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, 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.

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