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, March 27, 2008

Stimulating

Sebastian L'Arche was back in town after a pet courier job out of Atlanta (a pot-bellied pig belonging to a mortgage specialist recruited to beef up the subprime damage control staff at Freddie Mac). He was eating carry-out and rifling through his mail pile when he was startled by the IRS mailing, since he had already gotten his tax refund. "Economic Stimulus Payment Notice -- Dear Taxpayer: We are pleased to inform you that the United States Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed into law the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, which provides for economic stimulus payments to be made to over 130 million American households. Under this new law, you may be entitled to a payment of up to $600...." The letter went on to give him more useless details and a vague promise about when the money was coming. Could have gotten another $100 if they hadn't done this mailing. He looked down at the three dogs currently residing with him, all gnawing cheerfully on their respective bones. Maybe I'll catch up on the money I owe the vetrinarian, and then she can buy a new TV to stimulate our economy of sales clerks peddling Asian electronics at big-box stores. It had taken his accountant a full day's work to cobble together all the receivables and business expenses from L'Arche's various enterprises; he felt as if he had ten different jobs with no benefits other than animal companionship. But at least you can feel the love where I work. He smiled at the contented canines and threw the IRS letter into the pending basket sitting on his hand-me down kitchen table leaning up against the wall with the water stains from the leaks his basement apartment frequently got, then continued going through the pile of mail.

A few miles to the west, Golden Fawn was also catching up on her mail, including the IRS notice. She had already decided to send her "stimulus" check to her grandmother, though she was hesitant to tell Marcos that, since they were informally saving up to buy a place together. She was startled to hear the sudden call of the ice cream truck pulling up to the public housing project across the street. She walked out on the balcony to see if it was the same one, and it was: a plain truck with no pictures of ice cream, a truck that looked like a small armored money truck except for the loudest bell she had ever heard. She and two of her neighbors had called the police and several other city entities, which had all somehow agreed that the truck's bell was illegally loud, but they also somehow never managed to do anything about it. She watched children coming out into the windy, chilly drizzle to buy ice cream, and wondered what was in the ice cream--which the salesman peddled all year round, in rain and snow and sleet. Marcos often joked that it might be a DEA agent with a death wish. He promised her he would go out sometime in his Coast Guard uniform to buy some ice cream and check it out. She walked back inside to finish her pile of mail, which included a letter from the lawyer she had hired after all her hand-made jewelry had "disappeared" the day she came home to find to her complete surprise that all her faucets had been replaced by water-savers. She finished her mail pile and impulsively began examining her breasts to see if any new lumps had appeared; everything always seemed out of place in the bizarro world of Southwest Plaza.

A couple of miles to the west, Condoleezza Rice had finally caught up on her mail pile and logged onto her blog site to check on page hits. She typed in the password ("condopalooza") to get her analytics. Several new viewers! Canada, Chile, Finland (!), Germany, Guatemala, India, the U.K....She had actually done nothing to advertise her anonymous blog, and was pleased at her growing global reach. (If she had read the analytics more carefully, she would have realized that most of those new viewers were tagged as "bounces" because they had departed her site almost as soon as they had landed on it.) She clicked on the referral analytics to see if people were referring her blog to others, and there were a few referrals. Then she noticed something she had never noticed before: she could actually view in what cities her readers resided. Hmmm.... Though there were several viewers in the Washington area, there were none in New York or any other U.S. city that mattered. I need to get on some other blog sites and start chatting up my blog. The truth was, she didn't like looking at other blogs because they had so many rants against the Bush Administration. She logged into the posting page and began writing about what a successful trip the Secretary of State had executed in the Middle East, and how desperate and insecure Vice President Dick Cheney looked the way he went to the Middle East right after she did (trying to steal credit for what she had already started!). Then she blogged about the success of the Secretary of State's recent meetings and agreements with Asian leaders. Then she spent a few minutes mocking the Economic Stimulus Plan because she did not like her blog to look excessively in favor of the Bush Administration. Then, just to be sure, she spent a few more minutes mocking the Vice President, but she finished by posting a completely false story about Billary Clinton. Before publishing, she reviewed her blog for typos while sipping a mustard/pomegranate/cauliflower/almond butter/merlot smoothie. She hit the publish button and sat back and smiled, a couple of red drops pooling in the crease of her lips. She didn't even know why she was smiling--it just felt so good to be home this week.

A few hundred feet below, Ardua was looking up at Rice's window, happy to see her home.

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