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 ....

Monday, September 03, 2007

Alberto's Up in Smoke

The Freaks of Dupont Down Under had sent a delegation out of their tunnel world and up to P Street to see the street-level view of the damage: Alberto's Pizza was all burned up. So were Subway and DJHut, but the Freaks knew that the fire had started in Alberto's, and they knew why. A catbird sat in an underwatered and browning curbside tree and chirped out imitation firetruck siren noises. The Freak delegation went back underground to report on the extent of the damage. There was a lengthy argument about who was at fault--the Freaks or the Feds--and the final consensus was that it was the Feds. It was the Feds who had started the war for underground real estate, and the Freaks were only defending their home! But nobody was really sure what had happened.

In the tunnel next to them, the Feds were carefully putting a final seal on the opening they had used to get into Alberto's at 3 a.m. on Thursday. The evidence collected was already in a large black van marked "Homeland Security", miles away, on its way to Dick Cheney's undisclosed secret location. The operation had been a lot messier than usual, but the commander did not mind at all the final result. His lieutenant sure did, though--a big fan of those pizza slices with the sweet and tangy sauce, he had voiced his doubts about the Alberto intelligence to no avail.

A hundred feet above them, Charles Wu walked slowly past the boarded-up building. His source had already told him it was a DHS hit, and he was nervous that they had struck so close to his own source on P Street. But it was probably a total coincidence. He walked a little further. But what if it was a false hit? Then they would be back. He resolved to dump his P Street source just to be on the safe side. He turned the corner and walked quickly to the taxicab parked under a dying tree, where the Pakistani driver was waiting to give him a ride and tell him why Musharraf was stalling on power-sharing promises.

Several miles away, another Pakistani taxi driver dropped off former Senator Evermore Breadman at the Prince and Prowling building. Breadman grabbed the door as Laura Moreno walked out. He smiled politely at her, not really remembering who she was. "The water is off in the building," she informed him. He told her he knew that--didn't she see the All Office email about it? "No," she smiled wanly. "I don't get the All Office emails." He shrugged jovially and continued into the building: he only needed to pick up one file.

Laura headed home, aggravated she had wasted her day off going into an office with no running water and no functioning bathroom. But she needed to earn more money to take additional medical tests. She was starting to wonder if she was caught in some kind of vicious cycle where her job kept making her sick, but she had to keep working more hours to pay for the health care to deal with getting sick. She had just been told she had a Vitamin D deficiency, for crying out loud! She was in a windowless workroom so much that she wasn't even getting enough sunlight, and was on the verge of getting rickets. Rickets! And her entire system was INFLAMED. INFLAMMATION! It was like her body was screaming at her, screaming at something. The naturopath wanted her to spend $3,500 on a strange battery of tests that couldn't even be done locally: she was supposed to collect her own saliva and urine, and then mail them to a laboratory in Florida. This would determine if (a) she was allergic to 125 different substances and (b) her stress hormones were on overdrive. Would getting an answer to either of those questions be worth the money? She needed to get out of Prince and Prowling.

A couple of blocks away, President Bush was settling back into the White House. One by one, they were leaving him. Even Laura was annoyed with him because he had admitted to the reporters that he cries a lot. Laura didn't mind him crying a lot--she just didn't like Lynn Cheney making fun of it. Outside, Breadman was already walking towards the White House, a folder of Attorney General candidates in one hand and a designer bottle of water labeled "Prince and Prowling" in the other. A pancreatic cramp suddenly seized him, and he doubled over for a minute. "Are you alright, sir?" A White House security officer was already at his side, and a second was preparing to radio for assistance, but Breadman righted himself and told them he was alright. Days like this were his days to shine. Alberto Gonzales would rise like a phoenix from the ashes thanks to Breadman, and Breadman would make a lot of money, and Breadman would probably be able to pick the next Attorney General. Inside the White House, the ghosts watched as Breadman approached, a couple of Shackled trailing behind him. A flock of starlings flew overhead, on their way to report back to Ardua.


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