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 ....

Friday, April 29, 2011

Tall Tales from Texas

“Did you break up with that pedophile?”

Sebastian L'Arche looked up to see who had made the wildly disturbing comment, then looked back at his posse of dogs peeing in a small garden. He hated hanging out where people were walking towards the courthouses, but sometimes he was on a very tight schedule in walking his client's dogs. He heard the woman say yes and then ask her companion how he expected to do in his probation hearing this afternoon. “I need to go to AA and attend anger management," he said. "The judge warned me not to let her back in after she serves her three months, but I know she’s gonna want to live with me.” ("Ain't she a hoarder?") "You tellin' ME! AND she leaves sour milk and moldy food all over my kitchen and calls it a COMPOST pile!" ("But she's good in bed?") "Hell, yeah! Better than your damn pedophile!" ("I didn't KNOW he was a pedophile! Anyway, did you hear that my cousin Lisa ran off with her boyfriend? Lisa's only 15, and her boyfriend is 22!")

They were finally out of earshot, and L'Arche resolved to start attending his Iraq War veterans support group again--not for himself, but because he spent too much time helping animals and not enough helping people.

Several blocks away, in the city's other world of justice, Atticus Hawk awoke with a start from the nightmare he was having while nodding off at his desk. The dreams were getting worse--not worse, but more vivid and believable--every time. First he's driving up to the entrance gate at Guantanamo; then he shows his Justice Department ID badge, and the guard reads aloud "Torture Specialist" and waves him in; then he's taken to an isolated cell where he finds a naked man being waterboarded; he sees electrical burn marks on the man's groin, and dog bites on the man's legs; the torturers stop pouring water for a moment and scream at the prisoner, "Where's Bin Laden?!"; the prisoner whispers that he doesn't know; Hawk recognizes the voice and pulls the wet cloth off the prisoner's face; then George W. Bush looks up at Hawk and asks, "Why did Obama label me an enemy combatant? I wanna go back to Texas!"; then Hawk says, "because he could". Because I said the President of the United States could. Hawk looked down again at the memo from Attorney General Eric Holder explaining why Guantanamo had not yet been shut down, then absent-mindedly used his tie to wipe the cold perspiration off his forehead.

"Hot tamale?"

Hawk looked up with a start, because he didn't know any women who knew that code name; it was Ava Kahdo Green, the pretty U.S. Attorney with a crush on him.

"Pepe's, around the corner--I feel like getting tamales for lunch. You wanna go?"

He said OK because he could not think of any reason to say no, even though he never wanted to eat any of the weird things she was always getting for lunch. He started laughing, and she asked what was so funny, but he could not tell her that he suddenly found it absurd that he had used a code name for years whose meaning he did not even know. (What is a tamale? Why is it hot?) Then he frowned because he realized she probably thought the laugh was flirtation. (For her part, she thought he might be bi-polar, but this only added to his mysterious allure.)

A few blocks away, psychiatrist Ermann Esse was listening to a hypnotized John Boehner talk about a recent dream. "Thor Bunny came from outer space. Thor Bunny is more powerful than any bunny in the world, and can shoot lightning and poop jelly beans. Thor Bunny entered the home of the richest woman in the world, who had built a house as big as 100,000 elephants. Thor Bunny pooped an enormous-sized jelly bean because the woman's easter basket was as big as one elephant. Then the woman got up and ate the gigantic jelly bean, which made her have a gigantic fart. The gigantic fart made her house stink so bad that she had to sell it, and she sold it for $20." Dr. Esse shook his head dubiously, disbelieving that Boehner could have come up with this on his own, and brought him out of hypnosis.

"Congressman," asked Dr. Esse, "did you say you had a nephew from Texas visiting you for Easter?"


"Did the nephew from Texas tell any tall tales?"

"Yes, as a matter of fact--something about the Easter bunny--I didn't pay much attention to it." Dr. Esse scribbled on his notepad: patient has no clue where the ideas come from which implant themselves in his psyche.

A few blocks away, law firm Lye, Cheit and Steele was wooing a smart young associate from Prince and Prowling. "Mr. Cigemeier, have you ever tried Chilean champagne?" The managing partner popped the cork and poured out a glass. They were standing on the roofdeck, looking out on a picture-perfect day in Washington. "We always have champagne lunches on Fridays," he said nonchalantly, but he saw Cigemeier's dubious facial expression in the reflection of his champagne glass. (Smart--he knows champagne can be purchased inexpensively.) "Once a month we have a special Friday happy-hour with a different theme on each floor of the firm." (This got Cigemeier to turn attentively.) "One floor is always a European country, one is a tropical island, one is something Asian, and the top floor is always Texas--that's where our founder is from, David Bowie Lye." (Darn, he looks dubious again! Why doesn't anybody believe our founder's name was David Bowie Lye? Better get straight to the good stuff.) "We have an extremely efficient operation with very little overhead, so our profit margins are three-to-four times the average." (Downstairs at this very moment, in fact, a new associate was asking what the administrative billing code was, and his supervising partner was looking at him blankly and asking, "what's an administrative billing code? Bill everything to a client!") "You'll find it easy to meet billable requirements here, and you will be making more money to boot! We've thought of everything at Lye, Cheit and Steele."

(Everything but my conscientious wife, thought Cigemeier, who knew if he ever sank that low his wife's gaze would sear into his soul and find him out. Just telling her he went for this recruitment lunch would freak her out: she had enough doubts about the integrity of Prince and Prowling, and he knew there was even more bad press out there about Lye, Cheit and Steele.)

The managing partner nodded to a stunningly beautiful young woman who had come out to light a cigarette, then checked Cigemeier's reaction: nothing. (Either Cigemeier can't stand smokers, or the rumors of marital problems are untrue. Dammit, I got nothin'! This guy's slipping through my fingers.) He watched Cigemeier down the last of his champagne and decided not to offer him any more.

Back near Judiciary Square, Becky Hartley was taking a break from her day job at the insurance company to have lunch with her friend and sometime boss, Sebastian L'Arche. They were sitting outside munching on wraps while the dogs lay contentedly at their feet. "My daddy had a private party at his country club in Dallas." (Hartley was telling L'Arche about her Easer visit home.) "And this guy was there from Washington, Calico Johnson. And he was a TOTAL player! He took his Rolex off his wrist and tried to give it to me ten minutes after he met me!" L'Arche felt an unexpected twinge of jealousy. "People like him are the reason I LEFT Texas! A big ole hunkin' Rolex!" L'Arche wasn't certain if she was complaining that it was a large-sized man's watch or that it was an excessive gesture. "THEN, when he found out I was living in Washington, he tried to get me to fly back here in his private plane!" L'Arche felt another twinge of jealousy, and he didn't even like her--he hated it when his caveman instincts came out. "Like I'm gonna get in a private plane with God-knows-what-pilot and this crazy, horny, egotistical rich guy who thinks he's God's gift to women! PUH-LEEZE!" She took a sip of lemonade. "So I told him I was thinking of moving full-time into pet services, and his eyes glazed over in no time flat! It was like I had told him I was planning to work in a barn or something. Hi-LAR-ious!" L'Arche finally found himself chuckling; he was glad she was back.

Out in the river, the sluggishly pregnant Ardua of the Potomac sensed the imminent return of Angela de la Paz...but was uncertain what this meant.


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