“Why the heck do you think we still have TV and power?,” Jill wondered, as we set up our sleeping stations.
“I have no idea,” I said. Bethel moved as far away from Lexington as she could, without leaving me. Bethel wouldn’t admit it, but she’d gotten the worst of the fight, by far. Dog tho’ she was, the bigger cat had taken her.
“Maybe it’s to keep us all calm until they get the city really locked down,” Jonathan said. “Panic is one thing. Total panic is another. People will stay in their homes as long as there is power and TV. They’ll be waiting for news of rescue. No power and TV, they might try to rescue themselves.”
“I wish we’d gotten the hell out of here right away,” Moira wished. “I don’t like to admit it, but I’m scared shitless.”
“We didn’t know that we should run. We had no idea of what was going to happen,” Mike said.
Trish piped up, which wasn’t something she had done much of all day. “We still don’t know what is going to happen. Not really. I feel like the ships will come back. I feel like whatever crazy thing is happening, the government will finally put a stop to it.”
We all looked at her. None of us had trusted the government before this had happened, now we actively mistrusted it. But nobody wanted to be ugly to Trish.
The new NY1 newscaster seemed less self-assured tonight. He seemed positively twitchy.
“The government is still working on an antidote for the poison that was released in the New York City subway system yesterday. Until then, we can expect them to keep filling our heads with bullshit.” He paused and took a deep breath. “Yes, I said ‘bullshit.’ There are giant birds everywhere in Manhattan. The US government won’t let us off this island. My family and I managed to get to the Lincoln Tunnel today and there is a gate over the tunnel entrance and it is guarded by soldiers with big damn guns. We need some help here, people!”
“If that keeps up, we won’t have TV for long,” Mike said.
We all tried to sleep, but nobody rested well.
Day dawned bright on Escape Attempt Morning. We ate, had some coffee, and tried to make sure we all knew what to do. On top of everything else, the Mirror Box was going to be a bitch to move, even with the casters.
We decided to get inside it and roll it up the aisle and into the lobby. That was as close as we were going to get to practicing before we got on the street. We all shuffled like people in line to ride It’s A Small World. We stepped on each other, we cursed. Then, Trish struck up a march cadence, and it really did help.
We got to the lobby, opened the front door of the box, and marched out. We’d decided that it should open from the front, because that way we could run straight out, if evacuation became necessary.
We marched up the stairs to Jonathan’s office. Jill needed to get her sound system going. She had a remote control for the predator sounds. But the first order of business, after firing up the system, was playing our “We Are Visiting You Whether You Like It Or Not” announcement loop.
We looked over at the tennis courts first to see if the bird was still on its nest. It was gone. We didn’t know if that was good, or not good, or just a momentary thing that was neither good nor not good. We slid the windows open and wrestled speakers up on the desk to fill the opening. Jill hit ‘Play’ and we all ran like hell for the stairwell. The announcement was going to be ear-bleedingly loud.
“Hello, Residents of Manhattan Plaza,” Mike blared. “We are trapped in the Houseman Theatre. We will be coming across the street to your buildings. Please open a door and allow us access to Food Emporium. We bring ideas and practical experience in dealing with emergencies. We also have cigarettes.”
“I don’t know why you mentioned the cigarettes,” Moira said. “They have control of Food Emporium. They have all the cigarettes they need.”
“Well, I wanted to make it sound like we have SOMETHING,” Mike said.
“Do we have any idea if this is working?,” I tried to peer out the gate.
“No,” said Jonathan. “We don’t know. This is going to be the biggest leap of faith any of us have ever made.”
We quietly started hugging and kissing. All of us. Moira even kissed Bethel and Lexington, whom Jill and I wore on our chests, bound up like papooses.
Jill used her remote to kill Mike’s announcement. Hideous loud sounds of animals fighting took its place. Jill waited a few moments and pressed the gate button. Mike and Jonathan popped the doors open. The three of them joined us in the Mirror Box.
“Let’s roll,” Trish said.