled the domain of Nixidom from his Kastle, Skagra had been a feared figure, commanding the respect of the crime bosses who more or less ran the planet. The whole of Drornid was a mess; shanty-towns, mobs, factions, bounty-hunters, and its level of technology was rapidly regressing. The perfect base for Doctor Skagra, geneticist, astro-engineer, cyberneticist, neuro-structuralist and moral theologian, to formulate his plans for universal domination. Nixidom was the only area on Drornid that the crime syndicates left alone. They sometimes asked for his assistance in technical matters, but only rarely, and since the beginning of his Universal Mind project he’d stopped answering any requests. He’d become a recluse, left to perform his experiments in peace within the ebon walls of Kastle Skagra, far away from the deteriorating chaos which passed for society on Drornid. Of course, the parlous state of the planet was mostly the fault of the Time Lords. They’d ruined Drornid after they’d taken their rival President back into their dusty, dour fold. Doctor Skagra had always borne them a grudge for that, though the bits of technology they’d left lying around had allowed him to make quantum leaps in his work. And now, to be defeated by one of their milk-blooded number. It was almost as if they had set him up to knock him down...

Skagra stopped his pacing, alert to this worrying new possibility. Was he being too paranoid? Or were they really out to get him? Had that gangling, embarrassing idiot the Doctor really been a crack Time Lord agent? Skagra couldn’t believe it. More likely, it had been the Time Lady, Romana. Cool, calm, calculating - everything the Doctor wasn’t. Skagra remembered her fine, aristocratic features well. He let his mind linger on her image. Now there was a fitting consort for Skagra. If only he could escape... but he’d tried everything, everything, everything!
Maybe not. Maybe he could exploit the Ship’s new loyalty.
It would not be pleasant, but nothing could possibly be worse than his current predicament. Skagra stood in the centre of the brig, braced himself, and listened to what the Ship was saying:
‘The Doctor ducked down behind the font with his good friends Sarah Jane Smith and Harry Sullivan, and smiled reassuringly at the quaking Reverend Insteppe. Suddenly there was a deafening explosion and the Urgfiend shrine was utterly destroyed, killing all the hateful worshippers within and sealing in the Urg-Demon forever. Once more the Doctor had saved the day...’
In a burst of action, Skagra applauded and cheered loudly, shouting the Doctor’s praises until his throat ached.
As he’d hoped, the Ship’s voice faltered.
A moment of silence, then:
‘So at last you see what a wonderful man the Doctor is!’ it gushed.
‘Absolutely,’ said Skagra, forcing himself to say the words, though they stuck in his throat. ‘He is, perhaps, the most... intelligent, witty, charming, sublime being in the whole universe.’
‘There’s no “perhaps” about it,’ said the Ship prissily.
‘Of course, of course.’ Skagra thought quickly. ‘You are right to worship the Doctor as your Lord. But -’
‘But,’ said Skagra, feeling as though he was walking on eggshells, ‘where is he now, this exalted Doctor, this Lord of yours? Where is he to give you commands, set your co-ordinates?’
Then: ‘The Doctor is dead.’
Skagra almost choked. Dead? He remembered how he had assumed that the Doctor had died after his mind had been taken into the Sphere. He remembered how surprised he had been later on seeing the Doctor alive. He had no idea how the Doctor had survived, but clearly the Ship still thought he was dead. Victory was in Skagra’s grasp!
‘If the Doctor is dead,’ said Skagra slowly, ‘how can he be your Lord?’
More silence, which seemed to last an age.
Then: ‘The Doctor... is my Lord.’
Skagra glared up at the ceiling. He almost had it! ‘But he’s dead! You said so yourself.’
‘The Doctor... is dead. There is a certain confusion in my circuitry but he is truly my Lord.’ Its voice perked up again. ‘Let me tell you about his exciting confrontation with Phulorg J’Hoox, Intergalactic Purloiner of Cutlery!’
‘No!’ cried Skagra, beginning to panic. ‘Maybe later... tell me, how can he be your Lord if he does not exist?’ Skagra felt light-headed, almost giddy. ‘I am alive, I exist. Therefore, logic dictates that I, the living Doctor Skagra, am your Lord, not this phantom Doctor!’ Skagra struck a pose, hand on hips, brow raised upwards, fiercely willing the Ship to obey.
There was a pause.
And then the Ship spoke. ‘You exist.’
‘Yes!’ said Skagra, maintaining his pose.
‘And the Doctor does not.’
‘He does not!’
There was another, longer pause. Then:
‘What are your orders, my Lord Skagra?’
Skagra strutted around the brig, hands on hips, a sense of joy swelling within him, a laugh almost escaping from him – until he checked himself, remembering that laughing was a Doctor thing to do. ‘Release me! Release me now!’
A glowing cube surrounded him, and after a moment of disorientation, Skagra found himself back on the bridge of the Ship. His Ship, no doubt about that now. He swayed on his feet, hardly able to believe he was free. But then, of course, he was Skagra – as if a fool such as the Doctor could outwit him! How long had he been imprisoned? A quick check – two days. Was that all? The recounting of the Doctor’s interminable travels had made it seem much, much longer, especially the tale of the Planet of the Badger-Men. Skagra shuddered. How had he survived? ‘Take us out of here!’
‘Destination?’ said the Ship. Its voice held no hint of remorse or apology. Should he punish it? He decided against it – the main thing was, he was free; once back in Kastle Skagra he would re-program the Ship, make it tamper-proof.
And then he would hunt down and destroy the Doctor.
‘Destination, Drornid.’
The image of Kastle Skagra rose in his mind like a dark phantom. Unable to hold back his mirth any longer, Doctor Skagra allowed himself a small, taut smile of satisfaction.
They had only been travelling for a few minutes when the Ship spoke up, its pleasingly obsequious tone carrying a note of urgency ‘My Lord Skagra...’
‘What is it?’
‘We’re under attack.’ The Ship sounded surprised.
‘What!’ Skagra activated the screen. It showed a flotilla of large ships bristling with weaponry bearing right down on them. Military insignia graced the side of the larger vessels.
‘You fool!’ he cried. ‘Whilst you sang that cretin’s praises you left us vulnerable! Engage -’
Before Skagra could complete the command, the Ship shuddered under the impact of a great many energy weapons, the floor rocked under Skagra’s feet and with a yell he overbalanced.
The last thing he heard before his head hit the side of a console and he blacked out was the Ship’s voice, humbled in apology:
‘I’m very, very sor -’

Doctor Skagra regained consciousness to find himself wrapped in chilly darkness. He sat up, his booted feet scraping against a scarred metal floor. Dark shadows pressed in from every side, the only thing he could make out was the mist of his breath meeting the cold air of - wherever this was. Far above, murky light filtered through a tiny window.
‘Ship!’ he bellowed, more out of habit than for any logical reason. His voice echoed like that of someone at the bottom of a very deep well. A throbbing pain asserted itself, pulsing away behind his eyes as though there was something trying to get out. Wincing, he lifted his hands to his head, gently probing the injury. A tender bruise swelled beneath his fingers. A metallic chinking sound accompanied his every movement but it was a while before he realised what it was, his mind being preoccupied with wondering where he was and how he got there. Then he remembered – his escape, the ships, the attack...
Spurred on by anger, Doctor Skagra leapt to his feet. Something was dragging at his arms and legs, and he realised with horror and rage that his hands and feet were chained to the wall behind him. Thick, flaking hoops of rusted metal encased his ankles and wrists. He could only move about in a small arc, barely a pace into the cell. He tugged frantically at his bonds, but they held fast. No reasoning his way out of this prison.
Skagra twisted round and pounded on the wall, creating a noise like rolling thunder, sending the chains jangling and bouncing against his body. His bellowing voice rose above all. ‘Let me out! Let me out of here now, I demand it!’
No answer came.
He sank back down to the floor, nursing his throbbing head.
As his eyes adjusted to the near-darkness, Skagra realised that he was not alone. There was someone slumped against the far wall of the cell, a mere ten feet away. A gaunt figure in rags with eyes which gleamed wetly. From an invisible mouth a voice cackled. ‘Company! Company at la la last...’
Moving as far forward as his bonds allowed, Skagra squinted at the figure, nose wrinkling up at the foetid smell which rose from it. He could just make out thin legs splayed wide, pale crab-like hands twisted in a hollow lap, chains snaking from them to the wall behind. An egg-shaped head sunk on a narrow chest, a strand of saliva drooling from the corner of a mouth which gaped in a toothless smile. And eyes like marbles which caught the distant light from the window far above.
Skagra felt uncomfortable in the dull glare of such an ancient creature. ‘Who are you, old man?’
‘A prisoner, just like you, la la. I’ve been here so la la long I’d almost forgotten how to talk.’
An ancient, worthless imbecile. Skagra’s lip curled in a sneer of disgust. ‘Where am I? Who has dared to imprison me?’
The old man laughed in reply, a deranged cackle that snaked its way through the darkness and invaded Skagra’s head. He remembered the way his Ship had laughed...
‘Silence!’ cried Skagra, pounding his fists against the metal floor, feeling his bonds bite into his wrists, almost welcoming the pain.
In answer, more laughter. ‘La la la! La... But now that I’ve remembered how to talk, let me tell you my story, la la.’
A black pit opened in Skagra’s mind, over which his sanity teetered back and forth like an undecided suicide.
‘Let me tell you the story of my la la life.’
‘No!’ bellowed Skagra, straining forward, hands reaching out to strangle, pulling against the chains. It was no use. He couldn’t reach the gibbering, dribbling wreck, couldn’t even get anywhere near. Skagra cried out, wishing his voice was a weapon to crush this senile old fool. But it wasn’t. He slumped back against the wall, defeated.
And so the old man began the long, rambling and disjointed story of his long, long life, and there was nothing Doctor Skagra could do but listen.


One day I'll relate the story of how I got out of that.
(, Mon 8 Jul 2013, 20:09, 9 replies)
massive drugs and drink tosser falls off hotel.
I fell off a 3rd storey balcony in Ibiza, lost two pints of blood, half of one of my thigh muscles and tore my skin apart 2 inches away from my balls. Spent 17 hours in Ibiza town hospital, blood transfusions, heavy pain killers, and the crappiest stitches anyone has ever seen. Epic scar, had to learn to walk again- luckily no limp, but I'm just happy I didn't lose my knackers.
(, Mon 8 Jul 2013, 19:05, Reply)
We had a smoke, we went to the pub for a couple of beers, we had another smoke on the return home.
During which my friend helpfully informed me, "I assume you realise that, were you to fall in front of a car and die now, or were I to push you, the media would probably describe us as being 'on a cocktail of drink and drugs'."
(, Mon 8 Jul 2013, 17:57, 13 replies)
explosions on the sea
One of the joys of the oil and gas industry is working with flammable liquids and gases, the improper handling of can cause major disasters, e.g. Piper alpha which some reckon to have begun with a 30kg gas-leak. We dumped 20 odd tonnes...
(, Mon 8 Jul 2013, 17:56, Reply)
7th July 2005
A young(er) emvee woke up in good time to make it to work at his very important techie job in the city and after a cup of tea and some breakfast, made the executive decision to go back to bed and have a spliff before work so as to miss the morning crush on the tube. After all, his manager wasn't going to be in the office until that afternoon and he knew that there wasn't that much work going on what with it being the summer and all. So a leisurely smoke to BBC Breakfast News followed, then emvee pulled on his trousers and made his way to Kentish Town station only to be met by the staff pulling the big metal gates shut across the entrance. He overheard one of them saying something about "explosions on the line" and promptly turned around, walked home again, got back into bed, rolled another spliff (this time quite a bit fatter) and turned the news back on. Taking in the specifics of the attack he was struck by the fact that his route to work would have taken him through two of the lines that were hit, near King's Cross and Liverpool Street, counted his lucky stars and walked to his girlfriend's pub in Soho, where he spent the rest of the day.
(, Mon 8 Jul 2013, 16:56, 6 replies)
off with her head!
my first proper grown-up place on my own was in a high-rise block that had seen better days. after 6 years there, we(the other tenants and i) were told we all had to be out within a year, as the block was no longer fit for habitation. we all knew that very well. the close proximity of a train station meant wind would come up over the platform, then howl around the side of the building. this damaged pretty much all of the windows on that side. not only that, but the foundations were damaged and there were a multitude of structural problems. bouncy floors are just not right.
as we were all having to vacate, the council pretty much stopped doing repairs. this meant that i, like everyone on my side of the building, had to put up with damaged or broken window locks. on windy days, everyone's windows would fly open.
one night, i was watching telly, when my window blew open again. i had to stand on the sofa and lean halfway out of the window in order to reach it and pull it closed. twice the wind yanked it out of my hands. the third time, i managed to get a good grip of it and haul it closed, pulling my top half back inside and out of the wind. the second i fastened the window, the entire window and frame from the flat three floors up came crashing past, right where my head had been seconds before.
so yeah, that was me, almost decapitated.

tl;dr: shit window falls out and nearly takes my head off.
(, Mon 8 Jul 2013, 14:32, 25 replies)

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