After he left I sat at the desk for a while, compiling my own list. Then I used my secure connection to call on my people. Special people. Those I keep for emergencies.
We covered the town all right. There was that nice homemaker with a pretty daughter and a hint for cookies. There was that dashing barber and cosmetics sweetheart who did miracles with the nails of the local wealthy matrons. And of course, there was that hot redhead, always surrounded by a group of youngsters drooling like puppies when they see the bone.
We took care so that the ladies always had the freshest news about our friend, the PM. The two older ones provided the gossip. The younger one was up for the feedback. We analyzed every detail.
All went cool for a year. Then our PM hit the papers hard. He refused the foreign aid package, denounced the WTO and proclaimed national resources a communal property and off- limits to the privatization. I got a call from the redhead right away, "The Lamborghini is mad."
That Lamborghini belonged to the son of the wealthiest man in town. The guy profited hugely from selling natural resources. Now he was pissed off and naturally, the good girl learned everything during the thrilling drives with the young punk. Mad, huh? The tycoon was not on the list. But his wife was. And the PM was coming to visit his family in two weeks. So, we assessed our options. A week before the visit an unfortunate incident happened to the Italian motor beauty. The car had developed problems with the brakes and ran into a ditch so deep that it was badly damaged. Nobody got hurt. When our rich guy heard about it he rushed to the scene on his truck. The road was slippery and he was speeding. The truck capsized and our man had to get a lot of stitches plus a concussion which kept him in bed while the PM concluded his visit. It went like a charm. To our amazement the PM even visited the poor bastard and they had a long private talk. On his way back the PM stopped at the barber shop and asked about the service. On the next day we received another stash of cash. A bonus. That was the day when the forest fires started.
In two days the town was surrounded by smoke. Smoke filled on the main square and crept through the streets. There was no way to protect anyone. That's when the three kids disappeared. Vanished into the smoke. The people rose to the occasion; they organized a firefighter brigade, patrols, etc. The whole town stayed awake 24 hours a day.. We, of course could not keep those kids for long. They had a time of their lives with animals for three days and by that time the fire was extinguished and the streets cleaned. That's when a rugged farmer came with the kids and the story on how he found them in the woods and brought them as far away from the fire as possible. No big deal, really. But we never found out who started the fires.
I woke up in six months on the night of a coup. Apparently, it all started sporadically which meant a lot of money involved. Then the generals moved in with the demands. And of course, you need plenty of money to send a Special Forces brigade to the hometown of the leader while he is blocked in the capital and refuses to surrender. Special Forces kill people. Lots of people.
The helicopters with the gear and the load of camouflaged warriors landed at the city perimeter and on the town squares. They found no people. The postings on the walls announced mandatory evacuation because of the dangerous gas leak. When the murderers and their foreign--speaking counselors gathered back at the places of landing after the first sweep and started their lunch, the main building collapsed right on them. That coincided with the series of powerful explosions right under their feet. The helicopters at the perimeter were all firebombed at the same moment. The whole thing took no more than an hour. And five hours more it took the PM to convince the generals to surrender. It was all over once again and no good people got hurt.
Our employer visited us again. He hadn't changed much.
"We do not protect the property." I said.
"The property was not on the list. The people were. You exceeded my expectations."
" How so?"
"You protected all of them. Even those not on the list."
"And they will never know."
"Oh, they knew, all right."