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, January 27, 2013

The truth is marching on.

The HIV-positive White House butler hugged her stomach tighter, but her body warmth could not be contained.  Every muscle in her back was clenched with the effort, but it was futile, and Clio would only be able to play outside with her twin pre-schoolers a few more minutes.  "Reggie, smile when you wave at the audience.  Fergie!  Don't scare the squirrels!"  Regina and Ferguson were reenacting the inaugural parade in front of the still-standing bleachers at Lafayette Square.  The audience?  Their mother, some possessed ducks, a handful of amused tourists, and Dizzy--who was playing "Battle Hymn of the Republic" on his trumpet while the twins sang.

"Glory, glory halle-LU-jah!  Glory, glory, hallelujah!"

Bridge nodded to Clio that it was alright for her to go, and she left the White House gardener in charge of her children as she headed back indoors.  As soon as she was out of earshot, they began singing the children's version--

"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school!  We have tortured all the teachers, we have broken every rule!  We have turned the girls' locker into a public swimming pool! The truth is marching on!"

"The truth is marching on!" echoed Congressman John Boehner many miles to the north, to sympathetic nods from the other members of Sense of Entitlement Anonymous (D.C. Chapter).

"MOOOOOOO!" echoed Mega Moo, who was directly below them in the basement of Calico Johnson's Potomac Manors mansion.  (A startled Bridezilla jumped out of her chair.)

"I'm sorry," apologized Calico Johnson.  "When Cheney told me he couldn't host today because his hot water heater had burst, I told him I had a cow in my basement, but he didn't believe me."

"Why do you have a cow in your basement?" asked FRB economist Luciano Talaverdi.  "You have a lovely barn outside."

"I know!  I just had that barn built for $20,000, but it's too cold for her, and I have to bring my contractor back out to install a heat pump.  She won't shut up unless she has at least 65 degrees.  My fourteen-thousand-dollar horse, Ninja, is out in the barn, and this geriatric cow is in my basement."

"Geriatric?" said Mayor Vince Gray.  "She doesn't even give milk?"

"I inherited her from my neighbor--she's more of a pet."

"Maybe she should be more of a flank steak," said Judge Sowell Ame.  "Or some prime rib--ha, ha!"

"I could never do that to Basia's cow!" protested Johnson.

"Basia?!" exclaimed Judge Ame.  "You mean the 'Basia Karbusky' wanted by the FBI?"

"She was my neighbor," said Johnson.  "She was a lovely person."

"She burned down her own house and disappeared!" exclaimed Bridezilla.

"I don't wanna talk about it!" said Johnson, who was kicking himself for agreeing to host this meeting.  "If I wanna have a cow in my basement, it's my right as a tax-paying American!"  (He had actually paid no taxes in 2012, but that's another story.)

"Here, here!" said Boehner.  "No guilt by association!  And whatever a man keeps in his basement is his own business!"  (Boehner had a Barack Obama punching bag in his basement--and a row of problematic House Republican faces taped to dartboards.  He also had enough guns to fend off Mayor Gray's police force for 24 hours, but that's another story.)

"Alright, alright," said Judge Ame, "but if you change your mind, I had a man-eating python in my house last year, and I'm not afraid to use a butcher knife."

"SHUT UP!" shouted Johnson.

"Gentlemen, gentlemen!" cooed Bridezilla, standing up.  "We are all entitled to our opinions, but there is no need to pummel someone with the repetition of an idea he finds distasteful.  My mother's family has lived in Tidewater for four-hundred years, so let me pass along a little Virginia saying:  You catch more flies with honey."

"We have been saying that in Italy for fourteen-hundred years!" said Talaverdi.

"They said it in Africa first," said Judge Ame.

"You catch more flies with DDT!" shouted Dick Cheney from the speaker phone.  (Bridezilla sat back down, discreetly kicking the speaker phone cord out of the wall as she did so, thereby blocking the reception of Cheney's follow-up comment:  "Like those bad-asses in the Virginia state legislature on Monday!")

"Can we get back to talking about politics now?" asked Mayor Gray.

"I thought we were," said Boehner.

A few miles to the south, Marcos Vazquez was relaxing in his condo after an exhausting week of Coast Guard duty during the MLK holiday and inauguration week.  He looked up from his video game to watch Golden Fawn weaving a rug with the loom he had given her for Christmas.  The aromas of chili on the stove and cornbread in the oven were slowly enveloping him, and life was good--except now his wife was frowning.  "What's wrong, babe?"

Golden Fawn looked up at her husband.  "I'm just thinking about the trial."

"It's just a hearing," he said.

"The U.S. justice system is set up to be so adversarial.  Don't you feel even a little sorry for that woman?"

"Yes, but there's nothing we can do to help her.  We bought this condo properly, and we need to clear the title.  She needs a shrink, not a lawyer."

"That's exactly what I mean!" said Golden Fawn, standing up to walk over to her husband.  "Libra needs a resolution, and this trial's not gonna give it to her."

He almost repeated "it's not a trial", but thought better of it.  "After our title is cleared, she will have closure about her ex-boyfriend."

"I don't think so," said Golden Fawn.  (Vazquez guessed what was coming next.)  "You know, it's like my grandmother taught me:  There are three truths--my truth, your truth, and THE truth.  Our truth will probably win in court, but is it actually THE truth?"

"THE truth is that her ex-boyfriend may or may not have promised it to her, but he sold it to us.  And even if he did promise it to her, a grown woman needs to learn that sometimes men lie."  (Golden Fawn gave him a dirty look.)  "Not, of course, men who want to keep their lovers forever!" he cooed, pulling his wife down onto his lap.

"I don't want to go to the trial," said Golden Fawn, leaning her head on his shoulder.

"You don't have to go," said Vazquez.

"After the trial, we should try to help her buy a place of her own."


"Give her some financial counseling," said Golden Fawn.

Vazquez had serious doubts that financial counseling would be enough to help his crazy neighbor transition from renter to owner in the D.C. condo market, but he held his tongue again.  Deep inside Golden Fawn's breast, the dormant cancer cells heard the call of the real estate demon to begin dividing again, and the soothing touch of Vazquez was not enough to stop them.

A few miles to the west, Angela de la Paz was luxuriating in the soothing touch of her own lover (Major Roddy Bruce) for just a few minutes before the plane crew's signal that the charter to Argentina was ready.

"Clinica de Moron?" repeated the Aussie commando.  "Why on Earth would Henry Samuelson code-name a hospital 'Clinica de Moron' in his files?"

"Exactly," said Angela.  "That's why Button thinks the name in his file is a real name."

"I know you like working for Button Samuelson, but is this the kind of mission you really want to be doing?  Searching for adoption records in a suspicious Argentine clinic?"

Angela pulled away from him.  "You think all I'm good for is killing?"

"Of course not!  But sometimes you should let sleeping dogs lie."

"If she and her brother were stolen from political prisoners in Argentina, they could still have fathers, grandparents, siblings, cousins--"

"I know, but you could also attract the attention of some powerful enemies," said Bruce. 

"Oh, so you're worried about me!" cooed Angela, pulling close again.

"There are still Argentines who don't want all the secrets of the Dirty War coming to light, Angela.  You haven't seen every kind of monster this world has," said Bruce.

"Not yet!" said Angela.

Nearby, the ghost of Henry Samuelson watched and listened in frustration.  If he started poking her, it wouldn't help--Angela could never hear him directly.  He had forgotten all about that file--or, rather--had forgotten that Clinica de Moron was the name of the place.  He had thought the Moron file was about something he had done in the CIA.  Now his son would learn he was adopted, but there would be no record on Button.  Would she keep searching, or believe that she was his flesh and blood?  And what would happen in Argentina?  How much would Angela uncover?  He hopped on the plane, plagued with the same fears that had plagued him for decades--one of the many reasons he was exiled from purgatory and no closer to a final resting place.  The difference now was he knew how those Dirty War Argentines got dealt with on the other side--and he had to try to talk to whomever was still alive.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Gimme, gimme, gimme: Washingtonians' wish list for Obama's second term.

Leo Schwartz (psychologist):
More resources for group homes for the mentally ill.

Cedric (current resident of Arlington group home for the mentally ill, former CIA):
Don't come for my guns!

Millie (big brown helping dog that lives at Arlington group home for the mentally ill):
Please come for Cedric's guns before Larry finds them!

Atticus Hawk (Justice Department attorney/apologist for secret police state):
Please don't catch Basia Karbusky!  (Or maybe I do want her caught?  I don't know!)

Congressman Herrmark:
Appoint me to a bipartisan commission to evaluate the dangers of hydrofracking and the catastrophic results of the Halliburton loophole.  Until that happens, I'm not giving away any votes this Congress, no sir!  I'll vote present to everything that doesn't have something in it for me.

Dubious McGinty (Vietnam War veteran; resident of 14th Street Bridge tower):
When are you gonna call out the Predator drone strike on Ardua of the Potomac?!  She just gettin' bigger and meaner every year!  You think some sheik in Yemen is a problem?  Wake up and smell the demon in your own backyard, man!

Luciano Talaverdi (Federal Reserve Board economist):
Get rid of the penny, nickel, and dime!  We are paying TEN TIMES what they are worth to mine and manufacture those!  Those Presidents are already honored on other denominations of currency--denominations which can actually purchase something!  Prove to the world you are not a slave to myopic political sacred cows.  (What?  Yes, I realize that's a mixed metaphor, but he will understand.  Well, I have a better expression in Italian, but that one he really won't understand.  What?  Oh, the word "slave".  Well, I don't really think it's politically incorrect.  You want me to rewrite the entire thing?  The way you rewrote my Op-Ed for the "Wall Street Journal"?  I don't think so, Obi Wan Woman!)

Dr. Khalid Mohammad (GWU Hospital physician taking a sabbatical to return to Lebanon):
Please don't send the Predator drones.  Please.  We are a very small country--you could easily miss.

Glenn Michael Beckmann (hallucinatory, murderous militia man and conspiracy blogger):
The Hunter-Gather Society will never recognize you as President, so drop dead!  But it would be nice if you sent convicted terrorists on prison gang chains to pick the fruits and vegetables since a lot of the illegal aliens are gone now.  We don't need that stuff picked for our own sake because we're the Hunter-Gatherer Society, but it's important for rural America--otherwise they'll all sell their farms to the Chinese, and they'll switch everything to rice, and we'll all end up with swamps and malaria and communism, and we'll lose baseball and NASCAR and apple pie and beauty pageants.

Dr. Devi Rajatala (National Arboretum arborist):
Get serious about climate change.

Evermore Breadman (former U.S. Senator; current partner at Prince and Prowling):
Thank you for bringing back corporate sponsorship to the inaugural festivities!  Looking forward to seeing you at the Pay to Play Ball, I mean the Plug and Play Ball, no, the Power Play Ball.  (No?  What are we sponsoring?  Cigemeier!)  Oh, the Power Future Ball!  That's it!

Mia (former sex-trafficked minor; current nanny):
Please stop human trafficking.

John Boehner (U.S. Congressman and Speaker of the House):
Drop dead.   KIDDING!  But your legislative agenda has already dropped dead--stillborn, actually.  No--aborted from the womb!  (Wait, don't put that down--let me rephrase.  DON'T PUT THAT DOWN!  Damn lamestream media!)

Dick Cheney (former fascist dictator):
Drop dead.  NOT kidding.  (Go ahead--print that.  What's he gonna do?  Send a death panel to my mansion?)

Ghost Dennis (White House resident):
Stop by to see me:  I can help with more than Malia's homework. 

Golden Fawn (Cheyenne/Cree/Delaware woman; works at National Museum of the American Indian):
Let us know peace.
For as long as the moon shall rise,
For as long as the rivers shall flow,
For as long as the sun shall shine,
For as long as the grass shall grow,
Let us know peace.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Home Sweet Home

Laura Moreno heaved a sigh of relief.  It had been a week since Prince and Prowling had a server meltdown and ordered all attorneys to work from home.  She had struggled for two days to get her ancient (3-1/2 years old!) computer to access the database for her current case, but the effort had proven futile.  Her newly purchased computer was now installed, loaded, and operational.  And there was the database!  After a week without income, she could finally start making money again.

Then came the email from staff attorney Chloe Cleavage:  "You need to report back to Prince and Prowling on Monday.  They just sent us an email saying the network issues are resolved, and contract attorneys are no longer allowed to work from home ever again."

A couple miles away, Prince and Prowling's managing attorney was still reviewing video feeds from the contract attorneys who had been working at home for the past week.  It had been the I.T. director's idea to use a worm to do video spying on the attorneys working from home, and the managing attorney was utterly appalled.  "Look at that guy!  He codes a document, then he switches to Netflix for 10 minutes, then he codes another document, then he switches to Netflix for another 10 minutes!  He's watching 'The Walking Dead'!  The nerve."  The I.T. director continued to fast-forward through the tape.  "He's worse than the woman doing yoga in her chair!"

"Actually, you haven't seen the worst yet," said the I.T. director.  "There's another contract attorney who let his 10-year-old sit down and code documents while he went to do laundry."

"This is outrageous!" exclaimed the managing director.  "And a fraud on the clients!"

"The associates weren't too bad--"

"Associates?!  Who authorized you to spy on associates?!"

"Um, never mind," said the I.T. director.  "But you should know that Chloe Cleavage was doing her work on a laptop--usually at Starbucks, but in one instance she appeared to be accessing the database while she was having sex on her couch."

The managing director abruptly stood up.  "I've heard enough!"

"She's a staff attorney, not an associate," said the I.T. director.  (He didn't know that Chloe Cleavage had used sex tape blackmail to protect her position at Prince and Prowling forever.)

"I said I've heard enough!"

Several miles to the west, former Senator Evermore Breadman abruptly stood up from his home computer.  "Hallelujah!  The network server is up!"

"What is that, dear?" asked his wife, peeking her head into his home office.

"Oh, um, they sent an email saying they fixed the network at work, so I can return to the office tomorrow.  It's such a shame!  It's been such a delight having lunch with you every day this past week."   (He was so sick of her cooking and her conversation he could not have borne another day of it.)

"Oh, that is a shame!" lied his wife, who was eager to resume her extramarital affair with her brother-in-law's life coach.  "Well, I'll make something special for dinner tomorrow night so that you have something to look forward to."

Back in Washington, President Obama was wondering what he had to look forward to.  "Tell me, Bo:  things are gonna be better in my second term, right?"  President Obama was chatting with Bo in the walk-in linen closet outside his bedroom:  it was their secret place they went when they wanted to hide away from it all.  "I didn't know there would be so much death."

"Daddy, where are you?  You're missing the 'Golden Globes!'"

President Obama held his hand over Bo's mouth until the danger had passed.  "I have no time for distractions, Bo.  You understand, don't you, boy?"

"Yes," whispered Ghost Dennis into the President's ear.  (President Obama flinched.)  "I can help you with all the death," whispered Ghost Dennis.

With that, President Obama let go of Bo's mouth and bolted out of the closet, ready to watch some of the "Golden Globes".

"I was just trying to help," whined Ghost Dennis to the representative from The Shackled.

"Yes," said his phantasmagorical companion, "but we still need to work on your approach."

A mile away, Dr. Khalid Mohammed was also trying to find a way to help with all the death.  "It's my home:  I need to be there."

"You haven't been to Lebanon in two years," said Nurse Consuela Arroyo, fidgeting with her George Washington University Hospital badge.

"It's still my home!" said Dr. Mohammed, moving his empty coffee cup to the cafeteria table on their right.  He leaned his head into his hands for a few moments, then looked up at his favorite e.r. nurse.  "The refugee camps need doctors, and it could get even worse if Lebanon is sucked into the Syrian civil war."

"Lebanon is already sucked in!" exclaimed Arroyo.  "You should work on getting your relatives out!"

"They won't leave," said Dr. Mohammed.

"You can do more good for them staying here and sending them money."

"I've done that long enough!  This is a moment in history when I need to go home and do my part."

"A moment?!" exclaimed Arroyo.  "Those refugee camps are not going away in a moment, and Lebanon is not going back to normal in a moment!"

Dr. Mohammed was a little annoyed that she knew too much about current events there to dismiss her arguments easily.  "For a Filipina, you sure know a lot about the Middle East!"

"Well, I'm an American now--it's legally required.  It was on the citizenship test, you know."

Dr. Mohammed smiled sadly at her valiant attempt at humor.  "I will miss you," he said.

"Then come back soon," said Arroyo.  "You think they'll hold a position for you here forever?"

"Yeah, actually I think they will," said Dr. Mohammed, who had seen his fair share of bullet wounds in the e.r.   "Unless we actually get some handgun control."

With that, both their pagers went off simultaneously, and they rushed back to the e.r.--where a bleeding teenager convulsed uncontrollably and struggled to remember his mother's face.

Deep in the basement of the hospital, the river rats rode the rising flood tide in and rejoiced over their new home.

NEXT WEEK:  Washingtonians' wish lists for Obama's 2nd term.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Gold gets deposited; shit gets thrown.

Congressman Herrmark popped the champagne bottle--though he was in little mood to celebrate.  "Here's to my new Chief of Staff, Ann Bishis!"  His twin bodyguards (Ann's cousins from Greece) and a few other staffers applauded--though they were irritated their boss had made them come back to the office on a Saturday.  "She was an excellent Interim Chief of Staff, and with another successful election behind me, I am pleased to be able to offer her the position permanently!"  Now full champagne glasses were lifted up.  "But first, a moment of silence for our still missing former Chief of Staff."  The staffers stopped smiling and quickly lowered their hands.  (The moment passed.)  "To Ann Bishis!"  ("To Ann!")  Herrmark swallowed down his glass of champagne rapidly, then retreated into his office to fume about how NASCAR got an earmark out of the "earmark-free" Congress--at a time when the entire country (if not world!) was tuned in to see Washington pull up short of the fiscal cliff.

"He still misses her?" asked their new legislative correspondent, who had never met the former Chief of Staff (a zombie).

"No, he's still upset about the budget," said Bishis, who was starting to feel the weight of her position.

A few miles to the east, staffers at the Federal Reserve Board were also still upset about the budget.  "Can you explain the NASCAR thing to me?" asked Luciano Talaverdi, pulling up his pants as Obi Wan woman re-draped her cloak around her still heaving body.  (The research library was too cold for prolonged nudity.)  "I need to understand that before the Camelot Society meets."  (He also didn't like the mocking emails from his old friends in Italy, comparing the United States government to, alternately, (1) a Greek chorus of morons or (2) the last year of bread and circuses before the fall of the empire.)  "My friends think Julius Caesar is borrowing money from the Chinese to put on gladiator contests!"

"It doesn't matter," said Obi Wan woman, reapplying her lipstick.  "What's important is the percentage of the national economy which is taken up by national debt."

"You think I don't know that?" asked the Italian economist.  "Don't insult me!"

"Honey, please!  I know you know that."  (The man's ego was too fragile for their relationship to get anywhere, and she had already broken her New Year's resolution about it.)  "You left your watch on again," she added, scratching her back where his cursed Rolex had irritated her skin.

"I'm sorry!" he said.  "It was a quickie!"

"That's a good metaphor for the budget negotiation!  That's how you should think of it:  it was a quickie, and somehow the NASCAR subsidy got left in."

Talaverdi frowned.  She thinks I'm stupid and insensitive!

A few miles to the west, Judge Sowell Ame (also considered stupid and insensitive in certain quarters) reluctantly poisoned his Saturday by opening up his bulging briefcase to pull out the stack of cases his clerk had singled out as the easiest for the lazy man to remove from his docket this year.  Brazil for Carnival, Mediterranean cruise in July, Australia in November:  I am using all my vacation time this year!  He pulled the case from the bottom of the stack (just to be contrary to his clerk, in his own mind) and plopped it on the center of his teak Edwardian desk (picked up for a song at the Georgetown flea market).  "I saved the funniest for last!" said the post-it note from his clerk.  Sowell Ame growled and opened it up.  Plaintiff Libra?!  Defendants Marcos Vazquez and Golden Fawn Vazquez?  What is this--Indian law in the District?  Hippies?  Rappers?  He flipped to see who the plaintiff's attorney was.  John Doe?  Another post-it note from his clerk:  "This is a brain-damaged attorney who insists on going by 'John Doe' until he regains his memories."  That's not allowed!  Ame indignantly refused to read anything further, slammed the folder shut, slapped a piece of his personal stationery on top, and wrote to his clerk:  "Schedule oral argument on summary judgment."  You'll be lucky to escape without a sanction, Mr. Doe!

Back in Foggy Bottom, the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope was frantically preparing for Hillary Clinton's return to the State Department.  He considered it an honor that he was left to "keep the home fires burning" while other people of lesser importance (Charles Wu?!  C. Coe Phant?!) had been asked to visit the Secretary of State in her New York hospital room.  The real question was:  would Project R.O.D.H.A.M. be folded before she made way for the new Secretary of State?  He had heard rumors that the funding for it was so cunningly squirreled away that she could keep running the mission for years to come.  The A.D.A.f.H. also suspected that the Chinese guy was funding part of the operation, but he didn't know why.  (Actually, he still knew far less about Project R.O.D.H.A.M. than he thought he did.)  The A.D.A.f.H. sighed, expecting very little sleep until after John Kerry was sworn in and his own position was reaffirmed.  Or should I tell Clinton I'm willing to go with her?  Could I win back Eva Brown that way?

A mile to the north, the Special Investigator for MENSA checked into his hotel room at The Fairmont with his own mission:  purge the membership roles.  Never in the history of MENSA had there been so many petitions submitted to remove plainly apparent morons from the ranks as were submitted in the last three months.  Doctors complaining about MENSA members at the National Institutes of Health;  lawyers complaining about MENSA members in the Justice Department and the Superior Court; journalists complaining about MENSA members in the White House Press Corps; teachers complaining about MENSA members in D.C. private schools; and, most alarming, nearly three-hundred separate petitions to remove nearly one-hundred Members of Congress from the MENSA rolls.  The Special Investigator heated up the hotel room iron, unpacked his suits, and sat down to organize his paperwork.  Was there something about this place that made people become stupid?  And why did so many MENSA members in this region feel a need to tell everybody they knew that they were members of MENSA?  Since when did geniuses feel such a need to brag? He looked at the orange "miscellaneous" file:  chauffeurs, baristas, nannies, contract attorneys (contract attorneys?) going around town bragging about their MENSA membership.  Then he looked at the second fattest file (after "Members of Congress"), "lobbyists", which might be the most challenging because, in spite of all their detractors, Washington's lobbyists had scored some real acts of genius in the past decade.  (NASCAR versus the fiscal cliff?  Really?!)

Out on the river, Ardua of the Potomac gave permission to the ducks to fly away to warmer waters--or, at least, to the downtown parks where breadcrumbs and circuses were plentiful.  She had not seen a river rat in two weeks, as these had fully abandoned the frigid river in December.  For now, the demon was alone--alone, but not forgotten.

NEXT WEEK:  Home Sweet Home.