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, September 27, 2015

Pope Frantastic turns Washington upside-down!

"Boehner said he doesn't care who knows about it now," said the Tarantula to Charles Wu.  "He's met the Pope and been touched by God."

"I don't think that's what he's been touched by," replied Wu, frustrated that his final attempt to blackmail the Speaker of the House failed:  Congressman Boehner would not renege on his resignation just to avoid the public release of his phone metadata records.

"Come on, Wu!  I know you're not religious, but Pope Francis turned this whole town upside down!  He touched a lot of people--deeply!"  Wu said nothing, looked down at his Hotel Washington gin and tonic, and looked out from the roof deck onto the view of the recent Popemobile parade route around the White House.  "Charles, we aren't going to go through with it, are we?  I mean, there's no point in actually releasing the metadata now, right?"

"Now?" laughed Wu.  "Now I guess Boehner would consider it a badge of religious honor that he phoned Dial-a-Prayer 946 times during his first three years as Speaker of the House.  And it's cool to be a Catholic, so only the fundamentalist Christians would complain about his 253 calls to the Vatican.  You might as well destroy the records--or drop them off in an unmarked envelope for his scrapbook."

"So, what up with China?" asked the Tarantula.  "You got a job for me?"

"Do I have a job for you!" nodded Wu, glad to be returning to more familiar triple agent territory.

Across the Potomac, the visit of Pope Francis had caused equally dramatic results, though nothing as newsworthy as the resignation of the Speaker of the House.  "So it's up to four people now?" asked psychologist Leo Schwartz, entering the Arlington Group Home for the Mentally Challenged.

"Buckner, Theresa, Larry, and Freddy all say they're Pope Francis," said social worker Hue Nguyen, handing him her most recent hand-written notes.  "Melinda says she's Mother Theresa.  Cedric says the Commies brainwashed Pope Francis:  he's the Manchurian Candidate, and the CIA needs to take him out."

"What?!  Oh, my God--we might have to hospitalize him!  I need to see him first.  Has he talked about any specific plans?"

"Only that Ghost Henry and the Ghost CIA were on top of it."

Just then, they were approached by Freddy Ritchings (normally known as Brother Divine of the International Peace Movement, and host of the Church of Twitter), wearing a white bath robe and using a broom as a staff.  The big brown helping dog, Millie, was walking beside him, a cross painted on her back with what appeared to be squirted mustard.  "Peace be with you!" said Freddy, making the sign of the cross.  "Our brothers and mothers and sisters and misters all need our love.  The times they are-a-changing, and salvation is rearranging, so let the migrants in to do some free-ranging!  Help the poorest and the sickest!  Visit the prisoners and the scriveners!  Pray with me, or if you--"

"Alright, Freddy, Dr. Schwartz has heard all that before and he urgently needs to speak to Cedric."

"Cedric is a lost lamb, wandering the barren hills of Elam!" Freddy said, shaking his head.

"Exactly," said Dr. Schwartz.  "Pray for us, please."

Back in Washington, psychiatrist Ermann Esse's patients were not typically prone to delusional behavior (at least, not that kind of delusional behavior), but they had been wearing him out for days with their tales of life-changing encounters with Pope Francis.  He had been counseling all of them to wait another month before acting on their sudden impulses to quit powerful positions in government and the private sector to launch charitable endeavors or join holy orders, but the Under-Secretary from the Department of Transportation was getting on his nerves more than most.

"I mean, what's transportation supposed to be about, anyway?  Bringing people together!"  (Dr. Esse nodded without enthusiasm.)  "I could be building roads in Africa, or railroad lines!  Or I could go down to Mexico--start rapid bus transit systems to connect rural farmers with urban markets--help these poor migrants stay at home, where they really want to be, anyway!"

Dr. Esse scratched under his cursed Rolex, and finally snapped.  "Alright, fine, quit your job."

"I would be a little worried about money," said the Under-Secretary, getting nervous.

"Do you think Pope Francis worries about money?  Of course not!  Be a man!"

"I'm not sure how my wife would take it."

"Tell her it's either that or you're going to become a priest."

"Well, I'm not going to lie to her!"

"You can't tell one little white lie in order to fulfill your spiritual awakening?" asked Dr. Esse, not trying very hard to mask his sarcasm.

"Well, I've never lied to her!  And marriage was a sacred vow!"

"Liar!" exclaimed Dr. Esse.  "Admit it--everybody lies to their wives."

"Well, I don't!"

"Alright, have it your way, coward."

"Dr. Esse, that's a bit harsh!"

"If you want somebody to hold your hand, go talk to a priest!  They all want to hold people's hands this week."

A few miles away, Glenn Michael Beckmann, militiaman and conspiracy blogger, was absolutely exhausted from trolling the Internet and watching television coverage concerning the visit of Pope Francis.  On the one hand, he knew that the Vatican was part of the secret world government--along with the Trilateral Commission, the Church of Scientology, the Mormons, the United Nations, Google, Norwegian Cruise Line, and the International Dental Association.  On the other hand, he could not resist reading about possible plots against the Pope--who was planning them, who was finding them, who was stopping them!  He was quite certain he had personally stopped three plots against the Pope himself, in Washington, but he would not tell anybody about that until after the Pope had left American soil altogether.  The threat was still real!  And with a visit to a prison, Pope Francis had exposed himself to all the dangers of gang rivalry, too!  Beckmann poured more Monster energy drink into his mouth and kept on surfing.

Back at home, Charles Wu found Angela de la Paz playing with his daughter, Delia.  "Ready for my next assignment, boss," Angela said, looking up.

"It can wait until tomorrow," he said, sitting down to examine what appeared to be a Lego castle occupied by Barbies.  "Who's this?" he asked, pointing to a mysterious figure wrapped in toilet paper while he kissed his daughter.

"Pope Francis!" the toddler exclaimed.  "I have a rosary!"  Delia ran off to find her new rosary.

"That was supposed to be a secret," said Angela sheepishly.

"Look, I already knew you went back to church--"

"How did you know?"

"You're not the only person working for me in this town!" laughed Wu.

"Well, why do people report personal stuff like that?  And why do you have people spying on me?"

"Nobody was spying on you!  They just mentioned seeing you there--which was funny, because I didn't think they went to church either.  But, seriously, giving Delia a rosary?"

"Don't you think we should be doing more now, after what you learned and saw?"

Wu shuddered at the thought of the demon living in the Potomac as his daughter ran back in with her new prized possession.  "I just wish I knew what would help."

"Well," whispered Angela, "a lot of ghosts crossed over this week.  And Ardua of the Potomac has been writhing in pain all week.  It really does make a difference."

Over on Capitol Hill, an Anti-Zombie Caucus pumped up on Pope Francis energy voted unanimously to support Congressman Herrmark's underdog bid to become next Speaker of the House.

The Heurich Society's evil plans hit by Pope Francis pause button!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Nuke 'em!

It was the first meeting of the Anti-Zombie Caucus since Congress had reconvened after the August recess.

"This is going to be a busy term," said the Chairman, Congressman Herrmark.  "We've got the Iran problem, the Planned Parenthood problem, the government shutdown; I think it's time we start taking a more strategic approach to the zombie problem."  He gestured to Ann Bishis, his Chief of Staff, to start the PowerPoint presentation.  "We have identified a scientist who believes she can develop a type of neutron bomb that only kills zombies."  ("What?!")  "It's still in the testing stage, but if we get additional funding for her, it might work.  Identifying and decapitating zombies one at a time is time-consuming and unpleasant."

"Actually, I like it!" said a member from Iowa.  "It's a lot more fun than my work on the High-Fructose Corn Syrup Caucus or the Ways and Means Committee."

"Well, we've all known the thrill of beheading the undead, but the clean-up is a bitch, and who has the time?  I'm asking everybody here to make a financial commitment to this research so that we have a real chance of nuking them and getting all the maggot-brained out of our chambers and offices for good!"

On the other side of town, the Heurich Society was also discussing a nuclear option.

"Look," said the former CIA agent, "neither President Obama nor the European Union can do a damned thing to fix Syria and Iraq.  I say it's time to nuke 'em!  Take care of ISIS once and for all."

"Are you completely out of your mind?!" shouted the secret society's chair, Henrietta Samuelson.  "You want to save refugees by killing them all?"

"Some are refugees, some are terrorists--and they're all flooding into Europe now.  We can't afford the risk!  Drop some tactical nukes:  bada bing, bada boom, regime change, regime change, game re-set."

"This isn't a game!" exclaimed Samuelson.

"Now hold on," crackled Condoleezza Rice over the speaker phone.  "Who were you thinking of pinning the blame on?  Because we can't let Israel take the blame, and Iran doesn't have any bombs yet."

"Can't we just sign it, 'concerned world citizens'?"

"No!" exclaimed Samuelson.

"If your father were here, he would be voting in favor," said the investment banker.  "And now's the perfect time because we'd be killing some Russians, too!"

The ghost of Henry Samuelson was there, and he thought it was the best idea he had heard from the Heurich Society in years.

Nukes were also on the agenda across the Potomac, where former Senator Evermore Breadman had finally used his knowledge of Bridezilla's affair with Paul (the contract attorney!) to leverage her into doing something she did not want to do:  lobby Congressmen about lifting sanctions against Iran.  But so far, the Prince and Prowling junior partner had been silently picking at her Army-Navy Country Club chicken salad, leaving the senior partner on his own.

"I say we should nuke 'em!" shouted one exuberant Representative from Texas.

"Do you understand how many Iranian immigrants you have in your District, Congressman?" asked Breadman.

"Well, they left the damned country, didn't they?"

"We can't let a Muslim country get the bomb!" exclaimed a Representative from Georgia.

"Pakistan already has the bomb, Congressman. They use it as a deterrent against China, India, and Russia--not us."

"Says you!"

"This treaty puts tight controls on Iran's nuclear program.  If you lift the economic sanctions, business ties with the regime will grow.  Iranians are more pro-Western than you realize.  This deal will help moderate their politics and--"

"What about Israel?  They'll bomb Israel!" exclaimed a Representative from Arizona.

"This deal is reducing that threat," said Breadman.

"That's not what Israel says!"

"Israel wants to be the only Middle Eastern country with the bomb," said Breadman.  "They don't trust anybody!"

"Well, neither do I!"

"That's why we have treaties and inspections, sir," said Breadman.  "China has the bomb, but they are a major trading partner with the United States.  When commercial interests are flourishing, politicians get a lot friendlier.  My partner here has been working with investors in the United States lining up to enter Cuba after the lifting of sanctions, and she will tell you they are so eager they are putting money into pro-Cuban trade PACs."

"PACs?" asked the Representative from Texas.

"Yes, PACs!  And Prince and Prowling is about to set up some new pro-Iranian trade PACs.  The money and enthusiasm are there, gentlemen.  My partner can tell you how much money we have already deposited for Cuban trade lobbying, and which business leaders she has already taken down there.  We even have pictures!" Breadman added, giving Bridezilla the Look.

Back in Washington, triple agent Charles Wu was back from his English vacation and discussing the Iranian nuclear deal with State Department employee "C. Coe Phant" over pizza and beer in Foggy Bottom.  "China supports the treaty," repeated Wu.

"We can't have China secretly selling--"

"I don't think that's going to happen," said Wu.

"You don't think?"

"Well, I can't predict all future decisions," said Wu.  "But it makes no sense for China to enable anybody's nuclear program in the Middle East."

"What if they want to counter Russian influence?"

"They would find another way."

C. Coe Phant shook his head nervously.  "China could survive nuclear retaliation better than anybody else in Asia."

"Why, because you think they have millions of lives to spare?  The government would collapse.  The Chinese rulers want stability."

"Can you take a message to them?"

"Of course," said Wu.  "That's what I'm here for!"

A half-hour later, Wu was down at the edge of the river wondering if the right kind of bomb could kill Ardua of the Potomac.  He didn't mind his daughter growing up in a world full of nuclear weapons because that all seemed manageable, but demons and ghosts were another thing.

COMING UP:  Pope Frantastic turns Washington upside-down!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fever Pitch

Washington Water Woman is under the weather this week, but hopes to return to blogging soon.

In the meantime, seriously, can I ask, does Donald Trump sound more like Hitler every day?

COMING UP:  nuke 'em!

Sunday, September 06, 2015

The Pulitzer Prize that the "Washington Post" will never get.

"Metro" reporter Perry Winkle's magnus opus, rejected by his editor at the "Washington Post", with the suggestion it might be time for him to take a sabbatical:

                            Capitol Hill Ghost Story

It was just another sunny summer afternoon on Capitol Hill.  Birds were singing.  Dogs were barking.  Children were laughing.  And Congressman Jacques Javert was sitting in a front yard zen water fountain, fully clothed, one hand swatting water lilies, the other hand outstretched in a trembling salute to an entity seen only by him.  "I'll show them what it means to have blood coming out of their eyes!" Rep. Javert shouted to nobody in particular.  "Louisiana will rule this nation!"

Inside the house, Capitol Hill's famed Reiki Triplets were holding another healing session in their home studio.  With spring 2015 Yelp reviews of five stars ("blessed and mystical renewal of everything that makes me alive!") segueing to summer 2015 Yelp reviews of one star ("emotional colonoscopy"), the identical triplets were on my list for a coveted interview.  But now I wanted to interview Congressman Javert.

Just then, a pot-bellied pig (see "Petro Pig:  Why hire a human lobbyist when you can just bring the pork?", "Metro", October 18, 2014) came racing out of the house and started grunting at the same invisible presence holding Congressman Javert in a trance.  I was still trying to get the Representative to answer my questions when members of his staff showed up with axes, threatening to decapitate famed animal specialist, Sebastian L'Arche (see "Better than doggy Xanax:  the Dog Whisperer takes the city's most troubled pooches for a walk and returns them to their owners happy and healthy", "Metro", April 5, 2011).  Only with some difficulty did L'Arche convince the staffers he was not a zombie, and the staffers proceeded to discuss whether their boss was.

Just then, two people who I can only identify as Chinatown business partners showed up, and the man--a strikingly handsome, jet-haired man with chiseled features and a hybrid Oxford/Hong Kong accent--also began looking at the invisible presence already holding the attention of Congressman Javert and Petro Pig, and the man began telling us a ghost story.

And then some type of young female exorcist showed up, Congressman Javert's Rolex went flying off his wrist all the way up to the roof of the house, and she pulled the Representative out of the zen water fountain.  She then grabbed at the invisible entity, made motions which appeared to be depositing it into the pond, pulled a flask marked with a cross out of her pocket, and poured a liquid into the the little fountain.

The woman and the staffers then proceeded to lie to the dazed Congressman about what had happened, and refused to be interviewed for this article.

I did finally get my interview with the Reiki Triplets two days ago.  They told me they had discovered a minor carbon monoxide problem in the old house, but it was now corrected.  Yelp reviews are trending to five stars again.

Congressman Javert has not been seen wearing a Rolex since the incident.

Two Hill staffers told me off the record that a secret Anti-Zombie Caucus has been attacking a secret Zombie Caucus since Memorial Day, and that at least twenty zombies have been decapitated.

Edith Markinowitz-Shipley of Walking Dead Tours confirmed that her organization had been planning to investigate the Reiki Triplets Capitol Hill home as a possible new stop in their haunted houses tour, but that reports of supernatural activity there had completely stopped.  When questioned about whether her organization believes that zombies are roaming Capitol Hill, Markinowitz-Shipley stated that zombies are a Hollywood invention with no basis in supernatural reality.  She did, however, state that over a thousand ghosts have been documented in the Capitol, and at least ten in the White House.


"I think it's real, boss--I do!" insisted Winkle to his editor.  "Look at these photos!  Javert is out of his mind, sitting in the pond--"

"Those could be doctored."

"I've never handed you a doctored photo in my life!" exclaimed Winkle.

"You've been covering crime and homelessness and the seedy underbelly for a long time.  You just need a break."

"I've seen a decapitation myself, boss."  (Winkle's editor shook his head in disbelief.)  "I didn't tell you at the time because I wasn't sure I believed my own eyes at the time.  It was Congressman Herrmark's Chief of Staff--the one that went missing.  His bodyguards took her out on the Potomac, cut her head off, and maggots came out of it.  I hear things, rumors of things, demons."


"Listen to me!  This is affecting our elected leaders!  We can't just ignore it!"

His editor took a deep breath.  He got this type of story pitch at least once a month, usually from freelancers:  it was simply a convenient way to explain the complexities of power-mad national politics, and the criminal ills of a socially troubled city.  "Go visit your family.  Leave town!  That's an order!  I'm telling H.R. myself that you're on a sabbatical.  Write a ghost story if you want to, but it's not being published here.  Congress is coming back in session, and we'll have plenty of political stories to fill the paper--not to mention the fact that Donald Trump sounds more and more like Hitler every week.  War, refugees, homicides in the city--we've got plenty."

"Alright," said Winkle.  "Call me if you need me."

The editor embraced Winkle warmly, then sat down to re-read the article.  He read it three more times, walked over to the shredder, looked at the shredder for a minute, then pulled out his keys to unlock his filing cabinet and place the article in his X Files.  This would explain a lot.

Inside the cabinet, a five-inch long silverfish started nibbling on the bottom corner of the article.