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, April 27, 2014

A Beautiful Day for a--

Bridezilla was smiling gleefully as the wedding photographer took another photo of her clutching her bouquet in front of the Air Force memorial.  (They had already spent four hours touring all the significant memorials and picturesque sites in the region, and were finally winding down to the actual ceremony in Alexandria.)

"What about the Masonic Temple?" suggested Bridezilla.

"I think we need to wrap it up," said Laura Moreno, the hapless staff attorney who had inadvertently become her wedding planner.  (Moreno was hopped up on nasal spray and Vaseline, but after four hours out in the morning pollen of April, her sinuses were berserk, and her patience at its limit.)  "And you'll want some photos with your maid of honor--and the flower girl before she messes up her dress."

"Oh, right," said the Prince and Prowling junior partner, regaining focus and handing her bouquet to Moreno.  "Caitlin's probably whining for Goldfish by now.  Where's the limo?"

"Catherine."

"What?"

"Your flower girl's name is Catherine."

A few miles away, Catherine was, in fact, at the church and whining for Goldfish, but her mother had tied a big apron around her neck, so there was no trouble brewing there....

A few miles to the east, however, Giuliana Sunstream looked at the GI Joe clock nervously.  "We're gonna be late for the wedding, Glenn!"  She grabbed the electrostatic duster she kept handy and made some more swipes at his entertainment center.  How does this man generate so much dust?

In his Southwest Plaza bedroom, Glenn Michael Beckmann was busy hiding weapons all over his body.  Nag, nag, nag!  He couldn't deny that having her around while he was recovering from two broken feet had been wonderful, but she was such a nag!  And constantly questioning his decorating style--which she said was not remotely as interesting as the decorating he blogged about online!  It had been pretty tough hiding the truth from her--that Beckmann's Floral Cushions was an elaborate front for Beckmann's Bad Asses, and his entire blog was written in code!  (And sometimes he forgot that, anyway, and they would get into heated debates about the relative virtues of leaded and unleaded crystal, or the relative auras of ferns and ficus trees.)  She had replaced all his heavy velvet curtains with paisley window treatments, had a 6 a.m. junk crew sneak away the snakeskin couch he had bought on eBay for $300 from Metallica's first drummer, and put cozies made out of recycled Versace sweaters on every appliance in the kitchen!  He sighed.  Well, she cooked great, was easy on the eyes, and a demon in bed!  So he had to put up with her.  Thank goodness she firmly believed in separate closets and had never found his weapons cache!

"Glenn!" hollered Sunstream, who really was demonic in the sack--because her cursed Rolex had sealed them into a most unnaturally passionate relationship.

"Coming, sweet pea!"

"Why do you look so...lumpy?  I just ironed those clothes two hours ago!"

"Nobody will be looking at me when I'm next to you, Giuliana!"

"So who's this guy we're picking up?"

"Just a client," said Beckmann.  "He's dying to see the old-money Virginia mansion they're having the reception in."  (This was a lie:  the client had hired Beckmann's Bad Asses for protection because he was worried about being attacked at the wedding.)

"Ooh!" sighed Sunstream.  "Georgian or Louis XIV furniture?"

"And here I thought you were a modern, trendy woman!"

Back at the church, Congressman John Boehner had arrived an hour early--after being deliberately mis-scheduled by his Chief of Staff in the vain hope that the Speaker of the House could use the time in productive conversation with former Senator Evermore Breadman and other partners at Prince and Prowling.  But, no, here he was trapped in an awkward conversation with his psychiatrist, Dr. Ermann Esse, terrified that somebody would overhear something that did not sound like a purely social chit chat.

"I was a little concerned about the tone of your speech yesterday," said Dr. Esse.  "I feel we may need more work on your anger issues."

"It's politics, Doc!" exclaimed Boehner.  Then he looked around nervously and lowered his voice:  "Are you a guest of the groom or the bride?"

"I am the guest of a guest," lied Dr. Esse.  "How are you doing with your resolution to read all the details in the defense appropriations rider?"

"Well, um, I'm working on it."

"And did you invite Congressman Ryan to your manhole poker party with the boys?"

"It's a man cave, Doc, not a manhole!  I did invite him, but he said he had to go to the gym.  I think he's afraid of whiskey!  And he's obsessed with his own muscles.  A man of his age!  It's embarrassing."

"Hmm.  I think I remember President Reagan bragging about his muscles, too."

"You're comparing Ryan to Reagan?  Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!"

"Oh, no.  By that logic I would have to compare you to LBJ."

Boehner screwed up his eyes in suspicion.

Then Buddy Lee Trickham arrived, with his strange posse mix of good ole boys from Mississippi, solemn professors from Georgetown University, and three literary pals from New York.  They spilled out of their stretch limo, and Trickham immediately started working the crowd still milling outside the church in the warm sunshine.  "Thank y'all for comin'! === Aunt Sookie!  Don't you look like a rainbow?! === Cigemeier and the missus!  Where's that bouncing baby boy? === Mama!  You're gonna outshine my bride in that beautiful gown! === What?  Aw, c'mon, the magnolia trees aren't that puny here!"

Gradually, the guests were persuaded to go into the church and listen to the harpist being paid $600 to play ethereal music.  (Bridezilla had insisted there would be no country music until the reception.)  Beckmann and Sunstream slid into the back of the church with "John Smith" (who had some mysterious clothing lumps of his own).  When Moreno texted Bridezilla that all the important people were there, and got the text affirmation back, she signaled the organist to begin the wedding march.  A couple minutes later, Bridezilla was at the altar, and even her psychiatrist (Dr. Esse) was starting to wonder if this was the wedding that would actually happen....

Then came everybody's favorite part:  did anybody object?  And breaths were sucked in all over the church.

"I object!" shouted lumpy "John Smith", jumping to his feet and rushing out into the center aisle.

"I object more!" shouted Wince (Bridezilla's very first fiance' from all those years ago!), and he threw down the video camera he had stolen from the real wedding photographer (currently waking up in his van with a real shiner) and strode resolutely up to Bridezilla.

"Hey!" shouted John Smith, fumbling for his lumps.

"I love you more than anybody!" shouted Wince to Bridezilla, who had turned whiter than her Donna Karan wedding gown.  (Moreno had found it secondhand on Craigslist--because of the tight budget Bridezilla's father had insisted on this time around.)  "I've always loved you!  Everything I ever did was to make the world a better place for you to live in!  Every Supreme Court opinion I ever wrote for Justice Prissy Face was to get rid of the vermin and terrorists and criminals and welfare cheats and gun haters that try to make this country a shithole!  Every time he voted for freedom and the pursuit of happiness, it was a vote for you!  Last night I saw a secret report predicting that the Keystone Pipeline won't be approved by Congress, and we'll all be shivering in the dark, so I'm sorry I haven't succeeded in making this country perfect yet, but I'll never stop trying!"

"Well, thanks for the guns, man, but she's a bitch!" shouted John Smith.  "And so are the rest of 'em!"  And with that he pulled out two handguns and started shooting at every Prince and Prowling attorney he could see.  Since more than a couple were packing heat, Smith was soon under fire himself--but Beckmann was on the job, firing at several shooters until he decided it would be better to use his combination nerve/tear gas.  He grabbed Smith and pulled him quickly towards the exit as the gas spread rapidly behind them.  (Unfortunately, since he was a professional totally focused on rescuing his client, he forgot that this girlfriend was now getting gassed.)

Up at the altar, Bridezilla was bent over Wince, who had, truth be told, jumped in front of her to take a bullet.  "Wince!  Wince!"  (Not that Trickham would not have jumped in front of her, but he was simply in shock!  And he had the slow reflexes of a tenured English professor.)  "Wince!  Wince!"

Will she really never get married? thought Dr. Esse, as the gas reached him in the second pew and he passed out.

And somewhere in the fourth pew, a staff attorney / wedding planner who had not had a day off in two weeks smiled at the cloud of gas coming her way, twitched a couple of times, then happily closed her eyes and dropped her head into the nearest lap.

Near the back of the church, a wedding crasher pulled the cursed Rolex off of the fainting Sunstream's wrist, put it on, and tried to rush for the exit before succumbing to the gas.

Outside the church, a flock of excited starlings watched John Smith's escape, then flew off to report the mayhem to Ardua of the Potomac.

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COMING UP:  Who got shot, and who got arrested?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Aaaaaaaaargh!

Washington Water Woman has worked 8 straight days in a row, with #9 queued up for tomorrow...because The Man is evil, heartless, godless, and bad at planning.  (He also lies about deadlines.)  She hopes to return to blogging later this week!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring Fever

Washington Water Woman has been sidetracked by cherry blossoms and other time-sucking horrors, but hopes to return to blogging in a week!

If you simply MUST have a D.C. horror fix this week, I suggest reading some articles from Taxpayers for Common Sense about how screwed up our fiscal policies are:  http://www.taxpayer.net/

Sunday, April 06, 2014

A New Dominion

Charles Wu was jogging home from the health club in his slowly drying swim bodysuit, unwilling to change in front of strangers.  Having prided himself all his life on a perfect body, he was horrified by the knife scar on his shoulder. It was still chilly outside, so he picked up the pace, suddenly beset with unpleasant memories of cold showers at boarding school in England.  He had lost all mental clarity, and was constantly beset by unpleasant thoughts and memories now.  But I'm still in good shape.  He accelerated even faster, pumping adrenaline to chase away the demons.  My life is a mess.  It was a horrible, horrible thought, and something he hadn't felt since he was a teenager.  The police investigation was over, Mia's death ruled a suicide, her body already flown back to her family in Asia, his mother picked up from Hong Kong on the way back after her insistence on coming to take care of granddaughter Delia, Wu's business affairs back in swing....

And yet....He tripped on a buckling sidewalk, cursed it, and began running on the Cleveland Park grassy lawns.  I never trip.  Cigemeier was asking a lot of questions about who Mia was, what was wrong with her, who was Angela, why did Angela say she wanted to give up her baby for adoption but insisted on breastfeeding and living with the boy, when was Angela actually going to give up the baby?  Wu tried to hurdle a small rhododendron, stumbled, and almost fell down.  What is wrong with me?  Thoughts of Mia haunted him endlessly.  He had been a fool to think he could train her to be a spy for him, a girl so broken.  It's not my fault!  I'm not the one that broke her!  And he knew he wasn't, and yet for the first time in his life, he felt he had failed.

Several miles to the south, former Senator Evermore Breadman was hosting a special catered brunch at Prince and Prowling to celebrate the Supreme Court victory for their client, Shaun McCutcheon.  "This is our time, and we cannot fail!" he cried, triumphantly.  (McCutcheon and several of the attorneys present applauded enthusiastically.)  "Now some people think," continued Breadman, "that there may be rich folks in this country who do not welcome this victory against the Federal Election Commission because now they no longer have a polite way to say, sorry, I can't donate to your campaign because I've already reached my legally ordained contribution limit!"  (Peals of laughter, with McCutcheon laughing hardest of all.)  "To this I say, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!"  (More laughter, and more applause.)  "There are deserving political candidates out there, and the best candidates will now get the financial support they deserve."  (Applause.)

Bridezilla sat at the far end of the conference room, discreetly busy with wedding planning on her Blackberry.  (This Supreme Court ruling was wonderful, really, but it could not have come at a worse time for her.)  Her date and fiance', Buddy Lee Trickham, was a little appalled at the speech he was hearing, and even more appalled at this Georgia Brown dish masquerading as grits.  "If my mother saw these grits--"

"Buddy Lee!" Bridezilla whispered.  "We've got bigger things to worry about!"

"Yeah, but if the Koch Brothers or Sheldon Adelson come down and start throwing millions of dollars around Mississippi elections," he whispered back, "those carpetbaggers'll be run out of town on a hogback!"

Bridezilla had already diverted about $40,000 of Koch and Adelson legal fees to paying for her wedding (because her exasperated father had declared he would only give her $5,000 for this wedding!), and the Prince and Prowling partner was starting to have panic attacks that somebody was going to catch on.  "Those are patriotic Americans!" she declared, by rote, without even lifting her head from the email she was reading from Laura Moreno--the beleaguered staff attorney tasked with finding a country music wedding band willing to use only banjos, with no fiddles.  "If this ruling had been in place in 2012, they could have gotten Mitt Romney elected!" she added.

"I thought your law firm took clients from any political party," Trickham said, suspiciously.

"Sure," said Bridezilla, pausing to clap because she heard other people clapping, "as long as the clients aren't directly against each other.  Damn!"

"What is it?"

"Laura says there's been a cave-in!"

Several floors beneath them, Laura Moreno was, in fact, running away from a cave-in.  She was (in-between planning Bridezilla's wedding) overseeing the creation of Prince and Prowling's state-of-the-art underground bunker review site (SOTA-BUNK, for short), and one of the recently dug tunnels had just caved in.

"I told you we couldn't dig past Pennsylvania Avenue!" cried the contractor.  "We've got the White House bunkers crowding us on one side, and Dupont Down Under crowding us from the other!"

"How can Dupont Down Under possibly stretch this far?" asked Moreno.

"They don't, but they send out scouting parties constantly to attack anybody even remotely approaching their borders--kinda like what Russia does."

Moreno shook her head in amazement.  She had thought becoming a staff attorney would bring stability and normalcy to her life, but things were just getting weirder and weirder.  The recently renovated state-of-the-art review center a few floors up had already been deemed not secure enough, and now Prince and Prowling was paying former CIA contractors to build an underground review bunker which contract attorneys would not even be allowed to enter without shedding all clothing and personal effects in exchange for hospital-type scrubs and a keycard to enter the under-construction Situation Room.  Internet-based databases and cloud storage would become things of the past, and Prince and Prowling would be the first law firm to take its clients' document reviews back in time to using CD-rom's.  But right now SOTA-BUNK was neither fit for mice nor men.

A few miles away, another building contractor was being wooed for a new project:  the rebuilding of the Old Dominion Boat Club in Alexandria.  Right now he was gliding past the future site, hosted by the Poseidon Auxiliary of the ODBC on one of their large sailboats.  "I don't know," he was saying nervously.  "I've heard rumors about this club."

"That's all behind us," said Ann Bishis.

"It was in litigation for decades!" the contractor replied.

"That's all behind us," repeated Bishis.

"Some people say it's cursed!" he whispered.

"I heard that, too!" exclaimed Bishis's boyfriend, a D.C. coroner.  (Bishis gave him a warning look, but he paid no heed.)  "And some people think there's a man-eating demon in this river!"  (Bishis kicked his ankle.)

"You heard that, too?" asked the contractor.

"Gentlemen!" protested the president of the Poseidon Auxiliary of the ODBC.  "Come on!  This is the 21st century!  We're just talking about building a new boat club!  It's not rocket science, and it's not the Twilight Zone!"

"Then what are those girls doing?" asked the contractor, pointing to the back of the boat, where some young, toga-wearing women were saying Greek prayers to Glaucos and Poseidon, while tossing parsley into the Potomac waters beneath them.

"It's just a traditional spring ritual," said Bishis, but the contractor was shivering in the cool breeze and insisted he had a bad feeling about it all.

Back on land, Angela de la Paz was one person who had no doubt there was a man-eating demon in the Potomac River.  She was strolling slowly around the Tidal Basin, whispering to her papoosed baby son about Ardua and how he was stronger than that old demon.  She gazed wistfully across the water at the Jefferson Memorial, a favorite spot she and Roddy had often jogged to.  Next to her, arborist Devi Rajatala walked quietly, a lot on her mind.  Several times Angela had ceased hearing her altogether, and when she would come back from these little blackouts, Angela would say something like, "I had to talk to my mom" or "I needed to visit Relisha".  Angela was retreating more and more into the place she called the World of the Spirits, and it was unclear to Dr. Rajatala whether she was really prepared to give up her son.

"Dr. Raj," Angela said, "I told the Warrior about the IPCC report on climate change--what it said about coming agriculture problems, famine, drought, disease.  He was very troubled, but he said the human race had survived the ice age, and it could survive this, too."

Dr. Rajatala looked at her in surprise, amazed that Angela was even aware the report had come out.  "The human race will survive," she said, "but that doesn't mean there won't be a lot of suffering."

"Like during the Middle Ages, with the bubonic plague?"

"Yes, times like that.  Many will die."

"The Heurich Society expects a lot more war," said Angela.

"Expects it or wants it?" asked Dr. Rajatala.  "Yes, there will be war, there will be refugees--there already are.  Many of the wars happening right now can be blamed in large part on droughts.  And droughts might tear apart the U.S., as well."

"Charles thinks," Angela began, and then she stopped.  She hadn't really talked to her boss since saving his life and going on maternity leave the same day.  He had visited with flowers and toys, of course, but they hadn't really talked...and she didn't know what he was thinking these days.

"You are a very special girl," said Dr. Rajatala, "I mean, woman, a very special woman, but right now, it's OK to just focus on the baby and get through this sad time."

"No," said Angela, kissing little Lucas.  "Everything goes together--I have to see all the parts."

Not too far beneath the surface, Ardua of the Potomac eavesdropped intently, furious that Mia's breakdown and suicide had not paralyzed her arch-enemy.  But there's much more I can do.... 

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COMING UP:  Spring Fever.