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, November 22, 2015

Psychotic nightmares and other legal non-billables.

It was the Trojan War, though Laura Moreno was uncertain whose side she was on.  A battle had just ended, but she was uncertain who had won.  The king was laying off staff, and it was unclear whether she would keep her job.

Then she was reminded that she should have died in battle, anyway.  Destiny had been inappropriately altered!  The honorable thing would be to hang herself.

She walked up to the scaffold and placed the noose around her neck.  Nobody else was there, but she felt them all staring at her anyway.  Honor demands it.

But why?  She couldn't remember!  She could be dead in a minute if she did this.  Honor demands it!  But why?  She couldn't remember the battle.  She didn't understand the war.  She was terrified of dying.  

If somebody wants me dead, they'll have to do it themselves!  She took the noose off and walked away.

Then she woke up from the nightmare in a cold sweat.  She couldn't deny it anymore:  she would die if things stayed the same at the law firm.  She had to walk away from that noose.

A few miles to the north, Prince and Prowling's other staff attorney, Chloe Cleavage, was in her Northwest condo, clothes-shopping online.  Her neighbor, Stuart, had finished cleaning her bathroom and was now cooking lunch for her.  After that, she would have sex with him as payment for services rendered.  It was a convenient arrangement that kept her apartment clean and her refrigerator stocked without too much trouble to herself.  She didn't worry about STDs with Stuart, and while he wasn't much of a tiger in bed, she had no complaints.

"Lunch is ready, babe," called Stuart from the kitchen.

These little terms of endearment had been creeping in lately, even though they had never actually gone on a date outside of her condo, ever.  She went to the table and was surprised to see lit candles and a vase of roses.  He met her surprised look with:  "I thought we could talk about taking our relationship to the next level."

"We don't have a relationship," Chloe said, sitting down to dig into the food, hoping that would be the end of it.

"Come on!" he said.

"It's just an arrangement:  I give you milk, and you clean the barn."

"Why are you comparing yourself to a cow?" asked Stuart.  "You're beautiful!"

"That's not the point," said Chloe.  "This is just a simple arrangement.  They're won't be another level."

"You're closed off emotionally," said Stuart, who had been reading a lot of relationship books lately.  "I think it's because of your job at Prince and Prowling."

"I love my job!" protested Chloe, a little too vehemently.  "It was a little stressful when the IRS did that raid, and I was in trouble for awhile with the Managing Attorney, but things are almost back to normal."

"What IRS raid?" asked Stuart, and then Chloe realized she never really told Stuart anything--he basically knew she put in a lot of hours as a staff attorney at a large law firm, and that was it.

"It doesn't matter--we're not having this conversation.  We eat, and then we have sex, and then you go home to watch football."

"Why couldn't I stay and watch football here--or something you want to watch?""

"I have to go to the office," she lied.

"That's what you said yesterday."

"It was also true yesterday."

"We're not getting any younger," said Stuart.  "Why don't we make it official and get married?"

"Get married?!" gasped Chloe.  "What do you think this is:  a reality show?"

"I guess you're hoping for Mr. Right to come along, but I think we're good together.  After what happened in Paris, don't you think life is short and we should just enjoy what we have together?!  Maybe we could have a kid!"

"I can't have a baby!  I sold all my eggs."


"I sold all my eggs.  I bought this condo in cash."

Stuart got up and turned away from Chloe to compose himself.  His half-baked dreams that she would fall in love with him and give him a family were crashing and burning fast.

"This omelet is really good," Chloe said.  "Why don't we forget this conversation and go back to how things were before?"  Stuart sat back down, undecided.  "We can play that game you like, where I'm a Supreme Court justice," added Chloe, nudging him under the table with her toes until Stuart smiled.

Out in Virginia, Prince and Prowling's contract attorney, Paul, was facing his own moment of truth.  His boyfriend was tired of Paul's sleeping with the boss (Prince and Prowling junior associate Bridezilla), and they had gotten into a big argument the night before about Paul's bisexuality, as well as the danger of continuing the relationship.  Sure, Paul could lose his job if he said no to Bridezilla, but what if somebody questioned the billing?  Paul was being paid more than other contract attorneys because of his foreign language skills, but that was rarely what Bridezilla was actually using him for!  Who did Paul think would get in trouble--a law firm associate who was friends with people like Carlos Slim and John Boehner, or a contract attorney who was friends with the owner of Level One?

But this was no longer the only issue.  Paul had been planning to leave Bridezilla's place after she fell asleep on the couch, but she was obviously having another nightmare.  Should he wake her up?  Or at least be there when she woke up?  He texted his lover to pick him up in an hour.

She was back in Charlottesville, roped into representing an old friend at trial.  She had never actually gone to trial before, and while she welcomed the experience, she was not thrilled that her first trial was a malpractice case against a plastic surgeon.  (Not the kind of case that would help her run for office someday!)  Her friend claimed to have spent a fortune for years' worth of surgery to reconstruct her chin (horribly disfigured in a freak curling iron accident), and it still didn't look very good!  (Bridezilla thought her friend's chin looked fine, but what could she do?  The trial had already begun!)  Bridezilla was still trying to finish eating her salad, hoping the judge wouldn't notice, even while calling more witnesses to the stand.  Every question she asked was too complicated for the witnesses to understand, and she had to keep restating them.  She finally rested her case, and then realized she had completely forgotten to call the plastic surgeon as a witness!  But he was called by the defense, and she realized she would therefore have a chance to get to the doctor on cross-examination!  But when it came time to ask for a cross-examination, the judge refused her because he wanted to wrap things up in time for poker night!  Just as Bridezilla was protesting that ruling, the plastic surgeon turned into a pig and started running around the courthouse, oinking, and she thought, "now how will I ever question him!  It's too late!"

"You okay?" Paul asked, as Bridezilla suddenly sat up with a cry.

"He's a pig!  It's too late!" she sobbed.

"It was just a nightmare," Paul said, sitting beside her on the couch.

"I'll never be able to run for office!"

"What?  Hey, wake up!"  Bridezilla came to her senses, looked around, then looked at Paul.  "It was a bad dream, that's all.  Let me get you some water."  

She watched as he headed to the kitchen for ice.  What the Hell am I doing with my life? 

Back in the city, Bridezilla's two-time ex, Wince, was ready for revenge five months after their (second!) canceled wedding.  Just a few more keystrokes, and it would all be in motion.  He looked out the window at the gray, cold sky.  "Perfect!" he said to himself.  He took the final measures, and then it was done:  the impostor Facebook page went up for Paul's engagement to Bridezilla (full of the photos Wince had hacked out of Bridezilla's cloud account), and then the "save-the-date" email went out from Bridezilla's hacked email account to a couple hundred people.  "If that's who you dumped me for, it's about time everybody knows!" he said triumphantly, savoring the moment.  And then he started watching the Facebook page to see what would be posted by Bridezilla's friends, enemies, and frenemies.

 Over in "NoMa", lifestyle Giuliana Sunstream opened the door of her loft apartment to the guests who had paid $100/person to sample her Thanksgiving entertaining ideas and was surprised to see (and smell) the rumpled appearance of Dubious McGinty at her door.  "Oh, I been reading your blog for awhile now!" the Vietnam veteran said.  "I totally redecorated the bridgeman's quarters using your ideas about soda-pop bottle bird houses, t-shirt throw pillows, and rugs made out of woven plastic bags!  I'm thinking of inviting some people over to celebrate after they kill Ardua of the Potomac!"

"That's nice!" said Giuliana, gritting her teeth, as her toy Maltese ("Vegas") got a good whiff of the river demon stench on McGinty's pants.

The Zombie Caucus and other politicians take a Thanksgiving break.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A United Front

Triple agent Charles Wu took a break from the difficult conversation at hand to look out the window at his young daughter, Delia, playing in the autumn leaves with her grandmother visiting from Hong Kong.  Wu had not intended to return from Asia with his mother, but here she was.  It had been a very productive trip:  the historic meeting between the leaders from Taiwan and Beijing, a stop in Indonesia for Liv Cigemeier to inspect hurricane recovery efforts there, then visits in Hong Kong with Camisole Silk, Apricot Lily, and his mother.  His request for some good luck charms before his return to Washington had somehow led to his mother learning that Wu could see ghosts, had a supernaturally gifted agent, and feared a giant demon living in the Potomac River.  Ha Ling had insisted on returning to the United States to protect her son and granddaughter from the demon herself.

He sat back down with Lynnette Wong and Angela de la Paz, who had both accompanied him on the trip to Asia, to discuss their next move.

"You know there's nothing your mother can do about Ardua," repeated Lynnette.  "I have tried every Chinese trick there is, and they only slow her down a little.  You have to keep your mother out of danger."

"I can keep her out of danger," repeated Angela, tired of the same argument.  "I'll know."

"Which is fine if you're near her, instead of God-knows-where on some spy mission."

"I'll stay in D.C."

"This is going to take a long time," insisted Lynnette.

Wu put up his hands to plead for mercy.  "My mother is not going to do anything crazy, but she's also not going to sit around doing nothing if we don't come up with a plan.  I don't understand why there's a prophecy about Angela killing Ardua, but she still doesn't know how to do it."

"I think I'm still growing in my powers," said Angela.  "I can do things now that I couldn't do a couple of years ago, but I also believe I'm not meant to do it alone.  Ardua gains strength from evil around her--she's like an echo chamber absorbing sounds, increasing them, and sending them back.  We need to reduce her food supply, so to speak, and that means attacking evil in all its forms.  I am trying to do that, but sometimes I wonder if we're all in agreement on that!"

"Why are you looking at me like that?" said Wu.  "I'm not the one blowing up Paris!"

"What makes you so sure that you never have blood on your hands?  You sell secrets to all kinds of people," said Angela.

"Don't start that again!" exclaimed Wu.  "I've been in this business a lot longer than you have!  I know what I'm doing!"

"We all have room for moral improvement," interrupted Lynnette.  "But Angela's right:  there's no magic bullet."

"So where does that leave us?" asked Wu.

Before anybody could answer, the doorbell rang.  Angela said she knew who it was, and got up to let them in.  A minute later, Golden Fawn and the Warrior were sitting in the breakfast nook with them, sipping tea.  "I've worked with them before," said Angela.  "I haven't talked to them much since I started working for you," she added, looking at Wu.

Wu exchanged glances with Lynnette, trying to ascertain if he was hallucinating Golden Fawn's braids and Cheyenne dress...or the fact that the Warrior smelled like the woods and had visible blood stains on his buckskin.  "Your name is 'the  Warrior?'"

"I don't remember my name," said the Warrior.  "It's been over 300 years since I've heard anyone say it."

"The Warrior used to watch over Angela, until she got strong enough to take care of herself," Golden Fawn said (ignoring the shocked looks on the faces of Lynnette and Wu).  "He still watches over me.  He has tremendous gifts.  My husband is a Coast Guard officer, out on the Potomac almost every day.  He is vigilant and careful, but we know we have done very little to stop Ardua.  I'm worried about the murder spree; I'm worried about the politicians; I'm worried about a lot of things in this town.  People compromise and compromise and compromise their ethics until they scarcely have an ethic still standing.  The souls in this town are really in danger."

A couple of blocks away from Wu's Cleveland Park home, the Dog Whisperer was completing a de-ratting session with the able assistance of The Gipper (Washington's premier rat terrier).  Sebastian L'Arche bagged up the vermin (which would make an excellent dinner for the mongoose currently boarded at his house), collected his fee from the happy homeowner (advised to get a cat to prevent future problems), and walked back outside.  Enjoying the crisp air and beauty of the neighborhood, L'Arche decided to stroll around a few blocks before heading out to pick up their evening dogwalking charges.

It was not long before The Gipper stopped in his tracks, staring at Wu's house.  And then L'Arche saw the same thing:  Gipper's deceased son, The Ghost Gopper, who turned to bark a greeting, then resumed watching the house intently with Ghost Anatoly  (the Samoyed) and the other members of their pack of ghost dogs.  Human ghosts were something that L'Arche had figured out a long time ago, but this canine ghost thing still freaked him out.  Then he noticed a flock of starlings were in a tree at the other end of the yard, staring silently down at the house, and the hair stood up on the back of L'Arche's neck.  This house was not haunted, but something was definitely happening.  His bag of vermin started to squirm, and L'Arche slammed the bag into the sidewalk several times to finish off whatever rat was trying to get out.

Inside the kitchen, a spirited debate was underway about the nature of true evil, true morality, and true ethics.  A lack of religious and spiritual agreement was making it very difficult for this newly formed coalition to come up with a strategy for defeating Ardua.  There was even disagreement about which was more evil:  Ardua of the Potomac or her minions running amok in the region.

Angela de la Paz took a break to enter the Dreamtime.  She saw her mother, abuela, Roddy, and Mia.  She helped the dead and distressed of Paris pass over to the other side.  She entered the dream of her young son, napping in the home of his adopted parents next door.  What is the answer?, she whispered to him, but he just smiled and kissed her.  The abrupt screeching of a catbird outside brought Angela back to her waking self, and she found everybody around the table staring at her.  "What the Hell was that?"

"You've been out of it awhile," said Lynnette, brushing the hair out of Angela's face.  "Were you in the Dreamtime again?"

"You didn't hear that?"  Everybody shook their heads no, with a couple of them looking out the window to make sure everything was still alright in the backyard.  Angela went outside, racing around the house until she found Sebastian L'Arche and The Gopper staring back at her.  "Who are you?"

"We were just walking--"

The Gopper lunged against his leash and ran happily over to Angela, who squatted to pet him.  "I guess he likes you," said the Dog Whisperer.

"That's not it," she said.  "I mean, he's terrific, but that's not it.  Something just happened, and he wants to tell me.  I don't understand--something about a bird?"

L'Arche quickly analyzed the situation.  "Well, he killed a bird--not a normal bird."  He watched to gauge her reaction.

"An evil bird," said Angela.  "He ate it, didn't he?"  L'Arche nodded.  "Does he do this a lot?"  L'Arche nodded again.  "There's something wrong here," said Angela, looking around the front yard.

"Do you believe in ghosts?" whispered L'Arche.

Angela smiled and nodded.  "You need to come inside and meet some people."

Across the river, a CIA operative at Langley ordered thirteen more drone strikes in Iraq, determined to kill anybody that didn't look innocent, while a cancer took hold of his lymph system.

Out on the Potomac, in the bridgemaster's quarters, Dubious McGinty shook his fist in manic delight at the demon below him.  "They're comin' for you now, sucka!  They're getting it all together now!  I feel it in my bones!"

On the shoreline of the Georgetown waterfront, Dizzy played "When the Saints Come Marching In" to an appreciate tourist crowd, though they all dispersed rapidly when he put the trumpet down to tell them The Prophecy had just changed!

Out in the water, Ardua listened to the report from the starlings, dismissed them with a shriek of fury, then ordered another batch of river rats into the city to gnaw and scratch and terrorize.

COMING UP:   Psychotic nightmares and other legal non-billables.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Drawing New Battle Lines

"This is war!" exclaimed Dick Cheney, who had recently taken over the Heurich Society by assassinating its former chair (Henrietta "Button" Samuelson).

The nervous members sitting around the table in the upper floor meeting room at the Brewmaster's Castle said nothing--mostly because Cheney was always going to war with somebody about something, but also because they were having trouble swallowing the heart-healthy, rice-cake, carob-chip brownies that Lynn Cheney had sent for the meeting.  (They really missed Button's pies, cupcakes, and cookies.)

"Isn't anybody as riled up as I am about this?!" whined Cheney.

"You mean the XLKeystone pipeline veto?"


"Russia bombing Syria?"


"Bush 41 calling you an iron ass?"

"No!" Cheney yelled, sarcastically.  "The New England Patriots must be stopped!  This is Denver's year to win the Super Bowl!"

Condoleezza Rice cackled and crackled over the speaker phone, laughing hard.  "Oh, Dickie, you are too much!"  (Rice was running a long-term plan to take over the NFL:  Operation Cajun Rice.)

"Bush knows 'Iron Ass' is my wife's pet name for me!" exclaimed Cheney.  "This gross abuse of personal trust must be avenged!"

"Oh, so that is the war?" asked the former CIA officer, for clarity.

"We also need to stop Tom Brady, but we can do that later," said Cheney.  "Bush must die!"

"He's like a hundred years old," said the investment banker.  "And he keeps jumping out of airplanes.  I really think we need to get back to the petroleum wars.  The Attorney General of New York is investigating Exxon for lying about climate change.  If that's not a war, I don't know what is!  We need to--"

"I think global warming is great!" said the international arms merchant.  "All this migration and chaos!  Project Prometheus has earned us billions in sales, just as we planned.  I say--"

"But we can't let people know," said a Texas Congressman.  "It has to be a war on terror, because we can't let people know that the Middle East is 500% drier than a thousand years ago and that's what's good for arms sales."

"Look, I'm the one in charge here!" exclaimed Cheney.  "If I say the priority is killing Bush 41, everybody needs to fall in line!"

"Now, Dickie," crackled Condoleezza Rice over the speaker phone.  "He's just selling some books!  And Lynn can come up with a new pet name for you."

"That's not the point!"

"He's got Secret Service protection," said the FBI agent.

"They can be distracted with hookers," said Cheney.  "All we really need to do is the hookers, followed by a drone."

In the corner, the ghost of Henry Samuelson found himself terribly torn.  On the one hand, he was not going to rest until Dick Cheney was executed for the murder of Ghost Henry's daughter, Button.  On the other hand, the idea of Cheney killing Bush 41 was extremely appealing!  Perhaps he could help Cheney do that in Houston, and then make sure Cheney got the Texas death penalty!  Now that would be a nice day's work, ha ha ha ha!

Then Ghost Henry remembered that his son, Dulles, would later hear the tape of this meeting being recorded by spy Charles Wu, and that Dulles was trying to plot his own revenge for Button's murder.  Ghost Henry had never adopted the philosophy "the enemy of my enemy is my friend", but he had to admit to himself that it was a tangled web his son was examining for the first time.  Button had failed to make strategic alliances and was too weak to rule with an iron fist, but at least she had been smart and cynical and wary.  Dulles was soft and full of unabated anger at his father for adopting him clandestinely out of a Chilean political prison.  Could Dulles hate everything his father stood for and still avenge Button?  Ghost Henry knew that Angela de la Paz was helping Dulles to the extent he would let her, but it would be better if Dulles left town altogether.  Ghost Henry thought about his late wife (whom he had never seen since death, since he had only been to Purgatory and then kicked out of Purgatory back to Earth):  she would want him to prioritize protecting Dulles.  Ghost Henry made his way through the crawl space to where Charles Wu's wasp-sized drone was recording the meeting, then oozed ectoplasm until the drone malfunctioned and fell down.

Meanwhile, Barbara Hellmeister (current alias "Betty Brandt") was trapped in a web of her own making.  She had narrowly escaped being arrested in the Capitol Visitor Center only because she had been abducted by members of the Zombie Caucus.  Imprisoned in their secret chamber beneath the Capitol building, Hellmeister was alternately (a) worshiped by alphas for turning them into zombies with her designer drugs a few years earlier and (b) reviled by betas forced into servant-class zombie status by alpha bites.  Like Tom Cruise in the Church of Scientology, Hellmeister was in the ruling class and yet kept prisoner at the same time.  Fed from lunch bags stolen by victims, the tied-up Hellmeister had to watch over and over again as the Zombie Caucus ate raw and bloody human victims right in front of her while discussing tax extenders, Obamacare, Russia, China, and how to match cosmetics to skin tone.  It was the best human science experiment ever, and sometimes she would get teary-eyed thinking about how fascinated her Nazi grandfather would have been to see this!  But the rope burns were getting painful, and she was not a big fan of the astronaut diapers they were putting on her to avoid untying her.  She needed to convince one of these freaks to free her....

A few blocks away, the bicameral Anti-Zombie Caucus was meeting over lunch at Banana Cafe'.  They now knew that John Boehner's chief of staff had been a zombie, but he had not been assassinated by Betty Brandt.  In fact, the bomb she had set off that day in the Capitol had not killed any zombies (only real people), and they had not heard from Brandt since.

"I take full responsibility," said Congressman Herrmark (who, of course, did not mean that at all, and was certainly not going to confess anything to law enforcement).  "The partnership with Betty Brandt was a mistake.  I have not given up on the idea that we might find a scientific solution for efficiently wiping out the Zombie Caucus, but I realize I need to step down as chair of this Caucus and let somebody else take the reins."

There were a lot of sighs, but nobody said anything.  Most were looking at Senator Rand Paul, but he shook his head.

"Look," said Paul, "I haven't lost faith in Herrmark!  Every war has some collateral damage, which is why a good libertarian supports no war that is not absolutely necessary to protect our freedoms.  The American people need us to fight this war!  And a good general must also be willing to take risks.  We all supported Brandt, so we all failed together.  We just need to move on, and if that means rolling up our sleeves and going back to chopping and mopping one zombie at a time, that's what we do.  We're in this together, until all the zombies in Washington are dead and buried!"  And with that, he raised a rummy toast, and the Anti-Zombie Caucus confirmed their faith in Congressman Herrmark.

A couple miles away, Golden Fawn was gearing up for her own war:  the war against Ardua of the Potomac.  For the past year since their Georgetown haunted house had been cleansed, she had been focused on giving Joey Bent Oak as normal a childhood as possible after his earlier years with his alcoholic parents (her relatives) on the reservation.  He was now doing well in school, playing sports, hanging out with friends, and learning sailing with his adopted father, Marcos Vazquez.  They were out on the Potomac now, her guys trimming the sails and oblivious to the cold wind making Golden Fawn hug herself.  Joey was eight now, over the trauma of the haunting, and asking a lot of questions about evil.  She and Marcos had decided last night it was time to tell their son about the greatest evil in Washington...and time to venture outside the comfort of their family and seek allies to make a concerted effort to take on Ardua.  She had been cancer-free for two years and felt stronger than ever.  She was ready.

Fifteen feet below them, Ardua tried in vain to overturn their sailboat, protected as it was by Golden Fawn's medicine bag.  She slithered angrily away to Great Falls--the easiest place to make a kill.  Later, she would work on her plan for Paul Ryan!

COMING UP:  Triple agent Charles Wu returns from Asia with a demon-fighter!

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Saints and Sinners Weekend!

Washington Water Woman is again doing feverish battle with a sinus demon, but hopes to return to blogging soon.  In the meantime, she wanted to teach you that jellyfish stings are another way to kill zombies in Washington, DC--

Saturday, October 24, 2015

GOP brawls and other sources of bloodshed in Congress!

The Gopper Ghost, Ghost Anatoly (the Samoyed), and other members of the ghost dog pack of D.C. were pacing anxiously around the living room of Congressman Herrmark, who was hosting a pre-Halloween party for the Bi-Cameral Anti-Zombie Caucus.

"I've decided to withdraw my run for Speaker of the House," announced Herrmark, to a round of dismayed groans and (unheard-by-humans) howling.  "It's no use!  The Zombie Caucus has clearly thrown its weight behind Paul Ryan now.  And he's got that whole Boy Scout crap thing going for him, so nobody will believe the Zombies are behind him!"

"That's all the more reason for you to stay in the race!" said Senator Rand Paul.  "We can't just roll over and play dead!"  ("Rand!")  "Sorry, poor choice of words."

"We have no evidence that Paul Ryan is a zombie, himself," said Ann Bishis, Congressman Herrmark's Chief of Staff.  "But we're not sure about his Chief of Staff or his wife."  ("Ryan's wife, or the Chief's wife?") ("He is from Wisconsin and plays Euchre--he's too nice to be a Zombie!")  ("Well, that's no proof of anything!")  

"Ann is monitoring Ryan and all his associates very carefully," said Herrmark.  "And we may have to cede the Zombies this victory, but the war is far from over!  Actually, we have good news to report in that regard.  Our scientist, Betty Brandt, is ready to set off her first biomarker anti-zombie neutron bomb at the Capitol!  This will be a very small-radius test run, but I'm very excited about it!"

Meanwhile, Congressman John Boehner was in the Speaker's office packing up some personal things.  "You want this Cincinnati Bengals Super Bowl ring?" he said to his bodyguard, Solomon Kane.  "It's a fake, but some of my staffers have enjoyed wearing it to bars.  I was going to give it to the Chief, but he's constantly wearing gloves lately--says he has a skin condition."

"Sure, thanks, boss!"

"Oh, here's my first screenplay for a TV pilot that combines 'Game of Thrones', 'House of Cards', and 'Charlie's Angels'!  I wrote it during those budget negotiations--otherwise I would have fallen asleep.  All those tedious, fake arguments that nobody takes seriously about keeping open military bases that the Army doesn't even want."

"Charlie's Game of Cards?" asked Kane, picking it up.

"You can keep that," said Boehner.  "I've written a better screenplay now:  "Lola."

"What's that about?"

"A heroic Congressman from Ohio rescues a beautiful Cuban girl from Raul Castro's harem, and together they work secretly to re-open the island to capitalism."  ("Hmm.")  "It's got lots of rum, gambling, old-time cars, halter-top dresses--but tasteful and conservative, not decadent.  Sometimes they go to church."

"Sure," nodded Kane.  "I'd watch it!"

"The hero keeps a secret gift from Pope Francis in his pocket at all times.  It gets stolen in the pilot episode, but he tracks the thief all the way to Cuba."

"I think this Charlie thing might be good, too, boss."

"I might re-do that one as a reality show someday.  I just feel like something's missing," sighed Boehner.

"Women don't wear halter-top dresses in the Capitol!" joked Kane, but Boehner did not think that was funny, and gave himself a bad paper cut by shoving papers too forcibly into a file folder.

"Shit on a spatula!" exclaimed the Speaker of the House.

Kane, feeling remiss in his bodyguard duties, grabbed the bleeding finger and put it into his own mouth to suck.  Boehner was close enough to smell Kane's shampoo and stare deeply into his eyes, so he surrendered meekly to his man-crush, wondering what he could possibly do after he left Congress that would justify keeping this bodyguard around.

Outside the Capitol, Boehner's Chief of Staff was driving down Constitution Avenue, heading into the office.  Conspiracy blogger and militiaman Glenn Michael Beckmann had identified Boehner's Chief as the organizer of a secret Cuba Caucus in Congress, and so this Chief had to die!  Beckmann had been tracking the man's car on D.C. Police public camera surveillance for ten minutes (with a little help from a militiaman inside the police force), and was perfectly poised to discreetly roll a hand grenade under the man's car just before he headed to the parking garage.  Beckmann pretended to panic like everybody else nearby when the car exploded and flipped over, and so he was running away and did not see the pile of maggots crawl out of the Chief's skull as it crashed to the pavement.  Only later would he realize he had killed his second Congressional zombie chief of staff!

Meanwhile, Barbara Hellmeister (current alias "Betty Brandt") was touring the Capitol Visitor Center.  While it was true that she had brought a small neutron bomb to test out today, she had lied to Ann Bishis about having a successful zombie bio-marker.  Her plan was to set it off here--where it at least had a chance to take out a few random FBI agents (she hoped!), and tell the Caucus that the bomb only killed zombies.  The only bio-marker she had placed in it was blood type B-negative, which her Nazi grandfather had written in his notebook was the most genetically inferior blood type.  And so her little bomb, code-named Hurricane Patricia and packed carefully into a TicTac box, was deposited in a trash can just moments after the nearby car explosion, which triggered the Secret Service to order a Capitol lockdown just as Hellmeister would have been exiting the building before "Hurricane Patricia" exploded.  She watched the doorkeepers, hoping they would collapse dead at any moment, but their blood types were of a heartier fare.  She was trapped in here!  She looked around and caught herself in a moment of mild triumph at the elegant elimination of half a dozen inferior human beings (chemically decomposing and melting to the ground), then realized again she had no idea how to escape.

COMING UP:  Saints and Sinners Weekend!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Ardua of the Potomac gets her tentacles dirty....

...because 43 years after the Clean Water Act, we still have politicians underfunding and undermining the Environmental Protection Agency.

So be afraid of the water--a demon is not the only thing lurking there!

Washington Water Woman ran out of time this weekend, but expects to return to blogging soon....

GOP brawls and other sources of bloodshed in Congress! 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The road to revenge begins! (And birthday cake!)

Angela de la Paz said "Happy Birthday!" one more time to Buffy Cordelia, and little Delia said "Happy Birthday!" one more time to Angela, and the joint birthday party for the 21-year-old and 4-year old was over.  Angela gave Delia a kiss and a tight squeeze, picked up her bag of gifts and cake, and waved goodbye to Charles Wu, Lynnette Wong, and Delia's governess.  She walked past the neighbors' house, where the baby boy she had given up for adoption lived, sighed deeply with a bittersweet ache, then continued on to her next rendezvous--an angry, mourning Dulles Samuelson.  No champagne, but maybe tequila....

Several miles away, Barbara Hellmeister was popping a champagne bottle for herself--or, rather, a bottle of sparkling wine from the Rhine Valley.  She had just tested a bio-targeting neutron bomb that successfully killed all the squirrels in her backyard, and every other backyard on the block of dilapidated Southeast rowhouses she was currently hiding out in.  The birds and insects were all still alive, and the handful of humans living in the other houses, but the squirrels were dead as doorknobs!  The money given to her by the Bicameral Anti-Zombie Caucus for this research was not a lot, but she had made significant progress.  (The Caucus knew her as "Betty Brandt", a biochemist, and had no idea that it was her previous experiments under the name of "Basia Karbusky" which had started the zombie epidemic in Washington.)  She sipped champagne, re-read some pages from her Nazi grandfather's notebook, then wrote down some notes in her own.  She looked out on the three squirrels that had fallen dead out of tree branches, knowing there were probably ten more in the bushes she would have to clean up--but sometimes this kind of work did get messy.

But could she create a bio-marker for zombies?  This was the $64,000 question.  And while she did feel a little responsible for the zombie epidemic in Congress, there were other voting blocs in Congress that bothered her a lot more than the Zombie Caucus!  But she couldn't do a bio-marker for those groups unless she got DNA samples from every member, and then, of course, a lot of other people would probably die as well.  So while she was working on analyzing zombie tissue to create a bio-marker for them, she was really more interested in when she might see the FBI Director and his deputies testifying on Capitol Hill--and could drop a 400-foot-radius neutron bomb on them!  But the Anti-Zombie Caucus was getting restless and would probably not give her funding for much longer.  She picked up the phone to call Congressman Herrmark's Chief of Staff and tell her that she had just successfully deployed a bio-targeted neutron bomb, and needed another $100,000 to work on the zombie bio-marker...and buy more explosive materials!

Up on Capitol Hill, former Supreme Court clerk Wince had finally finished and emailed off the memo requested by his Lye, Cheit and Steele boss.  He got himself another snack and sat back down at his personal computer, resolved to make one more attempt to hack into his former fiancĂ©e's cloud account to see whom she was dating.  He had tried every possible password he could think of, and was starting to believe she must be using the name of that very same boyfriend Wince was trying to discover.  He looked at her Facebook one more time for a clue--any clue.  It was impossible she didn't have a new boyfriend by now!  Why was she hiding him?  And that's when it hit him:  she is hiding him!  But why?  She's ashamed of him, or he's somebody that I know, or he's married--no, she would never date a married guy!  He poured more Fritos into his mouth, then started searching Facebook to look for others who had tagged Bridezilla.  It took a quarter-hour, but he finally saw it:  a photo posted by somebody on a trip to Cuba had her tagged in it!  Her Cuba Practices Group trip!  He scanned the photo and then saw him:  the good-looking guy Bridezilla was looking at...tagged "Paul".

He went into the cloud again, and after trying several variations of "Paul", he finally hacked into her account.  After that, it didn't take long to find the pictures.  A total dreamboat of a guy.  Why is she not posting him on her own Facebook?  Ten minutes later, Wince figured out that dreamboat Paul was a lowly contract attorney!  She's dating a loser!  He laughed out loud.  She had broken their engagement--their second engagement!--and was now having a shameful affair with an underling!  He rubbed his hands in glee, pondering how many different ways he could embarrass her with this information.  Then Wince did a little more research on Paul and found some other tags on Facebook which maybe Bridezilla had not seen....Paul is gay?  Bisexual?  Oh, baby!  This is not going to end well for you!

Back in Northwest, Angela de la Paz walked into the late Button Samuelson's apartment.  "How ya doing?" she asked Button's brother, Dulles, whom she had met a few days earlier at the funeral.  He shook his head, and she realized it was a stupid question.  "I brought leftover cake from a 4-year-old's birthday party," Angela said.  "You want some?"  She pulled it out of the bag without waiting for an answer, and got out plates and forks.  She looked around for liquor and found an open bottle of wine.  They sat at the table in silence for a few minutes.

"I've been going through her stuff," Dulles said.  "Somebody went through it before I even got into town.  The computer's wiped."

"The first person was me," Angela said.


"I knew the others would be coming.  I downloaded all her computer files, then wiped the computer.  I grabbed a bunch of other stuff, too."  She handed him a key.  "This is for a small storage locker, but don't go looking for it right away--you're being watched.  It might be easier for me to ship it to you out of state later."  She handed him another key.  "This is for your father's storage locker, same recommendation."  She handed him a  flash drive.  "These are the computer files--I didn't look at any of them."

"So she followed in her father's footsteps and got herself murdered?  Why should I trust you?"

"I brought cake," she said, smiling.  (No effect.)  "Okay, well, there's a lot of stuff I need to explain to you.  Your father--"

"Her father," he interrupted.  "My parents were murdered in a Chilean prison!"

Angela nodded.  "I know.  Henry was in the CIA, then the Heurich Society.  She inherited a lot of his secrets.  She took over the Heurich Society by blackmailing them, and never gained a lot of respect or admiration.  I used to work for Henry before he died:  he's the one that trained me and molded me to be a super spy for Heurich.  I protected Button for awhile, but then she didn't want me around anymore."

"She said you went crazy."

"I have supernatural abilities," she said.  "You can call it crazy if you want."


"I saw Button in the Dreamtime, just after she died.  She came to me, told me Dick Cheney killed her."


"We talked about a lot of things," Angela said, ignoring his sarcasm.  "She had to go to Purgatory, but she'll make it.  Henry's another story."  She sipped some more wine.  "I can't communicate directly with him, but I know he wants revenge for her murder.  He's furious that she's not a ghost with him and he can't even see her."

"Because he's in Hell?"

"He was in Purgatory, but they kicked him out.  He's stuck on Earth for the time being."

"Why are you telling me all this?" asked Dulles.

"Because she was your sister and you loved her.  Maybe you're going to look through all this stuff, and it's going to eat away at you and make you bitter.  She didn't even like her dad, but she wanted to fulfill his legacy anyway--took the same enemies he had.  I don't want to see you go down that path."

"Thank you, great spirit guide!" he sneered.

"That's fine," she said.  "You're going to learn some ugly things about the world when you go through this stuff."

"Uglier than stealing babies and killing their parents?"

"Stuff that's still going on now.  Stuff you will have a reaction to.  Stuff that will scar you and change you."  She pulled out one more item from her pocket.  "Button asked me to give you this charm necklace.  She said you gave it to her as a birthday present when you were both kids."

"She could have told you that at anytime."

"Her mother--your adoptive mother--was also in the Dreamtime.  She asked me to tell you that you're not alone:  you're still loved."


"She said to ask you to burn everything, get married before it's too late, have some kids of your own."

"Okay, then."

"I can look for your Chilean parents in the Dreamtime, if you want me to."  Dulles said nothing, and Angela got up to leave.  "Nobody can hurt you while you're in D.C.--I'll be watching out for you."

"You didn't do a very good job of watching out for Button!"

"She pushed me away and went down the dark path--you're not on it.  I hope it stays that way."

Angela let herself out.  She stood outside the apartment door, sensing the fury on the other side of it--the legacy of Henry Samuelson just wouldn't die.  She walked away, feeling Ghost Henry jabbing at her neck, but she could never hear him.  John Doe would seek her out again and give her another message eventually.  "I'm watching over him, Henry," she whispered.  "Just let it be."

But Ghost Henry would never rest until Dick Cheney was six feet under.