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 ....

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Quakes

"It's a waste of money: we need to do something about it!" The Chair of the Heurich Society was grim-faced and resolute. "We are looking at potentially billions of dollars diverted to Haiti--and for what purpose? The country is not viable, the women and children were already going to the Dominican Republic as slaves, there's nothing there to rebuild, their only legacy is violence and voodoo." The group remained silent. "They barely have a tree standing, for crying out loud! It was already a United Nations basket case before the earthquake hit! Every dollar going there could be better spent somewhere else! We need to take action."

"Honorable Chairman," Condoleezza Rice's voice sounded like a hiss over the speakerphone). "...even the poorest of the poor don't lie down and die as quietly and complacently as you would like."

"I'm not the one that drafted Project Eliminati!" he barked back.

"Honorable Chairman," Rice's voice was more grating this time. "...security and stability are imperative. If these people are not taken care of, there will be a mass refugee flow towards the United States. It's simply too risky. And if they stampede towards the Dominican Republic, they will be mowed down mercilessly. It's simply a situation that is untenable in a civilized world order. And need I remind you, it is imperative that the United States lead this effort because NOBODY--not Venezuela, not China, not anyone--can be perceived as the savior here except the United States. Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson may be happy to see over 200,000 Haitians die, but this situation is not going to help Project Eliminati, and it's not going to help us!"

In the corner, Henry Samuelson chewed his raspberry danish slowly. He had made three trips to Haiti as a CIA officer--two of them for assassination attempts. He remembered flying in each time and seeing the pronounced advance of deforestation because the people had no option but to keep cutting firewood. It was a cursed country--Robertson was right about that, just wrong in thinking the curse was from God. Only a few thousand people died on 9/11, but it triggered an unrelated war in Iraq that cost $2 billion/week for years. Two-hundred thousand or more dead Haitians might trigger 5-10 billion dollars, maybe not even that much. "Look," Samuelson interjected at last. "We couldn't stop most of the money even if we tried." He looked pointedly at the Chair. "We need to go where the money is going, as we always do."

"What are you proposing?" said the Chair.

"Neo-colonialism is what Dr. Rice would call it, I believe."

A couple miles to the south, Charles Wu (who would listen to the tape of the Heurich Society meeting later) was discussing Haiti with former Senator Evermore Breadman in his Prince and Prowling office. "It's a real tragedy," Breadman was saying somberly. He had already rearranged his Wall of Me photos outside his office to centralize the photograph of him and a Haitian president (though he couldn't remember which one, or when the photo was taken). Breadman looked down at the $250,000 blank check Wu had written for Breadman to forward to whatever charity Breadman thought best, and he tried to motivate himself to write in a charity name quickly, but the blank line was calling out to him like a siren. "A real tragedy," he repeated softly.

Wu had a strong loathing of earthquakes: as a man who prided himself on making a fortune through the careful collection and exchange of information, it offended his sense of fairness that anybody should suffer anything in a surprise attack. Still, he had written the check, and he disliked dwelling on human suffering because it raised philosophical, emotional, and spiritual questions he found unsettling. "I know you'll find the best use of the money, Evermore." (Breadman had told Wu to call him "Evermore", because he could never get the Chinaman to understand that he should be addressed as "Senator", and not "Former Senator".) "But you asked me here today to talk about what happened with China and Google. Basically, the Chinese got a little sloppy, to be frank." (Frankly, Wu was embarrassed that the Chinese government still thought it could run repeated cyber attacks against the most brilliant cyber minds in the world.) "It's one thing for an American company to do business with the communist party, but it's another to do business with the Chinese equivalent of the KGB. From Google's point of view, Google had to draw the line somewhere. It's a lose-lose for Google and China."

"We need to get this back on track, Charles!"

"I understand, Evermore, but Google is a proud corporation which has decided it has an international educational mission, so to speak. The Chinese government attacked both the pride and the mission, leaving Google no choice. It's going to take time to work on the Chinese government from the inside--help them understand that it's in their vital interest to fix this relationship."

"So you do think China will want to fix this?"

"No, but they need to fix this. Right now, the Chinese government still thinks it can dictate the rules, and if Microsoft and Yahoo! keep playing by them, it will write off Google. But the Chinese people are not going to accept the disappearance of Google any more than the American people would. Even with censorship controls, Google was too valuable to the Chinese people. The Chinese people, like the American people, notice restrictions on cyber power much more quickly than they notice restrictions on civil rights."

Breadman had always preached that you could make money anywhere, no matter what government was in control, but when companies with silly names like "Google" and "Yahoo!" could make a major totalitarian government nervous, he sometimes wondered if he still had a grasp on true power and control in the modern world. Maybe I'm getting too old for this? "Well, do keep me posted, Charles!" Breadman said, as he rose and extended his hand. I don't even know how to talk to my clients about this. "I don't know what I would do without you!"

I know you don't, thought Charles Wu, with a smile.

Down the hall, Bridezilla was in her office, on the phone with her fiance. "I don't know what I'll do without you!" She had not spent more than a day apart from him since their engagement. "I still don't understand why Weapons 'R Us is sending you to Haiti!" He had told her repeatedly that it was a classified project. (Sometimes he wondered if she was deliberately obtuse. Wasn't it obvious that looting would lead to rioting, and rioting would lead to civil war?) He reminded her he would back in less than a week, and she shouldn't worry, but his plane was taking off, and he had to go.) She hung up the phone, and that alone feeling settled all over her again--just like when her former fiance Wince would spend weekends toiling for Supreme Court Justice Prissy Face. Her new fiance had never shut her out like this. Why can't I find a nice doctor? Her eyes grew wide in surprise at her own blasphemous thought about her war hero fiance. She logged onto the Red Cross website to make a ten dollar donation for Haiti, then felt better.

Over in Southwest, Golden Fawn Vazquez had just finished her own goodbye phone call as her husband Marcos was preparing to redeploy on a Coast Guard mission to Haiti. She hung up the phone and stared out the window, not knowing when she would see him again. Out on the balcony, a flock of starlings stared at her until she threw a pillow at the glass; then they flew away. She shuddered, wondering what kind of demon could kill over 200,000 people in one attack. A demon that had been feeding and preparing for a long, long time.

Over in the Potomac, a jealous Ardua bided her time.

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