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 6/6//2017. Follow Washington Water Woman on Twitter @HorrorDC ....

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Paz

Angela de la Paz left her sleeping grandmother and walked somberly towards the bus stop. Her grandmother was sleeping more and more, increasingly worn out from the dialysis. After Angela did the housework and cooking, she didn't know what else to do for her grandmother. Angela was raised with so many different religions, she didn't know how to pray. Still, as sick as her grandmother was, her grandmother was more at peace than anybody else she knew.

Angela pulled our her English homework and tried to finish the 4th chapter of "Jane Eyre". Her mind wandered back to her mother, whom she hadn't seen in over a year. Her mother used to read to her...or maybe it had been her older sister, and she just liked to think it had been her mom. They had told Angela that her mom had drowned in the Potomac, but she never believed that. The body was never recovered. How could her mother survive El Salvador, survive the trek through Mexico, survive crossing into the United States, and survive everything that happened afterwards, and then drown in the Potomac? She missed her.

Angela transferred buses and tried to get back into "Jane Eyre". Dr. Rajatala was only supposed to be tutoring Angela in math. It would be too embarrassing to ask for help with "Jane Eyre".

Devi Rajatala sat in the serenity of the Friendship Garden at the National Arboretum, embroidering a sari for her engaged cousin. It was a warm and muggy September day, and she could almost imagine herself embroidering the sari back in Mumbai, sitting on the tiny balcony, desperately trying to catch a breeze through the trees. It felt odd to be doing it here--where she was botanist "Dr. Raj" Monday through Friday--but she needed to get it done. Usually when she was here, she would spend the mornings analyzing hybrids, pests, and growth patterns, then spend the afternoons babysitting the under-privileged teenagers bused in to work in the Friendship Garden. It was a program she had inherited, and she wasn't sure what the benefit was of teaching landless ghetto kids how to grow vegetables and flowers, but the program was growing on her. She wasn't used to being here on a Sunday. She had suggested meeting Angela de la Paz at the downtown library, but Angela had said she would prefer to come here, if that was OK. Devi put down her embroidery for a moment and sniffed at the sweet smell of Japanese honeysuckle. An invasive species, it was relegated to a harmless patch of ground in between giant boulders and a gravel path. Why did the most dangerous plants smell the best?

"Dr. Raj?" It was Angela, her favorite, though it was hard for her to admit it, even to herself. Angela was a natural-born scientist, full of wonder at the natural world and an enormous thirst to learn how things grew--but math was killing her. They went inside and sat down to it. Angela shyly told Devi about the pink warblers she had seen as she walked over from the bus stop--the most beautiful birds ever! Devi smiled but said nothing. There was no such thing as pink warblers. She would have to bring in a bird book later to ask Angela what she meant.

A few miles away, Golden Fawn was slowly waking up from an afternoon nap, the vivid sight of pink warblers fresh in her mind. It was a sign of something, but she had no idea what.

At 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the butler's twins were also waking up from a nap. One of them had dreamt about pink warblers, but the other had dreamt about catbirds. They told each other their dreams in their secret twin babbling language while their baffled mother looked up from her checkbook.

Upstairs, the Commander in Chief was watching football, his devoted wife watching to make sure he chewed carefully before swallowing each pretzel. He had a Presidential Seal notepad at his side, and occasionally jotted down some ideas for fixing things. First, there was this thing with Musharraf announcing that he had been threatened with being bombed back into the Stone Age--now that just wasn't even funny. Imagine him, the President, getting that pointed out to him by Laura after she read it in the newspaper! He thought Colin Powell had gone in there and done things right after 9/11. Stupid Pakistanis--always more trouble than they were worth. They didn't even catch Bin Laden! How hard was that? Those damned fools had a nucular program, but they couldn't catch Bin Laden.

And now this damn intelligence report saying that the Iraq War was impeding the War on Terror by inspiring new terrorists!! Why didn't anybody tell him that was going to happen? He stuffed another pretzel in his mouth. uncomfortable with the feeling that sometimes his advisers didn't tell him everything. What if Armitage had threatened to bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age? Bush could have lived with that. He wished they would just tell him this stuff. He wrote down "Commander in Chief" and underlined it twice.

Across the Potomac River, Condaleeza Rice had made a surprise visit to the Pentagon. She was sick of these damn reports getting out. First the Pentagon, then the CIA, then the National Security Agency, then....Her thoughts wandered as she waited for the scurry to end and the pile of papers to be brought to her in the conference room. For a moment, she wondered if it was too late to keep the web of lies intact--but only for a moment. She was still the smartest person in the room. Nobody was ripping her web open.

Over on the bridge, Dubious McGinty flicked a spider into the Potomac, and Ardua swallowed it down.

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