Punch And Judy
daily scenes of the Village, preparations were well under way for the long
awaited ‘Village Day’ celebrations. Carpenters had been working tirelessly to
build all the sideshow kiosks and booths in time for the big day, all of which
to be brightly decorated, covered either by candy striped canvas, in red and
white, or blue and white. The coconut shy, lucky dip, a tombola stall, Hoop-la,
duck on a stick, Punch and Judy, not to mention the ducking stool for the village
idiot! All this was in keeping with any English village fete, yet here would be
the addition of the celebrations for Village Day.
There was an air of excitement about the Village, citizens who were not physically involved with the preparations for the great day were filled with a sense of great excitement and anticipation. For those who were involved with the preparations their days were filled with work, it was a question of rigging the Stone Boat with new bunting, and giving her a fresh coat of paint. Streets and paths were swept clean, while the gardens and flower borders were given an extra tidy up, and new plants planted, lawns were cut, hedges trimmed, and each cottage given a window box of flowers. After all, everyone has flowers for Village Day! The human chessboard had been taken up so the lawn could accommodate ‘Bongo Bolero and his Jumping Jugglers’ there to perform and entertain for the enjoyment of the crowd. The talk of the citizens was that nothing like Bongo Bolero and his Jumping Jugglers had ever been seen in the Village before, and probably wouldn’t be seen again, not in their lifetime. The consensus of which between the Admiral and the General being, that such a thing could only be for the best, and a good thing too! Each citizen was given a fancy dress costume to wear specially for the occasion of which there was a multitude of choice, cowboys, matadors, Spanish ladies, American native Indians, Mexican Bandits, Chinese Girls, and Mandarins, Cossacks, Spanish dancers, Little Bo-Peep, Humpty Dumpty, Peter Pan, an Arch Bishop, Edwardian, Victorian, and medieval costumes. Harlequin, Pierrot and Piroutte, Little Red Riding Hood and the big bad Wolf.
Number 27 – the maid, was at this moment hurrying along the cobbled path and up the steps where she was met by Number 86 who was on her way to the Green Dome, her presence had been requested by Number 2.
“Ah Number Twenty-seven, we are well met” said Number 86.
“We are?” queried the maid “I was just…..”
“Well never mind what you were just, what costume will you be wearing for the Village Day celebrations?” Number 86 asked in rather a brusque manner.
“I have that rather fetching Peter Pan costume lined up” retorted the maid, in that flighty manner of hers.
“Have you collected it yet?”
“No, I’ve been busy, I was going later this morning” the maid replied.
“Well while you’re about it, you can collect my costume at the same time, I have to see Number Two” 86 ordered.
“Not having it specially delivered then!” the maid said sneeringly.
“Why should I put them to all that trouble, when I have you to do it for me!” 86 said with authority.
“What did your last slave die of, I bet it wasn’t boredom!” grumbled the maid “what is it anyway?
“What’s what?” asked Number 86.
“Your costume…… “ the maid refrained from adding the word stupid.
“I’m Popsey the clown” retorted 86 with a smile.
“Popsey the clown!” grinned the maid.
“And what pray is wrong with that?”
“Doesn’t suit you, does it!” was the maids remark.
“And why not?”
“I mean Popsey the clown, you’ll have to dance and prance about and entertain the crowd, make people laugh, that sort of thing. Think you can manage that?” the maid said, whilst doing her best to suppress the laugh now building up inside her “I should have thought Lucrezia Borgia would be more in keeping myself!”
Number 86 felt the cutting remark hit a nerve “Just because some of us have aspirations, want to get on.”
“Yes, but that’s no reason to trample all over us mere mortals in the process!” the maid snapped back in return.
“Just make sure you collect my costume before this afternoon, or it will be the worst for you” 86 ordered, then turned tail and walked smartly along the street to the foot of the Green Dome steps and marched up them.
Number 27 watched her go “Well she can wait, I’ve got my work to do” she muttered and went on her way to what could only be described as the Round House it having no sign to denote its number.
Meanwhile in the woods Number 6 was slowly trudging his way through the undergrowth, and finally along the path back to the Village. He was in no particular hurry, there was no particular place he wanted to be, except away from here of course. Indeed at this moment he would be glad for any such diversion which would in any way delay the inevitability of returning to the Village. And just at that precise moment, as though his thoughts had somehow been read, something which he would not discount in a place like this, there came from the bushes a few feet away, a strange high pitched squawky voice said “I didn’t do it, I wasn’t there.”
A much deeper voice responded “The butcher said it was you, a string of sausages it was, stolen from his shop.”
“It wasn’t me” said the high pitched squawky voice.
“I shall have to ask you to accompany me to the police station Mr Punch” said the deeper voice.
“Oh no you don’t!” replied Mr Punch.
“You’re nicked Mr Punch, are you going to come quietly?” Mr Plod the policeman asked, holding out both his truncheon and handcuffs.
Number 6 poked his head through the bushes and looked into the small clearing beyond, just in time to see Mr Punch grab the policeman’s truncheon and hit him over the head.
“Ha, ha, ha that’s the way to do it!” cried Mr Punch.
It was a red and yellow striped kiosk, together with the brightly painted sign ‘Punch & Judy Show.’ As Number 6 continued to watch, Judy appeared on the scene wearing a blue dress, white apron, and white cap, and seeing the unconscious policeman began to give Mr Punch a good bashing with her rolling pin. Telling him he was a very bad boy and that he should have been watching the baby, the baby who then suddenly appeared in the jaws of the crocodile! Judy then clobbered the crocodile on the snout, releasing the baby from its jaws, the crocodile then turning tail and disappearing from the stage. Number 6 recalled the Punch and Judy puppet shows one sees on the beach at holiday resorts, although basically the same, they all varied in some way. Mr Punch sported a goatee beard and wore the traditional costume of red tunic, knickerbockers, yellow stockings, and brightly coloured hat with a tassel. Oh yes and he had the hump! Then another figure appeared on the small stage, another puppet dressed in a dark piped blazer. The puppet’s face was somehow familiar to him, as though it was someone he should know, with that high forehead, light brown hair and light blue eyes. Judy placed the baby in the Prisoner’s arms disappeared from the stage, a baby which bore a close resemblance to the diminutive butler and man servant to Number 2.
Number 6 slowly emerged from the bushes and the squawky voice of Mr Punch asked “Why did you resign?”
“What?” asked the Prisoner.
“Why did you resign?” Mr Punch again asked.
“Why don’t you open the envelope?” asked the Prisoner, who was now feeding the baby from a bottle.
“Envelope?” queried My Punch.
“Yes the envelope containing the letter” added the Prisoner.
“Why did you resign?” squawked Mr Punch.
“Can’t you read?” he asked, now winding the baby over his shoulder.
Mr Punch, now holding a furled umbrella shooting stick began repeatedly hitting the Prisoner over the head “Why, why, why, why did you resign?”
“This is unfair treatment, and it’s against the Geneva Convention!” cried the Prisoner, trying to protect the baby.
“There is no Geneva Convention here in the Village, and you don’t exist anymore, because to the outside world you’re dead and that makes you mine!” Mr Punch squawked loudly.
The Prisoner fending off the blows dropped the baby, the baby dressed in black tails, white shirt and black tie, who bowed politely bowed, turned and walked away.
Suddenly an over large red telephone began to bleep, Mr Punch picked it up “Yes sir, everything under control here sir…… assistance sir, no I can manage………. well you brought me back here, it was your idea……..of course sir, we mustn’t damage the tissue!” and dropping the telephone went straight back to hitting the Prisoner over the head.
Then the violence stopped “I’ll do a deal with you Number Six, tell me why you resigned, and I’ll release you” Mr Punch promised.
“Release me, from the Village?” queried the Prisoner with some doubt.
Suddenly the Prisoner got up, grabbed the umbrella shooting stick from Mr Punch and held the point to his throat.
“Enough is enough Mr Punch, why don’t you resign?” the Prisoner suggested.
“You’re very good, you’re very good at it” squawked Mr Punch, somewhat nervously at the point of the shooting stick.
The Prisoner tossed away the shooting stick “You want to make a deal with me, if I tell you what you want to know, you’ll let me go?”
“You have my word” said Mr Punch, hand on heart.
“I do not wish to doubt your word, but you can do that?” asked the prisoner, who after all would be better to deal with the very devil himself, than Mr Punch.
“Of course, I’m Mr Punch, I’m the boss” he squawked with boldness of pride.
“Number One’s the boss” he reminded Mr Punch.
Mr Punch took offence and rushing forward grabbed the Prisoner by the throat “Why did you resign, why, why, why, why.”
The Prisoner fell limp at the hands of Mr
Punch who releasing his strangling grip, now stood over the murdered body of
the Prisoner. From one of the wings of the stage, the head and shoulders of Number
26 the bald headed, bespectacled supervisor “
From the other side of the stage appeared the white amorphous mass of the Guardian, it rolled along and was upon Mr Punch in an instant, emitting its blood curdling roar. The sound of Mr Punch’s squawking screams were terrifying to hear, as he fought against and clawed at the membrane covering his face, smothering him, but which could not stifle his screams. The Prisoner put his hands over his ears as he watched Rover engulf Mr Punch’s face in its membrane, suffocating him until dead. Rover roared as though in triumph, then rolled and bounded away leaving the Prisoner standing alone over the dead body of Mr Punch, as Judy suddenly appeared on the scene.
“We’ll need the body for evidence!” Judy said coldly “we have many ways and means, but we do not wish to damage you permanently, are you ready to talk?”
The Prisoner stood looking down at the body of Mr Punch, Judy raised a hand and pulled the trigger of the gas gun. The Prisoner coughed and spluttered, fought to get away, but it was already too late, he collapsed unconscious and the curtains closed on the Punch and Judy show.
Number 6 was dumbfounded by what he had seen, what had it all meant, had this show been for his benefit or had he stumbled upon a simple rehearsal? And that puppet, why had it the face of……rushing forward he went behind the Punch and Judy kiosk. He threw back the red and yellow striped canopy in order to confront the Punch and Judy man within. But it was quite empty, empty save for the puppets, lying on the ground! Stooping down he picked up the Prisoner puppet and examined it, and for some reason compared it to the photograph taken from his pocket. There was a likeness between the two. Was this then a sign that he was still on his quest, looking for Janet’s fiancé, that he was here, somewhere in the Village? Then something white caught his attention, it was there on the ground, in the corner of the canvas kiosk, small, round, and white not more than four inches in diameter, it was a white sphere. He stooped down to pick it up, then a sound, a sound which grew louder as the white amorphous mass of the Guardian began to increase in size before his eyes. He staggered back in fright, and brushed aside the opening to the kiosk to make good his escape dropping the Prisoner puppet as he went, the cacophony of mixed sound of roar, bicycle pump, aqualung, and Gregorian chat ringing in his ears as he ran for his life. The white membranic thing, it simply rolled out of the Punch and Judy tent and rolled across the clearing to disappear into the dense undergrowth beyond. As for Number 6, his running slowed into a trot, and then a walk as he began to catch his breath. If there was one thing he needed right now, it was a drink, even one of the non alcoholic variety! And yet there was another surprise to come, running and tumbling along the path towards him was a figure in a one-piece black and silver costume, and more, there were others behind him, tumbling, jumping, and leaping about as they performed their acrobatics, as well as juggling skittles between them, all at the same time and in matching black and silver costumes. The leading man threw himself head over heels into the bushes, then leaping out, rolled over, dusted himself down, then leaping at another figure, caught his foot in the mans cupped hands and was tossed backwards, landing on his feet He performed several flick-flacks before coming to a stop, whilst the jumping Jugglers continued practicing their act. Number 6 stood in total amazement as they leapt and jumped about him, with skittles whizzing about his head and lucky not to be hit. He was convinced that nothing would surprise him in this place called the Village.
“Ally up” one juggler suddenly shouted, and a girl he had not noticed before in a very fetching gold and black leotard with frills, suddenly leap up and stood balancing herself on the first juggler’s shoulders.
“Hey wella” the girl shouted as she jumped from the man’s shoulders to the ground, then performing a couple of cart wheels she went into series of flick flacks along the sandy path, to disappear around the corner.
Number 6 stood to the side of the path as the troop juggled and tumbled acrobatically, their way passed him. The leader of the troop, a bald-headed young man having his name upon his black leotard ‘Bongo Bolero’ saluted as he passed by, but nothing more than this as they all followed the girl around the corner and along the path back to the village. While Number 6 carried on along the same path, but at his own slow pace. And yet fate had but one more shock in store for him, perhaps if he hadn’t called into the general store for that bottle of non-alcoholic whisky……..
Ting a ling a ling.
Number 6 closed the door behind him and casually pulled a copy of The Tally Ho from the newspaper rack on the wall. The tall shopkeeper in his straw boater and blue and white striped apron stood behind the counter busy serving a young woman in a colourful striped cape and blue and white hat, so he scanned the newspaper while he waited. ‘Village Day Celebrations,’ ran the headline, an article giving details of the Village fete to come, and noting all the exciting attractions. As well as all that a speech was to be given by Number 2 along with the unveiling of a statue. There was also a special gardeners section ‘Village In Bloom,’ special horticultural awards were to be presented to Number’s 184 and 36b for their sterling work in growing new plants for the flower beds and gardens, as well as making up window boxes and more in preparations for the great day, that will be Village Day.
The young lady Number 24 paid for her
basket of groceries, and turning passed Number 6 on her way out. She gave him a
smile, and he found himself smiling back.
Ting a ling a ling.
Number 6 approached the counter.
“Yes sir and what can I do for you?” asked the shopkeeper Number 36.
Number 6 placed his copy of the Tally Ho onto the counter “And a bottle of single malt whisky.”
“Non alcoholic sir” said the shopkeeper.
“Certainly not, the hard stuff if you please!” retorted Number 6.
“No sir, its all non alcoholic, Gin, Whisky, Vodka, looks the same, tastes the same, but it wont get you tiddly!” said the shopkeeper turning and reaching down a bottle from the shelves behind him.
“Pity!” he murmured under his breath and studied both the display of classical records and the display poster.
music makes for a quiet mind
The shopkeeper put the bottle of single malt whisky on the counter and Number 6 reached into the breast pocket of his blazer for his credit card and handed it to the shopkeeper and recognizing his face asked “Are you a gardener as well?”
“As well as what sir?” asked the shopkeeper.
Number 6 looked at the man and instantly thought it was going to be one of those conversations “As well as being a shopkeeper.”
“Why do you ask sir?”
“Your number Thirty-Six, we met on the day of my arrival here, you were working with another gardener.”
The shopkeeper thought for a moment “Really.”
“He’s looks the spit of you, and he had a Geordie accent just like you.”
“Oh you’re thinking of my twin brother, Number Thirty-six b, he’s the gardener and up for an award he is, you can read about it in the broadsheet. Will there be anything else sir?” asked the shopkeeper.
“No thank you, not today” he replied.
“You wouldn’t like a small note book?” the shopkeeper suggested “I have a nice little selection here sir.”
“And what would I do with a small notebook?” asked Number 6, he was right about the conversation.
“You could write notes in it” answered the
“I haven’t got a pencil.”
“Ah I have a nice selection of mechanical pencils.”
“I saw you looking at the records sir, I have a nice selection of easy listening music to classical Beethoven, Berlioz, what would you say to a little Bizet?” asked the shopkeeper picking up the ‘Ll’arlesienne’ suite and handing the record to his customer.
Number 6 turned the record over in his hands studying the front and back “No I don’t think so.”
“What’s the matter sir, don’t you like Bizet?” asked the shopkeeper, slipping something quickly under his counter “that’s the new Davier recording, it’s excellent if I may say so.”
“It’s all a question of taste isn’t it, I prefer Jazz, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Bix Biderbecke”
“I don’t think I’ve got any Bix
Biederbecke!” the shopkeeper told him reluctantly.
“Ah what a pity!”
“What about a map of the Village then?” asked the shopkeeper
“Yes and its leather bound!”
“But not printed on a tea towel!” said the shopkeeper holding up the item with pride.
Number 6 gave a frown fed up with the
shopkeepers “hard sell” attitude. “No, not today or any other thank you! Just
the whisky and the paper.”
“Alright sir, no need to be like that, I’m just trying to make a living you know” the shopkeeper told him.
“I’m sorry, it’s just that I’ve had a couple of surprises today, and I’m just a little on edge, that’s all. At the moment all I want to do is go home and have a drink.”
“That’s alright sir, I understand. Perhaps I can interest you in a cuckoo clock” offered the shopkeeper walking round his counter to the display.
“Cuckoo clock?” as the customer seemed as
though he would be interested,
“Do I look like a man who would be interested in a Cuckoo clock?”
“Well you never can tell” said the shopkeeper “I get all sorts of customers come in here.”
“Cuckoo” went the clock suddenly and the shopkeeper eyes bulged out as he placed the clock on the counter and picking up his customer’s credit card suggested “well look at it this way sir, buy the box and get a free clock!”
For Number 6 the clock had made the optimum comment, cuckoo seeming to be about right!
The shopkeeper clipped the credit card and handed it back to his customer along with his newspaper. Number 6 picked up his bottle of whisky, turned and quickly departed the general store.
“Be seeing you” the shopkeeper saluted with something of a knowing smile.
Ting a ling a ling.
Outside in the cobbled square Number 6 tucked his bottle of whisky under his arm and looked at the folded newspaper for it was not the copy he had taken from the newspaper rack, how could it be with the headline “No 6. Speaks His Mind,” what’s more there was a picture accompanying the headline and article, the same picture of the man he had inside his blazer pocket, the likeness was unmistakable. It loomed up off the page at him, and he turned back to the door to see the “Closed” sign.
“Open up, I need to speak with you”
The shopkeeper looked at him.
Holding up the unfolded copy of the Tally Ho Number 6 shouted through the door “Where did you get it, please I need to talk with you.”
The shopkeeper said nothing, he made no movement towards the door, but gave Number 6 a sly wink.
“Please” Number 6 begged “have you seen this man, just nod if you have.”
The shopkeeper made no sign of recognition, and simply turned his attention to rearranging a display of fresh fruit.
Walking from the shop he turned his attention to The Tally Ho newspaper. “No 6. Speaks His Mind” ran the headline and he read the accompanying article.
“The security of the community will be my primary aim,” said No. 6 in an exclusive interview. The forthright candidate for the post of No. 2 is determined that the citizens be safeguarded against all threats to their welfare.” And the article went on to say that No. 6 has every confidence in his chances, that he admires No. 2 as a man and pays tribute to his achievements, but the time has come for change. “That it would be a hard fight, but a clean one. We must put the well being of the community above everything else, No. 6 declared.” And so the newspaper article went on that No. 6 did not seek this opportunity to run for our highest office, but he accepted the call when it came, because it is his duty as a citizen. No. 6’s platform would be “an opportunity for everyone and freedom for all.” In a true democracy like ours, every individual has a special responsibility to express his mind by voting for the right candidate. No. 6 said he believes in absolute frankness with the electorate. “Cards on the table is my motto” No. 6
told our reporter “everyone has a choice in this matter, and I know they will vote for the candidate who gives it to them straight from the shoulder.”
So this Number 6 had been standing for electoral office, but when, the broadsheet was undated. He was left wondering if he was eventually elected in this true democracy like ours! He sat scanning the newspaper for anything else of interest, but there was nothing, in fact the rest of the Tally Ho was complete and utter gobbledygook. Then at last he slipped the photograph from his inside blazer pocket and studied it alongside the picture in the Tally Ho, they were identical, and this was another clue in his quest, irrefutable proof that he was here or had been here at some time or other recently, in The Village. Number 6 looked up at the Green Dome over looking the road and square, his next port of call in his quest for answers!
In his office Number 2 and Number 86 had been watching Number 6 on the large wall screen, who having folded his newspaper quickly crossed the square, crossed the street and sprang up the steps to the Green Dome.
“He looks like a man with a mission” commented 86 looking at the screen “and he’s coming straight here.”
“I can see that, you had better go, this could be difficult” said Number 2 preparing himself for the ordeal to come.
Number 86 took her leave up the ramp, pausing for a moment at the open pair of steel doors she turned “That’s why you’re sitting in that chair, sir’ then departed out through the steel doorway and French doors into the foyer beyond.
Number 6 mounted the last step onto the balcony of the Green Dome, standing in the enormous white portico he was about to tug on the wrought iron bell pull, when the white door opened automatically and he stormed inside, pushing passed the departing 86 on her way out.
“Well really, some people!” muttered 86 as she went on her way.
Number 6 was not about to stand on ceremony as he stormed through the opening steel doors and down the ramp into the office, the steel door slamming shut behind him as he quickly approached the desk.
Number 2, who seemed unperturbed by this
unwarranted intrusion, remained his calm, calculating self as he studied the
man standing before him, through his black rimmed spectacles.
“Ah Number Six, how good of you to come calling. Can I offer you anything, tea or coffee?”
“You can forgo the pleasantries, this is hardly a social call” said Number 6, doing his best to hold his temper.
“Yes I can see that, you look quite agitated my dear fellow, what is it you have there?” Number 2 asked, looking at the paper in his visitor’s hand.
Number 6 unfolded The Tally Ho and held it up for Number 2 to see.
Number 2 leaned forward out of his black spherical chair “Ah The Tally Ho, may I? he asked reaching out to take it “where did you get it?”
“Don’t you know?” barked Number 6.
“My dear chap there’s no need to be quite so aggressive you know, and no I don’t know where you got it” Number 2 lied knowing exactly what this was all about.
“Where I got it doesn’t matter, I take it you can read!”
“Yes, these spectacles work well enough” Number 2 informed his visitor, removing his spectacles and then putting them back on, read aloud the headline “Number Six speaks his mind, my dear old chap, what have you been up to now, I don’t seem to recall, which issue is this?”
“You tell me. It wasn’t me speaking my mind, the man in the photograph apparently did that, is he still here?” Number 6 asked mellowing his approach.
Number 2 looked closer at the photograph, knowing full well who it was, but saying “You mean that’s not you, I thought it was you for a moment!” he grinned sitting back in his chair.
Number 6 took back the broadsheet and folded it “No, that’s not me. True we do look similar, and funnily enough we even share the same number, but then you saw to that didn’t you, which begs me to ask what game are you playing?”
“Game Number Six, no game, you arrived here in the Village, the numeral 6 was vacant and administration simply allocated that particular number to you. But the irony of that has not passed me.”
“What simply because he and I are…… what are you, some kind of sick sadist?”
Number 2 remained calm and calculating,
such had been his training in the diplomatic service “I assure you, that the
matter had absolutely nothing to do with me, you should talk to someone in
administration, perhaps they’ll change it for you.”
“I’m talking to someone in administration!”
“By the way you didn’t say where you got the newspaper.”
“Does it matter?”
“It does to me.”
“As what happened to my…….predecessor matters to me. What happened to him, that newspaper article doesn’t sound like him at all, what did you do to him, where is he?” Number 6 barked loudly.
Number 2 withdrew as far as he could back into his chair “It was before my time, but according to our records he was elected to the position of Number Two, for a short term anyway.”
“Short term?” asked Number 6, sternly and with purpose.
“A term in office is dependent on any particular Number 2’s success rate” answered Number 2, knowing he couldn’t be more right.
“Is that how you come to be here, at his expense?” bellowed Number 6, his voice echoing around the chamber.
“Calm yourself Number Six, any show of
temper will avail you nothing.”
“According to your records, you mean you’ve checked the records?”
“What else could they do? Soon after he gained election victory the new Number 2 began to incite a revolt. He told the citizens that they were free to go, that he was in command and that he would immobilise all electronic controls. You see in a dictatorship everyone votes for a dictator, and that turned out to be him! He told them to obey him and be free, attempting to force his kind of freedom upon the good citizens of this community. I ask you, what would they have done with that kind of freedom?”
“So he was removed from office!” suggested Number 6.
“What did they do to him?” he asked quietly, almost menacingly.
“I couldn’t say, it was before my time” retorted Number 2 leaning forward in his chair “Look Number Six, the trouble with you is, you have too much spare time on your hands, too much time to brood on what was and not what could be. A man of your calibre, with your talents shouldn’t be wasted, there’s a place for you here.”
“What, you’re offering me a job?” he laughed.
“A position within the community” Number 2 replied with a wry smile.
“Perhaps I should take the democratic opportunity afforded to my predecessor and run for office. When are the elections?” Number 6 demanded to know.
“Sadly for you we abolished the democratic process. Although I could try and get you a seat on the Town Council” Number 2 offered.
“You would do that for me?”
“My dear fellow, as Chairman it would be my pleasure to have you co-opted onto the Town Council, in time of course.”
“And this?” asked number 6, holding up the issue of The Tally Ho.
“Is a thing of the past, you should learn to put it all behind you, before it does you more harm than good” was Number 2’s advice.
“He’s here somewhere, I know it and so do you. What’s more I intend to find him!” Number 6 said. Turning he stormed back up the ramp to the steel doors which remained closed.
Number 2 raised himself out of his chair “keep this senseless course Number Six, and you may find more than even you bargained for. Anguish, sorrow, perhaps even self-torture and torment, are you prepared for the worst?”
Number 6 turned to face his opponent “They say prevention is better than cure.”
“And he who digs a pit will one day lie in it” returned Number 2 “don’t dig yourself a pit Number Six, you have been warned. Citizens here obey the rules.”
“They are sheep!”
“Indeed, and you are the goat who has come amongst them. Now you have, things are bound to happen, and when they do, the citizens
will not tolerate you indefinitely!” Number 2 explained.
“You may recall that I am here for protection, you daren’t let anything happen to me”
“Protection from yourself perhaps” Number 2 informed him “but only for the time being. Even I cannot protect the lone wolf from the citizens, think about it, good day.”
The pair of steel doors opened and Number 6 stormed out into the foyer, the steel doors closing behind him with a loud clang.
Number 2 instantly picked up the yellow telephone “Control room please.”
“Control room, supervisor speaking.”
“Number Six has just paid me a visit, tell me what he was doing in the time before he decided to pay me a call?” Number 2 asked.
The supervisor checked with one of the five observers “He was sitting on a bench in the square reading an issue of the Tally Ho. Before that he dropped the bottle of whisky he was carrying under his arm” the supervisor confirmed.
Number 2 thought for a moment “And before that?”
“He was in the general store” reported the supervisor “it was there he bought the bottle of whisky and copy of the broadsheet.”
“From the general store, not the Tally Ho vender?”
“That’s right” replied the Supervisor.
“Have the shopkeeper brought to my office immediately” Number 2 ordered.
“Yes Number Two, at once!” the supervisor responded.
In the foyer of the Green Dome the diminutive butler stood watching Number 6 as he crumpled up the issue of The Tally Ho in his anger throwing it into the grate of the fire place before
storming out onto the balcony, the white door closing gently behind him.
The butler, immaculately dressed in black tails, walked over to the fire place and picked the crumpled Tally Ho out of the grate and smoothed the paper out with his hands. Then walking out through the opening door he approached Number 6 standing at the balustrade. Number 6 turned the see the diminutive butler standing there. The butler bowed and handed him the newspaper, turned and walked back into the Green Dome, the white door closed behind him.
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