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 ....

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Angela and Alice

Angela de la Paz was struggling to get through her homework. The apartment was quiet and dark except for the kitchen light on over her head. She liked it better when all the lights were on, but she knew that every few dollars saved on the electric bill made a huge difference. Music was playing softly from the radio on the kitchen counter--just audible enough for Angela not to feel so alone. She lost her concentration again and stared blankly at the page open on the table, thinking about her grandmother in the hospital. It would be another hour or two before her cousin got home from the Adams Morgan restaurant, and she would be too tired to help with the homework--or anything else. Angela's cousin would come in, turn on the TV, and lie on the couch watching it until she fell asleep. Angela would finish her homework by herself, pack her school lunch and backpack by herself, clean the kitchen by herself, and go to bed feeling as alone as when she got home from school several hours earlier. Angela wished her cousin would just give her a hug or tell her she was glad to be there. Angela was starting to wonder if this was the last time the cousin would come, and if abuela went into the hospital again, where Angela would end up. Angela knew that some of the kids at school lived in foster homes, but they did not like talking about it--all she ever heard was the whispering of gossips about the horrible things that happened in foster homes. The radio antenna fell off with a clunk onto the counter, making Angela jump. She got up to fix it, not wanting even a minute of silence, but then she noticed there was music coming from somewhere else. A chill went up her spine until she realized it was a pink warbler sitting on the ledge outside the kitchen window. Angela walked over to gaze at it through the cold pane. It's so beautiful. She had thought the pink warblers had flown south for the winter because she had not seen one in awhile, but this one looked healthy. She listened to it sing a long song, then it gazed deeply into her eyes for a moment, then it flew away. Angela turned the radio back on and finished her homework.

Several miles south, Atticus Hawk was rubbing his eyes, trying to decide if he could finish this memo at the office or if he needed to take it home and work on it after a break. Just wrap it up. His phone buzzed again with another text message from his boss: j4mm19 muck up101. Hawk's boss liked to send messages in coded gibberish: the problem was that his boss was always messing up the code. Just forget (Monday's memo? my memo?) 19th (paragraph? sentence?) Mukasey likes start with (what?). The Justice Department's torture law expert put his head down on the desk to close his eyes for awhile, and fell asleep. Soon he was dreaming of Attorney General Michael Mukasey's first Congressional hearing testimony--his appearance yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee--except in his dream, Mukasey was dressed as Alice in Wonderland, Senator Patrick Leahy was dressed as the floating Cheshire Cat head, and Senator Charles Schumer was Tom Petty in his Alice video costume, and he was singing "Don't Come Around Here No More". Then Mukasey said, "but this is my first time here!" Then Tom Petty began singing "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around". Then Mukasey told the committee that this was the stupidest tea party he had ever been to, and it was the Senate's fault that the McCain Amendment was ambivalent on torture. Then Tom Petty began singing "Last Dance With Mary Jane". Then Mukasey ate a mushroom and told the committee that he would now "refrain from naming all the other things that I find repugnant". Then the Cheshire Cat head spun around 360 degrees like Regan in "The Exorcist" and shouted, "Will you waterboard or not?!" Then Mukasey shouted, "Off with their heads!" Then Senator Ted Kennedy ran in dressed as the Mad Hatter and screamed, "but that's illegal!" Then Mukasey ate a tart and said, "only for bank robbers." Then Tom Petty began singing "I Won't Back Down!" Then Senator Sam Brownback pulled a Barack Obama mask over his head and shouted, "Don't mess with Texas!" Then Orrin Hatch pulled a Hillary Clinton mask over his head, jumped up on the committee table, and began dancing the can-can. Then Mukasey grabbed his talking points memo from Atticus Hawk and jumped down a rabbit hole. Then a pack of hedgehogs was sent down the hole after him, and soon everyone in the hearing room could hear him screaming. Then the Cheshire Cat pulled out a chain saw and ripped the engine starter cord, preparing to chop of Mukasey's head. Then Hawk woke up because the buzzing sound was another text message, and this one said, "You blew it! Your memos stink! Mukasey looked like an ass because of you!" Then Hawk woke up for real.

A few miles west, Condoleezza Rice was sitting uneasily in her red leather recliner listening to "No Excuses" by Alice in Chains. She was slowly draining a cranberry/fennel/couscous/whey/clam juice smoothie, Pippin curled up asleep in her lap. Mukasey is a ding dong. She took the last swallow--which left a red drop stuck on the crease of her lip--then set the glass down on the table beside her. But he's still standing. She absent-mindedly stroked Pippin. I have less than a year left. She picked up her phone to dial former Senator Evermore Breadman, but he did not answer at any of his numbers because half of his clients' business operations in Asia and Asia Minor were crippled by the massive internet cable disruption under the sea and that was more important. She needed to call another Heurich Society Meeting.

"Just give me the priority order, sir," said Charles Wu confidently over the phone, turning down the volume on the Pippin transmission of Alice in Chains. "I'll take care of the routing through secure Hong Kong channels." Wu did not even bother naming a price--he was confident that Breadman would send him a huge check for the sudden miraculous expansion of baudwidth, followed in the near future by the money the Chinese government would pay Wu for routing the information through the very un-secure Hong Kong channels. "It's always a pleasure!" An hour later, everything was taken care of, and Wu rewound the tape on the Pippin transmission, but there was nothing there except Alice in Chains.

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