I asked “What are we doing here?”
“Why, don’t you like it here?”
It was okay I thought, quiet enough, secluded, a little out
of season in late October. It had been raining, it had rained yesterday, and
the day before that. It’ll probably rain tomorrow, when didn’t it rain in North Wales? It was the mountains I suppose.
I sat at the window looking out. There was no-one much
about, and yet there was this figure standing on top of the stone Bandstand, he
was…..he was staring right back at me! The rain stopped, I said I was going out
for a walk. The voice from the kitchen said lunch would be in half an hour. I
replied that I wouldn’t be long.
I walked down the wooden steps and stood gazing into the
water of the pool and at the fish swimming about. Then there was a splash and I
saw to men in the water, they were fighting. Two other men in greyish overalls
got into the water and hauled the other two off and marched them away.
“Disgraceful behaviour” said one woman.
“Shouldn’t be allowed” said her companion.
“It isn’t” said the other, and together they continued their
I noticed that there was something lying on the grass. I
walked over and picked it up. It was a white disc, about two inches in
circumference. On one side was a pin. On the other a Penny Farthing bicycle
with a canopy and a red numeral in the penny wheel, 42.
“What you got there?” a man asked.
“I just found it” I said holding out the badge, and noticed
that the man was wearing the same badge, but with a different number.
“What’s your number?” the man asked me.
“I haven’t got a number” I replied.
“I can see that.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“You’re not wearing a badge. Dropped off did it? You had
better pin that badge on. You don’t want to be going about here wearing no
I pinned the badge onto the lapel of my jacket.
“That’s better lad. Now no-one would think you were not one
“One of us? Where is this place?”
“You know where you are, you’re in The Village.”
“The Village? But that’s not possible!”
Just at that moment two burly set men in red jerseys came
along and manhandled Forty-two into the back of a taxi, and was driven off.
Eventually the taxi pulled up at the bottom of a set of steps. Forty-two was
then manhandled out of the taxi and up the steps to the Green Dome. Through the
opening front door, into and through the foyer where a diminutive man in black
tails bowed. Then through a pair of open French doors, and the pair of opening
steel doors, and into the domed chamber, and pushed roughly into a leather
chair. A lean man wearing a plain double breasted blazer and grey flannel
trousers sat in a black spherical chair behind a curved desk.
“Look Forty-Two, we’ve had just about enough of you. I have
had just about enough of you. If you’re not ready to talk we’ll make you, I
shall see to it personally that you talk.”
“Look I’m not Number Forty-Two. This badge, I found it lying
in the grass, I picked it up and pinned it on.”
“Why did you do that?”
“There was this old man…….”
“I’m not interested in the old man. I’m interested in you
“Look I don’t know what’s going on here, I came here for a
holiday. Now something’s happened………….”
“You came here for a holiday, that’s a good one!”
“You can’t hold me here, I’ve done nothing wrong.”
“Of course you have Forty-two, otherwise you wouldn’t be
here, we’re all Prisoners!”
“I am not a prisoner, I am a free man!”
Suddenly he was no longer in the domed chamber. He stood in
what had been the foyer. But which was now a plain room, with paintings set
along the walls, and picture card filled racks.
“Are you alright?” the sales assistant asked.
He went running outside onto the balcony, then down the steps,
across the street and into the cobbled square. Looking up at the Green Dome, he
saw that it was brown!
“There you are Timothy” said a woman’s voice “what have you
“Nothing, I was just…….”
“Well never mind. Look what I’ve bought you, they sell them
there in that shop over there. I know how much of a fan of the series you are.
Timothy took the gift out of the brown paper bag, it was a
‘T’ shirt with the design of a Penny Farthing with a canopy. Two words
blazoned across it ‘the Prisoner.’ He put the ‘T’ shirt back in the paper bag,
and dropped it into a litter bin!
“Let’s go and listen to the Brass Band concert dear.”
At the concert a middle aged woman,
wearing a red trilby hat, and colourful striped cape came and sat next to me.
“I want to help.”
“I know a way out” she said.
I was taken aback, this couldn’t be
right. I glanced around for the cameras. The woman opened the book she was
“In here you have only so much time to give them what they
want before they…take it from you. Can you fly a helicopter?”
“Do I look as though I can fly a helicopter?”
“Pity” said Number 9 getting up out her deckchair and
walking away, I must have the wrong man!” and hurried away.
“Where are you going?” I shouted after her. I knew of course, but
followed her anyway and watching from the top of the steps, as Number 9 made
her way to the Green Dome. The dome was green again. Well I say green it was
more of a turquoise colour.
“Who was that you were talking to?”
“No-one really dear. Who‘s anyone here?” I couldn’t believe
I had just said that. All I could think about was Saturday, when we would be
leaving this Italianate village called Portmeirion. Once I’d swept the dust
from this place, wild horses wouldn’t drag me back!
My wife passed me my jacket, and went back to the Brass Band
concert. Later that day Sofia
and I sat together by the pool and fountain in the Piazza, while a gentleman
took our picture together.
Be seeing you