Tag Archives: Village

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.

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.

“We’ll always have Paris” … Part 2

In The Village they take care of every detail. Nothing is left to chance, not even oral hygiene.
Number Thirteen was in her sixties, tall, thin to the point of looking emaciated, bright red horned rimmed glasses hanging from a chain around her neck, her nose long and beakish. She looked up from a file on her desk and smiled.

“You two have been very bad boys I see. Picking fights with respectable citizens. Very unmutual, very unmutual,” she shook her head from side to side, sadly. “But there is, I’ll have you know, hope on the horizon, glorious hope for the both of you.” She rose from her chair and approached a screen on the furthest wall. “Please do set down.”

Number Six and Number Thirty Five looked at each other, shrugged simultaneously, and sat down at desks that looked for all the world as though they’d been pulled out of a sixth grade classroom.

“Please, give me your attention for the next fifteen minutes, that’s all I ask. After that you’re free to go home …”

“London?” Number Six queried.

“YOU’LL BE FREE TO GO HOME,” rather loudly, with a shrill tone, “and think about what you’ve seen.” As she turned down the lights a projector, from a small aperture in the opposite wall, began to click and whir. On the screen, in grainy black and white, they saw the words “Oral Hygiene, your guide to health” appear. Looking at each other with muted surprise they spent the next fifteen minutes bored to tears learning how to brush and floss their teeth. Number Six’s chair and desk remained normal. Number Thirty Five’s chair and desk throbbed silently with a vibration and slight electrical charge that worked in unison with the subliminal messages that were part of his oral hygiene lesson.

“Now, I understand,” Number Thirteen flipped on the lights as the screen went blank, “that you both consider this odd. But believe me, all will be made clear in time. You see, I’ve been given the option of making your social conversion a very simple affair beginning with such social basics as personal hygiene. We’ll progress to other subjects soon enough. We’ll resume tomorrow promptly at three. And I know you’ll enjoy our next film. It’s all about the joy of personal grooming.”

As they left the building Number Thirty Five turned to Number Six and said, “This is the most asinine tactic conceivable. They think what? That they shall make us model citizens in this way?”

“It’s never as simple as it seems. They’ve a plan, and we’ll see evidence of it soon enough.”


The next day they sat through another film, this time with tea and cakes. The time release drug that laced the rim of Renault’s tea-cup was slated to begin its activity in twenty-four hours, at exactly five p.m.

“Thank you so much for your attention,” Number Thirteen smiled at her two star pupils. “I’ll be giving the Citizen’s Council a glowing report as to your progress! Tomorrow you’ll have a day of rest from your journey towards social conversion. Please, please take some time tomorrow to consider the wonderful privilege it is to be a part of the well-adjusted citizenry. We will resume the day after tomorrow at precisely two o’clock. Our next session shall be slightly different. There will be a written exam at the end. But not to worry. I’ll be here with you to help with any difficulties. Be seeing you!”

“Yes, mum, and you.” Number Six saluted her and walked, with Number Thirty Five at his side, briskly out the door.


The next day was a rather grey day, with low clouds and mist coming in from the sea. It was four forty five p.m. and Thirty Five was walking along the retaining wall, looking at the stone boat. Number Six was in the bell tower looking at what little of the sea was visible through the mist. It was from this vantage point that he saw Renault.


The mist began to part, or so it seemed to him. Memory reeled for just a moment and The Village, every vestige of it, disappeared with the fog. And he was standing on the Pont Neuf, watching the brown waters of the Seine below. Home. To his left a man was approaching with a small package. Under the man’s left arm there was a folded newspaper. He removed it, reversed the fold, and placed it under his right arm. This was the signal, this was the man.

“You have the merchandise in good condition?” Renault asked the stranger.

“Certainly, but the price has gone up.”

“No, no, monsieur. The deal is set. You must learn to be satisfied.”

Number Six could see Thirty Five talking with a man he didn’t recognize.

“The price HAS gone up. You will give me the name of the person responsible for Strasser’s killing. Then, and only then, you will receive the merchandise.” And the man waved the package in front of his face.

Number Six saw the stranger wave his hand in front of Renault’s face. Was there an argument? Number Thirty Five made a grab for the package. He would NOT be cheated, he would NOT be played with! The man side-stepped, Renault making another attempt to get the package away from him. He twisted on his ankle and felt his foot slip. He tried to catch himself. He saw himself falling over the railing. He saw the water below. And then …

Number Six watched as Renault crumpled to the ground. And in an instant he was racing towards the stone boat.


“You fool! Do you know what you’ve cost us?!” Number Two was screaming at Number Thirteen as she stood there wringing her hands, a frightened look on her pinched face.

“But I had no way of knowing … ”

“Number Thirty Five was our only link to Strasser’s assassin. The assassin obviously had contacts in Moscow AND Washington AND Tokyo. Do you have any idea the range of information someone like that could supply us with?!” Number Two slammed both fists down on his desk.

“But … ”

“There is no excuse! OUT! Get out! And you WILL be called for before the day is done!” Number Two watched, his rage still building, as the woman left the room trembling.

“A heart attack! A bloody heart attack over an illusion!” He was screaming into an empty room. Elsewhere the Supervisor, in no way involved in any of this, watching him on the monitor, cringed.


Number Six walked calmly around Number Two’s desk. They were face to face, Number Six a full five inches taller than the other man. Looking down into his eyes, in a low and even tone, he said, “I don’t know what you did to cause his death, but you know this and mark it down. You will pay!” The last three words were in a shout of anger. And as he turned and walked towards the door it was Number Two who cringed.

“We’ll always have Paris.” … Part 1

Deutsch: Eiffelturm Français : La tour Eiffel

Paris is a city of memories. Sometimes, with memories, it’s all in the details.

Note: I borrowed a couple of names, a couple of details, and a bit of tweaked dialogue for this one from one of my three all-time favorite movies. Which movie?


It would have been a pleasant day. The sun, the ocean breeze, a soft humming of bees. It would have been a pleasant day if he’d been anywhere but The Village. The stroll would have been pleasant. If it hadn’t been for the man following him. The man, short with a small mustache, had been following him off and on most of the day. He’d lost him twice. Not this time. This time would be different. Around a corner on the path he side-stepped, hidden by the shrubbery. And he waited.

The man came briskly around the corner only to see an empty path ahead. He turned his head to the left, seeking, just as Number Six grabbed his right arm. In an instant the man was on the ground, Number Six standing over him.

“You’ve been following me all day. What’s it all about?!”

“I was trying to discern,” the mans accent was French, “if you were one of them.”

“And this is your way of implying that you’re not? Go tell your masters that it didn’t work. Of course they already know, don’t you!” Number Six looked directly into the camera that he knew to be hidden in the retaining wall to the far side of the small bit of lawn along the path.

“I’m sure they know everything that we do,” the man was brushing himself off as he got up. “You will realize in time that I am most certainly NOT one of them. Assuming, of course, that you are not one.”

“I don’t care if you think me a warder or a prisoner,” Number Six snapped. “Whatever anyone thinks,” and he looked into the camera again, “I am a free man!”

“Yes, I hope that you are. I remember Paris, April the fifth, three years ago,” and the Frenchman tilted his head slightly, examining Number Six, watching for a reaction.

Number Six held it in. His facial expression, his body language, and the tone of his voice all remained the same. But his heart rate was up in spite of himself.

“They know almost everything to know about me. It wouldn’t surprise me if they knew about Paris.” And it didn’t surprise him.

“I was at the Le Café de Flore. You never knew me, but I knew of you. My name is Renault. And I am NOT Number Thirty Five!”


Number Six watched Number Thirty Five, Renault, over his cup of coffee. If he was one of them he told an intricate and interesting tale. It was worth listening to for the entertainment value alone.

“So you see, monsieur, while you were seeking the files I was seeking the statue. You found the files. I was there that day. You were obviously an excellent operative to do such a thing in a public place, and in broad daylight,” the man chuckled. “I on the other hand was not so fortunate. It seems that the statue, along with the jewel, had been taken into eastern Europe. And there I could not follow.”

“Why are you here?” His coffee was getting cold. No matter. The war was cold too, and this man had obviously been involved. No doubt he still was, but in what capacity, prisoner or warder, only time would tell, if there was any telling to be done at all.

The man sighed, shook his head, looked down at the table and whispered, “It was a quirk of fate,” he looked up. “They think I know about Strasser’s assassination, who did the killing and why. I knew Strasser, it is true, but whatever else I know,” and he clenched his teeth, “they shall never know.”

“They have ways of making you talk.” Number Six smiled knowingly.

“They have never,” and the Frenchman’s resolve was evident, “dealt with Renault!”

Number Six, smiling, raised his coffee cup as though in a salute.


He had seen Number Thirty Five walking up to the Green Dome. To make his report to Number Two? To be questioned by Number Two? And now, the Frenchman returning, he watched as he approached the table.

He stood to one side, made a slight bow, and said, “May I, monsieur?”

Number Six waved his open hand towards the chair opposite, “Certainly. You can tell me more of Paris.”

Renault smiled. “Yes, Paris is my one true love. Unlike many others she has never broken Renault’s heart. Of course, there is always a first time,” and he laughed quietly.

“And did you frequent Le Café de Flore often?”

“Ah, yes. Almost daily that spring. I remember when the waiter caught his waxed mustache aflame with the candle.” Renault motioned for the waitress. “There was no lack of excitement that night. And the flies! It was so very hot that April, unduly so.”

And that small bit of information, the comment about the flies, was all Number Six needed. This man HAD been there. And putting all those pieces together he knew. Number Thirty Five was no warder.


“Odd that he should hit it off so well with Number Six,” Number Two sipped his tea, watching the screen.

“He’ll break soon,” the Supervisor commented.

“Yes, I agree. Perhaps we can use this attachment to our Number Six to speed up the process. Call in Number Thirteen for me, please.”



“And what brought you to this Village, my friend?” The Frenchman asked as they walked.

“I came for the waters,” Number Six responded.

“Waters? There are no waters,” Number Thirty Five looked at him, his curiosity apparent.

“I was misinformed.”

“Ah, and you … ” But the sentence was interrupted when two men, Numbers Seventy Eight and Ninety Four according to their tags, stepped out of the shrubs, one coming from the left and the other from the right, and both directly in front of Number Six and Number Thirty Five. Seventy Eight spoke first.

“You realize of course that you two, in spending so much time excluding others from your company, are beginning to look very unmutual.”

“I am tired of playing your word games and I am tired of excuses made to do the will of your masters.” At the word “master” the fight was on. Six struck first. This time if they were going to make problems they’d deal with one first.

Number Thirty Five didn’t hesitate. Number Six didn’t have time to watch, Number Seventy Eight was making a good show of himself, but out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of Number Ninety Four being leveraged and flying into the bushes. The Frenchman knew his Judo well.

Number Six, punching, was driving Number Seventy Eight back slowly. The man was a good boxer, Six would give him that. It was what happened next that was so unexpected. And, bluntly, very entertaining.

Number Ninety Four was crawling slowly out of the bushes when the Frenchman gave one swift kick that sent him reeling. Turning, Number Thirty Five ran a few steps ahead and to the side of Seventy Eight. He had a very broad smile on his face. He obviously enjoyed a good fight. Six punched, Thirty Five fell to the ground, and Seventy Eight stepped back. After he had fallen over the Frenchman Number Thirty Five scrambled to his feet and nearly jumped back to where Ninety Four was once again trying to exit the bushes. In an instant he had the man by the collar, pulling him up and out of the shrubs as he said with a pleased smile on his face, “Please, monsieur, allow me to assist!”

As Number Seventy Eight rose from the path, wiping blood from his mouth, Number Ninety Four landed on the ground next to him.

“You’ll both stand before the Citizens Council for this!” Said Number Seventy Eight as he backed away. And turning he ran, Number Ninety Four running behind him with a slight limp.

The Frenchman called out after his unworthy opponent, “Have a nice trip back to your keepers, monsieur!” And turning to Six he smiled and said, “Well, my friend, now that we’ve made an appointment with the Council, shall we go visit Number Two in order to make it official?”

“I believe I can make the time, yes.”


“Look at me when I speak to you!” Number Six struck his fist on Number Two’s desk. Number Two was standing up now, his face a deep red. “Play your games if you will, but be aware that the end move will be mine!”

“Number Six,” Number Two growled through clenched teeth, “and you as well, Number Thirty Five,” he shot a glance at the Frenchman, “I play no games. But I will do my job, and you will, the both of you, succumb in the end. Make what moves you like,” and he stuck his face out toward Number Six as though offering it as a target, “the playing field is The Village, and ALL of your moves will be confined to OUR board!”


The next day, as Number Six sat reading The Tally Ho ( he enjoyed fiction) he heard over the public address system, “Numbers Six and Thirty Five report to the Citizens Council, Number Six and Number Thirty Five, report to the Citizens Council immediately.” And folding the paper slowly, he finished his coffee before leaving.


“We would prefer to make this as simple and pleasant for all concerned as possible, I assure you,” said the man behind the desk at the Citizens Council. He was flanked by a dozen or so others, all setting there like mannequins. “What provoked such a reaction, Number Six?”

“Experience. They were there to start a fight, and being in the vicinity I decided to oblige and finish it.” Number Six, standing next to Number Thirty Five who was stroking his mustache in a very unconcerned manner, stood with his arms folded.

The man behind the desk sighed, and turning to Number Thirty Five asked, “And you?”

“I tripped,” he said dryly.

Sighing again the man looked over his glasses at his fellows, all of whom remained motionless, expressionless. “Gentlemen, I suggest to you that these two, Number Six and Number Thirty Five, being unrepentant of their unmutual activities, be handed over to The Village Adjustment League for educational purposes.”

Number Six began to applaud. Thirty Five bowed.

“Take them to Number Thirteen’s office, please.”


Part 2 comes later.

Village Residents: “Rebellion”


It takes all kinds, even in The Village. And some of these have a penchant for tossing reality in the face of authority. The Village is, after all, a real part of the real world. Funny how The Village is a part of the world regardless how hard it tries to separate itself. Looks like it can’t escape either.


Join the Royal Navy and see the world. He had left University to do just that, much to the chagrin of his father. That had only made the salt air sweeter. The Navy had been good to him. His rebellious nature only added to his flair and it had actually worked to his advantage. Of course he had toned it down a bit. He honestly enjoyed the Navy and didn’t mind a little give and take when the playing field was level and the rules fair. The officers all liked him and so did everyone else. Quick witted, glib tongued, and charming. When he wanted to be. It had been his curiosity that went before his fall. If he had never seen that file, well, he wouldn’t be here now, would he?


“Ah, Number Forty Eight, please set down!” Number Two waved to the chair as it rose from the floor. “Would you care for tea?”

“No thanks, dad,” and he sat down on the edge of Number Two’s desk, stretching out so that he was almost laying on it. “What’s the deal here, the real meat on the bone?”

“Humph,” Number Two sputtered a bit. “Make yourself comfortable, young man. You’ll be here long enough to make yourself at home, and we have much to talk about.”


His Dad had been an authoritarian thorn in his side since birth. His mother was always cowering, afraid to speak up, afraid to speak out. Her voice was always just above a whisper, as though she hoped not to be heard or noticed. It was safer that way. But safety? It wasn’t in his nature. And he wouldn’t be brow beaten. Ever, by anyone.




“Have another surveillance camera, with a microphone, installed at table six at the cafe. He seems to prefer that one.”


Number Two watched the monitor, watched Number Forty Eight walk away from the Green Dome. And he muttered to himself, “Insolent cur. He’ll soon come to respect authority.”


It had been a grand joke for him, and the old man had walked right into it. The pompous fool had gone running to the door expecting the next room to be engulfed in flames. The fire wasn’t real, but the smoke bomb was. And so was the bucket of water balanced atop the door. He had only been eight at the time. He’d thought nothing of the whipping later. The sight of his father drenched had been reward enough to offset many such whippings. He didn’t know it, and his father would never let it show, but Dad actually lived in fear of what his boy might do next. And the authoritarian bully? From time to time the father retreated. He would go into his study and lock the door. Not for the sake of privacy. It was the only place he thought he’d be safe.


“It’s all yours, dad,” and Number Forty Eight laid the papers gingerly on Number Two’s desk.

“And this is … ?”

“Why, I wrote out the answers to all of the questions you’ve been asking, oh, my daddy,” and Number Forty Eight took off his hat, bowing low.

“Really?” Number Two picked up the papers, looking through them.

The answers were real, and really there. Number Forty Eight hadn’t minded answering them. What did he care? Just words on paper, meaningless to him. It was what would come later that mattered to him.


He would be no ones “boy”. He was his own man. And he was the one, the only one, to decide what that meant at any given moment.


Number Two rushed to the foyer after having called in the alarm. He couldn’t see much for the smoke. The coat rack had been moved away from the wall and when he came into the room it was directly between him and the fire extinguisher. He shoved it out of the way so as to get to the extinguisher and in doing so caused the bucket of water, perched precariously atop the rack, to tip and fall.

Number Forty Eight smiled towards the surveillance camera and tipped his hat as he walked by it. Life was sweet, even in The Village. He was singing as he strolled, nearly dancing, to the cafe. The Supervisor would replay this for Number Two later. Several times.



Often people that criticize your life are usua...

Development. In Danger Man the character of John Drake is, over time, filled out nicely. In The Prisoner Numbers Six and Two, especially Leo McKern‘s Number Two, are dealt with and fleshed out rather well. We get to know them, we see their characters, their emotions, and have an idea about what drives them. But there’s more here than Drake and Two. We see others that, while highly visible, are kept in a kind of void. We see them its true but we never get to know them. John Drake, Number Six, Number Two, you, me, we all have history. So I’m going to try something a little different. I’m going to get to know these people, share their lives. I’m not sure just how many of the Village residents I’ll deal with. Over time I’m sure of three in particular. Who are they? Well, wait, give it some time and we’ll get to know these people together. It might be an enjoyable get together. And then again, we might end up knowing more than we want to.


The New Number Two

“The Village is VERY cosmopolitan. You never know WHO you meet next …” 

DISCLAIMER (AKA, Why I wrote this.): Sometimes, and I think this may be the result of having way to much time on my hands plus having been raised with comic books and Johnny Carson, I get these really odd “what if” scenarios. You have been warned. And for what its worth, I actually did a little research and the color of the stone, given its effects, is right. Some of my “what ifs” may be pretty weird but they are technically correct.


He had  seen him for the first time only the day before. Number 6 had wondered about the strange pendant, a rather plain bit of jewelry with a shard of gold-tone rock embedded in a small circular disk. The man, wearing a lapel badge with the number 5 on it, looked to be in good physical condition. But his actions were odd. Everything he did seemed to take great effort, each movement was an obvious struggle. His physical presence coupled with this weakness of body made him stand out, stand out in a very strange way.


Number 6 had watched Number 5 for three days now. He hadn’t gone out of his way. It wasn’t as though he had this person under surveillance. 5 went to the cafe, so did Number 6. He sat at the daily concert, Number 6 walked through the area daily on his way to his private gym. And Number 5 lived only three doors down from Number 6. Just that morning he had passed him, had said to him, “Beautiful day.” And with the familiar salute said, “Be seeing you.” The man had struggled to reply in kind, saluting with difficulty. “And you.”

It was the number, five, that had made an impression on Number 6 immediately. Villagers were given numbers according to their importance, as a sort of ranking. Pity Number 413. This man, such an oddity, was obviously important. But important why? Because he was a valuable prisoner, or a powerful warder?

Number 6 stepped, with some force, as though having been walking at a brisk pace, around the corner. The two men collided, chest to chest, just as 6 had intended. For a split second, just as their chests met, Number 6 felt a sensation that was indescribable. It was a feeling of physical weakness coupled with mental lethargy and emotional exhaustion. It lasted only a second. “Terribly sorry. I need to pay closer attention to where I’m going,” Number 6 made his apology in a friendly tone. The other man, looking rather shocked at the encounter, smiled weakly, and with a mid-western American accent, replied, “Don’t worry about it. I seem to be in every one’s way currently. Even mine.” The words came out slowly, without emotion, listless. Number 6 asked, “Well, now that we’ve run into each other would you care for coffee? My way of making right our ‘accident’.” He smiled. “I was just thinking of going to the cafe and would be glad for the company.” Company was the last thing he had in mind. Solving this curiosity was uppermost in his mind. He was almost certain, trusting in his sixth sense, that this man was a prisoner and no warder. But, given his current escape plan, and given that this person had seemed to have arrived on the day 6 had made his assessment of the north section of the beach, he needed to be sure he wasn’t a plant of some sort. The ointment was ready. The last thing 6 needed was an unsuspected fly.

The breeze was pleasant and the cafe nearly full. Idle chatter filled the air. Numbers 6 and 5 sipped coffee. “So,” said Number 6, “How are you enjoying your stay in the Village? Settling in?” The mans eyes flared. It was weak but it was there. That wasn’t like a Village “employees” reaction to that type question. “I’m as settled as possible, given the circumstances.”

Number 6 hadn’t garnered much information. He had convinced himself that this man wasn’t one of “them”. Number 5 was something different. He reminded Number 6 of himself, but with the heart removed. And later he had seen the man trying, in vain, to remove the pendant. It seemed to be too heavy to lift. Number 6 remembered the feeling he had experienced when he “accidentally” ran into Number 5 earlier. The look on 5s face made it obvious that he wanted the thing OFF. It also spoke volumes about his inability to complete so simple a task.

Two days later the men met again by accident. Only this time the accident was just that. They both arrived at the Green Dome, coming from opposite directions. “Hello, Number 5. Visiting Number 2?” “I suppose you could call it a visit. I’ve got some questions I’d like answered. This,” and he pointed to the pendant, “is one of them.” “I noticed it the other day. A very different sort of jewelry,” Number 6 replied. “May I look?” And 6 reached for the pendant. “I’ve no idea how they put it on me,” Number 5 blurted out weakly. “All I know is that I can’t lift it off and no one else seems to be able to either. I do recognize the stone though.” Those last few words were whispered, a dread surrounding and holding up the words lest they fall to the ground as a result of his weakness. “You’re a prisoner, aren’t you?” Number 6 put at least some of his cards on the table. “Yes, but it won’t do them any good. They think they’ve taken all my strength and will from me. They haven’t. And they won’t.” There was more force in those few words than any Number 6 had heard from him before. “Lets go talk with our illustrious Number 2 together, shall we?” Having said this Number 6 reached for the bell. “And I’m supposed to believe you’re not one of them, that I can trust you?” There was a bitterness in Number 5s words. “Don’t trust anyone but yourself. I don’t,” 6 said flatly as he rang the bell.

“Good afternoon, gentlemen,” Number 2 beamed. “And to what do I owe the pleasure?” “I want answers!” “Ah, my good Number 5. Everything needed will be provided, answers included, in proper order. But I must warn you,” with a stage whisper, “Watch our Number 6. He is a tad, shall we say, subversive?” Smiling broadly at Number 6 Number 2 gave a low, unpleasant chuckle. Number 6 sat on the corner of 2s desk and leaned towards him. “Once again … Whats it all about?!”

“Did you really expect answers?” Number 5 looked at Number 6, disbelief clearly written on his features. “No, not honest ones. But you never know what might slip. And so long as you’re not the one making the slip it’s always worth trying.” Number 6 looked Number 5 in the eye and continued, “We’re people, not numbers. We won’t give them the satisfaction of being ‘mutual’ as they say. We WILL be who and what we are in spite of them!” He thrust out his hand. “My name is John. And yours?” Number 5 smiled weakly as they shook hands. “Clark, my name is Clark.”

Number 6 had made his normal rounds for two days now without having seen Number 5. Number 5 had seemed to be getting steadily weaker. A visit with Number 2 seemed in order.


“Where is Number 5?” Number 6 didn’t ask, he commanded. “The gentleman in question is no concern of yours, Number 6. Be content in knowing he’s well cared for, as you are, and let it go at that.” Number 2 spoke absently, his mind somewhere else, his attention on some sordid Village detail and not on Number 6. “WHO is Number 5? Why number 5? Who is he that he’s so important and WHAT is that pendant?!” Number 6 never gave up easily. Number 2s attention was now focused on 6. “WHO he is doesn’t matter. And the pendant, did you notice the small piece of yellow stone?” He laughed and he smiled as though he knew a secret worth more than all the yellow gold in the world. “Its a bit of meteorite. We’ve been bombarded with such for decades. Our scientists think they’re the left over bits and pieces of a planet, who knows from what part of the galaxy. The planet seems to have disintegrated. The meteors, all with the same basic atomic structure, come to us in a variety of colors. The colors seem to be the result of various types and dosages of radiation. They have peculiar properties.” Number 2 laughed riotously at this last part. “And now that I’ve shared all this, and I realize you’ll think I’ve lied whether I have or not, you know precisely how much more than you did before? I mean really? And the information helps you how? Number 6, questions honestly are a burden to others and answers ARE a prison for oneself. You always question, don’t you? For any answer you may come by, are you FREE?!” This last word Number 2 spat out like caustic.


“Where’s your friend, Number 6? Haven’t seen him about in weeks now.” The waitress at the cafe queried idly.”Who? Do you mean Number 5?” “Yes, Number 5,” and she brightened up a little. “You know,” she leaned towards him, her voice lowered, and with a sly smile she said, in her best conspiratorial tone, “He told me once that he was a newspaper reporter from some American metropolis.”

The Prisoner … “Deep Six” … Part Three

Number Two's residence as it stands today, kno...

“Number Six, report to the Green Dome. Number Six, report to the Green Dome immediatly.”

“Yes, I understand. … Oh, no, I agree totally sir. Yes indeed, it was a mistake. … Everything will be put to right soon, you have my word. … No, regrettably Number Six said nothing. But he is tight-lipped. … Yes, yes I will. … Thank you, sir, thank you very much.” He put down the red phone and exited through the concealed door to the rear of the room, giving the monitor one last glance as he did. Number Two would be back soon and he didn’t need to be here.

The Supervisor smiled to himself. He was glad they had never “offered” the Number Two position to him. He was good at what he did and that was one reason they kept him where he was. Another reason was that he never spoke of what he saw. The man who had just used the red phone? That came as a surprise even to him. The twists and turns never ceased to amaze him. But he never reacted, never spoke to anyone of them. Sometimes he felt as though he knew more about what was going on than Number Two did.

The Butler never moved a facial muscle. The question uppermost in his mind at the moment was: “I wonder how he takes his tea?”


Number Six tried to look innocent. Surely they hadn’t noticed that he’d spotted the hatch. If they had they wouldn’t have allowed him to return to the spot. Unless of course it was some meaningless hole leading nowhere, which was what he half expected. But it could be a way out and he’d never know unless he checked. Rover floated only a few feet from the boat as he prepared for his last dive. Falling over the side backwards, the water splashing around him, he began his descent.

He swam along the wall of whatever it was. On the other side he could see various forms of marine life. There was a shark moving slowly towards him. At one point it obviously touched the wall and jerked away as though shocked. He made his way towards the hatch. He knew they were watching but he had to try, he had to know. And the Village warders only need slip up once. Perhaps this was that time. At about twenty feet distance from the hatch he made a dash for it. He grasped the wheel of a handle and began turning it. He could see Rover sinking towards him. He pulled. The hatch opened with Rover about fifteen feet away. There was nothing but blackness inside the hatch. Suddenly there was a rushing of water, a pull. He was literally sucked into the hole. The force was so great that it hurled him against the interior head first. That was the last thing he remembered. Until later.


Three men were standing over him. One yelled at him: “Are you a fool?! The interior mechanism wasn’t turned on! You could’ve flooded the entire level if we hadn’t turned on the emergency valve system!”

One of the other men punched the man speaking on the shoulder. He said, “I don’t think he’s one of the crew. He’s a topper.”

“Well how’d he get here then?”

“Don’t know, but have either of you ever seen him before? Any word that a new crew member was coming on?’

“No”, both of the others muttered.

“Up with you!” The second man grabbed Number Six by the arm, pulling him up roughly. “Come along then. We’ll soon see what you’re about.”

As they escorted a rather groggy Number Six down a rock lined corridor he thought he saw steam rising through what looked to be a vent of some sort. And he thought he could hear music from someplace, he wasn’t sure where. He was stumbling, blood dripping down the side of his head. He wasn’t sure how badly he was hurt.

At last they entered a control room of sorts. He was starting to come around now, a little more at himself. He felt his head.

“You set here then!” And the first man pushed him into a chair. “You,” he spoke to the third man roughly, “Go call topside. Get word to Number Two that we have a possible topper here. He’ll know what to do. Hurry about it!”


He was fully himself now, but not acting like it. He slumped over a panel of switches, holding his head. And reading labels. Valves, motors, lighting, vent system, flow control. Interesting labels. He seemed to have been there forever.

“Ah, Number Six,” said the familiar voice, “whatever shall we do with you? I give you an inch and you take the proverbial mile. I’ll expect the return of the scuba gear of course.”

“Of course,” Number Six sat up straighter, looking at Number Two.

“And have you satisfied your curiosity?”

“Not quite,” Number Six smiled as he suddenly flipped three of the most promisingly labeled switches.

A number of alarms went off. “Good choice,” he thought to himself.

Number Two went deathly pale. “You fool! You’ll kill us all!”

Number Six could hear shouts. He thought he heard rushing water. Number Two pulled him towards what looked like a glass tube. In a moment they were traveling upward, as though in an elevator. An elevator made for speed.


“Yes … Yes … I understand … Yes … Yes, at once.” A pallid Number Two set the red phone down.

The Supervisor watched with a sort of perverse satisfaction from the control room.

The Butler walked towards the door, pushing the tea cart before him. Tea time was obviously over.


The two bottom levels had been flooded. The computer systems were a total loss. It would take days to pump out the sea water, and weeks to install new equipment. Number Six new he’d created a disturbance. He had no idea how much of one. Of the five lower levels of The Village “system”, as the keepers called it, these two were a large part of the nerve center. This was a major victory for Six. Sadly, he would never know how great a victory it had been.


“Number Six report to the Green Dome. Number Six, please report to the Green Dome immediately.” The public address system seemed a bit out of sync today.

Number Six, paying for his tea, left the cafe and walked leisurely towards Number Two’s office. Knowing that he had done some damage somehow made this visit worthwhile.


The doors slid open, the Butler waving Number Six in. The globular chair didn’t move. He was at the desk before it slowly began to revolve. The new Number Two smiled slyly. The new Number Two, the old Number Forty One, spoke slowly, deliberately.

“Ah, my dear Number Six. What a wonderfully devious Villager you are. You’ll never know the pains I’ve gone through on your account.”

“Don’t feel obligated.”

“Yes, well I do have a responsibility towards the citizens,” he sighed. “Be glad you’re not being billed for your little escapade. But, after having helped, without knowing it of course, remove a weak cog from our machinery writing off the bill was the least I could do. And I just wanted to let you know that I’m here for you should you ever feel the need to talk.”


“Yes, things will change, have changed, for the better,” Number Two smiled as he spoke into the red phone. “He wouldn’t confide in me as a fellow Villager, but I guarantee,” his teeth gritted, “he WILL confide in me now. … Oh, no sir, I wouldn’t think of damaging the tissue.”

~ finis ~