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, February 10, 2008

Drip

Angela de la Paz was visiting her grandmother at George Washington University Hospital. Angela was veryhappy because abuela was feeling a lot better since the surgery, even though she still had some other problems that would keep her there a few more weeks, at least. Consuela Arroyo smiled at the girl as she adjusted the intravenous drip. "She talks about you all the time, Angela!" Angela smiled back at the nurse. She knew her cousin had tried to go to nursing school but could not get financial aid. She kept telling her cousin to come in and talk to the nurses here, but her cousin was working in a restaurant and said she was too busy. Angela asked the nurse what was in the drip, and Consuela told her all about it. "But your visits make her feel better than anything else!" The nurse left the girl alone with the patient; after all these years, it still amazed her how much faster patients recuperated if they were visited by loved ones.

A few miles away, a disgruntled male prostitute grabbed a coat rack and bashed it into the head of his client. Through the wall of the Southwest Plaza apartment, Golden Fawn and Marcos Vasquez both heard some loud thumps, followed by a door slam. Marcos told Golden Fawn to stay put as he ran out into the hallway just as the assailant was running into the stairwell; then Marcos saw Golden Fawn's neighbor stagger out of his apartment in a daze, blood pouring from his head. "Call 911!" he shouted to Golden Fawn as he approached the man and told him to lie down. "And grab some towels!" He had received a lot of first aid training as a Coast Guard officer, but this was the first time he actually feared picking up HIV from a bleeding injury victim. A moment later, Golden Fawn was handing Marcos towels as she explained the emergency to the 911 dispatcher, her eyes riveted to the drip of blood out of the man's head and onto the cockroach-colored carpeting.

Several miles north, Eva Brown was carrying packages into her Ward Park apartment building as a man followed closely behind. He followed her into the lobby, then punched her in the head, causing her to fall to the floor with a scream. He grabbed her packages and purse, then ran back out. She fumbled for the cellphone in her coat pocket and dialed her boyfriend, but the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Anti-Fecklessness was in a meeting at the State Department. She began to cry as the pain in her head began throbbing and blood starting dripping from the brow she had caught on the corner of the end table in her nice apartment building in a safe neighborhood.

"Would it be torture if somebody did it to you?" Sebastian L'Arche was at an Iraq veterans support group, and a former Marine sitting across the room was reading from a news article. "Well, DUH! That's what war IS! It's SUPPOSED to hurt!" the Marine veteran added. Another man raised his hand and said he had been captured for a couple of days in Iraq, and nobody tortured him. "That's 'cause you're a nobody, and they weren't trying to learn anything from you, dimwit!" The facilitator again reiterated the ground rules for support group participation. A woman who had served as a medic asked about the Geneva Convention, and another woman said it didn't apply to the CIA prisoners because they were not prisoners of war, and another man said that was a load of crap and the CIA was lying when they said they only waterboarded three prisoners and that the CIA was better-trained than the military in interrogation techniques, then the Marine veteran said, "Of course they're lying! They're the CIA! They do whatever the Hell they want, and they do it with fake names or no names, and nobody calls them baby-killers or posts their photos on the internet!" Then there was silence. The facilitator suggested they take a five-minute break for the cookies and sweet tea in the back of the room, but the Marine wasn't finished: "And those CIA twits, they had a fancy memo from the Justice Department so they can claim they thought what they were doing was legal at the time they were doing it, but those twits had prisoners all locked up safe and sound, those twits weren't being shot at and flamed at and bombed every %^&*(#@ day of the year while they were in Iraq! Dripping water on somebody's head is torture?! HA!" Silence. Sebastian L'Arche stood up and walked to the back of the room to get cookies and sweet tea, and other veterans followed. Kill or be killed. That's how most of the guys felt every day they were in Iraq. The odd thing was, L'Arche could no longer remember how he had felt in Iraq--he could see the memories like photos and movies in his mind, but the soundtrack was silent. He had poured his sweet tea sloppily, and it was dripping onto the concrete floor. He watched the drips and did not feel like talking tonight.

Many miles away, Charles Wu was reading through papers he had recently picked up from "C. Coe Phant". Wu was one of only a couple dozen people in the world who had actually learned about the CIA waterboarding early on, and the "results" it had yielded. Wu found torture distasteful. Somehow, passing military secrets did not translate in his mind to actual bloody carnage on the ground, but it disturbed him greatly to think that men could be so uncivilized to other men one-on-one. The Abu Ghraib photos, the Guantanamo treatment, the CIA secret prisons--it was all so disgusting...and unnecessary. Things like that made him happy to pass American secrets to the Chinese. A couple weeks earlier, he was passing Chinese secrets to the British, and he was happy to do that. The CD he was listening to finished, and, in the silence, Wu could suddenly hear the slow drip of his kitchen faucet. Chinese water torture. He smiled for a moment at the old joke...then frowned.

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