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, October 06, 2009

Civics and Civilization

Mayor Fenty was reading press clippings on his way to his next photo opportunity.  He preferred driving himself around his hometown, but he had relented today to the aide who said the mayor really needed to catch up on his paperwork.  The aide continued to proffer memos and reports to Mayor Fenty one-by-one, and Mayor Fenty continued to decline them based on the aide's description alone--that's fine, I trust him, whatever she wants to do, tell him it's never going to happen--then he would go back to reading press clippings.  He paused for a moment, frowning with genuine frustration over Perry Winkle's report on Monday's D.C. voting rights lobby day on Capitol Hill, then moved on.  "Ahem," said the aide.  "There is also an inquiry from a blogger about your involvement in some kind of international activity called 'Operation Fenty'."  Mayor Fenty looked up in alarm, which surprised and dismayed the aide.  "She says her source is telling her that your secret overseas trips have all been at the behest of a secret society."  Mayor Fenty's eyes grew wider.  "Normally I would not respond to such an inquiry, naturally," the aide continued, with increasing discomfort, "but she had some audio in which men were, in fact, discussing something called 'Operation Fenty'."  Mayor Fenty told him not to answer her until the mayor could listen to the audio, which was not the reply the aide was seeking.

Over on Capitol Hill, legislative aide Ann Bishis was setting up another fundraiser for Congressman Herrmark.  Since leaving her humble state law school in the midwest, she had worked her way up from being a lobbyist's receptionist to being a city councilmember's press assistant to her current post.  Each climb up the career ladder had brought a cut in pay, which was something her midwestern family just did not understand, so this time she had lied to them and told them she was making $80,000/year.  Her family thought that her Capitol Hill street address meant she had a townhouse of her own, whereas, in fact, she was sharing a house with five other people.  Even so, making ends meet was tough, and she had earned more than a few extra bucks conducting unauthorized paid tours of the Capitol--in fact, she had developed a niche market of lusty tourists who would pay her a pretty penny for the privilege of having sex in her boss's office.  (She knew she could get fired for it, but it seemed perfectly legal, so she preferred it to her last moonlighting gig, which was being paid to sleep with her Circuit Court clerk housemate from Louisiana, who was actually gay and paying her to sleep in his room occasionally either as an attempt by him to go straight or merely as a ploy to deceive certain other housemates that his occasional male overnight visitors were actually old friends from college.)  Ann Bishis sighed.  She was good at setting up fundraisers, but she didn't understand why it was 75% of her job.  She had actually only gotten to work on one House bill the entire year, and was starting to have serious misgivings that the path she was on would actually get her somewhere someday.  She knew one of her law school classmates was interning on the Senate Judiciary Committee and doing substantive work, though she had also heard that he was not getting paid anything and had pilfered a bunch of jewelry and silver from a senile grandmother, which he was now selling on eBay.  She dialed the number of the pork processing plant owner who had benefitted from an earmark a few months earlier, and was pleased to hear that he would be able to attend the next fundraiser.

A couple of miles to the west, the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope was using his lunch break to chat on the phone with his girlfriend Eva Brown, who had returned to American University Law School for the fall semester.  She was still insisting that her work overseas had been clandestine and she could not talk about it, though he had gotten her to affirm that she had been part of something called Project R.O.D.H.A.M.  Whatever it was, it had changed her a lot:  she had lost 25 pounds, was obsessed with martial arts, jumped out of her skin every time a door slammed or a tire wheel squealed, and had filled her iPod with mysterious Asian music.  She had a tattoo of a dove on one shoulder and a moon on the other.  But the biggest change was that Eva had come back with a two-year-old adopted daughter--allegedly from the far western corner of China, but the Administrator suspected she was actually a Tajik from Afghanistan.  "How's she doing?" he asked, and Eva said her daughter was fine.  The Administrator had been planning to propose to Eva upon her return to the United States, but the adopted daughter had shoved that plan to the back burner--not that he would be unwilling to adopt the girl, also, but the fact that Eva had adopted the girl without discussing it really bothered him.  She said she had to meet her study group but hoped he would stop by to see her after work.  He hung up the phone, wondering if he knew who she was anymore.  Then he looked at his latest directive from the Secretary of State and wondered the same thing about her.

A couple of miles to the east, Judge Sowell Lame was hearing oral arguments regarding a possible injunction at Southwest Plaza--something about balcony demolition (he was bored to tears, and distracted by the mysterious presence of young people in the back row).  "Your honor," stated Southwest Plaza's counsel, "the demolition work is complete, so the motion to grant an injunction is moot."  ("I'll mute you, you vomitous mass!" somebody in the third row muttered, though only a handful of people heard it and laughed.)  The tenant association counsel explained to Judge Lame that the injunction would have been to prevent the defendant from sealing up people's windows and balcony doors in violation of the housing code ventilation provision, but that the delay in this hearing had allowed the defendant to do so, and now the tenant association was seeking compensation for the housing code violation.  Judge Lame asked what the damages were, and the tenant association's plaintiff explained that people had been put in harm's way by the lack of ventilation, the lack of escape route, and jackhammering of their balconies.  Judge Lame pointed out that being put in harm's way is not the equivalent of being harmed.  The attorney stated that every single resident had been deprived of use of their balcony for months with no reduction in rent, but was unable to demonstrate to Judge Lame that use of the balcony was a guaranteed clause of their leases.  The attorney told Judge Lame that a woman on ordered bed rest because of a high-risk pregnancy had given birth prematurely, and even after that happened, the jackhammering had not stopped.  Judge Lame reluctantly asked the defense attorney to respond.  "We did what was legally required of us," stated the defense attorney.

"Well, they don't erect statues in this town with inscriptions reading 'he did what was legally required of him'!"  This time the outburst came from Golden Fawn, and it was quite loud; her fiance Marcos Vasquez quickly pulled her back down to her seat.  Then Judge Lame started to laugh, declaring that was a good one, though he quickly recovered his composure and ruled the motion moot.  The defense attorney asked about damages, and Judge Lame said that would, of course, have to wait until trial--but that he strongly recommended the parties settle.  

"We're ready to go to trial!" called out the tenant association's attorney as Judge Lame exited the courtroom, but Judge Lame ignored the outburst.  The defense attorney smirked, and the two co-counsel sitting behind him also smirked--until Golden Fawn came up to them, held up her hands, and started chanting something sternly in their direction.  This time, Vasquez did not hold her back, much to the amazement of the other Southwest Plaza residents in attendance.

"Can it, Pocahontas!" said the defense attorney, and Vasquez (in his U.S. Coast Guard uniform) leapt up from his seat to go kick the man in the head, and then two other Southwest Plaza residents ran over to spit on the defense attorney after he fell to the floor.  "This is outrgeous!" he exclaimed, looking around for assistance, but the court personnel were all gone.  "I could have you disbarred!"  The plaintiff attorney (who was not in danger of being disbarred but was, nonetheless, dismayed by the turn of events) pulled back the man who was unzipping his fly to piss on the defense attorney.  "You people are animals!" shouted the defense attorney, now back on his feet.

"That's what happens when you cage people up," said Golden Fawn.  "If we were dogs, the Humane Society would have gone after you, but we're just people," she added, then resumed the chanting that nobody understood except Vasquez.  In the corner, one of The Shackled trembled, afraid that humanity's experiment with civilization and rules was failing, and everything would once again be determined by violence.  The ghost trembled because he was not entirely uncertain that would be a bad thing.

In the back row, the middle-schoolers who had accompanied Perry Winkle on this most recent installment of Urban Guerrilla Field Trips jumped to their feet for a standing ovation.


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