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Monday 28 June 2021

Out of The Village!

    The walls of the so called tunnel of love, where death lurks, is littered, or rather decorated, with a large number of white masks. I cannot help but wonder if these are the white death masks of the girl’s past victims whom she has loved to death!
    I am not saying those white masks are death masks you understand, its just they are suggestive!

Be seeing you

Friday 25 June 2021

Further Tales From The Village


   People were once again “sailing” aboard the Stone Boat, well at least clambering about her deck, climbing the rigging and with one man at the helm, the ex-Admiral.
    The tall figure of No.2 leaned on his umbrella shooting stick, the old college scarf wound about his neck and shoulders. His assistant No.12 stood next to him behind the balustrade looking down at the quayside.

    “They’ve made an excellent job of the refit” No.2 said with a pleased expression on his face.
    “They have indeed sir” No.12 replied “I think the choice of a black sail was a good one.”
    “Oh you do.”
    “Yes sir.”
    “Why sir?”
    “Yes why sir?”
    “Well it helps the Stone Boat stand out.”
    “Yes it does, doesn’t it” No.2 replied thoughtfully.
    Bunting fluttered in the breeze amid the rigging of the Stone Boat, but No.2’s eyes were on something not quite right about it.
    “Who ordered the Stone Boat to be decorated with bunting?”
    “I don’t know sir.”
    “You don’t know sir?”
    “I believe the instruction was on the worksheet.”
    “Who signed the job off upon completion?”
    “I did sir.”
    “You did sir?”
    “Yes sir.”
    “Why did you do that?”
    “Well I know you to be a busy man, I didn’t see the need to bother you sir.”
    “Oh you know me to be a busy man, and you didn’t want to bother me, that was very good of you sir.”
    No.12 stood quietly smiling to himself.
    “The bunting is one thing, but what about those flags?”
    “Flags sir?
    “The distress signal flags.”
    “Are they sir?” No.12 said in feigned astonishment.
    No.2 turned to face his assistant “You know damn well they are!”

    The pair of steel doors slid open and No.2, followed by his assistant, marched smartly into the domed chamber that is No.2’s office. No.2 propped his shooting stick against his desk and unwound the scarf. He picked up the yellow ‘L’ shaped telephone.
    “The works department…… department, the bunting on the Stone boat I want it removed………never mind that my lad, just get it removed!” and replaced the telephone on the desk.
    “So what’s the game Number 12?”
    “Game sir?”
    “Don’t play the innocent Number 12; you know what I’m talking about.”
    “I don’t sir.”
    “The black sail to attract attention from a passing ship or plane, and then the recognition of the distress signal flags in order to bring help and possible liberation.”
    “You should talk to Number 66 the ex-Admiral” 12 suggested.
    “I’m talking to you!” No.2 barked out losing his composure, which he quickly regained “what do you mean the ex-Admiral?”
    “Well he’s always banging on about the Stone Boat and how she needed a refit. If it wasn’t for him……”
    “I see” No.2 said thoughtfully “and you think this old fuddy-duddy of an ex-Admiral added the flags to the bunting?”
   “No sir.”
   “Neither do I sir. But I’m bound by duty to find the culprit. What about this Number 6, would he be up for something like this?”
    “He might sir, except direct action is more his style, he’s attempted escape several times.”
    “And once it became clear that escape is not possible, he might try to attract someone’s attention and think to bring about a rescue. And if he were part of that work gang how easy for him then to help hang the bunting and send his distress signal.”

    Two men in dove grey overalls stepped aboard the Stone Boat, one climbed on top of the forecastle, while the other climbed in the rigging to take down the bunting. On the lawn of the Old People’s Home two men in black overcoats and Top Hats, wearing dark glasses sat at a table drinking afternoon tea.
    “Those two men are taking down the bunting” said one.
    “So I see” said the other.
    “It didn’t work!”
    “It was worth a try though.”
    Just then No.12 and two burly set men marched passed and approached a table at the far end of the lawn.
    “Number 6 you’re to come with us” No.12 said in an authoritive  tone of voice.
    “Why should I?”
    No.12 tipped the two Guardians the wink, and they pounced on No.6 tipping him out of his chair and onto the grass. There was a struggle and a fight broke out with No.6 giving as good had he got. But in the end was over powered and frog-marched across the lawn in front of the citizens, who abhorred such behaviour, to the waiting Mini-Moke.
   The pair of steel doors slid open and No.6 was manhandled into the domed office and set down in a leather chair. Behind the grey curved desk No.2 sat in a black global chair, he waved a hand and the two Guardians withdrew.
    “You can remain Number 12, I might need you.”
    “Yes sir.”
    “Well Number 6.”
    “As well as can be expected, under the current circumstances.”
    “I wasn’t asking after your health.”
    “What then?”
    “You have become suspect!”
    “Really, and what am I supposed to have done now?”
    “Don’t you come the old acid with me; I know what you have been up to.”
    “Which is more than I do!”
    “You stole a pair of overalls and cap, and joined a work gang working incognito with the refit of the Stone Boat, you helped rig the bunting, adding a couple of flags to the decoration.”
    “I did!”
    “You see sir” said No.12 “he admits it!” 
    “I should be careful Number 12; you yourself are not beyond suspicion just yet” No.2 warned.
    “Perhaps we did it together!” No.6 suggested.
    “There’s one way to find out” No.2 raised himself out of his chair and pressed a button on the control panel of his desk.

   The large wall screen came to life the picture showing a number of workmen working on board the Stone Boat. No.2 pressed a second button and the film went into fast-forward, and the refit of the Stone Boat was carried out in double-quick time. Then a third button was pressed pausing the action, the surveillance camera zoomed in on the two men busy decking out the Stone Boat with bunting.
    No.6 had been seated watching the action take place on the screen “Well that’s not me!” he declared.
    “Me neither” said No.12 quick to respond.
    No.2 stared at the screen “You can go.”
    “Thank you very much” No.6 said rising out of the chair “What no apology?”
    “Don’t push your luck” No.2 told him.
    No.6 walked across the floor, up the ramp towards the pair of opening doors, No.12 turned to follow him.
    “Not you Number 12.”
    He stopped and turned to face his superior.
    “Number 12 of Administration, you recognize the two men on the screen, it’s written all over your face.”
    “They are Top Hat officials of Administration” No.12 confessed.
    A general alarm was put out for the two administration officials, No.’s 128 and 213. There was a cottage set beyond the Old People’s Home on the extreme of the village built into the sea wall. At the foot of the sea wall was a sailing skiff, the two Top Hat officials had changed into swimming trunks, and now walked casually along the sand by the sea wall as not to attract any attention. Together they picked up and carried the skiff across the sand towards a deep water filled gully. They managed to paddle the skiff a short way as not to raise the alarm too soon before raising the sail.
   In the control room an Observer looked up from her monitor and attracted the Supervisor’s attention.
    “Let’s have it on the screen” the Supervisor said.
    A good strong breeze filled the sail sending the skiff along the gully and out towards the mouth of the estuary. There was apprehension on both the crewmen’s faces knowing their escape attempt would not be plain sailing, being only too aware of the danger which lay out at sea.
   The yellow ‘L’ shaped telephone began to bleep No.2 picked it up.
    “Supervisor here sir, there’s a sail boat leaving the village, they have almost reached the mouth of the estuary.”

    No.2 pressed a button and watched the boat sailing towards the mouth of the estuary and the sea beyond.
    “Tell me what visual range do you have out to sea?”
    “Do you mean direct TV transmission?”
    “Two miles, after that we’re on radar.”

    No.’s 128 and 213 were making good headway, but expected an attack by the Guardian at any moment. But the Guardian was conspicuous by its absence, and as time passed they began to relax.

    A small Motor Ship was on its way back from a night cruise, the first mate was on look-out and the boatswain was at the wheel.
    “Small sail three points off the starboard beam” the first mate suddenly called out.
   Instantly the boatswain turned the wheel to set the vessel on an  intercept course.
   Aboard the skiff it was 128 who saw the Motor Ship first, and drew 213’s attention to it. They began to shout and wave, and they leapt for joy as the vessel drew alongside. The first mate stood at the safety rail ready with a rope.
    “What do you two think you’re about?”
    “We’ll tell you once we’re aboard” 213 said.
    The first mate threw the line which helped the two men scramble aboard the Motor Ship. In the wheelhouse the boatswain gave each of the two men a blanket.
    “Where have you two sprung from?” asked the boatswain.
    “A village along the coast” 213 said throwing a blanket about him.

    “Where were you headed?” the first mate asked.
    “Anywhere you will take us” 128 told them.
    Below deck in the galley, a third crewman was busy brewing up a hot beverage he emerged into the gangway and climbed the ladder into the wheelhouse. The two men gratefully took a mug of tea each and drank deep of the warming brew.
    “Now” said 213 “if you can tell us where you’re headed.”
    “A small Village-next-the-Sea” said the Boatswain.
    “What?” 128 asked, suddenly he wasn’t feeling too good.
    213 stared at the mug he held him his hands, he suddenly felt woozy-headed. The mug slipped through his fingers, and he passed out on the floor. No.128 tried to get to the door of the wheelhouse, he managed to slide it open then he too passed out.
    “I hope you didn’t make it too strong” said the man pictured on the television screen.
    The chemist was busy checking the two bodies lying on the floor “No Number 2, the drug was made to exact proportions. They will be fully cognisant in time for their interrogation.”

Be seeing you

Tuesday 22 June 2021

Village Life!


    “Would you say we we’re completely impartial?”
    “What, you mean in an official capacity?”
    “As Civil Servants?”
    “Well I would say we are completely impartial.”
    “Treating each new interim No.2 equally would you say, without showing favouritism?”
    “Without question!”
    “Yes that as well.”
    “Why do you ask?”
    “It just makes me wonder where they find them!”
    “How do you mean?”
    “You saw yesterdays Tally Ho.”
    “That article, you don’t think Number 2 was referring to us do you?”
    “Do you?”
    “An increase in vigilance indeed, we’ll be watching each other before too long!”
    “I should be careful if I were you, you never know who might be listening!”
    “Don’t you think Number 2 has become rather unhinged?”
    “Well he’s rather erratic I suppose.”
    “Do you think the security of the community is at risk?”
    “Only from within!”
    “Within the Civil Service you mean.”
    “Any Number 2 is only as good as the Civil Service which backs up his term in office.”
    “You know he’s become completely obsessed with Number 6!”

    “I heard he not only threatened No.6 with a sword, but that he physically assaulted him!”
    “A sword, Number 2 has a sword, that’s outside the pale of the law isn’t it…what’s he doing with a sword…I’ve never seen it.”
    “It’s hidden in his shooting stick!”
    “I thought there was something wrong with that shooting stick.”
    “Its certainly not regular village issue!”
    “So security is the word of the moment!”
    “Security is not a dirty word.”
    “I never said it was.”
    “Security is the responsibility of us all.”
    “Security is our duty.”
    “So if I said I was going to put a bomb at the front door of the Green Dome you’d grass me up!”
    “Are you jamming?”
    “Number 2 talks of Jamming.”

    “How do you mean?”
    “He said we know there are those who believe they can get away with their plots and conspiracies, jamming!”
    “Sometimes I wonder where they get these Number 2’s!”
    “Probably from within the Civil Service!”

    “You mean he’s one of us!”
    “I heard Number 2 drove Number 73 to her death.”
    “I thought that was Number 6, be fair, Number 2 hadn’t laid a hand on her, well that’s what I heard, that she didn’t leap to her death until she laid eyes on Number 6 when he went bursting into the room.”
    “Poking his nose in again I call it.!”
    “But with Number 73 having suicidal tendencies what was the hospital window doing left wide open?”
    “Are you going to hold an inquiry?”
    “No, I thought we might have a cup of tea at the café before the meeting!”
    “Good idea, with toast and jam.”
    “What is?”
    “Jam on toast for breakfast.”
    “I thought that it was Belgian.”
    “Here we are.”
    At the café they ordered tea with jam on toast.
    “Who eats jam on toast for breakfast? The waitress asked.
    “Its Belgian.”

Be seeing you

Saturday 19 June 2021

Knowledge Freedom Escape


    “Escape....escape to where?”
    “Through knowledge comes freedom to escape.”
    “What knowledge, and what price freedom?”
    “If I knew where I was escaping from, I might calculate where I was escaping to!”
    “, do you know what’s out there?”
    “A wasteland that’s what, there’s nothing between here and the mountains, nothing for hundreds and hundreds of miles, in all directions.”
    “But there is a road, and roads lead to places, stands to reason.”
    “Reason, what reason is there here?”
    “More the reason for escape, you are a taxi driver!”
    “Yes you.”
    “Look man I’m only the local service, I make local destinations.”
    “Good, then you can drop me off at the village shop, while you fill the taxi with gasoline.”
    “What do you want to go to the village shop for?”

    “Okay mister I think this has gone far enough, if 2 finds out what we’re doing he’ll take my license away from me, and he’ll do worse.”
    “No, what do you mean no?”
    “You won’t be here, now drive!”
    No.232 drove his taxi around the village until he was flagged down by a man standing on a street corner.
    “Where to mister?”
    “Take me to the nearest town” No.37 said climbing into the back of the taxi.
    “I’m only the local service.”
    “Alright then, take me as far as you can!”
   The taxi driver took the main drag through town, then took a left at Conway and Brewster, a right at 54the street, and then he floored the accelerator out of town following the road out into the wasteland. This had not gone unnoticed by the Observers.
    The taxi travelled the road which stretched out for mile after mile. Driver and passenger took turns to drive through both day and night in the heat of the wasteland. Then......brakes were applied, the tyres squealed, rubber burned, the taxi fishtailed and finally the taxi came to a stop, they had run out of road!
    232 and 37 got out of the taxi, the road had come to the end at the edge of a plateau, and below the wasteland stretched out as far as the eye could see. 37 turned to look back from where they had come it was implausible to think they would have to go back to the city, then he saw a small cloud of dust.
    “The Guardian!”
    In the control room 2 and the supervisor watched via a camera mounted on a drone.
    “That’s a mile and a half mile drop” said the supervisor.
    “What are you telling me?” 2 asked “that it’s going to hurt when they hit the ground!”
    “I can’t go back” 232 said.
    “Neither can I, I’ve an appointment at the clinic I have no wish to keep” 32 said.
    “We could just sit it out in the taxi” 232 suggested.
    “For how long, they would simply send a team of guardians.”
    The two men looked at each other, both realizing there was only one way out. They were about to get back into the taxi when the drone hovered just above them.
    “Do not do it” the voice of 2 said “that’s not the way.”
    They stared up at the drone, saw the dust cloud was getting ever closer, the got back into the taxi, the vehicle reversed back along the road. The drone descended and hovered in front of the blue and cream coloured car. 323 engaged first gear and floored the accelerator and the taxi shot forward, the drone rose high into the air avoiding being destroyed in the collision. The taxi travelled at speed along the short piece of road, but then the wheels lost contact with the ground.

Be seeing you

Wednesday 16 June 2021

Who’s That On The Telephono?


    Go on then….answer the telephone, intercom or whatever you like to call it! It’s nice to know that No.1 has been keeping your progress under such close surveillance, because once your failure had become apparent No.1 was on the blower to you a mere 21 seconds later! Oh I realize it wasn’t all your fault old chap, had No.14 told you that No.6 had opened his eyes and saw her even before the experiment had begun…..well you could have dealt with that. But she didn’t, and I bet you had no idea that when the good doctor went to the laboratory that No.6 followed her……you see. I believe by allowing herself to be followed to the laboratory No.14 was undermining you. Perhaps you should not have threatened to have the drug proved on her if she failed to get it right! You bullied and cajoled her, its no wonder she appeared to be pleased when No.6 succeeded. Sometimes I think the doctor used both the third dose of her drug and No.6 to put one over on No.2, to bring about his failure. Go on No.2….don’t keep No.1 waiting!

Be seeing you

Sunday 13 June 2021

Further Tales From The Village


    It was raining! It had to be admitted that when its raining in the village there’s really nothing much to do. No.16 wondered or not to make a dash through the rain to the café, but he put the kettle on instead. No point in getting wet unnecessarily. And no doubt even if the rain were to stop, the village green would still be too wet for a game of croquet. The cottage door suddenly opened and the maid came in carrying a breakfast tray.
    “What’s the matter with you?” she asked.
    “It’s raining.”
    “Yes, I know” she said taking the tray into the dinette.
    “You’re wet, and the breakfast will be cold.”
    “I’ve a good mind to report you” she told him.
    “But why come out in such weather?”
    “I have my job to do.”
    He picked up a slice of soggy toast out of the toast rack “To bring me a cold soggy breakfast, I applaud your devotion to the job, but I am capable of making my own breakfast.”
    “Now you’re simply being ungrateful, I thought better of you” she told him making for the door.
    “Aren’t you going to do the dusting, oh and my laundry wasn’t collected yesterday.”
    “Do your own housework, you’ve clearly nothing else to do” she told him opening the door.
    The door to his cottage closed. He stood at the window watching the maid dash down the steps and through the rain. In the dinette he made a cup of coffee and boiled himself a couple of eggs, and by late morning the rain had eased to a slight drizzle.

    By lunchtime the rain had stopped altogether, so No.16 decided to go out for a walk, and putting on his blazer he made for the door but his exit was blocked by two middle aged women.
    “Good day” No.38 said.
    “And what can I do for you to ladies?”
    “It’s flag day” 26 announced.
    It was then he noticed each of the ladies had a small cardboard box secured with a string about their necks, and each carried a clipper.
    “Flag day, flag day for what?”
    “We’re collecting donations for the building of the new concert hall” No.38 informed him.
    No.26 stood ready to pin a tiny flag to the lapel of his blazer.
    “Sorry” he said brushing passed the ladies “I’m not a concert goer!”

    Disappointed the two women went on their way, and No.16 went on his. He had descended the steps, reaching the road when a man bumped into him.
    “Sorry” the man said.
    “That’s alright, but you need to watch where you’re going.”
    “Yes I will” the man said and went on his way… walking backwards!
    “What are you doing?” 16 shouted after him.
    “I’m walking backwards!”
    Ask a stupid question!
    Walking along the street he met with the ex-Admiral “My word, that’s a fine model you have there Admiral.”
    “Yes, the Titanic built her with my own hands, took me a few weeks but isn’t she magnificent, she’s complete with an electric motor.”
   He stood there examining the vessel “And what are you going to do with her now?”
    “Break her in half and chuck her in the free sea!”
    “She’ll sink” he said.

    “That’s right” the ex-Admiral said and went on his way whistling a sea shanty.
    He hadn’t walked far when he was almost run over by a chap riding a Penny Farthing bicycle. A chap in a peaked cap shouted “Get out of the way”, he did and the man riding the penny Farthing had lost control of the bicycle as it went pell-mell down the road. It was clear to him that he wasn’t going to make it round the corner at the bottom of the road. He didn’t. The Penny Farthing collided with a low stone wall and tipped the rider over the penny wheel and into the bushes. He ran down the road towards the accident.
    “Are you alright?” 16 asked moving the bicycle out of the way, and attending to the rider.
    “Yes I think so” the man said clamouring out of the bushes.

    “Why do you ride that thing?”
    “I have to, I’m the village postman!”
    He helped him to his feet and he brushed himself down.
    “You’re Number 16.”
    “I’ve got something for you” he said and ferreted about in his post bag.
    “Something for me?”
    “Yes” he said ferreting about in his postbag “here you are sir.”
    “It’s a picture postcard” 16 said.
    “That’s right.”
    “Who would be sending me a picture postcard?”
    “It’s from Number 2” the postman said “he says having a wonderful time, the weather is fine, going to the beach later. Wish you were here.”

    “You’ve read this?”
    “It’s private.”
    “It’s a postcard” the postman said “postcards are fair game!”
    No.16 turned the postcard over, the picture was of the pink and white Georgian house “What fool sends postcards to people here?”
    The postman picked up his Penny Farthing bicycle “I shouldn’t say that too loud sir; you never know who might be listening.”
    “You’re not going to try and ride that thing again are you?”
    “It goes with the job” the postman said “might I ask you if you know the way to Gatehouse Passage.”
    “I’ve never heard of it.”
    “Oh well I expect I’ll find it” and with that the postman pushed the Penny Farthing then mounting the bicycle he peddled off, wobbling about the road as he went.
    No.16 read the postcard, it was just as the postman had said, turning it over he looked at the picture of the pink and white house, which was through the turquoise wrought iron gates nearby.
    “Of course I sent you the postcard, when on holiday people send postcards” No.2 said cheerfully.
    “People who want others to know where they are do. Just a minute, you’re on holiday?” 16 asked.
    “You’re on holiday in the village?”
    “And you’re staying here?”
    “Of course, would you like some tea?”
    “It’s a bit grand” No.16 commented “Georgian isn’t it?”
    “Yes but only on the outside” 2 replied from the dinette busy making the tea.
    “So who is in the Green Dome?”
    “An interim Number 2, while I’m on holiday.”
    “You know ever since I went out this morning I have encountered nothing but eccentrics!”
    No.2 carried the tea things on a tray into the lounge “And you count me as one of those eccentrics?”
    “Where is he?”
    “Your butler?”
    “Oh he’s in the Green Dome serving the interim Number 2, milk and sugar?”
    “Yes please, just a splash and two lumps. You could have gone anywhere for a… just a minute, whoever heard of Number 2 going on holiday, I’d have thought they’re never here long enough to warrant a holiday!”
    No.2 added milk and sugar and handed No.16 his cup of tea “Well quite, but nevertheless I intend to enjoy my holiday.”

    The grand pink and white Georgian house certainly looked its part set in its own private garden, and at the bottom of the garden, at the end of a long path, a pair of turquoise iron gates. And yet as he closed the gates and looked back, there was even something eccentric about it, because despite is grandeur the grand looking Georgian house was after all, a poky little cottage! 
    There was an archway in a wall on the opposite side of the road through which a middle aged man appeared.
    “Excuse me sir” he said.
    “Why what have you done?” No.16 asked.
    “Done, I’ve done nothing, why should you have thought I had done something?”
    “No reason. What do you want?”
    “I wondered if you can direct me to Gatehouse passage.” No.88 asked
    No.16 stood there in the road thinking, I couldn’t think of anywhere in the village called Gatehouse passage.
    A cyclist rang her bell to warn us of her approach, she stopped “Is there anything wrong?” the woman asked.
    “This man is asking directions to Gatehouse Passage.”
    “Gatehouse Passage, I’m not sure. I think its back up the road, through the first arch; no it’s not that way.”
    Two pedestrians stopped to help “What’s the problem? They asked
    “Gatehouse Passage” No.16 said.
    “Gatehouse Passage, Gatehouse Passage of yes it’s through the arch, across the Piazza.”
    “No” said another “it’s not that way, you want to do along the road, passed the café, no not that way. Look you need to go…….”
    Quite a crowd had now gathered all giving quite different directions to Gatehouse Passage.
    “It’s round the back of the Town Hall isn’t it?” No.176 suggested studying his map of the village.
    “No, if you go out of the village and take the first turning on the left……”
    “If you go back the way you came, passed the café and watchmakers shop….”
   In the control room an Observer reported a disturbance in the road.
    “Let’s have it on the screen” the Supervisor ordered.
    The large wall screen was activated displaying a large throng of people all gesticulating this way and that.
    “That’s vision, now let’s have the audio” the Supervisor said.
    The control room was suddenly filled with different voices all giving directions to Gatehouse Passage.
    “Alright turn off the audio. Gatehouse Passage, I’ve never heard of it” said the Supervisor.
   An Observer turned round in her chair “If you go down the road, turn left, down the steps, along the cobbled lane…….”
    “No you’re wrong” said No.20 “It’s that short path just after the pink Pavilion.
    “Surely not” said one of the Observers of the steel See-Saw “If you go passed the Labour Exchange, through the Triumphal arch, round by the bridge its just on the left.”
    “No you’re wrong” said No.20.
    “Stop” the Supervisor shouted suddenly “does it really matter?”
    “It does if you want Gatehouse passage sir.”

   Outside in the road it was at this point that No.16 remembered that none of the roads and paths are named in the village, so there was no Gatehouse Passage. So he left the crowd of people in the road, and went for a quiet stroll. Eccentric behaviour in the village is no better exhibited than by those citizens who promenade daily around the Piazza for no better reason other than to be seen. Unless it was one individual who stood listening to a loudspeaker of the public address system.
    “Do you hear that” asked the man in a striped jersey with his ear cocked towards the loudspeaker.
    No.16 stood still and listened “No” he said.
    “No, neither do I, see you soon!”

    Deciding to make for the Outlook above the cliff, No.16 made his way along the road passed the Green Dome, through the first arch under 12 Private, then along the road taking the narrow path to the right called Gatehouse Passage……at least that’s what the sign on the wall said. 
    It was a clear bright afternoon as No.16 sat on the wall of the Outlook, enjoying the view he had enjoyed so many times before. The tide was in and the late afternoon sunshine glistered on the water turning it to silver. Suddenly No.16 heard voices, he peered over the edge of the Outlook, but all there was, was a steep drop to the beach. Of the two people talking he could see nothing, they are in the grotto beneath the Outlook. Sitting quietly he listened to see if he could hear what the two people were saying. They clearly thought they were in the perfect place not to be overheard.
    “We must wait for the signal.”
    “Signal, what signal?”
    “When we see the signal we know they are on their way. They are our liberators.”
    “How do you know this?”
    “My code name is XB4 and I have a transistor radio. I’m expecting a message any time now.”

    The two voices fell silent, No.16 strained his ears to listen, he was sure that someone, probably XB4, was tuning in a radio. Then…

    “Nowhere is there more beauty than here. Tonight when the moon rises, the whole world will turn to silver. Do you understand, it is important you understand. I have a message for you, you must listen, the appointment cannot be fulfilled. Other things must be done tonight. If our torment is to end, if liberty is to be restored we must grasp the nettle even though it makes our hands bleed. Only through pain can tomorrow be assured.”

    The radio transmission was picked up in the control room.
    “That message, can we get a fix on it?” the supervisor wanted to know.
    The communications monitor triangulated the radio signal with two other monitoring stations positioned around the village.
    “Supervisor, the origin of the radio transmission has been located.”
    “Good, where?” the supervisor said keen to know.
    “Here….in the village!”
    “The voice” began the supervisor “If you were to ask me…….”
    “Ask you what?” said the interim No.2 from the gantry.
    “The voice sir, it sounded like a former Number 2!”
    “Really, how curious!” No.2 said.
     “Supervisor, Number 16 is climbing the Bell Tower again” a Observer reported.
    “Why does he do that?” No.60 asked.

    “Because he’s an eccentric” the Supervisor replied “no more reason than that, the village is full of them!”

    So no-one was coming! And yet from that day No.16 kept a keen lookout for a sign, a light, a plane, ship someone from his World. Daily he even climbed the Bell Tower which in itself could seem to be an eccentricity. Yet as 16 found, there are more steps leading down from the top of the Bell Tower than there are going up, and you cannot get more eccentric than that!

Be seeing you

Thursday 10 June 2021

Village Life!


     Another day in the village, and our two friends from administration are once again on their way to the Town Hall, they always pass by this way, and at the same time of day.
    “Are you sure this is going to work?”
    “Why shouldn’t it, we will become two top hat officials from administration going about our daily business, or at least we shall be once we’ve clobbered those two and taken their uniforms!”
    “I don’t like it, two uniforms, where will that get us?”
    “It will get us aboard the helicopter, then the pilot has to fly us out of the village.”
    “Why should the pilot do that?”
    “Because we’re on special assignment, I’ve made notes of these types coming and going.”
    “What about the Observers?”
    “There are two cameras covering the area by Atlas’s column.”
    “How do you know that’s Hercules?”
    “Because of the lion skin draped over him, Hercules took the world on his shoulders for a time while Atlas went off and did something else.”
     “Well whatever it is, we’ll way lay the two top hats and drag them into the pink pavilion, and change into their uniforms. Then at two o’clock when the helicopter is due to leave that’s when we make our move.”

    The next day………..
    “I didn’t know you knew Jujitsu!”
    “I wonder what those two wanted?”
    “You didn’t give them a chance to ask, you had one of them in a head lock, what’s that hold called?”
    “Oh an old soldier taught me that one; it’s called a deadly Dervish death grip.”
    “I’m seeing you in a whole new light.”
    “Think nothing of it my dear chap.”
    “Well I think we deserve a cup of tea, don’t you?”
    “What about the works committee meeting?”
    “Oh I think they can manage without us for a while, besides we’re in shock, we have been attacked, and you single handily fended off two desperadoes.”
    “Yes I did didn’t I.....and toasted teacakes?”
    “It’s the least a hero deserves!”
    “Shouldn’t we report the attack to control?”
    “No, after all the Observers know about it, after all they do see and hear everything.”
    “Yes they will, won’t they, have seen my bravery.”
    “Before you know it you’ll be up for an award.”
    “Do you think so?”
    “Of course not, pity about your crumpled top hat though.”
    “Yes, let’s go and have that cup of tea.”

Be seeing you

Monday 7 June 2021

The Tally Ho


A Reported Breakdown In control!

by our own reporter

    This No.2 saw himself as the strong man, the hammer! And yet he was afraid, afraid that everyone in the village was against him. He called for increased surveillance because he saw conspiracy everywhere. Apparently there were unknown enemies within the village. We may not necessarily know who they are, but the community must be ever on its guard against them. As it happened all this was in No.2’s mind, all due to the man’s paranoia, that he saw how every was against him. He saw enemies everywhere, that those within the administration were all conspiring against him. Where they get such weak minded men as this I do not know.
    However to understand this man and his paranoid mind, you have to ask yourself what was it that first made this interim No.2 begin to suspect people were against him? I expect the psychologists will work with this former interim No.2, and will eventually get to the bottom of it. Because that is where this man is now, in the psychiatric wing of the hospital, and is likely to spend the rest of his days there. I am reliably informed that he blames D6 for all his troubles. But surely he means 6d, and he begs the doctors to have control contact XO4 who will have him extracted from the village. The doctors are sympathetic of course to the case, and are controlling the former interim No.2 with a cocktail of drugs. And yet he was so adamant in his story that one psychologist got the new Interim No.2 to check out the patient’s story. The result being that no record could be found of this D6, or 6d for that matter. As for XO4, there was no reference in any of the village files. Surveillance footage of No.6 and No.2 did indicate that it was No.2 who first made reference to both XO4 and D6. When questioned about these two code names No.6 said he was merely humouring No.2, after all it was No.2 who suggested that he was a plant sent here by No.2’s masters, to check security, to check on him! And yet the note written by No.6 confirms that it was he who actually made the first reference to D6 and XO4 in the note.
    No.14 didn’t help, and yet in the important matters, where No.14 could have been of real assistance, No.2 kept him at arm’s length. No.14 came to a bad end. I saw the body of No.14 lying on the ground in a tangled mass of metal railings which were once part of 6 Private’s balcony!
    No doubt there will be another interim No.2 who will come along soon, but if he turns out to be any better than those of his predecessors will remain to be seen. It’s one thing for any No.2 to succeed, to fail, to get lucky and save the situation by the skin of his teeth. But it’s another when No.2 reports himself as being a breakdown in control, telling No.1 that No.2 needs to be replaced. That must have hurt his pride. No.6 effectively destroyed No.2, but no action was taken against him. Perhaps the power that be, No.1, enjoyed watching No.6 and his “jamming” activities against No.2. As for this No.2, its highly probable that after having reported himself as being a breakdown in control, he was transferred to the head of psychiatrics tender and care on the psychiatric ward of the hospital. A broken man in need to be made better!

Be seeing you

Friday 4 June 2021

The Day of The Funeral


    The maintenance and workshop was as busy as usual, if there wasn’t a cottage interior to remodel, decorate, fit out and furnish there were the fleet of taxis to maintain. One of the white Mini-Mokes was in at the moment.
    “Right lads” No.92 the foreman began “one of the jobs today is to fit the taxi with either a dark blue or black and white striped canopy”
    “Why’s that then?” No.70 asked.
    “Because today is the day of the funeral that’s why, and they need a hearse.”
    “Who’s funeral?” 115 asked.
    “Must be for that chap who jumped from a hospital window and killed himself” No.41 said.
    “And I need someone to go to the beach, just below the lighthouse and set out a number of head stones in the sand” the foreman said.
    “That’s a queer thing for anyone to do” 70 said finishing his tea.
    “Queer or not it’s got to be done because it’s on the worksheet.”
    “So one of us” 115 said “has got to take a load of headstones down to the beach and make it look like a cemetery, why’s that then?”
    “Well they’re having a funeral today, I expect they want somewhere to bury the body” the foreman said.
    “Funny place to hold a funeral, on the beach!” 41 said.
   “Well funny or not you had best get on with it, there’s some wood over in the corner, you can fashion a few headstones out of those” he told No.41 “oh yes and you’ll need a shovel.”
    “Why me?”
    “Because you’re a chosen man” 115 and 70 said in unison.
    “Yes” said the foreman “and you two can get busy fitting the black and white striped canopy to the Mini-Moke, and while you’re about it replace the white canopy of that hospital trailer with a black one, and remove the Red Cross.”
    And so they got to work, but it was a long drive along the sea wall and out along the cliff path, sitting on what was nothing more than a garden lawn mower! Reaching the lighthouse No.41 stopped and began to off load the wooden headstones and carried them over the rocks to the beach where he dug in the sand. Then having erected a number of them he set about digging a grave. But he was not alone in this task, he had been joined by No.247 who had been sent along to lend a hand.

    The funeral cortege consisted of the Brass band, the village hearse, a Top Hat administrative official in black top hat, black suit, and overcoat, and a number of mourners carrying open black umbrellas. A middle aged woman wearing a red trilby hat and a colourful striped umbrella followed at the back of the cortege. The cortege travelled through the village, passed the Town Hall and down the hill towards the Old People’s Home as the brass band playing the Radetzky March. Then across the lawn of the Old People’s Home, through the gates and along the path towards the old cottage, through the arches and along the path until the taxi came to a stop. It was then that four pall bearers removed the flowers and lifted the coffin out of the trailer and following the brass band they carried it along the cliff path towards the lighthouse followed by the Top Hat administrative official and the number of citizens with their black umbrellas. Reaching the lighthouse the cortege made its way over the rocks down onto the sand, then walked in procession towards the cemetery where two grave diggers waited by an open grave, into which the coffin was lowered and all this while the band played the Radetzky March as the people gathered at the graveside. This was observed by the woman in the red trilby hat from the top of the cliffs. There was no ceremony, no words spoken over the grave, the people dispersed while the Top Hat official stood watching as the two gravediggers began to backfill the grave.
    “When you’ve finished you can remove the head stones.”
    “We can what?” No.41 asked.
    “I’m not in a habit of repeating myself” the official said.
    “I suppose you want us to dig up the coffin as well!”
    “That will not be necessary” the official said and walked away along the beach back towards the village.
    “What was all that about, why does he want us to remove the headstones?” No.247 asked.
    “I suppose he doesn’t want them washed away with the tide!” 41 replied pulling a headstone out of the sand.
    No.247 stood thinking “If this isn’t a cemetery, I wonder if there was an actual body in that coffin?”
    “What do you mean?”
    “It just looked a bit lightweight that’s all!”
    No.41 was busy taking up the headstones “You mean the funeral was staged?!”
    “Shall we dig the coffin up and see?”
    No.41 thought for a moment then said “Why should they go to all that bother to stage a funeral?”
   “Why do they do anything here?” 247 said “come on let’s finish up here, I could do with a cup of tea.”
   Had they looked up they would have seen a woman in a red trilby hat and striped cape hurrying along the cliff path back towards the village, and a man in a brown piped blazer following at a discreet distance.

Be seeing you

Wednesday 2 June 2021

Village Life!


    “You know it makes me wonder.”
    “Wonder, what about?”
    “About where they find all these various interim Number 2’s, I hear there’s a new one arriving later today.”
    “Well he had better be better than the last one!”
    “Wasn’t up to much, was he?”
    “Life here certainly didn’t suit him.”
    “Calling for an increase in surveillance was one thing, but seeing conspiracy everywhere was another.”
    “He saw everyone as being against him, were you against him?”
    “I don’t know of anyone who was, I know he did put a few backs up!”
    “I think Number 6 did the village a favour.”
    “How do you mean?”
    “In the way he carried out acts of jamming against Number 2.”
    “And Number 21 didn’t do anything to intervene on Number 2’s behalf.”
    “I heard he had, but Number 2 refused the offer of assistance.”
    “What about Number 14, he could have done more to help his superior.”
    “Yes but Number 2 thought he could manage.”
    “Number 2 couldn’t manage a booze-up in a brewery!”
    “Number 14 came to a bad end, when’s the funeral?”
    “You know I wouldn’t mind having a go at that Kosho thing.”
    “Really? I didn’t think you were the sporty type.”
    “I’ve played croquet you know.”
    “I had no idea, I myself am quite proficient at Ludo, I was southern Counties champion three years running.”
    “You mean Judo don’t you?”
    “Do I? Well I always use my own counters, and I shake those dice…….”
    “Well we can only trust the next interim has a bit more about him.”

    “If only I had just a little bit more time!”
    “We’re running late as it is.”
  I know that!”

 Be seeing 

Tuesday 1 June 2021

60 Seconds With No.2


    No.113 "Well that went well."
    No.2 "You think so do you?"
    "Bringing someone to the village that bears a remarkable resemblance to Number Six."
    No.113b "Smile" {click goes the camera}
    "Why is he here?"
    "That is Number Six."
    "Oh I see, started already have you, I understand."
    "You've brought this man to the village to impersonate Number Six."
    "But that is Number Six."
    "I didn't know that a blind fold was part of security?"
    "I didn't want Number Six seeing......look who are you?"
    "I'm number one-one three, and this is my photographic colleague number one-one-three b, we contribute to The tally Ho you know."
    "No I didn't know. Look what do you want?"
    "Well we noticed that Number Six was about to leave the village."
    "Not leave, we've just brought him back."
    "So had he already left?"
    "But you said you've brought him back to the village, so to do that meant he'd have had to have left!"
    "Well he did. He just got out of the helicopter."
    "Where did he get in the helicopter?"
    "In the village."
    "But this is the village."
   "Yes he's just arrived!"
   "Has he, I thought..................."
   "Now if you don't mind, there's just been an arrival, and I have to de-brief the Prisoner."
   "An arrival, when?"
   "Just then."
   "But that's Number Six, he's been here all the time."
   "Has this got anything to do with the rumour that Number 6 is dead, killed by Rover?"
   "Look, you just saw Number Six get out of the helicopter, alright?"
   "Oh I get it."
   "He's been brought here to impersonate Number 6, because he's been killed by Rover!"
   "Oh anything you like!"
   "Yes Number Two, very clever of you. I hope you get away with it!"

Reporter Number 113
Photographer Number 113b