Satire, n. (Rom. ant.) use of ridicule, irony, sarcasm, etc. in speech or writing for the ostensible purpose of exposing & discouraging vice or folly.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary
A solid groundwork is the secure basis for a stable foundation.
Ben Shalom Bernanke
To be truthful, I’d never thought myself capable to pull off anything like this. Not in my wildest dreams! But since whistleblowing has become socially acceptable and, what is more, even glamorous in the eyes of our traditional-minded females, I was overcome by an atypical attack of acute audacity.
I asked myself: Why not you too?!
Meaning me, Fritz Wilhelm Spitz. Let me introduce myself. I am an Under-Secretary second class at the Deutsche Bundesbank, or German Federal Reserve. Which is generally believed to be federal indeed, though to what degree even I could never make out. Now this perception has recently received a serious blow, and I’ll tell you in a few words how that came to pass.
It came to pass because of the Gold!
To be precise, Germany’s national gold hoard—tangible prop-up for our monetary trustworthiness and, at a remove, the ailing Euro as well. As it is, a massive chunk of the precious bullion, about five hundred tons or so, are held in the cellars of the US Federal Reserve in New York. This because during the second half of the last century my country, precariously located at the very edge of the free Western World and in constant danger of communist aggression and collective enslavement, had been generously permitted by our glorious liberators and devoted friends to stash the precious stuff in the latter’s fireproof vaults on the other side of the Atlantic. Now this was a sensible precaution as long as the confrontation lasted. Yet the danger diminished entirely with the collapse of the USSR some twenty years ago.
Within this context it can be safely said that Germany’s rulers, past or present, weren’t pushing any imperatives either, democratic or otherwise, except those fostered on them by their Bilderberg controllers. Unfortunately this small detail, however smutty and wretched if seen from close up, didn’t bother the hard-working Krauts in any way, provided of course they knew about it in the first place. As long as the country kept booming economically, nobody had the slightest interest to sniff at the muck that had accumulated behind the shiny facades of the political floorshow. This blissful ignorance changed with the launch of the Euro, part of a strategic gamble hatched by the usual suspects with the intent to dominate the global markets and thus enchain the free world once and for all.
At the time still a student of economics, I remember well my incomprehension of the insane idea to equate an inscrutable Deutschmark with the wobbly Spanish Peseta or, even more alarming, the shaky Greek Drachma. What on earth, I asked myself dumbfounded, possessed Chancellor Kohl and his cohorts to ruin our iron-clad currency in such a mindless manner?!
Now I know better.
Germany is an occupied country run by a foreign power. The Americans exercise real control. Germany’s own political elite is not free. As a result of this situation Berlin cannot act for the good of the country, as it should. In fact, at the present time Germany is being governed against her own best interests.
A shocking situation, you will agree. Even worse, the aforementioned strategic gamble did not only work out as planned, but practically blew up into the faces of its shady midwives. With the result that everyone began to distrust the once mighty Dollar and bought gold instead. Mountains of it! And this is the reason why in Germany some political bigwigs tried to placate a few clever media stringers who thought that something about our mountain of gold wasn’t exactly kosher and might be the stuff for a big scoop. And that is the reason why the Bundesbank had been ordered to launch a timid request for a brief audition of its U.S.-based bullion.
Which, to everyone’s surprise, was flatly denied. Now this rude and totally unexpected rebuke on the part of The Fed set plenty of alarm bells ringing in very high places, particular since elections were looming in the near future. So it was decided to clear up the mess before someone stepped into it and dirtied the whole place without even noticing it.
This delicate task, to my joyful surprise, was handed to me, with many instructions on how to behave and what to say and what not to say in the presence of the great man. Furthermore my superiors ordered me to avoid the Big Bagel’s many fleshpots, since that could lead to a spot of blackmail and thus hamper my mission. Which is the reason why I carried just an overnight bag and a briefcase when I boarded my flight to New York.
On arrival I flagged down a taxi and told the burly cabby my destination. And this turned out to be a portentous prologue to the impending disaster. Because when the fellow understood where I wanted to go, he hit the brakes hard, looked me over with clear signs of disgust and demanded to know if I were one of those. And, he added, if that was the case, I might as well walk, since the last thing he’d countenance would be transporting a mobster of this magnitude.
Fairly shocked by the man’s ferocity, I lost no time to explain who I was and why I had come. Which caused, to my astonishment, the exact opposite reaction. Namely a guffawing laughter that continued in uncontrolled spasms until we had reached our destination. When I wanted to pay the fare, he refused any money. Wiping his eyes, he told me I’d surely need it to return home and therefore better keep it, then drove away while still laughing his head off.
You can imagine my consternation. Which, after I had entered the Fed’s hallowed precincts and sat face to face with the Chairman, deepened even more. Because even though I was greeted rather pleasantly, the interview descended immediately into a verbal exchange that seemed to be perfectly normal in these surroundings, yet came across, at least to my inexpert ears, as if conducted in a mental asylum.
This how it went.
HE (with a frown): You don’t look… ah… Chinese!
ME (dumbfounded): Why should I?!
HE (suave): Are you hard of hearing? Deaf, as they say?
ME (giving him my waterproof smile): I’m neither. And as it happens, I’m also not Chinese!
HE (checking a dog-eared agenda): Well, I’ll be damned…
ME (rearing myself up): I’m Fritz William Spitz, Undersecretary at the Deutsche Bundesbank, here to cast a professional glance at the German gold hoard which you and your house, as reliable custodians, are safeguarding for the German people (pulling a sheet out of my briefcase, I hold it up for him to see). Confirmed by your office and signed by …
HE (smacks his intercom hard, growls): Which confounded fool has saddled me with… (he rips the sheet out of my hand and reads it) … one Fitzwilliam from… (reads on) …Germany… (adds rather contemptuously) …of all places?!
METALLIC VOICE: The designated chairwoman. She thought it more convenient if you clear up the mess before you clear out. (A metallic chuckle.) Instead of saddling her with it.
HE (smacks the intercom hard, growls): Damn the bitch! (Looks at me, smirks falsely.) So what do you want?!
ME (rearing myself up again): I am Fritz William Spitz, Undersecretary…
HE (waves a hand dismissively): OK! OK! Rather tell me why you want to see the gold. Don’t you trust the Fed anymore? Or me, its chairman, at that?! (now with a threatening undertone). Because I don’t need to remind you that you and your lot have to tread particularly careful in this respect, taking into consideration certain historical occurrences that make the matter particularly… ah, delicate!
ME (having been prepared by my superiors for this sort of argument): Be assured that I am treading extremely carefully in this particular respect. The last thing that would come to my mind is antagonizing you with historical or mythological occurrences which might, however imaginative, cloud your professional approach where my request is concerned.
HE (stares at me, shakes his head with signs of consternation): I see.. (frowns) You’re not making fun of me, right?
ME (emphatically): I wouldn’t dare!
HE (looking still bemused): Mythology sounds great. Which reminds me acutely of your request. (Frowns, then changes tack.) Are you aware of the enormous burden the US Federal Reserve has to carry on its broad shoulders these days?
ME (nodding vigorously): Of course! Its responsibility for the stability of the US currency and, consequently, the good health of the US economy and, even more consequently, the wellbeing of the US citizenry in general.
HE (looks at me as if I’m mad, laughs raucously): That’s a good one, really! Who told you it, eh? (Calms down and tries to look serious.) Right you are, of course. But the Fed’s most significant mandate is to push the gold price down so that the dollar doesn’t tumble into a bottomless hole. Not to mention the immensely vital geopolitical obligation to ruin Iran like Libya and the others before it.
ME: But doesn’t that produce billion dollar losses for the American export, plus millions of jobs gone down the drain?
HE (shrugs his shoulders): So what? This is a Free Market Economy, and the Fed is after all a private enterprise. We do what’s best for those who own it, right? (Gets up and winks an eye playfully.) Come on, let’s have something to drink.
ME (trying to sound diffident): Shouldn’t we look at the gold first? While we are sober?!
HE (shakes his head): Afterwards. (And as an afterthought,) Call me Ben.
He takes me patronizingly by the elbow and walks to what he calls his personal library. Which, to my surprise and mounting discomfort, doesn’t contain any books at all, but a Turkish harem complete with a few reclining odalisques and a belly dancer.
Still deeply shocked by the careless admission which seems to buttress the Bundesbank’s and my worst fears, I decide to take events in their stride, but hear all my alarm bells ringing when he orders me with a wide smile to choose one of the gorgeous odalisques for a spot of informal fraternizing. When I decline the offer calmly but firmly, he chases the girls away and wants to know if I prefer a young Adonis instead. By now I need all my willpower to keep a straight face, and while declining the Adonis as well, I try to defuse the situation by mentioning the promised drink.
HE (brusquely): What’s the matter? Are you paedo? Or impotent, at that?
ME (dignified): Neither. Only averse to blackmail and slander.
HE (grins disarmingly): Clever devil! Well, let’s go. (And as an afterthought,) Got a suitcase?
Without waiting for an answer he opens a door, we walk down a long aisle and enter an elevator. It zooms downwards with a soft hiss, stops, opens, and I find myself in the Fed’s fabled printing section. It is a giant subterranean hall with hundreds of huge printing machines, and each spews US dollars in every denomination onto long assembly lines that disappear in the distance. The noise is ear-splitting, everything appears to be fully automated. There is hardly a human being to be seen. Ben halts next to a machine that prints 500-dollar notes and asks if I want a sack full of those, adding that he can get me a cheap and really big Wal-Mart suitcase which they keep in store for this sort of occasion. Looking at the shiny new bills, my mouth begins to water, but I heroically decline the offer.
He shrugs his shoulders, walks ahead to a massive door, lifts a hand with a raised index finger and stares intensely at the latter. I understand that something of great significance will be revealed to me, and with a surge of relief I believe it to be the gold.
But I am mistaken. Instead of chancing upon endless stacks of glinting bullion, I find myself in a very large, old-fashioned, but pleasant room. To one side stands a massive long table with many chairs, to another a few comfortable armchairs in front of a large fireplace. The walls are covered with dark and finely carved oak panels, divided into sections, and each holds a portrait in a massive golden frame. I stare flabbergasted at the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, Warburgs, Schiffs, Baruchs, et al., and they stare back at me with their usual malevolence, and I realize with a shudder that I have entered a nocturnal sanctuary.
Because this is the legendary Hall of the Fed’s Founding Fathers, and as if to disperse any lingering doubts, I notice on a dais in the room’s very centre the fabled pyramid without a top, and hovering above it an eye from coloured glass. It looks frightfully real, and for a moment I am tempted to think that it defies every law of gravitation, but on closer scrutiny realize that the silly trinket is only held up by a diaphanous silken thread attached to the ceiling.
Ben meanwhile has opened an elegantly inlaid Louis XVI cabinet and extracted a bottle and two large wineglasses.
HE (opens the bottle, fills the glasses and hands one to me): Mouton Rothschild 1921. Fabulous year, absolutely priceless. Just came in from Sotheby’s. Belonged to a dumb French count who lost his entire fortune with Lehman Bros. a few years back. Cheers!
We drink, and being a bit of a connoisseur myself, I can only agree with Ben’s assessment. This is a tremendous brew, and I feel how it gets straight to my head and leaves me, after the second sip, floating somewhere in the High Rosy Heavens. When I get a giggling attack, Ben giggles as well, and it doesn’t take long and we fall into each other’s arms and promise each other under tears to be henceforth and forever the finest friends, nay brothers, this world has ever seen.
We crack a second bottle, and when my eyesight begins to waver, Ben helps me up and leads me to another door. Opening it, we step into another enormous hall. It is a few miles long, dimly lit with indirect illumination, and completely empty.
HE (proudly): There you are!
ME (sobering abruptly): What?!
HE (frowning): The GOLD! Can’t you see it?
ME (dumbfounded): I’m sorry! I can’t!
HE: Damn! It worked with the Dutch! Why not with you?!
He scowls and returns to the sanctuary. I stand a moment longer while looking at the gigantic empty hall. And slowly the terrible truth sinks in: The gold is gone! It has vanished! Absolutely and totally! There’s nothing left, not even a handful of gold dust.
Regaining some presence of mind, I return to the sanctuary as well, and while keeping an eye on Ben’s broad back, I rip off the glass eye from above the pyramid and slip it into my pocket. It is, this I must admit, a mere reflex which leads to this strange act, and only much later do I realize that it was triggered by a powerful subconscious intuition.
Back in Ben’s office we get down to practicalities.
HE: Tell her she gets it back in… (he calculates) … three years latest. (calculates again) Well, five… (calculates once more) Okay, make it seven! That will do!
ME (still shell-shocked): Come now! How are you going to do that?! The US dollar can be finished any day now as global reserve currency. And you know what that means!
HE: In that case … (opens the arms wide and grins disarmingly) … who cares! Me?!
ME (unbelievingly): Is this what I’m supposed to tell her?!
HE: Don’t bother! She knows it already. Of course she does! Just give her my much appreciated leitmotiv… (Stands up and intones with a unctuous voice,) A solid groundwork is the secure basis for a stable foundation!
This is when I lose the last remnant of my countenance, break down and cry.
Back home I am ordered to never say a word of what I have seen, and for a while I follow suit. But then a strange thing happens. The glass eye keeps haunting me in my dreams, and one day I take a hammer and smash it to pieces. Shortly afterwards I decide to speak up.
As I have done now.
The website of Michael Colhaze: www.michael-colhaze.biz