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, August 27, 2011

Mother Nature Bats Last

Glenn Michael Beckmann was positioned a short distance from the Tar Sands Action crowd in Lafayette Park, behind a bush so that White House cameras could not pick him up. He peered through his binoculars to see if he recognized anybody in the crowd, but all these commie, save-the-Earth types looked the same: messy hair, old t-shirts, rumpled shorts, sensible shoes, backpacks, fannypacks. And children! They liked to bring their children, to corrupt them in their infancy. He muttered about their chatter he heard on his super hearing aid--blaming global warming for Hurricane Irene--and pulled out the poison blowdart he had been practicing with for days.

Several miles to the north, Marcos Vazquez was having a leisurely breakfast with his wife before reporting to the Coast Guard for what would probably be a 24-hour shift. He was uneasy about leaving her in the condo after the management company had identified some foundation cracks after the earthquake, but Golden Fawn kept saying they had probably been there all along. He was sipping coffee and watching the television coverage of Hurricane Irene while Golden Fawn was on the internet. He finally got up and walked over to the desk where she sat reading the latest update on www.tarsandsaction.org.

"You should have told me you were planning to get arrested," he said.

"It was a spontaneous decision," she answered without skipping a beat, as if she had been awaiting the question for days. "The civil disobedience is important. People have come from all over the U.S. and Canada to--"

"I know that," he interrupted. "The point is that I work for the U.S. Coast Guard, and now you have an arrest record."

"That's right," she answered. "You work for the U.S. Coast Guard, not me."

"It could inhibit your future life choices," he said.

"The tar sands pipeline will inhibit our future life choices more," she said.

"I know that," he said, with growing impatience. "Don't act like I don't know that!"

"I'm not sure you really do," she said. "It's a bigger threat than terrorists. You're going to be on a lot more hurricane watches, for starters."

"Don't oversimplify things!" he exclaimed, and she finally looked up from the computer, dismayed at the roughness in his voice. He immediately regretted it, melting at the sight of her pained expression. "I just mean we're married now: you need to consult me when you make big decisions like that. I would have consulted you! And I don't think it's worth it."

She had thought he knew, but now she realized he did not know how unbound she felt to the laws and governments of the United States of America. But her husband was bound, and she began pondering whether he felt personally insulted and disrespected by her decision. She searched his eyes in silence for a moment. "Next time I'll call you first," she finally said, standing up and taking him by the hand. "You'll be gone a long time--let's not fight anymore today." She kissed him and then led him back to the bedroom.

Over on Capitol Hill, Sebastian L'Arche and Becky Hartley had their hands full exercising their third pack of dogs today before the tropical storm blew in. Though every animal he had seen on Tuesday showed signs of distress during the quarter-hour before the earthquake, they were all completely oblivious about the much more threatening hurricane coming from the Atlantic Ocean. "I can't come to your hurricane party," Hartley was saying in her Bluetooth. ("You can go," L'Arche whispered.) "We're gonna have a house full of unhappy critters tonight." (L'Arche wasn't exactly sure if he and Becky were friends or business partners or both, but it still seemed strange to hear her talk about his pet operations with the word "we".) "I mean, he can only do the dog whisperer thing so much!" she laughed. "Some of those babies are just gonna wanna be in my lap!" (L'Arche nodded in involuntary agreement with this.) "Hey, why don't you bring the hurricane party to us?!" ("What?!") "It'll be like a Noah's Ark party!" ("Becky, uhh--") "Alright, but I think we're gonna have more fun than you will!" She clicked her Bluetooth and turned to L'Arche. "You think the basement will flood? You think we'll pick up more strays? Oh, I forgot to tell you, my daddy sent me a FedEx overnight package full of doggy Prozac if we need it--I told him you never use stuff like that, but he sent it anyway. Hey, Seb, what do you think the hurricane will do to...you know?" (She made what he interpreted to be a monster face.)

"The demons?"

She laughed nervously. "Yeah!"

"They'll like it a lot."

A few miles to the south, Ardua of the Potomac was watching bemusedly as Washington Post Metro reporter Perry Winkle towed along some teenagers on an Urban Guerrilla Field Trip to the Anacostia to see the oil spill. "Scientists have been taking samples for two weeks, but they have not yet identified what it is," Winkle said, paddling the rowboat a little closer to the shore.

"How can they not know what it is? What about DNA and all that jazz?"

"Well, they were running standard tests first, expecting it to be some type of petroleum mixture, or a common chemical. DNA testing costs a lot," said Winkle.

"Why don't the Post do the DNA test? You can have investigative reporting, somethin' like that."

"If I had the budget, believe me, I would!" said Winkle.

"Well you can't just let it sit there for weeks, and nobody knows what it is! That's crazy!"

"Yes, it is," said Winkle. "That's why I brought you to show it to you. We don't know what it is, and twelve hours from now, it might be sprayed all over southeastern Washington. That's enough photos--save some for after the hurricane, kids!"

Suddenly a Coast Guard boat came around the bend of Kingman Island, and Winkle knew their time was up--the kids had to go home, and he had to start another shift of reporting on empty bread and water shelves at the grocery stores.

Many miles away, television reporter Holly Gonightly had completed her own mandatory piece on empty store shelves and was now filming another piece on the denizens of Dupont Down Under. They were asking, as always, when they were gonna be on television, and, as always, she told them she could not guarantee it. "It's not your fault," she always said. "Sometimes the producer just has other pieces he thinks are more newsworthy." Gonightly had been trying for months to lose weight so that she would not be TFFT (too fat for television), but all she accomplished was seeing her fat move around from face to arms to thighs, and then back to her face. She had gotten a lot of air time when she first began reporting on the found Rolex, but as time went by and nobody stepped forward to claim it, the producer stopped airing the story. "I really think this time it'll happen!" she said to the denizens of Dupont Down Under. She was almost giddy with the thought of how catastrophic it would be for a torrential tropical monsoon to sweep into the tunnels, destroy their meager belongings, and leave several people dead--maybe even Afghanistan War veterans! Her cameraman indicated they were rolling, and she turned to the Fearless Leader. "This is Holly Gonightly reporting from Dupont Down Under, a hundred feet below Dupont Circle. Shouldn't you evacuate to higher ground?" Her eyes were gleaming in anticipation of his insane answer.

"We've survived worse," Fearless Leader said. (Gonightly stifled a laugh. No, I don't think you have!) "We've succeeded in reconciling with The Beaver, and he's building a dam for us to keep the water out."

"One dam?" Gonightly asked. "Isn't there more than one way water can get down here?"

"Well, uhh...." Fearless Leader looked around in panic. "I think The Beaver knows what he's doing."

"What if he's double-crossing you?" asked Gonightly, and her cameraman gave her a puzzled look, but she didn't notice.

"No, no! He wouldn't do that! We're reconciled!"

Gonightly turned back to the camera. "Dozens of homeless people living beneath Dupont Circle are depending on 'The Beaver' [she made air quotation marks at that point] to build a 'dam' [more air quotation marks] to save them from Hurricane Irene." (She liked having an excuse to raise her hands and show off the [cursed] Rolex.)

"I have an Aunt Irene," Fearless Leader suddenly interjected. "I had a dream about her last night, and she said everything will be fine!"

"Everything will be 'fine' [air quotation marks]," said Gonightly, "according to 'Aunt Irene in the dream' [air quotation marks]."

The cameraman turned off the camera. In normal times with only a few hours of television news per day, a story like this did not have a chance, but the station would be programming hours and hours and hours of hurricane coverage, so maybe it would.

A few miles to the south, Dizzy was visiting Lafayette Park to try to rake in a little more cash before the storm blew in. "This is a song called, 'Mother Nature Bats Last'. I wrote it in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina." (That was a lie, but he knew he would get more money from saying it.) He pulled out his trumpet and started playing a song he had renamed about a dozen times since writing it twenty years earlier.

"Oh, God!" Glenn Michael Beckmann ripped his super hearing aid out of his ear and hurled it far away. "Oh, God!" The poison blowdart was now on the ground, and he was staggering away, overwhelmed by the amplified trumpet blast that had bombarded his ear drum. "Oh, God!" Several protesters turned for a moment to see the pudgy and balding man in green army surplus fatigues stumbling away from them, but they were soon distracted by a seven-year-old girl who started making up words for Dizzy's song.

"Mother Nature Bats Last. She's pretty, and she's fast." (The girl twirled around as the people clapped.) "Mother Nature Bats Last. Mother Nature Bats Last. She's the mommy!" Then her mother detected the raindrops starting to fall and reached out for her daughter's hand.

Up in the Lafayette Park trees, the sparrows were silent, contemplating the White House ghosts keeping vigil over a somber President Obama and an increasingly soggy White House.

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