Who Is Jack Winter ( Part 17)
Jack's preparing for the meeting with Victor Kennedy, the US President.
President Victor Jackson Kennedy, was a tall, fit, athletic man. At six feet four with mid length grey hair and moustache, he was an imposing figure. He was often compared to the country and western singer Kenny Rogers, but much, much taller. He was also an utterly ruthless politician. He didn’t care who he trod on or manipulated, as long as he got what he wanted. His politics had once been compared, by one satirical magazine as, slightly to the right of Genghis Khan. They’d also said that after his presidency it was unlikely that he would leave his mark on the world. More of a stain.
He was the son of Mary and George Kennedy. Wealthy land owners in Wyoming. They had over 4000 acres of good pasture land where they raised cattle. George had always wanted to run for office but for various reasons had never achieved his ambition. As a child, anything that Victor wanted he got. As a teenager his hobbies were bull riding and cattle branding. He had the best education that money could buy. George had always been grooming him for office. It didn't take long. He became the youngest Governor of Wyoming and within five years, ran and then became US President.
Once elected, Victor called his politics, Progressive Liberalism. This was of course a smoke screen to appeal to the undecided voters who thought he was a moderate. Actually, he believed that America should rule the world and their slogan should be “Don’t mess with us or we’ll blow your fucking head off!”
He was aboard Air Force One and on route to the UK. He was sipping coffee and reading a dossier on someone he’d never heard of. He looked at Sandy Ashton, his voluptuous blonde haired advisor.
“So who the fuck’s Jack Winter?”
She gave a coy smile.
“That’s a good question Mister President, he seems to have had something of meteoric rise to fame. To be honest no one is really sure why. But one thing is for sure. He seems to be popular with the British people. He loves soccer. He’s a massive fan of a team called West Ham United. He played for them when he was younger but never quite made the grade.”
The President wasn’t impressed. He turned to another of his advisors. A college graduate called Nathan.
“Okay what do we know about this team? Give me something. Something I can throw at him.”
Nathan flicked through a few pages of notes and read something that he’d underlined earlier.
“Well Mr President, their hero is someone called Bobby Moore. He was the Captain of the English soccer team in 1966 and in that year they won the World Cup.”
“The World Series? He played Baseball? How comes I’ve never heard of him?”
“No Sir. The WORLD CUP. It’s a big soccer competition held every four years.”
“That sport is so fucking boring. Okay I’ll remember to mention the guy’s name when I talk to Winter. What else do we know?”
Sandy Ashton couldn’t wait to speak.
“He’s big on humanitarian issues. He’s helped to secure over 400 million UK pounds for the sufferers of a condition called Asbestosis. Apparently his father died of it.”
Victor Kennedy shook his head.
“Jesus, the guys a fucking do gooder. He’s probably one of those lily livered liberals who wants to save the world. He’s nothing to worry about. Right that’s all good news. We’ve got a Prime Minister who’ll say yes to anything, a Foreign Secretary who’s scared of his own shadow and now we’ve got a Deputy Leader who’s a fucking tree hugger. Let’s give them some ultimatums and watch them squirm. Now, what’s for lunch?”
Jack was with the Prime Minister. They were discussing the agenda for the forthcoming meeting with Victor Kennedy. As usual Harold Simpson was striding around the room barefoot, in just shorts and vest.
“He wants to discuss air bases Jack. He wants us to double the number of bases they have here.”
He looked at Jack waiting for a response.
“Well, the electorate won’t like it. But hey, so what? So if we agree we have to ask for something in return. What do we want? What can the Yanks do for us?”
At last The PM sat down. He looked exhausted.
“I was thinking trade. There are two massive contracts that we are in line for and our only competitors are from the US. If he agrees to get these companies to stand down then we give the green light for the bases?”
Jack shrugged his shoulders.
“What does that give us? Specifically?”
“It would mean at least three large factories being built in the North East of England creating tens of thousands of jobs. That’s an area that badly needs it and would do us a world of good with the voters up there.”
Jack was disappointed with Harold Simpson. He liked him but now understood what Maurice meant about him being walked all over by the US. Another 20 US Air bases in the UK would mean they could control most of Europe and the Middle East. This was far more important than 20,000 jobs in Newcastle. He had to ask for more. Much more. It was time to change tactics.
“Harold, it’s been a long day and if I may be so bold, could I pour myself a scotch?”
Without waiting for the answer Jack stood up and walked over to the drinks cabinet.
“Of course Jack. Help yourself. I’ll have just a small one. I think we’ve both deserved it.”
Jack picked up a glass decanter and poured two large glasses of the finest Malt. With his back to the PM he took some blues and greens from his inside pocket. He crushed and sprinkled them into one of the glasses. Within a few seconds everything had dissolved. He turned and handed Harold his drink.
"I think we’ve deserved this today sir. A toast to our forthcoming meeting tomorrow with Victor Kennedy.”
The PM smiled and raised his glass.
“Thank you Jack. For some reason I think you and I are going to get along really well. I think we’ll make a good team. I actually think we could become good friends.”
“Thank you Harold. That means a lot.”
They raised glasses and drank their scotch. Jack waited. It didn’t take long.
Harold Simpson tried once again to walk around the room and talk. He only made it to the window. He turned, looked at Jack and spoke.
“I don’t feel well Jack. Could you call…”
He never finished the sentence. He slumped onto a chair and began to twitch. Jack called Maurice.
“Maurice. Hurry, the PM’s had another one of his episodes.”