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, June 29, 2014

In drones we trust.

"We paid how much money to Bill Clinton to speak at the partners' retreat?" Former Senator Evermore Breadman shouted at the managing partner of Prince and Prowling.

"Senator, this was all settled in the partners' meeting months ago--I can't help it if you weren't there and never read the memo."

"We had to fly all the way to Canada, for God's sake, and then we paid for Bill Clinton, of all people?  What are we, the law firm supporting Hillary Clinton now?"

"You're the one who's always telling us we can make money on both sides of the aisle," retorted the managing partner.  "Most of the partners were quite happy with the retreat, especially the junior partners."

"Because they're too young to remember when he was Bubba!"

"Did you see the photo they took of themselves in the Space Needle?  Toronto was a lot of fun."

"Montreal is a lot of fun!  Toronto is useless!"

"Well, that's a bit harsh, Senator, but if you really think the partners' retreat was so bad, I look forward to your serving on the retreat committee next winter.  I only drove in here because you said there was an emergency with SOTA-BUNK."

"The bunker has settled more deeply into the foundation, and my office window view is all screwed up now--look!"  Breadman pointed at his Pennsylvania Avenue view, which did look a bit crooked.

"Oh, my God!  Our building is sinking?!"  With that, the managing partner ran off to evacuate the contract attorneys who had been holed up in the State of the Art Bunker review center for 20 straight days.

Not far away, Bridezilla was not looking at the view outside her window--she was staring at the cellphone selfie she had taken with Bill Clinton at the partners' retreat.  (Sigh.)  She would have vehemently denied it could ever happen to her, but the mythic Clinton magnetism had slain her the moment she shook his hand.  (Sigh.)  She recalled how his voice sounded, how his hand felt, how nice he smelled.  (Sigh.)  She absent-mindedly played with the engagement ring hidden on a chain under her sundress, imagining what it might have been like to work in the Clinton White House!  Her very conservative fiance's caller ID abruptly invaded her Clinton photo, and she tried to get her Republican mind back on track.

Meanwhile, down in the basement Situation Room, Laura Moreno and the managing partner were trying to convince Chloe Cleavage that their client would not sue them for breach of contract if they evacuated the contract attorneys.

"We need to have structural engineers out here!" exclaimed the managing partner.  "Forensic architects!  Construction detectives!"

"Good grief, buildings settle all the time!" replied Cleavage (who was wearing a Marilyn Monroe type halter dress despite the 62-degree air conditioning).  "Who cares?  We are billing these people out for $9,000/hour!"

"Look, missy, I'm the one in charge here!" shouted the managing partner, who motioned Moreno to go release the temps.

"You're gonna regret calling me that!" retorted Cleavage.  "You should have more consideration for people who took a bullet for this law firm!"

"I got shot, too, missy!" hollered the managing partner.

Meanwhile, Moreno was entering SOTA-BUNK to tell the contractors they were being sent home early, then watched as they punched their time cards and exited through the male and female changing rooms--where they would take off their orange jumpsuits and be scanned naked for anything they might have tried to sneak out of SOTA-BUNK, before finally getting their own clothing, cellphones, and other personal belongings back.  The entire humiliating and dehumanizing process seemed pointless, since they were not even doing a body cavity search, and Moreno was fairly certain that these "best practices" had been devised not to keep client information unassailable but, rather, to render temps as flaccid, obedient, and spineless as legally possible without actually enslaving them as unpaid drones.  Prince and Prowling's newest staff attorney sighed deeply--about both humanity's plight in general, and the fact that the would now be expected to go upstairs and work until midnight on this stupid antitrust case.  Worst Sunday ever.

Several floors up, Felix Cigemeier was not having his worst Sunday ever--in fact, his fledgling drone practice had suddenly exploded this week after the Washington Post's expose' on the menace of domestic drones had resulted in a flood of new drone clients.  "The view out your window seems crooked," said Charles Wu (Cigemeier's only long-time drone client), who was tilting his head slightly.

"Excellent, excellent," said Cigemeier, without looking up from his computer.  "OK, I think I've got the new indemnification clauses worked out.  This will be fine for your purposes right now, but I have to advise you, we're worried that states are going to start passing strict liability laws."

"Of course," said Wu.  "I won't worry as long as I have insurance."

"You're in excellent shape for now, but we'll have to keep an eye on things.  The manufacturers would probably get hit with the class-action suits first, but their pockets are not that deep.  Plaintiff attorneys will be looking for large corporate drone users to go after, eventually."

"Nobody ever sues me," said Wu, truthfully, because his chi had always protected him.

"Well, we're fortunate that you bother hiring us to do anything, then!" said Cigemeier, who suddenly remembered it was Sunday night and he was at the office, so he abruptly stood up to get rid of Wu.

Out in the river, Ardua of the Potomac watched with more than a passing interest as Congressman Herrmark's rented yacht pulled into port in Alexandria.  On board, his Chief of Staff, Ann Bishis, had succeeded (after many sacrifices to Glaucos and Poseidon, and prayers to her pelican spirit animal) to convince the Speaker of the House and the Senate Minority Leader that the New Dominion Boat Club would be the perfect cover for a new fleet of domestic spy drones near the nation's capital.  Funding to build the New Dominion Boat Club of Alexandria was now on the way!  And the river demon would have a whole set of new--and dangerous--toys to play with....

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COMING UP:  Angela de la Paz versus the Chimera.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

"Spy!" the musical, by Brother Divine of the International Peace Movement

Freddy Ritchings (AKA Brother Divine of the International Peace Movement) had been doing fairly well with his Church of Twitter, but it was no substitute for live, adoring fans, er, worshipers.  So far, the only members of his congregation he had ever seen in the flesh were other residents of the Arlington group home for the mentally challenged (and social worker Hue Nguyen).  Today he was premiering his new musical, "Spy!", for this congregation to see if "Spy!" was ready for him to take on the road--like an old-time traveling Bible-thumper.  To keep the audience as large as possible today, he had decided to sing all the parts himself.

Without further ado!
***************************************************************
(To the tune of "Aquarius", with apologies to James Rado, Gerome Ragni, and Galt MacDermot.)

When the moon is in the darkest house...
and Jupiter runs away from Mars...,
then WAR will guide the planets...
and HATE will steer the stars!

This is the dawning of the Age of Pe-tra-e-us,
Age of Pe-tra-e-us....
David Pe-tra-e-us!
Be-tray us!

Harmony and understanding,...
sympathy and trust are foundling.
Lots of falsehoods and derision,...
CIA agents with night vision,
mythic tales of rendition,
and the death of liberation.

Pe-tra-e-us!
Be-tray us!

**************************************************************
"What is this?" interjected Buckner.  "Some kind of hippie mumbo jumbo?"

"No, it's not!" shouted Cedric (formerly of the CIA, currently believing himself to be a former British spy).  "He's bloody insulting the CIA!"

"Please be respectful," whispered the social worker.  "Go on, Freddy."
**************************************************************
We hide, pausing... 
just for cellphone and our breath...
feeding NSA our texts,
wearing smells from laboratories,
facing a spying nation...
the Constitution a fantasy,
listening for the new-told lies...
with supreme visions of i-Tunes.

Somewhere…
inside our things there is a rush…
of…our data to a Chinese spy…
or...our very own FBI!
Ghost Henry…
now stands in front of our eyes!
I fear my future with drones in space.
Silence tells me secretly…
Everything…
Everything!

Manchester, England…England…
across the Atlantic Sea…
was the home of Britain’s finest spy…
who believed in God…
and he believed his God believed in fraud.
You see?
You see?

He rests in silence.

Our space songs…
on a World Wide Web guitar.
Life is around you and in you.
The answer is just…do the Tweet,…
My darling, my babe, my sweet!

**************************************************************
“This is completely nuts!” whispered Melinda, who was comforted by Millie, the big, brown, helping dog (who understood exactly what Freddy was saying).
**************************************************************
Let the sun shine!
Let Twitter love in,
Twitter love in!
Let the sun shine!
Let Twitter love in, 
Twitter love in!
**************************************************************
Theresa, Melinda, and Larry jumped to their feet, joined in the chorus, and started clapping.  Meanwhile, psychologist Leo Schwartz had arrived for a surprise visit, and was quite put out.

"Ms. Nguyen!"  (The room went silent.)  "Can I see you in the office, please?!"  Ms. Nguyen rushed out with Dr. Schwartz.  "What on Earth is going on?  You know how many paranoid schizophrenics we have here, and you let Freddy sing a song about spies?"

"Well, I didn't know it would be about spies--he said it was for his Church of Twitter.  You said it was healthy for him to be interacting with other people on social media--"

"I know what I said about social media!  Don't you realize they're all going to be complaining about spies in the house now?"

"They already were, Dr. Schwartz.  It used to be aliens, but now it's always spies.  I think their complaints will just get a little more specific now."

Meanwhile, Cedric had beaten a hasty retreat to his room to consult with Aloysius, his teddy bear.  "He knows everything about me!" wailed Cedric.  "He's been spying on me!  Now, what shall I do?"

"Do nothing," whispered Ghost Henry from behind him, and Cedric jumped three feet.  "I'll wipe his mind tonight."  (The ghost of Henry Samuelson actually had no ability to do any such thing, but he was fairly certain that Freddy's mind would move onto other things soon enough.)  "Don't lose your cool!"

Up in the corner, two of The Shackled materialized to drag Ghost Henry out of the house, where he argued vehemently with them about minding their own business.

"Practice what you preach, then, Henry!  Your Ghost CIA is way over the line!"

"My Ghost CIA is the only agency still doing anything useful in this world!" retorted Ghost Henry.

"You need to stop!" they shouted.

"Say you and what army?" taunted Ghost Henry.  Then he remembered how many of The Shackled were actually out there, and he flew off without another word.

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COMING UP:  Catching up with the Devil's Advocate. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The adventures of Petro Pig!

Petro Pig was back in D.C., his owner having finished her house-sitting gig at Bruce Springsteen's house.  The pot-bellied pig was carefully licking the leftover ciabatta crumbs and scrambled eggs off the plate placed on Luciano Talaverdi's kitchen floor by Helen Yellen.  Talaverdi lost his appetite for the rest of his own brunch, and placed the rest of it on the floor, too.  Petro Pig looked up in gratitude, but Talaverdi looked away.  "So you really want to keep it...as a pet?"

"Of course!" cried Yellen.  "He's so sweet!  I know P.P. will grow on you."

"I'm not sure about that nickname," said Talaverdi.

"You reject every nickname!  I'm just going to go back to calling him Petro, then."  (Petro looked up at the sound of his name, smiled, then resumed eating.)

"How big will he get?"

"I don't know," said Yellen.

"Don't you think it's important to find out?"

"Where's your spirit of adventure?"  Talaverdi's idea of adventure was hiring a whiskey-breath Greek sea captain for a cruise of the Aegean, not this.

Petro Pig, on the other hand, had a tremendous sense of adventure, and was thrilled to be back in Washington!  He had fond memories of being smuggled into the Rayburn House Office Building to do satirical lobbying on behalf of Exxon and British Petroleum; his squealing karaoke rendition of "Maniac" sitting on the lap of his former owner, next to Yellow Man and Sonia Sotamayor, at Muse; his frequent Capitalism Hill walks with Sebastian L'Arche (a great conversationalist!); his hunger strike outside the American Petroleum Institute to raise ironic awareness that there were actually at least a dozen Congressmen NOT taking money from King CONG (coal, oil, nuclear, gas); his sojourn outside the Ecuadorean embassy in mocking support of Chevron's international arbitration regarding epic oil spills in the Amazon; and his crashing of the 2014 White House Easter Egg Roll, with his pot belly painted "Keystone XL" on both sides.  He loved his new owner (what a great belly scratcher she was!), but she was always broke, and always scheming for new ways to make money--she was too busy for politics, protests, and performance art.

"I had this idea for a restaurant chain," Yellen said to her boyfriend, who raised his eyebrows encouragingly.  "It would be a chain restaurant called Hogwarts.  We could put them in every city.  They would be dark and decorated like Hogwarts, of course.  They would have long tables.  There would be a game room arcade to attract middle-schoolers.  There would be lots of merchandise for sale.  And the menu would have a lot of spooky, silly things on it.  Every kid in America will want to eat at this restaurant!  And just think of the Harry Potter birthday parties!"

"But you don't know anything about the restaurant business!" protested the Federal Reserve Board economist.  (Yellen made a pouty face.)  "Well, I can see it's a good idea, and yes, lots of kids would want to go, but the restaurant business is tough, and you would have to pay enormous licensing fees to J.K. Rowling."

"I thought you would be more encouraging that I am trying to build a financial future, instead of floating from one gig to another."

"I am!"

"I think if we brought Petro to the meeting with Rowling, and put him in a little wizard robe, we would win her over!  We could put the first one in Trump's new hotel in the Old Post Office Pavilion."

"You will never get a meeting with Rowling!  You would be lucky to get a meeting with anybody that works for her."

"But it would make her lots of money," faltered Yellen, her lip trembling.

"Amore, don't cry!  I will give it some thought, I promise!"  The Italian economist pulled her close, with a mixture of annoyance and a little macho thrill that he might have to take care of this feeble creature for the rest of his life.

Meanwhile, over on Capitalism Hill, Congressman John Boehner (no stranger to photo bombs with Petro Pig) was hitting the sauce after another round of testy media interviews about Eric Cantor's shocking loss in the Virginia Republican primary.  "I will never surrender to the Tea Party!" he cried out to Solomon Kane, a spy and assassin who wasn't yet sure why he had been summoned today.  "I'm sick of being attacked from the Left, the Right, the Lamestream Media, and that evil blackmailer."

"I have a few leads on the blackmailer, sir," said Kane.

"Oh, shut up!  You don't have any leads!  But now you're actually going to do something useful for me."

"Yes, sir!"

"Get all the dirt you can on this Dave Brat.  I don't trust him!  The man thinks God is on his side.  99% of the people in the House think God is on their side!  Explain to me how that math works?!"

"Um--"

"Shut up!  Fundamentalist Christian upstart of a nobody!  I need to own him!"

"Word on the street is that everybody is swooping in now--the American Petroleum Institute, the--"

"I don't care!  Find me some dirt on that guy.  I'm gonna own him!"

"He's not actually elected to Congress yet-- shouldn't you be supporting him, as a fellow Republican?"

Boehner looked up at the ceiling in confusion.  "Oh.  Um...."

Not far away, the Holier Than Thou Caucus was also discussing Dave Brat over brunch.

"You don't think it's really the anti-S-thing, do you?" whispered the Congresswoman from Missouri.

"Anti-Semitism?" asked Congressman Herrmark (whose bodyguards had once prevented Petro Pig from taking a dump on his shoes).

"Sh!" cried the Congressman from Florida.  "Not so loud!"

"I don't think that's it," said Herrmark, a little lower.

"If he's elected," said the Congressman from Texas, "and we invite him to join our caucus, we'll be under intense media scrutiny."

"Aren't you getting a little ahead of yourselves?" asked Herrmark.

"We need to decide now about campaigning for him," said the Congresswoman from Missouri.  "Yes or no?  If we don't do it, somebody else will, and he could be led astray by wolves in sheep's clothing--God knows what he'll be voting for by the time he arrives in Washington!  He wouldn't be the first good Christian man to be wined and dined and prostituted by lobbyists."

"How do you know he's a good Christian?" asked Herrmark, but he was met only with blank stares.

Not too far away, the American Petroleum Institute emergency Board meeting had already tabled the discussion of how much money to pour into the Dave Brat run for Congress, and was in the midst of a heated debate about Iraq.  "This new war is good for us!  Prices are already rising!"  "Are you out of your mind?  The American people won't stand for another military action in Iraq!  They've already rejected action in Syria.  I think our best shot for military intervention is still Libya."  "We can't just let Iraq spiral out of control!"  "It was never in control!"  "I say as long as prices are rising, we do nothing."

"Gentleman!" shouted the Chair of the API Board of Directors.  "I just received a disturbing text message.  The sighting was confirmed:  Petro Pig is back in town."  (Loud chorus of sighs.)

Back in Luciano Talaverdi's neighborhood, he and girlfriend Helen Yellen were taking the pot-bellied pig out for his afternoon walk.  "I'm going to start a Twitter account in his name," said Yellen.  "Attract a following.  That's the way things are done these days, right?"

"Oh, my God!" squealed a summer intern from Texas, bending down to pet him.  "He's so cute!  What's his name."

"Petro Pig," said Yellen.

"Petro, like petroleum?"  (Yellen nodded.)  "I don't get it."

"Of course you don't," said Talaverdi, yanking the leash.

But the Shackled did get it.  The slave ghosts of Washington floating above Petro Pig knew in their phantom bones that this little pig's destiny was not yet complete.

"Still, how much can one little pig do?"

"He'll do his part."

**************************************************************
COMING UP:  "Spy!", the musical!  (And the launch of @PetroPig!)

Sunday, June 08, 2014

The Unknown Unknowns

Charles Wu was just arriving at home after a night of mild debauchery, a morning espionage rendez-vous two blocks from the Chinese embassy, and brunch with C. Coe Phant three blocks from the State Department.  Mrs. Prudence Higgety-Cheshire was feeding little Delia her Sunday lunch:  boiled new potatoes, boiled celery, boiled carrots, and hard-boiled eggs.  If she ate all of that, she would get a baked apple for dessert.  The governess (as she preferred to be called by everyone except Delia) would not countenance her charge eating anything raw, and would not even allow her to eat bread unless it was toasted first.  Heat was the only disinfectant she truly trusted.

Though loathe to eat her food, Charles Wu was thrilled to have a genuine English nanny for his daughter, Buffy Cordelia.  Mrs. H-C was a young widow at 57, with two grown children already out of the house and close to finishing their studies at Wu's alma mater, Oxford. She had been informed that English nannies could live very comfortably in Washington, D.C., and after various steps and inquiries, had found her current position.  After a week of nanny-cam surveillance and Angela de la Paz's semi-telepathic inquiries, Wu was thoroughly satisfied that Mrs. H-C was as stable and wholesome as her background investigation had indicated.  He sat down to feed the delighted Delia, as Mrs. H-C held her tongue.  (She disapproved of all attempts to turn eating into a game, and found flying spoons' standing in for airplanes particularly annoying.)

"How are my lovely ladies today?" asked Wu.

Mrs. H-C saw no need to be included in such an address, but, again, held her tongue.  She had learned a long time ago to let the little things go.  "Just splendid, Mr. Wu."  She found it odd to address a man with so much British breeding by that name, but she did not think it proper to call him "Charles".  She made him a cup of tea and sat down to relax with the newspaper.  The work hours were constantly variable, but they had already reached a very comfortable co-existence.  On the rare occasions she wished time away (such as Anglican services this morning), Wu or Angela or somebody else would watch Delia.  But Mrs. H-C was perfectly content most days to putter in the garden all day while Delia played in the yard, knit in the evening while she watched a "cozy mystery" on the telly, and read a bit at bedtime.

"I forgot to tell you, we do have a small pool for Delia to splash in when it gets hot, " said Wu.

"It's already hot," replied Mrs. H-C.

"It's large enough for you to sit in, if you like."  (Mrs. H-C looked up at him in alarm.)  "Or not.  If it gets too hot for you, feel free to stay indoors.  I can hire somebody for the garden."

"It's important for children to have fresh air.  I'll take her out in the mornings, and perhaps stay indoors in the afternoon."

"Excellent," said Wu, making a particularly ridiculous aerial maneuver with the spoon, sending Delia into a spasm of giggles.

Mrs. H-C held her tongue, returned to the newspaper, and had no idea that her late husband's life as a British double-agent spy was soon to catch up with her.

Next door, Angela had just finished breast-feeding baby Lucas in the Cigemeier nursery, and was lying on her bed in the guest room after putting him down for his nap.  She was determined to find Wu's former nanny, suicide victim Mia, in the Dreamtime today.  She willed herself to focus hard, avoiding the easy pathways to her mother and abuela, and called out to Mia with extreme intensity.  And then something happened which had never happened before--a great beast of shifting darkness and fire, claws and fangs, wings and hairy feathers, reared up in front of her to block her path.  Angela was an expert at dealing with demons, but she had always thought that the Dreamtime was a safe place.  She woke up with a silent scream, jumped out of bed, then sank to the floor in confusion.

Several miles away, Atticus Hawk--oblivious to all the charms a warm June day in Washington might have to offer--was entering the Justice Department to start work on his new assignment.  He was back on NSA damage-control duty, under the looming threat by Glenn Greenwald that the most sensational Snowden leaks were set for imminent publication, and the more immediate unpleasantness of the already published Anna Stolley Persky article in Washington Lawyer--"Cover Blown".  While Greenwald's past and future Guardian articles would be roiling the political world for years to come, and Snowden's recent television interview on NBC had infuriated the Secretary of State, Persky's article had its own potency:  it just so happened to be meticulously researched, dangerously unbiased, and encyclopedia-caliber in its unflinchingly calm expose' of what the National Security Agency is really doing.  With the CIA making a late-game Twitter gamble on establishing itself as the "cool" spy agency, NSA was in danger of sinking into its own hubris of paranoia, unpopularity, and martyr complex.  Hawk's task now was to write the point-by-point legal rebuttal to the Persky article, and convince Greenwald that what he now wanted to publish was far too dangerous to national security to see the light of day.  Hawk unlocked his office, dropped his CVS bag of snacks on the desk, logged onto his computer, and changed his password to "Valkyrie14!"

Meanwhile, up in Petworth, Golden Fawn and Marcos Vazquez were house-hunting with realtor Henrietta ("Button") Samuelson.  It had been hard enough to take on the mortgage for their current, small (!) condo, but with an adopted 6-year-old at home now, they really wanted a place with a yard.  So far they had seen bizarrely renovated attic crawl spaces, windowless basements, yards comprised of 200 square feet of concrete and 10 square feet of weeds, houses full of tenant trash, and musty-smelling antique furnishings housed in museums with only a token nod to indoor plumbing:  and those were in houses listed for over half a million dollars in marginal neighborhoods!  Could they really afford to go up to a million?

"I know you're reluctant to go out into the suburbs because of your job," Samuelson said to Vazquez, a Coast Guard office often on call, "but perhaps just across the border in Arlington?"

Vazquez knew Arlington had become very expensive, itself.  He looked pensively at his wife.

"Do you have any haunted houses?" asked Golden Fawn.  "We wouldn't mind that."

Samuelson did, in fact, know a couple houses that were plagued with rumors depressing their value.  She looked carefully from Golden Fawn to Vazquez, then back to Golden Fawn.  "There are some old houses in upper Georgetown in foreclosure."

"Yes!" shouted Golden Fawn, whose limited abilities to fight evil now felt huge and brave in her heart since she had taken on the protection of the young boy.

"Histories of suicide," said Samuelson, looking back at Vazquez, who was looking intently at his wife.

"We can handle that," said Golden Fawn, confident in her ability to cleanse a house of evil spirits like that--or, maybe she could call on the help of that girl, Angela de la Paz.

"Alright, I will set up the appointments," said Samuelson.

Out in the river, Ardua of the Potomac was taking this all in (with a little help from her many informants), and contemplating with particular pleasure the growing effect the Cursed Rolex was now having on its current owner.  On top of all the usual ugliness in Washington politics, and the shootings and stabbings, it had been a superb week for creek and river drownings.  She sighed in contentment--after all, like many of D.C.'s oldest monuments, she loved the tourist season.

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COMING UP:  The adventures of Petro Pig!

Sunday, June 01, 2014

The Diary of Wince

B. and I are engaged!  Nobody knows but us two.  For one thing, it would seem disrespectful to the people still recovering from the gun attack at her aborted wedding to Trickham, so she doesn't want to tell anybody at Prince and Prowling.

And I sure don't want to tell Justice Prissy Face--ESPECIALLY not him because I'd probably lose my job.  It was hard to explain it all to her, but I think she gets it now.  He thinks I'm a "confirmed bachelor" and I count as a minority on his clerking staff.  My work at the Supreme Court is too important to walk away from.  I write most of his opinions now--he's used to my doing it, and he's an old man, and he trusts me to do the right thing.  I assign the research tasks to the younger clerks, then I give him a brief, then we discuss the case and I give him questions for the oral argument, and then I write his opinion or concurrence or dissent.   My work there is extremely important--you'll never catch Justice Prissy Face making an ass of himself like Scalia did on that EPA fiasco last month!--and B. gets that.  My opinions and dissents are golden!  Justice Prissy Face set a goal to read every James Michener novel during this term, and he's on his last one.  Next term, he's planning to read every Agatha Christie mystery.  That's OK with me:  he's paid his dues, and it's important for him not to retire because GOD KNOWS who President Obama would appoint!  And he's not as old as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, anyway. 

I gave B. a diamond earring instead of a finger ring.  It's all happened so fast!  When I decided to crash her wedding, I didn't even know if it would work.  After all these years, I had no right to try to win her back.  I don't know why I could never stop thinking about her.  She DID like hearing that I never fell in love with anybody else!

She's still traumatized by the mass-shooting at her wedding, even though she won't admit it to me.  I hear her talking about it in her sleep--that's how I found out she's seeing a psychiatrist, because she would be saying "Dr. Esse this" and "Dr. Esse that", and I Googled Dr. Esse and found out he's a shrink.  But I won't confront her about it, if she wants to keep it a secret.  I haven't told HER everything--

Like how I believe Clarence Thomas is a zombie.  She would think me TOTALLY CRAZY if I told her that!  But it's no joke.  People wonder why he never talks at oral arguments!  And why he just does whatever Scalia does!  The man HAS NO BRAIN!  He always has the WEIRDEST law clerks working for him, and they never mix with the other law clerks, and they're always bringing in enormous coolers of food because he won't eat at the cafeteria.  What's he eating?  I'm not the only person at SCOTUS who thinks he's a zombie--the rumor's been swirling for years.  But I can't tell B. that.  SCOTUS clerks have a strict code of silence for how the sausage is made.

But there ARE things I can talk to her about, like how much we love the Koch brothers (the cool ones, not the jerk ones), how Congress has become the most impotent branch of government, how SCOTUS is practically ruling the nation domestically.  (I mean, why would I want to leave?!)

Sometimes we talk about her work at Prince and Prowling, and I'm very proud she made partner there, but, frankly, it's boring talking about her work!  Well, most of her work.  I think she'll be at home with her first baby within a year!  But we still need to work things out.  Having a secret engagement is one thing, but having a secret marriage is gonna be a challenge.  Like, who gets to know?  And if we tell certain people, like her parents, are they going to understand how important it is to keep it secret? 

I tried to tell her that the mass shooting at her wedding was really a sign of how IMPORTANT Prince and Prowling has become in this town!  I mean, most people in this town measure their self-worth in proportion to the likelihood of their being attacked and assassinated.  The more bodyguards you have, the more important you are.  Some Congressmen have bodyguards now--it used to just be the Speaker of the House!  The Fed Chairman--wow, Bernanke was so hated!  The Veterans Administration Secretary would have needed some serious Secret Service protection if HE hadn't stepped down!  And this "Crisis" television show has everybody paranoid.  But lawyers?  Everybody jokes about hating lawyers, but how many actually get death threats and hire bodyguards?  It's a sign of how much power Prince and Prowling is throwing around this town!  That's what I tried to tell her, but she never wants to talk about that shooting.

Or Trickham.  Honestly, I feel sorry for the guy.  I think he was probably a nice fellow, but when I showed up at the altar, she just knew she didn't really love him.  I mean, an English professor?  What is that?!  How can you even respect something like that?  B. is way too ambitious to marry a guy like that.  And his father was a used car salesman!  But she never talks about him, and it's been plenty awkward, what with all the gift-returning and other entanglements she's had to extract herself from.  But I don't spend every night at her place, so I think she'll get on top of it soon.

She has changed a bit, I guess.  She's not as idealistic as she used to be, but none of us are.  She doesn't expect me to be perfect, and that's a big relief!  She's developed a weird sense of humor--like, she always laughs when people make jokes about our country's becoming a police state, or SCOTUS acting like the Star Chamber.  I don't think that kind of humor is funny AT ALL.  I guess I'm still getting to know her again--it's been a long time.  And it does bother me a little that she's been with SO MANY guys, but none of them were as good as me--that's why none of them lasted.

I can't believe Justice Prissy Face is texting me again!  The guy would be lost without me.  He said he's sending me a photo of a brunch menu because he can't decide what to order!  He shouldn't be seen dining with Mark Rubio, anyway, but hardly anybody ever recognizes JPF in public.

Now B.'s ready to go out--more later.

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COMING UP:  Who is Mrs. Higgety-Cheshire, really?