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, May 25, 2009

Remember This

Jai Alai was pecking at her blueberry pancake, wondering what her boyfriend was thinking.  Her son (the growing boy!) put down his plate and headed back to the waffle bar for another round.  I should have suggested Applebees.  She looked at her white boyfriend (well, fairly red today after two days on the Chesapeake Bay), afraid to ask him if he was uncomfortable that there were only a couple other white people in the Old Country Buffet of Forestville, MD, but he looked contented enough as he shoveled grits into his mouth.  She thought after all this time together that they would have spent the weekend in Rehobeth or Ocean City renting a big house with his friends, but it was clear to her now she was never going to meet his friends.  She would never know what he did on his job, and she scarcely knew anything he did when he wasn't with her:  his time with me is apparently a vacation from his life.  He looked up and smiled at her because he had thoroughly enjoyed the weekend of teaching her son how to sail and kayak, and it was way better than it would have been to spend a weekend on the outer shore with Wince and Bridezilla drinking made-in-America beer and lying on the beach under an umbrella talking politics for three days.  Jai smiled back at Atticus as her happy boy returned with another plate.

Several miles into the city, Laura Moreno was dropping a completed witness binder on Bridezilla's desk.  She paused to look at the pink lace curtain Bridezilla had hung on her office window and wondered if the woman's nesting instinct and repeatedly postponed wedding were combining to drive her insane.  First there was the incident in which Bridezilla had put lavender potpourri sachets in all the boxes of documents going to the SEC.  Then there was Bridezilla's declaration that one could now wear white after Easter and not have to wait until Memorial Day, followed by her wearing snow white suits and white satin pumps to work every day of the week until the Senior Partner begged her to wear something dark for her court appearances.  Then Bridezilla had gone on a rampage of denouncing "cluttered and untidy" workstations, resulting in a written warning to Moreno from the paralegal-from-Hell that Moreno needed to clean up her desk.  Moreno stole a Godiva chocolate from the silver candy dish on Bridezilla's spotless desk, then turned to head back to the workroom where she somehow needed to clean up everything on her desk without the benefit of filing cabinets, drawers, or bookshelves.  

She walked past former Senator Evermore Breadman's Wall of Me (currently featuring his photo with Barak Obama front and center--Mother Theresa and George W. Bush having both been shoved to the corners of the exhibit), past the quiet offices of the vacationing associates, past the kitchen, and back to the workroom carpeted with never-vacuumed gray pile, walled with shelf upon shelf of document boxes, and overhung with a patchwork of dropped panels, exposed wires, and (again) a reeking rodent decomposing somewhere in the ductwork.  Moreno looked at the suit jackets hanging from the shelves, the row of shoe boxes on the floor, the pile of toiletries to the left, the pile of snacks to the right, the pile of pain killers and wrist bandages piled behind her computer, and the workpapers she had spread over the center table (after the departure of The Braggart)--and she pondered what to do.  She went to the supply room to retrieve empty boxes, then proceeded to bury every trace of her existence in neatly labeled cardboard cubes:  "sh" for her shoes, "sn" for her snacks, "to" for her toiletries, "ha" for her hand first aid kit, and "fi" for her files.  She hesitated for a moment over the suit jackets, then rolled each one and placed them in a box as well.  She stacked the boxes neatly under her table, then took down her rainforest pictures and human rights calendar and shoved them in the trash.  The only evidence of human life still visible on the table was a kleenex box, a water bottle, and a pen resting atop a yellow legal pad.  She had been planning to work several hours today, but the stench of the rodent was overpowering without the a/c on, so she grabbed her bag and headed out of Prince and Prowling.

Several miles to the west, Judge Sowell Ame was hosting a garden party at his upper Georgetown home.  He had scored three second-tier Congressmen (currently discussing the stimulus package in front of his stunted forsythia bush), two law professors (currently discussing the constitutionality of campaign ad regulations in front of the open bar and hired server), one Cabinet Under-Secretary (currently playing "Great Balls of Fire" in a funeral march tempo on the spinet piano just inside the screen door), and two women basketball players (one wearing high-heeled sandals that left her standing taller than every man at the party, and the other wearing orthotic shoes and explaining to a drunk dentist how she had recently discovered that her foot bones were actually deformed and how that was the reason she had never been able to run fast enough to play soccer).  In Ame's upstairs office sat the briefs on the Southwest Plaza litigation (still unread despite his every intention to do so this weekend) and two house ghosts hanging out the windows to look out on the guests below.  The ghosts exchanged a few words, then one of them spit unholy saliva onto the cherry cobbler, brownies, and key lime pie spread out on the table below, and the other flew over to the grill to lay a curse on it.  Suddenly a couple members of the Shackled arrived to scold the house ghosts, but it was too late:  before the week was out, four of the party guests would be in the hospital, one would start drinking heavily and not be able to stop, two would fire employees for no good reason, one would lie under oath, and two would abandon their spouses.  Judge Sowell Ame gazed contentedly at the crowd, knowing that next year he would have even more people and even bigger names because he was becoming a Mover and Shaker in this town.

A couple of miles away, Dubious McGinty was making his way back to his bridge home above the Potomac after a rare foray to Arlington National Cemetery, where he had watched President Obama do the same wreath and speech thing McGinty had seen every other President do on Memorial Day.  Dubious had brought some signs about Ardua of the Potomac and had blown his whistle to get Obama's attention, but the Secret Service had hustled him out lickety split before he could get the message to Obama:  everything in Washington will fail unless you kill Ardua of the Potomac!  

Deep in the water, Ardua gloated over McGinty's failure.  The veterans belong to me!  The widows belong to me!  The orphans belong to me!  A half-mile away, Iraq veteran Sebastian L'Arche was heading towards the river with a picnic cooler and Lucky Charm because he had decided to celebrate Memorial Day by letting the Irish setter run loose on Roosevelt Island trying to bark and growl Ardua to death.  On the other side of the river, the timeless Warrior sat chewing berries and contemplating the hot sunlight glinting off the shimmery Potomac surface.  Then he sensed Ardua tensing up, and he waited to see whom the next foot soldier would be to take her on.  He swallowed hard, wondering how he could bring them all together for the war he could not win alone.


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