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, January 28, 2017

Carnage

"Your new title is what?" asked triple agent Charles Wu, staring across the Chez Grand Mere table at the man formerly known as the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope.

"I don't have the new business cards yet," he replied.

"I'm sorry--I just don't think I heard you right," said Wu.

"Assistant Deputy Administrator for Carnage," said the State Department official.  "Could we just move on now?"

"Carnage?"  Hong Kong-born Wu had learned English at some of the best schools in Britain, but he was suddenly doubtful about his grasp of this word.  "Carnage?  As in--"

"I don't know what it means!  Let's move on."

"Massive destruction?  Loss of life?"

"It's just a title!  We have more important things to discuss," wailed the ADAfC, fighting back the tears.

"Look, I would very much like to work together in the coming weeks," began Wu, but the ADAfC interrupted him.

"Weeks?!"

"Do you think he'll last more than a few weeks?  My point is that Beijing, quite frankly, is content right now to sit back and let Trump blow up your country.  If Trump does not want to be a global leader that anybody actually follows, Beijing does not have a problem with that."

"China needs to throw him a bone, or tariffs are coming," replied the ADAfC, stabbing at his food.

"A bone?" asked Wu, incredulously.  "Have you forgotten that Beijing is financing the federal debt here?"

"No," said the ADAfC quietly, reaching for another swallow of expensive French brandy.  "He just wants China to show some favorable response to his leadership, such as retreating from those islands."

The ADAfC was now eating his rosemary potatoes, not even making eye contact with Wu, who could see the facial tic and feel the vibration coming from the ADAfC's foot tapping nervously on the table leg below them.

"That's a non-starter, I'm sorry," said Wu, and he was sorry--sorry that this man must have barely escaped the State Department massacre, sorry for himself that he could earn very little espionage money (or brownie points) in a country where diplomacy was dead, sorry that his SuperPAC adviser at Prince and Prowling had been told to start up a Russia Practice, sorry for his young daughter to have to grow up in a country with a disgusting pig calling the shots.  "Please convey to your boss that China would welcome a new role as the strongest country on the United Nations Security Council.  Please convey to your boss that the U.S. cannot win a trade war with China.  And please convey to your boss this."  With that, Wu handed the ADAfC a printed-out email, recently hacked, which the State Department official promptly read and started having a panic attack over.  "They say Rex Tillerson only cares about drilling oil, but he might care about that," added Wu.

Meanwhile, Prince and Prowling staff attorney Chloe Cleavage had already received her first anonymous payment from Charles Wu, which the British agents claimed to know nothing about.  Humiliated that her secret call-girl life had been exposed by Nigel ("Prickly") Hawthorne and Richard ("The Third") Mollington, she was just as eager as Wu had predicted to run with the agents' suggestions that she work at getting the Russian businessmen staying at Trump International Hotel to compromise Trump on tape.  After they had arranged her training meeting with Wu agents Apricot Lily and Camisole Silk, and assured her that her activities would ultimately lead to freeing a lot of Eastern European women from sex trafficking, she was ready to return to the swank hotel for another party in the "Russian" suite.  She smiled nervously at the young girls, who looked paler and more glassy-eyed than last time.  She thought she recognized a couple of Prince and Prowling's Exxon clients, so she made a beeline to the other end of the suite.  Apricot Lily and Camisole Silk had told her that the fattest, baldest, ugliest men were the easiest to manipulate, but they still gave her the willies, so she walked up to youngish Sergei, who handed her his own drink.  "Nice Muslim ban, eh?" he asked.

"Yeah!" she fake-giggled.  (Worst pick-up line ever!)  "Does Russia have a Muslim ban?"

"Oh, they don't come to Russia," he said.  "We have a big wall!"  Then he started laughing at his own joke.

"In more than one place!" she said, suggestively, but the comment only confused him.

"No, that was joke--no wall."

"I know," smiled Chloe, "but this is hard."  She pressed her hand against his pectoral muscles (which, she was disappointed to find out, were not actually hard).

"Yeah, lots of hard things," he said, putting an arm around her.

"How hard are Trump's things?" she asked.

"Would you like me to tell you about Trump's things?" he asked with a smile.

A mile to the west, it was the most chaotic meeting the Heurich Society had ever held.

"Silence!" shouted the Chair, Condoleezza Rice, from the giant flat-screen television beaming her face across the country into the upper-floor meeting room of the Brewmaster's Castle.  "We will discuss every item in agenda order!"

"You promised that Tillerson would protect our interests!" complained the international banker.

"Give him a chance!" exclaimed Rice.  "He doesn't even have a full team in place yet at State."

"A team?" cried the former CIA officer.  "What does any of this have to do with teams?  Trump is uncontrollable!"

"He can be controlled!" insisted Rice.  "He's just got some egomania steam to blow off first, and then--"

"And then what?!" interrupted the international arms merchant.  "Israel makes a first strike against Iran?  Beijing drops a neutron bomb on Taiwan?  I can't sell arms to people who are wiped off the map!"

"Don't be so melodramatic!" retorted Rice.

"We have reports from ten of our overseas mining operations that they will be expropriated in the event of a trade war with the U.S.," said the Treasurer.  "U.S. currency is about to take a nose-dive."

"I admit it's a rocky start--"

"There are Homeland Security agents attacking journalists in a New York airport," said a Midwestern Congressman.  "Things are spinning out of control!"

"Oh, it's not that bad," said Captain Tyler Glockmann, rolling his wheelchair into the room and waving to Condoleezza Rice on the video screen.  "Turns out I'm not the only rogue employee at the Defense Intelligence Agency.  Let me tell you:  it's been a very interesting week there!"

Over at the White House, Nazi Barbara Hellmeister--with a new face and a new name--entered the West Wing for her interview to be a Special Scientific Adviser to the President, while demons danced and angels wept.

****************************************************
COMING UP:  White House diaries!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Resistance!

Militiaman and conspiracy blogger Glenn Michael Beckmann was feeling completely out of his element, having been dragged to the Women's March by his roommate, Brittani.

"Come on, Glenn, smile!  This is resistance!  You hate Trump!  You spent hours yesterday blocking that security point to keep his supporters from going to that parade!"

"I wouldn't have bothered if I had known how few people were coming for it!" he replied.

"Isn't this fun?" she teased.

"I don't see why I have to wear this pink hat," he replied.

"Because your camouflage clothes would have scared people without it!" Brittani retorted.

"Ashley Judd did kick some ass in that 'Divergent' movie, but her speech here was a little over the top, don't you think?"

"We all need to go over the top every now and then!" laughed Brittani, who was still a silly 15-year-old girl in many ways, but needed to grow up fast after the Nazi lunacy and demonic traumas she had witnessed in 2016.

Beckmann was armed with two guns, three knives, and four hand grenades, but he had never been more confused in his life about what his militiamen should be fighting for.  And now he was reading a sign saying vaginas were stronger than balls!  "Can we go home now?  I think it's gonna rain."

Meanwhile, Coretta Rosa McIntyre, Goode Peepz law firm's newest Harvard Law hire, was sorry to miss the Women's March, but she was not yet done preparing all the Freedom of Information Act requests and court filings the firm wanted to do a press conference about Monday morning.  The only visible sign that she had taken any break at all was a color-printed screen-grab she had pinned to her bulletin board:  "The arc of history bends slowly, but it bends toward punching Nazis"--complete with a still frame of Richard Spencer's being punched on live television.

Over at the Arlington Group Home for the Mentally Challenged, social worker Hue Nguyen was taking a dimmer view of physical assault.  The Home had long prided itself on being co-ed and inclusive, but things had taken a sudden turn after the inauguration, with all the women complaining that Larry and Buckner were groping them whenever the social worker on duty was not around.  Larry insisted it was a lie and that the women were just riled up about the Women's March in DC, while Buckner claimed he was only trying to be a macho man like President Trump.

"Don't say 'President Trump' in here, you Russian traitor!" cried Cedric, clutching his teddy bear Aloysius.  "As soon as he visits the CIA, whammo!  They have a hundred ways to kill him and make it look like an old man with blubbery cholesterol died a natural death!"

"Cedric!" exclaimed Hue Nguyen, the social worker on duty.

"Or the Ghost CIA will just scare him to death!  Ghost Henry gets scarier every time I see him."

"Killing is never the answer," said Nguyen.

"It is if you're defending somebody else from getting killed!" said Theresa.

"Like that Nazi who got punched during the ABC interview!" giggled Melinda.  "Bam!"

"Only the appropriate law enforcement authorities--" began Nguyen.

"He controls them all now!" said Buckner.

"Shut up, you groper!" exclaimed Theresa.

"Yes, this is what we need to discuss," said the social worker.  "Private parts are private parts here.  If we cannot maintain these simple rules, you might all end up in a living arrangement you like a lot less."

"It's not like I whipped my private parts out!" protested Buckner.

"You grabbed mine!" cried Melinda.

"You still had your clothes on!" retorted Buckner.  "It's just locker room fun, like our President said."

"Stop calling him that!" exclaimed Cedric.  "You're upsetting Aloysius!"

It was then that the group home's helping dog Millie decided to take things into her own hands--or, rather, her own jaws--clamping her mouth down on Buckner's genitalia.  The man yelped in pain, causing Theresa and Melinda to laugh and clap their hands.

"Millie!" cried the social worker, but the dog held on.

"Now, how does it feel?!" Melinda taunted Buckner.

"Alright, alright!  I'll stop grabbing your pu--"

"Don't say it!" admonished the social worker.  "Larry, what about you?"

"I never groped anybody," he lied, causing Millie to let go of Buckner and wrap her teeth around Larry's private parts.  "Ow!  Alright, alright, I'll stop!"

"This is an important issue," said Freddy Ritchings (AKA Brother Divine of the International Peace Movement).  "I must preach on this tomorrow during my Church of Twitter service!"

"You mention my name on Twitter, I'll kill you!" exclaimed Buckner.

"The names will be changed to protect the innocent!" said Freddy.  "The times will be changed to protect the reticent!  The colors will be changed to protect the indigent!  The flowers will be changed to protect the magnificent!"

"That makes no sense," said Theresa, now petting her protector, Millie.

Does it ever? asked Aloysius.

Over at the White House, reluctant CIA agent Dr. Ermann Esse had made unexpected progress in getting close to President Trump.  Though his undercover identity as fashion designer "Gunther Zimmer" had not gotten him very far in October, it was a different story now that it was clear how many fashion designers were refusing to make clothes for Melania.  Suddenly a favorite of the First Lady, the psychiatrist now found himself frequently having bizarre conversations with her and making crazy dress sketches to capture her whims--sketches he would get to his CIA handlers as soon as possible so that they could get the clothing actually made.  And now she was advertising the fashions on the taxpayer-funded White House website!  "Isn't that illegal?" he had asked his handlers.

"You let the sequestered FBI Grand Jury deal with that," they had replied.  "Your job is hypnotism!"

And so "Gunther" desperately tried to psychoanalyze the First Lady, whose Slovenian psyche and shady rise to the top made for a far different patient than any he had ever had before.  The shrink could not hypnotize her until he understood what her soft spot was, and that he still had not found.

Back at the Women's March, Dr. Khalid Mohammad kept turning to look at the face of his wife, Yasmin, who was enthralled by the speakers.  Khalid had done the one thing you are never supposed to do--marry somebody in hopes of changing them--but Yasmin really was changing.  She kept touching her pregnant belly and smiling, proud to be a woman and happy to be in a huge crowd where Muslims were welcome.  (She no longer wore a head scarf, but was happy to see some women did.)  "This is the best thing I have ever done!" she exclaimed, turning to kiss her husband, and Khalid smiled, wondering who this woman was.

***************************************************
COMING UP:  The State Department's Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope 
has a new title-- 
Assistant Deputy Administrator for Carnage!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Russia Today!

"Who is Martin Luther King, Jr.?" little Delia was asking her English governess.

"A great American who was secretly investigated by the FBI as a Communist--the same FBI who now turns a blind eye to Russia's financial and degenerate blackmail against Donald Trump."

"Oh, my!" said Buffy Cordelia's father, Charles Wu, entering the room.  "Perhaps we can pull up a documentary or something."

"Well, you don't want me to shield her from the truth, do you?"

"She's only four, Mrs. Higgety-Cheshire!"

"I will not raise a child in ignorance!"

"Why are you fighting?" asked Delia, her lips quivering.

"We're not fighting, sweetheart," said the triple agent, picking her up.  "We just need to have a talk about what our pre-kindergarten educational goals are this year."

"We need to start stocking canned goods," retorted Mrs. H-C.

Several miles away on Capitol Hill, Texas Congressman Zeke "Slick" Hicks was holding the second meeting of the secret Russia Caucus, which was already in tumult.

"I thought this was about dividing up oil drilling rights in the Arctic," said a Representative from Alaska.  "I'm not comfortable with Russia Today hacking into C-Span!"

"That was an unfortunately overexcited teenage intern," said Rep. Hicks.  "He has been dealt with."

"Dealt with?" said a Representative from Louisiana.  "You promised this would not get Putinesque!"

"That's not what I meant!" said Slick Hicks.  "Here are your new Exxon pre-paid gasoline debit cards.  They each have $3,000 on them."

"Gas is not that expensive right now," muttered the Representative from Ohio.

"Well, you can buy other things at those stations:  milk, bread, magazines, cigarettes, lottery tickets--"

"Lottery tickets!" scoffed the Representative from Alaska.  "I want some cold hard--"  He abruptly stopped himself, then said in a whisper, "How do we know the Russians aren't taping us right now?"

"This is my house," exclaimed Slick Hicks, "not some sleazy Moscow hotel full of hookers!"

Then the others started wondering how he had afforded this house, anyway.

Nearby, the Dog Whisperer was in Lincoln Park, asking his colleague Becky Hartley to take all the dog leashes.

"Sebastian, what is going on?!  I can hardly hold these three--they're all going crazy!"

Sebastian L'Arche did not answer her as he shoved additional leashes into her hands and told the dogs to calm down.  Then he trotted over to the bushes where The Gopper Ghost was wagging his tail at his old friend.  Anatoly needs to talk you, said TGG.  The Whisperer squatted down to his level and then saw the dead Samoyed harboring the ghost of the former Russian diplomat, Anatoly Malenkov.

You need to move on!, whispered L'Arche, who had never come to grips with the idea of canine ghosts--something living dogs found even more disturbing than human ghosts.

Nyet! barked Anatoly.

And you're human!  You have no right to even be in that Samoyed!

He's in doggy heaven, no problem! barked Anatoly.  I'm still in danger!  I know too much!

Danger!?  L'Arche was gripping his own head with both heads, feeling he was losing his mind.  Get out of this world!  Go to the light!

No light! barked Anatoly.  I am needed in this world, to warn everybody about Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin!

Anatoly, whispered L'Arche, the world already knows, and nobody can stop it!

Up in Cleveland Park, Charles Wu was arriving for his meeting with two British agents.  "Nobody can stop it, mate," said Nigel ("Prickly") Blackthorne before Wu had even sat down at the Comet Ping Pong table.

"Don't call me 'mate,'" said the Hong Kong-born occasional agent for the British, unzipping his coat with a frown.

"Look, we came all the way up here to this death-threat restaurant in Cleveland Park because it's convenient to you," retorted Prickly, "so piss off!"

"Calm down, the lot of you!" said the other British agent, Richard ("The Third") Mollington.  "Have a slice, Charles."

"I need to support this place--it's my daughter's favorite," said Wu.  "And if I were in any danger here, I would know."  He nodded to the server who recognized Wu and was already going back to get the order Wu had phoned in.

"You would know, hmm?" asked Prickly, sarcastically.

"Yes," said Wu, "I have the best bodyguard in D.C."  (He was referring to his supernaturally prescient employee, Angela de la Paz.)

"Well, she's not here, mate," said Prickly.

"I said not to call me--"

"Alright," said The Third.  "Why did you invite us here?  You ready to kiss and make up or not?"

"Is the Steele dossier accurate?" asked Wu.

"Do you really need to ask?" replied The Third.  "We've got a bloody Prime Minister who thinks Brussels is a bigger threat than a man who had a Russian dissident poisoned in London!"

"I have an idea," said Wu, who was working closely with Chinese hackers but was also interested in trying a more old-fashioned approach--and this is what he needed the British for.  "My surveillance of Trump International Hotel revealed a suite of Eastern European prostitutes."

"Everybody knows that," said Prickly.

"Not everybody knows that a Prince and Prowling staff attorney was also invited to, shall we say, mingle with guests there."

"What are you saying?" asked The Third.

"I'm saying she's a high-priced American call girl.  I can't directly approach her because of my other dealings with the law firm, but you could show her the surveillance on her and then request her services in spying on hotel guests."

"You want us to blackmail an attorney for being a hooker?" asked Prickly.

"I want you to persuade her to gather intelligence," said Wu, "with your charm."

"The thing about hookers is that they take their shirts off," said Prickly.  "How's she supposed to wear a wire?"

"I've already got wires and cameras in there," said Wu, "but these Russians and their cronies never get taped saying anything--they talk over music or television, or talk outside.  I need you to train her how to get them to spill their secrets in a quiet moment, close to my devices.  She's a complete newbie who's never even been out of the U.S.--there's not a single guest in that hotel that would ever recognize her from being overseas anywhere and suspect her of being a spy."

"You don't think they'd be on the lookout for FBI informants?" asked The Third.

"Maybe, but I think she's willing to go further than an undercover FBI agent would."

Prickly and The Third exchanged glances.  "We'll have to get Paul to agree," said The Third.

"Of course," nodded Wu.

"And we can't pay her," said Prickly, "not for that."

"Of course not," Wu said with a smile.  "I think she will do it just because you ask, given the circumstances.  You might even tell her that some of the other women are undoubtedly there against their will and she could help free them.  And it might even turn out she's a patriot, but, in any case, I will take care of her without your ever having to promise anything.  After all, espionage is dangerous work, and should be compensated."  He gave them a sharp look, which they rightly interpreted as his lingering anger that Delia's mother had been killed by the British in a botched spy operation.

"You're actually hopeful we can turn the tide here?" asked The Third.

"Well, we can certainly play our part," said Wu.

A disheveled man came running into the restaurant, and the two British agents jumped up ready to draw their concealed guns on another nutjob convinced there was a Clinton child pedophile ring in the non-existent basement.  "He works at the movie theater," said Wu, motioning for them to sit down.  "Probably picking up an order on his break."

Prickly and The Third sat back down, a little embarrassed.  The threat assessments for Washington now qualified it as a "moderately dangerous" posting for British nationals.  If they knew about Ardua of the Potomac, they would ask for a transfer.

**************************************************
COMING UP:  Resistance!

Saturday, January 07, 2017

The Pregnant Pause

"It's a Christmas miracle!"

"It's a Christmas nightmare, you mean!"

The two Maryland animal sanctuary volunteers were showing Sebastian L'Arche where Megamoo was chewing hay in her stall.

"And how old is she?"  L'Arche thought the cow had already been geriatric the last time he saw her, to treat her bovine narcolepsy years ago.

"Too old!"

"And there's no bull here!"

"May I?"  L'Arche gestured at the enclosure.

"She hasn't let anybody near her since the vet was here.  That's why we called you."

The Animal Whisperer walked slowly towards her, and she remembered who he was.  What happened? L'Arche whispered, taking her head into his hands and looking softly into her eyes.

I can't talk about it, she said.

L'Arche squatted down next to her and put his ear against the cow's belly, quickly frowning--he did not at all like what he heard inside that womb.

Down in upper Georgetown, Golden Fawn was lying in bed, staring out at the snow and the raven looking in at her from a bare tree branch.  It was the first time she had ever been pregnant.  It was the third time she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Unwilling to expose her unborn child to radiation or chemotherapy, she had opted to have both breasts entirely removed.  She had never felt more like a woman, and less like a woman.  She again touched the artificial materials under her skin which plumped her chest up into a fake bosom, one that could never give milk to her unborn child.

Her grandmother walked in with barley soup.  "Why don't we move the bed further from the window?  It's so cold!"

"It's well-insulated," said Golden Fawn, thanking her for the soup and propping herself up for the tray.

"So are igloos, but you don't put your bed right next to the wall."  Golden Fawn's grandmother crawled under the blanket to lie beside her.  She had already figured out that it was Golden Fawn's mother-in-law who had given her the crazy herbs that got her pregnant and also resurrected the cancer, but had only chided the woman in private.  "How is it?"

"Delicious," said Golden Fawn, who recently had no appetite for anything unless her grandmother cooked it.  "How is Joey?"

"He took his sled out with some friends--they are hopeful."

"Hopeful," repeated Golden Fawn, like it was a word she had never heard before.

"I'm still hopeful," Dr. Khalid Mohammad was saying to his wife, as they drove away from the disappointing open house a mile west of Golden Fawn's home.  "After the initial wave of Trump people buying houses, there will also be Obama people who decide to sell, and we'll have more to choose from."  He patted Yasmin's pregnant belly, and she smiled at him.

"Sure!" she said, though she secretly wanted to move far away before the Trump Administration could arrest them in the middle of the night and lock them up in a Muslim concentration camp.  "We still have over seven months," she said, wanting to sound equally hopeful.

"Seven months!" he laughed.  "We need to be moved before then!"

To Chicago, she thought.  Maybe all the way to California.

Over at the White House, Ghost Dennis was also thinking about the ticking clock.  It's not too late, the murdered Nixon staffer was whispering into President Obama's ear.  This is what we used to call the "pregnant pause"--when people are so in shock about public affairs that you can quietly reset the agenda in your favor.  President Obama put down the report he was reading at his Oval Office Desk, got up, and walked over to the window to look out at the snow and try to clear his head.  You can set a trap for him--MANY.  President Obama had never told anybody about the voices he sometimes heard in here, but for the first time ever, he wished he could hear them more clearly.  It's not too late to save the Republic from the moles and the hacks and the haters.

"Tell me how!" President Obama exclaimed, as his deputy chief of staff walked in.

"Sir?"

President Obama wheeled around, not seeing the arrival of the raven that Golden Fawn had sent to him.

**********************************************
COMING UP:  A surprising new 
secret agent investigates the Russians!

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Re-purposed

"What do you mean my chi is gone?"  Charles Wu was staring at Lynnette Wong in disbelief.  "You always said I had more chi than anybody you ever saw!"  (He had forgotten the ghost's warning that he was not using his chi for its intended purpose.)

"It's not totally gone," said the Chinatown herbalist with a complicated relationship to Wu.  "The good news is that some of it has gone to Delia."

Charles looked over at his daughter, who was laughing and chasing a wind-up mouse zooming around the floor of the shop.  "Why doesn't she have her own?!"

"She does!" said Lynnette, carefully measuring out herbs.

"Well, I need mine back!" said Charles, who quickly got a reproachful look.  "I'm not saying that to be selfish," he added quickly, but Lynnette was still scowling at him.  "Look, she's a very happy child!  But I'm under a lot of pressure right now!"

"From your Beijing overlords?"

"That's not funny!"

"Well?"

"I've done a lot to help Hong Kong, the U.K., and even the State Department!"  He had never admitted to Lynnette he was a triple agent (a quadruple agent?), and realized his lack of chi was leading to this sort of sloppiness.  "I'm not a bad guy!" he pleaded--feeling ridiculous, having never had to defend himself before like this.  "I helped with that damned demon in the river!"  Buffy Cordelia was suddenly at his feet, recognizing the bad word.  "Hi, sweetie!" he said in Mandarin, lifting her up onto the corner.  "Do you want to eat dumplings or mu shu?"

"Both!" said little Delia, who treasured these outings when she did not have to eat her English nanny's boiled food offerings.  "What damned demon?" she asked, in English, not knowing the Mandarin words.

"The one your father needs to be focused on right now, instead of all the politics," interjected Lynnette.

"You can't be serious!" exclaimed Charles.

"You can't be serious!" exclaimed lifestyle guru Giuliana Sunstream, a mile away in her NoMa loft.  She had just finished counting the money she made at her $100/head New Year's Eve party, and it would not even cover the costs of the party:  the ice sculptures of "Rogue One" characters, the caviar pastries, the pomegranate-flavored champagne, the chocolate gingerbread Capitol she had commissioned.  Thank goodness I made most of the decorations from re-purposed Hillary buttons, shed dog hair, and items obtained at Obama staffer yard sales!  She ate another marijuana brownie, amazed at the party's low turnout--and at how many people had declined the brownies and asked if she was serving Trump wine.  "It tastes like rancid grape jelly!" she exclaimed to her toy Maltese, but Vegas continued chewing on her Bernie doll.  "I have spent years building up my hip brand here!" she continued, as Vegas at least made a little bit of eye contact with Giuliana to encourage her.  "Am I supposed to switch now to garish, gaudy, gold-plated, Queens nouveau riche decor?  Lifestyles of the rich and tacky?  Overpriced swill?  The man doesn't even drink vodka, which would be the only possible advantage I could work with!  Are people going to expect deep-fried Twinkies now, gold-lamé halter tops, or bedazzled gun holsters?  I don't know how to work with this Administration!"  She realized there might only be a couple hours of sunlight left in the day, put the brownies in the freezer, and got out the dog leash she had made from braided Christmas tree garlands to take a walk though her rapidly changing world.

A few miles to the west, the Thai masseuse was trying to get Paul Ryan's kinks out.

"I'm not Scrooge!  But school lunches are wrong, and so is Obamacare!  Aargh!"

She was digging her right heel into his left buttock.  "Bamacare," she parroted.

"And why do people expect me to be my brother's keeper, anyway?  People need to take care of themselves.  Gaa!"

She was now digging her left heel into his right buttock.  "Brother," she parroted.

"And so what if Senator McCain, Broadway showgirls, and Mormon choir singers are all thumbing their noses at Trump?  I have a Constitutional duty to work with an elected President.  Oof!"

She was pummeling the backs of his thighs now.  "Duty," she parroted.

"Yeah, it would be nice if he had invited me to Mar a Lago for a nice family vacation in Florida, instead of inviting only people who could pay $500/ticket.  It's no wonder the guy has no friends!  We're not friends.  But we're on the same team!  Man alive!"

She now had her right foot planted between his shoulder blades and was pulling both his arms backwards.  "Team," she parroted.

"We're making America great again. Sweet mother!"

She was kneeling on Ryan's buttocks and pressing her thumbs into his adrenal glands.  "Mother," she parroted.

"And we can handle Russia!  There's no way they can take advantage of us," Ryan said softly, relieved she was now rolling him onto his back.

"Unless Putin have blackmail on GOP," she said, staring at him blankly while she raised both his legs and the color drained from his face.

"Oh, Putin definitely has blackmail against everybody!" shouted Glenn Michael Beckmann at his television, down in his Southwest Plaza apartment.  "Wake up, people!"  The militia man had been blogging about this for days, and was distressed that most of his followers seemed more interested in college football and hunting wild turkeys right now.  "He's at the top of my list!" Beckmann shouted, referring to his suspects list for the murder of Darja.  He was hopped up on psychotropic medication, hot whiskey toddies, and whatever the dealer had sold to him in the stairwell last night.  "I'll get you in the end!" he shouted, then ran out on his balcony to breathe some fresh air as the real estate demon listening from the building basement started laughing at him.

"Glenn?"  It was the former Mrs. Brittani Mundy, recently liberated from a basement cage and looking up at him from the parking lot.  She had on an overstuffed backpack, and was carrying two trash bags in her hands.  "Happy New Year!" she cried, trying to put on a brave smile.

"What are you doing here?"  She looked around her, and Beckmann realized she wanted to talk in private.  "Hold on."

Five minutes later, she was sitting at his table, trying to ignore his bloodshot eyes and unpleasant smell.  "Daddy's gone crazy.  It's that Rolex!"  Beckmann had a vague recollection of that day they had rescued her and something about the Rolex her father had swiped from the son-in-law he was beating up, so Beckmann nodded at her to continue.  "I ain't never going back to my stepdad's place!" she said defiantly.  "And my friends are just babies, still living at home, can't help me," she said more softly.  "I been bouncing around.  I turned fifteen last week, and nobody even remembered."

"Damn!" said Beckmann, who had murdered a few people along the way, but considered himself too much of a gentleman to have sex with a girl under age.

"Can I crash here for awhile?  I can clean for you, and I know how to cook a few things."

At this, Beckmann brightened considerably.  "Sure!  But you should know, I'm a very busy man with a busy business and all kinds of things to take care of and do.  I can't keep you entertained!"

She looked at his pizza sauce-stained sweatshirt, torn camouflage pants, uncombed hair, and three-day stubble.  "Sure thing!" she said, telling herself nothing could ever be as crazy as those golf course people, the lizard baby, and the creepy way men acted with that Rolex on.

Out on the 14th Street Bridge, Nazi criminal fugitive Barbara Hellmeister (mother of the accidentally killed "lizard baby") was adding more squirrel skin insulation to her new home in the bridgeman's quarters, where she had finally found a renewed personal energy...fifty feet above Ardua of the Potomac.

*********************************************
COMING UP:  The pregnant pause!