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 ....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Of Mice and Men

Dizzy was coming out of a deep slumber.  He had moved last night from Lafayette Park back to Urine Park because he knew he needed a break from trumpeting for all those tourists today.  It was quieter here, and he slept deep into the morning until he started noticed something on his right eyelid.  He brushed it off as he regained consciousness, opened his eyes, and saw it was a roly-poly he had knocked off his eyelid onto the ground.  He jumped up, now fully awake, and started brushing off imaginary insects from every inch of his body.  Then he checked to see if any had crawled into his eyes, or his nose, or his mouth, or his ears.  Then he took a deep breath and sunk into a park bench, finally noticing the eyes of many bemused homeless men upon him.  He hadn't slept in Urine Park for a long time, and he only recognized a couple of the faces.  The rest thought he was insane, and actually the two that knew him also thought so (but he didn't know that).  He started wondering if a roly-poly could have crawled into his brain and hatched eggs there.  He started gathering up his things to return to Lafayette--where there were enough ducks and pigeons and starlings to eat all the damned bugs--because no amount of sleep was worth this.

A couple blocks away, Laura Moreno was making another useless sweep of her Prince and Prowling workroom for the files that the partner said must be found before anybody did anything else today.  She had already helped search the war room, and the sweatshop, and the library, and the kitchen, and five secretarial stations, and three paralegal offices, and had now retired to her "office" with the comment that she would search the workroom again.  Meanwhile, the associate who had suddenly remembered they were in his car trunk was quietly taking the files up from the parking garage, hoping to plant them and then "find" them in the men's room...or possibly the desk of the paralegal-from-Hell (because he hated her), though he did briefly ponder how amusing it would be to dump them in former Senator Evermore Breadman's office.  As soon as he stepped off the elevator, the fire alarm went off.  He tried to enter the suite anyway--because the fire alarm had been going off at this hour every single day for two weeks--but the floor fire marshall was already there shooing him out to the stairwell.  He knew he couldn't be caught with the files in his hands, so he dumped them on the landing before racing down the steps.  A few minutes later, a senior partner from upstairs was apologetically ushering a client to the stairwell, where the client was surprised to find himself trampling files with his company's name all over them.

Many miles to the northeast, Perry Winkle jotted down some more notes from the crash scene on his Washington Post standard issue steno pad, then walked back to talk some more to the adolescents sitting on the trampled grass between the Metro track accident site and the woods of Fort Totten.  It was the most hastily assembled Urban Guerrilla Field Trip that Perry Winkle and his comrades had pulled off yet.  Both he and the teachers knew that the kids had probably requested it for the shock value, but they had agreed that the kids would still learn a lot from observing how rescue workers, reporters, and investigators work a crash scene.  Some of the kids had actually gone on their own the night before and seen victims carried off on stretchers, but today they were digging deeper.  They had a lot of questions about who's in charge during an emergency, whether people should have jumped out of the train or waited for rescue workers, why the crash happened, what were the dogs doing, and why did the fire department come if there was no fire.  The hardest questions--like "why does God let these things happen?"--remained unspoken, deep in the hearts of people like Angela de la Paz.

Several miles to the south, Sebastian L'Arche was receiving another pet drop-off.  He had developed a reputation for being able to deal with almost any animal in the city, and two ferrets and one pet snake had already been dropped off by grieving relatives who were not up to the task of caring for the victims' oddball pets.  He walked back into his house in bewilderment, having just been handed a pet spider cage.  Who the Hell has a pet spider?  It wasn't even a thrilling one, like a tarantula--it was just a huge black spider named "Fred".  He walked without hesitation out to the back porch (the reptile room), lifted the lid off the snake cage, and dumped the spider in.  The snake swallowed the spider immediately, then looked up with no sense of appreciation because snakes have never been domesticated ever.  He could claim the spider had escaped if that family ever came back, but he would probably have to keep the snake alive for at least a couple of weeks.  He hated looking for homes for snakes--the takers always gave him the creeps.  He hated wasting perfectly good mice to feed a damned snake.  He sighed, the weight of the animal kingdom's karma leaning on him.  He knew he could probably find homes for the ferrets in less than a week.  He decided he would keep the snake a couple of days, and if the family did not come back for it, feed it to the ferrets.  He looked out at his wild scrub of a back yard, wondering how broken a person has to be emotionally to want a spider as a pet.  He was certain that some of the rescue dogs on the Metro crash scene had been trained by him, and he was proud of that, but sometimes the cycle of life was too much for him.  He looked down at the scar where he had cut out his hand tattoo during his nervous breakdown in Iraq, then turned to go back into the house and whisper to the ferrets that life goes on.

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