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Monday, 18 October 2021

Chapter 2

 

The Mark 1

    The door of his cottage opened and a young woman dressed in a black dress, frilly white apron, and white sailor’s hat entered the cottage carrying a breakfast tray.

    “I’ll put this in the kitchen for you” she said in cheery way.

    The five feet eleven inch silhouette of a man in his dressing gown stood standing looking out through the net curtain of the window, he turned round when he heard someone come into the room.

    “You look better this morning” she told him.

    “Better, better than what?”

    “Better than you did yesterday.”

    True the swellings had gone down, and the bruises were not so prominent, and the stiffness and soreness were wearing off.

   “Just remind me, who are you again?”

   “I’m your personal maid. I’ve just brought your breakfast.”

   “Did you bring me my breakfast yesterday?”

   “Yes, don’t you remember?”

   “Then do us both a favour, and don’t waste either of our time tomorrow.”

    “Whatever do you mean?”

    “Whose clothes are hanging up in the wardrobe?”

    “Why they’re yours.”

    “What have you done with my suit?”

    “It was taken away and burned.”

    “Why?”

    “I couldn’t get the blood stains out. You had better eat your breakfast before it gets cold!”

    “What’s the difference, it was cold yesterday when you brought it!”

   The maid shot him a look of indifference and annoyance “I was going to dust your room, but I’ll come back tomorrow when you’re in a better mood.”

   “What makes you think I’ll be in a better mood tomorrow?”

    The grey trousers and burgundy coloured sweater were okay, but the grey piped blazer he took from the wardrobe didn’t seem to suit him at all. Opening the French window he stood on the small balcony wondering what the day would bring, wondering what he was to do, what was expected of him to do.

   In the kitchen his breakfast was cold; he threw it in the waste bin. Then in the bathroom he showered and shaved, then dressed in the bedroom before making himself a cup of coffee and two slices of toast in the kitchen.

   Outside the sun was shining, making the village glow. He decided to

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go out, to make a reconnaissance of his new surroundings. So donning his grey piped blazer he went to open the door of his cottage but was startled when it opened all by itself and closed behind him as he stepped outside.

    He worked his way along the back of the terraced cottages, at the end there was an archway between the terrace and a large semi-detached cottage. Through the arch was a passage which led to a set of steps and out onto a small lawn in front of the terraced cottages. There was a round look-out set on top of a rocky outcrop. From there he looked down on the road below, and out across the centre of the village.

    There was a lawn on which four people were playing croquet. In the Piazza citizens promenaded themselves around the long pool, at one end of which was a fountain. The people dressed in brightly coloured clothes, some carrying open colourfully striped umbrellas using them as parasols against the brightness of the sun. Others wore coloured striped capes, straw boaters, and piped blazers, looking as though to attend a boating regatta. And believe it or not there was a chap dressed in blazer and straw boater messing about in a dingy on the water being pulled along by another chap dressed much the same, at the end of a length of rope. Down in the road pedestrians walked in either direction and greeted each other as they passed by. Cyclists rang their bells, and a light blue open topped taxi sounded its horn to warn pedestrians of its approach.

    “The jeeps also act as an ambulance” a voice behind him said “when they do they tow trailers with a red cross on the side. That’s the Town Hall over there by the way.”

   No.4 turned round to see a man dressed in a striped jersey standing just behind him

   “And over there is the café, the General Store is just along street, on the other side of the Green Dome is the Citizens Advice Bureau. And that long stone balustrade is the top of the bandstand” the man said.

   “And what are you supposed to be, a tour guide?”

   “I thought you looked a little lost, you’re a new face here” the man said.

    “Where is here?”

    “The village.”

    “The village! And where is the village?”

    “Its here, all around you” the man said gesturing with his arms “be seeing you” he saluted before turning and going on his way.

    No.4 retraced his steps to the back of the cottages opposite was the woods, he turned left and carried on his way, then left again and on his right a grand pink and white cottage which looked like a small version of a much grander house and Georgian in style. He followed the stone steps, through a pair of turquoise gates and onto the road.

He heard a brass band suddenly strike up, they were playing Strauss’s Radetski March. Crossing the road and stepping out of the

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way of a cyclist, he walked through an arch and stood at the top of a set of steps for a moment as he glanced about him. Descending the steps leading onto the Piazza he joined the promenaders some of whom greeted him with a warm smile, commenting on the weather as they passed by. There was a chap wearing a crash helmet struggling to wheel a Penny Farthing bicycle. The Penny Farthing supported a now bent and twisted steel frame which formed a high canopy over the rider.

    “Have an accident?” No.4 asked.

   “And why don’t you mind your own business!” the man in the crash helmet snapped back, who was clearly in a bad mood.

    “That thing looks top heavy to me” 4 remarked.

    “Know so much don’t you! Here they said, go about the village riding this thing. It looks dangerous I said, that high canopy makes it top heavy I said, dangerous they said, no they insisted, but they gave me a crash helmet to wear anyway. And that canopy…wouldn’t protect anyone from the weather” the man said in a moaning tone of voice “and what happened…….I fell off. I went the one way and this contraption went the other. Now it’s torn, bent and twisted and they’ll blame me for it you see if they don’t!”

    “I’m sorry I asked” No.4 said but helped the man to his feet anyway.

    At the further end of the Piazza was a set of steps leading down onto the lawn where the croquet match was still being played. They did once have to pause their game as the brass band, led by a man wearing a colourful striped cap and straw boater, marched across the lawn on the way to the bandstand. Steps led from the lawn onto a slightly higher grassed terrace where chairs had been put out, and which people were now taking those seats ready for the afternoon’s regular brass band concert.

    Number 4 decided to give the concert a miss seeing as he could hear the music being played as he walked. Slowly he wound his way through the village, studying the buildings, the roads, getting a complete ground layout. He had with him a map, which he found in a drawer in his study. However the Map of Your Village didn’t indicate much at all, simply the woods, the sea, the mountains, beach, the tower, the boat, Old People’s Home. He paused outside an imposing looking building. There was a chap on a ladder cleaning a window.

   “Excuse me, but can you tell me what this building is?”

   The window cleaner looked at No.4 and said sarcastically “You’re the one with the map!”

    “The building’s on the map, but there’s no indication of what it is.”

    “This, this is the Town Hall.”

    “The Town Hall!”

    “Yes, but it won’t let you in.”

    “What do you mean it won’t let me in, what’s to stop me?”

    No.4 step forward and up the steps of the Town Hall, and at the entrance was stopped dead in his tracks! He dropped his map as he

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was momentarily stunned by an electric shock.

    “Told you so!” said the window cleaner returning to his work.

   “Officer of the Watch, Number 4 attempted to enter the Town Hall” a member of the Watch suddenly reported.

    The Control Room is a large domed chamber located beneath the Town Hall. Its wall depicted both astral and terrestrial maps, while a map of the village set at an angle ran round the base. There is a large wall screen, while five members of the watch sat at their monitors, two further watchers sat at their monitors on either end of a steel see-saw device which revolved up and down, round and round. And the entrance to the chamber was via a double blast proof steel door at the top of the mezzanine level.

    No.28, a baldhead man wearing spectacles dressed in grey flannel trousers, dark green polo neck jersey, and dark blue plain blazer, was the Officer of the Watch consisting of seven men and women who spend their time watching and listening to the citizens of the village through surveillance of the community.

    “Let’s have him on the screen” No.28 ordered.

    No.4 picked up his map and went on his way, down the hill towards the Old People’s Home.

   An assortment of People were sat at tables set out on the lawn, not only senior citizens, one of whom was an old woman being pushed in a wheelchair, but middle aged people, and two sinister looking men wearing long black coats and black top hats. A waiter was busy serving at tables; he carried a silver salver with tea for two with neatly cut cucumber sandwiches. No.4 stood watching the scene, he saw a vacant table by a white balustrade, and made a bee-line for it, sat down and looked over the expanse of sand that made up the beach.

    “Can I get you anything sir” asked the man in the short white coat and black trousers.

    “Coffee please.”

    The waiter withdrew.

    No.4 maintained his vigilance of the beach where a few people walked, or paddled in the shallow gullies of water. Two chaps in white naval caps were busy building a sand castle as others played with a beach ball. He saw the island and looked out towards the far side of the estuary; he took it all in and wondered.

    “Your coffee sir” the waiter set out the cup of coffee, sugar and milk “that will be 2 units if you please.”

    “And if I don’t please?”

    “Its still 2 units sir” the waiter told him.

    He began to ferret in the pockets of his jacket “I’m sorry but I don’t appear to have…..” from a pocket he produced not only his card of identity, his health and welfare card, but a credit card.

    “That will do nicely sir” the waiter said taking the credit card and clipping it.

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    No.4 ignored the milk and sugar and slowly sipped his coffee, his eyes staring out across the estuary.

    “Fancy a game” a stout man with a bushy moustache suddenly asked sitting himself down in the opposite chair and placing the wooden chequered board and box on the table.

    “I’m sorry?”

    “You do play chess?”

    “Yes I play chess, but not just at the moment.”

    The man sitting opposite opened the box and busied himself setting out the chessmen on the board. He was wearing a British military cap, a General’s cap, this aroused No.4 curiosity.

    “Why are you wearing that cap?”

    “I’m entitled to it.”

    “A General?”

    “Yes.”

    “Whatever are you doing in a place like this?”

    “About to play chess I hope, your move Number 4” the General announced.

    “That appears to be all perfectly normal” No.57 remarked to the officer of the watch.

    No.57, assistant to the officer of the watch stood watching the game play out on the large wall screen.

    “Yes, but appearances can be deceptive. What’s he thinking?”

    “Who, Number 4?”

    “Yes.”

    “He’s probably thinking whether to block the attack by the Rook with his Bishop, or to take the King’s Bishop’s pawn” 57 suggested.

    “That’s not what he’s thinking” the officer of the watch replied and picking up the receiver of the cream telephone, he put a call through to No.2 in the Green Dome.

    “I can see the battle is lost” the General said in a deep gravely voice “I can see I should have resigned long ago, obviously now I’ve no alternative. Look at my King it can’t move, my Rook’s smothered by your Bishop, my Queen is trapped, there’s nothing I can do, its obvious checkmate in eight moves” so he tipped the King over in an act of resignation.

    “Thank you for the game General, but I really must be going.”

    “Be careful Number 4, that’s my advice.”

    “What’s to be careful about, what’s stopping me from simply walking across the sand to the other side?”

    “On the face of it nothing, but if you’re thinking of setting out on an exploratory expedition beware of the soft.”

    “The soft, what’s that?”

    “Quicksand, however there is another obstacle you must overcome, looks like you’ll need a boat!”

    Ironically people were scurrying about aboard the boat next to the

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quayside, as though they were making the Stone Boat ready for sea. An elderly man wearing a white cap stood at her stern, his hands on the ship’s wheel. And where there had been an open expanse of sand between No.4 and his objective the sea now covered! No.4 stared out across the water hardly believing what his eyes were telling him.

   “Where did that come from?”

   “The tide comes in quick here. If you had been out there you would have been cut off, dead and drowned.”

    No.4 made his excuses and left the General setting out the chessmen on the board once more.

    “He isn’t there” No.28 said replacing the receiver.

    “Who isn’t?” asked 57.

    “Number 2.”

    “Shall I put out a general call for him?”

    “You can if you want to receive the sharp end of his tongue!” the officer of the watch warned.

    No.2 was pre-occupied in the laboratory. Two technicians in grey polo neck jerseys and white coats, 243 and 253 were about to introduce him to something that would become invaluable regarding the security of the village.

    “And this is it, is it?” No.2 asked looking at the dustsheet covered shape.

    “Yes Number 2” No.243 replied with a smile.

    “Can I see it?”

    “Of course” No.253 said whipping the dustsheet away to reveal….

    “ROVER” 243 announced with pride.

    Number 2 looked the machine over.

   It was large, round, with a frilly skirt at its base. The frame was made from toughened steel covered in a fibreglass dome. The base of the dome being white, the top of the dome segmented black and white, something like a schoolboys cap. And in the centre atop of the dome, a blue light.

    “Rover, and that stands for…what Rover Orbital Vehicle something or other?”

    The two technicians looked at each other. It was No.243 who found his voice.

    “It doesn’t stand for anything sir, except it behaves like a guard dog, and will round up and capture anyone attempting to escape.”

    “I see, tell me about it.”

    “You see Number 2 this is a complex machine, operated remotely by

an operator in the Control Room.” Number 243 began.

    Number 253 continued “It operates as in a hovercraft, able to travel over any terrain, including on the water, as well as act like a submarine able to dive into the water.”

    “It can go up steps?”

    “Yes Number 2.”

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  “Can it fly?”

    “No, it can’t go into the air.”

    “What about walls?” Number 2 asked.

    The two lab technicians looked at each other quizzically.

    “We’re sorry sir?”

    “Can this Rover scale walls?”

    Again Number 253 and 243 looked at each other.

    “We didn’t know it was supposed to” 243 said seemingly puzzled by the question.

    “In other words it can’t.”

    “No Number 2.”

    “We can’t think of any contingency in which it would need to scale walls.”

    “Why to spy on people in buildings” No.2 replied.

    243 and 253 looked at each other, and wondered.

    “So in all other respects this….Rover is operational.”

    Again the two technicians looked at each other.

    It was 243 who spoke “Not exactly sir, it is yet to be given a test.”

    “We decided that we should introduce you to Rover first, although we have taken the liberty of setting up a control system in the Control Room.”

    “Good. I shall arrange a test for it soon.”

    Numbers 243 and 253 were feeling very pleased with themselves as Number 2 left the laboratory, and set about making final adjustments, and fine tuning Rover.

    The steel doors opened and Number 2, with an old college scarf wound about his neck and shoulders and carrying an umbrella shooting stick, stood looking down onto the floor of the Control Room from the mezzanine level, and instantly drew the officer of the watch’s attention. The steel doors closed with a solid thud and Number 2 walked down the steel steps.

    “Number 2, I’ve been trying to contact you.”

    “Why what’s the problem?” he asked stepping down onto the floor.

    “Number 4 has been playing chess with the General.”

    “How terrible for him!”

    “You don’t understand sir, I think Number 4 is going to try and get across to the other side of the estuary.”

    “Is he? Good!”

    “Good, what’s good about it?”

    Number 2 picked up the receiver of the grey telephone, avoiding the seesaw device as it revolved.

    “Laboratory………laboratory, how soon can Rover be ready for its initial test........really, good” Number 2 replaced the receiver and turned to the officer of the watch.

    “Which of your operatives is to take remote control of Rover?”

    “Number 86, he’s seated on the see-saw.”

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    Number 2 put out a hand stopping the revolving of the steel device.

    “I take it you have been briefed on how to control this Rover device?”

    “Yes Number 2. I control it from here, using a camera system it will be as though I’m in the machine.”

    “You mean we are to run a test now?” No.28 asked.

    “Yes, no time like the present, and we shall be assisted by Number 4.”

    “Number 4, do you think that’s wise sir?”

    “I can think of no-one better. I think the beach will make the best test area, arrange for a taxi left unattended with the key left in the ignition.”

    “The tide’s in” the officer of the watch informed him.

    “Ah, in that case have the speedboat moored up by the slipway. If Number 4 wants to try to escape I don’t think we should hamper him too much, do you?”

    “No Number 2” No.28 said with reluctance.

    Walking away from the Old People’s Home No. 4 was considering his options, instead of taking the road up the hill back into the village he kept to the lawn and found himself standing on a wide cobbled path looking at two motor mechanics working on the engine of a speedboat. While they were distracted No.4, taking a nonchalant attitude so as not to attract attention, walked quietly down the slipway passed the one boat, and stood looking at the one in front. Glancing over his shoulder he stooped down and untied the mooring rope and leapt into the speedboat, turned the ignition and steered the boat out into the estuary. At hearing the sound of the engine the two mechanics leapt out of the boat, ran along the slipway shouting and waving their arms at the man to bring the boat back.

    In the Control Room No.2 and the officer of the watch stood watching the action play out on the wall screen.

    “I think it’s time” No.2 announced.

    No.28 gave the order orange alert, one operative on the see-saw acknowledged the order and activated Rover.

    From somewhere the domed droid of Rover MK I, it’s blue light flashing, its siren sounding, came whirring along a road startling pedestrians and cyclists alike who smartly moved to the side of the road, out of its path to allow this curious machine to pass by, leaving citizens shocked and bewildered by the thing.

    The Rover droid rushed passed the Town Hall and down the hill towards the Old People’s Home. In the Control Room the operator pulled hard on a leaver and Rover responded sweeping left onto the lawn, down the slipway and onto the water and into the estuary.

    No.4 was way ahead, and close to taking the speedboat out into the open sea, it has been all too easy. And yet when he glanced over his shoulder, much to his surprise he saw he was now being pursued. Not

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by another speedboat, but something round something which

appeared to skim over the water. He kept the speedboat on a true course straight for the open sea. Casting another glance over his shoulder he saw a flashing blue light, and that it was gaining on him.

   Watching the action on the wall screen No.2 allowed himself a wry smile “Its all going very well don’t you think.”

    “What will it do when it catches up with Number 4?” No.28 asked.

    “Well… we’ll see in a few minutes” No.2 replied, not having the faintest idea.

   It took only a couple of minutes for Rover to draw alongside

the speedboat. No.4 pulled hard to port on the wheel crashing the boat onto the white fibreglass dome of Rover. This sent it off course momentarily, but the operator in the Control Room soon regained the droid’s position alongside, its blue light flashing more intently and brighter. No.4 turned the wheel hard to starboard leaving the Guardian in its wake, then turned again to meet the thing head on…crash! The bow of the speedboat had punctured a hole in the fibreglass dome, rupturing one of the floatation tanks in the process, both of which were taking on water fast. No.4 leapt overboard and began to swim away; foundering in the water he turned to see boat and Rover sink below the waves.

    In the control Room No.2 was incandescent with fury! He picked up the receiver of the grey telephone “Laboratory.”

   The view on the wall screen changed to that of the laboratory. On the screen the telephone was bleeping, No.243, who had been watching the first Rover test on a small monitor picked up the receiver of the yellow telephone.

    “Well?”

    “I can’t explain it sir.”

    “What went wrong with this Rover thing you created?”

    “We don’t know at this point. We need to retrieve the machine.”

    “I can tell you what went wrong...it sank!”

    “Yes Number 2. In all probability one of the floatation tanks was ruptured in the collision with the boat.”

    “Once the tide has gone out retrieve this Rover device. Then I want a full report ASAP do you understand?”

    “Yes Number 2.”

    No.2 replaced the receiver, the wall screen went blank, and he took a deep breath in order to help compose himself “You had better deploy the helicopter to pick up Number 4 out of the water.”

    “I have already given the order” the Supervisor replied.

    “Good. If you want me you’ll know where I’ll be.”

    “Yes Number 2.”

    The silver grey Alouette II helicopter fitted with two grey floats attached to the skids, and crewed by the pilot and two lookouts took off from the triangular lawn by the sea wall, and flew low out across the estuary, heading towards the open sea in search for No.4. Then

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one of the lookouts spotted a figure in the water swimming in the direction of the shore. The helicopter slowed then hovered for a moment before the pilot landed the copter on the water. The two watchmen opened a cabin door and stepping out onto one of the floats, hauled No.4 out of the water and into the cabin. The cabin door closed and the pilot flew the helicopter back to the village, where two medics in a light blue jeep towing a small trailer, marked with a red cross, were waiting by the lawn to collect No.4 and take him to the hospital.

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Monday, 11 October 2021

Village Weekly The Serialization of 'The Prisoner - A New Arrival'

 


Introduction

    Well respected author and Prisonerologist David Stimpson brings Prisoner enthusiasts “more Prisoner” in his novel entitled ‘The Prisoner – A New Arrival.’
    Village Weekly is delighted to have obtained the publishing rights to ‘The Prisoner – A New Arrival’ and working with the author’s permission this novel will be published as a weekly serialization.

        ‘The Prisoner – A New Arrival’ sees a new face in the village, No.4, who hasn’t been there for more than five minutes before he’s looking to leave. A first interview with No.2 leaves the Prisoner with no doubt who he is, why he has been brought to the village, that there is no escape, and is soon put to the test.
   The village has been going for a very long time, since before the war in fact. And yet there is still room for development such as the Rover experiment.
    Prisoners give them what they want, before they take it, and citizens eventually find a kind of freedom within the prison, although there is twenty-four hour surveillance and The Watch sees all!
    No.2, Chairman of the village, as well as being Chief Administrator has a gift in bringing out the worst in people, as well as being the boss. Which leaves but one question….who or what, is No.1? Find out the answer to this in a thoroughly easy and absorbing read…perhaps more absorbing than you might imagine!

    If you are wondering about ‘Village Weekly’ it is a ‘village’ publication which appears in three episodes of the Prisoner. In both ‘Arrival’ and ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ a copy of the magazine can be seen on sale in the General Store. And the in the later episode ‘It’s Your Funeral,’ ‘Village Weekly’ is seen on sale at a kiosk, along with two other village publications, ‘tally ho Journal,’ and ‘Village Mercury.’

    So as 2 tells us in ThePris6ner {2009 series} “Breathe in, breathe out…..more village!”

    {The Prisoner – A New Arrival is published under the banner of “Fan Fiction” which means the promotion of ‘the Prisoner’ from which no money will be earned}


The Prisoner

A New Arrival


by

David Stimpson


©  David Stimpson 2020 

Published by Village Weekly

In conjunction with

WWW.davidstimpsonblogspot.com 

The right of David Stimpson to be identified

as the author of this work has been asserted by

him in accordance with copyright, Design and

patent act 1988.

All rights are reserved. No part of this publication

may be produced in any form or by means – graphic,

electronic, or mechanical including photocopying, without
the prior permission, in writing, of the publisher.

Artwork design Village Weekly.


Chapter 1

The Arrival

    The middle aged man lay on the couch in his lounge; they hadn’t bothered to put him to bed, why? But no matter, there he lay until the body began to stir, he sat up, his blurred eyes began to focus on his surroundings. His head pounded, his mouth was dry, he ran his fingers through his light brown hair. He stood up and went to the kitchen running the cold tap for a couple of moments before putting his head under it to let the cold water soak his hair, his head. He stood up the water dripping from his head. He picked up a glass, Alka-Seltzer that would help bring him round. Crossing the dinette he opened a cupboard, then came the first shock. No Alka-Seltzer, no tins of Heinz baked beans, or tins of whole tomatoes, corned beef, just tins of village food! He took a glass and filled it with cold water then drained the glass. He pulled up the blind of the window, where there should be houses across the street there were the woods, that was the second shock which led to confusion and disorientation. The man went back through into the lounge and opening the French door stepped out onto a small balcony. Instead of busy noisy London, there was quietness, this village with its candy coloured buildings, with a mixture of architecture but mostly Italianate. As far as he could see there was no-one around, except over there where a woman, a waitress was busy setting out tables. He went back inside closing the French door behind him, then through the lounge he found the back door to his cottage, this led out to a gravelled area and the woods beyond. He ran along the back of the line of terraced cottages, then through an arch, and down a set of steps to the road below. The man turned right and hurried along the road, round the corner at the bottom and along to the café.
    A waitress, in black dress and white lace apron was busy opening the umbrellas of the tables on the patio.
    “Oh hello, we’ll be open in a minute” the waitress announced.
    “Where, where am I?”
    “In the village.”
    “Where is this?”

    “We haven’t seen you before have we? We don’t often see a new face around here. So it’s nice to see one.”
    “Where is this?”
    “The village, I’ll see if the tea’s ready, would you like breakfast?”
    “No I don’t want breakfast. I just want to know where I am, and the quickest way out of here.”
    “You’re new here aren’t you.”
    “Well you could say that, this is certainly new to me!”
    He thought about asking to use the telephone, but who was there he could call? Then he saw a vehicle drive passed it was a light blue

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jeep with a grey canopy. He ran into the road and called after the driver. The Willys MB American jeep came to a stop in the road, and the man ran forward.
    The taxi driver, a girl in a striped jersey looked at the man in the road from underneath the grey canopy “Yes sir?”
    “Are you a taxi?”
    “The jeep is, I’m the driver.”
    “Can you take me to the nearest town?”
    “I’m sorry sir, but we’re only the local service” the girl replied.
    “Well take me as far as you can, and I’ll take it from there.”
    The man jumped into the seat next to the driver, who engaged first gear and the jeep moved forward.
    “This is an unusual job for a girl.”
    “Oh I don’t mind I get to see the sights.”
    The jeep went along the road, then round a left-hand bend, down the road passed the Town Hall and down the hill towards the Old People’s home. It turned left, then reversed and went back up the hill then taking the right-hand fork along a cobbled lane, round the Hercules statue and up along another cobbled path. Right through an arch into a square, then left, down the road, round the bend, passed the Café and then right through a large white and yellow arch and along the road through the woods. The jeep eventually turned onto the road back into the village, through two arches and eventually coming to a stop opposite the cobbled square.
    “That’s good, that’s just peachy. We went all around the houses to end up back where we started!”
    “Well I did tell you we’re only local. The jeep will be two credit units” the taxi driver said.
    “Credit units, well I’ve only got good old fashioned pound notes” he said taking his wallet from his jacket pocket only to find it empty.
    The girl looked at the empty wallet “Oh well” she said “you can pay me next time, be seeing you” and gave a curious salute with the circled thumb and fore finger.
    And with that the jeep drove off, its horn sounding as it went.
    There was a shop nearby, the sign read General Store. The man looked into the shop’s bay window, then went to the side door, and went in.
    Ting-a-ling-a-ling.
    The tall almost gaunt looking shopkeeper, in striped apron and straw boater working behind the counter, he glanced at the man then said to a short stout woman in a green trilby hat “Would you help yourself to a cauliflower madam?”   
    The woman did as she was bid, and put the cauliflower into her shopping basket with all her other purchases and paid with her credit card.
    “Thank you madam” the shopkeeper said handing back the card “Be seeing you” and gave that curious salute. “Now sir, what can I do for you?”
    “I’d like a map of the area.”

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   The shopkeeper turned his back muttering “maps” to himself as he opened a glass fronted cabinet and rummaged inside. Eventually producing a map and tossed it down onto the counter.
    On the front of the folded map were the words Map of Your Village. The customer quickly  unfolded the map, to find the village laid out, with the woods, the mountains, the sea, the beach, cliffs, tower and a number of buildings marked on the map.
    “That’s not what I meant, I meant a larger map.”
    “That’s the only size I have sir.”

    “No I didn’t mean that.”

    “Well sir I wish you would say what you do mean!”

    “I meant a larger area.”
    “A larger area, I’ve never had call for a map of that kind before. You’re new here aren’t you?”
    “What about a garage where I can hire a car?”
    “There’s no garage” the shopkeeper told him “only taxis.”
    “I’ve been taken for a ride already!”
    The shop door opened.
    Ting-a-ling-a-ling.
    “Well I look forward to the pleasure of your custom sir, be seeing you” and saluted as a parting greeting then turned his attention to his next customer
    “What is that?”
    “What’s what sir?” asked the shopkeeper.
    “That thing with the hand, what is it as salute?”
    “Yes sir, be seeing you” said the shopkeeper repeating the salute “Now sir what can I do for you.”
    Ting-a-ling-a-ling
    Outside the man stood thinking what to do next, he decided to return to his cottage. There had been a black and white striped pole with a candy-striped canopy outside the door, now someone had added the sign ‘4 Private.’ Once inside the telephone began to bleep. He picked up the receiver and paused for a moment before speaking.
    “Is that Number 4?”
    “If you mean is that the number of this cottage, then yes.”
    “I have a call for you.”
    “A telephone call, for me?” his heart suddenly lifting.
    “Seeing as we’re neighbours” a voice said “I thought you might like to come round for breakfast.”
    “This is the second time this morning I’ve been offered breakfast!”
    “Number 2, the Green Dome.”
    The telephone went dead. The Prisoner rattled the telephones cradle trying to get the operator.
    “Number please?”
    “I want to make a telephone call to London.”
    “What is your number sir?”
    “Number….he looked down at the dial “number 4?”
    “You are not allowed to make International calls, only local calls.”
   

3


The line went dead, he attempted to get the operator back, but there was no response. He left his cottage and made his way to the Green Dome. Standing at the white door he pulled on the black wrought iron bell pull, and a large bell rang once. The door was opened by a diminutive butler dressed in black tails. A gloved hand beckoned him in, and closed the door behind the visitor.

    He found himself in a small domed, white walled office, in the middle of which was a large oak desk, and behind it sat in a leather bound chair was a man dressed in a single breasted dark jacket, and grey flannel trousers. The butler busied himself by setting out the visitor’s breakfast on a small side table.
    “I can see you are about to ask me a question” the man behind the desk said.
    “I have several questions, beginning with why am I here?”
    “I would have thought introductions should come first. I am Number 2” he said.
    “Well that doesn’t tell me much!”
    “And you are our new Number 4.”
    “Number what?”
    “4.”
    “I’m no number, my name is…….”
    “Yes I know who you are, but we do not use names here.”
    “No names?”
    “That’s right; we find the use of numbers causes less confusion. After all so many have the same name, Smith being quite common.”
    “Well my name’s not Smith.”
    “Yes we do know, now what about breakfast?”
    “No thanks.”
    “Pity after our friend here has gone to so much trouble in preparing it for you.”
    “Well perhaps some coffee.”
    No.2 nodded and the butler picked up the sliver coffee pot and poured out one cup.
    “So where is this place, and why am I here?”
    “This is the village, and you have been brought here for a very good reason.”
    No. 4 took the offered cup and saucer from the gloved hand “Yeah, and what reason?”
    “You worked for Military Intelligence.”
    “And when they find out you have me here there’ll be hell to pay!”
    “Oh you think so?”
    “What’s that?”
    “Your file.”
    “You have my file?”
    “No, this is our file on you!”
    “You’ve read it?”
    “From cover to cover, it’s fully documented. Light brown hair, hazel eyes, height five feet eleven inches, date of birth, what you like to eat,

 

4

 

what you like to drink, what you are, what you’d like to be. No family illnesses, and no politics!”
    “I’m not political.”
    “You don’t take sides?”

    “What is it you want of me?”
    “All in good time my dear chap.”
    “Then there’s nothing more to be said.”
    No.4 stood sipping his coffee and taking in his surroundings of the domed office. The free standing Penny farthing bicycle, the two Astro lamps with their perpetually moving red and orange wax, the television set, and the steps that lead nowhere except up to a raised platform.
    “I would have thought someone in your position would have had a more impressive office than this.”
    “I’m promised a new office, but it’s still at the planning stage.”
    “I’m very happy for you.”
    “Never mind my office. You’ve not been brought here to talk. Why were you in East Germany?”
    “What?”
    “I would have thought it a simple enough question.”
    “I’ve never been to East Germany.”
    “Really, that’s not what your file tells me.”
    “Then the file is wrong.”
    “You were there working for American Military Intelligence.”
    “If you say so.”
    “I do not say so, your file speaks for you. Again, what were you doing in East Germany?”
    “Why don’t you ask my file?”
    “You could do better.”
    “Better than what?”
    “You fail to realize the seriousness of your situation.”
    “What do you want?”
    “Information!”
    “I have nothing to say.”
    “That will not improve your situation.”
    “No, oh well it can’t be helped.”
    “You could improve your situation.”
    “How?”
    “By, working for us for example.”
    “Don’t tell me, you’re the recruiting officer who’s offering me a job, doing what?”
    “Whatever we say, if we can be sure of you, in time you would be released back into circulation, carrying on with whatever it is you do in Military Intelligence, then we would call on you from time to time and ask you to do something for us, and you do it.”
    “I wouldn’t work for you if you got down on your bended knees and begged me!”
    “In that case Number 4, you are going to be here for a very long time."

 

5

 

    “You can’t keep me here!”
    “Oh I assure you we can. Go home and think about it Number 4.”
    “What’s with the number, I’m not this number 4 or any kind of number!”
    It was then that the front door to the Green Dome opened and two burly set men entered the office. No.2 nodded. The two men set about the Prisoner, one took hold of his jacket, spinning him round and sat him down in a simple wooden chair. The second man clenched his fists and punched the Prisoner in the face sending him backwards out of the chair and onto the floor. The first man picked him up by the lapels of his jacket and hit him again sending him backwards on his heels, as the second man spun him around, beating him with his fists. Each punch burned and tore skin, each blow more severe than the last. They used his body as a punch bag. He bled, he tried to protect himself, to hit back. Between them the two bully boys beat the living daylights out of the Prisoner who now lay close to unconsciousness on the floor. No. 2, a tall man with thick black hair raised himself out of his chair.
    “You are Number 4, Number 4, Number 4, 4, 4” No.2 shouted “do you understand Number 4?”
    He wiped the blood from his mouth “Go to hell.”
    “I can see you have not yet had enough” he nodded to the two men.
    No. 154 picked the Prisoner up off the floor and punched him to the ground, while 241 kicked him in the stomach.
    “Enough” No.2 shouted, and crossing the floor crouched down by the almost unconscious prisoner.
    “What is your number?”
    The Prisoner was in considerable pain, there was a trickle of blood from the corner of his mouth.

    “I’ll ask you once again, what is your number?”

    The Prisoner moved his lips.
    “I didn’t quite hear that.”
    “4…Number 4.”
    “You see that wasn’t so difficult now was it? Sometimes errant children have to be given a slap on their backsides” No.2 told him then stood up and returning to his desk asked the two watchmen to see the Prisoner back to his cottage.


6

Friday, 8 October 2021

More Prisoner…..More Village!

     There is one thing I don’t need, well two really, a couple of undertaker looking chaps stopping outside the house with a vacant coffin ready to abduct me to the village!
    For well over 20 years I have been fully occupied with researching the Prisoner, and writing 6 manuscripts based on the series, two of which, ‘The Prisoner variations’ and ‘The Prisoner – Dusted Down’ have been published. And for the past11 years I have dedicated myself writing my Prisoner based blog, and that means I have been, more often than not in the village, not physically you understand, but mentally and in my mind’s eye.
    After 10 years of writing about the Prisoner series itself, and almost year spent writing Prisoner fan fiction for my blog, I thought enough is enough. Its time I handed in my letter of resignation! Because readers have had the best of me! After all there is only so much one can write about the Prisoner series, only so much fan fiction that can be written based on the series, and I have finally run out of both inspiration as well as ideas. The four blank sheets of foolscap paper, as seen in ‘Hammer into Anvil,’ represent that fact.
    To be honest as far back as May this year I could see that very soon my blog would become inactive. In fact I could myself fortunate to have been able to maintain the blog until the end of September.
   So what now? Commencing from Monday October 11th ‘Village Weekly’ magazine begins the serialization of one of my four novels, ‘The Prisoner – A New Arrival,’ on my blog of course, at the rate of one chapter per week. “Village Weekly never heard of it” you might say you say. Well the magazine is a village publication which appears in the General Store in two episodes ‘Arrival’ and ‘Hammer Into Anvil,’ and sold at the kiosk in ‘It’s Your Funeral.’
    ‘The Prisoner – An Exercise In Logistics’ will follow later next year, with two further such novels in 2023, all of which are set in the village-next-the-sea as I have come to think of the village. They are to be published under the banner of “Fan Fiction” which means no money shall be earned from their publishing, but I shall be promoting NEW Prisoner, and more village. 

Be seeing you