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 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.

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