Many Rivers

Chapter 2 ; Honeymoon ends

by Garrett Connelly

Almost a month passed before Gaston’s beaver defense report reached the lower rank outer perimeter offices of the Pentagon in Washington DC. Such an obscure event all the way across the country would not normally reach the national capitol. The truth is that nobody in the various army districts and levels had any idea where to put the beaver file papers. No one knew who should be responsible for what had never before happened.

Slow and dull filing work accelerated toward light speed wherever Gaston’s report showed up. Every office inbox the beaver papers landed in treated the file like a hot potato. Higher ranks began to hear about the beaver defeat fiasco before the file even reached them for filing. Thus, even though the beaver file papers penetrated the office rings of the pentagon like an arrow through an onion, the highest offices of central command sequestered in the very center of the pentagon were able to react with utmost deliberate speed and pass the file straight to the white house office of the president without missing a beat.

The now infamous beaver file papers landed in the president’s inbox early one monday morning and soon worked their way to the bottom of the stack, where, some people swear to this day they sizzled like bacon on a hot frying pan. The president had only been in office for a short time. No one wanted a potato too hot for the pentagon to land on the president’s desk.

Days passed by and the beaver file papers remained filed in the inbox. Everyone held their breaths whenever the president walked by the inbox, the entire office knew the calm was too good to last. And they were correct; A day came when president iTrumpet was given a newspaper article that told about the beaver file stuck in the president’s inbox. President iTrumpet is a notorious liar but he is at least true to his name. He began to bellow how sad he was about murdered beaver families. He blamed the whole thing on Russia, Iran and China. This proved ridiculous so fast he switched to blaming California. He started rambling then and implied the entire pacific coast from the tip of Baja to British Columbia might be in on the plot. “They’re all a bunch of tree hugging whale lovers,” he boomed, almost spluttering with spit.

“Who is this idiotic Gaston Gravier?” president iTrumpet bellowed for the tenth time in five or six ranting minutes. He even yelled it to a chance network tv photographer; “Who is this Gaston Gravier who thinks he can stop US central command military plans?”

A young intern gaining experience for college graduation credit was maneuvered forward to answer president iTrumpet. She was very pretty and younger than the president’s daughter.

“What is your name?” The president asked as he morphed into his version of a fatherly role that would be recognizable on any week-night tv show.

“Tamara Rey,” the young college apprentice answered demurely. Tamara is a gifted student who won a national contest to see who would be the intern at the white house office of the president. She was selected from hundreds of contestants who applied for her job. Tamara was young at the time she found herself being questioned by the president yet she had a fairly clear idea who was behind iTrumpet’s cold eyes and warm fatherly smile. She had quick curtsied like a girl in a gingham skirt and white embroidered apron as she said, “Tamara Rey.”

Though Tamara is an attractive and shapely young woman with long wavy black hair and perfect copper sun burnish mocha java Honduran skin, iTrumpet saw exactly what Tamara projected; charming little Dorothy lost in Oz. The only thing Tamara couldn’t conjure for her defense was Dorothy’s cute little dog named Todo.

“Do you know anything about this beaver file?” The president asked in his role as a kind and calm inquiring father.

“Yes, sir, Mr President,” Tamara answered with a smile as she adjusted her stance to more stable footing in Oz. “Everyone in the office knows about the Beaver file papers.”

“They do? Can you tell me why this particular file has been sitting in the inbox for so long?” The president asked still as if he were her friendly father.

“I don’t know exactly.” Tamara answered. “Would you like to hear my opinion?”

“We need to start somewhere and your opinion is as good a place as any,” President iTrumpet responded with a well practiced sentence he frequently used during business discussions with international corporate executives of questionable character.

Tamara shrugged off a sudden cold fog that seemed to surround her from nowhere and everywhere. She ignored her peril and quickly composed her answer.

“Sir. The US Army has been defeated deep in the heart of homeland. We need leadership to tell us where to file the army’s defeat as recorded in the Beaver file papers. Your staff needs the president’s help and leadership.”

President iTrumpet was shocked. “The, the … the army was defeated in the heart of homeland?” he stammered. That’s what these Beaver file papers are all about?”

“Yes sir.” Tamara replied and quick curtsied.

The president noticed her curtsy this time but didn’t think about it. “You haven’t worked here very long or you would know that I do not like losers.” The president’s mind was racing at the same time as he talked slower.

Tamara thought quickly but let silence hang heavy long enough for everyone in the office to see that she had assumed command and the president was nervous.

“I already know you don’t like losers from your campaign speeches. You told us all that you didn’t like losers or people who were captured by our enemies.” Tamara said. “Everybody in the country knows you are accustomed to success and don’t tolerate failure or defeat.”

“So put these so called Beaver file papers away somewhere.” The president said this with the finality of a week-night tv show chief executive officer during the final drama before a commercial break. He waved his hands to illustrate closing a file cabinet drawer.

“But where? That is the question we haven’t figured out.” Tamara responded quickly. “Defeat is contrary to your administrative policy so there are no files for that.”

The president had not had such a long conversation in quite some time and was growing impatient and weary with whoever Gaston Gravier is. His voice started to rise but as he looked into Tamara’s smiling dark eyes he paused to look at her more closely. He noticed that the girl with a quick curtsy was actually an attractive young woman with a rather commanding personality. Her beautiful mocha java skin tone was perfect and without the slightest blemish. He briefly wondered if her papers were in order before handing the file to her and asking if she would check to see if there was space for the Beaver papers in the B section.

“Who is this Gaston Gravier anyway?” he asked. “Maybe you should file this in G.”

“Now you are beginning to see our problem.” Tamara said. “I’ll check out both B and G sections and if that doesn’t seem right then there’s always D for defeat.” She took the file from his hand, politely waved him on his way, and turned toward the file cabinets against the wall.

No one was very clear about what had set iTrunpet off at that moment. Had Tamara been a little too imperious about dismissing the president with the casual wave of her hand? Everyone there still wonders to this day. Perhaps Tamara had been a tad too regal in her manner. Whatever it was that set him off, President iTrumpet started bellowing once again about Gaston Gravier and the file that had been sitting so long in the inbox and where to file it. He was less and less able to contain his sarcasm and obviously forgot he was talking with a pretty young college student who had competed nation-wide for the honor of working for the president, for him.

That was the moment an iTrumpet aide entered the room, walked quickly to the president’s side, whispered in his ear and then left. The president’s eyes widened and then turned to scowling slits. He turned to Tamara and opened his mouth as if to speak but instead beckoned for her to come closer. After she did so he spoke quietly so only she could hear.

“How old are you, dear?” he asked.

“I’m almost twenty-one,” Tamara answered.

“You will file those papers immediately and then clear out your desk. The man that just reported and left is from Ice. He says you are an illegal alien. Is that true?”

“No, sir.” Tamara responded. “I was born in Honduras and came to the United States after our young democracy was overthrown and my family was killed when the police attacked a demonstration protesting the coup. I was only ten or eleven and my grandparents sent me an airplane ticket so I could come and live with them.”

“I see.” The president responded. “And you still live with your grandparents?”

“No.” Tamara answered with a growing sense of danger. “My grandfather died and then I lived alone with my grandmother after that.”

“And when will you graduate from college?” President iTrumpet was almost whispering.

“In a month or so; at the end of this term.” Tamara answered.

“Okay. Look,” the president mumbled, “Don’t take this personally but I can’t have an illegal alien working in my office. I will order Ice to leave you alone as much as possible until you graduate and you should be able to work here until then. After that you will be sent back to Honduras.”

“But my grandmother is a citizen and I have lived here since I was a child. Where would I go in Honduras?”

The president’s eyes narrowed to angry slits once again. He felt like shouting but kept his voice low. “I really don’t care where you go. You should have known better than accept a job here. This is your own fault.”

Tamara Rey was very frightened yet at the same time she felt a calmness flow into her body that helped her feel stronger than she had ever felt in her life. The president must have at least subconsciously noticed her stance and expression change for he moved a half-step back from her as she began to speak.

“Sir, this is the first I have ever heard about not being a citizen. Are you sure about this?”

“That was the director of Ice who just came in and told me,” the president said. “Why would he make up a story about you?”

Tamara felt her heart pounding. She was an almost twenty-one year-old athlete in perfect shape beginning to feel angry in front of an elder who was also president of the United States. She clenched her teeth and became a silent indigenous person of the jungle instead of a beautiful urbane young college student. Tamara felt her heart pound harder still. Strength flowed through her. A dangerous creature was standing directly in front of her at arm’s length. She could see by its body language that it did not know how she had changed.

“Did you hear me?” She heard him say as if in a slow motion dream.

“Yes, I heard you.” Tamara answered without moving a muscle.

“Look.” iTrumpet said. “Like I said before; don’t take this personally. It’s a general policy and an old one, I have to do it. You were caught in the president’s office. This really is all your fault.”

Then iTrumpet made a mistake. What happened next was a repeat of when Obama tried to console Raúl Castro before an onslaught of world reporters clamoring to know about all the political prisoners in Cuba.

“What political prisoners?” Raúl had finally asked in exasperation. “Give me names. Give me one name and that person will be free with his or her release starting now. This instant.”

President Obama, like a grinning Hawaiian friend, tried to put his arm over Raúl Castro’s shoulder and comfort him. He was blocked by the reacting instincts of a trained black belt martial artist. Raúl is a trained maestro de martial arts de Cuba Nacional. He reflexively stepped into whatever the motion was that he saw peripherally while raising his muscular right arm to block, followed by a spin-step toward the unknown force and a strong body aimed left fist. At that point Raúl’s mind caught up with his reflexes and he stopped. He did not damage the US president. His face briefly flashed the self-satisfied expression of a strong Latinoa before going expressionless.

When President iTrumpet put his arm over Tamara’s shoulders to comfort her with what he considered a fatherly hug, he had no idea that she was the western US college karate champion, or that his bullying had already turned her into an adrenalin pumped Cabrona; danger incarnate, the jungle goddess of defense. This moment was different than the one shared by Raúl and Obama; Tamara did not stop as Raúl had. Tamara reached up with her left hand and grabbed iTrumpet by the eyes, nose and upper lip so fast he could not react. She twisted his face while watching for him to move.

Tamara had planted both feet firmly in Oz and she knew it. She watched iTrumpet’s arms jerk upward. She let go of his face and raised her left arm to safety as she stepped forward and buried her right fist up to its wrist in his fat flabby solar plexus. Her preprogrammed left arm swung in a circle like a softball pitcher and joined with her rising right arm to harmlessly brush aside the president’s still raised arms as he fell.

The room was silent except for wheezing gasps of the president attempting to breath. No one said anything to interrupt his whooping gasps for air. Tamara stood over the gasping president and was first to speak. “I am sorry, sir,” she began. “You put your arm over my shoulder and frightened me. I reacted without thinking. Please forgive me.” She turned to her coworkers and tried to apologize. Everyone remained silent. Everyone peeked but no one looked Tamara straight in the eyes; they were too hot to look at. Tamara was still Cabrona. Átlan Kamakazi.

It was then that events began happening fast. One of Tamara’s coworkers reached out and pulled her into the crowd of awe struck office employees just as the secret service and medics burst into the room.

The medics quickly checked pulse and other vital signs before pulling iTrumpet to his feet. Many of the spasm muscles now became occupied with balance and the president breathed a first new-born’s breath. Secret service asked the slightly milling yet still bunching group of office staff what had happened. They all started talking at once. Secret service was trained to spot this sociologically interesting group defense, but had no training for methods of assessment. Tamara had been crowd stuffed to the very back of the group as quickly as she had been moved up front to talk with president iTrumpet.

Though a scene like this is a sociologist’s dream, and, at the time, Tamara was a sociology student, she was not taking notes for thesis or book. There was a guard at the door. Memory would have to suffice. Nobody was leaving.

Several minutes went by as the group of office employees focused their distributed intelligence. Such a group constitutes a high level team where laser sharp focus is the daily job. What did we see? What shall we say? The secret service heard focused intelligence of cosmic powered biology as everybody talking at once, gibberish.

The secret service was confused by gibberish that sometimes did not turn on and off as one might expect. And then a point came when the buzz of nonsense subsided and a group speaker had somehow emerged. This is where the secret service re-engaged with the people.

The office manager then raised his arms and announced; “It is time to decide what to say and how to say it.” The office manager pointed to their well respected report writer; “Walter. What have you gleaned from the conversations around you?”

Walter smiled and quick curtsied just like Tamara. Then he turned to her and smiled a positive note to his hope for her continued good health.

“What I’ve heard,” Walter began, “is we don’t know what he said to Tamara but we did hear what she said to him. Regime change in Honduras was for corporations and she is only a normal person. Where would she go? San Francisco, California is her home.”

“Tamara said he is big and scary. When he put his arm around her shoulder he told her about Ice and that she wasn’t a citizen, she reacted in defense. None of this was her idea. She said she was sorry. Tamara came here as a young orphan when our country helped overthrow democracy in Honduras. President Zelaya was kidnaped at gun point and taken to an us air base. He was then flown out of his own country wearing only pajamas by the us. When the coupsters tried to take Mrs Zelaya, she jerked her arms free from the guards and told them to keep their dirty hands off her. “He is the president,” she said, “He’s the one you want.” Their daughter was under the bed. Mom stayed home to protect her beautiful daughter from another us backed regime change. Tamara is a child survivor of that same coup. She did not know she wasn’t an us citizen until iTrumpet told her. Tamara is a karate champion. We all saw what happened. She decked him when he put his arm around her.”

The office manager next pointed to their budget manager. “Evers. Have you been able to discern what we as a group believe we can do in this rapid-change time budget we find ourselves in? What shall we do? Evers?”

Evers smiled briefly, she is also a refugee, from Afghanistan. Evers is an attractive woman with sun-lit golden brown skin, dark black hair and bright blue eyes. She also studied karate, when she was younger, five or six years ago.

“I’m still awed by Tamara’s moves,” she said, following up with her improvised quick version of Tamara’s karate dance. Evers then became serious.

“A spokes person should tell the story we saw and tell it as briefly as possible. Don’t mention our karate champion by name. I will henceforth use ancient indigenous latinoa ‘Átlan kamakazi’ as her public discussion name.” Evers smiled again and shrugged. “I study that kind of stuff.. It was in her eyes. I couldn’t look directly at them.” Evers saw a few people nod and ended on that note.

“Okay. Who wants to do the talking?” The office manager was beginning to enjoy himself.

“Evers moves were good, too; therefor, I nominate Evers.” A voice said from the rear of the group.

There was a general murmur of agreement. “Keep it short and don’t embellish.” Another person volunteered. The office staff agreed on Evers as their spokesperson and had just begun to relax when Abdel Comfy, the security director himself, strode into the office and addressed the staff.

“The president is doing fine now but he is not yet remembering exactly what happened,” director Abdel Comfy said. “We need some kind of statement from the staff to corroborate his story.”

Evers raised her arm and spoke; “What happened was an accidental confluence of surprising sequences and consequences.” Evers had stepped forward when she responded. “A young employee moved without thinking and struck president iTrumpet in the solar plexus. That employee will explain more if president iTrumpet wishes her to.”

“Okay, got it. I’ll go tell the president what you said.” Abdel Comfy responded with a totally blank poker face. “You are free to leave the room but do not leave the building. Seventeen spy agencies and the pentagon know exactly who you are. Report back here in thirty minutes.” Director Abdel then returned to the president’s inner office and the guard exited through the doorway with a smart salute to the staff.

Most of the office staff went to the lavatories first and then drifted around for awhile trying not to think too much about anything. No one had ever experienced a work day such as this. And it wasn’t even time for lunch yet.

Tamara’s was a different case, she was focused on the danger of Ice. They were stalkers as defined by the supreme court chief justice of California, Tani Cantil-Sakauye. An Ice employee could be stalking her and lurking around just about anywhere. She decided she would be safest in the relatively busy public lounge area near the employee cafeteria. As soon as she felt secure, Tamara called her advisor at the University of California at San Francisco. The phone only rang twice.

“Hello Tamara,” her advisor and favorite professor greeted her. “Is there something you wish to talk about?”

Tamara relaxed with the sound of a familiar voice from home and laughed. “Well since you put it like that; Yes.”

“Are you safe?”

“No. I found out this morning that I’m not a citizen.”

“You’re not a citizen?”

“No I lived with my grandmother after my parents were killed during the coup in Honduras. I know I’m a brown person yet I never thought about citizenship personally until now.”

Maria Cordero, Tamara’s advisor, felt a twist of worry in her stomach. Her student was three thousand miles away and in danger.

“How did you discover you are not a citizen? How old were you when you came here?”

“I was ten or twelve when I came to live with my grandparents.” Tamara responded. “It was the president himself who told me I’m not a citizen. That’s when the trouble started.”

“Trouble? What kind of trouble?”

Tamara’s advisor had been looking through a directory of university staff and students present in the capitol as they talked and rapidly exchanged information according to their mutual university training.

“Bingo!” Maria Cordero shouted into the phone. “There is a delegation of eight students from the university at Berkeley creator’s lab in the white house at this very moment. Where are you?”

Maria had asked for Tamara’s location reflexively, she could actually see where Tamara was on her computer screen via Tamara’s university phone number. Maria forwarded Tamara’s location and number to the creator’s lab and told them to hurry.

“Stay on the line Tamara dear,” Maria Cordero said, smiling to herself. “Help is on the way.”

“Really?” Tamara asked. “What do you mean?”

Maria Cordero was silent for a moment as she watched the phone locations from the Berkeley Creator’s Lab surround Tamara. “Your friends are with you,” Maria said. “Tell us all what happened.”

Tamara looked around herself in close rather than down hallways and through doorways. She was surrounded by eight smiling California students. Every race and color. Male and female. Some older and some younger. Tamara had become a student body of nine people linked into the university of California’s San Francisco computer. She no longer felt quite so alone.

“Tell us what happened next.” Tamara’s advisor asked gently as each student shook her hand or patted her shoulder in greeting.

“After the president told me I am not a citizen and that I would be sent back to Honduras; he put his arm on my shoulder like a pretend father friend and said it was just a rule and don’t take it personally.”

Tamara’s new friends had not imagined their white house trip would include this conversation. “This is unimaginable,” they nodded solemnly to each other.

“I tried to say I was sorry,” Tamara explained, “but nobody would listen.”

“You are sorry?” Maria asked, gently pushing for more; “What happened?”

“I hit him in the solar plexus and he went down hard. It was pitiful. He was lying there gasping for air like a fish out of water. He didn’t know what hit him.”

“Wow!” One of the wide-eyed students exclaimed. “What happened next?”

“A white house security person helped the president stand and leave the room. The entire staff was dismissed and told to return in thirty minutes.” Tamara looked at her watch, “I’m supposed to be there five minutes from now.”

“I don’t think that is a good idea,” Tamara’s advisor said. “All of you go back there together. Select one or two of you to take Tamara’s place and go in the meeting room for her. Repeat; at least one of you take Tamara’s place in that room. This is becoming a job for California’s governor. I’ll work on a connection with the governor’s office. Please keep me posted. Good by.”

About half of the president’s office staff entered the cafeteria lounge area as Tamara closed her phone. Some of them began moving toward Tamara just as she and the students were preparing to leave. “We were told to wait here instead of return to our office,” one of Tamara’s coworkers reported.

“That’s convenient,” Tamara said. “I don’t think any of my new university friends would have been permitted even as far as the president’s outer office. And I am forbidden to go in there alone.”

Berkeley creator’s lab students circled tightly around Tamara as she introduced the two groups of people. The office staff grouped loosely around the students. Security director Comfy entered the lounge area moments after everyone was present.

Students and office staff had no way of knowing that the governor of California was on the phone that very moment and that he could hear everything that was being said. Security director Comfy was aware of the connection but could not hear if anything was being said between the president and the governor. Director Comfy cleared his throat and raised his arms for attention while the assembly slowly quieted.

“We have reviewed the camera recordings of what happened and concluded that the entire incident was an accident. Everyone may therefor take the rest of the day off. The intern who was directly involved in this unfortunate accident is ordered to report to Ice within one week. The president wishes you well and gives you a one day paid vacation. That is all. You are free to go.”

Security director Comfy started to walk away and stopped. He raised his arms and shouted for attention. “A file known as the Beaver file papers was scattered all over the floor during the accident. The president would like one person to return and put away that mess. Thank you.”

The governor of California has much to do every day. The job is far from boring or routine yet this day was unique. He watched the telephone locations of nine California university students until they were safely aboard the capitol’s rapid transit system and bound for Reagan International Airport. He had done his job; a leased corporate-size jet airplane was warmed up and waiting to bring his endangered students home. The governor raised a clenched fist, let out a surfer’s hoot, and felt good about what he had just pulled off.

International relations have been strained for the entire pacific coast and all associated government capitols for several years. Peeráte, president of México and Gistless Trueblue, prime minister of Canada are obvious corporatist hoaxes. Election of president iTrumpet placed US policies betwixt and between the history of California and México. Both of those places once had the same colonial owner. The people of California have a fine government with its own pacific coast reality and does not need help from México or the US. The entire Grey Whale Coast relates to the great annual migration of a specie with four brain layers, one more than humans. It matters not what pentagonians say to Pacific people; most of them reject the politically convenient lie. And they are weary of endless war and corporate pollution destroying Earth.

California’s normal business practices and international relations with America Latinoa and across the great Pacific ocean are way more than five hundred years old. Other pacific states need not be subsumed in California in order to share this appreciation. The entire Gray Whale Coast adds up to the third largest economy on Earth and it is the top richest region per person.

Tamara is chafing at the yoke of denied us citizenship in a manner well understood by the soul of the entire Gray Whale Coast. Will Canada try to permit a pipeline terminal and ship loading port in the middle of the Salish sea? It is cetacean capitol of the pacific. What about a second terminal at the mouth of the last and richest pacific salmon river of the north pacific ocean? Prime minister Gistless Trueblue has no more idea about justice with Earth than do presidents iTrumpet or Peeráte of Mexico.

All these visions rumbled through the student’s conversations. The California national guard on capitol duty picked up creator’s lab luggage and a travel kit for Tamara. Along the way the guard also picked up the group’s tenth member; Evers. “Do you accept me?” that was all she said. The first nine jumped aside to let her aboard the plane and they became the first ten.

Neither the governor or the first ten could see that they were being followed. Their very cool jet plane was shadowed in the air by us military fighter craft. Tamara again felt the cold fog from nowhere and everywhere. This time she was not so alone. Others felt it and turned to her wide-eyed. “You are a witch;” their eyes said this without speaking. Tamara laughed out loud and couldn’t stop laughing for a long time.

The president was a bully. He knew he could order the air force to shoot down a plane load of California surfers with the snap of a finger. “They love me for my billions,” he says often, with full sincerity. “I am famous and can do what ever I want!”

That’s when the governor of California called president iTrumpet and told him Tamara Rey was a fully protected citizen of California with full world diplomat status recognized by the entire Gray Whale Coast.”

iTrumpet began bellowing; “Look, Starbeam, I am your president and you do what I say, or else.”

“Or else what? Governor Starbeam chortled. “I just sent news releases about this around the world. The California air force is on rendezvous course to help the pretty young surfer girls you are threatening to blow up.”

iTrumpet actually couldn’t hear much over his own bellowing; “You do what I say until the next president and then you do what he says. Is that clear?”

The governor almost giggled audibly. A bit of a snort and that was that. He could not resist and took a deep breath. “What if the next president is a woman? Governor Starbeam asked.”

“Don’t be a smart ass,” iTrumpet retorted; “Then you do what she says.”

Governor Starbeam wondered how a coward bully must feel after being flattened by an average-size female college student. He didn’t say anything and waited to learn as much as he could.

President iTrumpet also remained silent.

Governor Starbeam waited a few heartbeats and then articulated a new policy he had been mulling for quite some time.

“You have convinced me to make California the first sanctuary state.” He proclaimed. “Starting now.”

“What does that mean?” iTrumpet asked.

“It means California will protect law abiding people from the us. Tamara is the first person granted official California asylum. I invite all pacific states to join California in making Tamara Rey an honorary irrevocable citizen.”

“We’ll see about that,” iTrumpet yelled. You think you’re a different country because you’re into hugging trees and whales. Forget it! You are a traitor as far as I’m concerned!” he said. “You are some kind of anti free market control freak with anger management problems;” iTrumpet spoke softly as he slammed down the phone and ended his last ever conversation with Governor Starbeam. Everyone knew Starbeam was running for president. That is why the current president snorted loudly at no one in particular when he hung up.