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, August 12, 2007

Sicko

Charles Wu was heading into the E Street Cinema to see "Sicko"--not because he cared about health insurance policy issues, but because he enjoyed films which mocked the United States. It would also be a good place to scope out new pinko confidantes. Perry Winkle was also heading in to see "Sicko"--for him, it would be preparation for his upcoming piece on the health care crisis in Washington. Coming out from the film were Lynnette Wong and Laura Moreno. Moreno recognized Wu, but he had already forgotten her. She said goodbye to her friend and headed home to prepare for her upcoming lab samples ordered by the acupuncturist. Winkle recognized Wong, but he did not remember until hours later that it was because he had seen her near the Potomac the last time he had visited Dubious McGinty. Wong said goodbye to her friend and headed for the Metro to get to the river.

A couple miles south, at Southwest Plaza, Golden Fawn was reading the results of her latest insurance company appeal--rejected. They had not reimbursed her latest round of radiation and chemotherapy. The letter was full of inaccuracies. She wearily flipped to the attachment--a document dealing with somebody named Fawn Golden from New Jersey. Her credit cards were maxed out because they had mixed up her file with Fawn Golden from New Jersey. Golden Fawn put her head down and cried in frustration and fatigue. Marcos had said he would take her down to the river today, but she just couldn't face Ardua right now.

Over at the White House, Clio had snuck the twins into the East Wing swimming pool, taking advantage of the President's absence. Bridge was trying to teach them how to swim, but since they still didn't speak any recognizable English, he could never be sure if they understood what he was saying. Regina was sprawled on top of her kickboard, randomly windmilling her legs and arms like a malfunctioning wind-up toy. Ferguson was holding his kickboard in his hands and kicking his legs for maximum splash effect, repeatedly zooming away from Bridge, who would then have to chase him down and herd him back to the shallow end. Bridge gave Clio an imploring look. Clio raised her head from the lounge chair: "Reggie! Fergie! You mind Mr. Bridge now, or you'll both be back in the wading pool in the laundry room!" The twins consulted each other in their secret twin language, then settled down for a more serious swim lesson. Bridge liked it in here because there were no ghosts--they hated the smell of chlorine. Clio put her head back down. Her HIV had been misdiagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and she was tired.

Over at George Washington University Hospital, Angela de la Paz's grandmother was talking to Dr. Khalid Mohammad about the possibility of getting a kidney transplant. Angela was the Spanish-English interpreter for abuela. Angela did not understand why, after two decades of dialysis, her grandmother was now being recommended for a kidney transplant. Dr. Mohammad was trying to explain advances in kidney transplant techniques and follow-up care, but his eyes did not match what his mouth was saying. Dr. Mohammad was worried that the Medical Director had put her on the list in the hopes that the surgery would kill her off and end the years of inadequate Medicaid payments on the woman's odds-defying marathon of dialysis treatments. Dr. Mohammad turned away to shufle some papers and buy time. If she had been properly treated twenty years ago, she would not have ended up on dialysis. Angela sat patiently, waiting for Dr. Mohammad to resume talking. Angela only had one kidney herself, but she wasn't thinking about that--she was still thinking about her brother.

Back home, Laura Moreno got out her instructions for preparing specimens for her lab work. The instructions were written in ten different languages, but the very first instruction referred to an item that she could not find in the bag. She searched and searched, and then switched to a different instruction sheet. She had three different kinds of vials, some with poisonous liquids already in them, but she was supposed to fill them all herself, at home, with no clinical assistance. When did people start preparing their own lab samples?! She got out a pen to write her information on the eight vials, then got down to the dirty work. One hour, half a bottle of Purell, one bathroom floor cleaning, and five hand-washings later, her vials were ready to be dropped at the lab. She wondered if people had to do this for themselves in Cuba, Canada, France and England.

Over at the Potomac, Lynnette Wong was returning to the river. She had recognized Charles Wu at the movie theater, but she had not been in a sociable mood. She had learned a lot from that movie--mostly, if she could keep Americans away from doctors, they were probably better off. She was hot by the time she got to the river, but she did not splash her face or put her feet in. She pulled out three vials of herbs, poured them onto a piece of burlap, mixed them together, then added a ruby amulet. She tied the burlap's four corners, then threw it into the Potomac. Ardua recoiled from the smell and began choking. Ardua summoned the Beaver to retrieve the object and get rid of it, but Wong was ready this time: she prayed to the four winds, then prayed to her father and her other ancestors to send a spirit to protect the amulet. When she opened her eyes, she saw a pink dolphin leaping out of the water. She was stunned, not having really believed she could summon a spirit. She started trembling when she recognized the dolphin as the type that used to swim in the Yangtze River until they all died off from pollution and over-fishing. Now she saw a few more leap into the air, then a few more, then still more. She sat down, doubting herself. A motorboat started approaching, and the pink dolphins merrily began bow-riding, but the people in the boat did not even notice. The Beaver did, though, turned around, and began swimming back to the Tidal Basin. Ardua was not amused.

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