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Thursday, 30 September 2021

Cobb

 

   The doctor had just completed his round of patients in ward A, and left to go onto ward B where the matron was making use that everything, meaning the patients were all in their place.
   Back in ward A life returned to want passes for normal in the village hospital. The re were six beds on the ward, four of them were occupied at the time. One chap had his head bandaged up, another had a hospital visitor sitting by his bed in a rocking chair, she was busy knitting, while a third lay in bead eyes wide open staring up at the ceiling.
    “Psst” said the fourth patient leaning out of bed.
    The patient stirred and moved his head looking at the other patient.
    “What are you in for mate?”
    “I don’t know, I can’t remember much.”
    “Oh an amnesia case!”
    “I don’t know, they keep asking me questions; they want to know all about me.”
    “That’s going to be difficult if you can’t remember much. I’ve got an in growing toenail it’s very nasty, doctor said they’re going to operate in the morning, how long have you been here?”
    “Three, for weeks, months, its difficult to tell.”
    “Crikey, you must have it bad. See that chap over there?”
    “Yes.”
    “He’s got a hospital visitor, well that’s what they say, but she’s been sat in that chair and told to keep an eye on him.”
    “Why should they do that?”
    “Perhaps they think he might become suicidal. Hello he’s waking up.
    There is an old woman sat in a rocking chair busy knitting, and watching over the patient in the bed. The man wakes up and sits up in the bed.
    “How you feeling son, you’ve had a nasty experience” the woman tells him. 
    “Where am I?”
    The woman tells him that he’s in the hospital, getting up out of the rocking chair she puts her knitting down and goes for the doctor.
    “Hello he’s getting out of bed, he’s coming over here!!”
    “Cobb?”
    “What are you doing here?”
    “And you?”
    “I can’t remember much.”
    “How long have you been here?”
    “Three, for weeks, months, its difficult to tell.”
    “What happened to you, what are they doing?”
    “They keep asking me questions, they want to know all about me.”
    “You told them?”
    “No….I don’t know…I’m so tired I must sleep.”
    The patient grabs Cobb by his pyjamas “This is important, who brought you here, how’d you get here, who brought you?”
    “I was in Germany, I remember going back to my hotel, I went into the bedroom I think I went to bed…I was here!”
    A doctor appears and asks the patient what he’s doing out of bed.

They don’t like patients getting out of bed and moving about. The patients tells the doctor that there’s nothing the matter with him, but the doctor wants to make sure and takes the patient for a medical.
    “A friend of yours is he?”
    “What?”
    “Him, he’s a friend of yours is he?”

    Cobb gets up out of bed.
    “Anyway he helped you remember anyway.”
    Cobb approached the bed and looked down at the patient “If anyone asks I jumped out of the window…alright?”
    “A?!”

    Suddenly an alarm sounds, it’s Cobb, he jumped out of the window, he’s dead!

Chambers

    A man of medium height, age early forties, dark hair, about 5 feet ten inches tall pulled on the wrought iron bell pull. From somewhere a bell tolled, and the front door of the green dome opened with an electronic hum. Standing in the foyer was a man of diminutive height, baled-headed and dressed in black tails. The man bowed, and gestured for the man at the door to come in, he did so, and was promptly lead through a pair of open French doors, up a short ramp where a pair of steel doors slid open. The diminutive man lead the way through into a large purple walled domed chamber, he stood at the top of the ramp, the doors sliding shut behind him.
    “Please do not stand on ceremony, come n, come in” bid a man sitting in a black globe chair behind a grey curved desk.
    Slowly the man walked down the ramp.
    “I think our new guest would like some tea” No.22 said to his butler.
    The man walked passed the butler as he walked up the ramp and out through the open pair of steel doors, which closed behind him.
    “You have a most impressive office” the man said looking about him.
    “Perhaps you would care to sir down” No.2 offered and pressed a button on the control panel of his desk.
    A disc slid away in the floor revealing a hole though which rose a black leather chair.
    The man circled the chamber, looking at this studying that “Why the ordinary bicycle?”
    “Oh the Penny Farthing, I’ve really no idea. Just part of the fixtures and fittings I expect, like the Astro Lamps.” No.2 replied.
    Chambers approached the desk “Where am I?”
   The pair of steel doors opened and the butler pushed a tea trolley down the ramp and set out the tea things on a small table which rose up through a hole in the floor, then withdrew by the same way he had come.
    “Perhaps you will do the honours” No.2 suggested.
    Chambers looked at the man sat in the black round chair, the man with light brown hair, in his early fifties, wearing a double breasted blazer and grey flannel trousers, oh and a pair of canvas shoes.
    “Where am I?”
    No.2 climbed out of the chair and approached the small table “I’ll pour.”
    “Where am I and why am I here?” Chambers asked.
    No.2 busied himself with pouring out the tea “didn’t the waitress at the cafe tell you?”
   “She said something about the village” chambers replied taking the offered cup and saucer.
    “Milk?”
    “Just a splash.”
    “Sugar?”
    “Just one lump.”
    “You are in the village” No.2 told his visitor as he reclined back into his chair.
    “The village, and why have I been brought here?”
    “David Chambers, now it seems, late of the Forgiven Office. Where do you think your were going?”
    “I don’t like it here, I want to leave!” Chambers said placing the cup and saucer on the table, the tea untouched.
    “Oh you don’t like it here, you want to leave, well I suppose we could send you back” No.2 suggested “how would that sit with you?”
    Chambers said nothing.
    “Chambers now late of the Foreign Office, turned traitor. We found the micro film in your briefcase most interesting, and I can tell you that it’s is more preferable here than it is elsewhere. Behind the iron Curtain for example.”
    “If you have the micro film, then you have everything” Chambers said.
    “Not quite, far from it in fact.”

    The Prisoner woke up lying in a hospital bed. An old woman who had been sitting knitting in a rocking chair told him she would go and fetch a doctor. Seeing another patient in a bed across the ward he got out of bed, it was Chambers.
    Chambers looked at the man “You, what are you doing here?”
    “I could ask the same of you” the Prisoner said “why didn’t you come and meet me? I waited and waited but you never turned up, I would have talked you out of it.”
    “I didn’t come because I was most likely on my way here, although I did not know it at the time.”
    “Why are you here, who brought you?”
    “They want to know all about me.”
    “You told them?”
    “What do you think?”
    “What are you doing out of bed?” the doctor asked.
    “I want to go, there’s nothing the matter with me.”
    “Why should I?”
    “For your medical, the after effects can be pretty nasty, so I advise you to.”
    “Very well.”
    The Prisoner reached for the dressing gown lying on his bed, he put it on and followed the doctor to the examination room where he was given a pair of well worn slippers.
    “My size?”
    “Naturally.”
    After his medical the doctor pronounced the Prisoner to be absolutely fit. And that he could go home in the morning. Also that he would be given new clothes, as his old ones had been burnt. 
   Suddenly, as the Prisoner was being escorted back to the ward, an alarm sounded.
    “Its Chambers” an orderly reported to the doctor “he’s jumped out of the window..he’s dead!”
    In the purple walled domed office the yellow ‘L’ shaped intercom began to bleep, No.2 eased himself forward out of his chair and picking up the intercom announced himself.
    “Number 2, what is it, what do you want?”
    “Supervisor here, Chambers jumped out of a hospital window, he’s dead!”
    “Good.”
    “Didn’t you hear me sir? Chambers, he jumped out of a hospital window, he’s dead!”
    It was then that the penny dropped! The pair of steel doors slid open and No.6 came storming down the ramp.
    “Chambers!”
    No.2 placed the intercom back on the desk “Chambers....if he had met up with you, none of this would have happened.”
    “And who prevented that?”
    “Chambers would have been behind the Iron Curtain now.”
    “Pleased with yourself..aren’t you.”
    “What we do here has to be done, it’s them or us, so we do it to them before they do it to us!”
    “Chambers was a good man.”
    “Oh don’t give me that Number 6, the man was going to defect. You wanted to meet up with him in order to try and talk him out of it, don’t protect Chambers memory, it’s not worth it.”
    “Who else?”
    “Who else?
    “Who else am I likely to meet here?”
    “You never know who’ll you’ll meet, good day Number 6.”

Be seeing you

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

A Final Tale From The Village

 

    It was a day of days for this No.2’s term in office was over, she would be shaking the dust of the village off her feet in a matter of hours, all that remained was to pack her suitcase and wait for the helicopter to arrive. To be perfectly honest the three days spent in the village might not have been what she had hoped for. True an escape had been prevented, and a certain amount of information had been extracted, yet the primary objective had not been reached, which was to obtain the identity of X!

    No.2 took a last look around that which had proved to be a most comfortable room, a place of sanctuary where she could be alone. She was about to pick up her suitcase and leave the room when the teleprinter began to type a message. She thought to leave it, what was that message to her, it could not be for her as her term in office had come to an end, and she was due to leave for the homeland. At the door she stopped, turned, placed the suitcase on the floor and crossed the room to the teleprinter, and began to read the typed message.

    The pair of steel doors opened and No.8 walked casually down the ramp and approached the desk. He was surprised to see the female figure of No.2 sat in the black global chair.

    “I thought you had gone” he said.

    “That’s been the trouble with you Number 8, you think too much” No.2 told him sternly “as you can plainly see….I’m back!”

    “Before you even went and gone in fact!”

    “We have a task to perform, a job of work. We can either work together, or I can work with someone else.”

    “Is that a threat or a promise Number 2?”

    “Take it as you will, but I shall not have my position undermined by you!”

    “Right-ho Number 2.”

    “Oh don’t say right-ho.”

    No.2 opened the black file on her desk, removing a photograph she showed it to No.8.

    “You know this man?”

    No.8 looked at the photograph it made his blood run cold “Yes I know of him.”

    “He’s still here?”

    “Would that he weren’t.”

    “What do you mean by that?”No.2 asked replacing the photograph.

    “He used to be nothing but trouble, poking his nose in where it wasn’t any of his concern. If he wasn’t doing that he was always trying to escape.”

    “But he stopped.”

    “Yes, well everyone does when they finally realize they’ve run out of options.”

    “And now?”

    “He’s just an old man who no-one ever bothers with. He’s no longer of any importance to anyone.”

   “I have to ask him three questions.”

   “Who says?”

    “The machine.”

    “He won’t answer them, he hasn’t answered one not since he said “You’ve been told!”

    “Do we take a taxi, or do we walk?” No.2 asked.

 

    The walk did them both good, it cleared the head, and No.2 was cheered by the number of greetings she received from well meaning citizens. It is the one thing she had regretted that she had not had time to enjoy the village for itself. There had never been time to relax for a moment, there had always been some business or other to attend to, like now really!

    At the bottom of the hill was the Old People’s Home No.2 and her assistant approached the building slowly. If one is lucky enough, one is gracefully retired into this place, to live out the rest of one’s life in senile serenitude. They walked across the lawn looking for a certain inmate, and there he was sitting in a wheelchair playing chess with a young man.

    Looking up from the chessboard he saw the pair walking across the lawn towards him, and knew what to expect.

    “Why can’t you leave me alone? You’ve been told, it’s not my fault that you weren’t listening, ah” he said moving his King’s Bishop taking the Queen’s rook’s pawn “checkmate!”

   He shook hands with the young man who vacated his chair and walked away.

    “Don’t worry its just you make him nervous” the old man said.

    No.2 took the vacated seat, No.8 remained standing.

    “Make yourself useful” the old man said looking up at No.8 “go and organise a pot of tea.”

    No.8 was about to take the old man to task, and would have had No.2 not given him the nod!

    “Your boy seems pretty docile, in my day Number 2’s assistants were made of sterner stuff. I recall Number 14……..”

    “What else do you recall Number 6?” No.2 asked leaning across he table.

    “A game of chess?”

    “It’s not my game” she told him.

    “Just what is your game that brings you to me?”

    “I’m told I should ask you a question.”

    “Did Number 1 tell you that?”

    “No, the machine.”

    “The teleprinter you mean.”

    “You know about that?”

    “Oh yes, it and I are of a firm acquaintance” No.6 began to rest the pieces on the chessboard “what about a game of chess?”

    “I don’t think I would win against you” No.2 told him.

    “So, what is your question?”

    “Will you give me a fair answer?”

    “Is that the question?”

    “No.”

    “Pity, you came here to ask a question, you’ve asked it and now you can go, unless you wish to stay for afternoon tea” No.6 told here.

    “Tell me about the village in the desert.”

    The question took him by surprise “How did you know…..”

    “Tell me.”

    “I didn’t think there could be two such hell holes. But I managed to escape, and woke up here!”

    “But you have been here all the time.”

    “All the time, then how do you account for my blazer?”

    No.6 wore what at first glance seemed to be his regular piped blazer, and yet there were a few additions, an off white ring on both sleeves, and a white line round the flaps of the pockets and at the top of the breast pocket on which was an embroidered shield and the number 93.

    “That’s not right” No.2 told him.

    “No, but that was my number, 93. No-one here believed me, well not until now.”

    “You are to leave the village with me when the helicopter arrives tomorrow.”

    “Are we going somewhere nice?” he asked.

    “To see our masters.”

    “I don’t think so, I like it here.”

    “You refuse?”

    “I can refuse because I died out there in the desert. Village is good enough for me, because I am village! Breathe in, breathe out more village!”

    No.2 rose up from the chair “You are mad!”

    “Mad as hell at the way I’ve been treated, now go away and bother someone else for a change!”

    He had disturbed the other citizens sat at tables on the lawn, they all looked at the old man disdainfully.

    “Come 8, we’ll get nothing from this old man.”
    Leaving the Clinic they were given a free ride home in the village’s official transport, a black van.

    No.8 turned and followed his superior “What did you mean about the village-on-the-estuary?”

    “Nothing, only that……” 2 took a piece of paper from a pocket, unfolded it and looked at the pencil drawing of a domed building, and bell tower.

Breathe in….breathe out….more village, I'll be seeing you   

Monday, 27 September 2021

Ask A Damn Fool Question!

     In a spacious, almost futuristic purple walled chamber a black spherical chair rises up through a hole in the floor. A Penny Farthing bicycle, and two lava lamps, the one on top of the other are the only two decorations. Sat behind a grey curved desk No.2 sat running fingers through his greying hair. Still dressed in his dark blue dressing gown, he flicked a switch on the control panel of his desk bringing the large wall screen to life.

    “I wonder what’s on for today?”
    The wall screen depicted the central area of the Village, people promenading in the Piazza around the pool and fountain, and taxis slowly driving round and round trying to avoid pedestrians and cyclists alike. And there, sat on a bench reading the latest edition of The Tally Ho.
    The pair of steel doors opened and the diminutive butler pushed a breakfast trolley down the ramp the steel doors closing behind him as he pushed the trolley across the floor as No.2 sat watching him. He placed a silver tray upon the desk, upon the tray a single glass and a glass jug filled with milk, a gloved hand picked up the jug and frilled the glass.
    The butler finished his task, looked at No.2 and said nothing.
    “Keeping your thoughts well guarded eh, Can’t say as I blame you.”
    The butler turned and pushed the empty breakfast trolley across the floor and up the ramp, the steel doors opening as No.12 entered the office, while No.2 picked up the glass of milk and began to drink.
    “How’s the professor this morning?” No.2 asked having half drained the glass.
    “The doctor is giving the professor the best bedside attention, combined with a little therapy.”
    “I have a special assignment for you Number 12.”
    “Really sir, what is it?”
    “I want to know what is behind the village, its origin, its meaning. You are to go to the general’s office and program the computer with the basic facts about the village, then wait to see what comes out, and bring me the answer” No.2 said finishing his milk.
    “Why?”
    “Because I want to know that’s why.”
    “Very well sir.”
    As No.12 departed the chamber No.2 poured himself another glass of milk, and glanced nervously at the oversized, curved, red telephone.
    No.12 entered the General’s office, he found the Professor busy typing up his notes for his next lecture.
    “Sorry to disturb you Professor, but I have a request from No.2” No.12 handed him a sheet of paper containing the basic facts about the village.
    The Professor looked at the sheet of paper and read the typed words, then he looked quizzically at 12.
    “If you could program the General with those questions.”
    The Professor rose from his chair, and crossed over to the coding machine into which he fed the single sheet of paper. After a few moments a long thin metal strip was produced by the coding machine, this the Professor took to the computer and fed the metal strip into a narrow slit. Switches were turned, buttons pressed, gauges and dials checked as the computer whirred into life. The computer continued to make its calculations for a few minutes, then a slip of paper appeared through another slit. The Professor tore the slip off and handed it to No.12.
    “Have you an envelope Professor?”
    The Professor rummaged in one of the drawers of his desk and produced a white envelope, into which No.12 placed the slip of paper, without one of then even daring to glance at the answer.
    A little while later the pair of steel doors slid open and No.12 walked smartly down the ramp into the office.
    “You have the answer?” No.2 asked.
    No.12 said nothing, he simply handed his superior the envelope.
    No.2 waited a moment, perhaps to savour the moment, or perhaps fearing what the answer would be. Having opened the envelop he read the given answer.
    “6.”

Be seeing you

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Attempted Escape

 

    No.12 having arrived at the Green Dome walked through the foyer acknowledging the diminutive butler on his way through the open French doors, up the short ramp and through the opening pair of steel doors, then walking sprightly down the ramp, the steel doors closed behind him, he approached the desk in the centre of the domed chamber.
    “You’re about early this morning Number 12, what have you for me?” No.2 asked from the relative comfort of his chair.
    “This” No.12 said producing a gas gun from his blazer pocket.
    This alarmed No.2, he was about to hurl himself out of his chair, but thought better of it.
    “That’s right, sit back in that chair, one squirt you’re paralysed, two squirts you’re dead.”
    “What do you want, whatever it is you must realize you’ll never get away with it.”
    “You and I are going to take a little helicopter ride.”
    “You must be mad!” No.2 said sneering.
    “You are my ticket out of here” No.12 impressed upon his former superior.
    “You’ll never get away with it, you think you can simply walk out of here?”
    “Yes, to the taxi that will be waiting at the bottom of the steps, then the taxi driver will drive us to the helicopter, it will be arriving in about fifteen minutes, so we’ve not long to wait.”
    “Even so a lot can happen between the Green Dome and the helicopter” No2 said.
    No.12 thrust the gun in No.2’s face “Well it had better not, for your sake!”
    The pair of steel door opened and the butler stood in the door way.
    “I don’t think we want any tea do we Number 2?”
    No.2 thought for a moment, then thought better of it “No, no tea thank you.”
    “The butler stood looking on for a moment or two then withdrew.
    The steel doors closed.
    “Have you seen the film the three ten to Yuma?”
    No.2 shook his head.
    “Or the last train from Gun Hill?”
    Again No.2 shook his head.
    “No, I didn’t take you for an American western film man” No.12 glanced at his wrist watch “time to call for a taxi, and make sure it’s all you do.”
   No.2 looked at the gas gun No.12 was brandishing and gingerly picked up the yellow ‘L’ shaped telephone.
    “Number 2 here, could you have a taxi waiting for me at the steps of the Green Dome in five minutes” and he put the telephone back on the desk.
    “That’s good, now don’t make any sudden moves”
    Meanwhile in the control room.
    “Did you hear that?” the supervisor asked of his assistant.
    “Yes I did sir.”
    “I wonder why Number 2 needs a taxi?”
    “Perhaps he’s going somewhere” No.10 suggested.
    “Evidently” returned the supervisor somewhat thoughtfully.
    In the Green Dome No.12 checked his watch again it was seven minutes to the hour.
    “I say again, you’ll never get away with it. Stop now before things really get out of hand.”
    “Time, time to go, if you will be so good as to walk just in front of me.”
    The two men walked up the ramp and through the opening pair of steel doors and through the pair of open French doors into the foyer. There was no butler so they walked on, the front door opening automatically, they stepped out onto the balcony. They stood at the balustrade a moment and watched as the taxi arrived in the road below. Citizens were across the road in the cobbled square, and pedestrians and cyclists passed by in road. No.2 and No.12 walked down the steps, the driver of the taxi started the engine as the two men climbed into the back seats.
    “Where to?” the taxi driver asked.
    No.12 pressed the gas gun into his ribs.
    “The helicopter is due to arrive, I want to meet it” No.2 told the driver.
    The taxi moved forward and down the road, round the corner at the end, passed the cafĂ©, left round another corner and passed the Town Hall, down the hill towards the Old People’s Home. The journey was being observed on the wall screen by the supervisor.
    The taxi turned left round the hair-pin bend and came to a stop by the lawn. The sliver grey Alouette helicopter was just arriving, flying across the estuary; it made its approach so to land on the lawn by the sea lawn. As the rotor blades began to slow a tall lean man dressed in a black suit, overcoat, and top hat stepped out of the cabin, onto one of the floats, and down onto the ground. As the courrier went on his way, he was passed going the other way by No.2 and No.12, the pilot was just making the helicopter safe when he was accosted by the two men.
    “If you would oblige us to get back into the helicopter” No.2 said brandishing the gas gun.
    No.12 made a small nod towards the pilot.
    The pilot did as he was told, and was joined in the cabin by the two men. The engine started the rotors began to turn, slowly at first then faster until the helicopter lifted off the ground and taking to the air flew out across the estuary.
    “Where are we going?” the pilot asked.
    “Not to the landing stage that’s for sure, towards the hills” No.12 ordered.
    “This is your last chance” No.2 told him “go back before it’s too late.”
    “Not a chance!”
    “Too bad!” 2 said regretfully.
    In the control room the supervisor watched the taxi arrive at the lawn as the helicopter was arriving, landing on the lawn by the sea wall. The supervisor having watched the events, then tipping an Observer, on one end of the steel See-Saw, the nod, the Observer in turn pulled on the handbrake by the side of his monitor. This had the effect of stopping the helicopter in mid flight, then full remote control was achieved and the helicopter turned back towards the village. 
   No.12 was hit by sudden panic as the helicopter changed its course; he put the gas gun to the back of the pilots head “What’s happening, turn back towards the hills.”

   The pilot said nothing; he simply took his hands off the controls which appeared to be working themselves.
   “The helicopter is being flown remotely” No.2 said; now hand over the gas gun if you please.
   Approaching the village No.12 could see two Mini-Mokes arrive at the lawn and a number of security guards in grey overalls and white helmets alighted. The helicopter made its final approach, hovered a moment then landed back on the lawn. The engine turned off, the rotor blades began to slow, the security guards, brandishing white truncheons moved in. A man wearing a light grey piped blazer stepped lively towards the helicopter. Through the clear Perspex of the cabin he could see the helicopter pilot slumped in his seat, as were the two passengers, and there on the floor a gun containing nerve gas. No.22 called for a gas mask, he opened the cabin door examining each of the occupants, but all three were quite dead.

Be seeing you

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Turpin & The Scarecrow!

 

    Daily, citizens promenade around the Piazza, to the casual observer this might seem to be a completely pointless exercise. And yet the purpose of the exercise is to be seen! Essentially the village-on-the-estuary gives the impression of being a coastal holiday resort, and since Victorian times holiday makers have enjoyed strolling along the promenade.
    In the control room the supervisor stood watching the large wall screen.
    “Why do you think they waste their time doing that?” No.60 asked.
    “It keeps them occupied and out of our hair” the supervisor replied.
    “I saw a chap sitting in the stage coach the other day.”
    “Really.”
    “I asked him what he thought he was doing.”
    “What did he say?”
    “He said he was waiting for Dick Turpin to come along and rob him!”
    “And did he?”
    “The funny thing is he did. A man wearing a tricorn hat, long cloak, mask, brandishing a pit of pistols said stand and deliver.”
    “What happened then?”
    “The man in the coach handed over his valuables.”
    “And what did you do?”
    “What would you have done with a flintlock pistol pointed at your head?”
    “I’d have handed over my valuables.”
    “That’s just what I did.”
    “And Dick Turpin, what did he do?”
    “He rode away on his black hobby horse!”
    The Observers who had been listening all burst out laughing.
    “Quiet” the supervisor shouted.
    A quiet hush fell in the control room.
    “I want you to go to the bureau of visual records and get the surveillance footage for the day this happened, I want to see for myself” ordered the supervisor.
    “Yes sir.”
    “Just at that moment the pair of steel doors opened and two figures emerged standing on the gantry.
    “Stand and deliver, deliver we say!”
    The supervisor, No.60, and the Observer all stopped what they were doing and  looked up at the two masked figures masks, cloaks and black hats, both brandishing flintlock pistols.
    “Don’t be so damned ridiculous!” the supervisor said.
    “Is it carnival?” one Observer said.
    “No” said another, “it must be April the first.”
    “Who are you?” the supervisor demanded to know.
    “That’s him” No.60 said “the highwayman Dick Turpin.”
    “Don’t be ridicules” the supervisor said “Who are you?”
    “Me, I’m Dick Turpin and this is Doctor Syn, alias the Scarecrow. Now hand over your valuables.”
    “Call security” ordered the supervisor “they’ll soon sort this pair out!”
    No.60 crossed to the steel see-saw and made to pick up one of the ‘L’ shaped telephones. A shot rang out, and a lead ball shattered the plastic phone.
    “The next” said the Scarecrow “goes in your head!”
    “Now” said Turpin descending the stairs and holding out a sack “your valuables if you will.”
    “We don’t have any valuables” the supervisor said
    This vexed Turpin.
    “Search them” the scarecrow shouted from the gantry.
    No money or valuables were to be found in nay pocket of anyone in the control room.
    “There’s nothing” Turpin shouted dashing up the steps.
    “Then we shall be gone” said the scarecrow in a deep gravelly voice.
    The pair of steel doors opened and two security guards stood framed in the doorway, they brought down their white truncheons onto the pistols the two highwaymen held, then down onto their heads as a scuffle broke out into a vicious fight, which resulted in the two highwaymen getting away chased by the security guards.
    The supervisor picked up the yellow ‘L’ shaped telephone “She’s not going to like this.”
    “What did you say?”
    “The control room personnel were held up at gunpoint by two highwaymen!”
    No.2, a middle aged woman sat in the black global chair hardly daring to believe a word the supervisor had said “And you expect me to believe that?”
    “Yes madam.”
    “It’s not rag week is it?”
    “Two security guards appeared and did attack them, and when the highwaymen escaped they gave chase” the supervisor explained.
    “Where are they now?”
    Suddenly the urgency became real to No.2 as the two highwaymen came bursting into the domed chamber through the open steel doors.
    “I suppose you think this is highly amusing!” No.2 said sternly.
    “Amusing no” Turpin said.
    “Why?” she said.
    “Why?” asked the Scarecrow “because that’s why!”
    “And now we have…..you” Dick Turpin said “even you must be worth something.”
    “Your ticket out of here I suppose.”
    Turpin cocked his pistol and pointed it at No.2’s head.
    “That’s not the way” the scarecrow said “you know what we agreed.”
    The pair of steel doors slid open and four security guards armed with Thompson machine guns entered the chamber.
    No.2 smiled “I think it no longer matters what you both planned, lay down your weapons and explain yourselves.”
    Suddenly the tall figure of a man in a white coat rushed into the room.
    “Is this your doing doctor?"
    “I’ll take them back to the hospital” the doctor said, he was quickly joined by two medical orderlies.
    “You are not going to take us, Turpin” the Scarecrow said raising both his pistols.
    “Not alive!” the Scarecrow said.
    Dick Turpin raised his pistols BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG, four loud retorts and two men lay dead on the floor.
   “I shall require a full report as soon as possible, and doctor you had better have an explanation for all this, and it had better be good!”

Be seeing you

A Further Tale From The Village

 

   You are here for rest and relaxation that is all. You must not be concerned in any way, or about anything. Nothing will be asked of you, no questions, no prolonged interrogations. I have read the doctor’s report, and it reads very favourable. I have to say that they put you through the mill, not very subtle our eastern friends. More brute force when psychology and the drugs fail. But I have to say that you are mending quite nicely, that’s why you are here, to be put back together again eh Humpty Dumpty!
    “Humpty Dumpty.”
    “What, what did you say?”
    “Humpty Dumpty.”
    “Yes.”
    “All the kings horses.”
     “And all the Kings men………”
    “Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again!”
    Well we’ll have to see about that won’t we. Now for official purposes everyone here has a number, yours I see is 77. I don’t know why, 77 was available there’s nothing more significant in it than that. Your home has been made ready for you, try to take things easy at first, no need to rush about. Settle down, meet a few people, you might even meet people you know. Well perhaps not, not that you would remember even if you did. But everyone is very friendly. I see from your file, yes we do know everything about you. From the time and date of your birth, to the moment you arrived here in the Village. It will seem strange at first, but given time you will get used to the Village and it’s ways. Where was I? Oh yes, I see from your file that you worked best when under extreme pressure, in that regard you are said to be unique. James Bond, John Drake, and Philip Calvert might just disagree with that. But never mind, oh that was careless of me, one of the observers might have heard. We do not use names here you see.
    I see you were “over there” for quite a long time, undercover. Someone was telling tales, that’s what caught you out.
    “A rat!”
    “What was that?”
    “I was a fool.”
    “Not a rat?”
    “Someone ratted on me!”
    “They came for you?”
    “They came before I expected them.”
    “You were expecting them?”
    “Ratted on me!”
    “Yes, well you can put all that behind you now. Go home, rest, relax. Perhaps you would like to attend the Brass Band concert this afternoon. Good day.

    So how are you fitting in? Settling down alright? I see you have been playing chess with One Four Six, that’s good, it exercises the mind, chess. So how do you find our little Village, not quite what you expected I suppose.
    “You’re writing on pink paper. Why?”
    “Why?”
    “Why?”
    “Because it’s Tuesday.”
    “I don’t understand.”
    “Well it’s simple really, on Tuesdays I write on pink paper. Wednesday it’s blue, Thursday it’s green, Friday yellow, and on Mondays white. Saturday and Sunday purple. Do you see?”

    I’m glad you could come and see me, they tell me that you are doing rather well. That you’re sculpting something for the Exhibition of Arts and Crafts. I didn’t know you had an artistic bent, have you been attending the art seminars?
    “The doctor suggested it. Thought it would do my rehabilitation good.”
    “Doctor’s orders, well good enough.”
    “What are you writing down?”
    “Just a note.”
    “Today is Friday.”
    “Your point being?”
    “You’re writing on green paper, when it should be white!”
    “Well so I am, silly of me. That will be all.”

    How are we today? Much better, I can see that for myself. You were top of your group at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition, a wonderful sculpture. What did you call it?”
“Escape!”
    “Is that what you want ultimately, to escape?”
    “I don’t know.”
    “I thought you liked it here.”
    “I do. You’re using white paper today.”
    “That’s right, it’s Monday.”
    “But today is Saturday!”
    “No Monday, if it were Saturday, or even Sunday I would be using purple paper. I thought I had explained that system?”
    “Today cannot be Monday………”
    “Well never mind, we all make mistakes. Look go back to the hospital, the doctor will give you a quick check-up.”

    Ah Number Seventy-seven do come in and sit down my dear fellow. Would you like some tea? Two sugars I believe, with milk. I asked you to come here today because I find I need your help in a very delicate matter. It’s Number Nine, she’s a new arrival here. I don’t think she’ll be with us for long. But she doesn’t know anyone. So I thought seeing as you are what could be termed as an “old hand” here in the Village, perhaps you would take her under your wing so to speak.
     “The paper on your desk.”
     “What about it?”
     “It’s green.”
     “Yes.”
     “But today is Wednesday, it should be blue paper!”
     “I use green paper, because today is Thursday Seventy-seven!”
     “But I was sure that today was………”
     “Look are you alright old chap?”

      The black telephone began to bleep impatiently. The man sat behind the desk picked it up. He could be heard to reassure the caller, saying that all was progressing well, if a little slowly. But that the writing paper was a good idea, soon he will be completely disorientated. That he thinks he is in the Village, but the Village is only in his mind. Whereas there is only his cell, and my office. He is under the impression, that he is here for rehabilitation, and that I could be his friend. You see, I told you that more subtle methods can be beneficial. That good old fashioned brutality and torture would get you nowhere. Yes drugs work well enough, but used too much they can destroy the mind…………….Well yes comrade, thank you comrade. A few more days I should think will be sufficient, then he will be ours, mind, body, and soul.

 Be seeing you

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

The Village Life - Flag Day!

 

    “Have you heard about this idea of holding a Flag Day?”

    “What some kind of flag raising day ceremony is it, by which you mean we run a flag up the flagpole and salute it?”
    “I don’t think that’s a very good idea.”
    “Why not?”
    “We don’t want to draw attention to the village do we?”
    “Well you know what they say.”
    “No, what do they say?”

    “Early to bed, early to rise, no jolly good if you don’t advertise!”

    “So you suggest a village flag.”
    “Yes.”
    “A flag with the village emblem on it.”
    “Yes.”

    “A flag with the village emblem on it, and flying from the top of a flagpole!”
    “Yes.”
    “We haven’t got a flag pole!”
    “Well we’ll have to get one!”
    “Of course they could mean another type of Flag Day.”
    “If they think I’m standing on a street corner rattling a tin and handing out little paper badges they’ve got another think coming!”
    “No-one has asked you to….yet!”
    “Anyway no-one in the village has the ready cash!”
    “Well perhaps people could have their credit cards clipped, and the clippings could go in the tin.”
    “I still don’t see the point of it, what would it be in aid of?”
    “The prisoners aid society.”
    “Never heard of it…….anyway why should they benefit from such a thing and not the likes of us?”
    “Why do you say that?”
    “Well we’re just as much prisoners here as they are!”
    “That’s rich coming from you, who went on assignment to London last week.”
    “And now we’re on our way to the Town Hall to discuss having a flag day. That’s what I like, the variety of the job!”

Be seeing you


Further Tales From The Village

 

    I don’t spend all my time spying, I leave that sort of thing to the Observers, well they do see and hear everything you know. Sometimes, not all the time I require assistance, and I do not always accept it when it’s offered. Sometimes I’m clever enough to work on my own as an administrator; although I am interim for most of the time I do still have to oversee the running of the village. Oh you thought it ran itself, that there are a number of Civil Servants running the village on my behalf, well that’s the administration for you. It’s not partisan the administration, it serves each new incumbent equally and without question.

    It’s not easy at times sitting in the big chair, especially when it comes to dealing with No.6. I don’t know why they bother with him, it’s not as though it’s a crime to chuck up a job. And yet the reason was the only thing missing from his file, and we do like to know everything. I have to admit No.6 did pose something of a challenge, the supervisor, who is quite a capable chap himself, thought the maid was going to pull it off that time. But no, I knew from the very beginning that the situation with No.6 had to be handled very differently. But no extreme measures, well not in the beginning, they wanted No.6 handled with kid gloves. They didn’t want a man of fragments, they wanted him with a whole heart, body and soul, well our masters saw that he had a future with them, he must be won over!

   They thought to let him escape then take him on a journey which he believed would end in an office he knew very well in London, and if it hadn’t been for Post 5 having the correct English time it might have worked! And that is the way with No.6; he’s almost always in luck’s way. Was No.14 guilty of helping No.6 when he managed to follow her to the secret laboratory in the woods, because she was forced to prove her drug on No.6? Oh the tissue managed to get bruised a little, but only because the two motor mechanics were allowed to wreak their revenge upon him for giving them a jolly good dunking in the estuary. And if it wasn’t for that bruised fingernail he might not have seen through it all and regained his mental identity.

    Of course it’s not all about No.6, there are other details which have had to be attended to, the educational experiment called Speed Learn. A great deal of faith was placed in both the General and the professor, his subject being history. A three year history university degree in three minutes, the historical subjects are questionable, but I suppose in such an educational experiment it’s not the subject that is important, but way the material is delivered to the student. Experimentation plays a big part in the village, experimentation in the extraction of information, in human behaviour, and there are times when experiments conducted on animals and mammals are adapted to use on human beings. This then is the dark side to the village as a large number of citizens found out. Therapy treatment of all kinds are employed by some less than caring doctors, and some are pacified by the use of isolation of the aggressive frontal lobes by leucotomy. More than that brainwashing techniques are employed, as well as a mind exchanging   process. At one point in the ordeal No.6 did eventually escape and make it all the way back to his house in London, but then for some strange reason he just couldn’t get back quick enough Lost Horizon springs to mind. And for those with an imaginative mind, what boy doesn’t like playing cowboys shooting it out with a gang of gunslingers. The village is a place of betrayal, basically the reason behind it is for the collecting of information by fair means or foul. It’s governed by one side or the other, by masters located who knows where. It’s isolated, a complete unit of society, but which society? One minute there are democratic elections, the next democracy has been done away with, well to some extent because we are democratic in some ways. And yet some people do give the impression that they can enjoy themselves, especially on the beach. Which means that there is a certain amount of given leisure time. But is the village Shangri-la? Utopia, certainly one No.2 sees the village as a blueprint for World order, the whole World as the village, and there’s No.6 who cannot wait to be the first man on the Moon, and for all we know he might have made it in that rocket of his! As for me, I’m the new interim No.2!

Be seeing you

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Welcome To The Village!

 

    “Welcome to the village sir” an unassuming citizen said.
    He had woken up in an armchair; in what he thought was the lounge of his own home, so imagine his surprise when he stood up and stepping to the window drew back the curtains to reveal a scene of a village somewhere in Italy. He opened the door to what was clearly not his own home, and stepped outside. He walked along a path, down a couple of steps and stood in a small cobbled square.
    “Are you having a laugh, no the laugh must be on me. Why didn’t you speak to me in Italian?”
    “Because I am not Italian.”
    “Where, where is this?”
    “This is the village” the citizen replied.
    “Village, what village?”
    “This is the village” the citizen told him.
    “Look either your crazy or I am! Look are you waiting for a bus?”
    “Why should I be waiting for a bus? Besides buses don’t come through here” the man told him.
    “What about taxis?”
    “Oh yes there are taxis, there’s a taxi rank on the other side of the village, but they won’t take you far.”
    “Why’s that?”
    “Their only the local service.”
    “Well I’ll give a taxi a go, better than standing about here.”
    “Through the arch, turn left, right through an arch on your right, across the village green, up the steps and across the Piazza, then to your left, through another arch, that will bring you out more or less opposite the cafe. They’ll be just about open by the time you get there, and the taxi rank is just along the street.”

    The cafe was just about open, a waitress in a black dress, frilly white apron was busy opening table parasols. The waitress saw the man standing in the street watching her.
    “Welcome to the village sir.”
    “That’s twice I’ve been greeted in that fashion” he told her.
    “Is it wrong to greet a new arrival in such a way?”
    “New arrival?”
    “You must be new, judging by the way you are dressed, and I’ve not seen you face before.”
    “You’re not speaking Italian either!” he said.
    “I didn’t know I was supposed to” came the reply.
    “But this village, it’s Italianate in architecture, so presumably I’m in Italy.
    “If you say so sir, do you want breakfast, the coffee is bound to be ready by this time.”
    “There’s no taxis on the rank.”
    “No, but they’ll be one along soon, perhaps you’d like a coffee while you are waiting?”
    “Do you have a telephone?”
    “No, but there’s a phone box around the corner” the waitress told him.
    At that moment a taxi pulled up on the rank. The man left the cafe and walked towards a white Mini-Moke.
    “Can you take me to the nearest town?” he asked getting into the front passenger seat.
    “We’re only the local service.”
    “Local?
    “Yes” the driver told him.
    “Well take me as far as you can.”
    The taxi driver shrugged her shoulders, started the engine and drove off. It was the scenic route the driver took. Round and about, passed the Town Hall, down the hill towards the Old People’s Home, back up the hill and passed the Town Hall again, but in the opposite direction. Along cobbles paths, and through large archways, along the roads this way and that, even to drive out of the village until they arrived back where they started.
    “Now I understand what you mean by local!” the man said stepping out of the taxi.
    “Well I did tell you” the driver said “that will be 2 units.”
    “Units, I’ve only got pound notes” he said reaching into his jacket pocket for his wallet.
    “Never mind” she said “you can pay me next time.”
    And before he could say “How do you know there’s going to be a next time?” she drove off looking for her next fare.
    He stood there wondering what to do next, when a man in a piped blazer and straw boater approached him.
    “You’re wondering what to do next aren’t you?”
    The man looked at him, he wore a curious badge upon the left lapel of his blazer. A black badge with a white Penny Farthing which had the curious addition of a canopy, and in the penny wheel the white numeral 34.
    “Is that who you are?”
    “Who I am is unimportant” No.34 told him “you’re going into the general store.”
    “How do you know I’m going in there?”
    “You were looking in the bay window. Disorientated and confused new arrivals here generally do two things, they take a taxi ride expecting to be taken to the nearest town. Then disappointed they go to the general store in order to buy a map of the area. But the map only shows the village, and nothing more. Oh you’ll ask for a larger map, and try to make the shopkeeper understand that you meant a larger area. But there are no call for maps such as those.”
    The man looked at the citizen “Well I won’t bother wasting my time going there then.”
    “So what will you do next?”
    “Go back to my home and make a cup of tea?”
    “You could try to hire a car, self drive.”
    “Is that your suggestion?”
    “If I were you I’d go home and make a cup of tea!” No.34 told him.
    “You know so much, how do you know so much?”
    No.34 smiled “Because like you I was once a new arrival here.
    There were a few people passing by in the street and through the cobbled square.
    “Who are these people, why are they here?”
    “Ask yourself why are you here, and the answer may give you some idea!”
    “I’ve done nothing wrong, all I did was to.........”
    “And that is why you are here” a voice said.
    A tall man wearing a grey piped blazer stood in the road, he was accompanied by two burly looking men, guardians.
    “You are to come with us” No.22 said.
    “And if I refuse?”
    The two guardians took two paces forward.
    “I hope there isn’t going to be any trouble. We don’t want any trouble, and you cannot afford trouble.”

    The pair of steel doors slid open and the prisoner was escorted into the purple walled chamber that is No.2’s office. She sat there in the relative comfort of the global chair, leaning forward she pressed a button on the control panel and a black leather chair rose up through a hole in the floor.
    “Do sit down” she said.
    No.2 was a middle aged woman, not tall, not short, she worse her hair up, giving her the look of a business woman, and this woman certainly knew her business.
    “You can stay 22, the two guardians can leave.”
    The two guardians turned on their heels and marched up the ramp towards the opening steel doors and left.
    “You know why you have been brought here” No.2 said.
    “You look as though you could have something extremely nasty happen to a person” the prisoner said.
    No.2 gave the prisoner a sever look, there was anger in her face “the last man who sat in that chair had not sat in it for more than five minutes, after which he couldn’t stop himself from talking. In fact he told us things we never realized he knew!”
    “Wh..what did you have done to him?”
    “I had his private parts wired up to the mains!”
    “You didn’t?”
    “Believe me when I tell you” No.2 said with menacing conviction “I did....or at least that’s what I had him believe, he didn’t want to take the chance you see.”
    “What are you going to do to me?” the prisoner asked nervously.
    “What shall we do to this man 22?”
    No.22 remained silent.
    “I don’t think we’ll do anything to him” No.2 said with a disarming smile.
    There was a puzzled expression on her assistants face.
    “See him?” No.2 asked.
    “He’ll follow you, wherever you go about the village this man will be there, watching, waiting. He won’t do anything, he’ll not harm you, not lay one hand on you, but he will be there, watching and waiting. What do you think about that?”
    “I hope he learns something!” the prisoner quipped.
    “Haslet, you worked in Intelligence.”
    “That’s not a secret” he told her “I’ll have you know danger lurked behind every filing cabinet!”
    David Haslet, a tall, thin unremarkable young man. Dark hair, wearing black rimmed spectacles.
    “Do you know what I’d like, what I’d really like?” No.2 said.
    “I bet you’re going to tell me.”
    “I’d like you to try and escape.”
    “What so you can have me brought back, tortured, given some kind of therapy, mind altering drugs, no fear, I wouldn’t try to escape not even if you paid me, besides he’d have to turn a blind eye. No, I like it here, I’m sure I’ll soon fit in. Perhaps you could give me a job looking after your secret files!”
    “I can make it very uncomfortable for you” No.2 threatened.
    “I’m sure you can, but I’m not giving you cause to do so.”
    “We’ll see. You can go for now.”
    “Thank you very much” 34 said rising out of the chair “oh by the way it’s pronounced Haslet, not Haslet!”
   The steel doors opened that the approach of Haslet, and closed behind him.
    “Have him watched under the closest possible surveillance. And I want you to keep an eye on him, and tomorrow wherever he goes I want you there first” No.2 ordered.
    “Why, what’s so special about him?”
    “He’s Haslet, and he’s going to tell us where his friend Phillip Slater can be found.”
    “What makes you so sure?”
    “He’s from Intelligence, they won’t have taught him anti interrogation techniques, or escape techniques, navigation, they probably didn’t even teach him how to use a compass in Intelligence!”

    Haslet woke the next morning to find he clothes had been taken away and he had been given some new one. A grey sweater, grey flannel trousers, and a dark blue piped blazer, complete with canvas shoes and a straw boater. Now he was dressed for Henley regatta he went outside to explore the Italianate village. He took a stroll through the Piazza, and sat there on one of the benches was the man No.22. No.34 then went down the steps and walked across the village green, a game of croquet was being played. There was a sign post “Walk on the grass.” Stupid he thought to himself, its generally don’t walk on the grass, almost as though to break the rule was encouraged here. He carried on and passing the statue of Hercules he looked up, and then there as he passed the pink pavilion, was No.22. 34 walked on, down the hill towards the Old people’s Home. Crossing the lawn he stood at the white balustrade and looked out across the estuary, and wondered how long it would take to cross to the far said. Then he turned and saw No.22 sat at a table. He approached the table.
    “Seeing as we are seeing so much of each other today, why not share a pot of tea” 34 suggested sitting in an empty seat.
    No.22 gestured to one of the waiters who simply nodded in return.
    “It might amuse you and No.2 to dog my steps like this, it doesn’t amuse me”
    The waiter brought tea for two and set the things out on the table.
    “I expect you have to do something by which to amuse yourselves” 34 said pouring out two cups of tea.
    No.22 leaned over the table and took 34 by the lapel of his blazer, upsetting a cup in its saucer and spilling the tea.
    “Now look what you’ve done!” 34 said taking a handkerchief from a pocket in order to mop up.
   “Let the waiter do that” No.22 said grasping 34 wrist “Where is Philip Slater?”
    “Who?”
    “If you don’t tell me where he is my mistress will have unspeakable things done to you!”
    “Should you do anything to my friend Haslet here, I shall personally break your bloody neck” the waiter told 22.
    Haslet looked up at the waiter “Phillip Slater, how did you get here?”
    Commander Philip Slater of Naval Intelligence, a man of medium height, light brown hair, slim build, works best when under extreme pressure.
    “There’s no need to get up” Slater told No.22 placing a hand on his shoulder.
    “They brought me here in order to get to you though me” Haslet said.
    “But as you see I am already here, in fact I was here before you” Slater explained.
    “So what do we do now you mad bastard?”
    “Well I had thought to make our escape at dawn, but our friend here would paid to that.”
    “Why dawn?”
    “Because the it’s grey light then, ideal for covering our escape” Slater said.
    “So what do we do now?”
    “The moment our backs are turned our young friend here will go running off to his superior and report this. So I suggest we all go together.”
    “You’ll never get away with this” 22 told them.
   “Well it’s worth a try, you never know we might get lucky” Slater said keeping 22 close to him.

    Having made their way up the hill into the village, Slater, No.22 and Haslet made their way to the Green Dome. They were greeted in the foyer by the diminutive butler, who lead the way through into No.2’s office.
    No.2 was sat in a black globe chair, she looked up as she heard the pair of steel doors close “What’s this, a deputation?”
    “Haslet and I thought it only fair to pay you a call, we’ve returned your assistant to you, he’s honestly not worth that much, but if he’s all you’ve got” Slater said sarcastically.
    “And you are, apart from masquerading as a waiter?” No.2 asked.
    “He’s Phillip Slater” 22 said, and for that he received a heavy blow in the face.
    “Phillip Slater!” No.2 said in astonishment “How did you get here?”
    “I was sent as an undercover, there are certain people who want to know what goes on here” Slater explained.
    “So now you expect to leave just like that, with our friend Haslet here in tow” no.2 said rising up out of her chair looking at her assistant.
    No.22 was trying to stem a nose bleed with a handkerchief “Go and get that seen to” she said reaching for one of 3 ‘L’ shaped telephones.
   “If you’re going to make a telephone call, make it to Uncle Arthur” Slater said.
    “Uncle Arthur?” No.2 asked.
    “Sir Arthur Stanley, QC, OBE, CDM, MDE etcetera, etcetera” Haslet volunteered with a smile.
    “I am very curious to know” No.2 began “how you managed to infiltrate our little community here, and masquerade as a waiter, for how long?”
    “A couple of days” he replied.
    “And you came here how?”
    “All I am at liberty is to give you my name rank and number love!”
    “Two things mister Slater, one, you are not at liberty, and two I’m not your love!” No.2 told him.
    “You have a helicopter, we’ll take that” Slater told her.
    “You have nerve I’ll give you that.....very well. I’ll arrange it.”

    No.22 drove the taxi ride from the Green Dome to the helicopter on the lawn by the sea wall. Then with No.2, Slater and Haslet he walked with them across the lawn to the waiting helicopter where the pilot was making safety checks.
    “Tell the pilot to gt aboard and start the engine” Slater ordered.
    No.2 merely nodded to the pilot.
    “Are you simply going to let this pair of jokers simply leave the village?” 22 asked.
    The engine f the Alouette helicopter started and the rotor blades began to turn.
    “If your mistress knows what’s good for her she will, remember Sir Arthur and half the letters of the alphabet!” Slater warned.
    The white amorphous mass of the Guardian came rolling and bounding along and took up a position between the humans and the helicopter.
    “And you can lose that thing as well” Slater demanded.
    In the control room the bald-headed supervisor-No.28 was listening and watching the scene develop, he gave the order for the Guardian to be moved away.
    Slater and Haslet were about to board the helicopter.
    “Tell me one thing” No.2 said.
    “Well I’ll have to be quick our flight leaves in a moment” Slater quipped.
    “Why did you come here?”
    “To get him out, he’s my friend you see, and Uncle Arthur holds us both in such high regard he’d hate anything to happen to either of us!”
    Slater and Haslet climbed into the Perspex cabin and the helicopter lifted off the ground, once in the sir No.2 dashed across the lawn to the Mini-Moke.
    “Get me to the control room quick!” she ordered.
    No.22 who was close on her heels climbed into the driver’s seat. Within moments the taxi was reversed, and driven up the hill back into the village stopping outside the Town Hall.
    Aboard the helicopter Slater and Haslet felt anything but safe as they left the village behind.
    The steel doors slid open and No.2 and her assistant burst into the control room.
    “Take that helicopter under remote control and fly it back” No.2 instructed the supervisor.
    The supervisor nodded to one of the Observers sitting on one end of the rotating see-saw device, who pulled on a chrome handle by the side of his monitor screen.
    Not quite to the surprise of the helicopter pilot, the controls were taken over and the helicopter hovered for a second before turning back towards the village. Panic set in as Haslet realized what was happening. Slater ordered the pilot to fight the controls, but it was no good.
    “Have security meet the helicopter, and those two brought to my offie” No.2 ordered.
    “They’re taking us back” Salter said “I hope they taught you swimming in Intelligence!”
   Slater opened the cabin door and pushed Haslet out and he quickly followed.
    “They jumped out of the helicopter!” The supervisor exclaimed as they watched the action play out on the large wall screen.
    “Why?” No.2 asked “what do they expect to achieve by that, they’ll drown. Alert M.S Polotska and order a search made.”
    In the water Slater and Haslet swam towards the cliffs.
    “That was a birdbrain of an idea” Haslet said climbing out of the water and onto the rocks.
    “No, they were taking us back” Slater said.
    “And this is an improvement...how?”
    “Around the point, a cove, and in the cove there’s a narrow cave set in the cliff. I have a rubber dinghy hidden there.”
    The cave was flooded, but they managed to get the dinghy out. The outboard motor was flooded with sea water, so they began to paddle out to sea.
    “This is hopeless” Haslet said “The tide and current are against us.”
    “So they did teach you something in Intelligence then!”
    “Where are we going?”
    “Out beyond the mouth of the estuary, there’s a.....
    Then they saw it a motor cruiser heading straight for them!
     “Paddle!” Slater said “paddle for our lives.”
     Aboard the Motor Ship Polotska Gunter kept the glasses on the small rubber dinghy as Ernst steered straight towards it.
    “It’s going to run us down!” Haslet shouted.
    But at that point there came a disturbance, the sea began to buddle and froth as a great grey steel beats rose up through the waves......HMS Mablethorpe. Ernst pulled hard on the helm steering the motor ship away.
    Onboard the submarine was Uncle Arthur to greet his two agents.
    “I take it all went well?” Uncle Arthur said.
    “Well we’re alive” Salter said.
    “You speak for yourself!” Haslet added.
    “I think you could both do with some hot cocoa” Sir Arthur Stanley suggested.
    “And lace it with whisky!” Salter said.
    In the wardroom cups of cocoa were poured out and a small bottle of whisky placed on the table “So the rumours about the village are right” Sir Arthur said.
    “What are you going to do now?” Phillip Slater asked.
    “Get one of our people in there, someone important enough that they’ll want, yet able to look after himself” Sir Arthur said.
    “How will you get him in there legitimately?”
    “They took........”
    “Haslet sir” Haslet said.
    “Haslet, yes they took Haslet.”
    “Yes sir, but they did that to try to get to me through Haslet.” Salter said.
    “Yes but you got there first” sir Arthur said.
    “Which lets me out” Slater said “they know me!”
    “Yes, but you know about the village now, and that might make them want to get you back” Sir Arthur “now when we return to London this is what I want you to do.....”

Be seeing you