Day 33: POLITICS IN THE APOCALYPSE
Thirty-three days in and the newest victim of the Apocalypse seems to be the political left. T.V. ratings and radio listenership are way up, and that's where the Right thrives. NPR is no match for the multi-pronged attack of Republican talk radio, and MSNBC can't compete with Fox. The Internet was the only thing that the Left was almost kind of good at. And while it's refreshing not to have my inbox flooded with sophomoric Moveon.org vids comparing Sarah Palin to Hitler, like during the 2012 elections, it's a little frightening that even with a Democrat in office, the public influence war is over. All we have is the New York Times, and who's shelling out two bucks for a paper in this economy?
Shop owners have been marking up prices without competition from the Net. And while that might be good news for those businesses, computer and gadget sales have tanked along with all the tech and marketing jobs that go with that. Firms and businesses keep laying off IT people too. After all, how many guys do you need to fix your Excel spreadsheet or document management program? But despite the cutbacks, there hasn't been much of a protest. We know something has changed. I wouldn't call it acceptance, but people aren't even clicking refresh anymore. It just seems stupid like pushing the elevator button a second time.
And, of course, there's still the continuing reports of planned terrorist attacks against the city. As a security measure, the entrances to New York remain closed, but now people are free to leave. New York has lost 25 percent of its population in the last four days. And just like before the Apocalypse, all the most frightened and boring people took off for New Jersey.
The three of us have holed up at Oz's hotel in the Village because going back to Brooklyn would lock us out of our chances of finding the Internet. I kicked in some money for the room, and Tobey offered Oz his last fifty bucks to watch her shower. It's probably for the best that she declined considering I'm fairly certain Tobey just wanted to make more retarded Australia jokes. "Crikey, that's not a rack. Now THAT'S a rack!"
But even sexually retarded, self-proclaimed Libertarians aren't free from the Right's growing influence. This morning Tobey awoke with a start, falling off the couch and rousing Oz and me from our sleep. To my credit or shame, Oz felt safe sharing the bed with me. It helped that we kept something between us - her sleeping under both the sheet and comforter and me sandwiched between the two with only a sheer layer of cotton separating my broken desire from her body. Most mornings, I woke first and had a few moments to myself to watch the covers rise and fall with her breathing. I would stare at the flush two blankets brought to her cheek and try to divine her dreams.
But this morning, all that was lost with Tobey's claims that he dreamed who stole the Internet. I was skeptical. Most of Tobey's inspiring dreams involved jokes about how hot he still is for Demi Moore ("If my right arm got sheared off in an industrial accident while Demi Moore was blowing me, my only concern would be that I'd lose consciousness before she finished.")
"Gladstone," he said. "Why are we making this so hard? Terrorist Internet chatter intercepted somewhere downtown. Duh? Why don't we go to the Ground Zero Mosque?"
"Park 51? For the same reason we're not going to the Olive Garden in Time Square. It's stupid idea. And what's more, the Mosque doesn't even come with breadsticks."
"Oh, here we go again," Tobey mocked.
"Nice retort, Drudge. I guess you've made your case."
Tobey and I went back and forth until Oz interrupted, "I know you guys think I'm just some chick from a country filled with crocodile hunters and baby-eating dingos, but if I could..."
"And vegemite sandwiches," Tobey added.
"Yes. Vegemite sandwiches. Thank you. But it doesn't really matter who's right. We're out of ideas. Terrorist sympathizers or slandered Muslims, the Mosque is downtown and we've got fuck all intelligence so, y'know, why not?Day 33 ADDENDUM: THE MOSQUE NOT AT GROUND ZERO
It's two days later, and now that I have my journal back, I can document what happened after our decision to go downtown. It started innocently enough. Like any mission composed of people who didn't know what they were doing, we decided the first thing we'd need were supplies. The KMart in Penn station gave us plenty of opportunities to fill our arms without reason. Swiss army knives, compasses, backpacks, and even an inflatable raft. It wasn't until we were done shopping that we realized our purchases were gleaned more from old MacGyver episodes than anything we might need in the Apocalypse. But seeing as we didn't know what that was exactly, who's to say they weren't the same thing.
We got off the 1 at Rector street and made our way to Park 51. I was surprised to find it was still just occupying space in the abandoned Burlington Coat Factory while trying to raise construction money amidst a sea of bad press. Tobey adopted a stealthy Spider-Man creep fifty yards from the destinate.
"Y'think there's a way in through the roof?" he asked.
"No, but it has a front door, jackass. The center's open to all New Yorkers."
We walked in and started gathering intelligence which basically meant Oz and I took a free class on Middle Eastern cooking, and Tobey had a pick-up basketball game with three Egyptian exchange students from NYU.
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