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, June 16, 2012

If you can speak, you can shout.

Ghost Dennis was in an attic room of the White House East Wing, arguing with some of the other White House ghosts.

"One minute, he's going all Rambo, dropping drone missiles God-knows-where, killing whomever he wants to kill, and the next minute he's hosting a gay rights tea party!  What kind of President is this, anyway?"

"Well, you made him do the drone strikes!"

"It wasn't me!  I've been trying to talk him into bombing Syria."

"Who made him do the gay rights tea party?"

"It wasn't me!"

"Who talked him into that immigration executive order?!  Was it you, Matilda?"

There were a few of The Shackled visiting, and one of them asked the White House ghosts to be silent.  "You need to stop squabbling!  Your time to pass into the light is long gone, and if you're going to hang around here, you need to use your power for good--and you can accomplish a lot more if you work together!"

"Us?!" said Ghost Dennis.  "It's all about Citizens United now.  How can we speak louder than corporate donations?"

Across the street, former Senator Evermore Breadman had a thornier problem:  how many corporate donations could he supervise without cannibalizing his clients' influence?  It wasn't conflict of interest, per se, but in a world where political candidates had begun creating their own cable television networks, the din of competing voices could become much louder than even he had anticipated.  Then he heard actual voices, shouting and becoming louder, and got up to look outside his Prince and Prowling window. Down on the sidewalk, Glenn Michael Beckmann was in a shouting match with a gay couple who had taken umbrage with his t-shirt's depiction of a gay rainbow's being torn apart by lightning bolts hurled down by an angry god figure in the sky.  Of course, Breadman could not make out any of the shouted words, and judged their importance by the posture of the White House guards looking on from across the street.  Ehhh.  He returned to his desk.

A few miles to the west, the Seekers meeting was also focused on gay rights counter-attacks, particularly the most recent bomb exploded by the Vatican--the missile aimed at U.S. nuns.

"I always liked nuns," said the Rabbi.  "I wish we could have nuns!"

"Yes, we are also lucky to have nuns," said the Buddhist monk.

"You only have nuns because they aren't allowed to be priests," said the Southern Methodist minister to the Jesuit.

"You wouldn't have anybody if the Southern Baptists allowed more drinking!" retorted the Jesuit.

"Gentlemen!" said the Quaker, a woman.  "We are here to seek the truth!  There is no point in coming here if you are just going to repeat stock phrases like wind-up dolls."

The Muslim imam did not know what a wind-up doll was, but he didn't like the sound of it.  "We do not have nuns, either.  Your nuns are social workers, nurses, teachers, activists.  This is all well and good, but should they not also follow their Holy Father?"

"Their Holy Father in Heaven or their Holy Father in Rome?" asked the Hindu.

"God speaks through his prophets," said the Muslim imam.

"But a prophet can also be a woman," said the Quaker.

A few miles to the north, Charles Wu was sipping a gin and tonic in his backyard and also thinking about the potential power of certain females--more specifically, the names listed on the notepad balanced on his knee.  He glanced over again at baby Delia sitting in her little splash pool under the watchful eyes of Mia, and, as if a psychic bond joined her to her father, she immediately looked up to meet his gaze, smile, and giggle at him.  When she had resumed her splashing, he looked down again at the list--which now had six of the fifteen names crossed out.  Why don't I know anybody suitable to be a fake wife?  The spy was annoyed that his superior intellect was incapable of rising to the simple task he had set for himself:  host a Washington dinner party.  The spy operations at his apartment/office were too delicate to compromise, and based on what he had read in the Washington Post magazine article about Washington dinner parties, renting a room in a restaurant was really not the same thing at all as having important people come into your own home and rub elbows with other important people:  you needed simultaneously to show off through material possessions your wealth and exquisite good taste, as well as your charming spouse.  Even if he threw a dinner party as a single man, how could he hide all the Delia influences in this house?  It was impossible.  But selecting someone to pretend to be his wife did not just involve casting a woman with a plausible genetic resemblance to Delia, but a woman who could play the exact role he wanted her to play--and he had not been to enough Washington dinner parties to be certain how he wanted to script it.  He crossed two more names off the list and looked over at Delia again--who promptly looked up and smiled at him.  When she had returned to splashing, he crumpled up the list and gave up on the idea of hosting his own Washington dinner party--it was clearly a line he could not cross.  Have I reached the limits of how far my influence can extend in this place?

A couple miles to the south, "Metro" reporter Perry Winkle was working hard at his Washington Post desk, refusing to be distracted by another beautiful day in June.  A disturbing and yet insightful dream had awoken him with a fresh belief that there was a way he could weave together the bits and pieces of stories he had been piling up for years--that and the latest byline by Woodward and Bernstein, which had prompted two dozen other reporters to make unexpected visits to the office this weekend.  "I'm an energy voter."  "I'm a person who takes money from oil companies to say I'm an energy voter."  Seven-million French letters of denunciation against Jews sent to Vichy officials during World War II'; French immigrants to Washington after the war.  Anonymous Shell Corporation.  A Washingtonian's self-identity is always aspiration, not reality.  Luciano Talaverdi's letter to the editor rejected by the Washington Post:  "The End of Hyperbole".  When you're coasting, the arrow on the cartoon goes backwards:  symbolism of the Toyota Prius.  "Shear Madness".  Winkle sighed and rearranged the note cards on his desk again and again, trying to get them into a pattern that, well, looked like a pattern.  It made sense when I woke up--the dream I was having--it was all coming together.  It was no use:  the only thing that could bring all these little stories together was Ardua of the Potomac, and he still didn't have the balls to write about her.  He gathered his notecards together and returned them to the Ziploc bag he kept them in--like precious evidence gathered at the scene of the crime.  He knew what he had to do:  track down the other witnesses to the zombie beheading.  They have to be somewhere in this town.

A few miles away, pigeons pecked for pizza crumbs amongst the cigarette butts leftover from a festive night on U Street, as another new Washingtonian made her way to Teaching for Social Change to find some books that would change her life.  From a scraggly tree branch above her, a catbird defecated on the young woman's shoulder, then began an imitation of a funk fusion song it had heard the night before.

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