Tag Archives: Prisoner

The Prisoner … “Deep Six” … Part Two

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Fotografía hecha en Playa del Carmen, México, ...

Number Six’s day goes along swimmingly. So far.

He could see Rover, up above, floating on the waves next to the boat. He was, at this point, perhaps twenty-five feet down and near the base of the cliffs. The concrete, if that’s what it was, went straight into the rock. It looked as if it had been somehow made a part of the root of the cliffs. And there was the consistent slope downward the further away from shore you went. Nothing else. Not a fish, no plankton, nothing but crystal clear sea water. Dead sea water.

~~~

“Hows our lad doing?” Number Two asked.

“Currently exploring the area around the bottom of the cliffs to the north, 23.8 feet under water. Rover is guarding.” The voice of the Supervisor answered back.

“Excellent, excellent!” Turning in his chair he picked up the yellow phone, clicked the button, and said, “Number Twenty Nine, please bring Number Forty One around. Make sure he’s ready for lunch. Thank you.”

~~~

Number Six was listening to Bach when the door opened and Number Two walked in.

“Number Six, good taste in music I see. And how has your day gone?”

“Swimmingly,” he answered dryly.

“Sense of humor! Wonderful. Actually, I dropped by to see if you’d made any marine biology discoveries you’d care to share,” and Number Two sat down, across from Number Six, making himself comfortable.

“No, nothing currently. But then you know that already, don’t you?”

“Well, while its true that Rover has kept an eye on you and your doings it can’t read minds you know. At least not yet.” Number Two, now very much at home, reached for the cigarette box. “Do you mind?”

“Would it matter? And how is your precious Number Forty One coming along? All bright-eyed and Village citizen extraordinaire I assume?”

“Oh, he’s acclimatizing slowly but surely. I wouldn’t worry too much about him. He seems co-operative enough. Perhaps he should give YOU a tour of The Village, help you see reason and all that.” He leaned back, made a smoke ring.

“I’ll be content to carry on as usual, thank you. We wouldn’t want to upset the natural balance, now would we?”

~~~

“Yes, of course, I’d … ” Number Two, red phone in hand, was sweating bullets. “Immediately, sir. Yes … Yes … Yes, sir, you can count on me. I’ll … Yes, and you.”

It had been the Voice on the phone that had “suggested” to Number Two that he lure Number Six into giving Number Forty One a tour of The Village. Number Two hadn’t believed Six would accept. It had been Two’s idea to offer scuba gear. With the Barrier it didn’t matter. Even Number Two had no control over that. Now Number One wanted Number Six and Number Forty One to interact more. He wanted a bond formed. It was up to Number Two to bring this about. Number Forty One was something of an oddity. He was valuable, he had been informed of that in no uncertain terms. But Forty One was a chemist working in a lab, one among many, for a corporation of no real significance. No government contacts, no secretive work on chemical compounds that would lend themselves to the business of either side. That there was an underlying motive he was certain. What and why? He would not risk asking and he thought it safer not to know. Bringing Number Forty One and Number Six together, for whatever reason, was at this point his only concern.

~~~

Number Two had arranged for an “accidental” meeting between Numbers Six and Forty One. They were playing chess, Number Forty One rather badly. His hands shook as he moved his pieces. The game went on longer than usual, and as Number Two watched on the monitor it was evident that Number Six was allowing the game to continue. Six said very little. Number Forty One on the other hand was pouring his heart out. The man had no clue why he was there, wherever and whatever “there” was. But perhaps, Number Two surmised, his trusting Number Six after the tour, given Number Six’s blunt honesty, was the reason Number One wanted this relationship tended tenderly. Maybe Number Forty One was going to share something and that something might be the reason he was there. And the monitors, the warders walking by, the hidden microphones, captured it all.

~~~

He would be able to make one more dive after this. He had breathed shallowly, making the three hours worth of air last closer to four. If he went back to the boat in three to four minutes he’d have about ten minutes, maybe twelve, for his last dive. Up to this point he had seen nothing, discovered nothing. It was all more of the same. Up to this point. It was floating kelp that had caught his eye at first, then a small group of fish. It was when he swam towards them that he had found it. He swam straight into it. “It” was a wall of some sort. You couldn’t see it but it was there. Perhaps a type of glass? He wasn’t sure. But it separated the ocean on the one side from the ocean on the other. This explained the lack of sea life. This barrier kept everything out. And the “concrete” floor made growth impossible. He realized now more than ever what a prison The Village and the surrounding area was. If this existed what else might there be? The logistics of it alone was mind-boggling, considering what it must have taken to convert several hundred acres of sea bottom to this. He was about to surface when he spotted it, hidden away in the rocky base of the cliff. It was a metal hatch with a screw type handle, like the ones on a submarine. Was it a way out? Or a way in?

When he surfaced he did so at the wall of what he called glass for lack of a better term. There was, above water, a sort of shimmer to it. Standing in the boat he reached as far up as he could, feeling, feeling. How high did it go? Where did it end? He marked the spot mentally. His next dive, his last dive, would be here. And he would go directly to the hatch.

~~~

Number Two was watching vicariously via Rover. “He found one of them, and the Barrier. Surprising, surprising. Well, this ought to prove entertaining,” he mumbled to himself. “I wonder how much air he has left?”

~~~

Next, the end of “Deep Six”.

The Prisoner … “Deep Six” … Part One

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English: Portmeirion, showing the Green Dome a...

“Welcome, Number Forty One, to your home from home.”

He was aware of Rover. It lurked under the waves, behind him, at a distance. He swam slowly, as though relaxed. He was anything but. He was looking. Looking for a hint, a clue, an idea … A way out. From time to time he would dive. Closer to the shore there had been no marine life. He’d put it down to currents, perhaps pollution. But here, further out, there was still nothing. The water seemed dead. No plankton, no fish, nothing.

He began working his way back to the beach, diving from time to time. He tried to go as deep as he could. Without scuba gear he was limited. The clearness of the water, as strange as it was given its lifeless quality, helped him see even if he couldn’t reach the bottom. There was nothing. Finally, getting closer to shore, he put everything he had into one last attempt. This time, with only seconds left before he would have to surface, he touched the bottom with both hands. It was smooth, no sand or silt, but smooth and hard like finished concrete with a gentle tilt downward and out to sea.

~~~

“I will admit that you’re taking longer to convince than most. But you’ll learn, you’ll learn.” Number Two was looking intently at the chessboard as he spoke.

“I am an old dog, I shun new tricks.” Number Six watched as Number Two moved his queen’s pawn.

“Yes, well. Hmm,” Number Two raised an eyebrow as Number Six made his move. “I don’t believe I would have done that. Bad move on your part, Number Six.” And he moved his rook forward, capturing one of Number Six’s bishops. “Check. And your reason for playing chess with me today. You’re trying to gather information. That’s OUR job, Number Six.” Looking up from the board he smiled broadly. “You swam out further,” and he glanced towards the wooded area on their right, “than most yesterday.” Number Six didn’t bother looking towards the trees. He knew Rover was lurking there.

“And did you enjoy my swim?” Number Six asked as he made his move.

“Oh, I know you were aware of Rover and that you knew you were being watched.” Number Two, still smiling, looked up from the board.

“Is there ever a time that I’m not watched?”

“I believe you already know the answer to that. It’s for your own safety of course.” Number Two was looking towards the sea. “And I’m aware also of what you found. You’re very good at diving. I’d not be able to hold my breath for nearly so long. Of course, at this point, both of us understanding that your find and your curiosity are out in the open, you could simply ask …”

“”Questions are a burden to others,” Number Six replied.

“And answers a prison for one’s self, yes. You see, you are learning. Perhaps you’re not as old a dog as you think.” Number Two chuckled.

“Perhaps,” Number Six moved. “Checkmate.”

“Wha … ?!”

~~~

“Oh, let him swim to his heart’s content. Perhaps this will keep him out of serious mischief. If he’d swam another half mile or so the other day he would have encountered the Barrier.” Number Two was talking with the Supervisor. “And no one passes that point unless they,” and his voice lowered noticeably,”allow it.”

~~~

“No sir, I’m not aware of any such gear available in The Village. Perhaps if you inquired at the Citizen’s Council?” The shopkeeper said, a rather odd look on his face. Obviously no one had ever asked for scuba equipment before.

“Thank you, perhaps I will. Be seeing you.”

“And you.”

As Number Six was leaving the shop the public address system came to life. “Number Six, report to the Green Dome immediately. Number Six to the Green Dome immediately.”

~~~

“I’ll make you a deal, Number Six,” Number Two leaned forward in his round chair, the ever-present smile on his lips. This Number Two had lasted longer than most, several months now. He seemed almost a fixture in the control room, a part of the equipment, another button on the console.

“I’ll make NO deals!”

“Yes, well, at least do me the courtesy of hearing me out. You can always say no … again … after I’ve finished.” Number Two, getting up, walked around the desk and pointing to a screen said, “Tell me, Number Six, what do you see?”

The screen was currently showing the hospital and its grounds. Number Six remained silent.

“Supervisor. Hospital, first ward.” Number Two spoke to the air.

“Hospital, first ward, on screen now.” The air answered back.

“The gentleman in the bed nearest the door. Our new Number Forty One. Just arrived. Seems the mental shock was a tad much for him. He required sedation. Currently he’s being brought back to reality …”

“You mean YOUR reality,” interrupted Number Six.

“He’s being brought back to reality,” and Number Two sighed, “in stages. By morning he’ll be ready to become familiarized with The Village.”

“All of which in no way pertains to me.”

“Well, it might. You see I have a very simple request to make of you. In the morning I’ll give you access to a taxi. I’d like you to take Number Forty One on a tour of The Village. Answer any questions he might have, be as helpful as you can be given your, uh, individualism.”

“Why me? I’m sure you have more than enough suitable lackeys to accommodate your Number Forty One.”

“You are correct, but I have a rather simple,” the smile left now, ” and straightforward reason that I have no qualms about sharing. This man is of value to us. You will inform him, I’m sure, about escape attempts, Village security, drugging, surveillance, Rover and a host of other things. Of course I realize you may think him a plant and an attempt on my part to gather information from you, hoping you’ll let something slip, but now that I’ve admitted that we’ve gotten it out of the way and we both know you’ll be on guard against such an occurrence. As you always are,” and the smile returned. “You will have informed Number Forty One of whatever you would have shared with him had he but asked, he’ll be well versed in Village protocol with no doubts as to the situation, I’ll be saved the trouble of bothering with him, you’ll have compromised nothing, and I’ll do you a favor.”

“A favor? Really? A one way ticket to London?”

“I know you inquired about scuba gear at the General Store. You can have it, with three hours worth of oxygen, along with a small boat with oars. Dive, explore our coast as much as you care to. And you’ll have Rover as your guardian. Just to make sure there’s not an accident at sea. We wouldn’t want a man lost overboard.”

~~~

“And you think this a good idea?” The Supervisor asked Number Two.

“Not particularly, but then it isn’t a bad idea either. He’ll be occupied, searching out a dead-end and I’ll be better able to concentrate on Forty One without being bothered by him.” Number Two looked at the screen. “There’s nothing for him to find, and if there were there would be nothing he could do, given the Barrier, anyway.”

“And you’ve checked?”

“Yes, Number One,” and he took in a deep breath, “has been fully apprised of the situation and given Forty One’s importance he’s given me the go ahead.”

~~~

“Any questions?” Number Two asked as he brought the taxi to an abrupt halt.

“No,” replied a rather pale Forty One. He hadn’t been pale at the beginning of his Village tour.

“Very well then,” Number Six pointed to a door not far from them. A small sign hung near it. The sign read ‘Number Forty One’. “That’s your flat. Welcome to your home from home.”

Number Six, in spite of himself, felt rather sorry for the man. If he was a plant he made a very good show of fear.

~~~

End of Part One.

Fan Fiction: The Experience

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English: Portmeirion The village where NO.6 wa...

Portmeirion The village where NO.6, Paddy McGoohan, was kept prisoner.

English: Holywell Bay This beach was the backd...

It’s a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live here.

“And you really think there was a place like that in Scotland during World War One?”

World War Two,” I corrected him. “Its a historical fact. I just can’t find much info. I talked with some other fans at the last Prisoner convention at Portmeirion but nobody seemed to know very much about it. But, given the nature of the thing, I guess there’s not a lot of facts to know.”

“Yes, all hush-hush, James Bond secret stuff.” He smiled over his coffee cup.

“No, not James Bond. John Drake.” I get really tired of correcting people who aren’t fans. Why don’t they read a book, for crying out loud?

“You know, I’ve got a good friend that works at the University in Glasgow.” He was looking around the room now. He spotted her. “Waitress? Can I get some more coffee, please? He might get some information, you know, out of the history department or something.”

“Is he a professor?” Now here was a chance to learn something. Finally.

“Oh, no, nothing like that. But he has access to lots of stuff.” Was he hedging? Did he know someone or not?

“So what is he then?”

“Well,” he looked a little sheepish, “he’s a janitor … ”

“Oh, come on! I thought you were being for real.”

“No, I am. He’s worked there for over twenty years and knows everybody. Smart too. He gets to audit all the courses he wants for free. A job perk. He could ask one of the teachers. They all know him, everybody likes him. I could call him.” He was pulling out his cellphone.

“Sure. It’s worth a shot. I’d love to know more, maybe even visit the place, the area anyway. The place probably doesn’t even exist anymore … ” Why not? I had nothing to lose. I waited and then I listened as he talked. He handed me the phone.

“Go ahead, talk to him.”

So I took the phone. “Hello?”

“Hello,” the voice on the other end was friendly enough. “What do you want?”

“Information, I want information,” and I nearly cracked up as I said it.

~~~

Well, the janitor was smart and he did know lots of people at the University. I talked with him two more times over the next week. He didn’t find out a lot but he was able to tell me where the place had been. And, just like I thought, he said there wasn’t anything there now. But, hey, diehard fan that I am I figured it was worth a drive.

~~~

The area was really nice. Lots of greenery, real picturesque. A few cottages, narrow and winding road, not much else. I spotted an elderly lady walking down a path just off to the side of the road so I pulled over and called out, “Excuse me, could I ask you a question please? I don’t really know the area and … ” She was walking towards me now, and she was a lot older than I’d thought. Which was good. If she lived here during the war she might REALLY know something. Turned out to be a very nice, and very talkative, lady. For a while I didn’t think I’d ever get away from her. But I finally managed to escape. And I really lucked out. She had lived there all her life and she knew where the old “compound”, as she called it, had been. About five miles further down and then a real tough walk through woods, over some steep hills and on down from there to the coast. About a two-mile walk. She said I could save the time and trouble. The land was posted and had been for as long as she could remember. But, you know, I’ve never been much on signs.

~~~

It was a tough walk. But fan that I am I hadn’t come all that way to just go home again without at least trying to see the place, especially after I’d pinpointed it. I thought the walk would be easier once I topped the hill. No way. I could see down to the shore from there. Well, I could see just a little of the shore. Between me and the shore was a good half mile of rock going down to it. And I do mean down. You’d need to be a mountain goat. I kept walking around, trying to get a better look. So I climbed up on this rock. That’s when I saw the building, or part of a building. There were still things down there! I couldn’t believe it! Well, you know I had to try climbing down then. So I did. After I’d gone down some I started to wish I hadn’t. How would I ever get back up?

~~~

I finally made it to the shore. Not far from where I was there were several buildings. It was a nice place, almost like a little resort. And the buildings seemed to be in good repair. Which made me a little nervous. It was government land and it was posted and I was trespassing. About that time I saw, over to my right side, what looked like fog.

I woke up on a couch, some guy wearing a scarf and holding an umbrella standing over me.

“Where am I?” I asked him.

It was then I heard him say, “In the Compound.”

~~~

If anyone finds this bottle  please, PLEASE, this note is not a joke! I’m being held a prisoner and they keep asking me questions about stuff that I have no clue about. The guy in charge, he says his name is Leo and that he answers to some guy he calls Paddy. All of this is getting really weird and I think they’re putting drugs in my food. Please call the police, call Scotland Yard. Please.

~~~

Postscript, from Leo to Paddy: I had someone fetch this from the waves after I saw our friend toss the bottle into the sea. He still refuses to cooperate. Does he think us fools, that he came here because he’s a fan of some television series? He had to have been sent here from the other side. And, by hook or by crook, we WILL get information. Please give my best to Janet. Be seeing you.

 

The Prisoner … “Putsch” … Part 3

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Of course he couldn’t be certain of any of it and much of what he’d learned was contradictory but there was enough that matched, what little there was, that a rather sinister scenario began to form. Number Eighty One was to be accused, and doubtless found guilty, of treason. The basis seemed to be that he was going to defect, “escape”, taking sensitive information with him. Number Six was sure that there would be a great deal of concocted evidence, more than enough to convince the “masters” behind the scenes. Number Four would never have made this move without ample evidence. But it was the reading between the lines that worried Number Six. They could all go hang so far as he was concerned but if the little he’d heard concerning the new Number Two was true …

He was no stranger to the double-dealing side of espionage and the world that went with it. There could only be one outcome if just half of his information was correct. A series of high level assassinations and our new Number Two could easily become the new Number One, or something similar. Would they blame the assassinations on associates of Number Eighty One? He thought it probable. With the “loyalists” out of the way it would be a totally new regime. And an entirely new Village, gone from bad to worse.

Number - 81

Number Eighty One. A case of nerves?

That The Village consisted of row after row of rotting cabbages he was well aware. But they were innocent rotting cabbages. He was sure of what needed to be done. How to do it was another question. One that, as of yet, he had no answer to.

~~~

“You’re sure?” Number Six asked a rather sleepy-eyed Knight.

“Certain.” He’d rather have remained a Bishop. The freedom of movement was refreshing compared to that of a Knight. Being a Knight made him feel a prisoner. But you take what comes. Asking to be a Bishop again might well be seen as a sign of individualism. And he remembered what had happened to the Rook.

“Queens Pawn to row four!” Number Six, on the other hand, was always a Pawn.

~~ ~

Evidence. The truth mattered little so long as the manufactured facts were, lets say, palatable.

“Yes, you wanted to see me?” Number Six smiled at Number Two as he approached the desk, the oval chair swinging slowly around.

“Well, Number Six, I’m always delighted that you drop by but I’m afraid I didn’t call for you. What made you think I had?”

“It was Number Eighty One. He told me that you wanted to see me.”

“Really? How very interesting.” And Number Two pushed a button on the console of his desk.

After Number Six had left Number Two spoke with the Supervisor. He wanted all surveillance records gone over with a fine tooth comb. Something was afoot and he couldn’t chance contradictions at this point. His evidence against Number Eighty One was flawless and needed to stay that way. Either Eighty One was up to something or Number Six was. Either way he needed to know.

~~~

“That’s a very interesting wrist band. Did you buy it here in the Village or is it imported?” Number Six leaned over Number Eighty One’s shoulder at the concert.

He jumped, startled by Number Six. But then everything seemed to startle him lately.

“Confound it, man! Would you do me the courtesy of not sneaking up behind me!”

“Nerves?” Number Six asked, the hint of a sympathetic smile on his lips.

“Number Six,” Number Eighty One got up to leave, “you know what you can do with your nerves!”

~~~

Number Two had watched the surveillance videos. Number Six and Number Eighty One were seen together only twice. Once at the cafe, and once only moments ago at the Village concert. Both times Number Eighty One had left immediately. It was almost as though they were trying not to be seen together. Or Number Six knew something that Number Eighty One wanted no part of. Number Six knew something.

~~~

“And I suppose you’re going to ask me that age-old question, the one on everyone’s lips, why did I resi …”

“No, not currently,” Number Two cut Number Six off. “You’ve been seen with Number Eighty One. He has, lets say, fallen out of favor with the powers that …”

“And doesn’t everyone, given time?” Number Six frowned. “Doesn’t everyone fall out of favor with the powers that be at some point? That’s part of the game here, isn’t it Number Four?!”

“Number Two! I am Number Two! You are Number Six! And you would do well to remember my position and your place!” Number Two was leaning over his desk now, arms stiff, holding himself up on whitened knuckles.

“Well, yes, for now you are Number Two. The new Number Two. And soon I’m sure there will be yet another.” Number Six spoke calmly, with an assurance that grated on Number Two’s nerves. The insolence! “There always is you know.”

“Number Six, I advise you to stay clear of Number Eighty One. You wouldn’t want your image tarnished, now would you?” Number Two spoke through clinched teeth, his jaw set.

“Be seeing you, Number, uh, Two.” And saluting he turned and walked to the door. Upon exiting the Green Dome he began to wander the Village streets. He made certain that he was always in view of the surveillance cameras. Winding what should look like a confusing route he went indirectly directly to the residence of Number Eighty One. With the envelope in his interior jacket pocket at the ready.

~~~

Part 4 … the ~finis~ … Later.

The Prisoner … Episode 20 … “All the Worlds a Stage … “

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List of titles of works based on Shakespearean...

“All the worlds a stage, and we’re all pawns, m’dear.”

(Note: For Episode 19 scroll down or use the search box on the right side of this page.)
The Prisoner … Episode 20 … “All the Worlds a Stage … ”

~

“All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts … ”
William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII.

~

“It was after the war,” Number 6 replied. “I was in Japan on military
assignment. The Royal Air Force had loaned me to the Yanks.” “Ah, so you
learned from us,” Number 66, a slight Japanese gentleman in his late
thirties with a pencil thin black mustache riding his upper lip, smiled.
“What level?” Number 6 continued to dress for their bout. “Number 0ne,”
Number 6 said. “Most impressive,” Number 66 smiled, bowing his head in
respect. In Kosho you began at level nine, and as you progressed you
moved from level to level until you reached the level at which you
functioned best, stopping there unless and until you felt competent to
proceed to the next level by way of a series of bouts with individuals
who had already attained that level. You were pitted against six
different Koshi over a twelve day period. You had to win all six bouts.
Moving up in Kosho rank was rather like the belt system of other forms
of martial arts. Any Koshi having become a number one was considered a
master. “And you?” Number 6 asked. “Number two,” replied Number 66.
“This should prove interesting.” Having said this Number 6 motioned
towards the Kosho bout area. “Yes,” Number 66 agreed, “Perhaps today I
begin to move up in rank.”
~

Their bout had ended in what both considered an agreeable
draw. Having dealt with each other for nearly thirty minutes both
thought a tie better than an exhausted loss. They talked of another
bout, perhaps early the next week, and parted, both appreciating the
skill of the other.
~

Number 2 sighed, tossing the book to the side. “We go over
it and over it, looking for a clue, a key that we can use to unlock his
mind and we come up with what? With a big, fat zero, that’s what. We
look at his childhood. Its normal. We look into his teenage years. He
was a good lad, studious, quick with sports. He even considered becoming
a priest. His military record is spotless, a fine Airman.” He looked at
the man next to him. “I’m tired of it. I’m just tired. And open to
suggestions. ANY suggestions.” The other man smiled.
~

“The plays the thing, Number 6,” Number 2 shifted his
weight to his good leg. One was just a tad shorter than the other.
Automobile accident as a youth. “You’re an intelligent man 6.” “You call
me 6? Not Number 6? Are we on a first name basis then?” Number 2
ignored this and went on from where he’d been interrupted by Number 6.
“You know I’m right. I’m NOT asking you to spill your guts or come over
to what you think of as ‘our side’. Its just a simple job. You’re
familiar with the Bard, perhaps more so than anyone else in the Village.
I know you care about the welfare of your fellow Villagers. I don’t
expect you to care about your ‘warders’ as you call us. All I’m asking
is that you help them, the other Villagers, not me. This isn’t about cat
and mouse. Its a matter of emotional well being. We want people to be
content for our own reasons, true. But you’d rather see them content
than just setting, wasting away mentally, wouldn’t you? Come now, do
THEM a favor.” “I’ll think about it.” “As you like it, Number 6. And
thank you. For now your consideration is all I ask, and honestly more
than I expected. Thank you.” And he actually sounded sincere.
~

He hated to admit that Number 2 might be right about
anything, and he was very certain that there was an ulterior motive, but
he was also aware of the change he’d seen over the past few months in
the other Villagers. Lethargy. An unhealthy air of ‘Who cares, anyway?’
And it seemed extreme. They were worse than rotting cabbages. There was
no desire for anything. No desire to fit in, co-operate, escape, live. A
theatrical productions could easily give people not only something to
look forward to but something to DO as well. Involve as many as
possible, in whatever capacity. Knowing there was an ulterior motive,
even though he didn’t know what it was … yet, would keep him on guard
and therefore less likely to be used as a pawn. His blood still boiled
at the thought of the affair with Number 48. He could see no real
downside, no real reason not to. He could see several honestly good
reasons to do it. He might as well. Just to see what the ulterior motive
would turn out to be if for no other reason. He picked up the phone.
“Number 2, please.” A moment of dead air followed by a click. “Number 6
here. Of course you know that already. Just thought I’d let you know.
Yes, I’ll direct your play for you. Or for ‘them’ rather. We can sort
out details in the morning. Be seeing you.” Number 2 put the phone down.
“He’ll do it,” he said to the empty room. “He wants to know whats
behind it all.” He laughed to himself. “Ah, Number 6, you are a hard nut
to crack, its true. But we do recognize that you’re a nut.” And he
laughed heartily at his own joke.
~

He was dealing with more of the Villagers than he’d ever
really wanted to. However he had to admit that the reaction had been
nearly miraculous. People were taking an active interest. Even the
elderly, not physically able to make or move props and the like, with no
memory for lines and so no possibility of acting, talked it up with
everyone that came their way. Not that everyone didn’t know about it
already. Two editions of the Tally Ho had been dedicated to the thing,
announcements were made daily over the loudspeaker system, there were
even progress updates on the telly. It must be an impressive ulterior
motive, he thought to himself. And he hated to admit it, and would never
admit it to Number 2, but he was actually enjoying his role as
director. Everyone seemed to think he was the number one man, the ‘go
to’ individual. That part he could take less of. But there were so few
REAL outlets for creativity here in the Village, if any, that he was
willing to indulge, even happy to do so. Number 2 watched from the
sidelines, a sly smile resting on his lips. He said, to no one in
particular even though he was flanked by others, “Told you.”
~

They were dressing. Number 6 had bested Number 66 in their
Kosho match but only by inches. “Very good match,” Number 66 was wiping
sweat from his face with a small towel. “Yes. I thought you had me
several times,” Number 6 was being both honest and complimentary. “So
did I,” Number 66 smiled. At the Green Dome Number 2 called out,
“Supervisor!” “Yes.” “Go to the theater. Center on the stage for me.”
“Done.” Number 2 sat waiting expectantly. “He’ll go there next,” he
mumbled to himself. The metal doors swished open. He didn’t bother
looking up. He knew who it was. “Help yourself to a sandwich,” he waved a
hand towards the lunch cart, still intent on the monitor. “You must be
hungry after that bout.” “Yes, I am,” he replied. Sandwich in hand he
looked at Number 2, “You realize I’m twice the man he is. Its just that
he doesn’t know it yet.” Number 2 glanced at Number 66 and smiled
slightly, then back to the screen.
~

He walked across the stage hurriedly “No, no, Number 201.
With emotion yes, but not over the top.” He smiled kindly at the elderly
man. Sugar catches more fly’s than vinegar. “More like this … ” And
Number 6 proceeded to demonstrate. Number 2, watching the screen, made a
mental note. “No wonder he so often gets the best of us. He is a
consummate actor.” The Supervisor sighed, “Ah, Number 6. ‘Forgive, O
Lord, my little jokes on Thee and I’ll forgive Thy great big one on
me.'” Number 2 looked up, his nose crinkled, ” Blake?” he
asked incredulously. “Hardly,” the Supervisor look at him with a frown,
“Robert Frost.” “Ah, American,” Number 2 said with obvious
disappointment. “He wouldn’t want us to know it of course, but for all
his talent as an actor, used to show us only what he wants us to see,
he’s obviously enjoying this. Good, good. Get Number 66 please.” “Yes.”
~

“I want you to volunteer to help with the play. Offer to
do so in any capacity but be sure to mention that you’d enjoy running,
literally, errands. Good exercise for Kosho.” Number 2 looked at Number
66 with a question mark drawn across his face. “Yes,’ said Number 66,
“That should work admirably.” “Be seeing you at the theater, Number 66.”
“Be seeing you, Number 2.”
~

“So, my job is to keep tabs on him and, as in a Kosho
match, steer him to a specific spot where he’ll be vulnerable.”
“Exactly, Number 66!” Pointing to a chart of the theater he explained,
“He must be precisely here,” he tapped the chart with force, “when
Oliver says ‘O, that your highness knew my heart in this! I never loved
my brother in my life!’ in act three, scene two. The shot will be fired
from here. We will have staged the first public execution, oh, excuse
me, assassination in the Village. Its not the play folks will be
expecting, but it will provide a lesson to all. And we’ll spread plenty
of rumors. Was it an execution? Was it an assassination? People will
have much to ponder. People will be much easier to control. And Number 6
will be safely tucked away, the tissue undamaged. He’ll be much easier
to handle, locked away in a ward. Something like this should have been
done months ago. Being unmutual isn’t your ticket to freedom. Not here
in the Village.” “And then?” “Oh, Number 6, a bit stunned from the
impact of the drugged dart and of course the drug itself, will be
revived in hospital. And after THAT,” Number 2 rubbed his hands
together, “well, he’ll never be seen again. He will have a nice funeral.
I’ll be there. So will you. He’ll never be seen again by anyone other
than the personnel in Unit One Mind Manipulation. They can have their
way with him daily. So long as they don’t damage the tissue, of course.”
“Of course.” Number 66 drew in a deep breath, “And the assassin?” “Oh,
never be caught. Something else to hold over their heads. I mean,
they’ll always wonder if it was one of us or one of them, won’t they?
Always wonder if we suspect them. Always wonder if its the one sitting
next to them.” He smiled broadly to himself at his supposed
victory.”I’ll go find Number 6.” And Number 66 went looking.
~

“That would actually be a great help,'” Number 6 looked at
Number 66 thankfully. “Then its settled. I’ll be your number two man,
your runner.” Number 6 couldn’t help but like Number 66. He didn’t trust
him, but he did like him up to a point. Beyond that point he trusted,
he liked no one. He, himself, like it or not, was the only one he could
count on. Some things never change.
~

The play was going rather well for an amateur production.
The audience was enjoying it immensely, anyone could see that. Number 6
was rather proud of the whole thing. The second act was nearly over.
Number 66 stood close by, just in case Number 6 needed anything. He had
gone to great pains in making himself indispensable. Number 6 folded his
arms, seemingly very satisfied. The ulterior motive. There had to be
one, there always was one. It had become a sort of game. Of course he
had his own agenda, his own motive. His motive? Well, he must always be
on guard, always watching for his chance. Boiled done to its simplest
component, his motive, not so ulterior but hidden in plain sight to
some, was to look out for number one.
~

Number 66 moved closer to Number 6. “Excuse me, I can’t see
well from there.” Number 6 obligingly moved over, directly onto the
imaginary X, the exact spot designated by Number 2. Oliver was saying, ”
… your highness knew my heart … ” From just behind Number 66 there
was a crash. He turned quickly. Only a portion of the next set. It had
fallen over. He turned back and … Number 6? Where was Number 6?! ” …
I never loved my brother … ”
~

Number 2 waited. He looked to the balcony. Number 79 wasn’t
there! What had happened? What went wrong? Worse, how would he explain
this to … It had been all Number 2s idea. It was all on his shoulders.
He was so sure of it all he’d taken certain details upon himself
without asking. It was all … There would be fall out over this. Insane
fall out. He shrunk down, down into his seat. The audience was
applauding.
~

A man stood slightly to the side, at the back of the
theater. His lapel was askew so that you couldn’t see his numbered badge
or even tell if there was one. His face was hidden in the shadows. The
way he slouched it was impossible to guess his height and hard to judge
his weight. He was, among all those others, a non-entity. One among many
he was hidden in plain view. He was watching intently. The stage may as
well have been vacant as far as he was concerned. His eyes were trained
on the front row, on Number 2. “He’s an idiot! I can’t wait to hear the
excuse,” he thought, “In the morning, when I replace him, I think I’ll
give him to Number 31. He’d be pleased with a new guinea pig, I’m sure.”
He turned and walked away. “As You Like It! I’ll be directing his
attention to the door in the morning and then we’ll see how HE likes
it.”
~

Be seeing you. And remember, no one looks out for number one but you.