“Now that I am dead, I can tell you everything about my husband’s assassination.”
Everyone remembers President Fletcher’s assassination. Most remember his murderer, one of millions of underemployed young men in a world run by the unaging, took First Lady Miranda Fletcher’s college course on violent regime change.
Now, decades after his violent death, only one of us will learn the secret she took to her grave.
Sample of “Private Keys”
Now that I am dead, I can tell you everything about my husband’s assassination.
Are you wondering why I chose you? According to my archived calendars, we have only officially been in the same room four or five times over the decades, mostly during American Historical Association meetings. I don’t remember you from those. But much else recommends you. First, although your research on bureaucratic subornation of democracies in Latin America during the ’20s and ’30s was outside of my specialty, it ranks highly for both quality and relevance, according to the search engines. I’m sure you know your term technocratic pronunciamiento recently entered the official databases at Merriam-Webster.
Second, though you are two decades younger than me, by the time I write this message, we are contemporaries, and will only become more so in the decades before you will read this.
Third, that you have risen in university administration, in our age when most growth of organizational hierarchies is downward, indicates you are adroit at political and social games, and suggests you will be capable of bringing this message and the attached files to the public in a manner most advantageous to our cause.
Because, fourth, and finally, I know you share our cause. I referred to official encounters before and I’m sure you know why I used that term. If I remember a freshly-tenured associate professor overheard in a hotel coffee bar over three decades ago, you must remember the First Lady.
I don’t recall where ’55’s AHA summer meeting took place, and it’s not important enough to look up. After dinner, I sat in a high-backed booth, catching up with an old friend from my grad school days at Harvard, while my Secret Service detail fanned out to various tables. You walked in with colleagues of yours and your voice carried. “President Fletcher is coddling the striking adjuncts! They don’t deserve job security! We could bring in a million replacements from India and Latin America! He’s a fool—”
I suspect at this point you realized the nature of the men in dark suits scattered around. My friend and I shared an amused glance, then returned to our conversation, reminiscing about our FDA-disapproved visits with our husbands to the life-extension clinics in Singapore in the ‘20s. In the back of my mind, though, I mused about you. I knew all along I was bound, as politicians’ spouses have been since time immemorial, to never express public disagreement with my husband’s policies. I did not know you, and could not communicate with you as we do now, through a set of public and private keys. All I could do was prepare a wry nod to nonverbally say I agree, my husband is wrong to negotiate with the adjunct professors; but when I left, you studied the lid of your drink and would not look up.
That was less than six months before Rod’s assassination.
The script that checks the output of my medical monitoring implant runs daily at midnight Central time. It will send this message soon after. I assume you will not read it until the following morning, by which time I expect you will already have seen news stories about my death. I’m certain our generation’s news outlets will show, over and over, the shaky footage shot by other skiers as they ran to us. I can see comparable images from my memory when I close my eyes. The contrasts! The cloudless turquoise sky, the sun-dazzled snow, the deep green spruces, our black and gray attire, and my husband’s blood, spattered across the ground by the sniper bullet and bubbling from his mouth as he died.
I also expect the newsreaders will remind you that Andrew Phillip Younger had been a student of mine one semester. I remember the questions one reporter asked me in the scripted, staged interviews those first weeks after Rod’s assassination. You knew Andrew Phillip Younger. Did you have any idea he was capable of this?
Artfully I had spent most of my tears by that point of the interview. He was just another student from one of the many semesters I taught at Nebraska. When his transcript was leaked to the press after Rod’s murder, I was surprised he’d been a student of mine. I don’t know how he could have done—I stopped holding back the last tears—this.
True, as far as it went. But the other two times I encountered him gave me reason to suspect.