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, November 24, 2013

The Ghosts of Thanksgiving Past

The Shackled were floating over Georgetown Waterfront Park, immune to the icy wind blasts making mere mortals shiver below them and bend over in agony as they scurried on to their next destination.  It had been two centuries since Ardua of the Potomac had claimed the lives of the Shackled before they were to be hauled onto the docks and auctioned off to the genteel farmers and merchants of the growing metropolitan region.  But Ardua was still killing the weakest and most vulnerable, while seeking to enslave the stronger and more dangerous.  The Shackled had been preparing their Thanksgiving 2013 vision for a long time--each ghost with his or her own list of key human beings to visit with dire warnings about where their lives were heading if they did not learn from their past and reclaim their future.  It was always hard to get the living to notice them, but the Shackled believed that the mortals were more susceptible to feeling ethereal disturbances, seeing changing auras, and hearing otherworldly voices during the magical times known as "the holidays".  The leader of the Shackled gave them final words of encouragement and a blessing, and they spread quickly to the four winds.

"Do you think anybody's coming?" asked Melinda, recently switched to a new drug which eliminated many of the symptoms that had brought her to the Arlington group home for the mentally challenged...by knocking out half her brain function.

"I thought your sister was coming to get you for Thanksgiving?" countered a resentful Buckner, who was cutting and pasting celebrity headshots from magazines onto the pilgrim costumes which Theresa had made from colored construction paper and maple leaves.

"I have a sister?"

"I'm your sister," said Theresa, whose real sister had committed suicide as a teenager.

"No, you are housemates and friends," said social worker Hue Nguyen, walking in from the kitchen.  She stopped to look over Larry's shoulder to see if he had found another unblocked porn site on the house computer.  (He was, in fact, reading Giuliana Sunstream's NOMA lifestyle blog, because some of her recent selfies involved tight sweaters.)  "Is that a dog?" asked Nguyen, looking at a photo of a mysterious turkey-like creature.

"That's Vegas, her Maltese toy," said Larry.  "She dressed it up as the White House dog dressed up as a turkey."

"Sunny or Bo?" asked Theresa, eyeing Millie, the enormous brown dog slowly inching away from her and her glue gun.

"Sunny and Bo, sitting in a tree," said Freddy Ritchings (AKA Brother Divine of the International Peace Movement), "k-i-s-s-i-n-g."

"That's incest," said Larry, who knew too much about the subject.

"No, it's not," said Nguyen.  "Those dogs were adopted as pets.  Who wants to help me decorate the pie before Dr. Schwartz arrives?"

"I need to get on the computer!" shouted Cedric.  "This is not Thanksgiving!  I can prove it!"

"We're having turkey today with Dr. Schwartz because many of us will be visiting family on Thursday.  Today is a time to give thanks for all the good things in our life here, including Dr. Schwartz."

"He's a Swedenborgian!" shouted Cedric.  "I can prove it!  C'mon--it's my turn!"  (Cedric had recently formed a theory that Dr. Schwartz was responsible for bringing Henry Samuelson back from the grave.)  "The Swedenborgians made a deal with Iran!  The entire balance of power has shifted away from the Saudis now!"

"Well, that's a bit dramatic," said Buckner, and Theresa nodded, rolling her eyes.

"We had Swedish cookies," said Melinda, closing her eyes.  "Scooter Libby was there."  (This was true.)

"The Swedish are not selfish," said Brother Divine.  "The cookies are not Wookies.  Scooter went to jail because the CIA secret did fail!"

"See, he knows what I'm talking about!" exclaimed Cedric.

"Cedric, why don't we start with you?" said Nguyen.  "I can think of at least one thing you have to be thankful for--can you?"  (Nguyen was tapping her wrist, in reference to the watch Cedric was sporting on his left arm.)  "Didn't somebody send you a birthday gift recently?"

"The Bloodsucker sent it to me!" wailed Cedric (referring to Condoleezza Rice--who had, in fact, sent it to him).  "It's not a gift--it's a bug, and she listens to me all the time to see if Ghost Henry is talking to me!"  (This was half true.)

"It's so shiny," said Melinda, "like...like...like--"

"Shiny and whiny, the sardines were briny!" said Brother Divine.  "Salty and malty, the crackers were paltry!  Happy and snappy, our parents were crappy!  Drunk as a skunk, they made Thanksgiving stunk!"

"Alright," said the social worker, "I'll go first.  I'm thankful for the baby panda that we got to visit at the zoo this week."

The room was silent as the mentally challenged reflected on the momentous event and tried to understand how it was a blessing in their lives.

"I am the Ghost of Thanksgiving Past!" intoned a member of the Shackled, floating into the room, but nobody looked up at her except Millie.  Are you looking for Congressman Barton next door? whispered Millie.

"I am the Ghost of Thanksgiving Past!" intoned another member of the Shackled, floating into Congressman John Boehner's bedroom.

"Packing for a flight," said the Speaker of the House, who was drunk as a skunk.  "In a big hurry--limo on the way."

"You can see me?" cried the delighted ghost.

"Yessiree!  Can you go in the john and pack my razor?"

"Do you remember when your grandmother had the stroke and--"

"Seriously, guy, in a big hurry.  Can't wait to get back to Ohio!"  (The ghost sensed sarcasm, possibly despair, in the Speaker's voice.)  "Pretty sure my nephew's bringin' a boy toy and tellin' us he's gay!"

"I am the Ghost of Thanksgiving Past!" intoned another member of the Shackled, floating into the car of Henrietta ("Button") Samuelson, who changed the radio station in confusion.  Her open house was finished, and the realtor (and Chair of the Heurich Society!) was on her way to Solomon Kane's apartment, where a pregnant and oddly domestic Angela de la Paz had already begun a week's worth of cooking, shopping, and decorating.  "You must not listen to your father--he is an angry and dangerous ghost!  I want you to think back to when your mother was alive."  Button shivered and looked around for the source of the voice, certain someone in the Heurich Society had planted a tape recording in the car to make her think she was going crazy.  "You were ten years old, and it was the first time--"  Button jumped out of the car, locked it up, and hailed a taxi.

"I am the Ghost of Thanksgiving Past!" intoned another member of the Shackled, floating into the home study of Charles Wu, who looked up in surprise.

"Don't you think I'm a little new to this country to be haunted by the Ghost of Thanksgiving Past?" queried an amused Wu.

"You can see me?" asked the excited ghost.

"My mother taught me all about ghosts in Hong Kong," said Wu.  "You're the first one I've seen since I was a child."

"That means your heart is open to the invisible world," nodded the enthusiastic ghost.

"I've been working on my chi," said Wu.  "Nobody ever had more chi than I did, until Angela de la Paz."

"You are jealous of her chi?  You are wasting your own chi on a dangerous path."

"Me?!  Have you seen the stunts she's been pulling for the Heurich Society?!"

"Her chi strengthens her to fight demons--she is the chosen one!"

"Are we talking about the same person?"

"Yes--there is much you still do not understand."

"I am the Ghost of Thanksgiving Past!" intoned another member of the Shackled, floating into the attic of the White House East Wing.  Ghost Dennis looked up in surprise.  "You are failing the President of the United States!"

"This is not an easy task!" retorted Ghost Dennis.  "First of all, I can barely find a minute alone with him to whisper in his ear!  Lately all I've got is his time in the shower, and then he starts singin' Beatles songs or the latest Lady Gaga hit Malia's been walking around singin' so he can't hear what I'm sayin'!"

"Do you remember your first Thanksgiving with President Obama?"

"Um--"

"I'm here to remind you what's important--there is too much at stake!"

"I know, I know," sighed Ghost Dennis.

"And do something about those kids!"  (Ghost Dennis looked in the corner at the ghosts of Regina and Ferguson, who had been listening carefully the whole time.)  "They need to grow up--you gonna let them make mischief like three-year-olds forever?"

Out in the Potomac, Ardua waited alone for the Shackled to return from their Grand Mission, the frigid water keeping away even her most loyal rats and birds.  Like most Americans, she had a love-hate relationship with the holidays, and knew the next five weeks could bring peace and love...or something else more to her liking.

*************
COMING UP:  Why Glenn Michael Beckmann will not be becoming a mall Santa.

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