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Friday 12 July 2019


    A pair of steel doors slid open and three men in grey suits stepped into the grey cabinet filled warehouse of the archive. The doors closed and at the far end of the long aisle was a figure dressed in a brown smock.
    “Excuse me, you shouldn’t be in here you know” the man shouted.
    The three men started to walk towards the figure.
    “Who are you, what do you want?”
    The three men each drew their revolvers. As they drew closer they each fired their guns, and the figure dropped to the floor in a hail of bullets. Blood seeped from the wounds and flowed across the floor in tiny rivers, massing together in pools of red liquid. The three men set about looking for a particular filing cabinet and ransacking it when they found it. It was a thin blue file credited as highly confidential – eyes only. With the file obtained there was no reason to remain, and the last man to leave switched off the lights, and the pair of steels doors closed with a resounding clang.

    The silver grey Allouete helicopter approached the village, it circled twice before landing on the lawn by the sea wall. A white Mini-Moke taxi was waiting. A man dressed all in black stepped out of the cabin of the helicopter and down to the ground. He put on his black top hat, and he carried a black leather document case under his arm.
    In the Green Dome the grey ‘L’ shaped telephone began to bleep, No.2 picked it up.
    “Yes what is it?”
    It was the Supervisor in the Control Room “I thought you would like to know the helicopter has just arrived.”
    “Good, and the courier?”
    “He was met by a taxi and is on his way to the Town Hall” the Supervisor reported, watching the progress of the Mini-moke on the wall screen.
    “Very well….just a minute, not the Town Hall, have him brought to the Green Dome.”
    “The instructions are to admit him to the Committee room in the Town Hall” the Supervisor insisted.
    “Are you questioning my authority?”
    “No Number 2.”
    “Very well then, have the taxi driver bring her passenger to the Green Dome.”
    “Yes Number 2.”
    The Supervisor relayed No.2’s instructions to the taxi driver “The Committee isn’t going to like this” he told his assistant.
    “Thankfully that’s not our problem” No.60 replied.
    “Too right” agreed the Supervisor looking at his watch and announced it was time for their elevenses.
    The taxi passed the Town Hall and turned right at the top of the street.
    “I was told to report to the Committee in The Town Hall back there” the courier told the driver.
    “You heard the radio message sir, my instructions have been changed” the driver told her passenger “I’m to deliver you to Number 2 the Green Dome.”
    The taxi came to a stop at the steps leading up to the Green Dome.
    “We’ve arrived” the driver told her passenger.
    The passenger alighted “Up the steps?”
    “Yes sir, Number 2 will be waiting for you, be seeing you” the driver said.
    The taxi sped off leaving the courier standing in the street. A passing cyclist rang her bell ting-a-ling-a-ling. Curiously the bicycle had a tall canopy, which must have made the bicycle a little ungainly to ride.
    The Courier started to climb the steps as he looked at the imposing green domed building, well not so much green, as a turquoise colour. On the balcony he took a moment to look out over part of the village, people going about their daily lives, a little old lady emerged from the General store, he could hear a brass band playing. Turning he faced the large double archway, he stepped into the arch and facing the door pulled on the wrought iron bell pull. From somewhere a deep tolling of a bell, and the front door opened automatically with the sound of an electric hum. A diminutive butler dressed in black tails stood on the other side of the door inviting the man in black to step inside the foyer with the gesture of a hand. He did so, and the door closed behind him. The foyer was nicely decorated, a vase of flowers stood on a round table, and paintings of sailing vessels decorated the walls. The butler led the way passed a large fire place, a pair of french doors stood open, and beyond those a pair of steel doors opened at their approach.
    Both the butler and the courier stood in the open door way.
    “Ah there you are do come in and sit down” No.2 gesturing with a wave of his arm from a black globe chair.
    The courier walked down the ramp, crossed the floor and looked at the vacant black chair, he sat down.
    “You’ve had a long journey, would you like some tea, or coffee?”
    “No thank you, I have something to pass on to the Committee then I must be on my way” the courier informed the man in the chair.
    “If I can see the Committee…..”
    “Oh I see, no there’s no need, you can give the file to me” No.2 said holding out his hand.
    The courier felt reluctant to do so, after all he had been given his instructions.
    “Please, I am Number 2 Chairman of the village.”
    Reluctantly the courier opened his black leather document case and removed the thin blue file “If you are sure.”
    “I’m positive” No.2 told him.
    The courier stood up and approaching the grey curved desk handed over the file “Now if you could arrange for me to leave the village.”
    “Leave?” No.2 looked up as though surprised “Oh I’m sorry the helicopter has already left, and will not return until two tomorrow. It looks very much like you’ll be staying.”
    “You can’t keep me here.”
    “Oh I think I can.”
    “Why?” the courier demanded to know.
    “To bring me this file of course” No.2 said “You know this file is like the old empty barn.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “What’s the point in an empty file?”
    “To put things in, now let us begin to fill it out, name, time of your birth, age, what you were, what you want to be. What you like to read, to eat, loves, hates, family illnesses, politics, I want to know everything about you.”
    “You have been selected” Number 2 told him.
    “Because I have a problem and you are the solution. How do you feel about becoming the new Number 1?”
    “New Number 1?”
    “Mind you I only ask out of courtesy, you really don’t have any say in the matter.”
    “Then I’ll be the boss.”
    “In a manner of speaking….yes I suppose you will” No.2 said thoughtfully
    “Then I will be able to leave this place, just a minute…….what happened to the old Number 1?”
    “Why do you ask?”
    “Did he chuck the job in?”
    “In a way.”
    “In what way?”
    “He left the village.”
    “So you can leave!” said the courier eagerly.
    “He left somewhat involuntarily.”
    “How do you mean?”
    “He departed the village, and most probably this life, in a rocket. You see he had this desire to be the first man on the Moon.”
    “And me?”
    “Like your predecessor, your desire may very well be the death of you” No.2 said then asked “where do you desire to go?”
    The new No.1 was installed in his inner sanctum without ceremony, dressed in a white robe and black and white theatrical mask, because no-one was to see 1’s face. In fact he is to be completely isolated from the village and its entire community. His identity to be kept a closely guarded secret. He will be a kind of observer of village life, but never to be involved. A figurehead through whom instructions and orders are implemented. If he thinks he’s the boss, he is deluded, the “masters” back in London are the boss. They pull the strings and No.1 must dance to their tune. However he is No.2’s immediate superior, but has no pleasure in attaining the position of No.1, its lonely at the top being in command. What’s more there’s the village, and No.1 unable to enjoy any of its benefits, sealed away, isolated hoping his counterpart makes no attempt to escape or it will be all the worse for him!

Be seeing you

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