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 ....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Button Samuelson walked into the psychiatrist's office with her father Henry, who (Button had recently learned) had been seeing Dr. Ermann Esse for some time now.  Just when she thought her father's erratic behavior and mystifying beliefs could not surprise her anymore, she had discovered he was in therapy,...and his shrink thought he needed to bring his daughter in for a session.  She sat down on the left end of the couch, and her father sat on the right end.  Henry usually lay down on the couch for these sessions, and so he momentarily thought about asking her to take a different chair, but then he realized how weak and pathetic he would look, so he sat down stiffly and planted his elbow firmly on the arm rest.  Dr. Esse invited Henry to tell his daughter Henrietta why she had been invited in, but Henry sat motionless.  "Your father," Dr. Esse began, "has been having a lot of dreams--strange dreams and nightmarish dreams.  Though some neurologists believe that dreams are simply the brain's feeble and confused attempt at interpreting the random electrical impulses coursing through your unconscious brain to 'reset the computer' (so to speak) every night, I adhere to the traditional psychoanalytical belief that dreams are your unconscious brain's attempt to work through problems and issues that have arisen in your conscious state."  Button glanced briefly at her father, then resumed staring at Dr. Esse.  

"Many of the dreams are about you and your brother," Dr. Esse continued.  "As a CIA operative, Henry was forced to lie to you and your brother numerous times over the course of your childhood.  Thus, without intending to, your father set up a fundamentally false and illusory relationship with his children.  As an adult, you discovered many of those lies, and so you lost trust in him overall.  He wants you to know that you can still trust him, and that many of the things he said to you were, in fact true."

"Was my best friend's father really killed in a freak automobile accident that severed his head?" Button suddenly asked.  She turned to stare at her father, as did Dr. Esse.  Henry stared blankly at her and asked who she was talking about.  "You don't remember when my best friend's father was killed in a freak automobile accident that severed his head?!"  Henry shook his head no.  (He had known a lot of men who were killed in freak automobile accidents that severed their heads--it was quite common in the 1970s in his social and professional circles.)  "I think you killed him yourself!  He died right after the election."  Henry's mind launched a few new electrical impulses to search for the correct memories:  Chile?  She must be talking about something that happened in Chile.  "Never mind."  She turned back to stare at the shrink again.

Not far away from the father-daughter scene, a mother-son scene was repeating itself at International Development Machine.  Liv Cigemeier was working on another grant report, baby Zeke was bouncing lightly in his bouncy chair, and various staff members were stopping by to admire the adorable bundle of joy.  Then the goo-goo ga-ga chatter abruptly ended, her coworkers scattered, and Liv turned to see her boss had stopped by her cubicle and folded his arms across his chest.  "The babysitter wasn't feeling well this morning, but I have somebody else coming by to pick him up after lunch."  Her boss reminded her about company policy regarding children in the office.  "I could have worked from home if the other part of the grant report had been finished, but I had to look up some files."  She was referring to the report section that Momzilla had allegedly been working on since Monday.  "The babysitter should be here fairly soon--I can take a couple hours of personal time and wait outside if you want."  Her boss shook his head, asked her not to let it happen again, and walked away.  Liv looked over at Momzilla--who could not be fired because she was pregnant, and who was doing nothing to disguise the glee she felt at having gotten Liv into trouble.  Pure evil oozed from every pore of her skin, and she exuded a hatred for Zeke that was truly frightening.  Liv started to type an email to her husband, then thought better of it:  he would just tell her again that Zeke's mother was probably not coming back, and they needed to alert the authorities so that they could take steps to find the baby's relatives.  Liv looked at Zeke, and he smiled and shook his rattle at her.  What if she does come back, and he's in foster care?  What if they place him with some horrible relative?  What if he's beaten or starved to death?  (What if you get so attached to him that you can't let him go?)  The last thought was her husband's voice, and she knew the Prince and Prowling associate's logic was flawless and he was, in fact, looking out for her best interests, but every instinct she possessed told her to hold onto Zeke.  

Momzilla turned away in fury and rechecked her calendar, even though she had the due date memorized.  She decided that this was the weekend she would stage her miscarriage, even though she had learned five months ago that her pregnancy was false, and what she needed to do to disrupt the maniacal hormones that had built up her uterus to support nothing more than a couple of fibroids.  The phony doctor appointments, the fetal ultrasounds she had purchased over the internet, the constantly swelling abdomen caused by the pseudocyesis--they had all fooled her husband, as well as everybody else.  But he was going to California to visit his sick mother, and she would take the prescribed steps on Friday night.  On Monday, she would phone in sick and explain the "miscarriage".  When he came back from California, she would not rest until she was pregnant for real.  She pulled a small candy bar from a glass jar on her desk and tore into it.  

Several miles away, Charles Wu was drinking cachaca in a small office at the Brazilian Army Commission on Wisconsin Avenue and telling a 50-year-old man with an eye tic what he knew about land purchases made in Paraguay by the Bush clan.  "It was absolutely about freshwater," Wu said, repeating what was already common knowledge concerning the nearly 100,000 aquifer-rich acres snapped up three years earlier.  "But it would be prohibitively expensive to ship it to the United States...until the price of water goes up and the price of fuel goes down."  He finished his glass of cachaca.  "It could make them rich in the long run, but they have other plans for the short run--such as agriculture."  The twitchy man asked if Wu could confirm Brazil's spy satellite estimates on how large a private security force had already been amassed near the Paraguayan/Brazilian border, and Wu told him it was twice that size already.  Then he told the twitcher something else that Che Flaco and Che Gordo had informed him:  the neo-Nazis of Paraguay and Argentina had been buying up the aquifer-fed land for years.  "But nobody's going to invade Brazil," Wu assured the man.  "These are all defensive moves."  The man asked why, then, did Bush purchase so much land adjacent to a United States military base?  "Because things are going to fall apart," Wu answered calmly.

Back at Dr. Esse's office, Henry Samuelson was fruitlessly trying to explain to his daughter that she was too optimistic for her own good, and he had to shake her up and destroy her Peace Corps dreams so that she would grow up and see how dangerous the world really was.  Though she was a "wonderful little girl" who gave her parents no discipline problems, he conceded, he simply had to take drastic steps to rein in the juvenile and naive impulses she had carried well into adulthood.  "I did it for your own good!" he scolded her.  "Somebody had to tell you how idiotic you were!"  After a few minutes of silence, Dr. Esse asked Button Samuelson if she had a reply to this.

"I think the world is a frightening and horrible place where bad things are all I expect from the future," she said quietly.  "I sell and manage real estate for a living because it's solid.  I suppress every humanitarian instinct and artistic sensibility that stirs inside of me because I can't make a living with them, and I can't expect anybody else to take care of me.  I'm on my own.  Maybe I'm not good enough or strong enough to take care of myself, but I have no choice, so this is what I do."

"Didymus", the ghost of Robert McNamara, had already entered the psychiatrist's office and was impatiently awaiting his turn on the couch.  Dr. Esse cleared his throat, pointed out the time, thanked Henrietta for coming in, pronounced the session quite valuable, and ushered the father and daughter out into the waiting room to make another appointment with his secretary.  "That woman needs a hundred years of therapy," Didymus said, "and her father needs three-hundred."  Dr. Esse chastised him for eavesdropping on another client, but Didymus replied, "I'm a ghost--that's what we do."

A few miles north, a Salvadoran grandmother was lying motionless on her sweat-soaked sheets in her apartment with the broken air conditioning that Henrietta Samuelson had promised to fix three days ago.  Several miles south, her granddaughter Angela de la Paz was sitting on the shore of the Potomac River, soaking her hot feet in the water and trying to repress an ardent impulse to flee her foster parents and go home.  They had told her that her mother had drowned in this river, but she didn't believe it; she never felt a warm maternal vibe here--only darkness and terror. 


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