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, November 11, 2007

Two to Tango

Henry Samuelson sat stonily in the corner of the Bethesda lounge, perfectly still except for the slow sweep of his eyes across the room of the teatime milonga. Based on his CIA training to recognize accents, facial features, attire, and gestures, he had identified one Japanese man, a couple of Korean women, a French woman, a Bolivian man (or Peruvian?), an Australian woman, a Turkish man, several Russians, a British couple from Yorkshire, three genuine Argentines, and two-dozen Americans. There were no Chinese there at all except half-breed Charles Wu. Samuelson's eyes narrowed a bit as he saw Wu invite a Russian woman to tango with him. Could it be...? "Would you like to dance?" Samuelson turned with a start: it was one of the older American women. He declined politely with a polished smile, then turned his attention back to Wu as the woman slunk back to her seat, wondering why the men were all so picky at these milongas, and how even the older ones would only dance with the young, beautiful girls in spike heels.

Wu deftly conducted the young, beautiful Russian girl in spike heels backwards, then sideways, then in a molinete, then to a boleo, then through several intricate steps leading to three ganchos in a row--and that was all in the first two minutes. She smiled coquettishly at him, and he returned the smile: in that moment, neither of them cared about anything else but the tango. Then, out of the corner of his eye, Wu saw his true target walk into the room in a rabbit fur jacket and purple suede boots, just as the Pakistani taxi driver had described her...but there was still plenty of time to dance with this woman and get her phone number....

Miles away, former Senator Evermore Breadman had headed straight from the airport to Lynnette Wong's shop in Chinatown. "Thank you for meeting me here, Lynnette!" He handed her an above-average souvenir sculpture he had picked up in the Mariana Islands for his granddaughter. "I thought this would look good in your shop!" Lynnette accepted the gift in surprise, exclaimed over its beauty, and turned to place it on a high shelf. While her back was turned to him, Breadman quickly told her the venereal disease symptoms he had picked up in the Mariana Islands. She asked him a couple more questions about his symptoms as she headed to the far end of her storage shelves, continuing to avoid his glance as she now knew she must. She gathered four herbs, measured and mixed them carefully, then blended them into balsam wax to make a sticky paste. She scooped it all into a plastic container, which she told him to keep at room temperature. She added the container to the bag of intestinal herbs she had prepared before his arrival, and told him to apply it four times a day. He handed her a traveler's check for $500, smiled, and asked if he could use her restroom.

A few minutes later, he was back in the limo, on his way home, glad that his wife had been sleeping in a separate bedroom for years now. As the itching slowly subsided, he struggled not to think of the girl--one of the hundreds, maybe thousands, that had migrated from China to work in "American" factories in the Mariana Islands. Breadman had made sure as a Senator that the U.S. Territories of the Pacific would remain free from the safety, environmental and employment regulations applicable in the forty-nine states, District of Columbia, and even Puerto Rico. His own investments in three sweatshops there had given him an 80% return above and beyond the Mariana Islands lobbying fees he had earned since leaving the Senate. The girl had been young and beautiful, and he had really thought himself pretty generous with his tip, even though she had just lay there like a sack of potatoes. And he knew she was earning more money doing that than working in the clothing factory, so, really, it was something to feel good about...until the layover in Hawaii when he could no longer deny the itch. Now, for the first time in a very long time, he wondered if he was being punished by Someone. As the limo left D.C. and they headed over the bridge into Virginia, Ardua detected the angst in her disciple: she reached out to help him forget that the week of drinking, golfing, gambling and whoring in the Mariana Islands was all thanks to the indentured servitude agreements that left poor girls locked up as factory workers or prostitutes in "America". But the pink dolphins in the Potomac knew about the Chinese girls slaving away in the Mariana Islands, and they angrily hurled a sonar wave at Breadman, who grimaced at the onset of a migraine headache--was that a side effect of the treatment?

Meanwhile, the one Pakistani taxi driver in D.C. who had accurately predicted to Wu exactly what Perez Musharraf would do during the past two weeks passed Breadman's limo in the opposite direction, heading back into D.C. with another airport pick-up, wondering if he would ever be able to go home.

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