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, May 02, 2015

DC Fairy Tale Endings

Real estate season was peaking, with azalea bushes blooming all over town and every property looking like a fairy tale cottage.  Henrietta ("Button") Samuelson used to love this time of year...because she would make so much money.  But she was no longer a real estate agent; instead, she was devoted full-time to the Heurich Society (mission statement--"maximize wealth, power, and freedom").  Some days she wished her father had left all his personal files to her brother, and that he was the one burdened with decades of CIA and post-CIA clandestine activity legacies.  But some things, once known, cannot be un-known.  The Heurich Society was too dangerous to walk away from, and somehow she was the one tasked with reining in the dragon.  She sat down at a table outside James Hoban's to eat lunch before the Society meeting at the Brewmaster's Castle, and started rifling through her notebook as she waited for her ale.

The Operations Committee had requested that a new agent be trained under the Project Cinderella protocol, and Button had to come up with a good reason to veto them.  It was not just that Angela de la Paz was a poor orphan trained secretly by her late father (Henry Samuelson) out in Kansas.  It was not that Angela had received plastic surgery to change her Salvadoran features to be more generically Latin American.  It was not about the cringe-worthy fact that Angela had been trained to seduce secrets out of targets.  It was not even about the fact that Button still missed her friendship with Angela.

No, the problem was that Angela had become a more lethal agent than her father had ever anticipated.  This is why the Operations Committee wanted to get another one like her, but they still did not understand:  it was not her father's training protocol.  There had been a lot of arguing about whether Angela really had supernatural abilities or was just a lunatic, but Button had seen and read things nobody else in the Heurich Society had.  Angela was different.  Whatever had been done to Angela to make her different must never again be repeated:  Project Cinderella needed to be officially purged from the Heurich Society's book of secrets.

Button looked up in surprise as her old boss, real estate mogul Calico Johnson, sat down at her table.  "I never thought I would see you looking so leisurely on a Saturday afternoon in May!" Cal said to her, and she laughed.

"I do miss it a little, honestly," she said.

"What are you doing these days?  It says public policy consultant on your LinkedIn account."

"That's what I'm doing," she said, evasively.  "What ever happened with that property that went up in flames next to your mansion in Potomac Manors?"

"I bought it at tax auction," he said.  "Then I sold it for a nice profit, as well as my old place.  I'm at a different place now, ten miles away."

"What about that missing owner?"

"Basia is no longer on the FBI Most Wanted list, but I'm not sure why."

"Mega Moo?"

"I have Mega Moo and the horse, too.  I thought Basia would try to get in touch with me again someday, but it hasn't happened."

"Do you think she's dead?"

Johnson frowned.  He was a fairly shallow person, and his unrequited obsession with Basia Karbusky had sucked more life out of him than he was accustomed to losing.  "I don't think about it," he lied.  He had wasted too much of his life pondering her mysteries already, and preferred to focus his efforts on easy conquests--which Button had once been.  "Well, you're always welcome to come out and stay at the new place if you need to get out of the city!"  He placed his hand over hers and squeezed it in the old familiar way.  "We don't have to talk about real estate!"

"Thanks!" she said, wondering what she had ever seen in him.  Then she remembered:  money.

A few miles away, Barbara Hellmeister, fka Basia Karbusky, currently known as Barbie Bucephalus, was also the topic of conversation at the Justice Department--where Atticus Hawk was having his first tête-à-tête with new Attorney General Loretta Lynch.  "Look," Lynch had said, "I've been reviewing your file, and I'm gonna be straight with you.  I'm not a big fan of these torture memos, or the Guantanamo stuff, or, frankly, half of your portfolio, but I'm willing to move past that because I understand you were doing the assignments given to you."  (Hawk nodded rigidly, his intestines clenched into a rock by the half-bottle of Immodium he had downed before the meeting.)  "I can see you have an excellent legal mind, but I need to understand more about this relationship you had with the woman on the FBI Most Wanted list.  I don't normally pry into personal relationships, but you lost your security clearance for awhile, and--"

"She works for the CIA now!" he blurted out.  "I'm scared of her!"  He had never had a woman boss before, and was surprised to find himself looking to Lynch for maternal support.

The Attorney General's mouth gaped.  "You know where she is?!  Why didn't you report that to the FBI?!"

"She's not on the list anymore."

"Just because she's not on the Most Wanted list doesn't mean she's not on a list!"

"Well, I suppose."

"Are you sure she's working for the CIA?" asked Lynch.

"Well, that's what she told me.  She said she does prisoner interrogations in a bunker under the Washington Times building.  She's going by the name Barbie Bucephalus."

"Did she threaten you?" asked Lynch.  (Hawk shook his head no.)  "Why are you afraid of her?"

"I'm always so happy when I'm with her!  Then I have nightmares later.  She has some kind of control over me."

"When was your last drug test?"

"Last Wednesday.  That won't find anything:  she's an expert at designing drugs which elude federal drug tests."

The Attorney General sat back in her chair to ponder this news for a minute.  The guy was a hot mess, but he also seemed to be the first person to speak honestly to her since she had arrived.  "I'm going to move you into my suite," she said.  (Hawk gasped in surprise.)  "Write down these names and aliases, and I'll speak to the CIA director about her.  Stay at DOJ until it's taken care of--don't go out."

"We're supposed to go to the Kennedy Center tonight."

"Perfect!  The FBI can pick her up when you're supposed to pick her up.  I'll have them do that first, and call Brennan afterwards.  Or maybe I'll call the President and tell him the CIA was employing an FBI fugitive!  Ha!"  (Her eyes were really lighting up now.)

"Wow, I don't know what to say, General Lynch.  How can I thank you?"

"Write a memo on this by Monday morning," she said, handing him a pile from her credenza.  You can use that office next to Jack's."

Several miles away, Chloe Cleavage was not receiving a similarly startling boost up from the hot mess which was her life and legal career.  She sat on the couch, staring at the vacuum cleaner, trying to will herself to turn it on and push it through her condo, but she had not gone without a maid since selling her eggs for a million dollars.  I need to economize, she sternly told herself again, but her legs refused to launch her from the couch towards the vacuum cleaner.  She had tried unsuccessfully to blame everything on fellow staff attorney, Laura Moreno, but even Chloe's blackmail cache was not enough to keep Chloe safe from the wrath of Prince and Prowling's managing partner.  SOTA-Bunk would only be allowed to reopen after the law firm met the court-mandated conditions, and large fines would be paid to avoid criminal prosecutions by the IRS.  Chloe was on an unpaid suspension, uncertain if her incriminating sexual evidence against various P&P lawyers would be enough to save her job.  And Laura Moreno was on a paid vacation!  It was so unfair.

Somebody knocked on the door, and she got up to answer it.  She looked through the peephole and saw a balding man with un-hip glasses and Saturday stubble on his face.  His eyes were barely gray, barely alive.  "Who is it?"

"Stuart, your new neighbor."  She opened the door, and his gaze was immediately drawn to the v-neck t-shirt exposing a large portion of her chest.  "Um," he faltered, bringing his gaze back up to her eyes, "I just bought this place, and my vacuum got broken during the move.  Would you mind if I borrowed yours until my new one arrives?  I ordered a Dyson."

Chloe's mind was turning fast.  Only people with money would buy a Dyson.  On the other hand, how much money could he have if he didn't have a maid?  He was probably a government bureaucrat, or some sycophantic Congressional aid.  But who am I kidding? she thought to herself, and almost started crying.  Life is passing me by!  I'll never get richer.  I'll never date a movie star [like her cousin Chloris Cleavage regularly did].  I'll never like my job.  What do I have to live for?

"You can borrow it if you vacuum my condo first," she said.

"Um," Stuart said, wondering if he should knock on somebody else's door.

"Fine, if you vacuum my condo, you can also have sex with me."  (She really didn't want to vacuum her condo.)

"Wow," said Stuart, feeling his pulse start racing.  Nobody had ever seduced him before!  "Can I, uh, look at you in your underwear while I'm vacuuming your apartment?"

"Sure-I'll do a total striptease for you," Chloe said, opening the door wide for him to enter.  (She also had a camera in the bedroom, so if it did turn out he was rich, maybe she could blackmail him later.)

Several miles away, White House Butler Clio was having similarly pessimistic visions of her future.  Her HIV was not going to kill her, but she was sick and tired a lot.  She liked her job, but she was never going to be promoted to anything else.  But what was hardest of all was that she couldn't shake the visions of her dead twins.  She had been in therapy awhile with Dr. Ermann Esse, and it wasn't helping.  She had even gone to a different psychiatrist for awhile to get anti-psychotic medication, but none of those worked either--and the shrink was puzzled that she never had hallucinations about anything except the pre-schoolers.  Neither one had reported her as a security risk because they had separately concluded that she was not actually having organic hallucinations but was simply seeing Reggie and Fergie because she wanted to.

Grief is different for everybody, she told herself.  (She had several conflicting mantras that she would say during the day.)  I feel guilty about not disciplining them better, or they never would have been on the roof to begin with.  Everybody makes mistakes.  They're in a better place.  She was taking a long walk from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue down to the Potomac to be near the water.  It's a beautiful day:  enjoy it.

Up on the roof, the ghosts of Ferguson and Regina were watching their mother's figure recede in the distance.  They had been trying hard to stay out of her sight, but invariably ended up running into her several times a week.  Why can't we still talk to her, like we talk to you? they had asked gardener Bridge many times.  You shouldn't be talking to me, neither, he would say.  Get on to where you're going!  But they didn't understand--this was where they had always lived, and they could not imagine anyplace more fun and interesting than the White House!  And other ghosts live here, they would argue with Bridge, and he would just mutter to himself, Lord, don't I know it.

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COMING UP:  Chief Justice John Roberts said what??!!

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