The front door leads straight into his sitting room.
“It’s funny being back here really. I don’t miss Skaro at all.”
“You’ve been here before then?” I sit as I ask.
“Yes, Odd really. 2164 is when we first came.”
“Here, but in the future?”
“Yes, I’m one of the originals. I didn’t go to the Asylum & have no contact now with any of my kind. So, as you see, I lead a pretty lonely existence.”
I stop asking questions in the hope that he continues to open up.
“I’ve started to collect cats though. I’m not too sure how many I have now but I do seem to be constantly shopping for cat biscuits. Lately, I struggle to open a tin.”
There’s a deep silence as I forget to ask anything, remembering seeing a lot of missing posters on the lampposts as I approached his bungalow.
“Oh I’ve seen the latest shows, read the stuff online… all the newer models revealing what’s inside. I don’t agree with it really but I must admit to feelings. A need if you like. I’d love a hug, I’ve seen the looks I get as join the wide aisle checkout in Asda. Pitying. I’m always alone. There’s sometimes a youngster following me. Trying to see my mechanisms but you know…”
He tails off a bit here.
“Sorry, I’ve no solar panels so I have to plug myself in at night. I use a battery charger for a golf trolley, there was a power cut last night so I didn’t get a full charge.”
Two cats fight in the corner as he continues.
“I decided to give ‘Plenty of Fish’ a try. I had to use an old photo. And it’s really old. ’63. Black and White: I’m trying to pass it off as arty but I’ve not really improved much over time if I’m honest. But now with most of the blue chipped off my nobbly bits the photo’s probably quite true to life.”
His sucker pad droops as he talks.
“This doesn’t stand as proud as it used to. Oh! I know there’s tablets. But well, you start to wonder what’s the point really.”
I notice his cracked panels, cat hair encrusted in them. He sees my stare.
“It gets everywhere.”
I try to look away and he starts again.
“Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had responses, but obsession drips from their replies and I can just tell I’d be destined to be in a spare room; a secret shelf at the back of the garage. It’s not what I want. I enjoy my life on the whole. The local does good food and 24hr Asda is just down the road.”
Another cat saunters in and I see a brightness flicker briefly behind his eye stalk as he follows it across the floor to the kitchen. Peeling lino slows him slightly. Then he shakes cat biscuits into a bowl and leaves it on a worksurface already covered with cat bowls.
~ The Scribbling Wren 2015