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, September 16, 2007

Where are the important people?

Golden Fawn leaned on Marcos Vazquez's arm as they approached the anti-war protesters gathering in Lafayette Park. Marcos was nervous about it, and wondered if anybody he knew would see him there, but he knew she wanted to be there and he wanted to be with her. They found an empty park bench away from the mainstage and sat down. Her ribcage and upper arm were still stiff and raw from the radiation, but she was starting to regain control and agility. The chemotherapy was finished, her appetite was returning, and her hair was growing again under her sunhat. She got out the sandwiches as they settled in to listen to the speakers, neither in a hurry to get up and start marching.

Dr. Devi Rajatala walked past the bench, fascinated by the array of messages displayed on signs, t-shirts, hats, buttons. Santa Claus was walking around on stilts with a message calling for the troops to be home by Christmas. Hillary Rodham Clinton was a giant puppet with swastikas on her sleeve. There were pink ladies, orange people, a large sign saying "make cupcakes, not war", then a completely different person actually eating a cupcake by seeming coincidence, and it was all a little confusing. Dr. Rajatala stopped to look at the permanent peace tent facing the White House, then noticed two dragonflies buzzing confusedly above a small fenced-in patch of grass. She moved closer to the dragonflies to analyze their behavior. Outside the patch of grass was a sea of human beings. The dragonflies must have taken refuge in the only patch of nature not convulsing with human activity. They flew from edge to edge of their invisible wall, like buzzing little Marcel Marceaus pantomining a box. No, that didn't make sense. They could fly above the people if they wanted to get away. Maybe they th0ught the people were a riot of flowers. No, that made even less sense. It must be the noise overwhelming them, or--

As Dr. Rajatala slipped momentarily away from political action back to her customary mode of scientific curiosity, Laura Moreno also stopped at the permanent peace tent and surveyed her options. Nearby, somebody started yelling through a megaphone about how 9/11 was an inside job. She moved a little west, only to discovered an evangelical preacher in the midst of a never-ending sermon having something to do with war and the prophet Jeremiah. Laura looked back and realized she had inadvertently chosen the corner of the park furthest from the main speakers, whom she could not hear at all and whom were now separated from her by too many other people. She resigned herself to listening to the preacher and hoping she would be able to meet up with her friends. The sun began baking her unprotected arms into a deep red as she escaped the Prince and Prowling dungeon for a weekend, synthesized natural vitamin D for the first time in months, and wondered if she could change the world more by being at this rally or sending out more resumes. She knew she was in the right place when she saw a guy walk by with a t-shirt depicting Dick Cheney and George W. Bush pointing at each other: the cartoon bubbles indicated that Cheney was saying "I'm with stupid" while Bush was saying "I'm with Satan".

Dr. Khalid Mohammad was also near the preacher for a few minutes, then walked over to listen to a man explaining how servicemen were being implanted with electronic tracking devices--like dogs. The man had x-ray pictures showing the devices implanted in the web of the hand between the thumb and forefinger, and Dr. Mohammad examined the photos carefully, wishing he could see the original x-rays. This was not a secret, the soldiers were knowingly doing it, but it was still unnerving to Dr. Mohammad to look at the photos. Like dogs.... He pondered all the legitimate reasons to do such extreme dog tags, but it was still unnerving to him. Like dogs....

Dr. Mohammad looked up and saw Sebastian L'Arche approaching with several dogs on a leash. Since the owners were out of town, he had decided to take an extra long walk today. Sebastian paused momentarily to see the display about implants, impulsively checked to make sure his own had really been removed, then continued walking towards the main stage to find the Iraqi veterans planning to get arrested. A girl tugged one of his leashes to stop him, "Where are the important people?" He looked at her incomprehendingly. "The VIPs! I want to hear the important people speak!" Sebastian told her he was heading over to the Iraqi veterans group now. "No, like, celebrities? Important people?" He smiled mischiefly and told her that he was, in fact, walking Anthony Scalia's dogs. "Who's that?" Sebastian stopped smiling and pointed to the main stage, which could barely be seen or heard from the White House side of the park where they stood. "Thanks!" She headed off to push her way to the front of the crowd. He scratched his head. Where are the important people? Maybe this would work better if Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were here....

Meanwhile, Perry Winkle was stationed several blocks away, waiting impatiently to write a predictable Washington Post article about how the counter-protesters would be trading verbal missiles with the passing marchers. He thought the Park Police with pepper spray goggles on their horses were a bit much, but what did he know? He noticed an unusual sign and walked over to interview the woman who had penned "My politics are too complex to fit on a placard!" It was Bridezilla, who was baffled when Winkle asked her if she had a website which explained her complex politics. When asked to give an explanation of her complex politics, she rolled her eyes and pointed to the sign. Winkle tried to point out that it could be an hour or more before the protesters got to this block, and he was offering her an opportunity to explain her complex politics in the The Washington Post. Wince stretched his arm out to pull Bridezilla back. "We're not interested in being misquoted in that paper. Our views are already publicized."

"OK," said Winkle. "You fellows look to be about 25 years old. Did you already serve in Iraq?" This time it was Atticus Hawk who stepped forward, forehead arteries pulsing, to scream that they were serving, and their missions were too top-secret to discuss. "OK then!" Winkle backed away politely, subconsciously moving closer to the mounted police. This was going to be interesting.

Hours later, they could finally see the marchers round the corner and start streaming down Pennsylvania Avenue towards the Capitol. A sea of signs, videorecorders, cameras and cellphones were raised up to document the march, and as the full throng of marchers fanned out on Pennsylvania Avenue, it became clear that the number was ten times the forecast of 10,000 people. Winkle turned on his tape recorder as the first marchers began sideswiping the counter-protesters. Close to the barricades separating the ideologies (or realities), a woman with an impeachbush.org hat was leading a train of protesters holding up hundreds of feet of stringed up photocards for soldiers killed in Iraq. The site of the parade of the dead inflamed the counter-protesters like nothing else, and a man started screaming, "How dare you!?! Traitors! Traitors!", which was immediately met by protesters screaming back that the other side were the traitors, and the exchanges quickly deteriorated from there. The woman who had made the stringed tribute was startled by a man who ran up to her, pointed to a picture, and hollered that he had known the man while they were students at Virginia Military Institute. She told him she was sorry and continued marching.

Slowly, hours behind schedule, the people poured onto the grounds of the Capitol. The Capitol Police--clearly having expected a far smaller crowd--scrambled to mobilize additional units. City police cars began blocking off city streets and joining the Park Police in perimeter control as the protesters mobbed at the steps of Congress to seek impeachment. The Iraqi war veterans marched to the front and began peacefully climbing over the police barricade to elicit arrest, but more agitated protesters surged forward violently, and the police let the tear gas fly. Anthony Scalia's corgi whimpered in pain, slithered out of its collar, and ran away as Sebastian L'Arche hesitated between dog-walking duty and the call of honor. Then John McLaughlin's Great Dane knocked L'Arche down protectively and pinned him to the ground. When the smoke finally lifted, 200 people had been arrested. The corgi, having narrowly missed being trampled by Santa Claus on stilts, ran back to Sebastian L'Arche and began licking his face.

Overhead, the circling starlings departed to report back to Ardua, while the Shackled lingered at the scene. A couple miles away, Clio was watching the protest on the White House closed-circuit TV, straight from the security monitors. The twins ran into the room for a minute, stared at the screen, giggled in a little too high of a pitch, then ran back to their Barbie Dream House. Clio sighed, knowing it would take a lot more than an impeachment rally to get rid of the evil in this place. Maybe if Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had gotten arrested....


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