The morning was cool and brisk, and so there were few customers sat at the tables on the patio of the café. The waitress walked over to the table in the far corner where a Top Hat official was seated having his elevenses.
“A gentleman told me to give you this sir” the waitress said placing a large brown paper envelope on the table.
No.46 looked at it “Who gave you this?”
But the waitress had gone into the café. He picked up the large brown envelope sealed with crimson sealing wax. He was about to break the seal and open the envelope, but something stopped him, he unzipped his black document case, stuffed the envelope inside and zipped it close.
“I say old man, what have you there?” asked a fellow Top Hat.
“Nothing, just something someone gave me that’s all” 46 said then offered No.72 to join him, and asked the waitress to bring a second cup.
“Nice little thing” 72 said taking a seat.
“Who do you mean?” 46 asked glancing about him.
“Why the waitress, that black skirt, white blouse, the frilly apron, even the white sailors cap suits her. And she has a shapely leg and well turned ankle. Look what’s wrong with you this morning, get out of bed the wrong side or something?”
The waitress appeared with a second cup and saucer. No.46 grabbed her arm.
“Here leave off, I’ll have you arrested I will!” the young waitress said in protest.
“I’m sorry, but where’s the other waitress?”
“Other waitress sir? There’s no other waitress, only me, and the two waiters sir.”
“But I could have sworn….”
The waitress hurried away, in fear of more molesting!
“I say what’s wrong my dear chap, you can tell me” 72 said helping himself to tea and a piece of slab cake.
But he felt he couldn’t, 46 needed time, time to think and he clutched his black document case under his arm.
“I have a board meeting in twenty minutes, Number 2 called it” 72 said sipping his tea “No doubt he’ll want to talk us to death again. You know the more that man talks the less he says. What have you on today?”
“A meeting of the works department this afternoon, the Stone Boat apparently needs a refit, walls need painting, and the fish pond’s full of weed, oh and apparently the maintenance department need a couple of new lawn mowers!” 46 explained finishing his custard tart.
No.72 checked his watch “Just time for another cup, then I’d best be about it, wouldn’t do to keep the board waiting.”
“By that you mean Number 2.”
Having left the café No.46 made his way into the part of the woods where he knew there to be little or no surveillance. There he could open the large envelope and study whatever it was inside. Arriving at a part where he knew there to be thick bushes he made his way off the path towards them, and so being effectively screened he sat on the ground, unzipped the document case, removed and opened the large brown envelope. Inside was a thin dossier, but it was enough to worry him, and anxiety, tinged with fear was written all over his face, and his blood ran cold. Quickly he replaced the few sheets of the dossier back into the envelope, which he hid under a nearby pile of rocks for safety. Whatever happens he must not be found in possession of said dossier. Then dusting himself down No.46 made his way through the woods and back to the village.
“Ah there you are 46” No.65 said “we are well met, and can make our way to the Town Hall.”
“Town Hall?” 46 said a little bewildered.
“Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten the meeting of the works department.”
“Oh no, of course.”
“If you don’t mind me saying so old boy, you seem somewhat out of sorts, anything wrong?”
“No, no why should there be anything wrong?”
Back in the woods a dark shadow moved through the bushes, a pair of black gloved hands disturbed the pile of rocks and retrieved a large brown envelope which the shadow placed inside a black document case.
“Well that concludes 251’s ideas for the new bowling green” said the chairman “perhaps others have thoughts on the subject….Number 46”
Twelve Top Hat administrative officials dressed in black sat in a ring around a green baize topped table. No.46 had sat there all through the meeting so far, in something of a daze, he had heard little of the proceedings thus far, and missed the Chairman’s invitation to impart his thoughts with fellow members of the works department.
“Number 46 are you in attendance sir….Number 46!”
The loudness of the Chairman’s voice
snapped 46 out of his daze “My apologies mister Chairman, Number 251,
gentlemen. I think a crown green
There came a muttering from the members of the works department.
“Crown green, who said anything about a
“I’m sorry mister Chairman I misunderstood. Where would we put such a bowling green?”
No.122 raised his hand.
“Yes Number 122” said the Chairman.
“No-one plays croquet any more, we could adapt that lawn.”
“We could, except it’s not very big” No.49 said.
The discussion went on for several more minutes, but No.46 never heard a single word spoken. Then it was time for a tea break, and the meeting broke up, and the administrative officials involved agreed to meet again at the same time tomorrow. No.46 left the orange walled chamber and made his way out of the Town Hall, his mind being in a complete tangle. There was only one man who could straighten things out, and he quickly made his way to the Green Dome,
No.2 was sat in a black global chair, he was enjoying afternoon tea when the yellow ‘L’ shaped intercom began to bleep. He picked it up.
“Is he, show him in.”
The pair of steel blast proof doors slid
open and the diminutive
“Come in 46, and what can I do for you this fine day?”
No.46 stepped forward and down the ramp, the pair of steel doors closed behind him.
“I have a problem Number 2.”
“A problem, well problems are made to be solved” No.2 said in cheerful manner “Tell me your problem 46.”
It was at this point that the tall figure of No.14 unzipped a black leather document case and produced a large brown paper bag and placed in upon the desk. It was all No.46 could do but stare at it.
“Tell me Number 46, is this your problem?”
No.46 said nothing, he made no sign but stared at the brown paper envelope on the desk.
“I can see it is, I take it you read the dossier?”
“Now you see 14 now we have a problem.”
“He’s coming here!” 46 said.
“Well he’s not exactly coming along as you suggest, he’s more being brought here” No.2 told him.
“You are bringing him here?”
“You see 14 Number 46 has a wonderful grasp of the situation.”
“Wh….where are you going to put him?”
No.2 glanced at his assistant
“I thought in the Georgian house” 14 said with a smile.
“It might look grand, but it’s just a tiny little cottage!” 46 protested.
“It might be a tiny little cottage, but it will suit its new occupant well enough. He doesn’t take up much room” 14 replied.
“What’s more to the point, where are we going to put you 46?” No.2 asked.
“Yes sir, soon he’ll be crying out to be put in a tiny little cottage! If I may suggest sir, there’s an old disused dungeon underneath the hospital, we could put him there!”
“Is there really?” No.2 asked in astonishment “how do you know that?”
“It was found when a structural survey was being carried out of the old castle.”
“Perhaps we should put Number 46 here in the Georgian house, and our new arrival in the dungeon, what say you to that 14?”
“It would be most apt…..for a traitor!”
The silver grey Alouette helicopter circled the village before landing on the lawn by the sea wall. A white Mini-Moke was parked at the edge of the lawn, and two figures stood waiting, that of No.14 and a sturdy built frame of a guardian. The cabin door opened and 14 and the guardian stepped forward, the pilot helped a hooded figure out of the helicopter and down to the ground. The guardian took hold of the hooded figure and led him to the waiting Mini-Moke, 14 followed carrying a single brown leather suitcase which he threw into the back of the Moke. The guardian helped the new arrival into a back seat and sat next to him, No.14 sat in the front seat next to the driver.
“Where to sir?” asked the driver
“The castle” 14 told the driver.
“The castle sir?”
“I mean the hospital.”
The dungeon is cold and dank, there is no light save from four candles. There is a table and chair, a bed with two filthy rag excuses for blankets. There is a jug of water and a beaker on the table, and a filthy bucket in the corner for my toilet. I am left here; they would not even remove the leather mask which covers my head. Why, what have I done to be treated in such a way….why….why…..WHY?
Be seeing you