As No.9 arrived on the quayside she could see a day on the beach was out of the question, seeing as the tide was in, in fact the tide had not gone out for three whole days! Then she noticed the two motor mechanics working on a speed boat, she made her way to the slipway and approached the two men.
“Waterskiing miss?” the first mechanic asked “not sure about that.”
“Has she got a chit?” the second mechanic asked busy working on the engine.
“A what?” No.9 asked.
“A chit from No.2 authorising you to go swimming.”
“I had no idea I needed a chit” she told them.
“Well if you go and get the proper permit, me and my mate here will be more than happy to take you water skiing.”
They watched as the girl in the white bathing costume made her way back to the road.
“I didn’t know you needed a permit” No.251 said.
“Perhaps by the time she comes back, you’ll have that engine fixed.”
“A what?” No.2 asked.
No.22, his assistant simply stood and shrugged his shoulders.
“I was told” the girl began “by one of the motor mechanics that in order for me to go water skiing I would need a chit signed by you.”
No.2 shot 22 a disparaging glance “Well my dear that is quite correct” and he searched for a piece of paper “ah yes, here we are” he said producing a note pad. If you would do the honours 22.”
No.22 stepped forward and took the accepted note pad and pencil “How would you like the permit phrased Number 2?”
“I hereby give Number 8 permission to go water skiing, signed Number 2.”
“I hereby” No.22 said as he wrote “give Number 9 permission to go water skiing, signed Number 2” then tearing off the top sheet handed the permit to No.9.
No.9 accepted the permit then asked “Who do I give it to?”
No.22 looked puzzled “That’s a good question…..I suppose you had better give it to me” he said.
“There you are then, you see I like to obey the rules” she said handing back the permit to No.22
No.9 left the Green Dome, crossed the street, went down the steps and walked along the cobbled path. There was another set of steps just before the Pink pavilion, No.9 descended the steps until she stood at the foot of the waterfall, then made her way to the slipway.
“Look out, she’s back!” said one of the motor mechanics.
“So she is, come water skiing then miss?”
“She’s come water skiing, but has she got the permit?”
“Did Number 2 give you a permit to go water skiing?” asked the second motor mechanic.
“He authorised it, but it was his assistant Number 22 who wrote out the permit, although Number 2 signed it” she told them.
“Can we see the permit?”
“I gave it back to Number 22.”
The two motor mechanics looked at each other.
“Why did you do that?” asked the first motor mechanic.
“I asked who should I give it to, and 22 said I should give it to him.”
Again the motor mechanics looked at each other.
“I can’t help but think there’s a flaw in that somewhere” said the first mechanic.
“You should have brought the permit to us.”
“So that we can see you have a permit to go water skiing!”
“Well I don’t really care whether I go water skiing or not now!” she said.
“She said she doesn’t care whether or not she goes water skiing or not”
“I know, I heard!”
“I think I’ll go for a paddle in the free sea!”
“Yes I should, instead of bothering the likes of us, we’re busy you know, we’ve not got time to go water skiing, or paddling in the free sea!”
It was some little time later that No.9 found herself in the Piazza where a number of citizens were promenading; after all it was the place to be seen. There was a chap wearing a straw boater trying to paddle about in a small dingy, but with little success. No.9 laid a towel on a bench then walked casually across to the pool and fountain. She stood there for a moment or two looking into the water.
Two men sat on a nearby bench watching Number 9, she was attractive, tallish, with a trim figure, and auburn hair.
“What do you think she’s going to do Number 52?”
“Go for a paddle I expect 46.”
“She’s rather attractive don’t you think?”
“Yes rather, she’s just my type.”
“You don’t think……..”
“I don’t think what?”
“That she’s going to dive in do you?”
“Course not, anyone with an ounce of sense can see that’s the shallow end!”
No.9 moved along more towards the fountain still gazing into the water.
“She is you know, she’s going to dive or jump in!”
“She’ll do herself a mischief if she does!”
No.9 stepped up to the very edge of the pool, now other people stopped their promenading and watched the young woman. A woman stepped forward.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you miss, you’ll hurt yourself.”
But she wasn’t listening, and dived headfirst into the free sea, and was gone!
“What!” shouted No.2 into the yellow ‘L’ shaped intercom “She can’t be, it’s impossible!”
“But sir” said the Supervisor “there are witnesses to swear to the fact that Number 9 dived into the free sea.”
Two frogmen were duly sent to the Piazza, they stood on the edge of the pool looking into the water.
“This is daft, it’s impossible!” said one.
“Someone’s off their head” said the other
No.22 was close by keeping the situation under observation “Are you two ready?” he asked.
The two men in wetsuits looked quizzically at No.22.
“Look it’s as shallow as shallow can be” said the first.
“Why don’t you simply have the pool drained?” asked the other.
“Get your breathing apparatus on and get into the water” 22 ordered.
One of the frogmen turned and picked up an oxygen tank and strapped it on, his diving buddy did likewise.
“You know what?”
“Yes I think I do, we’re going to look a complete couple of idiots flapping about in the shallow water!”
“I couldn’t have put it better myself!”
Each diver dipped his face mask in the water, spat on it and put it on. Then tested their mouth pieces, and jumped into the water……………
Much to the two diver’s surprise the water was deeper than expected, and the deeper they dived the darker the water became. They switched on their torches and swam on, a little way ahead rock walls made a narrow underwater passageway, the divers looked at each other, both perplexed as to what had happened. Checking their air gauges they saw they had about twenty minutes of air left in their tanks, which meant they had five minutes before they had to turn back. They went on along the underwater passage way which eventually led them upwards, but by now they had passed the point of no return, with less than fifteen minutes of air left they swam on. Eventually they broke the surface of the water to find themselves in an underwater cavern. They shone their torches about the cavern, then lying on some rocks on the further side, was a body in a white bathing costume. The two frogmen emerged from the water, removed their air tanks and went to the body of the woman known as No.8, she was dead. Then two glowing spheres appeared, two amorphous membrane beings…..Guardians! The two frogmen stood perfectly still, then one made a sudden move for his air tank, one of the Guardians was on him before he reached it. He struggled against the thing that was trying to cover his face, he clawed at the membrane, he screamed, and screamed again as the membrane covered his face, his lungs bursting for air as he was slowly suffocated falling back on the sandy floor of the cavern……dead! The second frogman took his chance and dived into the water, the two Guardians returned to the dark depths of the underwater cavern. It was some two days later, and the good citizens in their brightly coloured clothes were promenading in the Piazza. When suddenly there came a large water spout, and the body of the frogman shot up and floated in the free sea. An ambulance was called for, and the body taken to the hospital, the man had drowned. During the ensuing days the pool of the free sea was drained, there was no sign of a hole or any other portal through which three people could disappear. The base of the pool was solid concrete, and just to make sure, another two inches of solid concrete were added. No-One goes paddling in the free sea any more, however the ex-Admiral and his flag officer can be seen sailing their plastic boats in the water. Despite the fact that a small Guardian has been known to make an appearance via the fountain from time to time.
Be seeing you