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Sunday 23 April 2017

The Therapy Zone

    Number 6 has escaped The Village by use of a sea-going raft. He struggles with gun runners, and is forced to jump overboard and swim for it, well that’s not the first time he’s had to do that. Then he’s washed ashore, at Beachy Head scales the cliff, and travels inland. He encounters a gypsy camp and it treated not only to a cup of tea or broth, but the first genuine act of kindness since his abduction to The Village.
    Eventually he returns to
London, and does a very stupid thing by leaping out the back of that Luton van and into the busy road of Park Lane. And just because he heard a police siren which is instinctive of an escaped prisoner to run away from the police! But Number 6 gets lucky, and isn’t run down by the passing traffic. He makes his way across London on foot, eventually arriving in Buckingham Place. On the doorstep of what used to be his home, he encounters Martha, a housemaid who looks down her nose that the raggedy man stood making the doorstep look untidy. And has no sympathy for this apparent vagrant! Mrs. Butterworth however is a different matter. She takes pity on this “exile,” and invites him into her home and leads him into the study. After a few moments Mrs. Butterworth  leaves Peter Smith, a name he adopted on the spur of the moment {well I think it was, even after 50 years it’s still uncertain either way, whether Peter Smith is his real name, or that he was simply unwilling to give even that piece of information away} alone in the study. After all that has happened to him since escaping The Village some 25 days ago, he’s still uncertain of his surroundings. Because standing there in that study that was once his own, he could still be in The Village. Perhaps his feeling of uncertainly stems from the fact that once before he was supposed to have returned to London, to find himself in an office he knew very well, only to discover that he had been in The Village all the time. So he looks for reassurances in order to convince him of place of being, the dialling tone of the telephone, the view from the window. The patch of dry rot behind the bureau which he had made good about 6 months ago, and the hot and cold taps of the shower which had been put on the wrong way round........I wonder if that’s how they were fitted to the shower in the bathroom back in his cottage in The Village?
    Mrs. Butterworth said he didn’t need to convince her, but it wasn’t for her benefit, it was Number 6 convincing himself. After all Number 2 and the administration of The Village are damned clever. Everything which had happened to Number 6, between his escaping The Village to arriving back to his former home, could all have been induced to take place purely in his subconscious, and as he stood there in the study he could still have been in The Village for all he knew. But then if it had been that way, what could they possibly have achieved, what did they achieve anyway, except for the teaching Number 6 another lesson! If only Number 6 or Peter Smith, had gone away and forgotten all about it, he might have finished as a free man! But then as the newly retired Number 2 said in ‘It’s Your Funeral,’ “They’ll find me eventually, wherever I go.”

Be seeing you

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