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, June 02, 2013

The Good, the Bad, and the Spies

Triple Agent Charles Wu pulled out the coded message recently inserted in the Cafe Mozart shelf behind the pale paprika.  He tucked it up his sleeve in tandem with the motion of dropping a paprika into his little shopping cart, grabbed a potato pancake mix for good measure, then made his way to the register to pay for these items--along with half a dozen German games and toys he had purchased for his daughter.  Wu glanced again at his watch.  He would read the note in the men's room, flush it, get a beer in the bar, and still have time to finish reading the newspaper before the arrival of C. Coe Phant.

Not far away, Atticus Hawk settled into his long-vacant Justice Department office chair with a sigh.  Being brought back for last-minute legal consultations on Bradley Manning's court-martial trial at Ft. Meade was hardly his idea of a respite, but he was thrilled to death to have been recalled from Guantanamo for any reason.  Still, he was frustrated that the military wouldn't stand down after Manning pleaded guilty to enough for a twenty-year sentence.  Why go for the death penalty?  To deter whom, exactly?  All it would accomplish was to martyr Manning and win legions of adoring fans.  Every Sgt. Tom, Dick and Harry with explosive mood disorders would indulge their delusions of grandeur and moral superiority in spilling military intelligence to our enemies!  Hawk sighed deeply again.  Don't martyr him--it won't get you what you want.

A few miles to the west, Cedric sat down at the computer desk in the Arlington group home for the mentally challenged, propped Aloysius (his teddy bear) up on the desk to block the screen from Buckner and Belinda (sitting on the couch, watching television), and downloaded Sun-Maid's 100th Anniversary eBook (featuring "vibrant color photographs, fun facts, and more than 50 favorite recipes featuring raisins and dried fruits"), then scanned quickly through the pages.  As a CIA spy (or, rather, as a British spy, which is how Cedric currently misremembered his days of espionage), he had passed hundreds of coded messages in boxes of raisins all around the world, and he was terrified that his secrets would be betrayed somewhere in this eBook--for anybody who knew what they were looking for!  Next page, next page, next page--there!  Chocolate Shadow!  "Oh, God!" Cedric whispered to Aloysius.  "What will happen now?  They've spilled Chocolate Shadow!"  Aloysius just gave Cedric the LOOK, which only Aloysius could do:  it said, "stiff upper lip, old boy!", "this too shall pass!", and "God save the Queen!", all rolled into one.  "But this will surely come out at Bradley Manning's court-martial!" whispered Cedric.  "Chocolate was never meant to be mixed with dried fruit!  I'll be next!"  A loud "shush!" came from the couch (but without any turned heads), and Aloysius shifted his gaze ever so slightly (imperceptibly to anyone without Cedric's trained eye) to signal Cedric to continue reading--there might be more.

Back in Washington, the butler of the Brewmaster's Castle walked into the upper floor meeting room with candles lit atop the Chocolate Shadow he had made especially for this occasion--the first anniversary of Henrietta ("Button") Samuelson's tenure as Chair of the Heurich Society.  "This isn't a birthday!" whined the former chair.  "Why do we have to sing?!" 

"Nobody has to sing," said Samuelson, but not loudly enough to prevent Condoleezza Rice from breaking into song over the speaker phone; Samuelson blew out the candles without waiting for Rice to finish, and started dishing up the dessert.

"Speech!  Speech!" said Angela de la Paz, who had made a special appearance for this occasion.

"Thank you for all the support you've given me this past year," said Samuelson sarcastically.  "I know some thought I was a little young and didn't have the right experience [being a man, thought Angela de la Paz], but I think we've accomplished quite a lot this year!"  (Of course, Samuelson was including in her thoughts some of the secret missions Angela had gone on, outside the purview of the entire Society.)  "And I think The War on Error is going to be our most amazing project ever!"

Back at Cafe Mozart, C. Coe Phant sat down at Charles Wu's table.  "There are elements in the State Department that are not happy with Chuck Hagel throwing his weight around," said Phant, without bothering to greet Wu.  "Potato pancakes and a Diebels," he added quickly, to turn back the approaching server.  "P.P. Blu-Prag is in over his head--he can't run interference between Hagel and Kerry.  Blunt pragmatism is getting us nowhere.  Every gain we make at State gets reversed by Hagel the Heckler.  Does he really think calling out China on cyber-espionage is going to help?"  ("Well--")  "We haven't had anybody this undiplomatic at Defense since Rummy!  You gotta help us out!"  Phant paused as the server lay down the beer, then asked Wu, "you are on our side, aren't you?"

"Of course!" smiled Wu.  "Just tell me exactly what your goal with China is...."

Out in D.C.'s river, Ardua of the Potomac surveyed the local participants celebrating National Fishing and Boating Week 2013, eager to claim her next victim.


COMING UP:  Bridezilla returns from her non-honeymoon in Europe and throws herself back into the fray at Prince and Prowling!


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