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, March 20, 2010

Sick to the Stomach

Bridezilla was having a bad week. (She used to think she knew what a bad week was, but now she really knew what a bad week was.) She was in her kitchen making pancakes for Wince, who had spent the night on the couch. Her former fiance had not spent the night at her place in a very long time, and she really needed to get him out of here before her current fiance showed up. She flipped a few, poked at the turkey sausage, and poured herself another cup of coffee. She walked over to see if Wince was stirring, but none of the aromas had moved him. He was having nightmares every night, and so was she--except she had gone against Dr. Ermann Esse's admonition against drugs and started taking sleeping pills. Sleeping more also meant more nightmares--ironic. I'm getting married in May. She waited for the warm fuzzy glow to start after that thought, but nothing--she had unpleasant things on her mind.

Across the Potomac River, the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope also had unpleasant things on his mind. He walked past a random stand of yellow daffodils trying to soften a block of sidewalk flanked by severe and unwelcoming shrubbery on the building side and truckbomb-stopping bollards on the curb side. (Why doesn't the General Services Administration have any bollards? Why doesn't anybody want to blow up GSA?) (His mind was wandering a lot lately.) He got to the employee entrance of the State Department and headed to his office--for once he was not here for the Secretary of State, or even the Deputy Secretary of State. No, today, he was here to find out what Project R.O.D.H.A.M. was, after accidentally discovering some papers on it at his girlfriend's place. (How is that I am the one working at the State Department, and she is the one keeping secrets from me?!) The world was spinning fast--Clinton discussing nukes and Iran with Russia, Biden failing to keep his big mouth shut in Israel (though most State Department employees were actually glad about that), Iraqi elections, Afghanistan's Karzai welcoming Iran's loony leader, North Korea executing a finance minister for screwing up (how many in the U.S. would be eligible for execution on those grounds?!), France's Sarkozy trying to normalize relations with Rwanda without directly addressing accusations of French complicity in the genocide, Greece and Iceland going bankrupt, Japan stepping up to compete with China to hold American debt. But none of that was on his mind today--only, what is Project R.O.D.H.A.M.? And he had no idea where to start looking--except in one place.

And that place was the office currently occupied by "C. Coe Phant", currently encrypting another communication about Project R.O.D.H.A.M. (Reserve Officers Deployed to Hunt Armed Misognyists). Phant felt that this project was starting to get spread too thin-after all, they only had limited successes to date in Afghanistan and the Middle East. And their largest mission--lacing the Taliban's water supply with estrogen--was still only in the planning stages. But today Clinton was adamant that they recruit a force in Ghana--a place where sexual predation had become so rampant that mothers were "ironing" their own daughters' breasts in hopes that males would not recognize the girls as girls. (Phant had seen Clinton livid about a lot of issues, but she had nearly vomited just discussing this one. And when he had mentioned it to Charles Wu, even the normally unfazed Wu had turned a little green.) A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts, and he blanked out his computer screen as he waved the Deputy Administrator in.

Several miles away, Angela de la Paz's mother was proudly and happily leaving the U.S. Census office after completing her training to be a bilingual interviewer. Leaning against his car, Glenn Michael Beckmann stared menacingly at the Latina, and she quickly turned to walk in the opposite direction. You and your totalitarian police state are not taking this country from us! he seethed inwardly. (He had already laced his form with anthrax and sent it back with a list of warnings, threats, and complaints put together from the multiple hate groups and militias he belonged to.) He spat on the ground, and a catbird then spat on the ground in imitation.

Back at Bridezilla's apartment, she sat down to the brunch spread by herself, with Wince still dozing fitfully on the couch. She nibbled at the sausage, then nibbled at a pancake, then licked some maple syrup off her fork, then stopped. I've got to eat something. She could not get the image out of her mind. She put down the fork, remembering the visit Wince had begged her to take to the McLean retirement home, where Justice Prissy Face's former executive secretary was slowly starving herself to death--whether from depression or anxiety or ideological culture shock or dementia, nobody knew. ("Please," Wince had begged her, "she always liked you: I know if she sees you, it will cheer her up." But it had not cheered her up. It had not cheered anybody up. The woman was 79 years old. Justice Prissy Face had come to see her--but she had never married, had no children, did not seem to recognize her friends. Wince had not loved Bridezilla enough to stop postponing their wedding date, but did think Bridezilla was special enough to cheer up an old woman and get her to start eating and living again.) These were troubling thoughts Bridezilla did not want to deal with right now--and they were killing her appetite, even as she had nightmares of starving to death in the McLean retirement home, forgotten by all but a couple of Prince and Prowling cronies. I should join Lawyers Without Borders...or go to Afghanistan. Her cellphone started vibrating, and the photo of her handsome fiance lit up the display. She slowly reached for the phone, waiting for the warm fuzzy feeling to come, but it wasn't coming.

Back at the Potomac, Ardua was sad to see the snow gone and the flowers here, but she knew the upside would be more humans near the water--fragile, vulnerable, stupid, malleable humans. The warmth in the air was making the pink dolphins leap for joy, and Ardua swatted at them impotently. A flock of starlings alit on the shoreline to give her a report on the boiling rage on Capitol Hill, and Ardua started feeling better.

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