Don’t be fooled by love songs and lonely hearts.

Two hands together shaping a heart.

His secretary had told him about a phone call waiting at his desk. The academic bureaucracy bulges from an important American university may prove to be unique and not even found in lesser relevant counterparts throughout the world.

“Just one more minute, sir,” said the secretary.

The Recruiter didn’t really know who was on the other end of the line. Some little curiosity about finding out who the caller really was and what the subject was about ran through his spirit.

Nothing too surprising, after all. It was The Flamboyant who waited patiently for his personal friend and former member of his government.

“What fair winds bring you here, my dear friend ?!,” said The Recruiter.

“Things are not going as expected,” replied The Flamboyant.

“Something to worry about?!,” asked The Recruiter again.

“It depends on how you see things.”

“Well, well, well … then … time to spill the beans!”

The Flamboyant was foppish and haughty enough to see his nobility and academic background wallowing in slander. Even though the most recent news involving Banestado third layer list were somewhat publicised, the Umbrella Deal couldn’t go the same way: that issue in skilful hands would throw abysmal quantities of kerosene into an already high flame bonfire.

“I think you may have heard of Swiss Kiss and his twentieth-class web programme, Double Express.”

“Roughly,” replied The Recruiter.

“So, he quoted the name of that journalist who has a copy of that document.”

“All right… but… what is the implication ?!”

“What do you mean … implication?! That was an agreement which brings on a half-century agenda for assuring the commitment of any forthcoming governance in the privatization of any national strategic asset in the country, upon any economic resources!”

“Pardon me, my dear friend, but I can’t see the point.”

“Are you fine?!”

The Recruiter was well aware of the problem to come. However, one of the golden rules of all the training he had received was not to reel the blow when things got off track.

“I thought you were a more political animal, if I make myself clear,” said The Recruiter.

“I believe you want me to live the rest of my life in Paris, as far as I can understand.”

“I still don’t understand the point …”

“… what part of the sentence you haven’t learnt yet?! If the population gets on this bandwagon, I presume your control and influence disappear even if The Scold becomes the new president.”

Not having The Scold as a loyal squire to the point of losing a possible return to presidential affairs seemed, in fact, not to be a good deal. The request to approach The Swarf for a possible reconciliation with a view to an old-school style left-wing reunion worked well — even with all the differences at that moment — in order to bring some hope to that side of the table. The next step would be to deter The Scold from his fierce ambition of being the next president.

The panorama could be seen as regulated by a juristocracy which no longer had The Starlet in the main role. In fact, it was unclear whether the same judiciary move that prevented The Swarf from being a presidential candidate would be welcomed by the public opinion.

The Swarf and The Scold side-by-side, shaking hands and pretending to seal better fates in a near future calmed the left-wing, giving hope a room for necessary temperance towards success in other electoral experiences: the great question was cui bono?!

“You even said, in an interview, that “(…) a president cannot always do everything he wants to (…)”,” said The Recruiter.

“What you don’t understand is that, this time, the situation is different. This can reach too many parties. The party I belong to, for example, would not interest anyone else for a coalition. Do you really know what that would mean in terms of having more room for maneuvering ?! “

“This is not a problem. There are many parties …”

“… I think it’s a problem …,” said The Flamboyant.

“… it seems to me that your concern is more to keep your name clean, away from the common shootings in politics.”

“I also don’t want to believe that your innocence has reached that point,” replied The Flamboyant. “The juristocracy has little stock and poor range to cope with a more popular clamour of the streets. If this wave of the Umbrella Deal unfolds upon whoever is on the way, the best scenario would be of turning it into a political ban only. The Umbrella Deal can draw a high treason portrait on people’s unconsciousness. We were supposed to meet an ingenious arrangement for not ending up in jail. “

“I can’t see the point of your concern. Watch The Swarf: he’s been serving until a few months ago, and even in the jail he operated whatever within reach.”

“But he is still seen as a working-class hero. It’s not my case, a lecturer with Ph.D. in French universities. I am in the opposite field if we bear in mind just the voters’ tastes: seems I’m in trouble all the way.”

“But the Deal was fulfilled by all the presidents after you. Including him.”

The question was not, for a large part of the population, whether he had done the noisome job of handing the country’s resources over to the interests of transnational finance. What The Recruiter needed to understand is that the document was signed by The Banker, The Recruiter himself and him: the kick-off for the country’s dilapidation took place during his term, having his friend on the other end of the line as a guarantor of that crookery.

“I ask you to calm down. There are times when having a good heart does not help that much.”

The Recruiter perhaps had the mission of bringing to power a new president able to produce a sort of discourse for the workers and most helpless at the same time he would never say no to the destructive and anti-national interests of transactional finance.

The Umbrella Deal was by far a very clear sign that the scoundrels won unapologetically.

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Marcelo Rayel Correggiari

Marcelo Rayel Correggiari

Novelist & translator, author of “Areias Lunares” (short-story reunion) and “O Verão no Café Atlântico” (novel.) Blogger & columnist. From/In Santos, Brazil.