We all quickly sat down to hear what Anderson Cooper was going to say. It had to be pretty important, for him to leave the hospital all broken up and gray-headed.
“Um? Ladies room?,” the sailor asked. We simultaneously and silently pointed to the unisex closet with a toilet that we all shared. As she headed for the head, Jonathan burst into the green room. He quietly took in a space that wasn’t filled with cast members preparing for a show, but was filled with stolen Food Emporium carts. He opened his mouth and we “Shhhhhh”ed him and pointed at the TV. Maybe it was our faces, but Jonathan didn’t argue. He sat.
“I’m coming to you live from the NY1 studio,” Anderson Cooper weakly informed us. “Some fellow journalists transported me from the hospital, and we’ve barricaded ourselves in the studio to bring you this report. We believe in the news, in the sanctity of the news, and we believe that it’s our duty as newsman to report The Truth as we know it.”
Anderson seemed to gain strength as he reported The Truth to us. “This morning, I was involved in a helicopter crash. My fall was broken by a large net of helium balloons that were set to be released in celebration of the demolition of the 175th St. Loew’s Theatre in upper Manhattan. The crash was caused by an attacking GIANT BIRD. Yes, folks, you heard me correctly. A giant bird somehow appeared from the wreckage of the theatre. Before I lost my grip in the helicopter, I grabbed the camera from my good friend and brilliant co-worker, Bill (One Eye) Smith. Rest in peace, buddy. You too, John (Rotor Head) Jones.”
We couldn’t help it. We kind of laughed. Then the sailor flushed the toilet, and we really did laugh. It was stress release. And immaturity. We stopped when Anderson said, “Roll tape.”
The tape was from the helicopter’s perspective. We saw the crowd of protesters, and the camera zoomed in on some of the signs.
“I told you that nobody would be able to read that wordy sign on TV,” Moira crowed.
Then the camera swung back toward the building. A crane with a wrecking ball decked out in gigantic Mickey Mouse ears swung into the 175th St. Loew’s, and the entire building collapsed, like it knew when it was whipped. We hadn’t expected that at all, and I don’t think the guys in the helicopter did either, because someone on the tape yelped, “Jesus Christ!”
Of course what happened next was even more unexpected. It was as if the giant bird was born from the pile of wreckage. A head with a huge red comb like a crown struggled free, then shoulders, then the body. It staggered on the edge of the pit its birth had made, shook off debris, and then skyrocketed into the air and toward the helicopter using the pure strength of its drumsticks.
Watching the attack from inside the helicopter was far scarier than it had been from the ground. The bird shot toward the chopper, mouth open. Suddenly, all we saw was a foot, and then feathers as the bird drew the chopper to it. For the first time, we got a good view of the other foot…which was clutching a footful of things that were most likely eggs. After that, it was Anderson falling with the camera, although we couldn’t see Anderson. He really was a tough, although boyish looking, son-of-a-bitch. He’d somehow managed to twist himself around so he could film the bird and the helicopter as he fell, until he hit the balloons, which we also didn’t see, but we figured he’d hit because the bird and the helicopter stopped getting smaller and smaller and we heard an enormous fart sound. The bird let go of the helicopter, and it dropped like a stone. The bird flew away, trailing bloody feathers.
Anderson appeared on the screen again. “They are coming for us, now. I don’t know if we’ll be back on the air ever again. I just wanted my fellow New Yorkers to know that a giant bird is on the loose and that your government and The Disney Corporation would rather the world think we are all insane that admit The Truth. Stay safe, New York! Stay strong!” Then men in Disney security uniforms rushed Anderson and a hand covered the camera lens before the screen went black.
The sailor had come unnoticed into the room, at some point, and she broke the silence. “Holy shit, that is the craziest movie I’ve ever seen.”
“It’s not a movie,” I said grimly. “That was the last real news report we might see for a long time.”