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, April 22, 2012

Oil and Water

The men of the Heurich Society passed around Irish coffee to hearten themselves against the bitter gray skies and dreadful news out of Argentina, but it was not enough.  Henry Samuelson got up to close the velvet curtains of the upper meeting room of the Brewmaster's Castle, then sat back down.   He told the butler to bring in some candles after he was finished passing around the doughnuts, then got down to business:  "If I had still been in the CIA, we would have known Fernandez was going to nationalize the Argentine oil."

"And you would have overthrown the government?" asked the former Heurich Society chairman.

"Don't get smart with me!" hollered Samuelson.  "We all know that we have to protect our own interests.  We've got the Bush clan and neo-Nazis buying up private lands in Paraguay and Argentina to control the fresh water aquifers.  Hugo Chavez is dying in Venezuela, setting up a huge power vacuum to come.  Videla admitted that the Argentine dictatorship made thousands of political opponents disappear violently between 1976 and 1983.  And what's the U.S. government doing?  Hiring hookers in Colombia!  Who's minding the store?  Our interests have not been in this much jeopardy in South America since Allende was elected in Chile."

"Didn't you adopt your daughter in Argentina in 1980?" asked the former Heurich Society chairman.

"That is not the point," said Samuelson through clenched teeth.  "We CANNOT allow class warfare to erupt again in South America.  I propose we move Project Cinderella south of the border.  She's sick of the Middle East anyway."

Angela de la Paz (AKA Project Cinderella, among other things) had already visited Argentina once on a secret vacation, and would soon be surprised to learn she was going back.  Several miles east of the Brewmaster's Castle, she waved goodbye to the last of the Friendship Gardeners--who had sharply abridged their Earth Day activities at the National Arboretum due to the chilly rain--then followed Dr. Devi Rajatala back to the arborist's office.  "We really needed the rain," Dr. Rajatala said for the upteenth time, and Angela nodded again as she curled up in a chair and waited for Dr. Raj to make hot chocolate for her.

"I can drink coffee now," said Angela.

"Yes, you're all grown up," said Dr. Rajatala with a friendly dose of sarcasm that Angela had become accustomed to.  (Dr. Rajatala continued making hot chocolate.)

"My mom went to Seattle once.  She said the weather was just like this, and the people told her it always was.  Who could live in a place like that?"

"Every place has its own problems," said Dr. Raj.

"No sunshine?  That's unbearable," said Angela.

"They get some sunshine--how else would the trees and plants grow?"

"I suppose."  Angela was bracing for Dr. Raj to tell her again how she needed to go to college and learn stuff, but Dr. Raj just handed her the mug with a smile.

"Everything needs both water AND sun to grow strong," said Dr. Raj.

Here it comes, thought Angela.

Back on the western side of town, the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope was happy to be in his State Department office on a Sunday afternoon because he now had his best assignment in years:  plotting a USAID program to help impoverished Africans utilize newly discovered aquifers hidden under the Sahel and Sahara.  "Poverty breeds terrorism," he had heard many, many times, and some philosophers claimed that it was harsh, dry climates that bred the most fanatically violent forms of religion in the world.  I can really make a difference! he thought.  Soon they'll stop talking about the Arab spring and start talking about the Arabian springs of water gushing from the desert!

"Do you really think springs of water will start gushing from the desert?" Charles Wu asked his spy companion, a few miles north of the State Department.

"Well," said Slow Man, pausing to sip Musette sangria after a stirring rendition of "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia", "my sources tell me that speculators have already swooped in to buy a lot of those GIS-mapped properties."

"Buy them from whom?" asked Wu, who had already performed "Cowboys and Angels" as his karaoke requirement for getting intel from Slow Man.  "Who owns the deserts?"

"From whomever they can--bribed government officials, tribal leaders, sheiks, businessmen."

"And how good are those land titles?" asked Wu.

"Cheaply bought, to be sure, but if somebody actually strikes water, they'll probably generate enough cash to defend their little fiefdoms.  Cash, then guns, then little Thunder Domes all over northern Africa," said Slow Man.

"So these are a number of different buyers?" asked Wu.

"I don't have all the details," said Slow Man.  "Some Al Qaeda, some communists, some neo-Nazis, some business speculators, some arms dealers, some Somali refugees, some drug dealers."

"And do some of these land titles overlap?" asked Wu.

"Ha, ha, ha!  Now you're seeing the picture!" said Slow Man.  "Nigeria cries how it needs its $80 million national debt forgiven, then we find out that one oil state governor there pocketed at least $130 million himself!  So I ask you, is it more equitable for the people to let their governments spread the water wealth, or are they better off letting the, shall we say, private sector carve it up?"

"Equitable?" said Wu.  "What you're talking about sounds like years--maybe decades--of armed conflicts."

"I am only the messenger," said Slow Man.  "Thank God I do not have to decide these things."

Several miles to the west, Ardua of the Potomac celebrated the coldest, dreariest Earth Day she could ever have hoped for.

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