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, April 26, 2009

By the People...For the People

"It's the male trees."  Spring was in full bloom at the National Arboretum, and Dr. Devi Rajatala was explaining to the kids what spring hay fever was all about.  "The male trees are the ones that release pollen, and it flies through the air and gets into your noses, and that makes some people sneeze."  This was punctuated by a couple more sneezes as the kids tended to seedlings in the Friendship Garden.  "You probably sneeze more on the city streets because the government plants more male trees than female trees--they think the female trees are messier because the female trees drop seeds all over the place.  But birds can eat the seeds--birds cannot eat pollen."  A couple of twelve-year-old boys started getting suspicious that this was some type of feminist manifesto disguised as a tree talk.  Girls are better than boys, women are better than men, female trees are better than male trees.  "Things need to be in balance--remember that."  When Dr. Raj first started working with the kids, she never knew what to say to them; this year, she had a lot to say.

Several miles to the north, Liv Cigemeier was staring at the computer monitor in awe as her husband put the finishing touches on a FOIA request for her.  It was a long time since they had really worked on a project of any sort together, but neither one commented on that.  They smiled a lot--it felt good.  So many people had thought she had really scored by marrying a lawyer, but aside from the fact that he wrote their will and did their tax returns, mostly it just meant he came home late almost every night from Prince and Prowling.  When Attorney General Eric Holder had announced a month ago that the Ashcroft doctrine on defending federal agency refusals on FOIA requests was rescinded, the young associate had brought this to Liv's attention with the simple words "now you can find out".  What he was referring to was why the contract for International Development Machine to build and run ten new schools in Afghanistan had been abruptly cancelled in December...and whether the rumors were true that the Agency for International Development money had been transferred to an "emergency stabilization" project run by a Republican "democracy-building" agency.  He hit the print button, gave her a kiss, and said, "The people are taking back the government!"

"Why do people need to know everything I do?"  Mayor Fenty was in his h0me office shredding superfluous documents from his most recent trip abroad, his desk phone set to speaker mode.  "So what if I went to Beijing?  It wasn't taxpayer money!  So what if I went to Dubai?  It wasn't taxpayer money!"  That's the point, sir--people want to know who's paying for your trips.  "I've got money!  My wife has money!"  With all due respect sir, everybody knows you don't have that kind of money.  "I haven't broken any laws!"  Sir, the appearance of impropriety is just as dangerous as impropriety:  in public life, you are guilty until proven innocent.  "Stop calling me 'sir'!  I hate that."  Silence ensued.  Fenty loved being the people's mayor, loved showing up at events all over the city, loved hearing people clap for him, loved seeing women rush up to hug and kiss him.  Now he was frowning.  "Find out who these people are that keep asking these dumb questions!  They probably don't even live in the District!"  Sir, er, Mr. Mayor--  "Don't call me 'Mr. Mayor'!  Who am I--Ronald McDonald now?  Mayor McCheese?"  Umm, Adrian, a lot of people are starting to ask questions about the trips...and other things.  People think you've grown a little...arrogant."  "Arrogant?!"  Fenty stood up and glared at the speaker phone.  "I haven't done anything wrong!"  Then he ended the call.

A few miles to the south, Henry Samuelson was seated in the upstairs conference room of the Brewmaster's Castle, reporting to the Heurich Society on Operation Fenty.  As one of the more senior members of the society, Samuelson rarely met with absolute refusal to his proposals, but he knew there was not a lot of support for Operation Fenty.  His report was brief, and nobody asked any questions.  Irritated, he decided to go off-topic and add, "The Secretary of State is up to something."  Hillary?  "Yes!  Clinton!"  He told them a few pieces of intelligence on some mysterious activity which were just vague enough to assure a couple more members that Samuelson was really starting to lose his marbles.  Again, nobody asked any questions, and Samuelson sat down and returned to his doughnut.

Further south, Golden Fawn and Marcos Vasquez were compiling a list of possibly missing bank statements and other sensitive items after finding out that somebody had broken into the mailroom at Southwest Plaza.  The U.S. Postal Service had never bothered telling anybody in the building that the mailroom had been burglarized three times in early April, nor had the building management company felt an obligation to inform the tenants;  the whole thing had only been discovered by accident and publicized by the same tenant association which had filed the class action TOPA lawsuit.  "Somebody must have stolen the Easter basket my mom shipped from Puerto Rico," Vasquez said.  How much self-pity do you have to have before you steal other people's Easter presents, thought Golden Fawn.  "And my Visa statement didn't come--I better call them."  He walked over to his deskphone.  Golden Fawn had never lived anywhere with so many stupid problems--not even that reservation in Oklahoma.  After Vasquez finished the call, Golden Fawn said it was time to return to the parking garage to work on the real estate demon.  Vasquez let out a large sigh.  "Maybe this time it's just the stupid Postal Service and the stupid management company."  She raised his eyebrows at him.  "I know there's a demon there, but we can't blame it for everything," he said.  All the more reason to get rid of it--so we can deal with what's left, she thought to herself.  She told him he could sit this one out, but he shook his head.  "I'll go with you, but first you need to eat something."  He walked into her kitchen (which he knew better than his own) and started making her some lunch.

A couple of miles away, President Obama was on the phone with a Cabinet Secretary instructing him on a new policy to implement.  The Secretary, caught off guard, asked Obama who had suggested the new policy.  "A little bird told me!" the President joked, then hung up.  He jotted a note to himself about the phone call, then noticed a starling sitting on the sill outside his window.  He suddenly realized he could not remember where the policy idea had come from...but people were sending him ideas all the time, lots and lots and lots of ideas.  He got up to go outside for a smoke, and the starling flew off to report back to Ardua of the Potomac.

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