For All Nails #111C: Call the Police There's a Madman Around
by Noel Maurer
The group of unhappy men was convened in an office building on United States Boulevard. It was a clear day, something almost miraculous in Mexico City, the fruit of the Clean Air Act of 1972. You could actually tell that the city was surrounded by mountains. The office was located near the top of the pyramid: the views, while not exactly astounding, were quite nice.
Chewy Enciso looked through the file again. One eyebrow raised over the other, his forehead wrinkled. It was what he did when he was worried. It made him look almost, well, half his real age and almost old enough to vote. FN1
"Is this for real?" he asked Andy Gendrop.
Gendrop's thin frame was sprawled across an office chair. He looked like a pile of sticks someone had just tossed randomly onto the seat. "I don't know. Joe?"
Joe Osterman, who was seated in another seat in the small conference room, just shrugged. "I don't know either. That weird woman in the airpark handed it to me two days ago. I called you, Andy, and he called you, Chewy."
"Right. Right." Chewy looked through it again. If this information was right, it was a bombshell. No, it was a Bomb. Literally. "Can we get it checked out? I don't want to go to the President until I know for sure."
Osterman shrugged. "I'm just a flack. I figure this woman came to me because people know I advised El Popo during the campaign -- right now I'm just a lobbyist with a sinecure."
Andy Gendrop looked more thoughtful. He rubbed his nose, which was quite a protuberance under his most-unfashionable shock of wild blond hair. "Christ. I don't know either."
Chewy Enciso leaned forward. "Huh. What about Bisteni?"
"The Constabulary chief?" asked Osterman.
"Yeah, him." Chewy rubbed his chin, which unlike Gendrop's nose, was not as prominent as its owner wished. "Can we trust him?"
Osterman looked at Gendrop. Gendrop answered the question. "I think so," said Gendrop. "We appointed him, and the Constabulary was just a shadow before we took office."
Osterman nodded. "Could be. Yeah, I'd trust Bisteni."
Gendrop interrupted. "Maybe we should bypass Bisteni, get in touch with Luria over at Justice. He's also a passionate New Nationalist, and Justice doesn't have many links with War.'
"Yeah," said Osterman, "but Justice is riddled with War Department spies. If he investigates, it'll get out quick."
Chewy Enciso asked, "So Bisteni is the way to go?"
Osterman shook his head. "Sort of. We've built the Constabulary back into one hell of a police outfit, but it still doesn't really have the ability to spy on other branches of government. Not without getting caught, anyway."
Chewy and Andy looked at Osterman, puzzled. "So what's the advantage again of having Bisteni check out the information?" asked Enciso.
"Well," said Osterman, "Mercator won't find out we know until after we have the information verified. And if it doesn't pan out, well, he already thinks we're spying on him. It isn't like we can make him more paranoid."
Andy and Chewy looked at each other. "Okay," said Chewy. "Have Bisteni use every tool at his disposal to get this checked out. If and when it's verified, I'll bring it El Popo's attention. Until then, nada. Zip. Zero. Me explico?"
Andy and Osterman nodded at the younger man. The Chief of Staff to the President of the United States nodded back. "Go! What are you waiting for?"
Osterman stood up to leave. Andy just smiled at him from his perch on the edge of the desk. "You're enjoying this whole Chief of Staff thing, aren't you?"
As Andy slowly got up from the desk, Chewy replied, "It actually sucks. Getting to boss you around is one of the few perks."
Forward to #111D (USM politics): Kill All the Lawyers.
Forward to 18 August 1974: Strap Your Hands 'Cross My Engines.
Return to For All Nails.