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 ....

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Former Senator Evermore Breadman was a little concerned about his meeting with Alphonso Jackson, the recently resigned Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Though he had assured Jackson that there would be no trouble finding him a soft landing, Breadman was concerned that Jackson's expectations of a golden parachute were a little unrealistic. After all, the man had no current business skills, and had already demonstrated a serious lack of political circumspection. It would be hard for him to go back into public housing administration after overseeing the Republican gutting of the whole genre for so many years: in short, his street cred was long gone. If the real estate market were hotter, it would be easy to find him a good landing in the private sector, but timing was not ideal. Breadman frowned and swallowed down the rest of his Wie Chinese herbal tonic. He was going to have to think outside the box, and it was not really his specialty. And that infernal racket! It was a nearby crane, a crane with the loudest mechanical squeal he had ever heard in his life. He toyed with the idea of postponing the meeting, but he knew Jackson was eager to take a vacation away from Washington, so it was better to get it over with. Maybe Jackson can head a special commission to...prove that minorities were not disproportionately hit by the subprime mortgage disaster....

A dozen yards away, Chloe Cleavage was trolling www.sugardaddies.com, wondering if she was still young enough and pretty enough. Last night, the latest flock of emergency contract attorneys had been let go after just 2-1/2 days of work, which even she thought was unnecessarily cruel. She had read Cosmo and Elle during their orientation, and had perused real estate foreclosures while overseeing them in the sweatshop downstairs, but she had occasionally actually looked at them (because you never know if one of them is going to present serious beefcake!), and even she had been unsettled by the emotionless, shell-shocked visages hovering listlessly in front of computer screens full of the most financially and technologically obtuse jargon she had ever, herself, seen in a lawsuit. But there it was--they had schlepped through enough documents to get the team past the deadline crisis, and so they were gone. Chloe had a fairly streamlined approach to doing second review, and was going to have no trouble getting through the folders in a couple of days. Cornelius Hadley Birchmere VI? Very good looking, but just how long-lived are these guys? And would he make me name my son "Cornelius"? She read a little further. What if I have a daughter? Would she be known as the laxative heiress? She clicked through a few more entries. There are millionnaires in Mexico? Who knew?! She was very prejudiced against mustaches, or so she told herself as she continued clicking. A Swiss lawyer and banker? Hmmm.... Would he want to marry a lawyer? Probably not. Of course, I don't have to tell him I'm a lawyer! It's not as if he will find out by Googling me. And so she sent a message to a man who specialized in secret Swiss bank accounts (ever since he had inherited several "abandoned" Jewish ones from his parents) while several partners up on the penthouse floor looked on approvingly as the Nintendo Wii station was installed in the partners-only lounge.

A couple of miles away, Liv Cigemeier was trying to talk her boss into contacting Al Gore about his new "We" campaign, and was getting his "Are you out of your mind?" look. She continued, pumped up on liquid courage (an organic dark chocolate chai latte). "This is exactly what International Development Machine should be about! Finding solutions that sustain life on this planet! Huge hydro-electric dams are just providing short-term solutions while destroying the very Third World ecosystems needed to sustain the populations! The world is about to see the largest mass extinction in millions of years, and the largest mass migration of human beings ever recorded in civilized history! There are thousands of programs and projects we could be doing that will provide real jobs to the poor, and communities that will be sustainable for generations to come. This is a moment to seize!" The President of I.D.M. put his glasses back on and turned back to his computer screen, reminding her he wanted the USAID police-training proposal ready by 4 p.m. On her way back to her desk, Liv could see Momzilla just arriving at the office--she somehow seemed to have two OB-GYN appointments/week now, even though she always raved about how healthy she was. Liv would be lucky to get even two paragraphs out of her for the proposal.

"How are we feeling today?" Dr. Ermann Esse was an old-fashioned psychiatrist who had his patients lie down on a couch for each session, addressed them as "we", and refused to prescribe pharmaceuticals of any sort. This resulted in his receiving an enormous number of top government officials with security clearances, as well as some lower officials subject to random drug testing. He was not without pity for the hapless souls that truly suffered from chemical imbalances, but he made those types of diagnoses very quickly and referred them out for treatment by a different M.D. in the building. No, what he liked were the classic personality disorders associated with men (and, on rare occasion, women) who spent their lives thinking they were controlling the world. Henry Samuelson kicked off his shoes, lay down on the couch, ignored the question, and immediately began to tell Dr. Esse about the dream he had of trying to sell a semi-junky car to a band of hippies who proffered him a $979 bill with a portrait of Ben Franklin on it. "A $979 bill?" Dr. Esse repeated, in his old-fashioned way. Samuelson explained that, in his dream, he believed at first that the bill was counterfeit because it seemed really odd that the U.S. Treasury would be issuing $979 bills, but the more he looked at it, the more real it seemed. But that wasn't even the strangest thing about the dream! The strangest thing was that I was really thinking of giving those hippies the car without authenticating the currency. Of all people, those were surely the type of people I should have trusted the least! "The least?" Dr. Esse repeated. Samuelson reflected a moment, and admitted that there were others he trusted less--such as Arabs, Russians, Africans, Frenchmen, Paraguayans, Canadians, Norwegians, Australians, and Celts--but he rarely encontered them since he had retired from the CIA. But the U.S. still has hippies! "The U.S. still has hippies?" Dr. Esse repeated. Then Samuelson began ranting about hippies, punks, peaceniks, feminists, and vegans; then he commented that he was worried his own children might have fallen into one or more of these categories. "Your own children?" Dr. Esse repeated, suppressing a smile because he knew it was a major breakthough. "We are worried about our children?"

"Wheeeeeeeeeee!" A few miles to the south, a tourist from Canada was swinging his daughter around beneath the exuberant cherry blossoms, under a bright blue sky, next to the Tidal Basin. An infected duck couple swam past, their shell-shocked visages gliding listlessly above the shimmering water, as they led their ducklings back to the more plentiful food of the Potomac River. Nearby, Ardua had rebounded from the weekend vomiting, and had resumed consuming hapless tourists, as the Shackled watched in helpless frustration.


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