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, August 03, 2008

Nothing Better to Do

"This has gone too far already. I don't know what I can do at this point." Former Senator Evermore Breadman spoke for a few more minutes over the phone, then told the lawyer from Chevron he would decide by tomorrow. "Amateurs," he muttered to himself. He shuffled through his papers again, looking at the highlighted passages from the articles and translated court documents the lawyer had sent him regarding Chevron's potential liability for a $16 billion Amazon clean-up in Ecuador. The John Negroponte meeting in the press, the U.S. Trade Representative on the record with a threat against Ecuador, the looming involvement of Barak Obama, and the anonymous banana republic statements to the media that sounded like something out of a 1905 editorial on not letting small countries stand in the way of large corporations.... Breadman was fairly certain this consulting gig would not pass a conflicts check at Prince and Prowling, but it was always an ego trip to be asked to clean up the messes left by lesser consultants. Outside his window, a catbird alit on the ledge and began making jackhammer noises. Breadman thought about the consulting fee and decided to dig in--he really had nothing better to do today.

A block away, President Bush was packing for his vacation in Texas, rejoicing that Congress had at last adjourned. Laura had already packed up all his East Wing necessities and picked out what books he would be reading; all he had to do was decide what notebooks and files to collect from the Oval Office. Nothing on the Middle East--need a vacation. "Oh, yeah," he said to himself, pulling out the file labeled China--Olympics. "Almost forgot about that." He passed over the Economy files but picked up the notebook on public land mineral leases--gotta take care of a few more people. He passed over the Climate Controversy files but picked up the notebook labeled Legacy. The buzzer on his desk rang a few seconds after the Secret Service agent at the exterior exit signalled the President's Detail that The Bloodsucker was on the way. "Dr. Rice?" he asked in puzzlement. He didn't remember summoning Condi to the White House. He put his papers into the burgundy briefcase with the monogram--the one Laura had given him at Christmas--and tidied up his desk for her arrival.

"Sir," Condoleezza Rice began. "I wanted to be clear about the intent of Vice President Cheney's communication on Pakistan." Bush sat down in his desk chair, dejected. "I know you're leaving town, but things are at a critical juncture. The reason we leaked the intelligence on who bombed the Indian embassy--"

Bush signalled her to be quiet. "Now, I thought everybody was in agreement on that?"

Rice nodded affirmatively. "Yes, sir: that's why I'm not clear on Vice President Cheney's directive." She couldn't believe she still had to make visits like this after all these years--that she actually had to show up in his office to remind him that she was the smartest one in the room.

"Alright," Bush sighed. He got up and walked over to the window where several starlings were perched outside on the ledge. "Go on." After a few minutes of listening, he said, "alright." He walked back to his desk to sign the memo she had already prepared on Presidential Seal stationery. Rice wished him an excellent vacation and strode out of the Oval Office, a smile almost escaping her lips. Bush pulled his Gameboy out of the lower drawer and shoved it into the briefcase. He headed out of the Oval Office, followed by the ghost that had hidden the file on Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac.

A few miles west, Charles Wu was eating a buttermilk biscuit at the Silver Diner in Arlington while his contact told him that the Chinese Embassy was just about complete and that the Chinese had shifted workers over to the renovation project on Porter Street. "Is it going to be a cultural center and embassy residences?" His contact smiled and asked what else it could be. Wu nodded amiably, understanding that this information was not for sale yet. "Who will be in Beijing?" This time Wu wrote down carefully coded notes as his contact recited useful contacts that would be circulating during the Olympic Games. Wu had hoped to get away with just visiting the equestrian events on Hong Kong and a few soccer matches in Shanghai, but he was getting more and more pressure to go to Beijing. The problem was, going to Beijing would mean almost non-stop work (what with the Prince and Prowling office opening and all the espionage available there), not to mention having to cut short his visit with his mother. On the other hand, he would never have another opportunity to see Beijing without a blanket of smog, and the prospect of thousands of finely toned female athletes was enticing (although this was almost a negative since he probably would not have much free time to chase after them). But what's the cover? This was really the biggest problem, because too much double-agent work in one city in a two-week period was a recipe for disaster. "I'll try to get up there for a couple of days," Wu told his contact, resolving to use the Prince and Prowling office opening as the cover. "Only tell these two." He pointed to a couple of people on the list, then slurped down the last of his strawberry milkshake. His contact nodded as Wu threw down a $20 on the table and left to meet another contact at the used record store going out of business.

A few miles to the east, a dozen more infected ducks fled the Potomac River and joined their refugee brethren in McPherson Square, where Dr. Ermann Esse was tossing out breadcrumbs as he waited to be paged for his appointment with Henry Samuelson and wondered at his own uneasiness.

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