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 ....

Friday, February 02, 2007

Just a Little Horror

Laura Moreno checked her email one more time before heading to work. Desperate to leave Prince and Prowling, she was now registered with a dozen agencies that placed contract attorneys like 21st century sharecroppers in the large plantations downtown. Four projects she had hoped to jump to had already been postponed this week, and there was no good news in her in-box about any of the real job applications she had out there. She bundled up against the cold weather and began the cold walk to Federal Center SW Metro. A crackhead snuck up on her from behind, punched her in the head, snatched her lunch bag, and ran off. Reeling in pain and shock, Laura ran in the opposite direction. How did this happen? Why did this happen? There were people and cars all around. A taxi stopped to let her in, but the crackhead had already returned, enraged about having grabbed the lunch bag. He pulled furiously on her other bag even as she tried to climb into the taxi, scared he would punch her again. The bag strap broke against her arm, the crackhead took off, and Laura climbed into the taxi.

The taxi driver drove her 1-1/2 blocks to the police station. It was 8:30 in the morning. During the brief drive, she could see a pedestrian standing on the sidewalk where she had been just a moment before--he appeared to have stopped and dialed 911 on his cellphone. She did not even walk around with a cellphone in her hand--or anything in her hand--that a mugger would want. How could the mugger think a green lunch bag was a purse? How high (or low?) was he? There were so many people and cars: if somebody had wanted to come to her rescue, they could have, but she couldn't blame them for standing back and just calling 911.

She walked into the station to report the mugging. The police officer behind the front desk looked up at her nonchalantly and slowly picked up a pen. "He's right over there!" Laura gestured frantically, trying to arouse a sense of urgency. "It just happened over there, by the bridge!" Another police officer stepped up, equally nonchalant, and asked her again where the mugging had happened. "Right over there!" she pointed, exasperated. She was pointing to the bridge a block and a half away. "He ran down that path!" After this conversation was repeated about five times, the second police officer finally sauntered out of the building. Amazed that the first police officer seemed oblivous to her wound, Laura finally asked for an ice bag and was told to go sit down and wait. Crying, she went to the ladies' room, wiped off her face, and examined the bloody bump on her forehead. Nobody had ever punched her in the head in her entire life. He could have grabbed that bag without punching her, anyway. She suddenly thought about battered women. How could they deal with this on a daily basis, from somebody they had cared about?

She went back out to the station and sat down. After several minutes had gone by, an ambulance crew arrived to examine her. For God's sake! Is this what lawsuits have brought us to? She only wanted an ice bag. They made her sign a release that she had declined to go to the hospital. They asked if there was anybody she wanted to call, and she said no. She didn't want to make anybody else late for work.

A few minutes later, the sauntering police officer returned with both the lunch bag and the purse--minus the wallet, Metro farecard, and church envelope that had a dollar or two in it. A third police officer appeared and offered her a ride home, which she accepted. The security guard greeted her with concern, and Marcos Vasquez stopped to stare at her forehead and tears as he got off the elevator. She went back to her apartment, got an ice bag out of the freezer, and lay down on the couch. She called Prince and Prowling to tell them she wouldn't be in today because she had been mugged. They asked if there was anything they could do, and she said, "No, thank you," even though she really wanted to say, "Yes, give me a paid vacation day so that I am not out a day's wages on top of everything else." She knew that she would return to work there tomorrow and not even get a card. Her head was throbbing in pain, and she began crying again. She knew all the sociological reasons that a man would punch a woman in the head at 8:30 in the morning, a couple of blocks from the police station, but none of that mattered now--she just wanted to find him and kick him in the head.

What Laura didn't know and what the police didn't tell her was that the man had run off on a path that led a few blocks away to a shelter for homeless men--apparently they didn't want to help her actually find him. It was the indiscriminate urinator from Urine Park, the one she had walked by dozens of times, the one that Dizzy had gotten angry with for not following pissing protocol, the one that Bridezilla had occasionally thrown a couple of bucks to from her high horse. What Laura didn't know was that this guy would be dead from hypothermia within two days, after getting kicked out of the shelter for drug abuse. What Laura didn't know was that guys like this had become a dime a dozen to Ardua, who had steadily cast her gaze on larger targets to accomplish greater evil. These petty horrors making life stink for so many people in Washington were now taken for granted by Ardua, who wanted more and more and more.

Ardua could scarcely be bothered with taking the time to delight in Laura's pain and fear with so much happening in the city, all the winds of political change, all the legislative battles being pitched, all the ambition and ego on the line. A string of late-night murders were simply late-night snacks for her now. The world's air and sea themselves would choke or swell based on decisions being made in this city right now! The country's--no, the world's!--poorest, most vulnerable, would survive or not survive! It was a dizzying time, so much to do. It would take Laura years to get over that attack, but Ardua had already moved on.

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