Waiting for Six-Thirty-Seven, or Whatever
by Gregg Pearlman
January 7, 2010
Bill Gallagher’s rendition of The Prisoner shows clearly that one could take any storyline,
however fascinating or mundane, fantastic or moronic, and set it against the
backdrop of The Village and all the trimmings:
years of loneliness and Village-perpetrated oppression and crappy gin,
Nineteen-Eighty-Four suddenly rebels. He buys a diary and writes things in
it about how awful The Village is. He meets a woman,
Two-Thousand-Four-Million, and they have an affair. They are caught and
captured by Village Security. Nineteen-Eighty-Four is tortured so much
that he betrays his lover. Two, his torturer, refuses to stop working on
Nineteen-Eighty-Four until he learns to love The Village, at which time
Two will probably have him killed.
is brought to The Village because the ludicrous items he made up for his
“news” website turn out to be true, and Two wants to find out how he
knows. Five meets Six, who has invented the bottomless peanut bag and who
has, as part of his escape plan, spent years building a raft out of toilet
paper rolls, toothpicks, and plastic forks, with a sail made of scabs and
dynamite. Five steals this, pushing Six out of the way, and Six complains
that this is the third time that has happened.
discovers that he has amazing powers and abilities, and he is brought to
the school in The Village to learn how to hone them. Hanging over his head
throughout is the dreaded He Who Must Not Be Numbered, who had attempted
to kill Nineteen-Ninety-One as a baby—that is, the baby was
Nineteen-Ninety-One, not the bad guy—and who wants to finish the job en
route to a position of supreme power.
visits the general store to buy flaxseed oil, arthritis cream for his
knees, and some pine tar. Later his blood is drawn during an unwelcome
physical, and the machine that analyzes it prints out an order for his
death. Nobody likes Seven-Sixty-Two anyway, and they’ll always like
Seven-Fifty-Five better, though never as much as Seven-Fourteen.
November thirteenth, Twenty-Three-Twenty-Five was asked to remove himself
from his place of residence; that request came from his wife. Deep down,
he knew she was right. With nowhere else to turn, he appeared at the home
of his friend Twenty-Seven-Twenty-Nine. Several years earlier,
Twenty-Seven-Twenty-Nine’s wife had thrown him out, requesting that he never return. Can two
divorced men share a Village dwelling without driving each other crazy?
and lovely Eighty-Two drinks too much at a party. Six, plying her further
with liquor, persuades her to remove her top and dance around like a
ninny, and he films this display for a series of popular Village-brand
DVDs. Eighty-Two, upon seeing the result, seeks punishment for Six for
getting her drunk and taking advantage of her in this way. However, Two,
ever the wise arbiter, rules that nobody forced her to get herself
hammered in the first place.
Fifty-Fifty-Nine and her friend get a job packing products on an assembly
line at The Village Scrumptious Candy Factory. Unfortunately, the conveyor
belt moves too fast for them to keep up with all the candy coming out, and
they’re forced to stuff individual pieces of candy wildly into their
mouths. Later, Fifty-Fifty-Nine attempts to persuade her husband, band
leader Ninety-Ninety-Eight, to let her perform onstage with him and
celebrity guest Four. Ninety-Ninety-Eight refuses, but Fifty-Fifty-Nine
sneaks in anyway and draws attention to herself in a manner detrimental to
the stage show.
- Six enters
The Village Pet Shop, angrily demanding to return or exchange a parrot he
had just purchased, on the grounds that it is dead—and indeed was dead
when he bought it. Shopkeeper Forty-Three-Nineteen offers repeated
excuses, even denying that the bird (Eleventeen) is actually dead. The
situation is never really resolved.
young lovers Thirty-Seven and Nine-Trillion-Three date in secret, fully
aware of their families’ mutual animosity. Nine-Trillion-Three fakes
suicide, falling into a deep sleep. Thirty-Seven, believing his love to be
dead, kills himself. Nine-Trillion-Three wakes, sees that Thirty-Seven is
dead, and kills herself.
a pizza deliverer, knocks on the front door of the home of
Forty-Eight-Twenty-Four-Thirty-Eight, who answers wearing only a towel.
She explains that she has no money, and she asks Ten-Forty if there’s any
other way she can pay for the pizza. He enters through the front door, and
a neighbor, Sixty-Nine-Sixty-Nine, enters through the back door. Several
minutes later, Ten-Forty leaves, little pizza-delivery hat askew, and
thanks Forty-Eight-Twenty-Four-Thirty-Eight for the lavish tip.
bright day in the middle of the night, Two and Six get up to fight. Back
to back they face each other, draw their swords, and shoot each other.
Thirty-One-Eighty-One hears the noise, comes and shoots those numbered
boys. If you do not believe this lie is true, ask Twenty-Twelve: he sees
quits his job watching people. He wakes up in a sandy place, wondering how
he got there. He learns that he’s in The Village. Two, the leader of The
Village, attempts to bring Six “into the fold,” but Six resists. Six finds
romance with Three-Thirteen and Four-Fifteen, but he more or less loses
both. Two’s wife, meanwhile, has been dreaming up the whole thing. Two
wants out, and so does his wife, so Three-Thirteen takes up the role of
“dreamer” and Six agrees to run The Village.
is Enough, in which a heretofore
unnumbered writer thinks up several silly scenarios set in The Village and
practices his alliteration, although not avidly.