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 ....

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Stand Up

Psychologist Leo Schwartz was pleading for the last time for Theresa to stand up. After watching last night's PBS "Nova" program on the Turkish family that walked on all fours, Theresa had taken to walking the same way. When asked why she was walking that way, Theresa had given half a dozen different reasons throughout the day--ranging from "it will confuse the aliens" to "it will help drain the rattlesnakes out of my head". Dr. Schwartz really did not want to tinker with Theresa's meds again. Social worker Hue Nguyen whispered to Dr. Schwartz, "She will probably forget all about it when she wakes up in the morning." Dr. Schwartz was sick of her being right all the time about the residents of the Arlington group home for the mentally challenged. Theresa curled up on the rug like a cat and examined her calloused hands for a few minutes. Seeing a catbird outside pretending to sing like a sparrow, Theresa jumped up and bear-walked outside to throw rocks at it.

Across the Potomac, Coast Guard Officer Marcos Vasquez was on the phone with his mother in Puerto Rico. She was in a horrible rheumatoid arthritis flair, but she tried never to tell him. He could hear the pain in her voice, and knew that it meant his aunt had not been helping mama with the groceries or laundry this week. Mami could barely walk.

Several miles away, a panel chief from the Food and Drug Administration was creeping his way through the Cabin John Bridge traffic jam. Below him, Ardua sensed an opportunity and reached up to cramp his muscles, pinch his nerves, and inflame his joints. He decided to approve the new rheumatoid arthritis drug, even though the trial results suggested it had a six percent chance of causing a stroke and a thirteen percent chance of causing liver damage. Neither of those events were necessarily fatal, after all, and the new drug would relieve thirty percent of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Seemed like a good trade-off for a bunch of old cripples. He forgot about having cut funding the previous year on a study of the link between environmental toxins and the rise in sudden-onset rheumatoid arthritis.

Over at George Washington Hospital, Dr. Khalid Mohammad was watching John Doe stand up for the third time today, and for the third time today, standing up immediately led to a temporal lobe epileptic seizure. This was a good day for John Doe, full of beatific visions dancing through his brain-damaged head. Dr. Mohammad did not know that. After the neurologist on call arrived and dismissed young Dr. Mohammad, Dr. Mohammad went to check on the knee replacement on the fifth floor. "Stand up," encouraged the patient's wife. The man grimaced and tried, but couldn't. They didn't know she was praying to the wrong saint: they didn't know yet the name of the saint for those afflicted by Ardua.

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