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, May 06, 2012

Downwardly Mobile

Laura Moreno trudged reluctantly past Urine Park and into the Prince and Prowling office building.  Ever since Judge Sowell Ame had tossed out Wolfgang Prowling's will which had bequeathed her a quarter million dollars, she had sunk into a deep, deep funk.  She knew more about the law firm's cases than any associate there, but even the first year associates awaiting Bar admission were earning three times as much as she was...after all these years.  She swiped her keycard and headed to the workroom to spend another Sunday afternoon toiling in obscurity.  Her salary had not gone up since the Senior Partner raised it the second month she was there--all those years ago--before the office administrator had put him in his place and forbade any more raises.  Her health care costs had doubled, her housing costs were up 40%, her food costs were up 25%, and she had taken to wearing stained and torn clothing to work because she couldn't afford to buy new clothes.  I used to be an intelligent person--why can't I find my way out?

Not far away, Bridezilla was thinking the same thing:  I used to be an intelligent person--why can't I find my way out?  She was sitting in her Prince and Prowling partner's office staring at the photo of herself as homecoming queen in the high school yearbook she kept bookmarked to that page.  She was not worrying about her health care, housing, food, or clothing costs:  she was baffled that she was still single.  Her current boyfriend, Bucky, was a Kennedy Center actor, so she suspected half of what he said to her at any particular time was probably a line from a play or movie or television show, but it still rattled her when he said things like, "if you really wanted to be married, you'd be married by now."  What does that mean?  Can't a girl be picky?  She sighed at the homecoming queen's perfect skin, timelessly lovely hairdo, and movie star quality gown.  It was true, several guys had asked her to marry them, but here she was, single again, and Bucky might be a bi-sexual for all she knew.  He knows more about hair gel than I do!  She sighed again.  He was sweet, and being with him was a lot of fun, but her life was not going forward.  "You're so smart!" Bucky would say to her often.  "Why don't you become a professor?  Or open your own law firm?  Or go work for some huge corporation?  This work is too boring for you!"  He pictured her taking the world by storm, like Hillary Clinton or Sandra Day O'Connor.  He doesn't get it.  She didn't want respect:  she wanted adoration.  (Dr. Ermann Esse had told her that months ago, and it was finally sinking in.)

Down the hall from Bridezilla, former Senator Evermore Breadman had finally jumped on the Romney Bandwagon, and had already raked in $20,000 in consulting fees this week alone.  "The truth is," he said to the speakerphone on his desk (and the campaign ad writer on the other end), "you can't really say that's illegal unless a judge issues an order saying it's illegal."  ("I'm asking you, as an attorney, to tell me it's legal!?")  Breadman rolled his eyes.  "It doesn't matter!  It hits its mark long before there's an order to yank it from the air."  ("But we could get penalized and fined?")  "It's just a speeding ticket, my good fellow.  They call it a political race because you need to get further faster than the opponent!  Keep your eye on the prize!  You're not trying to earn merit badges or respect:  you want the masses to adore your candidate!"  Breadman got off the call and reached into his bottom drawer for a little whiskey pick-me-up, wondering if he needed to speak directly to Romney about shaking up his campaign leadership. 

A few miles to the east, Atticus Hawk reached into his bottom drawer for a candy bar pick-me-up and discovered that somebody (presumably Ava Kahdo Green) had replaced his potato chips, candy bars, and beef jerky with a drawerful of dried apricots, almonds, granola, and whole wheat crackers.  His new boss had banned him from attending his old boss's funeral ("too stressful!") and banned him from returning to work ("you're not having a heart attack on my watch!"), and today was the first day he had snuck into the Justice Department since being in the hospital.  The former torture expert continued rifling through old memoranda as he listened to the Guantanamo hearings replay.

"You shouldn't be here!" Green protested, walking briskly into his office.  (She had persuaded the security guard to let her know if Hawk entered the building.)

"My new boss screwed up the--"  He froze, realizing he could not discuss it with her, and she froze, hearing what was playing over his computer.  They stared at each other in silence for a few moments.

"Well, how do you feel?" Green asked, sitting down nonchalantly in a guest chair while he flipped papers upside-down without much subtlety.

"Pretty good," Hawk lied.  "I was curious about the Guantanamo hearing and, uhh, well...."

"Sure, it's been intense."  (This was an understatement, as Green had secretly done about fifty hours of Guantanamo detainee pro bono work in the past month with Goode Peepz law firm.)  "Nothing in law school prepared us for this."

"No," Hawk agreed, then there were a few more moments of silence.  "Thanks for the snacks."

"You're welcome!" Green said.  "You should have told me you wanted to come in.  I could have given you a ride."

"You would have refused to give me a ride," Hawk said with a wan smile.

"Maybe," Green said with a sweet smile.  "Well, don't push yourself," she said, getting up.  "I'm coming back in an hour, and you'd better be gone!"

"Agreed," said Hawk, who was feeling sicker by the minute.

A mile to the west, Federal Reserve Board economist Luciano Talaverdi was lying on Dr. Ermann Esse's couch, feeling sicker by the minute.  "Why are they still there?!" he exlaimed, referring to the shrunken but not defeated Occupy DC encampment in McPherson Square, outside the offices of his psychiatrist.  "And now there's an 'Occupy the Fed'!  Can you believe it?  The liberals hate us, the conservatives hate us, the libertarians hate us!  We're just a central bank!  Every country has one!  We're doing the best we can!"

"Do you really think everybody hates the Federal Reserve Board?" asked the shrink, dubiously.

"No, not everybody," conceded Talaverdi, "but my own mamma in Italy refuses to send me her home-made biscotti!  She says America is destroying Europe to keep up American living standards!"

"Interesting," said Dr. Esse (who knew nothing about monetary or fiscal policy).  "Sociological surveys show that Europeans are much happier than Americans."

"Because they're living in a dream world!" exclaimed Talaverdi.

"And you think Americans are more in touch with reality?" asked the shrink.

"Absolutely!" said Talaverdi.

"So Americans are a better judge of the Federal Reserve Board?" asked the shrink.

"No!  Americans are too ignorant to understand what the Fed does.  But they're right that the economy is rotto."

"Hmmm," said the shrink.  "So what I'm hearing is that you are unhappy because Americans do not understand and appreciate your work."

"And want to end the Fed!" exclaimed Talaverdi.

"So perhaps you should direct some efforts to educating the American people about what the Federal Reserve Board does and what other measures are required to restore the economy."

"Ha!  Maybe if I can get Kim Kardashian to talk about it!" said Talaverdi.

"Hmmm, yes, that might be difficult," said Dr. Esse.  (He picked up his special notebook dedicated to all the comments his patients made about Kim Kardashian, and jotted down a few words.)  "Well, I think it's important for us to find an attainable goal to start with.  How about writing an opinion piece for the Washington Post?"  (He recommended this to a lot of his patients.)

"They won't publish me!  I'm just an economist from Italy.  I don't even have an Ivy League degree!"

"Well, you can start small, with a letter to the editor about 'Occupy the Fed' and such things," said the shrink.

"We're the Fed!  We shouldn't have to--" he paused, frozen by Dr. Esse's head-shaking.

"That's what everybody in this town says," Dr. Esse whispered, as he leaned in closer to his patient.  "A hundred-thousand voices trying to scream over each other.  'We're the State Department!'  'We're the FBI!'  'We're the Supreme Court!' 'We're the White House!'  'We're the Senate!'  'We're the World Bank!'  'We're the Pentagon!'  You see, that's why it's about balance of power.  If we had a dictatorship, there would be no competition of ideas.  You are living in a democracy."

"The Occupy people don't think so!"

Outside, Dizzy closed up his trumpet case and stormed away from McPherson Square.  Damned hippies!  Every time he started getting money from the tourists, one of the Occupy DCers pointed out that the street musician was wearing a Rolex.  None of their dammed business!  I'm going over to Urine Park.  I'm done playing for ungrateful people!  He shook his fist at the young people as he marched off.  If I had a claw hammer in my trumpet case, I'd be doing you like that Petworth boy!  Since obtaining the cursed Rolex, Dizzy's income had plummeted 75%, his trumpeting had become tinny, and old friends were calling him "jerk" and "crazy old coot".  He knew he was going to have to sell it, but every time he took it off his wrist, he had a panic attack.  "I hate you all!" he bellowed out as he made his way down K Street, and people parted like the Red Sea in front of him.

A flock of starlings arose to report back to Ardua of the Potomac that everything within a two-mile radius of the White House was full of dark, negative energy, and the demon rejoiced.

Washington Water Woman is heading out of town this coming weekend, and will return to blogging in a couple of weeks.


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