Synopsis. A study has shown that the component of a pesticide called Udrozin is responsible for one of the forms of Alzheimer’s disease. A class action is brought in France by an association of victims against the distributor of this molecule. The auditor of this brand is also the grandson of a woman with the disease. However, she disappeared without a trace after leaving him a badge representing a Cabôzor. To find her, he tries to understand the meaning of this badge. He meets a theological researcher and then the fate of a 17th century translator. The resonance between two troubled times, between London and Paris, between two religions and two crimes leads him to change his life while being confronted with people who would do everything to survive.

This version is written in European English.

See version in French

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cabôzor.

 

A French Class Action.

 

 

By

 

 

Leo Manougier

 

 

« When I eat a vegetable, I need it to come from a chain of love ». Anonymous.

« Control kill, connection heal », Richard Powers, The Overstory, William Heinemann, London, 2018, pp. 347, 359, 378, 470.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Jeannine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warning: any resemblance to known persons or facts would be a mere coincidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st generation: Philip and Anne-Mary Nieul

 

2nd generation: Philip, Beatrice, Mary/Rose and Georg Quenanselme

 

 3rd generation: Georg-Philip, Helen and Georg Quenanselme

                                                          

 4th generation: Jean, Philip Quenanselme

                                                           

 5th generation: Son and Daughter of Philip Quenanselme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prologue.

« The Crown is a stream at dawn”: remix of an excerpt from a historian book: “Judge Godfrey’s body was discovered at dawn in a stream at the foot of Primrose Hill by three stonemasons on their way to their construction site. He lay face down in the rubbish, his wig still tightly fitted but dirty on his head, wearing a stained and torn woman’s dress, the blade of a short sword stuck in his heart. The lack of blood quickly led the Crown agent in charge of the inquiry to conclude that Judge Godfrey was already dead when he was pierced. It is also more than likely that the body had been moved. The suicide hypothesis could therefore be ruled out. Described as the « greatest English judge » of his time – he decided the Hobbes case – his murder caused considerable emotion. His funeral in the small parish of Paddington attracted a host of curious people.

In the months following the incident, the three stonemasons named Green, Berry and Hill were arrested, tried and executed. Against them, the Crown representative mainly retained a coincidence of time and names: at one time, Primrose Hill was called Greenberry Hill. With their names and presence there, they could not therefore be innocent of the death of the person they had allegedly discovered. However, Green, Berry and Hill have never confessed and historians now admit that this murder has not really been solved”.

Camilla Porodhu-Bracton, The Popish Pelota, 1906, p. 157.

Chapter 1 – Paris, Saint—Arbre.

The organic sandwich has no taste. Tomatoes, meat, bread: everything is cheap. Definitely organic does not mean good. He often ends his lunch with an apple pie to accompany his coffee. At least the sugar never deceives him, even if it limits his life expectancy. The sun is starting to penetrate his office as is usual at this time of day and year. To prevent the room from becoming stuffy, he lowers the blind and closes the window, which he keeps wide open on hot mornings. He takes a look at the large and still empty courtyard where several cherry trees are growing. It has been covered with large exotic wooden slats surrounding the large flower beds where wild plants grow. The Health and Safety Committee did not approve public access to the yard because the wooden boards that had been laid at great expense are slippery and potentially dangerous.

Philip is about to check the complex accounts of one of the richest families in France. As a result of tighter controls, it is becoming increasingly difficult to remove revenues. There is a need to increase the number of intermediary companies in different locations. He is working on this with Nadia, his partner in law specializing in business and tax law. In their view, they do nothing illegal even if they often cross the line. In an era where everything must be maximized, they are the specialists in triple optimization: fiscal, financial and social. In the end, he is tired of this job which he has been doing for more than twenty years. The coffee didn’t manage to boost him.

To make matters worse, Philip has just received from the heir of this wealthy family, the general manager of the holding company, Jacques Saint M’Hervé, a request for an opinion on a risk of litigation that has just appeared. A formal notice threatens them with a huge lawsuit that could put them out of business. The client asks how to make a reserve because of this class action about to be brought against them. This action could take years, or conversely only a few hours, under the new statute called E-justice of August 27, which is even more worrying.

However, this request for an opinion goes a little over his head as if it is of little importance because he is concerned about a family problem. Not about his life as a couple, which has been a shipwreck for a long time, nor about his son or daughter, whom he hardly sees, but because of a kind of grain of sand that has slipped into the well-oiled circuits of his routine. Thanks to his income, he has built himself a secure situation that protects him from the embarrassment he experienced as a child when he lived in the countryside. However, one detail slightly cracked the firewall. Nothing serious, something insignificant, a superficial disorder. He closes, with a sharp blow, the red-covered general tax code which is never up to date anymore and decides to leave his office on the 4th floor to find the information he needs.

Chapter 2 – Saint-Orsan

The carp, from our pond, with fresh beans was really “de la liche” (more than good). The first apples of the year were served with bread and cheese. As they say: Peccati de gola! Unfortunately, the wine, which had become sour for some time, spoilt the pleasure a little! We were waiting for the next harvest, which we said might be early. Without hearing anything of the monotonous reading of the biblical chapter, I started the piece of tomme by looking at the deep sky through an arrow slit. The fragment of azure reminded me of the dress of the holy vir,gin whose statue had just been installed in the abbey church. In the background, the cicadas could not stop singing, much more so than we who went to mass seven times a day. A long lavender fragrance assured us that the whole world would soon be cleansed of its sins.

As I ate my apple, I saw a scale stuck on my hand. So, I hadn’t removed them all! Obviously, fish were not my favourite! The head was cut off, the body was opened lengthwise and the viscera were emptied. Nothing to be passionate about! I liked to prepare the rabbits better by swinging them sharply on the corner of a stone; I found it quite pleasant to then remove their skin by sliding their hair cover. I also liked to stab the guinea fowls under the head with a knife, triggering a blood spurt.

However, my favourite animal was the pig. To recover his hot sap and make the blood sausage, it was necessary to let him die slowly and to hear him patiently howl like a human on the wooden ladder where I had tied him. Seeing the frightened sisters change paths made me feel comfortable.

 I loved those precise gestures that I made after emptying myself by prayer, a psalm or simply by staring at a tree until I felt I could be in its place. I was wearing my black apron over my robe – I had been allowed to wear a monk’s robe much more convenient for manual work than nun’s clothing. The hardest part of my task was its repetitive nature. It took about twenty turkeys to make a meal and at least forty-five carps. Danielle, with whom I shared my cell, usually came to help me remove the plumage from these birds, something I didn’t like to do on my own, and we could talk at our leisure.

The lunch came to an end. At the exit of the refectory where we are again allowed to talk, the sister supervisor told me that the superior leader wanted to see me. I thought I had been discovered and I was thinking of that verse of Tacitus that my father had made me learn by heart: « A friendship whose dissimulation is the bond and your interest the foundation ».

44.

 

 

The years were couverte de sucre (more de vie).

Chapter 3 – Paris, Saint—Arbre.

He goes down the stairs to the basement. A few months earlier, his accounting company had moved to the former Collège Saint—Arbre near the Sorbonne. Historical anecdote: it was here that the founders of the Jesuit Order, Ignatius of Loyola, Pierre Favre and François-Xavier, met. They shared the same room somewhere in the building. Philip’s company has left the western suburbs for these recently renovated offices. The management board of his company considered that it was necessary to have a rental in the city centre, reassuring and apparently modest. After leaving the centre almost twenty years ago, they finally returned. They occupy only one of the four wings of the former college. In the others are the offices of a university and a comparative theology library, the only one of its kind in France.

A billionaire that the accounting firm had as a client transferred the building to the State on the condition that the library, he set up upon his retirement be installed and maintained there. Tired of financial operations, he handed over his company to a competitor and devoted the rest of his life to gathering the theological works of his dreams. He refused to allow them to be scanned to prevent them from circulating too freely on the Internet. To read one of them, one has to move around in this place built like a safe where the temperature is stable and the humidity level controlled.

Philip may go there without leaving the building throughout the basement. He hopes to find the answer to a question that has been obsessing him for a few days.

Chapter 4 – Saint-Orsan.

 Although I had been living in this convent for almost two years, it was the first time I had been summoned by the senior leader. She had had an extension built that opened onto the outside world and overlooked the village square. She especially welcomed her aristocratic friends. I crossed the cloister and came to the corridor that led to what we called the castle.

The sister supervisor accompanied me to a large room with two fireplaces that had not been used for a season. Rigid and silent, with no other known name than « sister supervisor », she was nevertheless one of the « housekeepers » of the abbey. She ensured the strict application of the regulations: one for men, mainly with territorial boundaries and dividing the day between work, prayer and reading; one for women, mainly with inner or relational boundaries. Around the Mother Superior, Claire de Rochefoucauld, there was a team in charge of the menance of the convent, the hospital and the monastery.

Here, the monks of the abbey had been ruled by women for centuries. The organization had worked well, succession problems had been very few and our prayer city had never had to suffer from famine. It must be said that the superior who was to be a widow who had had children was always chosen among the first ladies of France. So, she knew all the high-ranking families. The monks gathered in the monastery part were the offspring without inheritance of the little nobility or the more or less stupid sons of the « savages » of the area. They therefore naturally obeyed Claire de Rochefoucauld because of her social rank.

After a long wait, I was taken into a living room full of benches and armchairs covered with embroidered cushions. The shutters had been crouyed to keep the freshness. Great aristocrats by status and most small by size talked quietly without looking around. I had the impression of going underground in a giant mouse’s den. I feared that I would be publicly sanctioned in front of these hurlubrelus! The sister supervisor pointed to a bench behind the chair where the leader was standing, facing an extinguished fireplace, in discussion with a priest holding his head bent. They were discussing a letter written by a certain Lady Sévigné about the cotton convents.

 » – Call us « cotton convent »! Her great-grandmother founded a conventual order all the same! She must have turned around in her tomb, the leader took offense. The priest next to her added in a low voice:

 – Father La Chaize told me about the Sévigné: « She loves her daughter too much and not enough her G.od ».

I was waiting for the leader to speak to me. She was warned of my presence by a strong look of the supervisor. Slowly, she turned to me as she approached her chair and offered to join the conversation with the priest. I thought that she had brought in some kind of inquisitor to judge me coldly.

 43.

She is livingt ans dans son entre-ville.

Chapter 5 – Paris, library.

 

To answer the question that is working on him internally, Philip goes, within the comparative theology library in which he has just entered, to the section of books dedicated to the Sacred Heart. He opens some of them at random and reads a few lines. There are books on different institutions: high schools and Sacred Heart churches in Bangalore, Saigon, Quebec City or elsewhere. Other books deal with the missions carried out on all continents to spread this cult.

From his point of view, he finds nothing but superstitions. He has not received any religious education and understands nothing about what seems more foreign to him than the mythology of the Apache. No one else seems to be interested in these dusty old books, literally and figuratively. He feels lost and doesn’t know where to start. He has a sudden desire to give up. He takes a large book at random and through the empty space, sees on the other side of the shelf, in front of him, a young woman who has put herself on tiptoe to take another book. She seems surprised to see him and disappears immediately. He follows the path to the end; he finds her in front of him, walking in small steps. When she arrived at her table, she put the glasses back on and opened the old book she had just brought back from the shelf. She gives the impression that she doesn’t know she was followed. Although he has kept a shy background, it seems natural enough to him to talk to her. She has a simple authority.

 – Hello, maybe you could help me?

 – Yes? she does it by lifting her head as if she had not seen him a minute before in the middle of the shelves.

 – I’m looking for a book on the Sacred Heart.

 – They’re there, she points to the area they’ve both just returned from.

 – Yes, I went there, but I don’t know where to start and I don’t get anything.

 – Crarie! you don’t understand anything and you want to know something, it’s not going well.

 – I have a family reason. He explains in two words.

In the reading room, a few monks immersed in incunabula or old printed books look up with vague eyes, perhaps a little shocked by this conversation, although they don’t want to let anything appear.

She is both intrigued and embarrassed:

 – We can’t talk here, I have something to finish, but we can have a drink in the cafeteria if you want, and she added: if you have time to wait for me.

He doesn’t really have time, but he’ll be able to work in the cafeteria.

 

Chapter 6 – Saint-Orsan.

-Eva, meet Father La Colombière, he came specially from Paris for you.

 He greeted me with a slightly condescending « hello Eva » that doesn’t look good to me. I nodded, wondering what this 30-year-old father could expect from me. I had grown up in Wales in an old aristocratic family too poor to keep me. As the youngest of the girls, I was destined for a life of confinement. I had first gone to Llangoven. It was a small convent dependent on the Order of the Fondevide which remained secretly in spite of the closure of all Welsh monasteries since the Anglican reform. Then I was sent to the mainland, to the mother house, here in Saint-Orsan.

 The priest began to speak to me in a sweet and slightly veiled voice. His words sounded like he was passing through a sieve.

 – Eva, Mrs. de Rochefoucauld here is a friend of mine and has talked to me about you. You are the person I am looking for. Do you speak good English?

 – Yes, I learned it at a very young age, but my mother tongue was Old Welsh.

 – You can translate and interpret books and conversations into English, can’t you?

 – Yes, I did not hesitate.

– In that case, I would like you to accompany me on my mission. This will change you from your daily holocausts that don’t always have to be pleasant!

He says nothing more about his mission. However, during the bass mass that followed between them, I thought I heard an expression I did not know, that of Cabôzor. I didn’t dare ask what that meant. I didn’t know if they really gave me a choice. I had a problem with the vows I had made. Guessing my thoughts, the leader laid a hand on the father’s and spoke:

 – This is not common, but it is possible to be released from perpetual confinement for a compelling reason.

 – Is the reason imperative? I asked, premium.

They looked at each other a little embarrassed. Mrs. de Rochefoucauld answered me:

 – We cannot impose it on you and you can refuse, and as they say: should we suffer in our unknown lands, which in her mouth simply meant in her heart.

I asked for clarification, the trip would last several months or even several years. I would have to face the dangers of roads and big cities. My questions obviously offended the priest whom I guessed – as he sat there – very tall and whose linen robe was lined with gold thread.

Mrs. de Rochefoucauld, more understanding or clever, did not let anything appear, she gave me all the time I needed to make a decision. I hesitated: I had a good reason to stay. Moreover, travel would certainly be dangerous and this father La Colombière did not belong to me. He was too kind to be honest; not really a man of peace despite his surname meaning columbarium. Both sides of his face appeared autonomous and gave him a twisted face, as if he had not yet chosen his face. In other words, he never looked into the eyes.

 I needed to think about it. My favourite confidant, Danielle, had been in isolation for several days because the housekeeper-supervisor had felt she was talking too much. I was looking for answers in the psalms, in vain.

 That night after Matins, I placed a round stone in a place on the wall separating the convent from the monastery that had been deformed by the roots of an old chestnut tree. That was the agreed sign.

 

42.-

In the library in which he has just enternally:

There are books dealing with him internally.

 

Chapter 7 – Paris, cafeteria.

Philip finds a quiet table and immediately immerses himself in his laptop. He opens the file sent to him by Jacques Saint M’Hervé’s legal director regarding a possible class action. Three documents appear: a memo summarizing the case, a formal notice from the “Association de Défense des Victimes des Produits Chimiques Non Médicamenteux” (ADVPCM a non-profit organization for the victims of chemical products outside drugs) and an epidemiological study.

He starts by opening the memo. The ADVPCM sent a formal notice to compensate approximately 700,000 victims, currently ill, and 1500,000 victims potentially carrying the disease without having yet declared it. Philip realizes that the Saint M’Hervé Family could suffer considerable public discredit with this affair and, even more seriously, seriously risks ruin.

The case concerns the component of a pesticide that the company has been marketing since the early 1990s. A Bulgarian study claims to have shown that Udrozin, the implicated component, is at the origin of the most widespread form of Alzheimer’s disease. Philip is troubled by the coincidence of this professional subject with his personal concern. The memo immediately states: one could reassure oneself that potential victims are not in a position to defend themselves and often at the end of their lives; nevertheless, it appears that the children of these patients are likely to take action that could bring significant compensation. Especially since it appears, according to the Bulgarian study, that Udrozin produces effects over several generations. The disease is believed to be transmitted by genes. This molecule comes from mustard gas used during the First World War. Philip thinks that this action could make them lose one of their best clients if they do not quickly find satisfactory solutions. He feels all the more concerned because in the long run, Jacques Saint M’Hervé has almost become a friend. He concludes that he urgently needs to debrief the subject with Nadia, his law partner. This is his reflection when he sees the theological researcher enter the cafeteria.

 

 Chapter 8 – Saint-Orsan.

For some time now, I had noticed that behind an ivy curtain, one of the chestnut trees along the separation wall was hollow. By putting myself inside, I could lodge, without being seen, at the height of a crack in the wall produced by the development of the tree.

John was more exposed on the other side, in the middle of the vines. This part of the park was quite far from the buildings. The housekeeper-supervisor who passed from the convent to the monastery made her night shift. There were actually two sisters in charge of the surveillance, but we hardly distinguished them and did not give them different names. They took turns in their task by following the same path. We just knew we had a little time between each pass.

I had spotted John in the abbey church, among the monks, during Sunday Mass. The other days we were strictly separated from each other. I had stared at him for a long time and one day he noticed me. Since then, we spent part of the Mass reflecting on each other. He had fine, almost feminine features and a dark look.

He had the same idea as me and was looking for a corner in this highly guarded separation wall. I hid several times during the summer in this trunk hoping to see it pass alone. Several times I saw him in the distance on the path taken by those who did not wish to go back to bed after Matins.

One night, he left his group of brothers to come and van in the wall, probably in search of a crack, in the dark, a few meters from me. I hoped in silence, before calling him gently. I didn’t know his name yet.

 – Brother, do you hear me? He froze, maybe scared.

I repeated: – Brother, I saw you in the church, I would like to know your name.

He approached the corner of the wall. I think he knew that I was the one staring at him in the church and from whom he couldn’t look away, although we did it discreetly with our heads bent.

 – John … and you? he spoke very softly as he turned his head. The pronoun « you » already had something intimate that disturbed me.

 – Eva.

 – I cannot stay, » he said.

 – Come back tomorrow if you don’t mind.

 – All right, I’ll be back.

A few days later, after seeing each other in the same place, we agreed that we would leave a round stone in the crack of the wall when we wanted and could meet in the middle of the night. Time and activities did not always allow it. John looked like the human and quite feminine Je;sus I had figured out and I hardly had the feeling I was deceiving the depths of my religion, even if I was circumventing the rules.

We didn’t see each other for long and could hardly touch each other. He confessed to me a little curiously that he would have liked to be in the shoes of the Mary Magdalene of the Ch,rist. We only had a short time before the supervisor returned. Often, for several days, I was afraid to return to what I considered to be « my » trunk for fear of being caught in the act. We could have been beaten to death for that.

Then, the desire to see him pull myself together and I placed a round stone in the crack of the wall. Sometimes he didn’t come; I waited for him for a while and then took my position the next night. As the days passed, my anxiety increased. He was sometimes several weeks without reappearing. The slightest noise made me jump. Sometimes I would sit in my dry trunk and imagine his invisible hand crossing the wall and coming to me. Then I would stay a long-time improvising prayer so that he would be fine and come back. Unfortunately, it was more convenient to desire Je;sus who had died centuries earlier. However, he always ended up coming back and I couldn’t ask him what had prevented him from appearing in the previous days. All I had to do was have him there to make me forget my concerns.

While talking in the dark, John and I realized that we were both from the same North Island. He was the bastard son of an Irish nobleman and an English baroness and had grown up in London. Academically inclined, he had entered a priory in the London region before, like me, being sent to the headquarters of the Fondevide’s Order, at the Abbey of Saint-Orsan.

After a few weeks of this forbidden « relationship », I lost all concentration. I spent my days in my dreams, unable even to follow Danielle’s conversations. I imagined myself walking with him on Celtic moors under a great oceanic sky with light gaps and large rain cubes. Since my meeting with Mrs. de Rochefoucauld, I urgently needed him.

41.-

Non-profit organization of tree

Victimenteux de la hauteur de nuit.

 

 

Chapter 9 – Paris, cafeteria.

The theological researcher nods her head to Philip and goes to the counter to order a coffee. He took the opportunity to forward Jacques Saint M’Hervé’s message to Nadia by writing quickly: « URGENT: can you take a look at the message and the attached documents? I’ll call you in 30 minutes, kisses.

 – My name is Claude, » she says, « sitting on the bench, letting a kind of big bag full of books slide along her right arm and putting a big Flat White in her left hand. Without her glasses, she’s quite radiant.

Caught off guard by his introduction, he took a few seconds to introduce himself.

 – Oh yes! Yes! I’m Philip….

 – Okay, Philip, I have 15 minutes, explain your problem to me.

He is impressed by this young researcher who has rather abrupt manners.

 – The story is pretty simple; I went to visit my grandmother about a week ago in her retirement home for her 101st birthday.

 – 101 years old, not bad!

 – Yes! I knocked on her bedroom door several times. Without an answer I still entered. She was staring at an old oak tree through the window. Then she became aware of my presence, turned to me but believed that I was her son, « George my son, » she said. She confused me with my father who killed himself before I was born in a jeep accident at the end of the Algerian war. I told her I was her grandson and she resituated me – at least I think so. We talked a little bit. His meal has arrived. She ate what was on her tray very slowly and conscientiously, seeming to forget my presence. Then, the service assistant, always very polite with my grandmother, came to pick up the tray. My granddaughter turned to me, available again. I asked her a question about her parents. I wanted to know how they had lived.

Claude interrupts him:

 – Do you have to tell all these details?

 – Sorry, I’ll try to keep it short. My grandmother took her purse from a pedestal table near the chair where she has been spending her days since hip pain prevented her from going to the park for her walk. She took out a little badge that she handed me: « Here it is for you, my mother gave it to me, it belongs to you ». It was a round and thick piece of fabric, quite firm, the size of half the hand. On the surface had been embroidered a heart upside down, pointing upwards, surmounted by a cross. I didn’t know what to say and didn’t ask any questions. In fact, I fronted that she was giving me a bondieuserie from some religious high place. All this generation had been on pilgrimage to Lourdes several times. I should have brought it with me to show it to you, he stayed home.

 – OK and you want to know what this badge means? she asked a little surprised again.

 – I know it, it’s a Heart of Jesus, everyone knows it.

 – Yes, but it is not just a simple Heart of Jesus. From what you’re saying, it’s inverted pointing upwards, so it’s a Cabôzor.

 – What does that mean?

 – It depends on what you’re looking for.

 – Just to understand what that means.

 – Didn’t your grandmother tell you anything else?

Philip tries to remember his last meeting at the retirement home with his grandmother and tell it to Claude with precision:

 – Except for the dragon case, no, but it’s a little crazy.

 – What’s this all about?

 – A Cabôzor story indeed, I thought it was a patois word to say Sacred Heart. My grandmother went through her bedside table again and read me a text she had written in a beautiful school handwriting made of full and loose. The title was: « The Prince of Dragons ». I will read it to you because she gave it to me too. It was the only story that Mary/Rose’s father, called Father Nieul, had told about the war.

 – Who’s Mary/Rose?

 – Well, my grandmother, that’s what we call her, it’s affectionate if you will.

 – So, Father Nieul is your great-grandfather, is that right?

 – Yes, exactly, » admits Philip, feeling like a schoolboy.

 – Okay, keep going.

 

Chapter 10 – Saint-Orsan.

It was only on the third night after my interview with the leader of the convent that John reappeared. I talked to him about Father La Colombière and my possible departure. I told him that I had heard them talking about a certain « Cabôzor ». He remained silent without moving until he told me a little bit about himself.

– When I was at the priory in London, one day I received a visit from an authoritative Norman monk, Father Eudes, who wanted me to translate for him a book by a Protestant professor from Oxford, named Baldwin. It was about the Cabôzor, indeed. Baldwin’s text was dry and arid, very boring. I was young, I literally translated without question. I thought it was a chore. He stopped talking, he had heard a noise, a crackling sound. Then he continued:

 – Are you still here?

 – Yes, John, I’m listening to you.

 – Two or three years later, I learned that Father Eudes had founded the Order of Ma,ry’s and Je;sus’ Cabôzor in Normandy. He had also published a book in which I found passages from my translation. By Cabôzor, he meant the fusion of the real and eternal hearts of Je;sus and Ma,ry. He claimed that their respective blood pumps were transfigured into a single Cabôzor. He represented it in the form of an inverted heart – the point upwards – as if to show the direction to follow towards the sky. He had obviously been inspired by Baldwin even though, unlike him, he referred to Ma,ry. No one knows where this word from Cabôzor comes from. Jean Eudes was an ambitious and fanatical man. Your story reminds me of mine. I think that your Colombière, given the way he dresses and talks, is a member of the Armée des Pères, a very hierarchical papist organization created a few years ago in Paris, in the Collège Saint—Arbre. There is something going on, perhaps against the puritans who are abounding in London.

I was surprised that he knew so much because he had been living in the monastery for several years. I remarked to him.

 – You know as well as I do that, even as a recluse, we clearly perceive the sounds of the world from the bits of news we receive.

 – Do I have to agree to go? They give me the choice.

 – I don’t know if they really give you a choice. This is not their style. They probably want you to decide for yourself. This could be dangerous; Catholics are not welcome in London since the Great Fire.

He remained silent for a long time in the dark. I was throwing myself into the water:

 – You should know that I have feelings for you, even though our relationship is probably impossible.

He had a muffled and resigned voice, almost embarrassed:

 – Indeed, nothing is possible for us in this world.

I answered in a heartbeat:

 – Or anything is possible, on the contrary.

I probably should have done better to have approved John’s sentence.

 

 

40.-

Big Flat Cabôz.

 

Chapter 11 – Paris, cafeteria.

 – Father Nieul was wounded in the trenches and spent months in the military hospital. After that, he was assigned as an aviation mechanic. His leader, a lieutenant, claimed to be the ace of pilot abbots, he was nicknamed the great dragon flamer.

 – Too dar his name, » says Claude.

Philip, without hesitation, continues to tell his story.

 – This abbot, the ace of dragons, had a disease at the age of 6 that made him distracted, he started talking to flies. At the age of 18, he crossed the Spanish border to enter the Cabôzor mission, which was banned in France at that time. A little later, during the First World War, he distributed Cabôzor medals to the soldiers he met and volunteered for exposed positions. He finally chose aviation because, he said, « Religious are the aviators of the spiritual life ». However, due to the regulations, he was prohibited from hanging the Cabôzor flag on his aircraft. Assigned to the Crocodile Squadron, he succeeded in shooting down observation balloons called dragons. In 1922, for an almanac, he wrote his only text entitled « My first dragon »: « To support my courage, I had my trust in G.od, in Our Lady of Cabôzor whom I trust for what could happen to me. So, I was waiting for an opportunity. It soon happened… a superb enemy balloon was on the lookout downstairs. Quite far, about 10 km away. I was at the back of the pack and ruminating about my attack. Quickly hit the engine control. The altimeter goes down but too slowly for me. What about the dragon? It’s right under there, I’m getting closer, it’s growing very fast. Attention! Damn it, my machine gun is not engaged: V’lan, it’s like a big punch. Ta ca Ta, Ta ca Ta. Without aiming, I shoot… When I land, my first word is obvious: « I burned a dragon ». Immediately like an echo, Nieul, my brave mechanic, shouts out « he burned a dragon » – « a dragon? » – « ah, what the hell! another one says, that’s amazing ». As a result, the military regulations gave way and he was able to display the Cabôzor flag on his plane. After the war, this lieutenant – the ace of dragons – became a full-time abbot again on a small island in Papua. Aged 35, after three years of missionary work with the pagans, he was killed by a young savage whom he had tried to convert to the cult of Cabôzor.

Claude listens attentively to him, sucking in his big Flat White with a straw from time to time. Philip asks him again:

 – What can I do with this madman, dragon slayer, crocodile eater and fly counter? It’s a kind of Tintin in the Congo from the First World War, it’s completely foreign to me.

 – What do you want to know? Why did your grandmother give you the badge?

 – Yes, I suppose that’s it, » Philip admits.

 – There may be a reason, but it can take a long time to find. The Cabôzor is both an empty shell and something complex and scholarly.

 – Well, it’s the Heart of the Ch,rist upside down and maybe Ma,ry’s. What difference does it make and what can there be in there? My grandmother, a church mouse, believed in it. And now it just doesn’t make sense anymore, that’s all.

 – That’s the empty shell side.

 – What about the complex and scholarly side? Asks Philip.

 – I can’t tell you that, for the time being; it takes time, trust, words that come out. For the moment, I can’t say anything and I’m not sure of anything. I don’t feel it.

As they were talking, the cafeteria filled with students coming out of class. Claude and Philip start talking louder to get along. Two students sat next to them and Claude seems embarrassed by their presence.

  – But then how can I do it? » shouts Philip.

 – I don’t know, read a book, you might find out something.

 – Maybe I’ll find it? You’ve completely confused me.

Now she seems annoyed:

 – Yes, I’m a little sorry, your problem is a puzzle.

 – But I don’t understand anything.

 – That’s what I’m saying. I shouldn’t have accepted this coffee – in fact a Flat White that she had bought for herself and that starts to make a bubble sound when she pulls the straw. I am not advanced enough to easily communicate my research like that to someone who has little knowledge.

 – Is there a book to start with?

 – Yes, of course, she replied… and after reflection: hold on, you can read Father Verkynden’s book entitled: « Cabôzor, a Story of French Solidarity », he is wrong all along the line because it is not of French origin, but at least it is what we can call the official line.

 She is already standing adjusting her book bag on her shoulder. She shakes his hand while Philip sits still. He suddenly feels out of place among these students. He watches her leave. Her phone starts to vibrate: it’s Nadia, she didn’t wait for him to call her back.

Chapter 12 – Saint-Orsan.

I was again invited by the leader of the convent who wanted my answer. I went to his living room. Father La Colombière was there, too. I told them I didn’t want to leave. I saw their faces hardening.

It was Claire de Rochefoucauld who took the floor again:

 – The news does not concern you directly, but it is important to know that a translator monk, named John, was placed in solitary confinement this morning. He was caught in the kitchens behind a pillar with a peasant girl. We are waiting for your answer by tomorrow morning.

I came out of the leader’s « castle » thinking my head was a ball of celery. Without really knowing where I was going. I was, in spite of myself, heading towards the common kitchens of the abbey. They dated back to the time of Robert de Moussé, the founder. They had been built with a pointed roof covered with flat stones for added strength. Being octagonal in shape, they could operate with eight fireplaces at the same time. The smoke was dense and rose higher than the head, where the sausages were hung. This process allowed them to be smoked slowly and therefore preserved. That’s when the pigs I was bleeding finished. Each fire was installed in a kind of apse topped by a chimney. The entrance to this mini-chapel was framed by two pillars. Behind them, there was enough space to hide, especially since the smoke prevented any visibility.

I imagined John behind a pillar with his peasant girl. I felt like a stowaway discovered on a ship and expelled to the open sea. The ideal image of a John as a chaste and protective angel, almost Christlike, had lived. I had made it for myself during those long unbearable afternoons when time stopped moving forward and when homesickness, which had come from nowhere, came up inside me like a moisture vapor.

I managed to calm myself by thinking that Mrs. de Rochefoucauld had tried to hurt me while threatening me. I suspected that they – the housekeepers-supervisors and the leader of the convent – had discovered my attraction to John and that they were waiting for the right time to use this knowledge for their purpose. I also wondered, in my moments of greatest mistrust, if John had not been asked to seduce me discreetly so that I could then become their puppet.

My anger against him could have led me to refuse to leave to prolong his isolation. One might think that, to punish me for refusing, the maidens of the abbey would not have been gentle with him, unless he had been at their orders. I was also afraid, on the other hand, of being locked up myself and perhaps tortured. I felt John was free enough to have become attached to this girl and thought I finally understood his prolonged absences. I thought he was capable of all compromises. As I walked out of the kitchens, the hard eyes of a young peasant girl who turned away from me left me with little doubt. Her gaze said that she had exclusivity and anteriority over John. I had to get out of her way.

The wound of my self-esteem as an aristocrat – though poor – made me suffer as much as the « break-up » with John that I decided immediately – even if nothing had actually happened between us and he had not promised me anything. I felt as stupid as the big sausages hanging above the fireplaces of the monastic kitchen. The idea of picking up a large kitchen knife from a table and making the peasant woman bleed like a guinea fowl crossed my mind.

Alone in my cell in the absence of Danielle, who was still in isolation, I thought I could easily get past this point. Everything seemed unreal to me, but I thought it was enough to pray to regain the feeling of being present in the world. However, John substituted in my imagination for any attempt to appeal to the figure of Je;sus. Hands joined in front of me or lying face down on the ground, nothing worked.

I did not go to Matins, I remained alone in my cell. I felt the panic rising. I called myself to calm myself: « Eva, Eva, Eva, Eva, is that you? ». I went in circles faster and faster in the cell like a chicken that would have been blindfolded. I had made some kind of spiritual connection with John, I was sure, but his disappearance at one end of the invisible chain made me a ghost. I thought I was experiencing the mystical night of Teresa of Avila: the absence of G.od and total solitude. My family was too far away and I couldn’t trust anyone here, except Danielle. I tore off my skin with my fingernails on the top of my hand. On an empty stomach because I couldn’t eat anything, I threw up my bile in a chamber bucket. I sat there hoping to feel a little better, wobbly on the verge of fainting like a pig drained of blood. The lucidity slowly returned without the vicious pain under my navel. I went to Lauds, at dawn.

The reading of the psalms did me good. Others other than myself had experienced the loneliness of the one who no longer feels connected to anything and had survived. The name Je;sus seemed meaningless to me in the middle of the night; it ultimately served to divert emotion from a real object that was given a crazy exclusivity towards an imaginary subject. A few perhaps could make this attachment a source of happiness, but I was not interested. Although I took a blow to the head, I thought I could go back up the slope. I told the director, Claire de Rochefoucauld, via the household supervisor, that I was ready to leave.

39.-

Il regulationnait the prohibited mission.

Chapter 13 – Paris, phone call.

 – It’s bullshit, if you ask me, » Nadia told him on the phone.

 – Oh well! Why? asks Philip again.

 – You know that the class action on the environment has only existed since 2016 under French law.

 – No, I don’t know, what’s with this class action?

 – This is a new procedure: an environmental association can act in the place of thousands of victims of environmental damage against the perpetrator of that damage.

 – What’s the point? Ask Philip again.

 – It costs less for victims and they are stronger in group.

 – It seems rather dangerous for companies, why do you say it’s bullshit in this case?

 – The law only applies to cases born after its entry into force, says Nadia, not to old cases, yet most victims here have been sick for a long time. They had to absorb Udrozin – if this product is really dangerous – in their youth.

 – So, the class action only applies to new cases reported since the law, right?

 – And again, one could say that these people have absorbed Udrozin long before.

– But it’s hard to prove.

 – Yes, but I think it’s up to the other side to prove it.

 – So?

 – …Every doer… any of the hormission, who gave to others a satisfied one ….

 – Excuse me Nadia, I didn’t get anything, there’s a funny noise, like a rattle.

 – I’m approaching the window, is that better?

 – Yes, yes, yes.

 – I was saying that if we cause damage to others, we must repair it, but here we must not panic, Saint M’Hervé has entrusted the case to a large English firm, Robbs and Humes, and I think they will quickly take the measure of this action. We, for the taxation and accountability part, will only have to follow the movement.

 – OK, OK! agrees Philip, if there is no risk, I don’t see the point in provisioning this class action.

 – In any case, provisioning is only an early loss of income that allows you to pay a little less tax over a certain period of time.

 – Okay, so I’ll see you later at Saint M’Hervé’s headquarters, I’ll wait at the reception desk at minus five.

 – ok, see you then, Nadia concludes.

Well, that’s all it was. There was nothing to panic about. Philip decides when he leaves the cafeteria to go back to the bookstore to borrow Father Verkynden’s book that Claude advised him to read. He has the impression that the Cabôzor has dissolved into history, as if it had never existed or as if it had become incomprehensible. His grandmother must have put him in contact with something she doesn’t know the origin of.

Chapter 14 – On the road.

When La Colombière and I left Saint-Orsan, I didn’t know what our first destination was, but I assumed it would be England. At first, John’s betrayal – although I may have experienced our relationship in ways that were too imaginary – left me feverish and then depressed. I didn’t ask where we were going. My stomach was burning as if I had swallowed litres of sour wine while, on the other hand, I could no longer eat anything. Then I felt angry at everyone: John, La Colombière and mother Rochefoucauld. I regained a little appetite. My desire to kill them like rabbits probably expressed a renewed desire.

I had managed to take several volumes of Mr. Urfé’s love stories of Astrée and Céladon. These books saved my life. The invention of printing had changed our lives so much that I could hardly imagine how it was before. Probably, in reality, people were telling themselves stories, as my father did, when I was a child in Wales. I had already read Urfé’s book at the convent for the first time, in secret, so the bumps of the road didn’t bother me much to read the story again. Celadon had mistakenly believed that her love, Astrée, had deceived her with a shepherd. However, he had learned from a witness that, on the contrary, his lover had resisted an attempt to kiss her. However, Astrée had forever forbidden him to appear in front of her because he had doubted her. He decided to disappear from his life. I was also thinking, as Celadon may have thought, that the story of the peasant girl in the abbey kitchen was only a misunderstanding and perhaps even a lie of the leader to provoke my decision. I had a strong intuition, following a dream, that I would find John on my way to dig in « our unknown lands », as Mother Rochefoucauld said.

I finally understood that we were not going to England because we were heading northeast. The journey became monotonous. Autumn had arrived and the rainy days followed one another. We protected the windows of our car with large canvases. However, water managed, in some places, to get in. At each inn, our dishevelled horses looked thin in their soaked dresses.

Something strange happened to me on one of those rainy nights. A man in black, sitting at the back of the dark hotel room, whose intense eyes I could only clearly see, looked at me as if he saw my destiny through me. I cannot say if he had detected the nun under the monk’s robe, but that didn’t change anything. He seemed to see in me a destiny he approved of. However, we did not exchange a word and I did not even know what his name was. The next morning, when we got up, he was already gone.

La Colombière required me to give him English lessons every day. I told him for fun that it was an easy language, built from the French-Norman tongue imported into Great Britain by William the Conquest. Instead of teaching him « I don’t understand » I taught him « I don’t comprehend », closer to French; instead of « this man is nice », « this man is sympathetic ». Without ever teaching him anything completely absurd, I paved the way for future misunderstandings! I hoped to take my revenge without him noticing. It was quite childish, but it felt good.

He also asked me to translate for him a Protestant book that he hid in a double bottom of his trunk. It was, strange coincidence, the book written by this Protestant professor at Oxford, Baldwin, the same book that John had to translate for Father Eudes. I thought that this was a sign that we had crossed destinies and that we would meet again soon. Too bad John didn’t give me a copy of his translation.  I assumed that La Colombière was not in a position to ask Jean Eudes directly for it, if he knew of John’s translation. I wasn’t the one who would tell him.

Thinking of John revived a pain that made me want to scream at those groups of crows that followed us from time to time. I had experienced physical pain – a broken wrist, dysentery, a spoiled tooth – but these violent pains left little memory and did not return for months. Either we defeated them or we surpassed them. This time, I didn’t go beyond anything, I was ruminating my pain over and over again. When the car passed over a gorge, I had to hold on to the bench so I wouldn’t be tempted to jump. My heartbeat was accelerating and the panic was rising. The slowness of our vehicle was tearing me apart. I found myself sweating without doing anything. I was afraid that a traffic jam would block us on the edge of the precipice. Such embarrassment could occur when we came close to cities where there was a market. I was healed of my anguish the day we happened to be in real danger.

38.-

Longtempt to kill a loi does not said.

Chapter 15 – Paris, Saint—Arbre.

Philip asked Claude again for his email just in case. But just in case of what? He goes up to the 4th floor and enters his office overlooking the inner courtyard of Saint—Arbre College. The heat has gone up several degrees and, he knows, he will have trouble checking accounts again.

He reflects on this strange encounter in the bookstore shelves. Claude is the kind of woman, physically feminine, but somewhat masculine in the way she expresses herself, which does not allow her to be completely at ease while strangely putting him in confidence. She is part of this generation of women at the source of the « Great Inversion », this fashionable movement in France that gave rise to a great law in mid-summer (n° 6775-106000 of July 28th). They realized that reason and emotion should no longer be opposed because there was a reasonable emotion and a relational reason. A first separation between reason and emotion probably occurred at the end of prehistory, confirmed – again this is controversial – during the Renaissance.

The women, spending hours side by side, especially in the bottom of the caves, working while discussing, had become masters in the rational management of relationships, while the men had rather developed the hunter’s instinct and sense of direction. The analytical reason was more on the side of women from a cultural point of view, when intuition and a sense of territory were on the side of men. With the invention of writing and agriculture, men seized reason, but they did not associate it with emotion and relationship. Having conquered a land and developed it, they wanted to pass it on to their eldest son. They also had to develop technical instruments for agriculture.

Thus, the ultra-rational and mechanistic world of the West was built on a radical separation between reason and emotion. Since then, he has continued to expand his empire. The contemporary movement known as the Great Inversion, of which Claude is obviously a thurifer, consists precisely in recognizing the existence of an emotional and relational reason. We are still drawing all the consequences, both positive and negative, from this kind of return to prehistory, which is now taking on its full scope.

Politics and elections remain to satisfy the rather masculine thirst for power and fiefdoms. The positions obtained are well paid but no longer serve to transform things. What has been set up in parallel is a bottom-up approach. At the level of families, condominiums and small institutions, the person generating harmony with the greatest rigour is identified. There are often people who take care of others. There are placed in a wider network of a part of the city or company.

These activities, which had until then been voluntary, were paid comfortably to avoid any attempt at corruption and for a four-year non-renewable period. A guarantee and control system have been organised. A grouping of remarkable people capable of functioning within this broader framework was carried out at the commune, then at the State and sub-continent levels. Each personality can complete four years at each level, then slowly descend the degrees, if desired.

The vote was maintained for these people, but only to ensure that they did not become part of the matriarchy or patriarchy by no longer asking anyone for their opinion and by infantilizing their subordinates. The vote is no longer used to say yes, but to say no, in case it becomes necessary to prevent a person from exercising power. University engineering departments must now recruit at least 50% women and prioritize the association of technology with human relations, by developing inventions that help to develop the autonomy of each individual.

Philip is not completely comfortable with the Great Inversion movement because he fears that deep down, he is more negative than positive. However, he says to himself that he is, as a man, in a biased position.

To top it all off, a statute of 27 August last (No. 6776-106001) set the maximum limit on working time at 30 hours per week and imposed a minimum of 10 hours’ contribution to personal services, either within the family or in an association or other type of institution. The rule applies to both men and women and tends to revalue care. Such a service brings as much to the rather autonomous person who thus deepens his ability to create legal relationships as to the dependent person seeking autonomy.

Philip comes out of his reflection by opening Father Verkynden’s book on the Cabôzor that Claude advised him to read. He travels diagonally through stories that are repeated over and over again in Nantes, La Roche-Bernard, Paris or Marseille. Everywhere, a misfortune such as a plague or a war is put an end with a relic of the Cabôzor. He sees only an indigestible succession of madmen to be found, each in turn falling in love with an idea, a symbol, a heart, thorns and a cross, right side up and upside down. He sees it as a kind of religious pornography, all the obscener because it does not say his name. Nothing is intended for him; nothing speaks to him.

He sends an email to Claude:

 – What to do with this kitschy mess, with sentences that have become meaningless? For example, this sentence: « I enter the Cabôzor like in a burning grenade ». What to do with these delusions? What is this mysterious Cabôzor?

He looks at the time on his computer screen. It is time for him to go to the meeting organized by President Saint M’Hervé concerning the class action on Udrozin.

Chapter 16 – On the road.

The Colombière was losing interest in me. He was sitting in the direction of travel, while I was going against it. I translated, sometimes in an approximate way, Baldwin’s book. He traced the notion of Cabôzor back to two nuns from a 13th century German convent. He seemed convinced that Luther had drawn inspiration from it in his doctrine. La Colombière was shocked by a passage concerning the first woman of humanity. According to Baldwin, Eve did not come from Adam’s coast, as Saint Jerome’s version affirm it, but was placed against the man to prevent him from pretending he was more than he is. Baldwin wrote that the word of the original language, traditionally translated by ribs, could just as easily be translated as « against » or « beside » man.

Concerning Cabôzor, the Colombière seemed tense as soon as we entered the translation of a key passage. According to Baldwin, the Cabôzor is supposed to encompass all hearts and represent all believers without even asking for it. There is no such thing as a people of the faithful who can be represented, but a multitude of believers who become a common person as soon as they are represented by this man-G.od. He makes everyone present in the world – what it means to be represented – and pay, in their place, the symbolic debt they incurred for being accepted on earth. It is a form of representation, according to Baldwin, without any believer needing to agree. However, for him, this could only have an effect for Protestants.

La Colombière, very concentrated, asked if it was about the angels and the virgin Ma,ry. I replied that it was only a question of a mother, Myriam, a carpenter father, Joseph, and a man Je;sus who is never accompanied by angels..

This passage made La Colombière furious against Baldwin, « this heretical Protestant », as he called him. He moaned out loud. I added that, according to Baldwin, this man, Je;sus, was considering creating a society where everyone would live equally without owning anything. « With this madman there is no longer any transubstantiation of Je;sus or mediation of the clergy ». He concludes out of his mind: « We must annihilate this heretical terrorist coupled with a mad egalitarian, but we must also eradicate evil at its root!

He was also furious against John Eudes whose book on the Cabôzor of Je;sus and Ma,ry he read and he took me to task:

 – He attracts crowds to his order with preaching filled with superstition. He created a medallion with the hearts of Mary and Jesus reversed to heal all diseases, he claims. He was tricked by that Irish witch, Mary of the Valley. I’m sure she’s his mistress.

It became an obsession for him. I had the impression that he hated Eudes, the fanatical Catholic, even more than Baldwin, the conceptual Protestant. I was hoping not to have gone too far in my translations. Neither the virgin nor the angels were mentioned in Baldwin’s book. Some passages on the Trinity were so complicated that I could only make sense of them by simplifying them.

During our trip, we were spared by the thieves. However, one day when it was raining to « pissing cow », we almost drowned. The horses pulling our carriage had forded a river while they were still walking. The water level rose so sharply that the horses had to start swimming. They began to be carried away by the current when peasants arriving on the other bank intervened. A young man threw himself into the current with a rope to surround the neck of the leading horse while at the other end their oxen were pulling. We barely made it out because our vehicle had gotten stuck, thanks to the rope, in a rock in the middle of this powerful and unpredictable torrent.

La Colombière thanked and blessed everyone. He concludes that our mission was placed under the protection of G.od. The young peasant would have liked a more resounding and stumbling reward, but La Colombière told him that he would be paid a hundredfold in the afterlife. Looking at the sceptical look on the young man’s face, I think he may have had a fairly accurate idea of the injustice that reigned in this world as in this one. I had to exchange, behind a grove, my soaked clothes with a peasant’s outfit. For a moment I wanted to run away, but where would I go?

37.-

Contre l’humanière approximative, she enters in separaissance.

Chapter 17 – Paris, Saint M’Hervé’s headquarters.

The Robbs and Humes’ team is sitting in front of Philip. It is composed of three people, a very slender English man, Michael Robbs, the son of one of the founders, and his collaborators whose names nobody catches at the time of the presentations – apparently a young Franco-Moroccan lawyer and a Franco-German intern. Michael Robbs wears the collar of his white shirt open upwards, surrounded by a red scarf held by a brooch. He gives the impression of having a head hovering far above his body. Her high-pitched voice reinforces this feeling.

Mr. Hauteville, the in-house counsel and general secretary of the Saint M’Hervé holding company, is on the right of the president who is holding himself at the end of the table. The President introduced Vic-You as a communication specialist. Philip is surprised by the impossibility of giving Vic-You a genre. He/she is dressed all in black with a vaguely feminine blouse and jet hair. Its parchmented complexion is as masculine as it is feminine, or neither.

They are gathered on the eighth floor in a standard room, without windows. Everyone went to get a drink. Michael Robbs, at his ease, takes the tea bag off his mug. The President took the floor quickly to summarize what he called a problem: the formal notice sent by the association for the defence of victims of non-drug chemical products.

 – Our problem is first and foremost technical. Whatever the validity of the Bulgarian study on the correlations between Udrozin and Alzheimer’s disease, it has appeared in a serious international journal. We must therefore take this into account. Today, we were able, with the teams, to set up a process for the urgent replacement of the offending molecule.

Vic-You nods, suggesting that he/she could release this information to the press. He/she adds:

 – It should also be possible to announce the recall of products currently on the market.

Impossible for the sound of his voice to decide the question of his/her gender.

 – Yes, it is also planned, you are right, confirms the president. Now what do we do with the formal notice?

Michael Robbs explained that there is no need to panic, that the statute that created the environmental class action only applies if the causal event occurred after its entry into force. He speaks at sufficient length to explain that it is not the class action on health that applies because Udrozin is not the component of a drug, « it is not a new Mediator case!

 – So, there’s no big risk? cutting the president off.

 – I wouldn’t say that, » says Michael Robbs, « there are already diseases that have appeared this year, but there are also those that could appear in the months and years to come. There may also be many people who contracted the disease before the new law came into force who could be added to the class action to avoid all the hassles of a trial.

 – Yes, but they will be ruled out of order, » says Nadia.

 – Yes, probably, but we won’t know for another year or two, » says Michael Robbs. « The proceedings can be lengthy and negotiations can continue during that time. In addition, it should not be forgotten that the court may decide to use the new e-procedure. The risk would then be that it would go too fast and we would miss it.

The President resumed the floor:

 – So, it’s not without risk?

 – In fact, no, » concludes Michael Robbs, « a little stiff as if his honour had been violated.

 – Should we then set aside a reserve to organize the future loss and avoid the big bamboo blow when we will lose if we are ever condemned? said the president turning to Philip. He thinks quickly:

 – We can set aside provisions if the risk is proven, which seems to be the case; we must also be able to quantify the risk, which seems very delicate to me. It would be better to add a note to the balance sheet I am currently preparing.

 – Anyway, Nadia adds, whatever the amount subtracted from this year’s taxable income, it will have to be reinstated if, in the end, it does not have to be paid or if the amount is less.

 – OK, OK, » the president said, turning to the legal director, Sacha Hauteville, who must be aware of the situation: in fact, there is a somewhat new element, the lawyer from the victims’ association, Taha, has just sent us an offer to settle.

 – How many? asks English, practical mind.

 – 850 billion Euros all-inclusive, if I may say so, for both current and future patients and even for the families of deceased persons to compensate for their moral prejudice.

 – Gosh! That’s enormous, let go of Michael Robbs.

– I’m not going to be able to provision this amount like that, » says Philip.

 – This is the beginning of a negotiation, we are far from the bargain, » says the legal director, feeling visibly responsible.

 – Yes, but it starts from very, very, very, very high, » said the communication manager, « it’s twice as much as France’s annual budget, it’s barely less than Apple’s market capitalization, especially we can’t fund it without people knowing about it and we’ll have to explain the amount withheld to the press, it will be considered as an admission of guilt.

 – by the way, Michael, could you tell us if there is a risk of lawsuit outside France?

– Not much, the pesticide with Udrozin is distributed only in France, in rural area, the victims are the peasants themselves and their family. There may be some isolated victims abroad, that’s it.

– Thanks, Michaël, at least one good news, so …

– However, Michaël Robbs goes on his point, may I?

– yes sure, allows the president.

– However, if we want to avoid a US class action attracting all the victims, even French ones because of the huge amount of punitive damages they can get, we’ve better deal with this French class action and make a settlement.

– Well, Ok. Thanks, you all of you. This was just an informal meeting, » the President said, « I would like everyone to clarify the issues that concern them and to be able to quickly measure the risks and take decisions. We’ll meet in two days, here, at the same time.

Everyone takes their leave. Philip greets the president who tells him to wait. When everyone is out, they both go to his office, big but sober. There are two chairs in a corner, the president sits down without any manners, revealing a little fatigue. Philip takes his place in front of him. The president needs to understand the real issues of this class action.

 Chapter 18 – Puyssanfond.

We entered an area occupied by the Spaniards. They were said to be cruel and bloody. La Colombière kept its calm very well. The papers he showed to the troop that blocked the road, allowed us to pass without difficulty. I was amazed! The soldiers even showed him some deference by giving him « mi padre ». I had not yet learned that the Spaniards were the secular executors of the spiritual Army of the Fathers, to which the Colombière belonged. Moreover, Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of this army, was first a good soldier in the service of a Spanish prince until he got injured.

After two weeks of travel, we arrived in a Burgundy town called Puyssanfond. Colombière asked, through the window, for our way into the old town and we arrived in front of a mixed abbey of the Order of the Fondevide led by a widow called Benedicta Orvières. There, as in Saint-Orsan, men and women were clearly separated.

Our founder, Robert de Moussé, had wanted this in the 12th century. Although he had had a good time, as it was said under cloak, with girls from the forest of Cranon, he had evolved and invented this disposition for the refinement of desire and the torture of impossible pleasure. Women led; men worked and prayed. The organization of industrious time made it possible to free up periods of contemplation. However, it was impossible not to imagine what they really did in the forest.  I really liked knowing this Robert de Moussé, he must have been an interesting man. I only knew of him a shrine at the abbey of Saint-Orsan, near the altar of the abbey church, containing the relic of his heart.

The nuns, as in all convents of the Fondevide order, lived in cells with two of them, probably to supervise each other. As soon as I arrived, I was provided with new clothes and I was separated from Father La Colombière. I was introduced to the one with whom I was going to share my room during my stay. Her name was Mary-Rose and she seemed to me at first very friendly and welcoming. She was skinny and had feverish and exorbitant eyes. She must have been left alone in her cell for a reason. It took me weeks to figure out which one. In the beginning, I was, I must say, under his spell.

36.-

Belongiligne, the papersonne imposes deference.

Chapter 19 – Paris, Saint M’Hervé’s headquarters.

  – What do you think of that? I’m going to need you on this one, » said the president in a tired tone. His voice always smart and fluid – sometimes only a little brutal – was filled with a few lumps of worry.

 – I find this case strange, too huge, where can it come from? asks Philip again.

 – My security manager asked around. The association of victims of non-drug chemical products has been alive for a long time. It was established to recover damages in civil actions in criminal cases. It is a bit of a parasitic association, its president is a margoulin, but he has no ambition.

 – Taha, the lawyer, then? ask Philip again

 – Yes, it is possible, but it does nothing on its own, there is a company behind it. I suppose that to engage in such ransom, you have to have reserves.

 – How can this company act underhand?

 – It must use a third-party funding, a fund that finances large trials and recovers nearly half of the profits. The association does not have the means to go into this even for the formal notice, it would be too big a risk. The fund must have contacted her to propose this case.

 – Can we know who is investing in these funds? asks Philip.

 – No, it’s very difficult, the fund is in Luxembourg, there’s banking secrecy. I suppose our American competitor is behind all this, but in business you should never be too paranoid, » says Jacques Saint M’Hervé, as if speaking to himself.

 – Well, I think you have to let it rest a little by thinking carefully, » says Philip. How much time do we have left?

 – According to Mr. Robbs, after the formal notice, the association can only initiate the procedure in four months, which gives us some time to either negotiate or prepare our arguments.

 – And has the epidemiological study done again?

 – It takes years to redo such a study and have it validated scientifically. There is already a university team in Birmingham that we are indirectly funding that has stuck to it, but we should not expect miracles on this side in any case not for at least four years.

 – So, we have to buy time.

 – Yes, that’s my conclusion too! Well, I have a lot of work to do, thanks for the discussion, I’ll see you in two days.

– With pleasure. Just, holding the president by the arm, did you know that?

– That what?

– That Udrozin could be dangerous.

– In any case, we didn’t know it could trigger a form of Alzheimer’s disease, the president is heading to his office.

– And…

The president looks at him annoyed. Philip prefers to change the subject:

– Your new communication manager, should I tell him or her, Mr. or Mrs.?

 – Neither, you crazy, Vic has been fighting for more than ten years for gender-neutral recognition. The Supreme Court finally dismissed it in 2017. She is terribly angry with the president of the section of the Court of Cassation, Mrs Peyre, who convinced her panel of judges to write that the division between the male and female sexes was natural. His fight is desperate, that’s what convinced me. I like people with character and a personal background, so I preferred to recruit Vic-You rather than a more classic high-profile. And then Vic helped to develop com’ in trial matters. It is not enough to have a good record; it is also important not to make mistakes with public opinion and the press.

In the elevator, Philip checks his emails. Claude, his theological researcher, has still not answered, but there is a message from the director of the retirement home: « Your grandmother is missing, call me as soon as possible ».

 Chapter 20 – Puyssanfond.

 

With Mary-Rose, my new cell mate, we talked at length before falling asleep. I had the impression that I had found a real friend as much, if not more, than Danielle in Saint-Orsan. I told Mary-Rose about my childhood in Wales. She wanted to know everything in detail, although there was nothing extraordinary to tell.

We talked by lying one metre apart on our two layers with that voice that children have when they talk at night before falling asleep with their sibling. She listened to me by eating pears that were still green, as she loved them, one after the other. Our cell was facing west and our discussions sometimes followed the rhythm of the colourful after sunsets that sometimes managed to make me sad, frightened, angry – because of John – and happy at the same time – without me knowing why.

I entrusted Sister Mary-Rose with the remembrances of my childhood. We were a happy but poor family. We lived on a few taxes, on agricultural land by the sea and we cultivated some fields ourselves. We laughed a lot at the table. Old Welsh is a singing and funny language. My father, Gwinned, was a tall man with a generous beard mixed with red and brown. He told stories that happened during the wars between England and Wales (which means foreigners’ country from the English point of view, Wales meaning foreigner). My favourite hero was Glyndwr (pronounced Glyndur), a formidable warrior who, after studying law in London, had enlisted against the occupier. With a small troop, he managed to protect Wales from English invaders for decades. He hid in the forest in holes dug and then hidden under carpets of leaves. With his warriors, they appeared out of nowhere, behind the troops of the King of England.

Telling stories, my father addressed the youngest without seeming to be interested in the oldest of his six children. In fact, he knew how to perfectly stage stories with several levels of understanding, while giving the impression of talking about birds or fish. For example, one day he told how Glyndwr (Gloyndour) and his troop, dressed as giant birds with falcon feathers, had melted from the top of the trees with ropes on a squad of English knights. The horses had been so afraid that all the knights had found themselves on the ground, undone from their armour and almost naked like worms. They had started running through the forest screaming. Glyndwr returned to his wooden palace built at the top of the forest oaks and his girlfriend spent a whole night delicately peeling off his long raptor feathers.

My favourite story was the one about the Glebert wolf. Glyndwr’s baby had disappeared from its cradle and a half-dead wolf was lying nearby. Glyndwr finished him off and went in search of the infant, whom he found unharmed near his dead dog in the middle of the forest. He concluded, after reflection, that in reality, the wolf must have wanted to save the baby from the dog’s jealousy. The dog had probably wanted to kill the baby he thought was his competitor. The wolf must have wanted to stop him. This dog, victorious over the wolf but wounded, had survived for some time with the baby in his mouth and finally collapsed in a delayed manner. The understanding Glyndwr gave a name to the wolf who had saved his child, but whom he had killed out of ignorance. This is how this wolf was named Glebert. A tomb was erected for him. I finally realized that the wolf could represent our wild and generous ancestors and the dog, our fake English friends.

On the contrary, I hated stories of dragons, red and white, which frightened me. It was a heartbreak when my parents were forced to send me to the convent. I had had such a happy childhood that I was prepared to discover new places. That is why this separation did not weigh too much on me, at least in its early days. I also told Mary-Rose about my first convent in Llangolen in North Wales. I really liked to go for a walk at the back of the park near the pillar of Essylt, a very tall stone planted in the ground. King Mark had trained it in memory of Essylt (pronounced Esult), his wife, who could not help but love his nephew Trestan because of a kind of magic potion.

Mary-Rose reciprocally told me about an unfortunate childhood as a bastard duchess and also, no doubt, as a gifted student.

35.-

Endormidable guerres de l’impresident.

 

 

Chapter 21 – Paris, Saint M’Hervé’s Headquarters.

 

Philip is as if absent from the meeting on the class action of the Saint M’Hervé Group. He floats in a thick fog. After being informed by the director of the retirement home of the disappearance of his granddaughter, he made a phone call to him. The director quickly explained the circumstances of his grandmother’s disappearance. The night before, the woman on duty who checks every day at 10 p.m. to make sure the lights are off was surprised not to see her in her green velvet chair near the window where she spends all her time watching out an old oak. She wasn’t in the bathroom either, or in the hallway. She remained untraceable on all floors. No one had seen her in the lobby. She had vanished into thin air.

Some elderly people with Alzheimer’s disease tends to escape and are watched or even locked up. This was not the case for her grandmother, since in twenty years she had only left her room for a daily walk in the park. A walk that she had stopped taking since she had suffered from hip pain. All this explains why his room was not locked. Philip went to the retirement home and participated in the research, but to no avail.

After a few days of unsuccessful research, he returned to work feeling lost himself. Nadia had to drag him to the meeting at the headquarters of the company Saint M’Hervé near the Arc de Triomphe. What does it matter to him to anticipate the financial risks of a company when a person can disappear overnight without leaving a trace? Nadia, in the taxi, tried to brief him and summarize the results of her research. He got back on his feet when the discussion began to revolve around the assessment of the damage and therefore, around the provision.

This is the first question the Chair asks him during the meeting:

 – Philip, can you tell me how much you would estimate the provision to be taken into account to anticipate a litigation loss?

Nadia pushes before his eyes the note she has prepared on the subject:

 – The provision can only relate to a probable litigation loss, explains Philip, it must not only be contingent.

 – Anyway, » adds Nadia, « if we are ever condemned, we will have to reintegrate this amount back into our results to offset the reserve that anticipates the loss.

She speaks on behalf of her client, which is more of a lawyer’s habit than that of an auditor like Philip, who is supposed to be independent.

 – So how much do you estimate the provision? asks Jacques Saint M’Hervé again.

 – Currently the annual provision for litigation loss is €15 billion, » says Philip, « we think it is likely, let’s say conceivable, that your company will ultimately have to pay several tens of billions. Even if many victims will be considered inadmissible, there will still be hundreds of victims who will be eligible because they have contracted the disease for less than a year.

 – We estimated this number based on statistics on the number of new patients each year of this particular species of Alzheimer’s disease, Nadia says, we used the so-called Dintilhac nomenclature, which provides compensation for long-term diseases.

 – Finally, concludes Philip, we think it is reasonable to set aside 20 billion euros in provisions this year instead of 15.

Michael Robbs nods several times:

 – We are not achieving at all at the same result, we think there will be many more victims to aggregate by playing with the causal link, saying that Udrozin has only really had its effect recently by triggering the disease and not at the time when the victims absorbed the product. There will also be significant expertise costs and lawyer fees. We cannot exclude a heavy fine from the health authorities, French or even American, if it is established that we should have known the danger. In any case, we recommend to settle the dispute before the 4-month deadline and not to go to court, the risk is too high. We will have to negotiate tightly, we rather have in mind 475 billion, in application of a trading software. If the first negotiator asks for 850 billion, the second will start around 150 billion and the parties will have to agree on around 450 to 500 billion. As a result, we should set aside 50 billion a year.

Vic-You, the communication manager intervenes immediately:

 – The advantage of Philip’s figure is that it will go relatively unnoticed, it is a significant increase in the usual provision but not a total transformation; if the figure is higher and reaches 50 billion, explanations will have to be given to minority shareholders and the press.

– Yes Vic, this point is important, but it must be taken into account in the consequences of our decisions, not in the cause of them, » said in-house counsel and Secretary General Sacha Hauteville, a discreet and generally relevant man.

 – Yes, but what is the right reasoning? Asks the president again, starting from the compensation or the negotiation, have we already decided to negotiate?

 – In any case, even if we go to litigation, » says Michael Robbs, « we will have to continue the negotiations.

 – Okay Michael, I understand your point, I recognize your pragmatism, but I need to understand: with whom are we in conflict, an association, a competitor or victims?

 – A competitor, » says Michael Robbs.

 – Victims, Nadia reacts.

 – OK! OK! Nadia, » said the president, « I understand your concern, because our product causes illness. We must stop its distribution and repair our wrongs. But neither should we be tricked by a competitor who is pulling the strings behind a third-party funding.

Sacha Hauteville, a man with a banal and harmless physique, such as Mister Bean, who in his time defended a thesis on the mathematization of law, spoke without forcing his voice but in a clear-cut manner:

 – The basic issue is not an emotional one, we all recognize that harm must be repaired if we have caused it. Nor is it a pure business issue. The theoretical question is whether the association represents victims, in which case we are dealing with victims through the association; or whether we are dealing with an association that is a full party and does not directly represent victims but replaces them. The question is therefore: is class action a mechanism of representation or substitution? In the first situation, the accounting provision must be estimated on the basis of a probability calculation relating to the compensation of potential victims; in the second situation, it is more appropriate, indeed Michael, you are right, to reason in terms of negotiations with the association.

Sacha Hauteville does not say which position he prefers, but the fact that he turns to Michael by naming him and giving all his weight to his proposal, suggests to all the participants who are used to this type of meeting that he is not leaning in his favour but that he does not want to clash head on with him either.

 – It is a very French Cartesian approach, » says Michael Robbs with his head much higher than his body, « but nevertheless, as our Prime Minister said when negotiating the Brexit about the French European Commissioner, Michel Barnier: « he is far too rational! ». In our case, in both cases, whether we reason with the victims or with the association, it is always more or less about representation, and we must decide pragmatically according to the situation and the result to be achieved: to minimize the risks for the future.

 – You are Humian when we are Cartesian, for you it is pragmatism above all, theory can be fuzzy, it is even a defect to be logical and coherent, Hauteville makes it a little pinched, which does not go at all with his rather jovial head.

 – No! we are not « Humians » at all, Michael Robbs seems outraged, but « Hobbesians », what matters is power: who has the power here? Who is in control, victims, association or competitor, and how to prevent them from abusing?

Philip, a little unshaven, a little underdressed, decides to take the floor:

 – At my level, I can only provision if the loss is probable and reasonable: in this case, I can only calculate this potential loss on the basis of the compensation to be paid to the victims…

But Sacha Hauteville won’t let him continue:

 – There is no purely practical position. By saying that, you are taking a stand in the debate on representation. You imply that we are dealing with victims through an association and not an association that has taken the victims’ place in a trial.

 – You are probably right, Mr. Hauteville, » Philip said gently with consideration and without aggressiveness, « but I don’t think we should try to solve the theoretical problem. It is better to find the most reasonable practical solution and we think that the most reasonable solution is only to increase the usual litigation reserve to 20 billion during the next ten years.

 – The most reasonable position, » Michael Robbs argues rather haughtily, « if you go that way, is to provision more, communicate strongly on it and settle the deal.

 – OK, » the president said, turning to Philip, « this means that you are not in favour of a settlement within the deadline of the formal notice, which is 4 months?

– We can always try, but we have to start much lower than 100 billion, » Philip calculates.

 – So, the negotiation will fail! » replied Michael.

 – OK, OK, that’s it for now, concludes the president and turns to everyone: I think the solution is more towards Philip and Nadia’s proposal, but there is too much uncertainty. Can you all redo your calculations, make them more accurate and refine your arguments? I don’t think much will happen in the coming days and, in any case, we shouldn’t answer too quickly. I’ll give you ten days to think and work. After the next meeting, I will decide. By the way, someone knows if we’re covered by our insurance?

Sacha Hauteville takes the floor again:

 – My team has prepared a memo on this, there’s nothing to expect on that side. The environmental class action is specifically excluded from the contracts we have concluded with our insurers: it is not a fire, it is not a classic litigation, nothing to expect!

 – Well, I suspected a little bit, insurers are always one step ahead of the risks we run.

The president still asks Philip to stay when everyone is gone:

 – I’ll follow your position, Philip, you know it.

 – Actually, Mr. President…

 – Call me Jacques in private, I already told you.

 – Yes, well, … Jacques, » Philip timidly said, « I have a doubt, I need to think, your first strategic decision in this matter will be important for the future. Michael may be right: it may be better to pay a lot right away and prevent future lawsuits as much as possible than to try to save time by going into an uncertain trial and risking much more because of the showing up of new victims, fake or real.

 – I don’t know either, » continues the president, « at our last workshop on leadership, our speaker said that Derrida thought that a moment of indecisiveness always precedes a decision. We are in this moment. Actually, I think theory is important to understand a situation: who is our opponent, the association, a competitor or the victims?

 – Yes, it is not clear indeed.

Philip lets Nadia take him back to his office by taxi. They don’t talk much because Philip has regained the cottony state he was in before the meeting. He’s already stopped thinking about the reserve to be set aside. He’s wondering where his grandmother went to? Did she want to give him a message with her Cabôzor? He needs to understand this badge better because that’s all he has at the moment. He double-checks his emails and just in case, looks into the spams. In the middle of last night, around one, Claude, the theological researcher, gave him a new appointment in the cafeteria.

Chapter 22 – Puyssanfond.

Mary-Rose turned to the side of the bed, threw a pear stalk into a bucket and looked me straight in the eye. His father had been a judge in the Dijon parliament. He was murdered by a criminal whom he had pardoned but who accused him of having made him lose his honour. She was only three years old at the time. She was taken in by distant relatives who were after her property. They ignored her completely by leaving her only one bowl of tasteless soup a day.

She herself practiced such violent mortifications that she found herself paralyzed at the age of nine, unable to walk for four years. She was healed on the day when, following a dream of flying over the mountains that had given her extreme enjoyment, she decided that she would dedicate her life to Je;sus.

However, having recovered her health, she quickly forgot her wish and went to a party with friends where she dressed as a man. She has always blamed herself for this mistake: wearing male ornaments and masks at carnival. It must be said that she took great pleasure that evening in seducing two men dressed as women. She approached them in turn without admitting it to either of them: a young man disguised as a young woman who let himself be carried away with calculated reluctance and a great forty-year-old who was seduced by her man’s mask but less by her woman’s body.

She grew up with other bastards. During all these years, she never saw her mother, a cousin of the king. Fortunately, at the age of twelve, she and her classmates had a remarkable tutor, a Gascon, whom they called Father Charles. He only explained what he had deeply understood and made any lesson exciting. As soon as he felt doubt, he began to develop hypotheses.

For example, it is said that the inside of our head looks like a walnut and that we must therefore, according to the charlatans to pretend to be doctors, treat headaches with walnut alcohol. He didn’t see the connection. You cut your finger with a knife and the shape of the wound is a half moon. Are you going to heal your wound by looking at the moon? Everything had to be rational, he said. Everything had an explanation even if it could not yet be known. We asked him what he did with G.od and Je;sus. His flow slowed down, he chose his words carefully. « I put G.od’s word on everything I don’t understand. » He also said, which had greatly marked Mary-Rose: « I put the word of Je;sus on all the emotions that I do not grasp ».

 – I am uncomfortable with this sentence, I confessed to Mary-Rose.

She added as if to echo my remark that Father Charles could not speak of Je;sus without hugging her. This situation embarrassed her. Mary-Rose was getting darker. She had a lot to tell about the mill where she grew up. I didn’t like hearing that very much. That’s probably why I started to distance myself from Mary-Rose, until things started to take an even more challenging turn.

34.-

Son masque trognon has quickly explaissante, la vie à l’âge deux homes se laissance.

 

Chapter 23 – Paris, cafeteria.

This time, she came first. Without looking around, she sips a zero coca and takes shots of chocolate mousse with a long spoon. Philip is not hungry:

 – My grandmother, Mary/Rose, has disappeared from the retirement home, » he says, barely seated.

 – You’re a complete idiot – he’s a little shocked by this reaction, she has a vague accent that he can’t place and that can explain his sudden use of the language -, you think that by looking for information on the Cabôzor you’ll find her, you’d better be there to look for her. She’s back on familiar terms with him. He feels like a little boy deprived of his strength, but cannot resist.

 – I went there, » he defended childishly, « there were a lot of gendarmes who deployed around the retirement home, I looked with them, nothing. I got it into my head that maybe this badge had something to do with his disappearance. That’s why I came back. In fact, we think of everything, in this case. My aunt Helen, my grandmother’s daughter, the depressed one, even hired a private investigator to find her. Mary/Rose barely walks, she couldn’t disappear like that.

 – All right, OK! On the Cabôzor, what do you want to know?

 – Well, I don’t know: what does it mean that it’s upside down?

 – Just that, you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.

 – Is it that complicated?

 – Yes and no, let’s say there are several levels of reading, several periods.

 – I thought it was just a religious knick-knack, even though you told me it was a puzzle. I thought it was a bit like the Trinity.

 – I’m doing my thesis on the subject and I can tell you that it’s not just a bondieuserie or a piece of theological bravery. In a way, part of the history of France is linked to the Cabôzor. I would even say that France’s original crime is linked to the Cabôzor.

 – Just this? But what does that have to do with my grandmother? Philip is not in the mood to discuss France’s crimes.

 – I don’t know anything about that.

 – And why exactly are you doing a thesis on Cabôzor? Philip asks this question out of curiosity as if he had just come out of a dream.

 – I came up with this subject on my first thesis appointment. My manager asked me the same question you asked me. I couldn’t explain it except that: it’s as if the subject was calling me. After going to medical school and a few years of practice in the city, I wanted to go back to school one day a week. I like to study and conduct research. I was a little tired of angina and flu. I have also had enough of the credo about the tremendous advances in medicine, while mass killings are accumulating for religious reasons. And then I ran into my colleagues. I wanted to have a global and relational approach to medicine by asking patients about the state of their relationships with family members and colleagues at work without becoming a psychologist. I probably made the mistake of criticizing the horribly technical and symptomatic approach (dealing only with symptoms and never with causes) of my colleagues, which has the advantage of bringing in a lot of money, since the consultations are brief. I was the subject of a cabal within the medical organization; a colleague who hated me asked that a disciplinary investigation be conducted against me for an alleged shamanic drift. I won my case, but he managed to isolate me. I probably wasn’t very political.

 – It’s funny, I experienced the same situation last year in the professional association of accountants. I have come up against the uncritical acceptance of American standards, which require that everything be valued financially in the balance sheets, even totally intangible things, without ever taking into account, on the other hand, the good relations that a company can have internally and externally. However, assessments that I call relational and not quantitative are also necessary to give a sincere and accurate picture of the health of a company.

 – It is because we have a little bit of the same history, we are in a way from another era.

 – An era that is perhaps more in front of us than behind us.

Philip hasn’t felt this close to anyone in a long time. A kind of warmth and comfort begins to envelop their discussion. Claude slowly resumes:

 – Medical advances do not prevent the rise of tense and violent relationships. I wanted to understand something about the theological issues at stake to really save lives. In my undergraduate degree, I came across a curious article about the Cabôzor. An Italian author of the 14th, Father Collecio, made it the only possibility of atheism.

– I don’t understand, Philip is intrigued, what did he mean by that?

 – It is not easy to understand, the article is written in a rather obscure popular language, he quotes predecessors of his ideas as if his own had no originality. It goes back to the dawn of time. For him, what I have understood so far, there is only this symbol that can establish a true atheism.

 – It’s absurd, there’s nothing more Catholic than this symbol and any self-respecting atheist has nothing to do with it. Are you sure about the date of this article?

 – Yes, give or take a year.

 – If my grandmother so Christian had known, she would never have given me that badge.

 – Obviously, she couldn’t know, the article is never quoted and I came across it almost by chance when I went to do some research in Villa Degrassi in Venice.

Philip suddenly feels a little lost. He carries the cup of coffee to his lips before he realizes that he has already finished it.

Claude seems to be looking for his words:

 – You think everything is simple, everything makes sense, that your grandmother gave you a kitsch fetish from Lourdes.

She talks to him as if he were a teenager in research. She expresses herself in a firm, profound way, giving the impression of seeing important things where, for him, there is only irrational drift. When she looks at him with her glittery hazelnut eyes, he feels pleasant tingling in his head like when a person fills out papers for us. In some ways, she looks like Marlène Jobert – an actress from her youth -, in other ways like a large turtle with hypnotic strength.

 – But then, you told me about the most extravagant thing about this article from the father – what do you call it?  – Collecio? that’s right, about the Cabôzor but not the most famous, I guess, what’s the official version?

 – The official version? Even the most famous one is still weird, I’ll tell you, you don’t know what’s behind it.

She adds in an academic way:

 – The Cabôzor is at the origin of the expression of intimate feelings and therefore in a certain way of the French Revolution, we can also affirm – at least that is the thesis I defend – that it is at the origin of certain communist thoughts and even of the « Great Inversion ».

Philip seems to hear nothing and brings the conversation back to more concrete questions:

 – But you, who is doing a thesis on it, have some perspective, can you tell me why my grandmother gave me this patch?

 – You read Father Verkynden, if I understood correctly. You can now read Father La Colombière’s memoirs on his meeting with Sainte Mary-Rose Froy de Bouillon. You always have to go to the source.

 – Mary-Rose? The same first name as my grandmother?

 – That’s right!

She’s leaving him hanging with this. As a matter of fact, he’s looking at his cell phone. He thinks again to the class action affecting the company Saint M’Hervé. With Nadia, they shared the work to prepare for the next meeting. Nadia deals with legal risk and tax issues using predictive justice algorithms and Philip must perform several scenarios to determine the amount of the reserve to be set aside. They think they can show that it is appropriate to reduce the annual net result with a provisional sum for seven years by setting aside, as of this year, a sum of 20 billion in the event that they lose this case. They could even take the opportunity to pay a little less corporate tax because they will have to report less income. He will have to discuss it with the financial director of the Saint M’Hervé group.

As if by chance, Nadia called him at that time:

 – I have done some research: class action has not developed much in recent years because the associations responsible for initiating proceedings on behalf of thousands of potential victims do not have the means to embark on this type of adventure. The risks for our client, the Saint M’Hervé family, can therefore be either very large or very small. The ranges resulting from the algorithmic studies provided by Cause-analytical algorithm do not provide any certainty because there is not enough case law in France and even abroad. The class action may or may not endanger the client’s company.

 Philip, who feels overwhelmed, cuts it a little drier than he would have liked:

 – Nadia, you don’t want to call me back this weekend? I have a bad feeling about my grandmother right now.

 

Chapter 24 -Puyssanfond.

 

Mary-Rose closely known, thanks to the network of the convents of the Fondevide, the sometimes-violent debates between the Army of the Fathers and the Jansenists, « the French crypto-protestants », she said. She considered that there was something good in the approach developed at Port-Royal Abbey. Their two-part grammar was, in her opinion, a marvel.

One evening when the hail fell intermittently, she told me about the origin of her project. After weeks of deprivation, one morning she woke up with the revelation that it was necessary to create a real cult in Cabôzor. She presented her idea to the hierarchy: to the convent’s superior sister, Benedicta Orvières, who referred it to Father La Chaize, the king’s confessor and the general secretary of the Armée des Pères in France.

« He sent me this ambitious man, » she noted, « the Father La Colombière with whom you came. I’m sure he didn’t explain anything to you.

She looked up at me and I noticed blue rings under her big, bright and tormented eyes. Being confirmed in her intuition by my silence, she continued:

 – There is a recurring theme in the history of religion from which no one has drawn any valid consequences in terms of worship.  It’s about the Cabôzor. I think it is necessary to make it a political and Gallican theme. It must be linked to France’s religious autonomy and to royalty. The worshippers need a simple, emotional and individual faith to avoid succumbing to the Reformation. They need as many images and statues as they need a better distribution of land. Our lower heart, full of errors, must be replaced by another heart in the opposite direction – the Cabôzor – capable of receiving the light from above. Mary-Rose traced in the dust an inverted heart points in the air to show that it was rising upwards.

I expressed a reservation when I remembered what John had told me:

 – There is already this Protestant in England, Baldwin, who wants to make it an Anglican cult to drag his king’s church towards puritanism. And there is also this Jean Eudes who invented a cross cult to the Cabôzors of Ma,ry and Je;sus. That’s a lot of people.

 – I met Jean Eudes many years ago. He came to Puyssanfond to try to convince our community to adopt his cult. His approach mixing Je;sus and Ma,ry is too superstitious, too pagan, it could maintain us in childhood. It is a new cult of relics through the real hearts of a mother and son. What I propose is a symbolic approach, neither a realist approach as Eudes proposes nor an abstract interpretation as Baldwin does. Eudes had vaguely quoted Baldwin at the time. Nevertheless, I understood the danger. We must succeed in neutralizing and bypassing Baldwin by developing my idea of a Cabôzor cult in England before he has succeeded in imposing his Puritan cult on the Anglican Church there.  Meanwhile, in France, I will announce that I have received revelations instructing the king to develop this new cult.

Listening to her, I understood that I was dealing with a visionary, certainly fragile, but visionary nevertheless.

 – I presented my project to Father La Colombière who sent his report to the king’s confessor, Father La Chaize. It seems that he showed interest in my idea, which is combined with another much more prosaic project that he has in mind. I don’t know any more than that. I suppose you were placed here by Father La Colombière to make sure I wasn’t delusional.

I partially told her how I had arrived in Puyssanfond with the Colombière and that indeed no one had explained things to me as she did. Nevertheless, I still didn’t want to talk to her about John. Maybe I should have after all

 

33.-

The aliens carry in themselves their next protector.

 

Chapter 25 – Paris, Zigzag.

 

Before arriving at their meeting place at the Zigzag, Maubert Square, he sees her walking right in front of him. It is not certain, actually, that it is her. He thinks he recognizes her by the way she passes her hand through her hair. He finds her body more graceful than he thought. She agreed to see him again following his last email. He had indicated in the « topic » box: « URGENT, URGENT ». She finally answered after several days during which he began to wonder again on which foot to dance with her.

Before going to this meeting, he sent a message to President Saint M’Hervé telling him that he still doesn’t know what decision to take regarding the provision of the class action, that he needs time. Having got rid of this concern for the time being, he can refocus on his private problem. This is the first time he meets Claude outside the Institute and there is something awkward about this meeting.

 – So? Asks Claude, always very direct, once her big Flat White and Philip’s espresso have been brought in.

 – My grandmother was found three hundred metres from the retirement home in a cauliflower field. She had been dead for a week. The cabbage leaves had covered it so much that no policeman passing by had spotted it, » explains Philip, under the impression that the whole universe was becoming unreal. It was Jean, Aunt Helen’s daughter, the cousin I feel closest to, the one who is also fighting breast cancer, who warned me that she had just been found.

 – I’m sorry, I’m really sorry. What did she die of? Asks Claude as a doctor.

 – We don’t know exactly, she must have hit a rock when she fell because she had a head injury, but we don’t know why she fell, she must have faint.

Claude draws on the straw of his great Flat White by evaluating the clinical situation.

 – Well, is there an investigation?

 – Yeah, well, it’s over, I went to the funeral yesterday. It was snowing. There were a lot of people, I said hello to a lot of people I didn’t know, especially distant cousins. The group dispersed quickly when the flakes turned to rain.

 – I’m so sorry. Um, I feel like there’s something else. What’s on your mind?

 – Well, what’s bothering me? Philip feels comfortable with Claude, almost too comfortable because he hardly filters his thoughts: you see, she was discovered with a Cabôzor badge squeezed in her hand, the same one she gave me.

 – She must have wanted to pray in the fields.

 – Yes, perhaps, but the one she gave me was the one her own mother had given her; she never mentioned a second badge. I think it’s weird.

 – The multiplication of Cabôzors …

 – Yes, no kidding.

Philip looks at his espresso, which he has not touched, without seeming to see it.

 – Do you want to know more about the inverted heart? Ask Claude again gently.

 – Yes, it is important to me, even if my best customer has a more urgent problem.

Claude does not ask him any questions about this last remark as if she had not heard him and decides to speak:

 – There are several periods that sediment about Cabôzor. What might concern you happened during the French Revolution. A small group of so-called counter-revolutionaries composed of men and women – something rare at the time – wore it during the second Chouannerie around 1798. Generally speaking, the insignia of both Chouans and Vendeans was the ordinary Sacred Heart. However, this small group, led by a woman named Jarboeuf, had decided to reverse it as had been done before them by English revolutionaries in favour of an egalitarian approach to society, the Levellers, and to plant the cross on the tip of their hearts. This particular group of French revolutionaries called this inverted heart a Cabôzor de Marat. This Jarboeuf – it was her pseudonym – was trying to fight Republican propaganda. She felt that Republicans were trying to make the Chouans look like counter-revolutionaries. They were presented as uneducated people driven by the aristocracy, the king and the Church. However, for Jarboeuf, Chouannerie was not counter-revolutionary, on the contrary, it sought to take the revolution further, in favour of everyone, rich or poor, male or female, and not only in favour of the bourgeoisie. The peasants were tired of all the property of the aristocrats and the church – which had largely come from the taxes they had been paying for centuries – being bought by the urban bourgeois because the auctions were going up too high for them to follow.

By using the symbol of the inverted heart, Jarboeuf intended to indicate that the social hierarchy and even the gender hierarchy should disappear and that we should no longer start from the top but from the bottom to conceive society. Jarboeuf made fun of the great aristocracy of the West, even though the Chouans had recruited some of its members because they were professional soldiers and the peasants knew nothing about war. Chouans remained in favour of the king, but, as in England, in favour of a powerless king, entirely controlled by a parliament representing all segments of the population. Jarboeuf made just as much fun of the church hierarchy and even of the naive and mythological faith in a G.od-man. She nevertheless thought that Christianity had a poetic language in favour of women and the poor. It was necessary to recognize a kind of debt to nature by pooling its goods, without central power.

 – It’s more or less inspired by Spinoza if my philosophy memories are not too bad, no? says Philip a little at random.

 – Spinoza, I don’t know, but Marat probably. Jarboeuf had to leave her village when she became pregnant out of wedlock and she apparently went to Paris for some studies and wandered there. She probably met Marat in a tavern where she worked to earn a living. Marat was able to tell her about an inverted heart that dated back to an English Protestant named Baldwin who influenced the Levellers, the egalitarian members of parliament during the English Revolution. This inverted heart symbolizes the fact that the social structure is based on the humiliated, the poor and women, basic producers and consumers, even animals, dependent entity who want to be autonomous in interdependence. The idea had been taken up by Catholics as different as Jean Eudes and Mary-Rose Froy de Bouillon to allow direct, poor and equal access to Je;sus and his father while paying his symbolic debt to G.od by sharing the goods. In this approach, everything happens as if Je;sus replaces the worshippers to pay their debt and erase their sins.

 – This story of symbolic debt to G.od is beyond me!

 – If you want to update it, you only have to think of the feeling of debt you have towards your parents; the symbolic debt towards G.od is more general, it is to have been admitted on Earth despite the faults committed by your ancestors, Adam and Eve, the first to have wanted to know why they were on this planet.

 – One, I have no more parents; two, I believe I decided to come to Earth myself; three, I don’t believe in the fable of original sin. As for Je;sus, the one who replaces me, it reminds me of a football substitute, the « sub » who enters when a player is injured.

 – You know, I’ll tell you, the original sin is just the fact that everyone, you and I, everyone, makes mistakes that take him years to recover from.

 – Stop it! It looks like a sermon.

Claude, dodging criticism, said softly;

 – I’ll tell you what else, I don’t have any parents either.

This new common ground brings them closer together as if it were written that they should meet. They are as if cut off from the rest of the cafeteria, Place Maubert. Claude continues:

 – In my opinion, I will tell you, at the end of the 18th century there was in France, at the level of the elite, the development of a fairly mechanical rationalism, what we called the Enlightenment. Everything had to give rise to a scientific demonstration, things, men and even G.ods. The first engineering schools were opened to build higher and higher bridges. The rural poor felt more and more stupid, backward and isolated, even more so women than men.

Claude throws herself into a slightly delirious monologue that overtakes Philip. He recognizes the discourse of the Great Inversion movement.

 – What does this have to do with my family? I don’t see any connection to this Jarboeuf. What matters to me is why my grandmother kept a second Cabôzor.

 – I don’t know, you can imagine that one of your ancestors was part of this group.

 – I’ll look into it, but I’ve never heard of it. Besides, it’s strange, history in my family seems to have stopped at the First World War. I’ve never heard of anything before.

 – I warned you, historical knowledge does not necessarily help us understand our family history.

 – So how do we do that?

 – There is no solution, we should be able to update all this, but it’s dead, it may no longer make sense.

– Then we have no more roots! Never again will the bellies of the churches be able to give birth! He finds himself drawing this conclusion without having thought about it before. Claude takes him out of his reserve.

 – Yes, I think that’s true, that’s why I’m still looking for. I still hope so.

Philip is even more perplexed than when he arrived.

 – Is there a book on the topic?

 – No, not really. The official history completely ignores Jarboeuf’s Cabôzorist movement, which has been destroyed even in the collective memory, even Father Verkynden does not mention it in his reference book.

 – « Not really » what does that mean?

 – You should see it.

 – That I see what?

 – I can’t tell you any more right now.

 – And Mary-Rose Froy de Bouillon, does he say to her as something that comes back to him, is there something to look for on this side?

He immediately regrets having said that, as if he had disrespected Claude. She does not answer and simply tells him that she must get back to work. They split up as they kissed each other in Maubert Square. She squeezes his arm with warmth.

He returns to his office at the top of Valette Street. He’s trying to refocus. He is working on various provision options concerning the class action brought against Saint M’Hervé’s company. The next meeting is coming up. An unpleasant idea came to his mind: wouldn’t he be in the middle of a conflict of interest in this class action case or rather of a collective redress action as we prefer to call it in Europe?