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 ....

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Burning Up

The Assistant Deputy Administrator for Anti-Fecklessness was spending another Saturday afternoon at the State Department, but he couldn't get any work done because his girlfriend kept emailing him. Eva Brown had just seen a propaganda video in her international law class at American University Law School, and he could not convince her to let it go. So what if soldiers had used white phosphorus in Fallujah?! It's not a banned chemical weapon, and there was no proof that the Americans had targeted civilians. Sometimes Eva could be a real idiot. So gullible!

Up in Tenleytown, Eva was in tears. She could not believe that she was telling her boyfriend about watching a video of women and children burning to death, and he kept telling her she was wrong. Did he think the BBC staged it all with special effects? Eva had been a staunch supporter of the War on Terror when she lived in Mississippi, but she was starting to have her doubts. Maybe he was right? Maybe she was being manipulated. He was the smartest, most ambitious guy she had ever dated. Maybe she needed to try harder to get along with him. He worked at the State Department and surely knew a lot of stuff she didn't know.

What she didn't know he didn't know was that Condoleezza Rice was on her way back to the State Department, ready to implement her new China-buddy system for dealing with North Korea...and it didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of working.

Over in the abandoned watchman's quarters at the drawbridge, Dubious McGinty was sorting through some greasy newspaper stories on North Korea, and he was burning up. Damn it all to hell! Korea, Vietnam--what the hell did they fight all those wars for? Vietnam veterans and American businessmen were now crawling all over Southeast Asia making nice-nice, making money. South Koreans were holding prayer vigils, waiting for North Korea to nuke them into oblivion. Now which of those wars did the U.S. lose? Dubious hurled the newspapers into the Potomac for Ardua to eat. He couldn't fix that stuff until he got rid of Ardua. She was the one making all these Washington politicians insane morons.

Over at the White House, Clio the butler was trying to relax with her twins. Reggie and Fergie were giggling and talking their secret twin language as they dipped the shredded North Korea newspaper articles into the flour paste and prepared to add another layer to their papier-mache Halloween witch. Clio was burning up with fever again, but trying not to show it to the twins. Sometimes she wondered what they were saying about her...and everything else.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Deer Overboard

Coast Guard officer Marcos Vazquez was on the phone to Puerto Rico, trying to explain to his mother why Homeland Security thought it was important for him to be stationed in D.C. "Si', Mami." Yes, he was explaining again--he spent yesterday helping the D.C. patrol boatmen chase down deer swimming in the Tidal Basin. "Porque, Marcos?" Lord if he knew why. He knew someday he would look back at this and laugh, but there was something really disturbing about seeing deer swimming crazily out of the Potomac River. It was supposed to be him a few weeks ago, if those triathlon officials had not decreed there was too much crap in the river, and now it gave him the creeps.

Dubious McGinty could have told Vasquez what happened. From his perch in the abandoned drawbridge office, he had seen the catbirds whooping at the bucks until they were so disoriented that they jumped into the Potomac. Sensing Ardua's insidious presence, the bucks swam hard to get away from her, and were still pulling like bats out of hell when the officers finally yanked them out of the water and into the boat while bemused tourists and annoyed beavers watched from the Jefferson Memorial.

Today, they were still talking about it at the Arlington group home for the mentally challenged, 24 hours after their outing to the Tidal Basin. Social worker Hue Nguyen kept assuring the residents that animals occasionally wind up in the wrong place, and it doesn't mean that the aliens have landed and taken over the world, or that demons live in the Potomac River. "But the deer broke in here last night!" wailed Melinda. "They stole everything, and they're in my head now." She didn't want to take her meds. Buckner was sitting quietly on the couch, calculating in his head the exponential growth rate of the Virginia deer population since 9/11....He knew it was not a coincidence. He wanted to double his meds and stop thinking about all the demons out there. Theresa and Cedric were playing gin rummy and arguing about whose turn it was. In the kitchen, Larry did not notice the pile of napkins catching fire while he was lost in thought about Ardua. He knew what those deer were trying to escape. Maybe he should tell Hue? She was nicer than that psychologist, who kept telling him that Ardua was not real. The smoke alarm went off, and Hue rushed into the kitchen to put out another fire.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Safe Way

Coast Guard officer Marcos Vazquez stood in line at the Southwest Safeway, watching the rheumatic woman in the next line grimace as she slowly loaded groceries onto the conveyor belt. She needed somebody to help her, but her sister had long ago stopped making the trip from Fairfax to D.C., uneasy every time she passed over the Potomac River. Vazquez turned back to the news magazine story about the smiling Chinese fascist standing next to Condoleezza Rice--he was truly happy to draw a bogus hard line against the North Korean nuclear program. What an easy way to score diplomatic points while actually doing nothing! Vazquez then looked at a photo of Donald Rumsfeld and wondered what had been burned at Ft. Meade earlier that week.

Halfway around the world, Condoleezza Rice was reading the interim report on the fire at Ft. Meade, and cursing the morons who had let it get out of control. Still, nobody seemed to suspect anything except incompetence-- and she was in China when it happened, so that was perfect. She read through the Washington Post online story about Congressional page predation and cursed the morons who had let it get out of control. Cowboys and cops and drag queens--when did the Republican Party turn into the Village People? It didn't matter: the President had consolidated enough power to act without Congress, as long as the inner circle could keep their act together. Her trip to China was a success: she had looked into the man's eyes and seen his soul, and they were soulmates, both full of the same power-hungry ambitions. He understood that it didn't matter how many people died as long as your own people survived. He understood that China had survived thousands of years, and the American democracy experiment was already over--Rice and the others were just paying lip service to it now. They would never give their lives for their country, or for anything else. Rice closed her eyes, longing to be home at the Watergate, looking out on the Potomac in her red leather recliner.

Back in Washington, seven stories below Rice's empty Watergate apartment, Laura Moreno was getting a flu shot when the Safeway security guard suddenly grabbed a shoplifter, who flailed helplessly as a pile of anti-perspirants fell out of his coat He grinned in embarrassment as surprised shoppers paused to pick up the anti-perspirant. They didn't know that he needed them for all the stinky starlings invading Washington Circle. He hated them! Laura got her groceries, then waited in line for 20 minutes to check out. An old man stood quietly near the door, a bag of crackers in his hand; he could not remember how he had gotten there or where he was supposed to go to next. Nobody helped him, so Laura flagged down a flu-shot nurse to take a look at him. The nurse said he just needed to sit for a few minutes, then he would get oriented again. Laura was dubious as she left the Safeway. The old man stared blankly at her, overcome from three decades of living next to Ardua. He used to be the China expert at the State Department, but now he couldn't remember why he had bought crackers. He didn't know that China had turned into a fascist industrial state and that corporate America loved China. He only knew that he was tired.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

It Ain't Easy to Be Green

Golden Fawn applauded for Philippe Cousteau, then left the auditorium to check out the rest of the Green Festival. Her people hadn't explored underwater, and she found herself more and more interested in the subject. The truth was, water gave her the creeps, and she was trying to get over it. She was seriously thinking of seeing a shrink about these Ardua-of-the-Potomac dreams she kept having. She was afraid to tell her grandmother about them, but last night she had dreamt about the pink warblers for the third time. It was either grandmother or a shrink....She was still undecided. As her mind wandered, she bumped into Coast Guard officer Marcos Vasquez, who had been trying to make his way forward to meet Cousteau. He excused himself in Spanish and continued forward slowly. She turned back and stared at him: she had seen him before-- in her dreams, on the river. Vasquez turned to look back at her and smiled, then got jostled forward by the crowd.

Golden Fawn wandered slowly through the aisles, amazed at all the optimists trying to peddle their visions and products in a town like this, where $2 billion a week was spent sacrificing U.S. soldiers on the pyre of Iraq. What could the optimists do with their crumbs of money and hope? Golden Fawn walked past a rape victim looking at organic body products from the Amazon as a possible salve for her limbic system, and a young attorney from Prince and Prowling looking at an ethical investment company as a possible salve for his moral system. Golden Fawn stopped to sign a Greenpeace petition, while a nearby FBI agent loitered nonchalantly, his hidden camcorder aimed at the table.

The FBI agent turned slowly to film two men signing the Stop Landmines Now petition--Dr. Khalid Mohammad and pet courier Sebastian L'Arche. Dr. Mohammad walked off oblivious, but former Army Reservist L'Arche looked suspiciously at the spook. L'Arche then walked straight up to the guy and asked the time. The FBI agent stammered, then groped for his watch to give the time. L'Arche walked over to sign the Greenpeace petition, then headed out to figure out where the organic doggie treats vendor was--his customer calls increased tenfold when he added "all-organic diet" to his website. Maybe they would have some new kind of treats for particularly nervous animals. The damned dogs never seemed nervous until they were crossing the Potomac into D.C., just in time to make their owners think they had been miserable the whole way. He needed to figure this out. Animals loved him, so what was the problem? The FBI agent exhaled nervously as L'Arche departed. He had seen that look before--Iraqi war veteran looking for payback. They all looked the same. They signed up for the army and got a war, and war is hell, so what did they expect?

Outside the convention center, the sparrows sang in the sunshine while the rats stayed in the shadows.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Mutual Assured Destruction

Condoleezza Rice sat in her Watergate apartment, sipped her IQ-booster smoothie, and looked out her window at the darkening Potomac. A cold wind was hurling black clouds straight at Washington, and Ardua shivered in pleasure at the prospect of cold rain. Rice knew in a few minutes she would have to get up and start preparing for her pointless trip to Asia. No moron in South Korea was ever going to be able to send a nuclear missile anywhere--she had told Bush that repeatedly, and he knew she was the smartest person in the room. The best way to deal with that jackass was to ignore him, which they had successfully done for six years. Who cares if North Korea blew something up underground?! It was just a pathetic cry for attention, like those dunderhead teenagers shooting up their classmates all over the country. Just pay lip service to it and move on. There were more important victories to secure. The starlings nesting outside her window stared at her intently, pleased--but they did not know why they were pleased. Ardua sensed their pleasure and then turned her attention back to the snakeheads she was breeding.

Over at Prince and Prowling, former Senator Evermore Breadman was looking over his bill for the trip to North Korea--which had been successfully orchestrated to skirt all possible federal sanctions. He was making good money from idiot Ko-boys who thought they were buying influence in Washington, the Washington Times would pay to get a sweet inside slam at the commie bastards, no harm done because this nuclear thing was never really gonna fly...plus he got to pick up some more herbs for his damn colon. Everything always worked out right for him. That's why people liked to hire him.

Over in Chinatown, Lynette Wong read the Chinese-language newspaper intently. No herbs could fix that nuclear threat in North Korea...unless she found a way into the new Chinese embassy. Americans did not understand Koreans. Koreans had a lot of scores to settle. The Americans would not be able to stop them, and it would be Asians that got nuked first. It would have to be up to the Chinese....It would have to be the Chinese from the new Chinese embassy...her new customers....Lynette was startled by the sound of a catbird outside the store who had started imitating the sound of a car alarm going off. The catbird glared at Lynette and would not shut up until Lynette went outside and sprayed it with pepper juice. Lynette went back inside and began writing up her plan in careful second-generation English.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Bribe City

Marcos Vasquez finished reading the Washington Post article on D.C. real estate bribery. The D.C. land rush had heated up in 2001, a year before he was transferred here. Real estate prices rose and rose and rose, sometimes doubling or tripling within a year. Even so, people like developer Douglas Jemal weren't satisfied with milking profits from the private sector, but turned to bribery to milk more money from the public sector--or so testified plea bargainer Michael Lorusso during Jemal's federal trial. And people like Vasquez's landlord were swindling phony Section 42 tax credits out of the city coffers while people like Vasquez's wheelchair-bound low-income neighbor's rent was hiked $1,500/year. Vasquez knew his neighbor's apartment was full of mold, mice, roaches, and a broken HVAC unit because he had finally started going to tenant association meetings after he carried her up the stairs for the third time because the elevators were all broken again. He was starting to put it all together--the war for D.C. real estate--or so he thought.

Several miles away, Golden Fawn was also reading the Washington Post article on D.C. real estate bribery. Last week, she had received notice that her building was condemned and they would all have to move out in 48 hours. The tenants organized, lawyered up, and stopped the phony condemnation. Less educated tenants had already been evicted all over town under similarly phony condemnations, their units repainted and sold as luxury condos. Apparently the white man's land grab had not actually ended with the acquisition of Hawaii. She had officially saved $1,100 towards her down payment to get out of rental hell--at this rate, it would only take five or ten more years! Stupid ex-boyfriend. She drifted off to sleep, eventually having a nightmare about Ardua rising up out of the Potomac and raining torrentially all over Washington. Every building slowly melted into the ground, one by one, until the only building standing was the National Museum of the American Indian. She walked into the lobby, and George Bush told her, "Don't think this means you're getting more funding! We've got the secret government underground anyway." Then the pink warblers came in and started singing.

Over at D.C. Underground, the secret government was full of river rats. Somehow, no matter how high your budget was, the construction crews just couldn't seal them out. If river rats could get in, then that meant that biological weapons of mass destruction could get in. What the Feds didn't know was that no biological weapon of mass destruction could invade the blood of these river rats--they were Ardua's.

Over at Dupont Down Under, the secret society was full of Freaks, and they were freaking out. They had been squatting here in the old trolley underground for years, since the underground shopping conversion had fallen apart. The sound of jackhammers and turbines kept getting closer and closer, no matter how many river rats they diverted over to the secret government side of the underground. What if those fascists had a nuclear bomb down there? Or practice anthrax? Or drug-sniffing dogs? The Freaks convened a meeting to decide how to stop the advance of the secret government underground, and decided that the river rats were not enough--it was time to bring in the Beaver to dam it up for good.

Out in the Potomac, the Beaver was chewing up Tidal Basin cherry trees again, the moon reflecting softly on the water, the Jefferson Memorial lit up brilliantly for the autumn tourists. Ardua was proud of her sister spirit for getting all those Amish girls killed, but her sister would never have as much material to work with as Ardua had. Ardua was especially delighted that the Supreme Court was back in session--Ardua had spent a lot of time communing with Chief Justice Roberts over the summer, and was expecting great things from him. It was fun making petty people greedy, violent, and murderous--but she longed to increase her power in ways that would reverberate for years to come, from ocean to ocean, scream to shining scream.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Colin-oscopy

Condoleezza Rice sat in her office, staring out the window, thinking about her destiny. She had just finished reading the Washington Post Magazine article on her predecessor, Colin Powell. She worked so much harder than he did...seven days a week...thinking, always thinking. She picked up the other article again, George Tenet's blabbermouth piece. There was no smoking gun! Nobody would ever be able to pin a smoking gun on her! Nobody could have stopped 9/11. It wasn't her fault. Nothing was her fault! Why did she have to spend every hour of her life trying to rewrite history, force it onto a different track? There were so many idiots out there, thinking killings actually mattered. It only mattered when it hit close to home, and she strove to keep nobody close to her. It was all about history, and how you would be remembered, and everything was still wrong. She looked up Evermore Breadman's home phone number: she needed help.

Former Senator Evermore Breadman was not at home: he was in Chinatown, picking up black magic herbs to deal with the fallout from his colonoscopy last week. Nobody had ever put him under the knife, and nobody ever would! He was scared. Just last month his Chinese buddy running that factory in the Marianas had told him all about the herbs that had cured his cancer. Breadman felt ridiculous coming down here and looking for herbs, but he didn't dare send somebody to do it for him. He thought about all the times he had voted to cut cancer research funding, while finding plenty of money for military contractors and boondoggles in his state. Now it was all a pain in the ass.

Lynnette Wong finished bottling up the blend Breadman had requested. She had tried to make suggestions of her own, but he had snapped at her that he knew exactly what he wanted. She didn't think these herbs would help him, and so she sold the herbs to Breadman for a low price. She felt sorry for the old man, so scared of dying. She tossed her Lucky Bamboo tea into the bag, too, hoping he would drink it. She could sense the evil in him. She needed to improve this tea--the evil in Washington kept growing and growing. She would make another research trip down to the Potomac, study the plants there some more, figure out what her father had died trying to stop.

Over at George Washington University Hospital, Dr. Khalid Mohammad stared at the Potomac while munching his lunch. It had taken several hours to regain his appetite after all the rectal emergencies he had dealt with this shift. What the hell was going on? Extra lab tests had been ordered to screen for new bacteria or viruses, but the cases looked more like cancer. What was it? He watched the boats motoring down the river. Suddenly one of them capsized. He reached for his cell to call 911 as he made his way back to the ER.

Out on the river, just after thinking what a beautiful day it was, Marcos Vasquez got the Coast Guard call and headed over to the accident scene, where Ardua was silently sucking the life out of the men overboard. It was the fastest response he had ever done, and it was still too late to revive them. He lay down panting after giving up on the last CPR attempt. He didn't notice the nearby ducks, bleeding into the Potomac.