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, May 23, 2007

Hosed

The Assistant Deputy Administrator for Anti-Fecklessness took a gulp from his State Department mug. Several notes were spread across his desk where Condoleezza Rice had come in and shoved what he was working on aside. She had also left three Washington Post articles, neatly photocopied, highlighted in yellow, and annotated in red. The major annotation on the first article--"Assessments Made in 2003 Foretold Situation in Iraq"--read "make Pincus retract this or cut him off". The Administrator had no idea how to accomplish either of those options. The major annotation on the second article--"Terrorism Work to be Unaffected by Climate Review"--read "get this re-spun". Next to Rice's marginalia was an anonymous note left by C. Coe Phant in purple ink, which read "climate change expected to melt Pakistani mountain snow and drown Osama Bin Laden in new scenic waterfall". The Administrator involuntarily chortled, then looked up nervously, but nobody was there. (Who had written that?) The major annotation on the third article --"Bush Is 'the Worst in History' in Foreign Relations, Carter Says"--read "retaliate". The Administrator took another gulp of coffee and began drafting notes to retaliate against Carter. Somewhere in his head he heard his girlfriend's voice saying, "Don't you ever work on real issues there?", but he brushed it aside.

A few miles to the east, Atticus Hawk took a gulp from his Justice Department mug, spit back the lukewarm coffee, and reached for his water bottle. He had just returned from the Monica Goodling testimony at a House Judiciary Committee inquiry into the attorney firings, and his adrenaline was pumping. What a babe! If he were 10 years older, he would be all over that. (And why didn't he ever get hot co-workers?) And what a great talker! He logged online to see if the transcript had been posted yet. "Do you believe they were illegal or legal?" Scott asked. "I don't believe I intended to commit a crime," Goodling, a lawyer, answered. "Did you break the law? Is it against the law to take those considerations into account?" Scott said. "I believe I crossed the line, but I didn't mean to," she responded. What a foxy weasel! His cellphone chirped with a new cryptic text message from his boss, who liked to communicate in a code that no grand jury would ever be able to crack. Atticus cocked his head to the left. Something about disgorged? He cocked his head to the right. Disgruntled? Disingenuous? He called up law school roommate Wince from his cellphone to tell him about the babe with immunity. "Yeah, we're hosed," he agreed with Wince, "but hosings don't last as long as they used to in this town." Wince asked Atticus about the Washington Post articles saying John Ashcroft secretly campaigned to keept the Constitution out of the clutches of Rumsfeld and Cheney. Atticus hesitated. "Well, I was only working on Guantanamo at the time. I don't know how they were deciding where to draw the lines." But he had drafted enough of those memos to know that the line was drawn first, and the law was shoehorned inside it afterwards.

A few miles to the west, Dr. Khalid Mohammad was sitting in the cafeteria, rubbing his eyes while Nurse Consuela Arroyo reread the Washington Post articles on John Ashcroft's stay at George Washington University Hospital. "I heard what they were saying that night," she told him, "but I didn't really understand it." Dr. Mohammad remembered clearly the night that Arroyo had complained to him that Ashcroft's visitors wouldn't leave, even though she had told them three times that it was after hours. Dr. Mohammad had not dared to go in there, knowing that the private physician had prohibited any other MDs from entering unless it was an emergency. He had no idea that a conversation was going on that may have led to his cousin's violent rendition out of Europe into secret American custody for 15 months before he was finally released as a case of mistaken identity. "We have a few minutes left," Arroyo said. "Let's go over to the Circle." Arroyo was on a kick of getting Dr. Mohammad to make daily rounds at Washington Circle, talking to the homeless crazies and dispensing medicine samples. "Just give me a minute." She pulled out her stack of foil sheets and quickly packaged up leftovers from discarded cafeteria trays. "OK, let's go." He gulped the last of his coffee and followed her out into the bright sunshine.

A couple blocks away, a Persian kitten was taking a sunbath in a Watergate apartment window overlooking the Potomac, his emerald-studded collar glinting in the sunshine. "Pippin" had been a surprise gift from Charles Wu to Condoleezza Rice, along with the slow-release water and food containers that would keep the cat content during Rice's frequent travels. Rice really had no reason to refuse the gift, and though she barely noticed it at a conscious level, the kitten often jumped into her lap and coaxed caresses out of Rice during her evening contemplations. The fur was thick enough so that Rice never noticed the implanted listening device just under the left hind leg joint. Outside the window, a catbird alit to peer into the apartment, but Pippin hissed at it through the glass and it departed. From deep in the Potomac, Ardua looked up at the new player and frowned--she wanted Rice all to herself.

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