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Chapter One

From the transcript at trial: Commonwealth of
Virginia v. Alvin Scheer

* * *



Q. Sir, Please state your name for the Judge.

A. Scheer, Your Honor, sir. Alvin G. Scheer.

Q. And where do you live, Mr. Scheer?

A. Well, the past several months, at least, I've been living if you could call it that, at the Fairfax County Jail. Before that? I lived in Texas, little town called White Deer, not too far from Amarillo.

Q. Mr. Scheer, please tell the judge your story.

A. Yes, sir. Your honor, I understand from Mr. Stennings I need to tell y'all everything. I don't mind. But where to begin?

If it 'tweren't the worst of times; surely 'twern't the best, neither.

Heard something like that once on an old movie on TV. "Best and worst." Might maybe have come out of a book. Don't rightly know. I ain't no educated man. Always been just a simple working man . . . "simple"— that's me. Not sophisticated, you know. Not like them folks over in Washington, the ones that got all the answers to everything.

I watch 'em. I watch 'em on TV. Got an answer for everything. It used not be so bad; I remember. Used to be a man could rightly expect a job, a wage to support his family and himself, taxes that didn't eat him alive. Nope, surely 'twern't the best.

Lotsa folks turned to religion . . . 

Washington, DC


"Willi! Willi! Willi! WILLI!"

The sound grew. Louder and louder the crowd chanted as their goddess ascended the stage to the podium. The chant's force caused dust to spring up from little unseen corners of the auditorium. It assaulted the ears. It overwhelmed the senses. It made the internal organs ripple in a way that was unpleasant to anyone not a devotee of politics.

To Ms. Wilhelmina Rottemeyer, President-Elect of the United States of America, the sound was orgasm. Never in her life had a thrusting man entering her body given her such a glorious feeling. To be honest, never in her life had a man made her feel anything but weight, that and—not infrequently—disgust. Her ex-husband had mostly made her feel disgust.

Reaching the podium, Rottemeyer surveyed the rainbow sea of devoted, ecstatic faces before her. She locked eyes with her lover, her true lover, retired—and soon to be recalled and promoted—Army Lieutenant General Caroline McReavy. McReavy smiled warmly. Another small shudder of orgasm swept Rottemeyer's body, though it failed to reach her face.

Lifting both arms up and outward, palms down, Rottemeyer made gentle patting motions. Gradually the sound ebbed. WILLI! Willi! Willi! Willi.

She began to speak. "My people. My people. I have just received a telephone call from the President. He concedes the electio—"  

Louder even than before, the crowd broke out in a mindless animal shriek of fury and victory. Windows vibrated, threatening to shatter. Rottemeyer vibrated too as she closed her eyes and smiled a sort of Mona Lisa smile, another little orgasm well hidden.

Eyes opened again. The smile grew wider. It grew divine. All gazed—glassy-eyed, slack-jawed—worshipping with hearts full to bursting.

"The way was hard. They" (everyone knew that by "they" Rottemeyer meant the Republicans, the religious right, the antichoice fanatics, the prosperous . . . the people who disagreed with her, in other words) "fought us long and hard trying to steal this election. They tried every low, dirty, sneaky, legalistic trick in the book," said W. Rottemeyer . . . Esquire.

"They even murdered the man who should have been standing here today." Or at least we made it look that way, thought W. Rottemeyer, murderess.

"Anything but accept the will of the People!"

The People howled their outrage and their triumph until quelled again by their leader's gentle pats.

"But now the will of the People is made clear to all. Not only do we control the presidency, but with the switchovers and gains in both the House and Senate we control the legislature. With that, we will control the Supreme Court."

"From this day forward the past is swept away. No longer will we tolerate oppression. No more will we accept second place. Never again will the rich oppress the poor. In the new, glorious future we will bring dead white men will finally lose their throttle on progress! My people, the great day is here!"

* * *

Austin, Texas


"Oh, isn't this a great day for the Republic?"

Governor Juanita Montoya-Serasin de Seguin (D, Tx)—she went by her husband's name, Seguin—smiled benignly upon her tall, slender, graying adjutant general. In her size seven dress—not bad for a mother of four strong boys—and with her pretty Mexican peasant-woman face, she radiated maternal warmth and caring. Some said that was what had gotten her elected—"How can you vote against your mother?"

But Juanita was much more than a face. A shrewd politician? Both her rivals and her supporters said so. A woman of principle? There too they agreed, though some of them had, sometimes, disagreed with those principles. Especially did those of her party but not of her state disagree. Juanita was far too conservative to suit the social-democrat core of her party. In point of fact, she was far more conservative than many a northern Republican. Texas had always been a funny place; Texas politics rarely quite matched those of the rest of the country.

"You didn't like Willi's speech, Jack? I thought she did a fine job . . . speaking, that is."

Glaring balefully at his chief (the adjutant general for the State of Texas, like all National Guard officers, took his oath of office to his governor), Major General John Lewis Schmidt answered, "I could care less about the speech, Juani. What scares me . . . terrifies would be more like it . . . is that that . . . that . . . that woman has complete control of the federal government for at least the next two years. Worse, she's got dreams and some of them are doozies."

"Dreams? You think?" Juanita laughed. She knew that Rottemeyer had big plans for her presidency; big plans for society. Some of those dreams Juanita even agreed with, relatively conservative democrat or not.

Schmidt huffed. "You're just trying to get my goat," he snorted. His sun-worn, leathery face creased in a broad smile. "Still pissed about the pranks your brother and I used to play on you?"

"Oh, that was long ago. Before the war, even."

"Yes," answered Schmidt, dreamily, "it was before the war."

* * *


Lieutenant Schmidt pressed himself deeper into the muddy earth of the paddy as the air was split by the shattering crump-crump-crump of enemy mortar rounds. The stench of human feces filled his nostrils, causing his stomach to lurch in protest. Scant inches above him jagged, razor sharp pieces of 82-millimeter mortar shell casing whined past like so many giant, malevolent mosquitoes on a homicidal binge.  

Around Schmidt a platoon of Vietnamese Rangers—those left alive—cowered under the withering hail. He risked a look around and saw the unit's Vietnamese officer running away, his cast off equipment flying behind him. "Useless dink," he muttered.  

A body flopped to the mud next to him. Schmidt tightened his grip on his rifle and began to turn before he heard a calm voice—under the circumstances a remarkably calm voice, "If we can hang on until night we ought to make it, Jack."  

The lieutenant smiled. "You mean, sir, of course."  

"Sure, Jack . . . I mean, 'sir.' " The speaker scratched his nose with a finger, the middle finger of his left hand.  

"Any chance for artillery, Sergeant Montoya?" Schmidt asked, pretending not to have noticed that his subordinate was giving him the universal salute.  

"Not a chance. The VC got the radio when they got the radio man."  


" 'Shit,' " echoed the stocky little Tex-Mex sergeant. Still with a voice of calm he said, "Not a total loss, though, since that was Lieutenant Dong's excuse for taking off. And we're better off without him. I'm going to get to work on setting up whatever we can of a perimeter." Without another word he crawled off toward a knot of soldiers hiding, poorly, in a little shell crater.  

Where does he get it; the courage, the calm? wondered an admiring Jack Schmidt. 

* * *

"Jack? JACK?"

Focus returned to the old general's eyes. "Sorry, Juani. I was . . . wandering. Thinking about Jorge. It occurs to me that at the precise moment we were caught in that ambush your new president and her ex were calling us murderers and baby killers. Jorge Montoya: a baby killer!"

* * *

Dei Gloria Mission, Waco, Texas


" . . . in nomine Patrii, Filioque et Spiritu Sancti."  

A very young baby squalled under the Baptismal waters pouring from the vessel in the hands of Father Montoya.

Holding the baby, Elpidia—the diminutive fifteen-year-old mother—looked up at the priest nervously. The Latin words were close enough to the girl's native—albeit poor—Spanish that she sensed the meaning of the words, if not their theological implications. There had been little of God in the girl's short, unholy life. In truth, there had been little of anything good. Drugs, sex, sex for drugs, sex for money to buy drugs; these had been her universe and her faith.

But that had changed. . . . 

* * *

The slender, tiny, and provocatively clad Mexican prostitute shivered in the cold, windy night of a San Antonio winter. Doing her best to shield her half exposed budding breasts from the wind, the hooker walked past the little gray pornographic bookstore opposite a well-lit used car lot already fronted by several working girls on their nightly patrol. Knowing this was not her area, and the girls already there might object strongly to competition, she continued on her way up Broadway to another area where the streetwalkers gathered.   

"Hi Elpi," greeted one of the transvestites standing outside the bright and cheery Wendy's. "Cold night to be dressed for 'work.' "  

"No help for it, Susan." Politely, Elpidia used the "girl's" working name. "Got to feed the baby and my man."  

Susan nodded her understanding. He (She? It?) likewise was bound as tightly as any slave to the needs, drug needs in both cases, of a derelict.  

The girl continued on to the next corner and began her sales pitch. This was a simple procedure; she gave the "look" to every passing car that seemed likely to be holding a man, barring only those that were certain to contain a police officer.  

The look? It was something easy to perform, hard to describe, and shared equally by every prostitute who had ever peddled herself on a corner. Part direct stare, part inviting smile, part something subliminal, the "look" advertised her services and prices in a way no other form of advertising could compete with.  

Shortly a car pulled over. A quick negotiation session was concluded. Elpidia entered the car, took her money, and proceeded to work.  

Half a night and seven autos later, Elpidia was considering calling it a day. Then she reconsidered the beating that was sure to follow if she didn't bring home enough money for her boyfriend's expensive habit and decided on one more try.  

She gave the look to a passing Ford Taurus and was immediately rewarded. The Taurus slowed, turned right, and came to a stop just around the corner. The girl hurried over.  

"Looking for a da . . . ?" she asked, then stopped cold, her hooker's false smile suddenly turning to dread as she recognized the clerical collar on the driver as he turned a severe gaze toward her.  

"How old are you, girl?"  

* * *

Elpidia no longer wore the garb of a prostitute. She no longer painted her face, in part, to cover the bruises. Instead, from mission stores she wore clothes that, even though used, still made her look like a real human being rather than some streetwalking piece of meat.

Wrapping the newly baptized baby in a fluffy mission-owned towel, Elpidia clutched it to her breast, patting it dry and whispering soothing motherly sounds. "There, there my little baby. There, there mi alma, mi corozon. Hush little Pedro. Mama's here and she'll never let anything bad for you happen."

Father Montoya smiled. He thought, I might have had a child like this girl. I might have been a grandfather this day. 

The good father turned away from the girl and her baby, turned toward the several dozen people, most of them young people, who made up the population of the mission.

He began, "Today we welcome this child into the warm brotherhood of Christ. We give it, through our Holy Father, a new life, an eternal life. Not for him the never ending death of unbelief, of faithlessness to God."

"But I hasten to add, it is only through the courage of this little boy's young mother that he was allowed to see the light of day at all. For many, too many, young boys and girls the darkness comes before they even are given the chance to see the light. . . ."

* * *

Washington, DC


Bright winter light streamed though the windows, bathing the cold stones of the Capitol Building, as Rottemeyer, surrounded by her sycophants and security, entered to address a joint session of Congress.

The Congress she was to address was nearly perfect, her instrument, her tool. It consisted of 535 members, 100 senators and 435 members of the House of Representatives. Not all of either group were present, though the vast majority were. Fifty-five senators were from her own Democratic Party, though three of these were far more Republican than many Republicans. Of the 45 Republicans, three were nominal; "RINOs" they were called, Republican In Name Only. These could be counted on to vote her way about three times in four. Of the members of the House, she had an acceptable, even substantial, majority as well. Never since Franklin Delano Roosevelt held near dictatorial power before and during the Second World War had a President of the United States wielded such overwhelming political force at home. Even the Supreme Court was so evenly balanced—though she hoped to unbalance it very soon—that it was most unlikely to interfere with Rottemeyer's plans in any significant way.

The assembled Congress stood and clapped as she walked down the aisleway to the rostrum, though the Republicans, most of them, did so out of mere politeness, devoid of enthusiasm.

Senator Ross Goldsmith (Republican, New Mexico) was extremely successful in hiding his enthusiasm. But then, the enthusiasm of the bespectacled, graying, balding old man was so tiny in scope he could have hidden it under a gnat. His hands moved together, rhythmically . . . but they never quite touched.

Standing opposite, Goldsmith's old personal friend and old political enemy, Harry Feldman (Representative, Democrat, New York), noticed Goldsmith's hands, smiled, and redoubled his own efforts.

Goldsmith simply glared as Feldman mouthed the words, "spoilsport."

Reaching the rostrum, Rottemeyer smiled at her Vice-President, Walter Madison Howe, by repute a moderate midwesterner, in fact a purely political animal of little principle. The smile hid her immediate thought, Reactionary moron. Turning away, she opened the folder containing her speech. This was a mere formality; she knew it by heart.

"We stand poised on the brink," she began. "We can either go forward, to a new era of peace, progress and prosperity, or backwards to the dark age of old, backwards to the days when women were kept barefoot and pregnant, when blacks were lynched in the streets of the south, backwards to ignorance, want and filth.

"My administration is pledged to work with Congress to go forward, into the future, rather than backwards to the Republican age of deficits, doubt, debt and decline; recession, repossession and retrenchment.

"We must go forward into the future . . . and we cannot afford to leave anybody behind in the past.

"We are going to invest in America. We are going to invest in a very large way. No more tax cuts for the rich. No more crimping away social security. Instead we are going to make the rich—and the corporations they control—pay their fair share for the first time. We are going to expand social security to ensure that every American can enjoy a comfortable and secure retirement."

Rottemeyer paused, thinking, It still amazes me that anyone falls for that "soak the rich" crap. Impossible, of course . . . short of a hundred-percent Gift and Estate tax. The corporations just pass the tax on to consumers like any other sales tax and the truly rich pass their income tax on the same way through demanding higher returns on their investments. And as long as they all do it together the consumer has no choice but to pay. Still, it sounds good and helped get me into the White House. Who cares if it's the truth or not? My job is "divinity." not truth. 

She continued, "The people have spoken clearly of the kind of investment in the future they demand. We are going to a national health care system and we are going to do so very quickly indeed. The people demand and deserve nothing less.

"The people demand and deserve a national public education system that is second to none. They will have it. Among other measures that will be sent to Congress for legislative action is a plan for rigorous testing of schools for quality of education, and national assumption of authority over any schools that fail that test. In short, we will shut down those schools and reopen them under our guidance, funding them directly through bypassing the state bureaucracies."

Senator Goldsmith put his head in his hands, thinking, Dear God preserve us. This bitch telling all the children what they can think. 

Feldman simply smiled to himself, thinking, Sure, honey, up to a point. Don't think we'll let you get too far. Don't get too big for your britches. 

"We are also going to put one million new teachers in our classrooms, many of them to go to staff 'Opportunity Academies' to help prepare disadvantaged youths for college. In those academies and in nationally funded and run charter schools.

"We are going to ensure that college education becomes as universal as high school education is today."

Goldsmith asked silently, Are you going to ensure likewise that that education is a bad as high school education is today? I am sure you will try to. We will stop you if we can. 

"But children need a place to grow up. Another path to investing in America is going to be the creation of more livable communities.

"We hope to work with the states on this matter. We intend to have appointed for each state a federal commissioner who will oversee spending of federal funds within a state. The corruption of the bureaucracy must end.

"Moreover, along with one million new teachers, I intend to see one million new law enforcement officers, Federal law enforcement officers, to clean up the streets and make our communities livable again."

Rottemeyer paused briefly to survey the members of Congress. It was simplicity itself for her to tell friend from foe with no more than a glance at the faces. Republican, and a few Democrat, faces were grim indeed. She locked eyes with Goldsmith, sending the message, You lose. 

"As the corruption of bureaucracy must end, so must the tyranny of gun-related violence, the violence that murdered the man who should have been standing here today, my late running mate, Senator Palmer. I intend to ask this Congress for an increase in funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said increase to be paid for by a tax, a large tax, on both purchase and possession of these implements of death. This will naturally require registration of firearms to ease collecting the tax.

"Moreover, it seems only reasonable, just and fair that the tax on these hateful implements pay for correcting the natural and predictable results of widespread ownership of firearms. In other words, the tax shall pay for health care to mitigate the wounds and bloodshed these guns cause."

Now this is something where I will support you one hundred percent plus, Willi, thought Feldman, glancing again at Goldsmith.

Over my dead body, Goldsmith returned the glance with a glare.

Oh, grow up, said Feldman's smile.

"This will go a long way toward paying for another cornerstone of this administration's plan: National Universal Health Care. New taxes on another national health menace, cigarettes, will pay for an equally substantial portion.

"The third leg of this program shall be the imposition of taxes on the great polluters of our environment, heavy industry. In this way we shall protect our environment, preserve the health of our people, and bring ourselves voluntarily into line with the Kyoto Agreements on emissions of greenhouse gasses.

"Lastly, as we march into the future, we must also build from the fragments of our polity one country, one single—unified—people. No more black nor white nor brown nor yellow nor red. No more Texans and New Yorkers and Californians and Indianans. One people. One nation. All united under the leadership of one government!"

* * *

Still flushed with the success of her speech to Congress, Rottemeyer met with select members of her Cabinet in the Oval Office.

"It's the expansion of the federal law enforcement capability I have problems with," said her new attorney general, Jesse Vega. "There's a limit on how fast any organization can expand. It's not just a question of funding the money and recruiting the bodies. We've limited training facilities, limited numbers of people trained for upper management, limited number of administrative people to take care of everything from pay to promotions. The U.S. Marshal Service, DEA, FBI and Treasury can only . . ."

"Who said anything about limiting the expansion to only the existing agencies?" demanded Rottemeyer.

"What?" asked Vega, incredulously. "You want to create . . . oh . . . the Surgeon General's Riot Control Police?"

"Tell me why not, Jesse? Does the Surgeon General's office not have an interest in controlling demonstrations that get out of hand at, say, abortion clinics? Do they have a bureaucracy capable of administering an additional force of several hundred or even a thousand? Can they hire people to train the new officers? Yes, to all. So why not?"

Vega stood somewhat dumbly, the effect enhanced by a certain rotundity and a face gone slightly slack from a stroke some years past.

"Well," she continued, contemplatively, "there has been a certain amount of expansion of federal law enforcement in places you would not expect. Maybe that's the way to go. I mean, we already do have armed turkey inspectors with the Food and Drug Administration, armed agents of the Environmental Protection Agency. Maybe . . ."

"Yes," said Rottemeyer with an air of logical triumph.

* * *

Later that night, in a bed in fact chaste, Caroline McCreavy asked, "Willi, I understand your goals and ideals. I even share many of them . . . most of them. But this . . . this . . . creation of a police state. I just don't get it. We don't need this."

Rottemeyer snorted. "Goals I have, love. Ideals? I don't have any ideals. Just ask the Republicans."


Rottemeyer, interrupting, smiled from where her head rested on a pillow. "All right then. Goals? I believe in power, Caroline. Since I was a helpless little girl and boys were mean to me I have believed in power . . . and sworn to get it. That's my goal.

"And now I have it. And I will never let it go."

"But you have to. In eight years anyway."

Rottemeyer smiled indulgently. "Oh, Caroline, you're so innocent. After these eight years the party will run the country . . . and I will run the party. I will never give it up.

"I'll never give you up, either, Caroline," Rottemeyer added softly.

The other woman smiled back, warmly but with a troubled expression. "Don't tell me you don't have ideals, Willi."

"Ideals," mused the other. "Beliefs. I believe that you can make people better than they are. I believe that people are basically good until the system makes them bad. I believe that there is too much untrammeled economic power in the United States and the world. I believe that if someone has to have power, I can also use it more wisely, more benevolently, than anyone else I know."

"Then why the police state, Willi? And why split it up the way you are planning?"

"I'll split it up because I do not trust power that isn't in my hands. As long as there are fifty law enforcement agencies competing with and suspicious of each other then my power is safe. The police state? A lot of people are not going to like what I think I have to do. And I do not want them able to fight me on it.

"Now come here. . . ."


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