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(STBSS 2nd Place) Machiavellian Minds Think Alike

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posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 10:43 AM
It was half past three in the afternoon and Frank Pierce was growing impatient. He and his long time advisor Donald were sitting in a rented Cadillac behind a closed down old warehouse in a run down section of some boring Arizona border town. There is nothing worse than wasting time during a political campaign and that’s exactly what Frank felt was happening. The idea that some newcomer, some rube, would waste his time by making him wait was tearing at the seasoned political vet. Wasting time, sweating half to death, watching the insects have heat strokes when they landed on the car, that’s what it felt like to Frank. Shady meetings between Mr. Pierce and potential rivals at the polls were nothing new for him, what was new however was that this was the biggest race of his career. “The Big One” he called it, his run for President of the United States of America. It had been a dream of his since he won his first election as Mayor of Cincinnati more than thirty years ago and today it seemed, more than a million miles away. Since then he had been a two term Governor, a U.S. Representative for Ohio, and now a Senator and a presidential candidate. A distinguished career for sure.

“Turn the damn A/C up, it’s getting ridiculous in here!” Barked the gray haired politician. “How the hell does anyone live in this god-awful wasteland of a state?”

The heavy set assistant fumbled his fingers on the air conditioning panel for a second and replied sharply, “It’s all the way up Frank, what do you want me to do, it’s a desert and it’s the middle of July!”

After a slight pause Donald spoke up again in a more comforting tone, “Relax, the guy’s a Republican, he probably stopped off to get Baptized in a river by some freaky holy rollers with rattle snakes. You know how they are, always pandering to the religious cooks.”

“Look Don, you don’t get it do you?” Snapped the Senator. “We’re in a dead heat in this race and all the polls are showing that the public just doesn’t care about this election, if we don’t get this thing fired up then the Wall Street guys are gonna throw in a spoiler. A damned Independent! They’ve already threatened us both. Don’t forget, the Defense guy’s are ticked too, they’ve already put a lot of money into our campaigns and if the public doesn’t get fired up then they can’t make the Mexican coup a big enough deal to justify a military build up.”

Don wrapped his thick fingers around the steering wheel and tried to stretch his legs a little but with no success. After a slight grunt from being uncomfortable he replied to the Senator’s rant. “I wonder how the Mexican President is gonna feel? Here he is a legitimately elected leader and his fate is being decided in a boardroom in foreign country.”

“He’s going to wake up one morning get some breakfast and find tanks starting to roll through the streets of the capitol, and some psycho General on the TV declaring himself the new leader.” The husky advisor sighed then chuckled with his fat belly bouncing into the bottom of the steering wheel. “And how about that lunatic Garcia, sure they’re going help him take the country over but a year later he’s gonna get a bunker buster right up the nose during the liberation. I bet the General hasn’t figured that part out yet!”

The Senator whipped his head around to face Don and croaked back to him in a sarcastic voice. “Go ahead, laugh it up!”

Frank, obviously agitated, stared at his advisor in an imposing manor. “Maybe you think it’s funny, conspiracy to overthrow the democratically elected leader of a sovereign nation and replace him with a drug dealing murderer just so some corporate scum bags can justify a war. Don’t you realize that even talking about that could get me killed? I could wind up drowning in the pool tonight when we get back to the hotel. You know how they do it. Make it look like a freak accident. But believe me, you won’t walk away either, they’ll fix it so that you’re so overcome with grief that you shoot yourself in the head the next day, with a gun Don. These people don’t play games.”

Frank sometimes wondered if the people he had made alliances with would find any further need for him if he lost this election. Something that had been said to him once, a threat really, during a meeting with a very powerful corporate financier and it stuck with him always. It was like a birthmark or a scar, he could hide it, but it was always there. After warning Frank of some serious consequences for not supporting tax reform for large businesses the man ended the conversation by simply saying “after all didn’t Machiavelli say the ends justify the means”. It seemed funny almost, that comment and that conversation had turned him into a Machiavellian politician in every negative sense of the phrase you could think of. That was the first time he had decided to take money in exchange for his support in congress of a piece of legislation. It had been all down hill from there. The political games he had played earlier in his career were nothing compared to that. There’s a big difference between being bought off and doing the buying.

After a quick sigh Frank banged his fist on the dash board and decided that he was going to give this phony of a conservative ten more minutes to show then they were out of there. “Frank Pierce is not a man to be toyed with”, he kept telling himself over and over in his mind. The senator had always hated waiting and to top it off it was hot, very hot. One hundred and fourteen degrees! To him, summer was always a waste of a season. As a child he wasn’t much for sports and usually preferred to stay in doors and read. During his pubescent years he was too skinny and was embarrassed about it, a bunch of teenage girls laughed hysterically at him once when he lost his bathing suit diving into the community pool. He never forgot about that. Even in his college years he hated the summers, he was always too broke to go off to the beach or traveling Europe like his friends could. It ticked him off to no end that he would have to sit around his parents’ house for a couple months waiting for classes to start again. The only good summer Frank Pierce had was the year he met his wife. It was at a fundraiser for some now defunct charity for kids whose mothers were in jail. It was a wonderful courtship, full of romance and excitement. Unfortunately she died in a car crash sixteen years ago in August.

Minutes away, a barrowed Ford SUV was speeding through the back roads. Behind the wheel is Andrea Fulton, a tall, skinny, wire framed, blonde woman who seemed to be suffering from years of perpetual bad hair days. She is the charismatic campaign manager for the Republican Nominee David Ashe, Arizona Governor and former Actor in the hit TV show “Walking With The Angels”. Ten years on prime time television doing a character who talks to angels and helps people overcome adversity with the power of faith had given David all the positive publicity he needed to come from behind in both his gubernatorial race and now in locking up the Republican nomination for President. God Bless the folks that think you are the character you play on TV. Governor Ashe had never really wanted to go into politics but rather was forced to. Some very powerful men had helped him get into the best Ivey-League institution, even though he never did follow in his fathers foot steps and practice law, and then early in his acting career they pulled strings to get him into the right places at the right times. Now the men who had been his benefactors felt it was time to collect on their investment. That was fine with Ashe, the thought of all that power that comes with being the President and it was intoxicating to him. He didn’t care if some slick shadowy groups were pulling strings to help him out, after all didn’t Machiavelli say “the ends justify the means”? At least that was what had been said to him by his father’s favorite client after they had bought off a judge in a fraud case.

David Ashe came from a wealthy family and much had been expected of him. The pressure to live up to the expectations set by his father had been hard on him at times, especially in his youth. David never got to go gallivanting around Europe with his friends during summer breaks because his father had paid judges to allow him the “opportunity” to clerk for them. Even as far back as when he was a preteen his father had always expected performance from him, not playful games or innocent fun. It was a hard way to grow up. He rebelled after college and went to Los Angeles to become an actor. But that short time when he was doing things on his own he found himself in trouble, he had become a struggling actor and a coc aine addict, not the epitome of success his father had been buying for him before he took off for Hollywood. Since then he had come to realize that he needed guidance, he was a horse that needed to be led to water so he could drink. It was better to get to the top with some help then to die broke and unnoticed, lonely and washed up. He saw this hot summer day in Arizona as just another one of those times when someone was buying him a golden ticket rather than having to be one of those losers that’s got to go out and make things happen on their own.

Flipping his baseball cap off and adjusting his hair in the mirror in the passenger’s side visor David moaned and then spoke in an agitated tone. “I hate this crap. Hiding from media whores and private investigators out to cut the legs out from under us in this campaign.”

Andrea was quick to respond. “Relax. Quit whining. We have to be careful. You know how that machine, that arm of the liberal socialist Democrats, the so-called media is. If anyone finds out you’re meeting secretly with Pierce we’re done for. Besides, it’s better to be safe then be on the front pages entangled in some political scandal. That’s the last thing we need now. You’ve got some very powerful very ruthless people counting on the two you to make something happen here.”

“We’re gonna be late.” The governor was obviously stressed, his voice was strained a bit. “Where’d you get this truck from anyway?”

“A campaign worker.” Snapped Andrea. “She thinks it’s for some elderly volunteers to post yard signs in their mobile home parks. Moron. All of the staff in this town are morons.”

After a moment of tense silence the woman couldn’t help it, in her usual charming portrayal of the Democratic candidate she spoke. “Pierce is probably late too. He and his fat freak of nature he calls an advisor probably stopped off at a strip club for a beer and then went to a National Organization for Women rally. What a hypocrite! He wants to use your drug thing to keep us from talking about his little hooker problem. So what you used a little coc aine in the Hollywood scene. Doesn’t everyone out there? At least you don’t have a running tab with half a dozen escort agencies.”

“Well, when we get there we have got to work something out, the public is just not getting into this election.” Ashe was psyching himself up. “The Wall Street guys are getting someone lined up in case Frank and I can’t figure this thing out and the defense contractors are pushing us hard. It’s actually a good strategy when you think of it, run a spoiler to divide the public into three and then when the Mexico thing goes down make him a pro war candidate then at the last second pull him out and bingo that share of the public is going to go somewhere. Whoever has the hard line approach on Garcia gets the presidency. That is whomever they tell to have the hard line approach.”

Andrea chuckled and jokingly replied; “it’s a shame we can’t start touting a hard line Mexico policy now! I bet the Mexican President would be shocked to find out he’s going to be assassinated in a little less then three months by a drug dealing pimp General armed secretly by U.S. corporations.”

“Don’t ever joke like that!” Shouted an irate Ashe. “Just talking about it can get you killed. You don’t know what these people can do. You think Pierce and I are the only ones they own? I don’t care how much attention is on you, they will make it look like an accident, and you’ll be dead.”

“I’m sorry David!” Exclaimed Andrea. “I wasn’t thinking.”

“Yeah well watch it, I’m not going down for your stupidity.” David leaned forward in his seat. “Look, it’s behind that building, that’s where we’re supposed to meet. Turn on the recorder. If anyone tries to burn us after this meeting we won’t be without a little backup. I don’t trust Pierce to stick to what we agree on if he get too far behind in the polls.”

“Is that them in the black car back there?” Queried the campaign manager.

Meanwhile in the Cadillac the two men see the SUV pull around behind the building slowly. Don immediately speaks up. “That’s them. I can see that ladies messed up hair from here.”

“Turn the recorder on Don. I don’t trust this grease ball. I’m not letting him take advantage of me, if we agree to something then he better damned well stand by it.”

The SUV pulled up next to the rented Cadillac and the windows of both cars came down. There were no salutations, no small talk at all, the four went straight down to business. The negotiations you could call them started off with a decision on who was going to take the lead on what issues and in which states. They all agreed not to schedule any more campaign stops in the same state on the same day. Figuring out how to get the public fired up about the election took some imagination. All felt that the best way was to bring in some of the big guns from the advertising agencies. Surely their corporate friends could set up some fronts, set up special interest groups and flood them with cash and then dump hundreds of hours of television and radio ads on the public and maybe find a documentary film maker or two to whip something up quick. Pierce was the first one to slip up and mention the Mexico coup. The candidates agreed that the matter was better left for the “group”, as they referred to them, to decide when the timing was right. Both swore however that they would take it like a man and lose with dignity. That was really the only thing they could do. One was going to lose, the “group” would decide whom, and the other would have to take a less severe tone, but both would need to support some kind of military action. Towards the end of the talks the heat was becoming unbearable. All of them were anxious to wrap things up and get out of there. The final point was the drugs and hookers. The four agreed to let those two things come out in the last weeks of August. A plan was agreed upon as to how the information should be leaked and who they could use in their outside interest groups to do the deed. Both candidates would not use the others problem in any speeches or allow people inside the campaigns to use the dirt in media interviews.

Just as the meeting was finished Frank called out to David. “Hey Ashe!” Then he lifted the recording device up and waved at the Governor. “Remember, you made a deal here.”

Ashe smiled and pulled out his device and showed it to the Senator. Laughingly he shouted; “I guess great minds think alike!”

The two teams of crooked politicians and assistants drove off, heading back to their campaign routines and the rigors of running for president. All who were there felt significantly confident they were going to win and that they had the other by the throat. It was just an illusion though.

In the abandoned building outside of which they had just met a slim dark haired Latino man took off a set of headphones and began unplugging and packing up his electronics, his surveillance gear, and put it all back in the two cases he had brought with him. An audio recorder with a parabolic microphone, a video camera, and a digital still camera, pretty standard equipment really, considering how important this man’s task was.

Keying a small mobile phone number pad he placed a call to another man driving a pick-up truck several car lengths behind the Senator. “Did you get it?” He enquired.

A voice responded over the phone in a thick Mexican accent. “Si. They never realized we were behind them on the way in, and now they don’t have us behind them on the way back.”

The first man was quick to respond. “It’s lucky for us that neither of them has been given the Secret Service protection yet or we could never have been able to follow them and caught them speaking together. Was the audio device in the Cadillac functioning properly?”

“Si” the voice answered. “Beautifully, our friends were quite talkative on the way in. They’re being a little quiet now though.”

“Excellent” replied the man in the building. “Pull back, it’s time to head in. We need to get the audio from the car back to the safe house.”

With what he had just captured on audio and video the diplomats for his country could go to the U.N. and ask for help. The President could order the arrest of Garcia before the coup, and save his government from being overthrown. Countless Mexican lives could be saved. Bits of the details of the conspiracy could be leaked throughout the American press, photos of the meeting could turn up in newspapers, the Mexican government could demand the U.N. try the executives of the defense companies for their attempt to depose his leader. Patriots in the Mexican secret services, that’s what he and his partners were, the man hated the term spy. He was finishing packing up his gear and was reflecting on what the two politicians had said to each other before leaving. “The arrogance” he thought to himself. “How could they believe no one would find out about their meeting?” Now the American people would find out why the rest of the world considered them sheep, ignorant fools playing out a drama directed by wealthy shadow groups.

The operative was loading a case into his car when stopped and spoke out load to himself. “No Senator Ashe, it’s not that great minds think alike. It’s that your arrogant little..........” he paused for second.

“Ah!” He sighed. “That’s the word, your Machiavellian minds think alike!”

[edit on 8-3-2005 by worldwatcher]

posted on Aug, 3 2005 @ 07:10 PM
wonderfully well written story. Your imagery of the hot and dusty desert had me reaching for my water as I read
The shady meeting, the conspiracy, all well planned and executed in well flowing, easy reading, intelligent manner. Very well done. Congratulations

posted on Aug, 3 2005 @ 08:59 PM
Coulda used more sex. Maybe a desperate housewife, or a repressed college girl. Her illicit affair draws her into a dark world of treachery, betrayel, and sex, sex, sex! Killing and sleeping with the enemy for your country, that sort of thing. Think "True Lies" meets "Scarecrow & Mrs King". Then throw Fabio into the middle of it. Bored houswife meets 007 is just surefire. Oh yeah, and she should get to shoot her ex. Women love that sort of thing.

Seriously, great story. I'm just clowning around. I gotta live up to my name.

[edit on 3-8-2005 by GrandCourtJester]

posted on Aug, 4 2005 @ 10:10 AM
I'm so glad that people liked this story. I wasn't sure about it when I posted it and felt it needed more tweaking. What a shock that it took 2nd place. Thank you so much.

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