Village Residents: “The Help”

Standard
English: Broken glass

Like shattered glass in a picture frame, some few break free. If not in physical reality, perhaps their freedom comes in their memories of yesterdays … and tomorrows.

There is a psychology to The Prisoner that has always astounded me. I’ve wondered at the depth. I’ve told friends not familiar with the series that the whole thing seems to me to be some great Freudian slip. And I’ve wondered about the history of some of the characters. Of course the whole thing, as deep as it may be, is a work of fiction. So I suppose their stories are what I make them.

Everyone in the Village is there for a reason. The prisoners need keeping, the warders need to do the keeping. But he was there for reasons of his own.

~

The room was odd to say the least. The furniture was placed at varying angles compared to the walls, giving the entire place an askew look. There were a few small bird cages, very ornate, placed here and there. Making bird cages had been his hobby before coming to The Village. There was no need for bird cages here. Animals weren’t allowed. Except for the cat of course. One of the two chairs faced into a corner. The other chair, an overstuffed monstrosity the color of murky water, had all four legs sawn off so that only stubs remained for the rubber coasters. The pictures on the wall, and there were at least a dozen, were all one of two types. Some were of a lady, nicely dressed for the 1920s or 1930s, with very lovely hair and eyes that, even though she was smiling in the photos, seemed overflowing with pain. The rest of the frames, hanging here and there with no rhythm or rhyme, were empty. The glass in one of these was cracked and looked as if someone had struck it, the cracks spider-webbing out from its center.

~

“Ah, Number Six, what an unexpected pleasure!” And Number Two,  yet another new Number Two, beamed over his desk as Six walked briskly down the ramp. The Butler, silent as always, followed close behind with a cart carrying sandwiches and other working lunch items. “Please, please, have a seat and join me for lunch.”

“I’ve already had my fill, thank you.”

The Butler quietly, efficiently arranged lunch and stepped to the side, ready to be of service when needed.

“Number Six, I was wondering … ” And it began again. Always questions, always attempts at subterfuge and trickery. And always with the same results. Or lack of results.

~

The room was of course monitored just as every other corner of the Village was monitored. But they rarely if ever turned it on. What, after all, was there to check on? He wasn’t supposed to know that the monitor was “canceled” but he did. He had his privacy. It didn’t matter to him one way or another. Even when he was seen he was never watched. The monitor being on or off made no difference. He had always been seen yet never watched. It was as much a part of his life as she had been. As she still was.

~

“Beautiful day, Number Six.” Number Ninety One smiled as she walked by. Number Six waved and smiled in return. He was on his way to his private gym. A good work out after having dealt with Number Two always made him feel better. There was something about the physical exertion that seemed cleansing. The Butler walked by, umbrella overhead.

~

The empty frames were by now almost invisible to him. He remembered the face that had occupied the space years ago. The smile that seemed more a sneer. He had stopped noticing them years before. At one point in his life he had focused on them but not now. Now? All of his attention, while in the room, was on her. He remembered fondly of the times he had brought her breakfast in bed. She had always seemed pleased with his attempts. Even as her illness had progressed, even as her eyes grew in sadness, even when the face from the empty frames had left for good, she was always pleased when he brought her breakfast.

~

“Yes, that will do nicely.” Number Six took the wrapped cod from the grocer as he handed him his Village credit card. Perhaps this fillet hadn’t been tampered with. There was never any way of knowing. You never knew you’d been drugged until after the fact. As he left the shop, as he opened the door, the Butler entered. No doubt there to purchase Number Two’s evening meal. Pity Number Six couldn’t think of a way to drug that.

~

For a long while he had wondered where the other face had gone. He had always known why. Her eyes told him although she never spoke of the other women. She had loved the other face. And she had loved him. He never understood why she had loved the one who left. But he was content in remembering her love for him. Even in the Village the memory of her made things brighter, free. He was not a prisoner. He was no warder either.

~

The music played softly. Mozart. Number Six enjoyed the fish. He enjoyed properly cooked cod, he enjoyed cooking, he enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t drugged. Maybe he could get a good nights sleep after all. In the morning his work would begin again. He would be free, he would escape. At some point the enemy would make a slip and he would seize the opportunity. But it required constant vigilance on his part. He walked to the window and looked out. A few people were still stirring. Well, at this time of year it was still light out side and it was a good hour before curfew. An elderly couple, Numbers Fifty Two and Fifty Three, moved slightly to one side in order to let the Butler by. He was heading towards the Green Dome.

~

The day was done. It had been like a thousand others. He slipped quietly between the sheets on the well made bed. He required no maid service. He was very capable. He had learned while caring for her. He took one last look at the chair facing the corner before turning out the light. He thought about how, towards the end, she had been so motionless, so weak, so dead before death. She had asked him to turn her chair towards the corner. She said she didn’t want to look out the window any more. She was tired of life and wanted to see no more of it. She had smiled after she said it and had squeezed his hand. The last thing she ever said, the day before she passed away, was “I love you. You’ll always be in Mamma’s heart.” He got out of bed. He took one of her pictures down and held it close. He hadn’t known what to say to her that day. He had said very little since. There was nothing left to say. He sat in the chair facing the corner, drawing his legs up into the chair, very nearly in a fetal position. He was in her lap again. In the morning he would remember her. He would remember the breakfasts in bed. Number Two had asked that he bring him breakfast in bed.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s