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, August 14, 2011

In Flux

Charles Wu opened up the carry-out containers in the backroom of Lynnette Wong's Chinatown herb shop, and Mia scooped food out for him, herself, and Wong. It was the first time Wu had seen Mia since the week he dropped her off, and he was pleased to see she had put on some weight and the dark circles were gone from her eyes. He knew that former Senator Evermore Breadman and the Secretary of State were both anxiously awaiting their respective China trip reports, but somehow visiting Mia seemed more important right now (and less stressful) than explaining the complexities of Chinese lending attitudes or the hits and misses of Project R.O.D.H.A.M.'s forays into Afghanistan. Then there was Angela de la Paz--whose violent jaunts through Taliban country had taken out quite a large number of misogynists, but whose mysterious and supernatural methods had created another backlash against women as weak-willed pawns of Satan. He was one of very few people who even knew who she was, what she looked like, and where she came from, but even he was at a loss to explain the efficacy, brutality and lethality of her operations--nor her abrupt departure. One thing he did know was that he would have to tell Hillary Clinton that recruiting Angela to jump from Project Cinderella to Project R.O.D.H.A.M. would be as pointless as asking a hurricane to reverse its rotation.

Wong popped into the back room to grab a few bites of food, her eye on the video monitor showing whether anybody was entering the store. Wu showed them photos from the touristy bits of his trip, and presented them with silk scarves from Shanghai and the jade bracelets his mother had chosen for them during his brief layover in Hong Kong. Wong told Wu that Mia was dutifully meeting with her English tutor (paid for by Wu) several hours a day and making excellent progress. (Wong herself always spoke to Mia in Chinese because Wu wanted Mia's Chinese to improve and did not want Mia to learn accented English.) Wong told Wu that she took Mia out for long walks and excursions when the shop was closed, and her nervousness was diminishing, but Wu could still see quite a bit of anxiety in Mia's eyes and could only conclude he was the cause of it. She thinks I want something from her, but it's not what she thinks. In truth he didn't want anything from Mia for a long time, and she had already given him great value without even knowing it, but half a world away, he had realized what he could make Mia into. He also knew Mia would have to want it for herself, or she would end up like Angela de la Paz--and that would not be good for either of them.

Several miles to the south, Chloe Cleavage's life was also in flux. For one thing, she was high on Vicodin to deal with the pain from the operation to remove all her eggs--high as a kite! She was standing on the balcony of her Southwest Plaza penthouse, merrily throwing unwanted belongings over the railing and watching them crash to the ground below. Old shoes, frying pans, books, notes from law school, baskets, a broken clock radio--all hurled eight stories down. She dropped a limed flower pot and jumped up and down in glee as it shattered into hundreds of pieces below. Sure, sometimes people in her building put reusable items out in the hallway by the elevator for other people to adopt and take home, but this was all JUNK! She wanted it out of her life, just like the eggs!

In truth, she had let the doctor (they call these people "doctors"?!) save a few in a freezer just in case she ever decided it was time for a baby, but she had sold the rest to him for a cool million dollars. A million dollars!!! It was surreal. He had run some genetic tests on her which would show to buyers her lack of any problematic gene markers--not to mention the desirable qualities in her hair color, eye color, body frame, and body fat ratio. (It was true her boobs were fake, but the buyers wouldn't know that from her photo!) She had already purchased a foreclosed condominium at auction (also while high as a kite, but nobody seemed to mind!) and paid a taxi driver in a van usually used for airport luggage to take her up to Kensington and then Frederick for an impulsive run of antique shopping. The eclectic piles of Queen Anne, Regency, and Colonial furniture were the reason she had to throw out a bunch of other stuff fast--that and the imminent arrival of the movers tomorrow. She was proud of herself for finding the condo at auction without the help of her on-again, increasingly off-again, realtor boyfriend Calico Johnson, and she wasn't even going to tell him about her departure from this stupid loft he had found her in this stupid building filled with criminals, crazy people, mold, vermin, broken elevators, arsonists, and missing security guards. "NO!" she hollered out at the parking lot below as another flower pot shattered eight floors below her--this time next to Glenn Michael Beckmann, who howled in rage, pulled out his handgun, and aimed it up at his assailant. "Plppppppp!" she sputtered at him with her tongue stuck out and her fingers waving in the air. "Shoot THIS!" she hollered as she rained old throw pillows down on him, and Beckmann obliged by shooting all of them until exploded fluff was falling like snowflakes all over the sidewalk, bushes, and parked cars, and the real estate demon living beneath the building was shaking with laughter.

A few miles to the west, former Senator Evermore Breadman had his own mess to clean up at Prince and Prowling, where a very high Chloe Cleavage had spray-painted "Roatan", "The Nines", "Wall of Me", and "Sir Digby Chicken Caesar Salad" all over his collection of framed photos on the wall outside his office. The security guards were trying hard to keep a straight face as they surveyed the damage and explained to Breadman how they would review the record of entries into the building since he had last been to his office Friday evening. After they finished photographing the scene, he took down the framed pictures and put them in a pile in the corner of his office. He shook his head at the photo on the top of the pile--him and Rupert Murdoch covered in purple smears--and sat down to review his campaign consulting files after the bizarre Iowa caucus. (If he had a thousand dollars for every time somebody had called to say "anyone but Bachmann!"--wait, he DID have a thousand dollars for every time!) He was consulting with almost everybody (and their fan club Super Pacs) east of the Mississippi river, but at some point he was only going to be effective by narrowing his focus. But who? If only he could find a candidate more like...himself.

Back in Chinatown, Charles Wu bid goodbye to Mia in the backroom, and Lynnette Wong walked him slowly to the door of her herb shop. "There was a reporter while you were gone," she whispered, and Wu grabbed her wrist. "Holly Gonightly--she's on TV sometimes. She knows that Mia came from Congressman Herrmark's house. She accused me of human trafficking, but we convinced her that wasn't true."

"Why didn't you tell me?!"

"You were in China."

"I know I was in China!"

"Well, we convinced her it wasn't true, and she left, and she hasn't reported anything."

"That just means she's going to dig deeper, and take a wider look!"

"Well, we're not doing anything wrong! Mia is safe here, and I think she's happy--well, she's not UNhappy."

Wu finally let go of Wong's wrist. "Let me know if anything else happens. But Mia knows her story, right? She's Chinese and--"

"She knows," said Wong.

Wu nodded, but walked out with a knot in his stomach and hailed a taxi to head over to Prince and Prowling.

Overhead, a flock of starlings was flying from east to west, the intermittent sunlight dancing off their iridescent plumage without penetrating their blackened spirits.

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