“Based on what the boys have told me about your mission, I think it is laudable,” Margot told the conspirators. “It is, in fact, a rigteous and heroic mission. We desperately need to create a more equitable, a more just economic paradigm.

“Feel free to tell me otherwise, if I am incorrect, but it seems to me that your nascent effort is rooted in love.”

She let that hang in the air for a while. No one would refute her conclusion, so she carried on. “Excellent! For anything that is not rooted in love is bound to fail, in the end, and should fail, before it does irreparable damage.

“Aside from the bare necessities to sustain physical life – namely oxygen, water, food, and shelter – love is the most important thing in life. And without love, is life even worth living? Can anyone imagine a life without love? What would become of us, as a species, if we all stopped loving? What if we all stopped caring about anyone other than ourselves? Not a life without love, but a world without love. I dare say, Stephen, that that is horror even you would not want to imagine.”

Stephen quickly agreed with Margot, saying only, “The idea is too horrible to contemplate. I’d never be able to put it into words. I would grow so depressed, so quickly, that I’d probably kill myself.”

“Indeed,” Margot agreed, “and many people do kill themselves, because they have no love in their own lives, despite the fact that there is, obviously, so much love in the world. We would not have made it as far as we have, as a species, if not for love.

“Is it not, then, absolutely absurd that we don’t really study love in schools? There is not a university anywhere on this planet where one can get a degree in love. We simply do not place enough value on love to justify formal schooling on the subject, despite the fact that none of us can really live without love. We leave it all up to the artists, who have never been able to stop talking about love.

“There was a professor, at UCLA…”

Before Margot could finish her sentence, Madonna felt it necessary to chime in, by saying, “Leo!”

“Very good,” Margot said with a smile. “A cookie for Madonna!” She asked Daisy to come over. Daisy did so, and Margot said, “Hi, Daisy. Would you bring a big, delicious cookie to Madonna, please and thank you.”

“Happily,” Daisy replied. Looking at a smiling Madonna, the girl asked, “Any particular kind of cookie?”

“Well,” Madge said, “if you have one in vegan, I’m with Cookie Monster, so bring me chocolate chippy!”

“I make them myself!,” Daisy said proudly. “Anyone else?”

Margot placed an order for “Vegan chocolate chippies for everyone, Daisy!” then carried on. “Pardon the interruption, but I thought Madonna deserved a reward for knowing Leo, which does not surprise me at all. Yes, Leo Buscaglia. Called himself a love bug. Leo the Love Bug! He used to warn people that, if they got within ten feet of him, they were likely to get hugged. He’d get arrested, or at least assaulted, if he tried it rigt here, rigt now, but never mind that.

“At some point in the late 60s, or early 70s, Leo told the administration of the university that he wanted to start a love class. They basically forbade him from doing so, but he persisted, and eventually ignored them, by starting one anyway, although he was never empowered to give credits for the class. “So, it was just Leo and a bunch of his students sitting around sharing what they know, and what they don’t know about love.”

“That’s brilliant,” said Kitty.

“It is,” Margot agreed. “So, isn’t it just bizarre that it never caught on, and grew? Yo can take courses, at agricultural universities around the world, on cow shit, but nowhere can you study love. Yale is getting close. They have been offering a course on happiness for a few years now, and it is by far the most popular class at the school, but they can’t take the next step, and start a class on love.”

“And you want to start a love school?” Madonna said, more than asked.

“No,” Margot replied.

“No?” Madonna asked.

“No. I do not want to. I am going to start the world’s first Love School, thanks to the largesse of the good brothers Staal, and you for inspiring them to invest in a new, and better world.” “Fantastic,” was King’s reaction. “But it will sound cultish to many.”

“Yes, I know it will. But I’m not pushing anything. I certainly don’t want t be known as Bhagwan Margot, and I’m not looking to start a studmuffin harem. I’m not gonna be teaching anything. It will be exactly the same as Leo’s love class was, just people getting together and sharing what they know, and don’t know about love. There will be more structure to it, but essentially it’s what was once known as an encounter group.”

Madonna found it, “Fascinating. So, no teachers, no gurus?”

“No,” Margot said, then explained, “Well, I suspect that many people who enroll will already be learned on the subject, from personal experience, which we all have, and what they have learned through third parties, whether it’s from reading Leo’s books, or anyone else’s, or just listening to silly love songs.”

Stephen wanted to know, “And you just came up with the idea, since the guys told you about working together with us? That was less than a week ago.”

“No,” said Margot. “It’s been rolling around in my head for a couple months now. I’ve been thinking about plunging into it as I developed it. What was holding me back was the money. The risk. The risk of giving up my business, uprooting myself to relocate, without a safety net underneath me. That’s no longer a problem. The bigger problem now is the virus. I was imagining it as being something where people actually get together in the same space, which will be possible again, one day, but I think I will have to start it online.”

“So, you’re staying put then?” Madonna asked.

“No. I can do it online from anywhere, but when things normalize, and it’s possible for people to gather again, there are many better places for that to happen. You see, what I want is to bring people from every corner of the world together to talk about love. I want diversity. I want people to start to understand more about the always misunderstood, and always feared other.

“And when those people have gone through Love School, they will spread around the world, and establish Love School everywhere. I want to be able to travel to any major city in the world, and be able to find a Love School session taking place on any night of the week.”

Madonna thought it was a beautiful dream, and said so, “That’s beautiful. Where will you start?”

“New York, obviously,” said Stephen.

He was surprised when Margot said, “no. Not New York.”

“I agree,” Madonna agreed. “London.” Margot nodded. Stephen wanted to know why, so Madonna told him. “London is actually more cosmopolitan than New York. It has more influence across Europe, culturally speaking, than New York. It also reaches into more corners of the world, into the minds of the world’s peoples, people in the developing world than New York does. Just the BBC alone accomplished that. Well, BBC combined with the faded British Empire. There’s so much more history in London than there is in New York. That’s why.”

“All true,” Margot agreed, but added, “but there are two other things. One, I lived in London for a couple years, so I know my way around. I know how the city works, and I still have friends there. Two, because London desperately needs a whole lotta love. It’s such a cold place. Or can be. I went on vacation, while I lived there, to Spain. I met more people in Spain in two weeks than I did in London in two years. Wherever I went in Spain, people were open, friendly, inviting me to dine with them, drink and dance with them. The day I got back to London, I went for a walk on Hampstead Heath. I made a point of smiling at everyone I came across. Not one person smiled back at me. I was stunned. Oh, one other thing; football. The world’s game. The game means nothing in New York, whereas it was born in the UK. Nothing brings people from around the world together more than football, and the value of that is enormous.

“So, London’s calling from the top of the dial. Calling me. And as soon as we wrap up what we need to do here, I am off like a prom dress, back to Londinium, to do what no other invader has ever done before, namely to conquer it, and love will be my only weapon, and my only message.”




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