“Wow, your neighbor Ali is a rude guy,” Mike said.
“He’s different, that’s for sure,” I replied.
We had to wait for the elevator to come back down for us, but it was a far less spooky experience, this time. We were still overjoyed to get out of the basement.
When we got back to my floor, we met Jill and Moira hauling clear garbage bags out into the hallway. “You forgot some shit,” said Moira.
“That is my recycling, put it back in the kitchen,” I said.
“What, it isn’t recycling pick-up day? It’s never going to be recycling pick-up day again. Get rid of this shit,” Moira said. She’d never enjoyed my penchant for clutter.
“I need this stuff,” I insisted. “Put it back.” Moira grumbled, but she and Jill complied. Moira dropped her bags in the kitchen with a loud clatter. Jill wasn’t as noisy with hers, but she obviously wasn’t thrilled about bringing them back in, either. I knew they were thinking that I was a weird garbage hoarder.
“We checked that thing you think is a TV,” Moira said.
“It is a TV,” I said.
“The picture is BLACK AND WHITE,” Moira said. “It’s not a TV. It’s an etching that moves. It’s almost a flip book.”
“Is anything on?,” Mike asked.
“That Uncle Remus Disney movie is on,” Jill said. “I couldn’t believe it. Nobody has showed it in years. That movie is so racist!”
I actually remembered going to the movies to see ‘Song Of The South’ when I was a kid. I hadn’t noticed anything particularly racist about it, but I’d been a Southern child. The myth of The Merry Slaves, singing and dancing while they did some minor chores, was something I’d honestly grown up with. My only really vivid memory of the movie was the scene where the bull gored the plantation owner’s little son. I remembered being so horrified that I’d spent the rest of the movie crying in the theatre bathroom. I might not have actually seen much of the movie at all. But I always dutifully pretended to be outraged when anyone mentioned the movie, just like everyone else who barely remembered it or hadn’t seen it at all. I doubt most people even knew that the hit song “Zipa-Dee-Doo-Dah” had come from the movie.
“I can’t believe they are showing that racist movie,” I tut-tutted.
We watched “Song Of The South” while we ate hamburgers. The hamburgers were incredibly delicious, after a hamburger-less week. “Zipa-De-Doo-Dah” was still a stupid song.
After the movie and dinner, Mike wanted to discuss our plans for the assault on the Hudson. Nobody else wanted to talk about it. We were full and sleepy. We seemed to be momentarily safe. We wanted to nod off in front of my tiny TV. Mike was right, however. We needed to talk.
“Are we going tomorrow night?,” Mike asked.
“Well, I was thinking more like we would head down to the river sometime late tomorrow night,” I said.
“Head down sometime LATE tomorrow night?,” Moira said. “We should leave as soon after dark as we can. We need plenty of time.”
“I don’t think,” I drew a deep breath, “that we want to be in the river at night. I think we should get down to the river tomorrow night and find a place to hide until daylight, but I think it would be a mistake to try to cross that river at night. It’s going to be hard enough to cross it when we can see.”
Everybody was taken aback. We’d all worked odd hours for years. We were hardly nine-to-fivers. We’d gotten off work at 11pm or later, and most of our social lives took place after midnight. But, we’d truly become creatures of the night since the first giant bird had burst from the wreckage of the Loew’s 175th St. theatre. We’d forgotten the advantages of being out while the sun was in the sky. And, the main advantage, especially as far as jumping into a river went, was being able to see where we were going and what was ahead of us.