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 ....

Monday, April 22, 2013

Peace on Earth Day

Psychiatrist Ermann Esse had Justice Department lawyer Atticus Hawk on speakerphone from Guantanamo.  "My worst nightmares are coming true!"

"Please calm down, Mr. Hawk," said Dr. Esse, who had squeezed Hawk into tiny breaks in his schedule several times since Friday.  "Nothing has happened to you."

"Nothing has happened to me?!  The U.S. Senate is calling for American citizens to be labeled Enemy Combatants!  I knew this would happen!  I've been having nightmares about this for years!"

"It is perfectly normal to have nightmares about things that frighten us, but that doesn't mean they are going to come true."

"They sent me down to Guantanamo!"

"As a Justice Department Attorney, Mr. Hawk."

"They could declare me an Enemy Combatant at any time and I'll be on the other side, getting water-boarded!  I know how this works!  I wrote most of the memos!"

"And you probably also know that two U.S. Senators cannot change laws by themselves."

"I'm outside the U.S. right now!  The Army could say I'm helping the enemy on a foreign battlefield!  Oh, God, I can't take this anymore!"

"Well, perhaps you can't.  Have you thought about quitting your job?"

"Quitting my job?!  You're supposed to be helping me!"

 "There may be a fundamental disconnect between your core beliefs and the requirements of your position.  This creates a central conflict in your psyche--"

"I know that!  But if I quit my job, I'm even more vulnerable!"

"Then let's focus on the goals you need to accomplish in order to complete your mission in Guantanamo."

A couple miles from Dr. Esse's office, Liv Cigemeier was thinking about her own goals as she settled into her first day at International Development Nerds.  She knew starting on Earth Day was a good sign, and she had not felt this alive and committed in a long time!  She was a Twitterverse (international development galaxy) star with her Girl Hurl Tweets, and it was obvious that IDN was keen on pursuing some of her policy ideas.  No more unethical ideas from Bo-Oz Consulting!  No more inappropriate suggestions from Augustus Bush!  No more self-serving implementation from Momzilla!  No more corrupt coalitions and alliances to win aid contracts!  This was going to be the job she dreamed of during graduate school!

"Whoops, sorry!  That's a senior-level executive wastepaper basket.  Somebody put it in here by mistake!"  With that, the office manager picked up Liv's large wastepaper basket, plopped down a medium-sized wastepaper basket in its stead, and retreated from Liv's office as abruptly as she had entered.

"What about a recycling basket?" Liv called out after her, but it was too late.  Her new email account was not set up yet, so she started poking through her in-box to see what was there.  Hmm.  A (presumably rich) software developer from Northern Virginia--referred to only as "Jay" in this proposal--had developed a virtual reality game for poor people to play.  The game would teach them how to rise above their status, as Jay had (rising from his middle-class beginnings in India to become a very wealthy American citizen).  The game would be set up in cybercafes installed in communities vulnerable to recruitment of young men to radicalized Muslim cells.  The young men would play the game and learn about capitalist methods of advancement.  This virtual reality game had already been tested at Guantanamo, and though it was not a success there, the input from that experience had been used in the beta version tested in Pakistan with great success.  Hmm, she thought again, her brow starting to furrow.  Virtual reality?  Does that include deforestation*, earthquakes, polio?  And what about the status of women?

A couple miles to the north, Charles Wu was, in fact, addressing the status of Asian women--under the sudden and relentless questioning of his nanny, Mia.  "This is a dead-end job!" she exclaimed.  "Don't you care about my lack of education?!  Doesn't that bother you in the least?!"

Charles Wu--who had rescued Mia from a life of hidden slavery with Congressman Herrmark, dabbed a napkin on the corners of his lips and pushed his lunch plate away.  "Mia, I--"

"You didn't even offer to let me visit my family when we were in Asia!"

"You said you never wanted to go back there!  You said they sold you to human traffickers from the Marianas Islands!"

"Not all of them!  I have a sister!"

"Well, you didn't tell me you wanted to see your sister!"

"You should have known!"

Now Charles Wu could be a real S.O.B. when large amounts of cash were available, but in cash-free human interactions, he could be a real softy.  And he loved women--loved women!  It had pained him greatly to see Mia's emotional breakdown during their trip to Asia, but he had never pried into her feelings.  He was now thinking maybe he should have.  "I can see you are still dealing with a lot of fear and anger, and if you want to talk to somebody about it--"

"A fruit loop doctor?  You think I'm crazy?!"

"No!  But you might have post-traumatic stress disorder."  (Wu was sure now he would never succeed in turning her into a spy--not a reliable one, anyway).  "What if I pay for some counseling, and then if you still want to visit your sister, we'll plan another trip."

"What about my education?"

"If you give me a serious proposal about what you want to study, I'll pay for your education after Delia starts kindergarten.  But you don't even have a high school diploma, so it's going to take time." 
With that, Mia burst into tears.  Wu didn't normally embrace women he was not going to bed with, and he feared making a catastrophic blunder.  "Why don't you take the rest of the day off--go visit Lynn."  Mia nodded, then fled to her bedroom to get herself together.  Wu pulled his lunch plate back and glanced at the clock:  he might get in one more hour of work before Delia awoke from her nap and distracted him with her charm offensive the rest of the day.  I'll take her out in the jogging stroller--do a full circuit of Rock Creek Park, with a stop at the National Zoo.  With that, he tucked back into his lunch, making a mental note to reschedule his information exchange with Che Gordo and Che Flaco.

Meanwhile, militiaman and conspiracy theorist Glenn Michael Beckmann was already celebrating Earth Day in Rock Creek Park by leading the Hunter-Gatherer Society in a particularly violent assault on invasive species.  "If it came from Viet-NAM, spray it with na-PALM!  If it came from Red CHINA, DDT might be FINE-A!  If it came from Ko-REA, lots and lots of u-REA!  If it came from Cuba--oh, hell, use your machete!"

Up in the trees, the robins fled west for Virginia, while the orioles hightailed it east to Maryland--but the starlings just sat and stared in silence.

*Washington Water Woman congratulates Earth Day Pakistan for planting 50,000 trees today!



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