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 ....

Friday, July 03, 2009

New Traditions

Golden Fawn yawned as she reviewed the report.  The trash trucks had been doing their deed at 6:00 am the past two weeks, and complaining to Southwest Plaza management was as useless as complaining to City Hall.  With a commute of a 15-minute walk, Golden Fawn hardly needed to be up at 6:00 am for her job at the National Museum of the American Indian.  Her doctor had told her to sleep until 8 am every day, but doctors always give a lot of idealistic advice like that.  She yawned again and glanced at the clock:  two more hours before Native Skate Jam.  She fingered her hair without realizing it; whites would see in it no trace of chemotherapy, but here at NMAI, her comrades still recognized it as much shorter than it had been...traditionally.  Traditionally.  She highlighted the paragraph on tradition.  She was glad about Native Skate Jam:  a living culture creates new traditions.  She yawned again and stood up to pace back and forth while she finished reading the report.  Her fiancee would be working all weekend, since it was tradition for the single ones to pull Coast Guard duty on holiday weekends.  When we're married, we'll finally be able to start our own holiday traditions.

A couple miles away, former Senator Evermore Breadman was on the phone with one of his Prince and Prowling clients--an association executive fearful that the University of Illinois corruption scandal was breathing down his neck.  "Nobody cares whether you deserved to get into law school or not."  You're just a two-bit player in this town.  "Stories like this blow over with surprising speed, and only the most high-profile connections get tainted."  No reporter's gonna waste even two sentences on you.  "You're just not going to be a story--trust me."  You've never even practiced law, moron.  "There just isn't that much interest in middle-tier law schools."  Who cares what a Chicago newspaper prints?  He hung up the phone and looked over at his Ivy League law school diploma, worth every dollar his father had paid for it.  

Over in the workroom, the human resources drone was demanding that Laura Moreno surrender her "purloined" keycard.  "This is a guest keycard--you took it without authorization."  Baffled, Moreno explained that she was given this keycard the first day she started working at Prince and Prowling, and had worn it like a dork around her neck every day for almost three years so that she would never lose it.  "No, you were given keycard number 8305830, which is missing.  The keycard you have is 8305380.  You lost the keycard you were given and took this one without authorization."  Moreno (who had, in fact, like a dork, worn the same keycard hanging from her neck for nearly three years) meekly suggested that perhaps somebody had written the number down incorrectly.  "You need to turn it in, and give me ten dollars for the lost keycard."  Moreno protested again that she had never lost a keycard, that this was the only keycard she had ever had, and pointed out the post-it note tucked into the card holder that had names and phone extensions she had written down her very first day.  "I don't like your attitude."  Moreno looked at the drone in horror.  Unbelievable.  If she makes me pay this ten dollars, I'm just going to tack it onto my timesheet--doesn't she know that?!  Moreno looked at the grim-faced drone and suddenly wondered if the drone was being blamed for something her own boss had done.  Moreno silently took the lanyard off her neck and reached into the keycard holder to pull out the ancient keycard--stuck to the plastic by a mixture of humidity and bread crumbs.  The drone shifted her weight from foot to foot, impatiently waiting for Moreno to liberate the keycard from its confines.  At last, the keycard was free, and the drone snatched it out of Moreno's hands.  "Go down to the basement and get a photo ID keycard," she said as she walked out the door, seeming to forget about the ten dollars. A photo ID keycard?  Does this mean they're finally going to hire me, as the senior partner promised?

Across the river, Cedric was seated in Dr. Schwartz's office, scratching at his neck again--which had been afflicted with an itchy insect bite for two weeks now.  Melinda had been certain it was a vampire bite, but Theresa had said, no, werewolf--wait and see at the next full moon!  Cedric knew that the Arlington group home for the mentally challenged psychologist was not a real doctor or he would have taken Cedric's diagnosis seriously.  "I'm telling you:  it was a mosquito escapee from the biological warfare lab at Fort Detrick!  You need to take me there for treatment!"  Dr. Schwartz continued to proffer the tube of anti-itch ointment and told Cedric to stop scratching it.  "I know what I'm talking about!  I could be dead in 48 hours!"  (Cedric had already said this three times in the past fortnight.)  Dr. Schwartz assured Cedric that they would take him to a clinic if the itching did not go away in 48 hours.  "That will be too late!"  Cedric stormed out without the ointment, marched to the shared computer, and shoved Larry out of the way so that he could send an urgent email to Henry Samuelson.  

Back on the D.C. side of the Potomac, the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope was reading an email from his girlfriend Eva Brown, who was supposedly working at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, but the Administrator was starting to have his doubts.  For one thing, his other contacts at that embassy had only vague ideas about where her office was and what she was doing.  Then there was the fact that her emails never included any reference to the usual social life and pastimes of the American ex-pats there.  But most of all, her explanation of what she was actually doing at the embassy did not make a whole lot of sense.  The Administrator was not a jealous man, and his distrust was of a professional nature, so he decided it was time to find out how deep into the State Department's human resources database he could get with his fairly high-level security codes.  A few minutes later, the database informed him that Eva Brown did not exist.  He leaned back in his chair, a mixed wave of anxiety and pride washing over him.  What are you up to over there?

Nearby, Ardua gleefully welcomed the swelling crowds of people approaching her river for the human holiday.

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