Chapter 15

Will Ingersoll paused while writing on the chalkboard as the classroom door opened and Principal Johnson marched in. “Sorry to interrupt, class. Jeremy Anton, please come with me. Bring your belongings.”

“What’s going on?” said Jeremy as he hastily stuffed his notebooks into his backpack and headed for the door, where Principal Johnson ushered him out. She leaned in toward a concerned Will Ingersoll and whispered “Your boy done stirred up some shit, Will.”

She led Jeremy down the hall to an unused classroom. Standing at attention were two impeccably dressed gentlemen in high-quality suits, with silk handkerchiefs poking out of the breast pockets. “Some people are here to see you. Jeremy, this is Monsieurs Pierre Vinet and Andre Borgarine with the United Nations. I’ll let them explain.”

Jeremy was bewildered. “The United Nations? Here in Placerville?”

Vinet was the shorter of the two and had a slender build and a beak of a nose. His posture was ramrod straight. “We have been contacted with allegations of voter fraud, and as such, we are here to conduct an investigation to ensure that this election is not compromised.”

“ Fraud? Who called you? It’s not even an election – it’s a petition,” protested Jeremy.

Monsieur Vinet stood up straighter, to his full 5’4” to address the tousled youth who challenged authority. “Elections go by different names in different countries. Our concern is the integrity of the process, that the people are represented. I assure you, we have stood up to many a despot around the world. We are not afraid of you.”

“ But it’s just a petition,” repeated Jeremy.

Monsieur Borgarine smoothly stepped in. At 6’4”, he towered over Jeremy but did not feel the need to step forward and crowd Jeremy.  He explained, “The guidelines governing the United Nations Election Oversight Committee state that any administrative vehicle which can substantially alter the leadership of a country is to be considered equivalent to an election. Therefore, we have been dispatched to look into the issue at hand. Please, the petition.” He reached out expectantly.

“ Placerville’s not a country, it’s a city,” argued Jeremy.

“Yes, but it will become its own country if this petition goes through.,” responded Monsieur Vinet with a smile. “Please give us access to the petition or we will report  you as uncooperative.”

“ Report me? “ He looked at Principal Johnson. “Do I have to give it to them?”

Principal Johnson pondered the questions and said, “ I don’t really know. It seems like you should if you don’t have anything to hide. I know this, it won’t help the legitimacy of your issue if you refuse to cooperate.”

“ I guess,” Jeremy sighed in defeat. He dug out the papers and gave it to Borgarine. “ This is it so far.”

“Excellent!” Vinet clapped his hands together and addressed Principal Johnson.  “We will make this our headquarters, if this is acceptable?”

“ Certainly,” responded the principal.  “It’s really quite an honor to host the United Nations. If you need anything at all, please let me know. My name is Marika Johnson and I am in charge here.”

Borgarine leaned in to kiss both of her cheeks. “Merci, Marika. Could we perhaps trouble you for some café au lait? And if you could point us to your finest bakery, we will procure croissants for ourselves, no?”

 

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