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 12/26/2015. Follow Washington Water Woman on Twitter @HorrorDC ....

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Petro Pig and other Washingtonians return from OPEC meeting.

Petro Pig was grunting around the 17th Street dog park, proud of his recent success at the OPEC meeting in Doha, Qatar.  First of all, Muslims think pigs are unclean, but the OPEC president himself had been on hand at the Qatari airport to make sure that Petro Pig was granted entry into the country--assuring the airport officials that Petro Pig was one of the greatest champions of petroleum still remaining in the United States!  The fact is, OPEC had no idea that Petro Pig was an ironical champion of the petroleum industry, currently holding sixth place on the American Petroleum Institute's Top Ten Most Wanted list of oil enemies (behind wind power but ahead of Operation Free).   Petro Pig (and his "parents", Helen Yellen and Luciano Talaverdi Yellen) had thus been given red carpet treatment--and a large bag of figs to eat--upon their arrival.

Their trip had actually been paid for by a secret solar power SuperPAC whose director, like Helen Yellen, believed that Petro Pig had ESP.  Petro Pig had, in fact, gleaned a lot of secret thoughts from the meeting attendees in Qatar, such as--

"Man, I wish I could eat bacon." 
"Who let in that filthy pig?!"
"Who let in that woman?!"
"Why is that woman with the pig not wearing a veil?!"
"Maybe she'll have sex with me."
"I hate those Iranians!"
"I hate those Arabs!"
"I hate those Venezuelans!"
"I hate those Saudis!"
"I hate the Americans!"
"I hate the Russians!"
"Death to Israel!"
"Death to Tesla!"
"Death to Amal Clooney and George Clooney!"

Unfortunately, Helen Yellen had not yet learned how to get Petro Pig to pass along third party mental eavesdropping.  So, while it was fairly clear to Helen that Petro Pig could read her thoughts and read Luciano's thoughts, she had no idea what thoughts he had read while infiltrating the OPEC meeting.

Nevertheless, the solar power SuperPAC was very pleased with the outcome of the OPEC meeting.  Although some might argue that solar power would be better served by an OPEC agreement to prop up prices, the SuperPAC was thrilled that OPEC continued in disarray--which meant that OPEC continued to have less and less influence on Washington government leaders.  And since it was Petro Pig, in fact, who had caused the majority of grumbling and finger-pointing at the OPEC meeting, the solar power SuperPAC told Helen and Luciano that it was the best five-thousand dollars they had ever spent!

Over at CIA headquarters, the ghost of Henry Samuelson was less pleased with his own operatives' infiltration of the OPEC meeting.

"We can't let the price of oil keep falling!" he railed.  "The CIA bet on Saudi Arabia over half a century ago, and if our chief partner in the Muslim world implodes, where will that lead us?!"

"To a more balanced approach to Middle Eastern politics?"

"No, you moron!  Instability!  Riots!  Regime change!  Terrorism!"

"We have all those things already."

"They'll be worse!"

"Henry, just because the CIA bet on the Saudi horse doesn't mean the Ghost CIA has to!"

"Well, betting on Iran was a disaster--we can't do that again!"

"What about Turkey?"

"Of, for God's sake!" cried Ghost Henry, throwing his spectral hands up in despair.

Back in Washington, triple agent Charles Wu was more pleased with his own OPEC infiltrator, the Condor, who had been able to deliver information on almost every country's planned production for the summer months.  This was intelligence he could sell to both London and Beijing.  Things just kept getting better and better for Charles Wu!

"Marco," Charles said (using the name with which the Condor had gotten married to Bridezilla), "are you ever going to tell her you're a spy?"

The Condor burst out laughing.

"No, I'm serious," said Charles, raising his empty glass to signal the Penn Commons waitress.

"You can't be serious!  She only loves me because I'm tall, dark, and mysterious."

"She's down and out.  You could give her intelligence that could boost her career--surely she would love you for that."

"And now I'm supposed to take love advice from you?!" laughed the Condor.  "She'd probably call the FBI on me!"

"I'm not so sure about that."

Over in Dupont Circle, the Heurich Society's OPEC mole was reporting to the members in the upper floor conference room of the Brewmaster's Castle.

"I have never seen anything like it!  Petro Pig had the run of the place!"

"What?!" blustered Dick Cheney.  "How the hell does a pig get the run of the place at OPEC?"

"I don't know.  The dude with the pig said he was analyzing petroleum price trends for the Federal Reserve Board, but his wife was clearly the one in charge of the pig."

"A woman!?  At OPEC!?"  Cheney's heart was racing in disbelief.

"Well, it was Qatar, not the Kingdom.  Anyway, that pot-belly was a huge distraction.  Some of the delegates actually took pictures with him:  they were fed some bullshit about how Petro Pig is a great champion of petroleum."

"This is unacceptable!" exclaimed Cheney, pounding his fist on the table.  "This never would have happened when I was President!"  (A Navy commander opened his mouth to correct Cheney, but the CIA agent sitting next to him gave him a quick elbow jab.)  "We can't let oil prices keep falling!"

"Well, part of the reason is that exempting fracking from the Clean Water Act made domestic oil cheaper, and you were the one that pushed that through for Halliburton," said the investment banker.

"That's not the point!" cried Cheney.

"You do understand the effect of supply and demand on pricing, right?" asked the investment banker, who had to duck quickly when Cheney threw a jelly doughnut at him.

Back at the dog park, the dogs (and their owners) were very interested in the pot-bellied pig, but Petro Pig was busy chatting with the canine ghost pack run by the Gopper....

*******************************************************************
COMING UP:  All that glitters is not gold!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Springtime at the Arlington group home for the mentally challenged.

Social worker Hue Nguyen shook her head in religious AND clinical dismay that residents of the Arlington group home for the mentally challenged were spending a lovely Sunday morning again attending the Church of Twitter led by Freddy Ritchings (AKA Brother Divine of the International Peace Movement), but the service was almost over.

"We got hash tags and hash browns, old rags and old gowns, paper bags and paper crowns, sad hags and sad frowns!  Tweet #DemocracySpring!  Tweet #FreedomRing!  Tweet #LetMamaSing!  Tweet #NoMoreBling!"  ("Amen!  Amen!")  "New York values!  Used-up halos!  Donald Trump tweets the lies!  Ted Cruz tweets the sighs! Bernie Sanders tweets the highs!  Hillary Clinton tweets magpies!"  ("Huh?")  "Twitter me this, Twitter me that, Twitter me you, Twitter my cat!"  (Freddy paused to look out over the congregation and gather his final thoughts.)  "I got eighty likes, but where's the love?  Re-tweet my thoughts and release the dove!"  (He paused to actually Tweet out this last message to his 8,922 Twitter Followers.)  "Go in peace to Tweet out your heart, then the world will make a new start!"  ("Amen!  Amen!")

Hue jumped up to encourage the residents to go outside for a walk or at least a sojourn in the backyard, but they shuffled off to their respective hobbies.

Melinda decided to Tweet about the Senate resolution in praise of magic--the most important legislative bill she had ever seen in her lifetime!  Melinda was a firm believer in magic (she believed in little else), and she had never thought that the Republicans were the party of magical beliefs, but it was Republicans who had sponsored the resolution in praise of magic!  After she Tweeted about the amazing Senate resolution in praise of magic (to her fourteen Followers), she was going to write a letter to the editor of Arlington Patch.  After that, she was going to write a letter to Harry Potter, or maybe Hermione, asking for their help in casting a spell over Congress to pass the resolution and send it to President Obama to sign.  (She had cast many spells, but her magic was not very strong.)  She would put the letter to Harry Potter (or Hermione) on the back porch just before bedtime so that her owl would pick it up.  (The social worker on duty would actually pick it up and share it with psychologist Leo Schwartz.)  Melinda got goose bumps thinking about all this magic!

Meanwhile, Buckner also had some letters to write, since he was desperately trying to score a date to the White House Correspondents' Dinner.  First up:  Miss Manners!  He knew she would at least be polite enough to answer his letter!  (It disgusted him how many journalists ignored his letters!)  He sat down at his bedroom desk and began writing on the cherry blossom stationery his mother had given him on her Wednesday visit.  "Dear Miss Manners, I would very much like to escort you to the White House Correspondents' Dinner.  I have three PhDs and know how to make very interesting table talk!  For instance, I could explain my theory on how the recent earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador were caused by Klingon wormhole time travel!  If the other people at the table are more interested in politics than science, I could explain the vast conspiracy to hide the fact that the entire Bush clan was replaced by Pod People during the Invasion of the Body Snatchers decades ago!  (Jeb was very young when he was replaced, which is why so many people cannot detect ANY human personality in him at all.)  I could also share the DNA results from tests done on secretly purloined strands of Donald Trump's hair--which is not only his real hair but proves he is a direct descendant of Adolf Hitler!  I'm pretty sure you cannot find a more interesting date than me, Miss Manners, and I know if you say yes that my mother will buy me a tuxedo and new shoes, and I can bring you a rose corsage that I will make myself with a rose from our garden.  Sincerely, Buckner Hodges Highgrove, III."

Theresa was also in her room, on the phone with her brother begging him to sign her out on Monday because she desperately wanted to get arrested at the Capitol with the DemocracySpring protesters.  "Please, please, please!  I still have my green face paint from my "Wicked" Halloween costume, and I want to be the Statue of Liberty."  ("They already arrested the Statue of Liberty.")  "I know!  But she looked so good!  ("Mom will kill me if I get you arrested!")  "I know, but it's worth it!  There's a rumor that Thor will be there, or even Captain America!  Maybe I could go as Wonder Woman."  ("That's a different comic book universe.")  "Why are you always crushing my dreams!  You wouldn't take me to see the Pope and now this!"  ("Do you even know what they're protesting?")  "The police won't let them go inside because they're not in the Zombie Caucus."  ("What are you talking about?!")  "Haven't you read about this at all?"  ("Theresa, I need to work on Monday, but I can sign you out for dinner at Applebee's.")

Meanwhile, the social worker finally saw somebody venture out into the sunshine, Cedric, but she was surprised to see him take his metal detector out there.  (He had inherited it from his beachcomber father.)  She observed him from the window for a few minutes, then went outside to ask what he was doing in the backyard.

"I'm checking for buried bodies," he said calmly.

Hue stifled a gasp.  Cedric had told all sorts of espionage stories over the years, but he had never focused his concerns this close to home.  "Whose bodies?"

"MS-13 bodies," he said, referring to the brutal Salvadoran street gang.  "They've been chopping up enemies all over Northern Virginia and burying them in shallow graves.  A lot of CIA agents live in Northern Virginia, and they generally have shrapnel fragments in their bodies, and Salvadorans hate the CIA, and MS-13 attacks their enemies when they least suspect it--like when they're jogging in Turkey Run or riding their bikes around Lake Barcroft without a gun because they're in their spandex."

The metal detector went off, and Hue jumped.  Cedric ran to the porch, put the metal detector down next to his teddy bear Aloysius (watching thoughtfully from a wicker chair), and picked up a gardening spade.  He ran back to the spot and started digging.

"It could be anything, Cedric," the social worker said.

Cedric ignored her, egged on by Ghost Henry (who should have had better things to do), and finally found the metal:  a small pile of nails which had been rusting under the sod for years, if not decades.  "Shrapnel," said Cedric, shaking his head.  "The worms have eaten all the flesh."

Back inside, Larry was seated at the shared computer, filming himself and his ventriloquist dummy for his increasingly popular YouTube channel:  "Larry and Gary".  (The channel was popular both because of how bad Larry was at throwing his voice and because of the crazy things both Larry and"Gary" would say.)

"Today we're going to talk about filing taxes," said Larry.

"Liar!" said Gary, a Caucasian doll with curly black hair, blue eyes, and a pin-striped suit.  "You haven't filed taxes since Bush was President!"

"That's true," said Larry, "but you did."

"What?" gasped Gary.

"I filed in your name and stole your money, ha ha!" said Larry.

And then the dummy started yelling and beating up Larry:  at least that's what it looked like to Hue when the social worker went back into the house and ran over to pull Gary off.

That's also what it looked like to conspiracy blogger Glenn Michael Beckmann when he viewed the YouTube video on his Southwest Plaza apartment computer.  "I knew it!" he shouted out loud, his eyes growing large.  "It's alive!"

Back in Arlington, out in the backyard, Cedric continued to sweep the grass, but the starlings watching from the sycamore tree knew he would never find real bones unless he looked under those thorny rose bushes.

*************************************************************
COMING UP:   Petro Pig and other
Washingtonians return from OPEC meeting.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Panama Root Canal

The Tarantula's hack-and-release of the Panama Papers was the most brilliant feat triple agent Charles Wu had orchestrated in some time.  Not only was it causing consternation among several world political leaders (and the universally detested Chinese "brother-in-law"), it had caused a stampede of millionaires to Prince and Prowling's offices in Washington, Beijing and elsewhere to set up off-shore accounts someplace "safer". First the triumphs from the nuclear safety summit and now this?!  Wu was feeling positively splendid.

"It's an absolute disgrace!" tut-tutted his English nanny, Mrs. Prudence Higgety-Cheshire, over her tea and buttered scones.  "I've paid taxes to the Crown my entire life!  Leona Helmsley was right:  only the little people pay taxes!"

"The little people have unicorns!" said her charge, Buffy Cordelia ("Delia"), paying more attention to her small figurines than her tort.

"That's right, princess!" said Wu.  (He only spoke to his daughter in Chinese when the nanny was not around.)

"The little people have unicorns to distract themselves from how the rich and powerful are sticking us with the bill every time!" exclaimed the nanny.

"Well, I pay taxes," said Wu, who prided himself both on being in the category "rich and powerful" and on being somebody who did pay taxes on some of his earnings.  (But there was really no feasible way to pay taxes on the kinds of transactions the spy earned most of his money from!)

"People in government getting salaries paid by taxes should be paying taxes themselves!" declared Mrs. H-C.

"Oh, I agree entirely," said Wu.

A funny smile suddenly spread across his nanny's face.  "You had something to do with this, didn't you?!"

Wu shook his head with a laugh.  "A spy never tells!"  (He hid most of his espionage activity from his nanny, but he didn't mind her speculating on this topic.)

"You cheeky monkey!" Mrs. H-C tut-tutted.

"You cheeky monkey!" little Delia echoed.

Meanwhile, Kevin "Monkey" Mundy was spending another day off panning for gold and diamonds in Rock Creek Park.  But this time the DC Water employee had brought mercury ("quicksilver"!) to speed his enterprise.  He wasn't entirely certain how to use it since most of the agency's resource materials on mercury concerned its dangers as a water pollutant or methods for cleaning it up--not how to use it to flush out precious minerals.  He pulled up a pot of silt, poured some mercury into it, then watched impatiently.  The cursed Rolex glinted malevolently in the sunshine on his wrist, taunting him to find more...more...more!  He swished the silt around, watching the mercury diffusing through the water.  Nothing!  He dumped the pot downstream of his wading boots, then walked to a slightly different spot to pull up more silt.  His entire body was cold and aching from the dampness.  "Indians," a voice whispered to him.  "Make the Indians tell you where the gold is...."  He dumped the remainder of the mercury in the creek, almost hoping it would kill fish and frogs, scratched under his cursed Rolex, then stomped out of the frigid waters.  "Those damned super rich people!" he shouted to the squirrels and field mice.  "It's my turn!"

"We are super rich people!" Dick Cheney was saying a mile away, trying to calm down the members of the Heurich Society.  "This is simply a temporary setback!"

"Well, I'm not super rich!" exclaimed a member from the Navy.  "I've done everything I was asked to do here!  I don't even have enough money to buy a Lamborghini or a third home yet, let alone set up offshore accounts in Panama!  I can barely afford to finance the Mediterranean and Caribbean cruises my wife demands taking every time I am back on a nuclear sub!  And I've got to buy her diamonds every time I return to shore!"

"That's pretty sloppy," said the international arms dealer.  "She's going to get suspicious if you keep spending that kind of money on her."

"I have to!" he retorted.  "Anyway, she thinks I do drug-running for the CIA: she doesn't suspect anything else."

"Well, that's a relief," said the international banker.

"None of our individual names are on the Panama accounts," Cheney said, trying to chair the meeting more forcefully.  "The situation has already been addressed, and we can move onto other business."

"Like, seriously, we are going to assassinate some of these Presidential candidates, right?" asked the CIA operative, wiping powdered sugar off his lips from the doughnuts furnished by the Brewmaster's Castle butler.

"There is more than one way to skin a cat," said Cheney.  "Let me tell you about something we used to call 'the Wyoming cow pie eating contest.'"

"You haven't been to Wyoming in thirty years," said the media tycoon.

"That's a damned lie!" shouted Cheney, rising to his feet, but a sudden pang in his heart made him quickly sit down again.

A mile away, Glenn Michael Beckmann also had a sudden pang in his heart--but it was heartburn from the fourth cup of iced tea he had downed after eating three plates of onion rings and four pieces of pie at the White House deli.  He had been playing Rumsfeld Churchill solitaire on his smartphone for three hours and, in a sugar/salt fugue exacerbated by forgetting to take his meds, he was finally seeing the hidden messages that Donald Rumsfeld was telling him!  The three of hearts has come up next to either the nine of spades or jack of clubs every hand, which means that the Trinity is surrounded by golfers on the left and tennis players on the right, which means that athletes are protecting God, which means that Villanova is protecting God, which means that God is currently in Pennsylvania, which means that God is in a swing state, which means that the swing state is going to vote for the Godliest candidates, which means that whomever Pennsylvania picks for President will be God's candidate, which means that they will again turn to Donald Rumsfeld to invade Iraq and stop ISIS, which means--

"Do you want another refill on that iced tea, hon?"

"Gaaaaaa!" Beckmann snarled, causing the employee to jump back.  "You totally wrecked my train of thought!"

She looked down at the solitaire game on his phone, shrugged, then walked over to the tourist family from Pennsylvania to see if they wanted refills.

Beckmann looked back at his phone, trying to regain his train of thought.  Rumsfeld solitaire, Rummy, gin rummy, bathtub gin, cotton gin, Egyptian cotton, "she whose gaze must be avoided".... He scratched his head at the last one, unaware he had stumbled much closer to the truth of Rumsfeld Churchill solitaire than anybody else ever had!  "Wait!" he cried aloud after seeing an ace of diamonds turn up.  "Secret bank accounts!"  (This was totally wrong.)

Out at Trump National Golf Course, the biologically perfect little Aryan baby continued to grow in the womb of Barbara Hellmeister, under the watchful eyes of Ernest Ironman (Adolf Eichmann's great-grandson) and Ardua of the Pond....

*************************************************************
COMING UP:  
Spring is in the air at the Arlington Group Home!

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Atomic Fallout

Charles Wu was back at Longview Gallery, a convenient meeting place he had used frequently during the nuclear summit at the Washington Convention Center.  He was standing in front of the ugliest painting there, flanked by agents Apricot Lily and Camisole Silk, discussing new intelligence and their next trip to Asia.  His daughter Delia was scampering around under the careful eye of her governess, waiting patiently to visit Lynnette Wong for lunch in Chinatown.

"Does the State Department believe you?" asked Lily.

"More or less," replied Wu.

"And the Chinese?" asked Silk.

"More or less," he repeated.  "They were very impressed with the Humvees in the street--the total militarized zone of the neighborhood, keeping the civilian population under tight control.  It was ugly and scary, a real police-state feel.  Beijing loves that."

"And Britain?" asked Lily.

"Less satisfied.  They want China to handle North Korea."  (The agents snorted in unison.)  "Just do what you can--I'm not expecting miracles.  Now what can I buy you?  I need to purchase something after so many visits here."

A couple of miles to the west, Laura Moreno was taking in her final block of sunshine and cherry blossoms before walking into Prince and Prowling.  A few weeks ago, she was preparing the Cuban Practices Group delegation for President Obama's historic trip to Cuba.  Now she was laid off as a staff attorney and back to working as a contract attorney after rebuffing the sexual advances of former Senator Evermore Breadman in the Havana hotel.  How did I let this happen?  A few friends told her that it wasn't her fault, but nobody at P&P believed her story over Breadman's--at least, not publicly.  Suing P&P would put her out of work indefinitely, blacklisted all across Washington.  Her choice was to return to working as a peasant or leaving DC.  She stopped fifteen feet from the front door, bile rising up her esophagus.  This place will be the death of me.

Up in Dupont Circle, Angela de la Paz had finally put together a plan to channel the vengeful rage of Dulles Samuelson over the murder of his sister.  Angela suspected that Dick Cheney was responsible, but that type of revenge was simply not part of her mandate.

"It's the one arriving in the black sedan," she said to Dulles, pointing down the block from the window of the Brewmaster's Castle room they were hiding in.

"Are you sure?" asked Dulles dubiously.

"Absolutely," she lied.  "I know you had trouble believing the things I told you about this town, but he's a zombie."

"Are you really sure?" asked Dulles.  His heart was pounding at the twin terrifying thoughts that his sister was killed by a Heurich Society zombie member and that he could avenge her death himself.

"I can do it if you can't go through with it," she said.

"No, I'll do it!" he declared, even though he felt totally paralyzed.

"Alright," she said, leading his leaden feet down the backstairs to the hallway they would surprise the zombie in.  (It was a recently turned member of Congress whom had not yet been identified by the Anti-Zombie Caucus.)  She saw Dulles--who had neglected to keep his gloves on--having trouble holding the axe in his sweaty hands.  "Now!" she cried, as the zombie walked in, and she telekinetically directed the axe to fly out of Dulles's hands at the zombie's neck.  The head came off, and maggots started spilling everywhere.  "Come on!" Angela exclaimed, pulling Dulles towards another exit.  "The Heurich Society can clean it up." 

Dulles looked back at the maggots and vomited on a $3,000 Oriental carpet.

A mile away, Kevin "Monkey" Mundy was using his day off from DC Water to pan for gold and diamonds in Rock Creek Park.  Ever since finding the (cursed) Rolex in the sludge treatment plant, he had become convinced that other treasures were lurking in the waterways all around Washington.  He had tried using a colander and sifting through the silt the way he had seen it done in some old Westerns about California gold diggers, but it was a cold day and his patience had worn out.  "Mercury," he heard whispered, and turned around to see who was there, but Monkey could see no one.  "Mercury," he heard again.  Puzzled, he scratched under the cursed Rolex, left the colander to rust in the water, and headed home.

*******************************************************************
COMING UP:   
Glenn Michael Beckmann discovers the conspiracy lurking in Rumsfeld Churchill solitaire!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Happy Easter!

Washington Water Woman is taking a break from blogging for Easter weekend....

*****************************************************************
COMING UP
Angela de la Paz channels the vengeful rage of Dulles Samuelson.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

A Pretty Good Place

Angela de la Paz had saved many lives, partially from her training as a super spy but mostly because of her supernatural gifts.  But this was her first time ever guarding the children of the President and First Lady.

"There are a lot of nut jobs out there," said Dr. Devi Rajatala.  "I told you about that massacre out in Maryland."

"Don't worry!" said Angela.

"I know this isn't your normal thing, but with all the budget cuts, I just really needed the extra help."

"After all you did for me as a kid!?  I'm happy to do this, Dr. Raj!"

"But the weather is so awful, right when they're so vulnerable.  It's going to complicate everything."

"I'll hear any screams from your office, and I'll be out there in a flash.  Nobody's getting near that bald eagle nest!"

Dr. Raj sighed and smiled.  "You always were a good kid!"

"Is this where the 'you should go to college lecture' starts?" said Angela.

"A lot of good it's done me!" said the National Arboretum tree specialist.  "How many years have I dedicated myself to tending these woods on a smaller and smaller budget, and all anybody cares about are chicks hatching out of their eggs on a live camera feed.  Trees grow too slowly to watch on camera!  Maybe I should do an Internet camera for diseased trees' getting chain-sawed."

"Or an Internet contest for who gets to chop them down!" said Angela.

"Are you serious?" asked Dr. Rajatala.  "Honestly, I don't know anymore.  If Trump becomes President, he'll probably turn this into a golf course."

"If that's the price we have to pay to see angry bald eagles attack Trump, it might be worth it!" said Angela sadly.

Out on the Potomac, Marcos Vazquez was breaking Coast Guard protocol by having his wife, Golden Fawn, riding on the patrol boat, but since the weather made it extremely unlikely they would encounter any problems out on the river, his coworkers didn't complain.  Vazquez's wife was known for doing mysterious ceremonies on Roosevelt Island, and they had no doubt she was trying to communicate with the ravens nesting for the first time in a hundred years on a Potomac River bridge.  What they didn't know was that she was succeeding.

"They actually knew about Ardua?" whispered Marcos, referring to the demon that had recently been banished from the river.

"They did," reiterated Golden Fawn.  (They had just completed their third pass under the bridge.)

"So, they think the river is safe now?"

"It's safe, and what they eat isn't poisonous anymore."

"What are they eating?" asked Marcos.

"Rats and fish right now.  In a few weeks they'll probably be going after turtles and frogs."  Golden Fawn was smiling, in spite of the cold rain falling on her slicker.

"But Angela said it's not over yet," said Marcos.

Golden Fawn continued smiling.  "There's still plenty of evil in this town, but that's all the more reason to celebrate every victory we get!"

A few miles to the east, newly medicated Washington Post "Metro" reporter Perry Winkle was returning to his gritty city investigative reporting habits with his first Urban Guerrilla Field Trip in years.  The late-season blast of winter misery had scuttled his original plan, but he had a dozen middle-schoolers retracing his steps through Union Station to hear about the research he had done on how many people were living at Union Station.

"Well, it's a pretty good place to be homeless," said one girl.

"Do you think they're homeless?" asked Winkle.  "Because I think this is their home."

"They're just squatting!" exclaimed one of the boys.  "They're not paying rent or a mortgage or anything."

"Do you pay rent or a mortgage?" asked Winkle.  The kids all laughed.  "You think you have homes even though you're not paying anything.  What if you start fighting with you father in a few years?  What if he dies, your mother gets a new boyfriend, he beats you, and you run away?"  The kids were silent, crossing their arms and shuffling their feet nervously.  "People don't just become homeless because they don't have money--they don't have family to rely on."

"Well, they probably got kicked out for doing drugs or shit like that!" exclaimed one girl.

"Maybe.  Maybe they were doing drugs because they were mentally ill or abuse victims, and trying to feel better.  There are a lot of people who can't pay rent or mortgages.  Sometimes it's because they're children.  Sometimes it's because they're too messed up to work."

"Sometimes they mess themselves up," said one boy.

"You're right.  And when they do that, their family and friends might not be inclined to give them another chance.  So what should the city do with those people?  Do we really want them living in the rail yards and station crawl spaces, or on top of the subway grates?"

"You can't lock them up unless they're dangerous," said the oldest girl there.  (She had a schizophrenic uncle living at Urine Park, but she wouldn't tell anybody about him.)  "I think there should be social workers who go around and check on all these people.  The government shouldn't wait until they flip out."

"The government," said Winkle, making a sweeping gesture to encompass all his listeners, "is of the people, by the people, and for the people.  Every generation before you has failed to end homelessness; every government before this one has failed to end homelessness.  What will your generation and your government do?"

"But it's better in other places!" protested one of the girls.  "They don't have so many homeless in other countries!  And our city is one of the worst!"

"Some of those countries do lock them up, I'm afraid.  But you're right--in some places it's better.  The governments spend more on alcohol and drug rehab, watch over children in foster homes better, and run better homeless shelters so that people don't think it's better to live on the streets.  I hope you will all read my article and think hard about the places you saw people living here--all of them were 12 or 13 years old once, just like you."

And so ended the first Urban Guerrilla Field Trip of 2016, but Perry Winkle could not get those words out of his head:  "our city is one of the worst!"  And then the voice in his head which answered:  "you know why!"  He rushed home to do the meditation that helped hold at bay the hallucinations of evil threatening to return to his mind...but he was taking more pills since returning to Washington.

A couple miles away, Laura Moreno was packing her suitcase to accompany former Senator Evermore Breadman and Prince and Prowling's triumphant Cuba Practices Group across the Florida straits with President Obama.  The law firm had never paid for her to go anywhere--not even a single taxi ride or restaurant excursion.  She kept waiting for somebody to telephone and say it was a mistake, they had reconsidered, she was back on document review while Bridezilla would accompany the high-level delegation--i.e., that Bridezilla's scandalous photos from her last Cuba trip had been forgiven and forgotten.  But here she was, still packing.

Then the anonymous phone call came from an unlisted number:  "Watch out for Breadman after he hits the rum.  If he doesn't find a Cuban hottie--"  Laura hung up before hearing the rest.

"I can handle myself," she said angrily to the now silent phone.  Outside her window, the howl of the cold rain picked up.  She shivered, finding it hard to believe she would be on a tropical island the next day.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Ides and Tides of March

It had taken some time, but conspiracy blogger Glenn Michael Beckmann had finally figured it out!  It was Sarah Palin who had murdered Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia!  She had murdered him for being a member of the International Order of St. Hubertus, the post-Medieval hunting society founded by Catholics and not open to women.  As an Alaskan fundamentalist with dim views of Catholicism, obliviousness to the Hapsburg Empire, and a proud (albeit secret) tenure as President of the co-ed Hunter-Gather Society, Sarah Palin could not tolerate Scalia's membership in the wrong hunting society!

Beckmann was on a bender, having spent Saturday evening drinking at Archibald's and Sunday morning smoking marijuana.  He showed up at the Hunter-Gatherer Society's local Sunday afternoon hunt too messed up to lead the assault on feral pigs wreaking havoc in St. Mary's County.  On the one hand, Palin was grandmother to his secret love child with Bristol Palin, and he had been proud to call her President for years!  On the other hand, she had endorsed fascist Donald Trump and struck a blow against patriotic hunters who had refused admission to Nazis.  What does Sarah Palin stand for?  What do I stand for?  What do I stand against?  He waved his rifle around, asking people where Palin was the afternoon his beloved Darja had been assassinated and, failing to get a satisfactory answer, went off to seek Palin out and ask her himself.

Meanwhile, the ghost of Henry Samuelson had grown impatient with Beckmann's failure to assassinate Donald Trump and (through temporal lobe epileptic John Doe) had sought out others who might do the deed.  The level of violence at Trump rallies warmed his spectral heart, but things had gone on far too long already.  The Ghost CIA had several members excited about Trump's plans to bring back torture of captives, and massacres of women and children, on levels not seen since the Vietnam War, but Ghost Henry railed that Trump was too stupid to make good use of intelligence.  The Ghost CIA, like much of the country, was becoming deeply polarized about Trump.

They also disagreed with Ghost Henry's plan to assassinate Heurich Society President Dick Cheney.  Even though Ghost Henry argued that he had to do it to protect his son, Dulles, the Ghost CIA agents knew that Dulles had made zero progress in discovering his sister's murderer.  The Ghost CIA had done several successful missions around the world, and did not want to jeopardize this by killing Dick Cheney because he might become more powerful as a ghost than he ever was as a man!

So Ghost Henry made a desperate visit to Angela de la Paz.

"There's not a lot I can do," said Angela, who had developed enough supernatural power to speak directly with him now.  "Dulles doesn't believe anything I say."

"I want you to create phony evidence about who killed Button, and then manipulate my son's mind into thinking that he's gotten revenge by killing the person.  I know you can do it if you use your mind tricks!  Then he'll leave Washington and be out of danger."

"Out of danger!" cried Angela, aghast.  "I'm not going to create false memories in his mind that he's a killer!"

"But he wants to be a killer!"

"And you wonder why they kicked you out of Purgatory!"

"Look, I'm serious!  Cheney killed my daughter, and if Dulles sticks around much longer, he'll kill my son, too!  You can't tell me that's not a possibility!"

"I am watching over Dulles!"

"When was the last time I asked you to do anything for me?!" begged Ghost Henry.

"Every single time I see you!"

"But I haven't bothered you in a long time!"

Angela sighed, knowing this was true.  "Alright," she said.  "I'll persuade him to leave town, but I'll find another way."

Meanwhile, Dulles Samuelson was spying on another meeting of the Heurich Society at the Brewmaster's Castle, where they were discussing the Judicial Committee's progress with the Supreme Court problem.

"Justice delayed is justice denied!" exclaimed Chairman Dick Cheney.

"That's not exactly what happened," protested the investment banker.

"Dow Chemical settled a case rather than take it to the Supreme Court because they couldn't wait on the uncertain outcome!"

"They were guilty!" said the Chair of the Subcommittee to Protect the Secret Ogallah Water Diversion (designed to quench the thirst of the elite in the polluted years to come).

"Whose side on you're on!?" bellowed Cheney.

"Now, Dick," crackled Condoleezza Rice over the speaker phone, "we have never been able to control the Supreme Court.  We just need to stick to our practice of influencing the Circuit Courts."

"We don't have that luxury anymore!" cried Cheney.  "God knows what could happen now!  There is talk that Obama might appoint an Asian!"

"Hey!" protested the international arms dealer.  "My wife is Cambodian, Iron Ass!"

"I don't care of your wife is the President of Thailand!  You don't want her on the Supreme Court any more than I do!"

"Could we talk about my work on the DC Republican primary now?" asked the Chair of the Local Politics Subcommittee.  "Marco Rubio!  Nice, right?"

Cheney said nothing, choosing instead to grunt and bite into another heart-healthy, sawdust-tasting snack packed by his wife Lynn.

Several miles to the South, DC Water employee Kevin "Monkey" Mundy was investigating reports of a Chesapeake Bay algae bloom creeping its way towards Washington with every high tide.  It was a cloudy day in the speedboat, but light was reflecting brightly off the cursed Rolex adorning his wrist.  He slowed down, then cut the motor altogether, marveling at the sight of the red tide.  "It's beautiful!" he said to no one in particular.

"Yes it is!" replied the Beaver, who had seen and felt that evil timepiece before.  He slapped his tail hard and disappeared back under the water, satisfied that Monkey was not going to put the red tide in his report.

******************************************************************
COMING UP:  
Reporter Perry Winkle brings back Urban Guerrilla Field Trips!