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Monday 20 April 2020

Tales From The Village

      “Don’t bring that wet in here!”
    “Sorry sir, I can’t help it, it’s raining outside.”
    “That’s no excuse!”
    No.22 rolled up his wet umbrella and handed it to the bald-headed diminutive butler who stood beside him in the open doorway. The butler took hold of the wet umbrella and rolled his eyes then turned and went back to the foyer where he dropped said umbrella on the floor. No.22, a tall fair-haired man stepped down the ramp, the pair of steel doors closing firmly behind him.
    No.2 sat watching the wall screen and the rain pouring down outside.
    “Fine weather for ducks” 22 remarked “We’ve had to cancel the regular brass band concert today.”
    On the wall screen they could see the paths and roads on the village had been turned into rivers by the torrential rain. The pool in the Piazza was overflowing. No-one was promenading, the café had no customers, the gardeners were in the workshop drinking tea. 
    “I like this weather” No.2 remarked.
    “You do sir?”
    “It makes our job that much easier, it keeps the citizens in their cottages.”
    “No-one would attempt an escape in this weather.”
    “I didn’t mean that. People out and about, promenading around the Piazza, spending time sunbathing, enjoying themselves on the beach. Going to folk music concerts, art seminars. There was an exhibition of mime and entertainment only last week, I mean what are people here for, this isn’t a holiday resort it’s a prison and people aren’t here to enjoy themselves, they are here to be punished for the crimes they have committed. After all you don’t see me out and about enjoying myself.”
    “By no means sir, no-one could accuse you of that.”
    “Good, just so long as that’s clearly understood.”
    “How was your round of golf the other day?”
    “That wasn’t leisure; a good deal of work can be completed on the golf course!”
    “If you say so sir.”
    “I do say so! Now why are you here?”
    “You sent for me sir.”
    “I didn’t send for you.”
    “Are you sure sir, I could have sworn it was your voice on the intercom.”
    “What makes you think I sent for you?”
    “It was your voice, you told me to get my backside over to the Green Dome pronto, so here I am.”
    “I didn’t want to see you. So you had better get back to the Control room and see if the Supervisor has anything you can do.”
    “Well seeing as I’m here, perhaps there’s something I can do, count the paperclips…..”
    “I don’t have any paperclips.”
    “Ah! I can help you there sir, I have a contact in the Stationary office…..”
    “Do I take it you’re not at all keen to go outside 22?”
    “It’s pouring down with rain sir!”
    “Do you know 22 that if I had to go outside in this weather I would not hesitate for one minute, I’d wrap my scarf about my shoulders open my umbrella shooting tick and go out into the rain and tempest without a second thought. But thankfully I do not, you on the other hand do.”
    “Yes sir.
    “If Number 1 said I had to go out I would say yes sir, of course sir right away sir.”
    “Yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir, then under your breath you’d say what you really wanted to say!”
    “I don’t know what you mean!”
    It was then the large over-sized red curved intercom began to bleep, and bleep most impatiently.”
    The two men stood looking at the device, eventually No.2 picked it up.
    “Number 2 here………yes sir………well I was in conference with my assistant Number 22……….well of course sir I will sir…………you want me to what sir?............I will sir straight away.”
    No.2 replaced the intercom on the desk.
    “If it wasn’t bad enough being humiliated by having to use that ridiculous intercom, confound the man, do you know what this upstart of a Number 1 wants me to do now…….”
    It was at that point the large over-sized red curved intercom began to bleep once more. This startled No.2 for a second, but it was with confidence that he picked the intercom up.
    “Number 2 here sir………..oh you heard………….I see.”
    No.2 hesitated for a second or two before handing the intercom to his assistant.
    “He wants to talk to you.”
    “Me, what does he want with me?”
    “I believe congratulations are in order………Number 2!”
Be seeing you

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