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 ....

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Funeral Pyre

Sebastian L'Arche was walking two pomeranians up to Eastern Market. Being a pet courier was far more lucrative than being a pet walker, but this was a special job for a widow on the day of her husband's funeral. Not many people in Southeast had toy dogs, and Jack & Jill were getting a lot of laughs. "What the hell are those?" was shouted out for the third time that day. L'Arche told the passer-by they were pomeranians. "Pomegranates?" Yes, that's correct. He was freezing his butt off, and turned around early to head home and brood some more about the carjacking and police chase that had left Jack & Jill with only one owner. Another urban black male thrown on the Washingon funeral pyre.

A few blocks away, Washington Post "Metro" reporter Perry Winkle was in the precinct trying to interview the cop put on desk duty pending the investigation of the car chase fatality. Winkle was new to D.C. and actually thought persistence would get past the "no statement at this time" he kept hearing. Something about this story didn't add up. He headed back to the scene of the car crash to knock on doors looking for witnesses. He was freezing his butt off. An old man answered at the third house he knocked at and invited Winkle in. He was lonely and only pretending that he had seen the car crash. Winkle excused himself after a few minutes, overcome by the sickening odor of the house, where the old man had left his deceased brother upstairs in bed--right where he had found him dead from a stroke five months earlier, a catbird gloating outside his window.

A few miles west, Dr. Khalid Mohammad was pronouncing another death at George Washington University Hospital--another hypothermic homeless man, the ninth one today. Nurse Consuela Arroyo made the sign of the cross when nobody was looking and began silently recitng a "Hail, Mary" as she picked up the chart to record the time of death. In the Philippines, everybody she had known was poor, but nobody lived by themselves on the streets. But there must have been people like that in the Philippines? Were they hidden away in back rooms, locked up in their madness or addictions? Why hadn't she known anybody like this in the Philippines? Dr. Mohammad was thinking the same thing about Jordan. When he went back--if he went back--would he even see patients like this, or just tend to the rich while the poor quietly lined up to die in the slums?

Over at Arlington National Cemetery, social worker Hue Nguyen was wiping tears from her eyes as she scanned her charges to make sure nobody from the Arlington group home for the mentally challenged was going to have a flare-up here. Melinda stared at the casket in a trance. Cedric and Larry stared at their shoes. Theresa was crying intensely, angry about the funeral and angry that it was so cold outside. Buckner had no idea what was going on, and kept asking why there were no squirrels in this park. None of them had known that the recently departed Daniel was a Vietnam veteran. Hue guided the group past a swarm of starlings, back to the van to go home. On the way out, they passed an active-duty serviceman's burial with honors, and the gun salute sent Cedric and Buckner diving for the floor while Melinda and Theresa screamed. Larry started slapping everybody he could reach, and Hue was still trying to calm them all down as they turned onto Lee Highway.

Across the Potomac, Condaleeza Rice was sitting in her State Department office reviewing the latest draft of the President's imminent address to the nation. The man hadn't had an original idea since 1989. Rice smiled and took a sip of her tomato/sage/horseradish/buttermilk/turbinado smoothie. Bush would toss virgins into volcanoes if she told him it was necessary. She looked out at the deranged ducks swimming crookedly in the frigid January waters of the Potomac. The ducks couldn't remember what they were doing or where they were going, cold winds blasting them from above and Ardua tormenting them from below. Rice wrote down a couple of edits and smiled, a few drops of smoothie dripping from the corner of her lip. Death before dishonor. Amazing how many poor people were available to die.

A few miles east, Golden Fawn was finishing her final inspection of the new funeral practices display at the National Museum of the American Indian. She was reading a cross-cultural analysis of funeral pyres and thinking about her brother's funeral. She picked up her clipboard and headed back to her office, suddenly wanting to telephone her grandmother. Her grandmother had said that he had died from an evil spirit. Grandmother thought most deaths were from an evil spirit. Golden Fawn didn't think that was true. Golden Fawn thought that all deaths were from an evil spirit. Golden Fawn needed to talk some more to Grandmother about Ardua of the Potomac.


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