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, July 29, 2012

Dick Cheney gets real?!

Washington Water Woman is still reeling in shock at Dick Cheney's maverick pronouncement that Sarah Palin was unfit to run for Vice President of the United States!  (Who knew?!)  Washington Water Woman hopes to recover sufficiently to write a longer blog post next weekend....

Friday, July 20, 2012

Serial Predators

Augustus Bush was hosting another meeting with the Bo-Oz 5G consulting team (from Booz Allen).  "The world is a rapidly changing place," said the president of International Development Machine.  "One day you're using money from a USAID participant training program to send Yemenis to the University of Missouri; the next minute, they're leading a violent terrorist group in the desert.  Is that the kind of leadership we want to be disseminating?"

"One minute the Republicans are sending arms to freedom fighters in Afghanistan; the next minute, they've labeled them Taliban terrorists, enemies of humanity," replied Fen Do Ping, prompting frowns from everybody else in the room.  "What?"

"As I was saying," said Bush (of the U.S. Virgin Islands branch of the Bush clan), "I want IDM to stay ahead of the game.  You guys have come up with some great out-of-the-box ideas, but we need at least one project in a more traditional sector, something that will stand the test of time.  They say the only sure things are death and taxes.  Well, there are some great places in the Caribbean to avoid taxes, but nobody's come up with a way to avoid death.  What can we do in the death sector?"

"Train participants to run funeral homes."

"Get USAID money to set up funeral homes in refugee camps."

"Get United Nations money to set up funeral homes on the Turkey/Syria border."

"BIGGER!" exclaimed Bush.

"Well," said Ping (a former Federal Reserve Board economist), "the only real growth industry in Africa and the Middle East is weaponry.  If we used micro-credit, we could help poor people get into arms trafficking.  Why should cartels and religious zealots have the largest market share?"

"Go on," said Bush, leaning back in his black leather armchair.

"Naturally, the big donors will shy away from chemical weapons or nuclear bombs," said Ping, "but, as we have seen in Syria, there is still huge demand for close and medium range projectiles.  We could pitch it as women empowerment."

"Women?" asked Bush.

"Traditionally underrepresented in the munitions sector," said Ping.  "Micro-credit to women in Africa and the Middle East to start their own arms manufacturing and distribution enterprises."

"I like it!" exclaimed Bush.  "We can try some pilot programs in Yemen and South Sudan, maybe Eritrea.  Egypt might even go for it, or Libya.  Draw me up a formal proposal, and we'll meet again next week!"  He stood up to shake hands, then hollered "Cigemeier!" so that Liv Cigemeier would come to his office (from wherever she was).

A few miles away, a Prince and Prowling junior partner looked up after hearing "Cigemeier!" barked in his doorway by former Senator Evermore Breadman.  (He still doesn't know my first name, does he?  I thought after I made partner, everybody would know my name!

"Yes, sir," said Cigemeier, standing up.

"Pull all the news stories on the Capital One settlement--we're having a conference call at 2 p.m. on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's first victim.  And write a memo."

"Sir--?"  (But Breadman was already walking away.)  Alright, I guess I'll just put in the memo whatever the hell I feel like writing!  Then he called his wife to ask her for her opinion on the CFPB settlement with Capital One.  (This was the sort of larkish thing he was prone to do since becoming a partner at Prince and Prowling.)  Then he heard Breadman barking at Bridezilla's doorway down the hallway--something about her being too old to run for the Young Lawyers something-or-other, and too young to run for anything else at the American Bar Association.  ("If Prince and Prowling wanted you to run for an office, we'd tell you!")  Twenty seconds later, Bridezilla was entering Cigemeier's doorway.

"Did you hear that?!" she exclaimed, shutting the door behind her.  "I'm a partner, just like him!  Who is he to tell me I can't run for Chair of the Young Women Lawyers Constitutional Forum Section of the American Bar Association?!"

"We're not just like him!" replied Cigemeier.  "Do you know how much money he has generated for this law firm?!"

"Well, we're junior partners!  Nobody can expect us to rake in that kind of money--and we need to build a name for ourselves!"

"I agree," said Cigemeier, "but in this case, maybe you should think about his advice."

"You think I'm too old for the--"

"The 'Young Lawyers' sections are for new attorneys, not people who have already made partner.  You should look at bigger committees, and get involved as treasurer or something else first," said Cigemeier.

"I can't believe it!  You, of all people!" exclaimed Bridezilla.

"What does that mean?" asked Cigemeier, indignantly.

"I thought you were different!" she exclaimed, and yanked the door open dramatically, the way Bucky had demonstrated to her.  "Well, Bucky believes in me!" she said in conclusion, tossing her hair and marching out.

"Who's Bucky?" he called after her, in vain.

Then contract attorney Laura Moreno knocked meekly on his door.  "Here's the first one," she said, handing him a thick folder flagged with post-it-notes all over it.

"And the other one?" asked Cigemeier.

"The new temp hasn't finished it yet," she said.

"How far has he gotten?" asked Cigemeier.

"Well," said Cigemeier, who knew that the temp had spent the entire morning making phone calls and doing paperwork for a client from his solo practice.

"Just do it yourself," said Cigemeier, who was exasperated that they could never find temps as good as Moreno.

Half a mile away, the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope was cleaning up the papers that had accumulated haphazardly around his office during the Huma Abedin crisis caused by Michele Bachmann.  He had never seen wagons circle so quickly or so tightly at the State Department as they did to protect that woman!  And now he knew why:  Project R.O.D.H.A.M.!  Reserve Officers Deployed to Hunt Armed Misogynists!  Clinton's secret weapon!  Her own little army!  Of course, it was a little army:  there was only so much money you could spend secretly at the State Department.  And now he was in on it!  Well, he was in the loop, anyway.  Yes, Human Abedin had some secrets!  But the funny thing was, Bachmann might have approved, had she known.  Wait a minute....  He stopped and looked at the framed photo he kept of Eva Brown on his desk (long after their break-up).  Is that what you were doing in Asia?!

A block away, Luciano Talaverdi was reading the latest security briefing for senior economists and officers of the Federal Reserve Board:  a new blog entry entitled "Serial Creditor - Serial Predator" was calling for violent overthrow of the FRB.  The blog was written by Glenn Michael Beckmann, who was now under federal surveillance.  The blog post had received 57,819 hits as of July 18th, 2 p.m.  Fifty-seven thousand people have read this, but the Post would not publish my "End of Hyperbole" op-ed!  It is no wonder people in this country are so ignorant of economics!  How many of them even know that Bernanke testified to Congress this week?  They are more interested in the TomKat divorce!  The Italian sighed and headed up to the cafeteria to drown his sorrows in soft serve ice cream.

Out in the river, Ardua of the Potomac prepared for another violent thunderstorm to wash the hapless and helpless down into her world, and smirked.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Squeeze Play

Sebastian L'Arche walked up slowly and carefully to the boa constrictor wrapped around Judge Sowell Ame's niece.  Behind him, Judge Sowell Ame was finishing up a cellphone call, only half paying attention to the examination.  The teenager was stroking the snake affectionately.  "Uncle Sowell didn't know I was bringing her for the summer--it was a surprise!" she said.  "But he had warned me that he had an occasional rat problem here, so a friend of mine gave her to me as a surprise.  She's really sweet!  And she did eat some rats in June, but lately she seems to have stopped eating, and she's acting more lethargic."

"She sleeps with it!" interjected Judge Ame, shoving the cellphone back in his pocket.  "Kids today!"

"Do you think she ate all the rats, and I need to start buying more food for her?" asked the teenager.  "I tried to give her ham, but she wouldn't eat it.  Do you think I need to buy raw rats?"

"There's no way we're bringing MORE rats into this house!" exclaimed Judge Ame.

There was a reason they called L'Arche the dog whisperer and not the snake whisperer, but he had a pretty good hunch forming.  "I'm going to sedate it so that I can examine the bowels."

"Grrrrosssss!" she said, kissing the snake.

L'Arche readied his syringe (expertly filled by Becky Hartley, who was waiting in her truck outside the Georgetown home during this job), then jammed it quickly near the snake's head before taking a quick step back.  The snake hissed and started uncoiling, and L'Arche and the judge backed quickly away from it.  "Oh, you poor thing!" exclaimed the girl, kneeling on the rug where the boa constrictor was moving slowly and erratically before finally laying her head down and passing out.

L'Arche knelt beside the snake and felt carefully down the length of its torso and into the bowels.  "It's been fasting," said L'Arche after the examination was complete.

"Why would she do that?" asked the teen.

"It wanted to empty out its bowels in preparation for eating something larger," said L'Arche.

"Oh, God!" exclaimed Judge Ame.  "There's something else in the house besides rats?"  He started looking frantically around.  "A possum in the attic?  I'm always hearing weird noises up there!"

"No, sir," said L'Arche.  "It's preparing to eat your niece."

"What?!" cried out the judge and his niece in unison.

"Its bowels are probably empty enough now," said L'Arche.  "I think it would have crushed her in her sleep and then swallowed her."

"She would never do that to me!" the girl yelled.  "You're not even a real veterinarian!"

"I'll pay you $500 to chop its head off!" exclaimed the judge.  "I've got a good butcher's knife in the kitchen."  

"No, you can't do that!" wailed the girl.

"Oh, stop being such an idiot," snapped the judge, embarrassed that this animal expert had all but accused him of reckless endangerment of his own niece.  (He was already picturing the snake with the girl trapped inside, leaving him to face the wrath of his sister flying into town from Atlanta.  And he could go to jail!)  "We're killing the snake!"

"You could possibly donate it to--"

"No, we're killing it!" hollered the judge.  "I'm going to get the knife!"  He ran out of the room, leaving his niece in tears, whimpering that "Bella" would never, ever, ever hurt anyone.

Several miles to the east, Glenn Michael Beckmann was on a killing spree of his own, a flag-killing spree.  The patriot was fed up with seeing feudal robber barons, corporate whores, and slumlords flying their own standards side-by-side with the American flag!  His current target was the BMW flag flying at the corner of New York Avenue and 14th Street.  Die foreign automobile scum!  Before the security guard inside could even put down his sandwich, Beckmann had toppled the BMW flag pole with a grappling hook and set fire to it with a blow torch.  He raced over to the Metro Center station and descended into the tunnels to make his escape, only to find a pack of people irritably waiting for the delayed Red line train.  He ran to the escalator to make his escape via Orange or Blue, but another throng of people foiled him down there.  He pushed his way angrily down the platform, waving his blowtorch menacingly at anybody who would not make way.  Then he found a pillar to lean against as he checked over his list of condemned flags:  BMW, check; Brawner, check; Clark, check; Sidley Austin, check; Sofitel, ___; Washington Post, ___ (that one could be tricky).  He was still undecided about Harry's:  it was flying a lot of foreign flags, but it was doing so in a rather shabby manner.  Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a young boy approaching the blow torch resting against his leg, and he growled at him to scram.

Further to the east, another patriot was on a mission.  U.S. Attorney Atticus Hawk put down his Wall Street Journal as U.S. Attorney Ava Kahdo Green approached his Eastern Market brunch table.  "What do the Wall Street Jackasses have to say today?" she asked playfully, sitting down for what she thought was her first date with Hawk.  

"Nothing the New York Tighty-Whities won't get around to reporting eventually," he retorted, nodding at her folded-up New York Times.

"Sorry I'm late," she said.  "Metro--"

"Yeah, yeah," Hawk said.  He was fairly recovered from his heart attack, but she could see he had not eaten much of his food.  He also sounded tense, and she was worried that her lateness had already ruined their date.  "Have a croissant," he said, and pushed the little croissant place over to her.

"Thanks," she said, and tried to smile sweetly at him, but he was looking all around at the other diners (though all far away from the table he had chosen), as well as people walking by on the sidewalk. 

"I found out about your Guantanamo pro bono work," he said, abruptly turning his gaze to her as she halted the croissant's entrance into her mouth.  "Goode Peepz law firm isn't the most discreet partner you could choose for violating your legal duties to the Justice Department."

"I haven't!" she protested, slamming down the croissant.  "I don't do any Guantanamo work for Justice!  There's no conflict of interest!"

"Come on, Ava!" said Hawk.  "Gimme a break!"

"I swore in law school I would never let being an attorney stop me from being a human being!"

"Those people are scum, and they don't deserve any help!" exclaimed Hawk.

"If they're so guilty, why can't they be tried in a court of law?" said Green.

"I'm not here to get into sophomoric debates with you!  I'm here to warn you that you'd better cut your ties before somebody else finds out!"

"Are you threatening me?" asked Green.

"I'm warning you!  The Justice Department has enough to worry about with the War on Terror, without having to worry about the loyalty of their own attorneys!"

"Is that what you spend your time worrying about:  the War on Terror?  Is that what gave you the heart attack?  Is that why your boss killed himself?  This is America! We make plenty of mistakes, but we're not supposed to be the ones that lock you up and throw away the key!  We've got our own frickin' Gulag down there!  Do you know there were nine U.S. citizens locked up down there for years?  They couldn't see their families--six of them were taken in cases of mistaken identity, for Christ's sake!"

Hawk said nothing, staring at the coffee cup he was jiggling; he had made up his mind beforehand that he would not debate the issues with her because there was too much risk of revealing state secrets.

"Christ!" she exclaimed, her pulse pounding.  "That's what you do, isn't it?  That's why you're always covering up your folders, locking your drawers, locking your office door."

"That's standard policy for national security work," he said, finally meeting her gaze.

"And having a heart attack?  How standard is that?  And suicide?"

"That's beside the point," he said.

"Not when you think being a human being is the point," she said, standing up.  "Thanks for the warning:  you're a good guy.  I'll cut ties with Goode Peepz law firm and be a good little girl at the Justice Department, OK?  Have a nice day."

Hawk watched her walk away.  Being a human being.  It was like a mantra, meme, and truism all rolled into one.  Being a human being.  Human beings have heart attacks.  Human beings commit suicide.  Being a human being.  He reached for the uneaten croissant he had tried to give to her, filled with chocolate and almonds, her favorite.  I try to be a nice guy.  He decided not to eat it, in case she changed her mind and came back.  He looked around at the other diners, who were too far away to have heard their argument, but not too far away to have seen her slam the croissant down and storm off.  They think it was a lover's quarrel, being a human being.  They don't know--after all this time, most people still don't know how hard it is to do this.  Then he realized she was the only human being who had physically touched him since he left the hospital and his new boss shook his hand.  It's like I'm the one in solitary confinement.  He resumed staring at his coffee cup"The quiet realization that something inside that was sick for a long time was now dead.  Where is that from?" 

"Brideshead Revisited," said a passing busboy (with a brand new Ph.D. in English literature), and Hawk was startled to realize he had uttered the question out loud.

Several miles to the west, Mayor Vincent Gray was sitting anxiously in the Prince and Prowling office of former Senator Evermore Breadman, trying to pull his thoughts together more elegantly before speaking them out loud.

"You've come to the right place, Mayor Gray," said Breadman, not bothering to wait for what Gray was obviously going to say.  (Breadman had voted against D.C. home rule when he was in the U.S. Senate, but that was a long time ago, and a paying client was a paying client.)  "It's not your fault that your associates made mistakes.  Politics is an ugly business, and it's hard to surround yourself with smart people in this town!  Well, actually, everybody is smart, but common sense, well that's pretty rare."

"Common decency, integrity--" Gray began, then faltered off.

"Exactly!" said Evermore (with no conviction).  "A man like you needs to get out of politics.  There's too much mud-slinging.  There are much better ways for you to serve the community, and if you follow my advice, we will navigate you there as smoothly as a toy boat in a bathtub!"

"But I want to finish my term," protested Gray.

"Hmm, well, let's examine the facts, and we'll see what's feasible, alright?  After all, you want to do what's best for the community in the short run AND the long run, and sometimes that's a tough task to balance.  And, of course, you have to take care of yourself first, because that's the way to have the freedom to serve the community."  (Breadman was serving the community by double-billing this hour to both Mayor Gray and a coalition of anonymous people who had hired him to get rid of Gray.)

Out in the river, Ardua of the Potomac wrapped herself around a few rebellious ducks and squeezed them to death for refusing to do her bidding.  Then she again sank to the river bottom to plot her next move. 

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Muy Caliente


It was so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk--or sink an airplane into the tarmac at National Airport!

But Washington Water Woman was "blissfully" trapped in air conditioning all weekend dealing with a heated-up Mexican project.  She hopes to return to blogging soon.


Sunday, July 01, 2012

Swan Dive

Charles Wu had spent the morning drawing up architectural plans for converting the fallen tree limbs in his backyard into a playhouse for Delia.  (She wasn't even walking yet, but, well, the branches were already there, so he thought he might as well do it now.)  He had let Delia rub crayons over the architectural plans, and was planning to paint the tree house exactly as she had rendered it--in splashes of pink, purple, blue, green, yellow, and red.  (They could repaint it later when she was older and had more mature aesthetic principles.)

"She went down for her nap," said Mia.

"Yes?" said the spy, looking up in anticipation after this unnecessary remark on an obvious occurrence.

"John Roberts met her a couple weeks ago," said Mia, sitting down nervously.

"What?!"

"It was Lynnette's idea," said Mia, though she knew it was a cowardly thing to say.

"What?!"

"Well, Delia is the most beautiful baby in Washington, so Lynnette knew that if Roberts saw her, he would stop to look at her."

"What?!"

"And Angela knew where he lived, so we took her in the stroller--I mean, Lynnette and I, Angela didn't know about it--we took Delia in the stroller and waited near his house, and it took a couple hours, and it's a long story, but finally he was out there looking at Delia, and Lynnette was pretending not to feel well, and--"

"What?!"

"And we pretended Delia was her baby, and they didn't have health insurance.  And Roberts was upset to find out the baby had no health insurance.  He wrote a check for $500."

"Is this a joke?!"

"No.  We also tried with Alito and Kennedy, but we never got close to them," said Mia.

Wu got up to pour himself some scotch, and downed it quickly.  "You're trying to tell me that my baby swayed John Roberts to uphold Obamacare?"

"He didn't know it was your baby," said Mia.

"That's not the point!  You're a nanny!  You can't use my baby to influence political decisions!  You can't use my baby to influence anything!"

"Well, I think it's what Delia would have wanted," said Mia, doubling down.

"Oh, do you?!  You know how easy it would be for me to have you deported?!"

"Lynnette said you would play that card eventually," said Mia, defiantly.  (Wu sat down, simultaneously stunned at how good her English had gotten and at how vastly the tables had turned in his sexist life.)  "You want me to spy for you, you want Angela to spy for you, but your baby can't?  You just think you're supposed to control every female you know, and you say that females make the best spies, and you tell me all these stories about Camisole Silk and Apricot Lily, but when Lynnette and I and Delia do something amazing that nobody believed could be done, you're just annoyed because you didn't think of it first!"  (Wu was digging his fingers into the seat cushion.)  "And Delia and I love each other, and you can't have a nanny who doesn't know your secrets, so you can't deport me."  (Mia was also digging her fingers into her seat cushions.)  "And Lynnette has to buy her own health insurance, and so do Camisole Silk and Apricot Lily, and Angela doesn't even have health insurance!"  Then Mia finally quit, exhausted.

Wu picked up a framed photo of the most beautiful baby in Washington and stared at it for a few minutes.  You were supposed to stay out of the spotlight, and out of the ugliness of this town.  He looked over at Mia, thinking about what a frightened young girl she was when he rescued her from Congressman Herrmark's bondage.  I treat her far better than he did!  I always treat women well!  But he had never thought about Lynnette's health insurance when he purchased insurance for Mia.  And Angela?  He had just assumed that the Heurich Society was taking care of her.

"I'm docking your pay for a week," he finally said, standing up.  "And don't do it again!"  With that he walked out of the room, but Mia could see his smile reflected in a mirror on the wall.

A few miles away, Marcos Vazquez entered his condo and found his wife half asleep in the mid-afternoon heat.  He took off his Coast Guard uniform and lay down beside her in his underwear on the sticky bedsheets.  "I thought we agreed that you would use the A/C when the temperature was over 95," he said, almost too tired to get the words out of his mouth, regretting that he had not retrieved some water before heading to the bedroom.

Golden Fawn smiled at him without moving, too hot to touch him.  "A lot of people have no A/C today," she said.

"And most of them live in shady suburban lots with basements under their houses--not a hundred feet up in a concrete jungle in the city," he said.

"It helps my dreamtime," she said.  "Do you remember that crazy man at the Kite Festival, who was babbling in Osage?"

"Uhhh, yeah," Vazquez said, emotionally transported to childhood heat waves in Puerto Rico, lying on the cool kitchen floor tiles with his mother.

"I finally figured it out," said Golden Fawn.  "The prophecy was about a ghost that would rise from the grave, a former CIA agent named Henry Samuelson."

"Are you sure you've got this figured out?" he asked.

"Yes!"

"Good, because I'm turning on the A/C now."  He kissed her apologetically, got up to turn on the A/C and retrieve cold water from the fridge, then headed back to bed.  "Do spooks actually get spookier after they're dead?"

"This one has," she said.

"What did he do?" asked Vazquez.

"He went back to Langley," she said.  "They had forced him into retirement, and now he's gone back."

"You're serious?" asked Vazquez.  "There's a prophecy about this guy, and he's a ghost living inside the CIA?"

"Yes," she said, and moved into his arms as she felt the air cooling around her body.

A few miles across the Potomac River, Cedric was clutching Aloysius, his teddy bear, in a hospital psychiatric ward--where he and the other residents had been forced to stay since the storm knocked out power at the Arlington group home for the mentally challenged.  "Henry Samuelson did this," he whispered to the bear, in a refined British accent modeled on Alec Guinness.  (The ghost of Henry Samuelson had, in fact, paid a brief visit to Cedric before heading over to Langley, but the ghost had only caused the freakish squalls by accident, and had no idea he was responsible for 1.3 million homes' losing electricity during the heat wave.)  "We need to get back to Mother England," whispered Cedric, who had invented a new spy identity for himself in his mind.  "The queen asked us to sneak into the Ecuadoran embassy and extract Julian Assange.  Her Majesty's Secret Service knows we are the only ones who can do it!"  (He made the teddy bear nod in agreement.)  "They haven't give you any sedatives, Aloysius, so you're going to have to make the first move."

Out in the river, Angela de la Paz was frolicking with the pink dolphins in the refreshing water, periodically taking deep dives to punch and kick Ardua of the Potomac.  She surfaced once again, near the drawbridge, just in time to see a heat-stroked and Ardua-maddened Dubious McGinty take a perfect swan dive off the bridge and into the river.