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 ....

Monday, September 19, 2011

Self-affirmations

Clio was using the last few minutes of her White House lunch hour to open her mail. Her last set of lab tests totaled $2,001; patient co-pay responsibility, $203. She was the kind of person the insurance companies hated to have in the system, even though the truth was that her doctor's hyper-vigilant monitoring of her HIV infection was keeping her from having astronomical hospitalization bills. She popped the lunchtime portion of her 30 daily pills into her mouth, took a few swallows of water, and got up to return to her post as butler. I am a mother and a friend and a valued employee. I deserve medical care to stay alive. She blew her nose, looked in the mirror, and reached for her make-up bag to add some artificial glow to her sallow complexion. She kissed a framed photo of her twins, then headed out.

A couple miles to the north, Liv Cigemeier was also pushing herself out of her lunch hour and back to work. I am a valued employee. I am helping the less fortunate build better lives for themselves. She walked into the International Development Machine conference room for a presentation by Bo-Oz on their newest 5G consulting recommendation, picked up the colorful handout full of maps, pie charts, bar graphs, and photographs of frowning Colombian children, and then looked up at the first presentation slide: "Channeling cocaine revenue to the people that need it the most." Cigemeier grimaced, put down her pen, and picked up a Bo-Oz labeled chocolate mint from the snack plate.

A couple miles to the east, a Government Printing Office police officer was just returning from Union Station, still wiping chocolate chip mint ice cream off his face, pondering whether he was ready to go after something more challenging--like guarding the Federal Reserve! He leaned over to look in his police car rear-view mirror to make sure his moustache was clean. I am a brave and skilled police officer. I play an important role in guarding our nation's government workers. ("Get 'em!") The officer turned around to see a pudgy, middle-aged caucasian male with a crew cut running as fast as he could [not very fast] away from the loading dock. ("He started a fire in the east store room!") The officer jumped into his car, started the engine, turned on the lights and siren, then sped down the driveway--only to slam on his brakes because North Capitol Street was jammed with cars and he couldn't get out. He jumped out of the GPO police car and started running after the suspect, now half a block away. The officer fired his gun into the air to clear the pedestrians off the sidewalk, but the arsonist joined the others in jumping off the sidewalk and got lost in the crowd. Then two D.C. policemen on horseback galloped over and ordered the GPO police officer to holster his gun.

The arsonist struggled to catch his breath as he watched the police officers arguing, then rejoined the crowd of pedestrians resuming their place on the sidewalk. I'm good! They can't touch me! He followed the walk signal across Massachusetts Avenue. Wasting taxpayer money on elitist propaganda prepared by the corrupt intelligentsia for the bourgeois sheep! Ha! He decided to continue his plan of establishing an alibi by attending a presentation at the Washington legislative office of the Sierra Club, and a few minutes later he was scowling at the pretentious drop-leaf ceiling art above the perky Sierra Club receptionist. "I'm Glenn Michael Beckmann," he said, "and I'm on the list. Put a check mark by my name!" He turned on his secret tape recorder and walked into the conference room.

Over on Capitol Hill, Congressman Herrmark walked into the hearing room for his first pointless debate on President Obama's new jobs bill. He--along with 90% of his party--would just vote as their leadership told them to. If we can't squeeze any earmarks in, what does it matter? Ann Bishis sat down dutifully behind him--he used to bring her because she was a woman and because she never yawned, but he found himself listening to his (young!) counsel more frequently since she saved his ass in the Mia crisis. He turned to the second page of his notes and saw that Bishis had inserted a yellow post-it note with a sketch of King Kong on the Empire State Building, followed by the words "King C.O.N.G. - Coal, Oil, Nukes, Gas". He turned and smiled at her, grateful that she always took the time to insert something for him to smile about during these blowhard sessions. I am a U.S. Congressman. I am serving my constituents. I-- A commotion behind him erupted upon the spilling of coffee on the carpeting. "Not me! I'm playing the Mormon card!" joked a young scrub-face in a cheap suit, only to be met with no laughter and lots of glaring. "We don't drink caffeinated beverages, right?" Ann Bishis laughed politely, then exchanged a glance with Congressman Herrmark.

Back at the White House, President Obama was gargling with mouthwash before his next meeting. I'm the President of the United States. I WILL get people back to work! He took a deep breath and stepped out, unwittingly puncturing his left sole on a thumb tack in the carpet.

Out in the river, Ardua of the Potomac was already bored with Congress and looking forward to the launch of the next Supreme Court season...and the Pentagon's growing involvement in a land war in Africa.

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Washington Water Woman is heading out of town and will return to blogging in October.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Twisted Legacy

Laura Moreno walked out of the Prince and Prowling office building and directed her steps towards the sunset--towards home. She still hated her job. Ten years ago, she had been sworn into the D.C. Bar by a very somber judge who had told them--mere days after 9/11--that some of them would be called upon to represent suspected terrorists and protect civil liberties. In her ten years in D.C., it was the only decent and respectable thing she had ever heard a D.C. judge say. And the only terrorists she had ever represented were the financial criminals who had crippled the nation with their greed and bogus math; the only civil liberties she had ever protected were--"Hey! You!"--Moreno jumped at the sight of the homeless man leaping from his Urine Park bench in her direction, and she took off running until she caught up with a group of pedestrians on the next block. I can't help anybody. Did I really let them suck it all out of me?

A few miles to the north, reporter Holly Gonightly was swimming laps at the Marie Reed Recreation Center, still overloaded with the past three days' worth of 9/11-related reporting. Lately she felt anxious when at the pool, though she didn't know why since swimming had always been her favorite activity. (It was because her pool visits were the only time she left her cursed Rolex at home.) She hadn't eaten a thing all day, desperate to lose five more pounds. She had produced five excellent pieces on 9/11 survivors and remembrances, and only three of them had made it on the air--and those three had been reedited so that most of her voiceovers were off camera. Too fat for television! She tried to swim harder, but her muscles were buckling from acid overload. Those people I interviewed didn't care if I was TFFT! They don't care about superficial shit! She hit the wall--literally, because she was doing the backstroke and was no longer able to focus. She grabbed the wall and inhaled deeply, then looked around the pool. The skinny woman in the purple suit was there again, apparently trying to teach herself how to swim by slowly going a few strokes out of the shallow end, then returning to the shallow end, then repeating the exercise--just four strokes away from the shallow end before returning to it. I could interview her. Gonightly's brain started framing the story, then she stopped. I can't film here in a bathing suit, and I can't film here in a business suit. I need to drop 10 pounds before she teaches herself how to swim. Gonightly looked at the lifeguard, who was staring intently at her iPhone and nothing else--not the woman who could barely swim, not the senior citizen panting heavily in the corner, not the creep in the AC/DC t-shirt who just sat on a bench and watched other people swim, not at the obvious anorexic who was shivering from lack of blood flow, not even at the hunky Greg Louganis doppelganger slicing through the water to Gonightly's right. I could bring a hidden camera in here and nab the lifeguard. Her legs had stopped shaking, so she got out of the water, desperately hungry; she had been dieting for ten years, ever since her high school video report on graduating seniors signing up to go to Afghanistan was aired on the local television station with her body airbrushed so much that nobody at her school even recognized her as the reporter in it. Those boys all died in Afghanistan, and her tribute to them was a video nobody wanted to watch.

A couple miles away, Congressman Herrmark was using his secret online identity to promote Food and Water Watch's White House phone-in day September 13th to tell President Obama to ban hydrofracking, and this was making him very nervous. For one thing, what did his Greek bodyguards even know about how to protect him from cyberstalkers? And worms? And cyberterrorists? He didn't even know what those things were, so it seemed impossible that they would know. And he was nervous because he had poured so much time and money into this secret operation (for he dared not go up against the Halliburton mafia publicly at this time) that he had not been able to put much into his offical 9/11 commemorations and public service events. My constitutents will never know how much I do for them! Frankly, public service was becoming a drag for Congressman Herrmark, what with all the budget deficits and lack of earmarks. Without his little Asian girl here, he just had a hard time feeling inspired about anything.

Down in Dupont Down Under, there was also a lack of inspiration. Some Afghanistan War veterans and Iraqi War veterans had smuggled back some cake from the 9/11 remembrance event Congressman Herrmark had held on Sunday, but it tasted cheap, not like the nice half-eaten desserts they frequently found in forgotten carry-out containers left on Dupont Circle benches after post-dinner smoochings. And there were no good speeches, or music stars. Somehow the people that died in the Twin Towers were still getting all the attention. We're at war, we're at war, we're at war. But that wasn't true--the whole country was never at war. But the rich were richer and safer than ever while everybody else could choose to die quickly in a foreign land or slowly while the economic masterminds continued to poison the air, the water, and the land--except for the parts fenced off and bottled for the rich. Serve the masters or die; the only choice was which master? And Fearless Leader had said a hundred things about 9/11, and they all amounted to nothing.

A few miles to the north, Charles Wu was also trying to recover from 9/11 overload when he got the news (along with everybody else) that official Chinese weapons merchants had tried to land a cool $200 million in sales to Moammar Gadhafi when he still thought he had a chance to suppress the revolution. Brilliant! Vote at the U.N. to embargo everybody else from shipping in weapons while you secretly sell him your own! Only one problem, China--M.I.A.! Wu was sipping a gin and tonic on his balcony, looking down on the glittering lights of the Capitol. Missing intelligence activity! He shook his head, understanding better why his Chinese handlers kept pushing him for more intelligence on the Arab world--but even a school child could have told them it was a $200 million bet on a lame horse! Then the evidence of China's bad bet was plucked from the palace garbage of Tripoli! Wu shook his head. The Arab world was like a 20-headed dragon with splinters in every foot. He desperately wanted to go back to being the British-Hong Kong double agent, soliciting secrets from gentlemen in silk suits and beautiful women without veils. And spying on the U.S.? The U.S. couldn't decide whether chopping off dragon heads or removing dragon splinters was the best way to get it to stop violently leaping around. I hate 9/11, thought Charles Wu, who could not be refuted for claiming it ruined his life.

Not far away, Sebastian L'Arche was sitting on the steps of the earthquaked National Cathedral, watching Becky Hartley stage a $700 doggie wedding, with several of his clients' leashed dogs jumping around anxiously because they could smell the venison cake inside the box. The Iraq War seemed a million miles away and a million years away now--not because he could not remember it but because it was so utterly pointless. He looked at the scar on his hand where he had knifed out his own tattoo and won his one-way loony ticket back to the good ole U.S. of A. Hartley winked at him, and he smiled at her. She believes in me, he thought. She had raised $12,000 from doggie and cat weddings so that the dog whisperer could hire more dog walkers and spend more of his own time fighting the evil demons that surrounded them; but he still liked to walk dogs.

Miles away, President Obama was staring out an East Wing window looking for stars--they were so hard to see here. I got Bin Laden. It was a campaign promise he had never made, and the ones he had made were slipping away, and fury held a not-so-secret beachhead in his heart.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

When it rains, it pours.

Former Senator Evermore Breadman was in a sour mood. First of all, his wife had called to tell him that her Mercedes had been struck by lightning on Chain Bridge. Breadman was not one to care what the hell his wife did when he was at his Prince and Prowling office, nor did he want to know why she was on Chain Bridge, but he really thought she had more sense than to leave the house in the midst of a violent thunderstorm. Or had she already been out and was now on her way home? And why did she call him, anyway, instead of AAA? What did she expect him to do about it? Then there was this snowballing Koch brothers fiasco. It was bad enough that the far-left liberals had gotten hold of the guest list and audio tape from the millionaire's club June meeting in Colorado, but the story was getting dangerously close to the mainstream, and the spin was that Charles Koch had called Barak Obama "Saddam Hussein" and referred to the presidential campaign of 2012 as the "mother of all wars". (What kind of nimrod says that and does not expect a tape recording to leak out?!) The real problem was that it was not just millionaires and Glenn Beck types and Rush Limbaugh types who attended, and he didn't care if fat cat New Jersey governor Chris Christie was there, nor the obscure Florida governor, but if the mainstream media picked up on the attendance of presidential hopeful Rick Perry, this was a major problem. The Obama reelection campaign had already trumpeted the news to its base, and it was not inconceivable that the question would be raised in the next Republican presidential debate. And he had no defensive spin to offer Perry, even though a third of the millionaire's club was phoning him incessantly about the issue. It was one thing to give political consulting to businessmen who needed a wise Washington insider, but it was getting to the point where complete morons were calling him up for advice. How could he help people who were that transparent about buying an election? (Or am I old-fashioned?)

In her new partner's office nearby, Bridezilla was thrilled to have enough space for an elliptical machine and weights apparatus. Armando, her increasingly flirtatious personal trainer, would read case materials out loud to her while she exercised. If she had to be on the computer, he would use that time to massage her neck and shoulders, or crawl under her spacious desk and massage her feet and ankles. (He had started massaging her knees and quadraceps one time, but she had giggled and said he better save that for the evening session.) When she was on the phone, he set it up on speaker and led her through a series of yoga stretches. Armando fed her small snacks and protein drinks throughout the day, and she was never tired or hungry. She could bill eleven hours/day while scarcely noticing the time go by--except for days when she had to bathe and dress for a meeting, but Armando would close her door and sponge-bathe her in five minutes flat (she didn't mind his seeing her nude because he really did need to in order to evaluate her progress), and then she would throw on a silk dress, jacket, and lipstick, and be on her way. She had never felt more alive, energetic, and productive in her entire life!

Several miles to the north, real estate mogul Calico Johnson was waiting for the moment he would feel more alive and energetic--because after a thunderstorm passes, his new neighbor had said, the air is charged with negative ions that recharge our mental batteries. His gorgeous blond neighbor had told him this during his hurricane party--the one in which he had conveniently forgotten to invite anybody but her, but had stilled failed to score. (All he had to show for the hurricane was several down trees and three empty propane tanks from running his generator.) Now he was hunkered down in his neighbor's small barn, where Johnson had gently led his neighbor's pet cow to her stall at the first sound of thunder. But his lovely Potomac Manors neighbor wasn't even at home! Here he was, stuck in a barn with senior citizen Mega Moo for what could be hours, and she wasn't even home! Sometimes he felt as if he could never catch a break. Like when he paid the money for that millionaire's seminar in Colorado, and it was all about hitting people up for political contributions, and nothing was about how to increase his own wealth! Sure, the right politicians might lower his taxes, but there was no guarantee of that--they didn't tell him one single thing that would increase his own income this year! (MOOOOOO!) Johnson looked at Mega Moo, appalled. "You really do have the loudest moo on the farm, don't you?"

Back downtown, Bo was not taking the thunderstorm any better. "Bo had never had trouble with thunderstorms before," they told dog whisperer Sebastian L'Arche, "but that changed with the hurricane." Becky Hartley (who had begged L'Arche to get her screened for the White House just in case they ever needed him again) was deliriously excited to be inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, even if they were in the basement. This too shall pass, L'Arche was whispering to the Portuguese water dog, who continued to shake out his fur even though there was not a drop of water left from his morning excursion. (No, it won't, said Bo.) The dog's eyes were darting around the room, as if he had never conquered his fear of ghosts. What are the ghosts doing? whispered L'Arche. The thunder crashed again, and Bo jumped into Hartley's arms. (They talk to him all night long, while he's asleep. If I try to wake him up to warn him, he gets mad at me! If I bark at them to chase them away, the First Lady gets mad at me! What am I supposed to do?) L'Arche nodded and looked deeply into the dog's eyes. Tell me what they say to him, whispered L'Arche.

A couple miles away, John Doe was perched on the Roosevelt Island beach, screaming at the roiling water: "Tell me what you say to them!" The attire of the brain-damaged former attorney was raggedy on a good day, but looked in danger of coming off in wet pieces when the Coast Guard cutter approached.

"Do you need assistance, sir?" asked the first mate, but Marcos Vazquez could now recognize who it was and shook his head.

"I've seen this guy before--he has temporal lobe epilepsy," said Vazquez to the first mate.

"No, I don't!" said John Doe, whose temporal lobe epilepsy had led him to have super hearing. "I am an autistic mystic!" (He had been watching a lot of documentaries lately, and had decided this made more sense.) "I'm a shaman! It is my duty to free us from the evil spirits suffocating Washington!" (His helping dog Lucky Charm was lying quietly on the beach, scanning the skies for lightning; his usual job responsibility was mitigating epileptic seizures, and he didn't worry about harmless crazy talk.)

"Why don't you and your dog come inside and dry off?" said the first mate.

"Dry off?! Are you mad?! I am the one who has summoned the cleansing rain!" (Thunder boom on cue.) "Feel the power!"

"OK, buddy, I think you better come off the island now. We'll grab your canoe in a minute."

John Doe knew that when they switched from "sir" to "buddy", it usually meant he would be put back in the hospital, so he took off running into the woods, and Lucky Charm ran after him.

"Now what?" asked the first mate.

"Just leave him," said Vazquez, a Puerto Rican. "A little rain never hurt anybody." But Vazquez knew that John Doe wasn't up against only rain.

Up in the trees, the Warrior and Angela de la Paz watched the activity below and pondered Ardua's next move.

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COMING UP: 9/11 legacies.