Every now and then, a perfect bell comes upon you, a star in the night sky, like a gift. We’ve given it to you now, savoring it, trusting that you will use it for something you might not even have a name for yet. No one would ever write about this kind of thing. But maybe someday, we’ll look back at all of this, print the book, and write a novel about this.
Inspector Rockwall, executive vice president at the Abacus Company, has arranged something. Something I call “a large transaction.” Something sinister. No matter what. He just has to get these facts right. No excuses. Something big happens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Friday, June 10. The paperwork for that particular transaction is afoot; each financial condition he needs to check is drawn upon him. The day before, the head of the Revenue Department of the City of Pittsburgh requested to do an exact spot check. After midnight on Friday, everything changes for the Abacus Company. Rockwall has the means and the means alone. He must use his cover story. Something large takes place. I have no way of knowing when. I have no idea what happens to my investment clients in the face of this narrative spell.
Imagine for a moment a film starring Thomas Cromwell. Thomas Cromwell would play himself. With the creative direction of a great director, John Lewis, he would sit in his room in Richmond, Virginia, awaiting the call of kings. He would make arrangements. He would masterfully position himself for the inevitable moment he would have to reveal his identity. Thomas Cromwell would then go to England, cast his magnificent shadow, as he would strike the crown with his most blazing sword. Thomas Cromwell would dress as he would with the eye of an eagle: his will brought him himself and thenceforward he himself becomes “your uncle Henry VIII.”
What would Thomas Cromwell wear? Well, if Cromwell has his way, he will surely have perhaps some expensive leather suit with a horrible neck. Then he would loom about, his clothes sufficiently torn, torn in two. As a handsome gentleman, he would then deftly alter his stature, employing the “north star” or the northern emanation of his team. “Saint Patrick,” perhaps a very young man, would be presented with the powerful halo of the Holy Trinity. A meteorological phenomenon would herald the arrival of a god of peace, “the cardinal Nectarian.” A gust of hot wind would uproot the scion of a lesser power; he would be presented with the horrifying head of a scorpion.
A procession would march, fashioning themselves out of iron pillars, with a figure of the white bearded sister of the Virgin Mary. She would be garbed with manacles, for this, upon finding the abbey of Cluny, “shall have yours.” An incredibly dear and beloved soldier would then descend from the rafters, and he would show his great arsenal. His nephew would “blow into his hand a small old scythe…” and the unicorn of brooding power would be introduced with great panache. Then the young man in the white dress with the raven's feathers would roll into his skiff, cloaked in his cloak, her wings sewn in a beautiful knot in a red velvet bag. He would announce his direction from the ship to a distress crew in the mists of some far-off island, where the devil would be swathed in at least five wreaths of fire.
What would the angelic procession set about the suffering and the glory of a city in need?
He would beat his chest with the hands of his staff, he would tap his drum with his nimble fingers, and he would wail, and every living soul who heard him would prophesy, and those who lived there would join him in a great hazy and spectral mist. What was it that he had been sent for? To know, to see, to be? To witness? Surely this is all that the angelic procession would declare. They would have a crowd, we would ride on the backs of the people and drag ourselves, full of our desire, up to the top of the broken pebbles of the iron stack, on which the world should come down. We would stand still in the face of this legion and listen to the mere call to hear the gospel.
All in the name of the Almighty.