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, November 07, 2010

Kuh-niggets of the Round Table

(The "secret lives of millipedes and squirrels" has been postponed until next week....)

The November meeting of the D.C. Chapter of Sense of Entitlement Anonymous was underway at the Potomac Manors mansion of real estate tycoon Calico Johnson. He was still smiling smugly at the oohs and ahs he had heard when his guests arrived to find his dining room remodeled with medieval tapestries on the walls, candle sconces made from buck antlers, English oak floor paneling, and a giant round table carved entirely from an extremely rare one-ton block of Welsh prismatic quartz. He told them (just before ladling mead out of his silver punch bowl into the gold-plated goblets) that it was important to sit at a round table so that nobody would appear more important at S.E.A. than anybody else in attendance. Bridezilla was tapping her foot nervously, wondering what kind of germs could have been breeding for a thousand years in the jute and wool yarns draped around her, and she was certain the gold-plated goblets had never been sanitized properly in the scalding heat of a dishwasher. (And she wouldn't be caught dead drinking mead unless Jonathan Rhys-Meyers in a King Henry VIII costume was serving it, but that was beside the point.) "My boyfriend is trying to get me to use Go Flushless in the toilet," she began, while others were busy sipping their mead. "He said I flush the toilet too much, that I'm wasting at least a hundred gallons of potable water a week. He said if I just pee, he wants me to spray this Go Flushless jazz into the toilet, and it will neutralize the urine odor with citrus scents and special enzymes. He said I should only be flushing for, well, you know, number two." Several goblets were now hovering in mid-air as stunned members of S.E.A. realized she was actually discussing excrement. "He grew up in India, and he said we take too many things for granted here. But I'm entitled to protect myself from germs, aren't I?" (She actually flushed toilets multiple times before during and after anything she did in them or near them, but she didn't get into that level of detail.) Dick Cheney rolled his eyes, used the mead to swallow down his heart pills, then told Bridezilla her boyfriend was probably a terrorist and he could look into it if she wrote down the exact spelling of the man's name and date of birth. She glared silently at him across the table in a manner she would never have used with President Bush, then a Congressman just defeated by a Tea Party candidate asked if they could now discuss something that actually mattered--politics.

Several miles south, the Heurich Society was also enjoying the effects of a brand new round table in the upstairs meeting room of the Brewmaster's Castle. Henry Samuelson, who had personally purchased the table and had it delivered as a gift on Thursday, was reveling in the fact that the Chair could no longer sit at the head of the table. It was a bloodless little rebellion not lost on anybody, and though they let the Chair call the meeting to order and set the agenda, there was now greater freedom to amend the agenda and move back and forth between related topics. The Chair--who had thought he would curry great favor by bringing in espresso bean Georgetown Cupcakes--had been completely shocked at the sight of the round table in the meeting space, and a smiling Henry Samuelson sitting in the spot with the best view out the window. (Was he planning a vote of no confidence? Or is it just a table?) Before the Chair could begin discussing how to deal with fallout from the Wikileak revelations that 15,000 civilians had died in the U.S. invasion of Iraq or with former President Bush's admission that he had personally and happily authorized waterboarding torture during his Administration, Samuelson summarily announced that the purpose of their society was not public relations damage control for failed Presidents and they had more important things to discuss.

With that, he moved that the agenda be amended to begin with a discussion of China's decision to help Pakistan build two nuclear reactors. "We have LOST central Asia!" he thundered, pounding his fist on the brand new table (which he knew could take it). "Goddammed Osama Bin Laden is still out there! NATO is letting the Russkies back into Afghanistan to deal with the heroin trade! The Obamas dancing a Diwali jig in New Delhi while China joins forces with Pakistan against India?! We are getting dangerously close to World War III wargames scenarios, gentlemen!" He pulled a file out of his satchel labeled "World War III Wargames Scenarios" (written in alternating red and black magic marker letters by Cedric just before he wrote the Moon Township Plan, then had his nervous breakdown and ended up in the Arlington Group Home for the Mentally Challenged). "We are talking about Scenario Number Five!" Samuelson exclaimed, with another thump on the table. The chair tried to protest that it was far too early to call central Asia lost, and Samuelson yelled at him, "Wake up and smell the coffee in your goddammed cupcake! Our resources are stretched to the limit, the Tea Party is going to paralyze Congressional spending, the Fed is out of control--" He looked around the table suddenly, confused because nobody was sitting where they customarily sat. "Where's our Governor?" The Chair said the Governor was at an annual Fed meeting in Jekyll Island. "They already waved their magic wand and shot another $600 billion out of their unicorn horn!" exclaimed Samuelson. "What more could they possibly have left to do?!"

A few miles to the south, the second meeting of the Camelot Society was nearly underway at the Federal Reserve Board. Italian economist Luciano Talaverdi walked down the central stairs of the Research Library, wrinkling his nose at the faint but omnipresent smell of mouse urine that had long ago permeated the carpeting in the stacks. He took a seat at the enormous round table next to Chinese economist Fen Do Ping, who was already scrolling through data tables on his laptop. Three members of the Board of Governors were represented by staff members, including the chair of today's Camelot Society meeting--who was wearing beige leggings tucked into tall brown boots and an oversized belted beige cocoon sweater on top, which made her appear extremely chic to the fashion-savvy Italian, but more like Obi Wan Kenobi to the puzzled Chinese man. "The numbers don't add up," she announced without emotion, and nobody needed a written agenda or explanatory note because they all knew what they had come here to discuss--the data which had first been fed into the Fed by spy Charles Wu. "Somebody made a mistake in calculating the $600 billion announced this week." She didn't mean a mathematical mistake--she meant, of course, a mistake in the forecast data. The problem was, nobody could verify the data that went into the $600 billion announcement, even though a large number of economists had joined the school of thought insisting it was right. "We need to get this right," she said quietly, without emotion, and Talaverdi was suddenly overcome with desire for this mousy little strategist who thought like an economist and spoke like a bank examiner, yet dared to dress like a supermodel from Milan.

"I won't rest until you are satisfied!" Talaverdi exclaimed passionately, suddenly picturing himself laying her down behind the far stacks, pulling off her Jedi boots, and nibbling on her ankles. The woman gave him a funny look, he did a mental check on his English, then quickly added, "with the data--satisfied with the data !" Several Camelot Society members nodded in appreciation (or relief), and resumed taking their yellow highlighters to the papers spread out on the round table.

A couple miles away, yet another Washington society was convening around a round table--this one in a seldom used conference room nestled in the Woodstock Theological Center near Georgetown University. "Welcome back to Seekers," said the Jesuit whose family history included a dozen priests who had been expelled from countries all over the world during the past 200 years. "We have a simple mission statement: Simplify the search for God. We have all seen libraries full of books analyzing prophecies and scriptures, psalms and proverbs, histories and biographies. The people around this table alone have probably published two-dozen books and hundreds of journal articles, as well as delivering a thousand sermons and lectures." He saw several nods of agreement from the Episcopalian theology professor, the two Islamic mullahs, the Sikh, the three rabbis, the evangelical Baptist university professor, and the four tribal elders from across North America. "But what do people believe? What do they understand? People are more confused than ever. The harder we work at this, the greater the forces of darkness which rise up to obfuscate the message of God. We must come together, for the sake of all."

A thousand yards away, Ardua of the Potomac marveled at the never-ending human impulse to join forces and conquer their fears. Would they never surrender to the chaos, destruction, and dark matter of this existence? They grasped at a thousand straws when all they had to do was reach out and believe in her.... Ardua reached up to a motorist passing on a bridge above her, grabbed the cancerous cells lurking in his lymphatic system, and stretched them out to wrap around the man's kidneys and intestines. The pink dolphins realized too late what was happening, leaping only soon enough to block Ardua from taking the cancer all the way to the liver. The motorist slowed down as he saw the "Welcome to Virginia" sign, wondering where his sudden nausea and dizziness had come from. Ardua tried to slap the pink dolphins, but she would never catch them.

Next week: the secret lives of millipedes and squirrels.

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