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, June 14, 2009

Faces

Washington Post reporter Perry Winkle and two middle-school teachers were in the middle of another Urban Guerrilla field trip.  The student permission slip had been written as "field trip to the Holocaust Museum and related activities".  The children and chaperones had toured the exhibits all morning and were now eating a kosher lunch in the Holocaust Museum cafeteria.  After lunch would come the "related activities":  first a visit with a white supremacist, then a visit to the morgue where the murdered security guard had been taken after dying in the line of duty, then a visit to George Washington University Hospital to see 88-year-old diehard anti-Semite James von Brunn still clinging to life after being shot in the head before he could murder anybody else.  The chaperones had not yet told the children what was next on the agenda, and they were listening silently to the children's spontaneous discussion of the Holocaust exhibits.  The children were also talking about the security guard who had been killed, and debating how to stop haters like von Brunn:  some said only love can stop hate, while others said that you have to fight fire with fire and that von Brunn was stopped by somebody else with a gun.  Winkle quietly wrote down notes for the Urban Guerrilla Field Trip series he hoped (without much hope) to publish someday in the "Metro" section of The Washington Post.  "The more things change, the more they stay the same," he added.

Over at George Washington University Hospital, Dr. Khalid Mohammad stopped in to check on James von Brunn.  Nurse Consuela Arroyo was fidgeting with his intravenous drip, fighting back another impulse to smother the man with a pillow.  She looked up at Dr. Mohammad, and they nodded silently to one another.  They had both seen small children die of such a wound after drive-by shootings, they had both seen battered wives die of such a wound after their husbands had reached the apex of their lifelong rages, and they had both seen police officers die of such a wound after another tragic clash with D.C.'s not-so-underground drug traffickers--but neither had ever seen an 88-year-old man survive a bullet in the head.  It was like God wanted him to live.  Dr. Mohammad shuddered at the thought, and Nurse Arroyo crossed herself at the sight of Dr. Mohammad's shuddering at the bandaged face of evil.  "There's a field trip coming by later to see him," he said to the nurse, who raised her eyebrows in surprise.  "Some of the same kids that came by a month or so ago--I'm going to talk to them for a few minutes about what was done to save his life."  He looked into her eyes, but she made no reply.  "Don't tell anybody else," he said before he left the room.  Nurse Arroyo fingered the edge of the pillow for a few more minutes, then crossed herself and went out.

Across the Potomac River, Melinda had been hogging the computer for two hours in the Arlington group home for the mentally challenged.  Larry was complaining that he needed to check his stocks and bonds [he had none], Theresa was anxious about her email because she knew that the National Security Agency made a sweep and stole them out of her inbox four times a day, and Cedric was eager to check on Project RODHAM [which he was not supposed to know about].  "Just a few more minutes!" Melinda cried joyously.  She had been meticulously answering dozens of e-Harmony questions, and was getting very close to the moment when she would hit the magic button and the sophisticated matchmaking computer system would find a soulmate for her.  The closer she got, the more frenetically her housemates paced around her--despite the best efforts of social worker Hue Nguyen to distract them from the obvious breach of the one-hour-computer-use house rule.  "Done!" Melinda exclaimed, and hit the final button.  Everyone stopped pacing and crowded around the computer to await the answer.  A minute passed by, then another minute passed by, and then a meek message appeared on the monitor:  "We regret to inform you that we cannot accurately predict a match for you."  Melinda let out a huge wail, and ran over to the couch, where she flung herself down to cry.  Another website I need to block, thought Nguyen, as she headed over to the couch to console the schizophrenic and bi-polar woman whose complex brain patterns could only be understood by God.

Back on the D.C. side of the river, Charles Wu was wearing his favorite tailored white tennis outfit from London and testing the tautness of his racket strings in the back seat of a taxi while the Sikh driver was explaining to him that Mohandas Gandhi was a goat.  Wu had heard a wide variety of political and philosophical opinions during his espionage career, but this was a new one.  He caught the driver's eye in the rearview mirror, but made no response.  The driver went on about how Gandhi referred to himself as a god (or God), which disgusted the driver to no end--and that this was the reason Gandhi got assassinated.  This was certainly a version of Indian history that Wu had not heard before, and the driver was too young to have come up with this version by himself.  The driver turned off of P Street to drop Wu at the Rose Park tennis courts, where he was to meet a shapely young woman from South (North?!) Korea, whom he would be scrutinizing today as a possible new contact (in more ways than one).  Wu made mental notes of the driver's face and taxi insignia, intending to avoid him in the future, then headed towards the courts--pausing momentarily to watch two Jack Russell terriers running delightedly (albeit, awkwardly) up and down the monkey bars under the bemused watch of their dogwalker (Sebastian L'Arche).

Back on the Virginia side of the Potomac, Dick Cheney was examining an anonymous note he had found stuffed inside a rolled-up newspaper in the front yard of his McLean house.  It was typed in one of the tongue-in-cheek "kidnapper" word processing fonts, and said, "Why don't you do us all a big favor and take your next hunting party to the border of Afghanistan--maybe you can accidentally shoot Osama bin Laden in the face."  He scowled as his blood pressure rose and his pacemaker struggled valiantly to prevent an acceleration of heartbeats.  Samuelson!  That arrogant CIA bastard!  He crumpled up the note, then thought differently and decided to confront Henry Samuelson with it later.  A flock of starlings looked on approvingly, then flew off to report to Ardua of the Potomac as Cheney slammed his front door.

Out on the drawbridge, Vietnam veteran Dubious McGinty was flying a tattered American flag out the window of his bridgeman's quarters, wondering why nobody on television was talking about Flag Day.  He walked outside to catch a breeze and spit into the water 75 feet below him, and cursed Ardua...again.

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