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 09, 2010

Something Has to Be Done

Laura Moreno stepped out of her apartment building to find the entire front garden ripped out--except for the dogwood trees, which had been diseased for years. The beautiful--and healthy--lilies, daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, boxwoods, azaleas and clematis vines were all gone. Empty flower pots and swaths of dirt and mulch remained. The diseased dogwoods swayed in the breeze like the mutant survivors of nuclear armageddon. Workmen on tall ladders were painting the white building dark gray. She stepped closer to the street and turned around again to take this in. Yes, they have turned my cheerful little art deco building into a prison. Why, dear God, why? She walked slowly away from the prison of home on her way to the prison of work.

A couple of miles away at Prince and Prowling, former Senator Evermore Breadman had left his pristine and cheerful blue colonial home in the suburbs to spend the rest of the day at his elegant and tastefully appointed Prince and Prowling office. He had begun by rearranging his photographs on the Wall of Me that led to his corner office: he moved the photo with President Obama down and to the left, the governor of Arizona down and to the right, and the Mayor of New York up and to the right. He added a photo of himself with Betty White in the top center. He temporarily removed his photos with the CEO of BP, the Fab Four of Goldman Sachs, and the outgoing British prime minister altogether. Crazy week. Satisfied, he walked back to his office, grateful that his practice was hopping enough to get away with merely a church service and brunch with his wife for Mother's Day. He unlocked the filing cabinet labeled "E.V." and resumed reviewing the files on how he had delayed and was continuing to delay full payment by Exxon for all the damages caused by the Valdez oil spill in Alaska so many years ago. It was late in Breadman's career, and there was a part of him that hesitated to take B.P. as a (long-term) client. There was another part of him that thought this might be an opportunity to make a lasting legacy if he could effectively articulate his idea for turning the entire Gulf into a petroleum extraction reserve in exchange for declaring the Pacific and Atlantic coasts drill-free nature preserves. Why even bother trying to clean up the Gulf oil spill? Cheaper not to. Pay to relocate the fishing fleets. Let an oil slick be the final hand of God leaving New Orleans trashed and below sea level forever. Breadman had already purchased beachfront property on the Atlantic side of Florida, knowing its value would jump dramatically as Florida's Gulf beaches succumbed one by one to the advancing oil slick. Still, he wasn't sure he had the energy to push his radical vision. Just the thought of writing an Op-Ed for the Washington Post or Wall Street Journal made his intestines twist in agony. He reached into his bottom drawer to see what herbal remedies he had left from Lynnette Wong's Chinatown shop, then dug into the file labeled "Class Action: initial filings".

A few miles away, the Heurich Society also considered it quite a "hopping" week. True, a couple members had insisted they needed to be somewhere for Mother's Day, but most of the members arrived early at the Brewmaster's Castle, and were downing doughnuts at an alarming rate. The levels of blood sugar and political agitation were equally high when the meeting finally was called to order. Henry Samuelson quickly motioned for the chairman to add "Moscow" to the top of the agenda. "This is intolerable!" he shouted, holding up a photograph of British soldiers marching through Red Square to help Russia commemorate Victory Day. "What are we going to do about this!?" he shouted, holding up a photograph of American soldiers also helping Russia commemorate their defeat of the Nazi army in 1945. Samuelson--who had a Polish grandfather and East German grandmother--had been among the Allied troops pushing eastward through Germany, distributing chocolate bars along the way, while their Russian counterparts had pushed westward, raping and pillaging and (eventually) spreading communism. "Angela Merkel?!" he shouted, holding up a photograph of Angela Merkel watching the parade in Moscow. "France and China?!" he shouted, holding up his final photograph. The chairman looked around the table for a minute, then declared the motion had not been seconded and was tabled. (He had more important things to discuss--like the next Supreme Court nominee, Project Eliminati, and Iran.) Samuelson leaned back in stunned silence. I'm not sure I know these people anymore. He knew Dick Cheney would have backed him up, if the Chairman had let him rejoin. Even Condoleezza Rice would have backed him up--because it definitely had something to do with the unholy alliance of President Obama, nuclear disarmament freaks, Interpol, and the United Nations peacekeeping program--if she were not off doing some sentimental Mother's Day thing. His thoughts wandered to Charles Wu, whom he knew was in the hospital recovering from a bone marrow transplant for a brother from England. Nothing is making sense.

Back at Prince and Prowling, Laura Moreno arrived to find caution tape across the workroom doorway and a yellow post-it note stuck to her computer monitor: "call me". It was unsigned, but the handwriting was clearly Chloe Cleavage's. Moreno wrinkled her nose at the return of the dead rodent smell, sat down at the workroom table, and dialed Cleavage's number. A couple minutes later, Moreno hung up the phone, stunned but not exactly amazed: seems somebody had tipped off the Fire Marshal, who had raided Prince and Prowling Saturday afternoon and shut down the Sweatshop for being over its allowed occupancy. Moreno took the walk to the Sweatshop, where she found three remaining privilege reviewers; the rest of the crew and computers in the process of being relocated to a hastily rented office in Silver Spring. The reviewers did not notice her, and Moreno left without saying anything. She headed back to the workroom--which the fire marshal had declared a fire hazard because of the overflow of boxed files--and logged into the computer to work on the priority documents. Tomorrow she would have to go to Silver Spring to supervise; when she had asked Cleavage how long that would be, "don't know" had been the response. Am I being punished? Do they think I was the one that called? Maybe it will be better there. Moreno had spent the previous weekend tricked into editing a legal brief as part of an interview process for another law firm, only to have the hiring attorney suddenly stop returning her emails and phone calls. If I'm going to Silver Spring, does that count as not going nowhere?

Over on the Potomac River, Calico Johnson was on his speedboat, giving a single mother a Mother's Day to remember. The child would soon be taking his afternoon nap, and Johnson would have the woman all to himself for an hour or two. It was a beautiful day! He still had some mixed feelings about tipping off the Fire Marshal about that sweatshop at Prince and Prowling, but, ultimately, it was better for the law firm in the long run...and Johnson was right there to suggest to Chloe Cleavage the perfect office space they could rent from him in Silver Spring. Things were definitely looking different since he had joined Sense of Entitlement Anonymous, and he was looking forward to doing the right thing more often.

Beneath the wake of his speedboat, Ardua of the Potomac splashed around in a gay mood, giddy from so much political turmoil and personal angst in one week. Then Angela de la Paz arrived at Hain's Point for a special Mother's Day picnic with her mother, and Ardua tensed up. Something has to be done.

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