Washington Horror Blog

SEMI-FICTIONAL CHRONICLE of the EVIL THAT INFECTS WASHINGTON, D.C. To read Prologue and Character Guide, please see www.washingtonhorrorblog.com, updated 12/27/2014. Follow Washington Water Woman on Twitter @HorrorDC ....

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Lead, follow, or get out of the way!

Henrietta ("Button") Samuelson sat down uneasily in the upper conference room of the Brewmaster's Castle.  She nodded at butler Han Li as he set out cutlery to serve the cherry, apple, and sweet potato pies she had brought for the next meeting of the Heurich Society.  She looked down nervously at her agenda.  It had been a long, difficult road trying to take over the Society after the death of her father.  She couldn't shape it in his image or her image, and she thought most of the members were sociopaths.  But she knew how much money, power, and influence they had around the world, and she couldn't just walk away.  The secrets she had inherited from her father could blackmail them into following her to a point, but they simply did not want to follow her.  She thought things would turn around after they had agreed on the new mission statement--"maximize wealth, power, and freedom"--but every decision was like pulling teeth.  She could count on one hand the number of outcomes she would actually consider a success.

Han Li walked out and she helped herself to the sweet potato pie, spraying it with a healthy dose of whipped cream.  The Pope's visit to Washington had made her realize what true influence actually was--what it meant to have people genuinely listening to, believing in, and following a leader.  The Heurich Society members--in their own twisted way--had a religious fervor about their beliefs and view of the world that she simply did not share.  And the Pope's visit made her realize she scarcely believed in anything anymore, but one thing she did believe in was that this Society had to find a better reason to exist.

So today they would change the mission statement of the Heurich Society or she would resign and keep an eye on them from a distance.  She chewed resolutely, waiting for the first member to arrive.

A few miles to the east, the secret meeting of the Bicameral Anti-Zombie Caucus had already begun on Capitol Hill.

"I used to love this time of year," said Rand Paul, "but learning there are real zombies in the world makes Halloween seem a lot more menacing."

"Oh," laughed Congressman Herrmark, "I thought you were referring to the misery of campaign season!"

"Well, my campaign might be over before Halloween," said Senator Paul, forcing a fake laugh.  "How's the anti-zombie neutron bomb research going?"

"Not ready for field testing yet," said Ann Bishis, Herrmark's Chief of Staff.  "Why don't we talk about Congressman Herrmark's run for Speaker of the House?"

"I agree!" said the member from Florida.  "That jackass Kevin McCarthy thinks he should be leading the House and he can't even keep secret that the Benghazi hearings were designed to destroy the Hillary Clinton campaign?!"

"It wasn't really a secret!" said the member from Minnesota.

"That's not the point!" said the member from Florida.  "It's like everybody knows the War on Terror is not working and its only purpose is to keep up spending for the military-industrial complex, but you can't say it out loud because then the media goes nuts!  I mean, there are so few buildings left standing in Afghanistan that we had to bomb a hospital last week just to let the bomber pilots get their practice in--but you can't say that sort of thing out loud!"

"The point is," said Bishis, frowning, "Congressman Herrmark has a real shot at this now.  McCarthy is vulnerable!"

"I don't know," said the member from Arizona.  "We're still a small group, and Herrmark is not that popular in his other groups--no offense."

"Well, I didn't come to Washington to be popular!" said Congressman Herrmark.

"No, but you have to be popular to be Speaker of the House," said Rand Paul.  "No offense."

"My idea," said Bishis, "is to run Herrmark as the dark horse candidate, focusing on his other strengths."  (Her boss perked up, looking forward to finding out what his strengths were.)

Over at the White House, the ghosts were still chatting about the recent visit of Pope Francis.  Some of them had been spiritually healed, and crossed over, but Ghost Dennis was more confused than ever.  Having a mixed-faith marriage had not helped, nor getting murdered, nor seeing his adult daughters' almost overwhelmed by possession.  He had as many questions as answers, but one thing he had definitely decided was he really liked the sound of "Viva El Papa"!  Therefore he had decided to adopt Regina and Ferguson (the ghost pre-schoolers) and give them the education they had never received.

"Aw, papa!" exclaimed Reggie.  The rest of what she said was about wanting to throw pumpkins off the roof, but she said it in their secret twin language, and Ghost Dennis could not understand it.  (His own triplets had been born after he died, so he had never developed an expertise for secret pre-schooler languages.)

"You are going to learn the alphabet song if it kills me!" exclaimed Ghost Dennis.

"Papa dead!" laughed Fergie, and Reggie was also soon rolling on the floor in giggles.

"Yeah, yeah, very funny.  If I can teach Sasha her times tables, I'm sure I can at least teach you two the alphabet song!"

It was a nice break from his usual Sunday evening of rearranging President Obama's to-do box in the Oval Office, and Ghost Dennis felt good.

Back at the Brewmaster's Castle, Button Samuelson had polished off her second piece of pie and reached for her water bottle to wash it down.  Then she didn't feel so well.  A few minutes later, Dick Cheney was looming over her.  "That cheap habit of refilling your bottle with tap water has finally done you in--the Brewmaster's Castle has recently developed a serious problem with arsenic in the pipes, you see."  He watched in pleasure as she writhed in agony until she finally slumped over, dead.  He sat down next to her, picked up her notes to amuse himself, then announced to the first Heurich Society member to arrive:  "Button has died of arsenic poisoning.  I'm in charge now."  One-by-one, they filed in to receive this shocking news, until the last member had arrived and Condoleezza Rice was on the speaker phone.  "It's been a long time, boys, Condie.  Let's get to work."

Out in the river, Ardua of the Potomac finally started feeling a little better.

COMING UP:  The road to revenge begins!  (And birthday cake!)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Pope Frantastic turns Washington upside-down!

"Boehner said he doesn't care who knows about it now," said the Tarantula to Charles Wu.  "He's met the Pope and been touched by God."

"I don't think that's what he's been touched by," replied Wu, frustrated that his final attempt to blackmail the Speaker of the House failed:  Congressman Boehner would not renege on his resignation just to avoid the public release of his phone metadata records.

"Come on, Wu!  I know you're not religious, but Pope Francis turned this whole town upside down!  He touched a lot of people--deeply!"  Wu said nothing, looked down at his Hotel Washington gin and tonic, and looked out from the roof deck onto the view of the recent Popemobile parade route around the White House.  "Charles, we aren't going to go through with it, are we?  I mean, there's no point in actually releasing the metadata now, right?"

"Now?" laughed Wu.  "Now I guess Boehner would consider it a badge of religious honor that he phoned Dial-a-Prayer 946 times during his first three years as Speaker of the House.  And it's cool to be a Catholic, so only the fundamentalist Christians would complain about his 253 calls to the Vatican.  You might as well destroy the records--or drop them off in an unmarked envelope for his scrapbook."

"So, what up with China?" asked the Tarantula.  "You got a job for me?"

"Do I have a job for you!" nodded Wu, glad to be returning to more familiar triple agent territory.

Across the Potomac, the visit of Pope Francis had caused equally dramatic results, though nothing as newsworthy as the resignation of the Speaker of the House.  "So it's up to four people now?" asked psychologist Leo Schwartz, entering the Arlington Group Home for the Mentally Challenged.

"Buckner, Theresa, Larry, and Freddy all say they're Pope Francis," said social worker Hue Nguyen, handing him her most recent hand-written notes.  "Melinda says she's Mother Theresa.  Cedric says the Commies brainwashed Pope Francis:  he's the Manchurian Candidate, and the CIA needs to take him out."

"What?!  Oh, my God--we might have to hospitalize him!  I need to see him first.  Has he talked about any specific plans?"

"Only that Ghost Henry and the Ghost CIA were on top of it."

Just then, they were approached by Freddy Ritchings (normally known as Brother Divine of the International Peace Movement, and host of the Church of Twitter), wearing a white bath robe and using a broom as a staff.  The big brown helping dog, Millie, was walking beside him, a cross painted on her back with what appeared to be squirted mustard.  "Peace be with you!" said Freddy, making the sign of the cross.  "Our brothers and mothers and sisters and misters all need our love.  The times they are-a-changing, and salvation is rearranging, so let the migrants in to do some free-ranging!  Help the poorest and the sickest!  Visit the prisoners and the scriveners!  Pray with me, or if you--"

"Alright, Freddy, Dr. Schwartz has heard all that before and he urgently needs to speak to Cedric."

"Cedric is a lost lamb, wandering the barren hills of Elam!" Freddy said, shaking his head.

"Exactly," said Dr. Schwartz.  "Pray for us, please."

Back in Washington, psychiatrist Ermann Esse's patients were not typically prone to delusional behavior (at least, not that kind of delusional behavior), but they had been wearing him out for days with their tales of life-changing encounters with Pope Francis.  He had been counseling all of them to wait another month before acting on their sudden impulses to quit powerful positions in government and the private sector to launch charitable endeavors or join holy orders, but the Under-Secretary from the Department of Transportation was getting on his nerves more than most.

"I mean, what's transportation supposed to be about, anyway?  Bringing people together!"  (Dr. Esse nodded without enthusiasm.)  "I could be building roads in Africa, or railroad lines!  Or I could go down to Mexico--start rapid bus transit systems to connect rural farmers with urban markets--help these poor migrants stay at home, where they really want to be, anyway!"

Dr. Esse scratched under his cursed Rolex, and finally snapped.  "Alright, fine, quit your job."

"I would be a little worried about money," said the Under-Secretary, getting nervous.

"Do you think Pope Francis worries about money?  Of course not!  Be a man!"

"I'm not sure how my wife would take it."

"Tell her it's either that or you're going to become a priest."

"Well, I'm not going to lie to her!"

"You can't tell one little white lie in order to fulfill your spiritual awakening?" asked Dr. Esse, not trying very hard to mask his sarcasm.

"Well, I've never lied to her!  And marriage was a sacred vow!"

"Liar!" exclaimed Dr. Esse.  "Admit it--everybody lies to their wives."

"Well, I don't!"

"Alright, have it your way, coward."

"Dr. Esse, that's a bit harsh!"

"If you want somebody to hold your hand, go talk to a priest!  They all want to hold people's hands this week."

A few miles away, Glenn Michael Beckmann, militiaman and conspiracy blogger, was absolutely exhausted from trolling the Internet and watching television coverage concerning the visit of Pope Francis.  On the one hand, he knew that the Vatican was part of the secret world government--along with the Trilateral Commission, the Church of Scientology, the Mormons, the United Nations, Google, Norwegian Cruise Line, and the International Dental Association.  On the other hand, he could not resist reading about possible plots against the Pope--who was planning them, who was finding them, who was stopping them!  He was quite certain he had personally stopped three plots against the Pope himself, in Washington, but he would not tell anybody about that until after the Pope had left American soil altogether.  The threat was still real!  And with a visit to a prison, Pope Francis had exposed himself to all the dangers of gang rivalry, too!  Beckmann poured more Monster energy drink into his mouth and kept on surfing.

Back at home, Charles Wu found Angela de la Paz playing with his daughter, Delia.  "Ready for my next assignment, boss," Angela said, looking up.

"It can wait until tomorrow," he said, sitting down to examine what appeared to be a Lego castle occupied by Barbies.  "Who's this?" he asked, pointing to a mysterious figure wrapped in toilet paper while he kissed his daughter.

"Pope Francis!" the toddler exclaimed.  "I have a rosary!"  Delia ran off to find her new rosary.

"That was supposed to be a secret," said Angela sheepishly.

"Look, I already knew you went back to church--"

"How did you know?"

"You're not the only person working for me in this town!" laughed Wu.

"Well, why do people report personal stuff like that?  And why do you have people spying on me?"

"Nobody was spying on you!  They just mentioned seeing you there--which was funny, because I didn't think they went to church either.  But, seriously, giving Delia a rosary?"

"Don't you think we should be doing more now, after what you learned and saw?"

Wu shuddered at the thought of the demon living in the Potomac as his daughter ran back in with her new prized possession.  "I just wish I knew what would help."

"Well," whispered Angela, "a lot of ghosts crossed over this week.  And Ardua of the Potomac has been writhing in pain all week.  It really does make a difference."

Over on Capitol Hill, an Anti-Zombie Caucus pumped up on Pope Francis energy voted unanimously to support Congressman Herrmark's underdog bid to become next Speaker of the House.

The Heurich Society's evil plans hit by Pope Francis pause button!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Nuke 'em!

It was the first meeting of the Anti-Zombie Caucus since Congress had reconvened after the August recess.

"This is going to be a busy term," said the Chairman, Congressman Herrmark.  "We've got the Iran problem, the Planned Parenthood problem, the government shutdown; I think it's time we start taking a more strategic approach to the zombie problem."  He gestured to Ann Bishis, his Chief of Staff, to start the PowerPoint presentation.  "We have identified a scientist who believes she can develop a type of neutron bomb that only kills zombies."  ("What?!")  "It's still in the testing stage, but if we get additional funding for her, it might work.  Identifying and decapitating zombies one at a time is time-consuming and unpleasant."

"Actually, I like it!" said a member from Iowa.  "It's a lot more fun than my work on the High-Fructose Corn Syrup Caucus or the Ways and Means Committee."

"Well, we've all known the thrill of beheading the undead, but the clean-up is a bitch, and who has the time?  I'm asking everybody here to make a financial commitment to this research so that we have a real chance of nuking them and getting all the maggot-brained out of our chambers and offices for good!"

On the other side of town, the Heurich Society was also discussing a nuclear option.

"Look," said the former CIA agent, "neither President Obama nor the European Union can do a damned thing to fix Syria and Iraq.  I say it's time to nuke 'em!  Take care of ISIS once and for all."

"Are you completely out of your mind?!" shouted the secret society's chair, Henrietta Samuelson.  "You want to save refugees by killing them all?"

"Some are refugees, some are terrorists--and they're all flooding into Europe now.  We can't afford the risk!  Drop some tactical nukes:  bada bing, bada boom, regime change, regime change, game re-set."

"This isn't a game!" exclaimed Samuelson.

"Now hold on," crackled Condoleezza Rice over the speaker phone.  "Who were you thinking of pinning the blame on?  Because we can't let Israel take the blame, and Iran doesn't have any bombs yet."

"Can't we just sign it, 'concerned world citizens'?"

"No!" exclaimed Samuelson.

"If your father were here, he would be voting in favor," said the investment banker.  "And now's the perfect time because we'd be killing some Russians, too!"

The ghost of Henry Samuelson was there, and he thought it was the best idea he had heard from the Heurich Society in years.

Nukes were also on the agenda across the Potomac, where former Senator Evermore Breadman had finally used his knowledge of Bridezilla's affair with Paul (the contract attorney!) to leverage her into doing something she did not want to do:  lobby Congressmen about lifting sanctions against Iran.  But so far, the Prince and Prowling junior partner had been silently picking at her Army-Navy Country Club chicken salad, leaving the senior partner on his own.

"I say we should nuke 'em!" shouted one exuberant Representative from Texas.

"Do you understand how many Iranian immigrants you have in your District, Congressman?" asked Breadman.

"Well, they left the damned country, didn't they?"

"We can't let a Muslim country get the bomb!" exclaimed a Representative from Georgia.

"Pakistan already has the bomb, Congressman. They use it as a deterrent against China, India, and Russia--not us."

"Says you!"

"This treaty puts tight controls on Iran's nuclear program.  If you lift the economic sanctions, business ties with the regime will grow.  Iranians are more pro-Western than you realize.  This deal will help moderate their politics and--"

"What about Israel?  They'll bomb Israel!" exclaimed a Representative from Arizona.

"This deal is reducing that threat," said Breadman.

"That's not what Israel says!"

"Israel wants to be the only Middle Eastern country with the bomb," said Breadman.  "They don't trust anybody!"

"Well, neither do I!"

"That's why we have treaties and inspections, sir," said Breadman.  "China has the bomb, but they are a major trading partner with the United States.  When commercial interests are flourishing, politicians get a lot friendlier.  My partner here has been working with investors in the United States lining up to enter Cuba after the lifting of sanctions, and she will tell you they are so eager they are putting money into pro-Cuban trade PACs."

"PACs?" asked the Representative from Texas.

"Yes, PACs!  And Prince and Prowling is about to set up some new pro-Iranian trade PACs.  The money and enthusiasm are there, gentlemen.  My partner can tell you how much money we have already deposited for Cuban trade lobbying, and which business leaders she has already taken down there.  We even have pictures!" Breadman added, giving Bridezilla the Look.

Back in Washington, triple agent Charles Wu was back from his English vacation and discussing the Iranian nuclear deal with State Department employee "C. Coe Phant" over pizza and beer in Foggy Bottom.  "China supports the treaty," repeated Wu.

"We can't have China secretly selling--"

"I don't think that's going to happen," said Wu.

"You don't think?"

"Well, I can't predict all future decisions," said Wu.  "But it makes no sense for China to enable anybody's nuclear program in the Middle East."

"What if they want to counter Russian influence?"

"They would find another way."

C. Coe Phant shook his head nervously.  "China could survive nuclear retaliation better than anybody else in Asia."

"Why, because you think they have millions of lives to spare?  The government would collapse.  The Chinese rulers want stability."

"Can you take a message to them?"

"Of course," said Wu.  "That's what I'm here for!"

A half-hour later, Wu was down at the edge of the river wondering if the right kind of bomb could kill Ardua of the Potomac.  He didn't mind his daughter growing up in a world full of nuclear weapons because that all seemed manageable, but demons and ghosts were another thing.

COMING UP:  Pope Frantastic turns Washington upside-down!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fever Pitch

Washington Water Woman is under the weather this week, but hopes to return to blogging soon.

In the meantime, seriously, can I ask, does Donald Trump sound more like Hitler every day?

COMING UP:  nuke 'em!

Sunday, September 06, 2015

The Pulitzer Prize that the "Washington Post" will never get.

"Metro" reporter Perry Winkle's magnus opus, rejected by his editor at the "Washington Post", with the suggestion it might be time for him to take a sabbatical:

                            Capitol Hill Ghost Story

It was just another sunny summer afternoon on Capitol Hill.  Birds were singing.  Dogs were barking.  Children were laughing.  And Congressman Jacques Javert was sitting in a front yard zen water fountain, fully clothed, one hand swatting water lilies, the other hand outstretched in a trembling salute to an entity seen only by him.  "I'll show them what it means to have blood coming out of their eyes!" Rep. Javert shouted to nobody in particular.  "Louisiana will rule this nation!"

Inside the house, Capitol Hill's famed Reiki Triplets were holding another healing session in their home studio.  With spring 2015 Yelp reviews of five stars ("blessed and mystical renewal of everything that makes me alive!") segueing to summer 2015 Yelp reviews of one star ("emotional colonoscopy"), the identical triplets were on my list for a coveted interview.  But now I wanted to interview Congressman Javert.

Just then, a pot-bellied pig (see "Petro Pig:  Why hire a human lobbyist when you can just bring the pork?", "Metro", October 18, 2014) came racing out of the house and started grunting at the same invisible presence holding Congressman Javert in a trance.  I was still trying to get the Representative to answer my questions when members of his staff showed up with axes, threatening to decapitate famed animal specialist, Sebastian L'Arche (see "Better than doggy Xanax:  the Dog Whisperer takes the city's most troubled pooches for a walk and returns them to their owners happy and healthy", "Metro", April 5, 2011).  Only with some difficulty did L'Arche convince the staffers he was not a zombie, and the staffers proceeded to discuss whether their boss was.

Just then, two people who I can only identify as Chinatown business partners showed up, and the man--a strikingly handsome, jet-haired man with chiseled features and a hybrid Oxford/Hong Kong accent--also began looking at the invisible presence already holding the attention of Congressman Javert and Petro Pig, and the man began telling us a ghost story.

And then some type of young female exorcist showed up, Congressman Javert's Rolex went flying off his wrist all the way up to the roof of the house, and she pulled the Representative out of the zen water fountain.  She then grabbed at the invisible entity, made motions which appeared to be depositing it into the pond, pulled a flask marked with a cross out of her pocket, and poured a liquid into the the little fountain.

The woman and the staffers then proceeded to lie to the dazed Congressman about what had happened, and refused to be interviewed for this article.

I did finally get my interview with the Reiki Triplets two days ago.  They told me they had discovered a minor carbon monoxide problem in the old house, but it was now corrected.  Yelp reviews are trending to five stars again.

Congressman Javert has not been seen wearing a Rolex since the incident.

Two Hill staffers told me off the record that a secret Anti-Zombie Caucus has been attacking a secret Zombie Caucus since Memorial Day, and that at least twenty zombies have been decapitated.

Edith Markinowitz-Shipley of Walking Dead Tours confirmed that her organization had been planning to investigate the Reiki Triplets Capitol Hill home as a possible new stop in their haunted houses tour, but that reports of supernatural activity there had completely stopped.  When questioned about whether her organization believes that zombies are roaming Capitol Hill, Markinowitz-Shipley stated that zombies are a Hollywood invention with no basis in supernatural reality.  She did, however, state that over a thousand ghosts have been documented in the Capitol, and at least ten in the White House.


"I think it's real, boss--I do!" insisted Winkle to his editor.  "Look at these photos!  Javert is out of his mind, sitting in the pond--"

"Those could be doctored."

"I've never handed you a doctored photo in my life!" exclaimed Winkle.

"You've been covering crime and homelessness and the seedy underbelly for a long time.  You just need a break."

"I've seen a decapitation myself, boss."  (Winkle's editor shook his head in disbelief.)  "I didn't tell you at the time because I wasn't sure I believed my own eyes at the time.  It was Congressman Herrmark's Chief of Staff--the one that went missing.  His bodyguards took her out on the Potomac, cut her head off, and maggots came out of it.  I hear things, rumors of things, demons."


"Listen to me!  This is affecting our elected leaders!  We can't just ignore it!"

His editor took a deep breath.  He got this type of story pitch at least once a month, usually from freelancers:  it was simply a convenient way to explain the complexities of power-mad national politics, and the criminal ills of a socially troubled city.  "Go visit your family.  Leave town!  That's an order!  I'm telling H.R. myself that you're on a sabbatical.  Write a ghost story if you want to, but it's not being published here.  Congress is coming back in session, and we'll have plenty of political stories to fill the paper--not to mention the fact that Donald Trump sounds more and more like Hitler every week.  War, refugees, homicides in the city--we've got plenty."

"Alright," said Winkle.  "Call me if you need me."

The editor embraced Winkle warmly, then sat down to re-read the article.  He read it three more times, walked over to the shredder, looked at the shredder for a minute, then pulled out his keys to unlock his filing cabinet and place the article in his X Files.  This would explain a lot.

Inside the cabinet, a five-inch long silverfish started nibbling on the bottom corner of the article.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Bold and the Beautiful

Bo-oz Consulting (the ultra secretive "5G" division of Booz Hamilton) was hosting the senior executives of International Development Machine on a riverboat outing from Georgetown to the Chesapeake Bay.  IDM President Augustus Bush had grown up in the U.S. Virgin Islands clan of the Bush family and was therefore accustomed to surfing, jet skis, and deep-sea fishing in the Caribbean, but the other executives were overjoyed from the free flow of booze and wind in their hair.  After the sandwiches, brownies, and watermelon were consumed, when the first waves of drowsiness were rolling across the participants, economist Fen Do Ping stood up to make his pitch.

"There are 200,000 refugees in Europe," he began.  "Some of them are dying in smugglers' trucks.  These are people risking their lives to start somewhere new, so why not take advantage of that?  We have mapped out a pilot project which will train these refugees to take back Crimea from Russia."  (He saw several jaws drop.)  "Do not underestimate these people!  They made it out of some of the most hellish war zones on Earth, not to mention some of the regions burning up from climate change.  They are desperately pushing their way through Greece, Turkey, and the Balkans for what?  To end up in Northern Europe, impoverished, marginalized, and easy prey for Islamist radicalization.  With our plan, they will be transported across the Black Sea, to land on the Crimean peninsula in amphibious ships."

"Nobody wants to go to Russia," protested Bush.

"That's true," said Ping, "but nobody wants to live in a refugee camp, either.  If we send all 200,000 at once, they will establish their own colony.  Crimea won't be Little Russia anymore:  it will be New Syria."

"Hm, I do like the sound of that," said Bush.  "'New Syria!'  Really rolls off the tongue."

"The Russians will just slaughter them!" the European Director protested.

"That's where you're wrong," said Ping.  "We have done extensive cost-benefit analysis of what it would take for Russia to repel the sudden arrival of 200,000 refugees.  And don't forget there are still native Ukrainians there who would join the refugees to fight off the Russians.  And the Russians can't afford to be seen in a humanitarian crisis of that magnitude--it would cause Chechen Islamists to rise up in a full-scale rebellion the likes of which Russia has never seen.  What we are talking about, ladies and gentlemen, would be the 21st century's first-ever European attack on Russia using refugees.  It shatters all the paradigms."

"It sounds very risky," said Bush.

"That's why we brought this proposal to IDM, first.  We know your team has the guts to push it through."

"They would need massive firepower, and a lot of those 200,000 are women and children," said Bush.

Ping nodded.  "We would certainly need to put in some experienced mercenaries, but those are easy to come by--especially for a shot at invading Russia."

"I really don't see the international donors funding this," said Bush.

"We've already identified a variety of private foundations and international financiers we think would be very interested in funding this program."

"Please tell me they're not neo-Nazis," said the European Director.

"Not as far as I know," said Ping.  "If this pilot program works, we have sixty million total refugees out there in the world today.  We could topple dictatorships in Africa, take Tibet back from China, populate the Arctic Circle to lay claims to the underground petroleum reserves there."

"Whoa, Nelly!" laughed Bush.  "Let's not get ahead of ourselves!"

Back in Washington, conspiracy blogger and militia man Glenn Michael Beckmann had finally put together his plan to blow up the Trump Hotel under construction on Pennsylvania Avenue.  In the end, he had decided he could trust nobody to keep the plan secret (especially members of the Hunter-Gatherer Society, since their President, Sarah Palin, was infatuated with Donald Trump), so he was lugging the explosives by himself in a rolling suitcase on the bus ride up from his Southwest Plaza apartment to the Old Post Office Pavilion.  It would be a shame if his targeted explosives accidentally took down the beautiful old tower along with the Trump-built monstrosity around it, but sometimes you just had to throw the baby out with the bath water!  He got off the bus, then started rolling his suitcase toward the construction site.  He was going to place the explosives on the four corners of the site, then run around the site with his gun to shoot each pile of explosives one at a time.  (Setting timers was too tricky for him.)

After he pulled out the first pile and set it on the northeast corner, the federal agent tailing him yelled, "Freeze, hands in the air!"

"Damn it!" exclaimed Beckmann.  "Where did you come from?"

"Step away from the bag, face down on the pavement--now!"

Beckmann was still a little uncomfortable from getting shot in the shoulder two weeks earlier, so he lay down on his back instead.  "The doctor said I can't sleep on my stomach--it twists my shoulder too much."

"Whatever!"  The federal agent called his supervisor to request the bomb squad, then shook his head at Beckmann.  "How could you think you would get away with this?"

"The guy's a total asshole!" said Beckmann.  "He insulted veterans, insulted Megyn Kelly, uses Russian thugs as bodyguards, and hired raping Mexicans to work on this construction site--which, by the way, is going to be a den of casino thieves and hotel harlots financed by Saudi petrodollars!  We cannot stand idly by while this Joker destroys Gotham!  Where's Batman?  Nowhere!  Where's Glenn Michael Beckmann?  Here, sir!  Ready to do my patriotic duty!"

"Yeah, I didn't like it when he insulted Megyn Kelly, either!" said the federal agent.  "Somebody needs to give that guy a good punch in the mouth!"

"But nobody can get close to him!" exclaimed Beckmann.  "He's got the Russian mob protecting him!"

"Alright, I probably shouldn't do this, but why don't you just leave?  I won't arrest you."

"Can I get my candy bar out of the suitcase first?  It melts if I carry it in my pocket, so I put it in--"

"Leave the suitcase alone!  Go!"

On the other side of the White House, former Senator Evermore Breadman was in the hallway outside his Prince and Prowling office, rearranging his Wall of Me--again.  Putting the photo taken with Donald Trump on the top was the easy part, but how far beneath him should I place the photo taken with Jeb Bush?  Oh, wait, that's not even Jeb--it's that other guy that looks like Jeb.  I do want to keep Marco Rubio and me near the top because he's the only Hispanic I have.  Wait, I forgot Bridezilla took a photo of me with Carlos Slim!  Breadman moved a few pro-Iranian Democratic politicians up because his clients were clamoring to open up markets in Iran, took Joe Lieberman out of his frame, and went to find the photo Bridezilla had printed for him.

Unable to find it, he used his Senior Partner meta-password to log into Bridezilla's cloud account and search for her photo files from the Cuba Practices Group.  Here we go!  He scanned the photo album titles:  Cuban Embassy, U.S. Embassy, Boehner Cuba Caucus....  Ah, this must be it!  He clicked on a file called "Latin Bad Boy" and started looking through the slide show, only to discover it was a series of photos starring a young man who was definitely not Carlos Slim.  Is that____?  He scrolled through a few more, including selfies taken with a scantily clad Bridezilla and the young man on a Cuban beach.  "That's our contract attorney!" he exclaimed out loud.  "She's messing around with the contract attorney!"  He looked up to see if anybody had heard his exclamation, but there was no sound from the hallway.  She took him to Cuba as her translator, then messed around with him!  For a moment, he indignantly thought about pulling up her billing files, but then thought better of it:  as somebody who had been blackmailed himself for such indiscretions, he decided he would save this information for a time when it might become more useful to him.

Several miles to the east, Anacostia's most profitable gun dealer sold another handgun, and another Washingtonian planned another murder for the wee hours of the morning.

COMING UP:  Reporter Perry Winkle goes for a Pulitzer Prize!

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Only a minute had passed since Angela de la Paz had temporarily tossed the cursed Rolex onto the roof of the Reiki Triplets' house during last week's kerfuffle, but by the time she had attempted to retrieve it, it was missing and her psychic powers could not tell her where it was.  The catbird had spotted the shiny Rolex gleaming on that roof immediately, retrieved it to decorate her late-season nest, then received a message from Ardua of the Potomac to deliver it to somebody else.

And so it was that psychiatrist Ermann Esse had found the Rolex pushed through his mail slot.  It was a little dirty and sticky, but after carefully cleaning the watch, Dr. Esse was thoroughly convinced it was authentic.  He had spotted two sets of initials engraved on it, but could not quite match them to any of his patients.  Still, like any logical man would do, he had concluded that a grateful patient must have decided to leave it for him anonymously.  Usually August was slow, and Dr. Esse had planned to leave Washington this week to go hiking for ten days in Japan, but the psychotropic rush produced by the Rolex had made him too spastic to get on an airplane.  Then the Ashley Madison cheaters' website had been hacked, and his office had been inundated by hysterical sessions with wronged spouses.

Dr. Esse had long specialized in old-school psychiatry--with long conversations, occasional hypnosis, and therapeutic recommendations.  Many high-ranking federal workers who had to pass frequent drug tests for their security clearances went to Dr. Esse for therapy because he would not prescribe drugs.  But after days of listening to whining, unhappy people, coinciding with days of wearing the cursed Rolex, something in him snapped, and he simply did not want to be around miserable people anymore.

So today he was prepared.  He nodded sympathetically for a few minutes as a White House staffer began bemoaning the sense of betrayal and abandonment she felt after discovering her husband trolling for lovers on Ashley Madison, then he suggested they try hypnosis.

"I just told you I have lost all sense of trust, and you want me to surrender to hypnosis?!" she cried in bewilderment at the shrink.

But the psychiatrist was adamant.  A few minutes later, she was in la la land, and he told her to pay no attention to the syringe of drugs he was injecting into her thigh.  Then he told her that every time she saw her husband's face, she should hit it until she stopped seeing it.  Then he had a sudden urge to have sex with her while she was hypnotized, but he decided to wait to see if somebody more attractive might be coming in later this afternoon.  Then he woke her out of the trance.

"Wow!" she told Dr. Esse.  "I feel great!"

"I'll see you in one week, unless you need to come in sooner."

She left his room happily after only a quarter hour, and Dr. Esse realized he had some free time.  "Maybe I'll try online porn?" he thought.  "I should get better educated, for certainly my next wave of patients will be the dumped spouses who become addicted to Internet porn."

Meanwhile, the Holier Than Thou Caucus was having an emergency meeting on Capitol Hill to discuss how to deal with the Ashley Madison scandal.

"What if we bring back tar and feathering?"

"It's carcinogenic--you can't put that on people's skin."

"Well, people using federal email accounts to access a cheaters' website need to be fired!  Why are we spending tax money on enabling that?"

"There are Representatives who have been busted, too.  If we make the bureaucrats lose their jobs, we need to make the Representatives, too."

"We can't!  But we could read their names on the House floor during the next filibuster."

"That could be weeks or even months off!  We need to file ethics charges against them."

"What if they were just browsing, but never actually had an affair?"

"That's what they'll all say!"

"Excuse me," said Congressman Herrmark.  "It seems to me those people are probably going to have to go through excruciatingly embarrassing divorces, probably with great financial losses, and their kids will hate them, so do we really need to pile on, too?  And is shame even an effective tool in our society anymore?  Planned Parenthood got exposed as cannibals that hack up babies, and they still have no shame at all."

The others stared at him blankly, since the entire Holier Than Thou Caucus was premised on lording it over sinners, rather than stopping evil.

Over at the Federal Reserve Board, the Camelot Society was also having an emergency meeting--but their topic was the recent Wall Street panic.

"They used to say if the United States sneezed, the whole world got a cold.  Now it's China."

"And if Greece sneezes, people just vomit, ha ha ha!"

"China's not the problem!  The problem is there's never enough liquidity!"

"You've really become a broken record on that subject!"

"I agree:  the problem is growing income inequality.  If people had decent wages--"

"We can't do anything about wages!  We need to return to quantitative easing!"

Obi-Wan Woman jumped up on the Round Table.  (She was still wearing her tunic, leggings, and tall boots despite the summer weather.)  "No, no, no!" she exclaimed.  "We cannot make these mistakes again!"

"She's right!" exclaimed Luciano Talaverdi Yellen (not really related to Janet Yellen).  He had not slept with Obi-Wan Woman in a long time, and was actually a happily married man, but he just could not resist her charisma.

"Right about what?  She didn't even say anything!"

"Because it's the End of Hyperbole!" exclaimed Luciano, jumping on his chair.  "Death before dishonor!  China cannot break us!"

Security dog Princess Buttercup stopped by with her handler to see what all the shouting was about, saw that Luciano had not brought Petro Pig (her love interest), sniffed in disappointment, and turned to leave the library.

Back on Capitol Hill, the Speaker of the House was so happy about the Ashley Madison hack that he was almost willing to ratify the Iran nuclear deal--almost.

"This is much worse than the stuff I was being blackmailed for!" Congressman John Boehner crowed to his bodyguard, Solomon Kane.  "I'm a free man again!"

"Sir, I'm not sure it's that simple.  For one thing, Ashley Madison got hit by the same hacker you did."  (By that, he meant the Tarantula.)

"What?!  Are you sure?!"  (Kane nodded.)  "That guy hired by the guy you won't tell me about, with the psychic bodyguard?"  (Kane nodded.)  "Damn it!  When are you going to put an end to that guy?!"

"Look," said Kane, "we have to wait and see how this plays out.  He exposed all those people publicly, so he can't exactly blackmail them.  However, he might blackmail people who have additional secrets.  If he gets busy with them, he might give you fewer demands about how you vote.  It's just a big wild card right now."

"I'm tired of wild cards!" exclaimed Boehner.  "Why can't I control anything?  I'm two heartbeats away from the Presidency!  I want you to kill Donald Trump!  Can you at least do that for me?!  Or are you going to pretend Trump also has a psychic bodyguard?"

"Now, come on, sir!" said Kane, walking behind the Speaker of the House to start rubbing his shoulders.  "It's not that bad!  You control all sorts of things!  You're a very powerful man!  And you don't even need to run for reelection this year!  Life is good!"  Boehner sighed and surrendered to his man crush.

Out in the river, Ardua of the Potomac looked up with interest as Charles Wu passed over the bridge, on his way to the airport to take his little girl on vacation to England.  Wu looked down in amazement, still overwhelmed from learning that a large underwater demon was responsible for the suicide of his first nanny ... and Angela had not told him.

COMING UP:  Bo-Oz Consulting pitches their new refugee plan.