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 ....

Monday, May 26, 2014

In Their Own Way

Luciano Talaverdi had sacrificed his entire Memorial Day weekend to tend to his sick girlfriend, Helen Yellen--and all she had was a cold!  She had run a fever for four days over the silly virus, and he was starting to doubt whether her body had the stamina to bear children.  Now she was begging him to pick up a pet listed as a giveaway on Freecycle.

"What kind of people would name their dog 'Petro Pig?'" the Federal Reserve Board economist asked.

She shrugged her shoulders.  "We could call it 'Pietro.'"

"You can't name a dog after a saint!" said the Italian.

"We could call it 'Pig,'" replied Yellen.  He looked at her dubiously, and she started to pout.  "They said it's very loving.  Don't I deserve to have some affection when I'm house-sitting for Bruce Springsteen and you're here in Washington?"

"Alright, bella!" he said.  (At least it would get him away from the sick bed and out into the sunshine!)

Several miles away, Charles Wu was basking in the sunshine at former Senator Evermore Breadman's barbecue and pool party.

Breadman--wielding the grilling fork like an épée--was in a particularly ebullient mood.  First of all, he was out of the hospital after getting shot at Bridezilla's wedding.  Secondly, Prince and Prowling had absolutely crushed Goode Peepz law firm on the Amazonian oil spill litigation--and Goode Peepz, found to be fraudulent by a bribed judge, had been ordered to pay all attorney fees for Prince and Prowling's fossil fuel client.  (The P&P billing rate immediately rose 25% after that.)  Third, his pal Wu (currently admiring his own seersucker-suited reflection in the sliding glass door) seemed to be getting back to his old self.

"So how's your mother?" Breadman asked.

"Oh, she went back to Hong Kong," Wu replied.  "I found an English nanny, and I think she's going to work out splendidly."  Mrs. Higgety-Cheshire had been, in fact, the only candidate from the nanny agency who both passed his own background check and fit all his requirements:  old, traditional, boring, content.  He would not have any more young, unstable women caring for little Delia except for Angela de la Paz--who was, in fact, currently monitoring Mrs. Higgety-Cheshire on the nanny cam, as she had been for a week, to give Wu the total assurance Angela's own sense of telepathy could not bring him.

"That was a sorry business," Breadman said, smiling because he was happy that now they had transitioned to a socially acceptable point in time in which he no longer had to mention any sympathy for the suicide of the former nanny.  "My children all had Salvadoran nannies until I became a Senator; then my wife insisted we get an English nanny.  Ironic, isn't it?  Because I think the Salvadorans were actually American."

Wu smiled at the American's curious sense of irony and took another swallow of his gin and tonic.  "Like a flag pin," he said, because he was, in fact, a wee bit drunk.  (He was going to add something about Mia's not being Salvadoran, but realized there was no point.)

Back in the city, Angela was bored with watching the nanny cam (how could anybody play patty-cake for a half-hour straight?) and turned her attention back to her sleeping son, in the Cigemeier house next to Wu's.  Delia was in good hands now:  this she knew.  Was her baby?  She knew giving him up for adoption was the right thing to do, but she also knew there were things only she could teach him.  She closed her eyes to enter his Dreamtime, then took his Dreamtime self by the hand.  It's time for you to meet your father.  They floated only an instant, and there was Major Roddy Bruce.

"Look at that handsome devil!" Ghost Roddy said.  Lucas looked at him thoughtfully.  "And smart, too!"

"Every parent says that," Angela said.

"And every grandparent, too," said Angela's mother, drawing near them.

"And every great grandparent," said Angela, smiling at the arrival of abuela.

"Precioso," cooed the ghost of Abuela.

"This is your family in the Dreamtime," said Angela to Lucas.  "You can always come to us, whenever you need us.  We're not like the Cigemeier's, but they will love you in their own way."

This was supposed to be my Dreamtime, thought Laura Moreno, sitting down for a minute at Felix Cigemeier's Prince and Prowling partner desk downtown.  Relax, unwind, get a paid holiday because I'm a staff attorney now.  She finished the hand-written note to Cigemeier, then headed back to her office--where she had been all weekend, painstakingly combing through badly imaged electronic documents which should have gone straight to a forensic accountant.  "They've been turned over for attorney eyes only," Cigemeier had said, but she knew that was a lie--Prince and Prowling wanted to bill as many hours of work on this as they could, and would postpone hiring the forensic accountants until they absolutely had to.  With the state-of-the-art underground bunker ("SOTA-BUNK") review center still under construction, and no chance of hiring contract attorneys until it was completed, and staff attorney Chloe Cleavage out on indefinite medical leave for her bullet wound, it fell to Moreno alone to label each document "Money In" or "Money Out"--as if this were a magic talisman that would find where the deadbeat had hidden his assets among his thirty different limited liability corporations and off-shore accounts.  She had tried to explain to Cigemeier that every balance sheet she looked at said money was coming in AND going out in equal measure, but, unwilling to admit he did not understand accrual accounting, Cigemeier had given her nonsensical instructions that she was desperately trying to follow.  She looked at her current document--a list of credit card expenses all listed as "deposits"--and wanted to hang her head and cry.

Over on Capitol Hill, Luciano Talaverdi arrived at a row house which had seen better days.  "I'm here about the dog," he said to the woman who answered the dog.

"It's a pig," she said, opening the door to Talaverdi.  "Its owner went off to Africa with the Peace Corps, and our schedules are all too hectic to take care of it."

"What do you mean it's a pig?"

"It's a pot-bellied pig."

"The ad said it was a dog!"

"No, it didn't," she said.  "PETRO PIG!  It's very smart--comes when it's called."

"I can't take a pig!  That's disgusting!"

"No, he's very clean--unlike the petro pigs he was named after--all those sleazy Congressmen on Capitalism Hill who suck at the teats of the fossil fuel industry, and pretend climate change doesn't exist!"  At that moment, Petro Pig trotted confidently into the front foyer and quickly entered the crate he was pointed to.  "He's very obedient and loving--we're just all too busy to take care of him.  It's so cool that Helen is taking him to Bruce Springsteen's house!"

With that, Talaverdi found the crate handle shoved into his hand.  "But--"

"I can't wait to see the photos of him at Bruce's house!  I already connected to Helen on Facebook."

Talaverdi walked out onto the front stoop, and Petro Pig immediately grunted at the feeling of heat and humidity outside.  Then Talaverdi grunted.  Then they both grunted.  Up in an oak tree, a cat bird started imitating their grunting sounds, and an annoyed Talaverdi hurried to his car.

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COMING UP:  Bridezilla's secret engagement.

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