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Saturday 17 May 2014

Prismatic Reflection

    As with all good stories, they begin with the opening of a book. This one has a picture of an ordinary looking English village. In the foreground there is a sturdy fruit tree and the bright green grass of the village green. Upon the green a cricket match is taking place. Everything appears to be quite normal, a typical English scene and yet………
    Spectators sitting around on the grass, on blankets laid out on the ground, in deckchairs, applaud the batsmen at the wicket, Colonel Hawke-Englishe, who has just scored four runs. A man wearing a double breasted blazer and grey trousers puts up the score on the scoreboard. Then turning to his cricket bag takes out a pair of binoculars, at the same time moving a pair of cricket pads to cover up a rifle! Then using the binoculars the man scans the scene, including a rather attractive young blonde woman wearing a broad brimmed white hat, white dress, holding a parasol, sitting in a deckchair, showing an attractive pair of legs. Then he turns his attention to the Colonel who is still at the wicket, and gives Potter a sly wink.
    Colonel Hawke-Englishe looks to be an eccentric man, with bushy moustache. He steadies himself ready to face the delivery of the next ball. The young woman rises out of the deckchair and makes her way the edge of the green. The bowler makes his run-up and to the raucous applause of the spectators, hits the ball beyond the boundary. It’s a six, and Potter puts up the Colonel’s score on the scoreboard. A fielder goes to fetch the ball, but in only a few moments the young woman has exchanged that cricket ball for one of her own, the fielder does not know this. He finds the ball, picks it up, and throws it to the bowler who catches it, and prepares for his next delivery. The Colonel stands at the crease, he is just one run short of his century. The spectators watch with keen anticipation, as does Potter by the scoreboard. The bowler makes his run up and delivers the ball, the batsman strikes the ball with his bat and there is an explosion!
    A busy street, the Prisoner is dressed in a two piece charcoal grey suit, and a three quarter length rain coat, sporting a cream cap and suede shoes. A newspaper bulletin board reads ‘Colonel Hawke-English murdered at cricket match, one short of his century.’ He carries with him a furled umbrella, pausing to read the newspaper headline. Then he folds the newspaper and puts it under his arm, as he approaches a shoeshine stand.
   “Busy Potter?”
   “Its our form of Siberia” Potter tells him.
   “What was the Colonel up to?”
   Doctor Schnipps, a crazy scientist. For the passed twenty-six years he’s been building a super rocket to destroy London.
    Well that was what Colonel was about to find out. Potter feigns cleaning the suede shoes. Suddenly a light begins to flash on the shoeshine box, and a bleeping sound is heard. Ridiculous! Potter answers the radio call, the ear and mouthpiece of the radio is in one of the shoe brushes.
   “Where do I start?”
   “You’re to go to the Magnum record shop, booth seven, the chief will speak to the you there.” Potter instructs him.
   “Chin up Potter” quips Mr X.
   “It was so unsporting.”
   “It certainly wasn’t cricket” returns the Prisoner holding out a pound note.
   Leaving Potter to his next customer, who is wearing the muddiest pair of shoes you arte likely to see along any town main street, the Prisoner fails to notice the manikin in a shop window move as he passes by. It’s the girl who was at the cricket match!
    Having entered the Magnum Record shop Mr X flashes his gold tie at the assistant behind the counter, who hands him a record. Then with record in hand Mr X crosses the shop to booth seven. Inside he places the record onto the turntable, and the stylus onto the edge of the record which begins to play. But it is not music Mr X hears, but a voice, a voice who will give Mr X instructions.
    “Mission, find and destroy Professor Shnipps rocket. There’s little help I can give you I’m afraid. The opposition has been one step ahead all along” the voices tells the listener.
   “Thanks very much!”
   “What was that?”
   “Standard disguise, take over from where the Colonel left off.”
   {What’s this, Mission Impossible!}
   Mr X does as he is instructed, and finds himself taking part in a cricket match. He stands at the crease of the wicket, wearing cricket whites, a brown and yellow striped cap, false moustache, and bushy sideburns. Spectators sit on the grass, blankets laid out on the ground, or in deckchairs watching the game, as does a very attractive girl dressed all in white.
    The bowler delivers the next ball which Mr X strikes with the bat and scores a run. The bowler tries again, making his run up, he bowls the ball, and the batsman strikes the ball sending passed the boundary. A fielder chases the ball, but before he can get to it, a hand exchanges the ball for another. The fielder finds the ball in the grass and throws it back to the bowler, who catches it with arm held aloft. He then paces out his long run up, rubbing the cricket ball on his sleeve. Then he begins his run up. The girl in white stands by a tree watching. The batsman, who is one run short of his century watches the bowler with a keen eye. The bowler delivers the ball, but instead of striking the ball with his bat, the batsman catches the ball and throws it towards the boundary of trees and bushes, where the cricket ball explodes on impact, much to the astonishment of the spectators.
   Mr X runs from the wicket to where the cricket ball had exploded. Draped over a twig is a handkerchief, upon which, written in lipstick are the words “Let’s meet again - at your local pub.”
    Mr X arrives at The Mops and Brooms hotel and restaurant, he parks his car and goes inside and enters the public bar.
   “The usual sir?” asks the barmaid.
   “Please Doris” he replies, and goes to hang his raincoat upon a hat stand, before sitting on a stool and handing Doris a pound note, the pint of beer now on the bar before him.
   Mr X picks up his pint, and as he quietly sips it, he glances around at the other customers in the bar, wondering which one of them he is there to meet. They are all ordinary enough, and so he goes on enjoying his pint of beer, that is until he sees some writing etched on the bottom of his glass. He pauses his drinking before continuing, and the more of the brown liquid he drinks, the more of the message on the bottom of the glass is revealed, until the glass is empty revealing the whole of the message.
   “Same again sir?” the barmaid offers.
   “No thank you, one of those is quite enough!” Mr X says rising from his stool and placing the empty glass on the bar “Brandy” he orders, downing the drink in one. To be followed by whisky, vodka, drambuie, tia maria, cointreau, grand marnier. Mr X stands at the bar a few moments, neatly placing the empty glass in a row on the bar, until the full effect of the cocktail of drinks begins to take hold. His next stop is the toilets. Passing him on his way in, is the girl, now dressed in a large white broad brimmed hat, PVC raincoat, and smoking a cigarette in very long cigarette holder, on her way out!
   We can imagine the scene for ourselves, Mr X has been in the gentlemen’s toilet, with his head in the bowl being physically sick! After washing up he feels as rough as hell, but it would seem that the chase is still on. For written on the hand towel “Upset tummy try Benny’s Turkish baths around the corner.”
    Once again wearing his standard disguise, Mr X is sat sweating it out in a steam box, his eyes closed while he hums to himself. From another steam box the girl, now wearing a short white coat and sou’wester, picks up a broom and pushes the long handle through the handles of Mr X’s steam box, effectively securing him inside. Then she quickly places a large glass bowl over his head before leaving the sauna.
   Mr X opens his eyes just in time to see the girl’s legs leaving the sauna room, to realise that she has trapped in the steam box. And yet with a few pushes from within the box, the pair of doors spring open snapping the broom handle in half. Still fully dressed in deerstalker, and checked dog coat, Mr X goes over to the other steam box and reads the message left for him on one of the inside panels of the doors.
   “Barney’s boxing booth. PS who would be a goldfish?”
   So it’s off to the funfair which is in full swing. There is a photographer lying on the floor taking photographs of a very attractive young woman dressed all in white. Mr X makes his way to Barney’s boxing booth, as he walks around the ring, the unconscious body of a boxer is just being carried away! Mr X takes a ringside seat.
    The referee makes an announcement for the next fight. He introduces for the first time in this country at two hundred and ten pounds the Polish giant Killer Kaminski. And the Killer steps into the ring wearing a black leotard, to both cheers and boos from the spectators. The referee then calls for a round of applause as he introduces the Killer’s opponent, a gallant and courageous opponent who has undertaken to go three rounds with the Killer. A man of mystery in the front row….Mister X! The audience applauds as two men stand up and help Mr X to his feet, and off with his dogtooth Ulster coat, before climbing into the ring and taking off his jacket, and sitting down on a stool in his corner. His second straps on a pair of gloves for Mr X, as an old woman wearing a black, passes by outside the ring, pats his arm wishing the young man good luck.
   “Killer Kaminski, Mister X” announces the referee gesturing to the two men to join him in the middle of the ring.
   “Now I want a good clean fight, no kicking, butting, or gouging except in moderation and when I say break, break, don’t forget eh. Now go back to your corners” the referee tells them.
    Mr X turns and feels a hand laid on his shoulder, he turns and the referee removes his sunglasses!
   “Seconds out round one” announces the time keeper.
   The two boxers come out of their corners and close-in on one another, their guard’s up as punches are thrown at body and face.
   “Take it easy sorr will you” says the Killer in an Irish accent “me’ face is me fortune, you might knock it back into shape!”
   The referee steps between the two boxers and orders them to break. The Killer hits his opponent, sending him reeling back onto the ropes, but comes back at the Killer who gets his opponent in a clinch. The spectators are urging both boxers on.
   “You’ve got to go to the tunnel of love” Killer tells him, again in his Irish accent.
   “The what?”
   “The tunnel of love” says the Killer receiving a punch to his solar plexus, and returning the punch.
   “Who gave you the message?”
   “A lady.”
   Exchanging blows.
   “Who was she?”
   Exchanging punches.
   “I don’t know.”
   “Who was she?”
   “Didn’t I tell you I don’t know” responds the killer punching his opponent twice.
   Mr X pushes off the Killer who rears up at his opponent much to the shouting of the crowd, and moves in for the kill.
   “The tunnel of love!” says the Killer delivering a knockout punch!
   Later Mr X is sitting in a boat in the tunnel of love. The cavern walls are adorned with white masks, and standing in an alcove as Mr X drifts gently by in his boat, is the distinctive figure of the girl dressed in white.
   “Hello, no don’t turn round I have you covered” the girl begins “the tunnel of love is very fitting, because I am beginning to love you, in my way. All my life I’ve been looking for a worthy opponent, you have passed my first little tests brilliantly. You will be hearing from me again, auf wiedersehen” the girl says laughing.
   Mr X turns round to find a small transistor radio on the back seat of the boat. He picks it up, hears the girl’s laughter, and casually tosses the radio into the water, upon which the radio explodes in a cascade of water!
   Outside in the funfair Mr X begins searching for the elusive girl, dressed all in white. He sees her on the roller coaster. He climbs aboard one of the cars, but then finds himself alone at the top of the ride and looking down sees the girl waving up at him on the ground below! From the carousel the girl blows him a kiss. He mounts the carousel but the girl has gone. He then catches sight of her through the crowd and gives chase. Following her, Mr X sees the girl on the caterpillar ride and jumps into the seat beside her. The green cover of the caterpillar then covers those taking the ride. When the ride comes to a stop, the green cowling rolls back, as the girl stands mocking Mr X from the pay booth. For Mr X, receives a slap in the face from a young girl who is identically dressed as the girl he has been pursuing, who had been sitting next to him on the ride.
   After that brief mix up Mr X is soon on the trail once more. His beautiful quarry now aboard the roller coaster, and so leaping aboard himself, there can be no mistake this time. As the ride begins Mr X begins to climb over the empty cars one by one, between himself and the girl. The cars climb up high, then round, and plummet down at great speed, and around the bends. All this time the girl in white is posing, an arm raised high, and a sheer white veil blowing in the wind. As the cars hurtle along on the roller coaster, there is but one empty car between Mr X and the girl, he climbs into that empty car. He is about to finally lay his hands on the girl in white. But just as he’s about to, the girl looks at him, she is not the girl he’s after! Then up pops the photographer in the same car as the girl.
   “Here what’s your game Sherlock Holmes? I’ll spread your nose all over your face. I’ll punch you up and down this fairground. You’ll never pick up your teeth with a broken arm, I’ll tear off your leg and I’ll beat you over the head with it!” shrieks the photographer.
    On the ground the laughing sailor finds this hilarious “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.” And again looking down at the ground Mr X sees the girl he is chasing looking up at him.
   Back on the ground the girl in white stands by a small roundabout ride. Her hands raised stretching out her white sheer veil. This time he would have her, there can be no mistake this time, and so Mr X closes in on his prey, his arms held out wide. Then suddenly the photographer jumps off the rotating roundabout ride, and Mr X beats a hasty retreat. Foiled again! But this time it is the girl who the photographer kisses, then reels backwards in passionate delight.
   The girl then runs away with Mr X close on her heels. There are two cars parked in the fairground. Standing by the soft top convertible ’E’ type Jaguar, the girl now wearing a PVC raincoat dons a white crash helmet, and getting behind the wheel of the car drives away. Mr X is close behind. He tries to stop the girl, but is left sprawling on the ground. Picking himself up he divests himself of his disguise and climbs behind the wheel of the Lotus Elan, and drives after the girl.
   The chase is on, and it proceeds along a duel carriageway, before turning off along a deserted country road. Supremely confident, the girl gives the man chasing in the car behind a wave of her hand. Mr X bows to her from behind the wheel of his car. The girl picks up a chrome microphone and speaks into it, her voice coming from the radio in Mr X’s car.
    “I love you madly and I love the way your hair curls on the back of your neck. You’ll make a beautiful corpse.”
    Mr X switches radio stations but it makes no difference, all he hears is the voice of the girl.
    “I’m going to do you the honour of letting you die superbly.”
    Mr X grits his teeth and changes gear. The girl looks back at him over her shoulder, and stretches out an arm and points a finger at him. Then she makes a circling motion with the finger, which has the effect on Mr X as though he and his car are swaying this way then that, then spinning a full three hundred and sixty degrees. Making the driver increasingly dizzy and the car increasingly difficult to drive and keep on the road. The girl then stops her magic and picks up the microphone once more.
   “But not yet darling, there’s more to come!”
   Having driven along country roads, the ‘E’ type Jaguar goes round a bend in the road, then onto the forecourt of the ‘White Hart’ public house, then out again back up the road just travelled. Mr X drives passed the ’White Hart’ pub, and has to reverse onto the forecourt in order to turn round to continue the car chase, which continues up and down the country lanes.  Then there is a sign post pointing the way to Witchwood, the girl turns right taking the road, Mr X follows, to arrive in the main street of Witchwood.
    Mr X stops his car and gets out slowly. Witchwood is deserted, in fact it looks like an abandoned village, and there is no sign of the girl. There are however three shops, the butcher-Brendon Bull, the baker-David Dough, and the candlestick maker-Leonard Snuffit. Then comes the voice of the girl loud and clear over the village.
    “I’m glad you came, this is to be our last tryst. You may not see my face, but you may know my name, my name is Death!”
    Mr X walks up and down the street contemplating his next move.
    “I’m sorry my father could not be here to greet you, but he’s busy with his rocket. Beside he did not wish to play gooseberry. You are a born survivor, I am a born killer, we were made for each other.”
    On the end wall of the butchers shop Mr X sees the loudspeaker.
    “But I fear this is where your luck runs out.”
    Mr X stands before the three shops.
    “With my love.”
    Mr X lowers his shoulder, ready to charge the door of the butchers shop, but hesitates for a second.
    “Come, come inside my darling” the girl urges.
    Mr X rushes forward putting his shoulder to the door which gives way, and he is sent sprawling on the dusty floor of the dilapidated shop. Crouching down he peers through wooden slats into the next room. Pushing the door open a Bren machine gun automatically opens fire. The machine gun is mounted on a tripod, and there is an electronic eye, the beam of which when broken automatically operated the machine gun. Bullets spray the wall and through the open door, Mr X crawls keeping his head down below the depression of the gun. He makes it into the next shop, and covering the electronic eye with a hand he silences the gun, and dismantles it from it’s tripod. Now with Bren gun in hand Mr X has a weapon to fight with.
    “Is your heart pounding, your hand shaking?” the girls voice asks “that’s love my darling. My father was a great man, but the war ended before he was recognised. But when London lies in ruins he will be a god.”
    Mr X aims the gun at the wooden slats and fires the weapon. Bullets ricochet, splinters of wood fly in the air. He sees a shadowy figure and fires sending bullets into the chest of the figure of a dummy made from an old sack, with a jacket and balloon for a head, which busts with a loud bang giving Mr X a shock. He rushes forward into the next room with a look of anger on his face. Suddenly a trapdoor in the floor opens and Mr X falls through, only to be saved by the Bren gun lying across the square hole, and which he grips for grin death. For beneath him is a bed of steel spikes, although these have the added touch of being electrified! As Mr X is left dangling there, the bed of spikes begin to rise up towards him. He draws up his knees as far as he can, raising his legs to give himself a little more time. But he’s only delaying the inevitable, and he’ll soon get the point!
    But Mr X is a resilient man, as he tries to keep his legs up as far as he can, he sees a wooden tray just within reach. He grabs the tray pulling it towards him, and lets it drop through the hole onto the steel spikes which effectively insulates him from being electrocuted. So standing on the wooden tray he raises the Bren gun again.
   “Ingenious, nobody’s thought of that before! You really are the most entertaining lover.”
    He cocks the machine gun and opens fire on the loudspeaker, a hail of bullets tearing into it, destroying it in a cloud of smoke.
    Then from another loudspeaker “That was ill mannered and dangerous. I might not have been able to warn you that the rest of the floor is mined. Very small, but very sensitive and quite deadly.”
    Laying down the machine gun Mr X picks up half a brick and hurls it a few feet in front of him, at the same time he ducks down, and a mine explodes. A cloud of smoke and dust fills the room.
    “Oh I almost forgot. They will all explode anyway in ninety seconds” the girl tells him.
    There is a pipe running overhead disappearing into the next shop. Jumping up he finds the pipe is hot, but hand over hand he makes his way along the pipe until he’s close enough to swing on the pipe, propelling himself forward, letting go of the pipe sending himself crashing through the rotten wooden slats into the next shop just as all the mines in the bakers shop explode.
    Mr X has been through the butchers and the bakers, now he’s in the candlestick makers, only he never made candles like these. In the shop there are a multitude of candles of every size. As the candles burn the wax melts and gives off cyanide gas! Every candle in the shop is breathing poison into the air. Mr X makes a sudden dash for the door, but a solid steel shutter comes down closing the door. It is the same with the only window, sealed by a steel shutter. It makes for perfect double glazing, as it keeps out the noise, and yet keeps out the air too!
   Beginning to choke, Mr X makes to blow out one of the candles. Only as the girl points out, if the candles are blown out, they explode! So to test this, he takes a long candle snuffer, and snuffs out one of the candles of a candelabra suspended from the ceiling, it explodes, taking the top of the candle snuffer with it. And that was just one of the little ones! In anger he throws the wooden stick away. It would seem that Mr X’s luck has run out. But the girl is glad it’s to be this way, as she has got to know him, and she hates quick farewells.
   But Mr X is not to be undone in this fashion, he can yet outsmart death. He paces back and forth looking for an advantage. He sees a large pair of bellows propped up in a fireplace. This gives him an idea. Quickly he selects a number of candelabras and begins to position them up against the steel shutter of the door. As he continues this, the girl, through a loudspeaker notes that she has noticed mice get irrational in just the same way when they know they are going to die. “This village in the past, when a great man was dying, they sounded the death knell. I think that was a charming idea.” And so from the Bell Tower the death knell is sounded. As for Mr X, having placed a good many candles in front of the steel shutter of the door, gets the pair of bellows, and taking cover behind the shop counter, he pumps the bellows. The jet of air snuffs out all the candles and they explode simultaneously, taking out the shutter and allowing the escape of Mr X into the street. Only to find himself under heavy machine gun fire from the Bell Tower!
   Mr X takes cover in the Blacksmiths forge, slamming the large wooden doors closed behind him. All of a sudden the girl realises that she doesn’t want to kill him any more. He was the best, if she kills him what would be left for her? Life would be a bore!
   There is a large caterpillar loader in the large Blacksmiths forge. He delicately turns the ignition key, and the engine turns over. But before the engine fires into life he quickly turns it off. The girl suggests that he join her and her father. They could have a wonderful life together, he would be a constant challenge for her. Yes, everyday would be another test of survival as the girl would try and kill him the moment he woke up! By the by, the girl is still manning the Maxim heavy machine gun situated at the top of the Bell Tower!
   “Come and join me in the Bell Tower what do you say darling. Don’t let silly pride stand in your way.”
   Mr X looks up at the Bell Tower and sees the girl at the Maxim machine gun. Well who is he to disappoint a girl? Starting the caterpillar loader, he backs it out of the Blacksmiths, breaking the door down in the process. The girl opens fire, bullets ricochet off the steel work and the raised bucket as the caterpillar is driven down the street towards the Bell Tower. Mr X keeps pulling the three different drive handles, steering the caterpillar this way and that in order to keep the raised bucket in line of the shooting from the Bell tower. Suddenly the hail of bullets stops. Instead the girl throws German stick grenades at the caterpillar loader. The grenades explode all around. One grenade explodes beneath the caterpillar knocking out the gear box. Mr X pulls on the three control levers, but the gears just grind, the caterpillar is finished. The girl then takes a German mortar launcher, which she loads and prepares to fire. Mr X looks up at the Bell Tower.
   “Bye bye lover!” the girl pulls the trigger and launches the mortar which blows the caterpillar to pieces, reducing it to so much scrap!
    Up in the Bell Tower the girl powders her nose from a Mary Quant powder compact before leaving the Bell Tower. She inspects the burning wreckage of the caterpillar loader, as she walks passed, and out of the village of Witchwood.   
    Suddenly when all is clear, the cover of a manhole in the road begins to move, is pushed clear and out climbs Mr X! He follows the girl into the countryside, to a field where there is a helicopter. He girl climbs into the perspex cabin and starts the engine. The rotor blades begin to turn slowly, then faster and faster until the helicopter begins to lift off the ground. Just then Mr X emerges from some nearby bushes and runs towards the helicopter as it lifts off the ground. He grabs hold of a steel strut and pulls himself aboard the helicopter, and settles himself down as best he can. Sitting on the strut and holding on for dear life by the engine, unbeknown to the girl.

    The flight of the helicopter is coming to an end as it descends to a field which looks to be the same one it took off from! When the helicopter is just a few feet off the ground Mr X jumps off and runs across the field and hides in some bushes. The girl gets out of the helicopter and walks across the field followed by Mr X who is hot on her heels before losing sight of the girl as she passes over a hill, and amid a group of boulders, beyond which are the chalky cliffs of Beachy Head. And below, just off the coast the iconic red and white striped lighthouse.
   Returning to the boulders Mr X discovers a hidden entrance to a cave, it would seem the chase is still on! He makes his way along a dimly lit passage way which opens into a large well lit cavern. There is an impressive bank of electrical cabinets and switch gear equipment. To his left a row of bunk beds, and a large column of rock adorned with photographs of Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine. Suddenly there is a figure descending a steel ladder, dressed in French Napoleonic uniform. The man is humming “Danny Boy” to himself in an Irish accent. Crossing to a gramophone he places the needle onto a record, after which Mr X knocks the man out. Then taking up the song himself “Tis you, tis you must bide and I must go, but come ye back when summers in the meadow” he divests the unconscious man of his military jacket, which he puts on over his suit, and dons the hat.
    In a higher level of the lighthouse, the Control Room is decked out with all manner of control panels, and there is a table with a map of London. And standing to attention are six Napoleonic French Marshals all dressed alike in military uniform, as is Professor Shcnipps as Napoleon Bonaparte, with the girl as Josephine. As Napoleon walks along the line of men, he notices that they all have their right hand tucked into the tunic, just as Napoleon does. He rushes back along the line taking each mans hand out of their tunics.
    “Everybody’s doing it now” he tells his daughter who is busy powdering her nose “Are you sure you killed him?”
    “Father, who taught me?” says the girl.
    “You’re a girl after my own heart. If only your mother could see you now.”
    The girl wants her father to tell her about Josephine’s last cavalry charge, but there’s no time. For in one hours time London will lie entirely in ruins! Mean while Mr X in busy in the armoury, having overpowered a guard there. He has a number of rifles which he is dismantling, and a number of bullets taken from an ammunition box. He reassembles each rifle, loading them so that the weapons will fire backwards!  While in the Control Room Napoleon is still addressing his men.
    “And of course as I was saying there will be no more Trafalgar Square, it will be Napoleon Square. And my er little girl here will be taking over Bond Street, and you my lucky lads can have…….Chelsea Barracks!” {Just a minute, how does that work if London is lying entirely in ruins, the man’s as mad as a hatter!}
    The girl is delighted, but the Marshal’s are muttering about it under their breath. Ungrateful swine! And yet to the Scottish Marshal who is keen on soccer, well he can have Wembley Stadium.
    “What a great day for the Nationalists” says the Welsh Marshal.
    But where is the Irish Marshal O’Rourke? Apparently he’s down in the armoury, but what on earth does he do down there? But O’Rourke is unconscious, by courtesy of Mr X who even now busies himself with reversing the German stick grenades. As it happens one of the Marshals is descending the spiral staircase and sees the man wearing a French tunic but not the correct trousers and boots. The Marshal creeps up on the figure, but is detected at the last moment and is knocked out by a blow on his head.
    In the Control Room Professor Shnipps is working at a control panel, setting the countdown for his rocket, then announcing that the countdown has started. But not without the final touch by the girl, drawing his attention to the fact that the guidance system wasn’t armed. So with the countdown started in a few minutes they will all transfer to the boat. But first Marshal O’Rourke must be found, and all the Marshal’s are ordered to find him. But a more bungling group of men you are not likely to see. It’s total confusion as the Marshals get in each others way as they try to descend the spiral staircase.
    “It’s Waterloo all over again!”
    After sorting themselves out the Marshals finally descend the spiral staircase to the armoury where Mr X is still working on the German Stick grenades. He’s asked if he’s seen O’Rourke, he says he hasn’t. Another Marshal asks what’s going on, Mr X tells him he doesn’t know, and that is when the fight begins. But none of the incompetent Marshals are a match for Mr X, who eventually flees through an open door, down a steel ladder on the outside of the lighthouse. The Marshals pick themselves up, then arming themselves they position themselves in the doorway as Mr X crosses the square base of the lighthouse to take his stand before the firing squad, who aim at the man below…..they fire their rifles, which shoot backwards killing all the Marshals instantly!
     Mr X climbs the steel ladder back up the lighthouse, then mounts the spiral staircase, but nearing the top he is met by the girl pointing a pistol at him.
    “This one won’t fire backwards darling!”
    The girl is now dressed in a white woollen trouser suit with matching hat. Mr X is sitting in a seat, securely tied with rope that will hold an elephant, Mr X must remember that the next time he goes climbing with one! But for Mr X there will be no next time. As the girl is going to give him the most original death in history, he’s going for a rocket ride.
    “Oh the rocket, that reminds me, where is it?”
    “It is here” grins Professor Schnipps with pride.
    “All around you” replies Schnipps with enthusiasm.
    “All around us?”
    “The lighthouse is the rocket” exclaim Mr X and Schnipps in unison.
    “You’ve guessed! I say, you’re not the Duke of Wellington are you? Well I expect you’re surprised to see me, don’t you think it’s clever? Aren’t I an extraordinary man?”
    The girl goes on to explain that they are in the nose cone, so that when the rocket reaches London he’ll be the first to know. Won’t that be exciting?
    “I’ll just go to pieces!”
   A red warning light flashes, it’s now time to go aboard the boat. All that remains is to fire the rocket, the ah lighthouse, when Schnipps and his daughter get out to sea.
   “Bon voyage darling, remember me when you hit town” bids the girl as she and her father leave the Control Room.
    An alarm sounds, together with a flashing red danger light. A sign reads “When red light is flashing it is strictly forbidden to enter the upper chamber.”
    The countdown clock reads two minutes. Secured in his seat Mr X struggles against the rope securing him. In the armoury Schnipps and his daughter hurriedly cram briefcases with files. These are the history of the project, files and papers that Professor Schnipps must take with him. While in the Control room Mr X pauses in his struggle against his bonds, then he slowly eases off the seats headrest and in so doing releases himself from the rope holding him. He then sets about sabotaging the countdown sequence, tampering with buttons and switches. Smoke soon begins to appear through air vents of the control panel. Hurriedly Mr X grabs the mountaineering rope and scampers up a steel ladder into the upper level of the lighthouse. Outside on the gantry he ties one end of the rope to the iron railings, while throwing the other end over the top. And using the rope he scales down the outside of the lighthouse to the bottom.
    Inside the lighthouse Schnipps and his daughter struggle to finish packing the files and paper into the briefcases.
    “Darling” Schnipps tells his daughter “I’ve always taught you to be calm and methodical.”
    Finally they are ready to leave. But in the doorway Schnipps stops.
   “What’s the matter?” asks the girl.
   “I’ve forgot to turn the gas off!”
   “Oh father!!!!!” the girl says exasperated by her father.
    As they begin to climb out of the lighthouse to descend the iron steps, they see Mr X running into the boat. They must stop him! Racing back into the armoury they select two German stick grenades, then rush back to the open doorway from where they throw the grenade heads, retaining the sticks in their hands. The grenades heads fall harmlessly at the feet of Mr X in the boat, while the girl and Schnipps stare at the sticks they hold in their hands, with the sudden realisation of what has happened. Mr X revs the engine of the boat and speeds away from the lighthouse. As for the girl and Professor Schnipps, like the lighthouse, their hopes and dreams, along with themselves, are blown away in the explosion.
    With that the Village story book is closed, and that is how the Prisoner-Number 6 saved London from a mad scientist! The two boys and one girl want Number 6 to tell them more stories. But no more tonight, as it’s way passed their bed time. But as Number 6 puts the three children to bed in the nursery, they ask him if he will come again tomorrow.
    “Oh please come tomorrow” chant the three children together.
    “Shhhh, we’ll see” says Number 6 putting his finger to his lips “I’ll come tomorrow, I don’t think I have any other important appointments.”
    In his office Number 2 sits in his black spherical chair, while his assistant Number 10 stands leaning on the Penny Farthing bicycle watching Number 6 putting the three children to bed in the nursery on the wall screen.
    “He might have dropped his guard with children” says Number 2 in his frustration as he turns and rises out of the chair “he might have given something away.”
    “Well it was worth a try Number Two” says Number 10, as though the remark is supposed to be of some consolation.
   “He told them………a blessed fairytale! That one wouldn’t drop his guard with his own grandmother!” barks Number 2 pointing to the wall screen with the point of his umbrella shooting stick.
   On the wall screen Number 6, while still in the nursery, looks directly into the camera lens “Goodnight children……everywhere.”
  Finally, before departing the nursery Number 6 picks up a toy clown and places that in front of the camera, seemingly in a symbolic gesture.

Be seeing you, and to quote Uncle Mac, “Goodnight children, everywhere.”

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