Tuesday, 31 May 2011
F3 - Cycle 33 - "The Bilderberg Request"
It's been some time since I last took part in one of the F3 challenges - too often I've been out of time to get my entry in!
This week, we were asked to consider writing about conspiracies - the theories or the theorists!
I'm drawn to a notion often referred to as the 'New World Order' - whereby the clandestine meddling of a secretive cohort drawn from the worlds of commerce, finance and politics determine global policies behind closed doors, to their singular mutual benefit.
This work of fiction has been gnawing away at me demanding to be written so here's my contribution, dead on the nail at the wordcount limit of 1,000!
(.....and if things go very quiet around here after this and I don't put up any posts.....then perhaps I may have got a bit too close to the truth and touched a nerve!! :-o )
THE BILDERBERG REQUEST
It was a plain sealed envelope. Nothing marked it out as being special save for the small watermark on the reverse: a gothic ‘B’.
“It arrived a day or so ago,” said Beardsley. “Hand delivered by persons unknown.” He sat further back into his chair and watched as I studied the fine, crisp folds of paper, turning the envelope over slowly in my hands.
The carefully written script in black ink addressed the letter simply with the words “Sir Henry Beardsley”; no address, not even a flourish underlining the name, just meticulously neat copper-plate handwriting.
“Why didn’t you open it?” I said quietly.
“I know what it contains,” he replied, curtly. “That is to say, I know the nature of its contents, though perhaps not the exact wording.”
I looked down at the letter.
“You’re sure it isn’t a hoax?” Considering our unlikely and chequered past it could well be a ruse, engineered to blow up in my face, metaphorically speaking. I wouldn’t be the first journalist to have been used and abused by the great and the good for their own devious ends.
“We wouldn’t want to end up with egg on our faces,” I continued. If it was a hoax, I wanted to make sure Beardsley understood exactly what the repercussions would be for himself. If I went down, I’d take him with me; you don’t ghost write someone’s autobiography without lifting a few stones and finding the odd unsavoury item or two buried there.
“Of course it isn’t a hoax!” steamed Beardsley, contemptuously. The irritation that clearly vexed the man was evident by the colour rising in his rather corpulent cheeks. Then again, I thought, it could just be hypertension.
Before he could give his assent I decisively turned the letter over and slipped a paperknife along the fold, cutting open the envelope. Beardsley leaned forwards in his chair, a sheen of perspiration just breaking out on his forehead, highlighted by the desk lamp that sat between us.
I carefully withdrew the single sheet of folded paper. As I held it up to the light I saw, once again, the monograph watermark replicated on the page, though larger than its counterpart on the envelope.
“Well?” asked Beardsley, his curiosity getting the better of him as he waited for my opinion.
I raised my eyes slightly from the page and gave an imperceptible nod. It was hard to determine from Beardsley’s choked response whether he was elated or terrified but I returned to the hand written script and tried to ignore the audible consternation that issued from across the desk.
The letter contained details of a specific venue and date, requesting the attendance of Sir Henry Beardsley. As letters go, I felt it left a lot to be desired; there was no description of what exactly was to take place on the date in question, nor any indication who else would be present. Indeed, on first glance it seemed a totally innocuous piece of correspondence. That is, until I read the last line. In place of a simple signature, there was just one word: Bilderberg.
I worked hard to keep the paper still, not allowing it to shake in my hand and thereby give away too much, but all the same I knew that I held what was, to writers in my preferred field of investigative journalism, the equivalent of the Holy Grail.
I passed the letter silently over to Beardsley. He grasped it hesitantly, more like a poisoned chalice than my exalted acclaim of it, then slumped back into his chair.
I could see why he seemed less than delighted. I had done some research on the Bilderberg Group in the past and the little I had managed to glean on their activities seemed to me to be in directly opposite proportion to the control which they exerted over a diverse and complex series of worldwide syndicates and conglomerations.
Their gatherings, or ‘conferences’ as they preferred to term them, were not conducted entirely clandestinely. They were announced in various forms throughout the media and attendees were selected based on their backgrounds in commerce, finance and politics but there were never any subsequent reports as to what had been discussed, nor still the extent of their influence. No resolutions were proposed, or issues voted upon. It was only retrospectively that seismic shifts in the global economy could tentatively be traced back to former attendees.
To be invited to attend was an honour but, like many closed societies, to refuse could be political and financial suicide. To accept, however, could incur an even greater cost.
I looked across at Beardsley. He was somewhat on the horns of a dilemma: whether to decline and thereby find his commercial and financial career thwarted and destroyed by the long-reaching tentacles of the ‘Group’; or accept, thereby to be forever shackled to the concerns and objectives by which Bilderberg controlled global issues, regardless of any possible personal disagreement.
It could not be proved, as yet, but dissenters were likely to be ‘removed’, permanently; I had been investigating the demise of certain former high-ranking officials from various global financial institutions who appeared to be linked and whose names had appeared on previous lists of Bilderberg delegates.
Now, as I looked across at the worried features of Sir Henry, I wondered how I could ever persuade him to accept given the ultimate price he might one day have to pay, or else ignore both me and his own conscience.
And what if, on agreeing to join such a coterie of shadowy manipulators, he turned the tables on me? Their corrupt abuse of power could easily reach out and curtail my activities. A simple ‘accident’ would not be difficult for them to arrange.
We sat in silence for some minutes, each independently reviewing our options, until Beardsley coughed the phlegm from his throat.
“I’ll do it,” he said quietly, his voice little more than a hoarse whisper, and in those three words he sealed our fate.