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, November 26, 2006

A Warm Day at the National Zoo

Dr. Devi Rajatala was at the National Zoo, watching the tigress interact with her three growing cubs, who kept trying to sneak up and pounce on her. Dr. Rajatala laughed until she cried, homesick for India. She sat down on a nearby bench to fetch a kleenex for her wet face and soak up some unusually warm November sunshine. She loved the National Arboretum, but there just weren't enough animals there--every now and then, she had to come here to see something bigger than a squirrel. She reflected on her earlier visits to the Bird House and the Amazonia Exhibit, hoping to find a pink warbler--which Angela de la Paz had insisted she had seen at the Arboretum. It can't exist! There's no such thing! She couldn't find it on the internet, but Angela was so sure. Could it be a freak mutation, right in the Arboretum? Angela was either completely wrong, or Dr. Rajatala really needed to be bringing in some experts to hunt for that bird.

Sebastian L'Arche walked past her to get a closer look at the tiger cubs. One of them kept leaping onto mom's back, only to get promptly dumped and shoved aside. Another kept sneaking up the rear to take wild grabs at mom's teats, but mom would have none of that either. A third watched from the distance, apparently resigned to mom's cruelty and coldness. Mom walked off again, only to be stalked one more time. This time the pounces resulted in extended mock battle with gentle pawing and wrestling pins. Mom was teaching her kids to be tough: tigresses invented tough love. L'Arche didn't even have that much training when he was called up in the Army Reserves to go to Iraq. People were animals in Iraq. That's why he was a pet courier now--all he knew how to do was move miserable animal prisoners around. Sometimes they snarled, sometimes they sulked, and sometimes they snapped, but he eventually won over all of their hearts. His secret was that he knew exactly how they felt--he had been both prisoner and jailer, and sometimes still wondered if he was man or beast. He knew exactly how caged animals felt...except he couldn't figure out why they all hated being driven over the Potomac River.

Golden Fawn knew all about Ardua of the Potomac--she just didn't know how much was real and how much was crazy dream stuff stemming from the memory of her grandmother's stories. Golden Fawn stood next to L'Arche, leaning on the fence, mesmerized by the family dynamics. Her mother had been nothing like this tigress....Still, Golden Fawn was afraid to tell her mother about the dreams she kept having about Ardua, or the pink warblers.

Far away, in the dark abandoned path next to the hiding (tourist-unfriendly) wallaby, a man pushing a baby stroller slowly approached another man pushing a baby stroller. The first man whispered something about the recent assasinations in London and Beirut. The second man whispered something about Dick Cheney's recent visit to Saudi Arabia, then handed the first man a sippy cup full of mini cassettes. A nearby catbird was mocking the wallaby, then cocked its head at the spies and began mocking a car alarm. The babies had nothing to look at except the catbird, and it made them cry, so the spies split up to return to their wives. Deep in its hiding place, the wallaby warily watched them recede, a pink warbler nestled in its pouch.


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