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, October 04, 2008

The Instigator

Dr. Leo Schwartz was having a tough week at the Arlington group home for the mentally challenged.  First, Melinda had taken to stealing other people's eyeglasses in her attempt to remake herself to look like Sarah Palin; when the psychologist had warned her that stealing would get her removed from the group home, she had accused him of being part of the Washington elite and out of touch.  Then Larry had become obsessed with the documentary "I.O.U.S.A.", watching it four-to-five times a day; when he wasn't watching it, he was using his pre-paid cellphone to phone into any and every talk show he could find and impersonate former Comptroller General David Walker in railing against the bailout plan as an unconscionable expansion of the national debt.  Now Cedric was sitting on the back lawn, rocking himself and mumbling how he was going to Hell for writing the Moon Township Plan.  "What's going on here?"  Social worker Hue Nguyen was startled by Dr. Schwartz's question.  It was almost as if he knew there was an instigator. She told him that Theresa had been the first to start acting strangely, right after their visit to the waterfront restaurant in Old Town.  "What do you mean 'strangely'?"  Nguyen explained how Theresa had started scratching herself and asking for an intervention.  What Theresa had really asked for was a second exorcism, but Nguyen couldn't tell Dr. Schwartz that, nor could she tell him that the exorcist was coming over tonight as soon as Dr. Schwartz left.  Nguyen explained to Dr. Schwartz that outings always stirred up the group a bit, but they usually settled down after another week of routine life.  Dr. Schwartz put his glasses back on and jotted down some notes about prescription doses, then he stood up and contemplated his next move.

A few miles to the north, Calico Johnson was sitting on his balcony overlooking the Potomac, a spreadsheet of recently acquired foreclosures in front of him, while he contemplated his next move.  Three-bedroom Cape Cod in Silver Spring, two-bedroom luxury condo in the Palisades, four-story rowhouse on Capitol Hill, twenty-unit apartment building in Brookland, four-bedroom colonial in McLean...."  He was becoming obsessive-compulsive with his list of holdings, reading and rereading it two or three times per hour, all day long.  He almost had it memorized by now, except for the items he closed on Friday.  He no longer had a penny in the stock market--it was all in D.C. real estate now.  I own four percent of the region's real estate!  His mental calculations were wildly off in that respect, though the real estate demon living under his front porch did believe that Johnson had even more potential than that.  He decided the quickest return would be on the rental unit, so he picked up his cellphone to call his occasional girlfriend and new property manager Button Samuelson--fire old management company, raise rent (tell Button how to get around the rent control law), remove perks, cancel landscaping contract, repaint exterior and market as luxury rental building....  In time he wouldn't even have to go through the list with her--she would just know.  He was smiling broadly until he got her voicemail, which vexed him to no end.

Several miles to the south, Button Samuelson's cellphone was turned off because her father would have given her an icy death stare if she let it interrupt her visit with him.  She was again trying to explain to him that it was Saturday and she had real estate clients to meet with, but he kept ignoring her protests and saying it would only take a minute.  They were inside a small self-storage unit in Springfield, moving around boxes with mysterious labels like "Russian vodka 4", "Def Con Ulcer", "African Eden", and "Polar Roaches".  Henry Samuelson finally stopped at a box labeled "Moon Township" and told her this was the one.  Sometimes she wished her mother had never died, prompting her father's confession to her that his entire career had been in the CIA.  He asked her to help him carry it to the car, and a couple minutes later they were loading it into her trunk.  "Well, what is it?" she asked, tired of waiting for him to tell her.  He said it was the first thing she should open if he died or became incapacitated.  "But what is it?" she repeated.  He told her not to worry about it--it was just a precaution.  She climbed into the car, wondering how much of her father's CIA career was real and how much was in his imagination.

Was it just her imagination, or--?  A couple of miles to the north, Condoleezza Rice was staring at her curio cabinet, trying to figure out if something was missing.  She had been traveling so much the last few months, maybe she just didn't remember how things looked in her apartment anymore.  The truth was, something was missing:  a small jeweled goldfish that Pippin had decided to bat down and eat in a fit of annoyance that Rice had been absent so much.  Rice blew off a little dust, then settled into her red leather recliner to relax for a couple of hours before heading to the Heurich Society meeting.  She was not looking forward to it--that good old boy's club had proven harder to control than she had anticipated.  Still, anybody was easier to work with than Cheney.  The regional conflict was growing:  the Lebanon/Syria/Israel conflict was heating up, Kenya had been caught red-handed helping to smuggle arms to Sudanese rebels, Somalian pirates were staking out their own territory, bidders were falling over each other trying to get the contracts to arm India with nukes, and Charles Wu was going to pass her the latest intelligence on Pakistan any minute.  Gorgeous?  Pffhh!  She was annoyed that Pakistan's new president had publicly called Sarah Palin gorgeous.  I'm prettier, I'm smarter, I'm stronger--.  Her thoughts were interrupted as Pippin jumped into her lap demanding to be petted.

Several miles to the north, Charles Wu stopped listening to the bug planted under the cat's fur after Pffhh!  I'm prettier, I'm smarter, I'm stronger.  It was really only an amusement for him now:  Rice really never uttered aloud anything intelligible in that apartment, and he had already found a pretty decent cache of files on her computer.  He walked outside to stand on the corner with the bent stop sign and "Impeach Bush" flyer to wait for his Pakistan contact to arrive by taxi.  A few minutes later, Wu was riding through Rock Creek Park listening to the driver tell him about Pakistan's slide into civil war with half of his mind while the other half was thinking about how Prince and Prowling had landed its first big client in its new Beijing office--one of the manufacturers using toxic milk additives in China, a manufacturer that hadn't even been fingered yet but wanted to be ready when it was.  There weren't too many things that bothered Wu on a conscious level, but babies dying from powdered milk was a little too distasteful even for him.  And he hadn't liked the way that former Senator Evermore Breadman had crowed about the retainer.  The Pakistani taxi driver said something about "two weeks", and Wu turned his focus entirely back to Pakistan.  He had already decided to feed only a little information to Rice today, and the rest to the British.  Maybe he would feel differently tomorrow.  Even his own investments had taken a bit of a pounding lately--it might be time to start thinking about going to the highest bidder a little more often and suppressing his own personal feelings, which had recently been less about money and more about people, for God's sake.  Like the pending U.S. arms sale to Taiwan--which he had basically helped out on for free.  He needed to go back to looking out for number one.  The word "Taliban" again drew him back to the Pakistani's voice, and now he really didn't like what he was hearing.

A few miles to the east, Sebastian L'Arche and eight leashed dogs were on foot in the Aids Walk.  A little over $600,000 had been raised--about two million dollars less than Congress had just porked over to a couple of bow and arrow manufacturers in Oregon (which was apparently just as much of an emergency as the collapse of mortgage lenders and investment banks, because it was part of an additional hundred billion tacked onto the seven-hundred billion already in the legislation).  Although one in twenty D.C. adults has AIDS, one in ten federal Senators and Representatives has Acquired Immersion in Deficit Spending--which has been cured in some Third World countries by radical budget-slashing and IMF-designed austerity programs that knocked the working class back into the poverty class where they belonged (not taking food and resources away from the upper class), but which has yet to be cured in the United States, or even treated in any way.  L'Arche had long ago given up trying to understand how Congress spent money, but he did wish that its members would occasionally look around at the city surrounding their walls and see real need, real emergencies, real people dying.  Then again, maybe it wasn't their fault--maybe it was that thing in the Potomac.

2 Comments:

Blogger Iago de Otto said...

Whoah! Tom Clancy meets Carl Hiaasen. I will most definitely be following the adventures of this motley crew. What a totally great find on the Internet.

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Funding Available For Any Project, No Banks, No Loans, No Bailouts, No Bull

12:39 AM  
Blogger washingtonwaterwoman said...

Where is your other comment posted? I approved it, but I can't see where it is on the blog!

signed,

perplexed (but thrilled with your posts!) washingtonwaterwoman

9:32 PM  

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