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 ....

Friday, November 16, 2012

Quicksand

Angela de la Paz was anxiously pushing french fries around her plate during her last lunch with Major Roddy Bruce before his deployment.  They were both heading to the Middle East, but since neither of them could say that, they didn't know.

"If you're a military attaché to the Australian Embassy, why are you going on a mission?" she asked him.

"I've been getting a lot of U.S. and NATO security briefings during my time here," he said.  "Now they have a mission for me."

"When will you be back, Roddy?"

"Dunno," Bruce said.  "Don't worry, Angela!  I'm good at what I do."

"I'm heading to Israel," she said impulsively.

"WHAT?!  I thought you were still in training!"  (She had told him she was training with the FBI.)

"I finished training a long time ago," she said.  "I started really young."

"What the hell are you talkin' about?"

"I don't work for the FBI.  I work for a...."  She hesitated and ate some french fries to procrastinate.

"You're only 18!" he exclaimed.

"I've been going on missions for a couple years already."

"Goin' on missions!  For who?"  (She wanted to say "I can't tell you," but she couldn't think of any good reason not to tell him, so she went back to pushing her french fries around.)  "Look, I know there are a lot of secrets in this town, and there are things I'm not supposed to tell either, but you're only 18, Angela!  What the Hell?!"

"You think I'm making this up?" she asked.

"No, of course not!  Crikey, the first time I saw you, you were taking out muggers in a Columbia Heights alley like Buffy the Bloody Vampire Slayer!  You're CIA?" he whispered.

"My mentor was retired from the CIA.  He was in this organization of powerful people with money who like to push their own buttons."

"Was?"

"He's dead now."  (She wanted to tell him that Henry Samuelson may have come back as a ghost, but she wasn't entirely sure about that yet. )  "His daughter is in charge, but I don't think she has much support.  They're always arguing about what our missions should be.  This mission to Israel is stupid.  Half the time I just take the jet ride and then do whatever I want after I get there.  Other people have tried to recruit me.  It's confusing, Roddy."

"Well, that's an understatement," said Bruce.  "Jesus Christ.  You're only 18!"

"Will you stop saying that?!  I'm not a baby!" said Angela.

"I know, but...crikey.  If you're going on missions, you should at least have more faith in the people you're working for."

"That's why I mostly work for myself," she said.

"I'm going to Israel, too," Bruce said impulsively.  He had been dreading for a long time being sent on a Middle East mission, and now he was experiencing a flood of confusing emotions about finding out she was flying into the combat zone herself.  Mostly, he was no longer thinking about the danger to himself:  he wanted to protect her.  "Petraeus is out, the CIA is screwed up, Israel is shelling Syria, Hamas just shot a rocket at Jerusalem:  the shit is hitting the holy land fan right now, and it's a bloody mess."  He picked up both her hands in his.  "We can meet when we're over there, alright?  Don't do anything until you talk to me--please."

It's gonna be crowded when we get there, she thought to herself.

You have no idea, thought the ghost of Henry Samuelson, who had been observing this lunch date with great interest.  He flitted back to the table where John Doe was eating his lunch.

"Well?" said John Doe, looking up.

"I told you not to talk to me in public!" scolded Ghost Henry.  "People will think you're crazy."

"I'm an autistic shaman mystic--it's OK for people to see me talking to--"

"Shut up!  Shut up and listen!"  Ghost Henry had recently returned from the Middle East after his semi-successful attempt at creating a ghost CIA, a week before the ouster of David Petraeus.  "This Benghazi thing has the State Department hog-tied, the CIA is persona non grata, we need to proceed with caution.  I don't like my girl hooking up with this Aussie commando!"

"You want to have a ghostmance with her?  Ew!"

"Of course not, and shut up!  She's apt to go rogue at any moment!  Most of the time, it's harmless--well, I mean, plenty of people end up harmed, but the overall effect is harmless."  (John Doe nodded agreeably because he was eating pie.)  "There are too many variables in motion right now.  I need you to talk to her after the Crocodile Hunter scrams."

A couple miles to the west, Charles Wu was whisked into a limo with Hillary Clinton for a quick update on Project R.O.D.H.A.M.'s current operations in the Middle East.  "Madam Secretary, we have a dozen agents out of Egypt and into Israel."  (She quoted a Biblical passage, and he nodded without comprehension.)  "With all due respect, I want to be certain I understand your goals there:  this would represent an enormous shift in their mission."

"Temporary, I hope, Charles," sighed Clinton.  "Israel just mobilized 75,000 troops, and all bets are off right now."  (This time he nodded with full comprehension.)  "I'm counting on you for intelligence."  (He nodded again.)  "What about the girl?"

"My source says she's flying to Israel tonight.  Silk and Lily will try to make contact tomorrow."

"What's the Heurich Society want her to do?"

"She won't do it--she'll change her mind as soon as she takes in the lay of the land, as she usually does. But there is another complication."  (Clinton raised an eyebrow.)  "She's been seeing an Australian military attaché."

"And?"

"Well...."  He chuckled, unable to articulate the point in a serious tone.  "She seems rather...happy."

"Happy?!"

"We might not see the rage machine we usually see," said Wu.

Clinton burst out laughing.  "Charles, you have a lot left to learn about women!"

"No doubt, Madam Secretary."

A few blocks away, Dr. Khalid Mohammed was in the George Washington University emergency room, stitching up the first official holiday casualty of the season--a girl who had not reacted well to her boyfriend's move to dump her, and had gotten slammed through a window to end the argument.  He finished the suture, checked the girl's vital signs, then left her in the capable hands of nurse Consuela Arroyo.  After verifying that the admissions area was quiet for the moment, he went to a quiet place to check his cellphone for news out of Jordan:  nothing...yet.  He read the emails from his family, then flipped through a few more news feeds.  The U.S. was slated to send a huge shipment of military aircraft to Jordan--planes that had, alas, not even been built yet.  (Things were deteriorating more rapidly than anyone had imagined.)  He closed his eyes, visualizing his cousin's description of the refugee camps in Jordan and the current situation on the West Bank.  Since the beginning of the year, three Syrian doctors he knew had left the U.S. for Turkey to treat Syrian refugees and rebel fighters, and he wondered if (when?) he would end up back in Jordan.  He mended (or tried to mend) dying people everyday:  would there really be a reason for him to go?

Out in the river, Ardua of the Potomac was thinking about never letting a good crisis go to waste--and dispatched another family of infected ducks to McLean to quack at the spooked spooks.

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