Chapter Four

The president sat in his overstuffed chair, as was his invariable custom while he was in his special room. But tonight he was not entirely alone. Not yet. Arrayed within easy chatting distance from him were several chairs, none of which were occupied. Nor would they be. The presence of the other man who stood before him was a necessary annoyance, one that he would correct in the shortest possible time consistent with the task he had in mind. Despite the necessity of his presence, the man’s intrusion into his pleasurable self-contemplations enflamed his temper to the verge of verbal abuse. The importance of the man’s mission was the only thing that kept his urges in check.

“Are they assembled here?” he asked his chief of staff.

“Yes, sir,” replied Milton Anderson. “They’re downstairs in the daily conference room.”

“Do you fully understand your instructions?”

“Yes, sir.” By a series of vague, innuendo-filled conversations with Mr. Anderson that supplemented his numerous and more openly-stated public speeches, the president had managed to convey, with full deniability, his sociopathic wishes with regard to two large but politically significant minorities of the nation’s population, the non-productive members of society and the Judeo-Christian community. The deniability actually was almost a don’t-care, but with the preservation of some outward semblance of decency he would have fewer nuisances to contend with in the attainment of his ultimate objective. The misfits and elderly were simply disgusting, but the ‘people of the Book’ were as repulsive to him as the Book itself. Emboldened by the public timidity that accompanied his early, more tenuous acts of suppressing the depiction of Jesus Christ at the various venues in which he spoke, he proceeded to accelerate the eradication of Christ in America, all the while claiming his own “Christianity” when pressed by the few members of the press who dared to speak out on the topic. Despite his own rather indifferent protestations to the contrary, his preference for the more violent, self-serving and anti-Christian religion of Islam soon became public knowledge. Through the progressive vindictiveness of his speeches and the less overt companion events he had promulgated he had so marginalized the Christian community in the intellectually and morally indolent public mind that he had no doubt of his present ability to handle ‘that situation’ with impunity. Throughout government, including the military, the removal of Christ was overtly institutionalized in policy, much to the consternation of those few chaplains who still cared. Having created a number of negative financial situations, he had been spectacularly successful in transferring the blame onto the Jews and Christians. In all these moves he’d had a lot of help. Much of the American populace, having become complacent and apathetic in their enjoyment of America’s great wealth, were quite willing to support this agenda. They as well as he didn’t particularly want the Judeo-Christian God hovering around telling them what to do.

“I’ve exercised patience long enough,” he told the vassal who stood before him, observing with pleasure the fear in his eyes. He could see the twitching of his mouth and the tremors in his hands, and speculated on how he might cause the hapless man to wet his pants. But that was for another time. The man had an important mission to execute, and now wasn’t the time to toy with him. His use of the word ‘patience’ was a code fully understood by Mr. Anderson as an order to commence immediate action on the issue at hand.

“Yes, sir,” Milton responded. “I’ll get on it right now.” He bowed slightly, backing out toward the door.

The transformation of Mr. Milton Anderson as he addressed the members of the very small, extremely elite group of the country’s inner circle of movers and shakers was nothing short of spectacular. He seemed to grow several inches and his voice dropped a full octave as he exercised his authority as the president’s proxy. Those whom he addressed accepted this authority without question, being so slavishly dependent on their own self-interest that their complete corruption had taken place in the distant past. For all except one individual with a tiny remnant of conscience, moral considerations were simply not relevant to their conduct.

“Now that the president has been reelected, the opportunity presents itself to pursue a number of programs that he’s been patiently waiting to start work on,” Milton said to the people seated around the oblong conference table. “Projects that, as you well know, will significantly strengthen our efficiency and productivity while greatly enhancing our economic position. And, at the same time make the world a greener place.”

The pontification was entirely unnecessary. Every person there knew precisely what the speaker was getting at, and what his own particular role in the plans amounted to. Now that the time had come to act, however, Fred Jamison was getting cold feet. It showed in his eyes, and, as Milton scanned the assembled faces to ensure that he was being understood, his eyes stopped and locked on Fred. Milton said nothing, simply stared. As he did so, the wisdom of including Fred in his trusted inner circle had ceased to be questionable. He had harbored suspicions before as to whether Fred was suitable for work at this level of government; now he was certain. As he reached this conclusion, Fred became so unnerved by the stare that he felt the need to talk. Unfortunately, what he spoke was the very essence of what was dominating his thoughts, the source of his newfound squeamishness. “Golly,” he began in a tentative attempt at ingratiating humor, “maybe we’ll be able to accomplish what Hitler tried to do.” With a meaningless grin he tried to create a semblance of lighthearted indifference to the task set for him. Then, horrified with what he’d just said, he clasped a trembling hand to his offending mouth.

There was but one way to proceed from here. Milton continued to communicate silently with Fred until the man understood. Dropping his head, Fred rose from his chair and made a silent but awkward exit from the room. Once out of the room he chastised himself for his awful mistake, perfectly aware that it had sealed his doom. He vowed to get his wife safely out of the city before his own end came.

Having settled the issue with Fred, Milton addressed Jake West. “You ready to go, Jake?” he asked in a more jovial tone. Jake, whose area of responsibility focused on the facilities end of things, nodded. “We’ve been looking into the desert southwest, Milt,” he said easily. There’s a lot of open space down there, plenty of scorpions and snakes to share the ecosystem with the newbies.” The remark drew a few chuckles. “We’ve also thoroughly vetted the contractors as to our intentions there. Not just at the top, but with the workers, too, at every level. Told our companies to take their time in hiring, we’ll pick up the tab for time lost.”

Milton next turned his attention to Michael Zweig. “How about you, Mike?” Michael was the garbage man, but he didn’t mind at all. In fact, of all the available tasks, he preferred his own. The nature of the garbage gave him a most seductive sense of godhood. Before he could respond, Milton continued. “You’re going to need a large area as well as Jake. I can place some crack troops at your disposal, no pun intended.” The offer wasn’t trivial. The troopers of whom he spoke were part of an elite core of combat-hardened veterans who, to the man, had displayed character traits useful for homeland service. These qualities included an apparent fondness for self, a pronounced lack of nobility, and a proclivity toward sadistic violence. Their promised rewards for faithful obedience didn’t include medals for valor, which were irrelevant to them. Instead, they were told that they could look forward to the spoils of war, particularly rape. To whet their appetites in this regard, they regularly were offered pornography of the most base, disgusting and sadistic kind for their viewing pleasure.

“That would help a great deal, and thanks. I’ll count on them.”

“And you?” Milton asked as he turned to Ace Smith. Ace was responsible for managing the shakers, as they called the destabilization committee. Again, Milt continued before his subject could respond. “As we’ve talked about before, you’ll need coverage for every city over a hundred thousand population, say three to five hundred men for each city.”

“I know that, Milt,” Ace replied rather testily at the clumsy attempt to micromanage. “They’re already in place, just waiting for the green light to stir up the pot. The media has been taken care of too, as well as the scheduling of each phase of the information transfer process.” Milt glared at the man as he spoke, pruning back his tendency toward rebellion. When he was satisfied that Ace understood his displeasure, he moved on to consider Will Franklin, the regulatory guru who was responsible for the formulation of executive orders and other bureaucratic processes to legitimize things until the time when it would no longer be necessary to work in the dark. Of all the department heads gathered at the table, Will had been busily productive well before this momentous occasion, having successfully stymied the attempts of the House and Senate, working together, to regain control over the legislative process. Milt merely nodded at the man, who acknowledged with a nod of his own. He turned back to Ace, who was most adept at organization.

“In the absence of a man to permanently replace Fred,” he ordered, “you’ll be handling his job too, for the time being, dealing with the prioritizing and scheduling of the other, ah, projects, and working out the hitches as they come up.” Ace acknowledge with a curt nod. “For planning purposes,” Milton continued, “consider the most important of the undertakings to be the elderly, handicapped and Christian. All three of these are worthless. They’re just dragging us down. You’ll focus first on those in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. If anyone from the Christian or Jewish communities bothers you in any way, take care of them immediately. We’ve already marginalized as probable terrorists those who are most likely to protest. Besides, we have agencies to protect you. Your cover story for that will start with the need for consolidation, for purposes of bulk cost savings. Make sure the taxpayers perceive an advantage in going along with this effort. A final note: I want the infrastructure for this to be complete before the end of the next year. Okay. Make it happen. We’ll meet again next month to see how you’re getting along.”

As Ace left the room his usual arrogant demeanor hid a growing concern. Contrary to the impression he gave Milt, there remained some loose ends that needed to be taken care of. The biggest was the situation at the Seattle Reporter-Journal, a trendy newsmagazine with a large local readership. Only the mag wasn’t trendy. Anything but. Despite his subtle warnings to editor Jim Forrester, a Christian slant still hung around. It was time to end the pussy-footing and start cracking the whip.

Ace wasn’t alone with troubling thoughts. Will Franklin’s brow maintained a frown as he followed Ace out the door. He had a big problem, and, like Ace, had chosen to conceal that fact to Milton, of whom he was deathly afraid. His big, no, huge problem was the lawsuit that Congress had initiated against the president. It claimed that the flurry of executive orders promulgated by the White House amounted to a usurpation of the Executive Branch over the Legislature. Worse, anyone with a dollop of common sense could see that the lawsuit had the weight of logic going for it. The president was making a blatant end-run around congress to perform nothing less than a change in the form of the United States government from a constitutional republic to a socialist state, over which the president, with the help of the United Nations, would assume dictatorial powers.

This lawsuit problem couldn’t be fixed with reason. Only muscle could do the job, which wasn’t usually a problem with Will. The big problem was the person to whom the muscle had to be applied: Gerald Robbins, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

The thought of who he had to intimidate was scary, but not scary enough. He knew what was going to happen to Fred Jamison. Its inevitability gave him the willies. Worse, he knew that the pain would be unthinkably cruel, violent and prolonged, and he knew he had to do something quick about his own problem before he joined Fred in making an extremely unpleasant exit from this life.

As he watched Ace and Will leave the room, obviously focused on problems engendered by the finality of his call to action, Milt reflected on Fred Jamison’s inappropriate commentary on Hitler. Actually, he wasn’t all that far off-base, Milt noted with a smirk. A number of parallels did indeed exist, all of which emphasized the malleability of the public in the hands of a determined leader. In the face of economic depression throughout Europe, many people in the occupied countries supported Hitler’s takeover, believing that their own welfare might improve thereby despite their loss of freedom. And their religious beliefs. It was almost nothing for Hitler to wicker their faith from Christ to himself and the Nazi Party. It’s the same now with the president, particularly with his master stroke of equating Christian fundamentalism with hate in the face of the church’s stance on gays. He laughed to himself on the way the mainstream churches were falling all over themselves to welcome practicing gays into their community, even to the extent of accepting actively gay pastors. With the disintegration of their moral sense, they would be willing to go along with whatever the president wanted to do, just like the Germans were quick to ignore the atrocities being committed in their very own neighborhoods. Peace and safety. Well, we’ll give them peace and safety. Some of them.


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