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 ....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Joy to the World, Goddammit!

"Joy to the World, Goddammit!"

Bridezilla jumped like a startled doe into her fiance's arms, and they both turned to look back at the homeless trumpeter scowling at them. (Dizzy was cold and cranky and fed up with Lafayette Park visitors who did not toss money into his basket.) "Come on, pookie," the former Marine said as he led Bridezilla further into the snowy wonderland for additional photo opportunities. (She was already working on the slide show that would be playing in an endless loop at their wedding reception in the spring.) "We gotta finish up--I got things to do." Her fiance was almost as much of a workaholic as her ex Wince had been, but the difference was that Wince was always away while clerking for his important judges on their important cases, whereas her new fellow took her along on his Weapons 'R Us business whenever she was not barred by pressing Prince and Prowling matters (which she found increasingly easy to neglect) or her own lack of security clearances (which he found increasingly easy to neglect). "Gotta make sure that shipment to Kenya is ready, hon!" (It didn't matter to him whether the arms were going for legitimate national defense purposes or tribal warfare--he wasn't responsible for pulling any triggers, and the more those fools wiped out each other, the fewer people would be around as recruitment fodder for Al Qaeda.) They headed off briskly to get some shots of the Christmas tree on the other side of the White House.

A couple miles away, two hundred feet below Second Story Books, the Freaks living in Dupont Down Under were equally unamused. "Merry F-ing Christmas!"

"Look, I'm just the messenger," Sebastian L'Arche pleaded.

"Hark, the Hairy Fascists Sing!"

"Look!" L'Arche had a soft spot for the denizens of this sad home (some of whom were war veterans like him), but they were really ticking him off. "You knew you couldn't squat here forever! The real estate title dispute is over, and the city's going to take bids on developing this place." He was fairly certain that the supposedly interested bidders had never actually been down here to smell the ever-present odors of urine and liquor. "You need to start thinking about what you're gonna do."

"O, Come All Ye Moneygrubbing Tyrants!"

Even the Gipper (L'Arche wouldn't dream of going into Dupont Down Under without the rat terrier) was getting irritated with the shrill voices. "I brought some information for you." L'Arche started pulling out information sheets on homeless shelters, V.A. hospitals, soup kitchens, and city outreach workers. "Don't wait until the last minute."

"O, Little Town of Washington, How Much You Steal and Lie!"

A couple hundred feet above them, Calico Johnson was lunching with Button Samuelson at Scion and discussing his plan to bid on Dupont Down Under. "Who the hell's gonna wanna go down there to look at paintings?! An art gallery? That's the stupidest idea I can possibly imagine. Sure, let's go underground to buy art! What is this? Phantom of the Opera?" He stabbed his food fiercely with his fork. "Goth nightclub--it will be HUGE! People will be flocking here from all over the East Coast. Can you imagine the free press we'll get?! Chic vampire cult congregates beneath the most powerful city in the world! I LOVE it!"

"You don't really mean vampires, do you?"

"You know, Button, sometimes I worry about your lack of imagination."

Several miles to the north, Charles Wu was whistling along to "Jingle Bell Rock" on the radio as he closed his suitcase. He imagined it, he designed it, he paid for it, and now it was here: five-hundred listening devices implanted into the most high-end, designer PDAs imported from Hong Kong this holiday season. The richest, most powerful men on Earth were going to be getting these as gifts this month, and he had computer programs recording every word spoken, heard, and typed into those PDAs. A few of the PDAs given as Hanukkah gifts had already been activated in the U.S., as well as a few transported to London, Dubai, and Riyadh. A couple more days, and most of the five-hundred would probably be online. True, most of them would end up in the hands of boring millionaires with nothing interesting to say, but he only needed a few diamonds to make the entire mining operation worthwhile. He shut his curtains and grabbed his coat. With the factory that made them already burned to the ground in a (not-too-suspicious, well-executed) fire, and the phony company set up to run the factory already out of business, the listening devices were virtually untraceable. It's gonna be a great year! He locked the door behind him and headed for a plane back to Hong Kong, visions of gigantic dollar signs dancing in the spy's head and knocking down any lingering 2009 memories of warfare and misery.

Across the Potomac River, Christmas spirit was swelling at the Arlington Group Home for the Mentally Challenged. Actually, it was not that theologically close to Christmas, but new resident Brother Divine (AKA Freddy Ritchings) was firing up the others with his charismatic sermons on the International Peace Movement. Claiming to be the illegitimate grandson of Father Divine and Edna Rose Ritchings--or more accurately, claiming to be descended from a line of divine conceptions which the secular modern world was incapable of comprehending--his lectures on truth, divinity, equality, and abundance held many residents enthralled. "Our God is in our land! Evergreen, never black! Give me your best hand! Purity of brainwaves you will never lack!"

"Look, if I have to live in a cult, I'm gonna pick one with more drugs and sex!" Cedric was complaining again to social worker Hue Nguyen that Brother Divine needed to be kicked out. Nguyen, a devout Catholic, had her own objections to Brother Divine's constant pronouncements, but she could not deny that he had lifted a lot of spirits. "They're all being brainwashed! I should know! I used to do it for a living!" Nguyen had no reason to doubt that statement, and had often suspected he might have no real mental defect of his own other than having fallen pray to some elaborate brainwashing himself (she often heard him muttering about some Heurich Society in his sleep). "I've had it with the Twelve Bonkers Days of Christmas!" Cedric exclaimed, then went off to shred another chocolate Santa, mix it with saline solution, and inhale it to protect his nostrils from breathing heretical airs.

Back in Washington, Dizzy finished another rendition of "Angels We Have Heard On High", put down his trumpet, and took another swig from the wine bottle hidden in his large potato chip bag. A catbird started imitating the notes, and Dizzy leapt to his feet and shook his trumpet at the bird in fury. "Joy to the World, ya goddam demon!" A White House Secret Service officer on patrol scarcely gave them a passing glance--if he had, he would have seen the possessed bird knocked out of the tree by an invisible hand. The mad catbird flew out of the snow straight back at the Shackled hovering in the tree branches, then thought better of it, changed course, and flew away. "That's what I'm talkin' about," whispered Dizzy. He saw more people approaching, and lifted the trumpet back to his lips to spread holiday cheer.

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