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 ....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mushrooms and Peaches

Dizzy was enjoying life in Washington Circle--his new home now for a couple of weeks. After an arrest for dunking himself in the reflecting pool on The National Mall, and then a couple of trips to the hospital for heat stroke, he had ended up here. He liked being close to the hospital, and though the stream of tourists and passers-by was much smaller, he was the only one playing music and doing serious panhandling, so it was actually a somewhat lucrative arrangement at the moment. And the mushrooms! Gigantic hallucinogenic mushrooms! He was loving those. (Actually they were not hallucinogenic, but they had a marvelous placebo effect on him, which led to great bouts of musical composition on his trumpet.) Today he was working on a piece he called "Pigeon Rhapsody in Blue", and it was his finest work in years.

A block away, Dr. Khalid Mohammad was in the George Washington University Hospital emergency room treating his tenth victim of mushroom poisoning from the gas station near P Street Beach in Dupont. The victims were all denizens of Dupont Down Under, who had discovered the mushrooms on a late, late night foray up from the underground--gigantic, psychedelic, Wonderland mushrooms that had beckoned to them from the grassy border of 22nd Street. The only person who had not fallen ill was the one who had, instead of eating them, ground them up and smoked them out of a hashish pipe. (In a week, he would have bronchial mushrooms sprouting from the spores inhaled into his lungs, but right now he felt fine while he waited in the visitors' lounge, singing "Puff the Magic Dragon" over and over to the consternation of the other visitors.) Nurse Consuela Arroyo went out to give him an update on his companions, heard the exuberant refrain about the dragon that lived by the sea, and returned to the E.R. without speaking to him.

Over in Dupont Circle, Sebastian L'Arche had just talked to an Iraqi war comrade from Dupont Down Under about the recent mushroom tragedy, and was now walking five dogs up to the Colombian embassy, where he picked them up one by one and deposited them on the other side of the fence to eat the peaches strewn all over the grass. The golden retriever was not too interested in eating them, but cheerfully fetched them over to L'Arche, who reached through the fence to grab them and put them in a plastic bag for the rabbits he was taking care of at home. A sleepy guard watched from a window: he had already taken home as many peaches as his wife and neighbors could handle, and still passers-by continued to find peaches to pull off the tree. He had asked once who planted the peach tree and was told it had grown by itself after somebody spit out a peach pit, but he didn't believe that.

After a few minutes, L'Arche called the dogs back so they wouldn't eat themselves sick, then headed up to the S Street astroturf dog park--where he was quickly gaining great cache as a dog whisperer after such amazing successes as coaxing the schnauzer to stop peeing on red shoes and teaching the Australian shepherd that nobody needs to be rounded up in a space that small. It was almost too easy: in fact, now that his summer help was back in high school, he was going to need to hire more people if he acquired any more clients. A young woman wearing a sundress and cowboy boots exclaimed to her companion, "This is the guy!" Then she called to L'Arche,"Hey, you gotta help this dude with the puggle." L'Arche unfastened all his charges' leashes, then approached the two people discussing the puggle, which was lying on her back and staring at the sky. L'Arche whispered to the puggle, who rolled back to her feet to bark her answer to L'Arche.

"She feels very insecure here," L'Arche said to the owner. "At home, she's repeatedly told that she's the cutest thing ever, then you get here, and she has to listen to people praising a lot of other cute dogs. She's coming to grips with the fact that there's more to life than aesthetic beauty. She likes to stare at the sky and ponder the meaning of life." The two said nothing for a moment, then burst out laughing. L'Arche realized he needed to dumb it down for them. "If she's ignoring the other dogs, just pick her up and hold her, and whisper in her ear that she's the best dog ever. She'll be fine."

The owner looked dubious, but the woman in the sundress and cowboy boots picked up her buddy's puggle and whispered in her ear that she was the best dog ever, and the puggle wagged her tail in delight. "Can you teach me how to be a dog whisperer?" the young woman asked, and L'Arche decided to give this some thought.

Several miles to the west, Charles Wu, his father, and brother finished eating the clandestine peaches they had smuggled into Great Waves at Cameron Run, and were ready for a great adventure. Wu (who for once was not noticing the admiring stares of females lusting after him in his red Speedo) and his father (whose pale and flaccid torso dressed in plaid boxers not designed for swimming was also getting stares) together hoisted invalid Phillip into the wave pool and seated him carefully on an inner tube. Phillip--a serious professional with a respected career--laughed in delight at the previously unknown pleasure, fully aware but not caring that others might mistake him for a "retard". Thirty feet away, Henry Samuelson watched this scene incredulously, certain there was more to it than met the eye. (There was not.)

Back in Washington, Chloe Cleavage received a surprise call: her cousin Chloris Cleavage (the actress) was coming to town, and there was never a dull moment when she was around!

Over in the river, Ardua of the Potomac was getting nervous: Washington Water Woman had slain two real estate demons and was close to slaying the third....Then things would get serious....

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