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 ....

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Plenty of work for everybody.

Charles Wu paced nervously as he spoke softly into his private satellite phone, trying to convince former Senator Evermore Breadman that he did not know where Edward Snowden was hiding in Hong Kong.  The fact is, triple agent Wu had never been detected in a lie in his entire life, but he was now in the impossible position of having to ding his own stellar reputation for knowing everybody who was anybody in Hong Kong.  "The truth is, Evermore, I have no doubt that I do have contacts in Hong Kong who know where he is, but they are undoubtedly holding out for the best offer--and it might not be money--in fact, it is probably not money they're after."  This was, in fact, half a truth, as he knew full well that Snowden was hiding out with Apricot Lily and Camisole Silk--who, for the timebeing, were being paid to protect him...but Wu wasn't the only operative from Hong Kong who had a complicated relationship between Beijing, Hong Kong, Washington, and London.  "As soon as I know anything helpful, I promise you, I will be in touch."  Wu got off the phone and released a huge sigh.  That last statement was also half a truth, since Wu had already decided that there was really no reason that any information about Snowden could be helpful to Breadman.  The real question was, will the Heurich Society send Angela de la Paz after him?  And if so, would it be a capture or kill mission?  He made up his mind to track down the girl.

Several miles to the south, former Senator Evermore Breadman hung up his private satellite phone in a huff.  Prince and Prowling had their own branch in Beijing, and Breadman had the cleverest businessman out of Hong Kong, and still, nothing!  And for the first time in a very long time, it suddenly occurred to Breadman that there might be something too big and powerful for him to get a piece of.  Am I really not as influential as I thought I was?  Is that young whipper-snapper going to have the last laugh?

Down the hall, Bridezilla didn't know anything about Edward Snowden because she had refused to follow any news stories about national security since her canceled wedding to Colonel Alexander Wolfbugler of the Defense Intelligence Agency.  (If he wanted to be married to his job, so be it!)  She was, in fact, currently tasked with handling pesky Washington Post "Metro" reporter, Perry Winkle, who was writing a lengthy piece on the recent flurry of academic articles and books exposing the glum fate of highly indebted law students working as day laborers for wealthy law firms.  "We value all the attorneys that work at Prince and Prowling," Bridezilla said, "whether they edited their school's law review, as I did, or whether they did not.  There is plenty of work for everybody willing to do it."

"Last year, said Winkle, "your firm billed over a million hours to Fortune 500 companies, but only provided 1,000 hours of pro bono service in the Washington community."

"But that's the beauty of the system!" Bridezilla said, in her sweetest Tidewater accent.  "Our contract attorneys are on hiatus so frequently that they have plenty of free time to work with those poor people with their sad little legal problems."

"But who will pay them?" asked Winkle.

"Bill Gates, Lady Gaga--people like that."

"Um, OK.  My sources tell me you have one contract attorney, Laura Moreno, who has been working here on a temporary basis since the Bush Administration.  She's never been paid for a holiday or a sick day--"

"Let me stop you right there," said Bridezilla.  "That girl never did law review.  She did moot court, for heaven's sake!  We're doing her a favor keeping her on."  She lowered her voice to a whisper.  "She'd be out on the street."

"Founding partner Wolfgang Prowling left her money in his will to start her own practice because, and I quote, 'she was the hardest-working lawyer at Prince and Prowling,' then his children contested the will--"

"The courts have spoken on that issue, sir."

"Do you think it makes sense for law students to borrow a hundred-thousand dollars to get a law degree these days?" asked Winkle.

"Certainly not!  If your parents can't afford to send you, then it's not meant to be!"

"If people stop going to law school, who will help law firms like Prince and Prowling serve their clients?  They say thousands of contract attorneys are working in D.C. firms every day."

"Oh, we'll just outsource the document reviews to India.  It's not rocket science, you know!" laughed Bridezilla.

"Isn't it true your cupcake company client fired you last week because a contract attorney coded 800 software license agreements as--"

"Goodness gracious, no!  I can't imagine where you heard that!" said Bridezilla, brushing her hair behind her ears.  "It had nothing to do with the contract attorney error, er, performance!  It was a disagreement about legal strategy--sometimes that happens."

"Well, thank you for your time," said Winkle, gulping down the remainder of his tea to get the bile washed back down his throat.

Downstairs in the workroom, Laura Moreno toiled on, despite eleven days of fever and uncooperative sinuses.  (Winkle had been unsuccessful in locating her for an interview because Prince and Prowling's human resources director had never heard of Moreno.)  She read her latest instruction note from Bridezilla--written, again, on a wedding gift thank-you note.  She got up to cough phlegm into the wastebasket, wondering when Bridezilla's next wedding would be.  Moreno had turned down three wedding proposals--all before she was 20 years old!  If only she had known then that she was peaking at 19 and it would be all downhill after that.  She used to attract Costa Rican poets, Brazilian environmentalists, Arab sheikhs--now it was drunken old men at American Bar Association conferences, trying to score a one-night stand every time a woman asked them for mentoring advice.  Finished (for now) with the phlegm, she headed over to the state-of-the-art review center to speak to Chloe Cleavage about the new database pull Bridezilla wanted.

Instead of Chloe Cleavage, she found the managing partner showing Cigemeier the latest sponsored art show hanging up on the walls.  "We get a tax deduction for sponsoring the art show," said the managing partner, "because all the proceeds will go to your wife's charity, International Development Nerds--minus a small administrative fee." 

"Administrative fee?" asked Cigemeier.

"Well, we have to kick out the contract attorneys on Friday night to host the art auction fundraiser, so we deduct the lost billables as an expense."

"Really?  Huh.  We don't even have any contract attorneys in here right now."

"Um, there's a few--around here somewhere." said the managing partner.  "We're very excited to be partnering with your wife's charity on this!  Personally, I'm really looking forward to meeting Bill Gates."

"Bill Gates isn't on their board."  ("What?!")  "No."

"Well, at least Lady Gaga is coming!" said the managing partner.  "I'm sure she'll spend big money--she's very excited about the Girl Hurl lobbying on Capitol Hill today!"

"That's actually Girls Up--a different campaign."  ("What?!")

"I think Girl Hurl will be lobbying next week," said Cigemeier, who suddenly noticed a green-looking Laura Moreno standing in the doorway.  "Can we help you?"

Several miles to the north, Charles Wu located Angela de la Paz in Meridian Hill Park, trying to walk across a tightrope set up for practice by erstwhile circus performers.  He watched her fall off it three times, then cleared his throat to gain her attention.  She walked sulkily over to him, and they sat down on a park bench.  "It's not fair," she said.  "I have no balance because my left ovary was replaced by a cyst."

"What?" asked a startled Wu.

"Never mind," said Angela, instantly regretting showing the spy any sign of weakness.

Wu breathed deeply, now certain the young girl was not heading off on any Heurich Society missions any time soon.  "Did you talk to Lynnette about it?" he asked.

"Yeah--she gave me some Chinese herbs."

"She knows what she's doing," said Wu.

"I still don't have any balance!"

"Give it some time," he said.  "You can't rebalance your chi overnight."

"You know where Snowden is, don't you?" asked Angela.  "I'm supposed to spy it out of you, but I really don't see the point."

"Exactly!" said Wu.  "There's no point, but you can tell the Heurich Society that I went to England to escape the pressure--that will cheer them up."

"Are you?"  she asked.

"Yes," Wu said, having just decided the matter.  "I'm going to England tomorrow.  In fact, I need to bring the baby by to see Lynnette before we go--why don't you come with me--we'll have some tea."

So Angela walked off with Wu, who could never mentor her to be what he wanted, but that was alright.

In the trees, a catbird began repeating the sounds of the Sunday drum circle, and a flock of starlings flew off to report on the spies to Ardua of the Potomac--who didn't need phone records to know what was going on.

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