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, November 18, 2006

War Casualties

Dubious McGinty watched the news in disgust as Dubyah Bush finally set foot in Vietnam, 35 years later than Dubious did. "What?!" he hollered out from his perch in the abandoned office of the Potomac River drawbridge. Dubyah was being filmed standing next to a statue of Ho Chi Minh. "What the hell??!! Why was my buds dying over there to keep that bastard out of Saigon?! You just gonna go kiss his ass now, so you can start making more money, 'cause you haven't made enough goddam money yet in every other pisspoor country in the Third World??!!" He couldn't take the rage and frustration anymore. Nothing made sense in this damned world. He jumped off the bridge into the dark, cold river. His buddies died in Vietnam for nothing, but his death was gonna count! He was going to die taking out Ardua.

Cruising nearby, Coast Guard officer Marcos Sanchez saw Dubious jump into the river. "Damn it!" His partner shut off the motor, and Marcos dove into the murky water after the faint trail of carbon dioxide bubbles. Marcos could barely see a thing, but he finally made out Dubious flailing around...as if he were punching something. Marcos tried to grab hold of Dubious, but it was impossible. Marcos finally punched Dubious in the head to knock him unconscious, cinched their rescue line, and gave the signal for his partner to reel them in. Marcos panted heavily as his partner pulled Dubious into the boat for first aid. The still unconscious Dubious was coughing up water as Marcos finally regained his breath and reached up to hoist himself into the boat. For a split second, he thought he felt something slither around his feet, but he kicked at it and leapt into the boat.

Ten minutes later, they were heading for the dock closest to Georgetown University Hospital. Dubious was still yelling how he hated (the much closer) George Washington Hospital and wouldn't go there. "It's always crawlin with those damn Secret Service jerks, and those Reagan bastards-I hate it!" Dubious had spent several years in the psych ward there, including the year Reagan had been brought in with a bleeding gunshot. Dubious liked Georgetown Hospital better because some of the nurses were nuns and very nice, and sometimes a priest would come and give out wine. Dubious was breathing regularly now, and muttering slowly.

He looked up at Marcos and said, "Why did you do it? I almost had her!"

"Had who?"

"Ardua of the Potomac!"

"Who's that?"

"She's doing it all, man! She's doing it all! Didn't you feel her there? We gotta kill her!"

"Nobody's doing any killing tonight."

"Oh, SHE is! She ALWAYS is!"

"Enough!" His partner told him to stop arguing with Dubious.

"Look," said Marcos. "Let's tell them we just saw him in the water. If they know he jumped off the bridge, they'll go check it out and find his place."

"Are you kidding me?"

"He's better off there than in the psych ward."

"Are you kidding me?"

"He never jumped before--and he won't again, right?"

Dubious looked over at the two officers dubiously. "I gotta kill her. Nobody else knows how evil she is."

"OK," said Marcos. "We'll figure out how to kill her without your jumping off the bridge--OK?"

"OK."

"Are you kidding me?" His partner rolled his eyes and steered the boat in.

On the west side of the demon-infected Potomac River, Hue Nguyen had also just seen the news footage of Bush in Vietnam. It had been three decades since Hue's mother had been raped repeatedly on the refugee boat out of Vietnam. Hue's father had already been killed, and could not protect his wife, or the three children watching helplessly, seared forever. Hue remembered that boat ride like it was yesterday. She had expected her mother to curse the communists forever, but it was the U.S. she had cursed. She only sought refuge in the U.S. for the sake of the children--otherwise, she would have held out for Australia. Hue was taken aback by the sight of Bush in Saigon, and forgot for a moment that she was on duty at the Arlington Group Home for the Mentally Challenged. She snapped off the TV testily and announced it was time for meds. Larry looked up, surprised. He had seen the news report about Vietnam, and he thought he was back in Harrisonburg, the year he got drafted to Vietnam. He was nervous about going over there. Maybe the meds would help with that?

On the east side of the demon-infected Potoma River, Laura Moreno had also just seen the news footage of Bush in Vietnam, then the revelation that yet another CIA spook had written a book explaining how he had known that the WMD "intelligence" on Iraq was worthless. "And you're telling us this now because...?" But she knew the reason--to make money on his book. God forbid that somebody had actually blown the whistle three years ago and stopped the invasion of Iraq. Nobody in the government had the guts to stand up then. Nobody had the character.

She turned off the TV and closed her eyes, thinking about all the funerals she had seen at Arlington National Cemetery the day before. The one she had gone to--for an elderly widow of a deceased World War II veteran--was over in about five minutes, the bereaved hustled in and out of the waiting room and gravesite like a short-order for eggs and bacon. Actual military veterans got a service a little longer and more dignified, but still, they were on the clock. The only thing that looked like a real Arlington burial was for the soldier killed on active duty: a military band, and seven horses drawing the flag-draped casket carriage. Something out of a dramatic Hollywood movie--except they were happening daily at Arlington now.

Back on the Potomac, Marcos Sanchez and partner were taking the boat out on patrol again. Marcos had changed into dry clothes but still felt uncomfortable. He loathed this river, as he had never loathed any body of water in his life. He stared out at the wet gloom and slowly started crying for the college friend he had watched buried yesterday at Arlington. Marcos wished they had given his friend a horse parade with marching band while he was still alive. He tried to swallow his tears but couldn't, so he spit into the river and shivered in the cold wind.

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