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, August 06, 2016

ASPIRE!

Congressman Paul Ryan was supposed to be in Wisconsin campaigning to win his primary against a Republican challenger, but he just could not get on a plane until he had worked out the week's kinks with his Thai masseuse.  He grunted with satisfaction as she dug her knees into his cramped butt muscles and dug her thumbs under his shoulder blades.  "Gah!"  He wanted to push Donald Trump out a very high window.  "It takes a lot of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends!  That's what they told Harry Potter!"

"Harry Potter," the masseuse repeated, pulling his right arm halfway out of its socket.

"Holy mother!"  He sucked in his breath, and she told him to exhale.  "I couldn't let him attack a military family whose son had died in Iraq!"

"No," she agreed, pulling his left arm halfway out of its socket.

"Jiminy Crickets!"  She flipped him over like a hamburger, having learned there was no need to be gentle with the Speaker of the House.  "He won't endorse me!  But that's fine.  Who cares?  The last thing I need is a certifiable lunatic endorsing me.  Oof!"

"Lunatic," she repeated.  (Her English was a lot better than he suspected, and she always thought it was better to keep it that way with male clients.  Usually this was for the purpose of pretending she did not understand sexual innuendo, but she also found that politicians and national security officials liked to sound off on a lot of sensitive topics here while she was realigning their joints.)

"Trump's in a total free fall--he doesn't give a damn about anything except hearing the sound of his own voice and paying himself and his cronies to fight losing Twitter wars."

"Twitter wars," she affirmed, pushing his right leg up to stretch out his hamstring, then rotating his hip joint.

"Ah!  And tossing the baby!  Tossing the baby!  CIA directors denounce him, and the moron is tossing babies from his rallies!"

"Crybaby," she said, pushing his left leg up to stretch out his hamstring, then rotating his hip joint.

"Wa!  Honest to God, people have spoken to me about offering amnesty to the Secret Service if they take him out!"

She was seated behind him, pressing her feet into his shoulders while pulling his head away from his body.  "Secret Service take him out," she said.  Ryan opened his eyes and looked at her upside down.

Half a mile away, Charles Wu was back in the Prince and Prowling office of junior partner, Bridezilla.

"Thanks again for taking me to the Singapore state dinner!" she said, stroking the conjoined guinea pigs sitting in her lap.  (Very few things unnerved Wu, but Thelma and Louise were on the list.)

"Well, you deserved it!" he said.  (She had correctly predicted that releasing the DNC emails before the convention would ensure that they were quickly choked out of the news cycle, unable to return.  At the end of the day, it turned out there was nothing that surprising in them--certainly not for an electorate this jaded.)  But he had also wanted to give her a boost out of the bitterness she had sunken into pending the annulment.

"I had a lovely time," she said, in a softer Virginia drawl than he normally heard from her often harpy-like voice.

"You turned a lot of heads in that Vera Wang gown," he added.

"You exaggerate!" she said, but she was still smiling.  "You were very kind to buy it for me.  But now we need to get down to business.  What's next for your SuperPAC?"

"You tell me!" he said.  "But whatever it is, let's sort it out quickly--I'm flying my little girl down to Rio tonight to watch some gymnastics!"

A few miles away, Liv and Felix Cigemeier were packing up for the chartered flight they were taking with Charles Wu down to the Olympics.  (The grant Wu had paid for Liv's International Development Machine reconstruction work in the Philippines had been the perfect cover to set up a very effective spy base in that country, and he was indirectly thanking her with this trip.)  Felix usually paid for their vacations, but this time he was thanking his wife for the trip.  "I guess all that 'Girl Up' work you have been doing has finally paid off for me!" he teased her, but she didn't rise to the bait.  "Now my little boy will see women gymnastics and be truly inspired!"

"He's a baby!" she laughed.

"He's two!  These are formative years!"

"He will see women excelling at something which takes a lot of hard work.  He will grow up to be somebody who cheers on strong women, just like his father!" 

"Bam!" shouted Lucas, rushing into the bedroom to attack a half-packed suitcase with his light saber.

"He's a boy!" laughed Felix.

Several miles away, Washington Post "Metro" reporter Perry Winkle was also trying to inspire youth--in his case, by leading another Urban Guerrilla Field Trip for adolescents.  He had bribed a Metro engineer to take them into a red line tunnel to see for themselves what was really being done to repair the tracks.  The kids were talking about all the disasters they had heard about--the crashes, fires, deaths, and most recent derailment--but he cautioned them to be quiet as they came up to a junction where they might run into workers.  When they quieted down, that's when he heard the growling.

"What's that?" someone cried.

"Sh!"  Winkle motioned them to stay back as he tiptoed up to look into the side tunnel.  What he saw was famed Dog Whisperer Sebastian L'Arche squatting next to famed rat terrier "The Gipper"--who was softly growling at something in the shadows.  Then it jumped out of the shadows, and Winkle's mouth flew open at the sight of what appeared to be an eight-foot lizard standing on two legs, swiping its front feet (hands?) around like it was fending off an attack of something.  "Run!" shouted Winkle, losing all faith in the anti-psychotic medication he had now been taking for a long time.  "Run!" he repeated, turning around to shoo the kids in the opposite direction.

L'Arche turned around in surprise, but Winkle was already out of sight.  He turned back to see Ghost Anatoly (a Samoyed specter) and the Gopper Ghost (previously sired by The Gipper) try to take down the demon with the help of the rest of the canine ghost pack.  The Gipper smelled real blood in the beast and wanted to join the attack, but L'Arche was holding on tight to the dog collar, knowing The Gopper had died from similar heroics.  But the canine ghost pack could do no more than annoy the demon, which finally threw them off to whimper while it crawled up the tunnel wall to run away on the ceiling.  L'Arche shivered, realizing his long simmering fear was real:  the Metro system was truly cursed.  He watched the canine ghost pack lick their ephemeral wounds, some still growling with desire to give chase, but Gopper Ghost was counseling them that it was time to leave.  They trotted past L'Arche quickly, a little embarrassed.  L'Arche stood up and sighed deeply, knowing that Angela de la Paz was leaving with her employer for Rio tonight just when L'Arche needed to get the anti-Ardua coalition back together.

A couple miles away, the ASPIRE coalition was back together, meeting for an all-day workshop in the Brookland row house of their charismatic leader, Max.  The rain had pulled them from his backyard, and the large SRO crowd stretched up his staircase and back into his kitchen.

"Attorneys Serving Public Interest Radicals Everywhere is unlike any organization you have ever joined in your life," Max said.  "Nobody is more appalled by Donald Trump than I am, but he's right about one thing."  ("No!  Boo!")  "Wait, wait!  He is!  The system is rigged!  It's actually rigged in his favor--that's the funny part!"  (Lots of laughter.)  "But seriously, how do we take down the system when we're all obsessed with earning our daily bread?  Can we start a revolution?  Can we demonstrate in the streets?  Can we litigate our way to a better society?'  ("Yes!  No!")  "That's right:  yes and no.  The system is rigged.  But you know what's not rigged?  Our hearts.  That's right!  You--" he said, pointing at an attractive young paralegal in a red strapless sundress.  "Come up here."  She jumped up, goose bumps on her bare arms.  He grabbed her hand to pull her closer, then put his arm around her waist.  "Does your boss praise your work?"  She shook her head.  "Does he or she--"

"He."

"--does he tell you that what you're doing is advancing humanity?"  She shook her head.  "Does he ask you for your opinion on how best to serve the client?"  She shook her head again.  "What does he say to you at the end of the day?"

"He asks for my metrics."

"METRICS!" Max shouted at the crowd--mostly unemployed attorneys and people working at the most menial legal tasks in the city.  "Metrics," he repeated, more softly, then kissed her on the cheek.  "This is what's wrong with the world of lawyers, my friends!"  ("Amen!")  "We're supposed to be working for people, not numbers."  He pulled her face around and kissed her on the mouth to more than a few gasps.  "What?" he asked, turning back to the crowd.  "You're shocked that I have expressed affection to this lovely human being?  My heart," he said, pressing it with his left hand while his right arm was still wrapped around her waist, "is not rigged to fit into the cold marble floors, steel filing cabinets, beige hallways, uncomfortable chairs, and billables departments they want us all to fit into."  ("Amen!")  "My heart is free of all that."  He kissed her again on the cheek and motioned her to rejoin the crowd.  She felt like the most special woman in the house, even though he had never asked her name.

"Now, you will be asked to volunteer for political campaigns, donate your time to pro bono cases, work long hours on weekends and holidays--and will society be better off for any of it?"  He looked around at the silent and confused crowd.  "No!  Others will ask you to take more strident and radical measures, get arrested in the streets, occupy Wall Street, blow whistles.  There are even rumors flying around town that anybody who assassinates Donald Trump will get political asylum in Mexico, Turkey, or China."  (Low whistles.)  "No!  I'm serious!  Lots of rumors out there!  The man has a bounty on his head.  But will any of that build a better society?"  He looked around again at the silently enthralled crowd.  "It's in here," he said, pressing his heart with both hands.  "The public interest is in here.  Now I want everybody to forget about law for a few minutes, turn to the person next to you, man or woman, whatever color skin they have, and kiss 'em."

Somewhere behind the dining room table, a man grabbed a very surprised Laura Moreno and started kissing the contract attorney like his life depended on it.  Outside the dining room window, a catbird sheltering from the rain stared at the humans and started imitating the sound of thunder claps.

*********************************************************************
COMING UP:  The freaked-out diary of Brittani!

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