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, December 14, 2008

The Prophecy

"I wish that Prophecy would kick in soon."  Dizzy was chatting up the current tenant of the Permanent Peace Vigil at Lafayette Square.  "I mean, change isn't coming fast enough for me!"  Dizzy was polishing his trumpet, waiting for another clump of White House tourists to approach.  "And it's not right that they moved you way over here, after all those years!"  The Vigilist nodded silently from inside his tent, which had been moved to the far northern edge of the park to make way for the erection of inauguration stands.  "I mean, who's gonna notice you over here?"  The Vigilist was eyeing the bloody moccasin-like shoes on Dizzy's feet.  "Oh, don't worry about that!  The bleeding stopped a few days ago."  Dizzy explained to the peace activist how he had used an old hunting knife to amputate all his toes because they "wouldn't give him no peace", and how people had been telling him for months that it was restless leg syndrome or diabetes or a magnesium deficiency, but it wasn't!  He knew it was those "cursed ducks and river rats gnawing on his toes" while he slept.  He wasn't sure if he wanted to go back to Urine Park now:  he kind of liked being in a park where squirrels were in charge.  "But those damned S.S. guys with the police dogs!  Don't you get sick of them?"  The Vigilist shook his head no and told Dizzy they never gave him any trouble.  (He had been spit on, yelled at, and kicked, but never by the Secret Service--the Permanent Peace Vigil was the least of their phantom concerns.)  However, the Vigilist had never seen any street musicians collecting money at Lafayette Squre, and suspected this would not be tolerated past January 21st.  "Ooh!  Here come some more!"  With that, Dizzy scooted back to the other side of the sidewalk and started playing "Deck the Halls".

A couple miles to the west, Condoleezza Rice was trying to finish the piano concerto she had been composing for three years.  She turned her pencil over and rubbed the eraser over the notes again, then lifted the page and carefully blew the eraser residue into the Japanese lacquered umbrella stand she used as her living room trash can.  She looked over at Pippin, but the cat was still giving her the evil eye, just as he had been every day since future Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton and her hyena laugh had invaded the Watergate for a private dinner tete-a-tete.  Rice nodded at Pippin sympathetically.  "It had to be done," she told the cat again.  "It wasn't that bad."  She was still annoyed that Clinton had dried her hands on the wrong towels in the bathroom--and why did she need to use the bathroom anyway?  If that woman can't get through a two-hour dinner without using a bathroom, how is she going to dine with heads of state?  Rice tried another run of notes, then another, then another--but none of them satisfactorily resolved the key change.  She started moving her fingers in a different direction, but then the phone rang.  “What?!”  It was the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Anti-Fecklessness calling, and he repeated that the Internet was buzzing with a video of an Iraqi reporter throwing his shoes at President Bush during a news conference.  She threw her pencil across the room and slammed the piano cover shut.

Several miles to the north, Charles Wu was re-listening to his tape of the dinner conversation between the outgoing and incoming Secretaries of State, but it had gotten very faint—obviously Pippin had retreated to a far corner after Clinton had let loose a few belly laughs.  Wu fiddled with the volume, bass and treble one more time, and gleaned a few more nuggets about Israel, but that was it.  Not that he was in any mood to feed intelligence to China right now:  he was definitely tilting west after seeing the Chinese reports this week of the tainted milk plaintiffs thrown out of court, the Shandong Province activists and petitioners routinely committed to the local psychiatric hospital for lengthy “treatments”, and the arrest of dissident Liu Xiaobo for organizing an online petition calling for an end to one-party rule and other political policies.  He got up and made himself a gin and tonic, which he was prone to do when getting ready to feed dirt to his British associates. He knew that the Beijing office of Prince and Prowling was representing some of those milk companies, and he didn't like the feelings of guilt stabbing at his normally indifferent conscience.  The Shandong story was probably published by the state because of a personal feud with the provincial government, but people around the world would assume the story was representative of all of China.  And the online petition—well, that was par for the course; if the central government was going to prohibit that sort of thing, they needed to ratchet up their policing of the Internet.  Fools.  He felt the warm relaxation of the gin kicking in, reflected on his record of superior judgment in brokering world power and managing the flow of information, and decided to take the rest of the evening off from being a double agent—tomorrow was a new day.  He headed out to see humanity lectured and punished in “The Day the Earth Stood Still”.

Several miles south, former Senator Evermore Breadman was still hungover from the Prince and Prowling holiday party.  He didn't really like seeing his partner profits tossed away so lavishly on the staff—two different live bands? seven types of fresh-carved meats? a dedicated ice cream sundae maker? the whole ballroom floor of the Benjamin Hotel?—and the only protest he could make was drinking all the champagne he could get his hands on.  He pulled some more Chinese herbs out of his bottom drawer and stuck them in his ears because he had already tried drinking them, snorting them, and soaking his feet in them.  Did I dance with Chloe Cleavage to “Brick House”?  He was nagged with uneasiness about the event, and wished the firm had allowed people to bring spouses.  He tried to refocus his eyes on the set of relaxed timber regulations he was preparing for President Bush, but the words were still dancing around the page.  Did I set something on fire?  He leaned back and closed his eyes again.  The wad of herbs stuck in his ears blocked out the giggling of Bridezilla as she passed his office door on her way to pick up some Christmas gifts she had locked up in her office.  Down the hallway, Laura Moreno was finally ready to pack it in for the evening, but for once she was really concerned about Breadman—she was sure he would lock himself out again after his next trip to the restroom, and what would he do if she weren't there to let him in?  She looked in the trash can at her party name tag—with the asterisk signifying she had not been eligible for any of the door prize drawings—then headed out the door.

A couple miles to the east, Atticus Hawk was at the Justice Department finishing up his memo on the Senate Armed Services Committee report naming Donald Rumsfeld and other top Administration officials as responsible for the detainee torture at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and other detention centers.  Senator McCain had managed to hold up release of the report until after the Presidential election, but he was now free to turn on the Bush Administration and denounce it.  Yeah, NOW you're a maverick.  Hawk was relieved that the Justice Department role had remained somewhat murky, and thankful that his paranoid boss had required much of their communications to be in code.  Hawk was fairly certain that his role as a torture expert was not going to keep him employed by the next Administration, and the lousy economy had prevented him from finding a golden parachute...yet.  His cellphone rang—he was late to dinner with Jai Alai.  How did I let it get this far?  He had vaguely been planning to break up with her before the holidays, but it was too late now.  He was still fond of her, but Christmas, New Year's?  This was dangerous territory.  He picked up the phone to explain one more time how important his work was.

A satisfied catbird left Hawk's windowsill to report back to Ardua of the Potomac, who had lately become anxious about the Warrior's threats to her apostates. Many of the little ones had already fallen, and she was desperate to protect her big guns--but how could she until she found out more about the Prophecy?  She slunk down to the river bottom to think, but thinking was not her strong point.


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