April 19, 2029, White House, Washington, D.C.
“Mr. President, the Attorney General is here with his men. He asked to speak with you alone before…” the President’s Chief of Staff, Brian Ferris, stops pensively as the Commander and Chief raises his left hand.
“Yes, Ferris, I know what you’re saying. He’s here to formally charge me. Jeffery, you’re the lead defense attorney on this, do I speak with him in private?”
The President’s attorney looks up for his writing to answer his only client. “I would advise against it, Sir. Tell him I must stay with you. It’s a reasonable request.”
The President turns to his obviously-shaken chief White House officer, “Brian, convey what Mr. Todd just said about staying in the room with me.”
After Brian leaves the room, Enoch speaks openly to his attorney and friend. “Jeffrey, I don’t think I can do this in a very ‘presidential’ manner. There’s no denying I’m angry. I have tried to live a life that honors the established laws of the land. How did someone who planned a career in law and politics end up looking at prison time? A greater question is, ‘how did a man who has always been faithful to and madly in love with the same woman end up being served with divorce papers?’ Where did I drift off track? From my perspective, I only moved in a manner to protect my wife and my country.”
“Mr. President, there are always two sides of a story. I have been your adviser and friend for most of your career. May I speak freely?”
“Of course, you may. You can call me Enoch when the staff is not around.”
“I know you love Sarah. And I know she loves you. She feels betrayed. From the other side, it looks like you purposely pushed her to sign over most of Sun Economics so you could cloak it behind a government contractor—and put it up for sale. She believes you were going to sell her technology in the private sector even though you were fully-aware the buyer intended to use it to militarize space.
“In her assessment, your move would have endangered the planet with her intellectual property. The company’s proprietary system was initially meant to make the planet capable of sustaining life for a rapidly-growing population. I think in time she’ll work through all of this and come back to you. She has a pure heart. Right now, she has legal representation with a law firm known for the dollar signs in its eyes. Her attorneys are probably advising her in a way that is in their best interest rather than hers. Give her time. Don’t respond to her with anything less than pure kindness. I have faith you two will be together in your golden years—bouncing grandchildren on your knees.”
“As beautiful as that sounds, we only have one child. And Anna has made it very clear she has no intentions of getting married or having children.”
“Well, then you can come to my house and bounce my grandchildren on your knees. Amy would love the help. It’s looking like we are going to have more grandchildren than we have knees, so we could use your help.” Jeffery tries to lighten his client’s mood. Enoch reciprocates with a pat on his back.
“Look, Enoch, as far as the legal charges against Ambassador Jagger, we’ll just need a good spin on her defense. Once she comes in to give her deposition, we will coordinate our testimonies on what she knew and what she said at the Religion Roundtable. That problem will go away and be forgotten in time. I also believe that the perjury charge will be dropped. The opposing party only presented it to Congress to accomplish its goal of having you impeached. The charges regarding Sun Economics are the serious ones. The treason charges, in particular, will be difficult to defend because you were talking to an independent company in Russia. I want you to hear me out on something.” Jeffery pulls his seat to the President’s desk and rests his elbows on it after receiving a nod to proceed.
“I sense Sun Economics is more valuable than either of us know. There are many interested parties—dangerous ones—ready to lay down billions of dollars to purchase it. In the end, your majority ownership might have saved Sarah’s life. A few of these bidders do not hesitate to kill someone who gets in their way. The only reason they didn’t come after you when the deal was collapsing was the media coverage. Sarah would have been a vulnerable target—especially in light of the separation and impending divorce. Bottom line, I think in time you will find you made the right decisions. And, I fully expect a plea offer today that surrounds Sun Economics.”
“Why didn’t you tell me any of this before?”
“Because I’m good at my job, Mr. President—I needed you to have pure intentions so I could keep you out of jail.”
“Are you saying that prison is a possibility? Will I be put in cuffs and hauled away today?”
“I would be shocked if that’s where this goes. I’ve been doing business in Washington for a long time. Even the bad guys don’t go to prison here. Heck, the Bush Presidency is going to survive the whole Eden fiasco, and he has nothing with which to bargain. He’s truly empty-handed. You’re one of the good ones – and you have something valuable that they want very badly. You’ll see.” Jeffery smiles at his client.
The President still has a look of puzzlement on his face when his Chief of Staff returns to confirm that Attorney General, Rutherford Reyes, is willing to meet with the President and his Private Council. “Great, show him in.” The President stands to greet Attorney Reyes in the middle of the Oval Office. He extends his hand and introduces his attorney. “Counselor Todd, I presume you remember meeting our Attorney General?”
Jeffery extends his hand. “Of course, I remember. It’s good to see you again, Attorney Reyes.”
President Cohen suggests the men move to the sofas by the fireplace. As Enoch takes the seat opposite the Attorney General, he is hoping that his uneasiness isn’t detectable. He’s humbled to see the man he appointed to the highest legal position in the nation in front of him, holding his future in his hands. The irony is pure agony. This is the first time he has wished that he had not been able to talk Sarah into letting him run for the presidency.
“Mr. President, I am going to get right to the point. I came here today with the power to have you arrested. However, I did not come here today with the desire to do so. I have been doing some digging, and I may have found a solution to your situation. Someone—I am not at liberty to say who—has presented evidence you did not specifically guide Ambassador Jagger to commit treason or to go missing in action. This person is willing to present his testimony on your behalf and on the behalf of Ambassador Jagger. I can accept this testimony in my office and keep all of you protected from the Press. You have not been officially charged yet, so we can make this go away today. Are you interested?”
The President looks to his Counselor Todd, who nods in agreement. “Yes, of course. This is fantastic news. I don’t know who this person is, but I owe them my gratitude.”
“Your gratitude is always welcomed, but this witness wants something else in exchange for his testimony. He is a high-ranking official and prefers not to be entangled in this legal matter in light of his own career.”
“What is it? I’ll give him anything to clear up this mess.” Jeffery taps the Presidents arm and slightly shakes his head, “no.”
“He wants Sun Economics.”
“What? Why? Sarah would be furious with me if I gave away her company. She filed for divorce after finding out I was considering an offer. If I gave it away to clear my name, I’m quite sure she would never speak to me again. That is too great a price to pay. I have to decline.”
The Attorney General clears his throat. “Would it change your mind if I told you Sarah is involved and supporting the witness’ plan to donate Sun Economics to the United Nations? She said such a move might save your marriage.”
Enoch sits forward and questions the Attorney General. “I’m confused. I have no idea why you’re discussing this with my wife. Are you sure she wants to hand over all rights and one-hundred percent ownership of Sun Economics to the United Nations? The company is Anna’s inheritance. This makes no sense. The company is extremely valuable.”
“Interestingly, this whole idea was hatched by Anna. She wants you cleared legally, and she wants her mother taken care of financially—something that will happen when my client pays her for the percentage of ownership she still holds. And, yes, she’s confident she wants Sun Economics turned over the United Nations. Anna has convinced her U.N. ownership ensures the technology will be used in the manner she intended—improving life on the planet—not making it a weapon of war. What do you say?”
The President goes silent. Eventually, he asks the Attorney General to give him some privacy so he can discuss the offer with his attorney. Once they are alone, the President shows his excitement for the deal. “Jeffery, what do you think? I’m not a person who’s about the money grab in life. I still own twenty-five percent of a reputable law firm from which I draw a sizable profit. I’ll probably have a lucrative speaking and writing career after I leave office. It’s more than enough. If Janet and I get away from this whole political scene and the Sun Economics controversy, we might have a chance to put our marriage back together. It’s really all I care about.”
“If that’s what you want, Mr. President, I will get the Attorney General back in here.”
Enoch nods. “It’s what I want.”
The Attorney General reenters the Oval Office knowing full well that the President will agree to his terms. “Alright, Attorney Reyes, the President will accept this offer with a few conditions: Once he has the offer and contract in his hands, he wants twenty-four hours to review it with his legal team before he signs off on it. He wants his daughter and wife kept out of the storyline. He wants his up-state New York ranch guarded by secret service for a period of five years. He also wants security coverage for his wife, daughter, as well as himself for life. Let me know if this acceptable.”
“It’s acceptable, Mr. President. I am in a position to accept this arrangement for the witness. This deal with your terms is what my client was seeking. I have a draft of our offer with me.” The Attorney General opens his briefcase and pulls out a thick stack of papers and hands it to Counselor Todd. “I can return to my office to finalize the document and have it returned to you by 4:00 p.m.”
Enoch nods and the parties shake hands to seal the deal.
As he snaps his briefcase closed, the Attorney General returns to the law matters at hand. “Mr. President, the transfer of the Presidency to Vice President George must happen before we complete the deal. You’ll need to sign it as a private citizen. Are you ready to do this in a live broadcast—without making any accusations to the public? If so, Congress can do an official ceremony and broadcast tomorrow at 6:00 p.m.
The President nods in defeat. “Yes, I am ready.”
November 2, 2029, Stoney Creek, Lake George, New York
Enoch releases a sigh of contentment as he stares out the window of his ranch house in upstate New York. He’s happy for the turn of events that got him here in time to watch the last of the leaves change color. When he sees the black limo pull up, he swears his heart misses a beat. He’s both excited and uneasy about the conversation to come. He puts down his coffee cup as the car door opens and Sarah steps out from the back seat. The driver tips his hat at her and Sarah heads towards the front door. Enoch moves quickly so he can meet her there. When he swings open the door, he holds himself back from throwing his arms around his wife and kissing her deeply the way he used to. Instead he holds the door for her and greets her with a soft kiss to the cheek.
“Thank you for agreeing to see me, Sarah. Come sit with me by the fireplace. I apologize for everything. I never intended to disappoint you. I got caught up in the game and became convinced I was moving in your best interest. Can you forgive me?”
Sarah runs her hand up her husband’s arm and rests it on his chest directly above his heart. “Enoch, your move to donate the company to the United Nations is enough to prove I mean more to you than the power of the Presidency or the lifestyle of the rich and famous.” She smiles, knowing he will get the reference to one of their favorite TV shows in years gone by. “All is forgiven. I’m looking forward to traveling the world with you, riding horses with you on our ranch, and watching Anna make her impact on the world. Dare I say I also look forward to growing old with you?”
“Oh, please don’t say that. I feel as if I aged ten years in just nine months in the White House.” He pulls her into his arms and kisses her. He lays his cheek on the top of her head and rocks her back and forth. “Do you know I’m going down in history as only one of two presidents to resign? It will also say I had the third-shortest term. Did you ever suspect when you married me that I would eventually turn out to be a historical disappointment?”
“No, but I did know you were going to be in the history books. And, that’s all that mattered to me at the time. Enoch, I know you will live the rest of your life with a ‘less-than-perfect’ footnote, but you made it to the top. That is indisputable proof of your success. The length of the run is inconsequential.”
Enoch lifts his head and looks at her with wonderment. She still knows exactly what to say to make him feel better. “Thank you for sticking with me, love of my life. Hey, would you like to go to our favorite ice-cream shop and take a stroll along the river? This time, we can go as average private citizens?”
“I’m quite sure ‘average private citizens’ aren’t followed by government-funded security around here.”
“Of course they are. It’s upstate New York. This is where mobsters and white-collar criminals come to retire. Someone is always following them.”
Janet is still laughing as Enoch opens the door for her to climb into the new bullet-proof Escalade delivered to the ranch earlier in the day. “How do you like this little retirement gift Anna sent?”
“I love it, she texted me a picture. I think I’ll call and thank her now.” Sarah taps the speed dial on her cell phone. “Before she answers, did you remember to transfer the satellite launch codes to her?”
“Yes, I did. Did you?”
“Yes. I guess she has everything she needs to get the satellites up and start fixing the planet.”
“One thing’s for sure, the world will never be the same after Anna gets finished with it.” Enoch winks at his wife. He interlocks his ring finger with hers and kisses the wedding band she is wearing once again. He uses his other hand to reach for the ignition button. It would be the last thing either of them would remember.