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, July 11, 2013

Cleaning Up the Mess

Dr. Devi Rajatala looked up in surprise as Angela de la Paz walked up to her in the National Grove of State Trees.  (There was not another soul within a half-mile of them because the National Arboretum was closed on Thursdays due to the Sequester.)  "You're back," said Dr. Rajatala.  Angela said nothing, and walked up to Dr. Raj for a hug.

Several miles to the west, Liv Cigemeier and the other stunned employees of International Development Nerds gathered at their designated emergency meeting spot in Franklin Square.  (Cigemeier had not been at IDN long enough to have experienced an emergency drill, but their volunteer fire marshal personally led her to the spot.)  Today's unexpected emergency was the raid of FBI agents, who had arrested their President on the spot, and were, presumably, still gathering IDN files.  "I don't know what's going on," said IDN's Vice President, looking around nervously.  "You should all go straight home and wait for an email."  Cigemeier tried to phone her husband as she walked towards the Metro station, but only got his voicemail.

Cigemeier's husband, a junior partner at Prince and Prowling, was in their state-of-the-art review center, inspecting the coffee recently spilled onto an $8,000 painting hanging in their current exhibit.  (The review center doubled as a tax write-off by sponsoring art exhibit fundraisers.)

"I still can't believe we're not insured for it!" exclaimed Chloe Cleavage, who suddenly remembered she had not whitened her teeth in a month, and closed her mouth abruptly.

"We are, but the managing partner said we are better off buying the painting than reporting the damage," said Cigemeier, gently dabbing the painting with a napkin (to no avail).

"I fired the contract attorney responsible," Cleavage said through closed lips, looking down as she talked just in case she had coffee breath.  "Here's the admission of fault she signed before she left."

Cigemeier took the page from her hand and read the pitiful statement, which could very well have a forged signature for all he knew.  "What do you want me to do with this?" he asked, loudly enough for several contract attorneys to look up from their headphones and computers.

Stumped by this question, Cleavage quickly reevaluated her options.  "Perhaps we should discuss it in my office?" she whispered.  (She had never tried to seduce Cigemeier, who was well-known to be a happily married man, but old habits die hard.)  He crumpled up the piece of paper and walked away.

A block away, the Chinese delegates to the White House were jet-lagged and struggling to stay awake.  The Vice Premier was looking past President Obama's face at what appeared to be a coffee stain on a large oil painting hanging on the wall.  The State Councilor was digging his fingernails into the palms of his hands in an effort to stop nodding off into the strange dream he was having about two pre-schoolers darting mischievously around the state room.  "This isn't perfect, but we need to take a step in the right direction," said Obama, as the nervous interpreter quickly tried to decide which meaning of "right" was intended--everything depended on her!  The twins made a sudden move toward President Obama, and Ghost Dennis flew down from the corner to chase them away, but it was too late:  Ferguson shouted that the Vice Premier was a liar, and Regina shouted that the State Councilor was smelly.  ("Fergie!  Reggie!  Shame on you!")  President Obama blinked several times, gripped his arm rests more firmly, and waited for the official Chinese response.

Back at the National Arboretum, Angela de la Paz had finally stopped crying.  Dr. Raj sat on the ground, leaning against Louisiana's bald cypress, Angela's head in her lap.  "He didn't even die for his country," said Angela, who then explained how Major Roddy Bruce had been sent from his military attaché post in Washington to evacuate nationals from the Australian Embassy in Cairo.  "He was mistaken for a Mossad agent who looks a lot like him, and assassinated by a Palestinian operative.  It had nothing to do with anybody in Egypt."  Angela didn't add the part about her finding and killing the Palestinian, but Dr. Raj had little doubt on that score.

"He was serving his country, Angela," said Dr. Raj, stroking the girl's hair.  "And sometimes soldiers die in training accidents or plane crashes, but they're all serving their country."

"He could have done so much more with his life," said Angela.

"He already did," said Dr. Raj, feeling the impotence of her words as Angela started to cry again.

Several miles to the northwest, Liv Cigemeier was now at home, checking her email again, but there was still no word from International Development Nerds.  She sent out another Girl Hurl Tweet about United Nations activity, then jumped when the phone rang.  It was her husband, who told her that the President of International Development Nerds was asking Prince and Prowling to represent him during the FBI investigation.  "I thought you didn't do criminal law there?"

"Well, sometimes," said her husband, "when there's a special firm relationship.  I can't tell you everything I know, but what I can tell you is that the FBI is investigating him for financial fraud in connection with IDN.  The search warrant should be publicly released shortly."

"I can't believe this," said Liv Cigemeier, but in reality, she could believe it.  Everything about her new job at IDN had been too good to be true...or last for long.  "Do you think they will shut down IDN?"

"I don't think so," said her husband.  "Nor directly, anyway.  The problem is if they freeze the bank accounts.  We should know tomorrow."  He waited for her to say something else, but she didn't.  "It will all turn out fine," he said for no legitimate reason other than comforting his wife.

Out in their backyard, a pair of pink warblers started building a nest in defiance of the real estate demon living in the storage shed, and it trembled in rage.

COMING UP:  Bridezilla abandons her mentor, but The Warrior has plenty left to do.


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