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, June 19, 2010

Fathers of the Year

Sebastian L'Arche sipped his iced coffee, looking out the window at the three dogs he had tied up outside the Georgetown Saxby's, near the courtesy canine water bowl. He had resisted taking on new clients (particularly in remote neighborhoods), but the money was too good to pass by, so he had hired a couple of teenagers to help out for the summer. So far he had given them the easiest dog walks and shopping errands, photography and reporting tasks for the West End Snoutbook (a Facebook for dogs), and had brought them along on a few kitty and bird runs. He had flawlessly good instincts when it came to other members of the animal kingdom, but he was always slow to trust human beings--it was doubtful he would be giving them any vacationers' house keys or pets more challenging than an energetic Labrador. Still, he had to admit, he liked the way they hung on his every word and called him the Dog Whisperer when they didn't know he was in earshot. They think I'm cool, thought the Iraq war vet.

A couple got up from the table next to him, and L'Arche could now hear the conversation coming from a cluster of young ladies he had dubbed NUTTY (Nannies United To Take Y-chromosomes) for their appalling discussions on how best to get rid of the mothers they worked for and marry the fathers. The nanny from Sweden had her sights set on getting rid of a woman gynecologist so she could marry Dr. R., a plastic surgeon; the au pair from Switzerland had her sights set on getting rid of a female Member of Congress so she could marry Mr. F., an investment banker; and the nanny from Swaziland had her sights set on getting rid of a woman economist so she could marry Ambassador T., an African diplomat. There were also a few American nannies in the group who had no interest in marriage but simply wanted to seduce their male employers for the fun of it. The Canadian nanny was actually a lesbian in love with the mother of her charges, but she had not yet found the courage to tell the others the truth about the marriage she wanted to break up. (A few other nannies who had already slept with their bosses but then expressed concerns about the welfare of children in their care had been drummed out of the group already, and now met somewhere on M Street.) "She's going away to a conference for four days," exclaimed the Swede, "and I have a new push-up bra!" The others nodded encouragingly--this was the stuff dreams were made of.

A few blocks away, Atticus Hawk was looking at engagement rings in a jewelry store on Wisconsin Avenue. This is it. He had a silly grin on his face which slightly disarmed the sales clerk, who was further taken aback when he referred to his girlfriend as "high" (not understanding the name as "Jai Alai"). Tomorrow will be the best Father's Day ever, he thought, finally ready to make a commitment to her and her son as well. I survived all the investigations, and my career at D.O.J. is locked in, thought the former torture specialist, who had managed to block years of his career from his conscious memory. The future is ours. He winked at nobody in particular, and the sales clerk thought he might have a twitch, but she ignored it and moved on to the Brazilian collection, sensing he might be interested in some of their more unusual designs. "Atticus?" Hawk turned around to discover his old roommate Wince had entered the store after spotting Hawk through the window. "What are you doing here?" Hawk froze up: he had never told his jilted friend (still not over Bridezilla) about his romance with a poorly educated woman of color who already had a son (fathered by a man who had beaten to death their daughter). "Are you looking at engagement rings?" The sales clerk took a sip from her iced tea bottle and waited discreetly for the emotional moment to pass--it always did.

Outside the jewelry store, Charles Wu was pushing his brother's wheelchair while their father tut-tutted about all the empty storefronts in Georgetown. "The recession is a terrible thing," said his father, who had never spent a day of his life worrying about money--though he had spent plenty of days worrying about other things. They were heading for one more thrift shop, having exhausted all the antique stores already. Some people felt that Europeans looked down on American antique stores because they rarely held anything more than 200 years old, but Phillip had assured Charles their father would find hours of enthrallment examining old manuscripts and paintings--and it was far too hot for the Englishmen to explore the gardens of Washington today. As Charles the elder climbed the staircase to see the silver and china collection upstairs, Charles the younger found himself alone with his brother--who was going to live, thanks to the bone marrow transplant. Their father had envisioned them spending hours and hours, if not days and days, catching up on each other's lives, but the faintness of health (on the one hand) and heart (on the other) had kept their interactions coming at a slow (but steady) pace. Wu pointed to an illustrated book on Maryland sea birds and asked if it would be a good Father's Day gift, and Phillip nodded enthusiastically. Upstairs, Charles Wilkinson Montgomery was not looking at the silver collection at all, but secretly watching his sons in the shoplifting-prevention mirror hung above the staircase. He had not felt so happy in a very long time.

Down at the waterfront, Liv Cigemeier and her unborn child were treating daddy to his first Father's Day with a Potomac boat ride, to be followed by lunch in Georgetown. (This was actually her idea of a great outing, not her husband's, but just being with his pregnant wife made him ridiculously happy.) Sitting on a park bench near the boat launch, Glenn Michael Beckmann was speaking into a tape recorder to create a message for the son he never got to see. (In truth, the judge had granted him supervised visitation, but Beckmann found the order too humiliating to comply with.) "I'm sorry I can't be with you on Father's Day," Beckmann said, and Cigemeier smiled sentimentally at him as they waited for their vessel to dock. As the minutes went by, Beckmann proceeded to talk about some of his recent activities to restore the nation (all incomprehensible to Cigemeier and her husband). Then Beckmann reminded his son that their glorious bloodline could be traced to Kaiser Wilhelm, Braveheart, and Vlad the Impaler. He then took some time to explain to his son what "impaling" meant, and how many people Vlad had impaled, and why. Cigemeier was now getting a little nauseous, and her husband stood her up to take a little walk until the boat arrived--because this was his job now, to protect his family.

Out in the river, Ardua of the Potomac had her feelers deep into Beckmann, one of her darlings, but she was not too distracted to sense an opportunity a couple miles away to drown another Father's Day observer after he abruptly fell in at Hain's point. Children were fathered and orphaned every day in Washington, and the demon only wished she could be present every time.

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