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 13, 2009

Five Things

"How will this affect Project R.O.D.H.A.M.?"

"You tell me!"

Spy Charles Wu was sipping chai in the basement corner of the Gallery Place Teaism, discussing the new Afghanistan plan with "C. Coe Phant".

"You need to get me more details from the Pentagon," Wu responded.

"No can do," said Phant quietly. He leaned in closer. "M.S. doesn't want to change anything--she wants you to keep things moving." (Phant sometimes said "M.S." for "Madame Secretary".)

"If the troops are surging, it's going to be pretty hard for Project R.O.D.H.A.M. to avoid bumping into them," said Wu.

"Why do you say that like you DON'T want more troops?"

"If the troops can pull it off, that's brilliant, but maybe Project R.O.D.H.A.M. should lie low for awhile."

"What are you so worried about?!"

That my operatives will be hauled in and expose me.... "It just doesn't make sense for us to be where the troops are: if I could follow their deployments, we could operate more effectively."

Phant stifled his laughter, but not his grin. "What you're talking about is Top Level Security Clearance! I don't even have that! You'd have to talk to M.S." Wu nodded, drummed his fingers on the table, and said nothing.

A few miles to the west, Henry Samuelson was shaking off his umbrella in the foyer of the Brewmaster's Castle. He loved hard cold rain because it made it easier to spy on people--they were so focused on staying dry that they would scarcely look around their surroundings at all. Still, he was an old man with rheumatism now, and it wasn't easy. Han Li took Samuelson's umbrella and coat, then proffered a velvet smoking jacket. (Dick Cheney had sent over a dozen of the red robes as an early Christmas present to the Heurich Society, but there was still nobody making a motion for him to re-join.) A few minutes later, Samuelson entered the meeting room, grabbed a custard-filled doughnut and cup of coffee, and sat down to rant about Afghanistan, Copenhagen, the Nobel Peace Prize, and Tiger Woods.

A couple miles to the east, Button Samuelson was seeing her father's psychiatrist alone. "He did that exercise you suggested," she said to Dr. Ermann Esse. She handed him the list Henry Samuelson had written of five things he liked about his daughter, and Dr. Esse began to read. You are strongly principled, and you are true to your principles even when they cost you friends or opportunities. He looked up at her, said nothing, then continued to read silently until the end. Button, some of these admirable traits have not always served you well but you do deserve credit and recognition for them. Love, Dad. He took a sip of coffee and re-read the letter.

"Well," he said at last, "he did write some very positive things in here."

"And a bunch of negative things! It KILLS him to say anything nice about me!"

"He said 'you are a really good person': that's a very strong statement."

"A good person who's an idiot! That's what he said!"

"That's not what he said."

"Oh, cut the crap, would you!?" Dr. Esse's eyes grew wide in surprise. "He had an opportunity to say what he liked about me, and he could not do it without adding a bunch of things he disliked about me! He is deliberately sabotaging our relationship! Any fool can see that!"

Dr. Esse cleared his throat and waited a few moments to see if she was done. Her arms were folded across her chest, and she turned her gaze away from him to the window. "You're right," he said. "But what you call 'sabotage' does not actually mean he does not want and value his relationship with you."

"It means he wants and values a relationship with me in which he gets to continue telling me I'm not good enough, that's what it means." Dr. Esse cocked his head, wondering how she had ended up selling real estate--she would have been quite a shrink.

A couple miles to the south, Laura Moreno was in her Prince and Prowling workroom, organizing the documents left behind after the sweatshop had closed at 5 p.m. on Saturday. The first wave of lay-offs had occurred Thursday, and the second on Friday, and in the meantime, she herself had been on and off the cut list half a dozen times until the confusion was finally laid to rest and she was told she would not be laid off on Saturday. With the axe hanging over so many heads for days, more than a few of the temporary attorneys had flipped out--setting off an explosion in the microwave, toilet-papering the fanciest office they could find (former Senator Evermore Breadman's), wiping feces on suite doors, and (and this is why Laura Moreno had to come in on a Sunday) sabotaging the evidence. So far she had removed over 200 Viagra emails from the "Hot" folder, and over 100 penile enlargement emails from the "Privileged" folder, while she kept telling herself how lucky she was to still be working. Suddenly one of the laid-off reviewers came into her workroom, and she immediately recognized him as the one who had not turned in his keycard. He pulled out a knife, and she screamed, but he turned the knife around and stabbed himself in the chest. "I don't blame you," he whispered, crumpling to the floor. "It's the economy."

Deep in the Potomac, Ardua smiled at the darkness and cold rain blanketing Washington.


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