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, April 17, 2011

Trials and Tribulations

After a bout of phlegmatic heaves, twenty minutes with the neti pot, and a box of tissues, Clio had finally finished hacking up mucous. The HIV-positive White House butler cleaned herself up and set to work getting her twin pre-schoolers dressed for church with their auntie. It was actually better this way since they would sit quietly through the service when their auntie took them--something their mother had yet to see in their lifetime. "Reggie, sit still," she said quietly, in a husky voice to her daughter, Regina, as she tied the pink ribbon in her hair. "Fergie, don't put on those shoes," she said to her son, Ferguson. "The other ones," she said, pointing to the closet, and he went to get them. They had talked a few times about her serious illness, but she knew they didn't understand it very well--they were still too little. She didn't know that Regina and Ferguson discussed it frequently with the White House ghosts, who told them repeatedly that their mother would be better off dead because ghosts didn't cough or get headaches or throw up. Sometimes Regina and Ferguson would try to discuss this by themselves out in the back yard, but then some ghost would always come along to try to influence the conversation. Once they told the gardener Bridge what the ghosts were saying about their mother, and he told them the ghosts were wicked and they needed to ignore them. But they knew sometimes things the ghosts said were true, like how there had never been a President who didn't at least one time get angry and smash a glass or coffee mug against the Oval Office wall. (President Nixon had done it the most times--at least once a week.) And they knew sometimes the things their mother told them were not true--like how she told them their father was dead, but they knew he wasn't. "It's Palm Sunday," said Clio, with a final assessment of her children from head to toe. "Pay attention and mind your auntie." They might or might not pay attention, but they would certainly mind their auntie because if they didn't, they would have to eat pickled beets and flax seeds for lunch. (If they acted right, doughnuts!) "It's almost Easter," Clio said in a low, husky voice, little more than a whisper. "Easter," she said again, the fever gripping her. She repeated it several more times until her sister arrived to pick up the kids.

"It's almost Easter!" shouted Glenn Michael Beckmann; then he turned to hack up some more phlegm and spit it out. Undercover reporter Holly Gonightly suppressed her gag impulse and tried to stay focused on today's meeting of the Hunter-Gatherer Society on Kingman Island. (She had once tried explaining to him that the city should stop planting males trees, which produce pollen, and only plant female trees, which produce seeds, because this would reduce hay fever and provide more food for birds. That had ended with his calling her a stupid cow and proclaiming women the root of all evil; then he had muttered something about catching a cold from a "damn liberal" in the laundry room at Southwest Plaza.) "It's almost Easter!" repeated Beckmann. "Palm Sunday!" He took a Burger King crown he had turned inside-out and placed it upside-down on his head. "We are all wearing the crown of thorns!" There was some confusion in the crowd, and somebody asked if they shouldn't be doing the procession of palms first. "We're not here to recreate the whole namby-pamby church thing! THIS is what's important!" He pointed to the gray cardboard crown on his head. "The Once and Future King!" There was more confusion and whispering now as to whether he was referring to himself or Christ. Some of the members of the Hunter-Gatherer Society worshipped only the sun and the moon, and felt the whole religion thing was a tool invented to emasculate the world's natural-born leaders (the strongest and wiliest), but they never said so in front of Beckmann, who was rumored to have killed a man in Arizona for saying religion was the opiate of the masses. "Now we're going to hunt rabbits!" Beckmann shouted. The men fanned out into the thick brush, with Holly Gonightly and the only other woman there bringing up the rear, both pulling little red wagons full of starter fluid, plastic plates, and cans of Red Bull for the feast to come. Propped up on a tripod in Gonightly's wagon was also a video camera to capture everything to upload to the internet later--except the best parts, which she would craftily edit out for her own director's cut, not to be revealed until she was ready to report on her undercover reporting. The Warrior looked back and smiled at her because he knew she was up to something. She had never seen him smile before, though she did suspect he had struggled to keep a straight face as the others had compared their rabbit-hunting weapons: bb guns, blow darts, and miniature cross bows. (The Warrior had just brought a carrot and a net; after catching a rabbit, he would simply bash its head against a tree--though he hated to do so in front of the women, who had not been raised in a hunter-gatherer culture.) Gonightly smiled back, and the other woman frowned in disgust that Gonightly would choose that old Indian man out of all these guys to flirt with.

Several miles away, Congressman Herrmark was out on his deck, reading the Sunday papers while listening to Richard Wagner (opera gave the activity the gravitas it deserved). It was regrettable that Mia had to stay inside on a lovely spring day, but other people would simply not understand what a humanitarian gesture he had made in bringing her here from the Marianas Islands. After the boys were back from church (four hours they had asked off today! these Greeks really took church too seriously!), they could smuggle her out in the mini-van and take her to see the azaleas at the National Arboretum. He glanced through the screen door at the girl, who was carrying the last of the brunch plates into the kitchen. It was going to be hard staying home so much. His chief of staff was already bugging him about heading back to his home district for more fundraisers, and he really needed to see his parents for Easter. But he couldn't very well travel without his bodyguards, and he couldn't leave her here by herself! Or maybe he could? What's the worst that could happen? I just need to take her passport...and I can set the house alarm to go off if she tries to leave--for her own good, of course. He frowned and turned back to the newspapers.

Downtown, former Senator Evermore Breadman was well past the newspapers, the emails, the voicemails, and the text messages. He was now watching internet videos from the PowerShift 2011 conference--a bunch of young people and bleeding heart liberals acting like civil rights martyrs in their quest to rid the country of fossil fuels. This sort of thing made some of his energy company clients antsy (especially when people like Al Gore showed up to rally the masses), and it was hard for the Prince and Prowling partner to explain to them that all that mattered was where the Congressional leadership stood. (And they stood waist-deep in fossil fuel campaign contributions!) But he couldn't help feeling there was a threat from within--and his name was Congressman Herrmark. The news of his parents' summer home getting blown to pieces because of hydrofracking gone bad was now well-known in Washington, but the rumors about what the Congressman would do about it were all over the map. I need to know more about this guy, Breadman fretted. He hesitated for a few more moments, debating whether to just hire a run-of-the-mill private detective, then decided to call Charles Wu.

Several miles away, the D.C. Chapter of Sense of Entitlement Anonymous was meeting at the upper Georgetown home of Judge Sowell Ame. Prince and Prowling attorney Bridezilla talked about how she just did not want to do Palm Sunday this year. "I think I suffer enough, frankly!" she declared. (Most people's voices would sound fairly muddled through a breathing mask like the one she had on, but her shrill voice could penetrate anything.) Dick Cheney nodded in agreement, and started talking about his heart surgeries again. Real estate agent Calico Johnson tried to change the subject to Earth Day and how sick he was of tenants calling on him to put in green roofs and rain barrels and solar water heaters and weather stripping. "They're renters, for God's sake!" he said. "Where do they get off making these demands?!" Judge Sowell Ame agreed: "Renters have more sense of entitlement in this town than anybody else I see in my courtroom! They think they should live roach-free for a measly $1,000/month rent? Ha!" "Exactly!" echoed Johnson. "How am I supposed to make a decent profit if I need to keep every building as clean as a hospital AND reduce the carbon footprint!" (By "decent profit" he meant 30-50% return.) "Well, I disagree!" interjected Bridezilla. "Everybody has to rent until they're ready to buy a house, and we shouldn't have to live in filth!" (She had been lobbying unsuccessfully for her apartment to install individual HVAC units so that she did not have to deal with the forced air system recycling air from God-only-knows who's units.) Johnson knew she was one of those women who would never purchase a home no matter how much money she saved because she believed that a man should buy it for her, and he desperately wanted to tell her to stop dumping fiances, but instead he reached for another shot of pink lemonade and whiskey and glanced at the time on his [cursed] Rolex.

On the limb of the tulip tree in the back yard, a raven watched nervously, sensing that the Rolex with the evil curse on it was soon heading for somebody else's arm. But who?

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Washington Water Woman will be traveling next weekend and expects to return to blogging in two weeks.

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