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 ....

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Goats, Dragons, and Monkeys

The Christmas tree was now up at the Arlington home for the mentally challenged, despite Larry's protests that it should never go up until after Pearl Harbor Day.  ("One holiday at a time!")  ("That's not a holiday:  it's a day that will live in infamy!")  ("It's already lived in infamy!")

Last Christmas, former CIA operative Cedric still believed he was a British spy, but he had now dropped the British accent, stashed Aloysius (his teddy bear) in his bedroom closet (except during thunderstorms), and was not regaling anybody with tales of Father Christmas, Scrooge, or his 1997 heroic take-down of a Russian plot to use flying reindeer to drop napalm on Windsor Castle's festively lighted holly bushes.  No!  He was an American again!  And he had developed a suspicion that their psychologist, Leo Schwartz, was secretly Santa Claus.

"I really want to see Prudence again," Cedric said, trying once more to climb onto Dr. Schwartz's lap.

"Please stay in your own chair," replied the psychologist, pushing Cedric forcibly into the other office armchair.  "Are you referring to that governess?"

"Yes!" sighed Cedric.  "I've been good, haven't I?  I do all my chores and take my meds and everything."

"Yes, you've been good," agreed Dr. Schwartz, "but you can't simply ask for another human being.  They have their own lives to live."

"But she's a widow!  And she was married to a spy, so she can handle my complicated life."

"Cedric, we've talked about this many times.  You were never a spy.  You were an international field agent for the U.S. Department of Agriculture."  (Cedric actually was a spy, of course, but Dr. Schwartz would never believe that.)

Cedric rolled his eyes and shook his head.  "It doesn't matter.  She didn't know her husband was a spy, either!  And she can't keep living with that Chinese spy!  I need to rescue her, and you can help me!"

"Charles Wu?  The wealthy businessman you think is a spy?"  (Wu actually was a spy, of course, but Dr. Schwartz would never believe that.)

"He is a spy!  He even brags about it!  Hong Kong, Beijing, London--who knows where his true loyalties lie!  She can't live with a man like that!"

"Well, she can't live here," said Dr. Schwartz.

"That's why I need your help," Cedric replied, trying once again to climb into Santa's lap, only to find another push back to his own chair.

"You need to get much better before you can think about getting a place of your own," said Dr. Schwartz, who was slowly losing faith in his own profession, and fearful that these patients would be drugged the rest of their lives.  "Let's set a new goal for this week:  I want you to write me a one-page summary of your final USDA assignment, the goat-breeding project in Morocco."

Cedric rolled his eyes and shook his head again:  some "goats" were best forgotten about...forever.

Meanwhile, Charles Wu had, in fact, recently returned from a very important trip to Beijing which had coincidentally coincided with President Obama's own trip to China.  Feeling rather anti-British these days, he had regaled his Chinese hosts with quite a bit of British intelligence, packaged with the American tidbits.  Then he had collected his daughter (Delia) and contractor (Liv Cigemeier) from their respective visits (Delia to Hong Kong, to visit her grandmother, and Liv to the Philippines, to check on post-typhoon rebuilding projects that were a cover for his Malaysian spy operations).  After returning to Washington in a private jet, Wu had "enjoyed" Mrs. Higgety-Cheshire's first attempt at an American Thanksgiving dinner--the first ever at which he had seen a turkey cut into 50 pieces and tossed into a pot of boiling water.  (But the potatoes and pies were good.)  Delia had missed Mrs. H-C very much while she was in Asia and her governess was on holiday back in England, and Wu was struggling with the feeling that he really needed to find a step-mother for his daughter.  Someday, Mrs. H-C would have grandchildren and want to be back in England with them, and then what?  Perhaps his mother was right--he should just let her find him a bride from Hong Kong.  Yet, after a lifetime of masquerades, he was not sure he could pull that one off.

"Don't do it," said Angela de la Paz, entering his home office unannounced.

"Don't do what?" he asked.

"I had a vision about you," said Angela, who had just returned from a spy mission she had done for him in Russia.  She handed him a small envelope with three flash drives in it, and sat down without commenting on them.

Wu looked at her with raised eyebrows, since the last two times she had visions about him, his life had been at risk.  "And?"

"Don't do an arranged marriage."

Wu shook his head.  "How did you know about that?"

"I had a vision."

"That's a peculiar thing to have a vision about."

"I'm just the messenger," said Angela.

"What's the message?" asked Wu, wondering if her telepathic abilities were still growing...and how much more she would push back against his work.

"Just that," she said.  "You need to be focused on something else."

"What?" Wu asked.

"I don't know," said Angela, "but you can't find a replacement for Delia's mother--not like that.  You need to change your life."

"Could you be more specific?" he asked.

She shook her head at the growing darkness in him.  "You spend a lot of time gathering intelligence on other people.  You need to spend some time gathering intelligence on yourself."  Angela stood up.  "I'm gonna go play with Delia for awhile.  Let me know when you've finished looking at those drives."

Wu frowned as she departed his office.  People had always adored him.  Nobody could ever resist his charm.  He was successful at everything he chose to do.  And Angela was telling him there was something wrong with wanting to find a stepmother for his motherless child?  There's nothing wrong with me.

Next door, their Thanksgiving holiday visits over, Liv Cigemeier finally had time to show her husband photos from her trip to the Philippines.  "Here's Lucas with a monkey."

"A monkey!" exclaimed Felix Cigemeier.  "You chase squirrels away from him in the park, but you're OK with a monkey?!"

"It was somebody's pet--it didn't have rabies or anything."

"You know that's where ebola came from, right?"

"In Africa!"

"It's the principle!"

"He had a great time," said Liv, smiling at their baby crawling around the carpet.  "But he missed you, of course."

"Well, he wouldn't have seen much of me last week, with the drone practice exploding again," Felix said, referring to the panicked run of clients he saw after another Washington Post exposé on drone problems.  "Honestly," he whispered, as if somebody might be listening in, "I think we should stop flying."

"Stop flying?"

"I think we should stick to trains and cars.  People are launching these drones all over the place, and you don't need a pilot license to do it."

"Why won't the government crack down on them?"

"Because Prince and Prowling is being paid to lobby against that," said Felix, without a touch of irony.  "That's just the way the world is."

Several miles away, former Senator Evermore Breadman was hiding from his wife's relatives at his Prince and Prowling office.  "That's just the way the world is," he said to his speaker phone.

"Well, we're in power now, and we've got diddly squat to spend!" whined Congressman John Boehner over the speaker phone.  "Seven of the thirty largest U.S. corporations pay more money to their CEOs than they pay in U.S. taxes?!  How are we supposed to do anything?"

"Tea Party doesn't want you to spend any money, my friend.  Just pass some laws against flag-burning and that sort of thing."

"Very funny."

"Look, the Tea Party keeps whining about taxes, but the little people need to keep funding this government unless you get rid of all those corporate tax shelters.  You really wanna do it?  You can do it, my friend, but then those big corporations won't fund your re-election campaigns.  It's very simple:  corporate America pays for elections, not government."  Breadman waited for Boehner to say anything, but he just heard sighing.  "Have you heard from the blackmailer lately?"

"Do hogs eat dirt?"

"I don't know--do they eat dirt?"

"Yes, hogs will eat anything," sighed Boehner.

"I think it's time for you to go to the FBI," said Breadman.

"No way!  They'll leak it.  I just gotta find a way."

"Listen, I'll take another look at the agriculture mark-ups and see if we can do some sleight of hand there and find you some extra money.  I think the CIA has a goat-breeding slush fund hidden in the USDA budget."

"Alright," sighed the Speaker of the House.

"Cheer up!" said Breadman.  "You might get to pass a law repealing Obamacare!"

"He'll veto it," sighed Boehner.

Across the street, the White House ghosts were showing off the Christmas tree to the visiting Shackled, while the river rats picked their way through the White House garden gleanings.

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COMING UP:  The Heurich Society fails to repatriate Darja.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

PAC a Punch

Henrietta ("Button") Samuelson looked around at the faces of the Heurich Society members and tried to acknowledge their pain.  "I know we were surprised by the last-minute SuperPAC spending from Qatar, but we still managed to get most of our candidates elected."

"We have never been outspent by Qatar before!" hissed Condoleezza Rice over the speakerphone.  (She rarely made it anymore to the rarefied air of the upper meeting room of the Brewmaster's Castle.)

"Yeah, who's next?" asked the international arms dealer.  "Kuwait?  Oprah?  The Bush clan of the U.S. Virgin Islands?"

"Please, please!" implored Samuelson.  "Qatar actually supported some of the same PACs that we did!  And we still had more direct campaign involvement than they could ever dream of."

"What about Taylor Swift?" asked a former U.S. Congressman.  "Did she outspend us?  I heard she's richer than God now."

"I heard she made a deal with the Devil," said the investment banker, "that her cutesy image with the bangs and schoolgirl skirts is just a charade.  That's why she only wears red lipstick!"

"OK, let's get back on track," said Samuelson, rolling her eyes.  "One thing is clear from the election:  marijuana is a growth industry in this country, and our next frontier of investment and social policy.  The more stoned people are, the easier it is to manipulate them--or bypass them completely."

"That's what I always said in Afghanistan!" said the former CIA agent.  "Worst place ever for a war on drugs."

"So we're all in agreement, then?  Operation Bong Song is underway?"  Samuelson looked around at the faces of the Heurich Society members and saw very little agreement, mixed with a decided inability to unite in opposition against her.

"Absolutely!" said the former CIA agent, who was starting to think of a naughty Taylor Swift role-play he might ask Button Samuelson to do with him later.

Meanwhile, Samuelson's Crimea plan had gone horribly amiss over in Southwest.  (Thank Goodness that the Heurich Society members had stopped paying attention to Crimea, along with the U.S. media!)  Darja was so deep undercover as Glenn Michael Beckmann's Ukrainian mail-order bride that she had forgotten all about (a) having been hired by Henrietta Samuelson, (b) being a Russian masquerading as a Russian-speaking Ukrainian, (c) having a secret agenda to coax Beckmann over to Crimea as a Heurich agent there, and (d) how to build bombs.  And so, under the evil influence of the real estate demon living in the parking garage of Southwest Plaza, and believing there was a beautiful giant cockroach growing in her womb, she was content to spend her days cooking and crocheting.  But Beckmann still had a very busy conspiracy theorist career going, not to mention using Beckmann's Bad Asses (and Beckmann's Floral Cushions) to pay the bills.  And so it was, after an odd series of events involving a fake mail box, fake tax return forms, filings attempted with the fake tax return forms, and public urination, Beckmann found himself on a stolen motorcycle, with the Government Printing Office Police in hot pursuit.  Just when he thought he had shaken them for good, and that they had no idea he had zoomed into the Southwest Plaza parking garage, their GPO cop car came careening down the garage ramp.  Both cop car doors flew open at the same time, and both GPO cops leaned out over their respective doors, with their GPO guns aimed straight at Beckmann.

"Freeze, fraudster!" they yelled in unison.  "Federal agent!"  (Even though they had uncanny timing, they had never thought to pluralize their joint-shout.)

Beckmann crouched behind the motorcycle defiantly.  "Go ahead!  Shoot!  I'm sure you're way too accurate to hit the gas tank!"

The two GPO cops looked at each other, nodded, and began walking slowly and quietly towards Beckmann.  Their buddies from the Capitol Police used to laugh at them when they would stop by The Dubliner for a beer after work, but they always knew that nobody was a greater threat to America than people who had it in for the United States Government Printing Office.

Now, as it so happens, Darja's demonic imaginary pregnancy occasionally gave her cravings which led her to go down to the parking garage to lick tires.  She had heard all the commotion and run out just in time to see that her husband was in danger.  Suddenly, her instincts took over and she remembered what to do:  she reached for the gun in her ankle holster, but then realized she wasn't wearing it.  Alright, she thought, it will have to be kung fu.  She crept quietly through the garage to get closer, then started running over nearby cars to build up speed and come at them from a downward trajectory.  Just as the GPO cops suddenly saw her flying through the air at them, the real estate demon became alarmed that they might actually shoot Darja, so it picked up the motorcycle and flung it at the cops, knocking them over.  Darja landed, grabbed one of the dropped guns, and shot them both dead.

"Are you OK, honey?" she asked, rushing over to check on Beckmann.

"What a woman!" he crowed.  Then he kissed her, and it was weird, because she tasted like burnt rubber.

Back at The Dubliner, Congressman Jacques Javert was buying a round of beer for all the Capitol Police officers off duty.  "I missed y'all!" he boomed.  "I can't believe my campaign manager made me spend a whole month traipsing through those damned swamps shaking hands with Cajun hicks!"

"Congrats on your reelection, Congressman!" shouted one of the boys, raising his glass.  "Louisiana's finest!"

Well, this should do it, though Javert, who had just murdered three oil company executives before they even managed to check into their hotel.  About two-dozen cop eyewitnesses for an alibi!  Those bastards can put all the money they want into my campaign, but ain't nobody gonna make me share hookers with 'em or listen to their b.s. about climate change if I don't wanna!

"Hey, boss, can I try on that Rolex for a minute?" asked one officer, who had already had four whiskeys, and couldn't see straight except for the light reflecting off that beautiful gold.

Javert slapped the officer's hand away from his (cursed) Rolex, and in a low, menacing tone, said, "get back to your beer, boy!"

Down at his feet, a river rat licked his lips and waited eagerly.

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COMING UP:  Cedric gets inspired.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Leeches

Charles Wu had come to America as a triple agent (Beijing, Hong Kong, Great Britain) for the purpose of unlocking the most important secrets in the nation's capital.  To execute this plan, he had built a huge network of spies and informants, both human and technological.  However, he enjoyed nothing better than learning a secret himself, straight from the source.  Nobody could resist his charm, comeliness, cunning, charisma, and chi.  And though it had taken a great deal of money, time, and effort, Wu had not only ingratiated himself into many of D.C.'s power circles, he had risen to the master ranks in a number of secret and semi-secret societies, including the Freemasons, the Trilateral Commission, the Star Chamber, the Seekers, the Cherry Blossom Cherubs, the Church of Scientology, the New Order of Malta, the Knightum Templarum, the Sunny Moonies, the Shriners, and the Paw Paw Phalanx.  (The latter involved a secret ceremony in which mushy paw paw fruit had to be placed in every orifice of the human body, though Wu had used his chi power to persuade them that he only needed to eat it.)

Wu had suffered through rambling speeches about American destiny, astrology, the political war between professional football and professional baseball, the Islamic Crescent and Star of David supposedly hidden on the dollar bill, the secret atheist agenda of Farmers' Markets and community yard sales, America's hidden addiction to chick pea salad and kale chips, and the responsibility of alien implants for all four Presidential assassinations.  Wu had skinny-dipped in the Reflecting Pool at midnight, rappelled up the Washington Monument at 2 a.m., urinated through the White House fence at 4 a.m., and crowed like a rooster at the dawn's first gleaming over the Capitol.  Nonetheless, today's initiation ceremony was finally testing the limits of how far Wu was willing to go to spy on Washington's power brokers.

"Live leeches?" asked Wu.

The Grand Extractor of the Shock and Awe Political Action Committee (SAAPAC) nodded and repeated his instruction that Wu take off his shirt.

"On my stomach?"

The Grand Extractor nodded again.  "No guts, no glory.  You have to prove you're willing to sacrifice from the gut."

Now Charles Wu was more willing than most people to sacrifice from the gut, having done a fecal transplant for former Senator Evermore Breadman, but that procedure had been under sedation, in a lovely European spa.  This procedure was going to be lying on an American flag placed on a pile of dead leaves in the dead center of the dead Congressional Cemetery.  Wu looked around the group, hoping this was a joke.

"Didn't you have leeches in Hong Kong?" asked one man.  "Wasn't that part of your culture?"

"Lying in a cemetery while leeches suck blood out of my abdomen?  No, sir, that was not part of my culture."

"Well, we've all done it," said the Grand Extractor.

Wu looked around one more time.  He adjusted the cuff links on his white silk shirt (tailored in London), exhaled deeply, and told them he had decided to start his own political action committee.

A mile away, law clerk Wince was pacing his Supreme Court office, having just read a blackmail letter concerning his secret engagement to Bridezilla.  "Bloody leeches!" he exclaimed, pounding his right fist into his left hand.  "Is it somebody in this office?"  He started running through his list of coworkers, any of whom might rise in importance if Wince were to be dethroned as Justice Prissy Face's favorite "confirmed bachelor".  He sat down, then jumped back to his feet.  "Is it Marcy?  She could be angry that I rebuffed her advances.  Or Melvin?"  Wince was hampered in his deductions (as Congressman John Boehner had similarly been hampered when first blackmailed by the same person) by the perplexity of not actually receiving any demands from the blackmailer...at first.  "Or Manuel?  Still pissed off that I wouldn't try his mother's Twinkie chili?"  Wince sat down again.  "They haven't told him yet.  What do they want?"

Back at home, The Tarantula was smiling, remotely listening to Wince fret over the bug planted in his office.  The Tarantula had planted a wave of bugs all over the Supreme Court offices before selecting Justice Prissy Face as the easiest target to influence this term.  This is gonna be a walk in the park! he thought.  Then he began hearing something odd from the listening device:  Wince's speculating whether he was being blackmailed by somebody from Clarence Thomas's office.  "First they make me have nightmares that Thomas is a zombie, now this!  How are they doing it?"

Over at Prince and Prowling, former Senator Evermore Breadman took a few more gulps from his bourbon bottle, placed two fresh leeches on his ankles (circulation trick he learned in Saigon), pulled his socks up, and marched back into the War Room.  "OK, how are we doing on the Saudi team?"

"Eighteen more PAC donations, five more SuperPAC donations."

"And thus?" Breadman asked, turning to his Qatar point person.

"They countered with nine more PAC donations and two more SuperPAC donations--big ones--against the Saudi candidates."

"Big Oil?" Breadman asked, moving to the center of the room.

"Approaching $50 million--twenty of that is through our secret PACs."

Breadman rubbed his hands in glee.  "What have you got?" he asked, turning to the Wall Street and pharmaceutical team before making his way over to the defense contractor team.

A few minutes later, Breadman was heading back to his office.  "God, I love this country--and McCutcheon vs. FEC!" he exclaimed, stopping at his Wall of Me to move the photo with Harry Reid down to the bottom.  (His photo with Mitch McConnell was in the filing cabinet, of course--ready to come out if need be.)  In his office, he found Chloe Cleavage in an obscene Statue of Liberty Halloween costume.  She knew that Breadman was always feeling his oats at election time, and once Chloe Cleavage had started blackmailing the firm about all her sexual shenanigans, Breadman saw no reason to resist temptation ever again.

"Is there any SuperPAC you can't grow bigger?" she cooed, grabbing his huevos.

"Not if I have your help!" he replied, perfectly willing to put up with her usual shtick to have a quickie on his leather couch.

Over on Capitol Hill, coroner John Constantine had managed to sneak back into the Rayburn House Office Building without the help of his girlfriend, Ann Bishis.  (Congressman Herrmark's chief of staff was on the campaign trail.)  They had debated for weeks about the evidence they had found in the first sweep, and could not agree.  He knew she just didn't want to face it.  "Zombies, and witches, and bears--oh, my," he whispered to himself, poking his flashlight into dark corners.  "What is going on here?"  He stopped in the 3rd floor men's room to relieve himself, never feeling the leech crawling over his shoe and up his leg.  This is the creepiest place on Earth, he thought...but John Constantine would not have to put up with it much longer.

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COMING UP:  Heurich Society outspent by Qatar, vows revenge!