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, March 03, 2007

Flush

Laura Moreno was washing her hands in the ladies' room before departing Prince and Prowling for the week. Bridezilla rushed in to do her business, still talking on the cell phone appliance strapped to her head. Laura dried her hands, then heard a flush accompanied by, "Oh, no! Oh, no! Oh, no! Oh, no! Oh, noooooooooooooo!" Laura asked if Bridezilla was OK, but Bridezilla ignored her and shouted to the person on the phone call, "I dropped my engagement ring in the toilet again!" It's a sign from God, thought Laura. Actually, it was Ardua.

Over at Southwest Plaza, Marcos Vasquez was just getting home as two fire trucks were slowly backing out of the parking lot. "Not again," he thought. "The real arsonist or the crazy fire alarm-puller?" He looked up at the destroyed 4th floor balcony, then overheard somebody explaining it had been a kitchen fire. Eighth fire since he had moved to this crazy building. Marcos bypassed the long line for the one working elevator and climbed the smoky stairs to his apartment. The front door was unlocked. He walked in cautiously, examining the dirty boot prints on the floor. Were the firefighters in here? He looked around, saw no soot or water, and headed to the bathroom, where he found a gleaming new water-saver toilet had been installed in his absence. "Damn," he thought. "That's the fifth time they've come in here without notification or permission, and the third time they left the door unlocked." He went to his desk, tapped his answering machine, then...wait? Where was his laptop? He jumped up and started scurrying around the apartment. "Oh, no! Oh, no! Oh, nooooo!" The TV and stereo were also gone. Just another day at Ardua's favorite Washington apartment building.

Laura Moreno, refugee from Southwest Plaza, was at the hardware store showing the clerk her toilet handle that kept falling off. "It's broken," he explained helpfully. "Do I need to glue it back on?" she asked ignorantly. "You need a new one, he answered." He showed her what to buy, and she headed home to do maintenance on her condo.

Over at Walter Reed Hospital Annex 5, two illegal aliens were discussing the moldy walls they had been instructed to paint over. One of them was afraid they would get in trouble for doing it when the mold grew through the new coat of paint, but the other one said their boss would fire them if they didn't do it, and they needed to get it done today. They didn't know that their boss was working for a guy who was working for a woman who was working for a guy who was working for another guy who was working for the General that had just gotten fired for leaving recuperating Iraq war veterans in moldy, rat-infested assisted-living apartments. Next door, the plumbing crew had finally ripped enough pipe out of the wall to find the source of the jam--two flushed rats. Ardua was biding her time--she would send more rats out to Walter Reed later. There was a lot of fertile ground there for her to work with--a lot of damaged, frightened, angry people just waiting for encouragement and direction in their life.

Several miles west, Laura was reading her instructions to install the new toilet handle. After twenty minutes of examining the old mechanism and reading the instructions for the new one, she finally understood that the first thing to do was to remove the old one. The instructions said to loosen the screw. She tried her wrench. She tried her needle-nosed pliers. She tried her rubber gripper. She read the instructions again, which informed her that if the screw were corroded, she should simply saw through it with a hacksaw. Gee, she had forgotten to pick up a hacksaw while at the hardware store. She tried pruning clippers from the landscaping committee. She tried the letter opener. She tried a kitchen knife. She pondered whether she should hire somebody with a hacksaw, but her screw wasn't even corroded metal--it was plastic. She was extremely tired, and she had a brilliant idea, but, then again, sometimes when she was extremely tired, her brilliant ideas weren't too brilliant, but she decided to go with it before her second thoughts kicked in. She retrieved a long chimney match from the kitchen, lit it, and slowly began to melt the screw off. She was a genius!

But, much to her surprise, the plastic did not start melting like a gooey candle--it caught on fire! Now, somewhere in her exhausted brain, memories from her former life as an environmentalist who did not work at Prince and Prowling killing brain cells everyday--memories were percolating up about this. It's BAD!--VERY BAD!-- to burn plastic! She was incinerating hazardous waste in her bathroom. Should she put out the fire? If it were only half-melted and burned, she might never get the old handle mechanism off! Why were there hundreds of embers flying up into the air? She turned on the bathroom exhaust fan, rushed to the kitchen to get a face allergen mask, rushed back to make sure the flame had not leapt out of the toilet tank onto something flammable, then watched in amazement as the plastic screw holding the flush mechanism in place burned, and burned, and burned, and burned. Why was it taking so long? She couldn't believe the amount of ash in the air! Is this a PVC incinerator? This is really, really, really bad. At last, she could not stand it anymore, splashed tank water on the fire, and it was done.

A few miles west, Dubious McGinty was drinking himself into a frenzy, furious that the Secretary of Army would get sacked for mold and rats at Walter Reed, even though nobody had sacked him for a single goddammed thing that had happened in Iraq! Dubious urinated off the side of the bridge into the Potomac. Why didn't anything make sense to him!? He was tired of nothing making sense.

At the Watergate nearby, the Bloodsucker was sipping her tomato-EKCG-broccoli-honey-oat-aspirin smoothie and looking out at the Potomac serenely. What a GREAT excuse to get rid of the Secretary of the Army! It's not often that things like that were dropped into their laps. They had loose-cannon John Bolton out there, sowing the seeds for Iran regime-change, they had diplomats warning of the coming descent into general warfare in Eastern Africa, they had stock markets coming unglued from China to New York. They were going to win--it was just going to take longer than expected. She took another sip and smiled again. World War III would eventually be her grandest accomplishment.

A few miles east, Laura was using a hammer and nail to try to knock out the hardened plastic glob remaining wedged to the tank. Why wasn't it soft? She had only let it cool a few minutes. Whack! She finally knocked it out. Still wearing the allergen mask, she installed the new toilet handle one minute later. There were ashes all over her entire bathroom--on the towels, the cabinet, the sink, the toiletries, the shower, the bathtub. Her work in the bathroom had just begun. She tested the flush, and it worked. Just another day that Ardua had kept her at bay, too tired, too tired to do anything that mattered.

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