Somewhere in South America, in a capital city, I was visiting with a politician at the parliament. Everything white marble and grand. He showed me the main chamber, ‘Here we make laws,’ he gestured, and there was an undeniable grandeur except overpowering the elegance was a hubbub.
People with raised voices were swarming the large room. They kept coming as a wave from a cracking dam. Men, some in military uniforms, all carrying automatic guns.
The politician grabbed my hand and glued me close to his side. There was confusion and shouting.
We were jostled yet mercifully the politician never let free of me. With the raise of an eyebrow he indicated to stay quiet, ‘Pray,’ he mouthed, and he crossed himself discreetly. Oddly, this gesture only underscored the trouble we were in.
Men with guns everywhere. Not a good thing except maybe at a smart English estate with grouse season underway, but this was not that.
This was a full-on take-over of the government by rebels and drunks and writers and they were armed and they had a strategy of sorts which became gradually apparent as they quelled us, their prey, forcing us to the floor, to lie there with our faces turned away from them.
The yelling went on, guns went off, I watched a bug clamber around the stalks of green carpet fibers millimeters from my eyes and I fully expected to die. The politician held my hand and I squeezed back but It was hard to be optimistic.
Who knows how long we lay there with no choice but to obey even if others were fussing. No one will know for sure how, but a man in a police uniform and with a gun, plucked the politician and I from the fracas and led us to safety.
The politician and I went for lunch and shared some shocked laughter. There were snipers on the roof of the restaurant.
In the next elections a writer won the presidency.