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 ....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Home Team

Calico Johnson was pacing the reception room of Caljohn Mgmt. LLC, re-reading a court decision print-out in his hands for the fourth time since yesterday.  "'Glib argument!'  'Eviscerating the statute!'"  This was the second time that Button Samuelson had watched her boss mockingly quote the Superior Court judge's statements in her order granting a preliminary injunction to block the D.C. tax auction scheduled this week.  "Damned Aeon Financial!"  This was the fifth time Samuelson had heard Johnson curse the Chicago company that had sued for an injunction, concerned that the city's decision to auction only properties owing at least $1,200 would allow foreclosed homeowners to sue on constitutional due process grounds.  "Aeon got 35% of it last year, for a measly $4.6 million!  Who are they to come in and tell us how to do real estate in D.C.?!"  This was the third time Samuelson had heard this particular exclamation.  Johnson threw the court order down on the couch, next to where Samuelson was sitting.  "I liquidated assets to come up with this $7 million!"  He was referring to the cash he had on hand to buy up tax liens all over the city.  He sat down next to Samuelson, on top of the court order, and she put her arm around him in a womanly way, even though she knew he loved real estate more than his occasional dalliances with her.  He looked into her eyes, and for a moment she thought she saw something different there, then he looked at his cursed Rolex and announced he had to get going.  "I need to find something else to do with this cash."  As the door shut behind him, she glanced down at the butt-imprinted court order and decided to leave it on the couch just as it lay.

A mile away, Judge Sowell Ame was back in his office after a long vacation, reading another article about Judge Brook Hedge's injunction.  Why can't I ever get the good cases?  I never get in the papers!  It's so unfair!  He shoved it aside and picked up the case folder his senior law clerk had placed on the top of his pile.  Child custody?!  I hate child custody cases!  He tossed aside the request for a hearing on removing Angela de la Paz from child protective services and picked up the second case folder.  Tenant rights?  I hate tenant rights cases!  He tossed aside the request for an emergency hearing on a motion for injunction in Southwest Plaza [whose tenants did not want to wait any longer for a hearing], and started thumbing through the rest of the pile rapidly.  Hmmmm.  He read his junior law clerk's memo recommending a dismissal, tossed the memo in his trash can, and wrote a note for his docket clerk to schedule a hearing on this diplomat's lawsuit complaining that a liquor store's decision to stop carrying his favorite wine from the home country had sabotaged an important embassy dinner.  Now that should get me in the papers!

Several miles away, the Warrior was tidying up an abandoned National Park Service shed in a quiet corner of Rock Creek Park.  Angela was in school right now, where nobody knew she had run away from her second foster home (because the foster mother had been afraid to report it).  Angela was a mystical girl who had asked the Warrior very few questions.  One of the questions had been what his name was, but since she could not pronounce it, she had asked permission to call him "grandfather".  The Warrior had not been called "grandfather" in over 300 years, but he did not tell her that.  She had told him about her own grandmother and how she came to be removed from home and put in foster care, and the Warrior had felt sick inside because he did not understand how a girl child could have neither father, nor brother, nor uncle, nor grandfather, nor cousin to protect her and provide for her.  They had scavenged more clothes for her from a Planet Aid donation box, but it had been difficult for Angela to adjust to washing up in the creek and using the woods as a toilet.  She had not complained about the strange diet of nuts, berries, and venison he was providing her, and had not complained about going to bed when the sun went down because they could not light fires or candles at night.  The Warrior was accustomed to staying on the move, but he had set up this small home for Angela because she needed it.  He had no idea what he was really supposed to do for her after the rescue, except he knew that someday, when she was ready, Angela was destined to fight Ardua of the Potomac.  Every night after dark, he told Angela stories of his past, and he could not see her face, but he was pretty sure she liked the stories.  And sometimes she told him stories of her past, like how she was told that her mother had drowned in the Potomac, but she didn't believe it.  She also told him about the pink warbler.  Mostly she told him that she missed her grandmother, but she knew if she returned to her grandmother, there would be trouble.  A stream of sunlight coming into a crack told him that the rain clouds had passed by, so he went out to collect more food for the child.  

Several miles north, Liv Cigemeier and her husband were sitting in their Silver Spring living room, answering questions from two child protective services agents.  Liv was in tears, and her husband was simultaneously comforting her and answering questions like a lawyer.  Baby Zeke, who could almost sit up on his own now, was nestled in the couch cushions next to Liv, simultaneously chewing on a teething ring and cheerfully shaking a rattle.  Zeke's erstwhile mother had turned out to be a fugitive who had kidnapped Zeke at age one week, just before moving into the apartment next to the Cigemeier household.  She had subsequently fled town to escape a separate legal problem, leaving Zeke with her unsuspecting neighbors.  Satisfied that they would face no criminal investigation themselves, Liv's husband relaxed and turned his full attention toward preparing his wife to release the baby.  Liv had her arm around Zeke, and he had never seen her face full of this kind of despair.  "His parents in Pennsylvania are waiting for him, hon."  Liv asked again how they could be sure this was the right baby--didn't they need a DNA test or something?  The agents sat quietly, having seen this type of scene repeatedly, and allowed Mr. Cigemeier to repeat to Liv how the baby had been kidnapped and ultimately traced, and why there was no doubt after the search of the apartment next door.  Liv said nothing, and her husband squeezed her and said he would gather Zeke's things.  One of the agents got up to assist in that task, while the other agent continued to watch Liv and make sure she didn't make a run for the door.  Liv picked up baby Zeke for the last time to look into his eyes and rub noses with him.  He giggled and shook his rattle at her, not noticing the tears in her eyes.  At last the carrier seat and diaper bag were ready (the agent told them to keep the rest of the baby things), and Liv gave Zeke one last hug before allowing him to be taken from her arms.  Her husband didn't want to look Zeke in the eyes again, but kissed him goodbye because Liv would think him a monster if he didn't.  As the apartment door closed, Liv collapsed into her husband's arms, and he did not tell her "I told you so."

Several miles to the south, former Senator Evermore Breadman was in his Prince and Prowling office, on the phone with South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson, talking him down from his panic attack over losing his temper and shouting out that President Barak Obama was a liar during Obama's address to Congress.  "These things happen," Breadman said reassuringly, though they both knew this was a lie, and no current member or former member of Congress remembered somebody yelling that out during a Presidential speech.  "And your constituents loved it!"  Except for the ones that immediately began donating money to your reelection opponent.  "Obama is used to this sort of thing, and he never takes it personally."  But you're going to be on Rahm Emanuel's shit list 'til the end of time.  "You need to take charge and explain point-by-point how Obama's words were untrue, and why they provoked your outrage--you must be the personification of righteous anger."  Dumbass.  "By next week, nobody in Washington will be talking about this."  But in South Carolina?  Yeah, baby!  First the governor, now you!  You might as well rename the South Carolina G.O.P. "Grand Old Pricks".  "And trust your Press Secretary!"  God help you.  "Call me anytime!"

A couple miles away, Charles Wu entered the PNC deluxe suite at Washington Nationals Stadium.  Che Flaco and Che Gordo were already at the bar, but showed no more than a flicker of recognition.  Wu sat down on a barstool beside them and ordered a gin and tonic.  He looked around at the myriad television screens, white-linened tablecloths, china, crystal, uniformed wait staff, and balcony overlooking the baseball stadium below.  Nobody enjoyed fine dining and liquor more than Charles Wu, but the scene seemed incongruous with the concept of attending a baseball game.  Almost no token of conspicuous consumption was over the top for Charles Wu, but there was something exceedingly unnatural about this place.  "Not a great year for the team," Che Flaco abruptly commented, and the all-day multi-party conversation about China began, hours before America's pastime's first pitch was to be thrown.  "Next year will be better," answered Che Gordo.

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