The loud tumult of a busy Cardiff shopping centre was made to feel insignificant as the roar of time reshaping itself tore through the air; a gust of wind flew outwards from an insignificant spot in a shopping centre, where a 1960s police 'phone box faded into the world, each particle of its existence barging aside whatever matter got in its way, unfortunately blocking off the entrance to a branch of HMV. The last verse of Pink Floyd's "Time" blasted out behind the box as the door opened, and an expectant-looking ginger woman stepped out, tailed by a tall, skinny man in a pinstripe suit and converses, just pulling on a long, brown trench coat. The woman looked around, brightening up with a plan looming in her eyes, and turned to her companion.
"Is there a New Look here, d'you reckon?"
"Probably," he responded, tilting his head on one side whilst looking around the area himself; "best way to find out's to have a look." He turned back to her with a frustrated frown, his face slightly screwed up as if squinting. "Will there be an electronics store or a hardware store of some sort?" he was met with a stony silence, a sarcastic stare and a raised eyebrow. "Thought not." He looked at his watch, more out of habit than point, as it read half past six, which was a blatant lie. "Back here for twoish?" A crowd of confused shoppers was piling up behind the TARDIS, as there's only so long you can stay in HMV. "By then the TARDIS'll be refuelled and we'll be able to go to Noyashaftah, if you like." This fell on confused ears. "Like New Look, only about the size of…" he totted it up in his head; "Mercury."
Donna lifted her eyebrow again. "How would you know when it's twoish? You don't even know what day it is!"
"Yes I do!" the Doctor retorted, looking hurt. Donna's face remained sceptical, so he smiled and effortlessly raised one leg so that his foot was at eye-level, without so much as bending his knee; he gave his trouser leg a tug, revealing a black sock with the word "Tuesday" sewn onto the side in bold, green letters.
"What… the hell do you want a sock saying "Tuesday" on it for?" she uttered in bewilderment. The Doctor didn't move anything but his head, tilting it to one side and giving her a confused look.
"So I know it's Tuesday."
"Yeah, but what if it's not Tuesday?"
"But it is Tuesday."
"Yeah, but how do you know it's Tuesday?" The Doctor looked at her with exasperation, then lifted a finger to point at his ankle.
"Because it says so, on my sock," he explained calmly. He dropped his foot triumphantly and grinned, but his companion now just looked annoyed and quite angry. He let the grin drop and clicked his teeth. He sighed, reaching inside his jacket and pulling out a little black plastic wallet. He waved it in her face.
"You understand that this is a blank piece of paper which displays to the viewer exactly what the user wants it to?" Donna nodded slowly. He dumped the wallet back inside his jacket and lifted his leg again to display his sock.
"In the same way, this sock is just a plain black sock." He dropped his foot again, expectance resting on his brow as he awaited her response.
For a while there wasn't one, leaving the two of them in what would have been silence if it hadn't been for the confused inhabitants of HMV trying to push the TARDIS out of the doorway with little or no success. Then, Donna breathed in to reply.
"So you think it's Tuesday…" Anticipating the rest of the sentence, the Doctor put his head in his hand and rubbed his eyes, "so your sock displays what you want it to, in this case Tuesday, making everyone who looks at your ankle think it's Tuesday." He took his hand away from his face and replied, after a while:
"No." Donna nodded, none the wiser but willing to appear so if it made this go any faster. "It is Tuesday. This sock knows that. It adjusts to display the relative weekday wherever and whenever I go. This used to do the same," he continued, lifting his wrist to exhibit his misguided watch, "in an odd kind of way – not psychically, it actually moved the hands – but it's a bit dead now. Which brings us neatly back to electronics stores, where I need to go for more bits for this." He tapped the watch-face solemnly. "Because let's face it, what's the point of a Time-Lord who doesn't know what time it is? Twoish, did we say?" there was a pause as Donna's brain hurried to keep up and, having done so, she replied "Twoish." She thumbed over her shoulder with a smile and said simply: "New Look." She turned on her heel and began to walk off, blinking back confusion. The Doctor just shook his head sadly and set off for the exit. I don't know, he thought; people these days. Don't even know what chronopathics are. What are they teaching them in schools? Cold fusion, still? Yet?
He stepped into the street, blinking in the sunlight, rounded the corner and was gone, blissfully unaware of the failing escape attempts of the HMV shoppers, who would just have to cope until about twoish.