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 12, 2015

Cherry Bomb Festival

"Go, go, go, go!"

The FBI agents raiding Prince and Prowling were not really anticipating any resistance on this Sunday afternoon at the close of the Cherry Blossom Festival, but it was legally required in the United States that law enforcement officials treat every raid as a militarized foray into hostile enemy territory.  And thus three dozen agents entered the luxurious law offices across the street from the White House in full battle gear, armed to the teeth.  A loud burglar alarm went off as they kicked in the glass doors leading to the receptionist desk on the penultimate-to-penthouse floor (despite the pleas of Javier, the lobby security guard who had told them a minute earlier--after seeing their search warrant--that he could unlock the doors).  The ratio of jackboots to actual forensic investigators was very high, so the jackboots were able to fan out quickly and secure five floors of empty offices for the investigators to examine paper files, remove hard drives, and pocket flash drives all across the law firm.

Prince and Prowling was a large old law firm which had spent decades making money in any manner for which they could proffer at least a sliver of legal gray area to justify.  Prince and Prowling was rarely investigated by the Feds, and had successfully negotiated small criminal fines for the few times their legal arguments seemed a little wobbly to stand up in a court of law.  But this was different:  this time the Feds had an inside tip.

And so, on paper, they were focused on raiding the office of staff attorney Chloe Cleavage, who had claimed 10 dependents on her individual tax return--all of whom had names allegedly corresponding to contract attorneys working in P&P's state-of-the-art review center [aka SOTA-Bunker].  But the FBI agents wanted to look at everything--especially the private family foundation tax returns and the SuperPAC files in Evermore Breadman's office.  (Everybody knew how dirty Prince and Prowling was, after all!)

Meanwhile, Chloe was actually down in the crowded underground bunker, cracking the whip on 200 disgruntled worker ants sick to death of processing evidence in a class-action auto parts case.  She quickly told them to ignore the sound of the burglar alarm, since she had a different sounding alarm that would go off if SOTA-Bunk were ever breached.  She continued walking around the bunker, injecting the workers' upper arms with her custom blend of B-vitamins, amino acids, bull testosterone, caffeine, and ecstasy.  This enabled them to work all day without having to eat--which was forbidden in SOTA-Bunk, and only permitted in the tiny break room outside the bunker.  For ten of the contract attorneys, even that was not enough, so Chloe kept for them in the break room special power shakes she made from pomegranate juice, wheat germ, yogurt, kale, quinoa, and chocolate syrup.  This was why she felt perfectly justified claiming ten contract attorneys as dependents on her tax return.

Staff attorney Laura Moreno was getting sick in the restroom when the burglar alarm went off--she was in there a lot, since the law firm had never approved any of her vacation requests since she had become a staff attorney, and had insisted her health insurance would never cover any preexisting conditions.  She clutched her aching head in dismay and made her way back to SOTA-Bunk to see what was happening.

She ran into Mariana and Alejandro, who were leaving SOTA-Bunk against Chloe's orders.  The truth was, they were the ones who had tipped off the FBI--disgruntled over being lured into this nightmare case by phony promises of loads and loads of Spanish documents for which they would get paid extra money.  (There were no Spanish documents!  Only lies!  Pinche mentirosa Chloe!) They suspected the FBI was in the building and were eager to find them.

"What's going on?" asked Laura.

"Not sure!" said Mariana, on her way to the stairwell emergency exit.

"Is everybody evacuating?"

"Not sure!" said Alejandro, holding the door for Mariana and then quickly following her to the stairs.

Laura followed them up to the lobby, where two FBI agents immediately pointed guns at them and asked them where they had come from.

"The bunker!" exclaimed Mariana, bursting into tears.

The FBI agents handcuffed the three to the lobby's $4,000 modern art sculpture (wrought-iron rendering of the Statue of Liberty performing a flying Dutchman jump), then headed down the stairs to investigate the bunker.

"Oh, my God!" exclaimed the first agent (who had, surprisingly, not kicked in the door, but had, rather, used the key card he had ripped off of Moreno's neck).  In front of them stretched a sea of zombie-like creatures, almost as pale as albinos, with dark circles around their twitching eyes.  One was nervously ripping his hair out.  Another was laughing and nodding repeatedly at the computer screen in front of her.  Another was passed out in her chair, where Chloe was using a battery-operated bug zapper to give the temp mild electrical shocks.  "The humanity!"

"And the smell!" said the other agent.  "It's like the slaughterhouse after the arrival of a hundred steer!"  (He was from Texas.)

And so began what would come to be known in labor rights circles as "the Great Mole Liberation", in tax attorney circles as "the Cherry Blossom Forensic Parade", at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as "the Prince and Prowling Prick Sting", and among the partners of Prince and Prowling as "the Cherry Bomb of 2015".

Back in the lobby, Bridezilla was arriving with her fiancé, Wince, to hang up in her office a cherry blossom watercolor she had just purchased at the festival.

"What in tarnation is happening here?!" she exclaimed, spotting Laura Moreno and two Mexican-looking people handcuffed to the lobby sculpture.

"I wish I knew!" cried Moreno, nauseous and on the verge of fainting from a fever.

"It's the FBI," said Mariana.  "They're raiding your law firm."

"Ha!  Serves them right!" exclaimed Bridezilla, who was still furious that the managing attorney had told her she could not announce her engagement to a partisan political candidate until after the Virginia elections were over in the fall.  "Bad karma!"

"Honey, this is serious!" scolded Wince.  "We don't even know what this is about!"

"Well, I never broke any laws!" declared his fiancée.  "If there are criminals in my law firm, good riddance!  Us decent folk should be running things!"  (The three attorneys handcuffed to the sculpture protested they were not criminals, either, but Bridezilla had already turned to head back to the car.

Over at the Tidal Basin, the Cherry Blossom Festival wound down to a close with thousands of giddy visitors snapping pictures in the sunshine.  The river demon, Ardua of the Potomac, lurked just below the water's surface, trailed constantly by Marcos Vazquez of the U.S. Coast Guard--who was wearing a new fetish supplied by his wife, Golden Fawn, for just that purpose.  And Glenn Michael Beckmann continued to finger the cherry bombs in his pocket, on the lookout for that girl-who-might-be-a-Cuban-terrorist-spy...or anybody else on his list.

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COMING UP:  Earth Day is every day in Washington...not!

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