This week I’ve been using flash fiction as a tool in the blog. It proves two things: I can write fiction outside my genre and do it justice, and I can teach without using a big stick. I’m sure you’ve appreciated the lack of ranting and a couple of good yarns in its place.
Today we conclude the fiction part of the blog before the election. Monday will be deadly serious. Tuesday a final plea for reason before you head to the polls.
I appreciate your visiting. I hope our nation prospers and all citizens are treated fairly and with the law observed. All of them. If you were to ask my friends, they’d tell you that I’ve opined that most of our leaders have strayed from the path the founders set out. It’s as good a time as any to try and swing this back where it belongs. It won’t be fun, but it will be good for your integrity.
Without further ado…
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F.B.I. Headquarters, WASHINGTON D.C. OCTOBER 25th, 2016 1431
The meeting in the director’s office was a small group: just the very top level investigators on the Weiner, classified email, and Clinton Foundation cases. Seven people around the polished stone table top, the lower half of the table empty as three of the invitees could not attend.
Empty until a small glass jar materialized at the other end of the table. It was quickly followed by the sturdy form of Ronald Reagan, vintage 1984. Including the brown suit.
Reagan grabbed the folders in front of him and began flipping through them while Comey tried to wrap the meeting up and get everyone out of the room. Six minutes later he’d promised them his decision within the next four hours.
Shaking one last hand, he closed the door and proceeded to his desk. He grabbed a bottle of water from his refrigerator and held it up for the President to see.
“Sounds good. These jelly beans need a little motivation to go down. I’ve certainly missed them. And having a working body. It’s been a long time. You know, Jim, the 5th of June has a lot of meaning for me. Just as the troops were loading the ships for D-day in Europe, and as the date I finally shed my prison on earth. It’s nice to be back in working order.”
Comey set down his bottle and opened them both. “Mr. President, I’m surprised to see you. I just had a visitor before lunch.”
Reagan shook his head. “I know. Dick was already fabricating stories about his trip back here. Pat was always gracious. Him.. well, you know the eleventh commandment. But time is short and I drew the short straw: you’re still on the fence.”
“Yes, Mr. President. But I have a question first. I expected you to be as you were at death, you know…”
Reagan crinkled his face in laughter. Wiping away a tear he finished the sentence, “And Nixon was raving? He was like that after Watergate. It drove him around the bend. Not certifiable, but very paranoid. I was trapped in my own mind, Jim. Alzheimer’s is an awful thing. But inside I never lost it. Washington gets his teeth, I get my movie star looks and sanity. God’s pretty generous about his messengers.”
Comey’s jaw dropped. “I can’t believe God cares about our election one whit, Mr. President.”
Reagan strolled around the office, popping a handful of jelly beans into his mouth one by one. “I thought you were a man of thought on that topic. Or did your bio get misprinted? Of course He cares. Doesn’t he want us to be moral and have good leaders? Doesn’t he want us to protect life and preserve the law when it’s just. Jim, I said we were a shining city on a hill for a reason. It’s true.”
Reagan sat down in the chair next to James Comey. “Donald trump is a jerk. I’m not a fan. But he’s more likely to actually do no harm than she is given the past. He’s never endangered secrets. He’s a business person, and he cuts it near the edge from time-to-time. But she’s so far into the gray zone that it’s pitch black. I promise you trouble if she’s elected. Him? I promise you stalemate at the very worst. Tip O’Neill might be dead, but there are some mean so-and-so types in Congress who will stall him out if he’s dangerous. Same with the press. On the other hand, she’ll be unfettered. That’s a chilling thought.”
Comey nodded. It was almost there: the resolution he needed.
“Jim, there’s one final thing. The thing that trumps it all, pardon the pun: The clandestine server. You know, and a lot of others suspect, that it was hacked by our enemies. All of those insecure emails with TOP SECRET information were put out there for the black hats to find. Given what damage they might do, do you really need anything more to pull the plug on her? I know why you didn’t act in July. It was dishonorable to hope someone else would do your dirty work for you and you were wrong to expect it to come to fruition. Those emails cost us treasure and blood. Our secret methods are in the hands of our enemies. Agents have been killed – you know it. We will have to spend billions to replace the compromised systems. Her flagrant violation of the law exposed other classified traffic to being broken. They had it in the email and they saw the date-time stamp on the thing. All they had to do was crack the traffic backwards that went out at that time. So now the NSA has to develop new crypto systems, figure out what was compromised, and fix it. Billions and trillions of dollars.”
“Mr. President, she isn’t the only one to have ever done this kind of thing. How can I prosecute her and not go after the others?”
Steel settled into Reagan’s eyes. “I’m disappointed in you, son. Are any of the others running for president? Is the statute of limitations up on those others? Are you one of her myrmidons? Seriously: there’s no justice except what we do from this day forward. No time machine yet, and don’t hold your breath waiting for one. You can’t fix the past, Jim. So take care of the future by acting here and now.”
Reagan settled back in his chair and snapped another couple of jelly beans into his mouth. “It is a shining city on the hill, Jim. But if you don’t do something now, in the next four hours as you promised, it might be as big a ruin as Rome. This beacon, this light of liberty, shall not be extinguished so easily. But you are the keeper of the flame. That’s what I came to tell you.”
Reagan stood, filled his pocket with the remaining jelly beans and strode toward the window. “Now man up, Comey. Time to tear down this wall.”
James Comey walked back to his desk, sat down, and opened a computer file marked “congressionalletter.doc.” Typing for just a few minutes, he made the changes he needed and attached it to an email. With a snap of his wrist, he hit the send key.
Relaxing in the chair, he scrubbed his face with the palms of his hands. “I hope that’s what He wants. Ironic: undone by the same digital too that will bring her down in the end.”
Powering down the workstation he grabbed his water bottle and headed to the gym. Time to man up.
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I hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks fiction. If so, hit the link and buy a copy of Assault on Saint Agnes. It helps pay the bills around here.
See you Monday.