Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Zimmerman Virus (fiction alternate history)

Note: I've never tried alternate history. A friend suggested I start something on my web site, wait for comments and see where it goes as a kind of collaborative web-based novel. So, here's the first couple paragraphs. If there's interest, I'll keep fiddling with it.

Mohammed Bin Laden was the first Moslem to have served as president of the United States. He had also promised to be the first to make a pilgrimage to Mecca while in office. For decades, no American president had left the western hemisphere at least since the end of the First World War in 1936 and the Treaty of Istanbul in the same year. He had met the Caliphs of Madrid and Budapest when they had visited the United States just after Ramadan in 1957, but he not been outside the United States since he was a teenager. The Great Powers Summit of 1963 would decide three things. First, would Japan, Russia, the Ottomans, and the United States create a homeland for the Jewish people in what had once been Germany and Poland.
Second, how would the remainder of Europe be divided up? Could there still be sovereign states in the region based on language and ethnicity even after the twenty two year war that had killed 90% of the adult male population of Western Europe. Third, would the United States be able to negotiate for Middle Eastern oil and thus have the resources to protect its own borders.

He had just completed his three o’clock prayers when his chief of staff came in. “Mr. President, I trust you received the agenda for the summit?”

"Yes, but must I stop in Paris?”

“Security is much improved there?”

“It’s so barren. The streets are filled with mendicants, most of them smelly.”

“It’s not as bad as the rumors Mr. President. There’s even word that they are getting together funds to rebuild the Louvre.”

“They’ll probably demand the return of the Mona Lisa and the Whistler’s Mother then.”

“The Russians promised them Victory at Samothrace and even some Impressionists works that were smuggled out.”

Gardner Harris was an efficient chief of staff, but a very literal conversationalist. President Bin Laden was already getting bored.

“The fact is Mr. President that the North African elite who now control France are anxious for your appearance on the Seine. You remain a symbol to the Moslem world of their place in what was once the west. The image of you coming into the city will be seen on television there.”

“They have television?”

“It’s not Tokyo or Baghdad, but France has some modern conveniences.They use the television for prayer rituals and for readings of the Koran. The subtitles help the French born to understand.”

“My food will be shipped in with me?”

Gardner Harris raised a thick blonde eyebrow.

“It’s just that the local fare might not be safe yet.”

The chief of staff nodded.

The president looked at his Swiss made watch. Remarkable how that one now very crowded country had avoided the war. Harris recognized this as his signal to finish up his end of the meeting.

“Mr. President, there’s one more thing.”


“I don’t think it’s anything big, but I have to pass this on.”

“The OSI is investigating a threat to assasinate you on your visit to Damascus. We’ll have to take extra precautions.”

The two men stared at one another.

“Such as?”

“They are recommending that you only tour the city in a closed vehicle.”

“A Moslem president arrives for the first time in a great and ancient Moslem city and he must act terrified! I expect to greet the city in an open car. The United States is a free society, an open society, a democracy. How will they understand the difference if I am protected like some despot?”

“How will democracy spread with you assasinated in November of 1963 the third year of your first term?”

"OSI will just have to protect their president in an open car. It is, as you say, just a possibility, a matter for investigation.”

Gardner Harris paused. For two weeks, he had known more the president. Still, this was not the time. Full disclosure would mean chaos. Too much was at stake in Istanbul for the president to be distracted by rumors of fringe Christian fundamentalists in alliance with the mafia.....


At 8/18/2005 01:36:00 PM, Blogger Alan Howard said...

The story is interesting and well written. Correcting a couple of typos would improve it, but that's what proof-reading is for.

Some advice. Don't wait for people to comment before you continue. Write what YOU want to write, and write from the heart. Let it flow from inside of you. Write for yourself, not for anyone else.

I hope that helps. I also hope to see more of your story! I'm curious where it's going to go.

At 8/18/2005 01:49:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

thanks for dropping by and I appreciate the comments. I'll try to catch the typos as I re-edit.

I miss EOTW btw, yet understand the need for a break. Hope you're doing well and thanks again for reading and commenting. I'll be redrafting and expanding the Zimmerman Virus in the next few days.

At 8/18/2005 03:09:00 PM, Blogger Alan Howard said...

A dedicated website for news and stuff isn't what I'm interested in doing at the moment, but I'm still continuing my commentary on what's important to me at my personal blog, Life Through My Eyes

At 8/18/2005 09:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like you might have painted yourself an interesting corner to get out of.

If you want, you may use [putative me] as a svelte college student who has the President assassinated on her 19th birthday and evolves into a militant pacifist when she's old & toothless.

I do well as a sly spy.

Also I disagree with Mr. Howard a bit. You've been around the block enough to have the write-flowingly-from-the-heart trick down. I agree with that advice for the 20-50 year olds who haven't learned where the vein is to nick yet. But if you want to experiement with a more collaborative History and see what The Blue sends you, go with that. So now you have diametrically opposing advices. Muy yum.


the abolition of war begins today with you

Would your child be collateral damage?


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