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 28, 2013

Washington, a hotbed of revolution.

Bridezilla sipped a mimosa and twirled her hair flirtatiously as her new boyfriend opined about minimalist, post-Gothic, neo-Bellum literature in the South.  He is so smart, she thought, taking her eyes off him only long enough to accurately and delicately spear a new potato on her Clyde's brunch plate.  And it was true!  Buddy Lee Trickham was a genius English professor at Georgetown University--a former Rhodes scholar, recipient of a MacArthur Genius Award--the whole kit and caboodle.  And she admired him all the more for it because he had risen from humble roots as the son of a used car salesman in Mississippi!

"Do you understand what I mean?" he asked.  (She nodded convincingly, even though she didn't.)  "It's the end of inventory lists as novels."

"Inventory?" she blurted out before she could check herself.  (Oh, no!  He's gonna think I'm a moron!)

"Here, listen to this," Trickham said, pulling out his e-reader.  "This is my favorite example, from a novel two years ago.  'Katherine entered the tool shed looking for a trace of her missing husband.  Rusty clippers sat on the tool bench next to the WD-40 and a chamois.  A spilled jar of nails incongruously next to an unspilled jar of screws.  Rakes and hoes and snow shovels against one wall.  Three lawnmowers against two more walls--one working, two broken.  A table covered with bags of mulch, lime, azalea feed, hummingbird feed, and seed packets.  She sighed deeply and left.'  What the Hell is that?!" he concluded, putting down the e-reader.  "It's an inventory list for a tool shed!  And it's the same list anybody could have for their tool shed!  It's entirely ordinary and pointless!  Then she goes to his favorite bar in town to look for him, and we get an inventory list of the people and furniture at the bar.  Then she goes to look for him at the shooting range, and we get an inventory list of people and guns at the shooting range--not to mention the shrubs!  You see how ridiculous this is?  Whoever is publishing these inventory lists as literature should be shot!"

Bridezilla giggled nervously.  "You're very passionate about it!" she said.  (Bridezilla had not read a novel since the summer before she went to law school--law school had destroyed her love of reading.)

Professor Trickham pulled up the e-reader again.  "This is how I rewrote it in minimalist, post-Gothic, neo-Bellum:  'Katherine checked the tool shed for signs of her missing husband, then did the same at his favorite bar and shooting range.  She was almost out of gas, and still no sign of him, so she followed the mockingbird to the Circle K.'  You see what's happening now?"  (Bridezilla nodded convincingly, even though she didn't.)  "Circle K is post-Gothic.  Mockingbird as spirit guide is neo-Bellum.  Minimally, we have arrived at exactly where Katherine needs to be:  the future reinventing the past."

"Does she find her husband?"

"Precisely!  You're dying to know, aren't you?  But nobody can read through the inventory lists of the tool shed and the bar and the shooting range long enough to find out because they stopped caring three pages ago.  It's like making somebody read eight pages out of a Sears catalog before you tell them their order has shipped."  (She nodded again.)  "With my version, you're dying to know!  Some are calling it the Hemingway-Faulkner Fusion, but it's much more than that.  It's a revolution!  People are wasting too much time reading inventory lists, instead of reading literature that makes them think!"

"I couldn't agree more!" said Bridezilla.  (And she was ashamed that she had once dated a law professor who spent half his life worrying about footnotes.)

"Do you want to hear my minimalist, post-Gothic, neo-Bellum name for our local football team?" he whispered, with a twinkle in his eye.  (She nodded, smiling, and leaned across the table towards him.)  "The Washington Blackskins.  Get it?  Another revolution--make people think!"

A few miles to the east, Charles Wu was discussing his latest revolution with The Tarantula over okra stew and walnut date bread at Heritage India.  "There's no demand to give him," Wu said.

"I don't understand," said The Tarantula after a spot of Kingfisher beer.  "I hacked into Congressman Boehner's phone records, I did the drop at his office--I mean, he must be scared shitless!  He knows he's being blackmailed, so what's the deal?"

"Nobody's being blackmailed," said Wu with a mischievous smile.  "It's just an exercise to make Boehner think."

"Think he's being blackmailed?" asked The Tarantula.  "Or think the NSA is holding an axe over his head?"

"Think about who might be disturbed were they to find out about his associations and activities--think about trying a little harder to make friends instead of enemies.  If you don't know who your enemies are, you try to make friends with everybody, right?"

"But that's impossible," said The Tarantula, "especially in this town."

"Every revolution is until it succeeds," said Wu, who in truth, only needed Boehner to make nice on a couple of issues, but loved the idea of endless possibilities.

Five-hundred feet below them, the denizens of Dupont Down Under were listening to Fearless Leader tell them about his own vision of revolution.  "If we build it, they will come!" he hollered, and there was a smattering of polite applause.  "An amusement park!"  (A little more clapping.)  "With roller coasters!"  (Some whoops.)  "We will charge admission to our amusement park under the Metro station!"  (Thunderous applause and cheering which lasted for a couple minutes.)  "It will be a magic place, where the further down you go, the more fun it is!"  (Silent nodding with smiles and glazed eyes.)  "Are you ready to start digging?  Follow me!"  ("Digging?")  "Yes, of course!  We have to dig out some more space down here before we build the roller coasters."

"You said it was a vision," whined an overly pale teenager who had only been living in Dupont Down Under since he lost his job at Fatty's Tattoo Parlor.  "We thought you were going to build it with psychic powers."

"Well, if I build it with psychic powers, the people will only pay with psychic money!  Do I really have to explain this to y'all?"

The river rats understood it perfectly, and were relieved to see that the lazy and uninspired humans would end up changing nothing, after all.  The humans would continue to wander around these Dupont Down Under mazes in the endless, sadistic experiment run by Ardua of the Potomac, and life would remain bittersweet, as the river rats liked it.

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