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 ....

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Goats, Dragons, and Monkeys

The Christmas tree was now up at the Arlington home for the mentally challenged, despite Larry's protests that it should never go up until after Pearl Harbor Day.  ("One holiday at a time!")  ("That's not a holiday:  it's a day that will live in infamy!")  ("It's already lived in infamy!")

Last Christmas, former CIA operative Cedric still believed he was a British spy, but he had now dropped the British accent, stashed Aloysius (his teddy bear) in his bedroom closet (except during thunderstorms), and was not regaling anybody with tales of Father Christmas, Scrooge, or his 1997 heroic take-down of a Russian plot to use flying reindeer to drop napalm on Windsor Castle's festively lighted holly bushes.  No!  He was an American again!  And he had developed a suspicion that their psychologist, Leo Schwartz, was secretly Santa Claus.

"I really want to see Prudence again," Cedric said, trying once more to climb onto Dr. Schwartz's lap.

"Please stay in your own chair," replied the psychologist, pushing Cedric forcibly into the other office armchair.  "Are you referring to that governess?"

"Yes!" sighed Cedric.  "I've been good, haven't I?  I do all my chores and take my meds and everything."

"Yes, you've been good," agreed Dr. Schwartz, "but you can't simply ask for another human being.  They have their own lives to live."

"But she's a widow!  And she was married to a spy, so she can handle my complicated life."

"Cedric, we've talked about this many times.  You were never a spy.  You were an international field agent for the U.S. Department of Agriculture."  (Cedric actually was a spy, of course, but Dr. Schwartz would never believe that.)

Cedric rolled his eyes and shook his head.  "It doesn't matter.  She didn't know her husband was a spy, either!  And she can't keep living with that Chinese spy!  I need to rescue her, and you can help me!"

"Charles Wu?  The wealthy businessman you think is a spy?"  (Wu actually was a spy, of course, but Dr. Schwartz would never believe that.)

"He is a spy!  He even brags about it!  Hong Kong, Beijing, London--who knows where his true loyalties lie!  She can't live with a man like that!"

"Well, she can't live here," said Dr. Schwartz.

"That's why I need your help," Cedric replied, trying once again to climb into Santa's lap, only to find another push back to his own chair.

"You need to get much better before you can think about getting a place of your own," said Dr. Schwartz, who was slowly losing faith in his own profession, and fearful that these patients would be drugged the rest of their lives.  "Let's set a new goal for this week:  I want you to write me a one-page summary of your final USDA assignment, the goat-breeding project in Morocco."

Cedric rolled his eyes and shook his head again:  some "goats" were best forgotten about...forever.

Meanwhile, Charles Wu had, in fact, recently returned from a very important trip to Beijing which had coincidentally coincided with President Obama's own trip to China.  Feeling rather anti-British these days, he had regaled his Chinese hosts with quite a bit of British intelligence, packaged with the American tidbits.  Then he had collected his daughter (Delia) and contractor (Liv Cigemeier) from their respective visits (Delia to Hong Kong, to visit her grandmother, and Liv to the Philippines, to check on post-typhoon rebuilding projects that were a cover for his Malaysian spy operations).  After returning to Washington in a private jet, Wu had "enjoyed" Mrs. Higgety-Cheshire's first attempt at an American Thanksgiving dinner--the first ever at which he had seen a turkey cut into 50 pieces and tossed into a pot of boiling water.  (But the potatoes and pies were good.)  Delia had missed Mrs. H-C very much while she was in Asia and her governess was on holiday back in England, and Wu was struggling with the feeling that he really needed to find a step-mother for his daughter.  Someday, Mrs. H-C would have grandchildren and want to be back in England with them, and then what?  Perhaps his mother was right--he should just let her find him a bride from Hong Kong.  Yet, after a lifetime of masquerades, he was not sure he could pull that one off.

"Don't do it," said Angela de la Paz, entering his home office unannounced.

"Don't do what?" he asked.

"I had a vision about you," said Angela, who had just returned from a spy mission she had done for him in Russia.  She handed him a small envelope with three flash drives in it, and sat down without commenting on them.

Wu looked at her with raised eyebrows, since the last two times she had visions about him, his life had been at risk.  "And?"

"Don't do an arranged marriage."

Wu shook his head.  "How did you know about that?"

"I had a vision."

"That's a peculiar thing to have a vision about."

"I'm just the messenger," said Angela.

"What's the message?" asked Wu, wondering if her telepathic abilities were still growing...and how much more she would push back against his work.

"Just that," she said.  "You need to be focused on something else."

"What?" Wu asked.

"I don't know," said Angela, "but you can't find a replacement for Delia's mother--not like that.  You need to change your life."

"Could you be more specific?" he asked.

She shook her head at the growing darkness in him.  "You spend a lot of time gathering intelligence on other people.  You need to spend some time gathering intelligence on yourself."  Angela stood up.  "I'm gonna go play with Delia for awhile.  Let me know when you've finished looking at those drives."

Wu frowned as she departed his office.  People had always adored him.  Nobody could ever resist his charm.  He was successful at everything he chose to do.  And Angela was telling him there was something wrong with wanting to find a stepmother for his motherless child?  There's nothing wrong with me.

Next door, their Thanksgiving holiday visits over, Liv Cigemeier finally had time to show her husband photos from her trip to the Philippines.  "Here's Lucas with a monkey."

"A monkey!" exclaimed Felix Cigemeier.  "You chase squirrels away from him in the park, but you're OK with a monkey?!"

"It was somebody's pet--it didn't have rabies or anything."

"You know that's where ebola came from, right?"

"In Africa!"

"It's the principle!"

"He had a great time," said Liv, smiling at their baby crawling around the carpet.  "But he missed you, of course."

"Well, he wouldn't have seen much of me last week, with the drone practice exploding again," Felix said, referring to the panicked run of clients he saw after another Washington Post exposé on drone problems.  "Honestly," he whispered, as if somebody might be listening in, "I think we should stop flying."

"Stop flying?"

"I think we should stick to trains and cars.  People are launching these drones all over the place, and you don't need a pilot license to do it."

"Why won't the government crack down on them?"

"Because Prince and Prowling is being paid to lobby against that," said Felix, without a touch of irony.  "That's just the way the world is."

Several miles away, former Senator Evermore Breadman was hiding from his wife's relatives at his Prince and Prowling office.  "That's just the way the world is," he said to his speaker phone.

"Well, we're in power now, and we've got diddly squat to spend!" whined Congressman John Boehner over the speaker phone.  "Seven of the thirty largest U.S. corporations pay more money to their CEOs than they pay in U.S. taxes?!  How are we supposed to do anything?"

"Tea Party doesn't want you to spend any money, my friend.  Just pass some laws against flag-burning and that sort of thing."

"Very funny."

"Look, the Tea Party keeps whining about taxes, but the little people need to keep funding this government unless you get rid of all those corporate tax shelters.  You really wanna do it?  You can do it, my friend, but then those big corporations won't fund your re-election campaigns.  It's very simple:  corporate America pays for elections, not government."  Breadman waited for Boehner to say anything, but he just heard sighing.  "Have you heard from the blackmailer lately?"

"Do hogs eat dirt?"

"I don't know--do they eat dirt?"

"Yes, hogs will eat anything," sighed Boehner.

"I think it's time for you to go to the FBI," said Breadman.

"No way!  They'll leak it.  I just gotta find a way."

"Listen, I'll take another look at the agriculture mark-ups and see if we can do some sleight of hand there and find you some extra money.  I think the CIA has a goat-breeding slush fund hidden in the USDA budget."

"Alright," sighed the Speaker of the House.

"Cheer up!" said Breadman.  "You might get to pass a law repealing Obamacare!"

"He'll veto it," sighed Boehner.

Across the street, the White House ghosts were showing off the Christmas tree to the visiting Shackled, while the river rats picked their way through the White House garden gleanings.

COMING UP:  The Heurich Society fails to repatriate Darja.


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