President John Simon embraced Evelyn Lovelace’s guidance the way a man going down for the third time reaches for a life preserver.
President Simon had been chosen by the American people because he was as soothing as a bowl of warm oatmeal and twice as smart. His predecessor had been blunt and results oriented. Feelings were hurt. A few things happened and a few major, Progressive strongholds had voter turnouts in excess of 100% but the Blue Line held and John was sworn in as President.
John bristled at guidance from men but was putty in the hands of women. His beloved wife Judith sidelined by a stroke, VP Karmann-Ghia dead and, reportedly, Representative Borgia had not been wearing her seat-belt and was now feeding the sharks and crabs somewhere in San Francisco Bay. Simon was as adrift as Borgia-of-the-Tides.
Evelyn Lovelace was going to fix that.
“You remember my grandson Bobby” Evelyn said at 9:00 tea on Monday morning. There are very few people who can wedge their way into the Presidents schedule, and even they can only exercise the privilege on a rare, rare occasion. Evelyn was one of those people and, quite frankly, President Simon's handlers needed a break from the baby-sitting.
“So sorry to hear of Judith’s stroke. We were very close” Evelyn said.
Simon sat as if carved from wood.
“Bobby is in his second term as the Representative from Massachusetts” Evelyn said.
At the sound of his name, Bobby smiled a 1000 Watt smile that was eerily similar to President Simon’s. That was not their only similarity. They were both not-very-bright intellectually and they were both easily led by women.
Evelyn admitted the obvious conclusion was a biological possibility. Her daughter had been attracted to power. On the other hand, the identical smiles may have simply been an artifact of the best orthodontia money could buy.
“I know you have a lot on your plate” Evelyn continued, completely unaffected by President Simon’s silence. “Bobby volunteered to be your spear-carrier in Congress. We both know he is much too young to be the new Speaker, but he will be a faithful and hardworking lieutenant” Evelyn said while thinking….until an accident happens to that Speaker.
Then the President did something unexpected. Something struggled within him and his eyes came into focus. "Remind me, how old is Bobby? Is he old enough to be the VP?" he rasped out.
Evelyn, surprised, answered for Bobby "Bobby is 36 and could be your VP" she said as the light behind President Simon's eyes faded as quickly as the drapes of the honeymoon suite being drawn.
Evelyn hadn't considered jumping right to VP, but that was an interesting possibility. Very interesting.
“Judith and I had been communicating just before her stroke” Evelyn lied, looking up to see if President Simon caught the “fib”. He had not.
“And we both agreed that this punch-list is what needed to happen next” Evelyn said.
President Simon rousing from his stupor glanced at the list. “Yes, yes. Of course.”
“Bobby will push this through Congress, but we have an existential crisis on our hands” Evelyn said. “It will really be much better for everybody if you sign the Executive Orders in Bobby’s folder to bridge until he can push them through.”
Another automatic, 1000 Watt smile from Bobby.
Simon slowly nodded his head.
Evelyn realized that even though both men were putty in her hands they were very flawed tools. It was like throwing a beach-ball into the wind. They would continue to move in the desired direction only as long as her hand was behind them, pushing them along.
Damn, damn, damn, damn. She did not want to have to move to Washington D.C.
Billy Brown the 4th was not rich but he knew where he came from and where he was going. He was fourth generation, trailer-park trash. But he knew who his daddy was and his grandaddy which was a lot more than a bunch of other people could say.
“No fucking way am I going to turn my guns and ammo in at the Sheriff’s office” he swore.
Even as the cities lay in ashes from the weekend’s riots, President Simon ‘s office had issued a withering barrage of Executive Orders. Every law enforcement officer was de facto sworn in as a Federal Agent. The possession of any gun or even a single round of ammo became a felony.
A few, feeble protests were made that the Executive Orders were unconstitutional because they depriving citizens of property without due process. Those objections were brushed away. There was ample, recent precedent of public health crisis trumping Constitutionally enunciated rights.
Billy Brown the 4th didn’t see it that way.
“Those fuckers in Washington are declaring war on me. They opened the can of ‘whoop-ass’ but I am going to empty it.”
Billy did not live that far from I-69 (a name that never failed to entertain Billy). Mail trucks moved bulk mail on I-69. Regulations prohibit the carrying of passengers on mail trucks. Billy had no intention of hurting anybody, nor did he want to get caught.
It was child’s play for him to position himself on an overpass and to pump bullets from his deer rifle through the truck’s windshield and have all of the rounds impact on the passenger side of the truck.
Out of boredom, he also popped way at other parcel delivery trucks and even an Aunt Millenium bread truck. After sending rounds down-range, he skeedaddled.
Billy never used the same overpass twice
“Damned straight I will turn in my bullets” he told his buddies after downing a Budweiser. “They can have them one-at-a-time and at 2800 feet-per-second.”
Apparently, Billy was not the only person who thought that way. Freeways were shutting down across America in the wake of the riots and the Executive Orders.
Truck drivers were refusing to report to work.
Evelyn Lovelace had anticipated this possibility.
Two days later, President Simon issued an Executive Order authorizing the induction of all men who possessed any form of Commercial trucking license into the Military. Essentially, they were drafted.
They had all duly registered for the selective service at the age of eighteen confident in the knowledge that "the Draft" was unconstitutional. They all received a “You have been selected by your friends, family and neighbors...” letter via US Mail, email and text message.
Anticipating non-compliance, their phones were rendered in-op until they acknowledged receipt of the text message and acknowledged reading a short summary of Military Law as applied to the infraction of Absent Without Leave and Failing to Report.
Once again protests about the unconstitutionality of “involuntary servitude” were brushed aside. Crisis and all that, don’t you know.
Your property was only your property only as long as it served the needs of the Federal government. Your time and your life were yours only as long as your actions served the needs of the Federal government. Your house, your business.
Evelyn Lovelace thought events were proceeding nicely.