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Friday 22 September 2017

Time Enough

    You’ll talk, soon you’ll want to talk, because everyone talks in the end, it’s only a question of time.
    You’re not running out of time then?
    Do you take sugar?
    I could tell you, it’s in my file.
    I know it, but to save time, you no longer take sugar, on doctor’s orders?
    Oh I thought you were going to say something witty for a moment, something about being afraid of putting on weight, where upon I say something in kind about nor of being reduced.
    It’s been done.
    I thought it might.
    So are you going to talk?
    Are you going to pour out that tea before it stews?
    I could have unspeakable things done to you, you realize that don’t you?
    Torture, I’d have thought that would have been beneath you.
    Physical torture, mental torture. By the time I’m finished with you, you won’t know what month of the year it is, let alone what day, I can promise you that.
    And if I talk?
    You, you of all people talk?
    It’s what you want, you want to know all about me. Why I resigned.....
    We know why you resigned. We know what you wrote in that letter of resignation of yours.
    You don’t!
    We do.
    You have it?
    We don’t need it.
    The Colonel!
    Oh don’t blame him, it was you who gave yourself away, with a little help from us.
    {Number 2 took a sheet of paper from the Prisoner’s personal file}
    What have you there?
    Your letter of resignation.
    But you me.
    Is this your handwriting?
    You know that it
    Your fountain pen, or rather the one we substituted it for. Every time you wrote something down it automatically transmitted a handwritten copy to us, we have everything you have written down using that pen. A neat little gadget wouldn’t you agree?
    The wonders of modern science!
    So, are you going to be co-operative?
    Are you going to pour out that tea?
    You might as well, you’re going to be with us for a very long time.
    I’ll never be with you!
    Oh dear, I can see you are going to be difficult, Orlaff.
    {Number 2 pressed a button on the control panel of his desk, a round disc slid away in the floor revealing a dark hole through which rose a metal man}
    What’s that?
    An automaton.
    A robot.
    If you like.
    {The machine moved clumsily, yet with purpose towards the Prisoner who made a dash for the double steel doors, the doors failed to open}
    I wouldn’t if I were you.
   {The automaton drew near towards the Prisoner, up the ramp towards the doors, but it was slow and lumbering the Prisoner dodged easily out of its way, or so he thought. The automaton reached out, with a metal arm it hand gripped the Prisoner’s arm in a grip of steel}
    Now perhaps you’ll stop being foolish Number Three.
    Number what?
    Number Three.
    {The Prisoner found himself in a bear hug, he struggled but the more he struggled the tighter the automaton’s grip became}
    If you struggle too much it’s likely to squeeze the very life out of you.
    Perhaps if I wait long enough its clockwork will run down.
    Given time anything is possible, but it doesn’t run on clockwork, and unlike some of my predecessors I have all the time in the world. Now what about that tea?
    And a can of oil for Brassneck here!
    Be careful of your next witticism, it may be your last, oh the tea’s stewed!
Be seeing you

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