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, February 09, 2012

Get Off From This Ride

The speed of a Kalashnikov bullet is 800 meters per second. If a Russian is at a distance of 3,200 meters from a mujahid, and that mujahid aims at the Russian’s head, calculate how many seconds it will take for the bullet to strike the Russian in the forehead.

Angela de la Paz looked up from the textbook at Charles Wu, but he said nothing. She picked up a different one, again translating the Pashto into English as she read aloud.

Jim [is for] Jihad.
Jihad is an obligation. My mom went to the jihad. Our brother gave water to the Mujahideen…

Dal [is for] Religion (din).
Our religion is Islam. The Russians are the enemies of the religion of Islam…

Zhi [is for] Good news (muzhdih).
The Mujahideen missiles rain down like dew on the Russians. My brother gave me good news that the Russians in our country taste defeat…

Shin [is for] Shakir.
Shakir conducts jihad with the sword. God becomes happy with the defeat of the Russians…

Again she looked to Wu for a comment, but he said nothing. She picked up a different textbook.

A boy returning from war was asked, “What did you do in the war?” He answered, “I cut both legs off an enemy at the knees.” When asked why he did not cut off the enemy’s head, the boy answered, “Someone else had already cut it off.”

Angela closed the textbook, one of several that Apricot Lily had brought back for her from Afghanistan. "Education Center for Afghanistan," she said, "in Pakistan".

"Designed by the Central Intelligence Agency," replied Wu. "Printed at the University of Nebraska with money from the U.S. Agency for International Development."

"Why are they still using these books in Afghanistan? The Russians are long gone."

"Because that's what today's adults grew up reading: everything is about jihad. The CIA thought it could turn on fanaticism like a hot water tap and then turn it off again later. The Taliban was taught jihad in elementary school, armed by Ronald Reagan, and trained by the CIA. After the Russians were gone, they looked for new targets."

"Whose side is Pakistan really on?" asked Angela.

"Which Pakistan? The only Pakistan that matters is the military dictatorship, which will do anything to stay in power. They use their nuclear bomb for extortion. They gave it to North Korea so that North Korea could use it for extortion. What does arming North Korea have to do with jihad? Nothing--it has to do with a military dictatorship which will do anything to stay in power: blackmail the United States, play the Taliban both ways, keep Al Qaeda weak enough not to overthrow Pakistan but strong enough to justify continued military aid from the U.S."

"This is all crap!" exclaimed Angela. "What does anybody want from Afghanistan anyway? If they're all going to destroy it, why don't they just nuke it to death and get it over with?"

"Because radioactive fallout travels, and if it blows east, that means India and China, and that, my friend, means World War III," said Wu.

Angela bristled at the word "friend" and got up to look out her hotel window. "I don't care about any of that," she finally said.

"The world is a big, scary place, Angela."

"I'm not scared," she said.

"You need to choose your allies carefully in a world like this. Sometimes you need to compromise on smaller things to achieve bigger things," said Wu.

"You keep acting like I care about any of this: I don't, it's just a job."

"The job you're doing for the Heurich Society you could be doing for somebody else."

"If you want to hire me, you need to offer me a lot more money," said Angela.

"And what is it that you want to buy, so I can have some kind of idea about how much money you're looking for?"

Angela said nothing and started putting the textbooks back into the bag Wu had brought them in. She was thinking about something one of her teachers had said in middle school: The power to destroy is exercised by people who have no other power.

A few miles away, economist Luciano Talaverdi was also stuffing books into a bag: he wanted to bring everything to his meeting with Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke. He scanned his desk one more time, then threw in his lucky Pavarotti bobblehead for good measure. The bobblehead had been sitting on top of a flyer someone had left him about tonight's Kennedy Center concert on the Millennium Stage: something about somebody's friend Doug Bowles and Depression Era songs. "Oh, my God! Is that supposed to be funny? It's not funny!" He snatched up the purple flyer and stuffed it vehemently into his desk-side shredder. "We're not in an era of any sort!"

A few miles to the west, there was more enthusiasm for tonight's Kennedy Center concert at the Arlington group home for the mentally challenged. Theresa and Melinda were upstairs trying on different dresses while Buckner pretended to be their gay best friend. ("Oooh, that's fierce, honey pot!") Brother Divine of the International Peace Movement was making up rhymes about John F. Kennedy. ("Ask not what your country can do for you: ask if your country is in deep doo-doo! I am a Berliner! I am a winner! Who's that sinner? He's an absolute beginner!") Social Worker Hue Nguyen was in her office confirming the van driver for the trip across the river to the free concert. And in the living room, Cedric was playing old songs on a tinny piano, accompanied by surprisingly good vocals from Larry. ("And the world...will be better for this...that one man...scorned and covered with scars...still tried...with his last ounce of courage...to reach...the unreachable star!")

Cedric put away "The Impossible Dream" sheet music and picked up the theme from "Valley of the Dolls".

"Hey!" exclaimed Larry. "Why is 'Condoleezza Rice' written across the top?"

"Because I traded her my 'Pippin' score for it. She lost her 'Pippin' on a visit to Afghanistan." (Actually he had stolen both "Pippin" and "Valley of the Dolls" when the CIA had infiltrated her moving truck crew, but he wasn't supposed to talk about CIA work.)

Larry was pretty sure that was a lie and that Cedric was secretly in love with Condoleezza Rice, but there's no accounting for taste! He shrugged and began singing. ("Gotta get off, gonna get, have to get off from this ride. Gotta get hold, gonna get, need to get hold of my pride....")

"The ride is over, ladies and gentlemen," Congressman Herrmark said to the staff assembled in his legislative office to discuss the new S.T.O.C.K. law. He waited a moment as his chief of staff (whom some believed to be a zombie) passed out a written memo. "No more insider trading," Herrmark said. (Many would later say he had winked at the end of the sentence, but others thought it was just a muscle spasm.) "Congressmen and their staff can no longer capitalize on insider information they glean from the Hill." (He used air quotes for "capitalize".) "Please read the memo and let us know if you have any questions."

A few minutes later, a young intern raised her hand and started to form a question, but an icy stare from the bloodshot eyes of the chief of staff made her back down with a quick "never mind". (Everybody knew that their chief of staff was the last person seen with Eric Cantor's legislative correspondent before his sudden disappearance last week.)

"Excellent!" said Congressman Herrmark. "Back to work!" (For him, that meant heading out for a 3-hour fundraising luncheon.)

Over at McPherson Square, the remaining OccupyDCers munched on sandwiches and discussed the Justice Department's fraud settlement between forty states and several mortgage lenders, while the Shackled flitted restlessly above.


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