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, February 19, 2011

Really in Trouble

Charles Wu was sitting in the Prince and Prowling office of former Senator Evermore Breadman; they were sharing a good laugh over the ignominy suffered at the law firm Hunton and Williams after their involvement in an elaborate conspiracy to undermine Wikileaks was exposed by the UK Independent. "We've never seen the presentation, never evaluated it, and have no interest in it," Breadman quoted from the Bank of America official statement about the alleged pitch from security firm HB Gary Federal to Bank of America's lawyers at Hunton and Williams. Breadman put the printout down and pulled a silk handkerchief out of his breast pocket to wipe the tears streaming from his eyes. "We'll hunt those Wikileak supporters down like dogs!" Breadman said, mocking the sales pitch. "And for another thousand dollars/day, we'll put the squeeze on the National Credit Union Association, tap the phones of Ben Bernanke, hack into the New York Times, and unload a crate of cockroaches into the studio of The Colbert Report!" Breadman blew his nose loudly--he was comfortable enough with Wu to do that sort of thing, what with the fecal transplant and all. "Buffoons!" he added, with a final laugh, but what Breadman didn't know was how close HB Gary Federal had come to bringing the pitch to Prince and Prowling before Wu had managed to deftly (and invisibly) deflect them to Hunton and Williams. "You don't suppose Bank of America is really in trouble, do you?" Breadman suddenly frowned and reached for his bottled water.

"You don't suppose Bank of America is really in trouble, do you?" Atticus Hawk looked up from his computer to see one of the Justice Department's lovelier U.S. Attoneys in his doorway, a cup of coffee in her right hand and a UK Independent article in the other. She walked into his office, tossed the article down on his desk, and sat down in his guest chair. Hawk didn't really give a rat's ass what was happening to Bank of America, but he didn't want to be impolite, so he picked up the article to read it. "God, I wish I were working for Bharara," she said, sipping her coffee and imagining standing by the side of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara as he announced another indictment for insider trading. She had one leg dangling off the arm of the chair, and her clog fell off to expose fuchsia nail polish on her toes. Hawk nodded at whatever she said, still uncertain whether she flirted with him because she liked him or because she thought he could advance her career. Either way, she wore those trendy rectangular black glasses he disliked, drank her coffee from a reusable mug, and tried to throw phrases like "socioeconomic paradigm" and "counter-entrenchment" into every conversation. He still missed Jai Alai, and he wasn't going to mess with anybody unless it was simple, easy, and brainless. "Very interesting," he conceded, with that mysterious mask over his eyes which drove her wild with curiosity; she had no idea what he was working on, ever. "I brought a mess of Thai stir fry I'm gonna heat up at lunchtime--come look for me in an hour or so, OK?" Hawk nodded noncommittally, and turned back to his memo on fraud in the import/export industry. I miss CIA torture, he thought.

"You don't suppose Wall Street is really in trouble, do you?" It was a clandestine meeting of Bo-Oz, the ring inside of Booz Allen Hamilton which believed two things: (1) the founders of the firm made a gargantuan strategic blunder in using a name that was pronounced like "booze", and (2) the lack of judgment shown on #1 put into question every tenet underlying the socioeconomic paradigm underlying the company's entire operational philosophy. "We can't afford to be caught in front of the fan if shit is going to hit it." (Employees at Booze were trained to repackage bits and pieces of other people's intellectual property into expensive consulting reports, and so all their conversations were peppered with paraphrases and rearrangements of common expressions.) "How many of these insider trading indictments have wheels? Is there a counter-retrenchment against the 60-day-net model of cash-flow expansionability? Is it time to move onto 5G consulting?" The Fifth-Generation Consulting Paradigm was the most secret document in the possession of Bo-Oz: it outlined a strategy for bringing business costs down anywhere between 300-900 percent by locating business subsidiaries inside refugee camps (pay rate 25 cents/hour for English-speakers at customer service call centers and 5 cents/hour for those relegated to the factories). The inner ring looked around nervously--they were big on ideas and short on gumption.

Not far away, the residents of the Arlington group home for the mentally challenged were also big on ideas and short on gumption--most of the time. But today, Cedric had persuaded Brother Divine that T-Mobile and Nokia had made a pact with the devil, and the two were whipping their housemates into a frenzy. "They're really in trouble now, my brothers!" shouted Brother Divine. ("And sisters", whispered Cedric into his ear.) "Brothers and sisters," shouted Brother Divine, "Nokia has declared war on the Mac, and T-Mobile is a mercenary in their army!" ("What do they have against the Big Mac?") "No, no, not the Big Mac--the MAC! The Apple Macintosh computer, my brothers and sisters! It's 1984 all over again! THIS MAN [he pointed at Cedric] has a Nokia smart phone that has become too stupid to function, my brothers and sisters! Why? Because it requires a SOFTWARE DOWNLOAD! Not just any software download, mind you--a download that MUST--yes, I say MUST!--be downloaded to a Windows operating system on a PC before it can be loaded onto this so-called SMART phone." ("Huh?") "'Huh', you say?! Yes, HUH, I say! HUH! The truth has come out! Nokia's smart phones have been hijacked by THE MAN, and they will not work anymore unless THE MAN is allowed to download his software into the Nokia. The only defense against THE MAN is THE MAC, my brothers and sisters! Cedric will NOT give up his MAC! Oh, no, Cedric will NOT download THE MAN's spyware software through the CIA-controlled Microsoft Windows personal computers of this world." The enormous brown dog named Millie yawned and moved further away from the window, where high winds were causing a rattle and draft. "Oh no! And T-Mobile refuses to help, my brothers and sisters!" ("What are you going to do?") "Ummm." Brother Divide looked to Cedric, but he was busy reading an online blog post from Glenn Michael Beckmann about his plan to blow up every T-Mobile retail center in Washington on President's Day if they did not let him trade in his smart phone for one that didn't require constant downloading of spyware onto his computer.

"Is lithium really in trouble?" wondered social worker Hue Nguyen, who was downstairs in her office and could not at all hear the commotion upstairs because she was listening to the radio play an Evanescence song called "Lithium". She was a little freaked out when the song began right after she read the article about the dwindling of known sources of raw materials for lithium batteries, which she had just found on the internet after following a link from the article she had just read about an epidemic of malfunctioning cellphones in psychiatric wards and group homes for the mentally ill due to the magnetic effects of excessive metal bioaccumulation among all the patients taking lithium pills for their mood disorders.

Lithium, don't wanna lock me up inside
Lithium, don't wanna forget how it feels without
Lithium, I wanna stay in love with my sorrow
Oh, but God I wanna let it go....

She looked at her Nokia smart phone, which had just gone blank again, and scratched her head.

Over in the river, Ardua of the Potomac (who used to grow strong from bioaccumulation of heavy metals until the baby growing in her womb started hijacking them all), fretted about The Prophecy. She could not begin to grasp the possibility that she was really dying, but she did know she was really in trouble.

NEXT WEEK: Angela de la Paz's update from the Middle East and Dubious McGinty's meeting with Golden Fawn.

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