Marlon’s day had begun at six in the morning but it wasn’t until shortly before eleven that he was finally ushered through the West Wing to the hallowed space of the Oval Office.
Hunter J. Stirling, riding a tsunami of liberal backlash from a protracted conservative regime, was the most popular President since popularity pollsters had been popping champagne corks.
“Take a seat,” he said, offering Marlon his hand. “I have an appointment at eleven.”
“Thank you sir,” Marlon said.
What an insult… dragging you all this way for a five minute meeting.
Who does he think he is?
“Mr Sands, I know about your operation in India. I’ve called you here because I need to know what instructions you have from the Committee.”
Marlon immediately launched into his prepared speech -
“Well, there’s a young Australian over there who…”
“I know about the young Australian.”
“But the sadhus want him to…”
“I know about the sadhus, Mr Sands,” the President said, tapping his pen impatiently on the desk.
If he knows everything why is he asking you?
“Sir… we’ve tried to deal with this in the least invasive way.”
“What you’ve done doesn’t interest me,” the President said dismissively. “I’m only interested in your instructions from the Committee.”
Be careful … this is what they warned you about.
“I suppose this conversation is being recorded,” Marlon said, hopefully changing the subject.
“You’re the expert, Mr Sands,” the President said, smiling cynically. “Perhaps I should be asking you?”
“Well,” Marlon shrugged. “You can never be sure, can you sir?”
“Not really. But as elected President of my country… I would like to think I’d know when my own office was recording me.”
“It’s just a switch.”
“And let’s say, for the moment, it is not on.”
“So then – what are your instructions from the Committee?”
“I’ve been told to monitor the situation.”