The bankers started arriving at the meeting place, in downtown Osasco City, at 18h. Each arrived in their electric Rolls Royce, causing a quick blackout at the “Brazilian Davos” and a small traffic jam in front of the neoclassical suburban-style building. Except for Waltinho, of course, who preferred to come mounted on his eco-platinum bike custom made by Paco Rabanne. Despite being secret, the meeting was recorded through the skillful and fierce lens of João, who intends to release a documentary called “We, the People” at the next Venice Film Festival.
In the large room, all covered made of noble wood (“from reforestation! from reforestation!”, shouts a press officer here in my ear), bankers gathered around the Periphery Writer, hired especially for the occasion. Armed with cigars and paper cups (Neca’s idea!) stocked with the best Romanée Conti, Rothschild and Château Margaux available, they began the discussion about the content of the manifesto. Meanwhile, Waltinho patiently taught the Escritor de Periferia to use the Montblanc.
The person who asked to speak was a member of the Setubal clan. João took a close-up on the face of the man who, when imagining himself on the big screen of an art deco cinema in the middle of Venice, opened his best popular smile, the one that offers interest of only 50% per year . “It’s important to stand up for democracy,” he said. Everyone laughed. Including Waltinho and Neca. Not understanding the joke, the Outskirts Writer asked if “democracy” was with a “c” or an “ss”.
The text advanced with the best possible commonplaces and slogans, courtesy from the team of storytelling at Y&R, an agency where the Periphery Writer still dreams of becoming an intern one day. “I already know! I know!” shouted a Villela. “It writes there that ‘we live in a country of profound social inequalities, with shortages in essential public services, such as health, education, housing and public security,’” he suggested. Everyone laughed. This time, even the Outskirts Writer.
Someone proposed that the group take a strong stand against the possibility of a coup. “But it wouldn’t be too bad for business,” teased a non-artist Salles. “It never is”, replied a Setubal quickly, all happy with the speed and perspicacity of his reasoning. After some debate about the correct pronunciation of “thirteen” in French, the bankers ordered the Periphery Writer to write that “instead of a civic celebration, we are going through a moment of immense danger to democratic normality, a risk to the institutions of the Republic and insinuations of contempt for the results of the elections”.
Waltinho, who would say!, protested, saying that the correct answer is “instead of”. Accused of grammatical elitism, however, he gave up. João was walking from one side to the other, the clapperboard echoing insanely through the film set. That’s when the hologram of Olivia, XP’s virtual assistant, until then quiet in a corner, decided to suggest an excerpt from the manifesto. “Our civic conscience is much greater than the opponents of democracy imagine. We know how to put aside minor differences in favor of something much bigger, the defense of the democratic order”, said the artificial intelligence with its robotic voice and reasoning.
Todes applauded. Except for Neca, who was in a bad mood. “There are no exclamation points in the text!” she complained, not for the first time. The other bankers, in a gesture of extreme machismo, rolled their eyes – all duly captured by João’s sincere gaze. Who used his sweetest voice to say: “In civic vigil against attempts at ruptures, we cry out in unison…”. The reticence was left hanging in the air, dramatic. The bankers stood up, raised their paper cups and, moved, shouted in unison: “A Democratic State of Law Always!”.