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, October 19, 2008

Tough as a Three-Dollar Steak

"Thanks!  You saved my life!"  The discombobulated Dutch tourist giddily received the wallet back into his hand from Charles Wu, who had fished it out of the gutter where it had landed upon the Dutchman's exit from the taxi.  Wu nodded and walked away from the backpack-laden visitor and his similarly encumbered mate.  Backpackers.  He wiped his hands on his silk cashmere sweater and returned to his coffee and newspaper at the Cosi outdoor table, where he was staked out watching a new target.  Hmmm.  Another distraction came into view.  Now that's something you don't see every day.  The woman got off the Dupont Circle escalator and began walking east quickly, a baby propped up in her arms and attached to her breast.  The baby was accustomed to drinking on the go and never noticed the stares, but her father cast an icy look at Wu, and Wu bent his head back down to his paper.  He remembered Chinese women nursing in public all the time, but the white women of Hong Kong never did.  This woman was a racial mix (like Wu), but the father was all Korean, and it was clear the woman wouldn't be doing it if he had his way.  Wu almost missed it, but out of the corner of his eye, he caught the exchange he had been awaiting for fifty minutes, just before getting distracted again.

It was Laura Moreno, walking home quickly.  Wu had seen her plenty of times at Prince and Prowling, but he could not consciously remember who she was.  He never said hello to her at Prince and Prowling, so she ignored him and continued on her way, a million things to do, as usual.  Just when she thought her two years of pro bono work had finally come to a successful (albeit, too little too late) conclusion, more legal problems had erupted for the family.  She had a fax to prepare for the Attorney General--who had just opened a child support investigation which was, in addition to being riddled with errors, completely pointless.  The new Superior Court hearing she did not even want to think about right now.  She had been without a working computer for weeks, her place was a pigsty, and her hands were in pain all the time from the lousy new computer program dumped on her at work.  She desperately needed a vacation but was terrified she would lose her job if she took more than half a day of work off.  She bit her lip and massaged her forearms as she walked, and Wu turned his gaze to follow her, wondering if she was having a psychotic episode.

Several miles east, Angela de la Paz had just crushed a mosquito in her bare hands.  It kind of grossed her out, but she was tired of watching it circling.  She wiped her hands on her jeans and returned to raking up leaves at the National Arboretum Friendship Garden--where last week's Indian summer had brought a new surge of mosquitoes, gnats and bees out of synch with the autumn panorama.  Something was going on with her family, but she didn't know what it was, and she wished they would tell her.  A pink warbler settled onto a tree limb above her head and sang to Angela of the days to come.

"The neighborhood?  Tough as a three-dollar steak."  Judge Sowell Lame couldn't believe the Supreme Court opinion he was reading online in his upper Georgetown home.  It's only in the dissent, but what the @#$% crap is that?  This is our Chief Justice?  Writing crime noir?  He emailed back the friend who had sent him the link. This town makes everybody crazy.  He got off the computer and opened up his briefcase to look at the filings his new and irritating law clerk had suggested he catch up on over the weekend.  He didn't need any smart-ass, over-achieving, affirmative-action Yalie in his face trying to speed up his docket.  Thanks to her last uninvited brief, he had already had to make a ruling on that Potomac River case that that his predecessor had fearfully avoided deciding for years, and now he was having nightmares three or four times a week about a goddam Loch Ness monster rising up out of the water to tell him "nobody owns the Potomac river bed but me!" before biting Lame's head off.  Now what?  He frowned as his synapses at last made the name connection in his brain.  Not this family again....

Several miles to the south, Condoleezza Rice was relaxing in her red leather recliner, sipping a walnut oil/amaranth/curry/honey/beet juice smoothie.  She always felt better when she just looked out on the Potomac from her Watergate window.  Israel and the Palestinians were at peace, but nobody noticed, or cared, or thanked her for her efforts there.  She stroked Pippin's back.  Colin Powell had just endorsed Obama, trying to distance himself from the "eight years", but she was on the hook for all of them.  The Democratic Senate had finally squeezed the torture admission out of her--yes, the White House had known for years that the CIA was using "enhanced" interrogation methods.  She took another sip.  But that doesn't matter.  Her eyes roved the river view.  The Moon Township Plan is in full swing, and the Heurich Society can't do without me now.  I'm more powerful than anybody in this town realizes.  She smiled softly, a red drop dangling from the corner of her lip.

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