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 ....

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Squeeze

Sebastian L'Arche tied Gipper to the fence with a thick chain and lock, opened up the plastic bowl of water, stuck a biscuit in the rat terrier's mouth, and patted him on the head. "I'll be back in an hour." The Congressman (not yet back from Denver) wouldn't like it if he knew, but L'Arche knew anybody trying to steal this dog would get a finger or two chomped off. He entered the Capitol Hill church basement just as the Iraqi War veteran support group was getting underway. He picked up the photocopied hand-written agenda and a paper cup of pre-poured sweet tea, then sat down on a metal folding chair. The first item would be a discussion of how people felt about the Iraqi War policies promulgated at the recent Presidential conventions. The second item would be a discussion of National Suicide Prevention Week (sub-topics: "What are the warning signs?", "How can I help veterans at-risk?", and "How do I ask for help myself?"). The third item would be participation in guided, therapeutic clay sculpture by a volunteer from the Art Institute of Washington. That would explain the nearby redhead with the Martha Stewart apron quietly setting hunks of gray clay out on plastic plates. L'Arche looked down at the fingerless biker glove hiding the scar where he had gouged out his own hand tattoo on the way to getting the mental health discharge; he would have to take the gloves off to do the clay thing, but maybe he could cover the scar with clay fast enough so that nobody would notice. His thoughts fluttered unwillingly but effortlessly back to his last days in Iraq, easily drowning out the political convention discussion until a stack of flyers and refrigerator magnets being passed around the circle of veterans brought him back to the present and signalled that the topic had turned to suicide. The man next to L'Arche raised his hand to tell the group about a "friend" who had recently jumped from the Roosevelt Bridge into the Potomac; he was rescued, but now he seemed more depressed than ever. Out of the corner of his eye, L'Arche could see the redhead staring down at her own hands, picking dried bits of clay out of the creases in her skin, and he wondered if she had tried to kill herself once and found salvation through gray mushy stuff squeezed between her fingers.

Several miles to the northwest, Lynn Cheney was in the family room at the Vice-President's residence. Dick was away propping up America's oil-rich allies (again), and she had decided it was a good time to start getting rid of stuff. She had three large cardboard boxes in the center of the room labeled "Paralyzed Veterans", "E-Bay", and "trash". She also had a small box labeled "Sarah Palin's husband" sitting on the coffee table, but she hadn't put anything in it yet except some print-outs from the website of the State Department's Chief of Protocol and a couple of Washington dining guides. I hate her. The thought kept creeping into her mind, despite the high-volume Wagner opera coming out of the stereo speakers. I hate her. She tossed a few more books and videos into the P.V. box, then placed "The Sahib Edition of Rudyard Kipling" (ten-volume set) in the E-Bay box. Strangest Christmas gift Condoleezza ever gave us. She tossed some framed photos of the Cheney and Bush families into "trash", then sat down with a stack of magazines. The top one was "US Weekly" with the Sarah Palin cover. I hate her. Lynn began aiming the magazine for "trash", but she actually enjoyed the article, truth be known. She sighed deeply and threw it in "trash". They'll never get this house baby-proof. She finished sorting through the rest of the magazines, then threw the couch pillow she was leaning on into the P.V. box. She stood up to unplug the lamp and toss it in "E-Bay" as the house ghosts watched with interest from their perch on top of the plasma tv.

A few miles south, the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Anti-Fecklessness was in his office re-reading his latest coded cable from the Secretary of State. He couldn't remember the last time he had seen her in person, actually...and he couldn't remember this stupid code. He closed his eyes and started singing the song in his head, which led to the poem, which led to the atlas, which led to the....something. Piss. Amazingly enough, "C. Coe Phant" sauntered into his office at just this moment, and the two nodded to each other woodenly. Phant said he heard the humming as he passed by and wanted to know if the A.D.A.F.A.F. needed help with the code. "Oh, I've got it," he replied. "It's about Cheney's trip to Asia--you know, Georgia." Phant nodded and commented on the reports that Cheney was not just rescuing oil allies but visiting CIA secret rendition prisons abroad. "Yeah, we're on top of that," the A.D.A.F.A.F. replied nonchalantly, even though his pulse began racing. Phant nodded, took another look at the memo which was upside-down to him, and said, "glad to hear it" with an odd smirk. As he walked out, the A.D.A.F.A.F. began panicking, wondering if he should call Phant back.

Phant had no idea what the memo said--all he had done was read it upside-down and commit it to memory so that he could de-code it later. But he had a feeling this would be a good one because of what Charles Wu had whispered into his ear as they sat side-by-side at the noisy bar in Buca di Bepo last night. Asia was getting unglued. This thought took the smile off his face, but after he wrote down Rice's memo and gradually decoded it, the smile returned. She was coming unglued.

A few hundred yards away, Ardua fidgeted with annoyance as Dubious McGinty dumped another load of excrement into the Potomac River. He had made a good haul of dog poop, port-a-potty human waste, and pigeon guano, and this storm would probably cause some sewage overflow as well, so he was fairly optimistic. A strong gust of wind almost knocked McGinty into the water himself, but he staggered backwards and sat down on the shore to rest a few minutes. He was soaked with rain and perspiration, but it had to be done--he needed to get the fecal contamination level high enough so that the D.C. Triathletes would not be allowed to swim in the river next week. Ardua sank lower in the river, knowing full-well what McGinty was doing but somehow always powerless against this man.

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