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, December 28, 2008


The Assistant Deputy Administrator for Anti-Fecklessness was at his State Department desk, monitoring the violence in the Gaza Strip.  It's Holy Week—there's bound to be somebody getting bombed in the Holy Land.  He had heard his father say that...twenty years ago?  The more things change, the more they stay the same.  He looked at his framed photo of Eva Brown; he was planning to propose on New Year's Eve...if he could get away from the office.  It didn't seem that long ago that the Secretary of State was crowing that she had achieved peace between Israel and the Palestinians, yet here he was.  They would both be out of here soon, and he was almost glad.

A couple of miles away, Golden Fawn was cooking plantains, beans and rice with the recipe she had learned in Puerto Rico a week before.  Marcos Vasquez had taken the trash and newspapers down to the Southwest Plaza basement for her (since the trash chute was now sealed off due to a cockroach population explosion), and she took advantage of her fiance's absence to stare blissfully at her new engagement ring.  He had proposed on a cold night--after a bad day at work, after they had climbed several flights of stairs because all the elevators were broken, after they had burned their dinner because of the beggar at the door, after they had curled up on the couch with soup mugs and candy bars, after the unusually large number of candles he had lit had set off the smoke detector.  It was perfect.  He told her later that he had been planning to propose to her at a waterfall in the Puerto Rican rainforest, but he was worried she would think he had delayed his proposal until after his mother had approved.  However, Golden Fawn had actually worried about the opposite—that Marcos had thought bringing her down as his fiance would preempt a repeat of the cool reception Sra. Vasquez had given Golden Fawn last time.  The reception had still not been what one would call warm, but Golden Fawn knew by then enough about Sra. Vasquez to disarm her future mother-in-law with intense interest in cooking, garden figurines, and needlepoint pillows.  Now Golden Fawn's worries were shifted to getting her grandmother to warm up to Marcos.  She heard the key in the lock and turned to see him bring in a poinsettia that somebody had evidently dumped in the trash room.  “That smells great!” he said, eyeing the stove as he headed to the sink to water the plant.  He wanted to ask her when they should start house-hunting, but he didn't want to have to discuss finances so soon after getting engaged; she wanted to destroy the real estate demon living under the building before they moved out of their apartments here, but she did not want to bring up something that unpleasant so soon after getting engaged.  They smiled at each other silently, basking in the private cocoon they had learned to spin around themselves at will.

A few miles north, Dizzy was chatting with the current occupant of the permanent peace vigil at Lafayette Park.  “Here's my idea,” said Dizzy, as he watched tourists tossing nuts to squirrels in the unseasonably balmy habitat.  “The ducks are spreading everywhere, right?  First they were in the canal, then Urine Park, then Lafayette Park, now McPherson Square—and there must be 100 at McPherson alone, right?”  The vigilist nodded, uncertain where this was going.  “ Now, I don't care for the ducks—nothing personal, but most of them are infected from that damn Ardua of the Potomac, right?”  The vigilist nodded again, having learned a few days back that he should always agree with Dizzy when Dizzy was talking about “Ardua”.  But they're not all infected, and some of them are just refugees—like us, right?”  The vigilist nodded again, but he was starting to tune out; he was watching a group of tourists, imagining the women in dusty hoop skirts and the men sporting guns in their holsters instead of cellphones.  “I say, put 'em all in the zoo!”  Come again?  The vigilist looked at Dizzy quizzically.  “Look, people obviously think dukes are cute, right?”  The vigilist nodded.  “And those homeless men keep sharing their food with the ducks. They act like they own those ducks!  They love those ducks!  They take pride in those ducks!  And this is what it's all about, right?  Own it, love it, take pride in it!  Right?”  The vigilist nodded, uncertainly.  “Move 'em all to the zoo!  Let the homeless men live in one of those old gorilla houses or something; let them feed the ducks, then they can learn how to feed the monkeys and the lions and the elephants, right?  Then they'd have roofs over their heads, the ducks would be far from Ardua and recover, the men would be rehabilitated, right?”  Dizzy leaned back, pleased with himself.  

“What about you?" the vigilist asked. “You wanna live in the zoo?"

“Hell no!  I'm no damned zookeeper!  I'm a trumpet player”  And with that, he picked up his trumpet and launched into his two-hundredth performance of “Jingle Bell Rock” since the lighting of the White House Christmas tree.  The women who were not wearing hoop skirts but were, in fact, from a prairie, came over to listen and take pictures, and their men, who did not have guns in their holsters but were, in fact, cattle men, dug in their pockets for loose change, underestimating the value of the Juilliard-trained trumpet player's performance.

A couple of miles away, Sebastian L'Arche was sitting perplexedly at a sidewalk table outside Soho, petting Lucky Charm as they both looked around for signs of “John Doe”.  John Doe had told him to meet here, today, at this hour—L'Arche was sure of it, but he pulled his pocket calendar out to double-check.  Well, the guy does have a brain injury and epilepsy—I guess he was confused.  So far Lucky Charm had not seemed particularly interested in being a helping dog for the blind or the wheelchair-bound, and this week was going to be an exploration to see if Lucky Charm could smell pending epileptic attacks.  “I know you're gonna be an amazing dog—I just know it!”  The Irish setter wagged her tail in agreement.  Meanwhile, across the street, John Doe was drinking a Coke at the Fireplace.  He was ignoring the gay men around him, and had only taken up residence at this table to peer out the window to see who showed up at the cafe with an Irish setter.  John Doe (who still liked using that name, even though his family had shown up to claim and identify him some time back) was uncertain about whether he really wanted a helping dog.  The best it could do would be to force John down before John had an epileptic attack.  Was that worth all the trouble of taking care of a dog?  He liked being unemployed and on disability, having no responsibilities, available whenever Heaven wanted to send him a vision in a seizure.  He didn't really see the need for a dog to complicate things.  It is a pretty dog, though.  Just then, Calico Johnson rounded the P Street corner and began walking past Lucky Charm, who leaned back on her haunches and started growling in a way L'Arche had never seen in any dog except Gipper during a de-ratting session.  Johnson jumped away with a start, and L'Arche apologized sheepishly, but Lucky Charm wouldn't stop growling, and L'Arche wasn't going to argue with her.  Sitting up on the Soho roof, one of the Shackled looked down and pondered the special future awaiting Lucky Charm.


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