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 4/12/2014. Follow Washington Water Woman on Twitter @HorrorDC ....

Monday, December 15, 2014

Zombie Congress

D.C. coroner John Constantine was back for another investigation at Congress, now that the Members had mostly scattered to the four winds.  Despite her pleas that they not push the investigation further, Constantine was accompanied by his anxious girlfriend, Ann Bishis.  A lot of rumors were swirling about how the encyclopedia-sized Cromnibus had been put together, then quickly rammed through the dysfunctional House and rubber-stamped in the somnambulating Senate.  While the most logical explanation--thousands of Wall Street and secret SUPERPAC campaign contributions distributed among hundreds of Senators and Congressmen--was too gigantic and difficult to prove, there was no shortage of people willing to assign causality to a blackmail plot against the Speaker of the House, a shady organization called The Heurich society, ISIS infiltration of the Senate, Jacques Javert's cursed Rolex, or CIA torture sessions involving Harry Reid.  But the rumor D.C. coroner Constantine and his girlfriend were most worried about was the rumor that there was a Zombie Caucus....

Ann Bishis, Chief of Staff for Congressman Herrmark, was supposed to be combing through the bill to see if, by some miracle, he had finally gotten funding to clean up his parents' vacation home (destroyed by fire in a fracking explosion).  Herrmark had played nice with all kinds of people all year long--including the Holier Than Thou Caucus, the "House of Cards" Caucus, the "Game of Thrones" Caucus, the Karaoke Caucus, the Millionaire's Club, the Cartwheel Caucus, the Wonder Woman Caucus, and John Boehner's Cincinnati-strip poker club.  And even though Congressman Herrmark had played Boehner down to his tighty-whiteys many times, Herrmark had still pledged the Speaker of the House his support for this "must-pass" bill with the somewhat strong belief he would be rewarded...somewhere in there.  But the only thing Bishis had verified so far was that Boehner had found the money to fund construction of the New Dominion Boat Club (her own pet project)--under the CIA drone program.  Her boss was already off on a two-week fundraising cruise from Baltimore to the Lesser Antilles, but she wasn't supposed to leave town until she had found the "earmark"...or verified its non-existence.

"I just don't think this is a good idea, John," she said again.  "There are very powerful forces at work here."

"And they might be unnatural--maybe demonic!" he countered again.  This time they had smuggled in a dog notorious on Capitol Hill for unusual olfactory abilities:  a rat terrier/bloodhound mix named "The Gopper" (sired by famous rat terrier "The Gipper), wearing a fake seeing-eye-dog vest.  (Constantine had entered the Capitol as a blind man.)  "If there's something fishy going on, The Gopper might be able to find it."

They were down in the Congressional train tunnels, sniffing for signs of life that might be found behind a hidden door.  Though Bishis had seen considerable proof of zombies before--including the maggots crawling out of her predecessor's neck after decapitation--she still preferred to shy away from death and scary mysteries.  She was not steeled to the darker side of life, like her coroner boyfriend.  Nor was she certain she really wanted to find out the darkest truths about Congress.

And then The Gopper stopped and began pawing at a wall.  "He smells something!" cried Constantine.  "Look for a mechanism to open the door!"

"Maybe he just smells urine," said Bishis, looking around anxiously.  "There are rats down here.  Maybe he just smells rats in the walls."  (She was not helping to look for a mechanism.)

Constantine stood back and shone his flashlight up and down over The Gopper's growling head until he saw it.  "There!"  He lined up three fingers in the shape of a triangle and pushed on three dark circles--then a panel in the wall started opening inward.  "Aha!"

"Shh!" warned Bishis, and Constantine nodded.

The Gopper strained at his leash and pulled them forward for several minutes until they saw another door, but this one had a keypad entry.  Constantine tried several combinations until he finally succeeded with "123Z".  They slowly entered a quiet hallway, walked past a few small offices, and then stopped in front of a set of double-doors marked "Oz".  They could hear voices, and The Gopper was silently baring his teeth.

"I'm scared," whispered Bishis.  "Don't open those doors."

But it was too late:  somebody on the inside opened the door to come out.  "You're Mitch McConnell's Legislative Director," said Bishis in surprise, and the man screamed in pain as The Gopper locked onto his ankle.

Then all the zombies feasting on a couple of dead interns lying on the conference table looked up sharply.  "Get them!" screamed John Cornyn's Legislative Director.

"Run!" screamed Constantine, pushing his girlfriend behind him.  "Run!"  He pushed her again until she actually started running, thinking he was close behind her, but zombie teeth were already sinking into his arm.  "They're real!" he gasped.  The Gopper gave it all he had, but he was no match for the Zombie Caucus, and only Ann Bishis got out alive.

A mile to the east, the woman responsible for pharmaceutically, accidentally creating most of Washington's zombies (with a little help from Ardua of the Potomac), Barbara Hellmeister, was just leaving work at her underground bunker, a quarter-mile beneath the Washington Times building.  The scientist formerly known as Basia Karbusky, and still on the FBI Most Wanted List (though now down to 8,942), had risen to second-in-charge at the CIA's secret interrogation chamber.  The granddaughter of a Nazi scientist, she was now going by "Barbie Bucephalus", though her colleagues called her The Stork because of her long legs and her ability to deliver.  She compulsively reached into her bag again to make sure her grandfather's journal was tucked safely into it, then got into the elevator that would take her up to the newspaper offices, where she could then exit to the parking lot with her Washington Times ID badge still hanging around her neck.  After over a year of success with the CIA, she had been hoping that her techniques could advance her further in the scientific community, but she now had to face the fact that the Senate Torture Report (and the CIA's failure to stop it!) would keep her underground for the conceivable future.  She missed owning a farm, she missed Mega Moo, she missed being her own boss, and she missed having a boyfriend.  Maybe it's time to make a change, she thought, getting into her car.

Out in the river, Ardua of the Potomac disagreed.  I've gotten really fond of this wicked town!

COMING UP:  Mistletoe Misgivings

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Human Rights Day?

"It doesn't matter if you're in the CIA Torture Report or not!" exclaimed Henrietta ("Button") Samuelson.  "I just don't want to get serious."  Her father had always told the Chair of the Heurich Society not to date men in the CIA, and now she finally had a good excuse to break it off.

The former CIA agent sharing a quick burrito with her at District Taco protested vehemently.  "Haven't I always been good to you?!  Don't I always support you in the meetings whenever other people are criticizing you?!"

"I don't have time for this!  Operation Ukulele is starting in an hour!"

"Uh, about that."

"What?" asked Samuelson.

"I just got a text from my buddies saying the heat is turned up too high to do renditions right now."

"We didn't hire them to take her to a secret CIA prison and torture her!  We just want her on a plane back to Ukraine!"

"It's not that simple right now.  For one thing, they can't even find a pilot willing to do black ops flights anymore.  We're just going to have to come up with another plan."

"Darja has gone as bonkers as Beckmann!  We have to wash our hands of them as rapidly as possible!"

"What if we planted evidence in their apartment linking them to torture sessions in Poland?"

"What are you talking about?  Every torture session is accounted for and documented already!"

"Not ALL of it," said the former CIA agent sheepishly.

"What do you know about it?  You just told me you weren't involved!"

"Of course he was involved!" yelled the ghost of her father, Henry Samuelson.  "The only thing you've confirmed is that he's not in the report!"  (Samuelson--who had never hesitated to assassinate targets in cold blood during his own CIA days--agreed with those interrogation experts that torture was a waste of time.)  (Assassinations were a much better use of time--that and overthrowing governments.)

His daughter could not hear him, but she felt a cold breeze on the back of her neck.  "Did you torture people?" she asked.

"It wasn't torture!  It was enhanced interrogation!" he protested.

She dug her fingers into his nostrils, tilted his head backwards, and used her other hand to start shoving chili beans into his nose.  "What did you do?!" she screamed.  He pushed her away roughly, and grabbed a napkin to blow his nose into.

"Dude!" a horrified onlooker exclaimed.  "Are you OK?"

"Oh, he's fine!" exclaimed Button Samuelson.  "I'm just doing enhanced interrogation--he has no objection, and it will stop as soon as he answers my questions!"

A few miles to the south, ersatz mail-order bride Darja was preparing another Ukrainian stew for Glenn Michael Beckmann, who was busy reading the CIA Torture Report.  "Wow!" he called yet again from his computer.  "This really reminds me of those great stories about Pol Pot!  Show no mercy!"

Darja (a Russian posing as a Russian-speaking Ukrainian) walked out of their Southwest Plaza kitchen.  "Taste this," she said, shoving a wooden spoon into his mouth.  "You want more onion?"

"Whew!" exclaimed Beckmann, tears already forming in his eyes.  "That's enough onion! Your pregnancy cravings are getting wicked!"

"Why you say this?" she demanded.  "My baby not wicked!"  (She was very defensive about her demonic hysterical false pregnancy.)

"I just meant you're craving too much spice and too much onion!  Maybe you should start cooking separately for me?"

"Never!" she screamed.  "Never, never, never!  You no want my cooking, I take baby back to Ukraine!"

"Hey, settle down!" Beckmann said.  "I'm not angry at you--I'm just having trouble with your cravings."  She quieted down enough to let him put his arms around you.  "Wow, for a minute I thought you were going to knock me to the ground and start feeding me stew through the other hole, woman!"

"That's ridiculous!" said Darja, who had grown up poor and would never waste food.  "Only cheap things should be used for torture--like bleach and ammonia!"

"On that we can agree, my sweet ukulele!"

Back downtown, the Justice Department's torture expert, Atticus Hawk, settled in for another long night with a bag of Red Bull, empanadas, and jelly beans.  And Angela de la Paz, for the first time in a very long time, sought out Ghost Henry.

COMING UP:  Congressional whacks.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Down by the River

Washington Water Woman had to rehearse all weekend to perform tonight at the Kennedy Center Honors.  (I was there undercover to protect the honorees from Ardua of the Potomac, who, as you all know, is 100 times stronger during the full moon.)  Hope to get back to blogging next weekend!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Goats, Dragons, and Monkeys

The Christmas tree was now up at the Arlington home for the mentally challenged, despite Larry's protests that it should never go up until after Pearl Harbor Day.  ("One holiday at a time!")  ("That's not a holiday:  it's a day that will live in infamy!")  ("It's already lived in infamy!")

Last Christmas, former CIA operative Cedric still believed he was a British spy, but he had now dropped the British accent, stashed Aloysius (his teddy bear) in his bedroom closet (except during thunderstorms), and was not regaling anybody with tales of Father Christmas, Scrooge, or his 1997 heroic take-down of a Russian plot to use flying reindeer to drop napalm on Windsor Castle's festively lighted holly bushes.  No!  He was an American again!  And he had developed a suspicion that their psychologist, Leo Schwartz, was secretly Santa Claus.

"I really want to see Prudence again," Cedric said, trying once more to climb onto Dr. Schwartz's lap.

"Please stay in your own chair," replied the psychologist, pushing Cedric forcibly into the other office armchair.  "Are you referring to that governess?"

"Yes!" sighed Cedric.  "I've been good, haven't I?  I do all my chores and take my meds and everything."

"Yes, you've been good," agreed Dr. Schwartz, "but you can't simply ask for another human being.  They have their own lives to live."

"But she's a widow!  And she was married to a spy, so she can handle my complicated life."

"Cedric, we've talked about this many times.  You were never a spy.  You were an international field agent for the U.S. Department of Agriculture."  (Cedric actually was a spy, of course, but Dr. Schwartz would never believe that.)

Cedric rolled his eyes and shook his head.  "It doesn't matter.  She didn't know her husband was a spy, either!  And she can't keep living with that Chinese spy!  I need to rescue her, and you can help me!"

"Charles Wu?  The wealthy businessman you think is a spy?"  (Wu actually was a spy, of course, but Dr. Schwartz would never believe that.)

"He is a spy!  He even brags about it!  Hong Kong, Beijing, London--who knows where his true loyalties lie!  She can't live with a man like that!"

"Well, she can't live here," said Dr. Schwartz.

"That's why I need your help," Cedric replied, trying once again to climb into Santa's lap, only to find another push back to his own chair.

"You need to get much better before you can think about getting a place of your own," said Dr. Schwartz, who was slowly losing faith in his own profession, and fearful that these patients would be drugged the rest of their lives.  "Let's set a new goal for this week:  I want you to write me a one-page summary of your final USDA assignment, the goat-breeding project in Morocco."

Cedric rolled his eyes and shook his head again:  some "goats" were best forgotten about...forever.

Meanwhile, Charles Wu had, in fact, recently returned from a very important trip to Beijing which had coincidentally coincided with President Obama's own trip to China.  Feeling rather anti-British these days, he had regaled his Chinese hosts with quite a bit of British intelligence, packaged with the American tidbits.  Then he had collected his daughter (Delia) and contractor (Liv Cigemeier) from their respective visits (Delia to Hong Kong, to visit her grandmother, and Liv to the Philippines, to check on post-typhoon rebuilding projects that were a cover for his Malaysian spy operations).  After returning to Washington in a private jet, Wu had "enjoyed" Mrs. Higgety-Cheshire's first attempt at an American Thanksgiving dinner--the first ever at which he had seen a turkey cut into 50 pieces and tossed into a pot of boiling water.  (But the potatoes and pies were good.)  Delia had missed Mrs. H-C very much while she was in Asia and her governess was on holiday back in England, and Wu was struggling with the feeling that he really needed to find a step-mother for his daughter.  Someday, Mrs. H-C would have grandchildren and want to be back in England with them, and then what?  Perhaps his mother was right--he should just let her find him a bride from Hong Kong.  Yet, after a lifetime of masquerades, he was not sure he could pull that one off.

"Don't do it," said Angela de la Paz, entering his home office unannounced.

"Don't do what?" he asked.

"I had a vision about you," said Angela, who had just returned from a spy mission she had done for him in Russia.  She handed him a small envelope with three flash drives in it, and sat down without commenting on them.

Wu looked at her with raised eyebrows, since the last two times she had visions about him, his life had been at risk.  "And?"

"Don't do an arranged marriage."

Wu shook his head.  "How did you know about that?"

"I had a vision."

"That's a peculiar thing to have a vision about."

"I'm just the messenger," said Angela.

"What's the message?" asked Wu, wondering if her telepathic abilities were still growing...and how much more she would push back against his work.

"Just that," she said.  "You need to be focused on something else."

"What?" Wu asked.

"I don't know," said Angela, "but you can't find a replacement for Delia's mother--not like that.  You need to change your life."

"Could you be more specific?" he asked.

She shook her head at the growing darkness in him.  "You spend a lot of time gathering intelligence on other people.  You need to spend some time gathering intelligence on yourself."  Angela stood up.  "I'm gonna go play with Delia for awhile.  Let me know when you've finished looking at those drives."

Wu frowned as she departed his office.  People had always adored him.  Nobody could ever resist his charm.  He was successful at everything he chose to do.  And Angela was telling him there was something wrong with wanting to find a stepmother for his motherless child?  There's nothing wrong with me.

Next door, their Thanksgiving holiday visits over, Liv Cigemeier finally had time to show her husband photos from her trip to the Philippines.  "Here's Lucas with a monkey."

"A monkey!" exclaimed Felix Cigemeier.  "You chase squirrels away from him in the park, but you're OK with a monkey?!"

"It was somebody's pet--it didn't have rabies or anything."

"You know that's where ebola came from, right?"

"In Africa!"

"It's the principle!"

"He had a great time," said Liv, smiling at their baby crawling around the carpet.  "But he missed you, of course."

"Well, he wouldn't have seen much of me last week, with the drone practice exploding again," Felix said, referring to the panicked run of clients he saw after another Washington Post exposé on drone problems.  "Honestly," he whispered, as if somebody might be listening in, "I think we should stop flying."

"Stop flying?"

"I think we should stick to trains and cars.  People are launching these drones all over the place, and you don't need a pilot license to do it."

"Why won't the government crack down on them?"

"Because Prince and Prowling is being paid to lobby against that," said Felix, without a touch of irony.  "That's just the way the world is."

Several miles away, former Senator Evermore Breadman was hiding from his wife's relatives at his Prince and Prowling office.  "That's just the way the world is," he said to his speaker phone.

"Well, we're in power now, and we've got diddly squat to spend!" whined Congressman John Boehner over the speaker phone.  "Seven of the thirty largest U.S. corporations pay more money to their CEOs than they pay in U.S. taxes?!  How are we supposed to do anything?"

"Tea Party doesn't want you to spend any money, my friend.  Just pass some laws against flag-burning and that sort of thing."

"Very funny."

"Look, the Tea Party keeps whining about taxes, but the little people need to keep funding this government unless you get rid of all those corporate tax shelters.  You really wanna do it?  You can do it, my friend, but then those big corporations won't fund your re-election campaigns.  It's very simple:  corporate America pays for elections, not government."  Breadman waited for Boehner to say anything, but he just heard sighing.  "Have you heard from the blackmailer lately?"

"Do hogs eat dirt?"

"I don't know--do they eat dirt?"

"Yes, hogs will eat anything," sighed Boehner.

"I think it's time for you to go to the FBI," said Breadman.

"No way!  They'll leak it.  I just gotta find a way."

"Listen, I'll take another look at the agriculture mark-ups and see if we can do some sleight of hand there and find you some extra money.  I think the CIA has a goat-breeding slush fund hidden in the USDA budget."

"Alright," sighed the Speaker of the House.

"Cheer up!" said Breadman.  "You might get to pass a law repealing Obamacare!"

"He'll veto it," sighed Boehner.

Across the street, the White House ghosts were showing off the Christmas tree to the visiting Shackled, while the river rats picked their way through the White House garden gleanings.

COMING UP:  The Heurich Society fails to repatriate Darja.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

PAC a Punch

Henrietta ("Button") Samuelson looked around at the faces of the Heurich Society members and tried to acknowledge their pain.  "I know we were surprised by the last-minute SuperPAC spending from Qatar, but we still managed to get most of our candidates elected."

"We have never been outspent by Qatar before!" hissed Condoleezza Rice over the speakerphone.  (She rarely made it anymore to the rarefied air of the upper meeting room of the Brewmaster's Castle.)

"Yeah, who's next?" asked the international arms dealer.  "Kuwait?  Oprah?  The Bush clan of the U.S. Virgin Islands?"

"Please, please!" implored Samuelson.  "Qatar actually supported some of the same PACs that we did!  And we still had more direct campaign involvement than they could ever dream of."

"What about Taylor Swift?" asked a former U.S. Congressman.  "Did she outspend us?  I heard she's richer than God now."

"I heard she made a deal with the Devil," said the investment banker, "that her cutesy image with the bangs and schoolgirl skirts is just a charade.  That's why she only wears red lipstick!"

"OK, let's get back on track," said Samuelson, rolling her eyes.  "One thing is clear from the election:  marijuana is a growth industry in this country, and our next frontier of investment and social policy.  The more stoned people are, the easier it is to manipulate them--or bypass them completely."

"That's what I always said in Afghanistan!" said the former CIA agent.  "Worst place ever for a war on drugs."

"So we're all in agreement, then?  Operation Bong Song is underway?"  Samuelson looked around at the faces of the Heurich Society members and saw very little agreement, mixed with a decided inability to unite in opposition against her.

"Absolutely!" said the former CIA agent, who was starting to think of a naughty Taylor Swift role-play he might ask Button Samuelson to do with him later.

Meanwhile, Samuelson's Crimea plan had gone horribly amiss over in Southwest.  (Thank Goodness that the Heurich Society members had stopped paying attention to Crimea, along with the U.S. media!)  Darja was so deep undercover as Glenn Michael Beckmann's Ukrainian mail-order bride that she had forgotten all about (a) having been hired by Henrietta Samuelson, (b) being a Russian masquerading as a Russian-speaking Ukrainian, (c) having a secret agenda to coax Beckmann over to Crimea as a Heurich agent there, and (d) how to build bombs.  And so, under the evil influence of the real estate demon living in the parking garage of Southwest Plaza, and believing there was a beautiful giant cockroach growing in her womb, she was content to spend her days cooking and crocheting.  But Beckmann still had a very busy conspiracy theorist career going, not to mention using Beckmann's Bad Asses (and Beckmann's Floral Cushions) to pay the bills.  And so it was, after an odd series of events involving a fake mail box, fake tax return forms, filings attempted with the fake tax return forms, and public urination, Beckmann found himself on a stolen motorcycle, with the Government Printing Office Police in hot pursuit.  Just when he thought he had shaken them for good, and that they had no idea he had zoomed into the Southwest Plaza parking garage, their GPO cop car came careening down the garage ramp.  Both cop car doors flew open at the same time, and both GPO cops leaned out over their respective doors, with their GPO guns aimed straight at Beckmann.

"Freeze, fraudster!" they yelled in unison.  "Federal agent!"  (Even though they had uncanny timing, they had never thought to pluralize their joint-shout.)

Beckmann crouched behind the motorcycle defiantly.  "Go ahead!  Shoot!  I'm sure you're way too accurate to hit the gas tank!"

The two GPO cops looked at each other, nodded, and began walking slowly and quietly towards Beckmann.  Their buddies from the Capitol Police used to laugh at them when they would stop by The Dubliner for a beer after work, but they always knew that nobody was a greater threat to America than people who had it in for the United States Government Printing Office.

Now, as it so happens, Darja's demonic imaginary pregnancy occasionally gave her cravings which led her to go down to the parking garage to lick tires.  She had heard all the commotion and run out just in time to see that her husband was in danger.  Suddenly, her instincts took over and she remembered what to do:  she reached for the gun in her ankle holster, but then realized she wasn't wearing it.  Alright, she thought, it will have to be kung fu.  She crept quietly through the garage to get closer, then started running over nearby cars to build up speed and come at them from a downward trajectory.  Just as the GPO cops suddenly saw her flying through the air at them, the real estate demon became alarmed that they might actually shoot Darja, so it picked up the motorcycle and flung it at the cops, knocking them over.  Darja landed, grabbed one of the dropped guns, and shot them both dead.

"Are you OK, honey?" she asked, rushing over to check on Beckmann.

"What a woman!" he crowed.  Then he kissed her, and it was weird, because she tasted like burnt rubber.

Back at The Dubliner, Congressman Jacques Javert was buying a round of beer for all the Capitol Police officers off duty.  "I missed y'all!" he boomed.  "I can't believe my campaign manager made me spend a whole month traipsing through those damned swamps shaking hands with Cajun hicks!"

"Congrats on your reelection, Congressman!" shouted one of the boys, raising his glass.  "Louisiana's finest!"

Well, this should do it, though Javert, who had just murdered three oil company executives before they even managed to check into their hotel.  About two-dozen cop eyewitnesses for an alibi!  Those bastards can put all the money they want into my campaign, but ain't nobody gonna make me share hookers with 'em or listen to their b.s. about climate change if I don't wanna!

"Hey, boss, can I try on that Rolex for a minute?" asked one officer, who had already had four whiskeys, and couldn't see straight except for the light reflecting off that beautiful gold.

Javert slapped the officer's hand away from his (cursed) Rolex, and in a low, menacing tone, said, "get back to your beer, boy!"

Down at his feet, a river rat licked his lips and waited eagerly.

COMING UP:  Cedric gets inspired.

Sunday, November 02, 2014


Charles Wu had come to America as a triple agent (Beijing, Hong Kong, Great Britain) for the purpose of unlocking the most important secrets in the nation's capital.  To execute this plan, he had built a huge network of spies and informants, both human and technological.  However, he enjoyed nothing better than learning a secret himself, straight from the source.  Nobody could resist his charm, comeliness, cunning, charisma, and chi.  And though it had taken a great deal of money, time, and effort, Wu had not only ingratiated himself into many of D.C.'s power circles, he had risen to the master ranks in a number of secret and semi-secret societies, including the Freemasons, the Trilateral Commission, the Star Chamber, the Seekers, the Cherry Blossom Cherubs, the Church of Scientology, the New Order of Malta, the Knightum Templarum, the Sunny Moonies, the Shriners, and the Paw Paw Phalanx.  (The latter involved a secret ceremony in which mushy paw paw fruit had to be placed in every orifice of the human body, though Wu had used his chi power to persuade them that he only needed to eat it.)

Wu had suffered through rambling speeches about American destiny, astrology, the political war between professional football and professional baseball, the Islamic Crescent and Star of David supposedly hidden on the dollar bill, the secret atheist agenda of Farmers' Markets and community yard sales, America's hidden addiction to chick pea salad and kale chips, and the responsibility of alien implants for all four Presidential assassinations.  Wu had skinny-dipped in the Reflecting Pool at midnight, rappelled up the Washington Monument at 2 a.m., urinated through the White House fence at 4 a.m., and crowed like a rooster at the dawn's first gleaming over the Capitol.  Nonetheless, today's initiation ceremony was finally testing the limits of how far Wu was willing to go to spy on Washington's power brokers.

"Live leeches?" asked Wu.

The Grand Extractor of the Shock and Awe Political Action Committee (SAAPAC) nodded and repeated his instruction that Wu take off his shirt.

"On my stomach?"

The Grand Extractor nodded again.  "No guts, no glory.  You have to prove you're willing to sacrifice from the gut."

Now Charles Wu was more willing than most people to sacrifice from the gut, having done a fecal transplant for former Senator Evermore Breadman, but that procedure had been under sedation, in a lovely European spa.  This procedure was going to be lying on an American flag placed on a pile of dead leaves in the dead center of the dead Congressional Cemetery.  Wu looked around the group, hoping this was a joke.

"Didn't you have leeches in Hong Kong?" asked one man.  "Wasn't that part of your culture?"

"Lying in a cemetery while leeches suck blood out of my abdomen?  No, sir, that was not part of my culture."

"Well, we've all done it," said the Grand Extractor.

Wu looked around one more time.  He adjusted the cuff links on his white silk shirt (tailored in London), exhaled deeply, and told them he had decided to start his own political action committee.

A mile away, law clerk Wince was pacing his Supreme Court office, having just read a blackmail letter concerning his secret engagement to Bridezilla.  "Bloody leeches!" he exclaimed, pounding his right fist into his left hand.  "Is it somebody in this office?"  He started running through his list of coworkers, any of whom might rise in importance if Wince were to be dethroned as Justice Prissy Face's favorite "confirmed bachelor".  He sat down, then jumped back to his feet.  "Is it Marcy?  She could be angry that I rebuffed her advances.  Or Melvin?"  Wince was hampered in his deductions (as Congressman John Boehner had similarly been hampered when first blackmailed by the same person) by the perplexity of not actually receiving any demands from the blackmailer...at first.  "Or Manuel?  Still pissed off that I wouldn't try his mother's Twinkie chili?"  Wince sat down again.  "They haven't told him yet.  What do they want?"

Back at home, The Tarantula was smiling, remotely listening to Wince fret over the bug planted in his office.  The Tarantula had planted a wave of bugs all over the Supreme Court offices before selecting Justice Prissy Face as the easiest target to influence this term.  This is gonna be a walk in the park! he thought.  Then he began hearing something odd from the listening device:  Wince's speculating whether he was being blackmailed by somebody from Clarence Thomas's office.  "First they make me have nightmares that Thomas is a zombie, now this!  How are they doing it?"

Over at Prince and Prowling, former Senator Evermore Breadman took a few more gulps from his bourbon bottle, placed two fresh leeches on his ankles (circulation trick he learned in Saigon), pulled his socks up, and marched back into the War Room.  "OK, how are we doing on the Saudi team?"

"Eighteen more PAC donations, five more SuperPAC donations."

"And thus?" Breadman asked, turning to his Qatar point person.

"They countered with nine more PAC donations and two more SuperPAC donations--big ones--against the Saudi candidates."

"Big Oil?" Breadman asked, moving to the center of the room.

"Approaching $50 million--twenty of that is through our secret PACs."

Breadman rubbed his hands in glee.  "What have you got?" he asked, turning to the Wall Street and pharmaceutical team before making his way over to the defense contractor team.

A few minutes later, Breadman was heading back to his office.  "God, I love this country--and McCutcheon vs. FEC!" he exclaimed, stopping at his Wall of Me to move the photo with Harry Reid down to the bottom.  (His photo with Mitch McConnell was in the filing cabinet, of course--ready to come out if need be.)  In his office, he found Chloe Cleavage in an obscene Statue of Liberty Halloween costume.  She knew that Breadman was always feeling his oats at election time, and once Chloe Cleavage had started blackmailing the firm about all her sexual shenanigans, Breadman saw no reason to resist temptation ever again.

"Is there any SuperPAC you can't grow bigger?" she cooed, grabbing his huevos.

"Not if I have your help!" he replied, perfectly willing to put up with her usual shtick to have a quickie on his leather couch.

Over on Capitol Hill, coroner John Constantine had managed to sneak back into the Rayburn House Office Building without the help of his girlfriend, Ann Bishis.  (Congressman Herrmark's chief of staff was on the campaign trail.)  They had debated for weeks about the evidence they had found in the first sweep, and could not agree.  He knew she just didn't want to face it.  "Zombies, and witches, and bears--oh, my," he whispered to himself, poking his flashlight into dark corners.  "What is going on here?"  He stopped in the 3rd floor men's room to relieve himself, never feeling the leech crawling over his shoe and up his leg.  This is the creepiest place on Earth, he thought...but John Constantine would not have to put up with it much longer.

COMING UP:  Heurich Society outspent by Qatar, vows revenge!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Washington's secret haunted house party!

It was Joey Bent Oak who had first said something about using his haunted house as a Halloween attraction, but after some consideration, Angela de la Paz had come up with a new plan for exorcising the wicked ghosts unwilling to depart upper Georgetown for the Afterlife.  Joey's adoptive parents, Golden Fawn and Marcos Vazquez, were extremely resistant to the idea for some time, but Angela's supernatural powers had kept them safe this long, so at last they had consented to turning their haunted house into a Halloween haunted house party--for ghosts.  Joey was disappointed he would have to miss it--since it was his idea!--but he was still just a child, and Angela insisted on his parents taking him away during the event.  So here she was, now, entering the Dreamtime, to summon all the ghosts she knew in D.C. to come on over.

Ghost Henry was the first to arrive, since he was always happy to win brownie points with Angela, his one-time Project Cinderella.  Then Ferguson and Regina showed up from the White House, with Ghost Dennis not far behind.  Then a large contingent of The Shackled showed up, followed by Ghost Pippin.

"Fergie!  Reggie!"  Ghost Dennis was already trying to rein in the twin pre-schoolers from running amok, but Angela told him to let the imps run wild.  Soon they were overturning chairs, swinging on the dining room chandelier, and chasing Ghost Pippin (a deceased cat) while making loud barking noises.

Just as Angela had anticipated, the resident ghosts became enraged at this invasion of their home, and came flying out of the attic in a fury--only to be met by the stern admonitions of the Shackled that it was time for those ghosts to go seek atonement for all the evil they had perpetuated in this house.

What Angela had not anticipated was that Joey had broken his promise not to tell anybody at school that they were going to have the craziest Halloween haunted house party ever held in D.C., much less anticipated how rapidly this news would spread.  The first surprise guest to arrive was real estate tycoon Calico Johnson, with a date from N.U.T.T.Y. (Nannies United to Take Y-chromosomes).  They were dressed as Antony and Cleopatra.

"Are you sure this is the right place, Cal?"

"Yes!  They said it was a secret, so I guess that's why they don't have any decorations outside."

"It's a lovely house!" his date replied, and they went inside to discover Angela de la Paz lying down on the living room sofa in a trance.

"Well, that's kind of creepy," said Cal.  And then Regina and Ferguson shoved the coffee table into has shins, and his date screamed.

The next guest to arrive was Slow Man, dressed up as a yellow banana.  "It's so quiet in here!" he exclaimed, hoping there would be karaoke.  The ghost of Henry Samuelson recognized him immediately as a spy, and began interrogating Slow Man about his Kurdish contacts in Turkey, which to Slow Man sounded like faint whisperings in his ears.  Slow Man had no peripheral vision in the banana suit, and kept spinning around trying to figure out who was talking to him.  Ghost Pippin took advantage of Ghost Henry's distraction to urinate ghost pee on Ghost Henry, who screamed and threw the cat across the room.

Then Judge Sowell Ame arrived, with his 10-year-old niece in tow.  (She was dressed in some type of "Frozen" costume which he didn't understand, and she had insisted her uncle wear his chamber robe, carry her magic wand, and pretend to be a Hogwarts wizardry professor.)  Now Judge Ame did not live very far away, and he had his own (not too troublesome) ghosts--which had followed him to this party, and were quickly accosted by the resident ghosts trying to evict them.

At this point, Giuliana Sunstream showed up to take notes, because she would be having a FABULOUS Halloween party of her own in NoMA the following weekend.  She and her toy Maltese "Vegas" were both dressed as snow leopards, and Ghost Pippin immediately hissed and jumped up at Vegas with her little ghost claws out.  Vegas started barking furiously, leaped out of Sunstream's arms, and landed--with his own claws out--on Yellow Man's banana suit, which started peeling downward.

It was at this point that television reporter Holly Gonightly arrived, cameraman in tow, to film D.C.'s most secretive and amazing haunted house party.  Angela de la Paz, who had remained in the Dreamtime up until this point, now jumped up from the couch--because she had to destroy the camera before it captured any ghost images.  She used her telekinetic powers to hurl the camera against a wall, shattering it into a hundred pieces, and Calico Johnson's N.U.T.T.Y. date screamed.

"Did you see that?" hollered Gonightly to nobody in particular, as her cameraman debated whether to retrieve his camera or not.

Meanwhile, the resident ghosts were fed up with all the chaos, and somebody had to die!  They grabbed the little "Frozen" girl (ghosts aren't very strong, and she was the smallest), and tried to fling her through the dining room window, but Angela stopped her in mid-air and deposited her safely on the floor.  Then they jumped onto Calico Johnson's shoulders and screamed at him to kill his girlfriend  before she killed him--which sounded to Johnson like the eeriest whisper he had ever heard.  He reached out his hands to choke his date, but Angela telekinetically tossed Johnson onto the sofa.

"You will never kill another soul here!" screamed Angela, and the guests all jumped back, not seeing whom she was screaming at.  The resident ghosts howled in fury, and flew into the living room windows, shattering them.  "You belong in Purgatory!" she yelled even louder, and then she telekinetically started a fire in the fireplace.  "Now!" she screamed at the top of her lungs, and commanded them with her hands to go into the fire.  Ghost Henry, Ghost Pippin, Ghost Dennis, Regina, Ferguson, and The Shackled surrounded the resident ghosts and started crowding them towards the fire.  "Now!" Angela screamed again, with a clap of her hands, and with that, the resident ghosts flew into the fire, which immediately died out.  The guests and other ghosts were now silent.

Angela exhaled deeply, walked over to the recliner and sank into it.  "You can all go now," she said quietly to the ghosts, momentarily forgetting there were still people present until Slow Man exclaimed how brilliant it all was and began clapping.  Angela got back up from the recliner and looked at the other people, who were all clapping now, though some of them with very shell-shocked looks on their faces.  "Thank you," she said.

"What do we owe you?" asked Judge Sowell Ame, reaching for his wallet.  "That was really scary, and I don't scare easily!"  (His niece had peed in her panties, but he didn't know that.)

"Twenty bucks," said Angela, who saw there was a lot of house damage to repair.

"What about my camera?!" exclaimed the cameraman.

"The insurance will cover it, son," said Judge Ame.  "And you should know better than to try to film a secret haunted house party!"

"Are there any refreshments?" asked Giuliana Sunstream, who was slowly recovering, and knew she could never outdo these special effects, but had a plan for amazingly frightening bowls of Jello.

Ten minutes later, Angela was finally alone in the house...except for the ghost of Henry Samuelson.  She lay down on the sofa and closed her eyes, but that didn't stop him.

"So you sent a couple of evil ghosts to Purgatory--you could be doing more!  You should be in Syria or Hong Kong or--"

"Don't start with me," replied Angela.

"You could be saving a lot more lives!"

"By killing, you mean?"

"It's a lesser evil," insisted Ghost Henry.

"I like doing NO evil," insisted Angela.  "Go back to the CIA."

"Why didn't you try to make the rest of us leave?"

"You're not murderous," said Angela.

"But I was in purgatory," said Ghost Henry.

"I know," said Angela.

"So why didn't you send me back?"

"I haven't had a vision to."

Ghost Henry laughed, shook his head, and flew away without another word.

Angela lay back down on the sofa, listening to the wind whistle through the broken glass.  She had a colossal headache, but the house was finally free.

COMING UP:  Leeches.