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Monday 23 November 2015

The Broken Lava lamp

    Thomas sat watching an episode of his favourite television series ‘the Prisoner’,’ the prisoner who was at that moment standing in the Piazza amongst people in brightly coloured clothes who were promenading around the pool and fountain.
   “Beautiful day” greeted a couple as they passed by.

   “They didn’t settle for ages” announced Number 2 through his megaphone “now they wouldn’t leave for the world.”
    “You mean you brought them round to your way of thinking” replied the Prisoner.
    “They had a choice. Wait, wait…………be still!” Number 2 ordered
    A small white balloon suddenly appears in the waterspout of the fountain. The Prisoner tries to take a step forward, but finds he’s rooted to the spot. The white balloon disappears for a second, before reappearing, but much larger, on top of the Gloriette. Then a young man wearing a striped jersey, a corduroy hat, and sporting a pair of sunglasses is standing in the pool. Who then runs out of the pool, arms stretched out wide, and spins around. Number 2 orders him to stop, but his words fall on deaf ears, the young man’s behaviour is erratic. He appears to give the impression of dashing about without actually doing so. Then the sound of a blood curdling roar fills the air, along with a high pitched whine. The white amorphous Guardian leaves the top of the Gloriette and floats down towards the young man, who falls backwards onto a flowerbed, and the Guardian is on him in an instant. The membrane of the Guardian covering the man’s face, smothering him either into unconsciousness, or to death!
   Sitting there alone in his room, something caught Thomas’ eye, it was the lit Lava Lamp perched on a bookshelf, the red wax in a state of perpetual motion in the heated oil of the lamp. He studied the globules of wax for a few moments, globules of different sizes rising and sinking in the oil, at times mixed with long streaks of wax. Sometimes when two globules collided they merged, while others divided into two. It seemed to have a calming, an almost mesmerising effect on Thomas, who then turned his attention back to the television and sat enjoying the rest of the episode. It wasn’t long before the Prisoner was attempting to escape The Village by Mini-Moke, in a Village taxi. Having dealt with the two men in the Moke, the Prisoner now behind the wheel of the vehicle speeds off along the beach. But then in the distance, appears the white membranic, amorphous mass of the Guardian. The Prisoner drives straight towards the Guardian, it’s almost as though he cannot believe what he’s seeing. The Mini-Moke and the Guardian collide, and the Prisoner falls out of the taxi. Sprawling on the sand the Prisoner gets to his feet, and lays into the Guardian with his fists. But the Guardian cannot be beaten, because its best defence is to offer no resistance. The Prisoner then falls backwards onto the sand and the Guardian is upon him in an instant, covering its prey with its membrane, suffocating the Prisoner into unconsciousness.
   Later Number 6 having been handed the opportunity for escape, attempts to do so by helicopter. But it’s a trick, and Number 6 the victim in a demonstration to show that escape from The Village is not possible. As the helicopter is landed back on the lawn by the sea wall, Number 2 tells Cobb that he thinks he’ll let Number 6 keep the watch, the Electro Pass, just as a reminder that escape is not possible. And so as the Guardian rounds up Number 6 at the Old People’s Home, the Butler reminding us that The Village is for residents only, and with the slamming of the steel bars preventing the looming face of the Prisoner from escape, the episode comes to an end. The closing credits as the canopied Penny Farthing builds up, and at the end, and the birth of the Guardian as it emerges out of the sea and skims away across the waves. Thomas ejected the DVD disc and replaced it back into its case, switching off both the player, television, together with the Lava lamp leaving the globules of wax to cool and descend to the bottom of the glass bottle, as he retired to bed.

    The next evening Nadia and Number 6 were all at sea in a desperate attempt to escape The Village. Nadia had persuaded Number 6 that she knew the location of The Village, having seen a file but for a few seconds only. So now Number 6 could calculate where he was sailing to, because he knew where he was sailing from!
    With just two miles to go, just around the next headland in fact, the kraken is released from its confinement at the bottom of the sea, and having risen up to the surface the white membranic Guardian skims away at speed across the waves.
   “That’s it” Nadia suddenly shouts pointing to the cliffs “see the cave?”
   The cave where Karel, or rather Post five is waiting, watching with a pair of binoculars. He sees the approaching Guardian in the distance, and reaches for a high powered rifle. Meanwhile the sail of their boat catches a crosswind from the rocks. Nadia looks back and to her horror sees the fast approaching Guardian emitting its blood curdling roar.

   In the lit Lava lamp on the book shelf the red globules rise and sink perpetually in the hot oil. One globule absorbs others until it’s the largest of them all, and presses itself against the glass for a moment until it sinks to the bottom of the glass to rise up gain as a long streak.

   “Look!” Nadia shouts.
   “Swim for it” Number 6 tells her.
   Both of them jump out of the boat and into the water in an attempt to escape the clutches of the Guardian which is hell bent on preventing their escape.
   Karel, or rather Post 5 opens fire upon the Guardian. Five shots ring out, but the Guardian is hit only three times, but even though it’s impervious to the bullets, it’s halted in its progress, and remains just off-shore. This while Number 6 and Nadia make it to dry land, and the cave beyond in the cliffs where Karel/Post 5 is waiting to meet them.
    Of course Number 6 has been tricked, far from having escaped and on the first leg to London, he and Nadia have barely left The Village! But if it wasn’t for the fact that Post 5 had his wrist watch set at English time, when it should have been set at Polish time, the plan to extract the reason behind the Prisoner’s resignation might well have succeeded. But at least this time the blame could not be laid at Number 2’s feet, as he had little or nothing to do with it, except to oversee that Number 6 and Nadia managed to escape The Village unhindered.
    With the closing of the end credits Thomas ejected the DVD disc and replaces it back into its case, switching off both the player, television, together with the Lava lamp leaving the globules of wax to cool and descend to the bottom of the glass bottle, as Thomas retired to bed.

    The following night is virtually Guardian free seeing as the episode watched is ‘A B and C,’ save for its appearance at the end of the closing credits. After which Thomas ejected the DVD disc and replaces it back into its case, switching off both the player, television, together with the Lava lamp leaving the globules of wax to cool and descend to the bottom of the glass bottle, as Thomas retired to bed.

   On the fourth night Thomas again sits in his armchair watching Number 6 standing for election as the new Number 6. His election promise is to maintain the security of the citizens, but that they enjoy themselves, and they will. They can partake of the most hazardous sports, and they will whether they like it or not. Where do the citizens desire to go? What has been their dream? Number 6 can supply it, winter, spring, summer or fall, they can all be theirs at any time. Apply to Number 6 and it will be easier and better. But perhaps not better for Number 6, because even in the middle of his election campaign he attempts to escape The Village by Jetboat, while Number 2 give chase in the helicopter.
   “You were doing so well, now you’re simply being foolish” Number 2 informs Number 6 from the tannoy of the helicopter “It won’t get you anywhere you know, go back before its too late. Go back before it’s too late.”
   But Number 6 persists, and goes on, the jetboat ploughing through the waves.
   Number 2 picks up a red ‘L’ shaped telephone “Southern perimeter alert.”
   And from the Control room the Guardian is released from its underground confinement at the bottom of the sea.
   While the Supervisor advises Number 2 by telephone that the Guardian is “Now approaching.”
   The white amorphous mass of the Guardian rises up through the water, then bursts through to the surface. Number 6 carries on steering the jetboat away from The Village and out to sea, while Number 2 flies the helicopter back to The Village. What follows is rather like what happened on land that time in ‘Arrival’ when the Prisoner was attempting to escape The Village in a Mini-Moke. But this time Number 6 doesn’t steer the boat straight at the fast approaching Guardian, he tries to steer around it. But the helm will not respond, and Number 6 has to quickly abandon the boat, only to find himself foundering in the water and at the mercy of the Guardian. But it shows no mercy, instead it half suffocates and half drowns Number 6, until two small Guardians arrive on the scene in order to help take the Prisoner back to shore.
   At that moment in the Lava lamp perched on the bookshelf, three globules of red wax merge, then other globules merge, until only one large red globule remains, which then begins to expand, putting pressure on its glass containment area. And then quite suddenly, and  without warning, the glass vessel of the Lava Lamp shatters showering splinters of glass and hot oil all over the room.
   Thomas leapt up out of his armchair in startled surprise. Shards of glass were everywhere, oil dripped down the walls and soaked into the carpet. He switched off the Lava Lamp, cutting off the light from the hot bulb. Thomas swore. Then he went into the kitchen to get cloths and dustpan and brush, while on the television screen Number 6 is rushed to the hospital in a Red Cross trailer towed by a Mini-moke, and the Guardian is returned to the place of its confinement at the bottom of the sea.
   Mopping up operations proved difficult for Thomas, trying to sweep up all the splinters of glass, wiping the oil from the walls left messy streaks, and he cleaned up the carpet as best he could, but it was ruined! But where was the wax, the wax contained in the Lava lamp? There was a long red waxy smear on the carpet leading behind the television set, Thomas went to look. It was not there. Instead the red streak of wax led from out behind the television across the room, and under the coffee table. From there it was but a short distance to the skirting board and up the wall to the ceiling. Looking up Thomas saw the large red mass of molten wax had attached itself to the ceiling light. He stared at it for several moments, examining it, wondering how it had managed to get up there in the first place. Suddenly the room was filled with a familiar sound, a blood curdling roar. On the television screen the Guardian was skimming across the waves of the sea It was at that same moment when the large red mass of wax dropped from the light fitting onto the head of Thomas Barlow. Fingers clutched at the molten wax that covered his face as in his desperation he tried to pull it off. But rather than molten wax, it felt more like a thin membrane that had cut off the air. He clawed at it with his fingers but could not get a grip. Thomas fell backwards onto the carpet, the life being suffocated out of him.
   The mass of red wax oozed its way out of the lounge and into the hallway seeking escape from its confinement. Along the hallway, it arrived at the door of the flat. Set in bottom of the door was a cat flap, for the Guardian it meant freedom and escape.

Be seeing you
© David A. Stimpson

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