Reformation of a Character
Number 2 rose up in his chair behind his desk, he was a little late this morning, his hair was uncombed and what’s more he was still in his blue and red dressing gown and cream pyjamas. With a press of a button on the control panel of his desk the wall screen came to life.
“I wonder how our friend Number Six is this morning?” Number 2 muttered.
Number 12 was already in the office, having perched himself on the desk.
be fine. Either he’s having one of his daily strolls through The Village, later
he’ll be fencing, possibly shooting. Swimming in the public lido, or at his
weekly Judo practise” Number 12 offered.
“He likes to keep himself active.”
Number 12, a blond haired man, dressed in a light blue piped jacket eased himself off the desk “But there are times when he prefers his own company to that of others.”
Number 2, a man of slight build, not tall, not short, with normally well groomed hair and moustache, put on his spectacles and began to read the file “Does he, that could be deemed as antisocial!”
“It might even be construed as being
Dissonance” Number 12 suggested.
“Dissonance what’s that mean?”
“Dissonance, it means lack of agreement or harmony between people or things.”
“How does that help us with Number six?”
“Perhaps we should force his hand a little” 12 suggested.
“How do you mean?”
“Have Number Six brought before the committee, have him charged with dissonance, make him disharmonious with the people!”
“Would such an action be approved?”
“If we simply sit about waiting for orders nothing will get done, will it?” Number 12 said.
“Well on your head be it” Number 2 told him.
“How will you bring Number Six to the
attention of the committee?”
“I’ll get two of my men to pick a fight with Number Six, then when he’s beaten six bells out of them they’ll report him to the committee, and Bob’s your uncle!”
Number 12 left the Green Dome with a lively step in his walk. At the bottom of the steps was a Mini-Moke occupied by two burly set men, Numbers 36 and 36b, both dressed in colourful striped jerseys and light blue trousers.
“Look out, here comes the boss” said Number 36 sitting behind the wheel with his eyes half closed.
“He’s not the boss” Number 36b corrected his colleague.
“Well obviously he’s not the boss, of course he isn’t, but he is our boss” Number 36 corrected his colleague.
“Because he tells us what to do” Number 36b agreed “look out here he is.”
“Come on Thirty-six, don’t go to sleep there, we’ve got work to do” ordered Number 12 jumping into the waiting taxi.
“I wasn’t asleep sir” Number said 36 in his defence.
“Your eyes were closed, you looked asleep
“A few more minutes and you’d be snoring your head off” Number 36b accused him.
Number 36 closed his eyes in utter frustration “Look sir, can’t we get him transferred or something? Perhaps he could resign!”
“If you ask me you’re both as bad as each other, now can we go?” asked Number 12.
Number 36 started the electric motor, pressed the accelerator and the taxi sped off down the street “Where are we going sir?”
“If you don’t know, where are we off in such a hurry, then why the siren?” asked Number 12, watching the pedestrians step to the side of the road, and cyclists veer to one side.
The taxi slowed and Number 36 turned off the siren, rendering the Mini-Moke practically silent, save for the electric whirring of the motor.
“That’s better. I want you to pick a fight
with someone, call him names, threaten him with violence” 12 said.
“We’ll enjoy doing that” 36 said.
“Why?” asked 36b from the back seat of the taxi.
“Why what?” asked Number 12.
“Why should we want to pick a fight with this chap, what’s he done to us?” 36b returned argumentatively.
“Because I tell you to, I want Number Six roughed up, and leave him lying face down in the dirt, and you two are just the men for the job. You can drop me off around the corner.”
“Are you sure you’ve got the right men for the job?” asked 36b.
“Do as you like just do it!” Number 12 ordered.
The taxi came to a stop around the corner and Number 12 alighted the taxi, and stood in the road watching it drive away.
“There’s the Café” offered Number 36b.
“What’s that to us?” asked 36.
“Why don’t we go for a coffee?” 36b suggested.
“What?” asked 36.
“Well he said do as you like, so I’d like to go for a coffee, cappuccino and perhaps an iced bun” retorted Number 36b watching the Café pass by “no coffee then!”
“The boxing game wasn’t good to you was it?” asked Number 36, turning the taxi round the left hand bend sounding it’s two-tone horn.
“I could have been a contender, I could have gone all the way” returned Number 36b clenching his fist and gritting his teeth.
“Yeah, well think of this as your comeback
fight!” retorted Number 36 “there he is!”
Number 36 turned the Mini-Moke and followed the figure along the track into the woods.
“Hey you, we want a word with you” Number 36 shouted bringing the Mini-Moke to a stop.
“What do you think you’re doing?” 36b asked.
“If its got anything to do with you I’m having a nice walk, and minding my own business at the same time, and keeping myself to myself, what’s it to you?”
“That could be deemed as being antisocial” 36 told him.
“He’s dissonance” 36b said.
“You think this place is some sort of holiday camp, don’t you” 36 said in a threatening manner.
“He thinks he’s someone special!” 36b said.
“Water skiing, boxing, swimming in the public lido, fencing, shooting, just how good are you at Judo?” 36 said pushing the man.
“Please don’t do that, I don’t like violence.”
“Hark at him” 36b said “he don’t like violence!”
“No, but nevertheless he’s going to get
some!” 36 said clenching his fists.
The man stepped away, but 36b barred his way.
“Look I don’t want any trouble, you’re a
couple of nice boys and it would be a shame if we all got into trouble over absolutely
nothing, wouldn’t it.”
“He’s trying to talk his way out of trouble!” 36b said.
“He’s got no stomach for it” 36 said.
“If I were you I would leave the man alone” a voice said.
“Who said that” 36 asked.
“He did” 36b replied.
Number 36 turned to see Number 6 standing there.
“Now why don’t you boys go and bother someone else!” 6 suggested.
“You going to make us?” 36 asked.
“Just a minute” 36b said “who are you?”
“They call me Number Six.”
“Then who’s this?”
“I’m Number Six h.”
“Who?” 36 asked.
“Number Six h” the man replied.
“Well” said 36 “It’s all the same to us”
Number 6 stepped forward and hit 36 on the nose, and it was at this point that Number 36b realised that they were in trouble and why they were there, but there was no retreat and so he rushed forward but even then he was far too slow to avoid the upper cut to his chin which sent him reeling backwards. 36b saw this and despite his blood loss, hurled his large frame at Number 6 who defended the punch thrown at him, delivering a punch to 36b’s stomach and as he folded in half he spun him around and bringing the sole of his foot to Number 36b’s backside sending him face down in the dirt. Number 36 had by this time recovered and hurled himself at Number 6 in order to head butt him in the stomach. Number 6 grabbed hold of his assailant by the scruff of the neck but instead of punching his lights out threw him over his shoulder. 36 got to his feet, staggered towards Number 6 and threw a punch which hit its mark, another followed sending Number 6 back on his heels. 36 rushed forward, Number 6 grabbed him by the arm and got 36 in an arm lock, then threw the man to the ground.
“We’ll report you for this Number Six, you see if we don’t. We’ll tell the committee about you!” 36 told him.
Steel doors opened the butler entered
followed by Number 12 who walked down the ramp approaching the desk of his
master the Number 2.
“Ah Number Twelve what have you to report?
“Well that seemed to go rather well!”
Number 12 said.
Number 2 turned the wall screen off “They picked on the wrong man, lucky for you Number Six intervened!”
“I got the desired result, now Thirty-Six and Thirty-six b can report Number 6 to the committee, it’s all the same!” 12 said.
The butler busied himself clearing away the tea things “He instigated that schmozzle in the woods did he?”
“What’s it to you if he did?” Number 2 asked.
“I think you are both looking for trouble, that’s my opinion” offered the butler.
“Its nothing to you is it?” snapped Number 2 raising a finger to stop Number12 from speaking.
“No, I was just offering my opinion” returned the butler picking up the tray.
“Well I’m not interested in your opinion. So if you would just be about your business, I’ll be about mine” Number 2 said brusquely.
Number 2 pressed a button on the control
panel of his desk, Number 6 was pictured on the wall screen he was just passing
by the bandstand.
“We shall soon change your attitude Number Six” Number 2 said smiling.
The complaint brought about Number 6 was duly presented before the committee and ordered that Number 6 should be brought before them. And so it was that Number 6 found himself sitting in the foyer of the Town Hall waiting his turn, because there were several people waiting to be taken before the committee that morning.
“They’re right you know” said a small chap grabbing Number 6’s arm.
“Are they?” queried Number 6.
“They are right, quite right. I’ve been found wanting, I’m deficient, disappointing, and simply not enough!” Number 183 said.
Number 6 released the hold of 183’s hand
for him “You speak for yourself!”
He rose out of his seat and crossing the foyer opened the pair of French windows and walking through stood at the top of a steep staircase which led down into a domed orange walled chamber. It reminded him of the Council Chamber with its orange wall and domed ceiling. As he descended the staircase he could see an almost complete circle of baize covered tables round which sat nine men all dressed in different striped jerseys and wearing black top hats.
“Did you complete the provided questionnaire?”
“Now why should I want to go and do something like that, don’t you know enough about me as it is?” Number 6 folding the sheet of paper and launching the paper dart into the air “You have a curious saying here, questions are a burden, answers a prison for oneself.”
“We have another” returned the chairman “a still tongue makes a
“Meaning?” asked Number 6 approaching the circle of tables.
“Sometimes it is best to keeps one’s mouth shut, thereby avoiding any unnecessary trouble. And believe me Number Six that is some excellent free advice” the Chairman informed him “now would you be seated please, after all, this Committee is here to help you.’
“Help me. Why am I in trouble then?”
quipped Number 6 taking the chair set in the circle of tables.
The final segment closed by the butler who then departed the committee chamber via a side door.
“The fact that you failed to complete the
questionnaire is hardly helpful Number Six” said the Chairman “any show of
arrogance will go against you, nor will this committee be intimidated as you
clearly intimidated Number’s Thirty-six and Thirty-six-b.”
“Oh dear, did they put in a complaint against me?”
“Their complaint against you is, that you
brutally attacked them yesterday.”
“I did no such thing!”
“You refute the complaint?”
“I do, they had picked a fight with Number Six h, whoever he is, and I simply stepped in to defend the man.”
“That is no excuse.”
“I don’t know who put them up to it, but it’s obvious that they picked on the wrong man, mistaking Six h for me!”
“And yet here you are, and the complaint against you still stands” said the Chairman.
“So it would seem.”
“You made the first blow.”
“One of them was coming at me, what do you expect, I had to defend myself.”
“You could have stepped aside, or simply have walked away” the Chairman suggested.
“I have never walked away from a fight yet!”
“You should temper your aggression Number
“People shouldn’t go about picking fights with those who cannot defend themselves!”
“Gentlemen it’s time… if you agree I think we are all more than ready for a tea break. The psychiatric report on Number Six will be studied at the next hearing of this committee.”
“I was brought here for my own protection. What kind of protection do you call this, when I am accused of aggressive violence?” barked Number 6.
“I warn you Number Six, this committee will not tolerate such out bursts which can only go against you” the Chairman counselled.
The committee members then rose from their seats as one man, and followed the Chairman out of the chamber via a side door. The butler entered the chamber and pulled back a segment of the round table in order for Number 6 to leave.
Number 6 jumped out of his chair and faced
the butler “What are you doing here?”
“Someone has to make their tea!” said the butler “you want to be careful with this lot Number Six” he advised “Number Two is gunning for you in any way he can.”
“Now why would you want to go and tell me that for, whose side are you on?” asked Number 6 with a hint of suspicion in his voice.
“Like you, I’m on my side.”
“But you are subservient; you follow each new master without question….”
“Well perhaps it’s just better to go with the flow. We all have to live here the best way we can, even you” the butler said. But his words were wasted on Number 6. He ran up the stairs and out through the French doors back into the foyer. There was a sign on the wall;
“Confession Is Good For The Soul”
After treating the poster with a look of disdain, Number 6 rushed out of the Town Hall and into the street, his next port of call was Number 2’s residence….. the Green Dome.
A now well groomed Number 2 sat in his chair drinking Earl Grey tea out of a Royal Dolton china cup. The pair of steel doors of his office opened and Number 6 came storming through, down the ramp to face the man behind his desk. He looked at his visitor through a pair of steel rimmed spectacles.
“Is it your tea break as well?”
“Would you like some?”
“You can forget the tea, what’s the game?”
“Game, I don’t understand my dear chap. You really are in a tizzy
aren’t you. Are you sure you wouldn’t like some tea?”
Number 6 still refused the offer of tea “I have just come from the Town Hall as you are probably well aware.”
“The Town Hall, “I thought the Town Hall was fussy about who it lets in!”
“I was summoned by that Kangaroo committee!”
“I wouldn’t let them hear you call them
that if I were you Number Six, you were only too glad of the committee that
time you thought to get yourself co-opted onto the Town Council. But what have
you been up to this time?”
“Don’t you know?”
“Perhaps I can help you?”
“Just tell this committee to drop this trumped up charge and we’ll call it square” said Number 6 showing great sincerity in his voice.
“Call it square Number Six, what do you mean?” asked Number 2 feigning a misunderstanding.
“This Village owes me a favour or two, now I’m calling in those favours. Get this committee off my back, and we’ll say no more about it” was Number 6’s offer.
“You really are the limit! You think you are innocent in all this. You didn’t attack Number Twelve’s........”
“Number Twelve, what’s he got to do with
it? It was Number Thirty-six and Thirty-Six-b who was picking a fight with
Number Six h.”
“Six h, who’s he, any relation to you?”
“I admit there was a bit of a fight….”
“Well there you are you see, unsocial behaviour Number Six, the committee has you banged to rights. Oh I see, you think that I’m a
member of this committee and therefore you want me to use my influence against them.”
“Something like that.”
“The committee is completely independent and free of any influence from me I assure you.”
“I’m here for my own protection.”
“Yes I know, I’ve read your file.”
“Well what are you going to do about it?”
“There’s nothing I can do.”
“I thought you were the boss around here” Number 6 said.
“Now you flatter me. Number One’s the boss” Number 2 assured his visitor.
“As far as the people of this community are concerned, you are the boss! But tell me, does Number One know what you and your committee are up to?”
“Who am I to say what Number One knows or
does not know?” Number 2 told him “the trouble with you Number Six, is that you
are your own worst enemy. Look why don’t you simply accept The Village and its
community, is that really too much to ask?”
“What knuckle down, assimilate, become like you!?”
“Become a model citizen.”
“You are dissonance Number Six, the people will turn against you, believe me” Number 2 warned.
“And it could get worse.”
“Oh really, how?”
“Through the ordeal of Transition Therapy.”
“What’s that all about?”
“It will result in a quiet mind. We shall soon alter your attitude Number Six, through chemical Transition Therapy we will bring about the complete reformation of your character.”
“You can’t do that!”
“It’s not me who will doing it, it will be the committee!”
“You are prepared for them to take my mind?”
“They will give it back.”
“But I’ll not be as I am.”
“That might be considered an improvement, good day Number Six.”
His visitor having left, Number 2 picked up his mobile phone and sent a text message to Number 12, it read “tonight after curfew.”
That night an independently minded citizen
was drinking his night cap of hot chocolate which was unusual, but perhaps he
just wished for deep oblivion, a few hours release from the prison called The
Village. The night-time Supervisor had the slumbering Number 6 pictured on the
“That’s curious, he drank his nightcap!” observed the Supervisor.
“Perhaps he just wanted to get a goodnight’s sleep!” returned his assistant.
The door to ‘6 Private’ opened and two medics entered, one carrying a black Gladstone bag, they were accompanied by a nurse. In the bedroom the nurse approached the bed, while one of the medics checked the cup on the bedside table. The patient’s pulse and heartbeat were checked, and at a nod from the nurse the medic prepared a syringe and injected a yellow liquid into the lower left arm of the patient. Then the medical team waited, and a second injection was made, this time a syringe containing a reddish orange coloured liquid. Soon after, the nurse and medics left the cottage, as the overhead light began to pulsate, then was lowered until it was just above Number 6’s face.
“Well Number Six? The Chairman of the committee
“Can’t complain” he replied with a smile.
“How do you feel, all that aggressiveness gone, perhaps you feel at peace in your mind.”
“I do, I believe this morning I am looking at life here in The Village with a clear mind.
“That’s good, it is as it should be.”
“When did it happen?”
“When did what happen?” the Chairman asked.
“I thought there would have been....how many are there like me in The Village?”
“Only special people are given the Transition Therapy.”
“People like me?”
“People like you.”
“Can I go?”
“I don’t see anything stopping you Number Six, and by the way well done.”
Number 6 was confused!
Having left the Town Hall Number 6 went
straight to the Green Dome. There was a different air about him this morning,
he was genial, approachable, and seeing the Village for the first time through
fresh eyes, and he liked what he saw.
“Good morning Number Six, how pleasant to be seeing you again” Number 90 smiled as she passed by.
“Yes it is isn’t it, and on such a beautiful day” Number 6 saluted casually as the woman passed him.
A taxi pulled up opposite the cobbled square and two burly looking men got out and leaned against the vehicle as Number 6 crossed the square
“We want a word with you Number Six” 36
“I was just on my way to see Number Two.”
“He doesn’t remember us” 36 said.
“No, he doesn’t recall us to mind.”
“What he did in the woods.”
“If you don’t mind” Number 6 said as he was about to pass by.
“But we do mind, as it happens. Thinks he can get away with it.”
“Now my friends, I don’t know what it is you want with me.....”
“As it happens we do mind.”
“Now I don’t want any trouble.”
“You know what Thirty-six.”
“Know what Thirty-six b.”
“I think he’s one of them, he’s had that Transition therapy.”
“He’s a reformed character now.”
As Number 6 was about to go on his way 36b stuck out a leg and tripped him and he fell hard onto the tarmac of the road.
“Oh he’s fallen down, help the gentleman up Thirty-six.”
As he helped Number 6 to his feet 36b delivered a punch to his face, quickly backed up by one to the stomach, and then Number 36 joined in and together they delivered blow after blow, Number 6 in his weakened condition was unable to fight back, until, until Number 6 suddenly regained his faculties. He returned blow for blow as he began to feel more like his old self, vanquishing his adversaries for a second time he left them lying in the road. He began to mount the steps to the Green Dome. Once in the foyer the butler showed him into Number 2’s office.
“That will be all Number Twelve, we
can discuss this matter at a later date.”
As Numbers 12 and 6 passed each other through the door they gave each other a salute, there was a smile on Number 6’s face.
“You’re looking pleased with yourself” 12 remarked.
“And why not on such a lovely day.”
Number 2 rose out of his chair and came out
from behind his desk to greet Number 6.
“My dear fellow how wonderful to see you. Can I offer you anything?”
Number 6 walked down the ramp toward Number
2, who greeted him with a hand shake.
“No nothing at all, I simply wanted to see you. It’s a beautiful day out there, and do you know what?”
“I am seeing the Village through fresh eyes, and with such peace of mind. It’s as though my brain had been taken out and given a wash!”
“Really, how wonderful for you.
“You’re right of course” Number 6 suddenly stated out loud.
“I’m right?” Number 2 asked.
“Quite right” Number 6 added sharply.
“Quite right?” said Number 2 in response.
“Yes quite right, and I was wrong I fully
realise that now, wrong to both struggle against and reject what is seen to be
quite right…. this our fine community”
smiled Number 6 in triumph at this sudden realisation “I was afraid you see,
afraid to accept what so many before me had so easily, willingly and quite
readily accepted. I wasn’t sure you see, I wasn’t sure if The Village was for
“Oh believe me Number Six, you are village.”
“Yes I see that now. How was it done?”
“Done....oh I see.”
“It was so without trouble, so without bother, I didn’t feel a thing, but I do have three puncture marks on my left lower arm!”
“I am so pleased for you Number Six I cannot tell you.”
“You really should come outside, enjoy your Village. After all it is your Village, and if you cannot enjoy it who can?
Suddenly the ‘L’ shaped telephone began to bleep. Number 2 excused himself and picked it up. The Supervisor had phoned to report two assaults on Numbers 36 and 36b, apparently there had been something of a coming together between them and Number 6, who after a fight left the two men lying in the road! Number 2 replaced the telephone on his desk turning his attention back to Number 6.
“I feel different today, as though I belong.”
“Why shouldn’t you, you are a reformed
character, is there anything you wish to tell me?”
“So you are seeing The Village through
fresh eyes, you wouldn’t be trying to pull the wool over my eyes now would you?”
“I want to serve, to be of help to you, things are going to be different around here you see if they aren’t!”
“I can’t wait. You wouldn’t know anything about a fight a few minutes ago?”
“Down in the street, two of Number Twelve’s men, Thirty-six and Thirty-six b were attacked.”
“Yes really, you wouldn’t happen to know anything about that...would you?”
“I don’t know anything about it at all, nothing to do with me.”
“But you were seen, it was reported to me, that is what the telephone call was about.”
“I...I really don’t know...I feel a little strange.”
“Well why don’t you go home and rest, we can talk again later on” Number 2 advised him.
Number 6 did as he was bid, but unsure if he convinced Number 2 or not. As the pair of steel doors closed behind Number 6 Number 2 made a telephone call to the hospital “Doctor the Transition therapy carried out on Number Six?”
“What about it?”
“I suppose it went ahead successfully?”
“Yes, you’ll find Number Six to be fully co-operative, all his aggressiveness has been taken away by the drug, given him peace of mind. He’ll be feeling happier in himself and with his surroundings. He’ll be looking at things in a different light now.”
“Tell me doctor, is there anything which
could counter the three drugs used in Transition Therapy?”
The doctor thought for a moment.
“If the patient experienced a sudden rush of adrenalin for example, that could counter the effects of the drugs” the doctor said.
“A rush of adrenalin caused by being in a fist fight you mean?”
“Yes a physical fight would do it” the doctor agreed.
In the Green Dome Number 2 was watching Number 6 on his wall screen, he was sat in his lounge eating a ham sandwich and drinking a cup of coffee. The pair of steel doors opened and Number 12 entered down the ramp, and carrying a brown cardboard file.
“All that work, all that time and effort gone to waste, tell me what
went wrong?” Number 2 asked who was once again far from happy with his assistant.
Number 12 approached the desk and placed
the file before his superior in silence.
“How should I know Number Two.”
“You should know, who better?”
“I don’t understand Number Two.”
“They were your men, you should have known.”
“I’m sorry Number Two, I’m not with you.”
“You have that right at least. Numbers Thirty-six and Thirty-six b picked a fight with Number Six.”
“Well that was the plan.”
“They picked a fight with Number Six earlier, and he left them lying in the street.”
“I had no idea Number Two.”
“Well you damned well do now! That fight caused Number Six to have a rush of adrenalin, and that had an adverse effect on the drugs given to him.”
“It’s not my fault!”
“They were your men, no doubt they went looking for revenge on Number Six.”
“We could start again” 12 suggested.
“Start again, of course we can’t start again!”
“We could get the chemist to reformulate the drugs.”
“You’re finished Number Twelve.”
“You will be sent over to the Island” Number 2 ordered “who knows, a man with your intelligence, you might just survive the ordeal.”
“Island, ordeal, what do you mean sir?” asked Number 12 who was only a finger touch away from blind panic.
Two discs in the floor slid to one side and up through the two holes on two round dais rose two men in grey overalls. It was only a question of time before they managed to over power and restrain Number 12, and took him screaming down below, leaving Number 2 cowering in the comfort of his black spherical chair to ponder his own fate.
Blurry eyes opened, and he tried to focus on the two masked shadowy figures looming over him. Number 12 could hear muffled voices and then realised that he was lying down, not only that but also restrained, upon the operating table which he was now lying on.
“Doctor, the patient is regaining consciousness” the voice of a nurse reported.
“The operation was successful.”
“Yes Professor” the doctor said “the implant is perfectly situated in the subject.”
“The subject is conscious?”
“Good, complete his preparations, then we will be ready.”
Number 12 was stripped naked and wheeled out of the examination room strapped in a wheelchair.
“Who is in charge here?” Number 12
“I am” said the Professor.
“You can’t do this to me!”
“I assure you I can.”
“I’ll tell Number Two.”
“And if this experiment goes well you will be able to tell him all about it.”
“You are about to take part in the most important experiment I have ever carried out.”
“Put the subject into the machine.”
Two men in white coats stepped forward and released the restraints.
“No...please you can’t do this, I’m Number Twelve of administration, Number 2’s assistant.”
“Calm yourself Number Twelve, you might very well be helping us make history today” said the Professor making a note on his clipboard!