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, July 30, 2016

The Veil

Dr. Khalid Mohammad was sitting on a chair next to his wife, Yasmin, at the local swimming pool.  Though she seemed more comfortable at home, and had not put a veil back on since their wedding, she was still wearing a head scarf in public.  He had purchased her a very modest swim suit with a skirt, but she was still wrapped up in a terry cloth robe.

"You see how they are," Khalid said, gesturing to the swimmers.  "Once you are in the pool, nobody sees the legs.  You can have a swim cap on your hair, and the swimming is good exercise."

"I can do the treadmill at home," she said.  She did not like arguing with her husband, but it had been an exceedingly difficult psychological journey to recover from her radicalized father's beatings for "dishonor"--the last one of which had cracked her skull and nearly killed her.

"Swimming uses all the muscles of the body better, and is the best thing to keep a strong back," said Khalid (again).  He was secretly hoping she would also find it a very liberating feeling to glide through water again--something she had not done since before puberty.

"I've been doing the yoga," she said (again).  She really did not like arguing with him, especially now, after their recent return from the sad funeral in Jordan for his cousin--murdered in her own country by an extremist Iraqi refugee for not wearing a hijab in public.

"Yes, I know you have."  He squeezed her hand affectionately.  "You can wear the robe to the edge of the pool and then hand it to me."  It had taken weeks of heat for Khalid to just get her to the pool at all, so he was feeling fairly optimistic.  Her father was back in Turkey, finally abandoning his ties with the CIA for good and joining Erdogan's regime to crack down on dissenters.  Khalid was fairly certain that his father-in-law would never be allowed back inside the U.S.

"Maybe," said Yasmin, who knew that Khalid wanted her to be able to take their future children swimming.  Khalid and Yasmin had watched television together a few days ago as Khizr Khan spoke to the DNC Convention about his son, Humayun--a Muslim who was born in the United Arab Emirates but grew up in Maryland and died a hero saving fellow American soldiers in Iraq from a suicide bombing.  Yasmin had been trying to imagine raising a son here, seeing him go to college, seeing him be a quiet Muslim like her husband.

"Okay," said Khalid.  "I'm going to swim a bit; then I'll come back."  It had bothered Khalid tremendously that Mrs. Khan had stood silently next to her husband with a head scarf on while he did all the talking about their deceased son, but at least some of her hair had been showing and there was no veil.  Khalid knew he was being slightly cruel, but he thought Yasmin would rather come into the pool then sit alone.  He felt somewhat hypocritical pushing her to be a certain way, and yet just letting her be would mean letting her keep the habits which had been beaten into her, rather than help liberate the woman she really was.  He loved that she had enough self-confidence not to do whatever he asked of her, but he also knew this particular type of resistance came from her father's brainwashing.  He got up and walked a few steps, then heard her call for him to wait.

Several miles away, former Senator Evermore Breadman was sipping from another glass of bourbon on the rocks, staring across his Prince and Prowling desk in amazement at the calm demeanor of junior partner Bridezilla.  "The veil has come off," he repeated.  "Not just for the DNC.  You understand this, right?"

"Of course," said Bridezilla, who was calmly petting Thelma and Louise, the conjoined guinea pigs sitting in her lap.

"Donors are clowns, sure, but you can't say that!  What if somebody hacks into our SuperPACs?"

"They won't."

"Of course a political party has a vested interest in the outcome of the parties!" Breadman exclaimed.

"Of course."

"But the SuperPACs?  Lord Almighty, what if our SuperPACs get hacked?"

"They won't," replied Bridezilla, annoyed that he took the Lord's name in vain.

"What makes you so sure?"

"Our PACs are too secret," said Bridezilla.  "And most of the files are paper, or stored on memory cards.  We don't have email servers."

"Right, right, no email," said Breadman, leaning back in his chair and rubbing his temples.  He had not been this nervous since his final reelection campaign--run during a time when you had private dinners with millionaires' cutting checks, and only your chief of staff knew what was promised and what was snickered about later.  "But what about the Russians?"

"They want the embarrassing emails," said Bridezilla.  "They're not even looking for SuperPACs."  (She knew this because Charles Wu had asked the Tarantula to set out several honey pots to see if hackers were looking for SuperPACs, but nothing happened.)

"But the Dems have always been better with technology.  Why haven't the Republicans been hacked?"

"I think they probably have," said Bridezilla, "but it will be released strategically."

"Strategically?!" cried Breadman, rifling his hands through his thinning hair.  "What the Hell is the Wikileaks agenda, anyway?"

"Julian Assange is a misogynist masquerading as mankind's savior," said Bridezilla.  "Smart people know better."

Breadman suddenly realized he had no idea what Bridezilla was talking about.  Is it possible I'm not as smart as I thought I was?  I don't know better!

"I don't know," said the Tarantula (again), tapping on the keyboard and staring at his computer screen while Charles Wu paced nervously behind him in the hacker's NoMa loft apartment.  "I did try to make the first one look like a Russian hack, but then other things happened."

"If Donald Trump is colluding with Russia--"

"There's no evidence of that!"

"He owes money to the Russian mob," said Wu, sitting back down beside his prized hacker.

"It's not the same thing."

"I know it's not the same thing!" cried Wu.

"Don't yell at me, dude!"

"Sorry."

"Look, there's a lot at stake in this election.  Trump doesn't even want to be President!  His son told Kasich that he could be in charge of domestic and international policy if he joined the ticket as Vice-President!  How wacky is that?  Trump literally wants to be a figurehead!  It doesn't matter how many veils are pulled away from this phony--he still has supporters!  Freakin' Nazis!"

"Please tell me something I don't already know," pleaded Wu.  His contacts in Beijing were apoplectic about the idea of Russia's swaying the U.S. election.

"I need more time."

There was also high anxiety in the Southwest Plaza apartment of conspiracy blogger and militiaman Glenn Michael Beckmann.  "I need more time!" he shouted at temporal lobe epileptic "John Doe", who was relaying messages with the ghost of Henry Samuelson--who had swung back into the anti-Trump camp after the Donald invited Russia to hack American computers.

"He must be assassinated!" cried John, trying to gesticulate in the same way that the ghost did.  "He's a Russian mole!  Or the Manchurian Candidate!"

"That's China," said Beckmann (who was confused about a lot of things but did know that China was a different commie menace).

"That's not the point!" exclaimed John, who was normally very adverse to Ghost Henry's violent tendencies but feared that Donald Trump would institute Nazi eugenics and kill all the disabled people in the country.  "Trump cannot be trusted with the nukes!  And the Ghost CIA can only do so much!"

"What about the real CIA?" asked Beckmann.  "They have plenty of assassins."

"Not against the Secret Service!" cried John.  "Their assassins have to stay behind the veil!  They can only kill overseas."

"Likely story!  Well, I have to capture that dummy first.  I think with the dummy--"

"Forget about the dummy!" cried John, expressing Ghost Henry's frustration with Beckmann's insistence that a satanic dummy living somewhere in YouTube land needed to be found before any action could be taken against Trump.

"Find me the dummy!" retorted Beckmann, red in the face.

"Fine!  The dummy is in the Arlington Group Home for the Mentally Challenged."

Beckmann's jaw dropped.  "You knew all along!  You knew I wanted that dummy!"

"You can't assassinate Trump with a satanic dummy!"

"No, but it can talk that dweeb Donald Trump, Jr., into killing his father!"

John Doe was speechless, waiting for Ghost Henry's reply, but Ghost Henry's spectral jaw had dropped.

Back at the pool, Khalid had returned to the side of his wife, who had pulled her robe halfway off.  She was thinking about Khizr Khan.  ("You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”)   She was proud of her husband, a doctor who had saved her life and the lives of many others.  She wondered if their children would ever be proud of her.  A good Muslim woman would raise her son to be like Khan's son--fearless, selfless, serving others.  What could she do behind a veil?  Nothing.  And she did not want to raise a son who would scorn women who did not wear veils--even kill them!  She looked around, but nobody was paying attention or looking at her bare arms.  Some people had stared at her head scarf, but now that she had the bathing cap on (which covered all her hair), nobody was staring.  She took the robe off, and Khalid watched her as she looked around to see who was staring--nobody.

"We'll run and jump in fast!" said Khalid, smiling, and she smiled back.  He took her hand, they got up, ran to the pool, and jumped.

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COMING UP:  ASPIRE!

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