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 ....

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Everyday Living - Not

Bridezilla was sitting on her chartreuse Martha Stewart Everyday Living patio chair, staring blankly at the oak tree next to her balcony. She had been wearing her Ralph Lauren wedding dress for over 24 hours now, and it was starting to smell a little, but she didn't notice. She ate another forkful of ginger wedding cake with apple martini frosting, and washed it down with chocolate milk. Her parents and sister had gone to morning church services to pray fervently for her deliverance from this funk, and she was alone. A pair of nesting sparrows alit on her bamboo table, watched for a reaction, hopped a little closer, watched again for a reaction, then boldly hopped up to the cake. Bridezilla regarded them placidly, and they began pecking at the cake. She leaned back ever so slightly in her chair, content to fill her thoughts with this scene for as long as it played out. Croatia. In the end, this is what it had boiled down to. You want to take me on a honeymoon to CROATIA?! (There's a Mediterranean coastline there that's GORGEOUS! It's not trendy yet, and I rented an entire house with maid service AND a powerboat.) It's CROATIA! You used to BOMB people there! (Not THERE.) You honestly think I want to spend my honeymoon in the former Yugoslavia? (Eric Bana is half Croatian--you loved him in "Troy", remember?) Is Eric Bana going to be driving the powerboat? And then the conversation had gotten REALLY ugly. She had accused him of choosing Croatia because he was cheap and probably trying to sneak in a business trip for Weapons 'R Us, and he had accused her of being an unreasonable control freak who could not even trust him with choosing a beautiful and unusual honeymoon spot (demonstrated by the brochures he showed her), and he had told her his first choice had been Eritrea, which he had passed up on because he was a considerate fiance and knew it would make her nervous being there, and nothing he did ever seemed to be good enough....The sparrows chirped a happy little song as they continued munching on the unusual taste sensation until they remembered they needed to bring some to their babes in the nest, then they began the arduous task of flying back and forth between the balcony and the oak tree with crumbs of cake in their beaks. Birds can mate and have a family in a month, Bridezilla thought, wanting to fly away.

Across the Potomac River, Italian economist Luciano Talaverdi was running forecast models in his Federal Reserve Board office. He was not the only one in the office today, but it was very quiet except for his Andrea Bocelli cd playing quietly and the occasional roar of a motorcycle outside. (He was still uncertain what motorcycles and black t-shirts had to do with a military remembrance day, but apparently it was all part of something called "Rolling Thunder" in which aging Vietnam veterans and their women roamed around the vicinity of the Vietnam Memorial in plus-sized blue jeans, looking like the oldest and least frightening motorcycle gang of all time.) Talaverdi was plugging in unofficial economic indicators passed along to him by Charles Wu, who had told Talaverdi that they came from "Project Eliminati" (and that was all he could say). He sat back and waited for the graph to map out, then he overlaid it with the population graph. He tweaked the forecast again, this time including a 75% collapse for the Gulf fisheries, to see what what would happen to food prices and Gulf real estate. He sat back, waiting for a series of mathematical formulas to reset. Before meeting Charles Wu, the only initiative he had ever taken at the Fed was leading the rebellion demanding the return of the frozen soft-serve yogurt machine to the cafeteria (with the sprinkles on the side!); now he was seriously toying with the idea of pioneering a dramatically different economic theory and presenting it to the most important economic decision-makers in Washington (if not the world). The charts regenerated, and he ran the overlay again, then sat back to contemplate the stunning results before him. A chill ran down his spine.

Several miles to the east, Sebastian L'Arche was in the second day of his first-ever Memorial Day weekend pet-a-thon. This was not just any pet adoption marathon, but one focused on matching Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with pets; vets would get their pets for free, and everybody else would pay $30. In truth, he was starting to regret it, since it was exhausting taking care of all the animals on his roster for Memorial Day petsitting in-between hours of displaying caged pets on his front lawn with a big sign reading "Free Pets for Vets!". Plus he took it all very seriously, and would listen to what the pets had to say about prospective owners before agreeing to any matches: he knew better than anybody that a military veteran had to be in the right place psychologically for this to work, and a careless match could lead to pet abuse or worse. He ran inside to get himself another cold beer, and when he got back outside, found a homeless man passed out next to a caged Rotweiler. A yuppie couple from Eastern Market stepped over the recumbent figure (a veteran of the U.S. bombing campaign in Yugoslavia) to look more closely at the homeless dog, a lethal beauty.

Over in the Southwest CVS, Glenn Michael Beckmann opened up his new prescription, but he could not read the instructions because the font they were printed in was so small. "How am I supposed to read this?!" he barked at the pharmacist's assistant. "Is this a joke?!" ("No, sir.") "Well, I can't read it!" ("Do you need glasses, sir?") "WHAT?!" The pharmacist rushed over to the counter, took a quick glance at the anti-psychotic prescription, then apologized to the customer for the tiny print, explaining that many customers had complained about it, and some people were buying magnifying reading glasses to read increasing amounts of fine print in their daily lives. Beckmann looked in disbelief at the price tag on the magnifying reading glasses display she had pointed to, then looked back at the pharmacist. "Gimme my money back!" he shouted. ("Your money?") He threw the prescription bag down on the counter. "I'm not buying no drugstore glasses to read drugstore fine print: it's all a conspiracy to take my money, more money, more money, always more money." The pharmacist offered to try to make an enlarged photocopy of the drug instructions, but Beckmann yelled that he wanted his money back, so she finally voided the sale. He took the money and decided to go buy some marijuana, since that worked better anyway. Beckmann could not remember much of what he had done during the past week, but he did remember where he had smelled somebody smoking pot at Southwest Plaza, and he would start there...and if that didn't work, he'd go down to the Vietnam Memorial because those crybabies were always passing out weed.

Several miles north, Angela de la Paz sat in the front pew of Sacred Heart church and listened to the funeral homily for her mother. Beside her sat her grandmother and cousins, and behind her sat Dr. Devi Rajatala and some kids from the Friendship Garden program at the National Arboretum. On the other side of the aisle sat the kids from school, and coworkers her mother had gotten to know while working for the U.S. Census Bureau as a bilingual enumerator. Her mom's supervisor had sent Angela a very nice card, and purchased lots of flowers for the church. It was the first time a Washington enumerator had been killed by a sniper bullet, and nobody knew if it was a personal attack or a politically motivated one--anything was possible in this town, in this neighborhood. With the police investigation, it had all come out that Angela had been sheltered by Dr. Raj to keep her out of foster care, but Dr. Raj wasn't going to get in trouble, though it was still undecided where Angela was going to live. Dr. Raj wanted Angela and abuela to move into her house, but that was going to be hard after what she had done. For now, Angela was staying at a schoolmate's house, and abuela was staying with Angela's cousin, but in and out of the hospital. Angela had cried almost non-stop for two days, and she had no more tears left. She tried to listen to the words of the sermon, but could focus on none of them. The pianist began playing a song, but Angela did not hear that either. In the back of the church, the Warrior sat in the last pew, knowing he had failed her.

Back in Virginia, Bridezilla watched in horror as a flock of starlings chased off the nesting sparrows to eat the wedding cake for themselves. She picked up a floral seat cushion to shoo the starlings away, but it was too late: the sparrows were afraid to come back now. She stood up, picked up the remains of the wedding cake, and threw it off the balcony. She leaned over to watch it crash in the grass below, then heard a startled stream of profanity coming from the patio on the ground floor of the apartment building. A man walked away from his grill, past the cake, turned around, and looked up to see who had thrown the cake. Bridezilla gazed down at the man like a deranged princess locked in a tower, white satin and lace cascading around her, locks of hair poking out in every direction from her $300 braided up-do hairstyle. Their eyes met, and birds began singing. (Some more sparrows had discovered the cake.)

Over in the Potomac, Ardua breathed in deeply of the tourist and veteran throngs. Even that pesky Marcos Vazquez was not bothering her today, since he had gotten the holiday weekend off from the Coast Guard to move himself and his wife to their new condo. All across the city, mortals remembered the dead and plotted still more wars. Up above her on the drawbridge, Dubious McGinty raised a toast to all the veterans he had known who were now dead, amazed he was still alive himself. Then he hurled the glass into the river below and cursed the demon who lurked there still.

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