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 ....

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Audacity of --

The papers were all shredded, the computer diskettes and jump drives dissolved in acid, the laptop hard drive reformatted [“Do not put any of this research on a network drive!”], and the Blackberry files electrocuted—at least, that was Atticus Hawk's intention.  He could no longer be the Justice Department's torture expert, nor the defender of Guantanamo:  the naïve new President had spoken.  Hawk's destiny now lay elsewhere.  But it was so important....He had randomly selected a few items to whisk away home—just in case he should ever be called upon again to serve his country in this way again.   A few items randomly selected--just enough for him to believe there was hope in the future, but not enough to prevent him from exercising plausible deniability in any hypothetical hearing on whether he had produced such-and-such (specifically described!) evidence on how Justice Department memos were written.  What if they torture me to find out if I took files home?  He let out a sort of screech, somewhere between a laugh and a wince of pain.  He re-read his boss's memo requesting junior attorneys to update their professional work histories in anticipation of the arrival of a new Attorney General.  Hawk would not be able to write down 90% of what he had done since 2002.

Several blocks away, Momzilla was telling yet another co-worker about her husband's new job in the White House.  “It's a policy position,” she said gravely.  “He's advising the President on policy.”  Liv Cigemeier was completing a grant report from International Development Machine to the Better Bungalows Foundation—completing all of it because, as usual, Momzilla had spent the majority of the day going out for refreshments and chatting with coworkers.  Liv covered her ears with her hands to reread the “Lessons Learned” paragraph, and Momzilla looked purposefully at Anton and raised her voice to talk even louder.  “He writes speeches, too!”  Anton let out a loud whistle, and Momzilla continued to tell more lies about her husband--who actually had a job in the White House IT department.  “That's why I'm working even though I'm pregnant:  I have to help provide for our family so that my husband can work in public service.”  Liv rolled her eyes and got up to use the restroom.

Several miles north, Calico Johnson was making a rare “inspection” at one of his rental properties with his Caljohn Mgmt. property manager, Button Samuelson.  She was showing him the damage caused by the negligence of his preferred plumber, and asking why she could not use a different plumber.  “I've been using this plumber for ten years!”  Samuelson nodded and again pointed to the damage.  “Well, he's paying for that, right?”  Yes, she nodded, thinking, out of the outrageous mark-ups he charges on his work.  Samuelson handed Johnson a copy of a press release she had emailed him a week ago without hearing any response.  “Oh, this....Yes, I was meaning to get back to you on this.”  It was an announcement from Mayor Fenty that rental buildings in the city would now be subject to an automatic four-year cycle of inspections, and a two-year cycle for properties with violations.  “Don't worry about it—I'll take care of it!”  An inspection was still an inspection as far as he could see—it required an inspector, and an inspector could be taken care of one way or the other.  “This changes nothing,” he added.  Samuelson did not understand how it could change nothing if the city was now going to come in to inspect properties like this, where people who barely spoke English and often had immigration problems rarely contacted the government about anything.  She knew the place had probably not been inspected in over ten years, and she didn't know how to get it ready for inspection if he wouldn't let her hire better contractors.  “Come on—let's go to dinner!”  He was relieved that Button was just worried about the inspection:  for a moment, he had started thinking she was going soft on him.  “I want to try that new fusion place.”  The two were heading out to the newer, swankier portion of Columbia Heights just as Angela de la Paz was returning from school.  She wanted to ask them about the sudden surge in cockroaches, but something in their brusque greetings put her off, and she passed silently into the building.

Down at the White House, Clio was wrapping up her afternoon butler shift.  She had started the AIDS cocktail two weeks earlier, after recovery from the sinus infection and pneumonia, and this was a good week.  She headed down to her little apartment where the twins were, as usual, talking in their secret twin language about Sasha and Malia.  And, as usual, she reminded them that they needed to speak more English if they wanted to invite the Obama girls to play with them.  They shrugged their shoulders and resumed chattering.  She was really starting to wonder if they would start kindergarten on time—it was as if they deliberately refused to learn more than a few words of English.  Clio took a donated casserole out of the freezer and put it in the oven, then went to check her personal email.  Her aunt had sent her an email about the new Sasha and Malia Beanie Babies...and the price.  Well, some things don't change, I suppose.  In the other room, Regina and Ferguson grew quiet as a White House ghost started whispering to them about the new ones.


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