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, May 15, 2011

Nitty Gritty

We will never be, never be a-ny-thing but loud...and nitty gritty...dirty little freaks....

Former Senator Evermore Breadman glanced into Bridezilla's office at the surprising burst of song lyrics coming out, shook his head, and then kept walking towards his own Prince and Prowling office.

Bridezilla was humming along while briskly rubbing hand sanitizer all over her hands and reviewing the guest list for her June wedding. She had books on mortgage securities law piled up for show, as well as a stack of files that she would eventually do something with later in the day, but right now she desperately needed to cut twenty more people from her side because the number of her fiance's Indian relatives coming over was much higher than expected. She glanced over at the framed photo of him and thought about how many people had commented on his handsomeness even as they had picked up the framed photo to get a closer look at the racially vague face. He had an Indian name which functioned fine in English--Jay--so the only people that knew he was from India were the few who had met him. Of course, everybody knew he was RICH, because she volunteered that information in subtle but abundant ways. He was, she had eventually found out, the richest software developer in Northern Virginia--having developed virtual reality training programs for every branch of the U.S. military. He could not tell her a lot of details about his work, but she was telling everybody she knew as a given fact her own conclusion that he had trained the Navy Seals with a virtual reality program for invading Osama Bin Laden's hideout. I'm so proud of you, she thought, as she looked at his picture, and she really was, but a seed of doubt had been sown in her mind by a half-drunk comment/joke at Friday evening's happy hour that Bridezilla's fiance was in it for the green card. She knew Jay had a medium-high security clearance level and was already on the immigration fast track, but that comment kept gnawing at her. Why DOES he want to marry me? I'm pretty, I'm smart, I--. And then she couldn't think of anything else. He had very little interest in her work, though she couldn't blame him for that since she didn't herself--and anyway, she was fairly certain he expected her to have babies and stay home soon enough. He didn't care what schools she had gone to. Her friends never knew what to talk to him about. He saw through her when she tried to feign interest in playing video games with him--even the one he had designed as an engagement gift, which was all about winning points by obtaining merchandise from every store in a shopping mall in a race against the clock. And then there was...this.... She looked at the hand sanitizer bottle on her desk, not entirely certain that he did not think her cautious ways a phobia, rather than prudence. Does he really get me?

Over in former Senator Evermore Breadman's office, his mood was jubilant: President Obama had just greenlighted oil drilling in Alaska! This is why he was always telling his clients you can work with any politician, any Administration--you just have to know how to go about it. Sooner or later they ALL become pragmatists --that is to say, they realize that swing voters want to have their cake and eat it too...and then diet fanatically...and then get more cake...and then exercise fanatically...and then get more cake....(And nobody markets cake the way Big Oil does--with the help of hysterical television newscasters greeting every ten-cent rise in gasoline prices with more passion and horror than they express in reporting casualties from Iraq or Afghanistan. And with Breadman's being just one of the 800 Big Oil lobbyists in Washington, there was no chance that Congress would strip Big Oil of its tax breaks any time soon.) And then there was the strategic brilliance of counseling his nuclear power clients to release their local radioactivity data and blame it on the Japanese meltdown, insisting to ignorant reporters that it had blown in from halfway around the globe. Even the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's alarming safety report had been released Thursday with no significant political reaction! And Breadman's financial institution clients were also happy because of the Administration's anemic response to the Republican slash in funding for financial oversight--after all, what do laws matter if you aren't letting the bureaucrats set up the rules to implement them, or pay anybody to enforce them? No: Big Oil, Big Nuke, and Wall Street were easily sliding back to business as usual.

But the backlash against hydrofracking was still giving him conniption fits. Congressman Herrmark had still not introduced the rumored bill against it, but he HAD put forward an earmark to clean up the hydrofracking damage caused in his home state--including, of course, the damage to his parents' blown-up vacation home. If this earmark survived, it would draw more attention to the fact that gas drilling was being done in the U.S. under an exemption to the Clean Water Act. It was essential that mainstream America never learn of the Halliburton Loophole--not from the environmental conservation groups who would not shut up about, not from Sundance Festival darling "Gasland", and not from inside Congress itself! Herrmark had to be brought back in line, at any cost. Breadman had actually been surprised that Charles Wu agreed to do some consulting on Congressman Herrmark's hydrofracking policy plans, since most of his dealings with Wu had been about international commercial affairs, but Wu had never said no to him on anything (not even the fecal transplant!). I really need to stop worrying about this and wait for Charles--he's never let me down yet.

Not far away, Liv Cigemeier was unpacking the lunch she had brought for her husband, Prince and Prowling's newest partner. (He had just been offered the partnership to prevent him from defecting to rival firm Lye, Cheit, and Steele, and Liv had decided that there was no reason they couldn't still spend a lot of time together on the weekends.) Today she had brought along a pile of bills, greeting cards, mending items, and reading material to while away the afternoon together in his big new office. He scarcely cracked a smile when she opened up the gourmet spread, and she asked him what was wrong. "I thought I would get more interesting work after making partner," he said. "It's more interesting, but not for the right reasons." Liv asked her husband what he meant, but he said he couldn't really talk about it. Even if he could have talked about it, he would not have wanted to talk about it. First there were the dozen different cease and desist orders he had been assigned to file against professional trouble makers the Yes Men, even though he personally agreed with everything they were doing. Then there was the real estate contract for D.C. City Center involving the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co.; it didn't seem that long ago that Qatar-based Al Jazeera network was broadcasting beheadings of Americans and his wife could not stop saying, "What the hell is wrong with these people?" Why was the city government taking Qatari money? It was bad enough the federal government was in a love-hate relationship with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, but he didn't see why the city had to operate this way, even in this economy. Now he was being asked to "clean up" the regulatory paperwork for a massive garbage dump that environment activists were calling "Mystery Mountain"--except he could not FIND any regulatory paperwork, and it looked like the activists were right in calling it an illegal dump, so did the senior partners know that and want him to CREATE fake paperwork, or should he tell them he could not find any?

"Mustard?" Liz smiled at him as he looked up, but she could see into his soul, and he knew that she knew....

Over in the workroom, Laura Moreno was working on the three sub-prime mortgage lending class actions that Bridezilla was "supervising". The newest contract attorney (a young whiz kid from Seattle) was telling her how he had suggested to Chloe Cleavage that they could get through the defendants' email discovery a lot faster if they did mass searches to clear out obvious junk, like amazon.com emails. "Chloe," he said, "just stared at me like I was from outer space!" Moreno just nodded; she didn't trust him enough to commiserate on the absurdity and inefficiency, nor to tell him that Chloe Cleavage had once spent four hours on Facebook, then batch-tagged two-thousand MP3 files as non-responsive. "Anyway," he said, "Chloe said you needed to talk to me about my timesheet." Moreno explained to him that she was sorry to report he was going to be docked pay for the three hours the computer system was down on Thursday. "What?!" he said, incredulous.

"Chloe says she told me to tell you that day to take an extra-long lunch."

"You never told me that! You KNOW you didn't."

Moreno nodded again. "I didn't tell you because she didn't tell me that until today. But it doesn't matter what I say."

"Did you stick up for me?"

"Yes, but there's nothing I can do," said Moreno.

"So now I might come to work and just not get paid?!" Moreno nodded and said she was sorry, but he stormed out of the conference room, not understanding that Moreno was just the messenger.

A few miles away, Charles Wu was out on the Potomac River with the Poseidon Auxiliary of the Old Dominion Boat Club. It was hard to ignore the Greek beauties toughing out the cool breeze in bikini tops, but he was here to connect with Nick and Costas, Congressman Herrmark's twin bodyguards. The twins were fending off all Wu's attempts to make conversation (as they would equally have preferred to be chatting up the girls), but their expressions grew a little more animated when Wu said, "Is it true Congressman Herrmark went on a fact-finding mission to the Marianas Islands? I went there once as a boy, and there's not much to see but factories, girls, and girls in factories!" The twins gave each other a strange look, and Wu knew he had struck a vein.

Deep in the water, Ardua of the Potomac's appetite had come back, and she opened her mouth and reached gleefully for sustenance as the Pink Dolphins hung back and pondered the future of the river.


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