A story idea inspired, as they say, by true events.
|Humans are built for pattern recognition, and, in the absence of an actual pattern, for pattern creation. Because we seek patterns, we like stories more than we like a collection of facts. If presented with a group of true things we are compelled to ask, "what do they all mean?" We are also compelled to generate for ourselves an answer to that question.
There is a prosecutor in France who is trapped in this compulsion of the human brain. He knows several things. He arranges them until he can tell a story. Then he takes each new fact he learns and uses it to add color and drama, never questioning whether his brain has put together the wrong story.
He knows that there a company that has made a contract to provide political assistance to a Central American general who sees himself as the vehicle to provide stability to his country. He knows that what this general needs is a more powerful force. He needs military equipment.
He knows that there is another company that has been working on shipping grain to that same Central American country. He knows that there is an Frenchman involved in the shipping of grain. He knows that this Frenchman is tied in some way to a Frenchman in the United States, who, in turn, is tied in some way to another Frenchman who has traveled to the Central American country and met with the general on several occasions. He knows that the Frenchman who has traveled with this man to the Central American country has also traveled to various non-traditional places to open bank accounts.
He is suspicious. He knows that both the company that provides the political assistance and the company ultimately behind the grain share the same address, in . . . . Ireland. And he knows that the companies both have some close link to the same man, a man of some infamy. A man living in the shadowy world of middle eastern spies, a man around whom rumors swirl, a man on whose life untraceable attempts are made. The rumors run the gamut: a consultant to presidents and kings, a spy for hire, an arms dealer. The man was tried as an arms dealer once, and acquitted based on evidence that he had been working as in intermediary for the very government that was trying him. The prosecutor knows too that the consulting company was paid what seems like a large sum for political help.
So he has written a story. The story goes that the grain shipment is planned as a ruse. That contraband would buried in the wheat. Oh the thrill of such a discovery. It fits so neatly together. He opens an investigation and raids the homes of the Frenchmen, taking their phones and computers. He pulls on threads, discarding those he does not like and weaving together those he does. His story grows, its tentacles extend.
I would tell the story from the viewpoint of one of the people who the investigation has not yet reached, who was involved at the margins. Whose number is on the cellphone of one of the men. One who knows what really happened and that the prosecutor has the story wrong, but who feels helpless. Who immediately before learning of all of this already thought he was at the end of his rope, that his life was decompensating, that he was decompensating. ANd now this.