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Saturday 29 May 2021

Further Tales From The Village


     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 bowling green is a superb idea.

    There came a muttering from the members of the works department.

    “Crown green, who said anything about a crown green bowling green?”

    “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 Butler and the tall figure of No.46 dressed head to foot in black stood framed in the doorway.

    “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

Wednesday 26 May 2021

who's That On The Telephono?


    Poor old chap, I can’t help but feel sorry for him you know. There’s the regular red ‘L’ shaped telephone between the yellow and turquoise, the hotline to No.1, and he’s forced to use that curved, over-sized red telephone instead! Any time now it’s going to begin bleeping, and No.1 will want to know what the Devil’s going on. No.1 will kick No.2, No.2 will instinctively lash out at the doctor-No.14, and No.14, well she’ll do as she’s told!
    Beep, beep, beep, beep there it goes, No.2 will answer it in a moment.
    “Number 2 here.....yes sir. I am doing my best. He’s very difficult…I know its important sir….. he’s no ordinary person sir. If I had a free hand….. I know sir yes. I’m not indispensable.”

    Its always the same, when No.2 gets it in the neck he makes sure its passed down the line, in this case its No.14, and if she doesn’t get her drug right with No.6 No.2 will have her new wonder drug proved on her!
        It was slightly different in ‘The General,’ “…….No sir, I assure you there’s no problem sir….we’re getting a hundred percent co-operation from everyone and I’m anticipating a truly exciting result…..who sir?.... oh the Professor, just a mild aberration I assure you, a couple of days rest and adjustment and he’ll be doing everything we need…… yes, yes I will keep in touch sir in the closet touch thank you sir.”
    “Probably the most important human experiment we’ve ever had to conduct and he treats it, he’s treating it like a military exercise.”

    You want to watch that No.2, you never know who might be listening!

    But I ask you, look at that absurd telephone, it seems to me No.1 was taking the mickey out of No.2, which really was a bit cruel of him when you think about it. However having said that, I can think of one other deserving No.2 to have the rise taken out of him. The one who saw that everyone was against him, seeing conspiracies everywhere, a weak link in the chain of command which would snap at any time soon!

    “Number 2…….. Yes sir. Yes sir, everything is under control. No sir, no problems……. Assistance? No, no sir. I can manage…….. Yes sir, of course. Be seeing you.” 

    That was a bit of a humiliating telephone call if you don’t mind my saying so, especially when No.1 offered you assistance. Mind you if you treat your current assistant No.14 with the respect he deserves he could be of great assistance to you by offering well meaning advice. But then you’re an arrogant so and so and treat all Civil Servants with disrespect, its that bullying attitude of yours, that won’t get you very far you know, it will just put people’s backs up! Mind you I think you already achieved that with the Tally Ho headline “Increase Vigilance Call from No.2” subtitled “Security of the Community,” along with that article you wrote, you did write it? Whatever gives you the idea that everyone is against you, that’s just paranoia. Your assistant No.14 is on your side, he’s loyal if only you’d recognize that fact. However it’s nice to see No.1 taking such a close interest in you, I bet you put his back up when you treated No.6 with threats and violence. No.1 must have been watching because he was on the telephone within moments of you slapping No.6 in the face! Mind you you’re not the first in that regard, or to have to use that propitious telephone, No.1’s having a laugh, or someone is!
   “Get out!”
   Thank you very much!

    Assistance, what was No.1 talking about, No.2 already has an assistant, No.14 who perhaps saw himself promoted to the position of No.2 one day. If only No.2 had allowed his assistant to be more closely involved with his machinations with No.6, things might have turned out differently for No.2!

Be seeing you

Sunday 23 May 2021



    “He sits there on the top of the cliffs every day, painting” the supervisor said watching the scene on the wall screen.
    “Really, how extraordinary” No.60 said
    “He must have painted that same scene more than a dozen times.”
    “An eccentric is he?”
    “Well you know what artists are.”

    It was a warm, still, late afternoon when No.50 sat down on top of the cliff in order to begin to paint. There was not a breath of wind, it was just perfect, perfect until someone came along and stood right in the middle of his picture.
    “Excuse me, but could you step to one side please?!”
    The man turned round, seemingly startled as though he had not seen the artist at his work.
    “I’m sorry you startled me.”
    “And you are right in the middle of my picture!”
    The man stood to one side.
    “I’m sorry, but I’ve painted this same seascape four or five times, but I don’t think I’ll ever catch it. It’s not always the same you see, not when the tides in then the sun, when its out glistens on the water and makes it shimmer. When it’s cloudy and a storm threatens then that changes the mood of the sea, it becomes dark and threatening. But this evening....”
    “This evening? The man asked.
   “There’s something magical about it, it’s so still, and look you can’t see where the beach ends and the sky begins” No.50 said.
    “An evening for walking on the water” the man said.
    “You see” No.50 exclaimed “you understand.”
    “Oh no, not really.”
    “Are you a painter Number.....?”
    “No I’m not a painter” the man replied.
    “You don’t wear a number either!” No.50 observed.
    “I’m something of a free spirit, a numberless wanderer.”
    “Do you see...the figure on the beach?”
    The man turned round “He’s started to run!”
    “You would run if you were he” the painter said.
    “Watch, just watch.”
    The man was running, running through fear, and for his life. But the sand was soft, the going not easy as his canvas shoes sank in the sand, and it, the white membranic sphere gained on him all the time. It would be on him in a moment, and then........There came the blood curdling roar as the Guardian was right at his back. It knocked him to the ground, its prey shoved his face in the sand, better to perish this way than....but it wasn’t so easy to suffocate oneself. He raised his head for a moment, only for a moment, but that was enough for the Guardian to smother the man’s face with its membrane which the man clawed at with his fingers as it suffocated him to death. Then it absorbed its prey, utterly, completely, and with its digestive fluids and acids it began to digest, and its white membrane began to take on a pinkish hue.
    The man stood on the cliff top having watched the scene play out down below on the beach, as the artist worked furiously painting the scene in order to give his painting perspective..
    “What was that?”
    “You don’t know?” asked the artist.
    “Would I ask?”
    “You must be new here!” the artist said busy with his paint brushes.
    “It was a terrible sight, what was that thing?”
    “The Guardian” the artist said not stopping for a moment at his work.
    “The man he was....”
    “Yes that happens, but I expect it has to live like most of us, the best way we can.”
    “And all you can do is sit there and paint!”
    “It’s all about the moment, a painter has to capture the moment like Turner with his sunsets” the artist said sitting back to admire his work “would you like to see?”
    The man stepped round to look at the painting, the artist had captured the moment brilliantly. The moment filled the canvas, the horrific scene of a man screaming, his fingers clawing at the inside of the thing that was absorbing his body, his blood turning the white membrane pink......

Be seeing you

Thursday 20 May 2021

Village Life


    “Minutes five in begins committee purposes general the of meeting the hurry better had we.”  
    “We would have been on time had we not called by the café for coffee and buns!”  
    “!up us held who waitress the was it.”
    “Only because she couldn’t understand a single word you said!”
    “?Mean you do what.”
    “Can I ask, why are you talking in that way?”
    “?way what in.”
    “From back to front!”
    “Learn Speed through course degree university a taking I’m. Mean you what see I oh.”
    “A degree course in what in what, reverse physiology… learning to talking in complete gibberish?!”
    “Engineering reverse in no.”
    “Reverse engineering!”
    “That’s right.”
    “You do know what reverse engineering is don’t you?”
    “Yes of course I do, beginning the at the end and end at the beginning basically.”
    “I can see this mornings meeting of the general purposes committee is going to be a very long one.”

    “Right gentlemen I bring this meeting of the general purposes committee meeting to order” the Chairman announced with a bang of a gavel “we have a lot to get through this morning so I suggest we get on. Item one on the agenda, it was agreed at the last meeting of this general purposes committee that the old wooden sign for the map of your village and information board should be taken down and replaced with a new up-to-date electronic information machine.”
    “village the of Map electronic an information free as well as provide to machine the adapt to working now is department electronic and technical our. Week last arrived machine information Directomat electronic developed recently a.”
    “I cannot possibly ask you to say all that again” the Chairman said “What did he say?”
   “He’s using reverse engineering” No.108 said “he’s studying it for a Speed Learn degree. Allow me to translate Mister Chairman. What he said was, a newly developed electronic Directomat information machine arrived last week. Our technical and electronic department is now working to adapt the machine to provide as well as free information an electronic map of the village.”
    “How will it work?” the Chairman asked.
    “…number a select you basically.”
    “Not you!” said the Chairman “you, you tell me” he said pointing at 89.
    The Top Hat official stood up “Basically you select a number on the electronic map of The Village and press a corresponding button. Or you press a numbered button on the panel, and a corresponding number on the electronic map of the village lights up.”
    “I see” said the Chairman.
    “There will be one quirk about the machine Mister Chairman.”
    “And what’s that?”
    “The number 7 and all numbers containing the digit 7 will be removed.”
    “Removed, why?”
    Another Top Hat official No.144 rose to his feet “Mister Chairman you will recall that tragic incident involving Number 7, and how it was agreed that the number 7 should be expunged from the village.”
    “Oh yes, I see. Right carry on with that, you’re not using this reverse engineering thing on it are we?”
    “No Mister Chairman.”
    “Thank goodness for that” the Chairman said “speaking of machines, will someone put a tanner in that drinks machine, I’m spitting feathers!”
    “We got rid of the drinks machine, it made the coffee taste like oxtail soup!”
    “Well who’s making the tea now?”
    “An upgrade of the tea lady, we call her Martha.”
    “The pair of steel doors opened and there was a whirring sound of electronic motors and the clunk of gears as Martha entered the orange walled chamber pushing a tea trolley.”
    “What the devil’s this contraption?”
    “Martha is an automaton Mister Chairman.”
    “That’s all very well, but can she make the tea?”
    “Would you like a cup of tea?” Martha asked in her metallic sounding voice.
    “Yes I would, I’m spitting feathers!”
    The plain metal automaton, dressed in a dark blue dress, white frilly apron, and white sailors cap poured a cup of tea from the tea urn “Would you like milk and sugar?”
    “Yes please, two lumps.”
    “Would you like a biscuit with that?”
    “A biscuit oh yes I’ll have a biscuit.”
    Martha added a digestive biscuit on the saucer and placed the cup and saucer on the table.
    The chairman picked up the digestive biscuit “Aren’t there any proper biscuits?”
    “Proper biscuits sir?” Martha asked.
    “You know, the ones with cream inside.”
    “No sir, but I have cake.”
    “Oh good” the Chairman said rubbing his hands eagerly “I’ll have a piece of cake.”
    Martha turned to each member of the general purposes committee in turn and offered them a cup of tea and a biscuit, No.92 asked for coffee.
    Milk no sugar” he said.
    “Right” said the Chairman “now we all have tea, cake or biscuits, perhaps we can work through our tea break. Item two is the electrification of the clocks…..”
    Yuck!” No.231 suddenly ejaculated, tea spluttering out of his mouth..
    “What’s the matter with him?” the Chairman asked.
    “Tea the it’s” 231 said.
    “What’s the matter with the tea?”
    “It tastes like oxtail soup!”

Be seeing you

Monday 17 May 2021

Further Tales From The Village

     The morning was barely started when No.99, dressed in dove grey overalls and matching cap opened up the maintenance workshop. He went inside and to the small office where he studied the day’s work sheets. Normal gardening procedures, lawn mowing, hedge clipping, and new plants for one of the flower borders, oh yes and there was the Stone Boat. Another man similar attire entered the workshop, 99 saw him and stepped out of the office, clipboard in hand.
    “Morning 99.”
    “Morning 86, put the kettle on might as well begin the day with a brew.”
    “Aren’t 234 and 235 here yet?”
    “No they’re late.”
    No.86 filled the kettle and plugged it into the electrical socket, switching it on he sorted out the mugs “What’s on for today?”
    No.99 was studying the day’s work sheet “The Stone Boat, she’s due for a survey.”
    “Looking at the state of her, she’s ready for the breakers yard!” 86 said adding five teaspoons of tea to the pot.
    “Breakers yard or not” 99 said “You and me will carry out the survey, oh and don’t take any lip from that ex-Admiral chap should he turn up.”
   The kettle boiled, 86 poured hot water into the aluminium teapot and let it stand a while.
    “He’s as daft as a brush, seems to think he’s sailed that stone boat many a time, told me she’s great in any weather.”
    “Here drink your tea” 86 said handing over a filled mug.”
    Just at that moment the two brothers 234 and 235 arrived at the maintenance shed. They were followed by 57 and 134.
    “You two are late this morning” No.99 said.
    “We beat those two in!”
    “Only just!” 57 said.
    “We were at the Cat and Mouse till closing time” 234 said
    “I still can’t figure out why that woman was carrying that big old pot about!” 235 said.
    “I think it was an incense burner” 235 told him and stirred his tea.
    “I’m not so sure” 234 said helping himself to a mug of tea “I think it were dugs!”
    “Something like marijuana.”
    “Why? Whatever should that woman be wafting marijuana about the Cat and Mouse for?”
    “Simple, to make up for the lack of alcohol in the drinks!”
    “Come on you lot, work sheets as normal, lawn cutting, hedge trimming, Number 57 you can clear the flower border on the right of the steps to the Piazza, and put the new plants in. Number 86 and me are going to make a survey of the Stone Boat, we’ll be back in half an hour.”
    “It’s a nice day for a walk” 86 said staring up into the sky.
    “Walk, why walk when we can ride, I’ll get the Moke!”
    It was a nice drive from the maintenance workshop breaking out of the woods, along the winding road, over the bridge left along the road, through the yellow and white triumphal arch and into the village. Down the road again, sound the two tone horn to warn cyclists and pedestrians of the Mini-Moke’s approach, passed the Town Hall and down the hill towards the old People’s Home. Then round the hair-pin bend, finally at the slipway where the Mini-Moke came to a halt.
    99 turned off the engine “We walk from here” he said.
    No.86 followed 99 along the edge of the stone swimming pool, three girls in bikini’s were larking about, one in a small dingy, the others playing with a large beach ball, but neither of them was actually in the water.
    “Not going swimming today girls?”No.86 asked casually.
    “Not likely” one of the girls shouted back “the water’s freezing!”
    The two workmen carried on their walk.
    “This is the one drawback to this job, we’ll have to carry all the equipment this way” 99 said.
    “What do you mean why?”
    “Why not drive the Mini-Moke across the lawn of the Old People’s Home, then we could park it just along the quay there, at least it would be nearer.”
    “Good idea 86.well there she is, for what she’s worth at the moment.”
    The stone boat had seen better days; she was quite a novelty being part of the quayside. In better days citizens would run about her deck and climb the rigging.
    “She’s up for survey” they heard a voice say.
    They turned round to see a man dressed wearing a British Naval cap, except the badge was covered by the village badge denoting the number 66, he had a plastic battleship under his arm.
    “Yes Admiral, that’s why we are here to carry out that survey” No.99 told him.
    “How long do you think the refit will take?”
    “Depends on what the survey finds.”
    “That’s the trouble with you shipyard Johnny’s, no urgency!” the Admiral said.
    No.99 shot 86 a knowing glance “Well with your permission Admiral, the faster we carry out the survey the sooner the refit will be completed.”
   “The bow sprit is rotten” said the Admiral “The roof to the forecastle needs to be replaced, and some of the rotten side timbers need cutting out and replacing.”
    “Thank you Admiral” 99 said stepping aboard “The main cabin looks solid enough, mind you the rigging is rotten.”
   No.86 stepped towards the stern and turned the ships wheel “this is rotten and needs replacing. But the main mast is sound, as is the jib.”
    “And some of the timbers, and a lick of paint for the forecastle!” 99 confirmed, and made a note on the clipboard “also a new sail is called for, black is stipulated.”
    “Yes, and she’s to be decked out with bunting.”
    “Not signal flags, England expects and all that.”
    “What do you think” asked the Admiral “will she sail again?”
    No.99 winked at 86 “Well Admiral the Navy yard will have its work cut out, but I think we can save her from the breakers yard!”
    “Carry on then, my Flag Officer and I are going to restage the battle of Jutland” the Admiral said tapping the plastic battleship under his arm.
    A tall middle aged woman dressed in grey jersey and light blue slacks came walking along wearing a white Navy cap, she carried a grey ship under each arm. Then she and the Admiral walked off together. No.86 was still carrying on with the survey when he noticed it wasn’t there!
    “Where is it?”
    “Where’s what?” No.99 asked.
    “The davits are empty, there’s no dingy!” 

    It was 5 minutes before curfew, No.10 and No.17 had left the relative comfort of their cottages and slipped out into the night. They rendezvoused down on the quayside, and stowed away in the main cabin of the stone boat until well after Moon Set. They placed a haversack filled with provisions, and a canteen of water into the dingy hanging from the davits and together lowered it into the water. Then they climbed down the two ropes, No.10 took the two oars rowing the dingy out into the estuary and away from the village. The plan was to hug the coast, and if they came to a harbour then all well and good, if not they would row ashore and move inland on foot, that was the plan.
   In the control room an Observer looked up from his monitor “Supervisor.”
    The bald-headed supervisor turned his attention to the Observer “Yes what is it?”
    “I thought I saw something in the estuary.”
    “What do you think it was?”
    “I’m not sure sir.”
    “Right lets have the estuary on the screen, camera nineteen, night vision...scan.”
    The surveillance camera scanned the surface of the water, the green light of night vision showed nothing.
    “You’re sure you saw something?”
    “No sir, it was just an impression of movement.”
    That was enough for the Supervisor he picked up the yellow ‘L’ shaped intercom “Orange alert, orange alert.”
    The sea was relatively calm; the dingy was making good headway, as No.10 tired No.17 took over the rowing as they continued to hug the coast. In this way it alleviated the need for navigation, although there was no-way they could know where they were rowing to because they had no idea where they were rowing from!   

    At the bottom of the sea a segment of the Guardian was released, its amorphous mass distorted by the pressure in the water, but lessened as it floated upwards. It burst through the surface sending a cascade of water into the air and skimmed across the water. 
    “What’s that sound?” No.10 said.
    “A ship’s engines!” 17 said and were about to shout ahoy when…
    “A searchlight, down!”
    “They must be searching for us!”
    Out of the darkness a searchlight swept across the surface of the water, as it began to point towards the dingy, 10 and 17 crouched down low hoping in all hope not to be spotted. The light swept passed them and slowly the motor cruiser carried on its way the searchlight slowly scanning the way ahead. The two men in the dingy raised themselves up and No.17 began rowing again. After a few minutes there came something else out of the darkness, a white sphere, and yet they heard it before they saw it……the Guardian emitting its blood curdling roar moved at speed towards the dingy. No.17 in sudden fear panicked, No.10 tried to stop him, but he was too late, 17 was in the water and began to swim away, but he on the wrong side of the dingy the Guardian was on him in an instant. No.10 watched as his friend struggled in the water, his arms flaying out, and fingers trying to claw at the membrane in a vain attempt to claw the membrane from his face as the Guardian forced 17 below the surface. To try and save his friend would be futile, No.10 took up the oars and rowed for his life. The dingy skimming across the sea with the Guardian giving chase, but he realized he was safe, safe as long as he remained in the dingy. The Guardian, where was the Guardian? It was there just beneath the dingy, suddenly bursting through the surface the white membranic thing violently slamming into the side of the dingy sending No.10 off balance and into the water. He was floundering; being unable to swim made him easy prey for the Guardian.
   In the morning the crew of the Motor Ship Polotska resumed their search, all they found was an abandoned dingy and a pair of oars floating in the sea.

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Friday 14 May 2021

Who’s That On The Telephono?

    Supervisor “Who was that?”
    “My butler.”
    “The butler, what did he want?”
    “What’s it got to do with you what he wanted?”
    “Nothing, nothing at all sir, I thought he was mute.”
    “Well you were wrong. He gave me a bell to tell me Number 6 is here to see me, so you had better go….out!”

   {So was it the butler on the telephono, or was it an Observer informing No.6 was on his way to see him? After all by the time of the telephone call No.6 was still on his way to the Green Dome.}

Be seeing you 

Life In The Village!


Introducing the new Citizeness 2!

    Personally I should not trust this citizeness as far as I could throw her. She would report you to the Committee For Public Safety as soon as look at you!

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Wednesday 12 May 2021

Life In The Village!


    An invitation to breakfast, or at least No.2 invited himself!
    “You do very well for yourself.”
    “Oh you think so.”
    “You have a nice semi-detached cottage with all mod cons, convenient for the shop, as well as the perks you enjoy.”
    “Perks, how do you work that out?”
    “Well here we sit in your dinette and still you have your breakfast made and brought to you. May I trouble you for a slice of toast?”
    “Haven’t you had breakfast yet?”
    “No” No.2 said helping himself to butter “I haven’t been to the Green Dome as yet, I don’t live there you know, I have a room in the Town Hall, with the bathroom and other facilities along the corridor. I don’t do as well as you; even my butler has his own place living in the annexe at the back of the Green Dome. How do you find it?”
    “What the Green Dome or the annexe?”
    “Your breakfast.”
    “Its nicely done, French.”
    “French, how’s your slice of toast?”
    “Pass the marmalade would you?”

 Be seeing you

Saturday 8 May 2021

Newly Arrived!

     Newly arrived in the village, a man wakes up in what he considered to be the drawing room of his own home. Somewhat groggily he stood up and crossing the room to the window and drew back the curtains, and looking out his eyes fell upon a scene of an Italianate village. Confusion soon set in, disorientation quickly followed as the young man took his first tentative steps out in the village.

    He saw the bell tower, the cobbled square and stood gazing up at the Green Dome. The general store was closed, and yet the café was just opening.
    “Can I get you breakfast young man?”
    “Say this is a crazy scene, like where am I?”
    “In the village” the waitress replied opening a canopy over a table.
    “Like what village?”
    “Do you want coffee?”
    “No I don’t want breakfast, I don’t want coffee, just tell me how I get out of here.”
    “You having trouble with him?” the gardener asked.
    “No, he’s no trouble.”
    “Is there a telephone I can use?”
    “No, but there’s a phone box around the corner.”
    “Thank you.”
    The fair youth walked around the corner from the café and found the telephone booth. A sign read “Lift and press,” so he picked up the grey ‘L’ shaped telephone and pressed the small square chrome button.
    “Number please” the operator asked.
    “I want to make a telephone call to…..”
    “What is your number sir?”
    The man looked at the telephone “I haven’t got a number.”
    “No number no call” the operator said and hung up.
    There was a white Mini-Moke parked across the way, the young man walked towards it, a driver wearing a striped jersey sat behind the wheel.
    “Are you a taxi?
    “The vehicle is a taxi, I’m the driver” the young woman said.
    “Can you take me to the nearest town?”
    “We’re only the local service sir.”
    “Well perhaps you can take me to the nearest bus stop.”
    “There isn’t one” the taxi driver told him.
    “Well go on then, take me as far as you can.”
    The driver started the taxis engine, engaged first gear, released the hand brake and the vehicle moved forward. The taxi was driven this way and that, down the hill passed the Town Hall, round the bend at the bottom of the hill near the Old People’s home. Then turned round drove back up the hill passed the Town Hall, passed the cafe, round the corner, passed the cobbled square, through the first arch, through a second, taking the road out of the village. It was a hairpin bend after which was the castle, or a building which looked like a castle, yet a signpost read ‘Hospital.’ The road led back towards the village, winding its way through trees, over a bridge and through a large yellow and white arch. Down the hill again towards the Old People’s Home, back up the hill then slowing and taking a left fork, round by the pink pavilion and the statue of Hercules, up the cobbled street, then right through an arch driving into the cobbled square where the vehicle came to a stop.
    “Here we are” the driver said.
    “Back where we started!”
    “I did tell you we’re only the local service.”
    The young man alighted the Mini-Moke.
    “The fare is two units” the driver told him.
    “Units, units aren’t for me!”
    “Oh well you can pay me later” the driver told him.
    And the Mini-Moke drove off down the road, the driver looking for her next fare.
    Seeing the general store was open he was about to go in, when he was stopped by two burly set men in red jumpers.
    “Number 2 wants a word with you” one of them told him.
    “You are to come with us” the other said.
    The young man found himself being manhandled across the square, across the road, up the steps, through the front door of the Green Dome and into the foyer. Then through a pair of French doors, through a pair of large steel doors, into a large domed chamber and bundled into a black leather chair.
     There was a grey curved desk, behind which a man sat in a black global chair.
    “Are you responsible for this?” the young man shouted “you can’t do this to me man, I’ve got rights!”
    “You can go” the man sitting in the black global chair said.
    “That’s right dad, I knew you’d see sense.”
    “Not you!” than man said.
    The two guardians turned and left the chamber through the opening steel doors.
    “Thanks for the trip dad.”
    “Don’t mention it” No.2 said.
    “This is a crazy scene dad.”
    “There will come a time when you will realize that I am not your father.”
    “Why am I here?”
    “You were brought here because I wished to speak to you.”
    “And you are?”
    “Number 2, chief administrator, and chairman of the village.”
    “The village?”
    “If there is one thing you need its discipline and guidance.”
    “That’s two things daddy-oh!”
    “And I am to see that you, Number 48, will receive induction to both of those requirements.”
    “You dad….what did you call me?”
    “Number 48.”
    “Wow numbers are for squares dad!”
    “Not only will you wear your number, but when called to do so you will respond to it. And talking about wearing, we’ll get you some new clothes while we’re about it.”
    “New clothes, what’s wrong with the ones I’m wearing?”
    “A black military tunic, this isn’t Carnaby Street or the Kings road you know, such dress is inappropriate for the village.”
    “If you say so daddy-oh.”
    No.2 picked up the yellow ‘L’ shaped telephone “You can come in now” putting the phone back on his deck he turned his attention once more to the prisoner No.48 “we can continue our little talk later on. For now……”
    The pair of steel doors opened and a tall lean man in a dark blue piped blazer, accompanied by the two guardians, entered the chamber.
   “… will be left to your own devices, to become accustomed to your new surroundings. Number 22 and these two gentlemen will escort you back to your cottage, where you will change into your new village attire.
    “What about my old clothes?”
    “We’ll burn those” No.2 told him.

    No.48 wasn’t at all happy, he attempted to walk away from the village along the beach, but confronted by the white amorphous Guardian he was herded back to the village like some lost sheep. However youth will have its fling, but try as he might but despite a night’s drinking in the Cat & Mouse nightclub he remained as sober as a judge! He danced about, pranced about, stood singing songs from the top of the bandstand, but he did attend the regular brass band concerts, even if that meant he would ask for requests to be played…pop songs mostly!
   One day wearing his red and white zip up anorak No.48 wandered down the hill towards the Old People’s Home. He wandered across the lawn, and was spotted by No.216, a white haired gentleman sitting at a table, he had a chess set in front of him.
    “Do you play chess young man?” the old gentleman asked.
    “No dad.”
    “Well sit down and I’ll teach you.”
    No.48 sat down.
    “These are pawns, upon their first move a pawn can move forward one square or two squares, after that its one square. To take an opponent’s piece it moves diagonally. Don’t you think it’s time for you to settle down and co-operate?”
    “Deaf are you?”
    “What and end up an old man living in this place, no thanks daddy-oh!”
    “Take Number 6.”
    “What about him?”
    “He has rebelled, refused to wear, observe, or respond to his number. He’s attempted to escape, poked his nose in where it has no business, involved himself in the affairs of the village, and been generally the village’s biggest troublemaker!”
    “Bully for him” No.48 said.
    “He’s a round peg in a square hole that refuses to be made to fit.”
    “You don’t say.”
    Then there’s Number 13 an unlucky number, nothing ever went right for him. He was always in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was once mistaken for someone else, got taken away for treatment that time.”
    “What kind of treatment?”
    “I don’t know, never asked. It doesn’t do to ask questions. He tried several attempts to escape, but they always went wrong, just like it did that time when he set out to sea in a dugout canoe. Weeks he took digging out that canoe, there had been a storm you see, and out of the trunk he dug out this canoe, and fashioned a pair of paddles.
    “Where did he get the tools?”
    “He made them, flint axe and chisel, spent weeks in the woods, only to try and escape, but to die out at sea. He didn’t get so far before the Guardian got to him, the tide must have carried the body away.”
    “There was a funeral.”
    “No lad, no funeral, you need a body for that. Then there was Number 7 as lucky a number as 13 is unlucky.”
    “Unless you happen to break a mirror!”
    The grey haired shot the youth a derisory glance.
    “So what happened to Number 7?”
    “Well one day Number 7 let it be known, to one or two, that he had a plan, a foolproof escape plan. Of course they say everyone tries to escape when their spirit’s broken, but Number 7 didn’t do anything. He went to the café every day for lunch, he played chess with me in the afternoons, and in between he went to the brass band concerts. He would sit on a bench in the cobbled square reading The Tally Ho, promenaded around the Piazza for exercise. He once entered a painting competition, he painted a lovely seascape, and he loved to dress up for Carnival. And then one day he was gone!”
    “So I tell you, so it happened. No hyde nor hair of him could they find. The Observers scanned the village, the woods and a search party was sent to search as far as the outer zone, as well as to the southern perimeter. A physical search of the village, and the woods was made, but no trace of Number 7 was ever found.”
    “So he did have a plan, and he used it to escape.”
    “Well if he didn’t he’s been hiding away somewhere hereabout these past three months. And I’ll tell you what...”
    “Go on, what?”
    “They removed every trace of the number 7 from the village!”
    “Get away!”
    “It’s true I tell you, you’ll not find the number 7 anywhere in the village. But now Number 48, what kind of prisoner are you going to turn out to be?”

Be seeing you

Thursday 6 May 2021

The Tally Ho


The Blue Zone In The Post!

by our own reporter

    A new Blue Zone in the post, what’s that all about? Who bothers to write to anyone in the village? Well some citizens must write to others, otherwise why does the village have a postman, along with the new Blue Zone in the post? And at the kiosk they sell copies of The Tally Ho, sweets, along with postcards of the village. Who in the village would buy postcards of the village? Perhaps they are for citizens who wish to send postcards to friends telling them what a wonderful time they are having in this holiday resort.
    I have noticed that it’s not the traditional seaside comical postcards which are on sale, only the scenic views of the village that are made available. Really where’s the fun in that? The postman calls and delivers you a picturesque postcard of the village, your own cottage might even appear in that view. So what about this village postman? I’ve seen him on his rounds pushing a Penny Farthing bicycle, he should be made to ride it like all good Victorian postmen used to do. But here’s a question for citizens, how does this village postman actually deliver the post, because as far as I can see there are no letter boxes in any of the cottage doors, not even the front door of the Green Dome is fitted with a letter box! Yes the postman did make a special delivery to 6 Private, his invitation to carnival, but then the door was open. So perhaps the postman has to knock and wait for someone to open the door before he can deliver the post! Anyway prior to this new Blue Zone in the post with its blue and white post-box, I have never actually seen a post-box anywhere in the village! So how could citizens post their cards and letters to one another? Perhaps the postman had to call at each cottage to collect letters for posting, or citizens themselves had to physically take letters and cards to the post office.
    So perhaps this new Blue Zone in the post is designed to make the village postal service more efficient, I dare to think that is hardly possible. I cannot see how the village post office is run off its feet collecting and delivering post. And that’s another question, where in the village is the Post office? I’ve never seen it, it’s not marked on the map of the village, and no-one I spoke to could give me directions.
    Anyway its nice to know that the postal service has been improved with this new and fast Blue Zone, and now we can send each other postcards wishing each other that they were here. Except we already are in the village!


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