By Chris Bunton
President-Elect Pope sat in the Oval Office looking around. He still could not believe that he was the President of The United States. He won the election, and really was as surprised as anyone. The media was totally ticked off, and could not figure out how he had won, and quite frankly Pope was not sure either. Except that the American people had put their trust in him, and he aimed to deliver on everything he had promised. That would be his legacy. The first elected official to do what he had promised the people.
Pope shuffled through some of the drawers in the Resolute Desk. It was quite old; and built of oak timbers from the HMS Resolute and was a gift to President Rutherford B. Hayes from Queen Victoria. There should be a letter from his predecessor in the desk somewhere. That was a Presidential Tradition, that each President left a letter to the one that would follow him. He was curious to read it.
He looked up as three men entered the Office. He did not know them, but they seemed to be on a mission, and the President was somewhat floored by this odd breach of protocol.
“Can I help you?” Pope asked. “Why do I not know who you are, or how you got in here/”
The man in the center sat a bound notebook on the Resolute Desk, and smiled.
“Mr. President we are from the Treasury Department, The Secret Service to be exact. I’m Agent Stocks, and this is Agent Jackson, and Agent Dix. We are in charge of the detail that…protects you.”
“Alright” the President said.
“We need to go over some security issues with you, and this is most important.” Stocks said.
“Why wasn’t this scheduled?” The President asked.
“There are some things that do not get scheduled. As a servant of the people there are things that cannot be scheduled, or ran through normal channels. They just are what they are. Security and Secrecy is a couple of those things.” Stocks replied.
The three men took seats in front of the President‘s desk.
“I understand” the President said.
“You will need to read through the notebook I just gave you so you can be on the same page with your security.” Stocks said.
“Well, ok. I will give it a run through.” The President said. “But, if you gentlemen will excuse me I have quite a bit to do, and I don’t think this is information I need to be made aware of just yet. We can play it by ear.”
“Mr. President. All your plans and meetings have been put on hold until we are finished here. Regardless of how long that takes. As I said; Security and Secrecy is paramount.” Stocks said.
“Ok, well let’s get on with it.” Pope answered.
“The first thing you need to know is that everything. And I mean everything around you is watching you, and your family, and the former Presidents and their families. And I mean your entire families. You will rarely see the cameras, or know the people, or the listening devices, or the wire taps that are watching you,…and your closest friends and their families…do you understand?
“Yes, I understand. You guys are great and have everything covered. I and the American people owe you a great debt for keep us safe.” Pope said.
Stocks looked at Jackson and smiled. Jackson laughed and shook his head.
“Mr. President, you need to understand that you can trust no one. Many of the people you think are your closest allies are actually going to be keeping tabs on you as well. Even a few of your family members are going to inform us of what is happening with you. We see you in the bathroom. We see you with your wife. We see you with your private secretary…” Stocks smiled.
Pope bristled at the mention of his secretary and quickly wondered if the Secret Service knew of his relationship with her. They must have been watching him for a lot longer than he knew. Or maybe he was just being paranoid.
“What exactly are you saying Agent Stocks?” Pope asked.
“Just going over some security issues” Stocks said.
“There are things that are very sensitive, and very private, that is not part of your job sir.” The President said.
“Everything is part of our job. Our job is to protect you, and protect the Presidency, and the United States.”
“You work for me.” The President said.
“We do not work for you. We work for the American People and the Department. We work for those who run things.” Stocks said.
“I do not understand what’s going on here.” Pope replied.
“We are in charge of your security detail. We will become aware of many, many intimate aspects of your life. Think of us as your doctor, or your lawyer, or your closest friend.”
“So, there’s confidentiality?” Pope asked.
“Of course; just live your life, serve your country, and follow the Plan.” Stocks said.
“What Plan?” Pope asked.
“You will learn.” Stocks said. “Just remember you and your family, are always protected and watched, security and secrecy is paramount.”
Stocks rose up and approached the President’s desk. He leaned forward and tapped the bound notebook.
“Read through the security book. Inform your family of what they need to know. We don’t want any slip ups or accidents. Remember Kennedy, Remember Lincoln, Remember Garfield and Mckinley. Always remember we are there, even when you don’t see us.” Stocks said as he and his men turned to leave the room.
“It almost seems like I’m a prisoner, and my family are prisoners as well.” Pope said.
Stocks and the men laughed.
“Yes, it does, Mr. President. You’ll get used to it, and learn to make the most of it. They always do.” Stocks said.
President Pope looked up as his Chief of Staff entered the office.
“Mr. President I have some things for you to sign.” Chief of Staff Coates said.
“Ok, bring them on over” The President answered.
Coates sat some papers on the President’s desk. President Pope looked at the top document.
“What’s this” he asked.
Coates was not the President’s first pick. His first pick was Michael Lamb. But, Lamb had been accused of having ties with a white supremacist organization, and Pope had no choice but to replace him. He was good friends with Lamb, and did not believe the accusations, but he was advised to get rid of him and to bring in Coates. Coates was a Washington insider who would do a great job in the position, and was well connected.
“We are replacing the Treasury Secretary.” Coates said.
“Replacing him? He is doing great.” The President said.
“Well, Mr. President, he will be resigning this afternoon. I’m trying to be proactive.” Coates said.
“Resigning? Why didn’t I know about it? We are friends. I need to call him and talk him out of that.” The President said, picking up the phone.
“You won’t be able to talk him out of it, the decision has been made, and he will be resigning.” Coates said.
“You know sometimes it seems like I have no idea what’s going on, and you control everything.” The President said, laughing. “I really need to talk with him.”
“Every President has felt that way, I’m sure.” Coates laughed, handing the President a pen. “I’ll tell him to contact you.”
“Thank you, Ben.” Pope said.
“You’re welcome, Sir.”
President Pope signed several forms and handed the pen back to Coates.
“And here is your schedule for tomorrow” Coates said; handing Pope a sheet of paper.
Pope looked at it.
“We are going to Europe?” Pope asked.
“Yes, we are going to meet the heads of our ally nations.” Coates replied.
“That will be great.” The President said.
“You will have a briefing by the Secret Service shortly, Sir.” Coates said as he left the Office.
Stocks, Jackson, and Dix entered the Oval office and approached the President’s desk, and then all three sat down.
“Mr. President we need to discuss security issues in this first overseas trip. Your wife will be going with you. Your children will not be. They will be in school under protection. Remember that. We would advise you not to spend too much time in the presence of the Italian President. But, most of the leaders in Europe are perfectly fine to associate with.”
What’s wrong, with President Fringetti?” Pope asked.
“He is not stable, Mr. President. He seems to believe that he is being held prisoner and is a slave to some global conspiracy. He has a habit of saying it to the wrong people. We are just not sure he is safe, and we think he is going to be removed from his position soon.” Stocks said.
“I guess in politics you have to be careful, what you say and who you say it to. I wonder if the pressure has gotten to him. Leading a country is tough; I know it weighs on me as well.” Pope said.
Stocks smiled and rose to leave the office followed by his associates.
“You are in a very stressful position Mr. President. We will see you tomorrow on Air Force One.”
President Pope mingled with the leaders of Europe, discussing important security issues, and explaining some of his policies. Many of the leaders offered advice on what he should do about the problems America was facing. He noticed that the Italian President Fringetti was making a bee line straight to him. The Italian leader extended his hand and Pope shook it. Then, Fringetti turned and stood beside him and leaned in toward Pope.
“Are you one of them?” He asked.
“What do you mean?” Pope asked.
Fringetti became agitated.
“Are you a prisoner puppet, or are you one of them?” He asked again.
“I’m sorry, Mr. President. I have no idea what you’re referring to.” Pope said.
“You haven’t figured it out yet? I will die before I follow the Plan. Where did you go to school? What fraternities did you belong to? Are you of royal bloodline?” Fringetti asked.
President Pope figured this was just some of the quirks of European snobbishness.
“I attended Yale, but was not in a fraternity. I am not of royalty.” Pope said.
Fringetti looked at him.
“How did you become President? You are not royalty, or part of any of the secret organizations?” He asked.
“The American People chose me.” Pope said proudly.
“Do you really believe that nonsense? Have you ever wondered how you got here? Have you ever wondered who runs the world? Who controls the money?” Fringetti asked.
“I’m not into conspiracy theories and I think you should refrain from speaking of them’ Pope said.
“Or what? Will you have me killed? Don’t you think it’s odd that you are so closely watched? That you are guarded by agents from the bankers who run the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, and the World Bank? You are a prisoner like the rest of us. We are all under their control.” Fringetti said.
Pope’s mind reeled with what had been said. He felt a presence at his other side. He turned and saw Coates standing there with Stocks behind him.
“Mr. President, we need to leave.” Coates said.
“But, the meeting hasn’t started yet.” Pope said.
“It will be fine, sir.” Stocks said.
Pope turned to Fringetti.
“I must leave. It was a pleasure speaking with you.”He said, and followed Stocks, and Coates out.
President Pope sat on Air Force One returning to the United States after the European meeting he never attended. Chief of Staff Coates addressed him.
“Mr. President I need to inform you that the Italian President has died of an apparent heart attack.”
“A heart attack? I just spoke to him a few hours ago.” Pope said.
“Yes sir, He must have died in his sleep.” Coates said.
“That is shocking. He asked me some of the strangest questions I have ever been asked.” The President said.
“What sorts of questions sir?”
“They were just very odd ones. They were questions about my bloodline, and my past. It was strange. I hope he has found some peace.” The President said.
“The Italian President has been suffering from mental illness for a while now.” Coates said.
“That’s what Stocks said. He told me to avoid him.”
“Yes, he could have been dangerous.” Coates said.
“Please send my condolences, and whatever appropriate response we should give.” The President said.
“Of course, Sir.” Coates answered.
President Pope sat in his golf cart on the course, with his chief strategist Becket riding next to him. They were preparing to tee off on the 12th hole. President Pope quickly changed the subject.
“David, we’ve known each other for many years.” Pope said.
“Yes, ever since Yale.” Beckett replied.
“Have you ever known me to be irrational or insane in any way? The President asked.
“Nope, never.” The Strategist answered.
“Well, please believe me when I say that I am being held prisoner. I mean literally. My whole family and I along with the entire former President’s, unless they play ball or are part of the Plan.” Pope said.
Beckett looked at the President, and then looked away. He climbed out of the cart and set his ball on a tee. He hit the ball, sending it down the fairway, and then turned back to the President.
“What are you going to do about it?” He asked.
“I don’t know” the President said. “But, I have to escape or get a message out or something.”
“Are you sure you are not confused or over reacting, or mistaken?”
“I most definitely am not mistaken. Stocks and his men are keeping me hostage. It’s like a soft prison, where it’s not obvious, but it is there. All of the people who I placed in the cabinet have been replaced by others, and the country is back to business as usual. I can’t get anything done and I can’t fix it. Everything is going according to some Plan, that was devised a long time ago, and I’m just a puppet. I don’t know what to do, but I must do something. The country and the whole world is in danger.” Pope said.
“Be careful. This might be why so many Presidents have had “accidents” that resulted in bodily injury, or ended up dead. Remember Kennedy.” Becket said.
“Will you help me?” The President asked.
“I will do whatever I can Mr. President.” Becket said.
After playing golf, President Pope and Becket climbed into the back of the Presidential limo. Stocks and another agent that Pope did not know were sitting in the seat across from the President facing him. Becket looked at Stocks.
“He knows we are holding him prisoner. He plans to do something, and asked for my help.” Becket said.
President Pope whirled on Becket.
“You sack of trash! You traitor!” He said.
“It’s not personal. Don’t make it personal. This is the way things are, just deal with it. We are in charge of this country and are using it to fulfill the Plan. It’s going to happen with or without you.” Becket said.
“What Plan?” Pope said.
“You would not understand.” Becket said.
“Try me.” Pope said.
“There’s no point” said Becket. “If you cannot figure it out for yourself, or be divinely inspired to understand, then you are not meant to understand.”
“I’m going to get out of here and stop your little Plan.” Pope said.
Stocks leaned forward and struck Pope in the solar plexus causing him to gasp for air.
“You might wanna rethink that, Mr. President. Remember Kennedy.” Stocks said.
“I’d rather die for my country than let you do this.” Pope said through gritted teeth, holding his gut.
“Just like Kennedy. Just like Lincoln.” Stocks said.
He leaned back in his seat and looked at the scene passing by out the window.
President Pope walked up to the podium at the press conference. He looked down at the speech in his hands, then out at the small gathering of news people and the cameras.
“I’ve got this speech I’m supposed to read to you.” He said into the microphone.
He reached into an inner suit pocket and pulled out a folded piece of paper.
“But, I have written another speech, and trust the media will do its job of telling the world what I have said.” Pope said to the room full of people.
He began to read.
“I am being held prisoner by a group of people who are ruling the world and trying to implement a plan of domination.”
He looked at the room. The media seemed very disinterested. He peered closer looking for any reporters he knew, trying to make a connection. But, oddly there was not a single journalist in the room that he recognized. All the people he knew for years were not present.
“They hold my family and all of the former Presidents hostage, and are pushing a plan to transform the world into a totalitarian state.” He continued.
The journalists sat smiling. All the cameras lowered.
“The efforts I promised to make to fix the system are not being implemented and have been hijacked to build some kind of New World Order.”
Pope again looked around and was shocked by the complete lack of emotion from the journalists. He just stood there and looked at them, trying to fathom what was happening, until Chief of Staff Coates walked up and stood next to him.
“Mr. President, try reading the speech we prepared for you.”
The President looked down. He was completely stunned. His mind was reeling at what had happened, and he mouthed the words of the prepared speech, with no real feeling.
He looked up and saw the cameras rolling and the journalists again paying attention and ready to ask questions. He saw a reporter in the back of the room speaking into her camera phone.
“We are back with the President after experiencing some kind of technical difficulty.”
President Pope walked out the front door of the Abernathy Hotel in London, where he was meeting with other heads of state to discuss economic sanctions against Russia.
“I think we should try to work with Russia to solve our differences. We are not that far off. “He said to his Chief of Staff, Coates, as he walked across the side walk to the limo.
“That’s not part of the Plan sir.” Coats said.
A reporter yelled.
“Mr. President! Do you think Russia is your enemy?”
Coates grabbed the Presidents arm, and stopped him.
“I think you should go over there and answer him, sir.” Coates said.
Pope nodded and walked over toward the reporter, while Coates stood back and watched. As Pope neared the questioning reporter the Secret Service agents moving beside him stepped to the side a bit. They opened a narrow lane for two men in the crowd to raise pistols and open fire on him. Pope went down as the Secret Service responded. They engaged the assassins in a gun battle while grabbing Pope and dragging him into the back of the limo. Once inside, it sped away. The Assassins escaped, and none of the Secret Service bullets, hit anyone.
It happened just that fast.
Pope held his chest as blood pumped out. He looked at Coates who was in the back seat with him. Coates was very calm. He watched out the window as President Pope struggled for life.
“Am I going to die?” Pope asked, growing weaker by the second.
“That’s the plan, sir” Coates said.
Then, he looked out the window again, at the passing scenery.
The radio news announcer spoke,
“President Pope was pronounced dead at 10 am Eastern Standard Time. Vice President Elena Chavez has been sworn into office as the new President. She has sworn to get those responsible for this act of war. The American Intelligence agencies have worked together with British intelligence and have linked the assassins to North Korea. The entire world has sent condolences, and China has sworn to stand by President Chavez, in her pursuit to bring those who are guilty to justice, even if it is North Korea. The President of North Korea has sworn that his country had nothing to do with it, and that this is a set up by international forces seeking to impose a global plan of power….”
A hand reaches up and turns the car radio to a new station, and the song “Sympathy for the Devil” starts playing…”allow me to introduce myself…”
Iraqi born taxi driver Mohamed Akeem, pulls away from the curb and enters New York traffic.
“Well, that sounds familiar…” He says, as his taxi cruises past the 9/11 memorial.
Bio: Chris Bunton is a Writer, Poet and Blogger from Southern Illinois.
His dystopian stories on The Yard include: “For Your Protection” “Clear” “The Prisoner” “Power Hour” “Last Train to St. Louis” “The Rant“
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