Gerry was most upset and irritated by John’s announcements to the nation. On the very next day, she summoned Dick to her assistance. Fond though she was of her husband, she felt that he had lost touch with the realities of life after he had become President, and particularly an Executive one. Dick was much more reliable where money was concerned.
It was money that concerned her now, lots of it, the hoard that she had accumulated over the past few years in the conviction that one should always be prepared for a rainy day. There could easily come a time when Tom and she or either would need a little something extra to live on. Tom of course did not know about the hoard, for he was convinced that he would continue as President for the rest of his natural life, and if necessary even longer, and he did not approve of any plans being made for any contingency beyond that. Gerry therefore kept the money in a little room under the stairs to which she alone kept the key, and which no one else had entered for several years. The rest of the household thought that that was where she kept a secret stock of alcohol, to which she had recourse when life was especially tense. Indeed she did keep a few bottles of brandy there, both to bring out at intervals to keep up the illusion, and also to drink to keep her blood pressure under control as she counted her money.
She could therefore offer Dick a tipple when she took him in there to disclose her problem. He needed it, for his heart began to beat very much faster when he saw the piles of notes, laden with dust, piled up around him. He had had his problems when John had issued his midnight gazette, but he realised now that they were insignificant compared with those that Gerry had to face. He felt she could even be forgiven for pouring herself twice as much brandy as she had given him.
‘You must do something about this nonsense,’ she said firmly, having taken a large gulp from her glass. ‘I thought that the whole point about this government was that we would be allowed to accumulate our assets in peace. Now that dreadful Tamil upstart has gone and upset everything. I’m sure he’s a Socialist at heart.’