That very same evening I was dragged down nice and gentle by brutal tolchocking chassos to viddy the Governor in his holy of holies holy office. The Governor looked very weary at me and said: "I don't suppose you know who that was this morning, do you, 6655321?" And without waiting for me to say no he said: "That was no less a personage than the Minister of the Interior, the new Minister of the Interior and what they call a very new broom. Well, these new ridiculous ideas have come at last and orders are orders, though I may say to you in confidence that I do not approve. I most emphatically do not approve. An eye for an eye, I say. If someone hits you you hit back, do you not? Why then should not the State, very severely hit by you brutal hooligans, not hit back also? But the new view is to say no. The new view is that we turn the bad into the good. All of which seems to me grossly unjust. Hm?" So I said, trying to be like respectful and accomodating: "Sir." And then the Chief Chasso, who was standing all red and burly behind the Governor's chair, creeched: "Shut your filthy hole, you scum."
"All right, all right," said the like tired and fagged-out Governor. "You, 6655321, are to be reformed. Tomorrow you go to this man Brodsky. It is believed that you will be able to leave State Custody in a little over a fortnight. In a little over a fortnight you will be out again in the big free world, no longer a number. I suppose," and he snorted a bit here, "that prospect pleases you?" I said nothing so the Chief Chasso creeched:
"Answer, you filthy young swine, when the Governor asks you a question." So I said:
"Oh, yes, sir. Thank you very much, sir. I've done my best here, really I have. I'm very grateful to all concerned."
"Don't be," like sighed the Governor. "This is not a reward. This is far from being a reward. Now, there is a form here to be signed. It says that you are wiling to have the residue of your sentence commuted to submission to what is called here, ridiculous expression, Reclamation Treatment. Will you sign?"
"Most certainly I will sign," I said, "sir. And very many thanks." So I was given an ink-pencil and I signed my name nice and flowy. The Governor said:
"Right. That's the lot, I think." The Chief Chasso said: "The Prison Chaplain would like a word with him, sir." So I was marched out and off down the corridor towards the Wing Chapel, tolchocked on the back and the gulliver all the way by one of the chassos, but in a very like yawny and bored manner. And I was marched across the Wing Chapel to the little cantora of the charles and then made to go in. The charles was sitting at his desk, smelling loud and clear of a fine manny von of expensive cancers and Scotch. He said: "Ah, little 6655321, be seated." And to the chassos: "Wait outside, eh?" Which they did. Then he spoke in a very like earnest way to me, saying: "One thing I want you to understand, boy, is that this is nothing to do with me. Were it expedient, I would protest about it, but it is not expedient. There is the question of my own career, there is the question of the weakness of my own voice when set against the shout of certain more powerful elements in the polity. Do I make myself clear?" He didn't, brothers, but I nodded that he did. "Very hard ethical questions are involved," he went on. "You are to be made into a good boy, 6655321. Never again will you have the desire to commit acts of violence or to offend in any way whatsoever against the State's Peace. I hope you take all that in. I hope you are absolutely clear in your own mind about that." I said:
"Oh, it will be nice to be good, sir." But I had a real hor-rorshow smeck at that inside, brothers. He said: "It may not be nice to be good, little 6655321. It may be horrible to be good. And when I say that to you I realize how self-contradictory that sounds. I know I shall have many sleepless nights about this. What does God want? Does God want woodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some ways better than a man who has the good imposed upon him? Deep and hard questions, little 6655321. But all I want to say to you now is this: if at any time in the future you look back to these times and remember me, the lowest and humblest of all God's servitors, do not, I pray, think evil of me in your heart, thinking me in any way involved in what is now about to happen to you. And now, talking of praying, I realize sadly that there will be little point in praying for you. You are passing now to a region where you will be beyond the reach of the power of prayer. A terrible terrible thing to consider. And yet, in a sense, in choosing to be deprive of the ability to make an ethical choice, you have in a sense really chosen the good. So I shall like to think. So, God help us all, 6655321, I shall like to think." And then he began to cry. But I didn't really take much notice of that, brothers only having a bit of a quiet smeck inside, because you could viddy that he had been peeting away at the old whisky, and now he took a bottle from a cupboard in his desk and started to pour himself a real horrorshow bolshy slog into a very greasy and grahzny glass. He downed it and the said: "All may be well, who knows? God works in a mysterious way." Then he began to sing away at a hymn in a real loud rich goloss. Then the door opened and the chassos came in to tolchock me back to my vonny cell, but the old charles still went on singing this hymn. Well, the next morning I had to say good-bye to the old Staja, and I felt a malenky bit sad as you always will when you have to leave a place you've like got used to. But I didn't go very far, O my brothers. I was punched and kicked along to the new white building just beyond the yard where we used to do our bit of exercise. This was a very new building and it had a new cold like sizy smell which gave you a bit of the shivers. I stood there in the horrible bolshy bare hall and I got new vons, sniffing away there with my like very sensitive morder or sniffer. These were like hospital vons, and the chelloveck the chassos handed me over to had a white coat on, as he might be a hospital man. He signed for me, and one of the brutal chassos who had brought nme said: "You watch this one, sir. A right brutal bastard he has been and will be again, in spite of all his sucking up to the Prison Chaplain and reading the Bible." But this new chelloveck had real horrorshow blue glaz-zies which like smiled when he govoreeted. He said: "Oh, we don't anticipate any trouble. We're going to be friends, aren't we?" And he smiled with his glazzies and his fine big rot which was full of shining white zoobies and I sort of took to this veck right away. Anyway, he passed me on to a like lesser veck in a white coat, and this one was very nice too, and I was led off to a very nice white clean bedroom with curtains and a bedside lamp, and just the one bed in it, all for Your Humble Narrator. So I had a real horrorshow inner smeck at that, thinking I was really a very lucky young mal-chickiwick. I was told to take off my horrible prison platties and I was given a really beautiful set of pyjamas, O my brothers, in plain green, the heighth of bedwear fashion. And I was given a nice warm dressing-gown too and lovely toofles to put my bare nogas in, and I thought: "Well, Alex boy, little 6655321 as was, you have copped it lucky and no mistake. You are really going to enjoy it here." After I had been given a nice chasha of real horrorshow coffee and some old gazettas and mags to look at while peet-ing it, this first veck in white came in, the one who had like signed for me, and he said: "Aha, there you are," a silly sort of a veshch to say but it didn't sound silly, this veck being so like nice. "My name," he said, "is Dr. Branom. I'm Dr. Brodsky's assistant. With your permission, I'll just give you the usual brief overall examination." And he took the old stetho out of his right carman. "We must make sure you're quite fit, mustn't we? Yes indeed, we must." So while I lay there with my pyjama top off and he did this, that and the other, I said: "What exactly is it, sir, that you're going to do?"
"Oh," said Dr. Branom, his cold stetho going all down my back, "it's quite simple, really. We just show you some films."
"Films?" I said. I could hardly believe my ookos, brothers, as you may well understand. "You mean," I said, "it will be just like going to the pictures?"
"They'll be special films," said Dr. Branom. "Very special films. You'll be having the first session this afternoon. Yes," he said, getting up from bending over me, "you seem to be quite a fit young boy. A bit under-nourished perhaps. That will be the fault of the prison food. Put your pyjama top back on. After every meal," he said, sitting on the edge of the bed, "we shall be giving you a shot in the arm. That should help." I felt really grateful to this very nice Dr. Branom. I said: "Vitamins, sir, will it be?"
"Something like that," he said, smiling real horrorshow and friendly, "just a jab in the arm after every meal." Then he went out. I lay on the bed thinking this was like real heaven, and I read some of the mags they'd given me – 'Worldsport', 'Sinny' (this being a film mag) and 'Goal'. Then I lay back on the bed and shut my glazzies and thought how nice it was going to be out there again, Alex with perhaps a nice easy job during the day, me being now too old for the old skolliwoll, and then perhaps getting a new like gang together for the nochy, and the first rabbit would be to get old Dim and Pete, if they had not been got already by the millicents. This time I would be very careful not to get loveted. They were giving another like chance, me having done murder and all, and it would not be like fair to get loveted again, after going to all this trouble to show me films that were going to make me a real good mal-chick. I had a real horrorshow smeck at everybody's like innocence, and I was smecking my gulliver off when they brought in my lunch on a tray. The veck who brought it was the one who'd led me to this malenky bedroom when I came into the mesto, and he said:
"It's nice to know somebody's happy." It was really a very nice appetizing bit of pishcha they'd laid out on the tray – two or three lomticks of like hot roastbeef with mashed kartoffel and vedge, then there was also ice-cream and a nice hot chasha of chai. And there was even a cancer to smoke and a matchbox with one match in. So this looked like it was the life, O my brothers. Then, about half an hour after while I was lying a bit sleepy on the bed, a woman nurse came in, a real nice young devotchka with real horrorshow groodies (I had not seen such for two years) and she had a tray and a hypodermic. I said:
"Ah, the old vitamins, eh?" And I clickclicked at her but she took no notice. All she did was to slam the needle into my left arm, and then swishhhh in went the vitamin stuff. Then she went out again, clack clack on her high-heeled nogas. Then the white-coated veck who was like a male nurse came in with a wheelchair. I was a malenky bit surprised to viddy that. I said:
"What giveth then, brother? I can walk, surely, to wherever we have to itty to." But he said:
"Best I push you there." And indeed, O my brothers, when I got off the bed I found myself a malenky biy weak. It was the under-nourishment like Dr. Branom had said, all that horrible prison pishcha. But the vitamins in the after-meal injection would put me right. No doubt at all about that, I thought.