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, January 25, 2015

The Adventures of Ghost Pippin

They were gathered at Washington Circle for the funeral of Wolfman Jackie, a recently deceased Irish wolfhound.  Becky Hartley had placed shamrock-shaped hurricane-glass candles in a circle around the urn holding WJ's ashes, and Dizzy was 30 feet away, playing "Danny Boy" on his trumpet.  (The homeless musician had not been invited, but nobody seemed to mind.)  The co-owners (who had paid Hartley $50 for the economy package) were sobbing softly as she eulogized the dog.

"We are laying Jackie to rest at the time and place he loved best:  evening stroll, Washington Circle.  Jackie loved sniffing the park, barking at starlings, chasing a Frisbee, and watching people walk through the park.  Jackie also loved peeing on the statue of George Washington, which ignorant people might find disrespectful but which dog-lovers know meant that Jackie was marking our first President as his own.  Jackie was known for eating food out of the garbage, growling at bobbleheads, and letting small children take short rides on his back.  [Much louder sobbing.]  Let's spend a few moments talking about the day Wolfman Jackie first went home with--"

Sebastian L'Arche finally gave in to the fierce pulls of his seven leashed dogs and walked briskly away from his colleague.  Then the dogs abruptly stopped to the right of the George Washington statue, with hair raised and low growls in their throats.  Now the Dog Whisperer could see what they were riled up about:  the feline ghost of Pippin was sitting on the horse's tail, and the canine ghost of The Gopper was sitting below it.  "Oh, no," L'Arche moaned.  He had been hoping that Ghost Pippin was a supernatural freak, and was devastated to see his old pal, The Gopper, in spectral form.  "What the Hell?"  The Dog Whisperer had heard that The Gopper was last seen in the (hired?) company of a Capitol Hill staffer, but he had never heard the full story.  "Why, Goppie?" he asked, after approaching as closely as the taut leashes would allow him.  Then The Gopper told him about being ripped apart by the Zombie Caucus in the Congressional tunnels.

A hissing Ghost Pippin abruptly launched himself off the statue in the direction of L'Arche's pack of dogs, who violently jerked their leashes and ran away, with a disturbed L'Arche running behind them.  He finally got them to calm down before they ran into traffic, squatted down to whisper to them for a few moments, then persuaded the dogs to return to the memorial for their friend, Wolfman Jackie.

Hartley looked up at L'Arche's return with a hint of annoyance.  "And so we will not sprinkle Jackie's ashes, to be blown by the wind and rain into the sewers.  We will pour them gently into this six-inch grave I have dug under a grass divot, where Wolfman Jackie will someday become part of the grassy field he loved."

Some of the other dogs in attendance looked puzzled by this last bit, but not L'Arche's dogs:  he had explained in advance everything that would happen at the service.  Hartley lifted up the divot to show the grieving parents where to pour the ashes, and they jointly tipped over the urn, letting out an even louder burst of sobbing--which led some dogs to start howling.  Then they tossed in his favorite chew toy.  Hartley gently patted down the divot and handed them a water sprinkler.  "Just a few drops to help him mix in."  The parents were not enthusiastic about that last idea, but went ahead and did it.

"Please let Becky know when you're interested in adopting another dog," interjected L'Arche at this point.  "I'm always fostering dogs."

"Too soon!" whispered Becky, grabbing L'Arche's arm and pulling him away.  "Give them some time to grieve!  The clover-scented candles are still burning!"


"What was all that about?" asked Hartley, when they were out of ear shot.

"I saw Ghost Pippin again.  He was with the ghost of The Gopper."

"Oh, no!" exclaimed Hartley.  "Why is this happening?"

"I don't know," said L'Arche.  "Goppie said he was ripped apart by the Zombie Caucus in the tunnels under Capitalism Hill."

"What the Hell does that mean?!"

"There must be zombies in Congress," sighed L'Arche.  "That's not really a big surprise, but these animal spirits are freaking me out!  Dogs always bark at ghosts, and they don't like ghosts, so what does it mean when dogs become ghosts?  Are they bad?"

"Do they even have a soul?" asked Hartley.

"They have something!  But this is really messed up."

"But you said Ghost Pippin seems evil.  Did The Gopper Ghost?"

"I don't think so," replied L'Arche, "but he was runnin' with Pippin."

Over on Capitol Hill, the Zombie Caucus was celebrating some of 2015's early victories--especially renaming the "Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights" to simply the "Subcommittee on the Constitution".  They raised their glasses of pulpy blood to the chief of staff for Senator John Cornyn and exclaimed in unison, "Down with humans!"  (They were dining on a cleaning lady tonight--an unfortunate immigrant from El Salvador.)  "Up with zombies!"

Back at Washington Circle, the funeral had broken up.  All the dogs and dog-handlers paying their respects were now gone.  Dizzy carefully finished cleaning his mouthpiece, and put his trumpet back in the case.


Ghost Pippin was arching his back at Dizzy, who picked up his case and started running.  Then he heard an unnatural bark, and turned to see another ghost--this time a dog!  He started running faster.

The Gopper Ghost was actually barking at Ghost Pippin, who complained that he never wanted Pippin to have any fun.  The Gopper repeated (for the hundredth time) that dogs and cats were supposed to help humans, not hurt them, and Pippin repeated (for the hundredth time), "fool!"  Ghost Pippin had been Condoleezza Rice's cat, and his view of the human race was very hawkish.  Pippin hated Charles Wu, Colin Powell, Laura Bush, Henry Samuelson's ghost, the Chicago Bears, the New York Giants, Miley Cyrus, Ted Turner, Sunny and Bo, Rizzoli and Isles, Stephen Colbert, Hillary Clinton, everybody on "America's Got Talent", the George Washington mascot of the Washington Nationals, Dick Cheney's housekeeper (Olivia), and probably hundreds (if not thousands) of other people, except that Pippin had a tiny little feline brain without a huge amount of memory.  For that reason, he was prone to erupting with rage at almost anybody, uncertain if they were somebody he actually hated.

Ghost Pippin also hated Petro Pig, but The Gopper Ghost was willing to let that slide.  However, he would not give up trying to convince Pippin that pets were supposed to like humans, and it was unnatural for pets to hate humans!  Pets should help humans whenever possible!

After months of this, Pippin was not the slightest bit convinced, so The Gopper finally decided to try a new tactic.  "Weren't you named after a prince in search of a grand purpose in life?"  (Pippin was actually named by a frenemy of Condoleezza Rice's, who was trying to convince the then-Secretary of State to let go of some of her grand ambitions and seek solace in domestic bliss.)  "'Corner of the Sky', 'Spread a Little Sunshine', 'Glory'--don't you want to find a purpose and mission?"

"'War Is a Science!'  That's what I remember!" exclaimed Ghost Pippin (who had, in fact, heard Rice play the "Pippin" soundtrack many times).

"Well, I think we need to warn the humans about the Zombie Caucus.  They're eating people!  And passing bad legislation."  (The Gopper Ghost had both a bigger heart and bigger brain than Ghost Pippin.)

"No!" hissed Ghost Pippin.  "And stop following me around!"  He hissed again, and The Gopper shook his head in disgust, then trotted away to search for a new pack.

Ghost Pippin jumped back on top of the George Washington statue, this time on the head.  He was filled with rage (all the time), but maybe The Gopper Ghost had a point?  Maybe he would be happier if he had a purpose?  Every day seemed so pointless--wandering around, throwing hissy fits, urinating on other ghosts, frightening the sparrows.  It was then that a catbird alighted on the tail, looked Ghost Pippin in the eye, and began chirping, "Ardua ... Ardua ... Ardua...."


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