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, February 25, 2007

Cut it Out

Sebastian L'Arche was watching soldiers' being interviewed on "60 Minutes". They were speaking out against the war, but a couple of them also said they were re-enlisting. "Do as I say, not as I do?" Maybe they thought re-enlisting gave them more control over their redeployment than being called up from the Reserves would. Sebastian looked down at his left hand, at the scars that had gotten him out of that mess for good. With his right hand, he traced the outline of the lion tattoo on his left hand--the lion he had taken to talking to nonstop when he was in Iraq, the lion whose eyes he had gouged out with his pocket knife one day, screaming "Stop staring at me!", the lion who had gotten him discharged as mentally unfit for duty. To this day, he had no memory of doing that. But the talking? Yeah, he had talked to that lion all the time. It didn't seem crazy at the time. Now he had a blind, disfigured lion as his mascot, and that was OK. He didn't have to talk to the lion anymore, but sometimes he would unconsciously pet it.

Several miles west, social worker Hue Nguyen had made the mistake of letting the residents of the Arlington group home for the mentally challenged watch the "Dateline NBC" special on the Russian spy assassinated radioactively, and they were all claiming to be radioactive now. Hue hurriedly paged Dr. Leo Schwartz, then continued to plead with them to believe her that they were not radioactive. "Nobody wants to kill you!" She was standing in front of the drawer with the butter knives, as Cedric and Buckner both insisted that they needed to cut the isotopes out of their bodies. Melinda put her hand in the microwave and tried to turn it on, while Larry headed outside to eat grass in order to make himself vomit. Theresa was the only one still sitting in the living room; she quietly dug her nails into her head for the fourth time to try to dig it out, but her nails wouldn't penetrate her skull.

On the other side of the Potomac, Condoleezza Rice was rereading the Washington Post editorials. How dare they tell her about the British in Iraq?! SHE KNEW HISTORY. SHE WAS MAKING HISTORY. She gently put the paper down, looked out the window at the new snow, and dug her nails into the soft red leather of her recliner. The insurgents would already have been defeated if she were running those damned operations, but she couldn't do everything herself. She needed more patience for her less talented partners. She picked up her cranberry-yogurt-fennel-wheatgrass-papaya-lime smoothie and took another sip. A few drops hovered around the slight defect where her lips did not perfectly meet, then slipped down her chin until she absent-mindedly wiped them up.

A few miles north, Charles Wu was watching "The Simpsons" do an extraterrestrial satire of the Iraqi war. "YOU said we would be greeted as liberators!" "We still have their hearts and minds," was the rejoinder, complete with the sight of the extraterrestrial's holding in his hands a heart and a brain. Wu laughed out loud. They sure didn't have TV shows like that in China. Still, all in all, he preferred censorship--most people were better off if you just took away from them what was dangerous.

A few miles south, Golden Fawn was on the phone with her grandmother, telling her that the surgeon had gotten a clean margin on the breast tumor, and that the cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes. She clutched a pillow to her chest as she talked, still a little incredulous that sticking a knife in her body could actually have been a good idea. "Yes, I'll have to do some radiation, but after that, they're not sure yet." She looked out the window at the fresh blanket of snow, then started telling her grandmother about the latest dream she had dreamt about the pink warblers and Ardua. She shuddered, drew the curtrains against the cold panes, and reached for her shawl, eager to hear what her grandmother had to say about the dream.


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