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Tuesday 11 February 2020

Tales From The Village

    It’s not easy living here in the village, especially when you volunteered and when you arrive its nothing like what you expected. Oh it’s pleasant enough on the surface, something like a holiday resort, people on the beach enjoying themselves, sunbathing, playing beach ball and the like. That’s when I got the notion of sending a message to the outside world. I didn’t mind who found the message, just as long as it was taken to someone in authority. I strolled about the village trying to come up with a way to send the message. I first hit on the idea of using a pigeon, but how far would it go, and if the pigeons were by any chance homing pigeons, well they were already home! Then one day down on the beach I saw the ex-Admiral and someone else sailing two plastic boats in the water. This made me stop and think, I had intended sealing the missive in a watertight polythene bag and attach it to an open upside down umbrella which I would set in the water, and it would look as though it had blown away in the wind, and then slowly drift away on the tide hardly noticed. But a plastic boat would be far better, so I purchased one from the kiosk on the beach. I spent time over the next two or three days sailing the plastic boat in the Free Sea in the Piazza, so that the Observers would get used to seeing me with the plastic boat. The ex-Admiral took an interest which was good as it gave me a certain kudos, especially when I joined the Admiral and who he was pleased to call his Flag officer, sailing our plastic boats in the gullies of water left by the tide on the beach. People became used to seeing us sailing our boats, as I’m sure did the Observers, and that was the main thing.
    Then the day came and I needed to write the message to someone in the outside world in complete privacy. My cottage was impossible, there might even be a camera in the bathroom. Nowhere public, the woods then, maybe not. The Observers might not be able hear you in the woods, but they can still see you. I know, the cave set in the cliffs of the cove! I gathered paper and pencil, the clear polythene bag, and the blue and white plastic boat then set off through the village, down onto the quayside and onto the beach, with my boat stuck under my arm. What could be more natural than for No.35 to be on the beach about to sail his boat?
    As luck would have it there was no-one in the cove, and I made straight for the mouth of the cave, which was little more than a slit really. Just inside I crouched down, took out my identity card, together with the sheet of paper and began to write my message which began “To whoever may find this……… I had managed to rough out a rudimentary map of the village placing it on an estuary, although I didn’t know what sea it was, I was able to give the points of the compass. Then I sealed the message and map together with my identity card in the polythene bag. Then I removed the white superstructure of the plastic boat, placed the polythene bag inside and fixed the superstructure back onto the blue hull. Leaving the cave I checked that there was still no-one about, then walked across the sand to the waters edge and threw the boat into the water, and stood watching the boat bob about on the waves knowing the tide would carry it out to sea. I stood there watching the small boat in the water, then slowly made my way back along the beach to the village.
   In the control room an Observer sat at her monitor making a sweep of the beach via a surveillance camera on the look out for any unusual activity.
   “Supervisor” said the Observer looking up from her monitor.
   “Yes what is it?”
   “Number 35 is on the beach, and he isn’t carrying his blue and white plastic boat.”
    “What of it?”
    “Well as you know he’s never seen without it.”
    “Let’s have him on the screen, put up camera 5.”
    The large wall screen suddenly pictured the scene of the beach, citizens paddling in the water, playing beach ball, building sandcastles, or simply sunbathing. And there he was, No.35 striding along, then his attention was attracted by the Ex-Admiral who was waving to him.
    “Sound” said the Supervisor.
    “Not sailing your boat today?” asked the ex-Admiral.
    “No not today.”
    “Well join us, my Flag officer and I have constructed a TEWT {a tactical exercise without troops} of a French sea port which was attacked in World Ward Two by a Destroyer.”
    The Supervisor picked up the grey ‘L’ shaped intercom.
    In his office No.2 was reading a report from the works department on the reconstruction of a cottage, when the yellow ‘L’ shaped intercom began to bleep. He leaned forward in his black spherical chair and picked it up.
   “Yes what is it?”
   “Supervisor here sir, I think you ought to know something, Number 35 is without his blue and white plastic boat, which he sails on an almost daily basis.”
    “What of it?”
    “Well that’s just it, he’s hardly ever without it.”
    “And you think what?”
    “I think he’s sailed it for the last time.”
    “You mean the boat sank.”
    “No sir, I think its gone sailing on a long voyage!”
    “Then alert M. S. Polotska, and let them make a search for this vessel.”
    The Supervisor pressed the button on the bottom of the intercom to clear the call, then made another.
    “Calling M. S. Polotska, calling M. S. Polotska are you receiving me over……”
    On board the motor ship Polotska the two man crew were just having lunch when the radio suddenly burst into life.
    “Calling M. S. Polotska, calling M. S. Polotska are you receiving me over……”
    “Oh what do they want now, I’ve just made beans on toast with a side portion of corned beef for our lunch” Gunter grumbled pouring out the tea.
    “I’ll have to answer” Ernst said and picked up the microphone “M. S. Polotska receiving over.”
    “This is the Supervisor calling, this is the Supervisor calling, I want you and your crew to keep watch for a blue and white boat which put out to sea a few minutes ago, over.”
    “What is it, someone stole one of the jet boats again?”
    “Tell him we’re having our lunch!”
    “No, this is a small plastic vessel about a foot or so long…….”
    Ernst looked at Gunter “The man’s off his head!”
    “Did you receive that over?”
    “Yes, M. S. Polotska out. Pull up the anchor, we’ll search inshore first.”
    No.35 was sat at a table on the patio at the café when a Mini-Moke pulled up and two burly set guardians got out and approached him.
    “Number 2 wants to see you” 256 said.
    “What does he want to see me for?”
    “You’ll find out” said the other.
    Citizens sat looking, probably thankful that it wasn’t any of them they came for.
    The two guardians manhandled No.35 into the Mini-Moke and drove off to the Green Dome.
    The pair of steel doors closed and No.35 sat in a black leather chair looking across the grey curved desk.
    “Thank you for coming along quietly” No.2 said.
    “I didn’t exactly come along quietly as you put it; I wasn’t given any choice in the matter!”
    “Well you’re here now. I think you will recognize this” No.2 said producing the blue and white plastic boat from under his desk.
    No.35 looked at it and said nothing.
    “The curious thing about this little ship is it was carrying a cargo of sorts, including your own identity card” No.2 sat reading the message again “You intended sending this message to someone, anyone somewhere who would find it and then what? Well I can’t say as I blame you for trying, but I doubt anyone would actually be able to find the village using this somewhat rudimentary map of yours.
    “If found I expected the message to be passed on to someone in authority” 35 said.
    “Did you….did you. Well as you can see the plastic boat was found, and the message brought to someone in authority….me!” No.2 crumpled up both the message and the map and threw them in the wastepaper basket. Picking up the identity card he leaned over the desk offering it to its owner.
    No.35 stood up and approached the desk taking hold of his identity card.
    No.2 kept hold of the card “I think your sailing days are over…don’t you 35?” then released his grip.

Be seeing you

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