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 21, 2009

How It's Done

Lucky Charm and The Gipper were doggie-paddling down the length of the White House swimming pool, trying to show Bo how it's done.  Bo's general behavior had shown some improvement since the Irish setter and rat terrier had told the White House ghosts in no uncertain terms that Bo was off limits, but Bo was still afraid of water.  "Why do they call it a Portuguese water dog?" asked Bridge, leaning against a wall and chewing a straw.  Sebastian L'Arche was sitting with his feet dangling in the pool water, the nervous Porty at his side and in his firm embrace.

"Because it was bred to help Portuguese fishermen," said Clio quietly from her lounge chair without opening her eyes.  She was the only one present who did not know that the White House had ghosts, but the White House butler knew everything else that was going on in the East Wing.  Her fatherless twins were playing quietly in the shallow end of the pool under the close watch of Bridge; Fergie and Reggie had been sternly warned that they could come only if they were extremely quiet and did not distract any of the dogs, but the mesmerized pre-schoolers lived in awe of the Dog Whisperer and hung on his every word and action.

L'Arche glanced briefly at Clio, whom he knew was living with HIV and probably the first stages of AIDS, then refocused his attention on the task at hand.  He began whispering to Bo that it didn't matter where the water had come from or if it had been tainted with evil--he could swim through it without fear of harm.  Bo turned a dubious gaze to L'Arche, who continued to stroke the dog for encouragement, then looked back at Lucky Charm and The Gipper, who had made the turn and were paddling back towards L'Arche.  Lucky Charm thought he was L'Arche's dog, though L'Arche still had hopes of placing him as a helping dog at the right time and place.  The Gipper belonged to a Republican Congressman who had no idea that his dogwalker had been taking the dog out on de-ratting missions all over town.  L'Arche welcomed the two swimmers with a cuddle, then jumped into the water and turned to face Bo with arms outstretched.  "Come on," he whispered.  "Come on.  You can do it."  Lucky Charm and The Gipper barked their encouragement, then turned around to swim another lap.  "Come on."  Bo stood up, thought about jumping in, crouched for the leap, then changed his mind and ran over to Bridge.  L'Arche closed his eyes, sunk beneath the water's surface, and contemplated his next move.

Not far away, Dubious McGinty was up on the drawbridge contemplating Ardua, the evil demon inhabiting the Potomac below him.  A few days before, reporter Perry Winkle had stopped by to show him an article he had written about the D.C. Council's unanimous passage of the Anacostia River Cleanup and Protection Act of 2009:  the politicians thought they could clean up the Potomac (and its tributary, the Anacostia) by reducing the amount of disposable plastic bags polluting the waterways.  The article had explained that many stores and food vendors will now be required to charge a 5-cent fee on disposable bags, both to raise money for the Anacostia River fund and to encourage consumers to shop with reusable bags.  It ain't the bags that make the ducks go crazy and run away to live in city parks, taking handouts from tourists like a bunch of pigeons.  It ain't the bags that ruin the fish and strengthen the river rats.  It ain't the bags knocking the Jefferson Memorial down into the water.  It ain't the bags that made all this morning's competitors in the International Triathlon Union's World Cup cramp up and vomit.  He shook his head, pitying those athletes who were accustomed to doing their thing in Hawaii.

On the D.C. shoreline, Lynnette Wong arrived at the Potomac to honor her father on Father's Day, for it was here he had died trying to stop Ardua.  She glanced briefly up at the distant figure on the drawbridge, then focused her thoughts on the amulets she threw one-by-one into the river, making Ardua shudder in pain and anger.

A couple of miles north, Henry Samuelson shuddered in pain and anger, barely able to contain his disgust that the chair of the Heurich Society had actually allowed Dick Cheney to come in and make a presentation on why he should be allowed to re-join after departing the Society some years back.  "North Korea is preparing to launch a nuclear war against us!  Iran is a brutal dictatorship killing its own citizens in the street!  I told you they were the Axis of Evil!  I was right about everything!"  Samuelson clenched his fists under the table.  Where's Osama bin Laden, you incompetent lunatic?  How did you manage to kill more Iraqis than Saddam Hussein did?  Out on the third floor window ledge of the Brewmaster's Castle, a quintet of starlings were watching the drama with unnatural interest.  At long last, Cheney brought his presentation to a close.  "This is the only organization left in Washington with the courage, conviction, and capacity to fight for what we all believe in."  Cheney then walked out of the room, and was escorted by Han Li (the Castle's butler and spy for Charles Wu) to a second floor sitting room with red leather chairs and a tray of heart-healthy refreshments.  Upstairs, Samuelson stood up without seeking or awaiting the chair's permission, and the CIA alumnus began reciting all the new dirt he had uncovered on Cheney--including some surprising tidbits that Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell had proffered him.  Then Samuelson sat down just as abruptly, not bothering to make a motion.  The Chair looked around at the unhappy faces staring back at him, and motioned (with mixed feelings) to table Cheney's petition for reinstatement.  Samuelson leaned back in his chair, folded his arms across his chest, and smiled for the first time in weeks:  tonight his daughter was taking him to Belga Cafe for Father's Day, and even though he couldn't tell her about this, he was going to be in a really good mood.

Not far away, Calico Johnson was also in a really good mood.  Two of his second-tier girlfriends had chosen Father's Day to inform the rich real estate developer they were pregnant, and since nobody could successfully lie to his face, they had given him good excuses to break up.  Now he was brunching at Citronelle with Chloe Cleavage, who was not stupid enough to fake a pregnancy, but was stupid enough to have asked him to move in together.  Though she did have an astonishing amount of possessions stuffed into her closet-sized efficiency at Gallery Place, he would have no trouble making space for her things in his mansion in Potomac, Maryland.  But space for her?  It was all he could to do not to burst out laughing.  "I don't think people should live together before marriage:  people who live together before marriage are statistically more likely to divorce."  He said this with a straight face, knowing it would completely disarm her.  Putty in my hands.  She gave him a saccharine smile and took another swallow of her mimosa.  In the back of the kitchen, a Salvadoran father of three whacked a broom at a large gray rat until he got it out the door, resolving to call back the Dog Whisperer for another de-ratting on Monday.

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