When the french republic cheats... come here you will know all.
|Hello ! welcome to the country of President Loubet and Human Rights.
Republic-5, Chapter 1
The old house is full of dust and people. The mother, Louise-Madeleine Potteur, not very old, quite cheerful and rather large, is seated. She wears a large silk robe, also covered with dust. Her son, very young, enters the room. He points the finger at the ceiling, which is red. In the centre, there is a fixation for a chandelier. Focusing on this fixation, a round of elves was painted: they are dressed in elves clothes made in sailing of course, but blue and white sailing only, that float in the wind. This is a very old representation of elves, a very, very rare fresco, probably a prehistoric one. In places, the clay support is more than flushing but we should not touch it: that's why that everyone lives in the dust. The administration has always said that the sacrifice is justified.
In the next room, fifteen enemy soldiers have been installed. They arrived here not a long time ago. There are many others like them in the country. At Basseville-on-Earth, the least well informed persons only realize that there is no way to chat with "them": they are among the most cruel that history has known. While those of the regular army, who often asked just to stay at home, they understand! And even the old soldiers, officers, who came already here from almost thirty years, are back to their old habits, vocabulary seems even to be back ... they already know the country!
But Louise-Madeleine Potteur does not know who is sociable and who is not. She must provide for the needs of the household and farm.
She keeps her distance from the enemies of her country even if the authorities, confirming their guilty complacency of pre-war years, and anticipating that of the post-war, adopt a different attitude. For the young widow, things are clear: "we are obliged to comply with the crazy will of our winners. The fact remains that history shows enough their cruelty, their insatiable and mad need for territorial expansion and their willingness to dominate the world. All their actions are guided by this book and this doctrine which show, among other things, their hatred and their desire to destroy Christianity. "
This afternoon, the city council met. Mr Potteur was a member until his death, but since women still not have the right to vote, Louise-Madeleine Potteur will be elected only in a few years. Then, she will be the first woman municipal councillor of Basseville. Henri Lepape, municipal councillor and a great friend of her husband that come say hello after the meetings.
Today, he announces that his son Raymond will get married. The date has been set: it will be the five-August this year 1942. He marries Elise Martin, a high school friend of her sister, Martine. Louise-Madeleine Potteur knows a little the parents of Elise, but she knows them by Martine Lepape has insisted from Elise to accept his invitation to Basseville: she absolutely wanted to make her meet Raymond. And the marriage was decided, even though Elise, initially had wanted to refuse Martine invitation and her bad blows! Of course, Raymond, who was scheduled to takeover his parents’ farm, this is now impossible: it would be difficult for the new married not to settle in Elise home, who is only daughter and only heir of his father who owned a beautiful farm a few tens of kilometers from here. Raymond could not operate Basseville-on-Earth farm at the same time as that of Elise: Never mind, Henri and Marthe, the Lepape parents say : our youngest son, Luc, has a taste for farm work and he begins to help efficiency. Of course, for Raymond, this is not ideal to marry now, in the current situation of the country : nobody can say how things are to evolve! Nevertheless, Mr Lepape is really excited about this marriage, he finds his future daughter-in-law, Elise, charming!
The five in August 1942 has arrived, families Lepape and Martin entered the town hall. Louise-Madeleine Potteur has come out of friendship for the family Lepape. She is hardly arrived when a person she knows well addresses her and asks:
-- Then, Ms. Potteur is it true that among the soldiers who are at home, there is one called Auto? But why did his parents call him Auto?
Not the mayor will celebrate the marriage but his second promayor, Adrien Boutel. He came to settle not long ago in Basseville-on-Earth, just before the last elections and he was immediately elected. We must recognize that almost everybody trusts him: he is playful and, despite his young age, knows to be reassuring for the most humble. René himself, the mayor, introduced Adrien Boutel to his clients to help him start business. Louise-Madeleine Potteur wonders nonetheless if it is cautious to be so enthusiastic about this Boutel who does not really inspire her confidence, even if she does not accuse him of doing anything.
The civil marriage of Raymond and Elise has been celebrated and the young couple should be lovely because Adrien Boutel was unable to retain a small tear once the legal forms of marriage was pronounced!
Before leaving the town hall for the church, neighbours and friends who arrived last greet the newlyweds and family. Many are trying to talk to Raymond, the child of the country they will see less often:
-- So, Raymond, you leave us like that? asks his old neighbour.
-- Yes, but it's for a good cause!
-- And you are going to change your habits, I mean for the job.
-- Ah! Yes, this is not breeding there, it's gardening. At my age, you can still fit!
After the civil wedding, every body has joined the church. The religious marriage of Raymond and Elise is now complete. On leaving the church, the wedding is going to the barn in which the meals must be held. Louise-Madeleine Potteur presents all its wishes to the young couple and then exchange a few words with the parents of one and the other before returning home where the work of the day is ahead.
On the way back, she thinks of these young people who start a new life. She wished them not to know the tests by which she is passed: the loss of her first child, ten days, then the death of her husband two months before the birth of her second child, Frederic, this little boy she is raising alone and who is her sole reason for living. And, for over a year now, she must accept to see his house largely occupied by the army, not the regular army but these kinds of barbaric commandos, including the famous Otto she has no other choice but to bear the soldiers who have settled in her home! She has come to with the idea that life down here is a way of the cross and it gives meaning to what has not!
Today, the weather is awful, it has been raining a lot from the morning while it was a wonderful time these days. Perhaps it is not surprising, because neither among Lepape, nor among Martin, no one has thought to bear the Clares eggs! Is this an additional consequence of this neglect: Mr. Martin, the father of the bride, walking folded in half since this morning and there is talk of transport to the hospital because this strongly resembles a crisis of appendicitis. Nevertheless, the fest takes place gaily: children running around tables, not surprisingly, Martine, nineteen years, Raymond's sister, is mounted on a table and danced with a kind of banana skins belt around the waist.
The fest is also an opportunity to address serious subjects: the youngest son Lepape, Luc, 18, recently attending a maiden of Basseville-on-Earth, Sophie Popa. Henri Lepape, which has always appreciated Sophie, is delighted and looking forward to a new marriage, even if we can wait: Sophie's parents are not farmers, it goes without saying that the young couple would take over the family farm. Martine not breathe a word but she can not admit to see Luc married and settled in Basseville. She will never accept that he lives in the family home! In the first year of mathematics in Paris, she had tied Irene friendship, a classmate who, once she is graduated doctor, hopes to pursue a career as a researcher in a research laboratory. Martine would prefer to see Luc married with her and exiled to Paris but Irene guesses rear thoughts behind Martine’s invitation to Basseville. Martine does not give up easily and thinks that nothing is lost. Finally, today, she prefers to think of Raymond’s marriage only.
Fifty years later, Martine’s projects for his brother Luc have failed long ago. To the great delight of his father, he married in 1948, with Sophie. Both have taken over the parents’ farm and live in the family home. Martine has married with someone who lived far from here. She is living with him it is not clear where. Raymond, the eldest brother, is still married to Elise, they have several children, but the youngest was barely born when they had to abandon farming, Raymond did not used to gardening. It is fifty years since he left Basseville-on-Earth, fifty years since he was married by Boutel. The latter, now aged seventy-one years, has developed its grip on the town. His popularity with a big third of the population seems unshakable. He knows that what from the outset is his strength is the art with which he is capable to seduce, inspire confidence, many, especially in its female public, are unable to resist his charm and his great sensitivity. Thus, it is not uncommon to see him wipe his eyes when the emotion is overwhelming! This sensitive soul masks an iron fist and the core of its fans understood that we could count on him to betray. You can really trust him, you can count on him for what involves betrayal! This flexibility to juggle the basic moral standards is essential for him to get out of the most difficult situations he caused.
For over fifty years, no matter if you appreciate him or not, you can see him struggle to its affairs and those of the council and administration are unanimous in admitting that not only Boutel is at home in the prefecture but that his relations with the new prefect, Aposs, could not be better. It must be said that his secretary of city hall, dubbed "the beautiful lady" throughout Basseville is an effective intermediary with the prefecture.
Like Boutel, but probably with more cumbersome manners, Aposs treats his image in the press. Not a prefect, since we have, and we already have got a lot of them, has done as much talk about him in the local newspaper about his family or anecdotes of his suffering to live away from his three sons. It is not known but what he is sure: this behaviour hides something.
Boutel, in turn, forces on humanitarian: he knows that this pays. In recent years, he began to communicate on the theme of Parawi, a small country in southern Africa ravaged by AIDS. His major project is, he says, to create, for parawiens, therefore for Parawi, a museum on the pre-colonial parawy statuary. But some find the string a little to big. They have understood it is just propaganda. They doubt the ability of Boutel to be moved for anything other than financial matters or, possibly, issues of women.
Critics are increasingly numerous: many accuse him of agitation for trivial matters while the Parawi health situation is catastrophic. But he prefers to remain deaf, ignore criticism, saying that parawiens will be fully happy when they will be given back their culture, which is entirely summarized in the carvings of the previous century, because one can not have a future if he does not know his past.
After a very long and praising article on the zeal Boutel deploys for Parawi, the local newspaper communicates the references of the account that the pseudo-patron opened under the name of Boutel at the Bank to receive donations from the public wishing to participate in financing the museum (which nobody will see, at least in Basseville-on-Earth.)
The shrugs of the opposition undermine unconditional support which Boutel enjoys among its many supporters. This loud popularity and the impatience of some of his team-mates encourage him in early 1992 to engage in a project that surfaced regularly. André Anquetot, forty-four years, and Clementine Fachaud, thirty seven, push him to invest in a large project. In addition, population, fairly old, has no big income, distractions are rare and two or three banquets a year would be welcomed. There is a real demand for a hall.
Boutel’s opponents are wary : from the outset, the hall draft, appears excessive. They are led by Pierre Dutoit, seventy-two years.
Like Boutel, Pierre Dutoit is not a native of Basseville-on-Earth: he was born in a town nearby. However, he had cousins in Basseville and throughout his childhood, he came to spend his holidays with them. Thus, he can say he has always known the people here, and vice versa. It is a truth that he likes to recall, especially with the approach of elections.
When old of less than twenty-five years, Dutoit went out of the war with a small fortune made in the milk producers cooperative system. During the years that followed, he made some very nice operations in trade with Russia. He recently tried a few launches of products in supermarkets. Dutoit is reluctant to pay taxes, particularly local taxes. But the most hard on the finances issue is Marcel Pifon, sixty two years, for which Dutoit has an immense contempt! Pifon knows it, but he laughs, honor and him, it's both.
The fact is that Pierre Dutoit and Marcel Pifon have already convinced their team, including Philippe Lepape, the youngest son of Luc and Sophie Popa, who was born in 1957.
The family Lepape has a deep aversion towards Boutel since the latter threatened, thirty years ago, the former mayor, René, "throw him outside his house," according to his own words. With the arrival of a Boutel Basseville-on-Earth, just twenty years, this brave René had yet immediately taken him a little under his protection, helping him to create his company. Unfortunately, a few years later, he went so far as to accept mortgaging his house to finance a company Boutel wanted to create.
He then felt Almighty. He made a mounting surely not quite legal, but with the support he had in the prefecture, and therefore among judges, he knew he could do all that he wanted. He created other companies, interwoven, as well as the first, in each other, so it was impossible to follow the movements of funds. He then liquidated the first company, which benefited of the mortgage Boutel had got from René. Only when René saw the company into liquidation he understood his recklessness. But he was so ashamed that he did everything to prevent the case from being known. Finally, his house was not sold, Boutel chose to forgo at the last moment. But the bandit did not stop this blows.
He also made another person of Basseville loose five hundred thousand francs : by deception, he then preferred to leave the town! The motivations of Philippe Lepape to oppose the new plans of the mayor are very different from those of Dutoit and Pifon but his agreement with them on the objective is total. All three, with three other members of the opposition, looking for ears attentive to everything concerning the evils of Boutel. When they meet, they explain that if he achieves this draft multi-purpose hall, the town, which has hardly no own stable resources, will begin in expenditure without commensurate with its capabilities.
It is almost a month since Pifon, Philippe and a few others warned the inhabitants of Basseville-on-Earth against this construction, which not only prohibits any other project for over ten years, but deny funding to maintain the municipal buildings.
This zeal has not escaped their opponents. Knowing that Dutoit is moving for a week, Boutel asked the beautiful lady, to immediately send invitations to advisers to reunite in four days, 14 February 1992. Mayor prefers deliberate on the hall outside the presence of Dutoit.
The Council is meeting. It must, among other things, vote on the preliminary draft construction of the multipurpose hall. Boutel opens the meeting. Although the meeting takes place outside working hours, the beautiful lady, wishing to make service, assured the meeting secretariat. The advisers will be able to follow the proceedings without having to take notes. Some issues are addressed, ordinary matters which do not raise particularly serious discussion. The agenda provides for a deliberation on the draft multi-purpose hall. Boutel then presents the architect he himself has chosen: we already know him, he is the son of the corner’s hairdresser, he was in high school with Boutel’s children and has an office near here.
To preserve the appearance of impartiality, Boutel will not hesitate to submit him subsequently as "a Parisian architect." True, he also has an office in Paris.
-- Mr Boutel, Philippe Lepape intervenes, we would have liked to see other projects, choose between several architects.
-- You will be content of what you’re proposed, you snotty kid! Come on, let’s continue. Go ahead, you show them your model, you're here for that.
The team-mates of Boutel, ie André Anquetot, Caroline Caramel, Clementine Fachaud, Dominique Bernic, Julien Lardoise, Séverine Boutant, Ludovic Lucien and Mérovée Archi show no surprise: obviously, they are all in field of knowledge, with this project. André Anquetot and Clementine Fachaud even seem to anticipate what the architect is going to say : he shows great reserve and misses much confidence in himself. Philippe Lepape, Pifon and others, ie Michel Degal, Sylvain Dégour and Arthur Latour goggle and wonder if they one day will see in Basseville-on-Earth what they see presently in model! Faced with expressions of their total disapproval, André Anquetot can’t help taking the place of the architect, who does not ask for better.
-- Me, Adrien, Clementine and the Committee on work, on whose behalf I speak, we want to run the town, that is sleeping. As there is cash on hand, with everything that has been set aside for years for maintenance of municipal buildings, one can see big and we said that, left to build, we should think about the future, the youth and we considered that tennis was not a bad thing.
Philippe Lepape can not let this pass without comment:
-- Tennis, yet your shit. But you've already made the coup, Boutel and you, when the town bought your field: at the time you sang a similar song on the foot. (He remembers, even if he did not follow municipal affairs ... but Frederic, his father told him so often) Basseville needed a football field to and there was no better one than your field. But it was already a lease that there was no team here and I have always had to six kilometres to go play, because there was no way to play football here!
Still, your field, you still managed to sell it to the town for football, and if, for deliberation, you did not add your voice to those of others, it is because we would have forbidden it: we would have cancelled the debate and you knew that. And now you dig out something as bogus ... But it is still using your field, which is idle since the city council bought it thee!
-- Lepape, shut up! Let André express himself, Boutel screams.
-- We need a hall, I thought you were ok, Philippe! The new construction must have about a thousand square metres of influence on the ground. We have scheduled two rooms: one, very well, where you can take small banquets, for the third age or agricultural association, for example. There will be a kitchen to prepare for any side on the spot, with stoves, refrigerators and everything and all, and even a dishwasher and a small sink to do dishes. But for associations, the room next door, which is very large and should be studied more specifically for tennis, will be perfect for meals gathering three or four hundred people. We will even offer you to vote to request a study from "Mathurin Security Consultants"
-- No, "Mathurin Security Consultants," you know them well. You boozed? Sylvain Dégour launches.
-- Shut up. Go, Andre, continues, it drags!
-- So, we will ask them a study to see what the texts say on security there. If you install dozens of large tables to serve meals to hundreds of people, it should not be the same constraints, the level of emergency exits, than if you organize sports events where people stand.
Our goal, to me, Clementine and the entire team is that everyone is content,
-- Go! Enough, we vote.
For Boutel, the fuss of debate has lasted on long enough and the draft, or rather the preliminary draft, is adopted with the votes of the majority and some of the opposition.
Boutel declares the meeting over and does not yet give a date for the next meeting.
Throughout this time, far from Basseville-on-Earth and its proposed multi-purpose hall, another story continues.
The fifteen enemy soldiers who had settled in the small room at Louise-Madeleine Potteur are gone. This will soon be fifty years. One of them at least did not returned home: the quality of its know-how, striking at an so young individual, had been spotted by some advisers of the new administration. In the chaos that followed the end of the occupation, it was not uncommon for the services of the state, starting with the prefectorial, to seek to use for their advantage the talents of enemies or those that 'they officially described as collabos. Thus, the soldier Otto, twenty-five years, found himself consultant for RIBT (Republican Institute for Barbouzes Training.) Today, he still works for them and we do not see in the name which principle we would find anything to object. He always demonstrated all the qualities that one can expect from a servant of the state. In line with the commitments, he has never been guilty of the lesser retention of knowledge. His activity is to start a mission in the departments where his skills are required: it must of course, contractually, keep himself abreast of technological developments, but little has been done in his field since his initial training. At more than seventy-years he has acquired a highly sophisticated knowledge of that country that will finally not scored him the smallest hostility.
Does Otto still thinks occasionally of Basseville-on-Earth?
It has been more than two months since the city council accepted the preliminary draft of multi-purpose hall: at the request of Mr. Boutel, the lovely lady has sent invitations to the council members. They will meet on April 30, 1992: she can free herself tonight and ensure the volunteer secretariat of the meeting. The agenda is quite heavy and includes a point that should have been treated on February 14 but the architect had spoken too quietly to Mr. Boutel and the issue had passed the trapdoor, which will later look like a sign of destiny.
Thus, the council is meeting to decide, among other things, a cultural investment to integrate the project of the hall. The artist is present. For solidarity with the people suffering in Africa, Boutel and him propose a wild animals trap and they expose the draft of the "work of solidarity with the suffering populations of Africa". The artist laboriously tries to stoop to the level of audience:
-- We dig a big hole in the grass, on the left the path to the hall. This hole may, for example, measure ten cubic meters. All my art is to hide the hole and piles who will fit it. This requires a perfect knowledge of wild animals trap. I propose a system which is totally invisible, moreover, has the advantage to get back up instantly after operation and resume its original appearance of grass as innocent as the one that covers the rest of the field.
The population, too protected by standards in all areas, must learn to coexist with danger: only when a car falls into a port should it make a story, and more!
Among those who are shocked, only Dutoit is able to take the floor:
-- It is monstrous! This wild animals trap is not intended to capture lions or tigers but honest citizens of Basseville-on-Earth or around! The project will not pass, will never be accepted by the administration since it deliberately put people's lives into play!
The artist does not let him finish:
-- Mayor's team has consulted the Cabinet "Mathurin Security Consultants." This cabinet was created by Mr. Mathurin as soon as twenty years ago! Administration, you say... but the administration is working on texts, and you did surely not bother to read the texts. The Cabinet "Mathurin Security Consultants" has communicated them to the City Council and you'll also receive the bill soon, Mr. Mathurin prepared them when I met him. And what do they say, these texts? "Let us not have the right to walk on the grass! "But my work, which is a song of solidarity with Africa, will be sufficiently distant from the path so that we do not accessed without deliberately walking on the grass!
This advocacy enthusiasms the mayor’s team, but not that of Dutoit. Pifon especially did not seize what was the problem with walking on the grass or what they were singing on Africa. Finally, we will not discuss with an intellectual who nails you the beak so peremptorily. Michel Deval still sees an objection:
-- And what about the road-mender? He mows the lawn around the room and if your work is so well hidden, how will he not fall in it?
Boutel appreciates this very pertinent remark:
-- Yes, it's true. This would be an accident at work : it is something else altogether! The family, insurance and all the fuss on my back, thank you! It is always the mayor who is guilty in these cases! So if there is something to do ...
Michel Deval remembers that Boutel has not always been as much speed:
-- Say it! When you had to ban access to a pit where a child had already fallen, you were less concerned about security!
The artist puts an end to the discussion:
-- All municipalities who have purchased a work based on the same principle also bought for their road-mender a mower equipped with a system which receives signals from a transponder that we place near the area one must avoid. When the road-mender approaches too much, the mower refuses to move. Never a municipality has lost a road-mender with this system! I have documentation in my bag, I give you it. Hold, here it is!
Boutel thumbs through it:
-- Well! We'll see this at the next council meeting, first of all the Commission for green space, environment and sustainable development should meet.