Truth To Power

Entry by: Tauren

3rd March 2017
Gary slipped the key into the ignition, giving it a half turn. As he reached for the seatbelt the radio burst to life, “Gardai are still searching for information on the group calling itself the GRP, the new terrorist organisation that destroyed four electricity substations with explosives in the early hours of yesterday morning. A Garda spokesperson said that they have not as yet made any inroads in their inquiries. In related news the four large industrial estates adjacent to the ruined substations are still without power and expect to be for……”

“Cretins,” Gary said as he clicked the belt home.

“That’s a little unkind,” a man`s voice announced from the seat behind him.

“Jesus,” a startled Gary blurted, turning to see who had spoken, then stopped when he felt something cold and hard pressed against his neck.

“Ah, ah, ah,” the voice said, “eyes forward if you don’t mind.”

Gary turned back to face the windscreen, “I don’t have much money, take whatever…..”

“This isn’t a robbery,” the voice told him; and then as if to contradict himself said, “Your phone please?” a gloved hand appearing by his left shoulder.

Gary picked up his mobile from the cubby in front of the armrest, moving cautiously in case the other man might shoot him if he made any sudden movements.

He handed it to his invisible assailant, “listen I….”

“Pin?” the man said. Repeating his request when Gary didn’t answer; punctuating the demand by jabbing his neck with the muzzle of the pistol, adding, “Blood is very hard to remove from fabric you know.”

“2957,” Gary told him.

“Do me a favour," the man said, "turn that off, I can`t stand U2.” Bono`s wailing about, how he still hadn’t found what he was looking for, bled from the cars speakers. Gary clicked the radio off, his captor`s on again off again politeness confusing him.

He heard the “tick, tick, tick, tick,” as the man input the unlocking code, a long moment of silence, then the hand reappeared, dropping the mobile onto the front passenger seat. Gary risked a sideways glance and was surprised to see the voice recorder was active, the red light flashing to indicate it was taping, what the hell, he thought.

As if reading his mind the man said, "I have the scoop of a lifetime, and it`s all yours."
When Gary didn`t respond he said, “Well, time to go.”

“Go?” asked Gary “go where?”

“The radio station of course,” the man said, “you are going to work aren’t you?”

“You want me to take you to RebelFm?” a puzzled Gary said.

“Well not all the way,” the man said, then he chuckled, “I never go all the way on a first date.”

When Gary still didn’t start the car, he felt the nudge of the gun again, “Chop, chop,” his captor said, “I`m on a tight schedule.”

As they exited the driveway, Gary looking left and right in the vain hope of spotting a Guard, typical, he thought, never around when you need them; he said, “If you wanted an interview you could`ve simply called in?”

“I`m afraid that wasn’t feasible,” the man said, affable again. “Keep it under the limit, we don’t want to get pulled over for speeding now do we?”

Gary had been thinking that would be just what he needed. The man, as if reading his thoughts said in a casual tone, “It`d be a shame if I had to kill you… and anyone else we happened across.”
Gary slowed to under the 50km limit, “You want to tell me what this is about?” he asked.

“I`m with the GRP,” the man told him.

Gary felt a chill sweep his skin. “What does that stand for? GRP I mean.”

“Government that Represents the People,” man replied, “a bit of a mouthful I know, but I wasn’t on the naming committee. We want the Government to look after the people, not the rich multinationals; after all we pay the taxes, seems fair don’t you think?”

Gary didn’t answer, instead asking, “So what is it you want?”

By way of reply a white A4 envelope landed with a slap on the seat next to his phone, “Our demands,” the man said, then abruptly switched tack, asking, “Do you know what`s wrong with terrorists?”

For a confused moment Gary wasn’t sure whether it was a rhetorical question or not, “Huh?” he said.

“Terrorists,” the man repeated, “what`s wrong with them, do you know?”

Gary, in an insane moment of courage said, “Well you`re one, you tell me?”

The man laughed, “I`m not a terrorist, I`m a freedom fighter. You do know the difference, don’t you?”

When Gary shook his head the man said, “I`m a freedom fighter, you`re a terrorist,” and laughed again. “No but seriously, do you know what`s wrong with terrorists?”

When Gary said, “They`re all crazy?” the man sighed. “No, the problem with terrorists is they don’t understand the rules of the game.”

“Game?” Gary said, “This is a game to you?”

“Life is a game,” the man told him, “the problem is, too many people think it`s a spectator sport. But back to terrorists; you see to win the game you must understand your opponent, and that`s where they keep falling down, terrorists think like people, not like governments.”

“But wait, governments are people, governments are full of people.” Gary protested.

“True, but governments don’t think like people, they think like corporations, because they are, corporations I mean.”
“Look,” he said, sounding a little exasperated, “terrorist’s kill people because that’s what they think are important, because they too are people. But governments don’t care about people, because they`re not, people that is.”

“I`m sure any politician would say that they`re very concerned about people,” Gary said.

“Oh sure politicians say they care, but words are cheap. The IRA spent more than thirty years bombing and killing thousands of people, and what did the Brits do… nothing. Then all of a sudden in the nineties they started negotiating, and do you know why?”

“Different prime minister?” guessed Gary.

“Please?” the man said, “It was because the IRA finally hit a target the government cared about, Canary Wharf. They finally threatened the money, and that got the governments attention. Oh now they needed a solution, and hey presto we had the Good Friday Agreement, just like that.” There was the sound of snapping fingers from the rear of the car.

“Come on, are you telling me that governments don’t care about the voters?”

“Of course they do, right before election time, but for the other four years…. Okay, alright, after the crash who did the governments rush to help? The people who lost their jobs and their houses, or the banks that caused the crisis. Who got bailed out? Did they quadruple the national debt to help out John Q public or pay off the gambling debts of the rich? You know what they say; debts are nationalised, profits are privatised.”

Gary said nothing.

The man began to rant, "Oh yeah, they`ll borrow 140 billion to bail out the banks, but help out people who couldn’t pay their mortgages, Christ no, all of a sudden that`d be a Moral Hazard, couldn’t have the little people thinking they`re worth saving, we might get ideas above our station.” Gary twitched as the muzzle of the gun jabbed him in the neck, he didn’t think the man was even aware he was doing it.

“Look, calm down,” he said, nervous he might accidentally pull the trigger. “We`re all pissed off, but there`s nothing we can do about it.”

“Oh but that’s where you`re wrong,” the man said, “there`s plenty we can do, we can strike back; yesterday was just the start, a taster. Start small, shut down a few businesses at first, build from there, dismantle the infrastructure brick by brick, threaten to bring the whole thing down if they don’t give us what we want.”

“And what do you want?”

“I told you, Government that puts the people first; do things for us for a change.”

“Things," Gary asked, "such as?”

“Well stop fighting against taking the taxes Apple owes for a start, sixteen billion would go a long way. Laws against white collar crime, real laws, that are enforced, and a special investigations office, with real teeth to go after them, that sort of thing. You know what Bernie Madoff’s big mistake was?”

Gary shook his head.

“Madoff’s mistake was that he ran his scheme in America. If he`d pulled that stunt here he`d never have seen the inside of a courtroom, never mind a prison cell. Say what you like about the Yanks, but they don’t care how rich you are, you break the law, they will take you down.”

“Wait, you`re telling me you want to break the law to make the government enforce the law; you do know how crazy that sounds?”

“The key,” the man went on, as if Gary had never spoken, “is not to kill people, that only makes the public angry; but bring the economy to its knees, that`ll grab the attention of the great and the good.”

He tapped Gary on the shoulder, “This is good for me, pull over here.”

As he pulled over, Gary could see the entrance to the radio station a few hundred metres up the road on the right.

The man checked his watch, “One last thing,” he said, one hand on the door-handle. “We`ve planted a few bombs on some buses around the country.”

A startled Gary gasped, “You`ve what?”

“Just listen,” the man said, “and you`ll be a hero. They`re set to arm in,” he checked his watch again,” fifteen minutes frommm……. Now. They`re GPS activated; if the buses they`re on are still moving, then it all gets very messy. We`ve already warned the boys in blue, but you`ve got access to the airwaves, you can warn everybody. Tell them to stay away from public transport, besides I wouldn’t put it past the bastards not to let the bombs go off.”

“But, but that`ll cause chaos,” Gary said, “They`ll have to stop the buses where they are, they`ll have to close nearly every road in the country, nothing will be able to move until……” he trailed off.

“Now you`re getting it,” the man said, patting him on the shoulder, and Gary was sure he heard a smile in his voice.

Gary didn’t look around when the interior light came on as the door opened. No longer interested in identifying the man, he was too focused on getting to the station. Already formulating what he`d broadcast, who to contact, this would have to be nationwide. He was so consumed with his own thoughts that he never saw the Volvo as he pulled away from the kerb; it swerved around him, horn blaring.

The man waited until he saw Gary`s brake lights come on as he turned into the stations car-park, then jogged across the road to the waiting navy Hi-ace with its engine running.
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