Monsieur Trichet settled into his high-backed leather chair and sighed a deep sigh of pleasure. He wondered how Herr Hitler would feel if he could see a Frenchman sitting in the plushest office in all of Frankfurt controlling the purse-strings of Europe. Trichet had been born in Lyon in 1942 under the dark days of the puppet Vichy government, yet now he had several hundred Germans running around at his behest - the irony was not lost on him.
As President of the European Central Bank since 2003, he had overseen the emergence of the Euro as a rival to the US dollar as a world currency, and saw the Eurozone very much as his fiefdom. The global recession had raised his profile for which he was grateful, but solving the resultant problems was an intellectual task, not an emotional one. His Mercedes and his luxury apartment in Frankfurt were safe; nobody would be knocking on the drawbridge of his chateau in Provence with a repossession notice.
The phone rang; an internal call, his PA.
'Merci, Juliette.' He put down the receiver and walked over to the huge plate glass window that offered an uninspiring view of identikit tower blocks of the financial sector.
In the middle of the street, there it was, as Juliette had said - a wooden horse, perhaps ten metres high.
Four minutes later, he was standing beside the monstrous creation examining at inscription on its right foreleg: 'To the ECB: a token of our thanks for your support during our recent economic hardship. Presented to Jean-Claude Trichet by the People of the Hellenic Republic. PS Would look nice in your atrium.'
There were polizei and television crews everywhere. With his ever-present umbrella, Trichet rapped on the belly of the horse.
'Bonjour,' he shouted. Nothing.
'Bonjour!' he repeated.
A trapdoor swung open and a bald head poked out, a grimacing mouth visible below an elegant grey moustache.
'Ah, Monsieur Papandreou!'
'Call me George.'
'What are you doing, George - we don't even keep the money here?'