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, June 13, 2010

Intelligence

Dizzy was trying out a new tourist trap spot to make money with his trumpet--on the National Mall, just across Constitution Avenue from the Federal Reserve Board and the National Academy of Sciences. He had first come out to this spot during Rolling Thunder and had done pretty well, but it was proving extremely challenging to set up a comfortable place to sleep in this neighborhood. There was the Park Police to contend with, for starters, then the overzealous guards surrounding the State Department and the Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. Even the construction zone of the U.S. Institute for Peace had turned out to be surprisingly hostile for a homeless guy just trying to sleep in peace. Most aggravating of all: the Fed had its own police force! The place was a marble palace, and God forbid a ragamuffin like him tried to roll out a sleeping bag anywhere near it--not by the baseball pitching statue, nor the water fountain, nor the sidewalk grate, nor the window well behind the bush with the robin nest. The Fed had everything from bomb-sniffing dogs to yellow-vested crossing guards, all united in their mission to control everybody that came anywhere near capitalism's ultimate Man. Dizzy had pushed his cart around the palace several times, trying to decipher its secrets. For one thing, it was full of songbirds! Insane ducks and sociopathic starlings were everywhere else in the city, it seemed, but the Fed was surrounded by songbirds! Cardinals, vireos, mockingbirds and an abundance of robins. And the happiest, chirpiest sparrows he had ever seen! It was highly suspicious. The Fed people also seemed highly suspicious, though he could not quite put his finger on why. Maybe it was the fact that they never used the front door. A red-headed tourist family came into his peripheral vision, and he picked up his trumpet to play a jazz standard for them; the family stopped to take a photo of the grand entrance of the Federal Reserve Building without knowing what it was or the role its people had taken in shaping their financial destiny. The father then pulled out a dollar to throw in Dizzy's trumpet case--he could not afford more because the Wall Street meltdown had decimated their investment portfolio. Dizzy stopped his song mid-note and reached for his water bottle.

Over at the Federal Reserve Board, Italian economist Luciano Talaverdi turned away from the window and back to his computer screen. He would soon be taking a lot of time off to watch Italy's World Cup matches, and he needed to get a lot done today for his boss--who was never satisfied. Every draft report he had submitted in the past two weeks had been greeted with skepticism, if not derision--and then an order to recheck the data. The problem was, a lot of the data had come from Charles Wu, and Talaverdi had no reputable source to back it up...and yet, Talaverdi was convinced the data was spot on. For just a moment there was a lull in his Maria Callas CD and he thought he heard an odd whirring noise, but the singing began again, and he forgot about it. Behind the wall, one of Charles Wu's robotic spiders was obeying a remote command to keep moving, even as the sophisticated spyware Talaverdi had inadvertently loaded into his computer continued transmitting hard drive back-ups to Wu's computer twice a day.

Several miles to the north, Charles Wu was, indeed, analyzing intelligence from the Federal Reserve Board. It had been a shock to his system, to say the least, donating bone marrow to his previously unknown brother, and he was trying very hard to get back to normal. He had met with most of his key contacts in the past week, and had reassured all of them that his long absence was due to a deep undercover mission. (He did not mind the fact that some people concluded from this that he had been busy in North Korea for a month.) He had rented an apartment for his brother and father in the building next door so that they were very close but not too close. He had used his brother's slow recovery and constant fatigue as an excuse for short and infrequent visits, though he knew they were patiently awaiting more. Right now, he just wanted to get back on top of things--the world was spinning at a very rapid rate, and he did not like feeling so far behind. He paused to rub his eyes for a moment. He had not been with a woman in over a month, and that was really bothering him. Lynnette Wong had squeezed his shoulder a few times during his recuperation, but that didn't count for anything--she didn't even really want to be business partners with him. But she wasn't so bad--some might even say "cute". He hadn't noticed before. She had filled his fridge and pantry with fruits, vegetables, herbs, whole grains, mineral tonics, and orange zest. She had brought plants in, despite his protests that he traveled too frequently to water them; she claimed they were drought-tolerant species. He looked over at the one that was blooming, then looked back at the FRB intel. Maybe I need a day off. He went over to the couch and picked up the remote control; it was getting harder and harder to put off thinking about his father.

Further to the north, John Doe's sister was analyzing a different type of intelligence--her brother's. He was trying to assure her that he actually liked his life a lot since becoming a temporal lobe epileptic, and she was trying tactfully to suggest that this might be because he no longer worked for a living. "I work all the time," he said, referring to the "observation journal" where he scrupulously recorded detailed entries for every place he went and everything he did. She pointed out that the family was paying all his bills. "I never asked you," John Doe said, not at all discontent that his continuing amnesia blocked memory or recognition of this meddlesome bunch of pests who refused to understand that his seizures were messages from God. The NIH brain surgeon cleared his throat, growing concerned that this was actually not a good candidate for experimental surgery. He suggested that John needed some more time to think about it. John Doe's sister snapped that this was not her brother's name. "My sister is the one that's not at peace with her mind," said John Doe. "Do you have a brain surgery for her?"

Back in Washington, another Sense of Entitlement Anonymous gathering got under way, Condoleezza Rice phoned in to the Heurich Society meeting, a secret Jesuit-led society held its inaugural gathering in Georgetown, and a coven of Supreme Court law clerks met to decide the Court's next ruling. In the river, Ardua of the Potomac plotted her next move.

NEXT WEEK: the threat to Father's Day.

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