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 24, 2008

Parasites

Henry Samuelson was lying on the couch in Ermann Esse's office. He hated paying the inflated weekend rate, but lately he kept having nightmares the night before the Heurich Society meetings. He was telling Dr. Esse about the garage that was full of dead leaves--maybe years' worth of dead leaves. There was a shop vaccuum and also a leaf blower, but he decided that it would be too much work to check the filter or engine, and instead grabbed the custodian-sized push-broom hanging on the wall. He proceeded to push the leaves out of the garage while music played from a hidden radio turned on by someone else; he wasn't sure how the garage had filled up with leaves, but it really felt good to clean it out. He asked Dr. Esse what the dream meant. Dr. Esse suppressed his annoyance that Samuelson always asked this. "What do you think it means?" Samuelson told Dr. Esse he was worried about Russia and Vladimir Putin. "Hmmm," Dr. Esse replied encouragingly. Samuelson talked about Georgia, then about Poland, then about Russia's severance of communications with NATO. "Hmmm," nodded Dr. Esse again: though he secretly suspected the dream had nothing to do with Eurasian politics, it was important that Samuelson was able to voice his deep fears about global politics. "And what does the Society think should be done about Russia?" Dr. Esse did not believe that the Heurich Society actually existed, but it was important that Samuelson have a forum to express the arguments in his head. "So you're concerned the Moon Township Plan will spin out of control?" Dr. Esse did not believe in the Moon Township Plan either, but nothing was more fascinating than psychoanalyzing the delusional cloak-and-dagger crowd of Washington. How could these men be world dominators when they were afraid of their own dreams?

A few miles north, Samuelson's daughter Button was being interviewed for her first potential gig in building management. Real estate sales in Washington being as slow as they were, she had decided to get her license in property management, and here she was: "Henrietta Samuelson, President, Caljohn Management, LLC". How hard could it be? Her sometimes boyfriend Calico Johnson had put in the capital and offered her the job as soon as he found out about her new license. She had never even asked! Never asked him for anything! She was starting to think he was too good to be true. A few minutes into the interview, she began to sense the tension between the condo president, vice-president, and treasurer. (And she was not clear on why two other people were there who did not even own condos in the building.) Her eyes had taken in the piles of mulch and empty flower pots that stood in place of a front garden, the shabby and filthy lobby carpeting, the cracked stairs, the worn couches they were all seated at--and she was poring over the budget and paltry amount of reserves that the condo association had saved up. "No problem!" she declared brighly, immediately regretting the choice of words as sounding too young and unprofessional. "I have worked with more challenging budgets than this," she added, not explaining that she was referring to her own personal finances after she first came back from Africa. "We just have to prioritize--I mean, the condo association has to prioritize." She noticed that nothing was budgeted for plumbing even though they had spent about $5,000 annually for plumbing since 2004. "What is this income here?" she asked, pointing to page five. The Treasurer mumbled that it was a special assessment collection, and the Vice President echoed that it was the third in four years. "Hmmm," Button replied sympathetically. The president declared somewhat icily that long-term owners had not kept up the maintenance, and newer owners were getting socked with it now. "Well, it's always important to optimize the equity and share voice of each stakeholder, and the ratio of outlays to inputs must be adjusted to take into consideration the needs of both lessees and lesssors, not to mention vendees and vendors." The three board members had no idea what that sentence meant, but were too embarassed to ask, so they hired her because she sounded like she really knew a lot more than the previous two managers did. Button telephoned Johnson on the way to her car to tell him the good news, and he promised to bring over a bottle of champagne to celebrate the expansion of his real estate empire. She thought that was a little arrogant, considering she was doing all the work and he was just an investor, but something about him made her allow and even secretly admire his arrogance...his power.

Several miles to the south, "C. Coe Phant" was taking advantage of Condoleezza Rice's latest absence from the State Department--not to snoop through her locked and guarded office but to snoop through the cubicles of the underlings who were only allowed to take time off when she was away. It was amazing how much could be gleaned just from perusing the notations on their desk planners, the carbon-copy phone messages, the latest stack of folders "to be filed". He knew it was no coincidence that Russia was showing imperialistic resurgence at the very end of the term for the Russia specialist who, after all, was going to need something to do after the Secretary of State gig was up. He carefully emptied another shredder's contents into his duffel bag, replacing the purloined ones with others to defray the suspicion an empty shredder would incur. He had hacked his way into some pretty interesting emails, and he was sure that these shredders were holding some missing pieces to the puzzle. A few minutes later, he was waving to the last security guard on his way out the front entrance, a parade of international flags behind him, a portrait of the Bloodsucker to his right.

Across the Potomac River, a couple miles west, Cedric lay on a cartoon frog-covered beach towel on the backyard lawn behind the Arlington group home for the mentally ill. He had run through the sprinkler with Buckner and Melinda (just as he used to do when he was a kid in Indiana) and was now drying out in the sun. Something about his Thorazine and pantothenic acid supplements was combining with the sweet corn and watermelon he had eaten at lunch to make his skin throw off a scent that was wildly alluring to the garden slugs, and they slowly began creeping over his bare and still damp legs. He was dozing off under the warm blanket of the sun's rays, but his subconscious mind knew something was wrong. Leeches! He was being tortured with leeches. "I won't tell you!" he screamed at the Soviet interrogator, who looked like a cross between Stalin and Nuryev--but with an eye patch, sort of like a pirate. "I'll never tell!" The Soviet tossed a couple more leeches on his bare legs, but Cedric's arms were tied down, so he couldn't reach any of them. He knew from his training how to calculate the amount of blood withdrawn by each leech--and, hence, how long he had to live--but he had already lost count of the leeches. He had never expected to die this way, but he knew it was worth it--the Moon Township Plan would change the course of history, even if nobody ever knew that he had written it. He refused to translate one word of the encrypted plan that had fallen into their hands. "NEVER!!!!" The Soviet pirate put leeches on both of Cedric's ears, then one in his mouth, and he began screaming. A startled Melinda turned to see Cedric frantically ripping slugs off his legs, but when she brought over the hose to help out, he just screamed louder. The social worker, Hue Nguyen, rushed over to see what was wrong, and Melinda rejoined the others who were still lost in childhood memories. A catbird sitting in the oak tree began imitating the whirring pattern of the rotating sprinkler, and soon there was no other sound.

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