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 ....

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Smoke on the Water

"You can't have a bonfire on a boat," the yacht captain pleaded over the phone.  "It's not safe."

"How dangerous can it be?" replied lifestyle guru Giuliana Sunstream.  "We'll be surrounded by water!"

"Seriously?" responded the captain.  "You think having a burning ship sink into the river to extinguish the flames is a good safety plan?"

"It's going to be 30 degrees tonight!" wailed Sunstream.

"Well, I'm not giving you the money back," said the captain.  "You said you wanted to do a New Year's Eve cruise, and this isn't the Caribbean."

"What are the options?"

"I have 3 electric heat lamps.  I suggest your guests wear parkas."

"Parkas?!  How can people do the limbo in parkas?!"  (The captain shrugged, which, of course, she couldn't see.)  Sunstream was charging $200/head for this "River of Resolutions" party, which, in addition to the limbo contest, was slated to have an ice sculpture in progress, a "celebrity" wedding officiated by the captain (the celebrities being two little people actors she had connected with through her NoMA lifestyle blog), champagne-caviar-cocoa souffl├ęs, and a hip-hop harpist.  The highlight would be a performance artist (Chippendales dancer) on whom guests would write in watercolors all the things they hated about 2014--then he would dive into the Potomac River to wash them away.  He would return clean, and after he was dried off, guests would write their New Year's resolutions on his buck-naked body in permanent marker.  If he were standing in front of a bonfire, he would (a) look really cool and (b) escape hypothermia.  She wasn't so sure how a heat lamp would accomplish either of those feats.

"What if--"

"No," interrupted the captain.  "Three electric heaters.  But you can give people as much booze as you want to."

Not far from the yacht's mooring, a mourning and enraged Glenn Michael Beckmann was kicking in the gate at the Washington Marina in Southwest Waterfront.  Unable to discover who had gunned down his Ukrainian mail-order bride, he had narrowed down the suspects to Vladimir Putin, President Obama, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, and the CEO of Au Bon Pain.  (ABP had put the demon-possessed Darja on the Banned-for-Life list after she had started smashing soup pots on the floor upon learning they did not serve borscht.)   But for now, he had something else to focus upon.  "You!" he shouted, running over to the first large boat he saw with a human being on it.  "Take me to Cuba!"  He pointed his assault rifle at the startled yoga teacher from Philadelphia visiting her rich cousins, and she promptly fainted.  "Fine," Beckmann muttered to himself, "how hard can it be?"  He jumped onto the boat, picked up the woman, placed her limp body on the pier, cut the mooring rope with a knife, then walked carefully through the boat to look for others.  "Nope...nope...nope."  A startled cat hissed at him near the engine, and Beckmann crushed its skull with the butt of the gun.  Then the owner emerged from the head.  

"What the--"

"Take me to Cuba!"

"Seriously?"

"Take me to Cuba!"

"Okay, okay, settle down!  Can I call my wife?"

"No!"

"You need to let my cousin off first."

"Is she the redhead?"  (The boat owner nodded.)  "She's off already.  Come on, let's go!"

The owner, hands in the air, made his way slowly towards the captain's chair.  "Can I ask why we're going there?"

"To bomb all the harbors, of course!  Better dead than red!  Castro and Obama should both be locked up in Guantanamo!"

"Um, okay," said the boat owner, starting the engine.  "Do you want some beer?"

"Sure!" smiled Beckmann, lowering his gun.  "Do you have cigars?  Are you a smuggler?"

"Yeah!" said the boat owner, with new hope.  (I'll give him some of those marijuana stoogies, and radio the Coast Guard after he starts seeing mermaids on the Chesapeake!)

Further up the river, Coast Guard officer Marcos Vazquez was out on patrol.  No matter how cold it got, there would always be a lot of people drawn to the river for New Year's Eve--including his wife, Golden Fawn, whom he had left on Roosevelt Island to teach Joey Bent Oak the Ancient ceremony for weakening the power of the great demon, Ardua of the Potomac.  He could see the smoke rising from their fire, and it comforted him a little, but he knew that the things Golden Fawn did could not slow the demon down much.  The Warrior was on the island with them, too.  He had told them it was everybody's job to weaken the Beast, but he believed the Prophecy that Angela de la Paz would be the one to slay it.  Ardua had once almost drowned Vazquez, and had put amoebas in his brain, but the love of Golden Fawn kept him tied to this place.  

"Over there," he pointed to his crew.  Another paddle-boarder had tipped over.  "Why won't they wear god-damned life vests!?" he exclaimed.  "There should be a law!"  The paddle-boarder's girlfriend extended her paddle for the boy to grab hold of, and then she toppled over as well.  "Idiots!" he muttered, as his crew positioned the boat near the boards.  They threw over life rings, but it didn't work, so Vazquez's deputy stripped to his wet suit and jumped in to unite the rapidly chilling swimmers with the life rings.  Please let it be enough, he prayed, and it was:  the Coast Guard crew got the shivering couple onto their vessel.  "People drown in this river every year!" Vazquez scolded.  "The tides are treacherous, and you can't swim when it's this cold!"  (And there's a demon.)  He steered them to towels and an electric heater.  

"Hey, can we get our boards out of the water?" asked the girl.

"You can go to the Coast Guard salvage office next week and see what's washed up," replied Vazquez.  "But we won't give you the boards unless you show us you've purchased life vests."

"Jeez, lighten up, man!" protested her boyfriend.

"You're lucky to be alive, moron!"  Vazquez walked away briskly, leaving his crew to tend to the couple.  He was already scanning the river again with his binoculars.  Where are you?  Ardua had been in too much pain from Golden Fawn's incantation to grab anybody, and the demon was limping down to the Tidal Basin to try to recover her strength.  (But this was a town full of evil energy, and it would not take long.)  In the meantime, the Beaver catered to her every whim, while the river rats and infected ducks swam off to do her bidding.

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COMING UP:  Wince, Justice Prissy Face, and the Tarantula.

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