Chris McGowan (.net)


Someone commented on my episode 7 post that they almost wish I don’t see this final episode (by the way, thanks for reading, fellow Tumblr user!). Having just watched it, I understand why.

The great “Previously On…”

We get the facts again:

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Beyond the Neverending Valley (of Ellsworth and Umbrage)

A story in parts

By Chris McGowan

Part 12

Horses of all kind were well-taken care of in the Kingdom of Most High Ellsworth and Most Taken Umbrage. Yes, a lot were ridden by human beings, but that’s only because the horses (who can speak of course) agreed to it. Most horses, in fact, felt quite the superior species, since no human could even come close to their speed. Only a few of the large cats in the mountains and deep in the Valley could out-race them. Even most birds couldn’t really catch up to them, if given enough open area to get a good speed up and going.

Since horses were well-taken care of, they didn’t live in stables like those from Earth may recognize. Horses liked to roommate-up, so they usually would get some place that houses about 10-20 of them. Each horse would get a multi-room “apartment” with nice comfy beds, hay, plenty of water, and a full-time staff. They all lived there, got up in the morning and would go to work to be ridden around and whatnot, then come home and get taken care of by their human staff.

Think of it like the set-up on the TV show “Friends,” only with more hair and saddles.

Smileyface didn’t have a name for quite a few years. Once he got a name, it was given by his fellow horses. They thought it was funny that a grumpy, frowny-face horse might be called something cheery and happy. He never smiled.

Why? People and horses weren’t especially nice to Smileyface. He wasn’t a tiny horse, but he wasn’t big either. He was average size (maybe a bit below). But most armies and royal families wanted the finest horses that money can buy. Poor families or large communities employing a few horses would typically get the smaller horses, as they were cheaper and didn’t eat as much. Smileyface was smack dab in the middle. They often said he wasn’t even really a horse, but rather a pony. Or a donkey. That’s the worst kind of insult, to be called a donkey.

’Til that one amazing day. He had just turned 5.

“The King and Queen and Princess are coming today, oh my $%&%$!” Belarus neighed, galloping down the hallway, freaked out. Belarus was the lead horse of the house, but he always cracked under pressure like this. The royal family was coming to hire a horse for their daughter on her 14th birthday and apparently the horses had just received notice of this visit. Which was happening now.

Smileyface heard the commotion in the hallway & looked up from his bed. He had a ton of apple slices to nibble on, so he just went back to chillin.’

The head stable woman (a human) then banged on Smileyface’s door.

“Out you lazy bum!” she shouted.

“Renee!” Smileyface shouted back, annoyed. “They’re not gonna want me anyway and I JUST got served my friggin’ snack!”

“OUT!!” Renee shouted again. Smileyface sighed like the teenage horse he was (at 5, that’s basically teenage years for a horse). He pulled the door open with his mouth and relucantly walked went outside into the courtyard.

In the courtyard (they had a courtyard, but more like where you might have a swimming pool at a large kinda-creepy apartment complex), the King and Queen stood up high on a platform as their daughter, Linda, wandered around, looking at all the available horses.

“All of these are most fine and in splendid health, my King and Queen,” Renee said, deferentially, bowing lady-like, in a ridiculously large and fluffy white dress.

“I trust that is true, Madame,” the King replied. “Have you picked one yet, my dear?” he shouted to his daughter.

Smileyface was more than annoyed and was just waiting his time. He was thinking about those apple slices, but getting mad that they might start turning brown. They tasted the same, yeah, but he hated when they turned brown.

But then he caught the Fair Princess’s eye. There was a glee in her gaze. A joy and a sense of impishness he could relate to. But… nah. Not him. Apple slices.

“Him,” Fair Princess Linda shouted, pointing at the most average horse. That most average horse called Smileyface.

There was silence. Smileyface didn’t even realize she was pointing at him.

“That fella will be in for a real treat. I’m sure she’ll run him ragged,” Smileyface said slyly to a nearby horse. “Not to mention I heard the food at the Palace blows. Like, blows chunks.”

Renee covered her face in horror as the other horses backed away and made room for Linda.

“Tell you what, give me some apple slices and a belly rub once a week, that’s all I need. I don’t need any special treatment,” he said again to his buddy horse, who was backing away horrified. “What? What happened? Did I poop without realizing it again?”

“I can give you apples,” Linda said, standing right in front of Smileyface. Smileyface’s mouth dropped.

The Queen stood up. “Linda, my dear, are you sure that’s the horse you want? There are plenty of other choices here.”

“I told you, mother! After what you did to the Sniffing Hounds, I am no longer a Princess. I want to be the most average girl in the kingdom. I think that means I should get the most average horse.”

“Hey!” Smileyface said. “Says you!”

“Yeah, says me! You probably can’t even hold me on your back!” Linda said.

“Go ahead! Take a seat, little girl!” Smileyface sassed back. Linda triumphantly sat up on Smileyface, her face in a full grin. “Alley oop!” he then said, kicking up his front legs, so that the Princess flew off and into the dirt. She said something in a foreign language as she hit the ground.

Gasps. Epic gasps. Renee was whiter than her ridiculous dress.

“Guards, seize that horse!” the King shouted! Just as they moved in to do who-knows-what to Smileyface, there was laughter. Linda was laughing. She hadn’t laughed in so many years. She was beside herself. The Fair Princess was on her back, rolling around in dirt, and laughing.

“Nevermind,” the Queen said, tapping her husband on the hand. “That’ll be the one.”

Renee still looked unsure. “But surely, your majesty,” she began, but the King also nodded in assent. She then ran off to do the paperwork.

“Told ya I could carry you,” Smileyface said to Linda, and he cracked a smile too.


Day and night, Smileyface and Linda were buds. As the Princess grew up and learned about the nature of being royalty, she made sure to spend just as much time with her grumpy and surly horse. They traveled all over the palace and the town. They made other friends. He took her everywhere. They talked. He was sometimes allowed to sleep in the hallway outside her door. As much as the King and Queen didn’t quite approve of Smileyface, they could tell he had become their daughter’s closest friend.


One day, actually about 24 hours ago in their time…

“What shall we do today, Smileyface?” the Fair Princess asked.

“I dunno. Have you ever thought about checking out the Neverending Valley?” he replied, chomping on more apple slices in her room. She gave him a slight kick. “Ow!”

“You know we can’t go that way!” she replied back.

“You are the Princess. You can go wherever you want!” he said.

“There’s a tiny path people from the Palace go down, and that’s it. That’s where they found… that’s where they found the Sniffing Hounds.”

“Well there you go!” he said, slowly getting to his feet. “Don’t you want to see where they grew up? Where they came from?”

“I dunno, Smileyface,” the Princess said, playing with some cards and wooden figures.

“All right, we can stay here and do nothing,” he said with a Canadian accent.

“We can go for a little bit, eh!” Linda replied. She always enjoyed the accent game.

“Then let’s do it! I promise we’ll get you back before sundown so no one freaks out,” Smileyface said.


Linda gave him a hug.

“Yuck, feelings,” he said.

“Shut up.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Linda kicked open the door to Mary’s hut!

“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY FRIEND SMILEYFACE!” Linda shouted in a volume of voice that awoke every sleeping thing.

“Linda?” Smileyface said. “You’re covered in mud!”

“Good of you to join us,” Mary said, sweetly, as she brought a tray of lemonade to the table where Smileyface was laying next to.

“What’s going on here?” the Fair Princess said.

“Come, have a seat. We have much to discuss,” Mary said, grinning as she sipped from her glass.


(Seriously, the last part is next week. Thanks in advance if you read even just 1 word of this.)

Part 1 here:
Part 2 here:
Part 3 here:
Part 4 here:
Part 5 here:
Part 6 here:
Part 7 here:
Part 8 here:
Part 9 here:
Part 10 here:

Part 11 here:

dr who series 1 episode guide
  • episode 1: plastic mickey goes to town
  • episode 2: loose piece of skin causes turmoil while the earTH IS INCINERATED
  • episode 3: shit goes down in cardiff (and you know it will again)
  • episode 4/5: farting aliens try to take over the government and they would have gotten away with it if it hadnt been for you meddling kids and your vinegar
  • episode 6: an angry robot sticks a plunger into the internet and learns the meaning of love
  • episode 7: simon pegg is loose and dangerous
  • episode 8: langoliers level 2
  • episode 9/10: stevie moffat straps a gas mask to an 8 year old. every other 8 year old in existence learns what fear means
  • episode 11: dr who takes a leftover fart alien on a date
  • episode 12/13: anne robinson's true form is revealed and rose explodes like twice at least



Link (and on iTunes):

On Twitter @chatternoster 

* This week, the gang talks about our reactions to “Deep Breath” (*spoilers abound)

* We also pretend to be in a Doctor Who Fantasy Football-style league and draft our TARDIS team then explain what adventure we’d go on!  The final draft order is below (but only click if you don’t mind spoilers!!)

* We also talk to Brendan Patterson, who makes Doctor Who costumes, including an awesome Dalek we’ve used in doctorwholivela!  Pics below:






(*We’ll find more pics and add them this week!)

And here’s our final Draft results (click if you want to be spoiled, or listen first THEN click below):

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Last Saturday, Doctor Who Live had our regular improv show at iowest, then had a premiere party for the new season of Doctor Who!  Here are some pictures from the night!


Drink specials!!

imageCast members Lynn and Lexi as the Doctor and Donna (and photobombed).

And pics from the show!







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My name is Chris McGowan, LA-based and Chicago-born writer and actor.

I say things, write things and make things.

I pretend to be other people and create other worlds.

It's going to be all here.

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