The Prisoner … “Retrieval”


I just didn’t have the heart to leave Number Six in a global Village. I decided he needed retrieval.



Number Six: Where am I? Number Two: In the Village. Number Six: What do you want? Number Two: Information. Number Six: Whose side are you on? Number Two: That would be telling. We want information… information… in formation. Number Six: You won’t get it. Number Two: By hook or by crook, we will. Number Six: Who are you? Number Two: The new Number Two. Number Six: Who is Number One? Number Two: You are Number Six. Number Six: I am not a number! I am a free man!


“Why Rannesin?” Number Two queried.

“Each familiar person, place, or thing added lends itself to a reality guaranteed to bring about the desired results. He’ll fill in blanks himself, return to old haunts, renew friendships, and finally realize that, the whole world being The Village, his secrets are redundant. There is no place to escape to, there is no longer a need to protect all people. He’ll talk. It may take time, but he’ll talk. There’s no longer a reason not to.”

“You’d better be right.”

“Oh, I’m right. I’ve done this before and its never failed.” The man adjusted his glasses as though for emphasis. “Never!”


Number Six stood in the office of Number Two, facing his desk, looking out the window at the London skyline.

“What’s it all about?”

“I told you,” Number Two replied leisurely, “that there were going to be changes. And now you see those changes for yourself.”

“I see nothing but another failed stunt of yours to …” Number Six spoke through clinched teeth as Number Two cut him off in mid sentence.

“Come, come now, old boy, you’ve seen nothing yet,” and he pressed a button. The far wall glimmered, grew lighter, showed itself to be a large screen. “Name a place. Any place, your choice, and I’ll show you that things have changed.”


Number Two typed out a few letters on a keyboard resting on his desk. The screen blinked once and there was Rio in all its splendor. A panoramic view.

“It’s a trick. You’ve …”

“Pick a place in Rio, any place.” Number Two smiled calmly.

“The Hotel Encontro.”

A few more key strokes and the Hotel Encontro appeared on screen.

“Why not pick a room?” Number Two waved his hand towards the screen.


“Ah, the room you occupied while investigating that messy Colombian drug cartel.” A few more key strokes and they were looking at the hotel room. The maid was currently cleaning. “Any particular angle or spot in the room you’d like to …”

“You’ve made your point!” Number Six barked.

“Yes, indeed. You see, we’ve expanded our, shall we say, franchise. Number Six,” Number Two leaned back in his chair, “you are free to go any where you desire. Go back to your old flat if you like. Pick up life as you knew it, where you left it. We’ll call on you when need be.”

A rather bewildered look on his face, Number Six stood there, stunned.

“We’ve grown, Number Six. We’ve outgrown The Village that you knew and so wanted to escape from,” Number Two leaned forward over the desk. “You see, Number Six, freedom is a myth. Your secrets? They no longer matter. You are no longer a protector of other people. World domination?” He laughed, slumping back into his chair as though fully at home and altogether comfortable. “Governments needn’t be overthrown, wars are a waste of resources, and there is only one thing necessary.”

“Enlighten me.”

“It’s all very simple, Number Six. Well placed people in key positions. Political offices, the military, and the corporate  world. All the world is a Village now, and with no one the wiser.”

“I know.”

“And absolutely no one will ever believe you.”


He sat in his usual spot, drinking his usual drink. The pub was packed. Many of the faces were familiar to him. He had come here fairly often and new several of the regulars. Everything was normal. Laughter, darts. And then he saw Leonard walk through the door. Leonard, who he had played darts with so many times. Leonard smiled, waved. Number Six smiled back, nodded, lifted his drink. It was all he could do to control his facial expression. Because now he knew, he understood.


“Heart rate up, blood pressure rising.” The med tech began printing out the data.

“He’s in a pub that he knows well. Why would he react this way?” Number Two was looking at the screen, watching Number Six smile, drink.

The phone rang. The red one.

“Yes, sir. Certainly.” And Number Two held out the phone to the current Number Thirteen. “It’s for you.”

“Yes, what is it?” Number Thirteen spoke into the phone. “Yes, yes, I understand, but … NO! YOU listen. I do this MY way! You’ve put this in the hands of imbeciles in the past and failed repeatedly. If you want it done I’ll get it done, but you let ME take care of the project or you can bloody well come down here and do it yourself!” And, punching the “off” button, thrust the phone at Number Two.

Number Two, eyes wide, stood dumbfounded. “Do you … do you … know … who … who … that  wa … was?” He sputtered.

“Of course I know!” Number Thirteen snapped. “And its high time someone stood up to him. He wants this done? Then he’ll learn patience and let me do it!” At that Thirteen looked towards where he knew the monitoring camera was located and made a slight bow.

Number Two was visibly shaking and looked as though he was about to faint. And he very nearly did.


They watched the screen together. Number Six was walking away from the pub, seemingly calm. “Blood pressure and pulse have returned to normal,” said the med tech.

“What happened in the pub? Why did he suddenly …” Number Two was watching the screen intently, questioning Number Thirteen.

“Some sort of glitch, perhaps with the equipment here. Its nothing to …” And Number Two cut him off in mid sentence.

“Glitch?! A glitch did you say? What do you think we’re doing here? Playing a cricket match? We can’t afford glitches!”

Number Thirteen turned and calmly walked the few feet separating them. His face was only inches from Number Two’s. “I,” he said in a low, even tone, “I won’t be bullied by him,” and he pointed to the red phone, “how do you think you’ll fare? I can walk out of this room and leave you in charge if you can do my job. Can you do my job?”


Number Six strolled calmly. He knew what needed to be done but hadn’t figured out yet how to do it. But an idea was forming.


“Brain waves are erratic.” The med tech adjusted dials, flipped a switch. Number Two and Number Thirteen, shoulder to shoulder, watched the screen. Number Six had stopped, a look of concentration on his face.

“What’s he doing? What’s going on in that mind of his?”

The scene on the screen began to change, to move.

“What the … ?”

The buildings, the walk, the street, everything around Number Six began to bend, rearrange.

“Do something!” Number Two yelled at Thirteen as he feverishly began adjusting the IV drip.

Number Six bolted upright, and tearing the IV from his arm, jerking the electrodes from his forehead, promptly fell back on the gurney while still struggling to get up.

“Restrain him!” Number Thirteen was holding him down as four orderly’s rushed to either side of Number Six.

“Take him to hospital, quickly! If any thing happens to him we’ll all …” Number Two was cut off by the sound of a phone. The red one. Looking at a ghostly white Number Thirteen he said coldly, “I believe that call will be for you.”


As the orderly’s rushed Number Six to hospital he could see, through the drug induced haze, the all to familiar buildings of The Village.

Later, in the hospital ward, Number Two stood next to his bed. The man had, by sheer will power, overcome the illusions they had so carefully constructed.

“I don’t suppose you’ll tell me how you knew it was all false?” Number Two raised an eyebrow in question.

“Why not?” Number Six smiled weakly. “I met an old friend of mine, Leonard, at the pub.”

“So? Was that so very odd?”

“Leonard an I used to play darts together. Until his death four years ago.”



The Prisoner: “Imminent Departure”



Prolog: This may, or may not, be my finale for our agent, Mr. Drake, and The Prisoner. As you read this keep in mind that things aren’t always what they seem. But then again, sometimes they are. Confusing, isn’t it? I’ve tried, and please don’t ask me how I came by the information (that would be telling) to fill in a few blanks concerning The Village, its residents, and our agent, here and there. And I have, admittedly, engaged in more than just a bit of humor. The last I heard Number Two was updating my file in that respect. But it occurs to me that in the filling in of blanks I’ve left out some interesting information. And that’s what THEY want, isn’t it? Information. And so there is another story interwoven with “Imminent Departure”. The title? “The Recruits”. You see, Mr. Drake was trained for his job as part of a class of twelve. I thought you might like to know a little about the beginning as we’re drawing towards what may, or may not, be the end. Oh, and FYI, you can cut, paste, and go to Google translate to convert Russian into English.


Quote: “Freedom is a myth.” Patrick McGoohan.


Number Six had glanced over his shoulder just as he came to the corner of the building. The other man rounded the corner at the same time. Colliding into each other they now stood face to face.

“You!” The mans eyes went wide and then narrowed. His badge read Nine. “You,” he said again, lowly. “So you are the reason I’ve been brought here.” He looked Number Six up and down, taking a slow step back. “No number I see. You are the Number One. I could have guessed!” And turning he walked off, heading now in a new direction. The Green Dome.

“Be seeing you,” called out Number Six, saluting.


He heard the person approaching. Heavy steps, obviously male. He waited until the shadow fell, and remained, on his copy of the Tally Ho before looking up.

“Well, the changing of the guard didn’t take long this time, did it?” He was looking up at the new Number Two.

“Number Six,” the new Number Two chuckled, shaking his head from side to side in a mildly amused and somewhat disappointed sort of way. He looked up from Number Six and out over the retaining wall towards the sea and breathed deeply. And calmly walked away.


“The Recruits” … Spy school. Who would have thought there could be such a thing? But everyone needs training. Mr. Drake, having been recruited as he was from the bank, took three months sick leave. They said it was some sort of fever he’d contracted while on vacation. Very serious. And the three months of training was just that. Serious, intense. It was a class of twelve. Each man was paired with another. You see, not only did you learn your trade but you learned the necessity of team work as well. There were no lone wolves. Drakes partner, a very likable chap, had been recruited from the Royal Navy. Being a sailor he had a girl in every port, and several far from port. Drake worked hard to master his new trade. It was, after all, life or death.


Oddities never cease in The Village. The first man, Number Nine, had a very distinct Lithuanian accent. Number Two had a mild accent, almost undetectable. The sort of accent a person acquires after having learned several languages fluently. The accents weren’t so very odd by themselves. It was the resemblance between the two. They could easily have been brothers. At a distance, side by side, they would be nearly impossible to tell apart. But the oddest part was the feeling in Number Six’s gut. In some dim way he recognized them both. But from where, and when? It would come, given time.


“I know you,” Number Six stood over Number Two as the other man sipped coffee at the café. Number Two, looking up, smiled and chuckled.

“Number Six,” and he chuckled again, only a little louder this time. “Of course you know me. I am Number Two.”

“I know you as someone other than Number Two,” Number Six was fishing.

“Indeed? Well, let me know when you can put a name with the face. Then we’ll talk. Perhaps its just that I remind you of another,” and he laughed heartily, as though at some private joke. “Until then I’ll call for you if I feel the need.” He turned his face away at this, seemingly engrossed by the seascape just visible through the tumble of Village buildings from this point.


Number Six stood in his doorway, Number Nine was standing just outside. The man had actually knocked.

“I have been watching you,” the man peered at Six through eyes that were slits, as though he was trying to see past the exterior, trying to see what was inside Number Six.

“Yes, I’ve seen you. And do you find me very entertaining?” Number Six raised a quizzical eyebrow.

“Oh, fascinating. I learn much by your example. I thought you to be Number One. But no, you are a prisoner just as I am,” he titled his head to one side, just the hint of a smile on his face. “I never dreamed such a thing would happen. I had heard rumors of a place like this. And then to find you here. It is almost too much.”

“Yes, I quite agree. But then the world is filled with odd occurrences, isn’t it, ah, what was your name again?”

Smiling, the man replied, “Oh, you know who I am, Number Six. I am,” and he pointed to the badge on his lapel, “Number Nine.”

“Would you care for some genuine non-alcoholic Brandy? Twenty three units a bottle.” And Number Six held out his hand towards the interior of his flat in invitation.

“No,” the man smiled and shook his head slowly. “I will let you know when it is time to talk. Be seeing you,” and, turning, he walked away.

“And you.”



“The Recruits” … Part of the job consisted of knowing your equipment. The world of espionage has its share of gadgets. They were useful, but Drake preferred to use his mind as much as possible. His partner, on the other hand, seemed comfortable with relying on the “tools” of the trade a little more than Drake was comfortable with. John had told him once, “These things are handy, but they can fail. We have to learn to think on our feet.” His partner replied, “When one thing fails there’ll always be another. There is no end to invention.” Ah, well, to each his own.


He was standing in the breeze, watching people as they frolicked on the stone boat. Some actually got seasick on their imaginary journeys. Imaginary journeys. He’d indulged in a few of those himself. Number Two strolled by, turned to him, walked over to him.

“Beautiful day,” quipped Number Six.

“There are no microphones nearby,” Number Two was looking out over the sea, speaking lowly, “Only cameras. Mr. Drake, I couldn’t care less why you resigned. You are more of a problem here than you will ever be an asset. They tell me that they don’t want you damaged, you’re to valuable. I question that. But for now it is the only reason I don’t have you killed. There are about to be any number of changes here, elsewhere, and I am one of them. I want you gone, Mr. Drake. When things come to a head here, as they shall soon, I want you gone. Do you understand?”

He looked at Number Two, a bit shocked but doing a good job of hiding it. This was the first time anyone in The Village had called him by name. Wanting him gone? He’d be glad to go, but he’d not take part in another ruse.

“I am no longer a number then?”

“Oh, yes, you will remain a number for as long as you are here. But I call you by name now for a reason. I want to impress upon you one simple thing,” and he turned slowly, facing Number Six. “I want to impress upon you this … I want you gone. And gone,” he was almost whispering now, “is what you shall be.”


He was working out at his private gym. The day was bright, and hot for this time of year. He could see, far down the path, Number Nine approaching. He continued his work out until the man was standing there in the small clearing with him.

“Now we talk,” Number Nine spoke slowly, deliberately.

“About the weather?”

Number Nine shook his head. “No, Mr. Drake. We talk about leaving. You and I. Together we can. We are perhaps the only two people who, together, could.”

“Who are you?!”

“You know who I am,” and he pointed to his lapel. “I am Number Nine. You are Number Six.”

“I am not a number! I am a free man!”

“Yes, and together we shall both be free. Together we will escape this,” and with a sour look, twisting his mouth as though about to spit, he said, “place.”

“Go tell your masters that you tried and failed. I’m not buying.” Number Six turned his back to Number Nine. And he remembered. He knew who Number Nine was now. And Number Two. But which one was the right one? Only one of them could be the man that he now knew that one of them was. The identity was certain, the one it belonged to was the question. He heard Number Nine walking away.

“We will talk again, John Drake. I give you time to think. But do not take too much time. Opportunities are lost over time.”


“The Recruits” … Drake worried about his partner. At one point he had actually caught him copying answers from his paperwork. He hadn’t said anything. He was no rat. A fool perhaps, but not a rat. If it hadn’t been for the man’s charm and whit he would have no doubt washed out. But he hung in there, and so did our Mr. Drake. However, lets give the other guy credit where credit is due. He could tell you the vintage of the grapes used in the production of the sherry that he drank. His palate had obviously been well-trained.



He sat thinking, a tumbler of genuine non-alcoholic bourbon and water, on the rocks, in his hand. The Muzak played, the sounds of The Village drifted in through the open window. And he thought. This felt different. Something wasn’t right about it, and he knew it. But what? What was the twist or turn here? The underlying current? The plot? Because there was one. There always was one. The Muzak stopped and the syrupy sweet female voice made the following announcement.

“Fellow citizens, one and all, your Village Council, and remember it is YOUR Village Council, democratically elected by YOU, is pleased to announce that in one week, exactly one week from today, there will be a glorious Festival of Unity. There will be music and refreshments, a truly carnival atmosphere, an unveiling of NEW Village statuary, and the main attraction, a moving speech by our beloved Number Two. So come one and come all! Its festival! More details to come!”


Number Two sat down across from him at the chessboard.

“Care to play?” Number Six asked pleasantly.

“Hardly. I want to give you a word of advice.” Number Two looked from side to side, and, leaning over the table, snarled, “Listen to Number Nine. The festival is your opportunity.” Standing, he looked down at Number Six and whispered, “Remember where it is I want you?”

“Gone?” Number Six smiled nonchalantly.



For the next several days Number Six saw very little of Number Two or Number Nine. When he did see Number Two the man would scowl and walk away. Number Nine would smile and nod faintly and go about his way. This was fine with Number Six. Perhaps they had given up on their game. But then the warders never gave up that easily.



Number Six was making his way to the General Store as he passed Number Nines door. It opened as he neared it, an older woman, in her sixties and carrying several small potted plants in her arms, backing out, a broom tucked under her arm, trying to keep it all balanced and in hand. As she turned she smiled pleasantly at him and said, “Good morning, Number Six. Beautiful day, isn’t it?” Bending over she sat the plants down, and rising up he saw her badge. Number Nine.

“How very odd,” he said, an amused look on his face. He was used to this sort of thing. “Why just yesterday Number Nine was a middle-aged male from Lithuania.”

“Well, if you say so,” she twittered. “Things do seem to change, don’t they?”

“Be seeing you, Number Nine.”

“And you,” she replied, as she turned to her gardening and the sweeping of her front walk.

The public address system blared, “Attention, citizens. Just a reminder, only one more day till Festival! Be ready for all the fun and excitement on this joyous occasion! This is YOUR day! Enjoy it to the full, and remember … Life is for living!”


“The Recruits” … It had been something of a scene. Drake’s partner had been caught sneaking a girl into the compound. The chief instructor, a middle-aged man with eyebrows like feather dusters, had gone livid. “Being a commander in her Majesties Royal Navy I understand that you may think you have an image to protect, all sailors being infamous womanizers, but you WILL hold it in until training has been completed! IS THAT CLEAR?!” If Drake hadn’t spoken to the Colonel later, well, who knows what might have happened to his partner?


The Butler was just leaving the General Store as Number Six approached. Entering he saw a tall man, easily in his late fifties, standing near the counter, a copy of the Tally Ho held in front of him.

“Good day to you sir,” the storekeeper chimed pleasantly. “And what might I do for you?”

“I’d like some halibut for the evening meal please.” Number Six walked past the tall man. “Excuse me.”

The man slowly folded the paper, his badge clearly visible now. The new Number Two.

“A new Number Two again?” Number Six cocked his head to one side. “And where do they store all of you for the keeping?”

“You needn’t concern yourself, Number Six, with details. You’ll deal with me now. As far as you’re concerned I’m the only Number Two there’s ever been.” And turning, he walked out.


“Rise and shine, rise and shine! It’s another beautiful day in The Village! Remember that today if the Festival of Unity! Make your plans to attend now. The wonderful celebration begins at ten o’clock sharp so don’t be late. And now, to help you ready yourself for fun and frolic … Music.”
Number Six rolled over in bed, pulling the sheet over his head. They could keep their Festival of Unity.
He sat down with his coffee, the Muzak conveniently tucked away in the fridge, when he saw it. On the floor, just a few inches from the door. It had obviously been pushed under the door and five minutes ago it hadn’t been there. He picked it up, a white envelope, and on the front, in bold block letters, he read: “To John Drake”. Inside was a short note …
“Behind the hospital at 11 a.m. during Festival. It is our chance.”
He leaned cautiously around the corner. There were five cargo helicopters, fully two dozen Village workers, a multitude of crates in various stages of being packed and loaded. And pandemonium. The workers feverishly went about packing, loading, and fetching more from the building. Much of it looked to be computer equipment.
“Be careful! You break that and I’ll break you!” One worker, obviously in a supervisory position, yelled at another.
“What’s all this about anyway? Why the rush?”
“And do you REALLY want to know?!”
Number Six watched. In all the rush and confusion it would be a simple matter to hide in one of the larger crates, pulling one of the many tarps in and over to cover himself. The rest would be left to chance, true, but at least it was a chance. If they found him out he’d be no worse off.
“The Recruits” … Graduation day. Such as it was. A tallying of the grades, a going over of the records. Drake placed at Number One in the class. His partner? He earned the twelfth position. Well, that WAS better than washing out. They had talked, he and Drake. The training had been for service with NATO but the other man said he was going to pull a few strings and opt for MI5. Drake would continue with NATO. They made plans for one farewell drink before they parted ways. And the day after having left the compound, the day before Drake was to return to the bank from hospital and his partner return to Naval service, they agreed to meet at a certain pub at a certain time.
Five hours. Five hours he was bumped and jostled. He could hear the copter, he could feel the unloading, he heard the workers as the crate was transferred to what must be a truck.
“Be careful with that, mate! It’s supposed to be delicate.” If they only knew.
He felt the truck stop, more voices, more jostling. With a thud he felt the crate set down.
“Start the unpacking, men. They need these things upstairs today.”
He heard a crowbar biting into wood, the crate shook slightly, nails made a screeching sound as they were pulled out. He shielded his eyes from the light. The worker stood there, eyes wide, mouth open.
“Frank? You might like to have a look at this.”
He rode in the back, the two bobbies up front. Once at the police station he could explain, could get word to the Colonel. For now he contentedly took in the sights and sounds of London. Even the exhaust fumes were a welcome alternative to The Village.
In Moscow Georgio Rannesin was escorted into a large, sparsely furnished office. There, behind a desk, sat a large man, moustache bristling. He smiled at Rannesin pleasantly. And Georgio’s heart sank into his shoes as he heard the words …
“Товарищ Добро пожаловать в деревню. Теперь … Скажите, почему вы уйти в отставку?”
“The Recruits” … They waited patiently for the bartender. The place was packed. But they took the opportunity to talk. It would be a friendly parting. Drake couldn’t help but like the other man and he sincerely wished him well.
“And do you think you’ll be able to get on at MI5?” Drake asked.
“Oh, yes. It’s just a matter of making the right call,” he smiled.
Drake reached into his pocket and took out a pen and small pad.
“I know one person, a secretary, who works at MI5. Call her,” and he wrote out a name and number. “Mention my name.”
“And where do you know her from?”
“The London bombings, during the war.”
The bartender moved to their end of the bar.
“Sorry it took so long, gentlemen. Now, what can I get for you?”
“Whiskey,” answered Drake.
“And you sir?” The bartender looked at Drakes friend.
“Martini, please. Very dry and please don’t stir the ice, it bruises. I prefer it shaken, not stirred.” Ah, the well-trained palate.
“Certainly sir, coming right up.”
The two waited patiently, silently now. The drinks arrived. Taking their glasses they raised them.
“To your very good health, John,” Drakes friend smiled.
“And to yours, James.”
After finishing their drinks they got up to leave. As they shook hands Drake put his hand on James’ shoulder, smiled, and said, “Now, when you talk with Miss Moneypenny be certain to tell her I gave you her number.”
“Thank you, John. I will.”
Off the elevator, down the hall. Drake walked between two officers. One stopped at an unmarked door and, reaching for the knob, smiled at Drake and said, “Here you are, mate. You’ll get to explain yourself now.”
The room was ordinary enough. Through the window he could see the familiar London skyline. The high-backed chair behind the desk was turned away from him, its occupant obviously intent upon what looked to be a computer monitor. The chair began to revolve as a hand reached towards a button. There was a slight swishing sound behind him as a chair began to rise from the floor. “Have a seat, dear boy,” a familiar voice said pleasantly. The chair completed its turn, and a smiling Number Two said, “Welcome to The Village.”
Epilog: Well, well. The whole world a Village? Remember what we’ve learned here. Things aren’t always what they seem. And in The Village they are very rarely so. I’m not sure I have the heart to leave Number Six in a situation like this. Who knows? He doesn’t seem to be able to escape The Village. He’s always brought back. Maybe I won’t be able to escape these tales either. Time will tell. And from time to time I may just have to come back. I mean, somebodies gotta feed Rover when Number Six isn’t around. Oh, please excuse me. Number 14 just pulled into the drive and you know how she gets when kept waiting. Be seeing you.

“To John Drake”

Students for a Democratic Society (2006 organi...

Students for a Democratic Society. Sometimes the enemy is homegrown, like the SDS. Sometimes the enemy comes from the “other side”. And sometimes they accidently cross paths. Guess who got caught in the middle?

It had been an interesting day for our agent, Mr. John Drake. The SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) had planned well. The assassination of Senator Gailen had nearly been successful. If Drake hadn’t noticed that one, and only one, second story window was open by inches he would never have seen the sun reflect off the tip of the rifles barrel. Two minutes more and the Senator’s car would have been in range with the Senator an easy target. Drake had pushed a trash can into the street causing a bus, coming from the other direction, to swerve. It was enough to stop traffic, and just in time. The SDS member must have realized what was happening and had attempted to retaliate by squeezing off a shot before FBI agents, and the area, streets, buildings, roof tops, crawled with them disguised as janitors and city workers and pedestrians and more, had pinpointed the room via walkie-talkie once Drake had pointed to the window. It had all happened in a mater of moments. Quick, jerky movements now playing on a screen of memory. The bus driver had seen him push the trash can into the street. In a string of Italian profanity he had run towards Drake, waving his arms and gesturing wildly. Our agent was still intent on the window. He saw the barrel of the rifle turn towards him, he saw the bus driver move between him and the window, and with only inches and a split second to spare had pushed the driver down as the shot rang out. The envelope had been slid under the door of his hotel room. He saw it as he walked through the door. On the outside it said, in block letters, “To John Drake”. It read …

“Mr. Drake, today you do a good deed. I am here on business, perhaps you hear about it later. I knew nothing of the assassination attempt on the American senator. Maybe these Americans will be taking care of themselves and save us the trouble. I was however in the wrong place and at the wrong time. I almost did not recognize you dressed as city maintenance worker. Thank you for pushing me away from the bullet. Perhaps some day I return the favor.”

And it was signed “Georgio”.

Danger Man: “Vogelverschrikker of Romney Marsh”


 Legends abound in Romney Marsh.


Just a note. Words can be very entertaining and I enjoy playing with them. I’ve used a couple of names here, so, with Google Translate at hand, and Dutch and Welsh in mind, and Mr. McGoohan‘s filmography taken into consideration, you might like to do a little “spy” work of your own.😉


He’d been dealing with Nigel Hunningsworth for the past several months while Hardy Fotheringay recuperated from open heart surgery. It was good to have Hardy back. His last words before sending Mr. Drake on this mission had become almost standard between the two of them. “You’re on your own with this one, Drake.”


He hadn’t been to Romney Marsh since his parents had gone to the area for vacation when he was six. He still remembered his fascination with the legends and tall tales of smugglers and buccaneers. But this trip was much different. He was to meet Vogelverschrikker, the Dutch politician. The man had a social connection with a foreign diplomat behind the Iron Curtain and had stumbled upon information that NATO would no doubt find useful. It was John Drake‘s job to connect with the Dutchman at Y Pentref Inn. Vogelverschrikker had been spirited away by a number two man in the British Parliament during a visit to Amsterdam, and was now in hiding in the Romney Marsh area. The Netherlands National Security Bureau had gone on red alert. With this man’s sudden disappearance security was at high risk. He would be returned safely, but currently, for the sake of both his safety and Holland‘s national security, his disappearance had to be kept under wraps by the British. There was a mole in Amsterdam, someone in the Hague. If the wrong people found out Vogelverschrikker’s whereabouts his life wouldn’t be worth a dime. Drake would connect with him, receive the information, and then return him safely and unseen to Holland where a cover story regarding his disappearance and whereabouts, supplied by British operatives via a “leak” to the N.S.B., would, hopefully, make the mole show his hand. But right now the man, the information, and his safe return to the Netherlands was the crux of the matter and all that mattered to John Drake.


The wind was cold, blowing in from the sea, blowing across the marsh. The small hamlet, tucked away in an obscure corner of the area, looked like something out of the book Treasure Island. You expected to see brigands of some sort, smugglers huddled at tables, drinking grog and whispering their plans one to another. And Y Pentref Inn seemed just the place for them, the perfect spot for the hatching if strategies and schemes. Drake made his way to the bar.

“Yes sir, what can I get for you?” The barmaid was slightly past middle age and attractive. It was the look in her eye that was telling. If anyone knew of brigands it was her.

“I’d like to make arrangements for a room if you’ve one available.” Drake smiled.

“One available?” She chuckled. “We’ve five rooms and four are available. The three on the second floor have nice views if you like the marsh. The two down here have no views and can be a tad noisy seeing as how they’re next to the kitchen. But that’s why we charge a bit less for them,” and she looked at him with a question on her face. Was he interested in cheap?

“The view sounds good,” and he placed his hat down on the bar. “But before we bother ourselves about the details I’d enjoy a warm brandy, please. The winds here are chilling.”

“That they are. Local legend has it that the wind is cold because of all the ladies hearts broken by sailors of ill intent,” she smiled over her shoulder as she reached for the brandy. He noticed that she reached for the bottle on the top shelf. If he wasn’t interested in saving a quid on a room it was obvious that the better brandy was for him.

“And will you be staying long?”

“No, only the night. I’m making my way to London. I’m a little to tired to press on just now. A good nights sleep and I’ll be on my way.”

She had said that four of the five rooms were available, and that told him that Vogelverschrikker was there. This, he thought, should be relatively easy.


Vogelverschrikker would be expecting him. It would be a simple task to go downstairs for his evening meal and give the Dutchman the appropriate signal. They would proceed from there. And so he left his room after having freshened up, heading for the dinning room below.

There were two men setting at the corner table furthest from the door. Neither was the man he was waiting for. No doubt locals there for their evening meal. The Dutchman was probably still in his room. Drake approached the bar, smiling at the lady behind it. She had a rather odd, somewhat worried look on her face.

“Yes sir?”

“I thought I’d have my dinner. Is there anything you’d care to recommend?”

“Oh, the menu isn’t very complicated. My sister cooks and cleans here. Her mutton with carrots and roast potatoes is good, I think you’d enjoy it. Nothing fancy, but good tasting and filling.”

“That sounds fine,” Drake replied. The menu wasn’t his primary concern. Years of working as an agent had taught him to take nothing for granted. The look on her face puzzled him and a direct approach seemed best. “Is everything all right?”

“Oh, yes,” and her voice lowered as she nodded her head towards the two men in the corner. “It’s just that a Dutchman arrived earlier today, not long before you. That’s not so odd, we get travelers and folks going on holiday through here often enough. But those two. Three Dutchmen in one day? Seems strange, that’s all.”


Drake sipped tea as he waited for his meal and Vogelverschrikker. He kept one eye on the two gentlemen at the corner table. Three Dutchmen in one day? For a spot like Romney Marsh it was a bit odd. He could hear a door upstairs open and close. His table faced the stairwell, with the two men to his right and the main entrance to his left and the bar slightly to the right of the stairs. His man walked slowly down the stairs, with nervous, jerky movements. Drake could tell that he was terrified. Given his position his fear was understandable. There were people involved in this, other side people, who would gladly see him dead at this point. And the two Dutchmen in the corner could easily be more than coincidence.

At the bottom of the stairs the politician looked nervously around the room. Drake “accidentally” knocked his hat from the table and in retrieving it muttered to himself in a stage whisper, “I should take more care, next time.” And Vogelverschrikker seated himself at the table next to Drake’s, with a polite nod and a “Good evening to you, sir.”

“And you,” Drake smiled.

One of the men at the corner table rose and strode towards the door. Calling over his shoulder to the other man, in Dutch, that he was going for some air and a smoke. Drake noticed that one side of his coat hung lower than the other side as if there were something heavy in the pocket. No, these two men were no coincidence. After the first man was out the door the other man, one side of his coat lower than the other, got up and walked towards the bar. With a heavy Dutch accent he asked the barmaid if the Inn had any cigars.

“No, sorry sir. We have so little call for them. The store down the street carries a few and … ”

“Would you mind,” and he pulled a small role of bills from a pants pocket, “I promise to leave a good tip at the end of the meal. But I wouldn’t want to leave now and return to a cold meal.”

“Oh, well, my sister can keep it warm for you but …”

And the Dutchman laid several bills down on the bar. “I am very hungry and also very tired. My friend and I must be on our way soon and I would very much like two cigars. I gladly pay you for your trouble. Please?” And pushing the money towards her he smiled broadly.

“Certainly,” and scooping up the cash she turned and called to the kitchen, “Sis, I run a short errand. I’ll be back shortly.”

Dimly from the kitchen, “Alright. I’ll serve if you’re not back in … ” And the voice trailed off amongst a clatter of pots and pans.

“I’ll be back in a few minutes.” And she was out the door.

Drake could hear, and it sounded like it was around to the side of the building, a car’s engine begin to purr lowly just after the barmaid left. It was now, and Drake knew it.

The Dutchman at the bar turned, one hand in his pocket, looking first at Drake and then at the Dutch politician, and began to speak.

“Sir,” to Drake, “your presence is no more coincidental than ours. You are not our concern, please do not interfere. You will please remain seated.” And then, “Vogelvers … ,” his coat pocket rising.

Drake grabbed the Dutchman next to him, pulling him down, and at the same time overturned both his table and Vogelverschrikker’s, forming a barrier between them and the would-be assassin. The room filled with Dutch profanity and two shots, both aimed at the tables. Not knowing if Drake was armed the man ran for the door. This had not gone according to plan. He should be running for the waiting car now with the assurance that his target was dead. As it was the surrounding businesses, along with the local police, having heard shots, would be here soon enough. Under no circumstances was there to be a gun battle between them and locals. It would be enough now to make it to the beach and into the sea where the miniature sub waited for them.

Drake heard the door open and slam shut. His job would be much more difficult now. The other side was aware of Vogelverschrikker’s whereabouts and that meant more problems ahead, he was sure of that. And that they knew his location also proved that there were agents from the other side, moles, infiltrators at MI5 as well. Drake turned to Vogelverschrikker.

“Its alright now sir, they’ve gone.” But there was no reply. It was then that Drake saw the splintered hole in the table, next to the Dutchman’s head.

A Personal Note


Just a note. I have a lot of health problems, terminal cancer being the most serious, and recently I’ve started several alternative therapies that have all helped, some more and some less. They are, however, time-consuming. So I may not write fan fiction as much as a result. I’m not saying I won’t write any, but the posts may be few and far between. I just have to prioritize and there are only so many hours in the day. I’ve had a lot of fun doing this and hopefully its been enjoyable for some other folks as well. And the site will be here for whoever finds it, the stories, for what they’re worth, being new to them.🙂

And just a thought for all the people out there who think that The Prisoner is just cool fiction at best, and that George Orwell’s “1984” can’t happen, I offer you this …

In times of profound social change like the present, extreme views hold out the appeal of simplicity. By ignoring the complexity of the forces that shape our personal and collective circumstances, they offer us scapegoats. Yet they fail to provide a viable pathway from the cold war to the global village.

Source: It Takes A Village, by Hillary Clinton, p.286 Sep 25, 1996 Be seeing you.

“Many Happy Returns, Again.”

Disclaimer: I’ve always enjoyed the more humorous aspects of The Prisoner. Aside from “The Girl Who Was Death” these are, admittedly, a little hard to find. So I decided to fill in that gap. This story is a blatant bit of foolishness. You’ve been warned.😉
Have you ever wondered what would happen if Number 2 woke up one morning and decided to, well, have a little fun at the expense of Number 6? I mean, really … 


“Many Happy Returns, Again.”

Just three more days. He remembered the last one. He’d just as soon not deal with Mrs. Butterworth again but he had to admit the cake had been good. No sense in trying to change things, at least not this thing. He’d let the day come and go.
The man watched through binoculars as Number 6 walked towards the woods. Number 6 was heading for his personal gym. He worked out daily at this time weather permitting. Number 6 seemed very much a creature of habit, and that would make this “job” so much simpler.
“You’ll need to be careful. He’s very suspicious. Its his nature.” Number 2 was standing at a slight distance from the other man. Near enough to be heard, far enough away that if Number 6 happened to look their way it wouldn’t be obvious that they were together. “Oh, I understand, believe me. I’d never turn my back on him either.” Number 2 began to move away. His last words, “You’ve three more days.”
Number 6 opened one eye. The muzak had just come on. “Rise and shine, one and all! Its another beautiful day in your Village. Remember, life is for living!” More muzak. He began his day, all things normal, except … The items in the fridge had been rearranged, and whoever had been in the fridge had made no attempt to hide the fact. Nothing seemed to have been tampered with, just moved around. He sniffed at each egg, each everything. Were they going to drug him … Again? This was a sloppy job of it if that’s what they were up to. No, it was MEANT for him to see this. Why?
The man watched the monitor. He saw Number 6 getting ready to leave, probably to have breakfast at the café as it was obvious his food may have been tampered with. Ah, he’d broken Number 6s rhythmic schedule. Job well done. But he must work fast now. He bolted out of the control room.
Number 6 stepped through the door. He saw it at once. The pillows had been rearranged and the faux tiger rug had been turned around so that the head was now at the other end. He went back out the door, walking quickly towards the Green Dome.
“Number 6, I assure you I know nothing of this. And are you SURE?” Number 2 leaned forward with the word “sure” as if to be sure it had its proper impact. “Of course I’m sure! I know how the flat is arranged, I know where things are in the fridge. I’m monitored 24 hours a day along with my living space. If you’re not responsible your surveillance records should show who is. I ought to at least be able to arrange the pillows in the chair to my liking. That’s not to much to ask, is it?!” “I’ll have the tapes checked, Number 6.”

They wanted him to see these things. He had reacted in order to play along. He’d trip them up, make them show their hand. And of course the videos would show nothing if they ever allowed him to view any. What was this? Asinine tricks like these weren’t like them.
The back door closed only seconds before the front door opened. The man smiled to himself. Perfect timing.

Number 6 stood just inside the door. He was looking directly at it. You couldn’t miss it, setting there in the center of the room like that. It was every bit five feet tall and at least eight long. A pink elephant. No, not a real one. Things hadn’t gotten that bad. Yet. This one looked like a big carnival prize, a large balloon. No need telling Number 2. What would he say? “I’m seeing pink elephants?”
When he got up the next morning the backdoor in the kitchen was standing open. He went through the flat. Nothing was missing but the blowup elephant. Nothing SEEMED to have been tampered with.
“Number 6 I assure you,” Number 2 said as he put his fork down, “I have no idea. Frankly old boy I’m a tad worried. I’ve checked the recordings and while I know you won’t believe me there is simply nothing there.” “You’re right, I won’t believe you even if you show me.” “Alright Number 6. Bring me the pink elephant and I’ll believe YOU.” “Gone out the backdoor during the night.” Number 6 replied. “My, Number 6, how convenient your delusions are. You think I’m playing games with you. I’m quite certain you’re playing games with me. And while I don’t know yet what you’re game IS I assure you I will. Now, if you don’t mind I’ll finish my lunch. In PEACE!”
The man had just exited the room. He was very pleased with himself. This was actually very entertaining.

Number 6 simply walked past the stack of books and packages piled near the front door. He saw them. Let whoever it was sneak them out the backdoor tonight and store them with the pink elephant. He opened the fridge. Ah, worse than rearranged this time. This time it was empty. They would probably expect him to go to the café. He turned to go to the grocers. Of course he realized they’d be expecting this as well. It wasn’t that important. If he played along perhaps they would tip their hand. He glanced at the books. At least two dozen copies of “Crime and Punishment.” Some sort of hint? One of the packages was open at one end. Another copy of the same book.
The man smiled at Number 2, “I told you he’d think we’d expect him to have his meal at the café and go to the grocers instead.” Number 2 smiled broadly. “Capitol, just capitol.”
There was a note on his pillow. It simply read, “Danger, man!” Mind games. Two could play at this.

“You heard me. I’d like to look at another flat. Perhaps a change of scenery would clear my mind of these delusions,” his tone was laced with sarcasm. “Number 6, I’m not even sure there is another flat available. And if there is I don’t know that you could have it. We have rules, Number 6.” Number 2 shook his head. “Are you sure you wouldn’t like to see Number 18? He’s very good you know. And you’ve put yourself through great stress during your time with us. Maybe to much stress. Come, I’ll call Number 18 and make arrangements for you.” “I do NOT need a psychiatrist!” Were they really going through all this foolishness in order to make him think himself on the verge of a breakdown? This Number 2 wasn’t that stupid.
The phone rang early the next morning. “What do you want?” “Good morning to you too, Number 6,” Number 2 said sarcastically. “Care to look at what might possibly be your new home?” “When, where?” “I’ll be ’round to pick you up in 15 minutes. Be seeing you.”
He was playing along. They pulled up in front of a door he’d seen before but as to the building or what was behind the door he had no idea. Number 2 lead the way. Inside Number 6 could not believe what he was seeing. The place was a total wasteland. The carpet was ripped, the walls were covered in grime, much of the furniture was broken. “Well, what do you think? Beautiful, isn’t it?” “Whats this idiocy all about, Number 2? Its an obvious ruse, but its not nearly of the quality I’ve come to expect from you. I must say I’m disappointed.” “Disappointed? In this? Do you realize the trouble I’ve gone to in order to make this available for you? And all because you’re delusional. I thought this might ease the stress and help normalize your mental condition. But you’ll see Number 18 now whether you like it or not, and that for your own good! Come, I’ll return you to your flat so that you can collect a few personal items. I’ve a feeling your stay in hospital may be an extended one.”
They stopped in front of Number 6s door. “Good day to you, sir!” He snapped at Number 2 as he climbed out of the car. “Not so fast, Number 6. I’m going in with you. You WILL collect your things, we WILL go to hospital, or I WILL CALL SECURITY!”

He walked through the door, Number 2 close behind. At first glance everything looked in order. This time. Then, as he neared the center of the room, it happened. There were fully two dozen of them. They jumped from behind curtains, furniture, doors. Some came from he wasn’t sure where. The din was deafening. Horns and whistles and those clacking noise makers he remembered from his childhood. And all shouted the same thing as Mrs. Butterworth, wearing a badge that had the number 5 on it, stepped forward with a cake covered in candles. “SURPRISE!”

“Its not all clandestine operations, Number 6.” Number 2 laughed. “Why all the silliness? Books with packages piled high, doors open, the fridge rearranged, and the blasted pink elephant. Why?” Number 6 asked, honest curiosity registering on his face. “Simple, my dear boy. So long as you were looking at all that, so long as you thought us up to something, you’d be occupied. You’d not be trying to escape and you’d never suspect this. It didn’t really matter what we did, just so long as we did something. And the more disjointed, well, all the better! Ah, and the pink elephant? MY idea.” He chuckled.
At the end of the party Number 2 lingered. After the other “guests” filed out he walked towards the door. He turned just before exiting. “Happy birthday, Number 6. And, oh, just a thought. I’m not sure, I didn’t ask her, but the piece of cake Number 5 gave you? It may have been drugged.” And he stepped outside laughing hysterically.

English: Traditional Devil's Food Birthday Cake
Be seeing you.

Danger Man: “Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers”

Mexican village square during filming Queen of...

Panalachi, Chihuahua, Mexico.

“Every government has its secret service branch. America, CIA; France, Deuxième Bureau; England, MI5. NATO also has its own. A messy job? Well that’s when they usually call on me or someone like me. Oh yes, my name is Drake, John Drake.”


“It was day before yesterday, around noon,” the American C.I.A. agent was explaining the situation.

“Yes, well, I understand all that but just what does any of this have to do with me?” Drake asked as he positioned his hat, trying to keep the sun out of his eyes as the two men walked along the beach.

“We want you to find it.”

“You lose an unmanned drone in the Mexican desert, unseen, you hope, by the Mexican authorities, and because of Ortega’s relationship with Castro you can’t just ask for it back. So you need to go in and bring it out unseen, is that right?”

“Yes, Mr. Drake, I’d say that’s a fair assessment of the situation.”

“Well,” Drake puffed at his cigarette, ” you certainly don’t ask for much, do you? Why me? You’ve got agents in Mexico.”

“Yes, but we can’t afford to move them, it might call attention to them and we wouldn’t want that. Besides,” the man looked at Drake with a smile, “Nigel said you could pull off anything.”

“Good old Nigel. Always ready to lend a hand when its mine,” he tossed the cigarette butt, “I’ll need some equipment. This is what I’ll need …”


“Yes, good old Nigel. I suppose I could be flattered that he has so much confidence in my ability. I wonder what it would be like to just once be not quite so flattered? It was an easy enough job to get into Mexico unseen. Getting out unseen with a small aircraft was something else all together. I was five miles from the village of Panalachi. The Jeep was laden with camping gear suitable for a tourist with a small trailer behind. On the trailer was a dune buggy. In this instance also known as convenient bait.”


“Say, amigo, where can I get some gas, petrol, for my Jeep?” Drake was attracting a lot of attention. It wasn’t everyday that an American tourist came into town. Several children had gathered to see the Jeep and the dune buggy.

“Senior, there is only one place,” the boy looked to be about twelve, “Padre Tom has petrol for the mission’s car. They bring it in big cans once a month.” The boy held his hands wide apart, demonstrating the size of the cans.

“Can you take me to him? You can ride with me in my Jeep.”

“Oh, si, senior!” And the boy scrambled into the passenger’s side while the other children looked on, wide-eyed.


“Padre Tom was a both a priest and a medical missionary from Detroit. And in much need of cash. He was most willing to sell me gas. The trick now was to have the dune buggy stolen and bypass Panalachi on my return trip.”


Drake threw a tarp over the dune buggy. “And can you tell me where I can spend the night in a good bed, amigo?” The boy smiled at the question.

“Si, si, senior! Mama Rosalinda has a guest’s room and makes a very good meal. I will show you!” And the boy jumped back into the Jeep. As it turned out Mama Rosalinda’s small casa was only about three hundred feet from where they had been standing but the boy did get to ride in the Jeep one more time.


“I could only hope that the rumors about the desperadoes in this area were true. The dune buggy needed to be stolen as soon as possible. I would need the trailer to transport the drone.”


The next morning, after breakfast, Drake walked out into an empty street. The honest townsfolk of Panalachi had made certain that they were all safe at home where they wouldn’t see anything. The gringo seemed a good man but the dune buggy wasn’t worth their lives and the banditos in the area weren’t known for being gentle. The trailer was empty, with obvious tracks leading off to the east.

“Mr. Drake, I apologize.” It was Padre Tom. “The people here are hard-working and honest, but the gangs in the hills are … ”

“No need to worry, Father, the buggy was insured for more than it was worth, and I’d been warned about the gangs around here. Lucky I thought to chain the wheels on the Jeep to the wheels on the trailer or they’d have had it all. To bad I didn’t chain the buggy.”

“I think their horses couldn’t have drug all of it,” the priest smiled. “Government officials come this way every few weeks. I can report it … ”

“Father, I’ll be done with my vacation by then and back home. There really isn’t anything anyone can do. I have no choice but to let it go. Lets not worry too much about it. I tell you what. You just pray my vacation goes according to plan from here on out.”


“I knew I was getting close to where the drone had gone down. I’d parked the Jeep in a low place behind a hill and was searching the countryside with binoculars when I saw the dust cloud. It looked to be about three miles to the north-west and was headed across what would be my path if I didn’t make my find here. It was then that I saw the glint of metal about a mile from my vantage point. If I took the Jeep who ever else was out here would see my dust trail and might come to investigate. I didn’t want to run into the new owners of the dune buggy here, under these circumstances. Neither did I want the drone spotted by anyone else. There was nothing for it but to strike out on foot.”


Drake was on his stomach, in a small indentation in the ground, watching the dust cloud. It had changed direction and was headed straight for the plane. He could see it clearly now. It was small, almost toy-like. Eight feet long with a ten foot wingspan, wings that were made to fold so that it could fall through a bomb bay door before unfolding again automatically. No wonder the Americans were so hot to get it back.

The cloud was close enough now to see the vehicle. A covered truck, looking like World War Two surplus, with two men inside and another riding on the hood with binoculars, pointing towards what was still a glint of metal for them. Drake had to make it to the drone first and fast.


“I crawled  part of the way, running when I hit the low spots. I could hear the truck now. The Americans wouldn’t like this but it was better than the alternative.”


With literally only seconds to spare Drake ducked behind a bluff and toggled the switch. The explosion, being as close to it as he was, was deafening. Dirt and sand flew, nearly covering him with debris. After a minute or two his hearing, returning to normal after the blast, caught the sound of voices. He recognized the Eastern Europe dialect immediately. Happily there were no ladies present.


“With nothing to hide, no freight to transport back in secrecy, I decided to make my way back to the coast the same way I’d come. Another night at Mama Rosalinda’s, with breakfast, sounded good.”


“Mr. Drake, we’re happy to see you again!” It was Padre Tom. “I thought you were taking another route on your return trip?”

“Padre, I thought a night in a peaceful place like Panalachi would be a good way to end what’s been a very interesting vacation.” Drake smiled as he lit a cigarette.

“So, your vacation wasn’t spoiled by the loss of your dune buggy?”

“Oh, no. Actually, I’d say my vacation has been a blast, a real blast.”


“I explained to a rather disappointed but understanding C.I.A. operative what had happened. He agreed that it was better to have destroyed the drone rather than let it fall into enemy hands. There had really been no other choice. I also explained that the U.S. government owed the mission at Panalachi reimbursement for the help that had been given a luckless tourist who’d had his dune buggy stolen. My C.I.A. contact agreed to get the $1,000 dollars I suggested to the man in charge there in the village, Padre Tom, via a donation by way of a third-party. I thought that should cover the cost of the new well the good Padre had mentioned to me that the people needed so much.”