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 17, 2009

Turning Up the Heat

Dubious McGinty was leaning over the catwalk railing high on his drawbridge, watching the Dragon Boat Festival.  Last year he had thought they were real dragons, but he was completely lucid today.  He could sense Ardua of the Potomac pulsating beneath the surface of the chilly Potomac--trying to capsize boats and eat people--but these boaters were good.  As the pink dolphins cavorted (unseen by most) between the brightly colored skiffs, McGinty could almost declare that life on the Potomac was sweet and beautiful and fun...almost.  A Coast Guard helicopter took another observational pass over the festival, and Marcos Vasquez tried to make out the pink splashes in his binoculars.

A couple miles to the east, Golden Fawn was missing Vasquez.  She wanted to tell him that her follow-up mammogram was clear.  She wanted to talk to him about the latest tenant association flyer on their class action TOPA lawsuit.  She wanted to...talk about the future.  She closed the kitchen trash bag and headed down the hallway (over the newly installed cockroach-camouflage-color carpeting) to the trash chute room, where she opened the door to a plume of smoke:  the Southwest Plaza arsonist had struck again.  She ran back to her apartment to call 911, then ran back out of her apartment again to pull the fire alarm and head for the stairwell with her fire alarm survival kit.  (It wasn't that she was really afraid of a trash chute fire, but sometimes the arsonist lit multiple fires at the same time and the firefighters would want them out of the building for a couple of hours.)  Outside, the arsonist was sitting calmly in the grass, a big smile on his face, a flock of starlings pecking at weed seeds all around him.  A few minutes later, Golden Fawn was opening her folding chair and settling in with a newspaper and a book in the shade of the walkway.  A raven alit beside her to tell her who the arsonist was, and she looked up in surprise:  it was "John Doe", who had been suffering from temporal lobe epileptic attacks since being savagely beaten in a gang initiation a couple years back.  He smiled back at her, pleased with himself:  he knew someday he would succeed in burning up that demon living beneath the building.

Over on the Arlington side of the river, Charles Wu was stepping into the shower in the secondary bathroom of his Pentagon City luxury hotel suite.  He turned on the hot tap, and then the cold, and waited until the flow reached the temperature he desired, and then redirected the flow to the shower head.  During the moment of transition, when no water flowed into the tub, he looked up expectantly at the shower head.  He loved the mystery of hotel showers--how they all felt different, how you didn't know what the water pressure or streams would feel like until the water made first contact on your shoulders.  Then the blast hit him hard:  he was on the 11th floor, and the water pressure was overwhelming.  He turned around to let the water pound his neck for a few minutes, then reached down to reduce the flow before reaching for the soap.  When he was alone, he liked to sing in the shower, but he knew that the heavily jetlagged "Camisole Silk" and "Apricot Lily" were resting in the main bedroom, and it would be very uncool if they heard him singing.  He smiled at the thought of their both having visited him separately in the night, each sleeping through the other's separate foray.  Then he frowned as he thought about their upcoming meeting with the Secretary of State to discuss their involvement in Project RODHAM.  Wu had always been an information agent, not an operations agent.  The stakes were getting high on China's far western border, and he wasn't sure these women were the right choice...but they were the best he could get.  He didn't trust them enough to show them where he lived after they flew in from China last night, so how could he trust them with Project RODHAM?  Then again, he never showed anybody where he lived.  

A few minutes later, a freshly shaved and fragrant Wu was sitting in his complimentary Ritz Carlton bathrobe on the couch, an expresso machine beverage on the coffee table and a Washington Post spread out over his lap.  None of the articles were piquing his interest, and his thoughts wandered to the FBI's arraignment of amateur spy James Fondren, Jr.--a fool who thought he was feeding reports to Taiwan, but they were actually going to China.  Maximum five years in prison.   If it had been a Chinese citizen accidentally sending reports to the U.S., he would already have been executed by now.  Wu picked up his steaming drink, not confident that he really knew where Project RODHAM was heading.  The Pakistani government had abruptly launched a major military offensive in the mountains bordering Afghanistan--something Wu did not think Hillary Clinton had anticipated--but her strategy for that area might be better in the long run.  If only he could understand the changes that the Heurich Society had made to the Ming Dung plan...and why they had gotten Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., the Utah governor, selected to be the next U.S. Ambassador to China.

A few miles away, Sebastian L'Arche had figured out a way to get The Gipper and Lucky Charm into the White House:  he had given them temporarily to Clio, the White House butler.  She had gotten them into the White House under the guise of needing a healthy hobby for Regina and Ferguson, and nobody on the White House staff disagreed that the unruly twins needed a new approach of some sort.  So while L'Arche was being escorted to the designated training room for his session with Bo, Reggie and Fergie were running all over the East Wing with the rat terrier and the Irish setter on not-so-tightly held leashes.  And then the ghosts started flying:  here, there, everywhere, the ghosts were rooted out by the dogs and took to flight.  Reggie and Fergie squealed in delight at the supernatural spectacle, and laughed as the ghosts told them to take the dogs away.  Now they were in the bowling alley, now they were running through the basement corridor, now they were in the movie screening room--and then the exasperated sous-chef was chasing them out into the backyard.  The twins burst outside, laughing uproriously as the dogs pulled on their leashes to get back in.  Inside the training room, L'Arche sat quietly on the rug, nose-to-nose with the Portuguese water dog, whispering to Bo to be brave.  "It won't be long now, Bo," L'Arche whispered, staring intently into Bo's eyes.  But L'Arche didn't understand that stirring up ghosts was one thing--vanquishing them was something else.  Bo lay down on his stomach and put his head in L'Arche's lap, his paws over his ears so as not to hear the howls of the White House ghosts.

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