Arthur staggered out the door of the third bar on Rigel 4 they'd hit in an hour, still enjoying the tiny conga dancers that swirled around his head to the tune of some odd pop ballad. That second Gargle Blaster didn't even seem to be that bad of an idea now.
"Bargle fargle foosh," he said.
He frowned, reaching down to get a firmer hold on his vocal chords.
"Ssooo, Ford, where to nexcht?"
He watched the traffic passing on the street for a few minutes, until he realized Ford hadn't replied. He turned to the side. "Ford, wherr-"
No Ford. In fact, as he whirled around a few times, colliding with a few other night people and a rubbish bin in his staggering, he found quite a lot of no-Ford. A total prevalence, in fact.
He sat heavily on the curb, rubbed at his face and groaned. Ditched again. Why the hell couldn't he just let him know, maybe call him a cab back to the ship? But nooo, he was probably going to use the 'forgetful' card again. Or maybe the 'utterly blitzed' card.
A blue flash out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. He turned his head, and squinted.
A memory jumped out at him. His mother had spoken...
His mother, standing stern in the doorway of his bedroom. "Arthur Phillip Dent, if you keep doing that, you will go blind!"
Arthur winced. Definitely not that one!
He gritted his teeth. Try again...
His first trip to London. He musta' been around six...
"I know you've been into mischief, goodness knows. But if you get lost, if you need help," said his mum, pointing, "those blue boxes. Been set up so you can get help from the police. If anything goes wrong, you go to one of those." She knelt down in front of him. "They'll get us back together."
"Mummy," blubbered Arthur, pulling himself back to his feet. Blue box.
At the back of his mind, in the spare cells he'd built in drink resistance since Earth's demise, he sighed in resignation. He watched his hand grab the phone from it's cradle on the door, while his eyes scanned the glowing white letters.
POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX.
He had to admit, this matched up rather uncannily, despite being in an alley on an alien world.
"Hello? Hello?" Not even a dial tone.
Inwardly wincing, Arthur watched for what he was going to do next, and resolved to give a good verbal accounting.
He hammered at the door of the call box. "Officer, please! Let me in! Let me in!"
The door opened slightly and he fell through . "Oof!" he remarked. Floor quite hard. Marble? He looked up blearily, studying his hand. Bits of stone stuck to it. Bits of blood. He took another look across the floor. Broken tiles abou.. ab... lotsa broken tile.
Really, still bigger than it should be.
A tough-looking fellow looked around from what seemed to be the control center of the room. Really, if he was a policeman, he would have to be deep cover. Close-cropped hair, black leather, and a gaunt, dangerous look.
"What? How did you get in? What do you want?"
"I want to report a crime!" he said with great, if slurred, dignity. "My planet destroyed. Last of my race, well almost. Felony tea deprivation!" He glanced down at himself, then added, "Wardrobe destruction. Bathrobe's not great for respect, I tell you"
The fellow looked ready to take him up and eject him into deep space, then something seemed to register.
"Last of... oh, fantastic. Mixed time-lines again. Vogons?" Hard edges around eyes and mouth seemed to soften a bit.
His hand punched some controls on the central panels.
"Exactly!" Arthur sagged in relief, then grinned incredulously as something caught his eye. He pointed to a corner. "I do hope that's tea. Because, I will most definitely be drinking it."
"Yep, it's the real thing," said the jacketed fellow absently, as he pumped a handle and pushed buttons frantically. "Why don't you have a seat there and relax. I'll have you back to... somewhere presently." A howl resounded nearby, and the fellow winced. "Or maybe you should get under something."
Arthur found himself crouched behind a metal seating arrangement, klaxons going in his ears.
Oh well, he thought as he frantically tried to wedge himself against another chair, at least I have some proper tea this time. He gulped down another scalding mouthful as the room lurched again.