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|Main setting:||Los Angeles, 1950s|
|Part of:||Short Trips: The Muses|
|Short Trips short stories|
|The Brain of Socrates||An Overture Too Early|
Mordieu was the third short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: The Muses. It was written by Tara Samms, a pseudonym used by Stephen Cole. It featured the Eighth Doctor and was set during the Eighth Doctor's period of amnesia within the BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures post-The Burning and pre-Escape Velocity.
It is Sunday morning. Bill is meeting with "John Smith" to discuss some ideas for television stories. John has some ideas but can't quite remember the details. Bill is drinking but isn't feeling very well. He feels like he has a lot of good ideas, and leaves for a meeting with Ray to discuss them.
By the time Bill meets with Ray, he has forgotten his ideas. He struggles to explain his ideas to Ray, but Ray brushes him off. Bill heads off to see his mistress, Susie.
At Susie's place, Bill finds that she is bleeding from her palms. He mentions "stigmata", but Susie doesn't know what that means, and he explains that it refers to the wounds of Christ. He takes her to the hospital, where it turns out several dozen people are experiencing the same symptoms. By the time Susie is seen, she has stopped bleeding, and the nurse recommends a priest.
When Bill gets home, his wife Cindy mentions the bleeding, which she saw on the news. Even though Bill saw it, he scoffs at what happened.
The next day, Bill meets with John at a restaurant. They discuss what happened to the people, who all live near John. John says that there were no examples of stigmata before the 13th century, which Bill finds hilarious. Bill starts to have chest pains and collapses.
John takes Bill in a taxi to Susie's place. He has determined that Bill is not suffering a heart attack. While Bill is resting, John explains to Susie that Bill is suffering from suffocation, which is the cause of death in those who have been crucified. Bill is suffering this much because he has Alzheimer's disease or something similar. Bill has only about three years to live. Susie decides that Bill would be better off with his wife.
John is alarmed to find that Bill overheard this conversation. Later, John wonders what caused the stigmata, thinking that some alien tried to communicate with humans.
- The Doctor uses his John Smith alias.
- The Doctor works as a freelance writer.
- The Doctor eats onion soup.
- The stories in Short Trips: The Muses are inspired by the Muses of Greek mythology. This story is based on Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy.