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 ....

Monday, December 28, 2009

Washington Kaleidoscope

Henry Samuelson was slowly walking past the train departure gates at Union Station, eyeing dark-skinned men of a certain age as potential terrorists. It was something he did to pass the time when Charles Wu was out of town, the Heurich Society was not meeting, his daughter was too busy for him, and he really had nothing more important to do. (He had tried to warn the Transportation Security Administration about underwear bombers before, but, as usual, nobody took his warnings seriously until they actually caught one red-handed--so to speak, ahem). Samuelson was brooding about Project Eliminati again. Condoleezza Rice said that President Obama was playing straight into the Heurich Society's hands when he issued the Executive Order extending diplomatic privileges to Interpol, but Samuelson thought the paranoid bloggers had a legitimate concern about foreigners arresting Americans willy nilly, unrestrained by the laws that restrained the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local police officers. True, many Interpol agents were working for the Heurich Society, but not all of them. True, also, that Interpol agents had no authority to make arrests overseas, and could only be seconded to local law enforcement, but if they were not actually going to be doing anything in the U.S., why the need to grant diplomatic privileges? In any case, Project Eliminati was supposed to be about Interpol and U.N. peacekeeping forces overseas, and he didn't like Rice's nonchalant attitude about the possible role of Interpol agents inside the U.S. Samuelson stopped in his tracks and stared at a 20-something mocha-skinned man with a suspicious scarf who was shifting uncomfortably in his waiting area chair: diarrhea or underwear bomb? The man took another swig from his bottle of liquid antacid, but anything could be in that bottle; Samuelson raced off to find a bomb-sniffing dog.

Across the Potomac, Sebastian L'Arche was introducing the enormous brown dog to the Arlington Group Home for the Mentally Challenged.

"Can it sniff bombs?" asked Cedric. L'Arche shook his head.

"Can it sniff drugs?" asked Melinda. (Boy, I hope not, thought social worker Hue Nguyen, who had an entire pharmacy under lock and key in her office.) L'Arche shook his head.

"Does it have a chip implant?" asked Cedric. L'Arche shook his head--nobody had traced the dog since she ran away to him.

Brother Divine bent over to stare at the dog's soulful brown eyes. "This is a tortured soul," he murmured. L'Arche nodded. "She has suffered for the sins of others." (Nguyen frowned but said nothing.) "We shall call her, 'Star of Nazareth'." L'Arche thought the name ridiculous, though not as ridiculous as the name her last owners had given her: "Two Mules".

Nguyen--who was not going to allow anybody to call this animal "Star of Nazareth"--reminded the residents that no decision had been made yet on keeping the dog. "Look how big she is--she's as big as a pony! She's going to cost a fortune to feed."

Cedric pulled a wad of money out of his crotch, peeled off five hundred-dollar bills, and proffered them to the social worker. "Her name shall be 'Millie'," he said (after a guileless character in "Our Man in Havana"). The dog wagged her tail in agreement, and the social worker pulled a tissue out of her pocket to grab the money. Through the rainbow-reflecting plastic bead curtains separating the living room from the dining room, a kneeling Theresa stared at the magical brown pony and knew it was meant to be.

Over on the Potomac, Dubious McGinty was staring at the magical kaleidoscope lighting installation as Perry Winkle was hauling the last load of McGinty's belongings back into the renovated bridgeman's quarters of the 14th Street bridge. Glass panes had replaced the plywood, a fresh coat of white paint covered all the walls, and a new layer of concrete covered the floor. Winkle plugged in an electric heater. "Do you want some help unpacking?" McGinty shook his head, transfixed by the multi-colored colossus hanging above them.

After a couple of minutes, he turned to Winkle and asked if this was the reason he had to vacate the bridgeman's quarters for two months. The Washington Post reporter nodded. "There's some damned fools in this town," McGinty muttered, but he sat down and continued staring at the kaleidoscope. "Don't seem to bother Ardua none," he added, disappointed. A couple hundred feet below him, Ardua was, indeed, unbothered by the kaleidoscope, but she was displeased at the return of McGinty.

"Well, I need to head to work," Winkle said at last. The reporter--who had let McGinty stay in his apartment for two months--heard a faint thank-you, then headed out to climb his way down from the bridge tower.

Over in Southwest, Calico Johnson was staring out a penthouse window at the kaleidoscope lights playing in the tower of the 14th Street bridge. He thought for a moment he saw a man climbing around, but then decided it must have been a large bird. "We should have priced this higher," he said to Button Samuelson. "This view is fantastic." He turned to see her putting the finishing touch on the floral arrangement next to the stack of real estate open house brochures on the small dining room table. Button looked up at her boss (and occasional lover) with a mixture of admiration and repulsion at his audacious greed--he had already flipped a dozen properties since he purchased three-hundred at the D.C. property tax sale auction a month ago. He scratched his wrist under his bewitched Rolex, leaned over to give her a kiss, scratched his wrist again, then turned to go as a petal fell off a carnation and fluttered down to the immaculately staged table sitting atop the area rug hiding the water damage in the floor.

Back at Union Station, a disappointed Henry Samuelson watched the bomb-sniffing dog pass up the suspicious character and saunter away without a care in the world.

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