Jacques showed up again today.
It was really good to see him.
Inopportune, but nonetheless good.
Again, so recently having had his company quite recently in the donnie won't leave the white house fiasco.
Jacques was pounding on the front door of our house in Seattle where I have had to repair due to repairs - auto (Mercedes always needs repair) I think repairing for repairs gets some sort of award for punnishness, by the way.
I was surprised that he had found me.
I guess I should not have been.
When I opened the door he was standing there covered with spider webs (I never use that door and the spiders have made it a haven); he said "we need to go see The President again.
And so we did.
And before I could even think of a reply, let alone vocalize one, I was elsewhere. Jacques stood next to me in a huge room with a table in its center and people seated at the table.
A doorman said to Jacques “Pardon me sir, who is your guest?”
“Noel from the Twenty First Century.”
“Ah, yes – a troubled time.”
“So take your seats in the chairs set out for the observers. The meeting is just starting.”
And we seated ourselves and a voice rang out un-assisted by electronic amplification.
“Who called this meeting?”
The speaker was hunched over his writing desk set off to the side, as were our observer chairs – unlike almost all of the other Leaders he eschewed a place at the huge narrow, but, it seemed, infinitely long, rectangular table that filled the meeting room (although there were a few others who chose his type of workspace) – and he had just dipped his quill into his pot of ink when word had arrived that a meeting had been called.
He was fairly short and dumpy, and was bald at the major central part of his head, the baldness being compensated by flowing locks down below the crown of his pate; it was a genuinely eighteenth century look.
“I think it was The President” a short, trim fellow in the uniform of eighteenth century artillery general’s uniform replied.
(Actually, he said something such as “je pense il etait le president”, and that statement was uttered with a heavy Corsican accent. But this apparently was a post-life group, and language had become subliminally understandable to all of its members.)
As if in support of that assertion, a very tall, very dignified man in a blue revolutionary war American uniform entered the room.
He had apparently heard the question - and the answer - because he said “ It has been coming to us that that which we had expected to happen in only a few years and that which Thomas had always said was necessary for the refreshment of our society - that we tear up the document and start over – has finally after much longer than we had thought has begun to happen”.
“Therefore, as a member of this Council – we being an aggregate of equals – The council of The Leaders, I have asked for a plenary session to summon a representative from the Twenty First Century (a mild rumble of sound accompanied the mention of that century) to explain the problem so that we may rectify it.”
“Here, Here” was the rising cry as the members took their seats, or in a few cases, their writing desks and prepared to discuss what should be done.
“Since you all know my discomfort with extensive public speaking, I ask that you allow me to delegate leadership of the discussion” said The President.
Since the Council of Leaders was, as The President had previously said, a council of equals, anyone could call a session, and the protocol followed that he, or she who called the meeting, chaired the meeting, and led any discussion that the meeting generated.
But that protocol also allowed for unusual cases to accommodate members’ unique requirements. It allowed the delegation of a meeting’s leadership in special cases.
This was one of those cases. The President was not a speaker; he was a leader. And he accomplished the things he accomplished through his influence on others, not on his rhetoric.
So the protocol was invoked.
The protocol said that once such a delegation request had been made, it followed that there would be an automatic and proforma unanimous agreement by vocal acclamation.
“Hear, hear” said the chorus of voices that rose from the assembled Council.
“I would like to ask Winston to chair for me, in that case.”
An older gentleman with something of a stooped posture, wearing what appeared to be a British naval uniform from the Twentieth Century left a writing desk and took has position at the rostrum in the dead middle of the vast meeting room – it was enclosed by that gigantic rectangular table that squared the room. A small opening in that table at its apparent head was the access point that had allowed Sir Winston to take his place.
“I am honored, Mr. President; let’s be on with it then, shall we?” he said.
“I once had a similar duty assigned to me in The House of Commons and I was confronted then, as I am now, with the need to ask this question: Mr. President, with all due deference to your aversion for public speaking, we nonetheless need to have some indication of the case you perceive to be at hand. Could you, therefore enlighten us? You, of course, may be succinct.”
“Succinct is good” seemed to be a murmur from the assembly.
The President stood, rising from his place at the huge table. Then he put his right hand flat on the table; his left hand he put to his chin in what looked – initially - to be that gesture that always seems seems to imply a pondering mood – Rodin used it with The Thinker - on the part of the person employing the gesture. But the hand didn’t remain at rest in place on The President’s chin. It moved up briefly covering a major part of his mouth. And he seemed to push something in backwards into place; then he removed the hand.
Then he spoke.
" Winston, apologies; but as I consider what I know, I am unable to delegate this; donnie has finally gone over the edge; counts, re-counts, court cases, even at the Supreme Court; and it all keeps coming out the same: he lost; and now he is going to veto a financial lifeboat for tens of millions of his fellow citizens; and he has pardoned convicted murderers.
"Noel, you have to take this message to our people in your time.
"It is long past time to invoke the Twenty Fifth Amendment".
"May I use your name, when I tell them, sir?"
"You may; but it will cause riotous laughter.
"So I would suggest that you just get a good lawyer".
As I write this I am back in Seattle.
I guess Jacques has gone back to Paris.
But, as he went out the door and fought off the spiders he said "we are really screwed".