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 15, 2013

Rumor Has It

"I heard she threatened to hit Cigemeier."

"You mean hit on Cigemeier?"

"No, hit him!"

"I think you're thinking of the woman who got fired from Lye, Cheit, and Steele."

"No, that was a guy, and he actually did go outside with an associate and punch him."

"Cigemeier is a partner now."

"What does that have to do with it?"

"I heard she used to work at a federal agency, and got fired there for threatening to bring in a gun."

"No, that was a guy--you can Google that because he sued the agency.  But that was almost ten years ago."

"What does that have to do with anything?"

"Well, you're either a lawyer in good standing or you're not.  Why should you be fired--"

"--escorted out by police officers!"

"--fired for something you did ten years ago?"

"I heard she sued Goode Peepz for wrongful termination.  Maybe she'll sue Prince and Prowling, too?"

Outside the state-of-the-art review center, Bridezilla stood quietly near the doorway, eavesdropping.  Contract attorneys were a vicious lot, happy to seize on others' misfortunes--if not, actually cause them--believing they would get more work by getting other people fired.  Bridezilla couldn't wait to be done with the lot of them.

She returned to her office, scratching at the skin under her cursed Rolex.  She closed the door, inspected her handgun, then leaned back with her cup of coffee.  She deserved it.  She took the Rolex off to examine her skin.  Why do I keep getting rashes there?  She examined the Rolex--which she had already had appraised, and knew to be real.  She wiped it carefully with a tissue, then put it on her right hand.  No reason to distract from my ring finger, anyway!  She admired her engagement ring--she had expected something cheap from a literature professor, but Buddy Lee Trickham had surprised her with an antique ruby and diamond ring inherited on his mother's side.  It was the Braggart's inadvertent insult to post-Gothic, neo-Bellum writers (which, naturally, included Trickham) that had put Bridezilla over the edge--leading to her hiring the private investigator to dig up dirt and discover that the Braggart had once been arrested at a political protest in New York.  You can't trust people who hide their arrest record. She rummaged through her desk for an extra sugar packet because the coffee was way too bitter.  Her Chinese was terrible anyway--Charles Wu had said so.  She slid over to her computer and tried to focus.  I never suggested the Human Resources Director call the police--that part was not my fault.

"That part was not my fault," said Charles Wu to the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope over a cup of coffee at Kafè Leopold in Georgetown.

"Relations with China were supposed to improve after you shadowed Biden's trip to Asia. Kerry's over there right now trying to make hay out of a trip to Vietnam, for God's sake!"

"It's very complicated right now," said Wu.  "China is transitioning from rebellious teen to conservative landowner.  North Korea has become a liability for them now, and everything has to be framed in terms of sovereignty and self-defense."

"Nobody in their right mind can accept that China is worried about defending itself from Japan!  That's what we're talking about here!"

"It's about defining the perimeter--for everybody."

"Admit it, Charles!  China is showboating for domestic consumption and offshore resources."

"Then why should the U.S. be worried about it?"

"Whose side are you on?"

"I'm on the side of diplomacy," smiled the well-paid triple agent from Hong Kong.  "I should have thought that would be obvious by now!"

Several miles away, Congressman John Boehner was also drinking Belgian coffee--a gift from Belga Café which Solomon Kane had brought since he had so little else to offer.  "Let me get this straight," said the Speaker of the House, adding whiskey to the coffee.  "I've been paying you $50/hour to investigate who's blackmailing me, and all you've got is a rumor?"

"It's a fairly strong rumor," said Kane.  "I've seen thinner leads than this produce results."

"I can't believe after all this time you're just telling me a rumor!" exclaimed Boehner.

"This is the smartest blackmailer I've ever seen," said Kane.  "And the important part is that I've ruled out of lot of suspects, and I think I'm getting close--he's acting nervous."

"How can you say he's acting nervous if you don't know who it is?"

"You said he hasn't made any demands recently," said Kane.

"Maybe he was out of town!" retorted the exasperated Speaker of the House.  (This was actually the truth, since Charles Wu had been in Asia for weeks.)

"Good point," said Kane.  (The truth was, he wasn't in a hurry to find Boehner's enemy because he was afraid to learn whether Boehner would then put a hit out--Kane hadn't killed anybody since he met Angela, and he knew she would smell blood on him a mile away.)

A mile away, Angela de la Paz was smelling the aromatherapy herb sachet Lynnette Wong had given her to help her sleep better, now that the baby was starting to pinch a little on Angela's lower spine.  She put it under the pillow in Mia's old room, and lay down for a nap above the Chinatown herb shop.  Her mind quickly drifted off...then began floating away.  Angela opened her eyes as the cool outside air hit her face...but it was alright, not too bad.  She looked down, uncertain how she was moving, and saw Chinatown receding quickly as she floated west, into the wind.  She saw a flock of alarmed starlings try to race past her, but she motioned to them to land, and they did.  A catbird flew near her and started screeching car alarm sounds at her, but Angela motioned for the bird to be silent.  A raven whispered in her ear, and she understood perfectly.  Now she was floating over the White House, where Regina and Ferguson looked up in amazement from the roof.  Finally, she floated over Georgetown and stopped just above Ardua of the Potomac.  "The greatest lie of the year came from you," said Angela, pointing at Ardua, who hissed her reply.  "You have fooled many, Ardua, but not all."  The raven again whispered in Angela's ear.  "The Prophecy says I will destroy you one day."  The river demon laughed nervously--she had heard rumors of the Prophecy, but Angela wasn't strong enough to kill her.  "I am learning more each day," said Angela.

You know nothing! hissed Ardua, sending a desperate surge of vile energy towards Ardua's womb--only to see it intercepted and batted away by a pink dolphin leaping out of the water.

"I'll be back," said Angela, as some of the Shackled arrived to guide her away to a safe place to sleep.

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COMING UP:
Giuliana Sunstream charges $100/head for NoMa residents to attend her lifestyle-in-style holiday party, and gets an unexpected guest.

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