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, December 08, 2007

Dirty Laundry

"C. Coe Phant" was sitting in the furthest corner of the auditorium for the 6:30 p.m. showing of "Atonement" at the E Street Cinema, small bags of dirty laundry on the seat beside him and in front of him to discourage unwanted neighbors from showing up. Right on time, Charles Wu walked in, made a beeline for the far corner, rolled his eyes as he removed the dirty laundry from the seat in front of Phant, and sat down with his popcorn and beer. "I am Beowulf!" whispered Phant in his throatiest voice, just in case there was any doubt in Wu's mind about Phant's disguise. Wu rolled his eyes again and shoved the laundry bag inbetween the seats. Phant passed a few photocopies to Wu inbetween the seatbacks and sat back to wait for the reaction. Wu read the first couple of memos on the U.S. intelligence indicating the end of Iran's nuclear weapons program in 2003, and it became apparent who in the Administration had buried it--the ones who wanted to start World War III. Wu removed his coat and turned back towards Phant as he smoothed out the coat on his seatback and asked why the Administration had released the information now. "Rogue leak," was the answer. Wu took a swallow of beer and moved to the next set of memos concerning the CIA's destruction of 2005 videotaped recordings of torture conducted in a CIA secret prison, and it became apparent who in the Administration had ordered it--the ones who did not want to start World War III. Wu turned his head slightly to ask if this had also been a leak. "The CIA has more enemies in this government than in Al Qaeda," whispered Phant huskily. Wu munched his popcorn for a few minutes, wondering if the bloodsucker's plans were even more complex than he had thought. Phant grew weary of Wu's silence and whispered more quietly the name of the leaker, with the caveat of "I'm pretty sure." Wu rolled his eyes again and took another swallow of beer as he turned to the final document, a fairly routine analysis of the recent elections in Russia...until the final paragraph, which drew a low whistle out of his mouth, followed by a question on authorship. "Heurich Society," was Phant's answer. The seats were now filling up with moviegoers--mostly couples on dates. Wu munched his popcorn contemplatively, looking forward to the Keira Knightley eye candy to come--the only reason he had agreed to this absurd meeting place.

Several miles west, the Heurich Society was coming to order in the top floor of the Castle. Henry Samuelson had the same grumpy expression on his face he had worn for days since the leak about the CIA torture tapes. "All these young bucks with their damned video cameras!" he was muttering to the fellow next to him. "Why can't they store things in their brains like we did?!" He tapped his right temple to emphasize the point. "Because they're morons! All trained like soldiers in kung fu, but where are their brains?" Condoleezza Rice rapped her knuckles impatiently on the table and verbally outlined the meeting agenda. A half-hour later, they were congratulating her on the electoral setback for Hugo Chavez, and had reached a consensus on almost everything on the table. Samuelson cleared his throat: "What about Putin? He's dangerous."

Condoleezza Rice drained the last of her chicken broth/tarragon/buttermilk/ginseng/tomato smoothie, except for the red drops that always got trapped in the crease of her lips. "Russia," she intoned solemnly, "has always chosen our side when a world war was on the line." She was a Russia expert, and nobody could argue with that, but Samuelson thought it damn foolish to think two actions constitute a predictable pattern, and he started to wonder if she was bluffing.

A couple of miles south, Laura Moreno walked tentatively into the Prince and Prowling holiday party--a party she was only at because a friendly paralegal had sympathetically RSVPed her as his own guest. She checked her coat and walked into the hotel ballroom, searching for friendly faces and hoping she had chosen an appropriate dress. She moved self-consciously through the crowd of couples, knowing her own "date" was going to arrive very late and would not be escorting her around as a "date" in any case. She breathed a sigh of relief when she found Bridezilla's secretary, who introduced her husband to Laura. They moved over to the food buffet, which was paid for by the money that the Prince and Prowling partners saved by not giving people like her health insurance and paid leave time. She started piling up a plate of "benefits" for herself, turned the corner of the table, and found herself next to a partner--who introduced her politely to his wife, as if Laura were actually a real human being working as an attorney at their firm. Maybe I will get the face time I need here! She tried to converse with wit and intelligence, but an abrupt "excuse me" indicated that the partner needed to move on and impress his wife by demonstrating chumminess with former Senator Evermore Breadman. As they moved away from her, Laura caught sight of Bridezilla in a strapless gold-sequined evening gown--apparently chosen as an excuse for Bridezilla to keep her white fox fur coat on all evening. But SHE was on law review, so SHE fits in. Laura was greeted by the truly friendly faces of a couple of staff attorneys as she started digging into her over-priced and not-actually-that-good food.

Several miles south, another tenant was being evicted at Southwest Plaza, their meager belongings strewn mercielessly on the street by a landlord that did not think that mice, roaches, mold, and a lack of heat were sufficient excuses for the tenant not to pay rent. The tenant had tried for two months to get pro bono legal assistance, but most of the law firms in town were too busy planning their holiday parties and the glamorous, high-profile cases that would give their firms the best shot at making it to the Supreme Court. The former tenant's cousin came by in an old sedan to stuff a few things into the trunk and take him home to sleep on their couch. Up on her balcony, Golden Fawn looked down sadly on the scene until Marcos Vasquez took her by the elbow and told her to come back inside. She glanced back at the raven on her railing, wishing he had not again reminded her that she needed to turn up the heat on Ardua.


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