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, March 01, 2009

Fuzzies and Pricklies

The Beaver was talking to Ardua about the stimulus plan and the looming federal deficit, but it was going over Ardua's head.  Ardua didn't understand economics or finance or priming the pump or fiscal policy--she only knew that humanity's abstract concept of "money" could drive them to do seriously evil acts.  "Money" made humans turn against each other like vicious barbarians--though often disguising their savagery with tailored suits, meticulous grooming, fineprint, and something they called "PowerPoint".  Ardua sighed and asked The Beaver to get to the point. The Beaver told Ardua that humans were losing hope; then he swam away to attempt another dam over at Roosevelt Island because he was never going to get a mate unless he succeeded in piling up those logs.  The Beaver hesitated for a moment as the Coast Guard helicopter passed overhead, then started chewing wood.

A mile away, the White House butler was feeling the calm before the storm.  The snow was coming, and she knew that Regina and Ferguson would want to be outside all day on Monday playing in it.  Clio was tired just thinking about it.  Always a handful, the twins had a new energy since meeting the Obama girls, and Clio was trying to tap into it in a character-building way.  She picked up a stack of children's books that the First Lady had given her, flipped through it, and chose something called The Original Warm Fuzzy Tale, by Claude Steiner.  "Reggie, Fergie!"  She summoned them away from the unmistakable sound of jumping up and down on their beds to the rhythm of the Jonas Brothers, and they reluctantly crawled up on each side of her on the couch.  The story was about a land where people gave each other Warm Fuzzies freely, and everybody was happy, until one day a witch told them a lie that there would be a shortage of Warm Fuzzies if people kept handing them out; so everybody started hoarding them, but hoarding them turned them into Cold Pricklies.  When Clio got to the end of the story, she thought it was the best story she had ever read and asked the twins what they thought of it.  They argued with each other in their secret twin language, and a White House ghost whispered to them that the story was a stupid story for babies, and the twins finally decided to tell their mother (in their limited pre-school English) that it was alright.  She wondered why they always had to consult one another before speaking to her.  She was starting to wonder if it was normal for a mother never to have any interaction with one twin at a time.  She pulled them both closer and picked up another book from the stack.

Several miles north, Calico Johnson glanced at his cursed Rolex, then sat down to count his receipts from the day before:  312 people times $195 equaled $60,840.  Ha!  He had just grossed over sixty grand doing a two-hour seminar on how to get rich by buying foreclosed properties.  Buy low and sell high!  (He couldn't believe people paid money to learn that.)  To give himself credit, he did compile for them a handy list of websites to find foreclosure listings (like HUD and the Veterans' Administration), and a few details about cash requirements, but mostly he was just giving them permission to overcome their nerves (or conscience!) and take advantage of the situation.  Take advantage of the situation!  He could almost hear his own voice booming out again in the auditorium of the foreclosed playhouse he had just purchased two months earlier.  Stocks and bonds and intellectual property were for other people--Calico believed in real estate.  A hundred feet below him, the real estate demon living under his porch rolled over lazily, growing fat with so little effort.

Several miles to the south, drag queen Gachita Imperial pulled his fur coat closer around him as he turned the P Street corner and headed to Apex to debut his new Paula Abdul medley act.  His dream of owning his own theater had imploded quietly a couple of months ago, and now he was back on the chain gang, so to speak.  He stopped, turned around, and doubled back to Soho Cafe for a quick lager before entering Apex.  (He didn't like to be seen drinking beer in the club--too unsophisticated for his image.)  He impulsively wolfed down a chocolate bobka, too--momentarily jettisoning his strict macrobiotic regimen.  He stared across the street at the Fireplace, the scene of many of his happiest and unhappiest memories.  ("Cold-Hearted Snake....")  He decided to go outside for a smoke, but then remembered he had quit.  He missed the guy from Iowa.  He got up and headed back out with only a momentary glimpse at the gray sky above before heading into the windowless world which was Apex.

A few miles to the east, Laura Moreno was hunkered down at Prince and Prowling, trying to get in some hours before the snow came and left her at home with an unpaid snowday.  The Braggart had come in for the same reason, though Skippy was one of those attorneys who felt he should be paid just for showing up.  Today The Braggart had already told Moreno (against her will) about how he spoke four foreign languages, had once been a college professor for three years ("they hated people from Texas" was apparently the explanation for why he did not get tenure there), and had once worked as a law firm associate for two years ("they refused to give me a good recommendation to other employers" was an apparent indication that he had not made partner track)--which begged the question, what are you doing here redacting social security numbers for a living?  Then Skippy launched into how unfair it was that he made no overtime pay the first week at Prince and Prowling because his agency ended the workweek on Saturday instead of Sunday (like the other agency staffing the project), and how he had asked Prince and Prowling to fix the pay differential, and had casually mentioned to Prince and Prowling a discrimination lawsuit he had filed against his previous law firm.  Skippy told Moreno, "I made law in the state of Maryland," and "I changed the way law firms do business".  Moreno had on her music headphones, but this was no deterrent to The Braggart, and her headphones were no match for Skippy's diarrhea of the mouth.  She re-read her document for the tenth time, hoping desperately to do something with it before the hour was up so Chloe Cleavage would actually believe that Moreno had come in on Sunday to work.

A couple of miles to the west, Dubious McGinty was doing some last-minute repairs to the bridgeman's quarters above the Potomac.  He had not seen a big snow in a long time, and he was worried his electrical line might go out.  Damned birds.  He always blamed the starlings for snow, figuring they were trying to force the ducks to fly south for the winter.  And he saw no ducks on the river right now--almost all of them had now fled Ardua to live shamelessly on city park handouts like pigeons.  The dignity is a dead thing.  He shut himself in, put away the duck tape, and sat down to eat some pizza slices he had found in a Georgetown garbage can in front of the glow of the TV.

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