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, March 09, 2014

Running Out of Time

"What happened to all the clocks?" asked Charles Wu, returning to his Cleveland Park home from his espionage mission to Quantico.

"They weren't working right, so I threw them away," replied Nanny Mia, without looking up from her GED textbook.

"Clocks broke!" echoed little Buffy Cordelia, who emphasized her point by using a toy hammer to attack her Wee People barn.

"What are you talking about?" asked Wu.

"The time was wrong on all of them," replied Mia.  "None of them matched my cellphone time."

Wu hesitated for a moment.  Mia still had not looked up at him from her textbook.  "Are you joking?"

"No," she said, without looking up.

"Mia, it's Daylight Savings Time today--they need to be reset.  They're not broken!"

"Oh," she said without looking up.

"Where are they?"

"I threw them out."


"In the trash!" Mia said, tired of the topic.

"Are you still seeing your therapist?"

This time Mia looked up.  "That is really offensive!"

Wu went into the kitchen to check the trash can there, and saw under the coffee grounds and orange rinds a pile of clocks which appeared to have been smashed into pieces.  What the Hell?

Several miles away, Congressman Herrmark--one of the few legislators who had bravely fought President Bush's decision to make Daylight Savings Time arrive earlier in the year--was mourning the loss of what few remaining hours he had left in his Sunday to an unending luncheon meeting of the Holier Than Thou Caucus.  "I just don't see how Crimea is Obama's fault, or what it has to do with our caucus."

"What the Hell do you mean, how it can be Obama's fault?" exclaimed the Congressman from Missouri.

"Please watch your language!" exhorted the Congresswoman from Georgia.

 "Seriously," said Congressman Herrmark.  "How is it Obama's fault?  What are we gonna blame him for next?  The Polar Vortex?  Khloe Kardashian's divorce?  The Oscar Pistorius murder trial?  The Oscars?"

"This is serious!" retorted the Congressman from Texas.  "Obama is weak--that's why Russia invaded!"

"We have military troops on every continent in the world," exclaimed Herrmark.  "We spend more on the military than any other country in the world.  We have no strategic interest in Crimea, and Russia does."

"So you just want to let Putin win?" hollered the Congresswoman from Georgia.

"We can't police the whole world!" pleaded Herrmark.

"Then what's the point of having a military?" asked the Congressman from Florida.

"Defending ourselves!" said Herrmark.

"We can't let Godless communists win!" protested the Congresswoman from Arizona.

"Putin is not a Godless communist!" retorted Herrmark.  "And there's nothing we can do about it except invade Crimea or launch a nuclear bomb, and I don't see how that's what Jesus would do!  But I do think Jesus would want us to stop hydrofracking, because we're stewards of the Earth."

"I'm beginning to wonder if you know anything about Jesus at all, son!" said the Congressman from Texas.

Over in Foggy Bottom, the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope was also wondering what Jesus would do about Crimea--since nobody else the State Department had consulted had come up with a good response yet.  And the bitter truth was, there were bigger problems in the world--the violent disintegration of the Central African Republic, strains in Chinese-American relations, and the endless violence in Syria echoed by increasing sectarian conflict all over the Arab world--but the Republican and media pressure for action on Crimea had become relentless.  Project R.O.D.H.A.M. had declined to send a team there, saying there was no plan they could come up with that had a high enough reward to be worth the risk.  Every realpolitikian in the world would say give it up--the U.S. can't go to war over Crimea, and Russia knows it.  But how could he tell Secretary Kerry that Russia had already won, and it was more important for U.S. diplomatic efforts to focus on other regions of the world?

A couple miles away, the Heurich Society was meeting at the Brewmaster's Castle to celebrate the spectacular progress of their latest project:  the Black Sea Revolution.  Condoleezza Rice herself had flown in to attend the meeting in person, reveling in the success of her complex plan to weaken the European Union, shake up Turkey, emasculate President Obama, and pave the way for Neo-Neocons to take over the U.S. in the next election.

"Your Russian expertise really paid off this time!" exclaimed a former CIA agent.

"What do you mean, this time?" asked Rice, smiling in a frightening way.  ("Um....")  "Just kidding, Joe!"

"I still don't understand exactly what's going to happen in the next couple of weeks," said Heurich Society Chair, Henrietta Samuelson.

"Well, we can't predict everything, my dear," said Rice, "but I promise you, it will be a lot of fun!"

Floating in the corner, the ghost of Henry Samuelson despaired for his daughter's naivete.  You've gone too far this time, Bloodsucker! he railed at Rice.  Then he flew off to consult with his Ghost CIA and ponder making another attempt to get through to Angela de la Paz.

Back in Cleveland Park, Charles Wu's neighbors were racing against time to get ready for the birth and adoption of Angela de la Paz's baby.  "Are you sure you're doing it right?" asked Liv Cigemeier, handing screws to her husband while he worked on assembling the baby crib.

"These things always look strange in the first stages, and then they come together," he said.

"Well, it's not that important--the baby will be in the bassinet at the beginning."

"You haven't chosen a bassinet yet," he reminded her.

"I have it narrowed down."

"You have everything narrowed down," he laughed.  "At some point you need to start making your selections or I will."

Liv did not laugh.  The whole thing had happened so suddenly that she still had no idea what to make of it.  She had gone next door to look after Mia one day, and Wu had abruptly told her that Angela de la Paz wanted to give up her unborn child to the Cigemeiers.  And when she had told her husband that night, he did not seem as surprised or overjoyed as she had expected.  Of course, he was the primary breadwinner and it would be a huge financial pressure on him, on top of the mortgage on this house they had purchased right before Liv's career had entered a chaotic trajectory.  He seemed to be getting happier as the due date approached, but every now and then he seemed lost in thought; she would ask him if something was bothering him, but he would always say no.

"How about a name?" he asked.  "How much have you narrowed that down?"  She leaned over to kiss him, but was not ready to answer him.

Next door, Wu had just finished ordering half a dozen new wall clocks online when Mia walked into his office.  "Delia is asleep, and I'm going to lie down, too," she said, sashaying her hips as she walked over to him.  "Would you like to join me?" she asked, placing her hand on his shoulder.

"No, thank you," he said, firmly removing her hand.

"Suit yourself," she said, blowing him a kiss before leaving.

Wu stared at the doorway for several minutes, alarmed.  He wondered if her therapist was doing more harm than good in the effort to help her overcome her past as a human trafficking victim.  She was losing interest in Delia, resenting the schoolwork she had once craved, and now this.  A phone call at last brought him out of his reverie--and he tried to refocus his thoughts on preparing a report to China on what the U.S. was going to do about Crimea.

Outside his window, an anxious pink warbler flew back to her nest in the Cigemeiers' yard, while a catbird started imitating the sound he had heard a few hours earlier--the bang, bang, bang of Mia's pounding the clocks to smithereens.

COMING UP:  Angela in the world of spirits.


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