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 28, 2015

Public Policy Panic

The Heurich Society was not happy about having a meeting the Sunday before the 4th of July, but several of its grumpy old members had invoked the emergency meeting clause, and so here was Henrietta ("Button") Samuelson, passing around bowls of whipped cream, chopped nuts, berries, and candy sprinkles for her membership to build their own ice cream sundaes and calm down a little with the help of milkfat, sugar, and chocolate.  She rapped her gavel and tried to chair the opening of the meeting, but chaos continued to reign in the upper floor meeting room of the Brewmaster's Castle.

"The Pope's encyclical on climate change is the greatest threat to capitalism the world has ever seen!  The compassion for the environment and the poor--where does he get this stuff?  It's dynamite!  He's trying to get rid of survival-of-the-fittest!"

"The terrorists are coordinating their strikes all over the world--it's only a matter of time before Washington is hit!"

"The race war will hit us first!  It's time to trade all our assets for food and water and hunker down in the bunkers with our families for the next 100 years until 75% of the world's population slaughters each other or dies of bird flu!"

"There are sixty million refugees in the world!  This is the largest number since World War II!  Cannibalism and slaving pirate ships are right around the corner!"

Samuelson blew her rape whistle, and the grumpy old men finally shut up.  "Alright, well I'm glad some of you are finally noticing that maybe we should be focused on more important things than getting Condi named the new Commissioner of the National Football League."

"I resent that!" crackled Condoleezza Rice over the speakerphone.  "This is a small project that uses very few Society resources!"

"Whatever," said Samuelson.  "Our mission statement is to maximize wealth, power, and freedom.  There are serious threats in the world today, but we will deal with them as we always have--rationally, intelligently, and strategically."

The ghost of Henry Samuelson shook his head in the corner.  Wow, she really never read the minutes from those years before she took over.

"The terrorism and refugee problems are tied to climate change," the younger Samuelson continued.  "I've asked the Project Prometheus Committee chairman to report on their progress in preparing for the global security problems caused by climate change."

"Climate change isn't real!"

"Then why's the ice cream melting?"

"Shut up!"

Button Samuelson blew her rape whistle again and gestured to the Project Prometheus chairman, who cleared his throat and began to read from his repaired notes.  "It is very regrettable that Pope Francis has framed the problem in terms of attacking capitalism as the source of persistent poverty, environmental degradation, and global warming.  We have concluded that--"

"Concluded?" asked Samuelson.  "You just started talking, and you're telling us your conclusion?"

"Well, it's quite obvious, after you really analyse it.  There's only one acceptable path forward that does not involve an unacceptable change in our way of life:  we need to sterilize the world's poor."

"What?!" cried Button Samuelson.

"It's more humane than letting their children all turn into refugees, slaves, slavers, or cannibals.  Cut off the supply of young girls' being born, and ISIS won't have anything to bribe its warriors with.  Mass sterility will cause people to lose their religious fundamentalism altogether.  Greenhouse gas emissions will fall as populations decline to pre-Industrial Age levels.  The entire world will calm down, and we can remain living above ground."

"That's an interesting argument," crackled Rice over the speakerphone.  "What do you propose for the sterilization method?"

"Are you out of your minds?!" exclaimed Button Samuelson.

"Do you have a better solution?" retorted the chair of the Project Prometheus Committee.

"You call global eugenics a solution!?"

"Yes, I do!" he insisted.  "It's more humane than letting the world descend back into the Dark Ages."

"Well, I'm not signing off on that plan, and it's not open to debate!" declared Samuelson.  "You better have a Plan B!"

"Well," he sighed, "Plan B is to acknowledge that it's too late to stop climate change and the global security problems it is causing.  We need to build a Noah's Ark spaceship to take our families in search of a new planet.  Frankly, I feel this is a far more irresponsible plan."

A few miles away, the Congressional Holier Than Thou Caucus was having its own emergency/hysterical meeting in the leafy backyard of a South Carolina Representative, who was telling them that he had a prophetic dream that the mass murderer's wish would come true, and race war was about to start in his home state.  "He shot Christians in a church!" the Representative sobbed.  "He can only be the Antichrist!"

"I agree," exclaimed a representative from Texas.  "He's not even a Muslim!  He was surely the First Horseman of the Apocalypse!"

And then others joined in, crazed with excitement.

"The Obamacare ruling was the Second Horseman!  Now government officials will put their death panels in place in every state and start killing off people of faith!"

"Then the gay marriage ruling was the Third Horseman of the Apocalypse--with the White House beaming a gay rainbow of light from the roof--like a Satanic beam calling out to all the wicked of the world to gather there and fornicate and sodomize!"

"Wait, I think Bruce Jenner was the First Horseman of the Apocalypse, now that I think of it.  And how can a Supreme Court ruling be a Horseman?"

"It can be a sign of the Apocalypse."

"And the shooter was the Second Horseman?"

"The Pope was the Third Horseman!"

"Stop!" yelled Congressman Herrmark, who had only joined the Caucus in a desperate attempt to try to schmooze for votes against fracking.  "Do you realize how crazy you sound?  Obamacare is going to cost a lot of money, but it's not about death panels, for God's sake.  And gay people are going to sodomize whether they have a marriage certificate or not, so you can't say the Supreme Court is bringing on the Apocalypse!  That boy in Charleston is mentally deranged--it doesn't mean he's the Antichrist!"

"Your church doesn't do a good job of teaching the Apocalypse!" said a Pentecostal to Congressman Herrmark.

"Well, I know a zombie when I see one, and that's the most ungodly thing around!  You people need to get your priorities straight!"

The other members of the Holier Than Thou Caucus looked at Congressman Herrmark in perplexity--except for the few who were also members of Congressman Herrmark's Anti-Zombie Caucus.  He looked to them for support.

"I have seen some zombies, too," admitted a Congressman from Florida.  "What Herrmark is saying is true."  He sighed deeply  "Perhaps they were the first sign of the Apocalypse, and we should have warned you."

"Why, you're talking about the Occult!" exclaimed the Congressman from South Carolina.  "Not in my house!  Get behind me, Satan!"

"Now, John," protested the Congressman from Florida, "I'm not mixed up in the Occult!  Congress has a bunch of zombies, and we've been hunting them down, but they keep multiplying, and we don't even know how!  They have maggots for brains, and are causing a lot of crazy votes on the Hill!  You have to believe us!"

"Deliver us from Evil, he's gone over to the dark side!"

"I was always suspicious that he missed that vote on school prayer!"

Congressman Herrmark and his colleague from Florida looked to the other (still secret) members of the Anti-Zombie Caucus, but they were just looking down at the grass.  "Fine!" said Herrmark.  "I'm outta here!  You want to have hysterics about the Supreme Court, go at it."

"And that shooter isn't a sign of the Apocalypse!" exclaimed the Congressman from Florida.  "He's a sign that the NRA has too much damned power in this country!"  And he spit on the grass and walked out with Herrmark.

Behind the hydrangea bushes, the ghost of Condoleezza Rice's cat, Pippin, and the rest of the feline ghost gang, resumed killing sparrows.

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COMING UP:  Congressman John Boehner's quest for liberty!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Touched

The Reiki Triplets had used the proceeds of their mother's estate, combined with their own savings from the San Francisco practice, to buy a house out of foreclosure near Capitol Hill.  The top floor was shared by Calcium (Cal) with Magnesium (Maggie), who was divorced and had a kid in college.  The middle floor was for Sassafras (Sassy), her husband (a musician), and two young children.  The bottom floor was for cooking and getting together.

And the basement was where the identical triplets had set up their reiki practice.  Their first regular customer was Charles Wu, who had more natural chi than anybody on the planet, but was feeling quite off-kilter since the Chinese had hacked the federal government and made half his acquaintances distrustful of him.  He would walk through the beaded inner doorway, smell the patchouli incense in the lavender and mint waiting room, sip green tea sweetened with mango juice, then go into one of the treatment areas.  He would take most of his clothes off, which was not at all required but something he liked to do any chance he got.  And then they would touch him.  Though the triplets were middle-aged, he could still close his eyes and imagine how exciting it would have been for these identical beauties to have simultaneously touched him fifteen years ago.

And it was working!  His self-confidence was coming back!  The State Department's Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope was not yet returning his calls, but C. Coe Phant was.  He had handed former Senator Evermore Breadman a huge deal in China, so he was halfway back to being able to show his face at Prince and Prowling.  It wouldn't be long before he was back on top!

One of the Reiki Triplets' newest clients was H Street “NoMa” lifestyle guru, Giuliana Sunstream.  Giuliana--who shied away from anything controversial in her blog and wouldn't dream of using the word "New Age"--had recently posted that the experience was transcendent, uplifting, mind-clearing, and beautiful.  From the magnetized mattress to the automatic misters spraying citrus-infused water every seven minutes, from the Clayoquot flute music to the live butterflies flying back and forth over the client bed to reach the butterfly bushes placed under grow lamps around the room--Giuliana did not have enough good things to say about the experience.

The Reiki Triplets' most distressed client was Justice Department attorney Atticus Hawk, who was back to living a drug-free life since his clandestinely doping girlfriend had been picked up by the FBI.  Moved into the Attorney General's suite directly by Loretta Lynch herself, Hawk could not relax for a single minute in his office.  Psychiatrist Ermann Esse had not been much help with the recurrent nightmares about getting water-boarded, bombed by Predator drones, locked up at Guantanamo as an Enemy Combatant, or--worst of all--visited by Lynch with an urgent assignment that she is about to deliver to him, but then she realizes he is wearing daisy-covered pajama bottoms and nothing else.  Hawk was willing to try anything (other than quitting his job), and was soon booking lunch visits with the Reiki Triplets almost every day.

Unfortunately for Hawk, Giuliana Sunstream's blog post had caught the attention of ex-boyfriend Glenn Michael Beckmann, who believed the entire operation was a hippie front for laundering drug money--not that Beckmann was against drugs, since he loved drugs, but he knew that anybody who would put a Persian rug and and bags of pistachios in their waiting room was probably a Hezbollah agent laundering money from Iran.  It was just logical!  But what Beckmann learned after three days of stake-outs was that Atticus Hawk was the only repeat customer, so on Friday, Beckmann had followed Hawk out to see where he went after the appointment--and he went straight to the Justice Department!  This could not be good, thought Beckmann, who had now been tailing Hawk ever since (pumped up on meth so he didn't have to sleep all weekend).  Hawk, unaware that conspiracy theorist and militia leader Beckmann had been under federal surveillance since his “Serial Creditor – Serial Predator” blog post calling for the violent overthrow of the Federal Reserve Board, believed that Beckmann was an FBI agent tailing Hawk, and so the reiki visits were, quite ironically, increasing Hawk's paranoia and anxiety.

Out in the river, the chi-less demon Ardua of the Potomac slithered quickly under the 14th Street bridge, bracing for Dubious McGinty to urinate down on her from the bridgeman's quarters, as he always did.  But today he wasn't even shaking his fist at her.  Today he was staring at the Lincoln Memorial in the distance.  Today he was thinking about a week that started with a white girl pretending to be black, and ended with a white boy calmly murdering black people in a Charleston church.  Racism is a joke.  Racism is entertaining.  Racism is death.  He felt the demon pass below him, and reflexively spit into the water.  Do we feed the demons or do they feed us?

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COMING UP:  
The Heurich Society reacts to Pope's encyclical on climate change!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

West Side Story

After a couple more harrowing nights of knife wounds and bullet holes in the George Washington University Hospital E.R., Dr. Khalid Mohammad was convinced the heat wave was going to indirectly kill off five percent of the city's population.  Like leopards sleeping under rocks during the heat of the day and roaming out to hunt in the middle of the night, the killers were pouncing on prey right and left in fits of anger, hunger, and frustration.  It was the most intense month of surgery he had seen since coming back from Jordan, and he was losing almost as many patients.

But this was something different.  "Doctor, we can't persuade her to take off the burqa," said Nurse Consuela Arroyo.

"Is she bleeding?  What's wrong?"

"Her father says she keeps falling down and needs something to stop her dizzy spells."  Dr. Mohammad stared at Nurse Arroyo waiting for a better explanation, but she just handed him the chart.

"This is useless," he said after a minute.  "Somebody needs to examine her."

"Three female doctors have already been in there, and she won't take it off.  I came for you since you speak Arabic."

Dr. Mohammad pulled back the curtain and started speaking Arabic to the patient, who responded so quietly he could not hear what she was saying through the veil.  He continued talking to her anyway, while quietly using sharp scissors to cut through the side of her burqa.  He told her one more time the importance of allowing him to examine her, but she would not take off the burqa.  He abruptly ripped it off her head.  Both nurses gasped at the action, but the patient made no protest.  Her cranium looked like somebody had smashed it down with a brick.  There were trickles of blood coming out of her nostrils.  For the first time in his medical career, Dr. Mohammad suddenly thought that love was a healer more powerful than anything he could do.  "Page the neurosurgeon," he said quietly, taking the woman's hand in his own.

Not far away, Bridezilla arrived at Primi Piatti a half-hour early, told them she was having a business lunch, and sat down to get a Bellini.  Her pulse was racing with the thought of seeing Paul (!!!!) outside of the office.  Nobody would know!  She had told Paul that she needed him to interpret for her during a meeting with Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim--who was interested in working with Prince and Prowling's Cuban Practices Group in setting up American investments after trade sanctions got lifted--but that was just a white lie.  Paul would show up, and then she would tell him that Slim had canceled, but they could still charge this as a business lunch.  It was a perfect plan!

Her happy thoughts faltered when she caught sight of the pale line on her tanned ring finger where Wince's engagement ring used to sit.  But what could she do?  Wince had seen it in her eyes after he lost the primary for the Virginia House of Delegates nomination to that weapons contractor with body odor, and she couldn't deny how disappointed she was.  The passion was gone, and she couldn't fake it for him.  But Paul!  Her heart fluttered every time she saw him!  And after being ordered to keep her engagement with a partisan political candidate quiet, it seemed the most natural thing in the world to sneak around! 

She sighed.  It was like "Gattaca"--they came from two different worlds!  She was of the superior race of beings who had done law review at a top tier law school.  He was one of those weirdos who had traveled the world and done jobs in other mysterious professions, and had a pile of amazing experience that nobody in law firms valued in the slightest--relegated to the contract attorney class for all of time.  But she saw glimmers of real intellect in him!  After all, he was fluent in several foreign languages, which was no mean task, and all kinds of smart comments came out of his mouth when she talked to him about the case he was working on.  And his eyes were so dreamy!

A romance with him would be the riskiest thing she had ever done in her legal career.  People would look down on her if they knew!  It was slumming, and she knew it.  It had to be kept a secret, but that just made it more exciting for her.  She ordered a second Bellini, feeling warm and fuzzy all over.

A few blocks away, Helen Talaverdi Yellen had stopped by the Federal Reserve Board to bring lunch to her husband, Luciano Talaverdi Yellen, who was hard at work on a special economic model ordered by the Chair, Janet Yellen (no actual blood relation).  She waited patiently on the corner outside the Liquidity Palace, but this did not stop a guard from coming over to harass her.

"What is this?" he demanded, pointing at her pot-bellied pig on a leash.

She held up the cooler bag.  "Just bringing lunch to my husband.  He's an economist--he's on his way down."

"You can't have a pig here!" exclaimed the guard, surprised that his yellow lab was rubbing noses peacefully with the pig.

"Why not?" she asked.

"It's an animal!" he exclaimed.

"Is he an idiot, or what?" Petro Pig whispered to the guard dog.

"Oh, he's alright," whispered the yellow lab, feeling butterflies in her stomach.  (She didn't know she could talk to a pig!)  "What's your name?"

"I'm Petro Pig."

"I'm Princess Buttercup."

The animals were giggling now, but only the Dog Whisperer would have been able to recognize it.

Back at Primi Piatti, Paul's lover (Fernando) dropped him off for his "business lunch" with a kiss on the cheek.  "Don't do anything I wouldn't do!" laughed Fernando.

But since Paul was secretly bi-sexual, there really were some things he did that Fernando would not do.  The question today was, would any of those happen?  He looked for his boss (Bridezilla), and she waved him over with a drunken grin.  There was no Carlos Slim in sight, just as he had expected.  Paul sat down, and she lifted her cocktail in the air with her left--obviously now ringless--hand, and begged him to take a sip of it.  She lifted it to his lips, and he wished he had spent more time seriously pondering future repercussions.  She poured it crookedly into his mouth, then leaned over and wiped his dripping lips with her other hand.  "Whoops!" she said, a couple seconds later.

Outside, a catbird was imitating the sound of an ambulance siren, and the river rats ran back into the sewer to escape the heat.

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COMING UP:  The reiki triplets shake up Washington!

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Crazy as a Junebug

"What are you gonna do to preserve our right to defend ourselves in our home from meth-brained crackheads coming to rape and rob us?"

"Well, sir," began Wince, a primary candidate for the Virginia legislature, "I don't believe that right is in imminent danger."  There were gasps from the campaign rally crowd, and the former Supreme Court clerk looked nervously at his fiancée (Bridezilla).  "Of course, I will be vigilant in safeguarding the gun rights you already have--"

"It's in the Constitution!" somebody shouted. 

"Yes, sir," agreed Wince.

"What about those cops showing up at people's doors and blowin' 'em away?  We got a right to shoot them, too!"

"Well, of course, it depends on the circumstances--"  (Bridezilla cleared her throat.)  "--but, naturally, you have a right to defend yourselves if the officer is acting outside of the legally permitted use of force."

Bridezilla, was dying to get out her phone and text Paul again, but she knew Wince was looking at her half the time.  His fundraising had gone pretty well, but these public rallies were like watching a law librarian try to get a NASCAR crowd revved up.  She just didn't understand it.  He looked great in a suit, but none of his personal charisma came through when he talked to the crowds.

And that's when the June bug dived straight into Wince's face, and he started swatting at it in what would be called, a few minutes later on social media, the "Elect-a-Spazz" dance.  

Of course, that wouldn't be the craziest thing to happen in the Virginia primaries, where Republicans were willing to vote for a man named "Brat" and Libertarians were willing to vote for a man named "Loser".  It wouldn't even be the craziest thing to happen during Wince's campaign, which had a few days earlier been ambushed by gasoline-filled balloons tossed by climate change activists walking with a pot-bellied pig sporting a crown with the words "Petro Pig" written in red crayon on it.

But primaries were all about name recognition and voter turnout, and Wince's new viral video was only going to help with half of that equation. 

Back in D.C., triple agent Charles Wu was having a rough week.  Even his good (spy) pal "The Condor" had insisted on meeting at Le Pain Quotidien so that they could sit nonchalantly at the communal table and pretend they didn't know each other.  Wu was wearing a British seersucker suit which, rather than emphasize the English half of his Hong Kong heritage, made him stand out in the crowd in a way that greatly displeased The Condor.  Wu reached for the hazelnut praline spread and discreetly removed the computer chip The Condor had stuck to the jar.  "This stuff's like frosting," said Wu quietly, spreading it sparsely on his raisin bread, but The Condor turned away to wink at a redhead at the far end of the table.  

It was a lonely time to be a Chinese spy in Washington.  After assuring the State Department's Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope that he would find out who had authorized the Chinese hack of the U.S. federal worker data files, he was no closer to having a scapegoat to hand them, and no closer to getting his phone calls returned...by anyone.  He knew all about the hack, of course, which he had discouraged, but he couldn't give up that information.  He had to come up with something (somebody) else to win back the Americans' trust.  And they were still pissed off about that man-made island, which they said he should have warned them about!  He lifted the raisin bread to take a bite, only to see a Junebug dive right into it.  Then a pretty blond laughed and smiled at him, and he started to feel better.

Up in Cleveland Park, Cedric was on day leave from the Arlington group home for the mentally challenged to visit Wu's governess, Mrs. Prudence Higgety-Cheshire.  "Your boss just hacked the U.S. government!" he exclaimed, while she handed him a scone.  "You need to get away from him!"

"I'm very grateful for your concern, Cedric, and my late husband would also be grateful for your concern, but as I told you, Charles is from Hong Kong.  He's a British spy."

"When it suits him!" retorted Cedric.  "And it hasn't suited him very much since he found out the British were responsible for the death of Buffy Cordelia's mother!"

"What?!  I never heard this about Delia's mother!"

"Slow down!" exclaimed Cedric to the ghost of Henry Samuelson (deceased CIA agent), who was whispering a lot of information into Cedric's ear.

"Slow down?"

"Not you!" said Cedric to Mrs. H-C.  "Never mind that.  Listen:  Delia's mother was a spy, too, and the British accidentally got her killed, and Wu's been angry about it ever since he found out."

"Well, I suppose that would be a good reason to be angry at certain agents, but he's a professional!  He would hardly take it out on the entire country!  He still has family there, you know.  And, really, why would that turn him against the United States?  He's very pro-American."

"Wake up and smell the jasmine tea!" Cedric cried.  "He's dangerous!  He might be the most dangerous spy in Washington!"

"My dear, I have it on very good authority that he's quite a noble fellow at heart.  I trust him completely."  (Mrs. H.-C was referring obliquely to the fact that Wu's bodyguard, Angela de la Paz, often received psychic visions about protecting people, including Wu; thus, Mrs. H-C was quite certain that Wu had "friends upstairs".)

Cedric sank into the couch cushion, dejected, and stuck his fingers into his ears to stop hearing anything more from Ghost Henry.  

Back downtown, the brain-damaged amnesiac "John Doe" was having a temporal lobe epileptic seizure in the lobby of The Washington Post, after having failed to convince anybody that his visions about future Metro accidents were more important than anything the newspaper's reporters had uncovered about current safety inspections.  His helping dog, Lucky Charm, commenced licking his hand to bring him back to full consciousness.  "Chewing gum," he muttered repeatedly for a good ten minutes.  His eyes were open by the time the ambulance arrived.  "It will start with the chewing gum," he said to the EMTs approaching him.  "I'm an autistic-mystic-shaman, so that's how I know."

"Okay, sir."

Out in the river, Ardua of the Potomac laughed with pleasure at another nightmare planted successfully into a weakling's brain.  Then she slithered off to make another kill.

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COMING UP:  West Side Story!