Francois Hollande, Secret Agent; Chapter 1

Written by Simon Renfrew

The tingle of Moneycentime’s kiss still soft on his cheek, Hollande strode purposefully into M’s office. ‘Late as usual, cent moins quatre - vingt treize’ said the grizzled spy chief, looking up and pushing a thick manila file across the desk in front of him. Hollande thought briefly of mentioning the pre dawn roof top chase and exploding helicopter on the Peripherique, but instead slit open the ‘Top Secret’ band with an immaculately manicured thumbnail.

A wry smile played over his lips as he flicked through the dossier, speed reading the closely typed pages. ‘Another deranged pressure group I suppose?’ he said, dropping the file into his seat, striding towards the window and admiring the panorama the 14th floor office afforded.

‘Not this time, I’m afraid’ said M tiredly, squeezing his brow between thumb and forefinger ‘All we know is that there are thousands of them – maybe hundreds of thousands. They have no name, no leaders and live in the shadows. We simply know them as ‘The Electorate’ – and they’re angry’.

‘Never heard of them’ said Hollande, turning back from the window, plucking a priceless Fabergé egg from the display above the drinks cabinet and tossing it idly from hand to hand.

‘Well it’s time you bloody well found out then, isn’t it’ said M, his nerves stretched tight as piano wire ‘And put that down will you – it’s irreplaceable’. Unlike you, thought the spy master, wishing for the hundredth time that it was still possible to fire someone in this benighted country.

‘It’s also fake’ said Hollande, studying the jeweled objet d’art ‘If you look closely at the engraving…’ he stopped mid sentence, the eyes that had wooed a thousand women bright with a distant memory ‘Wait a minute – The Electorate – of course!.... a bunch of deluded radicals, obsessive voters, always filing into then out of funny little cubicles. But why – and what for?’

M looked grave ‘No one knows, cent moins quatre - vingt treize, but they’re going to do it again. In less than two years the local mayors will be running for office – and what with the working time directive, compulsory holidays, ponts and weekends, that means you only have 5 days. Get weaving, Hollande - Moneycentime’s booked you on the next TGV south – et bonne chance’ M pressed the hidden intercom beneath his desk and the office door swung open once more.

Sketching a vague adieu, Hollande walked swiftly out. The clock was ticking, so just time for a quick four course lunch – and then to return to a dangerous world. His world.

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