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, May 03, 2009

Gainfully Employed

Ardua of the Potomac was happy after a full week.  First, there was the 11-year-old boy who drowned in the river after slipping off some rocks near Chain Bridge.  Then there was the attorney who blew his brains out in his law firm office after being laid off.  And now there was another Supreme Court Justice to name, and she loved being involved in that.  As her evil glee swelled up, another duck family took flight to leave the river behind forever, but it was too late for most of them.

Why can't it be Justice Prissy Face?  Nobody was more disappointed about Justice Souter's retirement than Bridezilla--not because she had any tears to shed about his departure, but because she was jealous that it had not been Justice Prissy Face.  Her fiance was going to be clerking for Justice Prissy Face at least one more year, and she would surely be an old maid before they ever got married.  She was staring out the window of her office at Prince and Prowling, trying to motivate herself to write a kick-ass brief.  For the first time in her life, she was starting to be a little concerned about her future...her professional future, her personal future, any future....Though Prince and Prowling had lied to abovethelaw.com about not having laid off any legal staff during the downturn, she knew that both associates and staff attorneys had been laid off.  She kept her billable hours high, but she wasn't exactly swimming in praise from her superiors, and she was starting to fear what would happen if she fell off the partner track.  She sat down at her computer and stared at the first sentence she had composed for the brief:  "The facts are clear."  Sure, that'll convince 'em.

Not far away, one of the staff attorneys who had miraculously escaped the firing round was Chloe Cleavage.  Despite the fact that three different sexual harassment lawsuits had been filed against Prince and Prowling because of her behavior, the only thing that had happened to her was her transfer to a small private office where she would no longer be "supervising" anybody else.  Now she spent most of her workdays editing her Facebook page, where she had developed quite a cult following for her sadomasochism section--"I've always been attracted to bad boys, and they love it when I whip them."  Dozens of people at Prince and Prowling knew about the Facebook page (and knew that most of it was phony, but not all of it!), but Chloe had become untouchable.  There were rumors that she had incriminating photos of senior partners receiving her services in their offices, but those photos were not posted on the Facebook page and remained simply rumors.

Over in the workroom, the Braggart was chewing off his cuticles and spitting them in his trash can while he explained to Laura Moreno that if you keep starting new LLM programs but never finish them, you can defer your student loans forever.  Laura made no response to Skippy as she tried to focus on redacting the document pile in front of her.  "You haven't done electronic document review in awhile, have you?"  Laura nodded affirmatively without looking up.  "How come?"  Laura--who had her hands bandaged tightly like a mummy after having performed 20,000 "tag events" in eight weeks (according to the new computer software counter installed in March!)--told Skippy that her new supervisor (not Chloe Cleavage!) was going to try to keep Laura doing other work because of her hand problems.  "Wow, you are so lucky!"  I am permanently disabled, and you think I'm lucky?!  As Laura's three different medical problems continued throbbing in her hands, she wondered if she would ever have a job without overtime again, or a job that used her brain more than her hands, or a job without--.  "Well, I won't be doing this forever!  Someday I'm going to be an honorarium speaker," said The Braggart.  The man who never shut up was actually dreaming that someday people would pay to hear him talk.  Laura rolled her eyes, not suspecting that tonight the new supervisor would telephone the temp. agency to tell them to come collect Skippy's things in the morning:  he was done at Prince and Prowling.

A couple of blocks away, Sebastian L'Arche was dangerously close to the chopping block at the White House--not that he needed the gig, because he had plenty of other gigs, but this might be his most important gig ever, and he didn't want to blow it.  The First Family was not impressed with the Dog Whisperer's [lack of] progress with Bo, and did not understand why he was trying to talk them into letting him bring two other dogs in to work with Bo.  He toyed with telling them the truth--that Bo was freaked out about ghosts in the White House--but it had taken him a long time to believe in ghosts and demons himself, and he knew it was the sort of thing you had to see for yourself.  "I don't want to alarm anybody, but I believe that there is a rodent problem here.  If I bring in my rat terrier, he can flush them out.  I also have an Irish setter who's kind of like a helping dog, and she can be a good training influence on Bo."  What he really meant was that The Gipper would find the ghosts, Lucky Charm would go after them, and Bo would then calm down--at least, that's how he thought it would work--but he didn't say that.  The First Family had little expertise on dogs, but this highly recommended Dog Whisperer seemed a little too unorthodox.  They told him they would have the White House exterminator make a sweep for rodents themselves, and he should just focus on the Portuguese water dog.  After L'Arche was left alone with Bo, he whispered to Bo not to give up.  "Look, the ghosts haven't even hurt yout, have they?  They're probably more afraid of you than you are of them!"  Bo looked at L'Arche dubiously, then buried his face in L'Arche's chest.

Charles Wu was looking at C. Coe Phant dubiously as the two downed croissants and coffee at the West End Bread and Chocolate.  "You're telling me that Project RODHAM had something to do with the 8-year-old's winning her divorce in Saudi Arabia AND Karzai's back-peddling on the wife legislation in Afghanistan?" Phant said he could say no more on those subjects until he knew if Wu was in or out.  More than a few women were sneaking sidelong glances at the finely toned Wu in the cherry red bicycle shorts and canary yellow tank top he had worn for their recent bicycle polo match near Rock Creek Park.  Wu did not like being the least knowledgeable member of any group of people, but this might be a risk he would have to take to get an in with the new Secretary of State.  He winked at a particularly attractive redhead, then turned back to Phant.  "Alright, I will tell you what the Chinese are prepared to do at this time, but it's going to cost her."

Outside, a flock of sparrows were picking up croissant crumbs under the rain-spattered tables until a flock of starlings alighted and chased them away.

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