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, December 16, 2012

Control

"Don't say it again!" exclaimed Congressman Boehner.

"You have to consider it!" replied Bridezilla, dripping honey out of her mouth.

"That will never pass the Chamber!" asserted the Speaker of the House.

"It's the holidays!  And children have been murdered!" sniffed Bridezilla, whose sorority sister's niece's eulogy photo had already made the Facebook rounds.

"Don't you dare say the c-word!" protested Boehner.

"'Children?'"

"CONTROL!"

Bridezilla smoothed an imaginary wrinkle in her lap, then re-folded her hands.  She knew she only had a few more minutes at Mr. Henry's before the others arrived.  "Just a teeny-tiny bit of gun control in exchange for enormous entitlement cuts."

"NO!"

"Look, this would really be sticking it to liberals," she said, nodding at the typed paragraph he had already pushed back towards her.  "It would require mental health providers, prescribing doctors, and dispensing pharmacies to put crazy people on a DO-NOT-ARM list, just like the NO-FLY list."

"NO!  And that's sticking it to libertarians, not liberals!"

"And registered gun owners would have to be inspected to see who's living with them, and those people would have to go through the same background check as the gun purchasers."

"NO!"

"And gun shows would have to do the same background checks as brick and mortar gun shops."

"NO!"

"Right now it's easier in this country to get a gun than a dog!" said Bridezilla.  "My fiance gave me mine!"  (She didn't tell him she now kept the gun buried in a ficus tree since a distraught coworker at Prince and Prowling had grabbed the unloaded gun out of her desk, aimed it at his own head, and pulled the trigger.)

"The Constitution doesn't protect our rights to have dogs!" Boehner exclaimed.  (He was going to say something else, but wasn't sure which fiance she was referring to.)

"Sure it does!" retorted Bridezilla.  "Pursuit of happiness!  But the second amendment says 'well-regulated' militia, so it's OK to regulate it as long as you don't abridge it!"

"You're lecturing me on the 2nd amendment?!" asked Boehner, incredulously.

"Of course not!" said Bridezilla, sweetly.  "I am prepping you for the lobbying that's about to come your way."

"Ohhhhh," said Boehner, relieved.  "You're playing devil's advocate!  I get it."

Bridezilla clenched her skirt into a wrinkle.  How did this stubborn bone-head ever rise to the top of the heap?

A couple miles away, Atticus Hawk was holed away in his Justice Department office, trying to get through the heap of documents towering over his in-box.  His romantic connection to Basia Karbusky had not cost him another forfeiture of his security clearance, but it was obvious he was on some sort of unofficial damage-control watch.  Increasingly low-profile assignments were finding their way to the attorney's desk--and in huge numbers, as if somebody were trying to keep him very, very busy.  (Too busy for what?  Dating dangerous women?)  He had no doubt his phone and email accounts were all being monitored, and he didn't know whom he would have talked to about it all anyway.  (What about Bridezilla?)  He hadn't thought of her in a long time:  he knew his buddy Wince (her former fiance) had moved on a long time ago.  (She was always easy to talk to.)  He turned away from his to-do pile to work on the one thing nobody had yet asked him to do--but which he was the best-qualified to do (after the suicide of his former supervisor):  write a defensive memo concerning the Senate Intelligence Committee's report findings that CIA torture interrogations were ineffective.  (No they weren't!  His own nightmares about torture were enough to tell him that.)

Several miles to the north, Charles Wu had his own situation to get under control as he exited the taxi in front of Congressman Herrmark's house to pay an unexpected visit.  Other men might have been curious to see Herrmark's legendary Man Cave, but other men were not Chinese spies responsible for detaching a human trafficking victim from Herrmark's web.  Wu held an enormous Italian fruitcake in his left hand as he rang the bell with his right.  A minute later, a scowling Greek bodyguard opened the door and asked him what he wanted.  "Just a few minutes of the Congressman's time," said Wu, proffering the panettone.

"He's a busy man," said Costa, grabbing the cake.

"It's about two matters extremely important to him:  and they both involve, shall we say, mucked-up waters."

Costa narrowed his eyes and looked wildly around the front yard, then pulled Wu in.  "Who shall I say is calling?"

Wu ripped Costa's grip off his arm with far more force than the bodyguard had expected, prompting his twin, Nick, to step into the foyer, but Costa just handed Nick the fruitcake.

"Charles Wu, on behalf of former Senator Evermore Breadman."

Costa nodded to Nick to deliver the message to Congressman Herrmark, and Wu waited patiently in the foyer, with a smile on his mouth until being motioned to meet Herrmark in his ground floor study.

"I suppose this is about my hydrofracking rider?" asked Herrmark.

"There are rumors, Congressman," said Wu, settling comfortably into a brown leather chair and crossing his legs.  "The fiscal cliff has caused a flurry of shifting coalitions and back-door deals, and nobody can predict what's really going to end up in this sausage."  (Herrmark said nothing.)  "We know that Still Waters Run Deeper made a sizable campaign contribution to you this year, as well as providing you information--"

"So?"

"So?  That was a front organization for a group called the Heurich Society, and I'm not sure their interests correlate as closely with yours as you think they do."

"You-rich society?  Hmmm...never heard of it."

"It's a secret society--very few have," replied Wu.

"Well, all they asked me to do was take another stab at hydrofracking, which I am more than eager to do."

"The Heurich Society is secretly siphoning off the Ogallala aquifer for its own purposes."

"Well, I'll be damned!  I'll look into that," said Herrmark, who had no idea what the Ogallala aquifer is.

"That won't be necessary," said Wu.  "All you really need to know is that we all have dirty little secrets in our lives--some of them are polluted springs in our hometowns, some of them are people we kept under lock and key who, until now, have kept their stories out of the limelight."  Herrmark's face turned ashen, and he stood up unsteadily.  "This is not the right time for airing dirty laundry," continued Wu, "or exposing dirty waters.  We can't control everything:  sometimes we have to compromise in certain respects to protect other interests.  That is simply the way of the world."  Wu arose to leave, satisfied with the expression on Herrmark's face.  "Personally, I would have liked to see your rider succeed," said Wu sincerely.  "I hope next time the stars are in alignment."

With that, Wu showed himself out.   His mouth was dry, and he realized nobody had offered him a drink.  He pulled out his cellphone to call a taxi as he walked away from the house.  It would be nice to tell Breadman the matter was settled, but he didn't feel good about it.  It occurred to him that Breadman often got more out of their relationship than Wu did.  And was there really a good reason to kill the hydrofracking rider?  Breadman's clients had been up in arms about it, but they were idiots who couldn't see that the United States was on its way to losing its most precious natural resource:  clean, potable water.  And not everybody could afford a home water condensation system like Wu's.  I'm raising my daughter here, he thought.  This is her country.  He got into the taxi, wondering for the first time what his baby would think of his work when she got old enough to understand it--or would he hide it from her, like all those trolls at the Heurich Society?

Several miles to the west, the ghost of Henry Samuelson climbed aboard a CIA flight to Istanbul, desperate to get his ghost CIA deployed and engaged in the Middle East before Patriot Missiles started flying.  Damned Turks!  Everybody knows Americans only shed blood for oil in the Middle East!  We have got to get things under control!  He sneered at the living CIA people on the flight.  Amateurs!  

The mission chief shuddered, feeling Ghost Henry's phantasmal poke in his rib, then looked out the window at a flock of starlings watching the CIA plane take off.  The birds calmly turned their heads and watched the plane all the way down the runway, then flew off to report to Ardua of the Potomac.

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