|Hello ! welcome to the country of President Loubet and Human Rights.
Republic-5, Chapter 1 (2/2)
The draft "work of solidarity with the suffering populations of Africa" is put to a vote and passes, but with the "Boutel" voices only.
Despite the explanations of Dutoit and Philippe, the cultural investment project raises no emotion Basseville, even among those who traditionally support the opposition. Nobody has the slightest idea of what lies behind the term "cultural investment" : it is something that will be in the grass, one will walk beside it and that’s all ! After a month, seeing that their efforts to warn people remain unsuccessful, Dutoit and Philippe cease to talk about it...
Republic-5, Chapter 2
Since mid-February, meetings of the Commission on Works, whose head is Anquetot, were chained to a rate of hell. The applicants were informed that the speed of realisation of records was crucial and the bidding process was conducted smoothly, without losing time to keep the legal registry. The opening of bids, in the presence of the collector, shows that the overall budget is largely exceeded but Boutel is unwilling to take any move to negotiated market, this procedure which would oblige him to reveal the deals of the group Anquetot to its competitors. He therefore refused to declare the tender unsuccessful and, while letting the city council believe that he was going to negotiated market, remained under the tender formula., He has not negotiated market need to communicate competitors bids to Anquetot ... The architect has therefore written to the companies remaining in the race.
While speaking of negotiated market but without officially revealing any offer of a competitor to another, he is simply asking everyone to make a commercial discount of 5%.
The bidding process has thus continued and council members meet this September 25, 1992: the beautiful lady, at the request of Mr. Boutel, sent summonses and she can liberate herself tonight to ensure the secretariat meeting. Having been alerted to coffee, a few days ago that Dutoit had an appointment today, Boutel asked the nice lady to immediately convene the council. He prefers to deal with this ultra-sensitive and thorny issue outside the presence of this Dutoit who always guesses his ulterior motives. The agenda is very small, but the circumstances that we have just described are urgent and it is out of question to wait for the date that had been fixed before learning that Dutoit would be on travel for his Business today!
On the agenda, on the summons, there is this time this really important topic for Boutel and Anquetot: we must vote on the award of contracts! The mayor opens the meeting. He planned to rushed the vote when he knew that Dutoit would be absent today. He has also sent to companies he awarded the contracts the mail informing them of the deliberation on which the council must vote now! The companies Boutel has chosen have all received this morning the registered letter that slightly anticipates the council's decision,... and have all signed the receipt of acceptance, at the time it is!
-- Good! So we all agree. We have submitted you the hall draft, ok?
The records are there, or finally, just what concerns you. And what concerns you is that we had to move to the traded markets because the tenders gave no result.
While Boutel spoke, Philippe Lepape takes a small bundle on the table. Hey, these are estimates of Aérotoit, a company of Anquetot with Pikbrik and a few others.
-- Oh! But it is surprising, these two estimates have the same date.
-- You get up my nose! I told you that was in the form of negotiated market because the tenders gave no result. Is it not clear? Aérotoit has made an offer, which was communicated to its competitor, which communicated us an new offer that we have communicated to Aérotoit, which gave us this quote, the cheapest, that we have chosen. That's how markets traded, do you twig?
-- But all these exchanges of mail, not including the study of proposals and preparation of tenders, you're sure it can take in a day?
-- Sure it can take: the proof is that it held.
-- But the collector, did he see that? What did he say? And the offer of Aérotoit’s competitor, you can show me?
-- No, it was not accepted and was thrown! There is enough paperwork without it, holy Moses!... No, but you'll teach me to make a negotiated deal? ! And then, it's easy to attack Anquetot: he could not come for professional reasons but since he is a good guy, he made me a power of attorney. And don’t tell me that this is not the same ink colour for the date: he had to change his pen, the first was down!
-- And the pen worked again for signature?
-- Damn, ok?
If Boutel had expected to have to fight like that, he would have had Lepape convened somewhere in an agency or a body, a trick where he has some relations, the choice is wide ...
-- Go! we pass to the vote, the debate is completed.
Despite the Dutoit team abstention, the contracts are awarded without any unpleasant surprises for Boutel who, despite everything, sweats big drops. Anquetot is well served, several of its affiliates receive a lot (not counting Mathurin, which is already served) and his vote has been taken into account for that. He knows he can trust Boutel. At the prefecture also, incidentally, despite the interference, the debates will be registered without any problem. Oh, Anquetot and his family are well allocated for nearly ten times the maximum tolerated in small municipalities as Basseville-on-Earth for contracts between adviser and the city but we will not quibble, not between people of good company!
You will admit that business is difficult today, it's not like when Dutoit has launched! And this is not the service of legitimacy at the prefecture which will make sure that competitors were treated with equality and find out why the architect spoke of negotiated markets while the record shows that the mayor remained in the restricted tender procedure. Mr Boutel has such good relations with Mr. Aposs, and therefore with the judges: it weighs more than the interests of Basseville-on-Earth and its inhabitants, what do you want!
The following months saw the multipurpose hall out of earth and mount almost to the sky: after a year, aesthetics seems a perfect success: large laminated wood curves that soar from one end to the other... This is superb! But where will be the roof? Unfortunately, it will cover these beautiful curves of wood that will be downgraded to the status of carpentry. And if they were left like that? The result will show that it would have cost less while being as effective as that ugly steel tray against the weather ...
The summer of 1993 draws to its close. The hall has recently got his final appearance, finally, final pending more ...
Councillors have received a summons for a meeting of council on September 15. The beautiful lady, at the request of Mr. Boutel, invites them to deliberate on a consistent list of questions and she can liberate herself tonight to ensure the meeting secretariat: no advisor shall be liable for meeting secretariat! Basseville-on-Earth is a dream town ...
The advisers arrive in small groups based on affinity or one by one when the constraints, professional or not, prevent them ending up before the time of the meeting. The council is therefore convened to discuss, among other things, the rates of the hall rental. Believing that those who do not arrive are definitely absent (well, for tonight), Boutel launches, with his falsetto voice:
-- I declare the meeting open!
After briefly reporting the receipt of work, ie after declaring that the reception of the multi-purpose hall took place yesterday, he goes:
-- The artist was here. He tested before us "the work of solidarity with the suffering populations of Africa": it works perfectly! Besides, we were assured that his work faithfully reproduces the traditional Parawi wild animals trap: to the extent possible, materials were imported especially from Parawi and made the journey by air.
-- This refinement partly explains the price, the rest of the explanation is more linked to the talent for which the demiurge takes credit!
-- Turning to the building itself, continues Boutel. Of course, to be allowed to build the hall, we could not do otherwise than accept the restriction that the veterinary services have brought in May 1992 to the building permit. As they were told that only the small room would be used for meals and banquets, suspicious, they have limited the ability of the kitchen to prepare meals for eighty people. They did not ask us why we had added emergency exits that were not provided on the first plans, in the great room!
-- The agenda is now to vote on the location of the hall and I propose F 1,200 to rent the large room without food, without the kitchen, for tennis matches, for example, 800 F for meals up to eighty people in the small room, including the location of the kitchen, and 3,500 F for the locations of the large room with the kitchen for banquets associations.
It can hold weddings and all meals too many to fit in the small room. This rate here is for people outside our town and I also propose, whenever, a lower rate for the locations of the city people. And I invite you all to the inauguration of the hall, tomorrow. Advertisements were placed in the press, all participants in the construction, as well as elected and relationships of mine to the prefecture will be here.
The proposed rental rates have been accepted: it contradicts yet the measures imposed by the Veterinary Services. Despite the restriction capacity of the kitchen it has become aware, the prefecture will see no reason why the large room is rented for holding food. This debate, too, will pass without problem!
Other issues on the agenda and other matters are handled and night is well under way when Mr. Boutel declares the meeting over.
The next day, September 16, 1993, the hall is ready for the inauguration: the past week, advisers of the team Boutel and much of what they count as supporters in Basseville, have prepared the feast: they have decorated, inside and outside, like for a marriage. Clementine's husband was promoted rental responsible of the large room for sports events. He also participates in the inauguration, on the side of receiving power, of course, but today it is not possible to make demonstration: in addition to the mayor and other municipal councillors, the vast room must accommodate official businesses and the public for speeches and wine of honour.
The prefect Aposs already came a few days ago and Clementine's husband found he could not be more sympathetic: Boutel always speaks of him in admiring terms and, indeed, it is justified! Aposs had brought his racket and they have played a part. The prefect has greatly appreciated zenithal lighting and the material that was chosen for the basement: rubber cast on the spot. It's good blocker. True, this is not really what it takes to dance after the meal. Today, Aposs should come but he warned that it was subject to confirmation.
The hall starts to fill with people, but assistance is still sparse. It seems that, as the artist had predicted, some people have been unable to keep walking on the grass. It must be said that there was a small crowd outside! The path to the hall is black of crowd ... and unforgivable rudeness, many people walk on the grass on the right and left of the path. Occasionally at a time, a clamour rises, four or five people at a time disappear as if they had sprayed! That is not to understand anything, they are here and, seconds later, nothing more than the verdant grass. That's already happened more than once.
They need to understand, they seek the artist.
-- Assassin, you must pay for this!
The artist barely deign to respond.
-- There will be no trial, your friends did not have to walk on the grass and I will play the moral rights that I have, like any artist, on my work to prohibit that anyone touches it.
Boutel arrive, his arms raised to heaven:
-- But finally, what do you all do here? The inauguration is inside. Go, enter, the prefect Aposs is entering the room!
-- Mayor, it is a disgrace, the 'cultural investment "has swallowed a lot of people and we don’t ear anything, below!
-- Crap, you do not understand anything to art. We'll see this after the inauguration. Oh, it starts to rain! Come on, just put you away, gang morons.
The speech is another: the atmosphere, at least on the podium is very cheerful. The sound of rain on the roof requires players to raise the voice. The speech Aposs will be quoted in the press, especially this sentence: "Mr. Mayor, you have sown, the inhabitants of Basseville-on-Earth are reaping more than now"
At this point, it is true that cataracts are pouring from the roof inside the room: it's raining outside surely less! The small cakes are flooded: impossible to offer them! The cocktail is therefore shortened.
Aposs and other parties, Boutel and the artist can now listen to those who arrested them outside:
-- Ah! it's true!
From the pit, where not a drop of rain has penetrated, they discover children, youth, adults, employees of companies who have worked in the construction of the hall and that of the "work". Nine of the thirty six the victims are municipal councillors of Basseville-on-Earth. First two from the list Dutoit: Sylvain Dégour and Arthur Latour, (...) who arrived in the final, and then they withdrew three of the list Boutel: Dominique Bernic, Caroline Caramel and Ludovic Lucien, aged twenty-nine, thirty and thirty-two years.
And then, at bottom, were removed Pifon and there, oh! surprise, we found that water had come out of his head, but a volume that shows that his capacity was not so bad.
Addressing again the party, before returning to his car, the artist launches:
-- There will be no trial, "they" did not have to walk on the grass.
And he said, because it must be clear:
-- Not only that, but I will play the moral rights that I have, like any artist, on my work to prohibit that anyone touches it.
A historical reference he likes comes back to his mind:
-- Has there been a trial in Russia in 1896, when two thousand people died in ditches, on the coronation feast of Nicolas II? So!
Five days later, the bodies of victims were returned to their families and the funeral are scheduled for today, September the twenty-first. Most relatives have called for a joint ceremony, but given the number of people to bury a Basseville, much of the assistance has remained outside the church and follow the progress of the funeral on a screen placed near the portal for the occasion . . The last notes of Salve Regina just sound, marking the end of the ceremony. A long procession starts in direction of the cemetery while bells ring in mourning, as for the entrance. When the first families arrive in the cemetery, others are still in the church.
Before the first fall, the priest says prayers chosen during the preparation of the day, then the first coffin gets down in his cellar, focused on two strings that four municipal employees leave slowly slipping.
After the blessing, the family thanks all those who long have moved for them and then they leave the cemetery.
Before they have reached the gates, Serge Debarre, a municipal employee who helped get off the coffin, addresses the father of the first victim buried. He does not seem to feel well. The father seems out of him, but after a while he puts his hand to the inside pocket of his jacket, seems to leave something he is watching carefully, as if he counted: it is not clear . Then he reaches out to Serge, who looks to take what he gives. The two separate and municipal employee returns to the second family, for the second burial. The carousel will continue for several hours. The trade near the barriers with families in mourning will take place with varying degrees of success for Serge.
A month has passed since the burial. The council has lost over a third of its members, new elections must be held within two months.
The volunteers are scarce, the atmosphere is not really exuberant, especially on the side of Dutoit: his supporters are peaceful, quiet people, they prefer their television and their families to politics and nobody wanted to embark. Nevertheless, there is a strong wind of discontent against the team Boutel, which imposed the hall, the assassin artist and is held responsible for the disaster: one of the advisers of the majority, Mérovée Archi, twenty eight years, preferred to resign and announced it to Boutel the very day of the accident.
On the side of the team at fault, only municipal employees arise, they are seven, as many as there are seats to be filled ...
Madam Pifon indicated that she would like the team to her husband, "therefore" Dutoit, "meet again at home. That he liked so much, Marcel, even if he had to pay coffee ... This is an opportunity to reflect on candidates to propose for the partial elections.
Dutoit and his two survivor team-mates, Deval and Lepape, must arrive at Pifons home. As they agreed, they wait near the garage barriers. From this place, you can not be seen from the house. When they all three have gathered, they can go knocking.
-- We are all there, there was nobody more to wait for, one says.
-- We can go there now, " another says.
As walking, they begin to speak of events and, of course, the sad end of Marcel; they regret having so often angry after him, having laughed at its low capacity of understanding and the blunders he said for the effect. Yes, but if we had known what he had in his head ... it is even qualities now: with a handicap like that, it was doing not so bad ... They do not know why, perhaps because they think very much to him, they feel they still see the marks of the usual presence of Pifon. It is surprising, there is almost a month since Marcel is dead! That's it, but yes, this mud on the road coming, cars were smeared to the roof! As if Marcel had done his silage these days!
Marcel's wife, "the one to Pifon" to talk like him, welcomes the small group and invites everyone to sit down.
After the greetings and other words of practice, the discussion agrees on the merits of Marcel. It's funny, but now they "feel" the presence of Pifon. It is striking! The smell that accompanied Pifon in the meetings of the council and that we have even found in the kitchen of the multipurpose hall on the day of the inauguration and the accident, after he delivered a few crates of its homemade cider ... Madam Pifon says that the time is undoubtedly well chosen:
-- I have a little surprise for you.
With these words, Pifon enters, in the flesh, with his smile we found so stupid only a few weeks ago!
-- Ah! shout several voices in chorus. Then a silence.
-- But, Marcel: and the water! can not help venture Dutoit, who is no more sure of anything.
-- But, zounds, am not my brother, of course!
-- But the clothes you wear are yours, you wore them the day of the accident! remembers Deval
-- It is not my clothes, whether now. But the day of the accident, it was Marcel who wore them. I have recovered them, that's all, da. Piles have hit his head only, not his clothes.
Madam Pifon can not do otherwise than to intervene:
-- It is Lucien, the twin of Marcel. He had been hidden, Marcel was afraid he could make him shade!
-- But finally, why now?
-- Lucien has a great desire to take the seat of Marcel, at the con’sel. Now that Marcel is no longer alive, it is possible. And then, it makes you at least one candidate, so "
Finally, the new is pretty good. The first candidate found, six other people of Basseville devote themselves to be a complete list with the new Pifon.
The campaign of both lists, for that partial municipal election, has been discreet: Boutel explained that it was a question of good taste. New elections must be held tomorrow, November the fourth to fill the seven posts that are vacant since September, the sixteenth. As they agreed, Philippe Lepape, Pierre Dutoit and Michel Deval meet tonight to prepare the polling station. Philippe Lepape and Michel Deval align the tables on three sides of the room. The left side has always been reserved for booths. Then, as for each election, they carry the last two tables in the middle of the room. Pierre Dutoit aligns chairs behind the tables along the walls and then fetches the ballot box and lay it astride the two tables in the middle of the room. Michel Deval saw a package on the office of the secretary. Nobody had paid attention to it. The prefect Aposs past yesterday to see his friends Boutel, Anquetot and Clementine at the City Hall. Lack of luck, culpable negligence, he forgot the package when he left the place. Michel takes:
-- Keep!, it is rather lightweight. This is already tear opened.
It opens and releases three videos.
-- You know what it is, these tricks?
-- No, we never saw this. But we have worked well, we just have to settle in the office of Boutel and watch at least one on his TV and take a coffee!
The TV and VCR turned on, images begin to scroll, and then the cups fall back into the saucers!
-- But you think it is the same on the others?
The three friends have risen as one man. The second tape is launched, then the third.
This is the same show featuring children raped, tortured and sometimes murdered.
-- We will bring it to the police!
It is late, Pierre Dutoit wins over the parcel to him: they will find a time tomorrow.
The next day, Pierre Dutoit did not have time to go bring the gendarmerie the package Aposs forgot: arriving to take the office with a few others, the morning of November 4, he deposited in the Mayor's office. Philippe Lepape and Michel Deval will office this afternoon until closing and will join them for skinning since those of the team Boutel and secretary of City Hall have chosen to do as discreet as possible. Never mind, this is time to vote. Throughout the day, by teams and affinities, to the extent possible, surviving councillors who did not resigned relay to keep the only polling station.
Pierre Dutoit arrives for the count. Philippe Lepape and Michel Deval are still at their posts, one is to give the envelopes, the other to invite the voters to sign the list, that is, in many cases, to show voters the exact spot, alongside their names, where they put the pen tip.
The closing time of polling has arrived, the municipal staff present, meaning the opposition and members of the public who wish to take part start moving tables: moving furniture to recompose three or four tables on which to dispatch the envelopes and tracts obtained by each person who got at least one vote, be he either candidate or not, as well as invalid or blank ballots. It is night for over one hour. The ballot box, not yet open, is still on the table in the middle of the room: it waits that we care about it! A noise of electric switch, darkness invades everything. A rumour mounts:
-- What’s up?
-- Switch on!
Despite his fifty years, Michel Deval is faster: it reached the meter. Philippe Lepape might have been able to achieve before him but two forms have shaken running towards the exit, one of them has even hit him with the angle of an object that is hard enough, something that must look like a big cube. The light returns. A sigh of satisfaction rises from the room.
The relief was short-lived:
-- The ballot box!
Eh! yes, it disappeared. Philippe then makes the connection with the object that hit him:
-- The ballot box was stolen!
-- Shhh! listen…
That's the sound of a car ... no, two cars. Everyone rushes to the window. Two large sedans start the ground running, nobody thinks to tackle the issues and, by the way, everything goes so fast! The minutes elapse before things become really clear in the heads. Under the shock, everybody needs to talk. Some sit on the tables, chairs, others talk, it is silent, there is always the same questions:
-- Who did this?
-- What is it going to happen to the ballot?
An hour, an hour and a half passes before one has put himself together. The door opens quite quietly, only those who are closest to it perceive a slight grinding. The time to alert two or three people in the room and see if there is someone, admission is deserted. But the ballot box is here at the office of the beautiful lady, it is back! Relief! Everyone feels better.
The evening has been long, the participants are too tired to realize that the result was unexpected, to say the least because six of the municipal employees are elected:
-- They left Pifon, we respect the dead here.
There will be no second round and, in a sense, this is the best that could happen.
Official documents, duly completed, are sent to the prefecture, which will endorse.
The room is almost empty, Philippe Lepape, Pierre Dutoit and Michel Deval are the only ones that remain. Michel think of the tapes, it is again too late to bring them to the gendarmerie. However, he does not want to leave them in the town hall that night and enters the mayor office. Philippe Lepape and Pierre Dutoit hear a cry that they would not have thought Michel capable, given his state of tiredness.
They rush: the package, the package with the tapes had disappeared, too, as the ballot box, but the second shadow has kept them! Pierre Dutoit remembers that the thief of the ballot box was not alone: while he entered the council room, the second shadow, informed it is unclear how, surely searched the office of the mayor. And all three also remember that there were two cars to escape after the thefts!
Fully exhausted, they come out, close the door, and everyone returns home.