Mike closed the door after Bob.
“Home sweet home,” said Jonathan.
“I dunno,” Trish said, “that Bob guy seems weird to me.”
“You just aren’t used to actors,” Moira said. “You are used to sailors. Lots and lots of sailors. Tell me the truth…it’s like a buffet, isn’t it?”
“I would never, ever fraternize,” Trish objected. “We’ll talk later,” she whispered.
“Weird or not, first thing is first,” Jill said. “I want to sleep in my bunk RIGHT NOW!”
“Bethel and I will take the bottom bunk,” I said.
“I’m not sleeping with Mike,” Jonathan declared. “Single bed for me.”
“Trish and I can share the double bed,” Moira said.
“Oh, REALLY? Aren’t you afraid we’ll think you are a lesbian?,” I smirked.
Moira hit me.
The nap left us all dopey and more tired than we’d been before we hit our sacks. We really needed to just keep sleeping through the night. But, a meeting was a meeting, and we couldn’t stand up our new hosts. After throwing together a rib sticking and HOT, oh my God, HOT meal of turkey sausage and eggs, we each took showers. Oh my God, HOT showers! We each found something clean and fresh to wear in various closets and drawers, and we gleefully modeled our new, and mostly ill-fitting, clothing for each other. Just a couple of days without the normal comforts of modern life and we were like shipwreck survivors who’d been rescued.
Bethel and Lexington weren’t getting along so well since we’d fought them, so we stuck them in separate bedrooms and hit the elevator. Some of our new neighbors got in with us and eyed us suspiciously the whole way to the basement.
The basement was really nice, for a New York City basement. It was huge and rambling. A brightly lit and totally un-scary laundry room was monitored by security cameras. A couple of ping pong and pool tables were scattered around. A lot of residents had already gathered, but there weren’t really that many of them, when you stopped to consider how huge the towers were. I wondered if urban apathy had kept people home. The crowd burped out Bob, who stepped up onto a small platform and thumped a microphone on a stand to see if it was live.
“OK, folks, we are going to go ahead and get started, here. I’d like to welcome our new guests from the Houseman Theatre across the street. They came over here with one of those big birds trying to pull their hair right out of their heads. Craziest thing I’ve ever seen, but they made it.” Bob pointed our way and applauded, and there was a lukewarm response from the crowd. Mike smiled and waved like it was an ovation.
“Now, they rolled over here in a big box they’d made, and it got me thinking. The things that have given us a little freedom and our supplies are the narrowness of 43rd St. and the awnings out there. When we try to get to the Lincoln Tunnel, we are going to be out in the open quite a lot. I think if we make lightweight, portable, gray canopies and travel under them, we’ll have some camouflage on the wide open streets and at intersections…”
“Bob,” a man interjected, “Bob, you are full of shit. What we need to do is stay right here until this blows over. You want to take people on some suicide mission because you think you are a big deal. I’m here to tell you that you only got Baloo because I was playing Scar on the ‘Lion King’ tour. We stay here, our government will rescue us.”
“Trish here saw our government shoot some tourists,” Mike shouted.
“You shut up,” someone from the crowd shouted back. “The Houseman is an OFF-Broadway house and we all know it! We aren’t going to listen to you!”
“Off-Broadway is very brave and creative theatre,” Mike shouted back. “You Broadway assholes couldn’t have gotten across that street without teamsters carrying the box for you!”
Jill tugged at my sleeve. “All of this yelling is giving me a headache,” she said. “I’m going back to our apartment.” I nodded at her and she pushed her way through the crowd behind us.
The meeting deteriorated from there. Bob had some support, but there were also a lot of people who were convinced that we would eventually be rescued. It was finally just a yelling match. Bob shut it down by saying, “OK, the people who WANT to escape meet me here tomorrow night with your ideas. The rest of you do us the favor of staying home so we can get something done. The meeting is now concluded.”
Bob threaded his way through the muttering crowd to us. “Some shit, huh? Can’t even try to save people’s lives without them bitchin’. We’ll get ’em, though!” He thumbs-upped us and moved on.
We were quiet on the way back to our new digs. Nobody wanted to say the wrong thing and risk an argument with a neighbor. We stepped off the elevator, opened the door to our new apartment, and found Lexington and Bethel squared off at each other in the middle of the living room. There was no Jill to referee. After a brief search, we realized there was no Jill in the apartment at all.