Part 15: The Fault Lines of Washington
(A serial book excerpt)
Previous installments – After Flight 93 crashes into the White House on 9/11/2001 killing President Bush as was originally planned, Dick Cheney, the Vice President, is made the leader of the country. He begins immediately to make changes.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
The hot fault-lines that ran under the surface in Washington were beginning to rise to the top.
Arguments between the sharply divided liberals and republicans were getting more frequent and fierce.
Sometimes they even broke out spontaneously in the halls of Congress.
“He is the antithesis of everything human!” Mitch spit out.
“You are just sore because it is one of our boys in the Presidency, not one of yours.” laughed Blake sardonically.
“I can’t believe how you people just go along with everything he says.”
Blake threw his hands open and had that ‘I got one over on you’ smiles on his face. “He is the President! What he says goes.”
Mitch could have throttled him. These guys would jack boot to anything their Fuhrer said and did.
“Don’t you see what a Fascist he is?”
“No, I see what a true conservative he is.”
“He only serves what profits him. If hippies made money he would buy and sell them.”
“Ah yeah…. the truth of the matter is we are the ones calling the shots now, not you guys. That is all that really counts in this game.” His mouth had an evil twist as he threw the jacket over his shoulder and headed out.
Mitch was heated, but he kept his cool. Bastards like this were all over Washington now and he could bet on that they would be here as long as Cheney was around. The worst part of it they acted like they owned the place.
And maybe they did.
Cheney could always feel more relaxed around his Halliburton boys. There was a common understanding there that made it comfortable for him. They thought along the same lines as he did. He knew where they were at and they knew where he stood. They all wanted as big a slice of the pie as they could get. They weren’t any smarter or stronger than anyone else, but they were keen on getting the bucks. Cheney’s standing in government had gotten him into the inner workings of Halliburton; his experience now on the private side of economic dynamism had made him a vital tool to them. He was their Lord. He knew it, but did not revel in it. But its power was always at his side like an invisible sword that was ready to ruthlessly slice down anyone who challenged him.
Cheney paused, a rare reflective look overcame his countenance. “I sometimes think of how it could have been had Bush not been killed and this whole 911 thing had not happened. We would have been making oodles, just oodles and no one breathing down our throats about it. That is the beauty of working behind the scenes; you don’t get any of the glory, but none of the accusations either. While Bush would have been a constant lightning rod for anything that came down the chutes, we would have gone on quietly amassing wealth and the power to divert it our way. Let Bush be the glamour boy, we’d have done just fine in the background. But now we are in this…… (his voice trails off almost sadly.)” Now I am the front man, the one constantly under observation. I cannot make a move but that it is recorded in every newspaper and website in America!” He heaved a sigh, a strange emotion for a man who rarely showed any feeling but anger, contempt or phony benignity. He paced a bit, a sign that heavier matters than what he had the power to resolve lay upon him. “It’s not a fun game anymore. I am not a public person. There is nothing to be gained by shaking everyone’s hand or smiling at every bimbo who comes up to you.”
Again a pause so pregnant it could have given birth in the interim. When he began again his voice was deeper. “The American President has to be too much of a showman, always putting on an act for the people. That was what made Bush so useful; he wallowed in it. For all the dumbness they attribute to him he was a master at pleasing the crowds. Even more so the corporates and politicos who we needed backing us. They saw through him, of course, but they could see what a valuable tool he was to managing the public.” He stopped for a moment, realizing the truth of even his own words. “Things always go easier if you have the public on your side.”
Peterson brought the morning papers into the Oval Office. He was becoming less afraid of the man that was his ultimate boss. The papers had not hit his desk when he said “Sir, the polls show you are alienating most of the other countries of the world. Even those who have minimal contact with us are denouncing us!”
Cheney’s face went a dangerous red. “Screw the polls and screw those countries! We are the United States and we don’t have to listen to anyone!”
“President Cheney, Sir, we just cannot afford to create this much animosity! No matter how mighty we might be, we can ill afford to anger everyone!”
Cheney pushed his bulldog expression into Peterson’s face. “We can afford to to anything we want! We are the United States! I am the United States! Don’t you forget that!” He pushed a finger into Peterson’s chest. He could feel the nail through his shirt. “Every other country can kiss our ass as far as I am concerned. We are the ones in the driver’s seat and the whole damned rest of the world can just get used to that idea.”
Peterson lowered his head in defeat. He knew he had hit the wall in Cheney. There was no going further with him. He gave the man one last look then turned and went to the door. He turned back upon opening it, an emotion rising in him. “Mr. Cheney, you would drive this whole country into hell, wouldn’t you?”
Cheney lost his cool and went to grab the young man. Peterson made a deft move and avoided the big man’s angered hands. He planted a punch on Cheney’s temple, knocking the old man to the side. He realized his mistake as he was immediately rushed at by Cheney’s secret service body guards. As they grabbed his arms he looked at them and said “Is he really worth it? Is he really worth it?” The guards continued to go wordlessly about their work incapacitating the young man, although more than one truly questioned it. They dragged him down the hall to a hidden detention room that the tourists never get to see. The whole way he yelled. “He’s not worth it, you bastards! He’s not worth anything!” He was foaming at the mouth.
Cheney watched quietly as they hustled him out the door. He wondered to himself how many more there were like him around.
TO BE CONTINUED
– – – – – – – – – –
The complete book of 9/12/2001 is available from lulu.com under that exact title for $10.00 plus shipping. Now available as an e-book on lulu as well.