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 26, 2010

You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Henry Samuelson was on Yelp.com writing a blistering review of Eatonville--which had served him the worst fried okra he had ever tasted in his life, and at twice the price fried okra should be however fancy the restaurant is. And how could they insist it was a fine dining restaurant when bizarre murals of poets covered all the walls? And how dare they tell him to put away his Economist because "patrons could not have a fine dining experience if other diners were reading magazines, typing on laptops, or playing boardgames"? "There is nothing more repugnant," Samuelson typed slowly (hunt-n-peck method, old school), "than a pretentious restaurant misappropriating the literary, sociological, and culinary traditions of the South to advance an elitist dining event calculated to impose a financially discriminatory and culturally incorrect experience on its unprepared customers." He paused to rest from the effort, which was one of his finest on Yelp.com ever. "Your attitude is full of spiders, there is garlic in your smile, your appetizer is a greasy black banana peel, and your entree is a sauerkraut/toadstool sandwich with arsenic dressing." (He was liberally borrowing from Dr. Seuss now--the holidays always had strange effects on him.) "Bah humbug to you!" With that he hit the submit button, then read how the entry looked posted on the screen. (His screen name here was "JuliaChild'sSpyRevenge".) He looked over at the Christmas tree his daughter Button had come over to decorate three weeks ago and wondered how long he had to keep it up. He switched back to cnn.com to see if there were any more Christmas bombings or natural disasters.

Several miles to the south, Dizzy was cursing the snow shower--which was just enough to keep fair-weather people away from the Mall but not enough to bring out the snow-loving photographers, sledders, snowman builders, and cross-country skiers. He shivered and put away his trumpet, contemplating whether he should try for a shelter tonight. He counted the money he had collected since Christmas Eve, and decided it was enough to bribe the Subway manager on 20th Street to let him crash there overnight. But what would he do this afternoon? A motorcade of city police officers and VIP limousines began passing him on Constitution Avenue, and Dizzy instinctively held up his middle finger--something he had done to every limousine he had ever seen since moving to Washington. "Drop dead!" he shouted for good measure, because he was poor and homeless and they were powerful and limo-borne. (And truth be told, he had gotten it right almost 50% of the time.)

A few miles to the east, Becky Hartley was ready to help Sebastian L'Arche with the after-Christmas onslaught of abandoned pets. She had told him she would end her family festivities Christmas afternoon in order to fly back from Dallas to help him, but he was still in shock when she had showed up bright and early in a bright red tracksuit, brown cowboy boats, and a hybrid Santa/Stetson hat. "Merry Christmas, y'all!" she called out to the high school boys in the backyard trying to get the dogs and puppies to expend as much energy as possible before it got too snowy . "I've got pralines and fruitcake, and this is my momma's Texas fruitcake, so y'all will love it!" (The fruitcake actually came from a Trappist monastery in South Carolina, but her mother had been buying it for thirty years and re-wrapping it in tin foil and ribbons.) She shut the back door again and looked at L'Arche. "So what's the skinny?" He told her he still had fifteen pets he was watching over the holidays, and then ten more had been dropped between two p.m. Christmas Day and now: mostly puppies that parents wouldn't let their kids keep (after jubilantly receiving them from aunts and uncles), a boa constrictor that a six-year-old's single mother could not believe her boyfriend had brought over as the "greatest Christmas gift ever", a parrot that had sworn like a sailor for several hours before its new owner realized that was the reason it had been re-gifted, a baby deer some hunters had orphaned during their annual Christmas afternoon hunt in Anne Arundel County, a $500 endangered species tropical fish imported illegally from Guyana and dropped off after it ate a third of the collector's other tropical fish, and a picture-perfect Golden retriever that a certain divorced lobbyist had bought to impress his children while they visited for Christmas (he would just get another one next Thanksgiving when they came back from Australia again). "What are we gonna do with Bambi?" Hartley asked when L'Arche showed her the orphan pacing nervously in the bathroom she had been temporarily relegated to. He told her he didn't know much about deer, but she was plenty traumatized by the taking of her mother, and wouldn't even take bottled milk. "You leave that to me," said Hartley, who had learned quite a lot from apprenticing with the dog whisperer this year. "I guess you're my baby until we can take you to Rock Creek Park, hon!" And L'Arche stood and stared in amazement as the foundling quickly came to the bottle Hartley had held out after sitting on the edge of the bathtub. "Just needed a woman's touch!" said Hartley, and though L'Arche suspected female pheromones actually were the magic elixir, he continued to be amazed at Becky Hartley.

Up near the National Cathedral, Atticus Hawk stared out his apartment window at the swirling snow, still in shock. Yesterday, he and his fiancee Jai Alai had hosted both their families at her home in Maryland for the first time, and all Hell had broken loose. Too many cocktails, too many loud video games, too many political arguments, too much racism on both sides--it was hard to say how it had all gone so badly, but before the day was over, plates were smashed against walls, the Christmas tree was knocked over, the smoke alarm was shattered with a baseball bat after screeching its warning about the overdone turkey, Alai's father had a broken wrist, Hawk's brother had a black eye, a visiting Dachsund bit Alai's son, and Hawk's father declared, "You're marrying into this family over my dead body!" Though Hawk protested and assured Alai that nothing would stop him from marrying her, she folded immediately and said she would never marry into a family that did not want her, and so she was setting him free. She even took off her engagement ring and stuck it on his pinkie finger before he left. He picked up the phone to call her for the fiftieth time, but it went straight to voicemail again. After telling his family to go to Hell, was he really going to be without his fiancee, too? He cursed his father under his breath, wildly wanting to take revenge against him in some fashion he could only vaguely contemplate at this moment in time. He picked up a framed photo of his family and flung it against the wall, shattering the glass and denting the plaster. Then he jumped up and down on the shattered glass to make it crack into even smaller pieces. Then he got his car keys and coat and headed out into the cold, gray day to drive over to the federal penitentiary, where he would use his Justice Department badge to get in for a visit with some terrorist detainees and scream bloody murder at them for an hour or two.

A few hundred feet below ground, Glenn Michael Beckmann thought he also needed to detain a terrorist as he stared suspiciously at a turban-headed Sikh sitting across the aisle from him on a Metro train. When the Sikh began rubbing his hands together to warm himself, Beckmann was sure he saw a fuse running to an underwear bomb. Beckmann ripped the knitting needles out of the hands of the woman next to him (that was faster than pulling out one of his own concealed weapons) and lunged across the aisle to double-stab the surprised Sikh. "Get him!" he heard somebody yell, and was glad that others would help pin the terrorist to the floor, but then a couple guys grabbed Beckmann and hurled him to the floor. Women were screaming, children were hollering, and nobody seemed to hear Beckmann telling them they were grabbing the wrong guy. Finally Beckmann wrestled his way free and ran out the train door when it opened in the Van Ness station.

Over in Potomac Manors, real estate mogul Calico Johnson reviewed the court papers he would be filing on Monday to evict 300 tenants across the city of Washington for non-payment of rent. This process took a really long time in D.C., and chances are he would drive them out in some other fashion before the judicial process worked, but he was always willing to give a judge the chance to do the right thing. Meanwhile, the real estate demon living beneath his porch dozed contentedly in the face of the wet and cold wind and dreamed of evil past and evil future.

Washington Water Woman is heading out of town this week and expects to blog again in two weeks. Coming up in 2011: Congressman Herrmark turns against hydrofracking, Angela de la Paz gets her first mission, Eva Brown gets a wedding proposal, one of the good guys dies, and Ardua's baby daddy is revealed. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Silent Scream

"Which country would you nuke if you had a free pass?" asked Dr. Ermann Esse.

"I beg your pardon!?" said President Obama.

"If you could fry anybody, no repercussions, who would it be?" asked the psychiatrist.

"Well," President Obama looked around nervously, then he said something, but it was so quiet that Dr. Esse could not hear it.

Then President Obama was gone, and Elton John was lying on the couch.

"Which country would you nuke if you had a free pass?" asked Dr. Ermann Esse.

"Panikstan," said the knight. "Next question."

"When you're in the shower, do you sing your own songs or somebody else's?" asked Dr. Ermann Esse.

"I beg your pardon!?" said Elton John.

"What do you sing in the shower?"

"Well, naturally I sing--" said Elton John, but it was too quiet, and Dr. Esse could not hear the last bit.

Then Elton John was gone, and Henry Samuelson was on the couch.

"What do you sing in the shower?" asked Dr. Esse.

"Elvis Presley--best CIA agent we ever had posing as a musician. Next question."

"What is it that really bothers you about Charles Wu?" asked Dr. Esse.

"I beg your pardon!?" said Samuelson.

"Wu--why do you hate him?" Samuelson said something, but Dr. Esse could not catch it.

Then Henry Samuelson was gone, and Bridezilla was on the couch.

"Wu--why do you hate him?" Dr. Esse asked.

"I heard him in former Senator Evermore Breadman's office saying I had legs like a praying mantis and my voice sounded like a howler monkey trained by a harpy! Next question."

"Hmmm." Dr Esse was growing confused. "How old were you when you first started fantasizing about your dream wedding, and what did your dream groom look like?"

"I beg your pardon!?" said Bridezilla.

Then Bridezilla was gone, and Julian Assange was on the couch.

"How old were you when you first started fantasizing about your dream wedding, and what did your dream groom look like?" asked Dr. Esse.

"I was eight years old, and he looked like Colin Firth in 'Another Country'." Assange sat up from the pillow and added, "my mother dressed me in girls' clothing, so it wasn't my fault. Next question." Then he eased back into the pillow.

"Did you reveal diplomatic secrets on Wikileaks just to get laid in Sweden?" asked Dr. Esse.

"I beg your pardon!?" said Julian Assange.

Then Assange was gone, and Glenn Beck was on the couch.

"Did you reveal diplomatic secrets on Wikileaks just to get laid in Sweden?" asked Dr. Esse. Beck started crying. "Oh, knock it off!" hollered Dr. Esse, who was getting really frustrated.

Beck abruptly stopped crying. "I love this country!" he declared. "I can't help it if they idolize me in Sweden! You know, they have very little sunlight at this time of the year, and it was dark, and I couldn't understand what they were saying until finally this one voice said, 'We know what you're doing, and it's God's work!', and their houses are super-insulated so women just walk around in skimpy dresses even in wintertime, and I'm only human, and I can only take so much temptation!" Then he started crying again. "Next question!"

"Do you believe anything you have ever said on Fox television, or is it all one big lie?" asked Dr. Esse.

"I beg your pardon!?" said Glenn Beck.

Then Glenn Beck was gone, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was lying on the couch.

"Do you believe anything you have ever said on Fox television, or is it all one big lie?" asked Dr. Esse.

Clinton shook her head slowly. "I have bad hair," she said. "That's all they've ever gotten right about me. Next question."

"You've spoken so eloquently about helping impoverished women in the Third World, but then you threatened to withhold foreign aid from countries if they voted in Cancun to hold developed countries like the U.S. accountable for reducing carbon emissions. Why?"

"I beg your pardon!?" said Clinton.

Then the Secretary of State was gone, and the ghost of former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara was lying on the couch.

"Did you blackmail Third World countries, Didymus?" asked Dr. Esse.

"You're asking all the wrong questions!" exclaimed McNamara's ghost.

"No, I'm not!" protested Dr. Esse. "The people are wrong, not the questions!" Didymus shook his head at Dr. Esse. "Why won't you die?!" screamed Dr. Esse, rising to his feet.

Then Didymus was gone, and Dr. Esse's eyes rolled back in their sockets until he saw a demon rising out of the Potomac River. "Why won't you die?" whispered Dr. Esse.

"I already did," Ardua hissed. "But my baby will live!"

Then Dr. Esse jumped up from his leather chair, and his silent scream was deafening. The dream was always the same, and the baby was the most terrifying thing he had ever seen.

Outside his window sill, a raven watched carefully through the glass as Dr. Esse helped himself to another swig of the Scotch a grateful Federal Reserve Board governor had given him just last week. Perhaps it's time to write a prescription, he thought, examining the way his desk lamp illuminated the liquor bottle. Nobody would know.

But Ardua already knew.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

This Won't Hurt a Bit!

"You want to do a WHAT transplant?" asked Charles Wu, his hand starting to shake so much he had to put the phone down on his desk.

"It won't hurt a bit!" insisted former Senator Evermore Breadman, whose voice seemed to be singing out in a strangely jubilant fashion. "You're the healthiest guy I know!"

"I have a call coming in on the other line from Beijing--let me call you back." Wu felt something he had not felt since he had chicken pox at age five: vomit creeping up his esophagus. He ran out of his study towards the bathroom as his mother looked up with concern.

Several miles to the south, Angela de la Paz was staring out the airplane window at the cold gray rain greeting her return to Washington. This won't hurt a bit, they had said when they operated on her shins to elongate her legs. This won't hurt a bit, they had said when they had used laser eye surgery to correct her left eye astigmatism. This won't hurt a bit, they had said when they had transplanted a pig kidney to replace the right kidney she had been missing since birth. This won't hurt a bit, they had said when they had implanted industrial grade plastic to fortify her elbows and feet for years of combat operations to come. This won't hurt a bit, they had said when they had performed plastic surgery to take away her Salvadorean characteristics and give her a less indigenous and more Spanish face--a face which could have hailed from a wide variety of countries. (ALL LIES!!!) But what hurt the most was when they had told her to change her name, the only thing she had left to link her to her mother and grandmother. "No," she had said quietly to Henry Samuelson when he had handed her the new passport and driver's license, and he had looked deeply into her determined eyes to gauge her resolve and had judged her a stronger person than what she was when he had first brought her out to Kansas for training. Alright, he had said after a couple of minutes, and he had not broached the subject again until they were in flight two hours later. She could now feel his cold blue eyes behind her, also looking out the window as the wheels hit the runway. She understood now that she would be given false passports when she went on missions, but these men were going to continue to call her "Miss Paz" when they addressed her; it was the only thing she had asked of them. She was a trained spy now, and she was not even going to ask permission to go visit her grandmother tomorrow because nobody could stop her and nobody would recognize her.

A couple miles away, Angela de la Paz's grandmother looked weakly at a bedside photograph of her long missing granddaughter as Consuela Arroyo prepared to insert a new i.v. drip. "This won't hurt a bit," Nurse Arroyo said quietly, and she did not view the statement so much as a lie but rather as a prayer that, God willing, it would not. The old woman winced silently. She liked the nurse very much, although she still could not understand how a woman named "Consuela Arroyo" was unable to speak Spanish. ("I'm from the Philippines," Nurse Arroyo had said multiple times, to no avail.) "The doctor will come see you soon," Nurse Arroyo said. Then she added, "I'm sure your granddaughter will come to visit you soon." This was also not a lie so much as a prayer, for the GW Hospital nurse had heard all about the mysterious story of the girl's being taken to Kansas, and "The Warrior" watching over her as best he could. Nurse Arroyo kissed the old woman on the forehead, and she closed her eyes to drift back to sleep. Then Nurse Arroyo had a premonition that the granddaughter would arrive tomorrow, followed quickly by a premonition that the old woman would die tomorrow. She crossed herself and anxiously went on to her next patient.

Deep in the nearby river, Ardua of the Potomac was brooding most grievously. "It won't hurt a bit," one of the river rats assured her. "I've had dozens of--" Ardua reached out and choked the river rat to death in an instant, enraged that the rodent would have the audacity to compare her own litters of babies to the thing growing uninvited inside the womb Ardua had not known she possessed. The other river rats swam rapidly away, leaving the demon alone with The Beaver--the only one who knew how Ardua had become pregnant.

"That girl is back," hissed Ardua. Ardua would do anything to avoid talking about her pregnancy, so The Beaver did not at first comprehend the statement. "SHE'S BACK!" screamed Ardua, rearing herself at The Beaver until at last she made him understand. "And she's stronger," Ardua said in a lower voice. Then she looked up as the limo carrying Angela de la Paz crossed the 14th Street Bridge. "But something else has changed," Ardua said, with a hint of a smile. "Something else has changed!"

Back at Charles Wu's apartment, Wu had gotten himself together enough to call back former Senator Evermore Breadman. He punched the speakerphone button and gripped the edge of his desk with both hands, then asked Breadman to repeat the request. "It's a revolutionary new treatment, Charles! They've only done it in rats so far, but I found a doctor in Switzerland who will do it for me. It just has to be fresh, that's all. So we go to Switzerland, you take a dump in the hospital, then they transplant your feces into my colon. Voila! All your helping bacteria will then establish colonies in my intestines, and I'll finally have a healthy digestive tract! Will you do it for me?"

Wu had done many things in his spying career that approached the boundary of his own sense of honor and dignity, but nothing he had done had prepared him for this. He wracked his brain, but could find no plausible excuse for refusing the request. He had nothing left to vomit, but that did not stop the gall from rising in his esophagus anyway. Would their relationship ever be the same? No...but saying no could terminate the relationship. The amount of trust Breadman had in Wu to make such a request was astounding--it was not just that Breadman thought Wu the healthiest fellow he knew, but that Breadman knew Wu would take the unsavory secret to the grave. "Sure, I'd be happy to help!" Wu found himself saying carefully, swallowing the bile back down. "I love Switzerland--we can do some skiing," he added, then regretted the cavalier comment.

"Fantastic!" shouted Breadman! "I feel like a new man already! I have a good feeling about 2011!"

Outside Wu's window, a catbird laughed uproariously, then flew off to tell his friends: Wu has been reduced to peddling his own shit!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Envoy

Charles Wu shook the martini ingredients in his portable martini-maker, then poured the contents out into the plastic cups he had brought for the occasion. He raised his cup to Che Gordo and Che Flaco and said, "To di-PLO-macy!" ("To di-PLO-macy!") The three men each took a swig, grabbed some nachos from the steaming plate Che Gordo had brought up from their apartment, took another swig, then gazed out the window at the National Cathedral in the distance (Che Flaco liked to pretend it was Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and the nearby television tower was the Eiffel Tower). They were on the "secret" eighth floor of The Envoy apartment building, in the room that used to be a restaurant back when The Envoy was still functioning as a hotel--back when Che Flaco's father had conducted his own business meetings here, just a few blocks from the Swiss Embassy Cuban Interests Section. The men fell silent. It was not that Wikileaks had directly encroached on any of their own money-making espionage: the problem was that years and years of slowly cultivating relationships of trust were now wiped out. None of the secrets they had gleaned in recent years were on Wikileaks, and no suspicions had been raised against them, but intelligence officials in many sectors and nearly all of the State Department were effectively cut off...at least for the moment. State Department underlings had been warned in no uncertain terms not to share intelligence with the military, so they all suspected their own communications and activities would be monitored for leaks to anybody. Wu had not gotten a message from "C. Coe Phant" in weeks and did not know when he ever would. Scant weeks after expanding Project R.O.D.H.A.M. into Indonesia, Wu was not certain how or when he was going to be able to report back on it to the Secretary of State. It was all very disconcerting.

Che Flaco broke the silence by telling Wu that a Las Vegas pool was underway (minimum bets at $100,000) on who would get to Julian Assange first: Interpol, Mossad, KGB, CIA, Saudi hitmen, or Google informants. There was also a separate Las Vegas pool on where Assange might be offered political asylum--with Iran and Venezuela being the frontrunners, though one mysterious mogul had placed $300,000 on Burkina Faso at 80-1 odds. Wu wasn't interested in placing bets: for once in his espionage career, he felt he could make no prediction. A couple weeks ago, he was on top of the world: sending his slowly reconciling parents and recuperating brother on a cruise to the Caribbean, exploiting the free love philosophy of the "Hair" cast at the Kennedy Center, making a new friend at the FBI after feeding the Bureau information on a planned terrorist attack against the National Children's Museum (a tidbit he had picked up from one of his specially bugged PDAs [Glenn Michael Beckmann's]), and successfully bribing the Federal Reserve Board contractor to replace every square foot of the Fed's carpeting with a special new blend featuring stain-resistant fibers and state-of-the-art, kinetically powered, nanotechnology eavesdropping implants. Now he wasn't sure where his next source of foreign intelligence was coming from, and he doubted the money he could make spying on the Federal Reserve Board was ever going to be worth the tedium of running audio searches on endlessly monotonous wonk conversations. Manipulating monetary policy was really not as rewarding as making his money by delivering Chinese missile intelligence to the British, seducing state secrets out of a North Korean envoy, or peddling the Condor's OPEC intelligence in Washington. And most importantly of all, he had always prided himself on parsing information back and forth, up and down, backwards and sideways--doing his own personal best to level the international playing field with delicacy and foresight. He had long ago stopped thinking of himself as a double agent, or even a triple agent, and more as a free agent, but as highly as Wu thought of himself, he would never in a million years have possessed the arrogant megalomania to believe he could foresee--let alone be pleased with--the international repercussions of unleashing gargantuan amounts of diplomatic and military communications with no restraint of any sort. If no country could trust any other country, what was left for spies...or diplomats? He sighed, and the men continued to eat and drink in silence.

A few miles away, the Heurich Society was holding its third meeting of the week at the Brewmaster's Castle. Even Condoleezza Rice had found the time to phone in all three times this week, and everybody was on edge about the Wikileaks situation. Every fifteen minutes like clockwork, Henry Samuelson would shout out "Saudi Arabia's gonna blow!" no matter what was actually being discussed at the moment. Though nothing the Heurich Society was working on--including Project Prometheus--was directly impacted by Wikileaks, they all feared it was a whole new ballgame out there. The problem was, they could not reach a consensus on what course of action to take next, since every member was now reverting to their earlier loyalties and insisting that operations of influence needed to be centralized into (respectively) the State Department arena, or the CIA arena, or the NSA arena, or the Pentagon arena, or the Wall Street arena. The Heurich Society was in crisis, and the Chair was at a loss as to how to pull it back together. The only thing they had managed to agree on all week was firing Han Li as butler and replacing him with an American-born Marine veteran (who would never have expected to end up in such a menial position except that he had been rendered deaf and mute in his last combat mission, plus they were paying him $90,000/year with six weeks of vacation and letting him live in the basement of the mansion). "I think it's time to launch Project Cinderella," Samuelson suddenly blurted out, and all eyes turned to him. "They say she's ready," he said, with a gleam in his eye. The absurdity of thinking one girl could do anything significant to advance the goals of the Heurich Society in the face of such massive diplomatic earthquakes was enormous enough to make his suggestion seem comical, but nobody was laughing...and nobody else had a better suggestion. "It's settled then," Samuelson continued. "I'll fly out to Kansas to pick her up myself."

"And her mission hasn't changed?" asked Rice over the speakerphone.

"Infiltrating Project R.O.D.H.A.M. is her mission," said Samuelson, who looked around the round table to challenge anybody to contradict him, but nobody did. "She will be our number one envoy," he added, "working directly and only for us."

A few miles to the south, the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope was typing furiously on his keyboard, another planned wedding proposal ruined--this time because he had been pulled out of the Cancun climate change delegation to stay in Washington and deal with Wikileaks. Now, instead of showing his girlfriend how he was saving the world--and then proposing to her on the beach at sunset!--he was stuck in Washington poring over released State Department emails and typing up damage assessments while his girlfriend had taken her adopted daughter home for a long holiday stay with her parents. It would be a miracle if he had more than two days to visit his own parents, let alone meet up with his girlfriend again before New Year's. If he didn't propose by New Year's, he had a dreadful feeling she would dump him in 2011. So far the most important thing he had learned this morning was that somebody's code name for Condoleezza Rice was "bloodsucker", but he was not putting that in his report until he verified it was not Clinton herself who was responsible for the moniker. Hmmm. He re-read the email from the embassy in Gabon. Is this about Burkina Faso?

A mile away, the special envoy from the Burkina Faso embassy was meeting privately with President Obama and his chief of staff to make the case for smoothing the way for Julian Assange to get asylum in Burkina Faso. All three men in the room believed this would result in Assange's rapid assassination, but nobody was saying that because they also had three different opinions on why Burkina Faso was making this offer. Bo had already passed out in the corner (right in the middle of chewing up the Sarah Palin bobblehead) because his canine narcolepsy was triggered by the words "security breach", and Obama was stealing glances at the Portuguese water dog and contemplating the bizarre nature of a job that would start with a meeting like this and end with applauding Paul McCartney at the Kennedy Center tonight.

Over in the river, Ardua of the Potomac had always hated the holiday season, but the Wikileaks explosion was the best holiday gift she had ever gotten.

In the weeks ahead: Will the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope get his wedding proposal in by New Year's? What are psychiatrist Ermann Esse's fantasy therapy questions? Why will Congressman Herrmark flipflop on hydrofracking? And what bizarre medical treatment will former Senator Evermore Breadman try to cure his chronic colon problems?