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For All Nails (FAN), pt. 131:  November Election

2 November 1974
Henrytown, Jefferson

Immanuel Moctezuma was a very angry man.

In a piece of very bad --- or perhaps good --- luck the story broke
just as the President happened to be in Henrytown.  Jefferson was
Delrista territory and the President usually relied on his Secretary
of State to campaign there, but sometimes you needed to rally the
troops personally.  Besides which, you couldn't ignore the corporate
donors, and not all the donors were in San Francisco or Chapultapec.

His armored Behemoth pulled up right outside the Mercury-Reporter
offices.  The Mercury-Reporter was in an old downtown rascacielo, a
giant statue of Atlas holding up a globe out front. The sculptor had
tried to make the statue more Mexican by giving Atlas's features an
Olmec cast.  By coincidence, the statue vaguely resembled a
slightly-thinner version of the President of the United States.

The patrullas stopped on either side, and the plainclothed elite
Constabulary agents got out, wearing their telltale black suits,
shirts, and sunglasses.  It had never bothered Moctezuma before, but
he was beginning to hate any reference to the color black.  Which
wasn't why the President himself was wearing jeans, a work shirt, and
vaquero boots.  That was because the visit to Henrytown and nearby
Galveston had been a campaign visit, but it wasn't anymore, not since
his youngest daughter called him up at the hotel crying.

Heads turned on the streets.  Motorcades, even small ones, were not
common in Mexico.  And El Popo was one of the country's most
recognizable sights, after … well, after a huge multitude of film and
vita stars.  But he still was pretty damn recognizable, and right now
more in the public eye than any other figure save possibly Jacqueline
Bracamontes.  Oh, and Vincent Mercator, right, that guey.  [1]

The good thing is that there weren't all that many pedestrians. 
Henrytown's summers had to be experienced to be imagined, with none of
Veracruz's or Acapulco's sea breezes to break up the heat.  A network
of skywalks between the downtown buildings had long ago sucked the
life off downtown's streets, which existed solely to insure that the
vast army of locomobiles that descended upon the central city every
day could get in and out successfully. [2]

The big man in barged out of the center Behemoth, his guarruas almost
running to keep up.  The skyscrapers loomed overhead.  He had to slow
down a moment to get through the revolving door into the building, but
he was indeed a very Big Man:  the door moved faster than its
designers would have believed.  Black-suited guarruas fanning out
around him, the President of the United States strode past the giant
globe that decorated the Mercury-Reporter's lobby and into the
elevator bank.  A secretary merely stared at open-mouthed at him as he
went by.

The elevator opened immediately when the President punched the button.
 One of the guarruas idly wondered if El Popo's exit would be as
dramatic --- waiting for an elevator in the president's current mood
could be hazardous to bystanders.  The guarrua decided he would stay
behind and hold the door for the patrón.

The elevator swiftly ascended up to the main newsroom.  By the time
the door opened, the President's arrival caused slightly less of a
fuss than it would have three minutes before:  the receptionist had
gathered herself up sufficiently to call upstairs.  But it still
caused a fuss.  All heads turned towards him.

"Where the fuck is Eduardo Nuche?" shouted the President.  "I wanna
talk to that little pinche fuck right the fuck now!!"

Nuche swivled around from his desk in the center of the newsroom.  He
didn't stand up, but he leaned forward in his battered leather chair. 
"Uh, soy Ernesto Nuche, Mr. President," correcting both the first name
and the president's mispronunciation of his apellido.

The President glared at him.  Nuche's eyes widened to the width of a
full moon.  His face also turned the color of a full moon as El Popo
started towards him.  Nuche had once been in a bullfight, against a
little baby bull with shaved horns, but a bullfight nonetheless.  This
was worse.  [3]

"Nnnnnnnngghhhhh ..."  Immanuel Moctezuma loomed over Nuche.  And
loomed.  And loomed.  Later, Nuche would swear that it was impossible
for a human being that large to lean over at that steep and angle
without toppling, but the President never did.  "...bllliiiigghh. 
Nuche.  Nuuuuuu-Chay.  Let me explain something to you, Noo-chay."

He leaned closer.  Then he actually snorted.  Nuche's mind went back
to that bullfight.

"You can write whatever the fuck you like about me, about my policies,
about my sex life, about my complexion or my fashion sense.  But ...
you ... cannot ... bring ... my ... daughters ... into it.  Me
explico?"  He stood back up.  Nuche later swore the president just
moved, no jerks, no knee-bending, an impossible motion for a humongous
potbellied man in his late fifties, no matter how well muscled.  "You
little fuck.  You didn't even have the decency to go after my grown
daughters.  No, you decided to ask my youngest how it feels to find
out you're black.  Then you went after her friends?  Not ... fucking
... acceptable, pinche Noosh."

Pausing only to supress a snarl, the President of the United States
continued.  "You go near my daughters again, you get my Gabriela to
call me up in tears again, and I will tear you limb from limb.  I will
follow you home and set fire to your dog.  I will rip your head off
your shoulders and stuff it so far down your throat it comes out your
culo."  Now he paused.  "Don't worry, I won't do it as the president. 
I don't work that way, and you should count your blessings Nuche,
since I've pretty much made it fucking impossible for me to get you
officially even if I change my mind.  I'm gonna do it as _me_,
Noo-Chay.  So say whatever the fuck you want about me, but stay far
away from my daughters.  Me fucking explico?"

"Uh, sí, señor.  Sí."  

The President swivled around and stormed into the elevator one of his
guarruas was holding open, despite the incessant beeping from the
mechanism.  Once the guarrua let go, the doors slid shut behind him
and the president disappeared.  Nuche blinked, then blinked again.

The newsroom was silent.

Nuche blinked again and looked around.  Everyone was looking at him.  

The fear drained from him.  Within two seconds, he realized what had
just happened.  The corner of his mouth twitched.  Then it twitched
again.  Then he broke into a wide wide grin.

"Are we on a roll, or what?" he asked.

The reporters broke into wild cheers.  Best three months of their

3 November 1974
Mexico City, C.D.

Andy Gendrop was an exasperated man.  "Oh, Christ, patrón," said Andy
Gendrop, "you didn't.  Did you."

El Popo nodded.  "Yeah, yes I did.  He fucked with my _family_, Andy."

Andy nodded.  "Right.  Yeah.  Joe, can we spin this?"

Joe Osterman nodded.  "Sure we can spin this.  The public will be
sympathetic to his daughter.  The President was just being a good
loyal father."  He rubbed his chin.  "Yeah, definitely, this could
actually be a good thing."

El Popo looked at his advisor.  "That's a really sick attitude."

Joe shrugged.  "Hey, patrón, _I_ woulda just slugged him, but we gotta
think how it's gonna play in Puebla."

The President sighed.  "Okay.  Sure.  As long as we keep my daughters
out of the spotlight, spin it however you'd like.  Sometimes I really
_hate_ this job."

Gendrop and Osterman looked at each other.  The President had
mentioned this before.  "You're not serious about refusing to run for
re-election, are you?" asked Andy.

El Popo looked at his two most trusted political advisors.  "We can
talk about this after the Assembly vote.  Right now we don't know if
I'm still going to be President in two months."

Andy and Joe had both seen the polls.  It was highly improbable that
the President would lose the vote. Given that, El Popo's reluctance to
talk about the issue implied that he was serious about refusing to run
again.  They both knew that the President had been grooming Chewy
Enciso to be his successor practically since taking office, but Chewy
had never held an elected position before, and they were both counting
on him having six years in the Senate before running in 1983.  Now it
would all depend on Del Rey, unless the President could be persuaded
to change his mind.

They had three years to do that, and three years was an infinite
number of eternities in politics.

10 November 1974
Mexico City, C.D.

María del Rey was a happy woman.  She looked at the vita with great
satisfaction.  Her candidates had almost all beaten their Mercatorista
opponents --- although most of her candidates had been former
Mercatoristas that she persuaded to come out against the impeachement.

"This is very good," she said.

The grey men around her nodded, paid professional consultants all. 
"We could have won more had we confronted Moctezuma."

She shook her head.  "No.  Better he gets a majority.  Right now the
impeachment bill will be lucky to get twenty votes, and El Popo has
enough New Nationalists in the Assembly to get most of his agenda
through.  We won't play obstructionist, at least not during the '75

Another grey man spoke up.  "We have the reporter incident.  There are
others.  These will be potent weapons in the future, should the
President's popularity decline.  There are many subtle ways to play
the race issue."

"The polls indicate that as many people were voting against Mercator
as for the President," said a third grey man.  "His approval ratings
are sky-high, but fragile."

Del Rey nodded.  "Barring war or natural disaster, then, we're in a
good position for '77?"

They all nodded.

She smiled, a satisfied smile.  

15 November 1974

>From the _New York Herald_, page A1

Analysis:  Assembly Landslide for Moctezuma Not What it Seems

By Roland Hedley-Burton

For Immanuel Moctezuma, the next election campaign starts now. That
might seem an odd assessment of the Mexican president's election
victory. He has, after all, managed to secure a landslide for
candidates who have publicly condemned the impeachment bill, whose
defeat in January is almost certain, if it even comes up for a vote.

The President has accomplished much during his first three years in
office, cleaning up the air, expanding the national parks, protecting
tropical agriculture, reforming the tax system, and liberalizing the
election law.  The economy is booming since the sharp, but short,
1971-72 depression.  Many parts of his reform agenda, however, remain
unenacted.  In order to get them passed, he will require the
cooperation of the legislative faction controlled by Secretary of
State María del Rey ...

... meanwhile, President Moctezuma faces another challenge in cleaning
up the War Department.  The whereabouts of many of the War
Department's highest officials are currently unknown, although _Times_
reporters believe they have evidence that many are currently in New
Granada.  (See story on page W2.)  President Moctezuma may have
effectively won the impeachment battle, but Secretary Mercator will
continue as the titular head of the department until the Assembly
actually votes in January, when the Mexico Tribunal's _amparo_, or
injunction, against the dismissal will expire.  It is not clear that
the President will burn his political capital in getting the
injunction lifted early, or risk another Guantánamo Incident by
forcibly taking control of the War Department buildings ...

... most commentators here believe that most, if not all, of Mexico's
soldiers are loyal to the President.  The possibility of a countercoup
is almost universally dismissed.  _Times_ interviews with commanders
inside Mexico and the Caribbean confirm this impression.  (See story
on page W3.)  Nevertheless, the chain of command remains confused. 
The status of the Atlantic fleet is unclear, anchored in Neogranadian
waters with most of the sailors on "indefinite leave," as is the
status of the significant air units stationed in that country ...

[1]  Not a typo.  "Guey" means "dude" in Mexican.  

[2]  Henrytown is quite a bit older than Houston.  There are many many
more downtown skyscrapers, and an elevated train system that gets
heavy use.  The skywalks have sucked all the life out of downtown,
however:  street life has never recovered from the '50 "election
riots."  (The contemporaneous race riots, when rampaging Anglo and
Hispano mobs burnt down the city's black neighborhoods in a hunt for
"terrorists," have been quietly forgotten.)

[3]  I've been in a bullfight against a little bull with filed horns. 
I don't remember it being that frightening, but I was drunk and I got
knocked on my ass too quickly for the reality to sink in.