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, October 07, 2007

Convention Center

Sebastian L'Arche jerked reflexively as Plastic Bag Man jumped out at him in the foyer outside the Green Festival. L'Arche was twitching all over and cursed loudly at the creature covered from head-to-toe in multi-colored plastic bags, but Plastic Bag Man did not notice because he had actually been jumping out at somebody else--somebody toting something in a plastic bag. Plastic Bag Man then pulled out a light-weight, collapsible, washable, nylon sack called "Chico Bag", which he and his associate were selling for $5. L'Arche resumed walking--he was only here to pick up more of the organic pet treats that his customers loved so much. You guys should be marketing to the Pentagon at $50 a pop.

The woman guilty of toting the plastic bag into the Green Festival was Lynnette Wong. She mumbled an explanation/apology to Plastic Bag Man, then continued into the festival. She had been using the CVS bag as her daily tote bag ever since getting punched in the head and mugged at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, a block from a police station. She would never carry a nice bag again, and Chico Bag looked like a nice bag. She involuntarily shuddered at the memory--the feel of the punch, the look in his eye, the way he didn't care that there were so many people around because he was a drug addict, the way the officers treated her and her head injury as a nuisance that morning after the Pakistani taxi driver helped her go to the police station. And she shuddered because she knew she was now on Ardua's hit list. She made her way over to Natural Body/Health to find new impulse buys for the shop because Americans liked to find something new every time they came in, even though the ancient ways still healed best.

Golden Fawn walked past Lynnette, flanked by Marcos Vasquez carrying a rolled-up rug for her. They made their way to the Organic Food Dining Area and took a seat near the live band performing. The food lines were long, and Vasquez told Golden Fawn to stay there while he went to get food. She pulled out some organizational brochures to read through while she waited--not that she needed any new causes to join. Marcos was thinking of joining Oceana, but she knew he hardly ever got to see the ocean anymore. He had a lot of vacation days saved up and wanted to take her to Puerto Rico before she went back to work. She was scared if she ran away from Ardua that she would be afraid to come back and face her again. But this is what life was about, right? Planning vacations with a boyfriend? Half of their dates had been rituals at the side of the Potomac. But that's why--she stopped and looked up. A young boy and girl were staring at her and whispering to each other, though they fell silent as soon as they realized that Golden Fawn saw them watching her. Their unnatural gaze unsettled her until a man stood up and told the children it was time to leave. Golden Fawn took a sip of water and rubbed the hair growing out under her bandana.

Bridge walked resolutely out of the Green Festival, the twins attached firmly to his left and right hands. He had only come to spend some time with his sister, a gardener from Baltimore, and she was too busy with her booth to grab a bite. She only grew plants native to the region and lectured him every time she saw him that the White House garden should be an example to the rest of the country, a showcase of indigenous flora. He always nodded politely. He let Reggie and Fergie grab a few more chocolate samples, then hustled them out. He knew they were peculiar, but the reactions of strangers seemed to be getting more pronounced. It was going to get to the point where even he wasn't going to feel comfortable taking them anywhere, but he knew the more time they spent in the White House, the worse it was for them. They rode the escalator down in silence, then crossed the hallway in front of the main entrance for the convention of the Association of the United States Army. A decorated colonel glanced down at the children flanking Bridge and felt a chill down the back of his neck. He turned to look back at them after their paths had crossed, and Fergie did the same: the steely blue eyes of the colonel locked with the glistening brown eyes of the boy for just a moment, but it was enough. Bridge and the twins continued on.

The colonel stopped in his tracks, paused for a moment, turned around a couple of times, then headed to the drinking fountain and bench outside the men's room. He had just gotten a new idea about Afghanistan....

An hour later, the colonel was still sitting there as Sebastian L'Arche traversed the hallways, laden with cat snacks and doggie treats. "Colonel?" It was his colonel; L'Arche hadn't seen him since leaving Iraq. He stopped to chat, knowing full well the colonel thought L'Arche was a nut job. The colonel was annoyed at having his reverie broken and barely acknowledged L'Arche before getting up to return to the convention meetings--where Charles Wu was disguised as a busboy and moving effortlessly through the brass, collecting trash and whispered comments. Wu was amazed at how little the U.S. military knew about what was really happening in Korea; on the other hand, the U.S. military knew a lot more about Burma than he had realized. Wu made himself trip and drop his tray to the floor so that he could linger a few minutes longer as the colonel began making some really unexpected comments about Afghanistan. Wu gathered the trash and headed back to the kitchen slowly, trying to deciper the U.S. military mind--which fretted so much about wolves at the door that it couldn't see the termites in the basement, even when they were being discussed in the convention upstairs.


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