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, April 10, 2010

At S.E.A.

"My name is Sowell, and I have a sense of entitlement." ("Hi, Sowell!") It was the inaugural meeting of the D.C. Chapter of Sense of Entitlement Anonymous. Judge Sowell Lame was presiding over the meeting because he had founded the D.C. Chapter of S.E.A., offered his own living room for the first gathering, and felt entitled to run it. "I have had a sense of entitlement for 26 years. When I don't receive something I feel entitled to, I become irritable and sometimes even nasty. My sense of entitlement has caused distress in many of my relationships." He leaned back in his chair, very pleased with his opening remarks, and picked up a Lady Godiva chocolate chip cookie from the china plate in his lap. "Who would like to go next?"

Several miles to the north, Angela de la Paz handed her mother a water bottle and a snack, gave her a kiss and a hug, and watched proudly as her mother headed out again in her job as a U.S. Census bilingual enumerator. It was the first time in as long as she could remember that her mother had a real job, even if it had only been a few weeks, and might only be another month or two. If all went well, her mother would be applying to rent an apartment of her own soon, and Angela could emerge from hiding at the National Arboretum--then her foster care family couldn't lay a hand on her, and her uncle couldn't lay a hand on her, and nobody could lay a hand on her. She went back inside her grandmother's apartment to clean the bathroom and prepare lunch before rushing out again (she never stayed here more than an hour or two, even though she hated the thought of abuela lying in bed here all alone with nobody to take care of her). Outside the Adams Morgan apartment building, the Warrior quietly stood guard in the shadows, briefly pausing to watch the girl's mother walk briskly down the block; for a split second, he thought he saw somebody following the woman, but then decided it must be his imagination.

Back at S.E.A., the introductions continued. "My name is Cal, and I have a sense of entitlement." ("Hi, Cal!") "When I was ten, my older sister died in a homecoming parade float accident." Calico Johnson looked around to blank stares. "She was the homecoming queen." He saw a few nods at that point. "A gust of wind took off her tiara, and she leaned out to grab it, then fell off the float and landed on her head, cracking her skull." He was pleased with the gasps of horror. "After that, my parents started spending all their money on me. Mostly they bought me real estate because they said it was the only thing that lasted, and even then, only if you bought it in a lot of different places--otherwise you could be wiped out by floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, forest fires, riots, nuclear meltdowns, crashing airplanes, gas explosions, landslides, lightning--" ("Ahem.") "Anyway, you would be surprised how many things are not covered by homeowner's insurance. Ever since then, I've felt entitled to buy up real estate any and every way I could." He turned to the host of the meeting and gestured expansively at the tastefully furnished sitting room of the upper Georgetown Romanesque townhouse. "By the way, the market is better than people realize--I'd have no trouble finding a cash buyer for this place if you want to sell it. Heck, I'd buy it myself!" Justice Sowell Lame tried to disguise his abhorrence, and moved on with the meeting.

Down at the Federal Reserve Board, Charles Wu was seated on the balcony with an Italian economist, watching the Cherry Blossom parade from a distance. Several of their ideas had indirectly found their way into Chairman Ben Bernanke's Thursday speech at the 43rd Annual Alexander Hamilton Awards Dinner at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. (The economist had, in fact, obtained an invitation for Wu to see Bernanke get the Hamilton award, but Wu had, instead, been in Beijing for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan.) "It's exhausting to keep the world's money flowing, no?!" The economist--who had never succeeded in obtaining paid employment in his home country--raised a wine glass to toast this amazing partnership and marvel at his own good fortune. Wu laughed, amazed that, even now, so few Americans had any idea of the amount of power wielded by the ultimate financial insiders.

Back at S.E.A., Dick Cheney took a quiet breath, desperately hoping nobody would recognize him in his fake mustache and Ralph Lauren track suit. "My name is Richard, and I have a sense of entitlement." There were so few personal comments he could make that would not give himself away, but his wife had pleaded with him to get help, distraught that retirement had not given him a shred of relaxation. "I retired about a year ago, but my wife can't get me to take up any hobbies because I can't stop following all the news in Washington. She's been trying to get me to move away, but there are still meetings I want to attend, and people I need to talk to, and I know there are still people interested in my opinion, and as long as a voice for sanity is lacking in this town, I feel a duty to give back, and I know I'm the man that needs to be doing this because I understand things nobody else understands, and I've been in charge of--" he paused to catch his breath and wait for his pacemaker to get his pulse back down. "I mean, I can't just sit around and do nothing! Look at this crazy nuclear deal Obama just signed with Russia! Do you think people are going to respect what Sarah Palin has to say about it? The cameras love her, and the militia creeps with their sexy librarian fantasies love her, and the sound bite chasers love her, but she's all style and no substance--COME ON!" The room was silent, not really sure where this was going. "See, the thing is, I KNOW stuff that nobody else knows, so I feel like I have to voice my opinion and tell people how to do things right. But my wife tells me that other people know stuff that I don't know! Which I don't think is true, but she said that's why I needed to come to this meeting, and she was going to stop cooking for me if I didn't come to this meeting, and since I'm on a strict low-salt diet, if she doesn't cook for me, then I have to eat, like, celery and frozen tuna steaks every day. Once when she was mad at me, I had a nightmare that she gave me canned tuna, and I had a heart attack! You know--because it's packed with oil and salt." The room was still silent, though some of the attendees were feeling the indescribable aural ripples caused by the hovering house ghosts laughing their heads off near the ceiling. The former Vice President of the United States almost brought up his failure to get reinstated in the Heurich Society, but realized there was no anonymous way to talk about that. "My wife says I've infected our daughter with this, and now our daughter is spouting off on all this political stuff, and she's never even worked in government, but she feels entitled, and she doesn't know the difference between ideology and public policy, and that's my fault, because I've imbued her with a sense of entitlement to control everything." He paused again, irritated with the blank stares. "So that's why I'm here."

Several miles to the east, Chloe Cleavage was in her Prince and Prowling office eating carry-out steak for lunch, waiting for Calico Johnson to phone her about their evening plans. It was actually Cleavage who had anonymously mailed to Johnson the information about Sense of Entitlement Anonymous, though it had never occurred to her she might benefit from attending herself. She was secretly annoyed with him for putting her in the penthouse apartment at Southwest Plaza, which she had decided was a yucky place to live, and she believed that he was really greedy about his wealth, and actually stingy about spending money on people like her (who had to work hard for everything they had). She read another email posted anonymously from the group email address that had been set up for all the sweat shop contract attorneys to use: "I tripped on a cord by accident, and it unplugged somebody's computer, and they screamed at me, 'What the hell are you doing?!', and nobody should have to work in this hostile workplace environment!" Cleavage exhaled deeply, fed up with the current crew of combustible personalities making her life disagreeable. She read another anonymous email that popped up: "I made a joke about the Cracken, which is a monster in the movie 'Clash of the Titans', and this guy thought I called him a 'cracker', and so he called me a nigger. He needs to be fired, or I'm filing a hostile workplace claim." Cleavage put down her fork, appalled--and it took quite a lot to make her appalled--but it was anonymous, and the complainant had failed to name the alleged offender. She reluctantly headed out to check on the sweat shop, arriving a couple minutes later at the nearby hallway, where she decided to sit and eavesdrop for awhile. "Women are not really attractive after age 30....That's the best one I ever had....I love that! Excuse me, but you don't even know what we're talking about....I'll bet you twenty dollars that he's NOT indicted for rape, because that bitch is lying!" Chloe Cleavage turned the corner to walk in on the group, only to see Laura Moreno paused motionless on the other side of doorway, looking like she was going to throw up, obviously reluctant to enter the room. The two attorneys shared an extremely rare look of mutual understanding, and Moreno waited to see what Cleavage would do, knowing that Cleavage had been barred from direct supervisory contact since the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against her. The seconds ticked by. "What is that smell? Somebody in here has stinky feet! Maybe it's your damned cheese!"

Cleavage walked into the sweat shop rapidly, and dead silence ensued. She looked around the room, trying to commit to memory whose voices sounded like what. "We need to shut down the database for some unexpected maintenance. Log out immediately, bill to one p.m., and I will contact you at home when the database is ready." With that, she turned around, headed out to where Moreno was still standing unseen outside the door, grabbed her by the elbow, and pulled her out of earshot of the room. "Just stay here and make notes about anything people say that I should know about before they leave." She walked off abruptly, before Moreno could ask any questions. ("I'm billing to five p.m., and that bitch had better sign off on it!') Moreno's pulse started racing and she wondered if it was actually possible there were a sociopath or two about to storm angrily out into the hallway.

Back at S.E.A., Bridezilla prepared to make her speech about entitlement. It was the first Saturday in a long time when she had not gone into Prince and Prowling to bill some extra hours. Part of her felt entitled to claim that money, and part of her felt entitled to take a beautiful spring day off to enjoy some flowers, and this confused her, because both feelings seemed to be about entitlement. And she felt entitled to marry her fiance in May, and she didn't know if this meant it was true love or something else. She was confused about a lot of things these days. The person next to her stopped talking, and all eyes turned to her, and she liked it.

A few miles away, Ardua let out a demon burp--another delicious day at the Cherry Blossom Festival, where Ardua felt entitled to chew on every stray soul that fell her way.

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