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Thursday 4 June 2020

Tales From The Village

    It was a warm sunny afternoon, and a number of citizens were enjoying afternoon tea, either at the café or on the lawn of the Old People’s Home.
    “Would you pass the sugar?”
    “Certainly, if you will pass the milk.”
       “Good afternoon everyone good afternoon, I’ve some exciting news for you. Your citizens council officially proclaims Thursday the day after tomorrow as Appreciation Day the day when we pay due honour to those brave and noble men who govern us so wisely. You will all be delighted to hear that proceedings will be opened by Number 2 himself and concluded by the unveiling of our new appreciation monument. There’ll be speeches, thrills and excitement.”
    “Did you just hear that announcement?”
    “Couldn’t miss it could you, excuse me miss, but could my friend and I have two more scones?”
    The waitress acknowledged the request and went into the café.
    “You’ll be attending the Appreciation Day ceremony won’t you?”
    The maid returned with two scones on a tray and set them down on the tea plates on the table.
    “A man sitting at another table waved a hand in the air in an attempt to attract the waitress’s attention.
    “Yes sir?”
    “Tea for three please.”
    “But there’s only one of you!”
    “I’m being joined by two friends in a couple of minutes.”
    The waitress took the order and went back inside the café.
    “As I was saying” No.32 said buttering his scone “You’ll be attending the Appreciation Day ceremony.”
    “Why should I want to do a thing like that for?”
    “Don’t be like that whatever you do, it can be seen as being anti social, even disharmonious!”
    “Don’t be daft” No.214 said taking a bite of scone.
    “It’s not being daft man, you never know who might be listening” 32 said glancing about at the people sitting at other tables, and smiling.
    “Look, whatever have they done for us?”
    “All kinds of things.”
    “Go on then, name three things they have ever done for us.”
    “Well there’s the library, the clock golf, and these new café facilities.”
    “Well I’ve never been much of a reader, I don’t play golf…..”
    “No, but you’re enjoying the new café facilities, and I hear rumour that there’s to be a new Appreciation Day monument.”
    “Well I hope it’s better than the last one, remember that?”
    “Oh that was a real monstrosity, Progress they called it. A tall black monolith with the single word etched upon it, the word was PROGRESS!”
    The waitress arrived at the table with tea for three, No.18 paid for it with his credit card, and as the waitress walked away he was joined by his companions.
    “This is a bit public don’t you think?” No.104 said.
    “The more the public the better, and where better to hide than in a crowd”
    “I’m not sure about this at all” 13 said.
    “Stop worrying, and just act nonchalant” 18 said pouring out three hot cups of tea.
    “I don’t feel very nonchalant.”
    “If you’re not careful” No.104 said “the Observers will pick us up,
and before long we’ll be under the close protection of the guardians!”
    “I take it you’ve got all the rotten tomatoes, fruit, and vegetables as you could get?” No.18 asked.
    “Yes, in a box at the back of my cottage” 13 said.
   In the control room the three men sat together at a table at the café came under the eventual gaze of an Observer.
    “Supervisor, three men are sitting together at a table at the café, they look rather suspicious.”
    “Right, let’s have them on the screen…audio. What’s the matter, can’t you get the audio?”
    A crackling sound came over the loud speakers.
    “I think the microphone’s broken sir” the Observer reported.
    “Let’s have them in for questioning” ordered the Supervisor.
    6 guardians were dispatched on foot to the café.
    “You three have to come with us” No.256 ordered.
    No.18 looked at the guardians “What if we don’t?”
    All eyes of the customers and waiters at the café were on the 9 men, wondering what would happen next.
    “I’ll go quietly” No.13 said.
    “And what about you two?” 154 asked.
    “It would seem” 18 said “that capitulation is the better part of valour, on this occasion.”
    The three men were split up and placed in different interrogation rooms. No.106 was assigned to No.18.
    “So what were you planning at the café?”
    “Planning………….I was planning to have a cream bun.”
    “What else?”
    “Another cup of tea.”
    “What was it you were planning?”
    “I’ve told you.”
    No.106 leaned across the table and stared at the prisoner “I can make this hard for you, very hard. I shouldn’t wonder that your two confederates are not squealing by now.”
    “Then why bother with me?”
    “No bother, no bother at all”106 said assuring.
    No.18 sat in a steel framed chair, there were two wires connected to the two back legs of the chair, wires that snaked across the floor.
    “Do you hear that Number 13, that’s Number 18 screaming his head off” No.22 said “Now why don’t you be sensible and tell me what you three were planning?”
    “We were going to have a rag.”
    “A rag.”
    “Yes, we planned to disrupt the Appreciation Day ceremony.”
    “Now why would you want to do something like that?”
    “It was something to do” 13 replied.
    “Alright Number 13 you can go.”
    No.22 held out his hand indicating the door. Slowly No.13 stood up and walked across the floor to the door. He turned the handle and opened the door, to find two men in white coats standing in the corridor.
    “Number 13 you’re to come with us.”
    “No, you can’t do this, help me someone, I’ve done nothing wrong, it was going to be a bit of a rag that’s all…..let me go.”
    “Do you hear that Number 104, that’s Number 13 being taken away by two men in white coats.”
    “Taken, taken where?”
    “To the hospital for rehabilitation treatment” No.22 said “you
wouldn’t like to go for rehabilitation would you?”
    “Not likely!”
    “I should think not to, there’s nothing wrong with you that a quiet chat won’t sort out” 22 said in somewhat of a quiet manner.
    “What are you going to do with me?”
    “Nothing” 22 said.
    “You’ll forgive me if I fail to believe you.”
    No.18 was led out of the interrogation room and into the corridor where he found his two confederates.
    “Now you three” No.22 began “let us have no more talk about disrupting the Appreciation Day ceremony. You are all free to leave.”
    The three confederates looked at each other, and left the hospital.
    “What was it they did to you?” No.13 asked.
    “To me, nothing.”
    “But I heard you screaming.” 13 said.
    “And what about you 13, they said you were being taken away for rehabilitation” 104 said.
    But it was no good them arguing amongst themselves, tomorrow was Thursday, Appreciation Day.
    Interim No.2 is speaking on intercom “Plan division Q all set its working beautifully, dead on schedule you could say…… sir, oh no just the way you ordered it………well the people are already gathering it will be very spectacular…………………no nothing can go wrong I…I’ll stake my future on it………….well thank you sir, yes I know you will.”
   Outside the people are indeed gathering for the Appreciation Day ceremony, some are carrying placards of their respective No.2’s, because this is the moment, the great moment when the people can show their appreciation. Today No.2 is saying his farewell to us, and they have the opportunity to pay their tribute to the departing leader and show their gratitude to the man who has governed them so wisely. And in paying respects to the retiring No.2, they can also extend a warm welcome to his successor, their new leader their new No.2. Ladies and gentlemen let us salute our leaders.
   A Top Hat official of administration opens the ceremony listing all of the achievements of the retiring No.2, as well as noting all the plans he had laid down. The retiring No.2 then has the Great Seal of office hung about his neck and shoulders before he gives an emotional speech, and the ceremony is then concluded with the removal of the Great Seal from the retiring No.2, and placed about the neck and shoulders of the new No.2 and a speech from him.
    “And so it’s with great pride I dedicate this magnificent monument which represents our appreciation of this great community.”
   The monument is revealed….ACHIEVEMENT.
    “Well the great day is nearly over” No.18 said with some disappointment.
    “You sound disappointed, and I know how you must be feeling” No.13 said
    “You do?”
    “Yes, I didn’t think the ceremony was all that thrilling, and where was the promised excitement?” No.13 asked.
    “And where was the box of rotten tomatoes, fruit and vegetables?”
    “Oh, the bin men took the box away with the rubbish!”
    “Oh come on!
    “Where are we going?”
    “For a celebratory drink, where else!”

Be seeing you

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