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 30, 2010

Rescue Me

"U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!"

Bridezilla listened in rapture as her fiance recounted the cheers of Haitians every time an American search and rescue team had pulled a survivor from the rubble.

"I tell you, I haven't heard something like that in a long time--ANYwhere! Makes a man proud."

"Were you helping the search and rescue teams?" Bridezilla asked in perplexity.

"Well, umm, no, not directly. We were here and there, making ourselves useful." (By "making ourselves useful", the Weapons 'R Us employee meant "selling arms to anybody that had cash to buy them", but he could not tell Bridezilla that.) "I told you: it was classified. I can't really talk about it." And that much was true: he had gone down there at the invitation of the U.S. Marines, whose mandate was to hold the Haitians in place and docile. "We were with the Marines. I can't say more than that." They had made a fair amount of quick cash (and quick booty, so to speak) selling weapons on the spot to Haitians who had something to protect, and had made a careful assessment for weapons orders they would be shipping to the Marines for the next three weeks. It didn't bother him that these weapons might end up at cross-purposes sometime in the near future. (Guns don't kill people: people kill people!) The truth was, the whole atmosphere had given the former Marine an adrenaline rush he had not experienced in some time. "I'm so hot for you!"

Bridezilla tried not to recoil, a little taken aback by his sudden advance while she was still picturing German shepherds leading rescue workers to bloody, half-dead people buried under rubble. "Do you want another latte?" She jumped up to return to the cappucino machine in the kitchen.

"We sold a lot of those Jesus-scope rifles you like!" he called out after her, a little sheepishly. "The ones with the Bible verses etched in the sights!"

Over at the Justice Department, Atticus Hawk was meeting clandestinely with a representative from the FBI's Witness Protection Program. "It doesn't quite work like that," the FBI agent said, a little sheepishly. They were seated in a small coffeebreak room--the agent in plain clothes and Hawk adorned with a wig, sunglasses, and a false mustache. "See, you would have to testify to a U.S. Attorney first, THEN they would decide if you merit protection. You can't just come and ask us to set you up with a new life. You have to cut a deal first."

"Yeah, yeah, I know all that," Hawk said quietly, his foot tapping erratically on the linoleum floor. "But I have to be in a safe place BEFORE I testify. Look, I'm gonna have a lot of enemies in this town when I testify--a lot of POWERFUL enemies. I wanna know that my girlfriend and her son are provided for--I mean, safe--that we're all safe."

The FBI agent sipped his coffee, and some of it wet his (very real) mustache. (Hawk's mustache, in contrast, seemed to wick away moisture.) "All I can tell you is how it works AFTER the U.S. Attorney gives the greenlight."

"I'm asking as a favor, one Justice employee to another: just get us somewhere that the CIA can't find us, THEN I'll tell everything I know."

The FBI agent exhaled slowly. "Alright." He had actually done this a couple of times before. "You tell your girlfriend and her boy that you're going to a brunch party tomorrow at this address." He wrote down his own address in Silver Spring. "The U.S. Attorney will be there." He would have his sister-in-law come to brunch, and she could question the guy. (She normally did tax evasion prosecutions and loved it when he set her up for these whistleblowers.) "Don't tell anybody where you're going. Take the Metro to the station, then take a taxi, but get out two blocks away and walk the rest of the way." He would pick up some danishes at the grocery store and ask his wife to make an egg casserole. "I'll see you then." He swallowed down the rest of his bagel and left.

Several miles away, Charles Wu was staring out his apartment window in disgust. (The Hong Kong native could never get used to snow.) He was on the phone with former Senator Evermore Breadman, assuring him that the $6.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan was not a mistake. "Beijing HAS to say these things for the domestic audience." ("China suspended military exchanges with the United States and threatened sanctions against American defense companies! My clients!") "Look: it will blow over. China won't stop importing American weapons because that's the easiest--" (He stopped himself: he had been about to say that was the easiest way that Beijing could examine American weapons. Sometimes he had to remind himself that both he and Breadman were walking a narrow line.) "Look: Beijing has to crow against Taiwan for the domestic audience, but they don't REALLY care. They know the weapons are defensive primarily. Nobody in their right mind is actually afraid that Taiwan is going to attack the mainland. It's just about national pride--it's all for show. Your clients make money, the Pentagon sends a signal to Beijing that the U.S. is not afraid to ruffle Chinese feathers, the Chinese score points on the domestic front by getting indignant--everybody wins. Then things calm down a couple months later. Don't worry." ("What about the sanctions?") "It's just a cost of doing business in China." ("A big one! It's gonna cut into my clients' profits!") "Look: you've got the Prince and Prowling office in Beijing now. Let THEM get to work on minimizing these sanctions. They've got influence, too, you know." Breadman finally ended the call with Wu (Breadman needed to prepare his oil company clients' testimony for the February 2nd EPA hearing concerning tightening up allowable ozone standards), and Wu put down the phone. He really did not feel like working today, but it would be really difficult to go out in this weather and find a girl to have sex with. He wasn't sure there was anybody left in the building that he wanted to seduce, though it was the end of the month, and new women might be moving in. He decided to take his New York Times and Washington Post down to the lobby to monitor the situation.

Back in downtown Washington, psychiatrist Ermann Esse was just closing up his office when Didymus arrived. "I really need to close up, Didymus. The snow is piling up, and I need to get home." Didymus pleaded for just a half-hour of his time, then sprawled out on the couch to tell Dr. Esse about the dream he had last night.

"It was the 1930s, and Shirley Temple's studio was determined to create her own version of 'The Wizard of Oz'. But it was dark--really dark. Somebody was constantly chasing Shirley, and she was trying to escape on a magic giraffe. ("That doesn't sound so dark.") The giraffe could run very fast, but the movement was rather awkward for Shirley, and I kept thinking she was going to fall off. There were a lot of dead mice everywhere, and it all seemed so real--not like a movie at all. And she was trying to overthrow a government or something. There were real assassins after her! Shirley Temple! Can you imagine?!"

"No, I can't imagine it at all. Very unique. Have you been troubled about Haiti?" (No.) China? (No.) The State of the Union Address? (No.) President Obama's summit with Republicans? (No.) That man in the pimp-like fur coat who installed bugs in the Louisiana Senator's office phone line for some sort of right wing sting operation?"

"Yes! YES! Why are crazy people leading the Republican Party?!"

"Robert McNamara was not a Republican." (Didymus claimed to be the ghost of Robert McNamara.) "I think you are focusing on issues that are distracting you from the more important issues in your life."

"What are the more important issues in my life?"

"You tell me." Didymus remained silent. "How about your finances. You've never paid me for any of these sessions. Why aren't you paying me?"

"Because I'm a ghost! We don't have money! What am I supposed to do? Take it up with St. Peter--it was his idea!"

"Hmmm." Dr. Esse was trying to picture little Shirley Temple riding a giraffe like a horse, trying to save a mythical kingdom from dead mice and mysterious assassins. I suppose I could write a book about this fellow and make some money that way.

Out on the snow-covered window ledge, a pair of pigeon doves were staring at the psychiatrist, who was talking animatedly to an empty couch. Then they flew off to look for shelter from the storm.

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