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Monday, 30 June 2014

The Comfy Chair!


    Tt’s another beautiful day in The Village. Everyone is having a good time on the beach. Sunbathing, playing beach ball, paddling in the water. It’s just like being on holiday at the seaside, Margate, Clacton, Brighton, or Southend-on-Sea. They even provide bathing tents, and over there there’s a beach kiosk that sells, well everything for the beach. You know, I might have an ice cream in a moment.
   Village Announcement: “Good afternoon everyone, good afternoon. The ice cream flavour of the day is chocolate.”  That’s lucky, because I like chocolate. What’s more they do their very best to keep the citizens here entertained, there’s the regular Brass Band concerts, the human chess matches. For the athletic types there’s the gymnasium, target shooting, fencing, work -out exercises, boxing, oh yes and some strange oriental sport called Kosho!!! The Recreation Hall also provides the Exhibition of Arts and Crafts, I made a copper teaspoon. There was an exhibition of mime and entertainment the other day, tomorrow there’s a Folk Music concert. And the local Council keeps coming up with exciting new competitions, seascapes, landscapes, escapes…..no, I shouldn’t have used that word. They don’t like that word here, as there is no escape. And even if there was, where is there to escape to?
   I like to sit and watch, watch the gardeners working in the flower borders. Oh look, there Mrs and Mrs Eighty-three. “Good day to you both.”
  “Beautiful day.”
  “It is that. Be seeing you.”
   A lovely couple, they say there’ve been here for years, now they wouldn’t leave The Village for the world. Probably because they are too old, and settled in their ways. The world outside will have changed, and having been here for what……the past twenty, thirty years, and they will not have changed with it. Village is best for them, Village is best for me. It’s alright for that Number 6, going about chopping down trees, carving boats out of tree trunks, building sea-going rafts. Thinking of nothing but escape! But where’s it got him I ask you? Nowhere but here. Someone told me that Number 6 managed to escape, made what we called in the war when someone escaped a prisoner of war camp and made it all the way back to blighty, a “home run.”  Escapees would send a postcard to the camp, to confirm they had got away. Number 6 never sent a postcard, he did better than that, he came back! Couldn’t keep away could he? No sooner than had he got away he was missing The Village so much, he simply couldn’t get back quick enough!
   Do you know, well obviously you don’t, but I was down at the Old People’s Home the other day, taking tea. I got talking with this old chap, said he’d once been a Number 2. He handed me a letter and asked if I would post it in the extra Blue Zone in the post for him. He told me that one day he’d had the opportunity to get away from The Village. I asked him why he didn’t take it. He said something about it not mattering where he went, they would catch up with him sooner or later. So why not save himself the grief of having to keep looking over his shoulder every five minutes. Having to keep moving on, not even daring to think of going home. Not when he could live here in quiet in The Village. Village is best for him!
    I watched someone once, from the top of the cliffs, he was trying to escape. He was making for the far side of the estuary, perhaps a bit further. I wondered if he was going to make it, heading for the hills on the far side I shouldn’t wonder. Then it came, that white mass of the Village Guardian. It came rolling and bounding across the beach, emitting that blood curdling roar. Well not really a roar, more of a mixture of a roar with added Gregorian chant, and the sound of someone breathing through an aqua lung for effect. I remember seeing the man look back over his shoulder, that’s when he saw the Guardian getting closer towards him. That’s when he began to run! I could see the sand was soft and yielding, making running slow and difficult. Suddenly the man tripped and fell, just when the Guardian was just a few feet away. It was on the man in an instant as he tried to get to his feet. The Guardian seemed to give a roar of victory. I heard the man scream, and scream again as the white membrane began to cover his face. I saw the white membrane turn to a pink hue. I also saw the man fall to the sand, his body white, as though all the blood in his body had been drained away!
   They say Number 2 is a very charming man, well not the one who dealt with me, wasn’t. Come to think of it Number 2 wasn’t even a man. She wanted to know all about me, asked me what my date of birth was, well I saw no harm in telling her. And as we talked on, I suddenly realised just how little I actually knew! I think it was the comfy chair that did it for me. Number 2 interviewed me in her office, she asked me to sit down in the “Comfy chair!” Its an interrogation technique. Basically you sit the subject down in a low comfy and easy chair with a light shining into their eyes. The interrogator’s seat is behind a desk, with a window behind it. Well I don’t recall a window, but the effect was still very much the same! It’s the same with speakers in
Hyde Park who stand on soap boxes, or the preacher preaching from his pulpit to the audience below him.
    Here in The Village it’s all about wearing the prisoner down, even to induce a state of hypnosis by the use of lights, and mirrors. There’s the “treat em rough” technique. Make the subject stand for hours, and so eager does the subject become to end the ordeal that the subject talks and sometimes for hours at a time! But why the comfy chair? Well that’s the “treat em  smooth” method, where the comfy chair is employed on the principle that a relaxed subject is more ready to talk than one who is physically tense. And so I talked!
   These days I’m left alone to live out my life here in the peaceful atmosphere of The Village. No-one bothers about a man who had so little to give, but even then they took it, probably filed it away somewhere. In fact they did me a favour in having brought me to The Village, after all I couldn’t think of a better place to hide.
  “Come on young man, your move.”
   “Right-ho Admiral. I think I’d like some tea. Would you like some tea Admiral?”
   Number 66 nodded, a hand was waved and a waiter came walking over.
    “Pot of tea for two” I said, making the first move, pawn to Queen four.


Be seeing you

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