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, February 02, 2010

Silence of the Ducks

"Alright, here's the budget statement. Any questions? Good. The next page shows the fee increase. Alright, we have a quorum and will do the election now."

Charles Wu raised his hand to ask about the budget statement. (This was supposed to be a meeting for condo owners only, but it was a large building, so nobody actually knew he was not a condo owner. Besides, he was thinking about buying....)

(Troublemaker?) "We're already past that on the agenda," said Samuelson.

Wu chuckled in his deep-throated way that the ladies loved. "Surely you have a minute to explain this $6,000 roof repair that was not covered under the roof warranty?" (Wu was constantly amazed that Americans had so much trouble keeping water out of their buildings--the Chinese had been doing it for 3,000 years.)

Samuelson was not disarmed by Wu's exotic good looks (half Chinese? Polynesian?), his command of the Queen's English (British upper crust?), or his finely tailored suit (Hugo Boss? Giorgio Armani?): it was that she was sure she had seen him somewhere peculiar outside this building, but she couldn't put her finger on it. She was also in a hurry to finish the meeting quickly to get home before the snow. (Not to mention her boss's constant admonition that condo association meetings must never be hijacked by owners.) "I don't remember. I don't have that with me." A couple condo owners asked the board members about the roof repairs, but they also said they didn't remember.

"Why are there no rules and regulations promulgated for this building?" It was Wu again: he was fed up with people's petty complaints against him ("he practices rappelling up and down from his balcony every Saturday", "he does tai chi on the roof in ballet tights", "nobody would have that many young women coming and going unless he was running a call girl service"), and was constantly arguing with Caljohn Management that he could not be in violation of any rule that wasn't promulgated.

Several owners then started arguing about the relative merits of having or not having rules and regulations. "Who's gonna enforce them?" the vice-president of the board said. (She didn't live in the building and could care less.) Another owner reminded her that two people had been working on draft rules and regulations for a year. "That wasn't a priority for us this year," the vice-president replied. ("I KNOW it wasn't a priority for YOU!")

Voices were rising, and now people were asking about delayed repairs that were promised a long time ago--including the lobby stairs which had been discussed at last year's annual meeting, and remained unrepaired in plain view of the assembly. "Those are all good questions!" interjected Samuelson, who was getting desperate. "The new board will work on those questions immediately." ("What new board?") "The board members are all running for reelection. Is anybody else interested in running? Alright, then there's no need to count votes. That concludes--"

"Excuse me!" said Wu, who was finding this a hilarious example of so-called American democracy in action. "I think that gentleman has some interesting ideas." (He pointed to a fidgety man wearing tan corduroys and an olive sweater.) "Perhaps he would like to run?" Wu smiled encouragingly at the timid fellow.

"Well," said the secretary of the board. "I don't need to stay on the board. I got married last year (applause from the people who did not know this was her fourth marriage), and I won't be here more than another year, so if somebody else wants to run, that's fine! But let's move things along because my heroic husband is heading to Haiti tomorrow, and I want to have se--I mean, I want to spend some time with him this evening!"

"Ummm--"

A couple of people were mumbling, and one looked like she was going to raise her hand, but Samuelson had seen enough. "Alright, the current board is reelected. Meeting adjourned." Then Wu winked at her, and she dropped her clipboard.

Golden Fawn Vazquez (who had stumbled upon the meeting by accident after her realtor showed her a unit in the building) looked around in amazement. She had thought she might find some good condo possibilities before her (truly heroic) Coast Guard officer returned from Haiti, but she was starting to think maybe she and her husband should look for a house instead. A shiver ran down her spine. Could this building have a real estate demon, too?

Several miles away, Dizzy put away his trumpet for the evening and contemplated the snowstorm menacing Lafayette Park. Can't go to the Shelter. Hate the shelter. Some do-gooders were near the Polack's statue, handing out sandwiches and cups of soup, but the vittles came with a sermon about seeking shelter tonight. Dizzy closed his eyes, stretched out his hands, and commanded his magic carpet to arrive. A minute later, he opened his eyes, but only saw ducks pecking at crumbs in the grass. "It's your fault!" he screamed. The ducks said nothing, because they knew it was true.

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