Search This Blog

Saturday 31 July 2021

60 Second Interview with No.202


    No.202 is the leader of the Brass Band which holds its regular Brass Band concerts on the Bandstand opposite the chess lawn. On this particular day when No.6 was taking his daily stroll around the village, and he just happened to find himself in the vicinity of the Bandstand. Mounting the steps and approaching the Bandstand just as the Band was coming to the end of one set, No.6 spoke with the Band leader for a few seconds and then walked away. This resulted in the following interview with No.202.

    "A request you say?"

    "Yes sir. That's all, he asked me to play the Farandole from L'Arlesienne suit" the Band leader confirmed.

    "What else?" No.2 asked, sure that there was more to this than meets the eye.

    "I don't understand sir."

    "What else did he say?"

    "Nothing sir."

    "Nothing" No.2 repeated, linking his hands behind his back and pacing up and down the floor of his office "No.6 just asked you to play a tune... and then walked away."

    "Did he sir? I didn't notice" the innocent band leader replied.

    "Does that make any sense to you?"

    "No sir."

    "No, it doesn't does it" No.2 confirmed "I'll ask you once again... Did No.6 say anything else.... about me for example?"

    "About you sir?" No.202 said, this time answering with a question of his own.

    "Well did he?"

    "No sir" came the answer.

    No. 2 thought the band leader might have forgotten "Perhaps you've forgotten. try to remember!"

    But after a moment for though he found he hadn't "He Didn't sir."

    At this point No.2 began to lose the plot "You're lying aren’t you!" he screams "there's something going on!"

    But of course the band leader wasn't lying, and there wasn't anything going on.

    "I don't know what you mean sir."

    "I don't know what you mean sir. I'm as much in the dark as you are" mocks No.2 "You're all lying! Its a plot! Going behind my back. Who do they think they're dealing with? Pigmies!"

    By this time No.2 had completely lost it. The innocent No.202 wondered what it had all been about, and he was the next to be added to the growing list of citizens who were voicing their doubts about this current No.2. There had already been the two laboratory assistants No's 242 and 243, not to mention the head of psychiatrics-No.249, and these numbers would surely be added to as the episode progresses!

    By this time No.2 had lost all patience with the Band leader-No.202 and indicated with sweeping gestures of his arm to leave.

    "Oh get out, get out!"

Be seeing you

Wednesday 28 July 2021

A Question of Identity


    A question of identity regarding Susan in ‘The Schizoid Man’ has been on my mind from time to time. Then recently a friend of mine suggested that a photograph of actress Liz Fraser was used. He said “the name was stored in the depths of my memory; however, it escaped my mind where it came from.”
   These set me to research pictures of Liz Frazer, and the longer I took the more, well you can see for yourself that there is a strong similarity between Liz on the left and the woman in the photograph of Susan used in ‘The Schizoid Man’ on the right. I deliberately changed Susan’s picture to greyscale in order to maximize the comparison.   

      The top left picture of Liz Frazer is from the 1962 film ‘The Amorous Prawn.’ I carefully studied a large number of photographs of Liz Frazer for hairstyle, facial features, the eyes, nose, lips, eyebrows, facial expression, but especially the prominent philtrum beneath the nose which Liz shares with the woman known as Susan. I thought it a pity that Susan is pictured wearing a fur coat, otherwise it might have made her easier to identify. So I tried to find a photograph of Liz wearing a fur coat in order to make an even better comparison, but in all the photographs I studied, Liz she is never seen to wear a fur coat. And then I got lucky, Liz Frazer wearing a fur coat, pictured left. It is a shame Michael cannot recall how he came to know the picture of Susan as being Liz Frazer. If Susan is Liz Frazer, and I do not doubt Michael’s word, and it is a clear possibility I can see that. However I have to ask myself, why did they think to use the photograph of such a prominent actress as Liz Frazer was at the time?    

Be seeing you

Sunday 25 July 2021

I Am Not A Number I Am Five!


    The Alouette helicopter approached the village from over the hills, and across the estuary. It circled the village once then having made its final approach landed on the lawn by the sea wall.

    The pair of steel doors opened and the tall lean figure of No.22 walked smartly down the ramp, the steel doors sliding shut behind him. He approached the desk.
    “You know who he is of course” No.22 said.
    “I wouldn’t be here otherwise.” No.2 replied.
    “He won’t be an easy customer to deal with.”
    “Are any of them?”
    No.2 pressed a button on the control panel of his desk switching on the large wall screen, it displayed the interior of a cottage. The maid was about to take the Prisoner’s breakfast tray away.
    Where are you going with that?” the prisoner shouted.
    “I’m taking your breakfast dirties away” the maid told him.
    But I haven’t had any breakfast!”
    No.2 turned off the screen “I think its time I paid him a call, look after the shop.”
    “Yes Number 2,”
    No.2 left the Green Dome, on foot, he had a call to make. Not that any No.2 was given to making house calls, only in such extreme cases were such calls made.
    The cottage was but a few steps away, down the steps, across the street, across the square, through a small gate up three steps and along to the cottage. The door opened and the stout figure of No.2 stood framed in the doorway.
    “May I come in?”
    “You’re asking? Well come in if you must, no-one is stopping you.”
    The interior of the cottage was that of a cell carved out of stone, and the occupant sat on a plain wooden chair, at a plain wooden table.
    “Welcome to my.....humble abode!”
    It was a one room cottage, nothing more than a cell really. Table, chair, bed with a mattress, and a bucket in the corner. Basic stuff.
    We tried to make you as comfortable as possible” No.2 told the prisoner.
    “You’ve put me in a cell!”
    “When people arrive here we try to lesson the impact by allowing them to wake up in what we call a home from home.”
    “You call this home from home?”
    “We create a replica of a room in their former home, yours just happened to have been a cell in a prison.”
    I’m no better here than I was there!” the prisoner shouted.
    “I know who you are Number.......
    “I am not a number.....I am Five” the prisoner said with good authority.
    “But five is a number, not a name” the warder said.
    “It is a name if I choose it to be.”
    “But why Five when you could choose any number?”
    It’s my name, my name!” the prisoner shouted.
    The warder bowed “But why that name?”
    “It’s as good as any.”
    “Yes, yes I suppose it is.”
    “Why are you here anyway, you were only here yesterday, have you come to torment me even more?”
    “I can assure you Mister Five, I’ve not been here before, you must be mistaken.”
     “, no.”
    “The maid’s almost as bad!” the prisoner said.
    “The maid, what’s wrong with her?”
    “She brought me my breakfast this morning” the prisoner said.
    “What’s wrong with that?”
    “She took it away before I had eaten it. Then she brought me lunch.”
    “What point are you trying to make?”
    “She is trying to disorientate me, I had only just had lunch. Then the next time she brought me lunch it wasn’t for two days!”
    “Are you sure about that?”
    Of course I’m sure! You are playing tricks with my mind!”
    “I’m not here to play tricks, I’m here to hear your......”
    “My confession?”
    “They do say confession is good for the soul” the warder told him.
    “Who are they, the priesthood? I would offer you a drink, only I’ve nothing in, and they won’t let me go to the shop.”
    “Who are they?”
    “The guardians.”

    The next day, or possibly the day after, they allowed 5 to go out into the village. It was not as he thought it to be, not like any prison he had known, more like a holiday resort, a mixture of architecture but basically Italianate of sorts. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, sitting around reading, listening to the brass band, or down on the beach, at the cafe or simply out for an afternoon stroll. He saw a newspaper vender selling copies of The Tally Ho, he took a copy.
    “That will be two units please” the vender told him.
    “Units, what are units?” 5 asked.
    “Credit units” the vender replied.
    “I haven’t got any credit units” 5 told him.
    “Well you can have the broadsheet, just make sure you pay me next time you see me.”
    5 walked off slowly examining the front page of the large broadsheet. The main headline read “No.5 To Face Further Inquisition!” and he began to read of his own case which had been brought to the attention of the Committee.
   “Committee, if that’s the worst they can do to me then let them” and he screwed the paper up and threw it into a litter bin.
    He heard music, what was it now? makes for a quiet mind and he crossed the lawn towards the bandstand where he sat in a deckchair and enjoyed an afternoon of music.
    “He’s calm” the supervisor observed watching the wall screen.
    “He is now” his assistant agreed “wait until he goes back to his cell....I mean cottage that should throw him.”
    It was late afternoon when 5 decided to return to his cottage, to his surprise there were windows, what’s more light shone through those windows! He rushed round to the door of the cottage and stood there for a moment hardly daring to open the door. Then the door opened automatically and he stood framed in the doorway looking in.
   His cold stone cell had gone, replaced by furniture, painted walls, pictures, books, statuettes, a leather chair, a comfortable recliner, table lights all the comforts of home. Stepping over the threshold the door closed behind him and for the first time he felt comfortable, almost at home.
    “It’s the comfy chair effect” No.2 told his assistant as they looked at the wall screen “we’ve taken away all the hardship and replaced it with comfort.
    “He’ll find that difficult to take to” 21 said.
    “Yes, that’s what I’m banking on, with any luck he’ll break down at the sight of it, realize he’s finally being treated with compassion.”
    The sudden realization of the situation kicked in “I know why you have done this” he shouted at the ceiling “I know you are listening, watching, it won’t work!”
    It was worth a try Number 2” 21 said watching the prisoner collapsed on the floor of his cottage on the wall screen.
    “I guess we will simply have to try something else” No.2 said dejectedly.
    “Shall we give him his stone cell back?”
    “No, let him keep the cottage as it is, but see to it he’s given fresh clothes.”
    “And what about you Number 2?”
    “I’ll suffer for my failure, that over-sized red curved telephone will begin to bleep any time now, and I’ll be on my way I expect.”
    No.21 walked across the floor and up the ramp, as the doors slid open he paused and looked back, that telephone was bleeping..........

Be seeing you

Thursday 22 July 2021

Out of The Village!


    But how far out of the village? Quite a ways it seems!

   No.6 is pacing up and down in the study in his cottage. He has something on his mind, the telephone begins to bleep. Picking up the receiver, No.2 tells him that he wants him at his house immediately. No.6 tells him they’ve nothing to talk about. Replacing the receiver he leaves his cottage and goes for a long walk. I wonder how far No.6 was allowed to wander from the village before No.14 and his henchmen caught up with him for ignoring No.2’s order, beyond the woods for example? It’s certainly a goodly way, and we have seen this countryside before in ‘Many Happy Returns,’ the track, hedges, and what looks like the woods in the background, but No.6 was driving a Mini-Moke then.
   And No.2 didn’t tell No.6 that he wanted to see him in the Green Dome, he described the building as his house. It’s not a house, the Green Dome is a glorified administration building which acts as No.2’s office. No.2 quarters are in that room in the Town Hall!

Be seeing you

Monday 19 July 2021

Village Life!


    It was a warm summer’s day when the two administrative top hat officials were walking through the village, via the long way round, to the town Hall.
    “We look like a pair of undertakers!”
    “Have you only just realized that?”
    “What I mean is everyone else here is dressed as though the village were a holiday resort!”
    “The village-next-the-sea you mean?”
    “Something like that.”
    “Well it’s the uniform isn’t it?”
    “Is it?”
    “All those people dressed as though at Henley Regatta, you don’t imagine they are all enjoying themselves do you?”
    “Well if they’re not they are making a jolly good fist of it!”
    “It’s all pretence you know, none of its real. They look as though they are enjoying themselves but that’s not the reality.”
    “It isn’t?”
    “I’ve seen them down on the beach, playing beach ball, sunning themselves, building sand castles, eating ice cream, you don’t think for one minute that I envy them do you?”
    “No of course not.”
    “Well you’re a damned fool then, of course I envy them, there’s hardly a day passes when I think why aren’t I down on the beach enjoying myself?”
    “Why don’t we take the afternoon off and spend it down on the beach?”
    “Do you think we really could?”
    “We could roll up our trousers and go for a paddle in the sea.”
    “Yes, but that wouldn’t look dignified would it?”
    “Who cares?”
    “Can we have ice creams?”
    “I don’t see why not, we’ll make an afternoon of it.”

    Can you imagine two such administrative officials down on the beach, trousers rolled up, paddling in the water eating ice creams? No neither could the Observers when they reported the scene to the supervisor who reported it to No.2, who sat watching the pair on his wall screen!
    “I say… you see that?”
    “See what?”
    Then he heard it the blood curdling roar of the Guardian as it rolled and bounded across the sand towards them.
    “Split up.”
    “What do you mean split up?”
    “You go one way and I’ll go the other, it can’t pursue the both of us.”
    “And then what?”
    “It’s our funeral!”

Be seeing you

Friday 16 July 2021

Further Tales From The Village


    It had to be the blackest of days for No.2, the day the General was destroyed. It blew several circuits when it failed to answer one simple question……WHY? The trouble was the General might have been able to answer any question but it needed the basic facts first, and No.6 hadn’t supplied any. And then that put an end to the education experiment called Speed Learn. And yet that wasn’t the end of it, two men lay dead on the floor, the Professor who was attempting to save his computer, which is really strange because he was supposed to have given birth to it {not literally} loved it with a passion, but hated it even more. If to stop Speed Learn the General had to be destroyed, then the General had to be destroyed and No.6 was only too happy to oblige!
    It was a sombre occasion, the Professor’s funeral, Madam Professor bore her grief well. The funeral cortege left the Manor House, that’s where the Professor and his wife lived, and lead by the brass band playing a march made its way through the village. The white Mini-Moke with black and white striped canopy acted as the hearse towing a black canopied trailer the coffin inside covered with flowers. The Professor’s widow walked behind the hearse, followed by two Top Hat administrative officials and a small number of citizens, all carrying open black umbrellas.
    Two grave diggers had been busy digging two graves, the second funeral had been timed for the afternoon. But for now the hearse had to stop at the end of the sea wall, the brass band kept playing as the four Top Hat administration officials/undertakers alighted from the hearse and lifted the coffin out of the trailer. Then the band led the way along the path which skirts both the woods and the cliff edge, followed by the four undertakers carrying the coffin, with the widow of the Professor, and a few citizens. They made their way to the lighthouse and from there over the rocks and down onto the beach, along to the graveyard. There was little ceremony, the four undertakers lowered the coffin into the grave, the widow Madam Professor threw a handful of sand on top of the coffin, and as the cortege turned and walked away the two diggers filled in the grave and used a wooden headstone to mark the Professor’s grave.
    “I’m sorry for your loss madam, but that is the situation as I understand it” No.2 explained “you will have to leave the Manor House and take a smaller cottage.”
    “And my art seminars?”
    “A privilege which shall now have to be denied to you, you must understand that since the death of the Professor you are no longer of any importance to us, and consequently you are merely citizen Number……oh apparently neither you nor your husband were issued with any kind of number. An oversight would you say, and I see you are wearing your own clothes.”
    “Another privilege allotted to us, seeing as we were never allowed to leave our house and go out into the village, except when my husband was taken to…….” the woman told him.
    “To…….to where?”
    “Taken to the General’s office.”
    “I see.”
    “Well we’ll get you some new clothes, for now here is your badge of identity” he took a round black badge from a file he was holding “your identity card, health and welfare, and credit card” which he laid out on his desk.
    The woman stepped forward and picked up the items, looking at the badge she saw the number 36.
    “You’re not going to let me go?”
    “Oh I couldn’t do that, once you have been brought here there is no leaving the village. Didn’t they tell you that on your arrival here?”
   “What am I to do now?”
   “Your new cottage is being prepared for you, we’ll make you as comfortable as possible, the rest it entirely up to you. Just a minute” he ferreted in his desk for a file and thumbed through the pages “The library is to have a new mural.”
    “What of it?”

    “You are an artist, therefore we should employ your talent, and you will paint the new mural.”
    “And what is to be the subject?”
    “The village of course with a few villagers thrown into the scenery.”

    The widow left No.2’s office just as No.12b, a tall woman wearing a light blue jersey and grey slacks and dark blue mariner’s hat entered through the open steel doors.
    “Was that the widow?”
    “Yes, what do you want?”
    “Just to remind you there’s another funeral this afternoon.”
    “What of it?”
    “It’s Number 12 once of administration, it’s his funeral you should put in an appearance.”

    “Why would I want to do that?”
    “To pay your respects.”
    “Why, he didn’t know me did he?”
    “No Number 2.”

    “He was your predecessor.”
    “And a dissident.”
    “Yes Number 2.”
    “You must not grow up to be a dissident Number 12b.”
    “No Number 2. What about Number 6 for his part in the General’s destruction?”
    “I can’t touch him.”
    “You mean he gets away with it?”
    “Yes” No.2 said reluctantly.
    “That Number 6 gets away with everything, if I were Number 2 I know how I would deal with him.”
    “Oh you do, do you?”
    “Sorry Number 2 I spoke out of turn.”
    “No, don’t be sorry, I like people who have ideas, tell me more……..”

    The former No.12’s funeral went off much the same as the Professor’s funeral; there was no mourner except for perhaps one, who observed the proceedings from the cliff top. The coffin was lowered into the grave and the two gravediggers began to back fill the hole.
    “I would be careful if I were you Number 6.”
    Number 6 spun round at hearing the voice.
    “I know someone who would love, just love to put you in a hole small than the one they’ve just put Number 12 into” No.2 told him.
    “Chambers!” No.6 exclaimed.
    “Number 2 to you old man. The trouble with you is, you’re always poking your nose into business that doesn’t concern you. Take me for example, you wanted to try and change my mind, if I’d allowed that I probably wouldn’t be standing here now. Number 12, a friend was he?”

    “Not that you’d notice.”
    “If it wasn’t for you he’d still be alive.”
    “Number 2, not you, would still be in office and Speed Learn would be just about ready to be rolled out across the World, if we are playing a game of consequences.”
    “The consequences are, don’t expect any favours from me Number 6, you’ve been getting away with it for far too long. Put another foot out of step and I’ll crush you!”
    “Thanks for the warning” No.6 said and made to go.
    “I’m sorry Number 6.”
    “For what?”
    “For you, take him.”
    Suddenly four burly set men emerged from the bushes and grabbed hold of No.6 who in the ensuing brawl gave as good as he got. But four against one was too overpowering even for No.6, he was rendered unconscious and manhandled along the cliff path to the waiting Mini-Moke. 
    No.6 was dragged through the open steel doors and into the purple domed office and sat down in a leather chair. From behind his desk No.2 directed the two guardians to leave the office.
    “So Number 6 here we are.”
    “Happy on that side of the fence are you?”
    “Fine, just fine.”
    “You know each other?” No.12b asked.
    “Oh Number 6 and I are old chums. Why did you destroy the General?”
    “Because there was no-one else to do it!”
    “The Professor?”
    “I couldn’t say.”
    “You could not say?”
    “You were there.”
    “And you could not say?”
    “No. Number 2, your predecessor said the Professor loved the General with a passion, and probably hated it just as much. He wanted it destroyed.”
    “Then how do you explain his actions towards the end?”
    “He was probably trying to save it!”
    “And Number 12?”
    “He tried to save the Professor.”
    “Not taking the so called easy way out then?”
    “Depends on how you look at it.”
    “And for your part?”
    “What is this, an enquiry?”
    “You attacked the security guards.”
    “Number 2 stepped forward, I think he was going to help the Professor, but he didn’t.”
    “And you stopped the security guards.”
    “And Number 12 made an heroic act!” 
    “And if the General hadn’t blown a fuse……!”
    “Do not try and lay the blame on an inanimate object!”
    “There must have been something wrong with the General.”
    No.2 thought for a moment “What do you mean?”
    “It must have got its wires crossed; I mean computers do not blow up like that simply because they cannot answer a question.”
    “Then why?”

    “You see, you’re doing it now. I asked the question, it was the Professor who fiddled with the General turning knobs. Perhaps he did it.”
    “This is getting us nowhere Number 2” 12b said.
    “I agree” No.6 said.
    “Oh you agree, then permit me to take this interview to a new level” No.2 was about to press a button on the control panel of his desk when the red ‘L’ shaped telephone began to bleep.
    “Number 2 here…..yes sir….I see sir....then what am I to do……I see sir, as you say” he put the telephone back onto the desk “you can go.”
    “Thank you very much.”
    “Don’t thank me Number 6… seem to live charmed life.”
    “You mean I have friends in high places.”
    “You can’t” No.12b protested “not after what he did.”
    “It was a test my dear, all part of the ordeal nothing more. Once motivated enough, to see if Number 6 would be able to find a way to actually destroy the General.”
    “As well as my uncle in the process!”

Be seeing you

Tuesday 13 July 2021

Who’s That On The Telephono?


     “Did everything go according to plan?”
    “I think you must have the wrong number.”
    “Who is this?”
    “The head of psychiatrics, to whom am I speaking?”
    “An ex-No.2, I’m just leaving the village, and I want to speak to the new interim No.2.”
    “That will be Number 6.”
    “No it’s not him I want to speak to, it’s the new Number 2!”
    “But didn’t we just vote Number 6 in as the new Number 2?”
    “Yes, but his term in office is over.”
    “He didn’t last long, in fact he didn’t last five minutes!”
    “Easy come easy go, mind you I’m sorry to be going, because nowhere is there more beauty than here”
    “Tonight when the moon rises, the whole world will turn to silver.”
    “That will be after curfew!”
    “Do you understand, it is important you understand.”
    “No, I‘m afraid I don’t understand, are you feeling well?”
    “I have a message for you.”
    “What kind of message?”
    “You must listen.”
    “Alright I’m listening.”
    “The appointment cannot be fulfilled. Other things must be done tonight.”
    “What appointment, other things, what other things?!
    “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.”
    “You must not speak like that, even if you are leaving, you never know who might be listening......hello are you there?”
    The helicopter leaving the village suddenly turned back........

Be seeing you

Saturday 10 July 2021

The Pr?s6ner

       “What are we going to do with him?"

    “I don’t know, the report was that Number 6 is dead, that Rover got him!”   

    “But he isn’t dead.”


    “One of us is going to have to tell Number 2.”

    “Well you have seniority.”

    “He isn’t going to like it.”

    “That Number 6 isn’t dead, what’s not to like?”

    “He’s not got a mole on his left wrist.”

    “What’s that got to do with the price of fish?”

    “Well nothing, but Number 6 did have a mole.”

    “Yes, but we surgically removed it, remember?”


    “So this guy is Number 6, and when you tell Number 2 he’ll be as pleased as Punch.”

    “Because he thinks Number 6 died.”

    “That Rover got him, yes.”

    “But “IT” didn‘t.”

    “Apparently not, and that‘s why he‘ll, be pleased.”

   Number 246 picked up the telephone “Get me Number 2.”

    “Number 2 here………yes I know Number 6 isn’t dead, he’s just been stopped from escaping……….What do you mean you have him there? He can’t be there, he’s in his cottage……….You have Number 6 sedated at the hospital. Oh no…..I thought that Number 6, I mean it was reported to me that Number 6, that Rover had got Number 6 and that he was dead!…………                                             

   “What are we going to do with him doctor?”

   “You’re asking me Number 2?”

   “You have him heavily sedated?”

   “Yes, but we cannot keep him in that state permanently.”

   “Why not doctor? It seems the easiest way out of this current predicament.”

   “Why not simply let him go. Return him to where he came from.”

   “That’s’ not possible, not with the knowledge he has about the Village, as well as his appearance.”

   “I would have thought that because of his appearance it would make it impossible for him to remain in the Village!”

   “How long can you keep him sedated?”

   “Another twelve hours, then he’ll wake up naturally.”

   “Thank you doctor. I have twelve hours to extricate myself from this predicament, I need to think! If you want me I’ll be in my office.”

   “Yes Number 2.”

   The pair of steel doors opened, and the Supervisor-No.106 walked into Number 2’s office.

   “I have a problem.”

   “Number 6 is dead, I know.”

   “No he isn’t.”

   “That’s your problem?”

   “Yes. It was reported to me by…well it doesn’t matter who by. But the fact of the matter is, it was reported to me that Number 6 was dead, that Rover had got him. It was on that information that I contacted you to de-activate Rover immediately pending further instructions.”

   “That’s right.”

   “But he isn’t dead, that’s the bad news.”

   “I would have thought that was good news. Number 1 will be pleased.”

   “He would be if he knew.”

   “So tell him.”

   “And what are we to do with the other Number 6?”

   “We have two Number 6’s?”

   “That’s the problem.”

   “Well just let one of them go.”

   “I can’t do that. One is Number 6, the other his impersonator Curtis. How can I possibly allow him to leave the village knowing what he knows, and especially with that face of his!”

   “That’s tricky” the Supervisor thought for a moment “the man in the iron mask.”

   He’s not here is he?”

   “No. Alexander Dumas, his novel ‘The Man In The Iron Mask.”

   “You want me to put Number 6 in an iron mask?”


   “Well I’m jolly pleased about that, he’d scream blue murder that he was getting unfair treatment.”

   “I suggest you do it to Number 12.”

   “Curtis? You want me to put Curtis in an Iron mask?”

   “Well no, not really. Just confine him.”

   “In the Bastille presumably.”

   “Well we do have a fortress, well a castle…..the hospital.”

   “You suggest we confine Number 12 to the hospital.”

   “It would solve the problem.”

   “And it might have been better if Rover had finished him off! No, the hospital is too public, and besides the extra security would attract attention. No, Number 12 must be confined on his own. In solitary confinement pending further instructions                                                        
    It was on a dark and stormy night that a doctor, accompanied by two male orderlies, entered Ward b of the hospital. In a bed at the far end of the ward, a patient with his head completely wrapped in bandages slept. The three medical men slowly approached the bed, the patient stirred in his sleep. Then swiftly the two orderlies took a firm grip of the patient as the doctor with a prepared syringe, injected the patient with a strong sedative. The patient was then put on a trolley and wheeled out of the ward along the corridor and towards the double doors of the hospital to where a waiting village taxi was waiting, with a Red Cross trailer in tow. The patient was transferred from the trolley into the trailer, while the doctor climbed aboard the taxi, accompanied by the two burly male orderlies. The ambulance driver started the engine, and drove the taxi away from the hospital, and into the night.

   It was a strange apartment that Number 12 woke up in the following morning. There were modest furnishings, a small kitchen, bathroom, and a lounge. All his private possessions were accountable, including the picture of his deceased wife Susan. Then he saw the telephone and picking up the red receiver attempted to put a call through to Number 2, except there was no tone. He asked for the Operator, but there was no reply. He tapped the receiver cradle several times, but the instrument was unconnected!

   Suddenly the door to his apartment opened and two people entered. The first was a tall lean gentleman carrying a furled shooting stick umbrella, and an old school scarf wound about his neck. The other was a young woman wearing a maid’s uniform, she carried a breakfast tray which she placed on the coffee table before turning and departing the apartment.

   “This is your meal for the day. Your meal will be brought to you daily at noon.”

   “Why does the maid not look at me?”

   “She will not speak to you either. Such are her instructions.”

   “The windows……”

   “What about the windows?”

   “They are shuttered! Is that so I may not look out upon the village?”

   “No. It is so that people cannot look in!”

   “Tell me why the maid did not look at me?”

   “Your breakfast will be getting cold.”

   “It’s probably already cold if it travelled here on one of those tractor things!”

   “How perceptive of you.”

   “Well it’s the kitchens you see, they are so very far away……”

   “The maid, she would not look at me!”

   “I should think it was the mask. She may have found it rather off putting, disturbing even.”

   “Mask, what mask?”

   “Do not try and remove it. It is sealed to your skin! Bon appetite.”

   Number 2 left the small apartment, leaving the Prisoner to his cold meal, in the privacy of his own confinement.

   The Prisoner crossed the room to the mirror hanging over the mantelpiece. He could hardly believe the image which was reflected back at him. For over his face was a half black and white mask. He put his hands to the mask in a vain attempt to remove it. But there was no place for his fingers to gain a purchase in order to tear the mask from his face. The mask was indeed sealed to his skin!

   The Prisoner backed away from the mirror. He felt the statuette in his hand and the mirror smashed into a thousand splinters of glass. He sat down in a chair, buried his head in his hands and wept, then cried out for deliverance from this nightmare.                                       

   And so it was that the Prisoner remained confined within the walls of his apartment for days, weeks, months on end. He was left with warmth, nourishment, and music. Music that could not be switched off, music that played all day, and half through the night!

   The Prisoner saw no-one save for his personal maid, and the burly guardian who accompanied her, bringing his daily meal at 12 noon. They neither looked nor spoke to him for the short time they were in his apartment. He did one time make a dash for the door only seconds behind the burly man, who turned suddenly and pushed the Prisoner back into the room, the cottage door of his cell closing and locking automatically. Another time the Prisoner set a trap, but on that occasion the maid and burly guardian didn’t turn up that day with his meal.

   “I suppose you think that’s clever!” the Prisoner shouted out at the ceiling “You mean you’re still watching me! Isn’t that a waste of someone’s time? Am I not to eat today?”

   The Prisoner turned his attention to the two shuttered windows. He found them securely locked and there was no forcing them open. The shutters allowing daylight through, but not the Prisoner to look out. 

   It became difficult for the Prisoner to keep himself amused and entertained. The television had been taken away, and he was not permitted the daily broadsheet. He set aside part of a wall for the keeping of a calendar. But soon became tired of the novelty aspect of this. He made one-way conversation with his two person warders. And would sit for hours visualising the Village in his mind’s eye. First the scene just outside the front door, then all around the apartment building. Finally further afield in the village. He sat listening to the regular Brass Band Concert. He sat playing chess with the Ex-Admiral on many occasions. Then took up a square on the human chessboard as the black King’s Bishop. He worked out in the gymnasium, took a daily walk around the Village. Collected a newspaper from The Tally Ho vender, had tea and toast at the cafĂ©, and called into the General Store on the way home. Such was the strength of his mental powers that the Prisoner’s imaginings seemed so real to him. He could even stand on the cliff top and feel the wind in his hair, the rain on his cheek……… Suddenly the door opened and his personal maid entered carrying his meal on a tray and set it down noisily onto the coffee table. This had the effect of bringing the Prisoner back from the windswept cliff tops to the confinement of his apartment.

  The Prisoner stood up, he made a rush for the maid who scurried towards the door where the burly Guardian stood. The Prisoner picked up the tray and hurled it at the departing maid. “God damn you all to hell!” he cried out in his torment.                                                     

   And then one day………They came for the Prisoner. He was removed from his apartment, a black hood had been placed over his head. It was only a short taxi ride, before descending beneath the village, to where, the Prisoner did not know. He could only judge by the motion he felt, a sudden downwards motion.

   “He’s reported to have become very unstable” said the President “do you think he will co-operate?”

   “I’d have been surprised had he not become so after his extreme solitary confinement” said a Delegate “As for his co-operation, he’s played the role once before, so why not again. After all he has nothing to lose.”

   “And his instability may add something to the role” added another Delegate.

   The reader of this will, I’m sure, be only too familiar with the proceedings of ‘Fall Out, so there is no need for me to make a description of them here. Save for the fact that the former No.6, who had been offered the prize of Ultimate Power, then presented himself to No.1. No.1 handed “sir” a crystal ball in which “sir” was shown his future. It was a future which “sir” rejected by allowing the crystal ball to slip between his fingers and smash on the floor into a thousand splinters. He then turned his attention to the robed figure of No.1. He tore away the black and white mask, then the ape mask, and stared into a face he knew very well. It was like looking into a mirror!

   No.1 gave a demented laugh, and continued to laugh maniacally as “sir” chased him around the Control Room of the rocket.

   It was their final chance you see, their final manipulation of the former Prisoner known as Number 6. And it didn’t work. The plan had failed like so many before it. It’s reliance on a man who was forced to play the role of Number 6 a second time, as if the first had not been enough. The treatment of Curtis, his enforced solitary confinement, forced to wear a mask, unable to even look out of a window upon the Village, had sent him schizoid. At the very least had left Curtis/12/1 maladjusted, at the worst psychotic. And like all criminals, he had the deep seated desire to climb upwards. In Curtis’ case, upwards into the nose cone of the rocket. And with one final maniacal laugh the fate of the man in the black and white mask was sealed.

Be seeing you

Wednesday 7 July 2021

The Tally Ho


The Miraculous Doings Of The Black Cat!

     by our own reporter

    Here at The Tally Ho, in true journalistic tradition, we never let anything get in the way of a good story. And cats do make a good human story. Black cats can either be lucky or unlucky if they cross your path, but in either case whatever luck they contain is dependent upon where you live in the World. In history black cats have been judged to be a symbol of evil omens, or the “familiar” of a witch! But either way its bad luck on No.6, because “You’re not allowed animals, it’s a rule,” well that’s what No.54 told him in ‘Dance of The Dead’ according to the Bureau of Visual Records.
    No.6 first came across the black cat when he was about to set sail on a voyage of discovery when there was a sudden breakage of crockery. In that instant hope of escape was dashed away, but only for a moment, because as he saw the cat, hope was instantly restored. He thought it was the cat who broke that cup and saucer. No it wasn’t the cat, I cannot see how it possibly could have been, someone must have been there, who No.6 could not see. Although Visual records have proved to no-one was there! But when No.6 set sail on his raft the cat was still sitting on a table, on the lawn of the Old People’s Home with the broken crockery. Now knowing what cats are, and how jumpy they can be, the instant that cup and saucer were smashed the cat should have jumped off the table and run off. So how likely is it that the cat would still be sitting on that exact same table by the broken crockery some 27 days or so later? Highly improbable I would have said, but there sat the cat, watching a figure on the beach.
    No.6, having returned to the village walks up the cobbled path back to his cottage, and as he does so there is no sign of the cat. Presumably it’s still on the table on the lawn of the Old People’s Home. No.6 enters his cottage, the door closes behind him the water is turned back on, the electricity is turned back on, and up until this point there has been no sign of the cat. And yet there is the cat on the carpet in the lounge before the door opens and No.2 walks in bearing a cake. So how did the cat get in the cottage?  The Village cat must be truly fleet of paw, and very clever to get into the cottage through a closed door {there being no cat flap and before the electricity is turned back on} because until this moment there has been no sign of the cat in the cottage. And yet there she is. One might think the cat nips into the cottage behind No.6, or before he closes the door behind him. Yet there is no evidence for that in the scene.
   According to the Bureau of Visual Records the cat was with No.2 when she found No.6 nosing about in the mortuary. She saw how the cat had taken to No.6, she told him that the cat is hers; she works in the village too, the cat being very efficient, almost ruthless. And then what happened? No.2 escorted No.6 out of the mortuary, closing the door, and trapping the cat in the mortuary!
    Invariably cats have two homes, but once again, according to the Bureau of Visual Records No.2’s cat is able to be in two places at the one time! One night, just after curfew, the cat was lying on No.6’s bed, and No.6 being a cat lover was not inclined to disturb the cat, instead he made himself comfortable on the recliner for the night. And yet, a few moments later, when No.2 enters her office in the Green Dome, there is the cat on her desk! How did the cat, comfortably lying on a bed in 6 Private, suddenly jump up and get to the Green Dome so quickly? Especially when this is after curfew and the door to 6 Private would have been locked! Again consulting the Bureau of Visual Records, No.6 was able to get out of his cottage via the French door, which had been left unlocked. Jumping from the balcony he did leave the French door open, and it’s possible the cat got out that way. But to get from 6 Private to the Green Dome and into No.2’s office within eight seconds, well to do that it would have been miraculous!
   No.2 told No.6 that the cat belongs to her. How then are we to account for the fact that the cat is first seen on the day No.6 sets sail aboard his sea-going raft? Then later in his cottage with Mrs. Butterworth, now the new interim No.2, and yet the cat is in No.6’s cottage, but not really with this new No.2. Someone had to be in charge of the village while No.6 was on his voyage of discovery, could that interim No.2 have been No.2 of ‘Dance of The Dead?’ No.2 could have been Mrs. Butterworth, and if having overseen No.6’s escape from the village, then at some point she left for London to be ready to greet him at his London house. Then after she had been interviewed by the police, or special branch, she left for the village so to arrive in time to greet No.6 upon his return to the village. But then who was in charge for the time Mrs. Butterworth was away? No.2 of ‘Dance of The Dead’ perhaps, simply on the grounds of the cat being hers. That would account why Mrs. Butterworth is hardly dressed for the village, wearing that white and blue diamond patterned dress of hers. And why she wears a black badge with a white canopied Penny Farthing with a white numeral 2. Perhaps because she is not officially No.2, just temporarily while she sees to the satisfactory conclusion of her assignment!

Be seeing you

Sunday 4 July 2021

Life In The Village!


    “It’s a quiet night.”
    “Quiet enough.”
    “Are we going to be up here all night?”
    “Looks like it; it’s as the supervisor said, its special duties.”
    “Special duties.”
    “Yeah, you have to be really special to be chosen for special duties.”
    “Only because the others managed to dodge it! What are we doing here anyway?”
    “Well its like the supervisor said, we’re to man the searchlight and keep a sharp lookout.”
    “See that holdall.”
    “There’s a flask of tea in it.”
    “Oh good! Did you remember the sandwiches?”
    “Off course I remembered the sandwiches, cheese and pickle, and ham and tomato.”
    “What are we supposed to be keeping a sharp lookout for?”
    “How do you mean?”
    “All I know is every citizen is tucked up in their cottages, all snug and sedated, and yet here we are, the only two people stupid enough to be in this tower manning a searchlight, it’s like being in a blasted light house. What are we looking for anyway?”
    “The supervisor said we’d know when we saw it.”
    “What do we do if we see it?”
    “We tell the supervisor.”
    “And what will he do?”
    “He’ll tell Number 2.”
    “And what will he do?”
    “Well...he’ll probably tell someone else!”
    “How do we tell the supervisor?”
    “We’ve been given a walkie-talkie.”
    “Cool!” No.246 said picking up the device “Zed victor one to bee dee.”
    “What’s that?”
    “The Z-cars call sign. Zed victor one is us, and bee dee is the cop shop.”
    “Who’s that?” a voice over the walkie-talkie asked
    “Its the searchlight crew over.”
    “Over, what’s over?”
    “Its proper radio procedure, once you’ve said something you finish by over.”
    “Do you have anything to report?”
    “You didn’t say over
    “Do you have anything to report, over?”
    “Well until you do maintain radio silence, over!” the supervisor said.

    “You know we’re like two lighthouse keepers working at the top of a light house!”
    “We can’t both be keepers of the light, you mean a light keeper and his mate.”
    “Well I’ll be the light keeper, and you can be my mate.”
    “Why can’t I be the keeper of the light?”
    “Because I bags it first.”
    “Ah but you didn’t say I bags the keeper of the light, so not saying bags it doesn’t count you see!”
    “Anyway what do these keepers of the light and their mates do when they are not keeping the light?”
    “They generally go mad!”

    “It’s a bit draughty up here!”
    “We’d know about if it was a wet and windy night!”
    “Well seeing as you’re the keeper of the light, and I’m your mate, I should leave you to it and go below.”
    “And do what?”
    “Well, I don’t know, but I could find something to occupy myself.”
    “Well occupy yourself by getting the flask of tea out, while I sweep the estuary with the searchlight.”
    “Here’s your tea.”
    “Cheers mate!”
    “This searchlight?”
    “What about it?”
    “Waving it about like that, doesn’t it draw attention to the village?”
    “Who is there out there to see?”
    “That’s my point, who are we supposed to be looking out for?”
    “I don’t know, anyone, saboteurs, anyone attempting to escape, a boat coming up the estuary.”
    “Since when do boats come up the estuary?”
    “There’s one!”
    “There’s one what?”
    “A boat, I’m sure I saw a boat!”
    The searchlight swept across the estuary back and forth until it lit up a dark shape of a motor cruiser heading out towards the estuary.
    “You had better report this to control.”
    “If the village was about to be invaded wouldn’t that boat be coming towards us?”
    “Perhaps it did, perhaps we missed her the first time, and the crew dropped off a spy!”
    “This is the tower calling control, tower to control.”
    “Control here, you didn’t say over!”
    “You said this is the tower calling control, tower to control, you didn’t say over!”
    “There’s no time for all that, there’s a motor boat in the estuary, the crew have dropped off a spy on the shore!”
    The supervisor immediately issued an Orange Alert, and alerting all posts to look out for a spy who had been landed on shore by an unknown boat. The Guardian was released from the containment area on the seabed, its amorphous mass rising up through the water, and bursting through to the surface skimmed cross the waves.
    “Anything on sonar?” the supervisor asked.
    After a moment or two “No sir” the sonar operator reported “there’s nothing coming through.”
    “Supervisor” said an Observer turning from his monitor.
    “What is it?”
    “I’ve just picked up the motor cruiser heading out to sea.”
    “Good, let’s have it on the screen, camera 37 night vision.”
    The wall screen came to life and via the green light of night vision the motor cruiser Polotska was plain to see.
   “Scrub that orange alert, and stand all posts down, and get me that searchlight crew!” the supervisor ordered.

    “Well it wasn’t our fault.”
    “No it wasn’t, merely a false alarm that’s all.”
    “It showed control how alert we are up here!”
    “Blue-jay calling Night-Hawke, you receiving over?”
    “Blue-Jay this is Night-Hawke receiving over.”
    “Blue-jay calling night-Hawke, Blue-Jay calling Night-Hawke we have to take out that searchlight over.”
   “Pass the sandwiches.”
    “Cheese and pickle or ham and tomato?”
    “Cheese and pickle, this is a waste of time, nothing’s going to happen tonight!”

Be seeing you