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 12, 2013

Motherhood and Fatherland

Glenn Michael Beckmann had just finished visiting Arlington Cemetery, where he had placed a bouquet of white roses on his mother's grave.  (That is to say, the grave his mistakenly believed was his mother's, since his childhood memories were a jumble of schizophrenia and self-medication.)  His Hunter-Gatherer Society lieutenant (for this month, anyway) picked him up, and they drove to the Virginia canoe launch where the others were waiting.  Today they were going to try spear-fishing in the Potomac--even though the experts said it couldn't be done! 

Several miles to the east, Charles Wu (whose mother was alive and well-remembered, but halfway around the world) was also trying something new.  He tried not to smirk at the absurdity of the tiny palm trees' surreal attempt to lend a touch of grace to the imposing facade of the 16th Street entrance to the assembly hall of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry--or, rather, Valley of Washington, Orient of the District of Columbia, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction.  Today was the spy's secret induction ceremony; his sponsor, former Senator Evermore Breadman.  (Though it was, in fact, a secret ceremony, Wu had been allowed to invite one non-Freemason guest, and he had sent the invitation to the U.K. for his father's amusement.  Surprisingly, his English father had not been amused, and had warned Wu strenuously about undertaking mysterious alliances for the sole aim of advancing his business pursuits--as if the Freemasons could possibly add an element of danger to his life of espionage!  The only tricky part was learning another secret handshake.)  Wu walked through the now-open front door and heard the familiarly somber thud of another imperialistic door shutting behind him.  Nothing in his life before Washington had prepared him for the multitude of would-be power centers in this town, and every time he thought he had finally gained adequate traction around the city, he would learn of yet another power center demanding his attention.  I really, really need to get some gentlemen working for me, he thought, as he smilingly submitted to being dressed up in fantasy robes and sashes by yet another self-important group of males.  Some jobs just cannot be delegated to Apricot Lily and Camisole Silk.

Just a hop, skip, and a jump down the street, a very female Angela de la Paz was, in fact, making a grand entrance at another D.C. power center of uncertain influence:  the Inter-American Defense Board.  Angela was there to help advance the Heurich Society's vaguely pro-Argentina agenda, as directed by the Society's president, Henrietta ("Button") Samuelson.  Using a code name as deliberately generic as the plastic surgery which had shaped the Salvadoran-American into a beautiful Latina with no obvious regional traits, Angela spoke English as much as possible to avoid drawing attention to her Spanish dialect.  She was here for the purpose her (deceased) mentor had originally shaped her for:  to seduce and disarm powerful men.  (In this case, the disarming would be metaphorical, as her mission was to gather information and spread rumors.)  She politely declined the politically charged offer of a "Cuba libra" cocktail and asked, instead, for a glass of champagne.  Very few women were at this event, and, even in a tastefully tailored suit of midnight blue silk, she stood out in the crowd like an opera soprano surrounded by a chorus of fat, balding baritones.  Hiding in plain sight, is what Charles Wu would call it (who would guess she had attended public school in the Salvadoran neighborhood on the other side of stately 16th Street?!), but her mentor would have said something about being as sly as a fox and as innocent as a lamb.  Another masquerade ball where old men in expensive suits played toy soldiers, scarcely cognizant of the brutal world inhabited by the grunts who actually delivered weaponry in the field and took fire for their fatherlands.  Or was she wrong:  did their appearances, like her own, belie their own experience in mortal combat?  Angela sipped her champagne and tried to listen, but her thoughts wandered, as they always did, to her own beloved soldier.

A few miles to the north, Liv Cigemeier was also preparing to enter a heretofore closed society:  the landowner class.  Her husband beamed at the look on her face when she fell in love at first sight of the tree-shaded Tudor-style house.  "Are you sure we can afford this?" she asked, before even daring to follow realtor Button Samuelson's quick march to the front door.

"Honey," said her husband, "the signing bonus when you joined International Development Nerds would probably have been enough with my raise this year, but now with this talk show deal?!"  (He was referring to the production deal she had just signed to do ten "Girl Hurl" segments for Oprah.)  "We can definitely afford this," he cooed into her ear.

"But what if we want to adopt?" she asked, suddenly broaching the topic they had strenuously avoided since their discovery they would never be able to have a baby of their own.

"Then we'll need more bedrooms and a backyard," he answered, confident that he would have another hefty Prince and Prowling raise long before any slow-moving adoption process came to fruition.  "So Happy Mother's Day!"

Next door, nanny Mia was taking Buffy Cordelia Wu out to see Lynnette Wong for a motherless, Mother's Day, "Girl Hurl" sort of celebration at Wong's Chinatown herb shop.  "Oh, look, Delia!  A young couple is checking out the house next door!  Maybe they will have a little girl you can play with!"

Back on the Potomac, the Hunter-Gatherer Society had yet to spear a fish when their leader, Glenn Michael Beckmann, had a sudden fit, dropped his oar in the water, stood up in the canoe, and started calling out, "Mommy! Mommy!"  His lieutenant deftly grabbed Beckmann by the ankles and pulled him down hard, before he could capsize the canoe.  "The lady in the lake!" Beckmann exclaimed, turning to his lieutenant.  "I had a vision of the lady in the lake!  And it was my mom!"  His lieutenant--who did not remember the King Arthur story very well--looked around nervously, expecting a corpse to float up to the surface.  "My sword!  It's there!  She's handing it to me because it's my destiny!"  Beckmann pointed to Roosevelt Island, and his lieutenant began paddling in that direction.  "I will pull it out of the stone--I am the only one who can!"  His lieutenant nodded and continued paddling until reaching the landing point Beckmann signaled.  "This is it!"  Other canoes from the flotilla started making their way to Roosevelt Island, bored with the spear-fishing and hoping this meant they were moving on to land game.  "There!"  Beckmann jumped out of the canoe while it was still being beached, fell down, got up again, and ran into the brush.  "There!"  He ran to where the axe he once owned was gleaming in mid-day sunshine, its burial spot recently washed away by heavy rains.  "You are mine, Ex Calibur!"  With that, he pulled the axe out of the mud and held it up triumphantly to his followers (though most were still too far away to see it).  "The sword of destiny!"  ("That's an axe."  "Shut up!")

A concerned raven flew off to warn Golden Fawn, while Ardua of the Potomac laughed in delight beneath the canoe flotilla.


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